Ang Mabuhay sa Mundo

Ang Mabuhay sa Mundo

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa dami ng mga pagsubok na kailangang harapin

Ang mabuhay sa mundo ay talagang napakahirap –

Sa nagdarahop man o mayaman, ito ay nangyayari

Dapat unawaing katotohanan na walang pinipili.

Lahat umaasam na marating, tugatog ng tagumpay

Ginagawa ang lahat sa kahi’t anong kaparaanan

Mayroong nagtagumpay, subali’t mayroong kapalit

Mga hagupit sa buhay na tinanggap, maski masakit.

Para sa iba, pera ang katumbas ng mithing tagumpay

Para sa iba, ang makilala sa isang laranga’y sapat na

Ang iba naman, mga kaibigan ang gustong mapadami

Kaya sa pakikipagharap, pinipilit nilang magkunwari.

Merong madaling malasing sa nakamtang tagumpay

Mga paa’y halos ayaw nang ibalik sa lupang niyapakan

Animo’y mga kulisap na sa paglipad ay sabik na sabik –

Sa pinagmulang kahirapan, ayaw tumingin at bumalik.

Meron namang sa perang nakamal animo ay nabaliw

Hindi malaman ang gawin kung ibangko ba o gastusin

Sa kasamaang palad, kadalasa’y mawawaldas lang pala

Sa isang iglap, pera’y naglaho, hindi binigyang halaga.

Ang masaklap sa buhay, palaging sa huli ang pagsisisi

Laging may dahilan kung bakit sa paghakba’y nagkamali

Kalimitan, ang lahat ng pangyayari ay hindi matanggap –

Na dahil sa katangahan, nawalang saysay, mga pagsisikap!

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My Personal Encounters that Proved, “God will Provide”

My Personal Encounters that Proved, “God Will Provide”

By Apolinario Villalobos

Though I take pride in my unquestionable faith, there is still a bit of skepticism left in me when it comes to solving personal problems due to my fatalistic attitude at times. Just like the rest of most Filipinos, I always leave the result of my efforts to fate after having done my best. I did not have the heart to depend always on God because my personality is rooted in the principle on personal endeavor without depending on anybody else, thus, the saying that “God will provide” has always been out of my mind. But my attitude changed due to observable “proofs” that indeed, God does not leave us in times of need.

When I was a Boy Scout in Grade 5, I was only using one white collarless t-shirt to go with my also, lone short khaki pants. There was always a problem if scouting activities were done in two or more consecutive days for as soon as I arrive home, I must wash my t-shirt and pants immediately to be hung-dry overnight. I was then, a drummer in our drum and bugle corps. I could not tell my parents about my problem because I might be told by my mother to just leave scouting. Fortunately, one Saturday, our neighbor and playmate gave me two sets of his old scout uniform. Since then, I stood out in the corps due to my loose t-shirt and khaki shorts because the donor was bigger than I.

When I was in high school during which I became a complete orphan due to the death of my mother, eight months after that of my father, I had no polo shirt of my own. For special occasions in school I had to borrow my elder brother’s. I had a problem when my brother’s shirt was not available as he was scheduled to wear it also on the same school occasion. Fortunately, when I accompanied a cousin-in-law to Davao city, she surprised m with a pre-cut polo fabric with just the right color and design that I wanted.

When I was called for a job interview by an airline company, I was caught by surprise…and, worse, I was without extra money for fare. On my way home that afternoon, I met along the way a relative whom I loaned money, but which I forgot in time. She paid me back right there, and then went on her way after profusely thanking me.

When I underwent an operation in a Makati hospital, I was told by a neighbor that our house was burglarized and my son was also almost abducted. It was the day after my operation, and I expected my attending physician not to allow me to go home even for a quick check of our home, especially, because I am a “bleeder”. My fresh wound might give in to the pressure of travel. Fortunately, a colleague in the office, “Ed”, dropped by for a visit.  After knowing my problem he immediately persuaded my attending physician and nurse to allow me to go home, but he signed some kind of a guarantee for my immediate return. To make sure that I would do it, I was driven by his driver, while he took a taxi back to the office.

