What Excesses can Breed

What Excesses can Breed

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Anything that is beneficial but taken in excess can be lethal, and anything that is done with good intention, but in excess, can be vicious.

 

Drugs are supposed to prevent or cure diseases, but when taken in excess can result to unexpected death of a patient, that is why some of these cannot just be bought over the counter of pharmacies, as they need proper prescription from authorized medical practitioners. On the other hand, an overdose of food can cause obesity which can lead to diseases. Drinking water in excess may affect the proper functioning of the heart that is why one of the worst thing that can happen to anyone, is the unchecked water retention of the body.

 

Too much love can mean pampering that could result to the “spoiling” of the person being “loved”. It can also drive one to commit a crime of passion because of the fatal attraction that developed. And, worst, it can lead the weak of emotion to the verge of insanity. The same is true with kindness which can result to the abuse of the kind-hearted. Along this line, too much familiarity among friends could develop abuse, too, on the part of the ones with weak discipline, disposition, and who are naturally selfish.

 

It is not bad to be hardworking, but abusing the body to the point of exhaustion could mean fatigue and if left unchecked could be fatal, too. Also, in a group that is expected to work as a team, those working hard, may be abused by the indolent members who may become overly dependent. That is why, for the sake of teamwork, it is important that roles are played fairly.

 

As to the expression of faith, those who manifest it with utmost sincerity according to what their religion says, is admirable. However, their boisterous and arrogant attitude about their belief that only they have the right to be saved, really stink. It is revolting to see a faithful with outstretched hands and who walks on his or her knees from the door of the church to the altar, or pretend that he or she is overcome by the “spirit” while praying as shown by his or her fainting or uncontrolled shaking body…a scene that can be comical for others. All these overdose of faith is fanaticism.

 

Too much freedom in a nation can breed abuse on the part of inconsiderate and undisciplined constituents. And, too much discipline instilled in a person can make him too “sterile” and oblivious to the imperfect, albeit, normal actuations of others.

 

The Earth needs air and rain, but too much of it, results to typhoon and flood. The same is true with the cool and immaculate snow, as too much of it, results to snowstorm. The wildlife has its own way of “moderation”. And, it seems that lesser creatures are more intelligent than man in observing such discipline. I have seen film footages of different kinds of wild animals milling around drinking holes where the strong are shown chasing the weak with the obvious intention of enjoying the latter as dinner. After the overpowering animals have had their fill, they back off and leave the rest of the packs. But in the case of man, the situation is different, because for as long as there is an opportunity for the greedy to exploit, he practically sucks every drop of blood of the oppressed.

 

Greed and selfishness are innate in man’s character, but should be manifested in moderation to prevent exploitation of others that could result to their suffering. Unfortunately, it does not happen in politics where greedy officials are not satisfied with what they may have already stolen from the government coffer, and which could already ensure them of a comfortable retirement. They practically, want everything by all means….not only money but lifetime power!

 

The Beauty of Simple Life

The Beauty of Simple Life

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The most beautiful people in the world are those who live the simplest life….that is my own view. For me, beauty is the essence of life and if it becomes complicated, it could no longer be considered as such. To sum it up, simplicity is beauty.

 

Beautiful people are just around us and I have encountered one in Buluan, Maguindanao. I contracted the guy who drove a pedicab for a couple of hour and as I found him to be trustworthy, aside from the tip, I also bought cookies for his kids and a kilo of fish for their dinner….simple gifts that I could afford. I was touched when he told me with utmost gratitude, “sir, sobra-sobra na po itong grocery” (sir, these grocery items are too much). The guy who eventually became like a brother to me, considered the cookies from the bakery and the fish from the wet market as precious groceries and which for my friend were special gifts, especially, because the Ramadan was closing. Unfortunately, for many people, only items at SM Supermart and other big outlets, that should be overflowing out of grocery bags are “GROCERIES”.

