The Prayer

The Prayer…

By Apolinario Villalobos


The prayer should be said with heartfelt sincerity,

not only to ask for favor but also, thank Him with alacrity.


The prayer is a spiritual instrument for communication,

with Him in mind, it should be made with sincere intention.


The prayer need not be said loud as for others to hear,

as it is enough that  we bow our head and say it in whisper.


The prayer may be short oozing with love and humility,

the better for it to be heard and appreciated  by the Almighty.




Wrong Information from Textbooks that Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

Wrong Information from Textbooks

That Filipino Students are Forced to Learn

by Apolinario Villalobos


As I gain years in life that slowly push me towards the threshold of my destiny, I cannot help but think about the things that I was “force-fed” as a knowledge-hungry pupil in elementary and a trying student in high school and college. I am now beginning to think that they could be wrong, such as:

  • Reference by Spanish historians to early inhabitants of the archipelago as indolent and have no regard for the future….


The original lines of this contention were written by historians who were members of Spanish expeditions to the “spicery” in the East, referring to the archipelago that later became known as Philippines, as well as, Moluccas. These European historians did not give consideration to the fact that the early inhabitants of the islands during the time subsisted on roots (sweet potato, yam, etc.), domesticated vegetables and animals, and which were abundantly available all year round. There was no need to dry vegetables the way they were doing in Europe due to winter. It should be noted that the main reason why Europeans were dead-set on conquering the “spice islands” of the East, was their need for the sought-after spices to preserve their food. Fresh water and marine fishes were likewise readily available anytime of the year. Unfortunately, such impression stuck even up to the American regime.


  • The impression of Lapu-lapu as being the first “nationalistic Filipino” who fought foreign intruders….


Just like the rest of the early inhabitants of the archipelago, Lapu-lapu was also an “immigrant”. When the Spaniards came, there was no “united Philippines”, yet. Even what is now Manila was ruled by several chieftains. There was also no clear evidence, if Magellan died in the hands of Lapu-lapu, or that, Lapu-lapu was at the battle site which was in knee-deep of water, or just on the shore watching the scene and shouting instructions.


  • The Spaniards came to spread Christianity….


Although, there were friars on board the galleons, those calling the shots were the leaders of the expeditions, such as, breaking of twigs, throwing of rocks and other symbolic acts of conquest, and the making of declaration of conquest in the name of the King or Queen of Spain. In meeting with the chieftains of the islands, the leaders of the conquerors, made clear their intention of making the villages as vassals of Spain. Only when the chiefs conceded that “baptism” into the new faith was made. In other words, the cross was made as an excuse for the conquest.


  • Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago, “Philippines” in honor of the Spanish king, King Philip II….


During the time of the Villalobos expedition, the archipelago was known as the “Islas del Poniente (Sunset Islands). On February 2, 1543, his fleet reached the current town of Baganga, east of Mindanao and named it, “Caesaria Caroli” in honor of Emperor Charles V. They moved farther on and reached Sarangani Bay, named “Antonia” in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of Mexico. Finally, they reached Leyte which during the time was known as “Tendaya”, but which Villalobos named, “Felipina” in honor of the crown prince of Spain, future king who was destined to succeed Charles V. Clearly, the name that Villalobos gave did not refer to the whole archipelago but only to a particular island.


  • The reference to the Filipinos again as “lazy” during the actual Spanish occupation of the populated islands…


When the Spaniards occupied the populated islands of the archipelago, the inhabitants were taxed heavily based on their produce. The natives decided to “take it easy” in working on their land as a major slice of their harvest went to the Spaniards. Aside from the demanded big share from the natives’ harvests, they were also made to render forced labor to build churches. The massive churches in the towns of Luzon and Visayas are evidences of this cruelty.


Today, the topsy-turvy educational system of the Philippines is such that even the K-12 which is not an assurance of job after finishing the so-called “senior high school” has been implemented post-haste without the necessary preparations. The current errors in the workbooks have compounded the existing ones that are needed to be rectified. The many pages of textbooks that have been transformed into “workbooks” are never without errors, yet, erring publishers are not penalized….”how much” is the reason…I just don’t know.




