Saturday, December 24, 2011

Xiamen China

Xiamen is located in the southern part of Fujian Province & the west coast of the Taiwan Strait. It is a National Excellent Tourist City and its islands are the nearest to the Taiwanese-controlled islands – just a couple of kilometers off shore from Xiamen.


Photographs by Chester B. Cabalza
Copyright © 2011 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

















Monday, December 19, 2011

ShenZhen China

They say, if you wanna see how a Chinese fishing village develop into a megacity only in a decade, then you have to go and see Shen Zhen!!!

Shen Zhen is situated north of Hong Kong and is a major city in the south of southern China's Guandong province. It has become China's first and one of the most successful Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in China. Shen Zhen's novel and modern cityscape is the result of Deng Xiaoping's policy of "reform and opening up". This city is a showcase that mainland China can rival Hong Kong's economic vibrancy!


Photographs by Chester B. Cabalza
Copyright © 2011 by Chester B. Cabalza. All Rights Reserved.

















Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rule 115 - Rights of the Accused (Rules of Court)

Section 1. Rights of accused at trial. – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be entitled to the following rights:

(a) To be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(b) To be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

(c) To be present and defend in person and by counsel at every stage of the proceedings, from arraignment to promulgation of the judgment. The accused may, however, waive his presence at the trial pursuant to the stipulations set forth in his bail, unless his presence is specifically ordered by the court for purposes of identification. The absence of the accused without justifiable cause at the trial of which he had notice shall be considered a waiver of his right to be present thereat. When an accused under custody escapes, he shall be deemed to have waived his right to be present on all subsequent trial dates until custody over him is regained. Upon motion, the accused may be allowed to defend himself in person when it sufficiently appears to the court that he can properly protect his rights without the assistance of counsel.

(d) To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to cross-examination on matters covered by direct examination. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice him.

(e) To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself.

(f) To confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him at the trial. Either party may utilize as part of its evidence the testimony of a witness who is deceased, out of or can not with due diligence be found in the Philippines, unavailable, or otherwise unable to testify, given in another case or proceeding, judicial or administrative, involving the same parties and subject matter, the adverse party having the opportunity to cross-examine him.

(g) To have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses and production of other evidence in his behalf.

(h) To have speedy, impartial and public trial.

(i) To appeal in all cases allowed and in the manner prescribed by law.

Yu Tek v. Gonzales

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

G.R. No. L-9935
February 1, 1915
Trent, J.


YU TEK v. GONZALES

Doctrine:

There is a perfected sale with regard to the “thing” whenever the article of sale has been physically segregated from all other articles.


Facts:

Gonzalez received P3,000 from Yu Tek and Co. and in exchange, the former obligated himself to deliver 600 piculs of sugar of the first and second grade, according to the result of the polarization, within the period of three months. It was also stipulated that in case Gonzales fails to deliver, the contract will be rescinded he will be obligated to return the P3,000 received and also the sum of P1,200 by way of indemnity for loss and damages.
Plaintiff proved that no sugar had been delivered to him under the contract nor had he been able to recover the P3,000.

Gonzales assumed that the contract was limited to the sugar he might raise upon his own plantation; that the contract represented a perfected sale; and that by failure of his crop he was relieved from complying with his undertaking by loss of the thing due.

Issue:

Whether or not there was a perfected contract of sale.

Held:

No. This court has consistently held that there is a perfected sale with regard to the “thing” whenever the article of sale has been physically segregated from all other articles.
In the case at bar, the undertaking of the defendant was to sell to the plaintiff 600 piculs of sugar of the first and second classes. Was this an agreement upon the “thing” which was the object of the contract? For the purpose of sale its bulk is weighed, the customary unit of weight being denominated a “picul.” Now, if called upon to designate the article sold, it is clear that the defendant could only say that it was “sugar.” He could only use this generic name for the thing sold. There was no “appropriation” of any particular lot of sugar. Neither party could point to any specific quantity of sugar and say: “This is the article which was the subject of our contract.”

We conclude that the contract in the case at bar was merely an executory agreement; a promise of sale and not a sale. There was no perfected sale.

Friday, September 16, 2011

RP represented by ERB vs Manila Electric Company

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

G.R. No. 141314 November 15, 2002

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY ENERGY REGULATORY BOARD petitioner,
vs.
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, respondent.


-----------------------------

G.R. No. 141369 November 15, 2002

LAWYERS AGAINST MONOPOLY AND POVERTY (LAMP) consisting of CEFERINO PADUA, Chairman, G. FULTON ACOSTA, GALILEO BRION, ANATALIA BUENAVENTURA,
PEDRO CASTILLO, NAPOLEON CORONADO, ROMEO ECHAUZ, FERNANDO GAITE, ALFREDO DE GUZMAN, ROGELIO KARAGDAG, JR., MA. LUZ ARZAGA-MENDOZA, ANSBERTO PAREDES, AQUILINO PIMENTEL III, MARIO REYES, EMMANUEL SANTOS, RUDEGELIO TACORDA, members, and ROLANDO ARZAGA, Secretary-General,
JUSTICE ABRAHAM SARMIENTO, SENATOR AQUILINO PIMENTEL, JR. and COMMISSIONER BARTOLOME FERNANDEZ, JR., Board of Consultants, and Lawyer GENARO LUALHATI, petitioners,
vs.
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY (MERALCO), respondent.

Facts:


The MERALCO filed with the energy Regulatory Body (ERB), an application for the revision of its rate schedules. The application reflected an average increase of 21 centavos per kilowatthour (kwh) in its distribution charge. The application also included a prayer for provisional approval of the increase pursuant to Section 16(c) of the Public Service Act and Section 8 of Executive Order No. 172.

On January 28, 1994, the ERB issued an Order granting a provisional increase of P0.184 per kwh, subject to the following condition. In the same Order, the ERB requested the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct an audit and examination of the books and other records of account of the applicant for such period of time and to submit a copy thereof to the ERB immediately upon completion.

In February 1997, COA submitted its "COA Report" which contained, among others, the recommendation not to include income taxes paid by MERALCO as part of its operating expenses for purposes of rate determination and the use of the net average investment method for the computation of the proportionate value of the properties used by MERALCO during the test year for the determination of the rate base. Subsequently, the ERB rendered its decision adopting the above recommendations and authorized MERALCO to implement a rate adjustment. The ERB held that income tax should not be treated as operating expense as this should be borne by the stockholders who are recipients of the income or profits realized from the operation of their business.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals set aside the ERB decision insofar as it directed the reduction of the MERALCO rates by an average of P0.167 per kwh and the refund of such amount to MERALCO's customers beginning February 1994 and until its billing cycle beginning February 1998. Separate Motions for Reconsideration filed by the petitioners were denied by the Court of Appeals.

Issues:

1. Whether in ruling that income tax paid by MERALCO should be treated as part of its operating expenses and thus considered in determining the amount of increase in rates imposed by MERALCO; and

2. Whether in rejecting the net average investment method used by the COA and the ERB, it should adopt the average investment method used by MERALCO.

Held:

The regulation of rates to be charged by public utilities is founded upon the police powers of the State and statutes prescribing rules for the control and regulation of public utilities are a valid exercise thereof.

When private property is used for a public purpose and is affected with public interest, it ceases to be juris privati only and becomes subject to regulation. The regulation is to promote the common good. Submission to regulation may be withdrawn by the owner by discontinuing use; but as long as use of the property is continued, the same is subject to public regulation.

In regulating rates charged by public utilities, the State protects the public against arbitrary and excessive rates while maintaining the efficiency and quality of services rendered. However, the power to regulate rates does not give the State the right to prescribe rates which are so low as to deprive the public utility of a reasonable return on investment. Thus, the rates prescribed by the State must be one that yields a fair return on the public utility upon the value of the property performing the service and one that is reasonable to the public for the services rendered. While the power to fix rates is a legislative function, whether exercised by the legislature itself or delegated through an administrative agency, a determination of whether the rates so fixed are reasonable and just is a purely judicial question and is subject to the review of the courts.

The ERB was created under Executive Order No. 172 to regulate, among others, the distribution of energy resources and to fix rates to be charged by public utilities involved in the distribution of electricity. In the fixing of rates, the only standard which the legislature is required to prescribe for the guidance of the administrative authority is that the rate be reasonable and just.

In the cases at bar, findings and conclusions of the ERB on the rate that can be charged by MERALCO to the public should be respected. The function of the court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is to determine whether under the facts and circumstances, the final order entered by the administrative agency is unlawful or unreasonable. The ERB correctly ruled that income tax should not be included in the computation of operating expenses of a public utility. Accordingly, the burden of paying income tax should be Meralco's alone and should not be shifted to the consumers by including the same in the computation of its operating expenses.

