Sincere Friendship


By Apolinario Villalobos


The best way to realize or put into practice our purpose in life is by befriending the needy…reaching out to them. The needy do not need millions or thousands or hundreds of pesos. All they need are handfuls of rice, few pieces of coins, old but still wearable clothes, slippers, and so many other things that most of us just throw away or leave to rot in the backyard or stockroom.


But many people WOULD RATHER befriend affluent or influential people who are friends of their friends, friends of these friends, still friends of these friends, and so on. They exert all efforts to find connections that they can use to realize their selfish motive of riding on the fame or worse, benefit from the financial affluence of other people. Sometimes this happens during the christening of children. Some parents endeavor to include influential people in the long list of godparents, for obvious reasons already mentioned, other than what is expected of them as “second parents” of the godchildren. Along this line, some couples, also, ask friends who know mayors or barangay chairmen or other local officials to stand as sponsors during their wedding, for the same aforementioned reason. In other words, many would like to befriend people for selfish motives, most especially, for prestige and financial security.


In this regard, even the mass weddings sponsored by mayors, and which are viewed by many as done with sincerity, are in fact used as a political tool. For delicadeza’s sake, the mayor could have just spent for the snacks and pay the honorarium of the conducting priest or pastor or minister, AND ASSIGN ANY OF HIS NON-POLITICAL STAFF TO STAND AS SPONSOR, PERHAPS, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS, CHIEF OF THE REVENUE OFFICE, ETC. What happens is that, when election time comes, these “inaanak” become the campaigners for their “ninong mayor”…a puking reality! Truth is, there is not even a slight trace of sincere friendship out of the said “connection”, as several days after the ceremony, the “ninong mayor” may not even remember the names of those for whom he stood as “ninong”. This is about “mass wedding”, not the wedding of people who are personal acquaintances of the mayor. This happens most often in slum areas and barangays or remote villages and towns. So, there’s your “friendly” mayor just because he is sponsoring “mass wedding” using people’s money!


Prestige and security in life can be possibly achieved even without employing make-believe friendship with prominent personalities. True friendship with a REAL PURPOSE should be initiated by a person with utmost sincerity without any taint of selfishness. On the other hand, those who belong to the lower stratum of society should never dream of gaining the friendship of people who belong to the upper, and whom they do not know personally. One should endeavor to earn recognition instead of gaining it through connections. To call people who do not know you personally as “friends” is embarrassing enough. In plain language it is “name dropping”. It should also be noted that friendship is supposed to be a “two-way” relationship…with sincerity from both sides.



Mga Diretsahang Usapin tungkol sa Panlabas na Kaanyuan at Imahe ng Tao

Mga Diretsahang Usapin tungkol sa

Panlabas na Kaanyuan at Imahe ng Tao

Ni Apolinario Villlalobos

Sa diretsahang salita, ang isang ugali ng ibang Pilipino ay ang pagtingin sa panlabas na kaanyuan ng kapwa. Ibig sabihin, maganda lamang ang pakisama nila sa mga kaibigang mamahalin ang kasuutan, may kotse, maganda ang bahay, at lalo na kung may mataas na katungkulan sa trabaho kaya napapakinabangan nila.

Akala ko noon ay gawa-gawang mga kuwento lamang ang naririnig ko tungkol sa mga taong retirado na dating may mataas na tungkulin sa mga kumpanya, na kung pumasyal sa dating opisina ay halos wala nang pumapansin. Karaniwan sa mga retirado ay gustong maaliwalas ang pakiramdam kaya naka-walking shorts lamang at t-shirt kung mamasyal, ibang-iba sa long-sleeved na barong tagalog o long-sleeved polo shirt with matching necktie noong nagtatrabaho pa sila. Ang pinaka-“disenteng” damit na presko para sa kanila nang mag-retire na ay maong at polo shirt lamang. Dahil sa pagbabago sa kanilang pananamit, nagbago na rin ang pagtingin sa kanila ng ibang mga dating kasama sa opisina, makita man sila sa labas o di kaya ay sa hindi nila inaasahang pagdaan sa dating opisina.

Ang isa kong nakausap namang kare-retire lang ay bumili pa ng kotse ganoong halos ay igagarahe lang pala. Ang sabi niya, mabuti daw yong may nakikita sa garahe niya para hindi isipin ng mga kapitbahay na naghihirap na siya, dahil wala na siyang trabaho. At upang ma-maintain din daw niya ang image niya bilang executive sa dating pinapasukan kung siya ay maalalang maimbitahan kung may okasyon. Bandang huli ay nagsisi lang siya nang madagdagan ang maintenance drugs niya para sa cholesterol at diabetes, kaya lumaki ang kanyang gastos lalo na at hindi naman umabot sa sampung libo ang kanyang pensiyon.

