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

Rice shortage

Some independent coverage on the Philippines’ rice shortage:

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.

View from Muelle Pier in Puerto Galera

A visitor asked me to share the following webcam page of a view from Muelle Pier in Puerto Galera, in Mindoro, Philippines.

"Dear Second Generation Filipinos,

It is a challenge to find out how to contact you but I wanted to let you know that there is a webcam in one beautiful corner of the Philippines that you may want to visit and share with your members. It shows in real-time the true beauty of the country of your roots.

it is located on the island of Mindoro and where I spent three days sailing just two weeks ago. The yacht club who manage the site where the webcam is offers sailing courses at very competitive rates, compared to the UK, and welcomes everyone with open arms.

Enjoy . . .

Best regards,


P.S. Note the webcam is real-time and the Philippines is 8 hours ahead so log in early or very late."

Some British Eat Rice II

by Rowan Foggit
It is natural for a person, when living in a country other than the one in which they were brought up, to make comparisons between the two. Prices, for example: ‘Blimey, the train from Liverpool St to Newcastle is now 55 quid – the bus from Baclaran to Baguio is only P105.’ Or, ‘You know darling, that amazingly camp queenish tomboy thing that cuts my hair down Pasay Rd only charges me the equivalent of ÂŁ2 for a trim that’d cost a minimum of ÂŁ25 in Cambridge now…daren’t ask him for a blow-dry though in case my request is misconstrued.’
Of course, the economic realities of the countries being compared necessitate wildly differing prices: the cost of labour, for example. And quality of service and customer satisfaction often differ wildlyĂŠ such as at the cinema.
I still marvel at paying around P70 to watch a film in the country’s best theatres (not, you note, the movies to take in a flick. I remain staunchly and stubbornly a communicator in Queen’s English, not the tainted Americano version of our fine language). Humankind loves a bargain and P70 when exchanged into pennies is up there with the Mother of All Bargains.
Yet my first visit to a Philippine cinemaĂŠ at the Greenbelt mall, Makati, one of the most centrally located and owned by the esteemed Ayala Group – was a consumer experience I was unprepared for. Theatres i’ve visited in Hong Kong, the US, Malaysia etc. all provided similar levels of entertainment and left me a satisfied customerĂŠ although the size of food and beverage portions served in the US were of sufficient size to halt a ravenous wooly mammoth for several weeks.
Queuing for a ticket at Greenbelt was harmless enough but then came the unfamiliar reply from the girl behind the counter that there were no reserved tickets available for this particular show. I smiled, obviously confused, and advised we simply wanted 2 tickets.
Still a little baffled, tickets were purchased, the girl breathed a sigh of relief, and through we wentÉÉto be met by masses, literally a hundred or more, of people loitering around the top of the aisles. They had nowhere to sit. All seats were taken. And more to the point, we had nowhere to sit. And there were people coming in behind us still. And the film had already started despite us being on time. Or perhaps it hadn’t yet finished.
I was perplexed, dumfounded and starting to sweat. Everyone else seemed to be calmly taking up positions with the intention to stand. ‘What on earth is going on darling?’ said I. My wife quickly explained the film, Rizal and his Filibuster thing, had recently opened, hence the crowds.
I’m told that at this point I began grunting various threats and complaints, such as ‘not bloody good enough, where’s the manager?’ to nobody in particular. The manager was located allowing me to ineloquently, due to being in close to a frenzy, detail my abject disquiet and unhappiness with the situation and demand a refund. My wife dragged me away, accepting their decent apology and equitable offer of 2 tickets to another show some other time, averting a shameful scene, and for me an apoplexy.
So, Philippine theatres allow more people in than it has seats to accommodate. A novel idea. I was enlightened. Perhaps such a system would catch on in the UK? Nah.
Even having the odd rodent scurry across one’s feet with discarded hot-dogs can be withstood. But what is it with the persistent noise and general lack of concern shown by fellow cinemagoers? Phones ring: not only this, they are often answered. Texting and its infernal incoming message beeping continues. Fast food is eaten with accompanying irksome plastic bag and wrapping rustling. Conversations are held in the seats. From the back near the lavatories one can always hear the ushers being chatted up by the security guards. What I understand the least however is the amount of people who wander in, or leave, half way through a film. I’ve seen old couples sitting chatting near the aisle, barely taking interest in proceedings on the screen, being collected by younger relatives and removed mid-film. Most odd.
Yes, I know UK cinemas can have their faults: an X rated film coming replete with dirty old men in flasher raincoats and teenage fornicators pre-booking the back row; extortionate prices; and mangy old seating. But UK cinemagoers, be they perverts or film-buffs, remain, more often than not, quiet.
But what do I expect for P70? This must be always be asked of oneself. And I must add that things have improvedĂŠ only though in the sense of one person per seat.
It has always been refreshing to see the impressive audience turn-outs for British films here. The gist of most films must be fairly easy for Filipinos to follow but much of the vernacular used in certain UK productions is obviously difficult to understand. Take Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, the premiere to which I went with a friend who’d been enjoying happy hour earlier that evening and most of the late afternoon. The heavy cockney slang employed made it fantastically realistic, but lines such as ‘Keep your Alans on’ left the local audience none the wiser as to what had been said. (Alan Whicker = knickers).
Imagine their bemusement and multiply it by one thousand and you get me sat watching, without much of a clue as to what is going on, Isusumbong Kita Sa Tatay Ko, Magkapatid and other such marvels of the Philippine film industry. But it’s great viewing, particularly the comedies. And you know what – the audience is much better behaved. Sure, they make a noise but it seems to fit in with the general hubbub of the soundtrack and dialogue. And I enjoy it more this way. And I don’t care if someone’s phone goes off or munches noisily through 17 pieces of chicken behind me as the overall experience, not just the quality of acting, cinematography and production of the film, is preferable.
So we now don’t go to watch UK releases like About a Boy and hope to sit in stony silence, we go to Mana-Mana Tiba-Tiba, eat copious amounts of crap, make a bit of noise, send texts for the hell of it and come out smiling. ‘And it cost ÂŁ5 for 2 seats and a feast! That would have cost ÂŁ50 in Bristol with food and parking.’