The principle behind the inclusion of operating expenses in the determination of a just and reasonable rate is to allow the public utility to recoup the reasonable amount of expenses it has incurred in connection with the services it provides. Under the "net average investment method," properties and equipment used in the operation of a public utility are entitled to a return only on the actual number of months they are in service during the period.

The petitions are granted but the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed. Respondent Meralco is authorized to adopt a rate adjustment in the amount of P0.017 per kilowatthour, effective with respect to MERALCO's billing cycles beginning February 1994. Further, in accordance with the decision of the ERB dated February 16, 1998, the excess average amount of P0.167 per kilowatt-hour starting with the applicant's billing cycles beginning February 1998 is ordered to be refunded to MERALCO's customers or correspondingly credited in their favor for future consumption.

PLDT vs NTC

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

G.R. No. 88404 October 18, 1990

PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CO. [PLDT], petitioner,
vs.
THE NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION AND CELLCOM, INC., (EXPRESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS CO., INC. [ETCI]), respondents.

EN BANC

Facts:


There are two (2) Orders, namely, Order of 12 December 1988 granting private respondent Express Telecommunications Co., Inc. (ETCI) provisional authority to install, operate and maintain a Cellular Mobile Telephone System in Metro-Manila (Phase A) in accordance with specified conditions; and the Order, dated 8 May 1988, denying reconsideration, enacted by the respondent National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) but assailed by petitioner Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).

ETCI filed an application with NTC for the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain a Cellular Mobile Telephone System and an Alpha Numeric Paging System in Metro Manila and in the Southern Luzon regions, with a prayer for provisional authority to operate Phase A of its proposal within Metro Manila.

But in an Order, dated 12 November 1987, NTC overruled PLDT's Opposition and declared that Rep. Act No. 2090 (1958) should be liberally construed as to include among the services under said franchise the operation of a cellular mobile telephone service.

After evaluating the reconsideration sought by PLDT, the NTC, in October 1988, maintained its ruling that liberally construed, applicant's franchise carries with it the privilege to operate and maintain a cellular mobile telephone service.

In a "Motion to Set Aside the Order" granting provisional authority, PLDT alleged essentially that the interconnection ordered was in violation of due process and that the grant of provisional authority was jurisdictionally and procedurally infirm.

PLDT urges the Court to annul the NTC Orders of 12 December 1988 and 8 May 1989 and to order ETCI to desist from, suspend, and/or discontinue any and all acts intended for its implementation.

Issues:

1. Whether the status and coverage of Rep. Act No. 2090 includes franchise;

2. Whether there is transfer of shares of stock of a corporation in holding a CPCN; and

3. Whether there is a need to merge principle and procedure of interconnection.

Held:

There is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of NTC, upon the following considerations:

1. NTC Jurisdiction

The NTC is the regulatory agency of the national government with jurisdiction over all telecommunications entities. It is legally clothed with authority and given ample discretion to grant a provisional permit or authority. In fact, NTC may, on its own initiative, grant such relief even in the absence of a motion from an applicant.

What the NTC granted was such a provisional authority, with a definite expiry period of eighteen (18) months unless sooner renewed, and which may be revoked, amended or revised by the NTC. It is also limited to Metro Manila only.

What is more, the main proceedings are clearly to continue as stated in the NTC Order of 8 May 1989.

The provisional authority was issued after due hearing, reception of evidence and evaluation, with the hearings attended by various oppositors, including PLDT. It was granted only after a prima facie showing that ETCI has the necessary legal, financial, and technical capabilities and that public interest, convenience, and necessity so demanded.

Hence, the final outcome of the application rests within the exclusive prerogative of the NTC. Whether or not a CPCN would eventually issue would depend on the evidence to be presented during the hearings still to be conducted, and only after a full evaluation of the proof thus presented.

2. The Coverage of ETCI's Franchise

Rep. Act No. 2090 grants ETCI (formerly FACI) "the right and privilege of constructing, installing, establishing and operating in the entire Philippines radio stations for reception and transmission of messages on radio stations in the foreign and domestic public fixed point-to-point and public base, aeronautical and land mobile stations, ... with the corresponding relay stations for the reception and transmission of wireless messages on radiotelegraphy and/or radiotelephony ...." PLDT maintains that the scope of the franchise is limited to "radio stations" and excludes telephone services such as the establishment of the proposed Cellular Mobile Telephone System (CMTS). However, in its Order of 12 November 1987, the NTC construed the technical term "radiotelephony" liberally as to include the operation of a cellular mobile telephone system.

3. The Status of ETCI Franchise

PLDT alleges that the ETCI franchise had lapsed into nonexistence for failure of the franchise holder to begin and complete construction of the radio system authorized under the franchise as explicitly required in Section 4 of its franchise, Rep. Act No. 2090.

More importantly, PLDT's allegation partakes of a Collateral attack on a franchise Rep. Act No. 2090), which is not allowed.

A franchise is a property right and cannot be revoked or forfeited without due process of law. The determination of the right to the exercise of a franchise, or whether the right to enjoy such privilege has been forfeited by non-user, is more properly the subject of the prerogative writ of quo warranto, the right to assert which, as a rule, belongs to the State "upon complaint or otherwise" (Sections 1, 2 and 3, Rule 66, Rules of Court), 2 the reason being that the abuse of a franchise is a public wrong and not a private injury. A forfeiture of a franchise will have to be declared in a direct proceeding for the purpose brought by the State because a franchise is granted by law and its unlawful exercise is primarily a concern of Government.

4. ETCI's Stock Transactions

ETCI admits that in 1964, the Albertos, as original owners of more than 40% of the outstanding capital stock sold their holdings to the Orbes. In 1968, the Albertos re-acquired the shares they had sold to the Orbes. In 1987, the Albertos sold more than 40% of their shares to Horacio Yalung. Thereafter, the present stockholders acquired their ETCI shares. Moreover, in 1964, ETCI had increased its capital stock from P40,000.00 to P360,000.00; and in 1987, from P360,000.00 to P40M.

In other words, transfers of shares of a public utility corporation need only NTC approval, not Congressional authorization. What transpired in ETCI were a series of transfers of shares starting in 1964 until 1987. But again, whether ETCI has offended against a provision of its franchise, or has subjected it to misuse or abuse, may more properly be inquired into in quo warranto proceedings instituted by the State. It is the condition of every franchise that it is subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal when the common good so requires (1987 Constitution, Article XII, Section 11).

5. The NTC Interconnection Order

In the provisional authority granted by NTC to ETCI, one of the conditions imposed was that the latter and PLDT were to enter into an interconnection agreement to be jointly submitted to NTC for approval.

Rep. Act No. 6849, or the Municipal Telephone Act of 1989, approved on 8 February 1990, mandates interconnection providing as it does that "all domestic telecommunications carriers or utilities ... shall be interconnected to the public switch telephone network." Such regulation of the use and ownership of telecommunications systems is in the exercise of the plenary police power of the State for the promotion of the general welfare.

The importance and emphasis given to interconnection dates back to Ministry Circular No. 82-81, dated 6 December 1982; Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Circular No. 87-188, issued in 1987; The sharing of revenue was an additional feature considered in DOTC Circular No. 90-248, dated 14 June 1990, laying down the "Policy on Interconnection and Revenue Sharing by Public Communications Carriers."

The NTC order to interconnect allows the parties themselves to discuss and agree upon the specific terms and conditions of the interconnection agreement instead of the NTC itself laying down the standards of interconnection which it can very well impose. Thus it is that PLDT cannot justifiably claim denial of clue process. It has been heard. It will continue to be heard in the main proceedings.

6. Ultimate Considerations

The decisive considerations are public need, public interest, and the common good. Those were the overriding factors which motivated NTC in granting provisional authority to ETCI.

Free competition in the industry may also provide the answer to a much-desired improvement in the quality and delivery of this type of public utility, to improved technology, fast and handy mobile service, and reduced user dissatisfaction. After all, neither PLDT nor any other public utility has a constitutional right to a monopoly position in view of the Constitutional proscription that no franchise certificate or authorization shall be exclusive in character or shall last longer than fifty (50) years.

Ruling:

There is no grave abuse of discretion, tantamount to lack of or excess of jurisdiction, on the part of the NTC in issuing its challenged Orders of 12 December 1988 and 8 May 1989 in NTC Case No. 87-39, and this Petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation vs Globe Telecom, Inc.

