Search This Blog

Thursday, July 31, 2008


31 July 1970. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is finally released to the public 7 years after the New Testament was published, and 69 years after its precursor, the American Standard Version (ASV) was put on the market. According to its producer, the California-based Lockman Foundation, over 58 scholars from various denominations -- Assembly of God, Baptist, Church of Christ, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Free, Independent Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, and others -- worked intensively for around 10 years to produce the NASB. The Foundation also reported that 20 translators spent three years on the 1995 edition.

For sample verses, go to studybibleforum & biblegateway. A scholarly but accessible review of the NASB and other Bible versions can be found in Al Maxey's website.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

PNP Biofuel

In these desperate times, energy-saving breakthroughs are a welcome news -- especially when the news comes from a much ballyhooed institution like the Philippine National Police (PNP) which has long been swamped with charges of corruption, ineptitude, summary executions, and whatever evils their critics could attribute to their muck-splattered image.

This time, it is heartening to learn from news reports that the police force in Makati City had put up a plant for their "biofuel" a 60:40 mix of diesel and used cooking oil (supplied by fastfood outlets) and have already significantly cut down on their fuel expenses. [see GMA News article here]. Our salutes, mamang pulis!!! :)

Let's look forward to a greater success of our country's various and newly set up alternative fuel projects...

God & "Game Ka Na Ba?"

A pastor is the reigning champ in the highly acclaimed ABS-CBN game show Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba? ["Philippines, Are You Game?"] now perfectly hosted by Ilonggo actor Edu Manzano.

I have nothing personal against the pastor and do not question his joining GKNB. In the first place, I don't know him personally. Second, I don't think his being in the television program violates a scriptural principle. Third, I assume that he is a morally upright shepherd and respected by his flock (sometimes, you can tell if a pastor is in good terms with his flock by his physical looks; this guy's stocky, unlike many pastors I know whose emaciated physique can speak volumes of their being denied from partaking the fruits of their labors or regarded as unfit for a decent hire). Fourth, I admire his stock knowledge of a thousand and one data. Fifth, I like his skinhead look -- reminds me of Robbie Casas, a powerful evangelical preacher in Baguio City.

What made me scratch my ear though was his reply to Manzano's remark before the start of the final round in which he could get either a million pesos (if he answers all seven questions correctly) or a showcase of prizes (if the letter he picks corresponds to the letter assigned to the prize). Manzano was wishing him luck by saying something like he must be close to God since he is a preacher. The pastor then waxed confident, claiming that a lot of people are praying for him.

And what if he failed to bag the prize(s)? I wondered aloud as I stood near the TV munching on my lunch. Would it reflect on his "being close to God" and the quality of his churchmates' faith?

Which led me to ruminate about how Christians often use God as some sort of a dental filler -- something to arbitrarily patch any intellectual difficulty or informational gap, or a genie -- someone who grants any get-rich/well-quick desire even way beyond Wish # 3. God as a dental filler and a genie has often meant doing away with one's exercise of her/his brain (reason) and muscle (hard work).

This tendency among the devout comes in many forms. For example, take this from so-called "prosperity/health-and-wealth gospel preachers": Pass this egg around and the proverbial hen will lay her golden eggs on your palms! Raise your hands and clap them loudly and the Lord will grant you joy that passes understanding. Upturn your umbrellas and catch the blessings pouring forth from heaven's windows! Buy this medallion embedded with bits of rock from Bethlehem and your life will share the wealth and health of the Holy Land! Touch this blessed handkerchief and your cancer will be gone in a jiffy!

Or this, from some of the faithful: Pray this number of "Hail Marys" and "Our Fathers" and your wishes will come true. Walk on your knees this far, pay this much, or burn this many candles and your prayers will be duly answered or your salvation ensured.

Or this: Be a member of this church and all the spiritual and most of the physical blessings imaginable will be yours! Get married in our temples and your relationship as a celestial family will be sealed! Let our religious leader lay hands on your head or anoint you with oil and you will never want for the rest of your life!

