Our Banana Chips for Your Computer Microchips

Some years ago, a Japanese visiting professor told a Physics professor of a Philippine university that was hoping to set up some local semiconductor research capability a rather condescending joke “our microchips for your banana chips” – commenting on the level of bilateral trade/exchange our two countries had.

The Physics professor, unfortunately due to the heat of local university politics, later just threw in the towel and went abroad as an OFW, and all the equipment that was bought to make vacuum systems for the purpose just ended up not being used to achieve the goal.

semiconductors_philippines

It’s amazing that with the wealth of manpower and legions of graduates we churn out in the engineering and scientific fields, Filipinos can’t seem to get their act together and produce Filipino-original locally made advanced products that can compete in the real world.

Besides, what is this country known for? If you asked a random person walking on the streets of our northern Asian neighbors what they knew the Philippines produced/exported – they would be groping to give you an answer only to say in the end:  “bananas!” What does that make of your country? You got it – a classic banana republic!

An Import- and Consumer-Driven Economy

Although semiconductor and electronics constitute the “number one export” of the Philippines, that has happened only because foreign companies set up their factories or assembly plants here and used cheap Filipino laborers. When you see any electronic parts labeled “Made in the Philippines”, don’t be too proud because all of that is the embodiment of foreign minds and wizardry. Unlike a genuine 100% Filipino company, they easily come and go. Intel by the way, used to make Pentium processors in the country, but now they’re gone with the wind and closed down local operations.

I asked a mechanical engineer who worked for a research arm of the government before, why the Philippines couldn’t make its own engines (crankshaft, pistons and all). Although we could have had the expertise, he said entering such a market was not very feasible; it would be cheaper to simply import engines. True enough, if you look under the hood of a Sarao jeepney you’ll find a good old Isuzu or Mitsubishi surplus (cheap wag-wag) diesel engine extracted from Japanese scrap.

So here we are – a country content on simply importing every kind of advanced product and retailing them in Henry Sy’s massive malls, who by the way is equally content in siphoning all that cash our OFW dependents are so eager to spend. We are nothing but a consumer economy, waiting for everybody else in the world to make cool products for us.

Our Advanced Asian Neighbors

We don’t even have a decent true-blue Filipino-designed/manufactured automotive brand the way South Korea has their very own Hyundai, Daewoo, and Kia; or any local computer maker the way Taiwan & China have their Lenovo, Acer, and Asus. Heck, even Vietnam who had been lagging behind us is now coming up with their own humanoid robots.

Our president is once again flashing his famous dubious-looking smirk with the order and delivery of Korean-made fighter jets the country needs to appear capable of countering the Chinese threat in the Spratlys. Imagine – jets made in Korea, a country which just a few decades ago Filipino soldiers were helping out (with sweat and blood) to free them from a ravaging civil war.

Note that the Marcos era left the country with a promising aerospace industry (Philippine-made helicopters and airplanes), which now has virtually vanished into thin air under the Yellow camp’s watch.

Advanced Filipino Products = Genuine Pinoy Pride

Instead our Pinoy pride lies in

  1. Servitude – our many helpers, nurses, entertainers, and construction laborers exported all over the world;
  2. Singing – our national skill of loud wailing (maybe fueled by our drama-filled lives);
  3. Boxing – a legalized way of getting to beat up somebody and get paid handsomely doing it

-not the things any decent country that seeks respect in the world arena would really brag about.

Most of the time, news from the Philippines that goes out into the world is about some tragic calamity/accident, ingeniously crafted scam, or pathetic display of corruption/incompetence. When do you think will there be technology-related news like: “Filipinos develop new memory chips with double capacity” or “Philippine company manufactures advanced submarines”?

So what is it that Filipinos can proudly contribute to the world? What products can Filipinos be known for other than bananas, coconut juice, dried mango, and pineapples? Do these products represent all the innovation and creativity that can be squeezed out of the Filipino brain?

Do we need to hear again those insulting words from a pissed off racist abroad saying “Nothing good ever came out of the Philippines!” for us to wake up and seriously make advanced innovate products labeled “Proudly Philippine Made”?

