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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


But Where is the Kissing Rock?

At long last, I. was able to start playing at Malayarat, a private golf course in Lipa City, thanks to the generosity of a friend, a member of the club.

I did notice that her written authorization, dated January 31, was good only until March 9, but she told me not to worry. It is renewable, she assured me, "subject to good behavior."
So, if you happen by Malayarat, Manila or Makati, and you see a well-behaved golfer – and friend – that's probably me.

The Obama administration has upheld the Bush detainee policy that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there.

In all fairness to President Obama, this one, unlike Guantanamo, was not on his CWCBI list, Change We Can Believe In.

World won't accept GMA.

I could not believe that this headline just flashed before my eyes.

Then, I realized moments later that it was just witful, I mean wishful, thinking on my part.

The newspaper was folded and the headline partly was covered as a result.

The headline actually read:
World won't accept another Edsa – GMA.

That's another story. And I'm not going there.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been urged to resign for purportedly sitting on high-profile cases involving allies of the administration.

"We're investigating everyone," she declared defiantly.

Everyone, except herself.

A case of an ombuds(woe)man that needs to be replaced by an ombudsman?

"….it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease." Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chair Miriam Santiago.

I may never know where the grease will be coming from, but now I know why the squeaky voice constantly heard in committee hearings. Thank you, Madame Senator.

All through last week, particularly towards the weekend, all roads led to Baguio City, for a couple thousand that made the annual trek to the PMA alumni homecoming at Fort del Pilar.

This was our driver's first trip to Baguio but I knew that if he just followed the trail of class streamers overhead we will make it. And we did.

The class mottos that have become as standard on these class streamers as the class crests are very revealing. I'd like to think they give a sense of what the class, in a lot of ways, is all about, what they think of themselves collectively or the values they hold dear, at least, while they were cadets.

A unique identity of one class. Matatag. Masikap. Makatarungan. Matapat.
Dimalupig. Sandigan. Matikas. Tanglaw Diwa. Maringal. Bantay Laya.

I am at a loss, however, getting a sense of one motto, one of only two, I understand, that is not in Filipino. Class 68's Quis Separabit.

Someone told me, it means "walang sabit" or "walang kabit" but I have my doubts because this fellow doesn't know Latin.

Cavalier Ramon "MonMon" Mitra '88, on the other hand, thinks it translates to "Why Just Now?" but I know MonMon doesn't understand a word of Latin either.

The other, "Suaviter Sed Fortiter," motto of Class 69, sounds and feels Latin-ish as well, but in any case, is even more of a nightmare for any translator.

On the other motto that continues to intrigue me – Marilag – I can only speculate that there has to be a "dilag" in this identity. And if so, were the cadettes of Class '95 truly dominating? Or, were the cadets in the class simply chivalrous, too marilag to object?

These mottos started with the Class of 1967, four years too late for our class.

We continue to have none, but not for lack of trying. I, for one, have given it more than a fleeting thought.

Knowing, through rumor or observation or both, the inclinations and practices of my classmates in their domestic life, I have proposed that "Masunurin" would be a good class motto.

The ladies love it but my classmates have been consistently lukewarm to it.

Maybe, "Macho-nurin" would be a happy compromise?

Talking of streamers, Class 64 may have set a record for this alumni homecoming. By the count of Cavalier James "Jimmy" Valeros '64, we had more streamers than attendees, 14 – 5. An average of over two streamers per attendee!

You can trust Jimmy's numbers. A Baguio resident, he has been responsible for setting up these streamers since our first homecoming.

I was one of three golfers of Class 64 – two golfers short of the minimum number of five members from each class to qualify for the annual golf competition, dubbed "Battle of the Classes."

Cavalier Oscar "Oca" Calderon '73, former PNP chief, joined our threesome.

Oca, now the chief of Bilibid Prisons, took no prisoners as he mercilessly clobbered all three of us with his excellent play. No surprise to me as I learned from him through subtle elicitation that he was the athletic sabre awardee when he graduated.

Oca was four over par after 9 holes.

I was four over par too. But that was after the first hole.

Mercifully, the rains came but not soon enough to end my earlier misery and agony on the course. We were already on our last hole when the first raindrop fell.

Oca finished 18 holes. He scored 82, 10 over par.

I finished 18 holes too. And the similarity ends there.

My consolation: I was only two strokes shy of a perfect score. If we were playing bowling, I would have beaten Oca by a whopping 16 pins!

Three potential C-in-Cs after the 2010 elections attended this homecoming.
Two marched during the parade and review in honor of PMA alumni. Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas, "adopted" members of PMA classes '69 and '84, respectively.

The third c-in-c-iable was in the grandstand. GOHAS, Guest of Honor and
Speaker, SND Gilbert Teodoro.

A fourth was unable to attend. Unlike Legarda, Roxas and Teodoro, this c-in-c-iable attended and graduated from PMA. Cavalier Panfilo "Ping" Lacson '71.

Another one, decidedly a long shot – he hasn't made it to the top ten in the Social Weather Stations list of presidentiables – was present, as he has always been in previous alumni homecoming. Cavalier Senator Rodolfo "Pong" Biazon '61.

Pictures of Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas, in the colorful uniform of and marching with their "mistahs," were prominent in at least one Sunday newspaper, flashing smiles and OK signs. OK for Victory, I presumed.

And who said there won't be elections in 2010?

Cavalier Cleo Erfe '69, – a mere alumnus before and during the parade – may have attained celebrity status the morning after. He made it to the front pages as well.

