Ms. Aspiras’ Apology


I woke this morning to emails from readers that an apology was published on the on-line version of the Inquirer column of Ms. Aspiras. The relevant section is quoted in full, below:


My Sept. 6 column on mangosteen caused a stir.

I may have been silent but my heart has not been at peace. I had wanted to address this matter earlier but, as they say, everything happens at its own perfect time.

Let me set the record straight on this one. . . I have no excuses and I offer my humblest and sincerest apology for the error.

For the past four years, I have been doing Kitchen Rescue, a column that I never thought I’d have, one that came to me quite by surprise. It is God’s gift, not because I am good or worthy, but rather because He is good.

I have tried, to the best of my ability, to use it to bring the joys of the table to my readers, sharing all that I know, all that I discover and everything that brings me much happiness.

As I always say, KR is as much mine as it is yours.

Every single week, I try my utter best to write about what I think will excite you, of things to eat and the people behind them so their talents and contributions to the glorious world of food don’t go by unnoticed.

Although I never claim to know everything, know that in every column, the best of me to you is all that I offer. Sometimes, though, my best is not good enough, and when I fall short and am less than perfect, I humbly ask for your forgiveness and your understanding.

To my readers, I thank you for sharing precious time with me. It continues to be my privilege and my honor to be read by you. I am truly humbled.

I am also grateful that you look out for me. I say this with no rancor in my heart, but if anything, with regret, knowing that I could have done much better.

To Market Man, I extend my apologies and my hand in friendship. I pray that the good Lord continue to bless our pens, and with His help, may we together create more hearts that share the same love that we have—for good food.

Maraming salamat sa inyong pag-unawa.”

The on-line version is a bit incomplete, as it does not include this note from the Editor, which appears at the end of the column published in today’s newspaper, and it is the Editor’s Note that pulls it all together so that one understands what the issues were, and I quote in full from PDI September 20, 2007:

“Editor’s note: In her column “The queen becomes an international star” (PDI, Sept. 6, 2007), Ms. Aspiras failed to attribute material she had sourced from the Internet and, through erroneous paraphrasing, she also inadvertently altered the meaning of a part of the original material.”

For those of you reading this issue for the first time, the apology relates to a post that I first wrote here, followed up a week later here, and updated most recently here. Essentially, it had to do with plagiarized sentences and lack of attribution to electronic sources in other cases.

I am pleased that the Inquirer and Ms. Aspiras saw fit to acknowledge this issue in print and on the on-line website. I fully accept the apology of Ms. Aspiras, though I do not think one should have been directed at me individually, I think the apology is more appropriate for all readers of the newspaper in general, in addition to the sites from where the material was originally “lifted.” I am grateful for the editor’s succinct and utterly accurate note that describes the key issues at hand. I am grateful to the Reader’s Advocate of the paper for pursuing the issue. The mangosteen scribes have located their regular ink, and all is well.

The photo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 20, 2007 issue, Lifestyle Section, is from my subscription copy, that I read with my tea this morning…


60 Responses

  1. I salute you for this job well done! You deserve the purple heart medal for all of this. It was a big battle. I admire Ms. Aspiras and her Editor for coming out in the dark on this issue – truly a heroic act on their part in doing this. They weather the storm! I was totally wrong with my assessment on them. My thinking they will just sweep everything and keep it under the rug. But they came out and apologize on national publication. To Reggie Aspiras,her Editor and MarketManila more power to you and I respect all of you more than ever before!

  2. This is good news, I’m glad this happened. I hope this will be a lesson for all of us readers/consumers to not be afraid to speak up and point out legitimate concerns. Thanks Mr. MM!

  3. Hopefully, this will put an end to the cut-and-paste practice of some writers, and a lesson for editors to do their job and not just OK anything that gets under their nose. Keep up the good work Marketman! May we all become as vigilant as you.

  4. Addressing the issue was a step in the right direction for both the writer and the publication. In my opinion, the words used are a little heavy handed in triggering emotion and sympathy from the reader but I think Ms. Aspiras was sincere in her apology , words like that do come from the heart. As they say, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, and I am sure this episode in her life will only make her a stronger person and better food writer.

    I can’t help but think to myself that the publication is as much at fault as the writer. The “industry hires” that the dailies have chosen are not journalists by training or trade. Don’t you think they owe it to their employees/contributors and readers to educate and train these people on how to write, best practices, ethics for journalists etc.? It is a lesson learned for everyone thanks to your persistence MM. Thank you!

