Cara Doble: the unofficial Philippine national dance

Do you remember any of the native dances that were taught in kinder, and elementary? Pandango sa Ilaw, Tinikling, Maglalatik, Itik-itik, Subli, do any of these ring a bell? Also, I believe that in high school, and college, we were also exposed to modern dance. Ballroom dance primarily, but some of us also studied ballet, jazz dance, hiphop, etc.

Why am I suddenly bringing up the topic of dance? Recent events have highlighted an unofficial national dance that many Pinoys practice everyday, whether they realize it or not. Some are better than others at it. Since Pinoys want to be a song and dance-oriented people anyway, it comes natural to them. But first things first; let’s reveal what it’s called – the Cara Doble.

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Cara Doble – literally double-face. Two faced. Duplicity. It’s a play on words on doble cara, a term that we Filipinos have come to know so well. In addition, it is also a play on words on the ballroom dance, the paso doble. The Cara Doble is an evolution of the other Pinoy dance that is ubiquitous in our society as well: the Estándar Doble – the double standard. The dancer can go by different names: the doble cara as mentioned above, the hipokrito, the sinungaling, and the trapo are just a few. The dance is simple to learn and even easier to master: say one thing, and do another. Do not practice what you preach. Contradict yourself. Conveniently “forget” something that you’ve said before, because it doesn’t apply now. Be selective about whom you’d like rules and regulations to apply to. Exempt certain people from accountability that you demand of others.

By the way, to get into politics here in the Philippines, it’s required learning.

Although many of you may agree that the Cara Doble has been danced here in the Philippines for decades, it has recently been propelled into the national spotlight once again in perhaps the biggest prize competition for a long time: the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. There also was another recent event in which certain religious groups danced for the whole country to see: the Lady Gaga concert.

President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino III is the current Pinoys’ dance master. Tell me about the “Daang Matuwid” again, please. Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap? Unfortunately for PNoy, hypocrisy is something that you get worse at the more you do. His “straight path” is now looking more and more crooked: its true colors have been revealed to be “making examples of my political enemies”. He has yet to take the lead in responding to the call of the CJ to bare all with his bank accounts.

Let’s delve a bit into perhaps the biggest official Cara Doble dance troupe here in the Philippines: the media. ABS-CBN, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer to be exact. I don’t want to do their thinking for them, but maybe their idea of balance is to feature at least one (maybe even at most one) dissenting view, but at the same time there are nine (9) other pro-administration slants that go along with it. Balanced news, fearless views my ass! Oh, special mention: That gossiping, hen party, tabloid sheet blog headed by a former ABS-CBN employee, Maria Ressa. Yes, the same person who wrote that “corrupt people don’t realize they are corrupt” is selling her journalistic soul to score brownie points with a mob who thinks popularity and correctness are synonymous. Igniting smart conversations and a thirst for change? I don’t think so. The question remains: who is funding To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they’re not yet being funded by the maka-Noynoys. Maybe they’re still kissing ass and pandering, but right now their chapped lips and the crap on their faces and website are getting more and more obvious for the Filipinos to see.

How does Lady Gaga’s concert fit into this? Simple: those so-called religious groups were protesting about the nudity and blasphemy that she “supposedly” portrayed, but they conveniently ignored the nudity and lewdness shown locally. Think of dancing girls in skimpy dresses on noontime variety shows. Don’t forget that even local artists wanted her to “tone down” some of her lyrics. How ironic it was that these groups were practicing their freedom of expression by stifling hers. Luckily, she put them in their rightful place. “I’m not a creature of your government, Manila!”

Let’s get on to the main event. The impeachment trial of CJ Corona held up the hypocrisy, the capacity for deceit, of our government officials for many to see. From the start it was very obvious (to discerning Filipinos, at least), that the trial was not just one big Cara Doble dance. The railroaded impeachment complaint, the trial by media, the grossly exaggerated accusations against the CJ (and later debunked), and especially the illegally obtained evidence; all these were supposedly in “accordance with the law.” If these weren’t enough to convince you that our politicians are hypocrites and two-faced, nothing will.

