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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64



Two Specters


They had me under duress, those ladies at that NORCAL party hosted by the Bruces in South San Francisco (see 09-04-29 WTW, “No Thanks, Osama bin Laden”). And yes, California, they made me do it. This is my story, if my friend asks, and I am sticking by it – hook, line and kitchen sink.

The word is out to them NORCAListas – Boots, Chilla, Levy, Nanette, Rose – I have no recourse other than to admit, in the open, yes, I have a DMV job.

DMV, as in Driving Ms. Vicky.    


This week’s WTW, like the past two, are on time – Philippine, Pacific, Mountain or Eastern standard time.

No promises, but this could become a habit.


“Mine That Bird,” a 50-1 underdog in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, won.

“Ours That Man,” not a 50-1 underdog in the 2010 presidential derby, can win.
That Man: SPF, Senator Panfilo Lacson,  a.k.a. Cavalier Panfilo Lacson ’71. The Ping of WTW past  (see WTW 09-03-25/”Ping-Pong Democracy: Leakers, Lickers, Lookers”).


Question:    How fast did Filipino Manny “The PacMan” Pacquiao dispose of British Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton?  

Answer:   So fast, the fight ended before we could finish counting the number of Filipino congressmen at the fight. And so fast, we had no time to confirm that unlike the Philippine Congress, the British Parliament had no member let alone contingent at the fight.


We really sympathize with those Filipino congressmen. Imagine travelling across the seas, all the way from Manila to Las Vegas – and for what? To watch 5 minutes and 54 seconds of boxing.

Cavalier Alfonso “Ponsoy/PonsWA” Alvarez ’83 suggests that the trip of these legislators, was “in aid to legislation.” If so, we are thinking that perhaps Speaker Nograles et. al. will pass legislation that would help congressmen  avoid this unfortunate experience in the future.

Legislation that would ban congressmen from similar trips and require them instead to stay home and watch these fights on PPV, KKB.

PPV, as in Pay Per View; KKB, as in Kanya-Kanyang Bayad.


Leaving San Francisco, the NORCAListos and the NORCAListas for Los Angeles last week, our TO DO LIST was hastily prepared, but it included a meeting with SOCAL, the Southern California “fraternal” chapter of our “mother” organization PMAAAI, the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc.

You can’t  talk of SOCALenos and SOCALenas without talking of him – Cavalier Agapito “Pitong/Peythong” Heredia. We believe we have heard this before. And come to think of it, we said it right here! See WTW 09-03-11/“Pitong (not Peyton) Place.”

For us, the place to go, therefore, was Pitong’s place, a.k.a. Rancho Cacumonga. And we didn’t care that we hadn’t gotten an invitation.

But something happened on our way to the Rancho. A detour to Eagle Rock for the launching of “Kultura Corner, “a joint undertaking of Seafood City and Ayala Foundation USA, after attending a wedding at Universal City – and we found ourselves in Chino Hills for dinner, with hosts Cavalier Jesus “Jake” Duller and OAO Sarla, along with other SOCALenos and SOCALenas who did not make it to the Rancho.


At that stop at Eagle Rock, we met Ate Guy. Yes, Nora Aunor. She came late for the launching.

“O, kumare ko iyan,” was her quick reply, when we told her that in the old days, we were Vilmanians, not Noranians. Sensing not a trace of pique or disappointment, we felt good that the Kodak moment with the gracious and modest Filipino superstar, presently a US resident, would be part of our scrapbook and memory of our stopover in Los Angeles.


I have to admit that after resisting the temptation and urgent requests from friends for years, I have done what I vowed I would not do.

I faced the music. I mean I faced the book. I mean I allowed myself to be on Face book. 

Yes, Cavalier Augustus Cesar “Ace “ Esmeralda ’89, as you have suggested: next stop, Twitter.

Nah! Face book is more than I can handle for now.


Two specters in a row, one following closely the other, in just a matter of a couple of weeks,  have emerged for the US – and the world – to contend with.

The first: the specter of the fast-spreading swine flu from Mexico to the US and the world on the brink of a possible pandemic. The other: Arlen Specter and his change of party affiliation.

The first specter, without a doubt, is a very unfortunate development for the US and the rest of the world, as of this writing, close to a thousand has been affected, mostly in Mexico.

The second specter, a lesser development, and hopefully of no concern but for the US only, is a fortunate or unfortunate development, depending on which side of the political aisle you are sitting.


As if on schedule, right on his 100th day as POTUS, Obama reeled in Alan Specter to the Democratic Party, and sent the rival Republican party reeling.

 Specter’s defection to the Democratic Party or desertion from the Republican Party gives  Obama what his predecessors did not have: a filibuster-proof Senate that could guarantee smooth sailing for him and his administration.

But we are thinking. Obama won’t have an “obstructionist” Senate to blame. Of course, there’s always good, old George W. Bush.


