Monday, August 26, 2013

Organize Yourself

It was an outrage, a fire that burned in her and grew into a bigger flame after she read a post of her friend, Itos Rapadas, in facebook. She then took it upon herself to spearhead something for all of us, Filipinos. This is what we now know as the ‘Million People March’.

Calls on divulging names of the organizers for this protest began to stir into big ripples. The pressure was on: “Who are they?” “We need to know.” “May karapatan kaming malaman kung sino nag umpisa nito. Ba’t nyo ba tinatago?” The comments continued. She was a big secret. People insisted, until finally it was told. She put a post on the page for the march and revealed herself. Peachy Rallonza-Bretana was her name. 

Peachy, just like many of us, was disheartened, disappointed, and frustrated with the behavior of many of our public officials. Just like many of us, felt wounded and betrayed by lawmakers who did not serve us but made us serve them using our tax money. It was then that, I believe, she created her cry to all of us: a simple heed, a simple plea; and we responded. But now knowing that she was someone just like us, a regular citizen who bleeds for the country, we changed the mechanics of this gathering: “Organize yourself.”

The day was fast approaching. Facebook announcements and reroutes were given. A lot of Filipinos helped fellow Filipinos in information on what to do, where to pass, and what to wear. Since we were all organizers, we were all moving to make this gathering a success: A post on a call for artists, poets, musicians to volunteer their talent; another one reminding people to bring their water and food; other posts on making sure that we go and be heard. It was a flood of different concerns for this one day. And so we all went.

August 26, 2013: the day of the march. It started at 9:00am, but there were those who came earlier. I was with my mother and sister, met a friend or two, and stayed with family members. I then walked around to see how things were, how things worked. It was a different kind of rally. People worked in patches. In one corner was a group from Baguio with their ethnic instruments. There was another with their walis tingting shouting, “Walisin ang korupsyon! Linisin ang bayan!” There were the bikers. There were the nuns, indigenous people, and school faculty. There were students with their drums and tambourine that made people dance as they crowded around them. There were the reds shouting their messages. And there were people like me, who walked around to get the feel of the whole event.

Everyone was free to do their own thing. The religious people prayed, while others made sure they brought food and banig for the picnic. Somewhat like the main stage, a little corner at the Luneta park was where we did our ‘oink’ sound. It was where Cardinal Tagle made us sing Pananagutan, a song with a very strong message, and it was where we applauded ourselves for being Filipino. We were all one with the fight to abolish pork. We were all one with the call for transparency and accountability.

As I continued to walk around, I realized that we have created again a new definition of protest. Just like the term peaceful, in many minds of people, could have never become an adjective for revolution, yet we defied that idea and showed the whole world that it could be done. This time, we recreated the definition of a protest one more time. We showed each other that we can be individuals, we can be different, but then stand as one. We went to gather with fellow Filipinos and express our woes in the way we wanted to express them, and yet we stood as one. We had different approaches, different ideas, maybe different colors—anti PNoy, Pro PNoy, abstain-the-stand on PNoy—we came from various understandings on what is happening to our country; and yet…we stood as one. We were all organizers to this event. Therefore we were free to do what we wanted to do in this event, but we chose to stand as one people, one country with one cause. We were willing to set aside the differences and work together as one. And as organizers, we even left Luneta park clean. We became responsible for our own trash.

And with this realization I say, let us continue to be organizers of this country, the way we expressed it on this historical day. Let us be vigilant on the activities of our government officials. Let us continue to monitor them and make our voices heard—may it be through social networking, or in the next gathering if need be. This will not be the end of this, for this is just the beginning.

Peachy, as I see it, represented all of us. This gathering was not done by a group of any sort. It was started by one. So this was the power of one voice that snowballed. And because we knew she was one, we had to take responsibility.

So as I finish this, I would like to say: It is time. Organize yourself. 

Our beloved Philippines is our responsibility.