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

G.R. No. 147324 May 25, 2004

PHILIPPINE COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
GLOBE TELECOM, INC. (formerly Globe Mckay Cable and Radio Corporation), respondents.

x-----------------------------x

GLOBE TELECOM, INC., petitioner,
vs.
PHILIPPINE COMMUNICATION SATELLITE CORPORATION, respondent.


Facts:

Globe Telecom, Inc., formerly known as Globe McKay Cable and Radio Corporation installed and configured communication facilities for the exclusive use of the US Defense Communications Agency (USDCA) in Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base. Globe Telecom later contracted the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat) for the provision of the communication facilities. As both companies entered into an Agreement, Globe obligated itself to operate and provide an IBS Standard B earth station with Cubi Point for the use of the USDCA. The term of the contract was for 60 months, or five (5) years. In turn, Globe promised to pay Philcomsat monthly rentals for each leased circuit involved.

As the saga continues, the Philippine Senate passed and adopted Senate Resolution No. 141 and decided not to ratify the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security, and its Supplementary Agreements to extend the term of the use by the US of Subic Naval Base, among others. In other words, the RP-US Military Bases Agreement was suddenly terminated.

Because of this event, Globe notified Philcomsat of its intention to discontinue the use of the earth station effective 08 November 1992 in view of the withdrawal of US military personnel from Subic Naval Base after the termination of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement.

After the US military forces left Subic Naval Base, Philcomsat sent Globe a letter in 1993 demanding payment of its outstanding obligations under the Agreement amounting to US$4,910,136.00 plus interest and attorney’s fees. However, Globe refused to heed Philcomsat’s demand. On the other hand, the latter with the Regional Trial Court of Makati a Complaint against Globe, however, Globe filed an Answer to the Complaint, insisting that it was constrained to end the Agreement due to the termination of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement and the non-ratification by the Senate of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, which events constituted force majeure under the Agreement. Globe explained that the occurrence of said events exempted it from paying rentals for the remaining period of the Agreement.

Four years after, the trial court its decision but both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Issues:

1. Whether or not the non-ratification by the Senate of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security and its Supplementary Agreements constitutes force majeure which exempts Globe from complying with its obligations under the Agreement;

2. Whether Globe is not liable to pay the rentals for the remainder of the term of the Agreement; and

3. Whether Globe is liable to Philcomsat for exemplary damages.

Held:

Decision on Issue No. 1: Fortuitous Event under Article 1174

The appellate court ruled that the non-ratification by the Senate of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security, and its Supplementary Agreements, and the termination by the Philippine Government of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement effective 31 December 1991 as stated in the Philippine Government’s Note Verbale to the US Government, are acts, directions, or requests of the Government of the Philippines which constitute force majeure.

However, the Court of Appeals ruled that although Globe sought to terminate Philcomsat’s services by 08 November 1992, it is still liable to pay rentals for the December 1992, amounting to US$92,238.00 plus interest, considering that the US military forces and personnel completely withdrew from Cubi Point only on 31 December 1992.

No reversible error was committed by the Court of Appeals in issuing the assailed Decision; hence the petitions are denied.

Article 1174, which exempts an obligor from liability on account of fortuitous events or force majeure, refers not only to events that are unforeseeable, but also to those which are foreseeable, but inevitable:

A fortuitous event under Article 1174 may either be an "act of God," or natural occurrences such as floods or typhoons,24 or an "act of man," such as riots, strikes or wars.

Philcomsat and Globe agreed in Section 8 of the Agreement that the following events shall be deemed events constituting force majeure:

1. Any law, order, regulation, direction or request of the Philippine Government;
2. Strikes or other labor difficulties;
3. Insurrection;
4. Riots;
5. National emergencies;
6. War;
7. Acts of public enemies;
8. Fire, floods, typhoons or other catastrophes or acts of God;
9. Other circumstances beyond the control of the parties.

Clearly, the foregoing are either unforeseeable, or foreseeable but beyond the control of the parties. There is nothing in the enumeration that runs contrary to, or expands, the concept of a fortuitous event under Article 1174.

The Supreme Court agrees with the Court of Appeals and the trial court that the abovementioned requisites are present in the instant case. Philcomsat and Globe had no control over the non-renewal of the term of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement when the same expired in 1991, because the prerogative to ratify the treaty extending the life thereof belonged to the Senate. Neither did the parties have control over the subsequent withdrawal of the US military forces and personnel from Cubi Point in December 1992.

Decision on Issue No. 2: Exemption of Globe from Paying Rentals for the Facility

The Supreme Court finds that the defendant is exempted from paying the rentals for the facility for the remaining term of the contract. As a consequence of the termination of the RP-US Military Bases Agreement (as amended) the continued stay of all US Military forces and personnel from Subic Naval Base would no longer be allowed, hence, plaintiff would no longer be in any position to render the service it was obligated under the Agreement.

The Court of Appeals was correct in ruling that the happening of such fortuitous events rendered Globe exempt from payment of rentals for the remainder of the term of the Agreement.

Decision on Issue No 3: No Exemplary Damages

Exemplary damages may be awarded in cases involving contracts or quasi-contracts, if the erring party acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or malevolent manner.

In the present case, it was not shown that Globe acted wantonly or oppressively in not heeding Philcomsat’s demands for payment of rentals. It was established during the trial of the case before the trial court that Globe had valid grounds for refusing to comply with its contractual obligations after 1992.

Ruling:

WHEREFORE, the Petitions are DENIED for lack of merit. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 63619 is AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Virtual Ethnography 101: Reflexivity of an Ethnographer at Rizal Park

As part of the weekly exercises of my graduate students in Anthropology 225: Philippine Society and Culture, I wanted my students to explore places and write ethnography using the method of participation-observation.

In celebration of the sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine's national hero, I asked my graduate students to visit museums that exhibit memorabilia for our dear renaissance Filipino man Jose Rizal, attend local and international academic symposium on The First World-Class Filipino Jose Rizal, travel to his ancestral house in Laguna, or pay respect to one of Asia's great intellectuals enshrined at Luneta Park, and so on...

I am posting in my blog with the writer's consent selected ethnography penned creatively by my students to contribute to the emerging sub-discipline of anthropology called 'Virtual Ethnography'.

Basically, virtually ethnography is also referred to as Webnography. We cannot deny the fact that with increasing use of technology and the Internet, there is now a demand for online spaces on various ethnographic accounts.




Ethnography by Josefina Vicencio

There were many rectangular boards in light shade of green on building facades and lamp posts along Roxas Boulevard. The boards bore the familiar face of someone I see often in books, coins and almost every town plaza in the country. The face is so ubiquitous that it brings about nonchalance, but not that first Saturday afternoon of July. I went to Luneta for an assignment that roused me from indifference to the face. I decided to do ethnography of the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park. I was seeing Rizal in Luneta with a fresh eye, smelling the surrounding air with my flat nose, hearing the cacophony of sounds with an eager ear and feeling the iron, marble, granite and some flora with my hands. Idiomatically, one could say that I was being green --someone who has no experience or any impressions at all of the Rizal monument until that day.

Participant-observation is the hallmark of ethnography. It is also a practice which can sometimes be ambiguous. Does one participate first and then observe later? Can one really do both? The concept of reflexivity can close the gap between participation and observation. An ethnographer must realize that she is part of the unfolding story. Her being in the site affects the dynamics. She is both the object and the subject. Kirsten Hastrup (1995) says that participant-observation implies an observation of participation itself. Thus, this ethnography is not only about the Rizal monument but also about me as a tourist and researcher and the people I met.

The Rizal monument was designed by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling. He was the second place winner for the design competition sponsored by the US governor-general from 1905-1907. The contract was awarded to him in 1908 instead of the first place winner Carlos Nicoli [1]. There are supposed reasons to this incident but one that struck me was about the cost of Kissling’s quotation being lower than that of Nicoli’s [2]. The monument as designed by Kissling features a Rizal bronze statue standing in front an obelisk that bears three stars. There were also other statues in the base such as a mother and child and two boys reading. Rizal’s statue stands gallantly looking eastward. I was surprised to find out later during my research that Rizal’s remains are interred there. Two honor guards act as sentry all the time. According to the security guard on duty, the honor guards are from the marines. They switch position every 15 minutes and are replaced with another set of honor guards every two hours. The monument was unveiled to the public in 1913.


