Final Thoughts

17 12 2009

I really enjoyed the class! I really found the Diaspora concept very interesting. I knew the Filipino story & Filipino History very well, as I grew up in the Philippines, but the Filipino-American story and Filipino-American History, I had no idea about. It was great finding that out. It was also amazing to find out that there are actually Filipino-American communities as was demonstrated by the guest speaker. I didn’t know that Filipinos here in America had that much solidarity among themselves to form a community, nor that they were that many in number for communities to actually exist.

I never had the chance to go to College in the Philippines, so I considered this Filipino Activism class to be the closest I can get to that experience. It was great to actually see a Filpina professor. The last Filipino teacher to have taught me was in eighth grade. All that being said, it was a very fun class and a wonderful journey, and I actually looked forward to every Tuesday, never missing a class.

-Jonathan Nolasco



17 12 2009

In the Filipino language of Tagalog, we have this word called “Inuman”. Literally translated to English the word means “to have a drinking spree”.  An Inuman is an event in which you and your friends would gather with alcoholic drinks and catch up, reminisce or just talk. Of course, that type of occurance isn’t uncommon to many other cultures. People gather around and talk with alcoholic drinks here in America too, but in the Philippines, I would say there is much more of a social significance to it.  You would really only have an inuman with your close personal friends, and when inumans do occur, a friendship is often strengthened as the inuman itself is a symbol of trust and friendship.

An Inuman would take place usually in someones’ house or in places appropriately called a “Beer House.” Often in these Beer Houses, obviously, beer is the beverage most served. They would serve Filipino foods too that are oily and salty, stuff that goes well with beer.  A Beer House is often very cheap and poorly constructed; it is often looks like a back alley that has just been spruced up to look somewhat like a business. It is a however a place for enjoyment and escape for the poorer of the Filipino population.

The Drink of Choice is either San Miguel Beer, or Red Horse Beer.

San Miguel Brewery is the largest beer producer in the Philippines, with a market share of over 95% as of 2008. It has five breweries spread across the country producing eight beer brands, led by its flagship Beer; San Miguel Beer Pale Pilsen. San Miguel Pale Pilsen is a light crisp beer, with more emphasis on flavor. It has rich beer flavor. This company also makes Red Horse Beer, this beer is an extra-strong lager, with more emphasis on the alcohol content.

Filipinos also sometimes choose to drink Gin, in which case the most popular gin of choice is Ginebra San Miguel.

Ginebra San Miguel, is a gin that most people in the Philippines recognize and love. Like all hard liquor in the Philippines however, it is a lot harder down the throat then most Americans I believe are used too. The Filipinos love it however.

San Miguel Brewery is based in the Philippines but recognized worldwide, I have seen San Miguel, Red Horse and Ginebra San Miguel in other countries and my non-filipino friends know of these brands. I am proud to say that the Philippines knows about their alcohol… =)

-Jonathan Nolasco

Malls in Manila

17 12 2009

Although the country of the Philippines is a third world country, the country is not necessarily all poor. Their indeed are many of those that live below the poverty line, and suffer through their day to day existence, much like in any other third world country, but there is a side of Manila, Philippines that is greatly unseen to the world’s eyes. Metro Manila is the capital of the Philippines and this is where all the business offices and corporate centers are. Metro Manila is where all around urban living takes place. What do we have an abundance of in Manila though? Where do all the not-so poor people spend their time? None other then in Shopping Malls.

In Manila, we have a lot of Malls and Shopping Centers where people go not only to shop but spend their whole entire days. Malls are a common place of social gatherings. I would compare the malls in the Manila to be actually a lot bigger than the Malls I have seen in my seven years here in northern California, not just a little bit bigger, but actually a lot bigger. Given though, that the Malls in the Philippines would be a lot more saturated, and full of people, the malls in the Philippines tend to have more activities that you can do within them. Malls would be so massive that constant street traffic would occur all around them, all the time. You can spend your entire day in a mall.

“Hoy, Punta tayo sa SM”

SM or Shoe Mart is the parent company of the SM Group’s shopping malls. It is the largest shopping mall and retail operator in the Philippines. It was incorporated on 6 January 1994 by Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur Henry Sy to develop, conduct, operate and maintain the SM commercial shopping centers and all businesses related thereto, such as the lease of commercial spaces within the compound of shopping centers. SM is common vernacular among local Filipinos for Mall.

