The Hedonistic Celebration of Special Occasions by Impoverished Filipinos

The Hedonistic Celebration of Special Occasions

By Impoverished Filipinos

By Apolinario Villalobos


Many Filipinos borrow money to celebrate special occasions such as birthday, fiesta, and anniversaries…I mean here, Filipinos who cannot even afford three square meals a day. They hinge their desire on the wrong justification that the celebration is just once a year, anyway. What they forgot is that the obligation to pay the debt could stretch for not less than three months, especially, if the money is from a loan shark who slaps suckers with as much as 20% interest per month! These unthinking Filipinos are blinded by arrogance as they want to show others that they can afford to splurge money. They also forgot that the people who know them are already aware about their impoverish status in life, so that any effort to cover it up, is useless.


The hedonistic way of celebrating special occasions among Christians is an influence from pagan Romans who were converted into Christianity. The Roman Saturnalia was celebrated for days with fun – dancing, drinking, eating, and sexual activities with wild abandon. Not only was Saturnalia celebrated without let up but anything that can be used as an excuse. This hedonistic practice was brought to the Philippine archipelago by the Spanish friars who preceded the contingents of armed conquistadores who came on galleons. The friars used the celebrations that they masked with spirituality to entice the natives to come down from their mountain abodes with eventual motive of converting them.


Today, the influence is so deeply rooted that it has practically ruined the character of Filipinos in general. As mentioned earlier, many Filipinos would go to the extent of borrowing money from loan sharks in order to celebrate “debut” of daughters, fiestas, birthday, etc, for one day, and suffer from the consequence for months!


On the other hand, those who can afford to feed a barangay as a way of celebrating their birthday, for instance, may go ahead, as nothing could stop them, not even this blog that serves as just a simple reminder, and which they may even view as an idiocy!



Resourceful Cooking

Resourceful Cooking

By Apolinario Villalobos


With the soaring prices of various food items that include vegetables, fish, meat and spices, one must be resourceful to be able to scrimp on these. Along with the effort, one must also use ingenuity in coming up with recipes that make use of cheap ingredients and quick cooking to save on fuel, such as gas, electricity, wood or charcoal. The following are some suggested and simple recipes with cheap ingredients:


  • “Okoy” or fritter using strips of singkamas (jicama, turnip), squash and monggo sprouts (toge), flavored with dried krill or kalkag. This can be eaten as snacks or as viand (ulam).
  • Vegetable combo using all kinds of indigenous vegetables – camote tops, alogbate, eggplant, saluyot, okra, tomatoes, onions and ginger, especially, those wilting in the ref.
  • Pickled radish, eggplant, string beans, mustard or cabbage using cheap old stock of the said vegetables, the prices of which could be 50% less than the fresh ones. The mentioned vegetables can be pickled separately using vinegar and salt. As a salad, they can be prepared with slices of fresh tomatoes and onions.
  • Mashed eggplant using the old, hence, cheap ones. Boil the eggplants into soft consistency, mash and sauté in oil, chopped tomatoes and onions. This can be used as a bread filling or as appetizing main dish.


Other cheap ideas are:


  • Steaming vegetables by placing them on top of about-to-be cooked steamed rice. Remove them when ready to be served. Dips or sauce can be soy sauce mix with vinegar, chopped onions and tomatoes. This is the cheapest way to cook steamed vegetables and is more nutritious than boiling.


  • Flavoring vegetables or fried rice with the sauce of canned sardines while saving the whole fish for pasta dishes or as a separate dish sautéed in plenty of tomatoes and onions.


  • Preparing skinless tomatoes by freezing ripe ones after which bringing them out, and as they start to thaw or soften, starting to peel them. Skinless tomatoes can be frozen again to be used when preparing salad or sauce for pasta dishes, or can be mashed and cooked in oil, little vinegar and salt, to make tomato paste. The traditional way of peeling tomatoes is by soaking them in boiling water for a few seconds, but could be messy.


