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Which constitution killed the Spanish language in the Philippines? A clarification

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Many Hispanists blame the late president Cory Aquino for removing the Spanish language as an official Filipino language. But many individuals interested in this subject might start to wonder: why blame Tita Cory for the removal of the Spanish language when it seemed to be no longer official as far back as 1973 under Ferdinand Marcos?

This blogpost attempts to clarify the whole issue once and for all. It also provides some background of the Spanish language vis-à-vis the evolution of the Philippine Constitution.

The Spanish language during the days of empire

Since 24 June 1571 (the founding date of the Philippines), Spanish has been the official language of government and court offices. There was no written constitution back then since the Philippines was an overseas territory under the Spanish crown. But the Leyes de Indias (Laws of the Indies) oversaw the social, political, and economic life of Filipinos. Also, many educational institutions such as the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and the Universidad de Santo Tomás taught its students using Spanish as a medium of instruction. And all church documents were written in that same language. All this for obvious reasons.

It may be true that the Spanish language was not the mother tongue of the majority of natives who lived during the Spanish times. But that does not mean that it was not spoken on a national level.

When Tagalog rebels revolted against Spain and proclaimed the independence of the country on 12 June 1898, it should be noted that they still chose Spanish as the official language of the First Philippine Republic (1899-1901) under President Emilio Aguinaldo. And this was made official when the Constitución Política de Malolos (Malolos Constitution) was promulgated on 22 January 1899.

Filipino Army officers outside Iglesia de Barasoaín, Malolos, Bulacán (01/23/1899).

Article 93 of the said constitution states:

El empleo de las lenguas usadas en Filipinas es potestativo. No puede regularse sino por la ley, y solamente para los actos de la autoridad pública y los asuntos judiciales. Para estos actos se usará por ahora la lengua castellana.

(Translation: The use of languages spoken in the Philippines shall be optional. Their use cannot be regulated except by virtue of law, and solely for acts of public authority and in the courts. For these acts the Spanish language may be used in the meantime.

When the US took over, the republic was naturally dissolved, and there was no mention again of the ill-fated Malolos Constitution. As such, the Philippines went under the jurisdiction of the Federal government of the United States. Subsequently, the English language was enforced in the country.

But the Philippine Independence Act (more commonly known as the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934) prepared the Philippines for self-government after a period of ten years. And it authorized the drafting of a new constitution for the Philippines as an independent country. This constitution came to be known as the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution.


It was not a smooth road for the framers of the 1935 Constitution, particularly on deciding which official language should prevail. Heated debates ensued among the 1934 Philippine Constitutional Convention delegates who were involved in the language issue. Some were for Spanish. Some were for the native languages. Yet some were even for English!

Among the native Filipino languages, Tagalog was the most controversially discussed and debated idiom. But that’s another story.

In the end, the following compromise amendment presented by 24-year-old delegate Wenceslao Vinzons was approved:

National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on all existing native dialects.

Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall be the official languages.

However, the abovementioned amendment was written in a slightly different way in the constitution’s final draft. That version appeared in the book The Framing of the Constitution of the Philippines (1934-1935) authored by delegate Miguel Cuaderno (published in 1937 by the Philippine Education Company, Inc., Manila). It says:

The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages.

If we may swerve for a moment. Note that the contention was still focused on which native language should be prioritized (although English and Spanish still dominated the constitution). Notice also that the Vinzons amendment contained the phrase “based on all existing native dialects”. But in the draft which appears in Cuaderno’s book, it was replaced by “based on one of the existing native languages”. This goes to show that a language problem was already beginning to surface (but again, it’s for another story).

Sadly, the more preferrable Cuaderno version was further revised by the constitutional convention’s committee on style. And that revision was approved and consequently included in the constitution (ratified on 14 May 1935) as Section 3 of Article XIV (General Provisions):

The Congress shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages.

Section 10 of the same article further states that:

This Constitution shall be officially promulgated in English and Spanish, but in case of conflict the English text shall prevail.

Two years later, on 31 December 1937, Tagalog was chosen as the country’s national language. This, however, did not affect the Spanish language’s status as one of the country’s official languages. But the number of Spanish-speakers (many of whom were murdered during the Philippine-American War) began to decline. The statistics grew worse during World War II, particularly during the Liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese.

Japan preferred Tagalog

It is interesting to note that during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines (1942-1945), the Spanish as well as the English languages both lost their status as co-official languages when the Japanese invaders established on 14 October 1943 what is now known as the Second Philippine Republic. It, of course, had an accompanying constitution. Article IX (General Provisions), Section 2 of the 1943 Constitution states:

The government shall take steps toward the development and propagation of Tagalog as the national language.

Oddly, the Japanese opted for Tagalog instead of their own language to be included in the constitution. But this twist of linguistic fate was short-lived: the US reclaimed the Philippines two years after that Japanese-sponsored constitution was ratified.

This bloody reclamation was almost like a death-blow to the number of Spanish-speaking Filipinos. It also totally wiped out the Chavacano-speaking community of Ermita, Manila (Ermiteños).

