Wednesday, March 28, 2007


“A mother eagle builds a comfortable nest for her young, padding it with feathers from her own breast. But the God-given instinct that builds that secure nest also forces the eaglets out of it before long. Eagles are made to fly, and the mother eagle will not fail to teach them. Only then will they become what they are meant to be.

So one day the mother eagle will disturb the twigs of the nest, making it an uncomfortable place to stay. Then she will pick up a perplexed eaglet, soar into the sky and drop it. This little bird will begin to free-fall. Where is Mama now? She is not far away. Quickly, she will swoop under and catch the fledgling on one strong wing. She will repeat this exercise until each eaglet is capable of flying on its own.”

My friend Mayet shared this story with me. She came across this tale of the mother eagle and her eaglets from Our Daily Bread during her time of indecision, when she stood at the crossroads, at a loss and desperately praying for God’s guidance.

Like me, Mayet is one mother who is now struggling with the same questions every mother through the centuries haven gone through at one point or another: when it is time to let go? When is it time to let our babies out of sheltering wings and into the open? When is it time to let them venture into the unknown?

From the very first moment we held their tiny forms into our arms, we mothers have our paths laid out for us. Our every waking moment is dedicated to caring for our children, ensuring that their needs are provided for, seeing to it that at all times, they are sheltered from all danger and harm.

But time must come when we must ask: are we shielding them too much? What if we have become a mother eagle who is too afraid to let her eaglets out of the comfort zone that is their nest? Then, we would fail our duty of teaching them to become what they are meant to be.

Are we ready to let our precious ones do the free-fall? Are we going to be swift enough to catch them? Will our wings be strong enough?

Our children have been too sheltered all throughout their young lives. Are we ready to let them join the real world? Do we have the heart to throw them where they would either have to swim or sink? Will it be for their best interests? How will we know that we have chosen the right path for them? Will there be regrets later on?

So many questions … and we don’t see comforting answers in the horizon.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Have you ever been told that your husband was not with you because he was dating his 21-year old girlfriend?

I have … but it did not cause the furor you would have expected would follow such revelation. Let me backtrack a bit.

Around 10 pm two years ago, a male caller asked for me. After assuring me that he was friend trying to do me a favor, he asked if my husband was home at that time. With my suspicion aroused, I quickly invented a story about my husband Nonoy having a boys’ night out with his friends even as I frantically signaled for the very same husband to come near me and listen in to our conversation.

He identified himself as Mark Villanueva. He sounded hesitant at first, as if wanting me to urge him on. Sensing this, I encouraged him to reveal his purpose (while trying to sound as gullible as possible). He told me a lot of things about us – like my husband’s appearance (Chinese-looking, light-skinned and tall), his profession, and more!

After much beating around the bush, and with voice dripping with sympathy, he mournfully told me that Nonoy was not really with his barkadas at all … he was driving around the boulevard with his girlfriend at that exact moment! (Surely no husband could be that stupid! Unless, of course, he wanted to be found out by his wife!)

He proceeded to tell me that Nonoy met this girlfriend “Karel Lay” in SUMC while my father-in-law was hospitalized there, that she was a nursing student doing her OJT or whatever that is called, around the time they met.

My father-in-law was indeed hospitalized. How did he know about that? I found out that he called our home a day or two before, had a talk with our house helper and was able to wheedle out that information along with all the other family facts that he brandished before me to gain my confidence and assure me that he had inside knowledge on our family.

“Mark Villanueva’s” story might stink to high heavens … any thinking individual would immediately know that … but to any vulnerable wife who does not have much confidence on her husband’s fidelity, that story might just sell.

He was very good with what he did! He sounded young and spoke very good English. And he was very convincing too! He was an expert at coaxing information out by starting a statement then trailing off in the middle, letting you finish it for him, thereby unwittingly giving him usable information against you.

Take this for instance: “Your husband met this girl in the hospital. Wasn't his father hospitalized recently in ..... ?” Any anxious wife whose world has suddenly turned upside down will not think twice at naming the right hospital. But I did … I was dead calm and I deliberately named the wrong one … “SUMC” (my father-in-law was in fact admitted at Holy Child Hospital). I got him right inside my pocket from the very beginning.

