Four waterspouts over Laguna de Bay

Four waterspouts were spotted yesterday afternoon over Laguna de Bay, in the area between our city (San Pedro Tunasán, La Laguna) and Binañgonan, Rizal. I didn’t see the watery vortices, but there was a thunderstorm when it was happening. I was a bit alarmed not because of the heavy rain but because of the color of the sky — it looked like mud, exactly the same color as what you’ll see in the video below (recorded by Gene Hettel, former head of Communication and Publications Services at the IRRI). It was the first time I saw our sky like that, so I made a recording of it too. But I decided not to share it anymore because the outcome didn’t do much justice to what is in this video. Anyway, I knew immediately that yesterday’s mud-colored twilight downpour was out of the ordinary. This video confirmed it.

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Yorme Iskô, ¡mabuhay ca!

Alarmantemente estamos perdiendo gran parte de los recuerdos de nuestro país. Me refiero a nuestro patrimonio, tanto tangible como intangible. Y esto me deprime todos los días. Pero el Señor Alcalde Francisco “Iskô” Domagoso Moreno de Manila me da esperanza. Me inspira a ser un mejor filipino. Me inspira a no renunciar a luchar por la supervivencia de los recuerdos de nuestro país.


We are alarmingly losing much of our country’s memories. I am talking about our heritage, both tangible and intangible. And this depresses me every day. But Manila Mayor Isko Moreno gives me hope. He inspires me to be a better Filipino. He inspires me never to give up fighting for the survival of our country’s memories.

¡MABUHAY CA, YORME ISKÓ MORENO! ¡Nauáy palagui cang pagpaláin at gabayán ng Pañginoóng Dios! 😇

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Rizal and school punishment

Rizal as a young student in Biñán was usually whipped and hit with a stick on the palm of his hand by his strict teacher. Of course he didn’t have fond memories about that, but there was no indication at all that he was traumatized by it. He eventually became one of the greatest writers and nationalists we ever had.

He wasn’t the only one who experienced corporal punishment in school. His contemporaries, many of whom became great personalities themselves, went through all that, too. The preceding generations before ours experienced the same as well. Those in public schools probably fared much worse. Heck, I remember one male teacher of mine from sixth grade (he openly practiced favoritism, if I may add) who never failed to humiliate me whenever he felt like doing it. I couldn’t forget how he pulled my hair out of the classroom and dragged me straight to the streets for an incident I could no longer remember. But I didn’t allow his cruel ways to define who I am today.

This is not to say that corporal punishment in school is totally acceptable. However, if we are to compare the general comportment of those generations that experienced this style of discipline to that of ours, which fares the worst in handling society?

This recent viral video from Raffy Tulfo in Action involving an erring student who was sent out from class is virtually nothing compared to what generations of students that came before him had experienced.

I genuinely fear for the next generation that is currently “enjoying” such an unwarranted sense of entitlement.  Raffy Tulfo ought to think about this very hard.

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All Filipino languages are Chavacano languages (just a thought)

All Filipino languages (Tagalog, Bicolano, Hiligaynón, Capampañgan, etc.) are in fact Chavacano languages, but in varying degrees. While it can be said that Chavacano (Zamboangueño, Cavitén, Bahra, etc.) is the closest Filipino language to Spanish, it should be noted that all the other Filipino languages are also rich in Spanish vocabulary. Before Tagalog was “Pilipinized” by purists in the 1930s and the ensuing decades, it was second runner-up to Chavacano in terms of number of Spanish words. Third was Hiligaynón, and so on and so forth.

La imagen puede contener: una persona, texto y primer plano

Screengrab from Langfocus.

Todos los idiomas filipinos (tagalo, bicolano, hiligaynón, capampañgan, etc.) son de hecho idiomas chavacanos, pero en distintos grados. Si bien se puede decir que chavacano (zamboangueño, cavitén, bahra, etc.) es el idioma filipino más cercano al español, cabe señalar que todos los demás idiomas filipinos también son ricos en vocabulario español. Antes de que los puristas (tagalistas) “pilipinizaron” el tagalo en la década de 1930 y en las décadas siguientes, fue el segundo finalista de chavacano en términos de cantidad de palabras en español. El tercero fue hiligaynón, y así sucesivamente.

Willie Revillamé as historian

This blogpost will surely raise some eyebrows especially among my historian friends and readers, but I have to admit that I’m a closet fan of Willie Revillamé as both TV host-comedian and philanthropist since his MTB and Wowowee days in ABS-CBN. His way with the masa (Filipino commoners) always strikes a chord in the right keys, and it’s really entertaining. I don’t want to sound like an apologist for his brand of humor (there was many a time when it got him into trouble), but it really works as he speaks the language of the streets. Through his current TV show Wowowin (actually a continuation of his gift-giving days in Wowowee and its later replacements), we get to see how such people comport and communicate among themselves on live TV. More importantly, we get to see the true face of the Filipino masses struggling every day just to survive this cruel, capitalistic world as they relate to him their true-to-life stories.

