Fund Raising


Collected for 2012-2013: $107,578.58


Donors from Infantahins to build the Gabaldon


Segundo and Evelyn Amarga
Maria Alejandra Arizala
Octavio Arizala
Rodolfo & Neneto Arizala
Cesar & Sonia Astrera
Hector & Fabbee Bunag
Erlinda Bustonera
Kelly and Annabelle Clayton
Renato & Norma Coronel
Eddie Cua
Nilda Cua
Samson & Carolina Cua
Pol & Sally Derilo
Ricardo & Malou Espinosa
Mario & Tita Espiritu
Marites Espiritu
Melecia Garcia
Nony & Emmie Garcia
Rudy & Bennie Garcia
Kevin & Trish Glodava
Kirsten Glodava
Mark & Mila Glodava
Venchito Gucon
Manny & Marilyn Ibanez
Marc Ibanez
Paul & Mercy Ignacio
Josefina Juntereal
John & Joannes kirtley
Maricar Knize
Mario & Norma Leodones
Reynaldo & Merlita Miguel
Ramon & Myrna Monreal
Jures Ocampo
Imelda Orantia
Linda Poblete
Thomas & Sonia Pope
Felicidad Prohibido
Sandra Recio
Jon & Amor Santiago
Nonong & Carmelita Telan
Isabel Tena
Junlo & Rowena Tena
Jovy Valentino
Frederick & NoraVillamayor


Non-Infantahin Donors


A Taste of Italy
Abando, Napoloeon & Marciana
Ahern, John & Jan
Albyn, Mary
Allen, Frank & Jere
Almuete, Marivic
Altevogt, Jan
Alvarez Foundation
Alvarez, Guillermo & Annette
Amon, Elizabeth
Andersen, Scott & Lynn
Angell, Mike & Leanell
Anonymous
Aranjuez, Cristeta
Archdiocese of Denver
Arrupe High School
Ashmann, Marshall & Amelia
Asuncion,n, Virginia
Atienza, Pablo & Esther
Aye, Andrew & Theresa
Atwell, Scott
Baker, Raymond & Frances
Bandong, Naty
Banzon, Dolly
Banzuela, Mary Ann
Bartley, K.D. & C.E.
Bascanot, P.P. & V.C.
Bautista, Elaina
Beaudette, Therese
Bergeon, Christopher & Annette
Best, Chad & Heather
Betts, Steve & Nancy
Bosch, Warren & Karen
Botardo, D.S. & E.G.
Brandsma, Michael & Molly
Breitenbach, Randy & Maureen
Brock, Kurt & Charlene
Brown, Mary Lou
Buczkowski, Lee
Buntua, Connie
Cabigas, Emelita
Canaria, Apolonio & Alma
Canlas, Lourdes
Cardosi, Julius & Mary
Carr, Andrew & Nancy
Carrol, Arturo & Marcia
Carter, Helene
Carter, James & Maryanne
Casil, Rosa
Cassidy, Pete
Caulkins, Edward & Robin
Cavan Corporation
Chadwick, Scott & Stacie
Chaplick, Scott & Camilla
Church of the Risen Christ
Close, Joan
Colorado State Bank & Trust
Competente, Perfecto & Estrella
Corder, Steve & Pat
Coushane, Bruce & Jennie
Craige, Catherine Laboure
Cropp, Deacon Bob & Peggy
Cruz, Arnie & Ana
Cunnane, Brian & Kay
Curran, Gerald & Nida
Damore, Tony & Diane
Davis, Jim
De Dios, Bobby & Regina
De Leon, Remedios
Deniken, Andrew & Leslie
Dennehy, Jan
Devera, Melva
Digo, Dawn
Donaldson, Linda
Dulay, Ovideo
E.M. Weckbaugh Foundation
Eason, Timothy & Shirley
Eckrich, Mark & Joan
Edwards, Jennifer
Eggert, William & Elizabeth
Engelmann, Karl & Melissa
Espeja, Roann
Esteron, Cristeta
Evans, Kevin & Linda
Fabro, Brigida
Faley, David & Jodi
Fangman, Matt & Terri
Filby, Matt & Julie
Filipino Night
Finegan, Jean
Fleming, Fred & Adeline
Fons, Randal & Sharon
Forster, Sue
Frank, Jim & Connie
Franzen, Steve & Kim
Frontz, Jasper & Jennifer
Funderburk, Ben & Sheri
Galicia, Maria Elena
Gallagher, Greg & Carrie
Gallagher, Mike & Liz
Gallo, Joe & Sylvia
Garden Chase Investment
Garovillas, Marie
Gerken, Ray & Tommie
Glodava, Phil & Donna
Goggin, Noel & Nimh
Golden Press
Goldwire, Hal & Miki
Gorder, Andrew & Jill
Granada, Mark
Green, Rev. John
Grepo, Norma
Grooters, Daniel & Jennifer
Gruidel, Jeff & Jennifer
Hagan, Mark & Madonna Borger
Hall, John & Linda
Hanzlik, Bill & maribeth
Harper, Anthony & Pamela
Harper, Victor & Jean
Hartman, Kendra
Havernan, Patrick & Johanna
Hayes, Charles
Heath, Chris & Laura
Heintzelman, Steven & Shelly
Heule, Tom & Lisa
Hilt, Mary Ann
Holtz, Thomas
Holzkamp, Kurt & Angela
Hone, Mack & Lisa Millet
Horne, Joanne
Hueckel, Glen & Sharon
Hut, Art & Laverne
J.P. (Bill Hanzlik's Friend)
Janiczek, Joseph & Mary
Jantomaso, Patricia
Jeske, Tim & Shar
Job, Sheryil
Johnson, Corey & Loraine
Jomoya, Rosalia
Jotte, Robert & Sonia
Jurlalero, Cornelia
Keating, Gary & Bridget
Keller, George
Kelley, Colleen
Kelley, Mark & Melanie
Kemberling, Rev. Andrew
Kennedy, Samuel & Elizabeth
Kennedy, Burke & Denise Munger
Kimzey, Bill & Carolyn
Kleman, Paul & Michelle
Kopp, Kevin & Nancy
Krietsch, Ann
Laber, Garald
Lane, Bill & Linda
Lane, Joyce Marie
Large, Robert
Leadbeater, Ellen
Liwanag, Wilfredo & Ludy
Lum Lung, Paul & Colleen
Mabley, Laura
Majka, Martin & Cindy
Malcolm, James & Holly
Malone, Bill & Terry
Manansala, Fred & Catherine
Mandapat, Elizabeth
Maranan, Melinda
Martin, Andrew
McAdam, Gary & Claudia
McCarthy, Patrick & Chris
McCoy, Maryann
McDermott, Shawn & Dana
McElhiney, Jan
McGarrity, Jeff & Sonia
McGowan, Dan
McGuigan, Maureen
McKenna, Tim & Marie
McKinzie, Gary & Jackie
McMillion Foundation
McPherson, J.R. & Ellen
Meno, Deanne
Mercer, Todd & Katie
Meske, Randal & Lucia
Micek, Leonard & Laura
Miller, Alan & Karen
Miller, Dorothy
Miscellaneous Cash
Mitchell, V.S. & A.F.
Modz, Frank & Bernadett
Monark, John & Barbara
Monark, Rosemary
Moore, Forrest & Shirley
Morrisoe, Patrick
Morton, Julie
Murphy, Mark & Kelli
Nagle, Midge
Natterman, Mary
Nepel, Jay & Jennifer
O'Brien, Jim & Susan
O'Shea, Ray & Colleen
Ocampos, Rodrigo & Bernadita
Olorvida, Cresencia
Oro, Patrick & Lisa
Orzal, Juliet
Osterman, Michael
Our Sunday Visitor
Pablo, Leony
Pallazo, Dominic & Ellen
Panasci, Ernest
Pasion, Phil & Lynne
Paterson, Nancy
Payos, Manilena
Pennies from Heaven
Perchiazzi, Tom & Amy
Perry, Sam & Becky
Picardo, Virginia
Piccone, George & Kristi
Pietro, Diane
Pitrone, Russ & Lucy
Polakovic, Mike & Terry
Post, Rick & Sharon
Priester, John & Rosemary
Pristera, Bob & Jo
Pruneda, Efrain
Rafferty, Jerry
Ramirez, John & Mary Lee
Rapatan, Thelma
Rapp, Dick & Nancy
Rastrelli, Deacon Alan & Brenda
Reed, Tom & Shelley
Reichardt, Gerry & Frances
Reyes, Araceli
Reyes, Angelita
Rice, Mary
Ricupero, Karen
Rivera, Antonio & Aurora
Robertson, David
Rood, Donna
Rorick, Brian & Beth
Rossi, Msgr. Walter
Runberg, David & Liz
Sablada, Amalia
Sakas-Sluder, Elena
Salem, Hassan & Sheila
Salvato, Mark & Laura
Samuels, Denzil & Shari
Sanderson, John & Joni
Sangalis, Steve & Moiria
Schaffer, Rev. Darrell
Schmidt, Andrew & Helene
Schneider, Joanie
Seeds of Hope
Sengco, Ronald & Mary Ann
Serra-Dagat, Reema
Shinner, Steve & Cindy
Sillecchia, Lucia
Smerker, Mimi
Smith, Colleen
Smith, Don & Eileen
Smith, Harris & Linda
Smith, Lee
Smith, Phil & Shari
Smith, Todd
Smooke, Douglas & Jean
Spirit of Chrit
St. Mary's Catholic Church
St. Rose of Lima
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Stern, Tom & Katherine
Stevenson, Dean & Connie
Stroud, Steve & Mary
Sturges, Jerry & Jennifer
STM Office
STM Religious Education
STM School 2nd Grade, Mrs., De la Cuesta
STM School 2nd Grade, Mrs. Dornbos
STM School 2nd Grade, Mrs. Wink
STM School 5th Grade, Mrs. Whitehouse
STM School Student Council
STM Youth Ministry
Sullivan, Bill & Tricia
Sullivan, Douglas
Sweeney, Kevin & Rosanna
Sullivan, Joseph, Sean, Mike and Gracie
Talana, Mario & Loreto
Tapp, Mike & Betsy
Tedesco, Thomas & Karlyne
Terry, Jim & Stacy
Tewahade, Kebere & MIna
The Kelley Foundation
Victorian Tea Party
Thompson, Bob & Shelley
Thompson, Mike & Jane
Thony, Lucien & Olivia
Tilahun, Mengistu & Migbar
Todd, Richard & Joanie
Torres, Nestor & Marilyn
Trask, Linda
Trouchton, Terry & Marybeth
Turner, Patricia
Turner, Vicki
Utenick, Michael & Mary Ann
Uy, Cecil
Vargas, Rose
Vizurraga, Tony & Deanne
Walsh, Darren & Julia
Wegener, W.S.
Weger, John & Ruth Freige
Wegner, Len & Cathy
Welch, Marge
Weston, Leo & Bernadette
White, James & elizabeth
Wiley, Richard & Michelle
Wilhoite, William & Karen
Wolach, Pat
Wolberg, Wayne & Neice
Wood, Dennis & Linda
Wooods, Keith & Sally
Wright, Richard & Elizabeth,br /> Wulff, Sydnia
Yanez, Marcelina
Zacher, Karen
Zakovich, Paul & Marleen
Zapapas, Jim & Jan
Zimmerman, John & Mary
Zimmerman, John & Megan
ZTL Foundation

Links

Metro Infanta Links
Click above to register to various alumni registries.
Prelature of Infanta
Quezon Province
Infanta, Quezon

For news about the Philippines:

Philippine Star
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine News
Site by
Juice Box

« June 2006 | Main | August 2006 »

July 31, 2006

Make a donation

Make a donation to Metro Infanta Foundation, a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and support its many causes -- civic, educational, religous, humanitarian and development. Your support enables Metro Infanta Foundaiton to reach out and address issues and concerns in our native homeland, including the towns of Burdeos, General Nakar, Infanta, Panukulan, Polillo and Real. Your donations can touch hearts and change lives.

You can support the Foundation in several ways:
* Annual support. Your annual support pays for office expenses -- stamps, stationery, Internet, and more.
Charter members: $20.00
Non-charter members: $25.00

* Special Gifts
Kawayan: $25.00 - 99.99
Kaibigan: $99.00 -499.99

In Tribute: You might want to give a gift to a loved one in celebration of:
Birthday
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Please name your honored loved one: ___________________________
Address:____________________________________________________
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An acknowledgement card will be sent to your honored loved one. You may also send a special tribute to your loved one to be posted in the "In Tribute" page of this website.

* Memorial Gifts
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Please name this gift in loving memory of: _______________________________________________________
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Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

We are making it easy for you to make a donation clicking the button below and following instructions provided in the donation form. If you prefer sending your donation by mail, please send your donation to Metro Infanta Foundation, Inc. 7350 Braun Way, Arvada, CO 80005 U.S.A. Thank you for supporting the many causes of Metro Infanta Foundation.

Mission Statement

To promote unity and solidarity through educating its members and providing forums of discussions, and identifying and addressing issues and concerns in their native homeland, specifically the Metro Infanta area including the towns of Burdeos, General Nakar, Infanta, Panukulan, Polillo, and Real, in the Philippines, and wherever they are around the world.

Said corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code

Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Metro Infanta Foundation Logo

The Metro Infanta Foundation logo incorporates the bamboo and a seashell, two elements reminiscent of life in the Philippines. On the islands, bamboo grows abundantly, and the poles frequently are used to construct building foundations. As such, in the logo the bamboo represents the building up of the Metro Infanta Foundation and symbolizes our growth.

The logo displays the bamboo both as separate shoots and as a group of reeds to illustrate the truth that while we are individuals, we also are connected by our roots. And together, we can unite to create vital growth.

The seashell depicted in the logo brings to mind the Philippine islands that benefit from the ocean as a natural resource both beautiful and bountiful. In its original state, embodying an animal of the sea, the seashell serves as a shelter, a home.

In our logo, the seashell serves to remind us of our homeland in the Philippines. Framed within the seashell and beyond the cluster of bamboo, the sun hovers above the shoreline on the horizon, evoking a view from the Philippines and the sense of the Metro Infanta Foundation as an organization with a vision.

MLQ's legacy and political testament to the Filipino people

By Rodolfo A. Arizala*
Santiago, Chile

As everybody knows, August is the month when Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon of Baler, Tayabas (now Maria Aurora province), was born. It was also during the month of August when he died in the United States of America and when World War II was about to end. He was born on 19 August 1878 and died on 01 August 1944. He died without seeing the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese occupation forces. However, Quezon left us historic legacy and political testament

MLQ´S Legacy
There were many good things he had done for our country and people such as freedom, progress, social justice, peace and security. In his inaugural speech on 15 November 1935, he reminded his people as follows:

"There can be no progress except under the auspices of peace. Without peace and public order it will be impossible to promote education, improve the condition of the masses, protect the poor and ignorant against exploitation and otherwise insure the enjoyment of life, liberty and property. . ."

And to have a secure and lasting peace, he believed that we should have an effective national defense. Consequently, the first law enacted during his administration was Commonwealth Act No. 1, otherwise known as the "National Defense Act" of the Philippines. The "Citizen Army" created by Quezon under the National Defense Act saw action in Bataan and Corregidor during World War II and proved to the world that they were willing to die and make sacrifices for the freedom and liberty of their country and people.

MLQ´S POLITICAL TESTAMENT
During World War II while exiled in the United States of America, Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon on 26 October 1943 wrote a letter to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt considered to be Quezon´s "political testament" pertinent portions of which read as follows:

"As you know I have been ill for a long time and, in any event, God alone knows whether I shall live long enough to see my country and talk to my people again. What follows is my political testament to my people. . . .After the lessons of the present war, one would be very blind indeed not to see that the post-war relationship between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of the United States should be as close as, if not closer than, our relationship before the war. The security of both the United States and the Philippines, and perhaps the future peace of the Pacific, will depend very much on that relationship."

In the same letter to U.S. President Roosevelt, President Quezon stated the Philippines could be a "bridge" between the East and the West in the following words:

"My advice and counsel to the Filipino people is that they should preserve and perpetuate their Occidental way of life which they can only do through continued association and cooperation with America and the western world. Geographically, we Filipinos are Orientals, and will forever be so. Spiritually, that is to say, because of our culture and Christian civilization, we are with the west. The great destiny of the Filipino people, as I conceive it, is to play the role as the connecting link between Orient and Occident."

Comments
These are the thoughts that occurred to my mind as we commemorate this year the birth and death of our beloved President Manuel L. Quezon, "The Paladin of Philippine Freedom."
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
* Rodolfo A. Arizala is a lawyer and former Philippine ambassador.

July 29, 2006

MIRC elects new officers 2006-2007


President:: Leo Villeno

Vice Presidents: Manny Sollestre and Bong Solte

Secretaries: Viola Garcia and Loy Ofreneo

Treasurer: Manuel Villeno

Auditors: Irene Villamor and Manuel Quinto

PRO:
Doug Avellana Minerva Pujalte
Julie Villeno Rolly Acaylar
Crispin Portillo Larry Solte
Jigx Villaflor Norman Cailipan

Board of Directors.
Zorina Reyes
Shirley Bunag
Roland Protesta
Sonny Bunag
Viola Garcia
Norma Sollesa

Posted: May 14-21, 2006

Mt. Carmel School of Infanta receives grant for damaged classrooms

grantalum.jpg

Ms. Belen Foronda, principal, received a $10,000 grant from members -- Mila Glodava, Nilda Cua, Pat America Patacsil, Mely Telan and Divinia Tingzon -- of the Metro Infanta Foundation. Others in photo are MCHS alumni, most of whom are teachers. MCHS alumni around the world are helping raise a total goal of $20,000 for said project. For related story on this grant, please click here.

Kababayans finding success in new ventures

Geoffrey Estacio is endorsing "Lumpia-An" a booming franchise food chain as part of the OFWNET program to help the Filipinos in their daily life.

"Baka me interesado sa inyong mag negosyo sa Pilipinas while abroad," he said. In additin to "Lumpia-An" OFWNET also is promoting the Mobile Car Wash and now Lumpia-an. "I'd like also to request prayers for the growth of these business. It helps generate extra income for the business owners and to the employees. "

If interested, please contact Geoffrey at "Estacio Geoffrey"

Posted: Dec. 3, 2005

Jojo Buñag making us proud

Our beloved kababayan Atty. Mario "Jojo" C. Buñag who was recently confirmed by Pres GMA as regular BIR Commissioner instead of mere "BIR Officer-in-Charge" continues to give honor to our town because of his diligence and hardwork. Hereunder is a column of Mr. Max V. Soliven, publisher of The Philippine Star about BIR Commissioner Buñag.

Metro Infanta Foundation, a model for others

Below is an email we received from Jeremiah M Opiniano, Executive Director, Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI) recommending a new group of immigrants from Bansalan (we're not quite sure where it is in the Philippines) to check us out for the work that we do for Metro Infanta.

It is humbling to know that our work has been noted by the Institute for Migration and Development, which is headquartered at the University of Santo Tomas. Yet we are not alone in our mission to help our country, by helping our hometown. Some people have grandiose plans to help save the Philippines from economic ruins and don't get very far. A few of us believe that in the long run we can do the same in a more humble way by helping one town at a time.

There are more two million Filipinos in the United States alone. If expatriates from the same town pulled their resources together, that would be a tremendous help to that particular town. When the towns helped are multiplied it could very well end up helping the entire country.

Indeed the expatriates are an incredible resource very much forgotten by the Philippine media and government. In fact, I sent a letter to Babe Romualdez of the Babe's Eye view column in the Philippine Star the following, which also salutes the work of the IMDI:

I, too, salute all the OFWs who are truly the saviors of the Philippine economy. Indeed, they are great Filipino workers, and I personally know many of them. But I cannot help but feel that the Philippine press and government only talk about OFWs as though they are the only ones who are responsible for keeping the country afloat. My fellow expatriates in the United States and other countries have equally contributed to the Philippine economy, yet their contributions continue to be ignored.

For example, expatriates from Infanta, Quezon, and other neighboring towns have pulled together their resources through a small community foundation which has become a continued source of support in said town. Since its inception in 1996, it has sent more than $200,000 in grants to various causes including religious, education, humanitarian and civic. When the devastating typhoon hit Infanta, Real and General Nakar around this time in 2004, Metro Infanta expatriates sent funds totaling $30,000 immediately. In fact, the Foundation, of which I am the founding president, has a special drive to collect another $20,000 to help refurbish a high school damaged by the typhoons; and this on top of another $25,000 for our general causes.

In addition, it has facilitated more than $150,000 in funds directly from other funding agencies. This is only one of the numerous organizations in the United States and other countries that are doing many benevolent acts for the Philippines. Many of them are sending school and hospital supplies, and medical missions, building hospitals and schools, providing tuition assistance from high school through graduate schools and more.

In fact, there is an organization based at the University of Santo Tomas, which is currently collecting data of organizations with philanthropic endeavors. It is headed by Jeremiah Opiniano, who has become a tireless advocate for the work of those that have been ignored by the Philippine press and government. It would be nice to hear about them too.

From Jeremiah Opiniano

Greetings from the Institute for Migration and Development Issues (IMDI). We are a young nonprofit doing studies and news/feature articles about you who are abroad. As Leila Rispens-Noel herself mentioned, the Institute is very interested in the work of migrants and migrant organizations like you who support the hometowns in the Philippines.

The moment I got the news that Bansalan is starting its own group, and continues to build trust among its members (particularly the website), I personally got excited. What more with the news that some of your earnings, or disposable income, is already being pooled for a gym back home? Really, that is wonderful - those small steps that can make a big difference.

The Institute is willing and able to help migrant groups (formal and informal) such as the Bansaleño group. The help that we can give, at the moment, is a simple write-up of what you are doing and spreading it to as many people possible. That kind of awareness raising will, hopefully, build confidence and entail more supporters - particularly the "undiscovered Bansaleños" abroad.

IMDI also offers information that might be useful to you. That information is contained in a website about overseas Filipinos' philanthropic support to the country. Log on to www.filipinodiasporagiving.org. There are many, many examples there of how other groups abroad help their hometowns. There are also some downloadable materials there, especially about a recent conference we held on diaspora philanthropy last June in Manila.

For one, there is this story from the Metro Infanta Foundation (www.infanta.org) in Colorado, USA that annually raises US$20,000-plus to support development needs in identified Quezon towns, not just Infanta. The story there is that MIF built on its database of 400 Infantanhins in the US and in over-five other countries. You can email Mila Glodava, MIF president, for inquiries as she is copy furnished this email. And believe me, there are more stories of this sort.

Lastly, the Institute is willing to work with migrant organizations such as yours. You are the real experts of migrant philanthropy, and the best we can offer are information and services that will further your work for the motherland. I hope you would also be interested to informally coalesce or network with other hometown associations located in other countries - not just to learn from each other, but to spread the message that localized support from Filipinos abroad works. Whatever networking to be built here will primarily run on trust, respect for each other, excitement, and very less on egoistic tendencies that many Filipinos abroad have. The common vision is helping, and we would even want to help individual migrants make informed decisions on where best to put their money for their individual and familial benefits.

I salute the startup work for Bansalan, and just tell Leila that I am just an email away. She dreamt of having a prosperous hometown, which I am sure you share such dream as well. All big things start with that first step.

More importantly, your pockets of Bansaleño hope will go a long, long way. Cheers!

653 Sanggumay Street, Mandaluyong City 1550, Philippines (+639178238260) www.filipinodiasporagiving.org, ofw_philanthropy@yahoo.com

October's light in a penumbra

By Rudy Arizala
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction

At this stage in our history, when we are confronted with multifarious problems of economic, social and political &endash; 60% of our people are on poverty level; declining standard of educational system; alleged failure to hold clean, honest and peaceful elections; and constant "tug-of-war" between the executive and legislative - and when most people seem to be at a loss or confused on what to do, the question foremost in the minds of our people is: "What happened to Philippine Democracy?" And what are we supposed to do?

Posted Oct. 16, 2005

By Rodolfo A. Arizala*
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction

At this stage in our history, when we are confronted with multifarious problems of economic, social and political &endash; 60% of our people are on poverty level; declining standard of educational system; alleged failure to hold clean, honest and peaceful elections; and constant "tug-of-war" between the executive and legislative - and when most people seem to be at a loss or confused on what to do, the question foremost in the minds of our people is: "What happened to Philippine Democracy?" And what are we supposed to do?

According to one columnist, "They want to remove Ms. Arroyo because she did not win the election, only to replace her with a group of people who did not win the election who will govern indefinitely." ("What happened to democracy?" by Conrado de Quiros, PDI, 06 October 2005). The question to most people, is: "Who do we put in her place?"

Another writer columnist pointed out that the ills of our country could be traced to "elite democracy which has held sway in the Philippines for nearly 100 years." And added it culminated "in the century-old struggle for power among the factions of the elite, which helps to explain the poor´s lack of passion or concern regarding the controversy." According to him elite democracy was responsible for "the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few." His suggested solution is to put an end to elite democracy "by organizing discussions and action groups at the local level. Every school, church or chapel, parents-teachers´association, cooperatives and credit union, labor or peasant organization could become a venue for discussing local issues." From such local discussion groups the movement could develop into national level. ("Life from the dead," by John J. Carroll, S.J., PDI, 06 October 2005).

A third columnist speak of the need of a viable "vision" from the seat of power -- Malacañan Palace -- which is the "pulpit and stage" for the exercise of presidential power. He observed that each President since we became a nation had their respective visions from "Independence", to "Social Justice," "Man of the Masses," culminating to "People Power," "Philippine 2000," and finally, "Strong Republic." He noted, however, that the "Fear Factor" is showing its ugly head. According to him: "But then comes a back-to-back performance of the Philippine National Police -- trying to imitate the legions of Rome or the phalanxes of ancient Greece -- running after hardheaded but unarmed socialists, and the result is, well, the ´brutality´ vision thing. Which is never inspiring." ("The ´vision thing´", by Manuel L. Quezon lll, PDI, 06 October 2005).

II. Best Form of Government

What then is the best form of government? The late Dr. Jose P. Laurel used to tell his class in Constitutional Law that the best from of government is a "monarchy with an angel on the throne." But because it is impossible to find an angel to govern us, democracy where the leaders are chosen by freewill or vote of the people, despite its defects, is the best alternative. Democracy, according to him is a system of government where the doctrine of separation of powers among the three branches of government -- legislative, executive and judicial -- is observed thus, having "checks and balances". What is the doctrine of "separation of powers" and principle of "checks and balances" which is the very essence of Constitutionalism?

Elaborating on the doctrine of "separation of powers," Justice Holmes of the United States said: "The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to another."

