By Apolinario Villalobos


Our family is big. Our parents raised our family at an early age. I was told our father was about 18 and our mother was 17 when they settled down. Had not two of our siblings die, we would be 11. When our parents arrived in Mindanao, they first settled in Basilan and later in Tacurong when they joined our uncle, Serafin Bernardo. Our mother was the only girl in the Bernardo brood, elder to their youngest, tatay Peping who was the father of manong Boy (Serafin Bernardo III).


Upon settling in Tacurong, our parents ventured into a small business – selling dried fish that they purchased in Iloilo. The hardship was not felt by us for our discipline was such that they made us understand that our struggle to survive was part of a normal life. We did not grow up celebrating birthdays or any special occasion. We went to school without “baon”.


I was about 4 years old when our youngest, Oca, who was barely 3 months old, then. I helped in taking care of him so that when he was gone, I had the time to help our parents by selling the old stock of dried fish that we called “reject”, after washing them. At that age, I already knew how to cook rice as I was assigned to bring it to the market for lunch of our parents. I stopped doing it at 5 years of age when I was made to go to school with my elder brother, Tito. As a pupil, I was called “visitor”. During the time, I had collected old newspapers that were used as “lining” of boxes used in packing dried fish. That was how I was able to develop my love for letters and pictures. From the old pages of newspapers that reeked with the smell of dried fish, I discovered the cartoon character, LI’L ABNER and many others.  The first word that I learned to spell was PURICO a brand of lard that I was made to buy from stores at a young age of 4. I would fill our yard with the word that I would write on the ground using a stick.


My elder sister Maria Erlinda was among the first students of the Notre Dame Girls Department when it was separated from the Boys Department. My elder brothers were Notre Dameans up to high school as there was no college yet in the town during the time…except Florencio or Tito who finished his college much later in NDTC.  During the time, affluent families sent their children to colleges in Marbel (Koronadal), Cotabato City, Davao City and Iloilo City for their college education.


My elder brother, Floriano finished his BS Commerce in Accountancy in Jose Rizal College in Mandaluyong while working at the Mercury Drug at the same time. My elder sister Maria, finished her college education in Cotabato City. Only I and Tito finished our college at the Notre Dame of Tacurong College. In my case, our batch was the last of the graduates as afterwards, the college department of the said school was closed.


Our parents were barely 40 years old when they died, with our father passing away first, followed by our mother in less than a year. I was in Grade 6 when our father died and halfway through my First Year in high school when our mother passed away. My elder brother Tito finished his college as a “working student” – library assistant at NDTC. I was also a “working student” when I entered college in the same school, up to my third year because on my fourth year I was employed by the Department of Social Welfare when Claudio Estante opened a branch of the Region 11 based in Davao City.


In high school, to help me through my studies, I lived with a relative for less than year, a year in Davao with an elder brother’s family during which I studied at Holy Cross of Agdao for my Second Year in high school. The rest of my high school days were spent in Tacurong during which I worked at Panay Vinegar while studying at the Notre Dame Boys Department. I washed bottles and delivered stocks to the stores in the market as an all-around employee. I recalled spending long hours at night pasting brand sticker to bottles when we were flooded with orders from neighboring towns.


Our youngest sister finished her Nursing degree in Davao and fortunately did not standby for jobs as she was able to land a job in Saudi Arabia for a year after a short stint of teaching in her Alma Mater, then went to America for a better opportunity. I did not attend my college graduation at NDTC, as instead, I attended the pre-employment training in Manila to prepare me for my employment at Philippine Airlines where I spent 20 years.


As additional information about our journey, our eldest Leonardo worked in a company as a “pay master” despite his having finished first year college. Next to him, Leopoldo finished Law and had a stint as Chief of the COMELEC in Davao City and Tagum. An elder siter, Daisy who used to model for the Grimaldo Fashion School died at a young age in Manila, another elder sister, Maria Erlinda was a teacher and has also passed away, next to her, Floriano has retired from his job at Mercury Drugs in Manila as branch Supervisor, then Tito or Florencio who journeyed from a teaching job in Notre Dame of Lebak during the time of Fr. Silvestre, to a job in the HR department of Alcantara and Sons in Davao City, then as researcher for the Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA), then as a Recruitment Officer of the United Laboratory, and finally as Manager of the Training Division of the United Coconut Planters Bank, has also passed away. Our youngest, Felanie is a nurse and lives in America while an elder sister, a deaf/mute is still alive and is the center of our attention.


