(The author is a Grade 10 and 15-year old student of the Tacurong National High School. The essay garnered First Prize during the Essay Writing Contest in commemoration of the National Disaster Resilience Month held at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School on July 3, 2018. Her coach is Ms. Marites Goce.)



By Joanna Marie Goloyugo



Humans are given the gift of life and have very strong survival instinct. The need to preserve life courses down through their mind and body, especially, when faced with life and death situations. The survival instinct pushes to strive their way out of chaos, forcing them to thin, “I need to stay alive”. Unfortunately, this instinctive urge is not enough to save humans from direly threatening situations that result from unforeseen occurrences caused by Mother Nature, as well as, other human beings. In this regard, there is a need for preparedness as it can mitigate or lessen the physical, mental and emotional trauma when a unforeseen events occur.


The abrupt occurrences of typhoon, floods, earthquakes and other calamities, leave the Philippines shaken and in complete tatters…shambles…disarray. They create chaos in the affected communities and to be blamed partly is the negligence of man.  The victims leave the world, their cold remains viewed for a lasting memory of their loved ones.  Here’s why….despite all the conducted drills, trainings and seminars, the nation still faces devastating results from calamities and disasters. Lives are lost, properties are destroyed, despite which, the people never learn, making the government re-evaluations useless. Lessons are never learned.


The National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) encourages citizens to be prepared for emergency situations. The Republic Act 1-121, NDRRM Act that was implemented on May 2010 has four core functions: Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation and Recovery. They serve as guides in the drills conducted in schools and workplaces, and should also be observed in homes to prepare families for the occurrences that result to huge losses, both in life and property. At the helm of this effort is the Secretary of Department of National Defense (DND), Ricardo Jalad. Its aim is to transform the country’s emergency management system from “Disaster Relief and Response” to “Disaster Risk Reduction”. The aforementioned RA 1-121 repealed the Presidential Decree No. 1566 that was enacted in 1978, the emergency management of which centered only on the hazards and impacts of a disaster or calamity.  On the other hand, the current law provides that the citizens should be prepared for them to know what to do before, during and after an occurrence.


Unfortunately, despite the directives from the government, some agencies both private and public do not conduct drills regularly. If they do, the concerned people treat the drill as some kind of a “play”…without seriousness. This attitude practically, makes the objective of the emergency preparedness fly over their head. In some schools, teachers observed that the students do not give much thought of the drill being conducted. Their nonchalance shows that they do not care much about the importance of the drill and its use for any untoward occurrence in the future. Some are observed without seriousness in practicing the ducking which is about the covering of the head with both hands, a simple act which is neglected by many participants.


When seminars and orientations are conducted by the agency involved in rescue, disaster prevention and risk management, many students are observed as not paying attention to the resource speakers. They chat with away the time with seatmates, play with their cellphones, or worst, skip such activity that their school has painstakingly arranged for them.


Knowledge plays a very important part in a person’s chance for survival. Even a simple rule such as avoiding large or tall objects, trees or buildings due to the possibility of their collapsing, is vital to survival. For this effort, there is a concerted effort among concerned agencies and the schools to make the students aware of the value of disaster preparedness. Along this line, rescue agencies of local governments conduct seminars and trainings in school with the aim of preventing or minimizing the damaging effects on humans and properties.


Meanwhile, the acquired knowledge may not be enough as there is always the possibility for panic to strike, especially, during the actual occurrence of an earthquake for instance and horrific car crash or accident as they make the mind blank which hinders the chances of survival. To quote Laurence Gonzales, the author of the bestselling book, “Deep Survival”, he said, “It’s been proven that if you put someone under pressure, he can’t solve simple mathematical equations or recall a sequence of words.” He added that, “In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. That’s an oversimplification but emotions and reason work together like a seesaw. The higher emotion a person feels, the lower becomes his ability to reason. But reason is what’s going to get you out of trouble.”


There have been many instances where people know what to do but their emotion becomes unstable and because of extreme pressure and fear, they fail to adapt to the situation at hand. In the case of the well-known tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic, a survivor stated that when the water began to fill the ship, the passengers went into frenzy, jumped out of the window right into the cold ocean…others grabbed a hold to overloaded lifeboats which almost capsize while others just stood still, shocked. As mentioned earlier, though man has the innate survival instinct like animals, but when caught in perilous moment, some chose to stand still like a deer staring at the headlights of an oncoming car, practically waiting to be bumped.


Laurence Gonzalez spent three and a half decades studying survivors’ stories, taking note who have lived or died and reasons why. Finally, he concluded that, “Personality, emotions, attitude and how well a person can cope to adversity have much more to do in survival than any type of equipment.”


