Farewell…Eboy (for Eboy Jovida)

Farewell…Eboy

(for Eboy Jovida)

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

In this world you’ve ceased to live

But in our heart and mind

You shall linger with a smile –

And, it shall never fade in time.

 

You’ve tried to be the best you could –

Husband, father… friend

In songs you have crooned

Even the calm you well feigned.

 

Farewell…to the best father, farewell!

Friend, you’re a delight

Ride on the glory of our love

As you journey towards that Light!

Eboy Jovida

 

 

 

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Ang Kagitingan ng Babae

For the International Women’s Month (March)

 

 

Ang Kagitingan ng Babae

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

 

Kung babalikan ang Bibliya, nakatala doon sa sinasabing alamat ng paraiso, na ang dahilan ng pagsuway ni Adan sa utos ng  Diyos ay babae, si Eba. Kung sinasabi din na silang dalawa ay binigyan ng malayang kaisipan, ang ginawa ni Eba ay ang paggamit nito dahil sa kagustuhan niyang mahigitan ang kaalaman ng Diyos. Masisisi ba natin siya? Kung ang kaisipang ibinigay ng Diyos sa mga una niyang nilalang ay hindi malaya, hindi sana nagpatukso si Eba sa ulupong, at si Adan ay hindi nagpadala sa pangbubuyo ni Eba. Sa ginawa ni Eba, ipinakita niya ang lakas ng kanyang loob na magpairal ng kanyang saloobin, kaya pati ang Manlilikha ay nakaya niyang suwayin. At, kung hindi napalayas ang tatlo (kasama ang ulupong) mula sa paraiso, hindi sana nagkaroon ng pagkakataon ang tao na masubukan ang kanyang katatagan sa harap ng mga pagsubok na ibinigay ng Diyos.

 

Sa kasaysayan, maraming mga Ebang nagpakita ng kanilang katapangan, katatagan at kagitingan. Unahin na natin si   Maria na sinasabing ina ni Hesukristo. Nagpakita siya ng katatagan sa pagharap sa nakasisilaw na anyo ng anghel nang pagsabihan siya nito na dadalhin niya sa kanyang sinapupunan ang manunubos ng mundo. Hindi siya nalito at natakot, sa halip ay tinanggap niya ang anunsyo ng buong puso at katatagan, at sa kabila ng nakatakda nilang pagsasama bilang mag-asa ni Jose.

 

Marami na rin ang mga naging bayaning babae, at ang pinakamatunog na pangalan ay si Santa Juana (St. Joan),  na maski sa  kaliitan ay nagawa pa rin niyang pangunahan ang isa sa pinakamadugong pag-aklas laban sa  mapanupil na hari noong kapanahunan niya na humantong sa pagsunog sa kanya habang nakatali sa isang tulos. At sa makabagong panahon, ang isa sa pinakarespetadong pinuno ng bansa ay si Indira Gandhi na hanggang ngayon ay  itinuturing na simbolo  ng talino ng mga kababaehan.

 

Sa Inglatera, nagkaroon din ng babaeng pinuno, si Margaret Thacher, na kinilala sa kahusayan niya sa pagharap sa mga bantang pinakita ng kalapit nilang mga bansa. Sa Pilipinas, naman ay merong Corazon Aquino na sa kabila ng kakulangan ng kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng gobyerno ay buong tapang na umako ng mga responsibilidad sa ngalan ng kalayaan. Sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, nababanggit ang kagitinigan ni Gabriela Silang, Teodora Alonzo at marami pang iba, at sa isa pang alamat, si Prinsesa Urduja.

