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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Independence Day:
Dialing the Wong Number,
Not the Wrong Number


Have you wondered all these years, like we have, why Mother’s Day is celebrated a month or so – this year, a month and a half [1] – before Father’s Day? 

If Genesis is right – and we harbor neither doubt nor illusion nor any foreboding otherwise – that God created man and on second thought He created woman, then the sequence of Mother’s and Father’s Day is flawed. Genetically. Genesis-tically.


Item:   Ayatollah loses aura as Iranians return to streets.

Aura? We think they mean turban.


The United Nations Secretary General was the keynote speaker for the conference of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), a four-day global summit in Geneva. He could not make it, so Loren Legarda was the last speaker during the opening ceremony and was applauded roundly by the 1500 delegates.

A well-deserved applause, perhaps, because Legarda is recognized as a regional champion for disaster risk, coming from a country [2] in the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ exposed and susceptible to earthquakes, floods, tropical cyclones and landslides.


We think that with the Philippines in peril, “Save the Planet/Save the Philippines” could be Legarda’s battle cry, in her quest for the presidency, to save her country and people from all disaster risks, natural and man-made.

She can usher in a climate of change, if not a change in climate. Her version of Obama’s successful “Change We Can Believe In” campaign slogan.


We were across the miles during the NBA Finals, but thanks to RPN’s CBN C/S 9 TV channel that covered and beamed the games to Philippine audiences, we didn’t miss any game; we practically had, for the entire series, a front row seat.

Whoever said it – the camera did not show if it was commentator Mico Halili or Andy Jao – may have hit the ball swish through the basket when we heard this during the final game, "Today Orlando needed more than magic. They needed a miracle."

Memo to the Management of Orlando Magic – and Cavalier Rogelio “Tiano” Santiano ’84, who resides in the US West Coast and was rooting not for the Lakers but for Rashard Lewis and the Magic:

How about changing the name to Orlando Miracles? After all the Washington Bullets are now the Washington Wizards.

The Bullets won an NBA championship. The Wizards? Well…..


Watch out Philippines, your claim to fame as texting capital of the world may be in great jeopardy.

Ys boys nd grls wyl u wr nt wtchng txtng has cm of age to Amrca. Lst wk, d US crwnd a txtng champion. Kayt More, a 15 yr old fm De Moyn Aywa ho won 50K usd.

Yes, boys and girls, while you were not watching, texting has come of age to America. Last week, the US crowned a texting champion. Kate Moore, a 15-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa who won 50K US dollars. 


Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is sixth on the Forbes magazine’s list of the richest athletes of the world, trailing only Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Kimi Raikkonen. 

What can this guy not do?

President of the Philippines?


The other week, John Sidney McCain IV, more commonly known as Jack, became the fourth McCain to graduate from the US Naval Academy; the fourth with the same name.

Too bad, Barack Obama robbed us of the opportunity to hear his father address his son’s graduating class.


Calling for its abolition, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said PCGG is "one of the most corrupt offices" of the government.

PCGG is the Presidential Commission on Good Government. Yes, boys and girls, good government.


The US, or the world, may have their Brangelina, but we with the recent formal engagement, a.k.a. pamanhikan, of Mar Roxas to Korina Sanchez, the Philippines has its Markorina.

No, sir, we did not pull this out from the can-do kit – “if they have it, so do we; if they can do it, so can we” – of Cavalier Arturo “Art” Vidad ’81. A kit we admire and would like to possess.


According to the Social Weather Station’s recent survey the race for President has narrowed down to three: Manny Villar, Noli de Castro and Mar Roxas.

SWS is obviously not aware that in our presidential watch, we have likened the candidates playing our favorite game of pambobola, we mean basketball (see 09-06-03 WTW HR 1109: Con-Ass Cha!   Cha! Tsk!   Tsk! #?@/)(+-*!”). So please add Francis Escudero and Loren Legarda to complete the First Five.


