Sunday, April 30, 2017

We witness how 'the last leaf clings to the bough'

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime."
--Martin Luther

By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY --  Last Saturday (April 29, 2017), this writer and a media colleague, Regine Algecera of Cable Star-Iloilo, Philippines, witnessed in real sense of the word The Cascades' illustration of how their last hope "live with the lonely leaf that clings to the bough" in their song The Last Leaf, during the legendary annual festival Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn.



We arrived in the Garden in the morning, just in time before the official start of the main cultural shows in different venues.
We nearly missed the festival by the skin of the teeth when we were told we couldn't enter the Garden unless we had tickets bought on-line for $30 each.
We could still make it, we were told, if "you are comfortable to buy your tickets now through your mobile phones."
Since both of us were non-credit card holders, I needed to play an eleventh hour out-of-the-blue and rabbit-in-the-hat trick, enabling us to enter the fabulous 52-acre Garden that holds over 14,000 taxa of plants and founded in 1910.


PEAK

The festival on that day, featuring more than 60 performances and activities celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture, was the peak of cherry blossom celebrations.
The season's cherry blossoms have been spotted on the Garden's Prunus sargentii 'Fudan-zakura' and Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula' trees.


Mostly located in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and on Cherry Walk, the trees were among the earliest-blooming cultivars in the Garden's renowned ornamental cherry collection.
Their flowers heralded the start of hanami, the Japanese cultural tradition of savoring every moment of cherry blossom season.

Hanami unfolded at Brooklyn Botanic Garden as early as last week of March as the blossoms of more than 200 flowering cherry trees journey from bud to bloom to blankets of petals scattered across Cherry Esplanade, Cherry Walk, and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

DIVERSE

The Garden’s collection was the most diverse of its kind in an American botanic garden consisting of more than 20 cultivars.
One of the most magical times of the year at the Garden, hanami was a classic springtime celebration in New York City.

Throughout April and this month of May, visitors can enjoy the Garden in spring with daily Seasonal Highlight Tours and view other celebrated Japanese horticultural collections, including the iconic Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, which houses the Garden's extensive bonsai collection, one of the finest in the world.

We entered before noon time and came out past 6 o'clock in the evening, the festival's final hour.

Our photos taken inside would show it was truly an exhilarating experience.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Education)

Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.
--CHANAKYA :


He who is educated only in mind is a best friend of those who love learning and expansion of knowledge. He who is educated both in heart and mind is a best friend of  those who love wisdom and preservation of life from all living things to natural environment.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poor showing in Palaro alarming

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
--Heywood Broun


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- There seems to be no real challenges and rivalries among the Philippines' young athletes today.
Their lead in the official medal tally as of this writing shows that National Capital Region (NCR) athletes are poised to again wrap up the 2017 Palarong Pambansa in San Jose, Antique.
As hosts, athletes from the Western Visayas Regional Athletics Association (WVRAA) are supposed to dominate the annual multi-sport event involving student-athletes from the Philippines' 18 regions.
It's not about which sports regional associations finished first, second or last. It's about the disparity in the medals won. It's about which athletes broke most of the national records.
And it appeared to be an all-NCR show in as far as the number of gold, silver, and bronze medals that have been, so far, collected, is concerned.
This is not a good sign if we aim to use the event as recruitment hub for future members of the RP Team in the SEA Games, Asian Games, and the World Olympic Games.


TALENTS

Submission of talents for the national team to be financed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and governed by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) should be democratic or should come from the cross-section of the country.
Athletic forces must be shared by regions nationwide through equal opportunities in building of more facilities and grassroots training and development programs.
As of April 26, 2017, or two days before the culmination of the week-long competitions with a motto, "Converges Youth Power; builds sustainable future," NCR has amassed 50 golds, 27 silvers, and 20 bronzes as against the 14-7-11 (G-S-B) collections of would-be second placer WVRAA.
Negros Island Region (NIRAA), with 10-11-11 (G-S-B) was breathing neck and neck with Cordillera Administrative Region (CARAA), with 10-8-7 (G-S-B).


HAUL

Most of NCR's gold medal haul came in swimming, where most tankers trained in world-class or Olympic-sized pools in Metro Manila.
Records were mostly shattered in the pools.
The Ilonggos were still deadly in track and field, but CARAA runners proved to be the track oval head turners in the games that started in 1948 as the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games or BPISAA before it became a Palarong Pambansa.
It looked like WVRAA and other regions needed to modify and reinvigorate their grassroots programs in swimming and should not focus heavily on track and field and other ball games.


OBJECTIVES

Article XIV, Section 19 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandates the holding of the Palarong Pambansa with the  following objectives:
-Physical Education and sports as an integral part of the Basic Education curriculum for holistic development of the youth;
-Inculcate the spirit of discipline, teamwork, excellence, fair play, solidarity, sportsmanship, and other values inherent in sports;
-Promote and achieve peace by means of sports;
-Widen the base for talent identification, selection, recruitment, training and exposure of elementary pupils and secondary students to serve as a feeder to the National Sports Association (NSA) for international competitions; and
-Provide a database for a valid and universal basis to further improve the school sports development programs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A devil's vehicles

"We are in a world that is quite extremist and extremism makes more noise. Normality does not sell."
--Vicente del Bosque


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We congratulate the Iloilo City Council in the Philippines for putting an end to the abuses of motor vehicle owners who used modified mufflers that caused terrible noise, inconvenience, and irritation without any concern to the public.
Irked pedestrians and observers referred to vehicles using modified mufflers as "a devil's vehicles" and wished they disappeared in the roads soon.
It was learned that if the muffler had a hole, it could cause dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide to leak into the cabin of a vehicle.
The colorless, odorless gas was reportedly a product of the combustion process.
Back in 2013, based on a personal experience, I've noticed while staying outside a big mall in La Paz district, Iloilo City, where a large number of vehicles using modified mufflers passed by, that mild exposure to carbon monoxide could give me headaches, dizziness, and nausea.


