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Filipinos wrong to celebrate independence on June 12

Republic act No. 4166 affirms Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s proclamation of Philippine independence from Spain, in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898. But that proclamation was invalidated by the Treaty of Paris, a peace agreement that ended the Spanish-American War. Under this treaty, Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States of America, for $20 million.

Posted: April 14th, 2014 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

In defense of the state

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Two occurrences that took place during my high school days come to mind as one follows recent developments on the national security front.

Posted: March 31st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A living past in Kyoto

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When you pick up a travel book on Japan, one of the first sentences you’ll read is: “If you go to only one place in Japan, Kyoto should be it.”

Posted: March 31st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The most popular Filipino in world history

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Earlier this month, the Pantheon project website of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab went live. Pantheon, or at least its first version, is an impressive but necessarily incomplete attempt to measure “the global popularity of historical characters” (this and other project-descriptive quotes are from the Methods section of the website). It uses two measures.

Posted: March 25th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Our only republic

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In his column “Newsstand” (Opinion, 2/12/13), John Nery noted that Malacañang referred to President Aquino as “the 15th President of the Philippines, and the fifth President of the Fifth Republic.” Nery questioned the historical and legal accuracy of a “Fifth Philippine Republic.” We are also doing so.

Posted: March 22nd, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Political accommodation: a lesson from 1890

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The more things change, the more they remain the same—especially in politics. I was reminded of this constant truth all over again when I reread an unusual letter Marcelo del Pilar wrote Jose Rizal in 1890.

Posted: March 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Remember Figueroa?

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There was a time when all our coins, down to the near-worthless one-centavo coin, had the image of a historical figure engraved on them. One could then learn some Philippine history by looking at the face of the coins and about significant Philippine flora and fauna on the reverse.

Posted: February 28th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Flowers in gun barrels

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“Suddenly, there they were,” Corazon Aquino marveled. A People Power uprising uprooted the 14-year-old Marcos dictatorship, avoiding bloodshed. She became Asia’s first ever woman president.

Posted: February 22nd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Enough is enough

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This is too important to let pass, Ruby Tuason will still be there tomorrow. Was P-Noy right to suggest that China’s leaders are doing a Hitler?

Posted: February 11th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Flora de Filipinas’

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Known to Filipino bibliophiles as an oversized set of books, “Flora de Filipinas,” published in the 19th century, contains obsolete text and timeless illustrations of Philippine flowers as classified by the Augustinian botanist Manuel Blanco. It is rare to find a complete set in mint condition, which accounts for its hefty price tag. Three decades ago my father and I walked past the Amsterdam coffee houses that served marijuana, and pretended to be uninterested in the red-light district where women of all colors, shapes, sizes, and perversions were displayed in open shop windows. My father wanted to buy an old map of the Philippines, so we went to the shop of Nico Israel who had reprinted Carlos Quirino’s pioneering “Philippine Cartography.”

Posted: February 6th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

I Remember

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My claim to fame in writing is grounded on the fact that I remember a lot of things, this despite increasing senior moments. One of my favorite topics, corruption, has long threads throughout post WWII Philippine history. These threads provide context, something that unfortunately many columnists would rather not refer to as context makes hot issues old issues. Context puts substance, too, and substance often makes sensationalism look trashy.

Posted: February 6th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion,Viewpoints | Read More »

Adventures with soy sauce

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My first morning in any foreign country is usually spent trying out the local breakfast and going over the local newspaper. Before visiting any of the recommended tourist spots, I head to the local market or the grocery closest to my hotel to get a sense of prices and learn a few useful words for fruit, vegetables, bottled water, and chichiria to help me navigate restaurant menus later. One can learn a lot about a new place and people by sampling their food.

Posted: January 28th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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