May isa namang nagkuwento na dating nagtrabaho sa sa isang airline. Proud daw sa kanya ang mga kamag-anak  at mga kaibigan niya. Subalit nang mag-resign siya, ang iba sa kanila ay umiba rin ang pagtingin sa kanya. Yong isa niyang kaibigan ay nahuli daw niya mismo sa bibig kahit pabirong sinabi nito na wala na raw siyang pakinabang. Noon kasi ay naikukuha pa niya ang pamilya ng kaibigan niya ng discounted tickets sa mga travel agents kung mag-abroad sila, at nakakagawa din daw siya ng paraan kung may problema sila sa booking upang hindi ma-bump off.

Kung lumabas ako ng bahay, mas gusto kong naka –walking shorts at nakasuot ng t-shirt dahil pawisin ako. Nang minsang may nag-text sa akin upang mag-imbita sa isang kilalang restaurant, sinabi kong hindi pwede dahil sa suot ko. Sabi niya okey lang dahil wala naman daw dress code sa nasabing restaurant, kaya pumunta na ako. Nasa restaurant na ako nang malaman kong may iba pala siyang bisita. Sa simula pa lamang, naramdaman ko na ang malabnaw na pagpansin nila sa akin dahil siguro sa suot ko, kaya animo ay tanga akong nanahimik lamang habang nag-uusap sila. Tiyempo namang  binati ako ng manager ng nasabing restaurant na natandaan pala ako nang maging resource speaker sa isang tourism seminar kung saan ay isa siyang participant. Nagulat ang lahat lalo na ang nag-imbita sa akin. Dahil narinig ko naman ang pag-uusap ng grupo na gamit ay “Barok English”, sinadya kong kausapin ang manager sa tamang English. Noon pa lang sila parang naalimpungatan, lalo na nang inimbita ako ng manager sa office niya. Iniwan ko silang nakanganga!

Ang mga leksiyon dito ay:  huwag husgahan ang kapwa batay sa panlabas niyang kasuutan at huwag ding patalo sa pangambang maliitin tayo ng ating kapwa dahil sa ating kasuutan na naaayon sa ating nararamdaman o kasalukuyang kalagayan. Ang payo ko naman sa mga mayayabang at walang utang na loob na mga “kaibigan” ay palaging isipin ang “Ginintuang Kasabihan” o Golden Rule, upang hindi bumalandra sa kanila ang ginagawa nilang hindi maganda sa kanilang kapwa…at lalong huwag gawin ang pakikipagkaibigan upang makinabang lamang!

Emotional Blackmail and Sincere Sharing

Emotional Blackmail and Sincere Sharing
By Apolinario Villalobos

Ever wonder why some people find it hard to confide their real feeling and situation or what they do? It is alleged that the reason is their fear that others will not understand them anyway, or that, they will just be ridiculed. On the other hand, I thought that these people are just secretive and selfish, until I experienced it myself.

The strange-sounding “emotional blackmail” was blatantly said to me by no less than a person who I thought was with me always. One day, when I told her what transpired when I was with my friends in a depressed area, she told me pointblank that I was blackmailing her emotionally. At first, I did not comprehend what she meant, until I consulted a friend. He told me that the person close to me must be presuming that I was giving her reasons to help me financially in my advocacy. In other words, I was soliciting her financial sympathy. That was how she, perhaps, understood my intention, although, there was nothing to it but just to share for her to know, as I thought she was close to me.

From then on, I became wary about sharing with others, significant incidents every time I visit my friends in slums. It came to a point that despite pressures by some friends on me to divulge what I really do every time I take the road to do my random sharing, not much is shared in my blogs. It is enough to let trusted friends know that I have shared with the less unfortunate whatever excess I have in my pocket and what others contribute.

My intention in sharing my experiences is purely to inspire. I do not want to make viewers think that their emotions are being pinched. Unfortunate people are not only found in the Philippines or Manila for that matter, but anywhere in the world. I just want to let viewers know that all they need to do is open their eyes and look around wherever they are, for fellow men who need help in any way. However, for some select followers of my blogs and who I know to be on the same plane with me, I do not hesitate to expound on my advocacy. As I could feel their sincerity, I allow them to have a glimpse of what I do, as I answer their queries through discreet messages.

