Posted tagged ‘culture’


July 14, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

Classes have resumed here in Manila/Philippines, and our campuses are again swarming with pupils, students, teachers. Focused on their tasks, the same stakeholders are barely aware of what’s going on in the world around them, a world that is changing fast at confusing rate.

While the rugs under our feet our changing, the old context of large classes (class sizes of 100-250) are still in vogue in many universities worldwide. Some other universities that may have abolished them in the past, are re-instituting the large class platform.

As I’ve said in a previous article, the large class platform belongs to the past ages of medievalism and industrialism. To implement it now, at this time, is a regressive decision.

The large class, which unconsciously glues students to the ‘Herd instinct’, is anathema to the overall evolutionary movement of the human psyche towards greater individuation. University education is supposedly an opportunity field for the flourishing of that individuation.

The ‘mad discourse’ is finding expression in many venues today. The large class platform feeds inputs to the mad discourse, and is subtly rooted in it in fact. Its rationale hides under the rubric of technocratese language, but any sharp observer will easily unveil the illusion and show the large class platform’s connection to the ‘mad discourse’.

Imagine if all students are subjected to the same large classes, where they cannot air feedbacks or questions at all as they are consigned to passive receivers of inputs from a lecture professor. Imagine exposing freshmen students to this platform for 4-5 years, and assess the degeneration of the same students into the hovels of passivity.

Such a regimentation is just but one step short of what the Phase III cybernetics is up to these days: chipping humans. Phase III cybernetics had worked out to erase the dividing line between human behavior and machine behavior, with practical uses aimed at chipping all humans in the future.

The same chipped humans can then be put under the control of mega-computer systems, their behavior eventually reprogrammable to make them more in tune with what the System demands. They can be sent to war fronts as armies and technicians, and will experience no fear as fear will be deleted or subjugated by mega-control commands from their own psyche.

Wars and police states of the near future will be easily justified with every technocratese language conceivable, rendering them as typical ‘mad discourse’ in the argot of Michel Foucault. Mad, in that the erasure of the boundary between reason and the irrational has been effectively erased or deleted.

If there is anything that university policy makers must do now, it is to abolish all large classes while there is still time. Globally, we concerned citizens are doing what we can to deter moves by elites to install nazi-type regimes in the West, leading to a global state later that will be in need of compliant citizens.

Let us all do our tasks now to take down school platforms that will be the launching pads for compliant humans who can be chipped in couples of years’ time. The VeriChip by Verizon Corp is now out, and before 2015 a more perfected prototype will be out, ready to be implanted to humans via syringe (by trained doctors/medics).

We still have the time to act, to note. Any decision that infringes on human liberties is dangerously fascistic, such as re-instituting or maintaining large classes.

Failing to act in time, we shall watch in horror as new ‘das boots’ kids will be churned out from our youth, commanded via chips to participate in building a Draconian deux ex machina of the near future. And they’re products of our universities, products of large classes.

By then, I will be having the last laugh. With resonating guffaws will I declare “I told you so.”

[Philippines, 27 June 2010]


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July 10, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day, fellow global citizens!

Yours truly was interviewed anew by the TV5 program Tayuan Mo at Panindigan, with the topic focused on Filipinos’ happiness. Hosting the episode were Aida Uy, Wilma Dosent, and Izza Litton whose magnetic stage presence did give life to the occasion.

Interestingly, an urban poor woman agreed to be interviewed too, as a living witness to what makes Filipinos happy. She brought along her four (4) daughters who joined her in the customary Pinoy ‘salo-salo’ treat to guests offered by the Channel 5 network.

The latest research of the National Statistics Coordination Board or NSCB, chief government survey agency, showed that Filipinos put top priority on family, health, and religion in that rank order, when asked what are the topmost indicators that make them happy. The same research showed other important happiness sources as friends, financial security, education, love life, and work. Sex was among the bottom 5 happiness indices, which surprised the NSCB.

