Monday, December 31, 2018

The man who stunned Jesus

“We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”
-- Rabindranath Tagore

 By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- To whom was Jesus referring when he declared in Matthew 8:10: “I tell you the truth. I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith?”
It must have been one of his disciples.
Or maybe someone whom he had just healed of the horrible and disfiguring disease, surmised the authors of Saints and Scoundrels of the Bible.
“Or what about the adulterous woman he saved from stoning, or the Samaritan woman he spoke with at the well?” the authors asked further.
While Jesus did heal and help many and had many faithful Jewish disciples, he was not referring to any of those folks in the statement, asserted authors Linda Chaffee Taylor, Carol Chaffee Fielding, and Drenda Thomas Richards.
Jesus was actually speaking about the Roman centurion.
He and this Roman army leader were separated by race, money, language, and social position, yet the centurion did not allow these differences to act as barriers.
The centurion--a powerful man with means to get any help he needed--came to Jesus for help.
That’s the first big “wow.”


The centurion was on a mission to get aid for his servant and he knew Jesus was the only man who could help him.
“Lord…my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering” (8:6).
When Jesus offered to go and heal the servant, the centurion humbly replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (8:8).
Jesus was astounded by the man’s answer.
Now, it’s hard to believe that anything could stun and wow Jesus, but the Bible states it plainly: “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished (8:10).
He had never seen anyone in all of Israel with as much faith as the one Roman soldier.
That’s a second “wow.”
How could a Roman--a man hated by the Jews because his country oppressed and controlled them--have so much faith in Christ?
This despised Gentile’s faith put the Jewish religious leaders to shame.
In fact, they were missing out on God’s blessings because of their total lack of trust.
They wouldn’t believe Jesus really was who he said he was.
How many miracles would it have taken for them to get the point?
The Jews should have known the Messiah would come for everyone of all races, but they were too wrapped by in their own self-importance.
Jesus wasn’t impressed with the self-righteous hoopla of the religious leaders.
It took the simple faith of a humble man to really wow him. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

What I learned in 30 years in community journalism

“Journalism isn't about how smart you are. It's not about where you're from. It's not about who you know or how clever your questions are. And thank God for that. It's about your ability to embrace change and uncertainty. It's about being fearless personally and professionally.”
--Mary Pilon

By Alex P. Vidal

--- I nearly didn’t notice that year 2018 was the 30th year that I have been writing as a community journalist.
Thirty years and counting, with God’s guidance.
In those years that I have been writing, I learned a few damning realities:
1. No Filipino community journalist who stuck to his profession until retirement age became rich. In the first place, there is no money in journalism. It’s only our passion and inner satisfaction that drive us to continue writing--and sometimes act as Chief Problem Solvers of the universe. Fame is good, but journalists also need to eat three square meals a day; they also need to rear a family and live with dignity.
2. It’s not healthy to maintain a close relationship with politicians or military and police if you are a principled journalist. Every now and then, politicians or men in uniform commit anomalous acts--if they are not involved in scandalous incidents. If the culprit is a “friend” the journalist will be in a very uncomfortable situation.
3. It’s risky to accept (even if secretly) a payola from any source other than the office payroll. In the first place, it’s highly deplorable and unethical to engage in this kind of practice which is tantamount to “press-titution”. Sooner or later, someone in the league will rat. No secret will remain a secret ‘till eternity. In the media world, however, nobody walks a saint.
4. A columnist does not apply. He is invited. Back in 1990, then Western Visayas Daily Times editor-in-chief Manuel Mejorada rejected former City Hall information officer Eldrid Antiquera who applied in the paper as “columnist”. Mejorada said anyone, not just Antiquera, can’t just shortcut his way to the level of columnist. He must first prove his worth and establish a name in the community. Antiquera was having troubles with then Mayor Roding Ganzon and was always reprimanded in front of many people. He probably wanted to “get out of the kitchen” when he could no longer stand the heat. Antiquera became a lawyer and city councilor years later.


