Friday, December 18, 2009

Pinoy Top Thinkers Today (2009)

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

In my simple tradition to honor 20 of the Philippines top living and influential thinkers every year whose thoughts and voices have impacted in our country, this 2009 roster of intellectuals includes politicians, jurists, entertainers, academics, economists, and green advocates. The upcoming fully-automated May 2010 presidential election has predisposed the outcome of my prestigious listing. Consequently, majority of them are candidates and seasoned politicians.

This personal listing which started in 2008 (the list of last year’s Top Pinoy Thinkers is still available at was inspired by the annual top 100 public intellectuals of the powerful Foreign Policy (FP) Magazine.

The intent to come up with this crème of the crop roll of honor affirms my belief that Filipino rational has a league of its own and to recognize our own modern living scholars, the counterparts of the late legendary Filipino thinkers such as Jose Rizal and Apolinario Mabini, or global cerebral figures such as Barack Obama, Francis Fukuyama, and more, would bring cognizance among Filipino netizens and other nationals inside the halls of the transborder information superhighway.

Their inclusion for being leading thinkers today are based on the following criteria: articles, books, blogs, columns, essays, lecture, views, poems, and prose they pen or written about them. Various comments from known mediums such as the boobtube and youtube, social networking, campaigns, speeches, accomplishments, and academic distinctions that made them who they are today as leading Filipino intellectuals.

Let’s welcome the movers and shakers of 2009 who make his or her living through the battle of ideas that can truly shape our distinct Filipino society and the world we live in as well!!!

This is in alphabetical order:

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (senator, presidentiable) – who would ever thought that the quiet yet sensible only son, second of the five children of the slain modern intellectual hero Benigno Aquino Sr. and icon of Filipino democracy, the saintly late president Corazon Cojuanco Aquino would suddenly transform traditional politics of the Philippines into its new wave. His abrupt rise into the podium of dirty politics armed only with idealisms and living spirit of his parents has become the no.1 threat among aspiring presidents of the Philippines. According to his inner circle, he never dreamed of running for the presidency and to claim the spotlight from his famous sister Kris Aquino, but the clamor of the People Power disciples, wanted him to lead the country free from hungry-tyrant politicians. A former congressman and a senator, his voice now has been widened, powerful as a tsunami when he overruled the survey ratings by a half in his favor, and was sympathized for his uncorrupted spirit. Now, the Aquino protege shall be judged come election fever on his clean heart and moving intellect to lead and uplift Filipinos from mendicancy and unequal distribution of wealth. Hopefully.

Joaquin Bernas S.J. (priest, constitutional lawyer, educator) – a revered priest of justice and a spiritual guru, the 9th placer of the 1962 Bar examinations, the dean emeritus of the top-notch Ateneo Law School, and member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission of the country’s present constitution. According to blogs, this exceptional legal scholar who has earned degrees in Licentiate of Sacred theology from Woodstock College in 1996, Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science from New York University in 1965 and 1968, respectively, is enjoying high credibility as an unbiased and independent legal expert. He has authored several books including the very thick Constitutional law book and law articles published and widely-used by Filipino priests of the court and law disciples, often cited by justices of the Philippine Supreme Court, and sometimes referred to as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to render his legal advice during court sessions and legislative investigation at the Philippine Senate.

Hilario Davide Jr (former chief of justice, ambassador to the UN) – he was proudly educated in Philippine public schools starting from his primary schooling at Argao, Cebu until upon completing his law degree from the UP College of Law. His first opportunity to capture recognition in the national scene was when he was elected as Delegate of the 4th District of Cebu to the 1971 Constitutional Convention (CONCON). In 1978, he was elected assemblyman for Cebu in the Interim Batasang Pambansa (Interim National Legislature) under the opposition party Pusyon Bisaya and became one of martial law's staunch critics. In February 1988, President Aquino appointed him as Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and was the principal sponsor of the COMELEC’s Rules of Procedure. The 2002 Magsaysay Awardee for government service made a mark as the 20th Chief of Justice of the Philippines and head of the Judicial Branch of government from November 1998 to December 2005, presiding over the Supreme Court. He became known as the Centennial and Millennial Chief Justice who rendered competence as the presiding judge in the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada but now a presidential candidate again in the 2010 election to redeem himself from his unfinished presidency. Today, appointed Ambassador Davide currently serves as permanent representative of the permanent mission of the Philippines to the UN Headquarters in New York City.

Conrado De Quiros (journalist, columnist, blogger) – he is one of the two thinkers, the other one is Arch. Palafox, to have appeared twice in my roll of top intellectuals. He proves that pen is mightier than a sword when he endorsed Noynoy Aquino for president while skeptics raised their eyebrows. But as he weaved his chosen words from his column, he converted almost half of the voting citizens and convinced them of a rightful candidate to vote for the president. Until now, he writes so intensely and thinks so passionately. He has this unique gift of expressing his thoughts, unafraid of his ideas that certainly espouse tongues of fire.

Raquel Del Rosario-Fortun (forensic expert, physician, professor)
– caveat criminals and offenders! The female crime buster is in town as the first Filipino woman forensic pathologist, involved in high-profile crimes and natural disasters, in and out of the country, to offer scientific and smart explanations dealing with complex and controversial cases. Forensics needs methodological and skillful experts, dealing with microscopic details, as I learned from my forensics training with the FBI and in forensic anthropology, as an anthropology graduate myself who was once starstrucked at Prof. Fortun’s expertise. She was the 2002 TOYM awardee for forensic pahthology, currently, a popular and leading forensic pathologist in the field of forensics and other forensic sciences while very few students are blessed to follow her difficult footsteps. Indeed, she may now be called as the Mother of Forensic Pathology in the Philippines.

Bayani Fernando (former MMDA Chairman, vice presidentiable) – whether you like him or not his ideas of a walkable city is indeed a demanding task yet quite a remarkable achievement. Albeit, his efforts has not yet been fully-charged. During his reign as the pink master fencer, he has been called of all sorts, from Hitler to the Executioner, but he has been an effective MMDA chairperson concurrently holding the position of director of the DPWH for the NCR, or he may also be regarded as the “governor of metro manila.” The singing vice presidential candidate was once a simple mayor of 4th class municipality of Marikina but he transformed his town into a model city, hall-of-fame clean and green city, a highly-urbanized earning city, and later his wife ascribed the chiefdom of their “little Singapore” city which was the epicenter of the wrath of tropical storm Ondoy as it shattered the shoe capital of the country. Despite that, he’s still the best roadrunner in the metro.

Felipe Gozon (tv network CEO, aviation lawyer) – the first will be last and the last will be first, says in the bible. But who ever thought that when this Yale-educated lawyer became CEO of GMA-7, he has successfully turned-around GMA from second to its state as the leading television network to its current stature, at some point toppling the long-dominant ABS-CBN in 2004 until today in Metro Manila. In his wikipedia, he is regarded as a distinguished aviation lawyer, he was a member of the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel and is cited in the Asia Pacific Legal 500 as a leading expert in this field. Atty. Gozon was named CEO of the Year by UNO Magazine in 2004 and Master Entrepreneur of the Year (Philippines) 2004 by SGV/Ernst & Young in 2005. People Asia Magazine included him in the list of People of the Year 2005.

Loren Legarda (senator, vice presidentiable) – she’s a two-time senatorial topnotcher and a two-time vice presidential candidate. But will she become our first female vice president? A cum laude graduate from UP Mass Communication and later claimed herself as the class valedictorian of the Master of National Security Administration (MNSA) class, a graduate degree offered by the premier security educational institution, the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP). Known as an award-winning broadcast-journalist before entering politics, but now as a single mother of two, she looks back and speaks out her roots to have come from a middle class family at the Venice of the Philippines – the Malabon City, perhaps to lure voters in her second bid as vice presidentiable. The long experience with floods thought her of valuing nature who is now a staunch supporter of climate change. As a champion of environmental causes, she has been awarded in the following: TOYM awardee for her humanitarian and environmental work; one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) laureate included in the Global 500 Roll of Honour in 2001; and an Environment Awardee of the Priyadarshni Academy in Mumbai, India in 2004. But in 2008 Loren was appointed as UNISDR Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. In 2009, she participated in the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, BBC World Debate and Forum on the Human Impact of Climate Change in Geneva, Switzerland.

Antonio Oposa Jr (environmental lawyer) – as he won a landmark case for the environmental law, thus he continues to champion environmental causes that made him one of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardee (Asia’s counterpart of Nobel peace prize). The citation by Ramon Magsaysay Award of him, reads that, as a lawyer and environmental activist Oposa made his mark with an unusual case that later popularized the "Oposa Doctrine" in international legal circles. This was a class action he filed in which forty-three minors asked government to cancel timber licenses on the grounds that rampant logging violated their constitutional rights to a healthy environment. In a 1993 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the principle of "intergenerational equity," affirming Oposa's argument that the interests of future generations could be protected in court. A triumph of principle, the case set a precedent for how citizens can leverage the law to protect the environment. Currently, the prominent Filipino environmental lawyer sits as the Board of Trustees of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) to serve a three-year term on its board. Under his belt he has top honors such as the TOYM award of the Philippines and the highest United Nations honor in the field of environment, the UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honor.

Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao (no.1 world pound-for-pound boxing fighter) – don’t raise your brows as I include the only boxer in the world to have won seven world titles in seven different weight decisions. He’s the undisputed pound-for-pound king in the boxing ring today. In the TIME Magazine cover entitled “The Meaning of Manny”, he always exudes confidence of himself as he quips, “di ako bobo!” (Am not stupid!). Great athletes are known to have great minds, too, in the sports they excelled in. Never mind his plans to run for a political office as an architect of laws in the House of Representatives (only then we can judge him for his accomplishments as a congressman if he wins a seat). But as of now, for the ‘People’s Champ’ Pacman, who embodies the reincarnation of a Filipino Hercules, is so popular, admired for his rags to riches (and richest) story as sportsman-entertainer and a family man under pressure of intrigues in the country today. But his unparalleled contributions to the sports of boxing with the approving nods of world-renowned boxing analysts have paved his way into the firmaments of boxing history. The greatest Filipino fighter with a big heart and a humble personality. Dr. Manny Pacquiao, honoris causa, Doctorate in Education major in Human Kinetics, conferred to him by the Southwestern University only this year, is indeed a smart Filipino boxing fighter.