Any Church on Earth is Like a Nation

Any Church on Earth is Like a Nation

By Apolinario Villalobos


There is an adage that says, ”do not judge so that you will not be judged”. What I am doing is not judging but exposing what I see, observe and gather from researches. I have no right to judge, as I too, am a sinner but in other ways, and definitely not regarding exploitation of others. As I cannot just afford to be blind to what are happening around me, I have to let out what I feel. If it happens that some people will agree with me…fine. If the others do not…still fine, as each human who thinks sanely has all the rights to his or her opinion.


The sensitive issue on the Roman Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines has been put forward because of what for me are the unbecoming acts of her leaders, particularly, in dipping their fingers into politics which is no different from what their forerunners, the friars, did during the Spanish period during which they ran the show despite the presence of the town heads. Perhaps, they were afraid that if they showed weakness, their holdings would be taken away from them.


In general, however, the commonality between any Church on Earth and a Nation is their having human leaders, hence, with human weaknesses. That fact alone does not need any further argument as to the question on churches having corrupt leaders. Church leaders are not sons of Gods born in heaven! The frocks, whatever is the style and colors, that the leaders of the various churches wear as a a symbol of “spiritual authority” does not exempt them from committing “sins”. It is even viewed as worse, if despite their vows, they still commit unbecoming acts toward their fellowmen, because they do not only offend the latter but their God, to whom they promise their allegiance and made various vows.


One does not need to study in seminaries to know what is bad, nor in colleges and universities to know what a corrupt act is. The glaring truth is that since the conception of a new life in a woman’s womb, innate bad characteristics are already ingrained in his/her DNA, and are just waiting to be nurtured. In other words, any president, senator, congressman, mayor, priest, bishop, nun, and anybody else for that matter is born sinner and “candidate” to becoming corrupt. In this regard, if one nurtures his bad characters…. that becomes the big problem. Further to this, it must not be assumed then, that the Roman Catholic bishops who are viewed as leaders of their church, are always right in what they are doing!


The problem with these Filipino bishops today, is that they are only leaning on one side – that of the criminals who, for them should not be killed….but what about their victims that they raped, robbed, or killed! If these criminals are allowed to roam the streets, will these bishops guarantee that they will not rape more children, even senior women, rob more innocent commuters, or kill more hardworking neighbors?


These bishops are leaders of the Roman Catholic Church….but what have they done to alleviate poverty and ignorance among their flocks? Why did they allow them to become addicts? If they reply that it is not their “duty” to teach them with “earthly lessons” as they are only concerned about “spiritualities” then they must stop harassing President Duterte with unfounded accusations that are clearly tainted with politics!

Ang Pasko at Bagong Taon


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Paulit-ulit…paulit-ulit, tuwing sasapit ang pasko at bagong taon ang pagsabi na, “tayo ay magmahalan, magbigayan, magpatawaran, at tumulong sa kapwa”. Ni wala man lang masambit na “alang-alang kay Hesus dahil birthday niya”. Para sa KARAMIHAN, ang lahat na dapat gawin ay dahil sa nakasanayan nang bahagi ng espiritwal na kultura. Ganyan din ang nangyayari pagsapit ng bagong taon na hinihintay pa para gawin ang  pagbabago. At, ang nakakalungkot, para sa KARAMIHAN, ang pasko ay kasingkahulugan ng bonus, regalo, pagkain, caroling, party, bagong damit, bagong laruan, atbp. Marami ang dumadalo sa Misa de Gallo na animo ay nagpa-fashion show…nagpapakita ng legs at cleavage.


Sa Pilipinas kung saan ay may pinakamahabang pasko dahil nagsisimula  na Setyembre pa lang, ang gawi ng mga taong masama ay ganoon pa rin. Ang mga kurakot sa gobyerno ay kurakot pa rin. Ang mga adik at pusher ay ganoon pa rin. Ang mga mandurukot at akyat-bahay ay nagnanakaw pa rin. Ang napapansin lang ay ang pagsigla ng mga negosyo ng mga kalakal lalo na ng mararangyang pagkain at laruan para sa mga bata. Ang mga may pambayad sa kuryente ay halos maglagablab ang bahay dahil sa dami ng Christmas lights.


