Medium-Filipino Short Stories

LANDSLIDE (Ang Bilog, Ang Opisyal na Babasahing Pampanitikan ng San Pedro College of Business Administration, Nobyembre 2005)

LANDSLIDE (Ang Bilog, Ang Opisyal na Babasahing Pampanitikan ng San Pedro College of Business Administration, Nobyembre 2005).

Commentaries Medium- English Rotary Family

THE FUTURE OF ROTARY IS IN ROTARACTORS’ HANDS (Editorial Proper, The First Light, the Official Newsletter of RACSPE)

The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands

The personal pronoun “your” in the preceding line pertains as it intends to-  to the Rotarians, as in Rotarians’ hands.  President Kenny is very vocal in addressing his fellow Rotarians to strengthen club membership for Rotary to survive.

To wit, the following lines are extracted from one of his messages- “In Rotary, everything we are, and everything we aspire to become, lies in the Rotarians in their clubs.  If our clubs are congenial and our meetings well run, if our service is carefully planned and competently carried out, if our members are qualified, honest, and respected in their vocations and communities, then all Rotary will thrive.  This is why  I say The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands.”

Nevertheless, “Rotaractors” may also be placed in stead of “Your”, thus– The future of Rotary is in Rotaractors’ Hands.  In fact, it is stated in the Standard Rotaract Club Constitution under Article II (Purpose and Goals) that one of the goals of Rotaract is to motivate young people for eventual membership in Rotary.

The future of Rotary is in Rotarians’ hands but since Rotaract clubs are the best training grounds for Rotarians it is not wrong to deduce that the future of Rotary is in Rotaractors’ hands.

The functions of Rotary  and Rotaract are basically the same.

Just like Rotarians, Rotaractors are well-versed in Rotary matters.  Rotaractors know the history and the constitution of the Rotary.

Rotaractors know the “The Four-Way Test” by heart and they use it as the basis of their actions and actuations.

Rotaractors know the “Four Avenues of Service”, and they know how to implement them.

Rotaractors know the communities  that need help the most and they know how to help them.

Notwithstanding, the best way to say it is– The Future of Rotary is in Rotarians’ and Rotaractors’ Hands.

Features Medium- English Rotary Family


President Sonny C. Urfano took his oath of office as the eighth president of  RACSPE  on August 08, 2009.

Along with him in the Visionary Team who likewise accepted responsibilities are Vice Pres. Joanne Sidamon, Secretary/President Elect Francis Gutierrez, Deputy Secretary Kirby Fortuna, Treasurer Cris Nuñez, Auditor Allan Sorbito, Community Service Director I Carlo del Monte, Community Service Director II  Jeff Morales, Club Service Director I/ IPP Asel Punzalan, Club Service Director II Marney Fajardo, Professional Development Director Ronell Laud, Professional Development Director II Hannah Siman, International Service Director IPP Cristine Reyes , International Director II Jalyn Arciaga   and CICO Radney Hernandez  .

RACSPE was chartered on October 17, 2002 by its Sponsoring Rotary Club– the Rotary Club of San Pedro East .  Tracy Bedico was the Charter President. The club was considered one of the Outstanding Rotaract Clubs in RI District 3820.  In RY 2003-2004, CP Tracy repeated  the leadership and maintained its status of being outstanding.

Charter President Tracy Bedico

The Rotary International celebrated 100 years in RY 2004-2005 with the theme “Celebrate Rotary” and District Rotaract Chairman (DRC) Felimon “Mhon” Brazas was then elected as President.  Fresh from Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Conference (APRRC) 2004 in Hongkong, DRC Mhon took the club to new heights when he initiated remarkable service projects.

PP Felimon Brazas Jr.
The Pioneers of Change
RY 2004-2005 Sportsfest
Taking Responsibility the Hawaiian Way

The most notable was “Give A Toy, Share A Joy.”  This project aimed to reach out to underprivileged children through ABS-CBN’s Bantay-Bata Foundation.  The club solicited toys and other goodies for that purpose but through the course of donation a turn   of events happened.   Bantay-Bata refused to accept the club’s donation.  Instead, the foundation gave the club a truckload of toys and relief goods.  RACSPE thought that there was no better way of distributing the goods but  to give them to the kids of Southside Dumpsite in San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna. The dumpsite was San Pedro’s version of the infamous Payatas.  Other non-government organizations supported this project. Among them were Philippine National Red Cross, Junior Philippine Institute of  Accountants-San Pedro College of Business Administration (JPIA-SPCBA), NSTP-SPCBA and Junior Business Executive Council (JBEC-SPCBA).

Several Community Service projects followed.  Meritorious ones were Bigay Puso sa Preso, Visit to Homes for the Aged, Medical and Dental Missions, Anti-rabies Campaign, Anti-Dengue Drive, Disaster Preparedness Seminars, Drugs Awareness Programs and Oplan Kaluluwa.

Give A Toy, Share A Joy
Bigay Puso sa Preso
The Young Once (Visit on Home for the Aged)
Medical Mission
Anti-Rabies Campaign
Anti-dengue Drive
Anti-dengue Drive
Oplan Kaluluwa
Adoption of Paradise Day Care Center
Adoption of Paradise Day Care Center
PP Asel unloads the armchairs for the Day Care Center
Southside Chapel Rehabilitation
Southside Dumpsite Kids Retreat
Give A Toy Share a Joy in Manila
Give a Toy Share a Joy in Manila Zoo
Give a Toy Share a Joy in Nayong Pilipino
Give a Toy Share a Joy in Harrison Plaza, Manila
VP Ramiro Latagan tends the ABS-CBN Foundation Relief Goods
PP Zyra, Dir. Amelia and Dir. Lala deliver service at all cost
Hail, hail the club is all here!
At play in Southside Dumpsite
Give a Toy Share A Joy Side Dish

RY 2004-2005 was also the club’s Advocacy Year for Environment Conservation.  The club actively participated in the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) 2005.  RACSPE helped in cleaning the stretch of Manila Bay in Lahuerta, Parañaque.  Others were the Cuyab River Clean-up. Narra River Clean-up, Tree Planting and various Environmental Fora.

Narra River Clean-up
Adoption of Narra River, RACSPE's First Entry to RI Recognition of Rotaract Outstanding Project, RY 2004-2005
Calendola Clean-up
Calendola Clean-up
Calendola Clean-up
Sto. Niño Clean-up and Anti-Dengue Drive
Sto. Niño Clean-up Drive
Sto. Niño Clean-up Drive
Sto. Niño Clean-up and Anti-Dengue Drive
Anti-Dengue Drive, Calendola
Cuyab River Clean-up
Cuyab River Clean-up
Cuyab River Clean-up
Cuyab River Clean-up
International Coastal Clean-up (ICC), Manila Bay
Oplan Green Highways
Oplan Green Highways
Oplan Green Highways
Oplan Green Highways

Nonetheless, the club did not take for granted the development of its members.  Numbers of  Club Service projects were aimed to hone each Rotaractor’s   talents and skills and  were also geared for greater camaraderie and stronger bond.  Yoga session, mountain climbing, swimming, Sports involvement were among other significant forms of  the club’s fellowship.