Willie’s fame, however, took a bit of a backslide when Wowowee was given the ax more than a decade ago following a highly publicized falling-out with ABS-CBN management. The show underwent a couple of iterations later on in rival stations TV5 and GMA, but all of them never got to equal the popularity of the original.

Recently, however, observers (including myself) noticed a spike in Wowowin’s TV ratings and digital media interest because of Herlene Nicole Budol, one of the show’s newest co-hosts whose claim to fame was when her videos as a Wowowin contestant became viral in both Facebook and YouTube in just a few days. That alone earned her a spot in Willie’s show early last month. Nicknamed “Hipon” (local slang for a girl with an attractive body and… well, just that 😂), the slim but statuesque 20-year-old Herlene captivated the hearts of audiences because of her bubbly, non-showbiz behavior.

Despite her sexy figure, pretty face (yes, she is pretty even if she herself doesn’t believe so), and street-smarts personality (she hails from a squatter’s area somewhere in Añgono, Rizal), there is a tinge of innocence in her that fans find so adorable. Countless TV viewers and netizens have been captivated with the show mainly because of her.

Herlene got me hooked with the show in the same manner that I got hooked with the AlDub Phenomenon a few years ago. But since I don’t watch TV anymore, I just rely on the show’s digital media team to upload highlights from each episode. I am not ashamed to say that I watch her videos almost every day as she relieves me of stress.

Yesterday’s episode really sparked my interest because in one of the show’s segments, Willie from out of the blue discussed my favorite topic: Filipino History!

Never mind if he mentioned some inaccuracies — for one, he said that EDSA’s original name was Highway 54 when in fact it used to be called Avenida 19 de Junio, named after José Rizal’s date of birth. What’s important here is that he is trying to spark interest among the masses to learn (or relearn) Filipino History, and not just to go to his show to win cash. And did anyone notice here how he acknowledged that the King of Spain during the arrival of Fernando de Magallanes to our shores was not King Felipe II but his father, Emperor Carlos V? That alone is already admirable because it’s a common misconception among millions of Filipinos that King Felipe II was the Spanish monarch when Magallanes arrived here. Strangely enough, Willie got it right. That piece of information coming from someone who is not a bookish person and is also one of the masses is something praiseworthy indeed.

And yes, there was no Hispanophobia from his brief recounting of history.

¡Mabuhay ca, Profesor Wil!

Una lengua robada: el español en Filipinas

¿Se le puede arrebatar un idioma a un pueblo? Desgraciadamente, la respuesta es sí. Mire y averigue…


Realización y montaje: Antonio Rodríguez Navarro
Guión: Guillermo Gómez Rivera

Mi Último Adiós (recital de poesía)

Unos días antes el Día del Libro 2019 (27 de abril), el Instituto Cervantes de Manila anunció en sus redes sociales que producirá un recital del famoso poema “Mi Último Adiós” de José Rizal. Invitó a filipinos hispanohablantes y estudiantes del idioma a participar. El recital fue grabado el mismo día dentro de la Biblioteca Miguel Hernández del instituto, y fue dirigido por el actor Pepe Gros. Se le dio una estrofa del poema a cada participante que luego recitó frente a la cámara, pero sólo se mostró una línea en el resultado final para dar cabida a más participantes. Krystal aparece en la sexta pantalla, y yo en la novena. El vídeo fue lanzado el miércoles pasado. ¡Feliz viendo!

How Spanish is spoken in Filipinas

The following video shows how Spanish is spoken as an authentic Filipino language.

The recordings on this video (edited by Neptuno Azul) were made by Spanish scholars Antonio Quilis and Celia Casado-Fresnillo as they were interviewing native Filipino Spanish speakers. Their research resulted in the book “La Lengua Española en Filipinas” which was published ten years ago in Madrid, Spain.

The Spanish spoken in Filipinas is a variant of standard Spanish, or Spanish spoken in Spain, particularly in the capital which is Madrid. Unknown to many, there are several variants of Spanish (Colombian Spanish, Argentinian Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanish, etc.) as there are many variants of Tagálog (Batangueño Tagálog, Manileño Tagálog, etc.). Ours is very similar to the variant spoken in México because from there our country was ruled by Spain (México was then known as “Nueva España” or New Spain) from 1571 to 1821. During that period, there was much Spanish and Mexican emigration to Filipinas, hence the linguistic similarities.