At, nagkakaroon pa ng countdown, pati Misa de Gallo hanggang sa pagsapit ng pasko. Pero habang nagka-countdown, ang KARAMIHAN naman ay tuloy pa rin ang paggawa ng hindi maganda at hihintayin na lang daw nila ang katapusan ng Disyembre para maisama sa listahan ng New Year’s Resolution ang dapat baguhin. Ang nakalista naman, kalimitan ay nasusunod hanggang ikatlo o ikaapat na buwan lamang ng sumunod  na taon.  Ang masaklap, ILAN sa mga kabataan ay ginagamit na dahilan ang Misa de Gallo upang magkita silang magbabarkada at makapagdi-display ng bagong damit, sapatos, at iba pa. Nag-iingay sila sa pamamagitan ng malakas na halakhakan upang makakuha ng atension sa halip na pumasok sa simbahan.


Pagkalipas ng bagong taon, hindi nasunod ang pagdidiyeta…masarap kasi ang adobo, menudo, atbp. Hindi nasunod ang pagtitipid…sayang kasi kung hindi bilhin ang na-sale na handbag, damit, ang promo na tiket para sa Boracay o Hongkong. Hindi nasunod ang pagtigil sa pag-inom ng alak….nakakahiya kasi sa mga barkada kung hindi pagbigyan. Hindi nasunod ang pagtigil sa paghitit ng sigarilyo….nakakapanginig kasi at nakakalagnat kapag walang matikmang usok sa maghapon. Hindi hiniwalayan ang kabit dahil kawawa ang dalawang anak at mas masarap kasi ang luto ng kaysa tunay na asawa. Tuloy pa rin ang pangungurakot dahil ang iba ay hindi rin tumigil. At, napakarami pang ibang “nabali” na pangako!


Kung maging bahagi lang sana ng ating pagkatao ang paggawa ng kabutihan sa kapwa, hindi na kailangang maghintay pa ng pasko at bagong taon para gawin ito. Magiging “routine” na lang sa isang tao ang paggawa ng kabutihan kung mula sa paggising niya sa umaga hanggang sa nakatulog siya sa gabi ay walang bahid ng kasamaan ang kanyang mga sasabihin at ikikilos. Kung walang perang pantulong sa iba, halimbawa, huwag na lang mang- alipusta o magyabang, o di kaya manglamang ng kapwa. Huwag ding maging ganid o kamkam upang walang maapi at maghirap dahil sa epekto ng ginawa.

Ang mga binabalak na gawin tuwing pasko at bagong taon ay pwedeng gawin araw-araw. Ang regalong ibibigay, halimbawa, ay hindi kailangang materyal na bagay.  Ang pagpapakita ng pagmamahal sa kapwa ay walang katumbas na anumang salapi at hindi na kailangang bilhin pa…maging totoo lang sa pagmahal ay okey na. At ang pinakamahalaga, kung araw-araw ay maganda naman ang ginagawa, ibig sabihin ay wala nang dapat baguhin pagdating ng bagong taon….hindi na kailangan pang ipunin ang mga masamang ginawa sa loob ng isang taon upang ilista sa New Year’s Resolution na dapat baguhin KUNO dahil pakitang tao lang pala! Pero dapat isipin na hindi tayo ligtas sa pagmamasid ng ISANG PINAKA-MAKAPANGYARIHAN SA LAHAT na tinatawag sa iba’t ibang pangalan!

The San Pedro Calungsod Parish Church of Tacurong City

The San Pedro Calungsod Parish Church of Tacurong City

By Apolinario Villalobos


My curiosity about the new San Pedro Calungsod parish was triggered by the information about it from Bogz Jamorabon last year. Then I came across the photo-posts of Ruoma “Amor” Maluyo Taganas in his facebook. The photos from exactly a year ago, as it was taken during December, too, showed kids waking up and preparing for the Misa de Gallo and their unguarded moments while resting and taking catnaps. For me, their recorded unguarded moments were manifestations of heartfelt sacrifice. They are the members of the Knights of the Altar of San Pedro Calungsod Parish.


To date, the San Pedro Calungsod parish church is yet, a structure of massive and imposing concrete circular wall within which is the worship area with an altar, several chairs and benches, and covered with rubberized tarpaulin. Though frugally initiated, the effort to put up the foundation can be considered monumental, as the parish has just been established only in October 23, 2014 to serve the faithful who live far from the city, and in barangays such as Montilla, Lachica, the Upper and Lower Katungal, Baras, New Passi, and New Isabela. The parish is politically within the jurisdiction of Barangay New Isabela.


