Saturday, May 31, 2014

Donaire’s not-so-sweet victory in sweet science

Donaire’s not-so-sweet
victory in sweet science

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
Mahatma Gandhi

By Alex P. Vidal

Boxing is Sweet Science. If the victory of a ring superstar isn’t sweet, it’s no big deal as long as an explosive fisticuffs governed by the Marquees of Queensberry rules happened.
Nonita “Flash” Donaire Jr.’s (33-2, 21 KOs) 4th round technical decision win over WBA featherweight “super” champion Simpiwe “V12″ Vetyeka (26-3, 15 KOs) on Saturday at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, China was far from sweet, but it gave him his fourth world title in different divisions.
Donaire had won world titles at flyweight (112 lbs), bantamweight (118 lbs) and super-bantamweight (122 lbs) in the previous years.


The fight could have ended in a knockout in the later rounds for the Fil-Am challenger had it not been for the two successive accidental headbutts in rounds one and two, which opened a nasty cut over Donaire’s left eye.
The wound interrupted Donaire’s savagery for a few moments thus allowing Vetyeka to throw caution in the wind.
Donaire tried to finish off the African champion after scoring a knockdown with a left hook in the fourth, the round where slick-moving Vetyeka tried to launch a desperate kamikaze attack.
Earlier in round three, Donaire put pressures on the champion with dizzying hooks and crisp jabs which landed with explosive accuracy. 


Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon had to terminate the bout on advice of ring physician after four rounds thus Donaire wasn’t able to floor Vetyeka anew for good.
If the bout was halted before the fourth, Vetyeka would have retained his title via technical draw. Team Vetyeka wouldn’t mind losing round three for another headbutt provided that the fight was stopped before fourth so he could retain his crown.
Vetyeka fought like the styles of most African fighters, charging in and out and throwing sharp jabs and straights and waiting for Donaire to lower his left. The champion dug deep into Donaire’s body in the second round but couldn’t penetrate the breadbasket.
Sensing a blood in his opponent’s wound, the African targeted the cut with conjectural straights hoping to land a clean shot that would decimate Donaire’s defense and force the referee to stop the fight on TKO.


Donaire, however, pressed for a kill and rocked the champion with solid punches in the body.
Both fighters had heated exchanges in the third and fourth.
Despite being pummeled by a left hook that sent him to the canvas for a mandatory eight count, sturdy-chinned Vetyeka refused to slow down; no sign of intimidation in his eyes while throwing his own haymakers and combinations with confidence while clinging to life.

A rematch is most likely to happen now that Vetyeka yielded the WBA jewels in a not-so-convincing fashion.

We will all die anyway; the foods we eat

We will all die anyway; the foods we eat

“Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.”
Sai Baba

By Alex P. Vidal

As we age we become conscious of the foods that we eat primarily because of health reasons. According to one dietician, we are the food that we eat.
I was recently asked by a young college student interested in history why people in ancient times lived longer than people in modern times. My answer was a quick “probably because of the quality of foods that we eat.”
Biblical figures lived up to 800 years. Today, at 60, many of us are already “bog bog sarado” by different ailments and complications; and are frequent visitors in the doctor’s clinics if not confined in the hospitals. By 70 some of us are wheelchair-bound. Those who are lucky to reach 80 stay in bed until the trip to the kingdom come beckons.  


Some foods give us diseases because they are contaminated by chemicals and preservatives.
To be healthy, according to health experts, our body needs fuel-foods, fats and carbohydrates (sugars starches) to provide energy; proteins, such as meat, to build new tissues for growth or to replace those worn out; calcium, in milk, for strong bones and teeth; and various minerals, including salt, that help the body to maintain its chemical balance and to carry on its functions.
We were told that vitamins are not foods, but these “food-factors,” as they are called, are essential. They help the body to make use of the food we eat. Vitamins already present in food are usually enough for a normal person if his diet is otherwise well-balanced.


Every day we are advised to eat some foods from each of these groups: (1) milk or milk products, including cheese—at least a pint of milk for an adult and more for a child; (2) citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), tomatoes, or raw cabbage or salad greens—at least one; (3) green or yellow vegetables, some raw, some cooked—at least one big serving; (4) other vegetables or fruits, including potatoes; (5) bread and cereals; (6) meat, poultry or fish; (7) eggs—three or four a week at least; (8) butter or another vitamin-rich spread.
We will all die anyway, so why not make an exit with grace.

Beginning of newspapers

Beginning of newspapers

“It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.”