Being the sociologist/expert for the occasion, I was asked to explain the patterns that make Filipinos happy. I first had to weigh the results of the latest research, before I could present my own analysis.

In standard sociological discourse, values provide frames for individual choices. Values are those matters that people regard as social premiums, they are the core foundations of culture, and they are largely shared across classes and ethnicities. They are also the ones that define what is happiness for persons and aids them in prioritizing happiness indicators.

Filipinos put a great premium of relationships—to fellow Pinoys, family members, God & divine beings. Kapwa and loob are the pillars of our values, with kapwa governing the interpersonal domain while loob guides the intrapersonal.

By social relationships we refer here to the personalistic, traditional, informal ties in the domain of the ‘private sphere’. That contrasts to the that are impersonal, segmented, utilitarian valued highly in Western, industrial societies, ties that may enable one to shine career-wise but do not necessarily make people happy.

Happiness, as a positive intrapsychic state, can range from contentment to euphoria and bliss. Jobs and money do make Filipinos happy, but they matter only insofar as these enable Pinoys to have the means to face people, satisfy the needs and caprices of their fellows, and pay homage to Supreme Deity (payback through some donations to church or humanitarian groups).

Asked about the ranking of Pinoys in the global happiness surveys, I shared the facts that Pinoys would rank in the range of middle-to-high ranks. Pinoys never fell short of the middle range in happiness, and are among the happiest peoples in Asia.

No wonder that suicides don’t occur in the Philippines as high as they occur in Western/industrial countries, where as high as 5,000-10,000 deaths per year happen in major cities. Loneliness and depression are often the driving forces behind suicides, so the message is clear that Pinoys don’t do suicides a lot given their middle-to-high happiness inclinations.

It was another truly informative exchange of ideas and opinions. TV5 audiences surely will have much to benefit from such an informative program as the Tayuan Mo at Panindigan.

[Philippines, 07 July 2011]


May 25, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Both India and Pakistan are considered as ‘emerging markets’. The global economy is being driven upwards today by ‘emerging markets’, and so it pays for two such economic powers to finally say goodbye to their antiquated enmities and shift to the high gear towards cooperation, synergy, and mutual respect.

I am no citizen of both countries but rather that of an outside observer. As a development expert who is a strong advocate of the Asian Dream, I reserve my right to opinionate on the state of affairs of my region and continent, and so I strongly go for a harmonized relationship among all countries for the sake of our young and future generations of Asians.

Indians and Pakistanis alike better face it: they belong to ‘emerging markets’ and have the responsibility to build the image of each one of them. Such an image must be one that is emulated by other countries in Asia and more so in other continents who’s very own peoples are looking up to the ‘emerging markets’ today as the saviors of the global economy.

Indians and Pakistanis have new responsibilities on their shoulders, and so they better say goodbye to old enmities. A drastic de-linkage from those enmities and their sources must be quickly undertaken, consensus built the quickest time possible, and bilateral talks for economic cooperation be concurred quickly.

One of the areas for bilateral talks would be the concurrence for interconnecting both countries via land, air, shipping, and railways. Such an effort would render both countries as builders of the New Silk Road, which as I was saying in a previous article must be built today by Asians.

The New Silk Road will give the planet a new breathing space, a new life in an Age of Hope, and so efforts to quash down old enmities must be taken at all cost. By perpetuating the enmities between these economic might of countries that are both scions of Akbar the Great, India and Pakistan are only showing the way to deterioration and Dark Age.

Both India and Pakistan better review the life of Akbar and the Mogul emperors, as the Moguls infused principles of efficiency, planning, cooperation and synergy by diverse stakeholders within the Empire. Those are golden lessons coming from Akbar, and such lessons became parts of the cultural templates of South Asians that make the jewels worth the admiration by other nations.

Akbar stands for efficiency, constructivism, cooperation, prestige projects, urban planning, architectural wonders, and more. Isn’t it great that each of the states of India and Pakistan build their governance institutions following an ‘Akbarian route’?

