From Naga with Love

Wedding Photo Jesse and Leni Robredo

The wedding of Jesse and Leni Robredo on June 27, 1987. Shown seated at left is Sieg Borromeo. Source: Leni’s college dorm mate, Liza Mascardo, seated right.


By Wilfredo G. Villanueva

I always love going home to Naga. It was there some 50 years ago when I envisioned with my best friend the kind of life he and I would like to have, you know, family, career, cars, sport, home. We were what, 15 years old at that time, yet our mentor-priests, teachers and parents have invested enough hope, faith and love in us to have a throbbing passion for life—that word again, kilig—for serving others, for fulfilling ourselves beyond the realm of horse-drawn carriages (calesas), lots of walking, electric-fan cooled theaters with double features, and 45 rpms. In Naga, it’s the sky’s the limit for young boys and girls exposed to prose and poetry, history, religion, military training, extra-curriculars and the opposite sex.

What we imagined as our lives to be half a century ago eventually happened in some convoluted fashion, yet we did achieve the kind of life we wanted.

This article is about Leni Robredo, but allow me to illustrate to you, dear reader, the city from where we came, the kind of friends we have, so that you would understand the kind of person Leni has become because we were birthed in the same milieu.

Naga is a small town. It’s a city actually, but with a small-town feeling.  It’s called the Heart of Bicol, Queen City of the South, Pilgrim City to be expounded later in this article. It has progressed from a town moving oh so slowly in the sixties to a humming urban center with its own traffic miasma and one-way streets like in the Makati central business district. Naga is recognized as the “Best Component City” in the Philippines by the National Competitiveness Council, Jesse Robredo’s shining legacy.

Actually, it’s like a university town, host to several academic institutions, chief of which are the University of Nueva Caceres, Colegio de Santa Isabel and Ateneo de Naga. Naga is like a net, collecting all bright boys and girls from the city itself to dismal towns and barrios surrounding it, sifting them through the academic process which does not only contain classroom instruction but more importantly, interaction with other people to make students not only intelligent but compassionate and street smart. Young people at our time could walk to their hearts’ content around town up to the late hours of the night without our parents worrying about us because it was as safe as a school. Students are treated with some kind of reverence because they have brought so much honor to the city in the shadow of Mount Isarog, kind giant and sentinel. Think Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., Raul Roco, Conrad de Quiros, among many others known or unknown.

I was in Naga in the weekend of All Saints’ Day. It was occasion for me to reunite with my high school classmates. We’ve had several medical missions that touched impoverished communities around the city. This year was different. We launched a class song in compact disc—Pillars of Friendship—with our own lyrics and tune and professionally recorded, which tried to capture the feelings we have for our classmates, school, family and God. By 2019, it’ll be 50 years of continued friendship from the time we graduated high school in Ateneo in 1969, and we are preparing for it by offering our class song to the school from where we came, on sale, proceeds of which will go to funding deserving scholars from the disadvantaged sector. You see, our batch also loves the occasional tagay, but we never forget our mission which is to be men for others.

On that weekend, I was privileged to meet Sieg (pronounced “sheeg”) Borromeo, Leni Robredo’s best friend from childhood. Born on the same year—1965—only eight days apart, they became the sweetest of friends when they were barely toddlers. When both of them graduated in Prep in Colegio de Santa Isabel, Sieg was valedictorian, and Leni was salutatorian. Their friendship was forged in academic study and the joys and pitfalls of growing up in Naga, the gentle place.

Leni was a normal kid growing up, loving Chocnuts (“We would always have packs of Chocnuts with us everywhere we went.”—Sieg), Nagaraya cracker nuts, movies, Robert Ludlum novels. They had many suitors when they became young ladies—both of them are lookers bearing a striking resemblance to each other—and their friendship rolled on in neap and ebb tides through the years, BFF (best friends forever).

Leni calls them as “magkasugpon an pusod,” Bikol language for joined at the umbilical cord. “Neither distance nor time could challenge our friendship, we were like having one heart and one soul,” Sieg said.

Sieg tells of the time when they had to travel on the South Road—the highway that links Bicol to Manila—and the ride was especially bumpy to the point that Sieg threw up and fainted. When Leni saw what had happened to her best friend who was taking long to be revived, Leni fainted with anxiety over Sieg. They were that way, friends crossed over each other in oblivion in the bumpy ride until Leni eventually recovered and nursed Sieg who had remained motionless until they reached EDSA where she was taken to hospital for treatment. Now, this is friend love if ever I saw one, right, dear reader?

They were together in Colegio de Santa Isabel, they were together in the same dorm in UP Diliman. They scrimped and saved on ordinary days so that they could buy food and drinks without leaving Kalayaan Hall to study over the weekend.

What kind of a student was Leni? “She was a consistent honor student, had a photographic memory, and writes very well,” Sieg said.

Leni’s mom Sally Gerona, was a social studies teacher at Colegio. She’s a Spanish mestiza, whom incidentally Naga has plenty of, she dressed fashionably and was admired in school for her “engaging manner in teaching,” as Sieg described her. Sally soaked Leni in love of country—in word and deed—and this explains her advice to her daughter when she sought maternal confirmation before she acceded to the Liberal Party’s invitation to be Mar Roxas’s vice-presidential candidate. “Go serve your country,” Sally said.

Sieg could enter Leni’s inner room. At the time of crisis, when Jesse’s plane went missing, she stood by her friend. “No. She didn’t cry, she was only teary-eyed when no one was looking,” Sieg said. Leni who would be widowed at a young age was always in control. She had to be strong for her children—Aika, Tricia and Jillian—had to be stoic to lay a cloak of protection over them, especially Jillian who had looked forward to Jesse’s coming home for her swimming competition. “Jillian, my inaanak,” Sieg said, “is a competitive swimmer.”

Together with Colegio’s high school batch ’82, Sieg is helping out in Leni’s coming campaign, especially to support her friend’s successor win a seat in Congress.

How can Sieg help Leni if she makes VP? “I can help her through my own advocacy—people empowerment—non-denominational advocacies for women, like gender equality, good governance, among others,” Sieg said, with light in her eyes.

Leni drives her vehicle herself. She used to drive for Jesse. “Remember she was the one who was supposed to pick him up from the airport on that fateful day?” Sieg made me remember. She drives the kids to school and picks them up.

In the famous bus-stop pic, she had security, same with rural outreach activities, although she requests, as much as possible, to have it at a minimum. She even tells her friends, in her usual candid self, that she sometimes tries to elude her security just to enjoy some personal time. “Of course, she must not try this now,” Sieg said, like a mother.

Is Leni happy with her new role, that of a possible vice president of the country? “Oh,” Sieg said, “Leni is happy. She cannot be forced to do anything. Jesse’s legacy is loving the poor and disadvantaged, and she’s not out of place in this undertaking of national import,” she said.

Leni accepted Mar Roxas’s offer to be his running mate because she was sure Jesse would have said yes.

“I am not Jesse. But when he died, it was clear to us, his family, that he was hoping that we too will have to sacrifice to the best of our abilities, similar to his sacrifices, to contribute to our nation,” Leni said as reported by Philippine Daily Inquirer.

After Jesse died in the plane crash in 2012, Leni ran and won in the third congressional district in Camarines Sur. She ran against a member of a political dynasty, using Jesse’s brand of “tsinelas” leadership when he was Naga city mayor. Tsinelas is house slippers, a pair of which he wore everywhere he went to be up close and personal to his constituents, breaking barriers.

One thing that stands out about Leni is her advocacy.  After graduating with an economics degree from UP Diliman, she worked at Bicol River Basin Development Program, scene one of Leni and Jesse’s love story.

The couple are devotees of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.  (Millions of pilgrims, devotees and tourists descend in Naga every September for nine-day festivities in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary represented by Our Lady of Peñafrancia who is endearingly addressed by Bicolanos as Iná or mother in Bikol and Pilipino.  The shrine in Naga gathers more than five million devotees every year and is known as one of the biggest Marian pilgrimage sites in the world.—Wikipedia)  Leni and Jesse stayed with Iná in novena prayers, pledging that she would extend legal aid to the poor as a lawyer.  She had started law school in the University of Nueva Caceres.

She was true to her word, working at the Public Attorney’s Office when she became an officer of the court, then at Saligan (Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal) to help make a difference in the lives of those who have “less in life but should have more in law,” as Ramon Magsaysay put it.  When Jesse became mayor of Naga, knowing the demands of the job, she then concentrated on raising their children and helping her husband by way of the Naga City Council for Women.

And so it was.  Public service for Jesse and advocacy for Leni.  Money was not an object for the couple, never was, perhaps never will be.  Oops, remembering Binay who started out as a human-rights lawyer, apple of Cory’s eye, but look what happened to him with allegations of corruption running into billions of pesos, but this is where Naga’s milieu, Jesse, Sally, her daughters, Sieg, Leni’s mettle, and Iná come in, something this article seeks to impart to you, dear reader.

Yes, she can, she will, she’s right for the job. Take this from Sieg Borromeo, childhood friend, BFF, twin, who has seen her bloom in politics—not necropolitics, not because of Jesse—but for Jesse.

As I left Naga for Manila after the launch of our class song, I recalled Sieg’s words about her friend Leni. We are 13 years older than their batch, but not much has changed in Naga. It is like Shangri-La, a never-never land for friends, teachers and students, heroes and heroes to be, all under Iná’s guidance. It could be the air we breathe. Caught by Mount Isarog in its rarefied heights, the air is cool and comforting, just like a mother’s love, never wanting for anything except to be true to oneself and to one’s word.  That is how my batch mates and I were brought up. That is how Jesse was brought up. That is how Sieg and Leni were brought up.

Will Leni be subsumed, disappearing into the web of the old boys’ network of compromise and self-interest if ever she makes it to the second highest position of the land?  I don’t think so, dear reader.  The line of her campaign is vote for her, Leni Robredo—not for Jesse Robredo—but for her.  That’s a battle cry like Hindi Ka Nag-iisa, so beware, manipulators, opportunists, commission-givers.  The woman intends to make her own mark.  Backbone.  Conviction.  Hand on the wheel.

Perhaps, God with Iná’s intercession will make a way for Leni to be one of the leaders of the country in a role that would be game changing. Perhaps the time of the beloved country has come.


172 Responses to “From Naga with Love”
  1. sonny says:

    Quite a feature article, Wil. Such is the human wealth of the Islands. Sagana sa Kalikasan at pagkatao. 🙂

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Yes, sonny, sagana. Kaya lang, our abundance cuts both ways. We tend to be complacent, taking things for granted, while the wrongoes just take things as granted. Complacency leads to hemorrhage of resources.

