“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.

Two Incidents that Made Me Have an Utmost Respect to Governor Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat

Two Incidents that Made Me Have an Utmost Respect

To Governor Pax Mangudadatu of Sultan Kudarat Province

By Apolinario Villalobos


I do not know the guy personally, except as  being a well-loved governor of Sultan Kudarat based on the stories that I have heard. But two incidents that I personally encountered confirmed the stories about his benevolence and fatherly character.


During the Kalimudan Festival 2017, I attended the Rural Health Workers’ Day at the Capitol Gym after missing the Children’s Day, the day before. I needed to have something to blog about the festival that I have missed for several years. I took photos of the different groups that took turns in showing their patiently-rehearsed numbers at the center of the basketball court. On the stage was the presidential table where officials including the honorable Pax Mangudadatu were seated. Later, I sat two paces away from him and had a chance to observe him.


When lunch was served, he did not touch his food while the rest were enjoying theirs. He was looking at the Rural Workers from the different municipalities of the province, and who were occupying the bleachers and it dawned on me that he was also observing the Jollibee reps who were distributing packed lunches. After awhile, he stood up and took the microphone through which he asked the Jollibee reps to say, “please, pakibigyan ang lahat ng mga tao ng pagkain… at baka pwedeng bilisan lang…”. He did not return to his seat, until everybody had their lunch in styro box.


Just recently, I dropped by his office but found him surrounded with staff and visitors. His secretary made take a seat not far from him, so that we could immediately talk after the last staff with documents for signature would have left. What caught my attention was his softly- spoken remark to a staff who explained to him about a project that was intended for Muslims. He said, “ayaw ko ng ganyan….gusto ko para sa Christians at Muslims….hindi lang Muslims”. The staff withdrew the documents. When he noticed me, he smiled and shook my hands and before he stood up for a meeting in another room, we had a comparably lengthy talk.


For those who are not familiar with the province of Sultan Kudarat, Muslims and Christians inhabit its lowlands and the highlands are by the Lumads. The province used to be part of North Cotabato when the original Cotabato Province was divided into two – North and South. Later, North Cotabato was further divided resulting to the creation of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao. Isulan is the capital town of Sultan Kudarat.

Pax Mangudadatu

Love of the Mother

Love of the Mother

By Apolinario B Villalobos


When it comes to giving love –

Nothing can beat the one

Who nurtured us within her

And for months endured our weight

A burden that she carried –

Until with hard drawn effort

Brought us forth into this world.


While in her womb

We partake of the air she breathes

We partake of the food she eats

We partake of the emotions she feels

Her blood makes our heart beat

And careful that we float with ease

She moves with well-guarded steps.


Our heart that beats is her mark in us

Greater than anything, we owe it to her –

She who cries when we succumb to sickness

And dry her breast for precious milk…

Our life, we owe to our dear mother

She, we should love more than any other.



See with Our Heart, Feel with Our Kindness

See with Our Heart,
Feel with Our Kindness
By Apolinario Villalobos


Our eyes perceive the world
That’s all that they can do;
But there’s more beneath
The surface of everything
That only the heart can see –
If strengthened with fidelity.


Touching the lives of others
Some do with false charity
They, who think, food is enough
They, who think, money is fine
But given devoid of kindness
All effort becomes worthless.


Look around with our heart
Touch others with kindness
Those are what we should do
To realize our purposes in life –
Live and share, love sincerely
And thank the Lord as we pray!


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.

Why I Blog

Why I Blog

By Apolinario Villalobos


Many people who have been reading my blogs are wondering why I am doing it…worse, some even presume that I am being paid for such emotionally tedious undertaking. Plainly and simply, I tell them that it is my advocacy. I hate to use such word, but I might cause them to raise their eyebrows if I tell them, it is my hobby. I am serious in what I am doing and it is not just for fun. I am not being paid but some viewers of my blogs send help for the subject personalities whom I write about, and which are handled with much care. For this endeavor, I am taking so much risk as my security is also at stake in view of my blogs on corruption.


I always ask myself that if I will not share with others what I perceive and experience “along the way”, who will do it? If I have to be brutally frank, I dare say that many people are numb, naïve, blind, deaf, etc. to what are happening around us. One viewer even had the temerity to send me the message, “you think you are a great writer, huh!”. He is not an fb friend and most hurting is that he is also a Filipino. I just presumed that he is a friend of a politician whom I have been jabbing with my posts, which being “public” are open to all internet browsers. As an information, I have four other blog sites aside from facebook. My first facebook page has even been hacked many months back so I can no longer open it, forcing me to create another one with my photo on it. Unfortunately, many friends still use the hacked fb despite the notices that I have posted.