By persisting on their mutual bellicosity and fuming noses prepared for next wars, I will infer such behavior as ‘Nero complex’, and any Nero is dangerous for Asians. Indians and Pakistanis, please make the choice now: either take the Akbar route or Nero route. There can be no in-between route.

[Philippines, 17 May 2011]
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December 9, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Christmas is now nearing as of this writing. Christmas bell tolls, kids’ carols, merry songs & dances are now up in the air, inviting everyone else to share the spirit of fun and camaraderie.


A Christian and sectarian holiday Christmas is, no one doubts this. Granted that Christmas is a sectarian affair, is it possible to transform it into a global/universal, multi-cultural event? There are apparently two (2) perspectives that clash concerning the matter.


From the point of view of fundamentalist, ultra-conservative church practitioners, whether Christian or non-Christian, Christmas is a sectarian affair and should not veer into cultural spaces not meant for its observation. A Muslim fundamentalist would throw monkey wrench at any attempt to globalize Christmas, and the same may be true for those fundamentalists of other denominations.


From the vantage point of a non-fundamentalist, cosmopolitan person, Christmas is one occasion that Christians can share to others. It is a multi-cultural affair, and it belongs to the whole of humanity for that matter. Ergo, everyone on Earth better attunes to the Christmas spirit and feel the ‘family of mankind’ fraternal bonds that the affair espouses.


As to where I stand in that polarity of perspectives, I am among those who wish to share the Christmas spirit as a multi-cultural blessing. Born a Catholic, but now a freethinker who espouses post-church spirituality, I remain attuned to the Christmas holidays just the same for the reasons stated above.


Christianity is a cult of Jesus, and I will have nothing to do with following or propagating such a cult. Esoteric Christianity, however, isn’t the same as the folk Christianity of the flocks who regard Jesus as a cult figure, and I squarely stand on the grounds of this mystical version of Christianity.


Esoteric Christianity teaches universal brotherhood among its core lessons. Universal brotherhood, a battle cry of cosmopolitan esotericists, is still a very valid principle to stand up for. It is the ethos that permits a soul to go beyond the bounds of sectarian precepts, embrace fellow humans as co-family members, and build a culture of dialogue across the planet.


I do hope that the more cosmopolitan Christians would consciously invite non-Christians to be part of the holidays, truly embrace their non-Christian brothers and sisters, and allow the latter to participate in such year-end party rituals as gift-giving. And, invite the non-Christians to 24th of December midnight gathering, where they can sit by the Christmas tree and partake of the food blessings for the occasion.


Non-Christians who may not be invited by Christians in their homes on the 24th & 25th of December can also go ahead and celebrate the affair with their families and friends on the said dates. Nothing is wrong for them to put up a Christmas tree at home and party on the 24th midnight and on the 25th of December. And, at the end of the month, celebrate New Year’s Eve too.


In the Philippines, the transformation of Christmas into a multi-cultural event has already been going on in the 60s till 1972. Unfortunately, the Mindanao War came, a Christian-Muslim schism was propagated, and Muslims became reluctant to celebrate Christmas with their brethrens among Christians.


I just hope that the tide of cleavages is now ebbing and ceasing. We formally recognize Muslim and Chinese occasions in this country, and so it would be fitting for all Filipinos including Chinese and Muslims to celebrate Christmas as well. By Chinese I refer to those Chinese who are Buddhist, Daoist, atheist, or non-Christian.


The occasions for Christmas parties are now going on, from one organization to another, and so it is best for us all to participate in these events. And, comes the 24th-25th of the month, celebrate Christmas at home as a ritual occasion to solidify family bonds. Then, comes the New Year’s Eve, celebrate with a Big Bang accompanying a party or gathering.


Peace be with you! Advanced Happy Holidays!


[Philippines, 08 December 2010]








May 3, 2010

ARGONZA’S ARTICLE AMONG WORLD’S TOP SOCIOLOGY BLOGS. Be glad to know that my blog article TITANS, AVATAR: RECENT ENLIGHTENING FILMS was adjudged among the world’s top sociology blogs by the Daily Reviewer (see You’re most cordially invited to visit my social blogs, review the notable article, and subscribe to my writings. Thanks to Daily Reviewer for the high appreciation.




