The Commercialization of Traditions

The Commercialization of Traditions

By Apolinario Villalobos


Shrewd people see money in everything that man does and needs to do. From birth to death, practically, the life of man is manipulated by these people who created “necessities” without which they made life some sort of miserable to live.


When a mother gives birth, today in the Philippines, it has to done in the designated “birthing center” (Paanakan) in every barangay, or clinic or any hospital if available. If the couple lives kilometres away from such center, a vehicle must be hired to reach it. Resourceful husbands may make use of a cart pulled by a carabao, otherwise, it must be a contracted tricycle or a jeepney. Somehow, though, the use of the birthing center is free as mandated by the law. But for goodwill’s sake, the couple must shell out some cash for the midwife whose services come cheaper compared to giving birth in a clinic or hospital. Even if birthing is done at home, the attending “kumadrona” must still be paid for her services.


Basic needs of babies have flooded the market, from feeding bottles to diapers and cribs. Registration in the local government’s Registrar’s Office requires money for the processing of documents and so is the baptismal ceremony in the local Church, and more cash is needed for the thanksgiving celebration at home, a social venue, or a restaurant. A year after birth and every year thereafter, there is a need to celebrate the “birthday” so the baby needs new clothes and a celebration has to be made either at home or restaurant or burger outlet, at least. (I found out that many of those from the impoverished provinces who found their way to Manila to look for a job have no birth certificate, as they told me that they were not registered in their locality’s Civil Registrar’s office due to their poverty).


Then, of course, the parents have to be given recognition for their sacrifices, so today we have the “Father’s Day” and “Mother’s Day”. Gifts must be bought for them, at least flowers for the loving mother or a new shirt for the hardworking father. When the grown up children decide to get married and have families of their own, their parents become “grandparents”, so there’s also, the “Grandfather’s Day” and the “Grandmother’s Day” to celebrate….presents are needed to be given to show the love of the family. Dine out for bonding needs to be earmarked in the budget. Why the need for such “special” days when it is the obligation of children and grandchildren to show love to them “every day”?


Today, schools require that at least parents of their students must attend the “Family Day”, which personally, I just cannot understand because every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year, the students are with their family or at least with their parents. So why must they spend precious time and money for food and other “contributions” just to be part of this foolish day, either in school campus or in expensive resorts or any other “educational” venue? I assume that this kind of “tradition” which the Department of Education allows is just an invention of some private schools and which later were imitated by other private schools that see the sparkle of cash in the activity. So, there you have the “Family Day” which many parents view as some kind of a racketeering effort. For, how can it be called a “family” bonding day when only the students and their parents are present while the rest of the members are not…as perhaps, brothers and sisters may be busy in the internet café or having fun with their buddies?


Another school “tradition” is the so-called “Educational Tour” a familiarization of something or someplace, most often, a mall or a resort. Poor students who cannot afford the fee are slapped with research requirements that will see them a whole day or two at the internet shop if they do not have a computer at home. Just imagine the expense to be incurred if the internet cafe would charge almost Php50 per hour plus printing of several pages of researched materials…everything amounting to almost a thousand pesos or more! Such required research comes out as a punishment for not joining the tour. In other words, joining the junket tour or making research will amount to the same expense, although, the former is purely a leisurely activity while the latter is accomplished with much difficulty.  This academic insanity is such that many parents cannot understand how a trip to a mall or resort can be compared to a researched thesis that can be graded. To justify the tour, schools include in the itinerary a trip or two to some facilities like hotel or restaurant if the course is related to tourism. But, can’t teachers show footages of these facilities as a module in the school room?


Of course, as regards recognition, teachers must not be left out because there is now what is celebrated as “Teacher’s Day”, even if some or many of them cannot pronounce the letter “R” properly when speaking in Filipino or any dialect, a mistake that their students perceive as “correct” or “just right”, because their teachers do it.


When graduation comes, the “traditional” march and ceremonies require toga, photo taking, and new clothes for mama and papa. No amount of warnings from the seemingly helpless Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education and Culture can stop schools from holding their graduation ceremonies in expensive venues.


And, here’s for the “traditional” marriage for the couples in love. Registration in the Municipal or City Hall requires money. Nuptial ceremonies in the church require money, especially, the outfit for the whole entourage. Then, most especially, the feast for the godparents and well- wishers must be impressive as such occasion happens once in one’s lifetime that can even bring parents to tears. For the unlucky ones who call it quits after just a few years of companionship, filing of legal separation or divorce requires money. Those who persist for years till death, have to celebrate “wedding anniversaries”, very important traditions that require symbolic gifts. The “anniversary” tradition dates back to the pagan days and today, it is being observed by Christians and made more colourful with symbolic gifts, mostly made in China!