  5. I dont think that the issue is/was limited to the mangosteen piece alone. Could have done a backtrack check.

    I agree with sister too.

    But well ok, apology accepted.

  6. This is really good news, but I do hope that they won’t be lax again with the articles they publish..

  7. Sobrang OA naman ng apology niya. Sana she went straight to the point nalang, tuloy she sounds pa-awa. But, like the folks above above said, hopefully this causes editors to be more vigilant about what they publish.

  8. I have been following this issue especially that I am a regular visitor of this site and an occasional reader of Kitchen Rescue (via net). Weeks ago, I sent an email to Ms. Aspiras to hear her heart. She didn’t respond and I thought of several reasons – primarily was that as a woman maybe she is not yet ready to speak. I am glad that this concluded this way, and not so too late.

    Thank you, MM for booing plagiarism. And thank you Ms. Aspiras for bravely humbling yourself.

  9. Nice MarketMan. One of the few things worth reading in today’s paper. You obviously have quite a bit of clout! I wonder what would happen if it were just one of us regular folks writing the PDI. We’d probably be ignored. At least now we know with whom we would bring up our rants in the future, and maybe get some responses after you take up our cause.

  10. Oddly, the article(s) in question for which the writer has admitted fault and for which the editor(s) are now fully aware, remain published ON-LINE as of my writing this comment. In other words, despite acknowledging plagiarism or lack of attribution and poor paraphrasing, the paper has not seen fit to remove the offending articles from their on-line files. I would remove them immediately if I were them…

  11. In fairness, I’m sure what she did was not intentional and I am guessing she is very much embarrassed to death. I’m also sure there are a lot of writers who do that especially those who did not start off with a literary/journalism background. I sometimes recognize a few paragraphs from an internet article “mixed” in someone else’s published column without any acknowledgment of their source. I suppose by cutting and pasting something written by an expert/another make us sound more intelligent/authoritative than we really are. Perhaps there is also insecurity of our own grasp of that particular knowledge or the English language that to paraphrase it would, to the unsure writer, diminish the meaning/nuance of the thought. It is really a big lesson for all (including myself of course, as I only unleash my fantasies as a writer in my blog :-)

  12. The apology took a looong time but I salute Ms Aspiras and PDI for doing so just the same.
    I hope that Ms Aspiras has learned her lesson on the need to be more responsible in every piece she writes. It is important for food experts like her to maintain their credibility in its highest forms. I have for a time after this “Mangosteen issue” doubted even the accuracy of the recipes she shares with her readers.

    I wish Ms Aspiras the best as she continues her passion for food and her desire to change the way we love our food one column at at a time.

    And to you dear MM, thank you for unselfishly sharing your sheer love for food with us. It is so inspiring to see food lovers like you passionately sharing what you know with all of us. The true mark of a genuinely selfless food lover is their willingness to share the wonders of the kitchen (and what they know) without expecting anything in return. Thank you too for seeing this issue to the very end. Hats off to you, MM!!!

  13. Can’t we just accept the apology for what it is, instead of nitpicking on what she wrote or didn’t write? Or that she sounded pa-awa? Or that she was OA? Jeesh.

  14. I believe her apology is heartfelt, and I think she has learned a valuable lesson from those “lapses.” So let’s all move on. After all, nobody is perfect.

  15. Acidboy, no nitpicking on That’s like asking an ilocano to stop using epazote in their pipian :)

  16. Well said, Candygirl! This is a wake-up call not only for the Inquirer but to all newspapers and magazines, blogs, etc. Also for the academe. We have to address the issue of a worse kind…the cut and paste tendencies of the new generation. Last year, I battled with the directress of my children’s school regarding their awfully written newsletter. I pointed out the errors in the newsletter and wrote her about it…No response…deadma. However, the next issue improved a lot and they even won an award. No thank you, nothing. Oh well!

    I hope the Inquirer and the other publications re-train their writers and editors. Maybe, I will buy newspapers again.

  17. I’m with Acidboy and Joy — let’s move on.
    Trish had a good tagline for your Tshirt:
    “MarketManila…food, one column at a time”!
    Says it all. Or,one blog at a time. Or,one post at a time. Says it all, I tell ya!

  18. Okay, so Ms Aspiras ate humble pie, but I’m totally with sister: what does God have to do with it? It’s not like the mangosteen quote came down from the heavens and she took it down incorrectly. My college writing prof would have told me to ditch the He-is-truly-good-I’m-not-worthy stuff and just say, “Sorry, I messed up. Lesson learned.” I’m not belittling the writer’s apology, but it does make me wonder how much soul-searching you have to do over a simple case of plagiarism, mangled as it was…

    Peace! And get well soon, MM!

