Mga Adventure Ko sa Manila Bilang Bagong Saltang Promdi (1976)

Mga Adventure Ko sa Manila

Bilang Bagong Saltang Promdi (1976)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nang una akong tumapak sa Manila ay nang dumating ako galing sa Davao kasama ang iba pang mga aplikante na magti-training sa PAL. Escort namin ang namayapa nang si Bud Aseoche. Kasama ko sa grupo sina Abet Yu, Boy Asistido, Rey Porras, at Fred Derequito. Hilong-hilo ako paglapag ng eroplano sa airport – culture shock! Dinala kami ni Mang Asyong (Ace Cabrera) sa boarding house sa Baclaran, malapit sa Airport Road na namumutiktik ng mga beer house….nasilaw at napanganga ako sa liwanag at patay-sinding mga ilaw.

 

Habang nagti-training kami, dahil tinipid ko ang training allowance, naglalakad ako hanggang sa Gate 1 ng Nichols kung nasaan ang training center. Pinilit ko ring hindi mamasyal tuwing weekend na walang pasok sa training center. Isang weekend, dahil sa tindi ng hatak ng adventure, sinubukan kong lumabas ng boarding house at sumakay sa DM Transit. Namangha ako dahil noon pa lang ako nakakita ng “konduktor” ng bus na babae. Animo karton sa pagkatigas ang uniporme dahil sa almirol. Panay lang ang tingin ko sa labas ng  bintana – window tripping. Nang lumapit ang konduktora, nagbayad ako at binigyan niya ako ng tiket. Ilang beses pa siyang lumapit…panay din ang bayad ko! Yon pala, ang paglapit niya ay para lang makita ang tiket ko kaya nakalahad ang kamay niya, subali’t dahil di ko alam, hindi ko pinapakita ang tiket, at bayad lang ako ng bayad, tanggap naman siya ng tanggap!…pero walang tiket!

 

Narinig ko sa kwento ng mga naunang boarders ang Avenida na maganda raw. Sinubukan ko ring puntahan. Sumakay ako sa jeep at bumaba sa tapat ng Sta. Cruz Chruch. Sa kalalakad ko, nakarating ako sa Ongpin St. na bahagi na pala ng Chinatown. Namangha uli ako. May nakahalata yatang manggagantso, nilapitan ako sabay pakita ng isang retrato – maganda ang babae, tsinita. Tanong niya kung type ko raw, sagot ko, “okey lang”. Iba pala ang gusto niyang mangyari…sex trip sa halagang sinabi niya.

 

Tumanggi ako sa alok niya pero sa kapipilit niya at curiosity ko na rin, sumama ako. Malayo ang nilakad namin hanggang makarating sa Trinidad St., na kahanay pa rin Avenida pero malayo na sa sentro. May pinasok kaming maliit na “apartment” at sabi ng bugaw, magpahinga daw muna ako sa kwarto, sabay turo ng pinto. Dahil napagod ako, tumuloy na ako at humiga sa kama, pero hindi ko binuksan ang ilaw. Maya-maya pa may pumasok, malakas ang amoy ng pabango, lumapit at minasa-masahe ako. Bandang huli, pumayag ako sa sandaling masahe sa maliit na halaga. Pilit niyang sinasabit ang pantalon ko sa isang bahagi ng dingding pero hindi ako pumayag at sa halip ay itinabi ko sa unan. Nang umabot sa puntong may nasalat ako sa bandang “ibaba” niya…patunay na hindi pala siya tunay na babae, nagalit ako at nasipa ko siya. Bumalandara siya sa dingding at sabay noon, may nabuksang butas na ang takip ay umiikot pala! Doon niya gustong isabit ang pantaloon ko na kung natuloy ay nadukot ang laman ng bulsa ng taong nasa kabilang kuwarto lang! Nataranta din ang “babae” at tumakbong palabas ng kwarto, ni hindi ko nakita ang mukha dahil madilim sa kwarto.

 

Nagmura ako habang nagsusuot ng pantalon, t-shirt, at sapatos. Ang brief at medyas ibinulsa ko na lang dahil hahabulin ko nga ang “kaguwang”.  Hinanap ko rin ang bugaw na tumakbo palang palabas .