During one of my random sharing sorties in Tondo/Divisoria area, I gave all the remaining cash content of my wallet to a family that lived on the sidewalk. As I was on my way home, I thought that the coins in my purse would be enough for fare all the way to Cavite. I was wrong. As I counted the coins when I took a jeepney, what I had was only enough until Zapote in Las Piἧas which is more than five kilometers from my home. I was resolved to walk my way home from Zapote but when I alighted at the jeepney stop, a neighbor driving his car and who was on his way home, saw me and offered a ride.

One time, when I thought that all plans would push through as regards the sending home of a family to their province in Leyte, my expected “professional fee” as editorial consultant was not remitted in time, and worse, my client texted me to request for an extension of one week. I was crestfallen by the unexpected kink. Meanwhile, the excited family which was among the victims of typhoon Yolanda, was all ready to go home the following day as planned. As a last resort I decided to sell  some of my precious collections to cover the cost of the project. Fortunately, just before noon, a follower of my blogs texted me about the money he sent via a remittance center, in reaction to my blog about the victims of Yolanda, temporarily living in Tondo and who collected vegetable trimming in Divisoria to earn a living. What he sent was more than enough to cover the cost for the mentioned family. A significant amount was left for the next family who was scheduled to go home two weeks after. A week later, I received an email from another follower in Canada about her remittance for the same project.

About a month ago, the stock of diapers of a friend whom I, together with the rest of his former colleagues had also been helping, was almost depleted. The supply was bought using the pooled donations from our friends but which was also exhausted. Just then, I received an fb message from another friend, “Manny”, who had been monitoring updates about our ward, telling me that he will call as soon he arrives from the States. He further stated that he will donate to the “diaper fund”. Three days ago, I personally went to see him to receive the money, plus other food items.

I wrote about an elderly couple in Quiapo. The husband had a stroke and the wife was eking out a living out of her small food stall. The husband was sleeping on the cold concrete floor of his former single-chair barber shop, using only a thin mat. They wanted to go home to their town in Antique, as expenses in Manila were mounting especially for the medicines of the husband who was more than eighty years old. However, I felt that the man was dying as he had been refusing to eat solid food for several days. I did not tell them about my plan of raising fund to raise fund for them. An “angel” from California who read my blog about the couple e-mailed me a short message, “….I am remitting $…..for the couple in Quiapo”.

Those mentioned are just a few of the many incidents that point to the veracity of God’s indirect benevolence.

Harmony in Diversity Breeds Respect and Love…with Mindanao (Philippines) as a typical case

Harmony in Diversity Breeds Respect and Love

…with Mindanao (Philippines) as a typical case

By Apolinario Villalobos

In the Bible, the Israelites failed their God when they did not follow His instruction to the letter. Instead of annihilating all members of the pagan tribes whose cities they have overran, in some, they allowed the inhabitants to live side by the side with them. Some Israelites even took their women as wives. There was harmony, somehow, although not pleasing in the eyes of their God.

When the Arab and Chinese traders came to the Sulu Archipelago to ply their wares thousands of years ago, they intermarried with the native women, so today, some Tausugs have Chinese and Arab names and the fused cultures are obviously manifested in their physical features. There was harmony, then, for the sake of commerce, but which developed into respect and love that became the foundation of the Sulu Sultanate.

“Conquest” of kingdoms can also be accomplished through intermarriages, such as what happened in Egypt, the Iberian region and Europe. Despite the differences in culture, harmony was developed and bred respect among their royalties, thus, kingdoms were expanded. Still today, some business tycoons, especially, in Asia, have the habit of merging their wealth through marriage. In time, the human “instruments” for the worldly end, somehow develop love for each other.

In Mindanao, Philippines, particularly the Muslim central and southern portions of the island, the migrants from Luzon and Visayas, and the indigenous Muslims live harmoniously in communities as neighbors. Unfortunately, due to politics instigated by greedy desire of the few, animosities developed. Nevertheless, those who are really advocating peace persist in maintaining their warm neighborly relationship founded on love, respect, and lately, tolerance.