RACSPE in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas with RAC Downtown Batangas
Mt. Maculot, Cuenca, Batangas
Mt. Maculot
3820 Sportsfest
3820 Paintball Games, Greenfield, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Pahiyas Festival, Lucban, Quezon

To further enhance the communication, The First Light– the Official Newsletter of  the Rotaract Club of San Pedro East was born in the same RI Year.  Past President Asel Punzalan who was then the Club Service Director was the first Editor-in-chief.

The First Light

RACSPE bagged its first RID 3820 Most Outstanding Rotaract Club Award.

Most Outstanding Rotarct Club, RID 3820, RY 2004-2005

After the Centennial Year of RI, the first RI Theme “Service Above Self” resurfaced in RY 2005-2006.  DRC Mhon  retained the leadership and was appointed RID 3820 Laguna Area Representative.  Since then Laguna reached its peak of service excellence as the Rotaract Clubs of Laguna became one and united in carrying out joint projects and fellowships.  Laguna Handshake became popular.

At the club level, RACSPE continued its signature projects and even surpassed prior years performance. Club Service Director Asel Punzalan authored “R U 1 of Us?” R U 1 of Us? is a Quiz Bee on Rotary and Rotaract in general and in specific issues, concerns and events in RID 3820. The Quiz bee was introduced in an Area Meeting hosted by Bae Sentral and was supposed to be staged at Area Level only.  However,  DRC Mhon found it necessary to open the bee for the whole district.  The first R U 1 of Us? was hosted by the Rotaract Clubs of Bae Sentral and the first person who proved that she was  “really one of  us” was PP Alma Balahadia of the Rotaract Club of Tanauan.

APRRC 2005 was held in Taiwan and was attended by DRC Mhon, Dir. Anna Murillo and IPP Tin Reyes.

RACSPE hit again and took home its second RID 3820 Most Outstanding Rotaract Club Award.

Sevice Above Self MORCA

Zyra Mae Ordoño toed the line of DRC Mhon in RY Year 2006-2007 as she assumed the presidency guided by the Theme “Lead The Way”.  DRC Mhon was then the District Rotaract Representative (DRR).  With the help of  the DRR, Pres. Zyra led the way and made  RACSPE even more formidable.  She became the District Secretary and at the same time the Editor-in-Chief of The Discerning Eye, the Official Newsletter of the Rotaract Clubs of District 3820.  She even designed the District Rotaract Emblem and authored the District Theme-Live, Serve and Share.

PP Zyra Ordoño-Bambico

Pres. Zyra tied the club with various national and international organizations like Greenpeace.

DRC Mhon, on the other hand pioneered several District Service Projects and made them closer to Bicol Area.  He facilitated relief operations in the most disaster-prone region in the country.

Furthermore, DRC Mhon led District 3820 to international recognition.  He was the Vice-Chair of APRRC Pilipinas-2006 held in Tagaytay City during which the District Anthem- Live, Serve and Share was first heard.  The anthem was written by PP Deney Gene Molino of RAC Tanauan, arranged by PP Geraldine Tenorio of RAC Cabuyao Circle and sung by Dir. VJ Sayson of RACSPE.  The performance was given a noteworthy outstanding ovation.  From then on, the district became popular to other districts.

PP Cristine “Tina” Reyes stepped into the limelight when she accepted the leadership in RY 2007-2008– Rotary Shares.  Tina carried on with the trademark projects of the club.

PP Cristina Reyes
World Rotaract Week Celebration
Tagaytay fellowship
Typhoon Rosing Relief Operation
Typhoon Rosing relief Operation
Radio Station Tour
Medical Mission
Maaga ang Pasko
Bigay Puso sa Paslit
Big Ate and Kuya with RAC Manila Metro
International Coastal Clean Up

DRC Mhon was sent by the District to Michigan, U.S.A. as member of the Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team.  Multi-District Information Organization was born and DRC Mhon was elected as the founding secretary.

RY 2007-2008 marked another milestone for RACSPE as the club accomplished new projects and bagged numerous awards and recognition.  The club brought home medals from the MDIO Magic Badminton Cup through the playing prowess of DRC Mhon and Pres. Tina.  Pres. Tina spearheaded joint projects with sister clubs RAC Manila and Manila Metro. A Rotaractor from Budapest Hungary  visited the District and was highly esteemed.

The club hosted R U 1 of Us?  IPDRR Megs Abarca of RAC Lucena South bagged the gold.  On the other hand, Dir. VJ clinched Rotaract Idol Title.

APRRC 2007 was held in Kuala Lumpur and was attended by DRC Mhon, Pres. Tina and Dir. Ramiro Latagan.

Pres. Tina added the fourth Most Outstanding Rotaract Club Award to RACSPE’s collection.

Rotary Shares MORCA
Rotary Shares MORCA

RY 2008-2009 came with the theme “Make Dreams Real.”  Asel Punzalan took the responsibility of leading  the club.

PP Asel Punzalan

DRC then joined the Rotary Club of San Pedro East and was appointed Deputy District Rotaract Chairman (DDRC).  Pres. Asel chaired the District Bulletin Committee and PP Zyra acted as Deputy District Secretary.

The club carried on its trademark projects and opened the same to its sister clubs within and without the District and its sister clubs did the same. Among them were RACs  Manila, Manila Metro, Parañaque Metro Kapwa, Parañaque East Paragon, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Cebu South, Tanauan, Calamba Central and Metro Lucena.

Pres. Asel conceptualized Journalism 101 to help the clubs in the District in establishing their own Rotaract bulletins.  MDIO Magic Badminton Cup opened again and DRC Mhon, Rotaractors Tolits and Jolas earned medals.  R U 1 of Us? was won by its author Pres. Asel while Sec. Francis Gutierrez and Dir. Cris Nuñez placed third and fourth respectively.  Furthermore, Sec. Francis ended third placer in the Rotaract Idol.

APRRC 2008 was done in Bali, Indonesia and was participated by DRC Mhon, Pres. Asel and Pres. Sonny.   Copies of The Discerning Eye were distributed to other districts through the effort of  DRR Megs and Pres. Asel.

R U 1 of Us?
Chosen Children Village Visit
Journalism 101
LA Mesa Ecopark Treeplanting
Sports Clinic
Propa-Ganda Project with RAC Metro Lucena
RACSPE-RAC Parañaque Metro-Kapwa Sisterhood Agreement
Milk Feeding with Wyeth, RAC Parañaque Metro-Kapwa
Milk Feeding with Wyeth, RAC Parañaque Metro-Kapwa
Milk Feeding with Wyeth, San Pedro
RACSPE-RAC Manila Sisterhood Agreement
Gawad Rotaract
RACSPE-RAC Cebu South Sisterhood Agreement
APRRC Indonesia
APRRC Indonesia, Bali Beach Clean-up
Chosen Children Village Visit with RAC Manila

The year was culminated by having the District Turn-over and Awarding Ceremony (DTAC) during the District Assembly (DISTASS).  DRR Megs gave recognition and awards to exemplary efforts of the clubs in the district.