I could say that our parents succeeded in rearing us by instilling in our person the kind of discipline that made us survive our journey in life.


Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto (Hiligaynon dialect of the Visayans in the Philippines)

Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto
ni Maria Cristina A. Villaralvo


Sang una pa nga panahon sa akon pagpanumdom, ang akon lang nga handum amo ang manamit nga pagkaon.
Sa kabudlay sang kabuhi sa kaumahan kun diin ako nagdaku kag nagkabuhi, ang dahon dahon sa palibot lagaun lang kag imimi sa kamatis nga may asin kag may kan on nga manami, sampat gid sulbad na ang hiribati sang maubusan nga gahinibi.
Kay kulang ang isa ka baso nga tinig ang sa anom ka kabataan, si nanay hinali nga nagtak ang sang iya nga tinig ang.
Tapos tig ab kag panghugas pinggan, kami tanan nagdinalagan kay si tatay nag abot dun halin sa kaumahan may dala nga turagsoy kag puyo baw kanamit lapwahan.
Mangahoy kami sa kawayanan kag manag ub anay bago maghampang, pag abot sang kahapunanon bago ang bulan magsubang kami tanan sa altar mag atubang ang orasyon paga umpisahan.
Ang kasimple sang amuni nga pangabuhi ang indi ko gid ikambyo sa bulawan nga masiri. Ang kalipay nga akon naambit bisan sa kabudlay sang pangabuhi, basta si tatay, si nanay pirmi ara kun ako nagahibi indi ko gid itandi sa mga mangad nga brilyante akun sa bulawan nga masiri.
Sa pagtapak ko sa bag o nga pinanid sang istorya sang akon kabuhi, pangamuyo ko lang nga ang pamilya nga sa akon ginhatag sang hamili, mapangapinan ko sa mga hitabu nga hinali, kag matipon ko sa isa ka bubong asta ang mga magburugto makakita sang ila pinili man nga pangabuhi.


The Woman I Know…this is Virgie (for Virgie Paragas-Adonis)

The Woman I Know… this is Virgie

(For Virgie Paragas-Adonis)

By Apolinario B Villalobos



With boundless desire

to accomplish many things

that others think are impossible,

the woman I know

through impeding hurdles

would just simply breeze through.

Her mother’s strength and loving ways

tempered by her father’s intelligence

and innate golden values –

her overpowering person shows..


A woman of fiery temper

and a heart brimming with affection,

the woman I know

always fights for the righteousness

not much for her own

but for others who, though abused

can’t fight back

as guts and  persistence

are what they lack.


She is the woman I know,

who, on some occasion

could be furious or let out tears

in a candid show of emotion.


She oozes with intelligence

that she would unselfishly share

just like the comfort

of her tender motherly care.

Could there be other women

just like this one I know?       


BAI HAYVI…nagpatunay na may kasiyahan sa pagtulong sa mga mahal sa buhay

BAI HAYVI…nagpatunay na may kasiyahan

sa pagtulong sa mga mahal sa buhay

ni Apolinario Villalobos


Panganay si Bai Hayvi Antilino Montaner sa kanilang apat na magkapatid. At sa kagustuhang makatulong sa mga magulang ay nakipagsapalaran sa Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, sa Madina at pinalad namang maging Supervisor sa saloon ng Queen’s Palace. Maganda ang kanyang pinakitang pagganap sa trabahong iniatang sa kanya kaya bawa’t taon sa loob ng anim na kanyang itinagal ay nakakapagbakasyon siya.