We did not realize that changing party was one of the changes Obama promised for Washington.


Arlen Specter might want to consider this: Drop the R, as in Republican, and substituting it for L, as in Liberal and be Allen instead of Arlen.  An easier change, we imagine, than changing parties, especially for a lawyer like him.


We reckon balimbing, the fruit or its connotations in Philippine politics, is foreign to Specter.  After all, the five-term senator from Pennsylvania has served on the Judiciary, not the Foreign Affairs, committee.

We appreciate Specter’s candor in admitting that he switched party because his polls showed he would lose in the Republican primary and Obama assured him that he can expect his support in winning the Democratic primary when he runs for reelection to a sixth term. Recognizing that his “prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak,” (he was trailing in the polls to Congressman Pat Toomey, 27% – 41%), he did what was best for him: this early (his present term does not expire until January of 2011), why not do a balimbing?

Specter, who chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence during the 104th Congress, must be reading – and learning from – the Philippine papers and Philippine politics.

Memo to Cavalier Arturo “Art” Vidad ’81:  Your Message may be right on target after all, at least in this case. There is no difference between “us,” here and “you,” there. But if we may ask you, Mr. Messenger, no gloating, please.


They are still agog over the overwhelmingly glowing reports and reviews on Obama’s first 100 days. Those who adore him and expect even greater things from him are going gaga. If you are not one of them, does it mean you are gago?


BS. That’s Obama’s first 100 days, according to Andrew Malcolm, a veteran foreign and national correspondent who once served on the Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times.

BS, as in Before Specter.

BS, of course, has another meaning, but we won’t go there. This is a column of decency and for decorum.


He took pride  in “being the cat with nine lives.” He was not one of the finalists, but the judges used their wild-card picks to put him in the finals. He was voted out, er, booted out, three weeks ago. But the judges reinstated him. And he stayed on. His name: Matt Giraud.

Last Wednesday, perhaps no sooner than readers around the world had stowed away the last issue of WTW, Matt apparently had lived all of his ‘nine lives’ and was singing to a live audience, once more. One last time. There was nothing funny about his goodbye song, My Funny Valentine.

He is gone now – engaging smile, beautiful set of teeth, well-fitting jeans, undersized fedora and all. Quite saddening, if you ask us.


We would have felt deep sorrow seeing him go – the first of the final five to do so – but for the fact that we had done that already the Wednesday before, when Anoop Desai, the only Asian-American in the group and our sentimental favorite, was last week’s Matt Giraud. For Anoop then we cried and asked how 43 million votes cast could be wrong!

Yes, boys and girls, we are talking about “American Idol.” Seriously.


“From Ka-ibigan to Ka-sama to Ka-putol,” his email read. But we knew who it was from -  WTW reader and friend and perennial WTW feedbacker, Joe Dasbach of Silver Spring, Maryland.

His prose was formulaic as usual, once again betraying his education, training and experience (he was an ex-pat scientist in Malaysia), but quite frankly, it was kind of flattering:  “Well-done Ka-pitan Winston. Wit-fully ka-ptivating.”

His signature, “Ka-balyero Joe,” he explained in his footnote. He belongs to the Class of 1954, Purcell High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and they were called Purcell Cavaliers.

From one Ka-balyero to another, many thanks, Joe.


“Very nice,” Cavalier Nestor Bontol ‘88  wrote to us about WTW 09-04-22/”Bok or Mistah, Ka or Cavalier, Iking or Enriquez, Bravo or Bud Daho or Balimbing/What’s In a Name.”

A man of few words, Nestor is; in this case, a man of two words. No wonder he’s known simply (and shortly?) as “N1” within his group, that group of PMAyers that call themselves the Cebu Squad.

He is well-liked, we understand, he can transcend his nom de guerre and be a real “N1,” Assistant Chief of Naval Staff for Personnel, like one of our favorites, Cavalier Armando “Budge” Madamba ’62, and not to mind that Madamba, a former editor-in-chief of The Corps magazine, was not exactly known for brevity, before, during and after his stint at N1.


Cavalier Carlos “Chuck” Agustin ’59, also an NPS alumnus, read about our  visit to the school (WTW 09-04-22/”No Thanks, Osama bin Laden”), and shared his own experience and suggestion on how he to deal with the  tight security. We will remember this during our next visit 26 years from now, a visit that hopefully will take us farther than the parking lot.


Cover story, InTouch, May 4.   Brad Moves Out.

Angelina Jolie begged him to stay for the sake of the kids but his bags were already packed, so the story goes.

Memo to Vrad, WTW inciter, I mean WTW insider (see WTW 09-01-07, “Thank You, Vrad;” 09-01-14, “Vrad, You Are Alone No Longer”):

Tell us you won’t follow in Brad’s footsteps.

Tell us you will remain the one we know – Vrad-HoAJ, Husband of Angelic Jojie.


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-18
deakins hall, maryland