Our Unsafe World

Our Unsafe World

By Apolinario Villalobos


Our world is so unsafe today that even billionaires are not secure behind the thick and high walls of their home. Their palatial abode may not be burglarized due to tight security but they may have acquired diseases from excessive vices that can certainly shorten their life…vices that involve “creations” of man such as alcoholic drinks and synthetic foods.


The atmosphere is so poisoned that the rainwater is no longer safe to drink. The air is permeated with heavy carbon dioxide that even the so-called organic vegetables that are not raised with fertilizer are still not safe to eat. Chicken in poultries are fattened with growth-enhancing feeds and so are pigs and cattle.


Fruits are sprayed or swabbed with chemicals so that their shelf-life can be extended. Marine fishes are soaked in formalin to make them look fresh and so are vegetables such as okra, tomatoes, eggplants, slices of young jackfruit (langka), and many others. Fishes filleted and dried (daing), as well as, sardines are also soaked in formalin to make their scales shiny and enticing.


The government that is supposed to protect us can no longer be trusted with confidential information due to careless and corrupt “public servants”. The most important link between diverse humanities, the internet system is also prone to hacking which jeopardizes the security of users. Even the guy sitting next to you in a bus, could be a mugger.


The eroding cultures of peoples result to the overall weakening of human character and his virtual self-annihilation.


A Pint of Unsolicited Reminder on Health

A Pint of Unsolicited Reminder On Health

By Apolinario Villalobos


If for two days, you have not moved your bowel to get rid of waste from your body, stay calm and eat plenty of fibrous vegetables. If on the third day, still you failed to move the waste out of your guts, you should start to worry. If on the fourth day you still failed, better see a doctor…or if you believe in alternative healing, MAGPALABATIBA KA NA in any wellness clinics. In case you have consulted a doctor who prescribed drugs to supposedly “soften” your waste so that they can be easily eliminated through your anus, instead of using direct cleansing such as the LABATIBA, doubt his expertise, as the latter is the safest way to get rid of accumulated waste from the guts that could already be feeding colonies of cancer cells! Direct application of softening solutions to the accumulated waste as a process in “labatiba” is better than taking a drug and wait for several hours if it is effective, while your body emits odorous sweat and your breath smells like an exhaust of a septic tank! Imagine being sent home by a doctor who prescribed waste -softening drug and still suffer for 24 hours!


If you do not want to suffer from the uncomfortable bloated stomach due to the accumulated waste for several days, do not act like an idiot by still eating meat and just taking anti-bloating drugs that can be bought over the counter (OTC drugs) as advertised on TV, instead of being sensible by eating fibrous food such as vegetables or seeing a doctor.


The problem with many Filipinos who are influenced by the West as regards their diet, is that, despite their knowledge that daily intake of meat can be disastrous, they still insist on the unhealthy acquired habit. They intentionally and adamantly refuse to eat vegetables, as for them, they belong to the poor man’s table, while others  failed to appreciate the taste due to their moron parents who raised them on hamburgers, hot dogs and other junk foods. Later, they wonder why at an early age, they developed diabetes, accumulated cholesterol in their veins, and hastened the building up of stones in their kidney and gallbladder.


When their suffering has tied them on their bed, they either regret, albeit late, or blame HIM. Many Filipinos still cannot seem to understand the logic that if certain diseases are in the blood of their family, they are supposed to already take an extra precaution to avoid, or at least minimize their occurrence. They even console themselves with the thought that man lives only once in this world, so that he should enjoy every minute of his life by all means!…an idiotic guiding principle of some unthinking Filipinos!

We Should Listen to our Body


By Apolinario Villalobos


While I advocate the alternative herbal medicines which are already accepted even by licensed scientific medical practitioners, the “basic” prescribed drugs which are considered as beta blockers such as the “statins” (mine is atorvastatin) and losartan are still necessary. They have their own immediate effect, while those of the herbs have their own, too. Along this line, it is a fact that factory-produced drugs are clones of medicinal herbs, but enhanced with various chemicals to extend their shelf life. As regards the stroke or heart attack, in particular, there are many natural alternatives for its prevention, many of which have already been packed in gel, capsule and tablets, as well as, made more palatable in the form of syrup.