I started writing for the fledgling News Express, a weekly paper in Iloilo City in the Philippines in May 1988, the same year the publication was born and published by the late Davao City-based printing press mogul, Inocencio “Pops” Malones, owner of Fortune Printing Press and uncle of our former business manager and now Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones.
The late Ben Palma was the paper’s first “editor” but our de facto editor was Agnes EspaƱo and now lawyer Pet Melliza. Now Journal Visayas publisher Giovannie Va-ay was our circulation manager.
It’s been a roller coaster ride.
From the News Express, I briefly wrote for the defunct Western Visayas Daily Times published by the late Yuhum Magazine big boss, Marcos “Mark” Villalon, in 1993.
Then came an invitation from former Iloilo airport concessionaire, Bernie Miaque, to write for the Daily Informer in 1994, the year the publication first rolled off the press edited by my former College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Reform Movement (CEGP-RM) colleague, the late Ivan Suansing.
After two years, Ivan and I left the Daily Informer.
We were both handpicked by the Cebu management of Sun Star and Mr. Villalon after the merging of Sun Star Cebu and Western Visayas Daily Times to handle the editorial of Sun Star Iloilo Daily in 1996.
Ivan brought his family to Cebu in 1998 to edit Cebu Daily, a new publication and Sun Star Cebu’s rival.
Ivan wanted me to go with him but because it would mean a permanent relocation, I declined and opted to stay behind to edit the Sun Star Iloilo Daily until December 1999, the year we were bamboozled by libel cases (coming only from one group of politicians and their subalterns, a story that need to be told in a separate article) that reached a mind-boggling 38 counts.


I put up my own bi-monthly paper, Iloilo Today-The New Millennium Publication, in 2000.
In 2004, Makinaugalingon Printing Press owner Rosendo “Sendong” Mejica tasked broadcast journalist Erly Garcia to locate me offering a job to edit his bi-weekly publication, Iloilo Today. I apologized to Publisher Sendong and Erly that I could not anymore commit to work full-time for any publication because of my crazy schedule.
In 2004, publisher Miaque convinced me to edit the Daily Informer after a chance meeting in the airport. I declined because I always traveled outside the Philippines, the same excuse I gave Publisher Sendong and Erly.
Publisher Miaque made a compromise: he agreed that I could travel anytime to fulfill my obligations in sports; the late associate editor Lydia Pendon would be the acting editor in my absence.
I stayed with the Daily Informer, the last daily newspaper I edited, until 2008, the year the paper “died a natural death” several months after the court ordered the demolition of publisher Miaque’s property in the old Iloilo airport in Mandurriao district where our editorial office was also obliterated.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Religion, Kindness)

"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."

"There is no substitute for kindness. Never mind if the world is full of hateful and malicious characters. Let's be kind to everyone; at least, our hearts are not heavily burdened."


“While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve. I'm no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.” 
-- Stephen Hawking

By Alex P. Vidal

-- WE walk into a theater and suddenly crave popcorn.
We feel relaxed in a blue room and anxious in a red one.
Feeling down in the dumps, we take a friend’s advice and just try keeping a smile on our face; miraculously we soon feel better.
How do we explain such things?
Is there an objective way to speak about feelings?
Do we need to refer to the “mind” or “unconscious impulses” to explain them?
Or does it all boil down to a bunch of chemical reaction in the brain?
According to Michael Macrone in Eureka, behaviorism, generally speaking, is a school of psychology with particular answers to such questions.
Unlike Freudians, he explains, this school has no use for hypothetical (that is, unobservable) concepts such as “the Unconscious” or the “id” in explaining psychic events.
“Taking what they consider a more scientific approach,” remarks Macrone, “behaviorists restrict themselves to observable data. And in the case of human psychology, what is observable is behavior—hence the name.”
Behavioristic notions trace back at least as far as the writings of Thomas Hobbes, who viewed the human organism as a superior sort of machine, Macrone observes.
(In Thomas Hobbes’s view, feelings and actions could be described as resulting from physical events or “motions” within the body.)


