Thursday, August 31, 2017

Warning to Jovie: Don't outshine the master

"I'm the man in the box. Buried in my shit. Won't you come and save me, save me?"
--Alice In Chains


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Celebrity cop Jovie "The Excited" Espenido, after all, won't be a permanent chief of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa has confirmed he designated the controversial police chief inspector only as officer-in-charge because he is two ranks lower than what is required by law for a highly urbanized metropolis like Iloilo City.
Even before Espenido has occupied the post, there are tell tale signs that Dela Rosa appears to be "unhappy" with his underling's sudden popularity and hubris.
If not for President Duterte's request, Gen. Bato would prefer The Excited to stay in Ozamis City where he ostensibly hasn't yet pulled the rug from under all the drug traffickers there despite the recent massacre in the Parojinog residence.
We understand Gen. Bato's vacillation.


EXTOL

Ever since President Duterte extolled The Excited for his murderous rampages in Albuera, Leyte and Ozamis City and offered him the Iloilo City assignment during the National Heroes' Day celebration in Taguig City, The Excited has hogged headlines and upstaged Gen. Bato.
All of a sudden, The Excited has turned into a rock star sensation courtesy of the President's baby-sitting treatment.
Before The Excited's fame, Gen. Bato was the master of all shows, grabbing headlines left and right and competed even with President Duterte in media attention with his swashbuckling anti-illegal drugs conquests.
Being a celebrity should be Gen. Bato's franchise in as far as the PNP is concerned. With The Excitement entering the picture, now no more.
Winnie the Pooh once quipped, ”Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.”


WARN

Robert Greene had warned the likes of The Excited in Law No. 1 of the 48 Laws of Power to "Never Outshine the Master."
"Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite inspire fear and insecurity," the Law suggested.
"Everyone has insecurities. When you show yourself in the world and display your talents, you naturally stir up all kinds of resentment, envy, and other manifestations of insecurity. This is to be expected. You cannot spend your life worrying about the petty feelings of others. With those above you, however, you must take a different approach: when it comes to power, outshining the master is perhaps the worst mistake of all."
The Excited also has the tendency to be overbearing.

Instead of dismissing the fears of the Ilonggos and convinvcing them that the PNP is a professional organization committed to uphold the supremacy of the law, protect the civilians, and doesn't tolerate unlawful extermination of suspected criminals, he issued stern warnings to Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog as if he was assigned in Iloilo City solely to terrorize the mayor who had been falsely accused as a narco-politician.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Marivic Mabilog's pain

"Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone."
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Josephine Bracken to Dr. Jose Rizal: "Love, I will love you ever; love, I will leave thee never; ever to me precious to thee; never to part, heart bound to heart, or ever to say goodbye.
So, my darling, receive many warm Affection and love from your ever faithfull and true till death."

No one knows how many cups of tears has Marivic Mabilog shed secretly, so far; how many sleepless nights she has logged; and how tight were the embraces she gave her husband, embattled Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
No one can approximate her heartaches and tribulations, but any wife and mother will feel the pain inside Marivic's heart.
The torrents of recent events that pilloried her husband and placed his life in jeopardy, must have taken their toll on Marivic as a wife.
No first lady of a city chief executive must've suffered the level of distress, sadness and anxiety Marivic has been going through nowadays like Xanthippe, wife of Socrates, condemned and forced to drink the hemlock for the sins he did not commit.
Especially that Marivic knows her husband is innocent like Sir Galahad, but is being fiercely loathed by the President, treated shabbily by a police underling through their irresponsible and uncalled for public admonishments, and abandoned by hitherto political allies through their defeaning and incredible silence.
Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you where they are now--and why they refuse to make a stand.
Beneath the veneer of Marivic's brave and unruffled front must be a dreary wife that resembles Achlys: weeping, emaciated, and pale, with chattering teeth, swollen knees, long nails on her fingers, bloody cheeks, and her shoulders thickly covered with dust.


PUSHED

Marivic has become a woman pushed against the wall, Iloilo's modern symbol of martyrdom, Agathonice.
A wounded tigress can be vain and histrionic, but once we reach the level of hypothermia, human beings tend to become stiff from fear and intimidation.
Like Hua Mulan (The Ballad of Mulan, 6th Century Chinese poem), Marivic can turn into a warrior when push comes to shove, her bravery may not revolve around avoiding marriage or seeking passion, but will be one centered on familial love and honor.
Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "What cannot kill you will make you strong."
When it comes to pushing beyond our comfort zone. fear can sometimes be transformed into energy and endurance.
We can then sit with fear and acknowledge it, humble ourselves before fear, and accept fear's challenge to be brave as it comes in each moment.
Let me share this letter from Unveiled Wife entitled, "Letter To My Husband: I love You" :
Dear Husband,
Our world is not perfect, I know, but it’s perfect to me. Just being able to wake up next to you gives me so much peace joy and hope. Though this road is rocky and it seems to get worse at times, just know that I love you and always will. We can make it and we will. Let’s just keep putting God first and having our nightly bible studies till we get it right so we can become someone else’s or even another couples beacon of light!
Love Your Wife

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Most abused mayor in the world

"Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation."
--Atifete Jahjaga

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- With the way he is being persecuted by the Duterte administration, Dr. Jed Patrick Mabilog could go down in history as the most abused city mayor not only in the Philippines, but also all over the world.
The abuse is not only verbal, but mental and emotional.
To be tagged as coddler of drug traffickers repeatedly by no less than the President (when in truth and in fact, he is not), is already the worst abuse any incumbent local chief executive could get.
The shame, embarrassment, humiliation, and indignity of being ranked alongside with the dregs of society without any morsel of truth, is already a mental and emotional torture.
To add insult, a police with the rank of chief inspector had joined the fray and reportedly dared Mabilog "to surrender" as if the city mayor was a convicted criminal in hiding.
If he really said that, this is the first time we heard a police officer with a lower rank boldy haranguing an elected civilian chief of a highly urbanized city without any regard to the mayor's authority and seniority in civil service.


NAPOLCOM

If this is not conduct unbecoming and unprofessionalism, we don't know what it is. The National Police Commissiom (Napolcom) should investigate this overexcited cop who has been reassigned in Iloilo City. Is this the way you orient your cops, Gen. Bato?
Whatever the reason why President Duterte has stubbornly continued to link the well-mannered and clean-living Mabilog to illegal drugs when he couldn't even substantiate it (the accuations were reportedly based on hearsays and "tips" from Mabilog's vindictive and jealous political detractors), he alone knows.
It, of course, boggles the minds of the Ilonggos who know Mabilog pretty well.
All the allegations against Mabilog have not been proven and contrary to reports of agencies concerned like the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which has repeatedly cleared Mabilog.
Only the angels in heaven have not descended on earth to tell the president that he is wrong to condemn an innocent man.
Even the pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales will swear to God that Mabilog is not engaged in narco-politics as the President had alleged.


