15 Jan2015

At dinner a few days ago, a foreign friend whose family has had ties to our country for over 200 years, and who has reason to be in Binondo and downtown Manila fairly often, mentioned something that really made Mrs. MM and I cringe…

In effect, he said “I have never seen downtown Manila streets so clean, there isn’t a shred of garbage, there is so much repainting going on, there is so much stuff cleared away, IT LOOKS INCREDIBLY GOOD. AMAZING. FANTASTIC. But why did they do it? For a visiting WHITE GUY. Why can’t you do it for yourselves? Why aren’t Filipinos proud enough to keep their own surroundings clean and tidy? Why just this temporary show that belies the daily truth?”

Then in the days that followed, I listened with increasing incredulity at the planned holiday and transport movements in order to ensure a hassle free visit for the Vicar of Christ…

Basically, we had to declare 3 non-working holidays that cost the economy BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of pesos in productivity and increased cost to companies. We had to cancel several HUNDRED SCHEDULED FLIGHTS and inconvenience tens of thousands of passengers, and hundreds of thousands of commuters, in order to ensure that there is 5-6 hour no drive, no flight zone around the intended arrival of the pontiff. In no other civilized nation have I heard of the local officials having to bring traffic to a virtual STOP for 6 hours for any visiting dignitary or set of dignitaries. And worse, when they did they “dry run” a couple of days ago, they still had serious problems and couldn’t get the schedule down pat.

And forget transport movements, we were the butt of international press and derided by many for the PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED plan to make our police officers and traffic aides SHIT AND PEE in their pants, literally, with two adult diapers provided per person. And I listened on the radio during the Black Nazarene procession to radio commentators ask policemen how damp their diapers were. SERIOUSLY?!

But I hadn’t planned on writing about the Pope’s visit at all, until this UTTERLY UPSETTING ONLINE story found its way to my attention, and it was just the straw that broke this camel’s back…

Basically, it seems authorities have been rounding up, caging, jailing and handcuffing ragamuffins and beggars in Manila to make sure they cause no trouble, or are kept from the eyes of the visiting Pope. This is an utter EMBARRASSMENT and a SHAME to a country playing host to a man who is supposed to be the ultimately example of Christian values, humility, simplicity, charity, etc. Does the Pope know authorities are handcuffing children to poles using his visit as the excuse for the atrocious inhumane treatment?

But really, how low can we, as a nation of people go? Are we too incompetent and unable to keep our own streets clean on a daily basis? Do we only clean up our acts for visiting white people? Or visiting VIP’s of any color? Are we too stupid that we can’t manage infrastructure requirements that can handle the visit of an important dignitary that will attract millions of people to see him or her? Do we have to spend BILLIONS AND BILLIONS in pesos in opportunity cost and lost so that our roads are free of the mayhem and traffic and commuting nightmare that MILLIONS OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS must suffer through at least two times every single day of their working life? Are we so unable to plan a major event that we have to CANCEL HUNDREDS OF FLIGHTS AND INCOVENIENCE MILLIONS ON THE ROADS as the best solution to clearing a reasonable path for the entry of a dignitary into our midst? Do the roads really have to be EMPTY along the procession route for a total of 6 HOURS BEFORE THE PONTIFF IS EVEN SCHEDULED TO PASS? Can we not treat our policemen and women with dignity and schedule their shifts so they have time to take a bathroom break every hour or two? And are we no better than the Marcos regime that was famous for covering up sight lines to squatter colonies with plywood boards and painting them white? I just noticed the quintessential view from the bridge on Tramo street of the squatters in Pasay across a waterway that is open for all to see — but the Pope isn’t passing there on this trip.

And the billions of billions of pesos in opportunity and actual cost? Couldn’t we have built thousands and thousands of homes for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan instead?!? Why has it been over a year and so damn little has been done to spend the funds that have been set aside, offered by international donors, etc. for the benefits of those affected by the storms? And let us not sweep under the carpet the fact that the majority of Filipinos live in poverty or near poverty conditions, that we have an estimated 500,000+ ABORTIONS in this country EVERY SINGLE YEAR, that we have fairly high crime rates, and we have one of the most thriving cultures of gambling for a mostly catholic nation, one of the larger ones on the planet.

