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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


No Thanks, Osama bin Laden


“What’s wrong with a Blackberry anyway?” I asked my friend. “An iPhone,” she said.

Yes, she has a new iPhone. No, I don’t have one.

“Eat your heart out, Blackberry man.” She could have said this, but no, she didn’t.


We googled ‘Obama’s 100 days’ and clicked on the first item that was returned by the search.

We got a Web page, with a picture of the 44th US President at the top of the page. And the rest of the page? A come-on to order, in order: Obama T-shirts, Obama mugs; Obama cards; Obama calendars and Obama shoes.

What is happening to this country?


We clicked the next item.  We got a Web page that showed a polling of the 100 days of US Presidents done from 1981 through 2009.

62% of those polled said that Obama is leading the country in the right direction. 

Exactly the same number, 62%, said the same thing about President George W. Bush after his first 100 days.

And we all know how popular Bush was when he left the White House after 2,920 days.


It was our pleasure to join the NORCAL affair, Sunday, April 27.

Good hosts in Cavalier Rolando “Rolly” Bruce ’74 and OAO Baby. Good venue in their spacious home in South San Francisco.

Good crowd. Good food. Good wine. Good camaraderie. Good sharing of experiences. Good Karaoke.

But, bad jokes, mine included.


NORCAL, by the way, although sited in the US, has no connection to NORAD. In the words of its President Cavalier (for the record, he, like his constituents, prefers “Ka”) Irwin Ver ’70, NORCAL is the Northern California “fraternal chapter” of the PMA Alumni Association.

Our discussion on “fraternal chapters” was interrupted.

Not by PMAAAI. By Karaoke. Maybe, next time around, this will change.  


PC, I mean Painter Cavalier Gabriel Riego de Dios ’81 has just completed two new paintings. “April Moments” and “Blue Moon,” like three of his earlier paintings – “Dance of the Clay Pot,” “Butterfly Sleeves,” and “Mountain Beauty” the two are non-PMA.

What happened to PPP, “A Peemayer Paints PMA,” we asked him.

“These paintings come to me as a whim or inspiration in between the PPP series…..for example, while waiting for the oil layers of “Bright Beacon” to touch dry (takes about 2 weeks) before I can add another layer…..I set up another easel (to) churn up with another painting using acrylics.”

Did you get that boys and girls? We didn’t. That’s why we are not the painter, Gabriego is.

We do get it when he writes that “with the commitment to PLEA, I am proud to announce that donations from my paintings have already helped 2 Cavalier families.” PLEA stands for Project to Extend Assistance to PMAyers and their families, a project of DJLF Foundation of which Gaby is a member (WTW 09-02-18, “PCA, PMA, AMP, PPP”).


I did better – actually, no worse — than the three seniors on my flight last Friday. They were beginners, by their own admission, and asked me for some golf advice.

I did not have the heart to tell them the best golf advice I have gotten since I started to play the game.

The advice: play solitaire.


That Easter weekend trip to beautiful Monterey, California I had planned a long time ago – and a visit to the Naval Postgraduate School I expected to be a high point of the trip.

It was unfortunate my schedule would not allow me to be at the NPS when it celebrates its centennial in May, but this was a good time as any to visit an “alma mater,” to be back 26 years after graduation.


Approaching the gate, I could see them in my mind: the sedate campus; the academic building Hermann Hall; the academic buildings, Bullard, Halligan, King, two others I could not remember and of course, my favorite Ingersoll Hall where most Information Systems classes were held; the Officers Club; the transient quarters; the library. I may even be able to get to a classroom or two. 

“Sorry, sir, but, you can’t enter.” The guard was courteous but firm.

Flashing the smile I reserve exactly for occasions such as this – when I feel like shouting, “I pay my taxes that maintain this school and pay for your salary!” – I explained to him that I am an alumnus of the school visiting his “alma mater.”

The gate remained closed. I was directed to try the Main Gate where the guard asked me to go to the Vehicle Pass and ID Office. The lady there was friendlier but she was no less firm. I could not go inside, sorry, she said, unless I knew someone who could escort me inside the premises.


Anyone could go through these gates, students and visitors, when I studied here, I told the lady. I should know. I lived on 8th Street, just across this main gate. What happened? Why the new restrictions?

“This is a military installation now.”

“Since when?” I asked. “Since 9/11.”