DRC Mhon earned recognition for being DDRC, Pres. Zyra for being DDS and Pres. Asel for being the Bulletin Chair.

RACSPE  got the Meritorious and the Best in Community Service Projects Awards and to top it all– the Most Outstanding Rotaract Club Award, the last being the fifth in   RACSPE’s  winning streak.

Make Dreams Real MORCA

As the RY 2009-2010 unfolds with its theme “The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands”, Pres. Sonny lays out his plans and programs several notches    higher than the past achievements of RACSPE.

PP Sonny Urfano

President Sonny C. Urfano took his oath of office as the eighth president of  RACSPE  on August 08, 2009.

Along with him in the Visionary Team who likewise accepted responsibilities are Vice Pres. Joanne Sidamon, Secretary/President Elect Francis Gutierrez, Deputy Secretary Kirby Fortuna, Treasurer Cris Nuñez, Auditor Allan Sorbito, Community Service Director I Carlo del Monte, Community Service Director II  Jeff Morales, Club Service Director I/ IPP Asel Punzalan, Club Service Director II Marney Fajardo, Professional Development Director Ronell Laud, Professional Development Director II Hannah Siman, International Service Director IPP Cristine Reyes , International Director II Jalyn Arciaga   and CICO Radney Hernandez  .

Racspe bagged the Rotary International District 3820 RY 2009-2010 Most Outstanding Rotaract Club Award as the club topped the chart with 100% score.

The prestigious award was formally given to the club during the RID 3820 District Recognition and Awards Ceremony in Alabang Golf and Country Club on May 2010. Four other major awards were also handed to RACSPE.

Racspe won with 100 % grade.  On the other hand , several clubs were named Outstanding.

A specially designed pointing system was used.  Corresponding points were given for every project and were weighted according to category.  Community Service projects were given weight of 30%, Club Service projects were weighted 15%, International Service projects-30%, Professional Development-15% and Public Image-10%.   The club who got the highest percentage was named as Most Outstanding Club while those who earned significant percentages were hailed Outstanding.

In addition, Racspe was awarded with four Special Awards.  The club got the Best in Club Service Projects Award with its Ako ang Pagbabago Campaign.. The slogan was launched in Youtube, Facebook and other social networks to encourage Filipinos start the necessary change. Youth Empowerment, the club’s photo exhibit in SM Muntinlupa won Best Public Image Project.  Project Hope for the Kids of the Dump earned two citations.  This project was named Best in Community Service Project and Best in International Service Project.  Project Hope was the entry of Racspe to RI Recognition of Rotaract Outstanding Projects in RY 2009-2010.  RACSPE failed to be recognized.  Notwithstanding, its Sister Club, RAC Manila won the Over-all International Rotaract Outstanding Project with its Ondoy Massive Relief Operation.

Children and Women Center
Big Ate and Kuya with RAC Manila Metro
VitaMeal feeding
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation
Ondoy Relief Operation

Summary of PP Sonny’s achievements is best shown in the following videos:

Commentaries Rotary Family

THE POWER OF DREAM MAKE IT REAL (The First Light/The Discerning Eye, Hodgepodge Column 2008


“What is lost can never be saved, what is said can never be unsaid and what is foregone can never be done…again.”

President Gary Lopez of Rotary Club of Tanauan gives emphasis on three factors affecting the realization of everyone’s dream- Time, Words and Opportunity.  These, according to him play pivotal roles and if misused can turn your dreams the other way around.

We cannot turn back time. Punctuality is the first virtue.  Tardiness and procrastination are the arch-nemesis of everyone’s desire to succeed.  Pres. Lopez is particular on getting things done at the right place and at the right time.

Regrettable messages- the words that are better kept than said and the messages which we should not have uttered. Think not once, not twice but over and over and over again before we let go of them. We are not what we eat but what comes out of our mouth. Words spoken are detrimental to the realization of one’s dream.

Opportunity costs are past costs but are relevant in decision making. This time, the adage “Let the bygones be bygones” does not necessarily apply.  Opportunity flies away…with time. Carpé Diem! Seize the day!

“When the sherry glass is full and the night is way too young.. We’ve got to sip today, sip today, and sip today before it’s done.”- by Edward Kowalczyk from Good Pain of LIVE


“Rotaract Club of Tanauan is the best manifestation of Flying V”, Past District Rotaract Chairman Lito Guevarra hails the Host Club as he illustrates how the V- Formation works for organizations. “If it is from RAC Tanauan, it must be good”, he adds while he reminisces on past district events hosted by the club.


“Dare to dream. Dare to take the risk. Dare to succeed. Dare to make dreams real.”- District Rotaract Chairman Megs Abarca.

Children dream more frequent than adults do. It is at their juvenile stage   when they weave webs of dreams. It is when they have the most wavelengths of wishes, the broadest amplitudes of hopes and the highest level of spirits. It is when they do not know more about the cruelness of the other side of the world. Do not let their dreams be turned into nightmares. Help them make their dreams real.  DRR Megs gives priority on realizing children’s dreams.

RC Lipa West Past President Ethel Rosales Lipat agrees on DRR Meg’s message as she reiterates the roles and responsibilities of RAC officers and members. She suggests community projects especially designed for children- Health Care and Nutrition (milk), Education and Literacy (old books and notebooks) and Saving Planet Earth for the Next Generation (No Plastics Policy).  She takes into consideration Social Welfare and Development (SWD) issues like but not limited to giving equal treatment to Persons With Disabilities (PWD).


RC Metro Tanauan Dir. Marivic Raca talks about the importance of being holistic. She gives importance to the functions our physical and spiritual capabilities play in realizing our dreams. Hence, she shares to everybody her own way of keeping our body not only active, but proactive. This, boosted up by the power of our prayers, according to her will surely bring us to the realization of our dreams. ■

Commentaries Environment Medium- English Rotary Family


Director Jeffrey Leron does his share on ICC 2005, Manila Bay

This year’s International Coastal Cleanup is slated on September 21, 2013.  Asel Punzalan narrates his experience on ICC 2005 to encourage everybody to participate in the incoming cleanups.

September 17, 2005 (Saturday)

I was assigned to look over my co-San Pedro East Rotaractors regarding our participation in the 20th International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)- “Our future, Our Success.” The program would start at around 7:00 in the morning (this is according to a source) in Fishport, La Huerta, Parañaque City.

Given the authority, I told the company, “Ala-singko hanggang 5:30 sa Jolibee Alabang.  Ang hindi sisipot, wag nang magpakita sa akin.  Iiwanan na lang ang late!” and I did it with conviction.  (Let’s meet in Jolibee Alabang, 5:00 to 5:30 AM.  To those who won’t fulfill their promise, I don’t want to see your faces again.)

