The First Time I Got Shocked in the Course of Doing My Random Acts of Sharing

The First Time I Got Shocked

In the Course of Doing My Random Acts of Sharing

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When I made a short stop in Luneta where I planned to take a late lunch one Sunday after I finished my rounds in Divisoria and Tondo, I met Aileen, a young woman who sells tinsel ground tarps. She was wearing a hooded jacket and who gave me her sweet smile to entice me to buy. A few steps away was a child who I learned was Tokong, her “daughter”. I bought her five tarps and began a conversation. I learned that at her young age of 23, the father of her 3-year child abandoned them. She consented when I asked to take a photo, so she removed the hood off her head.

 

After buying them snacks, I continued my queries about her life which led me to learn that she came from Samar almost five years ago to try her luck in Manila. Luck, however, did not smile at her as she transferred from one job to another until she met the father of her child. When she gave birth to Tokong, they were abandoned by the man she thought would be her lifetime partner. She lived with her relatives who ran out of compassion, forcing them to sleep on sidewalk, and thrived on junks that she collected from garbage bins, until a new-found friend, also a vagrant in Luneta told her to sell tinsel tarps to park strollers.

 

The child was barefooted so I told her that when I come back I would bring a pair of slipper or sandals, aside from clothes for them. After bidding them goodbye and started to walk away, the child shouted to bring toys, too. The shout made me look back in time to see “her” lift up and bit the seam of “her” dress, as a gesture of embarrassment. I was shocked to find out that “she” was a boy, as the nakedness down there showed the glowing evidence – a male organ!

 

When I went back to Aileen to ask if there was a problem with Tokong, she was at the verge of crying as she told me that she could not afford to buy appropriate clothes for him. That day, he was wearing a dress that was given the day before.  I found out that he gets a change of clothes only if new clothes were given. The impression that one gets by looking at the child is that he is a girl, as the hair is cut with bangs on the forehead.

 

I asked more questions till she told me that they are spending the night on the park sidewalk, as the gates are closed at midnight. After hearing this, I gave back the tarps that I bought and told her to sell them to others, and handed her some cash courtesy of Perla who is an avid supporter of my effort. I left them with a heavy heart, but with a resolve to be back soonest…..

Luneta Aileen Tokong

 

Magkaiba ang Ugali at Antas ng Kaisipan ng mga Tao

Magkaiba ang Ugali at Antas ng Kaisipan ng mga Tao

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Hindi pare-pareho ang ugali at antas ng kaisipan ng mga tao sa mundo. May mga taong tanga, mapanlinlang, oportunista, sutil, mabait, maka-Diyos, maka-Demonyo, korap, atbp. May mga tao ring bobo, hangal, matalino lang, o sobrang talino, atbp. Dahil sa mga kaibahang nabanggit, hindi pwedeng lahat ay maging madre, pari, mayor, governor, clerk, manager, presidente ng kumpanya, presidente ng Pilipinas, senador, doktor, janitor, atbp. At, dahil sa simpleng paliwanag na nabanggit, hindi dapat pagtakhan kung bakit may mga milyonaryo at mahirap, at mayroon ding mga nasa gitna ng lipunan ang kinalalagyan.

 

Ang mga mahihirap ay umabot sa kalagayan nila dahil sa iba’t ibang dahilan, tulad ng:

  • kawalan nila ng pagsisikap dahil sa likas na katamaran
  • nakasanayang umasa sa iba lalo na sa mga kapamilya at kaibigan na may kaya
  • pagiging biktima ng mga manloloko tulad ng mga employer, illegal recruiter, landgrabber at iba pang mga switik sa lipunan
  • pagkapadpad sa slums sa siyudad dahil umiwas sa mga kaguluhan sa probinsiya nila

 

Ang mga mayayaman naman ay umabot sa kalagayan nila dahil sa mga sumusunod na dahilan:

  • minanang kayamanan mula sa mga ninuno o magulang
  • pagsikap na makaahon mula sa kahirapan kaya umasenso
  • nagtulak ng droga hanggang maging drug lord o drug laboratory operator
  • nag-operate ng huweteng sa kanilang bayan kaya naging milyonaryo
  • naging big- time illegal recruiter
  • naging opisyal ng gobyerno at nangurakot
  • naging big-time holdaper hanggang maging financier ng kidnap-for-ransom gang

 

Kapag naging mayaman ang isang tao, puro papuri ang maririnig tungkol sa kanya kung hindi galing sa masama ang kanyang yaman. Kung bistado namang galing sa masama ang yaman, abot- langit ang pagbatikos sa kanya. Binabatikos din ang mga mahihirap na nakatira sa slums dahil sa kalagayan nilang animo ay manok na nabubuhay sa “isang kahig, isang tuka” na paraan. Idagdag pa diyan ang paninisi sa kanila dahil kung magbuntis o magpabuntis ng asawa ay walang pakundangan kaya ang mga nanlilimahid na mga anak na pakalat-kalat sa kalye ay  animo mga mantas sa mukha ng lipunan.