But the most outstanding “tradition” that has made many people filthy rich or woefully poor, is the “Christmas” which was not even celebrated by the original Christians, although, it is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus Christ, as what were celebrated  then, were his circumcision and baptism. I need not elaborate on this, as we already know stories of how, impoverished families would squander hard-earned money during this occasion, while wise businessmen laugh their way to the bank!


Finally, when death occurs, the funerary tradition requires money, too. The need to be buried or cremated has given life to the “funeral” and “memorial parks” industries. A lot for two remains could amount to not less than Php200K and some coffins could cost more than a million pesos!

Four Myths About Rock Climbing and Why You Should Never Ever Believe Them

The Wanderlust Keeper

Four Myths About Rock Climbing and Why You Should Never Ever Believe Them 

         You may have experienced some mundane days. These are the times when you’re lethargic. You don’t want to get out of bed. Blatantly you are becoming unproductive.

       And then one day, you’re tired of being tired.

       You want to make your ordinary day an extraordinary one.  You crave for the feeling of being alive again. You yearn to go outdoors and seek for an adventure.

       Then you search on the things you want to do. You probably have seen on the net the pristine white beaches in the North. (Yes, going to the beach is probably a good idea.) You may have come across the lists of stunning waterfalls in Cebu. (Yes, perhaps, visiting it will be a perfect way to cool off the heat this summer.)   Or even go hiking, being…

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The Yangtze River



Yangtze River is the largest in China and the third largest in the world with a length of 3,915 miles. Stretching from a land of remote mountains and arid plains in Tibet, it winds its way through canyon gorges to fertile regions of connecting lakes and waterways. The Yangtze’s gorges are the highlights on the river’s course. And of course there is the Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam and hydroelectric power plant in the world.

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After Giving Duterte Our Trust, It is Time to Give Him Our Support

After Giving Duterte Our Trust

It is Time to Give Him Our Support

By Apolinario Villalobos


A couple or more of years before the presidential election, due to too much disappointment and frustrations, many Filipinos floated the idea to have a drastic change and with it came up with a guy, who by all indications personify the image that the country needs…one with a steely personality – Duterte. For many, he is the only person viewed as having a firm conviction when it comes to decision-making, though, tempered with emotional compassion, the manifestation of which was seen later. But because of his habit to cuss, he was viewed as immoral, and many detractors whose vocabulary does not include the word “discipline”, even spread gossips about his womanizing, but which Duterete unabashedly admitted, adding that though, separated from his first wife, he still maintains a close friendship with her. Still, others who are not contented in bashing Duterte even insist that Davao is not Philippines…meaning, what he has done to make Davao peaceful is impossible to be done for the whole Philippines.


Despite all the badmouthing, the nation is bound to have a feisty, frank, honest, decisive, and a hands-on president. Contrary to what his detractors thought, majority of his supporters are women, and despite his being “immoral” as insisted by the non-believers in discipline, he was heartily endorsed by the Iglesia ni Cristo. Most especially, his peacekeeping and disciplinary programs in Davao are now being perceived by the Philippine National Police to be possible in Manila. This same view is being shared by many citizens who are tired of noisy China- made “single motorcycle”, drugs, destructive youth roaming the streets in the dead of the night, pickpockets, and wily taxi drivers. Practically, those who were not sold by his effort are now saying that they can be done in Manila and even throughout the country. I have to admit that I was among them but had a change of heart when I saw his determination at the start of the campaign. I made write-ups about his success in Davao City, but was apprehensive if he can duplicate them if he becomes president because he has to tackle yet, Congress and Senate, unlike a city like Davao with only the City Council to convince.


Although, as of this date, he is yet, referred to as, “presumptive President”, heads of many nations are already recognizing him as the duly chosen in place of Pnoy Aquino. If only to make sure that what we are expecting of him can be realized, we are bound to give him our all-out support. We should not abandon him after giving him a mountain of responsibility for the rehabilitation, though, not totally from the long-suffering or our nation…and then, blame him at the end. Personally, I hope that he will not commit mistakes in choosing the people who are eager to work with him, as they might spell his downfall despite the support of many Filipinos.