GOTO (Say “goh toh”): It’s Rainy Day Comfort Food


Current news about major events in Southeast Asia drew my attention to a map that showed, among other places, the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and its largest city, Makassar.  I will digress from food topics for a while, and I hope you don’t mind.

When I was into handicrafts many years ago, I came across a crochet project called antimacassar.  I wasn’t into etymologies then, so I bypassed research on the term; I didn’t do the handicraft project, either.

Now I’m finding out: an antimacassar, popular in Victorian times, is a piece of washable fabric or needlework placed on the seatback of an upholstered chair. It was intended to protect the fabric from being stained with Makassar oil, which was a popular hair dressing.

Fast forward to 2014.  The city with an exotic name has captured my attention, so I do an internet search… Makassar is the provincial capital of…

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Mga Anay ng Lipunan

Mga Anay ng Lipunan

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Nakakalungkot isiping hindi lang ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas ang pinoproblema ng mga Pilipino dahil sa hindi nito maayos na pamamahala, kundi pati na rin mga kababayan mismong hindi marunong mamuhay ng parehas – silang mga manloloko, mga manggagantso, mga sindikato, na animo ay mga anay na unti-unting nagwawasak ng pangkalahatang pamumuhay ng mga mamamayan.

Nariyan ang mga kidnaper sa Mindanao na kung tawagin ay Abu Sayyaf, at iba pang grupo na nakakalat sa iba’t ibang lugar ng Pilipinas, ang mga holdaper, mandurukot, illegal recruiter, mandarayang nagtitinda sa palengke, akyat-bahay, dugo-dugo gang, drug pusher, drug lords, at napakarami pang iba.

Sa Maynila, hindi ligtas ang mga pasahero sa bus dahil sa “dura gang”, “laglag-barya gang”, “ipit gang”, at mga holdaper mismo na malakas ang loob sa pag-akyat sa mga bus. Hindi pa rin nawawala ang “riding- in- tandem” na nang-aagaw ng bag. Pati mga sindikatong nangingidnap ng mga bata upang gamiting namamalimos sa mga matataong lugar ng lunsod.

Iba pa rin ang mga umaakyat sa bus upang magbasa ng Bibliya at pagkatapos ay mamimigay ng sobre upang lagyan ng pera ng mga pasahero. Sakaling may dalawang grupo na gumagawa nito ang hindi nagkaalaman na pareho pala ang sinakyan nilang bus, ano ang mangyayari? Nasaksihan ko yan…

Sabado ng umaga, pauwi na ako galing sa Pasay at nakasakay sa isang bus, nang sa bandang likuran ko ay may tumayong lalaki at biglang nagbasa ng Bibliya. Nakakailang linya pa lamang siya ay may babaeng may edad na, maayos ang pananamit at naka-sun glass pa ang biglang sumulpot sa bandang harapan ng bus at namigay ng mga sobre. Biglang tumigil sa pagsasalita ang lalaki at pilit tinatanong ang babae kung anong grupo ang kinaaaniban niya. Hindi sumasagot ang babae, tuloy lang sa pamimigay ng sobre. Hindi pala siya kasama ng lalaki.

Hindi pa nakaka-recover ang lalaki sa pagkabigla ay biglang may rumepeke naman sa pagbasa ng bibliya sa likuran niya. May kasama pala ang babaeng namimigay ng sobre. Hindi nagpatalo ang lalaki, nagsalita rin siya….palakasan sila ng boses. Sa inis ko, binulyawan ko sila, at talagang minura. Tumigil ang babae sa pamimigay ng sobre at umupo sa likod, tumahimik din ang kasama niya. Ang lalaki naman ay hindi ko pinagsalita, at sa hiya ay bumaba sa unang bus stop na tinigilan namin. Ang mga babae naman ay hindi na kumibo.

Bago ako bumaba ay pinagalitan ko uli ang mga babae dahil pinipilit nilang para daw sa kalamidad ang perang malilikom nila. Bistado naman talagang sindikato dahil wala silang suot na ID kung talagang lehitimo silang NGO. Ang sabi ko sa kanila,  sila ang kalamidad.

Talagang pinahihirapan ang mga Pilipino ng mga kabi-kabilang panloloko – mula sa gobyerno, hanggang sa kapwa Pilipino….sila ang mga anay ng lipunan!

The Importance of Having Ready Cash and Investment

The Importance of Having Ready Cash

And Investment

By Apolinario Villalobos

The issue on economy affects all creatures on earth. Even stationary living creations such as trees and oceans are affected by it. If forests, for instance, get depleted due to unscrupulous logging, and fishes in the oceans get killed by pollution due to the waste from factories, they eventually affect the economy of the world, because they are sources of man’s livelihood.

