Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PCA, PMA, AMP, PPP
With obvious pride and an expression on her face that, in my view, unmistakably said, "eat your heart out," she showed me a commemorative medal with a Big O on it. O for Obama from Chicago.
I am envious. I may have to get myself another medal, and also with a Big O on it. O for Oprah. The Other Big O from Chicago.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Remember the Frank Capra film starring Jimmy Stewart? A heartwarming story.
Mr. Smith Goes to Prison.
Mr. Smith is Marine Cpl. Daniel Smith, convicted rapist of Filipina "Nicole." The Supreme Court has ruled he should be detained in a Philippine prison not the US Embassy while awaiting result of appeal. A heartrending story, mired in controversy.
"We will engage. We will listen. We will consult." Joe Biden.
Tell that to GMA, Mr Vice-President.
She flew all the way from Davos, Switzerland to Washington DC. And what did you do? Nothing. You did not engage. You did not even listen, let alone consult.
If the itinerary of Hillary Clinton for her first visit to Asia as US Secretary of State is any indication – Japan, South Korea, China and Indonesia are on it but not the Philippines – a new US foreign policy toward Asia is in place, indeed. A change in America's current ties with the Philippines, to be sure.
Obama's Change We Can Believe In?
Not, if you ask Malacanang.
Where is George W. Bush when you need him?
In Bush's avowed policy of the US leading the war against terror for the sake of the security of the world, Mindanao, identified as a lair for terrorism, was understandably omnipresent on the US radar.
In Obama's, Mindanao may not even be a blip.
Minda-nao to Minda-nomore and maybe, to Minda-nevermore. What a transition.
And what a difference a day makes on the Obama CLOC, I mean, calendar of change.
In troubled Mindanao and other hot spots around the country – now, rather than later – the RP government may have to go it alone, dealing with security- or terrorist-related problems.
More so, if the likes of pro-administration Senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam Santiago and Francis Escudero who are drumbeating the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement get a sympathetic ear from DFA, DND and Malacanang.
Goodbye VFA, Visiting Forces Agreement.
Welcome VFA, Visiting Forces Abrogated.
Goodbye Exercise Balikatan.
Welcome Exercise Balik-atin.
CnC, I mean Columnist and Cavalier, Ramon J. Farolan, in his 'Special notes on PMA icons' (Reveille Monday, Feb. 16, Philippine Daily Inquirer) wrote:
"In the history of the Academy, only one individual graduated No. 1 in the class and also served as first captain of the cadet corps. Lt. Leopoldo Regis, class of 1951…."
Correction, please, Sir RJF. Or, in plebe language, may Dumbguard make statement Sir!
Manuel S. Arevalo graduated 13 years after Cadet Leopoldo Regis, like the latter, the recipient of the Presidential saber, as class topnotcher and the Chief of Staff saber, as first captain. And like you, sir, he joined the PAF.
I should know. Valong, as we called him, passed away a couple of years ago, a highly esteemed classmate and a dear friend.
One lasting memory of my firstclass year was the brief time that I, an Alpha brave, shared the Regimental Staff room with him, a Charlie cat. I was one of his Regimental Staff, S2/3, before I became a Bravo bull, as company commander.
No cat and bull in the den that was Loakan barracks, I woild like to reminisce, had ever been on friendlier and respectful terms.
Memo to Cavaliers Benny Lomotan and Chuck Agustin: No, sir, I haven't heard from your (favorite?) firstie, my (favorite?) columnist. But as always, the plebe in me says I can take it. After all, rejection, intentional or otherwise, is not the end of the world.
Yesterday, February 17, was
PMA Foundation Day, BP (Before Pobre). But just another ordinary day, AP (After Pobre).
Yesterday, PMA was 104 years old, BP; 111 years, AP .
Teaching history, among other subjects, Cavalier Cesar Pobre '52, Corps of Professors, found in his research a history of PMA dating back to 1898 instead of 1905; October 28, instead of February 17.
Since then, PMA "history" has become "his story" – Cavalier Pobre's.
A view that is held to this day, a full 11 years after the PMA centennial was officially observed in October 1998, seven years too early, in foul weather (Mother Nature expressing her objection to the tinkering of PMA history?), attended by celebrants that did not include Commander-in-Chief Estrada and SND Mercado who were very prominent by being no-shows at Fort del Pilar for the centennial celebration, preferring instead to fly south away from Baguio City to attend a wedding in Tacloban City of Alfredo Romualdez and movie star Cristina "Kring-Kring" Gonzales).
A view that is held by several Cavaliers, and for the record, myself included, that believe or feel, for whatever reason – historical, hysterical or hypothetical, even hypocritical or heretical – that PMA history should remains as it was, and, as we knew it; and by the adage, no fixing please because it ain't broke!
PMA, tracing its origins from the PCA, Philippine Constabulary Academy. Not from AMP, Academia Militar de Pilipinas. PMA founded on February 17, 1905. Not October 25, 1898.
And if you haven't noticed, the initials AMP is PMA in reverse. A reversal, as it were, of PMA history to which a good number of us continue not to look very kindly.
Progressive Party of the Philippines,
political pundits and prognosticators, Philippines' politicized press (see WTW 09-01-28, Puno (ng) Possibilities).
Now, PPP comes even closer to home. Peemayer Paints PMA.
He has written to a number of his fellow alumni and other art lovers in the US, potential patrons all, thus:
"Yes, sir! This sums up my lifetime commitment to our Alma Mater: A Peemayer Paints PMA.