It doesn't matter if it's just placebo effect or psychosomatic healing. It doesn't matter that other factors or circumstances (one's mental state, physical labor, twist in the global economy, etc.) can explain the wonder. It doesn't matter that one's great sense of responsibility plays a key role in sustaining great relationships. It's a miracle! It is Divine Intervention through His Servant! Yeah, great. No wonder much of organized religion turns people off.

So does this mean that I should reject organized religion, or that all Christians are hopelessly tied to a medieval past? Nope. Not all Evangelical, or Catholic, or Neither-Catholic-Nor-Protestant Christians are enmeshed in these superstitions and dogmatic trappings. I've met a lot of Christians from various denominational groups who have a clear picture of which can be attributable to natural, supernatural or man-made causes, which belongs to either reason and science or faith and religion, and how one gets to balance them between sheer dogmatism and unyielding skepticism.

Does this mean there is no value in prayer or the validity of miracles? Hardly. I believe in the power of prayer and in the possibility of miracles. It's just that I don't believe in a Toy Kingdom prayer that pulls a puppet-god with some ecclesial strings. Nor do I believe in an understanding of a miracle that collapses the great divide between the trivial and the significant, the ordinary and the special, the natural and the supernatural.

By the way, the pastor got 5 out of the 7 questions correctly and did not get the ASUS laptop and ipod showcase. But he is still champ, so his churchmates should pray some more as he will soon again take a crack at the coveted cash prize.

I wish him good luck. And a well-coordinated synaptical activity (i.e. good memory). :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Power and Society

Every social act is an exercise of power; every social relationship is a power equation.

- Amos Hawley, quoted in Charles E. Hurst, Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences (Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2001), 126.

PGMA's SoNA 2008: Fashion Show

Bollywood/Hollywood-like characters (a.k.a. lawmakers, their spouses, et al.) wrapped in specially designed apparels self-consciously strutting along the red carpet. Pro-Administration officials issuing the usual spirited display-even-the-padded-KRA (Key Result Areas)-stats defense of PGMA's annual report. Anti-Administration people acting according to their predictable find-nothing-good-about-this-administration script.

All of these amply illustrated one aspect of the recent SoNA affair: Wardrobe and Political Discourse Fashion Show. It is partly a contest of which garb is most wow!-able, or which ideological camp can paint a more appealing look of their own group, or an uglier picture of the other.

But whichever portraiture or caricature is more appealing or more hideous, it seems to me that the Opposition (represented by ex-President Estrada and ex-putschist Trillanes) and the Administration (headed by PGMA and De Venecia-trouncer Speaker Nograles) face the same challenge: translating their vaunted pro-people avowals into something beyond mere rhetoric. Especially that, judging from the flashy lifestyle of most of these VIPs, many of us are highly skeptical of their ability to commiserate with the plight of the dirt-poor Filipino.

Thanks to our fashionistas though for showcasing the ingenuity of Filipino clothes designers. Now, if only our fashionista-lawmakers could later convince themselves to auction off their wardrobes and donate the sales to sustainable grassroots-level projects. :)


Media outfits spotted an odd-one-out fashionista at the Batasan, Nagtipunan, Quirino Mayor Rosario Camma sporting a g-string to the occasion. He easily reminds every Cordilleran of Alfredo Lam-en, Morris Domogan, and Josephine Dominguez (see Jorge Pawid's "Cordillera Fashion" ; Mauricio Domogan website) . Ayos!

Irregular Verbs - According to Some of My Students

Many university students who hadn’t taken the trouble to master the conjugation of irregular verbs in high school often come up with surprising terms that can help set the lighter side of classroom teaching and learning which, I bet my meager salary, would delight George Walker Bush himself. Here’s a list culled from diagnostic tests I administered to my students:

Base Form

Past Tense

Past Participle






Blew, blewn


















Dealed, Delt









Drove, Droven



Feeded, Feed








Forbidded, forbided, forbit

Forbiden, forbad




Frooze, Freezed




Grew, Grewn
















Lay, Layed, Layn

Laiden, Layed, Lain






Lied, Laid


Loose, Loss, Losed

Loose, Losen, Loosen, Losed








Quitted, Quited

Quitted, Quited









Seeked, Soke, Sook

Seeked, Soke, Saken, Saught




Shaked, Shoke, Shocked


Shaked, Shocked, Shoken, Shoke



Shune, Shoned













Swang, Swinged

Swang, Swinged














Wined, Wun

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Balbalan Centennial Blog

At the suggestion of Regy Wacas of LGU Balbalan, we created a weblog for the Balbalan Centennial. We will do our best to get the site regularly updated. See initial post/photos @

