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December 31, 2013 1

Vol. XXIII, No. 4 Online: www. December 31, 2013

A Pinoy touch to Americas favorite holiday fare
FAIRFAX, Va. Manila Mails
resident culinary expert and food
columnist Evelyn Bunoan was
featured in a recent article on the
Catholic Herald about how Fili-
pinos are giving their own avor
to traditional American holiday
The article by Alexandra
Greely showed how Filipinos in
America celebrate Thanksgiving
and other major holidays.
Now a longtime resi-
dent of the United States and a
renowned chef in the local Fili-
pino community, Bunoan has
adapted well to her new home-
land, embracing its language,
customs and holidays and
has even learned how to roast a
turkey, Greely wrote.
But she continues to cook
her native dishes such as stews,
noodles, pastries, rice-based
sweets and lentils, which she
sells to customers at her diminu-
tive store, the Philippine Oriental
Market and Deli on Lee High-
way in Arlington. At noon, the
market can be jammed, as cus-
tomers buy her freshly cooked
fare, leaving the steam tables and
shelves almost empty.
Since its inception, the store
has evolved from a market car-
rying Filipino food products to
a mini restaurant, carry-out and
food market.
Evelyn said her family
feast feeds 20 or so people that
includes chicken morcon (a large
Continued on page 21
MANILA. Ofcials from the
two entities that have given much
to typhoon Yolanda (Hiayan)
victims saw for themselves the
massive devastation it brought
to a large part of the Philippines
and declared that more needs to
be done to help them.
United Nations Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon said he
was very saddened by what
I have seen in Tacloban, total
destruction and an enormous
number of people have been
lost. He visited the hardest-hit
city last Dec. 21 to inspect relief
efforts and comfort survivors.
United States Secretary of
State John Kerry also visited the
disaster zone just days earlier
and noted, This is a devastation
that is unlike anything that Ive
It is really quite stunning.
It looks like a war zone in every
respect, and for many people, it
is, he said. Latest reports placed
Village road stand-off sparks
political skirmish
MANILA. What appeared
like a simple incident over a road
barricade in a posh Makati vil-
lage has blown up to a national
controversy. The question
whether it was a case of one
local ofcial pushing his weight
around or a case of overzealous
guards making a bad call has
been overshadowed by skir-
mishes between two political
clans eyeing the 2016 presiden-
tial elections.
Makati Mayor Junjun Binay,
son of Vice President Jejomar
Binay, gured in a tense stand-
off with security guards at the
gated Dasmarinas Village in
Makati last Nov. 30. When video
DHS weighs grant of TPS for Pinoys in US
Newly-conrmed Homeland
Security Deputy Secretary Ale-
jandro Mayorkas has acknowl-
edged calls to grant Temporary
Protected Status (TPS) to Filipi-
nos in the United States but also
urged them to avail of existing
relief measures.
Meanwhile, Filipino Ameri-
can leaders thanked President
Aquino for formally request-
ing the United States to grant
protected status for Philippine
The granting of TPS is one
of the assistance being proposed
for the Philippines following the
deadly super typhoon Yolanda
(Haiyan) that struck the country
last Nov. 8, leaving over 6,000
dead and many more injured
Banner year for Pinay beauty queens:
PH wins Ms. Intl tilt
MANILA. The Filipina jug-
gernaut in the worlds top pag-
eants continues after Alabang-
born Bea Rose Santiago was
crowned 2013 Miss International
in Tokyo last Dec. 17, the 3rd
Filipina to win a major beauty
pageant this year, making 2013
the most prolic for Philippine
beauty queens.
Santiago bested 66 other
contestants in the 53rd staging
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon surveys the devastation of
super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Tacloban City.
Manila Mail columnist Evelyn Bunoan shows how to prepare favorite Pinoy
holiday viands (photo courtesy of Catholic Herald)
Alejandro Mayorkas
Bea Rose Santiago Johanna Datul
Continued on page 21
Continued on page 22
Continued on page 22 Continued on page 22
December 31, 2013 22
December 31, 2013 3
Pelosi pushes Obama on deportations
dent Obama is getting some heat
from impatient political allies
who are now pushing him to
slow down in the deportation of
undocumented immigrants.
House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi spoke out earlier
this month against the Obama
administrations pace of depor-
tations. In an interview with
Telemundos Enfoque, Pelosi
said the administration should
exercise some discretion about
who is being deported.
Our view of the law is, if
somebody is here without suf-
cient documentation, that is not
reason for deportation, Pelosi
said. If someone has broken
the law or committed a felony or
something then that is a different
When most people
are apprehended, they are
deported, the San Francisco
solon continued. I dont see any
reason for these deportations.
But Pelosi stopped short
of calling on President Obama
to wield executive authority to
halt deportations a subject that
has triggered legal debate in the
immigrant community.
Some of her remarks were
not aired by Telemundo, but a
transcript was later released by
the DRM Action Coalition, an
advocacy group.
A spokesman for Pelosi,
Drew Hammill, said her remarks
were simply restating her long-
held belief that being an undocu-
mented immigrant is not a basis
for deportation.
Immigrant advocacy groups
say on average, about 1,100
undocumented immigrants have
been deported from the United
States every day under the
Obama administration. Earlier
this month, 29 House Democrats
wrote to Obama asking him to
stop deportations for undocu-
mented immigrants who would
qualify to become legalized
under immigration reform bills,
such as the Gang of Eight legis-
lation that passed the Senate in
House Minority Leader Nancy
Pinoy MD pleads guilty in health insurance scam
physician Ovid Mercene has
pled guilty in a health insurance
scam that included recruiting
homeless people from the citys
skid row district.
The Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) said Mercene
ran the alleged scheme from
2008 through 2012.
Mercene allegedly knew
that many of the patients were
transported from downtown
L.A.s skid row and not from a
purported care consortium,
the U.S. Attorneys ofce said.
He admitted the patients
away from other hospital
patients and gave some of them
smoking breaks even though
they suffered from respiratory
illnesses, the U.S. District Attor-
neys ofce said.
During their hospital stays,
Mercene would administer
numerous unnecessary tests and
discharge the patients to nursing
facilities even though they did
not require that kind of care.
Mercenes case was the rst
of an ongoing investigation by
several state and federal depart-
ments, including the FBI and the
Internal Revenue Service.
The name of the hospital
was not released because the
investigation is ongoing, author-
ities said.
Mercene ultimately billed
Medicare and Medi-Cal more
than $1.8 million for medically
unnecessary services.
December 31, 2013 44
Pinoy caregivers celebrate victory in wage dispute
from three San Francisco have
won their months-long claims
against their employers, totaling
more than $800,000 in unpaid
Filipino caregivers from
Sunset Gardens, Nacarios Home
of San Francisco and Veals Resi-
dential Care Homes joined other
workers and their supporters at a
Migrants Day rites last Dec. 18 to
raise awareness about wage theft
in the industry and the rights of
all workers regardless of their
immigration status.
Over the last few years,
the Filipino Community Center
has proudly supported Filipino
caregivers and also hotel and
restaurant workers in reclaim-
ing over $1 million in unpaid
wages, stated Mario de Mira,
FCCs workers rights program
We congratulate these Fili-
pino caregivers in particular for
their victory in asserting their
rights in an industry that takes
advantage of workers, especially
immigrant workers.
Filing their claims with
the Ofce of Labor Standards
Enforcement (OLSE), the work-
ers faced conditions similar
to many other residential care
home workers.
Caring for the elderly and
disabled, caregivers sometimes
work nearly 24-hours per day,
but they are rarely paid the
legally mandated minimum
wage, overtime, or double time
for these extended work sched-
Together with City Attorney
Dennis Herrera, OLSE has now
reached settlements and verbal
agreements with seven residen-
tial care facilities over the last
two years, recovering a total of
over $1.5 million in wages.
So often, low-income,
immigrant workers fail to see the
wages to which they are entitled.
For them, the law is nothing
but words on paper. But these
workers fought to realize their
rights, and, by doing so, showed
what can be done when govern-
ment and the community come
together in the ght for wage jus-
tice, said Jay Shin, an attorney
with The Wage Justice Center.
Charlotte Noss of Work-
place Justice Initiative said, The
home care industry is rife with
this kind of abuse and exploita-
tion, especially of low-wage and
immigrant workers. It should be
clear to all employers that there
will be consequences if employ-
ees are not paid what they are
owed under the law.
The caregivers victory
comes at a time when the city is
considering a potential increase
in minimum wage to $15 an
Pinoy priest
invents confession
PHOENIX, Arizona. A
retired Filipino priest who now
lives in this city has invented a
computerized confession tool for
the speech and hearing impaired.
Fr. Romuald Zantua calls it
the St. Damien confession box
that he says is the result of years
working with hearing-impaired
I ask the question: How can
those who cannot hear go to con-
fession? Zantua said in an inter-
view with correspondent Fleur
Magbanua-Mansur that was
aired on ABS-CBNs The Filipino
Channel (TFC).
Confession is a dialogue.
Once in a while I lose my voice.
I have ministered confession
in the hospital with (patients)
tracheotomies. How can those
people in that condition go to
The program is installed
on two laptops connected by a
cable. Internet is disabled to help
ensure condentiality. Written
and sign language video instruc-
tions guide both penitent and
Its like talking in a chat
room, in a secure one, he said.
The way you confess in a regu-
lar way, only you have to type
your sins. The priest likewise
types his admonition or pen-
With this device, I can now
minister the sacrament of pen-
ance and reconciliation to those
who cannot talk and those who
cannot hear, he said.
For now, the device is pro-
grammed in English. But he
plans to input other languages
while waiting approval from the
Fil-Am sailor cooks up morale
aboard US warship
MANILA. Navy Petty Of-
cer 2nd Class Edgar Tandoy
is a Kalookan City native who
works in the kitchen of the
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
USS George Washington. He
reigned supreme in a spin-
off of the widely-watched Iron
Chef TV food contest series in,
of all places, Russia.
It was 2010 when Tandoy
won a competition aboard USS
Blue Ridge that sent him to Vlad-
ivostok, Russia, to compete with
one of Russias top chefs to earn
the title of Iron Chef of Russia.
He prepared for the compe-
tition by honing his senses. If
it doesnt smell right, it doesnt
taste right, so he quit smoking
because it made everything smell
off and taste bland he said in an
interview with Navy Seaman
Liam Kennedy published earlier
this month in the US Navy news
He was among the scores of
Filipino-American crew mem-
bers of the USS George Washing-
ton who took part in humanitar-
ian relief efforts in the Visayas
following the onslaught of super
typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last
My wifes family has
been affected by the typhoon,
Tandoy said in an article written
by Navy Seaman Liam Kennedy.
They lived next to the coast and
lost their house. Food and clean
water are fairly scarce, because
they are far away from any major
Tandoy is a native of East
Bagong Barrio in Metro Manilas
Kalookan City, and his wife has
10 family members who live
in the areas affected by super
typhoon Yolanda.
Tandoy cooks up meals
served daily aboard the ship that
contribute to the crews morale.
He puts a lot of passion
into everything he cooks, said
Navy Chief Petty Ofcer Mat-
thew McFarlane, Tandoys lead-
ing chief. I have not heard one
complaint. He is an extremely
good cook.
Tandoy has been offered a
promotion as head cook in the
commanding ofcers galley, but
he said he respectfully turned it
down to cook for the crew on the
mess decks.
I turned down the offer
because I felt that I needed
to cook for a larger group of
people, he explained. My food
is meant to be enjoyed by a mass
of people. I am just a regular
cook, not a Russian Iron Chef.
Pinoy activists press for benets, better working conditions for caregivers.
Fr. Ronald Zantua
US Navy Petty Ofcer 2nd Class Edgar Tandoy at Iron Chef Russia competi-
December 31, 2013 5
Filipino peacekeepers get UN Service Medal
MANILA. Hundreds of
Filipino peacekeepers are nally
home after completing extended
tours of duty at Golan Heights
in war-torn Syria and Liberia,
earning praises from the United
Nations and leaders of countries
where they served.
Gen. Emmanuel Bautista,
Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) chief, conferred service
medals on behalf of the UN to
the 332-strong 6th Philippine
contingent to the UN Disengage-
ment Observer Force (UNDOF)
and the 117-man Philippine
contingent to the UN Mission in
Liberia last Dec. 18.
Twenty-ve Filipino peace-
keepers were briey held by
Syrian rebels in two separate
incidents last March and May.
The Filipinos are part of a multi-
national UN force that also
includes soldiers from India, Ire-
land (who replaced those from
Austria who were pulled out fol-
lowing attacks and the Filipinos
abductions), Nepal and Fiji.
A fresh battalion of Fili-
pino peacekeepers, including 15
females, are now deployed in
the Golan Heights, a buffer zone
separating Israel and Syria that
was established after the Yom
Kippur War in 1973.
Bautista also pinned the UN
Service Medal on the widow
of Sgt. Benson Angot who died
from malaria while serving in
Liberia. He was part of a Philip-
pine military and police presence
in the country that is recovering
from decades of civil war that
claimed an estimated quarter of
a million people.
You are our countrys
ambassadors of peace and secu-
rity, Bautista told them at cer-
emonies in Fort Bonifacio, the
Philippine Army headquarters.
The Department of Foreign
Affairs had mulled pulling out
the peacekeepers from Golan
Heights earlier this year follow-
ing concerns about a chemical
attack, but decided to keep them
there after receiving an assur-
ance from the United Nations
they would be given adequate
equipment and better protection.
Members of Filipino UN Golan Heights contingent with AFP chief Gen.
Emmanuel Bautista at Camp Aguinaldo.
December 31, 2013 66
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Forgotten US cemetery finally gets some attention
CLARK, Pampanga. An
old American military cemetery
buried by foot-deep ash during
the catastrophic Mt. Pinatubo
eruption in 1991 will nally get
some much-needed restoration
to bring it up to par with the
American cemetery at Fort Boni-
facio and elsewhere.
US Ambassador Philip
Goldberg and Arnel Casanova,
president of Manilas Bases
Conversion and Development
Authority signed an agreement
last Dec. 16 to restore the Clark
Veterans Cemetery at the US Air
Forces old Clark Field base in
Its been basically untended
after being buried in ash until
visiting US veterans were
shocked to discover in 1994 the
condition of the seven-hectare
cemetery, the nal resting place
for thousands of Americans and
Filipino veterans. They lobbied
the US Congress to restore it.
President Obama recently
signed a law that will nance the
restoration and upkeep of the
Philippine-owned cemetery at
least for the next decade.
This brings to a close a
three-year campaign effort to get
the US cemetery to be remem-
bered, said former Navy Capt.
Dennis Wright, who saw action
in Vietnam and is now a busi-
ness executive in Clark, which
has become a bustling industrial
and recreation center.
We used to call it the cem-
etery that America forgot, he
John Gilbert, a retired US
Army ofcer said initial US
government funding of $5 mil-
lion would bring the cemetery
at par with other beautifully
landscaped burial grounds for
US veterans in Manila and else-
The cemetery holds the
remains of 8,600 people, includ-
ing 2,200 Americans and nearly
700 allied Philippine Scouts
who took part in conicts from
the early 1900s to the resistance
against the Japanese occupation
in World War II.
Clark Cemetery in Pampanga.
Supreme Court blocks Meralco bid to impose big rate hike
MANILA. The Supreme
Court momentarily stopped on
Christmas Eve the biggest single
power rate hike in the Philip-
Although already on holi-
day recess, Chief Justice Ma.
Lourdes Sereno issued a 60-day
temporary restraining order to
stop the Manila Electric Com-
pany (Meralco) from slapping a
P4.15 per kilowatt-hour increase
in electricity rates for its 5.3 mil-
lion customers.
Court spokesman Theodore
Te said the order also restrained
the Energy Regulatory Commis-
sion from implementing its Dec.
9 ruling that allowed Meralco to
bill an additional P2.41 per kilo-
watt-hour charge in December,
P1.21 per kWh in February and
P0.53 per kWh in March.
Te said the TRO, which was
sought by two groups of peti-
tioners, was effective immedi-
The Court also ordered
Meralco and the ERC to answer
the points raised in the petitions
of leftist lawmakers and con-
sumer groups by Jan. 8, 2014,
before oral arguments are held
on Jan. 21.
Te said the order does not
cover charges already billed
collected or not.
The effectivity date of the
TRO is today (Tuesday). As a
general statement, a restraining
order restores the status quo as
of a specic date by stopping
certain acts from being done.
Now as to the question on the
rates already collected, that is not
within the scope of our restrain-
ing order but it would prob-
ably be addressed once the court
decides, he said.
The rst petition was led
last Dec. 19 by Bayan Muna Reps.
Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isa-
gani Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Luz
Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, ACT
Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry
The second was led on the
next day by the National Asso-
ciation of Electricity Consumers
for Reform, the Federation of Vil-
lage Association and Federation
of Las Pinas Homeowners Asso-
The petitioners alleged that
their constitutional right to due
process was violated when the
ERC approved the rate hike
without conducting public hear-
They also questioned the
speedjust four dayswith
which the ERC approved Meral-
cos petition for a rate hike.
Meralco president Oscar
Reyes said his company was
open to refunding customers
who were already billed the
higher rates.
Reyes said about 70 percent
of Meralcos 5.3 million custom-
ers have already been sent their
If they have already paid, if
we are mandated to refund, we
can easily refund, Reyes said.
December 31, 2013 7
Solons want US donations to PH typhoon victims tax-deductible
bipartisan group of legislators
in the House of Representatives
has led a bill that would allow
donations to calamity victims
in the Philippines deductible on
2013 taxes.
