I am a Filipino, proud…yet, suffer, too

I am a Filipino, proud

…yet suffer, too

By Apolinario B Villalobos


“Let us not lose hope…”

This I have to say first

For if I won’t, but instead

Put that line at the end

I will be stirring your anger

That I will just regret later.


When foreign people

Set foot on our sacred shore

Our ancestors welcomed them –

Not just with smile

But warm embrace

Showed them kindness

Showed them love –

The way of Filipinos

As the whole world know.


The Chinese brought pots and silk

Gave names to our islands and islets,

The Japanese brought their skill

And goods of steel,

Spain sent forth Christianity

Tainted with gracious civility,

The Americans brought more-

More than what we could muster

And  all of these-

Supposed to enrich our culture

But instead, defiled our identity

Stained much of it with sheer gravity!


I hear Filipinos speak English with a twang

But should not be, when they speak our language –

Filipino, the rich language of every Juan.


I see Filipinos enjoy foreign food, every bit of it

But should not be, when they push aside

Our own sinigang and pinakbet.


I hear Filipinos sing foreign songs so soulfully

It’s just nice, but not when they despise

Our own that should be sung with dignity.


Deep inside, I suffer as I see and hear them

I know that just like me, others out there

Are gritting their teeth but can’t do anything;

Proud as a Filipino, yes I am

But so many things are left undone –

Things that our heroes in the past have begun

They who put color

To the vivid pages of our history;

Things that should have been done

By our heroes of today

But who died just when a new light

Started to shine on our democracy.


Leaders, policy makers, lawmakers…

Are they…really?

They who warble promises

And steal the people’s money?

Paid with lofty sum from the coffer

Where money for those who suffer

Should have come

But only the few – these warblers

Enjoyed no end, they who are supposed

To be brimming with wisdom!


After the father, comes the wife

Then the daughter, and the son

Not contented, the cousins and in-laws

All in the family, to power they strut

With a taunt in their face that says:

“What are we in power for,

And you with money has none

Eat your heart out, here we come!”


Rain that used to bless the earth

Filipinos now desist

Especially those who live

Along the river banks of the cities

For with it comes the flood

A curse that only the Bible says

Shall wipe out sinners

From the face of the earth;

But why…the floods?

Simple: the money for saving projects

The conscienceless –

Unscrupulously pocketed!


Innocent lengths of asphalted roads

That for long defied the trash of nature

Helplessly wrecked by greedy contractors

So that low-grade fresh overlay can be spread

Later giving up to rain’s patters

And treading of cars, trucks, and all…


Even the precious school books are not spared

By purported educators blinded with greed

Seeing to it that new ones, yearly will be printed

Exam questions, at the end of every chapter

Are cleverly printed!

So then, closing school years would also see

These books so dear, become useless –

Thrown to the garbage, not to be used

By aspiring younger brood of the family.


I am pained by the sight

Of plates at restaurants

and food stations of the malls –

Half –finished food left with pride

By those who seem to say

“I am rich, I can squander money”

And who never thought

That out there in the dumps

Some brethrens try to salvage morsels –

Precious food that could be stuffed

Into their guts so they can live

Better than nothing, or they’re dead.


I said in the beginning of this:

Let us not lose hope…

But wish for the best

If we strive together

And do what is right

Then new life for us

Will be in sight!

Dragon Stories and My Antique Bracelet

Dragon Stories and My Antique Dragon Bracelet

By Apolinario Villalobos


The reason, perhaps, why the armadillo scales command the highest price among the considered medicinal wildlife is their resemblance to the scales of the dragon. I thought about this while looking at the dragon bracelet just given to me by a Chinese friend. Without asking any information about it, except being told that it is antique and got health benefits, I presumed that it is made from “copperized” antique Chinese silver wires intricately woven into round “scales” and intertwined to resemble the dragon, complete with a head whose extended tongue locks with a small loop that serves as its tail.


From among the pages of a hundred year old book about the history of nations, I came across an item about how an early Chinese empress paid for the expense in the laying down of a railroad track by Russia, across a portion of the vast Chinese territory, tore it up and dumped the iron segments into the sea, because it offended the earth dragon. Eclipse according to the Chinese legend occurs when the dragon swallows the moon or the sun. Among the Christians, the mention of St. George is never complete without the dragon.  Practically, many cultures around the world are made intriguing and colorful by the dragon. Legends are replete with heroic stories that revolve around them, although, some had to be subdued in order to be transformed from being bad to good. Even popular motifs and designs are tainted with dragon form such as the “sarimanok” and “naga” of Southeast Asia.


