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Mar 21st
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Final Chapter: “Philippines, my Philippines, the Land of ‘WaWa We’”
Final Chapter: “Philippines, my Philippines, the Land of ‘WaWa We’” PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Saturday, 17 October 2009 07:25


It surprised the heck out of me.


Like that TV ad on a battery that keeps going and going and going, the comments and feedbacks on my “Philippines, my Philippines, ‘WaWa We’” story keep coming … and coming … and coming.


Not only from one group of people, but from different groups of people, from everywhere, from California to Florida, from Canada, from the Philippines and from the Middle East.


Majority of the comments were from Balikbayans, who have seen the Philippines up close … and their common comments were of the “EXTREME POVERTY” that they saw there.  And that each time they would visit the Philippines, “the DETERIORATION there … lalung lumalala!”


“One after the other, the country has been ruled by useless and corrupt administrations,” one fellow Balikbayan said.  And another pointed out that “after President Ferdinand Marcos fell and got run out of the country, its slow demise and slide down the gutter, began.”


“The Pearl of the Orient has become the armpit of Asia,” another one added.


I think I hit a nerve of so many Fil-Ams with these stories, that if I am going to compile all the comments, it will take several pages of this publication to fit them all in.  Heck, maybe, I’ll compile some of them in my next column.  I’ve never gotten so many comments for any of my stories I’ve written before.


Comments from Iowa


E ven my son, Chris, a broadcast journalist and an Emmy-Award nominee of KGAN, an affiliate of CBS TV station, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who usually keeps mum on my Barako stories, commented: “Pops … I liked your story.  I forwarded it to Jaclyn (Chris’s fiancé and also a broadcast journalist) and her family, and they enjoyed it, too.


“You simply reported the facts and truths about what you have observed there.  That’s what journalists do.  You can’t let your personal beliefs or biases skew the truth.  It’s like the slogan of Fox News: ‘We report, You Decide.’  I am looking forward to the next column.”


Editor’s Notes: To read the articles that the columnist has written about Chris, please click on the following hyperlinks:


More-than a Chip Off the Old Block


Jesse's Son Wins Wyoming Broadcasters' Awards 

Comments from
San Diego, CA


A nother journalist, Romy P. Marquez of San Diego, California, the editor/publisher of PhilVoice News, said: “Pareng Jesse … Thanks for the heads-up.  Masaya at malungkot yung story mo.


“As you said, so many things have changed, or have gone down the drain, among them the demise of Philippine Marines guarding Jose Rizal (his remains mainly buried underneath the monument; well, JR is now a security guard at Seafood City supermarket here) …


“One good thing though is your namesake Kapeng Barako which, happily, they still serve there.  I would have done the same thing you did – gulp the brew cup after cup until the caffeine gives you a high.  Well, mabuti hindi ka nalasing!


“How could our people betray our very own Kapeng Barako for Starbucks?  That would be a good story.


“I like the first part of your story as much as this second.  Very informative, revealing and, as they say in journalism lingo, straight from the shoulder.  Best regards.”


So, now, where was I?  Where did I stop in my last column?  I think I was in Tagaytay, at the Taal Vista Lodge, looking at those beautiful God-made mountains and gulping cups of Kapeng Barako.


Yes, it was so beautiful up there, and so clean and the air so fresh and the quietness of the mountains so calming.


TAGATAY HIGHLANDS: While there, a tall, pleasant-looking young man approached us and offered us a free tour of Tagaytay Highlands, a new real-estate development of “condos” up there in the sky of Tagaytay.  Curious to see what this young man has to sell, we went with him in a van.


Through winding narrow roads, we rode.  Then, passed a gate guarded by armed guards, we followed more winding, narrow, manicured, rolling roads all the way to the inner sanctum of this development.


And I tell ya, what I saw took my breadth away.  It was like a dream.  It was like entering paradise. He showed us a model unit and I went straight to the patio and what I saw before me was “God’s Little Acre.”  And if only I had then the million of pesos that was required to make a down payment on one of the condos there, I would have done it. 


