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Sep 29th
Home Sections A Dialogue on the Filipino "Metas-Metas" Syndrome (Social Cancer)
A Dialogue on the Filipino "Metas-Metas" Syndrome (Social Cancer) PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 21 October 2007 08:10

From time to time, Filipino Netcitizens get to read exceptionally-good and thought-provoking exchanges. This online publication wishes to share a dialogue between Ms. Corazon Dee of the Netherlands and former University of the Philippines professor Cesar Torres, who is now based in the Bay Area, Northern California. Here goes . . .

From Ms. Corazon Dee of ERCMOVE:


I am sad reading the story about death sentencing of Dr. Noel Chua.

The past few weeks, I was sad and later on glad that ABC apologized for the incident in the TV soap opera Desperate Housewives. Thank you to the advocacy efforts of Filipinos all over the world.

Yesterday, I was with a group of Filipinas in Eindhoven here in NL where I was the invited resource person for a one day Seminar-Workshop on Effective Communications as a tool in Cultural Awareness and Building Relationships. One of the things we accomplished was to have looked at how the Dutch and
the Filipino cultures are different and how these are manifested in our societies including what kind of governments we have. Specifically, we also had a good discussion about "padala" and how this is helping relatives in The Philippines. The participants, however, expressed the aspiration that relationships will be better when a couple composed of a mixed culture marriage makes a united well-informed decision about for whom the assistance is given, what kind of priorities should be there and how long. It was also suggested that educating the relatives in the Philippines is also a must in the process of giving assistance for them to understand the financial requirements in NL.

While preparing for the seminar-workshop, I read Fr. Bulatao's Presidential Inaugural Address to the Psychological Association in the Philippines of the Philippines in 1965 (Ortigas 1990 Ateneo de Manila University Press - Group Process and the Inductive Method). I am sad that there's still much work to do
on the three desirable changes that should happen among Filipinos to be able to contribute to Nation building.

And because the same address of Fr. Bulatao, I browsed the Internet and have found the article entitled: FRACTURED COMMUNITIES: FILIPINO AMERICANS IN SAN DIEGO AND THE IMPERIAL VALLEY available at:

I have briefly looked at the conclusion and indeed it further confirms Fr. Bulatao's address in 1965!

Let's keep hoping and contributing in whatever way we can to help the Philippines in nation building -- learn from our mistakes, trust each other and respect each other not through patronage system but through a genuine democratic system where informed decisions are made based on facts and empirical studies.

Corazon Dee
Postbus 1009
3160 AE Rhoon


Here is the reply from Professor Torres:


Dear Cora,

Thanks for this e-mail. I feel sad about the sentence on Dr. Chua. Of course, he will appeal. Dr. Saucelo who practiced in Indiana had some advice for the defense of Dr. Chua. I hope this will be taken into consideration by the defense lawyers of Dr. Chua. I hope that the jury did not come up with this decision because Dr. Chua is not Caucasian. But even in America, there are so many miscarriages of justice, especially if one belongs to the colored minority.

I have not read Fr. Bulatao's study of the Fil-Am Community in San Diego and the Imperial Valley in Southern California. It should be enlightening coming from such a respected and eminent scholar as Dr. Bulatao.

Offhand, his case studies, if they are case studies, would just validate what Jose Rizal said of us Filipinos, i.e., the "Social Cancer". We had this thought also of the "Filipino Metastasizing Syndrome" which Peng has simplified into "Metas Metas", something which is easy to type and to remember. The essence of these concepts, flippant or not, is this: "When malignant cells divide and subdivide, the host dies." It seems this is relevant not only to individual human beings, but also to complex societies and nations. Look at some of the failed states of Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, now Iraq, Palestine, many in Africa. Is the Philippines headed in that direction? Look at our so-called progressive groups, even the groups of the Trapos, and even our groups devoted to God. They are the classic examples of "Metas Metas," of the metastasizing malignant cells.

At the level of the community-based organizations, at least here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I had direct experience with the Filipino American Council of San Francisco, and even the Foundation I now chair, Pamana. When people start insisting how great they are, how brilliant they are, that they are the only chosen people of God, and that they should be accorded accolades, and that we should sing Hosannas to them, then that is the beginning of the end.

Amor N. Oribello, Jr., who has devoted his life to volunteer work in the Philippines, in Asia, Oceania, and the Pacific Region, and here in Northern California, provided me with a fascinating lecture on the kind of people who SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN power, authority, and responsibility in NGOs. He may not have written a book or came out with academic treatises on volunteer work, but he can run circles around many of those who are self-proclaimed leaders among us. Amor says that the most "dysfunctional" members of any organization, are the "Me First" people, those who are oblivious to other people, those who are petulant, those who have a difficulty in understanding the position of other people. Once, the more-rational members of the organization become aware of them, they should be excised and surgically removed. Friendship or ephemeral relationships be damned.

Of course, this is easy to say. But very very very hard to do.

Cesar Torres

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