Sharing Need Not Be a “Big Time” Effort

Sharing Need Not Be a “Big Time” Effort

By Apolinario Villalobos


I ask from friends and collect myself, what others consider as “trash” – empty rice bags, used shopping plastic bags, brown paper bags, net bags, used tarpaulins, empty jars, lengths of straw rope, etc. – to be distributed among my friends who sell recyclable junks and vegetables by the pile on sidewalks. They are called “buraot” vendors and the “buraot” refers to the junks and wilting vegetables that they sell. Some of them keep the brown paper bags to be used by their children as book covers, and the sturdy plastic grocery bags as “school bags”. On the other hand, the rice bags have many uses, one of which is safekeeping of things in the absence of decent bags that are sold in department stores.


It takes me about two weeks to be able to collect a sizeable volume of these various “treasures”, classify the plastic bags according to size, carefully fold them and finally apportion them together with the rest of the items among the pre-identified recipients for easy distribution. I am most glad if I am able to collect big plastic cover of refs and washing machines because they can be used as extended roof for “kariton (pushcart) home” of my friends. I taught them to fold big plastic bags in such a way that they can be used as “rain coat”. I used to do that when I was in elementary during which I would scavenge the garbage dump of a bakery in our town for recyclable junks especially plastic bags.


One time, a friend in California, “Perla” sent plenty of blue tarps that went straight to sidewalk and “kariton” dwellers. But I told her to stop sending such kind of item because I met a couple who sell “tinseled” bags of condiments that when spread by slicing open the two sides can serve the purpose of a mat, as well as, protection against the rain – for just Php20.00 apiece.


Every time I come home from shopping, I see to it that the bags, both made of plastic and brown paper are properly folded and set aside instead of tossing them into the garbage basket. The brown bag can also be used in keeping extra portions of vegetables before storing them in the ref. Also, I am not ashamed in picking up lengths of straw ropes from the ground while shopping in outdoor shopping areas such as Baclaran and Quiapo, as they are also needed by my friends in tying things that they always bring along with them. As a recycling advocate, I had been doing this for more than thirty years now.


Every time I hit the road for my random acts of sharing my backpack is full of these “treasures”, aside from Skyflakes crackers and home-cooked pudding for sharing. I just want to show that sharing blessings need not be a “big time” effort that involves a lot of money. If I can do it, I am sure others can do it, too. Those interested to do the same can start with the plastic bags that can be collected and given to their favorite vendor in the market….by doing so, we also help Mother Nature as the plastic bags that we recycle are prevented from clogging esteros or canals.

Maawain, Maunawain, Mahiyain, at Mapagmalasakit ang Wikang Pilipino

Maawain, Maunawain, Mahiyain, at Mapagmalasakit

ang Wikang Filipino

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Ang wikang Filipino ay mayroong mga katagang “medyo” (it seems), “hindi gaano” (not much of…), at “siguro” (sort of, maybe). Ang mga katagang yan ang nagpapalambot ng kahulugan ng nga pantukoy na kataga, tulad ng “pangit”, “mapait”, “mabaho”, “masama”, atbp. Hindi maunawaan kung bakit nahihiya ang Pilipino sa diretsahang pagbigkas ng mga pantukoy na kahit masamang pakinggan ay totoo naman.


Kawalan ng katapatan para sa isang tao ang hindi pagsasabi ng totoo na dapat sana ay nakakatulong sa pinagsasabihan upang matutong tumanggap ng katotohanan kung napatunayan naman, at upang magbago siya kung kailangan. Sa isyu ng kagandahan o kapangitan batay sa mapagkunwaring batayan, alam naman ng lahat kung ano ang “kagandahan ng kalooban” at “panlabas na kagandahan”. Upang hindi lumabas na nagsisinungaling, huwag na lang magbanggit ng katagang “ganda” o “gwapo” kung may mga nakikinig na mga taong hindi naman talaga guwapo o maganda…huwag rin magbanggit ng katagang “pangit”, kung dudugtungan din lang ng “medyo”, at pampalubag ng kalooban na “nasa kalooban ang kagandahan ng tao”.