With respect to "checks and balances", the great French political scientist Montesquieu had this to say:

"When the legislative and executive are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehension may arise lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, and execute them in a tyrannical manner. Again there is no liberty if the judicial power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would then be legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression. There would be an end of everything, were the same man or the same body. . to execute those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals."

In short, "separation of powers" and principle of "checks and balances" enable any of the three branches of government to protect its independence by preventing encroachments on its jurisdiction and to ensure proper respect for the rule of law by correcting mistakes or abuses committed by the other departments in excess of their lawful authority.

III. Conclusion

In the light of all the foregoing and that in a democracy there should be separation of powers to ensure "checks and balances," perhaps it is worthwhile to recall the light of a "Penumbra" bestowed to the Filipino people more than half a century ago. On 14 October 1943, during those dark years of the second world war, Dr. Jose P. Laurel assumed the Presidency of the Republic and said:

". . the dream and aspiration of Filipino heroes and patriots have always been complete and absolute political freedom for the Philippines and that all true Filipinos are pledged to the realization of that ideal. I therefore stood for a Government of the Filipinos, by the Filipinos and for the Filipinos exclusively and alone without the interference of, or injunction, or dictation from a foreign power. I announced that my moral philosophy -- the deeper foundation of my administration was that of righteousness which is divine and is common to all religions worthy of the name; that man lives in the triple world, physical, intellectual and moral; that physical and mental vigor (mens sana in corpore sano) is not enough, but that man´s life must be dominated by moral principles. . ." ("Days of Courage, The Legacy of Dr. Jose P. Laurel," by Rose Laurel Avanceña / Ileana Maramag, 1980, p. 109).

There is, indeed, a need for a government and leadership based on righteousness and moral principles. But good government like good vintage wine should not be poured into the old container or bottle for it may also become stale. We need to have a new container where to keep that good priceless vintage wine.

AT SEVENTY-SIX

By Rudy A. Arizala

Former Ambassador Rudy Arizala celebrated his 76th birthday on September 25, 2005. We extend to our dear and great kababayan many happy returns of the day and we thnk him for his many words of wisdom including the words expressed in the poem below.

By Rudy A. Arizala

Former Ambassador Rudy Arizala celebrated his 76th birthday on September 25, 2005. We extend to our dear and great kababayan many happy returns of the day and we thnk him for his many words of wisdom including the words expressed in the poem below.

Another birthday comes
Reminds me many years
I have spent with grace
With family and friends.
Now my muscles, bones pain
Have to wear eyeglasses
To read the newspapers
And wear false dentures
To enjoy daily meals.
What is there in old age?
Which give the youth courage
To go on and work hard
When youth but past image
And old age a vision?
Now, I am seventy-six
Yet hoping to witness
More and more many years
Watch sunset and sunrise
The monsoon wind and rains
Which heaven only knows
When will they come again.

Posted Sept. 30, 2005

Confused vision or none at all?

By Rudy Arizala

The information in the column of Prof. Randy David "Confusion and Vision," (The Philippine Daily Inquirer of 11 September 2005) about a student leaders´conference in the University of the Philippines is indeed timely and worth the attention of all concerned.

In said Conference it was discovered that eighty percent of the students are confused as to what is going on in or country; that they don´t know who is telling the truth about the alleged cheating in the last presidential elections. In the words of the columnist: "They are not sure who is right or wrong; or what morality means in politics. They do not know whom to trust among the country´s leaders. They do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act."

Columnist Randy David opined that "it is not just confusion we are battling here. We are also up against cynicism, fear, despair, and the pull of blind affinities." And how do we solve these problems? He suggests that we might be able to overcome these if we could perceive or know what kind of government we want. And "that is self-reliant (government) and capable of governing itself, is run by leaders who inspire trust in their people, who in turn have a reason to be proud of their identity and heritage and fully embrace their responsibilities as citizens."

All these years since we became an independent and sovereign nation, judging from the speeches and policies laid down by various Philippine Presidents, I have thought that we have already such vision for our country.

As to the youth of the land, I have also the impression that the students of the State University (U.P.) are the most well-informed, articulate, independent-minded and alert segments of our society. It has been said that whenever the late Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon would like to test public opinion or know the public pulse as to certain policies he would launch, his testing ground was the U.P. campus. In other words, U.P. was the barometer of our economic, social and political climate.

I was, therefore, surprised, if not shocked and made me feel sad when I learned that the U.P. students at a recent Student Leaders´Conference, are confused on our political situation; what morality means in politics; and "they do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act."

I was taught since in the grade school through high school and up to the university level that the foundations of our family, society and government are the home, church and school. These triumvirate institutions are supposed to be the ones to mold the personality, character and future of a person. At home we are supposed to be taught love of family, right conduct and morality. The church is to teach us love of God, of thy neighbor, the concept of right and wrong, morality and justice; and the school love of country, good manners and right conduct, patriotism, system of government, our national identity, pride in our country, race, civic efficiency, responsibilities and about the lives of our national heroes aside from the "three R´s" -- reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. And in college or university, we are supposed to consolidate and strengthen all what we have learned in the lower level of education to adequately prepare us for our respective professions or careers in life.

Have these three institutions -- home, church and school -- failed in their tasks because recently, 80 percent of students at the University of the Philippines are confused, do not know who is telling the truth, or what the truth is, what morality means in politics; and they do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act?

And last but not the least, despite Rizal´s writings, Mabini´s True Decalogue, and Quezon´s Code of Citizenship and Ethics, does it mean the youth of our land have failed to grasp or remember what our vision should be? As stated in Mr. Randy David´s column a nation that is: a self-reliant and capable of governing itself; run by leaders who inspire trust in their people; a citizenry proud of their identity and heritage and fully embrace their responsibilities.

There is a need to reexamine our institutions to be able to adopt remedial measures and achieve the vision we have for our beloved country. Let us go back to the basics. The foundations of good, efficient, honest and just government are the home, church and school.

What's happening to our educational system?

by Rudy Arizala

May I share with you my exchange of info / views with my friends and former colleagues in the foreign service.

It is lamentable that all the blessings we received from Spain, the U.S. and other cultures with which we got in touched with, we took them for granted and even threw them out of the window.

The glaring examples are our knowledge of Spanish and English and the culture of "urbanidad" and "palabra de honor" or of being a "caballero" (gentleman). We seem to be oblivious of the fact that we already gave a death blow to Spanish language out of false sense of nationalism and our knowledge of English is deteriorating rapidly (including mine) and we are not doing anything about it. We continue on our "Bahala Na" attitude or to live like "Juan Tamad" who just lie down under a guava tree waiting for the ripe guava fruit to fall into his mouth.

The Chileans who historically did not have any contacts with China nor have geographical proximity like us as neighbors of China are learning Chinese Mandarin, and of course English.

Again, historically, Chileans had no cultural and political contacts with the U.S. yet, they are implementing, as a national policy, to learn English also. Every Sunday issue of their national newspaper El Mercurio there is one whole page devoted to lessons in English.

Our neighbors, like Thailand and Vietnam, are also learning English language, while Malaysia was desirous of imbibing Spanish culture. As a matter of fact they honored Rizal by hosting a seminar on the live and works of Rizal in Kuala Lumpur. Remember the book of Pascual which your late father had: "Pride of the Malay Race." ? The Malaysians being of Malay racial stock take pride of Rizal´s life and works because, indeed, to them, Rizal is the "pride of the Malay race" who did not hesitate to receive Spanish education but even went to Madrid and other cities of Europe to widen his cultural knowledge and education.

What is happening to our educational system? We erased from our curricula the learning of Spanish before one could graduate from college or university degree. And recently, we also did way with ROTC which the late MLQ instituted to instill in the minds and hearts of our youth not only physical fitness and military preparedness in defense of our country against invaders but also to instill spirit of patriotism.

Our youth, not due to their fault but of their elders, are becoming a "soft" or "cry baby" generation. In the worlds of Balagtas: "Pagibig anaki´y aking nakilala / Di dapat palakhin ang bata sa saya / Sa katuwaay kapag namihasa / Kung lumaki´y walang hihinting ginhawa / Gaya ng halamang lumaki sa tubig / Daho´y malalanta munting di madilig / Ikinalulouy ang sandaling init / Gayon din ang batang sa tuwa ay maniig.

A Rainbow Would Appear


by Rudy Arizala

Those of you of who have been viewing and hearing news about the floods in New Orleans via CNN must have been reminded also of what happened last year (November 29, 2004) in Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar, Quezon, when one evening while people were sleeping flash-floods came silently without warning destroying homes, farms, streets, bridges, and thousands of people were either killed or perished. Worse, with the flash-floods came logs and rocks rolling down the slopes of the mountains burying homes and people alive. After the water was gone, the town and countryside were covered by slime, mud, rocks and logs. People were wet and cold, without homes, no water to drink and food to eat.

A Rainbow Would Appear

by Rudy Arizala

Those of you of who have been viewing and hearing news about the floods in New Orleans via CNN must have been reminded also of what happened last year (November 29, 2004) in Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar, Quezon, when one evening while people were sleeping flash-floods came silently without warning destroying homes, farms, streets, bridges, and thousands of people were either killed or perished. Worse, with the flash-floods came logs and rocks rolling down the slopes of the mountains burying homes and people alive. After the water was gone, the town and countryside were covered by slime, mud, rocks and logs. People were wet and cold, without homes, no water to drink and food to eat.

Despite such disaster, in Reina, there were no looting, rioting, and no army was called to keep law and order. The people prayed and waited patiently to receive whatever the government and NGO´s could give them in terms of bottled water, packets of noodle, a kilo of rice for each family and some canned goods or sardines. Those who have foods shared them with others. Whatever house or home remained standing became shelter also for those unfortunate ones who lost their homes. The President, provincial governor and other officials, nurses and doctors immediately came via helicopter to supervise and render whatever necessary aids could be given to the victims. Relief goods came by air and water. Soldiers were sent not to maintain law and order but to help clear the mountain road of slime and mud, rocks and debris as well as help look for survivors or victims buried under buildings or rocks.

The Infantahins themselves tried to fend for themselves, look for their dead, bury them, rebuild their homes from ruins Those who are abroad quickly organized themselves and in groups or individually sent money, relief goods to the people of Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar, Quezon aside from those organized in Manila or elsewhere outside of the disaster area.

We deeply sympathize with the victims and people of New Orleans affected by hurricane Katrina. We understand the frustrations if not impatient anger of Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, who through a radio / TV interview this morning (2 Sept. 2005), was practically begging for "reinforcements", "buses" and that prompt and necessary aid and relief goods be extended immediately by the State and Federal Governments.

The people of Reina undoubtedly have strong faith in the Lord plus the will to help themselves for they do not forget the Lord´s Covenant after the great deluge: "When I bring a cloud over the earth, then the rainbow shall certainly appear in the cloud. And I shall certainly remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living soul among all flesh, and no more will the water become a deluge to bring all flesh to ruin." (Genesis 9:14-15).

As restated in the Infanta coffee table book: INFANTA Passage to the Pacific published by the Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation, Inc., in 2004, "Whenever distress comes to Infanta, a rainbow would appear in the sky."

We are confident that "a rainbow would (also) appear in the sky" of New Orleans and other devastated areas. We pray for them.

Editor's Note: anyone wishing to help, please direct your contributions to the nonprofit organizations nearest you, specifically the Catholic Charities USA and American Red Cross. They can use all the help we can give them. If you wish to give through Metro Infanta Foundation, please do so. It may not be a bad idea to show solidarity with the people of Alabama, Louisianna and Mississippi.

Also, do you know if any of our kababayans are from the disaster stricken areas? Please let us know.

Posted: Sept.25, 2005

"We did it!" We built a church with pennies!

by Mila Glodava

Five years after they started saving their pennies -- one penny at a time -- the children and youth of St. Thomas More Parish in Colorado completed their promise to raise one million pennies or $10,000 to help rebuild the St. John the Baptist Church in Panukulan, Quezon.

"We did it! We built a church with pennies!" the children said proudly.

They have reason to be proud. Their "Pennies from Heaven" campaign which started in 1998 ended in 2003 when STM's pastor, Fr. Andrew Kemberling, delivered the last $2,000 to Fr. Roque Betancur, who has since retired as parish priest of Panukulan (The Prelature of Infanta announced that Alagad ni Maria will take over the parish).

For the record members of Metro Infanta Foundation, including those from Panukulan, contributed to this fund to the tune of $3,000. Among those who made a contribution to this fund were: Junlo Tena, Mario Leodones, Jose Pujeda, Marites Espiritu, the Garcias and Glodavas.

I have to give special mention to my brother Nony and his wife Emmie for donating cash gifts they received for their 30th wedding anniversary. This gesture was the idea of their daughter Vanessa and concurred by the other children -- all six of them.

So to all of them thank you for taking part in the "Pennies from Heaven" Campaign for Panukulan. Of course,Metro Infanta Foundation appreciates the resolve of the children and youth of St. Thomas More for sticking with the campaign from 1998 through 2003.

Maraming salamat po !

Burdeos

Tha name "Bordeous" according to legend came from the word "Bor" name of a lover of a maiden in the place. But the girl´s father was against the lover "Bor" and one day shot him to death while he (Bor) and the daughter were near the bank of a river. Bor fell dead into the water and carried away to the sea by the current. The girl in grief and desperation shouted" BOR DIYOS KO PO." A passer-by heard the lament of the girl and thought that the name of the place was "Bordeous." Since then the place was known as "Bordeous."

The patron saint of the place is San Rafael thought to have miraculous healing power. Formerly a barrio of Polillo, it became a town on 1 July 1947 under House Bill No. 550 dated March 1947 sponsored by then Congressman Fortunato Suarez of Lucban, Quezon.

Translated by former Ambassador Rudy Arizala from the book entitled: "Lalawigang Quezon (Kislap ng Silangang Quezon) Mga Kasaysayan at Alamat" by Prof. Godofredo S. Laureles, 1999 edition. The book was first printed in 1994, then in 1996; 1997; and lately in 1999.

Barangays in Burdeos (Quezon Province-Region 4)

Aluyon
Bonifacio
Calutcot
Mabini
Rizal

Amot
cabugao
Caniwan
Palasan
San Rafael

Anibawan
Cabungalunan
Carlagan
Poblacion

Rehabilitation of victims' livelihood

Editor's Note: This is the second of a Project Report issued to all funding agencies of the Disaster Aid, which include the Metro Infanta Foundation. The Social Action Center (SAC) issued this report.

Three villages in General Nakar and two in Real have completely recuperated their irrigation systems using the Food-for-Work program. They received seeds, plants and animals. Their food security has improved beyond the pre-disaster situation. In Nakar they are brining their products to the market in Infanta with the new boats (bangkas) they received through the SAC. In Infanta the irrigation system depends on the Agos River. See below for further information.

Editor's Note: This is the second of a Project Report issued to all funding agencies of the Disaster Aid, which include the Metro Infanta Foundation. The Social Action Center (SAC) issued this report.

Three villages in General Nakar and two in Real have completely recuperated their irrigation systems using the Food-for-Work program. They received seeds, plants and animals. Their food security has improved beyond the pre-disaster situation. In Nakar they are brining their products to the market in Infanta with the new boats (bangkas) they received through the SAC. In Infanta the irrigation system depends on the Agos River. See below for further information.

A fisher-folks organization in Infanta with 100 family members has been able to regenerate their bangus-fry income-generating program. They have determined that the initial capital they received will be paid back in order to generate an emergency fund for their members. SAC that will administer the fund and monitor its implementation received the first 10,000 monthly payment. This scheme of back-payment in order to generate seed- and emergency-capital is also used by many other fisher-folks organizations in the three towns. Experiments with cooperatives have been started in Real. So far through SAC more than 50 bangkas have been provided. Another 90 bangkas, completely equipped, are needed.

A very promising pig-dispersal program has been initiated in the three towns. The feeding of the pigs will be totally herbal. Therefore they are called Herbaboy. This new scientifically elaborated approach guarantees healthier pigs and healthier meat and it reduces the expenses of feeding enormously. The enthusiasm of the poor for this program is contaminating! Also disturbed were kalabaw (water buffalo), small chickens, ducks and goats. Many more animals are needed.

The rehabilitation of the agricultural sector is probably our greatest challenge. SAC initiated a rice-testing program in order to find out what varieties grow best on he soil that was washed down from the mountains that cover the major part of our rice fields. The 40 varieties are in their second month and are measure and monitored constantly. Moreover, an agreement has been made with the development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) that a group of experts will give concrete proposals on how best to use the mud-covered rice fields. SAC hired an agriculturalist expert on sustainable agriculture. In many villages the farmers are trying alternative crops like corn, different vegetables and upland rice. An intensive program of sustainable agriculture has started. SAC bought the biggest shredder available in order to make tons of biomass to enrich the soil. Many poor victims are helped the Food-for-Work program making biomass. The rehabilitation of the agricultural sector will probably demand three years.

A comprehensive disaster preparedness program has been initiated in line with the efforts of the Local Government Unit (LGU). The SAC will make great effort that this program will reach all families even in far-out places. The BCC/MSK network will play a crucial role. Our present Christian Aid consultant is an expert on the subject, which is a great help in our efforts. We are still drawing up the material needs in order to make our communities really disaster-prepared. The budget will follow.

The Agos River rehabilitation is a project goes beyond the scope of the SAC. however, we are part of the efforts of the LGU of Infanta to find a concrete scientific solution. A team of civil engineers in the Netherlands is studying the materials we continuously send them. Christian Aid has committed to find funding, when a proposal proves feasible.

The shelter program mentioned before will continue until all victims are housed in shelter that are acceptable in humanitarian standards. At least 1,000 shelters are still needed, which means at least an additional amount of 10 million pesos. NASSA has initiated a housing project on a 10 hectares piece of land in Nakar. In this village 400 families will eventually find decent housing. The Prelature of Infanta will own the land. The people will acquire their houses through small contributions over a long period of time. The counterpart of SAC will be the wood needed in the construction and the Food-for-Work for the house owners.

The health situation continues to be an area of great concern. The poverty of the people and the special health hazards created by the disaster needed constant health care programs. Luckily we have many good doctors who volunteer to help via medical missions ad roving teams that visit eve far away villages. Transportation, food, medicines and equipment will be needed.

Another effort in this field is the psycho-emotional needs of the victims. MedNet has worked out beautiful projects and Inam combines its efforts with acupuncture. However, we did not yet find the funds to implement these very necessary and promising programs.

To initiate, monitor, evaluate and report on all these programs and projects the Social Action Center in Infanta and the parish-based Social Action offices in the region need professionals who are dedicated and well-equipped for their tasks. They need allowances in order to feed themselves and their families. They need equipment and office supplies. In short, all these projects will not succeed unless accompanied by Social Action staff members who wholeheartedly give themselves with energy and the right spirit(uality) to this demanding task. The funds for the administrative part of programs are very limited. Financial support is also needed for this necessary part to complete the whole.

May God bless you always.

Editor's Note: We hope that those who have yet to make a contribution to help aid our hometown will make a donation now! As the above report describes, there more more work to be done. Those who do medical mission, please consider the Prelature of Infanta in your next planning. They need your help and we're sure you have a need to help them.

Hurrican Katrina showed how the American people resond to disasters. The entertainment community immediately put together a concert to generate support. I wish our own enterntainment industry will do the same for our people. But in its absence, let us continue to help our people.

Right now the funds we are collecting is for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Carmel High School in Infanta. We have asked the alumni groups to help in this projects. To date three batches (1970, 1973 and 1984 have responded and we are awaiting the rest of the alumni groups.

If you're not a graduate of Mt. Carmel, please consider making a donation to fund any of the projects as described in above report.

Posted: Sept.5, 2005

Infanta

Mayor: Filipina Grace America

The History of Infanta Revisited

By Rodolfo A. Arizala*
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction
To the people of Infanta, province of Quezon, April is a very significant and busy month. During my youth, when there was no Irrigation System yet, we harvest palay once a year only instead of twice a year. We harvest palay either before or after the Holy Week. And two weeks after Holy Week, comes the celebration of the town fiesta its patron saint being St. Mark whose feast day falls on 25th April. So, April is time for harvesting, observance of Holy Week and celebration of town fiesta.

It appears that during the early period of our history, St. Mark was not our patron saint The town´s patron saint then was San Isidro adopted in 1874. According to a story, San Isidro was adopted as the patron saint of Infanta in the belief that he would protect the town against any form of calamities. And true, indeed, it was observed that right after the adoption of San Isidro as the patron saint of the town, the people experienced good harvests and enjoyed peaceful life free from natural calamities. However, seven years later in 1881, a strong earthquake visited again the town and among the structures destroyed were the church and belfry. Subsequently, the people adopted St. Mark as its patron saint.

At the altar of the church in Infanta, Quezon today, there is a statue of a bearded man holding a book with his left hand and with his right hand a quill or writing instrument. At his side is a figure of an animal, an ox. Is the statue that of St. Mark or of another Gospel writer?

Mayor: Filipina Grace America

The History of Infanta Revisited

By Rodolfo A. Arizala*
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction
To the people of Infanta, province of Quezon, April is a very significant and busy month. During my youth, when there was no Irrigation System yet, we harvest palay once a year only instead of twice a year. We harvest palay either before or after the Holy Week. And two weeks after Holy Week, comes the celebration of the town fiesta its patron saint being St. Mark whose feast day falls on 25th April. So, April is time for harvesting, observance of Holy Week and celebration of town fiesta.

It appears that during the early period of our history, St. Mark was not our patron saint The town´s patron saint then was San Isidro adopted in 1874. According to a story, San Isidro was adopted as the patron saint of Infanta in the belief that he would protect the town against any form of calamities. And true, indeed, it was observed that right after the adoption of San Isidro as the patron saint of the town, the people experienced good harvests and enjoyed peaceful life free from natural calamities. However, seven years later in 1881, a strong earthquake visited again the town and among the structures destroyed were the church and belfry. Subsequently, the people adopted St. Mark as its patron saint.

At the altar of the church in Infanta, Quezon today, there is a statue of a bearded man holding a book with his left hand and with his right hand a quill or writing instrument. At his side is a figure of an animal, an ox. Is the statue that of St. Mark or of another Gospel writer?

Before we answer the question, let us first refer to a brief history of our town.

II. Legendary Origin
The town´s legendary origin could be traced to the Pre-Spanish period when a group of Malay tribe coming from the central and western side of Luzon headed by Nunong Karugtong crossed on foot the mountain fastness of Sierra Madre toward the Pacific coast on the eastern side of Luzon. After several days of travel, they reached a plain bounded by two rivers. But this Malay tribe did not stay in said place called "Barangay Comun"because Nunong Karugtong did not find it suitable where to establish a settlement. So they decided to move on toward the coast reaching the place we call now "Barangay Dinahikan". Nunong Karugtong did not like the place either due to its closeness to the sea. They retraced their footsteps in-land toward the mountain. Tired and weary, Nunong Karugtong and his men decided to rest. Nunong Karugtong fell asleep under a huge tree. while some of his men were looking for something to eat.

Nunong Karugtong´s men found a huge or giant yam (Ube). It was so big that it took four men to carry it where Nunong Karugtong was sleeping. They woke him up to present to him the giant yam they found. Nunong Karugtong was so weak and tired that somebody had to help him get up from the spot where he was sleeping. When Nunong Karugtong saw the giant yam and discovered that the soil is fertile with abundant source of fresh water (the Bantilan river), he decided to establish his settlement on the very spot where he fell asleep. His men suggested to him that the place be called "Binangonan del Ampon" which means the "place where an old man was assisted to get up like a child." Since then, the settlement has been known as "Binangonan del Ampon" until the arrival of the Spaniards when the name of the place was changed to "Infanta".

III. Historical Origin
In 1578 more than half a century after Magellan and his men landed in Cebu, a Spanish priest Rev. Fr. Esteban Ortiz, OPM arrived in Binangonan del Ampon and planted a wooden cross symbolizing the introduction of Christianity at the place. Then in 1696, Don Diego Mangilaya, a native chieftain developed the settlement into a community and built a wooden chapel at the spot where Nunong Karugtong fell asleep. Since its establishment, the place has been attacked by Moro pirates, visited by typhoons and cholera epidemic. In 1803, Kapitan Pedro de Leon affiliated Binagonan del Ampon to the province of Nueva Ecija and in 1850, Kapitan Rafael Orozco withdrew Infanta from the province of Nueva Ecija and joined it with the province of Laguna. In 1835, Benangonan del Ampon was renamed "Infanta" by Kapitan Juan Salvador in honor of the saint "Jesus Infanta" (Child Jesus).. All the inhabitants of Infanta were given Spanish surnames pursuant to a Royal Decree of 11 November 1848.

On 20 July 1898 a group of Infanta "Katipuneros" headed by Col. Pablo Astilla attacked the Spanish forces holed up at the limestone convent and after serveral days of siege and fighting, the Spanish soldiers surrendered. By virtue of the 10 December 1898 Paris Treaty of Peace, American soldiers occupied the town of Infanta and appointed Kapitan Carlos Ruidera Azcarraga as the first "town presidente." He was followed by Rufino Ortiz in 1903 who withdrew Infanta from the province of Laguna and joined it with the province of Tayabas. He also ordered the planting of coconut trees in the barrios (now barangays) of Infanta. During the administration of town "presidente" Gregorio Rutaquio (1911 -1916), he constructed the "Gabaldon type" of school house. From 1923-1928, Don Florencio Potes became town "presidente". He constructed the concrete municipal building and the first telegraph office of the town. From 1935 to 1939, Mr. Fabian Solleza served as town "presidente". During his incumbency, the Infanta--Famy road traversing the Sierra Madre Mountains from Infanta to Laguna and Rizal provinces was constructed. Also, piped water from a spring reservoir in barrio (barangay) Gumian was installed.

IV. Death, Sufferings -- WW II
In December 1941 during the incumbency of Mr. Sixto Quierrez as town mayor, World War II in the Pacific broke out involving the Philippines.. Several warships were sighted off the coast of Lamon Bay, Tayabas province (now Quezon). Japanese planes dropped bombs on Infanta destroying the municipal buliding and houses nearby. The following year after the surrrender of Bataan and Corregidor in April- May 1942, Japanese soldiers occupied the town of Infanta making the "Gabaldon type" school house as their headquarters. In 1942, the town of Infanta became a part of Laguna province. Guerrilla forces, among them the Anderson Guerrilla, established their headquarters in the mountains of Infanta and many people of Infanta were arrested and tortured by the Japanese soldiers on suspicioin that they were members of the guerrilla forces. Japanese naval officers and men retreated from Manila and decided to settle in Infanta due to its nearness to the Pacific Ocean. In April-May 1945, the inhabitants of Infanta were massacred by the Japanese in barrios (now barangays) of Alitas, Balubo and Langgas. Among those killed was town mayor Sixto Quierrez.