“If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement over the course of my life. And the more I hear it nowadays, the more ridiculous and more stupid it sounds. Not surprising on that one; this is the ridiculous argument being thrown around by people who had been campaigning for Chief Justice (CJ) Corona’s turn to testify in the impeachment court. While people would be lenient about this outside of a legal court, there is absolutely no place for it inside. And all because a tweet by Leah Navarro (a has-been who was apparently famous before my time) started the ball-rolling.

Innocent until proven guilty. That is the presumption that holds in a court of law. You either accept this assumption of guilt, or you can keep whining about getting justice for any supposed “wrongdoing” done against you. Which is what Pinoys are masters at anyway.

The other side of Pinoy hypocrisy made painfully obvious during the trial was when Harvey Keh took the witness stand. He was caught lying in flagrante delicto about not informing the media in advance of his publicity stunt, and he claimed to be a victim of some Senators’ “persecution”? OH PLEASE! Harvey Keh may have “survived” Miriam’s “berating” but he was just too damn dense to realize his stupid mistake.

Ombudsman Morales is someone who is absolutely praiseworthy. She was very calm as a hostile witness. Kudos goes to her for explaining to us how bank systems and “transactional balances” work. Thanks to her “very clear” Powerpoint presentation, we got to see how much money the CJ was purported to have. If it weren’t for her, we wouldn’t have realized that she has the power to investigate anyone without a court order. Very shocking indeed! For those of you who haven’t gotten it yet, I’m being sarcastic.

I just wonder: why all that enmity between her and the CJ? And the mere mention of the word “used”, nagpagamit. Apparently, she took that kind of hard; she was never used by Malacañang, quote unquote. Well, what I can say is that if she didn’t feel used she is either a useful idiot, or a willing attack dog. Either way, she got screwed, and didn’t feel a thing. Ombudsman Morales, now that your allegations have been answered, how does it feel to be on the receiving end of speculation?

Harvey Keh and Ombudsman Morales showed a classic example of Pinoy style bulok hypocrisy: Accuse first, apologize later (sometimes not even at all, as these two have shown). If caught lying or proven wrong, lash out and play the victim card. Pinoys dish it out but cannot take it.

Let’s not forget to mention the biggest hypocrite, and Cara Doble dancer, Senator Franklin Drilon. He had been acting like one of the prosecution from the start. Do you expect him to render an impartial judgment? Remember that he had resisted calls to inhibit himself from the trial. Corrupt people who don’t think they’re corrupt, huh? Not surprisingly, he was among the first to resist and strongly condemn the CJ’s challenge. I guess he did have something to hide. Hey, I can see his house from here!

But where do our politicians come from? The Filipino people, of course! A hypocritical politician is a product of a hypocritical society. Fellow GRP writer Ilda said it best: Filipinos have this baseless sense of being more important than anyone else.

Certain worse-off Pinoys are quick to denounce people with money that they themselves don’t have as evil, yet they come running to them like the sycophants that they are when they need help. When people are saving money, they throw around the term barat(cheapskate) and madamot(selfish) liberally. Yet when they see a potential gold mine they act all nice and accommodating. Really, what do Pinoys want? I’m not sure they know, either. What I know is this: Pinoys are not fond of give-and-take; they just take.

As I illustrated above, certain Pinoys are quick to accuse people of “wronging them” even without definite and conclusive proof, then they have the gall to demand evidence from the party whom they deem as the offender. They even go to the point of being meddling, or pakialamero/a. If these same Pinoys are being accused of something, they cry violation of privacy, start crying or lashing out. It’s basically protection of privacy and playing the victim if Pinoys are in a tight spot, and admission of guilt or “in the name of justice” if they’re the accuser. WTF.

We’ve got to admit, Filipinos take being deceived or being lied to very seriously. Who doesn’t? How about deceiving or lying to others? That is where things get complicated. The prosecution certainly didn’t seem to regret lying about the 45 properties. Ombudsman Morales certainly didn’t seem to regret the 82 bank accounts report. And CJ Corona’s detractors haven’t let go of the issue of the walkout last Thursday. They cling on to the stubborn notion that he was feigning illness, or using it as an excuse to avoid testifying. Although the doctor who reported on his condition was his son-in-law, what does a doctor stand to gain from fabricating a patient’s condition? In a society where integrity is an exception rather than a norm, it seems that many Pinoys and Filipinos have lost the ability to discern who is trustworthy, and who tells the truth or not. That’s not only sad, that’s downright shameful.

