Supertyphoon Hagibis gives new wind to Philippine disco band

MANILA (Reuters) – For a four-decade-old Philippine disco band, the namesake supertyphoon bearing down on Japan has brought a sudden rush of interest in its macho act.

Sonny Parsons (R), leader of Filipino boyband Hagibis, poses for a photo with fans at a fastfood restaurant in Manila, Philippines October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jerome Morales

Known as the Philippines’ “Village People”, all-male band Hagibis has been going since 1979. While some members have changed over time, it has retained its act featuring tight black trousers, leather jackets, open shirts, shades, moustaches and suggestive dance moves.

“Hagibis is getting indirect publicity worldwide,” said 61-year-old Jose Parsons Nabiula, who goes by his stage name Sonny Parsons and has been with the band since the start.

“It reminded everybody of my group’s existence… Some people are making fun of it, some people are very serious.”

Typhoon Hagibis is due to make landfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday as the most powerful storm to hit the capital in six decades.

Google Trends showed that search interest had spiked this week in Hagibis the band as well as the typhoon.

Hagibis means speed and strength in the Philippine language Tagalog.

Tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific Ocean are given their identity in sequence based on names provided by 14 regional countries.

People had been joking about the vigor of Typhoon Hagibis and comparing that to the band, Parsons said.

Parsons said he hoped the inquiries and feelers pouring in for Hagibis would translate into bookings for a band that currently performs around twice in a month in the Manila area.

A former elected official, he now also juggles his performances with film-making and a construction business.

“Maybe after a month or two I will be expecting a lot of concert offers,” Parsons said.

Typhoon Hagibis looks on track to hit Japan a month after another destructive typhoon and Parsons said he was worried about the damage.

“I hope that Hagibis storm’s show happens in the middle of the sea,” Parsons said. “Definitely, people will absorb the wrath of typhoon Hagibis and I feel bad about it.”

Hagibis is best known for its members’ macho image and songs extolling the beauty of women. The group’s hit songs include “Katawan” (Body), “Legs” and “Babae” (Woman).

While the storm did not enter the Philippine territory, its extension brought scattered rain showers and thunderstorms in central and southern parts of the Southeast Asian nation.

Sonny Parsons (C), leader of Filipino boyband Hagibis, poses for a photo with fans at a fastfood restaurant in Manila, Philippines October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jerome Morales

Hagibis had used its renewed fame to warn Filipinos in Japan ahead of the storm’s landfall, Parsons said.

He hoped the band would get the chance to go to Japan after the typhoon.

“We will undo the sorrow and depression people experience,” Parsons said. “If the singing group will have a chance to go to Japan, we will help you forget the typhoon.”

Editing by Matthew Tostevin & Shri Navaratnam

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Stop bugging him: Philippine leader brushes off finger-sized pest

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seemed unfazed when a finger-sized cockroach scrambled onto his shoulder as he spoke at a campaign rally on Wednesday night.

Duterte, 74, was endorsing Senate candidates at the event in central Bohol province when the insect ran up his left shoulder, video footage showed.

A female aide hurried forward to flick the bug off, but it ran down the front of the president’s shirt. Alerted by his anxious aide, Duterte swatted the roach away.

He then stomped on the floor and joked that the insect may have been planted by the main opposition Liberal party.

“It’s Liberal! That’s for sure,” Duterte said to laughter from the crowd.

Duterte then continued with the rest of his two-hour speech.

Reporting by Ronn Bautista, Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Darren Schuettler

Reuters: Oddly Enough

No money down the drain for Philippine sanitation workers

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines sanitation workers unblocking a drain discovered dozens of wallets had been clogging it up, some containing credit cards and IDs, but no money.

