Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pinoy Top Thinkers Today (2011)

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

For the past four years now of recognizing annually our contemporary and living public intellectuals in the country which I hopefully deem has redounded to our stock knowledge. This year, I wanted to pay respect to four important women in my life – my mom Lolita, my wife Peggy Ann, and my daughters Princess Chloe Bella and Aliethea Bali – as I also give honor and pay homage to top female Filipino intellectuals, scholars, movers and shakers in our society and culture.

Every March of the year, the world is celebrating the International Women’s Month. As we all know, mothers in our country have always played very special roles in nurturing and instilling Filipino values and intellect to Filipino offspring from womb to their age of majority. And as “light of the home,” they are also highly-endeared as deities and queens in every Filipino family.

Each year, I choose 20 top thinkers from the Philippines and abroad with Pinoy roots who add to the growing numbers of Filipinos in diasporic communities worldwide. These distinguished individuals will form part of my gallery of the best and brightest intellectuals our country can showcase on earth and whose ideas are strongly relevant today and beyond.

As a process, initially I would think of possible nominees after a thorough research and personal surveys from colleagues to submit to me their possible Pinoy thinkers whose tremendous thoughts and ideas to the world, our country, or even to their respective region and province, are truly appreciated. And perhaps their contributions to our collective knowledge as a nation leave great strides to our culture. Then I write something about them to complete my influential roster of achievers and lastly post it virtually in my blog as imperative add-on information to profile or document important contributors of knowledge in our society, whom I definitely believe so, must be known to netizens in the ever-expanding transborder world of blogosphere.

As a customary practice, the same measure is used on this year’s best thinkers, instrumental from my previous citations from 2008 to 2010 – i.e., based from a mixture of articles, books, blogs, columns, essays, interviews, lectures, overviews, poems, prose, publications, and research papers, they pen or written about them. A variety of comments and thoughts from popular mediums such as television, social networks, campaigns, conferences, forums, speeches, print media, internet sources, or the new media, and other significant academic distinctions. Lastly, I also based it from their professional achievements, public perceptions, civic contributions, and principles that made them who they are today as the leading Filipino thinkers!

So far, in my annual listing from 2008 to 2010, 23 percent composed of intelligent Pinay (female) thinkers while 77 percent belonged to the list of powerful Pinoy (male) achievers.

The complete rosters in the past three years of Pinoy Top Thinkers can still be viewed at http://cbclawmatters.blogspot.com. This localized yearly honor roll is certainly inspired by the annual top 100 public intellectuals of the powerful Foreign Policy (FP) Magazine.

Since its inception, from 60 distinct men and women sages and leaders in various fields, only three (3) Pinoy thinkers were cited twice in two consecutive years because the tsunami of their thoughts continuously influence our policies and probably cement their status as great thinkers in our contemporary period. They are Conrad De Quiros and Felipe Palafox for 2008 & 2009; and President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for 2009 & 2010, respectively.

Even if this year’s pool of think-tank reflects women empowerment composed of an ensemble of all-Filipina, only 43 percent of influential women intellectuals represent the total list of my personal annual Filipino top thinkers catalog compared to 57 percent showing of male Filipino visionaries in the span of four years.

Without any gender bias at all, could this mean that our society remains patriarchal in different playing fields or do we see now a leveling off as we march on to the road of Philippine matriarchal society that is not far-fetched to be seen in the near future? Whether or not this will be the scenario in the future, I believe that respecting each others’ roles and giving equal opportunities to meritorious individuals will ultimately lead us to a developed country. As long as we value the contributions of the many inspiring and thinking men and women of today in our society!

However, just to refresh the memory of my avid readers – women intellectuals who made it in the list of my ‘who’s who’ citations over the past three years include the following: political scientists Carolina Hernandez (2008) and Clarita Carlos (2010); retired career diplomat Rosario Manalo and professor emeritus economist Solita Monsod, both cited in (2008); former bureaucrat Leonor Briones (2008) and university president Emerlinda Roman (2010); journalist Maria Ressa (2008) and tv executive Charo Santos (2010); environmentalist Annabelle Plantilla (2008) and forensic expert Raquel Fortun (2009); senators Miriam Santiago (2008) and Loren Legarda (2009); and former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo (2010).

Based from my personal observations on the accomplishments of this year’s Pinoy Top Thinkers Today, aside from their motherly images and femininity, obviously most of them excelled in the arts and education such as in the academe, accounting, ballet, broadcasting, business, cinema, culinary arts, fashion, religious vocation, social sciences, theater arts, law, literature, and medicine. In other words, their assets have been their exceptional educational attainments, creativity, and numerous awards in their respective fields.

As a tradition in the past, surnames in my list are in alphabetical order. This is not a ranking from highest to lowest. But the names appear here are equally as meritorious as the one from top to bottom.

Marilou Diaz-Abaya (multi-awarded film director) – the founder of her own film institute and arts center that aims to mentor the next batch of film students to learn the science, art, and business of filmmaking as she consistently advocates quality film education from an Asian perspective, according to her online site. This multi-awarded film director is an Assumption College alumna who obtained a communication arts degree and graduated with an MA in Film and Television from the Loyola Marymount University in the US. She directed notable films such as Brutal, Baby Tsina, Karnal (of the Flesh), Muro Ami (Reef Hunters), Bagong Buwan (New Moon), Sa Pusod ng Dagat (In the Navel of the Sea), May Nagmamamhal Sa Iyo (Madonna and Child) and others. It is arguably said that her most famous work was the film Jose Rizal – dramatizing the life of the country’s national hero who was also a revolutionary, novelist, and a struggling doctor. Her film on Rizal can also be a retrospect of his global impact as we celebrate this year his 150th birth anniversary. Also in some online accounts, a Japanese award-giving body described her body of work to be "harmoniously blending entertainment, social consciousness, and ethnic awareness." The organization continued by saying: "(Her work) has won acclaim both in the Philippines and abroad for its high level of artistic achievement. It is an ideal manifestation of the artistic culture of Asia, and so is most deserving of the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes." She is the 2001 Laureate of the Fukuoka Prize for Culture and the Arts in Japan. Aside from numerous well-deserved accolades locally, she has also won prestigious international citations, such as the British Film Institute Award, the International Federation of Film Critics Award (FIPRESCI), and the Network of Pan Asian Cinema Award (NETPAC).

Aileen San Pedro-Baviera (dean, sinologist, political scientist) – she was the previous dean of the UP Asian Center and formerly headed the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI); an erstwhile Executive Director of the Philippine-China Development Resource Center; and the current Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Politics and Policy (APP) Journal. A homegrown scholar from UP Diliman who obtained her PhD in Political Science, MA Asian Studies, and BS Foreign Service cum laude. Dr Baviera has unselfishly shared her knowledge by teaching contemporary China, international relations, Philippine foreign relations, Asia-Pacific security, and Asian Civil society in UPD, ADMU, NDCP, and FSI. Considered as one of the leading experts invited to various conferences on East Asia Summit. She has also lectured in various Asian universities from India, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and to mainland China. Her extensive research, publications, lectures, consultations, and flaming passion in teaching awarded her with the UPD Centennial Professorial Chair in 2008, U.P. President’s International Publication Award from 2002 to 2005 with two prestigious awards in 2007. She’s often been quoted in various prominent newspapers of national circulation on her cue and perspectives on the PH-China-HK-Taiwan and China-Taiwan issues and several other diplomatic and security conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Victoria “Vicky” Belo (popular dermatologist, medical doctor, host) – never mind her whirlwind love affair with a young ex-doctor that makes her life colorful as a celebrity-doctor. Despite of that, she has been staying on top of her career as the Medical Director of the burgeoning Belo Medical Group which now owns and operates clinics in Metro Manila and Cebu. Her growing group boasts to have the first accredited ambulatory cosmetic surgi-center in the country certified by the DOH and endorsed by the DOT to strengthen medical tourism in the Philippines. A divorced wife to a businessman and a mother of a fledgling director and an heiress of her business. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UP Diliman and graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in UST. Her passport to success as a credible dermatologist started when she obtained a diploma in dermatology from the Institute of Dermatology in Thailand and was further honed in dermatologic and laser surgery at Harvard Medical School and University of California at San Francisco. She has published articles internationally in the field of her expertise and has been a speaker and guest lecturer to several organizations in the Philippines and foreign countries such as the USA and Germany. She is also a member of the American Academy of Dermatology (ADD), American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, International Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ISDS), to name a few. And as add-on to her achievements and titles, she also hosts a cable show which features some of her patients who have successfully undergone her services.