PERSONALITY

Soft-spoken Mabilog doesn't have a gung-ho personality despite the dirty brickbats thrown his way. He doesn't fire back using foul words at critics. Quality of a true, highly-educated and religious leader.
In fact, some supporters have ribbed him for being too soft and kind even to his most trenchant political enemies.
Detractors called him names and a coddler of drug syndicates, Mabilog offered them prayers.
They're lucky Mabilog is not the late Mayor Roding Ganzon who called his persecutors "bastos" (uncivilized) and who fought tongs and hammer with his tormentors, including the late former President Cory Aquino.
He never gave the Mabilog family any shame and scandal and was never involved in any crime when he was younger. Instead, he elevated the pride of his family, the pride of the Ilonggos when he was chosen as the No. 5 city mayor in the world two years ago. He gave all Ilonggos reason to be proud of Iloilo City with all the success the "City of Love" is reaping in terms of infrastructure, economic and tourism development.
The more they pummeled Mabilog with abusive words, the more he lowered his head in submission like a true biblical Christian; the more he gets sympathies from people from all walks of life in the Philippines and abroad who monitor his predicament from Malacanang.
And the world is watching. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Murder in 9 for Pacquiao vs Conor

"Bruce Lee was an artist and, like him, I try to go beyond the fundamentals of my sport. I want the public to see a knockout in the making."
 -- Sugar Ray Leonard

By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- I reviewed the ninth round when Floyd Mayweather Jr. assaulted Conor McGregor like a truncheon-toting dispersal cop swarming over a hapless rallyist several times on Youtube and found a glaring element.
McGregor, 29, survived the violence but Mayweather, 40, finally bundled him out in the 10th stanza with double left hooks as referee Robert Byrd jumped in to protect the Irishman from further cruelty.
Back in ninth round.
The gory scene unfurled at 1:59 when Mayweather caught McGregor's face with a wicked right as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) buzzsaw backpedaled.
Another thunderous right to McGregor's face at 1:52 changed the program from tango to battery.
A Maywheather uppercut further mangled the tattooed customer at 1:43.
The manhandling worsened at 1:28 as Mayweather smelled blood. At 56 to 55 seconds, the fight became a scene in a Manila city jail riot.

The last 10 seconds was full of brutality as McGregor clung for dear life.

EXHAUSTED

Mayweather failed to knock out (KO) the exhausted McGregor but finished the job in the next round for a technical knockout (TKO).
If Manny Pacquiao was the one who mobilized the ninth-round mauling in the same pace and intensity, any of the two--Mayweather and McGregor--would have collapsed like a heap of thrash.
To slaughter a defenseless prey uninterrupted for two minutes was peanuts for a heavy bomber like lefty Pacquiao.
McGregor would have suffered Ricky Hatton's fate as he stood in front of his attacker and did not duck; he neither bob nor weave, a dream angle for Pacquiao.
A killer puncher, Pacquiao would have committed murder
It may be recalled that when Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) and Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) squared off on May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas, the unbeaten American ran away with a 12-round unanimous decision in the richest duel in the history of prizefighting.
Against the taller McGregor (0-1 0 KO), Mayweather was more aggressive and banged at the mixed martial arts (MMA) king from all angles without letup.
Mayweather's success and juggernaut started in the sixth canto when he peppered McGregor with left jabs and right straights to avert a work rate deficit.
Against the shorter Pacquiao, 38, Mayweather was never a menace as he elected to stay away from Pacman's bombs using his signature bicycle in both legs.



Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mayweather eats McGregor alive like a hungry wolf

"God only made one thing in this world that's perfect-and that's my boxing record."
--Floyd Mayweather Jr.

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- There was no need for Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs) to run away to seal another win.
As boxing's Albert Einstein, Mayweather's mass-energy equivalence was his potent jab-straight combo, enough to wreck ambitious mixed martial arts (MMA) boss Conor McGregor (0-1, 0 KOs) via 10th round technical knockout (TKO) on August 27 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight at 1:05 of round 10 with McGregor under heavy fire and on the verge of being ravaged like a pork and beans can.
Mayweather, 40, proved that McGregor's thrash talking and braggadocio could not be translated to victory.
If McGregor, 29, nicknamed "The Notorious", was the best the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) could offer, then boxing remains the top manufacturer of scientific athletes in combat sports.
Mayweather demonstrated why boxing is called poetry in motion.
He allowed the talkative Irish visitor, unfamiliar with pitfalls in squared jungle, to come in like a traffic attendant and tire him out.


CONTROL

Mayweather controlled the fight from the opening bell, frustrating the taller debuting boxer with his signature footworks and blistering jabs that mostly found their marks on McGregor's face.
When McGregor was ripe for a knockout, he unleashed a horrific combination and avalanche of uppercuts and hooks to make a final statement.
"I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see. I owed them for the Pacquiao fight. I had to come straight ahead and give the fans a show. That's what I gave them," Mayweather said.
“He’s a lot better than I thought he’d be. He’s a tough competitor, but ​I​ was the better man tonight. Our game plan was to take our time, go to him, let him shoot his shots early and then take him out down the stretch. We know in MMA he fights for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, he started to slow down. I guaranteed to everybody that this wouldn’t go the distance.
“I want to thank all the fans from Ireland and all the fans around the world for coming to see this event. I couldn’t do any of this without the fans."


GAME PLAN

Flod added: “Our game plan was to go straight ahead. I said numerous times that I wouldn’t back down and that’s what I did. A win is a win, no matter how you get it. Rocky Marciano is a legend and I look forward to going into the Hall of Fame one day.
“This was my last fight tonight. For sure. Tonight was my last fight. Tonight I chose the right dance partner to dance with. Conor you are a hell of a champion.”
McGregor didn't know what hit him. He appeared to be in denial stage when he quipped, “He’s composed, he’s not that fast, he’s not that powerful, but boy is he composed in there. I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued. He was just a lot more composed with his shots.
“I have to give it to him, that’s what 50 pro fights will do for you.
“I’ve been strangled on live TV and came back. When you’re in here in the squared circle, everything is different. Let the man put me down, that’s fatigue, that’s not damage. Where was the final two rounds? Let me walk back to my corner and compose myself.”

'Every man is guilty of the good he did not do'

"Every man is guilty of the good he did not do."
--Voltaire


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY --
Candide, one of Voltaire's astonishing satires first published in 1759 that propelled the French novelist to heights during the Age of Enlightenment, is our friend Ilonggo philosopher and lawyer Ernie Dayot's most favorite.
Dayot, a deist or believer of the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe, wanted to emphasize that religion does not necessarily make someone a moral or an ethical person.
It's from Dayot's story about Candide that I learned the deeply practical precept, "let's cultivate our own garden" which I have enormously used in some of my articles to refer to self reliance and initiative.
It's actually a Leibnizian mantra popularized by Pangloss, Candide's professor, which is "all is for the best".
Leibniz was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a German polymath and philosopher who occupies a prominent place in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy.
An illegitimate nephew of a German baron, Candide grew up in the baron's castle under the tutelage of Professor Pangloss.


BEST

It was from Pangloss that he learned about "the best of all possible worlds."
The baron had a young daughter, Cunegonde, and Candide fell in love with her.
Candide was expelled from the castle when the baron caught them kissing.
Having been conscripted into the army of the Bulgars, Candide wandered away from the camp for a brief walk, and was brutally flogged as a deserter.
He escaped to Holland after witnessing a horrific battle where he was taken care of by Jacques. He soon met a deformed beggar who turned out to be Pangloss.
Sick with syphilis, Pangloss told Candide that Cunegonde and her family had been brutally massacred by the Bulgars.
He brought Pangloss to Jacques and they travelled to Lisbon. On their way, the ship was whipped by a storme and Jacques was drowned.
Candide and Pangloss survived, but when they arrrived, Lisbon was in ruins after being hit by an earthquake. It was also under the control of Inquisition.