On that very important day (ICC), a familiar voice dumbfounded me from my slumber, “Kuya Asel, phone! Importante daw!” I almost did a Chinese get-up and after seeing the clock, I said, “(Balance) sheet! Six na!” Then I took the phone and after a hoarse hello, I heard, “Ang kapal ng mukha mo, nakakahiya sa kanila. Nakakahiya kay Icy (Cabuyao Circle)– Ryan Lim, our Community Service Director was on the other end of the line. With a barely Sige na! I brushed my teeth. With a barely facial water splash, I donned my most precious Rotaract uniform and found my way to the rendezvous.

I admit. I was hesitant to push through with the project. The weather was not cooperating the day before (September 16) and a flashflood created a turtle-paced traffic along the National Highway (San Pedro Area) that eventually brought the Friday class into suspension.




September 16, 2005 (Friday)

Nevertheless, our Journalism Seminar “Getting Out of the Comfort Zone” with Ms. Zorayda Sanchez fortunately came into reality. The seminar was quite tiresome but what blew my verve pipe even harder was the fellowship, we The Sphere Staff had after.

UP alumna, columnist, actress Zorayda Sanchez shares her knowledge in Journalism
The Sphere Staff: Jonathan Reyes, Jenvy Rose Cac, Tin Pajarilo, Jay Paclibar, Manuel Teodoro, Asel Punzalan, Kate Marasigan, VJ Sayson, Mico Monsalve and Roy Roman Venus II
The Sphere Staff: Third Mondares, Reg Parulan, Fer Timbal, Zyra Ordoño-Bambico, TP Gonzales, Leonel Barrioquinto-Omega, Alex Bartolazo, Johnlie Daquioag. Advisers: Edna Macrohon and Mam Solayao

The fellowship marked another history in my life.  It was the first time my feet landed a bowling alley. It was the first time I had a bullying brawl with the bowling balls and pins. My colleagues indeed bullied me. Tet (The Sphere Sports Editor) baptized me with the nick “Bayubay.” I did not fully absorb what she really did mean by that, but for namesake, Bayubay was born.

Our team (VJ, Mark, Athan, Zy and Reg) lost to the other team (Ted, Nel, Ervin, Tet and Tin).  The prize at stake was a trivial Sundae Cone of nearby Mc Do, but what’s worth mentioning was the excitement it brought about to our funny bones.  After the ice cream treat, we had the videoke. With an All-Star Singing Cast, The Sphere (The Official Choir, este Student Publication of SPCBA) nearly transformed the place into a concert hall.



We arrived at the specified place at 7:30 A.M.  The program has not yet begun because the other VIP’s have not yet arrived.  The program opened at 8:30 A.M. and the following politicking speeches bored the participants.  I am not used to this kind of preliminaries because when we say community service in Rotaract, we really mean community service and nothing else.

Notwithstanding, some of the talks were quite informative.  According to one, the Philippines ranked second in the Most “Trashful” Countries in the world during last year’s ICC (2004).  USA was first in the list.

Various national agencies, local government units, industries, private organizations and academes (colleges, universities, primary and secondary schools) corroborated for the same cause- to clean this stretch of Manila Bay.

The war on wastes then began.  Participants were grouped and each was provided with sacks, rakes and other cleaning materials. The next scenarios were shocking.

The Rotaract Club of San Pedro East has been participating in such cleanups.  One was the Cuyab River Cleanup (the one separating the Muntinlupa territory from that of San Pedro).  The major pollutants were the effluents of the surrounding industries and the household wastes of nearby residents.  The other one was the continual cleanups in line with our Dengue Prevention Campaign (Barangays of San Pedro).  The pollutants have the propensity of converting the free-running bodies of water into stagnant ones, thus spawning reason for aedes aegypti and other species of mosquitoes to rejoice in frolic.  Moreover, the law of gravity explains why all garbage in the community naturally finds their way to the seas.  Domestic drainage leads to canals.  Canals lead to creeks.  Creeks lead to rivers.  Rivers lead to seas.

RACSPE: Kirby Bernardino, Brendz buduan, Khit Bernardo, Jalyn Arciaga, Jeriz Lara, Joy Rioveros, Juan Lazo, Jett Laud, Francis Gutirrez, Cris Nuñez, Ryan Bello, Marny Fajardo, Carlo del Monte , Matt Espina and Anthony Jasareno
RACSPE: Joan Sidamon, Khit Bernardo, Cristine Reyes, Anna Murillo, Jeriz Lara, Nyco Fernando, Francis Gutierrez, Marny Fajardo, Sonny Urfano, Jeff Morales, Mike Pilar, Cris Nuñez, Matt Espina, Ryan Bello, Kirby Bernardino, Rowie Reyes, Asel Punzalan, Anthony Jasareno
RACSPE: Kaye Espadilla Dizon, Anna Murillo, Mhon Brazas, Ai Odasco Miranda, Cristine Reyes, Ryan Lim, Jeffrey Leron, Ramiro Latagan, Fermil Timbal, Elbert Querimit, Asel Punzalan
Vice President Ramiro Latagan, Director Jeff aboard a barge cleanup the Cuyab River stretch
Directors Ryan Lim, Roy Venus, Jeff clear water hyacinths off the waterways
Director Jeff awed by the amount of trash collected from Cuyab River
Director Jeff awed by the amount of trash collected from Cuyab River
Directors JP Vasquez, Cristine Reyes, Paul Sarabillo rake on big pile of waste, Cuyab River
Like rivers, waste surely runs to the sea.  It is better to start in the community.  Sto Niño Cleanup
Canals lead to rivers and rivers lead to seas. Sto Niño Cleanup
Director Ryan Lim declogs esteros of Calendola
Environmental army against the hazards, Calendola Cleanup
The Narra River Cleanup. The First Entry of RACSPE to Rotary International Outstanding Rotaract Projects way back RY 2004-2005.

Upon the commencement, I noticed that there were some things common between this ICC and the other cleanups we had before.  I came into conclusion that- “The main ‘trashers’ of lakes, rivers and coastlines are the immediate residents. Also, these residents are merely squatters in the area.”    It is not that I am “matapobre.” I am just telling the truth.  What’s more, these unlawful tenants paradoxically give us (environmentally concerned citizens) some proletarian blue-collar jobs of cracking down their garbage. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

What made our group stop for a while and engage ourselves in radical thoughts was the sight of residents deliberately throwing more garbage into the bay while watching us clean their place. And the worst thing, we saw a boy (at least a little boy) defecating himself at the expense of this body of water.  No wonder why we would intermittently have pauses in what we were doing.  Fecal matters (not necessarily from the same boy) were floating here, there and everywhere. It is just that they took this part of the Philippine Sea as a gigantic toilet bowl.

