RLTJ on July 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm
West Philippine Sea, where in the world is that.
“West Philippine Sea” has come to prominent usage recently since the latest row between the Philippines and China over the Spratlys in the South China Sea.
But, what or where really is Philippine Sea? Let’s start with that because I cannot locate “West Philippine Sea”, exactly, in any world geographical references. There is no “West” Philippine Sea in Atlas Maps, for example.
Keeping up with world information, there is, however, a part of the Pacific Ocean that has been established as “Philippine Sea”. The following show the definition and location of Philippine Sea:
- Here is Philippine Sea as given by Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Here is another by Wikipedia Encyclopaedia
- And here is more by Mapsof.net
No, the Republic of the Philippines does not own Philippine Sea. It is the name given by early mariners to a particular part of the Pacific Ocean for their references.
West Philippine Sea, Where Exactly is That
A compass needle points North and South. A place has N, S, E & W for major compass points; with Ne, Nw, Se & Sw for other important points. If Philippine Sea is divided into east and west, map shows where true ‘West Philippine Sea’, really, actually, is. Note that the object is the Sea and not the land. So, the center of the Philippine Sea along Earth’s longitudes would be somewhere between the Philippines and the Marianas.
But a more precise point would be western, eastern, northern or southern + the proper name of the place, as in western Philippine Sea.
But no, some Filipino authorities think, and would like the world to conform, that what we see and refer to as South China Sea in the part of the Pacific Ocean is, according to them, West Philippine Sea.
In Philippine media today the disputed Spratlys is referred to as located in the “West Philippine Sea”. The change appears orchestrated as it is suddenly everywhere by Philippine print and broadcast media. See here, or here, and here.
As argued, it is a body of water located west of the Philippines thus its supposed name. But, why should not it be renamed Vietnam Sea because it is also located off Vietnam?
South China Sea is to be renamed West Philippine Sea? The idea, as informed the public, originated from the Department of Science and Technology [DOST] Philippines, approved by Malacañang Palace, and since been persistently pushed and promoted by Filipino media. It is supposed to mean formerly South China Sea. Nothing political behind the act of renaming it as claimed by its author[s].
I don’t see any reason other than narrow nationalism if not Pinoy racism behind the systematic alteration to world Geography by Filipino authorities. And that motive, Sire/Ma’am, happens to be political. Nationalism, whether narrow or broad, is a matter of politics and politics is politics. We cannot teach our young that hypocrisy is good.
It also smacks contempt for something not of Philippine origin or Filipino made.
It stinks too much of politics that, I bet, the idea originated in some corridors of Philippine politics, mouth-pieced by DOST, and promoted by Filipino media to be gobbled by gullible like this, and more of them in here.
And where politics has forced its way, economics cannot be far behind driving it. No, we are not going a side to discuss petro-politics as it affects South-east Asia, the stepped up search for oil involving each of the claimant countries, and the possibility of war, all in the Spratlys , here.
Now, this act of re-naming the sea is doing the Filipino people more harm than good as it could be viewed as virtual sea-land grabbing.
The act also smacks defiance of the rule of law as it defies world authorities like the International Hydrographic organization. Even United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) definitions of world seas are aligned in there.
The act, in effect, virtually trashed away world definition of Philippine Sea as it did the same of South China Sea. Philippine Sea is re-defined to eat-up what is South China Sea. The Philippine Sea thus becomes a body of water all around and centered in the Philippines. At least to its authors and their followers.
Will the change in name advance or strengthen Philippines’ claims in the Spratlys? By itself, I don’t think so for the same reason that its present name South China Sea is equally meaningless for China’s claims in there. There must be valid arguments by claimant-nations why they are claiming places in there outside of that. China Sea does not belong to China. It is a part belonging to the Pacific Ocean.
By the way, it is world maritime that was mostly instrumental in naming world seas since history. Mariners see the world as all-water broken up by dry lands. That is a little different to the view of the world as all lands bounded by water.
Wherein land is the object, the seas around a country that are within its territorial limits and EEZ are simply called “waters” as in west or western [Country] water or [common, non-proper] sea or seas. West Philippine sea may be acceptable to mean part of the Pacific ocean, in this case South China Sea, that falls within the Philippines’ established western territorial limits. May be added to that is modern UNCLOS provisions regarding exclusive economic zones [EEZ]. In those cases, western Philippine waters and western Philippine seas would be most prudent references to the area.
