Hell Breaks Loose in Marawi

“Here are excerpts from a most engaging book on the 2017 siege.” The following are excerpts from the book by Carmela S. Fonbuena “Marawi Siege: Stories from the Frontlines” chronicling the battle for the City of Marawi that involved the largest military operation of the Philippine Armed Forces in recent memory. The book weaves the events …

When Marawi Becomes a Frontline

“What better way to convey the complexity to us than through stories?” This is the first of several columns on the book Marawi Siege: Stories from the Front Lines by Carmela S. Fonbuena. It is a riveting and comprehensive account of the siege of Marawi in May 2017. I encourage my readers to get the …

I Believe in America Again

“There are things I might not have liked about the USA but I love it at its core.” Like most baby boomers, I have a love-hate relationship with the United States of America .American English is my second language, after the Cagayan de Oro version of Bisaya, and to this day I can write better …

Bearers of Hope

“2020 was a tough year but I am still grateful for its gifts. 2021 will be a better year.“ In my Saturday column, I quoted Pope Francis saying that thanksgiving was a hallmark of an authentic Christian life: “Above all, let us not forget to thank: If we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself …

A Pandemic Year

“We need to inoculate ourselves with a generous dose of hope in humanity and faith in the Creator.” Throughout human history, there have been many calamitous events that have seen a multitude of deaths and widespread destruction. These may be caused by a variety of causes such as cataclysmic natural phenomena, armed conflict, or some …

Christmas 1942 and 2020

This is the promise of Christmas. War ends. Injustice is not forever. Love wins. Our experience with today’s pandemic can best be compared to the experience of our parents and/or our grandparents when World War 2 came to our islands in December 1942. That was when the Japanese invaded our islands. Fr Roque Ferriols SJ, in …

Heroic Acts, Then and Now

Yesterday, being Bonifacio Day in the Philippines, I reflected on what it means to be a hero in the past and in our times. Philosophers from the early Greek thinkers to modern philosophers like Hegel and existentialists like Camus certainly had different views on what acts and what qualities make people heroes. Kenda Cherry, in her article The Characteristics of …

An Exciting Time for Social Entrepreneurs

In my previous article, I talked about Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global organization that has built the first and largest network of social entrepreneurs and innovators tackling complex problems and changing broken systems. Through its Fellowship, it has recognized and supported close to 4,000 of these social entrepreneurs and innovators in over 90 …

Welcoming the new Ashoka Fellows

Co-authored with Jose Luis Pablo. The following is Part 2 of a two-part series. You can read Part 1 here. In Part 1 of this article, we introduced the Ashoka Fellowship and the 9 previously inducted Fellows in the Philippines who are transforming systems in society to solve complex problems.  But what does it take to …

We Need Changemakers More Than Ever

Co-Authored with Jose Luis Pablo. The following is Part 1 of a two-part series. You can read Part 2 here. In human history, inequality has created borders between marginalized people and basic human rights, opportunities, and agency over their own lives. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has amplified these existing inequalities while putting up new barriers. Community …