Obama finally calls up Malacañang

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After ignoring Malacañang for quite a while (leading to the hallucination of Eduardo Ermita), US President Barack Obama finally calls.  With a warm and jovial voice, he says…

May I speak with that small-but-great Filipina who is the pride of all Filipinos?

(The Philippine president goes kilig-to-the-bones, blushes, and then uses her phone’s loudspeaker so everybody, including the media, could hear the conversation.)

Continue reading “Obama finally calls up Malacañang”

Ubba ni Ama

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Roughly translated, this Iluko phrase means: “Father carrying a child”.

I may be no fan to America, but the greatness of human spirit transcends geography, race, religion, and even time… and so he has my respect. No man has inspired humanity in recent times more than this guy. Continue reading “Ubba ni Ama”

Barack Obama and the young man who asked, ‘Who wants to be a Filipino?’

AS I WRITE THIS, the American people are jubilating over the landmark electoral victory of Barack Obama. More than just the first black president, the 46-year old senator from Chicago, who captured a nation’s, nay, the world’s imagination, is a symbol of hope for humanity in crisis.

Speaking to a mammoth crowd representative of all colors, ages, creed, gender, and political affiliations, Obama began his victory speech with these powerfully historic words:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”
Watching the television coverage of the US elections led me to envy and resentment. Envy because clean, peaceful, and honest elections—such as the one Americans just had—remains a dream for Filipinos, and resentment because the country of stars and stripes gave us democracy but failed to teach us how to conduct our elections well (makes me wonder if they did that intently so they can continue to manipulate our government).

In this state of envy and resentment, I was reminded of an essay I wrote when I was eight years more carefree and less bald. This piece, borne out of anguish over the chronic hopelessness and despair in this country that I love, gave me my twenty seconds of fame as a national kontabida. The response it elicited was huge—from the angry call I received from a Philippine president’s son to the thousands of mail I got from readers, some sympathetic, but mostly hostile.
If Obama were Filipino, how would he respond to this essay? Continue reading “Barack Obama and the young man who asked, ‘Who wants to be a Filipino?’”