Some British Eat Rice

by Rowan Foggit
The proud owners of this website have kindly allowed me to fill a few hours of my life each month, and therefore a few minutes of yours, writing a column about the Philippines, Filipinos, Fillipinas, EDSA’s traffic, whether or not bagoong is fit for mankind to consume, and whatever else this Brit abroad decides is life-shatteringly relevant or irreverent.
I will endeavour to say as little about myself as possible when I write these columns, but allow me a little introduction first as this will hopefully enable you to see how I see things the way I do.
Born in North Yorkshire, I was whisked down to sunny Suffolk before my accent became irreparably ‘northern’. A few years at school came and went without me leaving my mark on academia and its institutions. I even failed to turn-up at one exam as there was a titanic game of cricket, a sport few Philippine-based Filipinos know exists, on the telly between Essex and Gloucestershire.
Fast forward to 1994, when during a 7-year stay in Hong Kong, I met a ravishingly beautiful, vivacious and wonderfully feisty girl named Betty.
I have an Aunt in Yorkshire called Betty and to me this quintessential English old-ladies name conjured up images of, well, old English ladies. Add to that those flesh-coloured stockings to which they are partial and never-ending "fancy a cuppa tea, love?" probes and you get the picture.
But this Betty looked nothing like a stereotypical, handbag-wielding granny to me which is not surprising as she hails from Nueva Vizcaya. Home for Betty when she was small was a barangay near a funny little town called Bambang (more of which another time as I can tell a tale or two about her relatives, carabaos, ginebra gin, a gun and a hasty escape).
We got on well despite her knowledge of English football being non-existent. And we holidayed together in the Philippines as often as we could which was great as I no longer had to put up with all the other San Miguel-addled foreigners in Boracay and Puerto Galera. Off we went to the Camotes islands where the children’s smiles and nervous laughs were a joy to behold. Little villages and tilapia farms of La Union were explored on foot, such as Agoo (try get an Englishman to pronounce Agoo correctly first time he reads it…); Bantayan’s perfectly flat egg-carrying roads and beaches were hiked; Bohol’s ubiquitous mud and Chocolate Hills were stickily traversed on motorbikes; Mount Apo was climbed; the lake inside the crater of Taal volcano was urinated in (sorry, but we’d had a lot of Beer-na-Beer for lunch; and somewhere, probably Malapascua island off the northern tip of Cebu, our first mestizo was conceived.
A number of other places of my wish-list remain to this day unvisited. Unravelling a map of the country one day, I picked certain places that I’d like see, among them being: Siquior, Batanes and Sulu/Tawi Tawi islands. Betty was none to keen on the first of these due to the fact there were witches, vampires and all sorts of unidentified ghouls running amok all over the place. Batanes seems to get blown away by a typhoon each week so this was put on hold. And the latter, which are possibly the most beautiful picture-postcard islands in the entire archipelago, remain out of reach for any foreigner who values his life, head and bank balance.
We were married of course by the time we’d been to these places and I’d become quite proud of my Tagalog proficiency. I fancied spending more time in the Philippines but Betty, perhaps like some of you reading this, had spent a not inconsiderable amount of time looking for a brighter or at least alternative future outside of the country, was quite happy living in Hong Kong. However, I dragged her kicking and screaming back from whence she came and we lived for a while in a small Makati apartment before number one son popped out, before removing to Paranaque.
