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The Philippines under Portugal?

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Contrary to popular belief, I frequent Ermita for antique shops and Solidaridad Bookstore, not for the sad remainder of a once-bustling red-light district that has since moved to the northern end of Makati Avenue. Manila’s red-light district used to be in an area between Ermita Church and Malate Church, both shrines of venerated images of the Virgin Mary. Not wishing to lose this religious element, the Makati red-light district is concentrated around P. Burgos Street, named in honor of Fr. Jose A. Burgos (the “bur” in “Gomburza”).

Posted: March 26th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Japan in Philippine history

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Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai who was received in Mexico, Spain, the Vatican, and the Philippines as a Spanish ambassador in a romantic seven-year journey. He was given an audience by King Philip III in Madrid, was baptized at the Real Monasterio de Descalzas Reales where the Duke Lerma stood as ninong, then was received by Pope Paul V and granted honorary citizenship by the City of Rome.

Posted: October 31st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Bohol and the blood compact

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Tuesdays and Thursdays are toxic for me because these are the days I teach courses on the Philippines in Sophia University, Tokyo. To complicate matters, these are the days I beat the deadline for my Inquirer columns. Last Tuesday after Philippine history class, a Japanese student came up and asked if I had heard about the earthquake in Bohol. I replied that I would check in the afternoon, and the images I saw online were very depressing indeed.

Posted: October 18th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Santo Niño de Cebu

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Homesick Pinoys in Tokyo like myself attend Sunday Mass at St. Ignatius Church because Filipino food is available for sale from car boots in the street outside. Comfort food like lugao, pork barbecue, banana-Q, pancit, puto and kutsinta are readily available to warm heart and belly in the lonely winter. The sound of spoken Filipino [...]

Posted: January 29th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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