HERETIC

Pangloss was hanged as a heretic, and Candide was flogged for listening with approval to Pangloss’s philosophy. After his beating, an old woman dressed Candide’s wounds and then, to his astonishment, took him to Cunegonde.
Though the Bulgar army killed the rest of her family, Cunegonde narrated that she was merely raped and then captured by a captain, who sold her to a Jew named Don Isaachar.
She became a sex slave jointly owned by Don Isaachar and the Grand Inquisitor of Lisbon. Each of Cunegonde’s two owners arrived in turn as she and Candide were talking, and Candide killed them both.
Candide, the old woman, and Cunegonde fled and boarded a ship bound for South America. During their journey, the old woman shared her own story that she was born the Pope’s daughter but has suffered a litany of misfortunes that included rape, enslavement, and cannibalism.
Candide and Cunegonde planned to marry, but as soon as they arrived in Buenos Aires, the governor, Don Fernando, proposed to Cunegonde.
She accepted Don Fernando, as she was thinking of her own financial welfare.


PORTUGAL

Authorities looking for the murderer of the Grand Inquisitor arrived from Portugal in pursuit of Candide. Along with a newly acquired valet named Cacambo, Candide fled to territory controlled by Jesuits who are revolting against the Spanish government.
After demanding an audience with a Jesuit commander, Candide discovers that the commander was Cunegonde’s brother, the baron, who also managed to escape from the Bulgars. Candide announced that he wanted to marry Cunegonde, but the baron insisted that his sister would never marry a commoner. Enraged, Candide killed the baron with his sword and escaped into the wilderness together with Cacambo, where they narrowly avoided being eaten by a native tribe called the Biglugs.
Candide and Cacambo found themselves in the land of Eldorado, where gold and jewels litter the streets, after traveling for days. This utopian country has advanced scientific knowledge, no religious conflict, no court system, and placed no value on its plentiful gold and jewels. But Candide longed to return to Cunegonde, and after a month in Eldorado he and Cacambo departed with countless invaluable jewels loaded onto swift pack sheep.


SURINAME

When they reached the territory of Suriname, Candide sent Cacambo to Buenos Aires with instructions to use part of the fortune to purchase Cunegonde from Don Fernando and then to meet him in Venice. An unscrupulous merchant named Vanderdendur stole much of Candide’s fortune, dampening his optimism somewhat. Candide sailed off to France with a specially chosen companion, an unrepentantly pessimistic scholar named Martin. On the way there, he recovered part of his fortune when a Spanish captain sank Vanderdendur’s ship. Candide took this as proof that there is justice in the world, but Martin staunchly disagreed.
Candide and Martin mingled with the social elite in Paris. Candide’s fortune attracted a number of hangers-on, several of whom succeeded in filching jewels from him. Candide and Martin proceeded to Venice, where, to Candide’s dismay, Cunegonde and Cacambo were nowhere to be found.
However, they did encounter other colorful individuals there, including Paquette, the chambermaid-turned-prostitute who gave Pangloss syphilis, and Count Pococurante, a wealthy Venetian who was hopelessly bored with the cultural treasures that surrounded him. Eventually, Cacambo, now a slave of a deposed Turkish monarch, surfaced, explaining that Cunegondewas in Constantinople, having herself been enslaved along with the old woman. Martin, Cacambo, and Candide departed for Turkey, where Candide bought Cacambo’s freedom.


SURVIVE

Candide discovered Pangloss and the baron in a Turkish chain gang. Both have actually survived their apparent deaths and, after suffering various misfortunes, arrived in Turkey. Despite everything, Pangloss remained an optimist. An overjoyed Candide bought their freedom, and he and his growing retinue went on to find Cunegonde and the old woman.
Cunegonde has grown ugly since Candide last saw her, but he bought her freedom anyway. He also purchased the old woman’s freedom and purchased a farm outside of Constantinople. He kept his longstanding promise to marry Cunegonde, but only after being forced to send the baron, who still cannot abide his sister marrying a commoner, back to the chain gang. Candide, Cunegonde, Cacambo, Pangloss, and the old woman settled into a comfortable life on the farm but soon find themselves growing bored and quarrelsome.
Candide finally encountered a farmer who lived a simple life, worked hard, and avoided vice and leisure who inspired them.
Candide and his friends took to cultivating a garden in earnest. All their time and energy went into the work, and none was left over for philosophical speculation. At last everyone was fulfilled and happy.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mayweather will eat McGregor alive

"Boxing is real easy. Life is much harder."
-- Floyd Mayweather Jr.


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Aside from his power and durability, Conor McGregor can't convince oddsmakers that he has what it takes to upset Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Like Angel Manfredy in 1998, oddsmakers predict that McGregor (21-3, 18 KOs) will be swallowed whole by Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KOs) when they clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on August 26.
Manfredy, hard-hitting like McGregor, was highly-touted when he mauled Calvin Grove, Jorge Paez, and the legendary Arturo Gatti one after the other. But against Mayweather Jr., he was blasted to bits in two rounds.
His reputation as a heavy bomber and giant killer had no match against Mayweather's dizzying speed and excellent footwork.
As a mixed martial arts (MMA) terror, McGregor's duel with boxing's most celebrated superstar will be his debut in the square jungle.
The loquacious 29-year-old Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) mainstay from Dublin will be fighting the 40-year-old undefeated world boxing champion in the later's backyard.
It's like Tiger Woods challenging Michael Jordan to a three-point shooting contest.


COMPARISON


In terms of defense, endurance, speed, and experience, McGregor pales in comparison.
McGregor, who logged most of his wins as a featherweight and lightweight, will face the man who opitomizes the art of boxing to hit and not to get hit in the jr. middleweight category.
Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Manny Pacquiao, Marcos Maidana, and Saul Alvarez could unload bombs like McGregor but were all wiped out by the first boxer in history to equal the 49-0 world record established by heavyweight Rocky Marciano.
McGregor's takedown defense is impressive, but against a scientific fighter like Mayweather, it won't help him in a boxing match.
According to FightMetric, McGregor has defended just 57 percent of his strikes during his UFC career, worst of any current male champion.
Mayweather, on the other hand, owns a boxing-best plus-24.5 plus/minus rating, per CompuBox and landed 43.4 percent of his punches, while his foes landed only 18.9 percent.


Shocking myths about my religion

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
-- C. S. Lewis

By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- Like most of my friends I was born and baptized as a Christian. My basic education in religion was about Christianity, about Jesus Christ as the "Son of God" our "Savior who died for our sins."
My education further brought me to Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, among other primitive religions.  
Then came Gandhi, a Hindu, allegedly saying that he loved Jesus but not the Christians. There were Christians who parried Gandhi by saying they loved the famous Indian pacifist "but not Hinduism". A tit for a tat.
But the most earthshaking discovery I consider as the "shockers of all shockers" are reportedly the myths about my religion.
Do we agree or believe the following myths?
1. Christians force their morality on others.
-According to this myth, Christians are judgmental and act as society’s moral watchdogs. And they try to censor everything from the arts to sex education.
2. Christians suppress women.
-According to this myth, the church through the ages has stifled the voice and gifts of women and has treated women as second-class beings.
3. Christians caused the ecological crisis.
-According to this myth, the Christian religion is alienated from the natural world. The Bible says to subdue the earth, and Western Christian culture took that as a license to exploit nature.
4. Christians are anti-scientific.
-According to this myth, the church has historically suppressed learning in general and scientific inquiry in particular. Christians even promote pseudoscience by trying to force science to fit a literal interpretation of the Bible.
5. Christians have done terrible things in the name of Christ.
-This myth cited the wrongs that have been done in the name of Christianity—everything from the Crusades to televangelist scandals.