  2. Luis says:

    This is an old article but I can’t resist sharing this for those who have yet to read it: Grace Poe’s Messianic Pretensions

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      I read this article. I switched “Grace Poe” with “Benigno Aquino”. “Fernando Poe” with “Cory Aquino”. Tweaked back the clock to 2009. Grace Poe after herding chekitings in Boston Kinder school she hold dominion over at MTRCB. Benigno Aquino at Hacienda Luisita herding slaves. Mar & Korina married for their second times in the most elaborate expensive wedding of the year. Driven to Cubao with the top down reminiscent of JFK & Onassis lined by well-wishers to dine with fusion of mortal powers and 15 inter-galactic extra-terristrial representatives of God. Served by legally underpaid browned-skin colored Filipino commoner slaves. Tins of caviar from the Black Sea served. Bublly stamped with Appellation d’origine contrôlée flowed rivers of tears using benedictine monk’s méthode champenoise. They sipped, swished, sniffed and swirl placing wine against the light for imperfections and oxidation.

      Enemies and friends congregated. They talk of the future. No, not Filipinos future. THEIR FUTURE. INSIDER TRADING. HORSE TRADING. Into the wee hours of the night.

      Sanchez told Roxas, “kahapon, ngayon at bukas, ako’y iyong iyo,” (YESTERDAY(?), today and tomorrow, I am yours) extremely dramantic.

      AT THE CRACK OF DAWN, parents roused up their children to catch early morning bus to school 5 kilometers away that will take them hour-and-a-half that ook less than 15-minutes for Korina-and-Mar, of course, wang-wang was temporarily riscinded with the approval of Benigno.

      • cha says:

        On the supposed elaborate expensive wedding of Mar and Korina :

        “Instead of spending for the reception at Araneta Coliseum…Mar and I agreed to donate the amount set aside for it to various charity organizations taking care of evacuees and victims of (storms) ‘Ondoy’ and ‘Pepeng’,’” Sanchez said in a statement released to media on Tuesday.

        The beneficiaries include Caritas Manila, the Philippine National Red Cross, Sagip Kapamilya of ABS-CBN, and Kapuso Foundation of GMA-7.

        Roxas and Sanchez are set to tie the knot at the Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City. Among those invited were political and showbiz bigwigs and representatives from political and civic groups that are close to the couple.

        Sanchez explained that the cancellation of the reception is in deference to those still reeling from the destruction wrought by cyclones Ondoy and Pepeng in the past two weeks.

        “It does not feel right to be celebrating – no matter how important this date is for Mar and I – at a time of calamity and difficulty for a large number of our kababayans (countrymen),” she said.

        Her fiancé echoed the same sentiment. “Parang hindi tama na malaki ang gagastusin sa selebrasyon sa panahon ng kalamidad (It’s improper to spend lavishly in times of calamity),” Roxas said in the same statement.


      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        MRP, I am actually in awe of your erudition. Appreciation is the word. But just one tweak: Please refer to the President of the Republic of the Philippines properly. No one ever calls him the way you do. It’s like you call my dog by another name. Of course I will mind. You’re confusing the dog. So please, just one tweak, and I’m done.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          I have deep respect of President Aquino, The Philippine Media do not. The Philippine Media makes it appear they are rubbing elbows with President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino. Our big boys in the mdia never print his name as Barack “Backy” Obama. Simply, President Obama or Mr. Obama. No nicknames.

          • MRP, you are doing what the media you hate are doing

            • Send him to the Freedom Wall, Mary. 🙂

              Had a great time. Whew! I don’t know how you and gian do it.

              • hahaha….now you know how mindless they are….

              • trouble is, he could be one of them, JP…so they would welcome him with wide, wide open arms!

              • @Mary

                That left me exhausted. Maybe he will be, too. Then he will not have the energy to post his diatribes here.

                It was fun, though. I almost burned dinner. 🙂

              • Ha ha ha…I tried calm reasoning, I almost lost it when one impudent trolloyalist goaded me by calling me her lola at na high blood, just because I posted the chronology of the Marcos Plunder dating back from 1986. She called it ancient history and wouldn’t listen to any of it. I recovered a bit by reminding myself that she is not my target reader, and said so. I rejoiced when somebody took the trouble of reading each and every post I made in the exchange and clicked like.

                But when they ran out of arguments, they posted lewd sex videos and pics, I said good bye.

              • Joe America says:

                Maybe LCpl_X should be recruited to take it from there. ahahahahaha 🙂 🙂 🙂

              • Guys, another uplift moment that countered my disappointment with the Freedom Wall trolls and the SC’s still unreleased ruling on the Binay case.

                I posted portions of a Kris article entitled Dedmabels in several FB groups. Each FB group (I think I posted it in a total of 5 groups) had almost 200 likes and comments. Was blown away by the response, all praising Kris and her being an honest taxpayer all these years (since she was 15). Kris is being “burned at stake” in PDI netizens, but all I can read in response to my post are overwhelming praises and admiration for her and her family.

                What made me think of posting that article is the tsismis posted by a troll accusing Kris of appropriating for herself a necklace owned by their dear Imelda, and just had some changes made so it wouldn’t be obvious, saying smugly that it’s against the designer’s patent. I replied that with the hundreds of millions that Kris is earning, she can well afford to buy her own necklace and other jewelries.

              • Please repost that Kris thing on my page, I did not have the time to release it and it was gone when I had the time, Mary Grace…. but as a motivation for all of us, here is the continuation of the Future Philippines saga, positive version:

                May 8, 2066, at noontime. Prime Minister Aldub Santos, 59 years old going on 60, son of a Negrito beggar from EDSA and a Muslim woman from Taguig, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the New Beginning, the election of Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo as President and VP tandem. From the flawed and bumpy start of Daang Matuwid, the Philippines has found its way. The ceremony takes place in the Wilfredo Villanueva Unity Park, formerly known as Luneta, even before known as Bagumbayan. PM Aldub lays a memorial wreate on the Leni Robredo Memorial at the center of the park, which is remiscent of a Hindu yoni female symbol, while President Manuel Carpio, grandson of Sara Duterte-Carpio, lays a wreath at the lingam-like Rizal Monument. Minister of Humanity and Equal Opportunities Mary Grace Richards, daughter of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, is with PM Aldub. The Ministry of Humanity ombines former DSWD and DepED responsibilities. The new Constitution of 2055 is similar to the Romanian Constitution in its division of powers between President and Prime Minister. Helicars fly above the park, which through flower arrangements shows the new national motto – The Philippines – Love and Passion.

                Meanwhile at the Mary Grace Gonzales Freedom and Democracy Park – former Camp Crame – women in yellow light candles on each of the stones of the Marcos victims monument, remiscent of the Holocaust Monument in the center of Berlin.

                Just across, 96-year-old Metro Manila Senator Karl Garcia moderates Eat Bulaga in a Chinese mandarin costume, together with Bikol Senator Boy Bastos, who is dressed as Lola Nidora. Posters saying Pilipinas Pa More and Lola Nidora wants you to serve the country abound. The old Camp Aguinaldo is also vacated, turned into the Heneral Luna Park, but will be renamed the Karl Garcia Park after his death two years later. The entrance of the park has the motto – National Strength through Sense of Humor – in big letters. This will remain. The third host of Eat Bulaga is 86-year old LCPL_X in an old Yankee costume, cracking jokes about sexy chicks in the Philippine boondocks. Official languages are Filipino and English, but tribal languages are preserved by the Joe America National Institute of Communication which is located in the old Central Post Office, built in American colonial times. The three bridges leading to the old Liwasang Bonifacio are festooned in red, blue and yellow colors, fireworks start in the evening.

                In the Prof. Zeus Salazar Institute of National Memory, history is kept digitally accessible, the history and folklore of all Filipino tribes is kept in various native languages, Filipino and English. The old offices of the National Library where Salazar and his team wrote Tadhana, History of the Filipino people for Marcos have a plaque in front saying: he could not serve an evil lord in his heart, therefore he served his people while doing so.

              • Joe America says:

                🙂 That’s very good. My father worked for the post office and I have an advanced degree in communications. The location of the NIC was likely a tribute to my old man who spoke “army” now and then.

              • “Maybe LCpl_X should be recruited to take it from there. ahahahahaha”

                I see what you mean, looking at his sketch for Vet Day, ha ha ha.

                Are we being attacked in cyber space? I first saw this lewd postings (the actual sexual act, with the porn stars having Chinese features) but the one who did it had Chinese names, in that Freedom Wall, it was done by a certain Adam, but with the same Chinese porn stars. I think the youth are thoroughly enjoying these lewd sex videos being inserted in discussion threads.

              • Joe, the Central Post Office in Manila is wonderful American colonial architecture, a bit “D.C.” 🙂

              • @ Irineo

                And the Future Philippines saga, positive version continues…wow. you have a truly vivid imagination. Year 2066, and there will be Mary Grace Gonzales Freedom and Democracy Park – former Camp Crame – woot! Thanks for the compliment.

                Will post in your page that Kris article in a few minutes.

              • Mary, you’re welcome… I just approved your stuff, have to do that with outside postings.

                Continuation of the story above: U.P. Department of History is now renamed U.P. Department of History, Ethical Leadership and Equal Opportunities, is still a part of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, CSSP, located in Mariano Renato Pacifico Hall, former Palma Hall.

                History 100: Philippine crookery throughout the centuries
                History 101: Philippine inequality throughout the centuries
                History 102: Ethical Leadership and Equal Opportunities

                The Edgar Lores Institute of Philippine Philosophy is located in a Jedi temple like structure in the middle of the Ateneo de Manila campus facing Katipunan. Engraved at the entrance of the Institute is something which Edgar never said, but was attributed to him by urban legends:

                Pilosopiya = iti apay X iti apay

              • Joe: “Maybe LCpl_X should be recruited to take it from there. ahahahahaha”

                Mary: “I see what you mean, looking at his sketch for Vet Day, ha ha ha.”

                Ireneo: “The third host of Eat Bulaga is 86-year old LCPL_X in an old Yankee costume, cracking jokes about sexy chicks in the Philippine boondocks.”

                LOL! You guys need to stop distracting me, I’m trying to get this article written. Writing about the Qur’an while thinking about sexy chicks, just seems blasphemous.


              • Joe America says:

                🙂 Your reputation is preceding you. But I am confident of your discipline.

            • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

              I am doing what I hate the media are doing to spotlight the wickedness and ignorance of Philippine Media WHO ARE GRADUATES FROM UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES that style itself as ELITE UNIVERSITY! OMG!