 

Susundan ko sana subali’t  pagdating sa kanto nakita kong may apat na siyang kasama, kaya ako naman ang nagmadaling umalis at pumunta agad sa bus stop sa Avenida. Nang may dumaan, sakay agad ako nang hindi man lang nagtanong kung saan papunta ang bus. Nakahalata yata ang konduktor na bagong salta ako kaya siya na ang nagbanggit ng mga lugar na pwedeng babaan. Pinili ko ang Luneta kung saan nga ako bumaba. Habang naglalakad ako ay tinitingnan ako ng mga tao. Dahil sa naghalong niyerbiyos at pagod, bumili ako ng softdrink sa isang kiosk… tinitingnan pa rin ako ng mga tao. Naawa yata ang tinder kaya sinabihan akong, “sir, baligtad ho ang t-shirt nyo…”. Noon  ko pa lang naalala na hindi ko rin naisuot ang medyas at brief ko. Sa comfort room ng kiosk na yon ako naghubad ng pantaloon upang maisuot ang brief. Ang medyas ay nasa bulsa ko pa rin. Nagpasalamat ako sa pangyayari dahil narating ko ang Luneta for the first time kahit nanginginig pa rin ako sa magkahalong inis at nerbiyos pagdating ko sa boarding house.

 

Hindi pa rin ako nadala. Quiapo naman ang sunod kong pinuntahan. Madaling puntahan dahil sa landmark na malaking simbahang Katoliko. Habang naglalakad ako, may lumapit sa aking may dalang nakarolyo….pabulong na sinabing bold magazines daw. Buy one take one daw at nakabalot na. Mura kaya binili ko subali’t nang bubuksan ko para tingnan, sabi ng nagbenta ay sa bahay ko na lang daw buksan at baka mahuli kami ng pulis, bawal kasi. Sa boarding house, nang buksan ko, para akong pinagsakluban ng langit dahil ang nakabalot pala ay dalawang issue ng Liwayway. Akala ko ay Playboy man lang o Penthouse para maipagyabang sa mga kasama ko.

 

Dahil sa mga adventure na yon, nabawasan ang pinakaiingatan at tinitipid kong allowance. Pero okey lang. Inisip ko na lang na para akong nagbayad sa isang tour guide na balasubas.

 

 

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Directions

Directions

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

In the jungle, tribal communities help each other in getting to their destinations through signs using broken twigs, heaped rocks, seeds left along the trail, etc. Other telltale guiding signs come in the form of sounds such as those made by currents of rivers, waterfalls, as well as, direction of wind, position of the sun, etc.

 

In the highly civilized world, a person gets his direction from road signs and street names, aside from landmarks. In the not-so-civilized communities, pouted lips pointing to desired direction are used aside from the universal “finger pointing” if there is a language barrier. For the fortunate stranger whose language is understood in a strange community, there could be verbal exchanges.

 

Unfortunately, all of the above become useless when the forests are suddenly denuded by unscrupulous illegal logging activities resulting to floods, creating new rivulets that dry up in time. On the other hand, in the civilized communities of lowlands, vandals deface street names and road signs using spray paints. Some even go to the extent of changing the direction of sign posts.

 

Directions are important as they lead us to where we want to be at the most convenient and safest way. And, that is how a nation should be led by one who gives correct directional signs not tainted with selfish motives… as bungled directions can lead a nation to a disaster.

 

 

Inconsistencies in this World

Inconsistencies in this World

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Life is full of inconsistencies….

 

One day when I hitched a ride with a lawyer friend, he intentionally broke a traffic rule by beating the red light. When I asked him why he did it, he told me that there was no traffic enforcer anyway…and, he is a LAWyer!

 

When I visited another friend who I know is an advocate of alternative herbal medicine, I heard her remind the caregiver of her mother about her antibiotic that should be changed to another brand, obviously, a stronger one for an eighty-three year old. She learned about the strong antibiotic from her internet browsing. When I reminded her about her advocacy and mentioned garlic as a strong natural antibiotic, she told me that her mother MAY not like its taste. What worried me is that my friend is deciding on her own about the synthetic antibiotic as a “preventive” drug for her aging mother! This friend keeps several boxes of apple cider vinegar at home just in case the Bragg family of America stops making the expensive medicinal concoction from the apple juice. If my friend is in her charitable mood, she gives me a bottle or two to take home, and act which keeps my mouth shut, instead of arguing with her.

 

Another friend who is an advocate of family discipline sends his 12-year son out to buy his favorite local rhum at a corner store. He also sends the same son to the kitchen to light his cigarette in the gas range burner, thereby, making the poor boy make the necessary initial puffs to keep it lighted until he has handed it “safely” to his father. Ironically, my friend brags to his friends that no son of his would ever have a taste of alcohol or even just a single puff of cigarette while he is alive!

