Proof of Stake is a multivalent meditation on loss, grief, and social constructs. Grounded in the death of the poet’s daughter, Vivian, this long elegy ruminates on a wide range of subjects, from the effects and winding paths of disruptive technologies, such as paper and cryptocurrency, to critiques and observations of art movements, diasporas, social unrest, and the history of the Philippines.
Isabel Rosario Cooper, if mentioned at all by mainstream history books, is often a salacious footnote: the young Filipino mistress of General Douglas MacArthur, hidden away at the Charleston Hotel in DC.
In 1929, a young woman sailed from Manila to New York to reunite with an older man who begged her to join him in the United States. Twenty years old at the most—her actual birth year was never clear—she was born from a Filipina mother and a former American soldier previously stationed in the Philippines. The man for whom she was about to stay cooped up in a Washington, DC hotel room for several years was none other than General Douglas MacArthur, three decades her senior and soon to be the Chief of Staff of the US Army.
Many Filipino Americans feel obligated to give charitably to their families, their communities, or social development projects and organizations back home. Their contributions provide relief to poor or vulnerable Filipinos, and address the forces that maintain poverty, vulnerability, and exploitative relationships in the Philippines. This philanthropy is a result of both economic globalization and the migration of Filipino professionals to the United States. But it is also central to the moral economies of Filipino migration, immigration, and diasporic return. Giving-related practices and concerns—and the bonds maintained through giving—infuse what it means to be Filipino in America.
Once a relatively obscure topic, the Manila Galleon—in essence a commercial shipping line that connected Asia to the Americas from the 16th to early 19th centuries and arguably the key building block in the development of what we have since recognized as “globalization”—is now the subject of an increasing number of studies. In the latest, Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System, 1565-1600, former Mexican diplomat Cuauhtémoc Villamar looks at the involvement of Portuguese merchants—and by extension Macau—in the Galleon’s first few decades.
Danilo Cruz, the protagonist of Danton Remoto’s Riverrun, is a young Filipino man raised near an American army base. From the get-go, something about Danilo is different, and everyone in his village can make it out. Even as a young boy, going to watch television at a friend’s house, the mother responds by slamming the door in his face. His reaction is violent.
Seventy-five years ago, Japan formally surrendered to the Allied powers in a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, thereby ending the Second World War. War brings out the best and worst aspects of human nature—it produces remarkable heroes and cruel villains.