Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Regarding The Long Journey of a Tired People
Also published as Winds of Change Bypassing the Philippines.
[Photo: Rio having fun with a mask he made]

It's been a while since I've posted some feedback. It's easier to write by throwing ideas and words into the soil of the internet, which has now become one of my mental compost pits. It helps develop the rhythm needed to continuously have this urge to hack of the branches unnecessary text.

But it's much harder to maintain an updated log of activities. What to choose and how to choose still interferes with what to write or when to start work on this or that piece or this or that chapter of the new book. Unlike aquarelles, which used to disrupt the mind but which now acts as a necessary space between ideas, the act of posting web logs function like parallel streets -- down a particular road, instead of a house you're looking for a particular idea or context or image and the problem is the address of that idea is not perpendicular to what is fermenting in your mind and you keep missing it even though you run the length of the street and pass by many other dwellings. At least that's how it feels to my geographically dyslexic mind. I have no sense of direction -- I wander and like wandering -- but there is a rhythm to getting lost that I look for, a sort of mood which is not really a mood, but a mode of search that allows for the minute it takes to climb a tree, go up above the canopy, stop by a flower, walk across a panoply of vegetation, jump into a pit, or wade into dark waters.

But anyway, this is supposed to be about some letters and I've done my mental exercises already. Thanks for dropping by.

Here they are.


Hi Red,

This is so elegantly written that I had to forward it to my other egroups. Hope you don't mind. ;=)




Do you ever shed tears for our country, Prof. Constantino?

Cesar Torres



nakakaiyak nga ito. But we all need to be whacked on the head the
way these words do it. Thanks man.



Nakakabagabag at masakit sa dibdib.




very strong piece. From an old woman trying hard not to be tired,



that pierced my heart to its marrows.

Fr. Nonie



hello po. ngayon ko lang nabasa yung email mo. uhmmn medyo nagulat ako. speechless ba. dahil naisip mo ako para sa writings na yun. tapos sa isip ko lang ha kahanay pa ni Bobby Tanada. parang ows??!!! ganun. uhmmn bakit nga ba? wag ka alala kung nabasa mo yung entry ko tungkol sa "kultura ng kapaguran".

hindi ang sarili ko ang tinutukoy ko dun :) mas naniniwala ako na yung nagsabi sa akin ng "you know how stupid Filipinos are." ay mayroong kultura ng walang paki-alam.

Okey lang ba na ipost ko ulit sa blog ko to aside from forwarding it to frieds online.

honestly, nakakagising to ng diwa (ko). nakakapagdagdag pag-iisip ng kung ano ba ang magagawa ko para sa bayan. kahit na wala ako sa pinas.

nakakalungkot pero tulad mo at tulad ng iba hindi kami dapat manahimik.

Naforward ko na pala to :)

nice writing Red :)

Good Luck po :)


[RED'S NOTE: Nalen is Melai, for whom this article was written; para din ito kay Bobby Tanada. Melai is currently based in Singapore and was a buddy during college days at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines during the great administration of Nemesio Prudente. Melai was a member of the acclaimed theater group Dulaang Katig. Regarding The Long Journey of a Tired People. Titled in other publications as Winds of Change Bypassing the Philippines. Check out Nalen's blog here.]


RED'S NOTE: Melai forwarded to me a letter that one of her blog's readers wrote to her. Italicized text in this letter refers to parts of the Long Journey article cited by Nalen's friend. Valentine's na nga; nakakataba ng puso ang sulat.

Grabe! Ang galing talaga nyang sumulat! Ilang beses na akong nakabasa ng mga articles nyang si red Constantino eh. Saka Maka-Red ang tatay ko sobra!

Gusto ko 'tong mga linyang 'to...

Every year we are told that the country is on the verge of takeoff, and every year we wonder why we seem to have the longest runway in the world.

Saka eto pa...

Here, political science does not apply because the government is an absurd animal. It is a preening, snorting bull that tramples and gores the weak, and a sheep in sheep's clothing that fondles the feet of the mighty. It is a bull-sheep government capable of astounding feats: it can swagger and slaughter unarmed dissenters and, for a piece of American generosity, it can spring from its own jail and escort to the US embassy an American soldier sentenced to spend 40 years behind bars for rape.

So true!

Eto pa...

And the truth is, this tyranny of shamelessness - this rule of misrule that we find ourselves in today -- can only thrive in a climate of forgetting and spectatorship.

Galing! Sapul na sapul!

Once upon a time, there was a country that could benefit from the best that its people had to give. Today, its economic fundamentals are evident: children in schools pose as sardines in tiny tin cans, public health is on the auction block, and larceny is the only state-supported enterprise.

Proud pa ang bansa sa mga tin cans na yan!

Today, nine million Filipinos are toiling abroad because in their own country they cannot provide for their families or nurture their dreams.

