Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon
The Mourning, The Morning After
Yes, Virginia, today is the morning after one of our more enjoyable evenings: Engelbert Humperdinck’s return to the Philippines, a leg of his Legacy of Love World Tour.
One of the songs he sang was one popularized by Debbie Reynolds. Our answer to the question in that song: No, Engelbert, you’re not that easy to forget.
He sang danced and danced to the rhythm of “The Last Waltz,” one of our favorites among several hits of his 43-year singing career. From our vantage point on Row I at the Araneta Coliseum, we could see that this won’t be his last waltz on-stage.
Two majors are in the books – the Masters and the US Open; two more to go – the British Open and the PGA.
So far, the world’s number one golfer has apparently been stymied in his much-anticipated comeback, finishing tied for fourth in both the Masters in May and the recently concluded US Open.
If Tiger Woods does not win any of the last two, this would be the first time in his golfing career that he won’t have a win of a major in a given year since he turned pro; and well, a major disappointment.
It’s too late now for a change in the Chinese calendar even as the year of the tiger isn’t shaping up to be Tiger’s year. We think of his personal troubles that began last year when revelations of his many mistresses surfaced, are an albatross in his comeback, his return to the game and to his adoring fans.
For only the second time in the history of the US Open , Shaun Micheel, like Tiger a winner of a PGA major – the 2003 PGA – holed out his second shot on Pebble Beach’s sixth from 273 yards. Two shots on a 523-yard, 5-par hole – in golf’s lexicon, it’s called an albatross.
We’d love to have this kind, not Tiger’s albatross.
This time, the Washington Wizards won’t be in last place. As a matter of fact, they will be first. The first among NBA teams to select in Friday’s NBA draft.
Having suffered with this team through its struggles as long-time resident in Metro Washington, we would be the last to say or even hint that this isn’t a portent of better years to come for the hapless Wizards and their fans.
The fate of "thousands" of government contractual employees – according to Malacanang, there are about 50,000 – will be in the hands of the new President.
They’re not midnight appointees. They are called "casuals."
After June 30, they become casualties?
More than 17 million Filipinos smoke regularly, according to Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral who says it's an uphill fight; a "battle for the hearts and minds of our people."
One of those hearts and minds, we all know. Too bad Cabral won’t be serving on his cabinet.
In a picture on the front page of the Sunday Inquirer, President-elect Noynoy Aquino looked good during the wedding.
No, he was not the groom and FG, First Girlfriend Shalani wasn't the bride either.
Noynoy was one of the principal sponsors on the wedding of Henry Gapit and Laguna rep Evita Arago.
Talking of pictures, there they were yesterday, also on the front page of the Inquirer – the Big Three during the turnover of command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Outgoing Chief of Staff Lt. General Delfin Bangit was smiling. Incoming chief Lt. General Nestor Ochoa was half-smiling. The Commander-in-Chief was doing neither.
In less than a week, the torch will be passed from Arroyo to Aquino
To a hopeful nation, a passage from A to shining A?
FSGO/Former Senior Government Officials, speaking through Jesus P. Estanislao, chairperson of FSGO's Governance Cluster and the Institute of Solidarity in Asia/ISA and also former Finance Secretary during the presidency of Cory Aquino, unveiled a formula for governance for the benefit of Cory’s son; “catalytic actions,” they called it.
Catalyze people's mobilization and involvement.
Call upon all national government agencies and all local government units to formulate and execute a good governance program.
Coalesce multi-sector governance: these groups to lead to hold agencies accountable for their governance.
We would like to think of them as three Cs for the son of Cory to consider. And come rating time, we hope that son doesn't get a C in either of the three.
"Not easy to be a cabinet member," was Artemio V. Panganiban’s article in his recent column .
We think we ought to remind the former Chief Justice we say: it's not easy to be a cabinet maker either.
Just ask Noynoy and all of his vettors, the ones who are vetting – and betting on? – prospective cabinet members.
We received this analysis from an unsolicited political observer:
Based on the votes tallied by the National Canvassing Board for the May 2010 Presidential Election, here’s the Profile of Philippine Voters:
0.50% Homeowners' Association members
1.38% Blood donors
15.34% Consummate Businesspeople
It would be interesting to know how this analysis compares with Mahar Mangahas’ exit polls.
Citing an unnamed source, Cavalier Virgilio “Bill” Bas ’60 who hails from Talisay, Cebu, explains Noynoy’s victory, at least in the Visayas, thusly:
Kinsa’y ngalan nimo, Noy?  Kumusta ka Noy?  Noy bayad.  Tagpila ni Noy  Asa ka Noy?  Pautanga ko diha, Noy!  Itlog mo Noy, orange 
With the name of Noy  on the lips of people in every street and corner of the Philippines where Visayan is spoken, how can the voters among them not go for Noynoy?