Presently, stanchions and thick alloy chains bar the public from going near the front and rear sides of the monument. A spiral topiary is placed on both sides of the steps. There are five flag poles and five planter basins on each side. Each planter basin sits atop a square pedestal marked by statements of Rizal. The right side bears Spanish statements while the left bears Filipino. As of this writing, I am unsure if they are translations of the other. The monument and its surrounding areas are like new. They seemed polish and well maintained. This is probably due to the fact that Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary was celebrated just three weeks prior. It was refreshing to see many shrubs, flowers and trees with hardly any litter around. Aside from the exhaust coming from the vehicles, I was surprised not to get a waft of the Manila Bay which from experience always overpowers. There was a light drizzle that afternoon. There was also a constant cool breeze which was punctuated by a combination of smell of horse dung, newly cut grass and wet soil.

Colorful calesas ply the park vicinity. In order to experience a calesa ride, one would have to pay P150 for a 10-minute ride around the park. I did and found out from my kutsero, Michael, that he earns P400 daily minus the bribe he gives to the police and the rent for the horse and carriage. He lives in nearby Tondo and has been a kutsero for eight years. Weekends are busier days he said. Asked what Luneta means to him, he looked at me and smiled. He shook his head and did not respond. He was probably amused to have a passenger ask silly questions. He said that he did dish out information for foreigner tourists. I asked him again and still got no reply. We arrived at the stop and I had to disembark.

Going towards the monument, I walked with a group of Chinese and Korean tourists who just alighted from a bus. They posed in front the monument for pictures. I have observed from my two-hour stay just by the monument that there were three busloads of Chinese and Korean tourists who arrived in 30-45 minute intervals. They were led by a tour guide who spoke their language and probably gave historical facts about who was the statue. I was looking for a marker or something to read about the imposing monument but I found none nearby. It would have helped. There were local tourists too – groups of friends, couples with their kids in tow and individuals with digital cameras hanging on their necks. I approached one group of friends who were composed of four girls and a boy. I thought they were students but were actually officemates who came for some snapshots. I asked if it was their first time to see the monument and they answered no. They said they just thought of going there together for fun. Another bigger group of friends I observed was having fun at the silent and stiff honor guards. One even shouted, “Kuya, si Angel Locsin ito. Tingin ka dito.” The guards did not budge and even if they admire Angel Locsin, why would they when the one who shouted it was clearly a boy, a bakla who was just amusing them.

There were no food vendors near the monument but there were many ambulant vendors selling pearls, leather key chains, umbrellas and photographers in blue vests showing samples of their works. One photographer I talked to, Mr. Bautista, belongs to the Flower Clock Photographers, Inc. Their name was from the flower clock situated in the park. Mr. Bautista said that his father and grandfather were photographers too. He has been doing photography for 15 years but times now are hard. He relayed that his earnings were affected because of the cell phones. Many would just take pictures of themselves through their cell phone camera instead of paying a hundred bucks for their service.

I walked to the spot where Rizal was shot by firing squad by the light and sound complex. There was a pool of stagnant water that has turned green. A granite wall is etched with three versions of Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios or My Last Farewell. There was the original Spanish version, English version and the Filipino version translated by Andres Bonifacio. It was good to see some foreign tourists reading the wall and the marker for Rizal’s execution site. Most of the foreign tourists I observed rarely read the markers perhaps because they were in English and they were Chinese or Koreans who are not keen in English. In an obscure place, I saw a large vicinity map of the park under a shady tree. It was a public service of Isuzu Motors in partnership with the Department of Tourism, National Parks Development Committee and the city government of Manila. It is a big aluminum board and indicates location of many other sites in the park. The colors are fading but still very useful.

This ethnography was first meant to be a museum visit and it is still so. The Rizal monument in Rizal Park Museum is not a museum as commonly perceived that has objects in glass encasements and galleries. The monument and the park are objects that tell stories of those not just cast in bronze but also of those who are living in (even if they are just passing by) and earning a living from it. The word museum may have come from the word mausoleum where dead things or people are kept but a museum does not have to be just about dead stuff. I am seeing green because the park is teeming with life, a life waiting to be studied and questioned for researchers like me.



Endnotes

[1] See Rizal Monument entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Monument; see more information and photos at http://myrizal150.com/2011/06/the-story-of-the-rizal-monument.

[2] Ibid.

References:

Hastrup, K., 1995. A Passage to Anthropology, Between Experience and Theory. London
and New York: Routledge.

Villegas, Dennis. “The Story of Rizal Monument.” Accessed 8 July 2011. Available from http://myrizal150.com/2011/06/the-story-of-the-rizal-monument/

Wikipedia. “Rizal Monument”. Last modified 25 June 2011. Available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Monument

Virtual Ethnography 101: (Pabrika ng Imahe) Isang Etnograpiya ng Produksyon sa Telebisyon para sa Ika-150 Kaarawan ni Dr. Rizal

As part of the weekly exercises of my graduate students in Anthropology 225: Philippine Society and Culture, I wanted my students to explore places and write ethnography using the method of participation-observation.

In celebration of the sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine's national hero, I asked my graduate students to visit museums that exhibit memorabilia for our dear renaissance Filipino man Jose Rizal, attend local and international academic symposium on The First World-Class Filipino Jose Rizal, travel to his ancestral house in Laguna, or pay respect to one of Asia's great intellectuals enshrined at Luneta Park, and so on...

I am posting in my blog with the writer's consent selected ethnography penned creatively by my students to contribute to the emerging sub-discipline of anthropology called 'Virtual Ethnography'.

Basically, virtually ethnography is also referred to as Webnography. We cannot deny the fact that with increasing use of technology and the Internet, there is now a demand for online spaces on various ethnographic accounts.


Etnograpiya ni Mary June Fernandez Conti

“Strongly motivated human groups, symbolically powerful events and anniversary or commemoration dates, haunting remains and places – these galvanize struggles to shape and project into the public cultural domain ways of remembering that capture an essential truth.” (Steve J. Stern, “Battling for Hearts and Minds,” 2006)

Ang istasyong People’s Television Network o PTV-4, at ako bilang kalahok sa proseso ng paglikha ng content para sa programa, ang magsisilbing field sites para sa etnograpiyang ito. Ilalarawan ko ang mga pamamamaraan sa produksyon, ang telebisyon bilang pampublikong espasyo at mga taglay na limitasyon, at ang mga konteksto sa network na maiuugnay kay Rizal.

Sa Mata ng Manunulat

Halos tatlong taon na akong manunulat sa istasyon ng gobyerno. Subalit kailan lang nagkaroon ng serye ng feature segments para sa pambansang bayani. Umaga noon, nang lapitan kami ng boss at sabihang mula Lunes hanggang Biyernes ay magpapalabas kami ng mga kuwento sa buhay ni Rizal na may iba’t ibang paksa.

Mabilis ang naging pag-uusap. Mga naging biyahe ni Rizal para sa Lunes, love life para sa Martes, pagkabata sa Miyerkules, mga monumento sa Huwebes at mga likha niya sa Biyernes. Tatlo lamang kaming scriptwriters sa departamento. Dating gawi, magiging instant ang paghahatid namin ng mga naturang kuwento. Ika nga ng nagbitiw naming kasamahan noon, “umorder na naman ng pansit at siopao.”

Naisip ko nang balikan ang mga sanaysay at tala sa asignaturang P.I. 100. Naitabi ko rin ang batayang-aklat kung saan detalyado ang pagbisita ni Rizal sa mga bansang Europeo. Subalit kapwa kaming nabagabag ni Ate Besi, isang prodyuser, kung anong video ang gagamitin. Sasapat ba ang mga retrato? Mayroon kaya sa You Tube at Google Images? Mukhang malabo kasi sa archives ng istasyon.

Huwebes na noon at kailangang ma-edit kinabukasan ang ipalalabas ng Lunes. Mabuti na lang at nakakita ng lumang kopya ng kauna-unahang film adaptation ng Noli Me Tangere si Ate Regine, isa ko pang prodyuser. Nakita ko ang oportunidad na makagawa ng magandang pambungad sa mga manonood, na hindi lahat ay nakababatid sa produksyong iyon. Isa rin pala akong “little Rizal” na may kapangyarihan din ng pluma. Feature nga lang imbes na nobela. At ito ang kinalabasang audio components:

Marami sa atin ang nakabasa na ng progresibong nobelang Noli Me Tangere. Pero maraming hindi pa nakapanood ng film adaptation nito noong 1961. Mapalad tayong magkaroon ng restored copy nito.