But as a school and as a cause, Macrone says behaviorism is essentially the creation of the American psychologist John B. Watson, whose 1914 tract Behavior announced its arrival.
Watson vehemently rejected the idea, held since Rene Descartes, the mind and body operate according to different rules, and that the best (and really only) way to study the mind is through introspection.
Second of all, Macrone explains, introspection produces nothing even remotely like hard data: Its findings cannot be quantified.
If psychology were to be scientific, said Watson, it would have to concern itself with hard, observable, and objective data.
And it must leave aside vague (and he thought nonexistent) entities such as “consciousness” or “desire.”
Very much along the lines of Ivan Pavlov, whose work with animals he only read later, Watson and his followers thought that scientific psychology lay in the study of relationships between external and stimuli and individual responses, Macrone reveals.
“If we can show by experiment that some event (say, a bell ringing) regularly causes a particular behavior (say, a nervous twitch), then we’ve established a psychological claim,” says Macrone.
“The total collection of such event/behavior associations suffices as a data pool, and only on such evidence are we justified in making psychological inferences.”
The behaviorists say, events become associated with behavior through a process of learning or “conditioning.”
If a dog is regularly rewarded with a bone every time he obeys the command “Sit!” then he will learn that obedience is pleasurable and the command “Sit!” will henceforth cause him to sit, almost as a reflex.
(Behaviorist B. F. Skinner called this “positive reinforcement.”)


Similarly, Macrone adds, if as children we learn that going to the movies means popcorn, we become conditioned to associate the event (going to the movies) with the behavior (eating popcorn), and the former will provoke an action to achieve the latter.
The basic idea of behaviorism, in short, is that behavior is not just a sign of some mental state but is in effect the same as a mental state.
“We don’t get anywhere by concocting such absurdities as ‘temperament’ or ’id,’ which are just theoretical abstractions from how people behave,” says Macrone.
“It is just as well, and more scientific, to ascribe such phenomena as ‘neurotic behavior’ to conflicting reflex responses to overlapping stimuli. Besides, the behaviorist view supports the ultimate behaviorist goal: Their concern is not with theoretical models, but with making people act better. That is, if you can fix the environment, you can fix people.”

Thursday, December 27, 2018

‘Wonder woman’ who believed in me: Judge Rita Bascos-Sarabia

“Saying goodbye doesn't mean anything. It's the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.”
-- Trey Parker

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The late Judge Rita Bascos-Sarabia was a councilor in Iloilo City in the Philippines when she and another city councilor, former City Prosecutor Jose Junio Jacela, volunteered to defend me in court pro bono against the libel cases filed by a group of politicians in 1999, or about 20 years ago.
They approached me like true Christians offering their sincere legal services.
I didn’t have any prior acquaintances with both city officials aside from listening to them debate with fellow city councilors in their regular sessions at the Sangguniang Panlungsod every Wednesday afternoon as a city hall beat reporter.
But Judge Rita and Fiscal Jacela were some of the many Ilonggos who believed in me; they were at the frontline doing their darn best to ensure that an innocent journalist wouldn’t spend a minute in jail.
Prior to the sensational litigation, they were among those who regularly read the columns and the news I wrote in Sun Star Iloilo Daily; they were convinced of my absolute innocence.
They sacrificed precious hours and resources, and collaborated like clinical surgeons saving the life of a terminally ill patient.


I watched in awe while listening to these topnotch lawyers convince the court of my innocence as an accused in at least 38 counts of libel, a bundle of criminal cases “too good to be true” owing to its abundance (I will write a separate story about this).
One time, I felt guilty while watching Judge Rita undergo arrest proceedings inside the Hall of Justice after a trial judge in another branch meted her with a “contempt of court” and ordered her arrest for missing another hearing not related to my cases.
Because of the large number of cases Judge Rita was handling in the morning, sometimes we had to hop from one branch to another like airport passengers scrambling to locate the boarding gates in the eleventh hour.
Judge Rita and Prosecutor Jacela were so determined to win our cases that they never showed signs of weariness and boredom as the hearings prolonged, prompting some court personnel to refer to them as the “Wonder Woman” and the “Bionic Man.”
Before the Bionic Man became a city legal officer under the administration of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and before the Wonder Woman was assigned in Makati City, all the libel cases filed against me, my late former publisher Marcos “Mark” Villalon, and columnist Wenceslao “Mat” Mateo, Jr. have been dismissed.


