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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon


Week Two

Vrad, You Are Alone No Longer

My thanks for the emails about the maiden issue of Witful Thinking, Wednesday/WTW.

This time, it wasn' t just Vrad's. They were from several others, including one from the Plebes.and.Cavaliers forum, PnC. He signed simply as "Fards."

Two email exchanges later, he stepped forward, in cadet fashion I sensed, to be recognized thus:

Romeo "Fards" Fajardo

C-8070 Ex-92 "E"/Ex-93 "G"


Unlike his two older brothers who graduated, Class of 87 and 90, respectively, this Faji left Loakan as a cow.

Apparently, proving that there is life after Fort del Pilar, this cow found a meadow to graze to his liking and has lived happily ever after. .


His signature included this: an apple a day makes 365 apples a year.

I can still count from one to 365 and I reckoned there is some deeper meaning to this, but the context of this quote was lost on me. Maybe, Fards can come out of his nook at the Ateneo de Naga and explain.


Between gulping and golfing or goofing off, who has time to read a column? Butch Aguenza, didn't say he read WTW. I can only assume he did because he sent me material he took the liberty of taking from his US Naval Academy-Philippines mailgroup, an interesting article he thinks I could use for this e-column.

Butch, welcome to the world of wishful, er wasteful, er witful thinking! Easier than golf, trust me. And not as dangerous or life threatening as courses where the likes of the de la Pazes and the Pangandamans play.


If you haven't noticed, WTW has a new look.

My thanks to Chuck L. Agustin, CLA, to some of his Internet followers.

I feel honored that WTW, meriting his scrutiny, is on his select list of things needing a makeover, like the PMA Alumni Registry and the AFP-wide Security Tags System he designed or re-designed, among others, during his illustrious military career.

Persuasive as always even in a memo, he suggested the reformatting of WTW "for the purpose of orderly filing."

And when the NDCP President makes a suggestion, there are only two choices, as far as I am concerned: Aye, Aye, sir! or Aye, Aye, sir!


I did invoke my right, as a plebe, to make a statement.

"Smart and thoughtful, you are, as always. With this, however, you and the whole wide world will know if one 'Wednesday' is missing."

A break in the sequence, say 09-01 to 09-12 for this year, cannot be missed, especially with the seaman's eye or the eye of a former editor of The Cavalier magazine like CLA.


Incidentally, CLA reacted to last week's WTW in a torrent of two words: About time.

Matipid. Even for a non-GI.


One of the joys of something like WTW is the sheer satisfaction of writing as well as the knowledge and affirmation that somehow, somewhere, sometime – sooner than later – someone read what you wrote.

Never mind how many and never mind if they chose to do so or merely chanced upon it. And if they happen to like what you wrote, well, that's just icing on the cake.


With last week's WTW, a personal commitment was made. This is final: my initials, WA, now means Walang Atrasan; not Walking Away. Promise. .


Feedback from readers like the ones I have received will invariably serve to keep me and WTW going until the next letter on my keypad freezes up permanently.

This hasn't happened to that good, old reliable desktop in my basement cum office at Deakins Hall nor the laptop I've been lugging around. But my blackberry, now my constant companion on the road, has inexplicably been acting up of late.


I called and spoke to a techie at Verizon who gave me a hot tip – and I am not making this up: use Q-tips. Apply one end of the Q-tip around the trackball lightly to absorb the moisture and dirt accumulated there, either or both being the root cause the cursor to freeze.


Yes, Pards, something new can be learned everyday, even Q-tips. You can tell Peanut Butter this.


With or without Q-tips, 'for bitter or wurse,' as we say in Waray-land, WTW is here to stay. For keeps and for as long as there is a commentary on life left that I can make and contribute.

For in the final analysis, this is what WTW is all about. A commentary on life, in general, and on PMAyers in particular, hopefully in a meaningful, if witty, humorous, even corny, way.


I hold a high respect and admiration for those who write seriously about life. I just happen to think there is another way, one that allows an R&R, room and reason, for a little laughter.

Call it pun or fun, punstering or funstering; joking or duking; wordsmithing or weirdsmithing. Call it a whole, a hole or a peephole.

And for Peteong's sake, DECK it!

Dig it. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Kiss it.


Time is too short not to reward ourselves with the small joys of life.

'Regale' was the word Vrad used when he asked for the revival of RTT/WWM. Let us then regale ourselves, every Wednesday at least.


Don't take yourself seriously – this is as sound an advice as any that I have received and followed in my life. An advice this column will heed.


A 'weekly dose of wit' that you asked, Cavalier Willy Mejia, this column will strive not to be without. In fact, the thought of "Wit Or Without" struck me as a substitute title. WOW certainly packs a better wallop than WTW.

But, it's too late now, as my departed wife Pilar would say.

And Vrad won't allow it.


Alas, the commentary that follows is sad, one for which WTW was not meant, perhaps even unfit, to be a conveyor of. But convey it, WTW must.

Some days, even to an upbeat column like WTW, it can't be helped that into its pages, some rain must fall .


I have known Lucino & Lilia, not as long as I have known others. It was just a couple of years ago that I met and knew them as husband-and-wife, when they migrated to the US.

"L & L" – I thought of them fondly; together, a sweet, loving couple that reminded me of my favorite chocolate, "M & M."

One "L" will be missing, gone forever. Lucino Duldulao, Class of 1963. He passed away this week.

He's survived by another "L" in the family, Lino Noble, a classmate of Lucino and brother-in-law of Lilia. Telly, Lino's OAO, is the younger sister of Lilia.

Lino Noble will be ready to fill the void as best he can.


As this was written, I received word on the passing of and subsequently attended the wake for Ambassador Ernesto S. Llamas. A colleague during my stint at the Philippine Embassy, he was a career diplomat who taught me a thing or two about diplomacy. I was one of the godfathers during his wedding in 1986 to Macaria, a scion of the famous Castaneda and Teodoro families. Ernie was the Philippine Ambassador to Russia when he retired last year.

He was the only son of the late General Fidel LLamas, a pre-war PMA graduate whose service included that of military attache to Australia, where his son Ernie would later serve as Philippine Ambassador. Ernie has sired a son, Fidel, named after and who adores, to this day, his grandfather.


WTW takes a break, at this instance, from its patent of mirth and merriment in the celebration of life. A break to salute in all seriousness these two – a softspoken PMAyer, an accomplished diplomat – and to mourn in all sadness, a life now lost to country, to family and to friends.


manila, philippines