 

While I was on my way to Baseco Compound in Tondo, one early morning, I stopped for a mug of coffee and a pack of Skyflakes cracker at a sidewalk carinderia for breakfast. While I was about to open the cellophane wrapper of the biscuit, a scavenging couple and their young kid of about 4 years old, stopped by and asked for a glass of drinking water from the carinderia owner. As it was not yet 7AM, I presumed that they have not taken anything yet to warm their guts up. They could have just hit the road as shown by their empty plastic garbage bag. I invited them for breakfast of coffee and Skyflakes which they declined but due to my insistence, they sat down. I opened the biscuit wrappers for them as they were hesitant to pick them up. The woman shared her Skyflakes with her husband and their kid while carefully inserting the two packs in her soiled and dirty backpack…she did it as if she was doing a ritual in handling a fragile object. The Skyflakes crackers were treated with special care as they would probably become the family’s lunch for the day. I was almost moved to tears upon hearing the kid repeatedly say, “sarap, sarap” while munching bits of biscuits with much care.

 

When Jesus bid his disciples goodbye, the farewell fare was unleavened bread that he broke into several pieces to be shared by everybody. Wine which could have been limited in quantity was passed around. It was a special occasion that initiated the series of events leading to the spiritual salvation of Christians for generations to come.

 

Today, occasions can never be considered “special” if it is not held in expensive restaurants, five-star hotels, or resorts, with the expense that should run up to almost or even more than a million pesos!

 

Life in this world has greatly become complicated!….an ugly reality!

For Filipinos abroad: How to claim your professional ID card from PRC

Thoughts of SheryL

Suppose you already filed for a renewal and change of status of your professional identification card at the Professional Regulation Commission local office, but you left the country even before acquiring the new card because the releasing date takes months. You can’t even wait for it anymore.

This is actually my experience. I did the application a month after my wedding. It was December 2015 and I was told to come back after 6-9 months. I won’t deny I was a bit taken aback. How come it takes that long? Seriously? I’m not ranting, okay? Just asking. 😀 I certainly hope this will change. I believe it’s possible to get things like this done quickly because I’ve experienced acquiring a substantial ID here in Japan in just 2-3 minutes. You can read about it here.

I had no choice but to leave without that card. Guess what? After more…

View original post 205 more words

Baras Bird Sanctuary Revisited (Barangay Baras, Tacurong City, Mindanao)

Baras Bird Sanctuary Revisited

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The last time I visited the Baras Bird Sanctuary was during the successful celebration of the Bird Festival 2017 last May. Lately, I visited it again but it was some kind of a reunion with college buddies, Rey Malana, the owner of the avian reservation park and Charles del Campo who was with his second wife, Neneng. When we arrived, the park wardens were busy with the laying down of new tiles for the pathway that wound around the bamboo and “kakawate” grove. Mr. Malana, himself, showed as around while pointing to interesting birds, some of which belong to very rare species. While going around, we had to cover our head with salakot to protect us from bird droppings.

 

Overhead, branches of trees and leaning bamboos lush with foliage and twigs were dotted with nests. Birds of various species were oblivious of our presence. Egrets were either on the ground while the rest were minding their nest. Fallen bamboos were left to rot to maintain an ambience akin to a forest. Meanwhile, a few feet away from the pathway, the brownish Upper Katungal or Kapingkong River continued rushing toward the Ala River.

 

After our tour, Rey treated us to a film showing that featured a documentary about the sanctuary. I was personally amazed at how the city and Baras with its Bird sanctuary were beautifully presented, especially, from the bird’s eye view.

 

Rey confided that he has been a nature lover ever since he observed the regular homing of egrets to the bamboo grove of their farm. To keep the avian park well-maintained, the city government has granted it a subsidy. Working in tandem with Rey in keeping the birding hobby and nature awareness in Tacurong alive is Ms. Emelie P. Jamorabon of the city tourism office. She surprised me with her thorough knowledge of the birds that have found home in the swamps around the city, as well as, the Bird Sanctuary itself. When I paid her a visit, she excitedly opened a site in the internet about the birds of Tacurong posted by avid birdwatchers who regularly visit the city.

 

Both Mr. Malana and Ms. Jamorabon are hoping that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) could further help the city government in preserving the identified homing areas of endemic and migratory birds, especially, the almost three hectares Baras Bird Sanctuary. Another identified area is a swamp within a private land in Carmen, which according to Ms. Jamorabon will be developed into a subdivision.

 

Those who are interested to visit Tacurong, the gateways are Davao, General Santos and Cotabato cities. The staff of the City Tourism Office on the second floor of the City Hall, and the receptionists, as well as, the park wardens of the Baras Bird Sanctuary are more than willing to assist for quick tours.

