Who Lives Longer?…man or woman

Who Lives Longer?…man or woman

By:  Apolinario B. Villalobos

While the question on strength and intelligence has oftentimes been raisedbetween the two genders, the issue on longevity is almost always not given so much attention.  And, this despite the fact that the matter has its effect on our social structure in general. Say, who would take care of the one who would outlive the other? What if the wife outlives the husband or the other way around happens? – are just two of the questions with regard to this issue.

Scientific findings supported by statistics show that women, indeed, outlive men.  And, in this fact is where the difference matters.  As a tradition, the man who is expected to be stronger than the woman is expected to take care of the latter as they grow old, and because of this expectation, the wife is plunged into various depressions brought about by loneliness when she survives her husband.

Tradition dictates that on the issue of partnership, man must be older than the woman, as the former is expected to set out house rules, hence, the authority.  Lately, however, some researchers aver that the reason for the age factor is due to the fact that the woman show external manifestation of aging faster than man.  So that between a twenty-year-old woman who marries a twenty-five-year old man, the former already has an advantage of five years, hence, the concept of her outliving the latter.

Research findings have helped a lot in the understanding of the biologic factors that influence the life expectancy of both the man and the woman.  However, other key factors involve choices of lifestyles that can lead to a full and active, hence, longer life. Playing important roles in determining the life expectancy of both sexes are the hereditary factors in which some hormones are seen to have a very significant part. Our glands produce these chemicals that affect the organs in which they are produced oraffect other organs by travelling through the bloodstream.

 Each gender may be made unique by some hormones.  For one, estrogen appear to protect women from coronary atherosclerosis, making them at risk with this disease only between the age of 65 to 74, compared to the men’s risk upon reaching the age of 55 until 64. Modern science has afforded the financially capable women to undergo some kind of estrogen replacement when they reach the menopausal age during which estrogenproduction of their glands diminishes rapidly.  This therapy also helps prevent osteoporosis.

 On the other hand, vanity that is more attached to feminity has given the woman an excuse for external physical retouches – facials, bustlifts, regular skin smoothening that include chemicals that eradicate wrinkles, liposuctions, and the like. The trend has radically changed the marketing strategies and diversified the products of laboratory firms that made the forty-up age bracket of women as a veritable and a gold slice of the market for their products that flood outlets – from body lotion, make-up accessories, shampoo, and injectibles.  Ads clearly specify the intended target of the products even coming up with photos of mothers and daughter for customers “to see the difference and judge for themselves.”

How about the men?  Well, the macho gender has a way of proving his virility despite the ascending number that comes with years of his life.  It is a fact that man can still be fertile even at age seventy or even past that age.  This is how beerhouses and nightclubs and some discreet videoke bars have flourished.  Man does not need make-up and smooth skin to prove his virility.  A pocket bulging with cash will do.

 We now find that the effort of both sexes are expensive, seen from any angle or even how much justifications are rattled.  Unfortunately, these efforts have their consequences – the course of modern living.  Casual sex on the part of the men to prove that they can still do it, although most of the time done with other parts could result to hideous STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).  As for the women, overdose of those beauty products could result to blotchy skin due to indiscriminate use of skin bleach, cancerous breast due to improper implants, loss of facial expression due to overdose of injectible wrinkle “erasers”, and even damage internal organs due to overdose of synthetic hormones.

The question now that we should seriously ponder is not who gets or looks older earlier or faster, the man or woman, but who had been and will be more productive and useful.  For the woman, remember what you always assert – equality of genders.  And for the man, do not forget chivalry that is eternally marked in manhood.

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T’boli

T’boli

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

Gentle people of South Cotabato –

Epitome of strength who moves with agility

But graceful enough to sway with the wind

With innocent smile easily parting their lips

And laughter that crease their gentle face.

 

Fortunate people, contentedly they live –

In the fastness of green, rivers, hills and valleys

By God’s will, long- hidden from lowlanders

Which did them good, but then time came –

The haze was parted, and finally, they were seen.

 

Clothed in patiently – pounded fibers

And woven into the smooth cloth – t’nalak

The men stand proud in the earth-colored garb

While women looking regal in their vivid dress

Seen from afar, they seem to float in the breeze.

 

People of the rainbow, these people are –

And placid that made them prey to the greedy

But to them, God is kind, made them secured

From harm that only the heartless could inflict

And nature’s wrath, to them could easily wreak.