Judge Rita did something special that will forever be etched on my memory.
Sometime in June 2001, or several weeks after the May 14, 2001 elections, newly elected Iloilo Vice Governor Roberto “Obet” Armada passed by in the coffee shop of Iloilo City’s Amigo Terrace Hotel and saw me together with now Prosecutor Carol Salvatierra and now Public Attorney Office (PAO) lawyer Gerlie Uy while we were having an editorial meeting for our Iloilo Today publication.
We congratulated the smiling Vice Governor Armada, after which he immediately told me: “Ti, join ka na sa akon office. Kinahanglan ko ang writer (Come and join in my office now. I need a writer).”
I didn’t believe the vice governor was serious about the invitation when I nicely declined his offer right in that moment until Judge Rita entered the picture several days later.
Judge Rita, then a city councilor and coming out from her City Hall office on her way to Vice Governor Armada’s office in the Capitol, “kidnapped” me while I was gathering stories in the City Hall.
To make the long story short, we ended up inside the vice governor’s office where I was “formally” introduced to all and sundry as Vice Governor Armada’s new “staff member.”
I realized that Mrs. Ana “Ting Ting” Abogado-Armada, the vice governor’s wife, was Judge Rita’s cousin.
I learned furthermore that both Vice Governor Armada and Judge Rita have been my avid readers; and they both believed in me.
I never failed them, I was confident.
I will miss you, Judge Rita Bascos-Sarabia, my great lawyer and my “Wonder Woman”, our “Wonder Woman”. Thank you for believing in me.
You left us too early, but I know that we shall meet again in God’s time and kingdom.
(Judge Rita Bascos-Sarabia succumbed at the Western Visayas Medical Center past 9 o’clock evening on Dec. 26, 2018 from complications from an infection of her exposed wounds caused by explosion from a gas leak in an LPG tank. She is survived by her husband, Atty. Rene, and children, Katherine, Ina and Rex. Her wake is at the Gegato-Abecia Funeral Services in Coastal Road, Iloilo City. Viewing started on December 29, 2018. She will be buried on January 6, 2019.)


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Abusive Garin father and son

“I believe the root of all evil is abuse of power.”
--Patricia Cornwell

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I salute Regional Police Office 6 (RPO-6) Director John Bulalacao for throwing his support behind Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. of the Guimbal Police Station in Guimbal, Iloilo in the Philippines.
I also laud Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde for ordering Bulalacao to recall the police escorts of lloilo First District Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. and to file criminal cases against Garin and his father, Guimbal Mayor Oscar “Oca” Sr.
The decision came after Rep. Richard reportedly mauled Macaya after placing a cuff on the cop’s hands before dawn December 26, 2018 near the town hall while the father Garin was reportedly holding a .45 caliber.
The PNP, Bulalacao said, felt insulted that one of the organization’s men was attacked by the politician while in uniform.
The Garins were reportedly mad at Macaya for the non-filing of charges against one of the two protagonists in a town plaza rumble on December 22, 2018 involving Virgil Gegato and Noel Gicana.
Gegato, son of a town councilor, reportedly hit Gicana with an empty bottle during the melee.
Macaya insisted “he did not interfere” when Gegato and Gicana “agreed” to settle the feud. Gegato allegedly paid Gicana P1,500 for the hospital bills.


It was not the first time that Rep. Garin mauled a cop.
Several years back when he was the mayor of Guimbal, he also kicked and manhandled a lowly cop who failed to immediately respond to a police call.
The only difference is, father Oca, who was the congressman at that time, did not agree with his then mayor son’s sadistic method.
Because the Garins were (and are still until today) so powerful and influential, the case has been forgotten after the victim cop did not press charges against then Mayor Richard.
Between the father and son, it’s the father who was known reportedly to easily lose his cool and bark at people he didn’t like when he was mad.
It’s not a joke to tangle with the father and son Garin physically, especially when they are surrounded by bodyguards--and are carrying firearms.
Both are tall and heavyweights and most of their victims were lightweights.
Father and son could easily turn any tough guy into a marshmallow if he made a mistake of fighting back in a physical confrontation with the lords of Guimbal.


As editor of a daily newspaper in the 90’s, I always criticized the Garins but I didn’t lower my guard when I was in front of any of them in various occasions or in press conferences.
I also wrote some favorable articles about them in the past, but most of my articles were something narcissistic politicians like the patriarch Oca would never dare retain in the memory.
Rep. Richard actually is a friend.
He regularly tagged me with interesting topics on Facebook, and I find him to be soft-spoken and someone who loves to converse with any ordinary person.
I greeted and approached him evening on March 12, 2010 in the lobby of the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Arlington, Texas where he was waiting for someone to give his pass in the Pacquiao vs Clottey WBO welterweight fight the following day.