Alimu-om

Alimu-om

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Sa biglang pagpatak ng ulan sa lupang tigang

Alimu-om ang sumisingaw

Animo ay manipis na usok

Ang amoy, nakasusulasok!

 

Ganoon din ang pagsingaw ng bahong itinago

Pilit sumisingaw, umuusbong

Hindi maitatago, umaalagwa

Mga pagbubunyag ang badya!

 

Akala ng mga tiwali, sila ay ganoon na katalino

Lahi daw, may bahid ng bayani

Wala pa namang napatunayan

Baka sakali, isa ding kawatan!

 

Ang mga ayaw umamin sa kasalanang nagawa

Naglilipana sa senado, kongreso

Kalinisan daw nila’y walang duda

Kahi’t tunay na kulay ay lantad na!

 

Mga alimu-om sa pagkatao ng mga taong tiwali

Naamoy sa apat na sulok ng bansa

Hindi natatakpan ng salita at ngiti

Dahil sa paningin ng Diyos –

sila’y talagang  maling-mali!

 

 

Note:

Nakakasusulasok – odorous

Umaalagwa – overflowing

Badya – warning

 

Ang Kuwento ng Buhay ni Mariam

Ang Kuwento ng Buhay ni Mariam

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Una kong nakilala ang kapatid ni Mariam na si Den dahil traysikel niya ang ginamit ko nang bumili ako ng kahoy panggatong sa Datu Paglas. Silang dalawa ay lubusang naulila sa murang edad na parehong wala pang sampung taon. Palipat-lipat sila sa iba’t ibang kamag-anak na ang iba ay napilitang umampon sa kanila kahit sa maikling panahon. May narinig pa silang kuwentuhan ng matatanda nilang kamag-anak na huwag na silang pag-aralin, at sa halip ay gawing utusan na lamang. Habang si Den ay pinag-araro ng bukid kahit wala pang sampung taong gulang, ang kanyang ate na si Mariam ay bugbog naman sa gawaing bahay, at talagang bugbog literally kaya nagkaroon siya ng peklat sa mukha na hindi nawala hanggang ngayon dahil sa sobrang pagmamalupit ng tinirhang kamag-anak.

 

Dahil umabot sa puntong halos wala nang kamag-anak na mag-aampon sa kanila, nagkahiwalay silang dalawa. Naiwan si Mariam sa Buluan at si Den naman, sa murgang edad na halos tin-edyer pa lang ay nakipagsapalaran na sa iba’t ibang bayan. Nagkita lamang silang dalawa nang si Den ay may asawa na at umuwi sa sinilangang bayan kung saan siya ay nagtatraysikel at si Marian naman ay domestic help sa Qatar.

 

Naiwan sa pangangalaga ng kanyang pinsan ang 15 years old na panganay ni Mariam at nag-aaral sa isang pampublikong high school sa katabing bayan ng Buluan, ang President Quirino. Ayon kay Mariam na nakausap ko sa cellphone dahil nasa Qatar siya, matalino ang kanyang anak na lalaki, lalo na sa Mathematics kaya ang pangarap niya para dito ay maging engineer. Sa pag-uusap namin nabanggit niyang ang gross niyang kinikita sa Qatar ay hindi lumalampas sa Php16,000 kada buwan at binabawas niya ng budget para sa pagkain niya. Siya kasi ay empleyado ng isang agency na nangongontrata ng paglilinis ng bahay at per hour ang bayad.

 

Ang pinsang nag-aalaga sa kanyang panganay ay binibigyan niya ng Php1,000 kada buwan para sa pagkain nito. Nagpapadala din siya ng pera para sa kanyang anak na babae na nasa pangangalaga ng asawang hiniwalayan niya. Ang allowance ng kanyang anak na panganay ay Php2,000 kada buwan, at sa halagang iyan kinukuha ang pamasahe at tanghalian kung lunch break sa eskwela. Nagbabaon ang bata ng kanin upang makatipid at dahil maliit lang budget para sa pagkain, bumibili siya ng ginisang alamang na bagoong sa halagang Php5 na pang-ulam.