Isang malaking pagsubok ang dumating sa kanyang buhay habang nasa ibang bansa siya, at ito ay ang pagkamatay ng kanyang ina. Huli na nang malaman niya ang nangyari kaya hindi siya nakauwi bago ito namatay. Mabuti na lamang at kahit papaano, noong buhay pa ito ay palaging nagbibilin sa kanya ang kanyang ina na huwag niyang pabayaan ang kanyang mga kapatid, kaya hindi man siya nakauwi nang ito ay mamatay, ang tagubilin na lamang niya ang nagpawi ng kanyang lungkot at pagdaramdam.


Retired na guro ang kanyang ama kaya’t lalo pang pinagsikapan ni Bai Hayvi ang pagtulong sa kanyang mga kapatid, dahil lumilitaw na siya na rin ang umaaktong ama at ina ng kanilang pamilya. Napagsabay niya sa paggastos sa pag-aaral ng kanyang mga kapatid ang pagbili ng bahay sa isang subdivision sa Davao City.


Ngayon, ang kanyang ama at mga kapatid ay doon na nakatira samantalang napatapos naman niya ang kapatid na babae ng BS Criminology, ang isang kapatid naman ay kursong HRM, at ang bunsong kapatid ay sa elementary pa.


Pinalad si Bai Hayvi na matanggap sa Capitol ng Sultan Kudarat at malaki ang kanyang pasasalamat sa tiwalang ibinigay sa kanya ng gobernador ng probinsiya na si Sultan Pax Mangudadatu. Malaking bagay sa kanya ang pagkakataon dahil hindi na niya kailangan pang magtrabaho sa ibang bansa, lalo pa at retired na ang kanyang ama na gusto niyang maalagaan, pati ang bunsong kapatid.


Una kaming nagkita sa facebook si Bai Hayvi nang mabasa niya ang mga blogs ko tungkol sa probinsiya at ang sumunod na pagkakataon ay sa isang okasyon sa provincial Capitol. Kapansin-pansin ang masaya niyang ngiti na hindi nawawala sa kanyang mukha, palatandaan na madali siyang makapalagayang-loob. Oras na ng tanghalian noon subalit abala pa rin siya at kanyang mga kasama sa pag-asikaso ng mga bisita…obvious na ini-enjoy niya ang kanyang trabaho. Inisip ko rin na ang nagbibigay sa kanya ng lakas upang maging masigasig sa trabaho ay ang likas niyang pagmamahal sa kanyang ama at mga kapatid , maliban pa sa tagubilin ng kanyang namayapang ina. At, higit sa lahat, ay nais niyang ipakita na karapat-dapat siya sa ibinigay na pagkakataong makapagtrabahong hindi na lalayo pa sa kanyang pamilya – sa “ama” ng Sultan Kudarat, si Governor Pax Mangudadatu.


Filipino style eggplant salad.


I had posted lately about how to make an eggplant pasta. Filipinos typical cooking are either grilled,boil or sauté. For three months past our oven was broken and the landlord didn’t fix it yet. So what I do I grilled in the burner. I was craving with this dish inspired of Judy Ann Santos food blog of how to make an eggplant salads but she used another method of recipes like some famous bagoong in part of Batangas which I do not have. Living abroad is very difficult to have some Filipino ingredients like bagoong, dried fish, suka or even soy sauce.

So I come up with the idea of the chimmichurri sauce which was actually originated from Argentina and Uruguay. There are two versions of this sauce the chimmichurri verde (green) and rojo (red). It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlicolive oiloregano

View original post 332 more words



There’s enough I don’t know about self-publishing to fill a self-published book on self-publishing. The old days of submitting your manuscript, awaiting rejection, rinsing & repeating, is no longer the only option on the block. That may be a good thing or a bad thing. On the positive side, not having to wait two years to have a manuscript accepted, edited, and finally printed, is alluring. On the other hand, the fact that anyone can self-publish, doesn’t necessarily mean everyone should.

I’m in the middle of revising a first draft, and while it’s a bit early to begin looking into publication, I find I need the occasional break from editing. I’m often found lurking on Amazon, perusing ‘inside peaks’ of novels written by aspiring authors, those with similar qualifications as my own (none). Call it gauging my literary capacity, being nosy, or simply judging the caliber of fellow writers, I…

View original post 384 more words