Tuesday, November 14, 2006

blog from the insomniac in Manila...


I am also up - it's now 5:20am here. my internal clock is a bit wacked out, so I got desperately tired around 830pm last night and woke up around 4:00am. I just read Ted's blog entry and I'm going to try not to repeat his observations and tales.

When I landed at the Manila airport, my flight was greeted by a number of Filipino men who greeted us with "hello" and "how are you". It seems like they are mandated to do this as part of their jobs. Then, as we were walking towards the customs agents, we were serenaded by a full four piece band.

I thought to myself, what a telling picture of the irrationality of imperialism - here, in a nation where so many suffer from hunger - where the majority live in poverty - where health care services are desperately needed - these men spend all day long greeting foreigners from the north? Playing the same song over and over for tourists passing down a hallway?

As I passed through customs, I made the mistake of telling the customs agent that I was bringing in medical supplies (which were collected by PWC - Montreal and Vancouver I believe?). He was very concerned about this, and questioned me for several minutes. He was concerned that I was going to give them to "indigent people". I assured him that of course I would not distribute medical supplies to poor people (what an appalling idea!) and he let me go.

Yesterday we visited with the Batasan Five and went to KMU. If any BRU folks are reading this, take note - KMU has a whole office just for cultural workers! It is a very exciting office, full of beautiful and militant paintings and posters. Ka Bong told us that they take a lot of inspiration from the Indian union movement which has a very strong cultural tradition as well. He also told us that they attend a competition once a year where cultural union workers from all over the world compete!

We also watched the Congress in (in)action. Out of a total of 235 congresspeople, only about 20 showed up! The first item on the agenda was a 30 minute discussion about the value of billboards to the Philippines economy. I am told that a number of billboards fell down in the recent storms, crushing and killing many people. The billboard representatives felt unfairly blamed for this - after all (according to them) - the billboards didn't kill people, it was the storm!

After the billboard celebration, Congresswoman Eta Rosales rose to ask Congress to grant Ka Bel a one day leave to celebrate his upcoming 50 year anniversary with his wife. Then, Congress decided to take a break, and no one responded to her motion.

Tomorrow we will be off to the regions. I am going to Southern Tagalog.

That's all for now.



Post a Comment

<< Home