November 21, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

A gladdening news just filtered out recently about the Philippines having now capped the Top Friendster end-user notch. Accordingly, there are today 30 Million end-users in the Philippines of the top social networking platform, the Friendster, out of a total of 85 Million users worldwide. Just couples of months back, it was at 24 Million Filipino ‘ka-Friendsters’ that represented of 1/3 of the world total.

This development reveals couples of very significant insights about my beloved compatriots, the Filipinos, as well as that of the host network, the Friendster Inc. In Max Weber’s language, there is ‘elective affinity’ between the economic structure’s templates (Friendster as economic service provider) and the Filipino’s ‘superstructural templates’ (values, value-relevance). In Jung’s language, the demands of the world structures have manifested synchronicities with the ‘symbolic structures’ of the Filipinos.

Let me then share some notes to you about what this topnotch end-user behavior of Filipinos exhibit in regard to the world’s top web-based social networking. I will sum up the revealed insights in two (2) categories, namely: (a) social, which refers to the economic and behavioral facts involved; and, (b) spiritual, which refers to those core elements of the human psyche & soul revealed by the behavior.


·         30 Million is 30 Million, it is awesome and potent a social force to reckon with.

·         Internet Users Up: 30 Million ‘ka-Friendsters’ means that millions of Filipinos now have access to the internet, the minimum of which is 30 M. My estimate is that the figure goes up to 40 Million, which is double the badly underestimated statistics from marketing and state agencies (18-20 Million).

·         Warm, friendly, hospitable traits of Filipinos. These are among the value assets of the Pinoys. They can never be underestimated. They invite as many contacts on the Friendster as possible, regardless of whether they know that contact personally.  

·         Internet Facilities: Telecom infrastructures have now made web accessibility higher among Pinoys. Combined facilities are: (a) New Generation for DSL & related services, in all cities and town centers nationwide; (b) Wireless Broadband, present in commercial hubs; (c) Rural Interconnectivity, platform for countryside, innovation by engineers from the University of the Philippines.

·         Graphics & Writing/Reading Up: Pinoy’s mind is largely attuned to graphical-intuitive, that is why they’d love to view pictures and graphic creatives. However, Pinoys are also developing writing & reading habits, which the content blog spaces offer.

·         Urban Filipinos, which represents 60% of domestic population, lead the locals in propelling the islanders to ‘global citizen’ status, thru web-based platforms. My estimate is that 85% of Pinoys on Friendster are urbanites.


·         ‘Friend’ dominates the word ‘Friendster’, which jibes with the Filipinos deep devotional attitude. Devotion is the cementing force of society, and the first impulse to reach out to the Almighty Providence and Divine Beings.

·         ‘Friend’ in Friendster jibes with the Water element among Pinoys. This element is manifested as love for building social networks, artistic-graphical creatives of Pinoys (Pinoys are Asia’s top musicians), and the healing prowess of the islanders (note our top healers, top nurses/doctors overseas).

·         The letters F-I-R-E (Fire) and F-R-I-E-D (Fried), which signify the Fire element, another powerful element of Pinoys, is also found in Friendster, though is subdued. It is indicative of Pinoy’s conscious efforts today to do everything to tame their Fire element, use this for more beneficial purposes, and permit the Water element’s positive aspects blend with Fire.

·         Public life in the Philippines is mired in Negative Fire: Insurgent groups, politicians, civil society all wanting to overthrow established authority. Pinoys, via platforms such as Friendster, would want to somehow balance this Fiery disposition with the more constructive, creative disposition presented by Water, though they also ride and direct the Fiery caldrons of public life.   