  19. It takes a lot to apologize, so I give credit to Ms. Aspiras for her admission and act of humility. But it takes even more to be vigilant, to put effort into research and validation, and to make a concern out of something that seemed harmless.

  20. nitpicking or not, we should take this forum for what it is: a place where people can share their thoughts, views, opinions, reactions on anything and everything that MM has posted. if some sectors thought the columnist was paawa and OA sa apology nya, well then they’re just being true to themselves and stating their two centavos’ worth on the matter. as anyone else can, and as anyone else should, if the spirit moves him/her.

    lessons, lessons all around …

    anyways, that’s done. let’s just wait na lang for the article to be removed from the online version of the PDI.

    good show, MM! your clout is indeed formidable. more than ever, i’m in awe.

  21. Kudos MarketMan!! :)

    I also think it was a heartfelt apology too.

    Lessons, lessons we learn.. Hihi.. :)

    the POWER of the internet! :)

  22. Ms. Aspiras apologized because she GOT CAUGHT…Sana this serves as a lesson to other writers. PDI should remove the article in its online version ASAP to make its apology more authentic.

  23. MM, I believe there is no excuse at all for plagiarism! How can they call it an oversight? A writer very well knows what he or she is doing. Although I haven’t followed this issue from the start, I thank you MM for carrying this cause in the name of victimized writers and readers. I am passionate about this issue of plagiarism because my writings have been stolen from me several times.

    Well, others might think my loud comments may come in rather late, now that the apologies have been made. Pls. bear with me. I just tuned in. This should teach them a lesson.

  24. I occasionally read Kitchen Rescue online. I’m happy that Ms. Aspiras was humble enough to make a public apology. However, it would have been better if she addressed the issue directly. Reading the apology, if you have no knowledge of what was wrong in the mangosteen issue, then you would have no idea what she is apologizing about.

  25. i really do hope she learned her lesson and that what she wrote isn’t just for show and i also hope that this deserves as a wake up call to other writers not to copy and paste articles.

  26. It grossed me out a bit. Instead of directly admitting fault, much effort was put into diverting attention in the writer’s god and other things that are conventionally agreeable to the average person.


    More Power Sir! :p

  27. cynic that i am, i doubt the sincerity of the apology, but that’s my personal opinion. as with sister, I don’t see the connection with God. weaving it into the apology makes it sound all the more insincere.

    agree with elaine, hindi kasi nakalusot…

    granted that we all make mistakes, but i highly doubt the writing skill of the writer, to make such a blunder with paraphrasing… needs to re-sit Freshman English at uni.

  28. Guys, ’nuff said! Apology was in order, apology was humbly given, apology was accepted. End of story.

  29. I agree. She should have hit the nail on its head when she apologized. But apologizing is a difficult thing. The fact that she did and not just ignored the situation should be taken into account.

    CecileJ is right. Tama na.

    Let’s just hope that we all learn from this especially when writing our own blog posts.

  30. dee, I don’t think so, and frankly, I don’t think that she should. Everybody deserves a chance, particularly if it is not a capital offense. While some might argue this would be the death of a journalist in most countries where plagiarism is taken seriously, I suspect the rules are unbelievably lax here and while I could be rigid and take the tough route, I think acknowledgement and prevention of future instances should suffice. mojacko, I have turned down offers to write for papers and magazines, for very specific reasons, I might do a post on that to clarify my position on it… I find it interesting that there are somewhat polar views on the apology… those who accept it as an olive branch and so be it, and others who are grittily sticking to the issues and not being swayed by fancy language. I see both sides and while I could go further on this, I too, agree that it ends with this post. Though everyone’s comments are indeed welcome and will remain posted unless they are inappropriate.

  31. everyone’s comments are indeed welcome and will remain posted unless they are aridelric or aridelrous in nature.

    God made mangosteen. God made me.

  32. I agree with some of the posters, no need to flaunt your religious beliefs in public. I often read (and hear) apologies where God is always dragged into it. Pati tuloy siya nadadamay…

  33. yup, actually marketman, im kind of getting tired of the word-war posts, all of these stuff with plagiarism and piracy, can we go back to the shopping and cooking time? i miss the days when i am excited because of the food you feature, not because of heated arguments. ciao!

  34. I am I the only one that notices that the writing in Reggie Aspiras’ apology is drastically different from the style by which she writes in her weekly column??? Forget plagarism… looks like she had this one written by a REAL writer or one of her editors then passed it off as her own.

