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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Rhyme or Reason


Philippine presidential candidates have taken their battles online, believing that the Internet is a powerful tool for reaching out to Filipinos – especially the young – all over the world.

If he gets wind of this, especially while he is on his first visit to Asia, POTUS Obama will be smiling. 


US House Resolution 780 has finally passed, a resolution recognizing the month of October as Filipino American History Month. “Now, Pinoys are officially part of the American historical calendar,” Greg B. Macabenta wrote us.

According to Macabenta, President of NAFFAA, the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations, it took the entire NaFFAA network working with Filipino-Americans in their respective states to get the 50 sponsors of the bill.

Come next year and every year thereafter, the month of October will be marked not only for the commemoration of the General Douglas MacArthur’s Landing in Leyte.

Coincidentally, Macabenta who is the publisher of Filipinas Magazine in the US grew up in the province where he must have watched the celebrations, if not the landing itself.


Item:  A couple of days into the fight, Miguel Cotto sees himself coming out of it with his hands raised and his head held high.

Yes, hands raised in sweet surrender after a KO or TKO. And head held high in defeat to the Filipinos’ pride.


Republic Act 9729, the Climate Change Act of 2009, has been signed.

Under this Act which was authored in the House by Congressman Roilo Golez, [1] the Philippine President is the Chair of the Climate Change Commission who will appoint the Executive Director of the Commission, a person who, in the words of Golez, needs to have a “solid Climate Change and science credentials.”

La Loren Legarda, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, can’t hope to be the Chairman of the Commission. Unless she changes her mind and revives her original plan of running as the Green President, a plan she has abandoned after settling for the vice-presidency.


The Lopez family is handing over half of its remaining stakes in Meralco to the PLDT Group of Manuel V. Pangilinan.

This puts MVP in the enviable position of being the biggest distributor of power in the Philippines.

Electric power, that is. But as in the case of the Lopezes, would this not mean political power as well?

It's really all up to Pangilinan. He can be one or the other MVP: one of the country's Most Valuable Pilipino or one of the Most Vilified Politicians.  With elections just around the corner, it’s his choice.


Ebdane:   I’ve crossed bridge; no more turning back

Crossing the bridge. Spoken like a Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways who has built more than a bridge or two. 

No more turning back. Spoken like a plebe that is determined to finish what he has started to do.


Unbeknownst to all but a few of his fellow Cavaliers, friends and acquaintances in the Philippines, Cavalier Basil “Butch” Moreto flew into town from San Francisco, California on a continuing mission of mercy of CPW, Cavalier Prayer Warriors, for the typhoon victims in the Philippines. Accompanied by his wife and president of the NORCAL group of PMAyers, Cavalier Anthony “Tonton” de Guzman ’82 and working with Cavalier Ramon “Monmon” Mitra ’88, CPW coordinator in Metro Manila, Moreto will be in town until mid-month.  

We think it would be a good idea for him and his OAO [2] to visit Fort del Pilar in Baguio City, if only to revisit the Kissing Rock, a favorite spot of Cadet Moreto and his Kaydet Girl Lourdes [3]
The overlap of Moreto’s visit to the Philippines with that of State Secretary Hillary Clinton, we think, is pure coincidence.


Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President [4]   
10.   One more “suitor” to add to Loren Legarda’s lengthening list of presidential candidates.
09.   The Man from Zambales Loves The Man from La Mancha and Karaoke: This is my quest… to follow the stars…no matter how hopeless…no matter how far…” [5]
08.   He has the proper credentials, initial-ly speaking. H.E., for Hermogenes Ebdane; H.E., for His Excellency.  


“Light and plain, for the boring Me,” I texted my fiancée when she asked what color of shorts I wanted her to buy for me.

“Ok,” she texted back. “Might pick up more interesting ones too. Add some pizzazz to your life.”

She is adorable, won’t you say? And to think that she knows I don’t exactly like pizza!


After toying with a number of several combinations – Gibo-Ronnie, Gibo-Vilma, Gibo-Garcia and of course, Gibo-Loren – the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD has finally made a decision.

It will be Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro for President and Eduardo “Edu” Manzano for Vice-President.


Teodoro-Manzano. Gibo-Edu.

A rhyme, yes.

A reason, no.


One more presidential “suitor” off the list of La Loren Legarda.

With Aquino, Estrada and Escudero out – and now, Teodoro – there’s only Villar, Ebdane and Perlas left.

Poor Loren. Or should we think and say, Smart Loren? Especially when, not if, she chooses Villar, as expected, over Ebdane and Perlas.


Meanwhile, our initial thoughts we felt so strongly about (09-10-14 WTW/ “Initial-ly Speaking: Presidential and Vice-Presidential and Vice-Presidential Hopefuls, et. al”) are somewhat in disarray, our poster on the national candidates, with only two and possibly three, following our fearless forecast, badly needing a changeover. 

November 20, the day when all shall have filed their candidacies, can’t come sooner.