American planes bombed the town of Infanta razing to the ground all houses and structures. The Japanese soldiers retreated towards the mounains. The Anderson Guerrillas supported by the American forces liberated the town of Infanta from the Japanese on 25 May 1945. Some 75,000 Japanese soldiers surrendered.

V. Postwar &endash; Rebirth
Right after liberation of the town of Infanta in 1945, Mr. Rufo G. Magallanes was appointed mayor of Infanta and the town became a part of Tayabas province again. When on 4 July 1946 the Philippines was granted independence by the Ameriicans, Tayabas was renamed "Quezon " province in honor of Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon.. So, Infanta became a part of Quezon province. During the postwar years after independence, the following were elected or served as Infanta town mayors:: Victorino Ruanto (1948-55); Ricardo O. Macasaet (1956 -59); Atty. Remegio Bustonera (1960- 63); Ildefonso Gurango (1964 -67); Gavino Ibayan (1968-1971); Dr. Primo Buñag (1972-1986); Augusto Corsilles (1986-87); Dr. Isauro Mercado (1987-88); Isagani Pradillada (1988-92); Sever Sollano (1992-95); Engr. Roldan Velasco (1996. He died while in office and Vice Mayor Filipina Grace America became Actg. Mayor). In 2001 election, Mr. Michael Mortiz was elected mayor. However, due to illness, he went on vacation/sick leave and Vice Mayor Filipina Grace America became again Acting Mayor of the town from 2002 up to the present.

The abovementioned town mayors did their best to contribute to the rehabilitation, progress and development of the town of Infanta. Among these significant improvements are: establishment of a public high school; construction of water irrigation system using Agos river as souce of water; construction of feeder roads connecting each other the various barangays as well as with the town of Infanta; renovation of the municipal building; establshment of an emergency hospital; cementing and improvement of major town streets; improvement of the public market; nenovation of the town plaza; construction of more feeder roads, school houses; improvement of town streets and water systems; establishment of three-day care centers; human settlements; offices of the Bureau of Lands and Register of Deeds; improvemnt of the Agus Irrigation System; construction of annex building to the municipal building; establishment of electric power to supply energy to the town and barangays; acquisition of ambulance vehicle and fire truck; improvement of the supply of potable water by harnessing the water from the spring (Bukal) in barangay Ilog; estrablishment of a branch of Southern Luzon Polytechnic College; asphalting of the Infanta-Famy Road; construction of a new modern concrete public market; construction of a warf and fish market in barangay Dinahikan; and improvement of the Infanta-Dinahikan road.

Side by side with material progress of the town of Infanta came also its "spiritual growth." In 1947 Irish and American Carmelite fathers headed by an Irish Chaplain Msgr Patrick Shanley, .arrived in Infanta. He launched a three-fold Mssion work: 1) Physical construction, 2) Catholic Action; and 3) Education. He constructed a concrete church, convent, high school and established a radio station. When Bishop Shanley left in 1960 followed later by the American and Irish Carmelite priests, Filipino diocesan priests, headed by Carmelite Bishop Julio Xavier Labayen, came to Infanta in August 1961 to continue propagating the faith.He launched an integrated five-point program of action: 1) Catholic education; 2) Catechetics; 3) Catholic Action; 4) Vocation; and 5) Liturgy. This program is accompanied by Social Action and Community Development. Upon Bishop Labayen´s retirement in 2003, Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, took over as head of the Prelatura of Infanta. Bishop Tria Tirona continued the projects of his predecessors and as he sees it fit and appropriate is expected to innovate his own approach and program to achieve the Carmelite´s Mission in that part of the Philippines.

Thus, from a wooden cross in 1578; a chapel in 1696 during the early Spanish period; and dilapidated nipa and wooden church and convent in 1947 during postwar Philippines when the first Carmelite fathers arrived, Infanta now has not only a concrete church (Cathedral) and convent but also the parish has been converted into a Prelatura with jurisdiction over other neighboring Quezon towns of Gen. Nakar, Real, Polillo, Bordeos, Jomalig, Panukulan and Patnanungan. This is in addition to the towns of Maria Aurora Province -- Dipaculao, Baler, Casiguran, Dilasag, Dinalungan, Dingalan, Maria Aurora, and San Luis.

VI. Metamorphosis of Infanta
From the foregoing legendary and historical accounts, the following metamorphosis of Infanta could be observed: From 1696 the settlement of "Binangonan del Ampon" blossomed into a big thriving community and was renamed "Infanta" in 1835. It was affiliated to the province of Nueva Ecija in 1803; Laguna in 1850; Tayabas in 1902; Laguna again in 1942; Tayabas again in 1945; and Quezon province in 1946.

Its patron saint was San Isidro in 1874 and years later St. Mark became the patron saint of the town. In 1949, the barrio (barangay) of Gen. Nakar became a separate municipality from Infanta and in 1963, another former barrio (barangay) called Real became also a separate town thus, lessening the land area and jurisdiction of Infanta.

Aside from these physical division and transfer of Infanta to different provinces, Infanta has been also visited by several calamites. For example by strong typhoons, floods in the years 1763,1813, 1831, 1922, 1929 and 1937. By strong earthquakes in 1823 and 1831. Cholera epidemic in 1737 and Moro pirate attacks in 1764 and 1797. By fire in 1940. By war in 1941 and Japanese massacre in 1945. Fires, typhoons and floods also visited Infanta during postwar and in recent years.

Despite such calamities, wars and misfortunes, the people of Infanta never lose faith in the Almighty and observe annually the feast of its patron saint with renewed dedication and religious fervor. And that special occasion will be repeated this 25th of April the feast of St. Mark. Now, the reply to the question raised at the beginning of this essay: "IS THE STATUE AT THE ALTAR OF INFANTA CHURCH THAT OF ST. MARK?

VII. OBSERVATION / CONCLUSION
St. Mark is one of the four Evangelists. He is represented by the "lion", because he starts his Gospel with St. John the Baptist, "the voice of one crying in the desert," and emphasizes the miraculous powers of the Savior. St. Mark wrote the second Gospel in Greek for the Gentile converts to Christianity. St. Mark´s purpose is to show to the Romans that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is divine. To this end he attends more to the miracles of our Lord than to His sermons, giving only a few of the parables at length. His language is simple, and yet earnest and full of charm.

The other Evangelist is St. Luke. He is typified by the "ox," the animal of sacrifice, because he begins his Gospel with the history of Zachary the priest offering sacrifice to God, and accentuates the universal priesthood of Christ. He was born at Antioch, Syria. He was a Gentile by birth and a physician by profession. He was one of the first converts to the faith and later became a missionary companion of St. Paul. The purpose of St. Luke is to give the converts a deeper and more accurate knowledge of the truths of their religion, and at the same time show them on what firm basis their faith is founded.

If one look closely at the statue at the altar of Infanta church considered by many as that of St. Mark, it is NOT accompanied by a "lion" the symbol of St. Mark, but by an "ox" the symbol of St. Luke. There is a clear indication that the statue at the altar in Infanta is that of St. Luke and not that of St. Mark.

Be that as it may, perhaps what could be done is simply replace the figure of an "ox" with that of a "lion"thus, converting the statue now at the altar in Infanta into that of St. Mark.

As we celebrate the feast of St. Mark on 25th of April, the town of Infanta has been akin to an infant or child that after getting up, he started to walk and traveled far and wide yet adhering firmly its roots to the very place where Nunong Karugtong fell asleep; got up and established the first Malay settlement along the eastern coast of Luzon.

Like an amoeba, Infanta has divided itself into three separate towns of Infanta, Gen. Nakar and Real, yet it keeps the people united with undying faith in the Almighty, dedication and hardwork to face the future. It has surmounted in the past several vicissitudes in life &endash;typhoons, earthquakes, epidemic, fires, war and destructions. And it has also achieved rebirth and reconstruction.

During the fiesta celebration this year on 25 April, it is time for meditation, prayers, and thanksgiving before the people of Infanta embark again on another long journey to the future.

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Infanta (published in Labong ng Kawayan)

(formerly Binangonan del Ampon)

Infanta, a fourth class municipality, is one of the oldest towns in Quezon Province. It is situated in the northern tip of Quezon mainland lying along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, facing the island municipalities of Polillo, Panukulan and Burdeos. It is a solid plane at the foothill of the Sierra Madre Mountains with a total land area of 34,276 hectares and with a population of 39,125 scattered among its 36 barangays.

Before the separation of General Nakar and Real, the land boundary was Umiray River in the northwest, the present boundary line dividing General Nakar town and Baler, Aurora, and in the southeast was up to Mag-asawang Bato, the present boundary between Real and Mauban. The municipalities of General Nakar and Real became independent towns during the incumbency of Mayor Victorino V. Ruanto Sr. and Atty. Remigio Bustonera, respectively.

The town is known as Infanta for 161 years. The name was given by a Spanish Captain named Juan Salvador in 1835 in honor of the eldest daughter of King Philipp II of Spain.

Mythical Origin

Prior to the coming of the Spaniards, a Malayan leader from the Province of Rizal named Nunong Karugtong and his men came to the place. Before the settlement was established the Malayan settlers chose among thee places &endash;&endash; Boboin, Comon and the present site of the town. Nunong Karugtong did not choose Boboin because of its proximity to the sea; nor did he choose Comon because it laid between two creeks. The present site of the town was chosen primarily because it was the place where the festivities in celebration of the finding of the big yam (ube) were to be held the following day. When at last everyone came to the place for the celebration, the old Malayan leader was still asleep. His men had to wake him and helped him get up.

Giving a name to the settlement was taken up. One of the men suggested that since Nunong Karugtong had to be helped in getting up from sleep, the name Binangonan del Ampon was the name to be given the settlement. It was also in consideration of the native's hospitality and warm welcome for every foreign settler that came to the place. Since there was another Binangonan in Rizal, this place was also known as Binangonang Malayo.

Infanta under the Spaniards

The first Catholic priest to arrive in Binangonan del Ampon was a Spaniard by the name of Father Esteban Ortiz, O.P.M., who in 1578 planted a wooden cross in the place where Nunong Karugtong fell asleep. This wooden cross became the symbol of Christianity, thus marking the beginning of the Spanish colonization of Binangonan del Ampon.

In 1696, Don Diego Mangilaya founded a settlement in he place. In 1697, paying to its mythical founder, Nunong Karugtong, he caused and led the construction of the first cathedral church right in the place where Nunong Karugtong fell asleep.

The distance of the place from Manila did not deter and Spanish missionaries and soldiers from coming and residing in this settlement.

Succession of leadership followed with a titular name of "cabeza de barangay." Don Diego Manglaya who served as "cabeza" from 1696 to 1699. Between 1700 and 1883, at least 171 settlers served as the cabeza.

Listed below are among those who served as "cabeza de barangay" with highlights of their administration.

Don Cosme Gutierrez, 1702: created Barrio Tongohin

Don Francisco Sumalakay, 1706: created Barrio Banawang

Don Nicolas Maalis, 1711: created Barrio Silangan

Don Juan Nicolas Sarmiento, 1718: built the Watch Tower and stockades around the town

Don Francisco Pagdamihan, 1721: built 2 Watch Towers

Don Guillermo Javier: Founded Barrio Anoling

Don Buenaventura Magnayon, 1736: built a church

Don Antonio de Leon, 1759: inhabitants were free to carry any arms to fight the Moros

Don Agustin de San Juan, 1764: remodeled the church

Don Diego Salvador: Created Barrio Binonoan

Don Juan Salvador Tonzon, 1835: widened the streets

Don Luis Ruidera: Changed the church tower

Don Bartolome Gurango, 1858: constructed Miswa Real Road

Don Arcadio Ortiz: created Barrio Dinahican

Source: Infanta Town Fiesta 300thYear Foundation Anniversary Souvenir Journal: April 23-27, 1996

Metro Infanta News, Vol 4, No.2, Spring 1998

Panukulan

Panukulan derived its present name from the Tagalog word "Panulukan" which the early settlers (Dumagats) used to call the place at the corner of the Panangatan Point on the main island of Polillo.

In the early twenties, Panukulan was a barrio of the municipality of Polillo. Due to the heavy influx of settlers from the neighboring town of Infanta, the barrio of Panukulan, together with the barrios of Libo, Lipata and Calasumanga was converted into a municipal district on June 21, 1959 .The late Hon. Manuel S. Enverga, then the incumbent congressman of the First District of Quezon, sponsored and worked hard to have these barrios attain the status of a separate political subdivision.

History recorded that the early settlers of Panukulan were the Dumagats. They settled in this locality for a long time, living along the seacoast of the new poblacion. They planted root crops and hunted wild life for food, which were abundant in the area during those times. As years passed by, migrants from the neighboring towns of Infanta and Mauban, and recently from Bicol and the Visayan provinces settled in Panukulan.

The early settlers of Panukulan recalled that during the American regime, no foreigners ever visited the place. In the early twenties, however, Japanese settled in the vicinity of Hook Bay, now Barangay Bato, and operated a logging company. The people still remember that time when large ocean vessels docked on Hook Bay to load logs for export.

Before the outbreak of World War II, barrio schools were opened in Panukulan, Libo and Calasumanga. While the Japanese occupation saw changes in the economic and cultural life, the people did not suffer much during the war. In fact, people from the neighboring town of Infanta evacuated in the area, where they were aided by the guerrilla forces.

Past Municipal Mayors

Crispin A. Tena Aug. 28, 1959 - Dec. 31, 1971 (4 terms)

Landelino H. Pestañas Jan. 1, 1972 - Jan. 30, 1980 (2 terms)

Crispin A. Tena May 1, 1986 - Feb. 1, 1987

Landelino H. Pestañas Feb. 2, 1987 - Jun. 30, 1992

Eufemio P. Pujeda Jul. 1, 1992 - Jul. 30, 1995

Ronnie T. Mitra Jul. 1, 1995 &endash;2001

Polillo

Trade relations between the natives of Polillo Islands and Chinese merchants existed long before the Spanish conquerors came to the Philippine Archipelago. Historians narrated that the islands had been inhabited by people with full knowledge in boatmaking, farming and fishing. Trade was by means of barter. Communication was a conglomeration of Malay, Hindu, Chinese and Tagalog. Government was centralized in the barangay proper, or poblacion.

Padre Morga wrote that Polillo originated from the Chinese words "Pu Li Lu" which mean "beautiful island with plenty of food." When Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish conquistador came to Pu Li Lu in 1567, he saw a central government fully organized through the "balangay" with a datu, who had direct supervision and control over all the natives. The inhabitants in decent clothing lived in nipa huts.

In 1571 the Spaniards took hold of the islands of Pu Li Lu. Through the leadership of Padre Domingo, a Spanish friar, a chapel was built, right where the old Spanish church was later constructed. After one and a half years, the people, through forced labor built a concrete wall to protect the "pueblo" of Pu Li Lu from moro pirate invaders. Watch towers called "castillos" were erected in the four corners of the "pueblo." Native islanders stood as guardias" day and night.

The old church was constructed in 1577. Boulders, gravel and sand were mixed with lime produced out of seashells and coral stones. Padre Domingo instigated the planting of sugar cane in sitios: San Isidro, San Antonio and San Francisco. Production of molasses was put into full swing.

Spanish conquistadores were assigned to the "pueblo" of Pu Li Lu to promote church construction. The church tower was constructed with priority, so that in in 1587, in the early summer of May, two huge bronze bells rang atop, bringing joy to both Spaniards and islanders. Due to Spanish tongue deficiency, Padre Domingo changed Pu Li Lu to Polillo. Since 1600 the island has been popularly called Polillo (po-lil-yo).

(Judge Lucy Ovalles submitted this brief history of Polillo. It was taken from a Journal published in conjunction with Polillo's town fiesta on May 1-2, 1982.)

Real

The Myth

The place was formerly part or barrio of Infanta, Quezon. The people are known for their truthfulness and modesty.

It got its name "Real" because of the story that one day a foreigner passed by the place and saw a group of people discussing something but could not understand what they were talking about and would like to ask them what was the name of the place.

The foreigner saw a boy and asked him what the inhabitants were talking about. The boy thinking that the foreigner was doubting the truth of what the people were talking about, replied: "Sir, they are all telling the truth and they never tell a lie."

The foreginer commented: "Oh, really? The boy shot back little bit annoyed: "Yes, sir! this is real." The foreigner thought that the boy was telling him that the place is called "Real." Since then it became known as Real.

Real became a town in 1960 through the efforts of Congressman Manuel S. Enverga, father of the incumbent governor of Quezon Wilfredo or Willi Enverga, a former Congressman of the first district of Quezon province.

Translated by former Ambassador Rudy Arizala from the book entitled: "Lalawigang Quezon (Kislap ng Silangang Quezon) Mga Kasaysayan at Alamat" by Prof. Godofredo S. Laureles, 1999 edition. The book was first printed in 1994, then in 1996; 1997; and lately in 1999.

Historical Sketch

The present town of Real in the province of Quezon along the Pacific coast in mid-eastern island of Luzon was formerly a barrio or barangay of Infanta, Quezon. During the early period of the Spanish regime in the Philippines, Infanta was known as "Binangonan del Ampon."

Real became a municipal district on 15 December 1960, through the efforts of then Quezon Congressman Manuel S. Enverga, when Executive Order No. 10 was signed by President Carlos P. Garcia. The municipal district of Real consists of the barrios (now barangays) of Cawayan, Kiloloron, Capalong, Tignoan, Lubayat and Llavac. On 22 June 1963, the municipal district of Real became a full-pledged municipality through Republic Act No. 3754.

The first municipal mayor of Real was Ricardo O. Macasaet when in 1961 he became the town town mayor with Benito Atendido as vice mayor and Eugenio R. Pestañas, Dafrosa M. Flores, Pablo Mortiz, Rufo Miras and Joaquin Durante as municipal council members.

Ideal Location

The town of Real is ideally and strategically located. It is between Lamon Bay, the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and the serene mountain ranges of Sierra Madre. It is 133 kilometers away by land from Manila and 35 kilometers away by sea from Polillo Islands. From Infanta, it could be reached by land in 30 minutes. By boat, Real is three hours travel time from Polillo Islands, three hours from Mauban, six hours from the towns of Perez and Alabat, three days from Okinawa island, Japan and six days from Tokyo Bay.

Early Settlers

The early settlers or pioneers in then barrio Real were from Infanta´s barrios such as Alitas, Cawaynin, Balubo and Binunoan. Because of their strong desire to own a piece of land, the early settlers cleared the forests and planted the area with variety of products such as coconut trees, bananas, cassava and other root crops as well as with vegetables.

They considered the newly cleared lands between the forests and the sea as their home and they seldom venture out of Real except for occasional trips by boat and foot to Infanta through barrio Tongohin or Binunoan to buy basic necessities not available in Real.

As time went by, more people were attracted to Real because of the abundance of seafoods such as crabs, lobsters, shrimps, fish and clams. The inhabitants also enjoyed the many tropical products of the mountains aside from the agricultural products planted by them. Water is provided by clear springs and rivers. Thus, the population started to grow and even attracted undesirable characters especially pirates due to its easy access by sea.

Due to frequent attacks by pirates (mostly Muslim seafarers from the South), the Spanish authorities decided to construct a watch tower and headquarters for their soldiers at sitio Ungos in Real. They called the place "Puerto Real." Ungos at that time was connected by land to the now Balute Island. In the course of time, however, due to sea currents and soil erosion, Balute was severed from Ungos and a body of water was created. That body of water became a safe harbor for boats from the ravages of the monsoons and typhoons which regularly visit that part of Tayabas province (now Quezon). The Spanish authorities also built in 1889, a structure for salt-making which was converted into evacuation center during those periods whenever there were attacks by pirates.

The first commandant of Puerto Real was Rafael Refel. With his appointment and the presence of soldiers it made the area secure and peaceful and the inhabitants were able to dedicate their time to farming, forest products gathering, and fishing. The area began to proper. The inhabitants, out of gratitude for such blessings from the Almighty, decided to construct a chapel and adopted as their patron saint San Rafael in honor of the name of the first commandant Rafael Refel who gave them peace and security. Since then, Real celebrates its annual fiesta every October 24, the feastday of San Rafael.

With the defeat of the Spanish forces and the coming of the Americans to the Philippines, other religious denominations came to be established in Real such as The Protestants, Bible Baptist Church, Church of Christ New Testament, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses and the "Iglesia ni Kristo."

Real at Present

Today, the town of Real is not only a port and fishing village with watch tower and salt-making structures but has become a progressive town with tourist attractions such as nice beach resorts, swimming pools, picnic grounds, banks, communication systems through the PLDT Cable Station, Cable TV Network, and Cruztelco (an electric company). It has also a well-paved asphalt mountain road which cuts across the Sierra Madre mountains connecting not only Real to Laguna and Rizal provinces as well as Metro Manila but also the neighboring towns of Infanta and General Nakar. Easy access of Polillo Islands to Manila first by sea to Real and then by land was also provided because of said mountain road. Indeed, Real from a very humble beginning is on her road to greater destiny through the efforts of its humble but industrious inhabitants and the blessings of the Almighty and their patron saint San Rafael.

Municipal Officials

Mayor
Vice Mayor
Council Members:

Joel Amanda A. Diestro
Wilfredo R. Peras
Rene Sollestre
Joel Atendido
Darious Castro
Ruben Poblete
Danilo Calzado
Aileen Buan
Wilma Aumentado
Teodoro Ebreo
Rochelle Vergara
Luz Vergara
Statistics

Classification, 1997
Population, 1995
Households
Area
Pupulation Density
Growth Rate
Industries
Communications
Electric
Waterworks
Distance from Mani
Distance from Lucena

3rd Class Municipality
27,641
5,165
56,380 hectares
40%
6%
Fishing, Farming, Woodworking
PLDT, GTS, Cruztelco
QUEZELCO Electric Cooperative
Level III
133 kms
125 kms

PNK_Saudi Chapter

Greetings from Saudi Arabia

Regards to all our kababayans in the US/Canada especially in our hometown Infanta lalo na sa mga taga 20 de Julio "Patay na Kuko".

Larry Leynes, Pidok Suaverdez, Budjie Santos, Bimbo Indemni, Toto Leynes, Joseph Leynes, Menard Merana & Val Mercado

Rudy Arizala

arizala.jpg

Rodolfo A. Arizala is a lawyer, holder of master´s degree in International Relations, Syracuse University, Syracuse New York, U.S.A.; was a UN/UNITAR Fellow in International Law, The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague Netherlands, and former Philippine ambassador to Chile.

Mila Garcia Glodava

Mila.jpg
Mila Garcia Glodava is the president of the Metro Infanta Foundation. A graduate of St. Paul College of Manila with a bachelor of science degree in education, Mila is director of Communications and Stewardship at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial, Colorado.

from Rudy Arizala

Thanks for your email msg and for considering my stories on Infanta interesting.

Your mother "Nieva" is a good friend of my late mother (Coring). Your family lived before in"Isla" near the house of Inang Pinang and Amang Catalino Costumbrado. Inang Pinang is related to us through the Ruidera family.

I did not know that Aling "Nieva" has a daughter who joined the Benedictine sisters. Probably, you remember my youngest sister Merle. After teaching for sometime, she joined the Notre Dame de Vie Institute as lay sister. She is now in Angat, Bulacan.

After practising briefly lmy profession as a awyer, I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs. Was assigned in New Delhi, New York, Buenos Aires, Tehran, Santiago, Chile. I retired as ambassador in 1998 and since then has been residing in Santiago, Chile because our youngest and only daughter got married to a Chileno and my wife and I would like to be near our daughter.

If you do not know it yet, my other stories about Infanta were published in a book called "Labong ng Kawayan" in 2000. Also, there is a coffee table book published called "Infanta, Passage to the Pacific." It was published by BPI Foundation, Inc. The Bank of the Philippine Islands Bldg. Ayala Avenue, corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. It contains articles and pictures about Infanta.

The book "Labong ng Kawayan" was published through the Metro Infanta Foundation of which Mila Glodava is the President.

With best wishes and prayers,

Rudy A. Arizala

Thanks for your email msg and for considering my stories on Infanta interesting.

Your mother "Nieva" is a good friend of my late mother (Coring). Your family lived before in"Isla" near the house of Inang Pinang and Amang Catalino Costumbrado. Inang Pinang is related to us through the Ruidera family.

I did not know that Aling "Nieva" has a daughter who joined the Benedictine sisters. Probably, you remember my youngest sister Merle. After teaching for sometime, she joined the Notre Dame de Vie Institute as lay sister. She is now in Angat, Bulacan.

After practising briefly lmy profession as a awyer, I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs. Was assigned in New Delhi, New York, Buenos Aires, Tehran, Santiago, Chile. I retired as ambassador in 1998 and since then has been residing in Santiago, Chile because our youngest and only daughter got married to a Chileno and my wife and I would like to be near our daughter.

If you do not know it yet, my other stories about Infanta were published in a book called "Labong ng Kawayan" in 2000. Also, there is a coffee table book published called "Infanta, Passage to the Pacific." It was published by BPI Foundation, Inc. The Bank of the Philippine Islands Bldg. Ayala Avenue, corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. It contains articles and pictures about Infanta.

The book "Labong ng Kawayan" was published through the Metro Infanta Foundation of which Mila Glodava is the President.

With best wishes and prayers,

Rudy A. Arizala

from Sister Maria Gabrielle

Hello! I am Sister Maria Gabrielle (Amanda) Costumbrado, 5th child (out of 9) of Nieva Costumbrado and the late Epimaco Costumbrado. I am a Benedictine Sister presently assigned in Bacolod City, Philippines. May I ask for the email address of Mr. Arizala? I just want to thank him for the stories about Infanta. Thanks a lot

Hello! I am Sister Maria Gabrielle (Amanda) Costumbrado, 5th child (out of 9) of Nieva Costumbrado and the late Epimaco Costumbrado. I am a Benedictine Sister presently assigned in Bacolod City, Philippines. May I ask for the email address of Mr. Arizala? I just want to thank him for the stories about Infanta. Thanks a lot

July 26, 2006

Condolences!


Sorry to learn about the demise of ex-mayor of Infanta, Quezon Michael A. Mortiz.

Please extend our deepest condelence to his bereaved mother, famly and relatives.

We join in prayers for the eternal repose of his soul.

Sincerely,
Rudy Arizala & family

Santiago, Chile

From the Mortiz Family


Our family would like to sincerely thank all relatives, friends, and kababayans for the prayers, messages of sympathy, and all the kindness and support during the illness of our beloved MICHAEL A. MORTIZ and through this heartbreaking time of our loss... We get so much comfort and strength to hang on amidst this difficult time from the overwhelming concern of all those who care. Words alone can not capture our gratitude. God bless.