In reality, modern relatives of the dragon are thriving around us. The gecko is among them, as well as, the innocently-looking house lizards that with extended tongue can put the bigger cockroach to flight. Their bigger relatives are the crocodiles (crocs) and alligators (gators), the strength of which earned respect from the early Egyptians who revere them very much. By contrast, in the Philippines, they represent greedy government officials and politicians voted to their positions in the halls of the Senate and Congress.


On the Caramoan Peninsula of the Philippines’ Bicol Region, can be found the “caramoan dragon”, which in time has become rare. And, on an island of Indonesia can be found the “komodo dragons” which are being taken cared of because of the discovered medicinal value of their saliva.


Back to my dragon bracelet, I almost relegated it to the drawer because it seems too vulgar and eye-catching, until the day I wore it. While strolling along Roxas Boulevard, a tourist stopped me, pointed at my wrist with the bracelet and asked if I would like to part with it. To check its value, I asked the guy, how much he was willing to shell out for my bracelet just in case I decided to part with it. He asked me if USD100 was okey but if wanted more, we could haggle. He looked at it closely and asked, “is it 10k?”. Surprised by his comment, I realized the bracelet’s dull golden luster. I did not part with my bracelet. My Chinese friend who gave it to me is the nephew of the old Chinese gentleman who gave me his tourmaline bracelet when I brought him home from Luneta, after losing his way many months ago. To maintain its antique look, I never had it cleaned, since the day I got it.

The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

The Philippines’ Early Commercial Intercourse with China

By Apolinario Villalobos


The early recorded commercial intercourse between the Philippines and China was dated 982 A.D. when a certain Sung-Shih (History of the Sung) mentioned about traders from Mo-yi or May-I, referring to the Philippines and sometimes the island of Mindoro, and who came to the southern coast of China. But even much earlier than the said date, according to a noted historian Berthold Laufer in his “Relations of Chinese to the Philippines”, and Austin Craig in his “A Thousand Years of Philippine History Before the Coming of the Spaniards”, among the goods from the Philippines were birds, pearls and tortoise shell, to which, another historian, Chao Ju-Kua added, yellow wax, cotton, medicinal betel nuts and “yu-la” cloth. Proof of the early trade relations between the two countries are the archaeological sites that date back to the T’ang dynasty, in Babuyan islands, coastal areas of Ilocos and Pangasinan, Manila, Bohol, Mindoro, Cebu, Jolo and Cagayan de Sulu, and Mindanao.


Accordingly, Chinese junks would leave the southern coast of China for the Philippines during the month of March and their travel would take about 15 to 20 days. The same junks would prepare for the return trip during the month of June. Trading was done with haste, usually three to four days at one convergence point along a safe coast, then, they would move to other traditionally appointed place, as some natives proved to be hostile.


The commercial intercourse brought about cultural enhancement on both trading parties. On the part of the Philippines, according to Filipino anthropologist, E. Arsenio Manuel, about 522 words in the vocabulary of Pilipino language are of Chinese origin. Among them are, bihon, miki, miswa, mami, kuchay, tokwa, kinchay,  lumpia, lome, kimto, goto, batsoy, tsa, liyempo, kamto, biko, bitsu, hopia, petsay/pechay, bakya, jusi, siyansi, ate, kuya, diko, ditse, sangko, siko, and siyaho.


As mentioned among the pages of “Ming History”, traders from Fukien of southern China flocked to Luzon to establish trading colonies, so that when the Spaniards came, they found well-entrenched Chinese communities along the Pasig River and the coastal areas of Pangasinan and Ilocos. While the Philippines was under the administration the Spaniards, there was a time when the Chinese were expelled. Upon realizing, however, the need for the business acumen of the Chinese, they were encouraged by the colonizers to return but made to dwell in settlements outside the Walled City or Intramuros, which was called “Parian”. That is how the Manila Chinatown, the oldest in the whole world came to be.


Historically, the Chinese were never interested in politically colonizing any of the islands of the archipelago, unlike the Spaniards who came to the Philippines purely for this purpose. It is for this reason that when the Hispanic administration of Manila took effect, there was no resistance from the Chinese community. If the dynasties of the mainland that saw the growth of trading with the archipelago had any intension of annexing it to their kingdom, they should have done it long before the Spaniards came. But Chinese traders came and went, instead of even a single Chinese soldier. It is for this reason that China can never site history to attest her rights over a major part of the South China Sea or Philippine Sea. Their trading ancestors could have named some islands and bodies of water in and around the archipelago but only for their convenient reference and nothing else.