Mabuhay tayong lahat. Mabuhay ang Pilipino. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

Songs sung in the Million People March
Kawatan by Jograd de la Torre


Friday, September 14, 2012

Exploring the Filipino Psyche Entry 30: “The Letter ‘s’ ”

It’s been a while since I wrote an entry in this blog. I used to classify the topics as days since at first I thought I would be able to regularly put something in and share this with all of you. However, things gained speed and directions changed for now. Anyway, never mind about that. Let us go to the next observation, which suddenly entered my thoughts the other day and the wonder never left me—the letter ‘s’.
I was going through TV channels when the ‘s’ dawned on me because Max Alvarado was mentioned somewhere. Where? I cannot recall at the moment, but his name popped up. Then I remembered scenes from Filipino movies and a usual line for a villain if the leading lady was a hostage, or if the leading lady talked to the leading man and the best friend would ask this question: “Pare, chicks mo?”  I was alone when I remembered this line, then I wondered… “Ba’t kaya may ‘s’ (I wonder why there’s an ‘s’)?” The ‘s’ is used not to pluralize a word, but it just happens to stick around. I made a rundown in my head and realized I never really researched on why it was there. But to come across this letter from time to time in different words is a fascination. Another word is fans. A line of a person who admires or idolizes a celebrity: “Fans mo ako.”  Fans pertains to  one person, and the definition is the same as its singular form. Then there is sports. “Okay lang. Sports lang dapat.”  Sports in this sentence means being a good sport. Then in jeepney signs: “Thanks God!” Okay, maybe they just forgot the comma. Then there is colds: “May colds ako ngayon  (I have a cold today).”  Cold is an acronym, which is chronic obstructive lung disease. But it does not matter, we understand what it means when someone says colds, there’s just an ‘s’ in the end.  And one other word  is cokes. "Pabili nga ng cokes," one would say when buying in a sari-sari store to buy a Coke.

 Then I wondered again, when we do not  need an ‘s’ we add it on the word, but when we need it, we remove it. For example, I went to a children’s party the other day and the lovely host said to the child who won the game, “Congratulation!” ‘Uy, nawala yung ‘s,’’ I thought to myself.  In the older days there was also the word betamak. "Nuod tayong betamak mamaya!" with excitement a friend would suggest.
It is pretty interesting, why we put an ‘s’ where it is not needed. Then remove it when it is necessary. I do wonder how this began and when it started, though. I have done my interviews and research on the wandering apostrophe, where this little mark all of a sudden pops up in signs such as ‘Thanks’ for coming…” or “For Costumers’ Only”  (spelling is another cute amusement). What I have discovered is the reason behind this is that those who made these signs have seen this little mark in different places. Therefore, they thought that when there is an ‘s’, the apostrophe should be there, too. Now about the ‘s’  in words we use…  Hmmm…with that one, well, ‘di ko pa gets. Pero oks lang. :-) 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Reflection... The Entry of 2012

It’s been a while since my last entry.  It is still the first month of 2012 and I feel like reflecting. Thus, before I continue my exploration on the Filipino Psyche, I have decided to do a little flashback in my head and see what I can gather, try to discover what may be hidden, and what may be shared.

The year that passed, well, actually it takes more than a year to sort of filter what works for one. I don’t really know where this entry  is going, I’m at a ‘wait and see’ state right now. Because ‘they’ say, ‘they’ may be anyone, to know things does not take a journey with a price of a cruise or flight, all it takes is a choice. We may travel to the farthest end of the seas and still know nothing, and yet we may stay still in one place and be awakened by something. It is a journey, yes, but it is a journey that is drawn by a choice to know more; not with the favour of intelligence alone, but this with the taste of wisdom.

