Cebu Dragon Boat Fiesta 2017 Gets Ready to Rock!!!

Color My World (charly's blog)

With just 2 weeks to go before the big event, the organizers of the Cebu Dragon Boat Fiesta 2017 are bracing to host a record-breaking 1000 plus participants for this summer’s newest sizzler! For a new event, Cebu is serving notice to the international dragon boat community – as well as the local dragon boat authorities – that the potential of Cebu as a dragon boat hub for the Philippines is truly a very attainable goal.

It’s time. Paddles up, everyone!!! (courtesy of

Already, there are 1,013 paddlers registered, with others still signifying their intention to join. It is a record, as the 1,000 threshold has never been breached in any previous dragon boat event in the country. This augurs well for the sport, and for youth development in general, as it indicates a growing interest in a sport that we can excel in, and where we actually used…

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Marlyn “Nene” Dampog…young mother at 16, successful businesswoman at 53 and proud mother of Notre Damians

Marlyn “Nene” Dampog…young mother at 16, successful businesswoman at 53

and proud mother of Notre Damians

By Apolinario Villalobos


There’s more to the smile of Nene who sells any fruit in season along the highway going to barangay San Pablo of Tacurong City. She had been through the harrowing trials as a young mom at 16 and a single mom before she reached 20. Her parents were from Iloilo who migrated to Kapingkong a rice growing barangay of Tacurong.


Looking back her younger days, she told me that to be able to help her parents, she became an itinerant vendor when she was in Grade 3. She sold just anything, such as balut (boiled unhatched duck egg), rice cakes and fruits. She confided that she used to climb the high fence of the National Food Authority (NFA) instead of taking the circuitous footpath that led to the compound’s gate to be able to bring her basket of goodies to the employees quickly. Despite all the hardship, she was able to finish her high school, but fortunately, settled down at the young age of 16.


She doubled her effort as a vendor when she became a single mom. During the early 70s, she did not need much capital as her supplier trusted her with the then, prevailing “alsada system” or consignment. That was how she was able to earn and save more money to expand her “business”. She would also carry on her head sacks of fruits, herself, to save on the porterage.  During the time, her three daughters were in high school and as they would transfer from one rented shack to another, one of her daughters tearfully told her that in school, she was taunted that they lived like chicken. She consoled her daughter not to mind her classmates who looked down on her. To save on food, Nene and her daughters subsisted on a “pastil” each (a one-dish meal of rice topped with a spoonful of shredded chicken and wrapped in banana leaf) as breakfast.


As a single hardworking mom, she almost spread herself too thinly…and there were times when she felt like giving up. But, seeing how her daughters diligently pursued their studies despite financial difficulties, she more than doubled her courage and effort. She confided that did not attend a single meeting in school because her time was devoted to earning their daily subsistence. All her daughters graduated from the Notre Dame of Tacurong Girls’ Department, today, Sienna College and it was only during such occasion that she really took time to show herself up in school.


She is consoled today by the thought that she did not buckle down despite various pressure in her life and instead, has been able to have two daughters finish Nursing course, with the third, that of BS Commerce. Still selling fruits at 53, Nene, does not mind as her weariness at the end of the day is vanished by the giggles of her four grandchildren. They have their own big house in barangay San Pablo. She ended our conversation with her parting words, “nobody should be ashamed to work hard in order to survive”.



Pico de Loro (Cavite, PH)

No Juan Is An Island

“I like the mountains because they make me feel small. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.”


Pico de Loro and Its Monolith
Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas
Major jump-off: DENR Station, Magnetic Hill, Ternate, Cavite
Minor jump-off: Ternate-Nasugbu Highway, Nasugbu, Batangas
LLA: 14° 12.855 N; 120° 38.785 E; 664 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 2-5 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Distinctive spire at the summit, forests, scenic views of Cavite

*Details above is from from pinoymountaineer.com000

Mount Pico de Loro, also known as Mount Palay-Palay, is a dormant volcano in Cavite. The mountain is 664 m (2,178 ft) above sea level, and is considered the highest point in the province. It is considered to be the most notable mountain and is considered as one of the two prominent mountains of the protected landscape together with Mount Marami.DSC_1790

This mountain rose to fame because of…

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Walang Perpektong Pamahalaan, Subali’t…

Walang Perpektong Pamahalaan, Subali’t…..

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Saan mang panig ng mundo ay walang matatagpuang perpektong pamahalaan. Kahit ang mga kinabibilibang bansa ngayon tulad ng Japan at Singapore ay may mga tiwali o corrupt  rin na mga opisyal sa kani-kanilang gobyerno. Hindi lang sila napapansin dahil napakaliit ng mga nagagawa nila kung ihambing sa mga bansa kung saan ay talamak ang korapsyon. Sa Singapore ay wala pang nagpatiwakal na opisyal dahil inimbestigahan tungkol sa katiwalian. Subalit sa Japan ay meron nang ilan.


