The Senior Citizens…(a message to the the youth)

The Senior Citizens

(…a message to the youth)

By Apolinario Villalobos

Never scorn or despise the senior citizens. Without them, the world may not have been fit for habitation for your generation and of the rest to come. Without them, there would have been no bright guys running the governments. From the senior citizens seeds of humanity have been issued to bring forth different races that roam the earth.

The senior citizens toiled day and night to earn so that the youth in their care can eat decent meals and earn knowledge from institutions of learning. They sat it out all night when the youth in their care got sick. They cried when the youth in their care finally succumbed to eternal sleep because of incurable disease. The woman senior citizen carried what would become a child for nine months which is the fulfillment of her life as a mother. The elderly man literally broke his back in carrying loads to earn an honest living for the growing youth in his care.

Never hate the senior citizens just because they break cups and plates due to their trembling hands. Never call them useless creatures just because you feed them. Remember that they have exhausted their savings to buy you nice clothes, gadgets and pay for your tuition. Never neglect their needs for medical attention, because you might be thinking that it is best that they finally rest if their deterioration is hastened. You, the youth, are treading the road that leads to where they are now.

The senior citizens should be esteemed. They deserve the same care that they once gave you as a growing child. They should not be caricatured because of their wrinkled skin, stooped posture, bowed legs, gummy smile and chinky eyes due to dimming sight. They should not be shunned because of a typical smell, as they can no longer take a bath on their own.

The senior citizens should be loved the way they loved you, the very minute you saw the first ray of light when you were born into this world. They need to feel the same warmth that they gave you when they hugged your frail body. They deserve love more than anything in this world.

You, the youth, will become like them…ripened by time and toughened by ordeals.  They are you, years from now…

The Importance of History…and the Educated Youth Today

The Importance of History

…and the Educated Youth of Today

by Apolinario Villalobos

Some educated youth of this generation do not seem to know or are familiar with the country’s history. Just imagine the consternation of a field TV reporter interviewing a student when asked, who the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth was. The student was obviously caught by surprised and could not utter a word. The reporter asked her another question about Tandang Sora to which she finally replied as “a place in Quezon City…in Commonwealth Avenue”. When asked about her school, she proudly mentioned a university along Espaῆa St. in Sampaloc. Her current school has got nothing to do with her ignorance, but her previous schools, those she went to as an elementary pupil and the one she attended as a high school student. Still, on her own, she could have, at least, exercised a little diligence in enriching her knowledge about her country. The danger here is that, she may transfer this ignorance to her offspring, a vicious cycle which is happening today.

That is the irony of the current educational system. Schools give attention to their need in developing with the time, with reference to the fast technological transformation of practically everything that influence life. So, schools are worried when their computer system is outdated or they do not have the latest modules for courses that they offer to be more competitive with other educational institutions, to entice more enrollees.  But sadly, many courses today, do not fit in any way to jobs that are available. This lackadaisical approach in the current educational system, also shows well in how institutions seem to have disregarded the importance of basic knowledge of our country’s history, shamefully manifesting in the ignorance of some students who thought that they have learned enough.

On the other hand, some students, themselves, may be blamed for their ignorance. At an early age they get fascinated with the games in the internet. Growing older, they get glued to its social webs….facebook, twitter, etc. They would rather browse for photos that they could share in their timelines or exchange messages about trending issues. They disregard sites that are just clicks away from the facebook or twitter pages. These are sites from which they can gain insights on what the Philippines was, years ago, and the people whose gallantry propelled the country towards democracy.

Worse is the discernible attitude of some students who are seem to be just proud about their ignorance of their country’s history, as if trying to give an impression that they belong to the modern hi-tech age.  That is why, they are no longer interested in what happened before. During the latest May 1 Labor Day protest rallies, one young student was asked why he joined the march. Without any hesitation, he said, “there is no class anyway, and I am with my boardmates”. Obviously, he has no knowledge about the historical significance of the traditional May 1 celebration, and the historical issues behind the insufficient wage for which the different labor unions are fighting for. All he knew was that he was having fun, marching and shouting slogans with his boardmates.

College or university graduates whose parents pawn properties and spend lifetime savings for their education, find it difficult to land a reputable job. They failed to check historical information about the course they have chosen, courses that become useless as they do not fit the requirements of available jobs. These are the young graduates who look forward to clerical jobs in the air-conditioned offices but, which come in trickles compared to the surge of good paying technical jobs, some of which require only two years of studies and on-the-job trainings.