DESTROY

6. Christian missionaries destroy native cultures.
-According to this myth, Christian missionaries force indigenous peoples to give up their unique culture. Christians don’t respect the spiritual value in native customs and religions.
7. Christians are arrogant.
-According to this myth, all religions teach basically the same thing, but Christians insist their religion is the only one that’s right. They arrogantly claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. That may be true for Christians, but it isn’t true for everybody.
Freelance writers Dale and Sandy Larsen of Duluth, Minnesota, ask if Christianity is defensible amid these myths.
“Isn’t it a backward religion based on primitive ideas that have no place in today’s world? Isn’t the Bible hopelessly out of date? And yet Christians insist on forcing their morality on other people!” they intone.
“And worst of all, isn’t Christianity the cause of so much pain and suffering in the world—from destroying native cultures to suppressing women to causing the ecological crisis?
“How can anyone take seriously a religion that is promoted by sleazy televangelists and that once sponsored the Crusade?


QUESTIONS

“These are honest questions that deserve straightforward answers. Separating the beliefs and actions of some Christians from our Christianity can be difficult. We need to go below the surface, see how these problems developed historically and go back to the Bible for the full story.”
They believe that there is “element of truth” in the above-mentioned myths.
“Some Christians are arrogant. Some Christians have made their faith into an exclusive club. But God’s forgiveness always reaches out to be inclusive, touching everyone who acknowledges need and and responds in faith to his mercy,” the conclude. “Anyone who has been hurt by Christians’ arrogance will need to summon extra courage and open-mindedness in order to take another serious look at Christianity.”
We must examine our heart. Are we willing not only to look at Christian faith but to find it true and begin to live by it?
Let’s examine the heart of Christian belief.
Let’s examine the credibility of Christianity.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'The mayor is user, not trafficker'

"Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing."
--Bernard Baruch


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY
-- Among the present members of the Iloilo City Council in the Philippines, Eduardo "Ed" Penaredondo is the most senior, having been elected for a record eight terms in the May 2016 elections.
He has been alderman since the time of the late Mayor Rodolfo T. Ganzon in 1989.
The other two are Vice Mayor Joe III Espinosa and Joshua Alim, both lawyers like Penaredondo.
While supporters of both Espinosa and Alim have been jockeying for their election to replace Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog who will "graduate" in 2019, Penaredondo's supporters and brods in the Sigma Rho fraternity think the veteran ex-cop with roots from Duenas, Iloilo should be the next in line after Mabilog.
To avoid a collision course, Alim, one of the most qualified for the post, might shoot for a congressional seat. Espinosa, rumored to be the personal choice of Rep. Jerry Trenas, still enjoys the edge in the party selection process though.
"It's long overdue. He should have run for mayor a long time ago. We are always ready in case he decides to run in 2019," said a moneyed Sigma Rho member who manages a copier machine business.
The Sigma Rho member said Penaredondo is not only respected by his peers in the council, "he also is not at odds with most politicians in the local and national levels."
"Meaning," the Sigma Rho member added, "he can deal with any David and Goliath in government and this is good for Iloilo City."


-o0o-

A mayor in the fifth district of Iloilo was not included in the list of narco-politicians lambasted repeatedly by President Duterte because he is only a user, not a trafficker, said a former town councilor who once worked in the Hall of Justice in Iloilo City.
The mayor became a drug addict when he was teenager, the source said. One time, he reportedly told then President and now Manila Mayor Erap Estrada that "my (late) father was stupid for giving away hundreds of hectares of our farm lands to people who did not vote for me (the mayor)."
The former town councilor claimed that even when they were playing basketball, the mayor was always "high" of marijuana. "Everyone was afraid to foul him because he was so aggressive and sensitive," he said.
"Under the Duterte administration, the anti-drugs slogan is now kill the trafficker, spare the user," the former town councilor said in jest.


-o0o-


It's not fair to speculate that some of the former promising Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) young officers involved in the Oakwood mutiny in 2003 and hired by replaced Bureau of Customs (Boc) commissioner Nicanor Faeldon "benefitted" from corruption that was never nipped in the bud since the new administration took over.
Faeldon was reportedly axed for "command responsibility" when some P5-billion worth of shabu managed to enter the country via BoC before being seized in a Valenzuela City warehouse recently.
Faeldon's former cohorts in the Oakwood brouhaha who became BoC bigwigs reportedly "failed to properly check" the shipment's documents that came from China.
Sources claimed corruption like "lagayan system" is still rampant in the BoC.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Diamonds are forever?

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self."
--Benjamin Franklin

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Before my father died in 1976, he brought me to a popular moviehouse on J.M. Basa St. in Iloilo City, Philippines to watch "Diamonds Are Forever", a James Bond film starring Sean Connery.
The film was about the disappearance of large shipments of uncut diamonds during transit which failed to reappear on the international market.
The suspicious British Government dispatched James Bond to investigate the mystery, but the talented and good-looking agent codenamed 007 was reluctant to do the task  thinking it was a simple case of smuggling.
When a lead pointed to the involvement of 007's arch nemesis, Blofeld, Bond became desperate to uncover his plans and to avenge the death of his wife, Tracy.
I fully understood the story some 20 years later when I repeatedly watched the film again on VCD as adult.
As a kid, I didn't know what was a diamond and why it's the most expensive jewel in the universe; why it's the most popular stone for an engagement ring.


SPARKLE

Diamond's sparkle was supposed to have originated in the "fires of love," so wearing this gem meant love and faithfulness, according to Scholastic writers Julie Forsyth Batchelor and Claudia De Lys.
Diamonds were reportedly first known in the Far East.
During the Middle Ages pretty women wore the jewel about their faces, for it was believed this would divert the Evil Eye from their beauty.
The diamond was sometimes imbedded in one nostril or ear lobe. Or a woman might reportedly wear this "third eye" dangling over her forehead from strings attached to her hair.
A superstition began that very large stones brought bad luck while diamons were generally considered good luck.
The world's most famous diamonds reportedly have had a long history of theft, intrigue, loss of life and other disasters.
"The facts strengthened the belief in the minds of the superstitious that large diamonds bring misfortune to their owners," according to De Lys and Batchelor in Superstitious? Here's Why.


NOTION

An interesting notion, popular during the Middle Ages, was that two diamonds can produce a third. It reportedly became the custom to set two stones in a ring with the hope that they would bring forth another.
The diamond engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand nowadays.
This custom reportedly came from two popular superstitions. The ancient believed the heart to be the center of emotions, especially love, and that it was on the left side of the body.
The fourth finger of the left hand was thought was thought by the Egyptians to have a vein running directly to the heart.
Many people feel nowadays that a diamond can never wear out. Yet stones used to make fine glass engravings are worn out in six or eight weeks.
It is the truth though, and not a superstition, that "only a diamond can cut a diamond."

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Opinion)

The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours.
 -- ELIZABETH KUBLER-ROSS :


Opinions don't necessarily translate into problems as long as we don't suppress them and let them flow freely in a democratic platform. Negative or positive, opinions are healthy and will make us strong especially if we are open-minded and aren't onion-skinned.
--ALEX P. VIDAL

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why they jump ship

"Honor is not the exclusive property of any political party."
--Herbert Hoover

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- When Marcos fell in 1986, many Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) stalwarts jumped ship and were "rescued" by the late former Vice President Doy Laurel's United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO).
Some opted to stay behind the "defrocked" party particularly the "Marcos loyalists" hoping for the strongman's political resurrection which fizzled out with his death in 1989.
When Mrs. Aquino took over and became estranged with Laurel, many of them abandoned UNIDO and embraced PDP-Laban, Tita Cory's official party until 2009.
When FVR reigned supreme in 1992, these unprincipled minions hastily formed a beeline to the new ruling Lakas-NUCD party.


