The Touching Courtesy Call of Prep Kids to the Honorable Governor, Sultan Pax Mangudadatu

The Touching Courtesy Call of Prep Kids

To the Honorable Governor, Sultan Pax Mangudadatu

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

What I like with the ambience of the Sultan Kudarat Capitol is that the Honorable Governor, Sultan Pax Mangudadatu is such a fatherly guy that even while having a meeting for as long as it is not a matter of life and death, he can be interrupted, especially, if the unannounced visitors are kids. It happened when I was having a meeting with him. When one of his staff whispered that there were kids who would like to have their photos taken with him, he smilingly obliged.

 

The pupils of a Methodist Prep school in Esperanza were having an educational tour in the Capitol Building with their parents and a teacher/coordinator, the morning of January 19, 2018. When they learned that the kind-hearted Governor was in his office, the pretty staff who was guiding them around brought them to his office. The governor immediately stood up when the door opened wide and the kids without much ado went to him to put his right hand to their forehead as a sign of a blessing from him. The kids were all well-behaved, while Sultan Pax exuded a picture of a happy grandfather! The group gave him a certificate of appreciation for being a great Patriarch of the province and a gift. As his habit, he read aloud what is printed in the certificate.

 

With the kids around him, some already having claimed a space on which to slump on the floor in front of his desk, he began his pep talk, as if addressing professionals. He expertly condensed his historical speech into one that fit his audience. And, he did it on the spot without much effort, as if he was speaking to a friend. He even advised the teacher to teach the kids the basic rudiments of physical hygiene such as brushing of teeth.

 

The scenes that I witnessed that morning were just emotionally touching…inspiring!

 

 

Advertisements

The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Locusts (apan in Bisaya; balang in Tagalog) contain a high level of chemicals known as phytosterols that could control heart-related diseases. The chemicals block the absorption of cholesterol, a chemical which increases one’s risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. This exotic delicacy is also loaded with fatty acids, minerals that boost immunity, fights cancer and prevent the onset of inflammation in body organs, aside from protein.

 

These insects are patiently caught in the evening during which they rest on the ground. The gatherers use flashlight to light their way around, practically, picking up the sleeping locusts from grassy fields.

 

The first step in cooking is by killing them through suffocation in sacks after which they are cooked in tamarind leaves enhanced with a little vinegar, after which they are sun-dried. When they are thoroughly dry, deep-frying follows which takes from forty minutes to an hour, to ensure crispiness.

 

The locusts thrive on leaves. Woe then, to bamboo groves, trees, rice and corn fields that they spot along their path as they darken the sky with their vast number. Interestingly, the locust is mentioned in the Bible as part of the diet of the Chosen People.

 

A small plastic pack of deep-fried locusts costs Php20 in the public market when it is in season. In southern and central Mindanao, the sources of this exotic delicacy are Polomolok, General Santos and Isulan.

 

 

The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

The Exotic Deep-fried Locust

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Locusts (apan in Bisaya; balang in Tagalog) contain a high level of chemicals known as phytosterols that could control heart-related diseases. The chemicals block the absorption of cholesterol, a chemical which increases one’s risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. This exotic delicacy is also loaded with fatty acids, minerals that boost immunity, fights cancer and prevent the onset of inflammation in body organs, aside from protein.

 

These insects are patiently caught in the evening during which they rest on the ground. The gatherers use flashlight to light their way around, practically, picking up the sleeping locusts from grassy fields.

 

The first step in cooking is by killing them through suffocation in sacks after which they are cooked in tamarind leaves enhanced with a little vinegar, after which they are sun-dried. When they are thoroughly dry, deep-frying follows which takes from forty minutes to an hour, to ensure crispiness.

 

The locusts thrive on leaves. Woe then, to bamboo groves, trees, rice and corn fields that they spot along their path as they darken the sky with their vast number. Interestingly, the locust is mentioned in the Bible as part of the diet of the Chosen People.