EXPOSURE

In fact, health authorities have warned that a prolonged carbon monoxide exposure can lead to unconsciousness and death.
Kudos to the local legislature for recently passing an ordinance penned by Councilor Joshua Alim seeking to prohibit the “Selling and Using of Modified Mufflers of Public and Private Motor Vehicles in Iloilo City and Providing Penalties Thereof”.
Before Alim's ordinance was passed, many homeowners' associations, cities, restaurants, and apartment complexes in other cities have adopted laws against loud noises from defective mufflers.
Those who used a broken muffler faced fines or refusal of service until they got the muffler fixed. A damaged muffler can reportedly cause a car trip to be noisy and uncomfortable.


-o0o-

We first heard of the "Sleeping with the enemy" in 1991 as the title of a psychological thriller movie starred by Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin and directed by Joseph Ruben.
It was based on a novel of the same name by Nancy Price.
Roberts played a woman who escaped from her sadistic husband, from Cape Cod to Cedar Falls in Iowa, where she captured the attention of a kindly college drama teacher.
In the 1992 Philippine presidential elections, the late former House Speaker Ramon Mitra accused some of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) members who supported the candidacy of Lakas bet Fidel V. Ramos of "sleeping with the enemy".
Those who "cavorted" with FVR had earlier voted for Mitra to be the LDP's official standard bearer. FVR formed the Lakas, which later became a Lakas-NUCD, when he lost to Mitra in the party convention.
"Sleeping with the enemy" became a byword once again when Police Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza and suspected Abu Sayyaf member Renierlo Dongon were arrested in a checkpoint in Bohol recently.
They were reportedly trying to provide assistance to the remaining Abu members trapped in the province after being waylaid by government troopers when they sneaked in before the Holy Week.
Nobleza compromised her duties and responsibilities and loyalty to the country because of her love for the younger suspected terrorist.

Truly love conquers all.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Antique embraces spirit of Olympism

"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game."
--Michael Jordan


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Hosting the 2017 Palarong Pambansa has catapulted Antique into the elite rank of Philippine provinces that have embraced the spirit of Olympism.
From the ranks of wet-behind-the-ear youngsters representing 18 regions nationwide will rise the country's next aspirants for world Olympic Games, the biggest global sporting event which originated in ancient Greece 3,000 years ago.
As we very well know, Palarong Pambansa is the precursor of bigger sports competitions where our world-class athletes are spotted, chosen, and trained to represent the country in the Southeast (SEA) Games, Asian Games, World Cup, Inter-Continental Games, and the World Olympic Games.
The Philippines is one of the only few Southeast Asian countries that have not won an Olympic gold medal since the first modern Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, where 280 participants from 13 nations, competing in 43 events were featured.
Since 1994, the Summer and Winter Olympic Games have been held separately and have alternated every two years.
From the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., the Games were held every four years in Olympia, located in the western Peloponnese peninsula, in honor of the god Zeus.


GOLD

With the participation of some of the country's finest and promising athletes in Binirayan Sports Complex in San Jose, Antique, we expect the first future Olympic gold medalist from the Philippines to emerge in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa.
The spirit of Olympism is the key. Big or small sporting competitions in any locality, Olympism promotes the sport for hope, which is a joint initiative between the International Olympic Committee, its Olympic Movement stakeholders and the local governments.
It aims to provide young people and local communities with positive sports development opportunities, offer state-of-the-art training facilities to the National Federations and the athletes of the country, and spread the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. Sport for Hope Centres may also serve as platforms for social development and innovative cooperation to contribute to a better and more peaceful world through sport.
A Sport for Hope Center may be established in Antique after the staging of the Palarong Pambansa.


SEMINAR

In 1991, then Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Celso Dayrit propagated the spirit of Olympism among sports leaders in Iloilo City in a seminar attended by this writer.
Dayrit emphasized that the spirit of Olympism can emanate even in grassroots competitions like the Palarong Pambansa.
First espoused by the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pier de Coubertin, Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind.
Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I'll fly with you again, United Airlines

"It's the old adage: You can make a pizza so cheap, nobody will eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, nobody will fly it."
--Gordon Bethune

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I will not hesitate to fly with the United Airlines, commonly referred to as United, again.
One of the first airlines that have I learned to like in the United States is United, where my kumpare Chito Ilonggo Macatual works.
The other is American Airlines, which awarded to this writer the last seat available on a Christmas Day (December 25, 2012) flight from San Francisco-Honolulu-Guam-Manila despite an eleventh hour notice.

All seats had been occupied because of the peak season. Thank God nobody was offloaded.
Sometime in spring 2008, Chito Ilonggo booked this writer round trip flights from Los Angeles to Chicago via Phoenix on United.
It was a business class, my first-ever, modesty aside. 

As a policy, I had to wear a "business" attire to give justice to my special accommodation. Fruits, cakes, expensive wines were served aside from a spacious seat and special treatment.
I could not choose my flight the day I arrived in the airport other than wait until a seat was available.
I was on a "wait list" together with a bunch of passengers. They were on upbeat mood queuing for a flight on a first-come-first-serve basis.
After "missing" three regular flights in the morning, I was finally on board shortly after noon time.

SEAT

There was no favoritism. Nobody bumped somebody off from his seat assignment. No quarrel with the ground staff. No debate with fellow passengers.
No overloading. No need for uniformed personnel to get inside the plane and violently kick out anyone who refused to give up his seat.
The airline crew was courteous and handled their job professionally. 
My pleasant experience with United happened before  April 16, 2010, when United resumed merger talks with Continental Airlines after their first discussion in 2008.
On May 2, 2010, the board of directors of both Continental and UAL Corporation's United Airlines reached an agreement to combine operations.
While United would be the surviving airline, the merged airline would adopt Continental's logo and livery. Continental's CEO Jeff Smisek would head the new company. The merger was contingent upon shareholder and regulatory approval.
In July 2010, the United-Continental merger was approved by the European Commission and on August 27, 2010 by the US Justice Department. On September 17, 2010, United's shareholders approved the merger deal with Continental Airlines.

