By Apolinario Villalobos


Happiness is waking up

Caressed by the cool wind

Of the golden dawn.


Happiness is seeing neighbors

Whose homes are made alive

With laughter of contentment.


Happiness is having a child

A bundle of chubby pink face

A crispy cry bringing tear to your eye.


Happiness is extending a hand

To a fallen friend and strangers

Who give a grateful look and a smile.


Happiness is being contented

As on earth, everything has a limit

So that we must not grumble even a bit!



In the name of Love….

In the name of Love…

By Apolinario Villalobos


In the name of love…

Kilometric lines of praise can be uttered

Mountains of words can be piled

Tsunamic throbs can be sighed

And stones can come to life.


In the name of love…

Chilling nights can simmer with warmth

Swaying leaves can turn to fairies

That dance with delightful grace

And undulate with the breeze.


In the name of love…

Even the scrawny twigs can bear flowers

Grass made brown by searing sun

Can turn into cool green, so calm –

Under the sky’s cerulean expanse.

images (5)



The Desire to have a longer life

The Desire to have a Longer Life

By Apolinario Villalobos

The desire to live longer in this world is a manifestation of satisfaction felt about what are being experienced in this world. There is no regret for having been brought forth into the chaos that characterized the world. In other words, whoever has this feeling is happy.

The aforementioned feeling is the opposite of what is felt by a person who is never satisfied, one who always finds fault in others and in just anything that God created. He feels that he cannot tolerate such imperfections, hence, better for him to call it quits and say goodbye to life!

Man is given the choice, either to live in happiness or misery, based on how he conducts himself in this world. Some of us, who wallow in poverty, can still declare sincerely- felt happiness. While others who are neck-deep in luxury still have the heart to express sadness. Such differing feelings determine the desire to live life longer.

Every day should be viewed as a happy moment in life that occurs because we want it to happen. This attitude is the driving force that sustains the desire in us to live longer than expected. This force should not be affected by numbers such as age and time, and possible only by making ourselves oblivious to such. Again, this can be made possible by making ourselves busy in doing something – good, of course.

On board a jeepney one day, I found myself sitting beside a senior citizen, a lady clad in white dress, obviously a devotee of the Virgin Mary. As the jeepney that I took was plying the route of Pasay-Baclaran, I presumed that she was on her way to the Baclaran Church, especially, because it was a Wednesday. Baclaran is the national shrine of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Wednesday being the devotion day.

As I could not contain my curiosity, I asked for her age to which she gladly replied, ninety-six! I was almost floored by her answer. I thought she was just past sixty. She told me that she has been a devotee of the Virgin Mary for more than fifty years. Every Wednesday, she wakes up early to take a jeepney to Baclaran, and every Friday she takes her time in going to Quiapo to fulfill her devotion to the Black Nazarene.

I compared the senior lady whom I befriended to another one I knew who devoted her time at bingo hall of her favorite shopping mall, from Monday to Thursday, as Friday to Sunday are for mahjong socials with her friends. At age sixty-three, she looked haggard with her face heavily made up, so that she looked more than eighty. She died last year, 2014, just four months before her sixty-third birthday.

Giving Life a Twist to Forget Depression

Giving Life A Twist

To Forget Depression

By Apolinario Villalobos

Depression resulting from monotony in life can kill, literally. It can also result from misfortune brought about by loss of loved one, job, finances. We sometimes come across items in tabloids and broadsheets about people who commit suicide because of depression. Highly developed countries consider it as a disease. Well-earning professions have sprouted because of it. For third-world countries, however, it is merely equated to sadness, a feeling which is hoped to pass in time.

In the Philippines, few people go to Psychiatrists or Psychologists, who as doctors of the mind, are conceived to treat only the lunatics, this is aside from the hefty amount involved for every minute of consultation, much more for actual treatment. Those, however, who understand the real situation and can afford the sky-high fee of these professionals, never hesitate to run to them at just even a slight detection of signs of the mental illness.

For the ordinary Filipino, on the other hand, to check the downtrend of emotion is a simple rest, a new environment, or a new activity – something that will divert the focus of the mind from a misfortune. It is like adding a new condiment or spice to a dish to give it a twist, making it more palatable.