Mestizo number two arrived 2 years ago during a period back in Hong Kong and we now split our time between a house we keep in Laguna, and the former British colony on China’s southern shores
I suppose by telling you this I am trying to say I have integrated myself a little into Philippine way of life, that I have become a little piece of the fabric that makes up your wonderful, manic and often mad country. For a Filipino to write convincingly about the British, their peculiar rituals, personal idiosyncrasies and the inherent madness of a good number of its inhabitants, I’d expect that person to have lived not only in the same country as them, but as one of them.
For clarity, I’ll take this a little further. When I jump inside a cramped jeepney on its way down Pasong Tamo, I don’t just see brown faces smiling back at me. I see the daily struggle they have to make ends meet, the mouths they have to feed and their sense of despair at the injustices and corruption they suffer from. When boarding a Philippine Airlines flight, I observe not only the domestic helpers bound for life with a foreign family in Hong Kong, Taiwan or the Middle East, but the sacrifices they make and the families left behind, their menfolk consuming remittances on tanduay and bingo, and the way they themselves are often maltreated and misunderstood by their employers.
And when I get stuck in traffic on EDSA on a Friday night and it takes me 2 hours to get from the South-not-so-Super Highway to Ortigas, I see yet again that I must be completely deranged to have even attempted to traverse such a route on a Friday night when it’s raining, and it’s pay-day, and it’s midnight madness sale night in Glorietta, and I’ve been stuck in the same place before and sworn never, ever to let it happen again.
So although I may be able to see what goes on in the Philippines and read between the lines, I am still a foreigner (or a "Joe" as we get called in the provinces), albeit with a Filipina asawa and Eurasian anaks. And being a foreigner means I still pull my hair out when the traffic snarls, yet Betty shrugs her shoulders. And I still have 95% of taxi drivers trying to extort double the actual fare from me due to the colour of my skin and assumed weight of wallet (reverse racial financial discrimination we can call this phenomenon which I think is a fine and equitable system of wealth re-distribution).
And I have taste-buds that grew-up loving Sunday’s roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, gravy and soggy vegetables, chicken tikka masala from the Indian down the road, and No. 36 with chips from the local Chinese takeaway. I did not grow-up on balut, bagoong, caldereta or aroz caldo.
I am now researching material for a work of fiction. It’s in its infancy as a project but is coming on nicely. The subject matter being the Moros and their long claim to land, mixed in with a drunkard British naturalist, Spanish aggressors, a pretty Muslim girl and a fanatical Jesuit priest.
That’s enough about me. It’s Friday night and I’m off down the pub. Okay, it’s not really a pub but a bar in Makati that allows me to drink as much San Miguel as I wish between the hours of 5 and 9pm for about P150. This is a scandalously small amount to pay for the destruction of my liver and brain. My mates in the UK have to pay a high multiple of this amount to inebriate and damage themselves. But perhaps it will not take them 2 hours to get to the pub!

