The Day Hector and His Family Helped the Perpetual Village 5 HA President, Louie Eguia

The Day Hector Garcia and His Family Helped the

Perpetual Village 5 HA President, Louie Eguia

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

When the unpaved roads of the Perpetual Village 5 was finally completed, courtesy of the City government of Bacoor City, flaws were discovered such as the low-grade asphalt that was used to fill the gaps of sections, and which practically cracked and broken into pieces in time, and the dangerous wide-gapped corners that endanger maneuvering cars, especially, vans and garbage trucks. Two garbage trucks almost lost their balance while maneuvering the corner along Fellowship and Unity Streets.

 

The anticipated dangers due to the precarious corners were brought to the attention of the contractor when the project was near completion, but to no avail. Understandably, he was constrained by the allocated budget that was allowed only for the approved width, thickness, and length of the roads in the subdivision. Rather than wait for mishaps to occur, the President of the Perpetual Village 5, Louie Eguia, decided to make use of the meager fund of the association.

 

As expected, Hector Garcia and the available members of his family volunteered to help – his wife Angie, daughter Mara, son-in-law Jet, and even the latter’s household “stewardess”, Ting.  From eight in the morning up to almost noon, the small group toiled under the searing heat of the sun. Even Mara who was on day -off and the lean and young “stewardess” Ting, took turns in mixing cement, gravel, and sand. Jet, who just arrived home from an overnight job also shook off the fatigue from lack of sleep. With a wheelbarrow, Hector tediously, made several trips to the Multi-purpose Hall for the pre-mixed cement and gravel, while Louie, though, suffering from skin allergies from the prickly heat, untiringly did his part.

 

I have already blogged the Garcia couple due to their unselfish “habit”, worthy of emulation. The habit practically runs in the family which also contaminated their house help, Ting, whom I lovingly call “the stewardess”. They talk less, but work more, and this habit made them click with the equally man of few words, Louie, their homeowners’ association president.

 

Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors, Angie and Hector Garcia

Volunteerism is in the Heart of my Neighbors,

Angie and Hector Garcia

By Apolinario Villalobos

 

Just like the rest of the pioneers in our subdivision, the couple, Angie and Hector Garcia went through the expected hardship of living in an unfamiliar new-found home, which in our case is Cavite, used to be known for notoriety – unsafe as many alleged. Add to that the difficulty of commuting to Manila because the only way was via the Aguinaldo highway that passes through buzzling public market of Zapote. The Coastal Road during the time was not yet even in the drawing board of the Department of Public Highways. That was during the early part of the 80’s.

 

A “short cut” to our subdivision from the Aguinaldo highway is traversed by a creek, deep and wide enough to be classified as a river. Several bamboo poles that were laid across the creek served as the early bridge, that was later “upgraded” to a safer one made of two electric poles floored with planks. During the early years the creek did not overflow, however, the constant reclamation of both banks constricted the flow of water that resulted to flash floods which did not spare our subdivision. These instances brought out the innate character of our neighbors that hinged on volunteerism.

 

As the home of Angie and Hector Garcia is situated right at the western entrance of the subdivision where the creek is situated, the homeowners’ association’s heavy duty rope was used to be left in their custody. They would bring it out when flood occurred so that those who would like to take the risk of crossing the bridge would have something to hold on to as they gingered their way through waist-deep flood. A heavy rain for three to four hours would put every homeowner on the alert as the heavy downpour usually triggered a flood. Angie and Hector would miss precious sleeping hours as they waited for the right moment to bring out the long heavy rope, one end of which would be tied to the post of the bridge while the other end would be entwined around the iron grill of their fence or gate. If the flood occurred at night till dawn, we would wake up in the morning with the rope already in place to serve as our “life line” to the other side of the overflowing creek.

 

The couple also took pains in cleaning the vacant area behind the subdivision’s Multi-purpose Hall and planted it to medicinal plants and mango tree which also provided shade. Vegetables were planted, too, aside from medicinal herbs for everybody’s taking in time of their need. The early morning as the sun rises would also see them sweeping the street in front of their house.