Admirably, the church leader, Amor lives “on the other side” of the city, San Emmanuel which is part of the parish of Our Lady of the Holy Candle, and far from the San Pedro Calungsod. I learned that he patiently motors his way to the parish from his home using a “single” motorcycle. Sometimes, we cannot really tell when the call of devotion would come as it did to Amor and to answer such call, he might be scrimping on some personal needs to save for the fuel of his motorcycle.


The land on which the church stands has been donated by the Notre Dame Educational Association Foundation-Tacurong. The area covered by the parish is partly agricultural, being filled with pockets of African palm, corn, rice, plots of vegetables, as well as, residential, shown by newly-developed subdivisions sliced from lands that saw good old days as rice and corn fields. Not far from it is Tacurong’s famous wildlife sanctuary for migratory birds, the Baras Bird Sanctuary operated by Rey Malana with the financial assistance of the city government. A little farther still, is another tourist landmark of the city, the Vicenteaux International Resort in New Passi, operated by Roger Bernardo, a self-made barrio guy who, through dint of hard work and frugality was able to etch his name in the city’s political landmark and contributed a lot to its economic development.


The parish provides a “short cut” passage to Banga and Surallah, towns of South Cotabato. Surallah is the gateway to T’boli, a tribal community which is among the country’s touristic come-ons for culture enthusiasts. Providing the natural western boundary with Isulan, site of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol, is the Kapingkong River which many locals prefer to call Katungal River. It connects with the Rio Grande de Cotabato and used to teem with crocodiles, but today, only their cousins, the “bayawak” can be found along the banks dense with tall tropical grass and occasional trees. But they may not last for long because they are being hunted for food.


When I visited the parish church with only Amor aware of my arrival, I found volunteers decorating the Mass area for the Misa de Gallo with the bemoustached Fr. Diosdado A. Esguerra, DCC, himself, who was simply clad in t-shirt, denims and slippers. He was a picture of humility and whose fatherly affection to his volunteers was obvious. He melded with them well, as I even thought that he was not the parish priest, had not Amor told me. On the other hand, Amor exudes similar humility duplicated by his prudence, as he does not talk if not spoken to.


The parish is aptly named after the young Filipino saint, San Pedro Calungsod who only had a palm leaf with him to symbolize the coming of the Christian Faith to a Pacific island that he and other Catholic missionaries visited. The faithful of the new parish on the other hand, are one in singing the “Hallelujah” for the realization of their dream…to have a church not far from their home.


I am calling on balikbayan Tacurongnongs to include in their itinerary a visit to the San Pedro Calungsod Church, if they plan to visit T’boli, birdwatch at the Baras Bird Sanctuary and later proceed to the Vicenteaux International Resort in New Passi for a refreshing dip in the pools of spring water. A visit would give them an idea on what to sincerely offer to San Pedro Calungsod. The church is on the left side, after the traditionally called “Crossing Rajah Muda”, if one takes the “short cut” to Banga and Surallah.

Faith Should Never be Wavered by Hatred Toward Some Priests and Nuns

Faith Should Never Be Wavered


By Apolinario Villalobos


It is worrying to note that lately, many faithful in whatever spiritual leanings are becoming more vocal about their hatred toward their parish priest, minister and other church leaders, including nuns. In this regard, their emotion should not affect their steadfast Faith, as they have the liberty to choose which congregation to join. After letting go of their pent up emotion, they should move on. If they do not want, for instance, to see the face of their parish priest, they should attend Mass somewhere else. They have the choice in the meantime, and just go back if another parish priest has been assigned after the hated priest’s tour of duty. If they believe in the power of prayer, they should pray that the hated parish priest be transferred posthaste to another area for reasons that only the Bishop knows. Meantime, I admire the guts of those who openly denounce their parish priest due to his unbecoming acts.