So much for my sentimental visit to my “alma mater;” so much for my long-awaited journey down memory lane.

It got me to the Naval Postgraduate School all right – all the way to the parking lot and no further. The parking lot outside of the NPS main gate.

No thanks, Osama bin Laden.


His name: Francisco T. San Miguel Class of 1951. One would think his ‘mistahs’ (Bok was not in fashion then) would call him Kiko or Isko, or, Frank or Francis, depending on where you stood in the colonial mentality divide prevalent then, 5 years after Philippine independence from America.

Surprise!  They called him Mike. 


I know he would prefer Cavalier Mike, not Ka Mike. But I just call him, Sir Mike. A force of habit (he was deputy commander of SouthCom when I was assigned there in my other life). And respect.


The book on ‘Bok’ can’t be closed just yet, given the reactions to our center-“piece” subject last week (WTW 09-04-22, “Mistah or Bok, Cavalier or Ka, Iking or Enriquez, Bravo or Bud Daho, Or Balimbing – What’s in a Name?”) that were just too numerous, strident and insistent to ignore, reactions surpassing those we received to an earlier center-“piece” that proved to be a favorite among our readers (WTW 09-02-25, “But Where is the Kissing Rock?”). 


The etymology of ‘Bok,’ courtesy of Cavalier James “Jim” Montanez ’82, was interestingly appealing: “Bunkmate” to “Bunk” to “Bongk” and ultimately, “Bok.” 


And BOK as an acronym, courtesy of Ben Hur Patron x81, ennobling: BOnded in Kinship. We pass on the other meaning, BOnded in Kabogan.


Bok has gained many adherents particularly among the young. The rule of thumb, it seems,  is “mistah” for PMA Classes in the 60s or earlier, otherwise “Bok” – excepting Cavalier Renato “Rene” de Villa ’57 and his mistahs who, according to Cavalier Carlos “Chuck” Agustin, and “assigned at PMA occupying the same quarters at FDP in the early '60s were very audibly always using the word "BOK" with each other.  In our group then they were really the only ones using the term – and only to each other.”


Meanwhile, Cavalier Leopoldo “Pol” Aliac ’67 seems to have no problem that those that female cadets and alumna who prefer Bok over Mistuh will address each other Bokya? Except that bokya is a card game he claims his good neighbor in L.A. used to play.


Patron, Ka Benzi to his fellow Cavaliers in the West Coast, particularly in Southern California, was the only one who gave his take on Ka, but what a ka-ptivating, I mean captivating, take it was.

Ka, he wrote, is an address widely used in his home province of Batangas, long before the INK and the NPA started using it, an old word in Tagalog word, to mean a lot of things. And on his long list were Ka-patid (brother); Ka-ibigan (friend); Ka-ka (older siblings); Ka-sama (companion, buddy); Kamag-anak (relative); Ka-panalig sa paniniwala (fellow believers); Kagalang-galang (Honorable); Ka-putol (the other half).

And not to forget: Ka-dete (cadet); Ka-balyero (Cavalier).

So interesting and engaging a list, I was tempted to sign off, at least for this week’s WTW, as KArf-KArf ’64. Ka-upay. And this means, good, in Waray.


Did we hear Ka-pampangans, at least two of them we know, Dan Perico ’71 and Vlad Punto ’74 say, Ka-balen? Or WTW fave from Rancho Cucamonga, Cavalier Agapito “Peythong” Heredia ’70, say Ka-rancho, as in buddy or soul-mate? 


We thank all the others that weighed in on our center-“piece” subject, among them, Cavaliers  Orvile Gabuna ’67, Aurelio “Ying” Palmos ‘68, Michael “Chasan” Sanchez ‘81, Randolph “Pards” Espejo ’74, and Daisy, OAO of Cavalier Domingo “Jun” Tucay ’65.


Not surprisingly, we have changed our mind this week. We now think the Bard from Stratford-upon-Avon was wrong. Dead wrong, no offense intended.

There is more to a name than what he wrote.


“You are sixteen, going on seventeen…”

For this salute, we thank you, Liezl and Rolf. We thank you, Rodgers and Hammerstein. We thank you, Sound of Music. But how did you know last week’s was the 16th and this one is the 17th issue of WTW?

Vrad, we hear you. Truthfully, there’s no salute, just witful, wishful thinking on our part.


@arf-arf ’64,
wtw 09-17