We reported this matter to the NBI. Subsequent calls to our line were traced and his residence placed under surveillance. Over the next few days, “Mark Villanueva” and I continued to talk. He offered to help me get proof of my husband’s supposed infidelity by trailing him and videotaping his activities. He asked if I had a video camera. I answered, “Yes, of course!” “The latest?” he asked. “Oh yes!” answered gullible, eager me. I even added, “It’s the small model, digital!” Another outright lie from yours truly.

The next day, he called me with another problem … “We don’t have any transportation … but we can rent from Scuds … can you give us the money for that?”

Finally, we agreed to meet at Hypermart so I could give the money and the video camera to him and his two friends. The NBI agent arranged to be there as well. But that was the last time we spoke. The agent told me that he was spotted while doing surveillance and was probably recognized. I never heard from “Mark Villanueva” again.

Why am I writing about this now? I just want to warn the readers against the Mark Villanuevas in this world. The first line of defense, naturally, is to leave strict instructions to our household helps NEVER ever to give any information about anything to any caller. Period.

Nonoy warned me that “Mark Villanueva” might read this column and might want to get back at us. I told him that I would write this: the NBI knows him and his cohorts. We know him. And we know exactly where he lives. End of the story.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Gal of that Woman!

I just came from the supermarket in Lee Plaza to pick up a few groceries. The lines were long, today being Saturday, and I only had 6 items in my basket, so I joined the queue in the express lane (maximum of 10 items only!!!! - everyone is supposed to know that!)

I was behind a Spanish mestiza who oozed wealth and privilege. She had all the trappings of affluence displayed all over her person ... and she had with her a basketful of groceries numbering 20-30 items! And she was in the express lane too!

I belatedly recognized her to be the wife of a very prominent politician in the province. I seethed with resentment, to say the least, at the gal of that woman, openly flaunting her status as one so close to power, she can make it known to all the sundry that Lee Plaza and the entire Oriental Negros, for that matter, can shove their rules up their as--s. She is too high and mighty to be ever bothered with such petty concerns as observing common courtesy in grocery stores!

That is why I am so fed up with politics, our politicians and their hangers on. They consider themselves above everything and everyone, and of course, how could I forget, the LAW.

An afterthought: considering it's election season, one would have expected these people to behave themselves, like put their best feet forward, and appear as angelic as possible?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Abby's Ballet Recital

Cody and Abby during technical rehearsals

Abby with school and ballet classmate Nicole

We referred to them as the blue girls and the pink girls. The blue girls are in the more advanced class while Abby and the rest in pink are in beginners. I took this picture at the ballet studio located at the rear of Luce Auditorium in Silliman University.

Killing time by launching another gameboy tournament: Raffy (checking out the girls), Gabby (in blue shirt), Abby, Cody (on yaya's lap) and Mommy Nini outside the ballet studio

The girls with Teacher Chini during technical rehearsals receiving final instructions.

Doing their curtain call

Abby had her 2nd ballet recital last February 26. We parents had the greatest fun dolling up our daughters (and thanks to Teacher Maru, by the way, for doing their make-up especially that fish tail eyeline) and proudly watched from the audience as our beloved girls goofed up onstage in the most adorable ways imaginable!

Of course, the "adorable" part could only come from the perspective of the parents involved! But we wanted to believe that the rest of the audience thought so too! In fact, we told ourselves that their performance will be remembered, not for their blunders, but for how adorable they were while they were committing those mishaps!!! He he he! After all, as little ballerinas, they were not expected to be perfect yet, blah blah blah .....

I know, I know ,,, only another parent whose young daughter has been to a ballet recital would be willing enough to swallow that line.

But they really were adorable in their tutus!!!

But then again, this is Abby's mother writing. Nobody has to believe me!

But, but .....

Post Script: (March 9, 2007)

I started writing the draft of this post a day or two after the recital. I could not post it right away because I found it hard to upload pictures (a single picture would take around 10 minutes to upload with my dial-up connection). I was in a very different mood then, any reader could tell that right away.

Lately though, I learned that behind the fun and excitement that we were having as we prepped our daughters up for their number, a very ugly scene was going on in the dance studio located at the rear of the auditorium.

A very irate mother (so say the least) complained of her daughter's name having been omitted in the list of dancers that was distributed to the audience. She had a very valid reason for complaining, but she went beyond the bounds of acceptable human conduct when she started slapping Teacher Ronnie around, a very gifted dancer and choreographer, who also happened to be Abby's teacher in another dance class, and who was, incidentally, the wrong person to take that matter up, BECAUSE HE DID NOT PREPARE THE PROGRAMME!

