THE WAY OF LIFE

THE WAY OF LIFE

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Somebody asked me if I have a religion, and when I told him, I have none, he told me, so you do not have a way of life…because according to him, religion is a way of life. I did not want to embarrass him as we were in the company of his friends, so I just told him, we will talk later about this.

 

The poor guy is obviously ignorant as regards “the way of life” which is generic and does not apply only to religion, but in everything as to HOW a person lives his life, HOW he “carries” himself, or HOW he acts in a community, or better, as a citizen. It is about attitude, character, behavior, mannerism, health, ideology, and philosophy being followed.

 

There are people who follow the philosophy of Confucianism which is not a religion…and their life is based on that. Vegans are people who prefer vegetables than meat and fish…that is their healthy lifestyle – their way of life. Communists behave according to their political ideology…and that is their way of life.

 

Belonging to a certain religion is JUST ONE OF THE WAYS OF LIFE. Christians and Catholics should behave like Christ. Buddhists should live their life according to the teachings of Buddha. Muslims should live according to the teachings of Mohammad. Protestants should live according to the deviations from Catholicism….etc.

 

Finally, it does not necessarily mean that if a person has no religion, he is leading a bad life, because, as many thought, HE HAS NO WAY OF LIFE.  On the contrary, many people who do not belong to any religion, IN FACT, act and behave better than those who belong to one.

 

It is the ACT that should be considered in judging a person, and not the teachings that many of those who are religiously fanatic are taught BUT NOT PUT INTO PRACTICE, as expected of them.

 

 

 

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Questions on Terminologies in the Philippines

Questions on “Terminologies” in the Philippines

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

The title of this blog refers to the names being used today by various sectors of the Philippine society, such as:

 

  • BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION…in that name of the agency, it implies that what is being protected is the fire. Why not use BUREAU OF FIRE PREVENTION, instead because the agency is also involved in the prevention of fire occurrences? Additionally, the “Fire Prevention Month” is being used to promote the awareness on fire occurrences during the summer season.

 

  • SOCSKSARGEN….the acronym which refers to a region of southern Mindanao is being further “acronized” into “SOX” which can confuse outright the foreigners especially Americans who are used to the “RED SOX” a baseball team in their country. If it is for promotion purposes, I dare say, the attempt did not help but just put the region in a funny situation. Related to this is also the effort to promote “ONE MINDANAO”…why not then, just stick to the jargon “ONE MINDANAO” and maintain the acronym SOCSKSARGEN or Region 12, instead of SOX? Why be different with the rest of the regions of the Philippines that use the Roman numerical references such as Region I, Region II, etc.?

 

It should be noted that “Mindanao” is generic just like the “Bisaya”. Those who are from Mindanao regardless of the province are generally referred to as “taga-Mindanao” as the reference to their specific province or town comes only secondarily. For tourism purposes “Mindanao” is more exotic sounding than an abbreviated name of a region such as SOX for SOCSKSARGEN.

 

  • DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT (DSWD)…the big question here is, what is being “developed”? The name of the agency has metamorphosed from its original name SOCIAL WELFARE ADMINISTRATION (SWA) into what it is now. Wise and discontented guys made fun of it by adding “PANG”, hence, “SWAPANG” which means greedy. Sometimes, instead of DSWD, people just refer to the agency as DSW but shortening the acronym did not help because of the unsatisfactory performance of the agency.

 

  • The NUESTRA SEṄORA DE LA REGLA….for the Filipino, “regla” means, menstruation, although, going deeper into the word with its Spanish meaning, it could also refer to the rule or measure.  My question is founded on the current time in which the old folks who were used to such title are no longer around. Filipinos and that include me now ask, when did such female phenomenon such as menstruation, have a patron? But why did the local Roman Catholic authority not correct such reference as it just elicits funny comments tantamount to blasphemy?…why the blatant disregard?…why the indifference when what’s at stake is the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church?