Lolita Bancud-Cabalza (dean, philanthropist, my mom) – she obtained her law and doctorate degrees while at the same time performing her endearing job in rearing us her four sons and a wife to my father, Cesar Danao Cabalza, a chief of police/station commander in one of the towns in our province. A consistent honor student who graduated as class salutatorian in elementary and high school and cum laude in college. Dr Cabalza indeed loved the academe and instilled in her family the value of education. Her influence on education to us encouraged my dad, me, and my brothers to finish our post-graduate degrees in various disciplines such as medicine, criminology, public administration, Asian/international studies and anthropology. As dean of several colleges that recently became university in Cagayan Valley or Region II, she helped founded colleges of criminology and marine engineering and mentored numerous students who are now circumnavigating the world as captains of luxury ships, marine engineers, and seafarers while others became successful law enforcers and teachers. As philanthropist, she adopted some indigent students and let them stay in our house at the province to help them finish college while we her sons studied and finished our baccalaureate and masteral degrees in either Manila or Baguio City. Luckily, all of her sons are now professionals and her ‘scholars’ are all board passers. In fact, one of her scholars she supported has even a doctorate degree who is now teaching in a prestigious university abroad. As a retired dean, she sees that the next generation should be molded well; hence, she built her small preparatory school to help other mothers instill the value of education to their very young kids and to her grandchildren, as well.

Lea Salonga-Chien (world-class thespian and singer) – in one of the online forums I have browsed recently, the site solicited comments from netizens who they think of epitomizes the best Filipina today, and certainly Lea Salonga emerged as the most liked or beloved Filipina, with one commentator named Candice who proudly wrote of her, “she showed to the world how beautiful and talented Filipinas are. With her awesome talent, she paved the way for Filipino talents to be recognized worldwide. She is an epitome of beauty and brains and talent; definitely your kind of Filipina.” Before Charice Pempengco successfully reached her Hollywood dreams, there was Lea Salonga who brought honor to our country, as she won left and right best actor plums for her genuine talent in the performing arts as Miss Saigon in Broadway and the West End. She voiced over two iconic female animated characters, namely, Jasmine and Mulan. She filled in the shoes several beloved characters in Les Miserables, Flower Drum Song, and Cats for international musicals and became local leads to important roles that cement her status as an international celebrity in the world of theater. Now a doting mother and wife, she remains relevant today in our society as she transcribes her thoughts via her column in PDI touted as “Backstory” to tell us the behind-the-scenes stories in some productions and her experiences in the world of theater. Break a leg!

Cristeta Pasia-Comerford (white house executive chef) - the current white house executive chef who served consecutively families of the two most powerful leaders in the world, namely, the Bush’ and the Obamas. As MaSci (Manila Science High) and Peyups (UPD) alumna who completed a degree in food technology, she successfully became an immigrant in the US with her biggest break as chef at Sheraton Hotel and Hyatt Regency before she moved to Washington D.C. and worked as a chef at two restaurants. But she wowed the American viewers and made her Pinoy families proud of her when she showcased her masterpieces and instantly won in the hit reality cooking show, Iron Chef America. In an online account, it narrated that after the former white house executive chef resigned in 2005, Pasia-Commerford was appointed in the vacant position endorsed by former First Lady Laura Bush. She became the first female and first “Philippine-American” white house executive chef to hold the position. More so, she reportedly was appointed to the prestigious position due to her handling of a large dinner that was held in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Teresita Sy-Coson (one of the world’s most powerful women in business) – according to BizNews Asia, as an alumna of Assumption College, who obtained a business administration degree, she has over the years quietly built a reputation as a visionary who, like her father tycoon Henry Sy, she dreams big and works hard to make her dreams a reality. She’s the Vice Chairman of the SMIC that is today the largest conglomerate in the capital market and probably the most highly diversified with the right mix and diversity of business portfolio. Through SMIC’s subsidiaries and as vice chairman of SMIC, she controls the largest mall chain of 40 malls in the Philippines plus four in China and counting. In China, their group is allotting billion of pesos of investments to continue building new malls and acquisition of land for future expansion. She is the Chairman of the largest bank (BDO with 1 trillion in resources), and oversees the conglomerate’s increasing presence in the real estate, tourism, entertainment, and convention business.

Leila Magistrado-De Lima (secretary of justice, former human rights chair) - the only female heavy weight bureaucrat in the current Aquino administration in terms of credentials and credibility. This feisty top human rights attorney, who formerly headed the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), is now the country’s credible secretary of justice, who became a household name when she seriously bashed the Ampatuan massacre in Mindanao and handled the highly-watched investigation of recent hostage crisis in Quirino grandstand that created rift in our relations with Hongkong. Her strong recommendations further cemented her legendary integrity as a strong-willed and determined leader. But to the masa she has always been portrayed as the ‘Leila Chikadora” who expressly voices out her ideas to pertinent matters related to law and good governance. A daughter of a former COMELEC Commissioner. She graduated from DLSU and completed her law degree in San Beda. Early this year, the Philippines Graphic could not have picked a better man for its Man of the Year issue than this Odin of a woman. In the online citation of her as one Graphic editor wrote, “appointed on May 7, 2008 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to head the CHR, she managed to keep her reputation and the integrity of her office above reproach, even as the Arroyo administration scrapped the bottom of the barrel of disrepute for having one of the worst human rights record in recent history.” The article continues to praise her that in minute slice of the year, Secretary de Lima was able to set her sights on her goals despite flak from her critics, notwithstanding the spat and row between the President’s men. Even while the males of this administration busy themselves with moves to get out of the honky-tonk dilemma they are in, de Lima tacitly walks where none of Aquino’s men dare tread. That, by any standard, is balls.

Lilia De Lima (peza director-general, lawyer) – she obtained a law degree from MLQU and an MNSA degree from NDCP as both scholars who later was a party in a case whether an MNSA degree holder would qualify her for a CESO rank. But in her entire government service, she has been named as the Management Man of the year 2010; the first woman to receive so this coveted award in honor of her achievements as director general or chief executive officer of PEZA. Under her tenureship as lady boss of the economic zone areas in the country, she projected that from 2010-2014, PEZA will likely to collect a whopping 1.241 trillion pesos in total investments. BizNews Asia reveals that for 2011, undersecretary De Lima has a fighting target of 224 billion pesos in investments inside the country’s 23 operating economic zones. During her 16-year watch at PEZA, she has been able to attract 1.7 trillion pesos that accorded her the tag of miracle woman of the economy. She is the president of the Philippine Alumni Association of the Academy of American and International Law in Dallas, Texas. As a lawyer, De Lima gained national recognition in 1981 when she volunteered to serve as prosecuting lawyer in a controversial case in Australia where she was instrumental in giving justice to a Filipina maid who was murdered by the son of a retired Australian Trade Commissioner. Only this year, Director General Lilia de Lima received her "Exemplar" award from Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel Philippine Plaza, for her unflinching leadership.

Liza Majuca-Elizalde (prima ballerina, radio host) – the country’s first prima ballerina. She returned to the Philippines as a top scholar of the former USSR’s Ministry of Culture in the Vaganova Choreographic Institute which was now renamed as the Academy of Russian Ballet. Based from online research, in 1984, on a television interview during the 245th graduation program of the Leningrad Choreographic School at St. Petersburg, Russia, Konstantin Sergeyev, spoke this words in Russian language (translated to English) about Lisa Macuja: "Especially remarkable is Lisa Macuja, who is exceptionally gifted. She is striking. She is like a spark, a spark full of life. She is graceful and virtuosic in her technique. She excites the audience. This is a great art; and it is her art and her natural talent." She received an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies in 2004 and her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management (with honors) in 2007, from the University of Phoenix, U.S.A., which is an online correspondence school. She also leads Ballet Manila as the Artistic Director and Vice-Chairman of the Philippine UNESCO National Commission. She was also the Commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women. Macuja-Elizalde is also Directress and faculty member of the Ballet Manila School – a training center for ballet professionals who are steeped in the Russian Vaganova method. As multi-awarded ballerina, she has received countless awards from different countries in Russia, Japan, the USA, and the Philippines, Her honorable distinctions include the Pearl of the Orient Award (2008), The Order of International Friendship awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin (2001), Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP U.S.A, 1997), Ten Outstanding Young Filipinos (TOYF, 1995), The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service (TOWNS, 1989), Outstanding Female Lead Performance in a dance production (Gawad Buhay Awards for the Performing Arts, (2008), and the Catholic Mass Media Awards (2008) for her radio show aptly billed as “Art 2 Art”. As for her contribution to the society, she tried to level off the playing field even to the less fortunate young swans who wanted to become the next prima ballerina in the country.

Monique Lhuillier-Bugbee (world class fashion designer, leading bridal couturier) – a proud Filipina from Cebu born from a mix-marriage with French and Spanish descent. Her dream to become a successful fashion designer started when she was an outstanding teenager student in Switzerland who later moved to Los Angeles to study design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). As a mother of two kids and wife to Mr. Tom Bugbee, she’s also touted as one of Hollywood’s favorites in houte couture for red carpet gowns. Her list of clientele has included Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Hilary Swank, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. According to online sites, her break began when she launched her first bridal collection in 1996 and as they say, the rest is history. Her collections usually receive great acclaim from both editors and buyers alike. Her husband joined their company as CEO to turn Monique’s vision to establish a couture design house into reality. In 2003, she was invited to be a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and three years after she received the Medal of Honor from then Philippine president Gloria Arroyo.