It is important that we “listen” to our body by being sensitive to manifestations of what is wrong with our system. Our intestines, for instance, grumble if we have overeaten for the job that they could not undertake effectively, so we either have loose bowel movement (LBM) or constipation, and worse, we vomit or puke. If we feel constant pain in certain parts of our body, by all means, that particular area must immediately be examined by a doctor. If our skin shows tell-tale signs that suggest cancer, we should see a doctor immediately. If we experience regular chest pains, dizziness, numbness of any of our legs or arms, we might already be experiencing the onset of a mild stroke, etc.


For those who are fond of uncontrollably quaffing alcoholic drinks, they should minimize their intake soonest as they feel signs of high blood pressure (HBP) after downing 5 bottles of beer or more. Other indications for the inception of HBP are redness of the face and appearance of red spots all over the body, but most especially, dizziness.


For the health buffs who are fond of jogging or doing strenuous workouts, they should immediately see a doctor if they experience unusual shortness of breath and chest pain which they have not encountered before. They should not treat them as simple signs of fatigue.


To stay alive and healthy, we should shake off arrogance from our person and accept the fact that there is no perfect body, even if it is pampered by health drugs….not even by high-tech therapies, one of which is stem cell intake by injection or orally. If we have to believe what is said in the Bible, the Godly-decreed life of man is supposedly until before he reaches the age of 70. We should therefore, take care of our body to make the most out of life by being sensitive to its manifestations.




Turmeric Relieved me of my Long-time Fear of Cancer



By Apolinario Villalobos


Due to my awareness of cancer that stalks our family due deaths caused by the said disease, except for one, I became apprehensive when I learned about the unusual level of cancer cells in my blood. I was also aware of the state of my prostate, but I just endured the dread for the rapid development of the big C. I made researches on herbals and alternative medications which made me try practically everything, even expensive capsules, supposedly powdered and extracts of foreign-sounding plants. When I had a problem in pissing comfortably at night, my fear worsened. That was until I learned about turmeric.


When I got hold of a thick reference book on alternative medication using herbal remedies, I pored over the pages that listed diseases and their herbal remedies. Diseases that involve inflammation, cancer, weak immune system, sensitive skin, diabetes, cholesterol, weak intestine and problem in passing of urine, included turmeric as among the remedies. The rest of the herbal remedies are foreign-grown and only finished products in capsule and tablets can be found in the local outlets. If inflammation is the initial manifestation of a disease that attacks prostrate and which can even lead to cancer, then, turmeric is the answer to my problem, I surmised. Turmeric is supposed to block the way of the “food” of the cancer cells to flow towards them resulting to their “starvation until they die. Inflammation and cysts, in most probability, are indication of growth of cancer cells in any organ of our body, although, as sometimes they may just be benign.


Initially, I painstakingly pounded turmeric roots before boiling them into a concoction but which I find messy. Fortunately, during one of my passing through a side street of Divisoria, I discovered a hole-on-the-wall sort of store that sold powdered turmeric imported from India. The price was reasonable enough so that, from then on, I switched to using the powder form – a teaspoon of which is stirred in a mug of coffee.  Every morning I would prepare two mugs – one taken before breakfast, and the other mug ready for taking at noon or afternoon. I also stir in two pinches of cinnamon powder for prevention of diabetes. For water, I use tea from boiled leaves of guyabano and a few pieces of star anise. The star anise is to boost the property of turmeric in strengthening my immune system.


Ever since I went through the above-mentioned regimen, I began to comfortably pass “abundant” urine twice in the evening, compared to the trickles before, that practically made me uncomfortable till morning. In other words, my prostrate may no longer be inflamed or if ever, to a lesser degree, as clearly, my urethra is no longer badly compressed.  I have also stopped taking “maintenance” drugs such as Atorvastatin and Losartan. But perhaps, my being a vegetarian could have also contributed to the improvement of my health. I always see to it that “saluyot” is part of my daily fare, as it is also a strong deterrent for diabetes. Observable improvements after more than five months of taking turmeric and other mentioned herbs are my no longer developing of allergy resulting to long bouts of colds and slight fever, and disappearance of the bean-sized growth in my colon.

The versatility of turmeric is such that it can add color to foods to make them more delectable. The expensive “java rice” served in high-end restaurants is yellowed by turmeric. Pounded fresh roots are used in Muslim dishes such as “langka in coconut milk”, fish curry, vegetable curry, chicken curry, and lentil soup. The popular delicacy, arroz Valenciana also derives its yellow color from powdered turmeric. In some Visayan dialects, turmeric which is also considered as preservative, is called “dulaw”, “kalawag”, and “kalwag”. It is a relative of the ordinary ginger and “langkawas” or Thai ginger.