This reflection is not an outcome of what I simply have seen and observed in my country, but  it is also what I have seen and observed outside of it: the desperate cling on power Gadhafi displayed, the famine in South Africa, the protest rallies in different countries; then there is the abuse of nature: the cutting of trees, the effect of over industrialization, the over killing of animals in our seas and land. But a shift has happened, ‘they’ say, 2012 perceived as the end of the world just actually means the beginning of something better for us. Things we have embraced as valuable like power in its greed form and wealth in its selfish disguise shall be, finally, perceived as a stupid definition on what is truly important.  I apologize for the strong label, but to reform a distorted perception may need a little shaking by now, to the extent of offending the stance; for power, which comes with the taste of greed and wealth attained with the interest of selfishness, has drawn many to suffer and hunger, including Mother Earth.

The entry of rebirth—this, ‘they’ say, is the true meaning of what has been known and popularized as ‘the end of the world’.  It was not to be understood in its literal sense, but in its figurative sense that it will be, hopefully, the end of our old ways, and now comes the new. What exactly is the new? It is us being kinder, being more concerned for one another, respecting the Earth, and finally, the will to fight those who abuse our rights. The evidence in the new slowly creeping in is the uprise in different countries and the collapse of those who oppressed the  uproars that slowly began to be heard again. People shouting their cries of ‘No more!’, and this setting a current of change. Protesters, activists and revolutionaries came out with the same frustrations, ‘enough is enough’ they say. Thus, TIME Magazine hailed the Protester as ‘Person of the Year’ for 2011. It was well earned.

Power was never unkind, and wealth is not the enemy. It was only the perception of the two that made things change not for the better, but turned out for the worst—a sad turn, a disappointing choice. But it is very nice to know, as I walked the streets that brought me to nowhere but just a path that made me encounter many, there are the every day heroes who emit such greatness in their innovation and creativity, and most especially in their care for others. So this made me think, as I read and watched on TV and the internet of those who chose and perceived power in a different light with a different meaning--a definition more calm,  humbler and simpler--that this is the direction to genuine strength, genuine power: the silence of Mahatma Gandhi, the compassion of Mother Theresa, the gentle style of Nelson Mandela, and the love of the Christ. Real power is not when we hate, it is only when we care that it truly shines. It is when we become considerate of everything around us. It is when we respect life in every shape and form. It may not be easy, but life is not about one.  It is not about ‘me’.  It is about ‘us’.

“There are two kinds of power,” I said to myself as I sat and reflected,  “the external power that comes from the ego, and the internal power that comes from the greatness of the spirit.”  And this, ‘they’ say, is the shift, the rebirth, the end of the old way, and the entry of new…

Welcome, 2012, we're ready.


TIME Magazine 'Person of the Year',28804,2101745_2102132,00.html

Pictures of Protesters

A Chant that, according to my Spiritual Gurus, may bring high vibration for healing...and peace. 

Mother Earth, She's Alive...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Exploring The Filipino Psyche Day 24: “Code Shifting"

