Archive for March, 2008

Whole Lotto lav

March 31st, 2008 Comments off

I thought no one’s going to hit the Superlotto jackpot draw last night. No one was able to win this lotto game for the past weeks draw, thats why its pot reached the highest in the history of Philippine lotto – Php 249,005,120.04.

A lone lucky soul hit the jackpot last night. According to a news report this lucky bettor is presumably a Luzon area resident because he placed his or her bet somewhere in Luzon.

Well, some guys have the luck, while others just continue to place their bet on the lottery or run for public office. It seems these are the only two short cuts to riches in our country. The former you win by sheer luck and the latter you can surely win by connection and by guns, goons and gold. Let’s just pray that the one who won the Superlotto is not also a winner of the latter game. I wonder where that somewhere in Luzon area location is, I just hope it’s not somewhere located along the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila.

I’ll just try my luck next time. Some of my friends tell me that the probability of being struck by lightning twice is greater than that of winning the lotto. I tell them in return, that is why it’s a game of chance, you grab it however slim the probability of winning is.

Many in our country today would have it, that if you bet and don’t win you die of hunger, you don’t bet, you still die of hunger. So just take the chance of winning by betting. At least you can have something to pray for and win, than being robbed by politicians in broad(band) daylight and getting back nothing from it except rice shortages and oil price hikes.

Categories: Philippines for Dummies Tags:

The Writings on the wall

March 25th, 2008 Comments off

According to Wikipedia, “The writing on the wall” (or sometimes ‘handwriting on the wall’) is an expression that suggests a portent of doom or misfortune.
During our Corregidor trip, we went to the ruins of what once was the Fort Mills Hospital Building. It was here, according to Jibin Arula, that their fateful unit was billeted two months before the Jabidah massacre.
We wandered aimlessly inside the belly of what seemed like the skeletal remains of a giant animal. Inside are dark, cold and damp alcoves and chambers with walls standing as silent witnesses of history. But these walls know how to speak and they tell a story.
In several rooms, we found markings on the wall, graffiti made by men who once had lived here, on earth. I thought that they were just recently scribbled, as the paint appeared to be still prominent, although the dates written on these graffiti were grafitti21.jpgmarked four decades ago. A few days later, after our Corregidor trip, I was surprised to find out that old photos of these graffiti were actually used as evidence presented during the Senate hearings on the Jabidah Massacre, forty years ago. As to why those graffiti appeared fresh, as if they were just written two months ago, remains a mystery to me.

It was the usual “Kilroy was here” type of graffiti, but what makes it unusual or can give you goose bumps was that they were names of some of those who perished during the Jabidah Massacre and perhaps these graffiti were even written by them. Most of the dates recorded on the walls was January 1968. By the time they were writing these graffiti, they still did not have any idea of what awaited them, two months hence.

Some of them might have even felt proud that their names found their way to the walls of a historical place like Corregidor. Perhaps they were contemplating that it would be a source of pride for them, when someday family members or friends might be able to visit this place and see their names on these walls. Indeed, under a different circumstance, their names are now made known and recorded.

Categories: My Mindanao Tags:

When History returns and looks you in the face

March 24th, 2008 2 comments

Seldom does a situation occur when history comes back and looks you in the face. This rare oppurtunity happened to me a week ago on the island of Corregidor. Our office was leading the rite of unveiling the commemorative marker of the Jabidah Massacre that happened in Corregidor back in March 18, 1968.

During our preparation for the event, the idea of inviting the lone survivor of that infamous massacre, Mr. Jibin Arula to grace the unveiling ceremony excited us all. But we feared that such exciting idea might turn out to be next to impossible. We never thought that it would materialize until the Mindanao Peoples Caucus found Mr. Jibin Arula and invited him to join their Caravan for Peace starting from Mindanao going all the way to Corregidor. Jibin accepted the invitation. So after forty years, Jibin Arula returned to Corregidor. And I was there when history was remade.