  • Preparing ready-to-use tomato and onion sauce using cheap old stock of the said vegetables. Cook the chopped vegetables in oil after which, apportion in small container for freezing and bringing out only the needed portion….this is a time and fuel saver.


  • Not continuously boiling monggo beans. Upon boiling, remove from stove and allow a few minutes “rest” to give the beans time to absorb the water, then return to the stove for another round of boiling; remove again…and on the third time, cook over slow fire until the beans become mashed in boiling water. This technique is best if only a single-burner stove is being used, as other dishes can be cooked while the monggo pot is “resting”.


The problem with most Filipinos today is that they refuse to think of ways to live on a tight budget, yet, they have the gall to waste food such as a spoonful or two of rice left on the plate or throw the left-over instead of recycling them. Also, they have the courage to blame the government for their travails due to low wage and soaring prices of commodities but they do not exert effort to save! They forgot the adage, “kung maikli ang kumot dapat ay mamaluktot” (one should exert effort to be covered with a small-sized blanket by lying curled on his side.)

A Call from the Youth of the Land…Let Harmony Breed World Peace!

A Call from the Youth of the Land…

Let Harmony Breed World Peace!

By Ed Palomado


Let harmony breed peace the world over…yes!…give it a chance! That is our call, we, the youth of the land to you, our elders and parents with differing advocacies and views that have been splitting the world into segments of disparity. The world is a sphere and should have insured the smooth flow of relationship among men as there are no corners that serve as hindrances…that is why God made it as such.


We did not ask to be born into a world beset with chaos due to mere differences in the color of our skin and the diverse tongues that are supposed to bind the world together. Add to them cultures and traditions that have differing propensities.


We did not ask to be born into a world quivering on a foundation weakened by uncertainties as to what the future would bring. In the meantime, more innocent newborn are being brought forth as the hands of time tick with reminders about our hazy destiny. Where should we go from where we stand today?…yes!…where, beloved elders and parents?


Greed has pathetically overshadowed humane principles, having been fed by the unrelenting selfishness of many world leaders. And, pride has blinded the same arrogant leaders who do not give a damn while treading on the path leading toward aspired success that must be had at all cost. They failed to see the rights of others that they trampled to make their covetous desire come true. We, the youth are among the trampled, a misfortune that have cut short a life that could have made us savor what lies ahead of us.


Why must we, the youth, suffer for all of these?

Why can’t there be even a bit of tolerance for all the differences that ensued when God created humanity?

Why can’t tolerance be observed as a show of respect to what others believe in?

Why can’t there be just music instead of the cracking guns that spit forth death?

Why can’t there be love instead of hate?

And, why can’t we extend a hand of compassion, instead of one gripping a gun?


If we let tolerance prevail, there would be understanding…if we let love overcome our hate, there will be compassion….and, if we give harmony a chance, there will be a soothing and delightful tranquility, as everything would just fall into their proper places with synchrony that shall bring forth peace!


So, now I am asking again…why not give peace a chance to rule the world?


(An oratorical peace composed by Ed Palomado for a student in his speech clinic, and which I edited.)


On Being Exposed to Various Facets of Life

On Being Directly Exposed to Various Facets of Life

By Apolinario Villalobos


One can learn by browsing through the pages of books and at the present time, by viewing documentaries on TV channels. The knowledge gained out of those is “secondary”, unlike when one experiences first- hand occurrences in life which then, makes him or her some sort of “authority”. Among these instances are those that involve being in the midst of a depressed area, befriending hoodlums and other shady characters, travelling to interesting and unlikely destinations, eating extraordinary foods, going through grueling experience, etc.


In the same manner, sensitive posts such as those in the DILG, DSW, CHR, and many others should be occupied by people who have gained first-hand experience so that they can come up with ideas and decisions, based on “experience”….as much as possible. Unfortunately, various appointments in the government posts are based on “referrals” of friends, associates, or out of gratitude. Later, these appointees, as expected, are proved to be inadequate in carrying their job, and worse, are corrupt!


