A Simple Celebration…

A Simple Celebration…

By Apolinario Villalobos


When I visited the children of my elder sister who passed away followed by her husband, one of them remarked about the wedding anniversary of their parents on that day. Right then and there I decided to help them commemorate the occasion with a very simple celebration. I purchased a 3-kilo chicken to be cooked as adobo, two kilos each of mudfish and catfish to be broiled; turnip (singkamas), pineapple and radish for salad to be garnished with sweet onion and sprinkled with palm oil vinegar; and, sweet potato to be boiled as snacks in the afternoon to be downed with a cocktails of melon, avocado and papaya.


Being Sunday (21 May), the family of Joy, with husband, Junjun, and children, Marianne, Brianne and Zian Josh came for a visit from Polomolok (South Cotabato). Joy is the eldest daughter of my niece, Mary Anne who works in Canada in the company of her other daughter, Micah. Completing the family were Jonathan, and Nonoy and his wife, Bingbing.


On that Sunday morning, everybody had something to do. Junjun took charge of the broiling. Jongjong, the husband of my niece, Neneng, cooked the adobo, the no-frills way that he knows best as a retired soldier – only soy sauce and vinegar as flavors. The rest of the children, Nicole, Kate, Kris and Joy prepared the salad. My deaf and mute elder sister, Nida, took care of Joy’s youngest child, Zian Josh. The rest of the children, Chubs and Johnhon were on standby for errands.


The highlight of the celebration was the visit to the grave by the children at the Shangri-La Memorial Park as a gesture of respect and love, complete with the lighting of a candle and a gift that consisted of a bouquet of orchid from the family garden. My sister loved to raise orchids and other rare plants when she was still alive.


What we had was a kind of celebration that I would like to implant in the mind of my sister’s children – no taint of unnecessary luxury, but simple honesty of affordability….none of ice cream, barbecue, fried chicken, sandwiches, cakes, or pancit, the usual simple fare. I would like to make them understand that a celebration does not necessarily mean sumptuous food.







In Tacurong City

By Apolinario Villalobos


I knew him since high school days as a hardworking student who consistently exerted an effort to be part of various extra-curricular activities due to his oozing self-confidence. Volunteerism was innate in his character as he likewise, unselfishly did his best to contribute for the success of projects in which he was involved. He even tried the terpsichorean group when he joined our Choreographers’ Club under the tutelage of Mrs. Ching Romero and Mrs. Leonor Pagunsan. Among those whom I could recall who were members aside from me and Ed were, Homero Palatolon, the late Hernanie Baclaan, Domingo Cargo, Ruel Lucentales, Ed Collado, Ming Barnachea, Jaime de la Rosa, Baltazar Subando, the late Jaime Mariῆas, Leo Villalobos, Cirilo Baldonado, Pedrito Oani, Ramon Laforteza, Rommel Angel, and Eduardo Nanalis.


Upon graduating from college , he worked for the newly-opened Metrobank in our town and also tried teaching, but finally, decided to open the first-ever speech clinic for the whole region of southern Mindanao that includes the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and cities of General Santos and Koronadal, as well as Tacurong which was yet, a town then. The clinic was based in the latter, with the structure seemed to float in the midst of newly-opened subdivisions and rice fields, far from downtown. Clearly, it was a financial risk on his part, but he went ahead because he wanted to help the young of the region improve their communications skill.


His hard-earned savings went to the initially, box-type structure that housed the speech clinic, the procurement of several units of desk-top computers and high-tech gadgets to ensure an effective tutorial program. The project was a dream- come- true for Ed, as he loved public speaking. He did not pursue masters in any field related to the trade that he chose, learning the ropes by self-study, instead.


Despite the distance from the downtown area, the speech clinic grew in popularity by word of mouth. Electric power was also intermittent during the time, so that the comfort of students was jeopardized. Nevertheless, both students and proprietor persisted. In time, the clinic trained local talents as well as those from neighboring areas, and who were sent by their respective school to compete in inter-school public speaking competitions….and almost always, they would come home victorious.