SUPPORT

That's why I don't support the idea that because of one incident on April 9, 2017 in which security officers dragged a man off a United Airlines plane in Chicago when he refused to give up his seat, passengers will boycott the world's third-largest airline.
The ugly fracas involving 69-year-old passenger David Dao shouldn't be used as a single barometer to sully United Airline's outstanding reputation in the airline industry.
Now that the matter is being investigated and all darts have been thrown at the embattled airline company, let the chips fall where they may.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Tears)

Invisible tears are the hardest to wipe away.
-- TERRI GUILLEMETS :


Even if tears are visible, wiping them away does not immediately end the heart's agony unless the root cause of the heartache has been totally wiped out from memory.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tragedy that refuses to leave our memory

"It's a terrible thing wishing that it can be someone else's tragedy." --JOHN DYER

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The M/S Don Juan tragedy happened 37 years ago, but it was a maritime disaster that Ilonggos in Negros and Iloilo can't forget.
It was on April 22, 1980 when M/S Don Juan, a commercial vessel owned by the Negros Navigation (NN), travelling from Manila to Bacolod City, was rammed hard by M/T Tacloban City, an oil tanker, and sank hours after leaving the Pier 2 in North Harbor, Manila.
Boy Mucovado vividly recalled the incident during the tragedy's anniversary six years ago in a story entitled "The Day The City of Smiles Wept":
"Around 1 pm of April 22, 1980, a jampacked M/S Don Juan of Negros Navigation (NN) carrying at least 1,000 passengers, left Pier 2 at the Manila North Harbor. It was bound for Bacolod City. Within her were vacationers, students coming home after graduation or a break in big universities in Manila, families of wealthy and illustrious Negrenses, who accompanied newly bought cars in its cargo and businessmen with bulk of their goods.
"The Don Juan was famous for its cruising speed, cutting traveling time to 18-19 hours for a Manila-Bacolod trip which was usually 22-24 hours on other vessels at that time. It featured the elegant "Admiral Class" Cabins. A signature of first class travel for NN's fleet. It was the first of its kind to have watertight cabin and compartment doors.
"At 10:30 pm the vessel was traveling beneath a full-moon over the calm Tablas Strait between Tablas and Maestre de Campo Island with most of the passengers asleep. The rest were awake having a great time with the band at the ferry's disco. But all of a sudden it was rammed hard on its portside by oil tanker M/T Tacloban City of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC). It left a large gaping hole from its lower deck bunks to the Admiral Class Cabin decks. The impact jammed most of the cabin doors sealing the fate of their occupants. Fortunate ones were on the Economy Class upper decks and disco-goers. It didn't take long and Don Juan took in seawater, listed hard to the portside then dipped forward. Screaming, terrified and wailing passengers even without life-jackets jumped to the sea.


LIFEBOATS

"The crew frantically handed out life-jackets and tried to put them into lifeboats. Collapsible lifeboats were released for those already at sea. But time was too short. In 15-20 minutes Don Juan was swallowed by the sea, with it were dozens still trapped in cabins and bunks, crew members who held to their posts and those already in lifeboats but were never released on time.
"Hundreds of survivors thrashed and called for help for in the shark-infested waters. The crew of the tanker Tacloban plucked out as many survivors as they could and those killed instantly by the impact. After two hours, another PNOC tanker, M/T Laoag City, arrived after Don Juan's distress call and took the remaining survivors and more corpses. Smaller ships and fishing vessels within its vicinity also came and helped out. Most of the survivors were brought to the port of Batangas in the morning, April 23, 1980.
"Bacolod City and the rest of Negros Occidental was shocked. It came very untimely when the province was suffering from the fall of worldwide sugar prices that heralded the collapse of the monocrop sugar industry of the province."


SURVIVORS

Joeval Brodit came from a national dancing competition on a famous noontime TV show. he was at the disco during the collision. Jostled and was able to take a life-jacket but was grabbed off from him by a panicking passenger. While at the sea, he huddled together with a dozen more survivors on a capsized collapsible lifeboat, But he was one of those instant heroes who swam back to the sea and grabbed more survivors. One of them was Sharon Tumaliuan of Iloilo City which landed him on the front page of Manila Bulletin. It was so sad that some of those dead he took were young students, others just graduated from high school and college.
Dr. Linda Sanson, an OB-Gyne traveling with her three toddlers and two babysitters after buying stocks for her boutique in Bacolod,they instantly got out of the cabin and grabbed two lifejackets in which they shared together until rescued.
Ethel Ferrer, an elementary school teacher at the University of St. La Salle (USLS), was pregnant and traveling with her eldest son. She got separated from her son while at sea but was miraculously reunited with him after an hour despite the panic and swimming with sharks.
Jocelyn Panisa and her twin brothers Jesus and Reynaldo traveling home from a wedding with their uncle. Boarded the vessel as "chance passengers" and were at the economy class upper deck. Three of them survived clinging on the sides an overloaded lifeboat but their uncle was unlucky to be on a lifeboat that never came off the ship


DEAD

-Mother of lawyer Renecito Novero. She attended her son's (Atty. Novero) graduation from law school at UP and took the trip home;
-Alunan Family, a pride of Bacolod in the field of swimming remained missing and believed to be trapped inside one of Don Juan's cabins;
--Montalvo Family -- Nora Montalvo wife of then mayor Rodrigo "Digoy" Montalvo of Bacolod their daughters Mylene, 17; and Yvette, 7; and mother-in-law, Anicia Kilayko, were never found and believed to have died inside their cabins. It was remembered by the Bacolodnon's that the mayor was at a sorrowful state traveling to Northern Negros, Capiz and as far as Romblon and Oriental Mindoro to look for his missing family members. As described by some "he would open every casket, body bag and blanket and call out their names"


RESCUE

The late Ilonggo lawyer-historian Rex Salvilla recalled that MV Tacloban City rescued 320 passengers and picked out 12 dead. Its sister tanker, MV Laoag City had 506 survivors and 10 dead. Both tankers left the tragic place at one o'clock in the morning and landed at daylight at Batangas City MV Don Julio, a sister ship of MV Don Juan which left Manila, passed the place and joined in the rescue work and brought back to Manila 80 dead and transferring 62 survivors and 74 dead to another sister ship, MV Doña Florentina en route to Iloilo City.
"The horror of the tragedy is in seeing many people die before one's eyes. A 21-year old student saw 'many persons die before my eyes.' But most horrible is to see a loved one die. A man hugging his 8-year old daughter lost his grip on her. Before his eyes, she slipped and disappeared into the dark sea. A teenager witnessed the drowning of her teenage older sister. A man saw his father swallowed by the sea after their raft capsized," Salvilla remembered.


