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Friday, July 01, 2005

Cafe' Havana

Dogs and brown-skinned natives are not allowed here...
Name: Anonymous
Date Posted: Mar 10, 03 - 4:38 PM

Message: This is a letter to the editor of the Philippine Collegian published February 21, 2003.

Dear Madam,

I thought it only happens in the novels of Ralph Ellison. But I was wrong. I met racism face to face at the entrance of Café Havana in Green Belt Makati last Saturday, February 8, 2003.

As I and my companions approach the café's door, at around 12 midnight, the six-foot tall Filipino guard apprehended me. He consequently told me that I'm not allowed to enter due to my attire. I would have accepted his alibi if I had not seen white men in tee shirts freely entering and leaving the premises. So I countered and ask the guard, 'why won't you let me in when I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt, while those white men are just in their plain tees?'
Seemingly irritated by my question, the guard told me: 'Café Havana 'to. Priority namin ang foreigner.' I was stunned that I remained standing in front of the entrance. I could not believe the reality of my experience. But it was not yet enough for the guard, he ultimately told me: 'kung hindi kita papasukin, may magagawa ka ba?' Surprised beyond words, I left, bewildered.

Looking back at what happened, I could not blame the security guard alone. Sometimes some guards are like dogs; they only follow what their masters wished. Moreover, I'm not insulted that someone, who cannot even write a decent Spanish sentence, would verbally push me away from a pseudo-Hispanic commercial establishment. I'm rather shocked by the fact that I suffered the most savage form of racism not in a foreign land but in my own country and in the hands of people of my color.

Café Havana's management policy is no doubt disturbing and prejudiced. What happened to me and my companions is not a surely isolated case, but a determined result of the management's view that the indio is inferior to the white man. What happened is nothing but a practice of the company's unstated racist policy. What happened is but a ramification of a policy that is unconsciously propagated by a semi-colonial state, a state that kowtows to foreign capital. Racism, in short, is never incidental.

Any policy that springs from racism is indeed not appropriate for any establishment that gets permit to operate from the government, a government supposedly by Filipinos. I wish that Café Havana's management would amend and reassess its barbaric policy before more people suffer the same fate. For if it remains firm on its racist practices, I would suggest that Café Havana put up a signboard which says: 'Dogs and brown-skinned natives are not allowed here.' That at least would be more humane.

Jose Duke Bagulaya

Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of the Philippines, Diliman

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Replies:
Name: fair

Date Posted: Mar 20, 03 - 2:33 AM
Message:
a columnist of Today newspaper defended the owner of cafe havana. i haven't read the article but it doesn't take a genius to figure it out its content. anyway, the damage has been done, what good will the columnist's article do?


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Date: 03/11/03 11:40:37 AM

Name: shy kultong lupa member

I was sad upon reading the article. I got mad because I couldn't believe what happened to Mang Jose. It's pretty ridiculous to know that in our own land such inhumane act is happening which is the discrimination of the Filipino people by foreigners. I grow up watching other people treated unfairly by authorities and even normal individuals. Because of that I learned how to fight such acts. I don't tolerate racism and discrimination. I am totally against racism because I do believe that man no matter what race or color or whatever factor is at stake should be treated equally.

I just recently moved to a multi-racial country expecting that I can be a victim of racism and discrimination. I expected that could possibly happen because of social, cultural, religious, physical, and social differences. And yes my expectation is right; discrimination is still common here especially to people with Asian descent. I was discriminated but I fought back. As I said I don't tolerate it. If I were Jose I should've forced the guard to let me in and I'll talk to the manager of the cafe. I'll reason out that there isn't any sign that says " DRESS CODE IN EFFECT" and I'll point out that if ever there’s a dress code why then that they are letting in the white people in T-shirts or whatever clothes they’re wearing. If I will be on this situation I'll call the media and ask for help. I will also ask the government why are they tolerating this kind of attitude. Are they playing blind again? Wake up!!! I think it’s also the time for the Filipino people not to tolerate these acts. We should know our rights and learn to fight back. But sometimes it’s also our fault because until now we still have high regards to other races, especially the white people. Our colonial mentality still exists, well some of us I should say. We should also learn how to appreciate being a true Filipino. Be proud of it. I ain't an activist against white people or whatever race or nationality I am just against racism.

Sometimes, I think Filipinos are so generous when it comes to other races. We give them so much important and we let them see how we act towards them. We sometimes tend to act as if they are gods and goddesses. What will it cost us? They might be thinking that they are so superior that’s why we act like that. Yah being generous is part of our culture. We are known to be like that. We are famous to be like that. But too much is too much. It might hit you back negatively. Know your rights and stop racism!!!