MORTIZ FAMILY

Looking for Rocky Peñamante

Dear Editor of Metro Infanta,

I am Ed Limtingco and now based in Cebu City. I am related [first degree] to Mr. Bienvenido "Tata Bembe" Peñamante and have spent a lot of my teenage years in Infanta, Quezon and in Pollilo Island.

Anyway, I am writing to you because I am looking for a "long lost" cousin of mine by the name of Rocky Peñamante. The last time I heard he is somewhere in Butuan City, Mindanao, Philippines.

At any rate, I would like also to inform you that here in Cebu, we have also initiated and registered an association called "Quezonians in Cebu." So if ever there are Quezonians out there that will visit Cebu City and would like to be introduced to their "kababayans" , they can contact me and be my guest. My contact address and nos are below herewith.

Again, more power to your endeavor. I remain.
ED F. LIMTINGCO
VISMIN Area Manger

CIBI Information, Inc.
2nd Floor, OLS Bldg.,
Gorordo Ave., cor. C.S. Rosal St.,

Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines

First $25 received on behalf of MCHS Class of 1970

Elisa Lacerona of New Jersey, while not an MCHS alumna, has sent the first $25 to be credited to the MCHS Class of 1970. Let's hope more will follow this gesture.

Response from MCHS alumni disappointing

With the exception of Cora R. of Batch 1970, the MCHS alumni did not seem to heed our call for action to help rebuild classrooms for Mt. Carmel School. Yet you can count on the number of alumni who sign our Guestbook saying "hi" to everyone under the sun. Is that all that you can do? There are some alumni though who have responded earlier with their own personal contributions, and I applaud all of them.

With the exception of Cora R. of Batch 1970, the MCHS alumni did not seem to heed our call for action to help rebuild classrooms for Mt. Carmel School. Yet you can count on the number of alumni who sign our Guestbook saying "hi" to everyone under the sun. Is that all that you can do? There are some alumni though who have responded earlier with their own personal contributions, and I applaud all of them. They don't need to be prodded to respond. You know who you are. Your names are on the list of our Disaster Relief Donors below. But you and I know we can do more. Fiona Ramirez has heard the call for her batch of 1970. But that's only one out of nearly 40 batches from the early 1960s through 2004.

As Cora said, "It is only fitting that we help rebuild the school and support its expanded community services so others may receive the opportunities and guidance that we were lucky to get during our formative years. In this time of need, any form and size of assistance is valuable. Let's keep in touch to plan ways to meet this challenge."

The challenge is still on. How will you respond?

Two new MCHS scholars sponsored by Romy Coronacion; first Arizala scholar to graduate

Officials at Mt. Carmel High School have chosen two new MIF scholars -- Benmanuel Gurango and Sharmaine Eranista -- sponsored by Romy Coronacion. The two new scholars, both victims of the floods of Infanta, started first year high school this year and will continue to receive scholarship funds through fourth year. Congratulations to Benmanuel and Sharmaine and our thanks to Romy for sponsoring these two scholars

Officials at Mt. Carmel High School have chosen two new MIF scholars -- Benmanuel Gurango and Sharmaine Eranista -- sponsored by Romy Coronacion. The two new scholars, both victims of the floods of Infanta, started first year high school this year and will continue to receive scholarship funds through fourth year. Congratulations to Benmanuel and Sharmaine and our thanks to Romy for sponsoring these two scholars.

The two new scholars join a long list of scholars that Metro Infanta Foundation supports through generous donors. In October our first Arizala Diplomacy Scholar -- Frederick Rili -- will graduate from Lyceum University. His scholarship was sponsored by Cavan Corporation, which will continue to sponsor the next scholar starting Sept. 12. Amb. Dolores Benavides Sale, who coordinates the above scholarship, was very proud to inform us that Lyceum University has offered Frederick a teaching position at the university. Frederick just recently sent us a report on his Impact Project (a requirement for MIF scholars), a cooperative bank, which is going well and has proved beneficial to the neighborhood in Barangay Rizal.

FYI MIF has provided in the last nine years tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds. This year alone we will be providing at least $10,000 (that's more than half a million pesos) in scholarship funds. If there's anything members and donors of Metro Infanta Foundation can proud of, it's this legacy of education for our future leaders and generation. Thank you for your support.

Posted: July 10, 2005

Mt. Carmel School of Infanta needs help!

by Mila Glodava

Classes have started but a school building still buried in the "banlik" is causing a strain in the already overloaded classrooms of the main building, which also houses the offices. As a result of the nearly 10 feet high waters, the offices have been transferred to the second floor and the old offices are now being used as temporary classrooms. The school needs to build eight simple classrooms and is in dire need of assistance to fund the building project.

by Mila Glodava

Classes have started but a school building still buried in the "banlik" is causing a strain in the already overloaded classrooms of the main building, which also houses the offices. As a result of the nearly 10 feet high waters, the offices have been transferred to the second floor and the old offices are now being used as temporary classrooms. The school needs to build eight simple classrooms and is in dire need of assistance to fund the building project.

As Ms. Belen Foronda has stated in an earlier message: "Due to flash floods, we lost millions worth of structure and equipment. All classrooms (17) and offices (3) in the first floor buildings have been severely damaged. Books, tables, chairs, blackboards, walls, computers, musical and laboratory instruments, other machines where either buried in 3-5 ft. deep mud or washed away.

We have done our best to repair eight classrooms. We still need to rebuild nine classrooms or sheds. Our canteen has been destroyed too, together with our playground and basketball court.

We believe you can help us go back to normalcy so that the children will be able to study and play. Thank you very much for whatever aid you can give us. Surely, this will be very much appreciated by our school community. May God reward you a hundred fold for your generosity."

Metro Infanta Foundation would like to assist in this regard and would like to raise the $20,000 goal this year towards this project. We're calling all batches of the MCHS Alumni Association for an all out effort to reach this goal. With more than 30 batches just in the three decades alone we should be able to reach this goal. To date we have $6,964.33. If all of the batches raises at least $500 we should reach our goal in no time. Please indicate your Batch Year when making a contribution towards this goal so we can credit your batch. I ask MCHS Alumni Association president Francisco Romantico to take the lead in generating interest once again in making this call to action happen. This is a time when we should all get together for the common good and that is to give our future generation the same opportunity we had at Mt. Carmel Schools (I too am a Carmelian although in Polillo).

In the meantime, please take note of the matching grant below.

Dr. Renato Ortiz Borreo dead at 63

Editor's Note: Shelley Ortiz sent this obituary piece on June 20 while I was in the Philippines.

My cousin - Kuya Reny died last week. He was 63. He is survived by his wife - Dr. Josie Borreo, one child, and also by his mother (Amparo Sollesa Ortiz Borreo) and 6 other younger siblings - Amparo Ortiz Borreo. All of Kuya Reny's siblings are in the U.S (New Jersey and Texas).

Tia Paring is older sister to my father - Atty. Reynaldo Sollesa Ortiz (deceased). Kuya Reny is the oldest child and oldest of the 1st cousins on the Ortiz side

First cousins from Tio Raul's (Raul Sollesa Ortiz, 2nd to Tia Paring) family are mostly in California.

First cousins from Rening (my father) are in Texas (me) and 2 in Manila.

First cousins from youngest Tia Aning (Anita Sollesa Ortiz Coralde) are mostly in New Zealand (4), one is in New Jersey and another one in Infanta).

Please pray for the living, that we all might be ready when called - to face our Maker and account for all our deeds, our thoughts, our words. By ourselves (and yes even with all our good works otherwise referred to as filthy rags in the bible) we canNOT stand and face our 3x Holy God, only in Christ are we able to beg for forgiveness, compassion and mercy. There is only One Way to God - The Man Christ Jesus, He alone saves and has prepared and will welcome us to our heavenly home.

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. (Matthew 24:42-44)

24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness. [He is] longsuffering and not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 P 3:9-10)

5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Our time on this side of heaven is very short, insignificant compared to eternity. We must be about the Lord's business, not our own. The Lord our God is sovereign, He does all things right. Blessed be His Name forever!

Thank you. I have included my daytime phone number for anyone who wants to call me. I will share whatever information I have.

Shelley Ortiz

281-514-1420

Pikoy (last name unknown) suggests a listing of needs

May I suggest to the principal of Mt. Carmel to publish a breakdown of expenses from major to minor items dito sa website (at paki-gawing 'sticky' and so are the donations). Baka ho kasi mas marami ang makapag-bigay ng maliit na items. Halimbawa ang isang silya will cost P500, pwedeng mag-padala ang sinuman ng worth isang silya o isang blackboard or one day's worth of carpenter's labor. Suggestion lang. Baka sakaling mas marami ang makatulong this way. May I suggest to the principal of Mt. Carmel to publish a breakdown of expenses from major to minor items dito sa website (at paki-gawing 'sticky' and so are the donations). Baka ho kasi mas marami ang makapag-bigay ng maliit na items. Halimbawa ang isang silya will cost P500, pwedeng mag-padala ang sinuman ng worth isang silya o isang blackboard or one day's worth of carpenter's labor. Suggestion lang. Baka sakaling mas marami ang makatulong this way.
As suggested, we are reposting the many needs of Mt. Carmel Schools:

Mt. Carmel School Infanta
Phil. Pesos
US Dollar
Cost Per Item

200 classroom chairs

P180,000

$3,333.33

$16.67

20 classroom electric fans

20,000

370.37

18.52

2 office computers, printers, scanners

100,000

185

925.92

Copy and fax machine

75,000

1,388.89

1,388.89

Storage cabinets for classrooms and offices

175,000

3,240.74

3,240.74

Laboratory apparatus

60,000

1,111

1,111

Cassettes, microphones, guitars

50,000

925.93

308.64

Office tables, chairs and teachers' chairs

30,000

555.56

555.56

Sub-Total

P690,000

$12,777.78

Mt. Carmel High School General Nakar

100 classroom chairs

90,000

1666.67

16.67

6 electric fans

6,000

111

18.52

1 office computer with printer

40,000

740.74

740.74

Office tables and chairs

10,000

185.19

185.19

Mimeographing machine

20,000

370.37

370.37

Laboratory apparatus

20,000

370.37

370.37

Repair of Damaged Library

25,000

462.96

462.96

Sub-Total

211,000

3,907.41

TOTAL

P901,000

$16,685

Metro Infanta Association of Michigan to donate $250 towards matching grant; Mario Leodones to add another $100

Sometime in April of this year I read from the MIF website a plea from Ms. Belen Foronda, principal of MCHS - Infanta for monetary donation to rehabilitate and repair class rooms and equipments such as computers, musical and laboratory equipments, tables, chairs, blackboards, etc. As one of the early alumnus of MCHS - Infanta, I am very much indebted to my high school alma mater for my educational and professional attainments.

Sometime in April of this year I read from the MIF website a plea from Ms. Belen Foronda, principal of MCHS - Infanta for monetary donation to rehabilitate and repair class rooms and equipments such as computers, musical and laboratory equipments, tables, chairs, blackboards, etc. As one of the early alumnus of MCHS - Infanta, I am very much indebted to my high school alma mater for my educational and professional attainments. My early training from MCHS and Carmelite order both as an altar boy and student helped me prepared for my higher education and professional life. As a token of my deep appreciation from my Carmelian education, our club Metro Infanta Association of Michigan is donating $250.00 for this cause and I am personally donating $100.00 (I will send you checks asap). We want to avail the use of "$2500 Matching Grant Contribution." I know first hand how important the rehabilitation phase after the emergency relief phase of a disaster as we hear first hand news from our relatives and kababayan back home.

Please allocate this donation one hundred percent to MCHS - Infanta for the rehabilitation project as described by Ms. Foronda. Also I want to call all the MCHS - Infanta alumni all over the world (U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East) to answer this plea for donations for our alma mater. Any donation small or big will help our students who will be the future leaders of our town. Whatever we do (yesterday, today or tomorrow) MCHS is an integral part of us. Let us unite and show that we care about our alma mater.
Regards,
Mario C. Leodones
MCHS, Class of 1964
Canton, MI 48187

For Your Information: Metro Infanta Association of Michigan was involved and still involve with the following projects:
A) Infanta National High School - thru PTSM (Philippine Technological Society of Michigan, of which Greg Sollestre and myself are members)
1) donated and install one water pump
2) donated one high pressure power wash
3) clean up class rooms
4) donated 200 pcs class room chairs
B) Claro M. Recto Hospital (on going)
1) rehabilitation of the first floor (walls, rooms, doors;etc)
2) upgrading and tiling of the first floor
3) painting
C) Donation of Medicines:
1) Annie Sollestre - coordinator for Infanta (Jan, 2005)
2) Jovita Sollano Valentino - coordinator for Gen. Nakar (Feb. 2005)
3) Jures Ocampo - coordinator for Real
D) Distribution of Liza Ip Donations (Rice) - Salvacion Ascarraga Derilo - coordinator
E) MIAMI also send balikbayan boxes of used clothings for Infanta, Real and General Nakar

Houston Northwest Filipino American Community sends donation

Joe Mallari, president of the Houston Northwest Filipino American Community, in a show of solidarity, sent Metro Infanta Foundation $500, as their "humble donation to the flood victims of Infanta, Quezon."

"We commend your efforts, said Mr. Mallari, "and those who volunteered their time, talents and resources in initiating a fundraising campaign to help the flood victims back home. God bless you and the people of Infanta.

Bangon Infanta

In a recent article, Infanta had a festival they called "Bangon Infanta" to encourage everyone to stand up and help their town rise from the disaster of the century. With their heads held high our people are showing they will rise up again amidst all the uncertainties of their present situation.

Rumors have it that Infanta may have to relocate; that it may not be safe to remain in its location. in fact some organization have not initiated any housing projects because Infanta might suffer the same fate in the near future.

In a recent article, Infanta had a festival they called "Bangon Infanta" to encourage everyone to stand up and help their town rise from the disaster of the century. With their heads held high our people are showing they will rise up again amidst all the uncertainties of their present situation.

Rumors have it that Infanta may have to relocate; that it may not be safe to remain in its location. in fact some organization have not initiated any housing projects because Infanta might suffer the same fate in the near future.

Do you really believe that our people will just leave their home, their property, and their loved ones just like that, or without a fight? I don't think so. But they need help! And that where you and I can pull together and reach out to our people who are not only hurting financially but indeed emotionally as well.

You were all generous during the emergency phase of our campaign. What was more incredible during this campaign was the fact that there were Infantahins who may have risked their lives by doing a fundraiser for our people. Indeed it's not the money that's important! It's the fact that we do care. Let us show our people, however, that we are there for them for the long haul. Knowing you support them means a lot to them. Please send your donations to: Metro Infanta Foundation, 7350 Braun Way, Arvada, CO 80005.

A Message from MCHS Principal

Infanta has been devastated by typhoon Winnie and Yoyong. Mt. Carmel School of Infanta, which belongs to the Prelature of Infanta, has been heavily destroyed. It is a non-stock, nonprofit Catholic school, administered by the members of Notre Dame de Vie, whose mission-vision is towards building the Church of the Poor / Sambayanan ng mga Dukha.

Majority of our students are children of farmers and fishermen who want to avail of quality education with low tuition fees: P4,200 (I-III), P4,700 (IV) YEARLY.

Due to flash floods, we lost millions worth of structure and equipment. All classrooms (17) and offices (3) in the first floor buildings have been severely damaged. Books, tables, chairs, blackboards, walls, computers, musical and laboratory instruments, other machines where either buried in 3-5 ft. deep mud or washed away.

We have done our best to repair eight classrooms. We still need to rebuild nine classrooms or sheds. Our canteen has been destroyed too, together with our playground and basketball court.

We believe you can help us go back to normalcy so that the children will be able to study and play. Thank you very much for whatever aid you can give us. Surely, this will be very much appreciated by our school community. May God reward you a hundred fold for your generosity.

Sincerely yours in the good Lord,

Ms. Belen Foronda

Posted April 30, 2005

Facts and Figures: After the tragedy

Sent ot MIFby Deacon Mario Van Loon
Taken from the Social Action Center Newsletter

The Relief Operation:
Since the first shipment of relief goods left the Mount Carmel Shrine Parish Relief Center in New Manila during the first days of December 2004 we have distributed more than 250,000 food packages to the victims of the calamity in the Prelature. Of course more than 200,000 of these went to Dingalan, Infanta, Real and Nakar, where the need was greatest. But we also served San Luis, Baler, Maria Aurora, and even up to Casiguran area. Special attention was given also to our tribal sisters and brothers. They got a very big share. A conservative estimate puts the value of an average package at 200 pesos. This results in an amount of 50 million pesos in food packages distributed so far. Included her are the packages given in the program Food-for-Work.

After the first two weeks of relief food we began delivery of kitchen items and other household articles to replace the ones lost by the families with totally or partially washed out houses. Our list is not complete because several deliveries did not pass through our relief center in Manila or in Infanta and were brought directly to the people in the barrios. We can guarantee, however, that the value of these items surpasses the 5 million pesos mark.

The Food-for-Work Program:

The first week of January 2005 we agreed with almost all the NGOs working in the area that we would change from Relief Food Distribution to Food-for-Work. This means that people will work for the community in one or the other project for up to three hours for which they will receive one day of food for their family. This was also done based on the urgent request of the mayors of the three towns: "Get our people working again…"! The cleaning up of the towns of Real, Infanta and Nakar was greatly helped by this program. Food-for-Work is continuing today especially in building houses, reviving agricultural land and rebuilding infrastructure like irrigation canals.

The Provisory Shelter Program:
The first week of February started the first batch of our Provisory Shelter-building program. Our partner for this first batch in Real, Infanta and Nakar (RIN) is Christian Aid. Our partner for the first batch in Dingalan is YMCA. The second batch in RIN and Dingalan will be done in partnership with the National Social Action office (NASA) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

On March 31, 2005 we had completed in RIN 491 of the targeted 500 shelters in partnership with Christian Aid. This program is covered by an amount of almost 6 million pesos. In Dingalan the YMCA is building 127 shelters.

The second batch will consist of 450 shelters in RIN and 450 shelters in Dingalan in partnership with NASA.

At this point we have to make a clarification of terms. We use the term SHELTER for a provisory house that is constructed mainly from wood with a roof of galvanized iron. The term HOUSE is used for a construction involving concrete flooring and partially or totally concrete walls. The projects we have so far initiated are all for shelters. In the future we hope to start projects on housing.

On Mach 30 we called for a meeting with other agencies/organizations involved in shelter or housing. It proved very profitable to coordinate and compare notes. What came out of this meeting is the following:

* Kumare, the organization of the women initiated by the Sion sisters, is close to completing the construction of 121 permanent houses for their members. This project involves a down payment for the acquisition of the land by those who do not yet own the land they are building their permanent houses on.

* The local chapter of Rotary International is going to build 35 permanent houses in barangay Pinaglapatan in Infanta.

* ICTC, the Inter-Congregational Theological Center, is going to build 46 shelters in two barangays in Nakar: Magsikap and Sablang.

* The Philippine Red Cross has decided to build 1000 shelters for victimized families. They agree to accept in their program the families we will indicate.

* Oxfam Great Britain will build also an amount of shelters (more than 700) for the victims that we will identify for them.

The calamity destroyed a total of 4000 houses in Real, Infanta and Nakar. It seems now a reasonable target to have replaced 3000 of these by provisory shelters and permanent houses by the first weeks of May.

On the level of houses NASA is interested in building villages of permanent houses in the three municipalities. Due to the lack of donations of land NASA is considering the possibility of acquiring land, always when the price is reasonable. We are presently investigating the possibility of acquiring 15 hectares in the municipality of Nakar for this purpose.

Other organizations with the same plans of building permanent houses have requested the municipalities to donate land for their housing program. So far this has not brought any positive results. The municipalities do not have land and do not have the funds to buy substantial amounts of land.

The Livelihood Program:
During the past months we have already provided some farmers' communities with seeds for vegetable gardens. This small-scale operation had some good results. It also provided us with valuable information about the possible use of alternative crops like vegetables on the (rice) land affected by the mudflows from the mountains.

On April 2 we have launched a comprehensive livelihood program again in cooperation with Christian Aid. This program has several components:

* A comprehensive program of rehabilitation of the affected agricultural lands with the help of experienced agriculturists, who will introduce sustainable bio-farming. Revival of the rice fields as far as this proves possible. Cleaning and / or rebuilding of the irrigation system or providing for alternative irrigation facilities like pumps. Conversion of rice-fields into vegetable farms if this proofs to be the only alternative. The acquisition or hiring of equipment to make the project possible.

* A comprehensive program of rehabilitation of the fishing industry by providing new fishing boats and nets to fisher-folks' communities by introducing a cooperative system and the introduction of new forms of aqua-industry like see-weed cultivation.

* A big scale livestock dispersal program involving small animals (chickens, ducks etc.) and big animals (pigs, cows, kalabaw etc.) with the corresponding education of the participants.

* The establishment of a marketing system, so the excess products can be sold in the markets of Manila and other big cities outside the area.

This quite ambitious plan is not limited to the partnership between our Social Action Center and Christian Aid. In a way these two partners have drawn up the framework and provided the initial financial backing. There are many other partners who will take part on this endeavor. About them we will write in the next Newsletter.

Medical Missions:
There have been so many medical missions in the area, many organized spontaneously by universities, medical institutions and most often congregations, that we have not been able to keep track of all of them. Already the first days after the disaster doctors and nurses went in the area by helicopter and by boat. Since then many have followed. Thanks to all of these beautiful initiatives the health situation has been brought under control very quickly. Several organizations have made long lasting commitments. They come to a certain municipality once a month with doctors and dentists and serve the sick. The Social Action Center has provided logistic support to these missions and in many cases bought additional medicines.

The last days of March we got the scare of several cases of dengue fever. The weather had been sunny for several days and the mosquitoes were multiplying. Stagnant water is everywhere in big quantities. It will take some time to change this situation. In the meantime we use all the necessary precautions to avoid spreading of dengue and malaria.

Processing the Soul:
It goes without saying that there are many traumatized people, especially children, in the area. Teams of counselors have been processing them. This "debriefing" is ongoing and will be continued for several months.

During the month of January it proved necessary to exam more closely the groups that were coming in, because not all proved well equipped for this work, making sometimes the wounds deeper instead of healing them. The Social Action Center took it on itself to provide screening and it advises the parishes on who could be trusted with this delicate work.

The Social Action Staff:
A very important fact we should not forget is the development of the staff of the Social Action Center and the Parish Social Action Offices and for the Social Action of the Tribal Center for Development (TCD). Bishop Tria Tirona made it very clear from the very start of our work that he wanted the Social Action to have "a bit" in the parishes, meaning the Social Action should be implemented by the Parishes under the leadership of the Parish priest and in the case of the TCD of Fr. Pete Montallana. Our social action should be felt by the most poor and affected victims.

At present the three Parishes, the TCD and the Social Action Center in Infanta have each a staff of five Social Action workers. The urgency of the situation provided only for 'on-the-job training', i.e. learning by implementing. The good results of our work, especially in the shelter program, proof that the process was effective.

During the months of April, May and June we will be able to give more explicit formation to the staff to equip them for the next phase of the program.

The Donors:
Thousands of people and organizations have contributed their share to make the above-mentioned results possible. Any lists of donors would be deficient. Many came and went even without telling us their name. They wanted to stay anonymous. However, we still want to make special mentioning of certain organizations that helped in a special way. We will provide a special corner for that in the next issue of this Newsletter.

Posted April 23, 2005

Congratulations …Leo Villeno

on the occasion of the Grand Opening
LeoVille Center
at Robinson / Comonwealth
Quezon City
April 26, 2005
Products include Sapin at Saplot, Bayong at Bugsok , and new forgotten primitive apparels

Gawad Kalinga building houses in General Nakar and Dingalan

Smart Communications employees arrived in two buses to build the first 10 houses for the Smart Amazing Village in Gen. Nakar, Quezon. They worked under the hot midday sun side by side with members of Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ and GK residents from Cainta and Mandaluyong. The following day, on Feb 26, a group of Filipino youth from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand arrived to continue the work from the previous day.

This March, Aurora province joins the roster with full support from the local government, the private sector and one of its sons, Sen. Edgardo Angara.

Last Thursday, March 10, Kalinga Luzon held a build and ceremonial turn-over of 20 houses in Dingalan, Aurora, one of the most heavily hit towns during the multiple typhoons that whipped across Luzon last year. The day marked a milestone in the town's journey to rehabilitation.

Senator Angara, is funding 450 houses in Aurora. He says in his speech, "…matapos ang bahay, darating ang livelihood program. Lampas pa po tayo sa bahay." (After housing, we will move on to livelihood programs. This is more than just houses.)

On hand to witness and participate in the ceremonial build were Department of National Defense Sec. Nonong Cruz, Former Landbank and Quedancor chairman, Mr. Cito Lorenzo, Bishop Ephraim Tendero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and Gawad Kalinga Executive Director, Mr. Tony Meloto.

It pays to make a donation to Metro Infanta Foundation

The Metro Infanta Foundation website has been a big help not only to our beloved towns, it also has become the connecting link among long lost friends and relatives, as Gene Pallugna describes below.

My Pareng Max Fronda wants to thank you for the help of your website in gettinghim and his best college buddy together.I told him it pays to make a donation to the Metro Infanta Foundation. He has been looking for this guy for so long, if not for his donation, he will stillbe looking for him. I hope he'll give again in the future.

Pamangkin sa Pinsan

Feedback From Amb. Rudy Arizala

I am glad that my "pamangkin sa pinsan" Shelly Ortiz and her brother Reynaldo (Jun) Ortiz have not forgotten the town of the birth of their father and mother - Infanta, Quezon, and actively engaged up to now in helping alleviate the sufferings of victims of the flash floods in said town.

Shelly is the daughter of Ate Coning (Conigunda Gurango) whose mother was Nana Sepa Azcarraga, eldest sister of my mother. Ate Coning married Atty. Reynaldo Ortiz, also of Infanta, Quezon.

Whenever Shelly goes to Infanta, she never fails to visit her "Lola Coring" (my mother) when the latter was still alive and even after she passed away, she never fails to visit my sister May who now lives in our parental house in Infanta.

Happy sentimental trip to Shelly when she goes to Infanta for a visit at the end of this month. It is a comforting thought to know that many "Infantahins" still do care and love their hometown Infanta and its people.

Infantahins continue to show our people they care

by Shelly Ortiz
Houston, Texas

Just want to let you know my brother Reynaldo 'Jun' Ortiz and a couple of men from his church went to Infanta yesterday to distribute the relief goods marked coming from Metro Infanta Foundation. I spoke with him this morning and he told me many were very pleased to receive the goods and some commented that the items were better than the others before (maybe they were referring to the general (not personal) donations from worldwide organizations). The items we sent were more useful to them and they were happy to get them. He also distributed some carne norte and that was well received (who doesn't like carne norte especially compared to sardines and noodles?) I think they are just happy that there are people far away who continue to care about their plight.

