Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
From Across the Miles,
The first issue was not that difficult to write, after we finally gave in and caved in to the irresistible clamor at about this time – yes, Santa, at Christmas time last year – to write this e-column. As we wrote it then, that clamor was ‘deafening’ – a clamor of one (see blog.djlf.org; 2009-01-07 WTW/“Thank You, Vrad”). But writing this, the 50th has not been easy and the next two issues, will not be that easy either.
My fiancée has just given the marching orders: No thinking – wishful or witful or otherwise – this Christmas or the week after that. We have decided, however, to lend a deaf ear to those orders.
But we must admit that “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!” for this issue, and, “Promises, Promises, Promises!” for the next, with a one-liner, “See you all after Christmas” did sound good when we first heard it from her.
We think “Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!” and “Promises, Promises, Promises!” would have been more apt for the United Nations Climate Change Conference on December 8 – 19. Excuses followed by promises, or, promises then excuses – take your pick.
Many are disappointed with the main output of the conference. The big guns – heads of state, no less – were there. They did sign an accord which did not mitigate the discord among the participating countries that prevailed.
COP15, this conference in COPenhagen, turned out to be a virtual COP-out. The cop-out of the richer nations called upon by none other than UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to contribute to a multi-billion dollar fund to help poorer countries cope with the risks and dangers and the serious consequences of global warming.
It won’t be Christmas as usual for the US Senate. Harry Reid, Democratic Majority Leader of the Senate has scheduled a vote on the health care bill at 8 a.m. on the eve of Christmas.
It won’t be Christmas as usual for another former senator at the White House a few blocks away. He is not going anywhere this Christmas eve until he receives from his former colleagues his Christmas gift: Obamacare, wrapped exactly and delivered the way he has long wanted it.
Yes, Virginia, there’s a Santa in senator’s clothing. He is a Democrat.
The Philippines is targeting the global MICE market.
Yes, Bj, there is such a market, but it’s not what you are thinking.
It’s the market for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions and the Philippines is setting its sights on getting a respectable share of it, estimated to be in the neighborhood of $300-billion.
You have to read his book if you want to know the secrets of his success, but world boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao revealed in an interview that talking with God is one of them.
That’s just fine with WTW reader, Cavalier Patrocel “Pat” Duque ’65 – Pacquiao’s closeness with God. Kristo , yes; Krista , no.
Floyd Mayweather, with his 40-0 record and the world boxing championship in 5 divisions, could have been Reuter’s Boxer of the Decade but Pacquiao beat him to it.
So, this round in December goes to Pacquiao, a good omen for the rounds to follow in his mega-fight with Mayweather in Las Vegas next March. Duque thinks otherwise.
In our last issue (2009-12-16 WTW/“An ‘A’ for the Comelec”), we wrote about the Phillippine President calling Pacquiao, Pangmundong Kamao (Fist of the World). “At the rate Pacman is getting entangled with women,” Duque warns, “he could be Makamundong Kamao” (italics ours). ‘Worldly’ Fist, and, he could lose to Mayweather.
Pacquiao explained the other day why he joined the Nacionalista Party and endorsed its standard-bearer, his namesake Manny Villar, instead of the party of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Pacman’s explanation: ‘Ma’am’ is not running for President.
An elated Manny Villar responded, "This is the start of a long partnership."
Yes, we think it will last that long – 135 days. That’s the time between now and the 2010 elections – and dwindling down faster than Villar can say “Pacman.” (see our countdown at the bottom of this column).
Results of a survey, December 8 – 18, on their choice for President in the 2010 elections: Aquino, 61%; Teodoro, 14%; Villar, 7%; Gordon, 3%; Estrada, 1%.
Bad news and an unwelcome gift, eight days before Christmas, to Aquino’s rivals, especially tail-ender Estrada, coming from the respondents from the Makati Business Club. That’s MBC, not MBClls, as in, imbeciles!
In the same survey, the respondents – 85% Filipinos and 7% foreigners (8% did not disclose their nationality) – also identified issues that the next administration should immediately address: corruption (79%); peace and order (35%); infrastructure (24%); economy (20%); poverty (17%); fiscal deficit (15%).
Looking at their list, we think these business leaders in the country know their business. They won’t stand for any monkey business from the next administration, Aquino’s or not.
Country-wide, the pulse it seems continues to beat for Aquino as well. In a Pulse Asia survey conducted December 8-10, Aquino, with 45%, led Villar (23%), Estrada (19%), Teodoro (5%), and Gordon and Villanueva, both at 1%.
From across the miles, our first in a long time to spend the Holidays in Inang Bayan Pilipinas, the Philippines, to WTW readers, here and everywhere: Merry Christmas. Maligayang Pasko.
Did we actually hear them say this, or, are these, as usual, wishful thinking on our part?
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: That my multitude of critics and foes heard and heed spokesperson Gary Olivar when he said this is what I want for Christmas – a truce. And if so, can I ask if Christmas can be extended until the end of my term in June?
Cavalier Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69: That I can rid myself of this thought and tell myself, what a terrible and un-Christian thing to say during Christmas – we do not have to worry too much about the afterlife. After nine years of GMA, hell will be a picnic.
Presidential Candidate Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro: A BMW that can go from 0 to 60 mph in seconds may be asking too much, so anything, anything at all that will propel my ratings from 5 to 60 per cent in the next five months, I will accept.
Tiger Woods: That Gillette was the first and the last of my sponsors to cut and run; that AT & T would not call to cancel his endorsements.
Senatorial Candidate Satur Ocampo: That the Filipino people, especially the voters, believed me when I said that it was just “good manners” – shaking the hand of the son of the strongman in whose hands I suffered during the martial law years as not “reconciliation and forgiveness.” Not even at Christmas time.
Senatorial Candidates Lisa Maza and Satur Ocampo: That we will be always on his left, if forced to pose for photo-ops with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in the course of the senatorial campaign.
Cavalier Cleo “Erfs” Erfe ’69: That the snowfall by my home in Aldie, Virginia a couple of days ago will come again on Christmas eve, for my first ever truly White Christmas – and please, no shoveling.
Nicodemo T. Ferrer, Lucenito N. Tagle, Elias R. Yusof: That despite their unpopular decisions, the Filipino people will still regard them as the Chair and members of COMELEC’s Second Division, not Second-Rate Division.
Anent last week’s issue (2009-12-16 WTW/“An ‘A’ for the COMELEC”), our thanks for the R & R  from WTW readers, Cavalier Jose “Joe” Dado ‘54  Larry Leviste 
Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge , we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back:
Sir, there are 138 days, 3,312 hours, 198,720 minutes, 11,923,200 seconds and 23,8466,400 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections (or non-election).
makati city, philippines
 Christ, in Filipino.
 Krista is Krista Ranillo, who appeared as Pacquiao’s love interest in a movie which fueled rumors of an affair between the two, especially when Krista and his family were seen at ringside during the Pacquiao-Cotto fight in Las Vegas.
 Reading and Reacting, in WTW-speak
 Dado wrote: “Excellent WTW issue. Keep it up.”
 Leviste wrote to say he liked our take on Tiger
 A ‘plebe knowledge’ 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 do in the countdown to the Philippine national election – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks (Two ticks equal one second, but don’t ask why. This computation was there only for us to apply, never to question why).
Witful Thinking, Wednesday