"In the year 2000, I embarked on a long sought career as a professional.
"The passion of the brush has been with me since childhood and has stayed with me to this day."
The writer is the painter is Gabriel "Gaby" Riego de Dios is a member of PMA Class 81.
de Maupassant, de Gaulle, de Gama, de Sade, de Madrazo – icons in history. And Degas, too. So, a name like de Dios – and with Gabriel Riego to boot – ought to be a success overnight.
"The past eight years. have not been easy. It has been a difficult path for this struggling artist. However, as one fellow Cavalier told me a long time ago, it is not the destination but the journey.
"A main part of this journey is to “paint PMA.” I wish to share with one and all, Peemayers or non-Peemayers alike, the beauty that is PMA and the richness of its tradition and legacy. I have been painting scenes from the Academy."
Two of his major paintings in oil are: “Strong Hearts” and “Sir, the Colors…”. Only the original of “Sir, the Colors…” is available and is up for auction with a starting bid of $800.
Currently he has put the finishing touches to a third, "Bright Beacon of the Land." Its eventual owner will have a bonus: a poem by Cavalier Danilo M. Jimenez '77, former editor of The Corps magazine, toasting the painting.
Dan's inimitable lyrical style has become well-known in circles of PMA, including the "other" PMA, the Philippine Medical Association, the more affluent one we inevitably say. Malou, Dan's OAO, was once president of the Philippine Medical Association of the Greater Washington area; so was Dan of the PMA "auxiliary."
Part of the proceeds from the sales of Gaby's original paintings and prints go to PLEA (Project to Listen and Extend Assistance to PMAyers), a project to be launched this year by DJLF Foundation; the flip-side of LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project.
Why such generosity given his present precariously porous balance sheet as an artist? He quotes from a prayer of a fellow artist,
"As these humble artist's hands were given freely to me by God, so shall it give back freely to those who are in need."
Great hands, great art work, great heart. What a combination!
In his musings, rhythmic and measured, if melancholic, as expected, he allows us a peek into his present frame of mind and his life's outlook, "…..this is the poorest that I am, but the happiest naman!"
Those who own or about to own a product of his work of art now call his original painting a Gabriego.
An original Monet or Rembrandt, you can't have anymore. A van Gogh you can't have either, so why not an original Gabriego?
"By your patronage of my paintings," his appeal concludes, " you will be helping me pursue a challenging career, develop what in Loakan we called "native talent," and promote our Alma Mater's prestige, while supporting a very good cause, PLEA….
" I will paint, paint, and paint PMA until my bells are rang and my last taps is sang."
A link in WTW blog – http://blog.djlf.org - provides more details to PPP, PeeMayer Paints PMA.
Or, to bypass the blog (I don't know you would want to miss WTW, or at least its portal), you can go directly to:
"Permit me to say that I truly enjoy your pieces, snappy asides, wisecracks and comebacks."
Comebacks, yes. Kickbacks, no. And a summon from Miriam Santiago's committee won't kill me.
My heart problem – atrial fibrillation – notwithstanding, I won't invoke St. Luke's Hospital immunity.
You have my word, Cavalier Alfonso "Ponswa" Vasquez '83, and by the way, thanks for your feedback.
I understand you were with the Corps of Professors; AP (After Pobre), I suppose. So pray tell, is there a substitute term for feedback that doesn't rhyme with kickback?
Two days ago, ACF, the Academy Cavaliers' Forum, marked a decade plus one year of existence.
As the oldest "community (in cyberspace) of men and women who trace their roots to PMA," the ACF has fulfilled the vision of its founder, Juny LaPutt and early organizers of the forum.
Sam Marcelo Class x87 announced the appointment of his daughter to the US Naval Academy Class of 2013.
WTW congratulates the proud parents as well as Cavaliers Virgilio Marcelo '61 and Onofre Marcelo '65, grandfather and grand uncle of Naomi, respectively.
Naomi's older sister, Hannah, is currently a cadette at the US Air Force Academy Class of 2010.
There is no truth to the rumors that this is considered nepotism and that the Marcelos, like the Manlongats, the Andayas and the Fajardos, are permanently banned from Philippine and US military academies in order to give other families a chance.
For this week, the WTW sworde (star for wordsmithing excellence) is given to Vlad Punto '74 – surprise -where would WTW be without Vrad?
And the word is:
Divot-ee – noun; devotees who are golfers. or vice-versa.
Incidentally, Vrad continues to be a WTW di-votee, thank you, to my delight, constantly feeding, I mean providing, column fodder.
As this is written, we hear this breaking news from the East Coast Chapter (the henpECCkeds, if you go by the nomenclature of Cavalier Randolph "Pards" Espejo '74, of the NorthEast Group, a reNEGade).
A fellowship to bid farewell to the outgoing and to welcome the incoming Naval Attache in Washington DC will be held on Saturday, Feb. 21 in Virginia at the residence of Melinda and Harold Ochoco '81. Outgoing is Capt. Rex Recomono PN '79; incoming is Capt. Tony Habulan PN '81.
Habulan won't make it to the fellowship. Hindi makahabul is the word from Manila.
The bad news: I will miss this fellowship.
The good news: I won't have to embarrass myself in my RSVP ("feel free to bring your favorite dish," the invitation said); I won't have to say I am bringing only this – my appetite. The same thing that I have been bringing to potluck affairs since losing my OAO and her culinary skills.