Please bear the errors. I rarely edit the articles. Thanks!

S'il vous plaît garder les erreurs. J'ai rarement modifier mes articles. Merci!

Bitte beachten Sie die Fehler. Ich habe selten meine Artikel zu bearbeiten. Vielen Dank!

Por favor, tenga los errores. No tengo mucho tiempo limpiar a los artículos. Gracias!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dress Up in the Church

I am glad to read Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD writing about the weight or importance of the Mass which is the most central form of worship for Catholics.

During Mass, the word of the Lord is proclaimed while at the consecration, the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ. The Lord of lords is truly there in body and spirit, same as the one whom Thomas declared “My Lord and my God” and Peter professed, “Lord, where do we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Catholics know that. Call me whatever you want but I am scandalized, especially this summer, seeing Mass goers dressed as if they are going to a beach resort or to a mall --- some chewing gums.

Isn’t it that when you meet one with high social or government stature in his house, you have to dress up? That when you are in that house, you must observe decorum?

The Lord understands poverty for He once said that the poor are always in our midst. One is not required to wear a barong or a gown but won’t you see to it that you wear something good out of reverence to the infinitely most powerful One?

Be attentive and follow the Mass proceedings. Join in praying and in singing --- you don’t have to have the voice of Rico Puno or Pilita Corales. And yes, be a “snub” inside the church. You are there to pray and be intimate with your Maker and not to gossip and trade stories. That can be done before or after the Mass and elsewhere.

We are accustomed in praying the rosary, lighting a votive candle or praying our novena during Mass. While the actions are good and recommended, again, those can be done before or after the Mass and not during the Mass.

I remember Sundays when men were in their barong, polo barong or coat and tie while the women wore dress and a veil. At that time when I was young, I did not understand why some were in formal attire in the church. My Mom said that it is out of respect to the Lord whom we receive during communion.

From then on, on Saturday afternoons, I used to wash, dry and iron my Sunday attire.

I still do that today.

Archbishop Cruz Slams Aquino Anew

Once again, the retired archbishop airs his dismay on the performance of Pres. Noynoy Aquino to the extent that his only achievement is the banning of sirens.

I may not agree with the good archbishop on that point but his questions such as: (1.) "Where is the promised straight path?" (2.) "How should the shout, 'You are my boss' be understood?" need further scrutiny.

My concern is the unabated criminality in the country. Minus the congressional hearings on those allegedly involved in corruption, how many have been sent to jail? Are there no longer warlords in the provinces? These are just a tip of the iceberg if the almost a year presidency of Mr. Aquino is to be scrutinized.

I am pro-Noynoy and can’t forget the spectacle of his victory and inauguration. Yet, at this time, I feel that he really has not done that much to improve the livelihood of the people or ease the suffering of the country.

It is funny to read comments from readers committing the sin of ad hominem asking what achievements Msgr. Cruz have in his advanced years. He could have been a cardinal or a pope, one said. Despite comments like that and others which are void of substance if not puerile; as of now, it is surprising that no one has invoked the separation of Church and State yet to "gag" Cruz. Is it because the vocal and retired prelate is telling the truth and the people agree with? Cruz is not the Church but I really do not understand why separation of Church and State pops up when individual bishops express their opinion based from what they perceive especially when the view dispensed is along the lines of moral issues.

So, Mr. President, are we up to the elimination of sirens only if Msgr. Cruz is to be believed?

Mexico Wins Copa de Oro

A soccer and coffee lover I am, watching the finals of the Gold Cup between US and Mexico over a cup of coffee made my day. In the early part of the game, sweat rolled down from my face not because of the summer heat or the boiling coffee but Mexico, my team in the series, was outscored 2-0. Thereafter, like Phoenix, Mexico resurrected and scored four consecutive goals to which the US was not able to recover.

That is not the end of the story.

The American team thinks that they are slighted when the post game ceremonies were conducted in Spanish before 93,000 spectators. While it is true that it was generally in Spanish, there were a bit of English translations.

Oh well, language issue!

I agree with the US team that the ceremonies should have been in English since the venue is in Pasadena, California. For the benefit of all, the Mexican who took the microphone who looked to be a bilingual should have said his piece in English and Spanish if needing an interpreter was not necessary for him. Too bad, the Mexicans are as proud as the Americans in using their mother tongues. Hopefully, the same incident will not happen again.