 

Ang mga yumaman tulad ng mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno, tulak ng droga, drug lord, illegal recruiter, at iba pa, ay may mga karampatang parusa ayon sa batas, kaya kung maayos lang sana ang namamalakad sa gobyerno, sila ay mapaparusahan tulad ng pagkakulong. Subalit, kalat din ang mga kuwentong kung sino pa ang may kaalaman sa mga batas o nagpapatupad ng mga ito, ay sila pang nangunguna sa pagsuway. Ang namumuno naman ay parang taong dayami na panakot sa mga ibon sa palayan – walang kabuhay-buhay at pakiramdam!

 

Hindi dapat basta na lang isisi sa mga mahihirap kung bakit sila nasadlak sa nakakaawa nilang kalagayan ngayon. Ang korapsyon na siyang pinakamalaking dahilan ng lahat ng paghihirap nila ay nagsimula noon pa mang kasibulan ng Pilipinas bilang isang malayang bansa. Marami nang oportunista noon – mga mayayamang asendero na naging opisyal ng bansa, at mga edukadong naging pulitiko na nasilaw sa pera mula sa kaban ng bayan. Yan ang mga dahilan kung bakit nagkaroon ng NPA na ang impluwensiya ay nakarating na sa mga siyudad ngayon, kung saan ay naglipana din ang mga makabagong oportunista. Kaya tulad ng dapat asahan, sumabay sa paglala ng korapsyon sa gobyerno ang kahirapan sa bansa.

 

Ang nakikitang kahirapan at karangyaan ay mga pang-ibabaw lamang na tanawin sa isang lipunan. Hindi magkakaroon ng mga nasabing kalagayan kung walang mga dahilan tulad ng mga nauna nang nabanggit….at ang mga dahilang iyan ang dapat munang tingnan ng isang tao bago magbitaw ng komento na tulad ng:  “nakakasuka at mantsa ng lipunan ang mga slums at mga nakatira sa mga ito”, at “kasalanan ng mga inutil na mga taong yagit na ito kung bakit sila naghihirap”. Dapat isipin ng mga mapangkutya na kung may tamad na mahihirap, mayroon ding ganito sa hanay ng mga mayayaman ngunit hindi lang pansin dahil may pera sila.

 

Isang makapal na libro ang magagawa kung ilalahad ang mga may kinalaman sa kagutuman dahil hindi lang kahirapan ang mauungkat kundi pati mga kadahilanan. Hangga’t maaari ay iwasan sana ng mga “matatalino at masisipag” na magtanong kung bakit ang mga nasa iskwater ay hindi tumulad sa kanila. Kung maligaya na sila sa mataas nilang kinalalagyan at wala silang balak na tumulong sa mga nangangailangan o kung tumulong man ay may kasamang panunumbat, tumahimik na lang sila at iwasang tumingin sa ibaba. Pero, alalahanin nila na may kaakibat na matinding lagapak ang pagbagsak ng isang tao kung siya ay mula sa mataas na kinalalagyan!

XOCOLATL

AtoZfoodnames

Nahulaan ba ninyo ang ibig sabihin ng pamagat ng blog ko ngayon?
 
Tama, tsokolate!   Xocolatl ang tawag dito ng mga natibong tao sa Mesoamerica, ang bahagi ng gitna at katimugang Amerika na kinasasakupan ngayon ng mga bansang makikita sa mapang sumusunod:
 
Laganap sa daigdig ang pagkagusto sa tsokolate; halos lahat tayo ay mahilig sa kending tsokolate, sorbetes na tsokolate, cake na tsokolate, atbp.  Kung may espesyal na okasyon tulad ng bertdey o Valentine, ang isang kahon ng mahusay na klaseng kending tsokolate ay paboritong regalo.  Kung masama ang pakiramdam natin sa kalooban, parang magic ang epekto ng isang chocolate bar para mapasigla ang paningin natin sa mundo.