But West Philippine Sea using the immediate above argument will not fit for being out of bound. West Philippine Sea and South China Sea are on a collision course because, while they ought to mean differently or so, as some suggest, one has been intended by its authors to take the place of the other. [See headlines in news]
Also, this concept of a “West Philippine Sea” conflicts with old Philippine Sea so that existing Philippine Sea might as well be formally renamed East Philippine Sea to avoid confusions. Not only that. The location of all the countries that are connected to the two bodies of sea will have to be re-defined, too. Well, if everything is not confusing and wreck-wracking enough.
Aw, OK, this is a free world. Anybody can call the eyes as nose, the nose as mouth, and the mouth as ears. One can change the word nose to snurf, snoort, or anything to one’s whims. My PC underlines them red so, they are not found in any book. But you can teach your young that, if you think the idea is good. If one keeps to all that, and only itself believes in them, it is called nonsense if not insanity. However, if others share the ideas, then altogether they become sane and of sound mind, right?
But their ideas are real only as far as they are concerned, right? And, what would that project them in the view of those outside their circle, as seen by the community, in this case, a community of nations – the world?
“West Philippine Sea”, where is that you’re talking there, Kabayan? OK, the sky is no bigger than the mouth of the well is true, but that depends from where the frogs look up at the sky. And the world has no time to argue with those down, stuck in their holes.
So, why would some people want to rename. The nearest rationale is because they believe that the name of the sea points ownership to the lands therein. That is a very shallow argument by losers mentality. Because, “West Philippine Sea” will always be a make-believe by its proponents and believers. It exists and it is real in a closed world for Filipinos. Out in the big world, a tower of Babel is created not only for Filipinos.
Beside, individuals do not have rights over and above that of the community, or have rights beyond their community-recognized rights. ‘Wag na nating pakialaman ang hindi sariling atin – the Pacific Ocean.
The Spratly group of islands is in the South China Sea and not in the Philippine Sea. Outside the mouth of Manila Bay is already Dagat Tsina or China Sea, formally called South China Sea, that ordinary Filipinos rarely care if it is South, East, or what. Any probinsyano who’s been regularly taking Negros Navigation and Aboitiz Super Ferry will tell you that. Inter-island cruise can be uncomfortable in that [Philippine] stretch [of China Sea] during bad weather for Filipinos not to know the place.
Yes, that’s right, the Philippines owns a part of a sea in the Pacific Ocean known as the South China Sea.
The Philippines happens to be a “nation of sailors”. No, I don’t know of anybody saying that, but we Filipinos resented it once when one Taiwanese national called us a “nation of servants” for our huge domestic helpers export. The Philippine has also been the world’s chief supplier of skilled seafarers. I don’t think any of them, or world maritime, will buy this “West Philippine Sea” kind of
trash nonsense that could result to confusions that might lead to loss of time, resources, and even lives.
And there is, absolutely, really, nothing political or economics to the old name. Just simple and real traditional, world recognized and accepted, for-a-fact.
That’s right, outside the mouth of Manila Bay until the Verde Island Passage….Verde Island Passage! Hey, why don’t some bright guy rename that passage to Batangas Passage or Mendoro Passage! That, women and gentlemen, will also mean anything that mentions “Verde Island Passage” is a trash that should be pulled out of all the shelves and archives, if it is worth all the troubles.
Nothing tribal and political [Ugh, Lol], the Batangueños or the Mendorenses might love that act. And we Negrosnon would like Guimaras Strait renamed Negros Strait, and Sulu Sea renamed South Negros Sea, please. Maybe Jose Rizal Group of Islands or Andres Bonifacio Archipelago instead of The Spratlys would be great, don’t they think so? 🙂
And Hey, in my home front, why do they keep feeding us Filipinos with nonsense like Negrenses for people of Negros, Bacoleños for people of Bacolod City, and more. They are not popular words and have never gained acceptance at the base of Philippine society. Out there in the world, people still say Negrosnon, Bacolodnon, Hinigaranon, Binalbaganon, Himamaylanon, Kabankalanon, Ilognon, Cauayanon, Sipalaynon, and so on. Because it is not custom and tradition of Filipinos to mutilate name of places. They just add, in the case of Hiligaynon, the personal suffixes anon, non, on to mean people of, belonging to, to the name of the place.