Ed confided that their family love food and cooking so that when he saw an opportunity to diversify, he chose catering and hosting of social activities. He expanded the speech clinic facilities to include a pictorial corner in the garden, a big banquet area and air-conditioned mini-auditorium fitted with high-tech gadgets. Locals and patrons from neighboring towns were delighted so that in no time, the ANGEL’S FOODS AND PALOMADO SPEECH COMPLEX became deluged with reservations. Families, as well as, students who graduated from the different schools in the city also held their reunions in the complex. Even government agencies that held seminars found the facilities amenable, as could be gleaned from their comments.


When I visited the complex lately, summer classes for kids were ongoing. From the auditorium I could hear youthful voices with American accent delivering elocution pieces. Ed, himself, opened the classes with initial amplified tutorials.


When finally, we had a serious chat in his office, he told me about his long list of reservations and his schedule of procurements for the things that he would need to satisfy the requirements of patrons whose reservations were made months ahead of their scheduled activities. The whole of May is filled with scheduled activities. He spoke in slowly-spoken words and low-tone because of a stroke that made him bed-ridden for several months. The unfortunate occurrence bloated his monthly personal expense by more than Php20,000 due to the drugs that  he needed for recuperation and maintenance of a feeble health. Instead of pitying him, I admired his persistence to walk slowly on his own, without even the help of a cane, while his left hand limply rested on his side.


But the most that I admire in his person is his big heart because of the extended family that he maintains, and consisting of relatives, the young ones of which, being sent to school as far as Davao city. To reciprocate his kindness, they help him in the operation of the food and speech clinic complex.


The Most Benevolent must have let him live longer because of his advocacy founded on unselfish compassion!

Use the God-given Talent Properly and for the Benefit of Others



By Apolinario Villalobos


If God gave you the talent to invent gadgets, come up with what are useful to make life comfortable. If He gave you the talent to sing…make others happy, instead of singing to yourself inside the bathroom. If He gave you the talent to write and which you have discovered, perhaps, inadvertently, help others to discover theirs, and write what are relevant and helpful….do not foment misunderstanding among readers by coming up with lopsided information or exposes.


Today, the counterpart of the print media journalists are the so-called “bloggers”, those who write on the cyberspace sites, most particularly, on facebook which is the most popular. Unfortunately, many of the so-called “bloggers” use their talent for purely bashing intent. They post photos and short write-ups which most often contain or imply negative messages about a person, entity, or the government. Blogging, especially, visuals of untoward crime-related incidents could help in solving cases, but not the photos with short captions that present only one side. There is nothing wrong with posting negative comments, but such should be “balanced” with the blogger’s suggestions on how what he observed to be bad can be transformed into something good… an opinion for which he is entitled.


Many so-called bloggers have obviously are abusing the free opportunity offered by the IT sites purportedly for the benefit of humanity. Many of them feel great just because they have posted just anything to solicit attention to their site. Blogging should be viewed as an advocacy to share the good that others have done to inspire others, as well as, the bad to caution others but with accompanying precautions on how to avoid them or at the very least, suggestions based on the writer’s opinion.


If the blogger is from a small community, in all probability, there is a chance that he could get in touch personally with people who are the subject of his blogs. There is nothing wrong with introducing himself as a blogger followed by expressing his intention to help to correct what he views as wrong. If the blogger believes that he has a “mission” that is why God gave him such kind of talent, by all means, he should be serious about it. But if his intention is just to become known by bashing others, then he should be reminded by the “Golden Rule” – do not do to others what you do not want others would do to you.

My Great Friend, Jimmy…altruistic to the end

My Great Friend, Jimmy…altruistic to the end

By Apolinario Villalobos


When we are at the lowest ebb of our life that include days we spend in bed due to an ailment, the natural thing to do is for us to exert an effort  to show our best. But there are some who make cover-ups, apprehensive that others will know their situation. By being honest, however, does not mean that help is being solicited. We can even gain respect and admiration, by showing others our endurance during such trying times. The respect and admiration, as the fruits of our effort are sweeter, than the casual reaction from others whose view of our real situation is obstructed by hypocrisy.


