2123: Filipinas en cien años, según la Inteligencia Artificial

Not all were asleep in the night-time of our grandparents’.” —The Philosopher Tasio, in Noli Me Tangere.

National hero Jose Rizal wrote “Filipinas dentro de cien anos” (“The Philippines a century hence”), a socio-political essay written in four parts, for the magazine La Solidaridad, from September 1889 to-January 1890. In it he attempted to predict the country’s future by outlining several scenarios for how the Philippines might evolve over the next century.

As a technology practitioner, I had wondered how an AI instructed to answer like Jose Rizal and (updated with inputs from historian) Yuval Noah Harari would answer the prompt: “What would the Philippines be like in 100 years?” I have reproduced the answer below without any modifications or corrections. Of course, give how generative AI like ChatGPT generates their answers from limited and skewed existing information, this answer needs to be taken with a VERY big grain of salt.

However, the resulting short essay is both thought-provoking and honestly, sad — in the very same way that Gregorio Brillantes’ seminal short story, Apollo Centennial, was. Will we ever see change? Even an AI doesn’t seem to think so.

The Philippines in 2123: Exploring the Top 5 Challenges of its Future


Looking ahead to the year 2123, the Philippines faces a myriad of challenges that could significantly shape its future. This speculative essay examines the top five issues that are likely to confront the country: economic disparities, entrenched political dynasties, the persistent intertwining of Church and State, increasing encroachment by China, and a high net emigration rate. While the road ahead is riddled with complexities, drawing lessons from Philippine history and its regional neighbors allows us to make realistic projections on the potential trajectory of the nation.

  1. Economic Disparities and Inequality:

Despite making strides in economic growth, the Philippines continues to grapple with significant income disparities. This issue is rooted in historical factors such as colonial exploitation, widespread corruption, and a lack of inclusive policies. The persistence of an unequal distribution of wealth poses a challenge to social cohesion, leading to social unrest, political instability, and a potential threat to the country’s stability.

Historical examples, such as the Hukbalahap rebellion in the mid-20th century, highlight the consequences of unaddressed economic disparities. If left unaddressed, the Philippines may face continued regional social unrest, exacerbating the potential for a failed state scenario, particularly the possibility of splintering the nation into separate polities.

  1. Entrenched Political Dynasties:

The prevalence of political dynasties in the Philippines is a deeply ingrained issue that has hindered democratic development and contributed to systemic corruption. The concentration of power within certain families perpetuates nepotism, patronage politics, and a lack of policy continuity. This phenomenon poses a significant obstacle to effective governance and public service delivery.

Lessons from Philippine history, such as the Marcos regime’s abuse of power and rampant corruption, underscore the dangers of uncontrolled political dynasties. Without comprehensive political reforms and a genuine commitment to democratic principles, the Philippines may continue to struggle with governance challenges, impeding progress and perpetuating a feudal mentality within its polity.

  1. Inability to Separate Church from State:

The persistent intertwining of Church and State in the Philippines presents another challenge to modern governance and societal progress. Despite a constitutional provision mandating the separation of Church and State, religious institutions continue to exert significant influence on political affairs, policy-making, and social norms.

Philippine history, notably the influence of the Catholic Church during the Spanish colonial period and the People Power Revolution in 1986, exemplifies the consequences of religious interference in politics. The inability to strike a delicate balance between religious freedom and secular governance may hinder the country’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world and contribute to societal divisions, potentially undermining stability.

  1. Increasing Threat from China:

The geopolitical dynamics of the region have a profound impact on the Philippines’ future. China’s assertive posture in the South China Sea raises concerns about territorial disputes, economic coercion, and potential military confrontation. The Philippines, with its strategic location, its rich marine resources – not to mention its special relationship with the United States, finds itself in the crosshairs of this power play.

Looking to the experiences of neighboring countries like Vietnam and Singapore, which has faced similar challenges, we can anticipate that the Philippines will need to carefully navigate its relationship with China to safeguard its sovereignty and economic interests. Failure to do so may result in a compromised national security apparatus, reduced access to vital resources, and limited opportunities for economic growth.