There are instances when Filipinos feel awkward like when the name of a place is adopted from the West, or they simply do not know how to state it, so that they just put the word taga [native of, resident of, living in] followed by the name of the place. They will say taga La Carlota, taga La Castellana, taga Manila, taga Batangas, taga Mendoro, taga Japan, taga America, and so on.
There are instances when Spanish and English affixes are adopted, but just the same, they don’t mutilate or mutilate much. Ask former first gentleman Mike Arroyo [no acquaintance with this blog author] about them. He is a Negrosanon, of Binalbagan, and also a Bacolodnon.
[Old Malay-Filipino alphabets did not have letters C, F, J, Q, V, X and Z. They, and softer pronunciations over dialect words, are modern adaptations from our Western halves of history.]
Negrenses – does not that sound like Negress or Negresses an offensive term for a black woman?
Bacoleños meaning people of Bacolod? When I migrated from Negros in 1982, I never heard that word until I began seeing them in Bacolod Sun Star and Visayan Daily Star. They not only mutilated, they also adulterated the name of the city. The root word was kulod [ba-kulod] to mean topography more than a plain but less than a hill. Slight hill. Hump. Comes now Bacol-eño. It conflicts with bakul meaning to maul, to beat up badly, to castigate. It also sounds like bakulaw meaning ape bigger than monkey. Orangutan, Gorilla. And Spanish eños fixed to it… a place of them? Don’t we have something like Philippine national languages institute to review them, please? 😦
I am of Binalbagan and I don’t mind deemed elitist Binalbagueño being used synonymous to Binalbaganon. Actually, I use both, each depending on I think is appropriate of the situation like the person I am talking to.
The root word of the place is believed either balbag [verb, an indigenous practice of beating up things, say tree bark. to make useful things of them], or balabag [adj, crosswise, blocking the way] – gramatically constructed binalabag [laid crosswise, blocked the way] – to later form binalbag-an [noun. – anan, nan, an – of thing, noted for, notably of, typical]. Balbag is also balabag pronounced with one silent a. Tagalogs say it balibag [throw forcefully] from the common rootword labag [against, contrary].
No one is really sure how the first Malay settlement in Negros island got its name. The widely accepted beliefs were, either it was a place where people made baluk taken from certain tree bark to add to intoxicating coconut drink called tuba, . Or, it was a place where people weaved. There were other tales but they looked like myths – a big tree blocked the mouth of Binalbagan river and another said it was a huge snake. Binalbagan river is too wide for any tree or any snake. But so much about my home town.
Bacoleños for people of Bacolod, however, I think is more than nonsense. I suppose somebody liked it for sounding like Bicoleños or Bicolanos. But Bicolano is of the Bicol Province, and of the Kabicolan [Ka-bicol-an] or Bicol Region
And by the way, Technological science, same with Media, should be free of partisan politics and politicians. They are institutions that are concerned only for truths and facts, for humanity. Not even race should have room in there. And they should never be tools for promotion of anybody’s ignorance.
Never mind the traditional politicians who have their nature that we
should understand. We are freer than the politicians; so, let’s go out to the world and be with it, and not isolate from it, folks. And one way to that is to have common understanding with the world, not departing from it.
Somebody, somewhere, sees me as devoid of nationalism. I am no less nationalistic than any Filipino, I can say that. But the matter has to do with facts and realities, and yes, being fair with the world. And commitment to the world is not without national sacrifice.
Philippine Sea is Philippine Sea, and China Sea is China Sea. Philippine Sea is not China Sea, and China Sea is not Philippine Sea.
South China Sea is not West Philippine Sea. Filipinos owe that apology to the community of nations – the WORLD.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Add to your vocabulary, folks
Kamuklo-an. (ka mok lo an) [adj] the way, domain, practice, of creeps. [proposed added meaning – promotion of ignorance]
From Muklo ( mok lô ) [Modern, Hiligaynon. Bisaya. noun] Creep. One that sees only itself or things near it. plural mga muklo.
Believed to have developed from uklo literally aback. [noun plural mga uklo backward people] Also root of Tagalog word hukloban very old man, humpback.