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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64

  Vamos A Ver!


Tacloban City, Philippines. What a perfect excuse for not posting an issue of WTW, for the first time in 43 weeks!
Then Cavalier Rufo “Boots” de Veyra ’70, unbidden, comes into the picture and spoils the fun.


De Veyra is my ‘remote’  host. He’s in Manila, not Tacloban, but like a typical alum of the prestigious Asian Institute of Management, he can micro-manage from a distance, more effectively than his wife could when she was in Manila – and working at AIM, for crying out loud – and he was based in the mountains of Samar (his description, not ours).

Today Wednesday, de Veyra told Pepito, his man Friday, to bring me to Bo’s Coffee Club where connection to the Internet is available for free and where I can do my WTW work. And to think that de Veyra does not even read this column!


Across the street from Bo’s Coffee, we see a university campus and we can’t help a rush of nostalgia seizing us.

Life was simpler when we were students here 50 years ago. It was St. Paul’s College then.

Now, the sign on the main building reads: Liceo de Verbo Divino. We know this is neither Pilipino nor Waray-Waray [1]. And if this is Latin, as we suspect, that language is not exactly our cup of coffee.


Now comes a report that a Dutchman, Johan Huiebers, a ‘creationist’ (whatever that means), has built a Noah's Ark, in the exact scale given in the Bible. Two-thirds of the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house, the ark has, according to the report, “life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.”

In anticipation of a repeat of the deluge of Ondoy and Pepeng and Santi and God knows how many more before the year is over, we are thinking….. Maybe, GMA’s recent creation, the Special National Public Reconstruction Commission, should commission the creation of an ark of similar size: 150 cupits long, 30 cupits high and 20 cupits wide.

Sorry, we mean 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide.


Five days ago, the Internet turned 40. On October 29, 1969, UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock led a team that got a computer at UCLA to "talk" to another computer a research institute. The rest is history.

Tardy or not, ‘Witful Thinking, Wednesday’ intends to be around when the Internet turns 41. And who knows, maybe longer?


Item:   Posting the strongest growth in two years in the third quarter after four negative quarters – the actual 3.5 per cent growth in the July-September period was better than the 3.2 expected -  the country that both Cavaliers Danilo “DanMelJim” and Arturo “Art” Vidad ’81 love to compare and contrast with Inang Bayan Philippines [2}  emerges from a long recession.  .

POTUS Obama elected to choose his words carefully in reacting to the favorable development, saying that this was “an affirmation that this recession is abating and the steps we have taken have made a difference.”

Cavalier Wilfredo “Willie” Mejia ’72 may agree with what we think:  This is another instance of the US President’s skill at ‘calibrating his words.’


Meanwhile, they're waiting for the first visit of Obama to the Asian region this month.

Last July, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the first head of state to visit the US with Obama as President. But no, boys and girls, Obama’s itinerary does not include a return visit to the Philippines.


La Loren Legarda revealed this week that Chiz Escudero has not called her since he bolted their party, the National People’s Coalition. Therefore, she has slammed the door on Chiz.

Memo to LLL:  Having chosen their mates, er, running mates, Noynoy Aquino and Erap Estrada won’t be calling anytime soon. If Manny Villar and Gibo Teodoro won’t be calling either, maybe you can leave the door open for Jun Ebdane. 


Headline:   6 Pampanga mayors want GMA in House.

We agree. Enough of those travels already. She should stay in the house. And stay put there.


Chiz Escudero, all of 40 years old, the minimum age to run for President, has made it clear that it’s the 2010 election he is aiming at and 2016 is not an option. Moreover, it’s the presidency or nothing.

Unless there’s a miracle, we think, the choice is clear. Nothing.


Nicanor Perlas, is a lesser known aspirant, by his own admission. Like Escudero, he also made it clear that he would seek the highest elective post and nothing else. An activist-environmentalist, he has declared that his will be a "green candidacy."

We can’t help but think: green or greenhorn?


Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, was the guest of honor at the forum of the National Press Club. He predicted an opposition victory in 2010. It was described in the papers as a “no-holds barred” forum.

No, Bj, Erap did not ask that the forum be held in a bar.


"Cerebral deficit" was the term used by the Comelec when it decided on a petition to disqualify Joseph Estrada for the presidential election.

No, they were not describing Erap but Oliver Lozano, the lawyer who filed the petition


Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President [3]:   

10.   One more “suitor” to add to Loren Legarda’s lengthening list of presidential candidates.
09.   The Man from Zambales Loves The Man from La Mancha and Karaoke: This is my quest… to follow the stars…no matter how hopeless…no matter how far…” [4]


It is true. My fiancée has left me, and for good reason.