I will be in Manila for a week (my nephew and niece are graduating - HS and college respectively) and I plan to be in Infanta on March 28th. Gene asked me to take pictures and I will and share them with you if you want (yes please). I plan to distribute more carne norte, etc. Lord willing. More importantly, I would like to see the faces of my hometown folks and thank God that many were spared and being cared for even now.

Posted march 14, 2005

Quezon del Norte and Quezon del Sur?

There is a law proposal in the House of Representatives that the province of Quezon be divided into two provinces --Quezon del Norte and Quezon del Sur?

Wonder why they love to split provinces which would mean more expenses for salaries of additional employees, governors, vice governors, members of the provincial boards and of course more Congressmen. But it will not promote to economic development of the people because they will need money for more expenditures and they would have to increase real estate taxes and other taxes such as foods and other commodities to have money in the provincial coffers.

They (politicians) should have consulted the people of Quezon province in a plebiscite whether they like to divide Quezo

Newsbits from Sr. Lea Aclan, C.S. (Camillian Sisters)

Hi! to Kababayans over there, I went to Gen. Nakar, Infanta and Real recently with mycCo-Sisters, and friends to visit my friends also there, especially those who attended the Stewardship seminar that the first task force on stewardship (which I am a member) gave them.

We also brought construction materials, goods and seeds to plant. Then it was followed by a medical mission to follow up the weakening health condition of the people. Sa ngayon, nakita namin ang peanuts and mongo already growing. Pero the corn and other plants don't survive on the 3-5 m. dried mud. The people and the Sisters of ACT (Apostles of Contemporary Times) still suffer and in tears when they remember what had occured those days of the "Daluyong".

Let us continue to share what we have. We are all poor people of God, but we are full of life and with this, that we are also the whole of humanity -- we are connected to them. Their tears are also ours. Your tears are also theirs. I pray that you may continue to be good human beings to fellow humans and to all God's creation. God bless you, that you may continue to be blessings to others.

Congratulations to Dennis Joseph Leodones Pagalilauan

Congratulations
to Dennis Joseph Leodones Pagalilauan on the blessing of his new business venture "X POWER MOTORSPORTS" (a motorcycle specialty shop) in Mineola, New York. Father Rex Crisostomo of Infanta and New Jersey will be officiating. Wishing you success and the very best in your business endeavor.
Love & Regards,

Uncle Mario, Auntie Norma & Kristen Leodones

Message of Thanks from Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, OCD

Peace of the child Jesus!

Through this message, I express my sincere gratitude and convey to you how much your thoughtfulness, prayers and generous donations have helped alleviate our sufferings and that of our stricken people.

We cannot thank you enough, but in the words of St. Peter in the good book: "Gold and silver I have none, but what I have I give, in the Name of Jesus…" -- maraming salamat po!

As we continue our struggle in helping or people bounce back to their normal lives, we carry the cherished thought that you have been with us with your prayers and solidarity. This gives us strength. this offers us hope!

May God bless and reward your kindness.

Posted: Mar. 2, 2005

July 25, 2006

Mr. Amadeo "Babing" Babista

Mr. Amadeo "Babing" Babista passed away on May 6 2006 at the age of 82 in Oxnard,California.

Magtangol Gurango Ofreneo

Beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and father-in-law, Magtangol Gurango Ofreneo, 89, passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 26, 2006 at Simi Valley Adventist Hospital, Simi Valley, California, surrounded by his loving family, after a long illness.

Magtangol was born on October 19, 1916, in Infanta, Quezon, Philippines, to Fortunato Ofreneo and Marta Gurango. He moved to London, Ontario, Canada with his beloved wife Amparo (Paring), and youngest daughter (Tess), lived there for 18 years, and was loved by everyone who came into his life.

Magtangol is survived by his loving wife, Amparo Magcalen Ofreneo; children, Danilo M. Ofreneo, Delia O. Pallugna, Imelda O. Abaya, Louie "Loy" Ofreneo, Amparo O. Agustin, Elmer M. Ofreneo, Grace O. Angelo, and Maritess O. Decoste; grandchildren, Elle P. Noormohammed, Karen O. Abaya, Eric D. Ofreneo, Cybil J. Pallugna, Angela O. Agustin, Jay O. Abaya, J.P. Agustin, Cesar O. Angelo, Michael O. Angelo, Ella Ofreneo, Michelle B. Ofreneo, Shiela Ofreneo, Stephanie B. Ofreneo, Ryan O. Decoste, Mark B. Ofreneo, Angelica O. Angelo, Melissa Dayao, and Rachel O. Decoste; great-grandchilren, Shane C. Angelo, Rodesha Ofreneo, and Branden J. Noormohammed; son-in-laws, Gene Pallugna, Henry Abaya, Pio Agustin, and Ray Decoste; and daughter-in-laws, Erma B. Ofreneo, and Leah Ofreneo.

There was never been a father who was more loved by his children and family. He will always be remembered for his kindness, compassion, patience, and generosity. His family and friends will always miss him.

Funeral services were held at 12:30PM, Thursday, March 2, 2006 at Old North Church, Forest Lawn-HollywoodHills.

Please e-mail condolences to aoagustin@yahoo.com, or call 1-805-527-7585.

Mrs.Ely Mopera Ortiz

Mrs.Ely Mopera Ortiz of Vallejo, California died in Nov. 2003 on Thanksgiving Day. Her late husband was Mr.Raul Solleza Ortiz of Infanta. Quezon. She was 80 years old. she was survived by her eight children -- Ladelle , Lina, Raquel, Valentino, Lucy, Edison(Bobby), Leila and Eva. Ely was survived also by her 22 grandchildren.

Dr. Pura Peñaverde

Dr. Pura Peñaverde died on Sat., Sept. 27 in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Peñaverde is survived by her sister Amor Santiago of Flint, Michigan, and brother Jose of Las Vegas, Nevada. She was buried on Monday, Sept. 29 in Flint.

Mr. Faustino "Totoy" Buñag

Mr. Faustino "Totoy" Buñag, younger brother of former Mayor of Infanta Dr. Pirmo Buñag. He was a former a Toursim Officer and has a son who is a doctor of medicine practising in Real, Quezon.

Mr. Robert Z. Tena

Mr. Robert Z. Tena who died on Jan. 5, 2003 at the age of 72. Mr. Tena is survived by his wife, the former Isabel Garcia and their 10 children -- Leilanie Cruz, Dominic, Arlene Peñamante, Froilan, Aracelie Prohibido, Charlie, Elizabeth Gutierez, Robert, Jr., Francisco and Mitzi Estinozo -- and at last count, 25 grand and great grandchildren.

Mrs. Irene Perez Orantia

Mrs. Irene Perez Orantia of San Jose, California died on December 11, 2002 of complications during an open heart surgery. She was 77 years old. She was survived by her six children: Imelda, Mil, Danilo, Isabelita, Irmina, and Adelu. Irene was also survived by her 9 grandchildren.

In her memory, her family is donating $1,000.00 to the Foundation towards the reconstruction of the Gabaldon Building in Infanta Central School. She taught there for 30 years before migrating to the U.S. in 1982.

Sister Josephine Ursabia, NDV

Sister Josephine Ursabia, NDV, who died Jan. 19, 2002. Sister Josephine or Sister Jo to many priests and Infantahins was confined last Wed., Jan. 16, for a fracture hip bone. Due to servere pain her blood pressure went up and her heart was affected. During her last moments she said, "I love Jesus. I offer everything for the priests and for the Institute." She died peacefully.

In the homilies of Father Boy Makabenta and Father Francis Lucas, they mentioned that they were struck by her humility, simplicity and hiddenness of Sister Jo. Her world was centered around the kitchen and the sacristy yet she had touched many, as proved by the many Infantahins who attended the funeral Monday, Jan. 21, 2002. (Info provided by Ms. Vicky Reyes)

Mr. Alex Mercado

Mr. Alex Mercado died July 17, 2001, in Manila. He died of heart attack at the age of 45. He is survived by his parents, Dr. Abelardo Mercado and Puring Mercado, his wife Cynthia and their two children.

Mr. Gelacio Gusilatar

Mr. Gelacio Gusilatar, who died Jan. 12, 2002. Mr. Gusilatar, a noted businessman of Infanta, died in Manila, of myocardial infraction (MI). He is survived by wife Ellen (Pradillada), daughter Christine, sons Gelacio, Jr and Gilman. (Info provide by Viola Sollesa Garcia)

Mr. Buenaventura (Tura) Garcia

Mr. Buenaventura (Tura) Garcia from Brgy. Tongohin who has been in in coma at the Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, California, died on June 22. Mr. Garcia is an older brother of Diego Garcia, who is married to the former Viola Sollesa.

Mr. Tito Peñamante

Mr. Tito Peñamante died of an accident in infanta June 1, 2001. Mr. Peñamante is an olderbrother of Ulyssis Peñamante.

Mr. Roldan Velasco

Mr. Roldan Velasco, mayor of Infanta, died on April 6, 2001. He is survived by his wife Lorna and four children, three girls and a boy.

Ms. Daisy Catbagan

Mrs. Daisy E.Catbagan died last January of 2001 at 67 years of age and cause of death is Colon Cancer was survived by her children Romy, Rudy, Michelle, Maita, Rhea and me Dennis. All of her children reside in California Los Angeles Area except for Dennis who resides in Elmwood Park NJ.

Mr. Seber Sollano

Mr. Seber Sollano passed away last January 2, 2001. He iss survived by his wife Baby Suaverdez, and children Christopher, Christina and her husband, and Christian, sisters, brothers,nephews, nieces, and cousins. He started his political career as a Councilman of Barangay Ilog, Barangay Captain of Ilog, Councilor, Vice-Mayor and Mayor of Infanta.

Maria Lavina Poblete

Maria Lavina Poblete died Oct. 8, 2000, in California, at age 96. Mrs. Poblete is the beloved mother of Purificacion Rivera, Leonor Conception, Bella Solte, Efrain Poblete, Cristina Ascarraga, Junior Poblete, and Victoria. She will be buried in the Philippines.

Mrs. Laura Robles

Mrs. Laura Robles died Aug. 3, 2000 in Infanta. Nana Laura is survived by her children -- Pancho Robles (Maryland) and Josefina Robles Ravago (Manila)-- from her second marriage to Mr. Vicente Robles; and by her son -- Tomas Ramirez (Florida) -- from her first marriage to Mr. Evaristo Ramirez.

Mr. Robles, a native of Batangas , was a doctor of veterinary medicine. He had two sons -- Father Robles and Benny -- from a first marriage also with connections to Infanta and Polillo. Father Robles joined the guerillas during WWII while he was assigned a priest in Infanta. Benny, who recently passed away, married Nana Laura's niece Pureza Calvario, a native of Polillo.

Mr. Ramirez, on the other hand, was a supervising public school teacher in Infanta. The other Ramirez children were Ofelia and Rading, both deceased. The Ramirez grandchildren now reside int the United States.

Mr. Rodrigo "Digdig" Mortiz. Mr. Mortiz

Mr. Rodrigo "Digdig" Mortiz. Mr. Mortiz, who was known to his family and friends as Digdig, is survived by his wife, the former Cresencia "Tesing" Aguillon, and their four living children. Mr. Mortiz was a respected businessman, and was also known for his charitable works in the community.

Mrs. Anacorita Azcarraga Arizala

Mrs. Anacorita Azcarraga Arizala or Nana Coring was 90 years old. Her late husband was Mr. Braulio Arizala. She is survived by children Rudy and his wife Neneto de Melo, Imelda Leynes, Dading and his wife Aring Ramirez, and Merle; and grandchildren Octavio, Rodo, Ale, Angelo, Pamela, and Mairene. She also is survived by her sister Nana Pining Telan and numerous nephews and nieces.

Unbelievable, but true

by Rudy Arizala

There are many complaints about the Filipinos - at home and abroad. At home, it is claimed our educational system is deteriorating, especially our knowledge of the English language; Pepe and Pilar could not only add and subtract nowadays but could not even read. And worse, Pepe and Pilar´s playmate and former classmate who immigrated to Canada or the U.S. is reportedly being ostracized - consigned to a lone table at a corner of the school canteen because he allegedly "eats like a pig" or has "disgusting" table manners because the Pinoy-born child eats with fork and spoon instead of with fork and knife.

by Rudy Arizala

There are many complaints about the Filipinos - at home and abroad. At home, it is claimed our educational system is deteriorating, especially our knowledge of the English language; Pepe and Pilar could not only add and subtract nowadays but could not even read. And worse, Pepe and Pilar´s playmate and former classmate who immigrated to Canada or the U.S. is reportedly being ostracized - consigned to a lone table at a corner of the school canteen because he allegedly "eats like a pig" or has "disgusting" table manners because the Pinoy-born child eats with fork and spoon instead of with fork and knife.

Filipino youth might be classified as "good table manners illiterate" for unable to use the fork and knife while eating, however, according to a Cable TV CNN Report this morning, most American Youth are "geographically illiterate.". They could not locate on the map where Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan is. And to think that day and night, said countries are being mentioned and shown in TV news reports because of U.S. military and foreign policy with respect to said countries and even recently waged war against Iraq and American forces are still occupying said country - called Iraq.

Then the interviewer asked the American youth to locate the State of Ohio on the map. Many could not locate where Ohio is. And the State of New York? Many Americans could not also locate where the State of New York is.

Incidentally, when I first arrived at Syracuse University in the the State of New York to take my postgraduate studies, most of my classmates also taking postgraduate studies thought that the Philippine Islands is somewhere near Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Some even asked me if the Philippines is an Independent country. A cab driver mentioned to me about Bataan and Corregidor and Gen. MacArthur because he had an uncle who fought in the Philippines during WW II. The only person who knows where the Philippines is and it is now an independent country when I first arrived in Syracuse, is my foster parent in Syracuse - James Sweeney, who was a lst Lt. in the U.S. Army and fought in the Philippines during liberation.

But being "geographically illiterate" is not new. It may be recalled that after the naval victory of U.S. Commodore Dewey in the Battle of Manila Bay in May 1898, U.S. President William F. McKinley could not locate or did not know where the Philippine Islands is. In the book In Our Image p. 100, by Stanley Karnow, he narrated thus; When McKinley vaguely located the Philippines as a place "somewhere away around on the other side of the world," he might have been speaking for most Americans. . ."

And of course, according to history, Pres McKinley could not only locate the Philippines on the map, but also initially did not know what to do with the Philippines until one dark night he reportedly fell on his knees and prayed. And he received "divine guidance" on what to do with the Philippines. The rest is history.

The moral of this story is: If American leaders appear to be "geographically illiterate," could we blame the American youth of today if they are also "geographically illiterate"?

And if the classmate of "Pepe and Pilar" could not use the fork and knife but uses the fork and spoon in eating because that was the way he was trained since a baby in the Philippines, should he be ostracized and be consigned ti a solitary table at the corner of a school canteen? He should be taught that henceforth, to use the fork and knife instead of being ostracized.

And if the Americans use the right hand in bringing the fork with the food to their mouth, will their ancestors - the Brits who use the left hand with the fork, ostracize them?

And if the Romans during the Pax Roman did not know the extent of their imperial realm geographically, shall we blame modern American youth for not knowing where is Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan in these days of "Pax Americana"?

But what is unbelievable is when most Americans could not pinpoint on the map the location of Ohio, New York, etc., One guy when asked: "Sir, do you know the location of New York?" his reply was: "Lady, we are right stepping on it."

Oh, well, it takes all kinds. I remember, Edward was asked by his former boss "Where did you learn how to speak English?" Probably, he forgot his history or the policy of his forefathers re "Manifest Destiny" and "Benevolent Assimilation." And of course, the sending of the "Thomasians" the early American teachers to the Philippines.

I remember when I first enrolled for postgraduate studies at Syracuse Universities, I was required to take a test on English language. I told the examiner that I already knew the language. Her curt reply was: "You have to take it. It is the university requirement to all Asian students." When after 15 minutes I handed my test paper to her and she checked it right away, she commented: "Oh heck, I wasted my time on you. You got it perfect." I replied: "Well, I am sorry, you refused to believe me."

Posted on July 25, 2006

Poignant memories

by Rudy Arizala

Because of old songs frequently heard during liberation and post liberation of the Philippines the word "America" or "MacArthur" means to Filipinos "freedom and democracy." The song by Irving Berlin "God Bless America" and his subsequent composition in Tacloban, Leyte of another song "Heaven Watch the Philippines," bring poignant memories to Daddy and my generation.

by Rudy Arizala

Because of old songs frequently heard during liberation and post liberation of the Philippines the word "America" or "MacArthur" means to Filipinos "freedom and democracy." The song by Irving Berlin "God Bless America" and his subsequent composition in Tacloban, Leyte of another song "Heaven Watch the Philippines," bring poignant memories to Daddy and my generation. Those who were born after liberation did not experience those memories for they were born, reared and educated in another time, clime and circumstances -- surge of nationalism, extremism, demonstrations, and with the slogan "Huwag matakot, makibaka," and mouthing the slogans "Yankee Go Home," "Down with Imperialism," etc.

Hereunder is how said song was composed by Irving Berlin as narrated by Max V. Soliven in his column of 12 May 2006.

It may be said in passing that despite the faults, even alleged excesses attributed to the former first lady, the "beauty of Tacloban," Imelda, she at a tender age during those difficult days of postwar, played a role in developing that song "Heaven Watch the Philippines." A song relevant yesterday as it is today and in the years to come.
We should talk more about love, humanity, culture, food, restaurants, and better way of living instead of politics, war, hatred and revolution.

And from the vivid accounts of Shelley, that´s what she observed and experienced during her recent visit to Infanta, Quezon -- love, song, dance ,culture, food, hope and faith of the people in the Almighty and living up true to the spirit of the legendary leader of Infanta Nunong Karugtong who founded the settlement at the banks of the Bantilan River called "Binangonan del Ampon." Kahit na nadarapa, ay muling bumabangon." Despite disasters such as the recent flashfloods in Infanta, the people have that ability and faith not only to survive but also to go ahead towards progress and development.

May "Heaven watch the Philippines" forever and of course, the town of Infanta..

A tribute to a special sister

by Mila Glodava

My sister Melecia Garcia celebrates her birthday on Dec. 4th. I feel a need to give her a special tribute this year, because she will be retiring soon from her work at Bolling Air Force Base, where she received numerous accolades for outstanding work. Family and friends call her Lily, but my children call her with affection as Ninang Lily, which is how I will refer to her in this tribute.

Why do I feel a need to give her a tribute? Not only because she's been a great daughter, sister, and aunt to the Garcia family, she also has has many outstanding qualities as friend, a worker, and a humanitarian. As a humanitarian, Ninang Lily has supported Metro Infanta Foundation from its inception. Without her incredible support, I don't think we could have had such an impact to our beloved town during their times of need. Indeed, she has been one of the most generous donors of the Foundation and more.

But she is more than just a donor to the Foundation. She is arguably a very accomplished woman. I think of her not only as a trailblazer, being a woman civil engineer, but also as a very spiritual person whose love for the church is unquestionable.

Although Garcia received an offer to work in the Philippines Department of Public Works shortly after graduation, her desire to help her church proved stronger, and decided to teach physics and mathematics at Mt. Carmel High School in Casiguran, Quezon, which was then run by Carmelite Father Alan Rieger. In addition she used her engineering skills as supervisor of the construction project of the parish church in Maria Aurora. This experience brought her back to the reason she became an engineer -- to do construction work -- and soon was working with other construction companies. A registered professional engineer in the Philippines since 1972, Ninang Lily ventured into subcontracting for construction projects with the Philippine Military Bases.

In 1973, Ninang Lily immigrated to the United States and landed her first job as assistant office engineer with the Bechtel company, a construction consultant to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). She was promoted to Office Engineer at the Resident Engineer Field Office. She also worked for the Frank Basil Inc./A-E Firm as an estimator.

Ninang Lily received recognition for outstanding performance in her line of duty include three certificates from Becthel for her dedicated service in the construction of the Metro Subway in Washington, DC. Her vital role was preparing construction estimate, reviewing submittals, preparing and negotiating proposed change order. "I am proud of the part I played int eh construction of Metro Subway," she said, "specifically the the stations at Takoma Park , Silver Spring , Fort Totten, Catholic University , Brookland, Huntington and Eisenhower."

Bolling Air Force Base was equally impressed with her work ethics and dedication with the 11th Wing. In recognition, Ninang Lily received in 1999 Air Force Category II Award, and Air Force Design Excellence Award. In 2003 she received the Civil Engineers Mission Support Group and Volunteer Awards.

But most of all, she is proudest as project engineer of the following:

1) Potomac Shoreline: from design to construction completion (cradle to grave Potomac Shoreline,

2) McChord Street: realignment of the disjointed street,

3) Brookley Ave: turning it from industrial looking street to a boulevard-like avenue aligned with Washingtonian lights, trees, landscape

4) MacDill Boulevard: reconfiguration

5) Chappie James Blvd.: widening

6) Arnold Avenue: Aligned with lights and landscape

In addition, Ninang Lily has worked tirelessly as a volunteer in many areas. A charter member of the Philippine American Washington engineer (PAMWE), she received recognition for outstanding service as treasurer for three successive years (1981-1983). She also served as president of the Mt. Carmel Guild, which funded much needed repairs and renovation in the Carmelite monastery in Washington, DC. She also serves as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at Bolling Air Force Base and the national Shrine.

I hope that you will find the above as a fitting and well-deserved tribute to one of our major supporters.

To Ninang Lily, we give you our love, our thanks and our prayers for your lifetime achievements and contribution to society.

Mabuhay ka, Ninang Lily.

MLQ's "Hello Jorge" legacy

By Rudy Arizala

If today, there is a "Hello, Garci," which tends to change the course of our political history, sixty-four years ago today, one early December morning, there was a "Hello, Jorge" phone conversation which changed not only the political history of the Philippines, but also its economic and social conditions.

By Rudy Arizala

If today, there is a "Hello, Garci," which tends to change the course of our political history, sixty-four years ago today, one early December morning, there was a "Hello, Jorge" phone conversation which changed not only the political history of the Philippines, but also its economic and social conditions.

The following based or taken from the old, yellowing pages of a book, The Saga of Jose P. Laurel, (His Brother´s Keeper), by Teofilo del Castillo and Jose del Castillo published in 1949 by Associated Authors´Company, Manila and Delaware, would help refresh our memory.

UP IN BAGUIO, THE DAWN WAS ON THE TIPS of the pine trees. And the cool night air was bedded down in the mountain dells and on the knolls, and the mansion of President Quezon was still a blur in the enveloping darkness. Inside a telephone rang. . . .

The moment Quezon heard the sound of his secretary´s voice, he knew that this was such a call. "Hello, Jorge, what is on?" Quezon snapped.

"Mr. President," Vargas voice came from across the plains of Luzon and up the mountains, "Mr. President, the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor! Early this morning. . ."

"What!" Quezon pressed the phone close to his ear. "Jorge, you´re crazy! War may have been declared but the Japanese would never dare attack Hawaii. . .

"General MacArthur´s office just called me, Mr. President, and confirmed the United Press and Associated Press reports over the phone. Other American territories in the Pacific are being bombed, too." x x x x x

Briefly and swiftly Quezon gave Vargas a stream of instructions over the telephone he was still holding in his hand. Vargas must summon the members of his cabinet at once&emdash;in Marikina&emdash;they must all be there before noon the next day. Vargas must be sure to get hold of Teofilo Sison, who was the Secretary of National Defense. Besides, Sison was also the chairman of the Civilian Emergency Administration, and Quezon was thinking of what to do with the civilian population; of the problems of food for a long siege. The civilian morale must be kept up at all cost. x x xx

Why such emergency cabinet meeting in Marikina? It was simply because under the shady mango trees and bamboo thickets and old orchards, Manuel L. Quezon constructed one of his country estates. There in Marikina the days are clear and cool and the air fresh which are good for his health. But where is Marikina? In Chapter 4 of the Castillo book &endash; "The Parting Words: Stand at Your Posts" the authors wrote:

MARIKINA IS A AN HOUR´S RIDE FROM MANILA. It is a charming small town on a rolling hill that falls gently down a vast expanse of tropical plain where fields and farms cut golden patches out of the lush green of the countryside. A bubbling stream runs through the heart of the town and flows among the groves and farms. Marikina is, however, better known throughout the country for the wooden sandals and the slippers manufactured in its shops. Moreover, the surrounding country is covered with haciendas and gardens. x x x xx

Because of the imminent danger from air-raids, the meetings were often held under a mango tree. From the first day, faithful to their duty all the members of the president´s official family came to the meetings. x x x x x

Meantime, that morning under the big mango tree in Marikina, the members of the cabinet sat down to tackle another batch of urgent business. They had disposed of some emergency measures of food problems, of three-months advance salaries for government employees as one way of paring down the bulk of currency the government had intended to salvage. Quezon had reorganized his cabinet, shuffling posts and making his secretaries take added duties which those going away with him to Bataan were leaving. He was leaving to the Japs a cabinet of his own design and under instructions from him. x x x x x

When Secretary Jose P. Laurel expressed his desire to go with Pres. Quezon to Corregidor, according to Castillo´s book, Quezon scowled, his eyes blazed, "No, Laurel," said he. "No. You and the members of the cabinet should stay behind. You must remain at your posts to carry on the work and to protect the people. But do not take the oath of allegiance. You may cooperate &endash; short of taking the oath of allegiance to Japan."

What happened next after that historic meeting under the mango tree in Marikina is history. Suffice to mention it here that after the "Hello, Jorge" phone conversation between President Manuel L. Quezon and his Executive Secretary Jorge Vargas that December morning about the breaking out of the war in the Pacific, Quezon recalled what he told his audience on 15 December 1941, during the anniversary of the Philippine Commonwealth. He said:

"I pray that our people may be spared the horrors of war, but if it comes to us, I shall welcome it for two reasons: first, that we may show the people of the United States that we are loyal to them; second, that you may learn to suffer, and, if needs be, to die. For many years now of material prosperity which has come to our wealthy families under American sovereignty, you have become soft&emdash;you think only of dancing and cabarets. But only those who know how to suffer and die in order to be free are worthy of that freedom."

Quezon was not disappointed with the attitude and behavior of his people during the war. For the Filipinos showed acts of loyalty, bravery, sacrifice and heroism from the early days of the war up to the last stand in Bataan and Corregidor. Thousands of Filipinos died in the field of battle as well as in concentration camps. After the surrender of Bataan and Corregidor, many continued to resist the Japanese occupation forces through guerrilla warfare until the arrival of Allied Liberation Forces in 1944 &endash; 45.

The "Hello, Jorge" phone conversation one early December morning sixty-four years ago left a legacy of loyalty, faithfulness to democracy; and willingness to suffer and die for if necessary.

Posted Dec. 31, 2005

Most glorious moment

By Rudy Arizala
Santago, Chile

Most of our revolutionary leaders and generals either surrendered, wounded, captured, assassinated or killed in the field of battle. For example, Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan and who started the revolution against colonial rule, was killed or shot by his co-revolutionaries near Mt. Buntis in Cavite due to rivalry for leadership; Gen. Antonio Luna was also killed by fellow-revolutionaries during a shooting incident at Kabanatuan; while Senator Ninoy Aquino was shot as he was coming down from the plane which brought him back to the Philippines.

By Rudy Arizala
Santago, Chile

Most of our revolutionary leaders and generals either surrendered, wounded, captured, assassinated or killed in the field of battle. For example, Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan and who started the revolution against colonial rule, was killed or shot by his co-revolutionaries near Mt. Buntis in Cavite due to rivalry for leadership; Gen. Antonio Luna was also killed by fellow-revolutionaries during a shooting incident at Kabanatuan; while Senator Ninoy Aquino was shot as he was coming down from the plane which brought him back to the Philippines. General Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by the American forces at his hideout in Palanan, while Gen. Miguel Malvar of Batangas was the last Filipino General who surrendered to the American forces. Gen. Artemio Ricarte (alias Vibora) went on self-exile to Japan. However, there was a young general of the Aguinaldo army called by the Americans "the boy general" who died in the field of battle -- while defending Tirad Pass on 2 December 1899, as rear guard of Aguinaldo´s retreating army to the North.

Here is what young General Gregorio del Pilar, aged barely 22 years old, wrote in his pocket diary in the morning of 2nd December 1899: "The General (Emilio Aguinaldo) has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the pass. I realize what a terrible task is given me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great."

And so, General Gregorio del Pilar that early morning of December positioned his men--sixty of them -- in trenches or embankments atop Tirad Pass some 4,500 feet high overlooking a valley and waited anxiously for the American forces. A battalion of the 33rd Volunteer Infantry consisting of about 300 men under Major March was in pursuit of General Aguinaldo and his men. The Americans believed that only the capture of the wily Filipino leader could end the Filipino resistance. Through Januario Galut, an Igorot, the Americans found a secret trail to the top of Tirad Pass. The Filipino soldiers fired at the advancing enemy forces. Herunder is what an American war correspondent named Richard Henry Little of the Chicago Tribune wrote describing the battle that morning:

"We had seen him (Del Pilar) cheering his men in the fight. One of our companies crouched up close under the side of the cliff where he had built his first intrenchment, heard his voice continuously during the fight urging his men to greater effort, scolding them, praising them, cursing, appealing one moment to their love of their native land and the next instant threatening to kill them himself if they did not stand firm.

"Driven from the first intrenchment he fell back slowly to the second in full sight o our sharpshooters and under a heavy fire. Not until everyman around him in the second intrenchment was down did he turn his white horse around and ride slowly up the winding trail. Then we who were below saw an American squirm his way out to the top of a high flat rock, and take deliberate aim at the figure on the white horse. We held our breath, not knowing whether to pray that the sharpshooter would shoot straight or miss. Then came the spiteful crack of the Krag rifle and the man on horseback rolled to the ground, and when the troops charging up the mountainside reached him, the boy general of the Filipinos was dead.

According to war correspondent Richard Henry Little, when they finally went up "We saw a solitary figure lying on the road. The body was almost stripped of clothing, and there were no marks of rank on the blood-soaked coat. . . ."

Why was the body of General Gregorio del Pilar almost naked? The pursuing soldiers of General March looted the dead body of the Filipino general stripping it of clothing and whatever valuables they could find for souvenirs. Thus, wrote war correspondent Henry Little: "And when Private Sullivan went by in his (Del Pilar´s) trousers, and Sniders with his shoes, and the other man who had the cuff buttons, and the sergeant who had the spur, and the man who had the handkerchief, and another that had his shoulder straps, it suddenly occurred to me that his glory was about all we had left him.

"The body lay naked for several days until an American lieutenant, Dennis Quinlan of the 11th Cavalry, arrived and buried it with military honors. On the headstone he inscribed: GENERAL GREGORIO DEL PILAR; KILLED AT THE BATTLE OF TIRAD PASS, DECEMBER 2D, 1899; COMMANDING AGUINALDO´S REAR GUARD- AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN."

On that fateful day of 2nd December 1899, Chicago Tribune war correspondent Richard Henry Little concluded in his diary: "It was a great fight that was fought away up on the trail of lonely Tirad Pass on that Saturday morning of Dec. 2. It brought glory to Major March´ battalion of the 33rd Volunteer Infantry who were victors. It brought no discredit to the little band of sixty Filipinos who fought and died there. Sixty was the number that at Aguinaldo´s orders had come down into the pass that morning to arrest the onward march of the Americans. Seven were all that went back over the pass that night to tell Aguinaldo that they had tried and failed. Fifty-three of them were either killed or wounded. . . ."

Filipino historian Agoncillo wrote in his A Short History of te Filipino People, "The afternoon of the battle, Aguinaldo received the fatal news. All the members of the Aguinaldo party, said one of the soldiers in his diary, ´shed bitter tears and all wanted to fight the Americans.´"

The battle of Tirad Pass showed us three aspects of the Filipino-American War of 1899:

1. The heroism and bravery of a small band of soldiers under a young general named Gregorio del Pilar who fought valiantly as Aguinaldo´s rear guard.

2. The barbarities of war. Soldiers of the U.S. 33rd Volunteer Infantry looting the body of dead Filipino general for souvenirs.

3. Another group of American soldiers, the U.S. 11th Cavalry, which gave the fallen and almost naked body of a young Filipino general a decent burial with "military honors."

Three things to be grateful for

by Rudy Arizala

Here are three things to be happy about:

1. Gen. Nakar Brgy. Banglos displaced fishermen who became sculptors making use of locally available materials.

2. Women of REINA, taking up the lead to help their respective families earn a living during the aftermath or post floods. And

3. That our kababayan 1968 Bar Topnotcher Atty. Mario "Jojo" C. Buñag being appointed by the President as BIR Commissioner.

The people of Infanta, Real and General Nakar, Quezon are living up to the noble Quezonian traditions of self-help, honest labor, hard work and faith in the Divine Providence.

Posted Nov. 29, 2005

A year after the deluge

By Rudy Arizala

I. Introduction
Our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal in his Un Recuerdo A Mi Pueblo ( My Hometown Memory), wrote nostalgically: "Ah, tender childhood, lovely town. Rich fount of my felicities. . . . Come back as the birds return. At the budding of the flowers."

So, as a native of Infanta, I am also filled with nostalgia about our hometown especially after one year from the deluge - - when on 29 November 2004, flash floods wrought havoc to Infanta, Quezon. It may be recalled that Infanta, together with the neighboring towns of Real and Gen. Nakar in Quezon Province suffered loss of lives, destruction to properties, homes, roads and bridges as well as farmlands.

Foremost in the mind of expatriates like me is: "Have the people of Infanta recovered from the deluge?" If so, to what extent and what are the things still to be done; and how are we going to do them?

II. The Good News
According to ICDAI (Infanta Integrated Community Development Assistance Inc.), agriculture is back in operation. The once barren lands covered by mud and slime, debris and strewn logs, are now teeming not only with luxuriant green rice fields but also with vegetable gardens, especially those lands near river banks consisting of around 50 hectares of land. In-between those rows and rows of vegetable gardens are corn and peanut plantations. The irrigation canals are back in operation except in some isolated areas where the land became higher than the canals due to accumulated eroded soil brought by the floods from the mountains. More than 2,000 families have returned to planting and raising chickens, hogs and other farm animals.

Supply of potable water through pipes is back although there is need to monitor the safety of drinking water due to some silts that managed to remain inside the pipes. Homes / houses are being built or has been rehabilitated.

A coordinating Council was established through the assistance of the Local Government Units (LGU) and ICDAI (Editor's Note: The Social Action Center has been working with various agencies to address many issues left behind by the typhoons of 2004. The SAC has been issuing reports -- see postings in August and September -- to Metro Infanta Foundation on their activities). It is called Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC). This town coordinating Council provides a series of action plans on workshops for community based disaster risk management; warning systems and rehabilitation. In addition to the MDCC, the town of Infanta has, through ICDAI, satellite and aerial maps which enabled officials to have a "post disaster map" and a GPS satellite ground topographical survey. Consequently, Infanta town officials and NGO´s now know in their contingency planning the contours and heights of Infanta landscapes thus, helping them decide where to build houses; determine which part of the village or barangay will get flooded first, where to install "alert systems" and determine the timeframe within which to evacuate the people to safer or higher grounds in case of flood.

Thus, through the measures mentioned above, the people of Infanta were jolted into inspiring them again to have hopes and dreams despite the destruction wrought by the flash floods last year. It reawaken their self-confidence. They became aware that "food rations" handed by the government and NGO´s have ended and nobody will provide them food, water, clothing, shelter and their basic necessities forever. There are other people and places in the world which also need assistance and help. The people of Infanta have to make do with what they have. In other words, self-help or self-reliance is important.

III. Problems Still to be Resolved
Despite the above accomplishments or recovery of the town of Infanta, there are still some problems to be resolved. The appearance of "mentally disturbed" individuals has been discovered or noticed. This is probably due to the "shock" they suffered or experienced during the flash-floods such as lose of love ones, sudden destruction of homes and properties and deprivation of means of livelihood. With the help of a doctor (psychiatrist) from the Philippine General Hospital, the town was able to start addressing this mental health problem. ICDAI provided a counseling room for this purpose where people could receive basic training in mental health care. These "barefoot" mental health counselors under the supervision of top level psychiatrists will screen those who need psychiatrist attention and those who would need simple family care.

The other aspect is to have a program of comprehensive land use in Infanta and surrounding areas; drawing up of "hazard maps"; contingency plans, early warning signals or system; and how to tame or make the Agos river less destructive when the rains come or when the flash-floods come cascading again from the Sierra Madre mountains.

So far, what has been down by the people of Infanta? Hereunder is a resume of those accomplishments:

1. Agriculture is back although not yet totally rehabilitated. Food production is being done in large scale and some "marketing problems" might occur.

2. Irrigation system is back but needs further improvement especially those farmlands which could no longer be reached by irrigation canals because said lands have become higher than the level of the canals.

3. Potable water are now available in homes of Infanta. But the water supply system needs further expansion to reach villages and barangays.

4. Houses or homes are being built or repaired.

5. All necessary studies for rehabilitation and expansion have been finished or being done such as sustainable agricultural fisheries and forestry plans.

6. While agricultural plans have been put in place, a comprehensive land use project is necessary due to change in topography of the landscapes of Infanta.

7. Emergency training / exercises are being conducted to make the people aware of what to do in case of another natural calamities.

8. Contingency plans for 16 barangays have been installed.

9. The MDCC is now working like a well-oiled machine.

10. Studies on Agos River is being done.

How are the Infantahins meeting or able to solve the problems?

1. Thru spirit of "self-help" and assistance from the government and NGO´s.

2. Thru openness to "collegial" and "multi-sectoral" leaderships.

3. Through prayers and faith in the Divine Providence.

IV. Conclusion
Thus, within a brief span of one year, through the efforts of Infantahins themselves assisted by the government and NGO´s, the people of Infanta have been inspired "to hope and dream again despite the destruction" brought about by the deluge. We have to make do with whatever we have. However, we should not "rest on our laurels". We should be vigilant and accomplish what are still to be done as mentioned above until the vision of Infanta become a reality. And what is that vision?

As stated in the book Infanta, Passage to the Pacific published by the BPI Foundation Inc., Makati City, 2004: "We envision Infanta to be a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous community of God loving, self-reliant and self-directing citizenry, with a diversified industry, progressive economy, balanced ecology, and a local leadership that is committed to social justice and equality."

Then and only then we could say out hometown of Infanta, to paraphrase Rizal´s recollection of his hometown -- a "lovely town rich in fountain of felicities and memories shall come back as the birds return at the budding of the flowers"-- when once again our formerly barren fields are luxuriant green, teeming with vegetables, crops, fruits and golden grains of palay. But more than nostalgia, the importance and future of our hometown is built on local autonomy, self-reliance and faith in the Divine Providence of the people.

Posted Nov. 12, 2005

October's light in a penumbra

By Rudy Arizala
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction

At this stage in our history, when we are confronted with multifarious problems of economic, social and political &endash; 60% of our people are on poverty level; declining standard of educational system; alleged failure to hold clean, honest and peaceful elections; and constant "tug-of-war" between the executive and legislative - and when most people seem to be at a loss or confused on what to do, the question foremost in the minds of our people is: "What happened to Philippine Democracy?" And what are we supposed to do?

According to one columnist, "They want to remove Ms. Arroyo because she did not win the election, only to replace her with a group of people who did not win the election who will govern indefinitely." ("What happened to democracy?" by Conrado de Quiros, PDI, 06 October 2005). The question to most people, is: "Who do we put in her place?"

Another writer columnist pointed out that the ills of our country could be traced to "elite democracy which has held sway in the Philippines for nearly 100 years." And added it culminated "in the century-old struggle for power among the factions of the elite, which helps to explain the poor´s lack of passion or concern regarding the controversy." According to him elite democracy was responsible for "the concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few." His suggested solution is to put an end to elite democracy "by organizing discussions and action groups at the local level. Every school, church or chapel, parents-teachers´association, cooperatives and credit union, labor or peasant organization could become a venue for discussing local issues." From such local discussion groups the movement could develop into national level. ("Life from the dead," by John J. Carroll, S.J., PDI, 06 October 2005).

A third columnist speak of the need of a viable "vision" from the seat of power -- Malacañan Palace -- which is the "pulpit and stage" for the exercise of presidential power. He observed that each President since we became a nation had their respective visions from "Independence", to "Social Justice," "Man of the Masses," culminating to "People Power," "Philippine 2000," and finally, "Strong Republic." He noted, however, that the "Fear Factor" is showing its ugly head. According to him: "But then comes a back-to-back performance of the Philippine National Police -- trying to imitate the legions of Rome or the phalanxes of ancient Greece -- running after hardheaded but unarmed socialists, and the result is, well, the ´brutality´ vision thing. Which is never inspiring." ("The ´vision thing´", by Manuel L. Quezon lll, PDI, 06 October 2005).

II. Best Form of Government

What then is the best form of government? The late Dr. Jose P. Laurel used to tell his class in Constitutional Law that the best from of government is a "monarchy with an angel on the throne." But because it is impossible to find an angel to govern us, democracy where the leaders are chosen by freewill or vote of the people, despite its defects, is the best alternative. Democracy, according to him is a system of government where the doctrine of separation of powers among the three branches of government -- legislative, executive and judicial -- is observed thus, having "checks and balances". What is the doctrine of "separation of powers" and principle of "checks and balances" which is the very essence of Constitutionalism?

Elaborating on the doctrine of "separation of powers," Justice Holmes of the United States said: "The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to another."

With respect to "checks and balances", the great French political scientist Montesquieu had this to say:

"When the legislative and executive are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehension may arise lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, and execute them in a tyrannical manner. Again there is no liberty if the judicial power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control; for the judge would then be legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression. There would be an end of everything, were the same man or the same body. . to execute those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals."

In short, "separation of powers" and principle of "checks and balances" enable any of the three branches of government to protect its independence by preventing encroachments on its jurisdiction and to ensure proper respect for the rule of law by correcting mistakes or abuses committed by the other departments in excess of their lawful authority.

III. Conclusion

In the light of all the foregoing and that in a democracy there should be separation of powers to ensure "checks and balances," perhaps it is worthwhile to recall the light of a "Penumbra" bestowed to the Filipino people more than half a century ago. On 14 October 1943, during those dark years of the second world war, Dr. Jose P. Laurel assumed the Presidency of the Republic and said:

". . the dream and aspiration of Filipino heroes and patriots have always been complete and absolute political freedom for the Philippines and that all true Filipinos are pledged to the realization of that ideal. I therefore stood for a Government of the Filipinos, by the Filipinos and for the Filipinos exclusively and alone without the interference of, or injunction, or dictation from a foreign power. I announced that my moral philosophy -- the deeper foundation of my administration was that of righteousness which is divine and is common to all religions worthy of the name; that man lives in the triple world, physical, intellectual and moral; that physical and mental vigor (mens sana in corpore sano) is not enough, but that man´s life must be dominated by moral principles. . ." ("Days of Courage, The Legacy of Dr. Jose P. Laurel," by Rose Laurel Avanceña / Ileana Maramag, 1980, p. 109).

There is, indeed, a need for a government and leadership based on righteousness and moral principles. But good government like good vintage wine should not be poured into the old container or bottle for it may also become stale. We need to have a new container where to keep that good priceless vintage wine.

Posted Oct. 16, 2005

Confused vision or none at all?

By Rudy A. Arizala

The information in the column of Prof. Randy David "Confusion and Vision," (The Philippine Daily Inquirer of 11 September 2005) about a student leaders´conference in the University of the Philippines is indeed timely and worth the attention of all concerned.

In said Conference it was discovered that eighty percent of the students are confused as to what is going on in or country; that they don´t know who is telling the truth about the alleged cheating in the last presidential elections. In the words of the columnist: "They are not sure who is right or wrong; or what morality means in politics. They do not know whom to trust among the country´s leaders. They do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act."

Columnist Randy David opined that "it is not just confusion we are battling here. We are also up against cynicism, fear, despair, and the pull of blind affinities." And how do we solve these problems? He suggests that we might be able to overcome these if we could perceive or know what kind of government we want. And "that is self-reliant (government) and capable of governing itself, is run by leaders who inspire trust in their people, who in turn have a reason to be proud of their identity and heritage and fully embrace their responsibilities as citizens."

All these years since we became an independent and sovereign nation, judging from the speeches and policies laid down by various Philippine Presidents, I have thought that we have already such vision for our country.

As to the youth of the land, I have also the impression that the students of the State University (U.P.) are the most well-informed, articulate, independent-minded and alert segments of our society. It has been said that whenever the late Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon would like to test public opinion or know the public pulse as to certain policies he would launch, his testing ground was the U.P. campus. In other words, U.P. was the barometer of our economic, social and political climate.

I was, therefore, surprised, if not shocked and made me feel sad when I learned that the U.P. students at a recent Student Leaders´Conference, are confused on our political situation; what morality means in politics; and "they do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act."

I was taught since in the grade school through high school and up to the university level that the foundations of our family, society and government are the home, church and school. These triumvirate institutions are supposed to be the ones to mold the personality, character and future of a person. At home we are supposed to be taught love of family, right conduct and morality. The church is to teach us love of God, of thy neighbor, the concept of right and wrong, morality and justice; and the school love of country, good manners and right conduct, patriotism, system of government, our national identity, pride in our country, race, civic efficiency, responsibilities and about the lives of our national heroes aside from the "three R´s" -- reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. And in college or university, we are supposed to consolidate and strengthen all what we have learned in the lower level of education to adequately prepare us for our respective professions or careers in life.

Have these three institutions -- home, church and school -- failed in their tasks because recently, 80 percent of students at the University of the Philippines are confused, do not know who is telling the truth, or what the truth is, what morality means in politics; and they do not know what feelings they should have, and how they should act?

And last but not the least, despite Rizal´s writings, Mabini´s True Decalogue, and Quezon´s Code of Citizenship and Ethics, does it mean the youth of our land have failed to grasp or remember what our vision should be? As stated in Mr. Randy David´s column a nation that is: a self-reliant and capable of governing itself; run by leaders who inspire trust in their people; a citizenry proud of their identity and heritage and fully embrace their responsibilities.

There is a need to reexamine our institutions to be able to adopt remedial measures and achieve the vision we have for our beloved country. Let us go back to the basics. The foundations of good, efficient, honest and just government are the home, church and school.

What's happening to our educational system?

by Rudy Arizala

May I share with you my exchange of info/views with my friends and former colleagues in the foreign service.

It is lamentable that all the blessings we received from Spain, the U.S. and other cultures with which we got in touched with, we took them for granted and even threw them out of the window.

The glaring examples are our knowledge of Spanish and English and the culture of "urbanidad" and "palabra de honor" or of being a "caballero" (gentleman). We seem to be oblivious of the fact that we already gave a death blow to Spanish language out of false sense of nationalism and our knowledge of English is deteriorating rapidly (including mine) and we are not doing anything about it. We continue on our "Bahala Na" attitude or to live like "Juan Tamad" who just lie down under a guava tree waiting for the ripe guava fruit to fall into his mouth.

The Chileans who historically did not have any contacts with China nor have geographical proximity like us as neighbors of China are learning Chinese Mandarin, and of course English.

Again, historically, Chileans had no cultural and political contacts with the U.S. yet, they are implementing, as a national policy, to learn English also. Every Sunday issue of their national newspaper El Mercurio there is one whole page devoted to lessons in English.

Our neighbors, like Thailand and Vietnam, are also learning English language, while Malaysia was desirous of imbibing Spanish culture. As a matter of fact they honored Rizal by hosting a seminar on the live and works of Rizal in Kuala Lumpur. Remember the book of Pascual which your late father had: "Pride of the Malay Race." ? The Malaysians being of Malay racial stock take pride of Rizal´s life and works because, indeed, to them, Rizal is the "pride of the Malay race" who did not hesitate to receive Spanish education but even went to Madrid and other cities of Europe to widen his cultural knowledge and education.

What is happening to our educational system? We erased from our curricula the learning of Spanish before one could graduate from college or university degree. And recently, we also did way with ROTC which the late MLQ instituted to instill in the minds and hearts of our youth not only physical fitness and military preparedness in defense of our country against invaders but also to instill spirit of patriotism.

Our youth, not due to their fault but of their elders, are becoming a "soft" or "cry baby" generation. In the worlds of Balagtas: "Pagibig anaki´y aking nakilala / Di dapat palakhin ang bata sa saya / Sa katuwaay kapag namihasa / Kung lumaki´y walang hihinting ginhawa / Gaya ng halamang lumaki sa tubig / Daho´y malalanta munting di madilig / Ikinalulouy ang sandaling init / Gayon din ang batang sa tuwa ay maniig.

Congratulations! to Infanta's MLQ Awardees

By Rudy Arizala

As we celebrate the 127th birth anniversary of President Manuel L. Quezon this month (19th August 2005), we commemorate his birthday as well as his qualities and virtues by bestowing the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan Award to persons in Quezon province who have outstanding achievement in special field of endeavor contributing to the promotion of the interest and welfare of the people. The fields of endeavor could be in law, medicine, diplomacy, education, military service, community service, public service, religious leadership, agriculture, arts and letters, etc.

Among the awardees this year (posthumous) is Dr. Amando A. Gurango of Infanta, Quezon in the field of Military Medical Service. The other awardees this year from Infanta, Quezon are Ms. Rita J. Ramirez in the field of Education and Rev. Fr. Charlito C. Colendres in the field of Spiritual Shepherding (Posthumous). Last year (2004), the awardee from Infanta, Quezon, was Ms. Mila Garcia Glodava in the field of Community Service. And previous to that year (in 2003), the awardee from our hometown was Atty. Jose Mario "Jojo" C. Buñag in the field of law practice. Incidentally, Atty. Buñag was recently promoted by the Philippine President to BIR Commissioner.

So far, since the institution of the Quezon Award in 1970, there are now eleven awardees from Infanta, Quezon, as follows:

1978 - Gen. Guillermo Nakar, Military Service (Posthumous)
1985 - Dr. Jose M. Pujalte, Medicine
1992 - Dr. Abelardo A. Mercado, Medicine
1994 - Bishop Julio X. Labayen, OCD, Christian Leadership
1995 - Amb. Rodolfo A. Arizala, Foreign Service
1998 - Fr. Francis B. Lucas, Community Development
1999 - Gen. Guillermo Nakar, Ginton Medalya ng Karangalan (Posthumous)
2003 - Atty. Jose Mario C. Buñag Law Practice
2004 - Ms. Mila Garcia Glodava Community Service
2005 - Dr. Amando A. Gurango, Military Medical Service (Posthumous)
Ms. Rita J. Ramírez, Education
Fr. Charlito C. Colendres, Spiritual Shepherding (Posthumous)
While there is every reason to rejoice because a number of our personalities (kababayans) from Infanta, Quezón has been honored and bestowed the Quezón Medalya ng Karangalan Award, nobody yet from Infanta, Quezón has been nominated and awarded for Life Achievement Award (Gintong Medalya).

The following are the requirements for the Life Achievement Award:

1. Must be either born and resided in Quezon province for at least 5 years as an adult. Or if not born in Quezon province, must be married to a Quezonian and must have resided in Quezon for at least ten years as an adult; or if not born in Quezon province and not married to a Quezonian, must have resided in Quezon for at least fifteen years as an adult.
2. Must have contributed to the promotion of the interest and welfare of Quezon province.
3. Must have manifested dedication to duty and dynamic leadership.
4. Must project the following qualities and virtues of Pres Manuel L. Quezon: concern for the common tao and promotion of social justice; championing of civil liberties; nationalism; civic consciousness; vision; integrity; innovativeness; love and concern for the family; and love for culture (music and art).
A person from Quezon province may be nominated by 1) an individual with endorsement of a social, civic, religious, government, non-government or people´s org., or group; and 2) by a social, civic, religious, government, non-government, or people´s org., or group.

The Metro Infanta Foundation as a civic organization or group is qualified to make the nomination mentioned above. It is hoped that in the near future somebody from Infanta, Quezon, would merit and deserve such Life Achievement Award (Gintong Medalya).

Needless to state here, the Metro Infanta Foundation could also nominate an individual from Quezon province for the Quezon Medalya ng Karangalan. In said award, so far, we have already nine awardees from Infanta, Quezon. We should nominate more individuals from Infanta, Quezon. Also from Real and General Nakar, Quezon.

A loving Mama and lola, Alicia Cailipan Buñag

a tribute by children and grandchildren

Editor's Note: Dr. Alicia Cailipan Buñag would have celebrated her 87th birthday on July 10 and would be celebrating her one year death anniversary on August 26. In loving memory, we are publishing this tribute, as we also extend our congratulations to her son Jojo on his promotion as BIR commissioner.

Born in Infanta, Quezon to Leonila Ortiz, a native of Infanta, and Catalino Cailipan of Tikay, Bulacan, Alice, which means "noble," grew up with her older sister, Ester, and younger brother, Catalino (Nenong) jr. Alice spent high school in Calapan, Mindoro, because her father assigned there as a prosecuting attorney.

Alice studied premed at the Philippine women's University in Manila, then finished her degree in medicine at the University of the Philippines, Class of 42. She married her classmate, Primo Carag Buñag of Tuguegarao, Cagayan on May 9, 1943.