Just like in any championship game, the Mexican players were so proud lifting their trophy boasting it to the spectators. The spirit of being a part of a team was so evident that it was time to celebrate unabashedly after exerting their best and their all to win the Cup.

If the country has the resources, it is time that more sports tournaments are encouraged throughout the archipelago to instill the spirit of sportsmanship, discipline and being a member of a team.

That should pave the way for brotherhood if not national unity for peace and tolerance.

For the US team who also gave their best and their all although not enough to conquer Mexico, there are still a lot of games for you to play. I hope that soon, as you lift your trophy in soccer, USA! USA! USA! will be as deafening as ever.

Felicitaciones al equipo Mejicano por ganando el campeonato del Copa de Oro desde tus amigos aqui en Filipinas.

Nationwide Smoking Ban

Think twice before lighting a cigarette or cigar in red zones. Violating the ban (Is it a law?) means paying a P500 fine or doing an eight hour community service.

I have no problem with anti-smoking laws or prohibitions but don’t the smokers have the right to smoke? What right has the government possess to tell its citizens that they are not allowed even to smoke at under and overpasses? In places mentioned in the news? Why don’t they allocate smoking areas in such places?

In North America, smoking is allowed at designated areas in hospital compounds like several meters away from a building, public transportation terminals, mall courtyards and I guess even in government compounds.

What the government must do something about is to find viable solutions to stop if not to minimize air pollution. Twenty four-seven burned gas emitted from smoke-belching vehicles and factories are far worse than the smoke from a cigarette or cigar.  Quiapo where thousands of vehicles ply everyday looks perpetually hazy because of unabated pollution. 

I am not a medical doctor but smoking is not the only one that endangers public health. The stench and germs fanned from garbage dumps or from the Smokey Mountain endanger public health. Unsanitary conditions in the wet area of public markets where flies abound pose health hazards. Name others, you have them.

Why is smoking demonized? I am not saying that it is good but citizens have the right to pursue happiness through smoking; why not?

Hopefully then, Congress will enact a law stopping the tobacco-producing provinces like Ilocos Sur to pursue such livelihood and urge them to venture for alternative crop(s). Cigarette and cigar manufacturing companies should be shut down if the government is really serious in safeguarding public health from smoking.

I wonder if the president, a known chain smoker violates the ban when he smokes anywhere in the Presidential Palace, a public place owned by the people.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Msgr. William Antonio's Episcopal Ordination

The Episcopal ordination of Msgr. William David V. Antonio is set on August 26, 2011 at the St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral, Vigan City.

For further information please get in touch with the

Nueva Segovia Chancery
Archbishop’s Residence
2700 Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Tels. (077) 722-2018/ 632-0783

The address, numbers and e-mail are taken from the website of the Archdiocese at

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rizal, Philippine Revolution and the Youth

One informal “Kapihan” I recently had with old and new friends;  still carrying Rizal’s 150th birthday celebration hangover, some were interested in learning my opinion about Jose Rizal and the Philippine Revolution.

No doubt that Pepe is a polymath. Name a career during his time and some even these days --- he was at it but he was not a lawyer. I really am impressed with his genius. Learning 22 languages alone is not peanuts. Not to be overlooked is the fact that Rizal was good-looking. If alive today, most Filipinos don’t care to appreciate his talents. Rizal could be fluent in English today but who can easily understand his ideas on reform and good governance if his tone is philosophically academic citing what other countries and people have done in the past to improve their governments and societies?

Corrupt officials in the government and military establishments would not even care to listen to a man who frowns at vices and a constant advocate of nationalism. He could be a walking encyclopedia in the age of technology and globalization. The fact that the quality of education has dramatically deteriorated and some priorities have shifted from good to worse these can also drive most of us scratching our head with dropping jaws if Rizal takes the podium even when he speaks in Tagalog delivering his reform and nationalism  gospel for the 21st century Philippines.

What appeals to the machismo culture is his love life. Almost everywhere Pepe traveled, he was able to pick an "apple" for his eyes.

Jose Rizal is my man but not my personal national hero. I acknowledge the fact that his Noli and Fili shook the slumbering and oppressed Filipino people with magnitude 6 to rise up and assert their freedom by taking a stand to finally say debemos ser libre. (We must be free.)