Could I be dreaming too much to wish that one day Filipinos would get to travel to the US, go to Wal-Mart and see lined up with all the Samsung (Korea), Philips (Netherlands), and Sony (Japan) electronic products our very own Filipino-made brand? Well, when that day comes, I can assure you that Filipinos will be grinning from ear to ear.

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36 Comments on “Our Banana Chips for Your Computer Microchips”

  1. You know what’s really sad, zaxx? The Philippines can’t even grow bananas properly. A lot of the big fruit or oilpalm plantations are owned by foreign corporations, who only come here because they’re allowed to spray those bananas to kingdom come with pesticides that are banned on most of the planet, and douse the soil with fertilizers and herbicides until it’s a lifeless wasteland. Then they move on.

    The average farmer, meanwhile, is busy growing rice (a pointless crop if ever there was one), or miserable local cultivars, which seem to have been deliberately developed to have no desirable characteristics at all. Try comparing a Filipino tomato (Ramgo Seeds) with a Sungold. They’re both hybrids, but one actually tastes lke a tomato.

    Ah, and here comes the DENR rep, wanting his little slice of the pie before the poor farmer is allowed to actually sell his stuff.

    Or no, wait – chances are that farmer is growing nothing at all, despite having 10 hectares of land in the family. Why? Because he’s too busy stroking his cock, which will earn him a lot of money real soon now, you’ll see, just watch this next fight.

    It’s heartbreaking, it really is. There’s nothing AT ALL wrong with being a producer of food. It’s a good and honorable profession. It’s not particularly difficult. You just need to put in a little bit of effort and – here’s where it all turns to crap in the Philippines – LEARN HOW TO DO IT PROPERLY.

    1. True – we can’t be too proud of even the very bananas and pineapples from Mindanao plantations that we export coz those too are produced by foreign firms: Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita…

      Banana Republic!

  2. As a starting example, almost all countries have seriously engaged in their “food security programs” to ensure that their countries would have self sustenance for the most basic food requirements of their peoples.

    Government officials and politicians of the Philippines often mention the same phrase, but also every time there are shortages of even the most basic condiments like ginger, garlic and onions they are quick to say “import”.

    Until now the country’s media are still even spontaneously bragging about how they ‘innovated’ they Jeepney ‘right after the WWII’. (Their minds are still stuck in those days.)

    Therefore, hoping for some original and latest technological products to come out of the Philippines is a far too ambitious dream.

    With all due respect to those very few decent intellectuals and patriots who are truly concerned for the welfare and advancement of their country, it seems that whatever they’ve done and will ever do will just always be overruled and drowned in the wailing noise of their purely egotistic and uncaring compatriots.

  3. Well, with the continuing brain drain of our country and our twisted beliefs and chosen twisted lifestyle we will never see a brighter future (it will probably take centuries give or take). For decades, our neighbors transforms themselves for the better after the war and still we live like we’re in medieval Europe. We have chosen this path and only we can decide whether to take a different one.

    We know what the problem is, we know what to do, but still little to nothing actually change. I guess I’m eating my words now for my comment of one of Grimwald’s articles to never give up. Because I’m giving up. I cannot see anyway that we, as a people will finally get our sht together and work for a better future.

    1. Ironically – our being good in English (both a blessing and a curse) is a big factor to the brain drain.

      Most Japanese and Koreans stay in their country because they can’t speak English well. Thus their talent pool is very rich.

  4. We don’t have schools that teach automotive engineering, this is one of the problems here in the Philippines. It’s sickening to overhear jeepney and tricycle drivers say “Ang galing talaga ng pilipino, naisip pa natin na gumawa ng sidecar ng tricycle/chassis ng jeep.” Then if you tell them that the people who made the motorcycle/engine are the ones who are truly great, they would say, “Ay hindi naman ganon!” or worse, “edi wow!”

    1. Some Japanese technical high schools already study automotive engines / airplanes, and even make their own satellites as a school project.

      Pinoys have a long way to go.