Representative Eric Swal-
well (CA-15) joined Reps. Mike
Thompson (CA-5), Joe Heck
(NV-3), and Darrell Issa (CA-
49) to introduce H.R. 3771, the
bipartisan Philippines Charitable
Giving Assistance Act.
This legislation would
incentivize American assistance
for Philippines relief and allow
donations made before March
1, 2014 to be deducted on 2013
U.S. Senators Mazie K.
Hirono (D-HI) and Dean Heller
(R-NV) introduced companion
legislation in the Senate.
Typhoon Haiyan devas-
tated many parts of the Philip-
pines and we should make it as
easy as possible for Americans
who want to assist those affected
by the storm, Swalwell said
Im proud to represent a
vibrant Filipino community and
have witnessed an outpouring of
support for storm victims at this
critical time. This legislation Im
sponsoring will provide another
incentive for Americans to
donate and donate now when
their help is needed most.
Our allies in the Philip-
pines are still in the early stages
of a long-term rebuilding effort
and this bipartisan legislation
will make sure that our com-
munities are able to provide the
help our friends need during this
important phase of rebuilding
and recovery.
In the wake of Typhoon
Haiyan, hundreds of people
around southern Nevada, espe-
cially the sizeable Filipino-Amer-
ican community, mobilized to
assist friends and family mem-
bers who were affected by the
devastating storm, said Con-
gressman Heck.
As the need for assistance,
aid, and resources in the Philip-
pines continue, we should give
people extra time to make chari-
table donations towards Haiyan
relief efforts that are tax deduct-
ible for 2013. This bill simply
extends that opportunity into the
rst three months of 2014 and
is a commonsense way we can
ensure continued support for
the people of the Philippines as
they recover and rebuild, Heck
I commend my colleagues
from California, Congressmen
Thompson and Swalwell, for
their leadership on this bill and
call for its swift consideration
when the House returns in 2014.
Congressman Issa said, As
Co-Chair of the US-Philippine
Friendship Caucus, I am hon-
ored to cosponsor this legislation
that will encourage Americans
to continue to give generously
towards efforts to care for the
victims of Typhoon Haiyan and
rebuild in the wake of its hor-
ric destruction. With up to
6,000 casualties, almost 1,800
missing people and more than a
million destroyed houses in the
aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan,
it is clear that our work to help
this community rebuild is not
over. We simply cannot wait to
support recovery efforts in the
Philippines. To help all families
during the holiday, the Philip-
pines Charitable Giving Assis-
tance Act will boost charitable
giving by providing tax relief
this year for those who donate
to help communities rebuild
homes, schools and roads, said
Senator Hirono.
For his part, Senator Heller
said, In the wake of the tre-
mendous devastation suffered
by the Philippines as a result of
Typhoon Haiyan, many Ameri-
cans have sprung into action to
help provide assistance. Consid-
ering so many individuals are
still in need, I hope this change
will encourage Americans to
continue their generous giving
to those suffering in the Philip-
I am pleased to work with
Senator Hirono and my col-
leagues in the House of Repre-
sentatives on this legislation,
which allows those who want to
donate after the rst of the year
to benet from the tax deduction
more quickly.
A similar bill was enacted
into law after the Haiti earth-
quake in 2010. Original co-spon-
sors of H.R. 3771 also include
Reps. Mike Honda (CA-17),
Trent Franks (AZ-8), Jackie
Speier (CA-14), Bobby Scott (VA-
3), Judy Chu (CA-27), Madeleine
Bordallo (GU), Al Green (TX-09),
Colleen Hanabusa (HI-1), and
Juan Vargas (CA-51).
Sen. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) Rep. Eric Swalwell (California) Rep. Joe Heck (Nevada)
December 31, 2013 88
December 31, 2013 9
LGBT Asian Americans join immigration fast
National Queer Asian Pacic
Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) has
joined the Fast for Families
campaign, vowing to continue
the ght for immigrant rights
under a broad coalition of Asian
American and LGBT communi-
In a statement Dec. 13, the
NQAPIA issued a call for law-
makers to do the right thing and
pass immigration reform.
Over the course of this
past week and heading into the
holidays, NQAPIA will continue
to put our bodies on the line to
ght for justice for immigrants
and our families, said Ben
de Guzman, co-director of the
The NQAPIA staff, board,
and volunteers in Washing-
ton, Chicago and San Francisco
have joined Fast for Families
campaign that intended in part
to convince Congress to nally
enact a long-sought comprehen-
sive immigration reform law.
A group of immigration
rights activists launched Fast for
Families last Nov. 12, setting up
tents on the foot of Capitol Hill,
taking only water and sleeping
in churches to comply with rules
forbidding people from sleeping
on the Mall.
Thousands solidarity fasters
across the country have pledged
to fast for several days at a time
until Congress passes new immi-
gration laws.
The NQAPIA solidarity fast
was kicked off in Washington
D.C. on Dec. 13 by various lead-
ers, including DJ Yoon, the Exec-
utive Director of the National
Korean American Service and
Education Consortium (NAKA-
have been key partners in ght-
ing for immigration reform with
the National Council of Asian
Pacic Americans (NCAPA).
NQAPIA is proud to join
Fast4Families and we salute
the bravery of our friend and
colleague DJ Yoon, who as one
of the original Fast4Families
fasters along with Eliseo Medina
and Christian Alvarez, sacri-
ced for 22 days for immigration
reform, de Guzman said.
NAKASEC ghts for
immigrants rights shoulder to
shoulder with NQAPIA, Yoon
Fast for Families campaign in Washington DC.
December 31, 2013 10 10
Arroyo spends another
Christmas in hospital jail
MANILA. Former President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo spent
another Christmas in her hos-
pital room after her successor
refused to grant appeals from
her family and political allies to
allow her to spend the holidays
Mrs. Arroyo has been on
hospital arrest at the Veterans
Memorial Medical Center, a
medical facility funded partly by
the United States, since Decem-
ber 2011while she faces electoral
sabotage and plunder charges.
She did get an early visitor
in former President and now
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada
whom Mrs. Arroyo had indi-
rectly sent to the same hospital
to be detained in 2001. Estrada,
ousted by a military-backed pop-
ular uprising in 2000, spent three
years at the VMMC before being
transferred to police and army
camps in Laguna and Rizal.
I believe in justice but I also
believe in compassion, Estrada
Party list Rep. Silvestre Bello
III had earlier led a resolution
in Congress calling on President
Aquino to grant a Christmas fur-
lough but he referred the matter
to the courts.
Mrs. Arroyo had asked the
Sandiganbayan last for permis-
sion to spend the Christmas
holidays in her Pampanga home-
town but this was turned down.
She apparently didnt want to
experience another rejection so
relatives and friends were left to
appeal to the government.
The Arroyo Family is truly
grateful for the concern shown by
President Joseph Ejercito Estrada
regarding the health and well-
being of President Gloria Maca-
pagal-Arroyo, as manifested by
his taking extra effort to visit her
at her hospital suite during this
hectic holiday season, Arroyo
lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said
in a statement.
Mrs. Arroyo has been
accused of stealing the 2004 elec-
tion, winning re-election at the
expense of Estradas best friend
Fernando Poe Jr. Estrada was
later given executive clemency
by the President Arroyo after the
Sandiganbayan ruled him guilty
of plunder.
Naawa ako, (I pitied her)
Estrada said, adding that Mrs.
Arroyo looked pale and lost a lot
of weight.
Congress panel snubs 4
Aquino appointees again
MANILA. The Commission
on Appointments has by-passed
anew four of President Aquinos
most controversial Cabinet secre-
taries although they are expected
to get fresh appointments.
The panel bypassed Justice
Secretary Leila de Lima, Energy
Secretary Jericho Petilla, Social
Welfare Secretary Dinky Soli-
man and Environment Secretary
Ramon Paje.
The President still has full
trust and condence in their ser-
vice, Communications Secre-
tary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said.
The President should
issue them another ad interim
appointment to enable them to
continue discharging their fuc-
tions, Senate President Franklin
Drilon said after the Philippine
Congress adjourned Dec. 19.
The four Cabinet secretaries
have held their ofces since 2010.
Except for Paje, the three
Cabinet secretaries suppos-
edly failed to submit relevant
documents. But De Lima was
also instrumental in the inves-
tigation and ling of plunder
charges against Senators Juan
Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada
and Ramon Revilla Jr; and Soli-
man was at the forefront of relief
operations, including complaints
about the governments slow
response after typhoon Yolanda
In Pajes case, Senator Sergio
Osmena III moved to put on hold
his conrmation to next year fol-
lowing questions on his tness as
Environment chief.
PH Navy set on buying 2
new frigates
MANILA. The Philippine
government has selected four
foreign shipyards for the bidding
of two frigates for the Philippine
Navantia Sepi-RTR Ven-
tures of Spain is competing
for the $408 million contract
along with Korean shipbuilders
Hyundai Heavy Industries, STX
Offshore & Shipbuilding, and
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine
The winning bidder must
deliver the warships within
four years after the contract is
The new ships are expected
to augment two former US Coast
Guard high-endurance cutters
acquired as part of American
military assistance to the Philip-
pines, and improve Philippine
Navy patrol capabilities in the
West Philippine Sea and the
countrys exclusive economic
zone in the face of growing chal-
lenges from China.
The Aquino administration
has embarked on a $1.8 billion
military modernization to resist
bullies entering our backyard.
Aside from the new frig-
ates, the Philippines will buy
two anti-submarine helicopters,
three fast attack boats and eight
amphibious assault crafts. The
government says theyve already
spent $680 million on military
upgrades over the past three
years, including refurbishing the
two Hamilton-class cutters from
the US.
Yolanda ravished farmers get
emergency seed supplies
CAPIZ, Philippines. Farm-
ers in the Visayas who lost crops
from the punishing winds and
rain of super typhoon Yolanda
(Haiyan) are beginning to receive
emergency stocks of seeds so
they can re-plant in time to catch
up with the current planting
The rice and corn seeds
started to be distributed by the
Philippine Department of Agri-
culture (DA) and the Food &
Agriculture Organization (FAO)
last December 15.
Some of the Philippines
most vulnerable rural farmers
will now be able to restore their
livelihoods in time for the ongo-
ing planting season and secure a
harvest in March-April.
Seed distributions have
come at a critical moment, con-
sidering the typhoon struck at
the start of the planting season,
Rodrigue Vinet, FAOs Acting
Country Representative in the
Philippines said.
Without FAO support
these farmers would have been
unable to plant rice by January,
and would have had no harvest
in March/April. This means they
would have been unable to har-
vest rice for almost a year - until
October or November 2014.
Because we are able to get
farmers the seeds and inputs
they need in time, they will be
able to produce at least 2 tons of
rice in the March/April harvest,
enough rice to feed a family of
ve for a year, and generate vital
income from surplus, Hiroyuki
Konuma, Regional Representa-
tive of FAO for the Asia-Pacic
Region, emphasised.
The emergency seed dona-
tions were made possible with
swift international support
from the governments of Bel-
gium, Switzerland, Italy, Ireland,
Norway, the United Kingdoms
Department for International
Development (DFID), the United
Nations Central Emergency
Response Fund (CERF) and the
general public, as well as with
the mobilization of FAOs own
emergency funding mechanisms.
FAO and its partners are
already providing enough farm
inputs for close to 55,000 hect-
ares to now be planted with rice
seed in the December/January
planting season.
FAO has the resources to
provide inputs for an extra 8,332
hectares, and thanks to the East-
ern Visayas regions extended
planting window, these needs
will be met in late January early
In addition to the seeds,
50 kg bags of fertilizer as well as
tools and small irrigation water
pumps are being delivered.
Former President Gloria Macapa-
gal Arroyo
The Philippine Navy eyes several countries to supply frigates like the one
above from Italy.
Farmers in typhoon devastated regions get seeds to replace destroyed crops.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Social Welfare Sec. Dinky Soliman
December 31, 2013 11
December 31, 2013 12 12
Philippines education
department wont ban
boxing in school bouts
MANILA. The death of a
16-year-old kid in a high school
boxing match has brought calls
to ban the sport in the physical
education curriculum.
Jonas Garcia, the young
school athlete, suffered internal
bleeding after a boxing match
in a regional sports competi-
tion and died Dec. 15 after lying
comatose in a hospital for one
Boxing is hugely popular in
the Philippines which has pro-
duced international champions
like Gabriel Elorde and Manny
The death has sparked calls
for the suspension of boxing
from national school sports com-
petitions, said Tonisito Umali,
Education Department assistant
Requests are being made
for the suspension of boxing.
Other regions are also saying
they will not continue boxing,
he said.
We will not force them,
Umali said, adding that boxing
would still be part of the national
sports competition but regional
teams will not be forced to send
Still no go for Pacquiao-Mayweather ght
Floyd Mayweather still will
not ght Filipino boxing cham-
pion Manny Pacquiao, this time
blaming an alleged longtime rift
with promoter Bob Arum.
We all know the Pacquiao
ght, at this particular time, will
never happen, and the reason
why the ght wont happen is
because I will never do busi-
ness with Bob Arum again in
life, Mayweather was quoted in
Mayweather has a strained
relationship with Arum since
leaving his former promoter
to start his own promotional
company. But in the past, May-
weather refused to ght Pac-
quiao over a dispute with drug
Im gonna give you two
reasons the Pacquiao ght is
not going to happen. Like I said
before, I will never do business
with Bob Arum in life, but I dont
wish him nothing bad.
And I want to see Manny
Pacquiaos real pay-per-view
numbers. Get his pay-per-view
numbers from his last ght
and compare them to my pay-
per-view numbers with Canelo
Alvarez. Did he do 1.2 million
homes? Mayweather chal-
A Pacquiao-Mayweather
meeting has been a promoters
dream with some experts pre-
dicting a $300 million pay-day
for the worlds top two pound-
for-pound ghters. But that bout
is proving more elusive by the
day especially after Pacquiao
turned 35 last Dec. 17 and some
saying he was now past his
He is also allegedly facing
problems with both the Philip-
pine Bureau of Internal Revenue
(BIR) and the United States Inter-
nal Revenue Service (IRS).
Pacquiao was declared last
month the top contender for the
World Boxing Council (WBC)
welterweight title held by May-
weather, following his victory
over Brandon Rios But even if
the WBC mandates Mayweather
to defend his belt, thats still no
guarantee the two will meet atop
the ring.
The US Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit afrmed
last Dec. 18 the dismissal of the
three-year-old multimillion-
dollar lawsuit brought by Impe-
rial ED Promotions which had
claimed that Pacquiao failed to
appear at a promotional event in
September 2010.
However, according to Pac-
quiaos counsel David Marrosco,
Imperial ED failed to divulge to
the court that it did not pay Pac-
quiao his full negotiated appear-
ance fee.
PH takes 29 gold medals in SEA Games
MANILA. The Philippines
won just 29 gold medals at the
27th Southeast Asian Games,
enough to nish 7th overall in
the eld of 11 participating coun-
The SEA Games were held
in Myanmar on Dec. 11-22.
The last gold medals came
from taekwondo jins Kristopher
Uy and Kristie Alora and muay
thai ghter Preciosa Ocaya.
The Philippines nished
its bid at 7th place with 29 gold
medals, 34 silver and 37 bronze
medals, behind Singapore. The
gold medal haul was just one
short of the Philippines target of
30 gold medals.
Filipino-American athlete
Eric Shawn Cray took home a
gold in the 400-meter mens hur-
dles with a time of 51.29 beating
Indonesias Andrian Andrian
(51.74) and Vietnams Xuan
Cong Dao (51.79).
Born to a Filipina mother,
the Texas-based Cray was dis-
covered by the Philippine Sports
Commission (PSC) via social
The only time the Philip-
pines topped the SEA Games
was in 2005 when it played host.
The countrys campaign was
marred by controversy after Fili-
pina swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi,
20, was forced to give back her
gold in the 100 meter freestyle
because of a false start that
was not called until Thailand
pointed it out after the race.
The Philippine delega-
tion also questioned the huge
number of obscure sports at the
Myanmar games which seem
designed to ensure that the host
countries and its allies reap the
most medals.
Thailand topped biennal
event with 106 golds, 94 silvers
and 80 bronzes, followed by host
Myanmar with 84-61-85.
Vietnam came in at third
(73-85-86) followed by Indonesia
(64-83-109) and Malaysia (43-38-
PH Track & Field team eyes
US training, coaches
MANILA. Fired up by its
six-gold medal performance at
the latest regional sports meet,
Philippine track ofcials want to
train in the United States in prep-
aration for the next years Asian
Games and 2015 Southeast Asian
Philippine athletics ofcer-
in-charge Philip Ella Juico is
planning to build a strong team
and take them to spring training
under US coaches.
American coach Ryan Fla-
herty, who was behind the out-
standing performance of the
24-member track and eld team,
said he is recommending a crack
20-member Filipino team to train
in the US starting in February.
The spring training will
be from February to April when
competitions in the US are held
on a weekly basis, said Flaherty,
who was hired by the Philippine
Sports Commission to serve as
strength and conditioning coach
of the track and eld team in
As part of their training, he
said the athletes will be partici-
pating in as many as 20 tourna-
ments with professionals and
collegiate players.
Despite being only two
months with the team there was
notable improvement in the
stamina, endurance and power
of the athletes who won 6-4-3
gold-silver-bronze medals at the
recently concluded Southeast
Asian Games in Myanmar.
The output bettered the
2-9-5 output of the 2011 team.
This team is composed of
new and veteran players, and
we will be depending on the new
crop of players to keep our tradi-
tion of excellence in the sport,
said Juico.
