Do you understand the Filipino psyche?

Jimmy Soriano, a Manila Times columnist, writes about his view of the Filipino psyche.

While UK-born second-generation Filipinos share some of these traits, I notice that they’re also the cause of conflicts between us and our ‘first-gen’ parents, friends and relatives. I’m specifically referring to his point about Filipinos being reactive and unwilling to openly settle problems.

What do you think?

It is safe to assume that Filipinos, as a people, are among the ‘easily pleased’, as compared to the other nationalities of the world. This notwithstanding, they also get hurt very easily, very onion-skinned in a manner of speaking. Little things make Filipinos in general happy but even the slightest incident could also trigger their disappointments.

Read the rest at: or

Petition against pesticide spraying in the Southern Philippines

Nina at sent this message about the effects of pesticide spraying in the Southern Philippines. We can support the ban by signing the online petition at

Communities (around 40,000 people) living within banana plantations in Davao, Mindanao, Southern Philippines have been subjected to regular aerial spraying of pesticides for years, suffering from acute effects such as skin rashes, nausea and stomach cramps. In February, after an imaginative well-coordinated campaign, the City Government of Davao passed an ordinance to ban aerial spraying of pesticides.

What I love about this story is that Lia, my good friend and former boss, coordinated a perfect campaign. It primarily involved working with the affected communties, educating and organising them, so that they would be empowered to articulate their concerns and policy solutions to the government. Other stratgeies involved networking and coalition-building to gain broad support throughout the city, even from those who were not immediately affected. They set up an organic growers market as a means of linking poor rural producers to city-based consumers, and to showcase alternatives to pesticide use. The community, with support from the NGOs, regularly lobbied the local council and mayor, and engaged the bureaucracy to push for tighter regulation and environmental monitoring. The end result was Ordinance 0309-07 banning aerial spraying of pesticides. It was a triumph of democratic governance for the protection of people’s health and the environment 🙂

Unfortunately, the plantation companies did not accept this asked the Court of Appeals to invalidate the ordinance, which it did. Now, the communities have filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals. They are waiting for this the verdict; whatever the decision it will have a tremendous impact on their lives.

It’s rare to have these inspiring stories of “powerless” communities influencing government to actually work for them. So, please please do demonstrate support for their efforts by signing the online petition at

Vote for the New 7 Wonders of Nature candidates

Graeme, a reader and new member of Phil-UK Network, wants us to spread the word about the Philippines’ entries in the New 7 Wonders of the World.

I was just checking out the New 7 Wonders of the World
web site and saw that Tubuttaha Reef is now number 2 in the list. Also,
Puerto Princesa National Park is now at number 6. This is great because it
means that the word is getting out to the pinoy community here and in other
countries and that people are showing they care about their heritage.

But what it really means is that these site could get upgraded by the UN and
the people who determine World Heritage Sites and that can mean that more
funding goes into the conservation effort for these places.

Currently The Philippines occupies four of the top ten candidates with:

  • Tubbataha Reef
  • Chocolate Hills
  • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
  • Mayon Volcano

You can track the progress of the candidates and vote at the New 7 Wonders of Nature Nominees website.

Having even one winning entry would be great for tourism and—fingers crossed—conservation in the Philippines. Visit the New 7 Wonders of Nature website to find out more about the campaign.

Hoax email warning and site messages

How should this site evolve?

Thanks to all those who have signed up to Phil-UK network directory. The idea is to create a space where people can publicise their group, company, or event. At the same time, I don’t want this site being a source of junk mail.

There’s obviously a fine line between filtering what people want to say and preventing unwanted messages. Since this is a community site, I’ll leave it up to you to decide. Drop me a note with your opinion about the kind of content that should appear, and how it should reach you. For now, the group messaging feature is disabled but you can still add information to your own profile page.

Hoax email warning

On a similar but unrelated related vein, remember to treat all email you receive (from anyone, not just this site) with slight suspicion. Also be sure to keep your email accounts secure. A friend recently had her Yahoo email account hacked. The hacker then sent a message to her entire contact list asking to borrow money. As you can see from the copy below, the email, containing relevant and personal information, is convincing enough to dupe an unwitting loved-one. Of course, a bit of common sense goes a long way.

Some basic computer security tips:

  1. Use secure passwords for your online accounts
  2. Don’t login to your email in internet cafes; the computer may be infected with a program to steal passwords
  3. Change your passwords once in a while
  4. Regularly run anti-virus programs on your own computer
  5. Keep backups of your important emails, files and contacts
  6. Don’t trust anything you receive from the internet

Copy of the hoax email:

“How are you? Hope everything is ok? i wanted to seek your favour on something very important. Something terrible happened to me. I had a trip to United Kingdom on some works.

Unfortunately for me all my money got stolen at the hotel where i lodged along with all my belongings also with my return ticket. Since then i have been without any money,i am even owing the hotel. I only have access to my e-mail for now because i didn’t bring my mobile here.

Please i need you to lend me about 1650G.B.Pounds so i can make arrangements and return back home. I have spoken to the embassy and they are responding to the matter effectively. I have also reported the case to the police.

I have also made enquiries and was able to find out that you can have money sent to me through a service called Western Union Money Transfer.

Below is the information you might require in sending me some money.



Once you have made the transfer,please send me the details on the receipt you will get including a 10digit number called the MTCN number, because i was told without that i won’t be able to receive the money.I will make all refunds to you as soon as am out of here.

Please i will be waiting to hear from you as soon as possible.



Work experience for a TV production company

A London-based TV production company wants two fluent Filipino speakers to transcribe footage filmed in the Philippines. The position is available immediately until mid June. This is an unpaid work experience placement but they’ll cover travel expenses.

You’ll see the editing process within a small production company and get the chance to explore other departments. This should be great for your CV if you’d like to break into the industry.

Get in touch ASAP if you’re interested and I’ll send you more information.

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.

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.

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.