 

A small plastic pack of deep-fried locusts costs Php20 in the public market when it is in season. In southern and central Mindanao, the sources of this exotic delicacy are Polomolok, General Santos and Isulan.

 

 

Ang Vatican at Pilipinas…Ngayon

Ang Vatican at Pilipinas…Ngayon
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang Vatican ay merong Santo Papang mapagpakumbaba, piniling tumira sa apartment sa halip na sa marangyang “palasyo” ng Vatican, at ang mga kasabay na kumain ay ang mga ordinaryong pari na bumibisita sa Vatican. Hindi maganda ang mga kuwento tungkol sa kanyang nakaraan, kasama na diyan ang pagtrabaho niya bilang bouncer sa isang bahay-aliwan. Marami din siyang nakabanggang nakatataas sa kanya nang siya ay naging pari hanggang sa maging Obispo. Sa simula pa lang ng pag-upo niya bilang Santo Papa, nagbanta na siyang lilinisin niya ang simbahang Katoliko na ang korapsyon at iba pang eskandalo ay pilit na itinago sa mahabang panahon. Hanggang ngayon ay tinutuligsa niya ang mga animo ay demonyo na nakasuot ng sotana at nagpapanggap na mga “ama” ng komunidad, ganoong mayroon palang mga minumulestiya. Nanawagan siya sa mga ito na lisanin na ang simbahan upang hindi madamay ang mga matitino, subalit matitigas ang ulo nila dahil siguro hindi nila maiwanan ang karangyaang INI-ENJOY nila.

 

Ang Pilipinas ay mayroon ngayong Rodrigo Duterte na umaming madilim ang kanyang kahapon bilang estudyante dahil pumapasok siya sa klase maski nakainom. Wala sa mga naging classmate niya ang nakaalala na nagpakita siya ng katalinuhan. Pati ang isang propesor niya noon na ininterbyu ay umaming hindi niya maalalang naging estudyante niya si Duterte, ganoong nababanggit siya nito (Duterte) sa mga talumpati. Nang maging mayor ng Davao city, ang lunsod ay biglang tumino dahil nawala ang mga NPA at drug dealers na nakatira sa mga depressed areas lalo na sa Agdao kaya tinawag ito noon na “Nicaragdao”. Matindi ang pagbatikos ni Duterte sa mga tiwali sa gobyerno na bahagi ng mga dahilan kung bakit namayagpag ang problema sa droga.

 

Ang dalawang lider ay parehong binabatikos ng mga ayaw magbago o tumanggap ng pagkakamali. Pareho rin silang nagpahayag ng pagtanggap ng kanilang kapalaran nila kung sakaling hindi sila umabot sa itinakdang panahon. Si pope Francis ay nagpahayag noon na baka mag-retire siya ng maaga upang mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang ibang Obispo na maging lider ng simbahang Katoliko, at si Duterte naman ay nagsabing handang bumaba kung magawa agad ang bagong porma ng gobyerno na Pederalismo. Sa madaling salita, pareho silang hindi ganid o sakim sa kapangyarihan.

 

Ang Vatican ay isang maliit na lunsod sa loob ng Italya pero nirerespeto ng mga makapangyarihang bansa. Ang Pilipinas naman ay isang maliit ding bansa, watak-watak pa dahil ang kabuuhan nito ay kinabibilangan ng mga isla, subalit dahil kay Duterte, kahit papaano ay nasapawan ng imahe niya ang nakasanayang pagtukoy dito na bansang korap. Kung noon ang Vatican at Pilipinas ay nilibak dahil sa mga katiwalian, ngayon sila ay nirerespeto ng buong mundo!

 

The Barangay Grino of Tacurong

The Barangay Griῆo of Tacurong

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The Barangay Griῆo was formerly known as Gansing that lies at the boundary shared with the town of Lambayong, formerly, the gateway of settlers from Visayas who settled first in what is now known as New Passi before spreading out to other parts of the once sparsely populated areas that include Tantangan, highlands of Magon and Tacub, and the lowlands of Tacurong. The area was thickly covered with talahib, talisay, cogon and “enyam” (bignay}. Among the pioneer families that settled in the area is the Griῆo, whose patriarch was the late Dr. Manuel J. Griῆo. As he found the land promising, he invited friends in Iloilo to join him. Soon, others who came from Negros also came. Accordingly, the first classes were held in a “bodega” (warehouse) of the Griῆo family where about 50 pupils were taught, and one of the teachers was Ernestina Davala-Alvarez.