·         Interestingly, the Water element is also shown in the Philippines’ maritime prowess. 28% of international seafarers are Pinoys, while the country is beginning to manufacture ships as huge as 10,000 Tonners, and it won’t be a surprise if in 15 years’ time the Philippines will be a global ship-building power. Almost all Pinoy seafarers surf the web while aboard their ships, and many use patronize Friendster (including my cousin-in-law, a maritime engineer).

To the endeared readers, choose your wilds: social facet, or spiritual facet. I chose both, as I’m both (a) a social scientist and (b) a mystic-healer-Guru of the Teaching.

For the Friendster Inc, it has no other choice than to root itself more in Philippine life. The corporate honchos cannot afford to offend the Filipino end-users, no Sirs, for that would flip the Water side of Pinoys to the Fire side. Fire is the ‘overthrow syndrome’ of my kabayans (compatriots), they’re so good at it, insurgencies here can last as long as nine (9) decades such as Tamblot Revolt.

And, to the Friendster corporate people, please don’t ever offend Filipino women. Let you be reminded that we are the ‘6th Top Gender Empowerment’ country worldwide as of today. We’re known for Filipina warriorship prowess, and that warriorship is seen in our feminist leaders and advocates reforming policies with Firepower, and overthrowing corrupt regimes with blazing thunder. Inside Filipino homes, the Mother is the Boss, this is a fact of life. No Sirs, I implore you never ever to offend the women of this country.

Let me congratulate both the Filipino ‘ka-Friendsters’ and the Friendster Inc. for the stunning success of the Friendster platform. Mabuhay!

[21 November 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


June 30, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

When Kenichi Ohmae released his writings about the rise of region-states, my curious, quite naughty mind nurtured the irresistible query about what Ohmae had at the back of his mind. Ohmae is among the coterie of contemporary Japanese intellectuals that include Francis Fukuyama and William Oichi. These intellectuals are no charlatans, and they belong to a new breed of Japanese who are more Western and globalist in orientation than their forebears.


While my esteem for these gentlemen is beyond doubt, their globalist orientation makes them suspect as Pied Pipers of the nascent global oligarchy (financial cartels, magnates, tycoons, taipans). When they cogitated about the ‘end of history’ (Fukuyama) in a new context of ‘region states’ (Ohmae) where institutional arrangements will be markedly ‘theory z’ (Ouichi), they were consciously or unconsciously prognosticating a new order of things.


At the turn of the century, that order of things had begun to show a very determinative shape: a globalized world where nation-states’ very existence are threatened. Nation-states’ interests are anathema to those of the oligarchs’, and as already proved by experiences that date back to the Greek city-states, oligarchs will do everything to subordinate polities, from city-states to nations.


Nation-states’ interests are opposed to oligarchs’. History had shaped nations in fact as a process of overthrowing gentry oligarchs in the medieval era and keeping the potencies of rising merchants and financiers in check. Now that the oligarchy had rebounded by many folds from its ancient ruinations, catastrophes from which lessons were clearly learned, it (oligarchy) will work out determinately to destroy nations.


Globalization is simply but the starting phase of a long process to create a Post-Westpahalian ‘new world order’ dominated by and advancing the very interests of gigantic corporate trusts and oligarchic families. The process hasn’t clearly ended yet, not bottomed out yet. Necessarily, the nation-states will react to the process and will not allow their ruination as a matter of self-preservation. But the process will go on, and nations will be wrecked one after the other through ceaseless wars, economic collapse, genocides through natural and unnatural means, and fragmentation.


Fragmentation is among the political-economic offshoots of globalization. And if there is any model of fragmentation worth noting today (from the perspective of the global elites), it is the Balkan states. Croatia, Bosnia, and so on, till lately we have Kosovo, were born from out of the planning boards of the oligarchs and their subaltern politicians and technocrats.


Just by continuously drum-beating the ‘polarity game’, by creating new polities comprising of ‘oil and water’ unmixable social categories (e.g. unmixable ethnicities), future conflicts and wars are anticipated. This is part of the game plan. Kosovo was the latest experiment for this, and one should not be surprised at all about the latest version of a charter that does not at all reflect the consensual traditions of the ethnic groups in the area.