Margarita Go-Singco Holmes (psychologist, sex-therapist, mental health expert) - with over 15 years of authoring books and writing columns, you can’t be wrong with Dr. Holmes as the pen ultimate sex-therapist in the country. Dr. Holmes has a PhD in clinical psychology from ADMU, an M.P.H. from the University of Hawaii, major in International Family Planning with special studies in Sex Therapy and Marriage Counseling, and was a magna cum with BA Psychology from UP Diliman. As a popular psychologist, she used to be a columnist of Bodymind for The Manila Times and also had a TV show aptly called No Nonsense! with Dr. Holmes which ran for six seasons - the first TV show in the Philippines that dealt with psychological issues. She is a professor in the Psychology Department of UPD and is a frequent lecturer and resource speaker to various academic, corporate, and socio-civic groups throughout the country. She served as consultant in both government and non-government organizations, notably the Population Center Foundation and the Department of Health. Her passion for teaching has brought her to august academic institutions like the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, San Carlos Seminary, ADMU, and DLSU. Holmes is a regular columnist at Abante/Abante Tonite, a popular tabloid, Business Mirror and Opinyon, all in Metro Manila. She has published 16 books which have reached "bestseller" status such as Life, Love, Lust with 21 thousand copies sold in its first year alone. According to online accounts, her books and columns have been reviewed in international periodicals, such as the Newsweek, Time, the Far Eastern Economic Review, Associated Press, Agence France Press, Asiaweek, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cheche Lim-Lazaro (acclaimed broadcast journalist, founder of probe productions) – admired for her vision in founding The Probe Team which is the first investigative newsmagazine in Philippine television. Her vision has also been translated into producing sensible and award-winning documentary programs such as 5 and Up, the Probe Team, I-Witness, Cheche Lazaro Presents, and Probe Profiles. She’s a mother of two successful professionals, a grandmother, and a wife to a businessman. Cheche Lazaro is an acclaimed broadcast journalist whose fluency in communications has been effectively verbalized in either English or Filipino mediums. A graduate of speech and drama at UP Diliman after which she obtained an MA in Radio-Television at the University of Michigan. Between 1992 to 1995 Lazaro was also the chairman of the broadcast department in the College of Mass Communications at UPD. Currently, she is a member and board adviser for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. In her entire career as top broadcast-journalist, she was able to produce important documentaries, particularly the one involving the tragic Dona Paz. Her relationship with GMA-7, the longest business partner of her tv productions, was put to a test in 2003 after the said tv station refused to air a Probe segment about a lifestyle check of then PAGCOR Chairman Efraim Genuino. The network saw the story as a half-baked job that would unjustly ruin the subject's reputation. However, Lazaro saw it as censorship. But with her undisputed achievements and credibility, she is seen as a role model in broadcast journalism and local television industry, receiving some hall of fame awards from KBP Golden Dove Awards, Star Awards, Catholic Mass Media Awards, Philippine Movie Press Club, and the New York Festivals.

Heidi Lloce-Mendoza (former state auditor, whistleblower) – a crying lady during senate hearings who turned to be an accidental heroine against malfeasant acts of retired comptrollers and top generals in a whirlwind scenario of deficient systems as she whistle blows her knowledge of the hunky-panky pocket money and corrupted funds inside the militias. But her weeps flowed to waterloo that turned as prelude to a harakiri death of a bemedaled and popular retired general. She is a reserved lieutenant colonel of the Philippine army, having been successfully obtained an MNSA degree from NDCP and worked as a former state auditor. She made headlines as she showcased an extraordinary strength in exposing dishonesty of past top-brass generals of the AFP. Her defining moment certainly caught the attention of the country’s president who wanted her to become one of the commissioners of the Commission of Audit (COA) in line of the government’s determination to cleanse the system from the prey of corrupt leaders.

Mary John Mananzan (executive director, one of the inspiring people in the world) – a top newspaper publication recently heralded her feminist’s activism as she has been named as one of the top 100 inspiring people in the world by the Women Deliver 100 list that included US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As executive director of the Institute of Women’s Studies of the exclusive all-female school of St. Scholastica’s College, Mananzan was cited for being instrumental in developing a feminist Third World theology within the Catholic Church and introducing feminist activism into the country’s Catholic faith. In a write-up from Inquirer, it was penned that she holds the distinction of being the first woman to graduate summa cum laude from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a doctorate in Philosophy, majoring in Linguistics Analysis. Upon her return to the country in 1973, she was entrusted with a number of positions, including the deanship and subsequently the presidency of St. Scholastica’s College, and the leadership of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines. She also held positions in the Ecumenical Association of Third-World Theologians and in Gabriela, an organization promoting women’s rights which she cofounded.

Rosa Rosal (actress, philanthropist, Philippine red cross head) – the most trusted Filipino in 2010 according to the Reader’s Digest Asia and the 1999 Ramon Magsaysay awardee for public service. In 2006, she was bestowed with the Order of the Golden Heart with the rank of Grand Cross for a lifetime in public service and for her work with the Red Cross – an organization which receives no financial assistance from the Philippine government. As for her contribution to arts and culture, she has been awarded the Ading Fernando Lifetime Achievement Award at the 22nd PMPC Star Awards for television. Christened as Florence Lansang Danon, but when she entered the world of movies, she altered her screen name to Rosa Rosal. A beauty and brains woman mixed with French, Egyptian, and Jewish descent has certainly awestruck her fans, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful goddesses of Philippine cinema. One of the most talented actresses in her generation who used her endearing influence to help people from different walks of life. A kind-hearted philanthropist who despite of her age, her efforts for the Red Cross is renowned and commended. Her charity is a blessing and an inspiration to all. Rosal joined the Philippine National Red Cross who as a volunteer–member of its blood program in 1950 became known for her efforts to promote blood donation in the country. Rosal also established a Women's Crisis Center within the Philippine National Red Cross aimed at assisting unwed and needy pregnant mothers, as well as finding homes for unwanted children. In fact, she has also hosted two public-service television programs, Damayan and Kapwa Ko, Mahal Ko, which solicit financial and medical aid for indigent medical patients. She’s the mother of celebrity-television host Toni Rose Gayda.

Conchita Carpio-Morales (associate justice) – a consistent achiever since childhood. She graduated class valedictorian in elementary and in high school at Paoay Elementary School and Paoay North Institute, respectively. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (Economics) in 1964 and her Bachelor of Laws in 1968, both from the University of the Philippines. Her defining moment came when Justice Carpio-Morales became an exemption, in a long line of male tradition in administering the oath of office to the country’s incoming president and vice president. Therefore, she holds the distinction of being the first woman magistrate to administer (on June 30, 2010) the Oath of Office of a President of the Republic of the Philippines. As personally chosen by President Benigno Aquino III to swear him into office, disallowing Chief Justice Renato Corona to do the prestigious and historic act, reserved traditionally to the chief justice, as a manifestation of the new president’s indignant opposition to the midnight appointment of the current head of the supreme court. Quoting her online profile in the website of the supreme court, the lady associate joined the Department of Justice as Special Assistant to Justice Secretary Vicente Abad Santos in 1971 but it was after almost 12 years of work in the Department of Justice that she joined the Judiciary in 1983. A Bar Examiner in Legal Ethics in 2000 and has been the Chair of the 2010 Bar Examinations. During the Centenary of the University of the Philippines in 2008, the UP Alumni Association conferred on Justice Carpio Morales the Outstanding Award in Championing Justice/Judiciary “for delivering justice with courage and untrammeled integrity” ─ “a shining paragon to all magistrates, worthy of emulation and respect.” A frequent speaker/panelist in local and international forums, she was, on the invitation of the World Bank, an interactive panel discussant during its 2009 Celebration of Integrity Day in Washington DC. The Filipino people expects much from her as the newly appointed Ombudsman.

Marixi Rufino-Prieto (chairperson of PDI) – she sits as the current chairperson of the highly influential and the most widely read broadsheet newspaper in the Philippines called the Philippine Daily Inquirer or popularly known as the Inquirer, with a daily circulation of 260,000 copies. It is one of the Philippines' newspaper of record. It is a member of the Asia News Network. Under her leadership, she launched the Inquirer Interactive Inc., better known as Inquirer.net, is the official website of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It provides comprehensive coverage of both local and international news throughout the site's channels on news, entertainment, lifestyle, technology, business, global nation, and its recently relaunched sports channel. She recently expanded the Inquirer’s clout as it air waves via Radyo Inquirer (DZIQ 990 KHz Manila) as the radio station of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (licensed by TransRadio Broadcasting Corporation), with its broadcast team semi-independent of the main paper editorial team as it is mostly composed of career radio people. Its first terrestrial test broadcast on radio was on August 16, 2010. She’s ranked 39th in Forbes Asia’s list of richest Filipinos in 2007. She’s also married with five children.