Jimmy was a friend who used to hold a high executive position in a trading company. Even before I started blogging, he was well-informed about my small projects in Tondo and Divisoria as he was a regular donor. We met at the Mary Johnson Hospital in Tondo many years back, where he visited a staff of his office, while I visited the daughter of a friend from Baseco compound who was confined due to dengue. His sincere friendship punctuated by his giving me his business card made me divulge to him my real identity, but implored him to keep it to himself. I explained that I do not reveal my identity to those whom I extend a little help that I could afford, so that I had been known to them by another name.


He failed to save much needed cash for his retirement because much of what he earned went to friends who sought his financial help.  To make the story short, when he resigned due to a prolonged ailment, he was left with an almost depleted savings. Every time I visited him, we would talk about his friends who became successful in their jobs. His statements were always ended with “ I am thankful that they made it…”. Truth is, he had been instrumental for their success. Some were his subordinates whom he pushed with deserved promotions and guaranteed referrals. Some were given financial assistance as a start-up for a small business.


The cancer in his bones resulted to his losing weight considerably which practically changed his physical appearance. Despite the transformation, he could still muster a smile, as if nothing had changed. He was financially handicap, but he did not cover it up.  When he became bedridden, the first to go was his car, followed by his studio-type condo, after which his nephew accommodated him in his home in Malabon. His wife with whom he had no child, left him for a Chinese boyfriend she met in a casino.


Jimmy gained much respect because of what he showed, aside from reaping admiration from neighbors and friends who visited him daily. The disease that physically emaciated him did not change his image that had been exuding an aura of contentment.  He passed away two months ago (January 2017). After his cremation, I was invited by his nephew and his wife for a dinner at their home after which an envelope was handed to me. It contained PHP3,730.00, balance of his savings and with it was his passbook. Outside the envelope was his simply handwritten note, “God be with you always in all you do”.

Companionship and Marriage

Companionship and Marriage

By Apolinario Villalobos


“Marriage” for the Roman Catholic Church is founded on the principle surrounding the opposite sexes and this should be respected. Those who do not agree should join other religious communities that have a different belief, But for me, the ceremony is not even a guarantee that the relationship of heterosexual couple pledging, “till death do us part” could really last that long. In this regard, legal separation and divorce have been conceived. I believe that love is the essence of the lifetime companionship that applies even to those with same sex. Marriage is man-made and sometimes, even performed for convenience. On the other hand, commitment resulting from companionship with mutual respect and understanding, is naturally developed and gets “ripe” in time between partners, hence, become deeply-imbedded in their emotion.


If the Philippine government will not legalize “same- sex marriage”, the LGBT community should not feel dejected as the members can just go on living together…nobody can stop them from doing so. Meanwhile, they have the choice to cover themselves with legal documents as regards their common properties and other expectations. It should be noted that even affluent heterosexual couples sign documents that stipulate conditions about their properties before their wedding ceremony. As regards their family that would include children later on, they can resort to adoption of blood relations, such as nephews or nieces, or even offspring of strangers, and this is where orphanages and state welfare agency, such as the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) come in.


Members of the LGBT community should open their mind to the hurting fact that not all nations understand their situation. This is the reason why same-sex couples resort to living in countries where their relationship is legally recognized. Fortunately, to date, many Filipinos recognize same-sex relationship that gave rise to many Christian Churches in the country, and which are extending utmost compassion and understanding to it.


Ceremony that would bind the relationship may still be performed to formalize the commitments of the same- sex couple, but should not include or imply anything that got to do with that of the traditional Roman Catholic Church’s, though, the Universal Lord may still be invoked, as witness.


Finally, for couples, respect to each other is most vital for a lasting relationship….love is born out of respect. LUST manifests the absence of such.


Dalawang Masikap na Single Moms, Masaya at Kuntento sa Buhay…sina Hilda Ibayne at Tess Quintance

Happy Women’s Month!


Dalawang Masikap na Single Moms, Masaya at Kuntento sa Buhay

…sina Hilda Ibayne at Tess Quintance

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Maraming single moms ang naninirahan sa Maynila kung saan ay maraming oportunidad kaya nakakaraos sila kahit papaano basta masipag lang, tulad nina Hilda Ibayne at Tess Quintance.


