UNHOLY NATION: Stories from a Gambling Republic

Edited by: John Nery
Written by: Carlos Conde • Emmaruth Gabriel • Iris Cecilia Gonzales • Tiffany Tan
• Miriam Grace Go • Bernadette Sembrano • Jose Torres, Jr.
Photo Essay by: Jim Guiao Punzalan

(From the Claret Publications website)

THIS IS THE WORLD we live in.

In “Better than (Dirty) Ice Cream,” Iris Gonzales of BusinessWorld tracks the life of an ice cream vendor and compulsive gambler, from a room in a shanty in Quezon City to the grassy lot of a tupada in Novaliches.

“High Rollers and Lows,” by Emma Gabriel of Entrepreneur Philippines, crosses the socio-economic divide in its portrait of a once-wealthy man who lost his way—and millions of pesos—in a casino.

ABS-CBN’s Jose Torres Jr., in “The Ultimate Gambler,” sizes up the man whose biggest gamble called the bluff of a President: ex-governor, ex-Estrada crony Chavit Singson.

In “The Vaudeville Show,” Tiffany Tan of GMA-7 attempts to make sense of the many puzzles of police performance in the country’s on-again, off-again campaign against jueteng.

“Masiao Island,” by Carlos Conde of the New York Times, describes the rise and fall of the illegal numbers game popular in Mindanao and the Visayas.

In “Deeper,” Newsbreak’s Miriam Grace Go examines the fascinating relationship between jueteng and that other popular game of chance, the political election.

In “Going Legal,” Go explores the once-discredited idea of legalizing jueteng, offering the illegal drugs problem as both a contrast and an argument.

Finally, in “Shades of Gray,” Bernadette Sembrano of The Probe Team tries to pin down the position of the Catholic Church on gambling and the use of gambling proceeds for charitable purposes.

“One Town,” a photo essay by the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Jim Guiao Punzalan, complements the narratives with its take on jueteng as a way of life in one ordinary Pampanga town.

Unholy Nation: Stories from a Gambling Republic is produced by the same editorial and publishing team behind Into the Mountain: Hostaged by the Abu Sayyaf, which won the National Book Award for Journalism in 2002.

About Carlos H. Conde

Researcher at Human Rights Watch (@condeHRW @hrw_ph). Former journalist (NYT, IHT, among others).
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