After their first born son, Jojo, was born in 1944, Alice and Ester's families were able to escape the Japanese massacre in Infanta, but their parents and Ester's eldest daughter, Sonya, were capture and killed.

Alice worked for the American Red Cross in Manila after liberation and the birth of second child Marilyn. Then came Shirley, and soon after, Primo and Alice decided to start their private practice in Infanta, next to Ester's drug store. Alice was the first (and for a long time, the only) lady physician in Infanta. She was called on almost all deliveries of babies and always asked to suggest a names. She would get up at different hours of the night to go to far barrios by foot or calesa if there was an emergency. She and Primo dedicated their services to all whether they got paid (money or in-kind) or not. They would even take serious cases to Manila when trips then took eight to 10 hours drive one way.

All along, Primo and Alice were both active in civic and church activities, starting a group for married couples. Alice was in Catholic Women's League, the Sagrado Corazon Rosary Group. she was a devotee of St. Joseph, wearing green on Sundays, while her daughters would wear while and blue sash in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. She gave a huge statue of St. Joseph to St. Mark's Cathedral.

Primo and Alice wanted the best education for their children. After graduating from Infanta Central all went to the the best schools in Manila. Jojo went to Ateneo (HS/law)m Marilyn to Maryknoll (HS/AB in business Administration), Shirley to Maryknoll (HS) and UP and UERM (medicine) and hector to Ateneo (HS/Economics). They would be in Manila just to attend all school activities and would never rail to take them to movies or shows in Araneta.

The Buñags also tended their investment in education to children of their domestic help who were willing to study. Bayani, now a principal; Girlie, a teacher and Yorlinda, a commerce graduate; are all doing well in their fields.

Alice and Primo may not have assets or properties to brag about, but they improved upon the ones they inherited or bought in order to help out. However, t hey made sure the children can brag about their happy childhood: memories and photographs (most were burned in the 1980 fire), piano and violin lessons, school dances, contests, parages, church programs, summer trips to Baguio, visits to relatives in Bulacan, parties, swimming, picnics on the beaches and along rivers nearby with all relatives to came to visit. Imagine the shrimp (padjao), crabs, suman, fruits, young coconuts.

Fiesta and Christmas time mean all were welcome at home to eat anytime. Trips to Manila meant lots of food pasalubong from Infanta to folks in Manila, then fruits from Manila as pasalubong to neighbors in Infanta.

Having completely finished their children's college education, Primo entered politics as council member, then vice mayor, and eventually mayor for a long time during the Marcos regime. Alice became the sole breadwinner. Primo's patients would be mostly freebies, and his salary as a public official was not enough to cover the cost of being a wedding sponsor and numerous fundraising events. They kept busy improving the town even started a basketball tournament.

Alice immigrated to the United States in 1977, and sponsored Hector soon after. She lost her immigrant status in order to take care of Primo's lengthy illness. Primo died on January 18, 1987. In 1991 Alice decided to give up her practice and moved permanently to the United States where her three children reside.

Alice kept busy with the children and grandchildren, waking up early to do her daily prayers and going to Mass. She also learned to cook and bake and enjoyed gardening. She also made rosaries, which she sent to the Philippines or the missions. She would also contribute generously to church and to her favorite charities, including Metro Infanta Foundation. Her favorite TV shows included the Lakers, tennis, Olympics, Price is Right. Of course she loved paying mahjong even though she would always lose. She just loved to be around friends and relatives.

It's no wonder she would never miss special family events -- birthdays, baptisms, weddings and graduations, even if she had to travel far. She was there for her apos and great apos.

One thing she enjoyed was traveling -- the United States, Europe and Asia. She went on pilgrimages to Fatima, Lourdes, Rome, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, and the Holy Land.

Alice had a full life indeed. But most of all she was loving wife to Primo and mother and lola to her children and grandchildren.

Posted July 15, 2005

The Meaning of Lent

by Rudy Arizala
Labong ng Kawayan, Manila, 2002

Whenever Lent approaches, I remember the old stone church of my town and the women in saya (skirts) with black veils covering their faces and huge scapularios (scapulars) hanging around their necks. I also remember the various statues of saints paraded in the long procession on Good Friday.

The fishermen of my town, including the Dumagats or Aetas, (indigenous tribes) crowded around the corpse of a "dead Christ" and elbowed each other to hold on to and get a bite of the cordon tied around the statue's waist. For it is their belief that if you were a fisherman and got a bite of the rope tied around the "dead Christ," you would have a bountiful catch when you went fishing.

The others who crowded around the statue of the "dead Christ" during the procession were those who had anting-anting (amulets). Amulet holders believed that by touching the dead Nazarene, their amulets were "energized."

Aside from the procession on Good Friday, we also have the penetencias (flagellants). They do not wear any clothing except leaves of trees and banana plants tied around their waists. Their heads are covered with leaves and flowers. They dance and move around while whipping themselves with iron chains and twigs with thorns. Their sweats mixed with blood glisten on their bodies under the afternoon sun. After two to three hours of such rituals, they go to a river or stream to bathe.

Why do they practice such things or become flagellants? Most of them had been sick or afflicted with an "incurable" disease; they made a vow that once they got well, they would become flagellants. Others simply do it as a sacrifice for the atonement of sins.

These flagellants observe their religion or belief with so much faith and devotion. They are simple folk, fishermen and farmers, who still cling to the old traditions with the innocence of a child. They are like the old women of my town who are still in their saya (skirts) and kotso (thick leather slippers) with long rosaries and scapulars. They continue their vigil with candlelight flickering during processions on Good Fridays.

Will they be able to hold on and defy the winds of change?

In this modern age of computers, cellular phones and laser prints, people still like to hold on to old traditions, beliefs or miracles, perhaps to reassure themselves that after Good Friday comes Easter or the Resurrection and, therefore, the possibility of their own immortality.

All these and the promise of salvation and eternal life, I think, is the essence of Lent. Happy Easter to everybody!

Nostalgia

By Rudy Arizala
Santiago, Chile

There were many people waiting at the Office of the "Escribano" of our local "Cura Parroco" in Santiago, a few blocks away from our apartment to have the respective names of their beloved departed be registered for inclusion in a mass to be celebrated on "All Souls Day", the second of November.

After registering the names of my late parents, my-in-laws and a brother-in-law, I walked back home stopping at my favorite "Sidewalk Coffee Shop" called "Di Roma". The Coffee Shop is owned by a former Yugoslavian Consul General, married to a Chilena, who upon his retirement established said Coffee Shop.

The moment I sat down on one of the empty chairs before a small round table, the pretty young waitress of Yugoslav origin, ( I could note it from her physical features - light complexion, brown hair, fine cheekbones with a Roman nose and height taller than the average Chilena), asked with a smile: "Señor, Te con leche y media luna?" ("Mister, do you want a cup of tea with milk and a piece of croissant?").

I nodded my head and looked around while waiting for my cup of tea and "media luna" to be served. The place has the same crowd of people I usually see every day at the sidewalk Caf -- young middle-age businessmen in dark suits talking through their cellphones as they sip leisurely their cup of coffee or tea. The rest were senior citizens dressed in casual wear also enjoying their cup of coffee or tea and either exchanging jokes or news of the day. At this time of the year, we have crispy spring weather &endash;neither too cold nor warm, but just right to wear light Cashmere woolen sweater or jacket.

From a distance, I could see the snowcapped Andes mountain under a cloudless blue sky. It reminded me of our own Sierra Madre Mountain in the Philippines minus the snow on top. The mountain and the clear blue sky made me feel nostalgic.

If I were only in the Philippines, after my cup of tea, I would go immediately to the bus terminal in Sampaloc, Manila, and take a bus bound for Infanta. But I am very far away. It would take me at least 35 hours of flight to go home to Infanta from Santiago, Chile.

The Andes and Sierra Madre mountains reminded me of what my late Uncle "Tata Mando" narrated to me in the 1960´s about "Mang Iskong Magsisibak" ( Mr. Isko, the woodchopper of the the town). Mang Isko was the town´s woodchopper and water carrier -- our source of household fuel and water in those days when we were still children. Although we have no blood relation with him, we consider him as a member of the family. Hereunder is the story as narrated to me by my uncle "Tata Mando", who was Infanta´s town doctor and played the role of a "good Samaritan" on Mang Isko when the latter was already old and jobless.

Mang Isko developed cancer of the mouth due to his fondness of chewing "mama" (mixture of lime, betel nut and Ikmo leaf) and was brought by Tata Mando to the U.S.T. hospital in Manila; placed him in a charity ward for indigent patients and talked to his friend doctor at the hospital that an oral surgery be performed on Mang Isko.

The surgery was successful but Mang Isko had to stay in the hospital for post surgery treatment and observation. After one month, Tata Mando came to Manila and visited Mang Isko. The moment Mang Isko saw Tata Mando, he wept like a child and did not let him go until he agreed to take him back to Infanta.

Mang Isko told Tata Mando: "Amando (He never addressed my uncle "doctor" but simply "Amando", as he used to call him when my uncle was still a child), madadaling mamatay ako rito sa lungkot. Ibalik mo na ako sa Infanta. Mula nang iwanan mo ako rito sa ospital, palagi na lamang nakatitig ako sa bundok at nasasaisip ko na sa kabila ng bundok na yaon, ay naroroon lamang ang Infanta." ("Amando", begged Mang Isko. "Please take me back to Infanta. Otherwise, I will die sooner here. Since you left me here at the hospital, I have been always staring at the blue mountain consoling my homesickness by thinking that only behind the blue mountain is our hometown of Infanta.")

Tata Mando tried to convince Mang Isko to stay some more time at the hospital explaining to him to him that he would be better treated at the hospital and get well immediately. He has nothing to worry about expenses. But Mang Isko pleaded like a child that he be brought home to Infanta. So, right that very day, Tata Mando took Mang Isko back to Infanta.

Mang Isko was happy being back at home in his nipa shack in Brgy. Buboin. He need not wear the hospital supplied one-piece pale blue pajama and eat tasteless or bland hospital foods. He feels more comfortable in his customary "suking" (sleeveless and collarless shirt ) made of light cotton and with his pair of "kaputog" or short pants with a string around the waist (taling de hugot-hugot). And he, of course, savor his daily meal of boiled rice, fish and camote leaves or sometimes "ginat-ang pako."

I fully now understand the intense "nostalgic feeling" of Mang Isko -- the feeling of homesickness upon seeing the blue mountain from afar and his insistence like a child to be brought home to Infanta immediately. That was many years ago and now both Mang Isko and my uncle have joined their Creator.

I was waken from my deep reverie by the sweet voice of the pretty waitress calling my attention that my cup of tea is getting cold.

Like Mang Isko upon seeing the blue mountain, I feel homesick especially when religious feast such as "All Souls Day" draws nearer. For it is not only time for prayers, candle-lighting and visit to the cemetery, but also time for "bonding" among relatives, friends and townmates in Infanta. One would like at times to be amidst familiar surroundings, scent, color, sound and kins.

I do not know how "All Souls Day" is celebrated these days in Infanta, having been away for many years since I joined the foreign service and then retired abroad.

Nothing is left except memories, nostalgia and dreams. But on "All Souls Day," in addition to the honor and memory of my beloved parents, I will also utter a prayer in memory of my late Tata Mando and Mang Isko.

Philippine National Anthem:How the Philippines Became an Archipelago

By Rudy Arizala
Santiago, Chile

Those who have read Philippine history will remember that Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, in preparation for the Proclamation of Philippine Independence on 12 June 1898, commissioned Julian Felipe to prepare a musical composition which would be played during the independence ceremonies. A few days later, Julian Felipe presented to Aguinaldo the draft of his musical composition entitled: "Marcha Filipina Magdalo."

Gen. Aguinaldo and his revolutionary leaders heard immediately the musical composition as played by Felipe himself on the piano. Aguinaldo and the other revolutionary leaders were happy about the composition and was adopted as the "Official March" of the Philippines. Composer Felipe subsequently changed the title from "Marcha Filipina Magdalo" to "Marcha Nacional Filipina". A year later the Spanish lyrics for the musical composition were written by Jose Palma, a nationalist and Filipino poet in the staff of La Independencia newspaper. The opening lyrics reads as follows: "Tierra Adorada, / Hija del sol Oriente." (Beloved land, / Child of the Eastern sun."). Camilo Osias in 1920 translated the Palma Spanish lyrics to English as "Land of the morning, / Child of the sun returning."

It is clear that Jose Palma who was a poet considered the Philippines as "child of the sun". Probably, like any other poets of his era, he must have read Latin poets such as Ovid who wrote poems on mythology during the reign of Augustus, especially the story about Phaeton.

According to this story Phaeton was the son of the Sun god and of a mortal mother named Chymene. One day he went to the palace of the Sun to confirm whether he was really the child of the Sun. Phaeton when received at the Palace of the Sun said: "I have come to find out if you are my father or not. My mother said you were, but the boys at school laugh when I tell them I am your son. They will not believe me. I told my mother and she said I had better go and ask you."

Smiling, the Sun took off his crown of burning light so that the lad could look at him without distress. "Come here, Phaeton," he said, "You are my son. Clymene told you the truth. I expect you will not doubt my word too? But I will give you a proof. Ask anything you want of me and you shall have it. I call the Styx to be witness to my promise, the river of the oath of the gods."

To make the story short, Phaeton, as proof of his paternity, asked his father, the Sun, to allow him ride his father´s golden chariot pulled by steeds at least for a day across the sky. But his father, the Sun would not let him saying it was too dangerous. That no other riders, except himself, could manage the horses and the golden chariot across the sky. But Phaeton insisted and his father could not do anything but allow his son to ride his golden chariot because he made such promise under oath. And he did not like to break his oath.

The moment Phaeton rode on the golden chariot and took hold of the golden reins, the horses soared from the east up to the very top of the sky and then, plunging headlong down set the world on fire. Mother earth could bear no more the raging fire caused by the falling chariot and uttered a great cry which reached up to the gods. Looking down from Olympus, the gods saw that they must act quickly if the world was to be saved. Jove, one of the gods at Olympus, seized his thunderbolt and hurled it at the rash, repentant driver Phaeton. It struck him dead, shattered the chariot, and made the maddened horses rush down into the sea.

If we want to convert the above story of Ovid about Phaeton into a Pinoy mythology, we could say or write that when Phaeton´s body was shattered to pieces hit by the thunderbolt of Jove and dropped into the deep blue sea, they became several islands and islets now called "The Philippine Archipelago."

Thus, as written in the lyrics of Jose Palma, our beloved Philippines was Phaeton the "child of the sun" (Tierra Adorada, / Hija del sol Oriente).

Memories of War

By Rudy A. Arizala
Santiago, Chile

I. Introduction
In the Philippines, April is not only when Lent &endash; the passion, death and resurrection of Christ is observed, but also when the "Fall of Bataan" is solemnly commemorated as act of heroism or martyrdom. The last "Voice of Freedom" in April 1942, was heard announcing in a radio broadcast: "Bataan as fallen, but the spirit that made it stand -- a beacon to all the liberty-loving peoples of the world cannot fail."

With that terse announcement, Bataan surrendered on 9 April 1942 to the Japanese forces, followed by the island fortress of Corregidor a month later on 6 May. Bataan and Corregidor having surrendered, the unconditional surrender of the Fil-American forces in the Visayas and Mindanao was not long in coming. They also surrendered to the Japanese forces four days later, on 10 May 1942.

II. The War Years
I was in the grade school when war (WW II) broke out in the Pacific in December 1941. When our teacher in Grade V announced that there would be no classes that December 8th morning until further notice, we were all very happy because we could enjoy an early Christmas vacation and hoping to see each other again after the New Year -- in January 1942. At the same time we were worried because the war which we read or heard happening in Europe has finally come to our shores also. But we believed then that the war would be over very soon.

But we were wrong. Several days later when two Japanese planes dropped bombs on our hometown of Infanta and several black ships were sighted off Lamon Bay along the Pacific coasts, the people had to evacuate for safety to the barrios. The Japanese forces, however, did not land in our town but in Mauban, a town south of Infanta. In January 1942, Manila was declared an "Open City" and soon was occupied by the Japanese Imperial Forces. The Fil-American forces retreated to make their last stand in Bataan and Corregidor.

I remember Infanta had its share of suffering and martyrdom during that episode in our history. When the Pacific War broke out in the Pacific, the only son of our "water-carrier" was drafted into the Philippine Army and fought side-by-side with the American soldiers in Bataan. He failed to return home because he was killed during a Japanese attack before the surrender of the Fil-American forces. An uncle of mine who was a musician was also drafted into the Philippine Army; was captured by the Japanese; participated in the "Death March"; and brought to a Concentration Camp in Capas, Tarlac. When he became sick of malaria and dysentery, he was allowed to go home. It took his parents more than one year to nurse him back to health. Another uncle who was a young medical doctor and newly married when the war broke out volunteered to serve in the Philippine Army and was subsequently incorporated into the USAFFE. He was taken prisoner while serving in Mindanao As he was getting off from an army truck which brought him and his companions to a Concentration Camp, a Japanese officer noticed a stethoscope in his back pocket. He was told to treat a Japanese General who was seriously sick of malaria. He had to use a drug or medicine which was then still at experimental stage and might prove fatal and cause death if not administered properly. Luckily, the Japanese General got well. Because of that feat, my uncle was released by the Japanese and allowed to go home. He was even given a "safety pass" written and signed by the Japanese General himself out of gratitude to my uncle for being able to cure him.

This was an example of the human side of war despite its brutality, violence and inhuman aspect. An example of inhuman aspect of war was the humiliating treatment received by Generals King and Wainwright when they surrendered to the Japanese forces in Bataan and Corregidor and by the Fil-American soldiers while they were being brought to their Concentration Camp. Weak, sickly and hungry, they were made to march under the heat of the noonday sun. Those who were too weak to continue walking were bayoneted to death on the spot. This was called the "Death March.".

III. Little Known Episodes of Surrender
Perhaps, little is known that although the Fil-American Forces in Bataan and Corregidor surrendered as early as April 9 and May 6, 1942, respectively, the American and Filipino soldiers were not considered "prisoners of war", but as "captives" or hostages by the Imperial Japanese Forces in the Philippines. It was only on 9 June 1942, when all forces in the Philippines, with the exception of certain small detachments in isolated areas, had surrendered that General Jonathan Wainwright was notified by Japanese authorities: "You are now a prisoner of war."

Why were Gen. Wainwright and his men not considered immediately "prisoners of war"? And as a corollary to said question, Why and how the U.S. military leaders in the Philippines surrendered to the Japanese Forces in 1942?

According to U.S. Army historians such as Louis Morton, in the evening of 8 April 1942, when Gen Wainwright ordered General Edward P. King, Jr., to make counterattack in the direction of Olongapo, the latter already made up his mind. He had no alternative but to surrender King believed that "by this time all chances of halting the Japanese advance, much less launching a successful counterattack, was gone." So, he made arrangements that he meet with the representative of Gen Masaharu Homma to negotiate a ceasefire and protect the welfare and interests of his men.

When Gen. King finally met Col. Motoo Nakayama, the representative of Gen. Homma, Nakayama asked him: "You are General Wainwright?" When King replied in the negative, Nakayama asked why Gen. Wainwright had not come. King explained to Nakayama that he did not speak for the Commander of all forces in the Philippines but for his own command alone. Nakayama insisted that Gen. Wainwright should be present and that the only basis on which he would consider negotiations for the cessation of hostilities was one which included the surrender of all forces in the Philippines.

Col. Nakayama asked for Gen King´s saber but when told that he had none, he agreed to accept a pistol from Gen. King instead of a saber as symbol of surrender. Gen. King thought that Nakayama was accepting his "unconditional surrender" as a unit under his command. However, in so far as Nakayama was concerned, cessation of hostilities should include the surrender of all forces in the Philippines.

If Gen. King´s surrender of his forces in Bataan on 9 April 1942 was confusing or not clear, so also was the surrender of Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright on the island of Corregidor on 6 May 1942. Like Gen King who surrendered Bataan four weeks earlier, Gen. Wainwright had made estimate of the situation and concluded there was nothing to be gained by further resistance. Thus, he ordered his aide, Gen. Beebe, to broadcast a surrender message to Gen. Homma and at the same time Wainwright communicated his decision to Pres. Roosevelt and Gen. MacArthur.

U.S. Army historian Louis Morton further narrated that Gen. Wainwright prior to his meeting with the Japanese officials decided to release command of all troops except those in harbor defense. By such act, he hoped to persuade Gen. Homma to accept the view that since the troops in Southern Philippines (Visayas and Mindanao) were not under his command, he could not properly be held responsible for their surrender. However, such position of Wainwright was not acceptable to Gen. Homma. He told Gen. Wainwright that the surrender would not be accepted unless it included all American and Philippine troops in the Philippines. Wainwright demurred saying that the forces in the Visayas and Mindanao were no longer under his command.

Homma upon hearing this, rose, looked at Wainwright and said: "At the time of General King´s surrender in Bataan I did not see him. Neither have I any reason to see you if you are only the commander of a unit. . . I wish only to negotiate with my equal. . "

Wainwright had no alternative and agreed to surrender the entire Philippine garrison. But Gen. Homma now refused to accept Wainwright´s offer to surrender. "You have denied your authority . . " he told Wainwright. "I advise you to return to Corregidor and think the matter over. If you see fit to surrender, then surrender to the Commanding Officer of the division in Corregidor. He in turn will bring you to me in Manila." With these words, Homma left the meeting. Gen. Wainwright upon his return to Corregidor island surrendered to Col. Sato, the Japanese Commander of the 61st Infantry in Corregidor. He agreed to surrender all forces in the Philippines including those in the Visayas and in Mindanao under Gen. Sharp. Thus, with such developments, Gen. Sharp upon receiving Gen. Wainwright´s emissary and letter, surrendered also to the Japanese commanders in the South on 10 May 1942.

IV. Conclusion
Despite the surrender of the main U.S. and Filipino forces and humiliating treatment received by Generals Wainwright and King in the hands of the Japanese, there were those who would rather "face a thousand death than surrender." Among them was my townmate Col. Guillermo Nakar who was then Commander of the 14th Infantry (PA) in Northern Luzon. He and his men. refused to surrender but conducted guerilla warfare against the Japanese forces after the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor. Unfortunately, Col. Nakar was captured by the Japanese on 29 September 1942 and executed the following day. Other guerilla forces continued their resistance against the Japanese forces in the Philippines until the return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his men to the Philippines in 1944. After the dropping of two atomic bombs &endash; one in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the other in Nagasaki on August 9, Japan announced to surrender unconditionally to the Allied Powers on August 14,1945, thus, ending the war in the Pacific. The formal act of surrender was made on September 2, 1945.

As we observe the martyrdom of the gallant defenders of the Philippines on 9 April this year at "Dambana ng Kagitingan" in Mt. Samat, Bataan, let us pose and pray for all the victims of war &endash; the vanquished and the victors; and not forget to give full meaning and effect to the noble objectives enshrined in the United Nations Charter: "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war"; promote "respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms"; enhance "social progress and better standards of life," and "self-determination of people."

As a young boy, I suffered with my brother, sisters and parents the "scourge of war". Despite the hardships, privations, hunger, and death it taught me that memories of war should not be an occasion for despair, revenge and bitterness but of hope, love, peace and resurrection like Easter.

Church Bells of Infanta

By Rudy Arizala
Santiago, Chile

In December 1941 prior to World War II when I was still in the grade school in Infanta, province of Tayabas (now called "Quezon" province), we had a church made of wood and galvanized iron roof and a bell tower also made of the same materials. Atop the bell tower were the old church bells of Infanta. Inscribed on the side of the bells was the date they were minted in the 17th century when Christianity was first introduced in Infanta.

According to the history of Infanta then called "Binangonan del Ampon", the first Catholic priest who arrived in 1578 at the place was Rev. Fr. Esteban Ortiz, OPM, a Spanish missionary who planted a wooden cross. Then in 1696, a chapel was constructed and in 1736 a stone church with a bell tower was built. This was, however, destroyed by strong typhoon. Despite the destruction caused to our town by strong typhoons and earthquakes as well as by the war, the bells of Infanta were preserved and remained undamaged.

The church bells of Infanta were the pride of our town prior to the outbreak of the war. There were four of them. The first was the "campana mayor" (the biggest one); then the second largest; and finally, the two smaller ones. The sound of these bells was considered fatherly voice speaking for the whole town folks. They ring to express the collective feeling of the community in sadness or in joy, in prayer or in celebration. They ring merrily to bring glad tidings of town weddings, baptisms, processions, fiestas, or to announce emergency such as in case of fire or if strong typhoon is coming to our town. They toll with mournful sound when one of the town folks has died and being laid to rest; or when a disaster has visited the town. When we were kids, I fondly remember the church bells peal merrily during "Sabado de Gloria" or "Pasko ng Pagkabuhay" and we children jumped as high as we could with joy.

Aside from announcing glad tidings and sorrows, the church bells of Infanta served as time for doing the daily chores of the people. Most people then in our town did not have individual time pieces or clocks. So, the old church bells of Infanta wake up the people in the morning, reminding them of the early morning mass at 6:00 a.m. They also ring at noonday hour of rest (12:00 noon), at 6:00 p.m. to announce the "Angelus" and at 8:00 p.m. when people had to say their night prayers before going to bed.

In short, the church bells of Infanta served as the "time keeper" of the whole community reminding them not only what time of the day or night but also of their daily chores. Hereunder were the schedules of the ringing of the bells of Infanta:

6:00 a.m. Time to wake up and go to church

10:00 a.m. Time to cook lunch.

12:00 noon Time for lunch and rest.

2:00 p.m. Time to resume chores or work

4:00 p.m. Time to cook dinner or supper.

6:00 p.m. Time for "Angelus" and supper.

8:00 p.m. Time to pray and go to bed.

I remember during my youth, it was an old man called "Mang Ago" (Santiago) who dutifully rings the bells of Infanta every day and night as scheduled above. This is aside from ringing the church bells during mass, weddings, baptisms, fiestas, processions and emergencies. The only time the bells of Infanta do not ring is during Good Friday. And they resume ringing on "Sabado de Gloria" (now moved to Easter Sunday).

How did Mang Ago manage to ring the four bells of Infanta at the same time when he has only two hands? He used adroitly his two hands and feet. His two hands ring the two big bells alternately while his right foot step rhythmically up and down on a rope tied to the two smaller bells. When Mang Ago rings the bells loudly with rapid rhythmic strokes with his hands and foot to express joy or glad tidings, he look like a ballet dancer because of the movements of his body, hands and feet. But when he rings the bells with slow, regular strokes to express sadness, he look like a slow motion actor performing a pantomime. When Mang Ago died, nobody rings anymore the bells of Infanta religiously and adroitly as he.