Since Rizal is a pacifist long before Gandhi, Marin Luther King, Jr and Ninoy Aquino were born, I cannot figure out how Filipinos would be liberated from the chain of Spanish oppression if armed revolution is not part of the plan. I square with him that Filipinos, ill-equipped and poorly trained should not face a formidable opponent in the battlefield lest a river of Filipino blood is spilled.  There should have been viable other options on the table. Too bad, Mao Tse-Tung and Che Guevara were not Rizal's contemporaries. They could have advised him to employ guerrilla tactics.  On the other hand, although that might work, the oppressed and dehumanized for three centuries can no longer defer waiting for the sunrise of freedom and liberty.

Now enters my personal national hero, Andres Bonifacio. He was an orphan poor boy selling fans and canes but a self-made man.  Gat Andres bravely went to the battlefield leading his men without retreat in his mind till the Spanish rule crumbles. Unfazed with the more advanced weaponry of the enemy, Bonifacio and his gallant men armed themselves with bamboo spear, bolo and a rifle then went to battle to free a shackled nation and end centuries of nightmares, wails and bitter tears..

At this point, imagine an unfolding movie battle scene when some Katipuneros fall one by one but still a small regiment of fighters still brave the rain of bullets risking their lives. They knew they were underdog but Gat Andres thought when will Spanish abuses and oppression end if no one starts the end? Kung walang kikilos, sino'ng kikilos?  Kundi ngayon, kailan pa?  In an intense and realistic scene like that, it would not be bad if movie goers do a standing ovation clapping their hands and raising their fist revering the valor and determination of our ancestors to give us a better life.  In war movies  we  sometimes turn emotional watching gross scenes like the footages of Baler.

Did our heroes die in vain? Did they shed their blood for this country and for us today for nothing? Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini and other illustrious heroes of the past including Melchora Aquino who did a menial job feeding and housing the Katipuneros did not foresee the Philippines we have today. In all revolutions, peaceful or bloody, a better result is expected thereafter just like the French, Russian, American and Chinese Revolutions that started their gallop as a world or economic power. Well, EDSA-I failed us (Or, did we fail EDSA-I?) but thanks for the democracy and freedom it restored. 

With strong spirit believing that positive change is still possible among us as a people; Rizal, accurate in exhorting the youth as “fair hope of my Fatherland” must be revisited.  Unfortunately, the youth today, who want to be educated, have a job and a future good family are helpless in their quest.  Tuition fees are skyrocketing as if education is a privilege and not a right. And sometimes it is true that “it is not what you know but whom you know” if one has to have source to feed, clothe and shelter his family.

Regrettably, the youth are more preoccupied in the lives of showbiz and sports personalities instead of the heroes'. In short, some of their priorities today are on the wrong side of the fence. How could the youth these days then be the hope of this suffering country when cloud of cynicism, apathy if not ignorance by choice epidemically attack the hope of this nation?

It’s time to seriously revisit Rizal, his writings and the venerable heroes who shed sweat, blood and tears for the country and for us.  Rizal died at a very tender age at 35 but is taller than life. He is perpetually remembered as a man of letters who loved education and loved this republic to the point of facing the firing squad in Bagumbayan.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Juanita Limbago Arrives Home

This story should make Filipinos proud. 

Juanita risked her life in saving her ward from a fatal accident. Instead, the faithful and trustworthy househelp paid the ultimate price.   Her “friend” lives!

Who cares about the job Juanita has?  All ways of living so long as they are honest and moral are dignified and must be respected.  The less fortunate in us are just eking a living to survive in this affluent but abused country.

A heroine comes home without a red carpet or a flag at half mast.  It doesn't matter.  She doesn't need those anyway.  She just wants to be with her family and loved ones for the last time for a farewell.

If she were a North American citizen living in Ontario, Los Angeles; the front of her house could have been full of flowers, balloons, candles, flags and placards honoring her feat.  Many would keep her a vigil till her final goodbye for a heroine comes home in their neighborhood.

Where are those who always say that they are proud Filipinos? You don't come out because Juanita is not a popular personality in the show business, politics or sports? That she is just an ordinary woman across the street?  Shame!  Shame!

Come all out. This is the right time to say that you are proud to be citizens of this country!

Well, what’s the big deal about Juanita’s story?