The cash has become an important commodity on earth that, even for the retired and the future retirees, the degree of a comfortable life later on, depends on it. Fortunate are those who have invested in revenue-generating ventures, or at least, have saved enough, so that, by the time they cease working, they have something with which to augment their monthly pension.

In another case, wives who depend on the monthly remittance of their working husbands should not be too reliant on their 15/30 wage even if the take home is much more than the average. For instance, just because their husbands earn more than 50 thousand pesos which is the usual basis for a very comfortable life, the wives should bear in mind that anything can happen, such as sickness in the family, closure of their husband’s workplace, disaster such as fire, etc. In other words, they should always set aside something for the “rainy days”.

The wives should help their husbands by thinking of ways on how to generate additional income from the “extras” derived from their wage. Unfortunately, some wives equate the “extras” with travel, jewelries, casino, unnecessary parties, etc. to the point that they have become “addicted” to them, as the habit has become deeply imbedded in their consciousness. Weekends see the whole family going to malls for lunch and shopping; birthdays “require” lavish preparation; budget for casino is discreetly set aside for at least two-day gambling spree in a week; and of course, there is always a share for the weekly visit to derma clinic and beauty parlor, etc.

One story is about a wife who receives an allotment of about 40 thousand pesos from her husband who works as a seafarer. She was so comfortable with the allotment and with the thought that it will always be that way until her husband who just arrived met an accident while driving his car from a party. Unfortunately, it was found out that the husband’s employment documents were spurious so that he got nothing from the insurance company and the government agency that takes care of the OFWs. The operation and long hospitalization of her husband practically depleted the family’s fund. Their two children stopped going to school, they sold their house, and with the meager amount left from the sale after paying their debts, the whole family went home to the husband’s province.

On the other hand, I know of some friends who have prepared for their future by buying parcels of land to be developed into small orchards.  As their retirement was approaching, they filled their lands with saplings of local fruits. Today, they are literally enjoying the fruit of their investment. Other friends followed their example and did the same, making them excited as they look forward to their retirement so that they can work in their orchard.

Saving cash and investing on affordable ventures are securities for the future. The monthly pension should not always be relied on, as some retirees have been shocked when they found out that their monthly ROI (return of investment) from SSS or GSIS is not even enough to cover their maintenance drugs and regular medical check -up.


Gutsy and Self-Confident Maricar Oliveros of Cd-r King

Gutsy and Self-Confident Maricar Oliveros of Cd-r King

By Apolinario Villalobos

This is not a paid advertisement. It has been my advocacy to write about people I meet on the street, in malls, in restaurants, or any unusual place. I have written about a solicitous supervisor of a McDonald joint in Quiapo, a compassionate technician of an internet café-Bacoor, a teacher, a vendor, local government officials, government employees, and many others.

This time around, it is about Maricar Oliveros of the SM Bacoor’s Cd-R King outlet. Petite and morena, with a gentle face punctuated by expressive eyes, she may not elicit much attention, except that because she is one of the store attendants, you really have to seek her. My encounter with this young lady was when she attended to me when I bought a pocket wi-fi. As the gadget had to be set due to the required code, she tried her best in the absence of their technician. Unfortunately, that morning I was not in a good mood and sort of in a hurry. I was irritated by her explanations which I interjected with questions. Several times we did not meet on certain points of my inquiry, so that, unknowinglhy, I was already raising my voice.

Despite my impatience and ill-temper, she was very much in control of herself, not even rattled a bit. She even smiled while looking at me straight in the eye. Her courageous posture brought me to my senses. In other words, she was able to make a sale triumphantly, while I was short of breath due to my bad temperament. She successfully taught me how to use the gadget, and with a smile closed the transaction with some precautions, such as taking note of the power bar, overcharging , etc.

The following day, I brought back the gadget to the store thinking that it was defective because I could not connect to the internet. I saw to it that I was the first in line in their store by waiting until the doors of the mall were opened at 10:00. When I arrived at their store, I found her fanning herself with a piece of cardboard as the aircon  system was not yet of much help. I explained to her the problem and without any question, she tinkered with the gadget to make it effective again.

She did a remarkable series of testing because I gave her the idea that I am amenable for a replacement. She practically spent almost an hour attending to my problem, until finally she reset the gadget as a last resort, doing which she used her resourcefulness because she had no tools. I cannot divulge such “resourcefulness” here, as it could be her “trade secret”.  I ended up with the same gadget that I bought, as she found out that replacement was not necessary. Her effort saved the store from replacing a purchased gadget, unnecessarily.

I was touched by her effort, silently trying to do her best to satisfy me, an irate customer who ruined her morning, the day before. She was a sales attendant, not a technician, yet, with a knowledge that she, perhaps, gained by observing their technician, she was able to put to use an admirable resourcefulness. Her self-confidence and guts can put a guy to shame. Do we ever wonder now why Filipinos are loved by their employers abroad?