 

Marami pang mga kwento ng kagitingan ang umiinog sa katauhan ng mga babae, mga matatawag na ring bayani at martir na pilit nilabanan ang lungkot dahil sa pansamantalang pagkakalayo mula sa mga pamilya, kumita lamang ng maayos sa ibang bansa. Sila ang mga binubugbog at pinagsasamantalahan ng mga amo, at kung malasin ay isinasakay sa eroplano bilang cargo dahil nasa loob na ng kabaong, maiuwi lamang sa Pilipinas. Sila ang mga babaeng halos pigilan ang mga kamay ng orasan, magkaroon lamang ng mahabang pagkakataon upang kumita sa pinapasukang beerh house bilang receptionist o mananayaw. Sila ang mga babaeng maghapong nakatayo sa mga mall bilang mga dispatsadura. Sila rin ang mga babaeng hanggang ngayon ay nasa kabundukan at pilit na pinaglalaban ang mga karapatan ng mga inaapi. At sila ang mga babae na halos maputol  ang hininga sa pag-ere, mailabas lamang ang isang buhay mula sa kanilang sinapupunan.

 

Sila ang ating mga anak, asawa, kapatid, pinsan, tiyahin, pamangkin, ina, lola, kapitbahay, kasambahay – mga nilalang na malimit hindi maunawaan, kaya kung minsan, ang tanging paraan upang mabawasan ang sama ng loob, ay ang pag-iyak na lamang. Subali’t hindi na ngayon, dahil unti-unti na ring kinikilala ang kanilang kagitingan at dahil diyan, nagkakaroon na rin ng imahe na dapat igalang.

 

 

 

Ang Gandang Pilipina

For the International Women’s Month (March)

 

Ang Gandang Pilipina

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang mga Pilipina, may iba’t ibang wangis ng ganda

Mayroong mestisa, lutang ay kagandahang Kastila

Matangos na ilong at mahahabang mga pilik-mata

Kulay na kung di man mapusyaw, ay mamula-mula.

 

Kung sa kulay din lamang, mayroon ding iba diyan

Hindi pahuhuli sa mga paligsahan ng kagandahan

Balat na makinis na’y morena pang di pagsasawaan

Kahi’t na dumikit na halos, tingin ng mga kalalakihan.

 

Mayroon ding mga Pilipina, dahil sa angking alindog

Sa pagkakaupo, binatang makakita, tiyak mahuhulog

Dahil talagang takaw-pansin, hips na tila umiindayog

Kalangitang maaliwalas, di maiwasang magpakulog!

 

Ano pa nga ba’t Pilipinas ay sadyang mapalad talaga

Kababaihan ay pang-internasyonal ang angking ganda

Pinatunayan nila na ang kagandaha’y di lang sa mukha

Subali’t sa kaibuturan din ng puso, talino at pananalita.

 

Mabuhay ang Pilipina…byuting morena!

At siyempre, pati na rin ang mga mestisa!

Dahil sa inyo, bansang Pinas ay pinagpala –

Kahi’t winatak ng mga berdugo sa pulitika!!!!

 

 

Jaime Mayor…honest “kutsero” of Luneta

Jaime Mayor

…honest kutsero of Luneta

By Apolinario B Villalobos

 

At dawn, from his humble home in Caloocan

He diligently pedals his way to Luneta

The same he does when he goes home at night

But all these he does with unpretentious delight.

 

In Luneta, for years, he worked as kutsero

Guiding his tame horse, he fondly calls Rapido

Both of them braving the rain and searing sun

Even  pangs of hunger as best as they can.

 

A typical Filipino, this guy – Jaime Mayor

For earning honestly, he could not ask for more

With perpetual smile on his sun-burned face

He and Rapido, in Luneta, strollers can’t miss.

 

One day, his honesty was put to a test

When a purse was left behind by a tourist

Whom he pursued just before she was gone

And who was amazed by such an honest man.

 

Tightly he was hugged and praised to heavens

In a language that sounded strange to him

But just the same, these he took in stride

Though, his appreciation, he could not hide.

 

He said, he is proud to be a Filipino

And proud that he lives in a beautiful country

His modest knowledge of English, then…

Is always ended with –

“It’s more fun to be in the Philippines”!

