“Tikug” Mats Started My Advocacy in Manila
But Nurtured as a Student in NDTC
By Apolinario Villalobos

After my stint in Tablas station (Romblon) with an initial job as Ticket/Freight Clerk of Philippine Airlines in early ‘80s, I was transferred to the Tours and Promotions Division in Manila. For practical and economic reasons, I stayed in a boarding house along Airport Road in Baclaran, as our office was at the old Domestic Airport (today, Terminal 4). During the time, what is now as ASEANA City, was yet, a body of water – Manila Bay, from the seawall of which the famed sunset could be clearly viewed. From late afternoon to early evening, I and some of my co-boarders would spend time at the seawall killing time. We would observe some people dragging their belongings in plastic and tattered shoulder bags while strolling along the boulevard, some were with their family. Before we would go back to the boarding house, we observed them spreading blankets on the grassy ground on which they rested for the night.

The scenes of elderly people and children sleeping on the ground without mat made me restless for several days. When I went back alone one early evening at around 6pm, I strolled up to the portion of the boulevard in front of the Aristocrat Restaurant in Ermita. I saw the same scenes – people lying on spread cloths and blankets on the grass.

When Boy Loquias, a new PAL recruit who was undergoing training at the PAL Training Center at the Gate 1 of Nichols Air Base joined us at the boarding house, I was glad upon learning that he was from Bohol which afforded me the opportunity to speak in Cebuano more often. When I brought him to the then, Dewey Boulevard, he was amazed to find the boulevard sleepers. Jokingly, he said that we better join them rather than spend for the boarding house. Honestly, however, he confided that something must be done to help them and asked, “asa ang SWA?” (“where is SWA?”, for which he meant Department of Social Welfare or DSW). When I mentioned giving them cheap “tikug” mat from Mindanao, he agreed. During the time, a piece of said mat was priced between 40-50pesos at the Islamic Center in Quiapo, unlike today that a single-sized costs between 120-150pesos. “Tikug” mats which are colorfully dyed are made in Cotabato.

From then on, I scrimped on my personal needs to save for mats. When Boy Loquias learned about my plan, he gave me part of his training allowance. Another co-boarder, Sammy, who was a member of the combo that performed at the Ugnayan Beer House, across our boarding house, also contributed. Initially, we were able to purchase 2 dozens of mats for which I was able to get a discount. It was not enough. I raised another amount from my saved per diem allowance, as my job then, required me to travel a lot. I also refused to accept the contribution of Boy whose allowance was just enough for his needs, especially, from Sammy who had two kids left with his wife in Naga City.

My visits to the Islamic Center in Quiapo for purchases of “tikug” mats led to my side trips to “Avenida” known for prostitutes who could be seen prowling the avenue for prospective customers, from early afternoon to early morning, the following day. I was staggered by what I observed and experienced at the Avenida. Daringly-dressed women openly made proposals while holding my hand but which I gently refused. On early mornings, not yet 7AM, thickly-rouged and obviously ageing prostitutes would ask an amount for a cup of coffee in exchange for sexual favor. From such encounters, I was able to strike friendship with many of them that developed into trust which became my passport to their dwellings in the slum along the banks of Reina Regente River. There, I met snatchers, swindlers, sex peddlers and their families. As pre-planned, I did not give them my real identity for my own safety. What they knew was that I was a job-seeker from the province and my thick Cebuano accent helped a lot, as many of them were also Bisaya.

Events oozing with colorful adventures made my curiosity stronger that led me farther to Arranque, Divisoria, Pritil, Malabon, Bagong Bayan (Dasmariἧas, Cavite), Tala Leprosarium, and Baseco Compound where I was able let out my pent up desire to share. It also led me to three other guys who had the same desire and with whom blessings were shared with those dwelling along the bank of Pasig River and Recto yearly, from the last week of November to the first week of December.

My advocacy was nurtured while I was a student of Notre Dame of Tacurong (NDTC) and nobody, even my family and closest friends knew about it, not even my colleagues in PAL later on, except Boy Loquias who was assigned at Tablas after his training, and where he raised his family. It was only when I shared my “adventures” on facebook due to the prodding of some friends, though with much hesitation, that they came to know about them. I just consoled myself with the thought that my sharing such adventures would, hopefully, make others realize that one need not be rich to be able to share blessings with others…and, that they can do the same, if they wish.

Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues….Education, School Activities, Christmas

Personal Views on Three Filipino Issues

…Education, School Activities, Christmas

By Apolinario Villalobos


I have nothing against the education, the requirements and activities, and the celebration of “traditions”, but it seems that the practices have gone overboard. Instead of helping, they have created more problems – FINANCIALLY to the impoverished.


EDUCATION is very necessary, no question about that. Unfortunately, the K-12 system has added misery to the parents who can hardly send their children to the former 4-year high school as the new system has stretched their financial agony by two more years. Due to the haphazard implementation of the system, many schools have been caught without the necessary facilities for effective implementation. Before, a high school graduate may already have the chance to work as a store attendant or a security guard so that he or she can earn and save for his or her college education. Today, the parents must spend for the education of their children beyond the Grade 10 up to 12 so that the “high school” education has been attained for a diploma needed for a job as sales lady, security guard, messenger, etc. Why the need for the extra 2 years, then, when the graduates shall land on the same kind of job? I have not yet mentioned here the corrupted printing of text books which have been converted into workbooks that are discarded every end of the school year as  this long-time issue may just ruin the day of viewers.


SCHOOLS COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER IN IMPLEMENTING REQUIREMENTS AND HOLDING OF ACTIVITIES. In first year high school, there is already a requirement for a “thesis” which many students do not even understand. To be able to complete a requirement, they practically “copy/paste” materials from the internet. Some schools right at the early opening of classes are already requiring students to join “educational tours” supposedly as part of a certain “module”. Those who cannot afford the expensive trip are required to submit a report that require them to go to the internet where they spend long hours of browsing and copy/pasting, printing and collating of materials that they stole from the different sites. Where is the connection of the educational trip to the supposedly research?


Here is a classic story of a young mother who sells pastil as a livelihood to help her husband who drives a tricycle with a “boundary” of Php150 a day….to send their 3 children to high school. Since October this year, she has incurred a total loaned amount of Php8,000.00 that she used for the “school requirements” and lately for the “family day” and “Christmas party”. I need not elaborate on the “school requirements”. But the “family day” and “Christmas party” are two activities that should be thought of…as regards their necessity. For practical reasons due to the financial difficulty of the time, are they really necessary when so many families can hardly afford to give their children decent school allowance? After the family day that is supposed to bond the family, the impertinent children are back to their cellfones while the poor mothers are back to their laundry, cooking and cleaning of the house. Unfortunately, as I am writing this, the poor mother and her husband have yet to pay, Php3,000 as balance of their loan…and the year is already ending!


CHRISTMASTIME IS GIVING, NOT ASKING FOR GIFTS….IT IS ALSO SUPPOSEDLY, THE “BIRTHDAY (?)” OF JESUS  CHRIST. Unfortunately, the parents should be faulted on why children have the wrong notion about the season. In this regard, children are sad if they have no new clothes, toys, no expensive food on the table. Also, instead of thinking about the impoverished as the recipients of material gifts intended for Jesus, they want to have them for their own gratification.


On the other hand, lest I be misunderstood, I like the unifying intention for the celebration of Christmas, but there is a need for its utmost understanding. Many Christians already know how the pagan-based celebration has started. For the sake of unity, there has to be a reason for getting together. Feasts have to be celebrated as man by nature loves festivities and rich food….the way pagans of long ago wanted them. THE PROBLEM IS, MANY OF THOSE WHO OBSERVE THE TRADITION TODAY ARE OBSERVING IT WITH ARROGANCE…THEY FLAUNT TO THE WORLD THEIR EXCESSSES IN LIFE…WITHOUT THROWING A CRUMB TO THOSE WITH THE LEAST IN LIFE.

The Act of Kindness…a message to parents

The Act of Kindness

…a message to parents

By Apolinario Villalobos

The act of kindness should not be a means to an end, but the reason, in itself. In other words, we should not be kind to others, just because we want to go to heaven, but because we want to do it to for the sake of others. Acting kindly should be spontaneous. The act should form part of our habit. By acting this way, we will forget to count our indulgences which others are prone in doing. The act of kindness should end when the action is done, so that any return for such act is not considered.

In this regard, parents should stop telling their kids to be kind to others so that Jesus will love them. Children should be told to be kind, because by being so they are helping others. Of course, there is always Jesus or God or heaven as reasons every time we do kind acts. But, foremost, as our reason to be kind should be the expectation of us, as human beings, intelligent creatures, who should be kind to others. The clever guys may ask, what happens then to the Ten Commandments?