 

Today, Griῆo is a flourishing barangay with the expanse of fertile land shared by rice fields and African palm plantations. Observably, the barangay has a well-maintained system of irrigation canals that provide sustenance to the plantations. It is also among the barangays of Tacurong where Christians live peacefully with Muslims.

 

The barangay has two Catholic chapels, the Immaculate Conception (main) and San Isidro Labrador, both situated along the highway. According to one of the lay Catholic leaders, the parish priest of the Our Lady of the Candles of Tacurong officiates the Mass during the first and last Sundays of the month. The two Muslim communities have their own respective mosque.

 

The barangay has an elementary school, the Dr. Manuel J. Griῆo Memorial Central School and a high school, the Virginia F. Griῆo Memorial National High School which has facilities for the senior students of the K-12 educational program of the government. The most popular courses of the senior high school are electronics, welding, cookery, masonry, and hotel housekeeping.

 

When I went around the barangay, I was fortunate to have been driven on his tricycle by Fernando Gulac, the CVO Unit Commander of Barangay Griῆo whose chairman is Romeo Panes.

 

The Philippines and the Local Government Units (LGUs)

THE PHILIPPINES AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS (LGU)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Local Government Units (LGUs) need not send their employees to expensive seminars to become effective in implementing programs. All they need to do is come up with a checklist of WORDS as reminders…these are simple words that should tell them if they are taking the right direction in fulfilling their Mission and having the right focus towards their Vision. A seminar is not needed for the LGU leadership to know if his or her barangay, town, city, or province is clean or beautiful enough to entice tourists….or to know if peace and order are prevalent to entice investors and more residents, etc.

 

A TEAM BUILDING seminar is not needed to know if ALL units of an LGU are HARMONIOUSLY COORDINATING WITH EACH OTHER. It is not also necessary to develop COOPERATION among the offices of the LGU because it is supposed to be required among all employees, being part and parcel of their respective mandate in order to EFFECTIVELY SERVE the constituents properly.

 

A seminar on VALUES AND ATTITUDE is not needed for the employees to become POLITE towards each other, especially, the clients. They are mandated to act in such a way otherwise they lose their job if they fail or adamantly refuse. This simple requirement is in the Civil Service Code.

 

NEEDED ARE SENSITIVITY, CONCERN AND SERIOUSNESS IN CARRYING OUT THE ASSIGNED JOB OF EACH EMPLOYEE, WHETHER HE OR SHE IS A BOSS OR A MERE STAFF.

 

A SINGLE MISTAKE IN CARRYING OUT THE OVERALL MANDATE OF AN LGU CAN SPELL DISASTER AND COULD TRAGICALLY AFFECT THE IMAGE OF THE LEADERSHIP. FOR A SIMPLE CONSTITUENT, ANY BAD OCCURENCE IN THEIR COMMUNITY IS THE FAULT OF THE BARANGAY CHAIRMAN, MAYOR OR GOVERNOR. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT NOT ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY ARE AWARE OR KNOWLEDGEABLE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE DIFFERENT OFFICES IN A MUNICIPAL OR CITY HALL, OR PROVINCIAL CAPITOL FOR THAT MATTER. ALL THEY KNOW IS THAT THEIR COMMUNITY IS  ADMINISTERED BY THE BARANGAY CHAIRMAN, MAYOR OR GOVERNOR. IT MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE FAULT OF THE LEADERSHIP IF THERE ARE FLAWS IN HIS OR HER ADMINISTRATION. BUT THEN, HE OR SHE MUST BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR SHENANIGANS OR DUMB HEADS WHO REFUSE TO COOPERATE NECESSATING  THE IMPOSITION OF THE APPROPRIATE SANCTION INCLUDING DISMISSAL DUE TO INCOMPETENCE.