Mary Racelis-Hollsteiner (social anthropologist) - her early writings on Filipino values and Philippine culture and society cemented her status as one of the leading female Filipino social anthropologists in the country. Her works and contributions as research scientist and consultant have been recognized and even conferred her two honorary doctorates, namely, Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, from ADMU in 2003 and Doctor in Social Sciences, honoris causa, from DLSU in 1976. Dr. Racelis attained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She later attained a master’s degree in Sociology from UPD and specializes in issues regarding women's roles, people's participation, NGOs, civil society, and urban poverty. She has been a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of the UP Department of Anthropology and was the former Director of the Institute of Philippine Culture (IPC) in ADMU. Her extensive fieldworks and research, both locally and internationally, paved her way to several consultancy works with the ADB, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, AUSAID, CARE International, CBCP, Rockefeller Foundation, Misereor (German Bishops Development Fund), Nippon Foundation/API Fellowships, and to various Philippine government agencies. She has authored several books and more than 200 articles on sociological, anthropological, political and development issues. Some of her notable published works include, ‘’Making Philippine Cities Child Friendly: Voices of Children in Poor Communities’’ (2005) and ‘’Bearers of Benevolence: The Thomasites and Public Education in the Philippines’’ (2001).

Loretta Ann “Eta” Pargas-Rosales (chairperson of CHR) – schooled by nuns at St Paul’s in high school and by liberals in UP Diliman, having been obtained a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service and a master’s degree in Asian Studies. This charismatic chair of the Commission on Human Rights was a former left-leaning activist and representative of the progressive party-list AKBAYAN. A daughter of a military and defense attaché who formerly worked as a copywriter in an advertising and marketing company before her passion in teaching called her for higher vocation as founding chairman of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in the Philippines in 1982 and Director of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in 1987. But her advocacy for human rights opened more windows for her when she has represented various causes and organizations in various capacities as Executive Director of the Institute of Political Reforms; President of Claimants 1081 Inc.; Council of Elders of Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates; and Board member of the Institute for National Social Transformation, Reconstruction, Unity and Development, Inc.

Jessica Soho (george foster peabody awardee, british fleet journalism awardee) – probably the most-trusted female broadcast-journalist today. Filipinos in all classes listen to her stories as an award-winning reporter and credible documentarian of contemporary pop culture and current issues on television, through her tried and tested show, “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” – now a hall of fame awardee in several student-award giving bodies and as multi-awarded program chosen by various local and international media awards. An alumna of UP Diliman who climbed into ladder as a top field reporter to becoming the vice president of GMA-7 news. A consistent Anak TV awardee as one of the most favorite tv personalities among viewing children. According to an account of her achievements by http://kahitsino.org/jessica-soho-awardwinning-journalist/, she’s a “Ka Doroy Valencia” awardee given by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. She was also included in the 100 Filipino Women of Distinction chosen during the centennial celebration of the Philippines. Jessica Soho is the first Filipino to won the New York Film Festival for Coverage of a Breaking Story where she covered the story of hostage crisis in Cagayan Valley. In 1998, she’s the first Filipino to win the British Fleet Journalism Award. In 1999, she received the popular George Foster Peabody Award together with GMA Network on her documentaries on “Kamao Death Sport” and “Kidneys for Sale business” where she discovered a remote area where people living there sell their Kidney in order to buy food to eat. After the exposé, the government was forced to intervene in the situation. This put Jessica and her team internationally acknowledged. In 2008 she was awarded as Outstanding Citizen. She has also been awarded by the TOYM, Community Outstanding Young Achievers, Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Awards, 100 Filipino Women of Distinction, Asian TV Festival, Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Awards, and by her beloved alma mater UPD, In fact, she has helped conceptualize the one-hour documentary television program I-Witness which is the flagship documentary show of the Kapuso network that is running on air for more than 10 years now and counting, becoming the longest running late-night program in television today.

Virtual Ethnography 101: Bursting my Serenity Bubble (The Quiapo Trip)

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.

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 Kristine Camia

“Pupunta ako ng Quaipo bukas,” I told my brother. “Ok lang ba’ng pumunta doon mag-isa?”

“Ok lang naman. Ilagay mo na lang an pera mo sa bulsa mo. Maglagay ka ang pera sa lahat ng bulsa mo para kung manakawan ka, may pera ka pa rin,” he answered.

“Ok...,” I said while thinking to myself, “Ganoon ba ka-delikado ang Quaipo?”

Technically, this trip to Quaipo is not my first. I was able to stop and visit the church for a while with my classmates some years ago. But this is the first time I was able to look around the area.

It was already one o’clock in the afternoon when I arrived in the church. I did not know that it was the Quaipo Day that day so I was really surprise to see thousands of people in the church. The inside of the church was already full of people so I had to stay outside, near the entrance, so I can hear the mass. While I was there I was able to see the people coming in and out of the church. It was really fascinating. People of different ages, occupations, sex and status were in the place. I saw many students and workers still in their uniform attending the mass. I saw very young kids with their parents or grandparents entertaining themselves while their companions listen to the mass. There were also people who are wearing some fancy clothes who obviously came from wealthy backgrounds. And there were also some differently-abled people in the church trying to find a good spot in the church full of devotees.

After some minutes, finally I was able to get inside the church. And the view was even more fascinating. There were about 2,500 people inside the building that time. It’s really amazing how diverse the devotees of the Black Nazarene are. The attention of the most of the people was focused on the priest and the mass while some were occupied with praying their rosary or praying while holding a prayer book.

As much as I want to participate in the mass, I couldn’t help myself from observing and making some comments on what was happening around me. Seeing all the devotees awakened my spirituality. Seeing how devoted reaffirmed my belief that indeed there is a higher, greater power running the universe and the lives of the creature inside it. The devotees were examples of how that higher, greater power changed their lives in ways that even science cannot explain. It was just amazing how He was able to bring all these people together. There were so many people that time but it was so serene. This may sound a bit melodramatic but I was touched by the genuine devotion of the people and it was the first time.

Then I asked myself, “Does it really matter where we pray? Do we really have to devote ourselves to one single patron for our wishes to come true? Is there is hierarchy between churches?” These were the questions that sprang up in my mind while I was inside the church. I am not a devout Catholic. I don’t go to the church every Sunday. I don’t pray the rosary and I haven’t even read the Bible yet so I really can’t answer these questions. But I will let them remain unanswered not because no one can answer them but because finding the answer is like questioning the devotions of the people inside the church that day.

I was enjoying the serenity and the holiness of the moment when the priest asked everyone to join him in a special prayer. It was a prayer for a special wish. I bowed my head and prepared to pray. After some moments, he mentioned the RH Bill. The moment the priest mentioned RH Bill, all the serenity and spirituality I was feeling earlier melted quickly. It was like waking up from a wonderful dream. While he was praying for the Church’s wish for RH Bill not to be passed, I started to remember the reason why I don’t go to the church. It’s because I don’t like the Church as an institution. I don’t like them meddling with political issues. Simply put, that RH Bill prayer burst my serenity bubble.

After the mass, the priest went around the church to bless the rosaries and other religious items of the devotees with holy water. At that moment, the devotees started to flock to the area where the priest was with their hands, rosaries, prayer books and other religious items raised. That’s when I decided to leave the church. Even though it was difficult, I made my way through the thick people and exited in the church’s main door. There were so many people so I just let myself be carried by the wave of the people trying to go out of the church.

Knowing His plans for me

Outside the church, a different place welcomed me. It was a marketplace. In front of me were vendors selling products like suman, daing, grapes, mangoes, toys, balloons etc. On my left were the people selling candles, sampaguita, Nazareno items etc. And on my right were the fortune tellers and the people selling flowers, herbal medicines and amulets. The place was full of life. Seeing the vigor in the place was really fun.

