The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


While Divisoria has always been known as the shoppers’ Mecca, especially, during Christmas, there is” another side” of it which I do not want to present as an image of poverty but that of perseverance, patience, and honest endeavor. This is the “other Divisoria” which many people just refuse to see as it might cause them to puke! The accompanying photos show how these honest Filipinos contentedly strive to live in sheer honesty.


The skeptics always say, “it is their fault for going to Manila and suffer deprivation”. These hypocrite skeptics have  TV, radio, and occasionally read newspapers, so they should know that the provinces from where these people who are eking out an honest living on the “other side” of Divisoria, are infested with NPAs, Abu Sayyaf, opportunistic landlords, and loan sharks. For the arrogant, the world is just for those who can afford to live decently. On the other hand, as these skeptics have not endured days of hunger, they may not understand how it is to make a difficult decision to live a hand-to-mouth life in Manila by scavenging in garbage dumps, rather than die of hunger and be in constant fear for dear life in the province.


It is true that the slums have been in existence for many decades now, but there would be no slums had the government ever since the time the nation has become independent, did not get infested with corrupt lawmakers and officials. The slums have been around since the time that deprivation and exploitation have been propagated by learned Filipinos who found their way in the halls of Congress and Senate, as well as, agencies, even at the helm of the government. Unfortunately, the seed of exploitation has grown into an uncontrollable proportion today, making corruption as wrongly and unfairly viewed to be always a part of the Filipino culture.


The striving people from the slums near Divisoria, and other districts of Manila, in this regard, may be viewed by the arrogant as akin to dogs and cats, because of their many children, oftentimes making them utter unsavory remark, such as, “they know they are poor, yet, they keep on having children”.


How I wish these skeptics can also openly, make biting remarks –

  • to the corrupt politicians and government officials, such as, “they graduated from prestigious universities and colleges, yet, they do not know what is right or wrong”


  • to the filthy rich, such as, “they have plenty of money, yet they can’t even throw a piece of bread to a beggar”


  • to the stiff-necked Catholic priests, pastors, and other religious ministers such as, “they are supposed to be representatives of the Lord, but they can’t afford to take a look at the spiritually hungry”


Finally, compared to the disgusting hypocrites, loan sharks, corrupt government officials, arrogant “religious ministers” and conscienceless rich, who are supposed to be learned and intelligent, the people who honestly make a living such as those who belong to the “other side” of Divisoria, are worthy to be called creatures of God – true human beings…slum denizens who are viewed by aforementioned with utter repugnance.


(This blog will definitely, not hurt those who do not belong to the mentioned “classes” of loathsome Filipinos.)



The Need to Re-examine the historical books about the People whom Spanish Colonizers called “Filipinos”

The Need to Re-examine the Historical Books

About the People whom Spanish Colonizers called “Filipinos”

By Apolinario Villalobos

It is surprising to know that well-known writers were vocal about the supposedly Malaysian ancestry of the Filipinos, a reference which yet, was imposed by the Spanish colonizers. These early writers obviously based their claim on the “Ten Bornean Datus” and the “Code of Kalantiaw”, the veracity of which, have been questioned, since researchers today consider them as “legends”. Pre-Spanish history books made mention about the natives of the islands of Southeast Asian islands, and with whom the early traders such as Indians, Arabs and Chinese had a prosperous commercial intercourse, and in the process intermarried with them. It could be possible that because of trading ventures, those from the Malay Peninsula who have ventured into the Philippine archipelago could have also intermarried with the natives just like the three mentioned groups of traders, but who were never referred to as the ancestors of Filipinos in general . It is unfair then to make a sweeping reference to the Malaysians as the common ancestors of the Filipinos.

The following are some disturbing quotes:

From the poem,”I am a Filipino Boy”, by Amado M. Yuzon, in his book, “The Citizen’s Poems” (1960), the first two line state:

“I am a Filipino boy,

Runs in my veins, Malayan blood;”

From the poem, “Filipinas”, of the same author, from the same book, the second paragraph states:

“I see its face upon your face,

My friend, my sister, my brother;

Your browny skin is its Malayan race,

The Blessed Damosel(?) its mother.

From the book, “Philippine Civics” (1932), used in elementary schools during the American Regime, and authored by Conrado Benitez, p. 16 of Chapter I, the last paragraph states:

“At this point you should recall your Philippine History. How did the first Malay settlers of the Philippines reach these islands? Did they not come in boats called barangays? Yes, these boats or barangays, were loaded with families of Malay immigrants which were related to one another and which constituted a gens(?), or clan, that was under a headman, or chief, or dato. (He must be referring to the legendary “Ten Bornean Datus”).

On page  220, Benitez, emphasized the “Malays” by stating:

“The activities of these early Malays were characterized by cooperation……” (referring to the early Filipinos).

Another emphasis which the same author made was on the title itself of Chapter XIV:

“CHAPTER XIV – How Spain Built Upon our Old Malay Government”

Still, on page 270, Benitez, stated, under a sub-chapter, Bill Of Rights: “Under our old Malayan government, the people had few personal rights.”

Practically, the book of Benitez is replete with reference to the Malaysian ancestry of Filipinos, quoting them all would need several blog pages.  At the time of the book’s publication, he was the Director of Business Administration of the University of the Philippines. His family established the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), located along Taft Avenue. While he was still alive, clamors to re-write history books of the Philippines were loud in view of the questionable ancestry of the Filipinos, based on the controversial “Ten Bornean Datus” and “Code of Kalantiaw”, but he did nothing to republish his own book with necessary rectifications. Researchers who may encounter a copy of the book then, but who has no knowledge on the questionable issue of the Filipino ancestry, will definitely, gobble up the information that Benitez presented.

While the issue on Filipino ancestry has not been settled yet, the Philippine government has added confusion by allowing “authorities” in converting the textbooks into workbooks on other subjects, leaving many students ignorant of what really happened in the past, such as the effort of many national heroes who practically shed blood to gain freedom for the country.

On the issue of Mindanao autonomy, there is no need to cite questionable historic references to give it weight, as we, the people of the Philippines are proud anyway, or our unique Filipino race. There is diversity in religion and culture, just like in any other country, but what cannot be questioned is the harmony that unites us all. And, just like in any other country, the world over, the meddling of politics creates animosities in our country, resulting to the suffering of the Filipinos as a people.