Excerpt: Tape 1 (00:21:40.00 – 00:22:02)
IN: Anong ginawa mo sa papa ko?
OUT: (umalis makaraang mabatid na si P. Damaso ang nasa likod nito)

Si Eduardo del Mar ang gumanap na Crisostomo Ibarra katambal si Edita Vital bilang Maria Clara. Ang mga papel nina Padre Salvi at Damaso ay ginampanan nina Johnny Monteiro at Oscar Keesee. Naroon din sina Ruben Rustia, Max Alvarado, at Leopoldo Salcedo bilang Elias. Sa pelikula ipinakilala ang aktres na si Lina CariƄo bilang Sisa.

Excerpt 00:27:26 (Sisa at asawa niyang naghahapunan)

Sa direksyon ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining na si Gerardo de Leon, naipakita sa pelikula ang naging buhay ng mga Pilipino sa ilalim ng mga Kastila.

Excerpt: Tape 1 (00:25:32 – 00:26:20)
(pagnanakaw daw ni Crispin at pagpaparusa)

Isa sa mga paksa ay ang sistema ng edukasyon. Sa eksenang ito, kausap ni Ibarra ang isang guro ukol sa kanyang kahabag-habag na kalagayan sa pagtuturo at sa mga repormang kay hirap tuparin.

Excerpt: Tape 1 (00:34:40 – 35:29)
IN: Sa listahan ko’y…
OUT: sa ilalim ng kumbento.

Pinangarap ni Ibarra na makapagtayo ng paaralan sa paniniwalang edukasyon ang susi sa paglaya ng bayan. Sa modernong panahon, nangungusap pa rin sa atin ang mga winika ni Dr. Jose Rizal sa Noli Me Tangere. Si Ibarra ay isang Pilipinong nagbalikbayan makaraang mag-aral sa Europa. Sa panahon natin ngayon, marami mang nangangarap mangibang-bayan upang mapaunlad ang sarili, iilan ang nakababalik at nagnanais mag-ambag sa bansang kinagisnan.

Sa pagsapit ng ika-isandaan at limampung kaarawan ng pambansang bayani, nawa’y hindi lang siya ilagay sa pedestal at ituring na ‘di-pangkaraniwan. Bagkus, isang halimbawa ng pagiging tunay na Pilipino na maaaring pamarisan sa bawat araw ng ating buhay.

Sa loob ng linggong ipinalabas ang serye ng mga kuwento, bumuhos na ang magagandang materyal. Lubos na nakatulong ang National Library para lapatan ng biswal ang mga naisulat. Isinagawa pa rin ang routine: Nag-shoot sa labas, nagkaroon ng mga panayam, nagsulat ng iskrip, voiceover, at nag-edit.

Bukod sa pagsusulat, ako na rin ang naglalapat ng tinig. Kung hindi ako palagay sa ilang salitang ginamit, pinahihintulutan akong baguhin ito. Itinampok ng isa sa amin ang “Relevant Rizal” exhibit sa Vargas Museum na pinangunahan ng Canvas art group. Binubuo raw ito ng pitumpung paintings ng iba’t ibang imahe ni Rizal sa makabagong henerasyon gaya ng: (1) Pagkukumpara ng likhang-isip na bayani (Darna) at tunay na bayani, (2) Rizal na nasa mascot ng sikat na fastfood at may i-Pod pa, (3) Batang mag-aaral na sumisimbolo kay Rizal.

Iniatas naman sa akin ang tungkol sa Rizaliana collection sa National Library kung saan nakapanayam ang pinuno ng Rare Books and Manuscript Section na si Anne Rosette Crelencia.

Mga Katangian ng Telebisyon

Dahil hindi sapat ang oras at espasyo sa telebisyon, malimit kaming nagwawakas sa paanyayang magtungo ang manonood sa mismong lugar na aming pinuntahan para personal itong masilayan. Isa pa, ang mga naisulat ay bersyon lamang ng kuwento. Bukas ang mga teksto sa iba pang mga interpretasyon at pananaw.

Bukod sa mga naunang iskrip, maaari ring ihalimbawa ang live guesting. Isa rito si Jonathan Balsamo mula sa Heroes Square Heritage na malawak ang kaalaman sa kasaysayan. Routine namin ang paggawa ng mga gabay na tanong:

1. THE TIME WAS RIPE FOR A HERO TO BE BORN. GANYAN PO INILALARAWAN ANG ERA NG KAPANGANAKAN NI RIZAL. ILARAWAN N’YO SA AMIN ANG SITWASYON NOON, PARTIKULAR NA SA MGA BATANG NABIBILANG SA PRINCIPALIA O NAKAAANGAT SA BUHAY.

2. ANU-ANONG HALIMBAWA ANG MASASABING EXAGGERATED ACCOUNTS NG PAMBIHIRANG KAKAYAHAN NI RIZAL? ANO PO ANG MASASABI NINYO UKOL SA MGA PANINIWALANG MARAMING KAMALIAN SA ILANG BATAYANG AKLAT PARA SA RIZAL SUBJECT?

3.MAY KUWENTO RING NAHIRAPAN ANG NANAY NI RIZAL NA ISILANG SIYA DAHIL SA ‘DI PANGKARANIWANG LAKI NG ULO NITO! MAY MGA INTERESTING TRIVIA BA KAYONG MAIBABAHAGI NGAYON NA ‘DI KADALASANG NABABANGGIT TUNGKOL KAY RIZAL?

4. ANU-ANONG ASPEKTO NG PERSONALIDAD NI RIZAL ANG MAGANDANG PAMARISAN NG MGA PILIPINO SA MODERNONG PANAHON?

5. PAANO DAPAT ITURO ANG BUHAY NI RIZAL SA MGA ESTUDYANTE NGAYON?

6. SA AKADEMYA AT IBA PANG SEKTOR, MAY MGA NAGDI-DEBATE KUNG SIYA NGA ANG KARAPAT-DAPAT NA PAMBANSANG BAYANI. ANO PO ANG ITINUTUGON NINYO SA KANILA?

Marami pa sanang maaaring itanong, subalit ito’y telebisyon. Kadalasan, walo hanggang sampung minuto sa ere ang inilalaan sa bawat panauhin. Naibigan ko ang mga sagot ni Balsamo. Wala raw siyang tutol na si Rizal ang pambansang bayani dahil nariyan ang kanyang mga likha at madaling ituro sa kabataan. Subalit “sa isang tunay na mag-aaral ng kasaysayan, hindi lang ang mga bayaning may pangalan ang iyong pagtutuunan.” Hindi ko maunawaan subalit hindi ito naibigan ng prodyuser.

Bukod dito, isa ring limitasyon ang ‘di-perpektong koordinasyon. Noong Hunyo 20, mayroon daw akong dagdag na panauhin sa line-up. Sa pamamagitan ng SMS, sinabing may mga walong taong gulang na batang bibigyan ng scholarship dahil sa husay sa wika. Iyon pala, mula sa Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino ang kapapanayamin ukol sa “Search for Rizal Kids.” Kikilalanin ang mga batang walong taong gulang at kapareho ng kaarawan ni Rizal. Subalit walang scholarship at maghahanap pa sila ng isponsor para sa mga materyales na ipamimigay.

Walang sisihan. Lahat naman ay mabilisan. Tulong-tulong na lang. Sa iisang coordinator para sa limang araw ng The Morning Show, at sa on-the-spot briefing ng mga hosts, pagkakamali ay ‘di maiwasan. At huwag sasama ang loob kung ika’y pagsasabihan.

Ang PTV-4 Bilang Mundong Ginagalawan

Pagpasok sa lobby ng PTV, bubungad ang tarpaulin ng “Rizal @ 150: Haligi ng Bayan.” Sa sinumang bisita, lingid ang kabalintunaan: Mismong ang mga tao rito ay naghihintay ng bayaning magsasalba sa network.

relationship.” Buwan-buwan, gumagawa kami ng “accomplishment report” bago sumahod. (Ngunit hindi rin sa oras sasahod dahil sa kakapusan ng pondo. Kadalasan, labinglimang araw itong nahuhuli.)

Ang pinakamataas at pinakamalaking monumento raw ni Pepe sa Calamba ay may sementong hagdan na may labinlimang hakbang. Bawat isa, kumakatawan sa isang dekada. Ilang hakbang kaya ang aming kailangan tungo sa pagbabago?

Pagwawakas

Tours, art exhibits, lectures at mga pagtatanghal… siksik liglig ang nalinyang mga aktibidad para sa ika-isandaan at limampung kaarawan ni Dr. Jose Rizal. Hindi lang ito ipinagdiwang noong Hunyo 19 kung hindi magtutuloy-tuloy sa buong taon.