A little looking back will not result to a stiff neck, but still, most of the youth, especially, the “highly” educated who believe they belong to a different realm, refuse to do it. They just refuse to learn some lessons from the failure of their predecessors in the past, lessons that could give them a push forward. For their failure to find a job, these ignorant youth blame the government for “not creating jobs”, insult the President for being a “slave” of America, blame employers for low wage, etc. They blame practically everybody, except themselves who waste precious time playing internet games in cafes or chat with friends about show business happenings.

Given a chance to rise from his grave and live again for even just a few minutes, I cannot imagine what Jose Rizal would say about the Filipino youth of today. Will he still say that “the youth are the hope of our nation”, when some of them may not even have an idea that it was he who uttered this hopeful statement? They who have no idea where Mt. Buntis is? They who do not know where Maragondon is? They who have not heard of Princess Tarhata? They who do not know how to pronounce the letter “R” properly when speaking in Filipino? They who shout obscenities in front of the US Embassy but toe the line for an American visa to be stamped on their passport?

For the youth who may happen to view this discourse, don’t lose heart if you honestly think that you do not belong to the “some” whom I mentioned. Instead, extend a helping hand by admonishing those whom you think are concerned.

Mountain Ranges, River Systems, and Volcanoes of the Philippines

Mountain Ranges, River Systems

and Volcanoes of  the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

For the Filipinos, it is important to have a bird’s eye view of their country for better understanding and appreciation. For the foreigners, it is equally important, so that they will have an idea why the Philippines is called, Emerald Isles of the Pacific, Pearl of the Orient Seas, Land of the Rising Sun, etc.

For one thing, the archipelagic country is composed of more than 7,000 islands and islets, depending on the tide. The irregular coastline is about 10,850 statute miles. The Philippine Deep located 40 miles northeast of Mindanao is the deepest ocean depth at 37,782 feet, which is deeper than Marianas Deep which measures 36,640 feet. Volcanic in origin, the total land surface is 114, 830 square miles. The country is divided into main groups such as, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.


Luzon is the northern chunk of the archipelago with Batanes as its northernmost province. The mountain ranges that dominate the Central Plains are: Caraballo del Sur, with the apex located between Abra, Ilocos Norte, and Cagayan. The Caraballo  Occidental is divided into the northern and central, traversing the western area of the Cagayan River. The Sierra Madre which is known in some history books as Pacific Coast Range originates from Baler and covers Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan, making it the longest range in the Philippines. The eastern and southeastern mountain ranges, meanwhile, starts from Caraballo de Baler to San Bernardino Strait, and ends in Mayon volcano in Albay and Bulusan volcano in Sorsogon, both of the Bicol region in the southern tip of Luzon mainland.

The mountain range that begins at Tagaytay, passes through the rest of the province of Cavite, onward through Batangas, ending in Mt. Makiling. Meanwhile, the Zambales range, begins at Cape Bolinao, running along the China coast up to the Bataan peninsula. On the island of Mindoro, the sierra range starts at Mt. Halcon, forking into three, with the northwest ending at Calavite Point which for centuries has been used as a landmark of mariners that cruise through Manila Bay and Mindoro Strait, the eastern fork from Naujan Lake, and the western fork that follows the Mindoro Strait

The river systems of Luzon are: Rio Grande de Cagayan and its tributaries that flow towards Cagayan Valley: the Agno Grande that flows to Benguet and the valleys of Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Tarlac; the Abra River while serving as the catch basin of tributaries from the Cordillera, flows to Lepanto, Bontoc and  Abra; and, the Rio  Grande de Pampanga and its tributaries that flow towards the valleys of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Bulacan.

Other river systems are: Magat River flows across Isabela and Nueva Ecija with tributaries flowing from the Mountain Province to Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac; Laoag River in Ilocos Norte; Abra River in Abra; Tinig River, Amburayan River, and Chico River in Mountain Province; Tarlac River; Angat River in Bulacan; Marikina River and Pasig River in Metro Manila; Pagsanjan River in Laguna; Maragondon River in Cavite; Tayabas River in Quezon; Labo River in Sorsogon; Pitogo River in Occidental Mindoro; Boac and Mogpog rivers in Marinduque; and, the most famous, Underground River in Palawan.

The volcanoes of Luzon are Mt. Iraya in Batanes, Taal in Batangas, Banahaw in Quezon, Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon, and Mayon in Albay. Mt. Mayon has erupted more than 30 times since 1615; Taal, the smallest volcano in the world has erupted about 30 times, as well, with the most destructive in January 30, 1911 which killed more than 1,300 people, and its last eruption occurred in September 3, 1976.