              See, Mary Grace? If I did not do what I hate the media is doing all of you wouldn’t have known about it. This is one of my advocacies: IDIOCY OF PHILIPPINE MEDIA.

              • We got your point, several thousand post of yours ago…we are not dense, we got you first time…

              • chit navarro says:

                so if your advocacy is to STOP THE IDIOCY OR CREATE AWARENESS TO THE IDIOCY OF PHILIPPINE MEDIA, then please STOP POSTING HERE for people here are NOT IDIOTS. Discussions here are on a level above and beyond the reach of your “media”… It was a great relief that you temporarily left Raissa’s… Why not create your own blogsite and post anything you want? Or go to Inquirer and fill their opinion pages with your posts…

  3. andrewlim8 says:

    You really have a gift for words, Will. Very evocative. We are proud to have you in the Society.

    To the reader, please help pass this wonderful essay!

  4. andrewlim8 says:

    There’s a prayer/song that never fails to elicit emotions from me. From the tune to how it was worded, it is simply magical.

    For Leni, it’s really

    “to give and not to count the cost
    to fight and not to heed the wounds
    to toil and not to seek for rest
    to labor and ask not for reward
    save that of knowing
    that I do your most holy will.”

  5. You transported us to another world with your words. Will. Your description of Leni’s early years up to her formal decision to accept this challenge is refreshing and inspiring, after bringing us to the setting where her youth and adult life were spent.

    Thanks and congrats for another well written piece.


  6. NHerrera says:

    From Wilfredo G. Villanueva’s notes on FROM NAGA WITH LOVE I gather:

    – Leni Robredo is authentic; nothing fake in the Lady;
    – Leni is 50 (give or take a year);
    – Will is 61 (give or take a year);
    – Will is 16 years my Junior but writes, especially on the subject of “love” and “love of country” like he is 16 years my Senior.

    Thanks for a profile on Leni Robredo.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      I’m 93 in love, NHerrera? Hmm. It must really be love to stay in me that long. Hahaha! You’re welcome, and thanks for the encouragement.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. This is a wonderful portrait of a lady… hopefully, surely, destined to become a leader of the land.

    2. It is a second-hand account, a one degree of separation that captures the intertwined lives of the lady and her best friend in time and place… with the immediacy and intimacy of the caress of a soft breeze on one’s cheek.

    3. The time starts at birth, and arcs through childhood, schooling, careers, marriage, through tragedy, to the excitement of now… and to the possibilities of the future.

    4. The place is of a southern city, in the shadow of a dormant volcano, at the fork of a serpentine river.

    5. What strikes me is the religiosity of the place and the people. As has been often observed, religion in the country is largely practiced in a pro forma fashion. Naga seems to be the center of the Marian tradition, which I, as a secularist, view with skepticism and suspicion.

    5.1. But the female principle has been dominant in the country’s politics. With certain exceptions (Imelda, Gloria, Janet and others), the principled stand, the fierce strength and the nurturing love of the mother has seen us through tough times.

    5.2. Perhaps in Leni, the country will experience the fruition of religion’s promise and mother love.

    • NHerrera says:

      Item 3 — on Leni Robredo and the “starting point of birth; then childhood, schooling, careers, marriage, through tragedy, to the excitement of now.” Quite a contrast to the showbiz-like narrative of a foundling found at a church, adoption of showbiz couple and all about showbiz and its association with the ugly side of politics. WHAT A CONTRAST.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Yey! Thanks, Edgar, for your openness! You’re waxing poetic, btw. Hahaha!

    • a southern city, in the shadow of a dormant volcano, at the fork of a serpentine river.

      The dormant volcano and the river delta has probably always made that area the true capital of Ibalon, ancient Bikol. According to legends, Libmanan was were King Handyong of the Ibalon epic had his capital city – now Libmanan is near Naga, who knows how the river went then.

      The selfsame Handyong epic, preserved only by a Spanish friar, its original lost, tells of an earthquake, volcanic explosion and tsunami that came, and was so strong that the Bikol river changed its course to flow into the Pacific instead of the Visayan sea like before, allegedly. The Handyong epic tells of a strong man and a beautiful, also strong woman who built the land. Handyong and Oryol were archaic, a warrior and his dangerous, beautiful woman. But Ibalon has progressed from those primitive times, has gone through many trials to be what it is now.

      Albayanos like me tend to think that Legazpi City is the true capital of Bikol. This is not true. It only became more important in colonial times because the Manila galleons made their first stop, coming from Acapulco, in Legazpi City. This must be one reason for many Bikolano mestizo/as.

      It is I think no small wonder that the two strongest proponents of civic society come from Bikol – Governor Salceda of Albay and Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur. We have gone through a lot and have, after centuries of discord and mixing, found that we are one people, finally united. May the spirit of what Bikol has learned be something the entire Philippines can benefit from. One people, mixed in different shades from Aeta to white man is what the Bikolano is about, and what the Filipino is about as well. The Philippines is like Bikol a community which had its strife.

      For all Christianity, many of our beliefs are ancient. The fluvial Penafrancia festival may have its roots in Hindu-influenced times the Philippines went through. Handyong allegedly came from Bhotavara, sounds Javanese. Naga in Hinduism means snake. Oryol was the snake woman. The area around Tiwi hot springs were Oryol allegedly still appears is also called Naga, Tiwi. There is also a boat festivity to the Virgin Mary in Tiwi. Yet maybe is a more ancient ritual. Behind our surface Christianity are older rituals that form the core of our true, old identity. This is also something Bikol and the Philippines as a whole have in common. But Jesse and Leni represent modernity, archaic thinking overcome. Handyong was a badass warrior. Jesse did not need that anymore. Oryol was a treacherous shapeshifter. Leni does not need this anymore. Having overcome the primitive stages of development, Bikolanos can be the frontrunners now. Duterte tries to be like an ancient Handyong, a ruthless Datu. Grace Poe tries to be like an ancient Oryol, a dangerous shape-shifter. We must move on in our minds, to modern times.

      • edgar lores says:

        Thanks for the background. There is always something beneath the veil of appearances.

      • To show y’all how far Bikol has come… in the 1870s Fedor Jagor (a Russian-German traveller and amateur anthropologist) wrote in his book Reisen auf den Philippinen that Menschenopfer, human sacrifice was common in the mountains of Bikol, especially in the area around Tiwi. Especially when somebody died in the clan or tribe, people were sacrificed, a custom that the Dayak of Borneo kept until very recently. My father, born in Tiwi, Albay on April 29, 1934 – only church record document this, the municipio burned down with his birth certificate, something that happened often before, how intentional it was only the ancestors now – explained that it was a way of releasing the anguish at the death of a loved one, and directing the anger at an outsider instead of an insider, and that Filipinos often leave grieving people alone themselves. This was in relation to a comment of my ex-yaya, an Ilocana from Cagayan who feared going to the wake of my German grandmother, for fear that my German aunt would attack her somehow. This, my father told me, is an ancient Filipino fear that has its reasons in older native customs.

        Now Jagor proved to me my father was not telling me bullshit. Could it be that the reactions of people after Mamasapano – and Noynoy’s explanation that he wanted to leave them to grieve by themselves, alone, were a reflection of this archaic mindset, lost in centuries of translation?

        Finally the national grieving may have had its good after all… it brought many Filipino netizens back into the fold of the nation. It was our boys who died there, both Muslims and Christians, both SAF and rebel youngsters. Maybe this national blood compact shall help unite the nation in spirit, like centuries of cannibalism (yes it did exist, and Bikol stories of aswang document this), human sacrifice, landgrabbing, racial strife (Agta were usually the victims at the bottom, but they also cast out the Agta Taboy near Tiwi for mixing with Cimarrones, stragglers who escaped galleon slavery, is the ancient legend), striving to become whiter (my folks married progressively whiter women, I am the end result, but my features – lips, hair, nose, betray the Agta from which we probably came from) finally united Bikol especially Albay, and also Naga.

        Finally typical Bikol features point to a possible relation with the Maori of New Zealand. Jake Heke of the movie Once Were Warriors could almost pass for a Bikolano. Often Bikolanos are like Maoris in that they are muscular but tend to get fat after a while, tell me about that stuff.

        And the Maoris used to be like Filipinos too, their culture lost, and their pride. The movie Once Were Warriors is about this, also about a woman who found her pride and strength back. Now New Zealand has two official languages – English and Maori. K-12 is going to strengthen both English and Filipino as the national languages of the Philippines. So here I do not need to point to a lesson from abroad, because it is already being done similarly. Jake Heke was played by Temuera Morrison, who also played the mercenary Jango Fett in Star Wars…

        • In the final scene, Jake Heke shows that he is a Takuza after all..

          and it is his wife who has found back to the “mana”, the ancient pride of the ancestors, worshipped all over the Pacific up to Easter island as the “anitu” who embody old values.

  8. Vie says:

    Hi guys, I know wala to sa topic but then I just want to ask for some clarification if it is true na ibabalik daw ni Mar ang tax ng mga seafarers pag sya ang naging Pres. I was told by my hubby just tonight,( he is on boardby the way) not to vote for him because of that but then I told him, teka muna saan mo ba nakuha ang news na yan, kalat na daw sa fb. I told him wag maniwala agad dahil maraming mga balita about Mar na di naman totoo.

  9. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    NOTES FROM THE EDITOR: … senator Poe holds a hearing on the train lines …, then turns around to use that information to demand that a cabinet official be fired. … the meeting was a fraud, and was political ….

    … is not helped by her silence on VP Binay … hearings. Her running mate Escudero says President Aquino is too soft.

    THESE AMATEURS are absolutely messed up. On the train lines, I believe it is legitimate. Absolutely, the meeting was a fraud and for political mileage. On her silence on Binay is deafining. If she’s on the side of Binay she should shout it out and tell the world … if she’s concerned about prosecutorial misconduct she should voice it. Not making noise is terribly amateurish. And that guy Chiz, from the look of his face he should not run at all.

    As to why Grace picked Chiz is bewildering.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Grace Poe definitely cannot win. Here is why as said by Will: “After Jesse died in the plane crash in 2012, Leni ran and won in the third congressional district in Camarines Sur. She ran against a member of a political dynasty, using Jesse’s brand of “tsinelas” leadership when he was Naga city mayor.

    Cory won the presidency because her husband died …
    Unknown Benigno won the presidency because Cory died and was pixed bawling like a baby. …
    Leni won because Jesse crashed …

    Mr. Palengke and Mrs Tsinelas IS IT !!!
    Not Ro-Ro. As all ferry passengers know, Ro-Ros sinks fast in Yolanda weather.
    Rolled-off, Rolled-on. I prefer MR. PALENGKE & MRS TSINELAS TANDEM.

