The Politics of Cleanliness in Duterte’s Philippines

Photo by 12019 via

Pro-Duterte politics deploys an aesthetic that professes a devotion to cleanliness, which connotes beauty, modernity, progress, efficiency, order, goodness, and discipline. Conversely, it has a marked aversion to dirt, which is associated with ugliness, poverty, crime and disorder. The anti-drug and anti-loitering campaigns have weaponised this aesthetic to deadly effect.



Even ‘Shallow’ Films Are Socially Relevant. We Just Need to Know How to Look.


In an article in Esquire Philippines, Treb Montreras, the director of Respeto, is quoted, “If anything, I think we were able to prove that there’s a market for films na meron talagang sinasabi….And I think that’s a challenge for us, to change how Filipinos perceive the film industry. Walang masama sa magpatawa, magpaiyak, magpakilig, manakot. Pero ‘wag natin sayangin ‘yung isa o dalawang oras na puwedeng mapaisip o ma-inspire ‘yung manonood.”

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Dreams of Freedom, Illusions of Autonomy: A Critique of ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’

Photo grabbed from Star Cinema website

Some films and TV shows are highly conducive to a philosophical reading. The Black Mirror, for instance. But it’s not something you’d expect from Filipino romantic comedies, which are more (in)famous — and at times derided — for their kilig factor, feel-good, light-hearted entertainment, and their false ideas about love and romance.  Continue reading