In Manila, capsulated turmeric is very expensive just like the widely-advertised tea and powder from mangosteen. But fortunately, I learned that my former teacher in college, Mr. Morito Parcon who is based in Davao City sells this product, so that I have made a plan to drop by his place for my supply the next time I take the flight to Davao for my land trip home. The capsule can take the place of the powder form, and which can be comfortably carried around.  One capsule per meal is enough. For the benefit of friends who are interested, they can get in touch with Mr. Parcon by checking his facebook, “Morito Parcon” and send him a message for more information. He can also be contacted through cellphone, 09233783012.




Take Note of the Signs and Reminders About Diseases

Take Note of the Signs and Reminders

About Diseases

By Apolinario Villalobos


What we do normally is to take the necessary steps only when we are already feeling the effect of a disease or sickness. What most people forget is that signs and reminders are also manifested by other bodies, especially, the first-degree relatives. Their suffering from a certain disease or sickness should remind us that the same can happen to us. If for instance, our mother, or father, or brother, or sister, or first cousin, or uncle, or aunt, are suffering from or worse, died of cancer, hypertension, or complications triggered by diabetes, then most likely, we can have the same fate because the same diseases are in our blood. The signs pointing to them should immediately caution us to be very extra careful…at least, to delay the effect if we want to live longer…or, at least minimize the pain of the effect upon their occurrence.


All kinds of diseases are inherited, although, the “amount” varies according to the genes. It is for this reason that prevention for the onset or worsening is very necessary. This is also the reason why blood sample is taken from the newly-born infant to determine the stages of its life when certain diseases may occur and the parents are counseled what precautionary measures to take or when they should go back to the pediatrician so that necessary prescriptions could be made.


Those who were born before the blood sampling for newly-born has been popularly practiced, rely on the time when diseases occur. When a member of the family succumbs to the heart attack, for instance, he is brought to the hospital which could  already be late.  Of course “maintenance medicines” are prescribed after check- ups done usually at the age of 50 or 60. But such may be considered late, as the disease could have fully developed to become well-entrenched in the person’s system….arteries have been clogged, diabetes has reached uncontrolled level, inflammations in the organs have occurred and developed into cysts, kidneys have been damaged, etc.


What I am trying to say here is that parents themselves should remind their children about “family diseases” as shown by deaths in the family. At a young age, the children should be counseled on what food to avoid or at least eat in moderation. Each one of us should also open our mind for inputs from other people and what are gathered from the media, especially, the internet. WE SHOULD NOT ONLY READ BUT ACT ON WHAT ARE BEING SHARED. The inputs should not only be appreciated but put into practice. They should not only be made as “conversation pieces”, but emulated.


There is always resistance every time chili, garlic, ginger, ampalaya, turmeric, saluyot, okra are mentioned- foods that are beneficial. They would say, it is hot, slimy, bitter, etc. And, those who have read or heard testimonies about their healing effects, express their appreciation …and it ends there, nothing else is done by the person who appreciates.


When an acquaintance died of cancer or complications brought about by diabetes or stroke, friends ask questions….but I doubt if the unfortunate incident has ever made them think if their lifestyle, especially, their diet, will also lead to such, or it made them curious about deaths in their family which necessitates asking their elders about their family history, so that preventions can already be taken.


Again, I say…regrets comes always at the end.

We Can Minimize, Delay, or Prevent the Devastating Effect of Diseases…discipline and patience are the keys

We Can Minimize, Delay, or Prevent the Devastating Effect of Diseases

…discipline and patience are the keys

By Apolinario Villalobos

Caring for our physical make up is our responsibility in the first place, and not somebody else’s. We can prevent diseases from pestering our body by espousing discipline and patience. We must be disciplined as regards our diet and vices. And, we must be disciplined in being consistent with the preparation of remedies not prescribed by doctors. We must not wait until a disease has set in before we toe the line in clinics for a costly diagnosis. Unfortunately for others, before they know that what they “feel” is a disease, and not just a fatigue or temporary pain, it is already beyond cure, so that the last resort for the doctor is to prescribe pain killing drugs, and loads of antibiotics and other strange sounding-named tablets and capsules.