Since Quaipo is really famous for their fortune telling, I went to the row of the fortune tellers and asked one of them to tell me what my future looks like. I want to know His plans for me. I decided to seat in front of Manang Maria Dilla. She said she’s been there for almost forty years already. She told me that she has psychic powers and she even predicted that Manny Pacquiao will be a champion. This is how our conversation went:

Manang Maria: Ano’ng gusto mong malaman?
Me: Wala naman po. Gusto ko lang malaman ang hinaharap ko.
Manang Maria: May problema ka ngayon. May hinaharap kang malaking problema ngayon. Tama ako?
Me: (nod) Opo. (Lahat naman ng tao may problema ah. Sino ba’ng wala?)
Manang Maria; (after wiping her wet tarot cards) Kuha ka.
Me: Ilan po?
Mang Maria: Isa. O sige tatlo na.
Manang Maria: Ayan. ‘Wag mo ilalabas pera mo. Pag nakita ng tao pera mo, mangungutang sila sayo. Pag di mo sila binigyan, magagalit pa sila sayo. Ayan. Minamalas ka ngayon. May salot sa buhay mo. May sumumpa sa’yo.
Me: Po? (Mukang tumatama si Manang ah.)
Manang Maria: Minamalas ka. Bili ka nitong anting ko. Isang libo. Ilagay mo sa cabinet mo. Mawawala malas mo.
Me: Isang libo po? Ang mahal naman po! Estudyante pa lang po ako.
Manang Maria: Kelan ka ba babalik dito. Gagawan kita ng anting.
Me: (Gusto ko nang umalis) Di ko po alam eh. Baka di na po ako makabalik.
Manang Maria: Magsikap ka. Mataliko ka. Wala ka pang asenso ngayong taon. Apat, limang taon, successful ka na. Wag ka muna pupunta sa ibang bansa. Wag ka pupunta sa Middle East. Dun sa Egypt at sa… saan ba yun…
Me: Libya po? (Nagbabasa ng balita si Manang)
Manang Maria: Oo! Sa Libya. Ay ngayon nagkaka-problema kayo ng boyfriend mo.
Me: (Kumunot ang noo)
Manang Maria: May boyfriend ka ba?
Me: Wala nga po e.
Manang Maria: Basta magsikap ka lang. Ipanalangin mo sa kanya. (Turo sa Simbahan)
Me: Ah okay po. Sige po. Salamat po.

I gave her a hundred pesos before I left. She said that’s too small because they have to pay for the rent. Fortunately, that’s the only money I have. My friends told me it’s too big for a ten minute session, but I just treated it as a help for Manang. She’s an old woman already. From the very beginning of our session, I already know that Manang Maria was bluffing. And her comments just proved that. I guess no one can really say what He is planning for you.

And there were many fortune tellers like her. But there were some fortune tellers that don’t fit my image of a fortune teller. Some of them we’re middle aged men and women wearing casual clothes. No matter how I look at them, their look just don’t scream fortune teller to me.

After buying a bunch of suman Antipolo, I left the Quaipo area. It was a tiring afternoon for me. But it was fun at the same time. Going to Quaipo made me see a place that is different from what I’m used to. It made me realize that there is still so much to discover in this country, so many food t try and so many kinds of people to meet. And my Quaipo trip proved that indeed, we have a very rich and a very fascinating culture.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Virtual Ethnography 101: Movies in Taiwan

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.

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 Dolf Cheng

I turned on the tv today in my apartment in Taipei and how timely it is to get a glimpse of Oscar’s Night live on Starworld. How timely it is to open my topic with movies in my ethnography.

The Taiwanese love Western movies despite the influx of other Asian productions from Thailand, China, Korea, Japanese and Hong Kong. Hollywood movies are always very popular here among the young generation and because of this theme in mind; I ventured to the local hang-out in Hsimenting, Taipei, to witness this scene.

As I arrived in Hsimenting Square, I toured John (a Filipino tourist) around and asked him what he thinks of the movies here. He was very surprised to see that the movies are as recent as those of the Philippines’ like Black Swan, 127 hours, Unknown, among other recent movies in Manila are now showing.

The funny thing is the Mandarin titles which strike out despite the familiar movie posters we see in Trinoma or SM North Edsa. One poster that he remarked on was Black Swan. The 3 characters that are in bold typeface is the title of the movie. The 1st character pronounced “Hay” means black. The 2nd character is pronounced “Tien” which means sky. The 3rd character says “Er” which means goose.

At first, it struck him as strange because it is translated as Black Sky Goose. I explained to John that “Tien” and “Er” collectively means “swan” and he laughed and said he preferred the funnier version. He asked where Natalie Portman’s name was and

I explained that in Taiwan, movie event organizers do not translate English names of actors into Mandarin but instead use homophones that sound very close to the English pronunciation of their names. Natalie Portman’s name has 5 syllables and for this, 5 Chinese characters are used. The 1st character is pronounced “Na” which is very close to the English counterpart. The 2nd character is pronounced “Ta” and again sounds very close. The 3rd is pronounced “Li”. However, not all Mandarin sounds can be fine-tuned to sound English which is evident in the 4th character. It is pronounced “Po” instead of the usual English sound of Port. The last character does justice to the whole name because it ends with “Man”. And there you go! “Natali Poman”.

Another movie that is playing is 127 hours. Just to briefly compare the Mandarin translation, the white boldface type that stands out is the title of the movie. 127 “Siaw” meaning “Small” and “Sh-r” meaning “Moment”. Not all words can be translated from the Mandarin to possess the whole meaning or context of English. In Mandarin, “Hour” means “Small Moment”. Sometimes, it is bizarre to think that an hour could only equate to a small moment. 2 hours is 2 small moments, 3 hours is 3 small moments. 127 hours is 127 small moments and sounds really absurd....lol.

The Rite is an example of how Mandarin titles are sometimes not directly translated but given a new meaning. The 5 characters depicting the title of the movie means “The Modern Exorcist” which is not a direct translation of “The Rite” but has a more inviting explanation to what the movie is about. Somehow, the word “Modern” is very intriguing and might make viewers become drawn to it. How many movies has there been with the theme of exorcism? Dozens! And somehow, sometimes, movie event organizers in Taiwan play with words to bring a new meaning to an old theme. No wonder the movie industry keeps coming up with different strategies to keep the movie business flourishing here.

Just awhile ago, I was handed a brochure which is promoting 127 hours. A postercard-sized paraphernalia which captures the movie in a nutshell and asks what I would do if I were in a situation like that trapped for 127 hours. No comment. As I arrived at the cinema belt which is aptly named so because of the line-up of cinemas offering all sorts of “now showing” movies in the Hsimenting district. I was suddenly nostalgic because I used to be a movie fan when I was a Taipei resident one year ago. We (as I identify with the Taiwanese) love the movies and it is a very weekend thing.

The cinemas are of the topmost calibre in regards to sound dynamics and image quality, the same standards with that of IMAX of SM North Edsa or Trinoma. It has always been a great movie experience and I miss those times. With added work and school in U.P. I had forgotten about my lifestyle here in Taipei and I am reminiscing on them once more, tonight.

I quickly joined the crowd to get in line for what is now showing to purchase a ticket. With very expensive yet generally-accepted ticket prices of 230 NTD (New Taiwan dollars) per person equivalent to 364 Pesos, our choice had to narrow down to what REALLY to watch. And so we chose (John and I) 127 Small Moments. Lights are now dimmed, cellphone off, popcorn ready, time for the show!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Virtual Ethnography 101: A Pilgrimage to St. Christopher's Church in Taipei

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.

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 Dolf Cheng (March 6, 2011)

One of the best gathering places for OFWs here in Taipei is St. Christopher’s Church. It has been my solace when I was new in Taipei 20 years ago and today I find myself entering its gates to revisit this old friend. I remember a different scene many years back which consisted of myself kneeling inside this church, the atmosphere almost perfect with only quietness and the sight of “no oneness”. I was one bench away from my sister who was praying deeply. She was always the religious one and I always tagged along her because 20 years back, this was one of the few churches which offered mass in English and had a McDonald nearby – a rare presence of Western influence in Taipei.

Today 20 years later, everything has transformed from stillness to fiesta. As I got off Bus 218 a few meters from the church, I was overwhelmed to find the whole street full of Pinoys and Pinays. The scene is like walking into our local church in Mindanao Avenue. Mass has already started and the gates were filled up. Those who were lucky were comfortably seated inside but the many who were standing outside were bunched up like turtles because of their heavy jackets and wool caps. Temperature had dropped to 13 degrees celcius today and I had nowhere to peer into the ongoing mass. Today is the day of Pinoy trade, Balikbayan boxes, Bingo grocery, LBC remittance and Sunday adobo. Mass started at 9 am but the street was already a busy marketplace attracting churchgoers and the local Taiwanese people. Right beside St. Christopher is Bingo Store which has been in business many years before. Despite the yearly decrease in manpower hiring from the Philippines, business here thrives because Filipinos are very good buyers and so used to our home-grown products. They carry every indispensable brand of canned goods (spam, sausage, sardines), toiletries (close-up, safeguard, green cross) and even fresh pandesal every Sunday. I cannot conceive a Philippine store like this 20 years ago because I used to carry my 555 Sardines, Purefoods Corned beef, Milo and Lily’s Peanut Butter in my luggage every time I flew back to Taipei.

The street outside St. Christopher is always teeming with all kinds of trade during Sundays. 100NTD (New Taiwan dollars) is the new 100 pesos here in Taipei and almost all kinds of wares are sold for 100NTD. This resembles the Daiso Shops we have in Manila were everything is sold for the same price. Here in the streets, there are bags made in China for 100NTD, sleepwear for 100NTD a set, living room centrepieces like a galloping horse in mid-air cast in plastic for 100NTD. Who could resist not spending 100NTD for a trivial item? And on a shopping day like Sunday? There are also the usual Pinoy snack items like ensaymada, kutsinta and Balut! I was totally surprised to find Balut today because I could only imagine how it was flown in. Did these duck eggs come from someone’s luggage the day before? I stopped by a stall and saw that Mr. Ahwa’s International Phone Cards were selling very well. I used to consume 200NTD a week in my pre-Yahoo messenger days to call home. With Facebook, Skype and Yahoo messenger, these phone cards triggered my memory of long-awaited expectations from my family in the Philippines. We have always set a Sunday time to talk over the phone which lasted exactly 20 minutes per card.