The entire incident was related by another Dumaguete blogger, Ian Casocot, in his site The Spy in the Sandwich entitled MONSTERS.

I just have to say something about that incident. I cannot keep quiet on this matter. It has aroused my outrage, not only because I know and respect the decent person who has been so shamelessly humiliated, but because people like the woman mentioned in Ian's blog should not be allowed to get away with her actions without anybody saying a thing or two about it!

As always, we get back to our being Filipinos, so timid ... and yet we complained of being abused here and there ... I wonder whose fault it is too?


I want to add my thoughts on that incident related to us by my fellow columnist Ian Casocot re: Monster. I know the choreographer personally because my daughter attends his dance class. I have nothing but the highest regard for him, not only because he is an extremely gifted dancer and choreographer, but because he was a kind, cheerful, patient and gentle mentor to little girls who were just learning to find their dancing feet. But most of all, he is a gentleman through and through.

To have his dignity trampled that way, and in full view of his dancers and students, for
negligence he absolutely had nothing to do about, over a small matter that could have been settled in another place and in a more appropriate time, and in a manner that will do justice to our claim as “gentle” people … is simply unforgivable!


I hope that he would not decide to leave Dumaguete because of that monstrous incident. Our little girls are thriving under his care and we wish them to continue learning from him.

Remember Teacher, that woman does not represent the face of all the other ballet mothers like me who respect you and appreciate what you do for our precious children.

Finally, I hope that others will join me in saying …


What will make me leave the Philippines (An Open Letter to all Filipinos)

I did not write this open letter. As with my previous post, I received this forwarded mail from a cousin.

I do not necessarily agree with the writer's sentiments about wanting to leave the Philippines. This country may stink big time but this is my home and I intend to stay here. I may want to travel and visit other countries, but I do not have the remotest desire to settle anywhere else but here in my beautiful Dumaguete City.

But I wholeheartedly agree with his views on Philippine politics and the personalities therein - it's also making me sick! Lately, I have not been tuning into our local TV stations. Seeing all those political ads are nauseating - with those prettied-up wannabes giving out their fanciest fake smiles and trying their damnest to appear pang-masa and appealing, kissing babies and putting their arms around ordinary/everyday-people types like the ones we would see in marketplaces. I wonder where that persona would go the moment they get elected? Back into their dingiest closets of course, to be resurrected only come election time again.

Those idiots who will be voting for those TRAPOS (traditional politicians - in English, TRAPO literally means RAGS), superstars/actors, boxing and basketball heroes, social butterflies ... should stop and think and wonder what these persons could do except look pretty and impressive in their Armani suits in the senate or look idiotic as I would expect Manny Pacquiao would be like in the Congress - I wonder what he would do to get noticed by those snootheads? Box his way around the Congressional Hall? I admire and love Manny Pacquiao.. time and time again, he made us proud to be Filipinos. But he should stay where he is best ... in the boxing arena. He is being used - is he so densed he could not realize that? Politicians know that Manny's popularity with the masses will carry him through any position he would aim for and all of them along with him.

A personal message to Manny: keep making us proud by staying with boxing. We love and admire you. You will be swallowed up whole along with all your hard-earned fortune in the world of politics. Stay where you are. Good intentions to serve the Filipinos alone will not get you through in a world where dog eats dog. Go into that direction and you will lose all the love and respect that we hold for you.

Anyway, you've served us more than enough already. In fact, you did more than any Congressman or Senator has ever done for us - for a brief moment, you made us stand proud as Filipinos. Be remembered as the glorious Manny Pacquaio in the boxing ring, not as Manny Pacquiao, the pathetic figure in congress.

Robert (whose blog is linked here) wrote about his fascination over politics and about Democrats and Republicans and the causes they support ... I do not know anything about American politics but I assume that US politicians' causes are based on personal convictions and/or in support of what their parties stand for.

Filipino politicians are a sad bunch. They will mouth anything and everything, perhaps even male castration (including their own) if it would get them elected, and forget all about it once they are in power.

We all are a sorry lot indeed! I am seriously thinking of not going to the polls in May. What for? Nothing has changed, nothing will ever change. New names, old faces ... same old routine and jostling for one concern alone ... personal interests and nothing else!