Sa puntong ito, kahit ang sinasabing pusod ng Kristiyanismo, ang Vatican at ang malawak nitong nasasakupan sa buong mundo ay tadtad din ng korapsyon at mismong ang bagong santo Papa na si Francis ay dismayado dahil dito. Paulit-ulit siyang nanawagan sa mga kasama niyang “pastol” na magbago, subalit tulad ni Duterte, kahit nagkandapaos na siya sa kanyang paulit-ulit na panawagan ay wala halos nakinig. Malayo kasi ang Vatican at walang ultra-powerful CCTV camera na aabot sa mga parishes sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo kung saan ay may mga tiwaling kura paruko.


Sa Pilipinas, ang itinuturing na pundasyon ng pamahalaang nasyonal, ang Barangay ay hindi na rin maaasahan dahil karamihan sa kanila ay kinokontrol ng mga mayor na korap. At, dahil sa pangyayaring yan, walang nangyari sa pinangarap na sana ang mga matitinong opisyal ng pamahalaan ay matuto ng lahat nang dapat malaman ng mga susunod na ibobotong opisyal. Pati ang mga Kabataang Barangay ay nadamay dahil saksi sila sa mga ginagawang katiwalaan, kaya marami sa kanila ang natuto na ring “magpalusot”.


Inaasahan ang pangungurakot saan mang gobyerno. Ang pinakaswabeng katumbas ng “kurakot” ay “gift” at ang medyo mabigat ay “komisyon”. Kung magpakasimple lang sana ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno pagdating sa “komisyon” na ang standard ay 10%, wala sanang problema. Subalit marami ang hindi kuntento dahil ang gusto ay 40% at ang iba pa nga ay 70%! Ang ibang buwayang opisyal ay humihingi pa ng buong floor ng condo building na ang kapalit ay pirma niya upang maaprubahan ang pagpapagawa ng project. Ang iba namang garapal ay humihingi ng puwesto sa kumpanyang bubuksan sa lunsod na nasasakupan nila.


Ang nangyayari sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay isa na yata sa pinakagarapal na kurakutan sa buong mundo. Hantaran ang garapalan at kung umasta ang mga kurakot, animo ay sarili nila ang kaban ng yaman ng Pilipinas! Sa Pilipinas lang makakakita ng talamak na ghost projects!




Remembering Sarah Jane Salazar (the first Filipina HIV-AIDS victim)

Remembering Sarah Jane Salazar

(the first Filipina HIV-AIDS victim)

By Apolinario Villalobos


During the time that Manila was gripped with the detection of HIV-AIDs among the sex workers, I was just reading about the news that were splashed on the pages of tabloids, until the name, Sarah Jane Salazar was mentioned as the first  victim. Her photos accompanied news and commentaries about the disease. She was very young and beautiful. Never did I expect that I would meet her….


Four times, as I would leave the gates of our subdivision as early as five in the morning for work, I would see an attractive young girl sitting in the waiting shed of the tricycle terminal. She was always puffing a cigarette and would courageously stare back at me as I made my way to the jeepney stop by the highway. On the fifth time, she returned my smile and that was the time that I finally recognized the face – she was Sarah Jane. As I already knew from write ups that she hailed from Cotabato, I spoke to her, but asked which Visayan dialect she knew, Hiligaynon or Cebuano. She said she knew both.


From then on, I would sit by her in the waiting shed for a few minutes every morning before making my way to the jeepney stop. She told me that she was boarding in the house of her “manager” not far from our subdivision, and, that she made it a habit to take a few minutes of rest in the waiting shed before finally taking a tricycle ride home. She was then working as a guest relations officer (GRO) and the manager she mentioned was her real manager in the joint. I did not know that she was referring to a woman I knew as her landlady. She was all praises for her landlady who showed her motherly love while the rest of her friends began to drift away when they learned about the sickness that she was carrying. In fact, she even had a close relationship with her landlady’s son who also pitied her.  The relationship, though, did not last long.


When I asked her about what I read in tabloids, she honestly admitted them without batting an eyelash and a tone of sadness. That was how I began to admire her toughness. She told me about the poverty that her family was suffering back home which forced her to work in beer joints even as an adolescent, adding that all she wanted was to help her family. Her frail frame barely stood at less than five feet. She had smooth brown skin and heart-shaped face with a ready smile, a beautiful face, though petite in physical structure.


After less than a month of friendly encounters, I no longer found her in her usual corner of the shed. I found out that she transferred to another boarding house somewhere in Pasay City. Later I came across interviews of Justo C. Justo, a Councilor of Pasay City who claimed that Sarah Jane was in his care and he was planning to sponsor a project about HIV-AIDS. I thought it was something like regular check- ups for sex workers or free hospitalizations. I was shocked when I learned that it was about a nude statue of Sarah that will be erected on a strategic portion of the EDSA extension, within the Pasay area. According to him, it will “ immortalize” Sarah Jane as the first Filipino victim of the dreaded disease, a reminder for the rest who would be careless about their sexual practice. When I contacted Sarah by phone, she told me that she did not know about it and that was the first time that I hear her cry. Good thing, the project did not materialize, as the local citizens perceived it as immortalizing the dreaded disease at the expense of Sarah Jane.