I am thrilled that the Pope chose to visit the Philippines and is traveling to Tacloban, and I am sure millions and millions of Filipinos are pleased he is coming as well. But until WE figure out that God or the gods are NOT GOING TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS, rather WE ARE THE ONES THAT HOLD THE KEY TO SOLVING WHAT AILS US AND OUR SOCIETY and God just observes and perhaps coaches us how to act in the face of adversity, we are probably just going to sink deeper and deeper into the appalling abyss.



  1. Marichu says:

    I’ve been watching a certain prime number station’s nightly news coverage and I see all of these idolatrous homages to the nation’s visitor. For example, there are the cookies with his face as a mold and the numerous shirts for sale with his likeness. In Exodus 20:4 it says, “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water underneath the earth.” I can understand the non-Bible reading laymen going gaga over the visitor, but some of the offenders wear the religion’s frock. And they even say they idolize him! The funny part? A verse in the news soundtrack sings, “we are all God’s children,” yet our treatment of each other contradicts that. Pakitang tao!

    Jan 15, 2015 | 2:51 pm


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  3. grace says:

    This is indeed appaling and sad. I’m sure the white guy would be saddened if he knew

    Jan 15, 2015 | 3:13 pm

  4. heck says:

    Because this country is poor and most of its citizens are poor :) Poverty is one of the reasons, why our country looks like this. All poor countries actually look the same. These countries also have same type of politicians, voting public, level of corruption, social issues and problems, and so on and on and on. Sad but true :) Good thing we have our politicians to keep us entertained :)

    Jan 15, 2015 | 4:36 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    heck, not all poor countries are this way nor have been this way. I would argue it’s the case because we chose not to do something about it. We were in a better place economically when compared to several of our neighbors in the 1950’s and look where they are now… South Korea is a powerhouse, Taiwan the same. HK and Singapore from backwaters (albeit colonial for HK) to tigers in less than 50 years. Thailand has progressed, and even Vietnam which is still socialist, is doing better. Even Indonesia has changed its numbers dramatically. Even China is so different from just 20 years ago. So I would argue we are in a much worse place relatively speaking. For me the key was population control, more disciplined stewardship and focus, more hard work and perseverance, more focus on education, more ambition. Here’s an interesting factoid — when the ADB or Asian Development Bank chose a home in the middle of the last century, Manila was picked because it was considered a far better choice than several other Asian capitals. Going back in history is necessary for us to have a better context for how long we have been in a downward spiral. Recent gains are good, but with the population at nearly 102 million, very little natural resources left, some weakest educational quality in the region, gains are easily dissipated…

    Jan 15, 2015 | 4:58 pm

  6. Lyn says:

    Filipinos LOVE foreigners.

    Ah hell.

    Jan 15, 2015 | 5:17 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Heck, here’s more factual data to mull over, GDP none PPP vs. PPP is different, but just look at relative positioning of countries, THAT is HIGHLY RELEVANT.

    Year 1950 : GDP Per Capita

    Philippines $1,293 (and we were WAR-RAVAGED just years before like the others)
    Taiwan $922
    South Korea $876
    Indonesia $874
    China $614
    Singapore — Didn’t even exist as a country yet! It was a poor state of Malaysia…

    Year 2013 : GDP Per Capita (PPP – Purchasing Power Parity)

    Singapore $78,763
    Hong Kong $53,216
    South Korea $33,140
    China $11907
    Indonesia $9,561
    Philippines $6,536

    Basically, on this important measure, from first to last in the past 63 years… :(

    Jan 15, 2015 | 5:22 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    And comparative spend (as a percentage of GDP per capita, so logically, Singapore with HIGH GDP is still spending VASTLY more than we are…

    Expenditure per primary school student, as a percentage of GDP per capita…

    Vietnam 27.6%
    Thailand 24.35%
    Hong Kong 14.80%
    Singapore 12.32%
    Indonesia 10.54%
    Philippines 8.98%

    Only China is less in the 6% range…

    Jan 15, 2015 | 5:32 pm

  9. len says:

    doing all these so-called charities just because a Pope is coming? SHALLOW

    Jan 15, 2015 | 5:37 pm

  10. heck says:

    Wow, thanks for all the info. I actually got surprised that you have all these data :) I know most of them are now available online.