The survey was taken before GenSen Ping Lacson announced his withdrawal from the race. So, we wonder how they are feeling right now, the 12 percent of the respondents that gave Lacson the nod.

But we think it might be helpful to quote here Lacson’s message where he reiterated his acute case of “moneyngitis” as the cause of his withdrawal; his classmate, Cavalier Arthur “Tex” Balmaceda ’71, sharing that message [3].


We hear you, Cavalier. We gave up the L from Lacson, so how about two Ls from Loren Legarda?


For the 2007 12th ASEAN summit hosted by the Philippines, 1,928 lights were installed in Metro Cebu. Two years later, everyone is still in the dark as to why the total tab was 365 million pesos.   

The charge was 72,500 and 85,000 pesos for single arm and double arm lights, respectively. We think a third arm is needed at this time – the arm of the law.

The case is with the Ombudsman. But with its conviction rate of 55 percent in 2007 reduced to zero percent as of June 2008 (according to Juan Mercado’s in his column, “Viewpoint”), it is obvious that the arm of the Ombudsman has not gone far enough to get to the culprits.


Cavalier Santos Payumo ’66 posted it to a PMA mail group to which we are subscribed, so we did not miss this one, ‘Yano dances at Palace ‘Rigodon de Honor,’ from ‘Reveille,’ by our favorite Cavalier Columnist Ramon “Mon” Farolan ’56.  Yano, of course, is Cavalier Alexander B. Yano ’76 who took an early retirement as AFP Chief of Staff.  
“On Sunday,” Farolan wrote, “Yano was on the front pages of newspapers, a participant during the “Rigodon de Honor” at the June 12 reception in Malacañang. His partner was Becky Garcia. It was reported that President Arroyo personally chose the rigodon lineup.”

Maybe, the good general who was chosen by President Arroyo as Philippine ambassador to Myanmar was just practicing for what would be one of his functions.

He could have been ‘dancing with wolves,’ as suggested by Cavalier Agapito “Peythong” Heredia ’70. Then again, he could have been dancing ‘Rigodon DisHonor,’ if the speculations continue about some kind of a deal made on his early retirement [4].


We were disappointed with the postponement of the testimony of Mancao that was scheduled on the day his wife and children arrived from the US. 

On TV, Mancao did appear calm and collected, for someone about to spill the beans on his former superiors. And yes, he was well-groomed, we heard someone remark he is good-looking. But we are almost certain this was not because the NBI allowed him to visit the  Facial Care Center that his former boss at PNP endorses through billboards one sees scattered in Metro Manila’s highways.


There's a good chance that on September 1, 2009, we can join in the celebration of the centennial of Baguio City, the City of Pines, better yet, the City of Disappearing Pines; the city which remains to this day as the home of PMA, although Corregidor, to some, beckons as a home in the future academy.

Meanwhile, it is reported that the City has already laid out plans and the structure in preparation for the celebration of its bicentennial on September 1, 2109.

There's a good chance we won't be able to join that celebration.


Tatin Yang in the article "Sweet spots: WIFI havens in the Metro" (Philippines Daily Inquirer, June 20) described shopping as "doing creative research." What creative euphemism! 

My fiancée does both – shopping and research. But she needs no euphemism when it comes to her shopping, just the “right reason” for doing it – helping the economy.
In last week’s issue of WTW, we wrote:

Five days ago, Philippine Independence Day was celebrated. The date was changed in the mid-sixties  from July 4 to June 12, independence from the United States in 1946 and independence from Spain in 1898, respectively.  Therefore, the June 12th celebration this year marked the Philippines’ 111st year of independence.

“If this were true,” asks Cavalier Alan Cabalquinto ’73, as quoted by his classmate Cavalier Delfin “Del” Lorenzana ‘73, “who then was our president(s) from 1901, after Aguinaldo was captured, until 1935 when we became a commonwealth of the US. How can we be 111 years independent and still be under a governor general and a high commissioner during the commonwealth.”


We admitted that we had no answers then. Now we have, courtesy of Cavalier Guillermo “Willie” Wong ’69.