             Two  friends see each other at the lobby of the building where they were to have a meeting:
                  Friend 1: “Uy, pare! Kumusta na?”
                  Friend 2: “Okay naman. Ikaw?”
                  Friend 1: “Okay rin. Kumusta ang misis?”
                  Friend 1: “Okay naman. Pare, dalaw ka minsan sa bahay. Bisitahin mo naman inaanak mo."                          
                  Friend 2: “Sige. Minsan punta kami ni Amelia. Sige. Kita tayo sa luob.”
                  Friend 1: “Sige, pare.”           
The same two friends see each other again inside the conference room where they were to have a formal meeting.
And the meeting begins...
Friend 1: “The slow moving merchandise will be phased out by the end of this week. But we’ll be launching the new product three months from now.”
               Friend 2: “So how shall we market this new product?”
Friend 1: “We ‘re coming up with a whole plan for this. We’ll present this to the board by next month.”         
                  This is called code shifting—a common practice in the Philippines—the ability to change the medium for communication depending on circumstance and environment. As I have mentioned in my last entry, the Philippines has 170 languages and several dialects. And the national language is Filipino, a simplified version of Tagalog. Filipino is much easier than Tagalog, and in casual conversations among Pinoys, it is usually the preferred medium, unless they are kababayans— people who come from the same region or area—for example two people from Pampanga may choose to speak in Kapampangan, or two people from Ilokos would rather speak in Ilokano (Pampanga and Ilokos are two provinces in the Philippines). But those who grew up in Manila will only know Filipino and English, unless their parents taught them another language. These two languages are the usual mainstays in many households. If both are not practiced at home, at least they are both understood and used outside of the home.
                  In school, Filipino students are required to present their reports in English. All subjects, except for the Filipino subject and ‘Sibika’ (Social Studies, which is taught in Filipino in many schools in the country), are taught using the universal language. Therefore, recitation in class is also in English. But outside of the classroom atmosphere, the students converse with friends during recess and lunch breaks in Filipino (although there are schools where the students still speak in English among friends, or at the most, what is called Taglish—a mix of Tagalog and English ). And because of this, as the child gets older, this shifting becomes ingrained in the system of the individual that to shift from Filipino to English, as the mood of the conversation changes, becomes second nature to the person. I would hear fellow Filipinos say ‘nosebleed’ when they hear others speak in English. Nosebleed means ‘a difficult time to keep up with the flow of the conversation due to the constant use of the English language’, but what they are not aware of is that they do the shift, too. It just depends on when and where sometimes.
                  Filipinos like to use the Filipino language when with friends and in casual chit chats, but when in meetings or at work, in front of the bosses to present a report, the shift comes with ease. Suddenly the medium becomes English. And this, I feel, is because of the practice the Filipino adults had as students. The environment of the canteen, having lunch with friends, will call for speaking in the vernacular; but when in front of the teacher for group reports or debate class, which calls for a serious tone, the student is always required to speak in English. And this is why when politics is a topic even among friends, there is also the tendency to shift again to English because of the seriousness of the subject in hand. But when the conversation rolls back to a light mood and jokes are thrown at each other, the shift goes back to Filipino.
                  This may also be true in writing. Pinoys are trained well to write in English. And for some reason, many Filipinos find writing in the native language more difficult than writing in English, especially in expressing thoughts or insights. And I see this as the reason why many statuses in Facebook or in Twitter are expressed, most of the time, in English. But if it is joking time, the shift again goes back to the vernacular.    
                  Nowadays, the shift is even more frequent since casual conversations are slowly being done in English because of the many guests from other countries the nation has. And the serious tone is also spoken in the vernacular because, unlike then when news on TV used purely English, reporters are now using  Filipino, influencing the Pinoys to also speak in the native tongue even when the topic becomes a heated argument about politics.   
                  So there it is, another Filipino behaviour—code shifting. I am quite proud of it since it enables us to speak to people of different races, then go back to the vernacular when needed. Maybe this is where the behavior pakikisama also comes from, but that’s another story.
Next entry?
We’ll see...


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Exploring The Filipino Psyche Day 23: “Languages”

