Rice shortage

Some independent coverage on the Philippines’ rice shortage:

Does our food make us barbaric?

A visitor recently objected to my post that asked for people interested in helping with some background research about balut.

Here’s the message:

Perhaps this human interest story regarding the balut, is merely another way to make the Filipino appear less civilized and more barbaric. I hope you reconsider encouraging anyone of our people to go on television and allowing others to make us look foolish.

This struck me as strange. I don’t think that there’s any reason why balut itself would make Filipinos appear barbaric. Sure, it’s an unfamiliar delicacy to most people in the West. But does the secret blend of 11 herbs & spices make KFC more civilised?

Don’t get me wrong—I happen to think that KFC is finger lickin’ good. However, perhaps this visitor’s comment is more evidence of that old bugbear otherwise known as colonial mentality. Some Filipinos seem to project feelings of inferiority and this is evident in the UK as well as in the Philippines.

It’s sad that we should feel embarrassed about something as simple as food. Food is what helps define our culture and just as we should be proud of what we are, we also shouldn’t be ashamed of what we eat.

What do you think?

Changing ‘The System’ to improve the country

There’s an interesting discussion in Filipino Voices about changing ‘the system’ to improve the Philippines. It’s well worth a read:

Personally, I don’t think things will improve until certain aspects of Filipino society changes. You can alter the system as much as you like but if people approach things the same way, the end result will be no different.

Talk to a TV production company about balut

Are any UK-based Filipinos out there interested in being interviewed by a TV production company?

We just been contacted by a producer who’s looking for Filipinos willing to take part in some background research. The company is thinking about creating a program about unusual international delicacies. Of course, when it comes to the Philippines, the most obvious choice is to feature something about balut. They’d like to chat with people to get an idea of balut’s culinary properties and cultural significance.

If you’d like to be interviewed, please let me know and I’ll pass on your contact details. Should the project go ahead, they expect filming to take place over the next month or so. Time is tight so drop me a note as soon as possible.

Filipino Children’s Fund

Kim Blasco, from the Filipino Children’s Fund, dropped us a note to ask that we post some information about the group. We don’t know about them but Kim says they have applied for registration with the Charity Commission and are recognised by the Philippine Embassy in London.

"Created in September 2007, the Filipino Children’s Fund (UK) is a Charitable Organisation, which has applied for registration with the Charity Commission and is recognised by the Philippines Embassy in London.

Our objectives are very specific:
• To make sure that every destitute child in 14 villages in the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon has all he/she needs to attend school and to benefit from his/her attendance. These children need clothing, uniforms, footwear, school materials, books, etc., so that, despite their difficult beginnings in life, they can develop their innate capabilities.
• To provide text-books for school work and to create a library in each school within the area of our work. Although basic education is free in the Philippines, students have to pay for school materials and uniforms and a large number of families cannot afford them. Text-books are lent to pupils at the beginning of the year and have to be returned at the end, so that they can be passed on to the next batch of students the following year.
• To introduce school children to information technology by providing each school with at least one computer. The schools we visited did not have even a manual type-writer.
• To find ways of helping children with physical deformities and, in particular, children with cleft lip/palate and cataracts, by providing them with the operations they require. Often, these children are forced not to attend school, because of the bullying they are subject to. The incidence of oral cleft in the Philippines is estimated at one in every 500 live births. With an average of two million live births a year in the country, 4,000 new cleft cases are added annually.
• With the growth of our organisation, to extend our assistance to other children of the Luzon Island and to other islands of the Philippines

In order to achieve our objectives, we need help from anyone in the UK who can assist us to provide these destitute children and their families with a little ray of hope.

All our work is done by volunteers who give their time and effort without any payment and distribute the help provided by people in the UK using their own vehicles. Until now, the only cost of distribution for the Fund is the cost of petrol. We are planning to set up a stall in the market in Santa Rosa, Laguna, where our base is, to sell some of the items given to us in the UK and so cover the cost of petrol and running costs."

If you’re interested in finding out more, you should contact the Filipino Children’s Fund directly:118/120 Frinton Road
Holland on Sea, Essex, CO15 5UR
Tel/Fax: 01255 813051
Email: [email protected]

Please note that Phil-UK aren’t associated with the Filipino Children’s Fund in any way. Kim just contacted us through our website. Please do your own research before contributing to any organisation. I’ve asked Tess Lazaro from the Embassy to verify and am still waiting to hear from her.

Urduja, a Filipino animated film

What happens when Pocahontas goes to the Philippines? She becomes Urduja. Seriously though, other than the weird similarity to the Disney character, this animated film doesn’t look bad at all.

It’s about Princess Urduja a 14th century warrior of legendary Tawalisi, said to be in Pangasinan, northern Philippines. We can’t be sure that Urduja really existed. Philippine written history only started during the time of Spanish rule. However, the odds are that most British-born Filipinos like myself have only heard of Lapu-Lapu, Dr Jose Rizal and The Katipunan bunch. Discovering something new about our past is refreshing.

Keys Me

Is it bad to post this? 😛

Learn to speak Tagalog Podcast

Here’s a useful site for second-generation Filipinos who want to learn Tagalog.

If you grew up in the UK and never learnt Filipino, take a look at Manuel Viloria’s Pinoy Podcast. You can subscribe and load them into your MP3 player for those tube journeys. He also has a web player so you can listen directly on the site.

Manuel’s already on Episode 40 so there’s lots of catching up to do.

filmefilms update

filemefilms have an update video for 2008. Take a look at their latest videos and redesigned site at filmefilms.tv.