Months after, I saw on TV that Sarah was living in with a boy, barely past his teen years and who fathered what she was carrying for a couple of months that time. Comments about such carelessness were printed in tabloids. The parents of the boy were being accused of negligence. Sarah was already adamant and uncooperative during interviews until she finally gave birth to the child. I lost track of her after that.


I just learned that she was confined in a government hospital with facilities for HIV-AIDS victims due to her rapidly deteriorating health when it was flashed on TV. For the last time, I visited her and gave her the original handwritten copy of the poem I composed. I told her that I made the poem several days after our meeting in Cavite. I did not ask about her young husband or the child supposedly in his care. She cried (for the second time) after reading the poem in Filipino. I honestly told her that it was my last visit, so that she can have more time for rest. Her last words for me almost in whisper were, “sige lang manong, okey lang ako, daghang salamat…damo gid nga salamat” (it’s alright manong, I am okey…thank you very much…thank you very much.)


How many Sarah Janes do we still see around us roaming the streets of the cities throughout the country at night or entertaining customers in beer joints? They who are carrying responsibilities on their shoulders to augment the income if there is, of their parents? They who are supposed to be carrying bags of notebooks and books on their shoulders to school?….. They who are robbed of financial benefits as young citizens, by greedy government officials and politicians – all, without conscience?!!


(Note: “daghang salamat” is Cebuano/ Visayan, while “damo gid nga salamat” is Hiligaynon/Visayan, and both means “thank you” in English).

Ang Utang

Ang Utang

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Tatlong uri ang utang – ang may collateral, ang walang collateral, at ang utang na loob.  Ang may collateral ay talagang negosyo dahil may pirmahang nangyayari, subalit ang walang collateral ay maituturing na banal dahil nakasandal lang sa tiwala sa pagitan ng magkakaibigan. Ang pagkakaroon naman ng utang na loob ay nangyayari sa panahon ng pangangailangan ng inaabutan o nag-aabot.


Ang collateral ng SSS o GSIS loan ay ang naipong contribution ng umuutang na miyembro. Sa mga malakihang utang na ang pinapataw na interes ay kapareho na halos ng Bombay style na 5/6, and kalimitang collateral ay bahay at lupa o upa, o di kay ay kotse at alahas na mamahalin. Sa ganitong uri ng utangan, kadalasang panalo ay ang nagpautang makapag-remata man o hindi dahil sa laki ng interes. Marami pang ibang utang na tulad ng nabanggit.


Sa mga walang collateral na utangan sa pagitan ng magkakaibigan, ang batayan ay ang magandang samahan, at ang iba ay “pay when able” pa. Masaya ang ganitong uri ng utangan dahil sa nangyayaring “taguan” kapag nakahalata ang nagpautang na ang kaibigang umutang ay walang intensiyong magbayad. Ibig sabihin, inabuso ng umutang ang magandang samahan. May umuutang pa na nanunumbat kapag siningil na kung ang nagpautang naman ang nangailangan. Sasabihin ng balasubas na kaibigan sa kawawang inutangan na, “ang yaman-yaman mo na nga naniningil ka pa”. Ugaling hudas ang ganitong uri ng kaibigan na sana ay tamaan ng kidlat!


Ang “utang na loob” ang pinakamatinding uri ng utang at maraming bansa ang nasira dahil diyan. Sa panahon ng kampanyahan para sa eleksiyon, namimigay ng pera ang mga tusong kandidato. Ang makakatatanggap ay automatic na nagkaroon ng utang na loob kapag tinanggap niya ang pera na sa katotohanan ay halaga ng boto niya. Kapag nanalo ang namili ng boto, ang mga taong naging biktima niya ay nagkaroon ng utang na loob. Wala na silang magawa kapag nangurakot ang nanalong kandidato sa kaban ng bayan upang mabawi ang nagastos na pinambili ng mga boto!….ganyan sa Pilipinas!…kaya hindi nakapagtataka kung bakit lugmok na lugmok ang mga Pilipino sa mahirap i-describe na pagdurusa. Marami pang ibang uri ng utang na loob na kung ililista lahat ay aabutin ng maraming pages.




Bali Inspired: Nasi Goreng, Filipino Style

Tita Celine

My husband and I first tried Nasi Goreng when we were in our honeymoon in Bali. Our AirBnb host Wayan Sueta’s wife cooked us staple Bali dishes and had us at first bite.

img_1058-1_2The first in the list is Nasi Goreng. It literally translates into fried rice. We, Filipinos, have our own version wherein we fry a day old leftover rice in oil and garlic then toss in or top it with diced ham, sliced hotdog, danggit (crispy fried fish), scrambled eggs, salt or soy sauce to taste. etc. Filipino fried rice is also a distant cousin of Chinese’s Yang Chow fried rice wherein bits of shrimps are added for more flavor.

However, Nasi Goreng is cooked differently. Balinese use newly cooked rice. Half way through the rice cooking, they stir in homemade seasonings made with chilis, sugar, and other herbs which add aroma and distinct flavor to the rice…

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