    The end of the Second World War actually gave Filipinos opportunities that were mostly not provided to them during the Spanish and American regimes. This then gave educated and well connected Filipinos (of Spanish, Chinese and even American roots) the chance to establish different business ventures ( I remember Washington SyCip mentioning this in his biography).

    The country that time was in a very positive mood. The war has just ended and opportunities were just everywhere. Everything was new, everyone was excited to create a better country.

    So what happened after that? Same question asked by Washington SyCip in one economic forum. Hahaha!!! Imagine, the father of Accountancy also wish to know what the hell happened to this country.

    Ningas Kugon? I dunno. But I strongly feel that we really need to reform our political system. Or, the way we vote. Undeniably, many of our problems are issues that can be resolved by our government leaders and other individuals working for/with the government.

    Jan 15, 2015 | 6:02 pm

  11. Dr Nick says:

    Loved this commentary piece. I agree, I think overpopulation is the main problem. GDP growth of 5,6 or 7% per year is fine, but there’s no point when all that growth gets sucked up by more mouths to feed and per capita there is little improvement. Of course, the one person who could perhaps help tackle that problem is your special visitor from Rome, but not holding my breath on that one.

    Jan 15, 2015 | 6:18 pm

  12. general says:

    and why is it that despite the vaunted filipino artistry and creativity, we don’t seem to care for aesthetics? beautifying and cleaning up our surroundings would do so much for our collective pysche. are we too hungry to care, too uneducated?

    Jan 15, 2015 | 7:39 pm

  13. passive.observer says:

    Maybe we should just blame Quezon for saying that he would rather have a Philippines run like hell but being run by Filipinos. And look where we are now. we are nearing the gates of hell.

    as long as public officers put self interest first, nothing will happen. i’m sure if the white guy knew all the inconvenience that “we” have to endure for his visit, he would have just come here incognito. (which i would preferred so he will see what the Philippines is all about). we have OA officials handling the preparation with tiny brains that they cannot process any other way to handle the situation. its like to catch a rat, they burned the whole house.

    Jan 15, 2015 | 8:39 pm

  14. ab says:

    Now that they’ve put money and effort into this makeover, I hope the government and the public try to maintain it and not just have everything revert back to the previous state as soon as he leaves.

    Jan 15, 2015 | 10:28 pm

  15. Milhouse says:

    The pope should have sticked with his original plan of just visiting Leyte. The CBCP probably insisted that he visits Manila as well and stretch his visit in the country to a few more days. I could not imagine the billions of pesos being spent for all the security and unnecessary activities. Billions that could have been used for more important matters. Even this very humble Pope would be appalled if he finds out about all this unnecessary spending just for him.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 12:56 am

  16. Mart says:

    You could blame the populace wallowing in their own filth. Having no reference, they probably don’t know any better.

    Or you could blame the corrupt politicians who don’t know how to go about graft and corruption and yet keep the country clean. The US has their own share of corrupt politicians but they don’t bleed the country dry to the point of infrastructure being in disrepair. Corrupt politicians here in the US would make some corrupt politicians in the Philippines look like lower middle class citizens.

    Point is, there should be enough money to go around and fix the Philippines but no one is willing to do it. No one in a real position of power. Non-corrupt politicians or a grassroots movement, sadly, will not cut it. There is only so much that can be done by those entities and not enough to “turn the tide”.

    If it becomes a real issue for the corrupt politicos in power, then that’s the time that they’ll do something about it. Until then, they could just hole up in their lavish residences. If that doesn’t work, they can always jet away to a first world country to escape the living conditions of the rest of the populace in the Philippines.

    And, because of religion, the filthy populace has learned to accept their lot in life. Turn the other cheek. The meek shall inherit the earth. Your hardships in this life will be rewarded by multiples in heaven/the afterlife. Heck, the message is drilled into you everytime you go to church; you can’t miss it. The huge statue of a guy nailed to the cross with the promise of resurrection and eternal life after horrible suffering and dying.

    That alone quells most of the dissent in people. Without religion, we’d probably have had a revolution long ago and had real reform to improve the Filipino’s lot in life. In this life, in the here and now.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 2:11 am

  17. Mart says:

    Anybody have the pope’s email? Any way to get him to read that dailymail web article? I’m giving the pope the benefit of the doubt and imagining that he is being kept in the dark about what is involved in making preparations for his visit.