Kung talagang korap ang isang pulitiko, diretsahan nang sabihin ito. Huwang nang magpaikot-ikot pa dahil lamang nakikinabang din pala ang nagsasalita pagdating ng panahong nagkakabentahan ng boto. (Pareho lang pala sila!) Kung talagang maganda ang isang babae, sabihin din ito ng buong katapatan upang hindi mapagsabihang naiinggit lang ang nagsasalita kaya nag-aalangan siya sa pagpuri.


Maraming taga- media ang mahilig din sa paggamit ng “medyo” kung sila ay bumabatikos ng ibang tao, lalo na mga pulitiko. Ang nakalimutan nila ay walang “medyo” sa kasong libel, kaya gumamit man sila o hindi nito sa hindi nila mapatunayang bintang, kakasuhan pa rin sila, kaya, lubus-lubusin na nila kung matapang sila. Ang mga harap-harapan namang pinupuri na matalino, subalit mahiyain, ay namumula pang sasagot ng: “medyo lang po”. Kung sabihan namang pagbutihin pa ang ipinapakitang galing, sumasama naman ang loob dahil mahirap daw i-satisfy ang naghuhusga.


Kahit walang patumangga ang kurakutan sa gobyerno na nagresulta sa kahirapan ay lumalabas pa rin ang  “ medyo” tuwing may iniinterbyu. Tulad nang interbyuhin sa radyo ang isang nanay na tinanong kung nahihirapan sila sa buhay. Sinagot niya ito ng matamis na “medyo”. Ayaw niya sigurong marinig sya ng mga kapitbahay nila at malaman na talagang naghihirap ang kanyang pamilya, dahil hindi naman ito ang pinapakita niya kahit tadtad na sila ng utang. Dahil “siguro” dito, ang mga wala namang budhing pulitiko at opisyal ng gobyerno ay talagang nilubos na ang pagnanakaw…with true feelings pa…talagang wagas sa kalooban! Samantala, ang mga kinukunan naman ng retrato na mga taga- iskwater, ay pabebe pang nagpo-pose!

Ronnel Basco: the patient IT Guy of Netopia-SM City/Bacoor

Ronnel Basco: the Patient IT Guy

of Netopia – SM City/ Bacoor

by Apolinario Villalobos

What will you do if you are at the end of your wits after four rejections from internet cafés that could not open the files in your USB? Without an umbrella on the rainy day of August 12, I had to run from one sidewalk to the next in an effort to prevent the raging rain from soaking me to the bones until I finally reached the SMCity/Bacoor mall where I tried to dry myself up. It was while I was pondering on whether to look for another internet café after the rain when I thought of trying my luck in the Netopia internet café on the third floor of the mall.

Without telling the attendant about the problem as he might reject my requirement, too, I outright asked his help to open the USB that I brought. He was Ronnel Basco whose cool countenance impressed me as he successfully opened the device after several attempts. I noticed something that he did as he inserted the USB to the port, as if patiently coaxing the computer to open it and read the contents which it finally did after several minutes. Actually, the USB was my friend’s, who just gave me the title of the file.

Mr. Basco went through the routine of assisting me look for the file that I wanted printed and transferred to another USB. Four painstaking attempts did the trick! The big relief, practically vanished my frustration, coupled by discomfort from my rain-drenched shirt. What was more striking in Mr. Basco’s attitude was his patience in attending to the calls of other customers, during which he would leave me for a while with apologies. The café was full at the time, and I was really fortunate to have been given the attention and assistance that I direly needed.

What I observed further, was the precision in the systematic actions and professional attitude of Mr. Basco and his co-employees toward all customers, be they browsers or just walk-ins who inquire for other services. Impressively, everything that they did was without a hint of haste. I also heard suggestions that they did not hesitate in giving to the customers, and who appreciated them.

The persevering and patient attitude of Mr. Basco was an immense contrast to the lack of sympathy and concern from the attendants of the four other internet cafes that I visited earlier, who gave me outright rejection after failing to open the USB with just a single attempt. Without even looking at me in the eye, they just said “sorry”… just like that, short of showing me the door.