  5. The Filipino Chinese have so much wealth here, but all they really do with it is build malls and sell stuff to us. They are only going where the money is and we haven’t impressed them enough with our engineering and technical knowhow and manufacturing prowess to entice them into investing their money into anything more than malls.

    A professor once told me that just before world war ii there were scions of rich Filipinos and ilustrados who were being groomed to be the industrialists of our country once we gained independence. There was a whole crop of them. World war ii happened and those who didn’t get killed in the fighting (and in the infamous battle of manila) left for Spain and Latin America. We were left with a bunch of cowardly collaborators the descendants of whom rule this country today.

  6. @Zaxx,
    this is maybe our best export product at the moment. Can you copy it?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASML_Holding
    ASML is a Dutch company and currently the largest supplier in the world of photolithography systems for the semiconductor industry. The company manufactures machines for the production of integrated circuits (ICs), such as CPUs, DRAM memory, flash memory. The company is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

    1. Robert, For a company hardly known to the common Filipino, that is enormous profit ASML has there …€1.418 billion (2014).

      The Dutch can buy a small African country with that kind of money.

      NXP (Dutch semicon firm) is also a big name in the IC industry.

      So in general, what constitutes Dutch Pride? Pinoys need to learn how genuine national pride is different from their fake “Pinoy pride”. Hope you can enlighten us.

      1. Zaxx,
        When the Dutch national soccer team performs good at a World Cup, it makes me feel good. But bec I myself had no contribution to the actual achievement of the Dutch team, it doesnt make me proud.
        I will and can only be proud of myself when and if I achieve something that I didnt knowe I had in me. Or maybe I had it in me but only needed to get out.

        Moral of (my) the story: Things that are simple can never make me proud bec everyone can achieve the same.

        Adding another year (birthday)? Simple (no need to congratulate me for that achievement). Just breathe.

        Getting a kid? Simple (no need to congratulate me for that achievement).

        Getting married? Simple (no need to congratulate me for that achievement).

        Getting a university degree/diploma? Simple (no need to congratulate me for that achievement).

        Raise the bar (higher) and rise to the occassion. (That is my motto). Dont accept second best (or even less than second best). Dont accept your own flaws/shortcommings. We can all improve ourselves.

        This doesnt mean that I am perfect. But I am always busy to curb my flaws/shortcomings.

        So if/when somebody tells me I am a lousy cook, fine, I’ll accept that and I hope/wish he/she will teach me to become a better cook. Or I will take cooking lessons.

        1. Robert, so if I got that right, the Dutch are only proud of individual/personal extraordinary achievements.

          Any success by a fellow Dutch is something to be happy about, but shouldn’t be a source of one’s own pride.

          In that case, Pinoys who seem to be proud of anything/anyone that can put “Filipino” on the radar screen of the international community (like a Manny Paqiao) need to think outside their box and learn from you guys in Europe.

        2. Zaxx,
          I have the faintest idea what the English Oxford dictionary says about words like pride and proud but I have my own definition.

          As long as my own participation in the achievement is zero then why should the achievement make me proud?
          I also do appreciate it very much if a person does things no one expected from her/him and he/her himself/herself didnt expect either.

          If I can encourage/stimulate my son/daughter (dont have one) or my GF/wife then its a complete different ball game.

          For that matter it always makes me sick and tired to hear PH Filipinas say: “I want a man who takes care of me”.
          While women should say instead is: “Ï dont need a man to take care of me, I can look after myself”

          Unfortunetely, that mindset is not promoted nor encouraged/stimulated during childhood by the parents.

          How – for christ’s sake – is it possible for a (Dutch) guy to be proud of his Pinay GF/wife if all she can do is cook, clean and spread her legs wide open?

      2. Robert, about that last part, it’s what comes out from between those legs that many Pinays are proud of – esp. if it’s a half-breed. So your Dutch blood is in high demand – you can understand now why you were being paraded around like a trophy (not to mention you are also a walking ATM). Sorry, but it’s the sad reality that many Pinays have very low ambitions, mainly bordering on survival – with the least effort if possible.

