Use the God-given Talent Properly and for the Benefit of Others



By Apolinario Villalobos


If God gave you the talent to invent gadgets, come up with what are useful to make life comfortable. If He gave you the talent to sing…make others happy, instead of singing to yourself inside the bathroom. If He gave you the talent to write and which you have discovered, perhaps, inadvertently, help others to discover theirs, and write what are relevant and helpful….do not foment misunderstanding among readers by coming up with lopsided information or exposes.


Today, the counterpart of the print media journalists are the so-called “bloggers”, those who write on the cyberspace sites, most particularly, on facebook which is the most popular. Unfortunately, many of the so-called “bloggers” use their talent for purely bashing intent. They post photos and short write-ups which most often contain or imply negative messages about a person, entity, or the government. Blogging, especially, visuals of untoward crime-related incidents could help in solving cases, but not the photos with short captions that present only one side. There is nothing wrong with posting negative comments, but such should be “balanced” with the blogger’s suggestions on how what he observed to be bad can be transformed into something good… an opinion for which he is entitled.


Many so-called bloggers have obviously are abusing the free opportunity offered by the IT sites purportedly for the benefit of humanity. Many of them feel great just because they have posted just anything to solicit attention to their site. Blogging should be viewed as an advocacy to share the good that others have done to inspire others, as well as, the bad to caution others but with accompanying precautions on how to avoid them or at the very least, suggestions based on the writer’s opinion.


If the blogger is from a small community, in all probability, there is a chance that he could get in touch personally with people who are the subject of his blogs. There is nothing wrong with introducing himself as a blogger followed by expressing his intention to help to correct what he views as wrong. If the blogger believes that he has a “mission” that is why God gave him such kind of talent, by all means, he should be serious about it. But if his intention is just to become known by bashing others, then he should be reminded by the “Golden Rule” – do not do to others what you do not want others would do to you.

My Great Friend, Jimmy…altruistic to the end

My Great Friend, Jimmy…altruistic to the end

By Apolinario Villalobos


When we are at the lowest ebb of our life that include days we spend in bed due to an ailment, the natural thing to do is for us to exert an effort  to show our best. But there are some who make cover-ups, apprehensive that others will know their situation. By being honest, however, does not mean that help is being solicited. We can even gain respect and admiration, by showing others our endurance during such trying times. The respect and admiration, as the fruits of our effort are sweeter, than the casual reaction from others whose view of our real situation is obstructed by hypocrisy.


Jimmy was a friend who used to hold a high executive position in a trading company. Even before I started blogging, he was well-informed about my small projects in Tondo and Divisoria as he was a regular donor. We met at the Mary Johnson Hospital in Tondo many years back, where he visited a staff of his office, while I visited the daughter of a friend from Baseco compound who was confined due to dengue. His sincere friendship punctuated by his giving me his business card made me divulge to him my real identity, but implored him to keep it to himself. I explained that I do not reveal my identity to those whom I extend a little help that I could afford, so that I had been known to them by another name.


He failed to save much needed cash for his retirement because much of what he earned went to friends who sought his financial help.  To make the story short, when he resigned due to a prolonged ailment, he was left with an almost depleted savings. Every time I visited him, we would talk about his friends who became successful in their jobs. His statements were always ended with “ I am thankful that they made it…”. Truth is, he had been instrumental for their success. Some were his subordinates whom he pushed with deserved promotions and guaranteed referrals. Some were given financial assistance as a start-up for a small business.


The cancer in his bones resulted to his losing weight considerably which practically changed his physical appearance. Despite the transformation, he could still muster a smile, as if nothing had changed. He was financially handicap, but he did not cover it up.  When he became bedridden, the first to go was his car, followed by his studio-type condo, after which his nephew accommodated him in his home in Malabon. His wife with whom he had no child, left him for a Chinese boyfriend she met in a casino.


Jimmy gained much respect because of what he showed, aside from reaping admiration from neighbors and friends who visited him daily. The disease that physically emaciated him did not change his image that had been exuding an aura of contentment.  He passed away two months ago (January 2017). After his cremation, I was invited by his nephew and his wife for a dinner at their home after which an envelope was handed to me. It contained PHP3,730.00, balance of his savings and with it was his passbook. Outside the envelope was his simply handwritten note, “God be with you always in all you do”.

The Writer

The Writer

By Apolinario Villalobos


A true writer should be sensitive to the feelings of others, be they read as expressly written or viewed as shown through actuations. He should be able to develop any form of literary expression out of spoken words or written “bullet statements”. With facebook as an example, an adept writer should be able to develop a poem out of the comments on a certain posted photo. Comments about the photo are the “thoughts” of the facebook owner who posted it and a poem that is developed out of them by a writer should be rightly attributed to him….the writer being just the “editor”.