Ang “Isla” sa West Philippine Sea


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa isyu ng West Philippine Sea, ang tanging layunin ng Pilipinas kaya dumulog ito sa UN Arbitral Tribunal ay upang matukoy ang tunay na hangganang karagatan ng bansa. Nagkataon lang na mayroong bahura o reef sa lugar na yon kaya atat na atat ang China na sakupin ito. Upang malubos ang kanilang layunin, ang bahura na hindi angkop na tirhan ng tao ay tinambakan ng mga dinurog na korales mula sa paligid kaya tuluyang tumaas at naging “isla”. Ngayon ay may mga pasilidad na pang-military… mga gamit pandigma, kasama na ang mahabang paliparan.


Seryoso ang usapin. Noon pa binanggit kong dahil sa pagpupursige ng China na makamkam ang bahaging ito ng karagatan ay siguradong hindi ito papayag na basta-basta na lang patatalo lalo na sa pipitsuging bansa tulad ng Pilipinas. Sa kamalasan naman ng China, dahil sa desisyon ang UN tribunal tungkol sa naaangkop na pagturing sa karagatang yon hindi lang Pilipinas kundi buong mundo ang kalaban niya ngayon. Solohin ba naman ang karagatang yon na ang turing ng buong mundo ay “maritime highway”. Para siyang nagbakod ng isang right of way kaya walang madaan ang mga taong naapektuhan at nakulong!


Para walang gulo, pabor ang Pilipinas sa pakikipag-usap ng maayos upang kahit papaano ay umabot sa “sharing agreement”. Sa ganitong punto, wala nang pinakamagandang paraan kundi gawin itong” open trading post” ng China at Pilipinas. Hindi puwedeng mag-refund ang Pilipinas kahit sa maliit na bahagi ng ginastos ng China dahil noon pa man ay sinabihan na silang itigil ang ginagawa nilang reclamation. Kung magkaroon ng oil exploration dapat ay “sharing” din ang usapan.


Sa isang televised interview kay Duterte, sabi niya gusto niyang ipadala si dating presidenteng Ramos sa China upang masimulan ang pakikipag-usap sa kinauukulan. Marami ang nagtaas ng kilay dahil noong kapanahunan yata niya nang magkaroon ng bentahan ng military base na ngayon ay naging tinatawag na “Global City”, ang sabi ay gagamitin daw sa military modernization ang mapagbentahan. Marami ang nagtatanong kung anong nangyari sa pangako dahil hanggang ngayon ay “antique” pa rin ang mga gamit ng military.


Nitong bandang huli nga, dahil sa isyu ng West Philipppine Sea, ay tila naalimpungatan ang gobyerno dahil nakita ang kawalan pala ng maaayos na barko ang Philippine Navy at Philippine Coast Guard. Kailangan pa naman ang mga ito dahil ang bansa ay maraming isla kaya napakahaba ng coastline nito. Hindi nga maeskortan ang mga gustong mangisda sa West Philippine Sea at hindi nga mapatrulyahan ang karagatang dinadadaan ng Abu Sayyaf tuwing maghakot sila ng kidnap victims mula sa karating bansa upang dalhin sa Sulu, Basilan, at Tawi-tawi. Paano na daw kung si Ramos ang makikipag-usap sa China tungkol sa isang maayos kuno na “sharing agreement”?


Sa ambush interview kay Ramos pagkatapos ng miting, sinabi yata niyang hindi siya interesado…..mabuti naman. Mabuti pa siguro ipadala si Lucio Tan at Henry Sy at siguradong hindi sila patatalo sa usapin kung paano pagkitaan ng Pilipinas ang artipisyal na isla dahil siguradong patatayuan ito ng airport ng PAL at Air Philippines at napakalaking Shoemart mall ….isama na rin pala ang PAGCOR para ang hindi ma-accommodate na mga casino sa Manila ay doon na lang itayo. Kung kulang pa ang artipisyal na isla, gumawa ng mga submerged casino – first in the whole world yan!

