One September Morn

We’ve been had, with contrived bombings, contrived unrest
Which lasted one lifetime, 21 years to be exact
And when the smoke cleared, we were collectively
In a bigger hole–what a waste it was, wanton in its
Nature, more devilish than anything we’ve known.

This, from the PBS Frontline:

President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda became infamous for their political corruption and lavish lifestyle. Marcos first made a name for himself in Philippine politics by successfully defending himself against charges that he had shot a political rival.

Today, the name Ferdinand Marcos conjures up images of oppressive rule and of his wife Imelda’s huge collection of shoes. Marcos was elected president of the Philippines in 1965. His early accomplishments in developing rural areas were overshadowed by his eventual descent into crony capitalism and dictatorship. In 1972, he declared martial law: Constitutional rights were suspended, the legislature was closed and Marcos held on to power for another 14 years.

Successive American administrations tolerated and supported Marcos in spite of his authoritarianism, seeking his help to maintain a sizable military presence in the country. America’s bases in the Philippines played a vital role during the Vietnam War, and after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975, they served as a counterweight to the Soviet naval base in Cam Ranh Bay.

But the U.S. bases were a contentious issue for many Filipinos, who saw them as further evidence of America’s enduring colonial meddling. While the bases did create jobs and boost the local economy, they also fueled crime and prostitution in adjacent communities.

In the early 1970s, a Maoist rebel group called the New People’s Army (NPA) and a Muslim separatist group called the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) formed in the southern part of the country. The NPA expanded to include as many as 25,000 members while the MNLF received aid and arms from Libya and Iran. The United States, fearing communist insurgency, sent advisors to train the Philippine army, as well as millions of dollars in military aid and weapons.

The United States barely protested when Marcos used the struggle against insurgents as an excuse to crack down on all political opponents. Asked about the situation in the Philippines in 1984, President Ronald Reagan replied, “I know there are things there in the Philippines that do not look good to us from the standpoint right now of democratic rights, but what is the alternative? It is a large communist movement.”

By the mid-1980s, Marcos’s unpopularity among Filipinos was impossible to ignore. He faced not only a guerrilla war but also widespread public unrest. Hoping to placate his critics, Marcos announced a “snap” presidential election to be held in February 1986. Despite the government’s attempts to fix the results, Marcos lost to Corazon Aquino, the wife of assassinated opposition leader Benigno Aquino. But Marcos stubbornly refused to concede defeat, even as senior members of his military defected and thousands of unarmed Filipinos took to the streets in an unprecedented display of “people power.” The tense standoff ended when, at the urging of the United States, Marcos stepped down and went into exile. http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/philippines/tl03.html

O Saint Paschal

Clouds and dewdrops have descended
Blanketed the earth in moistness
The eucharistic sun sucked them in
They as souls ascended in your embrace
They as ancestors, vestiges of the past
Yet still awesome in their presence

O mighty one, the one and only law
The one and only omnipotence, the righteous
How benevolent of you to give us Saint Paschal
As protector and go-between, our link to power
As we weave our dreams he makes them potent
As we navigate our path, he carries the light

O mighty one, make his light ever shine
And by our link we shine as well as epicures
As a tiny spark we create a conflagration
A conflagration of peace and beauty
A conflagration of anything good and
The earth so scorched in your wonder

San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona

San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona

Loyalty With a Capital L

There is too much at stake in the 2016 Presidential Election in the Philippines.  One false move by the electorate will mean damnation, with Filipinos going back to square one at best and going the way of a failed state at worst. With Europe now being overtaken by refugees from failed states, it behooves Filipinos to really, really weigh things out before casting their votes.  We don’t want to become boat people in search of a place in the sun.

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Mar Roxas (right) with President Noynoy Aquino

In voting for the next president of the Philippines, the loyalty of the candidates should be up there. Loyalty to good governance protocols; loyalty to country, as differentiated from selling out to the Chinese, for example, which sadly happened in the Gloria Arroyo reign.  Loyalty in the sense that the candidates should be bonafide Filipino citizens, and have not had a record of giving up that citizenship. Loyalty to the gains of the Aquino administration in the social, economic and political fronts.