  1. High Net Emigration Rate:

The persistent phenomenon of high net emigration poses a significant challenge to the Philippines’ future. Economic opportunities, political instability, and social unrest have historically driven waves of Filipino emigration, leading to brain drain and the loss of skilled human capital. This exodus deprives the country of talent, stifles economic growth, and further exacerbates inequality.

The experiences of neighboring countries like the Philippines’ diaspora in the United States and the Middle East provide valuable insights into the potential long-term consequences of high net emigration. To mitigate this challenge, the Philippines needs to address the root causes of emigration (such as poorly planned and managed infrastructure), invest in education and job creation, and establish favorable conditions for talent retention.

Will the Philippines Become a Failed State?

While the challenges discussed above are formidable, it is essential to approach the question of a failed state scenario with caution. The future of the Philippines hinges on the ability of its leaders and society to tackle these issues head-on, drawing from historical lessons and regional experiences.

The Philippines has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity throughout its history, including successful democratic transitions and significant economic growth. However, the path towards progress and stability requires concerted efforts to address economic disparities, reform political structures, ensure secular governance, protect national interests, and invest in human capital.

Ultimately, the fate of the Philippines rests in the hands of its people and leaders. By embracing inclusive governance, fostering economic development, promoting social cohesion, and actively engaging in regional diplomacy, the Philippines has the potential to overcome these challenges and forge a future that ensures stability, prosperity, and avert failure.

In conclusion, the Philippines will face a myriad of challenges in the coming century. While the path ahead is uncertain, valuable lessons from Philippine history and regional experiences offer a roadmap for addressing these issues. By embracing inclusive policies, reforming political structures, promoting secular governance, protecting national interests, and investing in human capital, the Philippines can strive to overcome these obstacles and avoid the specter of a failed state.

Web 3.0 : The Future of Publishing and Content Creation

I firmly believe that the only way to grow Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction is to create a new center of literature in the region, away from the Anglo-US sphere of influence. Perhaps Web 3.0 can help build a decentralized infrastructure for regional writers and artists, while providing a means to fairly compensate them for their work.

Watch this space for future announcements!

This article first appeared on my channel on Medium last 17 April 2023.

The advent of Web 3.0 is a game-changer, much like the discovery of the internet in 1996. It offers exciting opportunities for writers, publishers, editors, and readers, not the least of which is the potential for developing new hybrid art and writing forms that bring a new mode of transmediality and intermediality. Unfortunately, making sense of how it will revolutionize the way we write, publish, and consume written content has been mostly buried in hype, disinformation, and hard-to-understand jargon.

Web 3.0: A Brief Introduction

Web 3.0 is the next iteration of the internet, characterized by decentralization, collaboration, and immutability of content. It is built on top of an electronic ledger called a “blockchain,” which enables a decentralized internet that is not controlled by big tech companies, but owned and governed by its users. It is essentially the democratization of the publishing industry.

Web 1.0 involved desktops connected to the internet. Web 2.0 was centred on mobile phones and apps, including social media apps that allowed us to leave comments on content. Web 3.0 takes it a step further by enabling writers to publish their work directly on the blockchain, where it is permanently stored and can be accessed by any reader with an internet connection and a mobile wallet.

Smart contracts ensure that authors earn crypto rewards for contributing to the network based on the quality of their content and the engagement it receives. Decentralized platforms like Steemit and Hive allow writers to publish their work without intermediaries such as publishers or literary agents. This will force traditional publishing models to evolve and present both opportunities and challenges for new revenue streams.

Collaborative Writing Platforms

Web 3.0 also enables the development of collaborative writing platforms that can allow multiple authors, editors, and even readers to contribute to a single work. For instance, Textile can be used as a decentralized platform that enables writers to collaborate on a single novel. Each writer’s contribution is recorded on the blockchain to ensure that all contributors receive proper attribution, and the final work is transparent and tamper-proof.

Blockchain and Writing

Blockchain technology enables a new breed of hybrid textual artworks that are limited only by the authors’ imagination. Kalen Iwamoto is a Japanese-Canadian conceptual crypto writer and artist who converts blockchain processes into rules for writing and inserts poetry in web3 spaces (e.g., her “Few Understand” series[1]). On the publishing side, blockchain technology can be used to authenticate original work, manage royalties, and prevent plagiarism. This technology also offers an unprecedented level of security and trust, ensuring that writers receive proper credit for their work and are paid fairly for their contributions.