Si HILDA ay nakapuwesto sa isang sulok ng Avenida (Sta. Cruz) at ang pinagkikitaan ay paglilinis ng mga kuko sa kamay at paa, bilang manikurista. Suki niya ang mga “Avenida cruisers”, mga nagtitinda ng aliw (prostitute) na nasa mga puwesto na nila sa kahabaan ng Avenida 7AM pala.  Php50 ang singil niya sa pedicure o manicure at kung “set” o manicure at pedicure ang gagawin ay pwedeng tawaran. Kung walang nagpapalinis ng mga kuko, nagre-repair naman siya ng mga sandal at sapatos, at nagtitinda ng kendi at sigarilyo.


Nang kausapin ko siya isang umaga ay nagre-repair siya ng isang pares na sandal. Taong 2000 pa daw siya “sapatera” halos katitin-edyer pa lang niya at tatay niya ang nagtiyagang magturo sa kanya. Nang makipag-live siya sa isang sapatero din, pinaubaya sa kanila ng kanyang tatay ang puwesto. Subalit pagkatapos siyang maanakan ng tatlo ay iniwan na daw siya ng kinasama niya at umuwi na ito sa Cebu. Sa halip na mapanghinaan ng loob, nag-aral siyang maglinis nang kuko at bumili ng mga gamit. Kalaunan ay nagkaroon na siya ng mga suki. Upang madagdagan ang kinikita sa paglilinis ng mga kuko, nagre-repair pa rin siya ng mga sapatos at sandal, at nagtinda na rin ng sigarilyo at kendi.


Ang mga anak niyang nasa hustong gulang na upang mag-aral ay pumapasok. Ang panganay niya ay 11 na taong gulang, sinundan ng 9 na taong gulang, at ang bunso ay 6 na taong gulang naman. Sa awa daw ng Diyos ay nakakaraos silang mag-iina, yon nga lang, dahil sa K-12 program ng DECS ay nadagdagan ang kanyang pasanin. Ayon kay Hilda, pinipilit niyang umuwi sa barung-barong nila sa Baseco Compound (Tondo) bago kumagat ang dilim upang makapaghanda ng hapunan nila. Kuntento siya sa buhay at walang sinisisi sa kanyang kalagayan. Ang mahalaga sa kanya ngayon ay makatapos ang kanyang mga anak maski senior high school man lang.


Si TESS naman ay nakapuwesto sa Quiapo, labasan ng shrine o luklukan ng Black Nazarene. Nakausap ko siya nang bumili ako ng underwear na napag-alaman kong sarili pala nilang gawa, subalit nilagyan lang ng etekita ng isang kilalang brand. Dahil kaunti lang nakalatag ay nagtanong ako kung sapat ang kanyang kinikita niya na sinagot naman niya ng okey lang daw. Mga tira daw ang inilatag niya mula sa mga dinileber niya sa mga kostumer na may mga puwesto. Tulad ni Hilda, iniwan din si Tess ng kanyang kinakasamang pulis pagkatapos nilang magkaroon ng 7 anak. Taong 2013 nang iwanan silang mag-iina ng kanyang asawa upang makisama sa ibang babae.


Sa simula ay hindi niya alam ang gagawin nang iwanan sila ng pulis. Mabuti na lang daw ay may nagyaya sa kanyang pumasok sa isang patahian na malapit lang sa kanila. Todong pagtitipid ang ginawa nilang mag-iina kaya pati pag-aaral ng mga anak ay naapektuhan dahil mas binigyan niya ng halaga ang mga gastos para sa pagkain at upa sa tinitirhang kuwarto. Nang maging bihasa o esksperto na sa pagtabas at pagtahi ay naglakas-loob siyang umutang upang may maipambili ng makina. Tumulong sa kanya ang apat niyang nakakatandang mga anak sa pagtahi ng mga simpleng damit pambata at kalaunan pati mga underwear ay sinubukan na rin nilang gawin. Ang mga nakakabatang anak naman ay nagpatuloy sa pag-aral.