    Because if he _is_ aware of what it takes to prepare a place for his visit, then he’s just as complicit, right?

    This situation is not unique to the Philippines by the way. It also happens to every city where the Olympics are hosted, or any other similar international event/gathering on any other place in the world. But of course we are especially pissed when it hits close to home (the Philippines) because then we are forced to pay attention to it and can’t ignore it like with other places more geographically removed from our homes or country of birth.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 2:18 am

  18. Josephine says:

    MM I completely agree with everything you wrote and Grace is probably right that the white guy would be saddened if he knew. But the real issue is, how many of our compatriots, especially the most educated and well connected, think the same? Sadly, our centuries in the Spanish convent followed by a few decades in Hollywood still form the mentality of our society. How to change that? Does anyone have any (non violent) answers?

    Jan 16, 2015 | 4:47 am

  19. Nina says:

    Very timely, I just finished reading about Cebu Pacific Airlines, got interested as I will be flying with them six times during our vacation in the Philippines. Indeed, they canceled 125 flights, http://www.mb.com.ph/cebu-pacific-cancels-125-flights/ and was just fined, http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/404334/economy/companies/cebu-pacific-reviews-p52-m-fine-evaluates-options. I am totally stressed as I keep on reading negative news about CP, like this: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/cebu_pacific.html. Question is really? Will they ever pay the fine? The Philippines is really good at this: all form but no substance! I am aghast as I am positive that the Pope will, too if he becomes aware of this fiasco! Really, really sad that these things keep on happening in the Philippines.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 5:36 am

  20. Connie C says:


    It is a wonder the Filipino people’s spirit has not gotten the country yet to what people could do for societal change as in late 18th century France!

    If we can do what we have done and doing for a papal visit, why can’t we do it everyday?

    @Josephine: and others who might be interested, here an article on liberal democracy and inequality and thoughts on possible solutions:

    Jan 16, 2015 | 5:58 am

  21. Kimmie says:

    Nice column MM! So nice to read your sentiments and know that there are a growing number of us angry at what has happened to our country. My two cents: part of it is also the Filipino way of thinking that whatever they do their situation will NEVER change so let’s just laugh and go on with our way of life. Sad but if you’ve never given the poorer people any opportunity to become better then how can we expect them to strive hard? In their mind it is an exercise in futility.

    Another complaint I have is the non stop franchising of these high end labels. We can’t even provide decent mass transit for the people yet we are going to have Laudree and Shake Shack here. Why can’t we provide services/products that benefit the 90% that can’t afford expensive things instead of constantly pandering to the 10%?

    Jan 16, 2015 | 6:42 am

  22. Francis says:

    Shut up Iglesia ni Kristo follower. I did not read all your wallowing for your information.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 6:48 am

  23. Francis says:

    You’re a follower of Iglesia ni Kristo so S–t up.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 6:49 am

  24. Marketman says:

    Hahaha, Francis (the commenter, not the pontiff), you are such an idiot. My religion is irrelevant, but if you must know, I was baptized a Catholic, my mother was Catholic, my father Protestant. And I couldn’t be Iglesia, because I happen to eat dinuguan. It’s intolerant, ignorant and cowardly comments like yours that put religion in general in a bad light. And despite your protestations that you didn’t read the whole post, therefor unwilling to even understand the content before making your comment, you keep on returning again and again to this blog. Good grief, a few million Iglesia devotees around the world are just shaking their heads at your moronic comment. With more of your thinking, no wonder we are headed into the toilet at full speed. You wouldn’t know your s_ _t from your brains. And yes, there are two dashes in between shit, just like there are between shut. And you didn’t have the balls to leave a real email address either, but I posted your comment anyway for everyone to see. Hello Cincinnati. :)

    Jan 16, 2015 | 7:04 am

  25. Natie says:

    Oh, what made that guy so mad if he didn’t read the post!! I was gonna say “Fishpan”, but he needs his anti psychotic pills…