The likes of Mr. Ronnel Basco, are what service-oriented business entities need. He manifested that good attitude of employees can never be overshadowed by expensive advertisements in selling a product or service. As I walked out of the Netopia café that afternoon, I decided to become their unsolicited “walking billboard”…because of Mr. Basco.

My Altruistic Classmate…story of Dominador Barnachea/NDTCBoys’70

My Altruistic Classmate

(…story of Dominador Barnachea/NDTCBoys’70)

By Apolinario Villalobos

Nowadays, the humanity drifts in the ocean of survival. The human instinct is dictated by self-preservation. However, unusual circumstances can cause the “hidden” trait in man that directs him to extend a hand to somebody in times of dire need. These circumstances make man forget his own interests which are overwhelmed by the needs of others.

Altruism is unselfishness. This is an endowment from God, albeit, manifested or put into practice by only a few as it entails a lot of sacrifice for the sake of others. It is embedded in our heart. On the other hand, its opposite, egotism, is embedded in the mind, swathed by reason. While altruism is instinctively manifested in times of need, egotism dawdles with hesitance due to choices provided by reason.

The current and so-called “people’s pope”, Francis has repeatedly made a call to practice this virtue, but uses “compassion” in sending across his message. Simply, he is calling for care, kindness, concern, sympathy, consideration for others. His call is timely, as it is only by being compassionate that we can have that utmost desire to share without hesitance – the real need of mankind at this time. In this regard, sharing can be done directly or indirectly, and also comes in different kinds or forms, such as money, food, clothing, or time.

When I was in high school, a classmate would conspicuously just sit in a corner during our breaks, read or do his assignments, while the rest of us wet our shirts with sweat doing shenanigans to the consternation even of our principal. The guy was bright and I even expected him to receive a medal during our graduation, but he did not. He excelled in Pilipino, Mathematics and History. He was also among the topnotch achievers in our NDEA evaluation tests. After graduation, I did not hear anything about him, while I struggled my way through college. During high school reunions, his name would be mentioned, and since nobody knew where he was and how he fared, he soon faded from our mind.

While checking my blogs one day, I was surprised to see a familiar name that preceded a comment on one of my blogs posted in our school’s alumni site. I found out that the guy was the one we had been looking for….Dominador Barnachea. The reason why we failed to trace him was that he used “Ming” as his first name, while we knew him during our high school days as “Ador” or “Dor”

He shared through private messages that after graduating from high school, he “rested” for two years, so that his younger siblings can have the chance to make use of their meager family finances through their high school studies. It also gave him the opportunity to take care of their ailing mother, adding that he also tended their farm until he was able to earn enough for his first year in college in Davao City. He seized the job opportunities offered by the city, so that in no time, he was able to land one, to further his college studies. He practically missed meals most of the time when short of cash, and walked his way to school, scrimping on his hard earned and meager wage until he was able to finally earn a degree in accountancy.

Steeled by challenges that he was able to hurdle, he was able to land a job that fitted his course. His mind was set on helping his family, and this determination cost him his love life as his long- time girlfriend left him. It was a devastating emotional experience according to him, but his family has been foremost in his mind.

After gaining experience, he applied for a job in the Middle East. While earning a much bigger wage that time, his hard work was still coupled with sacrifice, as he was sending practically all his wage to his family back home, leaving just enough for his Spartan subsistence. His sacrifice paid off as he was able to send several nephews and nieces through college, bought a simple condo and a house, and developed their farm.

He was not yet through his sacrifice, however, for today, he spends most of his time giving solace to distressed countrymen in the Middle East. He is their financial and spiritual counselor. His help is not limited in counsels, though, as most often he would shell out cash. He speaks in gatherings to share inspiring messages based mostly on his experience and also untiringly represents them as necessary in government consular offices.

His habit of walking his way to the office until today makes him fit, although, he confided that foremost in his mind is to save the fare, so that the stashed extra cash can be shared if problems may unexpectedly crop up in the homes of his extended family.

Evidently, Ming’s altruistic trait has become part of his system that he thinks and acts it…. practically, breathing it!