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124th birth anniversary of Claro M. Recto

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On the occasion of his 124th birth anniversary, FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES would like to pay tribute to one of the greatest Filipino thinkers of modern times, the late senator Claro M. Recto. Here is a brief biographical sketch of the Tayabeño nationalist written by Antonino V. Mico (from the 1965 book Eminent Filipinos which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Commission of the Philippines).

CLARO M. RECTO
(1890-1960)

Senator Claro M. Recto is known as a statesman, a constitutionalist, a jurist, internationalist, parliamentarian, poet, scholar, linguist, patriot, and nationalist. He was born on February 8, 1890, in Tiáong, Tayabas (now Quezon), the son of Claro Recto, Sr., and Micaéla Mayo, of Lipâ, Batangas. He obtained his elementary education in Lipâ and in his home town.

As a young man, he was endowed with a marvelous mind, an active imagination, a venturesome spirit, and a firm determination to stick to his personal convictions. At 19, he was already a holder of the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila; and at 24, he obtained his Master of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomás. In 1914, he was admitted to the Philippine bar and was licensed to practice law as a profession.

Recto’s political career began in 1916, when he served as legal adviser to the Philippine Senate. In 1919, he was elected representative from Batangas and served as House minority floor leader until 1925. In 1924, he went to the United States as member of the Parliamentary Independence Mission. He was admitted to the bar in the United States in 1924.

Upon his return to the Philippines, he founded the Demócrata Party, which served as a political thorn to the leadership of Manuel L. Quezon, when the latter was head of the Nacionalista Party and President of the Senate. He was elected senator for the first time in 1931 as a Demócrata and served as minority floor leader for three years.  In 1934, he became majority floor leader and President pro tempore of the Senate. He resigned his Senate seat when President Roosevelt appointed him Associate Justice in the Supreme Court in place of Justice Thomas Street, who retired. He left the Supreme Court in 1941 as a Nacionalista and again in 1953 as guest candidate of the Liberal Party. He ran as an independent Nacionalista candidate for President of the Philippines in the national elections of 1957, but lost.

Considered one of his immortal achievements in public life was his presidency of the Constitutional Convention, which drafted the Philippine Constitution, the first requirement towards the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth regime.

Recto was a brilliant poet, satirist, and author. He wrote such law books as The Law of Belligerent OccupationValidity of Payments During Enemy OccupationThree Years of Enemy Occupation, several one-act plays in Spanish, and a collection of poems. He was a recipient of the Zóbel Prize for literature and an honored member of the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation, of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española.

The then President Carlos P. García appointed Recto Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on the goodwill and cultural mission to Europe and South America in August, 1960. He was also appointed delegate to the 9th conference of the World Parliament Association in Venice in September, 1960, and was elected vice-president.

While giving a news conference in Rome, Recto suffered a heart attack from which he never recovered. He died in October 2, 1960.

Regarding his death, not a few historians believe that the great poet-turned-politician did not merely suffer from a heart attack. There’s this one interesting account from Raymond Bonner’s 1987 book Waltzing With A Dictator (pp. 41-42) that I’d like to share:

Transplanting democracy meant going after (Ramón) Magsaysay’s domestic political opponents, the most effective of whom was Senator Claro M. Recto, as unrelenting in his opposition to American foreign policy in the region as Magsaysay was slavish in following it. Recto, who was proud of his complete collection of Foreign Affairs, considered himself not anti-American but pro-Philippine. He criticized the bases agreement on the grounds, correctly, that the U.S. agreements under NATO and with other countries were far more favorable to the host country than was the U.S. arrangement in the Philippines. In Spain, the Spanish flag flew over the bases; in the Philippines, it was the American flag. When Washington claimed that the United States owned the lands on which the bases were situated, Recto prepared memorandums setting out the Philippine position that the United States had only leasehold rights, an argument eventually accepted by the United States. Recto was the “spearhead and brains of the national reawakening”.

The CIA set about to destroy Recto, who had been a principal drafter of the 1935 Constitution. It planted stories that he was a Communist Chinese agent who had been infiltrated into the Philippine Senate. To derail Recto’s electoral ambitions, the agency prepared packages of condoms, which it labeled “Courtesy of Claro M. Recto — The People’s Friend”. The condoms all had pinprick-size holes in them at the most inappropriate place. The agency went further. The CIA station chief, General Ralph B. Lovett, and the American Ambassador, Admiral Spruance, discussed assassinating Recto, going so far as to prepare a substance for poisoning him, an assassination plot that has not been publicly discussed before.

Recto wasn’t assassinated, the idea abandoned “for pragmatic consideration rather than moral scruples” (and with Lovett later suggesting that the bottle containing the poison was tossed into Manila Bay). He died of natural causes at the age of seventy.

It is hinted on this book that Recto was “assassinated” in Rome. Also, there have been persistent rumors that Recto did suffer a heart attack, but his medication was not given to him immediately which led to his very untimely death. Rumors they all may be, but there is a saying in Tagalog: “capág may usoc, may apóy” (when there’s smoke, there’s fire). Also, it is interesting to note that the place where he passed away was just a stopover. Recto was really on his way to Spain, the land of his mother tongue which is Spanish. He had never been there all his life, thus the excitement throbbing within his nationalistic spirit. He had already prepared a speech in Spanish, “Por los Fueros de una Herencia“, of which he was to deliver there upon arrival. But because of his demise, it remained unspoken.

The CIA knew that Recto delivering that speech in Spain would have proven catastrophic to their neocolonialistic ventures which were then in its early stages, as the Philippines was granted a phony independence 15 years earlier. That is why it was imperative for Recto to perish before he reached Spain.