The writer should not constrain himself from writing the name of the source of the thoughts in the byline of a literary expression, be it a poem or an essay. Many people are frustrated writers and poets. They have thoughts that float in their mind, but they just do not know how to capture them. They may enumerate the words down but they do not know which to put ahead of the rest, which of them to comprise the content, and which word to end their presentation. This is where the writer-friend comes in….lend a hand….put substance to the words or discerned thoughts that are not yet expressed but are expected, as feelings are universal and interpretations vary only according to situation, but words are the same.


Some people show signs of literary talent but are shy to let them out. Their latent talent is discerned through the kind of words that they use in making comments on facebook posts or in the way they use them. These are the people who should be given utmost understanding. In the end, if the effort has made somebody happy, exert more of it….help many more shy people. This is what a “writer” should do…encourage others to express themselves.


Happy Friendship Day!



By Apolinario Villalobos


Friends are people and as such have different characters, as no two persons are alike, not even twins. And, because of the varying characters of friends, they can be classified into several kinds:

  • Friends who use their “friends” for selfish motives.
  • Friends who boost their ego at the expense of their “friends”.
  • Friends who are actually “enemies” in disguise.


There are no permanent friends, as in a group, any “friend” can sow distrust resulting to a break-up. There may be reconciliation, but whatever fracture that resulted could not be totally healed. In Tagalog it means, “may lamat na ang samahan”.


As a simple precaution, in any “friendly” relationship, there should be restraint in revealing the total self. Only the arrogant will reveal to a “friend” about his fat bank account in order to give an impression of his being a superior financial-wise. Only the arrogant will reveal to a “trusted” colleague about his sexual escapades to prove his machismo. And, only the arrogant will reveal to a business associate the total expanse of his clout or connections to prove that he is powerful.


Making friends is a risky endeavor as one might accidentally connect with any of the three kinds mentioned above. In making friends, make sure that resulting detrimental situations can be handled. However, if you are any of the three mentioned above, PLEASE….change your ways, because, although, your would-be victims may not be aware of your intention, there is SOMEBODY who knows everything!

LEONIDA…the reason why I endure life in this world

LEONIDA…the reason why I endure life

in this world

By Apolinario Villalobos


She is my elder sister, deaf and mute since birth, and is more than seventy years old. I cannot imagine myself dead ahead of her. She is the reason why I kept on telling classmates before, that I will not settle down with a family of my own as foremost in my mind was take care of her until she dies.


Despite her handicap, she took care of us, her younger siblings, nephews, nieces, and their children. We communicated through a sign language that only our family understands. It was she who developed my love for vegetables, as she would gather saluyot, kulitis and lupo from the yet, grassy, town plaza which was in front of our house. Sometimes she would gather wild mushrooms beside the fence at the back of our house. She would simply cook them with whatever onion, ginger, and tomatoes that can be found in our kitchen. She would boil thickly sliced green jackfruit, for us to be dipped in soy sauce which constituted our lunch when there was no rice to cook.


Her intelligence and curiosity are such that she is fond of browsing through magazines including the comic magazines of the yesteryears. She would collect them in several boxes. Had we thought of keeping them, we could have been rich because a copy of “Hiwaga” komiks today costs not less than Php200. While she was doing her own collection of komiks, I collected my own pages of newspapers used as absorbent protection of dried fish in boxes that our parents ordered from Iloilo and Cebu to be sold in our small stall in the market. I was not yet of school age at that time during which she would observe me as I scribbled on the ground using a twig, the words that I copied from the dried-fish smelling papers, especially, “Purico”, a very popular brand of lard.


When we got completely orphaned, she joined me and an elder brother, in washing bottles and pasting of labels on them for Panay Vinegar, the first business entity, though, home-based, in our town. It was located in our ancestral house that we rented out to a Chinese businessman who treated us, as members of his family. I was in my first year high school then, during which we would stay late at night, especially, if orders were overwhelming, as they would come from store owners in neighboring towns. That was how we earned money.


Later, she was taken in by our late elder sister, Erlinda (Mary to us and her friends) a teacher at the former Sambulawan Elementary Schhol (today, President Quirino). She practically took care of her four children, May anne (Inday), Toto, Neneng, and Nonoy until they got families of their own, as she spent more time with them, than with us. Both my elder sister and my brother-in-law, Ciriaco (Ciring), are gone.