[caption id="attachment_889" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Municipal Seat of LGU Balbalan @ Barangay Salegseg. Photo courtesy of Regy Wacas."]Municipal Seat of LGU Balbalan @ Barangay Salegseg[/caption]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Iglesia Ni Cristo Founded

27 July 1914. Felix Ysagun Manalo officially establishes the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) about nine months after he supposedly received divine revelation to found "the true church." Earlier, he forsook his Catholic roots and successively became an active member among the Methodists, Disciples of Christ, and, finally, the Seventh-Day Adventists. Among the cardinal doctrines of this sect are (1) Felix Manalo is "God's Last Messenger" for the last days, he being the fifth angel from the "east" (i.e. the Philippines, according to the Iglesia) in Revelation 7.2 and he being the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 41.9; (2) the Iglesia is the only true church; and (3) Jesus is not God. The Iglesia has been known across the archipelago for its monolithic structure, ubiquitous church buildings, aggressive proselyting, discipline in formal assemblies, civic outreaches, and political clout.

Suggested Readings/References:

Official INC Publications: Adriel O. Meimban, "God's Last Messenger," Pasugo September-October 1988, 10-14; Bienvenido C. Santiago, “What We Believe and Why,” Pasugo: God’s Message, September-October 1988, 3; Feljun B. Fuentes, “Remembering God’s Messenger in These Last Days,” Pasugo: God’s Message, May 1994, 4; Antonio E. Bocobo, Jr., “Brother Felix Y. Manalo: A Brief Biography,” Pasugo: God’s Message, May 1994, 5-8, 10, 16; Nicanor P. Teosen, “‘Come to Me,…’: An Invitation to Salvation,” Pasugo: God’s Message, September 2007, 8-11.

Critiques/Doctrinal Reviews: Platt, Donald. Counterfeit. Manila: OMF Literature Inc., 1981; Ruivivar, Tino C. The Absurd Claims and Biggest Mistakes of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Quezon City: Evangelical Life Publishers, Inc., 2005.

Related Articles: "The Language of Exclusivism," "ABS-CBN vs GMA; ADD vs ATD," "The Iglesia's Exclusivist Discourse"

Sherrie Austin's "Streets of Heaven"

(Sherrie Austin/Paul Duncan/Al Kasha)

Hello God, it's me again. 2:00 a.m., Room 304.
Visiting hours are over, time for our bedside tug of war.
This sleeping child between us may not make it through the night.
I'm fighting back the tears as she fights for her life.
Well, it must be kind of crowded,
On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
She's much too young to be on her own:
Barely just turned seven.
So who will hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven?

Tell me God, do you remember the wishes that she made,
As she blew out the candles on her last birthday cake?
She wants to ride a pony when she'd big enough.
She wants to marry her Daddy when she's all grown up.

Well, it must be kind of crowded,
On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
She's much too young to be on her own:
Barely just turned seven.
So who will hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven?

Lord, don't you know she's my angel
You got plenty of your own
And I know you hold a place for her
But she's already got a home
Well I don't know if you're listenin'
But praying is all that's left to do
So I ask you Lord have mercy, you lost a son once too

And it must be kind of crowded,
On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
Lord, I know once you've made up your mind,
There's no use in beggin'.
So if you take her with you today, will you make sure she looks both ways,
And would you hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven.

The streets of Heaven.