By Alex P. Vidal

Despite the advent of internet, people continue to read the newspapers. Even after watching the news on TV, readers still refuse to abandon the habit of spending a little time to read the printed news, especially opinions, every morning over a cup of coffee.
The newspaper in its modern form is usually regarded as beginning in 1566, when the government of Venice, Italy, issued written news-sheets and exhibited them in the streets, according to the Book of Knowledge.
The book said anyone was allowed to read them on payment of a small coin called a gazetta. On this account the news-sheets were called gazettes, and they became so popular that they were printed. Soon after the date mentioned, gazettes were issued in most of the big cities of Europe.
The first English newspaper, it was learned, was the Weekly News, published in London in 1622. But in this paper and its successors down to 1641 only foreign news was printed.


While newspapers in the modern sense are thus less than four centuries old, something corresponding to the newspaper was found in the ancient world, the book added.
Accounts of the doings of the imperial armies of Rome were sent to generals in command in all parts of the empire. These Acta Diura, or Daily Doings, as they were called, were communicated by the generals to their officers.
Farther back still, items of news, generally about kings or battles, were carved in stone in prominent places in Babylonian and Assyrian cities. These may almost be regarded as the origin of the newspaper as a record of events. Probably the oldest newspaper in this sense is the Siloam Inscription, discovered in 1880 in the rocky aqueduct of the Pool of Siloam at the southeast end of Jerusalem.
The characters are those of the early form of the alphabet used by the Phoenicians, Hebrews and Moabites. The language is Biblical Hebrew. The inscription is of the period of the Hebrew monarchy.
It dates back to at least 700 B.C., and is one of the oldest Hebrew inscriptions known.


It may be called the Jewish newspaper of Isaiah’s time, and perhaps even of Solomon’s time. Freely translated it read thus:
“Finished is the boring. And this was the manner of the boring. The hewers were plying the pickax, cash toward his fellow, and there were still three cubits to finish, when there was heard the voice of one calling to his fellow; for there was a crack in the rock on the right. And on the day of the boring the hewers struck each to meet his fellow, pickax to pickax, and the water ran from the source of the pool, two hundred and a thousand cubits. And a hundred cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the hewers.”

It sounds very modern. Just such a paragraph might announce the completion of the cutting of a new tunnel through the Rockies, for instance.

Friday, May 30, 2014

FIFA, Azkals can’t snatch away Ilonggos’ madness with NBA

FIFA, Azkals can’t snatch away
Ilonggos’ madness with NBA

“When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”
George Washington Carver

By Alex P. Vidal

Ask any Ilonggo sports fan—young and old-- in the street about the National Basketball Association (NBA) nowadays and he can tell us lengthily about LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant, Marc Gasol, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook – all NBA leading superstars in this generation.
Ilonggo sports enthusiasts are not only familiar with James Yap, Asi Taulava, Jun Mar Fajardo, Jason Castro, Jayve Casio, among other top PBA cagers today, but can also recite statistics about NBA’s Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Stephen Curry, and Paul Millsap,  to mention a few.
Basketball is arguably the No. 1 sport of the Ilonggos and Filipinos in general, including those living in other countries exposed to other outdoor and indoor sports. Next to politics, basketball is the country’s national passion. In between is Manny Pacquiao’s KO demonstrations.
Ask the same fan (unless, of course, he is a true-blue sportswriter) if he knows Zinedine Zidane, Thiago Silva, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, Paulinho, Roberto Baggio, Fernando Hierro, and David Villa-- all FIFA World Cup legends, and he will surely pause for a while before giving us a blank stare. FIFA World Cup is the world’s most popular sporting event next only to the World Summer Olympic Games, but Ilonggos or Filipino fans for that matter, remember FIFA World Cup only when media start to make a noise and flood the sports pages and internet with news about how rich countries in Europe and Africa treat the event as a global phenomenon. FIFA World Cup enters into an Ilonggo fan’s imagination as soon as he sees a football field in the newspapers and TV clips; as soon as front pages drumbeat the huge event that it is now “FIFA World Cup time!”