For the question above, I also ask, how about the aborigines who do not know God?… those in the hinterlands and jungles who have not seen a missionary, much more a Bible or a cross? Don’t they have the right to go to heaven even if they have done acts of kindness, just because nobody told them about such an eternal paradise? The unconscious dispensing of kind acts by these people who, in the eyes of others are uncivilized, deserve more heavenly recognition that what some evil-minded, though, college or university-educated and church-going humans are doing!

Parents should tell their children that they should be kind to others because the latter deserve respect due them as human beings. And, blessings should be shared with them because they need the help to be able to survive. We should do only those, and just leave to God the judgment if our acts are worthy of a place in heaven. Again, we should not count our acts of kindness.

Every Christmas, some parents are even going farther, by warning their kids not to be bad because Santa Claus will not give them gifts. Christianity or any religion that observes Christmas never teaches that! Santa Claus is not even mentioned in the Bible or whatever book of any religion. Santa Claus just like the Christmas tree, is just a symbol of the pagan way of celebrating Christmas, to have a semblance of festivity. Christmas is all about the humble birth of Jesus Christ. And, what has been originally celebrated was the baptism of Jesus Christ. It was only one of the early popes who thought of giving importance to the birthday of Jesus Christ, with the exact date not yet even officially established, and to give it a facade of joyful celebration for the sake of the converted pagans, used their early practices that are still being observed today.

A mother confided to me that when she told her child that Santa Claus is a missionary, the child in all innocence, asked her mother why he does not wear a cross, or carry a Bible! The mother was caught flat-footed, and she told me that she felt so ashamed of what she told her child, vowing never to tell her lies again.

The erroneous way of developing kindness in the personality of a child has done its toll. The wrong notion about kindness has become an integral part of the obnoxious attitude of some children which they will pass on to their own children when they become parents, themselves. The world is so full of children with this kind of attitude, with the parents themselves, to be blamed for their “spoiled” upbringing. This is a general observation. If some parents are doing the right thing, they need not react defensively. Unfortunately, I may be pessimistic, by sharing that I see no end to this vicious cycle. Only voluntary contrition of parents may help. But how many parents are willing?


Ang Makasarili at Mapagbigay

Ang Makasarili at Mapagbigay

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Mahahalata ang taong makasarili at mapagbigay sa pamamagitan ng isang halimbawang sumusunod: ….sa hapag-kainan, ang pinipiling saging ng makasarili ay ang may pinakamagandang balat at malaki; ang mapagbigay naman ay pinipili ang maliit at may halos nangingitim nang balat dahil nanghihinayang siya kung tuluyang mabulok. Kung piniritong isda o manok ang ulam, ang pinipili ng makasarili ay ang pinakamalaki; ang mapagbigay ay hindi namimili.


Walang masama sa pagpili ng pinakamagandang bagay kung ito ay iyong binili. Subalit kung nakalatag sa harap ng isang pamilya kung saan ay kasama ang magulang at mga kapatid, dapat ay kailangang maging mapagbigay lalo na sa magulang at nakababatang kapatid. Kadalasan, ang mga nakatatanda pang mga kapatid ang nag-aagawan ng pinakamaganda habang nakatunganga ang mga nakababatang kapatid at magulang.


Ang pagkamakasarili ay nagbibigay-buhay sa kasabihan sa Ingles na, “what are we in power for”…na nagpapairal ng lakas laban sa mahihina. Nangyayari yan sa lahat ng sitwasyon, sa loob man ng tahanan o sa komunidad na maliit hanggang sa kabuuhan ng isang bansa. Dahil diyan ay may korapsyon sa mga pamahalaan at sa loob ng ILANG tahanan ay may magkakapatid na palaging nag-aaway.


Sa mga pamilyang mayayaman, ang pagkamakasarili din ang dahilan ng awayan ng magkakapatid dahil sa mga minana mula sa mga namayapang magulang.