Felino Palafox Jr (architect, urban planner) – finally I have heard him lecture twice this year and personally was amazed by his brilliance for his well-designed futuristic buildings when my office organized a talk exclusively for him. No wonder he has gone too far and has alleviated the greatness of Philippine architecture in the world. He is mostly revered in the Middle East as consultant of sheiks and kings, and highly-ranked in the competitive top 200 architects in the world. I wonder why some professionals turn to professional-envy of his superiority in the science and mathematics of designing. In my previous citation of him last year, I described him as a man of vision who leads an army of young and ambitious architects, interior designers, landscape architects, and environmental/urban planners. Once you stride around the Rockwell Center or boardwalk and play golf at the Country Club, you can sense his bright ideas of creating livable cities with world-class designs. He’s a principal architect and an urban planner that has extensive works and consultancies in over 30 countries based from his webpage. Truly, he is today’s top Filipino architect, urban planner, and environmental city planner.

Manny Pangilinan (top entrepreneur, CEO, economist)
– his speech during the Ateneo Graduation last 2006 was posted everywhere in the Internet to sum up his own rags to riches success story. He’s now revered as a smart and savvy entrepreneur. He is the Chairman of the PLDT Company, the Philippines's largest telecom from 1990 up to the present. He is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ateneo de Manila University and of San Beda College, and a proud alumnus of the two Catholic schools where he spent his elementary and high school days at SBC and graduated as cum laude from the ADMU with an Economics degree. He received his MBA degree in 1968 from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania. Because of his cutting-edged leadership in various high-profile businesses, he’s now widely recognized for his outstanding achievement in business and his commitment in the academic, charitable, arts and culture, sports and health communities. Presently, aside from being the Managing Director and CEO of First Pacific, Mr. Pangilinan is also the chairman of PLDT, Smart Communications, Metro Pacific Corporation, Landco Pacific Corporation, among others. Will his new entry in the TV war networks succeed as he now controls the newly-emerging and the third force TV5 network?

Efren Peñaflorida (youth educator, 2009 CNN Hero) – he beats all the odds and proved to the world that Filipinos are worthy of international recognition for heroism. He is the founder of Dynamic Teen Company (DTC), an organization training young children to become responsible, systematic, and principled. The 2009 CNN Hero awardee is the new face of youthful idealism and modern living example of Rizal’s admonition that the youth is the hope of the society. This multi-awarded young philanthropist has championed education, as a source of smartness and intellectuality, to free oneself from ignorance and poverty. Indeed, he’s an ordinary man doing extraordinary things. A volunteer hero who epitomized education as his universal catalyst to tell the world that everybody can gain and acquire education even in the streets and slums during one’s lifetime to level off opportunities with other people who have a means to go to school. No wonder, he gives new hope to the youth of his unassuming yet influential great deeds.

Brillante Mendoza (2009 Cannes best director and filmmaker) – his name speaks for itself and he's a totally brilliant cinema director. An art for art's sake. From his only nine directed films since 2005, his achievements as a young and talented director has placed him in the firmament of the world’s best by winning the 2009 Cannes best director for his gory yet realistic film “Kinatay”. Twice to have walked the red carpet of Cannes film festival, although, his first movie “Serbis” in this prestigious film gathering garnered negative reviews in Europe, however, it gained good reviews in the American market. His mastery of his craft has not faltered and the ingenuity of a resilient Filipino artist has ultimately paid off. Today, he has been regarded as a top guru of contemporary Filipino and Asian independent films, making his schedules hectic through interviews by CNN, attending renowned film festivals worldwide, and making films as his foremost passion.

Mar Roxas (senator, vice presidentiable) – demoting himself from his presidential ambition to be vice presidentiable of enigmatic Noynoy Aquino. This politico is now married to a top and popular broadcast journalist. The senator is a Wharton-educated economist and is no nonsense law-maker who knows how to swear bad words. Just like his fellow tandem Aquino, he is not a first-timer to the powerful seat in Malacanan palace, since he’s the grandson of former President Manuel Roxas. He is known as the father of the income-generating call centers during his stint as former DTI secretary. But let’s monitor his luck on how this young intellectual dynamo will perform in the 2010 election and if this politician-economist wins will he turnaround the economy of our country form third to first world?

Joey Salceda (governor, presidential adviser, economist) – one of the brains of the current administration who enjoys quirky comments when he said in a public forum of his boss as the “luckiest bitch.” His legislative and executive prowess as congressman and governor of Albay is unparalleled. He is voted by foreign fund managers in Asiamoney’s Annual Survey as "Best Analyst" in 1995 and "Best Economist" for four consecutive years from 1993 to 1996, where Salceda brought to Congress a wealth of experience from the financial markets and the field of economics.

Henry Sy (retailer king, chairman emeritus) – recently named as the richest Chinese Filipino businessman in Forbes magazine’s 2008 list of 40 wealthiest Filipinos. No doubt that he is acknowledged as the country’s "Retail King," who has come a long way from the modest shoe store he set up in Quiapo in 1946 to become Asia's biggest shopping mall operator with over 30 malls throughout the Philippines and is now expanding his megamalls in China. His powerful vision and strength as prime retailer, tourism rainmaker, and banking investor in his growing conglomerate, proves his resilience and faith in the Philippine economy, despite series of economic crises. Who would stop him from conquering the world through his supermalls? Indeed, he has placed the Filipino megamalls in the world map where four of his SM supermalls are included in the list of the 20 largest and biggest malls in the world.

Andrew Tan (entrepreneur, IT cyberparks owner) – think big and he’s one of the hottest visionaries in the country today! His eminent name is now a buzz in real estate (Megaworld Corporation and Empire East), IT parks, BPO offices, and posh mall (Eastwood City), liquor (Emperador Distillers Inc) and fastfood (McDonald’s franchises). According to a 2007 edition of the Forbes Magazines, Tan became the Philippines' fourth billionaire after Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Henry Sy and Lucio Tan. Once a poor immigrant from China, he later moved to Manila where he studied accounting at the University of the East, became a tycoon, and was named "Businessman of the Year" for 2004. The new tycoon in the block is now considered as one of the most inspiring new “rags-to-riches” billionaires of Southeast Asia.

Gilbert Teodoro (presidentiable, ex-DND Secretary and congressman) – he is the only child of former SSS administrator Gilberto Teodoro, Sr. and former BP member Mercedes Cojuanco-Teodoro, who happens to have only one child with his wife Monica Louise Prieto-Teodoro. But this elite intellectual dynamo and seasoned congressman from Tarlac is actually a bar topnotcher who holds distinct memberships in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, UP Alumni Association, UP Law Alumni Association, Harvard Alumni Association, and the Harvard Law Alumni Association. He is also a licensed commercial pilot and a Colonel in the Philippine Air Force Reserve. Very approachable with whom I had once an elbow-to-elbow conversation in a cigarette break at a Cebu City disaster conference while we had both reminisced our UP education days and experiences in the Diliman campus, of course in different decades, while surrounded by his courteous bodyguards. No air, at all! He’s known as the favorite nephew of Eduardo Cojuanco Jr., chairman of San Miguel Corporation and cousin of fellow presidential contender, Noynoy Aquino. But will his intellect translate into massive votes come election time?

Manny Villar (presidentiable, former majority leader in the Senate & House of Rep) – he’s the wealthiest senator in the Philippines with a net worth of P1.04 billion (US$22 million) as of 2008. He served both the Senate and the House of Representatives as majority leader who initiated the impeachment of then President Joseph Estrada, who is now his rival for the 2010 presidency. He attended the UP Diliman where he earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA degree. In his website, it was written that after graduation, he tried his hand as an accountant at the country’s biggest accounting firm, Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV & Co). He resigned shortly though to venture on his own seafood delivery business. But this brown billionaire became the housing industry leader and the biggest homebuilder in Southeast Asia, having built more than 100,000 houses for the poor and middle class Filipino families. He garnered various awards such as the Ten Outstanding Young Men Award (1986) by the Philippine Jaycees, Agora Award for Outstanding Achievement in Marketing Management (1989), Most Outstanding CPA by the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (1990) and Most Outstanding UP Alumnus (1991). Dr. Villar is bestowed with honoris causa doctoral degrees in various colleges and universities in the country. But will he make a difference in the 2010 presidential election?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Writing the History of Non-literate Peoples: The Case of Ayta in Bataan

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

One of the challenges faced by any researcher of history is writing the history of societies that do not have any writing tradition at all. This is the case of some hunting-gathering societies, examples of which are the various Negrito groups found in Southeast Asia: the Andamese in Andaman islands; Tapiro, Aiome and Ekari in central hilltribes of New Guinea; Semang in Malaya; Mamanwa in Mindanao; Batak in Palawan; Ati in Panay and Negros; Agta and Dumagat in Northeast Luzon; and the Ayta in West-Central Luzon.

What are the sources in writing the history of this ethnic group? What if there are gaps in written documents about them by foreign missionaries or colonizers or ethnographies of anthropologists?

This paper attempts to answer the aforementioned queries by narrating many accounts gathered by the authors in their way of reconstructing the local history of the Ayta in Bataan.