Ang panganay niyang anak na tumutulong din sa pagtabas ay nagtitinda na rin ng mga alahas na pilak na sinasabay ang pagbenta tuwing mag-deliver siya ng mga ino-order na mga underwear. Nakakapag-deliver daw sila sa Baclaran, Pasig, Bulacan at Caloocan. Pabulong niyang sinabi na ngayong maysakit daw ang dati niyang asawa ay lumalapit ito sa kanya upang humingi ng pambili ng gamot, at binibigyan daw naman niya. Nang tanungin ko kung saan siya humugot ng lakas upang makaraos silang mag-iina, itinuro niya ang simbahan ng Quiapo. Nakatira silang mag-iina sa Taguig (Rizal).


Sina Hilda at Tess ay mga halimbawa ng tunay na pagsisikap ng tao…nagtitiyaga at hindi umasa kahit kanino, at ang bukod-tanging hiningi sa Diyos ay madagdagan pa ang lakas ng kalooban at katawan…hindi pera. Wala rin silang kinimkim na galit sa dati nilang asawa. Kabaligtaran sila ng ibang babae na kahit nakahiga na sa salapi ay hindi pa rin kuntento sa buhay, kaya upang lumago pa ang kanilang yaman ay nagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan o nanloloko ng kapwa. May isa ngang babae na bukod sa nang-agaw ng asawa ay nagkanlong (protect) pa ng mga drug lord kaya sagana siya sa sustento hanggang sa maikulong. Yong iba pa ay hindi alam ang gagawin sa sobra-sobrang pera kaya kung anu-ano ang mga pinaggagawa sa katawan upang mabago ang ginawa ng Diyos, kinarma naman kaya ang iba ay tumabingi ang ilong, nagkaroon ng nana (pus) ang suso at puwet dahil sa inilagay na silicone, o nagkaroon pa ng kanser!


The Prayer

The Prayer

By Apolinario Villalobos


First of all, it must be known that there are many forms of prayers or ways by which a prayer can be expressed, such as, silently, loudly, and by sign language. But generally, the prayer can be classified into just three, such as, memorized, read, and extemporaneously expressed straight from the heart.


The Roman Catholic Church has hundreds of prepared or printed prayers with specific intentions, such as, those for the dead, for Christening, for the wedding, for the sick, for job hunting, for wooing a woman, for damning an enemy, etc. One will just have to go to Quiapo to see piles of printed prayer books sold like candies outside the cathedral. These prayers become more effective according to the vendors if candles are being burned while specific prayers are mumbled, till the candle completely melts. Some “faithful” even hire a “praying professional”- a person who prays for a fee. Each candle is distinguished for a particular intention by their color.


The voodooistic practices are being done right under the very nose of the Catholic priests, and while the amplified Mass is going on inside the massive historic structure where the Black Nazarene is enshrined.  If these are wrong, why can’t the Church authorities put a stop to them? Why can’t announcements be made during the Mass so that even those outside the church will hear them? Why can’t this simple act of correcting a wrong right within their community is not being done, while Catholic bishops are against and very vocal about the killing of drug personalities who are criminals?


Many Roman Catholic prayers are outright funny, especially, those which have not been “updated”, having been written during the heyday of fanaticism, particularly during the later part of the Spanish colonization. The prayers are full of outright ignorance as regards to what prayers are supposed to be about. For this, one just has to check the “marathon prayer” or “chant” used during the “pabasa” of the Lenten season. These supposedly solemn prayers are “updated” using hip-hop tunes, to purportedly encourage the youth to participate. Also, for other interesting discoveries, one may check the prayer being chanted by sleepy “faithful” Roman Catholics during the “pasiyam” of the dead brethren in which the “tower of David” is mentioned. Every night it is done for the duration of the nine-day wake. I would like to make it clear that I have nothing against these prayers of the Roman Catholic Church…I am just sharing what I know about them.


For me, the best prayers are those that are extemporaneously said by New Christians as they are obviously coming from their heart….not read from “prayer books”….that is my personal opinion and nobody should question that.