BADONG PIDO…mapalad na nilalang sa kalinga ni Jose “Beng” Lim V at kanyang pamilya

BADONG PIDO…mapalad na nilalang

sa kalinga ni Jose “Beng” Lim V at kanyang pamiya

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa kabila ng pagiging “special guy” ni Badong, napakapalad niya dahil nasa kalinga siya ng pamilya ni Jose “Beng” Lim V. Subalit bago tuluyang naampon ng pamiya Lim si Badong, napansin siya noon ng mga empleyado sa hardware store, kung saan ay halos araw-araw itong tumatambay sa counter kaya nakasanayan na rin nilang bigyan ito ng pagkain. Kalaunan ay pinasundan siya upang malaman kung saan talaga siya umuuwi at laking gulat nila nang malamang sa sulok ng isang gasolinahan na malapit sa bagong Tacurong public market (New Isabela) siya natutulog gamit ang nakalatag na karton. Akala nila ay may pamilya itong inuuwian at nakakatuwaan lang ang paggala sa araw.


Kinausap ni Beng si Badong at inimbitang sa kanila na tumira na ikinatuwa naman nito. Isa sa mga empleyado sa hardware store ang unang nakagaanan ng loob ni Beng, si Ranger, na tinawag nitong “boss Ranger”. Si Beng naman ay tinawag niyang “Ninong” at ang misis nito ay “Ninang”. Sinubukan ng mag-asawang ipasok siya sa eskwela subalit hindi siya nagtagal dahil sa kanyang kalagayan. Napag-alaman din nila na ang makakapagpapirmi kay Badong sa bahay ay TV.


Pautal-utal kung magsalita si Badong subalit pinipilit ng pamilya na maunawaan siya. Naging malapit din siya sa mga anak ng mag-asawa at ayaw nilang mawala ito sa kanila. Subalit isang araw ay may nakakita sa kanya sa store at nagsabi kay Beng na taga-General Santos daw ito at sa pangangalaga ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Pinagpalagay nila na maaaring hindi sinasadyang nakalabas siya ng tinitirhan at nakatiyempong makasakay ng bus na biyaheng Tacurong City. At dahil nasa bagong public market ang bus terminal, naghanap na lang ito ng isang sulok na matutulugan. Mabuti na lang din na hindi siya naliligaw at nakakabalik pa sa kanyang tinutulugan tuwing gumala siya sa downtown area na kinaroroonan ng hardware store ng mga Lim.


Masama man sa kalooban ng pamilya ay nagdesisyon silang ibalik si Badong sa DSWD kaya naghanda sila ng despedida party para sa kanya. Si Beng mismo ang naghatid sa kanya sa General Santos, subalit nang iwanan na niya ay nagwala ito at nagpilit na sumama pabalik sa Tacurong. Walang nagawa ang DSWD kundi ang gawing pormal ang pagpaalaga kay Beng sa mga Lim. Ngayon, dinadala na rin ni Badong ang apelyidong Lim.


Ang turing kay Badong ng mga Lim ay talagang kapamilya. Sa lahat ng okasyon ay kasali siya, pati sa taunang cross-country ng Tacurong City Riders na pinamumunuan ni Beng bilang Presidente. Sa loob ng 6 na taon ay kasa-kasama siya ng tropang bikers at itinalaga sa support o backup.


Ayon kay Beng, gusto niyang makita pa rin ni Badong ang kanyang mga magulang upang maging kumpleto ang pagkatao nito. Dagdag pa niya, kung sakaling mangailangan din ng tulong ang magulang ni Badong, baka matulungan din nila. Kahit  pautal kung magsalita si Badong, halatang nagpipilit itong maunawaan ng iba, at dahil normal ang turing sa kanya, na-develop ang kanyang self-confidence.


May “Down Syndrome” si Badong, subalit nakitaan ko siya ng katalinuhan nang sagutin niya ang mga tanong ko, at sa palagay ko ay nakatulong ng malaki sa unti-unting paglinang ng kanyang karunungan ang pagmamahal na hindi lang pinapakita kundi pinapadama din ni Beng, ng kanyang asawa at mga anak…at siyempre, ni “boss Ranger” at mga empleyado ng hardware store.


Nagpapasalamat ako sa pamangkin kong si Daniel Paclibar na miyembro ng Tacurong City Riders dahil siya ang  nagparating sa akin ng kuwento ni Badong.

Be Like a Tree

Be Like a Tree..

By Apolinario Villalobos


A tree, though standing still

and on a windless day

with not even a rustling leaf

is still erect and majestic –

host to winged creatures

that in the sky frolic.


We can be like a tree

by being still and patient –

under a heavy burden

in times of challenges,

we should not waver

but strive for success!