    Jan 16, 2015 | 8:22 am

  26. Rafael Hocson says:

    I am in my seventies, having been born during the Japanese occupation. Thus I experienced the times in the sixties when we were respected, when rules and traffic were generally followed. And the periods of gentility (gracious living ?). There was graft and corruption true, but this was the exception – quirino, avelino what are we in power for, garcia’s currency and import controls. I submit that our deterioration as a country began with the kleptocracy during the Marcos period.
    Corruption and self interest became the rule of the land.
    What to do and how to recover. I agree with birth control but never with abortion to limit people growth and per capita numbers.
    We should start with ourselves, and hope others will follow.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 9:54 am

  27. Marketman says:

    Rafael, I completely agree with your comment. And yes, reproductive health including population control, and I too am not in favor of abortions, though I respect every woman’s right to choose. It appalls me that NO ONE BUT NO ONE seems to mention the estimate that there are 500,000 abortions per year in this country every year. If we kept repeating that number and did something about it, then perhaps we could prevent most of them…

    I have always argued that there must be less of problem using birth control devices than there is killing an unwanted fetus.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 10:00 am

  28. Marnie says:

    Hi MM,
    I read a different story in a Manila newspaper a few months ago regarding the naked emaciated child and that child is now in the care of DSWD. I admit I have no idea if the rest of the street children were taken to make the streets of Manila beautiful for the Pope’s visit but I just wanted to point out that the child in the picture has a different story and it’s a really sad one and showing the child’s picture for the nth time is repeatedly robbing the child of his/her dignity.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 10:55 am

  29. jakbkk says:


    Jan 16, 2015 | 11:03 am

  30. Marnie says:

    Oh, sorry. I forgot to mention I was talking about the Daily Mail story you linked here.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 11:15 am

  31. Marketman says:

    Marnie, yes, I think it does indicate some of the stories are from earlier periods. But if it is true that they handcuffed even just a single adolescent to a pole, the story is appalling, period.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 11:24 am

  32. Marnie says:

    It is indeed appalling.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 11:53 am

  33. Paula says:

    Well said, MM.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 1:35 pm

  34. ldrl says:

    Jan 16, 2015 | 2:05 pm

  35. Monty says:

    MM, there is a sad but economically advantageous benefit from having such a large population, and that is that we have become an exporter of cheap labor. I don’t know if the GDP numbers reflect the OFW remittances which a lot of economists have said is a major factor in our economic growth. This is obviously not an ideal situation nor something that we should aspire for as a nation, but this is our reality.

    Jan 16, 2015 | 7:15 pm

  36. ami says:

    Heard that they spent 53 million pesos for the cement barriers they put on the roads for crowd control. YIKES!

    Jan 16, 2015 | 10:04 pm

  37. OHmm says:

    Filipinos tend to lack accountability for their actions when in their native land. Can you blame them? Nothing seems to happen anyway no matter how hard one works but send them overseas, and they end up being one of the hardest workers on the planet. So the question is: Are the prevailing conditions back home the main culprit?

    Jan 17, 2015 | 1:51 am

  38. marion says:

    Hi MarketMan! You are right, billions are are lost because of the declared holidays. people inconvenienced because of the re-routing and the traffic standstill. but I do not see anything wrong with the perceived impracticality of the preparations done for this visit at all. I’m sure you’ll understand that from a cultural standpoint, celebrations like these are needed once in a while. it calls us to pause for a moment, to listen to the message conveyed, to enjoy the company of family and friends and have some sense of community, rekindled.

    my capitalist self dictates that I should work for the money. My heart on the other hand tells me, it is not all about the money. There are things like a sore foot, tired muscles from all the papal events, but time with the people that matters to me and meeting new friends is priceless.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Jan 17, 2015 | 8:26 am

  39. Marketman says:

    marion, I don’t disagree with you at all regarding the Pope’s visit being important, desired and utterly wonderful. What I lament is that as a nation, we are unable to prepare, plan, provide a good visit WITHOUT all of these extraordinary measures mentioned and the costs involved, monetary and otherwise.