 

Straight from their heart, to God they pray

Sincere praises are mumbled by betel-red lips

No pretensions in their offered dances

Pleadings are for their safety and health

That for them are well- cherished wealth…

(The T’boli is one of the indigenous tribes of the Philippines, found in the southern part of the archipelago, particularly, South Cotabato province, island of Mindanao)

The Alley

The Alley

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

 

Beneath the shadow of two buildings

Pockmarked with holes, squares

Enough for one or two,

The alley beckons to me

and through it, I squirm my way.

 

I go through it with counted steps and smile

at girls with pouting lips

as I was prodded on with curiosity 

to peek inside the room

foreboding, clouded with gloom.

 

Heavily made up faces, some young, some old

all with ready smile, entice the timid and the bold

for short-lived happiness along the alley

where life is lived from day to day

and for what comes next

Nobody could say…

Seeing Reality

Seeing Reality

(Thanks to a fallen friend)

By Apolinario B. Villalobos

You told me once between rounds of rum

That life is short but could be meaningful

If lived according to the Book of Man.

It seems you said it right.

As I see your lips parted by a contented smile

While you lie inside that dreadful box

As if telling me that everything’s alright.

You opened my eyes to see reality

And made me feel life as it should be felt –

With sincerity: to appreciate what God has given me

Those which only He has all the right to take.

So now, for me to change, I think is not yet late.

Thank you my friend for letting me

See the truth and accept reality.

Malala of Pakistan…jewel of courage

Malala of Pakistan

…Jewel of Courage

by Apolinario B Villalobos

Though young, to the world you showed
that age is not a measure
of one’s attitude,

your cherubic smile, so full of innocence
surrounds you with aura
of blinding magnificence,

your heroic deed bespeaks of great strength
and belittled, put to shame

the bulging muscles of men,

angel of Pakistan, you are a jewel of courage

how many young girls your age

will sacrifice for others, as you did?

the world prays for you, that you still live

you are such a rare jewel, hard to find –

breath of relief for deteriorating mankind!

(Malala Yousufzai, of Swat Valley, Pakistan, is a girl of 14, shot by the Taliban for defying them, as she relentlessy went on with her informing the world through the internet, about their atrocities. Todate, she is fighting for her life in a hospital.)

The Power of Money

The Power of Money

By Apolinario Villalobos

Money is not the root of all evils. It is the love for it and its improper use that make it such. Those who have been able to deposit hefty sums of this tender regardless of denomination are  generally,  of two types. One type are those who remain footed firmly on the ground and remained simple in their ways, and the other one are those who developed wings of arrogance that buoyed them up so that they feel “superior” than the rest of humanity.

There is not much to discuss about the first type, those who remained footed firmly on the ground despite their material wealth as they are doing just fine as far as God and their brethren are concerned. As for the second type – well, they are something else, and very interesting, too.

If money is used improperly, the following may just be the result:

1. It can make one stiff-necked, such that he will never be able to look back to where he came from before he became rich.

2. It can give him a horse-vision, such that his focus is just forward, making him such a “grand peacock” that never looks sideward.

3. It can make him feel like a “god”, such that he thinks he is in control of everything and everybody.

4. It can transform him into a robot– no past, no genetic origin because he has disowned his brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, friends (as they may just ask for money if he happens to throw them even just a simple squint).

I once had a very close friend. Like me, he was a survivor, too, of the harsh life in Manila. We came from the same province and both of us belong to poor families. Unlike me, however, he was nailed to his first job, while I got promoted after four years. Promotion came to him after another four years, during which I was already a manager.

Fortunately for him, however, he married, though late in his life, a widow, who though not a looker, got a lot of glitter – businesses in Manila and four major provinces. In other words, he hooked himself a millionairess. And, that was when his transformation took place.

The case of my friend inspired me to come up with the four enumerated transformations after we bumped each other in mall in Makati. When I greeted him, he glanced at me with a blank look. I was and still close to his brother and sister who are now working in Manila and they told me that their mother died without seeing their now rich brother. The reason was, he cut off his communication with them. They could not just get in touch with him so that he can be told of  the news about their dying mother. Eventually, the poor mother died without seeing her rich son. They were told that he now lives in a very uppity subdivision in Alabang and that’s all. One sister was able to contact him while she was applying for a job. That was the time when he was about to marry the widow and she was told by him to just wait for his letter to be sent to their address in the province. The sister thought all the while that he could help her find a place for her to stay in Manila. But it did not happen. Out of pity, I brought her to my former boarding house in Baclaran and introduced her as my cousin so that she will be given a discount by my former landlady.

