When lower and slower are better

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

Some of my friends and colleagues were curious why I chose to take the six-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin (and the same ride on my way back) instead of Easyjet, which is cheaper and faster.

This became the topic of conversation during a Berlin dinner with Tanja, Susanne, and other Misereor friends. At first I explained my choice with practical reasons such as train seats being more spacious and comfy, and the Hauptbanhof being a short walking distance from my hotel. Then I ended with a cryptic “It’s a philosophical question, actually.” They seemed to pick up my line of argument quickly enough, and I promised them a blog piece on the topic when I have time. Which is now.

Continue reading “When lower and slower are better”

Working-class delicacies on the bus

Consider this as a short cultural note about a barely documented habit among the Filipino workers, peasants, and other poor people who seasonally travel on shoestring budgets from city to hometown, or from provincial town centers back to their barrios. Typically, this habit is most expressed in the mass exodus that happens during Holy Week, All Saints-Souls Days, and Christmas-yearend holidays. Continue reading “Working-class delicacies on the bus”

Why settle for fun? We could gun for awesome instead.

Boxer Codex image
Why settle for fun when our country, in presenting itself to tourists and other countries in general, can scale up to "great and awesome."

Whether for the right or wrong reasons, whether in all sincerity or tinged with irony, many Filipinos have cheerfully taken to the official tourist slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

I don’t doubt that some kinds of pleasures or pleasantries are partaken in the Philippines with a lot more fun than elsewhere. We seem to offer a lot of them with a helping hand, a song and dance routine, a fiesta smile, and endless tables of sumptuous banquets. Centuries of foreign colonial rule made sure to erase the fierce looks of Lapu-Lapu and Bonifacio from our faces, relegating them to stone-cold statues weeping alone in the rain. Continue reading “Why settle for fun? We could gun for awesome instead.”