 

Then, another friend who tries to project a classy image by boasting about his vegetarian diet hates local vegetables, preferring only western ones such as spinach, lettuce, baby carrots, sweet onions, etc., while despising local vegetables such as, “saluyot”, “kangkong”, “alogbate”, “upo”, etc. He brags about his preference for “salads” with plenty of strips of bologna, spam, German sausages, or chicken, and sprinkled with his favorite Italian dressing!…and, he is a vegetarian!

 

Many years ago, when a big religious sect which is a breakaway from the Catholic fold, still held their prayer rallies at Luneta park, I was brought by a friend to their venue, to introduce me to their kind of music which I really enjoyed. On the other hand, I hated much  the corny preaching of the supposedly charismatic leader who would enthuse his flock to open and invert their umbrella to catch the blessings and grace from “heaven”. My friend was a Bible-quoting guy, definitely, very religious in his own way. When we left the area to take a jeepney at T.M. Kalaw St., we were approached along the way by an obviously hungry street child with an open upward palm. Without much thought, he shooed the boy away, as if shooing a pestering fly!

 

Then, there’s the greatest inconsistency of all…the advertisement aired over a popular radio station about the “ashitaba” herbal medicine which the endorsing woman who supposedly got cured said in Visayan, “ako si….. duna koy ALMORANAS nga maura ug kamatis ka daku, pero nawala ang akong ALMORANAS sukad nag-inom ko ug ashitaba…kinanlan gyud mag-inom ta ug ashitaba aron mawala ang atong ALMORANAS”, or to that effect, which as translated in English is, “ I am…..I have been suffering from a HEMORRHOID as big as tomato, but it was gone when I took ashitaba…we should take ashitaba so that our HEMORRHOID will be gone..” After the statement, came the disclaimer which said, “the ashitaba is not a drug and should not be taken as a medicine as it cannot cure any ailment”….What happened to the endorsement and the testimony of the woman who got cured? Why must the government agency concern approve the ad for airing if there is such a bullshit disclaimer? I think something is wrong with the Philippine government agency that approves ads like the one mentioned….for letting such mindless inconsistency be heard all over the country as it makes a fool of the listeners!

 

Today, every time I am alone and those mentioned above and many others would creep into my mind, I would just let out a deep sigh to lighten up my heavy chest while holding on to my sanity, so as not to cuss. But my big question is: does our world really throbs with much senselessness?

 

Mga Karanasan Kong Kagila-gilalas Noong Naglibot Ako sa Pilipinas

Mga Karanasan Kong Kagila-gilalas Noong Naglibot Ako sa Pilipinas

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Bilang editor noon ng TOPIC Magazine, obligado akong maglibot upang mangalap ng mga impormasyong pang-turista para mailathala sa magasin. At, dahil iba-iba ang mga napupuntahan ko, iba-iba rin ang mga karanasan ko. Ang iba ay sobrang censored kaya hindi pwedeng banggitin, except sa ginagawa kong “memoir” na ilalabas kapag ako ay patay na, at ang iba naman ay sobrang nakakatuwa kaya dapat i-share “to make the day” ng mga nagtitiyagang magbasa ng blogs ko.

 

Sa isang bayan sa norte, nag-check in ako sa isang maliit na hotel, okey naman dahil may toilet subalit hindi ko nabuksan para ma-check ang loob dahil nagmamadali akong makapunta agad sa mga tourist spots. Pagbalik ko galing sa paglilibot ay naligo ako at gumamit ng kubeta. Nadismaya ako dahil nang umupo na ako sa “trono” hindi ko madiretso ang dalawa kong paa…dapat nakaangat ang kanan kong paa upang magkasya ang wetpu ko sa” trono” dahil halos dikit sa dingding ito. Kaya ang nangyari ay para akong aso na nakataas ang isang paa, halos pa-side view, habang nagpapalabas ng sama ng loob….ang mahalaga noon ay nakaraos ako. In fairness sa maliit na hotel, malinis ang toilet, ngunit ang kubeta ay pang-unano yata.

 

Sa isa pa ring bayan sa norte, ang toilet ng hotel na tinirhan ko ay barado. Mabuti na lang at nasa tabing-dagat ang maliit na hotel, kaya kahit gabi na ay nagsabi ako sa staff na kunwari ay  magsi-swimming ako kahit ang katotohanan ay may binabalak akong gagawing kabantutan! Nagtampisaw ako sa mababaw na dagat dahil low tide hanggang makaraos ako. Kinabukasan ay nag-check ako kung may nakalutang na ebidensiya sa ginawa kong karumaldumal nang nakaraang gabi…mabuti naman at inanod yata sa malayo!…nakaligtas ako sa batikos!