Mula June 17 hanggang 19, sa Rizal Park Open-Air auditorium, nagpalabas ng dokumentaryong “Lolo Jose, The Family Carries On” at mga pelikulang “Rizal sa Dapitan”, “Jose Rizal”, at “Sisa”. Nagdaos ng commemorative program sa Rizal National Monument sa Rizal Park pati na sa Rizal Shrine sa mga siyudad ng Calamba at Dapitan. Ang mga dumayo sa Fort Santiago, Intramuros, nagsaya sa musika, sining, at fireworks habang ginugunita ang buhay ni Rizal.

Inaasahan ng National Historical Commission of the Philippines na aktibong lalahok ang kabataan

Virtual Ethnography 101: Rizal @ Lopez Museum

As part of the weekly exercises of my graduate students in Anthropology 225: Philippine Society and Culture, I wanted my students to explore places and write ethnography using the method of participation-observation.

In celebration of the sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine's national hero, I asked my graduate students to visit museums that exhibit memorabilia for our dear renaissance Filipino man Jose Rizal, attend local and international academic symposium on The First World-Class Filipino Jose Rizal, travel to his ancestral house in Laguna, or pay respect to one of Asia's great intellectuals enshrined at Luneta Park, and so on...

I am posting in my blog with the writer's consent selected ethnography penned creatively by my students to contribute to the emerging sub-discipline of anthropology called 'Virtual Ethnography'.

Basically, virtually ethnography is also referred to as Webnography. We cannot deny the fact that with increasing use of technology and the Internet, there is now a demand for online spaces on various ethnographic accounts.


Ethnography by Gerald Magno

It was a rainy Thursday morning. Typhoon Falcon is battering the northwestern part of the country, bringing heavy monsoon rains to Southern Luzon including Metro Manila. I was about to go home that time after office because of this bed weather. But something came into my mind. I remembered that our professor in the Anthropology class required us to make a virtual ethnography about museums! And crap! I have one day to visit a museum since I am leaving the country for a three-week Leadership Training Course in South Korea.

Suddenly, it came all into my mind. It’s cramming time again! I have to look for a museum nearby. Our office is located in the Ortigas Center. And I can’t think of any museum at the vicinity. My first choice is the Museo ng Katipunan located at the Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan City – just a ride away from the office. I also live in San Juan so my problem is solved.

I used to read newspapers before packing up my things and a business column of the Philippine Star caught my attention. The title reads Rizal as a Great Malayan written by Boo Chanco in his column. As I read his article, he mentioned about the Lopez Museum and Library (LML). The columnist said it has one of the best Rizaliana collection-- his memorabilia (wallet, flute, binoculars, etc), his handwritten letters to his family, books he collected, first edition of Noli and Fili, original Manansala pen-and-ink drawings depicting characters of Rizal’s novels, the 100 years stamp during his centennial and many more. I came to know that like me, Lopez Group patriarch Don Eugenio Lopez was an avid Rizalista who travelled the world acquiring such Rizal memorabilia for sharing with the Filipino people.

In my one year of working in Ortigas, I didn’t know that there is a museum located just few blocks away. I’m excited to see the rare Rizaliana collections of the LML! So in a blink of an eye, I changed my mind. I’ll visit the LML instead of the Museo ng Katipunan.


The LML is located at the ground floor of the Benpres Bldg., Exchange Road corner
Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center in Pasig City. At the lobby of the museum, a staff of LML told me that it is the oldest privatelyowned museum in the country. It was opened to the public on February 13, 1960 by brothers Eugenio and Fernando Lopez. It is actually dedicated to their parents, Benito and Presentacion. The Tayon-Igkas-Ugoy by Renan Ortiz Lopez Collection consists of over 19,000 Filipiniana titles by about 12,000 authors and preserves an invaluable collection of Philippine incunabula, rare
books, manuscripts, dictionaries, literary works in Western and vernacular languages, religious tracts, periodicals, newspapers, coffee table volumes, academic treatises, contemporary writing, maps, archival photographs, cartoons and microfilms.1 There is an entrance fee for those who want to visit. It’s P100.00 for non-students and P80.00 for students.

About Face

As part of the 150th birth anniversary Jose Rizal, the museum is presenting About Face. It explores the idea that the face represents the persona with which one confronts the world and how penetrable these public facades can be. In a broader sense, the exhibition is about facades – human and institutional – what we pose up front for others to come to know us through. It features works by contemporary artists xVRx, Renan Ortiz, Louie Talents and Alvin Zafra.

It also include works by Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Macario Vitalis, Fabian de la Rosa, Vicente Manansala, Juvenal Sanso, Fernando Amorsolo, Benedicto Cabrera, Fernando Zobel and the extensive Rizaliana holdings in light of the 150th birth commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal.


At the foyer is an artwork by Renan Ortiz titled Tayon-Igkas-Ugoy (The Swing). It depicts Jose Rizal in a reverse position. The museum guide told to me that the artist wants the public to view Rizal in a non-conventional aspect. The gallery on the other hand exhibit the works of great Filipino painters from Juan Luna to Benedicto Cabrera.

My favourite part of the museum is the Rizaliana collections gallery. I saw plenty of Rizal’s letters to his family, things he used while in abroad and the first editions of his two great novels – the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Whenever I
visit museums and other historical sites, it makes me feel that I am travelling through time machine, looking back at history! The works of our contemporary artists are also amazing. I remember seeing a portrait painting by Alvin Zafra who used his fingernails to draw on sandpaper.

Virtual Ethnography 101: Filipino and Persian Heroes

As part of the weekly exercises of my graduate students in Anthropology 225: Philippine Society and Culture, I wanted my students to explore places and write ethnography using the method of participation-observation.

In celebration of the sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine's national hero, I asked my graduate students to visit museums that exhibit memorabilia for our dear renaissance Filipino man Jose Rizal, attend local and international academic symposium on The First World-Class Filipino Jose Rizal, travel to his ancestral house in Laguna, or pay respect to one of Asia's great intellectuals enshrined at Luneta Park, and so on...

I am posting in my blog with the writer's consent selected ethnography penned creatively by my students to contribute to the emerging sub-discipline of anthropology called 'Virtual Ethnography'.

Basically, virtually ethnography is also referred to as Webnography. We cannot deny the fact that with increasing use of technology and the Internet, there is now a demand for online spaces on various ethnographic accounts.


Ethnography by Javad Foronda Heydarian Originally entitled as "Jose Rizal and His Influence: Symbol of a Long-Gone Glory or a Promise for a Better Future?"


As I walked towards the UP Library to visit the new, posh and elegant museum, made in honor of Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday, I tried to hold back a wave of unremitting emotions, which began to take hold of me. Being a person of mixed ethnic background, I always tried to draw on the experiences, glories, and traditions of my divergent, yet cross-fertilizing, backgrounds and sets of heritage. Despite my strange and bifurcated sense of nationalism, rooted in two nations, I always inevitably had a more cosmopolitan predisposition. Undoubtedly, Rizal was among my favorite heroes.

Having spent most of my formative years in the Middle East, I grew up to admire a number of luminaries and figures, which have carved their place at the center of human history. I was always proud of my Persian heritage, whenever my schoolbooks, television programs, or conversations among elders reminded me of how Cyrus the Great found the first world empire 2500 years ago or how Darius the Great was responsible for one of the most outstanding engineering feats in ancient history, when he constructed the Persepolis. These were emperors that the likes of Aristotle and Alexander the Great admired: They provided the imperial foundations upon which Alexander pursued his universalistic dreams of a unified world.

But my pride in the Persian civilization was not confined to monarchs and their grandiose exploits. I got to know how in the Middle Ages Persian scientists and philosophers contributed to the glory of the Islamic empire by building on a rich Indo-Persian-Greek scientific and cultural heritage that they inherited from their ancestors: Avicenna laid-down the foundation for modern medicine, by drawing on ancient Greek knowledge, while Al-Khwarazimi combined Greek geometry and Indian arithmetic to establish modern-day Algebra. The European renaissance was afterall a bi-product of the transmission of their works to the West over centuries. But the Persians were also prolific in arts and culture. Rumi is responsible for one of the most romantic and enduring poetic pieces that have made their way to even Hollywood movies, while one of Saadi’s poems was chosen to represent the spirit of the United Nations, when it was imprinted on its walls. More modern times were witness to the rise of a number of prominent Iranian leaders, who made their mark on history. In the 1950s, Prime Minister Mosadegh was among the first democratically-elected leaders in the ‘third world’, who stood up to the Great Powers by nationalizing the British-Iranian oil company and winning the case in the United Nations – thanks to his eloquence and relentless passion. Yet, most people are more aware of Ayatollah Khomeini, who galvanized a nation and launched the Islamic Revolution, which altered the history of a civilization forever - He would later on be chosen as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.