Ang Tao, Kalinisan, Pagkain, at Iba Pa

Ang Tao, Kalinisan, Pagkain, at Iba Pa

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Hindi maganda sa isang tao ang sobra-sobrang pagiging malinis, kaya makakita lang ng pagala-galang inosenteng ipis ay animo naholdap na kung magsisigaw. Hindi masama ang maging malinis sa paligid, lalo na sa tahanan at katawan. Dapat lang nating alalahanin na lahat ng bagay, mabuti man, ay may limitasyon, tulad ng pag-inom ng gamot at pagkain. Ang binabakuna sa katawan ng tao upang magkaroon ito ng panlaban sa virus na nagiging sanhi ng iba’t ibang uri ng sakit ay virus din, kaya ang unang epekto nito ay pagkakaroon ng lagnat hanggang “masanay” ang katawan sa pagkakaroon nito. Ibig sabihin, may mga mikrobyo ding napapakinabangan ng tao, kahit ang mga ito ay itinuturing na marumi at salot.


May isa akong kaibigan na sa sobrang kalinisan sa bahay ay palaging pinapansin ang nalulugas na buhok ng kanyang misis kaya tuwing magsusuklay ito ay sinusundan niya at pinupulot ang mga buhok na nalalaglag sa sahig. Isang beses sinabihan uli niya ang kanyang misis ng, “o, marami na namang buhok ang nalugas mula sa ulo mo”. Napuno na yata ang misis kaya sinagot niya ang mister ng, “mabuti…ipunin mo para maihalo sa scrambled eggs bukas!”. Pinayuhan ko ang kaibigan ko na hindi tinatanggap sa korte ang nalulugas na buhok ng asawa na kumakalat sa sahig bilang dahilan ng annulment ng kasal, nang minsang humingi siya sa akin ng payo. Sa halip ay sinabihan ko siyang kumbinsihin ang asawang magpakalbo upang maibili niya ng maraming wig na iba’t iba ang pagkaayos at kulay para umayon sa kanyang mood! Hindi ko na nakita ang kaibigan ko… sana hindi sinaksak ng misis!


May mag-asawa naman akong kilala na dati ay bugnutin pero hinayaan ko na lang dahil parehong mahigit 70 na ang edad. Pero nang makita ko uli ay sila pa ang unang bumati sa akin. Nang tanungin ko kung ano ang pagbabago sa buhay nila, ang sabi nila, “hindi na kami madalas maglinis ng bahay”. Noon kasi habang naglilinis sila ng bahay ay minumura nila ang alikabok, at maghapon silang nakasimangot lalo pa at nakikita nila ang pagkakalat ng dalawang apo. Nadiskubre din nila na mula noong hindi na sila madalas maglinis, tuwing umaga ay may dalawa hanggang tatlong ipis silang nakikita na nagkikisay. Sabi ko sa kanila ay malamang na-“suffocate” o nalason ng naipong alikabok sa sahig ang mga ipis na ginagapangan nila. Dagdag- paliwanag ko pa ay, kaya siguro mas gustong manirahan ng ipis sa cabinet at mga sulok ay dahil wala halos alikabok sa mga ito. Bilang payo, sinabihan ko silang mag-ball room dancing na rin.


Maraming ospital na hi-tech ang naglilipana ngayon saan mang panig ng mundo, kasama na diyan ang Pilipinas at nagpapataasan pa ng singil. Dahil sa kamahalan ng kanilang singil, ang nakakakaya lang magpa-admit ay mayayaman, na ang kadalasang sakit ay sa puso, kanser at iba pang sakit na pangmayaman.  Subali’t hindi maipagkakaila na ang mga sakit na nabanggit ay nakukuha rin sa mga “maruming pagkain”. Ito yong mga pagkaing ipinagbawal na nga ng doctor ay patuloy pa ring kinakain. Alam na ng lahat kung ano ang mga “maruming” pagkain kaya kalabisan na kung babanggitin ko pa. Upang pabalik-balik sa mga doktor ang mga pasyente, siyempre dahil sa kikitain mula sa mahal na konsultasyon, sinasabihan na lang nila ang mga ito na kumain ng mga dapat ay bawal na pagkain “in moderation”, o hinay-hinay, o paunti-unti. Obviously, ay upang hindi bigla ang pag-goodbye sa mundo….at tulad ng nabanggit na, tuloy pa rin ang mahal na konsultasyon!


Ang industriya sa paggawa ng mga pagkaing dapat ay “moderate” lang daw kung kainin ay tuloy sa paglago at pagkita ng limpak-limpak upang  masupurtahan naman ang gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng buwis na binabayad nila. Ang ilang mababanggit na produkto ay processed foods na may salitre o preservative, maraming asin, food coloring, na tulad ng hot dog, corned beef,  bacon, ham, smoked fish, at mga inuming may kulay at artipisyal na lasa.