Sa kasa-surf ko kagabi sa internet, nakabasa ako ng recipe para sa Aztec-style hot chocolate.  “Matapang” ang timpla ng tsokolate at hindi gaanong matamis.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2809092/How-cup-cocoa-bed-hel…


Ayon sa historya ng bansang Mexico, ang lider ng mga Aztec na si Montezuma ay…

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Jicama, SINGKAMAS

AtoZfoodnames

Ang siyudad ng Padang, Indonesia ay nasa kanlurang baybayin ng islang Sumatra.  Mula sa Maynila, ang layo nito ay mga 2,850 kilometro o 1,771 milya.
 
Di umano, akala ng mga taga-Padang ay katutubong tanim sa kanila ang bengkuang, na sa atin ay kilala sa pangalang singkamas.  Laganap daw sa kanlurang Sumatra ang tanim na ito. 
 
Sabihin nga natin ng ilang beses ang dalawang salita:  singkamas, bengkuang… singkamas, bengkuang.  Para sa akin, may hawig ang dalawang pangalan, lalo na kung makikita natin ang tawag dito sa ibang nalalapit na bansa sa Asia:
(Ibang lugar sa) Indonesia: bengkowang, bengkoang, bangkuang
Malaysia: sengkuang, mengkuang, bengkuang
Thailand: มันแกว (man kaew)
India: sankalu
Ang ugat ng salita nating singkamas ay ang Kastilang jicama (hi-ka-ma), na hango sa wikang Nahuatl, o Aztec.  Nang dumating ang mga manlalakbay sa pamumuno ni Hernando Cortez sa kinalalagyan ngayon ng…

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Review of the best book I’ve read yet on the aftermath of WWII in Europe

Struthof Concentration Camp February 2010

Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of WWII     by David Stafford

Endgame 1945 is an historical narrative told from the perspective of eyewitnesses, about the final three months after VE Day in Europe.  It covers in detail events leading to the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini, the liberation of concentration camps and the challenges faced by allied occupying forces contending with the mass human trauma of war devastated Europe. It describes the Herculean task faced by relief agencies dealing with displaced persons and the traumas experienced by German women and children in Allied occupied Germany.
This book is a tour de force. Stafford is a brilliant writer and historian and his subject, these specific three months, has been mostly neglected by historians. This is a riveting, compelling read that is difficult to put down and stays with you long after you finish reading it. The…

View original post 32 more words

Review of the best book I’ve read yet on the aftermath of WWII in Europe

Struthof Concentration Camp February 2010

Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of WWII     by David Stafford

Endgame 1945 is an historical narrative told from the perspective of eyewitnesses, about the final three months after VE Day in Europe.  It covers in detail events leading to the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini, the liberation of concentration camps and the challenges faced by allied occupying forces contending with the mass human trauma of war devastated Europe. It describes the Herculean task faced by relief agencies dealing with displaced persons and the traumas experienced by German women and children in Allied occupied Germany.
This book is a tour de force. Stafford is a brilliant writer and historian and his subject, these specific three months, has been mostly neglected by historians. This is a riveting, compelling read that is difficult to put down and stays with you long after you finish reading it. The…

View original post 32 more words

On the Value of Books, Magazines, Etc.

On the Value of Books, Magazines, Etc.

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I just cannot understand how some people can fail to appreciate the value of books, magazines, etc. just because they are two, three or more years old. For them such materials are already outdated, so they do not deserve appreciation. The fact is, these materials, especially books can be updated while retaining their historical usefulness, hence, never outdated. Books are updated based on the old editions, and this is necessary, as some authors are found to bungle or distort facts, especially, on political issues.

 

Even for scientific and technical books that are supposed to be updated regularly due to the fast turnover of new ideas and discoveries, there is still a need to maintain old editions so that basic information will always be on hand, in case of verification.

 

The notion that hard copies of books are no longer necessary with the onset of high technology is wrong. What the cyberspace keeps in its archives are actually digitized old books and their new editions if there are, for easy reference. Important issues here are the convenience and affordability of access, as not everybody can afford the installation of computers at home or the expense for browsing in internet cafes. On the other hand, there are the so-called e-books, but such are just “versions” of printed ones. In fact, some authors venture into e-book publication first, to sell their books on-line which is easier, but still print them later, using the earnings.

