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Witful Thinking, Wednesday
Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon
PMA ‘64

SONA….. Sana


An R & R, Read and React, to our last issue, this one coming from constant ‘reader and reactor,’ Cavalier Gregorio “Blackjack/Smokey” Carino ’69:

“Just a reminder that because you are in CONUS this WTW is late. If you were in the IBP [1] then the Thursday there would be Wednesday here thereby making this WTW still on time, but that's assuming you posted this WTW Thursday in IBP which would therefore be Wednesday here in CONUS, but it's now Wednesday here in CONUS and is already Thursday in IBP. Who is at second who was from first who will be at third after coming from second who was at first?”

We aren’t on second or third, but this is a first. This is the first time we cannot seem to understand our WTW C5 [2] who, we must admit, has been quite clear in R & Rs past. 


Last Sunday, the last day of the grueling three-week 2010 Tour de France, what was heard in Paris and around the world was, Viva Espana! Not Vive Le France!

With the prediction we made as early as last week’s WTW, we think we read this as accurately we would a meter – Contador, the Spanish biker, winning this year’s premier cycling event of the world.

This was the third win of Alfredo Contador, impressive by Tour de France standards, but still below the record of seven by Lance Armstrong whose final Tour de France turned out to be far short of the tour de force expected from the celebrated American.


The $100 million mosque and Muslim community center, collaboration between the Cordova Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement, is intended to promote “integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture” based on the Islamic values of “compassion, generosity and respect for all.”

Not surprisingly, however, there has been a groundswell of opposition to the mosque and the Muslim community being built two blocks from ground zero, former site of the World Trade Center, which was demolished and razed to the ground by Muslim terrorists on 9/11/2001, resulting in the death of close to 3,000 people, mostly Americans [3].

Building permissions have been obtained and the plan reportedly has the support of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long-time Democrat turned Republican, and, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

POTUS Obama hasn’t weighed in on this controversial issue and we do not think that he has an obligation to do so. But if he does and follows the lead of Bloomberg and Cuomo, we will be inclined to say to him, as WTW C5 Alfonso “PonsWA” Alvarez would say, “Keep the Change,” Mr. President. 

A change it would be, no doubt about it, but we think it is another change we cannot believe in.


This was the first SONA, State Of the Nation Address, of POTP Aquino.

The nation is in a bad state – this was essentially what he told his audience – the members of the Philippine Congress, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Chief Justice Renato Corona, former Presidents Fidel  Ramos and Joseph Estrada and members of the diplomatic corps, among others – and of course, his “bosses”, the Filipino people.

Speaking entirely in Filipino – a first we think for any Philippine President; previous Presidents delivering their SONA in English, or occasionally, in English and Filipino – POTP Aquino said that after only three weeks in office, his administration discovered many problems. But these problems, Aquino assured his listeners, will be solved.


The long of short of this SONA, we think, is this: long on the problems, short on the solutions.


After going over the English version of his entire speech, we culled 17 specific solutions to the problems he cited, 17 promises of President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III and his administration, to wit:

1. Stamp out extravagance and profligacy. Stop the wasteful use of government funds.
2. Eradicate projects that are wrong.
3. Submit a budget that accurately identifies the problem and gives much attention on the right solution.
4. Continue pursuit of the remaining half of extralegal killings until justice has been achieved, holding murderers accountable.
5. Hold those who are corrupt that work in government account table for their actions.
6. Through the Truth Commission under the leadership of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, search for the truth on the alleged wrongdoing committed in the last nine years.
7. Build public-private partnerships.
8. Build-Operate-and-Transfer projects will undergo quick and efficient processes. With the help of all government agencies concerned and the people, a process that used to take as short as a year and as long as a decade will now only take six months.
9. Registering business names, which used to take a minimum of four to eight hours depending on the day, will be cut down drastically to fifteen minutes. What used to be a check list of thirty-six documents will be shortened to a list of six, and the old eight-page application form will be whittled down to one page.
10. Expand our basic education cycle from seven years to the global standard of twelve years.
11. Improve health care insurance by first identifying the correct number of Filipinos who sorely need PhilHealth coverage to resolve current conflicting data.
12. In the soonest possible time, convene the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) to discuss the important bills that need to be addressed.
13. Push for the Fiscal Responsibility Bill, which will limit spending bills only for appropriations that have identified a source of funding.
14. Do not allow another NBN-ZTE scandal to happen again. Whether from local or foreign sources, all proposed contracts must undergo the scrutiny of correct procedures.
15. Ensure no monopolies, no cartels that kill competition.
16. Strengthen the Witness Protection Program.
17. Be ready for an immediate cease-fire, go back to the table and begin talking again with the MILF and the CPP-NPA-NDF.


Until this time next year, in his next SONA, Sana, all of these promises would come true.
Sana. We wish.


This election, Fox-News, our TV network of choice, won't be covering, to be sure. But neither will our second choices for fair and balanced reporting: CNN, MSNBC or BBC, or the major networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

No PCOS, the Precinct Count Optical Scanner, of Philippine election fame or infamy, will be used for the election.

But the election will occur as scheduled on August 1, 2010 [4] and a good 96 days before the US mid-term elections.

The last time they met for a similar purpose [5], there was a failure of election, as we reported here  [6]. This Saturday, the henpECCeds a.k.a. members of the East Coast Chapter, USA of the PMA Alumni Overseas will elect a President, Vice-President,  Secretary and Treasurer.


It was a festive gala dinner that we were privileged to attend at the Crowne Plaza in Burlingame, California, the final affair of this year’s three-day reunion of alumnae of the College of the Holy Spirit based in the US and Canada.