The years that followed the war were years of poverty and misery. The number of Spanish-speaking Filipinos dwindled miserably as well. The few who survived migrated either to Spain, the US, or Australia and beyond. Those who opted to stay behind stayed because they could not just abandon nor sell their properties and businesses (this also explains why almost a majority of Spanish-speaking Filipinos remaining today are from the landed gentry and the elite).

Martial Law

Fast forward to 1970. The 1935 Constitution continued all the way to the Marcos years. On Marcos’ fifth year in the presidency, a constitutional convention was called to change the then existing law of the land. Special elections for the constitutional convention delegates were held on 10 November 1970.

The actual convention lasted around two years. Renowned linguist and scholar Señor Guillermo Gómez was chosen as the Language Committee Secretary of the 1971 Philippine Constitutional Convention. Under his helm, the same heated debates on language that happened in 1934 happened again. Once more, the Tagalog-language issue was raised. This resulted in Article XV (General Provisions), Section 3, sub-sections 1:

(1)This Constitution shall be officially promulgated in English and in Pilipino, and translated into each dialect spoken by over fifty thousand people, and into Spanish and Arabic. In case of conflict, the English text shall prevail.

In the foregoing section, the term language was erroneously called dialect. Tagalog was masked under the name Pilipino. And worse, the Spanish language was removed.

To further complicate the status of Spanish, sub-sections (2) and (3) of the same section further states:

(2) The National Assembly shall take steps towards the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.

(3) Until otherwise provided by law, English and Pilipino shall be the official languages.

Knowing fully well that the number of native Filipino Spanish-speakers have dwindled throughout the decades, Señor Gómez, an ardent hispanista, thought it wisely to fight for Tagalog to become the country’s national/official language. As a polyglot and linguist, he knew fully well that the key to bring the Spanish language back to the mainstream was by propagating Tagalog, particularly the alphabet (including correct orthography) that represents it: the 32-letter Abecedario, the same alphabet used by Tagalogs and other Christianized natives during the Spanish and early American periods. According to him, all Filipino languages (i.e., the languages of Christianized lowlanders) are Chavacanos, but in varying degrees. Excluding the Chavacano languages of Ciudad de Cavite, Ternate, and Zamboanga, Tagalog is closest to Spanish, even closer to Hiligaynón, one of his native languages. And that is one major reason why Tagalog today is “Pilipinized” (again, another long story).

The 1973 Philippine Constitution was ratified on 17th of January, four months after the declaration of Martial Law.

Señor Gómez, however, had no power over the “renaming” of Tagalog as Pilipino, nor was he able to reinstate Spanish as a co-official language in the said constitution.

1973 Constitution absolved

Fast forward once more, this time to 25 February 1986, when Marcos was ousted due to popular outcry. His nemesis’ widow, Tita Cory, took over. During the transition period, a military-assisted constitution called the Freedom Constitution temporarily replaced the 1973 Constitution. The Freedom Constitution had no provisions at all about an official language due to its transitory nature. However, its successor, the 1987 Constitution —the one which we still use today—, states the following in Sections 7 and 8 of Article XIV (Language):

Section 7. For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English.

The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.

Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.

Section 8. This Constitution shall be promulgated in Filipino and English and shall be translated into major regional languages, Arabic, and Spanish.

The Spanish language made a comeback in the 1987 Constitution (proclaimed on 11 February 1987), but not as an official language. The clauses specified above gave credence to the fact that the drafters of the 1987 Constitution no longer gave Spanish the same importance that it had before. Héctor S. de León, in his widely used Textbook on the Philippine Constitution (Rex Book Store), summed it up this way:

The use of the Spanish language as an official language is no longer justified in view of the lessening influence of the language in the Philippines. It is not used by most Filipinos, English and Pilipino being preferred by them…

…Spanish and Arabic are languages of world importance spoken by many Filipinos. However, since they are not official languages, the government is not bound to promote their use They shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.

Now, let us go back to the original question: why point an accusing finger at Tita Cory for the removal of the Spanish language when it is now apparent that its officiality became null and void since the 1973 Marcos Constitution?

Not exactly.

Many Filipinos do not know that on 15 March 1973, two months after the 1973 Constitution was ratified, Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 155 recognizing Spanish (alongside the English language) as one of the Philippines’ official languages! Below is the full text:

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 155 March 15, 1973


WHEREAS, Section 3 of Article XIV of the 1935 Constitution of the Philippines provided that “until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages;”

WHEREAS, Section 3(3) of Article XV of the new Constitution provides that “until otherwise provided by law, English and Pilipino shall be the official languages;

WHEREAS, a sizeable part of documents in government files are written in the Spanish language and have not been officially translated into either English or Pilipino language;

WHEREAS, it is advisable to maintain the legal admissibility of important documents in government files which are written in the Spanish language pending their translation into either English or Pilipino language; and

WHEREAS, Spanish language is a part of our priceless national heritage, which we share with the great Hispanic community of nations.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers in me vested by the Constitution as Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1081 dated September 21, 1972, and General Order No. 1 dated September 22, 1972, do hereby order and decree that the Spanish language shall continue to be recognized as an official language in the Philippines while important documents in government files are in the Spanish language and not translated into either English or Pilipino language.

