Select Page

Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Bok or Mistah, Ka or Cavalier, Iking or Enriquez,
Bravo or Bud Daho
Or Balimbing
What’s In a Name?


My friend could help me, I mused in last week’s issue, to do something about missing on an increasing number of occasions my self-imposed deadline of Wednesday for this column…..if only I had the courage to admit it and to tell her.

“Not courage, but discipline,” she wrote.  Yes, Virginia, she sent me an email.  “You need to start writing the WTW on Thursday and finish it on Monday, so you have Tuesday to edit and polish, then send it out Wednesday.”

She was considerate in leaving out Saturday and Sunday but as you can see, she has all the week days  covered.

After 17 months as a full-time retiree and thanks to my friend, I now have a full-time job!  I only hope this does not disqualify me from receiving my Social Security pension.   


“Can you hear me now?” goes the popular commercial of Verizon.

This couple from Cheyenne, Colorado surely did. To the tune of $4,756.25! A bill – a legitimate one as it turned out, according to the report – for 10,000 text messages received and sent by their daughter, a 13-year old.

In the Philippines, arguably the text capital of the world, this would have cost only 10,000 pesos, just a tad over $250. A whopping $1,200 plus difference!

Memo to Cavalier Arturo “Art” Vidad ’81:   Chalk one for Globe, Smart, Bayantel and Digitel over Verizon.  Advantage Inang Bayan Philippines over the US.


Item:     Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike project — the Defense Department’s costliest weapons program ever.

No, the report does not say Obama is to blame.

Would George W. Bush have been included in the blame game? We wondered about that.

Meanwhile, the haters and hitters of the US all over the world, its foes and even its friends, will be having a field day with this terrible news.

Cavalier Arturo “Art” Vidad ’81 is, in our view, not a hater, but as a US hitter, it is surprising he is letting this pass without a commentary.


This Friday, the “Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. Visayas Fraternal Chapter” will hold its “2nd QUARTER FRATERNAL FELLOWSHIP” in honor of Cavalier Delfin C. Delfin ’74 at the  Montebello Garden Hotel in Banilad, Cebu City.

We like the word, ‘fraternal,’ for a number of reasons, reasons that we feel would be an appropriate center-“piece” subject for a future issue of WTW; granting, however, that ‘fraternal’ may sound too brotherly for our sisterly alumnae. 


It’s not getting easier, coming up with this column each week and on time, but we remain determined and full of hope still that WTW is not about to change from Witful Thinking, Wednesday to Waiting To Waver, Wane, or Wither on the vine.


PMA alumni call their classmates ‘mistah.’ But has “mistah” been replaced by “Bok,” one alumnus, a senior – in fact, at 82 years old, very senior – wanted to know. It was a sure bet Cavalier Columnist Ramon “Mon” Farolan ’56, who continues to be a watchdog and therefore a respected authority on PMA alumni matters such as this, would have the answer. Yet, we opted to ask someone from the lower PMA classes. We reckoned that The Young Ones, not The Young Once, would know better.

“Mistah” and “Bok” are interchangeable, neither one replacing the other, we were told. But part of his response caught us by surprise – a suggestion that “the reason "mistah" is not used as often in public is probably due to the obvious affinity with PMA and these days it's not quite fashionable as it was during the last few years of the term of President Marcos.”

We know a lot of things went out of the window with EDSA 1 but we did not know “mistah” was one of them. If so, maybe our senior alumnus has a reason to ask.


But evidently, our senior alumnus is unaware that “Ka” has replaced “Cavalier” as a standard form of address.

We have no explanation for this preference among many alumni, young and old, especially those in the US west of the Mississippi. 


Our young ‘authoritative’ source (PMA Class ’83) insists, however, that nicknames should suffice.

What? And continue to remember these transmutations that have been established through the years, the rhyme, reason, syntax or protocol for which we can only conjecture to this day?  The likes of:

Banaba for Villanueva. Rayot or Riot for Reyes, depending on your spelling skills or tendencies. Netot or Somar for Ramos, depending on whether you belong to the PMA classes in the 50’s or later. Tebot for Teves. Merong for Romero. Anto for Santos. Caster for Castro. Pejong for Espejo?

Or Iking for Enriquez.