Fish ‘n’ Chips on the Bicol Express

by Nina Torceliono-Iszatt

When asked how my stay in the Philippines is, I’m so often at a loss as how to answer. I have so very much to say yet how I am unable to articulate something that is so intrinsically part of me. At times enlightened clarity, at others plain confusion. Prior to my arrival eight months ago, I wasn’t even aware I had this craving. This need to know. Me and the Philippines. Me in the Philippines. I intended it to be a ‘year out’ but it’s become far too involved for that. What does it really mean?

I am a 25-year-old half-Filipina (on my mother’s side) and for 24 years I’ve lived in England. I’m very British daw . And it’s true. I’ve inherited the one racial prejudice acceptable to all British (including those on the left…or should that be especially those on the left?). A healthy dislike of all things American. My nationality is as confusing to Filipinos (they don’t understand my aversion to being called FilAm) as my accent.

I am very British. But I’m slowly discovering I have Filipino feelings too. I didn’t know they would be this big. Or taste so good. These untouchable nameless feelings I’m experiencing. Every day. And they’re so very fluid.

Some days it’s about my mother. Well, principally it’s about her. Who she was, how she became who she is, the role of culture and upbringing in becoming. And us. Mother and daughter, the original entrĂ©e to the therapist’s couch. We rarely saw eye-to-eye and I often thought the things she said were irrational or overstated. I could never quite understand where she was coming from. Not that I knew this was the problem, I just became teenage and irritated instead. Communication would readily be reduced to altercation. Now I’m in the Philippines our affinity is transforming, becoming enriched. Everyday more of her life is revealed to me, living here brings me closer to understanding. This is why I feel a special tie with Catanduanes, my Bicol home: it’s where she grew up.

How can I explain that thing I have when I travel to Catanduanes? This sense of excitement that unapologetically floods my feelings just before I reach our barangay. "I’m coming home" my elated heart screams. I only know it’s paralleled in the sadness that comes over me every time I leave. Early one morning I left for the airport, one of my lolos taking me by motorbike. (That’s another thing – I never had so many lolos in my life!) Riding along the damaged semi-concrete road, verdant mountains rising on our left, I was surprised to find the gentle drizzle in my face blending effortlessly with tears of both sadness and joy at the beauty of it all.

In Catanduanes I also found Bebo, who was my boyfriend when we visited when I was 11. It’s been so hard to find the vocabulary to explain to my childhood sweetheart how important a part of my discovery he is. Siyempre, there are all sorts of expectations, especially as our mothers were best friends when they were young. Imagine just how many people would love for us to get married – except my parents of course who think I’m far too young. This is diametrically opposed to popular Filipino thought that states my age is ‘tama’ for marriage!

I have had to explain that actually, it’s his friendship that’s most important to me. Sometimes I imagine how my life would have been if I’d grown up in Lictin (our barangay), like my mum. Would I be more like her? Travel the world? Or be married for life with three children of my own to forge intricate relationships with? I indulge myself and believe that Bebo growing up there allows me an insight into the kind of experiences that I might have had. His friends would have been mine, his adventures part of my own.

Sometimes it hits me when I’m hanging out with members of my very large extended family, drinking cheap gin. Barangay Ginebra – taga rito ka! (I always fantasise this line in the advertisements was written just for me). Whilst making kuwentohan in faltering Tagalog (I’ll save learning Bicol for next year!) I feel infinitely happy and part of something. However, they still can’t understand my reluctance to get up and sing or play guitar at the drop-of-a-hat. I’m not fully Filipina (and for the record I have neither intention nor desire of going into show business!)

Occasionally when I’m sitting quietly with my Lola who has Parkinson’s disease, we exchange smiles which convey more than we could in words (not only because of the language barrier) and I’m struck with some intangible realisation. I don’t know quite what it is, just that it happens.

