On Manila, Philippines

"It's a pity that Manila is often disparaged, as there's much more here to like. For one, all the adjectives often used to describe the Philippines- jovial, laid back, casual, corrupt, shambolic, earnest and more are on display here more than anywhere else in the country. It's a truly teeming metropolis that gets bigger each day, both in population, with people pouring in from the hinterlands, and size, as new developments in all directions swallow up villages and rice fields... Rather than seeing Manila as an amorphous mass, focus instead on enjoying its individual areas, and you will start to get a feel for the greater Manila which really is a sum of its parts."
- Philippines (Country Guide) a Lonely Planet Book by Chris Rowthorn, Greg Bloom, Michael Grosberg, Ryan Ver Berkmoes
Manila Population: about 14 million


Alex Tizon: On Being Prepared

"It pays to be prepared, to be as good as you can be in your field, because you never know when luck or opportunity or grace or whatever you want to call it may come knocking. It pays to be up to the task of answering the call in full riot gear -- that is, fully prepared."
-Tomas Alex Tizon, Filipino-American Journalist

"Tomas Alex Tizon, a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, a staff writer at The Seattle Times, a stringer for Newsweek and a contributor to "60 Minutes." At the Seattle Times, he and two colleagues won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism for a five-part series on fraud in the federal Indian housing program. He worked as lead writer on a series about the Washington, D.C., sniper that was a 2003 Pulitzer finalist in deadline reporting."


Banaue Rice Terraces: Eight Wonder of the World

"For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment."
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage, 1995

Update: Since 2001, it has been on the DANGER list of UNESCO.


On Returning "Home"

"All exiles want to go home. Many of the old Filipinos in the United States, never return, but in their imagination they make the journey a thousand times, taking the slowest boats because in their dreamworld time is not as urgent as actual time passing, quicker than arrow, kneading their flesh, crying on their bones. Some fool themselves into thinking theirs is a voluntary exile, but it is not. The ones who stay here to die know this best."
-Bienvenido N. Santos, Author, (Preface: Scent of Apples, 1997)


With Emphasis on the Word "Foreign"

"It never fails. One minute I'm cruising along thinking everything in the Philippines is "normal." Normal as in, it's just like where I come from; the fancy cars, the cable TV, the modern malls, the English speaking populace, the English language newspapers, the proliferation of American schlock like fast food joints and cheesy Hollywood action movies. I'm lulled into a sense of complacency, of thinking that I'm back home living a life no different than I used to in the boring suburban bedroom community of Allentown, Pennsylvania where I grew up. Then, like a snap of the fingers, something comes up, bites me in the butt and says in a deep authoritative voice, "Yessiree son, you are definitely in a third world country, a very foreign land, with emphasis squarely on the word "foreign!"
- Ted Lerner, Columnist, media personality (an American who has made the Philippines his home since 1994)


Carlos P. Romulo: I Walk With Heroes

"Other lives may find their happiest moments infiltrated with tragedy, and their proudest touched with comedy."
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"Let us teach our people again to be proud that they are Filipinos. Let us teach them to realize anew that being a Filipino means having as rich and noble a heritage of language, culture, patriotism and heroic deeds as any nation on earth. Let us teach a steadfast faith in Divine Providence, a stable family institution, the unhampered enjoyment of civil liberties, the advantages of constitutional government, the potentials of a rich and spacious land."
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"A strengthened national spirit can provide the motive power to rise our people from the depths and... pour new life and vigor in the national system.
The reinvigoration of the national spirit must take place in the grass roots, in every city, town and barrio in the Philippines, and it must start among our own people... To be a worthy citizen of the world one must first prove himself to be a good Filipino."
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"Our world is constantly in change and the great change is always toward freedom. When we speak of freedom we speak of equality. Nations will rise and fall but equality remains the ideal."
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"I am a molecule adrift in a mighty ocean, but I see in my life the molecules struggling for its full place. I have seen my struggle duplicated a billion fold, not only in the Philippines, but in Asia and Africa, yes, even here in America. The universal aim is to achieve respect for the entire human race, not for the dominant few."
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"We inch forward like worms dragging in the dust. But the spark is within us all. I have seen it everywhere in our world and I have seen its recognition increase. The worth of the human soul is undergoing a new evaluation, and not by color or creed... I have known heroes old and young, I have seen them live and die. I know more in the process of growing, and their young brave face are lifted in hope. When the world looks dark we must remember them, for we have need of them always, and by their lives they make the rest of our human race worth-while."
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"There is always promise of the interesting tomorrow."
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"All in all, it is a good life we are living, in a good world filled with good friends."
- Carlos P. Romulo (14 January 1899-15 December 1985), Filipino Diplomat, politician, author, Pulitzer Prize winner; excerpts from the autobiographical book I walked with Heroes, 1961


On Maximo M. Kalaw, The Case for the Filipinos

"Maximo M. Kalaw was born at Lipa, Batangas Province, Philippine Islands, in 1891. He attended the public schools of his native town, and later came to Manila where he entered the University of the Philippines. He is distinctly a product of the American system of education established in the Islands. In his second year at the University of the Philippines, he became editor-in- chief of the " The College Folio "— the University magazine. His management of this journal exhibited such marked ability as to attract attention.