And who would measure up to the above paradigms?  It is only Mar Roxas, that’s who.

Mar Roxas’s loyalty quotient is 10 of 10.  He is unassuming too, not full of hubris.  He is very capable, with the experience in good governance and a Wharton education to boot.  He is not easily rattled by challenges; he just keeps going, producing results for the common good.

To paraphrase esteemed U.P. Economist Winnie Monsod:  Filipinos must be a stupid lot to elect a man or woman of questionable character to lead the country.

News Release: The Unveil

After two years and four months of painstaking work, the new image of San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona is finally ready for unveiling and blessing. Movie, TV actor and sculptor, Leandro Baldemor, has done a magnificent job of sculpting the image and given it life and vibrance very fitting to the miraculous saint. The unveil and blessing is slated for October 17 in Paete, Laguna.

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A concession to the century old image of San Pascual, which was lost in June 2010, is the provision of a century old driftwood on top of which is the Eucharist. The image is free standing as opposed to the kneeling figure of the old image, and is patterned after that of Basilica San Pascual Baylon in Vila-real, Spain. Including its base of clouds and angels, the image’s height is seven feet and five inches.

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Contingents of Guinaronanhons will grace the affair, headed by Guinarona parish priest, Rev. Fr. Ronilo Barreda, who will also officiate the unveil and blessing. Later on, the image will set sail for enshrinement at the Guinarona San Pascual Baylon Parish Church, Leyte. Meanwhile, the church is being renovated through the generous support and donation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as coursed through the Archdiocese of Palo

The An Kauswagan Han Guinaronanhon, Inc is spearheading the event, which includes the Holy Mass, Unveil and brunch.  In May 2013, the organization was also instrumental in bringing to Guinarona the bone relic of San Pascual from Vila-real Spain.

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And They Came to Help Save the Trees

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Below is the recounting of how David Milarch found his life’s purpose–and that is to save the Earth’s canopy.

Death was near, my body shutting down. I lay limp in my bed at home, barely aware of my wife, Kerry, and my mother at my side. All I felt was sadness. And regret. What a waste. I was an alcoholic, too often an embarrassment to Kerry and our two sons, Jared and Jake. I did not want my kids to see me like this.
Too late, that summer of ’92, I’d tried to get sober – cold turkey, here in my bed. But my liver and kidneys could not take the sudden withdrawal. Barely Breathe Could I, my lungs filling with fluid. A friend took me to the emergency room, where they gave me a blood transfusion, but the doctor’s face was grim.
“We need to put you on dialysis,” the doctor said. “That will give you time to say good-bye to your family.” I’d come home a day ago. I was still alive. Barely.
Forty-one years. What had I accomplished? I was proud of the boys. Jared was 12 and Jake was 10, my helpers on our family tree farm. I’d tried to encourage them, told them to never give up on their dreams. But Kerry was really the one who’d seen to their upbringing.
The farm, 150 acres in northern Michigan, was my other passion. We grew shade trees: maples, locusts, birch. Did my life even matter?
Suddenly I felt a hard pulse in my chest, like a thud. I floated from the bed toward the ceiling. I looked down. My body lay in the bed lifeless. I looked awful, bloated, my skin yellow and gray. Like I’d washed up on a beach. Is this it? I thought. My time on earth over?
I felt a touch, gentle, yet firm, on my right arm. I turned to see a beautiful female in a radiant white gown. There was a fragrance, sweeter than any flower. I breathed it deep into my lungs. “We know you’re scared,” she said. “But we’re here to help.”
“Who are you?” I said.
“We’re here to help you,” she repeated. To my left there was another female, nearly identical to the first, holding my other arm. Angels? I wondered to myself. What could they want from me?

Read more here.