Risking one’s life to friends and even to strangers for their well-being is a big deal bigger than life and bigger than the best mansion in Makati. Only the brave and the strong can do it.

Not all can do that!

"Still, would I give it (viz. life) thee nor count the cost."
                                           -Jose Rizal (My Last Farewell)

Job well done, Juanita. Rest in peace!

Read a related topic at:

Monday, June 20, 2011

¿En Vigan Se Vuelva El Castellano?

Después de saber cerca de la ciudad de Vigan, una amiga que vive en Buenos Aires, Argentina me envió una pregunta por correo electrónico pidiendo mi opinion si es lindo para los residentes de Vigan a aprender por la vuelta Español la verdad que la ciudad es una de mas famosas partes del mundo donde los edificios construidos durante de los tiempos coloniales han sobrevieron.

Es lo que una idea mejor pero yo pienso que hay cosas mas importantes para nosostros a hacer por nuestras familias en medio de los desafíos en nuestro tiempo. No se lo importa, dije, si los nombres de las calles se les cambiado como «avenida» en vez de «avenue» o calle en vez de «street». Tambien, me agregé, que los nombres de las tiendas y edificios comerciales parecen lo mejor si les escrito en español tampoco.

Finalmente, le informé mi amiga argentina que los goviernos de España y Filipinas han firmaron hace un o dos años un acuerdo por la enseñanza de español en este pais otra vez. Al presente, mientras los particulares del acuerdo no han presentado al publico todavia, para nosotros en Vigan a repasar el idoma que se habló aqui cuando se llamaba Ciudad Fernandina se hace sentido si podamos buscar bastante tiempo y si no perdamos preciosos tiempos aprendiendole.

Precisamente es solo para nosotros que amen la vorverse del idioma.

A Born Again Christian

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he? Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus answered and said to him, "How can this happen?" Jesus answered and said to him, "You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.*

Nicodemus; a judge, teacher, master of the Mosaic Law and man of great stature went to Jesus one night for that dialogue. He chose night time because he did not want to be seen and embarrassed asking questions to the son of a carpenter.

Jesus knew that Nicodemus was not an ordinary man and so He gave a not so ordinary answer. Jesus understood that the unassuming teacher did not mean physical rebirth and thus He answers:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit.”

Sometimes when I meet some so-called Born Again Christians, they asked me if I am born again. “Sure, I am!” I said. Then they are interested to know if I do Catholic practices like confessing my sins to a priest, praying the rosary, etc. A little bit irritated sometimes, I say that I am a Catholic and of course, I do.

Well, I don’t want to engage in useless debates but is to be “born again” means demonizing my Catholic faith by saying that its teachings are false? That I have to tear apart my rosary and vandalize my religious icons? That my baptism was invalid and that their baptism if I join them is valid?

Jesus is clear that no one can enter into the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

I was baptized and I received the sacrament of confirmation. Do my born again Christian friends say that my baptism and confirmation were invalid?

What we Catholics must be born again of should be along the lines of revisiting and accepting Church doctrines, dogmas, practices, and theology. Just like an infant possessing no knowledge, we must be born again to learn and accept what the Church says in totality. We must not choose what we want to follow and leave what we don’t want to appease our fancies. They call that “cafeteria Catholicism”.

Baptism finally is not enough for one’s salvation. A baptized is also tasked to proclaim and live the Good News, i.e. to evangelize as reflected in their daily lives to start with.

A truly born again Christian does not sow confusion if not falsity on the true meaning of to be born again as explained by Christ.

*Text taken from:

My Dad

I never had a chance greeting Happy Fathers’ Day to my Dad or Happy Mothers’ Day to my Mom. Times were different then but that did not dampen my love and respect for them although many times, I gave them headaches. Now that I am old and a father myself I sincerely regret those stupidities and may they find ways to forgive me and those puerile acts.  Although I don't shed tears in public, copious tears of regret and contrition pained me in private.

I did not belong to a materially blessed family. We were blessed in a different way.

I remember Dad as a stern disciplinarian and an excellent lecturer on growing up issues and how to be a  man of faith and a man of letters. He anchored his points from actual sets of experience he went through as a boy, teen, adult and a spouse. He was fond in using exact and direct to the point words. Sometimes, they are funny, very insulting and sometimes they rip the heart apart but all of them are words of wisdom straight from the book. What I will never forget as long as I live are these words he told me and my brothers: “Tell me that I am  stupid or even nuts but bear in mind that when I will be resting in my cool tomb, you will realize that the words of your stupid father are correct.”