One could just imagine what nationalistic and nostalgic fervor Recto would have sparked in Mother Spain had he delivered his speech there. Spain, who was robbed of her islands in the Pacific and the Americas in 1898, would have rekindled “righteous anger” into delivering, perhaps, the final blows of that war that should have ended justly and nobly. What fireworks his speech would have set upon the citizens of our Patria Grande! “Sayang” is all I could utter. Sayang…

Feliz cumpleaños, Don Claro. Tendré una botella de Cerveza Negra en su honor.

I’m merely warding off writer’s block, hence this dull blogpost. So please ignore. This is not for you.

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When I launched this much-hated blog back in 2009, I had intended it to be my own personal space this side of cyberspace. Y’know, just to write whatever stuff there is under the proverbial tropical sun which abruptly crosses my (un)usually cluttered thoughts. The truth is, a year or so before that stodgy launching, the blog’s first incarnation was simply entitled eSCRIBBLES, a name which I thought was perfectly descriptive of its status as an online journal. I also remained anonymous during its brief existence. However, I allowed myself to be identified in my other blog, ALAS FILIPINAS, the multi-awarded and internationally acclaimed Spanish-language Filipino blog (as I have said earlier, this is my personal space; bear with my happiness).

In eSCRIBBLES I was practically writing whatever it was that fancied me. Eventually, however, my pen kept on drawing towards the direction of one topic which interests me the most: Philippine History, and its offshoot which is Filipino Identity. In the course of time, I noticed that writing serious topics related to Filipino Identity and the like seemed to be out of sync for a blog containing a hodgepodge of topics such as rock bands, office blues, my relationship dramas with the missus, my fantabulous self, etc. So little by little, I felt compelled to start a new blog. And so FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES, your computer screen’s favorite partner during lull hours, was born. And since I’m picky with dates, I deliberately timed its launching on the night of my 30th birthday. I simply left eSCRIBBLES to fester online, but I eventually closed it down completely about a year or two later (I still have an XML file copy of it in my turtle-paced Acer laptop as a memento of my drabness).

At the onset, I still had wanted the “new and improved” blog to run its course as a personal site, to tell more stories about my life, of what I think about the birds and the trees and the bees. However, given the dilemma that I encountered during its first run, I gave it a new twist: a blog dealing with everything about my Filipino cosmos, particularly our national identity (wow, how patriotic, clap clap clap!). I first thought of calling it “Pinoy eScribbles” because it sounded cute, not to mention the wide acceptance of that informal demonym in all corners of the world where there is an OFW. But Señor Guillermo Gómez had me convinced that Pinoy is a derogatory contraction of “PIlipinong uNgÓY” (Filipino monkey). While I do not attempt to argue that claim’s veracity here, the main reason why I opted to use Filipino instead of the more endearing Pinoy is because of the former’s nobleness in sound alone. The word Filipino exudes more grandeur, more dignity, more respectability. I am able to patriotically identify myself more with the word Filipino than with Pinoy which has already earned some level of corruption when a variation of it —PNoy— was used by the current president who is fast becoming unpopular due to lapses in judgment during times of crisis and near hopelessness.

Now what is the point of all this blah? Aside from the fact that the preceding three paragraphs all ended with words ending with the suffix -ness, I would also like to end with how I delimit my thematic output. I have always wanted to write on a regular basis, but I noticed that this fun plan is hampered with the limits of which I had imposed upon myself regarding the topics that I must publish as well as the tone and type of language that must surface in each blogpost. Following best buddy Arnaldo Arnáiz‘s advice many moons ago, I had tried to sound scholarly in some blogposts, particularly those which deal with history and identity. But of course, if we had wanted to be taken seriously by both readers and hecklers (another word for critics), we should at least try to style ourselves as very serious in our craft. Much to my dismay, we are still not taken seriously.

But why the need to be taken seriously? Because of an advocacy, a lingering itch that needed to be scratched from time to time. To my agitated mind, the Philippines is suffering from an excessive sleep disorder in the midst of an impending danger from both Red Chinks and Redneck Yanks, thus the need to kick her lazy Hollywoodized @$s to finally wake her up. It’s a tough choice that I chose, and it’s a losing battle. Nevertheless, it’s one damned good fight that I want to participate in.

Anyway, activism is not the point for this blogpost. What I really wanted to declare is that I simply wanted to free myself of the writing shackles which I have bound upon myself. No, I do not mean that I will no longer write Philippine History, Filipino Identity, and its related addendums. Topics here will still remain Philippine. What I had wanted to expound is that there will be an expansion of not just thoughts but of feelings. There will be more of me and not just history and identity. Because this is what this blog was supposed to be in the first place: a web log of what I think, not just of my thoughts.

Now eSCRIBBLES has come back to haunt me.

Not too long ago, I have segregated themes among my blogs: ALAS FILIPINAS should focus more on my advocacy for the return of the Spanish language in the country including a few write-ups about my personal and innermost thoughts and feelings; FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES should deal solely on Philippine History and National Identity coupled with a sprinkling of current Filipino news and current affairs (glad that ABS-CBN did not trademark the phrase), and; my latest piece, LA FAMILIA VIAJERA, is my sorry attempt at travel writing, but I included here the missus and the entire Alas caboodle especially since there is already a plethora of solo travel bloggers in the country. But now that I’ve been experiencing a drought in writing output, I think it’s time to break some rules. I’m already 34, and in a few days I will turn 40. And yet I have written only a handful of what I really wanted to express. And it pains and irritates me all the more that my writing spirits are high only when I’m at my busiest as a corporate slave but during my freetime I end up being a slacker watching zombie films on viooz.co (I highly recommend Warm Bodies; it is fun to watch over and over again).

