Msgr.

Gutierrez
Filipino Custom: No Touch

Sharing facts & stereotypes about Pinoys

Riz A. Oades

Piolo on pre-marital sex, other ‘hot’ topics
February 13 - 19, 2009

Entertainment

‘Money must be paid as high up as the president’
hen my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’

‘W

When Children Ages 4-8 were asked What Love Is

On this Valentine’s Day

By Aurea Calica Philstar The Japanese contractor who provided information to World Bank (WB) investigators regarding alleged rigging of the bidding for road projects said he was told that bribes had to be paid to officials as high as “the president.” The Japanese contractor, whose name had been publicly announced as Tomatu Suzuka, told WB investigators that in one meeting with the late Sen. Robert Barbers, it was made clear to him that there would be no business in the Philippines without paying money. “Money would have to be paid as high up as the president, senior government officials and politicians in order to do any further business in the country. To win a
(Continued on page 16)

Tribung Dumara dancers take part in the celebration of the 2nd Ibon-Ebun festival in Candaba, Pampanga. The festival showcases migratory birds and the municipality’s duck egg industry. ERNIE

Memories of La Loma
KRIPOTKIN By Alfred A. Yuson In Spanish, hillock. In South America, beyond.” Thus came the text reply from trilingual poet Marra PL Lanot, my colleague at the MTRCB, a fellow author and literature instructor, and vantage point that eventually overlooked particular landmarks. One was La Loma Cemetery, contiguous to but distinct from the North, or Cementerio del Norte, which was larger and nestled between the former and the even smaller Chinese Cem-

Rebecca - age 8 ‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’ Billy - age 4 ‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ Karl - age 5 ‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’
(Continued on page 2)

Four pieces of chicken
When the food was ready, Aling Marina spread out old newspapers on the floor of the shanty, took out plates, brought the food, and called Mang Isko and Nenet to eat. Nenet was already hungry, but when she noticed that there were only four pieces of chicken to be shared by the three of them, she held back.
By Simeon G. Silverio, Jr. Publisher & Editor The San Diego Asian Journal See page 5

Quiapo Memories

Time to travel: Room rates, air fares down

the better half of Salinawit pioneer and exponent Jose “Pete” Lacaba, himself an author, editor and bilingual poet. It was in response to an SMS query as to the meaning of the word “loma.” Whenever we’re stumped over a passage in “Espanggol,” we turn to dear Marra, who once helped translate and edit an anthology of Filipino poets for a publication with a Madrid imprint. Of course. “Hillock.” How could we have forgotten? The quaint district of La Loma in Quezon City referred to an erstwhile

etery. Another landmark, indisputably more familiar to Manileño generations from the 1950s to the ’80s, was the La Loma cockpit, where as a boy I learned the distinctions between “Texas” and “talisayin,” “lo-diyes” and “doblado.” Across that cockpit crowed another institution: Lechon ni Mang Tomas, soon followed by others of its kind. Now the cockpit is no more, and La Loma Cemetery is all but eaten up by Norte, so that no one refers to the smaller resting turf.
(Continued on page 21)

By Elisa Osorio Philstar MANILA, Philippines -- It’s a good time to travel nowadays as air fares have been slashed by as much as 50 percent while room rates are down by 10 percent. Philippine Travel Agents Association (PTAA) vice president John Paul Cabalza said air fares have gone down by more than 50 percent to
(Continued on page 19)

A tricycle driver maximizes his trip on a national road in Irosin, Sorsogon. EDD GUMBAN

REDWOOD CITY, CA, February 6, 2009 – ABS-CBN International announced today that Richard Ramlall, RCN’s senior vice president for strategic and external affairs, visited recently the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network and Global offices in Manila, Philippines where he met with ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Contop company officials cio shows appreciation for the Obamaand toured the studios. headlined broadsheets from RCN SVP In his meeting with Richard Ramlall. Charo Santos-Concio, president of ABS-CBN Filipino Channel (TFC) subBroadcasting Network which scribers on RCN. He pointis the largest media company ed at the high take-up rate in the Philippines, Ramlall for its Filipino bundle which discussed the continued has fared much better than growth of ABS-CBN’s The
(Continued on page 16)

RCN executive visits ABS-CBN offices in Manila

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of your advice since really we have gone maybe a little overboard.” In response to the World Bank’s move, the DPWH had announced that it would suspend the seven construction firms from participating in biddings for government projects for 15 days, during which the department would conduct its own investiga(Continued on page 3) ‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,’ Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet) ‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.’ Noelle - age 7 ‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ Tommy - age 6 ‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ Cindy - age 8 ‘My mommy loves me more than anybody You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ Clare - age 6 ‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ Elaine-age 5 ‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’ Chris - age 7 ‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day..’ Mary Ann - age 4 ‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old

February 13 - 19, 2009
clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ Lauren - age 4 ‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image) Karen - age 7 ‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.. People forget.’ Jessica - age 8 And the final one The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry’ *** When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need. Heavenly Father, please bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day! And may their life be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as he/ she seeks to have a closer relationship with You. Amen. Source: http//www.spiritdaily.com

Comments from Manila
Read previous articles by visiting our website at www.asianjournalusa.com

DPWH, World Bank probe same bid, draw opposite conclusions
By Roel Landingin, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism Collusion, like beauty, may be in the eyes of the beholder – or the investigators – at least as far as public works projects in the Philippines are concerned. When the World Bank’s powerful and dreaded anti-corruption unit, the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), looked closely into three rounds of international public tenders for two Bank-funded road projects in the Philippines between 2002 and 2006, it found convincing proof of collusion and excessive pricing among some of the 15 Filipino and foreign bidders. A fortnight ago, the World Bank’s sanctions board barred four Chinese firms and three Filipino companies from participating in any Bank-funded project for at least four years for their alleged role in the collusive scheme to artificially inflate bid prices. One Philippine company and its owner were de-listed permanently, and two other local firms, suspended for four years. A Korean firm, which did not contest the allegations, was debarred for four years in August last year. In stark contrast, at least two investigations conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) found no evidence of collusion and overpricing, respectively, in the 2002 and 2004 rounds of civil works tenders for two road projects being funded by a $150-million loan from the World Bank. Under ordinary circumstances, that would just be taken as a difference of opinions between two groups of experts. But in the Philippines, where public distrust of the DPWH is very high, the sharply opposing conclusions are fueling public perception that department officials are in league with road-building contractors. Already, a senator is making the allegation that one of the debarred contractors is a close friend of Jose Miguel Arroyo, the president’s husband. To be sure, the difference in conclusions could be partly because some of the evidence, particularly testimonies of people who told the World Bank investigators about the collusive scheme, were not made available to the DPWH. But the Bank investigators also relied on other data available as well to DPWH officials. ‘Strange, unnatural’ The January 2009 decision of the Bank’s sanctions board, a copy of which was obtained by the PCIJ, reads in part: “(The) circumstantial evidence consists of alleged indicia of collusion, including high bid prices, symmetrical relationships among bids, bids containing significant errors, ‘clusters’ of bids, ‘strange and unnatural’ bid prices, submission of fraudulent bid securities, and inconsistent application of criteria within the prequalification process.” A PCIJ analysis of the bids showed that in five of seven cases, the percentage difference between the lowest and second lowest bids was always several times higher than the percentage differences between all the other bids. Procurement experts say that the clustering of bids or symmetrical relations among bids is a possible indication, although they clarify that it is not a conclusive proof of collusive behavior. How much elbow grease was used in the investigations could be another factor that may explain the difference in findings. Former public works secretary Fiorello Estuar, who helped oversee an investigation of collusion that led to the suspension of some 80 road-building contractors in 1987, recounted that the investigators then had to sift through hundreds of pages of bidding documents to look for evidence of connivance. “We found evidence – bids from rival firms prepared in the same handwriting or containing the exact same unit prices and quantities,” recalled Estuar. “In some cases, the same spelling mistakes could be found in competing bids. They spelled bunker fuel as ‘banker fuel’.” Suspension? Not really It’s easier to figure out why the DPWH is not winning any points in the public-perception department. After all, the DPWH had the second lowest rating among state agencies in terms of perceived sincerity in fight-

ing corruption, according to Social Weather Stations survey last year. And so hardly anyone blinked when DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane admitted last Jan. 21 before the House committee hearing on the World Bank sanctions that the DPWH’s temporary suspension of the seven construction firms in question did not really mean anything. It was just, he said, a preemptive move designed to protect the government’s image. Responding to a question by Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, Ebdane said: “Since the issue has affected public opinion and the dignity of the government and the department is at stake, we, maybe we have faltered but without any malice or intent with malice.” “We initiated that if only to make a point,” he added. “Anyway, for the next few days there are no scheduled biddings except the one that was held today. It will not in any way physically affect their name.” Ebdane has also said that he is forming a special panel to investigate the allegations of bid rigging. But given his admission at the House, there may be few surprises in that special panel’s findings. At the hearing, Ebdane also said the DPWH was ready to discuss the matter with the debarred firms, and admitted the department may have committed a legal blunder in unilaterally suspending them. “We are also in coordination with the parties involved and we will consider their inputs,” he said. “In fact, if there is a need to do some flexibility – if only it is within the law – we are more than willing. We are taking note

When Children Ages 4-8 were asked What Love Is
(Continued from page 1) Chrissy - age 6 ‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ Terri - age 4 ‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’ Danny - age 7 ‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’ Emily - age 8 ‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’ Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

On this Valentine’s Day

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*Member, California State Bar Licensed to practice before the US Federal District Court Southern California and California Supreme Court *Author,”How to Apply for the US Tourist Visa” as listed by worldwide bookseller Amazon.com Bookstores *Former San Diego Regional Coordinator for U.S. Immigration Amnesty for Catholic Community Services, Catholic Diocese of San Diego *Legal Advisor, Los Chabacanos of Cavite City Association, Inc., San Diego, California *Juris Doctor law degree, University of San Diego (1985), Diploma; Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law (USD), Oxford, England (1984); Bachelor Degree, University of Southern California (1983); Montgomery High School, San Diego (1979) *Born in the Philippines (Cavite)

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The Philippines and the City of San Antonio, Texas
Conservation and heritage preservation
ROSES & THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces Deep in the heart of Texas in the United States is the city of San Antonio. Interestingly, the original name of Texas was Nueva Filipinas. It is a historical fact that the Philippines was ruled from Mexico for many centuries. During the 250 stipulations of the redevelopment of the brewery was they maintain the old facade. San Antonio’s focus on preservation of historic buildings is evident throughout the city. For example, Dillard’s (a popular department store) occupies, in downtown San Antonio, a five-story Art Deco building that was originally opened in 1889; it still maintains its original facade. The Alamo is in the middle of the city, yet there is a law that no shadow of any building may fall across its facade; this creates an

February 13 - 19, 2009

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rupt, collusive and other fraudulent practices in connection with multiple rounds of bidding for two road construction and rehabilitation contracts under this World Bank-financed project,” according to the sanctions board’s decision. Indeed, the INT investigators were convinced that Filipino government officials and politicians were involved in the elaborate collusive scheme. The notice of sanctions, according to the sanctions board, indicated that the debarred firms’ allegedly fraudulent actions “include participation in a collusive scheme, also involving politicians and government officials, whereby awards were directed to particular contractors in exchange for bribes, kickbacks and payments designated losing bidders.” The notice “alleges that each Respondent had additionally engaged in corrupt practices either as a principal in a joint enterprise the intent of which was to offer bribes to public officials, or as a secondary party who ‘aided and abetted’ the principals in the payment of such bribes.” The debarred contractors, though, has this going for them: The World Bank’s sanctions board, after hearing the INT’s evidence, decided there was not enough proof of fraud and corruption. And while it upheld the INT’s findings of collusion, it concluded that

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the evidence “did not establish that it was more likely than not that the Respondents had engaged in fraudulent practices separate from the collusion.” “In addition,” read the board’s decision, “the Sanctions Board concluded that the INT had not presented evidence sufficient to establish that it was more likely than not that these Respondents had engaged in corrupt practices.” Under World Bank rules, corrupt practices mean “the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any thing of value to influence the action of a public official in the procurement process or in contract execution.” (Continued on page 4)

ongoing or completed foreign-assisted projects between 2004 and 2006 evaluated by Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines and Philippine Domestic Construction Board (CIAP-PDCB). The six firms are among the top 20 contractors for foreign-assisted projects during the same period, according to the 2007 CIAP-PDCB Constructors Performance Evaluation System report. Two debarred firms, China Wu Yi Co Ltd and Dongsung Construction Co. Ltd of Korea, were not covered by the CPES report, which tackles about a tenth of the total government infrastructure projects in the Philippines. The World Bank probe The World Bank’s Evaluation and Suspension Officer, who evaluates evidence gathered by the INT, issued the notice of sanctions to bidders suspected of collusion in May 2008. That began a process for the bidders to refute the allegations but not to confront the INT’s anonymous witnesses. Except for Dongsung Construction, all the debarred construction firms contested the allegations of collusion, and presented counter-evidence to the World Bank. The notice “presents evidence that the respondents had engaged in cor-