Director Jalyn Arciaga leads RACSPE in cleaning Manila Bay
RACSPE, International Coastal Cleanup 2005, Manila Bay
Director Jalyn and the rest of RACSPE in Action

Through concerted efforts of a big family of concerned Filipinos, the coast somehow regained its grandeur and glory.  A view from the paved shore was a horizon of green mangroves and white herons.  The wide and long stretch of the sea was a spectacular manifestation of hope.

Manila Bay Bird Sanctuary
The mangroves of Manila Bay, home for different species of birds
White Heron in Manila Bay as subject of Photo enthusiasts
Grey Heron, Manila Bay
Another species of bird inhabits Manila Bay
Herons in the mangroves of Manila Bay

I heard that Mayor Bernabe of Parañaque has this great dream of turning this blemished coastline into a tourist spot (toeing the line of Mayor Atienza, just like what he did in Roxas Boulevard?) It is not impossible, but this would require more intensive efforts not just from the entities that participated in ICC, but also from the residents.

Better still, the total demolition of the squatting shanties; though is of controversial nature, is a critical factor to consider.  The roots of the problem must be unearthed first.  Prevention is better than cure.  However, resettlement for the affected parties if necessary should be provided.  Also, industries must correctly dispose of their effluents.  Likewise, Filipinos must learn proper waste management because their wastes, like rivers run directly to the sea through floods.

Informal Settlers of Manila Bay

Only with these ways we can move on protecting our coastlines and preserving our environment.  The longevity of our environment spells the saga of the next generation and the triumph of the future means the success of Mother Earth in the long run and in larger perspective.■


Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer event of its kind. Last year, 378,000 volunteers from 76 countries and 45 states cleared six million pounds of trash from oceans and waterways and recorded every piece of trash collected

On Saturday, September 17, 2011, hundreds of thousands of people will descend on beaches, lakes, and streams all over the world to remove trash and debris — on land and under the water. Volunteers of all ages from every continent will form the largest one-day volunteer event on behalf of clean oceans and waterways — Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Pollution prevention is the key

Ocean Conservancy’s  International Coastal Cleanup isn’t just about pollution cleanup — it’s also about pollution prevention. The event focuses on educating and empowering people to become a part of the marine debris solution.

What makes the International Coastal Cleanup unique is its data collection component. Volunteers record specific types of marine debris being found, allowing Ocean Conservancy to compile, analyze and track this data year-by-year and make discoveries about the behaviors that cause the debris.

The final information is used to educate the public, business, industry, and government officials about the problem. We believe understanding the problem is the key to finding long-lasting solutions.

How the Cleanup Got Started

In 1986, a staff member of Ocean Conservancy was appalled by the amount of trash she found littering the shores of South Padre Island, Texas. She took responsible action by organizing a beach cleanup. In three hours, 2,800 Texans picked up 124 tons of trash from 122 miles of coastline. With that, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup was born.

That event was just the beginning of a movement for cleaner beaches and waterways. Later, it grew to encompass the shorelines of 25 U.S. states and territories. In 1989, the Cleanup went international, with the participation of residents of Canada and Mexico. To date, over 6 million volunteers have removed over 100 million pounds of marine litter from a grand total of 170,000 miles of beaches and inland waterways.

Highlights in the Fight Against Marine Debris

1985: Ocean Conservancy conducts a study of plastic marine garbage for EPA. The report, Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem, identifies plastics as the number one marine debris hazard.

1986: A Conservancy staff member organizes the first beach cleanup in South Padre Island, Texas. In the three-hour Texas Coastal Cleanup, 2,800 volunteers collect 124 tons of trash from 122 miles of coastline.

1988: The Cleanup expands to include 25 coastal U.S. states and territories. Ocean Conservancy establishes the National Beach Cleanup Marine Debris Database to create awareness, involve citizens, and collect standardized information on the problem of marine debris.

1989: Canada and Mexico participate, officially making the event the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Plywood that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

1991: A cigarette butt that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

1992: 33 countries participate in the Cleanup.

1995: Ocean Conservancy produces a report on ship waste and discharge at sea, to serve as an industry reference guide in preventing ship-borne marine debris.

1996: Ocean Conservancy works with the International Maritime Organization to raise awareness of the importance of good stewardship and the marine debris problem in the Caribbean.

1997: 75 countries participate in the Cleanup.

2003: 91 countries participate in the Cleanup.

2004: Despite several cancellations due to Hurricane Isabel, which pushed many East Coast cleanups into October, ICC volunteers are still able to collect 7.7 million pounds of debris. A Styrofoam cup that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

2036: A tin can that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

2436: A plastic bottle that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

1,001,986: A glass bottle that entered the ocean in 1986 is decomposing this year.

Commentaries Rotary Family

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? (Farewell Speech, Rotaract Club of San Pedro East Induction Ceremony RY 2009-2010)

Eight, we believe is the luckiest number.  Not just because it looks like the symbol   infinity (∞), but also because it is the first year (of celebration) after the so called seven-year itch.

In calculus, there is what we call the principle of the asymptotes under the theorems of limits.  It states that no matter how fast or how close x approaches infinity, y will never intersect nor touch a certain line we call the asymptote.  Yes, this function of x and y (f(x,y)) is convergent to the asymptote but the same will never reach it. ¶

The shapes of anything under and over the sun and even the shape of the sun itself  are patterned on mathematical formulae.

There are other several relevant mathematical and scientific laws and formulae.  The principles behind the cusp or the climax or the critical point when applied in Chemistry is the saturation point and in Physics, it is synonymous to the law of gravity.  The latter example approximates life.  What goes up must come down.

Another pertinent number is the number 30.  They say life begins at 40.  However, Rotary Life begins at 30.  Rotary Life is the real life.  Life, therefore must begin at 30.  But forgive me my fellow Rotarians.  Forgive me for I am sick.  I am suffering from a syndrome of syndromes the IPP (Immediate Past President) syndrome and the FR2R (From Rotaract to Rotary) syndrome. (If  syndrome is a collection of symptoms, what do you call a collection of syndromes?)

It is very difficult to be torn between two lovers. Should I stay? or Should I go?  Should I stay with my fellow Rotaractors or should I go with my fellow Rotarians?

Before I decide, let me first take this opportunity to give thanks to those whom I owe much.  I am supposed to give them tokens of appreciation as the best manifestation of my gratitude but for some reasons…



I must admit.  I am not an expressive person.  I am unlike those who never fail to extrovertly show their feelings and thoughts but I assure you that the things you have said and done have not gone unnoticed.

The bitter part of my Rotaract story. I was not able to please everybody and I even unconsciously displeased some.  There were persons who I used to go along well with at the start of my Rotaract life whom I unwittingly gave cold shoulders to.  Their basic instinct– was to do the same, or it is the other way around.  It is a matter of which came first– the chicken or the egg.

For that, I express my most sincere apology.  We were just casualties of the clash of principles, pride and professionalism.  I will not elaborate on this. You know who you are.