There is a story of a couple in which, the wife is from a royal Muslim family, while the husband is an ordinary hardworking Christian. They underwent three marriages – Islamic, Christian and Civil, with the consent of their parents. Their children were not baptized days or weeks after birth, the Christian way, but when they were old enough to choose which faith they preferred. In time, the couple began to raise Christian and Muslim children, but they do not feel any “difference” at all. Today, each of them observes the chosen faith with utmost sincerity in a home that permeates with love.

Lately, the son of a Muslim couple decided to become a Catholic priest. Instead of ostracizing him, the parents prayed over him to strengthen his chosen faith.

Clearly now, the problem in Mindanao is not the difference in faith as despite the diversity, the Mindanaoans are united by love and respect for each other, founded on harmonious relationship. What is happening in Mindanao are the doings of greedy politicians, but hope is not gone from the heart of Mindanaoans who had been longing for autonomy…with God’s help!

Ang “Singit-Bala” sa Manila International Airport

Ang “Singit- Bala” sa Manila International Airport

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Lahat na lang yata ng raket ay naiisip ng mga kawatang Pilipino, at batay pa mandin sa mga batas na umiiral dahil sinisilipan nila ng mga butas. Ang pinakahuli ay ang pagsingit ng bala sa bagahe ng mga pasahero sa airport, na ginagawa ng mga nakatalaga sa pag-inspect ng mga ito. Ang kapirasong bala na totoong itinuturing ng ibang mga Pilipino at ng ibang lahi na anting-anting dahil ito ay gawa sa tanso, ay hindi pinapalampas dahil sa katagang “ammunition” na nakapaloob sa batas. Subalit paano naman itong magiging deadly kung walang lamang pulbura at kahit may lamang pulbura ay walang kasamang baril? Magiging deadly weapon lamang ito kung itutusok sa mata o isasalaksak sa ilong ng kaaway upang hindi ito makahinga, o di kaya ay ipangiliti upang mamatay sa katatawa ang kalaban.

Kinakasangkapan ng mga hangal na mga tauhan ng OTS na nakatalaga sa pag-inspection ng mga bagahe ang kagipitan sa panahon o oras ng mga pasahero kaya nagmamadali lalo na ang may mga connecting flight, at upang hindi maabala sa biyahe ay pumapayag na lamang na “maglagay” ng dinidiktang halaga. Nabisto tuloy na talagang may sindikato sa airport na kung tawagin ay “OTS 500”. Hindi lang malinaw kung ang “500” ay tumutukoy sa minimum na lagay ng mga pasaherong ang bagahe ay tinamnan ng bala.

Ang Office for Transportation Security (OTS) na nasa ilalim ng DOTC na pinamumunuan ni Abaya, ay katumbas ng MMDA Traffic Constable Group – mga sibilyan. Ang nakapagtataka lang ay kung bakit nagkaroon pa ng ganitong grupo ganoong mayroon na rin namang AVSECOM, at kung sibilyang security group naman ang kailangan ay nandiyan din ang mga “blue guards”. Marami ang nakakapansin na dahil sa dami nila, karamihan ay pakalat-kalat na lang daw sa loob ng airport, lalo na sa check-in area.

Ang mga tauhan ng OTS ay kulang sa kaalaman sa paghawak ng maselang operasyon sa airport. May mga aspeto ang operasyon na matiyagang pinag-aaralan ng matagal ng mga miyembro ng airport police o aviation security, lalo na pagdating sa paggawa ng imbestigasyon. Subalit kung may nakaplano nang gagawing tulad ng raket na pagtanim ng bala sa bagahe, hindi na kailangan pang mga kaalaman dahil gagawa na lang sila ng “drama”…at ayos na!