Monday, April 17, 2017

NY-based Pinoy chessers rev up for World Open



By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Inspired by World No. 2 Wesley So's spectacular victory in the 2017 US Championship in St. Louis on April 10, Filipino chessers based here have started revving up for the 45th Annual World Open on June 29-July 4, 2017 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Matitindi na ang mga tira nila (Their moves are getting impressive)," reported Carmelo "Jun" Galinea, founder of Elmhurst Chess Club.
The Filipino woodpushers are led by GM Mark Paragua, highly-regarded former Scout Ranger Rico Salimbagat, Ilonggos Gilbert Buenaflor Gonzales, Anthony Gallon, Leo Buencocillo, NCR's Albert Rivera, Vincent Umayan, Gerson Caballero, Jhan Paragua, Bert Labuac, Gerry Gamaro, Mike Adarlo, Cesar Apalla, and Andy Punzalan.
"Halos lahat sila last year naka kuha ng magandang puwesto (Most of them performed very well last year) and I expect them to shock their rivals in Philadelphia," added Galinea, known as the "godfather" of Elmhurst chess.


BLITZ

The players gathered at Galinea's apartment on Elmhurst St. in Queens every Monday and played blitz from five o'clock in the afternoon until 11 o'clock in the evening.
The event has a $225,000 prize fund unconditionally guaranteed! Organizers said FIDE norms will be given to top finishers in the Open Section.
So, a former member of RP Olympic Team and now plays for the United States, reached a playoff after taking a quick draw against Daniel Naroditsky in Round 11 of the US Championship.
That left his fate in the hands of Varuzhan Akobian and Alexander Onischuk, who could have claimed the title if they'd won with the black pieces.
Akobian lost to Nakamura and Onischuk drew against Kamsky, meaning that a rapid playoff against 41-year-old Alexander was all that stood in the way of So and his first US Championship title.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Feeling Special)

Feeling special is the worst kind of cage a person can build for himself.
-- PAOLO GIORDANO :


Those who have the temerity to feel special will be detained and locked in their psychological cage if they expect or require others to always give them special treatment, special attention, and special accommodation. The feeling VIP's ego will suffer a mortal blow once nobody will validate his narcissism and self-conceit especially when his importance is bypassed and his presence is deliberately ignored.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Power of humanity

NEW YORK CITY -- The 45th Annual World Open will be held from June 29-July 4, 2017 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The event has a $225,000 prize fund unconditionally guaranteed! FIDE norms possible in Open Section!




-o0o-

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that transmits its signals between the nerve cells and the brain. It reduces hunger, increase sexual interest, improve memory and mental alertness, and alleviate depression. (Vitamin Bible)

-o0o-

Foods and nutrients that can lower our cholesterol naturally: Activated charcoal, barely, carrots, chromium, corn bran, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), eggplant, evening primrose oil, fenugreek seed, fiber, garlic, ginger, lemon grass oil, soy beans, yogurt, red pepper, onions.


-o0o-

By 2020, Hispanics will outnumber the whites in the United States, according to a census report.
While some white couples have one or two babies, some Hispanic couples have four to six babies. No wonder.


-o0o-

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (P.M.S.). For two to ten days before the onset of menstruation, millions of women are affected by a wide range of physical discomforts and mood disorders--from bloating, depression, and insomia to severe pains, uncontrolled rages, crying spells, and even suicidal depression.
This is known as P.M.S. (Vitamin Bible)


-o0o-

The seven cardinals of the Roman Catholic church who falsely condemned Galileo Galilei in the Holy Inquisition were F. Cardinalis de Asculo, G. Cardinalis Bentiuolus, Fr. Cardinalis de Cremona, Fr. Antonius Cardinalis S. Honuphrij, B. Cardinalis Gypsius, Fr. Cardinalis Verospius, M. Cardinalis Ginettus.


-o0o-

HAPPINESS DRINK. A study involving more than 1,000 Japanese people age 70 or over found that those who drank at least four cups of green tea a day enjoyed better moods than those drinking a cup or less.
The uplifting ingredient is theanine, the researchers believe.


-o0o-

STRATEGY. In addition to talking to our youngsters about the dangers of cigarettes, let us encourage them to play team sports and watch tobacco-free flicks.
It could keep them from lighting up, according to a recent study. Noneathletes ages 9 to 14 were twice as likely as sporty kids to become smokers later in life, and all kids who watched movies showing heavy smoking were about 20% more likely to get addicted.


-o0o-

ALL ABOUT SCIENCE. The sun is an incandescent ball of gases. Its mass is 1.8 x 1027 tons or 1.8 octillion tons (a mass 330,000 times as great as the Earth), according to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburg.


-o0o-

In round numbers, the speed of light in a vacuum is 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second.
The exact figure is 186,282 miles (299,792.458 kilometers) per second.





Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Panay, Negros 'too far' for Abu Sayyaf raid

"This fanaticism is what feeds terrorism. And this is precisely why Muslims must play an active role in opposing hate sermons and incitement to terrorism and extremism in their mosques."
--Otto Schily


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- Panay and Negros islands will always be safe from terroristic attack as long as the country's intelligence network is accurate and effective.
The Abu Sayyaf terrorists who engaged Philippine troops in a bloody gunbattle in Bohol on April 11 were probably also on their way to sneak into other regions to terrorize and kidnap tourists planning to visit the beautiful beaches and resorts in the Visayas during the Holy Week.
But since they were waylaid by government soldiers in Bohol, they could no longer proceed to Cebu and probably in Negros and Panay islands where tens of thousands of foreign and domestic tourists had been staying there enjoying the summer vacation.
There will always be powerful military detachments prepared to foil their invasion.
Based on their number in Bohol, there was no way for these terrorists to even leave Bohol alive if the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) doubled their air, sea, and land reinforcements.
The numerically inferior terrorists would be massacred if they did no retreat and abandon their evil plans in the Visayas.