To be mentally and emotionally prepared is a very crucial factor in survival. This reminder has been repeatedly mentioned in seminars, trainings, and drills – a statement that holds the key to the gate of survival, summarized in two words, “Don’t Panic”. As aforementioned, it is essentially important to stay collected and calm during chaotic times so that the brains can function properly which includes avoiding careless mistakes or reckless actions which are usually spurred on by the heat of the moment.


LDS psychologist, Dr. Ella Gourgouris, one of the leading experts in Traumatic Stress Response stated, “One of the best ways to get the mind to perform under pressure is to physically practice beforehand. Dr. Terry Lyles, a fellow psychologist under the same department as Dr. Gourgouris also added, “The more prepared you are, the panicked you are going to be when things go wrong. But you have to practice it…it is not enough just to know it.”


The DRRM applies the preparations through seminars ad trainings conducted by agencies, among which are the Red Cross and the Junior Emergency Response Team (JERT) member using scenarios where in which a disaster has hit a community and capable residents apply first aid to the injured. Such activity could create a prepared mindset which is very necessary. In schools, frequent drills and trainings could also create a prepared mindset such that when the alarm is sounded throughout the campus, students are supposed to immediately go to the designated evacuation area with the teachers doing headcounts to make sure that none is missing.


It is suggested that for a better observation of behavior in a threatening situation, unannounced or surprised drills should be conducted with the alarm sounded without prior notice to anyone except the top management of an establishment or institution, for instance. That way, those affected can be observed if they instinctively do the ducking properly, aside from protective acts. After the event, analysis of what have been observed can be made and corrections can be made as necessary. The affected should be made to feel the fear and the accompanying adrenalin rush, aside from the pressure and panic which can be made as basis in the evaluation based on which guidelines on how they could remain calm and cool during adversities could be made, thereby, avoiding eventual death.


Being alive is the most wonderful gift humans have ever received. But staying alive is hard as unexpected events could claim lives as fast as the speed of light. Humans can prevent this by being prepared for any eventuality that does not necessitate being a part of an organization or big group and to be able to help, one need not be a member of a response or rescue team. Know what to do during unfortunate events, hence, having been prepared for these is more than enough to mitigate the nation’s economic losses and human casualties. And, when the unfortunate events occur, institutions and agencies all over the country can proudly exclaim that, “WE ARE PREPARED!”.

JM Adie Goloyugo







Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Nagsimula sa “friendster” ang ugnayan

Ilang dekada na ang nakaraan

Kinagat din naman at naging tanyag

Subalit hindi nagtagal, may iba nang “tumawag”.


Tawag ng ibang nabuong application ito

Madaling gamitin ng mga tao

Sa sandaling gamit, many ay nagulat

Sa buong mundo ay spectacular ang pagkalat.


Facebook sa English, Peysbuk sa Pinoy

Puno ng photos at mga “hoy”

Ito yong sinasabi, mga shoutout kuno

At, may mga messages din na puno ng siphayo.


Maraming tao, sa Peysbuk ay nai-ugnay

Relatives sa tunay na buhay

May mga magkakaibigang di nagkita

At sa Peysbuk, halos hindi sila makapaniwala!


Mayroon nagkikindatan, nagmumurahan

Iba’y naglalabas ng kalooban

Matagal na kanilang kinuyom sa puso

At nang mailabas, naging makulay ang mundo!


Sa Peysbuk ay maraming nagkikita, matindi!

Nagka-impresan sa mga ngiti

Na nakita sa kanilang posted na photos

At sa aybolan nila, makita sana ay di  “etchos”!


Mayroon pa ring nari-reyp dahil sa Peysbuk

Kung bakit kasi napakamapusok

Nakita lang photo na pogi, akala’y siya na

Ang nakipagkonek, gumamit ng photo ng iba!


Kaya sa Peysbuk dapat lahat tayo’y mag-ingat

Pag-isipang mabuti ang nararapat

Ang fb request, huwag i-okey nang basta

Dahil ang pagsisisi ay nangyayari kapag huli na!





Ang Kalagayan ng Pilipinas Ngayon


Ni Apolinario Villalobos




  • Hilaw ang demokrasya ng Pilipinas. Noon pa man ay ayaw pa ng ilang Amerikanong mambabatas na bigyan agad ng kalayaan ang bansa subalit nagpilit ang mga apuradong pulitiko na may pansariling layunin kaya nagkaroon agad ng Commonwealth.


  • Hindi lahat ng naging presidente mula pa noon ay 100% na malinis at pwedeng masabing “modelo” ng ugaling Pilipino. Si Quezon ay matinding magmura pero sa Kastila nga lang…si Qurino ay sinasabing may “golden arenola”, etc.


