The Filipinos…

The Filipinos…

By Apolinario Villalobos


We, Filipinos are a God-fearing people. Despite differences in faith, we are bound together by this fear. While other countries are reeling from suicide bombings, nothing of this sort has yet, been used by “local” terrorists in our country to send a strong message. But we have Abu Sayyaf kidnappings, a ragtag band of former Moro separatists that are just moving around in pockets of small areas in Mindanao, despite which, the military cannot suppress. There must be a reason for that…a “big” reason.


We, Filipinos are a forgiving people. We welcomed back from their exile, the family of the once-hated Ferdinand Marcos, our very own dictator, even allowed them to run for government posts. We are not even consistent in hating erring government officials, because that small spot of pity in our heart always prevail at the end. Our “ningas-cogon” culture that makes us excited at the first salvo of hideous issues, make us indifferent after several days of gaping, thereby, preventing us from sustaining violent reactions. Even the EDSA People Power is no more, as it has become an image of shame in the eyes of the serious Filipino revolutionists, who consider it as a movement of the rich and the political turncoats, a sad realization, and unfortunately, late in coming.


We, Filipinos are a neighbor-loving people. We allow even the unscrupulous hauling of black sands from some shores of northern Luzon, leaving gaping holes reminiscent of moon craters. Our enterprising neighbors from China are nonchalantly hauling off part of our beloved land, as if it is their own. Is it a sign of what is forthcoming? We even let our foreign neighbors denude our forests of precious hardy trees. We welcome with open heart the junks, especially, the electronic waste of our high-tech neighbors. We welcome their pre-worn clothes. We welcome with excitement the sub-standard gadgets assembled by their factories that employ cheap labor. Their cotton buds and toothpicks even fill big spaces of shelves in shopping malls and groceries! Practically, malls are filled with their stalls and manned by our pretty girls whose take home pay is not even enough for three meals a day. By the way…they also own the malls! Our being considerate is such that, we allow them to earn in our country and let them remit their earnings to their savings account in their beloved homeland. Thanks to the guy who pawned our country in the globalization chess board!


We, Filipinos do not want to quarrel. Our president says so, that is why, whatever our neighbor China does to our territory will just be lodged at the international arbitrary court. Our government does not want to quarrel with China, a reason why, it freed the Chinese poachers of turtles based on the provision of the international law of the sea that China does not even recognize. Yes, we are that considerate. Instead of quarreling with China, our leader showed graciousness by just talking and talking and talking…..endlessly. Yes, with eloquent orations, he preaches about international laws that China does not recognize, about his trustworthy support staff, about the improving economy, about the completion of school buildings and sufficient books for students, about the fast moving construction of relocation bunkhouses in Tacloban for the victims of typhoon Yolanda. Oh, by the way, among those that his mother did first and foremost when she replaced Marcos as President, was retrace the steps of their Chinese ancestors that led to a province of China known for its authentic Chinese cuisine, a show of goodwill that the Chinese loved! This gesture must have been embedded deeply in the consciousness of the present leaders of China, qualifying their thought, that indeed, the Philippines is part of China. That is why, they started filling up atolls in the western seas purported to be within our territory, for their airstrips. We just gawk – with our big American brother, his hand on our shoulder!


We, Filipinos adore the white skin. We allow the Americans to use our bases at our expense, despite their non-committal stand to favor the Philippines on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. This adoration blinded us from seeing the truth about the one-sided agreement with them that could turn the northwestern shores of Luzon, as well, as Palawan island, into battlegrounds. Not only are the white Americans do we adore. We also adore the Korean novelas and Korean boy and girl bands. Our teens scream wildly to express their admiration during the performances of these bands. The mothers of these young Filipinos even patiently toe the line for tickets to K-band concerts many months away, yet, never mind losing sleep while waiting for the ticket booth to open the next day. The Koreans are, without question, white in complexion unlike the brown Filipinos, and our teens adore their cross-dressing, orange hair, yellow hair, get ups as colorful as curtains. We love the white-skinned singers from America, the likes of Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift, while world-class brown -skinned Filipino singers are left on the sidelines unnoticed.