The British Empire, which is the organizational cloth of the British oligarchy represented by the royalty, and which is non-extinct but alive in the form of the commonwealth, had already experimented on the ‘polarity game’ of mixing unmixable ethnicities before. The potential and perpetual conflicts that will characterize such states will weaken the same state and eventually fragment it, till it can be taken over back by the oligarchy “on a silver platter.”


But the game plan today has another shape coming: the final eradication of nations and the formation of more manageable regions and city-states. Kosovo is right at the doorstep of mainstream Europe, and once the European Union becomes completely unified, with a totalitarian police state to enforce treaties and centralized fiats, the central government could always use the Kosovo-Balkan instance to re-design Europe into a Post-Westphalian order comprising of dozens of regions, each region with almost equal population and geographical area.


Since many potential regions in Europe are almost of mono-ethnic composition, save for certain big cities that are multi-cultural, the game plan requires breaking down that mono-ethnicity. The strategy for this is no other than migration: entice ‘third world’ and Eastern European laborers and professionals to immigrate to Europe, and if possible fix quotas to large quantities so that, within a two-decade period, there will be large numbers of migrants of relatively unmixable ethnicities.


Islam particularly serves the interests of the oligarchy excellently. Muslims of diverse ethnicities have histories of ethnic-tribal conflicts and sectarian antagonisms. If among themselves they could hardly see each other eye-to-eye, then Muslims would be perfect ‘guinea pigs’ for potential and actual conflicts in Europe. Many immigrants, even long after migrating to Europe, do not at all integrate with the mainstream culture, to the chagrin of middle class/urban Europeans.


As I already noted in some other write ups, the potential ethnic conflicts inside Europe will facilitate the institution of draconian measures to clamp down on restive peoples and install a police state. Upon the installation of a police state and the oiling of the continental military machinery for conflagrations, the next step would be to balkanize Europe directly by replacing nations with region-states and city-states.


The eradication of nations in fact is already on the drawing board of the oligarchy for the entire planet. The bombing of Iran is already in final planning stage, and once undertaken, could trigger a conflagration that will eventually have semblance with the 30 Years War of antiquity than with any of the 20th century world wars. The catastrophe following thereof could justify the re-drawing of territories into smaller, more manageable ones.


The temporary march of Europe towards the totalitarian Post-Westphalian order could only be that: temporary. It is now up to Europeans to assert their collective dissent and initiative, and re-assert the power of nations over the Union. The world is watching, and nations watch with anxiety as predatory forces are being unleashed that will see the catastrophic end of nation-states. Let us hope that the Europeans can show their collective will to stop the madness unfolding in their backyard.


If indeed Europe will fall, and likewise North America replicates the same scheme, then the North-South dialogue will end so drastically. As to how the end-phase of the dialogue will be reshaped thereafter is everybody’s guess. Nobody can ever claim expertise over a planet that is burning in Nero’s infernal fires.


[Writ 25 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


June 11, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Magandang hapon! (Good afternoon!)

I remember very well my first anthropology. I was then around 6 or 7 years old, a very innocent tot growing up in Tuguegarao (capital town of Cagayan). Among our yaya (child caregivers) was a young lady from Penablanca town just beside Tuguegarao, where the yaya invited my family for a visit one day.

In the neighbor town of Penablanca did I first encounter the Aetas (Atta in Ibanag language) who were natural inhabitants there, in the mountainous Sierra Madre side of the town. My eyes got transfixed on a little man, dark and kinky haired, and I looked at him wide-eyed without batting an eyelash, full of questions inside my head. Why was he looking so different, so diminutive in body built and height?

For the first time too did I see a White man, who entered my yaya’s house while I was still probing this small man. My gaze then got transferred to the huge man, and I was so wide-eyed then. It was surely bewildering for this innocent Erle Frayne to see the seemingly colossal White figure juxtaposed, upon his entry, to the dwarfish Dark man. What a strange world!