This Decree shall form part of the law of the land and shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 15th day of March, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-three.

The presidential decree can speak for itself. No more explanation is needed as to why the 1973 Constitution should be absolved from “deleting” the Spanish language from our patrimony.

Please be advised that this blogpost is not meant to accuse nor to lay blame on anyone regarding the disappearance of the Spanish language from our country’s written statutes. This is simply meant to avoid any misunderstanding that might occur in future researches regarding the said topic. Marcos’ presidential decree is not widely known today, and it is high time that this should be explained online on the light of an apparent resurgence of interest in reviving the Spanish language. Several Business Process Outsourcing companies, regarded today as a “sunshine industry”, are in dire need of Spanish-speakers. President Noynoy Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal de Arroyo worked with former Secretary of Education Jesli Lapus, the Spanish Embassy in Manila, and the Instituto Cervantes de Manila to bring back the teaching of Spanish in Philippine schools.

And thanks to the internet, the clamor for the return of the Spanish language has found a new medium. Various online forums are now discussing the importance of Spanish in our history, culture, and identity as a nation. Several websites and blogs promoting the Spanish language in the Philippines are starting to appear. Even Facebook does not want to be left behind.

Indeed, now is the time to treat our past in a more positive light and a keener eye, and to grasp the real score —the unbreakable link— between the Spanish language and the Filipino national identity.

Will current President Noynoy Aquino, whose grandparents on either side of the family spoke Spanish, do the correct thing and reciprocate Marcos’ intelligent move in saving our hispanic heritage?


This now-forgotten Marcos decree (presidential decree no. 155) was taken from Chan Robles Virtual Law Library.



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Collezione C2's ubiquitous My Pilipinas shirt. An unprecedented bestseller.

Like everything else, even Filipino fashion evolves.

I still remember during my younger years how kids and adults alike go gaga over foreign-branded threads such as Levi’s Jeans, Guess?, Adidas, Giordano, Esprit, United Colors of Benetton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, Banana Republic, Tag Heuer, Tommy Hilfiger, Marithé + François Girbaud, and countless others. In those days, if you don’t wear them, you’re considered a pleb. It was as if locally made clothes are meant only for old-fashioned Manileños and the rural folk (called provincianos in a pejorative tone), especially for the downtrodden. Well, not all. Several stores in tourist spots have been offering locally made shirts and other fashion items for foreigners for the past several years. But that’s just it: those are meant only for tourists usually as souvenir items and not really for casual wear.

I still remember some relatives of mine who half-tucked their shirts to show the brand names of their expensive jeans. It was an appalling sight: the shirts were untucked in front, but tucked-in from behind for people to see the inverted triangle symbol of their Guess? jeans. An awful and hilarious scene, indeed!

And my basketball-fanatic childhood friends talked of Adidas and Reebok and Nike as if they were the only shoes in the world. (at hindí pa casama dian yung paguiguing fanático nilá sa mga original NBA jerseys). They didn’t even know that Mariquina is the footwear capital of the Philippines.

That is why many local brands, unable to compete with the more popular foreign branded shirts and clothes, were somehow forced to blatantly imitate foreign-made apparels just to stay above water. One can find many of these rip-offs in tiangues located in crowded places such as Baclaran, Greenhills, and Divisoria.

But before all this hilarity and “bragging rights” ever happened, I remember a time when Crispa T-shirts ruled the hearts and minds of Martial Law babies as well as New Wavers of the 1980s.

Some stories claim that Crispa was derived from the names of the said clothing line’s founders: Doña Crisanta and Don Pablo Floro. Sales of the plain and colored T-shirts were so huge that it even spawned one of the greatest PBA Teams in local basketball history: the legendary Crispa Redmanizers whose rivalry against the Robert-Jaworski-led Toyota Tamaraws is reminiscent of the NBA’s Los Ángeles Lakers – Boston Celtics rivalry.

But the popularity of Crispa shirts faded over the years. I never even had the chance to buy one. Yeyette gave me one of her Crispa shirts (a green one) when she was still my girlfriend. I used it only as pambahay because it was too small for me. But it was a queer feeling wearing one of the country’s most talked-about and legendary tees during a time when it was no longer vogue; the onslaught of stateside clothes did them in.

Too bad Crispa didn’t invoke a sense of nationalism which is heavily in fashion today. Many fashionistas and the local press call this phenomenon fashionalism, a combination of the words fashion and nationalism. But before fashionalism, there was already a local brand –in a sense a bit intrepid– who challenged the foreign giants: Pidro shirts, born in 1991. It’s owned and introduced by Danny Javier of the iconic musical group Apo Hiking Society. It was the first local clothing company which attempted to invoke a sense of nationalism and patriotism among Filipinos during the last decade of the 20th century. The name was very familiar because Javier kept on mentioning it in his group’s musical-variety show in ABS-CBN Channel 2 (Sa Linggo nAPO Sila). But it really didn’t become a household name. Guess?, Levi’s Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and the rest of the overseas crew were still preferred by the masa although the prices of those branded clothes were notoriously high.