Negros island is partitioned by a mountain range with northwest to southwest orientation with the protrusion of Mt. Kanlaon as the highest, and the rest are:  Mt. Razor, Mt. Silay Mandalague, and Mt. Malapantao. Panay Island has a north to south orientation of a mountain range that separates Iloilo, Aklan and Capiz provinces from Antique, and with Mt. Madjaas as the highest peak, with the rest: Mt. Agudo, Mt. Lantuan, Caniapasan, Mt. Malinao, Mt. Nangtud, Mt. Nausang, and Mt. Usigan.

The river systems of Visayas are: Panay River in Pan-ay, Sibalom River in Antique, Suaque River in Iloilo, Bago River in Negros Occidental, Mabanga River in Bohol, Ulut and Catubig rivers in Samar.


The four mountain ranges of Mindanao are: Surigao mountain range that follows the outline of the Pacific coas; Butuan range that serves as the water shed of the Agusan River on the east, and Pulangui river on the west; the Mt. Apo range located in the central and western portion of the island; and the western range, from Iligan Bay up to the shores of Basilan Strait. In Lanao, north of Mt. Iniaoan is Mt. Catmon, while south of Lake Lanao is Mt. Butlig. Separating Cotabato and Lanao are Mt. Maraturang and Ragang volcanoes. Other mountains in Cotabato are Mt. Dinaca, Mt. Bulik, Mt. Magolo and Mt. Matutum. In Bukidnon, the two highest peaks are Mt. Kintanglad west of Malaybalay, and Mt. Kalatungan. Aside from Mt. Apo, another active volcano in Mindanao is Mt. Makaturing in Lanao.

The Rio Grande de Mindanao, fed by the outflows of two lakes, and the largest river system in the Philippines flows to the central plain of Mindanao. The Agusan River which is the second biggest, next to Rio Grande de Mindanao, flows to the basin of Surigao. Other rivers in Mindanao are: Buluan River in Maguindanao, Kapingkong River in Sultan Kudarat, Dansalan River in Cotabato, and Clarin River in Misamis Occidental. Ligwasan marsh occupies a vast tract of area in Cotabato to which some water of the Rio Grande de Mindanao also flows.

Lately, the Philippines has become a favorite mountaineering destination of trekking enthusiasts from other countries, and whose number swelled that of the locals composed of professional bloggers, students and young professionals. Among the most popular are:  Mt Iraya in Batanes, Mt. Dos Cuernos in Cagayan, Mt. Pulog in Benguet, Mt. Halcon in Mindoro, Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw in Quezon, and Mt. Makiling in Laguna; Mt. Madja-as in Antique; Mt. Guiting-guiting in Sibuyan (Romblon); Mt. Manunggal in Cebu; Mt. Kanlaon in Negros; Mt. Apo in Davao, Mt. Hibok-hibok in Camiguin, Mt. Kitanglad in Malaybalay, and  Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato. I know that more mountains, though not impressive in height but equally challenging, are just waiting to be explored, aside from what I have mentioned.

It is fascinating to know that outdoor sports bloggers do their share in promoting the sport to boost the tourism industry of the Philippines, by posting their discovered peaks as they trek around the country. Browsers need only to use the tags: “Philippine mountains”, “Philippine mountaineering”, “Philippine trekking”, and “Philippine tourism” to access their sites.

Mt.Pamitinan : A Hiking Guide

just near Manila…this is a good “starting point” for trekkers who would like to try the likes of Mt. Apo, Mt. Pulog and Mt. Mayon…

Mt.Pamitinan was given a 3/9 classification with minor specification by PinoyMountaineer. It  is known for its limestone formations and the scenic view of Sierra Madre and Rizal Province.
Mt. Pamitinan is 1 and a half hours drive from the Metro. It is Located in Brgy. Wawa in Rodriguez(formerly Montalban) Rizal Province. It has been famous hiking destination for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. You will be greeted by the inviting view of Mt.Haponang Banoi, Mt. Binacayan and Mt.Arayat when you reached the summit.

