Ang Buhay at ang Karapatang Mabuhay


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa ibabaw ng mundo lahat ng nilalang ay may karapatang mabuhay, subalit hindi lahat ng kabuluhan nila ay naangkop sa pangangailangan ng iba.  May kanya-kanya din silang talino at lakas upang magamit sa pagtanggol ng sarili. Ang prolema lang ay ang mga taong sadyang gahaman o makasarili, kaya hindi nila isinasaalang-alang ang karapatan ng iba.


Ang mga makasariling tao ay nanggaling sa mga pamilya na bahagi ng lipunan. Sa isang pamilya, hindi maiwasang magkaroon ng sutil o “black sheep”. Marami sila kapag naipon na, at ang dami ay depende rin sa laki ng lipunan na kinabibilangan ng mga pamilya. Sila ay mga problema na kung hindi masawata ay aalagwa o lalabas sa tahanan at mamiminsala na rin sa kabuuhan ng lipunan, kaya madadamay ang ibang miyembro. Ang katalinuhan ng tao ay nagdikta sa kanya upang gumawa ng mga kaparaanan upang mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga sutil sa lipunan- isang pagbabakasakaling sila ay magbago dahil sila ay may karapatan din sa buhay. At, ito ang ginagawa ng pamahalaan.


Samantala, ang karapatan ng isang tao sa isang bagay ay may hangganan at dapat na ginagamit sa mga makabuluhang bagay na nakakatulong sa lipunan sa halip na makapanira. Kung ipipilit na gamitin ng isang tao ang karapatang yan upang makapaminsala ng buhay ng kanyang kapwa o makapanira sa lipunan, lalabas na sinaklawan niya ang karapatan ng ibang taong may karapatang mabuhay ng matiwasay. Sa madaling sabi, ang karapatan ng isang tao ay nagwawakas sa hangganan kung saan ay nagsisimula ang karapatan ng iba.


Ang simpleng nakikitaan ng kalagayan tungkol sa usaping ito ay ang taniman ng gulay, kung saan ay may tumubong mga damo. At dahil damo, itinuturing silang salot na magdudulot ng pinsala sa mga itinanim na gulay. At dahil sila ay salot….dapat silang puksain upang hindi na makapanira pa…at ang katumbas nila sa lipunan ng tao ay mga kriminal!


Ang mga Pagkakaiba-iba ng Kaisipan ng mga Tao ay Hindi Dapat Gawing Batayan ng Pagtatalo

Ang mga Pagkakaiba-iba ng Kaisipan ng mga Tao

Ay Hindi Dapat Gawing Batayan ng Pagtatalo

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa pagrerespetuhan ng mga ideya, hindi dapat sabihin ng isang tao na mali ang sinasabi ng iba batay sa kanyang iniisip, maliban na lang kung ang tinutumbok nito ay pamiminsala ng hindi dapat pinsalain o sirain. At, kung nasa kalagayang may mga nakikinig, nagmamasid o nagbabasa, tulad ng debate o balitaktakan sa publiko, at mga pino-post sa facebook, dapat ay magkanya-kanya sa paglahad ng mga ideya upang mapagpilian kung alin ang papanigan.


Ang antas ng dunong ng mga tao ay magkakaiba, kaya nagkakaroon din ng kaibahan sa paniniwala depende sa kinalakhang tahanan o kumunidad, at lalong higit, sa kultura ng bansa. Dahil diyan, kung ano ang tama, halimbawa, kay Juan na lumaki sa iskwater ay maaaring hindi katanggap-tanggap kay Richard na lumaki sa isang marangyang tahanan sa high-end na subdivision, kaya magpatayan man sila ay talagang walang pagkakaunawaang matatamo. Ang isa pang halimbawa ay, kung ano ang tama sa mga taga-Africa ay maaaring mali sa mga taga-Asya kaya magkaubusan man ng lahi, hindi rin malalaman kung sino ang tama o mali.


Ang mga halimbawa ay pagputol ng ari ng isang lalaking nanggahasa sa isang bansa sa Gitnang Silangan, na para sa mga Kristiyanong bansa ay mali. Sa ibang bansa sa Silangan ay napapalampas ng pamahalaan ang paghitit ng opium, subalit napakamali naman sa nakararaming bansa. Ganoon din ang paghitit ng marijuana na napakaluwag naman sa ibang bansa sa Yuropa (Europe), kaya naglipana pati mga party drugs na kumalat hanggang sa Pilipinas.


