The World is a Maze of Confusion and Conflict

The World is a Maze of Confusion

And Conflict

By Apolinario Villalobos


Here are some of my personal observations:


  1. The only “order” that can be felt and experienced in the world is the 24-hour cycle divided into night and day that further accumulates into seven days in a week, further accumulating into the 28/30/31 days in a month and finally into 12 months in a year – according to the Roman Catholic calendar, however, the Chinese, the Jews, and the Muslims have their own calendar in this regard.


  1. The long-respected Bible is now being touted as a source of various confusions, especially, because many religions have allegedly thwarted the original contents written in the original language, to serve their own purpose which is to prove their having the “true religion”. So, today, instead of being enlightened, many people became confused that they have gone to the extent of leaving the religion of their birth to become Atheist, Agnostic, or Satanic. They should not be blamed because they followed their own judgment, and nobody can rightly say that they are wrong, after having gone through the harrowing confusion.


  1. Due to survival instinct, countries have become hypocrites. Openly, leaders deal amiably with each other despite differences in ideology, and proof to this are photos splashed on the different social media where they are shown smiling at each other and shaking hands, but days after, the same leaders make pronouncements that run counter to their friendly stance shown earlier to the world. Citizens are confused which of the two “expressions” should be believed.


  1. Drugs are invented to prevent the onset of diseases and cure people of ailments but most of these drugs have contra-indications when used at the same time due to simultaneous inceptions of disorders. Even the long-traditionally used drugs, one of which is aspirin, are deemed to have negative effects on some organs. Most antibiotics today are also declared as ineffective and can harm many organs if used unabatedly, especially, without prescription. This confusion resulted to the loss of confidence to physicians by skeptic patients who have resorted to herbals, instead.


  1. Confusion did not spare the foods, as many of them are not just fit for anybody. Some people get sick when they drink milk, eat seafood, beans, and even peanut. Some people vomit when they eat any fibrous vegetable or get a sniff of banana. The list of foods that are not supposed to be eaten by some people is still getting longer by the day. This deprivation is confusing, for how can sources of nutrients for the body become poison to others? Explanations are offered by experts, but the question still remains because life is supposed to be viewed as full of promises, including health and happiness. But how can it be possible if one is deprived of things needed to live happily and glowing with health?


  1. Universities and colleges are supposed to breed intelligent graduates who are expected to be part of the effort in the development of their nation and betterment of society. But why are there corrupt government officials and even leaders who are supposed to have even earned Masters and Doctorates from these institutions of learning? Why are there evil-minded scientists, whose intellect and moral values have been bred in these institutions where only what’s good for mankind is supposed to be taught?


The confusion is compounded by greed that has muddled man’s mind making the upshots of his intellect become tools for his self-annihilation!

The Brewing Trouble between Iran and Iraq will Definitely Crunch the Philippine Economy

The Brewing Trouble between Iran and Iraq

Will Definitely Crunch the Philippine Economy

By Apolinario Villalobos


A statistician’s mind is not needed to understand the negative effect of the trouble between Iran and Iraq to the Philippine economy which is founded on her export of labor to other countries, especially, the Middle East. Even a simple pedestrian will not think deeply what the OFW Filipinos will do in beleaguered Iran and Iraq now that they are at war with each other. Rather than be trapped, they will of course come home – back to joblessness. Worse, the government has not even decided on putting a stop, albeit, temporarily to deployment of OFWs to those countries. As usual, the government waits until the situation becomes uncontrollable and millions will be spent again for the hasty evacuations, and for failures, expect finger-pointing….again.


The government is inutile such that it has not come up with fallback programs for situations like this. What OWWA offers as its livelihood program in the form of loan is not reliable. A success story from this venture is yet to be heard or read or viewed.


The agriculture sector which should have been given attention very long time ago yet, is practically gasping for breath. Literally, it is dying, as the once rice and corn fields are converted now into golf courses and subdivisions. Had these lands been preserved, they could have been used as fallbacks for displaced OFWs. In the first place, the reason why they left the country is to seek a greener pasture, as they say, because they are exploited by loan sharks that control the price of their farm products. This fact is known even by a high school student. Why can’t the appropriate government agency or agencies do something about this problem?


Self-reliance in agriculture has never been in the priority list of the government. A very clear manifestation of this negligence is the unabated importation of agricultural products from other countries. And, the situation is aggravated by smuggling that further chokes the local farmers. There is no effort in improving the agricultural products such as vegetables and rice to make them competitive with those from other countries. Ironically, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) the cradle of knowledge for high-tech rice production is located in the Philippines, particularly, Los Baἧos, Laguna, where rice technicians of other countries learn the rudiments of high-tech rice farming. Yet, the Philippines imports rice from the countries of these foreign scientists!


