Philippine President Elect Rodrigo Duterte — An Exciting, Disturbing, Contradictory Agent of Change

I have to confess, I’m struggling to figure out how I feel about the new President Elect of the Philippines, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.  Western Media is calling him the “Trump of Asia” but that comparison only applies to his outspoken and sometimes outrageous statements.  But the similarites end there.  Duterte is a lawyer, a prosecutor, and

Controversy over Indigenous Lumads Tests Power of Social Media and Resolve of #AlDub Nation

The  headline in the Philippine Daily Inquirer read: ‘Yaya Dub’ misguided in support for ‘lumad,’ says military exec.  The article then goes on to quote Brigadier General Joey Kakilala, who is the commander of the Civil Relations Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as saying of Mendoza and others:   “‘Yung social media support

Two Years On, Thousands of Haiyan (Yolanda) Survivors Protest Slow Pace of Recovery

On the eve of the second anniversary of super typhoon Haiyan’s devastation of the central Philippines, thousands of survivors walked  along a highway in Tacloban City from Leyte and Samar provinces. Many carried placards protesting the pace of reconstruction efforts. “It will be the second year anniversary of Yolanda (Haiyan), but many of them have not

Maine Mendoza is More Searched than Yaya Dub — Google

For me there was never any doubt — Maine Mendoza fascinated me as a self-made internet star whose dubsmash genius includes not only what she does in front of the camera — but what she does with the camera as well. I was fascinated by all the characters; by her fearless willingness to present herself

More International Recognition for #AlDub Phenomenon — Straits Times

In one of the better intentational articles about the #AlDub phenomenon in the Philippines, the Singapore Straits Times headlines  “Old Style Love Story has Modern Philippines in a Tizzy.” .  The high point of the article includes some excellent observations: Sociologists and marketers are now poring over this pop culture phenomenon to find out what makes

Heneral Luna Reviewed in the New York Times

Jerrold Tarog’s epic historical film Heneral Luna, which will represent the Philippines in the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film Category, has been reviewed in the New York Times by Ken Jaworski. The review is mixed but ultimately favorable. Here it is: I’m only a little embarrassed at liking “Heneral Luna,” an audaciously manipulative movie that’s

More International Recognition for AlDub — Bloomberg News Video

The latest international media outlet to pick up the story the Philippine #AlDub phenomenon is Bloomberg News. As international coverage goes, this is NOT the most exciting coverage I’ve seen. (That would be an understatement.) But the mere fact of its existence is another indicator that the Philippine phenomenon is rising to the level of

Great Rizal Collage Art by Jeff Huntington

Kudos to Fil-American artists Jeff Huntington for his beautiful Jose Rizal collage. Ironically — the best place to view this particular piece is on a eToday, a Russian website, where he is identified as a “45-year-old contemporary artist with a special recognizable style. Jeff loves Italian food and comfortable shoes …” You can see his

U.S. Embassy Staffers Ride the Pabebe Wave

As some of you know, I served at the U.S. Embassy in Manila from 1986-1989. Have to say I’m tickled to see the Embassy getting into the act and joining in the #AlDub fun. They posted this video of staffers doing pabebe waves and have gotten 210,000 shares on FB. Good for them. A little lightness

BBC Comes Out With a Long Article About the “AlDub Phenomenon”

More evidence that “AlDub” is making waves internationally — the venerable BBC has just published a lengthy article entitled: ‘AlDub’: A social media phenomenon about love and lip-synching Here’s what it says: It is a surreal and wildly popular show which has smashed global social media records. But few outside the Philippines have even heard

Beginnings — by Lorena Llevado Sellers

My father is a quiet, hard man whose main work for half a century has been to paddle out to sea in a small boat and catch blue marlin, sailfish, and other great and small fish. Even today, at eighty, he is lean and hard-muscled with clear eyes and an erect, proud posture. A few

AlDub Nation and the Spirit of Bayanihan

When I wrote What the World Should Learn From the AlDub Phenomenon I felt like I was talking to a community of people who have a great capacity for love, for empathy, and for goodnatured joy.  And then, as I’ve read the comments coming in, that feeling has been reinforced hundreds of times.  People who are moved to

Warriors of Samar

Warriors of Samar is also available via Amazon at this link — but as with Daughters of Samar, we decided to make it available to read online so if you go to Warriors of Samar, you can read it there. It’s the story of the Balangiga Encounter, told exactly as it happened,  and it attempts

What The World Can Learn from the AlDub Phenomenon

True confession time. I’ll admit it. I’ve just spent a joyous, kilig-filled weekend watching the inspired silliness (but is it really silly?) of the Filipino “AlDub” love team — Alden Richards and “Yaya Dub” Maine Mendoza — as they garnered a new Guiness World Record 41 million tweets, also filling a 55,000 seat stadium for ….

The Balangiga Massacre: 114 Years Ago Today

For Filipinos, the  Balangiga Massacre (or Uprising, or Encounter, take your pick) on September 28, 1901, was a heroic explosion of pent-up resentment; a repudiation of a hated foreign occupier, perhaps even an assertion of nationhood. In America, it was perceived as a shattering, out-of-the-blue assault on an unsuspecting U.S. Army unit that was “peacefully occupying” the port town

Eviction Threat Looms For Homeless Haiyan Victims

by Ronald Reyes, Tacloban City, June 10:  Things are piling up, literally, inside the makeshift shelter of Jerico Dulosa, 44, a father of four children in Palo town, Leyte province. “Eighteen months have passed since Haiyan hit us, and we are still like this,” he told, referring to a powerful typhoon that struck the