The Philippines newest Mall in the Philippines is called the Mall of Asia. The SM Mall of Asia is the second largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the 4th largest shopping mall in the world[. It has a land area of 42 hectares and has a gross floor area of an approximate 390,193 m² (4.2 million square feet) and 407,101 m² of total area. The mall attracts a daily foot traffic of 200,000 people. Ive been here, and I can say this is one really really big mall, its feels like a city.

-Jonathan Nolasco

Filipino Rock Music

17 12 2009

Whenever I’m in the mood to feel nostalgic or if I’m ever in the mood to feel inspired by my past. I listen to my favorite Filipino rock bands. The tone, theme and lyrics of their music are just so indicative of the life and the general everyday struggles in the Philippines. I understand though, that a concept like this may be difficult for a non-Filipino to understand, considering the language and some of the ideas in the music may be difficult to relate too. Popular music in America now seems to suggest being wasteful of money and not caring about certain things things that should be held of value; things that would be valuable to an average Filipino at least, such as the trust of women for example or the very simple things in life, like a childhood friendship or the mere act of hanging out with buddies. Filipino rock music, speaks of simpler things, but simple things that can be relatable to the masses of the Philippines.

My two favorite bands are the Eraserheads and Parokya Ni Edgar. Eraserheads, or E-Heads was a prominent Filipino rock band of the 1990s. The band is one of the most successful, critically-acclaimed, and significant bands in the history of Original Pilipino Music, earning them the accolade, “The Beatles of the Philippines.” Eraserheads are also credited for spearheading a second wave of Manila band invasions, paving the way for a host of influential Philippine alternative rock.

Parokya ni Edgar, which translated to English means Parish of Edgar, is a Filipino band that was formed in 1993 by a group of Ateneo de Manila High School students. The band is famous and most lauded for its original rock novelty songs and often satirical covers of famous songs. The band has since transcended musical genres, varying styles from one song to another – alternative rock to pop rock, funk to rapcore, and so on while providing comic relief to their listeners.

-Jonathan Nolasco

Manny Pacquiao

17 12 2009

Not everyone knows about the diasporas, the Filipino brain drain, or even the recent typhoon “Ondoy” that has been going on. That is very sad as the news doesn’t emphasize many things Filipino or about the Philippines. For the most part, America as a greater nation, doesn’t know much about the Philippines or what he have to offer. Furthermore, neither does the world. But wait, we do have one thing however, one thing Filipino that makes the headlines, one thing Filipino that the world has been tuning in to see. We have one man that can be righteously called the Fighting Pride of Philippines. I first realized the impact of this one man when my non-Filipino friends started greeting me with statements like “Ey! Joey,… Manny Pacquiao man! Filipino Pride.” The man I am talking about is the 7 time world champion in 7 weight divisions in the sweet science of boxing. The man emphatically nicknamed Pac-Man, the philippines’ own, Manny Pacquiao.

The Story of Manny Pacquiao begins in General Santos City, Philippines. He was born on December 17th, 1978. He was born into overwhelming poverty and was forced to work at a very young age after his father left the family for another woman. There were many stories on what he had to work as, these stories ranged from selling bread to selling cigarettes.

Manny Pacquiao worked in the very impovrished streets of General Santos City as a vendor, as the story goes selling anything from cigarettes to bread. Those same streets helped in the development of the tough and relentless Filipino individual we see in the ring today. Manny then, began fighting for a few dollars in the streets. These fights were brutal but soon Manny Pacquiao gained a reputation for being a very hard-hitting fighter, and showing incredible grit and determination when fighting opponents that were much larger than him. Even at a young age Manny displayed the speed and left handed power that has made him one of the most exciting boxers of his era.

Manny Pacquiao’s mother however was not very supportive of his boxing. She was very religious and had hoped her son would join the priesthood. Manny’s popularity increased around the city and people began taking notice of this scrawny kid with a hammer for a left hand. Without permission Manny set off to Manila to pursue his career with hopes of becoming a star in order to help his mother and family. From there the story tells itself. He met the world renound boxing trainer Freddie Roach, along his expert training he was able to rise to great heights in boxing history.

-Jonathan Nolasco

Jollibee (& Fast Food In the Philippines)

16 12 2009

In class we were asked, what tastes like home? I was born in Metro Manila, Philippines, the capital and pretty much big city of that country. Manila City is essentially my home. So what tastes like home to me? That would be Jollibee.