My friend, Dr. Allan Recto, a Texas-based pediatrician, speaks highly of Rep. Richard.
When President Estrada visited Bacolod City in Octobr 1999, then Guimbal Mayor Richard invited me to stay with him in a hotel overnight.
His wife, former Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin, used to call me “my good friend” when she spotted me in the audience in the conferences where she was the invited speaker.
I have no bad blood with the Garins; I even support Rep. Richard’s quest to help clear Secretary Janette’s name in the Dengvaxia imbroglio--until now.
But what he did to Macaya really disturbed me as a journalist.


I don’t know Macaya from Adam, but I feel it’s a moral obligation as a journalist to ferret out the truth and remind public officials like the Garins that power is not a privilege; that no matter what positions they acquire in society, they aren’t above the law; that they have to behave and live by the standards expected of them as high elected officials.
Most importantly, the cops--or any ordinary person in Guimbal or anywhere else-for that matter, also have human rights and dignity.
Macaya, as a police officer, is a person in authority who did not even have a personal grudge against him or any of his family members.
But he allegedly spat at Macaya’s face after kicking the hapless cop on the face three times while the cop was manacled.
Has power--absolute power--gone to Rep. Richard’s head?
He is not the Richard Garin that I know, if Macaya is telling the truth.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Carmen's love for a pa she never met

"It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father."
--Pope John XXIII

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Carmen's search for her biological father began when she was eight years old.
"That was the age when my life started to become hell," Carmen, who turned 65 last October 27, hissed.
Carmen was eight when her mother, Diosdada, married Arnulfo in Jamindan, Capiz in the Philippines.
"I rebelled," Carmen protested. "I could not accept it. To add insult, they slaughtered the pig, my only playmate, during their wedding. I ran amuck and secretly poured rice on all the food prepared during the party. No effect though. The guests still managed to empty the plates, including my best friend pig. I cried heavily."
That's when Carmen realized she was longing for a real father.
"I started to bombard my mother with questions (about my biological father). I started to wallow in self pity and self doubt. When they started to have their own children, my insecurity grew," narrated Carmen, who now lives with her American partner, Patrick, in Alimodian, Iloilo.


Diosada and Arnulfo were blessed with seven children -- two males and five females.
"All that my mother could tell me was that my real father worked in the military camp (Camp Macario Peralta Jr., the country's third largest military camp in Dumalag hills) where she once worked also as a part-time tailor," Carmen disclosed. "He was Cebuano-speaking or Waray and could be a soldier."
She said her "number one priority" once Patrick is no longer around "is to continue with my search for my roots in Leyte. Meeting my real father would be a dream."
Carmen met Patrick, now 95, in 1984 in her workplace in the cafeteria of the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, three years after the death of her husband, Rudolf, whom she met through a "mail order bride" arrangement.
After a courtship that started with a "high and hello", Carmen and Patrick lived together.
Patrick, who was legally separated with his American wife, spent $20,000 to file for a divorce in the United States to be with Carmen.
In 1996, they decided to settle permanently in the Philippines where they built a house in Alimodian, Iloilo.


Patrick, a nuclear scientist and formerly with the Vienna-based Atomic Energy Commission, is stricken with Alzheimer's disease, a dementia with memory loss symptoms.
They have no children.
Patrick has three children in the previous marriage. Carmen and Patrick never got married. She holds a dual citizenship while Patrick is an American citizen.
"I was able to tour the world because of Patrick. When he was not yet sick, we traveled a lot together. He wanted to make me happy and to enjoy my life. I found true happiness with Patrick," she sighed.
Her marriage with Rudolf lasted only for 16 months. Carmen and Rudolf never had a child.
While working as a food attendant in Manila in the late 70s, a female friend introduced her to a "pen-pal" type relationship arrangement.
Carmen's trip to Vienna--with stopovers in Bangkok via Cathay Pacific, Bombay and Cairo via Egypt Air, and Moscow via Aeroflot, in 1979--was her first international trip.
She never had any idea how Rudolf looked like in person except that he was 47 and she was 27.
He left Manila at 3:40 pm carrying only in her luggage cloths and several copies of Filipino comics on June 3 and arrived in Vienna at 11:10 am on June 5.