Happy Parents' Day! :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

reading a book

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

- from Francis Bacon's "Of Studies"


Fellow Booksale addicts out there who haven't signed in with BookMooch, better register now. Lynette Carpio, a colleague who recently introduced me to BM, prided herself on her latest treasure trove of 40 books she received last month and has given away some of her own collections while piling up points in her account. Don't throw away your old/no-longer-used books yet, someone at BM might be looking for them right now! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

To a Boy in His Daddy's Jeepney

contact the author for content... :)

And the Last Sentinel Fell

the brown expanse opened into an eternal stretch. swirling sheets of coarse, hot sand and dust endlessly block the searing rays of the red star. most of the time the eye finds its uselessness. yonder, a towering, parched and grainy mountain casts a gloomy patch of shadow over the restless plain beside it. at its foot curls a rotting tree stump trying to ward off the brown particles that endlessly blanket it.

far down, the wasteland dropped into an eerie yet grand canyon that wove roughly and nauseatingly over an unimaginable length. most of its walls are a polished gold and bay, whose grandeur is somewhat marred by huge, sharp rocks hanging erratically from the cavernous parts of the canyon like the jagged teeth of an apocalyptic beast. even the red star dreads to disturb their strange silence. along the gorge’s cold, dark depths, one could hear booming wails as if the restless creatures of tartarus crawl beneath.

whrumm! the land violently shook with terror as great unseen feet stamped on both sides of the canyon. instantly, the deep gorge was a goner. in a few moments there was silence… death.

back up, brown clouds continue to swirl and the red star still scorns at the turbulence below it – but the mountain, the tree stump… are nowhere to be found. all that stands out is the vastness of the brown, barren waste…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Business Signs/Names/Ads - Pinoy Style

This forwarded email made my day. I added some notes for our non-Filipino readers. Corrections are welcome... :)


Filipinos are funny and creative when it comes to business signs and posters. Here are some examples:

* A parlor in San Juan is named 'Cut & Face'
* A wholesaler of balut in Sto.Tomas, Batangas: ' Starduck '
* A fastfood eatery in Nueva Ecija: 'Violybee'
* A small internet cafe opened among squatters named itself, 'Cafe Pindot' [Note: Pindot is a Filipino term meaning "to push a button, press a key (of a computer keyboard)," etc.]
* In Manila, there's a laundry outlet named, 'Summa Cum Laundry'
* A petshop in Kamuning: 'Pakita Mo Pet Mo' [Note: Lit., "show me your pet"]
* A Bakery: 'Bread Pit'
* A bank in Alabang: 'Alabank'
* A noodle restaurant in Pampanga named, 'Mekeni Rogers' [Note: Mekeni is Kapampangan (language spoken by those who hail from the province of Pampanga) for "come," used in say, invitations for meals.]
* There's a restaurant in Pasig named 'Johnny's Fried Chicken: The 'Fried' of Marikina
* A tombstone maker in Antipolo: 'Lito Lapida' [Note: Lito Lapid is a famous Filipino action star-turned-politician]
* There's a copy center in Sikatuna Village called, 'Pakopya ni Edgar' [Note: Parokya ni Edgar is the name of a popular local band]
* There's a beerhouse in Cavite called, 'Chickpoint'
* A laundromat in our neighborhood at Sikatuna: 'Star Wash : Attack of the Clothes'
* There's an internet cafe in Taguig named, 'n@kopi@' [Note: Nakopia is a Filipino term for "copied or imitated," a play on a better known internet cafe called 'Netopia']
* Name of a kambingan, 'Sa Goat Kita' [Note: Kambingan is an eatery where goat meat is primarily served; 'Sagot Kita' is a common Filipino expression which can mean "my treat"]
* A salon somewhere, 'Curl Up And Dye'
* A lugawan in Sta. Maria, Bulacan: 'Gee Congee' [Note: Lugaw = "porridge"]
* There's a water refilling station in Dapitan named 'Wa-Thirst'
* Along Sucat road, a store selling feeds for chickens: 'Roboco - ck'
* Shoe repair in Marikina: 'Dr. Shoe-Bago' [Note: Bago = "new"]
* Shoe repair store along Commonwealth,'SHOEPERMAN: we will HEEL you, save your SOLE, and even DYE for you'
* A Petshop: 'Petness First'
* Flower shop: ' Susan's Roses' [Note: Susan Roces is the widow of the lamented "Action King of Philippine Cinema," Fernando Poe, Jr.]
* A Taxicab: 'Income Taxi'
* A 2nd hand watch store: '2nd Time Around'
* A squid stall in a wet market: 'Pusit to the Limit'
* A shrimp store: 'Hipon Coming Back'
* A gay lawyer's extension office: 'Nota Republic'
* A ceiling installer: 'Kisame Street'
* A car repair shop: 'Bangga ka 'day!' [Note: Bangga = car crash, fender-bender; 'day = short for Inday, a common reference to a lady/girl househelp; in so-called Philippine 'Vogaybulary,' the word is used by gays as an address to females or to their fellows; this could also be interpreted as a play on the expression (and the title of a song), Bongga (Filipino slang which can mean "ostentatious," "loud," etc.) ka 'Day!]