On the other hand, some may say that a doctor need not be sick of any malady to be able to prescribe a medicine. But then, prescribed medicines are not sure balls to cure as patients are asked to return after a certain period of time to check if what have been prescribed were effective. This situation is in contrast to the shared testimony of patients themselves, who got cured by certain herbs…but which medical “authorities” prohibit.  That is why despite the testimonies of those who have been relieved by herbal medicines, for instance, that go with an advertisement, what follows is a harsh precaution from the DOH that the “medication” has not been proved as effective!….so, why allow the inclusion of the testimonies, if that is the case?…or why allow the ad to be played at all, as it will just create confusion? Relative to this was the practice in the earliest civilized nations, such as those mentioned in the Bible. The practice involved exposure of the sick to the public to attract the attention of passers -by, hoping that among them, one or several who had similar disease and got cured would stop by to give advice.


Today, in the Philippines, some people who have not even stepped on the ground of a depressed area have the temerity to speak about poverty and life in slums despite the limitation of their “exposure” to TV screens and news gleaned from pages of newspapers. They are the detractors of Duterte in his drive against illegal drugs. All they know are just the words “death” and “extra-judicial killings” without even going any further as to the “who” and “why”. They read and view news that the killed guys are from depressed areas or slums. They never get to the depth of the story, especially, on what the drug-hooked criminals have done and could still do if left to roam the streets peddling drugs from their police protectors and evil suppliers, to their equally impoverished neighbors.


These detractors will never understand the situation that resulted from the negligence of the past presidents, because they, who speak about the EJK, only go as far as the air-conditioned malls and drive around the city in their airconditioned car. The furthest that they may have gone to are the touristic destinations where they spent their expensive jaunts. They have not even tried eating in sidewalk carinderias or have taken coffee in makeshift open-air “cafeterias” along side streets of slums.



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!

The Barangay

The Barangay

By Apolinario Villalobos


The grassroots level of government, in particular, the Barangay, is not free from anomalies and corruption because of “familiarity” among officials and staff due to the smallness of community. Many council members may even be blood-related and the staff , especially, the Secretary appointed by the chairman, in most probability could be related to him or a member of the family. This situation definitely breeds abuse and unprofessionalism.


Memoranda issued on office protocol and decorum become just “fillers” of bulletin boards where they are displayed….and never heeded. The Secretary, for instance, who is supposed to be the first to report to the office should not log in at past 9:00AM and leave before 5AM!….well, as a niece, for instance of the Chairman, she could very well brag, “what are we in power for?”


The Barangay level is where future officials of the country are supposed to learn the rudiments of “public administration”, especially, with the current system that requires regular preparation of reports in “black and white”. But what if the Chairman happened to have just been voted because of his popular image, despite his or her lack of even a high school diploma? That is where the academically- successful members of the Council and the Secretary are supposed to come in to fill the void of the Chairman’s academic inadequacy.


The Barangay Chairman should, therefore, learn how to please the Council members and appoint a Secretary whom he could trust with the preparation of documents required of him or her by the next higher level of the LGU – municipality or city. On the other hand, he or she should also learn how to “dance” with the Council members so that he will not be left out in the open. These unfortunate options breed corruption, incompetence, irresponsibility and abuse that will definitely jeopardize the whole barangay, as cover-up of misdoings would surely occur.


Many barangays are prevailed upon by their mayors who are also prevailed upon by their governors, and that is how wholesale corruption occurs. Unless the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary is iron-fisted and courageous, corruption in the government will never be solved….as law makers, themselves, on the upper echelon of the political system of the country have their own issues of the same kind.


This is the reason why Duterte keeps on saying that “in his time”, he will do his best to cut corruption…and, after his term, will he still give a damn?….that is a very serious question to tackle, unless Filipinos will cooperate, be vigilant and join hands to support him and choose another leader with the same caliber. Meanwhile, the barangay level should be closely watched…because that is where corruption takes root!