I have a friend who I met after two decades of interlude, and found him to have doubled in size. When I asked why, he simply told me that his family has had two deaths in a row in a year. I did not understand what he meant, until he told me that rather than wallow in sorrow, he diverted his attention to food. That’s my first lesson in how to fight depression. I thought, it’s better than drowning his sorrow over bottles of beer.

Another friend who was receiving six digits compensation as Finance Consultant has been vocal about his restlessness. He seemed not happy despite the big pay. Twelve years after, we met in a mall and found his already youngish face to have looked younger, and he was vibrant, no longer sporting a sullen look. He treated me to mugs of coffee and over them, he told me about his job – manager of a small dive “resort” in a far province. So, that is the reason for his glowing and healthy tan skin, as well as, slim athletic physique. As close friends, I did not hesitate to ask if he’s happy with the pay, to which he smilingly replied with a smile and an honest confession of a figure less than thirty thousand pesos, though with free accommodation and food for him and his family, which is a far cry from his former more than two hundred thousand pesos per month take home pay as Consultant in a well-known consultancy firm in Ayala.

Still another friend who used to work as a Vice-President of an Advertising firm now maintains a small vegetable stall somewhere in Pasay City, but he is happy waking up at three in the morning for a trip to Divisoria with his son to buy vegetables in bulk, and to be retailed in his stall at Pasay at seven, after which they would enjoy their simple breakfast ordered at a nearby carinderia.

I have other friends who have changed their direction in life before reaching retirement age or even beyond. Some even say that they took a risk, with the rest admitting that they did it deliberately. The common result however, is the contentment and happiness that they are now enjoying.

In my case, when I left the airline to which I owe so much gratitude, after twenty years, friends asked why. I told them that I wanted to try another field, that of writing which has been my passion ever since. Perhaps, that reason, they may understand, but there is one important passion that I could not share with them at first, as they will surely not understand…my reaching out to others who are less fortunate. This advocacy knows no time or day, so I will not be able to do it if I have a full time job. For the latter, I invested my sincerity as I know with all honesty that I am wanting, too – inadequate in finances like them. So, what extras I have, I share with them.

Resigning from my job for which some friends envied me, is a big twist that I gave my life. But since I was feeling the onset of depression which I knew would eventually affect my job, I had to do it. It did me good, as I was able to do many things afterward despite the meagerness of what was left after the government ate up a big chunk from my separation pay.

I made use of what I learned from my twenty years of stint with the airline, where I was able to hone my writing and office administration. Immediately, I got consultancy jobs at my own time, designing operating manuals for companies and organizations. I was also, able to finish my first book and be with my friends at depressed areas for as long as I wanted – listening to their happy and sad stories, eating with them. I also learned to blog and share what I feel and think through the hi-tech and intricate social network.

At the end, I am happy. And, that is what I am trying to say now. The twist I gave my life made me realize that I have many God-given gifts in me that I must share with others. I must not fail Him in what He gave me as His investment so that I will become worthy of his noble intention when He gave me life. Simply said, it is my way of paying Him back, but through my fellow creatures.

Ang Mga Senior Citizen sa Pilipinas

Ang Mga Senior Citizen

Sa Pilipinas

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Tulad sa ibang bansa, dito sa Pilipinas

Ang senior citizen ay buhay- maaliwalas

Dapat lang namang sila’y bigyan ng pansin

Upang mapanatag ang isip nila’t damdamin.


Kaliwa’t kanang discount, ini-enjoy nila

Upang ang buhay naman nila, guminhawa

Sa biyahe ay may discount, pati rin grocery

Kasamang mga apo, weekend din sa Jollibee.


May isa pang benepisyong ini-enjoy nila

Matindi ito’t nakakagulat, nakakainggit talaga

Dahil kapag inabot ng ganitong edad sa gobyerno

Mangurakot ka man, baka aabutin mo ay abswelto!