  • Panahon pa lang ng Amerikano, may mga iskwater nang naninirahan sa loob ng Intramuros at baybayin ng Tondo na bandang huli ay umabot sa tinawag na Isla Puting Bato at Baseco Compound. Hind sila nakontrol ng mga umupong presidente noon kaya dumami nang dumami…lalo pa at ginamit sila ng mga tiwaling pulitiko bilang mga “boto” na kailangan nila tuwing eleksiyon. Sila din ang mga hinahakot ng gobyerno at ng leftist groups tuwing may rally….mga bayarang makabayan kuno.


  • May nagpapagalaw sa mga grupong “makabayan” kuno na halatang walang direksiyon. Tuwing may uupong bagong presidente ay kinakalaban nila…tinatawag na tuta ng Amerika. NGAYON KAY DUTERTE AY HINDI NILA MAGAWA YAN…LALONG HINDI NILA MATAWAG NA TUTA SIYA NG AMERIKA. Nagkaroon ng problema ang bansa laban sa Tsina dahil sa West Philippine Sea or South China Sea pero sa harap sila ng US embassy nagra-rally hindi sa labas ng Chinese embassy. Maraming alam ang mga grupong ito pero ang nakakapagtaka ay parang wala silang alam tungkol sa CIA ng Amerika.


  • Ginagamit na stepping stone ng mga ambisyoso ang mga grupong makabayan upang maabot ang mas mataas na “puwesto” sa senado o kongreso kaya napapaghalata ang makasarili nilang layunin dahil kahit nasa bulwagan na sila ng mga batasan ay wala pa rin silang nagawang tulong sa masa….lalong lumawak ang saklaw ng squatting sa Manila at malalaking lunsod….may unemployment pa rin, yon nga lang ay seasonal dahil sa contractualization, kaya gutom pa rin ang inaabot ng maraming pamilya kapag “finished contract” na ang kumakayod para sa pamilya.


  • Hindi nawawala ang cartel sa bigas dahil hindi na bumalik sa dating presyo ang staple food na ito ng mga Pilipino….halatang may nagkokontrol na grupo. Ang nakakabahala ay ang hindi napapansing pagmahal ng mga de-boteng tubig na baka sa bandang huli ay magiging mas mahal pa kaysa kurudo o gasoline.





By Apolinario Villalobos


Somebody asked me if I have a religion, and when I told him, I have none, he told me, so you do not have a way of life…because according to him, religion is a way of life. I did not want to embarrass him as we were in the company of his friends, so I just told him, we will talk later about this.


The poor guy is obviously ignorant as regards “the way of life” which is generic and does not apply only to religion, but in everything as to HOW a person lives his life, HOW he “carries” himself, or HOW he acts in a community, or better, as a citizen. It is about attitude, character, behavior, mannerism, health, ideology, and philosophy being followed.


There are people who follow the philosophy of Confucianism which is not a religion…and their life is based on that. Vegans are people who prefer vegetables than meat and fish…that is their healthy lifestyle – their way of life. Communists behave according to their political ideology…and that is their way of life.


Belonging to a certain religion is JUST ONE OF THE WAYS OF LIFE. Christians and Catholics should behave like Christ. Buddhists should live their life according to the teachings of Buddha. Muslims should live according to the teachings of Mohammad. Protestants should live according to the deviations from Catholicism….etc.


Finally, it does not necessarily mean that if a person has no religion, he is leading a bad life, because, as many thought, HE HAS NO WAY OF LIFE.  On the contrary, many people who do not belong to any religion, IN FACT, act and behave better than those who belong to one.


It is the ACT that should be considered in judging a person, and not the teachings that many of those who are religiously fanatic are taught BUT NOT PUT INTO PRACTICE, as expected of them.




Eid Ul Fitr in Tacurong City

The Celebration of Eid Ul Fitr in Tacurong City

by Apolinario Villalobos


The Eid Ul Fitr in Tacurong City was celebrated on the grounds of the City Hall in front of the city gym…the faithful did not mind the moist grass in the early morning of June 15, 2018…


The AG Dragon Fruit Farm (Barangay Lilit, Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat, Philippines)


…barangay Lilit, Lambayong (Sultan Kudarat, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


When I reached barangay Lilit, in Lambayong, I was surprised to find an orchard, not only planted to a cactus variety bearing fruits that came to be known as “dragon” perhaps, because of the skin that looks like scales, but also to lime or “calamansi” as well. The lime trees were profusely bearing late fruits, most of which hidden behind thick clusters of leaves.


According to the couple, G-Anne and Arnold, they started with the mangoes in the 3 hectare- farm. Unfortunately, the tropical fruit did not fare well, so that they were cut down to be made into charcoal. They tried the lime which somehow, brought in good yields. But, when Arnold got fascinated with the dragon fruit, as it has become a fad all over the country due to its nutritional value and consistently high price, he bought starter cuttings at Php50 per post. He used the upright system with stems that bear flowers allowed to extend freely. That was in 2016. Another type of raising the cactus for its fruits is by connecting the posts with wires  or thin cables to form some sort of a trellis.