Sanitation workers sort out credit cards and IDs after retrieving wallets from a drain, after local media reported that a stash of wallets were clogging a canal in Poblacion, Batangas City, Philippines October 16, 2018, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. Domav Panganiban/via REUTERS

A man working near the scene shot video footage showing the workers in a village in Batangas city, south of the capital Manila, sorting through wallets and removing and laying out items including identity cards found in them.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Police officer Mario David, who went to investigate what he suspected were stolen items, said many of the wallets were pulled out from deep in the drain, meaning they had been there for a long time.

None of them contained any money.

The items were turned over to police so they could identify and alert the owners who were likely victims of pickpockets, David said.

Reporting and Writing by Karen Lema and Nur-Azna Sanusi; Editing by Karishma Singh

Reuters: Oddly Enough

No more pain for Philippine devotee nailed to cross for 32nd time

CUTUD, Philippines (Reuters) – A Philippine man who has been nailed to a cross every Easter for the past 32 years in a Good Friday re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion says he no longer feels any pain from his wounds.

Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain after being nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Ruben Enaje, 58, again portrayed Christ on Friday in the traditional religious rite in Cutud village, about 76 km (47 miles) from the capital Manila.

“In the past, I went home injured and limping, but this year I feel so great,” Enaje said after the ritual held under a sweltering sun.

He said he believed his strong Catholic faith helped him avoid pain.

Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, lies on the ground as residents in the role of Centurions looks on during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

“I feel like he is telling me ‘go ahead, keep it up’,” he said, referring to God.

Easter is a festival marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

Slideshow (2 Images)

About 80 percent of the 105 million people in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, are Catholic.

Enaje said he felt strong enough to perform in two or three more crucifixions, until he turns 60.

Enaje was among three devotees nailed to wooden crosses in the village on Friday, including a woman taking part for the seventh time.

Actors wearing Roman soldier costumes attached the devotees to crosses by hammering two-inch nails soaked in alcohol through their hands and feet and hoisted them up in a field packed with domestic and foreign tourists.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines tolerates the ritual but says it does not support such gory displays of devotion, describing them as a “misinterpretation of faith”.

Many Catholics in the Philippines perform religious acts of penance during the Holy Week at Easter as a form of worship and supplication.

Some believe penance cleanses sins, cures illnesses and even leads to wishes coming true.

Reporting by Ronn Bautista; Writing by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Robert Birsel

Reuters: Oddly Enough

The Philippine Paradox: An Interview with Senator Risa Hontiveros

In the constant, daily laboured birth of the global cannabis industry, there is no greater paradox than the Philippines. On one hand, you have incredible tragedy: the thousands of deaths that have been encouraged by President Duterte in his terrifying war on drugs. On the other hand, members of the government are calling for calm and […]
Marijuana

Please can we have our bells back? ravaged Philippine town asks U.S.

A view of the inside of St. Lawrence The Martyr Parish Church in the coastal Philippine town of Balangiga devastated by super typhoon Haiyan, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – In the devastated coastal Philippine town of Balangiga, a Roman Catholic belfry with a maroon steeple rises from the rubble, a battered symbol of resistance for a people with mixed feelings about the U.S. military now helping them survive.

After one of the world’s most powerful typhoons roared across the central Philippines and killed more than 4,000 people, U.S. military helicopters are flying in aid to desperate regions such as this once-picturesque fishing village of 12,600 people in ravaged Samar province.

It was here 112 years ago that one of the darkest chapters of American colonialism began: the island-wide massacre by U.S. soldiers of thousands of Filipinos, including women and children, in response to the killing of 48 U.S. soldiers by rebels.

Animosity has festered for more than a century over the ultimate insult: seizure of the town’s church bells by U.S. troops. In recent years, the Philippine government has demanded their return.

Marciano Deladia, a chief aide to the mayor, and other residents are thankful for the U.S. packets of rice and other food. “But we want our bells back,” he said.

The town built the belfry in 1998 in the hope that the United States would return three bells it says were stolen as trophies during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War. One is believed to have been rung to signal the start of the attack.

Two of the bells are at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The third is part of a travelling museum now at a base in South Korea.