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas of the Galleon Trade, there was a tremendous exchange in culture and humanity; one visible example was the original name of Texas. Named after Saint Anthony of Padua, the city of San Antonio was founded in 1691. It is the second oldest city in America after San Augustine, Florida. The city has gone on to become one of the best examples of historical conservation and urban renewal and planning in the world; hence, it has become one of the top tourist destinations in Texas. Mark Twain once said there are only four unique cities in America: Boston, New Orleans, San Francisco and San Antonio. Each year approximately 26 million tourists visit San Antonio. The city has become renowned for its well-preserved historical landmarks, such as the Alamo (a legendary site upon which 189 men held off an invading army of 4,000 Mexican soldiers for 13 days), and stunning examples of urban redevelopment, such as the River Walk. The River Walk began its renaissance in 1929 as the brainchild of an architect named Robert Hugman. Over the next 80 years, a network of bridges, shops, malls, restaurants and hotels has developed on the banks of the formerly muddy and unattractive San Antonio River. Today, it is one of the pre-eminent examples of long-term urban and master planning. The city of San Antonio has remade itself into a cultural center as well. They opened up the first museum of modern art, the McNay Museum, in Texas in 1950. In 1995, they opened up the San Antonio Public Library’s main branch designed by the famous Basque-Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta; it is now a major architectural landmark. The project was originally proposed and funded in 1989. One of the historic beer breweries from the early 20th century has been acquired by the Culinary Institute of America; they are turning the site into their new flagship culinary campus. This will likely reinvigorate a failing part of the city. However, one of the oasis of greenery and light amidst the hustle of urban life. The Philippines is blessed with a rich heritage; both man-made and natural. In many ways, we are also one of the most unique nations in Asia, and the world. Our culture is a blend of European, Asian and the West; our architecture, our cuisine, our art, even our religion exhibits these influences. We are reminded daily of our need to conserve and protect our environment for future generations. But, we must also focus on preserving our cultural heritage as well. San Antonio provides a good example of how cultural and historic resources can be preserved and utilized for the public good. The city now contributes to a thriving tourism industry as one of the cultural centers of the United States. Texas once borrowed our name, now we must borrow some of their ideas. Our cultural heritage and uniqueness is a resource, it is time we begin to properly use it.

DPWH, World Bank probe same bid, draw opposite conclusions (Continued from page 2)

tion and decide on more permanent measures. An extension of the temporary suspension could have huge potential consequences on the construction firms, as well as on DPWH. Six of the seven debarred firms are some of the biggest and most successful contractors for government infrastructure projects. Cavite Ideal International Construction, CM Pancho Corp., EC Luna Construction Corp., China Road and Bridge Corp., China State Construction Corp., and China Geo-Engineering Corp. bagged 27 percent of the total value of civil-works contracts of

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Ready for the Festival of Flowers - A florist cleans the surrounding area of his garden at the Baguio Orchidarium in preparation for the monthlong celebration of the Flower Festvial which begins in February. Andy Zapata Jr.

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continues, “Many homeowners in trouble have option-ARMs -adjustable-rate mortgages where the home borrower can choose usually one of four types of payments to make each month. That amount could range from the actual principle and interest due or it could be a minimum payment, often significantly less than even the interest owed.” NS FTHB Workshop for REALTORS® The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors is providing a NSP First-Time Homebuyer Program workshop for REALTORS® on March 9th from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. at Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors office (880 Canarios Ct, #100, Chula Vista 91910). The information class will discuss the process and qualifications for the program. No registration is required for the class, but attendance is strongly encouraged. Disclaimer: Genevieve Silverio is a REALTOR® affiliated with Coldwell Banker Premier. To obtain a listing of properties via email, contact gensilverio@ yahoo.com.
won by a joint venture of AC Luna Construction Corp. and China State Construction Corp., which offered a bid that was 25.5 percent higher than the ABC. In June 2003, then DPWH Secretary Simeon Datumanong appointed a three-person panel to investigate a similar accusation of collusion. The panel was composed of lawyer and internal audit services director Camilo Foronda, project assistance division chief Carlito Nacional, and contract management division head Constancio Fernandez. The panel examined the documents submitted by the bidders for any sign or indication of collusion, giving special attention to unit cost analyses. It also summoned representatives of the lowest bidders – China Road and the joint venture of AC Luna and China State – to explain their bids. At the end of the 11-day investigation, the panel concluded that there was no sufficient evidence to support the World Bank’s suspicions of collusion among the bidders. Said the panel in a June 23, 2003 report submitted to Datumanong: “The bid-

February 13 - 19, 2009
ders’ unit cost analyses differed from one another. There were substantial variances in the unit prices for many items of work. No definite pattern was observed in the computation and the unit prices did not show unusual coincidences or follow a designed pattern.” “Since suspicion of collusion by the Bank, as noted, is very hard to prove,” it added, “corollarily, there are neither bidders nor Department officials who can be said to have participated therein.” Still, the panel recommended that the tender won by China Roads and Bridges Corp. should be declared a failure because the winning bid, which was 27.8 percent above ABC, was too high compared to bids in adjacent projects. Still, the panel urged the DPWH to uphold the award of the other project to the joint venture of EC Luna and China State even though the bid was also nearly as high – 25.5 percent above ABC. “This contract package has no adjacent projects with which a comparison can be drawn,” it explained.

In Perspective
by G. Tagudin - Silverio
Read Genny Silverio’s previous articles by visiting our website at www.asianjournalusa.com

and February 28th (English) are full. However, other classes are planned in other communities of San Diego. In order to enroll in one of the classes and/or find out about other scheduled class dates, please call Community Housing Works at 619-282-6647 Ext. 5465. To The program will assist check on upcoming classes, visit qualified first-time low- and the website at www.chworks.org moderate-income homebuyers or http://www.chworks.org/compurchase foreclosed properties within targeted neighborhoods in munity_programs/classes_training/homebuyer_education.asp. Chula Vista. The cost of enrollment in the The highlights of the program program is $20.00 per couple are as follows: or individual. The next set of Income-qualified homebuySpanish and English instruction ers will be eligible to receive classes in La Paloma, Carlsbad down payment and closing cost assistance in a shared equity loan are scheduled for March 7, 2009. of up to $70,000 for low-income Certifications are valid for any households and up to $40,000 for NS FTHB Program identified moderate-income households, at neighborhood. According to Armando Campos, who heads the 0% interest. No payments are required until NS FTHB Program, Community Works will be releasing addithe homeowner sells, rents, retional list of properties located in finances, or transfers title to the Escondido, Carlsbad and Vista. property. If the homeowner lives in the Eligibility Criteria property 15+ years, only the principal loan amount must be Income qualified homebuyers repaid. must meet the following criteria: In order to address potential Your annual household income health and safety issues of foremay not exceed 120% of the closed properties, up to $24,999 Area Median Income (AMI). can be added to the required Applicants below 120% AMI “gap” financing for rehabilitawill be eligible for up to $40,000 tion of the property, but cannot in assistance and those below exceed the qualifying threshold. 80% AMI will be eligible for up Due to funding requireto $70,000 in assistance. ments the NS FTHB Program The home must be your princirequires that potential buyers pal residence. receive pre-qualification with You must be able to contribute both primary financing and City a minimum of three percent (3%) assistance prior to locating an of the purchase price from your eligible property. To be enrolled own funds toward the down payin the program, one must sign ment, closing costs, or reserves. up for a Mandatory CertificaYou must not have owned a tion Class for Homebuyers. The home within the last three years. next classes scheduled in Chula The Chula Vista Neighborhood Vista for February 21st (Spanish)

he City of Chula Vista recently announced a program for first time homebuyers called the Neighborhood Stabilization First-Time Homebuyer (NS FTHB) Program.

T

Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Stabilization Program also has these Property Guidelines: The maximum purchase price cannot exceed 95% ($559,550 effective 3/08)of the median purchase Homes may be single-family dwellings,townhomes or condominiums The property must be foreclosed upon and vacant upon execution of the purchase offer. The home must be free from any civil penalties, health and safety defects and lead-based paint The property must be located within NSP Target Stimulus Package and TARP II In the meantime, according to Inman News, a $15,000 homebuyer tax credit, higher loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA, and government spending to lower mortgage rates are all in play as Congress and the Obama administration near agreement on an economic stimulus bill and financial stability plan for banks. Mortgage Default Rate A report from real estate portal, Zillow.com, reveals that nearly 20% of the nation’s home sales in 2008 were of bankrepossessed properties. Another 11% were short sales, in which homeowners owed more in mortgage debt than their homes were worth. According to the Wall Street Journal, the numbers may eventually grow as homeownership unravel as an effect of the loose lending rules of Alt-A loans and option ARMs. The traditional definition of Alt-A has been loans that have less than full documentation, also referred to as low doc/no doc loans. ABC News reports that “The number of Alt-A loans in which payments are 60 days late has quadrupled from a year ago to nearly 13 percent, according to the mortgage research company LoanPerformance, a unit of First American CoreLogic. Option ARMs refer to a flexible mortgage payment that allows the borrower to choose how much of the monthly mortgage to pay. The ABC News report

DPWH, World Bank probe same bid, draw opposite conclusions (Continued from page 3)
‘Kinder, gentler’ probe The debarred firms may also fare better dealing with the DPWH, which has, rightly or wrongly, become notorious for clearing those accused by the likes of World Bank of any wrongdoing. In 2002, the DPWH conducted an investigation after the World Bank rejected the outcomes of two out of 11 tenders for several components of the first phase of the Bank-funded National Road Improvement and Management Project (NRIMP I) because of suspicions of overpricing and collusion. China Road and Bridge Corp. won one of the two disputed tenders – for road projects along the Surigao Davao Coastal Road – offering a bid 27.8 percent higher than the approved budget contract (ABC). The other tender – for the rehabilitation of a road in Negros island – was

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February 13 - 19, 2009

Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588

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etables).” “Bumili na rin ako ng saging, tutal Pasko naman (I also bought bananas since it’s Christmas),” Marina added. Mang Isko felt hunger in his stomach when food was mentioned. He hadn’t eaten that day since they did not have food to eat. The couple pushed the cart along Echague Street towards the San Miguel District. After walking ten blocks, they reached their squatter community, Maypagasa. The squatter shanties mushroomed when Mang Jose put up a scrap paper and recycling business in the area. He was a squatter himself, putting up his bodega (storage) in another person’s lot. When others realized that they could make money picking up scraps, they built their own pushcarts and shanties in an adjacent vacant lot. There were no water, sewage and electrical facilities, but there was a public faucet nearby. At first, there were only two shanties. Now, there were twenty of them clustered together in two lots, with barely enough walking space in between. Two years ago, Mang Isko, his wife and daughter left their bar-

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rio in Samar Province because they could not make ends meet. The place was ravaged by typhoons every year and the small farm Mang Isko was working on could hardly produce a harvest. They went to Manila only to find out that life was also difficult in the big city. With nothing to return to, they decided to hang on, hoping that once their daughter Nenet graduated from high school, she could get a job while pursuing a college degree at night. As soon as they reached Mang Jose’s bodega, Mang Isko got a bamboo bin and unloaded the contents of his pushcart into it. He had his load weighed, and after some computations, Mang Jose, handed Mang Isko thirty pesos, his earnings for the day. Mang Isko and Aling Marina chained and padlocked their pushcart on a post beside the bodega and walked towards their shanty while groups of boys sang Christmas carols before the apartment houses nearby. Their fifteen-year-old daughter, Nenet was inside the shanty, seated behind a small desk, reading a book by the glow of gaslight.
(Continued on page 12)

by Simeon G. Silverio Jr.
Read Sim Silverio’s previous articles by visiting our website at www.asianjournalusa.com

Philippine Stories

Four pieces of chicken

“Yes, you may,” Mrs. Galang replied as she read some papers. Mang Isko went inside the printing press and picked up the huge trash bin made of strips of bamboo. It was full of papers, some covered with printing ink, and others clean enough to be sold to scrap dealers. He brought the bin outside and dumped the papers in the waiting pushcart on the street. His wife, Aling Marina, was holding on to the pushcart. He returned the bin to the printing press and thanked Mrs. Galang on his way out. “How’s your daughter, Mang Isko?” Mrs. Galang asked him. “She’s doing fine, Misis,” the old man replied. “She’s doing well in school.” “Wait,” Mrs. Galang told him to hold on. She handed him three t-shirts with the name of the printing press on them, Christmas giveaways to friends and clients, and two calendars which also bore the name of the press. It was December 24, 1958, Christmas Eve. The printing press on Platerias Street in Quiapo District of downtown Manila was still open at seven that

rs., puwede ho bang makuha ang basura ninyo (Mrs., can I take your trash)?” Mang Isko asked Mrs. Galang, who was sitting behind the desk in the front office of the printing press.