Sa puntong ito, gustong ipakita ng mga Tsino na nangunguna sila sa lahat ng bagay kaya pati ang paggawa ng nakalalasong artificial na bigas, sotanghon, alak, at pati ang itinanim na ngang bawang ay inaabunuhan din ng isang uri ng fertilizer na nakakalason sa tao, upang maging “matibay” at hindi mabulok agad sa imbakan. Ang masama lang, artificial at nilason na nga ang mga pagkain ay nakikipagsabwatan pa ang mga Tsino sa mga walang puso at konsiyensiyang mangangalakal sa Pilipinas upang maipuslit ang mga ito kaya hindi napapatawan ng karampatang buwis. Kung sa bagay, paano nga namang maipapadaan sa legal na proseso ang mga produktong bawal?  Maliban lang siyempre…. kung palulusutin naman ng mga buwaya at buwitre sa Customs!


Ang legal namang buwis na nalilikom ay ginagamit ng gobyerno sa mga proyektong kailangan ng bansa at mga mamamayan sa pangkalahatan. Kaya masasabing may pakinabang din pala ang paggawa ng pagkaing unti-unting pumapatay sa tao…. isang paraan nga lang ng pagsi-self annihilate o pagpapakamatay…. upang makontrol ang paglobo ng populasyon…na ang ibang paraan ay giyera, kalamidad tulad ng bagyo, baha, lindol, at matinding tag-tuyot!


Kung hindi dahil sa nabanggit na mga paraan, baka pati sa tuktok ng mga bulkan ay may mga condominium at subdivision dahil sa dami ng mga taong aabutin ng mahigit 100 taong gulang bago mamatay…at  baka biglang mawala ang wildlife na magiging delicacy na rin dahil sa kakulangan ng pagkain…at baka magiging bahagi na rin ng pagkain ng tao ang minatamis na mga dahon at balat ng kahoy!


Sa Tsina ay delicacy ang talampakan ng oso o bear. Sana ang magagaling na Tsinong chef ay makadiskubre ng masasarap na recipe para sa buwaya, buwitre, at hunyango…marami kasi nito sa Pilipinas para mapandagdag sa pagkain ng mga Pilipinong nagugutom dahil ninanakaw ng mga walang kaluluwa ang pera ng bayan!


Who Takes the Blame for the Emboldened ISIS and Uncontrolled Chinese Expansion towards the West Phil. Sea?

Who Takes the Blame for the Emboldened ISIS

and Uncontrolled Chinese Expansion towards the West Phil. Sea?

By Apolinario Villalobos


When ISIS broke away from Al Q’aida, no nation ever got worried, thinking perhaps, that it is just another struggling terrorist group trying to get noticed by the world, every time it claimed responsibility for certain bombings. Not even the African nations that are located, a stone’s throw away from the lair of this fledgling terror group. Not even when the fledgling group started to conduct kidnapping of foreign correspondents. But when beheadings that they made were posted on facebook and began to invade surrounding villages, the directly-affected nations began to take notice. When cities after cities, and provinces after provinces were overran and European recruits began to trek to the ISIS camps, more nations became apprehensive. When historic and biblical shrines were flattened to the ground the group, and finally, indiscriminate bombings in Paris were made, the whole world took notice….but, too late.


ISIS terrorists practically walked their way into unsuspecting European nations with the so-called evacuees who escaped unrests in their countries. No high-tech device can ever set a low-profile terrorist or a freshly-trained terrorist with no international record yet, apart from an ordinary displaced businessman say, from Turkey, Syria, or wherever within the beleaguered region. All of them practically look alike with their piercing eyes, beards, high aquiline nose, etc.


Pinching attacks were made by an affected nation or two, and there was even a time when the cry for help of Syria was not heeded. But since the attacks were nothing but just pinches, it was not felt by ISIS that has successfully controlled vital cities of Syria. When the uncontrolled mass emigration of Syrians, both civilian and covert terrorists began to cross borders, the whole world got worried, because even the far Southeast Asian nations were asked by the United Nations to accommodate them.


The United Nations made noise when it realized that ISIS is serious in its threats in eroding the global peace. The condemnation of some Islamic nations that do not recognize ISIS as a legitimate jihadist group cannot repair the damage that has been it. Where’s the United Nations organization while all these transpired?


On the West Philippine Sea meanwhile, when only a single atoll was “developed” by China by constructing a military stronghold on its scant topsoil, the Philippines did not mind as it has her own Kalayaan island with huts and a motley number of settlers, as well as, a dirt-topped runway. The presence of Chinese patrol boats did not alarm the Filipino fishermen as the latter were reportedly, swapping foods with the crew. That was about ten or more years ago.