 

Sa mga maliliit na lunsod ay uso ang mga hotel na ang toilet ay nasa pagitan ng dalawang kuwarto…share ang occupants ng dalawang kuwarto sa paggamit ng toilet. Malalaman ng occupant ng isang kuwarto kung ginagamit ng taga-kabilang kuwarto ang toilet dahil naka-lock ang pinto niya sa loob, na dapat buksan kapag tapos nang gumamit ang taga-kabila, upang makapasok naman siya, at ila-lock naman niya ang pinto ng katabi niyang kuwarto. Nag-check in ako sa isang hotel na may ganitong uri ng kubeta. Nang hapong maliligo na ako (siyempre nakahubad) ay binuksan ko ang pinto ng kubeta…at nabuksan nga…nakalimutan kong may ka-share ako sa kubeta….at may chicks palang nakaupo sa “trono”….nakalimutan niyang i-lock ang pinto ko sa loob! Nahantad naman sa kanya ang kaluluwa ko! Nagkatinginan kami….nagpaka-gentleman pa rin ako at dahan-dahan kong isinara ang pinto habang nagbaba-bye. Nagkita kami uli sa dining room, kasama niya ang kanyang asawang egoy (black American)!…tinginan uli kami at nginitian niya ako ng pagkatamis-tamis…parang may nabistong secret na siya lang ang nakakaalam!

 

Ilan lang ang mga nabanggit sa mga  madilim na bahagi ng aking kahapon sa paglilibot ko sa Pilipinas dahil sa call of duty. Tiniis ko ang lahat dahil ayaw kong maging jobless at lumuwa ang mga mata dahil sa gutom. Noon ko lalong naunawaan na iba pala talaga ang buhay ng isang tunay na turista na hahamakin ang lahat makarating lang sa mga tourist spots!

Si Ate Amber ng 94.5 FM, RADIO NATIN…sa lunsod ng Tacurong (Sultan Kudarat)

SI ATE AMBER ng 94.5 FM, RADIO NATIN….sa lunsod ng Tacurong

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Nakadaupang-palad ko siya sa unang meeting ng City Tourism Coucil ilang buwan na ang nakaraan. Nagpalitan kami ng mga numero ng cellphone pagkatapos ng meeting subalit ang ipinangako kung pagbisita sa istasyon nila ay hindi natutupad dahil sa hindi maiwasang commitments. Palagi nga lang akong nare-remind tuwing marinig ko ang boses niya sa radio ng mga puwesto sa palengke. At dahil pareho kaming nagpa-follow sa isa’t isa pagdating sa facebook, biglang susulpot kung minsan sa messenger ng computer ko ang notice na “live” siya.

 

Mahiyain si Ate Amber at siya daw mismo ay nagtaka kung paano na-transform ang kanyang pagkatao upang maging palasalita hanggang magamit niya ito upang maging DJ ng Radyo Natin…94.5 FM. Wala daw sa lahi nila ang may skill sa public speaking….siya pa lang, kaya maski kapamilya niya ay nagulat nang mapasok niya ang daigdig ng broadcast. Maliban sa pagdi-DJ, nagho-host din siya ng mga events. Apat na taon na siyang nagho-host ng  “Kantahan ng Kabataan” na inii-sponsor ng lunsod ng Tacurong.

 

Ayon sa kanya, umiiba raw ang kanyang pagkatao kapag nasa stage na siya at may hawak na microphone…nalulusaw ang kanyang hiya…nagiging fearless. Kulang na lang siguro ay sabihin niya sa audience na, “hoy, makinig kayo sa akin”. Ganoon din siya kapag nasa loob ng booth sa istasyon at ang kaharap ay mikropono. Napag-isip niya na ang pagiging masaya niya na malalaman sa timbre ng kanyang boses ay siyang tanging paraan upang mabigyang kasiyahan ang kanyang mga fans na walang sawang tumatangkilik sa kanya.

 

Ang tinatamasa niyang tagumpay ayon sa kanya ay hindi nagpagaang ng kanyang pagkatao upang lumutang sa ere. Nasa lupa pa rin ang kanyang dalawang paa. Siya pa rin ang babaeng DJ na ang pagngiti ay sinasabayan ng pag-twinkle ng kanyang mga mata…at para sa mga nakikinig sa radio, ay “yong babaeng may mataginting na boses”…..si Ate Amber NATIN!