I identify with people whom I blog as I had my own struggles to be able to finish my studies, having been orphaned at a young age. Growing up, I observed the corrupt practices in the government which have been deeply impressed in my mind. I observed so much arrogance of some supposedly “shepherds” of the various churches. Having gone around the country, I saw poverty in its various levels and perceived its ugly faces drawn on my impoverished countrymen. I would like to let the world know about the benevolence of unsung heroes in our midst. Also, let others know, Filipinos and foreigners that the country is a cluster of islands worth discovering for their unique and varying splendor. I would also like to serve as other people’s conscience and mirror. Most of all God gifted me with the ability to write and I know that He did not give it to me to be kept selfishly, but with a purpose. Those are the reasons why I blog.


What give me the drive to go on are the inspiration and encouragement from those who are kind enough to appreciate what I am doing aside from enhancing what I share with their comments and rectifications on what they think should be improved. I am also encouraged to go on if what I share could successfully elicit relevant comments, especially, about blogged people whose characters are worthy of emulation, not just appreciation.  I believe that I am just doing my share of what should be done as intended by God. I am not a doctor, nor a professor, nor a pastor, nor a cook, nor a policeman, nor a businessman, etc….but I have a purpose, too, in this world and that is….as a simple writer.


I always imagine that the world is like a jigsaw puzzle composed of parts with various shapes that snugly fit together. While others could be triangle, circle, square…I could be a rectangle….that is I, as a blogger, and with my own shape, I am trying my best to neatly fit into this world. By the way, I need prayers, too, to keep me keep me and my advocacy alive, at least even for just a little longer.

Pagpupunyagi (Kuwento ng buhay ni Elmer Festin)

Happy Fathers’ Day!



(Kuwento ng Buhay ni Elmer Festin)


By: Apolinario B Villalobos


Ang landas ng buhay na ating binabagtas

Mahirap tahakin lalo na kung tayo’y nakayapak –

Mga lubak na hindi mapansin ay ating natitisod

Matatalas na batong di maiwasan ay nayayapakan

Pati tinik ng dahong mariang sumusugat sa ating talampakan.


Ang taong hindi handa sa pagtahak nitong landas

Sa ilang hakbang pa lamang niyang magawa –

Kahihinaan na ng loob at pangangatugan na ng mga tuhod

Hindi malayong babalik sa pinanggalingan

Di kaya’y mangingipuspos at sasalampak na lamang sa daan.


May isang taong sa murang gulang ay naglakas-loob

Nagpakatatag at taimtim na nagdasal sa Panginoon

Na harinawa sa paglisan sa sinilangang Bantoon, isla ng Rombon

Patnubayan siya sa kanyang paglayag at tatahaking landas

Bigyan din ng malinaw na pag-iisip at katawang malakas.


Masakit iwanan ang isang bayang tulad ng Bantoon

Islang animo’y tuldok sa mapa ng Romblon

Di man pansinin, ito’y mahalagang itinuring

Ng mga Kastilang dumating noong unang panahon sa ating bansa

Kaya’t sa aklat ng ating kasaysayan siya’y naitala.


Ito ang kuwento ng buhay ni Elmer Festin

Isang taong may ngiting agad mapapansin

Napadpad sa Cebu kung saan siya’y nahikayat

Suungin ng buong tapang, masalimuot na buhay –

Na wala namang pag-atubili at matatag niyang hinarap.


Ilang taon din siyang dito ay nagturo

Naglinang ng dunong ng mga kabataan

Hanggang sa siya ay kawayan ng kapalaran

Na nangako sa kanyang sa dakong katimugan

Siya ay makakatamo ng pinapangarap na kasaganaan.


Dala ay kakaunting pera na sa bulsa ay kakalog-kalog

Pilit winaglit ang pag-aalala at takot sa dibdib na kakabog-kabog

Hindi rin alintana ang mga tuhod na nangangatog

Siya ay naglakas-loob na pumalaot at tumango’ sa tawag ng kapalaran –

Ipinasa-Diyos na lamang, magiging bunga ng kapangahasan.


Sa Notre Dame, sa Tacurong siya ay napadpad

Paaralang sa bayang ito ay pinagkakapitagan

Limang mga gusali nang panahong iyon ang kanyang nadatnan

Pinangangasiwaan ng mga pare at madre na Oblates of  Mary kung tawagin

At katulad ni Elmer, pagtulong sa kapwa ang sinusunod na adhikain.