REFUGEES

Then came Erap. From KBL, UNIDO, and PDP-Laban, these political grutnols and druggles "fled" like refugees to Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
Everyone knows what happened next when Ate Gloria took over: the balimbings, bereft of principle, were again in mad scramble to take oath this time as KAMPI members.
When P-Noy became president, the political pendulum abruptly tilted to the Liberal Party (LP)'s favor in a mass exodus that could dwarf the myth of Israel.
Under the new dispensation, some LP members did not only forsake the party that helped enrich many of them through "pork barrel", they also burned their bridges swearing allegiance not only to President Duterte's PDP-Laban, but to many of the hard-hitting former mayor of Davao City's programs that didn't sit well with their previous political party.
The mass exodus from LP to PDP-Laban appears to be "only the beginning."
Duterte's political party is expected to make a major sweep of the remnants of LP and other coalition parties once his pet program, federalism, takes the center stage.
What does the changing of political bandwagon from one disintegrating political party to another ruling party indicate?


OPPORTUNISM

It's neither a sign of renaissance nor headway. It's pure and simple opportunism.
Philippine politicians fight for survival and can't afford to stay away from the political party of those in power like President Duterte.
Many of these politicians have pending graft and corruption cases in courts. Some of them are engaged in protection racket.
Illegal loggers, smugglers, gambling and drug lords financed some of these politicians during elections. If the sitting president will lower the boom, they will find their way to the doldrums like tottering fools.
If they are "outside the kulambo", so to speak, when the new administration beckons, there are strong chances that their slumbering cases will be expedited; and they might end up snoring in the calaboose.
We will wait when Mr. Duterte makes an exit from the Malacanang and another president will occupy the presidency.
We will surely see the same political merry-go-round similar to what we are seeing today. That's the reality of politics--only in the Philippines.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

QUIZ OF THE DAY

By Alex P. Vidal

1.  The Philippines won its first Olympic Games gold medal in which year and city?


a. 1992, Barcelona
b. 1928, Amsterdam
c. 1988, Seoul
d. None of the above


2.  Friday Camaclang is a member of which Philippine sports team?

a. Dragon Boat Race Team
b. Fencing Team
c. Soccer Team
d. Chess Team


3. In 2012, former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Hall of Famer Billy Ray Bates of Crispa Redmanizer was arrested in Quezon City for what offense?

a. Non-payment of taxes
b. Throwing a rock at a Mercedez Benz
c. Punching a prostitute in a Pasig motel
d. Drunk driving


4. He is considered as one of the most famous Filipino golfers of all time and has been awarded the Philippine Athlete of the Year twice. He has played constantly on the Asian tour for many seasons, winning a number of titles and has also played at the British Open and the U.S. PGA Tour.

a. Ramon Brobio
b. Franki Minoza
c. Ben Arda
d. Gerard Cantada


5. Who was the first Filipino professional boxer to fight in the United States?

a. Elino Flores
b. Pancho Villa
c. Small Montana
d. Little Dado

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ilonggos in Guam unfazed by Nokor threat

"America must be a light to the world, not just a missile."
--Nancy Pelosi


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- Families of Ilonggos living in Guam have expressed serious concern after it was reported that North Korea has threatened to launch missles in that US territory located roughly 2,500 kilometers from Manila, Philippines.
"I worry a lot for my uncles, my sisters and their families," remarked Lourdes Saloma-Buck of Bridgeport, Connecticut. "Where will they seek refuge just in case North Korea attacks Guam?"
Saloma-Buck, 57, grew up in Iloilo City, Philippines. She has relatives in Guam's major cities of Dededo, Agana Heights, Talofofo, Yona, and Agat.
She said some of them also fear for their safety but are adamant to leave Guam, with a population of a little more than 162,000 "unless extremely necessary."
She has been in constant contact with relatives ever since news broke out that Pyongyang has threatened to attack Guam, a Pacific island, as it is at loggerheads with the US over Nokor's nuclear missile programs.
Cynthia Jaen of Brooklyn said her relatives in Santa Rita, Guam are unfazed.


CONFIDENT

Jaen, who grew up in Buntatala, Leganes, Iloilo and had also stayed for several years in Guam, said "Ilonggos in Santa Rita are confident President Donald Trump won't allow any untoward incident to occur in Guam where the president has large followers."
"It's normal to fear for their safety but they aren't panicky," Jaen explained. "They continue to monitor the developments on TV and internet and are confident Washington will be able to handle the situation properly."
Ilonggos from Iloilo City in the Philippines comprise the largest community in Guam, according to lawyer Pascual "Junie" Espinosa, Jr.
Espinosa's late father, Rep. Pascual "Pat" Sr., was chiefly responsible for bringing the first batches of Ilonggo workers to Guam, destined to become the largest US military base west of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after World War II.
A years after V-J Day, a number of significant changes occurred to the war-torn.
The highest priority was to reconstruct Guam as a strategic forward base to monitor Asian decolonization. In February 1946, the Construction Contracts Marianas, a military office designated to construct all military facilities in the Marianas, was created as a joint venture with civilian construction companies, according Guampedia's "Filipino Migration to Guam 1945--1975".


BREAKWATER

It added: "In addition to constructing the Apra Harbor breakwater, their task was reportedly to provide engineering services for basic infrastructure needs (water, power, road systems, and healthcare) and to rebuild the island’s capital.
"To resolve what the military believed to be a chronic shortage of labor, the US Embassy in Manila and the newly independent government of the Republic of the Philippines in May 1947 negotiated an agreement for “the recruitment and employment of Philippine citizens by the US military forces and its contractors in the Pacific, including Guam.”
"Following the 1947 agreement, Brown-Pacific-Maxon Construction Company (BPM) and Luzon Stevedoring Corporation (Luzdelco) were authorized to import Filipino labor from Manila and its surrounding provinces to provide support construction services for Andersen Air Force Base in northern Guam.
"The Guam Naval Supply Depot permitted the Marianas Stevedoring and Development Company (Masdelco) to contract employment from Iloilo and other Visayan islands of the central Philippines.
"Masdelco was a subsidiary of Luzdelco and based in the Agat-Santa Rita area of southern Guam. The initial bulk of Filipino laborers were recruited from Iloilo.
"All had to undergo rigorous clearance and background checks by the US Navy and Federal Bureau of Investigation before being admitted to Guam on a one-year labor contract subject to renewal for up to three years."

Let the soul of NIR go

"There's a victory in letting go of your expectations."
--Mike White
.
By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- At the Diagnostic Clinic of the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens on August 9, I declined the request of Dr. June Chatterjee for me to undergo HIV testing.
At first, I did not object thinking it was part of the clinic's random examination.
The medical staff showed to me Dr. Chatterjee's referral letter with a note, "Patient advised HIV testing to be done and did not object: Yes".
She did not complain when I invoked my right not to undergo such examination.
My appointment in the hospital was for laboratory examination arranged by Dr. Selina Zaman two weeks ago.
Two of the four other patients Dr. Chatterjee had examined before me probably came in the clinic for HIV testing. She must've thought I also came for that purpose.


