Public leisure in postcolonial Baguio

A trip to Baguio on any long holiday break would persuade any visitor of the paucity of leisure in our society.  This city on a hill originally founded by Americans for the rest and recreation of colonial bureaucrats has become simply too small and too lacking in facilities to accommodate Filipino families in search of … Read more

This time last year

At about this time last year, Filipinos delayed their Christmas parties so they could watch television.  On the last day before the Senate impeachment court went on holiday recess, Clarissa Ocampo came on board as a surprise witness against President Joseph Estrada. Thus began the most politicized Christmas break we ever had in our nation’s … Read more

Stories told with courage

Marilou Diaz-Abaya goes against the grain of her culture in almost her films.  She questions the truisms of common sense not by marshalling logical arguments against them but by telling stories of people who are victims of these truisms.  She invites her viewers to suspend the imperatives of their beliefs even only for a moment, … Read more

Growing up with Julia

She turns one year old today, a child who first saw light as the Filipino nation began one of its darkest moments – the impeachment of a sitting president.  I constantly thought of her during those days when everything seemed uncertain, when the routines of our lives were replaced by the swirl of daily demonstrations.  … Read more

Heroes for a nation that cannot remember

Nothing more powerfully communicates the self-understanding of a nation than the identity of its heroes.  We first teach the history of our country to our children by telling them the lives of our heroes.  Our heroes’ personal sacrifices mirror the nation’s own suffering, and their hopes define the nation’s moral identity. A nation that is … Read more

Misuari’s failure

The recent attack on government installations by armed guerillas identified with Nur Misuari in Jolo closes another chapter in the episodic effort to find a lasting solution to the so-called Mindanao problem.   It marks the formal breakdown of the peace accord signed with so much hope by the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation … Read more

A future without Gloria

Despite a disappointing first year, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo still has a chance to be remembered as among our best presidents — but only if she can think of her present term as her last. She must reconcile herself to a future without Gloria, and work for a social vision that will make it easier for her … Read more

Limbs to go: an Indian lesson

An artisan, squatting on the bare floor, pounds a sheet of aluminum into the shape of a leg and attaches it to the live stump of an amputee.  The patient looks at it, feels it, and smiles. Amputee and artisan work in perfect unison until they get it right.  The new limb is then covered … Read more

The life and death of coup rumors

Rumors of impending coups and major crimes usually go together in our country.  They surface when the euphoria that greeted the entry of a new government begins to dissipate. This period is full of danger.  Where they have not been totally stripped of power, remnants of the old regime will threaten trouble from their followers … Read more

Terrorism and paranoia

It is becoming clear that the purpose of the September 11 terrorist attacks was not so much to kill thousands of Americans as to shatter the very foundations of American society by permanently subjecting it to the threat of relentless terrorism. Far more injurious in the long term than the acts of terrorism that people … Read more