When I was yet with PAL, she was the reason why I would always come home even for a short while. I would take the first flight for Davao, transfer to an aircon van upon arrival for our place which takes 3 hours to reach, and after lunch would leave again for Davao to catch up with the first available flight back to Manila – on the same day. I felt that was all she wanted – see me even for just a short time. An important gift to her is a copy of the glossy Mabuhay magazine which she would lovingly caress upon receipt, open the pages and gawk at the photos.


She is also among the reasons why I believe in the wisdom of God for having brought me back to the point in my life where I made a decision to take care of her, to reaffirm it…after several disastrous living-in relationships, and which further made me ponder that my family is NOT limited to my blood relations but the rest of His creatures who I can touch. Where she is now living comfortably is her comfort zone, from which I could not take her away, as she would be emotionally distressed.


It took time for me to decide to finally bring out her story. But I am forced by the circumstance that some people cannot accept their great fortune of having normal and successful siblings and children, and loving wife, and presently enjoying the laughter of their grandchildren. I want them to compare their situation with mine. I cannot even settle down again as I might be unfortunate to get a partner who will not accept my elder sister. That is how I am simply looking at my life. Had my sister been normal and happily settled with a family of her own, I could be somewhere else, most probably in a depressed area, living with the people with whom I feel most comfortable.


Serafin Bernardo III Proved that Self-transformation with Conviction is Possible


Self-transformation with Conviction is Possible

By Apolinario Villalobos


Transforming oneself into a better person at will is possible as proved by Serafin “Boy” Bernado III. Changes that happened included his putting a stop to his smoking and becoming just a “social drinker” which is a complete turnaround from his being a former alcoholic. This happened after a simple “jolt” that he experienced.


As the only son, he was “spoiled” compared to his cousins, but which he keeps on denying. He stopped pursuing his college, and instead enjoyed his time when he lived in Iloilo. He left his cousins to whom he was so close and widowed mother in our town to be on his own to prove that he can live alone. He enjoyed the single-blessedness so much aside from the good times that,  for several years he thought life was just all about being happy without any plan for the future. He went into various business ventures where he succeeded at a young age until he met his future wife, Denia.


Their meeting resulted to a decision to settle down simultaneously with the plan to pursue their studies. As expected, they went through hard times due to the stacked up expenses, but good fortune was on their side, as both of them were able to finish their studies. Their life was not encouraging in Iloilo so they went home to our town and lived with his widowed mother who at the time already had five children by his stepfather.


To help them through their new life in our town, he tried scouting for a job, until fortunately, landed on one as Barangay Secretary. The pay was of course not much, considering that our town at the time was ranked third class. By the power of determination and thrift, they were able to raise a family, as they were joined by their offspring in time, so they rented a house for their own.


It was while their family was growing that Boy showed signs of impatience. His attitude toward his wife changed, to say the least. Fortunately, his wife was patient and understanding which made her stand by Boy, while crying silently, every time the latter is in a bad mood that resulted from drinking binges with friends. Practically, Boy was having some kind of personality transformation, although, when sober, he was a different guy who showed some kindness. What worsened his situation was his chain-smoking.


One evening, as related to me by Boy, while it was drizzling, he sent his wife to an errand for a pack of cigarettes. But when it was brought to him, he flared up because it was not the kind that he wanted, and practically, derided his wife who silently withstood the barrage of insults. When his wife left him to find solace in their room, perhaps, to cry her heart out, something jolted Boy that made him realize his momentary “madness” just because of a pack of cigarettes that he did not like, and which his wife bought at a store far from their house, while it was drizzling, and despite yet, the pitch darkness of the night.


Filled with remorse, he apologized to his wife but did not promise anything. All he did was act out what were in his mind…things that he wanted to do to recoup the lost days of what should have been a happy family but spoiled by his arrogance. The children noticed the changes that took place but they did not say a word, while enjoying every moment of the transformation in their home.


A cousin and his wife, Nonito and Nenita who were and still, are active in a religious movement approached him one time to ask if he would care to join them, to which he profusely agreed. From then on, he was always part of the spiritual community outreach of the group that went around the province during which he would make testimonies of his transformation. He did the same at the wake of my brother. Practically, the couple, Nonito and Nenita offered their hands to further help him out of the bog of despair.


When he got operated on a serious disorder of an organ, his family was in a difficult financial situation, but help from various sources came. This manifestation of the Lord’s unquestionable presence by his side and his family further strengthened his faith.


With the story of Boy, I cannot fathom how others who got hooked on alcohol and chain-smoking always give “psychological” withdrawal syndromes as “reasons” for their difficulty to change themselves. God gave us an “intelligent will” found in our brains encased in our head and located “above” the emotional heart. It is an indication that if only we can just be strong in our desire to change, we can do it. Boy did it, so why can’t others, too?



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!