Drugs are basically sourced from plants and enhanced with chemicals to preserve them as capsules, tables, suspensions, and injectibles. Curative properties of plants are “cloned” in laboratories to come up with their synthetic equivalent. But not all curative properties of plants can be cloned as in the case of guyabano (soursop), the information about which has been suppressed by drug laboratories for so many years. Due to their failure in cloning its curative properties, they finally let go of the information to confirm what have already been circulating anyway, about its anti-cancer substance.

Man since birth is already doomed with diseases that can manifest at certain points of his life. Fortunately, there is now a medical technique of predetermining the diseases that may befall infants by “reading” their genes at the time of birth with the use of their blood. At certain points of their life, diseases are already detected, thus, medications are already prescribed to prevent the onset. This is possible for those who will be born in hospitals and clinics, but for those in villages, this medical effort is not heard of, as in third-world countries like the Philippines. These children then grow without knowing that at a certain point of their life, they are bound to develop diabetes, rheumatism, heart failure, cancer, etc.

There’s again the problem with poor parents in urban areas who are told about the diseases that may befall their newly-born infants, because they cannot afford the prescribed drugs. Consequently, their children, though born in hospitals, grow just like those in the villages, without taking the preventive drugs for the detected diseases that may manifest at a certain age. Prescriptions are just set aside to be thrown later on.

The Philippines and the rest of countries in Asia and South America are profuse in herbal “medicines”.  Long before the western colonizers came, the natives were already thriving on these. The folk medicine men who are unfairly called “quack doctors” have been prescribing leaves, barks and roots of trees, vines and shrubs to dispel diseases. For instance, guyabano or soursop was first used by the South American Indians, particularly, those living in the jungles of the Amazon, while the use of tanglad or lemon grass was first used in Asia. In every country of these regions, there are always nooks and corners occupied by herbal vendors. In Manila, these can be found in Quiapo, while in the provinces, one can find them in public markets. But most of all, these curative plants are found in neighborhoods, or if not, can be planted just anywhere, even in pots.

Discipline is needed if one is really interested in preventing the onset of a disease. A ritual is involved, because every morning, all the necessary leaves, seeds or barks have to be boiled in a kettle dedicated for this purpose, followed by the preparation of the concoction to be drunk with coffee or as is. Most often, this simple effort is abhorred by most, as they would rather take synthetic drugs in capsule or tablet form which is a very convenient way. But then, the danger with such “convenience” is the latest finding that not all components of these drugs are dissolved, thus, turning into sediments that get deposited in the liver and kidney, eventually resulting to a disease that destroy the said organs.

Those without discipline in their diet are also easy victims of diseases. They are not satisfied with having tasted certain unhealthy foods and should have told themselves “enough”. Unfortunately, they want these to be part of their daily fare on the dining table. Parents who have this kind of attitude pass it on to their children, who will later on pass it on to their own, and so forth. And, when members of the family develop and die of diseases, they blame their ancestor!

What Excesses can Breed

What Excesses can Breed

By Apolinario Villalobos

Anything that is beneficial but taken in excess can be lethal, and anything that is done with good intention, though, in excess can be vicious.

Drugs are supposed to prevent or cure diseases, but when taken in excess can result to unexpected death of a patient, that is why some of these cannot just be bought over the counter of pharmacies, as they need proper prescription from authorized medical practitioners. On the other hand, an overdose of food can cause obesity which can lead to diseases. Drinking water in excess may affect the proper functioning of the heart that is why one of the worst thing that can happen to anyone, is the unchecked water retention of the body.

Too much love can mean pampering that could result to the “spoiling” of the person being loved. It can also drive one to commit a crime of passion because of the fatal attraction that developed. And, worst, it can lead the weak of emotion to the verge of insanity. The same is true with kindness which can result to the abuse of the kind-hearted. Along this line, too much familiarity among friends could develop abuse, too, on the part of the ones with weak discipline, disposition, and who are naturally selfish.

It is not bad to be hard working, but abusing the body to the point of exhaustion could mean fatigue and if left unchecked could be fatal, too. Also, in a group that is expected to work as a team, those working hard, may be abused by the indolent members who may become overly dependent. That is why, for the sake of teamwork, it is important that roles are played fairly.