 

IT IS A UNIVERSAL EXPECTATION THAT EVERY ORGANIZATION, INCLUDING THE LGU SHOULD OPERATE LIKE A CLOCK WITH ALL THE PARTS HARMONIOUSLY FUNCTIONING PROPERLY, OTHERWISE, IT STOPS, OR IF FORCED TO FUNCTION BY ALL MEANS, BECOMES INEFFECTIVE AS IT COULD FALTER INTERMITTENTLY.

 

A SINGLE MALFUNCTIONING AND INEFFECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNIT BECOMES AN EYE SORE IN THE IMAGE OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

Philippine flag

Mga Kaibigan kong Muslim na Minamahal ng Diyos

Ang Mga Kaibigan kong Muslim na “Minamahal ng Diyos”

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Tuwing kakain ako sa isa sa mga paborito kong roadside Muslim carinderia, hindi maaaring hindi kami magkatuwaan ng pamilya ng mag-asawang may-ari. Dahil nalibang ako sa pakikipagkuwentuhan sa kanila isang umaga, hindi ko namalayang nakaubos ako ng piniritong dalawang tilapia na medium sized, apat na hiwa ng bangus, dalawang balot na pastil, isang pinggan na tutong (libre), at dalawang mugs na kape….nakakahiya, pero wala akong magawa, yon nga lang naempatso ako. Actually, ginawa ko yon para madagdagan ang kita nang may maipambayad sila sa Bombay kinabukasan

 

Tatlo ang ampon ng mag-asawa na pinag-aaral nila sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. Ang isa ay may magandang boses (sa isa sa mga larawan ay ang may hawak na pusa at pula ang damit). Pinagmalupitan daw sila ng dating tinirhan nilang kamag-anak at halos hindi pinapakain kaya ipinuslit nilang mag-asawa upang maalagaan at mapag-aral. Barung-barong ang kanilang tinitirhan at ang kanilang lutuan ay walang bubong. Sa palagay ko ay tumutulo pa ang bubong ng kanilang tulugan dahil pinagtagpi-tagpi lang na yero at plastic tarps. Sa halip na gumastos daw kasi sa pagpapabubong ng lutuan, inuuna muna nila ang mga pangangailangan ng mga bata tulad ng damit at baon, dahil lahat ay nag-aaral. Ang bunsong anak na lalaki ay oversized ang t-shirt na damit nang umagang yon na halatang pag-aari ng tatay niya na sa larawan ay walang t-shirt man lang. Ang analysis ko ay pinasuot ng tatay ang t-shirt niya sa anak…baligtad pa!

 

Araw-araw ay may pinapakain din silang “pandita” at mga pusang namamasyal sa kanila. Bukod sa pagpapakain sa “pandita” ay binibigyan pa nila ito ng pera dahil nagdadasal ito sa puwesto kasama nila, bago siya umalis. “Blessings” ang turing nila sa lahat ng dumadating sa kanilang buhay kahit halos hindi sumasapat ang kanilang kinikita, na ang patunay ay ang pagpapabalik nila sa naniningil na Bombay kinabukasan dahil wala pa silang pambayad sa inutang na pera. Bilib ako sa ama ng pamilya dahil sa prinsipyo niyang kahit kaunti lang daw ang matira sa araw-araw na kinikita, kung may nangangailangan, ay dapat daw tulungan. Alam kong nakikita ng Diyos ang ginagawa nila at ang kanilang magandang kalooban ay siguradong matutumbasan ng tulong balang araw….magagawan ng paraan.

 

Ang mga tulad nilang masasayang tao sa kabila ng kakapusan ang nagpapaalala sa akin ng mga kaibigan ko sa Tondo. Pakiramdam ko, makakain lang ako ng tinitinda nila ay para na rin akong “blessed”….sila ang gusto kong tawaging mga “minamahal ng Diyos”.