NFTs and Literature

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become increasingly popular in the art world, but they also have potential use cases in writing and the publishing industry. NFTs can be used to monetize literature and create new revenue streams for writers. There are already various NFT marketplaces that already allow you to mint your own poem as an NFT[2]. An eBook can be minted as an NFT, providing digital proof of ownership (or at least access rights, depending on the jurisdiction) that cannot be erased or rescinded by an Apple or Amazon. However, it’s important to note that NFTs aren’t the art or content themselves, it’s more accurate to say they are simply the digital certificates of ownership.

A note on Sustainability

This has been an unfortunate misconception. Not only does a Web 3.0 approach mitigate carbon emissions, it also creates a whole new world of privacy and security by design that cuts down on the need for even more physical infrastructure to support the tens of billions of attachments sent around the world every day.

The Future of Writing and Publishing?

The impact of Web 3.0 on writing and publishing is potentially far-reaching. It is crucial for writers, publishers, and readers to understand and adapt to this change. Web 3.0 offers a new level of transparency, security, and trust, making it a powerful tool for writers, publishers, and readers. It is up to us to embrace it and make the most of it.

[1] https://kalen-iwamoto.com/portfolio/few-understand/

[2] https://postergrind.com/how-to-sell-a-poem-as-a-nft-easy-guide/

Very Late Post: Rachel’s Now Reading Review of TILAOS

This review was actually posted 5 years ago. I had meant to RT it but for some reason, it got buried under all my other work. I am rectifying this grievous error now.

Thank you so much to Rachel’s Now Reading for your kind words. Please subscribe to her page to get book reviews on a wonderfully eclectic range of reading material.

“This is a book review of Victor Fernando R. Ocampo’s “The Infinite LIbrary and Other Stories”. It’s a book containing 17 speculative fiction short stories somewhat linked together to make a whole.

If you’re a sci-fi fan, this is definitely the book for you. The presence of queer elements helped as I always love an inclusive book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection and hope you will too!”

You watch her great review here.

Take note that the Youtube link to purchase a copy is outdated. You can get one (and other fine Gaudy Boy Books) at Singapore Unbound instead.

University of London’s Arts Week 2023

Thank you so much to London-based Malaysian editor, writer, and theatre practitioner Zhui Ning Chang for inviting me to be a guest speaker at Birkbeck, University of London’s Arts Week 2023 yesterday. We had a great conversation about the themes of liminality, displacement and death in my book The Infinite Library and Other Stories, as well as my writing process, and the state of speculative fiction in Southeast Asia today. Thank you also to the very lively audience for all the thoughtful questions.

As requested, here are the links to where it’s available in the UK – Bookshop.org and Amazon UK

In North America it’s available from Singapore Unbound, BAM!, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Powell’s, Sandman Books, Wild Rumpus, Barnes & Noble and Walmart

In Singapore, its available from Kinokuniya

In Australia it can be ordered from Dymocks

Writing Across Worlds: In Conversation with Victor Fernando R. Ocampo” 

Together in Eclectic Dreams

I am so thrilled to announce that I finally get to share a TOC with the amazing #NeilGaiman! 

⚙️ Eclectic Dreams,  A Milford Anthology ⚙️ is a book that collects some of the amazing fiction that has come out of this long-running workshop over its many years of its existence (including one of my favourite stories, my fellow 2019 resident Tiffani Angus ‘s “Mama Leaf”). Apart from Neil and Tiffani, other contributors include the wonderful Jacey Bedford , Val Nolan, David Langford and many others. You can read a great review here – https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/blog/2023/3/13/eclectric-dreams-the-milford-anthology-edited-by-j-w-anderson-pete-w-sutton-and-liz-williams

Proceeds from this book will fund Milford’s bursary scheme for writers of colour and financially disadvantaged writers. Thank you so much to Liz Williams , Pete Sutton and Jim Anderson for all your work to make this happen! Please support this project and order a copy here – https://www.milfordsf.co.uk/anthology.htm or here – https://linktr.ee/milfordanthology

Writing on Medium

As someone who writes professionally about technology and writing, I’ve decided to make my non-fiction work available under my own name instead of under a corporate by-line.