Jaime Mayor 1

 

(Jaime Mayor is a driver (kutsero) of a horse-driven rig (kalesa) in Luneta (Rizal Park) of Manila. His average daily earning is Php200.00. This is carefully budgeted to suffice for the needs of his wife and four children. One day he drove around the park, four French ladies, one of whom left her purse in the back seat of the rig. After finding it, he took time in looking for the group. The ladies were surprised as they were not aware that one of them left her purse in the rig. The amazed owner of the purse gave him a tight hug. On September 13, 2012, the Rizal Park administration gave him a plaque of appreciation.

 

After three years, I finally met Jaime Mayor. On December 27, 2015, a Sunday, while I was gathering materials for blogging, I happened to talk to a rig driver if he knew Mr. Mayor. He nonchalantly pointed to the rig that just passed by. I practically ran after the rig up to its unloading station where he obliged some photo opportunities.

 

Mr. Mayor is among the rig drivers of Castillan Carriage and Tour Sevices which is based at Fort Santiago. According to Mr. Herson Magtalas, Checker/Operations Coordinator of the said agency, despite the popularity of Mr. Mayor, he remained humble as the nationwide recognition given him did not affect him a bit. He is still the same guy whom they knew – unassuming, hardworking and a man of few words. Mr. Magtalas added that the former Department of Tourism, Mr. Gordon gave him profuse praises, and the same recognition was followed by other government officials. He was also given a spot in a commercial, the earning from which helped his family a lot.)

 

“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

(tungkol sa mga isyu ng “tanim-bala” at “Maguindanao Massacre”)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ayon sa matalinong presidente ng Pilipinas, maliit na bagay lang daw ang isyu tungkol sa tanim-bala sa airport at pinalaki lang ng media. Para sa kanya, maliit palang bagay ang mga sumusunod na ilan lang sa mga nangyari dahil sa eskandalong ito:

 

  • Ang mawalan ng trabaho sa ibang bansa ang isang pasaherong hindi nagbigay ng suhol kaya pinigilang sumakay sa kanyang flight.

 

  • Ang halos ikamatay ng isang matandang pasahero ang ginawang pagbintang na nagbibitbit siya ng bala.

 

  • Ang kahihiyang idinulot ng pagposas agad sa isang may katandaan nang pasaherong babae dahil lang sa iisang balang nakita daw sa kanyang bagahe.

 

  • Ang mapagtawanan ang Pilipinas ng buong mundo dahil pati ang inosenteng bala ay ginawang kasangkapan sa pangingikil, kaya ang kahihiyang ito ay ginawan pa ng isang TV show sa Japan.

 

  • Ang maalipusta ng mga banyaga na ang tingin sa Pilipino ay hindi mapapagkatiwalaan.

 

  • Ang masira ang imahe ng bansa pagdating sa turismo dahil pati mga banyagang turista ay hindi pinatawad ng mga nangingikil sa airport.

 

  • Ang maungkat uli ang literal na mabahong amoy sa mga airport dahil sa mga sirang gripo, baradong inuduro at tadtad ng mantsang mga lavatory o lababo, kaya hindi na nawala ang black eye ng tourism industry ng bansa na hindi na nga nakakasabay kahit lang sa mga kapit-bansa na kasapi sa ASEAN.

 

Pinsan ng pangulo ang nakaupong General Manager ng MIAA, na tahasang nagsasabing wala siyang pakialam sa pangkabuuhang operasyon ng airport sa kabila ng ipinakita na sa kanyang responsibilidad na nakapaloob sa isang kauutusan. Bakit hindi na lang siya mag-resign upang mapalitan ng talagang may kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng airport? Kung may pagmamahal siya sa pinsan niyang matalinong president, dapat umalis na siya upang mabawasan naman ang bigat na nakapatong sa balikat nito – mga problemang siya rin ang may gawa.

