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Why we stay


Last Thursday, the University of the Philippines’ board of regents appointed me chancellor of UP Diliman, the flagship campus, and although my term did not officially start until March 2, I had to hit the ground running, including arranging for transfers of responsibilities from being a college dean. I’m glad to say, too, that both in UP and the Inquirer, I have been given the go-signal to continue doing this column, thanks in part to readers who wrote in to convince me to continue.

Posted: March 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

‘Winds, waves, wars, words’ (2)


Last Monday I delivered a keynote speech at Tabaoan, a conference of writers organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. I adopted the theme of the conference, “Winds, waves, wars, words,” as the title of my keynote.

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

Surge or shrink


I’ve been working on a research project looking into young people’s use of “chemicals”—medicines, supplements, cosmetics—on their bodies, and one of the more alarming findings was the use of testosterone, including injectable forms.

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

Heritage, knowledge


When we hear the words “heritage” and “historical conservation,” we think immediately of old buildings, churches in particular, in the Philippines.

Posted: February 5th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Child rights and WCST


I wrote the other Wednesday about the exposé of WCST in the Philippines by Terre des Hommes Netherlands (TdH), leading to international calls for governments to crack down. WCST means “webcam child sex tourism,” where minors are made to perform live shows on the Internet for pedophile customers.

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

Race and Mandela


To fully understand Nelson Mandela’s legacy—to South Africa and to the world—we need to address the issue of racism. This is especially important for us Filipinos, because we too often suffer from racial discrimination and, even sadder, we can be quite racist ourselves.

Posted: December 11th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Translating ‘Silent Night’


“Silent Night” is one of the most loved Christmas carols, but imagine translating it into Tagalog and singing it.

Posted: December 6th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Corpses, corruption


At the University of the Philippines we have a team of social scientists who are now beginning to gather stories from survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” to derive lessons for future disaster responses.

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Too slow, too fast


Two stark ironies stand out in the wake of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” variations on a “too fast, too slow” theme.

Posted: November 14th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Generics at 25


President Corazon Aquino commented in Filipino, “We have suffered for a long time; every time we get sick, we are forced to pay high prices for medicines.” Health Secretary Alfredo Bengzon declared, “Today, we create history. The unanimous passage of the bill by the people’s representatives truly makes it a people’s bill.”

Posted: October 1st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Muslims, martial law


Last Monday the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of the Philippines Diliman began a series of activities to mark the 41st anniversary of the declaration of martial law. We started with a symposium featuring Amina Rasul as guest speaker with the topic “cultural sensitivity.”

Posted: September 17th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



Reading about Ateneo de Manila’s 40th anniversary of being coeducational reminded me of how old I am. On a play of the phrase “east is east and west is west,” at the time my sister and I were in the schools on Katipunan, it was “Ateneo is for boys and Maryknoll is for girls, and never shall the twain meet” (at least not openly).

Posted: September 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »



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