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Japan under our skin

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Toshinao Urabe, ambassador of Japan, led us through a delicate dinner at his residence recently, which made me realize that the Japanese really eat with their eyes. An elaborate dinner service, fine lacquerware and creative plating of each dish delighted our senses before the food was actually tasted and consumed. This was cultural diplomacy at its best. As they say, one of the best ways into people’s hearts is through the belly.

Posted: June 27th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

America in our Declaration of Independence

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Philippine independence from Spain was declared from the window of Emilio Aguinaldo’s home in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. On that day the Philippine flag was officially unfurled as the national flag and the martial music composed by Julian Felipe first played by a band would later have words added to the tune and become our national anthem.

Posted: June 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Japan in 17th-century Philippine history

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Veteran journalists once advised younger ones like me to take a break from column deadlines when travelling abroad. Those were the days when journalists used a manual typewriter, an age before the computer and the Internet.

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

US presidents and comfort food

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It is hard to outdo the “sushi diplomacy” rolled out for Barack Obama when he was in Tokyo last week.

Posted: April 30th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Lupang Hinirang’ or ‘Bayang Magiliw’?

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Archived on YouTube is an engaging TED talk delivered by Joey Ayala at the University of the Philippines Diliman that proposes a more musical and euphonic way of singing the national anthem. While his version makes sense and is definitely in tune with Filipino sentiment and musicality, it runs counter to the present Flag Law that needs review and perhaps revision by Congress. To appreciate Ayala’s version, it is definitely better than the “hataw-birit” renditions sung as introduction to Manny Pacquiao’s boxing matches in the United States that mimic the American anthem.

Posted: March 14th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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