My gush, he was perfectly correct! I now understand that everything he said to us are bull’s eye.  Till now, I can still hear his "lectures" that transformed me into what I am now; trained to "see" and emulate the invisible that is noble and good but never to be impressed with the trivialities in life.

For the words of wisdom and love Tatang, I thank you very much. I missed you both and Nanang and the rest of the household gone ahead. Remember me, my family and us all in your prayers.

This is my humble way of saying that you are the best Dad and well loved till now.  Thank you for the love, care sacrifices and discipline you gave and thank you for the memories of the past.

Till we meet again Tatang and Nanang!

Spanish, Important for Filipinos

While the country is fresh from celebrating the birth of our national hero; one wonders if the language of Don Miguel Cervantes will be introduced again in schools and regain its former status as one of the official languages of the Philippines.

Although there is an agreement forged between the Spanish government and ours to reintroduce the language it is not clear when the said agreement is to be implemented.

One may question the importance of Spanish when as a matter of fact; more and more prefer to use Tagalog instead of English, one of the two official languages of the country. In Congress alone, majority of the lawmakers use Tagalog on the floor.

We should not forget the important fact that our history from the time Spain came till the early 1900s is written in Spanish. There are a lot of important historical materials collecting dust in the national archives that Filipinos cannot read. Imperial Spain’s putting the Philippines into submission is an “old” story. There are more mind-bungling stories that we should read if we are really interested with our past.

We should understand and speak Spanish.

The wave of Filipino exodus remains unchecked. Wherever our compatriots go in Europe or in the US, Spanish is widely spoken. While it is true that we speak English; when abroad, sometimes not all of us can communicate properly because of pronunciation and accent differences. Should we have another language in place, it facilitates commingling with people with different cultures and languages.

Nationalist groups oppose Spanish and even English. According to them, these are vestiges of colonialism. I agree but do they mean that we have to look like an idiot one day when we go abroad that nobody understands our Tagalog, Ilocano, Cebuano, etc? When these nationalists march and protest in the streets, they drive their points in Taglish. Why not 100% Tagalog?

I don’t mean that we have to be a Jose Rizal, a linguist fluent in 22 languages. Wherever he went, he was able to communicate with anyone in their native tongues be it in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese or English. That made him learn more by easily assimilating himself with the culture and the people of his host nations.

The problem is how many of us are interested in learning languages or at least a foreign language? How many of us seriously understand the importance of learning a foreign language in this age of technology and globalization?

I really do not know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Catholic Youth in Action

It was an interesting exchange of hellos and how are you’s through video conference with friends in North America.

They are interested knowing about the RH Bill in our Congress’ desk and what is the Filipino response. Wondering what’s going on in a Catholic country, few of which are left, I suggested that this Catholic nation is suffering from the tentacles of relativism if not ignorance or indifference. “Sorry to hear that,” they say.

I assured them that our Catholic bishops remain unswayed and as ardent as ever in teaching redemptive moral issues based from the Scriptures.

In turn, I learned that despite the scarcity if not nullity of Catholic news here in the country, youth in North America is zealous in learning more about their faith and strengthening them. They are also generously active in lending their time, talent and blessings to their parishes.

I envy such atmosphere but “I’m sorry, we are a poor country and how I wish we can do the same with even much fervor”.

From what I heard, some could be replicated here.

PRO-LIFERS go from parish to parish soliciting for prayers, cash or in kind for their need in walking on the streets from California to Washington DC, rain or shine, snow or heat; fighting and depending the sanctity of life.

CAR WASH – Youth give their time freely washing cars on Sundays in church parking areas for a fee but all are donated to the parish.

FOOD – Parishioners and youth prepare food for sale but the earnings of the day are all given to the parish.

SUNDAYS – Once a month, after morning Masses, coffee and donuts are free for all but parishioners are encouraged to leave a tip not for the kitchen staff but for the next fellowship. During breakfast, parishioners, old and new exchange their secular stories or about their faith.