-o0o-

Although most members of the Iloilo City Council agreed in principle to submit themselves to a drug test as suggested by Councilor Plaridel Nava during their regular session on Monday, not all of them are happy with the idea that they would undergo such "degrading" examination.
"Ka degrading ina para sa amon as members of the legislature. Para lang ina sa mga priso kag applicants sa driver's license," one of them reportedly told his media friends
Nava believed that as elected public officials, they should set as good example by voluntarily submitting themselves to a drug test.
He was worried because Iloilo City had been tagged by no less than President Duterte as "the most shabulized" city in the Philippines and he probably wanted to disabuse the minds of the Doubting Thomases.


-o0o-

It was during my high school years in a Catholic institution in Jaro, Iloilo City in the Philippines where I was able to understand what Holy Week is all about in our Christian Living subject.
Holy Week or "Semana Santa", is the week preceding Easter and the final week of Lent.
It begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday.

Holy Week includes Holy Thursday (also known as Maundy Thursday) and Good Friday, which, together with Holy Saturday, are known as the Triduum.
In 1969, before the revision of the liturgical calendar, Holy Week was the second week of Passiontide; in the current calendar, Passiontide is synonymous with Holy Week.
Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, who died on Good Friday in reparation for the sins of mankind, and rose on Easter Sunday to give new life to all who believe.
Thus, while Holy Week is solemn and sorrowful, it also anticipates the joy of Easter through the recognition of God's goodness in sending His Son to die for our salvation.
The Days of Holy Week are Palm Sunday, Spy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Laugh, Cry)

When you're happy you don't always have to be laughing, and when you're sad you don't have to be crying; sometimes it's the opposite. You laugh when you're the most upset.
-- FREDDIE HIGHMORE :


Whether happy or sad, it’s not what people see outside us that's important and relevant; it’s what we feel inside and how we appreciate and handle it that matters most.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (True Friends)

When you're up, your friends know who you are. When you're down, you know who your friends are.
-- ANONYMOUS :

When we become famous and successful, everyone wants to share the limelight and brag that "I know him personally", "He is my relative", "He is my neighbor", "He is my classmate", "He was my officemate", "He was my student", "He is my friend", "We were together in the church", etc. When we are hit by crisis, scandal, or misfortune only the bed bugs, lice, newt, and mosquitoes will have the kindness to "keep in touch" with us.
--ALEX P. VIDAL


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Overacting city police chief

"There is no overacting, only untrue acting."
--STELLAN SKASGARD


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY --
Wonder why until now news in the Philippines is still being dominated by alleged EJKs (extra-judicial killings) amid the brutal campaign initiated by the Duterte administration against the narcotics?
Even if there will be killings everyday, shabu dealers nationwide won't totally close shop.
By hook or by crook they have to "push" their illegal substance even if via guerilla tactic. They can't throw away to the dustbin or flush in the toilets kilos of shabu already in their possessions.
If they can't remit the money, their suppliers will kill them. They are actually caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
They have no choice but to engage law enforcers in a cat-and- mouse-type game and risk their lives, otherwise, they will lose their main livelihood. Otherwise, they will be killed by their own partners in crime gangland style.


-o0o-

One thing more, many street-level shabu dealers are unemployed and selling illegal drugs is their only way out of poverty.
They are aware that many of them have already been executed like animals ever since Pres. Duterte declared an all-out war against illegal drugs; but they are unfazed.
They fear poverty more and their ruthless suppliers than bullets from the raiding police teams.
In shabu business, everybody is involved down in the barangay level--housewives, husbands, their children (used as whistle-blowers for police raids if not couriers), and some village officials.
The lives of many drug addicts have already been destroyed long before they were mowed down by bullets--via EJK or otherwise.
The problem on illegal drugs can't be halted even if dead bodies will continue to stockpile in the dumpsites and public plazas when we wake up in the next day.


-o0o-

MANY Ilonggos believed that Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) Director Remus Zacharias Canieso "over reacted" when he "summoned" to the ICPO the manager and service crew of a hardware inside a big mall in Iloilo City on April 7 after he was accidentally hit by a pushcart while inside the hardware earlier.
Inside the ICPO, Canieso, who was supposed to be transferred to Aklan if the Iloilo City Council did not ask PNP Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa to retain him in his present post, reportedly lectured the manager and service crew to be cautious if they are inside the hardware as they might hurt not only adults like him but children, as well.
Canieso, who did not suffer any major injury, could have talked to the manager and the service crew right there inside the hardware after the incident.
Or smile and forget about the minor episode, which occured every now and then in other shopping centers and crowded places. Canieso would have earned praises, especially if the hardware management found out who he is.
If it happened to an ordinary civilian laborer, the incident would have been shrugged off and forgotten.
But because he is a city police chief, Canieso had to use his power and authority to inconvenience the hardware employees into "reporting" to his office like they were his subordinates.
He was sending a curt message.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friend, Fool)

A friend’s frown is better than a fool’s smile.
– ECCLESIASTES :


A friend's face carrying wild animal features or any heinous in-born design and decoration doesn't matter as long as he is a true friend. It's the heart and character that count most not the face. A fool or traitor will remain a fool and traitor even if he will beat Mona Lisa in a smiling competition.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Saturday, April 8, 2017

We are not alone

 "It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see."
--HENRY DAVID THOREAU


NEW YORK CITY -- We are not alone. There are billions of galaxies, according to Carl Sagan.
Thanks to Albert Einstein who broadened the Law of Mechanics initiated by Galileo and Isaac Newton with his Theory of Relativity.
Truly, scentific achievement in the 20th century has become the major yardstick with which to measure a nation's cultural advancement.


-o0o-

It is estimated that the Earth is 98 billion years old.