As to the expression of faith, those who manifest it with utmost sincerity according to what their religion says, is admirable. However, to be boisterous about it, and be proud about their belief that only they have the right to be saved, really stinks. It is revolting to see a faithful with outstretched hands and who walks on his or her knees from the door of the church to the altar, or pretend that he or she is overcome by the “spirit” while praying as shown by his or her fainting or uncontrolled shaking body…a scene that can be comical for others. All these overdose of faith is fanaticism.

Too much freedom in a nation can breed abuse on the part of inconsiderate and undisciplined constituents. And, too much discipline instilled in a person can make him too “sterile” and oblivious to the imperfect, albeit, normal actuations of others.

The world needs air and rain, but too much of them, results to typhoons and floods. The same is true with the cool and immaculate snow, as too much of it, results to snowstorm. The wildlife has its own way of “moderation”. And, it seems that lesser creatures are more intelligent than man in observing such discipline. I have seen film footages of different kinds of wild animals milling around drinking holes where the strong are shown chasing the weak with the obvious intention of enjoying the latter as dinner. After the overpowering animals have had their fill, they back off and leave the rest of the packs.

Greed and selfishness are innate in man’s character, but should be manifested in moderation to prevent exploitation of others that could result to their suffering. Unfortunately, it does not happen in politics where greedy officials are not satisfied with what they may have already stolen from the government coffer, and which could already ensure them of a comfortable retirement. They practically, want everything by all means….not only money but lifetime power!

Dalawang Kuwento ng Disiplina kung Paanong Napaglabanan ang Diabetes

Dalawang Kuwento ng Disiplina

Kung Paanong Napaglabanan ang Diabetes

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa panahon ngayon, kahit karaniwan na ang pagkaroon ng mga sakit tulad ng kanser, diabetes, alta presyon, cholesterol, ulcer, etc., kahit papaano, nakakagulat pa ring malaman na tayo o mga kaibigan natin ay mayroon ng isa sa mga nabanggit, lalo na kung may namatay. Ang kadalasan na ginagawa ng mga tao para labanan ang mga sakit ay yong tinatawag na “reactive” na pamamaraan. Ibig sabihin, kung kaylan dumapo na ang sakit ay saka pa lamang kikilos ang taong tinamaan kaya halos araw-arawin niya ang pagpunta sa doctor, at kung maaari lang ay ubusin na sa isang lagukan ang mga prescribed na gamot. Maliban sa nahihirapang katawan, ay nabubutas din ang bulsa nila dahil sa mga gastusin. Ang nakakalungkot ay ang mga kasong napakahuli na ang reaksiyon kaya nawalan na ng pag-asang gumaling ang maysakit. Sino ang may kasalanan?…masakit mang aminin, kalimitan ay ang mga maysakit mismo dahil sa kapabayaan.

Subalit mayroon pa rin namang maituturing na masuwerte dahil kahit malala na ang sakit ay napaglabanan pa rin nila. Marami ang nagsasabi na ang pinakanakakatakot na sakit ay diabetes dahil dumadaloy ito sa dugo at lahat ng bahagi ng katawan ng tao ay tinutumbok nito. Hindi maaaring isabay ang paggamot sa diabetes sa iba pang sakit kung sabay silang umatake. Nakakatuwang malaman na may mga kuwento tungkol sa pakikipaglaban sa diabetes na ginagawa ng iba dahil sa layunin nilang mabuhay pa ng matagal, kaya lahat na lang ng paraan ay ginagawa nila.

Ang unang kuwento ay tungkol sa dati kong landlady sa Baclaran, si ate Lydia. Masasabing maganda ang landlady ko na noong kabataan niya ay lumalabas pa sa mga pelikula ni Fernando Poe Jr. Makalipas ang maraming taon, nagkita uli kami at mangiyak-ngiyak sa pagkuwento na muntik na siyang maputulan ng dalawang binti dahil sa diabetes. Nagnaknak na daw ang harapang bahagi ng kanyang dalawang binti at dahil sa nakasusulasok na amoy, isa-isang nag-alisan ang mga boarders niya. Halos maubos ang naipon niyang pera sa pagpapagamot, subalit wala ring nangyari. Dahil sa hiya, hindi na siya lumalabas ng bahay na palaging nakasara.