Trading as a gainful venture in the country is left in the hands of foreign businessmen whose stalls cram the mushrooming malls. What is left to the Filipinos are the “bilao and bangketa” business, in which merchandise are patiently arranged in piles in the round bamboo winnower and sidewalk, or the “sari-sari store”, a hole-on-the-wall “grocery”. And, this is what the OWWA expects the displaced OFWs would do with their pittance capital that it loans to them.


It is a shame that despite the availability of funds that were exposed to have been just pocketed by the corrupt in the government, the Filipinos are left with nothing, especially, for the so-called new heroes of Philippine economy, the OFWs.


Expect again the Philippine government to promise labor contracts sought from other “safe” countries…but for how long will this exportation of labor go on? Why can’t the government do something about the home-based industries and revive agriculture which was the country’s primary revenue earner? Is corruption blocking the way?….your answer is good as mine!



The Vicious Cycle of Progress and Poverty

The Vicious Cycle of Progress and Poverty

By Apolinario Villalobos


Poverty is a mean excuse to do things for easy money by the weak in spirit. But the strong are ready to go hungry in the name of ideals and principles. The exploiters use poverty in blackmailing the unfortunates, one result of which is the dirty election due to rampant vote buying.


Exploitation of the illiterates and impoverished also result to virtual land grabbing because they are made to “sell” their ancestral domains to rich real estate developers at below  the decent value level. As subdivisions, golf courses and resorts sprout, the displaced former landowners and the fortune-seekers from other parts of the country huddle in not so far depressed areas with many of them working as low-waged employees of the mentioned business institutions that sprouted.


Poverty is the corner where the impoverished are pushed to make a choice between death and survival. Also, when the government alleges progress, poverty trails a few steps behind. Along this line, poverty breeds animosity in a community, especially, on matters of politics. In this regard, while some members of the community are ready to sell their soul for a few pesos in exchange for their vote, others are steadfast in protecting theirs which has always been viewed as a “sacred” right. Even some of the clerics of the Catholic Church have joined the confusion by counseling their members to accept the bribe but vote according to their conscience.


As soon as the corrupt candidates are finally put in place, thanks to the rampant vote-buying, in no time at all, they start to engage in schemes designed to insure the “return of their investment”. Projects that involve infrastructures are conceived, supposedly to carry on the “progress”…the bigger project, the better, as assurance for fat commissions. The worst scheme is connivance with non-governmental organizations for ghost projects. While all these things are going on, the suffering constituents see around them towering manifestations of progress in the shadow of which, they cringe in poverty.


Progress and poverty are the two forces that push each other to create the never ending loop that goes round and round…a never-ending cycle that plagues the people of the third-world countries such as the Philippines, and the culprit are the “investors” – exploiting nations that promise comfort in exchange for “developments”. Yet, despite the prevailing realities of the time, the rest of third-world nations still bite the bait.

The Heavy Pollution in China should Warn Third-World Countries

The Heavy Pollution in China

Should Warn Third -World Countries

By Apolinario Villalobos


Manufacturing countries that clandestinely hate China have successfully inflicted a “slow death” on the awakened dragon of Asia. They have simply transferred the production aspect of their business in China because of her cheap labor and with it, the byproduct of high technology – the deadly pollution! They have been awfully successful, no question about that!


China today, is practically crawling due to the effect of heavy pollution while countries that own brands manufactured in China are basking under smog-free atmosphere. Every day, internet news carries warnings of the Chinese government to its citizens about the heavy pollution and photos are those of the Chinese citizens with face or surgical mask to lessen their inhalation of the dirty air. An enterprising European country is reportedly exporting fresh bottled air to China.


The phenomenon in China should serve as a warning to the third-world countries that are blinded by the prospect of living in comfort through high technology. China has practically flooded the world with products made in her homeland. Despite such show of opulence, she is far from being satisfied as her expansionistic desire is slowly creeping towards the rest of Asia and the African continent- with all their third world countries.


The governments of these countries would like their forests be uprooted and replaced with factories; would like their fields planted to rice, corn and other staple foods bulldozed to give way to resorts and first-class housing projects; would like their mountains to be drilled for minerals; would like their citizens to be introduced into the mean habits of squalid urban life; would like their centuries-old traditions and faith to be polluted with the immoralities of progress.


As the exploitation lasts only for as long as there are yet to be exploited, their “benefits” are likewise short-lived. When the factories and mining companies stop their exhaustive operations, they leave behind ghost towns and villages- with their rivers poisoned by chemicals and the once-fertile land exhausted of their nutrients making them not suitable even for the lowly grass. Their polluted culture gives rise to a new generation of prostitutes and indolent, and worst, with a twisted view on faith.


The high-technology must be one of the checks that God has imposed on earth to maintain the balance, aside from natural calamities such as typhoon, earthquake, diseases, and floods, as well as, man-made war. Without them, the world would have burst long time ago, due to overpopulation and inadequate sustenance. But, while these are divine penalties, caution should have been observed by man to at least delay and minimize their occurrence. Unfortunately, man is now reaping the fruits of his greed…at high speed!