Malaki ang problema ng Pilipinas dahil ang bukana nito na international airport terminals ay pinamumugaran ng mga kawatan, kaya pagdating pa lang ng mga balikbayan at turista, masusuka na agad sila sa umaalingasaw na amoy ng katiwalian. Ang pinakahuling raket ng mga kawatang ito ay nakakatawa ngunit nakakaperwisyo ng malaki. Magsunud-sunod ba naman ang mga insidenteng nahulihan daw ng bala sa bagahe, kaya parang lumalabas na bago umalis ang mga pasahero ay dumadaan silang lahat sa Quiapo upang bumili ng bala na gagamiting anting o di kaya ay nakipagkita sa isang ermitanyo sa paanan ng bundok Banahaw upang bumili nitong balang anting-anting. At, dahil sa mga karanasan ng mga paalis na mga turista, paano pang aasahang lalakas ang turismo ng bansa, dahil may kasabihang, : news flies fast by word of mouth.

Ang Malakanyang naman ay walang ginagawa o hindi kumikibo, kahit tumitindi na ang mga pangyayari. Ang patakaran kasi ni Pnoy ay hayaan ang mga ahensiya na umaksyon sa kani-kanilang balwarte. Ang masama lang ay mahina ang mga namumuno kaya walang napaparusahan, dahilan upang lumakas ang loob ng mga tauhang na nasa “ibaba” ang gumawa ng kalokohan. Yan ang matuwid na daan ni Pnoy Aquino…at ano pa nga ba ang pakialam niya dahil patapos na ang kanyang termino?

Magandang Asal ang Dapat Ipakita ng mga Opisyal ng Gobyerno Upang Sila ay Respetuhin

Magandang Asal ang Dapat Ipakita ng Mga Opisyal

Ng Gobyerno Upang Sila ay Respetuhin

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa nag-viral na video tungkol sa “pagwawala” ng isang babaeng opisyal na taga-NAPOLCOM, na si Anna Paglinawan, at ayon sa balita ay “acting chief” ng Administrative Division ng nasabing ahensiya, marami ang mapupunang blunder o pagkakamali, tulad ng mga sumusunod:

  • Ang “pagwawala” o pag-eskandalo ng babae, na hindi dapat. Nagpakahinahon sana siya at kinausap ang mga sangkot sa kaso, sa loob ng Barangay Hall. Subalit mabuti naman at inamin ng babae na naging emotional siya.
  • Mali ang ginawang pagtapon ng babae sa cellphone ni Kagawad Mike Almanza. Dahil ang pinangyarihan ng insidente ay pampublikong lugar kaya hindi bawal ang kumuha ng video o retrato maliban lang kung may nakapaskel na pagbabawal at galing sa local authority.
  • Hindi dapat nagbitaw ng mga salitang “addict na kagawad” ang babae na ang tinutukoy ay si Almanza dahil hayagang paninirang-puri ito kaya maaari siyang mademanda, maliban lang kung sa oras na yon ay may hawak siyang ebidensiyang magpapatunay.
  • Ang mga pulis na nasa eksena ay mali rin dahil kung hindi sila tinanong ng babae tungkol sa ID nila ay hindi pa nila kinuha upang ipakita. Ang ID nila ay dapat nakadikit palagi sa uniporme nila kung sila ay nagdo-duty. Halatang naunahan sila ng sindak dahil ang babae ay nagpakilalang taga-NAPOLCOM, kaya sa kabuuhan ng video, makikitang wala silang ginawa. Ang lalong nagpasama sa sitwasyon ay ang pagtanggi ng isang “koronel” na kinausap niya ang babae dahil lumalabas  sa video na kausap siya nito sa cellphone. Madalas gamitin ang ganitong style ng mga sinisitang mga matataas na taong may nagawang violation lalo na sa trapiko…gasgas na gasgas na kaya hindi epektibo.