And then the Tommy Hilfiger controversy hit.

In late 1998, a shocking email made the rounds of the local internet scene:

Subject: FWD: Tommy Hilfiger hates us…

Did you see the recent Oprah Winfrey show on which Tommy Hilfiger was a guest? Oprah asked Hilfiger if his alleged statements about people of color were true – he’s been accused of saying things such as “If I had known that African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice,” and “I wish those people would not buy my clothes – they were made for upper-class whites.” What did he say when Oprah asked him if he said these things? He said “Yes.” Oprah immediately asked Hilfiger to leave her show.

Now, let’s give Hilfiger what he’s asked for – let’s not buy his clothes. Boycott! Please – pass this message along.

Poor Tommy had a hard time warding off this nasty rumor. But it was too late: a lot of Filipinos believed the false email message maligning him. And here in the Philippines, the email was regarded as fact by a huge majority especially since the internet during that time was still considered young. That event somehow sparked a slight aversion against Hilfiger products as well as other high-class brand names.

Enter the 21st century. A slew of unprecedented events in the country followed during the latter half of this decade: airbrushed and personalized shirts, elevating prices, the stock market crash of 2008, the death of nationalist rapper FrancisM, and the passing of democracy icon President Corazón C. Aquino.

The proliferation of shops offering design-your-own tees were in vogue during the later years of the 20th century. They’re much cheaper, too. And since they can be customized, it was more endearing to shoppers instead of buying those which were already pre-designed and have been mass-produced. It was therefore an embarassing moment to come across a stranger wearing the exact same shirt while walking inside a mall!

Spoofs Limited shirts also created a rather short-lived craze. It parodied many foreign products on their shirts designs: Tag Hirap (an obvious parody of Tag Heuer), FedUp (a play on FedEx Corporation), Bolo (making fun of Polo Ralph Lauren), Hard Cock (for that boring music bar and restaurant), The Lord of Pranings (after the award-winning movie trilogy), and a host of others. A few years ago, Bench, a brand owned by a Chinese-Filipino, began experimenting on Pinoy-themed designs. They tried to break away from the foreign-flavored image which their shirts used to sport.

And then Team Manila and master rapper FrancisM’s respective apparels entered the local fashion scene just a couple of years back. They are actually considered as the pioneers of today’s so-called fashionalism phenomenon that is apparent in almost every nook and cranny in the country, as well as in other parts of the globe (thanks to OFWs and delighted foreigners who bring them there after vacationing in the country). Between the two, the FrancisM Clothing Co. stood out. It launched the 3 Stars & A Sun clothing brand (named in honor of the Philippine flag’s symbols). Formed in 2006, the FMCC sought to create products meant for the “urban patriot”, and the balicbayan. It instantly became a hit especially since it was FrancisM himself who promoted it. But sales of his products even became more popular right after his death last year. His previous songs –Mga Kababayan, Three Stars And A Sun, 1-800-Ninety-Six (1896), Kaleidoscope World, etc.– again ruled the airwaves. And this created a huge curiosity for his FMCC’s colorfully designed tees, caps, and other fashion items, most of which pertained to Philippine symbols such as the flag and José Rizal. Many even clamored that he be declared a National Artist for Music (he should be).

The nationalist fervor in fashion was even heightened when, a few months after FrancisM succumbed to leukemia, Tita Cory followed suit after a long battle with colon cancer. Millions of Filipinos were moved, and it ushered the come back of Cory Magic, bringing back her famed yellow color out in the streets and the laban hand sign. It also catapulted her son’s political future into the coming May elections.

The two consecutive deaths of these two Filipino icons further spurred fashionalism into sublimity. And because of this, Collezione C2’s My Pilipinas shirts have sold more than two million RTWs all over the country! The My Pilipinas design has the Philippine archipelago either embroidered or silk-screened onto the upper right side of the shirt. It was launched more than two years ago, but it can be observed that it became highly popular right after the passing of FrancisM and Tita Cory. Now, the My Pilipinas symbol is also available in sports shirts, shirt dresses, capri pants, and shorts. Even other unknown local brands imitate Collezione C2’s stroke of genius (the way they imitated foreign brands). In our office, we even gifted a French colleague who happily and proudly wore it with him back to his homeland!

And since Filipino fashion has become the in-thing, we now have “revolutionary” clothing companies that have relied more on Filipino stylistic changes and individualism. Clothing lines such as ARtwork CLothing and Y.R.Y.S. (Your Rules, Your Style) have captivated a young audience, ruling the distinct tastes of today’s fashion-sensitive youth. It offers funky and groovy clothing styles that has overturned individualism in style. Happy Days pays tribute to Filipino pop icons such as the late comedian René Requiestas, movie villain Paquito Díaz, the jeepney, and even former strongman Ferdinand Marcos! TV personality Tado also owns his own clothing company which has hilarious and funny quotes designed in front of every shirt: Di Bale Nang Tamad, Di naman pagod; Nag-Iisa Lang Ako (with his face printed on it); Mas mabuti nang magnakaw kaysa mamakla; etc.