Besides —and this is by no means any serious bragging of expertise— I believe that I write better in English than in Spanish (I don’t even know how to compose a neat essay in Tagalog) and that’s because since day one I’ve been exposed to this language, particularly in schools. But aren’t we all? Now, if I limit my topics to a certain theme, all the other non-essentials will dam up inside my pro-wrestling infested brain which will then drive me nuts and the people around me as well. I would only suffer from more mental drought and rage. I guess I’m still looking for a voice. Or maybe I haven’t reached a spot in the writing realm yet wherein I feel I should really be.

Creating another blog is out of the question. One more blog then I’m dead. So there. I must be free with the fewest possible blogs.

It is admirable to use writing to advance a struggle, to forward an advocacy. But in the end, writing should not be burdensome. It should all boil down to having fun, too. :D So I guess it’s time for me to write about my crazy neighborhood and those buses with unwanted videos-on-board. Might as well complain about the neverending littering problem that we have. And the alarming yet unnoticed growth of cockroaches everywhere (this is what Carlos Celdrán and his followers should really address, or else they might surface the city streets and manage a take over of PNoy civilization — I’m dead serious). Yes. All these and more. After all, I’m a Filipino out of time.

I’m free? I’m free.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

This insignificant blogpost was caused when a Batangas-bound bus suffered from spontaneous combustion at the South Luzón Expressway this morning, causing heavy traffic which has desensitized Filipino mobility anyway.

My Filipiniana wedding!

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Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
—2 Thessalonians 2:15—

Jennifer “Yeyette” Perey and I have been together for 14 years. She was my college classmate (the prettiest in class, if I may add), my barcada, my “ate” (she’s three years my senior), my partner in crime, my best friend. Hindí man niyá acó lubusang naiintíndihan, tacbuhan co siyá palagui sa touíng bad trip acó sa cung anó mang bagay sa buhay. And vice versa. She had no fondness for almost everything that interests me. Books and politics bore her to death. And she couldn’t care less for the difference between nationalism and birthday parties. In the same vein, I dislike her diversions: showbiz and fashion, and the usual girl talk.

But as children of the 90s, perhaps the only thing which drew us towards each other is our susceptibility to the frivolities of our youth. It was an era of youth itself, when youth in the history of Time was at its happiest, when “happy-go-luckiedness” was basic canon, an age when democracy in our country was having the time of its life, when hip hop and metal were waging war against each other, and when primetime cartoons and sitcoms were the subject of next-days idle talk inside classrooms. It was a time when rebelling was no longer dangerous but fun, a time when pop culture has reached its zenith to the point of being making itself stale (and it did).

When Yeyette and I met, it was a time when euphoria made itself blatant as the most sought-after objective of man.

We never ignored the future, but we cared less for responsibilities. Unselfishness was but a precipitation on a windowpane on which we merely used to write down our names. Youth was all there was. We thought it was immortal. Although it never lorded us over, it never commanded us to do anything, it, however, tolerated our every whim, blinding us with the “truth” about pleasure.

Fortunately for me, I was not your average petty bourgeois. I was also an observant SOB and a worshipper of books dealing with various subjects. And even before me and Yeyette were already an item, I was already in pursuit of truth. Religious truth, that is. And so: growing up with a non-religious Catholic mom, I freely received various books and pamphlets from her JW cousins; as a teen, I showed interest with my maternal grandmother’s UCCP; I then spent several months with the MMCC; a couple of weeks with the INC; was a fanatic Ang Dating Daan fan for about two years, etc. Becoming more adventurous, I then joined DeMolay.

Looking back, I believe that listening to all those sects led to my disenchantment with organized religion which was further augmented with my activities as a young socialist activist. Imagine just what kind of existential angst I had to go through.

During my training with De Molay, my friendship with Yeyette ended up with her getting pregnant. Then Krystal followed. Then life in its most ostentatious color.

Our frosty windowpane was shattered with just a snap of a finger. All of youth’s promises, lost (I imagine José García Villa mockingly slapping our faces with yellowing rough drafts of his “Footnote to Youth”).

Youth betrayed us. Pop culture popped rather hard in front of us, stinging our faces painfully.

Our first photo together taken at Bacoor, Cavite (circa 1999).

In the difficult events that followed (and being unable to make a compromise with my dad regarding Yeyette’s pregnancy), I resigned myself to the notion that life’s a bitch, so it’s better to love myself. I gave up the idea of God. But not my family.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

My apologies; it’s not my intention to write a pathos-incensed story of our love life in one blogpost, so never mind the —if you may— kick-a$s intro, hehehe! It might take me forever to write about it. So let me just fast-forward things up to the time when me and Yeyette were already proud and happy parents of four kids: Krystal, Momay, Jefe, and Juanito. It took a family of my own to make me realize that God is real, God is true, God is within us, that family is the covenant He speaks of.

Yes, I became a Christian again, but only after torturous months of joblessness and defeat, reawakenings due to a rereading of Philippine History and philosophy (particularly metaphysics and theology), and wrestling against myself if I was to abort my second child or not. In the end, Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) won over me. Life became clearer then. And I didn’t even have to read The Purpose Driven Life (as a matter of fact, I haven’t even read it yet).

And since me and Yeyette didn’t want to live a life filled with guilt over what we did (hooking up together much to our respective parents’ disappointment and heartbreak), neither did we intend to continue our lives in “fornication”. Although we were wed civilly, we are not yet married in God’s eyes. A couple of years from now, we’ll be in our 40s. We didn’t have any plans of going beyond that age limit before officially tying the knot.

