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

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

A wedding in Cavite

Nothing is more illustrative of the current shape of Philippine politics than the recent celebrity wedding in Cavite of a daughter of actor-politicians Bong and Lani Revilla. The bride and groom were completely eclipsed by the cinematic casting of Sara Duterte-Carpio and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the lead pair of 15 sets of principal … Read more

A clash of rationalities

Laws prohibiting the buying and selling of votes have been with us for a long time. Yet we have probably not heard of anyone who has ever been convicted of this electoral offense. That’s because it’s not easy to prove it. Neither the buyer nor the seller would have any motive to file a complaint, … Read more

A COVID-19 death in the family

Going by the common belief in the law of averages, the pessimist in me worried that COVID-19 could anytime inflict a fatal blow on our large family. I used to tell myself how lucky we were that the few in our family who tested positive at different times since last year experienced only mild symptoms. … Read more