Dinosaurs lived on earth for about 100 million years before they were annihilated by a cometary impact, among other theories.
We humans starting from homo sapiens have not even inhabited the Earth for one million years but many of us already think we are already the most knowledgeable creatures in the universe.



-o0o-

One manifestation of possible life in a certain planet is the presence of micro organisms.

Scientists have reportedly found a micro organism in planet Mars.
Was Mars inhabited by living creatures millions if not billions of years ago?

How about in Jupiter, Saturn, among other planets in and outside the Solar System not yet explored by human beings from planet Earth?

-o0o-

Those who condemn the person who rejects an organized religion should study Plato's "Allegory of the cave"

-o0o-

The evolution of human thought is among homo sapien's best contributions to civilization.

-o0o-

Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged", was reportedly a cougar like Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of Europe's most powerful women, Elizabeth I, Catherine II, and Mae West.


-o0o-

"Who are you?" was the first question Sophie Amundsen got from an anonymous letter sender in the New York Times bestseller "Sophies's World", a novel about the history of philosophy, written by Jostein Gaarder, author of "The Solitaire Mystery"


-o0o-

Sex education is a broad term used to describe education about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and other aspects of human sexual behavior. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, school programs, and public health campaigns.

-o0o-

George Washington was only 18 when he was appointed general of the Continental Army, and was the only U.S. president who didn't live in the White House.


Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Silence)

Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.
 -- JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU : 

Silence, they say, is golden but if we do it all the time and most of the time, it's not only creepy but tantamount to marching fast to the gates of the kingdom come!
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don't fear the 'point man' yet

"To me, there is no greater way to achieve clarity than to run alone, or share miles with a trusted friend." 
-- Kristin Armstrong

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Ilonggos will have to take at face value the claim of Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon that he has been designated as President Duterte's "point man" in Iloilo City.
Now that Ganzon has disclosed he visited Davao City to meet the President on March 27 where he was reportedly invited to join the PDP-Laban, many Ilonggos will start to speculate that he might run for city mayor in 2019, even if Ganzon has nixed the idea.
Assuming that Ganzon will change his mind and run for city mayor under PDP-Laban; and assuming that Rep. Jerry Trenas will also run for the same post, Ganzon's biggest stumbling block would be the principle of the "equity of the incumbent"--assuming the party will honor that rule--asTrenas has been a PDP-Laban stalwart since the start of the Duterte administration. 
It will be another story, however, if Trenas will pave the way for Vice Mayor Jose "Joe III" Espinosa as Liberal Party's official standard bearer for the mayoralty race.   

-o0o-

In a political context, "point man" means a person at the forefront of an activity or endeavor.
In other words, a "point man" could mean "organizer" or "coordinator". A point man doesn't have any official portfolio other than his being affiliated with the administration party.
Since Ganzon is an elected official and has not relinquished his position, his designation as "point man" may be assumed as liaison in nature. 
It could also mean being tapped as the President's eyes and ears in Iloilo. The most important for Ganzon is he now presumably has the trust and confidence of the President.
Ganzon's potential rivals should have no reason to worry yet since the alderman from Molo has not been officially sworn in as new PDP-Laban member.
Trenas and other PDP-Laban members may start to cross the bridge once Ganzon has become a full-fledged member of the ruling party.

-o0o-

WE will be watching the three Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) musketeers who cast aspersions on the reputation of dismissed Secretary Mike Sueno when they poisoned President Duterte's mind.
We hope they can exorcise the ghost that bedeviled them in their widely known fracas versus the grand old man of South Cotabato. 
Sueno, a well-loved and much-admired former South Cotabato governor, has insisted he never pocketed a single centavo from the 76 firetrucks worth P20-million each in Austria since no public funds have been paid yet to the supplier, which will be done on a government to government basis.
It's not a joke to be fired because of allegations of corruption especially if your guilt has not been proven. 
In his age, Sueno must be hurting so much. If he were Japanese, he would have committed suicide because of the degree of shame he received from the unforgiving President Duterte.



Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Relationships)

Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.
 -- ANTHONY D'ANGELO : 

When we are in real deep trouble and tragedy, nothing can be more valuable and important than our relationships with God and fellowmen. Tears and pain are ameliorated when we pray. Sorrows and sufferings are mollified when there are shoulders to lean on or warm bodies to embrace.  
--ALEX P. VIDAL  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tears of joy or guilt?

"Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry."
--Gabriel Garcia Marquez

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- While facing the media after his boss had been kicked out by President Duterte as secretary of the Department Interior and Local Government (DILG), Undersecretary Jesus Hinlo shed tears.
"Inalisan kami ng bodyguards (our bodyguards had been recalled)," Hinlo, who speaks fluent Hiligaynon (dialect of the "Ilonggos") mourned, his voice shaking.
"Mahal namin si secretary (We love the secretary)," retorted Undersecretary Emilie Padilla.
"We only relayed to the President what is happening in the DILG," hissed Undersecretary John Castriciones.
The three, all lawyers, authored the "confidential" memorandum that spelled out dismissed Secretary Ismael "Mike" Sueno's alleged anomalies.

CONFRONT

When confronted by President Duterte during a cabinet meeting in Malacanang on April 3, 2017, Sueno denied the allegations contained in the hurtful letter. 
Not satisfied with Sueno's explanation, the President sacked the country's 16th DILG chief.
Sueno, who had earlier asked the President to oust the three, lost in the most celebrated power play in the Duterte administration.
While Duterte was lowering the ax on Sueno, the three probably waited with bated breath and under suspended terror. "Kami ba o siya ang patatalsikin?"
The three musketeers, all members of the Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Council, prevailed.
Now, what were those tears for, Usec. Hinlo? 
Joy that Goliath had been toppled? 
Or guilt because some of the allegations in the "confidential" memo were half-truths if not downright hogwash?