            If we go back to the 1st days of history in the Philippines, well, not far back to the Tabon cave man, but just to that day when the country was discovered by other men of other nationals, we will remember how things began.
            In the beginning, there were only the Aetas, the original dwellers of the country. Then the Malays came. The Malay Datus and the Aetas harmonized their differences with a contract that was done only with the spoken word. The two races agreed not to bother the other. The Aetas, as hunters and nomads by nature, stayed in the highlands, and the Malays stayed in the lowlands. I conclude, though, that up to this day, the Aetas honor this agreement. And if it weren’t for the Pinatubo explosion that happened in the ‘90s, and the excessive cutting of trees in the mountains, they would have continued to keep the pact they had with the Malays centuries ago. As I see it, the only reason the Aetas came down from the mountains is because of survival.
            Time passed and other races came. But unlike the first guests who came to stay and discuss a pact, the Spaniards came to colonize. For centuries they stayed and governed the country. Then the Chinese came to the Philippines as merchants. The Japanese came, too. And because of the open trade, countries such as Indonesia also dabbed its influence to the people. Then by the 19th century, the Americans entered the country.
            And in the end, the Philippine Islands was left with 170 languages and several dialects, which I need to admit, I do not know how many. And even though there is a variety, one language was chosen to be the official and national language for all—Tagalog. However, problems arose when people from the Visayas area refused to use the language since they felt that there were more Visayans than ‘Tagalog’ people in the country. Thus, many Visayans in the ‘60s refused to speak Tagalog. They opted to use their local Visayan language and English as their second choice.
            Nowadays, the national language is embraced, and the name has been changed from Tagalog to Filipino. Filipino is the simplified version of Tagalog, where we do not speak in a ‘Balagtasan’ manner anymore and the words are more simple and more casual.  English words such as exam and notification are easily translated to Filipino as eksam and notifikasyon. But in Tagalog, these words are pagsusulit and pagpapatalastas.   
            Another invented language in the country is the mix of Tagalog and English. This is called Taglish. My friend and I, I guess for lack of a better thing to do, wondered and pondered on the idea of the ‘Taglish’ language. We debated and discussed on why ‘Taglish’ only chose to use the simple Tagalog words to be mixed with English.
            Examples may be:

            “Oh my! Can I just make you kwento? I saw him kanina  and he’s so guapo talaga, ha. You call me mamaya. Hay naku...I have tsismis.”
            “Oh no! We have an assignment pala! My things are so gulo kasi eh. I forgot tuloy.” 
            Then my friend and I thought, again, maybe for lack of a better thing to do, of trying our hand on doing our own mix in the language, and having our own version of ‘Taglish’. We thought, since Tagalog is pure in nature and the language is not really very casual in style, what if the bigger words were used in the combination?
            So my friend and I tried our own version of ‘Taglish’:

            Me: “Oh my! Don’t we have a pagsusulit  later? Come, let’s go to the silid-aklatan. We also have to do our gawaing-bahay eh. If not, hay naku, our guro will get angry.”
            Friend: "Wait! I have to make you salaysay  what happened when I saw him! I’m really nabibighani with his beauty! I like him bagamat I’m not sure if he likes me eh. I’ll give you the whole kasaysayan."

            I also found out that English is also mixed with the other languages in the country. My sister told me about a high school student she heard in Ilo-ilo speak to her friend and said, ”Gani. Let’s pass here para dasig.”  So I guess, because there are so many languages in the land that a mix of all this is normal. In that sentence alone there was English, Ilonggo and Tagalog.
            And even though the country has numerous languages, there are words that are the same but are different in meaning. For example the word subay means ‘bird’ in Cebu and it means ‘ant’ in Iloilo. So if someone was with a Cebuano and an Ilonggo and that person shouted, “Subay!”  one would look up, while the other would look down. I experienced something similar when I was in Kalibo, Aklan—this is in the Visayas area. I used the statement “saka na”, which means ‘next time’ in Tagalog, and means ‘go up now’ in Ilonggo. One day, my friends and I helped in organizing a talk for Maharaji—an Indian who inspired people to believe more in love and happiness. So there we were, my friends and I, walking around and checking what else was needed and how else we could help; those who attended waited by a bench near the staircase. My friends and I welcomed them and said our ‘hellos’. Then another friend, who was quite far from all of us, opted to talk to me from where he was. So suddenly he said with a loud voice, “ Carla, bayaran ko na ngayon (I’ll pay now)!” And I answered, also in a shouting manner, “Saka na!” I was using the Tagalog meaning as my reply to my friend, but when I looked again at the guests by the staircase, nervously and hurriedly they went up the stairs. “Ay,sorry, po. Hindi, po. Hindi po kayo kausap ko. Siya, po ( Sorry, sorry, I wasn’t talking to you, sir, ma’am. I was talking to him).” They thought I commanded all of them to go up right that instant.
            So this is how my country is, there are numerous languages and dialects. And also because of this fact, the preferred medium still, in dailies, directions, signs, and even in school, is English. Sometimes there will be signs or instructions, written in English, with their share of errors in grammar and construction. Nonetheless, this medium is, if not understood by all, is indeed understood by many Filipinos. It is a plus, in many ways, and sometimes a minus, when people identify too much with the English language to a point where they discriminate our very own.     
              And as a nation, this is our make-up. It may be quite difficult to have so many conversation tools for the people. But maybe this diversity also adds to our color. Maybe it also adds to our spice as a people. Maybe it also adds to our pull as an interesting race.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Exploring the Filipino Psyche Day 22: “Names”