“M

As she looked around, Aling Marina realized that her twenty-five pesos would just be enough to buy the beef bones. She wanted to buy other things, in addition to the bones. She walked towards the poultry section and asked for the cost of the pieces of chicken offered in one stall.
evening, rushing some calendar orders as giveaways by clients during the holiday season. Mang Isko thanked the kind lady as he walked towards his wife. “Bigay ni Mrs. Galang (Mrs. Galang gave these),” he told her. They pushed the cart towards Carriedo Street, parked it near the corner and sorted out the papers they had collected, removing the dirty ones from the clean. The cart was already full and they were on their way home. They turned right on Carriedo Street, turned left on P. Gomez, and left on Echague. As they neared the Quinta Market, Mang Isko asked his wife to buy some food for dinner. “Bumili ka naman ng butubuto para makahigop naman tayo ngayong Pasko ng mainit na sabaw (You buy some bones so that we can have hot soup this Christmas),” he told her. “Sana magkasiya itong beintesingko pesos na pera natin (I hope the twenty-five pesos we have is enough),” Aling Marina answered as she went inside the market. The street and the market were full of Christmas shoppers. People were not only buying food for their noche buena (Christmas Eve feast) but also gifts for their loved ones. Vendors were hawking food, clothing, toys, bags and other items. The light bulbs inside the market cast a yellowish glare on patrons. Aling Marina walked carefully on the wet floor, as water spilled over the tiled stall counters from

vendors washing fish. The water dripped on the floor and into the small gutter on the side of the stall. The smell of fish permeated the air as the vendors called out to passing customers. At seven that evening, some of the vendors still claimed that the customer who would buy their items would be their buena mano (first customer of the day that would bring them luck). “Kunin mo na iyang isang tambak na ayungin,

Scavenger with a push cart.

suki, sariwang sariwa iyan (Get that pile of fish, my loyal customer, they are so fresh),” one fish vendor would pitch to a buyer. To get a big discount, the buyer had to say something unpleasant. “Naku, sariwa ba iyan, eh, namumula na ang mga nakaluwang mata (How can they be fresh when their bulging eyes are red already),” the buyer would counter. “O, sige, bigay ko na sa iyo ng sampu (Okay, I will give it to you for ten pesos),” the seller would offer. “Lima na lang (Five pesos),” the buyer would say. “Seven,” the seller would wrap the fish as the buyer handed her the money. As she looked around, Aling Marina realized that her twenty-five pesos would just be enough to buy the beef bones. She wanted to buy other things, in addition to the bones. She walked towards the poultry section and asked for the cost of the pieces of chicken offered in one stall. “That would be thirty pesos,” one seller told her. “It is too much, puwede bang bawasan (can you lower the price)?” she asked. “Naku, hindi suki, mahal ang manok ngayong magpapasko. Puwede mong bawasan ang

bilang ng piraso (No, I can no longer reduce the price. Poultry meat is expensive these days because it’s Christmastime. You can reduce the number of pieces your are buying).” Aling Marine picked up two wings and two drumsticks. “Eto, magkano ito (how much is this)?” she asked. “Beinte singko (twenty-five),” “Beinte na lang (twenty).” “Sige na nga, kung hindi ka lang buwena mano (Okay, I’ll give it to you since you are my first customer of the day).” It was already seven fifteen in the evening. It took another ten minutes before Aling Marina came out of the market and walked towards Mang Isko. She was holding on to a bag of chicken, vegetables, spices and bananas. “Mahal ang buto (the beef bones are expensive),” she told him. “Ano ang binili mo (What did you buy)?” “Manok (chicken).” “Buti nagkasya ang pera mo (it’s good your money was enough),” Mang Isko said. “Tig-isa kami ni Nenet ng paa, sa iyo iyong dalawang pakpak. Dadagdagan ko na lamang ng sabaw at gulay (Nenet and I have one drumstick each, you will have the two wings. I will just put more soup and veg-

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Perspectives

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February 13 - 19, 2009

Voices & Images
by Riz A. Oades
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they always know what is best for their kids.” As the second-generation Filipinos reach late teens, many traditional values and customs are replaced for the carefree attitudes of their Americanized friends— exacerbating the parent-child conflict and generational gap. These youths prefer to be viewed as “independent and outgoing.” Stereotyping FOBs U.S-born Filipinos view “Navy Filipinos” as docile, complacent, unaggressive, industrious and compliant. The sailors “always follow their superiors’ orders in spite of the hardships.” They perform any task assigned to them for fear of being reprimanded or dishonorably discharged, which means “a one-way trip back to the Philippines and loss of ‘face’!” They prefer to be close to a navy base; maintain close ties with the Islands; and socialize with their own kind especially old Navy comrades and their families. U.S-born Filipino perceptions of non-Navy Filipino FOBs (“Fresh off the boat”, although all came by plane) are mixed. Initially, they view them as “naive” or ignorant of American ways and “very impressionistic.” The last characteristic is generally true. Newly-arrived Filipinos, for example, are impressed with American adherence to law and order, and are amazed at American seriousness towards sports. They cannot understand “why an average America will spend his five-day work wage for a ticket in a football or baseball game, a good distance from his house, which he could have watched at no cost and in all the comfort of his own place.” Also, here in the U.S., as FOBS find out, the dog is a “pampered member of the family.” Hence, FOBs must change their perceptions of family pets to adapt to their new environment. U.S.-borns see immigrant Filipinos as an embarrassment because they do not know how to behave in public. They “speak their English with loud, hard accent.” And like

Shared Perceptions

e all create images or perceptions of people, assigning labels to set them apart from ourselves. Thus, we create stereotypes. These stereotypes have two functions: (1) to create sets of traits that identify groups; and (2 to tell us what to expect from a member of a specific group.
In the 1980s there was a surge of post-1965 immigrants in San Diego. In 1990 a survey of 100 mostly immigrant Filipinos in Chicago was conducted. The results indicated that 39% of the respondents had experienced some sort of problem assimilating into American culture, 32% had problems communicating with their children, 25% experienced a drug or alcohol problem with their children, 20% had a child drop out of school, and 33% experienced a clash between American and Filipino values that resulted in family conflict. Attitudes towards Filipino immigrants (often called “FOBs”) are guided by stereotypes gained by direct experience or second hand knowledge. And there is usually a correlation between contact with the immigrant Filipinos and the U.S.-born images and ascriptions of them. What follows are notes that I compiled with the help of my SDSU students in late l980s. Most, if not all, of the images described here

W

Sharing facts & stereotypes about Pinoys
remain persistent today; hence, this essay. Socialization Filipinos like to socialize with other Filipinos (preferably with people from their own town or province) to talk about their background and to share their common interest— e.g. being in the Navy, future of the children, careers and retirement. Their solutions are mainly designed to strengthen the group of which they are a part of. This concern (“their own”) implies that most of their associations would be with those of their group. Strong ties are maintained with their own group for a sense of security, predictability in relationships and sociability. They interact to show friends and relatives what they have or “what they wish they have if only to gain status.” Status Filipinos like to compete among themselves in their ‘homeland. As such “there is no reason for this behavior not to continue here in the U.S.” They are status-oriented, notoriously class conscious. The Filipino generally considers himself either rich or poor, with no gray areas. His class consciousness guides his behavior, determines the nature of his personality, and affects his capacity to interact with others. U.S.-born Filipinos feel the pressures of their immigrant parents’

Except for two (Michelle & Cynthia), all of the above Asian Journal staffs are immigrant Filipinos. Although they are all upper middle-class and highly educated immigrants, they are victims of negative stereotyping by uninformed U.S.-born Flips. drive for status. To graduate from college, for example, is synonymous to achieving a higher status among their peers in the community. Education Filipinos place high prestige value on education. “To them, their children’s education is a priority. They take pride in the educational attainment of their children who are expected to do well in schools. Future educational and economic opportunities for children are therefore daily topics of intense concern and planning in the family and parents are more than willing to take two or three jobs, just to be able to finance their kids’ education. Failure of the kids to get a college degree would bring “hiya” (embarrassment) and extreme parental disappointment. To these parents, their children are their future. They want them to get good education and steady paying jobs “so the children can look after them in times of need or old age.” Perceptions Although most parents are happy to see their kids in schools or college, they are also forced to cope with the cultural changes their kids experience as they assimilate or integrate with the larger society. Many are confused or worried that their kids may be losing the Filipino values and behavior patterns— especially family values that include respect for the elders, sense of duty, discipline, and dating practices, such as going out with a chaperon. U.S-born Filipinos feel parents are stricter with their daughters as compared with their sons. There is still a need for girls to introduce their dates to their parents. Not only that, but parents’ approval is almost essential. A criterion for instant approval is that the person “has a high education, and makes a lot of money.” If a child is not dating or in a relationship, something can be arranged by the parents who always try to place matchmakers, “thinking that

the navy men, “they are show offs, always joking around, and never being on time.” Many of them are “egotistic, materialistic, conservative, pushy, ‘stuck-up’, and snobbish.” They are seen as a clannish, regionalistic, and ethnocentric lot. They also tend to mingle and associate with their own kind. And even with their group, they tend “to divide and form into smaller subgroups.” In these subgroups, tsismis (gossips) abound. These Filipinos can be somewhat tense, “quiet and not outspoken” in a mixed group situation. However, among themselves, they are “more relaxed, can be very talkative, or boisterous.” Filipinos are characterized too as deterministic. They believe in fate, luck, and a lack of free will in general. Supposedly this comes from all the earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes, corruption, and Catholicism. For example, “Bahala na means “I don’t care what happens in the future, as long as I survive now.” But for the most parts, Filipinos are well-mannered, intelligent, ambitious, and hardworking. Many second-generation youngsters perceive them as “very fashionable”, attractive, good dancers, great lovers, and “excellent in martial arts.” Aggressive and strong-willed, these people are “determined to succeed, and many of them do, “displaying a strong feeling of materiality—an indication of a phenomenon known as “keeping up with the Santoses”. This, in effect, indicates the desire to raise the standard of living and to compete with their neighbors or friends “no matter if it hurts.” Like the Filipino Navy men, they also like to “stick” together and impress other people. They buy the best shoes, cars (especially Toyota), brand-named clothes, and attractive watches, which they love to showoff. This behavioral pattern usually occurs at the time when “they first taste the fruits of their labor.” The car and especially the well-furnished home are regarded as prime examples of status symbols (Continued on page 18)

Sol Poetry
by Soledad O. Bautista
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At Large...
by Miles Beauchamp
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Sports fanatics!!
o, how have your weekends been lately? I have spent the last couple of weekends with sports fanatics. Oh, I’m not talking about the usual beer guzzling, yelling, hollering, and screaming at the TV type of sports fanatics. No, no, the kind of sports fanatics I’m speaking of here are, get ready, soccer parents. Yes, soccer moms

S

Watch out for the Soccer Parents…
and dads and grandparents and brothers and sisters are some of the spookiest people on earth.

The true fanatic comes out during games. Of, sure, the parent may holler words of encouragement from time to time at their child during a practice, but it’s only during a scored game that the lunatic comes out. Wait – did I say lunatic? No, no, no. I meant concerned, caring, loving parent who wants nothing more than to see their son or daughter succeed in whatever it is that they want. Yeah, right. Sorry, but these folks are absolute, certified, one hundred percent, get out the straight jacket parent who can’t quit screaming at their kid for an entire game. Go Johnny, Go One team that Ryan was on a year or two ago had a terrific group of kids on it. But one of the kids had to have had the most obnoxious parents I’ve even seen. These people brought their kid and then went jogging around the field so they could get in their exercise while the kid played. Now that’s not a bad idea, except from the entire perimeter of the soccer field you could hear these people screaming, “Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go

Now in a way, of course, I too am a soccer parent. My son plays soccer, I buy the candy he’s supposed to sell to help raise funds for the league, and take him to games and root for every play he makes. I do those things and do them happily and with a bit of pride. But pride is one thing, being an insane fanatic is another.

Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!! Go Johnny, go! Go Johnny, go!!” Are you starting to get an idea of how maddening that sounded after an hour? But to be fair, they didn’t scream it for the entire hour. After every few “go Johnny go” they would scream instructions – tell the child which plays to make, which way to run, how to be more aggressive, less aggressive, how to kick, how to block, how to run, how to score. Then it was back to go Johnny, go. And all this is going on, remember, while the coach is trying to, well, coach. Some of the parents wanted to get a fund started to send the parents on a one-way trip to the nearest iceberg, but the coach wouldn’t let us (even though I’m pretty sure that the idea started with him). And the really sad thing is, the kid was terrifically nice. Sure, he’s probably going to grow up with severe psychological problems, but as a kid he was really wonderful. It’s all about the kids One thing that so many parents seem to have trouble remembering it that it’s all about the kids. It’s not about the parents, not about how good a job they do raising their child, not about the kind of people they are. Nope, it’s just about the kids. Young kids learn all sorts of lessons from team sports – they learn sportsmanship, good teamwork, the importance of listening and leading, and the value of exercise among others. However, some parents need to remember that everything can be a lesson. Kids learn both good and bad things from their parents. Do you want to teach that screaming is the best way to get something? That pushing and pushing and pushing someone who is already trying their absolute best is the best way to show you love them? What are you showing your kids? What lessons are you teaching your kids? Yes, I realize that the parents who can’t quit screaming at their kid will tell you that what they’re doing is for the good of the

My Valentines
How long and how much do I love thee? As long as there is night and day As long as there’s a sunrise and a sunset As long as the moon wafts and wanes As long as the sea cradle the boats With its myriad of marine wealth below As long as the stars twinkle Now you see it, now you don’t As soon as teeny weeny buds appear And itty bitty eggs crack in their nest To proclaim the coming jolly splendor Of spring and summer Followed by a psychedelic panorama Of glorious warm colors of autumn Lastly covered by a white mantle To let the earth fallow The cycle continues from age to age That’s how long and how much I love you. And if there’s an end to time To the last minute, to the last second The purest, sincerest love I can muster To the depth of my being, that love will Still be there for you, my Lord and my God. Please believe me.
©2008 copyright by Soledad O. Bautista. All rights reserved.