Despite my delight in my Filipino family, I don’t live with them but rent a room by myself. When I first arrived I was sharing a room, and a bed , with 2 small cousins, one of whom practiced comedy tossing and turning before promptly wetting the bed on my first of many jet-lagged nights. I wasn’t allowed to travel alone and always had to await an escort. The well-meaning overprotection of my family pushed me towards a state of mind I was not yet familiar with. After three weeks I declared that I was moving out. The response? Pause… quiet … "We’ll discuss it when your mum arrives". No! We won’t! I’m just informing you! I’ve grown up independently in an individualistic society (never mind that I’ve lived away from home, in London, for 6 years!) I learned early on that I’m not ready for Filipino families just yet!

Sometimes I just love the openness and all encompassing Filipino community. People really look out for each other, helping out in difficult times. But other times, I’m so British, I don’t want kasama, I want space! I’m desperate for some privacy. Here a secret shared isÉa secret shared talaga.

A further confusion arises when I’m treated preferentially on account of being medio maputi – yet I don’t possess the self-confidence that should accompany it because my experience was growing up as a minority and knowing it. Even if racism isn’t always explicit. The understanding that a seemingly neutral comment is inherently racist partially formed my feelings of self-worth. And people here cannot understand how that could be, growing up in a racial minority where nothing is black and white (How to explain what it means to me when the same boys who would tease my brother on account of our colour would have a crush on me? Or how to explain the racism of the middle classes in which you’re okay because you are not one of them, those other foreigners?)

So then it’s even more bewildering to come to the place where my colour is rooted only to discover a different type of racism. I had always grown up feeling a spontaneous solidarity with people of colour. In our differences we are the same. Yet here there exists a strong and open racism especially in reference to the Chinese. If I pause to think for a moment I know it is no different in other countries but I just didn’t expect that to be the case. In fact issues of race are not broadly recognised, although colour certainly is. Skin whitening creams? "Be careful Nina," I have been warned, "you’re getting dark now it’s summer". But I’ve learned to love my colour now! Why would I want to be a pale imitation of myself?

How I loved it when my English girlfriends visited and embraced me with those monumental words "Nina, you’re so Filipino now". And how I loved it even more that their presence reminded me how British I am too. Whilst my accent deteriorated to an incomprehensibly broad British accent (Essex for those who know!), the longer I was with them the more Tagalog I spoke. Instead of relying on my Filipino friends, ako na lang . We were on my ‘home turf’. They had known me in my old life and understood this is equally my home. They disclosed that it was equally important for them too, to be able to see the Filipina version of Nina. Complete with her family in Catanduanes.

How to sum up? It’s all these things and more. It’s rainy season and each typhoon brings with it something new. I am always learning. I am now applying for citizenship (akala ko, staying here for one year would be long enough), and wonder how it will be for my sister who is not automatically able to because my mum was naturalised before she was born.

Today I received an email from a Filipina friend who is visiting her mother and half (English) sister in London. She told me she wished I was there so I could show her my London, where I lived, worked and thought. Then a huge part of me missed London so very badly. But I still smiled inside as I replied. Because it’s a little like my reply when I’m asked, "Sweet or savoury?" Sometimes I’m more sweet, others, savoury but mostly I prefer both. I just like food. I’m British and I’m Filipina. And I love the way that tastes.


[Note: This article used to be on Filipino Youth Network in Europe’s (FYNE)
website ( The page
isn’t there anymore but we managed to retrieve it from google’s cache.
It seemed a shame to lose it!]