It is just that when I go upward, you go downward. When I go forward, you go backward.  But the world is round, somewhere we will meet.  And it will not take long, it’s a small world after all.

We made it five in a row.  Five most outstanding Rotary years.  What goes up must come down-but we will not go down.  We are not yet up there.  We are still in the middle of our climb.  We are still halfway there.

¶ ¶ X does not have to approach infinity for y to touch the asymptote.  Xperience or Xpertise or Xtra Effort does not have to come closer to perpetuity for You to reach your dreams.  Just give your best shot.  Dreams are not correlated to infinity.  Otherwise, they are frustrations and illusions.  Reach for your dreams and make them real.  Catch them with your bare hands. These handful of realized dreams are your future.  The future of your life is in your hands. Rotary Life is the real life. The future of Rotary is in your hands.

Should I stay or should I go?  In the Standard Rotaract Constitution Article VI, Section 3 it states that “All Rotaract club presidents and district representatives  who reach the age of 30 during the term of office may serve one additional year  as immediate past president  or immediate past district representative, to provide continuity in leadership.”  Therefore, I conclude that I should stay.  Then again, we are running out of time and space.  I should go.  Thank you!



Commentaries Rotary Family

ISANG KAHIG, ISANG TUKA GANYANG KAMING MGA DUKHA (Documentary, The First Light, The Official Newsletter of the Rotaract Club of San Pedro East, RY 2004-2005)

Nothing could exactly describe the lives of the residents of Southside Dumpsite, San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna but this song of Heber Bartolome.  In fact, the lines of this song might still be modified as- Isang Kalahig, Isang Tuka.

Kalahig is the, curved and pointed rod used to seek and sort garbage.  It also refers to the act itself of using the same.  Kalahig is for the mangangalahig as sthetoscope is for the doctor.  If the garbage is their bread and butter, kalahig is their spoon and pork.

Southside Dumpsite is the melting pot of garbage from all walks of life and from all parts of San Pedro and nearby towns and cities.  This is Laguna’s version of the infamous Payatas.  While the most of us can’t wait to get rid of the stinking wastes, mangangalahig can’t wait to forage on our trashes.  For them garbage smells like supper on their table.  And every “ting” the kalahig makes when it comes into contact with scrap metals, tin cans and any other junks of higher value sounds like music to their ears.  Tunog-lata, as they say.

Children are not spared from this way of living.  While ordinary kids spend most of their time on schools, young mangangalahig spend theirs on the dumpsite.  The mountains of garbage are their workplace and playground as well.

With no safety coats and barefoot sometimes, they trek on piles of dilapidated papers, torn plastics and dangerously cut metals.  No breakfast and lunch these overlooked angels feast on the foul odor and on the imminent danger of waste just for the sake of supper.

When they were asked “Sa mga nakikita n’yo sa paligid, kumuha kayo ng isang bagay na gusto ninyong maging katulad” during one of our outreach activities, one of them brought in a pair of slippers and with no qualms said- “Gusto kong maging panyapak na kahit na gaanong kabigat ang mga problemang sumakay sa akin ay hindi ako bibigay.”

Later when they were told- “Pasensya na kayo, medyo na-late ang tanghalian natin.” They replied- “Okay lang po yun, minsan nga po hindi na kami kumakain eh.”


The RACSPE has been helping the Dumpsite Kids since 2004.  In fact, Rotaractor Kaye Espadilla has made a pact that she would carry on her project dubbed as Bigay Puso sa Pasko.

Since December 2004, Kaye has been facilitating the project. The project starts with fetching the Dumpsite Kids from their houses. Each Rotaractor is obliged to adopt  kids for that given day. Each guides his or her adopted children and sees to it that the kids are in good condition. Each gives what the kids demand. The children are being brought to places where they have never been before.

Another is the annual “Give A Toy, Share A Joy” (GATSAJ). A simple thought of this project never fails to give me a soulful smile. It brings back the joyful memories we had on the very conception of this project and even on the Rebirth of RACSPE.

It began with an idea of donating solicited toys and goodies to ABS-CBN Bantay-Bata. But upon the course of donation, something big which we never thought would happen took place. Tina Monson Palma, head of Bantay-Bata directed us to ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya. We thought we were going to give the toys and the goodies to Sagip, but it was the other way around.  Sagip gave us truckloads of toys and goodies. We received a thousand-fold more than we intended to give. And the best place to distribute them to- The San Pedro Dumpsite. The project was indeed corroboration between ABS-CBN, RACSPE, SPCBA, JPIA, JBEC, The Sphere and Philippine National Red Cross.


(Some cynically reacts with the Project Title: Give A Toy, Share A Joy. But for God’s sake, for the sake of art, for the benefit of the doubt-Please let it is as it is! We have the Poetic License, anyway.)

Moreover, Medical Missions, Feeding Programs, Book Donations among others are being held on a regular basis.

On August 09, 2008, the Rotary Club of San Pedro East-the Sponsoring RC to Rotaract Club of San Pedro East launched the STEP UP Project. STEP UP Project is basically the giving of a significant number of STEP-INS (layman’s term for pairs of slippers) to a significant number of Dumpsite Kids.

On this note, my memory flashed back to me a project RACSPE once held in 2004. The project was a sort of Recollection/Retreat for the Kids. It was held in a Novice House somewhere in Biñan, Laguna.

The children were given time to reflect on their lives which they don’t normally do amidst the harshness of their environment.  During one part of the program, the children were asked to bring in tangible things which they would like to be (symbolism). One brought in a pair of slippers which she colloquially named as “Panyapak” (The Case of the Dumped Angels). All were teary-eyed when this girl confessed:

“Gusto kong maging panyapak, na kahit na anong bigat ng  problemang sumakay sa akin ay hindi ako bibigay.”

(I want to be a pair of slippers that no matter how heavy my load is-I’ll never give up) The young girl gave a dose of her awesome use of figurative language crafted and furnished through the years by the quality of the place she is living in.

The countenance the children wore during STEP UP perfectly manifested what they have inside and outside.  Dull eyes, blemished skins, rusty hairs and unclad feet to name a few approximated the features of the environment they are in- shanties, boondocks of garbage, unemployment and illiteracy (again to name a few).

The long queue of sardine-packed kids under the humid air and scorching sun was somehow turned into circuits of smiles as kids got their rations of STEP INS and Stuffed Toys. Rotarians and Rotaractors thought they would rest- assured that the once unclad fragile feet were then clad by the Step-Ins they gave.  However, they saw some, still barefoot despite the fact that they were actually given their shares. According to them “Ayaw kasi naming maluma kaagad” Some even said they would save them for Christmas Season.

Commentaries Medium- English Rotary Family

Make Dreams Real (Acceptance Speech, RACSPE Induction, RY 2008-2009/ Editorial Proper, The Discerning Eye, The Official Newsletter of RID 3820 Rotaract Clubs)

Dream, dream and dream because in the first place, dreaming is the only thing left in this world that’s free. There is no toll. There is no tax imposed upon it. Dream as much as you can.