I wanted a piece of that acre and lived the rest of my life there.  I think I am going to …


Leaving that place to go back to Manila was like waking up from a beautiful dream into a horrible real-life nightmare. On the way back to Manila, we passed through Imus and Bacoor … the pollution, the gutted roads, the holes in the roads, the chaos and the madness in those two towns, well, was like HELL!  I looked around me.  I did not see any trees or any plants growing.  They all have perished from the pollution and from the thick layers of dust and from the stench of the trash and garbage that littered the road.


Grabe talaga …


Sen. Bong Revilla, a former action movie star, who championed in the halls of Philippine Congress the two PORNO women of the famed Kho-Halili/Kho-Maricas Reyes triple-x films … hindi ba taga Cavite ‘to?  Instead championing porno women and reviewing their performances on films, he should be championing for the infrastructure of Cavite and fixing those roads.

E ditor’s Notes: To read more of Jesse Jose’s take on Senator Revilla and the Dr. Kho porno films, please click on this link, Why Do Filipinos Talk About the Kho-Halili Sex Video Instead of Foreign Pedophiles, the “Abortion Doctors” and the Arroyo Corruption Scandals?

With relatives tagging along, children and all, we went to Subic Bay, Zambales.  Not bad.  That former U.S. Naval Station that has become a Freeport Center seemed to be well-maintained, flourishing and thriving. Instead of people, we saw a lot of wild monkeys crossing the winding roads. That was interesting. There were trees and plants everywhere and very green.


A few miles from there, we went to a zoo as a treat for the children, and then we headed down to the beaches.  Entry to the beaches has been walled in and has become private commercial properties owned mostly by Koreans … and so we had to pay to get in, to the beaches.  When I was in the U.S. Navy, stationed at the naval base there, those beaches used to be free and opened to the public.  Now, they are owned by frigging Koreans …


The Chinese own the mushrooming malls; the Japanese, the five-star hotels; the Americans, most of the resort areas … whereas the Filipinos in their own native land, own the small little stinking shacks that litter everywhere … that seems to be the picture I get there …  So sad, indeed.


HAPPY MOMENTS WITH RELATIVES: Though it was sad for me to see the Motherland in such a sorry state, I had wonderful, happy moments seeing my brother, Soc, and his beautiful family.  And I told him that.  I also told him that I love him, “kahit paminsan-minsan lang kitang nakikita.”  Together, we visited Itay’s burial plot at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Novaliches.  We uttered a prayer for Itay and told Itay that we were just dropping by.  We left him a bouquet of flowers and two burning candles.  I think Itay would have preferred a bottle of Ginebra.   


I had fun talking with the nieces of my wife, the sisters, Khela and Joy.  I had a wonderful time with Corey, who became our tour guide, and her son, Josan. And Corey’s kasambahay, Aning, and Rio, the master cook of pinakbet.  It was good to see Minda and her son, Ogie Boy, and his children, Patricia and Tim Boy.  And Minda’s 13-year-old adopted son, Gelo. 


And … Protacio, my “partner in crime” here in Seattle, who went “home” there years ago and stayed.  He looked mighty fine.  Hiyang sa kanya ang Pilipinas.    


It was also good to see Mycel, who is so grown-up now … and the old folks, Kuya Dads, Ate Meng, Ate Chit and Kuya Jun. 


And, of course, Bianca, who was the reason for our trip to this “Land of ‘WaWa We’, Philippines, my Philippines.”  That’s all.  JJ  # # #


Editor’s Notes: To read the first two parts of this series, please click on the following hyperlinks:


Philippines, my Philippines, the Land of “Wawa We”


Philippines, my Philippines . . . the Land of “WaWa We” (Part II)


Newer news items:
Older news items:

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 October 2009 08:05
Comments (5)
1 Saturday, 17 October 2009 22:33
Hey! pls. spell my nickname as "CORREE"

thanks ,see you next year!

2 Monday, 19 October 2009 05:29
After reading (Parts I & II), I thought that what JJ wrote about his PI trip experience was sad but unfortunately true.

We've been back (currently studying at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, where Pastor "Bot" Samson taught) for over two years now. Christine will be graduating in 2010 with a Master in Christian Education. Our Lord brought us back to do ministry here, but what exactly, we're not sure yet (although there are several possibilities).