When the Chinese navy crew-Filipino fishermen relationship began to get sour, reports were considered petty so they were not given much attention. Even until the time that the Chinese Navy started acting harshly by driving Filipino fishermen away from Ayungin Shoal, the Philippine government was still not alarmed. Only when bigger Chinese Navy boats began arriving and discreetly reclaimed the Ayungin shoal, did the Philippine government file a protest in the international tribunal of the United Nations, in charge with the law of the sea. America did not lift a finger, because, accordingly, she is on the other side of the world, far from the disputed body of water. It instead, concentrated on the joint-military exercises with the Filipino military. Or, could it be that it was the time when she was in the process of obtaining loans from China?


Of late, however, America seems to be “noisy” as regard the West Philippine issue. Is she really serious, or just displaying a nauseating travesty? Several months back then, while Filipino fishermen were being drenched by the Chinese Navy with water cannons, the president of America is having a grand time meeting with his Chinese counterpart.


In the meantime, what has the United Nations done, since the very start of the controversy? Nothing! It waited until the issue has grown enormously out of proportion in view of the high-tech military facilities that the Chinese have installed on the artificial island that they have boldly built out of an insignificant atoll. Worst, the double-talking Chinese are heaping blames on the Philippines for the transformation of simple bickering on boundary, into an inveterate magnitude today.


The big question now is on the relevance of the United Nations in the face of all the fiascos from Africa to Asia, not to mention, the somewhat contained turmoil in Europe. How can it be called an arbitrational organization of nations when it cannot even prevent tensions among member- nations, much more, control violent eruption of pockets of unrests around the world? Is the United Nations chartered for the expedient and systematic exploitation of the poor member-nations by the powerful ones?

China Did it Again…Passing the Blame to the Philippines and Playing the Downtrodden on the Issue of the West Phil. Sea

China Did it Again…Passing the Blame to the Philippines

and Playing the Downtrodden on the Issue of West Phil. Sea

By Apolinario Villalobos

Here is another disturbing dispatch from Reuter on the latest declaration of China as regards the disputed West Philippine Sea:

“BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Philippines’ case against China at an arbitration tribunal over rival claims in the South China Sea had strained relations and that it was up to the Philippines to heal the rift.”( By Sui-Lee Wee and Manuel Mogato)

China is not stopping from presenting an image that oozes with weakness, humility and innocence to illicit sympathy from fence-sitting nations as regards the West Philippine Sea where she has built artificial islands that anytime from now shall be inhabited by thousands of her military personnel, as well as, equipped with military facilities. This is despite her insistence that the reclaimed islands shall be utilized for researches and emergency rescues, although, her covert objective, is first and foremost, expansion of her territory. She is perceived with disdain as a double-talker. Proof to this was when she declared that reclamation in the West Philippine Sea was stopped, but weeks later, the world was gaping at the wonder of the transformation of an atoll into a “high-tech island”, complete with military facilities and runway.

The issue on the West Philippine Sea shall put to test the guts of the United Nation’s International Tribunal charged with the Law of the Sea. Will it go on with the investigations and trials despite the vehement refusal of China to participate as she does not recognize the tribunal’s authority? What will the other co-members of China in the UN Security Council do? Will they join hands and gang-up on her? Will the United Nations order the dismantling of the facilities on the disputed natural and man-made islands, once the tribunal decides in favor of the Philippines?

Practically, the economy of the whole world is in the tight grip of China, as even powerful nations are indebted to her. The Chinese President was recently a guest of Honor in London and accorded very special treatment which their high officials unabashedly admitted to be equated with “economic assistance”. China has also, spearheaded the opening of a bank that competes with the World Bank in offering loans to distressed countries.

The peoples around the globe practically depend on China – from their toothpick, gadgets, food products, equipment, and machineries. Due to the cheap Chinese labor, companies from all over the world, transferred the manufacturing of their goods in China, although, marketing of the products are done in their home countries  In this view, it would seem that once the machines of factories in China will stop, the whole world shall come to a complete stop, too. When the Chinese money declined in value, other moneys in the world followed suit. So, what other manifestations do we need to show that the Chinese, have by their wily manipulation, able to control the world, and that the leaders of the nations that are supposed to be defenders of democracy, are just playing charades to avoid losing face?