 

Ang Maguindanao Massacre na ilang araw lang ang nakaraan ay umabot na sa ika-anim na taon ay malamang “maliit na bagay” lang din para sa matalinong pangulo. Nakalimutan yata niyang isa ito sa mga pinangako niyang matutuldukan noong siya ay nangangampanya pa lang. Nakakatawa pa sila sa Malakanyang dahil ngayong araw na ito lang, November 24, nagbigay ng “reminder” sa Department of Justice na “bilisan” kuno ang pagpausad sa gulong ng hustisya para sa mga namatayan!

 

Maliit din sigurong bagay ang pag-appoint niya ng mga kakilala, kaeskwela, at kung ano pang kakakahan sa mga sensitibong puwesto sa iba’t ibang ahensiya. Mabuti na lang at kahit paano ay nabistong ang palagi niyang sinusumbat na cronyism kay Gloria Arroyo ay ginagawa din pala niya – mas matindi pa! Bumaba man siya sa puwesto, hindi siya makakalimutan ng mga Pilipino dahil sa pagduduro niya ng isang daliri kay Gloria, samantalang ang tatlo pa ay nakaturo naman sa kanya!

 

Para sa isang taong hindi nakadanas ng kahirapan, lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay maliit dahil malamang, iniisip niyang lahat ito may katumbas na pera!…o hindi kaya dahil lang sa talagang ugali niyang walang pakialam sa kanyang kapwa?

 

 

China Did it Again…Passing the Blame to the Philippines and Playing the Downtrodden on the Issue of the West Phil. Sea

China Did it Again…Passing the Blame to the Philippines

and Playing the Downtrodden on the Issue of West Phil. Sea

By Apolinario Villalobos

Here is another disturbing dispatch from Reuter on the latest declaration of China as regards the disputed West Philippine Sea:

“BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Philippines’ case against China at an arbitration tribunal over rival claims in the South China Sea had strained relations and that it was up to the Philippines to heal the rift.”( By Sui-Lee Wee and Manuel Mogato)

China is not stopping from presenting an image that oozes with weakness, humility and innocence to illicit sympathy from fence-sitting nations as regards the West Philippine Sea where she has built artificial islands that anytime from now shall be inhabited by thousands of her military personnel, as well as, equipped with military facilities. This is despite her insistence that the reclaimed islands shall be utilized for researches and emergency rescues, although, her covert objective, is first and foremost, expansion of her territory. She is perceived with disdain as a double-talker. Proof to this was when she declared that reclamation in the West Philippine Sea was stopped, but weeks later, the world was gaping at the wonder of the transformation of an atoll into a “high-tech island”, complete with military facilities and runway.

The issue on the West Philippine Sea shall put to test the guts of the United Nation’s International Tribunal charged with the Law of the Sea. Will it go on with the investigations and trials despite the vehement refusal of China to participate as she does not recognize the tribunal’s authority? What will the other co-members of China in the UN Security Council do? Will they join hands and gang-up on her? Will the United Nations order the dismantling of the facilities on the disputed natural and man-made islands, once the tribunal decides in favor of the Philippines?

Practically, the economy of the whole world is in the tight grip of China, as even powerful nations are indebted to her. The Chinese President was recently a guest of Honor in London and accorded very special treatment which their high officials unabashedly admitted to be equated with “economic assistance”. China has also, spearheaded the opening of a bank that competes with the World Bank in offering loans to distressed countries.

The peoples around the globe practically depend on China – from their toothpick, gadgets, food products, equipment, and machineries. Due to the cheap Chinese labor, companies from all over the world, transferred the manufacturing of their goods in China, although, marketing of the products are done in their home countries  In this view, it would seem that once the machines of factories in China will stop, the whole world shall come to a complete stop, too. When the Chinese money declined in value, other moneys in the world followed suit. So, what other manifestations do we need to show that the Chinese, have by their wily manipulation, able to control the world, and that the leaders of the nations that are supposed to be defenders of democracy, are just playing charades to avoid losing face?

Meanwhile, in the “game of the West Philippine Sea”, the pawn is the Philippines…if China will get what she wants, it would be goodbye to the rest of the claims by other SEA nations!