Isang araw daw ay dumating ang dati niyang labandera at nang makita ang kalagayan niya ay agad nagsabi na subukan daw niya ang saluyot. Mula noon, tuwing almusal, tanghalian at hapunan ay halos saluyot na lang ang kanyang kinain. Makalipas ang isang buwan, napansin niyang unti-unting natutuyo ang malalaking sugat. Pagkalipas pa ng limang buwan, gumaling ang mga sugat. Nang bumalik siya sa doktor, nalaman niyang bumaba na ang indicator ng diabetes niya, pero tuloy pa rin ang kain niya ng maraming saluyot. Noong magkita kami, halos ayaw kong maniwala sa kuwento niya dahil makinis naman ang kanyang mga binti.. Kinakantiyawan ako ng landlady ko noon dahil sa request kong palaging ulam na pinakbet, adobong kangkong, paksiw na saluyot at okra, at tortang talong. Nang magkaroon siya ng diabetes, naalala daw niya ako.

Ang ikalawang kuwento naman ay tungkol kay Ellen, naglalako ng mga dinaing na isda sa lugar namin. Noong nakaraang taon, halata ang pagkahulog ng katawan niya dahil sa sobrang kapayatan at pamumutla. Inamin niyang may diabetes siya. Kaylan lang ay nakita ko uli siya, subalit hindi na payat at maputla…bumata pa nga. Ayon sa kanya, halos mawalan na daw siya ng pag-asa dahil sa sakit niya, at nadagdagan pa ng pagtetebe o hirap sa pagdumi ng kung ilang araw. Wala naman daw siyang perang pangkonsulta palagi, at kahit anong gamot ang inumin niya ay wala rin daw epekto. May narinig siyang mga kuwento tungkol sa ashitaba at okra na nakakagaling daw ng diabetes.

Wala naman daw mawawala sa kanya kung susubukan niya. Makalipas lang daw ang ilang araw, bumalik sa normal ang kanyang pagdumi. At, makalipas naman ang mahigit isang buwan ay nagkakulay na rin siya, hindi na maputla. Kaya mula noon ay itinuloy lang niya ang araw-araw na pagkain ng ashitaba at okra. Sa umaga, apat na dahon ng ashitaba ang nginangata niya habang nagtatrabaho at pinipilit niyang siya ay pawisan, at ang okra naman ay palagi niyang inuulam. Makalipas ang ilang buwan pa, nadagdagan na rin ang kanyang timbang subalit pinipilit niyang huwag tumaba uli tulad nang dati. Nang magpakonsulta siya uli, nagulat ang doktor dahil sa kanyang pagbabago.

Sa dalawang kuwento, malinaw na kung hindi dahil sa disiplina ay hindi gumaling si ate Lydia at Ellen. Ang iba kasi, marinig lang ang “okra” at “saluyot” ay nandidiri na dahil madulas daw ang katas. Kung may disiplina ang isang tao, kahit mapait pa ang isang halamang gamot o gulay tulad ng ampalaya, dapat ay itanim lang niya sa kaisipan ang layuning gumaling…yon lang.

A Glance at how the Impoverished Filipinos are Neglected by the Government

A  Glance at how the Impoverished Filipinos

Are Neglected by the Government

By Apolinario Villalobos

When impoverished Filipinos are born, their normal and healthy growth stops at a point where their mothers ceased to produce breast milk. Due to poverty, parents cannot afford infant milk, so they resort to feeding their babies from bottles that contain rice soup. As they are living in depressed areas crammed with makeshift homes of cardboard, scrap plywood, and leaky tin roof, children are practically exposed to the elements. Most likely, they get infected with skin diseases, their guts becoming home to parasites, and they slowly grow with weak respiratory system. Picture the impoverished children with bloated stomach, bulging eyes, and runny nose.

In a big urban area like Manila, the parents try to eke out a living from dump sites where thrown refuse sometimes yield recyclables that they collect and sell to junk shops. Some though, end up in their home to be used further. Some wake up at past midnight with their children and standby at dumping areas for reject vegetables in Divisoria to salvage what can be trimmed of unwanted parts, cleaned and sold. At six, after earning a few coins, the children go home to change their clothes for school, walking to which, they do without even a sip of warm coffee. Fathers peddle their service as stevedores, or pedal tricycles for a measly fare. And, still some brave the searing heat of the sun and sudden downpour, as they roam around the city pushing carts to collect junks from garbage bins.

In agricultural provinces, families suffer every time drought or flood occurs. Rice fields become useless so they resort to borrowing money from loan sharks. If there are pockets of forest still standing nearby, they resort to cutting of trees, even the premature ones, to be made into charcoal. As a result, they eradicate what could have been a watershed and protection of the topsoil that erodes with the onset of rain.