I must admit, though, that strangers but considered “fb friends” and “blog followers” are sending tokens of charity or directly involve themselves in what I do. For instance, a Belgian follower in one of my sites sent euro for the sidewalk kids of Avenida; a couple in Cebu sent help for a family in Baseco Compound; an elderly couple adopted a former teen-aged prostitute I met in Avenida, and sent her to school; a Filipina in the States sends books; another Filipina still in the States sent her long-kept peso saved from a previous vacation in the Philippines; a retired couple regularly shares interest earned by their money in the bank to help me with my expenses; and a balikbayan couple spent for the bus fares and allowances of three families who went home to Tacloban. These are just some of the angelic acts that helped many unfortunate souls. Those friends learned about the needs from what I shared through blogs. Unfortunately, some still have the temerity to ridicule my effort knowing that I have limited financial capability which I must honestly admit. Their view is that, I am not supposed to be doing all those things because I cannot do them on my own. What they do not know is that, in the beginning, I only relied on what I had, and that is how I made the ball start to roll…. successfully.

It is interesting to note that some people cannot understand what “random sharing or charity” means…that it is about unplanned, on-the-spot sharing of what is available and affordable, without declaring the identity of the giver, and without the selfie-shots of the cellphone camera, recording all those acts… and, that it is about blending with the people being helped to the extent of partaking of their meals as necessary, or sleeping with them on the sidewalk.

At the end, I just console myself with the thought that I am not alone in this kind of sharing advocacy. I see young evangelists who visit depressed areas to share the Good News from the Bible, and with only a few pesos in their pocket for fare back home. I learned that some of them make do with Skyflakes biscuit to stave off hunger while snaking their way through muddy side streets and alleys.

But, what touched me most was when a scavenger shared with me a partly spoiled pineapple that he painstakingly peeled and delicately sliced to get rid of the spoiled portion. To show my appreciation, I bought four pieces of Skyflakes biscuits – two for each of us to go with the foraged pineapple.

To keep me going, I just keep on telling myself that if others can do it, I can do it, too…share what is affordable. And, that for me is what I call simple but sincere sharing…that we need not be rich to let others feel how we care for them. Most importantly, sharing such experiences with others does not necessarily mean that their help is being solicited, but is just meant to inspire them to do the same for others near or around them, if they have the time and a extra coins in their pocket. What I am doing is letting them know that they need not walk or look far to find people who need help.

Christlike People Around Us

Christlike People Around Us

by Apolinario Villalobos

Without their knowing it, some people around us are Christlike – they who act like Christ but do not belong to the Christian fold. Some do not even belong to any religion. The Christlike way is my own gauge in measuring the extent of kindness one extends to others, while being Christian is belonging to the group that is supposed to advocate the teachings of Christ. Unfortunately, some or most members are only Christian in name but not in action.

When the typhoon Yolanda devastated Leyte and its neighboring Visayan provinces, some Aeta tribes in Zambales went down with bunches of bananas and sweet potatoes in answer to the call for donations. A girl donated her month’s savings that amounted to a little more than a hundred pesos. Two cigarette vendors I met in Sta. Cruz, Manila, donated the money each of them saved. While one vendor’s savings was supposed to be for his wife who was to give birth within the month, the other one’s savings was supposed to be for the purchase of tarpaulin for the pushcart which he considered as his family’s home.

In our neighborhood, “Ester”, a housewife who operates a beauty parlor sponsors free haircut at least once a month in depressed areas. A retired couple in a nearby neighborhood, “Gene” and “Maggie”, crams their old van with goodies for deserving street children who they would encounter every time they hit the road, aside from doing weekend visit to depressed areas with a small group. Still, a couple in another neighborhood, “Sam” and “Ness”, regularly visit on weekends a shelter for elderlies where they spend their whole day as volunteers. A retired couple in their 80’s, “Lando” and “Cora” are foster parents to a former child prostitute who will graduate from high school next year.

Even distance does not hinder others to act like Christ. “Perla” who lives in the United States regularly calls friends, schools, and stores for books to be discarded, even tarpaulins and emergency home tools which she patiently packs to be sent to the Philippines for street children. “Doring”, brought out her carefully saved money, an extra amount during her last visit to the Philippines, and which she sent to be spent for a needy person and street children.

There are more of these Christlike people around us, who do not even know that they are manifesting the image of Christ through their acts. Some do not even know how to pray the Rosary and Novena. Some do not kneel in front of the altar and implore God for blessings. Some have not tried joining a religious procession. Some do not say repetitive prayers akin to pagan chanting. Some do not offer flowers and candles to the images of saints. But these Christlike people, do what are supposed to be done right away for others, acts which are along what Christ said: “what you do to others, you do to me”, and “love they neighbor”…which could mean, who they may be.

Ang Pagsasamantala sa Kapwa

Ang Pagsasamantala sa Kapwa
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Nagtuturuan kung kanino nagsisimula ang pagsasamantala – kung sa tao bang nagpapaubaya o sa taong nananamantala. May kasabihan kasing kung walang magpapasamantala ay walang magsasamantala. Ang ganitong kasabihan ang tila ba ay ginagamit ng mga tiwali upang makapagsamantala sa kanilang kapwa, dahil para sa kanila ay “ginusto” naman ng napagsamantalahan.