 

While before, the book was considered as a precious commodity for the acquisition of knowledge, today, book publication is viewed more as a very profitable business venture. This is the reason why the questionable Philippine educational system has allowed the “conversion” of text books into workbooks with the insertion of a portion on questions and answers at the end of each chapter. This practice of the educational institutions, including government agencies, in connivance with the unscrupulous publishers and agents has made many people shamefully rich on one end, while on the other end, the parents and students suffer. In their haste for printing, some books even come off the press with so many errors. The practice no longer made possible the passing on of old books to younger members of the family, as buying new sets with unanswered questions at the end of chapters, has become necessary and a requirement of the school.

 

People love trivia. But where do all the information come from? – old books and magazines! Those found in the internet are the upload, patiently done by website owners that earn through ads squeezed in available spaces of their site’s pages, or number of viewers they generate. This is how servers and website owners in the cyberspace earn. Netizens thought that they owe a lot to them thinking that they are the originators of the information, when all these website owners do is upload information. On the other hand, the servers only provide space for these websites from which they earn enormous income.

 

I have no quarrel with the servers and website owners, but my effort here is directed at how people have been misled by thinking that because of the computers, hard copies of reading materials have become obsolete or on a kindlier view, unreliable.

 

Before the onset of the internet, students had no choice but to diligently turn the pages of books to cull the needed information for their theses. They were forced to make summaries or condense sourced materials. But because of the advance technology, some of them just “copy” and “paste” pages from sources in the internet, make minimal revisions, by deleting sentences and paragraphs, then, collate them into a “thesis”. That is the ongoing sad reality.

 

When I did a job on the side editing theses of students from a reputable university, I discovered one time, that four drafts were identical word for word – with the same source in the internet. Two other students tried their best to be authentic by jumbling the sequence of paragraphs that they copied and collated. And there’s the story shared by a librarian about two similar theses, but with submission dates of more than ten years apart.  They were discovered later when a researcher took note of the similarity and called the librarian’s attention about it. And, there’s a classic story of how the whole content of a thesis reference was peeled off from its cover by a student researcher, and who inserted folded newspapers, afterwards, as replacement to make the reference material look intact when it was returned to the librarian who did not bother to check.

 

I am not saying that we fill whatever space we have at home and offices with books and magazines and hold on to them till time eternal.  What I am trying to share is the restraint that we should observe in disposing books and other reading materials that have outlived their immediate usefulness. What we do not need can be shared, instead of dumping them in garbage bins. What shocked me was when I found two copies of pocket edition of Bible in a box of junk, and worse, a copy of Koran in another junk shop! I found my rare copies of biography of Queen Victoria, “Pepe En Pilar”, and “Codigo Penal” printed in 1870, in a pile of junks sold on a sidewalk.

 

As a high school and college student in Notre Dame of Tacurong, a parochial school in the far southern province of Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao, I had a grand time poring over the pages of National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, and Encyclopedias in our library, all old editions, solicited by Oblate priests in the United States. Some of them were even dated as early as 1950’s, especially, the Reader’s Digest and National Geographic, but I still enjoyed reading them. We were lucky, as our bespectacled librarian, Leonardo Ninte and his student assistants, carefully, rebound the reading materials, to make them endure regular handling. A good number of shelves in the library were filled with donated books, with only very few important current editions purchased due to the scant fund of the school. Those “outdated” materials helped me a lot in developing my love for reading. Accordingly, if some people who are in charge of libraries today will nurture an attitude of abhorrence to old books, they will eventually deny others the opportunity to earn knowledge from books, be they old or new.

 

The fast advancing technology on information is proving its great help to mankind. But we should understand that technology in whatever form has limitations. The gadgets we see now as “repository” of information, still need to be fed with basic information by man as basis for their mechanical “intelligent” subsequent actions. Most importantly, what are fed to these machines come from the human brain. These invented and fabricated machines come about as forms of convenience that man seeks tirelessly for his comfort. Man started with barks, leaves, rocks and even pot shards in recording events long time ago. What resulted into modern day codices – books, should therefore be given due respect and importance for all their worth which is fathomless. To tip the balance in favor of these machines as regards the perception on the value of books, therefore, is not fair.