Nakitaan siya ng kakaibang sigla sa pagturo

Dahil hindi lang sa mga aklat, mga estudyante niya ay natuto

Naibahagi rin niya ang kaunti niyang kaalaman

Pati sa gymnastics na para sa mga estudyante’y bagong larangan

Kaya napasigla niya ang dati’y matamlay na kapaligiran.


Anupa’t si Elmer ay nakilala hindi lang sa loob ng Notre Dame

Dahil ang galing niya sa pagturo, sa iba ay nakatawag pansin

Kaya nang magkaroon ng Polytechnic Institute sa bayang ito

Binuksan nila para sa kanya ang kanilang pinto

Upang makibahagi sa kagalingan ng kanyang pagturo.


Sa bago niyang malawak na kapaligiran at hitik sa iba’t ibang halaman

Lalo pang sumidhi ang kanyang hangad na makahubog ng kabataan

Hindi naman nasayang ang marangal niyang adhikain

Dahil taos-pusong pasasalamat ay kanyang naramdaman at natanggap

Mula sa mga estudyanteng binigyan niya ng pag-asa ang mga hinaharap.


Natupad ang pangarap ni Elmer na maibahagi ang kanyang kaalaman

Napatunayan niya na kakapusan sa pera ay hindi hadlang

Hindi rin nasayang ang kanyang pagpunyagi magmula pa sa kanyang kabataan

Kahi’t sa pagtahak niya sa landas ng buhay siya’y nakayapak lamang

Dahil alam niyang sa dulo nito’y mayroong walang hanggang kapayapaan.



(Si Mr. Festin ang nagbigay ng pagkakataon sa may-akda upang mahasa niya ang kanyang kakayahan sa pagsulat. Hinirang siya ni Mr. Festin bilang patnugot ng “The Green Ember”, pahayagan ng high school department ng Notre of Tacurong noong 1966, kahi’t siya ay nasa first year pa lamang. Ang tiwala at dagdag kaalaman sa pagsulat na ibinigay sa kanya ni Mr. Festin ang naging kasangkapan niya sa pagharap sa mga pagsubok ng buhay. Kulang ang mga kataga ng tula upang maipadama ng may-akda ang taos-pusong pasasalamat.)

elmer festin

Tacurong: The Cosmopolitan City of Southern Mindanao…thanks to Mayor Lina’s Compassionate Administration

Tacurong: The Cosmopolitan City of Southern Mindanao

…thanks to Mayor Lina Montilla’s Compassionate Administration

By Apolinario Villalobos


The tag of Tacurong City, “Limpyo Tacurong”, means “Clean Tacurong”. This is an offshoot of the Resolution 021-6th SP, Series of 2014 that created the “LIMPYO KALOG” PROGRAM primarily authored by Hon. Psyche Sucaldito, with co-authors: Hons. Joselito L. Cajandig, Benjamin P. Fajardo, Jr., Welson U. Ferrer, Cirilo Y. Flores, Rodrigo P. Jamorabon, Ariel Ferdinand M. de la Cruz, Jose Remos P. Segura, and Paulino R. Ledda . The resolution was necessitated by the onset of dengue fever during the time, making the cleaning of canals/waterways and street potholes with stagnated water as targets. The resolution also called for the participation of residents and stall owners in the market and whose trades required water, such as fish and meat vendors, carinderias and beauty salons. The ordinance enjoined practically, all Tacurongnons to keep their premises generally clean, hence,  also required the cutting of grasses that mosquitoes use as breeding grounds during the rainy season.


When I visited the city lately, particularly, the wet market, I was impressed by the sight of a buko juice vendor sweeping the area around his pushcart and table for the plastic tumblers and juice jar. He also neatly stacked empty green buko shells and their trimmings inside the pushcart. Beside him during the time was also an ambulant fish ball vendor who was picking up barbecue sticks and plastic tumblers that he deposited in a garbage bag positioned not far from his cart.


When I entered the wet market, I was equally impressed by the generally clean fish and meat sections, and was further surprised because even the stalls for the fresh fish such as mudfish, catfish, tilapia, and gourami, did not give out a foul smell! The floor was of course, wet but not “flooded” with water from the concrete stalls, as the latter were constantly wiped by the vendors.