Of the 3 hectares, ¾ of the area is planted to the cactus while the remaining space is retained for the lime.  Mrs. G-Anne Guerrero shared that the dragon fruit venture has so far shown a good promise of success. The first week of June saw a “pick and pay holiday” when the orchard was opened to walk-ins who enjoyed the American-style of fruit picking. On the other hand there is a need to check on a regular basis the clumps of cactus tied on the concrete posts so that segments infected with fungus could be cut off.


During my Sunday visit, the family was preparing for the arrival of guests from Manila and other parts of the province. Also, a relative, Ferdinand Pascua of the Department of Trade and Industry, Legal Department  (DTI-Manila) dropped by. The rest who were around during my quick visit were Meciel Abalos de la Cruz and Paulo Guerrero, the couple’s son who works at the Provincial Capitol of Sultan Kudarat, and Gerril Guerrero, barangay Poblacion Kagawad. As it was a late breakfast time, kalentubo, a Maguindanao rice curry conically wrapped in banana leaf was brought out as well as slices of the red variety of dragon fruit to go with coffee.


The Guerrero Orchard at Purok Lilit is about three minutes travel from downtown passing through barangay Pag-asa. The way is replete with refreshing view of rice fields that would turn into a sea of undulating green and become tinted with yellow as harvest time approaches.


The AG Fruit Farm is a typical “micro farm” with every available space utilized to the maximum so that even standing pruned trees serve as hosts to the clinging cactus. Sharing the area are lime trees, as earlier mentioned. Even cluster of yam are left to grow on their own, as well as, cluster of kangkong for that matter.



The Lims of Cotabato by Jose “Boyet” Lim III


By Jose “Boyet” Lim III


Not much is known about them now as time has eroded the sturdier chapters of their history, as is bound to happen in all matters undocumented.

From word of mouth, the first settler from China of the family landed in the hostile shores of the western side of Mindanao probably between 1870-90s, as what, or as who, is not known with certainty. It can merely be surmised that he must had been a very adventurous fellow, or a simpleton who knew nothing better than staying afoot in the midst of Moros.

As fate would plot it, however, he must had been able to assimilate with the Moros and the natives, and more than that, married a distant descendant of Sultan Kudarat. That must had repositioned his place in those times’ social order from a drifter of the high seas to the ranks of emerging local chieftains.

One of his sons, christened Jose Lim Sr, better known as Binsuan among the Moros and locals, was such a popular toughie on that western Mindanao seaboard that he got himself elected as the first mayor of what then was simply known as Cotabato. It was during his administration that the Quirino Bridge connecting Nuling, now the town of Sultan Kudarat, to the city, and the erstwhile Cotabato City Hall which is currently being developed into a City Museum, were built. To his small legacy was renamed Felipe II Street to Jose Lim Sr Street in downtown Cotabato City.

His son of his namesake, Jose Lim Jr., is my father. As a young man, he was sent by my grandfather to the rescue of businessmen in Buluan who were having tax woes, as their bookkeeper. There he met my mother, the maiden Concepcion Antiporda, a native of Tayug, Pangasinan and a pharmacist from the University of the East in Manila serving her rural community time, yes, of all places, in Buluan.

Arsenio Lim, who is today celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with my Aunt Myrna Barracoso of Coron, is my father’s half brother, and my uncle. The handsome fellow standing in the picture is Arsenio Lim, Jr., “Chin Chin” to us, his son, who is a known dentist in Davao City with a Master’s Degree in Dental Surgery from Australia. His wife Jen, is also a dentist. Both are practicing their profession at the Lim Dental Clinic along Tomas Claudio Street, now Quirino Avenue, Davao City. If you want to save on their professional fees, call me. We’ll split the discount.

The beautiful lady to the right is Judith, my darling first cousin. Her father is Rodolfo, closest brother to my father. Like my father, Uncle Rody was a toughie and lived on his own from age 12. He passed away some years ago, but not before he was able to join us in the birthday celebration of my father at my place, which in our recollection, has become one of the most memorable get-togethers our family ever had in Davao City.

The lady on the left must be one of my Muslim cousins. Pretty too, right?

If I were in Cotabato City now, I would be speaking on behalf of my father, at this 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

To Uncle Babes and Auntie Myrna, it is probably easier now to get to Pluto than to get to what you have accomplished as parents and a great couple of 50 years. Yours is an example for all of us to emulate, which is a tall order for a Lim, but which, nevertheless, should be a burning inspiration to the younger men and women of this generation. You have gone thru the whole nine yards to show that parenting is a lifetime profession goldenly worth it as may be gleaned from the fruits of your tree.

The spirit of that Chinaman of the 1890s must now be hovering in his chinky grin over your celebration.

Like him, we too are mighty proud of you!