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Ang Magaling na “Formula” ng Al Dub Kalye Serye

Ang Magaling na “Formula”

ng Al Dub Kalye Serye

ni Apolinario Villalobos

Nakakagulat ang pagsipa ng Kalye Serye ng Eat Bulaga na namamayagpag sa apat na sulok ng mundo. Pagdating sa padamihan ng mga sumusubaybay, walang binatbat ang iba pang mga showbiz personalities, at pati na si Pacquiao na mahigit ding isang taon na nanguna. Sino ba naman ang mag-aakalang ang isang magkunwaring pipi at sumasabay sa dubbings na binigyang-buhay sa katauhan ni Yaya Dub ay papalakpakan at titilian. Si Alden Richard naman na akala ng iba ay masasapawan na ng mga bagong sibol na mas batang artista ay biglang sumigla ang katanyagan. Delikado din siya dahil sa dinadaos na bagong “Startruck” kung saan kukuha na naman ng bagong batch na mga artista. Kaya mabuti na lang at nagkaroon ng kalye serye ang Eat Bulaga para sa kanya. Ganoon pa man, talagang hindi rin matatawaran ang lakas ng hatak niya sa mga Pilipino.

Mababaw ang kaligayahan ng Pilipino, pero hindi ito dapat bigyan ng masamang kahulugan. Ibig lang sabihin ng kababawan ay madaling pasayahin ang Pilipino, walang kaartihan, dahil hindi na kailangang kilitiin pa ng kung ilang ulit upang mapatawa, o makapanood sa TV ng binubugbog na asawa upang magngitngit sa galit, o ng naghihingalong matanda upang mapaluha. Sa medaling salita, emosyonal ang Pilipino.

Likas din sa Pilipino ang pagkampi sa inaapi o may mababang katayuan sa lipunan, at diyan pumasok ang katauhan ni Yaya Dub na kasambahay ng isang donya sa nasabing kalye serye. Isa siyang “katulong” na nagpapakahirap upang kumita, at sa katauhan niya marami ang naka-relate na mga Pilipino. Nakita nila ang sarili nila sa katauhan ni Yaya Dub. Idagdag pa diyan ang natural niyang mga kilos na hindi nagpapa-cute, kaya kuha ng camera ang pagsubo niya ng pagkain at pagnguya na halos buka ang bibig, halimbawa, o ang pagtakip ng bibig habang kumakaway ng pabebe, na tanda ng Pilipinang mahiyain, etc.

Romantiko at romantika ang mga Pilipino kaya kumikiling sa mga kuwentong may “prince charming”, tulad ng katauhan ni Alden sa kalye serye. Bigyan natin ng pansin ang pagsulputan ng mga libro ng mga “nobeleta” na murang nabibili. Ang mga ito ang pumalit sa mga komiks na naging bahagi na rin ng buhay ng mga Pilipino noong dekada singkwenta hanggang otsenta. Ang nakapaloob sa mga libretong ito ay mga romantikong kuwento ng pag-ibig, na pinagpapantasyahan ng mga mambabasa – mga misis, katulong, tindera, etc. Ang kabutihan lang ng babasahing ito ay ang pagiging kalat sa mga bangketa at palengke, kaya parang komiks noon na madaling mabili. Hindi nalalayo sa mga nobeletang nakalimbag sa maliit na libro ang kalye serye ng Eat Bulaga, kaya tinangkilik ng masang Pilipino.

Ang mga “donya” naman ay malaking ambag sa pang-akit ng kalye serye. Magagaling na komedyante ang gumaganap. Kahit noon pa mang wala ang kalye serye ay kilala na silang magaling umarte kaya scripted man o hindi ang dialogue, nakakapagpatawa sila. Dapat ding unawain na matagal nang walang napapanood na mga pelikulang ala-Dolphy. Ang mga naglalabasang mga pelikula ngayon ay mga imported na horror, sci-fi, at kung anu-ano pa na pang-western culture. Kung may gawa mang lokal, kalimitang tema ay tungkol sa sekswalidad at gender, tulad ng kabaklaan  at prostitution, subalit itinuring pa na pang-intellectual viewing  kuno.

Ang Pilipino ay may ugaling “fatalism” na sa isang banda ay nakakatulong dahil tanggap niya ang kawalan niya ng magagawa sa ibang problema. Kaysa magmukmok na maaaring dahilan pa ng pagkaroon niya ng sakit, pinili na lang niyang magpakasaya upang maaliwalas na mukha ang maipakita niya sa kanyang kapwa, hindi nakasimangot. Dahil sa ganoong ugali, kahit pa namumutiktik ang internet sa mga balita tungkol sa West Philippine Sea, at ang Pilipinas ay niyayanig ng mga isyu tungkol sa korapsyon, tuloy lang ang positibong pamumuhay ng Pilipino. Alangan naman kasing araw-araw ay mag-rally sa harap ng Chinese embassy upang murahin sila at palayasin mula sa West Philippine Sea, o di kaya ay araw-araw ding mag-rally laban sa administrasyon dahil sa korap na kasalukuyang gobyerno.