“I kept quiet the first time the issue was brought up,” Wong wrote. “Now that it was brought up again, I just thought of emphasizing the thought behind the declaration.”


To Wong, “something got lost in the translation” amidst the “discussions, posters, advertisements and promotions of Independence Day. To him, the “declaration” seals the deal.

“We declared our independence 111 years ago but lost it a few months after.  It is the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate.  It is that undying spirit and desire to be free and independent demonstrated by our historic heroes that we would like to celebrate and remind us to keep…..
“…..No, we have not been independent for 111 years but we have desired for such all those years…..”


“The Philippines,” Wong continues, “declared its independence in 1898 (which) was taken away shortly thereafter.  After 48 years, 1946, we became independent again and remained independent to date.  So we had no independent government or President for 48 years.  This, therefore, does not mean we are 111 years old as an independent country.  We are only 54 years old as an independent country.  But we celebrate the birthday of our independence, the day our independence was declared.”


We think Wong has done his due diligence as well as he has done his math. Now we can say this. Or, as they say in the Navy that he served in his military career [5], “Now, Hear This:”

We dialed Wong’s number and we’re glad we did. It was not the wrong thing to do.


And on the issue of Philippine Independence Day, we say with finality: 

Game.  Set. Match. Willie Wong.


From WTW reader and C5 [6] Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69:

June 18 Inquirer Top Story: 'Arroyo off to Japan to seal $456M loan deal'.

For a moment I thought there was a "t" in the sixth word.


Another WTW reader and C5, Cavalier Alfonso “Ponsoy/PonsWA” Alvarez ’83, observing our constant reference to Barack Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In,” suggested this phrase, "You can KEEP the CHANGE!!"

As always, we are thankful for the thought. The next time we hear, again, about one of those that we cannot believe in – or accept – we can give POTUS Obama his tip, and tell him he can keep the change.


This was his first time ever to attend a quarterly meeting of the Business and Industry Retired Chapter, Inc. of the PMA Alumni Association, this one held last Wednesday, June 24, at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo.  He won the top prize of the raffle contest done before the conclusion of the meeting. The prize: a microwave oven. Lucky SOB!

SOB. As in, Son Of Baltimore. Nah. Son Of Barugo. Yes.


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-25 
makati, philippines


[1] May 10 was Mother’s Day this year 
[2] RP was ranked 12th among the 200 countries, situated dangerously close to the 4 of the 5 riskiest – Bangladesh, China, India and Indonesia
[3] Lacson’s message read in part: “yes, i withdrew from the race last june 5. it was a difficult decision if only for the loyal supporters who had spent time, money and effort to help me pursue my career-long advocacy of good governance and a disciplined bureaucracy. mahirap pag tinamaan ka ng acute 'moneyngitis' . matutumba ka talaga. but, i remain proud of myself. no matter how hard (and tempting) it was, i have managed to keep my nose clean. i have no pork barrel (P200M/mo), i don't steal  government funds, i don't accept lobby money and i don't engage in transactional politics. courage, integrity, loyalty mistah. these words are still etched in my heart. they will remain there until the day i die.”
[4] An excerpt from Farolan’s column on the speculations: “Did Yano ask for early retirement, or was he made an offer that was difficult to turn down? It is unlikely that an incumbent chief of staff would go to his commander in chief and ask to be relieved of his post. So, we have to conclude that Yano must have been informed that his head was on the chopping block for reasons known only to the President and her advisers. There were only two ways to go about it: Leave quietly without much fanfare, or agree to an exit with an ambassadorship as the sweetener. The President herself explained that Yano asked for the early date so that Congress would be able to confirm him before its June recess. There are dark and dirty rumors that in addition to the Brunei posting, a golden parachute was prepared to soften the abrupt landing. I refuse to believe them.”
[5] A retired admiral, Wong served as top officer in the Philippine Navy when he served as Flag Officer in Command
[6] C5 in WTW terms means ‘Cavalier correspondent, contributor, confidant and critic’ of this column