Several days ago, Yeyette had a shirt customized with this single –and rather scary– word in front of it: SELOSA.

All these shirts come at a very cheap price, something which young Filipinos of yesteryears could not even flaunt as they are accustomed to being proud of overly priced shirts and denims.

Indeed, fashion tends to change from time to time. This fashionalism which currently rules the local fashion scene may not last for long, but it will certainly inspire more imaginative ideas from Filipino fashion designers who have finally realized that their foreign counterparts are not immortals.

Foreign branded shirts and jeans should now declare a state of calamity.

Joey de León’s Evil Poem

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The Buwan ng Wika is about to end. Cayá meron acóng pahabol na may quinalaman sa wicang Tagalog.

I’d just like to share to you this horrible piece of –excuse my French– crap which noontime TV host Joey de León wrote supposedly in honor of the late president Corazón “Tita Cory” Aquino, as the title of his poem seemed to suggest. However, it’s just another one of his malicious attacks against his controversial noontime TV rival Willie Revillamé. The controversial host of the popular noontime program Wowowee! is currently on a sabbatical due to some misunderstanding over his wrong choice of words when he requested ABS-CBN’s Traffic department to remove video snippets of Tita Cory’s cortege (from La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong City to historic Catedral de Manila in Intramuros) while his show was ongoing. This happened last August 3rd:

Please be cautioned, by the way, that this blogpost is not about the Willie-Tita Cory controversy (the whole country already knows about it, anyway), nor is this in defence to Revillamé’s reasoning. This is actually about de León’s hypocrisy, not to mention his lack of literary merit. His poem below (originally published in The Philippine Star on August 9th) seemed to be at first an elegy to the late icon of democracy. But after going through the first few lines, one will notice that he has vile motives.

The poem is without doubt witty. But wit alone doesn’t make one a poet.

Without further ado, here is de León’s hypocritical poem.

The funeral cortege of former Pres. Cory Aquino: My tears came naturally

Joey de León: jealousy won't get you nowhere.

Joey de León: jealousy won't get you nowhere.

Wala na sa piling ng mga Pilipino,
Tinig ng awiting Mga Kababayan Ko,
At lumisan na rin noong isang Sabado,
Inang nagpalipad sa awiting Bayan Ko.
Ako’y sumasaludo, paalam Pangulo,
May isa ‘kong lihim, kay tagal itinago,
Sa lahat nang inabot kong mga namuno,
Tanging ikaw lang sa luha ko’y nagpatulo.

Marami ang nalungkot sa iyong pagyao,
Magalang ang lahat at puno ng respeto,
Nagpasalamat pa nga Kapamilya sa ‘yo,
Dahil kanilang himpilan naibalik mo.

Subalit ano itong nabalitaan ko?
Nangyari noong Lunes, a-tres ng Agosto,
Habang inililipat ang mga labi mo,
Ika’y parang nabastos sa isang TV show.

At ang napakasaklap at masakit dito,
Ang nambastos pa’y kapamilya ng anak mo,
Napanood ito ng tao at publiko,
Kakaunti na nga, ngunit lahat nahilo.
Sabi ng TV host na mainit ang ulo
Pagkakita sa video na kanyang kasalo,
“Sandali, meron akong ano… sa’ting ano…
Hindi naman sa ano,” nagkaanu-ano!
Ayon sa Internet, meron pa s’yang nasambit,
“Sana pakitanggal muna ‘yan sa’ting traffic…”
At ‘di maaalis sa iyong pag-iisip,
Ang parada ng patay ang pinaliligpit!
At dagdag pa daw ng naghahari-harian,
“I don’t think na dapat n’yong ipakita iyan…”
Nasaan naman ang paggalang, o nasaan?
Mga sinasabi natin minsa’y pag-ingatan.

At ‘di pa nangimi nang sumunod na araw,
Pinilit pa ring ginawa n’ya ay tama raw,
Mga nakarinig ‘di na nakagalaw
At ayon sa iba sila na la’y napa-wow!

“… Pero ako, totoo ‘ko eh … “, sabi kuno,
Totoo nga at totoo ring walang modo,
Pwede namang sabihin itong pa-sikreto,
Kaya’t wala na rin mga paliwanag mo.

“Kung ganyan, pakita na lang ‘yan!”, ang hamon pa,
Para bang ang prusisyon nila-“lang – lang” lang ba,
Ang pangasiwaan ay pinapili pa n’ya,
Sumunod ang himpilan, nung August 5 wala s’ya.

May mga komentong pwede nang pang-harapan,
“On camera” baga sa TV ang tawag d’yan
At kung sensitibo man ang gustong bitawan,
Pagpasok ng commercial, hintayin mo na lang.

Matutong magbaba muna ng mikropono
At saka idikta lahat ng iyong gusto,
Lagi kang mataas lahat daw takot sa ‘yo,
Ratings lang ang mababa — totoo ba ito?