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child. They want him or her to grow up healthy, with a respect for teammates, with a can-do attitude toward life. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before and it’s just so much BS. If that were true the parents wouldn’t get mad at the child for faltering, wouldn’t get mad at the coach for letting another teammate play, wouldn’t get red-faced and hoarse from screaming directions from the sideline. Nope, those parents are control freaks who have placed far too much of their own worth on the achievements of their children. And that’s sad for the parents and, particularly, for the kids. At last week’s game one of

the parents was so loud and obnoxious that he got thrown out of the stands the this week. What are you teaching your own kids? All of us want our children to grow and become healthy, happy, successful members of a productive, free society. How are you doing your part? By screaming or supporting? By pushing too hard or just enough? By being a soccer parent or a parent who is there for their child while that child plays, and enjoys, soccer? Remember, your child learns from everything you do…everything. Note: Names have been changed to protect the guilty

February 13 - 19, 2009

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Bill’s Corner
by Bill Labestre, MBA (Tax Practitioner) Tel: (619) 475-1931
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ne way to tell a person’s age is watching how he or she pays the bill. Majority of older women still carry checkbooks and older men carry cash in their bulging wallets. It is quite difficult to change old habits. It is also not that easy for older people to catch up with the current speed of technology. No matter what they say, we still act our age. The younger ones are quick to adapt in all these changes. They can type on computer keyboard faster and text phone messages in a breeze. They seem to have their cell phones or i-pods attached to their ears 24/7. Most of the older people still carry their phones inside their purses or waist band holsters. They still type on their laptops with two fingers but, they can spell a lot better. Myself, I’m no longer excited about these gadgets. No more cell phone in my office or inside my car. I would rather talk to people in person and of course they can leave a message on my answering machine. You can always justify why you need one but, do you really? I still don’t understand why people take their Blackberry or laptop when they go on vacation. Why bother going away if you take your job with you? Are you that important or you don’t know how to relax anymore? How many times have you stood in line and hear the cashier asked the question “Debit or Credit”? It still amazes me when people charged their groceries on their credit cards. Most likely their checking account is now empty. Most older people pay regular purchases with cash. Nowadays it’s easy to obtain

O

Debit or Credit?

� � � �

debit and credit cards. We can also pay bills on line or buy a lot of things on the internet. The hard part is accounting of funds. Most credit card users don’t pay their balance in full but a portion or the minimum amount required. It may take you forever to pay off the bills. Still a number of people don’t realize that they pay extra for convenience in using ATM, debit and credit cards. The marketers are so good that people fell in love with these plastic cards. So how are you going to pay off your balance? Some people took home equity loans, or took early withdrawals from their retirement funds only to re-charged those cards again. The real solution would be to live within your means. Never spend the money you don’t have unless it’s a real life emergency. Do you really need that new i-phone or the latest model laptop? Why did you buy a new car that cost more than your one year’s salary? Your young college students are the latest target of credit card companies. They are very vulnerable and most of them have no clue of their financial responsibilities yet. Some still think that credit cards are their parent’s deep pockets. They might be honor students and book smart but, most of them have no common sense. Parents should keep track of their student’s finances and help them before it’s too late. Credit and debit cards are here to stay. It’s convenient to use and be easily managed. As long as you have enough liquid asset to pay for your charges, there is no problem. For older people, Cash is still King.

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Valentine’s Day
By Joseph Roley-Arzaga Rants from a full blooded Tisoy Reposted from my blog located at http://www.arzaga.us/blog When you think of Valentine’s Day, what thoughts and feelings go through your mind? For many it conjures up romantic undertones and a chance to show off your romantic side. But beyond that what does Valentine’s Day really accomplish? This question popped up during my conversations on-line using the social networking site known as Facebook. For those who are unfamiliar with Facebook, it is a web site where you create a profile and then link it up with your friends and family. What makes Facebook

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tunity of hooking up is present. The worst Valentine’s Day for me occurred when out of the blue the person I was seeing decided that of all days, this one was the day to break up. Breaking up on Valentine’s Day? Yeah, that one kind of sucked and stayed with me for a while. Getting dumped is never an easy thing, but on Valentine’s Day, it seems almost sacrilegious. Getting the short end of the stick on Valentine’s Day is akin to waking up and discovering your car was stolen, except with cars, you can get insurance to reimburse you. Now, how neat would that be to have relationship insurance to cover you in the case of a break up? It would be nice to get reimbursed for all the time and money spent developing the relationship. All the dinners, the jewelry, the clothes, the tickets to the opera, the gas used to drive to their parents house, the time you spent listening to them complaining about their lives. I wonder how much one could receive from this sort of insurance policy? I’m assuming this is one type of insurance that you won’t see at Geico, to bad really, because I think they could make a killing selling it. I believe Valentine’s Day was designed solely for flower stores, chocolate shops, greeting cards sellers and the restaurant industry come out in force to remind men that in order to truly show your loved one that you really love them you need to purchase their products and anything less is going to be an insult and show a lack of caring on your part. I find this amusing because in a recent interview asking women what they would like most on Valentine’s Day the response was to just spend some intimate time with their beloved. So guys, no need to drive to Costco to get that discount certificate to See’s candy, no need to call in a reservation to an overpriced restaurant where you send more time in line than actually eating. No need to spend $50 on some roses that will die in 5 days (Unless you are using Valentine’s Day as a make up for some other important day you forgot). All you need to do is whip up a quick dinner for her at home rather than go out. Write her a personal poem instead of forking over some hard earned money for a card, make sure you DVR your TV shows so you can devote the evening to her, after you do the dishes of course. Then take some time to answer the following questions to get to know each other better. I think you will discover that Valentine’s Day is not so much about emptying your wallet to prove your love for someone as it is spending time with them and acknowledging that, at least for one day, you have the ability to listen to them and get to know them better. This is a Valentine’s truth survey So don’t lie: 1. What do you like most about your Valentine? 2. Are you flirty with your Valentine? 3. Before meeting your Valentine, were you a player? 4. Had you not ended up with your Valentine, would you get back

February 13 - 19, 2009
together with any of your exes? 5. When was the last time you passionately kissed your Valentine? 6. Do you prefer group dates or single ones? 7. Is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all? 8. Do you like cuddling up while watching a movie? 9. What’s the best Valentine’s Day present for a girl? 10. What’s the best Valentine’s Day present for a guy? 11. What is special about this day? 12. How is your day so far? 13. Who do you want your Valentine to be? 14. What is a one Valentines gift you have received? 15. What do you like most about Valentine’s Day?

so appealing is the ability to interact with our friends at any time by leaving them messages, sharing photos or chatting in real time. Comments are always a highlight as all your friends are able to see the comments left by you and other as well as reply to them. A cyber-conversation if you will. The questions that created this very interesting discussion was a survey I sent out containing 20 questions regarding your views on Valentine’s Day. It seems that views regarding Valentine’s Day varies from person to person. For some it is an opportunity to re-connect with their special someone to express their undying love. For others it is a public reminder that being single

and having no one to share it with really blows. Having been on both sides I can attest to the validity of their opinions. Valentine’s Day, if you will, is kinda of like a second chance for husbands and boyfriends who during the year may have forgotten a certain person’s birthday or anniversary. Women, it seems can never get enough affirmation from their other half, which is why businesses like See’s Candy and Hallmark are making a killing on us. For those who have no one to profess our love to, at least according to the terms of your restraining order, Valentine’s Day is a blatant reminder that while you wallow in misery there are others out there rubbing it in your face. Some say Christmas can be a depressing time of the year if you are alone, but even at Christmas time, you have the joy of celebrating the birth of Christ and attending parties where they oppor-

Another coed surfaces to identify suspect cabbie
By Reinir Padua Philstar More problems are cropping up for the cabbie arrested for allegedly dragging a student who boarded his vehicle, with another student also victimized by the suspect contacting the police and the Land Transportation Office set to cancel the taxi driver’s license. Another female student of the University of Santo Tomas has contacted the police after seeing television news reports about the arrest of suspect Primitivo Sarmiento Monday morning, said Superintendent Marcelino Pedrozo Jr., deputy chief of the Quezon City Police District-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit. Pedrozo said the student has just contacted them and was set to meet with investigators to personally identify Sarmiento as the same cabbie who victimized her. In an interview, the police official said the second victim was not dragged on the road unlike the other student but was also short-changed by the suspect when she boarded the vehicle. As this developed, Cesar Aguila, a staff of LTO chief Alberto Suansing went to the QCPD-CIDU yesterday afternoon to secure an official report on Sarmiento’s arrest, noting that his boss was set to issue an order cancelling the cabbie’s license. “It’s not just revocation. By cancellation, we mean that he (Sarmiento) can no longer appeal (and have his license back),” Aguila said in a separate interview. “A driver’s license is not a right but a privilege so the LTO can take it back especially if you use it in criminal activities,” he added. According to Aguila, the agency will also file charges against the cabbie for the illegal transfer of the plates that he used for the taxicab. Sarmiento’s arrest came after a female student – whom he allegedly victimized early morning on Nov. 22 boarded his taxicab at UST in Manila after attending a late night activity – sought police assistance. Upon reaching their house in Sta. Mesa Heights in Quezon City, the victim handed to Sarmiento P1,000 – the only bill left with her – as her fare for the taxi ride. As the student’s mother was waiting at the gate, Sarmiento claimed the victim gave him P60, and argued with the victim who insisted she gave the cabbie P1,000. The mother tried to seek help from the village watchmen, after which Sarmiento allegedly sped away with the student still inside the vehicle, even threatening to kill the victim.

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February 13 - 19, 2009

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Page 9

Phil - Am Law 101
by Atty. Rogelio Karagdag, Jr.
Member, State Bar of California & Integrated Bar of the Philippines

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P

Can You Petition your Stepdad?
and hard-earned money for her training. Aimee proves to be a bright girl. She not only excels in school but also in golf. She receives a sports scholarship in a U.S. college. After finishing her studies, she lands a high-paying job in the U.S. and in due time, becomes an immigrant and eventually a U.S. citizen. Aimee is now 25 years old, still unmarried, and wants to bring both Linda and Patrick to the U.S. so they can be together. There is no question that she can petition Linda because she is her mother. But can she petition her stepfather Patrick, although he has not adopted her? There is no need for Patrick to adopt Aimee. Subject to certain conditions, the law allows a stepchild like Aimee to file an immigrant petition for her stepfather Patrick without need of an adoption decree. For immigration purposes, the relationship between Aimee and Patrick is treated the same way as between a child and her birth father. Aimee can petition both Patrick and Linda at the same time. Take note, however, that she must do it under separate petitions, one for Linda and another for Patrick. As mentioned, there are certain conditions. Aimee must be at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen. An immigrant cannot petition her parents, whether they are her birth, step or adoptive parents. In this hypothetical case, Aimee is already 25 and a U.S. citizen. Another condition, which sometimes proves to be a problem, is that the relationship between the stepchild and stepparent must have started before the child turns 18 (not 21). By this, we mean that Patrick and Linda must have married before

atrick comes from a modest and conservative Filipino family. Although his father is just a government employee and his mother a plain housewife, they are able to send him to a top Catholic university in Quezon City where he finishes civil engineering. They dream that Patrick will find not only a good job but also a good wife from an affluent family. After all, he is their only child. In secret, they also have this persistent desire of going to America, despite being already denied thrice for a tourist visa. If only Patrick can land a good job and marry to a rich family, they will have a better shot at going to America. So imagine their disgust when Patrick introduces them to his girlfriend Linda – with a little girl in tow. She is in every respect the woman that they do not want for Patrick. She comes from a poor family, about 5 years older than Patrick and, worst, is the unwed mother of the 10-year old Aimee. But as Shakespeare said, “But love is blind, and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit.” After a couple of years, Patrick and Linda get married. It is a simple wedding, but becomes the talk of the town for one special reason – Patrick’s parents are absent. The young couple take everything in stride and become even more determined to prove to Patrick’s parents that their marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to their son. Patrick loves Aimee like his own daughter. He brings her to school in the morning and picks her up in the afternoon. He even encourages Aimee to engage in sports. She likes golf and Patrick does not mind spending his time

Aimee’s 18th birthday. This is the only condition that the law requires about the relationship. Here, they got married when Aimee was only 12, so the condition is met. Well, how about Patrick’s parents, who have now wholeheartedly accepted Linda and Aimee? They have to wait a little longer. Unfortunately, Aimee cannot petition them. There is no category for grandparents under U.S. immigration laws. However, once Patrick becomes a U.S. citizen, which will likely be within 5 years or so, he can file an immigrant petition for them. Hopefully, they will still be healthy enough to enjoy Disneyland and the other beautiful things that America has to offer. But most important of all, they will be all together with their only child and his family. Announcement : Free Consultation in Manila We will be in Manila the whole month of March. If your loved ones are interested in consulting with us there, they can contact our Manila office at 522-1199 or 526-0326 to schedule an appointment. We will be offering free consultation. Tagalog po ang usapan kaya hindi sila dapat mag-alangan. Meanwhile, our National City office inside the S&S Travel will continue entertaining your inquiries. Please visit our office or call (619) 4753262. Salamat po ! Atty. Rogelio Karagdag, Jr. is licensed to practice law in both California and the Philippines. He practices immigration law in San Diego and has continuously been a trial and appellate attorney in the Philippines since 1989. He travels between San Diego and Manila. His office address is located at 16486 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite 228, San Diego, CA 92128. He also holds office in National City inside the S&S Travel Agency at 2409 E. Plaza Blvd. Please call (858)348-7475 & (619) 4753262 for your free consultation. We also encourage readers to write us questions about both U.S. immigration and Philippine laws to be future topics in this column. Our email is rkaragdag@attyimmigration.com.

