Friday, September 16, 2011

RP represented by ERB vs Manila Electric Company

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

G.R. No. 141314 November 15, 2002



G.R. No. 141369 November 15, 2002



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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

G.R. No. 88404 October 18, 1990




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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

1. NTC Jurisdiction

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Coverage of ETCI's Franchise

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

3. The Status of ETCI Franchise

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

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

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

4. ETCI's Stock Transactions

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

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

5. The NTC Interconnection Order

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

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

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

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

6. Ultimate Considerations

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

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


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

Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation vs Globe Telecom, Inc.

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

G.R. No. 147324 May 25, 2004

GLOBE TELECOM, INC. (formerly Globe Mckay Cable and Radio Corporation), respondents.


GLOBE TELECOM, INC., petitioner,


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decision on Issue No 3: No Exemplary Damages

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

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


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

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Virtual Ethnography 101: Reflexivity of an Ethnographer at Rizal Park

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

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

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

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

Ethnography by Josefina Vicencio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


[1] See Rizal Monument entry at; see more information and photos at

[2] Ibid.


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

Villegas, Dennis. “The Story of Rizal Monument.” Accessed 8 July 2011. Available from

Wikipedia. “Rizal Monument”. Last modified 25 June 2011. Available from

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

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

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

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

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

Etnograpiya ni Mary June Fernandez Conti

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

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

Sa Mata ng Manunulat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mga Katangian ng Telebisyon

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

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







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

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

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

Ang PTV-4 Bilang Mundong Ginagalawan

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

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

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


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

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

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

Virtual Ethnography 101: Rizal @ Lopez Museum

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

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

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

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

Ethnography by Gerald Magno

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

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

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

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

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

About Face

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

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

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

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

Virtual Ethnography 101: Filipino and Persian Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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