Now I go to names. A few weeks ago I was with a couple of friends, and in the enjoyment of these hours I spent with them, the topic went to names. The existing ‘h’ , in particular , was the fascination we conversed about. In our exchange, we felt like philosophers trying to analyze the origins of the silent ‘h’: Why is it there? Who thought of putting an ‘h’ in names?  Who invented the trend of the famous ‘h’?
As we tried to analyze the roots of the letter, which found itself  in many IDs of Filipino citizens, we then began the search of other fascinations in the Filipino name. As we scrolled the list of ‘h’ names such as Mhela, Vhong, Jhun, and Bheng; we found ourselves digging deeper into the common ground of  names that had the equivalent value as the ‘h’. And there, as we searched, we remembered ‘lyn’ . The famous last syllable in female names that has become a companion of  many 2 syllables like Junalyn, Jennelyn, Manilyn and Decelyn.
 Although we have our share of Jims and Johns in the Philippines, the names of bells such as Kleng, Klang Klang, Ding Dong and BingBong, tend to have a stronger ring to people who do not come from the Philippines. An American once asked if the Filipinos take the Senator Joker seriously, I told him that we never laughed when he talked. Another asked if the name of President Noynoy was common.  "It’s as common as Jayjay, Tintin and Bong-bong. The repeated syllable is very common in my country,” I said.   
  And as I wish to someday meet the Filipino Chinese, Edgar  Allan Pe, I also wonder who Jonathan Livinston Sy is. Pinoys like to work on themes when it comes to names. My sister’s friend, Harmony, has sisters named Melody and Symphony. Then there is the ‘Kano’ family. The oldest is Ameri, next is Mexi, the third Child is Ilo, fourth is Chaba, and the youngest is Mag. I guess when parents are thinking of basing their children’s names on themes, it would be better to be the older one than the youngest. Freddie Webb, an actor who turned Senator at one point, has a grandson named Spider, and I’m not sure if a younger one will simply be called Cob.
Aside from themes, we also have the mix of names. The present Vice President is named Jejomar, and this comes from Jesus, Joseph and Mary. A former senator is Heherson. His name simply means ‘his and her son’. Although they are not a mix of words or names, my favorite combination comes from the Racela brothers. The professional basketball player, Olsen Racela, was named Olsen because he was born on ‘All Saint’s Day’. His brother is Nash because he was born on National Heroes’ Day, and the youngest is named Wally, for, well…walang okasyon (sometimes I wonder how true this story is,though).
Other names are pretty simple, and is usually American in influence. So if maybe in another country you meet someone with an American name like Henry or Jane, and with a last name that is Spanish in nature like de la Cruz, more or less you have just met a Filipino. So aside from the usual blend of themes and stories underlying a Filipino name, this mix of an American first name with a Spanish last name given to a person of Asian descent, maybe and most probably, is an individual from the Philippines. But if you meet someone named Jun-jun, Rhodette or Luzviminda (Luzon, Vizayas and Mindanao), there is no doubt that you have just met a true blue Pinoy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exploring the Filipino Psyche Day 21: “Have Mercy” (Inspired by Conrado de Quiros’ article today (August 18, 2011: “Still, ‘awa’ ”)