 

The leadership qualities of the couple, made their neighbors trust them. Hector had a stint as the president of the Homeowners’ Association, while Angie kept in her custody whatever meager earnings of the association from renting out the Multi-purpose Hall and monthly dues, aside from the collected Mass offerings, until clear-cut procedures were finally established during which she turned over the responsibility to the Homeowners’ Association’s Treasurer.

 

Angie is a cancer survivor having had a mastectomy, but despite her situation, she patiently endured the rigorous travel to Naujan, Mindoro with Hector to regularly check their “farm” which they planted to fruit-bearing trees. When I asked them one time why they take pains in maintaining such far-off farm instead of purchasing another either in Silang or Alfonso, both in Cavite, they confided that they have already “fallen in love” with their investment. Their love for the farm truly shows in their robust physique despite their age of sixtyish. I just imagine that perhaps, if they stop commuting to and from Naujan, Mindoro, weed their farm, and take care of the growing saplings,  their health would deteriorate as usually happens to people who cannot stand being idle.

 

The couple has three daughters, all successful in their chosen fields of endeavor. And, one of them is serving the Homeowners’ Association as Treasurer.

 

The TPC Mark of Ed Vergado (PAL Senior International Ticket Representative)

The “TPC” Mark of Ed Vergado

(PAL Senior International Ticket Representative)

By Apolinario Villalobos

“TPC” stands for Total Passenger Care, a trademark of PAL during its Golden Days under Roman Cruz, Jr. As a “total care”, even inquiring callers and walk-ins were given utmost attention, because they are already considered customers, though with “prospect” status. Most often, though, because of the care given, they eventually, become a full-pledge customer.

The mark of PAL’s excellent service, was again shown by Ed Vergado, a senior International Ticket Representative of Philippine Airlines assigned at the NAIA Terminal 2 ticket office. I witnessed how he offered his cellphone to a passenger, Arturo Albulario, who was in a quandary while trying to contact a friend who was supposed to meet him upon his arrival from Los Angeles.  He was taking a connecting flight to Cebu that morning and the meeting with his friend was very crucial, as time was running out.

With a smile that put Mr. Albulario at ease, Ed even offered to dial the number of the former’s friend for him. In just a few minutes, the friend who was finally contacted rushed inside the ticket office. Both were profuse in showing their gratitude to Ed. The passenger tried to show his apprehension by leaving a substantial amount to refund the consumed load for the call made, but which Ed vehemently refused. I witnessed the incident as I was inside the ticket office killing time while waiting for the arrival of a friend from Davao.

Ed began his airline career in Virac station (Catanduanes Island) as a ticket clerk, moving on to Laoag station (Ilocos Sur) with the same position. Recurrent trainings afforded him knowledge in other responsibilities such as ramp handling, counter handling (check-in), cargo handling, reservations, and manual computation of load (passenger, baggage and cargo). His expertise in the line was such that every time new stations were opened, he was among those assigned which happened when Busuanga station in Palawan was made operational to boost the tourism-related effort of the province.

With the onset of developments in the company, Ed was transferred to NAIA Terminal 2, to handle checking in of passengers for which he was well-prepared, thanks to his experience and trainings. Lately, he is now at the ticket office of the same terminal, but this time, preparing international tickets, as a Senior International Ticket Representative (Senior ITR), a supervisory position that he more than deserves.

The more than 30 years of service in PAL, made Ed a seasoned customer-oriented employee, and developed in him a sharp perception on how to make customers satisfied. He does not hesitate in sharing what he has gained with his new co-employees every time he has a chance, as what I had observed also that morning. As there was a lull in the influx of customers, Ed was entertaining questions and voluntarily sharing information about their responsibilities with the rest of the counter staff.

Philippine Airlines can encourage acts similar to what Ed did, by giving deserving employees due recognition through commendation. The emulation by other employees can create a chain reaction that can definitely add more life to the consistent excellent service of the company.