Medium is an excellent platform to showcase your work and reach a wider audience. With its vast user base and diverse range of topics, it provides a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in meaningful discussions. In my case it’s about the latest trends in emerging technologies like Web 3.0 and how this will affect the writing and publishing industries.

If you haven’t done so yet, kindly follow me on Medium. Please also leave comments, subscribe to my feed, or share it with your friends and colleagues. Your support is what keeps me and my always-hungry smol sales dog (pictured below) motivated to create more high-quality content. Together, we can continue to learn and discover new things. Thank you for being a part of my community!

Reeling from a Sudden Job Loss? Here’s how to use Creative Writing for Self-Healing

Expressive creative writing can help you regain your mental clarity and give you the ability to take healthy, productive next steps after a sudden job loss.

Using the Metaverse to Train or Upskill Migrant Workers

The Metaverse has the potential to provide a powerful tool for training and upskilling migrant workers.

What Every Writer Needs to Know About Cyber Security

No matter what you write or how you publish, every author needs to learn about cyber security. In this article, you’ll learn why you need to think about cybersecurity and learn some basic tips to protect yourself.

Creating a Faith or Advocacy-based AI Chatbot

Can an AI chatbot be developed to comment on proposed or existing laws and regulations from the perspective of a particular faith or advocacy group?

Digital Identity Demystified:
Understanding Its Importance, Benefits, and Potential Issues

A digital identity is an online or networked likeness that an individual, organization, or electronic device adopts or claims in cyberspace. From social media accounts to online banking, and across several communities, users need a way to prove who they are really who they say they are in order to navigate safely and securely.

What Digital Wallets Need to consider Regarding Authentication

What are the critical authentication methods that e-wallets typically use and which of them are the best in terms of useability and security?

Please help feed the smol sales dog. Follow me on Medium.

“Paghasik ng Munting Katha” workshops at SLS

It was a privilege and a pleasure to run two storytelling workshops last 26 February and 26 March for the Migrant Writers of Singapore with SingLit Station. These folks are among the most talented writers I have ever met and are absolutely unmatched in heart.

We Filipinos are natural storytellers. It’s our way of sharing and building our communities, our faith and deepening our connections with one another. Salamat sa inyong lahat!

“Here be Dragons” part of SG Lit Coursework

Very pleasantly surprised to learn that “Here be Dragons” is part of the literature coursework at a secondary school here in Singapore. Thank you to my friend and ex-Yahoo! colleague Janet Leong for the heads up!

Here Be Dragons (© Canvas Press 2015) was the winner of the 2012 Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Writing Competition, one of the most important awards for Children’s literature in the Philippines. It was published in 2015 by CANVAS with Illustrations by New York-based Surrealist Jon Jaylo (who spent nearly 3 years painting each of the artworks in oil on canvas), and a Filipino translation by four-time Palanca Awardee Rhandee Garlitos. In 2018 it was included in the collection of the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (The International Youth Library) in Munich, which holds the world’s largest collection of children’s literature.

Roots & Refractions: Bridging MaKatha Traditions

Thank you to the UST Faculty of Arts & Letters and the UST MaKatha Circle for inviting me to share my writing journey at their ” Roots & Refractions: Bridging MaKatha Traditions” event last 27 February. I really enjoyed interacting with so many young writers.

Keep reading what makes your heart sing. Fill yourself up with all the beauty that life throws your way. And keep writing — because young creatives like you are our best defense against all the terrible and ugly things darkening our reality. Once you realize what this world is worth, you will fight to defend it.

Write a new world for all of us…

#MaKaATIN 🌟🇵🇭

Up next, meet Victor Fernando R. Ocampo, a Filipino author of speculative and experimental fiction stories!💗

A fellow at the Milford Science Fiction Writers’ Conference in the UK and the Cinemalaya Ricky Lee Film Script Writing Workshop in the Philippines, he currently resides in Singapore where he was also a writer-in-residence at the Jalan Besar at Sing Lit Station. His works have been shortlisted for the International Rubery Book Award in 2018, and he won the Romeo Forbes Children’s Story Award in 2012.