Objective of the Study

This research is one of results of the experiences by University of the Philippines’ (UP) Pahinungód or Volunteers in writing the local history of an Ayta community in Bataan. Based from this fieldwork, the researchers would want to share various methods they used in data gathering of unwritten sources to form initial local chronology of events with an aim at reconstructing Ayta’s ethnohistory.

Place of Study

The research was done in an Ayta settlement found at Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Province of Bataan.

Research Methodology

To begin with the study, the researchers stayed for one month in the community along with the Ayta of Bangkal. The immersion in Bangkal started from 29 April – 28 May 1998.

In this case, these are the following research methodologies used by the researchers:

1. Data gathering of related literatures about the Ayta of Bataan;
2. Observation on the lives of families and the Ayta community;
3. Interview of elder members of the Ayta, particularly the traditional leaders and local healers;
4. Documentation of local histories and legends;
5. Documentation of the genealogies of families in the community; and
6. Investigation of the structures found in their place to verify periodization

The Ayta Settlement in Bataan

The Ayta of Bataan is related to the nomadic Negrito groups found in the mountains of Bataan-Zambales. In Bataan, small Ayta settlements are scattered in almost all towns: Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Orion, Limay, Mariveles, Bagac and Morong (see Table 1.0 on the List of Ayta Communities in Bataan and their Approximate Number of Households). Almost this entire indigenous group in Bataan surrounds the Bataan Natural Park (BNP); 23,688 hectares of protected lands cover the mountainous domains of the following towns such as Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Bagac and Morong. Few of the known peaks in BNP are Natib, Napundol, Bataan Peak, Silanganan, Nagpali, and Santa Rosa. Mount Natib is the highest mountain in the place that has a height of 1,253 meters below sea level.

BNP is one of the 10 protected areas in the country under the Conservation of Priority Protected Areas (CPPAP), a project funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and implemented by the Philippine Government, through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and NGOs for Integrated Protected Areas, Inc. (NIPA). The BNP was chosen into the project because of high biodiversity found in its domain. Some of the endemic animal species that are seen in the area include the following endangered birds, like Luzon bleeding heart pigeon, green-faced parrotfinched, and Philippine hawk eagle; endangered bats called bayakan; the decreasing population of wild pigs (Sus philippinensis), deer (Servus marianus), monitor lizards (Varanus salvator) and frogs that are called pasinga found only in Luzon. Also part of the endemic plants in the rainforests is trees with moss, bamboos (Bambusa sp.); bamboo shoots (Schizostachyum lumampao); and the deteriorating numbers of rattan.

The mother tongue of the Ayta in Bataan is Magbeken. Aside from the Ayta of Dinalupihan and Hermosa who are more akin to the Ayta in Zambales, they can also speak the Sambal dialect. On the other hand, they use the Tagalog language to communicate with the non-Ayta.

The Bangkal Tribe

Abucay is located in western part of Bataan and 119 kilometers away from Manila. Abucay is surrounded by nearby towns of Balanga, the capital city of Bataan province; Samal, Morong and Bagac. The western part of the town is nearest to Manila.

Our area of study is located in Bangkal, a mountainous barangay found in Abucay. Nearest to its western barangay is Mount Nagpali; in the eastern side is Barangay Mabatang; while in the north is Barangay Palili. Bangkal is 14 kilometers away from Barangay Calaguiman, Samal where one can ride a jeep going to Bangkal.

The barangay has a size of 1,887 square kilometers. Eighty hectares of the total land area is used for residential while the rest is used for agriculture and horticulture. The rivers and streams found near Yamot, Abo-Abo, and Pagsawan are used for irrigation system of ricefields.

In Bangkal can be found the Bataan State College (BSC). There is also a satellite office of the Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of BNP. Behind the college can be found the community of the Ayta. And among the Magbeken Ayta, Bangkal has the largest population, i.e., 99 households in 1994.

Concept of History of the Ayta

Just like what we said in the beginning, there are many challenges that need to be confronted with in reconstructing history of the Ayta. There are scarce resources about the Ayta of Bataan. There are no ethnographies written by anthropologists about them. Studies made by some anthropologists, like Fox (1952) and Shimizu (1989) focused among the Ayta in Zambales, who also speak Sambal. Because of the language barrier, there are no direct contact between the Ayta in Bataan and Zambales.

Writings of foreigners are also problematic, just like the chronicles of the Spanish missionaries and other foreign travelers, because they usually refer “Negrito” as a generic term and not specifying the group of Negrito they belong to and not elaborating where do they come from. In fact, there were some missionaries who used general observations about the Negrito that are debunked today. For instance, Padre Antonio de Mozo (in Rahmann, 1963:142) in 1763 wrote that there was only one language spoken by the Negrito in the entire archipelago. Even the anthropologists, H. Otley Beyer (1917:180) thought that there was indeed one language among the Ayta groups in Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga and Tarlac.

All of the pygmies in the southern portion of Zambales range with whom I am familiar – including the Negritos of Bataan, the Negritos in Floridablanca and Fort Stotsenburg areas of Pampanga, and the Negritos in the Bamban area of Tarlac.

Besides, there are other eccentric opinions by the foreigners. For example, in 1744, Padre Juan Francisco de San Antonio (in Rahmann, 1963:142) stated that the Negritos were barbaric and uncivilized.

If we base the oral tradition of the Ayta, there seems to be problems, too. First, elderly Ayta do not have concept of dates based from the calendar. They are not aware when they were born. They do not know their ages. They do not know who is older between two senior individuals that are not blood related.

But they have broader concept of dating events if compared with ordinary periods. According to Shimizu (1999: 16-19) about his research on the Ayta of Pinatubo in Pampanga, there are five periods that they are familiar with: 1) onay-pana-on (early period); 2) pana-on nin Kastila (Spanish period); 3) pana-on nin pistaym (peacetime period) before the Second World War; 4) pana-on nin gera (period of war) during WWII; and 5) hapaeg (contemporary period). They do not have concepts of dividing years in those above-mentioned periods and there are time sequences that are vague, like the early period and the Spanish period.

One of the problems is the short span of recollection about the generations of families. Based from the genealogy done by the authors in bridging the gap of genealogies among the Ayta in Bangkal, informants only recall the names of their grandfather or grandmother. Hence, the same fate Rai (1982) experienced with the Agta of Isabela when he studied their group.

Albeit there are many flaws confronted by the researchers, but the volunteers still tried to surpass all of the hurdles by experimenting other possible sources in data gathering.

Early Period (Onay-Pana-on)

According to the Ayta history before the Spaniards came, folklore was the primary source of history. Emeraldo Maluni, 25 years old, recounted this legend.

In the early period, there were two distinct Ayta tribes: the tribe in Zambales headed by Apo Malyari; and another tribe in Mariveles. One time, the Ayta of Zambales attacked the Ayta of Mariveles and enslaved them. One of the slaves is Alipon, who later fell in love to the daughter of Apo Malyari and they eloped in Morong. Upon learning this, once again, Apo Malyari commanded his men to attack Morong and a war was fought between the two tribes in a place known as Girian (now Giniyan, Morong).

And later the war between the two factions ended. Alipon and Apo Malyari’s daughter became unwed husband and wife and they had many children. Apo Alipon was already old when outsiders came over their place which they called ‘Moro’. These people differ from the Ayta, having straight hairs. The Moro befriended Apo Alipon and made a pact with his people. But Apo Alipon loathed the ways of the Moro. Because of this rift, the Ayta and the Moro fought wars. The Ayta used their bows and arrows to oust the foreigners. Since then, the conflict between the “kinky” and “straight” is not yet pacified.

Hawil and Daray were two of the children of Apo Alipon. One of his grandsons was named Tayaon. And his grandchildren were scattered all throughout Bataan. Before he died, all his family members were reunited in Kanawan, Morong.

It was a daunting task to give exact dates based from the narrated legend, although, this might had happened in1578, the year when a Franciscan missionary, Padre Sebastian de Baesa, arrived in Bataan. One of the evidences was having the Moro in Bataan at that time which the Spanish friar encountered in the place, the one in Morong (DECS Bataan, 1987). It is observed that “Moro” was used in the legend since the Spaniards referred that name to the Muslims in the Philippines.

Muslims that time were also visible around the city of Manila. Loarca observed (in DECS Bataan, 1987:16) that he encountered 3,500 Muslims working in the farms of Pampanga.

There is a basis to the division of the Ayta of Bataan-Zambales into two groups, that is prevalent today – those who speak the Sambal language that are found in the north, and those who speak the Magbeken that are found in the south. The legend which the Ayta of Zambales refers to can be found in Mount Pinatubo because many Ayta of Pinatubo deem that the active volcano was the home of Apo Malyari, a folk hero. Even the enslavement of Bataan's Ayta in the 19th century was documented by Mallat (1983 [org.1846]: 126).

Spanish Period (Pana-on nin Kastila)

In the Spanish period, the primary source of data was the written documents about the province of Bataan, in general, and the town of Abucay, specifically. Nevertheless, only few literatures mention the presence of the Ayta in Bataan. The researchers could not gather sufficient data about the Spanish period from the Ayta in Bangkal, because the oldest member in the settlement is Guillermo Cayetano, was born only in 1921. It could be the case that the Spanish conquistadors did not totally colonize the Ayta. According to one document, the Spaniards evaded to travel in the lands of the Ayta because they feared their tribes (DECS Bataan, 1987:15).

One of the sources that mention the Ayta of Bataan was written by Domingo Perez in 1860 (in Shimizu, 1989:11) stating that few of the Ayta in Bataan worked for the Sambal as foragers and loggers.

There is a gap in the periodization when a French ethnographer named Jean Mallat (1983 [org.1846]: 126) recounted that there was indeed “Negrito” in Bataan. According to him:

The almost inaccessible lairs of these wild mountains are inhabited by a great number of those small Negroes called Negritoes whom we spoke about earlier; sometimes they are chased out of their homes, taken prisoners, the youngest among them being chosen to be raised by inhabitants in their homes until the age of reason, in the meantime being used for diverse chores, after which they are set free. One of our friends owned one which he gave to us; he was called Panchote, was not lacking in intelligence and was most of all mischievous.

Peacetime (Pana-on in Pistaym)

It is observed that there is no American period among the Ayta instead they called it peacetime. This was the period when the Americans gathered all the Ayta and delegated a protected area for them. The documents used by the authors in this period is a combination of both written and oral data based from the recollection of the oldest living Ayta in the settlement. The primary documents and maps of their protected area were presented to us, solely owned by the Ayta themselves, to present facts that the protected area was indeed delegated to them.

The oldest document that mentions the presence of Bataan’s Ayta was in 1900 when an article entitled, “The Tribes Of the Philippines”, written by Sixto Lopez for the New England Anti-Imperialist League. Lopez stated in the article that various names were referred to the Negrito groups in the Philippines, but the Negrito in Bataan had “kinky” hairs that differ them from other Negrito groups (Lopez, 1900).

Documented in the census on 2 March 1903, were 1,162 non-Christian population spread throughout Bataan. Part of them was the Ayta in zone Bunga, Barrio Mabatan in Abucay. But prior to the census, Mabatan was a separate town from Abucay. The place that is now known as Bangkal, was only a forested barrio of Mabatan before and very few Ayta resided in that place compared with Bunga. Bangkal and Bunga are two types of trees endemic in those places before.

In 1916, Beyer (1917) mentioned about the presence of Negrito in Bataan but the groups he may have encountered spoke the Botolan-Sambal dialects.

From May 1917 to June 1918, the Bureau of Lands of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources commissioned a survey on the potential domains of Abucay to seek the extent of the declared protected area for the Ayta. The model used by the Americans before for non-Christian groups in the Philippines and the same reservation policy they implemented for the indigenous peoples in the United States.

In 24 December 1927, Acting Governor General Eugene A. Gilmore signed a Proclamation No. 139 forming a Negrito Reservation from 238,498 hectares of land in Mabatan and 72.2769 hectares of land in Bunga at Barrio Salian. They also established Negrito Reservation in Pag-asa, Orani (28 July 1930), Tubo-Tubo and Dinalupihan (23 June 1943). And to different parts of the Philippines, thus implementing the government’s declaration on policy of reservation areas. For instance, in the island of Negros, they established a reservation area in 1932 for the “pagans” at the foot of Mount Kanlaon (Gatumbato, 1997) and a separate stream reservation area for the Negrito at Magahat in Bukidnon, south of the island (Oracion, 1964).

In 1930s, most of the Ayta in Abucay were found in Bunga but some also settled in Bangkal. A sedimentary community can be found near forested Bangkal based from the study of Bureau of Lands. In Pagsawan River, the Americans constructed dikes that the Ayta later called it as “tabon”, the source for their drinking water, located in a vast hacienda owned by an American, near the valleys of Abucay.

Period of War (Pana-on Gera)

There are more written documents about Bataan, including Abucay, during the Second World War. But what is ironic here is that there are no writings about the roles played by the Ayta during the war. To whom did they commit allegiance? Were they active and did they join the war during that tumultuous period?

Based from our interviews to the Ayta who lived before 1940, we have learned that the Ayta that time played very significant roles during the war.

When the Japanese forces first attacked Bataan in 1941, the Ayta feared the bombings, they escaped and saved themselves to the lairs of forested Mount Nagpali. Inside the eerie jungle, they practiced horticulture of root crops and edible plants and vegetables through (gahak) slash and burn.

In 10 January 1942, occurred the dogfights between American and Japanese airforces in the skies of Abucay. The Ayta witnessed this aerial event from the forest. After two days, the Allied Power withdrew from Abucay-Morong Line and in January 22, Mount Natib fell under the Japanese forces from the hands of Filipino and American soldiers.

The Japanese soldiers constructed a road near Bangkal. From then on, the Ayta retreated to the mountains of Tanoto, Balanga. Leonora Gulisan, 76 years old, recounted this story:

Because many of us, the indigenous people, were born in the forests that time, we moved fast and speedy. The Japanese could not chase us. But the Tagalogs were chased out. We saw how they were punished and persecuted. But the Ayta can run as fast as they could to the highest peaks. During the Japanese period, we ate all kinds of edible root crops. That’s how we survived (Dacanay, w.P., 2).

In 9 August 1942, Major Edward King surrendered Bataan. But some Filipino and American soldiers did not surrender and instead hid in the jungle. The Ayta adopted them. The Ayta fed and took care of them because they were knowledgeable of the medicinal plants found in the forests. They healed wounds of the soldiers and other diseases like malaria, using medicinal plants.

Guillermo Cayetano, aged 80 years old, the oldest living Ayta in Bangkal, also narrated that he adopted two American and a Filipino soldiers. Apparently, the two Americans were commanding officers with ranks of major and colonel but he could not recall their names. And the Filipino soldier was Agustin Paguirigan.

Narciso Gulisan, aged 76 years old, recounted that his father took care of a Filipino soldier named Berto and an American soldier named Cald in 1944. Their brigade was moving towards Mariveles but they retreated to the mountains where the Ayta encountered them. They fed the two soldiers with root crops and honey for almost one year. It was only one night when he saw Berto went down to the town of Orion to see a cabaret. The Japanese saw and killed him. Cald was left under the care of the Ayta. They communicated with him in simple English through Narciso’s brother-in-law, Bihin, who knew how to speak English because he attended elementary school. They thought that Cald was already 25 years old that time, and had a good rapport with them. He went down to Abucay only when the Japanese left the town.

When the Japanese troops retreated after they learned about the return of the Allies in 1945, the Japanese left plenty of mortars and other military paraphernalia in the mountains. One of the places where the Japanese junked their arms was in Puro-Puro, Balanga in the valleys of Mount Natib because of their sudden retreat. Because the Japanese left many helmets here, the Ayta called this place Mahelmet. In the place, can also be found underground passages constructed by the Japanese. It was here where the father of Narciso Gulisan, found a gun. One time, when the wives of the Ayta harvested root crops in the forest, Narciso was tasked to guard the band from passing Japanese soldiers. A troop of Japanese soldiers suddenly passed by and one soldier fired a gun to the women but nobody was shot. But Narciso fired also a gun and shot one soldier. Then the Ayta ran in different directions.

When the Japanese were defeated in 1945, they also fled to the mountains. The Ayta were deputized to capture those hiding Japanese soldiers. Narciso was also appointed on this kind of duty. Together with nine other non-Ayta teenagers, they searched Barangay Salian to find defeated enemies. They shot a nude Japanese soldier while stealing a water buffalo and food. The fugitive threw a grenade to them but nobody was hurt. They chased the Japanese soldier until they fetched and tied him. They brought the soldier in the capital of Abucay to present him to the Allied Forces.

Another incident was when Narciso and his comrades found another Japanese soldier wandering in the farm. The soldier was half-naked. They trapped him but he fought back. After they tied him, the Filipino and American teenagers brought him to Abucay.

Contemporary Period (Hapaeg)

The Ayta of Bangkal has now enormous recollection about events after the war. But what is lacking that they should have recalled events by also remembering the dates.

To make the chronology of events, researchers learned from the Ayta important events in Bangkal as far as what they could recall. But it should be the case that the sequence of events must not come from only one informant.

Some of the events that were recounted by the Ayta, like disasters, which the researchers can verify by consulting agencies, related to calamities like PAG-ASA and Manila Observatory. For example, the story of Rodolfo Tamondog, 48 years old, about the sudden darkness when he was still young was verified as a total eclipse that occurred on 26-30 June 1964. And other geo-physical changes told by the Ayta like earthquake that happened in 1990 and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

There are some structures in Bangkal that can be considered as a good source in dating events. For instance, in a concrete dike for irrigation carved the year when it was built in Pagsawan River and written, “Irrigation System A.D. 1957” that confirmed the irrigation development project initiated by the Americans in 1957. The dates on the graves of the dead Ayta in Bangkal cemetery starting from 1972 to present can therefore be inferred that in was only in 1972 that the Ayta settled in Bangkal before they were relocated from Bunga.

The complete relocation of the Ayta settlement from Bunga to Bangkal was an important event in the recent history of the Ayta during this contemporary period. This order was implemented under the Marcos administration by the Presidential Assistant for National Minorities (PANANIM). However, this order aimed to improve the lives of the Ayta because of their proximity to Bataan National Agricultural School (BNAS; but now called BSC), established in 1960s and approved by the Congress. The present location of BNAS was formerly part of the larger reservation area but became separate when the government commissioned another survey in the vast area on July-August 1961.

With the order from Imelda Marcos, concrete houses were constructed for the Ayta of Bangkal. But later on the houses faltered because of weak foundation. Because of this, the Ayta fled the houses and settled again in houses made of bamboo and cogon.

Since their transfer to Bangkal rapid changes occurred in Ayta’s culture. PANANIM appointed a “mayor” to lead the Ayta but the leader was not a member of the tribe. In 1978, Bangkal was separated from Barangay Mabatang (formerly Mabatan) and made it an independent barangay. They elected a Barangay Captain, but again, the series of leadership came from non-Ayta group who lived in the place.

In 1991, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) arrived in Bangkal and implemented development projects and health services. Various government programs of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also entered in the settlement.

After the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on July 1991, Bangkal became a center of relocation for victims of the calamity. 70 non-Ayta families from Zambales evacuated to the place. But they returned to Zambales in 1994 through an initiative of a politician in Zambales running for a post during the barangay election. Only one family, the Flores family, decided to stay in Bangkal.

In February 1996, the Office for Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC) established the Bangkal Tribal Council headed by Rogelio Parrera.

