Ms. Becky Versoza-Santos


By Apolinario Villalobos


She’s Ms. Becky Versoza, among the few pioneer stewardesses of Philippine Airlines. When she sought a ground-based position, she was given the post of Supervisor-Baggage Central Tracing Unit at the old Domestic Airport Terminal. That was where our paths crossed but never did I know about her flying stint with the airline as a Flight Attendant. It was only when the late Mr. Ed Guatelara told me about her that I got interested in her story.


She confided that during her time, the airline was utilizing DC-3s and among their job as Flight Attendant was to prepare sandwiches for the passengers. They were carefully packed in picnic baskets. They also trained the stewardesses of other airlines that operated, one of which was Japan Airlines. As an information, PAL was Asia’s first airline.


Every time I was on OB (official business trip), when I arrive at the domestic terminal, I would drop by her office for an amiable chat. I would give her durian candies from Davao as pasalubong. I also recalled giving her a sack of medium-sized pomelo and packs of dried filleted fish from Iloilo. But, what she loved most are durian and mangosteen candies.


Much later on, when I joined the International Sales-Philippines (ISP) group with offices at the S&L Building along Roxas Boulevard in Ermita, I learned that she has retired. Many years later, I received an e-mail from her telling me that she was based in New York. She added that she was the only Asian woman included in a coffee table book about the prominent women of the city. We communicated via e-mail as the facebook was not so popular then. When finally, we got connected via the facebook, she sent me messages and photos showing her emaciated body. I was grief-stricken….

Becky Versoza



Wrong Information from Textbooks that Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

Wrong Information from Textbooks

That Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

by Apolinario Villalobos


As I gain years in life that slowly push me towards the threshold of my destiny, I cannot help but think about the things that I was “force-fed” as a knowledge-hungry pupil in elementary and a trying student in high school and college. I am now beginning to think that they could be wrong, such as:

  • Reference by Spanish historians to early inhabitants of the archipelago as indolent and have no regard for the future….


The original lines of this contention were written by historians who were members of Spanish expeditions to the “spicery” in the East, referring to the archipelago that later became known as Philippines, as well as, Moluccas. These European historians did not give consideration to the fact that the early inhabitants of the islands during the time subsisted on roots (sweet potato, yam, etc.), domesticated vegetables and animals, and which were abundantly available all year round. There was no need to dry vegetables the way they were doing in Europe due to winter. It should be noted that the main reason why Europeans were dead-set on conquering the “spice islands” of the East, was their need for the sought-after spices to preserve their food. Fresh water and marine fishes were likewise readily available anytime of the year. Unfortunately, such impression stuck even up to the American regime.


  • The impression of Lapu-lapu as being the first “nationalistic Filipino” who fought foreign intruders….


Just like the rest of the early inhabitants of the archipelago, Lapu-lapu was also an “immigrant”. When the Spaniards came, there was no “united Philippines”, yet. Even what is now Manila was ruled by several chieftains. There was also no clear evidence, if Magellan died in the hands of Lapu-lapu, or that, Lapu-lapu was at the battle site which was in knee-deep of water, or just on the shore watching the scene and shouting instructions.


  • The Spaniards came to spread Christianity….


Although, there were friars on board the galleons, those calling the shots were the leaders of the expeditions, such as, breaking of twigs, throwing of rocks and other symbolic acts of conquest, and the making of declaration of conquest in the name of the King or Queen of Spain. In meeting with the chieftains of the islands, the leaders of the conquerors, made clear their intention of making the villages as vassals of Spain. Only when the chiefs conceded that “baptism” into the new faith was made. In other words, the cross was made as an excuse for the conquest.


  • Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago, “Philippines” in honor of the Spanish king, King Philip II….


During the time of the Villalobos expedition, the archipelago was known as the “Islas del Poniente (Sunset Islands). On February 2, 1543, his fleet reached the current town of Baganga, east of Mindanao and named it, “Caesaria Caroli” in honor of Emperor Charles V. They moved farther on and reached Sarangani Bay, named “Antonia” in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico. Finally, they reached Leyte which during the time was known as “Tendaya”, but which Villalobos named, “Felipina” in honor of the crown prince of Spain, future king who was destined to succeed Charles V. Clearly, the name that Villalobos gave did not refer to the whole archipelago but only to a particular island.


  • The reference to the Filipinos again as “lazy” during the actual Spanish occupation of the populated islands…


When the Spaniards occupied the populated islands of the archipelago, the inhabitants were taxed heavily based on their produce. The natives decided to “take it easy” in working on their land as a major slice of their harvest went to the Spaniards. Aside from the demanded big share from the natives’ harvests, they were also made to render forced labor to build churches. The massive churches in the towns of Luzon and Visayas are evidences of this cruelty.


Today, the topsy-turvy educational system of the Philippines is such that even the K-12 which is not an assurance of job after finishing the so-called “senior high school” has been implemented post-haste without the necessary preparations. The current errors in the workbooks have compounded the existing ones that are needed to be rectified. The many pages of textbooks that have been transformed into “workbooks” are never without errors, yet, erring publishers are not penalized….”how much” is the reason…I just don’t know.




Ang Pagsisikap

Ang Pagsisikap

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Ang pagsisikap ay pagpapakita ng dangal. Mahirap man o mayaman, mahalagang maipakita ng isang tao na siya ay may sariling disposisyon at kayang tumayo sa sariling mga paa at may mga kamay na may kakayahang magtrabaho o gumawa upang kumita. Kung ang ilang bulag, pilay, komang, at pipi ay kumikita ng maayos, mga normal pa kaya na kumpleto ang mga bahagi ng katawan?


Ang lalong masama ay ang pananamantala ng mga nakapag-aral ng maayos at may mga kaya sa buhay, sa mga inosenteng kinakapos. Ang mga mapagsamantalang ito ay kalimitang mga drug lords na gumagamit ng mga taong kumakapit sa patalim upang mabuhay. Ang iba pang mapagsamantala ay mga mayayaman na walang pakialam sa kalagayan ng ibang tao. Kasama sa hanay nila ang mga taong pinagkatiwalaan ng taong-bayan kaya iniluklok sa kanilang kinalalagyan sa Kongreso, Senado at iba pang ahensiya ng pamahalaan, subalit naging gahaman kaya naging korap.


May mga taong nagsisikap nga upang umasenso pero nangtatapak naman ng kapwa. Maraming ganyang uri ng tao sa buong mundo. Isa itong innate tendency na kung hindi makontrol ay talagang makakapinsala ng kapwa. Ang ugaling ito ang dahilan kung bakit nagkakagulo ang buong mundo….tao laban sa tao na umaabot sa labanang kinasasangkutan ng kanilang mga bansa. Kahit pa sabihing mayroong tinatawag na United Nations, kung minsan ang mga taong dapat magpatupad ng kaayusan ang sumisira ng kanilang layunin.


Mabait ang Diyos dahil binigyan Niya ang tao ng hangaring magsikap upang kahit magkamali ay mayroon pa rin siyang pagkakataong magbago…kung hindi siya talagang ugaling demonyo!