On the Filipino Dignity and Self-Respect


By Apolinario Villalobos



President Rodrigo Duterte, with animated emotion, declared that he does not want his country to be trampled on just like a doormat by America. His declaration is very timely as, since the Spanish colonization, the Filipinos have been treated like slaves. And, when the Americans took over, they did the same – treating the Philippine archipelago as their “garden” where they can reap the produce anytime they want for their dinner table. During the Spanish regime, vast areas of the country, except Mindanao, were divided among the friars and the Spanish immigrants as “encomiendas”. When America took over, and in time, supposedly gave the long-overdue liberty to the Filipinos, they tainted their act with deceit by inserting the disgusting “parity rights” in the Philippine Constitution. In short, while the Spanish colonization was grossly masked with religion, that of the Americans was with “freedom and rights”.


Ever since, the Philippines became “independent”, nobody among the presidents until the time of Benigno Aquino III, ever noticed that the Filipinos have been suffering from the trauma that resulted from trampled dignity which practically shattered their self-respect. Unfortunately, SOME of those who enjoy the “blessings” via US visa and Green Card cannot accept this fact. The enforced influence is so ingrained in the consciousness of the Filipinos that it has brought forth the word, “stateside”, which means “nice things from America”…which further means, that nothing is better than “stateside”.


I have nothing against America and anything American. What I am disgusted at is how the leadership of America and even many Americans, themselves, continue to have a negative impression about the Philippines and her people who, for them are overly- dependent on their “big white brothers”. I am also disgusted at SOME Filipinos who suddenly became “American” upon setting foot on American soil. SOME of them pretend to have forgotten their dialect, the taste of saluyot, alugbate, ginamos, tuyo, etc. SOME even ask, “why is YOUR president (Duterte) like that?”, as if their skin is not brown or that it transformed into a sickly paleness only after quaffing skin whitening drugs. There is nothing wrong with those of course, FOR AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT FORGET THAT THEY ARE FILIPINOS DESPITE THEIR U.S. VISA AND GREEN CARD, AND MOST ESPECIALLY, THEY DO NOT DESPISE THE COUNTRY OF THEIR BIRTH, JUST BECAUSE THE NEW PRESIDENT CUSSES!


Those who deny their being a Filipino are losing their dignity and self-respect. THE U.S. VISA AND THE GREEN CARD CANNOT SUPPLANT THE FILIPINO BLOOD THAT FLOWS IN THEIR VEINS….THEY SHOULD REMEMBER THAT, IF THEY ARE WISE ENOUGH. They forgot that foremost among their plans when they went to America was to earn dollars to be sent back home to their family, for which they toil hard night and day by maintaining many jobs, and losing sleep in the process. The problem with SOME of them is that they deny this fact. How can those back home, understand their sacrifice if they keep this information from them which results to their family’s assuming that they are just picking up dollars in America, as if they are picking up shells on the seashore?


The impressive diligence and dependability of the Filipinos in America have not totally erased the bad impression about the country as demeaning comments can still be found in the internet, especially, with the emergence of Rodrigo Duterte as the new President…and all because of his cussing and brashness. His guts did not spare the American president, Obama, and the European Union because they dipped their fingers into what Duterte is doing to eradicate the illegal drug problem in the country. All of a sudden, Filipinos in America became apprehensive because they might be affected which shows their lack of self-confidence. The two governments are involved in the issue, and not the business sector, although, the bosses of Filipinos who may be dishonest and not diligent enough in their job will now have a reason to kick them out.


Duterte should be admired for his courage and aggressive desire to restore the dignity of the Filipinos that has long been trampled by their colonizers. Instead of lambasting him with unfair judgments, his detractors should wake up and face the reality that what the country needs today is a paramount cooperation among the Filipinos, for which the detractors should extend their hand. If they cannot do it…the big question is WHY?

Photo Opportunity: Insult that adds pain to injury

Photo Opportunity: Insult that adds pain to injury

By Apolinario Villalobos

Photo opportunity or “photo-ops” refers to the taking of pictures of an activity, person or group with their consent. Politicians and those in the show business, or just anybody who want to draw attention delight in this kind of opportunity which has given birth to “selfies”. Relief institutions need this to show their benefactors where their donations went. In facebook, we are amused by black and white photos taken during our youthful days, also of important events in our life, such as nuptial, baptism, and just plain family bonding.

Not all photo opportunities are delightful. Some can be insulting that can add pain to injury. This happens during the aftermath of a disaster or calamity. It is alright to record the ruins and other effects of the catastrophe. But to delay the distribution of relief goods until the arrival of the president, or the highest official of the locality, or the secretary of the government relief agency or foreign dignitaries who “must” be part of the “photo-op”, is not. It is disheartening to learn that disaster victims who hiked over hills and trekked kilometers of distance to reach a designated relief distribution area, and who missed meals in the process, are made to wait under the searing heat of the sun until the VIPs have arrived. Suffering people who are in need of immediate assistance are also victims of this opportunistic act, as their faces contorted by agony are shamelessly splashed on the pages of dailies, magazines, and TV screens.

My friends who live in a depressed area told me how they were “invaded and made fools” by students researching on poverty, disease, corruption, and their photos taken as evidence of the government’s neglect. They were promised help by the “sympathetic” researchers who, after a couple of days were never heard again. The following year, two NGOs came to do similar interviews highlighted by photo-ops. Just like the students, they were never heard again. Still, the following year, another group came and distributed condoms and family planning pills, complete with photo taking. Couples with many children were promised relief goods and financial assistance which never materialized. What hurt my friends was what the opportunistic groups did – make promises that were never kept. All they could have done was just mentioned their purpose as my friends were willing to cooperate, anyway.