Ang Masaya Kong Nakaraan

Ang Masaya Kong Nakaraan

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Hindi ito isang kuwentong mala-nobela. Kuwento ito ng masasayang araw ng aking kabataan. Makulay pa. Noong nasa elementarya ako, kasama ang ilang abenturista ring mga kaklase, namumutol kami ng kawayang Hapon sa isang bukid upang gawing sumpit. Upang magkaroon kami ng pambalang monggo, pumupunta kami sa palengke upang mang-umit nito sa mga bilaong nakatiwangwang lang, at pinupuno namin ang aming bulsa. Yong kasama naming isa, siguro nagsisisi sa mga ginawang pang-uumit kaya ngayon ay nakikibahagi ng mga salita ng Diyos bilang tanda ng pagsisisi. Yong isa, namayapa na.


May mga sinamahan din akong mga kaibigan na mahilig sa pag-akyat sa puno. Sa kanila ko natutuhan ang patiwarik na pagbitin sa sanga. Natuto akong bumaba sa puno ng santol na puno ang damit ng ninakaw na bunga, animo ay buntis, habang ang hindi kayang maipit ng damit ay naglalaglagan sa pagitan ng aking mga hita. Wala kaming pera subali’t masaya kami.


Noong panahon na wala pang kuryente sa bayan namin, ang mga nagpapa-party ay gumagamit ng Petromax, at para lang masabi na romantic daw, mga kandila naman ang sinisindihan na kung mangaupos ay pinapalitan ng gaserang de-gas kaya kinabukasan paitiman ng ilong ang mga nagsidalo, dahil sa nalanghap na usok. Ang music naman, mula sa de-bateryang phonograph o “phono”, kaya pabilisan ang pagsayaw ng twist at kung anu-ano pang mabibilis at magagaslaw na “stroke” dahil kapag humina ang baterya, maski kantang “limbo rock” ay nagiging pang- sweet dance na lang, hanggang sa tuluyan nang mamahinga ang “phono”, kaya goodnight na sa isa’t isa kahi’t maaga pa…mahal kasi ang baterya.


May mga haranahan akong inabot. Isa sa mga hinarana ay kapatid kong hindi naman kagandahan, nagustuhan lang yata ang hagikhik nito na nakakaaliw. Minsan, nagalit ang tatay namin, kinuha ang arenola, binuksan ang bintana at ibinuhos ang laman sa labas, yon pala may nagpapasakayle ng gitara sa ibaba. Ang nakikita sa sine na sinasabay sa pagharana ang pagnanakaw ng manok ay totoo. Ginawa ito ng isa kong pinsan kasama ang kanyang barkada isang gabi. Nakadalawa sila ng “nasungkit” na manok, habang ang iba sa kanila ay kumakanta. Sa gabi kasi, ang manok na nakadapo sa sanga ng puno at tulog ay nasusungkit ng kawayang may maikling patungan sa dulo, kung saan lilipat ang manok na susungkitin. Ibinababa ang manok sa sungkit kung malayo na sa bahay na hinarana, kaya walang problema maski mag-ingay pa ito.


Madalas ang sunog sa amin kung pasko – mga parol, hindi bahay. Mahilig kasing gumamit ang mga nagkakaroling ng parol na ang ilaw sa loob ay sinindihang kandila. Malalamang may nasusunog na parol kung may nagtatakbuhan at nagkakahulang aso. Ang usong ibigay noon ay hindi pera, kundi kung anong mahahagilap sa mesang prutas o tirang kakanin. Siguradong pera ang matatanggap ng nagkakaroling kung magbibigay sila ng sulat sa mga tatapatang bahay. Ang mga mahiyain naman na nagkakaroling, kumakanta habang nakatago sa likod ng puno, malapit sa bahay o di gaya ay sa halamanan. Maghahanap pa ang maybahay kung saan ang kumakanta para abutan ng saging o kamote na nilaga.