A young Jibin Arula being interviewed by the late Sen. Benigno Aquino in 1968. Inset photo, Jibin Arula back in Corregidor in 2008

During my College days, we have read and learned about what happened in Corregidor in 1968. My understanding of that event and its ensuing effect was even more emphasized and given deeper context in the radical milieu where I became part of during my youth in the early 80s’. We know the story about the lone survivor Jibin Arula, and how he survived. But again the tale of the Jabidah Massacre and that of Jibin Arula became stories told and retold a thousand times with varying tones and on different versions. Some of it too romanticized, others too fantastic and the rest simply lack luster like its a news report you get to read everyday. Last week, all those stories I heard before came to rest. Now I have listened to the tale of the Jabidah Massacre, as recounted by its lone survivor Mr. Jibin Arula himself, and on the very spot where it all happened.

Who could have thought, that in my lifetime I had met a character of history, in the flesh. This is one story that I’d love to tell the young when I get older.

(Photo taken from the documentary slideshow entitled “Tan-aw Mindanaw: Journey Across Time,” produced and published by the Philippine Center for Photojournalism, September 2002)

Categories: My Mindanao Tags:

Masonic Reflections on Easter

March 23rd, 2008 2 comments

Despite unfounded claims that Masons, especially Christian Masons are not observing religious obligatory days, the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, do commemorate Holy Week by what it calls the “Celebration of Remembrance and Renewal.”

rosecroixwh.jpgThe Scottish Rite’s Rose Croix Chapters traditionally observed Maundy Thursday on the middle day of Holy Week. It has been called, variously, “Holy Thursday”, “The Day of the Supper of the Lord” and “The Day of Mysteries”. Also, traditionally, the Christian world fixes it using the date of Easter Sunday, which is the first Sunday after the full moon which happens on the vernal equinox.

Freemasonry has remembered this special day and Brethren of the Scottish Rite have gathered throughout the world to reaffirm their faith in the universal fraternity of mankind. The first written record of such observance is a ritual of the Eighteenth Degree, which Charles de Ladebat prepared and published in 1856 in New Orleans. The Code of Statutes adopted in 1866 lists Maundy Thursday as a feast day.

Through the ages men have observed sacred rites during four periods of the year, the solstice and equinoxes. The Last Supper was in observance of the Passover (Spring Equinox) Just prior to the Lord’s betrayal and crucifixion The observance of Maundy Thursday in the Eighteenth Degree of the Scottish Rite is appropriate since this Degree originally was one of orthodox Christianity.

The word “Maundy” stems from the old French Mande’, or the Latin Mandatum, a command: On the Thursday of the Last Supper Christ said, “A new Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.”

Maundy Thursday is also known as Shere or Chare Thursday, from the Middle English Shere or Sheere, meaning pure. It alludes to the physical purity acquired by the ablutions of the day and to the shearing of the hair and beard, so that nothing should remain between God and man.

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Categories: Freemasonry Tags:

The Order of DeMolay is now 89 Years Old

March 22nd, 2008 2 comments

Almost, but not quite. So before it slips off its time line (March 18-24), and before I completely forget about blogging it, I’d like to greet my Brethren in the Order of DeMolay a Happy 89th Founding Anniversary. This DeMolay year also marks my 27th year as a loyal member of the Order of DeMolay which was founded by Dad Frank Sherman Land at Kansas City, Missouri on March 18, 1919.

A brother DeMolay and Freemason aptly described why we DeMolays should celebrate every DeMolay anniversary that comes, in this simple thought: “With the Seven Cardinal Virtues and the Fourteen Code of Ethics in our hearts, let us pay tribute to what has been the biggest part of our youthful years. Molding us to what we have become, guiding us today and defining our future.”

Indeed, if not the biggest part of my youthful years, becoming a DeMolay was the greatest milestone and achievement I earned during my youth. To become part of the greatest youth organization in the world and have that distinct privilege of being called a fraternity brother to some great men (and a mouse) – is an opportunity that comes only once in your lifetime. One can only be a DeMolay within the age bracket of 13-21 years old. Yes, a Brother Mouse too. Did you know that the Order of DeMolay is the only organization the Mickey Mouse belonged to. His creator Walt Disney, was a DeMolay, and Mickey Mouse was made Honorary DeMolay Member of the Mother Chapter of the World in Kansas City Missouri.