More than a decade ago, I caught my mother reading a seemingly fascinating book with immense vigor and enthusiasm. What I saw on her face was a distinct joy, when a person feels this genuine sense of national pride and inspiration. That was probably my first encounter with Jose Rizal. I got to know through my mother’s words that her country also gave birth to an awe-inspiring genius, polymath, scientist, and a sincere nationalist, who fought for his country and dreamed of a better future. Later on, when I pursued my further studies in the Philippines, I got to know more about him. In the University of the Philippines, I learned how Rizal was not only a Filipino hero, but also a visionary and a beacon of hope for many Southeast Asian countries. After all, before Ghandi, Mandela, Nehru, and all these other great leaders in the ‘third world’, Rizal was the enlightened thinker, who tried to rescue his nation from the chains of subjugation and destitute. He sacrificed his life to fulfill his dream.

As I entered the museum, I anxiously sought for any artifact, book, or painting to abet my efforts at getting to know more about this man of distinction. I was never an unquestioning admirer of any person. I was well aware of criticisms laid against him: that, among many other issues, he was an ‘American construct’ for he symbolized political passivity and humanistic dedication to arts and sciences – something that any colonial power would be more than happy to present as a model citizen. Cognizant of UP’s militant and revolutionary credentials and temperament, I knew how many individuals prefer Bonifacio’s narrative as the true embodiment of Filipino nationalism, quest for freedom, and opposition to the inequities of the colonial era. However, when I found myself in midst of Rizal’s portraits in a museum embellished by this beautiful and captivating operatic piece playing in the background, for a moment I consciously dropped all my reservations about him in order to simply celebrate the contributions of this respectable historical figure.

Unlike many other national leaders, Rizal looked very young in many paintings displayed in the museum. The many portraits of him exhibited his innocent and relentless dedication to a vision for his country. His youthful and humble features reflected the fresh promise of independence and prosperity for a small Spanish colony he tries so hard to set free. Beneath those melting eyes and innocuous, non-presumptuous looks, he appeared as a man way ahead of his times and years.

The museum was also a miniature of UP’s evolution as an institution and how over decades, depending on the broader political climate and the ideology of its leaders, it interpreted and re-visited the works and ideas of Rizal. Also in display was the copy of the book Rizal: Contrary Essays, which seemingly sought to condense his views and capture the intellectual and aesthetic aspects of his many writings and works. The 1970s were obviously a time of great political upheaval and Bonifacio seemed to gain the upper-hand in the imagination of revolutionary Filipinos. The section of the Museum dedicated to Rizal was divided into tow parts. The bigger section was host to a collection of many paintings and a regal-looking statue: about a dozen paintings, mostly oil on canvas, that were drawn by many leading Filipino artists, who found a profound value in keeping Rizal’s legacy intact and worthy of much admiration. Looking at the logbook, I realized that more than 300 people visited the museum in the last few weeks. As I took my steps towards the exit, I reflected on how this man has influenced many of us, who also wish for a better future for our beloved nations. Once out of the museum, faced with ubiquitous realities of everyday UP life, I wondered if people truly realize the extent of Rizal’s sacrifice for this country. Would they remember him as a man who represented hopeful generation of young educated Filipinos, who simply fought for what they thought was right in a particular epoch based on the distinct Zeitgeist? Or would they take necessary inspiration out of his narrative to build the foundation of a truly sovereign and prosperous nation?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Combat Zone Leader

Simple thoughts by Chester B Cabalza



“Never pass up the opportunity to remain silent”

In the article by William G. Pagonis, based form his experience in the Middle East, he thought that leadership is not simple, yet too often, leadership is presented as an abstract undertaking with a matter of vision and values rather than practical detail.

This is true, especially that there are now many guides on how to become a good and effective leader. However, Lieutenant General Pagonis’ kind of leadership, with his expansive operational duties in different parts of the globe, like in Vietnam, Germany, and Iraq, to name a few, has a unique way of looking at leadership.

He deems that one needs charisma, presence and other notions. Thus he champions that no military commander downplay the importance of personal presence in leadership. Almost every combat officer is put to test to command presence. Loyalty and trust are also vital in combat zones where conflicts and pressures can immediately escalate when it is not handled properly.

What matter most, according to the principle of leadership propagated by General Pagonis is that: whether one is running a company or feeding, clothing, and equipping an army, the bedrock principles of leadership don’t change. A combat leader should know his stuff and listen hard, and can manage his troops to fight like lions for him.

There should also expertise or the art of war and empathy to help others. Expertise can be acquired by hard work and sometimes by luck. But empathy is innate in us by helping fellows hurt in war. Empathy is an absolutely vital quality because it helps you know where to draw the line and make it stick.

Yes, I agree that by definition, leaders do not operate in isolation; rather a good leader in combat zone involves cooperation and collaboration. The other piece involves system building to ensure that the right information flows back up through the organization to the leader.

To conclude, what is good about this article is its presentation on how to handle pressures at the same time it helps you to emerge as an effective and charismatic leader in combat zone where you can affect your troops to boost high morale and remain strong and determined as you carry the quality of expertise, empathy, loyalty, and trustworthiness.

The Decision Maker


Simple thoughts by Chester B Cabalza

“The price of greatness is responsibility”
Winston Churchill, in a speech at Harvard University (6 September 1943).

In one of the military articles I recently read, there is a scenario to test the wit of an Army leader in times of crisis to ensure a right national security decision making. In that scenario, Colonel Hank Tuuth, nicknamed as “Fang”, is a seasoned and successful Air Force, who would be promoted as Brigadier General, but was later tested when in 1992 the NATO Forces were tasked to immediately reduce operations in Spain.

There are times that as national security decision makers we have to deal with various role-playing situations. Just like the National Security Decision Making (NSDM) game, that is a fast-paced, challenging simulation of contemporary politics and eternal strategic principles. It is modeled after the simulations used by senior U.S. Government officials to explore geopolitical options. Thus, players will be assigned to individual roles within a variety of nation-states. "Real world" dynamics will inexorably draw these player-states toward cooperation in some areas and conflict in others. Meanwhile, within each state, players will inevitably find themselves aligned with some players in the pursuit of common goals, and against others as each seeks to obtain advantages for their interest group and achieve personal political ascendancy (http://www.nsdmg.org/nsdmis.htm).

In the given scenario, many times there were challenges and threats on how Colonel Hank Tuuth will cope to the situation, such as getting worthwhile opportunities to train pilots, getting them to the practice of bombing ranges, while they are in operation 24/7.

Because of this, I deem that when making a tough decision, ask yourself what would you do if all parties involved knew your true intentions and your true desires. Imagine you lived in a world where everyone could tell if you were speaking the truth, or lying, or hiding something. What actions would you take then? Asking this question leads you to see what is truly in your heart. Certainly, that should help you make the right decision.

Planning is useful in emergency situations, too. When a crisis arises, a little thought about the overall plan will help determine which decision to make that will not only help resolve the crisis but will also help advance the overall plan. Without a plan, crises are dealt with haphazardly and decisions are made which may ultimately be in conflict with each other. Decisions made under the guidance of planning can work together in a coherent way to advance company or individual goals.

Just like in the scenario when it ended, there was presentation of many of the recent challenges faced at Aviano Air Base in Italy where Colonel Hank Tuuth was located. Hence, the depicted US and NATO chains of command had been simplified, following the useful planning strategy to achieve a better national security decision making.

The Strategic Leader

Simple thoughts by Chester B. Cabalza

“To lead is not to influence others to do something they are not committed to, but rather to nurture a culture that motivates and even excites individuals to do what is required for the benefit of all.”- Arthur F Carmazzi, in The Colored Brain Communication Field Manual (2009), page 76.



I subscribe to the idea that all professional Army leaders consistently prepare themselves for greater responsibilities while mastering core leader competencies. To become organizational and strategic leaders, they should be multiskilled leaders who can comfortably operate at all levels of leadership to apply their vast experiences and knowledge for success across the spectrum of conflicts. They must develop programs and plans and synchronize the appropriate systems allowing soldiers in small unit to turn tactical and operational models into action.

In organizational and strategic leadership, leadership by example must exude wide ranging competency and knowledge. Organizational leaders must build teams of teams with discipline, cohesion, trust, and proficiency. However, they say that modern organizational leaders now are multiskilled and multipurpose leaders. They have to develop a strong background in doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as an appreciation for the geopolitical consequences of their application.

In my experience, as an organizational leader, I rely heavily on developing my subordinates and empowering them to execute their assigned responsibilities and missions. More so, soldiers and subordinate leaders, in turn, look to organizational leaders to set achievable standards, to provide clear intent, and to provide necessary resources.