* An aquatic pet store in Malolos: 'Fish Be With You'
* A beauty salon: 'Saudia Hairlines'
* A bakery in our village: 'Anak Ng Tinapay'
* A resto along Mayon road in Manila : 'May Lisa Eatery'
* A Laundry: 'Wash Your Problem Here'
* This mobile massage business name isn't funny, but their slogan is: 'Asian Mobile Massage Service: Massage only, God is watching'
* Ice cream parlor: 'Dila Lang Ang Katapat' [Note: Lit., "tongue is (it's) only match/equal"]
* Chicharon store: 'Chicha Hut'
* Neighborhood pizza store: 'Pizza Hot'
* A barbershop in Cagayan de Oro: 'Pinoy Big Barber'
* A Resto in Baclaran: 'The Last Supper'
* A goto resto: 'Goto Ko Pa! ' [Not: Goto = a type of porridge; here, the whole expression is used as a sort of baby talk for Gusto ko pa ("I want more")]
* My mom used to ride a bus for work. One day she saw a peanut vendor's cart with a funny name: 'Mani ni Papa' [Note: lit., "Daddy's peanuts"]
* A gym in Malolos: 'Gaymann Fitness Center'
* My brother's party needs business: 'Balloon-Balloonan' [Note: balun-balunan = fowl gizzard]
* A Chinese restaurant in Pasig : 'Lah-Fang'
* A store selling fresh chicken, owned by a woman named Dina: 'Dina Fresh Chicken' [Note: Dina can be read as short for Hindi Na = "not anymore"]
* A bakery in Pateros: 'Trimonay Bakeshop'
* A Hair Salon in Makati : 'Hair We Go Again'


I also note here two barbershops in Naga City and Baguio City with these signages: "Hair Jordan," "Hair Force One."

And at SM Baguio: "Going Straight" (Hair Salon), "Let's Face It" (Facial Center)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cerularius vs. Humbert

16 July 1054. This day marks the Roman Catholic Church-Eastern Orthodox Church split, an event more popularly known as the "East-West Schism" or "The Great Schism." On this day, Humbert, the Archbishop of Sicily who was a then a recent appointee of Leo IX, excommunicated Michael I Cerularius, the Constantinople-based Patriarch. The latter would decree his own version of excommunication eight days later. Cerularius denounced the political maneuvering of the Pope in Italy and his appointment of Humbert as archbishop. He also questioned what he saw as "unscriptural" practices of the Latin Church, like its use of unleavened bread. [McBrien,174-175]

"To be human is to be free..."

The future is the same for all of us. Nothing keeps one form for long: mountains crumble to become plains and valleys, lakes become reedy marshes. The great ice floes melt, and rivers rise to forested valleys. We are men and women for a time before we rejoin the blown sands of creation. Only once can we know the world as well as live in it. Only once do we move at our own command. That is why to be human is to be free.

- from "Give It Back to the Indians," by Bill Messenger [note: I am writing this from memory, so it may not be the exact quote; i am also relying on my often unreliable memory for the title and author of this short story, since i can no longer find the anthology where i first read the narrative. corrections are welcome. thanks!] :)

Denying Communion to "Pro-Abortion" Lawmakers

"It is the priest's duty to act against public sinners. If a priest or bishop does not punish a public sinner, it is the priest or bishop who will err."

So says Apo Arsobispo Oscar Cruz of Pangasinan in relation to the abortion issue. He was quoted in a CBCP online news report on his fellow Archbishop Jesus Dosado's proposal to bar from partaking of the "Holy Communion" lawmakers sponsoring or supporting the Reproductive Health bill currently being studied in Congress.