YOUTH and YOUNG ADULTS – They get together occasionally and share their faith. They study the Scriptures under the guidance of the parish priest. They play sports or compete with other Catholic teams in the diocese. They attend seminars, talks and other church-related gatherings. They observe a dress code in going to the Church. They serve the Mass. Others are Eucharistic ministers or choir members. Each of them always has a rosary in their pocket and if possible, a Bible in their bag or backpack.

Do these young adults drink, dance and date?

Absolutely they do but without shedding off their Catholic identity. They drink beer but not until their lights are off. They dance but not in disco houses or nigh clubs. They date but I was emphatically told that they strictly observe Catholic dating guidelines. Love comes from anywhere and any time but they prefer to date fellow Catholics.

ACTIVISM – Young adults and without age limit are vocal in denouncing the evils of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, death penalty, stem cell research and pre-marital sex. They pray in front of abortion clinics and join local or national marches defending the sanctity of life.

Back here at home, we can only pray; pray hard - that Catholics who consider them as such are pushed and enlightened by the Spirit to reinvigorate their faith by opening their hearts and mind in learning or deepening their knowledge on the teachings of the Church handed down to us by the Apostles.

Make no mistake that the Holy Spirit is still working in the Church today and continues to do so. Be sure that the Church will be able to recover from the tempest of sex scandals and other scandals the Church suffers today. After saying that the Church Christ established is free from the gates of hell, it makes no sense for us to say that Christ lied just because things are not going well these days.

“Be not afraid.” In the midst of poverty and uncertainty, do and share what you can to your parishes and to your communities for the Church is active, alive and yes  - - - kicking.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Parties: I Don't Enjoy Them

Whenever there is a birthday in the family, I am really mad to know that a number of recipes should be on the table for the family, friends or guests.

There is nothing wrong with that but the first thing a celebrant has to do is to go to Mass and thank the Lord for all the blessings. Not bad if he also gives thanks for the trials and the cross he carries. They make him stronger if not a blessing in disguise as a way for him to be closer to God amid the daily challenges of life.

I discourage the family holding any kind of party especially birthdays. How good is the food on the table when after all the years of good life and bad, the celebrant does not go to Mass, receive the sacraments and be intimate with God? How appealing are the new attire and accessories no matter how expensive when the Giver is “forgotten”?

I’m not a party spoiler but I made it a point never to attend any kind of party at home or upon invitation. For the wedding of my daughter if she intends to exchange I do’s with her groom in the future, I will be in the church to witness the sacrament of matrimony but I cannot promise to grace the reception.

That should not be interpreted otherwise. Nothing personal but I don’t enjoy parties.

Philippines Should Be Armed

That is the point one columnist tries to drive at with a punch as China continues to flex its muscles in the region. Be it so, where do we get money for military build up when here and there the stink of government incompetence and corruption permeates everywhere? Assuming we have money (borrowed or not), is our pocket as deep as that of the second richest nation on earth?

China is a nuclear powered country with two million troops. Other than that, its arsenal is one of the most advanced in the region. God forbid that if China intends to occupy the Philippines, it can do it at will. We are gallant in the battlefield but how could we fight when we cannot deter just one of its fighter jets in bringing devastation and suffering to the country? China can even do better. They could detonate one of their ICBMs or probably a medium to long range missile and the Philippines is done God forbids.

The United States agrees to take our side and defend us. Shielding us from an attack means that they have to install (if not already installed and working) advanced radar system and missile shield similar with what Israel has. Second, history has to repeat itself. Americans and Filipinos fighting and dying side by side against Japan have to be done again extremely speaking. For this country to be defended once more, a deep-authentic sense of patriotism and discipline are required from us so that we can hand down a better country to next generations.

The Philippines cannot defend itself alone.  The government struggles to contain the Communist New People's Army and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf --- corn ears compared with China's military might. 

The United States, committed to defend the Philippines by virtue of the Mutual Defense Pact cannot defend this country by simply installing radars and missile shields.  If worse comes to worst, the US must use its superior military might and manpower to save the Philippines from destruction.

These days, may I ask, how patriotic and disciplined are we especially our leaders? Headlines have the verdict.

If I say that we have no unity and blueprint for a better tomorrow, I believe that many agree with me. Had we have these long time ago, this country is now at par with South Korea if not Singapore or even better.

