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Tag: Philippines

The Anthropology of Food: Adobo in the Philippines

The Anthropology of Food: Adobo in the Philippines

The Philippines has a rich and complex history that is colored by practically as many different cultures as there are islands.  A guy I used to work with used to love telling me about his favorite professor in college, who gave a final exam with only one task: de-colonize colonialism.  In other words, deconstruct the culture, the traditions, the idiosyncracies that make the country what it is.  Remove all of the external influences that have resulted from the different occupations…

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The Pope Endorses Condom Use

The Pope Endorses Condom Use

In a possible Joe Biden moment, Pope Benedict allegedly softened his position on condom use in an interview with a German journalist this past summer.   His remarks are being hailed as groundbreaking, even though the context is decidedly limited.  The New York Times: The pope’s statement on condoms was extremely limited: he did not approve their use or suggest that the Roman Catholic Church was beginning to back away from its prohibition of birth control. In fact, the one example…

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An Unfortunate Black Mark for the Philippines

An Unfortunate Black Mark for the Philippines

By and large, the Philippines is a peaceful and safe place for tourists.  As long as foreigners like myself stay away from the parts of Mindanao controlled by Islamic fundamentalists like Abu Sayyaf and separatists like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the most you will have to worry about is getting your wallet pinched in a marketplace.  In the last two days, that reality has been overshadowed by an isolated act of one disgruntled sociopath who hijacked a bus…

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The Economics of a Cookstove

The Economics of a Cookstove

The other day I went to the NWTF branch office in Hinigaran to interview clients that recently purchased an Envirofit cookstove. Cookstoves have received a lot of positive publicity recently as a cheap and effective solution to the problem of indoor air pollution – a problem that claims 1.4 million lives every year. The predominant stove in use by the poor – a basic design with a fire lit beneath a pot resting on three stones (a “three-stone stove”) –…

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Dirty Politics: The Philippine Elections

Dirty Politics: The Philippine Elections

This is a campaign poster found plastered on a wall on the side of the road somewhere in Bacolod.  It shows Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, the current frontrunner for president in the Philippines election, with Andal Ampatuan Jr., perpetrator of the worst election massacre in the history of the Philippines.  Above their pictures is the phrase “Patay Tayo Dyan!” – “We’re dead meat!”  Of course, they are not actually running together, but it is a good campaign trick for his opponents. …

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China and Poverty Alleviation: The Case for a Strongman

China and Poverty Alleviation: The Case for a Strongman

On Monday, the Philippines will hold a national election.  It is the first time the country will be using an automatic voting system, and nobody knows what is going to happen.  It seems appropriate to include this post before the election is over.  For more on the candidates, check out this BBC News primer. Over the last four decades, the economic landscape in Southeast and East Asia has shifted.  After World War II, the Philippines had the second largest economy…

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Another Trip

Another Trip

Capping off a marathon month of travel, I am spending the weekend in Cebu.  NWTF is rolling out Kiva in several of the Cebu branches and I am coming along to give a short presentation to the loan officers and branch manager on the history of Kiva, the mission, and how it works.  There will be five of us, including myself.  The Kiva coordinator, Presy, will discuss the process for getting the information for the borrower profile.  The MIS manager,…

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Baudelaire and the Red Horse

Baudelaire and the Red Horse

It is the greatest art of the devil to convince us he does not exist. – Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867 Here in the Philippines, the brewery is called San Miguel.  Founded in 1890, the company employs 26,000 people and holds 90% of the Philippine market.  The largest brewery in the country is right here in Bacolod, so there is a lot of San Miguel pride.  There are three main brands – the San Mig Light, the Pale Pilsen, and the Red…

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