ALL Christian-based churches are monogamous and teach the goodness of the same God which in this regard, even Islam does…. they are there for our appreciation. Hatred should never be nurtured in one’s heart, especially, if it has been triggered by a hated religious leader. In this regard, the Catholic Church should never threaten members with “ex-communication”, just because they love Duterte and advocate sex education. This issue is founded on the glaring choice between: slow death caused by the evil drug and poverty due to uncontrolled sex, especially, among the impoverished… or saving the future of the youth and affording comfort to the financially deprived.


Faith is innately set in our heart, and manifested at the right time through action as dictated by our consciousness as we grow. For some religious denominations, it is dictated by the parents, hence, the baptism of the infant several days after he or she has been born. Other denominations wait until the child has come of required age before baptism is done. For the Catholics, there is a so-called “Confirmation” ceremony for the kids, but I have observed that not a single baptized child has “denounced” the dictated Faith. Understandably, it is because the kids have not yet experienced and observed the unbecoming acts of SOME priests, specifically, their parish priest. As they grow, observations are stored in their consciousness until the time of their crucial decision to attend Mass at another parish, or even move to the fold of any Christian Churches that have proliferated lately, due to spiritual awakening.


All Churches should focus on their spiritual responsibilities and shy away from politics. Special mention can be made on SOME Catholic priests and nuns who join political rallies against the present administration, denouncing the killing of drug lords and pushers. But I doubt if they have ever handed out a piece of 2peso bread to a child begging on the street, or give a 10peso recycled plastic bag to a homeless elderly couple to sleep on the sidewalk or to protect them against the pelting rain. If these hypocrites would say that it is not their duty, but DSW’s as they are corporal matters, then why dip their finger into the dirty politics?  If they insist that the DSW and other related agencies are staffed with paid workers out of the people’s tax, they should bear in their wormed mind that churches live on the tithes or donations of their members, for them to do their spiritual duty. Still, if they tenaciously insist that their conscience dictates that they must denounce Dueterte in front of TV cameras, then…IT IS HIGH TIME FOR THEM TO REMOVE THEIR HABITS (UNIFORM DESIGNATING AFFILIATION TO A RELIGIOUS ORDER OR WHATEVER), AND SHOUT THEIR OUTMODED COMMUNISTIC SLOGANS WITH THE LEFTISTS TO THEIR HEART’S CONTENT. IF I SEE ANY OF THOSE “RELIGIOUS” KUNO ON BROADSHEETS AND TABLOIDS WITH TIGHTLY-CLOSED FIST AND AGAPE MOUTH IN STREET CLOTHES, THEN, I WILL BE OBLIGED TO PRAISE THEM IN A BLOG!


Finally, the noise from these misled and religious misfits (to be clear, only SOME), should not add up to the discontent which peoples around the world are harboring against the Churches, and which even made many of them openly declare their being Atheist. These religious kuno – spiritual hypocrites, are practically leading people away from God by confusing their mind. Their mandate in joining Religious Orders is to propagate spirituality and NOT TO FOMENT UNREST AMONG THE EXPLOITED AND ALREADY CONFUSED PEOPLE.


Ang “Cremation”


Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Nahahati ngayon ang mga Katoliko dahil sa isyu ng “cremation” na ang kautusan ay galing sa Vatican. Bawal nang i-cremate ang bangkay ng Katoliko upang ang abo ay maiuwi sa bahay o mapaghati-hatian ng mga naiwang mahal sa buhay at gawing pendant o palawit ng kuwintas. Dapat ay ilagak sa sementeryo o sa columbarium na pinapagawa ng mga simbahan ngayon. Panibagong negosyo kaya ito ng simbahang Katoliko? Sa mga sementeryo namang pampubliko ang mga patung-patong na mga “apartment” ay umaabot na sa sampung palapag kaya kailangang maghagdan pa ang mga namatayan upang makapagtirik ng kandila. Ang lalong masaklap ay ang maaaring pagkaroon nila ng “stiff neck” dahil sa katitingala sa “apartment” ng kanilang patay  na nasa bandang itaas, upang masigurong hindi mahipan ng hangin ang kandila!


Walang sinasabi ang Bibliya tungkol sa cremation o pagsunog sa bangkay. Ang pinaniniwalaan ng mga Katoliko ay tungkol sa “resurrection of the body” kaya dapat buo ang bangkay kung ilibing. Pero, ang tanong: mabubuo ba uli o mare-“resurrect” ang naagnas nang bangkay pagdating ng “araw ng paghukom”, kung totoo mang meron nito? Hindi kaya magkakagulo dahil ang mga bangkay na naging lupa na ay magkakapormang katawan na naman at maglalakad sa ibabaw ng mundo?


