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castellersAs the little girl, the enxaneta, goes for the last level of the Pilar de quatre, the knees of the man at the bottom of the pillar started to shake. You can see that he was struggling. He may be carrying three people upon his shoulders but you can guess that he drew his strength from the pinya, the crowd – the base of the castell.

It has been 3 years since I started this blog. I have been struggling in my 2nd year; 11 posts in a year is really bad. I do not need to be motivated to write but somehow my ‘crowd’ has been thinning. No, the ‘crowd’ I am referring to are not the readers or my friends. On the contrary, the blog’s number of visitors has increased steadily. My ‘crowd’ is the momentum I’ve gained since I have started this blog.

You see, I am not a fast writer (and I am actually scared to write).  I don’t claim to be a good writer as well but blogging has improved my writing a lot. It kept on improving until I paused posting and then the frequency and the interval of the pause just increased. Maybe part of the reason I needed to stop a lot was the increasing magnitude of the tasks I wanted to accomplish. Considering that I have a  real job, I think I got burned.  It didn’t help that I felt deeply violated when GMAnews online plagiarized my work and said it was an honest mistake. Now it seems to me that I’m back to where I started.

This post (yes, the one you are reading now) is me trying to gain that momentum again.  If I look at my past posts, the ones that I’m most happy with are those relating to the history (pre-history) of the Filipinos as told through science.

My very first posts on this subject is about the Callao find.  This study is one of those game changer in the field of human migration. The most important point of the paper (to me) is that it proves that humans can travel across deep sea channels.  The human foot bone is 67,000 +/- 1000 years old and is found in Luzon, an oceanic island. It remains to be seen if this bone is from a modern human. 

I also wrote about the Arubo find and the questions it posed. 3 years later, I think there is still no resolution.  (Side comment: Archaeology in the Philippines is very exciting! If I can choose a field to study again, I would most likely pick this one.)

The ‘twin’ papers on the ancient origin of the Filipinos – mtDNA and the Y-chromosome diversities, are perhaps my most eye opening posts. It’s complicated. That’s how I can summarize the important points in those papers. Okay, let me just say that there are different ancient migrations of different people at different times to produce the people of the Philippines.  By the way, the twins will now be a triplet as there is another paper about the complete mtDNA genome analysis of 14 Filipino ethnolonguistic groups. I hope to write about this within the week.

Migration within the country is also fascinating as in the case of the Calatagan pot with a Visayan inscription. It says something about the people and their ancient writing and culture.

Writing and reading these blog posts help me understand ‘from where’ is a Filipino.

A casteller is required to have strength, a sense of balance, courage and a good grasp of reason. As I gather my courage to write again, to sustain the strength to keep on improving, and to have a good sense of balance and reason to take things slowly and not to combust, please let me say, “Hello there! Welcome to my 3rd year of blogging!”

Força, equilibri, valor i sen!


BY the way, I still haven’t completed my 30 for 30. I hope to do that before the year ends.