Nagtataka pa sila na maraming Pinoy ang gustong mangibang-bansa! Sa totoo lang, te, ang sweldo ko is higher than average. Pero ang tax, susme! Pagkalaki! Di bale ng malaki kung alam ko naman na may napapala ako sa binabayad ko... kaso mo open-secret naman sa bansa natin na diretso sa bulsa ng mga tiwali ang taxes!

Hay... naantig ang puso ko nito! And to think dedicated ito sayo! Hahahah... Pang-Valentine's day nga for you, kasi nakakaantig ng puso kapag binasa... lol :)


Feedback from Malaysia Sun:

By Anonymous, 02-09-07, 10:57 AM
Winds of change bypassing Philippines

A most beautiful article; style, content and significance./ 

Quite a comment on Libertarian Economics. 



By hefenator, 02-09-07, 11:16 AM
The Spirit of the Philippino People

I’m an American and I love going to the Philippines. The people there have a great spirit and love of life. I’m hopeful that the country can elect leadership that will eventually bring the much sought after “First World Status”. I beleive that if any people in the world can perservere it is the Philippino people. Maybe I’m just an optimist, but hey that is better than the author fo this article. In America some people say “Love it, or leave it”, maybe it is time for the author to leave and see if the grass is greener on the othere side.


By beacon4u, 02-09-07, 11:50 AM
More power to you!

I am deeply touched! Your sentiments are my sentiments. My heart goes out to the poor in the Philippines, especally the children. I have those words scrambled in my head and you put them down in writing with astounding eloquence and with so much truth! More power to you, Sir!


By Anonymous, 02-09-07, 06:21 PM
Stop wanting to be the U.S.

As an American expatriate here in the Philippines I would like to say that you need to STOP listening to America and the West. Stop trying to copy their systems. Find your own solutions to problems, Filipino solutions.


By Terry Malone, 02-09-07, 09:49 PM
Marvellous article

Thank you so much for this. It is so exacting in its presentation, and a credit to your news site. I have not been to the Philippines for many years but remember well the downfall of Marcos and the great hope it heralded. It is such a shame that all these years later the country is going backwards while those in charge are still the only ones reaping benefits.


By Sandman, 02-10-07, 02:47 AM
Exodus of the heroes....as slaves

A friend once told me, the Philippines is being treated by a higher being (God, Allah, Yahweh or ID, take your pick), to prepare them for emigration and integration into societies all over the world. It is the destiny of Filipinos, to be in the background, silent yet deadly. We do not advertise our positions, till the enemy’s overconfidence has doomed themselves. 

Take heed. First and final warning... 

Taong Buhangin


By Gully, 02-10-07, 04:51 AM
Sad and more sad

I live here and love this place.I was totallly amazed at the Leaders forcast that the Philippines was now second world. 

Where does she live and spend her time. 

This place is not even fourth world. 

Any place where the politicians actually handle the money without account, where judges and reporters get killed ,where unemployment is 90%, where corruption goes ALL the way to the bottom,is a long way from 2 world. 


By bluetorch, 02-10-07, 05:48 AM

What the author is saying is really reality. That reality really forced me to be out of the country just to send my kids to school and to have their own self ready for this reality. 

Now we have to enhance the skill of our countrymen just to export them as maids in other countries and of course for a fee, another load to us just to support our families. What a shame!!! If the government is really honest to help its people why not trained them for free and assist them in getting works abroad if they are helpless to give substantial jobs in the country? 

How I wish to be back in the Philippines for good but as I see it, it’s going back for bad not only for me but for the whole family.


By The Angry American, 02-10-07, 07:04 AM
Blame, blame, blame

Maybe Filipinos should stop blaming America and take some responsibility for themselves. It’s very easy for anyone, espcially the lazy, to place blame on others. Those that truly thrive decide to do so and do so regardless of the actions of others. Blaming somone else is the lazy, Filipino, way.


By Anonymous, 02-09-07, 11:01 AM
winds of change bypassing philippines

Quite a comment on individual behavior.


By Anonymous, 02-09-07, 07:21 PM
Why Filipinos behave they way they are

As an American black boy borned in the Philippines almost 60 years ago, I could not get US citizenship because my US GI father abandoned my mother. After I got my education there and immigrated to Canada. I tried to get dual citizenship (Canadian and Filipino) last year so I can retire in the Philippines. And here I am, with Canadian pension and willingness to invest in the local economy and I was turned down by the Philippine Consulate in Canada. And they wanted me to apply for US citizenship instead, the country that treated my mother as a WHORE. I just could not believe it! This must be the effect of the Emericanization of the Philippines in early 1900 to 1920 where are Filipinos were EDUCATED in the American way of life. Anybody who resisted were sent to Guam, Hawaii or put in prison until they smarten up.(just search the Google in the history of the American-Filipino War of the 1900s). It’s no kidding Filipinos behave the way they are today. 

Maybe I am wrong but I will try to go the Philippines again maybe this year or next year and try to convince them that I really love this country because they were the ones who helped me get educated and nourished. I also thank the US for giving us kids (there must be hundreds of us kids in the 50’s) being given food rations for abandoned GI children although it was humilating because our mothers were looked down upon.