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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


LOL1, Laughing Out Loud
LOL2, Land Of Lapu-Lapu


We got this earlier and are just responding to it now – a suggestion [1] that posting this column any day of the week would be all right, but “Never On Sunday.”

We love that popular song of the 60s, no matter who sang it – Doris Day, Andy Williams, Connie Francis, Petula Clark, Lale Andersen, or The Chordettes –  and the imaginative idea of using it to our advantage is tempting. But no, we will stick with Wednesday, and, stick with our alibis if or when we fail to meet our deadline.

WTW won’t have to be Witful Tardiness, Wednesday, if we can help it.

For this issue, yes, we can help it. As we speak, or, as we write, it’s 12 hours to go before midnight in Makati, 24 hours in the US East Coast and 27 in the West Coast. We can’t possibly be trading, especially with PAGASA keeping our mind off any possibility of golf because of its prediction of rain in the next two days.  


After correctly predicting that the University of North Carolina men's basketball team would win the NCAA championship, POTUS Obama told reporters at the White House South Lawn that the Lakers will win in 6 games, 4-2.

He was wrong. The Lakers won 4-1.

Memo to Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and any dark horses (or is it dark elephants?) out there:

This highly popular President can be wrong every now and then. If he makes a habit of it in the next four years, his reelection in 2012 may not be a sinecure. There may be a light, no matter how faint, at the end of the darkest tunnel in the history of the GOP. If not, you can still indulge, as we do, in some wishful thinking until 2016 or beyond.

Also, you may have heard what we have heard ourselves [2} that in certain "circles," POTUS Barack Obama the Commander-in-Chief is called the "Spender-in-Chief" and that his meetings with his cabinet and his advisers are short on “brainstorming,” long on "blamestorming." But if you imagine for one moment that this or similar criticism, founded or not, will lead to his unseating in 2012, think again. That would really be wishful thinking.


This time, it’s Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao versus Patrick "Idol" Antonio.

Followers and fans of both camps think it would be an interesting fight between two winners. Pacquiao just won the 2009 Fighter of the Year award from the Boxing Writers Association of America. Antonio is fresh from winning the award of the 2009 NCA Cocker of the year and runner-up at the NCA World Championship Derby last January.

It’s a toss-up as they square off, gamecock to gamecock, in this year’s Big Event of the National Cockers Association of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao’s Puerto Rican opponent on November 17, can wait. So, too, can Pacquiao’s Filipino opponents in the elections on May 11, 2010.


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.”

A good question, Cavaliers Cabalquinto and Lorenzana, but quite candidly, we don’t have an answer. Maybe we should ask Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; she was the one who led this year’s 111th celebration of Independence Day. Not his father, the late Diosdado Macapagal, during whose presidency the change was made.

Moreover, a switch back to July 4, while arguably justifiable, could be a problem. The Philippines already celebrated in 1998 its Independence centennial, for which the government spent a bundle. A big, big bundle, we understand.


Denying the suggestions from pundits that his withdrawal from the presidential race was part of a deal he struck with Malacanang, GenSen [3] Panfilo “Ping” Lacson revealed to a reporter his take on the sudden replacement of Raul Gonzales as Secretary of the Department of Justice. Two takes really, Gonzales’ handling of two cases that did not sit well with Malacanang: one, Mancao’s bombshell testimony that would link Lacson and former President Estrada to the two-year-old Dacer-Corbito murder; and two, a conflict between taipan Lucio Tan and his brother.    

Our take: Why did GMA or EE [4] choose her as replacement? Devanadera is one syllable too many for us. Four syllables or less, like Gonzales’ three, we can manage.


Her eye surgery was successful, my fiancée swears by Louise Braille and her eye doctor Albert Ang, that she can definitely see better.

She can see clearly now, the cataract is gone. And so can she see clearly now, all my faults, big and small.


Last week, we wrote:  LOL times 2.  Laughing Out Loud in the Land Of Lapu-Lapu.

It’s over now, our thrilling trip to the Land Of Lapu-Lapu; our short, sentimental visit on Philippine Independence Day weekend to Cebu, the Queen City of the South. But one week later to the day of our arrival there, we are still beside ourselves, Laughing Out Loud every now and then as we remember the fun we had, the laughter we shared – thanks to the members of a group there who call themselves The Cebu Squad.