And so three months ago today, on a dreaded Friday the 13th which was also our 14th anniversary as a couple, me and Yeyette were finally married in our parish church. It was a simple ceremony, really, as it never had the grandeur similar to other weddings. However, it had the elegance, the sacredness, and the character of a true Filipino wedding…

Photo by Mao Joseph Almadrones.

…because we were married using an ancient Catholic rite: the Rito Mozárabe or the Mozarabic Rite which was the original Catholic form of worship in the Philippines from the Spanish times up to the late 1950s. The wedding took place before the entrance of the church; it lasted for about half an hour. Afterwards came the nuptial blessing using the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, also known as the Tridentine Latin Mass. The languages used during the entire ceremony were Spanish and Latin, the way it should really be.

Ours can be considered a historic wedding because it was the first time —at least in the Southern Tagalog area— that a traditional Filipino wedding occurred since the late 1950s; a similar wedding occurred earlier this year, but it was held at the Holy Family Church in Cubáo, Quezon City.

And speaking of Tridentine Masses, it was a startling coincidence to find out later on that our wedding happened on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the promulgation of the celebrated apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! And our wedding also occurred during the final months of the Year of Faith, probably one of the most awesome things to have happened to someone who was once faithless! Friday the 13th be damned!

Really, AWESOME is all I could muster from my thoughts. :D

Invitation card designed by young Church historian Jesson Allerite.

Our wedding rings on my wife’s Filipiniana bouquet composed of sampaguita, gumamela, ylang-ylang, pandacaqui, camia, and champaca flowers. The bouquet was designed by renowned florist Serge Igonia, a native San Pedrense.

I said goodbye to my long hair on the day of my wedding, LOL! It was Ryan Panaligan, Yeyette’s friend who is a personal stylist of Jed Madela, Luis Manzano and other ABS-CBN stars, was the one who took care of our hair and make-up. And now he’s styling another hunk in this photo.

My bride and our daughter Krystal.

Our boys: Momay, Jefe, and Juanito.

The centuries-old and miraculous Cruz de Tunasán —a “victim” of José Rizal’s satire— became part of our historic wedding!

A modest string of sampaguita flowers are hanging by the church pews on either side of the carpeted nave. San Pedro Tunasán is also known as the “Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines”.

With former San Pedro Mayor Calixto Catáquiz and his wife, incumbent Mayor Lourdes “Baby” Catáquiz who served as our wedding sponsors.

The bride arrives in an elegant looking carroza.*

The Mozarabic wedding is about to begin.

Locution of the admonition and exhortation. Reverend Father Michell Joe “Jojo” Zerrudo, pastor at the Holy Family Parish in Quezon City and also a renowned exorcist, officiates the rare wedding.

Union of our right hands.

Father Jojo blesses our rings and arrhae.

Fr. Jojo places the ring on my right ring finger.

Fr. Jojo gives me Yeyette’s ring which I then insert to her right middle finger.

Fr. Jojo transmits the arrhae to my hands…

…which I then transmit to Yeyette’s hands…

…which she then transmits back to Fr. Jojo.

Done with the Mozarabic Rite wedding! And nope, I’m not doing a rendition here of John Cena’s “you can’t see me!”. I was just proudly showing off my golden ring. :-)

The nuptial blessing begins (using the extraordinary form of the Mass). Both me and Yeyette were led by Fr. Jojo towards the altar. We were holding on to the edge of his stole as he recites Psalm 127. Go figure. :-)

 

The Catáquiz couple. Behind them is Señor Guillermo Gómez, a giant in Philippine history and letters who is also one of our wedding sponsors. Accompanying Señor Gómez is Valerie Devulder, French-Filipina granddaughter of the late Francisco Coching, “Dean of Philippine Comics”.

Sampaguita and camia flowers strewn all over the carpeted nave.

Imposition of the veil as Señor Gómez looks on. Renowned Catholic apologist Carlos Antonio Pálad

Nuptial blessing.

This moment brought me to tears, for I have not received Holy Communion in years. Tita Joji Alas, one of our wedding sponsors, is seated beside Señor Gómez.

My bride’s turn to receive the Body of Christ.

Sorry, no kissing in Tridentine Mass weddings. But of course, a couple should not show an intimate moment right in front of the altar. That is what I call a Novus Ordo Mistake.

Standing behind us: my cousin Jam, Tita Joji, Mayor Baby, my maternal grandmother Norma Soriano, Yeyette’s dad Jaime Perey, my dad Josefino Alas, Mayor Calex, and Señor Gómez.

Throwing rice grains to the newlyweds is an old Filipino custom. I just treat it as tradition. And hey, what our friends and family members flung at us are organic rice grains, LOL!

❤ ❤ ❤

CLICK HERE for more photos! And for an explanation of our wedding’s symbolism or the rite as a whole, CLICK HERE.

*Special thanks to Gerald Ceñir and the rest of the “Tridentine Boys” (Jesson, Mao, Juhnar Esmeralda, Satcheil Amamangpang, Miguel Madarang, and Justin Benaldes) for making this dream wedding come true (Gerald has been helping me in planning for this wedding since 2009!). Thank you also to former Biñán councilor Rómulo “Ome” Reyes for allowing us the use of his carroza, and to Mr. Ronald Yu for sponsoring it. To all who attended our wedding: ¡muchísimas gracias!. And more importantly, THANKS BE TO GOD!

Stay tuned for more of “My Filipiniana wedding!”