It’s 11:30 am and I headed to Won Won where the whole 2nd floor of an adjacent building from St. Christopher was rented out for Filipino and Fil-Chinese business owners. There, more Philippine goods are on display. I came here not for the Yes! Magazines, Adam & Eve’s Beauty Parlor, Phil-internet Cafe but for the Sunday adobo. No matter how much Taiwan food I have had, I always miss adobo. Here in Won Won, a lot of “point-point stores” offer so much Philippine dishes, reminiscent of SM food courts. An order of adobo, half an order of dinuguan and an order of pinakbet will complete my Sunday Pinoy affair. I have almost forgotten that I had missed mass but I will return later to have a short prayer inside St. Christopher. What used to be my initial church visit has become a trip down Bingo, Won Won and adobo. In conclusion, I believe that trade, food and church seem almost unintentionally tied together to our modern church tradition. After all, each of us miss home so much that a Sunday gathering like this at St. Christopher Church almost always refurbishes the longings in every OFW.

Virtual Ethnography 101: Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Ride

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.

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 Kristine C. Borja

Photo source: arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com

I’m a commuter. Ever since I’ve been allowed to venture on my own and travel places, I have experienced almost every breed of transportation that the urban Manila can offer- I’ve tried Taxi cabs that are currently mutating into different colors and sizes to rough the roads, I’ve tried the Tamaraw FX’s traversing down Sucat-Lawton, mostly I’m in jeepneys who remain to be the undisputed kings of the road and sometimes, I’m one of ‘em passengers sitting at the back of the bus, shouting my lungs out as if in a roller coaster ride as the driver rages like the king of the jungle in EDSA. Countless, indeed are the modes of transportation in the Philippines: There is the Kuliglig, the ferry boat, the pedicab, the tricycle, the trucks, that carries whether load or man to their next destination; and whether it is progress or pestilence they bring- no one can really tell.

For the past years, however, I have been introduced to the snakelike lines of the trains now plaguing Manila: the Metro Railway Transit or the MRT, and it is my routinary experience taking the train to school that has inspired this ethnography:

Marami-Raming Tao (MRT)

Kailangang bilisan, huli na sa eskwela
Habulin ang tren, makigulo sa masa
Akyat sa escalator na walang kuryente,
kakapagod pero think positive na lang: Ako’y seseksi

Pagdating sa taas- Sus! Rush hour kasi, pagkahaba ng pila,
para kang naligaw sa panahon ng Pasko sa may Divisoria
Tulak dito, tulak doon, kamangha-mangha- Wow!
Binti ko’y hindi ko hinahakbang ngunit ako ay nagalaw

Madali sa pagbili sa ticket machine
sa mga teller na tila ba mundo’y naninimdim
Sabay sa agos ng marami-raming taong sumastampede
Iwas to death sa takot na baka maapakang parang centipede

Ang susunod na laban ay pakikipagunahan
Na makapasok sa loob ng tren at makakuha ng upuan
Ayan na bukas na ang pintuan!
Dali! Siksik dito siksik doon ang labanan!
Wag papatalo, sa stamina at diskarte daigin si Pacman!

Pfft, naunahan pa ni Lola sa karamput na upuan
Sige na nga siya na dun, siya nama’y may katandaan
Ngunit teka, ang babaeng iyon bakit ayaw sa bata magbigay-upuan?
Tsk, nagpapanggap na buntis, malaki lang naman ang tiyan

Hay naku ewan, kakaloka talaga- hanap na ng bariles na pwedeng makapitan
Handa sa bigla-biglang prenuhan at kompetisyon na pinamagatang “Pagalingang Magbalance”
Eeew, bakit basa ang aking hinahawakan? Bakit parang konsepto ng AirCon ay walang katotohanan?
Aray! Super tulak baka mamaya ako pala’y ninanakawan
Hala, sige, kapa sa wallet, check sa cellphone ang drama natin diyan
Ang saya talaga sa MRT parang laging sa Quiapo sa Araw ng Itim na Nazareno na fiestahan

Hay salamat, Quezon Ave na din
Natatanaw ko na ang liwanag, pag-asa, at hangin
Check cellphone, check wallet, check katawan- buo pa
Sabay sa agos ng Maraming-Raming Tao, ako’y bababa, lalaya na
Salamat sa Poon, ako’y buhay pa *Bow*

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eagle Realty Corp. v. RP et. al.

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

G.R. No. 151424 July 31, 2009



Petitioner Eagle Realty Corporation, a company engaged in the real estate business, bought a parcel of land from a certain Reyes in 1984 via a Deed of Sale. Petitioner seeks the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 4, 2008, which affirmed the Court of Appeals Decision dated January 22, 2001 and Resolution dated January 8, 2002, and upheld the cancellation of petitioner’s certificate of title based on a finding that it is not a purchaser in good faith and for value.

In the assailed decision, the Court held that "a corporation engaged in the buying and selling of real estate is expected to exercise a higher standard of care and diligence in ascertaining the status and condition of the property subject of its business transaction."

The Motion for Reconsideration centers on the application of Sunshine Finance to the present case. Petitioner argues therein that the ruling in Sunshine Finance is a recent innovation, established long after the subject property was transferred in petitioner’s name in 1984, hence, should not be applied to the case.

Prior jurisprudence that protected banks, investment corporations and realty companies, without imposing any additional burden of going beyond the face of the title, should be applied instead. Petitioner points out that it purchased the subject property in 1984, when prevailing jurisprudence did not, as yet, impose upon realty companies the obligation to look beyond the certificate of title for it to qualify as an innocent purchaser for value. To charge petitioner with such additional obligation is to burden it with a then non-existent obligation which thus violates its right to due process.

In its Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) averred that the ruling in Sunshine Finance is not in the nature of a statute that cannot be retroactively applied; it is jurisprudence that merely restates the definition of an innocent purchaser for value.


Whether or not Eagle Realty is an innocent purchaser and whether the Sunshine Finance case is applicable in the present case.


Judicial interpretation of a statute constitutes part of the law as of the date it was originally passed, since the Court’s construction merely establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent that the interpreted law carried into effect.

Such judicial doctrine does not amount to the passage of a new law, but consists merely of a construction or interpretation of a pre-existing one, as is the situation in this case. The assailed decision merely defines an "innocent purchaser for value" with respect to entities engaged in the real estate business.

In Sunshine Finance, the Court required, for the first time, investment and financing corporations to take the necessary precautions to ascertain if there were any flaws in the certificate of title and examine the condition of the property they were dealing with. Although the property involved was mortgaged to and, subsequently, purchased by therein petitioner several years before the said decision was promulgated, we note that the rule was immediately applied to that case.

In the present case, assailed ruling expands the ruling in Sunshine Finance to cover realty corporations, which, because of the nature of their business, are, likewise, expected to exercise a higher standard of diligence in ascertaining the status of the property, not merely rely on what appears on the face of a certificate of title.

In like manner, our ruling should be applied to the present case; otherwise, it would be reduced to "a mere academic exercise with the result that the doctrine laid down would be no more than a dictum, and would deprive the holding in the case of any force."

The Motion for Reconsideration is Denied.

Villegas v. CA & Fortune Tobacco Corporation

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

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

G.R. No. 129977. February 1, 2001



Ciciarco D. Andres and Henson Caigas had four (4) hectares of land registered under their names. They sold the land to Fortune Tobacco Corporation and both executed a joint affidavit declaring that they had no tenants on said lot. Later, they executed a Deed of Reconveyance of the same lot in favor of Filomena Domingo, the mother of Joselito Villegas, defendant in the case.

On December 4, 1976, the Office of the Register of Deeds of Isabela was burned together with all titles in the office. Thirteen days after, the original of TCT No. T-91864 was administratively reconstituted by the Register of Deeds. On April 10, 1991, the trial court upon a petition filed by Fortune ordered the reconstitution of the original of TCT No. T-68737.

After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered its assailed decision in favor of Fortune Tobacco, declaring it to be entitled to the property. Petitioners thus appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial courts decision, with a modification on the award of damages and attorneys fees.


a) Who among of the parties is entitled to the property based from the validity of their respective titles?

b) Has laches set in against private respondent Fortune Tobacco Corporation?


It is petitioners contention that Fortune was a buyer in bad faith. They allege that Fortune should have investigated if the property had any occupants. If it had done so, it would have found petitioners and their predecessors-in-interest in possession thereof. Petitioners also allege that Andres and Caigas were not the owners of the property at the time it was sold to Fortune. Throughout their pleadings, petitioners claim that Fortunes title is fake and spurious, having proceeded from its so-called reconstitution. Lastly, petitioners invoke the doctrine of laches against Fortunes bid to recover the property.

