Do bilingual Filipinos enjoy an advantage?

Cordillera Day 2004 with "Tarzan" (Jim Bakker) and Sr. Genny

This blog piece grew from my comment on a humorous post of an FB friend about the bilingualism that comes so naturally to young children growing up in bilingual environments. The humor arose from a meme triggered by a viral news piece, about Princess Charlotte of Wales speaking two languages at age two—to which someone retorted that this was usual among immigrant children but didn’t hug the headlines because they were poor (unlike children of famous royalty).

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Romancing the sword (4)

This is Part 4 of a multi-part essay written for my “Pathless Travels” column. It was originally published in Northern Weekly Dispatch, 21 Aug 2005, and which I then reposted a few months later on my defunct blog hosted at Blogspot. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.
The year was 2005, and the GMA broadcast network had scored a big hit with the sword-and-sorcery TV series Encantadia. Sword battle movies were on the comeback trail worldwide, from Hollywood to China, and the genre seemed to appeal to Filipino sensitivities. But does it really unlock insights to our own history? From our rich historical military legacy as a people, are we learning anything practical and applicable to our own times?

Suicide volunteers had their limbs and torsos tightly bound in fibrous cloth or leather strips. Then, on signal, they assaulted the enemy lines with kampilan, kalis or bolo tied with thongs to the wrist of each hand, as they shouted “Allah’u akbar!” or “Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” or simply “Tadtad!” Illustration is by Ellsworth Young, from

I hope that you, most patient readers, have followed me thus far. Maybe you get in a vague way what I’m trying to say but can’t pin it down. Some of you might suspect that this is merely a nostalgia trip that meanders from one hazy idea to the next. So let me try and summarize the whole nebulous thought in one short paragraph:

War is too important to society to be left only to the professional soldiery. It must be the serious and routine business of the whole citizenry. Let us learn from our rich military legacy, not just through films and books, but by preserving and using what is still of practical use. Continue reading “Romancing the sword (4)”

Fake Spanish freaks, stay away!

dictionary image
I threw a little farkin' title up there, so I'll have your attention when I lash away at ignorant mongers of fake loan words from Spain. Sometimes it's a simple matter of looking up the word in the dictionary, for the correct range of meanings, or if it exists at all as a word.

No, this isn’t an ultra-nationalist or racist rant, and sorry if the title sounds that way. In fact, right now I’m having a long and lovely affair with (or rather, rediscovery of) Spanish culture and language. I threw a little farkin’ title up there, so I’ll have your attention when I lash away at ignorant mongers of fake loan words from Spain.

Continue reading “Fake Spanish freaks, stay away!”