    My first comment was related to the superficial housecleaning in advance of the visit. The foreign friend’s point is WE APPARENTLY DONT THINK IT IS IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO KEEP OUR OWN SURROUNDINGS CLEAN AND TIDY EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. NOR IS THE GOVERNMENT ABLE TO DO THAT AS WELL. It is hypocritical to me that we trash our surroundings, leave garbage and filth everywhere, but for appearances sake, make some monumental effort to temporarily clean it up, only to return to the normal state a few days after the visitor leaves. Anyone who sawthe tons of garbage left by the well-wishers on day one would know, we can’t even do something as simple as keeping and throwing our own trash in the appropriate areas.

    My second comment was on BILLIONS and BILLIONS in potential productivity or cost as a result of three declared holidays. The Pope’s entourage covered a small portion of metro-manila, nary grazing 80% of the city, which could have gone on working if they had desired without major impact to the visit. My feeling is that the government declared the holidays because we are so unprepared or unable to plan a major event given the horrific congestion on the roadways, mass transit, etc. THAT IS THEIR JOB TO FIX AT ANY DAY OF THE YEAR, not just for a dignitaries visit. I am more concerned that two days before the visit, I noticed a breakdown in the MRT trains, and citizens lined 500 long and two hours long to get a ride. Why aren’t we displaying more resolve to improve the situation of 8-9 million commuters daily in the city that are wasting 2-3 hours of time because our infrastructure is so inadequate (and exacerbated by the millions of millions of people as the population grows rapidly).

    My third comment was about the absurd public announcement of adult diapers for security personnel. Need I elaborate further how demeaning, stupid, insensitive and outrageous that situation was?

    My fourth comment is about ragamuffins and street children being rounded up and handcuffed to poles. Again, need I elaborate how inappropriate and illegal and unpapal that must be? What justification if any can explain that activity?

    I do not lament the visit of the Pope, in fact I welcome it. What I lament is how low we as a nation and government have gone so that we have to make such incredible moves just to be a decent host to a visiting Pontiff… THAT IS THE POINT.

    Jan 17, 2015 | 10:17 am

  40. tina vitas says:

    I agree with you completely! Host of reasons why this country doesn’t progress. The mentality has to be stretched because we have been stuck in a nasty cycle for decades. I hoped we would break through in 1986. We didn’t! I’m a fan of this Pope inspite of the fact I am not Catholic but there were certain things that were absolutely not necessary. Only Friday should have been declared a holiday for starters!
    Sharing with you my post on social media. Not that I’m an expert but just an astute observer…..
    Interesting observations about the Filipino people during Pope Francis’ visit:
    1) We can be organized & disciplined. No pushing or shoving on the streets while people were camped out hours before he drove through. Let’s give credit also to the folks at PNP and others for enforcing the rules…..
    2) We can be on time. Throngs of people showed up as early as half a day before even with limited transport & closed roads, braving the heat and discomfort of standing outdoors…..
    3) We can keep our public spaces clean. There was noticeably little garbage after people dispersed, if I saw it correctly……
    This is the way to progress, combine your faith that God will always take care of you with action that matches it….. :) Faith alone is never enough!

    Jan 17, 2015 | 1:40 pm

  41. saney says:

    Corruption happens in many parts of the world but the corruption in this country surpasses most others in this region. The greediness of our public officials overshadows their love for their country such that the act of plundering does not shame them anymore and has become a way of life here. The senate hearings/investigations have become regular shows on televisions where we become entertained for a while then we forget and go on with our everyday life. Many of our social and economic problems can be solved but as long as there is corruption nothing good will ever happen. When President Quezon said that he would rather have a Philippines run like hell but being run by Filipinos no doubt he said it with a patriotic heart, mind and soul but times have changed and now the patriotic heart is overpowered by a greedy mind (and perhaps soul?). Being as it is, corruption will not go out of style here and I fear that only a revolution of some sort will make a change, so I can only daydream and hope that one day there is a first world country willing to adopt the Philippines.

    Jan 17, 2015 | 3:52 pm

  42. dizzy says:

    Thanks, Marketman, for starting a conversation that many want to ignore. We’re like a long standing joke that has ceased to be funny, and yet we still laugh (bitterly? helplessly?).

    Jan 17, 2015 | 4:26 pm

  43. eric says:

    I am not surprised that millions of us think God will do the work for us and that we have a huge thriving gambling culture. They are both rooted in blind trust in the unknown.

