RACHEL A.G. REYES, TMT

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IN his oft-cited but rarely examined satirical sketch ‘Fray Botod’—literally ‘Friar Big Belly’—the eccentric Ilonggo journalist, orator, and propagandist Graciano López Jaena (1856-1896) vividly portrays a Spanish cleric so utterly dissipated and depraved that he exists solely to satisfy his carnal appetites. Written in Spanish in 1874, Jaena’s salacious anti-clerical…

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AFFECTION, respect and mutual concern are immediately discernible in letters between José Rizal and his beloved sisters. He brought them news of his activities and travels in Europe and they kept him in tune with the rhythms of family life. More intimately, they related to him their private health and…

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LAST week a boisterous crowd of a few hundred schoolgirls from one of Manila’s elite schools protested in the streets against extra-judicial killings. Meanwhile, around the same time, in Washington D.C., a three-man panel of professional human rights advocates were readying to do much the same thing at a US…

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IN the process of compiling dictionaries, confession manuals and codes of etiquette in the Philippines, Spanish Catholic colonial missionaries in the 17th century had to mention the aspects of indigenous sexuality they found distasteful and the sex actions they wanted to suppress. Their works, as the Filipino cultural historian Resil…

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GARY Alejano, former Marine officer turned lawmaker as a Magdalo party-list representative, is a remarkably sanguine person under some very bad circumstances. When he launched his impeachment bid against President Duterte last March, he did so knowing full well the President enjoyed a public approval rating of 82 percent and…

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IN the 1930s, George Orwell attempted to understand the working classes both in his native England and abroad. Raised and educated in an upper-class milieu, Orwell was conditioned to treat the poor with condescension and suspicion. The notes and observations he amassed of his time with laborers and proletarian families…

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MY Filipino Muslim friend from Marawi City is distraught. She has just received news through Facebook that her family’s home was bombed. Mercifully, her relatives are safe. They evacuated with thousands of other families when the fighting broke out, now almost three weeks ago. They brought with them only what…

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LAST weekend, Margaux “Mocha” Uson, whom some have come to know as the President’s chief cyber bully and purveyor of fake news, launched her own televised radio talk show on RTVM. In the short 20-minute test run to the pilot show I saw, Uson wore a tailored, pristine, white button-down…

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