 

  • The CANDELA FESTIVAL…I came across this in the tarpaulin for the feast of the Our Lady of the Candles or Nuestra Seῆora de la Candelaria which shows that the “candela” refers to the “candelaria”. The word with the scientific symbol “cd” which means “standard candle”, with unit reference “SI” refers to the “luminous intensity”. The Filipinos are used to calling the candle as “kandila”, so that if the intention is to refer such “festival” to the “kandila”, then, the same word should logically be used. Also, though, the feast is about the candles, only very few who joined the procession were holding candles. My worse assumption is that the “candela” is the contracted form of the “Candelaria”….why the need to shorten it and make a “festival” out of it when the supply of candles in the locality come from Divisoria?  Proponents of local activities should be careful in using the word “festival” if their intention is to make an impression, because of the great negative impact that could result from disappointment.

Mga Batang May Pangarap…tulad ko rin noon

Mga Batang May Pangarap

…tulad ko rin noon

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Isang tanghaling katatapos ko lang kumain sa pastilan ni Luz, ay biglang may nagdatingang mga grupo ng kabataan….mga pupils ng Tacurong Pilot Elementary School. Ang pastilan ay malapit lang sa eskwelahan at sa labas ng plaza. Noon ko lang napansing alas dose na pala ng tanghali. Sabi ni Luz, sa kanya kumakain ang mga bata kapag “bitin” ang pera nila kaya nagkakasya na lamang sa isang balot na pastil na halagang Php10 at yong okey lang sa kaning tutong, ito ay libre na, pati ang sabaw. Kaya pala kung minsan ay wala akong naaabutang tutong. Akala ko ay inuubos ni Luz na mahilig din sa tutong. Ang ilan sa mga bata ay nakita ko na sa palengke na nagtatrabaho bilang tagatapon ng basura ng mga tinder at “errand boys”. Umamin ang karamihan sa mga batang wala silang pambili ng pastil at sumama lang sa mga kaibigan nila upang mamasyal sa plaza kaya ginawan na lang ng paraan upang lahat sila ay makakain ng pastil.

 

Maliban sa dalawa na Grade 5 pa lang, ang iba ay Grade 6 na kaya tinanong ko sila kung gusto pa rin nilang mag-aral sa Tacurong…sa National High School. Tatlo ang nagsabing sa Griῆo National High School, sa barangay Griῆo para hindi na daw gagastos sa pamasahe….taga-roon kasi sila.  Nang tanungin ko kung gaano kalayo ang bahay nila mula sa school, binanggit nila ang estimated distance mula sa kinalalagyan namin hanggang sa isang maliit na mall…na ang tantiya ko ay isang kilometro ang layo! Ganoon kalayo ang lalakarin nila mula sa bahay nila hanggang sa eskwela sa umaga at pauwi sa tanghali para mananghalian at babalik para sa klase sa hapon, at pauwi na pagkatapos ng klase….total na lalakarin sa isang araw ay 4 na kilometro!

 

Yong isa ay kukunin ng tatay na nasa Cebu…hindi na ako nagtanong kung bakit nandoon ang tatay at baka may makabagbag-damdaming madiskubre lang ako tungkol sa pagkatao niya. Yong iba ay sa Tacurong National High School na lang daw dahil may mga “suki” sila sa palengkeng “pinagtatrabahuhan”…pagtatapon ng basura at bilang “errand boys” kaya maski papaano ay may kikitain sila.

 

Lahat sila ay may mga pangarap na “maging” pagdating ng panahon. Apat ang nagsabing gustong maging pulis, dalawa ang gustong maging “army”,  ang iba ay gustong maging titser at ang isa ay gustong maging engineer.  Ang isang nahiyang kumain ay binigyan ko na lang ng pera para may pambili siya ng kanit banana cue kapag nagutom dahil may mga nagtitinda naman sa labas ng gate ng school nila. Pero binulungan niya ako ng, “babaunin ko ito bukas, uncle…”.

 

Bilib ako sa kanila dahil lahat sila ay malinis ang pinagkainan…wala ni isang mumo (wasted rice) na naiwan sa dahon ng saging na pinagbalutan ng pastil at pinggan.  Wala ring natirang sabaw sa mangkok. Ang mga pinakita nila ay palatandaan na karapat-dapat silang tulungan.