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Date: 03/11/03 01:14:57 PM
Name: megan24ph

hmmm... when we pinoys go abroad, we try to learn that country's language, but then when foreigners visit our land, we still try to accomodate them by trying to talk to them in their language. kelan ba tayo titigil maging mabait?
na experience ko sa germany na kahit english-in ko ang nagtitinda eh sinasagot ako ng german. hindi kami magkaintindihan pero wala siyang pakialam -- basta german lang siya ng german . wala akong nagawa kundi hanapin ko ang tita ko sa "x'mas market" na yon para lang kami magkaintindihan ng kausap ko.
sana ganyan din sa pilipinas, pumunta sila ng pilipinas, matuto silang mag-tagalog!! ...
ang problema sa ating mga pinoy -- nakatatak na sa atin ang ugaling mapagpakumbaba. una, dala na rin ito ng itinuro sa atin ng ating mga ninuno. pangalawa, dahil na rin sa mga nangyayari sa ating bansa. ang siste -- madali na tayong ma-bully ng ibang lahi. kahit intsik beho ay mas mataas na ang tingin ng nakakarami kesa sa kapwa nila pinoy eh kung tutuusin, naging alipin sila ng mga pinoy noong araw. after the world war 2, ang pilipinas ang nangunguna sa asia pagdating sa ekonomiya -- tinitingala tayo ng mga karatig-bansa natin. sa atin sila nag-aaral ng agrikultura, edukasyon, sining, at kung anu ano pa. ngayon? sigh.. may nabasa pa ako dati na hindi daw dapat ituring ang pinoy na isang asian. para sa kanya (isa siyang kano), ang "asian" ay yung mga lahing singkit na maayos ang ekonomiya ng bansa (tulad ng japan, china, korea, singapore...etc...
eh saan na tayo dapat i-categorize?


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Date: 03/11/03 01:06:41 AM

Name: fair
whoa! i never thought that my teacher's letter would be posted here... wtg duke!! (he's my english 10 professor)


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Date: 03/10/03 05:45:35 PM
Name: megan24ph

uminit ang ulo ko dito ha .. sana hindi lang sa philippine collegian to pinadala.. sana sa lahat ng newspapers sa atin. para kong nai-imagine ang pagmumukha ng letseng sikyo . hmp. kung ako si jose bagulaya, hindi ako titigil hangga't hindi umabot ito sa desk ng kung sino mang poncio pilato na nagha handle ng ganitong issue (sa trade and industry ba to?)

at kung sakaling mag prevail ang policy ng Cafe Havana na puro foreigners lang ang kanilang tanggapin, sana meron na lang silang membership at lagyan nila ng door sign na "For Members Only".. hindi yung mapahiya ang mga pinoys na gustong pumasok dito at sa pintuan pa sila mag debate ng kapwa pinoy na sikyo. kakainsulto naman talaga yon..

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Date: 03/10/03 06:52:00 PM
Name: skyboychas

likas na mahina ang respeto ng pinoy sa sarili nyang pagkatao. kung inaabuso, di umaangal. kung naaapakan, di pumapalag. di kataka taka, numero uno tayong importer ng katulong at trabahador, aka domesticated humans. gawa na rin yan ng ating kultura. ito ang sistema ng pagpapalaki sa atin. bawal ang kumontra sa autoridad (aka magulang, titser etc). pinalaki tayong sunod sunuran. di natin alam ang salitang dignidad. palagi tayong nakatingala sa mga "puti". ordinaryo lang ang "brown". pangit ang "itim at baluga".

heto ang totoong istorya ng cafe havana - willing ibenta ng pinoy ang kapwa niya sa ngalan ng dayuhang salapi. dapat ang mga pinoy ang nasa loob nito at ang mga cubano ang magmakaawa para pumasok. kung gusto nilang espanggol lang ang kliente nila, magbalot sila at mag migrate sa cuba! dun sila magtayo ng resto. walang lugar ang racism. may sapat na dahilan ang local government para sarhan ang establisimientong yan.

kung hahayaan natin ang racism gaya nito, para na rin nating tinanggap na tayo ay "mas mababang uri".

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Date: 03/10/03 09:15:19 PM
Name: cruizin_me

i am not actually surprised with this kinda situation in the Philippines. i went to the Phil once and i felt like a princess, why? simply because i speak english, and i got credit cards.

why did i say this? once in Boracay, my cousin and i went to eat in a certain restaurant. my cuz was so shy to approach the manager when we had a lame salad for appetizer. being born and raised in canada, i do careless but i am aware of the fact that costumers should be served well and duh!!!my cuz is a school supervisor .i argued with the manager and my cuz was so surprised for what i did. he never thought i could complain with such authority. i never carried cash and when the waitress saw my card, she suddenly became sweet and more respectful. and she even asked me, *Are you balikbayan, ma'am?* i said, no, i am a visitor. and she said, Welcome, ma'am. That surprised me!!!! Filipinos are fond of saying, "boss" or "bossing", "ma'am" making themselves feel inferior.

And with this issue, it sucks to know ur fellow filipino does it to u ( ( ( oh well, this issue raised a good point about racisim. i went home only once so this is all i can say...We are all filipinos and hey come on! it's ur brotha!!!! HAVE RESPECT!!!!




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