Hombac” is the Tagalog term for storm surge

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Finding a Filipino word for storm surge: ‘Daluyong’ or ‘humbak’?

Posted at 11/18/2013 8:41 PM | Updated as of 11/18/2013 9:35 PM

MANILA – Not many people in the Philippines knew what a storm surge was before ‘Yolanda’ hit central Philippines. It was a new concept that did not arouse fear, unlike the the word tsunami, which evokes images of the destruction in Japan in March 2011 and in countries affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

After the super typhoon claimed the lives of more than 4,000 (and counting), people began to criticize authorities for not explaining well what a storm surge is.

Filipino-American geologist and environmental scientist Kelvin Rodolfo told ANC authorities correctly warned about the threat posed by storm surges before Yolanda struck on November 8, but many did heed the warning.

Thus, Rodolfo suggested there should be a Filipino term for “storm surges.”

He said communication is key in effective information dissemination.

Rodolfo disagreed with some local officials of Leyte and Sámar who say they it would have been better if they had been told that a tsunami was coming.

He said the public should not be warned of an incoming tsunami when what is going to happen is a “storm surge”.

“While people know what tsunami is like, we could have generated unnecessary panic…and you would have also killed people in panic,” he said.

Rodolfo said a tsunami is triggered by an earthquake, and a storm surge is not.

CLICK HERE to read the rest.

Photo by Aarón Fávila.

In light of super typhoon Yolanda’s record-breaking onslaught last November 8, there has been a debate on what should really be the Tagalog equivalent of “storm surge”. National Artist Virgilio Almario says it’s “daloyong” (or “daluyong“) while Lagunense historian Jaime Tiongson, using the 17th-century Spanish-Tagalog dictionary “Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala” as his basis, claims that it should be “hombac” (or “humbak“).

I support Almario’s advocacy of using Filipinas instead of the dull-sounding Philippines to refer to our country (more on this in a future blogpost). But with regard to a Tagalog term for “storm surge”, I’ll go for Tiongson’s “hombac” because it was well defined/mentioned at least three times in that ancient dictionary which was compiled by Fr. Pedro de San Buenaventura (published in Pila, La Laguna in 1613) and it accurately describes the tragedy that happened in Tacloban (and other nearby areas) early this month. Below are three entries for that ancient Tagalog word in the said dictionary:

1) ARibar : Hombac pc : con tormenta es de la costa y tambien de la laguna : significa, golpe de mar, cami.y. hinohombacan nang dagat, hiconos la mar arribar aputos golpes de sus olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/77.html
2) Fondo : Humbac pc : de entre ola y ola, hungmohumbac .1.ac. hazer fondos la mar, hinohumbacan .1.P. . ser arrojado y goldpeado dellos, humbac aya nang dagat nayto, o que de fondos haçe esta mar. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/323.html
3) Ola : Vmbac pc : que hae el agua con la fuera del viento, hinohumbacan .1.P. ser golpeado dellas; patabi tayo at nang di tayo humbacan, bamos haia la orilla no nos golpeen las olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/452.html
(emphasis mine)

As can be gleaned from above, we can easily see that “hombac” has been associated with storms (“con tormenta“) or a strong/violent surge of water (“golpe de mar“, “ser arrojado“). Also, in definition 3, I believe there is a typographical error: instead of la fuera del viento (outside the wind), I’m pretty sure Fr. San Buenaventura meant la fuerza del viento (wind force) especially when preceded by “que hae el agua con“. Now, hae is another typo error (it doesn’t mean anything at all in Spanish); it should be hace (yes, this ancient book has lots of typos with many words lacking the appropriate accent marks). Loosely translated into English, “que hace el agua con la fuerza del viento” means “what the water makes (or what happens to the water) when blown by forceful winds”.

Meanwhile, (and if I’m not mistaken), Almario’s “daluyong” appears in only one entry (spelled archaically) in the country’s oldest dictionary, and it is even subcategorized under the Spanish word “ola” which means “wave”:

Ola : Daloyon pp : de la mar o de otra agua, dungmadaloyon .1.ac. olear el agua, dina daloyonan .1.P. ser golpeado; lubha tayong dina daloyonan nitong dagat, mucho nos golpeen las olas. http://sb.tagalogstudies.org/2010/10/452.html

Unfortunately for Almario, his Tagalog candidate for storm surge had nothing to do with gale-force winds nor storms.

On a related note, the city of Mandaloyong in Metro Manila was named after “daloyon” which meant “a place of waves” because hundreds of years ago, there used to be a beach there. Due to geographical and tidal shifts coupled with anthropogenic circumstances, that beach is no more; it is now covered by the bustling city of Macati, “a place of tides”. The place therefore opened up to what is now Manila Bay.

For the sake of argument, let us pretend that Almario is correct. Since Mandaloyong was named as such, it can be surmised that it was frequently visited by large waves. But frequently visited by large tidal waves or wave surges? A stretch. Besides, there has been no record of a tidal wave —or a storm surge— that had happened in Manila Bay. At least, none that I know of.

Tiongson is correct. What destroyed Tacloban was a deadly hombac, not a surfer-friendly daloyong.

*F*I*L*I*P*I*N*O*e*S*C*R*I*B*B*L*E*S*

It’s not over till it’s over. People in the Visayas still need our help. Their road to recovery will not be overnight. It might take months or even years. So please, let us do everything we can to help them. Remember: we are all in this together.

La gente filipina es una familia, no una nación. :-)

Please CLICK HERE on how you can help our Visayan brothers and sisters. Thank you.