  11. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:


    “Poe initially studied at the University of the Philippines Manila, where she majored in Development Studies, and then at Boston College in the United States, where she finished a degree in political science. Poe HAS SPENT MUCH OF HER ADULT LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES . She returned to the Philippines after learning that her father, who ran in a disputed presidential election in 2004, died later that year.”


    These capitalized letters were not there when I researched on Grace Poe. TODAY IT IS THERE. Who put it there must be political operative from Liberal Party maybe the same party that deleted Benigno Aquino from Boys Scout of the Philippines Wikipedia as Master Scout after Binay “bought” Mt. Makiling from BSP.

    • Joe America says:

      The greatest flaw in Wikipedia is that editing can be done by you or me. I was following the terrorist Marwan on Wiki to see if he was dead because Wiki was being updated daily as Mamasapano hit the news. Sure enough, it went from “thought killed” to “dead” the day the US confirmed it was Marwan. I’d guess NSA has a team of Wiki editors at work doing good and bad things with the knowledge we seek. Maybe MLQ3 has some special duties.

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “Perhaps, God with Iná’s intercession will make a way for Leni to be one of the leaders of the country in a role that would be game changing.” – WILL

    It is unfortunate Office of Vice-President is only ceremonial. She is not a game changer. She is just a vote gatherer, of course, with the help of Ate V.

    On second thought, LENI MAY BE A GAME CHANGER. Leni will make sure Korina will not spoil the broth. She is a mother. Politician second. A house cleaner with a BIG STICK.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Of course, Leni is a graduate from University of the Philippines. Her U.P.ness is tempered by degree from Ayala’s University of Nueva Caceres’ colonial mentality. Ayala like all ex-colonist mestizo class are concerned about their name that is why colonist conquistadores sell colonial mentality so Filipinos would be honest like them.

      To this day, ex-colonist left-behind Spanish Conquistadores industralist have not been charged with murder, malfeasance, corruption and bribery because MESTIZO CLASS ARE HONEST. Only the colored browned-skin Filipinos are constantly perpetually charged. They are mostly product of government-funded University of the Philippines who styled themselves as ELITE UNIVERSITY. “ELITE” what? “Elite” of what?

      It was the plan of God to bring Spaniards to the country to colonize the minds of the Filipinos. It was unfortunate the messenger of God was garroted by Lapu-lapu with GLEE which to this day is celebrated nationwide.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      On the other hand, I like Grace Poe, too! Boston College. Teacher. Herding pupils. Like Leni, she has that demeanor which I like. She has patience and temper of a teacher. I do not like her nose, though.

      Will, thank you for the wedding photo of Mr&Mrs Robredo. I LIKE WEDDING PHOTOS. FAMILY PHOTOS. It gives thm an aura of humanity.

      LET US HAVE THOSE WEDDING AND FAMILY PHOTOS. American Presidents show off photos of their dogs.

    • Joe America says:

      It does not have to be ceremonial. Aquino even gave a member of the opposition (Binay) meaningful jobs. Roxas would for sure give Robredo a major assignment to get her ready for 2022.

  13. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    One of the nation’s most celebrated power couples tied the knot before a crowd of leading personalities from the worlds of politics and media, including political opponents of the groom. The wedding of broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez and Vice-Presidential aspirant Mar Roxas had been planned for months.

    The glittering event occurred less than a month before Roxas is expected to file his certificate of candidacy for vice president. It also happened a day after it was reported that he topped a Social Weather Stations survey on preferences for vice president.

    Wearing a serpentina-style gown in a Filipiniana motif, his teary-eyed bride walked down the aisle with her brothers taking turns in escorting her to the altar, where a beaming Roxas awaited her. Eschewing tradition, the bride did not wear a veil with her Pepito Albert gown.

    The members of the entourage wore native Filipino attire, with men in embroidered barong Tagalog and women in long Maria Clara gowns.

    More than 10 bishops and priests led by Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Sorsogon Bishop Angel Valera and Bishop Raul Martin of Quezon City, officiated the wedding mass.

    The UP Madrigal Singers gave an a capella rendition of Ave Maria and Umagang Kay Ganda while the bride walked down the aisle.

    An estimated 3,000 people witnessed the wedding ceremony inside the church, while an additional crowd of about 2,000 milled outside.

    Among those invited was former president Joseph Estrada, who recently declared his intention to run for president, which would pit him against Roxas’s running mate and fellow senator Noynoy Aquino, who was also a barong-clad guest at the wedding. Roxas served in Estrada’s cabinet but resigned in 2001 during the events that led to Estrada’s fall from power.

    In an interview with reporters right before the wedding, the 52-year-old Roxas said he last talked with his bride on Monday morning.

    Roxas said Sanchez sent him this text message on Tuesday morning: “Pray for me so I will not trip (during the wedding).”

    Others seen in attendance were prominent political leaders including Vice President Noli de Castro, former Senate President Franklin Drilon, Batangas vice governor Mark Leviste, former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, and United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney.

    The crowd outside Sto. Domingo Church flock near the steel barrier to get a closer look at the guests. Amita O. Legaspi

    Media personalities including television host Kris Aquino-Yap and GMA Network President Felipe L. Gozon were also spotted in the church.


    Aquino-Yap, who arrived with husband basketball player James Yap and son Baby James, wished the couple “much happiness and a baby right away.”

    Some people in the crowd outside the Sto. Domingo Church arrived as early as 7 a.m. to witness what they called “the wedding of the year.” Those who were unable to get inside the viewed the ceremony through four giant television screens set up in the churchyard.

    Joey Bongolan, 47, said he just wanted to see the groom. Bongolan said he was able to interact with Roxas two years ago, when the senator went to Divisoria mall in Manila.

    “Nandito ako para makita siyang ikasal. Natutuwa ako kahit andito ako sa labas (I’m here to see him get married. I’m happy even if I’m here outside),” he said.

    Daisy Lladone, a resident of a nearby neighborhood, came with her toddlers and other relative as early as 10:30 a.m. to witness the event.

    As the couple exchanged “I dos” and when Sanchez told Roxas, “kahapon, ngayon at bukas, ako’y iyong iyo,” the crowd outside broke into wild cheers.

    After the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds entertained guests in the churchyard, milling with well-wishers in an informal reception that featured a flower-decked pedicab decorated with the words “Bagong Kasal (newlyweds).”

    The couple served their guests with sandwiches, biscuits, sweets and other refreshments. At least a thousand small cakes in boxes were also distributed to the crowd waiting outside the church.

    The crowd became unruly upon seeing the boxes, forcing security personnel to order them to remain behind the fence.

    Despite the incident, Roxas expressed appreciation to everyone who spent time to witness the wedding.

    “I feel grateful. Sino ba naman ako, sino ba naman si Korina. Kasama namin sila, kabahagi namin sila sa pinakamasayang araw ng buhay naming,” the senator said.

    Next goal

    Roxas said before and after the wedding that his next goal with wife Korina, 45, is to have a child “at the soonest possible time.” He said she and Korina will have their honeymoon in Japan, and possibly proceed to Italy later.

    Asked how many children they want, Roxas, who has a 16-year-old son from a previous relationship, said in jest, “Hanggang sa kakayanin ng tuhod ko (As many as my knees can take).” [See: Baby in the offing for future couple Mar, Korina]

    The garden beside the churchyard where Mar and Korina treated their guests with refreshments. Amita O. Legaspi

    Roxas’ 16-year old son Paolo Zaldarriaga served as best man, while Dang Cecilio-Palance was the matron of honor. Baby James, Kris Aquino’s son, served as ring bearer.

    The principal sponsors included Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, former Senate President Jovito Salonga, ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio Lopez III, Roxas’ uncle Jorge Araneta, broadcast journalist Cecilia “Cheche” Lazaro, Philippine National Red Cross governor Rosa Rosal, Helen Costales, Ruby Roxas, and Maria Fores.

    After the simple reception, the newlyweds came out of the church on board a top-down car and proceeded to the Roxas’ house in Cubao, Quezon City, for a dinner with members of their entourage.

    The couple decided to forego what would have been a grand reception at the Araneta Coliseum, donating instead part of the P3-million budget to various charities taking care of victims of recent calamities that hit the Philippines.

    The beneficiaries include Caritas Manila, the Philippine National Red Cross, Sagip Kapamilya of ABS-CBN, and Kapuso Foundation of GMA Network. – GMANews.TV – See more at:

    Donation of 3million is paltry considering the extravant nature of their wedding.

    Hello, Leni? Leni, you there? That makes Mr&Mrs Robredo wedding a pauper wedding.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      “The UP Madrigal Singers gave an a capella rendition of Ave Maria and UMAGANG KAY GANDA while Korina walked down the aisle.”

      This time her UMAGA WILL BE GANDA could it be UMAGA GANDA to Malacanang kitchen staff?

      Just imagine the CONCENTRATION OF POWERS in this wedding including 15 BiSHOPS !!!

      ABSOLUTELY, that abused houseslave had no chance at all !!!

  14. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    yvonne’s post at Raissa’s Blogsite:

    yvonne says:
    November 10, 2015 at 11:43 pm


    Supreme Court abandons condonation doctrine.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Philippine Supreme Court Sports Commission should bring up one-hand fight after Manny-Floyd fight. Once ruled, Floyd AKA Binay, will not ever fight a Filipino again.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        Aha! Ha! Ha! I just fired away without reading tyhe up[coming “ruling”! I know Philippine Supreme Court WOULD GO MY WAY not the highway.

        Now that I linked up to the link, Here is what I found interesting, THIS IS ONLY A LEAK !!! NOT A DECISION YET. Even Supreme Court has its own RATS just like MALACANAG HAS ITS OWN RATS Tulfo got to.

        There is plenty of national security risks all around even Supreme Court cannot put a lid on, IN FACT, SUPREME COURT allowed it. Wheeew !!!

        RECENTLY, last week, Pope Francis sent two Vatican leakers to the gallows for telling the truth to two Italian biographers.

        The truth that was made into a book was about financial malfeasance and oppulent display, half-a-million-dollars, of lifestyles!

        Vatican is better than Philippine Supreme Court and Malacanang because VATICAN INVESTIGATED THE LEAK, by use of Evidences, were able to capture these traitors and sent to the gallows infested with rats.

        Will Supreme Court to investigate Interaksyon leakers? Malacanang did not investigate the leak on Binay by Tulfo.