Dreaming is the catalyst of success. Our journeys start with a mere dream and further dreaming gives us graduated levels of optimism till we are finally sure that we will make it to the end. Dreaming gives us the momentum to strive harder and stride farther. Dreaming is the driving force that pushes us to our limits, and dreaming pulls us out of the system when we are not conscious and cautious of the process.

Some uses dreaming as an escape mechanism, an invisible portal between   truth and fantasy. They endure the pain of reality as long as they enjoy the pleasure of phantasm. There comes  a    critical point, and an iota of  space after it is either megalomania or grandeur delusion.

Dream! Then…what?

The first step is to sort and filter your dreams. The most probable to occur being on the top of the list and those remote ones on the bottom. Filter your list by recognizing only those worthy of your time, effort and other resources. There are some things in this life that are not really meant for us. Don’t waste your resources on them. Let them go. Focus your capabilities on your top dreams instead.

After sorting and filtering, apply the scientific method. The mere fact that your dreams are “still” dreams, there is a problem why it is so. State your problems. Look for solutions. Consider alternative solutions. Choose the best solution. Solve the problem. Voila! The problem is eradicated and you are on your way to the realization of your dreams. As simple as that.

However, it is quite more self-fulfilling if we are going to help realize somebody else’s dreams. Divert your resources on dreams of less fortunate ones. Do not help those who can help themselves. Do not help those who help you.

Life is not system of mutualism. It should not be a give- and-take relationship. If you will help only the one who helps you, you will be enriching just the two of you. Life is not a system of parasitism. If you will just take and take, you will be enriching yourself at the expense of another. Life is a system of heroism, just give and give and give.

Children are our future. This is the truth. Help them build their dreams and help them realize the same.  Childish dreams may be simple as having food to eat, having clean air to breathe and having clean water to drink, or complicated as having a complete family and a home to call their own. Whatever their dreams are, let us make a pact that we will be there when they realize their dreams. ■

Medium-Filipino Short Stories

LANDSLIDE (Ang Bilog, Ang Opisyal na Babasahing Pampanitikan ng San Pedro College of Business Administration, Nobyembre 2005)

“Hindi ka pa ba matutulog?”


Ang tanong ko kay Luisa, sapagkat ako’y nababahala na sa mga ipinagkikilos niya nitong mga nakaraang araw.  Wala akong natanggap na sagot mula sa kanya.  Mula sa beranda, tuloy-tuloy siya patungong silid nang hindi man lang lumilingon sa akin.  Sinadya kong magpaiwan sa labas.  Siguro’y dahil na rin sa pagkapahiya sa di niya pagtugon.

Nakapaninindig-balahibo ang lamig na hatid ng gabi.  Paano kaya ito nakayanan ni Luisa?  Hindi kaya kinausap niya ang mga kuliglig?  Hindi kaya nakipagkuwentuhan siya sa sipol ng hangin?  O di ka’y nakipagtitigan siya sa buwan?

Anim na taon na kaming kasal  Ang unang tatlong taon ay sing-aliwalas ng hanging amihan.  Subalit ang huli’y dinaluyong ng habagat.  Mayroon kaya akong nagawang pagkukulang?

Napatingin ako sa itaas para sa kasagutan.  Pero walang naghimalang sumagot sa akin.  Maliban sa pagpatay-sindi ng mga magagarang ilaw ng mansion sa tuktok ng talampas na tila sumasagot ng… Meron… Wala… Meron… Wala… Meron?

Kami ay nakatira kung saan ang estado ng pamumuhay ay nasusukat sa pamamagitan nang taas ng lugar na tinitirikan ng bahay.  Overlooking kung tawagin.  Kung saan ang matatarik na dahilig ay walang patumanggang pinatag upang pagawan ng mga kalsada.  Kung saan ang mga malalaking puno ay walang habas na pinagpuputol upang bigyang daan ang mga poste ng ilaw.  At kung saan ang masukal na kagubatan na dating kanlungan ng mga  maiilap na hayop ay pinaamo upang magbigay-pugay sa mas mataas na uri ng hayop- ang mga tao.

Sa mababang parte pa ng bundok kami nakatira noong bata pa ako.  Kaming mga mahihirap ang tagasalo ng mga basura at baha ng mga tagataas.  Hindi man nila sinasadya, talagang itninadhana na ang tubig at ano pa man ay bumagsak mula sa itaas patungo sa ibaba.  Sa paghahangad na mapataas pa ang aming kinalalagyan , nagsumikap nang husto ang aming mga magulang.  Nag-aral akong mabuti at di naglaon ay gumapang sa saril kong mga paa at mga kamay upang makarating sa kinaroroonan ng sarili kong pamilya ngayon.  Wala doon sa baba.  Wala doon sa pinakamataas na halos ay maabot mo na ang langit.

Sa tingin ko ay sapat na aking nagawa para sa isang maliit na pamilya.  Ako.  Si Luisa, ang aking asawa.  At ang aming nag-iisang anak na tatlong taong gulang.  Nais ko sana ay magkaroon pa nang isa… dalawa… tatlo… o higit pang mga anak, subalit maisasakriisyo ko ang  aming kalagayan.  At sa tingin ko rin  naman ay dahil na rin sa kagustuhan ni Luisa.  Lalo pa kong magsusumikap upang matupad ko ang aking ninanais at makaakyat pa kahit isa… dalawa… tatlo… o higit pang mga hakbang pataas.

Meron… Wala… Meron… Wala… Meron… Wala?, ang sagot ng pata-sinding mga ilaw.  Gusto ko sanang hintaying patayin ng may-ari ang mga ilaw na iyon sa mansiyon upang malaman ko ang kasagutan sa katanungang bumabagabag sa akin.  Subalit tila napasailalim ako sa kapangyarihan ng mga iyon at ako ay nakadama ng pagka-antok.

Pumasok ako sa kuwarto upang magpahinga na at sa pag-asang tulog na rin si Luisa.  Subalit natagpuan ko siyang nakaupo sa harap ng pugon, nanginginig at panay ang haplos sa sariling mga kamay.  Patay na ang aircon at sarado na ang mga bintana ngunit matindi pa rin ang kanyang pagkaginaw.  Nilapitan ko siya mula sa likuran at ibnalabal ang aking mga kamay sa kanyang katawan.  Walang anu-ano ay tinabig niya ako at lumabas ng kuwarto.  Pumasok siya sa kabila- doon sa kuwarto ng aming anak.  Sinundan ko siya para kausapin pero ang pagkandado ng pinto ang isnagot niya sa akin.

Bumalik ako sa aming kuwarto.  Ipagpapabukas ko na lamamg ito.  Mapayapa akong matutulog ngayon at bukas ay sisimulan ko nang ayusin ang aming pagsasama.