Matrimonium 2013

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Matrimonium 2013

“I give you a companion, and not a slave; love her as Christ loves his Church.”

The authentic Filipiniana wedding of the century… coming soon! :-)

Abusive journalism?

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When this seemingly innocent little tweet of mine caught the attention of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s editorial staff last week, I didn’t intend to make an issue out of it. I just posted a brief comment on my FB account, then that’s it. But then, I got mentioned again by the same newspaper the following day, and this time by one of its most “respected” columnists. So I think that, hey, they really won’t let me be. Blast it.

First of all, I AM NOT a sympathizer of Janet Lim-Nipples. If you ask me, with all the evidence being presented by investigative journalists, I think she really is guilty. I don’t like her one bit. Imagine: buying several mansions and condominiums here and abroad when she and her husband only have four kids! Isn’t one house enough for these greedy people? But that’s them: stinking drunk with wealth and power.

However, I am not out to condemn Janet yet since she has not yet been formally investigated in a court of law nor has she been convicted. I’m not a fan of trial by publicity. But I’m a fan of sarcastic and witty memes, hehe!

When I tweeted that Janet was being bullied by Inquirer reporters, that didn’t necessarily mean that I was already sympathizing with her. It was just an observation of mine. Because that was the truth: she was really being bullied, particularly by Managing Editor Joey Nolasco and photographer Edwin Bacasmas. Imagine: she went to Inquirer on her own accord, ready to air her side, and knowing that she was to speak to only ONE journalist: the editor-in-chief herself, Ms. Letty Jiménez-Magsánoc. But her humble request was denied. Instead, the suspect was shanghaied into a round-panel interview that she was not expecting. Here, check this out (at the video’s 1:18 mark):

Nápoles: Yes, ma’am, I’m sorry po. Kasi ’di ba parang everyday na, tapos wala naman. Tapos sabi ko sa husband ni [pointing to reporter Cathy Yamsúan], first time kong nakita siya si Ma’am Cathy. Sabi ko, Brian, may access ba para sa Inquirer. Para lang umapela ako bilang ina na sana bago isulat, kunin muna side namin. Yun lang ho talaga. Kaya akala ko, mga 10:30, pag wala na hong. Kasi hindi ko alam may mga ganito. First time ko pumunta ng Inquirer. That’s why, Ma’am, na-shock ako sa inyo. “Don’t you know that there’s a roundtable?” Sabi ko, “Ha?”

And throughout the video, the suspect has been pleading the photographer, Mr. Bacasmas, not to take her picture anymore. Bacasmas already had taken several, but he still disrespected the suspect’s pleas. Worse, Mr. Bacasmas was not even admonished by Raúl Pañgalañgan (PDI publisher). What really irritated me is that some of those journalists asked her questions as if they were members of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee! My golly. For instance, listen to Mr. Nolasco’s arrogant questioning (11:03 of the first video above, then at the first few minutes of the video below):

Nolasco: Mrs. Nápoles, tutal nandito na kayo…

Nápoles: Nakakatakot ka, sir, ah. Bakit anong kasalanan ko sa’yo?

[Laughter]

Nolasco: Heto, pagkakataon mo na ’to. Ano ang maling sinulat ng mga reporters namin tungkol sa inyo? Sabihin niyo na ngayon. Ilalabas natin.

Nápoles: Asa anak ko, naka ganun eh [mimics writing/listing]. Naka… [laughs]

Nolasco: Siguro naman naalala mo ’yung mga main points nun. [This refers to Nolasco asking Napoles to talk about inaccuracies in the reporters’ stories on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.-Ed.]

Chato Garcellano/Opinion Editor: Oo naman, alam niyo ’yun.

Nolasco: Pagkakataon niyo na ’to.

Nápoles: Mahirap magsalita.

Pañgalañgan: Kahit hindi lahat. Just a few.

Nolasco: Anong naaalala niyo dun? Kasi inaakusahan niyo ’yung mga reporter namin na…

Nápoles: Ah kasi [unintelligible] si Atty. (Lorna) Kapunan ng kaso. Nilagay niya. Eh dun na lang. Baka magalit sa akin yung abogado. Kasi kung [unintelligible].

Nolasco: Ang ibig sabihin, Mrs. Napoles, hindi niyo alam?

Nápoles: Hindi ko alam. Kasi siyempre, nasa dyaryo. Siyempre, hindi naman ho lahat ng sinulat sa dyaryo pwede mong idemanda. Siyempre babasahin mo, pantay ba yung [unintelligible].

Nolasco: O, ano? Ano ang maling sinulat ni ano … ng mga reporter namin? Wala? Wala kang masabi?

Nápoles: Hindi ho, meron siyempre.

Nolasco: O, ano?

Garcellano: Sabihin niyo na.

Mike Suárez/News Service Chief: Sabihin niyo na.

Nolasco: Dahil ’yun ’yung susulatin nila, wala kang masabi.

Blast it, do these journalists really expect the most hated Filipina today to be as articulate as they are, especially in an unexpected round-panel interview? Even I would have stammered like sh*t if I were placed in such a situation even if I wasn’t guilty of anything. So to paraphrase Mr. Mon Tulfo, that candid interview with Nápoles would have won her sympathy from the public had her initial request been respected.

*******

On a related note, I do not believe that the pork barrel would be scrapped that fast. Malacañang almost always uses it as a form of “bribe” to legislators. Cooperative senators and congressmen receive their pork barrel in full and on time. Those who are in the opposition would receive nothing. That’s the sad truth.