        Will American Supreme Command trust Malacanang on super-secret military strategy? DO NOT THINK SO.

        They better get this real.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Supreme Court should abandon condonation doctrine.
      Supreme Court should resurrect it after Ombudsman and DOJ have decided on Binay case.
      Not in the midst of it.
      Or, Philippine Supreme Court will be the laughing stock of the planet Earth.

      Thank Goodness they are listening to me.

      Outdating Condonation is like Manny Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight.
      Filipinos saw Manny losing to Mayweather.
      Filipinos need to win.
      Filipinos went to Supreme Court.
      Supreme Court wanted Manny to win.
      Supreme Court decided Mayweather will have his right hand tied to his back.
      But, this can only happen in the Philippines.

    • Joe America says:

      Blow for the Binays. Condonation is when the crookery done in a prior term is erased when the crook is re-elected. A little piece of impunity has been struck down.

      Thanks for your thoughtfulness in advising us of this, NHerrera.

      • NHerrera says:

        There is more to the news not exactly to our liking. I read this while having coffee just now. It says, among others: “A court insider bared that the justices decided in session to abandon the doctrine, but only for future cases.”

        Well, win some, lose some. This item will most likely be clarified in the days to come.

        • “But the High Tribunal also upheld the authority of the Court of Appeals (CA) to review and stop the administrative orders issued by the Office of the Ombudsman.

          Earlier, Morales claimed the CA has no authority to review or stop her administrative order, adding that only the SC has that authority.” – SC ruling (still unreleased)

          So the majority of the SC (with the Arroyo 8) has refused to give teeth to the power of the Ombudsman to completely go after the corrupt, the plunderers. Their loot would possibly be used to bribe their way to a TRO, again and again….It took guts for the astute and sharp-witted OMB to prevail in the Makati case, the CA could not do anything after she ruled the ouster of Jun Jun Binay.

        • Juana Pilipinas says:

          Is there a way that the PH SC could be more balanced? I wrote here before that the US SC has 4 liberals, 4 conservatives and 1 swing vote. Good check and balance.

          May the winner of the 2016 Presidential race and his/her SC appointments be fair, just, incorruptible and free from vested interest.

          What’s up with 15 PH SC justices? Why so many?

          • We have the most hated Arroyo 8 Associate justices in the SC (the latest of their decision is to free Enrile for “humanitarian consideration, too frail and sick to stand a hospital detention but well enough to attend the Senate sessions and raise the hand of Bongbong Marcos when he declared his VP bid and is now proposing the re-opening of the Mamasapano hearing, and now they are poised to bring back Junjun Binay to Makati City Hall) They form the majority of the SC, and we all know that as in the Legislative body, the SC rulings are mostly involving a numbers game. Majority rules, even if the majority is wrong. Kinda like the masa votes, they maybe wrong but they send back convicted plunderers to local and national government positions (Estrada, GMArroyo) Arroyo appointed those majority SC justices.

            That’s why, we cannot rest yet, JP. The next President will get to appoint 11 SC justices in his/her 6-year term – that will spell victory or defeat in our fight against corruption as they rule with finality – there is a joke just recently – the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan detains the corrupt/plunderers and the CA and SC frees them.

            I need more of that popcorn, sir edgar.

  15. Thanks, Wil. I have a better feel for who Leni Robredo is.

    “She was a consistent honor student, had a photographic memory, and writes very well,” Sieg said. ——————- almost like karl.

    She was true to her word, working at the Public Attorney’s Office when she became an officer of the court, then at Saligan (Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal) to help make a difference in the lives of those who have “less in life but should have more in law,” as Ramon Magsaysay put it. ——————— this was what stood out for me. I know amongst lawyers over there, their bar exam grades are tantamount to self-worth, do you know her bar exam score, Wil? if nothing to be too proud of, then what was her mythical feat (legendary tale) in overcoming the bar? Thanks again, man.

    ( Admin note: Joe, just to verify the only 3 articles you have on BBL/Muslim Philippines were the ones written by Taga Bundok, josephivo and Ireneo, correct? )

  16. cha says:

    Beautiful and inspiring. The subject and the writing, both.

  17. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    What I am awed in this article that says it all is the grainy pictue. The picture is circa analog-film. Obviously The Robredos cannot afford a photographer. CANNOT AFFORD A DECENT RESTAURANT! Just lookit those chairs. Those are cheap chairs from a cheap restaurant.

    The photographeer obviously forgot to take off the soft-focus filter. Soft-focus filter is screwed in front of the lens to give subjects a dreamy romantic feel. this works best if in available ambient light. Did not bounce off the flash. The flash synch is maxed to 125 instead of 15 shutter speed making dark unflattery background.

    It is this kind of pictures that I keep. It shows age and old-school romanticism. … and noooo MONEY !!! I bet ya they did not have videos of their wedding. If there were the sick orange hue would have been evident.

    Mr. Robredo’s barong is cheap. It is not Jose. Not APEC Jose. So is Leni’s.

    This is about LOVE not MONEY. TOGETHERNESS not POWER. Malacanang is just accidental. It shows in the picture. If LENI WERE VAIN, SHE WOULDN’T DARE SHARE CHEAP PICTURE TO ANYONE. If Leni were vain she would have send it to Vicky Belo for retouch. She did not. She showed it off. She is proud. I love her for that.

    WHO I AM FOR? Of course, I am for Leni for Vice-President. It is unfortunate she is an after thought after Grace Poe dumped Benigno&Mar.

    For President? That is a difficult question. Definitely right now barring any incidents and surprises, I AM FOCUSED AND ROOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP. Philippine President? I am not sure yet. Grace Poe and Mar Roxas are neck-on-neck according to my scorecards. Both have equal strengths and equal weaknesses.

    One is dogged by residency qualification and Mar is too squeaky clean which is almost a miracle in Philippine political arena. So, currently, I take the 5th.

  18. Joe America says:

    Heneral Will is also humanist Will, able to capture the good in good people the way few others can. I know the article is a tribute to Leni Robredo, who deserves it for sure, but it took me even beyond that for the quality of living that Leni does, and the quality of writing that Will does, that gets very very close to the core of the Filipino spirit, which is indescribable. At least, I can’t describe it. For lack of words, I call it passion, and it can come out beautiful or it can come out nasty, but it is everywhere, and it gives the Philippines the special quality of life that is so rich, like living in a Somerset Maugham novel every day of the week. It is what underpins the joy regular people find in seeing someone reaching or achieving stardom, and it is the reason people vote for those who shine. It is the reason that overseas Filipinos can’t help but look back, even after 20 or 30 years abroad, and still know there is something very meaningful and worthwhile about the homeland and fellow Filipinos.

    Thanks, Will.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Don’t look down, Will, don’t look down. Keep climbing the mountain, for the country. — Self-talk. Thanks, Joe!

    • edgar lores says:

      1. I take this piece to be emblematic of the Filipino psyche here at the start of the 21st century and, therefore, if we examine it, it should offer clues as to what are the main elements of the psyche.

      2. I have reread the piece for such clues and I believe this fragment lies at the heart of who we are: “We…tried to capture the feelings we have for our classmates, school, family and God. “

      3. The main elements, then, are friendship, love of family, and love of God.

      4. There is nothing wrong with these elements, these values, per se. Our unique ways of expressing our collective passion for these values define our national identity. But I think we Filipinos celebrate these values too much… and carry them too far.

      4.1. An excess of friendship results in favoritism, cronyism – and corruption.

      4.2. An excess of family results in lack of concern for non-family, for others, in lack of love for country – and corruption.

      4.3. An excess of religion results in pietism, in spiritual materialism. In that the spiritual practice is confined to a particular season – that is to say to a specific time and place — our hour-by-hour, day-to-day living remains untouched. The practice, moreover, is not directly aimed at God; it is intercessional. I do not know if this practice is cause or effect, but we have become habituated to the use of intermediaries, go-betweens and patrons. Our indirect transactions with the divine and with each other often take the form of an exchange in unmerited favors. This, too, results in corruption.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        It is the responsibility of those who aspire to lead, Edgar, to work with available skill sets and make the system work for the good of all. It is the responsibility of those who aspire to lead in opinion amid clutter to make governance more culturally-sound and natural and find a way forward given contradictory truths, find common ground and push the country kicking and screaming to peace and prosperity. To say, as MRP quickly points out, that there is something intrinsically wrong about the country is to stop instead of starting, to despair instead of hoping, to be morose instead of cheerfully joining hands with others who are of like minds, to leverage our strengths, invest in our resources wisely, and to find a Filipino solution to a Filipino problem.

      • sonny says:

        “4.3 “… I do not know if this practice is cause or effect, but we have become habituated to the use of intermediaries, go-betweens and patrons. Our indirect transactions with the divine and with each other often take the form of an exchange in unmerited favors. This, too, results in corruption.”

        This reminds me of that systems-analysis task: to find or define the flow of information in order to troubleshoot a problem or design a programming solution. The analysis consists of surfacing the pertinent elements (inputs, processing & intermediate outputs) knowing that these elements may or may not be resident in one desk or person but in multiple places. Hence intermediaries are needed to formulate or negotiate appropriate solutions, i.e. “the moral or behavioral good/effect.” This works in either natural systems (voting) or Providential affairs (Love one another). IMO. Of course love and grace trumps anything and everything.

      • Joe America says:

        Steps to moderate the overabundance of passion are being made, I think. In our barangay, loud music and other noise is shut off at 10:00. Traffic is another matter, as rules are not enforced and that encourages the passionate thrill of people peddling tricycles the wrong way on a one-way street, with impunity. So I do see the connection between passion and corruption. Still as Latin America will always be Latin in spirit, I think the Philippines will always be full of heart, even as the corruption is dealt with.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. Interesting. We have a variety of knowing here. We have cognizance, non-cognizance and mis-cognizance.

        2. Cognizance belongs to JoeAm. He sees the what I see – the imbalance between moderation and excess – and acknowledges the plausible connection of corruption to excess.

        3. Non-cognizance belongs to Wilfredo.

        3.1. ”To say, as MRP quickly points out, that there is something intrinsically wrong about the country is to stop instead of starting, to despair instead of hoping, to be morose instead of cheerfully joining hands with others who are of like minds, to leverage our strengths, invest in our resources wisely, and to find a Filipino solution to a Filipino problem.”

        3.1.1. No, Wilfredo, I am not saying “there is something intrinsically wrong about the country.” I am just saying there is something wrong.

        3.1.2. Juana just quoted Plato’s “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

        3.1.3. Analysis does not necessary lead to paralysis. When an entity suffers from malaise, whether the entity is the individual body or the body politic, then diagnosis is warranted. Diagnosis is not destructive. It is imperative. “To find a Filipino solution to a Filipino problem” one must know exactly what the problems are. Trust me, I used to be a computer analyst.