Ilonggo fans, of course, know James and Phil Younghusband as Akzals brother heartthrobs like they know their kindergarten classmates, but they can hardly recall with complete familiarization other prominent booters in the team that recently made waves in the AFC Challenge Cup in Maldives. Without the presence of the handsome Filipino-British football players, Ilonggos can remember only their very own Ian Araneta and Chieffy Caligdong, both of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo. 
Several days from now, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will unfold in Brazil. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) event has triggered a global frenzy, and fans are already agog over the sophistication and hoopla that attended the preparation stages arranged by gigantic sponsors. Yet, Ilonggos are still enmeshed on the suspense and thriller whipped up by the NBA play-offs in both the Eastern and Western conferences among San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma Thunder, Miami Heat, and Indiana Pacers. Many of them don’t give a hoot about the pre-tournament predictions that Brazil would steamroll Argentina in the finals. Too early to speculate for those oddsmakers.
In the early 70s, a Chinese karate instructor ushered us to Golden Theater, a downtown moviehouse in Iloilo City, to watch “Game of Death” starring Bruce Lee, known as “Hai Tien” in the film. Tien was a retired champion martial artist who was confronted by the Korean underworld gangs.
Our Chinese karate instructor wanted us to study the movements of Bruce Lee and how he defeated in the Pagoda tournament Filipino Eskrima master Dan Inosanto and Korean Hapkido master Ji Han Jae. As elementary pupils, we actually knew little things about the legendary Bruce Lee and the karate styles he was employing to outwit his rivals.
What caught our attention was the very tall bemoustached black man, who engaged Bruce Lee in a bloody and full-contact karate showdown that had the audience on the edge of their seats.  He was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who fought with a free and fluid style mirroring Lee's Jeet Kune Do. Because Abdul-Jabbar's character has great size and strength in addition to a fighting style as potent as Lee's, he could only be defeated once Bruce Lee or Hai recognized that an unusually high sensitivity to light was his greatest weakness. Ergo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the man of the hour.


Instead of focusing on Bruce Lee’s fights, everyone was now talking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr. ) and how he acquired the Muslim name after piloting the Milwaukee Bucks in his first NBA title in 1971 at age 24. If Jabbar were a candidate for a national office in the Philippines, he would be a sure winner given his tremendous popularity that skyrocketed further after the Game of Death film.
Even in the sixties and seventies, NBA was very popular among Filipino cage fans. During the martial law years when cable TV and internet were not yet around, Filipinos were already infatuated with the NBA even at the height of the PBA Crispa Redmanizer vs Toyota rivalry in the 70’s.

Only Manny Pacquiao’s fight can rival the best-of-seven series between two NBA teams. When the NBA finals unwrap several days from now in time for the opening of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, we will know which event will get the immediate attention of Ilonggo fans. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Would Roding Ganzon, et al deal with a Janet Napoles?

Would Roding Ganzon, et al
deal with a Janet Napoles?

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  
J. K. Rowling

By Alex P. Vidal

The late former Iloilo City mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, who had served as congressman (Iloilo second district, 1961) and senator (1963-1969), was one of the only few leaders in the country who did not agree that members of the legislative branch should dip their fingers on public funds intended to finance infrastructure and development projects.
The “stormy petrel of the south” once called as “que horror” senators and congressmen during the time of the late President Tita Cory who gobbled up fat shares of countrywide development fund (CDF), the first name of “pork barrel” introduced during the heyday of Speaker Ramon Mitra of Palawan.
“Senators and congressman should legislate laws, not implement projects,” hollered Ganzon, a Nacionalista Party stalwart incarcerated during the Martial Law.


Ganzon believed those who feasted on their CDF had ulterior motives. “How can they present quality legislation when they are also busy identifying their own contractors for certain road-widening and infrastructure projects in their respective districts which is the job of the local government executives?” sighed Ganzon, while taking potshots at his political rival, then Iloilo City Rep. Rafael Lopez-Vito. “Legislators cannot ride on two horses.”
Lopez-Vito, who beat Ganzon in an upset for congressman after the EDSA Revolution, denied he misused his CDF but admitted he had some infrastructure projects implemented in Iloilo City.
Congress vultures and crocodiles were unfazed. They ignored Ganzon and continued to laugh their way to the cookie jars.
When Ganzon stirred the hornet’s nest, future senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson was still a little known police superintendent assigned in Metro Manila.  Years later when he was elected senator, Lacson, now the Yolanda super-typhoon rehabilitation czar, sustained Ganzon’s stand on pork barrel and nixed the pork barrel dangled by the Arroyo administration to members of the House of Representa-THIEVES and the SIN-nate.
When the late Mitra was lording over the Lower House, there was no Janet Lim-Napoles yet. Napoles started only to build her financial empire through the commissions she allegedly siphoned from bogus projects implemented through the pork barrel of SIN-nators and TONG-gressmen during the time of Pres. FVR, Pres. Erap, and Pres. Gloria.