So I think the only remedy at hand is to enhance the government’s procurement processes. They should upgrade to e-Procurement wherein all procurement activities of the government are transparent to both buyers and suppliers. In our country, the only Filipino company I know that provides e-Procurement services is Transprocure (not sure if BayanTrade is still around). So why not give e-Procurement a chance? It’s worth a try.

*******

And lastly, Janet’s last name is pronounced as NAH-po-les, not Na-POH-les. Her last name is Spanish for that lovely Italian municipality called Naples, a major international tourist destination (no wonder traveling is in her daughter’s genes, LOL). So if you can’t pronounce it right, go for Janet Lim-Nipples. Blast it.

Breaking news for the upcoming coffee table book “LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines”…

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It’s now official: renowned historian, scholar, and linguist, Señor Guillermo Gómez y Rivera, will write the foreword to my debut book, LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines!

Meeting last Sunday night (04/07/2013) at J.Boy Japanese Fast Food Shop in Macati City. Man, their noodles there are almost as thick as my fingers! (L-R: me, Ronald Yu of In-Frame Media Works, and Señor Gómez).

To those who do not know yet, Señor Gómez— as he is called by friends, students, admirers, and critics—is currently one of the board of directors of the prestigious Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española, the oldest state institution in the Philippines. From 1971 to 1973, he was the secretary of the National Language Committee of the Philippine Constitutional Convention. For many years, he taught Spanish language and grammar as well as Philippine History, Geography, and Philosophy of Man at Adamson University (my alma mater). In 1974, the Department of Education condecorated him for his work as a teacher and writer with the Plus Ultra Filipinas award. The next year, he won the Premio Zóbel for his play El Caserón, but primarily in recognition for his efforts in preserving the Spanish language and culture in our country. He has since been a longtime master of ceremonies for the said award-giving body until its demise in 1999. Prior to this, Señor Gómez won second place in the Premio Manuel Bernabé for an essay on the historical and nationalistic value and import of the Spanish language in the Philippines.

Señor Gómez has authored many books, among them El Conflicto de Soberanía Territorial Sobre las Islas Malvinas, Georgias, y Sándwich del SurThe Conflict Over Territorial Sovereignty on the Malvinas, Georgias, and Sandwich Islands of the South (Manila, bilingual edition, 1984), FilipinoOrigen y Connotación, y Otros Ensayos (Manila: Ediciones Solidaridad Filhispana-El Maestro, 1966), and various textbooks on Spanish grammar and history such as Español Para Todo El Mundo and Texto Para Español 4-N: La Literatura Filipina y Su Relación al Nacionalismo Filipino (both used in Adamson University and Centro Escolar University). He is also active in Filipino dance and music. He is currently an instructor of various Spanish dances, particularly flamenco (he is in fact considered as the undisputed maestro of Flamenco in the Philippines).

Aside from sharing his knowledge of Flamenco, he has made several researches on Philippine songs, dances, and costumes, especially those of Hispanic influence, which he was able to contribute to the internationally acclaimed Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company. In fact, most of the Spanish-influenced native songs and dances choreographed by the said group can trace their origins from Gómez’s researches, which earned him an advisory role for Bayanihan. He also released an LP back in 1960 when he was still the producer of La Voz Hispanofilipina, a radio program of DZRH. He made research about “lost” Filipino songs that were originally sung in Castilian during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. He reintroduced the songs through recording. The successful LP was entitled Nostalgia Filipina. He was the one who sang in all of the songs, accompanied by the late Roberto Buena’s rondalla (on 14 August 2006, he relaunched a digitally mastered version of this album at the Instituto Cervantes de Manila through financial support from the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation).

In 1997, he was a segment host of ABS-CBN‘s defunct early morning program Alas Singko Y Media. In the said show, he hosted a five-minute Spanish lesson.

In addition to his contributions to Philippine literature, culture, and history, he was also a journalist; he used to publish and edit the El Maestro magazine which served as the organ of the Corporación Nacional de Profesores Filipinos de Español, Inc., and also contributed to various newspapers, magazines, and websites (Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippines Free Press, Revista Filipina, etc.). Aside from the weekly newspapers The Listening Post and The Tagalog Chronicle, he also edited Nueva Era, the only existing Spanish newspaper in the Philippines in modern times (these three, owned by the late Batangueño publisher and businessman Emilio M. Ynciong, were accessible only via subscription; I used to be Señor Gómez’s editorial assistant for these papers, now out of print, from 2001 to 2003).

Señor Gómez is also an accomplished linguist and polyglot. He speaks and writes fluently in his native Hiligaynón as well as in English and Tagalog. Aside from being an acclaimed master of the Spanish language in the country, he is also conversant in Italian, Portuguese, French, Quiniráy-á, Cebuano, Hokkien, and has made an extensive study of the Chabacano and Visayan languages (he was crowned Diutay ñga Príncipe Sg Binalaybáy sa Binisayà at the age of 13).

It is a little known fact that Señor Gómez, although a Bisayà, can also be considered a Lagunense: he traces his Gómez Spanish ancestor to Pagsanján, and has many Rivera relatives in Pila.

Indeed, the writer of the book’s foreword is a virtual heavyweight compared to the lowly writer himself. But hey, I am humbled with all of this. I admit now that is difficult for me to imagine somebody else writing the foreword to my very first book. And if I’m not mistaken, this would be the fourth time that Señor Gómez will write a foreword/introduction for somebody else. The first time he did so was for multi-awarded multilingual poet Federico Espino (Premio Zóbel awardee, 1978) for his bilingual collection of poetry, Ave En Jaula Lírica / Bird in the Lyric Cage (Solidaridad Filipino-Hispana, 1970). The second was for Conchita Huerta (another Premio Zóbel awardee, 1965) for her Arroz y Sampaguitas (Ediciones Fil-Hispanas, 1972), a collection of essays and short stories. And the last he did was for Perspectives in Politics: Public and Foreign (UST Publishing House, 2005) by UNESCO Commissioner and international political analyst José David Lápuz.

