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When food tourism in US colonial period spurred fight for Filipino cuisine

The adventurous palate of foodies and their #willtravelforfood motto are interesting phenomena. The trend mentioned in a recent lecture intrigued me and moved a university student in the audience to ask Dr. Kristine Michelle L. Santos if Filipinos of yesteryear inherited their fondness for food from the Americans during the colonial era. Santos, an assistant...

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The PICC at 47: An enduring witness to history

For close to five decades, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) has been a witness to history, as well as to the personal stories of the generations of Filipinos, local and foreign dignitaries, and guests that have walked through its halls and venues. Listening to individuals that have witnessed the PICC’s evolution, one comes to...

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Norma Rae, Sister Stella L, and newspaper union organizing under martial law

They said it couldn’t be done. It was martial law, after all, and among many freedoms suppressed by Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s repressive regime (1965-1986) was the right to organize a legitimate union. Strikes were banned, and only government-friendly unions were recognized. But a hardy group of journalists at the Journal group of publications (Times Journal,...

Timely remembrance of martial law off the press
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Timely remembrance of martial law off the press

Ultimately, they write to remember, and to fight: to remember the terror of martial law and its lingering impact on the lives of Filipinos, and to fight the foisted narrative that those terrible years comprised a “golden age.”  This avowed mission runs relentlessly through “Serve,” a book of stories by and interviews with former members...

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Barbie’s story in the Philippines is not all glamour and glitter

The pink, sparkly dress of the Barbie doll has been veiling something much less glamorous—the loss of thousands of jobs when the company that manufactured the toy in the Philippines closed shop. It is now a blurry episode for most Filipinos, but it may still be fresh in the memory of the workers, mostly women,...

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Film continues to help Filipinos remember the sins of martial law

Shortly after World War II, many survivors of the attempted annihilation of Jews by Nazi Germany and its allies recalled the final plea of their fellow prisoners while being herded to impending death: “Remember! Do not let the world forget!” It was in honoring that anguished plea that Holocaust survivors set up exhibits and scholarly...

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Kidlat Tahimik’s ‘Balikbayan #1’ reverses the colonialist narrative

The story of humankind is replete with plot twists and unexpected events. Take, for example, the matter of who first circumnavigated the world. The usual answer is Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who, on Sept. 20, 1519, led a five-ship, 270-strong expedition from Spain to search for a westward route toward the Spice Islands, now the...

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Independent media’s critical role in social transformation

Remembering the Edsa people power uprising that toppled Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s dictatorship 37 years ago—on Feb. 22-25, 1986—must include recognizing how the independent media played a key role in providing facts on the ground, which the people at large used to become proactive in molding their milieu.  Ninoy Aquino’s assassination at the then Manila International...