 

Nakita ko sa mga batang nakausap ko ang buhay ko noong nasa elementary ako na nag-aaral din sa “Pilot” na ang dating pangalan ay “Tacurong Elementary School”. Hindi kalayuan sa kinaroroonan naming carinderia ni Luz ay ang bakery na pag-aari ng mga Garcia at sa tambakan nila ay namumulot ako ng mga pakikinabangan pa, lalo na mga malalaking plastic na supot na ginagamit kong “bag” para sa mga gamit ko sa eskwela at ang mga mas malalaki pa ay pinagtatagpi-tagpi ko upang maging rain coat. Ilang dipa lang din mula sa carinderia ay ang kapitbahay naming may puno ng sampalok na ang mga lagas o mga nahulog na hinog ay pinupulot ko upang ibenta sa eskwela para may pambili ako ng papel man lang. Meron din silang puno ng balimbing na ang mga manibalang na bunga ay hinihingi ko para ibenta sa palengke pati ang mga hinog na bunga ng kaimito (star apple) namin, tuwing Sabado at Linggo. Nagtinda din ako noon ng pandesal sa madaling araw.

 

Tulad ng mga bata ay nangarap din ako noon…libre lang naman kasi!

 

 

Ang Lilim (Tula para sa Lenten Season)

Tula para sa Lenten Season…

 

 

Ang Lilim (Shade)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

 

Ang lilim ay nagdudulot ng ginhawa

Sa katawang nanlata dahil sa init ng araw

Kasiyahang may ngiti ang sa labi ay namumutawi

Lalo na kung makakakita nito sa kainitan ng tanghali.

 

Sa ibabaw ng mundo ay marami nito –

Iba’t ibang lilim na na ating nadadanasan

Lalo na ang lilim ng tahana’t ating mga magulang

Mga lilim na sa buhay ay nagagamit na sanggalang.

 

Ngunit ang pinakamalawak na lilim

Na sa sangkatauhan ay nagbibigay-lakas

Ay sampalataya sa Panginoon na hindi matitinag

At sa tagal ng panahon ay lalo pa ring tumatatag!

 

PRAISE THE LORD!

Ang Lilim

Incidents in my Life that Make Me Believe in Fate and Destiny…and GOD

Incidents in my Life that Make Me

Believe in Fate and Destiny…and GOD

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

I may not have a religion but I believe in God. As I am moving toward the threshold of my life, a simple assessment of what have been happening to me made me realize that my God is basically responsible for everything and HE even used other people, too. At this juncture of my life, I cannot deny that my decisions at times have negative effects in my life due to the abused excuse…human frailties.

 

Today, I am really feeling the “purpose” that HE gave me. My having been born in a poor family, orphaned at an early age that resulted to more deprivations did not prevent me from finishing my education. HE made go out of my birthplace when I worked with Philippine Airlines and was even made to choose a far-off station of the said airline, Tablas in Romblon, as my first assignment. HE prepared me for the PAL job by exposing me to office work when I was hired by the Department of Social Welfare when I was about to graduate from college. HE made me finish my college despite the impending odds, as after our batch of less than a hundred that represented four courses, the college department of Notre Dame of Tacurong closed down.

 

A guy, I did not personally know, being just a friend of my friend, and who was working with PAL in General Santos station was instrumental in my “entry” to the said airline by sending me a telegram with just my nickname on it but with my office address to tell me about their recruitment. Out of almost a hundred applicants coming from prestigious colleges in Koronadal City and Cotabato City, only four of us were able to hurdle the preliminary interview. At the General Santos station, my documents were lost but HE made me go through the final interview in Davao station based on the trust of the interviewers from Manila…with an arrangement for my documents to be submitted later. HE made me work for an airline despite my AB course intended for teaching.