    Jan 18, 2015 | 9:50 am

  44. cynthia velasco says:

    height of hypocrisy

    Jan 18, 2015 | 10:14 am

  45. shiko-chan says:

    Bravo MM, as usual! I am almost looking forward to his exit from this country, to see us no doubt go right back to the way things were.

    Incidentally Ms. Tina Vitas, I hear from a friend who was at UST this morning that there was a lot of singitan in line. News also reports shoving and pushing. No surprise at all to anyone who, say, takes public transportation on a regular basis.

    Also incidentally, re. holidays, I have to say I’m in favor of those, tho purely out of necessity. True enough that if there hadn’t been holidays and road closures, the 40-minute drive from Villamor Airbase to the Nunciature quite simply would probably not have been possible. I don’t disagree however that this fact just highlights our failure as a supposedly civilized and/or modern society.

    Jan 18, 2015 | 8:14 pm

  46. shiko-chan says:

    Jan 18, 2015 | 8:26 pm

  47. Marketman says:

    Another link to a discussion of fences hiding the squatter areas (informal settlers) and “sweeping things under the rug”…

    Jan 19, 2015 | 6:58 am

  48. ntgerald says:

    Most abortions are spontaneous, not induced.

    In public areas of the country, littering is encouraged by the absence of trash containers in sight.

    Most pasaway people in the Philippines wouldn’t dare cut lines and leave trash anywhere when they are abroad.

    I think the six-million figure is inflated, consistent with the Pinoy penchant for quantity over quality. Guiness world record for longest barbecue, longest longganisa, most number of this and that. Some officials even want a most number of blood donations at any one time; you have to stab a lot of people to need that much blood before they expire in your blood bank refrigerators. Padamihan ng pera, regardless of how they were obtained. Palakihan ng SUV; is it true the size of one’s vehicle is inversely proportional to one’s —-? I would say most of them were there to bask in the presence of the Santo Papa, and once he is gone would go back to life as it was before, the pope’s messages notwithstanding.

    Jan 19, 2015 | 7:00 am

  49. tina vitas says:

    Shiko-Chan, considering how many millions of people were camping out on the streets with not that many portalets & garbage cans in sight, it’s a vast improvement. I have high standards and will be first to criticize, but I give credit when I see some small improvements. This is what I observed near SM MOA Arena area where I was….. The Filipino people were pretty well behaved and clean, comparatively speaking! Am saying in relative terms, not absolute terms. There was still pushing & shoving and garbage left behind. The problem is this behavior of being disciplined/clean in public spaces is not an everyday thing. Parang pakitang tao lang dahil nandito yung Pope. It shouldn’t be like that!!!

    Jan 19, 2015 | 5:07 pm

  50. jdawgg says:

    Seriously LOW, a typical Pilipino mentality like some of my relatives up north. When expecting a company from Manila or Overseas. Let’s do some extra cleaning, fix the fence and oh this I don’t get, RELATIVES that haven’t spoken for years all of a sudden are best of friends WTF!!! Can’t this be done without someone visiting? Wifey and I planned to retire in PI when we get to the ripe old age but, somehow we are undecided because of the current situation happening in Philippines, seems like everyone in general are Evil in that part of the world. Hence just base on the Pinoy mentality why would one vote for a corrupt politician. How in the world this Mr. THICK FACE joseph Estrada became a mayor of Manila? Is this the message we are telling the youth of the future that it’s ok to be a womanizer, a theft, an alcoholic, a gambler and a pro-narcotic that one day you’ll become a president of the country. What kind of a Pilipino are we in general? So long as we could put food on the table today (to the courtesy of that corrupt politician) forget about tomorrow, next week, month or next year. Are we that Narrow Minded???? Enlightened me please…..

    Jan 20, 2015 | 4:07 am

  51. Charlie says:

    MM- big fan . American with filipina wife. So I read your post and then go to the Daily Inquirer web page today and – -headline- the pope coming to the philippines for four days was a miracle. Really, I mean really? A miracle? This is a guy who has and is bankrupting your country and his getting on a plane and coming to manila is a miracle? Really? Fouled up priorities that explains all the problems afflicting your country.