The first Squadmate [5] to turn up and meet us for breakfast at Shangrila’s The Tides restaurant was initially a blur from a distance, but we eventually recognized him as Cavalier Virgilio “Bill” Bas ’60, whom we hadn’t met for decades, but well-known to us and to WTW readers for his wit, humor – and occasionally, corn, among others.

A lolo [6], he did not surprise us that our first conversation was about his apo [7].

Known as Ka Iliong to many, this lolo started off with an apo-logy – he wouldn’t be joining us for the other activities planned for our visit.  As in other weekends, he had to do his regular apo-stolic work; and if he didn’t do it, that would be, to him, some form of abandonment – apo-stasy. A weekend with grandchildren, we gathered from him, is always a grandfather’s joy.

And seeing his devotion and evidence of his sense of possessiveness when he spoke of grandchildren, we had to agree that there should indeed be an apo-strophe in “grandfather’s”.


Lunch with Cavaliers Clarence “Iron Man” Martinez, with young son in tow, and, Alfonso “Ponsoy” Alvarez at the Acqua, overlooking Mactan Bay, was a treat – and not just because of the pizza offering at this Italian restaurant Shangrila’s Ocean Wing.

Martinez is Cebu Squad President. His reputation preceding him, Alvarez did not have to tell us.  We knew his position:  DIA. As in, Do It All, although well-known as an events planner par excellence, DIA could stand for Director of Internal Affairs, as well. 

Classmates, Alvarez and Martinez proved to be what we thought of them before we came: the Dynamic Duo that makes things move in this Land of Lapu-Lapu for the members of The Cebu Squad.


Golf at 6 at the Mactan Air Base golf club – yes, 6 in the morning, on a Saturday – about  the time that the cooks at Shangrila were stirring from their sleep. Lapu-Lapu, we think, would have been proud if we awoke at dawn, preparing not for golf, but like his warriors of old, getting ready for his battle with Magellan.

Nimrod “Nim” Quinonez coordinated this golf outing but would not join because “duty” called. Philanthropic duty; two times during the year, they visit and stay in a school that he and his family have “adopted.” When Quinonez told us before he left that he is also associated with The Freeman, a newspaper in the City, we regretted why we shared some secrets with him. “But not to worry,” he assured us, “I won’t tell.” Our secrets, it turns out, are not the juicy stuff newspapers love to write about.


They call it the “Fourthclass Club,” the name reminiscent of a club for plebes at Loakan barracks.[8] The meeting place of the Cebu Squad, including this one. A restaurant in the heart of Cebu City, a simple, one-room affair, and no “ruffles and flourishes,” it is owned and operated by the family of Cebu Squad member, Nestor Bontol ’77.

We were introduced to Bontol’s OAO, Tingting.  Impressed by Tingting, we commended Bontol for having shown such high standard in choosing a wife. But for choosing Bontol for her husband, we had to tell Tingting her standards were at best, suspect.

Before we could second-guess if we did the right thing by said this, we got the unmistakable vibes that the couple recognized it for what it was – the good, old ribbing among buddies and friends; in this case, an attempt to have everyone present, the Bontol couple included, Laughing Out Loud.  Thankfully, it was obvious they all were.


They are not a big group, but definitely more than the standard nine-man squad, the members belonging to the younger PMA classes (basically the late 70s, 80s, and 90s) and a mix of former cadets that graduated and those that did not (but we came to an agreement at this get-together that, with all due respect to PMAAAI, its Constitution and By-Laws,  the definition of “Cavalier” is this: anyone that has a PMA cadet serial number)..


We could not stay until the last bottle of San Mig Light was emptied and the last drop of Ram Villagonzalo’s Johnny Walker Black drained. And we had left the Land of Lapu-Lapu the following day when we were treated, again, by The Cebu Squad; this time, with a series of postings that made us Laughing Out Loud again, as if we were back in the Land of Lapu-Lapu.

Do-It-All Alvarez and Let-Others-Do-It Nestor Bontol did the brunt of summarizing L’Affaire, okay, boodlefight, at the Fourthclass Club. Their postings, in particular the list of Squadmates [9] with whom we broke bread and drank a beer or two are, for us, a veritable treasure..


Cavalier Augusto “Jun/MarQ” Marquez, the acknowledged  Squad Leader, came all the way from neighboring province Negros Oriental where he is the Police Director, “braving the high seas,” in the words of Alvarez.