The bells of Infanta could be heard by the people within three kilometers radius away from the churchyard. To me, the bells of Infanta have the most beautiful, melodious sound in the world. They remind me of what a poet (Cowper) wrote in "The Task": "How soft the music of those village bells, / Falling at intervals upon the ear / In cadence sweet, now dying away, / Now pealing loud again, and louder still, / Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on / With easy force it opens all the cells / When Mem´ry slept."

Although I do not hear anymore the church bells of Infanta, and what remain are mere memories as described in the poem above, may I greet all of you "A Very Happy Easter!"

First Grandchild

By Rudy A. Arizala
Santiago, Chile

My younger brother´s daughter gave me the "good news" of the New Year. She just gave birth to a baby girl, the first granddaughter of my brother and, therefore, mine also. The coming of a newly-born, heralded or not by a star or other signs in the heavens or on earth, is always a source of immense joy and excitement because it is a continuation of the family on earth. A part of the propagation and perpetuation of the specie if we follow the Darwinian theory of evolution. The olds fade away replace by new ones.

Only two years ago, we deeply mourned the passing away of our beloved Nanay, who, if she were alive today, would have enjoyed the coming to this world of her first "apo sa tuhod" (great grandchild).

To parents of the newly-born as well as to the relatives, the baby is the prettiest and smartest child and they never tire of discussing and comparing to whom the baby look like &endash; the mother, the father or the grandparents from either side? The parents love their children so much that they would sacrifice or do everything for them. For the parents love their children with the same pathos that God has in His love for mankind.

Aside from who is the look alike of the child, the name of the newly-born these days in the Philippines is getting longer and difficult either to remember or pronounce. For example, to the given Christian name "Maria", the names of the grandmothers are added and modernized to sound like American names. Thus, the name of a newly-born baby girl these days could be "Maria Dolly Anne" &endash; a combination of the names "Maria", "Dolores" and "Ana". In the past the name "Maria" plus the family name of the father would suffice. But nowadays, we give at least three names to the baby plus the surname of the father.

The only advice I could give with respect to giving of names to a newly-born is: Be sure that the correct name or names of the child are registered in the Civil Registry as well as the names of both parents of the child and of course, the correct date of birth. This is to avoid problems later in getting a passport in case when already a professional or adult he or she would decide to travel or work abroad.

The birth of the first "apo" (grandchild) in our family is added statistics to the 84 million population of the Philippines. Compare this to only 16 million when my brother and I were still in the grade school.

We were then self-sufficient in rice and with respect to other basic commodities. We also attended classes the whole day compared to only half-day session today. This conducting of half sessions instead of full day classes is due to lack of classrooms, books, and teachers.

The newly-born child would be facing when she grow old a more complex and highly competitive world with problems of unemployment, environment pollution, drug addiction, security, terrorism, lack of food, water and many other problems of a highly technical globalizing world. We, therefore, pray that our first grandchild in the family have a bright future and this could be done through adequate good education, solid high moral foundation and unshakable religious faith.

The newly-born child reminds us what Jesus Christ told His disciples: "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."( Mt. 18:3-4).

Little known facts about Rizal

by Rudy Arizala

Apart from 30 December 1896 when he was executed by musketry in the hands of Pinoy soldiers in the Spanish army; 25 December he wrote his defense; and on 26 December 1896, he was sentenced to death, what else do we know about Rizal especially his character, his strengths and weaknesses?

Last year, I wrote a long essay (14 page) about our national hero titled: "Seldom-known or Forgotten Aspects of the First Filipino." However, for purpose of brevity allow me simply to reproduce hereunder the conclusions or summary of said essay. But before we do that, let me remind the readers what were the charges filed against Rizal and what were his defenses against those charges.

A. Charges against Rizal
1. Principal organizer and living soul of the Filipino insurrection.

2. Founder of societies, periodicals and books dedicated to fomenting and propagating the ideas of rebellion.

B. Rizal´s Defenses
1. The Filipino rebels used his name without his knowledge.

2. He could have escaped in a Moro vinta if he had a hand in the revolution, instead of building a home, hospital and buying parcels of land in Dapitan.

3. Rizal advised Dr. Pio Valenzuela in Dapitan not to rise in revolution.

4. His life in Dapitan had been exemplary as the Spanish military commander and missionary priests could attest.

C. Hereunder are parts of the conclusion of my essay mentioned above about Rizal.

1. "Rizal" was not the original surname of our national hero. Mercado was the original surname. Surname was changed for "security" reasons.

2. He was not a "real" doctor because he failed to submit a thesis. His first love was the study of law and arts.

3. Rizal as a child was melancholy, frail and without appetite.

4. He lost his passport, mistaken for a spy by the German police and that his passport bear the name "Jose Mercado" and not "Jose Rizal."

5. He believed that a "federal republic" form of government for the Philippines could be an alternative.

6. When he was studying in Europe due to lack of money he missed his meals, did not take a bath for a long time; borrowed money from janitors of university where he was studying, and pawned the diamond ring given to him by his sister Saturnina..

7 While in Hong Kong on his way to Europe he was offered a job at the Spanish Consulate. but did not accept it.

8. Rizal and Antonio Luna almost killed each other in a duel due to disparaging remarks made by Luna against Rizal´s sweetheart Nellie Boustead.

9-While still engaged with Leonor Rivera for eleven years, Rizal had many other loves.

10. Rizal played the lottery and won a share of the winning ticket.

11. He engaged in farming and in business while in Dapitan.

12. Although he bitterly criticized the friars in his two novels, he hears mass every Sunday.

13. The one who shot Rizal was a squad of Filipino soldiers under the employ of the Spanish Army.

14. He drinks beer simply not to call attention of the people in restaurant. In other words, "pakitang tao lamang" o pagkukunyari.

15. Rizal suffered from depression and had premonition he would die early,

Despite Rizal´s greatness and fittingly declared as our national hero, he was also human and like ordinary mortals with foibles, weaknesses, idiosyncrasies, and strength. He was mistaken for a spy; offered a job at the Spanish Consulate in Hong Kong; had differences with other expatriates Filipinos in Europe; had to borrow money from friends and even from janitors of a university; fallen in love several times; and became ill or sick due perhaps to lack of nourishment. Aside from intellectual pursuits (more inclined to writing and drawing or making sketches of people), he was also a farmer and a businessman. And like any mortal also engaged in the game of chance by betting on a lottery ticket.

But such human frailties did not prevent him from rendering magnificent service to his people by awakening in them love of country, national consciousness, and take pride in their country´s history, tradition to attain greatness in the future. In so far as biographer Ambassador Leon Ma. Guerrero is concerned: "Rizal was the first Filipino" because from a historical point of view among those who preceded him "No one proclaimed himself a Filipino." And among his contemporaries, "it was Rizal, as we have seen, who taught his countrymen that they could be something else, Filipinos who were members of a Filipino nation. . ."(Guerrero, p. 496).

It may be asked what was the dream of Rizal for the Philippines? What kind of government? According to biographer Guerrero Rizal thinking was that "If the two peoples did not become an homogenous mass, then the Philippines would be fated without fail to declare themselves independent someday, probably as a federal republic." Ibid., p. 231. Underscoring, supplied.)

It may be further asked: "Why should Rizal (Mercado) be our national hero when he refused to fight on the side of Bonifacio´s Katipunan in the field of battle against Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines but rather preferred to face a firing squad of 8 Filipino soldiers belonging to the Spanish army on that early 30th December morning in 1896, their Remington rifles ready to implement the death penalty?

Ambassador Leon Ma. Guerrero justified it rather poetically in the following words.

". . . . We may honor the fighters who, in hills and cellars, serve their country with the strength of their arms and resourcefulness of their intelligence, the self-made men, the worldly men, the successful men who do the necessary work of conspiracy, organization, revolt, and government, without which nothing would be accomplished. But we reserve our highest homage and deepest love for the Christlike victims whose mission is to consummate by their tragic ´failure´ the redemption of our nation. They stand above the reproaches and recriminations of human life, and are blessed with true immortality. When, at their appointed time, they die, we feel that all of us have died with them, but also that by their death we have been saved." (Ibid., p. 500).

And so ordinary mortal Rizal as he was, despite his seldom-known or forgotten human foibles, mistakes and even failures, through firm determination, hard work and personal sacrifices, was able to emerge out of a hosts of other heroes as the "First Filipino" to consummate the birth of a free nation. And the above quote from Amb.. Leon Ma. Guerrero explain why we have chosen Jose Mercado (Rizal) as the "First Filipino" and consequently our national hero. We have chosen a "Filibustero" instead of a "Warrior." Rizal in his letter to his friend Blumentritt explain the meaning of "filibustero" as a "dangerous patriot who will soon be on the gallows. . . ." His words were prophetic, indeed.

Award not reason for Philippine trip

by Mila Glodava

After Mark Bitara, a regular guest of the MIF Website, saw the news item regarding my "Medalya ng Karangalan" award, he sent me a message, saying: "I wondered where you were. Now I know, and what a great surprise (but not unexpected!) Congratulations!"

While it's true that I received Quezon's prestigious award (upon the nomination of Amb. Rudy Arizala) in August, I did not go to the Philippines in July and August for that purpose. The real reason for my trip: I was on a mission for St. Thomas More to continue to promote "Stewardship as a Way of Life."

I was supposed to return to the states Aug. 3, but received word from Awards Committee member Dading Arizala July 30 that I have been chosen as one of the Medalya honorees and asked if I might be able to extend my stay. Thanks to my pastor, who without hesitation gave the go-ahead , I was able to extend my stay.

More than a year ago Father Andrew Kemberling and I presented the first conference on "Sustainability of the Church of the Poor through Stewardship." My visit in July was a follow-up visit to the Cebu conference to see the progress of parishes that have embraced stewardship as a way of life. Stewardship encourages a grateful heart by giving to church and other charities in thanksgiving for all that God has given.

St. Thomas More's successful stewardship program, which Father Andrew and I have been sharing in the United States and abroad, has found some success in the dioceses that participated in the conference. Father Andrew hopes that my visit will generate a substantive report to present to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in January 2005. CBCP president Archbishop Fernando Capalla, who met with me while in Manila, extended an invitation to Father Andrew and me to address the plenary assembly July 11 in Manila, but due to conflicts in scheduling Father Andrew could not accept the invitation.

While in the Philippines I visited parishes in various dioceses including the Prelature of Infanta, the Diocese of San Jose, Nueva Ecija, Diocese of San Fernando, La Union, Vicariate of San Jose, Oriental Mindoro, the Archdiocese of Cebu, as well as various congregations including the Discalced Carmelite Friars, O'Carmelites, Camillians and ACT. In addition, I served as speaker and general resource person on stewardship for Catholic Association of Schools of the Prelature of Infanta (CASPI).

For Metro Infanta Foundation I also had meetings, among others, with the following:

• Infanta Central School and local government officials and a special meeting with Gov. Wilfrido Enverga. to discuss the Gabaldon Project.

• AGTA community in General Nakar. Metro Infanta has funded one of its programs.

• Lyceum of the Philippines, to evaluate the Arizala Scholarship program.

My visit in July also gave me the opportunity to visit Metro Infanta on a number of occasions, including the birthday celebrations of Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona and Bishop Julio Labayen.
In the next few editions of the website I will give more details on my mission and others.
Sept. 1, 2004

Mission not accomplished

by Mila Glodava

On Thursday, May 27, I celebrated my 59th birthday. I received greetings and gifts, mostly flowers and cards. I usually ask my family and friends not to give me any gifts, but if they so choose, they can make instead a donation in my name to Metro Infanta Foundation (This was good timing because it was good start to receive some matching grants from our special supporter, the Weckbaugh Foundation).

Reaching my 59th birthday was special to me, not because of the greetings and gifts, but because the night before, after a wonderful time celebrating my birthday (in one of Colorado's most spectacular country clubs with a view that some may say "to die for,") my friends and I came out of a car accident (thank God), unhurt in a badly damaged car.

As I was looking at a vase of beautiful roses (I was told there were a hundred roses) that came to my office from a good friend, I cannot help but think these flowers could have been for another reason.

Only two weeks ago, I had a near-miss experience on a Colorado highway involving a girder. It made national news, so some of you might have heard about it. Well I was there! I was coming home with a friend, Dolly Banzon, from Vail, and if I had driven just a bit faster than I did, it could have been us under that girder. While I did not see the girder falling (I must must have been concentrating on my driving), Dolly did.

After I realized what had happened, I thought I had to change lanes immediately just in case we can still get through. I ended up just at the end of a guard rail under the bridge. After checking out what had happened (one van was cut in half, with the front end stuck under the girder and the other half thrown several hundred feet way to the median), we realized that there was no way we can get through the fallen girder.

Although saddened by the fact that there's no way anyone can survive the impact of the fall, our next thought was to get out of there before we get stuck in traffic. Because we were just outside the guard rail and had no obstacle to get out, we pulled out to the median and on to the opposite side of the highway and off we went.

The accident really did not hit me (same with Dolly) until I came home and heard on the news that three died in the accident. I cannot help but think, "What if the other half of the van was thrown backwards, there could have been a chain reaction that could have affected many more people, including us. Or what if the girder also pulled the rest of the bridge down. Again, more people could have been killed. Thank God nothing of the sort happened.
Right now all I can think of is, "thank God for making me reach my 59th birthday." Thank God for letting me have more time to be with my family and friends and to accomplish my mission on this earth.

"A Scholarship of Love"

by Mila Glodava

"A scholarship of love." That was the headline in today's Second A Section of The Denver Post. The article was about, Berry White, a law student who created an endowment fund at the University of Denver for future prosecutors in memory of his sister who died at the age of 21 because of drug overdose.

What struck me about this article was that despite the tragic event, Berry White still has the presence of mind to pull something good from his family's tragedy. Berry's endowment fund, which an official thought was overly ambitious, is a tribute to his sister, a beauty queen who wanted to help people get off drugs, but herself sucked into the world of drugs. To date he has raised $25,000 of the $50,000 minimum to create an endowment fund at the university.

This story reminded of other equally inspiring stories. One was that of a laundry woman, an 89-year-old African American, who also made the headlines when she gave $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi for scholarships. Another, a librarian in a college on the Western Slopes of Colorado gave a million dollars to her college. Both women lived very frugal lives, saved from their limited income , invested their money wisely and now are sharing the fruits of their investments to benefit others.

These are indeed touching stories of ordinary people with ordinary means, yet who believe in the value of education and its benefit to beneficiaries of the endowments.

Filipinos, too, value education, so much so that it is every Filipino's dream to earn a college degree and more. Families sacrifice to give children and siblings the opportunity for higher education. Indeed we receive high marks for taking care of our own. Filipinos do believe in the adage that "Charity begins at home."

There is something to be said, however, when we also give opportunities to others outside of the family. Many articles and essays have been written about parents who sacrifice everything to send their children to school. My own parents saved every penny they earned from their two stores in the "palengke" of Infanta to send my brothers and sisters to college. By the time my turn came, there was almost nothing left and they had to sell everything to start a boarding house in Manila.

Then came to the rescue, Fr. Cayetano Serafines who suggested without my knowledge to the newly installed Bishop of the Prelature of Infanta, Bishop Julio Labayen, to find a scholarship for me. At the time I was working as Fr. Serafines' secretary in Burdeos. To my surprise, Fr. Serafines told me to go to St. Paul College of Manila and take the admission test there for a full scholarship. If I pass I also would work for my board and lodging and be an "interna." And the rest as they say is history.

I am very grateful to Fr. Serafines and Bishop Labayen for giving me that opportunity to go to St. Paul's. Had the bishop chosen to give scholarships only to his relatives, I would not be where I am today. Bishop Labayen's generosity to someone he hardly knew was an inspiration for me to reach out to others I do not know, and not just my relatives. The ripple effects of his benevolence to me are countless.

The moral of the story: Do not limit your outreach to members of your family! Reach out and help others you many not know, and experience the ripple effects of your generosity. All of our scholars are required to implement some project that benefits the community.

You too can give give others an opportunity to go to school, and at the same time pay tribute to a loved one. Why wait until a tragedy strikes before doing something similar to Berry White's incredible tribute. Metro Infanta Foundation can be your vehicle to pay tribute to your loved ones. An Endowment Fund the likes of Berry Whites's would be nice if you have been blessed, but it doesn't have to be that huge. One hundred dollars can send a student to a year of high school at Mt. Carmel (those in public schools have free tuition), and $400 can get them to graduate. Or you might want to send a deserving student to college with just $300 per year at the Northern Quezon Cooperative College.

Perhaps someone is celebrating a birthday or an anniversary. Instead of spending for a gift that they really don't need, why not make a donation to Metro Infanta Foundation in their honor and give someone who is not a relative a scholarship? I have often encouraged my children to do this for me on my birthday or for Mother's Day, because I don't need any more than what I have right now. What a valuable lesson it is for them. Their gift goes to a good cause and they learn the value of giving out of love.

Sacred Space

by Mila Glodava

A few days ago an article about "sacred space" appeared in the local paper. It seems that Americans have found that having a sacred space in the home is good for their mental and spiritual health. Usually however, this sacred space is in connection with eastern traditions such as yoga for healing and other metaphysical experiences. Usually they are complete with incense, bells and Buddha.

Sacred space is nothing new among Filipinos who, more often than not, reserve a space for an altar, modestly adorned or an entire room where a Mass could be celebrated. For many, the altar is a simple table adorned with the statue of the Sacred of Jesus and of Mary and of course the ever-present "Santo Niño." For others, it's a simple sacred image posted on the wall, and lighted by a "lampara," or a simple cross hanging on the wall.

Filipinos now scattered around the world carry this tradition with them in their new homes. It is not unusual to see a huge Santo Niño greet guests of Filipino homes.

Do I have an altar? You bet I do! I do have a small Santo Niño right at the foyer of my home. My main altar, the top of a bureau in my son's room has all the statues and sacred objects I have collected over the years. I have a number of crosses, and baby Jesus, holy water from Lourdes and other sacred places, and statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and of course candle lights. A huge votive candle holder collects my dried up palms from previous year's Palm Sunday.

My special sacred space, however, is in my living room, where I have my prayer chair and my daily sacred readings. This is where I actually say my prayers daily, before I start my day to work or otherwise. It seems that my day is not complete until have done my daily ritual of prayer and meditation. I find this place to be my place of solace. My husband and children know that they are not to disturb me when I am in my sacred space. When I have guests, I sometimes invite them to join me in prayer in this place.

Do you have any other Filipino tradition that you have continued to do in your new country. Please share them with our guests and readers. You may send it to: editor@infanta.org.

July 21, 2006

Holy Cross Parish continues support of parishes in San Luis and Baler

by Delcie Runco

We have several projects going on at the same time with our Philippine Committee.

We are once again having "Christmas in July" collecting stuffed animals for next Christmas. Also, K-Mart has had boxes of 24 crayons and spiral notebooks on sale for ten cents so we have collected 300 boxes of crayons and 100 spiral notebooks because I figure that they will make good Christmas presents also.

A couple from our church has a connection with Carters baby clothing company. The store lets them know when they are having a closeout sale. They have purchased over $3,000 worth of new baby clothing including 52 pairs of tennis shoes that light up when the children walk. We have now shipped 150 boxes of clothing, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, sheets, towels, etc.

This weekend at all the Masses we are selling white, children's T-shirts for the poor families whose children can't go to school because the family can't afford a uniform. We are selling them for more than we paid for them so that we will have extra money to purchase the pants and skirts needed for the uniform. We will wire the extra money to Fr. Von for the MSK workers to purchase the uniforms there because they are so much cheaper and that way we know that they are the right color.

When I first came home we raised $3,000 to purchase vegetable seeds and chickens for the poorest villages so they could raise their own food. Fr. Von has a volunteer who will teach them how to prepare the soil and how to raise animals.

It sure keeps me busy but I am having the most rewarding time of my life.

Fr. Von needs back surgery, please pray for him. Also, his cook has just been diagnosed with a serious illness and needs our prayer.

July 20, 2006

20 de Julio

by Rudy Arizala

Today is 20th of July. Those who are curious to know or wondering why there is such a street in Infanta, Quezon called "20 de Julio," they would be surprised that it has historical origin or significance.

It is the "liberation day" of the people and town of Infanta from the Spanish regime during the "Katipunan revolution" which started in August 1896.

A group of "Katipuneros" laid siege on the town´s stone convent where some Spanish soldiers decided to make a land stand. After almost a month, hungry, weak and some sickly, the Spanish soldiers finally surrendered to the local "Katipuneros."

The day when the Spanish contingent in Infanta surrendered was on 20 July.

And in case one would be wondering why there is a street named "Plaridel" traversing 20 de Julio street, said name is in honor of Marcelo H. De Pilar, one of the propagandists of the Philippine Revolution who founded the newspaper "La Solidaridad." To avoid detection of his true identity by the Spanish authorities, del Pilar assumed the name of "Plaridel" while Rizal assumed the name of "Dimasalang."

Before, we used to celebrate the town fiesta of Infanta on the 20th of July, while the Catholic church in Infanta celebrates the feast of St. Mark on 25th April. However, as expression of unity and cooperation, the Catholic church and the municipal officials decided to celebrate only one town fiesta, that is on 25th of April. However, it does not mean that we do not give anymore importance to the day of Infanta´s liberation from the Spanish regime in our town. 20 de Julio street is a living testimony of such historic importance.

July 14, 2006

Remembering Infanta

by Rudy Arizala

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Mr. Roces, in his column about old customs or things past, reminds me of life in Infanta when we were kids and even during early postwar years.

At the struck of 6:00 p.m. wherever we may be and whatever we were doing, whether at work or at play, we stopped and rushed home for the "hable" or angelus. Mother would lead the prayers and we kids would kneel with our parents and respond or participate in the angelus prayers.

There was also a time when old people in Infanta, especially Nana Sepa, aside from the Angelus also prays at 8:00 p.m. and at 6:00 a.m.

After the Angelus, it was dinner or supper time. All members of the family should be at the dining table. There was no electricity, no radio or TV programs. We kids either study our lessons by kerosene light after dinner or hear stories from our parents such as "Juan Tamad", Don Juan Tenioso, Ibong Adarna, etc.

At an improvised altar in a corner of the family bedroom is the flickering light from a tiny kerosene lamp called "teringke". Its tiny glow gives eerie light night and day. And we sleep soundly until the crowing of the cocks when the older members of the family wake up at 5:00 a.m. to prepare breakfast. We school children, by 7:00 a.m., are on our way to school, rain or shine.

Speaking of the first rain in May -- "unang patak ng ulan sa buwan ng Mayo" -- I remember the old folks in Infanta used to gather said rain water in basin of water (palanggana) saying it is not only good for washing the face and hands but also for watering plants. Plants grow faster with that rain water.

We were also told by our teacher that the cleanest and safest water is rain water. And that was true because during my childhood, our air or atmosphere was not yet polluted as it is today. And if you will recall, behind the municipal building of Infanta, Quezon, was a huge circular concrete tank. It was used for collecting rain water. And that concrete tank behind the municipal building was the source of water of the people of Infanta during rainy or monsoon days, in addition, of course, to existing dug-in wells of concrete of the town such as the ones in Tata Apin´s yard in Isla, that of Amang Potes; and that of Amang Polon, to mention a few. There were no piped waters yet in Infanta at that time.

There were no door bells in Infanta at that time. People would knock at the door saying "Tao po" or if passing through the yard or in front of the house of someone else, although seeing nobody, the passersby would say "Makikilipas po", to signify that they are not trespassing or invading somebody else yard or property.

But I digressed. Mr. Roces is correct in suggesting that we better revive or at least remember our things past -- especially old customs and traditions. They are not incompatible with life in this modern "globalized world."

July 04, 2006

"Manifest Destiny and Reality":Musings on the 4th of July)

By Rudy Arizala

In 1898 thru U.S. Pres Mckinley´s "Manifest Destiny," we were supposed to be "civilized" and educated in the "art of of self-government." So, by the fourth of July 1946, we have faithfully copied the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and democratic form of government as mandated in the Tydings-McDuffie Act or Philippine Independence Law passed by U.S. Congress on 24 March 1934.

Yet, more than half a century later, after our last colonial master had left our shores, we find ourselves still facing the same problems of colonialism. While we have political freedom, we are still economically underdeveloped. Most of our people suffer from poverty, our country buried in debts and struggling for survival amidst swirling tides of corruption and problems of security and mismanagement.

In contrast, our fellow Asians, for example Malaysia and India who were also under colonial rule for centuries like us, inherited no "Manifest Destiny" from the British but received a legacy of strong civil service and business acumen. They have attained economic progress and political stability. As a matter of fact, our educated but unemployed countrymen flock to their shores to earn a living and feed their hungry families in the Philippines. How do we explain such historical phenomenon?

Methinks, it could be attributed to the fact that while our fellow Asians have sense of nationhood and imbibed the virtues of their former colonial masters, we Filipinos lack a sense of strong nationhood and failed to assimilate the virtues of our colonial masters. For example the "sense of honor" of the Spaniards; "the enterprise and democratic ethos" of the Americans; and the "discipline and sense of nation" of the Japanese. We instead imbibed their vices.

Furthermore, in the words of Filipino writer and historian F. Sionil Jose, we became "hostage to barnacled habits of mind to ethnicity." Geographically, we are of so many islands and composed of many tribes, fragmented and at times engaged in animosity if not at war on each other. We generally think in terms of being an Ilokano, Bicolano, Visaya, Pampango, Tagalog, etc. instead of one nation, united and indivisible. Yes, the Americans in an effort to unite and educate us, introduced the public school system in our 7, 100 islands. But our people became a group of educated unemployed, without a country or sense of nationhood. This is reflected in our expatriates or OFW´s. Wherever there are large concentration of Filipinos abroad, they usually organize themselves according to various ethnic groups from which they come from in the Philippines.

Our people are full of dreams but when face with a problem to attain those dreams have a tendency to fall into the "Bahala na" attitude. Therefore, on this 4th of July originally called "Independence Day" now known as "Fil-American Friendship Day", let us recall and give true meaning to what U.S. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed in 1946: "The United States of America hereby withdraws and surrenders all rights of possession, supervision, jurisdiction, control or sovereignty now existing and exercised by the United States of America in and over the territory and people of the Philippines; and . . . do hereby recognize the independence of the Philippines

Let us roll up our sleeves and work hard to merit true independence and democracy. It is time for action and face reality.

While illegal gambling such as "jueteng", graft and corruption, clean and honest elections are valid issues which should be resolved, sacrifices to make democratic institutions function for the general welfare of the people are essential. Let us address first the basic issues of poverty, unemployment, education, health, shelter, security and moral regeneration of our people. To effectively achieve these goals, credible leadership and unstinted support of the people are necessary. It may take time. There is no short-cut to attain these goals. Not even by revolution or "manifest destiny". That´s the reality learned from history.