Friday, January 27, 2017

Paperback Writer - REBEL

   The REBEL is now in paperback in  It provides some insight into the heart of a nation on its journey to freedom.  The  REBEL is a tribute to a political activist better known as REB.  He was not as heroic or as famous as Commander Dante.  The news media never met him. However, I feel it’s time that we read about the man, as a father, as a husband and his contributions to the movement as far as disclosure allows.

   REBEL provides an acknowledgement to the leaders and members  of the Kabataang Makabayan who have similarly given their lives to the struggle.  Ginto and Kinis died of natural causes.  I heard Baba died in battle.  It was said that he used to stand up in the open, daring the enemy, during gun fights.  I bumped into Bungo during First Quarter Storm (FQS) founding dinners in the 80’s.  I have heard nothing about Naning for decades.  Penny has taken the fight for social and political change right here in America.

   As a wife’s testament to a uniquely wonderful husband, the book REBEL is not all politics.  It gives a glimpse of a place and time too fresh to be called history and yet too far to relive.  The sexual revolution that came with the women’s liberation movement affected the conservative Filipina the most.  While the western teens had been dating for decades prior, the Filipino teens found not only their voice but also their sexuality in the late 60’s, shaped by their cultural, religious and regional influence.

   The details on poverty are not meant as a put down but rather as an evidence of the Filipinos’ determination to survive whatever life throws their way.

Postscript (July 6, 2018)

REBEL is now available in paperback and Nook book!

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Media Then and Now

   There was a time when media had integrity and substance.  Back then it was more credible than government and trade pronouncements.  Thus, it served as a check and balance between the powerful and the marginalized.  It exposed crimes against humanity for the world to learn from the experience.

   Some notable media exposés that rocked the status quo are Mi Lai Massacre, Watergate and Iran-Contra.  The Mi Lai Massacre was covered up “for a year until an independent investigative journalist - Seymour M. Hersh - uncovered the story in 1969.  Once surfaced, Newsweek, Time, and Life magazines featured the story, including the gruesome images of slaughtered villagers.” (Lessons of Vietnam and Military Reform

   Watergate was the scandal that brought down President Nixon. “The connection between the break-in and the re-election committee was highlighted by media coverage—in particular, investigative coverage by The Washington Post, Time, and The New York Times.  The coverage dramatically increased publicity and consequent political repercussions.” (Wikipedia)

Fro m:
   The Iran-Contra scandal stemmed from the US’ foreign policies regarding Nicaragua and Iran.  Fearful of socialism in Nicaragua, the US backed ‘contras’, paramilitaries against a revolutionary regime. “On November 3, 1986, two Lebanese newspapers broke the story of the Iran arms deal, and quickly thereafter the entire scandal began to unravel in the United States.” (The Iran-Contra Affairs

   It wasn’t easy to be a news reporter.  Questions were asked to get to the truth.  Answers were analyzed to find hidden motives.  Journalist were assassinated by the evil people they went against.  At least 72 journalists have been killed in 2015.  In August 26, 2015, two journalists in the US, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were killed during a live news broadcast on WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. (Wikipedia)

   Lately the evil assassins found a better way to kill journalism.  It’s called “dollar-a-word deal” with the unscrupulous “yellow journalists”.  Biased reporting has been used to hurt or help.  Worse than that, fake news have proliferated to confuse the public so that we simply give up on the search for truth.  

   One news program stands out.  World News Tonight with David Muir, available in Hulu, has consistently broadcasted the news exactly as it happened, no tricks, no innuendos.  At the end of every episode a heartwarming or tear-jerking segment on humanity is featured, like a desert that takes away the aftertaste of bitter food for thought.  
See also: 
Climate Change is a Poverty Issue 
Creator of Poverty 
Nature’s Water Park

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Night with Commander Dante

   I’ve had anger management problem before the phrase was invented.  I didn’t spank my children like typical parents but they have experienced my erratic behavior.  They have seen me fight with neighbors, a nun school principal over my son’s haircut, a PE/CAT teacher who made my son do 70 push ups that sprained my son’s arms to swell, etc.  My kids kept to themselves other potentially volatile situations in fear that my reaction would escalate the situation.

   In the mid 80’s, Rody, my cousin next door was half Japanese.  He arrived in the Philippines at 20 years old to meet his Filipino father who had moved to Canada more than a decade prior.  Having been raised in Japan he was not aware of Filipino protocol about confronting children without the presence of parents.

   All was well, or so I thought, until my live-in help told me about an altercation between the 30 year old Rody and my 17 year old son while I was at work and my husband was abroad.

   “Jojo!  Jojo!  What happened between you and Rody?” I screamed instantly.

   “It’s nothing, mom.  It’s no big deal.”

   “Let me be the judge of that!”

   “Rody said, he was out doing Karaoke the past night and my playing my electric guitar kept him from sleeping late that morning,” my son explained.

   That was enough for me.  From the kitchen I flew to my front door in anger. 

   “Hey you people were not invited here.  Go back to your own country!” I yelled.

   Rody came out of his place saying in Tagalog with his Japanese accent, “You know, I have grenades I haven’t used.  Maybe one day I’ll use one.”