        3.2. ”It is the responsibility of those who aspire to lead, Edgar, to work with available skill sets and make the system work for the good of all. It is the responsibility of those who aspire to lead in opinion amid clutter to make governance more culturally-sound and natural and find a way forward given contradictory truths, find common ground and push the country kicking and screaming to peace and prosperity.

        3.2.1. It is true that leaders have a responsibility to “make the system work for the good of all.” And it is also true that we delegate in part this responsibility to our leaders. Having said that, I do not think we totally abdicate responsibility. First of all, we must choose our leaders responsibly. Then, when they are in office, we must responsibly monitor their performance. And if they do not deliver, we must responsibly remove them from office by not voting for them.

        3.2.2. Today, we have the tool of social media whereby we can give instant feedback on political leadership – praise if deserving (as JoeAm does) and brickbats if not.

        3.2.3. A great weakness of ours is that we delegate total responsibility, preferably to a strong leader, and leave it at that. And then we whine if they do not perform. Remember vigilance is the price we must pay for democracy.

        3.2.4. The major part of this blog is the analysis of national and international problems and the proposal of solutions.

        4. Mis-cognizance belongs to Sonny.

        4.1. ”The analysis consists of surfacing the pertinent elements (inputs, processing & intermediate outputs) knowing that these elements may or may not be resident in one desk or person but in multiple places. Hence intermediaries are needed to formulate or negotiate appropriate solutions, i.e. “the moral or behavioral good/effect.” This works in either natural systems (voting) or Providential affairs (Love one another). IMO. Of course love and grace trumps anything and everything.”

        4.2. No, Sonny, I am not saying that ALL intercession is unnecessary. I am saying that where possible we should deal directly and honestly.

        4.3. Working in a team is not using intermediaries. An intermediary is “a person who acts as a link between people in order to try and bring about an agreement; a mediator.” A team member is a direct performing agent. However, an intermediary, a coordinator, may be part of the team.

        4.4. Voting is not intercession; it is selection. Elected officials are not intermediaries; they are public servants. We put them in office as agents of positive change. And we can choose to run for office ourselves and become direct agents of change.

        4.5. (Just to be clear: for me intercession in the theological sense is praying through someone and not directly to the Lord. If I pray to God for someone that is not intercession. One may say that I am interceding for that someone, and that would be true. My point is that intercession has to do with Who or What one addresses in prayer… and not the subject of the prayer.)

        4.4. I concede intermediaries may be necessary in politics and love affairs… and perhaps even in religion. Go-betweens smooth out paths, make introductions, and pass messages. In societies that have arranged marriages, they are ubiquitous. But in our society when one proposes to a girlfriend, one does not use a proxy. And when a girlfriend accepts – or declines – she does not use a proxy.

        • Joe America says:

          I think one sees clearly (cognizance) if one puts judgment aside until the looking is done. Then one can draw conclusions. One can also hear better if one actually listens. I caught a tweet the other day that said. in effect, “when you speak, you are reciting your knowledge; when you listen, you are gaining new knowledge”. I also think being aware can improve with practice. Always asking why, with judgment set aside. Setting judgment aside removes our own ego from the equation. It is amazing how much time kids spend on the basketball court, and how little wondering why.

        • 3.2.3. A great weakness of ours is that we delegate total responsibility, preferably to a strong leader, and leave it at that. And then we whine if they do not perform. Remember vigilance is the price we must pay for democracy.</strong
          Alan Robles writes that Filipinos want their President to be Batman, Superman and Jesus Christ all in one. This is the old expectation that one could have of a datu or a rajah, who was in archaic Austronesian societies both warrior, king and healer, a leader of the warring men and a healer who knew the ancient skills the Philippine hilot still have, they are often as skilled as modern chiropractors. He could both lead his men into war and heal their broken bones.

          Now a colleague in my present project I often talk to – her father was sent to war by the Nazis, the hopefully last relapse of a modern people into ancient Germanic traditions (purity of blood, barbarian warrior ethics, human sacrifice of strangers in hard times – all documented by Roman writer Tacitus) – told me that the next stage was to separate the leader from the healer, and then the leader from the warrior-chieftain. Leni is the healer, Mar is the leader in the RoRo tandem, and the expectation that Mar still be the warrior-chieftain (well in DILG he was a modern version of one, for all his gentleness on the outside he still managed to remold PNP from the descendant of the brutal PC of Marcos days into a modern police force) show that the Filipino mindset is only going through this archaic evolution right now, for all modern looks…

          Duterte fans like I was one still expect the supreme datu, the intermediary, to be warrior, leader and healer all at once. This worked in primitive societies. It worked in partly archaic Davao which was the badlands 30 years ago. Modern societies have Arbeitsteilung, the German term for division of labor. Something primitive Irineo learned from the Germans. You can't be everything at once. Antje, my colleague, told me in olden days a person with some abnormalities or weaknesses could not be king. FDR of USA still had to hide his disabilities. Jokes like Abnoy for Noynoy are indicative of the still backward attitude among many Filipinos, well after all many of our folks practically just left the Neolithic period in the 1850s, so our mindset is still catching up, something Europeans had centuries to do. We are smart after all…

        • josephivo says:

          Correlation and causation. Attitudes found in the Philippines are also found elsewhere more or less pronounced. People act the way they act for a multitude of reasons. Nature, nurture. People of one nation/geographical area have common “average” traits but with plenty of variation between the individuals. Some other strong influencers: income level (relative and absolute), education level, rural or city dwellers), religion (one Creator-God, Two Gods either creating all that’s good or all that’s bad, Many Gods for many things, Spirits consulted by shamans…. , traditional inheritance system (all siblings equal, oldest male, father decides)…

          Triple loop thinking. Event level, process level, mentality level. Events are what you see, they are the result of a process. Processes do not fall out of the blue sky, they are the result of a way of thinking. Change/improvements can be made on each level. Quick and dirty on the event level, fundamental and lasting on the mentality level or anything in between. Change can be made by try and error or by a “scientific” root cause analysis or anything in between. What is better? It all depends.

          Robredo in Naga is a beautiful snapshot, nostalgic, inspiring. It is not the ultimate analysis of what hat to be done in every field on every level.

          • edgar lores says:

            Totally agree. I am wary of single-factor analysis. But you have to begin somewhere.

            A public servant may become corrupt — initially — to provide subsistence for self and family. At a certain level, the initial impetus of subsistence may become irrelevant and inoperative, and the attainment of comfort may become the new impetus. At a certain level, that secondary impetus will become irrelevant and inoperative. A third impetus in the form of a mistress may come into the scene… and so on. At a certain point, there may be no external impetus at all. Stealing may become a habit, a perversion, a thrill, or simply something that the public servant does because he can.

            I am describing a scenario of multi-events of stealing triggered by a series of impetuses, an ever-changing process. (There can also be a scenario of multiple co-existing impetuses.) The mentality level, which began with the rationalization that stealing is justified — which is the initial lack of principle that stealing is immoral — remains the same.

            • Marcos and Imelda started it all, now it seems to be the norm…with 3 senators already being tried at the Sandigan in connivance with Napoles, with those at customs and BIR, Naia, police departments (with tanim drugs) the Binays who could not be satisfied with a single mayoralty term in Makati, all family members have to be in there, just listen to Abby Binay shamelessly saying if Junjun cannot run, she will, and her seat at the HOR will be vacated in favor of her husband, (listen, Makati residents, do you agree that what the Binays want, the Binays get) the same with other cities all over the country, even baranggay posts are routinely inherited by member of the incumbent official.

              Acchh…am going to be obese with all these popcorn.

        • sonny says:

          4. Mis-cognizance belongs to Sonny.

          If my analogy does not apply, then It does not.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          @edgar8lores, does being “non-cognizant” mean that I disregard fact and knowledge? Please clarify.

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            @edgar8lores, what does that say of me as an advocate and writer?

            • edgar lores says:


              1. I made certain observations in my post of November 11, 2015 at 8:27 pm.

              2. You made a general comment on my observations in your post of November 11, 2015 at 9.25 pm. I say “general” because you did not argue against any of my observations.

              3. In reply to your post, on November 12, 2015 at 8:19 am, I divided your general comment into two parts, and rebutted each part.

              4. My use of the term “non-cognizant” applies to each part. Why do I say this? Simply because there was no recognition – that is, cognizance – on your part of the truth (or falsity) of (a) the points in my original post (8:27 am) and (b) the cogent counter arguments to your general comments (9:25 pm).

              4.1. In the first part, you claim my criticisms point to something “intrinsically wrong” about the country. And you extend this to say that such criticism is “to stop instead of starting, etc.” In effect, you want me to stop making criticisms that are “intrinsically wrong.”

              4.1.1. My rebuttal consisted of three arguments:

     My criticisms do not imply that something is “intrinsically” wrong with the country. Yes they are criticisms of defects with the country, but these defects are not intrinsic. They can be solved.

     Criticism is good because “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

     Criticism is also good because it – that is criticism in the form of analysis — does not lead to paralysis. On the contrary.

              4.2. In the second part, you make a certain claim about leaders, which is essentially “to make the system work for the good of all.”

              4.2.1. My impression of your claim — in the context of criticisms that are “intrinsically wrong — is that we should leave everything to our leaders. Hence my rebuttal consisted of four arguments:

     We should not abdicate responsibility to our leaders.

     Social media is a tool for us to responsibly monitor the performance of our leaders.

     Our great weakness is that we prefer strong leaders upon whom we can delegate total responsibility.

     A purpose of this blog is to analyze and to propose solutions. That is, we do not leave everything to leaders.

              5. My use of the term “non-cognizance” is specifically in the above context. I would not generalize it to say that you “disregard fact and knowledge.” That would be extreme non-cognizance on my part.

              5.1. Please note the use of the term “cognizance” was a matter of classifying responses to the three people – yourself, JoeAm and Sonny. It was a stylistic device. Please also note that I did not say that “Wilfredo is non-cognizant”. I said that the characteristic of the knowing in the form of non-cognizance “belongs” to you… again in the context of the discussion.

              6. What does that say of you “as an advocate and writer?” I will sidestep the question. Anything I would say to that question will be construed as an ad hominem.

              6.1. However, I will say this: our discussions here in the Society are generally in the form of advocacies, observations, ideas and insights. One may agree or disagree with any of these forms, in whole or in part. Very important:

              6.1.1. The disagreements are not with the person but with the forms.

              6.2.1. There are many purposes — such as revelation, persuasion, aesthetics, fun — but the main purpose, for me, is enlightenment.

