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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, March 06, 2023

entry arrow12:45 AM | “None of You Are Gentle”

I found this image on Twitter. I don’t know who took it, or who made this sign, but it made me pause. I’ve written about this before: the title we have given Dumaguete, that it is a “city of gentle people,” is something we inherited from the creative ploys of a popular local radio personality in the 1960s/1970s [Philidore Quingco of DYSR, Oliver Phil Quingco II’s father] who brandished it so frequently we just adopted it through osmosis, until it finally became a kind of a brand. Some people then actually thought it was corny, but it stuck.

[There are also related theories that the phrase comes from an offhand remark by Jose Rizal when he visited Dumaguete, or from the writings of Fr. Mariano Bernad, the last Spanish parish priest of Dumaguete. You can read my essay here.]

I think of it more as bullshit marketing tag, the way most cities in the Philippines have something going on: Cebu as the Queen City of the South, Bacolod as the City of Smiles, Cagayan de Oro as the City of Golden Friendship, etc. They mean nothing, to be honest, just a tag to pat ourselves by.

So, are we no longer the city of 
gentle people? But were we ever? Nostalgia is nice [Ahhh, mas tsada katong sa unang panahon...] but it is unreliable and warps memories, and if you can only go back in time to the very past you think is great, you’ll encounter people who will bemoan the same kind of problems we hate today. And the same kind of injustice and crime and killings that have been happening here also occur everywhere else. We just feel ours more strongly because they are within intimate reach.

I’d still like to believe Dumaguetnons are good people on the whole, gentle even. I know many of these folks. But evil does exist. Even among us. And until we allow ourselves to articulate that evil, we will forever be victims of it, because it is a cancer that will not stop spreading.

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