In the Old Testament, when the God of Israelites wanted them punished for their misdeed, He used the heathen races or tribes to sow disaster upon them. Sometimes He used calamities such as diseases and famine-causing pestilence. The religions of the world are based either directly or indirectly on the Abrahamaic faith, except for some pockets of tribes in unexplored nooks of forests and islands. In a way, most peoples of the world are connected to the God of Israel. Are we now suffering from this divine penalty, mentioned in the Old Testament?

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be Poverty because of Corruption

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be

Poverty because of Corruption

By Apolinario Villalobos


Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.


Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.


How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence  in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.


Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!




Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’ Tourism Image

Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’

Tourism Image

by Apolinario Villalobos


Nothing can be one hundred percent clean, sanitized, germ-free, well-kept, etc., to show a pleasant image. But in exerting an effort for such end-result, consistency should be exercised, as failure to do so could be tantamount to being negligent.


Among the ugliest manifestation of the Philippine government’s negligence and inconsistency is the creek at Baclaran which is fringing the northern edge of the purported “business-tourism showcase” of Metro Manila – the cornucopia of condominium buildings, malls, office buildings and the supposedly biggest casino in Asia. Practically, the creek that serves as the catch basin-cum-open drainage of Pasay and Paraἧaque that flows out to the Manila Bay, shows it all. How can the Department of Tourism proudly declare that Manila is a clean city with the obnoxious filth floating on the stagnant creek in all its obnoxious glory greeting the arriving tourists from the airport on their way to their hotels along Roxas Boulevard? Is this progress as what the Philippine president always mumbles? How can such a short strip of open drainage not be cleaned on a daily basis, just like what street sweepers do to the entire extent of the Roxas Boulevard?


It has been observed that every time a government agency’s attention is called for not doing its job well, it cries out such old lines, as “lack of budget” and “lack of personnel”. But why can’t they include such requirements every time they submit their proposed budget? In the meantime, as regards the issue on the maintenance of the city waterways, national and local agencies throw blames at each other, trying to outdo each other in keeping their hands clean of irresponsibility and negligence!


During the APEC conference which caused the “temporary” bankruptcy of commercial establishments in Pasay and Paraἧaque, as well as, local airlines and lowly vendors by the millions of pesos, the creek was almost “immaculately” clean with all the floating scum scooped up and thrown somewhere else. But as soon as the delegates have left, the poor creek is back to its old self again – gagged with the city denizens’ filth and refuse.


Viewing the Baclaran creek is like viewing the rest of the waterways around Metro Manila, including Pasig River, as they are all equally the same filthy picture of neglect, irresponsibility and inconsistency of government concern! One should see the nearby creek at Pasay where the Pumping Station is located, with an “island” that practically developed out of silt, garbage and clumps of water lily! Some days, the short length of artificial creek is skimmed with filth to make it look clean, but most days, it is neglected.


In view of all the above-mentioned, why can’t the national and local government agencies concerned co-operate and do the following?


  • REQUIRE the daily cleaning of the creek by assigning permanent “brigades”, just like what they do for the streets. If there are “street sweepers”, why can’t there be “creek scoopers” and “dredgers”?


  • REQUIRE the vendors with stalls along or near the creeks to maintain the cleanliness of their respective periphery so that they are obliged to call the attention of irresponsible pedestrians who do not show concern. Each stall must be required to have a garbage bag or bin, as well as, broom and dust pan. Their negligence in carrying out such obligation should be made as a basis in revoking their hawker’s permit.


  • REQUIRE government employees with sanitation responsibilities TO GO OUT OF THEIR OFFICES AND DO THEIR JOB, and not just make reports to the City Administrators based on what street sweepers tell them.


  • DREDGE the creek regularly on a yearly basis, not only when flooding occurs during the rainy season, which is a very repugnant reactionary show of concern on the part of the government. The yearly dredging of the waterways would eventually “deepen” them to accommodate more surface water during the rainy season, and even bring their bed back to their former level.


The costly effort of the national government in putting on a pleasant “face” for Manila every time there is an international event, as what happened during the APEC conference, may elicit sympathy and grudgingly executed cooperation, but there should be consistency in it….otherwise, it would just be like sweeping the house, only when visitors are expected, or worse, sweeping the dirt to a corner to hide them.


Cooperation between the government authorities and the citizens is necessary. However, as there is a clear indication that the concerned citizens, such as vendors and pedestrians, lack discipline, the government should take necessary steps in imposing measures to ensure their cooperation, albeit by coercion, so that whatever sanitation projects may have been initiated can be consistently maintained, for the benefit of all.