Sa panahon ngayon, ang magagastos sa “disenteng” pagpapalibing ay halos umaabot na sa 100 thousand pesos. Samantala, kung ipa-cremate lang ang bangkay, hindi pa aabot sa 50 thousand pesos ang magagastos, at dahil maiuuwi ang abo ay araw-araw pang madadasalan. Ang mga kaanak na nakatira sa malalayong lugar ay maaari pang makapag-uwi ng ilang kurot ng abo upang magamit na pendant kaya kahit hindi na sila mag-uuwian kung araw ng mga patay ay okey lang. Ano ngayon ang praktikal?


Ang nakasaad sa Lumang Tipan (Old Testament) ng Bibliya ay ang paglibing agad ng bangkay bago lumubog ang araw na sinusunod ng mga Muslim dahil nakalagay din ito sa Koran. Subalit sa kapanahunan ni Abraham, nauso ang pagburol ng bangkay upang paglamayan na ang tagal ay depende sa yaman ng namatayan. Ibig sabihin, nagkakasalungat ang nakalagay sa Bibliya. Noon ay malawak pa ang mga bakanteng lupa na pwedeng paglibingan ng mga patay at kahit sa kuweba ay pwede na, subalit ngayon ay hindi na dahil kahit ang taong buhay ay nakikitulog na rin sa ibabaw ng mga nitso!


Batay sa kasaysayan ay talagang ginagawa ang pagsunog sa bangkay, subalit ito ay gawain ng mga pagano. Para consistent ang simbahang Katoliko, dahil halos lahat naman ng ginagawa nito ay hango sa tradisyong pagano, sana ay hayaang magdesisyon ang namatayan kung iuuwi sa bahay ang abo o ilalagak sa columbarium ng simbahan. Wala naman daw kaparusahang kaakibat ang utos ng Vatican dahil wala naman itong paraan upang malaman kung sinunod o sinuway ang kautusan. Kung ganoon ay bakit pa naglabas nito kung inaasahan din lang na masusuway ng maraming Katoliko na may praktikal na pananaw sa buhay? Kung ang kasagraduhan nga ng kasal ay nasisira, ang tungkol sa cremation pa kaya? Pati mga dokumento ng kasal at binyag ay napepeke na rin dahil sa kagalingan ng makabagong teknolohiya, kaya ano pa ang silbi ng pag-iingay na ito ng Vatican tungkol sa kung ano ang dapat gawin sa bangkay na wala nang silbi dahil ang sinasabing kaluluwa na bigay ng Diyos ay nakawala na mula dito?


Ang may pinakamakabuluhang magagawa ng Vatican ay ang pagbigay ng pansin sa “day off” ng mga pari tuwing Lunes kaya bawal ang pagpabendesyun ng patay sa simbahan sa araw na yan, at ang ginamit na dahilan ay upang makapagpahinga kuno ang staff ng kumbento, ganoong silang mga pari mismo ang may gusto nito. Ilang staff ba ng kumbento ang magsusulat sa record book o maghahanda ng mga forms para pirmahan ng namatayan? Ilang pari ba ang magmimisa at magbabasbas ng patay? Kung isa lang naman, ay bakit hindi gumawa ng magkahiwalay na iskedyul ng day- off para sa parish priest at assistant niya, pati sa mga staff ng kumbento upang sa loob ng isang buong linggo ay palaging may nagbabantay sa kumbento at may pari din? Dahil sa “day-off” na yan, para na ring pinapatigil ng simbahang Katoliko ang pag-inog ng mundo ng mga miyembro nila ng isang araw sa loob ng isang linggo!


Hindi pwedeng sabihing “tao lang sila at kailangan ng pahinga”, dahil dapat ay alam nilang ang pinasok nilang propesyon ay “spiritual” kaya nangangailangan ng sakripisyo. Kung mahina ang katawan nila sa ganitong uri ng propesyon, maghubad sila ng sotana at pumasok sa ordinaryong trabaho sa opisina o kung saan man….lalo na ngayong naglilipana ang mga Call Centers!