Reacting to the CBCP plan, one lady lawmaker said she would rather seek "direct communication" than bow to the demand of the priests for her to withdraw her sponsorship of the bill.

If I am parsing his words correctly, Cruz seems to include among the ranks of "public sinners" those he and the CBCP branded as "pro-abortion" lawmakers.

I'd say Cruz and Dosado may have all the privilege to make policies for their flock, they being the exalted shepherds as they are over their respective pastoral jurisdictions (a political edge built on the monolithic frame of their Church as a whole), but that privilege should not cancel out the right of their flock to decide on family planning issues according to their conscience; it should not bar the flock from speaking out on issues that involve their family/private lives about which the celibates (most of them anyway) could only experience vicariously. It would be pathetic if these leaders' respective sheep remain as sheep and continue to bleat and move with a herd mentality under the baton of those who don't fully understand how it is to go through all the pains of raising a family and balancing on the "intimacy scale" the existential "weights" of procreation and pleasure. None should allow themselves to be under the stranglehold of any pope, priest, pastor, or pundit on this or any other issue.

I think Cruz went overboard in this most recent pontification. Being a master of Philosophy/Logic, he should be the first to recognize that name-calling only beclouds issues as this. And branding those batting for the Reproductive Health bill with the loaded term "Pro-Abortion" Lawmakers is unjust and pharisaical. Catholics should not just take the word of their leaders who say that the use of contraceptives is a travesty to the Gospel; they should study the Good Book themselves "to see if [this thing is] so." Further, his statement calls for more than he would ever wish it to mean. In his own territory of Pangasinan and elsewhere, for example, there are lots of their politician-parishioners whose lives are riddled with public scandals, from womanizing to abetting gambling. Had Cruz and his fellow clergy ever excoriated all these "publicans"? Which sins should one commit to qualify one as a "public sinner"? Only those Clergy-declared sins that are widely publicized or sensationalized? And what about men of the cloth whose reputations are as black as their soutanes are white, whose collective self-righteousness is such that even an atheist can have greater moral ascendancy over them? Considering all these, I wonder how many bishops have "erred" per Cruz' statement?

This is not to say that religious leaders should not have anything to do with the burning moral issues of our society. It is to say that religious leaders should first fix the great divide between their preachments and their praxis, that they should realize that they are far from helping the country bind its wounds and deal with its woes when they speak the language of reductionism and impracticality in relation to the pressing issues of our day.

Cruz, Dozado, et al. advise their parishioners to either just abstain from sex or go by the Rhythm Method. I dare say Catholic men/fathers should instead include No-Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) in their family planning. :)

Related post: "No-Scalpel Vasectomy"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thinking of Ka Ambo on Cordillera Day

Related Post: "Cordillera Day"

Cordi Day -- April 24 or July 15? The Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA) takes the first date, the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) prefers the second. The former hoists Macli-ing Dulag's icon, the latter flashes Conrado Balweg's.


Who was Balweg? Let me try to answer the question from four perspectives:

Chadli Molintas Command & His Former Comrades in the New People's Army (NPA): He was a traitor to the Revolutionary Cause, he had become corrupt, he deserved the death of a criminal.

His Former Allies in the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) and the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA): He started out right, but ended up being co-opted by the System; he started out as a true Revolutionary and Reformist, but ended up becoming the typical Politician and the despicable Treasure Hunter he once despised.

His Supporters in the CBA/CPLA/AFP Integrees: He was fallible as everyone is, circumscribed by his time as most are. He still remains an icon of the Cordillera's fight for justice and development.

His Other Friends: He was a real father figure who cared for his men as he would his children, a selfless leader who strove to identify himself with the plight of his comrades.


A wee boy in the last half of the '80s, I was one of those whose dreams were colored by this fellow Ibvyanao whose exploits were romanticized by the 1987 film, "Balweg: The Rebel Priest." He was our Robin Hood and William Tell. I was then the proudest of all the young boys in our hometown of Tabuk when I sat on Ka Ambo's lap in a Philippine Information Agency (PIA-Kalinga) car on our way to the provincial military HQ, Camp Juan M. Duyan, from the Radyo ng Bayan station. I was part of the small group of well-wishers who anxiously watched while two Huey helicopters whisked him and his bodyguards away to, presumably, Baguio City and wondered whether there was something ominous in the second helicopter's near crash when its rotor whacked the tip of a tree branch just after take off.