Ang mga sinehan sa amin, amoy- ihi at ang mga upuan ay maraming surot, pero napapagtiyagaan. Ang isang sinehan ay naging dalawa, naging tatlo, hanggang naging apat. Nauso ang mga “plus bom” na palabas. Ito yong mga pelikulang may mga isiningit na malalaswa kaya ang tawag ay “plus bom” na ibig sabihin ay “plus bomba”. Bomba ang tawag noon sa mga pelikulang malaswa. Kung magpalabas nito sa amin ay walang pakialam ang mayor. Abot hanggang kalsada ang ingay ng halinghingan ng mga artista, para bang nang-aakit pa ng mga manonood, kaya ang mga abenturista kahit menor de edad, nagkandapunit ang mga high school ID dahil sa pagpapalit ng birthday. Hindi pinatawad ang mga pelikula ni Joseph Estrada at Fernando Poe, Jr. na siningitan din ng mga “plus bom”, pati ang kay Nora Aunor. Nagkakagulatan na lang sa loob ng sinehan, ang hindi makatiis, lumalabas.


Masaya sa bayan namin kapag may dumating na van ng “cortal” dahil magpapalabas sila ng libreng sine sa plaza. Kanya-kanyang puwesto ng upuan sa harap ng van, magdadapit-hapon pa lang. Pagkatapos ng palabas, magbebentahan na ng mga gamot, na kung isipin ko ngayon ay baka mga expired na kaya pino-promo. Pero wala akong nalamang namatay sa amin dahil sa expired na gamot. Nagbebenta ako ng sinangag na mani kung may libreng palabas na sine.


Madalas ding magpa-“amateur” ang mayor namin na ang ibig sabihin ay amateur singing contest, sa plaza. Ang mga pampalubag- loob na premyo ay tinapay na donasyon ng nag-iisang bakery sa amin. Obligadong magbigay ang may-ari dahil baka isara ang bakery niya, matapang kasi ang mayor namin. Marami palang may magagandang boses sa amin. Ang isang maalala ko ngayon ay may apelyidong Levita. Naalala ko rin sina Grace Perales, at Eufemia Alcon na naging wedding singer. Parehong mga elementary pupils sina Grace Perales at Eufenia Alcon noong sumikat sila sa amin.


May dalawang “unit” ng combo ang mayor namin. Ang isa ay tumugtog sa isang beerhouse sa Pasay na nakita ko pang kasama sa isang eksena ng pelikula ni Joseph Estrada. Yong isa ay permanente sa bayan namin upang magpasaya sa mga tao tuwing Linggo. Nagdala ang mayor namin ng dalawang magagandang singer mula sa Maynila. Nagbukas din siya ng isang “night club” sa may bandang palengke, katabi ng katayan o slaughter house. Tinawag itong “Kayumanggi Club”. Ang combo naman ay tinawag na “Firebrand Combo”, dahil ang mga tumutugtog ay nakalista sa payroll ng munisipyo bilang mga bumbero. Yong tumutugtog sa Pasay ay “self-liquidating” dahil ang sweldo ng mga miyembro ay galing sa kita nila, pagkatapos kaltasan ni mayor. In fairness sa kanila, talagang magagaling tumugtog at kumanta, lalo na ng mga kanta ng Bee Gees at Tom Jones. Sa buong probinsiya, bayan lang namin ang may combo, dalawa pa.


Regular ang pagdating ng mga peryahan tuwing piyesta sa amin. Kinakaibigan naming magkakabarkada ang mga nagbabantay sa entrance ng circus upang makapasok nang libre. Binibigyan namin ng prutas na nahihingi namin. Nasuyod naming magkakasama ang buong bayan sa paghanap ng mga prutas upang hindi kami pabalik-balik sa ilang bahay. Minsan, nakawala ang ahas na kasama sa palabas, paliliguan sana subali’t gumapang palabas ng tent, takbuhan ang mga batang nag-iistambay. Sa takot ko, dalawang araw akong nilagnat.


Magandang magbalik-tanaw sa mga masasayang araw noong kabataan natin. Nakakapagbigay ng ngiti. Iba talaga ang panahon noon, masaya kahit walang computer at malls.





Kaligayahan….para kay Bing Paragas Calbone


(para kay Bing Paragas Calbone)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Kaligayahan ang paggising

Sa haplos ng malamig na simoy

Ng ginintuang bukang-liwayway

Hudyat ng bagong araw, bagong buhay.