Mga Tanong na Sinagot ko ng Buong Giliw at Wagas


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Tungkol sa isyu ng “sharing” o pakikibahagi ng biyaya sa kapwa, ang nagtanong ay kaibigan kong taga-government agency kung saan ay naging Consultant ako noon. Tanong niya ay simpleng, bakit daw ako nagsi-share sa mga taga-Tondo at natutulog pang kasama ang mga scavenger sa sa bangketa kung minsan. Sagot ko sa kanya pero patanong ay, “familiar ka ba sa mga salitang ‘tulong’ at ‘kahirapan’…may nakausap ka na bang tulad nila upang malaman ang kuwento ng kanilang buhay….at, nadanasan mo na bang hindi kumain sa buong maghapon?” Bilang pagtapos sa usapan namin, sinabihan ko siyang okey lang yon, dahil hindi naman nila alam ang tunay kong pangalan kaya hindi nila alam kung sino talaga ako.


Tungkol sa pagma-mountain climbing, ang nagtanong ay taga-kumpanya ding pinagtrabahuhan ko noon. Old maid siya, tuwing break time ay nagbabasa ng Bible, at atat na atat na mahatak ako sa Bible reading nila tuwing Biyerses, pero hanggang mag-resign siya ay hindi ko pinagbigyan. Tanong niya ay kung ano daw ang nakukuha ko at pati mga kasama ko sa pag-akyat ng bundok at kung ano ang ginagawa daw namin sa tuktok. Sagot ko sa kanya ay, “upang diligan ng ihi at abunuhan ng tae namin ang mga tanim sa bundok nang lumago pa sila, at pagdating naman sa tuktok ay umiinom kami ng lambanog upang lalo pang dumami ang aming ihi na pandilig sa mga damo na natutuyo doon dahil mas malapit sila sa araw kaysa mga damo sa kapatagan”… dugtong ko pa, “nature lover kasi kami kaya feeling namin tuwing iihi kami, ito ay nagkokonek sa amin sa lupang inuugatan ni Inang Kalikasan!”


Tungkol sa pagiging vegetarian ko, ang nagtanong na nang-inggit pa habang kumakain ng adobong manok at baboy ay kumpare ko. Tanong niya ay kung bakit ayaw ko daw ng pagkaing masustansiya na ay masarap pa, na ang tinutukoy ay tulad ng kinakain niya. Upang hindi humaba ang usapan tungkol sa pagkain, ang sagot ko sa kanya ay kuripot ako kaya ayaw kong bumili ng karne dahil mahal, di tulad ng gulay na mura lalo na ang mga luma at malalanta na. Alam kong hindi siya nagbubukas ng internet kaya masasayang ang pagod ko sa pagpaliwanag ng mga kabuluhan ng gulay at kung paanong nakakakuha ng sakit sa mga karne. Tinanong ko na lang siya kung nakailang balik na siya sa ospital dahil sa pagtaas ng kanyang blood pressure, lalo pa at nalaman kong na-ospital din siya ng matagal dahil sa mild stroke.


Tungkol sa hilig kong pamimili ng mga damit sa ukayan,  ang nagtanong ay isang kumpareng mahilig umutang sa akin.  Kahit naghihikahos ay maporma dahil ang mga t-shirt niya ay hindi bababa sa halagang 300pesos bawa’t isa – sale pa daw! Tanong niya ay kung bakit hindi ako sa SM mamili dahil maraming magaganda. Sagot kong patanong ay, “bubulatlatin ba ng mga makakasalubong ko ang kuwelyo ng damit ko upang malaman kung ano ang brand nito?” Sa puntong yon, pinaalalahan ko siya tungkol sa naipon niyang utang sa aking umabot na sa mahigit dalawang libo. Habang nakakapagsuot siya ng hindi bababa sa 300pesos na t-shirt, halos araw-araw ay kung sinong kumpare naman ang inuutangan para may pamasahe sa pagpasok sa trabaho!


Tungkol sa pagmumura ko, ang nagtanong ay isang kumare na miyembro ng religious group. Ang tanong ay kung bakit hindi ko na raw itigil ang pagmumura, dahil hindi ito maka-Diyos, at ugaling masama pa . Ang sagot ko ay, “mas mabuti nang nagmumura ako  pero wala namang tinutukoy na tao, kaysa manakit kung ako ay nagagalit, tulad  halimbawa ng pagsabunot ng buhok ng anak o pagpingot ng tenga niya sa harap ng ibang tao, kahit dalagita na ito”. Tiningnan niya ako nang naniningkit niyang mga mata sa galit at nagtanong ng, “ako ba ang pinapasaringan mo, pare?” Ang sagot ko ay isang matamis na ngiting tulad ng kay Mona Lisa habang nagtuturo ako sa itaas! Dahil sa nangyari, nasira ko ang araw niya…galing pa naman siya sa pagsimba dahil Linggo noon!…hindi kasi muna tumitingin sa salamin kung may dumi siya sa mukha bago tumingin sa mukha ng iba! Padabog niya akong tinalikuran at nagbubusang naglakad palayo, pero tinawag ko pa rin, at nang lumingon ay sinigawan ko ng, “Praise the Lord!”.