I always laugh with guffaws whenever I recall those days of innocence. I never thought that I’d some day I would take up sociology and anthropology (and later political economy),  was enabled to comprehend the matter of ethnicity and race with greater depth and comprehension, and become a full-fledged social scientist. I also had Eros bonds with White ladies as soon as I reached middle age (one American, one European), and they shared banters with me whenever I narrated my first anthropology.

One thing that impressed me since that time on, when I met my first Aeta ‘subject’, was that the IPs were a bunch of folks who cared for their environment a lot. I remember that the Aeta man brought along lots of herbs, some of which were medicinal. I was also showed their huts when I went down the house to curiously see what things were in that area, and I saw lots of pets, livestock, gardens of families who were both Itawes (mainstream locals) and Aetas. Loves of my life all!  

Having been exposed to diverse ethnicities as a child, I developed that sensitivity and multi-cultural orientation early. And I deeply scorned people who made fun of Aetas or any IP whatsoever. Likewise did I scorn folks who made fun of or disrespected ethnicities that weren’t of their own kind. Inside the classroom we were mixed Ibanags, Ilocanos, Itawes, Chinese, mestizos with European blood, and Tagalogs, and we loved each other’s company. In Penablanca they had IPs among the grade school classes mixing up with the Itawes. How pugnacious it was to hear ethnic profiling bigots!

Those experiences were very, very important as I’d find out later. Coupled with the sensitivity that I learned from my grandfather, who reared us grandchildren to do gardening, take care of pets and livestock, assured me of my ‘green consciousness’ early in life. The same experiences were also contributory to my choice to practice development work, and to go back to Cagayan upon graduation from the premier university in Quezon City (MetroManila) later.

After graduation I plunged right away into field works as part of my community development tasks for the Ministry of Human Settlements. I encountered the Aetas in the process. There was no lack of sympathy and partnering between us development professionals and the IPs then, as we did with the peasants and fisherfolks. IPs, peasants and fishers comprised the most marginalized sectors of Cagayan Valley at that time, and I guess since this time. We did everything we can within the limits of our mandated powers and tasks to get the IPs to the mainstream, including funding livelihood concerns.

Through all of my interactions with the IPs (including the Igorots of Cordillera), I was very conclusive about my observation that they had great respect for Mother Earth. Their practices of subsistence farming, hunting and foraging assured that the ecological balance will always be conserved, thus sustaining resource endowments for the forthcoming generations. They prayed before they would cut a tree, butcher a livestock (notably deer, cattle, swine), and hunting, ensuring a profound bond with the Earth and its endowments.

Having immersed myself in their lives, it surely pains me whenever I see every discriminatory and/or prejudicial act done to mistreat the IPs. Those narratives of native Americans who were rendered as target shooting fodder for White Americans during the Eastward expansion era fills me with rage. The continuing mistreatment of our IPs here, who are treated merely as ‘3rd world’ subordinates by their own city and town fellows, remain among the social issues of my advocacies.

If I were given a choice about which people to perish in the competitive decades ahead, between the urban parasites (who live in subsidies and food stumps from state and private Santa Claus) and IPs (who remain to be ecology balance conservers and self-reliance exemplars amid their simple life), I would prefer to see those urban laggards be swept off the Earth. But I don’t control the future, and who knows the urban laggards can be reformed, reshaped, microchipped for better control and productive behavior.

The Philippines is now 60% urban and barely 40% rural. If 1.5% were added to the urban population every year (which is too conservative an estimate), urban population will hit the 90% mark in 2028, and past the 97% mark in 2040. By that time, the dividing line will be largely the ‘urban-suburban’ divide, as anything ‘rural’ will simply be considered exotic.

I wonder where will that future context leave the IPs. Will they all become post-marginal and absorbed into the mainstream, behaving much like their urban and suburban fellows? Or will they simply silently disappear?  I am no god incidentally, only a mortal who raises questions like anybody else.

[Writ 10 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]