What I observed were manifestations that the “LIMPYO KALOG” has been consistently implemented. A “bonus” for the shoppers is the utmost courtesy of the public market personnel such as, gate overseers and the public toilet attendants. The city administration is also very humane as regards the collection of the daily local market tax imposed on vendors. I found out that the “arkabala” that the vendors pay is very affordable at 5 to 10 pesos. The incumbent mayor, Lina Montilla clearly understands the situation of the small business folks who try to make both ends meet in order to survive. In this regard, one can find old women selling wild vegetables such “kulitis” (local spinach), kangkong, lupô, and small snails, that they gather from rice fields, or children selling banana blossoms, the proceeds from which may not even be enough to buy rice that could feed a family of four for two days…yet, they persist in doing their honorable trade rather than beg.


The city is not rich compared to her contemporaries. It is for this reason that much-desired projects take some time to be realized. But, what is important at the moment, though, is the peaceful co-existence of the Muslims and Christians, be they neighbors or vendors. The city has even taken an extra step that gave her a compassionate image – by welcoming tricycle drivers from the neighboring towns of Quirino, Buluan, Lambayong, Tantangan, and Isulan. This is the reason, perhaps, why hospitals, clinics, barber shops, restaurants, groceries, and beauty parlors pockmark the length of avenues and the public market, as they also serve the residents of the mentioned towns that surround the city. All are manifestations of “goodwill” for which the city has been known for…or simply put, the city of Tacurong is not selfish…or shall we call it, economic strategy?


The influx of shoppers from neighboring towns could be observed during market days such as Wednesday and Saturday during which all alleys of the market are filled with farm produce from as far as Esperanza, Bagumbayan, Isulan, Lambayong, Buluan, Quirino, New Iloilo and Tantangan, and marine products from General Santos City, Davao, and Zamboanga. The air is filled with intermingling of dialects such as Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Ilocano, Maranao, Iranun, Maguindanaoan, and of course, Tagalog. Haggling is encouraged by vendors themselves, as most of them had to dispose of their wares at noon time. Interestingly, prevalent is the use of “’gâ”, the contracted form of “palanggâ” or “pangga” which in Tagalog means, “mahal”, and in English, “love”. When one haggles in the market, he or she says, “pila ni ‘gâ ?” (love, how much is this?)… or if one asks a friend if he or she has taken her meal, the question is, “nakakaon ka na, ‘ga?”the word is used with honest brotherly and sisterly connotation, without even a faint trace of carnal desire.


Tacurong City’s strategic location at the crossroads of South Cotabato, North Cotabato/Davao, and Maguindanao, has not just made her as some sort of the nucleus of the region’s commerce, but has also given her an impression as the COSMOPOLITAN CITY OF SOUTHERN MINDANAO.


The Elisa P. Bernardo Elementary School in New Passi, Tacurong City

The Elisa P. Bernardo Elementary School

In New Passi, Tacurong City

By Apolinario Villalobos


It was a scorching afternoon when I was invited by Judith Bernardo to New Passi, a barangay at the foot of Magon Hill, after we met at a party, hosted by a cousin. I deemed it another adventure, so I accepted her invitation as I was curious about her project or donation for the school named after their mother, Elisa Panizales Bernardo. As I had still time to be spent in the area, I thought it would be a worthwhile trip.


From the city of Tacurong, we drove over the paved highway, turning left at the junction where the San Lorenzo Ruiz parish church was located, just across the Cordero mango grove. Both sides of the road were shaded by the thickly-foliaged African palms. Very noticeable was the fast development of Baras, where the Bird Sanctuary and the Jarell Resort are located, as well as, Upper Katungal. Practically, houses of indigenous materials stood proudly side by side with colorful concrete ones which were made more interesting by their contemporary architecture. I even noticed a lodging inn with an obviously western block design. Very noticeable, too were the number of small convenience stores (sari-sari stores) and small stalls filled with wet market commodities, that lined both sides of the tidy road. Their presence manifested the affluence of the residents.


We dropped by the Barangay Hall of Baras where Judith delivered donated sets of aprons needed for a certain project. I learned that she has been engrossed in various projects in Baras and New Passi for several years now. When we reached New Passi, we went straight to the site at the back of the Principal’s office where a two-burner stove of concrete and bricks was being constructed. It was intended for the feeding program of the school for the children of poor farmers, and which was initiated by Judith’s elder sister, Nita. As a background, the feeding program was conceived by Nita when she learned about the heavy absences every Monday and Friday. She was told by the principal at the time, Charlie Braga, that many students are impoverished, so that most of them would go to school without taking breakfast at home. From then on, Nita regularly donated I sack of rice which volunteer mothers and teachers cooked into gruel.


On the other hand, the sight of teachers and mothers cooking gruel on makeshift stove on the ground made Judith decide to have a sturdy stove made for them. The design is such that combustible wastes except those made of rubber and plastic could be used as fuel. She personally looked around for able masons who could undertake the construction.