As the situation in the West Philippine Sea gets more interesting, the Philippines sends its only but the best destroyer/frigate World War II vintage BRP Rajah Humabon in the area.

Can it survive from just one attack from a Chinese fighter jet? Can the Rajah Humabon defend itself?

Sending the “paper boat” in the area asserts our claim on the disputed island telling the world that no matter how small and primitive our weapons are, we are there like an ant but too bad, they just laugh at us.

Say that missile shields are activated, how do we stop one million Chinese invading the country? As I always say, these are interesting times in the history of our nation. Now is the ripe time for us to be united and reinvent ourselves and our visions for a better Philippines.

Tomorrow might be too late.  I hope that the situation will not escalate and may the Chinese who are our friends even before Spain reached our land find ways with our government to settle the issue peacefully and amicably as neighbors and as members of the family of nations.

"Mi Ultimo Adios": Can You Still Recite It?

Each June on Jose Rizal's birthday, his last and famous poem, Mi Ultimo Adios is occasionally delivered in public or visited in the internet. To be honest, compared with a demised old man's I know, not one YouTube version delivery is as good as Tata (An Ilocano polite address to old men.)  Ciano's almost perfect Spanish rendition.

Ponciano Rola is from San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. I believe that he did not finish high school but went to school before the war. He was an unassuming man but with a special talent. He knows by heart Rizal's farewell poem in three languages: Spanish, English and Ilocano. His Spanish pronunciation is not far from that of the Spanish Dominicans then of the Sto. Tomas University.

When Spanish was still a requirement in college for graduation, in our school, for our finals, we were required to memorize it. As a young student, after spending a lot of time memorizing a poem with some unfamiliar words, (A good number of Spanish words are Ilocanized.) I was able to deliver it. Today, I can still do some stanzas but no longer all.

Here is the Spanish version.

Espero que nuestros compatriotas, Espanoles y todos que hablen Espanol en cualquier lugar se busquen goce en el poema.

Adios Patria adorada region del sol querida
Perla del Mar de Oriente nuestro perdido Eden
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida
Y fuera mas brillante mas fresca mas florida
Tambien por ti la diera la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla luchando con delirio
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas sin pesar
El sitio nada importa cipres laurel o lirio
Cadalso o campo abiertocombate o cruel martirio
Mo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el dia tras lobrego capuz
Si grana necesitas para tenir tu aurora
Vierte la sangre mia derramala en buen hora
Y dorela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis suenos cuando apenas nino adolescente
Mis suenos cuando joven ya lleno de vigor
Fueron el verte un dia joya del mar de oriente
Secos los negros ojos alta la tersa frente
Sin ceno sin arugas sin manchas de rubor.

Ensueno de mi vida mi ardiente vivo anhelo
Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir
Salud! oh que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo
Morir por darte vida morir bajo tu cielo
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un dia
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla humilde flor
Acercala a tus labios y besa alalma mia
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fria
De tu ternura el soplo de tu halito calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave
Deja que el alba envie su resplendor fugaz
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz con ave
Deja que el ave entone su cantico de paz.

Deja que el sol ardiento las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras con mi clamor en pos
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mi alguien ore
Ora tambien Oh Patria por mi descanso a Dios.

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura
Por cuantos padacieron tormentos sin igual
Por nuestras probres madres que gimen su amargura
Por huerfanos y viudas por presos de tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redencion final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cemeterio
Y solos solo muertos queden velando alli
No turbes su reposo no turbes el misterio
Tal vez acordes oigas de citara o salterio
Soy yo querida Patria yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar
Dejas que la are el hombre la esparza con la azada
Y mis cenizas antes que vuelvan a la nada
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido
Tu atmosfera tu espacio tus valles cruzare
Vibrante y limpia nota sere para tu oido
Aroma luz colores rumor canto gemido
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe

Mi Patria idolatrada dolor de mis dolores
Querida Filipinas oye el poster adios
Voy donde no has esclavos verdugos ni opresores
Donde la fe no mata donde el que reyna es Dios
Adios padres y hermanos trozos de mi alma

Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso dia
Adios dulce entrangera mi amiga mi alegria
Adios queridos seres morir es descansar.

Note:  Believing that one who reads the poem has more or less Spanish background, I intentionally did not use Spanish orthography and punctuations.   --COR INVICTUS