-o0o-

TOLENTINO RECOGNIZED. The Iloilo City Council, through a resolution sponsored by Councilor Joshua Alim, has recognized the "extraordinaire" achievements of New York-based Jhett Dizon Tolentino, who hails from Zone 7, Brgy .Calumpang, Iloilo City during the Council's regular session on April 3, 2017. 
Tolentino is the first Filipino to receive a Grammy Award in the field of music and art, and the second Filipino to bag a Tony Award 22 years after Lea Salonga of the famed "Miss Saigon." Alim, who hails from Sueno's province in South Cotabato, also recommended to the organizing committee of the Outstanding Ilonggo to consider the diminutive Tolentino as awardee.

-o0o-

DRUG LIST. According to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agenct (PDEA-6) Assistant Director Levi Ortiz, there are currently 20 government officials included in their latest drug list. 
Where are they and who are they? One of them is reportedly a politician in Pototan, Iloilo who is connected with a big family of politicians in Ajuy and Estancia towns. 
We are sure PDEA won't disclose their names. At least not yet.
Before forwarding their names to President Duterte, Ortiz must see to it that there should be no more repeat of what happened to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who was wrongly accused of being engaged in "narco-politics" and was repeatedly shamed by the President in the latter's various speeches.

Monday, April 3, 2017

If only he isn't 'promdi'

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
 --Christopher Hitchens

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- If he were not a "promdi" (from the province), Ismael "Mike" Sueno would have survived the power struggle in the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Because he didn't have the stature of Alfredo Lim, Mar Roxas, and Gibo Teodoro, Sueno, a former governor of South Cotabato, had to go.
It's the president's prerogative to sack any cabinet official for "loss of trust and confidence." 
We can't blame President Duterte. No ifs. No buts.
Even without any solid evidence of alleged corruption, cabinet officials can be terminated anytime. 
They don't have a security of tenure. They all serve only at the pleasure of the president.
There should be no holy cows in cabinet jobs. 
A mere "whiff of corruption" means, you have to go, the President has emphasized several times.
We aren't privy to the spat between Sueno and the three undersecretaries--John Castriciones for operations, Jesus Hinlo for public safety and Emilie Padilla for legislative liaison and special concerns. 
But we are aware that DILG has been notoriously labelled as among the "shark-infested" government offices.

CONCERNS

Aside from dealing with the concerns of mayors, governors and the Philippine National Police nationwide, the DILG boss has to tackle complicated and in-house issues right within his own territory.
Which explains why Sueno had a turbulent relationship with his three subalterns, nominated to their positions by somebody else.
Because they usually do the field works and have direct access and meetings with local officials and police, many DILG undersecretaries compete with their boss in terms of accomplishments and attention from the President.
Some of them also have their own agenda and interests; they can be emboldened to display recalcitrance and engage the secretary in a power play. 
In numbers game, they can out-muscle the secretary especially if they believe the latter doesn't have the savvy, depth, charisma and fire of Lim, Roxas, and Teodoro (who must've smelled the same disaster that awaited him the reason why he didn't accept the portfolio when it was first offered to him by the President last year). 

CHARGES

We find the charges contained in a "confidential" letter leveled against Sueno that caused his early departure from the Duterte administration to be shallow, to say the least (these are all allegations and could be true or false):
--“There is a new hotel in Marbel, South Cotabato which is suspiciously owned by Sec. Sueno, although he alleges that this property belongs to his brother. His farm in South Cotabato which used to have only one nipa hut prior to his being a secretary, now has several expensive structures being built."
Sueno said the property really belongs to his brother.
--Sueno purchased several trucks for his personal rice business and his grandson police official, identified only as “Senior Supt. Sintin” and “who has a position during the time of President Noynoy,” is known to be the DILG chief’s collector in many illegal gambling activities.
--“Sueno has pursued the payment of the Rossenbauer firetrucks despite the fact there is a pending case in the Supreme Court. Worse, he with his family, personally went to Austria and made side trips to other countries to pursue a second delivery of 76 firetrucks which caused more or less P20 million compared to a firetruck which can be purchased for more or less P7 million only,” the letter read.
Sueno clarified the issue on firetrucks was a government-to-government transaction, which was made during the previous administration. “It was a 76 percent grant and 24 percent loan. It’s an ODA (overseas development assistance),” he said.
--Sueno tried to influence the Task Force Agila, the investigating team of the narco-mayors in the listing of the President, to clear a mayor from Misamis Occidental.
Sueno said TF Agila has its own set of officials and he could have not interfered in its operations.

TRIP

--Sueno authorized a mayor to join the Washington trip regarding illegal drugs when in fact the local official was included in the President’s list of known narco-politicians under investigation by Task Force Agila of the DILG.
“The delegation to Washington DC was prepared by (the) Local Government Academy and I was not even part of the trip,” Sueno said.
--“...he is inefficient and incapable of the position he occupies. We hope and pray that if there is a new secretary to be appointed, then he would cause the investigation of the afore stated incidents."
--Sueno is using all his powers as secretary of the DILG to force the three undersecretaries to resign because of his 'mistaken belief' that they were the ones behind his ouster."
--Sueno initiated actions to stop the three undersecretaries in the performance of their limited functions as well as investigations to pin them down on trumped-up charges. This was meant to destroy their credibility and to preempt his looming ouster.
--The three officials tried to understand Sueno but as months passed, they saw that the DILG secretary had become more interested in pursuing his own interests as manifested by his policies and activities.

LOYALTY

--Sueno spelled out his policy to the undersecretaries: “Your loyalty should be to me (Sueno) and not to the President.”
--Sueno also maintained and strengthened the powers of Panadero and assistant secretary Esther Aldana, head executive assistant to Jo Leysa, all well-known supporters and loyalists of former DILG chief Manuel Roxas II, by giving them powers to control all the projects and programs of the department with huge funding.
Sueno said Panadero is a career officer and has been in the DILG for over two decades now.
--Sueno revised the delegation of authority so much so all signing authorities are controlled by the three “yellow protégés” of Roxas. The head executive assistant, who is not even a presidential appointee, has more powers than any of the three MRRD undersecretaries.
--Sueno refused to investigate past transactions of Roxas that were allegedly tainted with corruption.
--Sueno’s wife was likewise the one in charge of many contracts and other transactions.
Sueno denied all the accusations against him in the letter and had issued clarifications.