Meanwhile, in the “game of the West Philippine Sea”, the pawn is the Philippines…if China will get what she wants, it would be goodbye to the rest of the claims by other SEA nations!

Why Filipino Foods are not Popular Abroad Compared to those of other Asians’

Why Filipino Foods are not Popular Abroad

Compared to those of other Asians’

By Apolinario Villalobos

To put a straight answer to the question….it’s because names of Filipino foods in classy restaurants are “proudly” in Spanish or French, unlike those of other countries with authentic native names. As we know, people of other nations, especially those in the west, prefer the exotic, the native…and not what they already have in their country. So, in their desire to try something exotic, they would go to Korean, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai restaurants for a taste of Asia.

I am expressing this concern after reading an article in a weekend supplement of a broadsheet about a Filipino cook who has gone places, and the write-up is complete with photos of recipes that are his masterpieces – all with French names, though prepared with native ingredients! Filipino cooks who prefer to be called “chefs”, are obviously, so ashamed to name their dishes based on the main ingredient that they use. Perhaps, they should name, for instance, snail cooked in coconut milk, just as “ginataang kuhol”, the fern tops salad as “kinilaw na pako”, the “pinakbet” as just that, as named, coconut pith salad, as “kinilaw na ubod ng niyog”, misua soup as “sopas na misua” instead of “angel’s hair soup”, etc. There is, however, a problem with the “bird’s nest soup” that should be named “sinopas na laway ng ibon”.

There are a few Filipinos based in other countries, and who have ventured into the restaurant business, but most still prefer to hide their Filipino identity by using foreign-sounding names for their establishment, afraid that they will not attract customers, other than fellow Filipinos. Most also prefer to offer Mediterranean dishes introduced by the Spanish colonizers in the Philippines, such as the “arroz Valenciana”, “chorizo”, “estofado”, etc. when these can be prepared the Filipino way and given Filipino names. The hypocritical effort is obviously, an acrid residue of colonial mentality.

It is interesting to note that, in Arab countries, “saluyot” is used as an ingredient in spicy chicken curry, but in our country, only the lowly Filipinos eat the said vegetable, despite the already known fact, that it can prevent diabetes. A classy Chinese restaurant in Manila serves “alugbate” as an appetizer, but again, only mostly Visayans appreciate the said vegetable which is also known as Madagascar spinach or Chinese spinach, and those who cook it, know only of monggo as the appropriate taste enhancer. Still in the Middle East, one way to prepare eggplant is to sauté it in oil and spices until it becomes mushy, which then, is eaten with bread. But in the Philippines, despite the abundance of eggplant, what most Filipinos know as a dish for it is “tortang talong” or an ingredient in “pinakbet”, or an insignificant ingredient in “achara” or pickles, and still for the lowly, “binagoongang talong” or just “inihaw na talong”.

In Thai restaurants, they serve “bagoong rice” with thin slices of green mango and toasted dried krill (alamang) or baby shrimps on the side. Filipinos love it, but local carinderias do not serve them or only very few even attempt to cook it at home, despite the availability of ingredients in wet markets. Still, Filipinos do not mind paying for the pricey Thai coffee, although, it is just an ordinary black coffee mixed with “condensed milk”, that can be prepared at home. And, to top it all, the mentioned offerings are listed in the menu with Thai names!

So far, only the street food vendors are bold enough to give their palatable goodies “exotic” names, such as ‘adidas” for chicken feet, IUD for chicken intestine, “pares” for soupy mixture of shredded beef, cow skin, chili flakes, soy sauce, and toasted garlic – paired with quick-cooked fried rice.

When Fiilipinos have foreign visitors, they are brought to classy restaurants, unless the latter request for something local. Oftentimes, no initiative is taken by most Filipinos to introduce what are ours. A classic attempt, however, was made by a Filipina when she brought her German guest to a mall and went to the Filipino section for candied tamarind. While picking up a pack, the host was proudly talking about the fruit as being abundant in the Philippines. When the guest looked at the label, she saw a “Made in China” printed prominently as the source of the product!….well, at least the proud Filipina tried.

The Entry of Great Britain in the “China Scene” Shows that Everything is Alright with the Dragon Power

The Entry of Great Britain in the “China Scene”

Shows that Everything is Alright with the Dragon Power

By Apolinario Villalobos

President Xi of China was accorded a very warm reception recently when he visited London. The Prime Minister of the host country admitted that such warmth was equivalent to investments that could be equated to thousands of job.

