Friday, October 23, 2009


(Comparing Ambeth Ocampo and Manuel Quezon III)

While reading every issue of the Inquirer both hard and softcopy (courtesy of, I read some of articles made by Manuel Quezon III and Ambeth Ocampo. Both of them are good writers, whose expertise is more into history-that makes the write-up long and studded with historical facts, of information coming from age-old sources and modern-day accounts.

Despite similar “inclinations” and “likes”, they have different ideas and influences. Quezon is more of a liberal conservative approach, and even criticizing some progressive personalities (especially activists) and politicians, especially in this coming elections [1] while Ambeth Ocampo focused much in historical affairs, just like his obsession with Rizaliana [2] and other history related events unknown to textbooks. [3]

And as I expect, Ocampo perhaps tackle about typhoons, again in a historical-like approach using Blair and Robertson index (a 55-volume compilation of historical documents edited by Emma Helen Blair and James Alexander Robertson) just to have a reference about “meteorology and meteorological phenomena.” and according to him:

“Naturally there is mention of weather as observed by the Spanish Jesuits who set up the world famous Manila Observatory in the Walled City in 1865 just to compile and analyze typhoon and earthquake data.” [4]

How about the liberal-conservative Quezon?
He tacked much about elections, then putting some historical twists as part of comparing the present to the past, as well as of Political parties preparing most of thetime filling the posts and strategies in order to win [4] just like the announcement of Estrada-Binay tandem last Wednesday.

Somehow these two columnists tried much in emphasizing past events and comparing it to present situations around the country. And just like Ocampo’s write-up on typhoons (again, with historical basis), Quezon tackled the recent floods due to typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and even compared it to the floods of 1943. Well… in this typhoon prone area, he’ll simply say it and recall the past events! He even put some visuals as evidence (not posted in Inquirer, but in his blog rather) [5].

How about in politics?
I seldom see Ocampo’s write-ups and commentaries tackling about politics unlike Quezon. But despite of that, he is more into socio-economic affairs just like his write-up about globalization, and he even said that:
“History becomes relevant to our time when we realize that globalization is not new. We had it in the Galleon Trade between Mexico and the Philippines four centuries ago.”[6]
And I consider that his storytelling approach seemed good. Different from Quezon and his purely commentary approach, and purports with facts being stated (or in his blog, visuals and other further information not being mentioned in his Inquirer column.)

Quezon’s approach in politics seemed continuous. And expecting that he’ll continuously tackle politicians and their actions and comparing it to the past-related events. Just like this write-up regarding political conventions and it says:
“The closing acts of the traditional conventions took place in 1965, when the Nacionalista Party convention went to Ferdinand Marcos due to Imelda Marcos’ charm offensive to court the support of the Lopez bloc, and because Emmanuel Pelaez refused to bribe his way to victory, and in 1969, when there were allegations that the Liberals chose Sergio Osmeña Jr. as their candidate because Diosdado Macapagal wanted a candidate who’d lose (so he could make a comeback), and supposedly because of the “Marcos Liberals,” who maneuvered to select the weakest possible candidate versus the incumbent president.
Having subverted the integrity, such as it was, of the two leading parties, Marcos then devoted himself to systematically destroying them during martial law. He tried to restore the pre-war one-party system, and much as we have a theoretical multi-party system, his legacy continues, except that the shelf life of every administration party is only as long as the term of the incumbent who created it.”[7]

I simply expect that, since he tried to compare the recent events with the ones in the past that seemed to be similar, of TRAPOs (Traditional Politicans), of their tactics, of scandals, and of attempts.

I, being focused in the computer screen and reading some write-ups, tried much in reading posts made by these two men. And despite tackling with an historical approach, what I expect was and is simple: “one is a storyteller; the other is a politically inclined analyst.”