Pang-unawa sa isa’t isa, sa kabila ng mga pagkakaiba ang kailangan upang magkaroon ng kapayapaan. At, kung ang pang-unawa ay sasamahan pa ng pagbibigayan ay lalong matiwasay sana ang buhay sa mundo.


No Virtuous Leader of a Nation can Stand Against a Corrupted Democracy

No Virtuous Leader of a Nation Can Stand

Against a Corrupted Democracy

By Apolinario Villalobos


Democracy was conceived with a noble purpose of providing a comfortable life for its adherents, and was given substance by freedom, free will, liberty, equality, and many other principles that stand for anything “free”. It is unfortunate, however, that the looseness brought forth by freedom has caused its decadence today. The systems of all democratic nations are practically loop-holed with omissions and defects giving corrupt government officials the chance to commit frauds at will. Democracy has been so abused lately, that its image has been deformed beyond recognition.


America which is considered by other nations as the cradle of world democracy is showing signs of decadence as abusive acts have practically become part of its citizens’ daily life. Guns can be easily purchased and even youngsters can carry them around. Muggings are prevalent making stringent laws seem useless. Parents are humbled by their children who talk back at them every time their attention is called for committed faults, and the former cannot do anything, as they will be reported to the police. These undisciplined children later grow up to become young single moms, muggers, gun-toting students, rapists, etc. It is true that similar crimes are committed in any democratic nation, but the degree of incidence in America is beyond expectation.


Nations that are internationally-acknowledged as strictly disciplined like Japan, South Korea, and Singapore are not free from the abuse committed by their supposedly, equally well-disciplined constituents, at the first sign of opportunity. Corruption in their government is also a ubiquitous happening just like in other countries of their level. Along this line, the onslaught of corruption is such that not even a spiritual nation like Vatican is free from it. No less than the new pope himself, Francis, has called the attention of the erring clerics to mend their ways. In other words, no amount of discipline and spirituality can match the evil of corruption that has become deeply-rooted in the midst of humanity.


It must be noted, however, that the uncontrollability of corruption even by a virtuous leader does not free him from the liability for any commission by his officials. On the contrary, as a leader, he is expected to exhaust all means and exert an extra effort in preventing the fraudulent acts, or make necessary corrective moves, and not just look the other way every time they are committed. Tolerance on his part makes him liable or a party to the act.  Not even his assertion of purported ignorance makes him innocent. Somehow, the preventive or corrective effort of the virtuous leader, though how futile they may seem, can at least, minimize the incidence or effect of corruption…a consolation that can appease the victims.


As for the seemingly “unblemished” constituents of the corrupted democratic nations, perhaps, they can exert an extra effort in persisting to be consistent in acting as expected of them… law-abiding citizens, whose collective effort can somehow resuscitate the ailing Democracy.

The Worldly Differences and their Compromise


By Apolinario Villalobos


In this world, there are only differences that may not be right or wrong, as there is no “ultimate judge” who can decide, not even the respective Supreme Courts of nations, and not even the guiding book of whatever religion. For those who believe in God, to them I may come out blasphemous if I say based on my observation, that not even He is the ultimate judge as being preached by religions that cling to Him, for how can they say that He is the One when others do not believe in Him?


Islamic rules are different from those of Christian religions’ that sprouted even later than others, and which also have their own norms. There is a popular belief that traditional religions have been deceiving people in their effort to expand their respective following. In this regard, those who have been enlightened came up with their own Ministries that eventually attracted hordes of adherents that, fortunately, did not totally turn their back on the teachings of their former churches, such that, there are Catholics who trek to the temple of El Shaddai in Paraἧaque, as well as, there are New Christians who still attend Catholic service. The mushrooming, however, all over the world of these new Ministries is proof that something is wrong with the Catholic Church from which newly-enlightened Christians came from. But then, nobody has the right to condemn Catholicism because of the erring few priests…as again, in this world, nothing is perfect. On the other hand, the “Balik-Islam” in the Philippines is, likewise, gaining ground. In its totality, the movement of modern-day conversions should be viewed with fairness on the part of the converts. What is important is the change in their spirituality that made them better persons, and most especially, they worship the same God, anyway. We should worry about former God-fearing brothers who became heretics, instead!