Here's the open letter in full ...

Dear Fellow Filipino,

Good day to all of you! Before I begin my letter... just a disclaimer, for people who know me they know that I love the Philippines very much and I am not really one who rants and complaints to high heavens about what is happening to our country and does nothing about it, in fact, I feel that at my relatively young age of 27, I have done much service to the Philippines by setting up Pathways to Higher Education which has sent more than 500 poor but deserving students to college and AHON Foundation which has already built two public elementary school libraries that have benefitted more than 3,500 students. Yet, after seeing how events in our nation have transpired the past few weeks and talking with some friends, I feel the urge to share with you my own thoughts and feelings.

Over the weekend, we saw the completion of two major political alliances for this coming Senate Elections that has just began here in the Philippines . Now we have two political forces with familiar faces nonetheless on opposite sides of the fences. On one end, you have Tito Sotto and Tessie Aquino-Oreta who were two major stalwarts of the opposition and the FPJ Campaign in 2004 hobnobbing with the woman (Pres. GMA) whom they claimed to have cheated FPJ in the last Presidential Elections.On the other side of the fence, you see Manny Villar, the former house speaker who was actually responsible for impeaching Erap now part of the United Opposition who is led by no less than... Erap himself. Now if you don't see anything wrong with this picture then you must be one of the many Filipinos who have accepted this very sad reality that there is indeed no permanent ideals that our government leaders stand up for but rather they just go where there self-interests can best be served. It is this kind of politics why I no longer wonder why good people like Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City or outstanding Bulacan Governor Josie Dela Cruz will find it hard or worse, never be elected to national positions.

It is with these in mind that I'd like to share with you what are events this coming May elections that will make me consider leaving the Philippines :

1.) If former COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano of Hello Garci fame wins in his bid to become Congressman of Bukidnon...seeking to replace a good man no less in incumbent Cong. Neric Acosta... We would really be the laughing stock of the whole world if we allow a man with the reputation of Garci to be one of our so called "Honorable Gentlemen".

2.) If Dancing Queen Tessie Aquino Oreta reclaims her seat at the Senate... I hope that all of us would still remember that dance that she did during the 2001 impeachment hearings after they voted to overrule the decision of then Chief Justice Davide... let us make sure that people like her never make it to the Senate again.

3.) If Richard Gomez becomes a senator... what does he know about making laws? We already have the likes of Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid in the Senate and their performance or lack of it would be reason enough not to elect another actor who has no prior experience in government to the distinguished halls of the Senate.

4.) If Gringo Honasan wins again.... have we not learned our lesson? I cannot believe that just because someone is charismatic then we will just elect him to become one of our senators despite the fact that he has time and again caused so much instability in our country... if we want a military junta similar to that of Thailand ... then lets all vote for this guy....

5.) If Manny Pacquiao becomes Congressman of General Santos City... everybody loves Manny the Boxing Champ but Manny the Lawmaker? Lets be realistic here, Manny is our Hero alright but I think it takes more than just great boxing skills and a desire to serve to be able to make appropriate laws that would help uplift the lives of the many Filipinos who live in Poverty.

6.) If Lito Lapid wins for Mayor of Makati City... I don't like Jojo Binay as well but Lito Lapid as city mayor of the country's finance and business center?!?! And do you really think he is from Makati and has good plans for the city? The Arroyos asking someone like him to run just goes to show you how much love and concern this government has for our country.

7.) If Chavit Singson becomes a Senator, Illegal Gambling = Chavit... enough said.

Now if all of these 7 things happen during this coming elections then don't be surprised if I decide to leave this country that I love dearly. Like I said during the first part of my letter, I feel that I have done much for this country but I think its time that Filipinos become more vigilant and critical in selecting our leaders for the sake of our future and the generations that will go beyond us. So I appeal to every Filipino who asks what can I actually do for my country... Choose and vote for the right people this coming elections, huwag na tayong magpaloko sa mga kandidatong maganda lang ang jingle o gwapo lang sa mga poster. Let us choose leaders who have a good track record for service and who are genuinely committed towards serving our country.

Manindigan naman tayong lahat para sa ating Kinabukasan at para sa Kapakanan ng ating Bayan!

Thank you very much for your time in reading this letter.


Ang Inyong Alagad
Kapitan Bangas