The Camino experience (2)

As one of the three most important pilgrimage sites of the Catholic world, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the purported remains of St. James the Apostle are buried, is visited by millions of pilgrims every year. Many arrive in Compostela by plane, by train, or by bus. What is called the Camino de … Read more

The Camino experience (1)

Doing the Camino,” the shorthand way of saying one is going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, has been on my “bucket list” since 2005 when I first heard about it from a German friend. He told me how he had been training for a 40-day 800-kilometer walk to Santiago via the … Read more

Philippine politics and Sinophobia

Speaking to the country’s soldiers last Thursday during a visit to the Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Davao de Oro, President Marcos made a pitch for strengthening the military’s capabilities as it shifts from internal operations to external defense. He said emphatically: “We are not going to war against anybody … We are just being … Read more

Law and politics in America

As in any society that calls itself modern, law and politics in America are distinct and separate spheres. They operate by different codes, and one is not superior to the other. Decisions made in the legal sphere do not determine what happens in the political sphere, and vice-versa, even as their effects may spill beyond … Read more

The perils and pleasures of walking

Not since I began walking regularly, sometimes twice a day and mainly inside the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus, have I feared being bumped by a car or a motorbike even while crossing on marked pedestrian lanes. Unless I raise the palm of my hand to oncoming vehicles, I find that drivers will … Read more

Media, politics, and foreign relations

A friend of mine, who observes and comments on political happenings, regularly sends me information straight from the “grapevine.” A lot of it does not make it to the news. But a few items are soon enough picked up by various media platforms, and later become the object of congressional investigations. Without grapevine sources, news … Read more

Will ChatGPT ever stop learning?

Anyone who has ever turned to ChatGPT for answers may have wondered at some point where this popular artificial intelligence (AI) tool gets all the information it provides. The simple answer is that ChatGPT voraciously scrapes all the English-language data that is to be found on the open web and synthesizes these for you. Everything … Read more

When images become reality

Early this week, a fake video of President Marcos went viral on a popular streaming platform. It showed the president purportedly directing the country’s armed forces to counter China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea. The short video was taken down just a few days after. Not having personally seen it, I can’t say … Read more

Retaliation and restraint

When should a country retaliate to an attack on its territory and forces? What form should a retaliatory response take? When is restraint a preferable course of action? Questions like these suggest that conflict is a complex communication system in itself. Norms are observed even in war. No country wants to be accused of igniting … Read more