When we came back in 2007, we realized a lot of cosmetic changes in Metro Manila (one of which is the railway system), and of course, not to mention the SM Malls that sprouted all over the country (and more to be built). The city's look may have changed but people's sentiments toward each other have not.

It made me realize that Filipinos are truly a consumer society. They'll get any "new" gadget they can grab, legally or illegally (especially computer softwares and A/V computer files). What is sad is that they can find within themselves a way to justify their illegal actions. What is even more sad is that even Christians (evangelicals) do and think the same way! The bad environment that your reporter friend saw is indicative of people's mindset, which is really not surprising to me. It is like before I left over 27 years ago and it's still the same mindset today compounded by the growth in population.

Both the government and the media are doing very poorly in educating the masses. But I'll start with the media in paving a way for a solution. If I have the funding to create a news media, I'll focus the reporting on ordinary people (educating the people about themselves). Almost all TV shows you could watch are about politicians, noontime variety shows, dramas and sitcoms. It feeds their consumeristic appetite. Even with the catastrophe we just experienced, you've seen a lot of video reporting of what happened to people's lives, but you rarely see interviews of people about people (what they feel about their situation, how they're coping, how they're taking the problem, etc.). We're materialist then, we're even more materialistic now. Unfortunately, I'm just an ordinary "Juan" (even though I came from the States) to be able to do anything productive that will make a big impact on people's mind and life.

The only thing I can really do is obey the Lord. Whatever resources He has given me to accomplish His will in my life, I'll use them fully for His glory.

Praising our LORD always,
Gerry Escobar
3 Monday, 19 October 2009 05:30
Let me summarize. Our people are our own worst enemies. Overseas Filipinos can only
be a temporary solution. I agree population control is the answeer. There are too many children in Manila, who are living in the streets.
On the Overseas Filipinos, a certain percentage of them will stay in their host countries,
you and I are and example.

4 Monday, 19 October 2009 05:32
Our Patria Adorada should be renamed Teatro del Absurdo, a country
which defies understanding, explanation - and this point undeserving of
this old man's empathetic concern.

The last time Joni and I visited the Philippines, we were forced to wait for
hours for our baggages at the arrival lobby because the carousel's conveyor
belt was non-functioning. The returning locals from the same plane we dis-
embarked from sat listlessly around for a while and then slowly transformed
into a yabbering jolly mass. For hours, Filipinos of all ages were in hysteria
of laughter and hoots over what was happening -or what was NOT happening -
while young men cavort up and down the inclined conveyor that led to the
bottom floor, some coming up with baggages that were stranded there.

A group of men then took matters in their hands and formed a chain heading
below and recovered our baggages themselves to the rip roaring delight
of passengers. Joni whispered to me, "Where is the outrage? Why is it that
there were no airport officials to give their passenger the courtesy of public
explanation and apology?"

When we finally made it outside the terminal, we found ourselves lost in a sea
of greeters, beggars, taxi and jeepney drivers and garland vendors hawking
their wares and services. The scene was of total chaos that I told Joni and the
kids to hang tightly onto their bags and packs.

Fast forward to the time when Joni and I went to Manila to meet with a friend.
On the way back, we stopped by a four star hotel for a snack in its famous
restaurant. We were immediately seated, with one of the waiters saying,
natsambahan mo 'yan - referring to Joni. After a few minutes, one of the waiters
came over to our table and said that a relative of mine was on the phone and
would like to talk to my wife.

Joni came back and asked me if I have $250 cash with me. I asked her what for, to
which she replied she wanted to borrow it from me. I insisted to know why, and finally
she said that a relative of mine was in an accident not too far from the hotel restaurant
we were eating and that he needed bail money. According to her, my alleged relative
was too shy to ask m directly. She was to meet him outside the restaurant to hand
the money to him.

Need I say more?

5 Monday, 19 October 2009 05:34
So true, so true. unbelievably true. despite all these, nothing is being done, no changes being made anywhere. so I keep on with my prayers and count my blessings. regards. cora

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