Those living along the seashores depend on fair weather for their fishing ventures out in the open sea, but the erratic weather system prevailing today, prevents them from doing this dangerous kind of livelihood most of the time. The worst scenarios are during the typhoon or monsoon seasons during which they have no choice but stay home. For their subsistence, they borrow from loan sharks.

It is true that the situations mentioned are similar to other impoverished countries. But what is glaring in the Philippines is the government’s neglect of the country as being agricultural. Lands are converted into quick money-making ventures such as real and industrial estates.   Also, instead of having its God-given natural endowments made use to the fullest by Filipinos themselves, these are practically offered to foreigners. The Filipinos are deprived of God-given opportunities by the very government that is supposed to protect them.

The government claims that its concerned agency, the Department of Social Welfare has programs for the impoverished families, one of which is the 4P’s, but this is shrouded with suspected corruption. Reports even prove that the program is not effective, as it just exacerbate the idleness of parents. Also, where are the social workers while children are sniffing rugby in street corners to stave off hunger? Where are the social workers while families living in carts are drenched by heavy rains?

As with the educational system, for so many years now, loopholes that have been shown by parents and concerned sectors are not plugged by the Department of Education. Today with the K-12 program, the parents are further pushed further down the mire of financial difficulty. Such ambitious program will eventually produce a new a generation of dropouts as impoverished parents can no longer afford to spend for their children’s education beyond Grade Six. The situation for inadequately- schooled Filipino children has just gotten worse than before, in which dropping out happens after graduating from high school.

The government refuses to acknowledge its inadequacies, and instead, it proudly shows a perfect image of the country that keeps its pace towards progress, which is a blatant lie!

Maggie Asuncion: Serenely Surviving the Threat of Cancer through Christian Faith

Maggie Asuncion: Serenely Surviving the

Threat of Cancer through Christian Faith

By Apolinario Villalobos

It takes much courage before a person who is threatened by cancer can accept his or her fate. Initially, disbelief sets in, followed by denial. And, this is despite the factual medical findings, yet. But what happened to Maggie Asuncion is different. With all her heart and mind, she accepted her fate but also went through a “compromise” offered by the modern medical technology. She underwent a mastectomy, a gamble on her part, in the year 2000, as during the time, stories about immediate failure of operation were prevalent.  The operation was followed by 6 months of chemotherapy, and 5 years of oral medication.

Maggie grew up in a Christian home that molded her personality according to her family’s strong faith. With a strong Christian foundation, she developed a steely personality that enabled her to face any kind of challenge in life. The worry that dawned on her when she was told about the growth of cancerous cyst in her breast did not last long. She did not suffer even just a bit from stigma, even after her operation. She went on with her life as if nothing has been taken from her body.

The more than five years of observation period during which she underwent rigorous medication, was patiently endured while participating in community outreach projects together with her supportive husband, Gene. The projects involved feeding of street children, clean-up drives, and random acts of charity, with the last, they did on their own. The projects served as an effective therapy, as she has practically forgotten about herself while spending her time with the less fortunate.

Their advocacy has in time, become an integral part of their life that today, every time they go out of their home, they would see to it that they have with them goodies for street children whom they might encounter along the way. They humbly admit that these are small tokens, though heartily given – things that they can afford.

Today, Maggie is a picture of serenity and dynamism, despite her age which is beyond sixty. If not with religious groups that undertake feeding programs for street children or with environmentalist groups doing clean- ups of Manila Bay, she bakes cake and prepares salads for the family. A time is also inserted in their schedule for visits to a bed-ridden friend. Every time there is an opportunity, she also gives testimonies in assemblies, assuring victims of the big C, that there is life after its riddance by operation, but with a reminder that the patient must do his or her share by following  a disciplined way of life…plus, of course, strong faith in Him.

Maggie and Gene are blessed with four daughters, Gemma Lee A. Namit (38), Gracious Melody A. Torrijos (37), Genette Mae A. Shuler (34), and Geneve Maude N. Asuncion (26). Their only twenty day-old grandson, Gavril Matteo, unfortunately died of congenital heart disease.

Maggie showed that it pays by just leaving everything to God by virtue of strong faith….that praying should not always be for asking worldly blessings.