In one point of my career, there are times that conflicts arise in work. I do deem that leaders often must leverage negotiating skills to obtain cooperation and support necessary to accomplish a mission beyond the traditional chain of command. A successful negotiating involves communicating a clear position on relevant issues and integrating understanding of motives while conveying a willingness to bargain on other issues. Thus, good negotiators visualize several possible end states while maintaining a clear idea of the optimal end state.

It is true, as General Gordon Sullivan has opined that, if you are a leader, your people expect you to create their future. They look into your eyes, and they expect to see strength and vision. To be successful, you must inspire and motivate those who are following you. When they look into your eyes, they must see that you are with them.

This happens in large organizations, especially that most of Army’s organizational leaders play critical part when it comes to maintaining focus on fighting the enemy; and your men look up to you as their strength and inspiration. With this kind of situation, organizational leaders represent the critical link to collecting, recording, and exploring the tactical and operational lessons learned. They ultimately direct the integration of critical experiences and new concepts into doctrine and future training.

Seasoned strategic and organizational leaders know themselves - the mission and the message. They own it to their organization and men to share much information as possible. Thusly, they must take a long-term approach to developing the entire organization. They prepare their organizations to boost the spirit and morale in order to achieve victory in any endeavors.

Aside from the motivations and right values and conduct shown toward organizational leadership, I believe that in order to foster the culture of systemic organizational leadership, one must also prepare his self. Leadership begins at the top, and so does developing. They keep a focus on where the organization needs to go and what all leaders must be capable of accomplishing.

Also, one important organizational leader responsibility is to create an environment that enables and supports people within the organization to learn from the experiences of others. To strengthen learning in organizations, organizational leaders can make interdependent avenues available for lifelong learning on assignment oriented training, simulations, learning centers, and virtual training.

To foster building team skills and processes, according to the article, organizational leaders recognize that their respective organization is a ‘team’ – that has to learn confidence and excellence that will be translated into reality. He must empower his team within a larger organization and must exploit the value of a creative staff composed of competent and trustworthy subordinates.

In my mind, I admire strategic and organizational leaders who achieve consistent results and are competent in planning, preparing, executing, and assessing. While leaders can continuously emphasize teamwork and cooperation, they also understand healthy competition as an effective motivator. They must provide clear focus with their intent so their subordinates may accomplish the mission, no matter what happens to the original.

The Seasoned Executive

Simple thoughts by Chester B. Cabalza


“In matters of style, swim with the current: in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” - Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in Careertracking: 26 success Shortcuts to the Top (1988)

I sometimes think how a great manager can handle a big organization – minute by minute how he decides and analyze problems and inevitable situations and at the end of the day becomes successful after firm decisions. Indeed, seasoned managers at all levels must play the role of very good decision makers. However, to become effective decision makers, he must undergo a process – by learning new skills and behaviors and by creating and evaluating options.

The article of “The Seasoned Executive’s Decision-Making Style,” suggests four styles of decision making of a seasoned executive. He must be (1) decisive, (2) flexible, (3) hierarchic, and (4) integrative. Naturally, I believe that managers make decisions differently in public settings as well as in private settings. Herein, to be decisive means that the decision style is direct, efficient, fast, and firm. Publicly, this action-focused style comes across as task-oriented.

In the chart of styles of decision-making, the author Kenneth Brousseau, in gist illustrated the following options: to be flexible suggests that this style is about speed and adaptability. Managers make decisions quickly and change course just as quickly to keep abreast of immediate and shifting situations. Thus in public, this flexible style comes across as highly social and responsive. The hierarchic style of decision making insist that people using this highly analytical and focused style expect their decisions, once taken, to be final and to stand the test of time. Also in public, this complex style comes across as highly intellectual. Lastly, the integrative mode speaks of people frame problems broadly, using input from many sources, and makes decisions involving multiple courses of action that may evolve over time as circumstances change. In public, this creative style comes across as highly participative. In my view, I see myself as flexible yet integrative, multifocus yet maximizing in the number of options in my decision-making.

It says that it is essential to use leadership style that keeps the information pipeline open and the data flowing freely to access best information and analysis. However, the most successful managers come to the convergence zone more quickly than the least successful and continue to adjust and adapt to different styles as their careers progress.

Needless to say, one of the flaws of managers is that they fail to evolve on how they make decisions and fail to recognize and correct their erroneous decision. A brave and seasoned executive must at all times follow what is righteous and upright. This brings to the idea that global managers emerge, they must ensure a culture of effective and efficient leadership by way of their good decision-making, at times of risky and difficult times. And as pointed out by the author, when decision-making style is compared in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, there is apparent cultural impact on leadership and thinking styles. The differences in terms of which styles vary from one culture to another. What matters most is the universal principle that they must learn, adapt, evolve, and keep abreast with their leadership styles and good decision-making process.

Inspiring Leaders

Simple thoughts by Chester B Cabalza

The general perspective of research is to present results of any scientific discovery and strategic view to find solution to a particular type of problem. In this way, the researcher will show how the problem is directed to further solution or putting some light in the unknown areas of knowledge for one’s enlightenment to that particular area of knowledge. Thus, research actually helps us understand the reality more clearly.

My primary research interest dwells on Leadership. I deem that good leadership works also through emotions using emotional intelligence (EQ) in handling various personalities of people. However, leaders carry out this process by applying leadership attributes such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills. Although some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles based from the trait theory.

Based from my secondary research material that is published online on the secrets of inspiring leaders, it reminds us of the importance of inspirational leaders in our society because based from quantitative research through surveys, only 10 percent of employees look forward to going to work and most employees point to a lack of leadership as the reason why.

In one of the articles I read, it discusses the following seven techniques that leaders can use to inspire their employees, such as: (1) to demonstrate enthusiasm – constantly; (2) articulate a compelling course of action; (3) sell the benefit; (4) tell more stories: (5) invite participation; (6) reinforce an optimistic outlook; and (7) to encourage one’s potential.

I have chosen the said article because I consider myself a good leader that possesses strategy, vision, power, and powerful ideas. A good leader like me can ignite passion and inspiration to my subordinates and colleagues. This supports my character to being focused and responsible.

Just like what I believe in, research is significant because it forms as a cycle. It starts with a problem and ends with a solution to the problem. Every research works is intended to identify new opportunities for novel ideas. Research helps us to diagnosing any known problems or opportunities. It helps us to establish a standard of taking action on any chosen area of the knowledge domain. And lastly, it evaluates and develops the current strategies and systems.

It is usually one of the first statements made in any research paper, as well as it defines the research area, should a quick synopsis of how the hypothesis was arrived at. Research problem will lead to the proposal of a viable hypothesis. It is also the situation that causes the researcher to feel apprehensive. It is the demarcation of a problem area within a certain context involving the WHO or WHAT, the WHERE, the WHEN, and the WHY of the problem situation. In the article, it said that leadership is the key to employees’ engagement, innovation, and success. Herein, it asked several questions such as, are you investing in building your leadership ability? Are you setting a good example, setting vision, inspiring others, remaining optimistic and investing in others?

Hence, I should answer the research problems based from the primary factors that affect the issues in the research study. In the said article on leadership, the author suggested and discussed briefly the seven secrets of inspiring leaders by enumerating techniques that leaders can use to inspire their employees.

Data analysis is a practice in which raw data is ordered and organized so that useful information can be extracted from it. The process of organizing and thinking about data is the key to understanding what the data does not contain. In the course of organizing the data, trends often emerge, and these trends can be highlighted in the write up of the data to ensure that readers take note. Summarizing data is often critical to supporting the arguments. In the article, techniques on inspirational leadership were gathered based from real experiences of people combined together as lessons learned.

Findings or conclusions are based from facts and figures collected to convey strengths and weaknesses of the study. It encapsulates the totality and essence of the study because it embodies all the processes done in the study and presents it through findings and conclusions. It can be the summary of the entire study encapsulated in organized thoughts under findings and conclusions.

So far, the short article on the secrets of inspiring leaders did not expressly give recommendations. On the other hand, from the questions it posted, the essay has shown inferences to the readers on what they ought to do to become inspiring leaders. Hence, recommendations usually include appropriate and specific recommendations as part of the conclusion, which should always be specific and appropriate to the researcher’s readers.

I therefore classify the uploaded article on inspiring leaders as secondary qualitative research. It is secondary research because it looks at existing data which was summarized, collated, and synthesized. Also, a qualitative research because it examines what human behaviors and reason behind it. It also tackles on what people should do and why.