   We’ve heard rumors that Rody was working for Yakuza, a Japanese mafia of sorts.  I was not going to take the subtle threat sitting down, not with my three kids living a few meters from Rody.  I said nothing more but that didn’t mean I was backing down.

   Cory Aquino had just been seated as the new president of the Philippines.  The first thing she did was to release Commander Dante from jail.  Dante had become a folk hero.  The media could not get enough of him.  Student organizations sponsored ‘meet and greet’ and discourses.  It wasn’t called ‘meet and greet’ at that time.  I attended one of those.

   At the end of the event, after the students have left, the adults started drinking.  I inserted myself in their midst.  Then, I invited Dante to my place in Cavite for more beer.  I promised to drive him and his security back to Manila after breakfast.  Dante was so kind to accept my invitation.  Despite threats on his life, he trusted me.

   There was no privacy fence between Rody’s home and mine.  The next morning, Rody looked out his window and found Dante doing stretches in my yard.  The next time I left home for an errand, Rody built a wall between us.  The somewhat 20 meters long, 6 feet high structure was erected in 8 hours!  

   In God’s mercy and understanding of my anger issues, no violent encounter happened between the Yakuza and Dante’s men.  I never saw Dante again. 

See also: 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Mother's Home Remedies

   It takes a lot of pain and discomfort for a Filipino to see a doctor.  Not only because we are stingy.  We have home remedies passed down for generations that have proven to be effective.  God gave us medicines pharmaceutical companies are just discovering.  Here are some of them:

Rice Tea
   When I was a child, if anyone had stomachache, my mom roasted uncooked rice in a frying pan.  After the rice has blackened, she boiled the roasted rice to make tea out of it.  The rice tea worked on stomach acid, gas, constipation, loose bowel and most everything else.  Now, here in America I found a rice tea that does not need a lot of work from Ichiban Kan, a Japanese store in Tanforan Mall.  Just drop it in hot water like regular tea.  It smells exactly like my mother's rice tea and just as effective.

   Guava leaves when boiled helps to heal skin infections and superficial wounds.  It is also used as a first bath for mothers who just delivered a baby.  Sitting on the warm water with guava leaves helps to heal laceration. 

   In the Philippines. sea salt, God's invention, was good enough.  Epsom salt soak for hand and foot is available at Dollar Tree.  A bag is good for 3 uses.  At the end of a long day on your feet, soak your feet.  I grew a bump on the palm at the base of my ring finger.  It hurts when the weather is cold.  I took it to two hand doctors and they both said the same thing, they will operate to remove the bump.  I declined.  When I soaked my feet I put my hand in as well.  What do you know!  The bump is almost gone, not hurting anymore!  I saved myself the pain and expense of an operation.

   Bitter melon is an ingredient in many Filipino dishes.  Some 20 years ago it was discovered to be good for controlling blood sugar.  Pharmaceutical companies created from bitter melon anti diabetes capsules, tea, etc.

   Calamansi juice was used for weight loss. It is diuretic so that it prevents or reduce water retention.  It's also rich in Vitamin C.  It’s often used to flavor tea.

   God's medicine has no adverse side effect.  You can ask my mom.

See also: 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Losing No.1

   Compensation is restitution or making amends for an injury or loss.  Losses are quantified in terms of material goods or cash.  When a mother has to raise a child after losing the father, there is no accurate amount that would equal the value of that loss.  There is a tendency to over-compensate.

   I married at seventeen and from the age of twenty, I have been twisting myself in a knot to make up to my son for our losing his father.  First I got my son a nice stepfather with no spanking rights.  Then I got us a home where my son got his own room with a nice bed and study table.  On weekends, we went biking in the park behind the Cultural Center where bicycles were available to rent.  Otherwise, we went swimming in YMCA or Los Baños hot springs.  If there was a good movie for children showing, I made sure we saw it.  When the mall arcades arrived on the scene, we went there too.  We were never home on weekends.  If I didn't have money I pawned a piece of jewelry.    

   My son got birthday parties with some surprise gift every year which included an Atari game console, an electric guitar, a bike, Game and Watch and a Karaoke set.  At sixteen, his birthday bash was celebrated with a rented mobile disco transforming the venue into a virtual nightspot with a rotating mirror ball, colored spotlights and a disc jockey playing the current hits.

   After graduating from high school, my son drove himself to college in a black Volkswagen Beetle while the rest of the family took public transportation.  As typical of teens, I bailed him out of police custody twice.

   Then my son got married before finishing his college course.  I negotiated with my father to let him have my late mother’s six bedroom hilltop home overlooking the Laguna Bay in Bicutan, Taguig.  When that property was liquidated, I gave my son a part of my share which he used to buy himself a taxi cab for business and personal use.

   After all of the above, some thirty years later, I realized my son and I never got over losing his father.  There was no compensating for losing the man we had for a mere three years.

   In the Bible, Job lost his fortune, ten children and his health but not his wife.  The God, who reads the heart of man, replaced everything  Job lost but let Job keep the same wife. (Job 42:10-12)

   “Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower.  We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.” – William Wordsworth.

See also: 
Losing No. 2