“HISTORICAL HERITAGE”

The dispute over the Balangiga bells underscores the difficulty the United States will face in transforming goodwill over its aid to typhoon victims into a bigger military presence on the ground in the Philippines.

Although the two countries are close allies, mistrust still lingers over America’s previous role as colonial master, as well as its longtime support for the brutal and kleptocratic regime of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The belfry is among just a few buildings still intact after Super Typhoon Haiyan killed 14 people in Balangiga, where a well-organized evacuation plan kept fatalities low.

“We don’t have any animosity against the American people,” said Deladia, standing in front of a monument recreating the ambush of U.S. troops. But the bells, he said, are “part of our historical heritage”.

Every September 28 the town re-enacts the 1901 Balangiga “incident” in which 48 occupying U.S. soldiers died in an ambush at the old church that triggered the brutal retaliation.

The dispute reflects America’s long ties to the Philippines, which declared independence from Spain in 1898 with the help of U.S. forces. When the United States went on to colonize the country, a war of independence erupted.

As the United States expands its military and economic interests in Asia to counter a rising China, fewer countries are more strategically important than the Philippines and its string of islands in the busy South China Sea.

Gregoria Pabillo, 76, said replacement bells, which are rung every day at noon and 6 p.m., lack the “rich sound” of the originals, which according to legend could be heard two towns over, some 20 km (12 miles) away.

An official at St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish Church, which stands on the site of the 1901 ambush, said retrieving the bells was important for a full accounting of the past.

“Some people say ‘what’s the big deal with the bells?’ To that I say: why is it such a big deal that you have to keep the bells?” said Fe Campanero, a secretary at the church.

But even if the United States wanted to return the bells, it seems it is restricted by law, at least for the next few years.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a Pentagon spokesman, said the bells and “other memorial artifacts” were subject to legislation prohibiting their return.

“Specifically, the law is: Prohibition on Return of Veterans’ Memorial Objects without Specific Authorization in Law,” he said. The section on the bells expires in 2017. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen then.

For many in the town, an uncertain future is their only concern.

“Whether or not the bells are returned doesn’t matter to me,” said Raymond Balais, 42, whose home was destroyed in the storm.

“We just had a disaster. I don’t know what to think.”

(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Jason Szep)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Please can we have our bells back? Philippine quake town asks U.S

(Reuters) – In the devastated coastal Philippine town of Balangiga, a Roman Catholic belfry with a maroon steeple rises from the rubble, a battered symbol of resistance for a people with mixed feelings about the U.S. military now helping them survive.

After one of the world’s most powerful typhoons roared across the central Philippines and killed more than 4,000 people, U.S. military helicopters are flying in aid to desperate regions such as this once-picturesque fishing village of 12,600 people in ravaged Samar province.

It was here 112 years ago that one of the darkest chapters of American colonialism began: the island-wide massacre by U.S. soldiers of thousands of Filipinos, including women and children, in response to the killing of 48 U.S. soldiers by rebels.

After months of bloodshed, animosity has festered for more than a century over the ultimate insult: seizure of the town’s church bells by U.S. troops. In recent years, the Philippine government has demanded their return.

Marciano Deladia, a chief aide to the mayor, and other residents are thankful for the U.S. packets of rice and other food. “But we want our bells back,” he said.

The town built the belfry in 1998 in the hope that the United States would return three bells it says were stolen as trophies during the 1899-1902 Philippine-American War. One is believed to have been rung to signal the start of the attack.

Two of the bells are at the Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The third is part of a travelling museum now at a base in South Korea.

“HISTORICAL HERITAGE”

The dispute over the Balangiga bells underscores the difficulty the United States will face in transforming goodwill over its aid to typhoon victims into a bigger military presence on the ground in the Philippines.

Although the two countries are close allies, mistrust still lingers over America’s previous role as the Philippines’ colonial master, as well as its longtime support for the brutal and kleptocratic regime of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The belfry is among just a few buildings still intact after Super Typhoon Haiyan killed 14 people in Balangiga, where a well-organized evacuation plan kept fatalities low.

