Monday, July 10, 2006

In a few days, I'm off to the Philippines together with 12 California K-12 teachers who are participating in a Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad - Study Tour of the Southern Philippines. We will be based in Ateneo de Davao University and our country host is Fr. Albert Alejo.

I have been a long-time admirer of Fr. Alejo's seminal/ovarian work on Filipino philosophy in Tao Po! Tuloy -- a study on Loob as core Filipino indigenous concept in philosophy. His second book about cultural regeneration among the indigenous peoples in Mt Apo caught in the midst of "development" issues is also a groundbreaking work on ethical anthropology. Today, he is the director of a nation-wide movement on anti-graft and corruption movement; director of Ateneo's research and publication office; and recently he was awarded a Japan fellowship as "Asian public intellectual"...in other words, our group will be in superb hands. Oh, did I mention that Fr. Alejo is a poet (in several languages), philosopher, anthropologist, cultural/political activist, and a Jesuit?

Given the recent events of killings and kidnappings of human rights activists and journalists in the Phil., we were reassured by many folks that Davao City is "safe"; its Mayor Duterte is known for being "tough on crime." Anyway, I reassured some nervous folks that we do have group insurance in case of emergency evacuations and repatriation of remains...and the insurance company didn't even recommend insurance for ransom in case of kidnapping. In any case, should anything happen, it will still be a great adventure!

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