              6.3. I know it is difficult but we should not identify the forms with the person. We are discussing things intellectually here. Certainly, if the forms that we expound are dear to us, emotionality will creep in. This is the time to step back.

              6.3.1. For example, in your general comment, there was a reference to MRP. I will admit that I was taken aback that such a reference could be made anent any of my posts! It momentarily disturbed my mind – was that an unconscious ad hominem by Wilfredo? — but the moment passed and my responses were non-emotional and logical.

              6.4. It is alright to argue with each other as long as we conduct our exchanges with common respect and, I might, add logic. This is a – rather, the — hallmark of the Society.

      • We are part of the Austronesian group of peoples, and it makes sense to study them to understand ourselves better. Austronesians worship their ancestors, the “anitu” cult goes up to Easter Island. Our santos are just anito worship in disguise, the anitus intercede to the more powerful gods all the way the Supreme God of old, Bathala, also called Apo Kabunian by the Ibaloi of the Mountain Province. Clannishness and tribalism are ancient Austronesian traditions.

        The entire Pacific was settled in a simple way – when a village got to be too big, the losing group took its boat – our folks called it the balanghai, echoing barangay, and went to the next possible island. Easter Island was the furthest place they reached. There they had nowhere else to go, and destroyed each other – and nature by denuding the forests, finally destroying the old culture of Rapa-Nui in an ecological catastrophe. This is documented, and this might be the fate of the Philippines if they do not find unity and pride, like the Maori of NZ have found.

        Our cultural DNA is what it is, it is up to us to make the best of it. Finally all modern peoples have come from tribal traditions. The ancestors of Joe America (and my mother) prevented racial mixture, this is documented even of the Saxon invaders of Britain, who did not mix with Celts, and my German grandmother’s ancestors who were pushed into fishing because they were a mixture of Germans and the original Slavs who inhabited what is now Brandenburg, an old story her father told her, with probably a grain of truth. Germans went back to primitive ways for 12 years, with modern weapons and organization. Deep within us, we are Neolithic.

        Staying modern and not sliding back to what is in our DNA is a hard thing to do. We were not meant to have more than clubs, yet we have nuclear weapons. Just look at the world today.

        Civilization is taming. Dogs that are on the street too long, like in Bucharest, revert to wolves.

  19. NHerrera says:

    Thanks to both of you: Mariano Renato Pacifico (November 11, 2015 at 7:21 am) and Joe America ( November 11, 2015 at 7:51 am).

    And thanks again to you, Will,

    — makes this 77-year old’s eyes misty. Where is that tissue paper when I need it.

    • NHerrera says:

      BTW — a High School Salutatorian; an economics graduate; studied law WHILE holding a job, raising a family and supporting a husband who was passionate about his calling; took the Bar twice to pass. This, among others Will related, speaks very well of Leni in my book.

      • mercedes santos says:

        Ditto to the nth degree . . .

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        What I am bothered is WHY, WHY, WHY Grace Poe from the beginning … WHY NOT LENI? Why Leni was an after thought? Not the first thought?

        Even Benigno told the U.P. Media that LENI IS LIKE HIS MOTHER, an after thought. After thought, before thought LENI IS THE RIGHT PICK over GRACE.

        One thing I like about Grace is she has long skinny arms … Ferdie’s lineage doesn’t have long skinny arms.

        • Last year Leni was deemed as too new to the national consciousness to win. I remember this was the consensus here.

          I remember saying although Leni was a longshot I’d really like her as VP more than grace poe. People didn’t doubt her ability and integrity what people doubted was that 7 months was enough to make people see her awesome potential.

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            I eve doubted Leni at first. Din’t know her from Adam. LENI WHO? LENI WHAT? SHE’S RUNNING VP BECAUSE HER HUSBAND DIED? SHE IS DOING A PRESIDENT AQUINO?

            Eventually I am convinced. AFter they put a picture on her name. A name with a face. NOW I AM CONVINCED. LENI SHOULD RUN FOR PRESIDENT INSTEAD.

          • NHerrera says:

            Indeed her ability and integrity, and her other qualities and deeds can stand on their own; and appreciated, once known. As it turned out. But her metaphorical white became brilliant white when compared to the now greyish or considerably stained white of Grace, sad to say for Grace — most of which are her own making, being an intelligent woman. Shows, too, that intelligence does not necessarily correlate with good character.

            • Waray-waray says:

              @NHerrera, is it her EQ or IQ? Or simply Hindi na natuto sa pagmamadali?

              Take the case of Loren Legarda’s political career. She used to top the senatorial elections and still continue to land in the magic circle but that’s all there is to it. She was a darling during Erap’s impeachment case, then ran for VP under Erap’s kumpare and became a political butterfly when she hopped to Erap’s nemesis to run as VP.

          • Waray-waray says:

            Leni seems to me just keeps on getting looking better with the passage of time. There is something about women of substance that makes them look more beautiful with time. Hinog sa tamang Panahon.

            No it’s not just the looks but what is inside and out.

            Early this year a cousin from Quezon mentioned that Leni has an appeal and people there are considering her if she would run. Quezon and Bicol are neighbours and more or less they have the same pulse.

            Turned out tama ang pulso Ng mga taga Quezon. At Bicol.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Agree to MRP Nov. 11, 2015 at 7:21am, NHerrera! Thanks, NHerrera! Thanks, MRP! Awesome observation on the pic. Perfect. On spot. My thoughts, too, although I could not bring myself to comment on the pic because I had the same wedding pic. Only Renée (Baby) and I were dressed up, the guests were in smart casual. I welcome love, but poverty? Hahaha!

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Always welcome, NHerrera! I hope I’ll be as engaged as you when I reach your age.

  20. chempo says:

    I enjoy the article, both the style and the story. The authencity is heart-felt and I can’t help a sense of displacement, I mean me living in big city metro and the small town Naga you described.

  21. Rasec3 says:

    I say it again, who say there is nothing you can throw against Ms. Leni Robredo? It’s ok to throw stone to a woman.. Seen ads on Jewelry Store.. I simply love that woman 😀

    • mercedes santos says:

      Women love stones, as do some men ☺

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        I do not know what are in stones that women love. Birth stones, wedding stones, engagement stones, kidney stones all that stuff … I noticed Filipino men loves heavy gold chains …. ewwww !!!! according to a former friend of mine, it is a show of wealth …. ewwww !!!!!

        I wear local Hawai’ian poca shells strung around my neck and glow-in-the-dark earrings with matching hair color.

  22. Bing Garcia says:

    Binay’s legal team had invoked the doctrine in asserting that the mayor should no longer be held administratively accountable for alleged irregularities in a previous term because he was reelected.

    Binay is the loser here.

  23. posted this to one trolloyalist at Freedom Wall

    Mary Grace P. Gonzales: magkano ibinayad sa akin? ZERO…I love my country that’s why I am talking to you…indirectly I’m talking to readers not to you…. so others might be enlightened…I have realized early on that it’s useless talking to the likes of you but I persist hoping that readers of Freedom Wall might see the senseless arguments of your ilk and then later be enlightened

  24. Bing Garcia says:

    Sereno had centered on the doctrine in her interpellation of Binay’s legal team in April, telling counsel Sandra Marie Olaso-Coronel: “We believe that this is wrong and you are telling us to continue along that doctrine? You will insist on a rule of procedure that will wreak havoc on our constitutional framework?”

  25. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    FILIPNOS LOVE RAGS TO RICHES stories. Me? Sometimes I do love stories like Leni’s.
    She is not arrogant. She is not ambitious. She married the man for the right reason: L-O-V-E. Graduate of Ayala’s University. Hardworking not hardly working. From Leni’s demeanor I bet she treats her houseslaves equally with her dogs. Now, do not ask me how much she’s paying her houseslaves. I know for sure the KATSILAs hire slaves with college degrees. i know that for a fact! No links. KATSILA is different from tisoys and tisays. KATSILA are 100% ex-colonist current-industrialist carrier of COLONIAL MENTALITY.

    COLONIAL MENTALITY is hard-work. Honesty. Intelligence. Non-U.P. Graduates. Yes, Virginia, THE KATSILA CLAS do not go to University of the Phiippines. They never did. Because the KATSILA CLASS knows that U.P. makes one from honest-to-crook-&-incompetent-imbiciles. THESE CROOKS are now running the country. Plenty of them. From Justices to Ombudsman to DOJ. They plant evidences. Buy witnesses thru State Witness Program. Types affidavits. They are well-connected the REASON FOR IMPUNITY.


    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Here is the project for Mar and Leni. DeFund U.P. Investigate U.P. why they produced the most crook. Leni should investigate then Senator Mar Roxas why the fabulous regalia parading top-down from Church to Cubao like reigning Prince of Monaco. Sure Korina was enjoying it waving at well-wishers blowing kisses with gloved hands.

      The people need to know like we Americans need to know, WHO PAID FOR THOSE WANG-WANG MOTORCYCLE COPS?
      – How much it cost the City of Cubao for CROWD CONTROL to see then Senator Mar Roxas in his top-down gleaming classic car for his celebratory parade in the favelas and townships of Soweto?
      – Was the Cit of Cubao reimbursed for the motorcycle cops?
      – How much did businesses lost for city streets closed for the Mar-Korina nuptials?
      – How much did bus and passenger jeepney drivers lost for the traffic?


      This is unaccewptable. Cannot happen in 1stWorld country. If it happened in 1stWorld country there is a lot to pay…..well, anyways, Mar&Korina got impunity they are celebrity senator and celebrity “journalist”. They can do anything they want and the People of the PHilippines did not even scratch their head because THEY DO NOT KNOW IT WAS REPREHENSIBLY UNACCEPTABLE.

      Korina will sure be enjoying it more in the future like General Patton wearing boots and swagger stick barking commands followed by a thwack in the air.

    • Joe America says:

      I do wish you would strive for more tempered language in your expressions. The “houseslaves” term is pertinent to a single posting that deals with how people take care of (or don’t) their household help. It is out of place when used repeatedly. Readers new to the blog are not aware of the idea you have in your mind, and it would be upsetting to them for you to make the farfetched accusation that Leni Robredo does not treat her help properly. I particularly don’t like the implication that she would treat them like dogs.

      When we had a small readership, your off the wall discussion was amusing and most of us understood the metaphors and exaggerations. But we have a wide readership now, and I can’t allow such disrespectful posts to persist. You are also flooding this particular post and the dominance of a style that is not forthright discussion is troubling me. Kindly also reduce your enthusiasm lest we decide a sabbatical is actually needed.