Ganzon served in the 4th Senate together with the illustrious names in Philippine politics such as Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. (the president’s father), Ambrosio Padilla, Jovito Salonga, Emmanuel Pelaez,  Gil Puyat, Eva Estrada-Kalaw,  Jose Roy, Gerardo Roxas (father of Mar), Lorenzo Tanada, Arturo Tolentino,  Leonardo Perez, Wenceslao Lagumbay, Lorenzon Teves, Alejandro Almendras, Dominador Aytona, Helena Benitez, Juan Liwag, Genaro Magsaysay, Jr., Tecla San Andres-Ziga, and Jose W. Diokno.
Would they have dealt with a Janet Lim-Napoles if the latter existed at that time and if pork barrel was coined at that time?
They, too, probably never anticipated that Congress (both the Upper and Lower Houses) would soon be devastated and ruined by a scandal called pork barrel.
When newspapers, TV and radio flashed reports during that time, it was not about who swallowed the biggest share of pie in commissions and cuts on pork barrel. The stories were all about how outstanding were our national leaders when they introduced certain bills; how they passionately debated on urgent measures on the floor; how they mesmerized the nation and foreign observers with their eloquent and bombastic speeches, and their defense of our sovereignty and interest as a nation.
Pork barrel and other scandals that rocked the legislative branch of our government shook both Houses when mediocre characters and comedians started to invade the SIN-nate and House of Representa-THIEVES.  
The defects in our electoral system are the main culprits. Even a rapist and smuggler can become a president under our myopic electoral system. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Garin, Defensor, Biron, Lopez, Tupas, ex-Iloilo solons not in ‘Napolist’

Garin, Defensor, Biron, Lopez, Tupas,
ex-Iloilo solons not in ‘Napolist’

“I really don't despise anyone. But there is a list of a half dozen people I would prefer never to hear from or see again.”
Graydon Carter

By Alex P. Vidal

We are relieved that five former Iloilo congressmen were not among the 108 solons included in the infamous “Napolist” revealed to public recently by Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.
They are now Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. (third district), Engr. Oscar “Oca” Garin (first district), Neil Tupas Sr. (fifth district), Albertito Lopez (second district), and Dr. Ferjenel “Ferj” Biron (fourth district).
Even when he was a member of the Batasang Pambansa during the Marcos years, Gov. Defensor Sr. was never implicated in any anomaly. He has been commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), a post entrusted to him by the late former President Corazon Aquino after the EDSA Revolution, but the son of Mina, Iloilo was never tainted even after three presidents that followed Mrs. Aquino – FVR, Erap, Gloria. We expect the junior Defensor to follow the footsteps of the illustrious father.


We are relieved because not all Ilonggo leaders are crooks. In fact, there are more honest and dedicated public servants in Western Visayas than those whose names are regular entries in the Office of the Ombudsman. Despite the skullduggery committed by a lot of politicians in the national level, Ilonggo leaders still continue to stand ten feet tall.
We are sad though that even the late Rep. Narciso “Narcing” Monfort (fourth district) and Atty. Rolex Suplico (fifth district) were included in the scandalous list. By being included in the list though does not make Monfort and Suplico guilty like the scam artists in the Manila film festival.  Monfort was hitherto the richest congressman in the country – before Rep. Imelda R. Marcos, former congresswoman and now Senator Cynthia Villar and Manny Pacquiao claimed the honor.
If we stretch back the list of Iloilo congressmen who served after the EDSA Revolution or those active members of the House of Representa-THIEVES before Janet Lim-Napoles romped off with her pork barrel operation, we have Rafael Lopez-Vito (Iloilo City), Necitas Panes (fourth district) and Board Member Licurgo Tirador (third district). They may not be covered anymore by the scandal in as far as “Napolist” is concerned.


Emily Lopez, who served as governor and congresswoman in Guimaras Island, escaped Napolist’s ax but not her protégé, Edgar Espinosa, predecessor of incumbent Rep. JC Rahman Nava.
Among the incumbent Iloilo solons, only Rep. Neil Tupas Jr. (fifth district) was implicated in the pork barrel brouhaha. The five other who remained “unscathed” are Reps. Jerry Trenas (Iloilo City), Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. (first district), Arcadio Gorriceta (second distrct), Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. (third district), and Jun Biron (fourth district).
Until the “Napolist” was submitted by DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima to the Senate blue ribbon committee recently, Ilonggos were in the guessing game as to who were in and who were out.
As early as 2013 when Napoles was first arrested and placed behind bars for serious illegal detention of trusted factotum turned whistle-blower, Benhur Luy, some active and former solons were jittery that their names would be mentioned in the ongoing senate investigation on the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles.
We hope those included in the “Napolist” will be able to clear their names soon. A public office after all is a public trust. If their constituents perceive them to be corrupt and unreliable, they have no more right to stay a minute longer in their high-paying government jobs. It’s what we call as delicadeza.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trees buttress Iloilo City’s beautification

Trees buttress Iloilo City’s beautification

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” John Muir

By Alex P. Vidal

There are good reasons why we should preserve our age-old trees along Gen. Luna Street affected by road-widening project.
Trees have helped beautify Iloilo City not only along highways, but also along the river and public plazas. It was said that Dr. Jose Rizal was infatuated with our old trees when he made a brief stopover in Iloilo City when he was exiled in Dapitan in 1896. Gen. McArthur was also awed with the old trees in Plaza Libertad when he visited the city after World War II.
The late former National Press Club president and former sectoral Rep. Arturo Borjal, a many-time Iloilo City visitor, once told this writer Iloilo City has some of the oldest and most unique trees in the Philippines.
“The city government as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism must preserve those trees and should not allow progress and development to be used as excuse to cut them,” explained Borjal while looking at the lunok tree beside the city hall.