There are more events that happened in Bangkal. This would not all be written in the paper (see Annex 1 on the Chronology of Events of the Ayta in Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan).

Added to these events is the abrupt acculturation of the Ayta. The Ayta youth do no longer know today indigenous songs of their tribe. Only the elderly can dance the bakulaw (monkey dance). Dacanay observed (w.p.:4) that the Ayta youth are more familiar with the “sakala” dance (Boom Shack-ala).

According to Emiliano Gulisan-Caragay, an elder woman Ayta, who does not recall her age now, the Ayta do not celebrate the native marriage anymore. Nobody now practice the giving of dowry. There are no longer challenges given to male Ayta who usually courts female Ayta. There is a significant number of marriage between Ayta and non-Ayta, i.e., 18.83% of the total married couples in Bangkal (PASu, 1997). Bangkal has the most number of Ayta and non-Ayta marriage among all of the Ayta communities in Bataan.

Even the belief of the Ayta to animism is slowly deteriorating. Most of them are now converted to Roman Catholicism and some families are members of Born Again (Nielsen, 1996:19).


It was shown in the research that the Pahinungód or volunteers could still mine data and document the ethnohistory of Bataan’s Ayta even though the community does not have a tradition of writing. There are some unwritten documents that can be used in writing history. It should only be the case that researchers must be creative in their methodologies to gather important facts for the research.

Results of the research done within the Ayta settlement in Bangkal led to the chronology of local events in documenting local history of the place. Obviously, there are more questions than answers and there are plans to fill in these gaps. It is hoped that this paper will pave the way for other scholars to pursue similar researches in ethnohistory and its related fields.


Chronology of Events in the History of the Ayta in Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan

Early 1500s – The Pinatubo Ayta attacked the Magbeken Ayta in Mariveles that resulted to the enslavement of some captured enemies. This was followed by a war between the two tribes in Giniyan, Morong

End of 1500s – The Ayta and the Moro fought wars.

1578 – Padre Sebastian de Baesa, a Franciscan missionary, arrived in Bataan.

1578 September – The Dominican friars established the town of Abucay.

1588 June 10 – The Dominican friars built the parochial church of Abucay.

1647 – The Dutch colonizers headed by Admiral Gertzen massacred 200 Kapangpangan (people of Pampanga) in Abucay after their failed attempt to capture Cavite.

1667 – Orion was separated from the town of Abucay.

1680 – Some Ayta of Bataan worked as foragers and loggers for Sambal foresters.

1681 – Bataan was separated from Pampanga and declared it as a province by Governor-General Pedro Manuel Arndia.

1682 - A French ethnographer named Jean Mallat wrote that he found the Negrito in “the almost inaccessible lairs of these wild mountains” of Bataan. Apparently, some captured young Negrito were raised as slaves or helpers. Approximately there were around 5,700 population of Abucay that time and 1,140 came from the Negrito tribes.

1870 April – The church in Abucay was burned.

1870 December – Padre Meliton financed the construction of bell tower in Abucay.

1900 – Sixto Lopez wrote that ‘kinky’ Negrito were found in Bataan.

1902 – The formerly town of Mabatan became a barrio of Abucay.

1903 March 2 – According to the census, there were around 1,621 non-Christians scattered in the province of Bataan.

1916 – H. Otley Beyer stated in his “Population of the Philippine Islands” the presence of the Negrito in Bataan.

1918 May - End of the survey by the Bureau of Lands in Abucay.
1921 (?) – Guillermo Cayetano was born (aka Apo Alak).

1922 – Leonora Gulisan was born in Balanga (aka Orang).

1924 - Ernesto Cayetano was born in Bunga.

1927 December 24 – Acting Governor-General Eugene A. Gilmore signed the Proclamation No. 139 that declared 238,498 hectares of land in Barrio Mabatang and 72.2769 hectares of land in zone Bunga of Mabatang in Barrio Salian, Abucay as Negrito Reservation.

1930s – Declaration of protected area based from the classification of Bureau of Lands.

1930 July 28 – The Ayta communities in Pag-asa, Orani which covers 698,770 square kilometers of land were declared part of the Negrito Reservation.

1934 June 23 – Tubo-Tubo, Dinalupihan, which covers 14,135 square kilometers of land, were declared part of the Negrito Reservation.

1941 – The Japanese forces attacked Bataan.

- The Ayta fled to the jungles and they practiced horticulture secretly to feed their hungry stomachs during the war.

1942 – The Japanese soldiers constructed a road near Bangkal.

1942 January 10 – The Axis Japanese troops and Allied Forces fought war in Abucay.

- The Ayta witnessed the aerial dogfights of Japanese and American airforces in the forests.

1942 January 12 – The Allies surrendered in Abucay-Morong Line.

1942 January 22 – Mount Natib fell under the hands of the Japanese Imperialist Power from the Allied Power. The Ayta fled and hid in the jungles of Tanoto, Balanga.

1942-44 – The Ayta adopted Filipino and American soldiers who sought refuge in the jungle. The fed them with various root crops and honey. They healed their wounds and took care of them from diseases like malaria.

1945 – Nicolas Gulisan shot a Japanese soldier after the enemies fired a gun to women Ayta while they were harvesting root crops which he guarded that time.

- Narciso Gulisan together with his comrades captured two Japanese soldiers in two different incidents in Barrio Salian.

- The Japanese troops left many of their armors and military paraphernalia like helmets in a place the Ayta now call as ‘Mahelmet’ in Puro-Puro in the valley on Mount Natib; here can also be found the underground passages built by the Japanese.

1947 May – Rogelio Parrera was in born in Bunga.

1949 March 12 – Mario Gulisan was born in Bunga.

1950s – A road was constructed near Bangkal for the loggers.

1954 October – Rodencia Parrera was born in Bangkal.

1955 June 20 – There was a total eclipse in Luzon that resulted to almost an hour darkness in Abucay. The elderly Ayta wept believing that it was a bad omen.

1957 – The government cemented a dike for an irrigation project in Pagsawan River. The Ayta of Bangkal calls this place as Tabon.

1961 March – The Commission on National Integration (CNI) governed the Negrito Reservation.

1961 March 16 – The Bureau of Lands surveyed the 18.1321 hectares of protected area for the Ayta. A part of the property was allotted for the building of the Bataan National Agricultural School (BNAS) as approved by the Congress.

1964 July 26-30 - Typhoon Dading heavily struck Luzon. Mario Gulisan did not finish his Grade 2 in elementary school because of a great flood in the capital of Abucay.

1970s – Around 5,000 hectares of land leased by the government to the Manila Seedling Bank.

1972 – President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. The Presidential Assistant on National Minorities (PANANIM) transferred the Ayta to Bangkal from Bunga. Imelda Marcos ordered the construction of concrete houses and a school for the Ayta in Bangkal. Nevertheless, the Ayta disliked settling in those houses because of weak foundation.

1972-74 – Fernando Tamondong, a non-Ayta, appointed by the PANANIM, acted as a “mayor” for the Ayta in Bangkal.

1973 - CNI prepared the titling of lands for the Ayta under Lot No. 3252, IR-258 Abucay CAD 122 that covers the 924,301 square kilometers of land.

1974 February 13 – CNI approved the titling of lands for the Ayta under Lot No. 3252, IR-258 Abucay CAD 122 under Section 5 of the Republic Act 1888, based from the mandate of RA 38528 (sic) RA 2872.

1974-78 – Ernesto Dangke, a non-Ayta, was appointed as “mayor” of the Ayta in Bangkal.

1978 – Abucay and Bangkal became separate barangays.

1978-79 – Cesar Atienza, a non-Ayta, became an elected Barangay Captain of Bangkal.

1979 – The government constructed a four-rooms school for the Ayta in Bangkal.

1980s – Rogelio Parrera traveled for the first time to Manila. When he was in Manila we feared to become a victim of hold up. He fondly observed elevators and escalators in the city.

1983 - C.F. Smit, Provost Marshall of American Administration in Subic Bay Naval Base forbidden the Ayta to roam around in public places and in golf courses. He demanded that the Ayta be brought back to the jungle.

1984 – Fernando Caragay became the first chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay (KB) in Bangkal Chapter.

1987 – Rodolfo Villamor, Jr. and his wife migrated to Bangkal from Nueva Ecija.

1988 – The National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) became an initial part of the Bataan National Park (BNP) under RA 7856.

- Jane Lucban was elected as the new chairperson of Kabataang Barangay.

1990 - According to the NSO census, there were 79 households in Bangkal with a total population of 355. Thirty-three hectares of land in Bangkal was used for plantation of mango trees.

1991 June – The Ayta felt a strong magnitude of earthquake while they planted mango trees for the reforestation project of the Provincial Government of Bataan (PGB).

- The population of Bangkal increased due to the new comers of PGB’s project.

- One of the new comers was Florante Ligayo (Edgar) from Baggao, Cagayan.

1991 July 12 – Mount Pinatubo erupted; Bangkal was covered by darkness and it rained with dust.

- 70 families evacuated to Bangkal from the disaster-stricken area of Zambales.

1991 October 24-25 – A seminar participated by the Ayta coming from different parts of Central Luzon resulting to the establishment of the Central Luzon Ayta Adhoc Council (CLAAC). But the Ayta of Bangkal was not part of the initiative.

1992 – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) founded the Apo Lakay, an organization for the Ayta of Bangkal.

1992 May 20-25 – Conducted the first General Assembly of the Central Luzon Ayta Adhoc Council (CLAAC) in Bucao, Botolan, Zambales. Again, the Ayta of Bangkal did not participate in the said event.

1993 – DAR endowed the Apo Lakay with Php 50,000 money bank for the implementation of livelihood programs in the barangay. They used the Php 6,000 for credit project and the rest for irrigation projects.

1994 – 69 families went back to Zambales after they were evacuated to Bangkal. This was an initiative of a politician running for barangay office that time.