This is truly a huge dream come true for me. :D

LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines is a collaboration between the historic Provincial Government of La Laguna (Gov. E.R. Ejército) and In-Frame Media Works (Mr. Ronald Yu).

Book launching will be announced soon! :D

My Tagalog translation of Lope de Vega’s “Varios Efectos del Amor

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This is my Tagalog translation of Lope de Vega’s “Varios Efectos del Amor” which I read in last Friday’s LIRIKO Musika+Salaysay, a cultural program that was held in Kape Kesada, Paeté, La Laguna.

Photography by Ronald A. Yu.

IBÁ’T-IBÁNG EFECTO NG PAG-IBIG
Pepe Alas

Pagcaualán ng malay, mapañgahas, magalit,
magaspáng, banayad, malayà, mailáp,
pagcagana ng loób, sucat macamatáy, patáy, buháy,
tapát, sucab, duág, masiglá,

Capág di mahanap ang náis, ualáng catahimican;
Nagmúmuqhang masayá, maluncót, mapagpacúmbabâ, mapágmataas,
nagagalit, matapang, palatanan,
nasísiyahan, nasásactan, naguiguing cahiná-hinalà,

Ang pagtalicod sa malinao na pagcacámalî,
uminóm ng lason na tila ba’y minatamís na alac,
ang pagcalimot sa paquinabang, at pagcaguilio sa pinsalà —

Ang maniuala na ang calañgitan ay maaaring pagcásiahin sa infierno,
Ang pag-alay ng buhay at cáloloa sa isáng malíng acalà,
Itó ang pag-ibig; ang sínumang nacalasáp nitó, alám ang sinasabi có.
.

Copyright © 2013
José Mario Alas
Manila, Philippines
All rights reserved.

Pardon my usage of “archaic” Tagalog. I am against useless and deliberate revisionism of languages and orthography.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Kevin Alas (/a.las/) is king of NCAA, not Kevin Alás (/aˈlas/)

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I’m not a big fan of hoop games, but I do watch it on TV only when I chance upon family members playing live. I’m referring to multi-titled basketball head coach Louie Alas (dad’s younger brother) and his intimidating Letranista kids Junjun and Kevin. Their team, the formidable Letrán Knights, is currently vying for the final championship slot to conclude the 88th season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

My wife dwarfed by my cager cousins. Left to right: Junjun, Yeyette, Kevin, and Kenneth.

Last night, during the Final Four playoffs against the San Sebastián Stags, Kevin was waxing it hot for he was sinking treys from everywhere beyond the arc as if there’s no tomorrow. All throughout the game, he was a rampaging nightmare for the Stags, finishing a career-high 43 points. And hours after the game, he was still trending in Twitter and other social media, something extremely rare for a collegiate cager.

But no, this is not exactly the main reason why I’m writing about basketball. I just have to stroke a pet peeve of mine. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the commentating. Well, not the whole commentary per se. I’d care less for the whole world whether or not they’re speaking niceties towards each other or screaming in awe for every field goal and kicked groins during game time. What I don’t like is how they pronounce our last name: ALAS. For the record, our last name is Spanish, and in that language it means “wings”. Hence, it should be pronounced as AH-las (/a.las/) and not a-LAS (/aˈlas/). The latter pronunciation is used only during card games (in that sense, Alas means “Ace”). The broadcasting team must have been thinking of Tong-its all the time whenever my cousins are strutting their stuff on the hardcourt. Cayá lang ang saquít talagá sa teñga, eh. I’m pretty sure they’d feel the same way if I murder their last names too.

To all basketball commentators in both the NCAA and the PBA (for Uncle Louie is now part of Alaska Ace’s coaching staff), this is something for you to chew over.

On a side note, I was surprised that this season’s NCAA theme is in Spanish: ¡CELEBRAMOS 88! Conquistar por tu honor nuevas glorias (To conquer new glories for your honor). But all that wonderment ceased when I learned that the host school was Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, my Uncle and cousins’ team school.

Wow! I didn’t know that this season’s theme is in Spanish! Cool!

The theme is actually culled from the school’s hymn which is still in Spanish.

I’m glad that Letrán still keeps their Filipino Identity alive, albeit just the name and the school. Unlike the rather sorry case for Universidad de Santo Tomás. Some pathetic officials there in the past (and may God bless and forgive them for their linguistic and nationalistic treason) opted to anglicize the name of the university, thus the laughable change to University of Santo Tomas. The name is actually Spanglish, the next step towards pidginization, my golly! ¡Ang saquít sa teñga! And to think that this learning institution is Asia’s first university and was given the ever prestigious title La Real y Pontificia Universidad. :-(

If Rizal were alive today, he would have been thankful to have left that university abruptly.

¡ARRIBA LETRÁN!

A public service announcement from Julia Montes

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German-Filipina actress Julia Montes has an important announcement to make…

Although I have a couple of friends and acquaintances from the political world, I don’t care that much about elections and stuff (I’m a monarchist at heart, hehehe!). But I do care about the language that pretty Julia is using in this photo. :D

Sí, por cierto: ¡la lengua española está de vuelta en Filipinas!

*******
Gracias al Movimiento de Renacimiento del Español en las Filipinas (MoviREsFil) por esta foto bonita e informativa.

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