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With Ricarte in Yokohama

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In Tokyo, the International House of Japan has a famous reference library that has on its locked Rare Book shelf a privately printed book, “Nippon in Spring” by Esmeraldo E. de Leon, the “Souvenir of the Second Filipino Students Educational Party to Japan in 1936.”

Posted: September 19th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Books and privacy

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What books are significant to you? Facebook introduced this challenge to get people engaged and read the advertisements that boost its revenues. Facebook friends ask the same intrusive question to get people to disclose a bit more about themselves. Don’t think too hard, they ask, just give a list.

Posted: September 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

History in language

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Bibingka is sometimes used as a vulgar slang word to describe a part of the female anatomy, but for many Pinoys it means a rice cake that we associate with Christmas and the dawn Masses that precede it. When I presented a paper on rice in the Philippines at a conference in New York University, the actress and food writer Madhur Jaffrey reacted to my photo of bibingka and said it was from India!

Posted: September 12th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Rizal the bed spacer

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In his student memoirs, Jose Rizal speaks very fondly about his Jesuit education at Ateneo Municipal compared to his stay in the Dominican-run University of Santo Tomas (the Royal and Pontifical University in the Philippines at the time). One should be fair on this issue and remember that Ateneo Municipal was a high school with a very strong humanities orientation, while Santo Tomas was a university where Rizal took premed courses. Rizal’s Ateneo high school grades were straight A’s (or sobresaliente) compared to the Santo Tomas grades which were quite good although sprinkled with notable (very good), bueno (good), and even one aprobado (passed) in general pathology and pathologic histology.

Posted: September 10th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Playground of the mind

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In my first year of teaching at the University of the Philippines Diliman, some seasoned professors offered tips on how to torment my students. One dean said he would hire me if I promised to follow his pedagogical method—terrorism. I replied that I couldn’t terrorize my students even if I tried because of my cheerful disposition. Of course, I bit my tongue and didn’t explain further that I had a happy childhood.

Posted: September 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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