        1. Zaxx,
          I have a (good/sad) message for all those pinays out there. With my age, the sperm count and “liveablity” of them will decrease by the year. And the same applies for her egg cells when/if she reaches 35. I am not in it to become a father of a “Down syndrome” kid and also not looking forward to become a father of multiplets. Those are the main risks when the woman reaches 35 (and beyond).
          So lets rule out kids, okay?

        2. @Zaxx,
          Re: your ATM remark:

          Till 1960-1970 my country was overwhelmingly quite traditional when it comes to relationships. You were married and when the wife got pregnant she quitted her job and became a full time housewife. She took care of and raised the kids and she did all the household chores. The husband only was the “provider”. So in a way that full time housewife was the one who withdrew the money from the ATM ( = husband).
          I myself was a kid in such a traditional household. And thank god when I reached the age of 18-20, I thought to myself: “Never that”.
          At the start of 1970s, women started to become more independent, went to university and started their own career.
          That is the era, I grew up with. I encourage, stimulate women to be and become independent (in mindset and monetarilly) and that is what will work for me.

          Furthermore, never did I live in a country/culture where my dad or my mom had to look after their respective parents and/or their siblings. When they married, they married each other and not with all their respective family members.

          As you can conclude now (after reading the above), there is no force, no culture that tells us, we have to take care of our parents, our siblings or whoever. That is what we call progress.

          So lets make myself clear once and for all, I will never work for my GF’s/wife’s parents, her siblings nor for my own parents and siblings because for the simple fact, I am not married with them. I am not responsible for them.

        3. Robert, totally agree. The Filipino mindset / culture of being obliged to support relatives to the nth degree is what’s keeping PH from being able to stand on its 2 feet.

          Instead of being able to save for capital to start a business, they have to pay for the diabetes/dialysis treatment or schoing of some relative.

          It will take a new generation of half-breeds with the kind of thinking you guys in Europe have for this dysfunction to be weeded out of Pinoy culture.

          Btw, don’t worry about nor having kids of your own – I’m sure you have truckloads of Syrian refugee children to take care of there in EU.

        4. @Zaxx,
          “It will take a new generation of half-breeds with the kind of thinking you guys in Europe have for this dysfunction to be weeded out of Pinoy culture.”

          No, you dont need me to procreate with a pinay and our kid will do the rest. And what if our kid is raised the PH way (doing the mano to me? Heaven and hell forbid)? Then nothing will change still.

          Its a matter of common sense and thinking critically. The PH culture may work and function perfectly in the eyes of all Filipinos, but I do agree with what Benign0 always stated “its a dysfunctional society”.

          “Btw, don’t worry about nor having kids of your own – I’m sure you have truckloads of Syrian refugee children to take care of there in EU.”

          Yes that is our crises at the moment.

  7. We are two (centuries), behind in Science and Technology. Politics is the number one industry.

    We cannot innovate,,,this is our weaknesses. Going as OFW, is better than working in the Philippines.

    There are no incentives, for technical and Scientific people to stay. Good Pay, Perks and Good Benefits are not offered.

    Only, the politicians are the only ones , offered those incentives…so this country is now going to the drain.

  8. But I heard Duterte plans to revive the steel industry so we can industrialize, and set up rail lines across Mindanao.

    Sounds promising, eh? Just sweet talk, or the real thing?

    Is Digong a better gamble than Mar’s continuation of Daang Matuwid?

    Press at your own risk —> [DU30]

  9. Care for some joxx guys?

    What do Japan and the Philippines have in common in terms of military manufacturing capability?

    Answer: Both Japan and the Philippines can manufacture ZERO fighter planes – Japan during WW2 and the Philippines at present.

    http://zaxxun.com/zero-is-number-one/

    Pinoys have a long way to go!!! Better start making engines soon.