Squadmate  Benjie Go ’96, was absent, but as Alvarez reported,  Benjie made sure he was there in spirit. For our toast, he sent a bottle of “spirits,” again, quoting from Alvarez.


Last week (see 09-06-10 WTW/”Ping-Pong”), we wrote, “…..they called this mass protest, tindignation, a combo of the Filipino tindig (stand up) and the English word, indignation. Boots Doria, introducing herself to us this time as “Your avid reader (keep smilin’), thinks otherwise. It means "stand (up) bayan or bansa."

How about a compromise? A three-tiered translation instead of two. Stand up for the Nation to express Indignation over HR 1109. 


He wrote to tell us that he saw our blog, introducing himself as “Francis Aquino, a member of PMA class of 2001 who unfortunately (or fortunately) did not graduate.” His late uncle was Teoderico Aquino ’67 and his father a member of Class 74.

From the PMA Alumni Register of 2009, we counted a total of 33 Aquinos.  As far as WTW is concerned, hearing from 3 out of 33 ain’t that bad. Thank you, Francis.


I am inclined to say that this was my last visit to the Land of Lapu-Lapu, the last time to hear The Cebu Squad Laughing Out Loud. But I may just change my mind, if I am convinced that Cavalier Nilo Yap spoke for all Squadmates when he emailed, “Just holler if you come this way again. The squad will spend time with you however brief.”

I may even promise that I will ask no one to recite “Definition of Bocayo,” a plebe knowledge that Nilo and the rest of the Squad know is special to me. [10].


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-24   
makati, philippines


[1]  The suggestion came from Cavalier Alfonso “Ponsoy/PonsWA” Alvarez ’83 a “WTW C5” – Cavalier correspondent, contributor, confidant and critic of this column.

[2] This we got from Cavalier Vlad “Vrad/HoAJ” Punto ’74 who, like Alvarez, above, is a WTW C5 himself

[3] GenSen stands for General-Senator, an appellation for Ping Lacson in emails posted in PMA mail groups like the Academy Cavaliers Forum/ACF and PlebesAndCavaliers/PnC, although it could apply as well to Lacson’s fellow senator, Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon, also a retired general. Lacson, unlike Biazon, posts regularly on these mail groups.

[4] Eduardo Ermita, Executive Secretary and Lakas-Kampi Party head and member of PMA Class ‘57

[5] Before entering PMA, I spent a year of college at two universities in Cebu in 1958-59; the group considered this good enough to qualify me for membership of The Cebu Squad; hence, Squadmate

[6] Lolo, in Filipino, means grandfather

[7] Apo, in Filipino, means grandchild

[8] Three other clubs belong to the Thirdclassmen or yearlings (sophomores), Secondclassmen or cows (juniors) and Firstclassmen, or Firsties (seniors). 

[9] The list – courtesy of Pons Alvarez, his memory and his camera -  that made it to the “Fourthclass Club,” Saturday, June 13, 2009: Armand Mañabo; Tiny Baguio-Resuello 97; Nestor N1 Bontol 77; Ram Villagonzalo 98; Boy Bolo 80; Clarence Martinez 83; Nilo Yap 79;Marlon Mesina 96; Alexander Orofeo 99; Nilo Arribas 97
The latecomers: Augusto "Jun/MarQ" Marquez; Randy Pedroso 95;
A surprise attendee: Michael Manquiquis 83, Phil Defense Reform office, (Army), based in GHQ, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo.
Hostess: Tingting Bontol

[10] When I wrote this and printed it in the plebe issue of The Corps magazine during my plebe year at PMA in 1960, I did not imagine that it would become a plebe knowledge years after my graduation. In the get-together with The Cebu Squad, I did apologize for not thinking ahead and adding to the number of plebe knowledges that they had to memorize. Nonetheless, I am thankful to Pons Alvarez for posting a copy of this plebe knowledge.


Definition of Bukayo

Sir, if the fresh and tender meat of a matured coconut, cleaned and divested of all extraneous materials be grated into fine particles and immersed in the concentrated solution sugar (C12 H22 O11) boiled to the nth degree centigrade, a sticky substance is produced. If the quantity be made into a rectangular brick of a form of a parallelopiped, the volume of which is ABC minus the circumference of the plebe's mouth will result to a Pangasinan's delicacy stored and kept for many days at the back of the locker of the triple-timing, boodle-hungry, tremendously-dehydrated plebe. This, Sir, is bukayo!