Flaherty said seeded to the
team to the US are gold medal-
ists Archand Christian Bagsit
(400m run), Henry Dagmil (long
jump), Eric Shawn Cray (400m
hurdles), Christopher Ulboc Jr.
(3,000m steeplechase), Jesson
Ramil Cid (decathlon) and the
Bagsit-led 4x400m relay team,
which includes Isidro del Prado
Jr., Julius Nierras and Edgardo
He said US-based Fil-Ameri-
can Tyler Ruiz, whose 2.09 broke
the long standing Philippine
mark of 2.06 set by Luis Juico in
1979, is going back to the US to
train on his own.
Fil-Am hurdler Eric Shawn Cray takes victory lap in Myanmar.
Floyd Mayweather
World 8-division champion and Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao
wished undefeated American champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. a merry
Christmas, refusing to stoop down to the latters almost non-stop swipes
over the holiday season, including the Filipinos troubles with taxmen in
the Philippines and United States.. Mayweather posted the Christmas
card meme above, mocking his Filipino rival who responded in a news-
paper interview, Im thanking (Mayweather) that he has not forgotten
me. Im glad that he is still thinking of me. Pacquiao wrote in his website, Christmas reminds us of Gods greatest love for us. He
teaches us to love even our enemies. So, I wont say anything that would
hurt anybody, asking fans to Please share that same love with everyone
around you and God Bless.
December 31, 2013 13
UN agency chief prods Aquino govt on journalist killings
NEW YORK. The head
of the United Nations agency
tasked with defending press
freedom has called on Philippine
ofcials to investigate and arrest
the perpetrators of the recent
spate of murders of journalists in
the country.
Irina Bokova, Director-
General of the UN Educational,
Scientic and Cultural Organi-
zation (UNESCO) condemned
the attacks saying it was very
important that those responsi-
ble for these murders be brought
to trial.
Media workers in the
Philippines have been paying a
heavy price for exercising their
right to free speech and provid-
ing society with independent
news and reports, she noted.
Rogelio Tata Butalid, 46,
a block-time commentator at
Radyo Natin, was shot dead out-
side the stations studios in the
city of Tagum City, Davao del
Norte last December 11.
Michael Diaz Milo, a talk
show host for DXFM radio, was
killed in Tandag, Surigao del Sur
last December 6 by unidentied
DXGT radio broadcaster
Joas Dignos was shot dead on
November 29 Valencia, Bukid-
All three places are in Min-
danao, also the scene of the 2009
Maguindanao Massacre that
killed 58 people, at least a third
of them journalists. Close to 90
suspects in those murders are
still at large even as victims rela-
tives bewail the slow pace of trial
for those already in custody.
This months incidents
brought to an even dozen the
number of journalists murdered
in the Philippines just this year,
according to the New York-
based Human Rights Watch.
The names of Butalid, Milo
and Dignos will be added to
UNESCOs dedicated webpage
for journalists killed in the line of
duty, Bokova said.
US offers another $40-M to boost PH maritime forces
MANILA. The United States
has pledged an additional $40
million in military assistance to
the Philippines to help protect
the countrys territorial waters
amid rising tensions with China
over disputes in the South China
The money, from a US pro-
gram known as the Global Secu-
rity Contingency Fund, will be
spent over three years and will be
split between boosting the Phil-
ippines Coast Guards maritime
security abilities and helping
the Philippines National Police
in Mindanao and Sulu where
Washington has also backed a
decade-long campaign against
al-Qaida-linked local militants.
US Secretary of State
John Kerry said the new aid
is intended to complement a
$32.5 million assistance package
that will help Southeast Asian
nations protect their territorial
Up to $18 million of that
money will go to provide the
Vietnamese Coast Guard with
ve new fast patrol boats. Both
Vietnam and the Philippines
have competing claims with
China over territory in the South
China Sea and are concerned
with growing Chinese assertive-
ness after Beijings unilateral
declaration of an East China
Sea air defense zone. That zone
has dramatically raised tension
between China and Japan.
The United States does not
recognize that zone and does not
accept it, Kerry said following
a meeting with Philippines For-
eign Secretary Albert del Rosario
in Manila last Dec. 17.
The zone should not be
implemented and China should
refrain from taking similar uni-
lateral actions elsewhere in the
region, particularly over the
South China Sea.
Chinese ofcials have sug-
gested that a similar zone could
be established over the South
China Sea.
Del Rosario said: China, in
doing this, effectively is attempt-
ing to transform an air zone into
its own domestic airspace, and
we think that this could lead
to compromising freedom of
ight, in terms of civil aviation,
and also compromise safety and
security of affected nations.
UN urges action vs. journalist kill-
US State Sec. John Kerry with Philippine Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del
December 31, 2013 14 14
Fil-Am composer a Golden Globe nominee
LOS ANGELES. Filipino-
American Robert Lopez and his
wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez,
were nominated to the Golden
Globe Awards for best original
Robert, award-winning
co-creator of Avenue Q and
The Book of Mormon and
whose father is part-Filipino,
and Kristen nabbed a best origi-
nal song nod for their powerful
ballad, Let It Go, sung by Idina
Menzel from the animated lm,
We are so grateful to the
Hollywood Foreign Press Asso-
ciation (HFPA), said the couple.
We put a lot of ourselves into
Let It Go, and working with
Disney and Idina Menzel was a
dream come true for us.
The soundtrack ranks
among the top 10 on the Bill-
board 200 chart. It features eight
original songs from the song-
writing Lopez couple.
Frozen is a 3-D animated
lm featuring the voice of Tony
Award winner Menzel, Tony
nominee Jonathan Groff and
stage and screen actress Kristen
Bell, among others.
According to Billboard,
Frozen is the tenth soundtrack
from an animated feature lm
to reach the top ten and the rst
since Disney/Pixars Cars in
2006. Other soundtracks to hit
the top ten include Aladdin,
The Lion King, Pocahontas,
Tarzan, Pokemon: The First
Movie, Shrek 2, Curious
George and Space Jam.
Zsa-Zsa, Quizons re-visit Dolphys
favorite city for holiday
after the passing of Philippine
comedy king Dolphy, his long-
time partner Zsa Zsa Padilla and
his children from both the Philip-
pines and the United States were
reunited once again in one of his
favorite cities, Las Vegas.
Masaya, memorable.
Marami syempreng memories
(Happy, memorable. A lot of
memories of course), Padilla
said, adding that Dolphy liked
the hotels because they were
alive 24 hours a day.
Dolphys son Eric Quizon
said that although they see each
other in Manila, its very rare
that we see our brothers in Bur-
bank and New Jersey na magka-
kasama-sama kami together.
Daughter Zia Quizon
added: We are spending a lot of
time sa Padilla side namin dito sa
Las Vegas so its nice to see the
Quizons din.
Most of Zsa Zsas family
members are based in Las Vegas.
Padilla said Las Vegas was
home to Dolphy. Not only
because of the neon lights but
the best of the best in the world
in terms of stage shows and the
international far-fame notable
restaurants and buffets are all
Sin City, she said.
But the singer admitted that
she also feels lonely when think-
ing about the placed they used
to frequent in the Nevada city.
Hindi ako pumupunta sa mga
lugar na talagang favorite niya
nakakalungkot eh (I dont go
to his favorite places because it
Fil-Am singer Bruno Mars
is Artist of the Year
LOS ANGELES. Hawaiian-
born Filipino-American singer
Bruno Mars has been named Bill-
boards 2013 Artist of the Year.
He topped eight of Bill-
boards year-end music chart
lists, including the Hot 100 Art-
ists, Mainstream Top 40 and
Hot Digital Songs, and his 2012
album Unorthodox Jukebox
has becoming one of this years
best-selling records with more
than 1.8 million copies sold in the
United States.
Bruno did well in touring
and I think longevity does really
well for him. Hes a powerhouse,
and really keeps his focus on the
music, said Bill Werde, editorial
director of Billboard magazine.
Bruno (Peter Gene Hernan-
dez in real life) comes a family
of musicians. His parents, Peter
Hernandez who is half Puerto
Rican and Bernadette Bernie
San Pedro Bayot, who immi-
grated to Hawaii from the Phil-
ippines as a child, met during a
performance where he played
percussions and she did the hula
dance (she passed away last
He also notched four
Grammy nominations this
month, including two of the
industrys top prizes his single
Locked Out of Heaven were
named best record and song of
the year.
The singer will embark on
the North American leg of his
Moonshine Jungle World Tour
in 2014, and will also headline
the Super Bowl half time show in
Star accepts huge donation for
Yolanda victims on birthday
LOS ANGELES. Singer and
actress Vanessa Hudgens cel-
ebrated her 25th birthday in Hol-
lywood last Dec. 14 by accepting
a $100,000 donation for victims of
super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)
in the Philippines.
Hudgens, perhaps best
known for her role in the High
School Musical series, thanked
the Hollywood Foreign Press
Association for the donation on
behalf of UNICEF Philippines.
She had previously donated to
the cause and was thrilled to
accept the contribution.
It means so, so much to me.
I mean it really is an honor, she
gushed. I want to try to help as
much as I can because it so close
to home for me being Filipino.
My moms from the Philippines.
I am so grateful.
Vanessas mother, the
former Gina Guangco, is from
She started singing at age
eight and performed in both
stage plays and musicals. She
later appeared in various lms
and TV series for the Disney
Channel before rising to promi-
nence playing the character
Gabriella Montez in the High
School Musical series.
She celebrated her 25th
birthday with a Hollywood
themed party. The starstudded
event was held at No Vacancy
in Hollywood and boasted a
threetiered cake and a tightrope
Fil-Am Robert Lopez and wife Kristen.
Bruno Mars
Vanessa Hudgens
Zsa Zsa Padilla during happier times with Dolphy in Las Vegas.
makes me feel sad), Padilla said.
Padilla, along with her two
daughters Nicole and Zia, spent
their holidays in Vegas, while
the rest of the Quizon brothers
spent it with their respective
families in the US.
December 31, 2013 15
DFA wont extend MRPs, urges Pinoys to get e-Passport
MANILA. The Department
of Foreign Affairs will no longer
extend machine readable pass-
ports to push Filipinos to get the
e-Passport instead.
All Filipino nationals hold-
ing Machine Readable-Ready
Passports (MRRP; green pass-
ports) and Machine Readable
Passports (MRP; maroon pass-
ports) will no longer be allowed
to apply for an extension of the
validity of these passports after
October 31, 2014, the DFA said
in a statement.
The e-Passport, which is
also maroon, was rst issued in
2009. It has the logo of a micro-
chip just below the cover.
They must instead apply
for a new e-Passport as soon as
possible before the expiry of their
current MRRP (green) or MRP
(maroon) passports. Those who
fail to do so will likely encounter
difculty at immigration checks
when traveling through any
ports of entry around the world
after October 2015, the DFA
The new e-Passport is in
compliance with the standards
set by the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The DFA added that all non-
machine readable passports may
no longer be extended beyond
October 31, 2015 and must
be completely phased out by
November 24, 2015.
Passport holders are also
reminded about the strict rules
for applying for an extension
of the validity of expiring or
expired passports.
Passports that are valid for
less than six (6) months or those
that have already expired may
be extended once only in the fol-
lowing instances:
1) Death in the family
requiring the OFW and members
of his/her dependent family to
urgently travel to the Philip-
2) Medical emergencies
requiring the OFW and members
of his/her dependent family to
urgently travel to the Philippines
or another country for medical
3) OFWs returning to their
employers abroad with valid
employment contracts processed
by the POEA; and
4) Those going home on
nal exit visas (for Filipinos in
the Middle East).
In these instances, proof
of urgency such as a copy of the
death certicate, medical certi-
cate, valid employment contracts
processed by the Philippine
Overseas Employment Adminis-
tration (POEA) or any of the Phil-
ippine Overseas Labor Ofces
(POLO), along with plane tick-
ets with conrmed ight details
should be presented, the DFA
Drilon orders no Christmas
bonus for senators
MANILA. Senate President Franklin Drilon has ordered the
scrapping of Christmas bonuses for his 23 colleagues, some still reel-
ing from the pork barrel scan-
dal thats been roiling Congress
since July.
The good news to the
public is that if four senators
didnt get a Christmas bonus
last year, this year, nobody got
a Christmas bonus, said Sen.
Alan Peter Cayetano.
Both neophyte Sen. Grace
Poe and Sen. Antonio Trillanes
IV applauded Drilons decision.
The important role of each sen-
ator now is to do his or her share
to restore the peoples trust in
the institution, Poe said.
Instead of a bonus, Sen.
Juan Edgardo Angara said he
received the book I am Malala,
a memoir by a teenage girl who
was shot by the Taliban in Paki-
stan for championing education
for women, and a food basket
from Drilon.
Three senatorsJinggoy
Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr. and
Enrileare facing plunder
charges in connection with the
pork barrel scam in the Ofce of
the Ombudsman, along with the
alleged brains behind the racket,
businesswoman Janet Lim-
Napoles, and 34 others.
The rest of the senators have
also been implicated in the scan-
dal either by authorizing the use
of their pork barrel to nance
phantom projects proposed by
bogus nongovernment organi-
zations set up by Napoles or by
their association with the busi-
Drilon said the biggest chal-
lenge was restoring the peoples
condence in the Senate as an
Senate President Franklin Drilon
December 31, 2013 16 16
Around DC in Pictures
Atty. Warie Azarcon, president of Manila Mail Communications, Inc. and his wife, Norma, hosted a Christmas party at their residence in Reston, Virginia on Friday, Dec. 13 for the staff of the
Mail. Left photo shows Warie playing the piano and singing Christmas songs. Right photos shows, seated, from left, Becky Pagsibigan, Warie, Bert Alfaro, Bing Branigin and Myrna Montera Lopez.
Standing, same order, are Bobby and Mrs. Federigan, Jojo dela Rosa, Pat Pagsibigan, Dino dela Rosa, Rodney J. Jaleco, Oscar Bunoan, Evelyn Bunoan, Lito Katigbak, Angelyn Tugado Marzan
and Norma Azarcon.
Philippine Consul Arlene Magno (center) inducted the newly-elected ofcers of the Philippine American Chamber
of Commerce (PACC-DC) during its holiday party at the Marriott Hotel in Tysons Corner, VA on Dec. 21. Photo
shows, from left, J.J.Viterbo, Grace Bangwa, Mark Cabrera, RJ Diokno, Rose Marie Armour, Eric Lachica, Manny
Adizas, Rene Calandria (President), Richie Vicente (Treasurer), Juliet Barredo (Secretary), Mya Talavera Grossman
(Vice President) and John Cabrera. (Photo by Jon Melegrito)
Myrna Montera Lopez, Manila Mail columnist, and Ceres Busa join thou-
sands of volunteers in placing Christmas wreaths at the Arlington National
Cemetery last December 14. (Photo: Bing Branigin)
The Philippine American Foundation for Charities (PAFC) was the sponsor of the Simbang Gabi at St. Thomas the
Apostle church on Woodley Park in Washington, DC recently. This is the rst time that the church held Simbang Gabi.
In the picture are ofcers and members of PAFC with Father Richard Mullins (8th from left, back row). Photo: Bing
The Manila Mails national editor Bing C. Branigin, poses with Mr. Donald
Graham, Chief Executive Ofcer of the Graham Holdings Company, and
Lead Independent Director, Facebooks Board of Directors, during the
Washington Posts annual awards and reception held at the corporate ofce
in DC. Bing is the wife of Bill Branigin of the Washington Post.
Shown at the 10th annual Lights of Life tree lighting ceremony at the George
Washington Hospital Womens Board on Dec. 11 are, from left, Crystal
Grandstaff, 1st VP; Jeffrey S. Akman M.D., VP for Health Affairs and Dean
School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Carmen Lagdameo Stull, Chair,
Lights of Life, and President, GWUH Womens Board, and Barry Wolfman,
Chief Executive Ofcer, GWUH. Photo: Bing Branigin
The Tanghalang Pilipino (TP) family gathered for a holiday celebration at the Melegritos in Kensington to renew ties
and plan for next year, including expansion of the Anklung Ensemble and possible revival of TPs cultural programs
in theatre and the arts. A bigger reunion is also planned in the Spring, which will be organized by the younger mem-
bers of TP. (Photo by Marlan Maralit).
December 31, 2013 17
December 31, 2013 18 18
December 31, 2013 19
Congress could be the
least productive ever
113th Congress could be the least
productive in history, if the cur-
rent trend holds to next year.
During this Congress rst
year-long session, just 58 bills
became law and many that
did were about naming post
ofces or transferring federal
lands. In fact, the most memora-
ble act of Congress this year may
well have been its failure to act
in time to avoid a government
Congress did not pass White
House-backed immigration or
gun control legislation in 2013.
Or raise the minimum wage.
Or approve many other items
on President Barack Obamas
President Obama began the
year, and his second term in the
White House, with high hopes
for moving his agenda through
Congress. But by the time he
held his last news conference
of the year on Dec. 20, he was
clearly disappointed with the
If I look at this past year,
there are areas where there obvi-
ously have been some frustra-
tions, where I wish Congress
had moved more aggressively,
Obama said.
Many of the 57 laws that
have been enacted were less than
national in scope.
One changed the bound-
ary of the Buffalo Gap National
Grassland in South Dakota to
reect the transfer of land into
the Minuteman Missile National
Historic Site.
Another conveyed land to
the Powell Recreation District in
Wyoming for use as a shooting
range maintained by the Powell
Gun Club.