The poverty and neglect suffered by the oppressed are painful enough to bear. Taking their photos and making a fool of them with never kept promises, just add insult to the injury that may need much time to heal.

Ang Taong Ikinahihiya ang Sarili…ay ikinahihiya ang Diyos!

Ang Taong Ikinahihiya ang Sarili

…ay ikinahihiya ang Diyos!

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Tayo ay nilikha ng Diyos kaya dapat nating ipagmalaki ang ating sarili ano man ang katayuan natin sa buhay at lipunan. Kung sa palagay natin ay mayroon pa tayong dapat pagsumikapan upang mapabuti ang ating buhay, gawin ito ng maayos na walang bahid ng kasamaan. Hindi tayo dapat mainggit sa pinagsikapan ng iba. At higit sa lahat, hindi dapat ikahiya ang kahirapan dahil para na rin nating ikinahihiya ang Diyos na siyang naglalang sa atin.

Ang kahirapan ay dapat na magbigay ng inspirasyon upang magpakasigasig pa tayo nang sa ganoon ay maabot natin ang ating mga pangarap sa buhay. Huwag nating ihambing ang ating sarili sa ibang nakaririwasa sa buhay dahil kapag mahina ang ating kalooban ay baka masisi pa natin ang Diyos kung “bakit niya tayo pinabayaan”.

Iwasan dapat ang paggamit ng mga ekspresyon na, “mabuti ka pa o mabuti pa siya o sila” dahil paghahambing ito ng ating sarili sa iba. Nagpapahiwatig din ito ng sama ng loob sa ibang mas nakakaangat ang buhay kaysa atin. Dapat matuwa tayo para sa ating kapwa kung umangat man ang katayuan nila sa buhay, dahil kabawasan sila sa mga dapat tulungan.

Lahat ng tao ay pantay-pantay sa mata ng Diyos, kaya sa ating pagsilang, lahat tayo ay nakahubad. Yong mga isinilang sa tahanang nakaririwasa ay nakikinabang lamang sa pinagsikapan ng kanilang magulang at pinalad, kaya hindi ito dapat ipagmalaki. Yong mga isinilang sa tahanang dahop, ay dapat magsikap upang sa kanilang pag-angat ay taas noo silang makapagmalaki.

Noon ay may isa akong kaibigan na natiyempuhan kong bumibili ng NFA rice sa palengke. Nang matanaw niya ako ay lumipat sa katabing puwesto at ang binili ay commercial rice na mahigit kuwarenta pesos ang halaga kada kilo. Ayaw niyang masabing kumakain ang pamilya niya ng NFA rice, na siya kong binili nang araw na yon. Ang kaibigan kong ito ay madalas umutang sa akin dahil palaging nauubos ang sweldo sa goodtime. Ikinahiya niya ang kanyang kakapusan, pero hindi siya nahihiyang umutang dahil sa kapalpakan niya sa pagbadyet ng kanyang kita!

Wala Man Akong Mga Kamay…

Wala Man Akong Mga Kamay…
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Wala man akong mga kamay
Hindi ito hadlang sa aking pagsisikhay
Hindi kawalan ang mga ito upang mabuhay –
Na may dangal, pangarap, at lubos na matiwasay.

Wala man akong mga kamay
May angkin pa rin naman akong talino
Na sa akin ay gagabay sa ibabaw ng mundo
Lalo na sa pakikipagsalamuha sa aking kapwa- tao.

Wala man akong mga kamay
Mata ko naman ay napapakinabangan
Pangtanaw sa kalsadang aking yayapakan
Upang ‘di matalisod… ‘di masubsob sa dadaanan.

Wala man akong mga kamay
Mga pasyala’y akin namang nararating
Nakakatakbo, nakakalukso, at pati swimming
Na tulad din ng mga isda, lumba-lumba at pating.

Wala man akong mga kamay
Na pagdadaitin ko sa aking pagdarasal
May bibig naman akong taos-puso na uusal
Habang ako ay nakatingin sa itaas – sa Maykapal.

Wala man akong mga kamay
May puso namang umaapaw sa pag-ibig
Hindi lamang para sa kapwa, kundi sa daigdig
Lalo na sa Manlilikha na layon ng aking pananalig.

Moving On After An Emotional Debacle

Moving   On   After   An  Emotional  Debacle

By Apolinario Villalobos


Misfortune comes in many forms, such as financial, physical and emotional.  While financial and physical misfortunes may be recoverable and repairable, respectively, emotional devastation, if we may call it that way, is the most difficult to surmount.  Some people cannot just overcome the emotional pain that result from the loss of a loved one, broken engagement, marriage that suddenly became sour, and being jilted. Worse, it also results to loss of self-confidence and self-respect. To top it all, the so called cure is expensive, involving psychological sessions and even popping of prescribed drugs to prevent the setting in of depression and suicidal tendency.

We are supposed to be intelligent enough to make evaluations and appropriate decisions so we can move on. But, there is one thing that some of us refuse to do – accept the faults that contributed to their emotional breakdown.  Yes, some of us just don’t have the heart to do it because of pride.  Refusal  to accept faults activates our conscience, nagging us no end, resulting to sleepless nights and finally health deterioration. The faults that we refuse to recognize linger in our  mind and hinder our path.  The faults become   heavy loads that weigh down and hold us back from moving on.

For us to be able to move on, faults should be recognized, accepted, made as basis for lessons and then, left behind.  In case these faults are remembered when along the way we falter, they just serve as reminders to alert us that such should never be committed again. Remembering them does not necessarily mean dwelling on them.