We, Filipinos are a happy lot of people, that is why we find happiness in seemingly endless texting, in browsing the internet. Yes, we love gadgets that give us high-tech happiness. We love to flaunt them around, especially those whose costs are equivalent to at least two months of our salary. We love to drive cars, though we can barely afford the rent of the small apartment that accommodates our family. We love to fill our small abode with electronic gadgets purchased using the plastic money – credit cards, practically, leaving us with almost nothing for other basic expenses every end of the month. And, when due dates for settling accountabilities come, we love to wonder why we failed to set aside something for the electric bill, water bill, etc. 


We, Filipinos are a resilient people. We can withstand the onslaught of calamities, a character that made those in the government think with a wicked smile that even without the tax money that should have been spent for our rehabilitation, we can still manage to survive, so they diverted the money instead – to their pockets. Their smile became bigger with the thought that billions of donations are still lying around, waiting for their taking.


We, Filipinos love dogs, cats, pigs and bacteria. We always leave spoonful of food for them on our plate every time we eat  in public places.  And, we are proud to show this kind of love to those who eat at tables next to ours, hoping that they will do the same.  This act of love is also being done by some considerate Filipinos at home.


Yes, we are a unique people…the Filipinos!

Ang Ugaling Gaya-gaya

Ang Ugaling Gaya-gaya

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Madalas binabatikos ang ugaling ito ng Pilipino. Masakit  mang aminin, ito ang isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit nahihirapan tayong umusad patungo sa mas maunlad na pamumuhay.  Subali’t hindi naman lahat ay may ganitong ugali. Yong may diskarte na hindi nanggagaya, sila yong umaasenso at sila ang ginagaya ng mga naiinggit sa mga tinamo nilang tagumpay sa buhay.


Noong nauso ang negosyong tapsilog sa Dongalo, Paraῆaque, at dinagsa ng mga kostumer maski hatinggabi na, may nanggaya, tapsilog din daw sila ng Paraῆaque, pero ang pwesto ay nasa Pasay. Meron pa ngang sa Caloocan naman ang pwesto. Noong nauso ang ensaymada ni Niῆo Muhlach, marami ang nakigaya at nagbenta rin ng kanilang ensaymada na “melts in the mouth” din daw na tulad ng kay Muhlach. Yong iba, pati kulay at disenyo ng karton ay halos ginaya. Noong nauso ang lechon-kawali, marami ring nagsunuran na nagsilutuan din ng pata at liempo ng baboy sa kawali.


Ang matindi sa ibang gumagaya, tinatabihan pa ang ginagaya. Kaya hindi kataka-taka na may mga lugar sa Maynila o saan mang lunsod o bayan sa Pilipinas na hili-hilera ang mga pwesto ng barbecue, bananacue, pares, lugaw at iba pa. Katwiran ng mga nanggaya, mas marami, mas masaya, parang sinabi nila ng hindi diretsahan na may karapatan din silang magbenta ng kaparehong kalakal, kaya ang sinabi na lang na dahilan ay para masaya daw! Hindi nga naman obvious ang pagka-inggit.


Ang ganitong ugali ay nakakaapekto din sa pagkatao ng ibang Pilipino, dahil ayaw nilang patalo. Gusto nila, kung ano ang nakikita nila sa iba, meron din sila. Nangyayari ito kalimitan sa mga biglang-yamang mga tao dahil pakiramdam nila, kaya na nila kung ano man ang gustuhin nila sa buhay dahil may pera na sila. Delikado din ito sa isang banda, dahil sa kagustuhan nilang mahigitan ang ginagaya, ang kalabisang natamo ay nakasira sa kanila.


Tulad ng kwento ng isang babae na nainggit sa kapitbahay na nagpalaki ng dibdib ng katamtaman lang naman. Nagpalaki din siya, pero mas malaking di-hamak kaya ang nangyari ay para siyang may dalawang lobo sa kanyang harap na nagpaliyad sa kanya. Ewan lang kung hiniwalayan siya ng asawa niyang nagtatrabaho bilang seaman, dahil tingin sa kanya ay trying hard na exotic dancer sa isang beerhouse, dahil nagpakulay pa ng buhok.