What is happening to the fate of religions is happening among nations with differences that lie in their ideologies polarized by democracy and socialism. The same competitive expansion brought forth hideous annihilation of races which is the essence of the effort in such desire. And, to top it all, to date, many nations are subtly disregarding the authority of the United Nations. In the case of the West Philippine Sea for instance, it made pronouncements that favored the Philippines but it cannot enforce what it has “summarized” based on proofs…while China consistently and loudly shows her defiance.


Somehow, the innate compromising characteristic of man came into the picture, resulting to the “ironing out of differences” among conflicting nations which does not necessarily declare which is right or wrong. In other words, there is no clear decision, just a compromise for some kind of a conditional understanding to avoid further conflicts between the victor and the vanquished.


Along this compromise, what each one can do to maintain relative peace is, perhaps, to be good based on the Golden Rule which is the essence of all religions, an adage that says, “Do Not Hurt Others if You Do Not Want Them to Hurt You”. It is a simple give and take principle that can apply to all peoples and nations.


Finally and most importantly, one should cling more tightly to whatever congregation he has chosen, be the spiritual bonding is done in cavernous basilicas or cathedrals, or a humble space that used to see good old days as an air-conditioner repair shop.


My humble belief is that, spirituality is not measured by an impressive concrete structure, but by sincerity that throbs in one’s heart! One can even venerate manifestations of God under a tree!…and, who can stop somebody from praying for the smooth expurgation of his guts while seated on a toilet bowl?



Antarctica Journals!

Cindy Knoke


My husband, Jim, handed me a travelogue he kept of our Antarctica trip in 2008. I had forgotten that we both had written trip journals and it is interesting to see a lot of the details I had forgotten. The following include excerpts of these travel journals that weren’t included in my prior post.

Day 1-2: Jim’s notes state that we cross the 400 mile Drake Passage with Beaufort force 3 winds. The Beaufort Scale winds range from force 1-12, and relate wind speed to observable effects on land and sea. Force 3 winds are gentle breezes that create wavelets that begin to break, causing whitecaps, i.e., easy-peasy seas.

We pass the Antarctic Convergence in the afternoon. This is a continuously circling body of water where cold Antarctic waters converge with warmer subantarctic waters, causing the colder water to sink, leading to upwelling where marine life is intensely prevalent, including…

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Island Dreaming on this October Day~

Cindy Knoke

Vancouver Island is full of stunning hiking opportunities. This Marina was the trailhead for one hike,
where we were greeted by a curious fawn!
The hike wound through pristine rain forest,
and river gorges with wildlife all around us.

The beach was mostly empty and the water so pristine, it formed perfect mirrored surfaces for reflection.
A killdeer was unconcerned with our arrival at his beach.

The crystalline sea water,
makes sea anenome look like they weren’t under water.
Although all of these shots were taken through sea water, there was no distortion. This is what perfectly clean sea water looks like. We don’t have this in California!
We have been home at The Holler for several weeks now, but these photos send cheers to you from beautiful and unspoiled Vancouver Island~

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


Meandering thoughts bump each other in my once empty mind

And, though puzzling, got to contemplate on them one at a time:


On the world that seems to shatter…is there hope

for 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, assuming all the while

that he’s wise, so 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 vast seas and forests…how long can they hold on

for the sake of the fishes and others on ocean floor

the birds that seek shelter in the lush, cool foliage

and many other creatures that call them their home

as dynamites and chainsaws spell their doom?


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

With those thoughts in my abject state of loneliness!

See with our heart…Feel with our kindness

See with Our Heart,

Feel with Our Kindness

By Apolinario Villalobos


Our eyes perceive the world

That’s all that they can do;

But there’s more beneath

The surface of everything

That only the heart can see –

If strengthened with fidelity.


Touching the lives of others

Some do with false charity

They, who think, food is enough

They, who think, money is fine

But given devoid of kindness

All effort becomes worthless.


Look around with our heart

Touch others with kindness

Those are what we should do

To realize our purposes in life –

Live and share, love sincerely

And thank the Lord as we pray!