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Health

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February 13 - 19, 2009

Love Potion #1
AN APPLE A DAY By TYRONE M. REYES, M.D Philstar I held my nose. I closed my eyes. I took a drink! I didn’t know if it was day or night. I started kissing everything in sight, but when I kissed the cop down at 34th and Vine, He broke my little bottle of Love Potion #9 — Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, had plenty of exotic elixirs to spark the sex drive, but, regretfully, she kept the recipes to herself. She did lend her name to the generic love potion — aphrodisiac — but these days the word conjures up disreputable images of “Spanish fly” (which, by the way, is made from dried beetles) and other powdery wastes of time. Still, people everywhere swear that certain foods give them a libidinal lift, from old standbys, such as oysters and chocolates, to the out-and-out bizarre (crushed rhinoceros horn, bear gallbladder, and dried bull scrotum). Many look for a magic pill that will fan their cooling (m)embers to flame again, and I wish it were as easy as telling them to pop a few candy-coated mollusks. Oysters do contain zinc, necessary for the production of the male sex hormone testosterone, but you’d have to be very low in the zinc department and eat an awful lot of them to notice any difference in your desire or performance. According to Cynthia Watson, MD, author of Love Potions (Putnam), there’s a better chance of arousal from oysters by simply noticing their visual and tactile resemblance to the female vulva. Chocolate is a more likely candidate, says Watson, because it contains phenylalanine, “an amino acid which increases the brain’s levels of the neuropeptide phenylethylamine, one of the body’s natural aphrodisiacs.” Again, it would take quite a bit of chocolate to induce overpowering lust, and the subsequent indigestion and weight gain (to say nothing of the Hershey wrappers scattered all over the bedroom) would probably undermine any sexual stimulation. The hard fact is that to maintain potency, you need to exercise and eat a balanced diet of unprocessed foods, with a slight emphasis on proteins. Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that protein-rich meals increase levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, two chemical neurotransmitters that stimulate the sex drive, while carbohydrates raise levels of serotonin, which may put your libido to sleep.

Fischer recommends maintaining a fat intake in the range of 10 to 20 percent to increase sexual energy. Fischer is speaking to both sexes: Studies show that women with circulatory challenges are more likely to complain of decreased desire and fewer orgasms, and that adopting a low-fat diet seems to improve their sexual response, especially as they get older. Barking Up The Yohimbe Tree There is little evidence of the sexual effects of specific nutrients, herbs, hormones, and synergistic formulas, but a few do seem to crank up the heat (if for no other reason than the people taking them believe that’s what they’ll do). Most promote adequate blood flow to the penis or help maintain testosterone levels. Of course, anyone considering using supplements for medical purposes should consult their physician. That said, here are a few of the more promising “aphrodisiacs” around. To create an erection, pelvic nerves trigger the production of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels; the smooth muscles in the penis swell, trapping blood in the organ. L-arginine is a key source of nitric oxide; it is present in chocolate, popcorn, gelatin, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread or, more powerfully, as a supplement; it works best combined with vitamin B-5 and choline. Niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, lowers cholesterol and increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels. It is found in figs, avocados, brewer’s yeast, wheat and rice bran, peanuts, and various whole grains and seeds. The warm “flush” feeling in the neck and joint excites many users who swear it enhances arousal. John Morgenthaler, co-author of Better Sex Through Chemistry (Smart Publications), says that niacin triggers a pivotal histamine necessary for quality orgasms. In Male Sexual Vitality (Prima), Michael T. Murray, ND recommends inositol hexaniacinate, which yields better results with fewer side effects than standard niacin. Ginkgo biloba and panax ginseng also serve as vasodilators. Several studies, including one published in the Journal of Urology, found that the extract from the Japanese ginkgo tree may be useful in treating erectile problems resulting from poor blood flow. Ginseng has a longstanding reputation as an overall medicinal agent, though much of its folklore is viewed with skepticism by Western scientists. The word is Chinese for “essence of earth in the

Unsaturated Sex In study after study, a low-fat diet ends up being the key to better days and livelier nights. The poor dietary habits that cause atherosclerosis buildup endanger not just your heart, but your sex life as well. Just as unclogged arteries are critical for delivering blood to the heart muscles, the penis needs a free-flowing circulation to create and maintain a quality erection. Research at Boston University Medical School and the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Mass. found that men with higher cholesterol levels were more likely to have problems with arousal, erection, and sexual performance. The fat-laden diet is a double whammy. Not only does it promote clogged arteries, it also reduces testosterone. Within four hours of drinking a super fatty milkshake, study subjects at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City showed a reduction in testosterone levels by as much as 30 percent. Study participants given low-fat shakes showed no such effect. Researchers believe that excess fat interferes with the body’s ability to manufacture testosterone, impairing sex drive and performance. In her book, The Better Sex Diet: The 6-Week Low-Fat Prescription for Increased Sexual Vitality, Potency & Health (Living Planet Press), Lynn

form of man;” the genus panax is from the Latin panacea or “cure all.” Natural Health Secrets From Around the World (Shot Tower) quotes the Atharva-Veda, an ancient medical text of India, as saying, “Ginseng causes an aroused man to exhale fire-like heat.” The herb is more readily accepted as a stress reducer (through its support of the adrenal gland) and an antioxidant that can lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Yohimbe or yohimbine, originally derived from the bark of an African tree, is now synthesized as yohimbine hydrochloride and is the only legally prescribed aphrodisiac-like medication in the United States (though it has numerous side effects and should not be used by people with high blood pressure). The drug blocks certain nerve receptors, sustaining arousal by maintaining vasocongestion in the penis. According to Morgenthaler, about one-fourth of the men who take yohimbine for erectlie dysfunction are significantly helped (with up to 43 percent showing some response). However because it works better for psychogenic rather than organic impotence, this may be only a placebo effect. Muira puama, a Brazilian folk remedy known as “potency wood,”

has a reputation “as a sexual enhancer and as a treatment for impotence and frigidity,” says Watson in Love Potions. According to Murray, research from Paris has found muira puama to be partly effective for a majority of subjects with erectile problems, and that taking it with yohimbine appears to affect arousal. It is not known how muira puama works, but it is milder than yohimbe and has few side effects. What’s left? Well, put down your Pepsi and pick up some sarsaparilla, an old-time soda flavoring (similar to root beer) that has turned out to be a sexual booster. The plant contains phytosterols, which form the raw material of testosterone. Sarsaparilla was the aphrodisiac of choice of some early native American tribes. Finally, some good news for Starbucks: Of 2,000 people over age 60 polled at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, those who consumed at least one cup of coffee a day engaged in more sexual activity than those who abstained. Study leader, Ananias C. Diokno, MD (my classmate in that awesome UST Medicine Class of 1965), said it may have been the caffeine that stimulated the java imbiber, but that

more research is needed before coffee is touted as an aphrodisiac, especially since too much caffeine can lead to sleeplessness and a decrease of testosterone. The Most Potent Aphrodisiac Of All Actually, the closest thing to a real love potion may not be the seeds and syrups and supplements, but the stuff we use to wash them down: plain ol’ H2O (Remember that erections are mostly blood and blood is mostly water!) A healthy diet, including plenty of water — combined with exercise and stress reduction — will help you feel better, look better, and function better. Let’s face it: It’s the mind that orchestrates the moving parts, and the mind is the most potent aphrodisiac of all. If you are looking to jumpstart your sex life, try taking time to smell, feel, touch, and savor your spouse. Enthusiastically embracing the beauty and wonder of the human body is Love Potion #1. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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February 13 - 19, 2009

San Diego News
Communications (DDMAC) and reviewed by the Attorneys General involved in the suit. • The televi sion ad must be broadcast on national cable and network television. • The print ad must be published in magazines with national distribution. • Submit all new Direct to Consumer television ad campaigns for Yaz to FDA for pre-review. • Cease any and all claims about the drug that are not FDA-approved. • Submit an annual report to each participating attorney general’s office. The States joining California’s agreement are; Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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Brown Requires Bayer to Launch $20 Million Ad Campaign to Correct Misleading Information about Oral Contraceptive
SACRAMENTO- Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced an agreement requiring Bayer Corporation to stop a “deceptive ad campaign” regarding an oral contraceptive, “Yaz,” and obligating the company to spend $20 million publicly correcting misleading assertions about the product. “Bayer’s deceptive ad campaign led young women to believe that its oral contraceptive would cure symptoms for which it was not approved for use,” Attorney General Brown said. “This judgment modification forces the company to stop making those claims and spend $20 million cor recting misleading assertions about the product.” Bayer claimed the drug could treat symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and acne, in addition to anxiety, tension, irritability, moodiness, fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches. None of these claims have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a television ad, for instance, Bayer claimed that Yaz “can help keep your skin clear,” despite the fact that clinical studies have not concluded that taking Yaz results in acne-free skin. The Attorney General’s Office contends that the advertisements for Yaz violated a 2007 agreement with Bayer after the company failed to adequately disclose safety risks associated with the use of Baycol, a drug used to lower cholesterol, which was pulled from the market in August 2001. The agreement required future marketing, sale, and promotion of pharmaceutical and biological products to comply with all legal requirements, and prohibited Bayer from making false or misleading claims relating to any products sold in the United States. In addition to adhering to the 2007 judgment, the company agreed to: • Conduct a $20 million corrective advertising campaign consisting of a television advertisement and a print advertisement that have been approved by the FDA’s Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising, and

dent and Lito Reclosado and Ben Floresca as vice presidents. Since then, the association has raised funds for scholarship grants, earthquake disaster relief and various projects. The long-term plan of the association is to expand its membership to other parts of California and Las Vegas, to raise funds through its participation at the Fil-Am Festival in San Pedro, CA this year and extend benefits especially to indigent children and cancer patients of Baguio City. The incoming officers who will be sworn-in are Natalie Navarro, president; Lalaine Velasco, vice president for administration; Julius E. Sinlao, vice president for operations; Edith Donaldson, corresponding secretary; Pura Gordon, treasurer; Rebecca Reclosado, assistant treasurer; Lillian Ares, auditor; Rudy Liporada, public relations officer; Rico Bona, assistant public relations officer; Fredz Madriaga, property custodian; and Elvis Noche and Leo Rivera, marshalls. The members of the Board are Audie Amaranto, Pete Tanglao, Jun Navalta, Ed Matulac, Art Teodoro, Cesar Almonte, Chris Ares, Edgar Ubungen, James Valdez, Malou De Los Santos and Joel

Eastlake High School plays at Carnegie Hall
CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Help “Strike up the Band!” Through a long process of auditions and competitions, the Eastlake High School Band has received a formal invitation to play at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall and now needs help from the community to make this dream come true for the students. There are 101 students trying to participate. The cost for each student is nearly $2,200 and there is no school funding. On Friday, February 20th and Saturday, February 21st, a benefit concert will take place at New

Hope Community Church in Chula Vista. Many local bands

and celebrities have volunteered to help make this a fantastic evening. The lineup consists of Rising Star Band; Jackals; South Bay Community Chorale; New Hope Community Gospel Choir; Before 5; Eastlake High School Spotlight Ladies; Eastlake Middle School Concert Band and Eastlake High School Concert & Jazz Band. The bands will play from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the suggested donation is $10 per person. The Eastlake High School Band is a highly acclaimed musical ensemble. The Eastlake High School Band is a program that promotes, upholds and values team spirit, sportsmanship and musical excellence.

Baguio City Association of San Diego holds Induction Ball Feb. 21
The Baguio City Association of San Diego County will hold its 19th anniversary foundation, induction ball and reunion on Feb. 21 starting at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on the Bay along Harbor Dr. San Diego. This affair hopes to promote fellowship, unity, rekindle camaraderie and service volunteerism for residents of Baguio City as well as former Baguio City natives now residing in San Diego County and Southern California. Eddie C. Ferrer, former DZBS broadcaster and high school and college instructor at St. Louis University, Baguio, now a successful businessman will be the guest speaker and inducting officer. The Baguio Association of San Diego was founded in 1990 with Imelda Vergara as the first presiApides. Music and entertainment will be provided by Soundhenge Band headed by Alfred Bajet and Strawberry Jam Band comprised of former Reichstags founder Rod Batongmalaque and his brothers Sam and Charlie. Also in the band are Johnny Chan and wife Sandy, Butch Garcia and Ed Maniquis, all former Baguio residents.The dinner-dance will be emceed by Dan E. Nino, former student of St. Louis University Boys High. For more details and ticket information, interested parties may contact Natz Navarro at natznavarro@yahoo.com; Lalaine Velasco at jeanuvero@msn.com and Julius E. Sinlao at bytegate@yahoo.com. The cost per ticket is $50.