City aldermen and the Department of Public Works and Highways recently were at loggerheads when several workers were caught in flagrante delicto cutting some trees along the Gen. Luna highway for the road-widening project.
The spat was renewed after Councilor Joshua Alim questioned a so-called verbal agreement between the city and the DPWH where they supposedly agreed last month to uproot the trees, to be replaced with palms instead. DPWH resumed its road widening project two weeks ago a posteriori the agreement, after works were temporarily suspended as a result of the protest from the city council which was supported by the DENR by refusing to grant DPWH clearance.
There really was no clear agreement, thundered Alim
He hollered: “They assumed all the while that everything was okay when there really was no clarity on some things. With all due respect, daw naghaum-haum lang ang tanan that there is no problem at all.
“The earlier agreement on the meeting’s venue was not followed, and I was not informed. When I arrived at the new venue, the meeting was already over,” he further stressed insisting he was not present during the April 29 meeting.
Freda Mae Sorsano, reporting for Panay News recently, wrote: “DPWH’s Iloilo City District Engineering Office asked the City Council for a confirmation that indeed the legislative body had agreed to such an agreement. The DENR is requiring a confirmation from the City Council before giving DPWH the green light to proceed with the uprooting of the trees. Alim convinced his colleagues to defer giving such confirmation. He also sought another meeting between city councilors and DPWH officials led by Regional Director Edilberto Tayao. He said he will raise several concerns.”
“First time ko nakakita nga sa tunga madugang road space,” Alim said. “Kag kun mabuhin sila kahoy kag islan man gihapon sang kahoy, paano sila kadugang road space?”


“Aside from Tayao, City District Engineer Rodney Gustilo and representatives from DENR and the Department of Agriculture will also be summoned to the meeting set on May 28. The trees, mostly pine trees and eucalyptus, were planted more than 60 years ago upon the construction of General Luna. In a previous interview, Tayao said the “best option” was to continue with the road widening. “Nagkaroon kami ng conclusion to push through with a win-win solution. Patuloy po ang project,” said Tayao. The regional director explained why it is advisable to replace trees on General Luna Street. “There are trees whose roots will grow big enough and possibly damage the pavement,” he said.
“Tayao said the trees need to be removed because the road will be expanded by uprooting all the trees on the street’s center island and have that part paved instead of expanding on the sides.”
 It is said that deciding which trees to preserve, and designing development around them often seems like a 'chicken or the egg' problem. Environmentalists suggests that the trees suitable for preservation must be identified before designing around them and the design strongly influences the selection of trees to be preserved.


A preliminary evaluation of the trees to determine those that are suitable for preservation is seen as one way out of this dilemma. Environmentalists also suggested comparing information with conceptual site plans and identifying the trees suitable for saving, and modify the site plan to accommodate the desirable trees. Working out the details of grading and preservation for trees that will remain is seen as a final stroke.

Environmentalists say in most cases the costs to preserve trees are significant. Costs accrue because the land dedicated for tree preservation is unavailable for building, structures, and techniques to minimize damage to trees require extra design and construction attention, and affected trees must be maintained to support long-term health. These costs will be borne by the public, whether through increased taxes to pay for trees in public rights-of-way, higher homeowner association dues, greater commercial rents, higher home prices or direct payment for maintenance. Trees should be selected carefully, keeping their value and contribution to the new environment in mind, it was further suggested.

Friday, May 9, 2014

How 'Barangay Monay' gave central market a bad name

How 'Barangay Monay' gave 
central market a bad name

"Farewell Woman, I intend, Henceforth, every night to sit, With my lewd well nature friend, Drinking, to engender wit."  
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester 'Love a Woman!'