Pinoy in top 10 scientists for 2013
MANILA. Filipino climate
change warrior Naderev Yeb
Sano has been named as one of
the worlds top scientists this
year by an inuential science
Sano, Philippines climate
change commissioner, was
included in livescience.coms
list alongside virologists Debo-
rah Persaud, Hannah Gay, and
Katherine Luzuriaga who ear-
lier announced infants born
with HIV may be curable.
The website is part of Tech-
media, which includes award-
winning journalists covering
science and technology. particu-
larly noted Saos role in the
United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change
in Warsaw, Poland back in
As the United Nations
discussed climate change at a
big meeting this past Novem-
ber, Naderev Sao was reeling
from the news of devastating
Typhoon Haiyan that hit the
Philippines. Sao knew nothing
of the fates of most of his family
and friends back home, except
that his brother was alive and
helping to recover dead victims
of the storm, the website read.
In a tearful statement cov-
ered internationally, he vowed
to fast as the discussions pro-
ceeded. What my country is
going through as a result of this
extreme climate event is mad-
ness, said Sao, who led the
Philippine delegation.
He didnt eat for two
weeks, until the representatives
agreed to continue negotiating
for another summit in Paris in
2015, the website added.
Super typhoon Yolanda
or Haiyan, one of the worlds
strongest typhoons on record,
lashed eastern and central Phil-
ippines, washing away towns
and villages. The death toll is
already more than 6,000 and
Sao lamented that 20 years
after the climate negotiations
started, the world has yet to nd
a concerted solution that will
stop mans destructive inuence
over the global climate.
Naderev Yeb Sano at UN meet.
US Congress
December 31, 2013 20 20
Pinoy resort owner guns for biggest pearl record
AKLAN, Philippines. A
Chinese-Filipino resort owner in
Boracay is gunning for the Guin-
ness Book of Records for what
could be the largest pearl in the
Richard King, chairman of
the Crown Regency Hotel, said
that a group of gemologists from
the Guinness Book of World
Records arrived Dec. 20 to for-
mally inspect the pearl he calls as
the Pearl of the Kings.
Guinness currently recog-
nizes the six-kilo Pearl of Allah
(also known as the Pearl of Lao
Tzu) now in the United States
as the largest pearl in the world.
Based on our initial mea-
surement, the Pearl of the Kings
weighs around nine kilos and we
are condent that we could be
certied by the Guinness Book of
World Records, King said.
He added that he inherited
the pearl from his grandfather. It
reportedly came from the waters
of Palawan like the Pearl of
Allah that was harvested by a
diver at Brookes Point.
The Pearl of the Kings has
been placed on display in the
Crown Regency Hotels oceanar-
ium park as one of its attractions.
The Pearl of Kings although
big is not considered as a non-
nacreous pearl having no irides-
cence or sheen; thus it is not con-
sidered a gem stone.
Aside from the pearl, our
oceanarium also boasts of having
the longest oceanarium tunnel in
the Philippines, having 30 meters
length, King said.
PH is now soccer power-
house in Southeast Asia
MANILA. The Philippine
national soccer team, more pop-
ularly known as the Azkals
soared to their all-time high
in the world rankings, placing
127th in the December 2013 list-
ing released by the International
Football Federation (FIFA).
The year-end standing illus-
trated the steady progress of the
emerging country, which once
stood at a lowly 195th in the
monthly rankings.
The team, which includes
a number of Filipino American
players, leapt 20 spots up from
their position (147th) at the end
of 2012. The year 2013 also saw
the Azkals post their highest
ranking and improve on it sev-
eral times, from 147 to 145 to 143
to 141 to 137 to 133 and nally
With this, the Philippines
maintained its unfamiliar status
as the top soccer nation in South-
east Asia, at least in terms of
FIFA ranking. Myanmar is the
second best country at 130th
followed by Vietnam (144) and
Thailand (146).
Interestingly, the Azkals
were absent in the premiere
Under 23 competition of the
region, the SEA Games, after
failing to pass the Philippine
Olympic Committee-Philippine
Sports Commissions criteria for
selection of delegates.
The achievement in world
rankings is expected to inspire
the Azkals as they launch their
mission to make it to the 2015
Asian Football Confederation
(AFC) Asian Cup in Australia.
The Azkals will gun for an
Asian Cup berth in next years
AFC Challenge Cup, where the
champion will proceed to Aus-
tralia against the continents top
football nations.
The Challenge Cup is slated
May 2014 in Maldives, but the
AFC is considering a transfer to
The AFC competitions com-
mittee, in its meeting last Nov.
25 in Kuala Lumpur, has recom-
mended to move the 2014 Chal-
lenge Cup to the Philippines
from Maldives if the latter did
not start required renovation by
Dec. 15.
A representative from the
AFC already inspected the Rizal
Memorial Stadium last Novem-
ber as possible site. The historic
stadium is the top candidate as
main hub if the Philippines wins
hosting rights and is now in the
process of being converted into
an articial turf.
File photo of the Pearl of Allah in the US.
Philippine Azkals celebrate win.
The Manila Mails veteran lay-out artist Orlando Remulla joyfully celebrated Christmas Eve by marrying
longtime ance Janice Basay in rites administered by Judge Christopher Magana at the Sedgwick County
Courthouse in Wichita, Kansas last December 24, 2013. Orlando (Oyie to friends) and Janice have a
four-year-old son named Mark Nazarene Remulla. Janice and Mark arrived in the United States as immi-
grants last December 10, 2013.
December 31, 2013 21
FBI reveals top terror cases in 2013
Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) foiled several alleged terror
plots last year which showed
the threats, especially from
home-grown sources, continue
and require sustained vigilance.
One case involved a
self-proclaimed president
of a Republic of the USA
who allegedly demanded the
resignation of elected governors
in all 50 states and allegedly
threatening to remove them if
they refused. Another involved
two New Yorkers who tried to
build a mobile x-ray weapon
to silently kill their targets.
Here are some of the
top terror cases of 2013:
1. Airport bomb plot: Terry
Lee Loewen, 58, of Wichita,
Kansas was charged December 13
with attempting to explode a car
bomb at Wichita Mid-Continent
Airport, Kansas airport as an act
of jihad against the United States.
Loewen, who works as an
avionics technician, is alleged to
have spent months developing a
plan that involved using his access
card to airport grounds to drive
a van loaded with explosives to
the terminal. He planned to pull
the trigger on the explosives
himself and die in the explosion
He was arrested as a result
of an undercover investigation.
The device provided to him by
our operatives was inert and
posed no danger to the public.
Lone wolveshome-
grown violent extremists
remain a very serious threat
to our nations security, said
FBI Special Agent in Charge
Michael Kaste. If convicted,
Loewen would face a maximum
penalty of life in federal prison.
2. Attempt to join al
Qaeda: Marcos Alonso Zea,
also known as Ali Zea, an
American citizen and resident
of Brentwood, New York was
arrested in October for attempting
to join al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula and conspiring to
commit murder overseas.
Zea allegedly conspired
with others to travel overseas
in order to wage violent jihad
on the perceived enemies of
Islam, which included the
secular government in Yemen.
In furtherance of the conspiracy,
on January 4, 2012, Zea ew
from John F. Kennedy Airport
(JFK) in Queens, New York, to
London, England, en route to
Yemen to join a terror group
blamed for the attempted 2009
Christmas Day bombing of a
Detroit-bound passenger plane.
Despite being born and
raised in the United States, Zea
allegedly betrayed his country
and attempted to travel to
Yemen in order to join a terrorist
organization and commit
murder, stated U.S. Attorney
Lynch. When that plan was
thwarted, Zea continued to
support terrorism by assisting his
co-conspirators efforts to travel
to Yemen to ght violent jihad
3. Sovereign citizen
scheme: In July, Timothy
Turner, also known as Tim
Turner and self-declared
president of the Republic of
the United States of America
was sentenced to serve 18 years
in federal prison for conspiracy
to defraud the United States,
attempting to pay taxes with
ctitious nancial instruments,
attempting to obstruct and
impede the IRS, failing to le a
2009 federal income tax return,
and falsely testifying under oath
in a bankruptcy proceeding.
The FBI investigation began
after Turner and three other self-
proclaimed Guardian Elders
sent demands to all 50 governors
in the United States in March
2010 ordering each governor
to resign within three days to
be replaced by a sovereign
leader or be removed.
Turner was convicted of
sending a $300 million ctitious
bond in his own name and of
aiding and abetting others in
sending 15 other ctitious bonds
to the Treasury Department
to pay taxes and other debts.
Far-fetched terror
plan: Glendon Scott Crawford, 49,
of Galway, New York; and Eric J.
Feight, 54, of Hudson, New York,
were arrested and charged last
June with conspiracy to provide
material support to terrorists.
The arrests followed a
lengthy investigation by the
Albany FBI Joint Terrorism
Task Force that began in April
2012 when authorities received
information that Crawford
had approached local Jewish
organizations seeking out
individuals who might offer
assistance in helping him with
a type of technology that could
be used against people he
perceived as enemies of Israel.
The pair allegedly wanted
to create a mobile, remotely
operated, radiation-emitting
device capable of killing targeted
individuals silently with lethal
doses of X-ray radiation.
The defendants plotted
to use this device against
unwitting victims who would
not immediately be aware that
they had absorbed lethal doses
of radiation, the harmful effects
of which would only appear
days after the exposure. T
The FBI undercover
investigation pretended to
provide just such a device to the
suspects, not knowing that it was
rendered inoperable at all times
and posed no danger to the public.
and left homeless or without a
source of livelihood.
Ed Navarra, National Feder-
ation of Filipino American Asso-
ciations (NaFFAA) chairman,
hailed President Aquinos action
as a necessary step in securing
the US administrations prompt
response. We are condent TPS
will be granted on humanitarian
grounds as it will benet many
Filipinos who have lost relatives
in the storm or suffered tremen-
dous hardships.
The move followed a peti-
tion signed by more than 200
Fil-Am community, civic, church
and labor organizations that
urged President Aquino to make
the formal request.
The request was ofcially
conveyed by Ambassador Jose L.
Cuisia Jr. to the DHS last Dec. 13.
Earlier, a bi-partisan group
of 20 US Senators and 30 US Rep-
resentatives called on the Obama
administration to exercise its
authority to designate the Philip-
pines for TPS after the massive
death and destruction wrought
by super typhoon Haiyan.
The solons pointed out
that providing TPS is critical to
humanitarian relief efforts as it
both protects individuals who
would be endangered by return-
ing to their country of origin and
it allows the home country more
time to recover before accepting
In a letter dated Dec. 16
Mayorkas wrote, As the US
government makes it decision
to grant TPS to Filipinos there
are already immigration relief
measures in place for the Philip-
These measures include the
change or extension of status;
extension of certain grants of
parole and expedited process-
ing of advance parole requests;
expedited adjudication of
employment authorization
where appropriate; assistance to
lawful permanent residents who
are stranded overseas, without
immigration or travel documen-
tation; and expedited processing
of immigrant petitions for imme-
diate relatives of US citizens.
Mayorkas comment was
a response to a letter sent by
the DC-based Migrant Heritage
Commission (MHC) which had
earlier started a White House
petition to ask President Obama
to give Filipinos temporary pro-
tected status.
The MHC had asked the
DHS to allow Filipinos to tem-
porarily stay and work in the US
so they can continue supporting
their families and loved-ones
affected by the calamity.
Lawyer Arnedo Valera, co-
executive director of the MHC,
urged the Filipino community
to reach out to local and federal
ofcials to push for the granting
of TPS.
Attorney Arnedo Valera of
the Migrant Heritage Commis-
sion asked the Filipino commu-
nity, as well as the international
community, to reach to their
local and federal ofcials to push
for the passage of TPS.
DHS weighs grant... from page 1
roaster boned and lled with
chopped chicken and vegeta-
bles), sweet potatoes, vegetables,
a baked ham, spareribs, beef ten-
derloin and lobster.
I start cooking early in the
morning, she said, and the
aroma of baking wakes everyone
up. Then the family converges
in the kitchen, where the food
preparation and eating lasts until
midnight. The whole family goes
to Mass during the day. And
we never miss a rosary, Bunoan
All of her family members
still living in the Philippines are
alive and safe following super
typhoon Haiyan, Greely pointed
out. We are so, so grateful, said
Putting her skills to work
for typhoon victims, Bunoan
offered cooking demonstrations
at her home to raise funds for
those affected by the storm. She
has raised thousands of dollars
to help relief efforts and will
send blankets, linens and other
needed items to the Philippines.
Theres a lot to be thankful
for. Before I get up in the morn-
ing, I always reect on what God
has done. And I thank God for
His blessings and for the good
food we can share, Evelyn
Bunoan declares.
A Pinoy touch to ... from page 1
PH hunts Fil-Am with Mexican drug cartel links
MANILA. The disman-
tling of a large shabu (metham-
phetamine) warehouse in Lipa,
Batangas has raised fears from
narcotics ofcials here that the
worlds most powerful drug
cartel has set up shop in the Phil-
ippines with the help of Filipinos
in the United States.
We have previously had
reports that the Mexicans are
here and... this is the rst time
we have conrmed that indeed,
the Mexicans are already here,
Senior Superintendent Barto-
lome Tobias, Philippine National
Police - Anti-Illegal Drugs Spe-
cial Operations Task Force (PNP-
AIDSOTF) chief, said in a press
Joint elements of the PNP-
AIDSOTF and the Philippine
Drug Enforcement Agency
seized P420 million (about $11
million) worth of shabu during a
raid at the LPL Ranch in Baran-
gay Inosloban, Lipa last Christ-
mas Day.
A total 84 kilos of shabu in
vacuum-sealed latex packs were
placed in 4 pieces of luggage.
Three suspected big-time
drug trafckers, identied as
Gary Tan, Argay Argenos and
Rochelle Argenos, were arrested
during the bust.
Tan is allegedly a big-time
drug trafcker operating in
Metro Manila and the nearby
regions. Reports further dis-
closed Tan worked with a certain
Jorge Torres, a Filipino Ameri-
can with a US passport. Both are
accordingly afliated with the
Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel, he
The Sinaloa Cartel is often
described as the largest and most
powerful drug trafcking orga-
nization in the Western Hemi-
sphere. A New York Times arti-
cle said the cartel is responsible
for the creation of underground
tunnels that allowed the entry
of drugs from Mexican border
towns to the United States.
Police shows off shabu seized from Lipa, Batangas.
December 31, 2013 22 22
the death toll from the super
typhoon at 6,102. Some corpses
were recovered only recently
only after they washed up on
more distant islands.
One US report estimated
the economic cost of typhoon
Yolanda to the Philippines at
anywhere from $6.5 to $15 bil-
The UN had earlier
announced an appeal for $800
million of funding to provide
12 months of assistance for
14 million people affected by
Yolanda. The funds would be
used to provide access to food,
shelter, water, health and sanita-
tion services.
Never despair. The UN is
behind you. The world is behind
you, the he told the people of
Tacloban, which suffered more
than 5,000 deaths after taking
the brunt of the devastation from
Yolanda last November 8.
Bam called on donor nations
to ramp up aid to help the Phil-
ippines after revealing that they
have only achieved 30 percent of
aid it had appealed for.
Kerry announced an addi-
tional $24.6 million in humani-
tarian aid designed to help pro-
vide clean water, sanitation sup-
plies and temporary shelter, on
top of the $62 million the US has
provided already.
The US and UN have been
the biggest contributors for
Philippine relief efforts to aid
typhoon Yolanda victims (other
major donors include the United
Kingdom, Japan and Australia).
American military aircraft ew
over a thousand sorties, includ-
ing airlifting about 20,000 people
(540 of them American citizens)
outside the disaster area.
Ban toured Manlurip Ele-
mentary School where the UN
Childrens Fund (UNICEF) had
set up a tent school and dis-
tributed gifts to hundreds of
children. The school children
serenaded him with Christmas
Meanwhile, a US Congres-
sional Research Service (CRS)
report released last week said,
One important issue for the
Philippine economic recovery in
the months and years ahead will
be whether decentralized gover-
nance and corruption limits the
efciency of stimulus efforts.
The Philippine central gov-
ernments relative lack of control
over decisions by regional gov-
ernments has been one of the
chief obstacles to Philippine eco-
nomic development for decades,
many observers say.
While the World Bank
rated the Philippines as one of
the worlds 10 most improved
business environments in an
October 2013 survey, the strains
arising from the typhoons
damage will be a test of whether
the central government can effec-
tively implement economic stim-
ulus without running into the
issues of corruption or poor local
UN chief seeks more... from page 1
of the incident leaked to the
press, Senate Majority Leader
Alan Peter Cayetano accused the
young Binay of abusing both his
position and his familys clout.
Will he (Vice President)
treat him (Mayor Binay) any
differently? Or will he give him
special favor? Is this a preview
of a Binay administration if he
becomes the President?
It took a decidedly political
slant because the elder Binay has
already declared his intention to
seek the presidency in 2016, and
will likely face Cayetano, widely
expected to become the Naciona-
lista Party (NP) standard bearer.
The elder Binay is the titular
head of the United Nationalist
Alliance (UNA). The NP is an
afliate of President Aquinos
Liberal Party; the UNA, despite
Vice President Binays position,
is an outsider in the administra-
tion coalition.
If you want to be Presi-
dent of the country and you
want an administration that is
free of abuse, you have to make
a painful decision, Cayetano
said, apparently baiting not the
Makati executive but his father,
his presumed opponent three
years from now.
The early political intra-
mural was sparked by village
guards who barred Binays
convoy from using the Banyan
Road gate thats closed after 10
P.M. for security reasons (motor-
ists are asked to use another gate
200 meters away). Binay had
come from the home of his sister,
Sen. Nancy Binay who lives in
Dasmarinas Village.