Kimberly Bautista Rosel:Angel on the Road

Kimberly Bautista Rosel: Angel on the Road

By Apolinario Villalobos

Around seven in the morning of July 26, I was on my way to Divisoria, on a jeepney that plied the Mabini Street of Ermita. At the corner of Salas St., two young Koreans hailed the jeepney and showing the photo on their cellphone to the driver, asked if he was passing by the said landmark. The driver inaudibly replied which was of course, not understood by the tourists. At this point, I asked them if it was alright for me to see the landmark on their cellphone which I found to be the bastion of Intramuros, after which I gave them directions.

A young pretty lady across from where I sat, volunteered that she was on her way to Intramuros and offered to guide the couple. She told me that she was a student of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and that she had enough time to drop the two tourists where they wanted to start their walking tour. As I was impressed by her attitude which was another inspiring act, my favorite subject for blogs, I ventured if it was okey for me to write something about her, giving my “credential” in the process. Also I asked her to share with me what would transpire in the course of her angelic gesture. As the three hastily alighted for a connecting ride, all I got from the young lady was her name, “Kimberly”.  I thought she would forget all about me until I checked my facebook the following day for any message from her which I fortunately got. With it she sent a “friend request” which I immediately confirmed.

She was Kimberly Bautista Rosel. In her message, she shared that she brought the young tourists to the landmark where they wanted to start their walking tour. Not long afterwards,  pedicab drivers approached them to offer their service of a quick tour of the Walled City but were declined with her help, as the tourists knew only a sprinkling of English.  After giving more information, she left them and hastily proceeded to her class. She shared that they were wondering why I was nice to them on the jeepney to which she explained the Filipino trait of volunteerism.

At sixteen, Kimberly impressed me as having a strong personality. During our short exchange of pleasantries on the jeepney, and while talking to the tourists, she spoke with confidence and in a very good English without a ‘trying hard” twang, for which many teens are apt to do today. I was not surprised as I found later that her mother is a teacher. She also unabashedly confided that her father is a driver in a school in Pasay City. Her family hails from Nasugbu, Batangas. When I checked the photos on her facebook, I found images of a happy family.

Kimberly is the epitome of the Filipino hospitality, on which hinges the effort of the country in upholding its lure in the face of the cutthroat competition in the tourism industry. Hopefully, the two Korean tourists will tell their friends back home about their experience, that indeed, the Philippines is really a safe place where one can enjoy the sights and goodwill of the people. I firmly believe that “word of mouth” is more effective than the printed advertisements, as the former is a reliable first-hand account.

Kimberley more than advertised the country with her act. If I may add, she is also pretty, a typical dusky Filipina. How I wish there are thousands more of her kind that tourists will find along their way around the country.

Kristel Mae…..for Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas

Kristel Mae
(for Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas)
ni Apolinario Villalobos

mga pangarap na sa isang iglap
ay nalusaw nang hindi sinasadya
patunay na ang buhay sa mundo
ay hindi hawak ng sino mang tao

ang buhay, wari’y parang kandila
‘di man mahipan, ito’y nalulusaw
kaya ang tanglaw nito’y nawawala
na sa paligid ay dilim ang nalilikha

may kabuluhan naman ang kandila –
na sa paligid ang dulot ay liwanag
hangga’t ito’y malusaw, o mahipan
at magdudulot naman ng kadiliman

sa nangyari kay Kristel Mae sa Tacloban
marami ang nagitla at di makapaniwala
nguni’t kung ginusto ng Diyos ang lahat
walang makakahadlang kung nararapat

ang ilang araw na kanyang naiambag
ay naging bahagi ng dakilang gawain
‘di mawawala sa isipan ng mga mahal
dahil para sa taong turing nila’y banal!

(Kristel Mae “Mhai” Padasas was a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Catholic Relief Service (CRS), and was a volunteer during the papal visit. She was hit by a scaffolding that collapsed due to strong wind at the site in Tacloban where Pope Francis officiated a Mass. She reached the age of 27 without having been spoiled despite her being an only daughter of hardworking parents. Her mother works in Hongkong. She was characterized by friends as humble, jolly and compassionate, finding satisfaction in her involvement in humanitarian and civic activities.)