Swak na swak ang pagpalabas ng kalye seryeng Al Dub dahil kahit papaano ay nababawasan ang mga alalahanin ng mga Pilipinong naghihirap. Dahil sa kasiyahan at pagtawa tuwing tanghali hanggang pasado alas dos ng hapon, nakakalimutan ang tanghalian kaya nakakatipid sa pagkain, at ang pinakamahalaga….dahil sa katatawa, ang mga Pilipino ay nakakaiwas sa pagkaroon ng sakit sa puso. Hindi na nila kailangan pang magbayad ng malaking halaga upang regular na maka-attend ng “laugh therapy” na bagong tuklas na paraan upang makaiwas sa sakit sa puso.

Aaminin kong dalawang beses pa lang akong nakapanood ng kalye serye, hindi pa kumpleto dahil sa bus lang ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataon, kaya noon ko pa lang din nakita ang sinasabing yaya, pero na-impress na ako dahil napansin ko agad ang natural niyang pag-arte. Kaya batay sa sariling pananaw, hindi malayong magkakaroon ng mga eksenang aktuwal na kukunan sa ibang bansa ang kalye seryeng ito, at dahil may franchise ng Eat Bulaga ang Malaysia, siguradong magkakaroon din sila nito….abangan!

A Glance at how the Impoverished Filipinos are Neglected by the Government

A  Glance at how the Impoverished Filipinos

Are Neglected by the Government

By Apolinario Villalobos

When impoverished Filipinos are born, their normal and healthy growth stops at a point where their mothers ceased to produce breast milk. Due to poverty, parents cannot afford infant milk, so they resort to feeding their babies from bottles that contain rice soup. As they are living in depressed areas crammed with makeshift homes of cardboard, scrap plywood, and leaky tin roof, children are practically exposed to the elements. Most likely, they get infected with skin diseases, their guts becoming home to parasites, and they slowly grow with weak respiratory system. Picture the impoverished children with bloated stomach, bulging eyes, and runny nose.

In a big urban area like Manila, the parents try to eke out a living from dump sites where thrown refuse sometimes yield recyclables that they collect and sell to junk shops. Some though, end up in their home to be used further. Some wake up at past midnight with their children and standby at dumping areas for reject vegetables in Divisoria to salvage what can be trimmed of unwanted parts, cleaned and sold. At six, after earning a few coins, the children go home to change their clothes for school, walking to which, they do without even a sip of warm coffee. Fathers peddle their service as stevedores, or pedal tricycles for a measly fare. And, still some brave the searing heat of the sun and sudden downpour, as they roam around the city pushing carts to collect junks from garbage bins.

In agricultural provinces, families suffer every time drought or flood occurs. Rice fields become useless so they resort to borrowing money from loan sharks. If there are pockets of forest still standing nearby, they resort to cutting of trees, even the premature ones, to be made into charcoal. As a result, they eradicate what could have been a watershed and protection of the topsoil that erodes with the onset of rain.

Those living along the seashores depend on fair weather for their fishing ventures out in the open sea, but the erratic weather system prevailing today, prevents them from doing this dangerous kind of livelihood most of the time. The worst scenarios are during the typhoon or monsoon seasons during which they have no choice but stay home. For their subsistence, they borrow from loan sharks.

It is true that the situations mentioned are similar to other impoverished countries. But what is glaring in the Philippines is the government’s neglect of the country as being agricultural. Lands are converted into quick money-making ventures such as real and industrial estates.   Also, instead of having its God-given natural endowments made use to the fullest by Filipinos themselves, these are practically offered to foreigners. The Filipinos are deprived of God-given opportunities by the very government that is supposed to protect them.

The government claims that its concerned agency, the Department of Social Welfare has programs for the impoverished families, one of which is the 4P’s, but this is shrouded with suspected corruption. Reports even prove that the program is not effective, as it just exacerbate the idleness of parents. Also, where are the social workers while children are sniffing rugby in street corners to stave off hunger? Where are the social workers while families living in carts are drenched by heavy rains?

As with the educational system, for so many years now, loopholes that have been shown by parents and concerned sectors are not plugged by the Department of Education. Today with the K-12 program, the parents are further pushed further down the mire of financial difficulty. Such ambitious program will eventually produce a new a generation of dropouts as impoverished parents can no longer afford to spend for their children’s education beyond Grade Six. The situation for inadequately- schooled Filipino children has just gotten worse than before, in which dropping out happens after graduating from high school.

The government refuses to acknowledge its inadequacies, and instead, it proudly shows a perfect image of the country that keeps its pace towards progress, which is a blatant lie!