Solving transport woes with our own roadmap

In recent years, transport problems of all kinds have hounded the Philippines from far north to far south.

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

“You’re exaggerating, as usual,” says my acerbic friend Kabsat Kandu. “What transport problem in the far north are you talking about, tell me? Flights to Batanes are going on regularly.”

Well, maybe the Manila-Basco flights are okay. That’s because the picturesque Batanes islands have become a favorite tourist destination of those who can afford it. But what if you’re a Cagayan Valley DepEd official wanting to visit public schools in Babuyan islands? What are your options? Have you tried crossing over from Claveria to Calayan, across the treacherous Babuyan Channel? Continue reading “Solving transport woes with our own roadmap”

Indigenous spirits revisited

Consider the choice: either spend a weekend in glitzy Las Vegas, or a full week in an Indian village in upstate New York with only minimal amenities. Which one to choose?

A typical Native American sweat lodge. Photo courtesy of Abram’s Creek Lodge (

If you choose Las Vegas, here’s ten bucks, good luck with the slot machines. If you choose upstate New York, this column is for you.

I was with the Cordillera People’s Alliance when we were invited by American indigenous activists to attend the Land Is Life founding conference. It was decided that I go to represent the CPA . The conference, to be attended by IP representatives and rights advocates from the various continents, was to be held in Fonda in upstate New York. Continue reading “Indigenous spirits revisited”

Good morning, towel!

Since I was a child, I’ve often noticed jeepney drivers, conductors, and mechanics wearing one over their shoulders or keeping one handily tucked into their pants pocket. Even though our street corner was teeming with jeepneys all day long, we didn’t use it at home. So I had always associated it with the hoi polloi, the Great Unwashed of the streets.

Good Morning towel
The famous East Asian "Good Morning" towel

Then I became an activist. Driven by martial law repression, I went full-time into underground activism from 1976 onward, with Metro Manila as our regular AOR, plus some parts of Cavite and a strip of Bulacan as our “rear base,” sort of. There I first met up-close the plebeian Good Morning Towel, aka GMT. Continue reading “Good morning, towel!”