The Manila Boy from Kabul

By Najib Habib, February 2002
Whenever my Filipino friends and I get together to shoot the bull about the good old days, the topic of conversation inevitably drifts to how difficult it is to adapt to the culture of the country we now find ourselves living in: the strange food, the frosty nature of the natives, racism, feeling left out, how hard it is to find decent friends etc. I know the feeling, I experienced it as a hairy, light-skinned foreign-looking kid from central Asia growing up in that great capital of the Philippines, dizzying, dirty and beautiful Manila.
I arrived in the Philippines from Afghanistan a sprightly one year old, as my father was to begin work at an international lending institution then based in Pasay city, overlooking Manila Bays striking blue water and hypnotic sunset. He had been previously an Afghan government official serving the monarchy, ten years before the soviet invasion pushed the county into a long bloody civil war. I was enrolled in the Montessori school system in a large, converted pre-war house behind my Dads office. This was in contrast to the expatriate families who usually sent their kids to US curriculum international schools. It was in that school in Pasay where I started to learn to be pinoy.
No matter what one thinks, your mother culture still has a big influence on how you think and behave, despite living in a country for a long time. At home we practised Islam, spoke Dari, the Afghan language, ate authentic Afghan food prepared by my mother and adhered to Afghan traditions, but outside the home, it was a different ballgame. In an overwhelming Catholic country where the church is hugely influential, I was considered a strange sort of fellow, with bizarre dietary restrictions (‘What? You don’t pork barbecue and lechon ? You eat Lamb? Ugh! You don’t go to church? Why?’). I wasn’t an American or European, people that my classmates could easily identify and caricature, but I did get a fair share of being called’ bumbay’, sort of a derogatory term for people of Indian extraction who smell bad in the hot climate. As a result, I made sure I was always scrupulously clean, washed and perfumed, even up to this day, which now cause my female co-workers in London to regularly complement me on my cologne, and be an object of jealousy to my less-well scrubbed male friends.
As I grew older and hit college, a realisation was growing in me that despite my refusal to be identified as Filipino (we were Afghan after all, owners of a proud and long heritage), I had picked up a host of traits that would identify me as a pinoy, more specifically a ‘batang Manila’ (Manila boy). It came to a point that I knew certain parts of the capital like the back of my hand, all short cuts, legal and illegal. I knew where to find the best arroz caldo porridge at four AM, which was usually in a small street stall that jeepney drivers frequent, whose name to drop when you were caught by the manilas finest in a traffic violation, where to find the cheapest imported shoes, etc. When I went for further studies to the University of Santo Tomas in Quiapo, my speech went from the kind of false-American sing-song English spoken in the private schools across the capital (which, when I use in London, people assume I’m from the Caribbean) to a very hard, Sampaloc accented tagalog. It came to a point that when I spoke on the phone, people would think I was Sampaloc born and bred, but when they saw me in person, treated me as a novelty (‘ Hey, look how well this foreigner speaks tagalog, say something…’). My friends would joke: ‘ He’s more pinoy than us’. Now, my chief source of pleasure when I go to Filipino gatherings in the US or Europe is to speak straight Tagalog to people I meet, leaving them stunned and amazed. ‘You must be half Filipino!’ they exclaim. No, I think, just a product of my environment.
There was no denying it. Twenty-six years of living in Manila has had an indelible impact on me. The way I speak, my sense of humour, my cultural values and attitudes, not to mention my closest friends, are Filipino. This became very much apparent when I left the Philippines and moved abroad to London, where contact with a mass of diverse people of all cultures and colours forces you into a realisation of who you are. You become an amalgam of the places you’ve been, and people you know throughout your life. Hence, in spite of the British weather I dress habitually as if I’m going for stroll across Megamall: white polo shirt with rolled up sleeves, khakis, no socks. I still get bad cravings for bulalo, calamansi juice and of course, arroz caldo with a lot of paminta, though I married an Afghan, and cook both Filipino and Afghan food at home. Its not an easy burden to carry, being a product of two cultures, but I’ll tell you one thing, I feel it great honour to have lived in Manila, and I’m proud to say I’m a Filipino by heart.


By Richard Reyes, July 2001
"One of the first things that struck me about Palawan when I first arrived was how amazingly clean and tidy it was. The drive from the airport to the capital city of Puerto Princessa you couldn’t see a single piece of rubbish on the floor, not a can, a bottle or even a cigarette butt. In fact there were no people smoking or drinking on the streets, this was only allowed in the privacy your own home, bars, or restaurants. Whatever laws that had been passed by the local Government was certainly working – Palawan is the cleanest, peaceful, law abiding Island I have ever been to in the Philippines, it is just one of the things that set it apart from anywhere else. Having been here once you are bound to come back again and again, guaranteed – already I have been to Palawan three times."
Read the full article in archives:Palawan.