The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

The “Other Side” of Divisoria (Manila, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


While Divisoria has always been known as the shoppers’ Mecca, especially, during Christmas, there is” another side” of it which I do not want to present as an image of poverty but that of perseverance, patience, and honest endeavor. This is the “other Divisoria” which many people just refuse to see as it might cause them to puke! The accompanying photos show how these honest Filipinos contentedly strive to live in sheer honesty.


The skeptics always say, “it is their fault for going to Manila and suffer deprivation”. These hypocrite skeptics have  TV, radio, and occasionally read newspapers, so they should know that the provinces from where these people who are eking out an honest living on the “other side” of Divisoria, are infested with NPAs, Abu Sayyaf, opportunistic landlords, and loan sharks. For the arrogant, the world is just for those who can afford to live decently. On the other hand, as these skeptics have not endured days of hunger, they may not understand how it is to make a difficult decision to live a hand-to-mouth life in Manila by scavenging in garbage dumps, rather than die of hunger and be in constant fear for dear life in the province.


It is true that the slums have been in existence for many decades now, but there would be no slums had the government ever since the time the nation has become independent, did not get infested with corrupt lawmakers and officials. The slums have been around since the time that deprivation and exploitation have been propagated by learned Filipinos who found their way in the halls of Congress and Senate, as well as, agencies, even at the helm of the government. Unfortunately, the seed of exploitation has grown into an uncontrollable proportion today, making corruption as wrongly and unfairly viewed to be always a part of the Filipino culture.


The striving people from the slums near Divisoria, and other districts of Manila, in this regard, may be viewed by the arrogant as akin to dogs and cats, because of their many children, oftentimes making them utter unsavory remark, such as, “they know they are poor, yet, they keep on having children”.


How I wish these skeptics can also openly, make biting remarks –

  • to the corrupt politicians and government officials, such as, “they graduated from prestigious universities and colleges, yet, they do not know what is right or wrong”


  • to the filthy rich, such as, “they have plenty of money, yet they can’t even throw a piece of bread to a beggar”


  • to the stiff-necked Catholic priests, pastors, and other religious ministers such as, “they are supposed to be representatives of the Lord, but they can’t afford to take a look at the spiritually hungry”


Finally, compared to the disgusting hypocrites, loan sharks, corrupt government officials, arrogant “religious ministers” and conscienceless rich, who are supposed to be learned and intelligent, the people who honestly make a living such as those who belong to the “other side” of Divisoria, are worthy to be called creatures of God – true human beings…slum denizens who are viewed by aforementioned with utter repugnance.


(This blog will definitely, not hurt those who do not belong to the mentioned “classes” of loathsome Filipinos.)



Ang “Perpetual Mother” ng Southern Mindanao


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Kung ang mga deboto ng Mahal na Birhen ay mayroong “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”, sa southern Mindanao ay mayroon namang “Perpetual Mother”. Isa siyang ordinaryong babae subalit may busilak na puso, matulungin hindi lang sa mga ka-pamilya kundi maski sa ibang tao. Sa halip na makibarkada sa iba ay sa mga pari siya nakikipagtulungan para sa mga proyekto nila, lalo na sa “feeding program”.


Panganay siya sa kanilang magkakapatid kaya nang mamatay ang kanilang tatay, siya na ang umalalay sa kanilang nanay upang mangasiwa sa mga kapakanan ng kanyang mga kapatid. Mula noong siya ay estudyante pa, hindi niya nadanasan ang mga ini-enjoy ng mga kabataan ngayon. Nang makapag-asawa ay minalas naman naman magkasakit ito kaya nadagdag sa kanyang mga pasanin na hindi naman niya iniinda. Kahit may pamilya pa siya ay hindi tumigil ang pagtulong niya sa kanyang nanay at mga kapatid.