My friend indeed sent a letter much later to his sister, with an enclosed money – 2,000 pesos. In that letter was a clear instruction for the whole family – not to locate him, and just let him get in touch with them, if he has the time.

Here is another case of a friend who got married at a very young age. He also came from a struggling family. He was fortunate to have met a hardworking girl who toiled her way through college. While he was not able to finish the course that he started, the girl became an engineer. Both have business acumen. They started a small business that grew tremendously in just less than ten years. They went into franchising. They were able to stash a lot of money which they used in buying shares of resorts and two condos. They lived in one unit and rented out the other.

Unfortunately, they became paranoid. They distanced themselves from their families and relatives, thinking that they will ask for a share of their fortune. They distanced themselves from friends, thinking that the latter will ask their help in sending their children to school or burden them with hospital bills, etc. Only the phone numbers of their office were known. Calls were strictly screened. They have practically isolated themselves.

In both cases, my two friends thought that with money, they could buy themselves comfort and security. In a way, they were able to do it. They have cars, luxurious dwellings and foods, salaried secretaries and guards.

I suppose that with their stature, my two friends could be surrounded now with newfound friends who are equally rich. But all of those have no meaning as they lack the warmth of the real comfort and security that do not have monetary value. It is the warmth of friends and family – the warmth that goes with the thought of belonging, of being together no matter what happens.

We cannot buy love. We cannot buy loyalty. They have no monetary value. Their value is measured by the heart and not by the ounce of gold, silver, platinum or karat of whatever precious stone.

I know of a filthy rich guy who also started from scratch. He died of cancer but during the wake, his rich friends wondered why no relative showed up. Their wondering gave them the impression that their rich friend could have been bad to his family because until the day he was interred, only his wife and two children, aside from them rich friends were around to bid him farewell. As you see, even the friends whom the dead rich fellow thought were his friends, sent him off with a bad impression.

Well, that’s money for you.

The Mispronounced “R” and the Abused “kung saan and “di ba”

The Mispronounced “R” and the

Abused “kung saan”, and “di ba?”

 

by Apolinario Villalobos

I learned since my days in elementary school the basics of the English and Filipino alphabets, their proper usage and most especially, their correct pronunciation. Part of my learning is knowing the difference between the two, the English pronunciation being “soft” and that of the Filipino being “rolling” as in pronouncing the “R”, the way it should be pronounced. But to my dismay, everywhere I go today, I hear conversations among Filipinos, especially, the younger generation, with the “R” pronounced as if they are Americans. It irritates the ear, especially, because those concerned are trying to give an impression that they are “Americanized”, hence, should talk in Filipino just like an American.

What is sad about this is that even the influential broadcasters who are looked up to by their viewers and listeners are guilty of the same practice. It is unfortunate to note that foreign talents who appear on TV talk in Filipino better with correct pronunciation than their local counterparts, especially, with the “R”, pronounced properly.

Add to that mispronunciation the abused use of “kung saan” and “di ba”. I do not know how it started, but I just noticed its proliferation in the broadcast media and among the students lately. The “kung saan” has an equivalent in English, the “in which”. So I cannot understand how broadcasters say for example, “Nagkasunog sa isang lugar sa Tondo subali’t makipot ang daan at hindi makadaan ang mga bumbero kung saan ay tumuluy-tuloy ang sunog kaya maraming nasaktan”, instead of saying a clearer statement: “Nagkasunog sa isang lugar sa Tondo subali’t makipot ang daan at hindi makadaan ang mga bumbero kaya tumuluy-tuloy ang sunog at maraming nasaktan”. Why can’t they just avoid using the “kung saan” if they do not know its proper use?

Then, there’s the “di ba?” (isn’t it?) which I find as an improper part of statements because you seem to force the person you are conversing with to accept what you said. The more  improper it becomes when used by broadcasters, especially, when doing interviews. There is a danger on the part of the guy who is fond of using the “di ba” to be embarrassed with the retort, “ewan ko” (I don’t know) from the person he is conversing with. So, the safest way to avoid getting embarrassed  is by taking the “di ba” from your vocabulary.

Filipino as a language has evolved into a richer one with the addition of new words, but let us not put it down with improper use of what are already its  integral part. Let us speak in Filipino the way it should be spoken, and speak in English the way it should be spoken. Let us be what we are.