As can be heard from the video, Filipino native speakers of Spanish do not speak the language as fast as other Spanish speakers from other countries. Perhaps the most obvious difference between Spanish Filipino and standard Spanish is that the voiceless dental fricative or /θ/ is not distinguished from the voiceless alveolar sibilant or /s/, a characteristic that we share with our Latin American counterparts (this lack of distinction between /s/ and /θ/ is called the seseo). There are other linguistic characteristics such as the yeísmo, the non-aspiration of the /s/, the shifting of the [ɾ] and [l] at the end of syllables, etc. These distinctions are best observed in a classroom setting (effectively provided by the Instituto Cervantes de Manila).

Another good example of Filipino Spanish can be heard right here, spoken by no less than our country’s first president, Emilio Aguinaldo.

While it is true that Spanish was not spoken as a first language by many Filipinos compared to other Spanish overseas subjects, it was spoken either as a secondary or tertiary language in our country. Add to the fact that schools during those days also taught French (back then the lingua franca of the international diplomacy), Latin, and even classical Greek and Hebrew. It is thus not surprising that Filipinos during those days were multilingual. A well-educated Tagálog spoke not just his cradle language but also Spanish and other languages taught to him in school. A Visayan wrote not just in Cebuano or Hiligaynón or Aclanon but also in Spanish. A Bicolano uttered his prayers in three languages: Bícol (Bícol Naga, Rinconada, etc.), Spanish, and Latin, perhaps even more. But it cannot be denied that the prevailing language back then was Spanish, the language that wove together both national unity and identity.

Whatever happened to Filipino dignity?

I don’t post stuff like this, but this is too much. It made my blood really boil!


This shameful video went viral a few days ago. It’s about a Turkish national, later identified to be a certain Yuksel Ibrahim, disrespecting a traffic enforcer along Buendía Avenue in San Pedro Macati (Makati City). For sure, he made a traffic violation, the reason he was flagged down (it was later discovered that he was driving without a license). But he refused to budge, resisted arrest. As can be seen on this video, the Turk even laid his hands on the traffic enforcer (reports say his name is Michael Orcino) and shoved his motorcycle down to the concrete pavement.

It is unthinkable for Filipinos to behave in such a way in other countries, especially in Muslim land. We are very obedient, polite, and law-abiding overseas. Why let foreigners behave like this in our own native land? What’s infuriating about this video is that there are lots of Filipinos around, but they couldn’t put a stop to this imbecilic Turk. Filipinos swallow their dignity and pride in other countries. Why do the same in our own native land?! This is too much!

Yuksel Ibrahim is an Arabic name. He is most probably Muslim. And he’s going for lost in a Catholic country! Could you imagine a Catholic doing the same in a Muslim country?

But the Filipinos seen in this video (including Orcino) are, to my eyes, not true Filipinos. I call them “Bobong Pinóy“. They’re no longer the true Filipinos in the mold of José Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini, Claro M. Recto, etc. These are the moronic cowards who grew up speaking in Taglish, Anglo-Saxonized (Americanized) to the core, lapsed Catholics who attend only the Novus Ordo (and whenever they feel like it), and who enjoy teleseryes, Pinoy Big Brother, and other TV garbage from sunrise to sunset as if they have become part of their very existence.

A long time ago in Madrid, a hot-tempered Antonio Luna slapped, spat at, and challenged Mir Deas, a Spanish journalist, to a duel when the latter made insults to the former (Mir Deas even mistook Antonio for his brother Juan the painter). And to think that Antonio wasn’t even in Filipinas. A long time ago in Mindanáo, Filipinos (to say “Christian Filipino” during that time was redundant; Filipino was enough) under Governor-General Juan Antonio de Urbiztondo routed pesky Muslim pirates in Joló and other parts (Rizal even wrote a poem about it). Whatever happened to Filipino dignity? Has it gone yellow because of too much acquiescence to both Chinese and US imperialism? Perhaps other countries already noticed this softening of the once mighty Filipino spirit. No wonder they disrespect us. No wonder they ship containers filled with garbage to our ports.

So don’t blame me if I approved of that beating those imperious Aussie cagers got from Gilas Pilipinas several months ago. Don’t blame me if I cheered when Mayor Herbert Bautista slapped an arrogant Chinese drug dealer twice on national TV years ago.

If only I were there in Buendía, I swear, I would have bloodied this Turk’s face and destroyed his car. I would have even cursed at the traffic enforcer for cowardice. I am not a violent person. I do not condone violence. But I cannot for the life of me allow this infuriating scene to happen in front of my eyes. I can never for the life of me allow a Muslim, an agent of شيطان, wreak havoc in a Christian land. No, certainly not in my house.

Porque soy FILIPINO ORGULLOSO, no soy Bobong Pinoy.

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