The Priest is a Painter…Fr. Bong Villalobos


By Apolinario Villalobos


Despite his busy schedule as assistant secular priest who is assigned to numerous areas such Nueva Ecija, Mandaluyong, Quiapo, Sta. Cruz, and today, Caloocan, Fr. Bong still has the time to delve on painting. Even during his student days, he has been expressing his inner feelings and emotions through sketches and paintings. Aside from painting, he has drafted a book on the discipline of meditation complete with inspiring religious figures. He is a member of the Tuesday Club, an active organization of painters who holds exhibits occasionally.


During our early morning meeting, he gave in to my request to take photos of his paintings available at the time, as some are displayed in the office of a friend. He also promised to show the portfolio that contains a complete set of his paintings. I was fortunate during my visit because his mother, Aurora, was around and also consented to my request for a photo opportunity with her son. In my future blog, the rest of his paintings from the portfolio shall be shared with viewers.





On Life, Love, Faith, and Death

On Life, Love, Faith, and Death

By Apolinario Villalobos


Nobody chose to be born. The new life developed in the womb of the woman is the result of her copulation with a man, done either with love or just plain lust. That is why there are so-called “bundle of love or joy” of married couple some of whom sign divorce papers after five years or a little more of companionship, or “unwanted child” of a rape victim. When the fetus is delivered into the world as an infant, its innocence and fragility make it helpless in the hands of the people who take care of it. Lucky are those who are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth, but, woe to those born of impoverished mother whose dry and wrinkled breast cannot provide even a single drop of milk.


There is a very popular counsel from the religious conscience groups which says, “…thank the Lord for the life He gave, and that He alone can also take back…” which implies that He is responsible for all the life on earth. They add that man should do the rest to survive as God also gave him intelligence. If this is so, can man be blamed if he decides to do the easiest-to-do crimes?  If a criminal committed rape and murder resulting to the distress of the victim’s loved ones, why can’t he be penalized justly, instead of being “rehabilitated”  which the God-fearing human rights groups are insisting, when there is no guarantee that he will not repeat such vicious acts and eventually claim more victims? As the choice to commit crimes is man’s decision, God has nothing to do with it, hence, His will is not being violated, so that whatever corporal penalty imposed on the criminal is just appropriate. On the other hand, if man is pre-destined, why work hard, if everybody is destined for his or her place in this world as willed by God?


I have heard stories of people struggling for a better life and even witnessed some of them doing all the best they can to provide decent meals to their families three times a day. The desperate are pushed by circumstances to commit crime. The weak who cannot bear the suffering commit suicide. Along this line, many valedictorians and summa cum laudes are beaten to better and best opportunities by those who have barely earned passing grades in college…proof that “being at the right place, at the right time” really works and not the “God-given intelligence”. In other words, shall we go back again to the presumption that God willed man to live according to His plan?


On the other hand, many disease-ridden patients who are suffering for long are not given the choice to “rest” for good. It is against the law of the land, governments would say. It is against God’s will, the religious groups would say. In the first place, if it is not the choice of man to be born, why not give him the option to end his life if he finds that the world is not for him or if he feels that he is already exhausted or burned out…having done everything even for the sake of others? Most especially, why burden for instance, the family of a dying man with mounting hospital and drug bills just because choosing to die translates to committing a sin? Why wait until the hopelessly sick man has become comatose before a doctor may give consent to the family to unplug the machine that makes his heart beat, as he is already brain-dead?


I would like to make it clear that I am thankful for my life, though I did not choose to be born, and this dissertation is not meant to influence others to leave their religious communities. I know that so many humans have the same confusing questions that I have stated earlier. I am just being loud about them, while they may have chosen to be quiet. What I ask is of them at this juncture, is to do what is universally accepted as good, based especially, on the simple Golden Rule…be they, are atheist or religiously zealot human beings who believe every word uttered by their preacher. Just do good and nothing shall definitely go awry…


Simpleng Tanong na Ikinahihiyang Itanong ng Iba: May Loud Speaker o Sound System na Kaya Noong Panahon ni Moses

Simpleng Tanong na Ikinahiyang Itanong ng Iba:

May Loud Speaker o Sound System

Na Kaya Noong Panahon ni Moses?

