On the Weariness of Time: El Niño in the Philippines





panahon, Philippine time, drought, slow violence, climate emergency, El Niño, tropical imaginary


As a rehearsal of a “tropical imaginary” that attempts to accentuate the entanglement of literature with the material world, this essay ‘coincides’ Jose F. Lacaba’s 1965 poem “Ang Kapaguran ng Panahon” (“The Weariness of Time”) with the 2015 El Niño phenomenon in the Philippines­ and its violent culmination the following year in Kidapawan City, Cotabato Province, Mindanao. While time or panahon in the Philippine tropics is usually intuited as generative, this essay outlines the possibility of its being worn down, not simply as a “natural” consequence of the present climate emergency, but as a critical outcome of the predominant political infrastructures that practically prohibit the phenomenon of time from unfolding. As such, it becomes imperative to recognize that beyond the current conditions banally imposed as “arog talaga kayan” or “how things really are” is the urgent need for social reform—daring tropical imaginings through which Philippine time can possibly become anew.

Author Biography

Christian Jil Benitez, Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines

Christian Jil Benitez teaches Filipino at Ateneo de Manila University where he earned an AB-MA in Filipino literature (2016/2018). Hailed as Poet of the Year 2018 by the Commission on the Filipino Language, his critical and creative works on time, tropicality, and materiality have appeared in Katipunan, Kritika Kultura, Philippine Studies, Res Rhetorica and eTropic journal, among others. He lives in Rizal, Philippines.


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How to Cite

Benitez, C. J. (2021). On the Weariness of Time: El Niño in the Philippines. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20(2), 209–220. https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.20.2.2021.3819