MA. ISABEL ONGPIN

AMBIENT VOICES

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Talk of a legislative initiative to impose an excise tax on cars or vehicles supposedly to solve the traffic situation is worrisome for the consequences of inequality and futility that will be its real effect. Excise taxes will not prevent or stop the haves from buying a car. They have…

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After a 3,300-kilometer drive through the Zagros Mountains of Iran (ascending close to 3000 meters in parts), we descended on Isfahan, Iran’s legendary city of history, art and culture. It flourished in the 15th to 17th centuries during the Safavid Dynasty whose most prominent and influential king was Shah (Persian…

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This is my third and last week in Iran. So far with my tour group of 12, we have traveled 3,300 kilometers by bus from Yazd, where we came by plane from Tehran, crossing deserts and mountains (Zagros Mountains), passing by fields of wheat and orchards of pomegranate and figs…

COMMENTARY

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Shiraz, Iran: I am devastated to hear while I am here, away from our country, that my friend, Miriam Defensor Santiago, has gone on to meet her Maker, an event she always expected and mentioned as she lived through the turbulent personal and political chapters in her life. She never…

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I have been for more than a week traveling in Iran. I am overwhelmed by its geography, its long history and the friendliness and hospitality of the Iranian people. Truly this is the cradle of civilization as Iran has been called. Iran is a vast country bounded by many nations…

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For the next three weeks this may be a travelogue, though I do not think I will be able to meet deadlines along the way. Meanwhile, I am in Vienna enjoying the city, which I find spacious and serene. It has many open spaces, broad avenues and a huge park,…

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I think we all need to be more civil with each other and even with ourselves. The current urban situation (and perhaps the situation in the provinces too with the untrammeled and fast growth they are enduring), is enough to raise tensions and make us react precipitately, lashing out our…

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Two weeks ago we had The Readers and Writers Festival sponsored by National Book Store. The three writers who came as guests of the Festival – Adam Johnson, Paula McClain and Ann Todd – spoke of their impressions and experiences in Manila. Of course, traffic was the premiere experience. Ann…

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I said what turned out to be my last goodbye to Norma Liongoren last year before she left for Washington DC to manage our HABI: The Philippine Textile Council Exhibit/Sale to celebrate Philippine Independence Day. It was at the request of the Philippine Embassy and was a successful presentation to…

AT THE PHILIPPINE LITERARY AND WRITERS FESTIVAL

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The Philippine Literary and Writers Festival is this week. More and more Philippine authors, young and younger, are writing. Many of them are writing in English, which, despite the supposed decline of the language here is compensated for by the number of Filipino writers who are exposed to it. Many…

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