By Alex P. Vidal

Can stall owners maintaining the so-called "Brgy. Monay" inside the Iloilo central market still regain their spaces if the Central Business District revitalization project pushes through?
The answer is yes, if we follow the logic put forward by city hall officials led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who assured vendors no one would be displaced "as long as they are legitimate."
Brgy. Monay is not one of the city's 180 villages. It's not an official name of any section inside the metropolis' widest and busiest public market. "Monay" is a colloquial word for vagina. The word "Brgy. Monay" or "Vagina Village" was coined by beer drinkers who frequent a seemingly rambunctious portion inside the Aldeguer Street entrance of the Iloilo central market. 
The other gates are on Guanco Street, corner Guanco-Rizal Streets, corner Iznart-Rizal Streets (Maria Clara), corner Aldeguer-Iznart Streets, and a small entrance from Hoskyn's Compound on J.M. Basa Street. In these gates are easily found the fish, meat, rice, vegetables, fruits, dried fish, kitchen wares, native products, and batchoy sections. 


Brgy. Monay started as a cuss remark, a masa joke. And the joke became a by-word -- until some parents forbid minors from straying in that area mainly because of its purported pruprient notoriety. The place's "bad image" did not develop overnight.
Brgy. Monay actually is a veritable open "beer house" hub maintained by different owners in separate stalls catering to off-duty habitues and the hoi polloi. The come-ons include unlimited and cheap pulutan or sumsuman such as bar-b-q pork and chicken, squid, sinugba fish, talaba, and pig intestines. Friendly ladies join the table at the customers' behest.
There was no evidence though that stall owners tolerated prostitution and the like in Brgy. Monay. However, two former Iloilo City councilors and several city hall officials and employees have confirmed the presence of suspected sex workers who mix in cognito with beer servers and entertain willing customers. 
"Pag pungko mo pa lang wala ka pa ka order beer may naga pangilay na nga chicks. May naga pa cute na. Dugay dugay ara na sa lamisa mo (Upon your arrival and before ordering a beer, a lady is already giving you a wink and trying to get your attention. Then she will approach and join your table)," disclosed former city councilor and now lotto results reporter Restituto "Agent Kurantay" Jotes, Jr. 


The late former city councilor German Gonzalez observed that when a customer went to the toilet, a "smiling" lady would follow him "and God knows what happened next because they returned to the table after 20 to 30 minutes."
"Ano may kuwarto dira sa tupad kasilyas? Naga ano sila didto naga rosaryo? (Is there a separate room adjacent the toilet? What were they doing there? Praying the rosary?)," the late alderman once asked Francisco "Ompoy" Pastrana, his former protege in the broadcast media.
Pastrana, who used to frequent the place together with former Bombo Radyo colleague Tony Masculino in early 90's to relax and discuss events of the day, just smiled and answered "ambot ay" (I don't know).
Jotes' plan to pass a council resolution requiring all "pink ladies" loitering in the area to get a health card from the city health office, was nixed when no one was willing to testify in a public hearing that prostitution existed in Brgy. Monay. Stall owners swore they only served beer and pulutan or sumsuman, nothing more.


Adjoining stalls operate a small karaoke or videoke area while serving beer. "They probably called the place Brgy. Monay in reference to the presence of some scantily-clad ladies spotted serving beer to customers," commented the late city councilor Eduardo Laczi. "So far, we haven't received reports that minors worked in that place or served beer to customers."
Former city hall task for on prostitution, lewd shows and anti-drug abuse chairs Toto Espinosa and Dr. Erwin Plagata laughed off rumors that Brgy. Monay is a "temple of small-time prostitution. No evidence of indecency and illegal activities in that place whatsoever, they argued. "Puro kotso-kotso (everything is just a gossip)," Espinosa said.
Former city councilor Rolando Dabao had suspected that Brgy. Monay gained its bad reputation because some rowdy and drunken customers talked about their conquest with hookers. 


"Brgy. Monay is a myth," stressed a retired city prosecutor, who used to go there with lawyer friends. "We have been in that place for several times in the past, and no pink lady or whatever has distracted our happy hour."
"Kon tuod gid man nga madamu alpot diri, tani nagreklamo na si meyor eh kay permi man siya da (If it is true that the place is a prostitution den the first person to complain should be the mayor because he also frequented this place)," said storekeeper Doming "Boy Bangrus" Agado.
He was referring to former Mayor Mansueto Malabor, who called as "inagi na ya (gayish outburst)" suggestions to clamp down on night clubs and other night spots in the city, including the notorious Brgy. Monay.
"How can we attract tourists to come to our city if there is no night life in Iloilo City?" Malabor sighed. "I don't think Brgy. Monay is a serious matter. It does not even exist. It's only an imagination. Hinubog nga istorya ina (It's a drunken men's tale)."
"It's a common knowledge that pick up girls visit the area from time to time hoping to be spotted by drunken customers," admitted former city hall sergeant-at-arms Tony Frias. "May ara gid ya eh. Ang iban galing naga pa hipokrito pa (Others are just hypocrites)," hissed Leonardo Grande, who calls Malabor "pare Mansing."
Will the proposed Central Business District revitalization project, which will be handled by private sector, finally erase Brgy. Monay from the map?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fear of change in central market