A tense stand-off ensued
with Binays bodyguards pull-
ing out their guns and disarming
the security guards. When police
arrived, they pushed the barri-
cade open and hauled the secu-
rity guards off to a nearby police
A Makati police spokesman
said the sentries were merely
invited so their gun permits
can be veried at the police sta-
Mayor Binay argued that if
the citys highest ranking ofcial
cant have access to all parts of
his jurisdiction, his authority is
diminished. He said the security
guards broke protocol.
The Dasmarias Village
Association (DVA) for its part
gave the guards both commen-
dations and gifts from residents.
DVA president Jay Pantangco
said they had the backing of resi-
Joey Salgado, Binays
spokesman, said in an interview
on radio dzMM that the situation
turned for the worse because the
security guards manning the
Banyan gate of the village called
for back-up, who allegedly encir-
cled the convoy.
In a statement, Valenzu-
ela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, a
Binay ally, said, the actions of
the security guards totally disre-
garded the authority vested on
Mayor Binay as the leader and
father of the city.
If a mayor cannot enter or
leave a property within the area
of his jurisdiction because of
supposed rules and regulations
that were drawn and imple-
mented by a group of private
individuals, then this would
surely diminish his effectiveness
as the leader of his town or city,
Gatchalian said.
Pantangco defended the
security guards. Dasmarias
Village is a private subdivision,
he averred, adding that the
guards were only performing
their duty to enforce the village
associations policies and rules.
Cayetano questioned this
argument. He said it went against
President Benigno Aquino IIIs
campaign against the wang-
wang mentality, referring to
politicians abuse of power and
sense of entitlement.
It might seem like a small
issue for others. But in the eyes of
the poor, this is wang-wang, this
is abuse, Cayetano said. Sal-
gado countered that disrespect
for an elected ofcial is some-
thing we dont want to wish on
Referring to Cayetano, he
said, We know the good sena-
tor will be the rst to take offense
if armed private security guards
of an exclusive subdivision sur-
round the convoy of the mayor
of Taguig in a gesture of disre-
spect. Cayetanos wife Lani is
mayor of Taguig which has a ter-
ritorial dispute with Makati.
Village road stand-off... from page 1
of the Miss International pageant
at Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall
in Tokyo. Four other Filipinas
had held the title earlier: Gemma
Cruz in 1964, Aurora Pijuan in
1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979
and Lara Quigaman in 2005.
Miss Philippines Supra-
national 2013 Mutya Johanna
Datul, a 21-year-old beauty from
the tiny village of Santa Maria,
Isabela, bested more than 80
contestants in the Miss Supra-
national 2013 contest held in
Minsk, Belarus, on Sept. 6, 2013,
the rst to win from Asia and the
rst major win for the country
since 2008.
Datuls breakthrough win
set the stage for the countrys
record-breaking feat in interna-
tional beauty contests in 2013.
The elusive Miss World
crown was nally brought home
by actress and model Miss World
Philippines Megan Lynne Young
on Sept. 28, 2013, after waiting
for 62 years. The 23-year-old
former StarStruck 2 talent won
over a record 126 delegates in
These three unprecedented
triumphs of Filipino beauties,
which coincided with the 50th
Golden Year of the Miss Philip-
pines national search, were made
more signicant with the string
of amazing top-5 nishes in dif-
ferent pageants.
Miss Philippines Universe
2013 Ariella Arida was named
third runner-up in the Miss
Universe 2013 beauty contest in
Moscow on Nov. 9, 2013. The
23-year-old chemistry graduate
of UP Los Baos thus contin-
ued the countrys top-5 nishes
for four consecutive years in the
planets most popular beauty
Ali Forbes, 2012 Miss Phil-
ippines second runner-up and
a professional singer, copped
third runner-up honors in the
rst Miss Grand International
pageant in Bangkok on Nov. 19,
Andrea Koreen Medina, an
18-year-old Star Magic talent,
followed with another third
runner-up nish at the Miss
Intercontinental 2013 contest in
Magdeburg, Germany, on Dec.
14, 2013.
Miss Philippines Tourism
2013 Joanna Cindy Miranda, a
TV host and Tourism graduate
of the University of Santo Tomas,
was a top-10 semi-nalist and
was awarded as Miss Tourism
Ambassador Asia at the Miss
Tourism Queen International
2013 held in Xianning, China, on
Oct. 3, 2013.
Miss Philippines Earth 2013
Angelee Claudett Delos Reyes,
a registered nurse and a former
Miss Bikini Philippines, also n-
ished as a Top-8 semi-nalist in
the Miss Earth 2013 contest held
in Alabang, Muntinlupa, on Dec.
7, 2013.
Star in a Million nalist Cza-
rina Rosales was a top-15 placer
in the Miss Asia Pacic World
2013 held in Seoul and bagged
four special awards as Best in
Talent, Miss Asia Pacic World
Star, Best Model and Worlds
Most Beautiful Super talent.
Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia
Pacic International 2013
Andrea Koreen Medina took
home another third runner-up
nish in the Miss Intercontinen-
tal 2013 beauty contest held in
Magdeburg, Germany, on Dec.
14, 2013. The 18-year-old Star
Magic talent, ABS CBNs My Girl
2012 and Mass Communication
student of St. Paul College, was
also named Queen of Asia and
Maria Isabelle Mendoza,
a 19-year-old HRM student of
San Beda College, was crowned
Miss Campus World 2013, while
her counterpart Roland William
de Dios, an education student
of the Nueva Ecija University
of Science & Technology, was
named rst runner-up in the
Mr. Campus World 2013 held in
Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 5, 2013.
Gil Wagas, a 22-year-old
model from Lapu-Lapu City, was
named fourth runner-up in the
Mister International 2013 contest
held in Jakarta on Nov. 21, 2013.
The 6-foot-3 former University of
the East varsity player also won
the Fan Vote special award.
Former Mr. World Philip-
pines Alvin de Joya nished
second runner-up in Asia Tele-
vision Limiteds Mr. Asia 2013
held in Hong Kong on Nov. 15,
2013. De Joya is a 26-year-old
professional nurse and part-time
model from Cauayan City, Isa-
Jamiel Ventosa will compete
in the Mr. Manhunt International
title in Beijing in April 2014 now
held by June Macasaet. Ventosa,
an 18-year-old 6-foot-2 Criminol-
ogy student of Wesleyan Univer-
sity, will try for a back-to-back
win for the Philippines. Maca-
saet, a model from Lipa City,
won the Mr. Manhunt Interna-
tional 2012 crown in Bangkok.
On the eve of the pageant,
Santiago posted on her Twit-
ter account (@bearose21): Lord
bless me! Give me condence
and strength for tomorrow. I
want to give a Merry Christmas
to the Philippines.
During the nal round of the
competition, where the ve nal-
ists delivered their messages,
Santiago said that if she became
the next Miss International, she
would uphold international
camaraderie and international
sympathy. I will continue the
message of hope. Whatever
calamity may come to us, as long
as we have each other, there will
be hope.
Santiagos rst foray into
the local beauty pageant scene
was in the 2011 Mutya ng Pili-
pinas contest, where she repre-
sented the Filipino community
of Canada. Born in Alabang,
Muntinlupa, she was raised by
her grandparents in Cataingan,
Masbate before she immigrated
with her family to Canada when
she was 15.
Banner year for Pinay... from page 1
Megan Lynne Young
December 31, 2013 23
Tallest tree in the forest
Following the world pre-
miere co-production at Kansas
Repertory Theatre and La Jolla
Playhouse, playwright and per-
former Daniel Beatty brings The
Tallest Tree in the Forest to
Arena Stage at the Mead Center
for American Theater.
Beaty, whose work has
been seen at Arena Stage as a
playwright with his play Res-
urrection and as a performer
in his award-winning solo play
Emergency, channels close
to 40 characters in The Tallest
Tree in the Forest in a tour-de-
force (San Diego Reader) per-
formance, giving audiences an
intimate look at one of the most
dynamic and controversial g-
ures in history-artist and activist
Paul Robeson.
Tony Award nominee
Moises Kaufman (playwright
and director for Broadways
33 Variations, which received
its world premiere at Arena
Stage in 2007) directs this musi-
cal-infused play that features 14
songs and an onstage band.
Developed and produced by
Tectonic Theater Project, Tallest
Tree in the Forest runs Janu-
ary 10-February 16, 2014 n the
Kreeger Theater and will play
the Mark Taper Forum in Los
Angeles following the Arena
Stage run.
Beaty and Kaufman have
been developing this piece since
2011. During that period the play
received multiple workshops
and was selected by the Guggen-
heim for its Works & Process
Employing multi- charac-
ter transformation, monologues,
narrative scenes, heightened
poetry and video footage of the
era, this theatrical work explores
the evolution of Robeson as an
artist/activist, his humanity, his
courage, his contradictions and
why many call him the tallest
tree in the forest. Robeson was
a scholar, an athlete, an activist,
a vocalist and an actor on stage
and screen.
Meanwhile I attended the
performance of Guess Whos
Coming To Dinner at Arena
Stage. This masterful stage adap-
tation of the iconic 1967 lm of
the same name is about white
liberal parents whose liberal
values are put to the test when
their daughter brings home for
them to meet her African-Amer-
ican ance.
This production is superla-
tive in many ways. Todd Kre-
idler updated the screenplay by
William Rose and he did a bril-
liant job with it. It is also deftly
staged by David Esbjornsson
who has assembled a stellar cast:
Tom Key, Andrea Frye, Bethany
Anne Lind, Michael Russotto,
Eugene Lee, Lynda Gravatt,
Tess Malis Kincaid and Malcolm
Jamal Warner who played Theo
in the iconic sitcom The Cosby
The topic of plays race
relations still resonates to this
day. Guess Whos Coming to
Dinner is running at Arena
Stage (1101 Sixth St. SW, Wash-
ington DC 20024; nearest Metro
stop: Waterfront-Green Line) till
January 5, 2014. For tickets, call
202-488-8300 orr http://www.
Letters to the Editor...
Its no fun for
Dear Editor,
After a brief bereave-
ment visit to the Philippines,
my granddaughter, Christine
H. Lechoco, returned home to
Maryland last October deter-
mined to celebrate her 18th
birthday (December 17) with her
extended family in Pampanga.
She returned to the Philip-
pines on December 12 with an
airline ticket good for a ve-
week stay; however, the Philip-
pine immigration authorities
at the airport only gave her a
four-week visa. The pleadings
of a young college student was
to no avail. Yet the Philippines
spends and encourages balik-
bayan and foreign remittances to
earn a large portion of its foreign
currency reserves. Just wonder-
ing what can move or motivate
Philippine immigration ofcials
to follow Philippine economic
and foreign policies in the per-
formance of their ofcial duties.
Merry Christmas to you
and your staff!
Dear Bert,
I recall seeing briey the
Manila Mails announcement
that you had been raised to an
Emeritus status. Id like to take
this opportunity to congratulate
you for making a lot of history
in those long years, your work
serving as glue that binds our
community together through
the vicissitudes of politics and
history. Im honored that you
are the very rst Editor in Chief
of the Manila Mail that I had
known since I commenced my
advertising. I share the feelings
of gratitude that our readership
has for your dedication.
Im glad that your legacy
is alive and active. I hope to
see you someday soon, when
you are not too busy with your
grandchildren, as you always
are. Say when.Take care.
All the best to you and to
Manila Mail!
(Thank you, Miriam. As one
of the founders and rst Editor-
in-Chief of the Manila Mail- for
23 years - I am still very involved
in the organization as Executive
Editor and Chief Operating Of-
cer. As you very well know, the
Manila Mail is a Filipino Ameri-
can fortnightly ran by volunteer
journalists whose aim is to pro-
vide a voice for the community
in the capital of the greatest
nation on earth. - Bert Alfaro)
Open Letter
Thank you President
Benigno Aquino Jr. for heeding
the call of MHC and hundreds
of organizations and tens of
thousands of Filipino Americans
to request a TPS designation of
the Philippines. TPS designa-
tion will benet an estimated 1
million Filipinos in the United
States..( Beneciaries will entitle
them to receive work permit
and the right to travel) they
may continue to be the lifeline of
thousands of families impacted
by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan
and to help the Philippines in
dire!!... Now we have to continue
our heightened activism so that
President Obama will designate
the Philippines under the TPS
program before the end of the
for the unprecedented relief
which should include a TPS des-
ignation for the Philippines ( to
be an integral part of relief and
assitance)!! GOD BLESS THE
ISAs rst president, Avelino Halagao dies in Ohio
Avelino Halagao, a lawyer
and multi-awarded Filipino
American leader in D.C., passed
away while visiting his daugh-
ter, Arlene Halagao Kovats, in
Ohio Dec. 25. He was 75.
Aveling, as popularly called
by friends, was the First Presi-
dent of the Ilocano Society of
America (ISA), Inc and was also
one of the co-Founders of the
He, together with his late
wife Shony, and other ISA found-
ers were honored/awarded for
their dedication and having
founded ISA 30 years ago during
its 30th Founding Aniversary
Gala last October 2013.
The Ilocano Society of Amer-
ica (ISA), is one of the pioneer
Fil-Am and well established
non-prot, service-oriented 501 c
3 organizations in the U.S. capi-
tal region, and is the organizer
of longest running prestigious
Fil-Am Pageant in the U.S. capi-
tal region and the US East Coast,
the Miss Teen Philippines-Amer-
ica (formerly Miss Teenage Phil-
ippines-USA Pageant).
Atty. Halagao was also Pres-
ident of PABA of Metro DC and
had been active in numerous
Fil-Am community events and
organizations. He had been rec-
ognized for his laudable and
unselsh service to the commu-
nity and our kababayans.
Details of viewing and
memorial services will be com-
municated in due course by his
son Mike Halagao, as arrange-
ments are still being made for his
remains to be brought from Ohio
to Metropolitan Washington
D.C. and be interred next to his
wife, Shony Halagao, who died
last year.
Lawyer Avelino Halagao and wife Shony.
December 31, 2013 24 24
Revisiting the Instinct
to Loot
n the immediate aftermath
of supertyphoon Yolanda
in Eastern Visayas, when
disaster aid was slow to come,
many of the desperate survivors
resorted to looting sprees.
People stormed stores and
malls and carted off food and
other basic commodities. But
many also stole non-essential
items like television sets, wash-
ing machines and luxury clothes.
Lawyers and human rights
advocates justied the looting
as a necessary evil, that even the
law allowed this kind of behav-
ior in extreme circumstances.
That is the laws compas-
sionate side. It recognizes that
people must survive and are jus-
tied to take desperate measures
in desperate times.
But what we should instead
learn to do in times of desper-
ate need is self-control and self-
discipline. What we should insist
and impose upon ourselves is to
maintain our dignity at all times.
Easy for us to say, sitting in
a couch in front of the television
watching the crisis and chaos
unravel. Or writing a newspaper
column in ones homes comfort.
Yes, but its not something
thats unknown in some parts of
the world.
In Japan, for a sublime
example, when the monstrous
tsunami hit Fukushima, the
people there didnt panic, didnt
riot, didnt loot.
Instead they quietly tried
to help themselves pick up the
pieces of whats left of their
belongings, their homes, their
lives. Quietly and uncomplain-
ingly -- even their sobs were
restrained -- they lined up for aid
and relief, no jostling or bicker-
One notable and poignant
vignette was that of the little boy
who was given a piece of ration
bread by a reman so he didnt
have to queue up for what was
being distributed. What did the
boy do?
He gratefully took the bread
but put it back in the relief pile
and quietly took back his place in
the peoples line, waiting for his
turn in the queue.
That is self-discipline, that is
self-denial, that is self-sacrice,
that is composure, that is dignity.
For those remarkable people,
rioting wasnt necessary, looting
never crossed their minds, whin-
ing wasnt a reex response to
the crisis.
Whether we care to admit it
or not, its a trait thats missing
from the Filipino character.
No question, those werent
inveterate looters, the looters of
Eastern Visayas, but were only
forced by the circumstances to
become such. But looters they
still became. And, according to
the law, their actions can be jus-
tied under the circumstances,
even as self-defense.
All true. But ideal? No.
Its because whenever
people resort to desperate and
destructive measures, someone
else gets hurt or affected. Some-
one else pays for the actions of
When you take someone
elses property or belongings,
then that becomes a loss for him
or her. How is he or she then
going to recoup the loss? Insur-
ance? Lucky for merchants or
private individuals if they have
How can we then justify
action that hurts other persons?
Ask the lawyers and human
rights advocates who justied
the looting in the Visayas.
Can we Filipinos learn to
acquire self-discipline, self-
denial and common concern for
others? Its not that were inca-
pable or unwilling to help others
in times of crisis. We even have a
word for it: bayanihan.
Lets hope that the time will
come when dignity will prevail
over the gut instinct to resort to
plunder, pillage, and the herd
mentality to riot, ransack and
steal. Lets hope the time will
come when we can proudly say:
we may be a poor people and a
poor nation, but we have dignity.
Happy New Year to all from
Manila Observer!
On the time
in our lives
ime measured in seconds,
minutes, hours, days,
weeks, months, years,
decades, scores, or centuries
is the essence of our human
identity. We, Filipinos and our
descendants here in the United
States and elsewhere in the
globe, may sometimes take time
for granted, but we live by, with,
in, and for it. Our existence as
humans, our survival, the shar-
ing of hopes and dreams with
the other members of our com-
munity, with other nations, or
simply, our capacity to cope
with the vagaries of nature are
marked by the ticking of the
clocks, crossed- out days on the
printed calendar, or sometimes
in a perverted, romantic act, by
notches on ones favorite tree.