Jose P. Leviste, Jr.: Humility Personified

Jose P. Leviste, Jr.: Humility Personified

By Apolinario Villalobos


I almost decided not to take PR1811, the second flight of PAL from Manila to Davao on April 30,  as I was used to taking the first flight. It could have been a Providential design because on that flight, I met a guy with a down-to-earth character, and not just an ordinary one, but considered as an icon in the field of industry…Mr. Jose P. Leviste Jr.


At the PAL Mabuhay Lounge before the flight, he was with a group that I presumed to be businessmen on their way to Davao to attend an ASEAN scheduled activity. I observed his humble personality that somehow made him a standout. When we boarded our flight, we were seat mates and while we were fixing our seat belts, we exchanged smiles that broke the ice. He introduced himself simply as “Joey”, so I extended my right hand for a handshake at the same time giving him my nick name. He also gave me his business card and I apologized for not being able to reciprocate the gesture as I am not using such.


When I read the name on the card, I was struck with awe…seated beside me was no other than the Chairman of one of the respected industrial institutions in the country. Yet, he consistently showed a character oozing with humility. I was more than glad to learn that we were on the same plane of interests – nature, humanity and literary. However, I was very much elated for the opportunity of talking to a greatly accomplished industrialist. When he asked for my personal infos, he patiently typed them in his smartphone after which he took our photo. He also showed me his file of business cards coded with checks to remind him which of the owners of the cards have been met, meekly confiding about his tendency to be forgetful. His systematic habit was just admirable which showed that he was not totally dependent on others for all his daily personal needs.


As if on a cue, we would touch on subjects that interested both of us. We shared what we knew about the Philippine eagle, for instance. When I mentioned about my participation in the monitoring and documenting of the aerial mating of the national bird in Mt. Apo, while concealed with the Kennedy group sponsored by the National Geographic way back in the 80’s, he added his fascination about the monogamous character of the bird. When I mentioned about blogging, he told me that he got no time for such but shared that he has collated into a collectible book various write-ups about Lee Kuan Yew. He further surprised me with a confession that he had so far written four books, humbling me with my own, one title. A great guy, indeed!


I purposely slowed down on our conversation when I noticed that he was sleepy as I learned that since the start of the ASEAN Conference, he and other prominent businessmen were kept busy with meetings and social activities. He luxuriated on about twenty minutes of dozing which resulted to his late snacks. I was further touched when he gave me the small sachet of mango- flavoured chocolate from his platter that should have been part of his dessert together with slices of fruits.


As our plane was about to touch down, he confided that the reason for his coming to Davao was the inauguration of the Ro-Ro service between Davao and Indonesia…he was the guest of honor. He invited me to join him which I politely declined as I was on an urgent purpose.


As if the surprises brought about by the encounter were not enough, while we were on our way to the arrival area of Davao International Airport, one of my carry-on bags (I had three) slipped off my shoulder and which he unceremoniously picked up and carried! I was so embarrassed but he insisted on carrying it for me as he found me seemingly over-burdened. His gesture left me with two more carry-ons -a bag and laptop. What made me more embarrassed was when he told me that he was of same age with President Duterte and Sonny Domingo…the latter being his classmate! I was astounded as I thought he was just approaching his sixties. His being a mestizo and having a wrinkle-free face may be the reasons for his youngish look. At the arrival area, we parted our ways as I went straight to the conveyor to pick up my checked-in baggage.


When I finally reached my destination after almost four hours of travel, I texted my new friend with a message about my heartfelt appreciation and honest admiration of his rare character. I thought, he would not reply, being a very busy guy, but after a few minutes, I received an acknowledgment. I imagined him to have taken a fragment of his precious time just to send me his reply.


I coud not get over the overwhelming feeling after meeting the humble Joey Leviste, Jr., making me wonder if there could be other industrial icons like him. What is remarkable about him is his unassuming attitude that keeps his feet on the ground despite the dizzying success that he has achieved and keeps on achieving. Now I understand why he is immensely successful and blessed!

jose p leviste jr