DR. JOSE BENJAMIN B. UNTALAN

DR. JOSE BENJAMIN B. UNTALAN…first dermatologist of Sultan Kudarat

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

If one hears the word “derma” or “dermatologist”, what comes to his or her mind is the sophisticated line of medicine with select patients such as the rich. It connotes pretty and smooth face without fine lines…but, that is true many years back. Today, “derma” means total skin care not necessarily with the use of expensive lotions and oils as affordable products have proliferated the market.

 

On November 20, Dr. Jose Benjamin B. Untalan assisted by his dentist wife, Dr. Maggie Reginaldo and young son who is also a medical practitioner, Dr. Janjan, attended to hundreds of senior citizens of Tacurong city at the office of the OSCA. Affording him additional assistance were volunteer senior citizens who prepared the list of beneficiaries as early as 8:00AM. Most medicines given to the seniors were from the family’s clinic, dispensed free of charge, while the rest were donations from the Philippine Dermatological Society. The medical outreach was in commemoration of the World Skin Day in collaboration with the OSCA and the Senior Citizens Federation of Tacurong City.

 

Dr. Ben Untalan has practically went through insurmountable trials and difficulties before he realized his dream to serve his fellowmen. He chose the special field of dermatology when he observed that this is what his province lacks, as the rest of practitioners were surgeons, internists, optometrists, or pediatricians. His early days of practice saw him treading roads towards almost inaccessible communities. The choice made him the “first dermatologist in the province of Sultan Kudarat” trained by the SPMC, one of the 11 accredited institutions for such field. Other titles he earned are: FPDS (Fellow of Philippine Dermatological Society); DPBD (Diplomate, Philippine Board of Dermatology); FPSV (Fellow, Philippine Society of Veneriologists).

 

Reared by a midwife mother and a physician father, Dr. Ben grew up with compassion deeply-etched in his heart. He could have pursued a profession that could make him amass wealth in a short period, but he opted for one that could force him to be generous oftentimes. Such compassionate generosity even pushed him further…serve the seniors, many of whom are underprivileged.

 

The boyish-looking doctor is highly idealistic which I observed when I had a breakfast with his family a year ago. With his son, Dr. Janjan silently listening to our discussion, we touched various subjects. We did not realize that we have spent almost 3 hours for the supposedly quick breakfast as they still had to leave for their clinic. It was my first time, too, to have such kind of breakfast, as I normally abhor conversation over meals.

 

Dr. Ben’s idealism founded on compassion was put to fore on November 20, 2017 when he gamely reported for “duty” during that particular medical mission outreach project despite aching knees due to depletion of collagen that provides lubrication so that a slight bending made him wretch in pain…but he persisted until the last patient has been served.

Why the People are the Best Asset of a Community

Why the People Are the Best Asset of a Community

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Communities with natural endowments such as waterfalls, mountains, caves, beaches, etc. are fortunate. But life therein may not be pleasant if the people are not cordial to each other, especially, to visitors.

 

A community may not have natural endowments as it may be located in a flat land, without even a small parcel of forest. But if its people have a strong spirit of cooperation and brotherhood, they can unite and improve their place. They can build parks and inland resorts, plant clusters of trees to simulate a forest, dig artificial ponds and lakes that migratory birds can visit, or be filled with tamed animals that used to spend their life in the wild.

 

If the people are cooperative, they will never ever attempt to block any plan that could lead their community towards progress. They will be appreciative of ideas about inviting investors to build schools, business establishments, etc. They will delight in long-ranged plans such as building of an effective series of open canals or underground drainage system and laying of pipes for the water that would flow to homes and business establishments that they foresee to mushroom. They will also encourage their leaders to widen the roads that will never be viewed as unnecessary expenses, but for the bright future of their children.

 

Thinking and unselfish people just do not live for the day, but always ponder about the days to come….the future. They always think and act for the sake of their friends and families….not for themselves alone. They are aware that their acts should be in synchrony with each other as a single misstep could affect their community as a whole and may even result to a disaster with a  with long-ranged effect.

 

Once busy mining communities have become “ghost towns” when settlers left after the mines no longer yield what they are digging for. On the other hand, settlers can tame wild ranges and from grassy plains or swamps mold progressive communities. That is how cities have evolved from towns that used to be remote villages.

 

To sum up all of the above…people improves life that God gave.