1995 - According to the Bataan NGO Consortium (BNC), there were 99 households in Bangkal.

1996 February – According to the census of Office of Northern Cultural Communities (ONCC), there were 75 households of Ayta in Bangkal with a total population of 449.

1996 February – The Bangkal Tribal Council was established through the initiative of ONCC. Rogelio Parrera became the first Tribal Chieftain.

1996 April-May – Trine Schnell Nielsen surveyed about the Ayta’s perception of Bataan Natural Park.

1997 April – A church of Born Again was established in Bangkal.

- Chieftain Parrera testified in Congress regarding the deforestation of the mountains against the logging operation of Tree Foundation near Bangkal.

Early 1998 – The quarters of Tree Foundation was burned.

1998 April-May – Three researchers from the University of the Philippines Pahinungód or Volunteers made a study on the ethnohistory of the Ayta.


Published and Unpublished Books

Agrazada, Jennifer Grace and Iris M. Samson
1998 Ang mga Pagbabagong Dinanas ng mga Ita at ang Eleksyon. Unpublished. Research on Anthropology 141. Quezon City: University of the Philippines.

Barroto, Calixto Jr. L. and Marvin N. Benaning
1978 “Pinatubo Negrito (Revisited),” Field Report Series No. 5, Quezon City: Philippine Center for Advanced Studies Museum.

Beyer, H. Otley
1917 Population of the Philippine Islands in 1916 (Poblacion de las Islas Filipinas en 1916). Manila: Philippine Education Co., Inc.

Central Luzon Ayta Association
1992 Pagbuklurin ang Lahat ng Ayta sa Gitnang Luson: Buuin at Itaguyod ang Ayta Agenda. Documents on the First General Assembly of the Ayta in Central Luzon Association, 20-25 May 1992, Bucao, Botolan, Zambales.

Dacanay, Randy N.
w.p.Learning: The Heart of Community Development. Unpublished manuscript. 14 pp.

De Morga, Antonio
1991 Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. Manila: Historical Institute [orig. 1960]

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and NGOs for Integrated Protected Areas, Inc. (NIPA)
1994 Conservation of Priority Protected Areas Project: Biodiversity
Conservation and Sustainable Development. Quezon City: CPPAP-PCU.

Fox, Robert
1952 “The Pinatubo Negritos: Their Useful Plants and Material Culture,”
Philippine Journal of Science 81 (3-4): 173-419.

Gatumbato, Errol
1997 The Bukidnon of Mount Kanlaon. Unpublished manuscript. 2 pp.

Lopez, Sixto
1900 “The Tribes in the Philippines,” Boston: New England Anti-Imperialist
League. In Jim Zwick (pat), Anti-Imperialism in the United States, 1898-1935.

Lupong Pangkasaysayan, DECS Bataan
1987 Bataan: Isang Balik-tanaw Hanggang 1941. Balanga, DECS.

Mallat, Jean
1983 The Philippines: History, Geography, Customs, Agriculture, [orig:1846] Industry and Commerce of the Spanish Colonies in Oceania. Manila: National Historical Institute.

National Statistics Office
1980 Census and Population Households: Bataan. Manila: NSO.
1990 Census and Population Households: Bataan. Manila: NSO.
1995 Census and Population Households: Bataan. Manila: NSO.

Nielsen, Trine Schnell
1996 Perception and Practices of a Group of Aetas Towards Bataan National Park. Unpublished research.

Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology
Komiks. Quezon City: NORDECO.

Oracion, Timoteo S.
1964 The Southeastern Negros Bukidnon Territory and People. The Philippines Geographical Journal 8 (January-June): 12-20.

Protected Areas Superintendent (PASu) Office
1997 Selected Population Profiles of Three Indigenous Filipino Communities: Bangkal, Kanawan, Pag-asa Aetas Reservations. Unpublished research. Abucay: Bataan Natural Protected Areas Superintendent Office.

Rahmann, Rudolf, SVD
1963 The Negritos of the Philippines and the Early Spanish Missionaries, Studia Instituti Anthropos 18.

Rai, Navin K.
1982 From Forest to Field: A Study of Philippine Negrito Foragers in Transition. Unpublished PhD. Dissertation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.

Santos, Sandra Jill, Miriam Campos and May Manalo
A Case Study of the Socio-political Structure of the Kanway Aetas.
Unpublished research for Anthropology 141. Quezon City: University of the Phil.

Service, Elman R.
1966 The Hunters. Engelwood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Shimizu, Hiromu
1989 Pinatubo Aytas: Continuity and Change. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila Press.

1992 After the Eruption: Pinatubo Aetas at the Crisis of their Survival. Tokyo: Foundation for Human Rights Asia.

Simbulan, Roland G.
1983 The Bases for Our Insecurity: A Study of the US Military Bases in the
Philippines. Manila: BALAI Fellowship, Inc.

Interview with Informants

Atienza Rodel
Ayta, male, 20 years old, a councilor of Sangguniang Kabataan, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Cayetano, Guillermo “Apo Alak”
Ayta, male, about 80 years old, husband, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Gulisan Joseph
Ayta, male, 25 years old, husband, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan

Gulisan, Leonora “Orang”
Ayta, female, around 75 years old, wife, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Gulisan-Caragay, Emiliana “Meang”
Ayta, female, does not know her age, separated, traditional healer, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Ligayo, Florante “Edgardo”
Ilocano, male, 24 years old, husband, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Maluni, Esmeraldo
Ayta, male, 24 years old, husband, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay,

Parrera, Benigno “Bening”
Ayta, male, around 50 years old, husband, Ayta representative to the
Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) of Bataan National Park (BNP), resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Parrera, Rodencio “Roding”
Ayta, male, 50 years old, husband, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan

Parrera, Rogelio “Rohing”
Ayta, male, 51 years old, husband, chief of Bangkal Tribal Council, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Tamondog, Rodolfo
Ayta, male, 48 years old, husband, councilor of Bangkal Tribal Council, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Villamor, Rodolfo Jr.
Tagalog, male, 34 years old, husband, farmer, resident of Barangay Bangkal, Abucay, Bataan.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cabalza vs Court of Appeals

Chester Cabalza recommends his visitors to please read the original & full text of the case cited. Xie xie!

Cabalza vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-37994
October 29, 1976


Petitioner Jesus G. Cabalza as defendant appealed per his Amended Notice of Appeal filed on June 19, 1972 "from (a) the Order, dated March 28, 1972, declaring defendant in default; (b) the ex-parte Decision of April 12, 1972 and (c) and Order, dated May 16, 1972, denying defendant's Motion to Set Aside Order of Default and for New Trial " of the Manila court of first instance, manifesting that he had earlier filed on June 2, 1972 with his original Notice of Appeal his cash appeal bond. The lower court had rendered judgment against petitioner in favor of private respondent Far East Realty Investment, Inc. sentencing petitioner inter alia to pay respondent the balance allegedly due on a P6,000-promissory note in the sum of P4,550.00 with interests and 10% attorney's fees and reversing the original judgment of October 11, 1971 of the Manila city court dismissing respondent's complaint and declaring the obligation as having been fully settled and discharged. The lower court in an extended Order of August 23, 1972 denied "for lack of factual and legal merits" respondent's "Joint Motion to Dismiss Appeal and for Issuance of Writ of Execution" and having overruled respondent's objection approved as "in order" petitioner's 192-page Record on Appeal.

The record on appeal expressly shows that petitioner Cabalza in opposing respondent's motion to dismiss appeal as filed with the lower court, set forth therein the specific dates of receipt of the appealed ex-parte decision and orders. Thus, in denying respondent's said motion to dismiss appeal and for issuance of a writ of execution, the lower court expressly overruled respondent's contention.


Whether the lower court upon the declaration in its order of approval of the record on appeals the time and order can be disputed by the adverse party.


As reaffirmed by the Court in Gregorio vs. Court of Appeals and in San Pedro vs. Court of Appeals , since the leading case of Pimentel vs. Court of Appeals as presaged by Berkenkotter vs. Court of Appeals, the Court has consistently ruled that where the lower court finds and declares in its order of approval of the record on appeal that it was filed "on time" or "in order" and the correctness and veracity of such finding are not impugned or disputed by the adverse party, the omissions of certain data in the record on appeal would not warrant dismissal of the appeal — "since the appellate court may properly rely on the trial court's order of approval and determination of timeliness of the appeal."

This is wholly consistent with the reason for the material data rule which is to obviate and eliminate waste of time that would be incurred by the appellate tribunal in requiring the lower court to forward the original record and in examining such record to determine the timeliness of the appeal; and where the trial court in its order approving the record on appeal finds and declares that the same was timely perfected or in order and the correctness and veracity of such finding and declaration are not disputed by the adverse party, the reason for the rule ceases because thereby the appellate court can rely thereon without the need of sending for, and of any further examination of, the original records of the case.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Korea's Soft Power Diplomacy and the Impacts of Korean Wave in Asia

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

This paper was chosen in the 6th International Convention of Asia Scholars in South Korea on 6-9 August 2009 but the author declined to attend due to the effects of global financial crisis.


I. Introduction

A rose is a rose by any other name, so it is said, and this holds true to the Korean War. South Koreans call it “6.25 War” in reference to its starting date: June 25, while North Koreans remember it as “Fatherland Liberation War”. China refers to it as “War to resist America and Aid to Korea” and the United States, because it had to officially treat it as police action to avoid the need for the declaration of war by the US Congress, called it the “Korean Conflict”. Sometimes it is referred to as “The Forgotten War” because, despite its being a major one too, it was overshadowed by the preceding and succeeding World War II and Vietnam War, respectively.