Ang magandang ginawa ng NAPOLCOM ay ni-relieve ang babae sa puwesto habang ginagawa ang imbestigasyon. Subalit malakas ang mga “sigaw” sa social media na dapat daw itong tanggalin agad upang hindi pamarisan. Hindi naman ito puwede dahil may “due process” na dapat sundin batay sa internal administrative policies ng ahensiya at Labor Code ng Pilipinas. Ang malinaw na hindi magandang resulta ng insidente ay pagbigay ng “black eye” na naman sa kapulisan at kay Pnoy. At ang nakapanghihinayang ay ang 27 taon ng babae sa trabaho na mawawalan ng kabuluhan sakaling mapatunayang may pagkakamali siya.  Sa nabanggit na katagalan niya sa trabaho, malamang siya ay magri-retire na. Kaya siya itinalagang “acting” sa isang Division, ay malamang upang gawing regular din talaga para pagdating ng retirement niya ang batayan ng kanyang mga benepisyo at pension ay ang huling mataas na position sa trabaho. Dapat bantayan ang kasong ito.

Maganda ang ginawa ni Almanza na hindi na nakipagbangayan sa babae. Bilang elected na local official, ipinakita rin niya ang kanyang kahinahunan na tulad ng ipinakita ng dalawang pulis.

Maaari namang kontrolin ang hinahon at gumawa ng mga pagkilos na naaangkop sa pangangailangan ng pagkakataon, at ito ay inaasahang gagawin ng mga nasa gobyerno. May mga seminar para dito at malaki ang ginagastos ng gobyerno upang ang mga opisyal at mga empleyado ay maging karespe-respeto sa paningin ng mga mamamayan. Bukambibig sa kapulisan ang “self-control and tolerance” o pagpipigil sa sarili at pagpapaubaya. Sa kaso ng nag-viral na video, nakita ang dalawang katangiang ito sa dalawang pulis na hindi nagri-react sa ginagawa sa kanila ng babae, pati na kay Kagawad Almanza. Ibig sabihin, epektibo nilang nagamit ang natutunan nila sa training at seminar.

Ang babae naman ay hindi nakapagpakita ng pagkontrol sa sarili na inaasahan sa kanya, bilang bahagi ng isang ahensiyang nagsisilbing “Ombudsman” o “Sandiganbayan” ng kapulisan. Ang mga nasa NAPOLCOM ay inaasahang mga piling-piling mga pulis o sibilyang empleyado na malawak ang kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng hukbo ng kapulisan. Ang ahensiyang ito ang nagsisilbing “utak” ng nasabing hukbo kung saan ay ginagawa ang mga patakaran. Kaya sana ang pangyayaring napanood sa nag-viral na video ay “isolated case” lamang.

Ang isang government official na alam na rin ng buong Pilipinas na hindi nahihiyang magpakita ng galit subalit tinatanggap ng publiko dahil sa magandang dahilan ay si Mayor Rod Duterte ng Davao City. Hindi siya nagagalit ng walang dahilan at ang pinagbubuntunan ng galit niya ay mga masasamang tao. Kaya siya nagagalit ay hindi siya pinapakinggan ng mga taong binibigyan niya ng babala at pagkakataong magbago…sa halip ay tila sinusubukan pa nila ang kanyang pasensiya kung hanggang saan aabot ito. Walang magawa si Mayor Duterte kundi ang kumilos ayon sa hinihingi ng mga taong tinutukoy, kaya napipilitan siyang dumesisyon ayon sa nararapat – ang ipakita sa mga tiwaling ito kung sino ang tama dahil ang inaalala niya ay kapakanan ng nakararami.

Inaasahang kumilos para sa kapakanan o pangangailangan ng mga mamamayan ang mga nagtatrabaho sa gobyerno lalo na ang mga nakatalaga sa matataas na puwesto, sa paraang karespe-respeto. Ang tawag sa mga taong ito sa Ingles ay “public servants” o “tagapagsilbi sa publiko o mamamayan”. Sinusuwelduhan sila ng mga mamamayan upang magtrabaho ng maayos. Ang masama lang, marami sa kanila na wala naman masyadong binatbat, kundi nakasuot lang ng uniporme ng isang kilalang ahensiya, animo ay presidente na ng Pilipinas  kung umasta.