Ngayong maysakit na ang kanilang nanay, gumawa siya ng iskedyul nila kung paano sila makapag-ambag ng panahon sa pagbantay. Sa gabi, kasama ang isa niyang anak ay sila ang nagbabantay pero hapon pa lan ay sinisiguro na niyang malinis ang nanay nila bago magpahinga. Kinabukasan ay pinapalitan siya ng kapatid na kasama naman ang anak nito. Kung panahon ng check up o emergency na pagtakbo sa ospital, lahat sila ay kumikilos. Maganda rin ang nangyari dahil sa pang-unawa ng mga asawa ng kanyang mga kapatid, pati ang asawa niya, sa kanilang ginagawa para sa nanay nila.


Hindi bumibili ng damit sa mall o department store ang “Perpetual Mother” na tinutukoy ko pati ang kanyang mga kapatid. Ang mga damit nila ay sa ukayan nabili. May maliit silang negosyo na pinagtutulungan nilang asikasuhin at lahat sila ay may suweldo kahit sila ang may-ari. Ang suweldo ng bunsong kapatid ay naitutulong din niya sa kanyang mga pamangkin na umabot yata sa sampu. Wala naman itong reklamo dahil masaya siya sa kanyang ginagawa.


Nang huli kaming mag-usap ay nabanggit ng “Perpetual Mother” na nag-iipon rin pala siya para maipantulong sa mga proyekto ng mga kaibigan niyang pari. Ang iniipon niya ay galing sa kanyang suweldo bilang “empleyado” ng kanilang negosyo. Nalaman ko rin na silang magkapatid ay walang luho sa lahat ng bagay kahit sa pagkain dahil sanay sila sa gulay. Kadalasan, ang tira sa almusal ay siya rin nilang pagkain sa tanghalian at kung suwertehin ay umaabot pa sa hapunan. Hindi pagtitipid ang ginagawa nila kundi talagang “lifestyle” na nila na binabatay sa kaya lang ng kanilang kinikita bilang mga suwelduhang empleyado ng kanilang negosyo.


Walang luho sa katawan ang tinutukoy ko maliban sa pagpapalinis ng mga kuko. Hindi rin siya nagmi-make up at walang alahas. Para sa kanya, sa halip na gastusin ang kinikita sa mga bagay na nabanggit ay nilalaan na lang niya sa mga kabataang tinutulungan ng mga pari. Ayon sa kanya, ang luho ay panandalian lamang at ang yaman ay hindi madadala pagdating ng araw na ang isang tao ay bibiyahe tungo sa kabilang buhay.

Advocacies Cannot Be Dictated…they may only be emulated or copied

Advocacies Cannot Be Dictated

…they may be only emulated or copied

By Apolinario Villalobos


The mistake of some people is that they tend to dictate their advocacies to others, expecting friends to whom they force-feed such to become like them in an instant. What is worse is that if friends just shrug their shoulders or smile with sarcasm, they would feel bad. A person who is sincere in practicing his advocacy is supposed to have only the beneficiaries as the foremost reason for his action, aside from himself who also desires some kind of satisfaction. He should not expect others to imitate him. One should not feel great or “heroic” just because he has helped others. If ever, the manifestations of his action should only serve as signals that others would hopefully receive and will incite them to do the same.


If one’s advocacy for example is to scrimp on many things in life, he should not expect others to do the same because they may have a different lifestyle which makes them spend for as long their purse can afford it. If one is fond of attending seminars to gain knowledge on small-scale business ventures for extra income, he should not force his friends to do the same as they may not really have the time for them, being too sickly. If one loves plants and animals, they should just let their friends see the resulting joy in having them, instead of giving them cuttings, seeds, pups, or kittens….unless, of course, they would ask for them.


If one is fond of helping others, he should not be noisy about it. If they will, however, take notice, he should not elaborate because in all probabilities, many of them will never or refuse to understand his objective. In the first place, the act of giving food, extra money, or befriending the unfortunate need no elaboration why such are being done. Those are simple acts that even a child can understand as feeding the hungry and just being friendly. He should not also tell others to do the same, because they may already be doing “similar” acts which are not necessarily doling out food or money.


Compassion as an advocacy can be expressed in so many ways, the simplest direct way being sincerely smiling at others, not badmouthing them, understanding their situation or indirectly, by praying for them. The act should be sincere enough to be felt by others who perceive it…that in the long run, will hopefully result to its being virally emulated or copied.