Coming from a Masonic family, four out of five of us male siblings became DeMolays. I was initiated to the Order of DeMolay when I was still in High School in 1981. And like my elder brother before me, I had served as Master Councilor of my mother Chapter, the University Chapter, in Mindanao state University, Islamic City of Marawi. During my youth and from where I come from, the Order of DeMolay stands beyond comparison to other fraternities. Many proud members of Greek-lettered fraternities look at the Order of DeMolay with awe and envy. I suppose this still holds true until now. Because one thing that ensures this Grandeur and prestige is that the Order of DeMolay is perpetually under the guidance and stewardship of Freemasonry – the Grand Daddy of all Fraternities known to mankind.

Being DeMolay is priceless, you cannot measure the benefits that you get from being a member in material form. Being DeMolay assures one of the everlasting fellowship of men all over the world who had pledged themselves before our altar, “to be ever loyal to a Brother of this Order; never to cheat or wrong him, and will seek to aid him in time of trouble and need; and will remain silent if they cannot speak a good word for a brother DeMolay in the presence of the uninitiated… and never willingly or knowingly will I do anything which would unfit me for the commendation of all GOOD MEN.”

On the 89th Year of the Order of DeMolay, I reaffirm my vows and re-obligate myself, as a DeMolay, humbly and sincerely, I DO SO PROMISE AND VOW.

Brethren, let us prove to all men that we are dedicated to purposes that are worthy of the martyred hero whose name we have taken on our lips.


Categories: Freemasonry Tags:

Commemorating the 40th Year of the Jabidah Massacre

March 15th, 2008 2 comments


Everybody knows Corregidor Island as a historic spot. Everybody knows that in this island hundreds of our gallant heroes stood their ground and died defending our country from the invading forces of Japan during World War II. Because of this historical circumstance, Corregidor Island is now a Tourist spot – a place for people to go on a memorial pilgrimage in honor of those who died heroically for our country.

But how many of us remember that on this same island, forty years ago, about two dozen Moro Youth were summarily executed by forces of the Philippine Government? This incident is now known to history as the infamous “Jabidah Massacre.”

In Brief, the Jabidah Massacre was a result of a bungled covert operation. In 1968, then President Marcos made a covert plan, codenamed OPERATION MERDEKA (Freedom), aimed at infiltrating Sabah, Malaysia to sow chaos and organize the locals of the island for an eventual invasion of Philippine forces to reclaim Sabah from Malaysia. Sabah was historically part of the Sultanate of Sulu.

A select unit of AFP officers gathered a number of Moro youth from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi to a secret military training in Corregidor. Without them knowing their mission, these Moro youth thought that they were trained for some other purpose. But after learning about their real mission, they protested and refused to follow the mission. They would not want to take part in destroying the lives of people many of whom are their relatives. Marcos and his butchers knew only of one solution that will keep this botched mission from leaking out. Batch after batch, the young Moro trainees were mercilessly slaughtered at Kindley Field , an abandoned airstrip in the island of Corregidor. Had it not for a lone survivor who was able to tell the world about the massacre, the incident would have remained unknown. This single incident sparked the resurgence of the Moro liberation movement in the 70’s. And the rest is history.
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Categories: My Mindanao Tags:

Chapter XLI

March 11th, 2008 6 comments

Today’s my forty-first year on earth and it’s just like any ordinary day. No party or any semblance of a celebration. I just spent the day with my family at home- that’s the best day I will always have.

I don’t know if it comes with age, but of late I seldom look forward to a celebration for my coming birthday. When you grow older, you simply would just like the day to finish fast. Because as Paul Simon says “…still tommorow’s gonna be another working day, and I’m trying to get some rest. That’s all I’m trying to get some rest.”

What made this day quite eventful is that it was a delightful day for motorists in Metro Manila. A transport strike greeted my birthday, so the streets that are usually traffic infested during weekdays were suddenly free from restraint. Do you want to know who’s behind this traffic-free day for Metro Manila? – Click here…

I’m quite satisfied with my life at 41. I have learned to appreciate what I have in my humblest existence. I have learned to find happiness right where I am now. A loving family to come home to. The company of my friends and brothers in a sacred band among whom no contention ever exists but that noble contention, or rather emulation of who best can work and best agree. Now at 41, I no longer have to reach far and dream big. I am now at peace with myself. What remains of me now is to start making my bucket list.

Ah, this is what I like about my birthdays now, and I hope, for many more to come – spending the special day with my family…

It’s now time to turn to the next Chapter of my life…CHAPTER XLI

Categories: Family and Me Tags: