Most Lessons in Life are Like Bitter Pills to Swallow

Most Lessons in Life

Are Like Bitter Pills To Swallow

By Apolinario Villalobos


It is a fact that some people who committed blunders, cannot take advices, suggestions, and reprimands with open mind. Pride, sadly stand in their way. Add to that the deeply-rooted attitude which for long has been taken for granted by affected parties. It takes a strong-spirited person or persons at times, to call the attention of the blunderer that he or she is out of tune, hence, not in harmony with the acceptable universal norms.


Unfortunately for the guilty, the resulting lessons that should be learned are bitter pills to swallow and which brings to mind the adage, “regrets always come at the end” . There is a universal practice to give the blunderer a second chance and even a third chance, for the sake of the “benefit of the doubt” and kind consideration. But if the blunder has been committed for the fourth time, which is a clear indication of defiance, there is no reason why appropriate action should not be imposed


Everybody has a blind spot and, this fact goes with the saying that unless we use a mirror, we cannot see our face. Only other people can tell us what our blind spots are. For the open-minded, this is fine, but for the arrogant, telling him or her about her “negatives” is not pleasant. The problem, however, is that, his or her “negatives” affect others.


In offices, the unbecoming attitude of inconsiderate employees has become a nagging problem of superiors and co-employees. These employees refuse to accept their mistakes despite mind-opening reprimands. Of course, there are ultimate penalties which could be suspension or termination, but for humanitarian reason, most offices are soft about them by avoiding their implementation as much as possible.


In this regard, among friends, there is always one or two who do not jive with the rest when it comes to attitude. Some friends abuse the trust and confidence given to them by their buddies. When finally, some of them could not take the contempt anymore, confrontation ensues with the barrage of truth coming out – hurting realization that indeed abuse has been committed. Of course, even for close friends who have patched up their differences, ill feelings may be considered as part of the past…water under the bridge. But a slight crack of distrust stays, and could already be beyond “repair”.

ang mabuhay sa mundo image




The Bright Prospect and Development of Shopping Malls and Supermarkets in Tacurong City

The Bright Prospect and Development of Shopping Malls and Supermarkets

In Tacurong City

By Mark Abeto Dionesio


The City of Tacurong is is located at the center of SOCCSKSARGEN. It is 92 kilometres (57 mi) from General Santos City, 96 kilometres (60 mi) from Cotabato City and 178 kilometres (111 mi) from Davao City. It is situated at the crossroads of the Davao-General Santos-Cotabato highways, and is the financial, commercial, education, and recreation center of the area. It serves the needs of 15 neighboring municipalities. People from these areas go to Tacurong to sell their products, purchase their needs, pursue education, avail of medical and health services, and seek recreation. As an important hub of the Mindanao transport grid, Tacurong is visited by numerous passengers and transients on their way to the cities of Davao, Cotabato, General Santos and even Cagayan de Oro.


It is the catch basin of economic development in the province of Sultan Kudarat, aside from being the center of commerce with a captured market from other municipalities of the province including the provinces of South Cotabato and Maguindanao. In the newly legislated Comprehensive Land Use Plan, there is a need for more viable business areas, and a more business-friendly and streamlined processing of permits and licenses to make the city more favorable to the investing party. The absence of big shopping malls and supermarkets in the City of Tacurong have many residents to go to the shopping malls of Koronadal and General Santos cities even with all the inconveniences attendant to it.


Investing in the establishment of shopping malls and supermarkets in this city will assure a profitable return of investment (ROI) and huge economic payback. The potential market demand for shopping malls is big, based on the growing population of the city which was pegged at 101, 081 residents as of 2015. The city being strategically located at the center or at the crossroads of neighboring municipalities in the western part of Sultan Kudarat and the nearby province of Maguindanao, the demand for the aforementioned facilities is invariably much higher.


A big fraction of the populations of the neighboring municipalities that would cater to the shopping malls and supermarkets, such as, Isulan (90,682), Bagumbayan (63,700), Esperanza (63,207), Sen. Ninoy Aquino (43,508), Norala (44,635), Tantangan (40,461), Lambayong(77,013), President Quirino(41,408), Buluan, Maguindanao(50,088), Datu Paglas,Maguindanao (28,387), Tulunan, North Cotabato (56,513) and Mlang, North Cotabato (95,070) could add up to the fast growing of Tacurong’s own population.


For the current year of 2017, it would be safe to assume that the combined population would be nearing half a million – a significant consumer base that will make the establishment of shopping malls and supermarkets in Tacurong an attractive investment. The southern towns of Maguindanao composed of Datu Sangki Ampatuan, Maganoy, and northeastern, such as, Buluan and Datu Paglas can also be a captured market for the said venture.


To date, Tacurong City boasts of the internationally-renown Monte Vicenteaux Resort located at Barangay New Passi, as well as, the equally-popular resorts in Barangays Baras and Buenaflor, such as, the Jarrell Resort and Bonbon Resort, respectively. Add to that the Baras Bird Sanctuary of the Malana family, and of course, the colorful, Kalimudan Festival of Isulan and the city’s own, the Talakudong Festival …and, what an investor gets is one whole interesting package!


Two Incidents that Made Me Have an Utmost Respect to Governor Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat

Two Incidents that Made Me Have an Utmost Respect

To Governor Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat Province

By Apolinario Villalobos


I do not know the guy personally, except as  being a well-loved governor of Sultan Kudarat based on the stories that I have heard. But two incidents that I personally encountered confirmed the stories about his benevolence and fatherly character.


During the Kalimudan Festival 2017, I attended the Rural Health Workers’ Day at the Capitol Gym after missing the Children’s Day, the day before. I needed to have something to blog about the festival that I have missed for several years. I took photos of the different groups that took turns in showing their patiently-rehearsed numbers at the center of the basketball court. On the stage was the presidential table where officials including the honorable Pax Mangudadatu were seated. Later, I sat two paces away from him and had a chance to observe him.


When lunch was served, he did not touch his food while the rest were enjoying theirs. He was looking at the Rural Workers from the different municipalities of the province, and who were occupying the bleachers and it dawned on me that he was also observing the Jollibee reps who were distributing packed lunches. After awhile, he stood up and took the microphone through which he asked the Jollibee reps to say, “please, pakibigyan ang lahat ng mga tao ng pagkain… at baka pwedeng bilisan lang…”. He did not return to his seat, until everybody had their lunch in styro box.


Just recently, I dropped by his office but found him surrounded with staff and visitors. His secretary made take a seat not far from him, so that we could immediately talk after the last staff with documents for signature would have left. What caught my attention was his softly- spoken remark to a staff who explained to him about a project that was intended for Muslims. He said, “ayaw ko ng ganyan….gusto ko para sa Christians at Muslims….hindi lang Muslims”. The staff withdrew the documents. When he noticed me, he smiled and shook my hands and before he stood up for a meeting in another room, we had a comparably lengthy talk.


For those who are not familiar with the province of Sultan Kudarat, Muslims and Christians inhabit its lowlands and the highlands are by the Lumads. The province used to be part of North Cotabato when the original Cotabato Province was divided into two – North and South. Later, North Cotabato was further divided resulting to the creation of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao. Isulan is the capital town of Sultan Kudarat.

Pax Mangudadatu


The Isulan Public Market (Sultan Kudarat Province, Philippines)

The Isulan Public Market (Sultan Kudarat Province, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


Isulan, although, the capital of Sultan Kudarat Province, and where the capitol and some regional offices are located, is still a struggling municipality. But the decision by the local administration to give priority to the development of a clean public market is wise. The market site is conveniently divided into the “wet” and “dry” sections with pre-fabricated stalls….all, neatly arranged…and, most importantly, with clean toilets.


Many months ago, I was intrigued by the statement of a commentator of a radio station based in Koronadal City who said that the public market of Isulan is better than that of their city (Koronadal)….that was before it was razed down by fire. I had the chance to visit the Isulan public market one afternoon when I dropped by on my way back to Tacurong from Bagumbayan. The commentator was right as I found the Isulan public market just wondrously amazing!… although, of course, there is traffic at the two junctions that serve as the gateways to the market site which is a normal phenomenon in any developing town around the country. I must admit that, although, I hail from Tacurong, a close neighbor of Isulan, the last time I visited the latter was more than twenty years ago…and expectedly then, I was amazed by the transformation that I saw.


If local governments of third and fourth class municipalities and cities are craving for tourists, especially, foreigners, they should take note that the first “spot” that these visitors want to see is the local market, the “tiangges”…the stalls that are filled with local produce, fruits, vegetables, fishes, etc., aside from street foods, and not expensive cafes that serve spaghetti, pizza, hamburger, etc. because they can have them in big cities. It is in the public market where tourists could observe and feel the local culture and see the true colors of the community. What these tourists want to capture with their cameras are photos of market vendors and their wares…their friendly smile. Isulan is on the right path of becoming a popular tourist haven or at least, a jump- off point from where visitors can visit nearby touristic destinations.


Lest I be misunderstood, I would like to make it clear that I am not discouraging the mushrooming of modern establishments. But while this kind of establishments have affluent financiers, most of which are from other localities, the lesser business investors who are the indigenous residents need the support of their LGUs…and, this important concern should be taken into consideration.


Local governments should learn from other Southeast Asian nations that have no skyscrapers to boast, but are crammed with foreign visitors the whole year because of their exotic setting.


As an information, the governor of Sultan Kudarat is Honorable Pax Mangudadatu. And, the mayor of Isulan is Honorable Marites Kapunan Pallasigue.


Nilapastangan ng PCSO Chairman ang Tiwala ni Duterte…dahil sa walang katuturan Christmas Party

Nilapastangan ng PCSO Chairman ang Tiwala ni Duterte

…dahil sa walang katuturang Christmas Party

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Bulag yata at hindi nakikinig sa mga balitang paghihirap ng mga Pilipino at sa mga sinasabi ni Duterte ang Chairman ng PCSO. Kahangalan ang ginawang paggastos ng 14.3 million pesos para lang mapasaya ang ilang empleyado ng ahensiya. Ikinatwiran pang mas mababa daw ang gastos kaysa mga nakaraang ginastos…ANONG PAKIALAMAN NG KASALUKUYANG ADMINISTRASYON NI DUTERTE SA NAKARAAN? …GALIT NGA ITO SA MGA KAPALPAKANG GINAWA NG MGA NAKARAANG ADMINISTRASYON!




Ang PCSO ay kinukunan ng gobyerno ng mga contingency funds kaya hindi dapat ituring na excess o labis ang mga kinikita sakali mang humigit sa kinita ng nakaraang taon. Mas malaki ang kinikita, mas pabor sa pamahalaan at sambayanang Pilipino na maraming pangangailangan, KAYA HINDI DAPAT PAGNASAHAN maski sino mang opisyal ng goyerno. Dapat ay iniipon ang mga sinasabi nilang “excess” sa budget.


Ginagawang dahilan ng PCSO chairman ang kagustuhan ng mga kawani  ng “cultural show”…bakit hindi siya kumuha ng mga grupo ng kabataang taga- Payatas o mahihirap na eskwelahan upang mag-perform….o di kaya ay mga batang Badjao upang magsayaw sa saliw ng tambol nilang yari sa lata at kantang Tausug?….nakatulong pa ang ahensiya. Isa pa, hindi naman siya pulitiko upang “manligaw” sa mga empleyado upang magustuhan nila. Siya ay presidential appointee at ang dapat niyang gawin ay magtrabaho nang maayos dahil ang kanyang pagtagal sa puwesto ay “at the pleasure of the president”….at, hindi dahil ayaw siya ng mga empleyado…maliban na lang kung i-sabotahe siya na madalas gawin ng mga tarantadong empleyadong protektado ng civil service eligibility pero wala namang binatbat…mga inutil at magaling ang sumipsip.







Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues….Education, School Activities, Christmas

Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues

…Education, School Activities, Christmas

By Apolinario Villalobos


I have nothing against the education, the requirements and activities, and the celebration of “traditions”, but it seems that the practices have gone overboard. Instead of helping, they have created more problems – FINANCIALLY to the impoverished.


EDUCATION is very necessary, no question about that. Unfortunately, the K-12 system has added misery to the parents who can hardly send their children to the former 4-year high school as the new system has stretched their financial agony by two more years. Due to the haphazard implementation of the system, many schools have been caught without the necessary facilities for effective implementation. Before, a high school graduate may already have the chance to work as a store attendant or a security guard so that he or she can earn and save for his or her college education. Today, the parents must spend for the education of their children beyond the Grade 10 up to 12 so that the “high school” education has been attained for a diploma needed for a job as sales lady, security guard, messenger, etc. Why the need for the extra 2 years, then, when the graduates shall land on the same kind of job? I have not yet mentioned here the corrupted printing of text books which have been converted into workbooks that are discarded every end of the school year as  this long-time issue may just ruin the day of viewers.


SCHOOLS COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER IN IMPLEMENTING REQUIREMENTS AND HOLDING OF ACTIVITIES. In first year high school, there is already a requirement for a “thesis” which many students do not even understand. To be able to complete a requirement, they practically “copy/paste” materials from the internet. Some schools right at the early opening of classes are already requiring students to join “educational tours” supposedly as part of a certain “module”. Those who cannot afford the expensive trip are required to submit a report that require them to go to the internet where they spend long hours of browsing and copy/pasting, printing and collating of materials that they stole from the different sites. Where is the connection of the educational trip to the supposedly research?


Here is a classic story of a young mother who sells pastil as a livelihood to help her husband who drives a tricycle with a “boundary” of Php150 a day….to send their 3 children to high school. Since October this year, she has incurred a total loaned amount of Php8,000.00 that she used for the “school requirements” and lately for the “family day” and “Christmas party”. I need not elaborate on the “school requirements”. But the “family day” and “Christmas party” are two activities that should be thought of…as regards their necessity. For practical reasons due to the financial difficulty of the time, are they really necessary when so many families can hardly afford to give their children decent school allowance? After the family day that is supposed to bond the family, the impertinent children are back to their cellfones while the poor mothers are back to their laundry, cooking and cleaning of the house. Unfortunately, as I am writing this, the poor mother and her husband have yet to pay, Php3,000 as balance of their loan…and the year is already ending!


CHRISTMASTIME IS GIVING, NOT ASKING FOR GIFTS….IT IS ALSO SUPPOSEDLY, THE “BIRTHDAY (?)” OF JESUS  CHRIST. Unfortunately, the parents should be faulted on why children have the wrong notion about the season. In this regard, children are sad if they have no new clothes, toys, no expensive food on the table. Also, instead of thinking about the impoverished as the recipients of material gifts intended for Jesus, they want to have them for their own gratification.


On the other hand, lest I be misunderstood, I like the unifying intention for the celebration of Christmas, but there is a need for its utmost understanding. Many Christians already know how the pagan-based celebration has started. For the sake of unity, there has to be a reason for getting together. Feasts have to be celebrated as man by nature loves festivities and rich food….the way pagans of long ago wanted them. THE PROBLEM IS, MANY OF THOSE WHO OBSERVE THE TRADITION TODAY ARE OBSERVING IT WITH ARROGANCE…THEY FLAUNT TO THE WORLD THEIR EXCESSSES IN LIFE…WITHOUT THROWING A CRUMB TO THOSE WITH THE LEAST IN LIFE.


The Act of Kindness…a message to parents

The Act of Kindness

…a message to parents

By Apolinario Villalobos

The act of kindness should not be a means to an end, but the reason, in itself. In other words, we should not be kind to others, just because we want to go to heaven, but because we want to do it to for the sake of others. Acting kindly should be spontaneous. The act should form part of our habit. By acting this way, we will forget to count our indulgences which others are prone in doing. The act of kindness should end when the action is done, so that any return for such act is not considered.

In this regard, parents should stop telling their kids to be kind to others so that Jesus will love them. Children should be told to be kind, because by being so they are helping others. Of course, there is always Jesus or God or heaven as reasons every time we do kind acts. But, foremost, as our reason to be kind should be the expectation of us, as human beings, intelligent creatures, who should be kind to others. The clever guys may ask, what happens then to the Ten Commandments?

For the question above, I also ask, how about the aborigines who do not know God?… those in the hinterlands and jungles who have not seen a missionary, much more a Bible or a cross? Don’t they have the right to go to heaven even if they have done acts of kindness, just because nobody told them about such an eternal paradise? The unconscious dispensing of kind acts by these people who, in the eyes of others are uncivilized, deserve more heavenly recognition that what some evil-minded, though, college or university-educated and church-going humans are doing!

Parents should tell their children that they should be kind to others because the latter deserve respect due them as human beings. And, blessings should be shared with them because they need the help to be able to survive. We should do only those, and just leave to God the judgment if our acts are worthy of a place in heaven. Again, we should not count our acts of kindness.

Every Christmas, some parents are even going farther, by warning their kids not to be bad because Santa Claus will not give them gifts. Christianity or any religion that observes Christmas never teaches that! Santa Claus is not even mentioned in the Bible or whatever book of any religion. Santa Claus just like the Christmas tree, is just a symbol of the pagan way of celebrating Christmas, to have a semblance of festivity. Christmas is all about the humble birth of Jesus Christ. And, what has been originally celebrated was the baptism of Jesus Christ. It was only one of the early popes who thought of giving importance to the birthday of Jesus Christ, with the exact date not yet even officially established, and to give it a facade of joyful celebration for the sake of the converted pagans, used their early practices that are still being observed today.

A mother confided to me that when she told her child that Santa Claus is a missionary, the child in all innocence, asked her mother why he does not wear a cross, or carry a Bible! The mother was caught flat-footed, and she told me that she felt so ashamed of what she told her child, vowing never to tell her lies again.

The erroneous way of developing kindness in the personality of a child has done its toll. The wrong notion about kindness has become an integral part of the obnoxious attitude of some children which they will pass on to their own children when they become parents, themselves. The world is so full of children with this kind of attitude, with the parents themselves, to be blamed for their “spoiled” upbringing. This is a general observation. If some parents are doing the right thing, they need not react defensively. Unfortunately, I may be pessimistic, by sharing that I see no end to this vicious cycle. Only voluntary contrition of parents may help. But how many parents are willing?