    Plagarism is plagarism, and for a journalist or one who likes to think she is… there is NO EXCUSE. She should not have a column anymore.

  35. Oh and another thing… the “let’s forgive and forget mentality” is great, but that’s why the Philippines is the way it is. Every one just forgives and forgets too easily. A journalist that STEALS THOUGHTS AND IDEAS (oh and this sort of thing is never by accident mind you) should never get the privilege to publish anything again… if this had happened in a newspaper in the States, the person would be FIRED!!! No questions asked, as it makes the paper look bad and because it’s just not right, no matter how many times the person apologizes!

  36. just another observation.. one point was that there wasnt credit given to the source.. so there, apologized but STILL didnt credit the source?

  37. raquel, sorry, I have a moderation process where new commenters have to wait for me to review the comments before they get posted… I am not at home so I haven’t checked comments for over 12 hours, hence the delay, I have also removed your third comment as you intended it just for me, and I am grateful for your insights… some things are better left for private consumption, I totally agree.

  38. I just finished reading “what the doctor/secretary said” and then I come across this “The mangosteen scribes have located their regular ink, and all is well.” I have to log off now or I will be too bloated in my sleep from laughing too much tonight.

  39. No, the problem with the Philippines is not the “let’s forgive and forget mentality.” The problem is there is too much angst to go around. The problem is sorries are not enough for a lot of people. The problem is people think the worst of others. The problem is people always think there is some evil conspiracy going on. The problem is a lot of people tend to wallow in their perceived righteous indignation until the next issue comes along. The problem is a lot of people feel self-entitled that every one that they think did them wrong should be removed from their present state of employment. PLUS the problem is intellectual property is taken so much for granted.

  40. Is is possible that Ms. Aspiras is not the one who writes her column? And that it took her a while to respond/apologize was because she had a difficult time assessing the matter especially if she was not the one who did the plagiarizing? Just a thought….

  41. Though the apology seemed sincere, it also sounded vague to me. I agree with a previous comment that if I hadn’t followed this issue closely, I would be like, what is she talking about? Which kinda dilutes the sincerity, I think. Thank goodness for the Editor’s Note.

  42. Hi everybody, several people have emailed me to suggest, quite confidently, that perhaps Ms. Aspiras did not write the apology herself, and that it was in the style of another writer. I have no idea how they would know that, nor can I confirm it. If she didn’t write it herself, she would have to live with that. Let’s just leave this be. An apology was printed in her column space, so let’s call it quits on this one. All I know is, I pointed out a problem related to journalistic ethics, and the paper has done something about it,tapos.

  43. Marketman, I just checked out the online version of PDI, another column immerged last night and said they deleted the material.It was entitled “The Queen…” (sorry for not posting the whole title as I do not really like it!).

  44. Thanks tulip, that definitely brings closure on the mangosteen scribes. THE END. However, I do note that the spaghetti squash and figs articles are still up and no changes have been made to them, despite questions I raised about the sources of several sentences in those articles as well…

  45. I know Chef Reg personally. I can surely attest that her humble apology came straight from her heart and was indeed very well intended.
    Those of you who are into head bashing……do, get a life!

  46. Hi Marketman,

    My name is Miguel Camus from the BusinessMirror. Your blog caught my interest because my colleague and I are currently doing a story on online literary plagiarism and you seem to be a victim of such a thing.

    I agree that this is a serious thing and it degrades the efforts of people like yourself.

    Therefor I’d just like to ask you a few details through email if that’s ok with you. I’ve left it in your site and hope to hear from you soon.

    Miguel Camus

  47. Apart from plagiarists there are now folks called contents “scrapers” (just recently heard this!) ie collectors of other bloggers’ content (even credited) and compiling them into their own blog or website to generate audience and pay by clicks.

    I found this article about how to deal with these folks, albeit a tad basic, since it only refers to filing a complaint to Google and does not address any possible legal procedure/process. Worth a peek in any case.

  48. ay naku mga dong n day, itagalog ko nalang ha para mas maganda, total mga filipino tayo…si ms. aspiras ang nagbigay buhay sa pag kaing Pilipino, aminin!..kakaiba ang passion nya sa pag create ng pagkaing Pilipino..Shes our representative to the food world so to speak…hindi ko sya kilala, pero nagbabasa rin ako ng column nya…heto lang masasabi ko dong n day ha..she has this tremendous passion to her work- agree? shes sincere to her apology, thats it! Period.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.