Yong isang kwento naman tungkol sa isang babae na nainggit sa kapitbahay na nagpatanggal ng matris na cancerous. Ang nainggit, nagpatanggal din, hindi lang matris, kundi obaryo din – nalamangan niya ng isang organ ang kinainggitang kapitbahay. Ibinalita pa sa mga kaibigan, tingin tuloy sa kanya, babaeng kulang-kulang!


Pati sa pag-alaga ng hayop, may mga nagkakainggitan din. May isang kapitbahay na kinainggitan dahil sa binili niyang malaking asong St. Bernard, ang nainggit, bumili ng kabayo. Yong bumili ng pot-bellied pig, ang nainggit bumili ng barakong baboy na bulugan may dalawang bilog na kumakampay sa pagitan ng dalawang paa sa likod…panalo ang nainggit na kapitbahay, dahil napapasaya niya ang mga kapitbahay tuwing iwo-walking niya ang baboy niyang bulugan sa loob ng subdivision. May nagkakamali pang nagtatanong sa kanya kung magkano ang singil niya sa serbisyong pakasta ng baboy niya!


May isang nainggit sa kaibigang nagpa-tattoo ng kilay. Nagpa-tattoo rin siya, subalit dahil allergic pala siya sa chemical na ginamit, nagka-keloid kaya ang mga kilay, tattoo na, naka-alsa pa. Pati ang maliit na kalapating tattoo ng kaibigan sa kaliwang braso, kinainggitan. Nagpalagay din siya, sa magkabilang braso pa, at hindi kalapati, kundi malalaking agila! Naging talk of the subdivision siya, kaya panalo siya.


Sa seryosong usapan, nakakainggit ang pag-usad ng mga kapitbahay nating bansa tungo sa kaunlaran. Napapag-iwanan ang Pilipinas maski man lang sa larangan ng turismo na siya nating kayang ipamayagpag, subali’t sa puntong ito, halos ay nauungusan na tayo ng Vietnam at Cambodia. Noong panahon ni Marcos, tayo ang ginagaya nila dahil napaunlad niya ng kung ilang laktaw ang turismo sa Pilipinas. Ngayon kabaligtaran ang nangyayari.


Nakakalungkot isipin na ang isang bagay na mahirap gayahin ng Pilipino ay ang disiplina. Marami na akong nakausap na kababayang madalas bumiyahe, tungkol dito at ang sabi nila, nakakapagpakita ng disiplina ang ilang kababayan natin kapag sila ay nangingibang- bansa, subali’t kapag nasa Pilipinas na, mahilig siyang “magpalusot” kapag may nalabag na patakaran.


Maganda sana ang panggagaya kung ang ginagaya ay magagandang kaugalian na makakatulong sa pag-unlad. Subali’t nakakalungkot isipin na kung minsan, ayaw nating tanggaping tayo ay nagkakamali rin, kaya ang matuto ng tama ay masakit sa ating kalooban.








The White Crayon

Maybe someday I’d get there without regret
because I got the chance to taste the rain
And count the colors of the sunset
Even though all the while I’ve always kept the pain

Maybe someday I’d know how it feels
when the warmth of spring grazes my face.
While the winds dance along with the daffodils
my heart aches as I turn away with grace.

Maybe someday I’d be part of the world,
then I’d belong and at last be found
Among the intricate lies I have slurred
I built a prison deeply rooted to the ground.

Maybe someday I’ll be free, though broken
No longer encumbered by that thought
I’ll open my mouth full of words unspoken,
ridden of the nightmares I so recklessly fought.

Maybe someday.


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The White Crayon

If I tell you I’m sorry and if I tell you I’m sad
If I cry you a river
And it’s driving me mad
Will you love me again?
If kisses were contracts and hugs became locks
If roses bloom again
at the sound of the backward tick of the clock
Will you love me again?
If my tears were crystals and my body a tomb
If you needed me too
when you are not in gloom
Will you love me again?
I know you won’t
but I just had to ask
Will you love me again
now that I’m stripped bare of the mask?

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