The breaking news breaks your heart — at ‘yan ang bawi mo,
Nang mahalata mong sumablay ang pasok mo,
Pero sigurado ika’y maa-abswelto,
‘Di ba ikaw rin ang may-ari ng network n’yo?
Nung Hueves nag-apologize sa diario naman,
O, akala ko ba wala kang kasalanan,
Tapos ng angalan, sunod paliwanagan —
COMPLAIN before you EXPLAIN ka na naman!
O ito kaya ay isa na namang “glitch” lang,
Tulad ng “two-zero” ‘di na natin nalaman,
O ito ay maliwanag na kabobohan?
Sa tingin ng marami, mahirap lusutan.

Ang sabi ng iba — istupidong mayabang,
At giit ng iba — istupidong mayaman,
Mayaman man o mayabang ang tiyak diyan,
Napakayaman n’ya sa kaistupiduhan.

Buti pa ang apat na honor guards ni Cory —
Sina Malab, Laguindan, Rodriguez, Cadiente,
Walong oras tumayo sa ulan at viaje,
Ang lahat ay tiniis at walang sinabi.

Samantalang ikaw na may bubong sa ulo,
Komportable ka lang sa malamig na studio,
Nang kapirasong libing sa TV sumalo,
Angal at inis ang sumambulat sa iyo.

Maaari din namang pabayaan na s’ya,
Subalit ang nangyari’y mabigat talaga,
Namayapang pangulo’y huling paalam na,
‘Di mo pa pinagbigyan … hoy, nag-iisa ka!

At nais ko lang sabihin at ipagyabang
Sa mahigit na s’yam na libong tanghalian,
Sa limang pangulong sa Bulaga’y dumaan,
Kahit isa wala kaming nilapastangan.

As you can see, the poem above is way off the mark. The funeral cortege of former Pres. Cory Aquino: My tears came naturally? That title is deceiving. It has nothing to do with the President’s passing at all.

Joey should also receive the same amount of criticism and online bashing that the beleaguered Wowowee! host is having right now. Using the late President’s name for his unexplainable hatred of Willie is uncalled for and even disrespectful. Hindí lang si Willie ang binábastos niyá dito cundí patí na rin ang dating presidente. Dapat alám na niyá itó lalo na nga’t may edad na siyá para suriin cung anó ang tamà at hindî.

And we thought that Joey has already patched things up with Willie (they had a fall out two years ago). What a shame for a 62-year-old accomplished comedian. Tsk.

To Mr. de León:

I admit that I do watch Revillamé’s Wowowee! from time to time and even prefer it over your three-decade-old Eat Bulaga!. But don’t worry, Mr. de León. Although I prefer his show over yours, we both have something in common: we both don’t like Willie; I for his arrogance and his occasional unsavory behavior, and you for I-do-not-know-what (¿waláng gamót sa inguít?). What you wrote is not an elegy; it’s a perfect display of your hypocrisy.

But I can proudly say to myself and to anyone else that, although I am not a perfect person too, I do not have the letters H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E within the fibers of my being.

Manila Bulletin Killed Arroyo!

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Remember the hilarious Gloria Macapagal-ARROVO P100 bills? Well, there’s a new one — check this out (it’s kinda late because this was already out since August 6; I just learned about it a few minutes ago):

"GMA: She cared"... LOL!

This controversial picture has been doing the rounds online today (this has been shared and re-shared through Facebook and blogs) but just in case you didn’t get to see this, here’s one major faux pas courtesy of broadsheet Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin “killed” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo! What do you think of this and what do you think will happen to the section editor of Manila Bulletin? Check out the photo found in this entry.

Notice the caption: “With utmost care. Military honor guard carefully moves the coffin of President Arroyo out of the Manila Cathedral.”

The controversial Manila Bulletin photo was published in the early edition, page 20. However, I was told that the section containing the picture was promptly removed from the newspaper sets distributed in Visayas and Mindanao. (from: GLOBAL BALITA)

Of course, the caption should’ve read: “Military honor guard carefully moves the coffin of President Aquino out of the Manila Cathedral”. However, it’s obvious that Mrs. Arroyo was inside the head of the Manila Bulletin’s section editor during publication.

There is no end to this hilarity. Not that I’m complaining. Bring in some more!

Arroyo Et Son Cirque

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Oh my gulay! How I wish I was an Arroyo crony!

Oh my gulay! How I wish I was an Arroyo crony!

Are you kidding me? $20,000?! That’s almost a million pesos here, enough to feed thousands of starving Filipino families!

This is one circus which no Filipino paid to see.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and those who went with her to the US several days ago are currently receiving heat when the New York Post reported two days ago that they dined at ultra-fancy Le Cirque restaurant in New York:

THE economic downturn hasn’t persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines (sic) President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country’s armed serv ices, (sic) Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of per jury (sic) and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Maca pagal-Arroyo (sic) ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.

And this happened just a few hours before they abruptly flew back to our country (allegedly) due to President Cory’s funeral.