Always, the response to a hidden
stimulus is keeping up, getting
on, with the times.
Coping with natures unpre-
dictable changes was what the
early Filipinos in the
Sixteenth century did. They
plotted their daily activities by
the course of the sun, the phases
of the moon, the movement of the
stars, and the shifting direction
of the monsoon wind. They paid
close attention to the weather
and planned their cycle of rice
and vegetation farming on their
perception of dry and wet sea-
sons. In the Visayan provinces,
the early Filipinos also paid close
attention to the owering of the
plants and the songs of the birds.
During dry season, harvest time
at Limasawa was in late March,
in June or July for those living on
the southern coast of Mindanao,
and October and November for
those in Panay.
During wet season, rainfalls
nowadays played signicant
role in the planting and harvest-
ing of crops in the Ilocos and
Mountain Provinces, in the Bicol
regions, and in Central Luzon.
Rainfalls occurred mostly during
the months of June and July,
but in the other parts of Luzon,
namely in Cavite and Batangas,
heavy rains came in late October
and reached their peaks in late
Of course, heavy rains
accompanied by extreme surges
of wind can cause undesired
effects. Rice crops and vegeta-
tion, houses, and other proper-
ties are destroyed in the process.
The onslaughts of typhoons
Joan in 1970, Irma in 1981,
Thelma in 1991, Barbs in 1998,
Washi in 2011, and Bopha in 2012
although predictable, wrought
unexpected havocs
in Luzon and southern
parts of the Philippines. Haiyan
or Yolanda, typhoon name that
will go down in history, is the
most destructive of all. The cata-
strophic effects are still being
felt all over the globe. For the
Filipinos and their forbears the
instinct for survival from all
these destructions is traceable
from the patterns of behavior
handed down from generations
to generations. This is a cultural
In all this discussion affect-
ing the early Filipinos, a question
is begged on why their activi-
ties are recorded in months,
years and centuries when the
Gregorian Calendar, used by a
vast majority of countries in the
globe, was adopted by Spain
only in 1582 and consequently
brought over to the Philip-
pines immediately after. Wasnt
Magellans death on the shore
of Mactan, who had been prod-
ded by moon, stars and winds,
caused by his disregard the night
before of the coming moon tides?
Of course, historians have their
ways of compromising with facts
backed by recorded observations
and investigations.
Before the advent of calen-
dar, measuring time revolved
around the sun, moon, stars, tides
of oceans, migrations of birds,
and ights of butteries. Ancient
Babylonians used number 12 in
keeping time, believing that 12
was a mystic number. Multiples
12 were used: day into 24
parts (2 X 12), hour into 60 min-
utes (5 X 12), and year into 12
months. A common method of
counting years in some countries
is to mark the beginning of the
reign of a king or queen, or the
ruling emperor in case of Japan.
In the United Kingdom, Acts of
Parliament, or laws enacted, are
dated from the year marking the
beginning of a queens or kings
Pope Gregory XIII, in 1582,
ordered the Christian chronicler
Dionysius Exiguus to revise what
was then known as the Julian cal-
endar, named after Julius Caesar
and which was based on lunar
movements. There was a need
to base time on the movement of
the sun. Comparing events and
cultures in other Christian coun-
tries, Exiguus xed the calendar
years beginning with the birth of
Jesus Christ. Thus, AD for Anno
Domini (the year of
our Lord) and BC, for Before
Christ was adopted. In order not
to be associated with Jesus
Christ, non-Christian
nations adopted CE for Common
Era in place of AD and BCE for
Before Common Era, instead of
The Chinese, on the other
hand, do not give names to the
12 months. They name the years
in groups of 12 and refer to a year
by its name, specically, Rat, Ox,
Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake,
Horse, Sheep (or Goat), Monkey,
Rooster, Dog and Pig. Years are
repeated in sequence in a cycle of
60 years. Chinese calendar is still
used in Tibet,
Malaysia, Hog Kong and
Chinese living in the Philip-
pines, by tradition, observe the
celebration of Harvest Moon
Festival and New Years Day
Festival. On these days, beauti-
fully-packaged moon cakes are
available for purchase in some of
the stores.
Calendars of the other
religious faiths are the Hindu,
Zoroastrian, Buddhist System,
Hebrew of the Jew, Hijr of the
Muslim, and the Bahais.
Following the Gregorian cal-
endar, specic days of celebra-
tion are marked for holy days,
Christmas and Passover,
Ramadan and Eads, feast day of
saints, festivals, and town es-
tas. Visible signs and practices
are readily observable, namely,
dancing, decorations, fasting,
food and drinks, joyful noise,
church bells, music, colorful
lights, pageants, processions,
and even water dousing.
A calendar serves many
aspects of human endeavors. It
reects various obligations of
people. A calendar in any form
xes events and their celebra-
tion is intimately linked with
our measurement of the passage
of time; in its basic form, it tells
us when to work, play, go to
school, and worship. The calen-
dar makes us humans.
December 31, 2013 25
ime magazine, this week,
chose Pope Francis for its
Person of Year award.
In less than a year on Peter the
Fishermans chair, the former
Argentinian cardinal had the
greatest impact on the world,
Rarely has a new player
on the world stage captured
so much attention so quickly -
young and old, faithful and cyni-
cal as Pope Francis, explained
Time managing editor Nancy
Gibbs. What makes this Pope
so important is the speed with
which he captured the imagina-
tion of millions whod given up
on hoping for the church at all,
People ( are ) weary of the
endless parsing of sexual ethics,
the buck-passing inghting over
lines of authority when all the
while (to borrow from Milton),
the hungry sheep look up, and
are not fed. In a few months,
Francis elevated the healing mis-
sion the church as servant and
comforter of hurting people in
an often harsh worldabove the
doctrinal police work.
Indeed, the iconic spiritual
leaders of our time took decades
of struggle and growth before
they were formed into the univer-
sally recognized symbols that we
know and love, wrote Ambas-
sador Akbhar Ahmed earlier.
. He chairs Islamic Studies at
American University in Wash-
ington, DC. Mahatma Gandhi,
Mother Teresa, Rev. Martin
Luther King, Jr., and Nelson
Mandela are universally recog-
nized examples.
But Pope Francis is an
exception, he adds. He comes
to us, as it were, fully formed. In
terms of his tenure as pope, he
is in his infancy. And yet Fran-
cis seems to have hit his stride
This is seen in his reaching out
to Muslims to shared Muslim-
Christian reverence for the
Mother of Jesus.
From his rst foreign policy
address, in March. Francis made
improving Muslim-Catholic
relations a top priority. Before
ambassadors from 180 countries,
he explained how he wanted to
work for Muslims and Catholics
to intensify dialogue.
The Pope, does not seek
fame and success, since he carries
out his service for the proclama-
tion of the Gospel and the love
of God for all, Vatican spokes-
man Federico Lombardi SJ said,
If this attracts men and women
and gives them hope, the Pope
is content. If this nomination as
Person of the Year means many
have understood this message, at
least implicitly, hell certainly be
Months before the Times
Person of the Year award, Mat-
thew Kneale wrote in the New
Statesman of London that the
pontiffs seems to see his task
as that of purging his church of
He is truly the Austerity
Pope for this new age of auster-
ity. He shows intense empathy
for the poor, the unemployed and
struggling economic migrants.
After he drownings off Lampe-
dusa, he said today is a day of
tears...( But the ) world does not
care about people eeing slav-
Immigration Notes
By J.G. Azarcon, Esq.
Parole in
he USCIS on November
15, 2013 issued a Policy
Memorandum clarifying
the treatment of alien relatives of
United States military personnel.
Spouses, parents and chil-
dren of active duty service
members, including veterans
and reservists, who are pres-
ent in the United States without
valid immigration status will be
granted parole status. T h i s
temporary status will shield
qualied aliens from deporta-
tion. Unless the alien has been
convicted of serious crimes, it is
likely that parole will be granted.
It is given on yearly increments.
Under current law, aliens
who enter the country without
inspection ordinarily would
not qualify for adjustment of
status unless granted parole. For
instance, the spouse of an active
duty soldier who crossed the
border into the US would not be
able to adjust to permanent resi-
dent without exiting the coun-
try to apply for an immigrant
visa. The problem however is
that once the alien exits the US,
he/she may have to wait for
an indenite time before being
granted an immigrant visa to
Whether or not the alien will
qualify for adjustment of status
in the US without exiting the
country would depend upon the
status of the US military member.
Only immediate relatives of U.S.
citizens will qualify for adjust-
ment of status and these are
spouses, parents and children
under 21years. Parole does not
erase other grounds of inadmis-
sibility like failure to maintain
continuous lawful status since
entry into the US, unless the
alien is an immediate relative of
a US citizen or falls under other
exemptions designated by law.
If the US military member
is only a green card holder, the
better way to proceed would
be to wait until the military
member, reservist or veteran
obtains US citizenship.
(Questions may be
addressed to 703 893 0760)
First: Unmarried sons/daughters
of US citizens Jul. 01, 2001
A: Spouses/minor children of
permanent residents: Sep. 08, 2013
B: Unmarried sons/daughters 21 years
of age or older of permanent residents May 01, 2003
Third: Married sons/daughters of citizens Feb. 01, 1993
Fourth: Brothers/sisters of citizens Jul. 01, 1990
First: Priority workers Current
Second: Professionals holding advanced
degrees or persons of exceptional ability Current
Third: Skilled workers, professionals Feb. 15, 2007
Other Workers Feb. 15, 2007
Certain Religious Workers Current
Fifth: Employment creation/
(Million or half-million dollar investor) Current
Renance: To Do or
Not To Do
o many homeowners are
asking when would be the
best time to renance their
existing mortgages and still
debating whether to do it or not.
There is no simple answer to this
but it all depends on the individ-
ual nancial situation and objec-
One of the considerations
of renancing is to make sure
there is a tangible benet to the
borrower. A lower interest rate
or lower monthly payment does
not always mean savings, espe-
cially if you will add more years
on your mortgage terms or pay-
ments. Here are some useful tips
to ask if renancing is worth con-
How many more years
will you stay in your property?
This is an important question
to determine the practicality of
changing your current mortgage.
If you are thinking of staying in
your house for less than 4 years,
you may not want to consider
it as you will be paying closing
costs that would not offset the
total savings you are looking for.
Unless, of course, there is a sub-
stantial difference on the interest
rate from what you have now.
What do you want to
achieve - lower monthly pay-
ment or pay off your mortgage
the soonest possible?
Lower monthly pay-
ment - If you are considering a
lower monthly payment, doing
a 30-year xed rate could be
the answer. Sometimes, doing
an Adjustable Rate Mortgage
(ARM) maybe an option depend-
ing on your overall nancial
objective since the rate is some-
what lower than a 30 year xed.
An ARM could be 3, 5, 7 or 10
years xed rate with 30 years
amortization. The rate will be
adjusted and could change after
the chosen term - it could be the
same, higher or lower and would
re-set every year thereafter.
Pay off your mortgage
the soonest possible this can
be accomplished by renanc-
ing your current mortgage to
a shorter term like 15 years, 20
years, 25 years, etc. By doing this
type of renancing, the monthly
payment could be the same
as what you are paying now,
depending on how long youve
been paying, or a little bit higher
but would save you thousands
even hundreds of thousands of
dollars overtime. Be realistic, we
cannot get everything we want
in one box. The shorter the mort-
gage term is, the lower the inter-
est would be.
Change from an Adjustable
Rate Mortgage (ARM) to a xed
rate. ARM is a variable rate mort-
gage. The rate on the note period-
ically adjusted based on an index
which reects the cost to the
lender of borrowing on the credit
markets. Though the borrower
benets from reduced margin to
the underlying cost of borrow-
ing compared to xed rate mort-
gages, the risk of a higher rate is
always there which could result
on payment shock. You can
manage this uncertainty by re-
nancing to a xed rate mortgage.
This would give you a predict-
able monthly budget until the
end of your term. Your property
tax and insurance premium will
certainly change regardless of
what type of mortgage you will
have. Consolidate your debts.
This option is likely if you have
enough equity in your property.
Some people are using this cash
out renance program to pay off
their current mortgages and to
include outstanding balances of
all or some of their credit cards,
car loans and other consumer
loans. Consideration of having
a lower monthly payment is
possible with the end result in
mind that it could also stretch
the number of years of relatively
shorter terms of these other
loans. Interest paid on mortgage
loans could also be tax benecial
but your tax accountant will be
the best person to ask about it.
Taking out Mortgage Insur-
ance from your current mort-
gage payment. For the most
part, Mortgage Insurance is
paid if the down payment when
you bought your property was
less than 20%. It is an insurance
policy, public or private, which
compensates investors or lend-
ers for losses because of a default
on a mortgage loan. Enough
equity is always considered.
Currently, there are conven-
tional programs being offered
not to pay the monthly mortgage
insurance even if the equity is as
low as 5%. A simple example is
this: if your house is appraised at
$200,000, then you can apply up
to $190,000 loan amount on a rate
Continued on page 30
Continued on page 30
December 31, 2013 26 26
uring the last couple of
months, I have received
numerous requests for
this recipe, so I thought of re-
publishing it for the benet of
those who may want to have
something different for the holi-
day season.
When you make your own
Madeleines, you are in effect per-
sonalizing it. For sure, with this
recipe, they will be totally dif-
ferent from those you buy from
other commercial sources which
are really very expensive. For
this reason, they are perfect gifts
to give away this holiday season
or any time of the year.
This well-known shell-
shaped French sponges are tradi-
tionally served plain, with coffee
or tea. They are also perfect
accompaniments to any of our
popular Magnolia ice creams.
3 eggs
1 3/4 ounces ne granulated
2 teaspoons demarara sugar,
or light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons clear honey
3 ounces pastry our
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ounces unsalted butter,
melted, but cool
Icing sugar for dusting
Yield: 18 to 20 Madeleines.
1. Preheat oven to 350
degrees F. Butter twice a 12-hole
Madeleine tin, the second time
dust with our and top out the
excess to leave a very ne coat-
2. Separate the eggs. Set
aside the egg whites in a bowl.
Blend the egg yolks in a bowl
with half the caster sugar, dema-
rara sugar and honey and whisk
until double in volume and pale
in color. Whisk the egg whites
separately until stiff, then add
the remaining caster sugar.
Whisk until a stiff and shiny
meringue is formed. Fold the
1/3 of the meringue into the yolk
3. Sift twice the our,
baking powder and salt. Fold
half the dry ingredients into the
yolk mixture, using a spatula,
followed by 1/3 of the meringue,
then add the remaining dry
ingredients. Fold in the nal 1/3
of the meringue, then pour in
the butter. Pipe, using a piping
bag tted with a 1/4 inch plain
nozzle into the madeleine tins
until they are 2/3 full. Rest for
10 minutes.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes
or until pale golden brown. Turn
the madeleines out of the tin and
set aside on a wire rack. Serve
the madeleines with the pattern
showing, dusted with sifted
icing sugar.
Master Chef Evelyn: 100
Most Influential Filipina Women in
the U.S., 2009, Filipina Womens
Network; MHC Most Outstanding
Migrant Award in Culinary Arts,
2011; PAFC Dakila Special Achieve-
ment Award, 2011; Owner/Chef,
Philippine Oriental Market & Deli,
Arlington, Virginia; Founder and
President of CHEW (Cancer Help
Eat Well) Foundation, a 501 (c) (3)
public charity formed to help and
cook pro-bono for Filipino-Amer-
icans who are afflicted with cancer
and other serious illnesses; Culi-
nary writer; Member, Les Dames
dEscoffier International, Washing-
ton DC Chapter; Member, Inter-
national Cake Exploration Society,
Member, Culinary Historians of
Washington, D.C.; Master Chef,
French Cuisine and Patisserie, Le
Cordon Bleu, London.
ommy, do all angels
Yes, Willie, why
do you ask?
Cause I heard Daddy call
our maid angel the other day.
Will she y too?
Yes, Willie... tomorrow.
If Laura, Kate and Sarah go
out for lunch, they will call each
other Laura, Kate and Sarah.
If Michael, David and Rich-
ard go out, they will affection-
ately refer to each other as Fat
Boy, Four-eyes and Big Dick.
A man will pay $2 for a $1
item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for
a $2 item that she doesnt need
because its on sale.
A Frenchman, an English-
man and a New Yorker were
captured by cannibals. The chief
comes to them and says, The
bad news is that now weve
caught you and were going to
kill you. We will put you in a pot,
cook you, eat you and then were
going to use your skins to build a
canoe. The good news is that you
can choose how to die.
The Frenchman says, I take
ze sword. The chief gives him
a sword, the Frenchman says,
Vive la France! and runs him-
self through.
The Englishman says, a
pistol for me please. The chief
gives him a pistol, the English-
man points it at his head and
says, God save the queen! and
blows his brains out.
The New Yorker says,
Gimme a fork! The chief is
puzzled, but he shrugs and gives
him a fork. The New Yorker
takes the fork and starts jabbing
himself all over -- the stomach,
the sides, the chest, everywhere.
There is blood gushing out all
over, its horrible. The chief is
appalled and asks, My God,
what are you doing?
And the New Yorker
responds, So much for your
canoe you stupid cannibal!
There was an Irishman, an
Englishman and Claudia Schiffer
sitting together in a carriage in a
train going through Tasmania.
Suddenly the train went through
a tunnel and as it was an old
style train there were no lights
in the carriages and it went com-
pletely dark.