We featured him on our center-“piece” issue .
Now comes Cavalier Jose “Joe” Dado ’55, suggesting that General Bangit “can do a McClellan, who after being relieved by Pres. Lincoln for lack of aggressiveness after the Battle of Antietam, left the army, went into politics, ran against Lincoln in 1864 as Peace Democrat and almost won (were it not for the strings of military successes of the Union forces under General Grant).”
Dado, a West Point graduate, certainly knows his history, US history included, but he is one email too late. General Bangit has already made his decision.
President Arroyo accepted the request of AFP Chief of Staff Lt. General Delfin Bangit to retire early, one month and one year to the day of his compulsory retirement on July 21, 2010.
President Aquino, we think, would have accepted the request much faster than GMA did, had Bangit decided to submit his request after June 30.
It was carried by the oldest newspaper in Cebu, The Freeman  – a report by Cavalier Nimrod “Nim” Quinones ‘91 in his article, “Taking Sides,”  of a “division” of the closely-knit PMA Cebu Squad into yellow and green colors; fortunately, with the elections now over, not the political colors of Noynoy Aquino and Gibo Teodoro, but the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
This was on June 16, the day before the 7th and last game of the 2010 NBA Finals. Reflecting the divide among supporters of either team in the Philippines and the United States, perhaps all over the world, the PMA Cebu Squad, by Quinones’ accounting, was almost evenly split.
On the morning after, many fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, including us, could still not believe that their team had won, 83-79, after trailing for almost the entire game.
For fans of the Boston Celtics, it was the mourning after.
Acknowledging the Celtic defeat “after a hard fought game 7” with the prayer, "lose with grace and a determined will to win," and surely sleepless in Seattle, Cavalier Rogelio “Ka Tiano” Santiano ’84 is preparing to ship to us the wager he lost – sweets from Goldilocks (Goldilucks, he spelled it in our correspondence, evidently for good luck). Also, he has promised to “bring a pound of Seattle's Best Coffee” when we meet at Borromeo Field in Fort del Pilar, Baguio City for next year’s PMA Alumni Homecoming.
But Santiano, a nursing student aside from being a Celtic fan, was not as unlucky in his other Finals: Nursing 242. He passed. He’s not sure about his beloved Celtics after their loss, but he knows where he is going – moving on with his “RN journey all the way to NCLEX-RN.”
And from Aldie, Virginia, also a mourning after: Celtics gave them the fight of their life!!!! But (it was) not good enough. I concede .
It’s just too bad, we think, that it’s too late for us to suggest to Erap that this concession – a mere two words – he could have borrowed from its writer, Cavalier Cleo Erfe ’69.
Another one the spoils of the Lakers victory, courtesy of Cavalier Juanito “TitoR” Rimando ’62, will be coming our way, and, as stipulated in the wagering hours before the game: a framed one-dollar or fifty peso bill – the exchange rate, we suspect, will factor into Rimando’s decision – over a white background, bearing his signature and the final score.
The series was tied at one game apiece after the first two games in Los Angeles. Our fearful forecast: the Lakers will find themselves behind 2-3, after the 3-game series at the Boston Garden. They return to their home court, the Staples Center, and will win the next two games.
It happened exactly as we had predicted.
"I bow to wisdom," was a text we received from someone who had heard this outcome from us, albeit he has yet to hear about WTW.
Thank you, Casto Pineda. But no, sir, ours was not wisdom; it was just one good guess.
And the members of the PMA Cebu Squad? The mourning after didn’t happen on the morning after, but two days later, on Saturday, when losers and winners gathered at a restaurant owned by Cavalier Nilo Yap ’78.
Malinamnam which translates to delicious, in Filipino, is the name of the restaurant and the food there, clients swear, delicious as well. But our sources say that to the Celtics fans that picked up the tab, the food they ate left a bad taste in their mouth. As Quinones put it, “losers will have to bear the agony of defeat.”
“The Governor is coming home today,” we wrote in last week’s WTW, in tribute to Negros Oriental Governor Emilio C Macias II. He did, and on hand to welcome him home and to render his salute for the last time was Jay-R, the governor’s friend, the Provincial Director, Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office a.k.a. Cavalier Augusto "Jun/MarQ" Marquez, Jr. '84.