 

HE prepared me for my writing which could have been my real purpose in life. When I was in first year High School, I was made to edit the high school organ, THE GREEN EMBER, although, while in elementary, I was already composing poems and “tula”. I used the skill to work my way through my difficult journey along the corridor of PAL, with the editorship of the company’s TOPIC Magazine as another junction of my career. I went around the country because of the job exposing me to different realities of life.

 

My writing made me express what I saw and experienced while living in Manila. An important episode of my career in PAL was having been absorbed by the International Sales department , the airline’s flagship with offices located along Roxas Boulevard in Ermita…the “red district” of Manila. I made the area as my base as I explored the “other side” of the big city that brought me to Divisoria and the slums of Tondo. In those places, HE showed me the disgusting faces of poverty. HE made me realize that poverty is more of a result of corruption and exploitation, than indolence.

 

Along Avenida of Sta. Cruz, streets of Ermita and the dark nooks of Roxas Boulevard, HE showed me the various faces of prostitution etched on the faces of the juvenile males and females to the heavily made up faces of matrons with advancing age of as old as 60! HE showed me the various faces of poverty suffered by new-born infants to the dying emaciated bodies on sidewalks.

 

HE made me write against corruption, exploitation….expound on the causes of poverty, prostitution and drug addiction. HE made me write about the neglected communities whose members fled from the unrest and hunger in their birthplace in Jolo and Tawi-tawi…the Badjaos. HE made me expose to the world the aspiration of those who want to have a better life and the desire of others to reach out to HIS other creatures.

 

But I still feel inadequate despite all that I have been doing for HIM and my fellowmen….I still feel that I owe HIM a lot for my life…for which a “Thank you, Lord” is not enough.

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Understanding Death

Understanding Death
By Apolinario Villalobos

For some groups, death is a passage to another life. Others aver that it is a state of just being asleep. The rest, maintains that it is nothing but just the “return of the body to dust”. Rather than be confused as to what it really is,as I might be branded as a heretic, I would rather dwell on its effects.

Death checks the population explosion. Can you imagine if nothing on earth dies? Can you imagine if predators will not prey on animals belonging to the lower strata of wild life? Can you imagine if trees in the forests are left to creep towards all directions? Can you imagine if people of different races do not die of hunger, disease or war? Death, aside from natural calamities is an important segment of a cycle that regulates the “balance” of life on earth.

Death creates heroes. One has to die to become a hero. If Jesus had not died on the cross, would he be considered a hero and redeemer among Christians? Even the early Jews were divided as to how to treat him. The messiah expected by some of them was a warrior who will deliver them from the hands of their oppressors, and not a preacher. He was not even popular in his birthplace, so he decided to go to other places to be able to preach. But, it’s a good thing that he had his disciples who later spread his teachings. Just like Jesus, Muhammad, the founder of Islamic faith faced great odds before his teachings were accepted. His tribe even rejected him, forcing him to go Madinah (known as Yathrib, later, Medina), after 13 years of persecution. It was after he died that his teachings were appreciated. Both died not only as heroes but spiritual leaders whose acts are sincerely emulated by their adherents.

If Ninoy Aquino is living today, would he be considered a hero by Filipinos? Among those that his detractors used against him when he was alive was his being a staunch supporter of Communism in the Philippines. Then, there’s the Hacienda Luisita that haunted even his wife, Cory, up to her deathbed. With the kind of politics that the Philippines has, Ninoy Aquino could have become just like any other politicians trying to survive the squabble in the political arena and thrashes of opponents, in his case, the issues on his ideology and Hacienda Luisita. His death was caused by a “persecution”, because just like Jesus, he was a threat to the one in power. And, because of that, he became a hero among Filipinos who got tired of dictatorship.

Some Filipinos today who are traumatized by the scandals in the government, are wishing for the “resurrection” of Marcos whose administration is now being compared to those who assumed the presidency after his death. They say, though, with a tinge of joke, that during the time of Marcos, corruption was “regulated”, unlike today that those in the government, down to the drivers and messengers, can freely dip their hand in the coffer of the government, even for a flimsy excuse. Some groups are in fact, considering Marcos a hero, because, without him, there would have been no cultural center complex, the Philippine General Hospital would still be the same dilapidated and cramped building that survived WWII, there would have been no kidney, lung and heart centers, etc., etc. etc.