Malacañang has since been on the defensive (as expected, as always). Press Secretary Le Cerge Remonde has been the most vocal (he was with Arroyo during that heavenly dinner, by the way), warding off criticisms left and right. He said that the Arroyo couple didn’t foot the bill; it was Leyte Representative Martín Romuáldez, a relative of former First Lady Imeldific (go figure).

But it doesn’t really matter who paid the bill. The bottomline is that this is an insensitive display of extravagance not only on the part of Romuáldez but even on the Arroyos themselves and their cirque politique; such ostentatious dinner at a restaurant known for being a favorite hang-out of the rich and famous (or to put it more bluntly, the powers-that-be who wanted to be seen eating there) is a gross disrespect to countless Filipinos who barely have anything to eat.

Has she forgotten? The Philippines is still a Third World country — her declaration a few years ago that we’re now a Second World country didn’t even grab local nor international attention because it’s simply laughable. She should have at least empathized with starving Filipinos in the country and with homesick Filipino Overseas Contract Workers all over the world by declining to eat with TOO MUCH extravagance. The last time I checked, LEADERSIP BY EXAMPLE still holds water among all important public figures.

Now we hear from Arroyo’s allies that they just had a simple dinner. Even actor-turned-Senator Lito Lápid, who was part of the Arroyo US delegation (just to have a photo-op with Obama and nothing more) said that service sucks at Le Cirque.

Really now.

But what exactly does one find at Le Cirque?

Click here to find out. Basta siguraduhin niyó lang na busóg na cayó dahil tiyác na maglálaway lang cayó sa gutom — cumbagá sa Tagalog, suntóc sa buwán lang na tayo’y macacacáin doón. =(

But There Were Acts Which Made José Rizal A National Hero!

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She's already a hero since 1986.

Bagong bayani?

Even Pepe Rizal needed political backing to become a national hero.

Even Pepe Rizal needed political backing to become a national hero.

Just a few days ago, the House of Representatives approved on second reading a joint congressional resolution which elevated the late former President Corazón C. Aquino into the echelon of Philippine national heroes.

Almost every one agreed that the late icon of democracy deserved such recognition (why just now)? But before the second reading ever happened, Senator Pía Cayetano shared what was perhaps the most profound statement regarding this issue:

“Our concept of heroes is people from the past, and many people especially the young ones cannot relate to the lives of many of our heroes. The usual heroes are like based on legends,” she said at a regular forum in the Senate.

“So I think it would be wonderful to have a present, modern-day hero, and I am extremely pleased that the person we are considering for recognition as a heroine is a woman,” she said.

It is now high time, Cayetano said, that Filipinos should recognize Aquino by declaring her a national hero.

“And I can’t think of any person befitting of that honor and title,” she said, “I do support these moves to recognize her as a national hero.”

However, her following statement betrayed her lack of knowledge in Philippine history:

Cayetano said it would be a first in history if a resolution, declaring Aquino a national hero, would be approved by Congress.

No legislation, she said, had been approved by Congress proclaiming any Filipino historical figure, including Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio, as national heroes.

“If President Cory is actually proclaimed a national hero, then she would be the first. She will not be just honored as national hero but also officially as a national hero,” Cayetano added.

This abovementioned assertion is incorrect.

Back in 1901, when the Philippines was still under the American flag, then Civil Governor William Howard Taft (who later became the 27th US President) suggested to the Philippine Commission (the precursor of today’s Philippine Senate) that the Filipinos should have a national hero. The Free Press reported about this on December 28, 1946:

And now, gentlemen, you must have a national hero. In these fateful words, addressed by then Civil Governor W.H. Taft to the Filipino members of the civil commission, Pardo de Tavera, Legarda, and Luzuriaga, lay the genesis of Rizal day…

In this subsequent discussion in which the rival merits of the revolutionary heroes were considered, the final choice — now universally acclaimed a wise one — was Rizal. And so was history made.

Historian-scholar Dr. Theodore Friend (who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia), in his award-winning book Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929-1946, wrote that Taft “with two other American colonial officials and some conservative Filipinos, chose him (Rizal) as a model hero over other contestants” such as Andrés Bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Apolinario Mabini.

Also, leftist historian Renato Constantino recorded in his pamphlet Veneration Without Understanding that this decision to sponsor Rizal was implemented with the passage of the following Acts of the Philippine Commission:
(1) Act No. 137 which organized the politico-military district of Mórong and named it the province of Rizal “in honor of the most illustrious Filipino and the most illustrious Tagalog the islands have ever known,”
(2) Act No. 243 which authorized a public subscription for the erection of a monument in honor of Rizal at the Luneta and
(3) Act No. 345 which set aside the anniversary of his death as a day of observance.

There was even an election done to choose who should be the Philippine National Hero. In the end, it was a close fight between del Pilar and Rizal. The truth is del Pilar won in the voting. But the result was overruled mainly because of the dramatic way Rizal died (compared to del Pilar who died in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain).

But even more importantly, before the Americans invaded our country, President Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 declared that 30 December (the date Rizal was executed) should be an annual day of national mourning. Thus, even before the Americans thought of declaring Rizal as a national hero, the first Philippine Republic have already recognized the gravity of his worth.