Need no further elaboration on historical accounts to the division of the two Koreas, thus, the Korean War as part and parcel of the Cold War had the effect of strengthening the alliances in the Western camp especially for South Korea or the Republic of Korea (ROK) under the aegis of the Americans.

Regrettably, Ambassador Sung-oh Shin is disconcerted that in reality Korea is a divided country. Now that Germany and Vietnam are unified, Korea remains the sole nation divided as the victim of the Cold War. He confesses that [South] Koreans were indoctrinated through the bitter experience of the Korean War that the other Korea is the foremost enemy. At the same time, however, there remains a strong sense of brotherhood between South and North Koreans. Therefore, the dilemma of South Korea’s [defense] diplomacy has always been how to contain the dangerous North Korea without jeopardizing the prospect of eventual peaceful unification.

But fast forward today, managing the Koreas, according to Kishore Mahbubani, he prescribes that the fourth pillar for US policy toward East Asia should be Korea. Aside from the inclusion of North Korea as “axis of evil” under the Bush administration, succeeding six-party multilateral talks among nuclear powers around the region and former opposing world’s superpowers. Additionally, he describes that the US also has a pressing need to cement its relations with South Korea given a strong anti-Americanism has surged dramatically in recent years, in spite of a large portion of South Korean’s elite studied at US universities.

II. Miracle on the Han River

The rugs-to-riches tale of South Korea as one of Asia’s poorest countries in 1950s was attributed to the twin after-effects of the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. It was once a bleak country with shattered infrastructures and drained resources that were exploited during those horrific historical periods. Despite initial economic handicaps and political woes, however, South Korea eventually achieved rapid economic growth and began to rise as one of the formidable tiger economies in Asia (joining the ranks of Taiwan, HongKong and Singapore).

Affirming the role of General Park Chung-hee who led a junta, he later embarked his vision on economic development in 1962 and South Korea became for four decades one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. From a poor developing country to a developed state, South Korea’s economy relied much on heavy industry and automotive industry during the 1970s and 1980s; and continuously transformed its economic outputs as a lead exporter of electronics, telecommunications, shipbuilding, and steel in 1990s; but now high-tech products like digital monitors, mobile phones and semiconductors have driven its economy in the future. Chaebols like Samsung, Hundai Kia Automotive Group and LG have become global brand names, sometimes outpacing in sales and quality some former superior Japanese electronics and automotive products.

South Korea is by far considered as one of the leading producers of knowledge in science and technology transparent through its lead in Information Technology (IT), massive Internet services per household, biotechnology, machinery and robotics. Time Magazine (July 2008) places South Korea as a mecca for computer gaming, where matches of young professional leagues are broadcast around the clock on dedicated channels for millions of viewers, hence top-notch players are worshiped as rock stars. Meanwhile, it has boosted its image as a sporting capital when it hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and co-sponsored with Japan the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

By and large, the spark of South Korea’s emergence as a major and significant economic power in the deterritorialized community of the 21st century has given birth to a new type of culture in Asia, called “hallyu” / “harnyu” or the “Korean Wave” and morphed into a beautiful cultural phenomenon as a chief springboard of popular culture today.

Hallyu as a cultural concept itself has divisive bearing on its origin. Some would claim that it was coined in China in 1999 by Beijing journalists startled by the growing popularity of South Koreans and South Korean goods in China. In contrast hallyu, argued by Professor Kang Chul-keun, originated from popular music, passing through phenomenal soap operas and films embracing Korean culture as a whole. Above everything else, he disputed however, TV soap operas are considered to have taken the front creating this Korean Wave. Thus, exports of Korean soap operas have seen remarkable growth since 2000.

Because of massive development and unprecedented progress, [South] Korea has used its turn around story as a window to simultaneously craft its intelligent foreign policies using soft power diplomacy in easing the tension between its giant and powerful neighbors of China and Japan. This soft power diplomacy that may have executed by South Korea has been well received liberally by its friendly Southeast Asian neighbors as well.

III. Korea’s Soft Power Diplomacy

This paper addresses the argument that Korea’s Soft Power Diplomacy has paved way positively to the looming relations of South Korea in particular to its East Asian neighbors, especially in the fields of culture, albeit there are still many obstacles to prevent distrust and enmity, thus also improving relations in other areas like in defense, politics and economics.

“Soft power” proponent Professor Joseph Nye, Jr. deems that this is the ability to get “others to want what you want”. It is indeed a co-optive power, magnetizing others rather than manipulating their actions through force or bribery. Professor Nye is, however, quick to differentiate “soft power” from influence. He wrote, “Soft power is not merely the same as influence. After all, influence can also rest on the hard power of threats or payment. However, soft power is the ability to attract, and attraction often leads to acquiescence. Simply put, in behavioral terms, soft power is attractive power.”

Sandwiched between two strong and great states under the Sinitic civilization, the two Koreas tried to gauge its own identity after Korea acted as a bridge to Japan that introduced the Chinese/Sinic culture since its early dynasties, argued by Rhoads Murphey (2003). Despite the strong rivalry of hard power in Northeast Asia since the World War II and enmity brought by forceful and harsh treatment by its Japanese brothers, South Korea has slowly created a certain brand, “Made in Korea”, and had since brushed its image using the tools of Soft Power Diplomacy. Notwithstanding South Korea’s economic achievements and stable democracy, John Lei and Myongkyu Park (2005:56-57) have argued that, instead South Koreans being content and ecstatic, its citizens remain wracked by the legacy of conflicts from the Cold War years, and the national mood is somber and subdued, with continuing concerns over North Korea, deepening social cleavages, and crises of the family and society. Adding that North Korea remains a looming presence in South Korean politics while China and Japan are closely watched to tame their economic and military rivals, co-existing in a clear and present danger zone.

In 2005 Korea (both by north and south) denounces Japan for trying to glorify and distort its own military aggression, referring to Japanese history and civic studies textbooks used to educate young Japanese students. But enmity between Japan and Korea was temporarily overshadowed by historical memories due to the influence of soft power diplomacy of the “hanryu”.

A case in point was the arrival of the most famous South Korean TV star, Bae Yong-joon, in 2004 in Japan. He was adored by Japanese fans who were mostly women and his visit was guarded by 150 bodyguards, 350 police and additional 70 riot police that caught the eyes of the media by major stations in Japan like the Nippon Television Network Broadcast, the Tokyo Broadcasting System, and NHK (Herald Biz, 2004-11-26, Korea Times, 2004-11-25). It was also believed that “Japan is the last country in northeast Asia to fall under the influence of all things Korean, from pop music to fashion, dubbed as the Korean Wave”.

Ambassador Sung-oh Shin (1999) views that Japan shares, to a large extent, Korea’s concern for security against North Korea. As such Japan provides an overall diplomatic support to Korea on how to manage North Korea.

Korea's popular culture has also presented an important cultural freedom, in which individuals are allowed to talk about conflicts between generations, nationalism, globalism and gender issues. Take the case of "Winter Sonata," which became wildly popular in Japan in 2003. This soap opera has raised the level of favorable interest toward Korea in Japan that has never been witnessed in any previous efforts, including governmental summits. Middle-aged Japanese women were behind the soap opera craze and the "Yonsama" phenomenon from the explosive popularity of actor Bae Yong-joon. Through the soap opera, Japan and other nations have identified their desire for intimacy in relationships, which has been the driving force in the expanded interest in Korean culture and society (

Professor Kang Chul-keun even pitch in that for the first time, Asians have a genuine cultural exchange vehicle through hallyu. He believes that regardless of ethnicity and nationality, they share the same sentiments while watching Korean soap operas and films. They indeed feel the quality of the effort that is put into such projects, and now have found answers to their thirst for sophisticated cultural products. This is not a temporary phenomenon, and it should not be underestimated. A single TV soap opera that depicted a true love between a man and a woman helped dissipate deep-rooted prejudice of Japanese against Koreans.

Reversing the tide, on the other hand as early as 2008, the closed-door and socialist state of North Korea from its ‘hermit kingdom’ heritage welcomed New York Philharmonic, powered and fostered by “cultural diplomacy” between the technical rival countries, the United States and North Korea. In the event, it was reported that North Koreans have opened their door to some 400 people, the largest contingent of Americans to visit this isolated, totalitarian state since the Korean War ended in 1953. The group includes musicians, orchestra staff, television production crews and 80 journalists, as well as patrons who paid US$100,000 a couple.

IV. The Impacts of Korean Wave

Globalization plays a bigger role in promoting Korean Wave so fast-paced. Whether in Youtube to boob tube and any other Internet mediums, and cable channels. Professor Kang Chul-keun asserts that Hanryu carries the spirit of popular culture that seeks and explores human universality. The fact that Asians started cultural exchanges through hanryu has another historical significance. Asians who have long been immersed in the Western popular culture have now found alternatives.

On the other hand, it also holds the spirit of traditional culture or cultural heritage which also befits modern society and its future promises. Traditional culture manifests its intrinsic meaning as a source of power which enables connection between the past, present and future. Modeling traditional culture as a spiritual body provides a ground in enriching the future creation of culture. There is a future in tradition - it is the motivating power in the creation of new cultures.

More so, there has been much talk about hanryu creating a higher Asian cultural community. It is apparent that through Asian soap operas, Asians who have experienced similar modernization processes have an increased sense of solidarity. Their envious look toward the West has changed. It is significant to understand that hanryu has forged stronger relations between Asian countries. In the long run, the higher objective of building an Asian cultural bloc should be reached.

Because of hanryu, pop-cultural tourism has also been encouraged into understanding cultural factors where traveling to locations featured in soap operas, literature, film, music and any other form of popular entertainment have been in demand.

