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The Philippines: Singular and Plural

Today is the anniversary of the final day of the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

And since I've been reading too many Philippine history books lately—even though I'm not doing my PhD on Philippine history—I thought I'd share two of the best paragraphs written about the Philippines by non-Filipino historians.

The first, from David Joel Steinberg's The Philippines: A Singular and a Plural Place, reminded me of "The Philippines are or is?" and is probably the best description I have ever read of the Philippines:

The Philippines is a singular and plural noun. The name Philippines refers both to an island archipelago and to a country of over 75 million people. It identifies a unified nation with a single people, the Filipinos, and also a highly fragmented, plural society divided between Muslims and Christians, peasants and city dwellers, uplanders and lowlanders, rich and poor, and between the people of one ethnic, linguistic, or geographic region and those of another. To understand the Philippines, one must understand the conflict between the centripetal force of consensus and national identity and the centrifugal force of division and instability (4th ed., 2000, p. xiii).
The second, from Stanley Karnow's In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines, makes a very important point usually forgotten amid all the political and personal "issues" that plague Philippine society:
Filipinos readily accepted American styles and institutions. They learned to behave, dress and eat like Americans, sing American songs and speak Americanized English. Their lawyers familiarized themselves with American jurisprudence, and their politicians absorbed American democratic procedures, displaying unique skills in American parliamentary practices. But they never became the Americans that Americans sought to make them. To this day, they are trying to define their national identity (1989, p. 198).
While some will probably argue that the authors are guilty of oversimplifying, it cannot be denied that there is a lot of truth in what they write. Ours is, in fact, a nation divided. We have an official national language that nobody really speaks (see "Buwan ng Wika 2007"), and students are forced to memorize countless "national" odds and ends (e.g., national bird, national tree), but what is it exactly that makes inhabitants of the Philippines truly Filipino? I would say that my identity as a Filipino lies in the numerous political, religious, and cultural influences that have shaped our history. Then again, I'm sure many other Filipinos will disagree.


Filipino Librarian is Three Years Old!

Three years ago, I wrote that, "I am not really a blogger but I thought of setting up this blog as a way of establishing a presence for Filipino librarians on the Internet." Well, I've since become a real blogger (one symptom: feeling guilty if I don't blog) that now I always identify myself as the owner of the blog Filipino Librarian whenever I am asked for a short bio—in addition to saying that I am a Filipino librarian.

During past anniversaries, I have reviewed the "accomplishments" of this blog, but this time I will just take comfort in the fact that many more librarians and libraries are blogging than when I first started, and invite you to comment on the changes I finally got around to making. Perhaps the most noticeable will be the fact that I've decided to stop hiding behind the Philippine flag, and use my photo as a way to let people know that not all librarians are female, wear glasses and... have hair =)

By the way, this blog's design is still a work in progress. In the next few days, I hope to return all the bells and whistles that this blog used to have—especially the ones that I think are worth keeping.

For an overview of this blog's "journey" to its third anniversary, check out the following posts:

Mabuhay! (first post in 2005)
Six Months!
Filipino Librarian is One Year Old!
Filipino Librarian is Two Years Old!


Singles' Awareness Day

The poster above by Alan V may be dated, but I say it's timeless. It used to be that I was just a member of Samahan ng Atenistang Walang Iniibig (SAWI), but now I think it's so much more comforting that there's actually an official Singles' Awareness Day (SAD).

For more information, see the "official" Singles' Awareness website and the Singles Awareness Day entry on Wikipedia. If you would like to celebrate it yourself, you may wish to attend some of the seminars listed below (based on another blogger's list):

1. The Basics of Cross-Stitching
2. Advanced Cross-Stitching (Single Since Birth Only)
3. Speed-Dating for Dummies
4. Surviving Weddings and Other Family Gatherings
I don't really know where I'll be on February 14, but I don't think I'll be blogging. So advanced Happy SAD! =)


FO: Plays

Thanks to a comment left by Aurelio, I thought of looking for plays that are available online. The works listed below are available in their entirety on The United States and its Territories (USIT), Literatura and Pantas.

The following are some of the plays found on USIT (click on the link to see the rest). These were published between 1904 and 1938 in Tagalog, Cebuano and Hiligaynon. I don't know how good these plays are or how many people watched them, but I think that the fact that a publisher actually thought they were worth printing says something about their quality and/or popularity. I don't think many plays in Philippine languages ever make it into print nowadays, but I'd be very happy if someone can prove me wrong. Leave a comment =)

Ang kagawasan

Pagcabunyi nang mahal na Sta. Cruz

Ang basa-basa

Ang Katipunan


Ang gugma sang maluib

Kasingkasing sa babaye



Ang dila sa babaye

The Palanca Award-winning one-act plays listed below, in contrast to the USIT plays, are the only ones on Literatura with their full text available online. Excerpts of other plays—including the authors' email addresses—may also be found in Literatura 8, 10, 12 and 13. Please note that permission from the authors must be obtained before any of the plays listed below are performed.

The Kite of Stars

First Snow of November

Her Father’s House

Two more plays are available as PDF fles on Pantas:

The Condemned

Sanggunian ng mga Dios-Diosan


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