[caption id="attachment_761" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Camp Juan M. Duyan, Tabuk - AUS photo"][/caption]

Before that, I was part of the nervous throng in the St. Williams Academy gymnasium of Tabuk during the initial negotiations between Ka Ambo and government representatives. I gawked at the gaunt-looking but evidently fiercely determined CPLA troops whose queer-looking weapons included "frankenstein" automatics designed with metallic and wooden materials. They were as armed to the teeth and as alert as the military troops sent to secure the area. Somehow, seeing my father at the negotiation table with Angelo Daguio and Rene Quijano of DZRK behind him assured me that all would be well.

[caption id="attachment_762" align="alignnone" width="499" caption="Ka Ambo, St. Williams Academy (now St. Louis College) gymnasium, Tabuk"]Ka Ambo, St. Williams Academy (now St. Louis College) gymnasium, Tabuk[/caption]

When we moved to Baguio in 1988, I frequented the "Cordillera House" atop Wright Park just to espy on the black-clad and fully armed "Sipla" (CPLA troops) and to get a glimpse of "Father Balweg." I was only able to see him a few times for he seemed to be always on the move in his white "Turtletop." My father eventually joined Balweg's CBA but, together with Atty. Joel Obar, Mailed Molina and James Sawattang, broke away from Ambo's leadership some years later. I would still see many Sipla in our house and elsewhere even after that -- without their freshly tailored black uniforms, good-looking combat shoes, and fresh supply of toothbrushes.

Among the issues and controversies Balweg found himself in was his alleged treasure hunting ventures which his critics said did not even spare the late Dictator's bust along Marcos Highway, his suspected "ghost projects," and his being implicated in the murder of his tribesmate, Banao pangat (tribal elder) and military reservist Col. Manuel Banggawan.

13 years after breaking away from the CPP-NPA, Balweg would be assassinated on 31 December 1999 in Malibcong, Abra by his former comrades led by his brother Jovencio (Ka Rudy) for a long list of "crimes against the people."


Was Balweg a figure worthy of emulation or one worthy of condemnation? Was he a true fighter for the people, or a dyed-in-the-wool pretender whose personal ambitions overshadowed the greater cause which he was supposed to live and die for?

Whatever ideological leanings or personal background informs your opinion of the late "Rebel Priest" Conrado "Ka Ambo" Balweg, I suppose you can't deny that he was once a force to reckon with, a potential unitive and punitive instrument against the ills we Igorots have commonly faced, like marginalization and intramural discord.

Thinking of Balweg on this 21st anniversary of Cordillera Day makes me consider how much about his life tells us about ourselves, how his failures and achievements are reflective of our (i.e., Cordillerans') struggles as a people.

I suggest we continue to reflect on who he was and what he stood for. In this respect, it doesn't really matter much whether we belong to the Right, Right of Center, Center, Left of Center, or Left. What really matters is how far our maturity can go as we attempt to examine and reflect upon the life of a friend and hero minus his/her halo, wings and whitewashed robe -- or of a foe without his horns, trident and blazing cloak.

Talna ken Kappia! :)

[caption id="attachment_755" align="alignnone" width="354" caption="ca August 1986. Interview with Rebel Priest Fr. Conrado Balweg in the house of the Ganggangans in Sadanga, Mt. Province by Augustus Ulat Saboy, then Station Manager of Radyo Ng Bayan Kalinga (DZRK), before the Mt. Data Sipat on 13 September 1992. This was Balweg's first and last interview with the government radio station before he surrendered to the government. With Saboy was Architect Guido Kub-ao of DPWH Kalinga Engineering District."]"]Interview with Rebel Priest Fr. Conrado Balweg in the house of the Ganggangans in Sadanga, Mt. Province by Augustus Ulat Saboy, then Station Managero f Radyo Ng Bayan Kalinga (DZRK) of August 1986 before the Mt. Data Sipat on 13 September 1992.  This was the first and last interview with the government radio station before Balweg surrendered to the government. With Saboy is Architect Guido Kub-ao of DPWH Kalinga Engineering District.[/caption]

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"On Creativity"

The man who follows the crowd will get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.

Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along.

You have two choices in life: You can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct. To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be.

- Alan Ashley-Pitt, quoted in Danny Cox & John Hoover, Seize the Day: 7 Steps to Achieving the Extraordinary in an Ordinary World (Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2002), p. 95.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hama Amadou: Another Scammer from Ouagadougou

This guy is not to be confused with the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger of the same name. The West African state of Burkina Faso is west of Niger.


Dear Partner,

I presumed that all is well with you and your family. Please let this do not be a surprise proposal to you because i got your contact information from the international directory in few weeks ago before i decided to contact you on this magnitude and lucrative transaction for our future survival in life. Moreover, i have laid all the solemn trust in you before i decided to disclose this successful & confidential transaction to you.

I, MR.HAMA AMADOU, THE CHIEF AUDITOR INCHARGE OF FOREIGN REMITTANCE UNIT of our bank and i have had the intent to contact you over this financial transaction worth the sum of NINETEEN MILLION, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS ($19,300,000.00 ) for our success. This is an abandoned sum that belongs to one of our bank foreign customers who died along with his entire family through plane crash disaster since few years ago. Meanwhile i was very fortune to came across the deceased file when i was arranging the old and abandoned customers files in other to sign and submit to the entire bank management for an official re-documentation and audit of the year against 2008.

Be informed clearly that it was stated in our banking rules and regulations which was signed lawfully that if such fund remains unclaimed till the period of 5 years started from the date when the beneficiary died, the money will be transferred into the treasury as an unclaimed fund. As an honor and advantage bestowed to our foreign customers base on the rules guiding our bank, it was stated obviously that if you are not a Burkina Faso citizen, you have the absolute authority to claim the fund hence you are a foreigner despite your differences from the country of origin of the deceased. So the request of you as a foreigner is necessary to apply for the claim and transfer of the fund smoothly into your reliable bank account as the NEXT OF KIN OR EXTENDED RELATIVE to the deceased.

On the transfer of this fund into your account, { 39% }being ( US$7,527,000.00) will be your share in respect of the account provision and your assistance rendered during the transfer of the fund into your bank account,{ 52% } being (US$10,036,000.00) will be my share being the coordinator of the transaction while the rest { 9% } being (US$1,737,000.00) will be shared to the respectable Organizations Centers such as Charity Organization, Motherless Babies homes, and helpless disabled people in the World.

If you are really sure of your trustworthy, accountability and confidentiality on his transaction, contact me and agree that you will not change your mind to cheat or disappoint me when the fund have getting into your account. Besides you should not entertain any fear because i am sure of the success as an insider in the bank ok. Please reply with the assurance, include your private telephone and fax numbers necessary for facilitate an easy communication in this transaction. As soon as you reply, so that i will let you know the next step to follow in order to finalize this transaction immediately. I expect your urgent communication

1) Your Full Name:-..........................................

2) Your Age:-....................................................

3) Marital Status:-.............................................

4) Your Cell Phone Number:-..............................

5) Your Fax Number:-....................................

6) Your Country:-.......................................

7) Your Occupation:-..........................................

8  Sex:-........................................................

9) Your Religion:-..............................................

10) Your Private E-mail Adress:.............................

Yours sincerely,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Philippine Independence (2)

04 July 1946. The Philippines gains its political independence from the USA. Some Filipino historians regard this date as the "real" Independence Day and the 12 June 1898 declaration of independence as "fictional" (read Bobby Reyes' online article @

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

La Liga Filipina

03 July 1892. Tondo, Manila. Jose Rizal establishes the "La Liga Filipina," a nationalistic civic organization that sought, among others, to solidify efforts at seeking redress for injustices committed by Spain against Filipinos. Elected president of the society was Ambrosio Salvador. The founding of the Liga led to Rizal's arrest by the guardia civil and to his subsequent exile to Dapitan.

So Source/Recommended Reading: Francisco M. Zulueta & Abriel M. Nebres, Philippine History and Government Through the Years (Mandaluyong City, Manila: National Book Store, 2003), p. 91. Online article here.