Despite South Korea’s rapid economic growth and the hanryu phenomenon, immigrants and massive influx of tourists in Southeast Asia has been unprecedented, although in the ASEAN region, understanding of Korea needs to be further enhanced. However in the Philippines, for instance, Koreans consist of mostly expatriates from South Korea. The Philippines has opened its doors for Koreans in 2004 for business, education, and/or leisure purposes, ministry and popular destination for retirees on fixed pensions. Hence, top tourists arrivals in the country are now Koreans, outnumbering Americans, Japanese and European travelers. Koreatowns are also apparent in Metro Manila and Koreans also reside in quieter provinces of the country, but they are often criticized for keeping to themselves and forming a closed community. Changes are made now because of increasing interaction between the host country and the immigrants, wherein Koreans sometimes shine in the dynamic local entertainment industry and lucrative business sector in the Philippines.

V. Conclusion

Korea’s rapid economic dynamism since has been transparent on its engagement and participation to multilateral dialogues in East Asian region. Korea has been a dialogue partner of ASEAN since July 1991, and through the ASEAN plus Three multilateral framework of East Asian co-operation. It has been an active member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

In the midst of these regional dynamics (Ho Kai Leong: 2007), ASEAN-Korea relations seem relatively neglected, and have been related to receiving marginal policy attention from Southeast Asian governments. As the ROK is a latecomer in establishing ties with Southeast Asian neighbors, it needs to catch up with other two Northeast Asian (China and Japan) neighbors in building and improving ASEAN relations.

In its relation with North Korea, Ambassador Sung-oh Shin (1999:47) still believes that security-related agreements or understanding between two Koreas are quite rare. Yet, there exist a few of such understandings, which also contribute to the mitigation of tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Declaration of Nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is a case in point.

The use of [South] Korea’s soft power diplomacy on how to confront strains and tensions between former enemies in Northeast Asia should be applied also to its political reconciliation with North Korea since the inception of the Sunshine Policy to contain North Korea’s Cold War-style confrontation.

The success of Korean wave is emanating through cultural domains around Asia from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, and also conquering the vastness of Hollywood and Europe. Right now, ASEAN and South Korea (Hernandez: 2007) are the weakest of the four players within the ASEAN plus Three process. Given Korea’s status (Prasetyono: 2007) as an economic power, its lack of political ambitions, and its situation between Japan and China, mediation from it would be more acceptable to other Asian countries. Cooperation with ASEAN would therefore increase Korea’s strategic weight.

The advantage of South Korea to advance its Soft Power Diplomacy since hanryu is at the peak of its success in introducing and influencing Korean pop-culture to the rest of Asia is tolerable and acceptable. On the other hand, Korea sees many hindrances on how to exercise its power, away from the strength of its competing neighbors of China and Japan. In the process, South Korea would be vulnerable if it were left to deal with both China and Japan on its own.

It is therefore recommended that the [South] Korean government puts more effort into understanding these hindrances to achieve a leverage and favorable outcome and a more positive image away from the remnants of security disorders within the Korean peninsula, and emerge as a new economic force and catalyst supported by two of its gigantic economic neighbors. Only by understanding the hindrances and sustaining the success of the Korean Wave should South Korea attain the effectiveness it has set for Soft Power Diplomacy. As such, the two Koreas may have gather together their strengths and willingness to sacrifice each other’s defense and foreign policy differences in order to achieve the aims of the Soft Power Diplomacy. In the process, this will gradually build mutual confidence in each other which is essential basis for peaceful unification of the two Koreas and for the stability of the rest of Asia and the world.


Hernandez, Carolina (2007) Strengthening ASEAN-Korea Co-operation in Non-Traditional Security Issues, in Ho Khai Leong’s ASEAN-Korea Relations: Security, Trade and Community Building, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

Ho Khai Leong (2007) ASEAN-Korea Relations: Security, Trade and Community Building, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

Mahbubani, Kishore (2008) America’s Place in the Asian Century, Current History, May 2008 issue.

Nye, Joseph Jr. (2005) Soft Power: the Means to Success in World Politics, Political Science/Public Affairs and Administration.

Pobre, Cesar (2008) Role of Korea in the Peace and Security of the Asia-Pacific, National Security Review, National Defense College of the Philippines, Quezon City.

Prasetyono, Edy (2007) Next Steps in ASEAN-Korea Relations for East Asian Security, in Ho Khai Leong’s ASEAN-Korea Relations: Security, Trade and Community Building, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.

Shin, Sung-oh (1999) Defense Policies of Korea, The Ambassador Speaks, National Defense College of the Philippines, Quezon City.

Electronic Sources

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chowking: A Taste of the Filipino Consumerism on Chinese Cuisine

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved. (Abstract)

It was during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) when the Philippines-China friendship reached its peak. In one of the accounts of Sino-Sulu relations narrated in the Ming Annals, it was recorded that the Sultan of Sulu, Paduak Patara, visited China in 1417 CE (Common Era) where he was royally received by the Chinese emperor. But the sultan was stricken ill and died in the city of Dezhou at Shandong province. The benevolent emperor honoured the Muslim king with the title of Kong Ting (brother) and ordered the construction of a handsome mausoleum to mark the tomb of a Filipino monarch.

Undeniably speaking, today’s Philippine foods have been highly infused by the Chinese cuisine aside from Spanish and more local gastronomic influences. One of the popular Philippine-based chains that pioneered the Asian quick-service restaurant which combines western fast-food style of service with Chinese food is Chowking (超群). Founded in 1985, Chowking predominantly sells noodle soups, dimsum and rice toppings. However, at the start of the 21st century on January 1, 2000, Chowking was bought out and became an entirely-owned subsidiary of Jolibee Foods Corporation, the Philippines’ biggest fast food chain.

The subjective reality of Chowking which represents connectivity of Philippine consumerism to the Chinese market, stirred by the assimilation of the influential Tsinoy (Filipino-Chinese) community in the country which proves the warm reception of Chinese foods and products in the Philippines. Hence, Susan Sontag’s “Subjective Reality” offers the description of the usefulness of culture in the capitalist society’s image that allows aestheticizing of the commodity which can subjectify or objectify culture.

This paper addresses the argument that Chowking, a popular Philippine brand produced, distributed, circulated and consumed over three decades already by Filipino consumers is now absorbed in the Philippines’ national consciousness cemented by the slogan “Laking Chowking” (I grew up with Chowking), under the mixture of highly-influenced Cantonese/Hokkien and Filipino cuisines, which is freely integrated in the country’s cultural economy, and affirms its presence in the growing fast-food chains in the Philippines but substantively designated as Pop Culture China.

It also reflects the success stories of Chinese Diaspora in the Philippines and the Tsinoys (Filipino-Chinese) as catalysts of change in the mainstream Philippine culture and society. Added by today’s dramatic increase of China’s Soft Power Diplomacy in the region through the infusion of Chinese Pop Culture has positively paved a way on how Filipino people perceive the Chinese people reflected through the Philippine’s own Chowking restaurants and the Tsinoy community.

With the tremendous mobility brought about by globalization where immense flood of capital, foods, ideas, labour, profits and technology are rapidly moving across the four bounds of the earth. Today, Chowking has steadily been expanding its network within the Philippines having now 400 stores nationwide and began exploring offshore markets such as in the United States, the Middle East and Indonesia.

Marital Laws in the Philippines

Copyright © 2009 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved. (Abstract)

The Philippines, being the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia, is one the only remaining countries in the world, without a divorce law. This holds true when the late President Corazon C. Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the “Family Code,” partially influenced by Canon Laws, which took effect on August 3, 1988, governing marriages of all non-Muslim Filipinos. This is supported by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, under Article XV, Section 2, and Article 1 of the Family Code, which both expressly characterize marriage as the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution. By and large, marriage in the Philippines is a special contract of a permanent union between a man and a woman (same sex marriage is null and void), in which the State plays as an arbiter, whether or not it will allow dissolution of marriage to spouses.

However, under the Family Code, a spouse who seeks relief from the effects of marriage may avail of any of the following remedies: (1) declaration of nullity of marriage, (2) annulment of marriage, and (3) legal separation.

Grounds for the declaration of nullity of marriage are the following: minority; lack of parental consent; absence of marriage license; bigamous or polygamous marriages; mistake in identity; subsequent marriage which has been annulled but fails to record the judgment of annulment; incestuous marriage; void by reason of public policy; and psychological incapacity. Grounds for annulment consist of the following: no parental consent; unsoundness of mind; fraud; force, intimidation or undue influence; impotence; and sexually-transmissible disease. Lastly, grounds for legal separation include the following: infliction of physical abuse; moral pressure; grossly abusive conduct; promotion to prostitution; final judgment of more than six years imprisonment; drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, lesbianism or homosexuality; contracting of subsequent bigamous marriage; sexual infidelity; sexual perversion; attempt on the life of the spouse; and abandonment. More so, these “quasi-divorce” means in the country involve moral, social, economic and psychological issues.

At present, absolute divorce is not allowed in the Philippines, however, the paper will try to address whether the apparent socio-economic problems the country is facing are sufficient for the family courts to be flexible on its current remedies available to spouses. For instance, there is a growing number of domestic violence in Filipino households, which gives significance by Republic Act 9262 or the special law defining Violence against Women and their Children. There are also numerous cases on the plight of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), some of whom may have left dysfunctional families behind, or affluent parties who later become naturalized as foreign citizens and obtain divorce decree abroad. These cases add to the increasing statistics of spouses seeking legal remedies to their marital problems. Hence, the current socio-economic alterations in the country, pose valid considerations in resolving the issues in the present Family Code and other civil laws of the country.

This paper seeks to scrutinize and understand the current socio-economic changes as well as the cultural, moral, and psychological issues in the Philippines which may affect the legality of marriage and sanctity of family available to spouses and their children whose marriage is falling apart and family is breaking away. Particularly whether or not, the conservative approach of the highly influential Catholic Church in the Philippines, still adapts to the ever-evolving economic, moral, and social challenges the country is faced with in a deterritorialized world.