There are still living political icons with significant accomplishments, but they are relegated on the sidelines. They have authored books, pages of which are regularly flipped by students, professionals, and government officials for important information. There are many Filipinos who excel in the fields of literary, arts, science, sports , architecture and technology. Some of them are referred to as “living heroes”, but the reference is with quotation marks which only death can erase.

Death unites families and friends. Members of families whose homes have been broken by misunderstandings that only they know, come together when one of them dies, usually during the wake. Classmates who for decades have no idea how to get in touch with each other suddenly find themselves having a reunion at the wake of a classmate who passed away. Long lost friends and relatives surface during a wake. A morbid joke about the need for a loved one to die before another reunion can be had, oftentimes draws laughs during this occasion.

A death in the family is hard to accept. That is the traditional fact. Sorrow should permeate the air while wake is being held. Those who come are expected to shed a tear. But today, there are bereaved families who even rent a videoke unit to lend a festive air to the occasion. Reason given is that, it is the last wish of the departed.

For some, death is not easy to accept , especially, by those who have amassed wealth. They cannot just take the idea of leaving behind the fruit of their labor. On the other hand, death means financial opportunity for some people – those who work conscientiously long hours in funeral parlors.

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Ang Huwarang de Guzman Family ng Tacurong City

Ang Huwarang de Guzman Family ng Tacurong City
….Notre Damean ang mga anak
ni Apolinario Villalobos
 
Sa kinainan kong maliit na karinderya sa tabi ng highway papuntang Gansing ay nagpahinga pa ako ng matagal at tama lang pala ang ginawa ko dahil sa lugay na yon ay makakakuha ako ng magandang materyal na pang-blog tungkol sa nakaka-inspire na pagsisikap ng mga tao.
 
Napag-alaman kong ang nagluluto ng mga ulam ay si Mon na asawa ni Nene. Maraming putahe ang naka-display kaya siguradong madaling araw pa lang ay nagluluto na ito sa bahay nilang hindi kalayuan sa karinderya. Maya-maya ay may dumating na dalagita at walang sali-salitang ibinaba lang ang backpack at naghugas na agad ng mga naipong pinagkainang pinggan at kubyertos. Nang humarap siya sa akin ay nagulat ako dahil sa ganda ng mukha niya at may tindig pa. Siya si CLARISSE anak ng mag-asawang nag-aaral sa NOTRE DAME OF TACURONG BOYS DEPARTMENT..
 
Panay din ang ngiti niya sa mga kostumer na kumakain – mga drayber ng tricycle na ang biyahe ay papuntang Lambayong. Maya-maya ay dumating naman ang isang lalaki na nagsabit lang ng gamit sa loob ng karinderya at kumuha na ng dalawang timba na lalagyan pala ng mga yelong bibilhin sa isang bahay. Tuluy-tuloy ang kanilang mga kilos at kahit maliit ang puwesto ay parang hindi masikip sa kanila…kung sa English, “orchestrated” ang kanilang mga galaw.
 
May isa pang kapatid pa si Clarise, si Daphe na nag-aaral din. Ang pantustos sa kanila ay galing sa kinikita ng karinderya at pagta-traysikel ng kanilang tatay. Nang makiusap ako kay Clarise na baka pwede kong i-blog upang maging inspirasyon sila sa iba ay ngumiti pang nagsabi ng, “sige po”. Ang tatay at nanay niya ay panay lang din ang ngiti.
 
Hindi nakakahiyang magdala ng mga bisita sa karinderya nila kung uri ng pagkain lang ang pag-uusapan, kaya siguradong kapag dumating ang mga ka-batch ko ay dadalhin ko sila sa kainang ito.Ang hindi makakaupo ay pwedeng tumayo habang kumakain.
 
YAN ANG NAKAKABILIB NA PAMILYANG DE GUZMAN….MABUHAY KAYO!