Then there was this kiss-
ing noise and the sound of a
really loud slap. When the train
came out of the tunnel, Claudia
Schiffer and the Irishman were
sitting as if nothing had hap-
pened and the Englishman had
his hand against his face as he
had been slapped there.
The Englishman was think-
ing: The Irish fella must have
kissed Claudia Schiffer and she
missed him and slapped me
Claudia Schiffer was think-
ing: The English fella must
have tried to kiss me and actu-
ally kissed the Irishman and got
slapped for it.
The Irishman was thinking:
This is great! The next time the
train goes through a tunnel Ill
make another kissing noise and
slap that English idiot again.
Anak: Daddy, Daddy,
nakita ko ang ginawa ninyo kay
Inday sa kuwarto.
Tatay: (Medyo kinabahan)...
Bakit ba bata ka... ano ba ang
nakita mo?
Anak: Tulad din ng ginawa
ng driver natin kay Mommy.
Bobby: Pare, napakatapang
talaga ni pareng Isko. Biro mo,
nang bastusin nung istambay
ang kanyang misis, bigla niyang
inupakan ito!
Tony: Mas matapang ako
pare. Kung nakita mo lang kung
paano ko sagot-sagutin si misis...
iPhone 5
Magkakaibigan nagpapaya-
Andro: Pare, ang gara ang
bago kong iphone 5.
Emong: Mas maganda ang
bago kong iphone 5S pare.
Kaloy: Wala yang mga yan
sa iphone 5GSM ko pare.
Andro: Aww... wala yatang
ganung model, ah.
Kaloy: Meron pare... iphone
5GSM... Galing Sa Magnanakaw.
Mag-kumare nag-uusap.
Lagring: Mars, sori to hear
na namatay na pala ang alaga
mong aso.
Malou: Oo nga mare, naka-
Sumabat si mister...
Inggo: Si kumare mo, meron
pang alagang hayop... ako.
Malou: Ang baba naman
ang tingin mo sa sarili, pare.
Inggo: Kasi, laging sina-
sabi ni misis sa akin, hayop daw
ako sa pag-aasikaso sa kanya...
hayop daw ako kung magma-
hal... hayop daw ako sa kama...
(Gets mo?)
(Earlier) Mom: Yaya, ilagay
mo yung pesto sa ref!
(Later) Son: Yaya, nakita
mo PS2 ko?
Yaya: Nasa ref, pinalagay
ng mama mo!
A soldier came to a fork in
the road and saw a nun stand-
ing there. Out of breath he asked,
Please, Sister, may I hide under
your skirts for a few minutes. Ill
explain why later.
The nun agreed.
A moment later, two Mili-
tary Police came running along
and asked, Sister, have you seen
a soldier running by here?
The nun replied, He went
that way.
After the MPs disappeared,
the soldier crawled out from
under the nuns skirt and said,
I cant thank you enough Sister,
but you see -- I dont want to go
to Iraq...
The nun replied, I think I
can fully understand your fear.
The soldier added, I hope
you dont think me rude or
impertinent, but you have a
great pair of legs!
The nun replied, If you had
looked a little higher, you would
have seen a great pair of balls... I
dont want to go to Iraq either.
May this New Year bring
you immense happiness in all
December 31, 2013 27
2014: Learn
to Beat the
ith every New Year,
memories are revis-
ited and wishes are
implored for all the goodness
it can hold. At the start of 2014,
we are faced with the challenges
and ambivalence of everyday
living. Conversely on bad days
the strains of daily life can be
draining, but life can be enjoy-
able if we could cope better with
the stress and hassles it brings.
Learning how to develop more
stress-resilient thinking styles is
the name of the game. Worka-
holics nd it hard to seek peace
and tranquility of the mind and
relaxation of the body.
Life Can Be So Busy
We take a moment everyday
to think positive thoughts. We
sometimes take for granted the
important little things that make
us smile. We take some time to
listen to life and feel the sun on
our face, and stop to watch but-
teries in the garden. Look at the
sunset, share a cup of coffee with
a best friend, or hear the wind
rustle through the trees. We take
a moment to look around and
smile at our life and choices. We
dont worry about the paths we
should have taken or the oppor-
tunities we ignored. Instead
breathe in the life that surrounds
us we let it ll our soul with
light and hope. We reect on the
past and all the memories, good
and bad, that have made us who
we are today. Our journey is far
from over, as we will continue to
grow, change and ourish.
Weve Got Choices
We can choose to be happy
or unhappy. We can choose what
we think, say and feel. We can
choose to be hopeful or hopeless,
to respond angrily or cheerfully,
to be bored or interested. No
matter what the weather is like,
we can choose what kind of day
it will be beautiful or awful or
somewhere in between. We can
choose to do something or noth-
ing, to start now or later. We can
choose our attitude about we are
facing. Weve got our life. If we
are not happy, satised, encour-
aged and hopeful, we are cheat-
ing ourselves. We can talk and
talk to ourselves about what we
need to do to honor our life, but
if we dont turn those thoughts
into actions, were just playing
games and giving up to whatever
comes to mind. In life, although
there is some bad stuff, good
things really do happen, too.
Weve got the power to
make choices as our life is the
manifestation of the choices we
make each moment and each
day. When we use this awesome
gift to our best advantage, there
is nothing we cant do.
A Good Laugh
It provides a cathartic
release, a cleansing of emotions,
and a release of emotional ten-
sion. Even after the laughter has
ended, body tensions continue to
decrease. So next time Im feel-
ing sad or stressed, Ill ash a
big smile or give a hearty laugh.
Theres a lot of truth in the old
adage, Those who laugh .
last. No one has everything,
and everyone has something of
sorrow intermingled with glad-
ness of life. I was told that the
trick is to make the laughter out-
weigh the tears.
Some Coping Thoughts
Through association with
friends and acquaintances, read-
ings and personal experiences, I
have listed down some musings
on coping with stress. You might
nd some of these sayings or
adages similar to yours or might
also have heard them from your
own friends or resources. These
are common and true to life
lines that might prove helpful
and relevant to your daily grind.
Admittedly, I live by quite a
number of them. These are prac-
tical stress insulators that can
add to the quality of life. You can
try to think up of additional lines
of your own that can help beat
up stress and nd peace.
-A positive attitude
-Get the most out of every
-Celebrate the sheer joy of
being alive
- Make time to play
-Find reasons to smile
-Strive for balance in daily
-Find delight in little things
- Try not to worry
- Keep moving forward
-You can rise above every-
-Dont lose your faith in
-You dont have to accept
-Look on the brighter side
of life
-Be a positive thinker
-Dont let anything steal
your joy
-Live each day with joy
-As long as you have hope.
All things are possible
-You are what you think you
-Count your blessings
-Dont be afraid to dream
-Your life can be whatever
you want it to be
-Practice optimism
-Refuse to be unhappy
-Treat yourself to something
that makes you happy
-Give yourself permission to
be wrong
-Applaud yourself with the
smallest success
-Forgive yourself for the
greatest defeat
-Appreciate yourself for the
effort you made, the good you
did and the joy you started
-Accept yourself for what
you are
-Believe in the power of you
-You can do it
-One step at a time
-Become a better you
-Lift your spirits and stay
-Dont waste your time
-Look at the world though
The Theater in
My Minds Eye
Writing is a socially accept-
able form of schizophrenia. E.L.
am a life-a-holic with an
exuberance that sometimes
unsettles my family. I write to
empty my mind and to share the
party I have in my head. I write
to Blatty-fy my demons.
I heard it said, in facetious
authority, that men have boxes
in their brains where thoughts
are allowed to germinate and
ourish. Theres even a box
reserved for no thoughts at all.
The Nothing box. A womans
brain, on the other hand, is all
kinetic energy, where thoughts
are inter-connected, waxing and
waning at an alarming speed.
My husband has gotten
used to the times I stare into
space. My grunts and sighs and
hand gestures have become
familiar. I have a fertile imagina-
tion and can carry on an argu-
ment with myself. By myself.
For myself. That is my normal.
What unnerves me are the times
my mind is devoid of active
thought, just a vague awareness
of that high pitched noise I have
come to assume as my brain
waves. This usually happens
when it short circuits from too
much kinesis and shuts down
for self- preservation. Then Im
left to contemplate nothing. And
a barren mind dooms a virgin
sheet of paper.
I have several manuscripts
in different stages of edits and re-
writes. Even that is full of drama.
Editing, they say, is committing
murder. It is killing your story
then reviving them slowly to
life. Each unnished story cries
out for a chance to be born. I am
tempted to throw them into one
big confused jumble and pretend
it is a stream of consciousness
I earned my stripes at a
very tender age. When I was
six years old I saw my rst lm,
a love story, Ang Bakya Mo
Neneng (Thy Wooden Clogs,
My Maiden). I was mesmer-
ized. In my mind there was no
make-believe, no acting. I was
watching real life. I assumed I
too had an audience of viewers
ensconced inside an invisible
dark movie house somewhere.
This unseen group of view-
ers became my on-again, off-
again companions. Some kids
my age had one, maybe two,
imaginary friends. I had a the-
ater-full of them. They joined
me in my youthful triumphs.
Became the easy target of my
scorn when things went awry.
I stood up straighter, took spe-
cial care of the language I used,
and refrained from pinching my
brothers. When my mother pun-
ished me for misbehaving it was
because I was goaded by them.
When I tripped and fell it was
because I was distracted by their
intrusive presence. I was the
center of the whole universe.
In my skewed sense of my
world there was an imaginary
square similar to the square tube
of our TV set and the movie
screen. It followed me most of
the time unless it was expedient
to have it follow somebody else.
And even at my young age I was
quite arbitrary as to where it
went or who it followed. I would
forget about them from time
to time. I reasoned that it was
because the audience needed to
sleep, eat, and work too. They
had their own lives to live like I
did. They tuned me in and tuned
me out according to how their
everyday lives progressed.
Our visits to Dupax, Nueva
Vizcaya introduced me to the
Gaddangs and the Isinais. Whis-
pers of them as erce head-
hunters made them my chosen
boogeymen. I imagined the col-
lected heads, shrunken, and
strung together as decoration,
like the Christmas lanterns that
swayed with the cool winds
during the holidays. Were they
hung in the main room, proudly
displayed publicly, or were they
hung over an altar, in private, as
offering to their gods? And what
became of their bodies? There
must be hundreds of headless
torsos that littered the country-
side. I squirmed with both revul-
sion and awe. I was lost in my
gory world.
And whats with all the
nakedness anyway? I dont
remember where I saw photos
of them but the nudity bothered
me more than their appetite for
heads. It wasnt even because
of modesty, although there was
that too. It was really because
of vanity. The photos were of
men with bulging guts, and the
women had deated, pendulous
bosoms. I remade the men to
have t bodies with just enough
muscles. Unnatural physiques
with bulging muscles turned me
off. The women wore modest
blouses that accentuated their
pleasing curves. I left the chil-
dren to run around naked, free
and exuberant. Their time would
come soon enough. The noose
of their regimented lives would
grow tighter with each passing
I regret not asking my
grandparents, my lolos and
lolas, about their childhood -
their hopes, dreams, disappoint-
ments. They were, after all, the
gene pool from which I inherited
my spunk. I nd it difcult to
imagine them as anything but
old. However, their progress
from infancy to adulthood must
explain the persons they had
become. Sometime somewhere
in the past, there was a spirited
grandmother or aunt, or even a
grandfather or an uncle, whose
impetuousness I inherited. They
have contributed their part to the
party in my brain like bit players
on my personal stage.
One reader expressed her
chagrin at how much I have
shared of myself in my articles.
But I am past the fear of being
judged. I write to please myself.
As Arthur Miller said, The best
work that anybody ever writes is
the work on the verge of embar-
rassing him, always.
Merry Christmas and a Fun-
lled New Year. Lets parteeeey!
Continued on page 30
December 31, 2013 28 28
Happy new old!
o my loyal followers, Happy ..hic...
hic New ..hic...Year!
As 2013 is about to end, good
news emerges from Manila, giving hope
to the hopeless, second chance for the
oldies and a bright future for the young-
Tsismosos rst advance New Year
toast goes to two well-known Filipino per-
sonalities, former Virginia resident and
still active actress Boots Anson Roa, the
widow of Pete Roa and Francisco King
Rodrigo, Jr. The 68-year-old actress for-
mally announced on Dec. 5 her wedding
in June next year with another widower
and former high school classmate of Pete,
74-year-old Rodrigo, Jr.
According to reports, this will be
Boots rst formal wedding rites
because she merely eloped with Pete
before getting married. In other words,
she never had the traditional walk down
the aisle which is the traditional Filipino
marriage ceremony.
Both Boots and Pete are familiar to
the Manila Mail. Pete early on helped Bert
Alfaro and Fred de la Rosa germinate the
idea of establishing a Filipino American
newspaper in the nations capital. And
Boots, herself, was a columnist of the Mail
until they returned home in the mid-90s.
Pete died in 2007 of cancer in Manila. Two
of their children, according to reports, still
reside in Virginia with their own families.
Lola Boots said people called it ser-
endipity or fate, but I think it is Divine
Providence. She said she never expected
to fall in love again, especially with King,
a former high school classmate of Pete.
Before the announcement, they both went
to the cemetery to ask for their blessings
and later on from their children.
To all widows and widowers, there is
still Hope!
Thorns to the Philippine media which
are trying to outdo each other in defend-
ing the Binays -- Makati Mayor Jun June
Binay and Senator Nancy Binay - who
reportedly violated the security rules of
the posh Forbes Park enclave where many
foreign ambassadors reside. Instead of
digging deeper into the incident that was
exclusively reported by the Philippine
Daily Inquirer and broadcast media com-
plete with video footage, the media took
the Binays denial as the bible truth. They
published Vice President Binays claim
that it was politically-motivated.
The Veep also asked that his son and
daughter should be given some courtesy.
One newspaper even had an editorial...
A fellow Tsismoso emailed this angry
tirade at the Binays:
They scare me.. according to one
Is this a precursor of Marcos II? I am
one of those activists who, along with Jejo-
mar Binay and others, fought the Marcos
dictatorship for years. After Marcos was
ousted, we went back to what we were
doing, protecting the freedom of the
Binay, who was living with his
family in a modest house in Makati city,
was fortunate enough to be appointed by
President Cory Aquino as OIC of Makati
city. That appointment became the step-
ping stone for Binay to run for mayor of
Makati city. After his term ended, Binays
wife ran and won.. When her term ended,
Jejomar Sr. again ran for the same post
and won. Now, Makati city is ruled by his
son, Jun Jun. Makati city is now known a
the property of the Binays.
After his daughter became senator,
the Binay family now want to rule and
soon Binay will run for the presidency.
While President Aquino is even
reluctant to use his wang wang while
travelling, Vice President Jejomar Binay
and his children and wife are all acting
as if they already own Makati city. Why
cant they follow the rules in a private
If they cannot obey the simple rules
of a private property, Does this mark the
beginning of Marcos II? Many are afraid
of the Binays.
Toasts to the Manila Mail which is
launching a campaign to help young,
budding journalists learn the trade. (See
ad elsewhere in this issue). While the
mainstream American media are on the
verge of becoming irrelevant, more and
more small ethnic and community news-
papers remain alive and well. In fact there
are reports that the major newspapers will
be hiring lower paid journalists in order
to survive.
Kudos go also to the new tribe of
Filipino American lolos and lolas who are
going gaga over their apos (grand-
children). Leading the pact are two
Manila Mail columnists and an editor.
They are columnists Jon Melegrito and
Myrna Montera Lopez and Editor-in-
Chief Rodney J. Jaleco. Other commu-
Changes in 2014
The past year was marked with surprise, shock and suffering.
The string of calamities that struck the Philippines, especially the
swath of death and devastation left behind by super typhoon Yolanda
(Haiyan) left indelible images throughout the world.
Pictures of a wasted landscape and body bags lining the streets of
Tacloban provided context to what followed next, the world rising up
with genuine concern, sympathy and generosity to the Filipinos pleas
for help; Filipinos from all over the world discovering creative yet
resolute ways to aid beleaguered kababayans back home; and entire
governments gathering the largest air and sea armada off Samar and
Leyte since the Gen. Douglas MacArthur fullled his promise to lib-
erate the Philippines during World War II.
We have the choice to choose how we see what transpired in 2013.
From the government shut down in Washington, the botched Obam-
acare roll-out, the gay rights victory in the US Supreme Court, the
continuing tragedy in Syria, Edward Snowdens revelations about
US surveillance or the resignation of one pope and the emergence of
another whos captivated the world with his displays of humility and
Author Cassandra Clare pined about how everything changes in
our lives, but the world stays the same.
How we see the people and events the past year will determine
how we shall move on to the new one. Its the closest thing to a pre-
diction. The only real change thats coming in 2014 is the one well be
making ourselves.

Continued on page 30
December 31, 2013 29
eparted former President
Nelson Mandela of South
Africa was revered for his
courage during his long deten-
tion. He became even a greater
man after he was released by his
white captors. He freed himself
from bitterness and the thirst for
vengeance, demonstrating the
power of forgiveness and love
to promote healing and unify a
divided society.
He may not have the fame of
Mandela, but former President
of the Philippines Joseph Erap
Estrada may have learned a
lesson or two from the hero
fondly called by his countrymen
as Tata.
Erap fell from grace after a
jueteng scandal forced his res-
ignation. He was charged and
convicted of plunder, a capital
offense. His Vice President then
was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
who was catapulted to the presi-
dency after Eraps humiliating
back door exit.