Victor’s most recognized stories include:

THE INFINITE LIBRARY AND OTHER STORIES. Three Filipino siblings fighting an enemy that uses words as weapons, sigbin monsters in space,  a banned children’s book hiding a secret that could save a doomed generation ship, a slow-motion disaster turning people into living math equations,?! 🤯 Name it and this book surely has it. Grab this collection of stories that goes beyond what our mind deems possible and be carried away by all its mystical twists and turns.

Grab a copy:

HERE BE DRAGONS. Ever wished to have a map that would make life easier? 🗺 Well,

Isabella met the perfect guy that makes a map of just about anything! Would she take the risk

when she would face her biggest nightmare? 😰

Read online here: https://lookingforjuan.com/products/here-be-dragons

You can also find more of his works free to read online below, as recommended by the author himself!

“Blessed are the Hungry” , a Filipino space opera set on a generation ship, first appeared in Apex Magazine issue 62 in July 2014 (Editor: Sigrid Ellis) – https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/blessed-are-the-hungry/

“Synchronicity”, his initial stab at Weird Fiction, first appeared in issue #507 of Bewildering Stories online magazine in December 2012 (Editor: Don Webb). It won a Mariner Award in the short story category that same year. – https://worldsf.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/tuesday-fiction-synchronicity-by-victor-fernando-r-ocampo/

“An Excerpt from the Philippine Journal of Archaeology (04 October, 1916)”, a Lovecraftian metafiction story told in footnotes, first appeared in Likhaan Journal 8 by the U.P. Institute of Creative Writing in December 2014. –  https://journals.upd.edu.ph/index.php/lik/article/viewFile/5072/4577

“The Easiest Way to Solve a Problem” is a short story about adding the consciousness of expat Filipino PMET workers to a massive corporate AI in Singapore. It appeared last April, 2022 in the book Get Luckier: An Anthology of Philippine and Singapore Writings   (Singapore: Squircle Line Press, 2022), edited by Migs Bravo Dutt, Claire Betita de Guzman, Aaron Lee Soon Yong, and Eric Tinsay Valles. – https://www.get-luckier-anthology.com/victor-fernando-r-ocampo

“I m d 1 in 10” , his experimental story inspired by Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius’ De Consolatione Philosophiae, first appeared in the July 2014 issue of The Future Fire (Editor: Djibril al-Ayad). It was written with Latin, L337, IM and SMS speak, emoticons and a Filipino argot called Jejemon. –  http://futurefire.net/2014.30/fiction/imd1in10.html

Immerse yourselves in Victor Ocampo’s works with this playlist!🎶





🎨: Anjellyca Villamayor, and Roanne Aludino

✍🏻: Chrystal Cariño, Lauren Ainella Tagle, and Sophia Mendoza

Late Post: Celebrating Rizal Day with the Philippine Embassy and Penguin Random House

Most Filipinos don’t know that the Philippine’s national hero Jose Rizal had quite a few connections to Singapore. In fact in 1896, Rizal’s friends urged him to save himself by remaining here, but sadly, it was not to be…

Thank you to the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and Penguin Random House Southeast Asia for hosting today’s celebration of Jose Rizal’s life, writing and his connection to Singapore. Chargé d’ Affaires (and author) Dr. Emmanuel R. Fernandez, his wife Alice and Penguin authors Noelle De Jesus, Migs Bravo Dutt, Mookie Katigbak Lacuesta and Sarge Lacuesta, as well as yours truly, read excerpts from our national hero’s poetry, letters and novels

Afterwards, I moderated a lively panel that discussed Rizal’s influence on Filipino writers, writing from the diaspora versus from the homeland, speculations about a hypothetical third novel, and other interesting topics. If host and cultural attaché Rosellie L. Bantay had not gently reminded us of the time, we would have probably talked for the whole afternoon.

Thanks to Patricia Mulles for the photos below.

Special thanks to Penguin publisher Nora Nazarene Abu Bakar for inviting me! Have a meaningful Rizal Day!