 

Parehong matalino ang dalawang anak ni Mariam. Kung ang panganay na lalaki ay magaling sa mathematics, ang pangalawa naman na babae ay magaling sa English at Science, at consistent honor student mula pa noong nagsimula itong mag-aral kaya ang pangarap niya para dito ay maging Nurse. Walang hilig makipagbarkada ang dalawa dahil pagkatapos ng klase, diretso daw sila sa bahay upang mag-aral. Nakakarating kay Mariam ang magandang feedback tungkol sa kanyang mga anak sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pinsan. Dahil sa kabaitan ng kanyang mga anak, nagsilbi silang inspirasyon sa kanya.

 

Binanggit ni Mariam na noong bata pa siya,  kahit once a week lang ang pag-aral niya ng Arabic sa Madrasa o Islamic school, at sa loob lang ng isang buwan, pinilit niya ang sariling matuto kaya panay ang self-study niya kapag nasa bahay na. Ang English naman ay sa regular na public school niya natutuhan. Ngayon, parehong magaling na siyang magbasa at magsulat ng English, ganoon din sa Arabic.

 

Tulad ni Den, sinabi sa akin ni Mariam na ayaw niyang matulad sa kanya ang kanyang mga anak kaya hangga’t maaari ay ayaw niyang magkasakit o umabsent sa trabaho dahil ang patakaran ng agency nila “no work, no pay”. Nang huli silang mag-usap ng kanyang panganay, humihingi ito ng dagdag na pera para magamit sa project sa eskwela dahil ang natitirang perang hawak niya ay Php400 na lang. Masakit man sa kalooban niya ay napakiusapan ni Mariam ang anak na pagkasyahin ang pera hanggang sa second week ng July kung kaylan siya makakakuha pa lang ng sahod. Habang sinusulat ko itong blog, hindi ko alam kung nakagawa ng paraan ang anak niya.

 

Naisip ko na ang halagang Php400 pesos ay pinapang-Jollibee lang ng iba, pero para sa anak ni Mariam, kayamanan na itong maituturing na kailangang pagkasyahin sa loob ng dalawang linggo.

Huwag Pintasan ang Panlabas na Kaanyuan ng Kapwa

HUWAG PINTASAN ANG PANLABAS NA KAANYUAN NG KAPWA

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

May ugali ang ilan sa atin na hindi man sinasadya ay nagmamaliit ng kapwa. Ang biglaang pag-isip ng negatibong bagay tungkol sa kanila, na sa palasak na katawagan ay “pintas” ay hindi rin masisisi kung minsan. Hindi talaga maiiwasan ang ganitong tendency, lalo pa’t ang utak ng tao ay naka-program sa mga inaasahang “kagandahan” sa paligid. Sa ganang ito, lahat ng hindi naaayon sa inaasahan ay siyempre, “pangit”. Ang masaklap lang, may mga taong nahihirapan sa pagpigil sa sarili upang hindi maging vocal o  maingay sa pagpintas, sa halip na sarilinin kung ano man ang nasa isip nila, kaya nagiging padalus-dalos o tactless sila.

 

Marami ang napapahiya dahil sa ugali nilang mabilis na paghusga sa kapwa. Madalas nilang makalimutan ang kasabihan sa Ingles na, “do not judge the book by its cover”. Ang mga inaakala ng iba halimbawa, na “poor” dahil sa suot na butas-butas na damit na binili pa sa ukayan, ay may kaya pala sa buhay. Mayroon ding nag-aakalang sanggano ang ibang tao dahil sa ginagamit nilang mga salitang-kalye at anyo na hindi gwapo at may bigote pa, lalo na kung nagmumura ito.  Magugulat na lang ang mapanghusga kung malaman nilang matulungin pala ang akala nila ay sanggano at mukhang kontrabida sa pelikula, yon pala ay galit lang ito sa mga manloloko na dahilan ng pagmumura niya.