Kaligayahan ang mga kapitbahay

Na ang mga tahanan ay binubuhay

Ng halakhak ng kasiyahan at ng sigla

Tanda na sila ay punong-puno ng pag-asa.


Kaligayahan ang supling na dumating

May mala-rosas na pisngi, tawa’t ngiti

Na sa iyo’y nagdala ng luha’t kaligayahan –

Damdaming halos wala kang mapagsidlan.


Kaligayahan ang makatulong sa ibang tao

Na hindi mo inaasahang sa iyo ay ibabalik

Dahil ang tanging hangad mo’y maipakita

Na walang katumbas, pagmamahal sa kapwa.


Kaligayahan ang hindi na maghahangad pa

Ng mga bagay na sa buhay na ito’y makakamit

Dahil mas mahalaga ang sa Kanya’y sampalataya –

Maigting at tagos sa puso na dapat nating nadarama!




Ang Mabuhay in this World (fusion poetry)

Ang Mabuhay in this World

By Apolinario Villalobos


Ang mundo is not really full of roses

Not every moment is with happiness

Makulimlim din minsan ang paligid

Nagbabadya ng lungkot nitong bahid.


Maganda na sana noong unang time

When paradise was there yet…sublime

But, mahina si Adan, bumigay kay Eve –

Pinalayas tuloy, napatira sa mga yungib!


“Maghirap upang mabuhay” was the sumpa

Nakatatak sa dugo, one painful na pamana

Kasalanang tinubos naman by  Christ Jesus

When on Mt. Calvary, he died on the cross!


As we live in this slowly dying world, tiis lang

Not only humans suffer, marami ding nilalang

Nandiyan also ang mga trees, fishes, at hayop

Lahat tayong mga nilalang, hirap, nagdarahop.


Walang magandang gawin but to say, “salamat”-

Salitang ulit-ulitin mang ilang beses ay ‘di sapat

Hintayin lang our last moment sa planetang ito

And, where we’ll go, depends sa ating pagkatao!


True Friendship…for Airene Calantina Benian

 True Friendship

(for Airene Calantina Benian)

By Apolinario Villalobos


For one who cries and laughs so easily

feelings are so easily revealed and…

to misunderstanding subjected,

but never do others know that…

such emotions are but highlights

of what are hidden inside the heart.

Such one may really exude warmth,

to loved ones… endearing, affectionate…

also, sweet and easily trusted,

that friendship with her –

will never be wasted. 

Have Contentment…Be Happy!

Have Contentment…Be Happy!

By Apolinario Villalobos


There is always a question if we are happy in what we do. One thing has been missed – a check if there is contentment. It should be remembered that unless we are contented in what we are doing, we can never be happy. In other words, contentment should come first, before we can finally say that we are happy.


Happiness is the emotion that translates the degree of contentment that we feel. The most evident expression is the smile which means that, the lesser the lips part for the smile, the lesser is the degree of contentment, and the wider the parting of the lips is, the greater is the contentment. Of course, for the more ecstatic, the higher the jump, the greater is the happiness felt. Or the louder the shout, the higher is the degree of the happiness that needs to be let out.


One stumbling block in this quest is greed which for as long as not satiated, no contentment is in sight. Some people don’t seem to understand the word “enough”.  The resulting attitude may be positive, especially, in the attainment of success. On the other hand, unsatisfied greed drives some countries to exploit economically frail ones, corrupt politicians and government officials to further exploit the trust of constituents, land grabbers to claim more lands, businessmen to ride on the dire need of the lowly for basic necessities, etc.


Happiness is not always measured by money. Having satisfaction in an endeavor is more than enough to make one smile. Filipinos are known for this. On TV, interviewed Filipinos can still sweetly smile even after declaring their difficulties in life, while adding that they are happy in earning just enough. Evidently, whatever minute degree of contentment left in them is not overwhelmed by hate, but instead, happiness is still projected by a smile on their face.


There is a persistent reminder for us to be contented with what we have in life, although, what comes later as added blessing can be welcomed and shared. If only everybody bears that in mind, the world shall burst with happiness!