Kung mamimilosopo sa pananaw na ito, maaaring sabihin na bahala na ang karma sa namantala, at bahala na rin ang Diyos sa napagsamantalahan. At kung nagkaalmahan, dahil hindi nakatiis ang napagsamantalahan, gulo ang resulta – giyera, patayan. May mga taong ayaw maging santo kaya umaalma kung kailangang kalusin na ang abuso ng kapwa.

Maraming anyo ang pananamantala. Isa na dito ang kagutuman dahil ang biyayang dapat ay naibahagi sa lahat ay kinamkam ng iilan kaya ang hindi nakakuha ng bahagi ay pagnganga sa kawalan ang inabot. Hindi dahilan ang kawalan ng pinag-aralan ng iba upang sila ay pagsamantalahan. Kung hindi ninakaw ng mga tiwali sa pamahalaan ang dapat sana ay bahagi ng iba, nagkaroon sana ng maayos na mga programa para sa kanila.

Pagsasamantala rin ang hindi pagtupad sa tungkulin bilang pangkaraniwang mamamayan, empleyado sa pribadong kumpanya o gobyerno, lalo na ang mga opisyal. Pagsira ng tiwala sa kanila ng mga taong dapat ay kanilang sinisilbihan ng maayos ang uri ng kanilang pananamantala. Ito ang malaking isyu sa Pilipinas dahil sa talamak na nakawan sa kaban ng bayan at panloloko ng mga opisyal na nagpapatupad ng mga proyekto. Sa pribadong sektor naman ay talamak ang pananamantala ng mga negosyante sa maya’t maya ay pagtaas ng presyo ng kanilang mga kalakal. Pananamantala naman ang ginagawa ng mga empleyado sa mga madalas nilang pagliban o pagpasok ng late sa trabaho dahil sa hang-over o dahil tinatamad lang.

Sa usaping ispiritwal naman, pinagsasamantalahan natin ang kabaitan ng Diyos sa paulit-ulit na paggawa ng kasalanan, dahil naitanim sa isip na mag-confess lamang sa pari ay pwede na uling manamantala, o di kaya ay maglakad ng paluhod mula sa pinto ng simbahan hanggang altar, o di kaya ay magpakita sa iba na animo ay taimtim na nagrorosaryo, o di kaya ay “magtapon” ng pera sa lata ng pulubi o magbigay ng halos ay panis nang pagkain sa namamalimos ay “mabait” na. Sa ginagawang ito, ay tahasang niloloko ang Diyos na akala ng iba ay bulag. Walang patawad ang tao sa ginagawang pananamantala…pati Diyos ay walang takot na pinapatos!

Two Untitled Haikus

Two Untitled Haikus

By Apolinario Villalobos



A thank uttered by trembling lips

moved by sincerity from the heart

has more weight than tons of gold

given without even a taint of gratitude.



A single grain counts a lot in a pile –

each is a fragment that adds to height

when a child gathers them as he plays

a delight he may not forget for days.

Ode To Nelson Mandela

Ode to Nelson Mandela

…Sublime Rolihlahla of South Africa


By Apolinario Villalobos


July 18, 1918 – lucky day for South Africa

For this day saw the birth of Rolihlahla

Later given a Christian name, Nelson

When he began his studies, as a custom.

Toiling  for survival as a fatherless child

He dreamed of one day, be part of struggle –

For freedom… aspired, desired by his people

Though he knew that such wish is not simple.

His journey through the portals of knowledge

Were not as fortunate, for despite two attempts

To have a college degree, he failed to achieve

But for such dream, he fearlessly persevered.

Graduated with Ll.B, although in absentia –

In 1989, thanks to University of South Africa

Making it on his last months of imprisonment

That filled his heart with intense sentiment.

Life in a country of strife far from being free

Is not what Nelson wanted, but one with unity

His effort brought him to prison not only once

But he vowed to fight on, whatever the chance.

Never did he accept the bribe of three offers-

Setting him free but with binding conditions

Such an insincere gesture, for him is just trash –

That only a man without honor may readily grasp.

1991 saw him as ANC President that he deserved

And in 1993, given Nobel Prize with de Klerk jointly

A year after, 27th of April, casting his first vote ever –

Such achievements, no longer made Nelson wonder.

Inaugurated as South Africa’s first elected President

It was in May 10, 1992, under the shadow of democracy

And true to his promise, stepped down after his term

It was in 1999, feeling fulfilled in achieving his dream.

A humble inspiration to the trampled and exploited

Nelson Mandela exemplified honesty and sincerity

With which he fought for equal opportunity and unity –

He succeed…

And, the achieved harmony for his people

Will always be his priceless legacy.