Facing charges for her alleged involvement in a multi-million-peso jewelry scam, the former chief of staff of socialite Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas’ was arrested by police operatives.

The name of the chief staff doesn’t, but the name, Baby Arenas – sounds familiar.


While reading “with amusement” a particular portion of last week’s issue (2009-11-04 WTW/ “Vamos A Ver”), Gemma Nemenzo, a known writer and author in the Bay Area, noticed that we referred to Baltazar as Bautista twice.

Yes, Ms. Nemenzo, we are referring to two different people. Thank you for the kind suggestion, but a “slip of the fingers” is a quite a stretch; a slip of the mind is more like it. [6]
We made and acknowledged a similar mistake before, Emmanuel Bautista for Fernando Baltazar (2009-07-08 WTW/”Conversion and Identity Theft: WTW Pleads Guilty as Charged” and 2009-07-01 WTW/”Independence Day Redux: Which Way Do We Go From Here?”). They are classmates, both belonging to the PMA Class of 1981 and both are nicknamed “Butch.”

And we think there ought to be a law on this to avoid cases of mistaken identity in the future.
Butch – Baltazar, not Bautista – is a lawyer and may be able to help us convince PMA authorities.


My thanks to all those that wrote to let me know they felt sorry for me [7] after reading this admission I made in last week’s WTW:

“It is true. My fiancée has left me, and for good reason.

“I don’t blame her. Under similar circumstances, I would have done exactly the same thing.”

I should have been a bit – and a wit – clearer to avoid the misunderstanding. I should have said that she left for Athens, Greece and left me because she was invited – and I wasn’t – to speak before and participate in roundtable discussions of the GFMD. 

GFMD, as in Global Forum on Migration and Development. Not Gonad, Foot and Mouth Disease, as WTW reader Rafaelito Santos has suggested.


We had high hopes that we made our point on our item on Noah’s ark last week. When no one noticed, we were ready to concede our disappointment that we had ‘missed the boat.’  Until one reader – Joe Dasbach – wrote, citing the cupits and the cubits we had suggested it would take for the Philippines to build such an ark.

Expectedly, Dasbach, who knows our personal circumstances only too well, went a wit bit further – cupits to cubits to cupids.


“One's "lack of fire in the belly" shall be met with equivalent obstinacy, if not outright stubbornness.  Fire shall be placed under his ass. I have been in the Senate and politics more than enough to see who are supposed to be there; more than enough to know who are mere pretenders in that august chamber; more than enough to know who, and how one, can win in an election.  Four years to 2013 are more than enough to develop the image that one can see, must see and shall see.”

Fighting words from the NORCAListo who initiated the idea of a California State Senator from among the ranks of NORCAL, the center-“piece” subject of last week’s WTW. As we said in our last issue, Vamos a Ver! Let us see…..


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [8], we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back: 

Sir, there are 173 days, 4,152 hours, 249,120 minutes, 14,947,200 seconds and 29,894,400 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections.


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-44
lipa city, batangas, philippines

[1] Cavalier Roilo Golez, one of a number of PMAyers in the Philippine Congress graduated from the US Naval Academy and is affiliated with the PMA Class of 1970
[2] One and Only, in PMA parlance, referring to a cadet’s girlfriend or wife after graduation
[3] We featured the Moretos, including a picture of the two lovebirds, in an earlier issue (2009-03-04 WTW/”Kissing Rock – Lost and Found”): photo taken at the trail leading to the PMA Kissing Rock in October 1953…..the occasion…..the PMA Class 54 Ring Hop.
[4] We indicated in our last issue that we have  joined in the speculations – largely those in the PMA e-forums, PnC (PlebesaNdCavaliers) and ACF (Academy Cavaliers’ Forum) – on this subject, Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President, at one reason per week. Contributions from readers are welcome. As we have done previously, we will acknowledge the contributor, unless he/she asks us otherwise.
[5] A contribution of Cavalier Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69
[6] We wrote Ms. Nemenzo: Yeah, slip of the fingers is a convenient excuse, thanks for the suggestion. But the truth of the matter is, Butch Baltazar, by his late response to my request for the materials used for the center-"piece" subject "Vamos a Ver," put me into PMA "rallying mode" – hurrying, to others – and the mistake was inevitable. Bautista's, I mean Baltazar's fault, not mine.
[7] “…..for awhile you had me worried,” one wrote. “I thought you’ll be drowning in those hard drinks…..”
[8] A ‘plebe knowledge’ is a collective body of composition, poems, rhymes, verses, definitions, etc. that plebes in military academies, like the Philippine Military Academy, are required to know and recite verbatim, a requirement that is aimed at sharpening their memory skills while adding to their knowledge (a good number of plebe knowledge, like “What is a Kiss?” or “How is the Cow?” are funny and frivolous, but some, like The Origin of Coal, contain factual information that are good to know and remember).
In this plebe knowledge, How Many Days, Oh Noble Cataline, we are doing what the plebes would do in  the countdown to the Philippine national election  – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks.