Month: August 2010


Then and Now: Uychaco Building – give this an award!

The Philippines has plenty of historical buildings still standing today.  To me, this particular building really stands out as it is one of the few that has survived the test of time and war.  I am going to make the photos speak for themselves.

Uychaco Building -- Circa 1910-1920

The Uychaco building (red arrow) was built in 1881, at Plaza Moraga in the financial district of Binondo, Manila.  The photo above was probably taken between 1910-1920 as you can see a few Ford Model T’s mixed in with kalesas on the street.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1941 (2 weeks before Pearl Harbor)

Seen here just two weeks before the outbreak of WWII.  Notice that Manila was right-hand drive back then.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1945 (WWII aftermath)

Shown here, war-torn but still standing, next to the Insular Life Building around 1945.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1968

Rebuilt and photographed here in the now busy streets in 1968.

The Uychaco Building -- Today

The Uychaco building still proudly stands today, gracing the entrance to Manila’s Chinatown.  I hope that people in power realize that preserving national treasures such as this should be on the list of top priorities.  It has survived through the years and we should make sure our children’s children will enjoy this irreplacable historical landmark.

Sabitan na ng medalya ito!

P.S. It is not clear whether it has always been called the Uychaco Building.  If you have any information, please leave a comment below.

They are human beings too, for crying out loud!

Note: This article was published one day after the Quirino Grandstand bus massacre.

I just read a disturbing article from the China National News that some Hong Kong residents have fired their helpers in retaliation for the unfortunate death of several Hong Kong tourists during the hostage incident a few days ago. I cannot believe that some people would go to such an extent to basically blame innocent Filipino workers who had nothing to do with the incident. In fact, most of the Filipinos working there even mourn alongside Hong Kong residents, as many pick up the pieces and try to come to grips with the gruesomeness of what transpired in Manila. While there can be absolutely no excuse for what happened to the Hong Kong tourists, I am now deeply concerned about the well-being of Filipinos working in that region.

Filipino workers in Hong Kong (Photo from

Firing someone for simply being Filipino is racism in every regard. It can be easily compared to the racial prejudices African-Americans have suffered in recent history. As-a-matter-of-fact, under American law, and under the law of many western nations, if an employer dismisses an employee solely because of his/her race, the employer is guilty of racial discrimination and is subject to heavy fines and possible jail time. This is shameful behavior on the part of these few  citizens of Hong Kong, a country who prides itself for being one of the most modern and developed countries in Asia, and one whose citizenry is known to be more westernized than many other countries in the region.

Furthermore, blaming Filipinos as a whole for the crime of one person is just as similar to blaming the entire Islamic faith for the events of 09/11 in the United States.  Of course there were plenty of angry Americans during 09/11’s aftermath, crying for justice. However, the big difference between 09/11 and this recent incident is that most Americans were able to step back, show restraint and pointed their anger at the actual people who claimed to be responsible for the attacks, the Al Qaida. They did not put blame on the innocent Muslims that worked for their companies. Today, though controversial, Muslims are even being allowed to build a community center near ground zero — the same ground where the World Trade Center towers used to stand.

Like all nations of the world, China, Hong Kong and its people strive to build a better country. However, like all nations of the world, China, Hong Kong and its people are not without its faults either. We do not blame the entire Chinese race for the opium and drugs that enter our country. We do not blame the entire Chinese race for the human trafficking and counterfeiting either. Need I mention the poisonous melamine milk additive that went into the stomachs of Filipino children a few years ago? Let us focus on the cause and try to prosecute the person or company that is guilty of the crime.

Therefore, I ask the decent majority of Hong Kong to help point these few misguided employers to the right direction, and show a little consideration. Urge them not to blame the Filipinos living in your country for the crime of one person, nor for miscues of the police that was supposed to protect the tourists. The 120,000 live-in domestic helpers who live there also contribute to the economy. They live in your country, they help your country as they help their own families back home. Forget race or nationality — they are human beings too, for crying out loud!

Help our Kababayans Help Themselves through

This is OUR CHANCE to GIVE OUR COUNTRYMEN A CHANCE!!! Your $25 will go a long, long way to create livelihood opportunities for our kababayans. Let us help our kabayans help themselves. Let us empower them to help lift themselves out of poverty. And …. YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK because they will pay you back! To find Filipino entrepreneurs, go to click on the LEND button and just type in “Philippines” in the search field. There are always a few new entrepreneurs on a daily basis. But if you don’t see one on that day. Try again the following day. Lend – NOW! Let’s provide the nets so they can fish!!

Remember: You are LENDING money, you are not giving a hand out.

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