Nagising ako sa pagkaka-idlip.  Narinig kong umiiyak ang aming anak.  Kinuha ko ang susi.  Binuksan ang pinto.  Binuksan ko ang ilaw.  Dali-daling yumakap sa akin ang aking anak.

Wala si Luisa…

Nasa beranda siguro…

Pero wala si Luisa sa beranda…

Bumaba akong akay-akay ang aking anak upang hanapin si Luisa.

Sinuyod ko ang buong kabahayan.  Pati ang tarangkahan… Wala si Luisa.  Kinuha ko ang susi ng aking sasakyan at nagpasyang hanapin si Luisa sa labas kasama ang aking anak.

Dahan-dahan kong binaba ang dahilig.  Hinanap ko si Luisa sa gulod.  Hinanap ko si Luisa sa kabilang ibayo ng bundok.  Hinanap ko si Luisa sa lambak… Wala si Luisa.  Nagpasya akong magpahinga muna sa kapatagan,  Gamit ang maliwanag kong lente, tuloy pa rin akong naghanap ng anumang senyales ni Luisa.

Hindi ko nakita si Luisa.  Kinalma lang ako ng ng ideyang siguro’y nandoon siya sa kanyang mga magulang.  Sa bayan.

Nakatulog na rin ang aking anak sa loob ng sasakyan.  Malayo na rin ang aming narating.  Nagpasya akong simulan ang paglalakbay pauwi ng bahay.  Siguro nga ay nasa mabuti nang kalagayan si Luisa ngayon.

Habang naglalakbay, naisipan kong siguruhin si Luisa.  Pero walang signal sa loob ng sasakyan.  Inihinto ko saglit at nilabas ang sasakyan upang siya’y tawagan.

Pagbukas ko ng pinto ng sasakyan ay may kakaiba akong narinig at naramdaman.

Maingay- pinaghalu-halong iyak ng mga tao at hayop.  Dumadagundong.  Nabubuwal ang mga poste ng ilaw at ang mga puno.  Nagdidilim.  Nadarama ko ang mangilan-ngilang piraso ng bato sa aking balat.  Lumilindol.  Pumasok ako ng sasakyan upang siguruhin ang aking anak.

Mas magiging delikado kung aalis pa kami asa aming kinaroroonan.  Siguro naman ay ligtas kami ditto sa gitna ng kapatagan.  At kung hindi man ay mas gugustuhin kong magkasama kami ng aking anak na lamunin ng lupa.


Nabasag ang salamin sa likuran.  Bagamat nakapreno ang sasakyan, nararamdaman ko ang paggalaw nito.  Paabante.  Paatras.  At kahit na lateral.  Tinamaan nang may kalakihang bato ang salamin sa harapan. Sumugat sa akin ang kapirasong salamin.  Masakit, pero ayokong mas masaktan ang aking anak.  Niyakap ko siya nang mahigpit.

Maliwanag na nang humupa ang pagyanig.  Wala namang masamang nanyari sa akin at sa aking anak.  Una kong hinanap si Luisa.  Wala siya sa bayan.  Nasaan kaya si Luisa?

Paano kaya kung bumalik pala siya sa sa bahay? Paano kung…?


Daan-daang tao ang nawalan ng buhay at bahay.  Milyun-milyong halaga ng ari-arian ang kinain ng lupa.  Napatag ang bundok.  Patung-patong ang mga pira-pirasong bangkay ng di makilalang tao at hayop.  May mga taga-kapatagan.  May mga taga-burol.  May mga taga-talampas ng bundok.

Tatlong araw na ang aming paghahanap.  Wala si Luisa.  Ipinasa-Diyos ko na lang siya.  Subalit sayang ang aming nasimulan.  Sayang ang mga pangarap ko para sa kanya.  Sayang ang isa… dalawa… tatlo… o higit pang mga mga hakbang na kung hindi man paakyat ay tungo sa ikabubuti ng aming pagsasama.  Sayang ang lahat lahat na biglang buimagsak at naglaho kasama ng bundok…  Magsisimula ulit kami ng aking anak.

Pero bilang pasasalamat na rin sa pagkakaligtas namin, tumulong ako sa paghuhukay.  Karimarimarim ang panoorin. Ang nakahihimatay na amoy ay lalo pang pinatindi ng lamig ng panahon.  Wala nang naglakas-loob pang sumuong sa mapanganib na lugar.  Umasa na lang kami sa mga aso at mga langaw na kung saan nagkukumpulan ay doon malaki ang posibilidad na mayroong biktima.  Wala akong nakitang palatandaan ni Luisa.

Damang-dama ang hapis sa bawat isa.  Hindi nila matanggap ang pagkawala ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay.

Nang biglang halos may himatayin sa katatawa.



Marami ang nairita sa tinuran ng isang maghuhukay.




Sumunod pa ang ilan sa katatawa.

Lumapit ako para malaman ang dahilan.  Si Don Sotero pala ang na may-ari ng pinakamalaking mansiyon sa tuktok ng talampas ang kanilang natagpuan.  Pero hindi siya nag-iisang natagpuan.  Hubo’t hubad itong nahukay na may kasama na kapwa walang saplot.  Hindi man lang natinag ang dalawa sa pagkakapatong.  Napangiti lang ako sa nasaksihan.  Tulong-tulong naming binaligtad ang bangkay ni Don Sotero.  Hindi makilala ang babae sa sinapit ng mukha nito.  Nang biglang magdilim ang aking paningin… Naghalo ang awa…poot… galit… at suklam sa aking dibdib.

Paunawa:  Ang mga nabanggit na pangalan, lugar at pangyayari ay pawang kathang-isip lamang.


“Lighting Beacons of Excellence, Versatility and Solidarity in our Unified Commitment to Aggrandizing History by Reaching Beyond in Response to Emerging Challenges” (Third place, National Federation of Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (NFJPIA) On the spot Essay Writing Contest)

The old cliché “Together we stand, divided we fall’,  though as trite as it may seems still holds true especially at this point in time when the country has the propensity of reaching the nadir of its economy.

A consensus of exemplary talents and skills will make a difference.  Our present situation tends to be a game of survival of the fittest.  Those extraordinary people will instigate the metamorphosis.  Those mediocre ones will stay where they are and those inferior individuals will never have the chance to prosper.  Furthermore, those survivors, if not given the chance, will be good for nothing.  If they will nourish the crab mentality in them, only few will make it to the top, and still it will make no change.

The catastrophic fiscal crisis our country is facing today calls for excellence, versatility, and solidarity.  These requisites should all be present in order to annihilate the menace of poverty.  A group of excellent and versatile achievers, if not united is useless.  Conversely, a union of nincompoop souls is a big farce.

The symbiosis among us should be a matter of give and take relationship.  We will give you what we have that you do not have and you will give us what you have that we do not have.  The devastating effect of mushrooming challenges is a no-no if treated with the cathartic aftermath of sheer determination and pure heart.

Footnote:  the topic was provided.  All the academic and non-academic contests were held simultaneously.  Time-constraint, I was not able to think and write more.