 

Isang Kending Hinati, at iba pang Kuwento

Isang Kending Hinati, at iba pang Kuwento

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Malaking bagay ang pag-uusap kung minsan ng magkakaibigan upang sumariwa ng mga nakaraan. Nangyari ito nang magkita kami nina Del Merano, mag-asawang Mona at Reuben Pecson na isinama ang tinuturing kong “miracle baby” nila noon, at ngayon ay binata na, si JR. Ibinuntis ni Mona si JR nang panahong mayroon siyang malaking cyst sa sinapupunan, subalit sa awa ng Diyos, nakaraos siya sa pagbuo nito hanggang maipanganak bilang isang malusog na sanggol. Ngayon si JR ay isa nang piloto. Pananalig sa Diyos ang naging kasangkapan ni Mona sa pagkakaroon ng isang matagumpay na ngayong anak na Piloto.

 

Sa mga kuwentuhan namin, lumabas ang pinakatago-tago sigurong kuwento ni Del tungkol sa kending hinahati pa niya upang magkasya sa maghapon niyang pagsi-sales call noong kami ay nagtatrabaho pa sa Philippine Airlines (PAL). Isa si Del sa mga pinagkakatiwalaang Account Officers ng PAL. At, dahil sa kanyang pagka-single mom, tipid na tipid ang ganyang gastos. Nagulat daw ang kasama naming kasabay niya sa pag-sales call nang ilabas niya ang kalahati ng isang kendi at isinubo bilang miryenda. Ang natirang kalahati ay kanyang itinabi para sa hapon naman.

 

Ikinuwento rin niya na sa pagpipilit na makapasok sa PAL ay halos nanikluhod sa nagbibigay ng typing test na bigyan siya ng ilang pagkakataon na umabot sa pang-apat hanggang abutin niya ang standard na bilis sa pagmamanikilya. Mangiyak –ngiyak siya nang makalusot sa test. Ang unang trabaho niya ay sa Accounting Office subalit napansin siya ng namumuno ng Internationals Sales Department na si Manny Relova, kaya on the spot ay sinabihan siyang mag-report sa opisina nito upang mag-issue ng mga tiket na pang-international. Dumaan siya sa masusing pag-aaral ng iba’t ibang pamasahe sa eroplano, kasama na ang sa iba pang airlines. Dahil sa kagalingan niya, mabilis ang kanyang promotion hanggang sa ma-assign sa iba’t ibang international station bilang District Sales Manager.

 

Naalala ko noon ang kuwento niya nang ma-assign sa San Franciso (USA). Ang tinirhan niya ay walang kagamit-gamit kaya sa sahig siya natutulog nang kung ilang araw. Kahit bago sa America ay malakas ang loob sa paglibot kaya sandali lang ay dumami na ang kanyang kontak at mga kaibigan na nakatulong ng malaki sa kanya bilang District Sales Manager.

 

Nag-resign siya nang bilhin ng San Miguel ang PAL, subalit nang bilhin uli ito ni Lucio Tan ay inimbita siyang bumalik na malugod naman niyang tinanggap dahil iba daw na challenge ang nararamdaman niya bilang kawani ng nasabing airline. Iniwan niya ang isang managerial job at ang malaking suweldo mula dito. Bumalik siya sa kumpanyang nagbigay sa kanya ng magandang pagkakataon upang mabago ang kanyang buhay, lalo pa at siya ay single mom. Ipinakita ni Del na ang pagtanaw ng utang na loob ay nakakagaan ng damdamin. Ngayon si Del ay District Sales Manager na uli ng San Franciso (USA).

 

DEL MERANO 3 JR OK

Tomatl, Tomato, Tomate, KAMATIS!

AtoZfoodnames

If the Spaniards of the 15th century weren’t so determined to find India with its fabled plantations of black pepper, the rest of Europe would have languished in pale pasta sauces.

Tomatl (as it was called by the native peoples of Mesoamerica) was unknown to the Old World… until Spanish explorers during the Age of Discovery encountered chocolate, chili, avocados, tomatoes, and other good food in the New World.  Aztecs used the small and yellow-to-red colored fruits of the plant in their cooking and in fresh sauces.

The earliest discussion of the tomato plant in Europe is dated 1544; it is not certain whether Cristoforo Colombo first saw them in his voyage of 1492, or Hernando Cortez in 1521.  Of this we are sure: Spain distributed the tomato to its colonies in the Caribbean and to the Philippines, as well as to other countries in Europe, from where cultivation spread, making…

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