      Thank you.

      • Joe America says:

        Like, we are no longer writing to benigno and Bong V. Readership includes the highest levels of government including, in the past, President Aquino and people on his staff, Mar Roxas and people on his staff, Grace Poe and her son and likely people on her staff (maybe not recently, but a while back), professors, lawyers, artists, writers, mayors, maybe a senator or two . . . When you are relentlessly rude to Korina, or make an offhand demeaning remark about Leni Robredo or anyone else, I find it embarrassing.

  26. I am fuming mad with the recent decision of the SC to reverse the OMB ouster of Binay. Am speechless at the moment, tomorrow I will post and release my fury!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Do not fume. It is UTAK MATUWID. HUSTISYA MATUWID. Please read my allegory about Manny-Mayweather fight. It is somewhere above from here. Read it so it makes sense why they should go my way not your way.

      • Your way is not the best way always, MRP. I tried channeling you at the Freedom Wall. I tried being a troll to fight trolls, it was fun for a while but when introspection kicked in, I did not feel good about my behavior. I was running on hate fuel. It simply is not acceptable to my inner self. Cognitive dissonance is painful when you know better.

        You seem to have the perfect setting in your locale for deep introspection and meditation. I’d say get to know that kinder and gentler inner voice and let it be your guide.

        “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
        ~Plato, Apology

    • Bert says:

      Relax, Mary, Junjun Binay is not going to be mayor of Makati again. Omb. Morales has done her job and effectively dispatched the guy for good. Edgar, please send Mary some of that popcorn to calm her nerves.

      • edgar lores says:

        I am on to it — pronto. Another batch of butterless caramel popcorn. And anything for Monsieur?

      • NHerrera says:

        Rum-dipped butterless caramel popcorn sounds good. I may even try it without the pepper. Hahaha.

      • This is what made me fuming mad, but wanted to sleep on it before spewing forth my fury, to wait for the SC to release the actual ruling. An excerpt of the article linked by NH says in part:

        “The SC conceived of the doctrine in an October 1959 decision.

        A court insider bared that the justices decided in session to abandon the doctrine, but only for future cases.

        Binay could use the latest SC ruling in questioning the Ombudsman’s subsequent dismissal order against him, the source stressed.”

      • NHerrera says:

        There are two cases against Binay Jr: the Makati Parking Building Case; and the Makati Science School Building Case. The way I read this now — Binay Jr. benefited from the Condonation Doctrine on the former, but will not so benefit on the SC-trashed CD (for future cases) on the latter case, which is still to be resolved. Masakit ito sa mga Binay. And Abigail MAY NOT become the next Makati Mayor; and her husband MAY NOT win the HOR seat she vacated too?

        • NHerrera says:

          If that happens, 4 – 2 = 2. Followed by 2 – 1 = 1 if my arithmetic is OK.

        • NH, Good, a better scenario would be a a defeat of the old Binay in the 2016 Presidential election and his detention pending the outcome of a Sandigan trial of his plunder charges. Nancy will have another 3 years in the Senate though, but we cannot have it all.

          For now.

      • Junjun Binay the last chapter of being a politico. When someone goes up, time will come that they will come down with a very hard plop. KARMA, when do you think it will happen to Nogi

        • Bert says:

          Davide, personally I hate that quip that starts with “What goes up comes down…” thing because it hits everyone of us right smack on the face. But applied to the Binays I think that’s okay, :).

  27. Off Topic:

    Happy Vet Day, Joe and LCpl, and to all those who served. Thank you for your service.

    • Joe America says:

      Ah, thanks, Juana. That means a lot.

        • Waray-waray says:

          What a noble act it is to serve your country such this.

          I have visited your country several times and every time I happen to be in public places say parks and shows, the host would never ever fail to acknowledge the presence of men/women in uniform. And how people burst into a very loud applause. The response is just so touching.

          I never experience anything like this in my country. I hope that someday, one day our soldiers would receive the same appreciation, acknowledgement and respect the same way that you do.

          • Joe America says:

            That is a very interesting point, Waray-waray. The Philippine engagements have for years been against Filipino extremists, small scale (Mamasapano an exception), with no visibility or drama or reports from embedded reporters. Filipinos have no idea what their sons and daughters are doing day to day, and the deaths are just another set of nameless tragedies marching across the evening news. There are no victories in the Philippine fighting, no chance to wave the flag and cheer the troops. It’s a slog, out of sight.

            It’s too bad. Sad.

            • Waray-waray says:

              20 years under Marcos – and under military rule. Result: A damaged military institution.

              Many of us who grew up under this regime have a very very negative impression of men in uniform then and I believe in some degree until today. They were our country men’s perpetrators instead of protectors.

              It is sad to think and to accept especially to the men and to their families who sacrificed for our country that it would take years to change the image that we grew up with.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, simply and powerfully stated: “They were our country men’s perpetrators instead of protectors.” Thank you. There needs to be some deep thinking about how to change that. And for the police, as well, who seem to lead criminal activities some days.

              • Waray-waray says:

                Thank you JoeAm – for your response below.

                It’s just one of the damaged government institutions. That’s why people have this certain mistrust, cynicism and impatience about our government. It’s been embedded unconsciously in the Filipino psyche. I think that we had been living under a defense mode because it was our way of going about our lives then without dignity and liberty.

                I can see Pres. Aquino’s effort to change that but 6 years is so short to purge our institutions. The long claws of corruption have deeply been implanted and is still horrendously creeping about in the system (the Arroyos, Enrile, Estradas, Marcoses et al).

                But hope springs eternal. Against all odds JoeAm, I still believe that we would be able to start the deep thinking process – soon (maybe next year?) and subsequently the national purging process. We just need to choose the right leadership, and on our part we need to have an open and the right mindset. Take the bitter pill if necessary.

                When that time comes we should all be willing and ready.

              • Joe America says:

                @Waray-waray, good, optimistic view, with a touch of willingness to sacrifice to get there. I like it.

    • Happy Vet day, Joe and Lance Cpl. I’m deeply affected by pictures of soldiers trying to relax under their trucks or in some other ghastly places, so far away from home, reading messages from loved ones, and horror of horrors, to see the boots and helmets of the fallen ones being touched reverently by their comrades, the folded flags being handed to weeping widows and orphans..

      I truly appreciate the sacrifices they gave and still being given so that we can enjoy the peace.

    • Waray-waray says:

      She is so cool and classy. I could listen to her the whole day whilst reading Will’s lyrical writings.

      And munching popcorn dipped in chocolate. Or rum. It would be pure bliss.:)

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Thanks, Waray-waray! Feel like popcorn already, traditionally popped, with virgin coconut oil and sea salt.

  28. I remember Governor Salceda commenting an idea to turn Albay into a Metro Manila like place as something like “this is a future we do not want for our home”. This yearning for modernity without losing one’s nature and culture is something the comments on this posting on my page show:

  29. Re the mentality of not wanting to serve MRP… some articles in my page – and the comments to them… show that the mentality is changing from feudal to modern, with the young. Articles about the Dutch Prime Minister biking to work, the Canadian Prime Minister taking public transport, the Swiss Prime Minister taking the train without bodyguards… all of these articles, and this one about a young man not ashamed to say he is working as a janitor to finance his studies in Australia, meet with approval among millenials… which shows hope for the country, good people around!

  30. jameboy says:

    “This article is about Leni Robredo…..”
    Yes and no. It’s really about her and the place where she came from. But mostly, yes, about Leni. Since we’re talking about her who frankly I’m not really familiar with until after the death of her husband (Jesse) let me pose some facts that we can talk about to have a clear picture of why she’s in the middle of it all right now.

    1. Leni Robredo was the second choice for VP after the administration failed to woo Grace Poe to run under Mar Roxas’ ticket. Had Poe accept the administration’s invitation Leni would have been a favorite for a senatorial seat which I think is a spot on.

    2. I’m not really particularly focused on her opponents because there is really no one out there whom we can say that is in front enjoying a big advantage. Not yet. But I’m wary of her strength to help Mar Roxas win the presidency with her. I say that because I want to see a president and VP candidates on the same ticket winning it all.

    3. The present concern is to improve her survey ratings so that things will get the needed momentum towards the beginning of the campaign period. If there is a Leni magic as implied by the good words I read on this blog, I hope it spreads nationwide. 😎

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Hi jameboy! Eighty-five per cent in the last survey, followed by Bongbong Marcos with about 75 per cent I think, the rest languishing in single digits. If the numbers prove right, Leni is the foil against Marcos II, so President Aquino is right, she does remind us of Cory against Marcos I in ’86. Leni is our second chance to make things right in the country since we weren’t able to exorcise the one that bedevils our nation up to the present time.

      • jameboy says:

        If true I hope Mar gets some push from that 85% you’re talking about Mr. Villanueva. 👀

      • NHerrera says:

        That survey shows that Joe’s Blog has been correct in focusing on Bongbong and Leni — on Bongbong, of warning of the catastrophic prospect of what may come about; and on Leni for the positive and continued development of the country.

    • Joe America says:

      The choice of Grace Poe, I think, was a political expediency to clear the path for Roxas. Also, at that time, she had not made some of her loose statements, like the INC remark. I think they are all relieved now that she did not accept the job because Leni Robredo is such a rock of integrity and good thinking. I’m confident the surveys will discover that she has gone somewhere near the top of the list.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        @thesocietyofhonor Registered with a group campaigning for Leni this morning Nov. 28 at the Club Filipino. I told the small group handling Runs, Biking, and such that I wrote about her in the Society of Honor. Lo and behold, the members of the group cried in unison, “We read that!” One even remembered the author’s name as “Villanueva.” Thanks and congrats, Joe. You have a wide readership. The fight continues, although I’m smarting from the 7 per cent take of Leni in two recent Pulse Asia surveys, with Chiz and Bongbong leading. Mo’ prayers, mo’ action.

  31. Thea says:

    @ Will V. Your article will dwell on the minds of the readers. Simple yet penetrating. You will pave the votes for Leni Robredo. Kudos!

    There is a video done in 2009 that may “exorcise” the devils out of common pinoys. Yes,this is the visual counterpart of Will’s article for those who have no patience to read. It is about Leni R.

  32. For Mang Willie and Aling Baby:

  33. David Murphy says:

    I’m under the impression that Leni Robredo was unwilling to accept an offer to run as Mar Roxas’ VP because she wanted to be more available for her children. It was only after Grace Poe’s refusal to run for the post that Robredo agreed to run. If so, then Poe was the second choice and Robredo the first.

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