So there. Politicians should be extremely careful in making statements, especially when they quote historical events. This is because so many facts have already been distorted in Philippine history.

Going back to the issue of making Tita Cory as a national hero (and to wrap things up), Quezon City Representative Matiás Defensor couldn’t have said it any better: “Being a national hero does not require congressional imprimatur, it’s in the hearts and minds of the Filipinos”.

Whatever Happened to the “Magkaisa” Singer?

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EDSA 1986: when faith won over violence.

EDSA 1986: when faith won over violence.

Virna Lisa was the high-pitched singer of Magkaisa, the emotional theme song of EDSA 1986. Magkaisa has recently made a comeback in the Filipino psyche because of President Cory Aquino’s passing (it was also one of her favorite songs).

This legendary song even became more popular than Virna herself. One major reason is that she didn’t pursue a musical career.

So where is she now?

Here’s what I found in the net (published by Positive News Media on September 5, 2007):

The song not the singer
By Ben Cal
VIRGINIA, U.S.A., Sept. 5 (PNA)

This fits the description of Ms Virna Lisa, the Filipino-American singer who popularized the song “Magkaisa” in the post EDSA people-power revolt in 1986, but who faded away into obscurity.

Many do not know that Virna Lisa Loberiza is an American citizen although her parents are both Filipinos. Virna acquired her U.S. citizenship because she was born in New York.

Her song “Magkaisa” has captivated millions of freedom- loving Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad which could have catapulted her to stardom, but she prefers to remain in the background and chose to become a social worker where her heart belongs.

By all probability, not too many Filipinos -– young and old — could make an instant recall the name of the then 20-year old Virna Lisa 21 years after she sang “Magkaisa” that became a gold record despite being an obscure singer.

Many would ask where is that singer Virna Lisa? Well, she works as consultant for social security for the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, caring for the disabled.

She said she loves her work being a social worker the past 12 years.

“I’ve always been a social worker ever since,” she added.

She is married to Snowden Mananzan, a Filipino banker who is the vice president of United Commercial Bank in New York. They got married in California in 1990 and have three children, Jaco, 15, Toby, 13, and only girl whom they named Frankie, 8.

She finished her studies in the Philippines at St. Paul’s College, Adamson University and later at the University of Sto. Tomás where she took up architecture but never graduated because she was a “Green Card” holder.

Lisa’s father, Joey Loberiza, was formerly connected with Toyota Tamaraw, and her mother is the former movie actress Aura Aurea.

The Philippines News Agency had an exclusive interview with Virna at the elegant residence of Ms Emily Dearing, a Filipino nurse, living in the State of Virginia.

The interview was arranged by Jun Pedery, a former US Navy serviceman and retired employee of Boeing Corporation, the world’s largest aircraft maker based in Washington, DC.

Now, 41, but still possesses that stunning Filipino beauty, Lisa recalled how her singing talent was discovered by actor-comedian-composer Tito Sotto after the historic people-power uprising that toppled the 20-year Marcos regime.

“Everything happened so fast,” Liza recalled.

She said she was singing the song “Bridges” during an event in Adamson University in Manila when she was spotted by Sotto who was fascinated by her sweet voice.

“My discovery by Sotto was by chance,” she said.

Without much ado, Sotto asked her to sing a newly composed song entitled “Magkaisa,” composed by Sotto, Ernie dela Peña, and Homer Flores.

Liza said Sotto invited her to sing in the daily noon show “Eat Bulaga” where she sang on television for the first time.

When she was asked to sing “Magkaisa” she was only given a few hours to practice the song. A few hours later “I found myself inside the studio for the formal recording.”

“I did not sign any contract. I just sang,” Lisa said.

Lisa said she did not get paid for singing “Magkaisa” though it earned lots of money.

“That’s one of the reasons why I did not stay in the business because I didn’t understand it well. I don’t think I will do well in it, and you know may be my heart is in the social work that is why I stay in the social work,” Lisa added.

Had she pursued a singing career, would she attain fame in the likes of Lea Salonga and other top Filipino singers? Lisa humbly said: “I don’t know but maybe God has other plans for me.”

In 1994, Lisa was invited by then President Fidel V. Ramos to sing during the 8th anniversary celebration of EDSA People-Power where she sang again “Magkaisa.” (PNA)

Right after President Cory Aquino’s funeral mass at the historic Spanish-era Manila Cathedral, several people and dignitaries still remained at the church to finish the program. Many singers sang patriotic and other songs connected to the late president. One of the songs stood out from the rest. It was Magkaisa (Unite), the theme song of the People Power Revolution of 1986. Over the years, this song has emotionally moved many a patriotic Filipino.

Magkaisa was sung by ABS-CBN talent Sarah Gerónimo after the funeral mass. It was an excellent rendition to say the least. She even almost sounded like Virna.

But who is the better singer for Magkaisa: Virna or Sarah? You be the judge… click here (ALAS FILIPINAS) to watch Sarah Gerónimo’s fabulous rendition. You can also listen to the original version by clicking on my Spanish website’s Magkaisa widget found at left column (at the bottommost part, just below Seguidores).

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