-o0o-

The Negros Island Region (NIR) in the Philippine is now a thing of the past.
There's nothing dyed-in-the-wool proponents can do now to bring it back to life.
There's no use crying over a spilled milk. Life must go on for the living. Let go of the NIR's soul.
It was President Noynoy's E.O. that created it, and Pres. Digong's E.O. that killed it. A tit for a tat.
Since Congress was not involved in NIR's inception in the previous administration, there was no knee-jerk furor when the present administration banished it.
Palace had been firm in its decision to reject NIR: it's "too costly" and "unnecessary" especially when the proposed federalism would be in full swing.
The projected P19-billion that would have been wasted to sustain NIR could now be used to finance some of the administration's projects in social, health, infrastructure, and education sectors.
Whether Negros is divided into two provinces doesn't bother some ordinary Negrenses, at all.
"New technology," according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, will enable the speedy provision of government services to these provinces.
The people's primary concern is to eke out a decent living, bring home food on the table and make sure their families won't starve.
 

-o0o-

Mayor Geffrey Alonsabe of Alimodian, Iloilo told Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol during a recent press conference in Iloilo City that he did not know that the persons using the name of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and who approached him and "sold" farm-to-market roads (FMR) were scammers.
According to Alonsabe, "without his knowledge", the scammers arranged the contractors. He reportedly learned lately that the scammers demanded 10 percent of P100-million project.
"Nag-initial sila ng one million, then, lately gusto nila pa-dungangan sang five percent kay i-release na kuno ang pondo,” The Daily Guardian reporter Maricyn A. De Los Santos quoted Alonsabe as saying.
Pinol surmised Alonsabe and other mayors who may have fallen prey to the anomaly had been duped.
But how come Alonsabe failed to identify anyone of the alleged FMR scammers?
Can a municipal mayor start to discuss projects worth millions of pesos to a person or group of persons he doesn't know from Adam?


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

When infidelity rocks the boat

"It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe."
--Thomas Paine

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- A woman politician in Iloilo in the Philippines once threatened to sue her philandering husband, also a prominent politician, after she discovered he emptied one of their joint bank accounts to support his younger inamorata.
She even "shamed" the husband in a speech attended by prominent national officials in a convention hosted by her municipality.
Luckily, the husband was not around; but the rather corrosive speech, thunderously delivered in a blind item to intentionally whack him, was understood by almost everyone present, including their politician children who were also present.
The court battle did not materialize when cooler heads warned the woman politician of the legal tiff's possible ugly consequences to their careers as politicians.
The male politician "survived" the wife's foiled vendetta but their children have refused to support the male politician's bid for a political comeback.
The inamorata, who lives in a town near Iloilo City and who used to stay in a budget city hotel to avoid the wife's wrath, now owns a house--and a "fat" bank account, sources said.


-o0o-

What happened to the estranged Bautista couple in Manila has also happened--and is happening--to other couples.
The only difference is the estranged husband holds a very sensitive government position, thus the estranged wife's allegations become an earthshaking event.
If she can prove in a competent court that her estranged husband is corrupt and concealing ill-gotten wealth, by all means the husband has to relinquish his post and face charges.
If she can't produce a paper trail or at least a morsel of evidence to back her allegations, people will think that the estranged husband's claim of extortion is true.
It will boil down to battle of evidence.
All other side issues related to the un-couple's spat will become immaterial in as far as public interest is concerned.


-o0o-

Another prominent husband was in danger of falling in public disgrace after his extra-marital affair with a vice mayor was unearthed in one town in the fourth district of Iloilo; but his wife, also a politician, stood by her man instead of washing his dirty linens in public.
As a result of her "act of martyrdom", people in their town gifted her with an overwhelming win in a mayoral contest. She went on to win a seat in the provincial level and completed her term with flying colors.
Her philandering husband never won back the top position in their municipality. She accepted him back in their marital domain and let bygones be bygones for the sake of the husband's illegitimate child.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Angry at attempt to destroy Iloilo City, elected officials

"If you know something is morally reprehensible, then it is your moral obligation to stop it as soon as possible."
--Jane Velez-Mitchell

By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- As a true-blooded Ilonggo and community journalist, I will never allow merchants of lies, canards, and chaos to destroy the good name of Iloilo City in the Philippines built by our forefathers.
I will never sit down and act like hackneyed kibitzer while my city and our leaders are being sledge-hammered by purveyors of half-truth, intrigues, and political vendetta.
The most "shabulized" city in the Philippines? Look first at Ozamis, war-torn Marawi, and other big metropolis in Metro Manila where shabu warehouses have yielded billions of worth of illegal substances.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog engaged in narco-politics? The cheapest Goebbels-inspired obloquy and hyperbole ever floated with no basis at all in truth, in fact, and in reality! Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
Like any other Ilonggos, I have a moral obligation to defend my city and its leaders--regardless of their political and religious affiliations--from external moronic and destructive yet unfounded accusations and innuendos, which, if left unchallenged and uncorrected, would harm the Ilonggos' moral fiber and create irreparable mayhem on their culture and psyche as peace-loving citizens.
In hours of great moral crisis, we are not supposed to play deaf, blind and mute. The hottest place in hell, according to Dante, is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.


NECESSARY

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, exhorted Edmund Burke, is for good men to do nothing.
Ilonggos are decent, educated, religious, intrepid, generous, and humble. They have produced great leaders and contributed abundantly in the political, economic, religious, and cultural evolution of the Filipino race.
If our family, community, culture, morality, values and honor are under attack by a horde of cantankerous and homicidal maniacs, we can't afford to remain neutral.
When we do nothing and think nothing while our reputations are being torn to shreds by voodoo practitioners, pagans, nincompoops, backdoor players, con artists, darkroom operators, spin doctors, dicey crime-busters, rumormongers, and pseudo-moral crusaders, we allow evil to win.
Silence and apathy become our imminent Waterloo.
I love Iloilo City, the "City of Love", the Athens of the Philippines and cradle of heroism and common sense. And I am proud of our folklore and heritage.
I love and support our elected leaders even if I criticize their faults and imperfections. (Some of the public figures who tasted "terror" from my mighty pen were bosom friends if not kumare and kumpare. In journalism, friendship is one thing; commitment to uphold the truth and decency and serve the public through the mass media is another thing.)


HEALTHY

Constructive criticism is healthy in a democratic state. When we criticize our public officials, we don't destroy them. It's not something akin to bullying.
We help locate and discover their errors and shortcomings so they won't repeat the same mistakes again. Criticism helps strengthen our public officials' character and efficiency; and if they are not immature and uncultured, we end up as partners in nation building. 
It is no longer constructive when we wish--and even sharply "pray"--for our public officials' destruction through violent death or assassination over imagined crimes and litany of sins only the ruffians and dolts in the Alfred Hitchcock films are capable of committing.
We have evolved by leaps and bounds since the time when hatred and intrigues were used as basis to execute heads of states and prominent monarchy damsels, queens and kings like Marie Antoinette, falsely accused of uttering "Let them eat cake" when the French people had no more bread to eat.


SOLID

We impeach characters based on remarkable and solid facts, not innuendos and hearsays. We observe due process and acknowledge that after presenting both sides of the coin, only then can we ascertain the chaffs from the grains.
When we are frustrated and not satisfied with our leaders' performance, we don't shoot from the hips and injure bystanders.
Manchester Guardian reminds us that "Comment is free, but facts are sacred."
Even in faraway United States, I continue to chronicle events in our locality from time to time; I have never abandoned my crusade and advocacy for a peaceful community and graft-free government.
As a blogger, columnist and correspondent, I consider myself as an active participant in the modern Agora, which has expanded in the social media since the Oracle of Delphi decreed that Socrates was the wisest person in Athens for helping reform the society as a social, political, and cultural gadfly.