When Volunteerism is Misunderstood as Meddling…Sympathy and Cooperation Suffer

When    Volunteerism   is   Misunderstood  as    Meddling

…Sympathy      and    Cooperation      Suffer

By   Apolinario    Villalobos

 

While    it    is    true    that    each    of    us   has     our     own    life    to    live,   there    are   instances    when   sympathetic    acts    which     are     given     voluntarily     in    the     spirit     of     cooperation    are    necessary.   Unfortunately,    some    people   view    this    as    some     sort     of     meddling    in   other    people’s     lives.    Sympathy    is    extended    to   give    comfort    to    grieving    people,     aside    from    lightening     up    their    heavy    load     of    responsibility.    Such    act    is   usually    manifested    through     soothing      words,       action,    and     material    comfort.

 

What    is    bad     is    that    those    who    have    no    intention    of     volunteering    sympathy     try    to    dissuade    others    from    doing    so,     especially,      if    they      have     a     grudge      against      the      beneficiary      of     such     sympathy.     One     community     that    I    know    has     so    many   religious     proponents      but    they    are    on    their    own,     except     when    they    see    each    other     during    the   weekly    liturgical   service    during    which    they    put    on    the    best     face     they    could    muster     to    hide    their    feelings     toward     each    other.     Each    is    afraid     to     volunteer     counsels     for    fear     that     they    will     be    misconstrued     as     meddling.     Prayer    meetings     are    held    but    shared     feelings      become    useless     because     they    return      to    their    usual     selves     after      they      leave      the        meeting      place.      The     habit     of    backbiting     is     still     enjoyed     by      them,     and      envy       is     still          manifested       as      they    pull     each     other     down     to    ensure     that     nobody    is    above    anybody.  

 

A     friend      who     belongs      to     this     community    and    who     relinquished      her     duties      as    head       of     their      organization         shared      her     disappointments     about     this         wicked     attitude      of     her      neighbors.       When     her      plan     to      help       the     incoming      officers       by     way       of       suggesting     some     important      hints      in     running      the     organization     was     known     by      her     friends,      she     was      practically       told        to     leave      the      new      officers     alone,     and     for    her    not     to     meddle     since      she    is    no     longer     an     officer      of     that    organization.   These      same     people     also,     just     has     no    kind     words     for     the    volunteers     who     spend     their     spare     time     in     assisting      the    parish     priest.      Instead     of     praising     the      volunteers      who     have      more     time   than   them   in     assisting       the     parish      priest ,        they        look       at      them        as        a     bunch    of     suckers.

 

In    another     community,     the    head    of   a    non-religious       organization ,    confided     that     he    was     discouraged     to    share    everything     he    knows     in    running     an    organization      to      the      incoming      new      set        of     officers.     Those    who    did     are    supposedly    his    close    friends        who     told     him     that     his    plan     is     tantamount      to     meddling       which      might       be      misunderstood      as     influence      peddling.     This    is    contrary     to    his     plan    which    is     to    support     the    new    group     of    leaders     in    their    endeavor.      He      was      even     prodded      to     spend     the     budget     on     hand     for    whatever     projects      he       may     think        of,    and    let      the    new     group    raise     the      replenishment      to     show     them     that    leading    an    organization     is    not      easy.        But       obviously,      those     who     are      trying       to     influence       him      are     not     in     good     terms     with      the    new     set      of     officers.      They       tried       to     use      the     outgoing     leader      as     an     instrument      in     getting     back     at     them.         Fortunately,       the     outgoing   leader,       proceeded    with     his     plans     and    gained      the      respect      of     the     new     set     of     officers.

 

The     above      are     just         examples     of    how    some    people    can    easily      destroy    the     essence     of     volunteerism     which     is     a      necessary     component      of     sympathy. There    are     some   people    who   enjoy    the    helplessness    of    others     when     this    could     be    avoided     if    a    helping    hand    is    extended.     This     attitude      is     made      worse     by      their     ploy     to      use       others     as      instrument       in      carrying      out       their      evil      desire.      These         same    people       would    rather    see     the   failure      of    an    organization     than    witness     how    recognition    is    given     to     those     who    are     successful    in     their    effort     to    uphold      its    integrity.     It      seems      that  these    kind of     people     live     on     the    dictum:    let     others     suffer      for     their     acts      and     let     them     break     their     back    for      something      they     want.