Fear of change in central market

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
Maya Angelou

By Alex P. Vidal

It is but normal for some stall owners at Iloilo central market to panic and fear possible displacement once city hall pushes through with its Central Business District revitalization project.
Any change is always opposed and viewed with pessimism even before its good results are felt. Knee-jerk reactions from stakeholders are commonly heard especially during introduction stage of any proposed development project.
Revamps and reorganization are always viewed as threats by Doubting Thomases accustomed to resist fresh ideas.  
News of proposed improvement in central market certainly has sent jitters most particularly to illegal vendors, who will be the direct casualties of this project. 
They fear and suspect the move is a shake-up meant to eliminate them and distract their normal life. 


There are several reasons why stall owners or vendors fear changes. Either they don't know what city hall officials are talking about; they are worried that something bad will happen to their businesses; they don't trust people who will implement or those who propose to implement the project; they get out ahead of other stakeholders; they don't give the vendors a say on their own future; they treat vendors with disrespect; or they ignore the history of change in the public market.
It is imperative that more public hearings and dialogues are held in order to iron out some kinks. No stone should be left unturned to ensure that both parties are able to eke out a win-win solution. 
City hall wants to tap private sector to help develop the market, which is located right in the heart of Downtown, City Proper. 
So far, only SM Prime Ventures has expressed interest to participate in the bidding. If the contract is awarded to SM Prime Ventures, management of the metropolis' premier public market will be turned over to the company over a certain period to enable it to recover its investment.


More than 1,000 stall owners will be affected by the proposed development even as Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has assured the vendors that the redevelopment of the central market will not result to their displacement as long as they are legitimate.
Vendors should trust city hall. No local government unit can afford to betray and ruin the livelihood of its own constituents. City hall officials, on the other hand, should ensure that the stakeholders fully understand the pros and cons of the proposed Central Business District revitalization project.
We hope the words of assurance from Mayor Mabilog will somehow help mollify their fears and confusions.

'Maidana Pacquiao's' handwriting on Mayweather's wall

'Maidana Pacquiao's' handwriting 
on Mayweather's wall

"Man is a strange animal. He generally cannot read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it."
Adlai E. Stevenson

By Alex P. Vidal

As long as Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s main faculties are intact after 12 rounds, some Nevada ring judges don't have the guts yet to call spade a spade.
If they could snatch him away from the jaws of defeat, Dave Moretti and Burt A. Clements made sure Mayweather remained unblemished even if he looked like a kindergarten pupil pummeled from pillar to post by a gang of neighborhood homicidal maniacs.
It took a combination of Manny Pacquiao and Marcos Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) or "Maidana Pacquiao" to expose the flamboyant black fighter as a hogwash.
True to his reputation, Mayweather isn't a risk taker. He knows how to unwrap his safety nets if the enemy packs wallops in both fists. He has mastered the art of timing when to boob and weave to avoid his rival's bazooka-like bombs. Mayweather is allergic to a waterfront brawl thus exposing himself like a scared rabbit like what he did when he recently kept his WBA super welterweight diadem via majority decision, 116-112, 117-111, 114-114.


Standing on wobbly legs each time he was trapped in the ring by the Argentine dynamo, who could be mistaken for a bull because of his ferocity and never-say-day attitude, Mayweather would mimic Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope style and gyrate his way to freedom and safety.
Piqued by his pretensions and copycat, Ali (56-5, 37 KOs) dared his fellow black American champion to test the mettle of the more dangerous Pacquiao. Ali must have seen "Maidana Pacquiao's" handwriting on Mayweather's wall. The same wall that Ali saw when Joe Frazier (32-4, 27 KOs) landed the "punch that shook the world" that toppled him with a big thud to the canvas like a deck of cards for a clean knockdown scored by Frazier, who retained his WBC and WBA heavyweight crowns by 15-round unanimous decision at the Madison Square Garden in New York on March 8, 1971.
Like Mayweather, Ali was also undefeated when he lost that epic battle against fellow unbeaten Frazier, whose style as a brawler was similar to Maidana and Pacquiao or "Maidana Pacquiao." Although he managed to avenge that embarrassing loss to Frazier twice (one in the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975) in his comeback fight after being stripped of the world heavyweight crown for his refusal to to be drafted to the US Army to shoot the Vietcongs in the Vietnam War, the 1971 debacle against Frazier was registered in history as one of Ali's lousiest performances.    