“We don’t have any animosity against the American people,” said Deladia, standing in front of a monument recreating the ambush of U.S. troops. But the bells, he said, are “part of our historical heritage”.

Every September 28 the town re-enacts the 1901 Balangiga “incident” in which 48 occupying U.S. soldiers died in an ambush at the old church that triggered retaliation in which U.S. forces razed homes and killed thousands.

The dispute reflects America’s long ties to the Philippines, which declared independence from Spain in 1898 with the help of U.S. forces. When the United States went on to colonize the country, a war of independence erupted.

As the United States expands its military and economic interests in Asia to counter a rising China, fewer countries are more strategically important than the Philippines and its string of islands in the busy South China Sea.

Gregoria Pabillo, 76, said replacement bells, which are rung every day at noon and 6 p.m., lack the “rich sound” of the originals, which according to legend could be heard two towns over, some 20 km (12 miles) away.

An official at St. Lawrence The Martyr Parish Church, which stands on the site of the 1901 ambush, said retrieving the bells was important for a full accounting of the past, good and bad, to pass on to the younger generation.

“Some people say ‘what’s the big deal with the bells?’ To that I say: why is it such a big deal that you have to keep the bells?” said Fe Campanero, a secretary at the church.

To others in the ravaged town their uncertain future is their only concern.

“Whether or not the bells are returned doesn’t matter to me,” said Raymond Balais, 42, whose home was destroyed in the storm.

“We just had a disaster. I don’t know what to think.”

(Editing by Nick Macfie and Jason Szep)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Philippine snout-less dog gets hero’s homecoming

A veterinarian holds Kabang, a mongrel dog, during a news conference, after her return to the Philippines after eight months of surgery and treatment in the U.S., in Makati, Metro Manila June 8, 2013. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

A veterinarian holds Kabang, a mongrel dog, during a news conference, after her return to the Philippines after eight months of surgery and treatment in the U.S., in Makati, Metro Manila June 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Erik De Castro

MANILA | Sun Jun 9, 2013 1:24am EDT

MANILA (Reuters) – A shepherd-mix who lost her snout saving two girls returned on Sunday to her owner’s home in the southern Philippines after eight months of veterinary treatment in the United States, earning a new title as “dog ambassador of goodwill”.

On Saturday, two-year-old Kabang, her tail wagging, faced television cameras and fans at Manila International airport and toured a nearby upscale shopping mall and park frequented by dog lovers. She was an instant star.

Authorities are planning a short motorcade on Monday in honor of Kebang, which means “different colors” in local dialect, in the southern town of Zamboanga.

“What we want is to make her an ambassador of dog good will, and to promote responsible pet ownership,” said Anton Lim, a veterinarian who accompanied Kabang to the University of California in Davis for surgery.

U.S. doctors closed her facial wound but could no longer save and reconstruct her nose. Kabang also survived a cancerous tumor and heartworm.

“What we see here – she saved two lives, so the whole world actually came together to save her.”

Last year, Kabang jumped in front of a speeding motorcycle to save two young girls in Zamboanga. People from around the world donated lunch money to raise $ 27,000 for her medical treatment abroad.

(Reporting By Michaela Cabrera; Writing by Manuel Mogato.; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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Reuters: Oddly Enough

Philippine Group Pushes For Marijuana Legalization

?Pointing to its medicinal value, a group in the Philippines is pushing for the legalization of marijuana use in that country.In an article posted on its website, the Philippine Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (PORMAL) said marijuana, also known as hemp and cannabis, has shown “established” effects in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, and lack of appetite, reports Kimberly Jane Tan at GMANews.tv.Other “relatively well-confirmed” medicinal effects include the treatment of spasticity, painful conditions (especially neurogenic pain), movement disorders, asthma, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and hepatitis C, according to PORMAL.

Continue reading “Philippine Group Pushes For Marijuana Legalization” >

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