Notes to oneself

When you’ve reached a certain age, you give up trying to be a different kind of person. You learn to accept who you are and stop making those yearly resolutions with which you used to start the new year. It doesn’t mean though that, henceforth, anything goes. Rather, you find yourself veering toward what Nietzsche … Read more

Traveling with family, overcoming grief

It’s often said that the best part of traveling is coming home to one’s family. For me, the best way to travel is to bring the family. Early this year, I decided I had had enough of pandemic confinement, and proposed to my children that we all take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe together as … Read more

Saving Filipino seafarers’ jobs (2)

Today’s column continues the discussion of the serious threat facing Filipino seafarers, who stand to lose their jobs as ship officers in European vessels if the European Commission withdraws recognition of their Philippine training certificates. I first tackled this dire prospect in Public Lives last Nov. 6. At a recent meeting in Brussels (the seat … Read more

Are we ready for a sovereign wealth fund?

As though our current national debt was not troubling enough, the bright boys around President Marcos Jr. are planning to set up a state investment fund that seeks to participate in the highly diversified global investment game. Dubbed the “Maharlika Investments Corp.,” the proposed entity is to be headed by Mr. Marcos as chair of … Read more

The rise and false ‘sacking’ of Cardinal Tagle

In the secretive and rarefied air of the Vatican, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s rapid rise to higher responsibilities as one of Pope Francis’ most trusted confrères has been an object of keen interest among papal watchers. Recent reports therefore of the total overhaul of the top leadership of Caritas Internationalis, of which Cardinal Tagle has … Read more

Raffy Tulfo’s Senate debut

It was a pleasant surprise to see neophyte Sen. Raffy Tulfo clash with veteran legislator Sen. Cynthia Villar on an issue of immense public interest: the massive conversion of farmlands to commercial use. The lady senator, with more than 20 years of experience as a lawmaker, is generally feared for her prickly temper and sharp … Read more

The search for the 22nd UP president

It is a ritual that takes place every six years. A search committee appointed by the Board of Regents (BOR) invites nominations for the position of president of the University of the Philippines (UP), the nation’s premier university. The committee conducts consultations with various sectors of the university community, culminating in a public forum where … Read more

The frantic race to save our seafarers’ jobs

The globalization of educational standards has finally caught up with us in a painful and jarring way. Filipino seafarers, particularly at the officer level, may soon be banned from working aboard European ships because their training does not meet the global standards set in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW). … Read more

They who tend our loved ones’ graves

In a few days, it will be All Souls’ Day, and my thoughts turn to those who rarely figure in the ethnography of Undas. They are the freelance gardeners at memorial parks whose livelihood depends solely on the patronage of owners of burial plots. They form an essential part of the infrastructure of our unceasing … Read more

Xi Jinping’s China

Yesterday marked the closing day of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which opened on Oct. 16. Today, the CCP’s Central Committee will meet in plenary session to approve the membership of the party’s Politburo and Standing Committee. Xi Jinping is expected to be reelected to a third five-year term as … Read more