Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Did you know here in the Philippines that it is specifically against the law for foreign guests to become involved in local politics? If you think about this, the prohibition makes good sense. Most of us do not even speak the local language; much less understand the nuances or subtle undercurrents that pervade local politics. For us to use our money and influence to obtain our idea of what we think the Philippines needs not only smacks of neo-colonialism but would corrupt a political system already plagued by serious problems.
Most people think the prohibition against our involvement in local politics started with the Philippine Constitution and the anti-colonial movement, but its roots are much older. The historical precedence is closer to 500 years old.

Now for the rest of the story.

Most people know that Ferdinand Magellan was killed by local natives in 1521. Few of you know “WHY” he died. To put it simply, he got involved in local politics.
When Magellan first arrived in the Philippines he was greeted with open arms by Rajah Humabon of Cebu. They exchange gifts and the Rajah even converted to Christianity. From Datu Zula, Magellan learned there was a war going on with Chief Lapu Lapu of Mactan Island. Magellan volunteered to use his superior fire power and vast military skills to resolve this ugly situation. He even invited the Rajah to watch as he destroyed their enemy. Underestimating the enemy was just one of the mistakes that led to Magellan’s death. His superior weapons were still stuck in the boats off shore when his body and inflated ego was pierced by a native bamboo spear. The Rajah tried to rescue his new friend but it was too late. The Spanish retreated in chaos. Do not get involved in local politics. You can get hurt.

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