 

Nang pinsalain ng bagyong Yolanda ang Visayas, lalo na ang Leyte, ang unang nagpadala ng tulong ay ang mga Aeta na taga-Pinatubo sa Tarlac. Nag-ambagan sila ng mga inani nilang gulay at prutas upang maipadala sa Leyte. Nakita sa TV ang mga naipong laman ng kamoteng baging, kamoteng kahoy, niyog, ilang sakong bigas at iba’t-ibang gulay na sana ay pangkain nila dahil sila ay kinakapos din, subalit hindi nila ipinagkait sa mga biktima ng Yolanda. Tumatanaw lang daw sila ng utang na loob dahil noong sila ang nangailangan nang sumabog ang Mt. Pinatubo ay nakatanggap din sila ng halos walang patid na biyaya. Maliit man sila, kaya ang pisikal na anyo, para sa iba ay hindi kaiga-igaya, dambuhala naman ang kanilang puso at nakasisilaw ang busilak nilang kalooban. At dahil sila ay kinakapos din, marami ang nag-akalang hindi nila kayang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan. Ipinakisuyo sa Foundation ng TV station ang pagdala ng kanilang donations sa Leyte.

 

Minsan namang umakyat ako sa LRT station sa Baclaran para sa biyaheng papunta sa Carriedo (Sta. Cruz) ay may isang senior citizen akong nakasabay na may kipkip na brown bag at nang makapuwesto ng upo sa hintayan ng tren para sa mga senior ay binuksan ang supot at inilabas ang monay na may kagat na at nilantakan. Nagbulungan ang katabing dalawang babae na senior din na puno ng alahas ang mga katawan, habang nagtatawanang nakatingin sa kanya…halatang nangungutya. Maya-maya ay may lumapit na isang lalaki at kinamayan ang matandang lalaki, sabay sabing hinahanap daw siya ng mga kasama nila. Ang nakatawag-pansin ay nang tawaging “mayor” ang matanda. Natahimik ang dalawang babae. “Tumakas” pala ang mayor sa mga kasamang namimili sa Baclaran LRT Mall at bumili ng tiket ng LRT papuntang Sta. Cruz, pero nagbilin sa secretary niya kaya na-trace agad ng isa sa mga bodyguard niya. Narinig kong sinabi niya sa bodyguard na huwag na lang siyang samahan sa Sta. Cruz dahil katuwaan lang ang pagsakay niya na balikan, at hintayin na lang daw siya sa Jolibee sa loob ng mall. Naka-cargo shorts at t-shirt ang mayor. Sa hiya ng dalawang babae ay tumayo sila at medyo lumayo kaya ako nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makaupo sa puwestong iniwan nila. Nagtinginan kami ng mayor at nakangiting inalok niya ako ng monay na tinanggihan ko naman. Mayor siya ng isang bayan sa Bicol. Natuwa siya nang sabihan kong naakyat ko ng ilang beses ang Mt. Mayon.

 

Nadanasan ko na ding malait dahil sa panlabas kong kaanyuan. Sa NAIA Terminal 2 ay nagkita kami ng isa kong kaibigan at habang nag-uusap kami sa Bisayang Cebuano ay nilapitan kami ng kaibigan niyang sumabad sa Ingles. (Sumakit ang tenga ko at ang ilong ko naman ay halos dumugo!) Ipinakilala ako sa kanya sa palayaw ko at nang akmang  makikipagkamay ako ay hindi niya pinansin ang iniabot kong kamay, at sa halip ay tiningnan lang ako mula ulo hanggang paa – naka-maong na kupas ako at simpleng t-shirt  noon, at nakasuot ng sandal. Hindi ko na lang pinansin. Nalaman kong papunta din ang Inglesero sa Davao. Nang mag-board na ay umupo ako sa Business/Mabuhay section ng eroplano kung saan niya ako nakita habang umiinom ng welcome drink, at siya naman ay nakapila papunta sa Economy Section sa bandang buntot ng eroplano. Nginitian ko siya nang magtama ang aming paningin, subalit tulad ng dati, parang wala siyang nakita. Kung minsan ay mahirap talaga kung wala kang kamukhang matinee idol, o kahit retiradong bidang actor, huwag lang kontrabida. Ang general impression kasi, basta gwapo, mabait…kung hindi, barumbado!

 

Ang mga nailahad ko ay magsilbi sanang leksiyon upang sa pagtahak natin sa landas ng buhay dapat ay maging maingat tayo sa pakikiharap sa mga taong ating masalubong…huwag natin silang husgahan dahil lang sa panlabas nilang kaanyuan na hindi natin type! Mag-ingat ang nangungutya ng hindi kaiga-igayang mukha… baka sila ay madapa at ma-erase ang kanilang mukha!