Of course, we can be flexible in our stance; we can allow an exception or two. For example, if you are Cavalier Proscoro Ervin Mundo ’94, then Bruce is acceptable if for no other reason, as Cavalier Mundo himself puts it, Bruce sounds better than Proscoro and at the same time, he avoids explaining that this is the name of an uncle who passed away before he could sire a Proscoro Jr.


Otherwise, when it comes to names, or nicknames, we are adamant about this: Loakan, especially the cadet barracks at Fort del Pilar, is the last place to look.

The supposedly mature and venerable PMA Tactics Group may not be the place to look either. For wasn’t this the same group that toyed with company names like Bud Daho, Tirad Pass, Bud Daho, Imus, Pinaglabanan in favor of the traditional names of Alfa, Bravo, Charlie and Delta? This was short-lived, thank heavens.


Then again, balimbing was, to all of us, one thing and one thing only – that uniquely shaped fruit called a star fruit (cut it crosswise and you get a star-shaped piece); carambola, to the more knowledgeable.

Until EDSA 1, of course, when balimbing became the description for a person who painlessly shifts political affiliation for convenience – a butterfly or turncoat that applied in political as well as military circles.


Mistah or Bok, Cavalier or Ka, Eking or Enriquez, Balimbing or turncoat or butterfly – do we care?

Shakespeare was right all along in his answer to the question, what’s in a name:

“That which we call a rose
By any other Name
would smell as sweet.”

Or as odorous.


Bravo to Bong Ibrado, AFP Chief of Staff designee.

Bravo to Bravo company as well. Bong was a Bravo ‘Brave,’ according to Cavaliers Randolph “Pards” Espejo ’74 and Vladimir “Vlad/Vrad” Punto ‘74, who remain ever faithful to the Bravo company of their cadet and pre-golfing days.


Again, this won’t be in the CA deliberations on his confirmation hearings, but Ibrado, according to Espejo, was on his squad. Ibrado was also on Espejo’s Army Officers’ basketball team in the 80’s. Three other players on that team made it to the position of Chief of Staff: Cavaliers Arturo “Boy” Enrile ’62, Roy Cimatu ’70, and Dionisio “Dionix” Santiago ’70. A fourth, Cavalier Danilo Olay ’65, considered a shoo-in for the position of AFP Chief of Staff, did not make it only because he died in a chopper accident. 

We think a lesson can be learned here. To make it to the exalted position of Chief of Staff, emulate Ibrado, Enrile, Cimatu and Santiago. And by this, we do not mean playing ball. Not even with the Commander-in-Chief. Even a C-in-C who does not go by the initial, GMA.

But yes, it is all right to play with Pards.


From Virginia, Cavalier Cleo “Erfs” Erfe ’69 has enjoined the 49ers, I mean 69ers, to visit the WTW link (
“I dreamt last night,” he said in his email to his classmates, cc WTW, “that if you are featured in the article, you might win a "prize" or a "price" depending on how you were featured. A prize may be a round trip ticket to Adelphi (somewhere in the USA) and a price could be your donation to support one Baguio HS Scholars!!!”

We disavow any connection with this pronouncement, but we do subscribe wholeheartedly to and grateful for Cleo’s idea. Not the idea of prize (we do not have any) but that of the price which our scholars will certainly appreciate (see below).


As this is written, we have breaking news from Tom Panis of the Rotary Club of Metro Baguio – that Muller Bato was "chosen and awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Cordillera Region and is likewise chosen as the Region’s representative to the National Level.”

We take pride in this good news because Bato is a Batch of 2005 Scholar of LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project, of DJLF Foundation. DJLF is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Maryland whose members are former cadets of PMA – graduates and non-graduates – 83 to date, who are now residing abroad, mostly in the US and Canada.

Bato belongs to the first batch of the 31 LEAP scholars in colleges in Baguio and in Iloilo, Leyte and Pampanga that DJLF is supporting since the launching of LEAP at the Baguio City National High School in Fort del Pilar in February 2005.  This total includes Benedict Milo, batch mate of Bato, who after one year in engineering at St. Louis University took and passed the PMA entrance examinations and was admitted to PMA. Milo will be graduating with the Class of 2010 next year.


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-16
city, state