He came with the writer to Washington in 1911 as private secretary and manager of "The Filipino People" devoted to the cause of Philippine independence. He has, therefore, been connected with the Philippine independence movement in the United States for five years. He was graduated in law at Georgetown University in 1914.

In 1912 he addressed the annual session of the Lake Mohonk Conference of the Indian and Other Dependent Peoples, Mohonk Lake, New York, and his presentation of the cause of his people elicited such favorable attention as to call forth favorable comment even from the opposition newspapers.

The " Boston Transcript," one of the most persistent enemies of Philippine freedom, had this to say of Mr. Kalaw's speech:"
"This youth delivered an oration — it was not a speech — of such force and beauty of expression as has seldom fallen upon the ears of a Mohonk audience. He advocated independence for his people; he said they were all for it; he complimented our work and sacrifices, but he craved that boon of liberty. At the conclusion of his speech the applause was long continued. In contrast with the ' set speeches ' of many American travelers in the Islands this effort of the native orator carried refreshing frankness and force. Certainly, if the Islands can furnish such men to plead for them, the day of their liberty is not far distant."
- President Manuel L. Quezon, Introduction, The Case for the Filipinos, 1916
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To my comrades, the rising generation of Filipinos, who, though beneficiaries of an alien government, have nobly kept faith with their forefathers.
-Maximo M. Kalaw, Author and Lawyer,
(Dedication page) The Case for the Filipinos, 1916


On Nationalism

"We must transcend our petty selves, forget our hurts and bitterness, cast aside thought of revenge, and let sanity, reason, and above all, love of country prevail during our gravest hour."
- Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., Senator and modern day Filipino hero (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983)


On Jeepneys

"You don't have to be long in the country to appreciate that the jeepney expresses the Filipino spirit: emotional, exuberant and celebratory, endearing and unwary."
- Michael Palin, English comedian, Travel Author, Actor, Writer

photo credit: View


On Poverty, America is in the Heart

"The revolt in Tayug made me aware of the circumscribed life of the peasants... I was determined to leave that environment and all its crushing forces, and if I were successful in escaping unscathed, I would go back someday to understand what it meant to be born of the peasantry. I would go back because I was part of it, because I could not really escape from it no matter where I went or what became of me. I would go back to give significance to all that was starved and thwarted in my life."
-Carlos Bulosan, Poet and Author (America is in the Heart, A personal History. 1946)


On Fiestas

"When I wrote the Fiesta everybody was against fiestas. Everybody wanted to eradicate it, they felt it was the greatest bond against progress…but I saw the fiesta as our highest community expression…that was the impression it made on me so I wanted to preserve it."

- Alejandro "Anding" Roces, National Artist of the Philippines for Literature (when asked to talk about his motivation for writing one of his famous books, "The Fiesta" that came out in 1980.)


On People and Humanity

"For the record, I love humanity, it's people I can't stand."
- Jessica Zafra, Author and Columnist (Twisted- The Night of the Living Twisted)


On the Filipino People

"Filipinos have lived 400 years in a convent and 50 years in Hollywood."
- Carmen Guerero Nakpil, Author


On National Independence

"Instead of aspiring to be a mere province, aspire to be a nation; develop an independent not colonial mentality; resignation is not always a virtue it is a crime when it encourages oppression. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves."
- Jose P. Rizal, Philippine National Hero

12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country

1. Follow traffic rules. Follow the law. 2. Whenever you buy or pay for anything, always ask for an official receipt. 3. Don’t buy smuggled goods. Buy Local. Buy Filipino. 4. When you talk to others, especially foreigners, speak positively about us and our country. 5. Respect your traffic officer, policeman and soldier. 6. Do not litter. Dispose your garbage properly. Segregate. Recycle. Conserve. 7. Support your church. 8. During elections, do your solemn duty. 9. Pay your employees well. 10. Pay your taxes. 11. Adopt a scholar or a poor child. 12. Be a good parent. Teach your kids to follow the law and love our country. - Alexander L. Lacson, Lawyer and Author