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Page 12

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The family had four other cars, a luxurious house and properties all over the city. By ten in the evening, Mang Isko and Aling Marina laid their tired bodies on the mat spread across the floor of the small shanty. A light from a small gas lamp was flickering in a corner.

February 13 - 19, 2009
But she was ashamed to do so, because every one wore fancy new clothes and she and Mang Isko could only afford their old, somewhat tattered attire. God could hear us from here, she comforted herself as an excuse. They dozed off for hours until

Aling Marina knew that she could not force her daughter to eat dinner with them. But if she would not be eating noche buena that midnight, she would not let her pass up her dinner. (Continued from page 5) Mang Isko scooped water from “Akala ko bakasyon kayo a gasoline container using a ngayon, bakit nag-aaral ka pa (I small can and washed his hand. thought it’s your school vacaHe went up into the shanty and tion, how come you are still sat on the floor beside Aling Mastudying,” Mang Isko asked his rina. Together, they feasted on daughter. the rice and chicken for dinner, “I am just finishing up this sharing the four pieces of meat book I borrowed from Rita,” between them. It was a ChristNenet replied. mas feast for them, with the hot “Baka masira ang mata mo, and delicious chicken soup pouranak, madilim na (You might ing inside Mang Isko’s mouth, ruin your eyes, daughter. It’s aldown to his throat and into his ready dark),” Aling Marina said stomach. He never felt that good with concern. for a while when dried fish and “Sandali na lang po, tatapusin rice had been their staple fare. ko na ito para makahiram uli He consumed two pieces of the ako (It will just be a while. I will small senorita banana for dessert finish this up so that I can borand saved the rest for his wife row again),” Nenet answered. and daughter. “Nagsaing ka na ba (Did you After dinner, Mang Isko cook rice already)?” Mang Isko stepped out of the shanty and sat asked his daughter. on a stool. “Opo (yes),” she replied. “Maliligo daw ang anak Aling Marina went out to cook mo (Your daughter will take a the chicken. She took out the bath),” Aling Marina told him clay stove and put it on a ground after a while. beside their shanty. She put Mang Isko picked up the gasofour pieces of firewood inside line container and went towards and started a fire. With spices, the public faucet a block away. water, vegetables and chicken, There was no line that evening she started cooking. When it was and he easily filled up the conready, she spread out old newstainer with water. He brought it papers on the floor of the shanty, up into their house so that Nenet took out plates, brought the food, could take a bath. and called Mang Isko and Nenet Their shanty was just a small to eat. Nenet was already hungry, room, about nine feet by ten feet but when she noticed that there in wide. Mang Isko and Aling were only four pieces of chicken Marina stayed outside, as Nenet to be shared by the three of them, took a bath inside the shanty. she held back. She poured water on herself by “Hindi na ako kakain, nanay, scooping water from the gasoline busog pa ako (I won’t eat container using a small can. The mother, I am still full), she told water went through the openings her mother. between the floors, down to the “Paano ka mabubusog eh tina- ground, about two feet below the pay lang ang kinain mo kangina shanty. Since they did not have (How can you be full when you any toilet, they used a bed pan just ate bread today). inside the house, put the wastes “Rita’s mom is inviting me in a plastic bag and throw them to join them to hear the Misa in the garbage dump outside. de Aginaldo (Christmas Eve Freshly bathed, and wearing a Mass),” she said. “Later, I will newly-ironed and clean uniform, join them in their noche buena, Nenet didn’t look like she lived so I will be full.” in a shanty in a squatter commu-

Four pieces of chicken

nity whenever she stepped out onto the street to go to school. She was very studious, fully aware of the sacrifices of her parents and their dire plight. She was about to graduate at the top of her class. Though there were scholarships available for her at prestigious universities, she was aware that it would not be enough to tide them over until she graduated in college. Every time she saw her parents push the cart to pick up trash, her heart bled, but she knew that the only way to help them at that time was for her to study hard. She planned to get a job after high school and study at night and avail of the scholarships. She was confident that it was just be a matter of time before she could lift her family from the quagmire of poverty. Hopefully, it would not be too late and that her parents would live long enough to enjoy the fruits of their hardships and sacrifices. “Nanay, tatay, aalis na ako (mother, father, I will be leaving),” Nenet bidded goodbye to her parents at about nine in the evening. She would join her friend Rita and her family for a midnight mass and noche buena. Although she was not wearing new clothes for Christmas, they were clean and decent enough. Rita was her classmate who lived in a house a block away. Her mother worked as a clerk in a government office that handled public works. Though the mother’s salary as a government employee was small, she made up for her share of kickbacks from private contracts. Her role was critical in their collection of payments from the government. If a contractor was not paying them a kickback, she could hold the processing of their payments until the contractors agreed to the corrupt terms standard for handling government projects. To make up for the kickbacks, the contractors had to overcharge the cost at the expense of the taxpayers. Rita’s father did not need to work. Her mother earned more money than they could spend. Rita, at sixteen, drove a new car.

They would let it on so that Nenet would find her way inside when she arrived. Outside, they could still hear small children singing Christmas carols door to door for money. Aling Marina wanted very much to go to church and hear mass together with the rest of the people.

(Continued on page 13)

February 13 - 19, 2009

Entertainment
Who is your idol (s)? One person I look up to is Gary Valenciano. I draw strength from him because whenever I see him on the show makikita mo talaga that it’s really a matter of conviction. He’s very talented and he has lasted 25 years in the biz still on top. Another is Martin Nievera for his talent and perseverance to make it big abroad. Masarap at magaling kumanta. Acting-wise, it’s Christopher de Leon. He has never waned, from the time he started until now he’s very passionate at di nawawala ang focus sa trabaho. I also admire Robin Williams because he’s very talented. One of my frustrations is So for me it’s not about the law, it’s about doing the right things in life and not just being bound by certain rules. It’s not about Victory, it’s about what’s written in the Bible. When I surrendered my life to the Lord, that’s when I realized na marami pala kong di alam. So isa yun sa mga bagay na na-realize ko. Since it’s the norm, everybody does it, you think it’s right but for you to know the difference of living the right way and living for Christ, you have to read the Bible. This wasn’t forced upon me, when I read the Bible that’s when I realized ito pala yung mga bagay na di ko dapat ginagawa and pre-marital sex is one of them. How are you as an absentee father to your son Iñigo? It’s hard because I come from a broken family, that’s one of the things I don’t wanna give my son but it happened so I’m just really praying to the Lord. It’s hard to catch up for the lost time ang bata kasi di bata forever and it’s one of the things that saddens me. Every time I think of my son and about how short the time I spend with him, nakaka-guilty. What is one thing about you that you want to change? I’m happy with the way things are. There were some things in life that I definitely regret but now I know everything happens for a reason, everything happens for the good and if that was the way for me to get to know the Lord, then it happened for a reason. that I’m not able to do comedy. If I have the talent for it I wouldn’t just be a dramatic actor but a comedian as well. In terms of character choices, I like Gary Oldman. And recently, producing-wise I admire Adam Sandler because he’s not just a good actor but also wise in terms of producing films. In terms of producing, I’m starting it now because I was prophesied years ago in ULTRA that I’d be a producer. And it’s becoming a reality now through Pop Icons which is a group effort naman. If there’s an opportunity to grow as a producer, dun ako. I always want to go out of my comfort zone.
(Continued from page 12)

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Page 13

Piolo on pre-marital sex, other ‘hot’ topics
By Bot Glorioso Philstar MANILA, Philippines - Piolo Pascual is everywhere — from the big and small screens to magazines to billboards. His popularity has generated more than his share of headlines. Here, Piolo dishes out his views as a Christian, on pre-marital sex, his feelings as an absentee father, his idols and his initial venture as concert producer via Pop Icons. How do Christians like you pray? Personal. I pray anytime, any place whenever there’s a need to thank the Lord, there’s a need to pray for grace and for anything that I do. I pray at night. I pray the moment I wake up. Since I became a Christian, it has become more personal. I get to spend more time with the Lord at any given time. Anywhere I am, I can always approach Him, so I can say I have a better relationship with Him now because I become closer to Him. Praying is not just about asking petitions or requests but it is really a constant communication with the Lord. Are members of your fellowship prohibited from pre-marital sex? Di lang naman sa Victory (Christian Fellowship) e. If you read the Bible, it’s written there everything you need to know, everything you’d want to know about what’s bawal or pwede mo gawin. But for me, it’s a personal conviction and we all know that it’s not allowed.

Four pieces of chicken

they were awakened by the noise of an opening door. It was Nenet, coming home from her friend Rita’s place. It was one o’clock Christmas Day. “Nanay, Tatay, nagpauwi sa akin ang nanay ni Rita ng hamon at keso de bola (Mother, father, Rita’s mom gave us ham and cheese),” Nenet whispered to her parents.

“Tabi mo na lamang diyan, anak, bukas na natin kainin iyan (Put them aside, my daughter. Let us just eat them tomorrow).” Nenet laid down beside her mother and hugged her from behind as she fell sleep. Aling Marina uttered a short prayer and thanked God for the blessings they received that day. She closed her eyes to go to sleep, looking forward to picking up more scrap papers later in the morning. She knew that the trash would be plentiful for it was Christmas Day. - AJ

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Spiritual Life
this admonition against those who ate foods sacrificed to pagan idols. Gospel: Mark 1: 40-45. The leper, an outcast from community, has been healed by the power of Jesus’ touch and word. In spite of the repetitious prohibition of Jesus to the healed man, “Tell no one anything,” he told everyone about the miraculous cure. This prohibition could either be that only the priest is to know and can allow the man to re-enter society or that the messiahship of Jesus is not to be prematurely revealed. Reflections: Spiritual “cleanliness” or “purity” which is one of the goals of every religion can lead people to respecting other people’s belief different from one’s own or it can lead others to arrogance and downright condemnation of other’s faiths. Because someone is spiritually clean, he can be more accommodating and kind to those who need “cleaning.” Or because someone is religiously clean, he can stay away and avoid those who are not as clean as he is or his “cleanliness” can be so arrogant that he can be so condescending and fanatic to make the unclean “clean” by hook or by crook. Writing about the obstacles to evangelizing young people today, Fr. Augustine DiNoia, Undersecretary of the Congregation of the Faith, said that what makes Christianity different is God’s desire to share his life with us and this can only be accomplished in Jesus Christ. He went on to say that faith in Christ does not give that person the right to devalue other religions. The Filipino custom, “no touch,” regulates the social behavior of early Filipinos. Filipino women have always been afforded an honored position in the Philippine culture. Public displays of emotions, especially with women, are considered taboo. Certain mentality, such as holding hands between a man and a woman during courtship or a Filipina to remain virtuous cannot allow any man other than her husband or close relative to touch even the tip of her finger, rules social relationships. The Spanish introduction of the devotion and veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose purity and virginal virtuous are presented as models of chastity for Christian women further highlighted this behavior. However, many Filipinos believe that this custom has been replaced negatively by Filipino promiscuity, permissiveness, loose morality, among other things. This change has been partly attributed to the Western influence, especially after the Second World War, when Filipinos economically suffering from the devastations of war gave in to vices, such as prostitution to cater to the sexual needs of US soldiers and robberies of food and clothing from Army depot for bodily sustenance. This Filipino custom, “no touch,” in a certain way relates to today’s Gospel. Jewish legislation demands that anyone with a skin disease as in the case of a leper should be kept “outside the camp” (Leviticus 13: 46) for the good of the community. It was the priest who decided whether the disease was infectious and whether the leper was medically and ritually healed or clean. Until that time nobody should have any contact with the “unclean” person. Anyone who touches the leper becomes unclean also. This story shows how much Jesus would do for us to save us, heal us of our infirmities and sins, and make us “clean” and whole, thereby restoring us back to rightful relationships with God and with others. In the same manner with a good intention, any moral-loving Filipino would probably break the Filipino traditional custom, “no touch,” to show his profound and sincere affection to his beloved. Quotation of the week: “The good Instructor, the wisdom, the Word of the Father, who made man, cares for the whole nature of his creature. The all-sufficient physician of humanity, the savior, heals both body and soul, which are the proper man.” St. Clement of Alexandria.

Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.com

February 13 - 19, 2009

by Msgr. Fernando G. Gutierrez
Read Monsignor’s previous articles by visiting our website at www.asianjournalusa.com

Lower Your Nets

Balintataw
by Virginia H. Ferrer
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Filipino Custom: No Touch
Joke of the week: Pat who was somewhat under the alcoholic weather, stumbled into the bus and happened to slump into a seat beside a Catholic priest. To make conversation, Pat asked, “Father, what’s lumbago?” The padre, seeing a chance to give Pat a combined sermon and lecture, described the causes and signs of lumbago. “Yes, my boy, it’s serious. It comes from too much drinking, too much eating, not enough work, not enough sleep, running around at night, and not doing church duties.” The padre added, “Why did you ask?” Pat answered, “Well, I see by today’s paper that the Holy Father has lumbago.” Readings: First Reading: Leviticus 13: 1-2; 44-46. This chapter is part of a series of laws on legal purity. The laws are meant to maintain a life of holiness by respecting the power of the Creator of life. Proper care should be taken into consideration in any flow of blood, since life is in the blood, such as discoloration of the skin, like leprosy, or bruises, in order to affirm the power of God of life. Obedience to the Torah requires also the mediation of the priesthood that conducts the blood analysis to determine the person’s health and fitness to stay outside or inside the tabernacle community (the walled city). Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 31-11:1. Paul believes that “all things are lawful” in Christ, yet freedom to eat anything should take into consideration the law of charity so as not to scandalize others. He laid down

Isang Hiling
Kung ako lang sana ay pagbibigyan ng isang hiling ito ay ang sa umaga sa tuwing aking paggising maamo mong mukha sana ang una kong mamamalas sapat na iyon para ang maghapon ko’y maging ganap. Sa isang hiling na ito mapapawi na ang lungkot gagaan ang pakiramdam mga tinik ay nabunot kaya ko nang pasanin ano mang bigat ng problema dahil sa nasilayan ko na ang aking sinisinta. Sa tuwing matitigan ang kislap ng ‘yong mga mata naiibang kislap mandin ang sa aki’y bumabadya ‘di ko maipaliwanag at lalong hindi ko talos sana lang ang sa akin ang hiling ko ay maiabot.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit thou make me see everything and show me the way to reach my ideal. You who give me the divine gift to forgive and forget the wrong that is done to me and who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything and confirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my love ones in your perpetual glory, Amen. A Person must pray this 3 consecutive days without stating one’s wish will be granted no matter how difficult may be. Promise to publish this soon as your favor has been granted.
Maria & Nigel, BO

Personal

Novena to Saint Jude
Oh Holy St. Jude, Apostle and Martyr, great in virtue, rich in miracles, near Kingsman of Jesus Christ and faithful intercessor of all who invoke your special patronage in time of need. To you I have recoursed from the depth of my heart and humbly beg, to whom God has given special great power, to come to my assistance in my present, in return I promised to make your name known and cause to be invoke. ( Say 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys and 3 Glorys for nine consecutive days, publication must be promised.) St. Jude, pray for us all who invoke your aid. (This novena has never been known to fail.
Maria & Nigel, BO

February 13 - 19, 2009

Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588

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Page 15

Light & Shadows
by Zena Sultana Babao
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was scammed! I never thought it would happen to me. But it did! I thought I was safe because I am always careful. I even wrote three articles in this column on how to avoid being scammed. However, hackers and scammers have become so high-tech savvy that they could get into anything – even the governments’, creditors’, and institutions’ accounts to steal valuable and secret information.

I

I was scammed!
home. The unmitigated gall of these scammers – they would take the money and leave me holding the bag! How cruel! Immediately after I read the fraudulent email, I logged into my account and I couldn’t get in. The scammers had changed my password! So I logged into my alternate email account and wrote Microsoft telling them what happened. A minute or two later, I got an email from the Support Services asking me to answer some questions so they could verify if it was really me. I did! Microsoft sent another email telling me that after they verified my answers, they will send me instructions early the following morning so I could get my account back. Early Monday morning, I logged into my alternate account, and the instructions were there: change the password with a new one, don’t use any former passwords, and change all personal info. I did! After doing that, I logged into my account that was hacked, and this time, I got it in. It’s mine again! I saw the emails they have sent out to everyone in my contact list. I also saw that they changed my personal info, and that my country was Iceland instead of the United States. Thanks God I have an alternate account, or I wouldn’t be able to receive instructions on how to get my other account back. The Microsoft people are to be commended for their prompt and good service! And I thanked the Lord that my son was there, because if he wasn’t, I would not be able to find out right away that I have been scammed. Immediately after I got my account back, I emailed everyone in my contact list that I have been scammed, and not to send anything at all. My husband, my eldest son, and I share some contacts, especially those who are in the martial arts world, so they also sent emails telling our shared contacts what happened. I started receiving calls Sunday

It was such an unnerving and stressful experience having my privacy and peace of mind violated. It caused me a great deal of anguish because my family and close friends who received their fraudulent email were agonized thinking that I was really in grave danger. And it caused me embarrassment too, because those who were not that close a friend probably said, “Why is she asking me for $3,500? We are not even close friends.” Here is how I found out that I was scammed. Last Sunday afternoon, around 5:00 p.m. or so, we were gathered downstairs for the joint birthday party of my youngest son and my grandson. My eldest son who was upstairs came down with his laptop and said, “Look Mom. I just got this email, and it looks like one of your e-mail accounts has been hacked.” I took a look, and there was the fraudulent email! It said that I went on a trip to the United Kingdom, was robbed of my belongings in the hotel where I stayed, and my cell phone was stolen. The scammers were asking for a loan of $3,500 to be sent to this address: 4 Adamson Road, Swiss Cottage London MW3 3HP. The email asked everyone in my contact list to send the money via Western Union Money Transfer, and to give the transfer control number and the transfer details. The e-mail also said that I would refund the money when I got back

night from friends and acquaintances here in the United States and other countries, and even as far away as Australia, verifying if I am really in London. I assured them that I am okay and I am here in San Diego, and thanked them for their concern. Some friends told me that they saw through the scammers’ ploy because they have been scammed before, and knew the scammers’ modus operandi. Some friends who knew how I write said that what gave the scammers away was the way the fraudulent email was written. The sentences were strung together without any spacing between each sentence, and there were a few grammatical errors. One friend, M, said, “This is not Zena. She would never write like this.” She went into the Internet and found out that “4 Adamson Rd., Swiss Cottage London” is Best Western Hotel. Another friend, A, who is a very prominent leader in the Filipino community here in San Diego and National City, emailed me and said that another friend of hers has been victimized too. And with almost the same wording as the fraudulent email sent in my name! She said she assured everyone who called her that I am safe in San Diego, and I did not go to London. Another friend, also named M, blasted the scammers and warned them that the FBI was already on to them. My Publisher-Editor Sim Silverio called me Sunday night, and advised me to check my bank account so I could verify that it is safe and not tampered with. One contact, a Captain in the San Diego Police Department, immediately knew that it was a scam and told my husband so. Another good friend of mine, an Elvis Tribute Artist, emailed the scammers and said, “If you really are my friend Zena, tell me what I do for a living, and where I am now.” The scammers could not answer that of course. My Elvis friend assured me he would never send the money because he knows I don’t have the habit of asking friends for a loan, especially to the tune of $3,500. And he said he knew for sure I was not in London, because we keep in touch. My friend from Utah, C, became alarmed and immediately changed her email address and password. My close friend from Arkansas, W, who also publishes an Asian newspaper, said that if the letter asked for $500 instead of $3,500, she would have sent it right away. The greediness of the scammers gave them away! (Continued on page 21)

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Page 16

O’k Pooh at si Booba live at Pala Casino
A group of talented artists continues to dominate the concert arena in the Philippines and here in the US . Three of the hottest entertainers today – Pooh, K Brosas and Rufa Mae Quinto – will invade the foreign shores with their upcoming US Tour. Audiences can expect total entertainment when the three artists ignite the stage with their livewire performances. Pooh, K and Rufa Mae will be staging a show entitled O’K Pooh at si Booba at The Grand Cabaret of Pala Casino Spa and Resort on February 22, 2009, Sunday , 5pm. Sexy comedienne Rufa Mae can pull off a daring performance and combine it with her signature comic flair. Despite being busy doing comedy, drama, hosting and movie producing, Rufa Mae still gives time to her singing career. Funnyman Pooh is one of the most talented comedians in the Philippines today. He started his career as a sing-along master. His innate talent comes out when he exchanges witty banters with audiences during his gigs. Ha can make the crowds break into laughter the moment he delivers his spiels. Pooh can make even the loneliness princess laugh with his hilarious impersonations of famous like Manny Pacquio. K Brosas also began her career as a sing-along master. Since

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“Now it’s the World Bank speaking. There is a reputable financial institution dragging the name of FG,” he said. He said that a Japanese contractor and nine Filipino contractors could link Mr. Arroyo to the bid-rigging of road projects. “Among the ten, the Japanese and Filipino contractors were the ones who have given substantial testimonies about the First Gentleman. One is a Japanese and the other contractor is a Filipino. The other witnesses

February 13 - 19, 2009
were the ones who tagged a former senator, the congressmen, other politicians and other government officials,” Lacson said.

in their probe had the same version of how to bag a contract for infrastructure projects in the country – through the right connections at the right price. They also lamented that it was an open secret that contractors would have to adhere to the process or they would be kicked out of the loop. They expressed helplessness because despite the vulgarity of the bribery and collusion, it seemed that no one was in charge to put an end to it. An informant of the WB said: “The corruption in the bidding is extensively from FG (First Gentleman, Mr. Arroyo), congressmen to DWPH officer and contractors.” “No one have (sic) the ability to stop it,” the report said. A Filipino contractor said that in the past, projects could be awarded to a contractor after bribing individuals within the agency. But he said the system had changed and in many instances, politicians organized the bidding. Lacson urges filing of raps Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the Philippine government should take legal action against several officials, including First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, that were implicated in the World Bank (WB) report on alleged rigging of the bidding for government infrastructure projects. “So what I’m trying to say is, why does it take the World Bank to take notice and take action and the Philippine government doesn’t act?” Lacson told local newsmen in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan, where he attended yesterday the inauguration of a school building that was constructed under Mayor Reynaldo Velasco, a former police official and the senator’s classmate at the Philippine Military Academy. He said Malacañang always claims that the alleged anomalies involving top administration officials and Mr. Arroyo are mere speculations.

Rufa Mae Quinto she used to rule videoke bars, her hosting and comic skills come out effortlessly on stage. K is a complete package. She is a singer, host, comedienne, and a theatre performer rolled into one. For inquiries, call 951-500-0653, 858-342-0818, 626-374-4906 , 714932-7532 or email at elljoo64@ yahoo.com.

(Continued from page 1) other international channels like HBO. With the planned orientation that ABS-CBN Global will soon provide to RCN call center agents, he forecasts that the number of TFC subscribers on RCN will triple within the year. Ramlall also presented SantosConcio with U.S. broadsheets that carried the historic pre- to post-oathtaking stories of new U.S. President Barack Obama. An appreciative Santos-Concio revealed that she “admired President Obama. He serves as an inspiration not only to the Americans but also to other

RCN executive visits ABS-CBN offices in Manila

carriage of TFC. A grateful Ramlall thanked everyone at ABS-CBN at the conclusion of his visit. RCN is a leading provider of all-digital television, high-capacity data, and voice services to residential, business customers and service providers. It carries TFC, the leading 24-hour all-Filipino news and entertainment channel, and recently added Myx, the only music and lifestyle channel dedicated to the AsianAmerican community. With the partnership of ABS-CBN and RCN, TFC and Myx continue to expand its reach in the U.S. to audiences in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC,

Host Willie Revillame acknowledges the presence of RCN SVP Richard Ramlall in Wowowee. nations.” Other highlights of Ramlall’s visit included a complete facility tour that took him to studios where popular TFC shows like TV Patrol, Bandila, Deal or No Deal, Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba and ASAP ’09 are shot. He also met several talents and made special guest appearances in Wowowee and Boy and Kris. At the special luncheon at Restaurant 9501 in the building’s 14th floor, Ramlall watched an audiovisual presentation on ABS-CBN Global’s breadth of offerings in service of the Filipino throughout the world. Later, the Global’s Creative Communications team shot him on-cam for the on-air promo of RCN’s New York and Philadelphia. About ABS-CBN International ABS-CBN International is the North America arm of ABS-CBN Global which was established in 1994 to be of service to the Filipino worldwide. With the launch of its flagship brand, The Filipino Channel (TFC), ABS-CBN International became the first and most successful Filipino broadcaster in the United States. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is the largest business subsidiary of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, the Philippines’ leading broadcasting company.