Invoking the prior title rule, Fortune declares that it is the lawful owner of the property, as the certificate of title in its name was issued before issuance of another title to petitioners predecessor-in-interest, Filomena Domingo.

Fortune claims that petitioners title is spurious. It also alleges that petitioners admitted the validity of Fortunes title, and that petitioners continuous possession of the property cannot defeat said title. Fortune also asserts that it bought the property in good faith.

It was held however, that the Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters, even if they are not assigned as errors in the appeal, if it finds that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just decision of the case. In the case at bar, Fortunes title was judicially reconstituted by virtue of an order dated April 10, 1991, issued by the Regional Trial Court in Cauayan, Isabela.

Section 110 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides:

SEC. 110. Reconstitution of lost or destroyed original of Torrens title. Original copies of certificates of title lost or destroyed in the offices of Register of Deeds as well as liens and encumbrances affecting the lands covered by such titles shall be reconstituted judicially in accordance with the procedure described in Republic Act No. 26 insofar as not inconsistent with this Decree.

The elements of laches are: (1) conduct on the part of the defendant, or one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation that led to the complaint and for which the complaint seeks a remedy; (2) delay in asserting the complainants rights, having had knowledge or notice of the defendants conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit; (3) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit; and (4) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held barred.

In the case at bar, there is no question on the presence of the first element. The object of Fortunes complaint before the trial court was to recover possession of the property in question, which is presently in the hands of petitioners. The second element of delay is also present in this case. Fortunes suit for recovery of possession and damages was instituted only on May 29, 1991, fifteen years after the registration of Filomena Domingos title to the property in 1976. The third element of laches also present in this case. There is nothing in the record which shows that petitioners had any inkling of Fortunes intent to possess the subject property. As to the fourth element of laches, it goes without saying that petitioners will be prejudiced if Fortunes complaint is accorded relief, or not held barred, as then petitioners would be deprived of the property on which their households stand.

The Decision is granted.

Joseph Rementizo v. Heirs of Pelagia Vda. De Madarieta

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

G.R. No. 170318 January 15, 2009



The instant controversy stemmed from a Complaint for Annulment and Cancellation of Original Certificate of Title filed by the late Pelagia Vda. De Madarieta against Rementizo before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) in Camiguin.

In her complaint, Madarieta claimed that she is the owner of a parcel of land declared in the name of her late husband Angel Madarieta with an area of 436 square meters situated in Tabulig, Poblacion, Mambajao, Camiguin.

The trial court ordered the cancellation and/or revocation of the OCT for being null and void ab initio, and the respondent or anybody in possession or occupation of subject land is hereby ordered to turn over subject land to the plaintiff and vacate the premises.

Rementizo appealed the Provincial Adjudicator’s order to the DARAB-Central Office. On 7 February 2001, the DARAB-Central Office reversed the Provincial Adjudicator’s order by ruling in favor of Rementizo.

Madarieta filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court assailing the decision of the DARAB. But in its Decision of 26 May 2004, the Court of Appeals held that when Madarieta filed an action on 5 November 1998, for the annulment and cancellation of Rementizo’s title, more than 10 years had passed after the issuance of Rementizo’s title rendering the title incontrovertible.


The crucial issue in this case is whether the action for the annulment of the emancipation patent, which ultimately seeks the reconveyance of the title issued to Rementizo, has already prescribed.


The petition is meritorious.

In the present case, the DAR, which is presumed to have regularly performed its official function, awarded EP No. A-028390-H to Rementizo in 1987. Aside from this emancipation patent, two other emancipation patents and certificates of title (OCT Nos. 183 and 174) were issued to Rementizo covering two different parcels of land.

This means that Rementizo was a qualified beneficiary of various parcels of agricultural land placed under the government’s Operation Land Transfer.

The Court notes that Madarieta was claiming the subject property as the surviving spouse of Angel. While Madarieta presented evidence pointing out that Lot No. 153-F was historically owned and declared in the name of her deceased husband, Angel, there is nothing in the records showing that Angel during his lifetime opposed Rementizo’s occupation and possession of the subject land. Madarieta and respondents started claiming the property after the death of Angel. Considering that the subject property was proximate to the Madarietas’ residence, Angel could have questioned the legality of Rementizo’s occupation over the land.

In an action for reconveyance, the decree of registration is respected as incontrovertible but what is sought instead is the transfer of the property wrongfully or erroneously registered in another’s name to its rightful owner or to one with a better right. The person in whose name the land is registered holds it as a mere trustee.

Nevertheless, the right to seek reconveyance of registered property is not absolute because it is subject to extinctive prescription.

Article 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action accrues:

(1) Upon a written contract;

(2) Upon an obligation created by law;

(3) Upon a judgment. (Emphasis supplied)

The 10-year prescriptive period is reckoned from the date of issuance of the certificate of title.

In the instant case, however, it is the rule rather than the exception which should apply.

In this case, there is no evidence adduced by Madarieta or respondents that Rementizo employed fraud in the issuance of EP No. A-028390-H and OCT No. EP-195. Madarieta did not even present any evidence that her late husband objected to Rementizo’s occupation over the subject land after the issuance of EP No. A-028390-H and OCT No. EP-195.

The petition is granted.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spouses Chu v. Benelda Estate Development Corp

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

G.R. No. 142313. March 1, 2001

SPOUSES MANUEL CHU, SR. and CATALINA B. CHU, the former substituted by THEANLYN B. CHU, THEAN CHING LEE B. CHU, THEAN LEEWN B. CHU and MARTIN LAWRENCE B. CHU, the latter represented by his mother and guardian ad litem, petitioner CATALINA B. CHU, Petitioners, v. BENELDA ESTATE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent.


The petitioners spouses Manuel Chu, Sr. and Catalina Chu were the registered owners of five (5) parcels of land situated in Barrio Saguin, San Fernando, Pampanga. They executed a deed of sale on Sept. 30, 1986 with assumption of mortgage in favor of Trinidad N. Cunanan. It was made to appear in the deed of sale that the total consideration had been fully paid to enable Cunanan to have the parcels of land registered in her name so that she could mortgage the same to secure a loan and thereupon pay from the proceeds of the loan.

Their agreement, however, was that the ownership of the properties shall remain with the petitioners until full payment of the balance of the total purchase price.

Cunanan failed to pay the balance of the total purchase price to the petitioners. Without the knowledge of the petitioners, Cunanan sold the three (3) parcels of land to Cool Town Realty and Development Corporation, and the two (2) other parcels of land to the spouses Amado and Gloria Carlos. The spouses Carlos, in turn, sold these two (2) properties to the respondent Benelda Estate Development Corporation.

Petitioners commenced civil case before the Regional Trial Court of Pampanga against Trinidad N. Cunanan, Cool Town Realty and Development Corporation and the Register of Deeds of Pampanga. The petitioners amended their complaint to include respondent Benelda Estate Development Corporation as a defendant.

The respondent filed its answer with a motion to dismiss on the ground that the amended complaint states no cause of action against respondent. It alleged that respondent corporation, through its officers, acted in good faith in buying the properties inasmuch as it exerted all efforts to verify the authenticity of the titles and that no defect was found.

After the petitioner filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss, the trial court rendered a decision denying the motion to dismiss.

The respondent filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the Court of Appeals alleging that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying its motion to dismiss the amended complaint. The Court of Appeals reversed the order of the trial court and dismissed the case as against the respondent on the ground of lack of cause of action and for failure of the petitioners to include the spouses Carlos as indispensable parties in the complaint.


a) Whether the spouses Amado E. Carlos and Gloria A. Carlos (sellers of the subject titled parcels of land to respondent) are real and indispensable parties in the case at bar.

b) Whether or not the respondent corporation is an innocent purchaser for value.


A cause of action is defined as an act or omission by which a party violates a right of another. The test of the sufficiency of the facts found in a petition as constituting a cause of action is whether or not, admitting the facts alleged, the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer thereof.

In land title cases, the court held that a person dealing with registered land may safely rely on the correctness of the certificate of title issued and the law will in no way oblige him to go behind the certificate to determine the condition of the property.

A person is considered in law as an innocent purchaser for value who is defined as one who buys the property of another, without notice that some other person has a right or interest in such property and pays a full price for the same, at the time of such purchase or before he has notice of the claims or interest of some other person in the property. In this connection, Section 53 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, provides that:

The production of the owners duplicate certificate, whenever any voluntary instrument is presented for registration, shall be conclusive authority from the registered owner to the Register of Deeds to enter a new certificate or to make a memorandum of registration in accordance with such instrument, and the new certificate or memorandum shall be binding upon the registered owner and upon all persons claiming under him, in favor of every purchaser for value and in good faith.

Thus, a title procured through fraud and misrepresentation can still be the source of a completely legal and valid title if the same is in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.