Certain Pinoys are also quick to demand accountability of others without taking responsibility for their own actions. They throw it around as if it’s a buzzword. Let me quote something about accountability that I gleaned from an article I read: accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted. In other words, it’s a reactive state. Need an example? We keep electing the same type of politicians to office every time, yet we keep blaming them for our ills. Is 2013 going to be a repeat performance?

How can we stop dancing in circles while our society crumbles? How can critical thinking be practiced in a society where blind obedience is the norm? These are the types of questions that we Filipino citizens should stop avoiding the answer to. Admittedly, Filipino society is still struggling with the question of morality versus legality. Yet because Pinoys are unable to fully appreciate and abide by either, the answer will always be a double standard. I have the moral high ground, because I am entitled to it. Morality is subjective; the law is not. What’s acceptable to someone may be immoral to another, but the law? It’s either you follow the law or you don’t. The law is a standard that does not discriminate. Yet it is not perfect; it is also the responsibility of the citizens to subject it to scrutiny. This includes the law, the lawmakers, and the law enforcers.

Pinoys are unable to appreciate standards such as the law because they keep putting themselves above it. And this is why the Filipino standard of living will never improve.

6 Replies to “Cara Doble: the unofficial Philippine national dance”

  1. It makes sense that Pilipinas Supreme Court did not tackle immediately this Noynoy sentence (via de Lima ) that Malakanyang, because of its POLICE POWERS, does not need to obtain court orders. deLima said that is why she could stop guLLOO from boarding an airplane.

    But soon enough, Pilipinas has to face the issue. Already, US State Department (and Human Rights Watch) has called attention to PNP abuses — PNP would say they are just doing POLICE POWERS.

    So would de Lima get commended? Would she get reprimanded? Would she get disbarred? Is the BIR, the PNP… agencies of Malakanyang… are they exempted because of POLICE POWERS from having to get court orders?


  2. Laws in the Philippines, are for common people only, like you and me. If you are rich and powerful: you are above the law. If you have friends, in high places: you are above the law also. So, lying and fabricating evidences are okay in Courts, accepted a means to an end to win the cases. These people are Amoral people. It’s crookedness with self respect; and duplicity with Honor…see how Noynoy Aquino is swearing that he will never steal, invoking even the name of God. Yet, his family stole the Hacienda Luisita. for which is now the cause of impeachment of Justice Cororna…

  3. Hey, FallenAngel! It is a nicely done article and well written. Just a minor correction, the walk-out happened on Tuesday last week.

    I do agree with what you have said. Pinoys mostly judge themselves by the ideals they are said to have and hold; however, they judge others by their actions.

    When you try to help them out and give them constructive criticism, they lash out and cry. Yet, when they are the ones pointing out your mistakes, they say it in such a way you’d think you never did something right.

    It is high time for Pinoys to mature and act responsibility.

    1. Thanks, Von! And I agree that Pinoys have to mature. Question is, will this impeachment trial be the catalyst, or do we need to wait for a cataclysmic event to hit us hard?

      1. I think most Pinoys will never learn from the impeachment process. For them, Corona is the epitome of evil and they are the ones anointed by God.

        Truth be told, the Philippine society will only become mature if and when a cataclysmic event happens.

        Our idea of nation-building is just to make some catchy slogan and shout it repeatedly. However, it takes more than that… we need a common cause that will unite us.

  4. Maria Ressa is a hypocrite par excellence. When she headed the news department of ABS CBN she was investigated for immoral conduct. It is said she seduced a female underling into a lesbian relationship. Problem was–the underling was married and her marriage collapsed. Ressa also invented some facts for her book “Seeds of Terror”. She was asked to leave ABS after she bravely wrote a negative story about how PNoy mishandled the Luneta hostage massacre incident. But she sold her soul to the highest bidder for Rappler. Which Moneybags is behind Rappler? My guess is Tonyboy Cojuangco and Rapa Lopa.

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