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Huwag sanang magalit sa akin ang makakabasa ng titulo lang. Hindi ako namimilosopo dahil ang tanong ko ay simple at maaaring kinahihiya lang na itanong ng ibang nagbabasa ng Bibliya dahil baka pag-isipan silang “simple minded”…o bobo. Hindi ko rin kinokontra ang Bibliya dahil isa ito sa pinakapaborito ko, pati Koran, Webster Dictionary, at National Geographic.


Kaya ako nagtatanong nito ay hindi ko maunawaan kung paanong narinig halimbawa si Moses ng libo-libong mga Israelitas na tumakas mula sa Ehipto at naglakbay sa disyerto sa loob ng 40 taon hanggang sa sila ay pumirmi sa “Pinangakong Lupain”. Hinati ang mga Israelita sa 12 na tribu noong nagreklamo si Moses sa tinawag niyang “Lord”. Nahirapan siya sa pamamahala sa kanila dahil sa katigasan ng kanilang ulo na humahantong sa maingay na pagreklamo. Upang mabawasan ang kanyang pasanin ay pinasailalim ang mga tribu sa kani-kanilang “prinsipe”. Subalit ito ay nangyari sa bandang huling yugto na lang ng kanilang paglalakbay sa disyerto. Ganoon pa man, kahit nahati na sila, malaking hindi hamak pa rin ang kanilang mga numerong daan-daang libo. Kung sa grupo ngang wala pang isang libo ang mga miyembro ay hindi na nagkakarinigan, paano na kung daan-daang libong katao pa?


May isinasaad sa Bibliya na gumamit daw sila ng tambuli at bawat tribu ay may kanya-kanyang uri ng tunog nito. May mga tunog ding naghuhudyat ng dapat nilang gawin tulad ng pagtigil sa paglakad, pagtayo at pagbaklas ng tent nila at ng tabernakulo, pagsimula uli ng lakad, etc., pero sapat na kaya ang tunog ng tambuli o trumpeta? Kung walang loud speaker, gumamit kaya sila ng “message relay system”, isang sistema na pagpasa ng mga mensahe mula sa nakarinig na nasa unahan at nagsasabi sa mga nasa likod nila, na pinapasa naman nila sa nasa likuran nila, hanggang makarating sa mga nasa pinakalikurang bahagi?


Kung ginabayan sila ng “pillar of fire” o sa literal na translation ay isang animo’y “nag-aapoy na haligi” kung gabi, at sa araw naman ay ulap na animo ay nagliliwanag….. ang mga ito kaya ang nakatulong upang magkarinigan sila…paano?


Noong nagsalita si Hesus sa isang burol kung saan ay nagkaroon ng milagro na pagkasya ng pagkain para sa mga libo-libong tagasunod niya mula sa iilang piraso ng isda at tinapay, gumamit kaya siya ng mikropono upang marinig ng lahat ang mga sinabi niya? Kung sumigaw man siya sa pagsalita, umalingawngaw kaya ang kanyang boses kahit walang mikropono upang marinig ng lahat?


Maraming sinasabing milagrong nangyari noong panahon ng Bibliya na pinaniniwalaan ng mga nanalig, subalit ang tila nakaligtaan ay ang aspeto ng komunikasyon, lalo na kung paanong magkarinigan ang mga daan-daang libong tao kung magsalita ang kanilang mga lider at nang panahong namahagi ng kanyang mga salita si Hesus.


Marami pa yatang sikreto sa archive ng Vatican ang hindi pa naipapamahagi sa mga nananampalataya upang hindi masira ang tiwala nila sa mga namumuno, lalo na sa santo papa.

Dapat nating isaalang-alang na hindi kawalan ng tiwala o pananampalataya ang pagtatanong bagkus ito ay nangangahulugan ng interes sa panig ng nagtatanong. Paano mo halimbawang mamahalin ang isang tao kung hindi mo lubusang kilala ang kanyang pagkatao? O di kaya ay, papaano mong masasabing ligtas na kainin ang isang pagkaing hindi pamilyar sa yo kung hindi mo aalamin kung ito ba ay nakaka-allergy, or nakaka-LBM (nakakatae o loose bowel movement), etc?