    Could this be the start of the rise of Philippine Engine manufacturing capability?… Watch below

    Stirling engine made in philippines

  10. The truth hurts sometimes. I have a friend who works for intel. He told me to look at Intel expansion and see and look at the education and wages of the workers.
    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/global-manufacturing.html

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/intel-to-convert-processor-chip-factory-in-china-to-make-memory-chips-1445368532

    Intel has spent a total of 8 billion not million , but 8 billion US dollars making and expanding factories. It is important to have cheap educated workers not just cheap labor. Intel actually expanded its factories to two nations in the last year. The amazing thing he told me was that a lot of the workers in the China factory were actually degree holders from the Philippines. This is amazing considering that there is a controversy of the K-12 education plan. The question is how do we get this company to bring back this factory or a new factory to the Philippines that is like the new one in Vietnam that gives over 400 million US dollars to Vietnam every year

    1. There are loads of talented people in the Philippines. They’re simply not allowed to do anything with their talents. Those who can, leave. Those who can’t just accept that both the government and their compatriots want them to fail. So that’s what they do.

      No foreign company will set up shop in the Philippines because government policies are hostile to business. All business, not just foreign business. It’s that simple. It’s not a lack of talent or a shortage of (cheap) labour.

  11. What’s Korea’s Secret: love of country

    nowiknow.com/south-koreas-reverse-gold-rush/

    In January of 1998, South Korea began a campaign called “Collect Gold for the Love of Korea.” At the time, South Koreans, collectively, owned a total of 2,000 tons of gold then worth about $20 billion. That would have gone a long way to lessen the debt burden the country was suffering from.

    ….

    Can Filipinos give up their personal treasures for their country ?
    No wonder why PH is stuck on first gear while Korea is zooming like their supersonic jets. Reflection time.

  12. Gregorio Zara born in Lipa City, Batangas, is one of the best known scientist from the Philippines. In 1926, Gregorio Zara graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1927, he received his Masters degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1930, he graduated with a Doctorate of Physics from Sorbonne University. On September 30, 1954 Gregorio Zara’s alcohol-fueled airplane engine was successfully tested and flown at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. – See more at:

    http://www.pinoyinventions.imbenta.net/filipino-scientist-gregorio-y-zara-invented-the-videophone/

  13. I’m astounded that this out of many reasons isn’t enough to make the middle class pull a French Revolution on these kleptomaniacs.

    1. No one has the balls to stage one. Ask anyone in this forum – any of you willing to spearhead and organize such a movement?

      Silence of the lambs!

      1. No one can spearhead any reform because every Filipino thinks he, or she, can do a better job than the other. This is the characteristic of our people’s aristocratic and self-serving nature that has been destroying the very fabric of life in the Philippines for as long as anyone can remember.

  14. In a banana republic, the Failippines in particular, one might slip on a banana peel but things do work – now and then for the Failipino people, albeit inefficiently and unreliably.

  15. We are people not unlike the bowling pins hit by the ball, 3 times, and haven’t recovered til now. Awry, disoriented and in need of a Leader.

    I have read this blog from top to bottom and but NOWHERE did I read A SOLUTION to the PROBLEMS mentioned by the main post. Coz this is what we do all the time. Complain about everything yet nary a thing about what to do about it. Nags and Babies. It took a foreigner AGAIN to tr to show us what’s wrong and what may be done and no one, not the blogger even got it. These kind of blogs can only invite trolls who will continue to PUT DOWN our country even more than our people can SELF-BASH.

    MY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM MENTIONED BY BLOG AT HAND: Government funding for Science and Development in schools. Starting from elementary. Science contests in high school. Scholarship for inventive minds. The present Philippine Science High School has failed.

    And please stop self-bashing. And worst, agreeing to the negas foreigners say about us. Learn to promote your country but first love it. How? Study your history. Not the school books but the new revelations on our true Philippine History. Read Read Read

    1. @Maria,
      You wont be given any clues (solutions) bec they dont want to breast feed (sorry that must read: spoon feed) you. They want you to figure it out yourself.

      So, they will tell you implicitly that you must be your own LEADER.

      I am also a foreigner and compared to my country there is a lot (going) wrong in PH.

      However, I do agree with one thing. Read, read and read (but not the bible. There are no answers in that book that will make your country progress).

      Robert (no fake name and no fake pic. Its my real name and real pic)

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