If littering on the ground can be prohibited with appropriate penalty, why can’t the same be done for the sake of the waterways? If ever local government units have passed such measures why can’t they be imposed authoritatively and consistently?



Life and Writing

Life and Writing
By Apolinario Villalobos

Life and writing are similar on the aspects of their inception, mid-activities, and culmination.

There is pain felt as the womb pulsates, while the new life therein tries to manifest itself to the world. There is pain, too, in the head of the writer that throbs with effort as he struggles on how to start a sentence.

Relief is felt by the mother when the bundle of new life finally makes it out to enjoy its firs whiff of air. Relief is felt, too, by the writer as the first word comes out of his head to trigger the avalanche of more words that shall comprise a literary expression.

As the child grows enjoying life, he or she is guided by the parents, institutions and established norms so that he or she becomes a virtuous member of the society. On the other hand, as the writer progresses, set norms and ethics, as well as, his own style guide him to ensure that the outcome of his effort becomes satisfactory.

In life, it is difficult to “call it quits”, especially, as one enjoys life no end. But the onset cannot be prevented, as sometimes, it is unexpected – caused by an accident. Normally, though, it should come with old age or disease.

The writer, meanwhile, has to allow a ‘twist” to conclude what he is doing. Or, gracefully allow the avalanche of words to be exhausted, naturally, and spell the end.

As with living… writing can also be difficult.

Progress: Philippine Style

Progress: Philippine Style
By Apolinario Villalobos

If progress could also mean “growth” and “development”, then the Philippines is far from it, yet. However, if the present administration, as well as, the local and international survey firms insist on their “perception” that indeed, the Philippines is moving forward, let them dwell in their dream!

What perhaps, the Philippine government touts is the “showcase” contained in the bursting city of Manila where condos-cum-commercial structures and malls have mushroomed, staffed with underpaid Filipinos kowtowing to foreign owners, while its periphery is yes, bursting with depressed areas, squatters, in the common lingo. On the other hand, the countryside is totally left out. College and university graduates flock to Manila and one or two other major cities to add their number to the already massing unemployed. Aging and poor parents have no recourse but sell their rice fields to unscrupulous subdivision developers, reducing in the process, the source of the country’s staple food and necessitating importation from neighboring Asian countries whose rice technicians and scientists have enhanced their knowledge at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna…. PHILIPPINES!

It is embarrassing, but the country’s mass transport system that should be among the marks of development are floundering, fast deteriorating due to substandard materials resulting to frequent breakdowns – that is the state of MRT, pride of the Arroyo administration. And, now under the Aquino administration, the management of the said mass transport system is found to be allegedly reeking of corruption, resulting to the booting out of its former chief, Vitangcol. Embarrassingly, the present administration has literally applied the “band aid” solution to the frequent breakdowns, by welding up the cracked segments of rails!…and, for how many weeks will the welded segments of the substandard steel rails last?

As if the frequent breakdown of MRT is not enough, passengers are also clamoring for toilets in every terminal. This important facility is likewise, not found in LRT terminals. For sure their respective management will defensively declare that there are toilets, but where are they located? This facility is supposed to be located at every terminal for the convenience of commuters. What are the high fares for, if the commuters will not be provided with toilets?

The administrations after Marcos did not appreciate the former dictator’s idea to apply a stiff control on the importation of cars, in view of the limited road space. To date, while the total length of road system remained the same, cars, both brand new and pre-used from other countries, continue flooding the local market. New cars even run with conduction stickers instead of the officially-issued plates which during the time of Marcos was prohibited. The reason?…non-availability of new plates! But who is at fault…who faltered? What happened to the budget? Are those responsible for the failure ever charged?

The current administration has approved a loan-based project to ease the traffic congestion in Manila – the subway system. It could be the longest swimming pool in the making. An expensive disaster. How can it not be expected it to fail, when even the elevated “fly-over” roads get flooded? The underpasses in front of the Manila City Hall and Quiapo cannot even be sustained by suctions of antiquated machines, how much more for the kilometers-long subway? Can we rely on the already proven graft-riddled bidding and construction systems in the country? Are the bright government officials blind to the fact that Manila is below sea level resulting to the flooding even after just a light downpour? Also, the fact that the antiquated drainage system that gets gagged by just an ankle deep flood is another major cause of flood. Add to this the already seen and experienced poor management of facilities because of the “bahala na” attitude.

And now, for a classic system, it is only in the Philippines where the public facilities change color every time a new administration assumes office. Public facilities are practically repainted to suit the party color of the new administration. Unfinished projects of the past administration become doomed, and some ongoing projects are stopped, with structures ripped down to eliminate the impression of the former authority. The Philippines indeed, has a classic example of a “build and destroy” type of government!

One big question now is, what progress will the Filipinos expect for a pitifully ailing and corrupt Republic in this part of Asia where “friendship” and “indebtedness” among government officials overshadow professionalism?