Why Filipino Foods are not Popular Abroad Compared to those of other Asians’

Why Filipino Foods are not Popular Abroad

Compared to those of other Asians’

By Apolinario Villalobos

To put a straight answer to the question….it’s because names of Filipino foods in classy restaurants are “proudly” in Spanish or French, unlike those of other countries with authentic native names. As we know, people of other nations, especially those in the west, prefer the exotic, the native…and not what they already have in their country. So, in their desire to try something exotic, they would go to Korean, Japanese, Indonesian and Thai restaurants for a taste of Asia.

I am expressing this concern after reading an article in a weekend supplement of a broadsheet about a Filipino cook who has gone places, and the write-up is complete with photos of recipes that are his masterpieces – all with French names, though prepared with native ingredients! Filipino cooks who prefer to be called “chefs”, are obviously, so ashamed to name their dishes based on the main ingredient that they use. Perhaps, they should name, for instance, snail cooked in coconut milk, just as “ginataang kuhol”, the fern tops salad as “kinilaw na pako”, the “pinakbet” as just that, as named, coconut pith salad, as “kinilaw na ubod ng niyog”, misua soup as “sopas na misua” instead of “angel’s hair soup”, etc. There is, however, a problem with the “bird’s nest soup” that should be named “sinopas na laway ng ibon”.

There are a few Filipinos based in other countries, and who have ventured into the restaurant business, but most still prefer to hide their Filipino identity by using foreign-sounding names for their establishment, afraid that they will not attract customers, other than fellow Filipinos. Most also prefer to offer Mediterranean dishes introduced by the Spanish colonizers in the Philippines, such as the “arroz Valenciana”, “chorizo”, “estofado”, etc. when these can be prepared the Filipino way and given Filipino names. The hypocritical effort is obviously, an acrid residue of colonial mentality.

It is interesting to note that, in Arab countries, “saluyot” is used as an ingredient in spicy chicken curry, but in our country, only the lowly Filipinos eat the said vegetable, despite the already known fact, that it can prevent diabetes. A classy Chinese restaurant in Manila serves “alugbate” as an appetizer, but again, only mostly Visayans appreciate the said vegetable which is also known as Madagascar spinach or Chinese spinach, and those who cook it, know only of monggo as the appropriate taste enhancer. Still in the Middle East, one way to prepare eggplant is to sauté it in oil and spices until it becomes mushy, which then, is eaten with bread. But in the Philippines, despite the abundance of eggplant, what most Filipinos know as a dish for it is “tortang talong” or an ingredient in “pinakbet”, or an insignificant ingredient in “achara” or pickles, and still for the lowly, “binagoongang talong” or just “inihaw na talong”.

In Thai restaurants, they serve “bagoong rice” with thin slices of green mango and toasted dried krill (alamang) or baby shrimps on the side. Filipinos love it, but local carinderias do not serve them or only very few even attempt to cook it at home, despite the availability of ingredients in wet markets. Still, Filipinos do not mind paying for the pricey Thai coffee, although, it is just an ordinary black coffee mixed with “condensed milk”, that can be prepared at home. And, to top it all, the mentioned offerings are listed in the menu with Thai names!

So far, only the street food vendors are bold enough to give their palatable goodies “exotic” names, such as ‘adidas” for chicken feet, IUD for chicken intestine, “pares” for soupy mixture of shredded beef, cow skin, chili flakes, soy sauce, and toasted garlic – paired with quick-cooked fried rice.

When Fiilipinos have foreign visitors, they are brought to classy restaurants, unless the latter request for something local. Oftentimes, no initiative is taken by most Filipinos to introduce what are ours. A classic attempt, however, was made by a Filipina when she brought her German guest to a mall and went to the Filipino section for candied tamarind. While picking up a pack, the host was proudly talking about the fruit as being abundant in the Philippines. When the guest looked at the label, she saw a “Made in China” printed prominently as the source of the product!….well, at least the proud Filipina tried.