‘Money must be paid as high up as the president’
(Continued from page 1) contract it would be necessary to pay the head of the bureau and politicians several million yen (several tens of thousands of US dollars),” the excerpts, provided by government sources, stated. But Suzuka said he did not have any direct contact with President Arroyo and only met with Barbers and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, who “first discussed bribes” and that they had a “rough approach.” Excerpts of the WB report on the blacklisting of three Filipino and four Chinese construction firms for collusive practices in the bidding for WB-funded government projects did not only name names of politicians and government officials involved in the anomalous practice, but also provided leads that investigators could pursue. The Japanese witness, who left the country in 2002, “learned that money was important to do business in the Philippines,” which was “a fundamental difference in their way of thinking.” Suzuka’s local agent, who was identified as Trix Lim, said he would have to pay to get a contract and that dollars would resolve any problems with the WB. The Japanese said he met Lim in 2001 at the Diamond Hotel with policemen and public officials and “Tito Miranda,” identified as an assistant director of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 4, to discuss the payments. “Mr. Suzuka thought Mr. Miranda was a secretary to Senator Barbers; Mr. Miranda asked Mr. Suzuka to pay the cost of a trip to Japan for Sen. Barbers; Mr. Suzuka refused,” the report said. Filipino, Korean and Chinese contractors interviewed by the WB

February 13 - 19, 2009

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Page 17

Laughing Matter
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Valentine cards
A guy walks into a post office one day to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing “Love” stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them. His curiosity getting the better of him, he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he is doing. The man says “I’m sending out 1,000 Valentine cards signed, ‘Guess who?’” “But why?” asks the man. “I’m a divorce lawyer,” the man replies. *** Valentine’s Day Oneliners What do farmers give their wives on Valentine’s Day? Hog and kisses! *** What would you get it you crossed Odie with the God of love? *** Why did the pig give his girlfriend a box of candy? It was Valenswine’s Day! *** Do skunks celebrate Valentine’s Day? *** Sure, they’re very scent-imental! *** What did the chocolate syrup say to the ice cream? “I’m sweet on you!” *** What did the paper clip say to the magnet? “I find you very attractive.” *** What did the French chef give his wife for Valentine’s Day? A hug and a quiche! *** What would you call a woman A stupid cupid!

who goes out with Jon? Desperate! *** What did one pickle say to the other? “You mean a great dill to me.” *** Knock, Knock! Who’s there? Olive. Olive who? Olive you! *** What did the elephant say to his girlfriend? “I love you a ton!” *** What did the bat say to his girlfriend? “You’re fun to hang around with.” *** Did you hear about the nearsighted porcupine? He fell in love with a pincushion! *** What did the pencil say to the paper? “I dot my i’s on you!” *** Liz: “I can’t be your valentine for medical reasons.” Jon: “Really?” Liz: “Yeah, you make me sick!” *** Why did the cannibal break up with his girlfriend? She didn’t suit his taste!

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be among the most economically successful of America’s immigrants. They also “show the lowest divorce or separation rate of any group except the Chinese and Asian Indians, and fewer native Filipinos live in poverty than any other group.” The more closely U.S.-born Filipinos know immigrant Filipinos, the more particularized and positive are their opinions. However, when they had little contact, their opinions were vague, polite and negative. It is important to note that many FOBs do not entirely agree with the attributes the U.S.-borns ascribe to them—especially the negative ones. They feel they, too, have something “nice” to say to them. ________ * This writer thanks the following for their assistance in the preparation of the above article: George Garrovillas, Luis M. Sapinoso, Janice A. Villarosa, and Florante Defensor.

February 13 - 19, 2009

Take your pick: $10,000 or a grand vacation package
REDWOOD CITY, CA February 6, 2009 - This is the choice that US citizens will have to make when they join the BigAtin Bigay Todo Sweepstakes Grand Draw. By March 17, five lucky individuals will either be $10,000 richer or will be enjoying a grand vacation to the Philippines, complete with free airfare, accommodations, pocket money and other prizes. ABS-CBN International, on the 15th anniversary of its flagship product The Filipino Channel (TFC), has been giving away $1,000 to 10 individuals monthly since December 2008. “This is our way of thanking our Kapamilyas who have been supporting TFC through the years. This is also to give back to Filipino Americans who have been helping their families and less fortunate kababayans in the Philippines,” said Chief Operating Officer Raffy Lopez. James Gomez, an active guard reserve from Bell, California, is one of those who won in the first draw. When asked what he would do with the cash prize, a grinning James said, “I’ll have to ask my boss”. He was referring to his wife, Merlee, a Filipina who has chosen to use the money for a good cause. “I’m going to help my brother in the Philippines or other people there,” said Merlee. She feels fortunate to be able to give to those who are in most need. “Little money or big money is good because it could help other people,” she added. Another lucky winner, Priscilla Basto of Fort Washington, Maryland prefers to use her $1,000 for a trip back to the Philippines. “Kasi gusto kong umuwi sa Pilipinas kaya ako sumali (I want to return to the Philippines that’s why I joined),” Priscilla said. When Don Jagoda Associates, the agency officiating the sweepstakes, called to inform her that she won, she got so excited: “First time kong manalo! Sa mga lotto, lotto hindi ako nananalo (This is my first time to win! I never win the lotto),” the very lively Priscilla narrated. Unlike James and Merlee, Priscilla is not a TFC subscriber. She however started using Sarimanok One, the rechargeable phone card of ABS-CBN soon after she won in the sweepstakes. “Sana ituluy-tuloy itong promo na ito (I hope this promo will be sustained),” suggested Priscilla. “Baka magpabalik-balik ako sa Pilipinas ‘pag nagkataon (I could be flying back and forth to the Philippines if I get lucky).” Meanwhile, Zenaida Garcia, a cashier at the Corry Navy Base commissary in Pensacola, Florida was shocked to learn that the promo is for real. She recalled her reaction: “Oh Daddy, it’s true! We won $1,000! We’re going to Disney World!” Zenaida is one of the latest winners of Bigay Todo who decided to treat her family to a weeklong vacation in Orlando, Florida. For the Garcias, it was a much needed break full of priceless memories. As of press time, 30 individuals have already won $1,000 each and after finding out how easy it is to join, more and more have decided to send in their entries. ABS-CBN Management is pleased with the results. Lopez said, “We’re so happy that many have joined. This

is really intended to support Filipino communities in the U.S. as we have been doing since 1994. We hope that more and more Filipino Americans would take advantage of Bigay Todo, especially during these trying times.” For more information, please visit www.bigaytodosweepstakes.com.

Sharing facts & stereotypes about Pinoys
(Continued from page 6) among these newcomers. Some, as studies indicate, have apparently been overwhelmed by America. The surprising paradox is that these new Filipino immigrants are doing better than U.S-born Filipinos. While U.S.-borns earn less than other Asian minorities, reports the Civil Rights Commission in 1988, Filipino newcomers seem to

February 13 - 19, 2009

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until May are considered the peak seasons of travel. Meanwhile, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has signed an agreement with the Department of Tourism in an attempt to encourage more investments in the tourism sector by creating tourism economic zones. “The signing of this supplemental MOA signals the country’s strong investor confidence despite the global crunch. In fact, we expect a boost in investment as we offer lower costs in workforce, construction and tourism infrastructure development,” Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano said. The supplemental MOA will give Special Economic Zone status to tourism development zones or tourism estates. Pursuant to Republic Act 7916, as amended by RA 8748, tourism development zones/tourism estates may be granted Special Economic Zone Status upon registration to PEZA and issuance of the required presidential proclamation. PEZA, however, will only consider proposed development tourism zones endorsed by the DOT. “Tourism is seen to be one of the strongest propellers of the economy for the year ahead. Together with the government, we seek to intensify the impact of this industry on the economy, particularly by encouraging investments and creating opportunities for tourism economic zones,” Durano explained.

Page 19

Food for Thought
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A Different Perspective
A father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad.” “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah” said the son. “So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father proudly. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” With this the boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.” Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don’t have. What is one’s persons worthless object is another’s prize possession. It is all based on one’s perspective. Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for all the bounty we have instead of worrying about wanting more. Take joy in what you have and see the treasure in it.

(Continued from page 1) encourage more people to take a trip. “There are some airlines that offer airfares for as low as P1,500 roundtrip for Palawan or Boracay,” he said. Room rates have also gone down by 10 percent, still in an attempt to prop up domestic tourism to offset the slack in international tourism. Because of the slowdown in the global economy, the government said tourism will have a negative growth or a flat growth at best. “Maybe we can experience a little growth if the domestic tourism picks up. We see this happening. I think this is the trend,” Cabalza said over the weekend at the sidelines of the three-day travel expo at the SMX Convention Center. “Instead of traveling overseas, people opt to go to local destinations and the cheap fares encourage people to travel. Who can resist a bargain,” he said. With the air fare and room rate cuts, domestic tourism is expected to increase by 15 percent. The anticipated increase will come from travels of associations like the Philippine Medical Association, the government sector and various schools, Cabalza said. He said the months of November

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February 13 - 19, 2009

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(Continued from page 1) Only the lechon stalls remain, while continuing to proliferate, pushing farther up Retiro St. — such as Mila’s Lechon, which operates a take-out stall and resto on the corner of Mariveles St. Across it still stands my ninong and ninang’s house, the residence of the Cabayan family for over half-a-century now. I was the ring-bearer at their wedding in the early ’50s. Clara Aguinaldo was my mother’s younger sister. Before she married Isagani Cabayan of Binondo, they had become my godparents. Ninong Isagani passed away several years ago. He and my dad, who had gone earlier, were the whisky drinkers in the clan that partied every Christmas Eve in the Cabayan house, and reunited a week later for the New Year’s Eve dinner which my mom hosted, as it was also her birthday. Now all four are gone: my parents and godparents. Ninang Clarita passed away, at 85, close to midnight on Rizal

Memories of La Loma

Day 2008, an hour before her older sister’s birth anniversary. We laid her to rest at Norte two Sundays ago. In the anthology Belonging: Stories on Relationships, edited by Erlinda Panlilio, published by Anvil and released last October, I contributed an essay on godparenting. Cited was my ninong and ninang’s benign influence on my own narrative as the “caring proxy” — or how I took my godparenting role seriously because my own godparents had set an example. “In San Beda College, at Catechism classes in my early youth, we were told that the godparent was the proxy parent, or even had to become the foster one should the real parent leave this life. As I grew up, my experience on that score proved to be exactly how our Roman Catholic mentors said it should be. “My ninong and ninang were a couple. Ninong Isagani had paid a 10-year courtship to my Ninang Clarita, who was my mom’s younger sister. They finally married in time to become my godparents. And through the decades, they functioned as such, religiously, giving me Christmas presents until these became token items when I turned adult. Sometimes it wasn’t so token from Ninong Isagani; it could be

a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black. “I was really close to them both, and loved them both as persons and role players. On Christmas Eve, the clan would get together at their place; it would be my mom’s turn to host the affair on New Year’s Eve. On both occasions, when my dad had already passed away, as he did rather early, I’d take his place among the titos and clink whisky glasses with the senior guys. “Until this past decade, it became just Ninong and me. He had shown particular concern for me as the firstborn, and often told me how I’d have to take care of my mom and siblings, from the time of our dad’s demise. But in the last few years, as he himself started to hover past the pre-departure area, he just smiled toothlessly at me as I took on much of the whisky bottle for the two of us. Then he’d go into a coughing fit, and I’d help lift him up and retire him in his bedroom. “His departure some years ago marked the end of a long era for me. Now his widow, my ninang and Tita Clarita, has been beset with Alzheimer’s. She recognizes no one, even this eldest of her nephews and nieces, and whom I know she truly cared for.” That was written four months ago. Early in December, I visited Ninang at the Capitol Medical Center where she lay in a coma after suffering another stroke. Two weeks later my cousins took her home, along with a hospital bed, medical contraptions, and a nurse. On Christmas Eve, our clan tradition pushed through, with the guests taking turns checking on the matriarch asleep in her room. It would be last time I’d see her alive. I understand that after Christmas, they still managed to wake her and sit her up on a wheelchair for a family photograph in the sala, amidst all the season’s festive decorations. On Rizal Day, it was her first time not to show up for the New Year’s Eve party that had been moved a day forward. Her oldest daughter Marissa, vacationing from Jeddah where she

supervises a hospital, had to stay with her in La Loma. When the rest of her daughters and the growing brood went back to her house, it was just in time to bid her farewell, as she had another seizure. Receiving a voice call from La Loma that night, I knew my beloved aunt and ninang had gone on to join my mom. And the inevitable process of deepening sadness started. During the funeral procession from Lourdes Church on Retiro, past Mayon thence Mariveles towards Norte a little over a kilometer away, there was occasion to gaze up at the blue house where countless kids had scrambled on all fours for the largesse of coins tossed every which way on Christmas Eve. And as her casket was borne inside the family chamber off Norte’s main street, I peeled away from the crowd of grieving kin to indulge alone in bright crisp sunshine. Soon it would be noon. Lining the avenue were painted concrete statues that included that of a lovely, sad-faced angel with one arm shorn off. Past her photogenic mien and figure was a bountiful jackfruit tree guarding another graveyard — groaning with over a dozen fruits, the beneficiary of fertile ground. Life’s cycles spelled yet another ending and beginning early in January. Memories of La Loma unfold as a continuum.

(Continued from page 15) Many other calls and emails came in, some deeply concerned, and some cracking jokes like, “So, how’s the Queen?” or “Did you say Hi to Big Ben?” Everyone who called and emailed made me feel much better. Thanks God for caring friends! One friend was so concerned that I had been kidnapped by terrorists, and was about to start collecting money to bail me out. I’m glad she didn’t send any, or she and the others who contributed would have been scammed too. With all my heart, I thank you so much, my dear family and friends! This scamming incident, unfortu-

I was scammed!

nate though it was, made me aware and probably would make you the readers aware that it could happen to you too. It would pay to be ever vigilant! It would also be a good idea to change your email accounts password and personal info once in a while to keep it safe. Evil people with criminal minds will do everything in their power to separate us from our hard-earned cash. And it’s not just the money – it’s the violation of our privacy and peace of mind that hurts most! These scammers are probably in front of their computers, 24/7, extracting valuable information to further their criminal careers. These evil people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They are vicious, cruel and shameless! They should be made to pay for their nefarious and dastardly deeds!

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