    Jan 20, 2015 | 12:55 pm

  52. Marketman says:

    ntgerald, here’s a good take on crowd estimate… given the article and reasonable adjustments for open spaces from photos, seated areas, street routes, etc. I would say a better and more realistic and HONEST not EXAGGERATED estimate is roughly 3-4 million at luneta AND the entire route taken. Not the 6 million for the Luneta mass as estimated.

    Besides, with an OFFICIAL 2010 census counting 11.8 million people in Metro Manila, I would find it hard to believe that 1 out of every 2 people were at Luneta last Sunday, even including tourists and imports.

    Mind you, 3-4 million is still an astounding figure, and befitting of a Pope who does seem to be amongst the most likable and respected in recent times. But I do like some logical accuracy when it comes to numbers. This article claims 138 tons of garbage at Luneta after that same mass. Wow.

    Jan 20, 2015 | 5:32 pm

  53. Byck Yor says:

    The truly poor are those who cannot see beyond numbers. After all faith, hope, love cannot be measured.

    Jan 21, 2015 | 8:49 am

  54. Marketman says:

    Thank you Pope Francis for finally saying it on behalf of the Church — DON’T BREED LIKE RABBITS. Responsible parenthood. Only have as many as you can raise with a proper roof over their head, sufficient nutrition, education and health care. Thank God.

    And where are those folks now that kept bashing me over the head for mentioning population size/growth as one of the key issues everyone needs to address??!?

    Jan 21, 2015 | 11:02 am

  55. Mindy says:

    I heard Sen. Tito Sotto has a problem with the pope mentioning rabbits in that context. Puhleeesseee.

    Jan 22, 2015 | 12:01 am

  56. Charlie says:

    MM- I’m reminded of a story when I was in Santorini about 4 years ago. I was getting my haircut and the woman hairdresser told me she once asked her mother why she continued to have more and more children when she couldn’t support the children she already had. Her mother’s response was ” because there’s nothing else to do here!”

    Jan 22, 2015 | 12:38 am

  57. Robert Dayton says:

    If it were up to Filipino Heart, Spirit and Ingenuity, this place would rival Europe and America. It would have no equal. You people have no idea what you are capable of.

    Unfortunately there is Filipino Crabs, Corruption and Pride that keeps you down. :( I hate to see it, but its true. Couple that with the lack of Rule of Law here and this place suffers.

    Still, I love it here. Wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The Philippines remains the best place to have a family.

    Mar 23, 2015 | 2:39 am

  58. udo gangl says:

    Rubbish/Junk/Littering: for me as a foreigner who is visiting the Philippines regularly im always quite surprised how dirty it is everwhere, which i think is mostly because of bad or no education for enviroment at all. Of couse we do have enough stupid people over here in my country as well who do not care at all – but at least not so many and a complete different structure as well.
    Of course we do not have so many homeless and so poor people overall as well and that is what strucks me most when visiting (mostly Manila) that the poor people who live on the streets just dump everything just around them and live there … which i simply can´t understand.
    I hardly can´t remember having seen a rubbish bin anywhere on the streets – which would at least provide a place to throw things, wheter if people would then use it or not.
    I also can´t remember having seen a garbage collection car moving around and emptying this not available bins…

    Children (of the poor): the comment of Charlie above is obviously completely correct – thousend of (very) poor people and even more children. It really seems that they don´t have anything else to do then to f… and get more children – which then have to be fed and educated and and and …

    Business/willingness to do: Compared to other SE Asian countries (mostly Indonesia and Vietnam) i hardly see any efforts to do anything. What i mostly hear from various suppliers and others is “sorry Sir, not possible”… So my general idea of the Philippine “willigness to do” is that it doesn´t exist. (Of course not with everyone – otherwise i wouldn´t and couldn´t do business here at all).
    I remember 1 or 2 years ago where the first big Cruise ship anchored in the bay and this was something i saw in news and papers many times … Wow, the first time. There are so many phantastic islands and places to visit and there are (for example) no Cruise ships planning to go there. Out of many reasons of course but still that is bad because it would bring at least some tourist and money.

    Wether if its corruption, policy, no willingness to do, general mis- or noneducation or whatever – over the past 15 years im going to the Philippines (but probably lasting for much longer) it´s going down in my eyes, and that is very sad as i love the country, the people and the food …

    Sep 10, 2016 | 7:26 pm


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