In a case for annulment of title, therefore, the complaint must allege that the purchaser was aware of the defect in the title so that the cause of action against him will be sufficient. Failure to do so, as in the case at bar, is fatal for the reason that the court cannot render a valid judgment against the purchaser who is presumed to be in good faith in acquiring the said property. Failure to prove, much less impute, bad faith on said purchaser who has acquired a title in his favor would make it impossible for the court to render a valid judgment thereon due to the indefeasibility and conclusiveness of his title.

What is important is that when respondent bought the subject properties, it was not aware of any defect in the covering certificates of title thereto at the time of such purchase. There is no allegation to the contrary in the amended complaint. Therefore, the title of respondent, being that of an innocent purchaser for value, remains valid.

By allowing the cancellation of their certificates of title and the issuance of new ones in lieu thereof in the name of Trinidad N. Cunanan despite alleged non-payment of the full purchase price for their subject two (2) parcels of land, the petitioners took the risk of losing their titles on the said properties inasmuch as the subject deed of sale with assumption of mortgage constitutes their consent and announcement to the whole world that Cunanan was indeed the legal owner of the properties by virtue of the said deed which is a public document.

The appellate court therefore was correct in entertaining the petition for the reason that the trial court committed a grave abuse of discretion when it refused to dismiss the case against the respondent, despite the obvious insufficiency of the amended complaint against the corporation respondent.

To implead the respondent in the case at bar, absent an allegation of bad faith on its part, is to undermine a well-settled rule protecting innocent purchasers for value and the indefeasibility and conclusiveness of certificates of title issued under the Torrens System.

The petition is DENIED for lack of cause of action.

Spouses Lam v. CA and Jose Lim

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

G.R. No. 116220. December 6, 2000



Spouses Roy Po Lam and Josefa Ong Po Lam, as transferees pendente lite are not purchasers in good faith of lots, prime commercial lots located in the heart of Legaspi City. The court ordered them to reconvey said lots to private respondent Jose Lee. These were sold by Lim Kok Chiong. Later, Felix Lim and Lim Kok Chiongs brother filed a complaint with the then Court of First Instance of Albay against his brother and LAHCO to annul the deeds of sale covering said lots on the ground that the sale included pro-indiviso portion of the lots which Felix Lim had inherited from his foster parents. As to their motion for reconsideration, it remained in status quo until upon the retirement of Justice Purisima who once decided the case. The matter of the motion for reconsideration was assigned by raffle for study and the preparation of the appropriate action. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in April 1980.


Whether Po Lam spouses are purchasers in bad faith.


It must be stressed that the sole basis for finding petitioners to be purchasers in bad faith was the subsistence of the notice of lis pendens. The meaning, nature, recording, and effects of a notice of lis pendens are clearly stated in Section 14, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The doctrine of lis pendens is founded upon reason of public policy and necessity, the purpose of which is to keep the subject matter of the litigation within the power of the court until the judgment or decree shall have been entered; otherwise by successive alienations pending the litigation, its judgment or decree shall be rendered abortive and impossible of execution. The Motion for Reconsideration of petitioners-spouses Roy Po Lam and Josefa Ong Po Lam is GRANTED and declaring them to be PURCHASERS IN GOOD FAITH.

Guaranteed Homes, Inc. v Heirs of Maria Valdez

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

G.R. No. 171531 January 30, 2009



The descendants of Pablo Pascua filed a complaint (in their complaint respondents alleged that Pablo died intestate sometime in June 1945 and was survived by his four children, one of whom was the deceased Cipriano) seeking reconveyance of a parcel of land with an area of 23.7229 hectares situated in Cabitaugan, Subic, Zambales with Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. 404 in the name of Pablo. In the alternative, the heirs of Valdez prayed that damages be awarded in their favor.

OCT No. 404 was attached as one of the annexes of respondents’ complaint. It contained several annotations in the memorandum of encumbrances which showed that the property had already been sold by Pablo during his lifetime to Alejandria Marquinez and Restituto Morales.

It was further averred in the complaint that Jorge Pascua, Sr., son of Cipriano, filed a petition before the RTC of Olongapo City for the issuance of a new owner’s duplicate of OCT No. 404. However, the RTC denied the petition and held that petitioner was already the owner of the land, noting that the failure to annotate the subsequent transfer of the property to it at the back of OCT No. 404 did not affect its title to the property.

Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that the action is barred by the Statute of Limitations, more than 28 years having elapsed from the issuance of TCT No. T-10863 up to the filing of the complaint, and that the complaint states no cause of action as it is an innocent purchaser for value, it having relied on the clean title of the spouses Rodolfo.

The RTC granted petitioner’s motion to dismiss.

The appellate court further held that the ruling of the RTC that petitioner is an innocent purchaser for value is contrary to the allegations in respondents’ complaint.

Hence, the present petition for review.


The sole issue before this Court revolves around the propriety of the RTC’s granting of the motion to dismiss and conversely the tenability of the Court of Appeals’ reversal of the RTC’s ruling.


The petition is meritorious.

It is well-settled that to sustain a dismissal on the ground that the complaint states no cause of action, the insufficiency of the cause of action must appear on the face of the complaint, and the test of the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the complaint to constitute a cause of action is whether or not, admitting the facts alleged, the court could render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer of the complaint.

Firstly, the complaint does not allege any defect with TCT No. T-8242 in the name of the spouses Rodolfo, who were petitioner’s predecessors-in-interest, or any circumstance from which it could reasonably be inferred that petitioner had any actual knowledge of facts that would impel it to make further inquiry into the title of the spouses Rodolfo.

Secondly, while the Extrajudicial Settlement of a Sole Heir and Confirmation of Sales executed by Cipriano alone despite the existence of the other heirs of Pablo, is not binding on such other heirs, nevertheless, it has operative effect under Section 44 of the Property Registration Decree (SEC. 44. Statutory Liens Affecting Title).

Lastly, respondents’ claim against the Assurance Fund also cannot prosper. Section 101 of P.D. No. 1529 clearly provides that the Assurance Fund shall not be liable for any loss, damage or deprivation of any right or interest in land which may have been caused by a breach of trust, whether express, implied or constructive. Even assuming arguendo that they are entitled to claim against the Assurance Fund, the respondents’ claim has already prescribed since any action for compensation against the Assurance Fund must be brought within a period of six (6) years from the time the right to bring such action first occurred, which in this case was in 1967.

The petition is GRANTED.

Dionisio Ladignon v. CA & Luzviminda Dimaun

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

G.R. No. 122973. July 18, 2000



The case originates from a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Conveyance and Recovery of Possession and Damages filed by a private respondent against Richard C. Tong, Jose Porciuncula, Jr. and Litogo Company, Inc. on May 12, 1990.

Private respondent claimed that petitioner made her sign a Petition for the reconstitution of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 240724, covering an eight hundred fifty nine and seven/tenths (859.7) square meter parcel of land located in Talayan, Quezon City, registered under her name and that of her adoptive mother, Ligaya Flores Collantes.

Attached to private respondents Complaint was a copy of a Deed of Absolute Sale which appears to have been executed by her as vendor and by Litoco Co., Inc., represented by its President, Richard Tong, as vendee.

Private respondent denied having received the purchase price, nor having signed the same, insisting that her alleged signatures thereon are falsified or forged. Thus, she prayed for the declaration of nullity of the said Deed of Absolute Sale and for the defendants to be ordered to surrender possession of the lot covered. The trial court found the evidence submitted by private respondent as insufficient to overturn the public document sought to be annulled. Thus, a Decision was rendered on May 20, 1992, in favor of petitioner.

However, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts decision.


Whether or not the evidence presented by private respondent against the Deed of Absolute Sale clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant to overcome both the presumption of regularity attached to public documents and to meet the stringent requirements to prove forgery?


We note that the Deed of Absolute Sale being questioned is a public document, having been notarized by Atty. Elsa R. Reblora who appeared on the witness stand to testify on the due execution of the same.

As a public document, the subject Deed of Absolute Sale had in its favor the presumption of regularity, and to contradict the same, there must be evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant; otherwise the document should be upheld.

It is also worth stressing that private respondent claim that her signature on the subject Deed of Absolute Sale is forged. As a rule, forgery cannot be presumed and must be proved by clear, positive and convincing evidence and the burden of proof lies on the party alleging forgery.

In the case at bar, the court cannot accept the claim of forgery where no comparison of private respondents signatures was made, no witness (save for private respondent herself) was presented to testify on the same, much less an expert witness called, and all that was presented was private respondents testimony that her signature on the questioned Deed was forged. Indeed, even when the evidence is conflicting, the public document must still be upheld.

All told, the court finds that private respondent, who has filed the Complaint for nullity of conveyance below has not sufficiently met the burden of proof to sustain her case and for such reason and must reinstate the dismissal of her complaint as ordered by the court.

The petition for review is granted. But Court of Appeals decision is reversed and reinstated the RTC’s decision.