               ‘Awa’, this word was part of Conrado de Quiros’ title for the day in his column, and I chose to ponder on the same sentiment. This, in the English language, means sympathy for others or mercy. Now the challenge for me right now is to be able not to mince Conrado’s words with mine. His words are his, and I will see what I can come up with by using mine.
                The Filipino behavior is kind and forgiving in nature. Although I do believe that this forgiving quality is a strong point of the Filipino, in my opinion, this quality is also our flaw. While reading Conrado’s article, I could not help but give approving nods in parts where he stressed the Pinoy’s ‘awa’ factor. Filipinos were brought up in a Catholic/ Christian environment, so it seems to me that even though we are not one in this faith, since majority of the people belong to this faith, its influence had rubbed off to the culture itself. Thus, having the similar definition on how to handle forgiveness and mercy.
In the Filipino community, forgiveness to those who have wronged us is very much integrated within our system that the end result is usually forgetfulness. In all this exchange I get myself into regarding issues of all sorts, I find this statement taken by the bible—“Let the man who has never sinned cast the first stone.” –as a recurring remark of others to defend their stand. In my view, this line has been somewhat misinterpreted in essence. Mary Magdalene was judged for being a prostitute. She was judged for being who she was. And this may be in line with someone who has AIDS or someone who did drugs. They are judged. But the difference is they did not do anything to directly hurt us. They did not treat us badly and they did not offend us in any way; but the people I  refer to, such as the corrupt officials, did. These people have treated us harmfully and in a very hurtful manner: they steal from us, they oppress us, and they disrespect us. And here we are, when we see them suffer a little, ‘awa’ outpours and everything is forgiven.
                 I remember when Mr. Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada was jailed after EDSA 2, suddenly a somber mood filled the air and everyone, or almost everyone, went “Kawawa naman (Pity him). ” when he was finally arrested, rethinking if we should really put the former president behind bars and in such a sorry state. After a few years, the rage that turned into pity transformed into forgiveness, and finally forgetfulness. And this enabled Mr. Estrada to run again and almost win the presidential seat. He finished number 2 in the race.  
Then there was Mr. Angelo Reyes who was called by the Senate for questioning. He was scrutinized and badgered. A shock came to the country when suddenly he committed suicide. Everything was forgiven, after a little while, again, everything was forgotten. Amnesia spread all over the country that he was even buried at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”. I do not believe in mocking the dead, but to be given so much honor to someone who died with corruption still connected to his name, at least in allegation, should have been buried quietly by family and close friends—a private burial should have sufficed. Just like a friend of my sister said, “Angelo Reyes’s suicide can not be defined as a heroic act and should not be seen as ‘hara kiri’. Hara kiri is a Japanese practice, and we are not Japanese.” And as someone born and raised a Catholic, Mr. Angelo Reyes himself may have not perceived his own doing as an act of bravery, but a surrender to cowardice. I respect him as a human being, but I believe the probing of his connection to corruption should not end with his death.
Next is the gentlemanly move of Mr. Miguel Zubiri. Never in Philippine history did a senator resign when hunches of anomaly surrounded his being an elected official. I look up to what he did. But after a few days, I saw a paid ad in the newspaper praising too much the honorable act, and suddenly I doubted the man and his sincerity. For it is displays like these that makes me think: “Are you taking advantage of our ‘awa’ behavior to win you some ‘pogi’ points?” It has happened then, it is not far from possible for these things to happen again.
Then there is the former President Gloria M. Arroyo, also known as GMA. St. Lukes Hospital is where she runs to when called for questioning by the Senate. She may be in a serious condition, and she may be suffering from physical pain; but it is not far from my thoughts that she might be hoping to bank on our ‘awa’ trait to forgive, and eventually forget her wrongdoings such as taking us as fools by sucking us dry.
So the ‘awa’ behavior, or the sympathy we have for others is a good trait, but also a bad one. This sympathy should be for those whom we have judged. But mercy for those who have wronged us gravely and who have chosen to strip us off our dignity, well, to forgive them—maybe, in time; to forget what they did to us—never.

Conrado de Quiros' article :'awa'