There was a picture of a full-length left arm behind Loren Legarda. "That
arm was mine," he swears.

This happening did not make it to the newspapers, national or local – the awarding ceremony on Sunday evening at City Travel Hotel of six scholars, Batch of 2009, of LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project of DJLF Foundation. DJLF is a non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Maryland whose members, 82 as of last count, are former PMA cadets, Loakaneers, now residing outside the Philippines (see WTW 09-02-04).

This activity of DJLF members attending the annual PMA alumni homecoming is normally held on Monday during the flag ceremony at the Back City National
High School, Fort del Pilar annex. It was moved earlier to Sunday after the Presidential proclamation of Monday as a special holiday for all private and public schools.

This year's DJLF delegation was the smallest since LEAP was launched in 2005 (about 25 made it then), consisting only of Cavaliers Danilo "Danny" Perico '71, acting Chair and President; Jesus "Jake" Duller '69, chair of the DJLF Scholarship Committee; Urban "Jun" Fabros '71, Board member; Cleo "ERFE" Erfe '69, Board member and Delegation head; and yours truly, Chair and President on sabbatical leave.

Cavalier Clark "Larry" Doria '74, a DJLF member, made it to the Saturday homecoming but had to leave for Manila before the awarding.

DJLF has now supported or is supporting the college scholarship of 31 high school students, the bulk of which graduated from the high school in Fort del Pilar (28); and one each from a high school in Iloilo, Pampanga and Leyte.

Benedict Milo, LEAP Scholar, Batch 2005, passed the PMA entrance exams in 2006 as an Engineering student at St. Louis University, and, saved DJLF Foundation more than a couple of thousand dollars in tuition fees, textbook and other school expenses. Now a secondclassman, he belongs to the PMA Class of 2010.

For the first time in five renditions of the awarding, we missed the presence of the PMA Superintendent or his representative. We hope "Never on Sunday" is not a favorite song of PMA Supt Leonardo "Jun" Calderon '76 or members of his staff.

Memo for the PMA Supt, VADM Calderon:
If only for extra insurance, sir, that you can attend, the awarding will be
held on Monday next year.

I was glad Marcos Highway over Kennon Road was our choice for our return to Manila; otherwise we would not have passed the intersection of Pacdal Road and Park Circle. And I would have missed the police station with this sign:
24 Hours

As it turned out, I did not see a similar reassuring sign in other police station along the way, from Mountain Province to Metro Manila.

In sum, spending five days in Baguio City for the PMA alumni homecoming – and add to that the awarding of LEAP scholars – was well worth it. I have no regrets, as always.

But where was the Kissing Rock? The ladies in our group, wanted to know and see. One, in particular, was adamant, as she still wonders to this day why her husband, in four years of his cadetship, never brought her there.

Two classmates insisted the Kissing Rock was where it had always been during our time, over yonder to the right of the gymnasium, at the end of a downward, winding trail that started from the armory, Cunanan Hall.

Another classmate said it had been moved to the vicinity of the Lopez Hall of Heroes, where the Boodle Bar used to be.

We didn't get to see and check this out for ourselves before leaving Fort del Pilar.

So, forget that cruise to the Greek Isles in February, my friend. It's PMA alumni homecoming for us, again, next year.

On last week's WTW center-"piece" (see WTW 09-02-18), Cavalier Delfin "Del" Lorenzana '73 wrote: "thanks for mentioning my kabayan Gaby Riego de Dios (we are both from Cotabto). I have just ordered one of his paintings (print only because the orig is way beyond my means). Nevertheless, if Cavaliers will patronize him he would have more resources to continue with his avocation. He has big plans and I am sure it is only a matter of time before he realizes it. Meantime he needs our support."

And from Cavalier Robert "Bob" Dance '68: "His latest painting, "Bright and Shining Beacon," is excellent. I just bought prints of all three of his paintings. I just need to find wall space to display them. I look forward to the next painting in the series."

Also last week, I wrote that Cavalier Alfonso "Ponswa" Vasquez '83 was a member of the Corps of Professors.

"I regret," he corrected me, "that I cannot say I was part of the illustrious Corps of Professors ( to which two of my classmates – Col. (Atty.) Jun Manansala and Col. Mike Morales (ret.) belonged to. I never got anywhere around educating anyone except myself….."

And his name is Alvarez, not Vasquez.

WTW regrets both the error of fact and the typo error. Sorry, Pansoy, I mean, Ponswa.

Cavalier Guillermo "Gerry" Cunanan '66 wrote, "…..reading your Wednesday column. I suggest you add to the days when we can happily partake of your wit and humor."

Suggestion well-taken, Gerry.

But my response is the same as before: I am taking the cue from my (favorite?) Cavalier Columnist Ramon "Mon" Farolan '56. I will add days to my Wistful Thinking, Wednesday if he does the same to his Reveille, Monday.

As this is written, reports from the US indicate large majorities of support for President Obvious $787 billion economic stimulus package and $75 billion plan for stemming mortgage foreclosures, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Additionally, the same poll indicates that Obvious bipartisan support has eroded substantially in the past month, with just 37 percent of Republicans approving of how he has done his job.

Not to worry, Mr. President. Honeymoons seldom, if ever, last long. Not even for a dearly beloved President like you. But just make sure this does not lead to divorce.

A divorce after a honeymoon can be messy.



@arf-arf '64
wtw 09-08
baguio, philippines