COVID-19 stress syndrome

Before my brother Dante was intubated in October last year, he made two hurried calls from the emergency room. The first was to our brother Ambo, the priest, to ask for his blessing and prayers. The second was to me, the eldest of the David siblings, to let me know he had agreed to be … Read more

Zero COVID or live with the virus?

On Friday this week, the Department of Health reported a record high of 37,207 new COVID-19 cases. Nearly one out of two PCR tests administered yielded a positive result. In barely two weeks, cases shot up from about 400 a day in late December to more than 30,000 by the second week of January. If … Read more

Befriending Omicron

From that day in November 2021, when it was first identified in a South African lab, the SARS-CoV-2 variant named Omicron has cast a frightening shadow on a world already brought down to its knees by the deadly Delta variant. Featuring about 30 mutations, it showed an amazing capacity to evade the body’s first line … Read more

Living, loving, and letting go

At the start of a new year, toward the end of your life, and in the midst of a pandemic, it is difficult not to feel anxious about time. You realize that life is absurdly short relative to the list of things you have set out to do. After 60, every passing year seems shorter … Read more

Blindsided by another supertyphoon

Two things were particularly striking in the way Supertyphoon “Odette” (international codename: Rai) hacked its ways through Northern Mindanao, the Visayan group of islands, and the Mimaropa region last week. The first is that it came almost at the end of the year, way past the usual typhoon season of June to November. The second … Read more

The messianic motif in Philippine politics

It’s important to bear in mind that the average person does not remember the past the way a historian does. He or she is less interested in what “really” happened in the past, than in images that bring the past and the present together in a single meaningful constellation. Therefore, it is often futile to … Read more

The new gatekeepers of information

Every morning, as I begin my day with a cup of coffee, I take a quick glance at the three freshly-delivered newspapers on the dining table. Scanning the headlines, I always wonder how editors decide which news items to put on the front page for that day, and which ones to relegate to the inside … Read more

Is the world overreacting to the Omicron variant?

About a week ago, the head of the South African Medical Association, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, announced that she had recently seen a young man at her clinic who tested positive for what, on close examination, turned out to be a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Briefly called by the World Health Organization … Read more

Charisma and Rodrigo Duterte

President Duterte may go down in our nation’s history as one whose presidency was marked by the grandest promises and the most glaring failures. Yet, opinion surveys suggest that he may end his term with the highest approval and trust ratings among all our presidents since political surveys began to be conducted. This just goes … Read more

President Duterte and the challenge of aging

Presidents who have reached the end of their term have an understandable desire to influence the choice of their successor. They may differ only in the length to which they are willing to go to control the process. In this, President Duterte probably exceeds all previous presidents in his desperation to stake everything to get … Read more