"I was only instructed to look for a man wearing a white shirt," Carmen recalled. "Upon arriving in Vienna, I went outside and left behind my bag in the arrival baggage claim area to look for that person. Then I saw a man and greeted him, 'good morning, sir. Are you Mr. Rudolf Assange?' He just answered me, 'beautiful' without saying my name."
When Rudolf, an automobile mechanic, died of stroke in 1981, he left behind a bookstore.
"I was stunned. I didn't know what to do. It was my first serious relationship and I was in a foreign land with no relatives there," Carmen stressed.
Now an Austrian citizen, Carmen went back to the Philippines and brought to Vienna in May 1981 her half sister, Rachel, 18, who became a Mrs. Strauffer, and still lives in Vienna until today.
In 1987, Carmen also brought to Vienna for vacation her mother, who went home after 14 months. In 1989, Carmen's other half sister, Delia, followed suit and cavorted with Carmen's new boyfriend, Junward.
Carmen and Junwad had lived together for four years.
"I was older than Junward for five years and I noticed he had a special interest on younger ladies. In other words, Junward fell in love with my sister, so I let him go. My own definition of love is, if you love someone set him free. His happiness should also be your own happiness," Carmen said.


Delia and Junward got married in Vienna but their liaison was short-lived.
She never loved him from the start, and Delia confessed she had a boyfriend, Felipe, in the Philippines. And she still loved him.
Junward was devastated. Carmen's poetic justice. Now living with another Vienna man, Carmen prevailed over Junward to let go of Delia or "live in misery with a wife who doesn't have feelings for you."
Junward and Delia parted ways amicably and peacefully in Carmen's presence.
Now an Austrian citizen herself, Delia brought Felipe to Vienna to live as husband and wife. Their union produced two male twins. Felipe was forced to go back to the Philippines because of Austrian laws on foreign couple. Junward, still very much in love with Delia, helped his former sweetheart take care of the twin kids, who are now 22.
Depressed and feeling lonely after he wasn't able to join Delia and their twin kids in Vienna again, Felipe committed suicide on January 2, 2014.
Carmen described her relationship with her stepfather as "stormy."
As a young girl, while sleeping on the bamboo floor of their house, the drunk stepfather allegedly kicked her on the buttocks because her body was blocking his way.
"Until now, the pain is still there. I consulted a doctor in Vienna who told me that because of my age, it's impossible to repair the damage in my bone inflicted by that kicking incident," Carmen said.


At 16, Carmen left Jamindan, Capiz in 1969 to work as babysitter and housemaid in Manila, earning P60 a month.
She remitted P50 for financial support and education of her half sisters and half brothers in Jamindan and retained P10 for her personal needs.
Carmen learned that her mother and siblings suffered from her stepfather's mismanagement of family funds.
She further learned the stepfather wasted money to gambling and other vices.
She surreptitiously went home to Jamindan and chased with a bolo her stepfather, who escaped unscathed after being roused from sleep when Carmen's sister shouted and alerted him.
"Because of hostile environment and the worsening relationship between me and my stepfather, my grandfather convinced me to leave and go back to Manila. He told me either I will go to jail if I kill my stepfather, or I will be the one who will die," Carmen explained.
She resumed working as babysitter, housemaid, food attendant serving different employers for 10 years in Manila and Makati before flying to Vienna in 1979.
"My good experiences were all in Vienna. I was able to adopt to the European culture. All my unforgettable experiences in life happened in Vienna," misty-eyed Carmen recalled.


When Patrick's health deteriorated, Carmen said she started to experience insecurities in life.
"That's normal because I'm used to enjoying my life with Patrick for 30 years. Sometimes I feel alone but I need to be stronger now. The best therapy for my loneliness is cooking -- and smiling a lot," she averred.
Despite her financial security, Carmen avoids social life.
"I devote my time only to Patrick and my family in Jamindan. It's hard to trust people nowadays. I only have limited friends in Bingo games, because friends always have the tendency to take advantage although there are true and sincere friends," Carmen added.
Despite a not-so-pleasant relationship with her stepfather, Carmen sponsored his trip to Vienna for a vacation in December 1992.
Estranged daughter and stepfather spent Christmas together until March 1993 when he went home.
"Time heals the wound. But I still need to see my real father," concluded Carmen, who reached only second year high school.