The attendees were in high spirits, particularly the spirit of giving. Over $200,000 worth of pledges were committed to help various programs, including scholarship programs, of the alumnae’s Alma Mater – College of the Holy Spirit in Manila, Philippines.


In two weeks, we will be in Los Angeles and will be meeting with members of DJLF Foundation as well as potential donors.

No, sir, we aren’t thinking of raising $200,000 for DJLF’s LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project.


At the gala dinner, we noticed that there was a lot of it throughout the night, a hit among the menfolk and the womenfolk – folk singing. Old folks singing.


Neither Vicky nor I watched it, as we were on our way from Manila to San Francisco; but yes, Pards [7],  you were absolutely right. We were indeed featured last week on ABS-CBN/ANC TV, both here and in the Philippines, in the episode on “newlyweds” of the weekly show, Story Line [8].

Vicky was the “story.”

Me? I was the “line.”


I should not have been in the show in the first place, but for the fact that ‘June Brides,’ the original subject of this episode of Story Line had to be changed to “Newlyweds,” after the thrice-postponed interview moved from June to July. And my golfing buddy, Homer Ortega, would swear that I would have preferred to be behind the teeing ground, practicing my approach shots, instead of in front of the camera, trading shots with our interviewer or posing for shots of the camera crew of five, at our place in Malarayat [9].


"Welcome back to the USA!!"

That's all he said in his R&R to last week's WTW. But after a long absence from these United States we know that WTW reader and long-time associate and friend Robert "Bob" Angelo was saying much more than what his five-word, one-liner of an email said.

Thank you, Bob.

We are glad to be home. But where is home? Truthfully, we often wonder.


For our trip that we described “as a trip made in h_ll,” in last week’s issue [10], WTW reader and Vicky’s able assistant, Sarah Sevilla, wrote to tell us, she was “sorry to hear about what happened in your flight last July 15. Didn’t know it was that bad…..”


“Thanks for sharing WTW with me,” Sevilla added, “made me laugh!!”

But Vicky, her boss, wasn’t laughing. She begged to disagree; I mean, she disagreed, telling  me: The trip wasn’t that bad. Courtesy of Cathay Pacific, the hotel stay was free – and so was the buffet dinner where you enjoyed every sushi and sashimi you could get.


The University of Sto. Tomas Singers recently bagged Grand Prize of the Choir of the World- Luciano Pavarotti competition at the 2010 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, in Wales, UK. The COTW is the oldest and most prestigious choir competition in the world.

In the Chamber Choirs category, the De La Salle University Chorale won 2nd place.

Yes, boys and girls, forget politics. Sing.


Anyone could have missed it, but not retired scientist, avid photographer, witty writer, a close family friend and WTW reader Joseph “Joe” Dasbach.

It’s a cross street on River Road, Maryland and as Dasbach said, not far from GEICO, the company where we worked for a number of years.

The street sign on the “photo taken on a Monday, not a Witful Wednesday” clearly reads:

Winston DRIVE
Whittier BLVD

The photo, he attached to an email to us, with the subject: Is Winston wittier?

Thank you, Joe for dropping the “h” and for the witful thought.

We are no Clint Eastwood, but we must say, you made our day.  


Aquino Administration Watch [11].  We continue what we began last week – a countdown of how long the present administration has been in office, using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [12].
Sir, 28 days, 672 hours, 40,320 minutes, 2,419,200 seconds and 4,838,400 ticks have passed since Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III assumed office as President of the Philippines.


dateline: foster city, california

@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 2010-11
volume 063

[1] Acronym for Inang Bayan Pilipinas that translates to Mother Philippines
[2] WTW acronym that stands for Cavalier correspondent, contributor, conspirator/conniver and critic
[3] A typical objection: “Ground Zero is a war memorial, Ground Zero is a burial ground. We are asking for sensitivity…It is unconscionable to build a shrine to the very ideology that inspired the jihadist attacks at Ground Zero, right there. We are asking the imam Rauf and Daisy Khan to be sensitive. For mutual respect and mutual understanding that is demanded of us every day.”
[4] Venue is the residence of Cavalier  Marcial “MJ” de Leon ’68 in Fairfax, Virginia.
[5] Venue as the residence of Cavalier Danilo “DanMelJim” Jimenez ’77 in Clarksburg, Maryland.
[6] 2010-06-09 WTW/"Failure of Elections: Did It Happen?”
[7] Pards is Cavalier Randolph Espejo ’74 posted the email about this on the mailing list of the North East Group, PMAAI
[8] We did get a chance to watch  the show later on, thanks to writer Pat Evangelista who  sent us a video of the show.
[9] A golf development in Lipa, Batangas. 
[10] 2010-07-21 WTW/”Honeymoon and Postulates for  a Presidency”. We had written: Jet-lagged and all, by a trip that we can only describe as a trip made in h_ll (a few particulars: a delayed departure in Manila, a missed connecting flight in Hong Kong, a forced sojourn at a hotel there and after a 12-hour delay that seemed like 24 hours, the final leg to San Francisco and then a long wait at the airport for our ride to our Marlin Cove apartment that did not materialize because our pick-up car couldn’t get out of our garage with a dead battery…..
[11] A segment of WTW is dedicated to a commentary on events and issues involving the administration of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III who took office on June 30, 2010 that coincidentally was a Wednesday, the same day that we post Witful Thinking, Wednesday
[12] 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 have done in a countdown of the number of days POTP Aquino has been in office – 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.

Witful Thinking, Wednesday