Jollibee or Jollibee Foods Corporation, as it is called in business indexes worldwide, is a fast-food restaurant chain based in the Philippines. Jollibee is an American-style fast-food restaurant with Filipino-influenced dishes specializing in burgers, spaghetti, chicken and some local Filipino dishes. In the Philippines, Jollibee serves Coca-Cola products for its beverages; in overseas markets, the chain serves Pepsi products.

It was started by, Tony Tan Caktiong and his family as a Magnolia Ice Cream parlor from Bankerohan, Davao City, to Cubao in 1975, Magnolia is a very popular brand of ice cream in the Philippines. These ice cream parlors were named Jollibee. In 1978, Manuel C. Lumba convinced the Caktiong family to shift the business focus from ice cream to hamburgers, after his studies showed that a much larger market was waiting to be filled. Lumba became Caktiong’s first business and management advisor.

As the business expanded, the name Jollibee became a more common name around the Philippines. Here in America, Fast-Food is pretty much the cheapest meal you can find. In the Philippines however, Fast-Food chains are not the cheapest, as there are street food vendors that serve as the bottom of the restaurant industries, I would say Fast-Food restaurants are in the middle. Birthday parties would never happen at a Fast-Food restaurant, here in America, but in the Philippines it is very common. It is very common for children’s birthday parties to happen in a Jollibee. I remember this is where I had my seventh birthday party. It was a fun to eat at Jollibee. It is often a popular hang-out spot for high-school and college students after their school days. Jollibee is a staple in the local Filipino’s mindset. “mag-Jollibee tayo!”

One very interesting thing about Jollibee is that it was the only local Fast Food Chain that was able to outsell McDonald’s worldwide.  So in the Philippines, as far as fast food goes, more people go to Jollibee then McDonald’s. Nowhere else in the world does that happen, McDonald’s usually dominates every country’s local fast-food market, except in the Philippines.

Now, Jollibee has become one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world with 1,804 stores worldwide and total sales of more than one billion US dollars. In Metro Manila, Philippines, where I grew up, Jollibee was absolutely everywhere, and unavoidable, since social gatherings would always take place in a Jollibee. There would be sometimes 2 or 3 Jollibee’s in one Mall. All that being said, Jollibee Fast-Food Items, really taste like home to me.

-Jonathan Nolasco


14 12 2009

One of the most popular and best known dances of the Philippines is Tinikling and it is also known to be the Philippines national dance. It is also considered to be one of the oldest dance that originated from Leyte in the Visayan Islands. Tinikling means “bamboo dance” in English. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers would imitate the tikling bird speed and  being able to go maneuver between two large bamboo poles. Tinikling involves five steps; during the first four steps, the dancers dance opposite each other, and during the last step, they start from the same side of the poles. The bamboo is also used as a percussive instrument as it is banged against the ground and each other in a pattern. The bamboo has to be closed and hard enough to make a sound, and the dancers must be quick enough to not get their foot or feet caught. As the dance continues, the banging of the bamboo becomes faster and harder, the sound of the clashing bamboo and the quickness of feet

Before Tinikling became what it is today, it went through different changes. There had been different stories of the dance origin that have been passed down through oral histories and folklore.

One of the stories of the origin of Tinikling started with the people that worked on the fields and paddies in the Philippines. When the Spaniards came from Spain and conquered the Philippines, the natives were sent to the haciendas. The natives lost control of their land because they were an economic system that is largely based on rural and agricultural operations of large farmlands administered by caretakers for the King of Spain. The natives had to work all day to please the Spaniards. The natives could have completely lost control of their destiny under an exploitative system. The people of the Philippines worked in the fields and paddies for nearly four hundred years (1500-1898).

As punishment for the people who worked too slowly they would be sent out of the paddies for punishment. As punishment they would have to stand between two bamboo poles cut from the grove. Sometimes, the sticks would have thorns sticking out. The natives’ feet would be between two poles then clapped bruising. The punishment became a cycle because most of the natives would bruise their feet so that they would work less and if they worked less the more bruising and punishment there are.

The punishment later became the dance it is today. When the Tinikling is danced, there is music of plucked strings in Iberian-influence staccato interspersing with tremolos and kept in time with double stepping sway balances. By practicing to escape the bamboo sticks during punishment, the Tinikling soon became a challenge, an art, and a dance.