SHIELD

My moral obligation to shield Iloilo City and its leaders from imminent political havoc and moral decay brought by the current dyzzing zarzuela on anti-dope war includes an unflinching committment to shatter the myth of absolutism that pervades the national leadership.
Any overt or covert police raid in any establishment and residential area--owned by a public official or ordinary Juan de la Cruz-- not covered by lawful order or without any legal basis should be considered null and void ab initio.
No amount of hoary justification can supersede the rule of law.
Appeal to the rapscallions in the Philippine National Police and their over-excited minions in the ruling political party: don't do in Iloilo City what you did in Albuera, Leyte and Ozamis City. History will be unkind.

Iloilo kid is California's back-to-back jiu-jitsu champ  


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- To prove that his two-gold medal haul in last year's 12th Annual North American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament held in Cerritos College Norwalk, California wasn't a fluke, Myles Joaquin "Wacky" Rico- Javelosa repeated the conquest this year recently in California.
Now 10 years old, Wacky, grandson of Phhc 22 Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Philippines village chief Ray G. Rico, dominated his class in impressive fashion in the tournament where opponents spent all day sitting around waiting for the next matches.
"This is more memorable since Myles won two gold medals and the championship belt," Rico reported. 

Myles, son of MJ Adelantar Javelosa and Mary Rachel Javelosa, Rico's daughter, was the only kid in their team.
They live in West Covina, California.
Wacky had won his first gold in the West Coast nationals in Downtown, Los Angeles.

His second gold came in the Azusa Pacific University Jiu jitsu World League.
Some of the biggest Jiu Jitsu tournaments held in California offers a larger structure, with periods assigned a few days before the tournament schedule.
Organizers noted that contestants in of BJJ tournaments remain notorious for making some of the same mistakes in every playoff.
The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (commonly known as Mundials) is the world's most prestigious Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournament.
Hosted annually by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, Brazilian jiu jitsu tournaments are physically and mentally demanding, according to organizers.

.

Are we spiritually literate?

"I was well traveled, and I created this illusion of literacy through reading and writing. I wrote a book of short stories."
--Tom T. Hall


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY -- We've found a book that belongs in every seeker's home and answers the universal question “How can I live a spiritual life every day?”
Authors Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat reveal “a way to read the texts of our lives and of the world around us for sacred meaning.”
Using more than 650 brief examples from contemporary books and movies, the authors tutor us in the art of lingering with our experiences and seeing the world with fresh eyes.
They present spiritual perspectives on things, places, nature, animals, leisure, creativity, service, body, relationships, and community.
The Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy describes the key spiritual practices--from attention to zeal--the spell meaning in daily life.
The authors offer the book “to share with children, family, colleagues, and friends as you explore together the bounties of the spiritual life.”
The basics explain that most of us started reading lessons by learning the alphabet. “We have borrowed that bit of pedagogy and created an Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy, a collage of wisdom from the world’s religions and from spiritual teachers of all eras,” the authors explain. “Spread throughout the book, these letters elaborate on the practices of spirituality which show up repeatedly in the chapters of readings.”
Following is a summary of the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy, with pointers on how the practices can spell meaning in our daily life. If ever we are tempted to ask why a particular passage in the book is spiritual, let’s check the alphabet, and we will find that it demonstrates one of these practices.


TOTALLY ALERT

Attention: Let’s pay attention. Let’s stay awake and totally alert. Let’s see with receptive eyes and discover a world of ceaseless wonders. Beauty: Let’s walk the path of beauty. Let’s relish and encourage its inward and outward expressions. Let’s acknowledge the radiance of the creation. Being Present: Let’s live in the present moment and not be obsessed about the past or worry about the future. All we need is right here now.
Compassion: Let’s open our heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world. Let’s reach out to others and discover the rewards and obligations of deep feeling. Connections: Let’s cultivate the art of making connections and see how our life is intimately related to all life on the planet. Devotion: Let’s express our feelings of praise and adoration through devotional practices and pray with words and pray through our actions.
Enthusiasm: Let’s celebrate life with this intoxicating passion. It adds zest to everything and helps build community. Let’s hold nothing back. Faith: Let’s recognize and accept that there is another dimension to life than what is obvious to us. Let’s live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox, knowing that God is always present in the world.
Forgiveness: In both our private and public lives, let’s discover the sweet release that comes from forgiving others and feel the healing balm of being forgiven and of forgiving ourselves. Grace: Let’s accept grace and our world will be larger, deeper, richer, and fuller. Let’s look for its intimations everywhere. Let this seed of the Giver of Life bloom in our words and deeds. Gratitude: Let’s spell out our days with a grammar of gratitude and be thankful for all the blessings in our life.


POSITIVE EMOTION

Hope: Let us let this positive and potent emotion fuel our dreams and support our service of others. Through our attitudes and actions, let’s encourage others never to lose hope. Hospitality: Let’s practice hospitality in a world where too often strangers are feared, enemies are hated, and the “other” is shunned. Let’s welcome guests and alien ideas with graciousness.
Imagination: Let’s give imagination free rein in our life and explore its image and ponders its meaning-making moments, and it will always present you with something new to be seen, felt, or made known. Joy: Let’s rejoice and be exceedingly glad and find this divine energy in our daily life and share it with others. Justice: Let’s seek liberty and justice for all and work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist.
Kindness: Let’s let Spirit flow through us in little acts of kindness, brief words of encouragement, and manifold expressions of courtesy. These deeds will add to the planet’s fund of good will. Listening: Let’s cultivate the art of deep listening in which we lean toward the world in love. All things in the universe want to be heard, as do the many voices inside us.
Love: Let’s fall in love over and over again every day. Let’s love our family, our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves. Let’s not stop with humans. Let’s love animals, plants, stones, even the galaxies. Meaning: Let’s constantly try to discover the significance of our experiences and seek further understandings from sacred texts and spiritual teachers.


SELF-EXPLORATION

Nurturing: Let’s take good care of the best that is within us. Self-exploration and personal growth continue throughout our lifetimes and equip us to tend to the needs of others. Openness: Let’s hold an open house in our hearts for all people and all things and practice empathy with others and receptiveness toward the universe. Peace: Let’s protect the earth’s future by promoting peace every day. Our small steps will link us with others who are combating violence in the world.
Play: Let’s be playful, expressive our creative spirit in spontaneity, and hurrah the pleasures of being, and let loose our laughter. Questing: Let’s savor questions and thrill to the quest and see our life as a journey that quickens our faith and deepens our soul. Reverence: Let’s practice reverence for life. The sacred is in, with, and under all the things of the world. Let’s respond with appropriate respect and awe. Shadow: Let’s give up trying to hide, deny, or escape from our imperfections and listen to what our demons have to say to us.
Silence: Let’s slow down and find a place where we can regularly practice silence. There we will find the resources to revitalize our body, mind, and soul. Teachers: Let’s be willing to learn from the spiritual teachers all around us, however unlikely or unlike they may be. Let’s be sensitive students. Transformation: Let’s welcome the positive changes that are taking place in our life and open up the windows and let in some fresh air. Wholeness and healing are waiting in the wings.


