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Father’s Day today?

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They say it’s Father’s Day today. I say, “no way”.

For us Filipinos, the real Father’s Day (Día del Padre) should be commemorated every March 19th. Our forefathers knew this. It was the US neocolonialist pigs who subtly imposed the modern-day commemoration of Father’s Day every 3rd Sunday of June for commercial purposes: to sell greeting cards, items that fathers’ love (such as tools, electronics, and other similar gadgets), special promos in restaurants, discounts in resorts, and the like. In short, today’s celebration of Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) is BASED ON PROFITEERING whereas the real Filipino celebration of Father’s Day is SPIRITUAL (feast of Saint Joseph, the adoptive father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the patron saint of fathers).

The Father’s Day that Filipinos celebrate today has its origins from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Spokane, Washington. Sonora Smart Dodd, daughter of a US Civil War veteran, was inspired by a sermon from Anna Jarvis who was promoting Mother’s Day the year before, in 1909. Dodd then thought of a noble idea to honor fathers as well. And she was doubly inspired because her dad was a single parent who raised six children on his own. She then suggested to a pastor in the YMCA to organize a Father’s Day celebration that will complement Jarvis’s Mother’s Day. Dodd initially suggested to hold the very first Father’s Day celebration on June 5, on her father’s birthday. However, YMCA pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, so it was decided that they celebrate Father’s Day two Sundays later: on June 19, 1910. That date was the third Sunday of the month. Since then, it has become a tradition to hold Father’s Day every third Sunday of June.

Unlike Jarvis’s Mother’s Day, Dodd’s concept did not become a huge hit on its first few years. She even stopped promoting it to pursue further studies in Chicago, Illinois during the 1920s. A decade later, she returned to Spokane and revived Father’s Day, with the motive of raising awareness at a national level. Interestingly, she received help from trade groups who were thinking of other opportunities: profit. These trade groups had interests in the manufacturing of ties, tobacco pipes, and other typical items that would be of interest for fathers. Hungry for profit, they worked hard in order to make Father’s Day the “Second Christmas’ for all the men’s gift-oriented industries” (See Leigh Eric Schmidt’s CONSUMER RITES The Buying and Selling of American Holidays. NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, 1995, pp. 256-292).

Both Jarvis and Dodd’s objectives were simple and noble: to honor parents. But their noble vision was buried by commercialization which still pervades to this very day. All in the name of US imperialism. So why do we Filipinos have to identify ourselves with something that is not ours, that is not us? That is why I told my Facebook friends yesterday that they may greet me a “Happy Father’s Day” every third week of June only when I have lost my self-respect and dignity as a Filipino. And they will immediately know that once I have cheered for any NBA team or other similar US-centric inanities.

I am a Filipino. Soy filipino. Not a little brown Kanô.


Bora Memories (Isla de Borácay, Malay, Aclán)

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In just a few days, summer season will end. Although many parts of the country are already experiencing intermittent weather, midday is usually scorching hot. It only aggravates my hyperhidrosis, a disorder that has been tormenting me since my elementary days. That is why I tend to gulp down huge quantities of water, a feat that might even surprise regular gym enthusiasts and athletes.

I admit that I abhor this kind of weather (I’m a typhoon type of guy, I guess). But this scorching summer discomfort that I feel brings back memories of last year’s equally searing summer. Last year’s heat wave, however, was a fun one, because me and Wifey spent it in one of the world’s most famous beaches…

…our very own Isla de Borácay!

Truth to tell, I never dreamed of going to that place. I’m not a beach guy (I’m a self-proclaimed mountaineer, hehe!). It was just to please my wife who is more of a beach person. Anyway, since I’m planning to travel the whole country before reaching the age of forty, perhaps it’s unthinkable to even skip this tropical paradise from my herculean itinerary. So what the hey.

The very few who share my advocacy (on Filhispanic Identity, true Philippine History, heritage conservation) will not find much of our Filipino Identity in this island because of its internationalized look. Aside from a Catholic Church near Station 1, no bahay na bató, no historical site, and no Fil-hispanic touch could be found here. But enough about that for the moment! Borácay is all about partying!

But hey, this doesn’t mean that history is not worth mentioning in Borácay. The origin of this tropical resort’s name captures some interest. Many agree that Borácay was derived from the word borac, a local term which means cotton. Either cotton used to grow in this island in large quantities, or its powdery white sands had something to do with it.

Some say that Borácay originated from the word bora or bubbles. It is because of the foamy appearance that the waves make when it softly crashes onto the whitish sands. Aetas also claim that the island was named in part from the word sigáy, a type of seashell (could this be the rare puka shell?). Lastly, another theory says that Borácay was from the native term boay meaning vegetable seeds. It was said that Aeta tribes in the past used to plant vegetables within the island.

Borácay is not a huge island (just 10.32 km2), but small groups of Aeta tribes, then as now, inhabited it during the Spanish times. Perhaps due to Borácay’s small size, not to mention its small population of Aetas (who also had an uninviting reputation to live as highlanders), no religious mission was ever sent there. For better or for worse, the lack of a Westernized (or even Asian) community in the island’s history helped preserved its pristine beauty.

Sadly, what history did not do the island commercialization is now undoing. Various reports have been written and even broadcast about how “environmentally stressed” the island is nowadays due to an exploding number of private beach resorts and other commercial establishments. There is even a seaside mall there! Could this almost unstoppable influx of commercialization be the reason why the beach has an abnormal amount of algae every summer? Just asking.

Here’s hoping that Borácay will not be abused further by selfish profiteers. This is for the sake of future generations. Don’t we want to share this beach heaven with them?

Too bad. Me and Yeyette were planning to go back there this summer. But we have no housemaids (for about a month now!) to take care of the kids and our apartment. Oh yes, I do admit that —because of Borácay’s powdery white sands and romantic coastline— I am now a beach person, too! And I so miss Summer Place!

All I can do for now is reminisce last year’s Bora adventure.

NOTE: Please click on each photo to enlarge.


BORACAY, a set on Flickr.

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