Ang dapat tandaan dito ng mga ordinaryong mamamayan ay: kung may mga kamag-anak  na may mataas na katungkulan sa gobyerno, huwag nilang ipagyabang at isalang sa kompromiso. At yon namang mga nasa gobyerno lalo na ang may sakit na kayabangan, huwag ipagmalaki ang  mataas na katungkulan nila. Ang pagtawag sa kanila ng mga “inaapi” daw na mga kaanak o kaibigan ay hindi rin nila dapat gamiting  oportunidad o pagkakataon upang makapagyabang.

A Day in the Life of a Struggling Blogger

A day in the Life of a Struggling Blogger

By Apolinario Villalobos

In countries like the United States, bloggers have no problem because all they need to do is just go to a park, and there, with free wifi connection, they can blog for as long as they want. But not in a third-world country like the Philippines where the government’s promise for free wifi sites in public places is part of nauseating propaganda of the administration. A blogger has to have a landline for an assured strong signal that can be sucked by a modem. An option is to have a USB broadband and portable or pocket wifi which must be loaded. Lucky are the bloggers that can connect to a neighbor with a repeater wifi that he can use, with consent of course.

But for a struggling blogger who has no landline to which a modem for wifi can be attached for a strong signal, or cannot afford a post-paid plan for broadband or pocket wifi, there’s no other choice but a load from a corner store bought for 50pesos which is good for one day. As soon as the load has been registered, the blogger must get to work immediately to maximize the use for the allotted time. The problem is the weak signal, especially, if several blog sites have to be opened for uploads. During unfortunate days with a weaker signal, uploading may take the whole day, instead of the normal four to five hours. During those days the indicator for a successful connection would just turn round and round, almost infinitely.

There are times when blogs which are thought to have been uploaded successfully are trashed due to incompleteness of attempt. Other times, due to the weak signal, uploading process hangs. And, worst, is when the signal is cut off in the middle of uploading!

What aggravates the situation are the promo offerings of servers, enticing internet users to buy their cheap surfing package which are deemed useless because, even until the purchased load has been consumed, no connection has been made! It is like rubbing salt to the wound.

The National Telecom time and again has expressed it s disgust over the inutility of the service of the different Philippine-based servers, but just like the mumblings of other government agencies for show, nothing has been done which is a clear defiance on the part of the servers, an obvious loss of respect to the government. Meanwhile, the internet users suffer, especially, struggling poor bloggers. And, just to assure a little bit of strong signal, bloggers of this kind have to do the uploading in the wee hour of 3AM!

Thoughts in Loneliness

Thoughts in Loneliness

By Apolinario Villalobos

Alone with just the whisper of the wind that breaks the silence,

the moment of bliss keeps me afloat me on the ocean of happiness.

Mind void of frenzy, becomes filled with thoughts…overpowering

And like in a forest, they all become jovial birds…singing, chirping.

Meandering thoughts bump each other in my once empty mind

And, puzzling, though, got to choose just one of them at a time:

-on a world that seems to shatter…is there hope?

that, even at the last moment

whatever remains of its innards

be spared to weld its fragments

long molested without diffidence?

-on man’s greed, selfishness…will he still survive?

despite never ending quest for more

that stacks up hatred from disquieted

who hesitate to act for the sake of unity

but now feeling abused due to disparity?

-on man’s blatant arrogance…to where does it lead?

when his reason for being, he questions

thinking that a force alone has made him

into what he is now, thinking all the while

with intelligence, to no one he’ll reconcile?

-on the children’s gleeful prancing…will this go on?

when the air they breathe, stained with death

fill their aching lungs, makes their head spin

and the river they wade in is grossly infected

but, sadly makes only a few sincerely worried?

-on oceans and forests…how long can they hold on?

for the sake of the fish and others on ocean floor

the birds seeking shelter on their lush, cool foliage

and many other creatures that call them their home

when dynamites and chainsaws spelled their doom?

Alas! All I can do is shiver in anger and helplessness

With those thoughts in my abject state of loneliness…