While Arroyo enjoyed the
trimmings of presidential power,
Erap spent years languishing in
a jailhouse specially designed
for him in Tanay, Rizal. In his
solitary years, then Pres. Arroyo
paid Erap courtesy visits.
Arroyo served the remain-
der of Eraps term and then run
for election against Fernando
Poe, the bosom buddy of Erap.
Fernando Poes camp cried foul
and accused the Arroyo camp of
cheating and robbing the silver
screen hero of victory. Erap, who
was still in jail, must have been
counting on his best friend win-
ning the presidency and grant-
ing him pardon or clemency. But
then, this Arroyo is getting to
be a pain in the unmentionable
Fast forward and the picture
is upside down. Arroyo is tech-
nically in jail and Erap is back
in power, although occupying a
smaller palace called Manila City
Hall. A week ago, Erap visited
former President and his jailer
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at her
detention quarters at Veterans
Memorial Hospital in Metro
Manila. The Manila Mayor was
accompanied by his daughter
and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno.
Arroyos husband and a few
family members were present.
According to reports, they
did not talk politics, just casual
friendly conversation about little
things other than the weather.
Erap tells people around him
that he harbors no rancor against
Arroyo and at his age he just
wants to look forward and not
be burdened by ill feelings. Is he
acting or overacting? This makes
him looks good, the magnani-
mous godfather of politics who
does not run over his perceived
Actually, my barber smells
more than just magnanimity.
Even as Erap has been politically
rehabilitated, his family is pres-
ently experiencing political trem-
ors. The reelection of his son, ER
Ejercito Estregan as governor
of Laguna is under attack from
the Commission of Elections for
alleged overspending, and his
here are very few things
you can rely on in the Phil-
ippines, except perhaps
the typhoons and earthquakes
that visit the islands regularly.
Still, super typhoon Yolanda
(Haiyan) was something else:
one of the strongest storms ever
to hit land. The death toll has
exceeded 6,000 but what caught
my eye was a recent press release
from the National Disaster &
Risk Reduction and Manage-
ment Council (NDRRMC) where
they promised to keep counting
until all of Yolandas victims are
accounted for.
On October 15 Bohol shook
from a powerful earthquake,
unleashing pent-up energy
equivalent to 32 Hiroshima-type
atomic bombs, killing 200 and
totally demolishing the homes of
over 40,000 people.
In September, a small group
of heavily-armed secessionists
tried to raise their ag in Zam-
boanga City, triggering a three-
week battle that killed over 200
and displaced an estimated
100,000 people, leading one
United Nations agency to call it
a humanitarian crisis.
With so much happening,
one would think the government
by now, would be quite adept at
responding to calamities after so
much practice. So why do they
keep bungling it?
The Congressional Research
Service, the US Congress in-
house think-tank, produced
a report soon after the Nov. 8
Yolanda/Haiyan tragedy that
may provide a clue. It pointed
to the national governments
apparent abdication of its disas-
ter-response responsibilities to
local ofcials.
A three-year-old law left
to local governments the task
of planning and executing their
own disaster plans, including
developing their preparedness
and response capabilities. Its
been blamed for the huge death
toll in Tacloban City despite early
weather warnings, as well as in
the Cagayan de Oro and Iligan
ashoods that swept shanties
built on land thats already been
identied as geo-hazards.
The public backlash against
Local Governments Secretary
Mar Roxas is proof of the peril in
disaster mismanagement. It also
has the potential to spread the
political fall-out a bit wider.
A 3rd quarter survey by the
Social Weather Stations showed
President Aquinos public sat-
isfaction rating fell 15 points
from a +64 to a +49. After all
thats happened the past several
weeks, the Presidents numbers,
as well as that of most of his Cab-
inet, could drop even more.
But if its any consolation for
2016 wannabes, theres still next
year to make up for all this years
debacles. After all, Filipinos have
proven to be a forgiving, and
better still for those politicians,
forgetful people.
2014 is the year of the horse,
according to the Chinese zodiac.
The Year of the Green Wood
Horse (in contrast to 2013s Year
of the Black Snake) is supposed
to augur speedy success even as
conicts now raging are expected
to heat up.
Anyone wishing to lead the
Philippines must also be a good
disaster manager: no longer just
clean or honest but some-
one who knows enough not to
Continued on page 30
Happy and Healthy 2014
he day after the cold-
est season of the year
ofcially began, the
Washington area was breaking
or tying records for warmth,
with temperatures in the
lower 70s on Sunday morning.
Rain remains in the forecast for
Rain, not snow. In the cold-
est season of the year.
This Washington Post
report is as close as it gets to a
harbinger for 2014. To me per-
sonally, anyway. More aberra-
tions and absurdities not only in
the weather, but disruptions and
diversions in the normal order of
things, rendering us extremely
vulnerable to random behavior.
And the best, or the worst, of all
possible worlds.
Anything can happen. And
it usually does when its least
But while most occurrences
may be welcome, theres always
that rare instance when trepida-
tion takes over and sends chills
down the spine. Our worst fears
suddenly loom close to home.
We grin in a wince. We ask for
This sense of foreboding and
dread is heightened particularly
with issues relating to health.
A young mother learns from
her doctor that he detects a heart
murmur in her two-year-old.
Mommy is told to see a heart
specialist, just to make sure.
Grandpa and Grandma are wor-
ried sick.
A dear friend is diagnosed
with an irregular heartbeat by
her cardiologist. For the rst
time shes seriously worried.
She goes into surgery, uncertain
and afraid. But shes determined
to get well, says shes got lots of
unnished business. Plus, she
jokes, only the good die young.
A woman in her early 40s,
mother of two young kids, is bat-
tling with breast cancer. Shes a
close family friend, about my
daughters age. After a whirl-
wind of tests, the doctors have
discovered the cancer has spread.
The future suddenly darkens.
Painful thoughts of not seeing
her children grow up breaks her
heart. Still, she ghts against the
inevitable. Her spirit is not one
that easily gives up.
Another friend, just turned
50, wakes up one morning
with a tingling in her arm. She
dreads the worrisome sensation,
alarmed it might be a stroke.
Weeks later she wakes up with
chest pains. Shes waiting for
results from a doctors visit.
One day last summer Elvie
and I drove to the Virginia Hos-
pital Center to visit a friend who
suffered a stroke. Shes always
been so vibrant, exuberant,
upbeat, always up and about. At
her age, its unthinkable shed
wind up in a hospital. Her sister
said its a miracle she recovered
well from what could have been
a debilitating stroke.
Triumphs and Tragedies. In
our community, weve cheered
those who battled cancer and
survived. Notably Gloria Caoile
and Mitzi Pickard. Although
stricken by a dreaded disease,
theyve also shown how courage,
candor, faith and resolve can for-
tify you in facing these threats.
Theyve empowered others by
example, lifting them up from
despair with their stories of tri-
But weve also felt a sense
of loss over friends who have
succumbed to illness. And at an
early age. Rodney Garcia was
only 59 when he died, having
suffered a series of strokes in
his young life. Jeremy de Asis,
a beloved choreographer and
artist, wasnt quite 60 when he
collapsed from a heart attack.
He was teaching young kids to
dance when he became dizzy
and went to sleep. There was
so much more they could have
given had they lived longer.
In my own family, an uncle
in his 50s died of brain aneu-
rysm. He had everything going
for him doctoral degrees,
political connections, lucrative
job offers, publishing possibili-
ties. But illness snatched away a
bright future.
Elvies older sister, with
whom she was the closest, suf-
fered a fatal biopsy procedure. It
all started with a lump. It ended
her life, and dreams of travel and
time with family and friends.
Totally unexpected.
My own mother struggled
with serious ailments in her kid-
neys and heart for more than ten
years before she passed on at age
68. I would have loved for her to
enjoy her great grand daughters.
My greatest regret is not having
had the chance to learn all the
stories in her head and to ask her
why she thought I had the most
beautiful eyes. Of course only a
mother would say that. But she
Continued on page 30
Continued on page 30
December 31, 2013 30 30
other son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada
is being charged of plunder by
Pres. PNoys Ombudsman.
According to an Arabian
proverb, the enemy of my enemy
is my friend. Both the family of
Erap and former Pres. Gloria
Arroyo are now at the mercy of
the henchmen of Da-ang Matu-
wid commander PNoy Aquino.
Erap still commands grass-
roots following all over the coun-
try. Arroyo for sure has some
stragglers still rooting for her.
Both of them have something
in common now. They need a
friend in Malacanang. The next
presidential elections is looming
in the horizon.
Alright, they did not talk
about politics. But thats the style
of Philippine paliguyliguy court-
ship. The unspoken was already
said. As he was leaving, Erap
held Glorias hand and said-
Merry Christmas, to which she
replied- Happy New Year!
grin at corpses from a botched
bus rescue and capable enough
to knock the heads of quarreling
subalterns so they dont have to
point accusing ngers at each
other as thousands lay dead in
the streets.
Those who wish to rule the
Philippines should show now
demonstrate their skill at pre-
venting whipping storms or jolt-
ing quakes or market crashes
from becoming another calamity.
Filipinos already have enough of
it, they dont need some political
bureaucrat to make some more.
Disaster politics... from page 29 Courtesy call?... from page 29
must have sensed something
about me. Whatever it is, I am
deeply grateful. She struggled to
bring me out of this world. The
doctor had to use high forceps
to pull me out of her womb as
I was turned upside down. In
her journal, she wrote that I was
sick and frail during my rst 12
months. It was during the war
and life for a mother and child
was not normal. Months before
she died, I remember being in a
clinic at NIH as nurses tried to
draw blood from her for more
tests. They couldnt nd any
more veins to stick the needle
in. She just sat in a wheelchair,
with a stoic look that said shes
immune to any more pain, that
shes ready to go anytime, that
all these synthetic drugs and
chemicals are only making
things worse, not better.
Responsible Choices. When
youre expecting sleet and snow
and frigid weather, but you only
get warmth and rain, thats good
reason to cheer. But maybe these
aberrations may not actually
be random at all, given all the
things we do to cause climate
change. We can, in fact, choose
to act rationally, reasonably and
responsibly to minimize the
storms that cause so much death
and destruction.
In a way, its the same with
our own health. There should be
no grim surprises of havoc if we
choose to act responsibly about
our own physical well being.
That means investing in our own
health (eating properly, exercis-
ing regularly and taking nutri-
tious supplements) rather than
spending needlessly on medical
and hospital bills.
I am proud to say that I have
become a health and wellness
activist. Fighting for change, as
always. The stories of family and
friends who have struggled with
illness continue to haunt me.
They could have lived on with
fuller, healthier and more pro-
ductive lives.
But the point is not to live
longer, but to live the rest of our
days with zest and vitality so we
can continue to serve and fulll
our most cherished aspirations
and dreams. And, in my case,
enjoy my grandchildren by keep-
ing up with their rambunctious
So, next time I run into
you, ask me what Im doing to
stay healthy and why I believe
strongly that we too can take
responsible choices not only
about climate change but more
importantly about positive
changes in our mind, spirit and
Send your comments to jon-
2014: Learn to Beat... from page 27
nity lolas and lolas, like Mencie
Hairston, Jun Pedery, Klaus
Buntua, and others are publicly
spreading the word about their
grandchildren! The social media
is replete with photos of these
proud lolos and lolas, making
those who are still hoping and
praying for their own grandchil-
dren salivate. Among them are...
oh, never mind. And there are
the lucky (or unlucky) ones who
have more than enough. Some
have lost count of the number of
grandchildren and great grand-
children they have. They are the
wones who believe in the biblical
passage, Go out and multiply!
But of course, lolo No. 1
in Washington D.C. is still the
ambassador himself - Jose L.
Cuisia, Jr.
Tsismoso is reprinting
excerpts from this collection of
anecdotes by Bernie Lopez (eas-
twind journals).
- In the millionaires row
adjacent to Taclobans airport,
typhoon Haiyan tore down the
concrete wall that separated
the millionaires from the squat-
ters. Haiyan made no distinction
between rich and poor. All their
homes were destroyed. In spite
of their own misery, the rich
helped the poor, conducting a
medical mission for them, giving
food and shelter. Social barriers
were tore down. God made the
poor to sanctify
the rich. The best in Filipi-
nos comes out in times of crisis.
Pete Ilagans long narra table
was washed away by the storm
surge 100 meters away. Pete saw
a poor man retrieve it. Pete said
the table was his. The poor man
angrily said he found it and it
was his. Pete was trying very
hard to suppress his anger. Sud-
denly, his wife came over and
saw the injured son of the poor
man. She embraced the child
and nursed him. That melted the
poor mans heart. The next day,
the table was at Petes home.
In seeking justice, gentleness is
more powerful than anger.
God bless you, Pete, your
wife, the poor man, and his son.
Happy and Healthy 2014... from page 29
ery, hunger, eeing in search of
freedom. In Cagliari, Sardinia,
he protested the world has
become an idolater of this god
called money.
To his credit, he backs
up his views with action. He
drives around Rome in an old
Ford Focus and lives, not in the
Apostolic Palace, but in a simple
house in the grounds of the
Vatican. At a detention centre in
Rome, soon after his coronation,
he washed and kissed the feet
of young offenders, including a
Muslim woman.
He expects the rest of the
Catholic Church to follow his
example. This summer he told
a group of young nuns and
monks, It hurts me when I see
a priest or nun with the latest
model car. You cant do this. He
added, Just think of how many
children die of hunger and dedi-
cate the savings to them.
Last month he denounced
those ambitious airport bish-
ops looking out for a more pres-
tigious diocese. He compared
them to men who are con-
stantly looking at other women
more beautiful than their own,
adding: Careerism is a cancer.
Yet it is far from certain how
enduring his revolution will
prove in the long term, the New
Statesman adds.. If the past
is anything to go by, trouble is
likely to surface after his ponti-
cate. Already, he is 76. The Cath-
olic Church has never been good
at appointing radical young re-
Look into the future, a
pope or two down the line, And
it would not be surprising if
lesser bad habits had begun to
creep back, though one would
hope that the churchs worst
abuses will have been exorcised.
When one strips away the
robes and the pomp, what is the
Vatican? Like the government
of China and like so many other
regimes of our time, is is aur-
thoritarian.. The Vatican lacks
transparency. It is not overseen.
Ultimately it is accountable only
to itself.
Such an arrangement tends
to nurturecorruption. And it
is commonly the fate of such
regimes they will clean up their
act only when forced to do so by
their own dire prospects: when
catastrophic failure begins to
seem a distinct possibility. This,
as Pope Francis now recognises,
Timely Award... from page25
seems to be the case with his
How will the Time selection
play out in the Philippines? Car-
dinal Luis Tagle and most bish-
ops will welcome the choice.
But Lipa Archbishop Ramon
Arguelles? Typhoon Yolanda
and other disasters could be the
result of ungodly laws, Such
as? Why the such as the Repro-
ductive Health (RH) Law, of
Here the Lipa prelate he
accuses his own God of bring-
ing super-typhoon :Yolanda
down on those helpless Catho-
lics of Central Visayas, Mari-
ano Patalinghug emailed from
Yonkers, New York.
term renance.
Each and every individual
condition is different. It is impor-
tant to consult with a competent
and experienced loan ofcer to
have an objective analysis of
your current nancial and credit
capability situation.
Until next time.
Wishing you all the very
best for 2014! God bless!
Ramon M Llamas, NMLS#:
483757, has been in the lending
business for more than 20 years. He
has helped thousands of homeown-
ers saved money in their mortgage
needs, purchase or refinance. Any
mortgage question or free personal
mortgage analysis, please email him
at or
call his cell phone at 703.980.3984.
New FHA program ... from page 25
Washington Tsismis... from page 28
the eyes of a child
-Carry your memories lled
with love and peace
-Learn from your mistakes
-If you can turn a negative to
a positive, you are a winner
-Remember that every storm
passes and sunshine always
follow the rain
-Let your trust and faith lead
the way
-Material wealth has its
merits, but it alone cannot pro-
vide a truly meaningful life
-Let go of the little annoy-
ances, irritations and the petty
vexations of everyday life. They
are not worthwhile
-Dont allow others to
poison your attitude with their
complaints and their gloomy
-If you want to feel rich, just
count all of the things you have
that money cant buy
-When you encounter a
lemon, make lemonade
We now look forward to a
less stress year in 2014. We hope
to be able to deal pretty well
with lifes big and small prob-
lems that cause stress. It is ironic
that we seem to be able to cope
better with the major sources of
stress like bereavements, illness,
divorce, nancial setbacks, and
so on. Somehow big problems
summon up resources hidden
deep within us. We rise to each
demand, calling upon some
undiscovered inner strength,
and we manage to cope. Its the
little things that get to us- petty
annoyances, small frustrations,
and the minor irritations that
ultimately make us feel chroni-
cally stressed. It is the everyday
hassles of life that become the
real enemy.
Our body is a prime target
for stress. When confronted
with a problem or a danger, our
innate survival response is ght
or ight. This reaction to stress
is natures way of preparing us
to deal with danger. When this
response triggers day after day,
year after year, our health often
pays the price. The signs of stress
can range from the harmless
to the dramatic from simply
feeling extra tired to suffering
a heart attack. Body disorders
are caused by stress-induced
muscle tension. Of course not
everyone suffers from serious
stress-related conditions, but
being aware of the effect that
stress could have on our body,
the reason why we would like to
minimize and manage our own
Watching the daily TV news,
we are aware of the national
problems that will continue to
confront us in the coming year,
specically the economy, medi-
cal insurance and employment.
December 31, 2013 31
December 31, 2013 32 32