The foods for Ramadan 2019 being sold at the public market of Buluan, a town of Maguindanao Province of the Philippines….
The BBGM that looks cool from the highway may just be perceived as just a simple structure but it proves to be a big surprise as one steps inside the hotel that offers bed and breakfast and the coffee shop beside the water refilling station. I consider the four-letters as a pride of Buluan, Maguindanao….
…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 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.)
Ang Pangangasiwa ng Manila International Airport (MIA)
Ni Apolinario Villalobos
Hindi pala alam ni G. Honrado na saklaw ng kanyang responsibilidad bilang General Manager, ang buong Manila International Airport. Ibig sabihin, hindi pala niya alam na Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) ang nag-iisyu ng mga temporary pass sa buong airport para sa lahat ng mga taong may kaugnayan sa operasyon nito. Hindi pala niya alam na para maisyuhan ng temporary pass ay kailangang i-surrender ang company ID, o di kaya ay dapat magsumite lahat ng mga ahensiya ng listahan ng mga empleyado nila upang maisyuhan ng pangmatagalang temporary pass. Hindi pala niya alam na ang malalaki hanggang sa kaliit-liitan gamit ng MIA, ay may tatak na “MIAA Property” at may control number. Nakalimutan rin siguro niya ang malaking “insidente” na nangyari noong panahon ni Gloria Arroyo tungkol sa pagsugod nito sa MIA nang walang pasubali o abiso upang makita talaga ang mga kapalpakan sa mga parking areas, kaya nang mabisto nga ay “sinabon” niya on the spot ang pinsan nitong in-assign din na tulad niya bilang General Manager.
Ang Manila International Airport ay parang shopping mall. Ito ay may pinaka-hepe na dapat mangasiwa sa lahat ng mga nagtatrabaho sa loob, kasama na ang security, mga concessionaires, contracted agencies at mga namimili o namamasyal lang. Ibig sabihin ang pinaka-hepe nito ay may responsibilidad na sumasaklaw sa buong operasyon ng mall. Ganoon din sa MIA na dapat lahat ng bahagi nito ay pinangangasiwaan sa kabuuhan ng General Manager – mula sa runways, tarmac, terminals at parking lots. Siya ang nasa itaas at sa ilalim niya ay iba’t ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno at mga concessionaires na nagkakanya-kanya ng pagkontrol ayon sa saklaw nilang operasyon na nakasaad sa mga Operating Manual nila, na nakabatay naman sa Operating Manual ng MIAA. Sa pinakagitna ng kani-kanilang operasyon ay ang Manila International Airport Authority.
Dapat ang susunod na itatalaga bilang General Manager ng MIA ay taong may “managerial skill” (kaya nga tinawag na General Manager) at may malawak na kaalaman sa airline operation. Saklaw ng airline operation ang iba’t ibang kaalaman tungkol sa mga bagay na may kinalaman sa “aviation security” kaya hindi kailangang manggaling ang taong itatalaga mula sa anumang military branch ng Pilipinas. Bilang isang industriya, ang international aviation ay may mga pinatutupad na mga patakaran upang masigurong ligtas ang mga pasahero ng iba’t ibang airlines. Napapag-aralan ang mga patakaran sa pagpapatupad ng security sa airport, at palagi ring ina-update batay sa pangangailangan ng panahon, na tulad ngayon ay hantad sa terorismo. Dahil dito, hindi kailangang may actual exposure sa military operation, na napakalayo sa isang civilian airline operation, ang General Manager. Dapat ay ituring na malaking leksiyon dito ang nakaupo ngayong General Manager na nagpipilit na wala siyang pakialam sa ibang operasyon ng MiA.
Ang malaking problema nga lang ay kung umiral uli ang napakakorap na pag-iisip ng uupong Presidente na magtatalaga na naman ng pinsan, o kapatid, o bayaw, o tiyuhin, o dating driver, o dating messenger, o dating masahista, bilang General Manager. May napapagbatayan na kasi…kung sa Ingles – may “precedent”….may mga una nang ginawa kaya gagayahin na lang!
The Threat of Uncontrolled Tourism
…signals the downfall of Philippines’ last hope
By Apolinario Villalobos
Due to the unbecoming effort of the Philippines to become a prime tourist destination in Asia, it disregarded one important factor in this kind of industry – control of infrastructure. One glaring ruthless result of this is the virtual “rape” of Boracay Island. The tiny island fringed with white sand beaches is now suffering from the onslaught of the uncontrolled rise of 5-star hotels and resorts that resulted to the pollution of its water due to overflowing septic tanks. The once pristine and clear waters are now covered with layers of muck and algae.
What happened to Boracay can happen to any other touristic destinations around the country. The problem lies in the failure of the Department of Tourism to spearhead and advocate eco-tourism which is what the Philippines, as a third-world country, needs. The people behind the desks in the offices of the agency seem to have forgotten that not all tourists require luxurious hotels and resorts. These people thought that for a destination to be attractive, it must have 5-star luxurious facilities, that is why, they keep on encouraging investors to put these up in prospective and thriving destinations.
During the 70’s, “backyard tourism”, the precursor of “eco-tourism” has been advocated, primarily, by Philippine Airlines in cooperation with travel agents and the earlier eco-oriented personnel of the Department of Tourism. The idea was to give the opportunity of managing the needs of the tourists to the locals. In line with this, establishment of comfortable facilities, not the type of multi-storied hotels and expensive resorts, were encouraged. The backyard tourism was conceptualized to preserve the exemplar setting of the destination, thereby, preventing the drastic alteration of its landscape. Also, the locals are given the chance to show what the real Filipino hospitality is like. But those former people of the agency are gone, supplanted by another set of personnel with a different outlook.
With agriculture gone because of the once rice fields giving way to malls and condo buildings, slumping fishing due to the problem with China in the West Philippine Sea, denuding of forests due to careless logging, and exhaustion of mineral deposits due to incessant ventures of foreign stake holders, the only hope left is with tourism…but at the rate another form of abuse is going, the Philippines will be finally left with nothing else that can be seriously called “industry”, and which Filipinos can be proud of.