Adjacent to the school is a small parcel of rice field donated by the late Serafin Bernardo to the school so that it would be able to generate an income for projects. Since the time of Charlie Braga as principal, it was well-maintained.  Incidentally, Mr. Braga has been transferred to the neighboring school of Baras as a promotion. He was also responsible for the picturesque landscape of the school, the main avenue of which is lined with hardwood trees. Pockets of flower gardens are also distributed throughout the campus.


The other concern of both Judith and her sister, Nita is the lack of library. There had been plans for its construction but unexpected problems would always crop up. On our way back to the city, Judith confided her wish that someday the project would be realized, but realistic that I am, I told her that assistance from concerned sectors is necessary, First, a structure had to be built and second, books are needed to fill the shelves. The project would surely involve a considerable amount. I confided that I have the same wish….but with a hope that benevolent hands would “touch” the school someday.







In Tacurong City

By Apolinario Villalobos


I knew him since high school days as a hardworking student who consistently exerted an effort to be part of various extra-curricular activities due to his oozing self-confidence. Volunteerism was innate in his character as he likewise, unselfishly did his best to contribute for the success of projects in which he was involved. He even tried the terpsichorean group when he joined our Choreographers’ Club under the tutelage of Mrs. Ching Romero and Mrs. Leonor Pagunsan. Among those whom I could recall who were members aside from me and Ed were, Homero Palatolon, the late Hernanie Baclaan, Domingo Cargo, Ruel Lucentales, Ed Collado, Ming Barnachea, Jaime de la Rosa, Baltazar Subando, the late Jaime Mariῆas, Leo Villalobos, Cirilo Baldonado, Pedrito Oani, Ramon Laforteza, Rommel Angel, and Eduardo Nanalis.


Upon graduating from college , he worked for the newly-opened Metrobank in our town and also tried teaching, but finally, decided to open the first-ever speech clinic for the whole region of southern Mindanao that includes the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and cities of General Santos and Koronadal, as well as Tacurong which was yet, a town then. The clinic was based in the latter, with the structure seemed to float in the midst of newly-opened subdivisions and rice fields, far from downtown. Clearly, it was a financial risk on his part, but he went ahead because he wanted to help the young of the region improve their communications skill.


His hard-earned savings went to the initially, box-type structure that housed the speech clinic, the procurement of several units of desk-top computers and high-tech gadgets to ensure an effective tutorial program. The project was a dream- come- true for Ed, as he loved public speaking. He did not pursue masters in any field related to the trade that he chose, learning the ropes by self-study, instead.


Despite the distance from the downtown area, the speech clinic grew in popularity by word of mouth. Electric power was also intermittent during the time, so that the comfort of students was jeopardized. Nevertheless, both students and proprietor persisted. In time, the clinic trained local talents as well as those from neighboring areas, and who were sent by their respective school to compete in inter-school public speaking competitions….and almost always, they would come home victorious.


Ed confided that their family love food and cooking so that when he saw an opportunity to diversify, he chose catering and hosting of social activities. He expanded the speech clinic facilities to include a pictorial corner in the garden, a big banquet area and air-conditioned mini-auditorium fitted with high-tech gadgets. Locals and patrons from neighboring towns were delighted so that in no time, the ANGEL’S FOODS AND PALOMADO SPEECH COMPLEX became deluged with reservations. Families, as well as, students who graduated from the different schools in the city also held their reunions in the complex. Even government agencies that held seminars found the facilities amenable, as could be gleaned from their comments.


When I visited the complex lately, summer classes for kids were ongoing. From the auditorium I could hear youthful voices with American accent delivering elocution pieces. Ed, himself, opened the classes with initial amplified tutorials.


When finally, we had a serious chat in his office, he told me about his long list of reservations and his schedule of procurements for the things that he would need to satisfy the requirements of patrons whose reservations were made months ahead of their scheduled activities. The whole of May is filled with scheduled activities. He spoke in slowly-spoken words and low-tone because of a stroke that made him bed-ridden for several months. The unfortunate occurrence bloated his monthly personal expense by more than Php20,000 due to the drugs that  he needed for recuperation and maintenance of a feeble health. Instead of pitying him, I admired his persistence to walk slowly on his own, without even the help of a cane, while his left hand limply rested on his side.


But the most that I admire in his person is his big heart because of the extended family that he maintains, and consisting of relatives, the young ones of which, being sent to school as far as Davao city. To reciprocate his kindness, they help him in the operation of the food and speech clinic complex.


The Most Benevolent must have let him live longer because of his advocacy founded on unselfish compassion!