The article of Cavalier Justo “JP” Manlongat ’69 in the recent issue of the Bridge Newsletter of the Philippine Tournament Bridge Association carried this title: The “Star” Convention. As Manlongat recalls it, this bridge bidding convention was the “secret weapon” used by the Philippine Air Force bridge team to end the dominance of the Philippine Navy bridge team in the yearly bridge tournaments of PMA alumni; the “star,” taken from its creator – Estrellado. Cavalier Rodolfo “Rudy” Estrellado ’62.
Estrellado passed away on January 29 this year, after a lingering illness. A memorial bridge tournament in his honor was held last week at the Ayala Alabang Country Club to which we were invited.
To receive and accept the invitation was our pleasure. Estrellado, a former PMA Superintendent was well-known for his philanthropic advocacies as a Rotarian. He was one of the first 12 members of the group that was formed in the US in 1999, calling themselves the Dumb Jones Loakan Fund club. That group became what is now the DJLF Foundation involved in youth education and development through LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project.
Manlongat, Estrellado’s long-time bridge partner, is absolutely right: in bridge, as in other things that he did in his life, Estrellado was a star.
Headline: Rights chief to head DOJ.
According to an authoritative source (translation: my wife), the choice of Leila de Lima, the current chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights to head the Department of Justice is an excellent one. If so, the PDI headline should also read:
Right chief to head DOJ.
“You haven’t changed color,” Cavalier Ernesto Arzaga ’60 remarked when we met the other day, after so many years .
Did he mean my complexion or political color? I forgot to ask Arzaga.
I was very proud to show off my Blackberry to Cavalier Carlos “Chuck” Agustin ’59 the other day, telling him that it has been indispensable since I began writing WTW some 57columns ago.
“But this is a Whiteberry?”
Its color is actually silver, but I couldn’t fault the retired commodore for the mistake. I was wearing my glasses and he wasn’t. He did make his point: Mine is an old one; the new Blackberry now comes in black.
We stand corrected. Cavalier Jose Maria “Jimacul” Zumel ’59 was the first captain, the “baron,” not the valedictorian of his class, as we stated in our last WTW issue.
Thank you for the correction, Ambassador Paynor, a.k.a. Cavalier Marciano “Jun” Paynor, Jr. ’71.
“No mention of our Lakers?”
He knows only too well that we are like him, die-hard Lakers fan, so we understand the plaint of Cavalier Venancio “Johnson” Duque ’68 in his email to us.
Sorry, Cavalier, but we hope this issue makes up for our omission.
“A man never stands as tall as when he bends to help a child,” a WTW reader wrote to us.
A man never stands as tall as when he bends to change the diaper of his child. To that man and all others like him, a belated Happy Father's Day.
We continue what we started, using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge  for our countdown to the next Philippine elections on May 9, 2013 .
Sir, there are 1,051 days, 25,224 hours, 1,513,440 minutes, 90,806,400 seconds and 181,612,800 ticks before that election.
makati city, philippines
 The first one was scored by Taiwanese golfer, T. C. Chen in 1985 at the Oakland Hills Country Club
 With Due Respect, Philippines Daily Inquirer, June 20, 2010
 What’s your name, Noy?
 How are you, Noy?
 Noy, here’s my payment
 How much is this, Noy
 Where are you going, Noy?
 Loan me some money, Noy!
 Want some eggs and Orange soft drink, Noy?
 Noy, among Visayan-speaking Filipinos is the contraction for Manoy, a term of respect for elders
 2010-06-16 WTW/”Banishing/Vanishing Bangit
 The newspaper was first published in 1919, and, currently a member of the Philippine Star group
 Full Points is the title of his regular column in The Freeman.
 Emphasis ours.
 Arzaga was the Defense Attache at the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC when we met some 30 years ago.
 A ‘plebe knowle Emphasis ours.dge’ 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 have done in a countdown to the next Philippine election in 2013 – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks, a laborious computation by long hand, before the slide rule, calculators, computers and spreadsheets.
 This is our justification for this milestone as our choice for our countdown:
The candidates that won in the 2010 elections will be up for reelection in three years, with the exception of the elected President, Vice-President and the 12 Senators, although 12 Senators will be chosen. The second Monday in 2013, the date mandated by the Philippine Constitution, is closer than we think.
In any election, the stakes are high for all concerned, but especially for the election in 2013, given that this will only be the second time the Automated Election System will be used. We know of government and non-government electoral reform activities targeted for implementation and operationalization in 2013, one of them undertaken by YouthVote Philippines. This early, therefore, we thought a countdown would guarantee a level of awareness for all stakeholders, borrowing, of course, from that US congressman who came up with the notion, to which we are in agreement, that whatever it is that we want to accomplish for the next election, the time to start is now.
Witful Thinking, Wednesday