GLOBAL SPIRITUALITY

Unity: In this age of global spirituality, let’s respect differences but affirm commonalities. Let’s work together with those who are trying to make the world a better place. Vision: Let’s practice the art of seeing the invisible and use the wisdom of our personal visions to renew ourselves and our community. Wonder: Let’s cultivate a vibrant curiosity and welcome the reports of our senses. The world is alive and moving toward us with rare epiphanies and wonderful surprises. Let’s remember we are standing on holy ground.
The mystery: Let’s accept the unknown as part of life. Let’s not try to unravel the profound mysteries of God, human nature, and the natural world. Let’s love the ineffable. Yearning: Let’s follow our heart’s boundless desire. It takes us out of ourselves and fosters an appreciation for the multidimensional pleasures of life. You: Let’s accept that we are children of God. Let’s sing our own song with gusto and fulfill our mission as copartners with the Holy One in the unfolding drama of the universe. Zeal: Let’s be passionately aroused by life and cherish every moment, honor our commitments, and treasure our kinship with all.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Don't compare Mabilog to Parojinog

"I'm not afraid of death, but I resent it. I think it's unfair and irritating. Every time I see something beautiful, I not only want to return to it, but it makes me want to see other beautiful things. I know I'm not going to get to all the places I want to go."
-- Viggo Mortensen

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- As an Ilonggo (I was born and raised in Iloilo City in the Philippines), I find it revolting to hear some people compare Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to the slain Ozamis City Mayor Reynaldo “Aldong” Parojinog, Sr.
I find it even more vexing when detractors excitedly parroted that Mabilog would be "the next in line" after Parojinog, who was killed together with his wife, Susan, and 13 others in a dawn raids conducted by the Philippine National Police in the mayor's residence on July 30.
No one can tell exactly why and how Parojinog and his ilk were peppered with bullets except for media reports that they allegedly reacted violently when police raiders tried to issue the search warrants at several of Parojinog's properties in Barangays Baybay San Roque and Baybay Santa Cruz around 2:30 a.m.
Before Parojinog's brutal slaughter, his family was already known nationwide to have been involved allegedly not only in distribution of illegal drugs, but also in other heinous crimes.


MENTIONED

Both Mabilog and Parojinog may have been mentioned by President Rodrigo R. Duterte as among the local chief executives in the Philippines to be allegedly involved in narco politics, but they definitely were not in the same class.
In terms of family background, education, intellect, accomplishments in public service, and values, Mabilog and Parojinog may be oceans apart.
The other difference is it has been established that Duterte had wrongly identified Mabilog as "the cousin of (suspected drug lord Melvin "Boyet) Odicta" while Parojinog belonged to a clan that ostensibly had criminal records (they were allegedly the remnants of the notorious "Kuratong Baleleng" that terrorized Metro Manila with kidnapping for ransom activities in the 90s).
Mabilog is the second cousin of opposition Senator Franklin Drilon, not Odicta.
If Duterte's tipsters could not establish this fundamental information, they have no business to tarnish the reputation of any Tom, Dick and Harry.


FAILURE

A failure in intelligence means these bungling field agents could become a liability instead of assets in the president's campaign against illegal drugs.
There are mayors and even governors in the Philippines who are more blatant and with irrefutable criminal involvement and inclinations, but were never placed in the spotlight or threatened with violent death.
Mabilog has been more deeply involved in civic and religious activities, and was never implicated in any crime even before he became a public servant.
Mabilog's enemies used his "friendship" with another suspected drug lord Jingjing Espinosa (who is now in jail for frustrated murder) as the basis to link him in narco-politics.
Mabilog comes from a decent and respected religious family in Molo district. He had or still has a foundation that helps the poor, the youth, and the senior citizens.


IMPLICATE

To implicate him in illegal drugs is like implicating Desdemona in Lago's plot to kill Emilia in Othello.
Mabilog's aggressive campaign against illegal drugs belies all the innuendos that he is into narco politics. Their lies defy the logic.
The vicious issue or issues being levelled against Mabilog were unheard of when he was first elected as city councilor, vice mayor, and now city mayor on his last term. It was politics or his links with the opposition, especially to Drilon, that gave him the albatross.
After Parojinog's assassination, some of Mabilog's detractors were so excited to push him in line of Duterte's death list.
Do these characters really want Mabilog dead because they are convinced he is evil?

Or they only want to reaffirm and marshal their hatred and bitterness toward the man because of his stunning political success, and use the precarious situation he is in today to satisfy and fulfill their whims and caprices?



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My seatmate Jerome

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
-- Maya Angelou

.By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- On our way to a four-hour trip to Mashantucket, Connecticut on July 28, I met Jerome.
A Chinese mestizo-looking, Jerome Yap Ramos was my seatmate in a crowded bus. He sat near the window; I was in the aisle.
It was not until he decided to strike a light conversation with me when the bus arrived in Norwalk, the sixth populous city in the United States, that I learned he was a Filipino who arrived in the US in April 1973 and never to return again.
A flurry of smorgasbord discussions ensued. 

"Are you a Filipino?" volunteered Jerome, his gassy eyes are reminiscent of  Genghis Khan, the Great Khan of Temujin and founder of the Mongol Empire.
"Yes, I am," I quickly retorted.
"And you come from a place where the dialect isn't Tagalog?" he mused.
"You got it right," I shot back. "I'm from Iloilo City in the Visayas.


ILONGGO

"I came from Hinoba-an and we spoke Ilonggo there," Jerome continued. "I mean I used to speak Ilonggo but I can no longer speak it now although I can understand when I hear the dailect."
"Hinoba-an is in Negros Occidental and people there also speak Hiligaynon just like us in Iloilo City," I answered.
"We don't speak Hiligaynon, only Ilonggo," Jerome sighed.
I wanted to tell Jerome that Ilonggo is a person or someone who lives in Iloilo and parts of Negros, while Hiligaynon is the Ilonggo's dialect.
Hinoba-an, with a population of 54,624, is a first class municipality in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. It is the southernmost town of the province.
Jerome left the Philippines together with his brother chaperoned by his uncle and aunt. His parents, already in the US, had difficulty bringing them to the US. The Philippines was under Martial Law.
He did not believe that the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos gave the Philippines a bad reputation. "In fact," he enthused, "he made the Philippines proud."
Jerome asked why the 1978 world chess championship match between champion Anatoly Karpov and Russian defector Victor Korchnoi was held in Baguio City and why Magnus Carlsen, the current FIDE world chess king, is being compared to the late American genius Bobby Fischer. 

Jerome, 54, wanted to reconnect with old friends and former classmates in the Philippines. He doesn't have any social media page but is planning to create a Facebook account so he could "upload" the poem he made for Vicky, a "special" woman he met in a Chinese restaurant in Flushing, New York.

VICKY

The poem, entitled "Vicky", reminded me of Peter Abelard's love letters to his student, Heloise, thousands of years ago.
Jerome's four-paged poem dedicated to Vicky lives in a time of broad antiromanticism when teenagers, according to The Times Magazine, have given up on relationships altogether and adults write to the editor to salute their wisdom. "Romance?" scoffed one correspondent. It's just "an excuse . . . to work off sexual energy."
"I wanted Vicky to read the poem I made for her. I wanted the poem to be published in a newspaper. If I have a Facebook account, is it possible for Vicky to read it? I have no contact with Vicky now. She was no longer connected in the restaurant where she used to work," explained Jerome.
Our conversation was interupted when an ovebearing male black passenger sitting in front scolded us an hour before the bus arrived in Mashantucket: "Hey, you have been talking a lot since we left (New York). Can you stop now...(inaudible)?"
Jerome approached my left ear and averred in a lowered voice, "Never mind him. We were not loud."
We stopped talking. After a few minutes, Jerome's body reclined forward. He fell asleep.
In my brief conversation with Jerome. I found him to be very interesting, compassionate, generous, and oozing with emotional intelligence.
Vicky could become this generation's Heloise after reading Jerome's poem.