The Security Council of the United Nations is permanently occupied by the world’s four powers – the United States, Russia, Great Britain, China and France. Of the four, only France has not yet shown an obvious affinity to China. However, with what happened in London, will the nation of great chefs, follow suit, by coming up with an alibi to invite China to their romantic country and entice the touted richest country today, to invest, too? But the biggest question is: what will happen to the United Nations, now that the “check and balance” is lost?

Clearly, the lesser nations shall be at the mercy of the four nations’ charades. It will not be long when the four will finally talk among themselves on how to fairly divide the sickly sphere among them. The United States and China have been patting each other’s back indiscreetly, as while the former has been releasing “threats” of incursion in the latter’s artificial boundaries in the West Philippine Sea… China likewise releases “threats” of appropriate actions as needed – all press release. But in the eyes of those in the know, such are just charades. China’s relation with Russia has no problem at all, as there is a silent understanding about the difference in their respective interest – that of Russia in Europe and that of China in Southeast Asia and even the whole of Asia and the Pacific area, thus, her claim of the West Philippine Sea.

Initially, when China released a statement about her reclamation of islets in the West Philippine Sea, only the United States was specially mentioned that can use the facilities to be installed. Later, general statements were made about the use of facilities for maritime rescue, but still no mention about the claimant countries’ involvement. Very obvious is the ultimate objective of China for a one sided compromise, in her favor, of course. China will definitely not allow the dismantling of her installed facilities if the United Nations will decide on the illegality of reclamations. And, in this case, China has found a new and almost equally powerful supporter – Great Britain, a fellow member of the UN Security Council.

Great Britain has been known for condoning piratical activities of her adventurous seafaring people, notorious among them was Drake. Although, the piratical activity was draped with political intents on the issue of maritime boundaries in conflict with Spain, still the selfish and illegally notorious motive was there – piracy.  In her effort to rid her main territory of criminals, she dumped convicts in the far away island of Australia, to make sure that criminals would not be able to swim their way back home. Finally, her colonial effort resulted to the peopling of the New World – America, that later became the “cradle” of world democracy. By the way, Great Britain supports Malaysia against the Philippines on the issue of Sabah.

Today, the wisdom of China seems to have tamed the world powers. The dragon is, indeed, wise when it has awaken again after thousands of years of slumber.

Early Trade Relations of the Philippines with China

Early Trade Relations of the Philippines with China

By Apolinario Villalobos

While Spain was resolute in her desire to colonize islands with the use of the cross, China was more reclusive, as her rulers were even discouraging the voyages of their people. Nevertheless, the Chinese traders were stubborn in carrying out their occupation to the point of risking their lives in crossing oceans. According to archaeological findings, the natives of the Philippine archipelago had their first contact with the Chinese traders during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907), based on the discovered pot shards which are now at the National Museum.

The hectic trading activity was recorded during the 13th century. Chinese traders coveted the Filipino products such as, corals, gold, cotton, hard wood, edible nuts, gums, resins, rattan, pearls, and many others. In the course of their trading, the Chinese traders intermarried with native women, while establishing commercial centers, a wise move which checked the entry of other trading nationalities. The first mention of the trading activity in the Philippines by the Chinese was in 982, when merchandise from Ma-I (Mindoro), where brought to Canton.

A clear account of how the trading was conducted was mentioned by Chao-Ju-Kua in 1225, in which he said that as soon as the ships of the Chinese traders dropped anchor where the local official was located, they were boarded for checking, after which the natives were already free to ply their trade with the foreign merchants. A converging place was assigned for this commercial activity.

Trading Chinese vessels were also said to have sailed to “Sanhsi” (three islands), which could have been the reference for central Visayas,  also to “Pu-li-lu” (Polilio), and “Tung-Liu-sin” which could be eastern Luzon.

According to the Ming Annals, embassies from Luzon visited China in 1372 and 1408, and brought with them gifts for the emperor, such as small but strong horses. In return, the emperor gave them silk, copper, cash and other valuable things. There is also an account about Chinese traders bringing gifts to the “King of Luzon”.

Natives of Pangasinan had their share of trading with the Chinese as early as 1406 during the Ming Dynasty. Pangasinan was mentioned in the book of Kiyoshi, published by Toyo Gakubo, where it was referred to by the Chinese traders as “Ping-chia-shih-lan”.

When the Spaniards arrived, they found a Chinese settlement of traders along the Pasig River. This settlement was known then, as “Parian”, and later evolved into what is now known as the Manila Chinatown, the oldest in the world. Among the locals, though, it is more popularly called “Ongpin”.