DILG Sec. Mike Sueno fired

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte fired Interior Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno, the former South Cotabato governor who helped convince him to run for president, over corruption allegations following a Cabinet meeting Monday night.
News of the firing leaked early Tuesday and was later confirmed by Malacañang and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.
In a statement, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella cited loss of trust and confidence as the reason for Sueno’s removal as secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“The President had earlier asked a few questions of Mr. Sueno but the summary dismissal served as a warning that Mr. Duterte would not countenance any questionable or legally untenable decisions by any member of the Cabinet,” Abella said.
“The Secretary had, in fact, been instrumental in convincing the President to run for election, but this did not deter the President from pursuing his drive for a trustworthy government by addressing issues like corruption,” he added.
Sueno’s departure followed the sacking in March of Peter Tiu Laviña, the former Duterte campaign spokesman, as head of the National Irrigation Administration also over corruption allegations.
Aguirre confirmed Sueno’s firing in an interview over radio station dzMM, saying the dismissal of the DILG chief was made in the Cabinet meeting Monday night.
On Monday, Sueno denied the allegations of corruption said to have been made by his three undersecretaries, John Castriciones, Jesus Hinlo and Emily Padilla, in a confidential memorandum to the President.
Sueno admitted he had received a request to protect gambling syndicates in exchange for payoffs, but said he turned it down.
“There is a group that insisted that I take the payoffs from illegal gambling. They got in touch with the gambling lords about the payola [and]I rejected their offer,” he said in a statement.
Sueno also admitted he has a grandson who holds a “high position” at the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame, but said he had no influence over the police officer.
He also denied owning a hotel in Marbel, South Cotabato, saying it belongs to his brother.
“My brother is probably 20 times richer than me. I do not have the financial capacity to build such a big structure,” Sueno said. JEFF ANTIPORDA/The Manila Times

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Capitol brawl not related to war on mistresses

“No violence, gentlemen--no violence, I beg of you! Consider the furniture!” 
― Arthur Conan Doyle

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Friendship ends where attraction to sex objects begins.
There are quarrels among some macho du jours in government that are job-related and not necessarily sparked by a tug-of-war on nymphets like in the case of playboys Bebot Alvarez and Tonyboy Floirendo. 
We recall an incident I witnessed as a capitol beat reporter in Iloilo 27 years ago.
The brawl between then deputy governor Ruben Bermudo and provincial tourism chief Manny Benedicto at around 11 o'clock in the morning on July 3, 1990 exploded while DYRI "Radyo Agong" reporter Arsenio "Kamlon" Ang and this writer were doing interview inside the governor's office with Vice Governor Robert "Bob" Maroma, then the acting governor.
There were only five of us inside the governor's office present-- Maroma, Bermudo, Benedicto, this writer, and Ang, who had just won a labor case in the Supreme Court against the defunct DYRP "Radyo Tagring."

DAGGER

Even before the interview with Maroma started, we noticed Benedicto and Bermudo, then in their mid-50's, swapping dagger looks like Crassus and Spartacus.
At one moment, Bermudo removed his eyeglasses like Eddie Garcia to plant a sharp stare at Benedicto, who reciprocated with his own Pacquito Diaz-style look. 
While Maroma was answering our questions, the two disappeared surreptitiously. They entered inside the conference room about four meters away on Maroma's right side.
Minutes later, we heard a loud commotion. 
The noise didn't stop Maroma from talking but our eyes--Maroma's, Ang's, and mine--started to exchange tacit signals alternately like actors in a silent movie.
When the conference room's divider started to shake violently and two angry voices dished unprintable, Maroma stood up and rushed to the scene. 
I grabbed my camera and followed suit. Kamlon scrambled to prepare a tape recorder.

THROATS

Inside, we saw two gladiators literally holding each other's throats on one hand, and throwing rabbit punches on the other hand. 
The sight was reminiscent of two Tokyo Dome somo wrestlers. 
Blows rained from all angles--a chaotic scene. 
Maroma tried to separate the two but was in awkward position, and could receive one of the flying fists on the face if he forced the issue.  
So determined were the two Capitol bigwigs to maim each other they refused to let go of their grips--Benedicto's shaking fingers came closed to drilling holes on Bermudo's neck; Bermudo locked Benedicto's jaw with a tight Steven Segal grip. 
Both were gasping for breath like sprinters in the 100-meter dash, their false teeth threatening to jump out. 
Maroma lost balance on his second attempt to act as third man in the ring.

PHOTOS  

Instead of taking photos, I grabbed Benedicto's hand to prevent his fingers from committing cannibalism. 
Having lost much energy, he obliged. 
Bermudo, also fighting for air in his lungs, let go of Benedicto's jaw--but not after leaving some souvenirs on his skin.
"Tama na ina!" (That's enough)," Maroma, who was himself losing some energy--and patience, shouted while scratching his head in disgust.
When the smoke had cleared, the protagonists could manage to release Mona Lisa-like smiles as if King Kong did not vandalize their mangled faces. 
Either the pain from their violent physical activity did not yet take its toll, or they were ashamed for acting like kindergarten pupils and tried to suppress it.
No arrest was made even as Maroma hinted of slapping the misbehaving officials with administrative cases. 
Kamlon, who hit a jackpot with his tape recorded "eye-witness account", had a field day repeatedly playing the violent episode to friends and politicians, including Bermudo and Benedicto, who just grinned to hide their embarrassment.    

MISS RP-GUAM

We found out their conflict emanated from the province's preparations for the arrival of the Miss Philippines-Guam in Iloilo that year. 
As tourism boss, Benedicto, of Dumangas, Iloilo, begrudged the decision of Bermudo, who hails from Maasin, Iloilo, to bypass his authority and disapprove some items in the budget, among other reasons.
If there was one person so terribly upset and mournful that awful morning, it was neither Benedicto nor Bermudo, who had kissed and made up.
It was Maroma, whose interview with us had been cut off unceremoniously, thus he failed to deliver an important message to people as news the following day was dominated by the skirmish of his warring subalterns.