Mayweather's majority decision conquest of Maidana last May 3 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, failed to convince oddsmakers who are now contemplating on a rematch. Unheralded Maidana may or may not get the much-ballyhooed rematch in September, but one thing is for sure, he exposed Mayweather's Waterloo: gore him like a wounded bull and bedazzle him with blinding over right blows as he backpedals and attempts to use the ropes for sanctuary.
Against Manny Pacquiao in a dream match, Mayweather will continue to dig deeper in his bag of tricks to avoid being trapped under an avalanche of hooks and uppercuts and reach the limit for a decision win like what he did when he survived Juan Manuel Marquez (12-round unanimous decision), Shane Mosley (12-round unanimous decision), Miguel Angel Cotto (12-round unanimous decision), Robert Guerrero (12-round unanimous decision), Saul Alvarez (12-round majority decision), and Maidana.


Mayweather described the mysterious customer from Buenos Aires as "a hell of a fighter, a very tough competitor."
"Congratulations on your new baby. You have a beautiful family but in the next fight don’t hit me in the dick,” he declared during their post-fight press conference.
"Next time let me use my gloves," Maidana, 30, retorted. "I don’t know what to say. The truth is the fight was a good one. I did everything possible to win, but the work we did wasn’t enough for the judges. I don’t think anyone has ever attacked him and landed as much as I did. I pressed the action most of the fight. He’s a great boxer and he was able to manage a few moments in the fight…All I want is for this f--ker to give me a rematch!"
Next time, should promoters make a mistake of arranging a rematch, fight fans won't be able to see a repeat of the 1971 Ali-Frazier "punch the shook the world" because Mayweather will know how to play smart once more: boob and weave to avoid an opponent's scud missiles and rope-a-dope ala Muhammad Ali to escape a trip to dreamland. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

'Janet Napoles mesmerized with Garin Farm'

'Janet Napoles mesmerized 
with Garin Farm'

"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."
Walter Hagen

By Alex P. Vidal

A female defeated mayoral candidate in Pavia, Iloilo once played host to Janet Napoles when the latter visited Iloilo City sometime in 2003, said the former staff of a deceased senator.
The former staff, a lawyer and a native of Calinog, Iloilo, who now resides in Manila, said Napoles stayed at Hotel del Rio for one night during her quick visit in Iloilo City.
"Mrs. Napoles met with various staff members of some Iloilo congressmen on separate schedules and discussed some projects for Iloilo districts," disclosed the former staff, who requested anonymity because his present job does not allow him to speak to media without prior approval from his new boss.
It was not known if Napoles and the congressional staff members sealed an agreement to implement certain projects in the city and province of Iloilo. The meetings were mostly held at the hotel's Igmaan Hall, said the former staff member. 
The lawyer said Napoles "also made a brief visit to Garin Farm" and was impressed with what she saw inside the farm owned by the Garin family.


The lawyer said Napoles hinted of buying lots in Guimaras and Iloilo and build a farm there similar to what she discovered in the Garin Farm, a one-stop shop for farmers, investors and agricultural enthusiasts.
"Mrs. Napoles was mesmerized with what she saw inside the Garin Farm," the former staff quoted the defeated mayoral candidate, who reportedly accompanied Napoles. 
The farm is a demonstration farm showcasing viable agricultural livelihood plant and animal culture with their corresponding product processing and zero waste management program demonstrating a balanced co-existence of plants and animals.  
It can be reached from the highway section of RACSOS Woodland Resort or Bantayan in Guimbal.


Two former Iloilo solons were recently linked in the pork barrel scandal involving the defunct National Agri-business Corp. (NABCOR) of the Department of Agriculture.
Former NABCOR officials Rhodora Mendoza and Victor Cacal, the latest witnesses in the P10-billion pork barrel scam investigation, mentioned the names of former Iloilo City Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. and former Iloilo first district Rep. Janette L. Garin, who is now undersecretary of the Department of Health.
Undersecretary Garin is the wife of now Rep. Oscar "Richard" Garin Jr., son of Oscar Sr., the man who built Garin Farm and RACSOS Woodland Resort when he was congressman in the first district of Iloilo during the time of the late former Pres. Corazon Aquino and former President FVR, while Gonzalez is the son of former Justice Secretary Raul Sr.
Both former members of the House of Representatives denied any involvement in the pork barrel issue.
The former staff, however, did not confirm if the staff of the two former solons were among those who met Napoles during her quick trip in Iloilo City.
The Garin family had no idea about Napoles' alleged visit in the popular farm "because Mrs. Napoles was still unknown at that time and may not be familiar with any politician in Iloilo," said the source.