I don’t blame her. Under similar circumstances, I would have done exactly the same thing.

I would like to think that I know a thing or two about GFMD. Then again, no one would invite me to Athens, Greece to speak on and participate in roundtable discussions of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. 


It was posted last month in the mailgroup of NORCAListos [5] But after the skirmish over the food in boodlefight-style, the host, Ambassador  Marciano Paynor Jr. who is the Consul General in San Francisco and a member of PMA Class of 1971, in his brief talk, called upon his fellow Cavaliers “to play a more active and visible role in the Fil-Am community,” to aspire to be leaders as they were trained to be in their days at PMA.


Evidently, Cavalier Fernando “Butch/Baltic” Baltazar ’81 was listening. For no later than he had digested the Ambassador’s food and food for thought during the boodlefight,  he posted an email to his fellow NORCAListos, broaching the idea of a California State Senator from among the ranks of NORCAL. A particular name was mentioned, a name he had been thinking of as early as 2005.


We watched and were pleasantly surprised that Bautista’s proposal was not without takers. 

Away from the action, we had to settle with a reaction that was a guarded one.
Vamos a Ver! Let us see.

Let us to see, we were hearing ourselves say in Loakan-speak, trying to contain our hopes.


“Before this one gets out of hand, let me quickly express my regrets to all who have placed so much faith in me that I can be qualified for an elected public office. The simple fact is that I am not interested in running for office.

“…..but as I've said then I don't have such grandiose plans, especially this late in my life, nor do I personally think I have the political skills to become a successful legislator. Besides, I lack the 'fire in my belly' to merely surmise a career in politics.

“… play a more active and visible role in the FilAm community does not necessarily mean we must have one of our own be elected to public office.

“Rather we need to find an advocacy activity whether targeted here or to our homeland, for which we can focus our efforts into, and by so doing we earn the recognition and respect of the FilAm communities here in the US.”

With these words, classy and meaty in our view, Bautista’s choice had politely declined.


End of story? We think not. We hope not.

For one thing, proponent Baltazar, we gather, is not about to give up on his original proposal.

Meanwhile, we remain hopeful – and still guarded.

Vamos a Ver. Let us see…..


To our three-liner on pre-nups in our last issue, [6] this WTW reader wrote:
A former and truly wealthy classmate of mine way back in high school had a favorite 2-liner which may also apply….it goes: "What's mine is yours, what's yours is already mine."

Thank you, Joel B. Guevara.

Yes, boys and girls, Joel is the son of Joe L. Guevara, our favorite columnist before Ramon J. Farolan.


Once more, the tardiness of WTW caught the eye of Cavalier Gregorio “Blackjack” Carino ’69, who wrote, “…..because WTW once again came today, Friday, I am beginning to believe that you are purposely trying to keep us off balance. Like a good pitcher you keep us guessing what to expect, fast ball or curve ball or a splitter or a spitter.”

As a New Yorker, Carino, we think, is rubbing it in, reminding us that our teams – the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels – are not in the World Series. And neither are the Washington Nationals. And this is no curve ball.


Some LOL prediction we have received. Yes, LOL, as in Land of Lapu-Lapu.

“Erap and Noynoy will be the only ones left in the race. It will be the elites against the masa.” (Italics ours).

And he dared us, “how much are you willing to bet against my 2 (word omitted)?”

We would have accepted his daring challenge as we feel reasonably certain that his prediction won’t come to pass and because he has our highest respect and esteem and we can’t let him lose and lose those two of his precious, if aging (his word, not ours) possessions.


Our MVP is out. Manuel V. Pangilinan, the Most  Valuable Person, in our view, in the post-disaster recovery effort of the Philippines [7] 

By virtue of Executive Order 838 issued by the President,  a Special National Public Reconstruction Commission has been created with Finance Secretary Margarito Teves as Commissioner.

As chair of a private entity, the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, however, Pangilinan, we think, still counts as MVP.


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [8], we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back: 

Sir, there are 187 days, 4,488 hours, 269,280 minutes, 16,156,800 seconds and 32,313,600 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections (or non-election).


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-43
tacloban city, philippines



[1]    Waray-Waray is the dialect spoken in the province of Leyte.

[2]   ‘Inang Bayan Philippines’ translates to ‘Mother Country Philippines’.
[3]   We indicated in our last issue that we have  joined in the speculations – largely those in the PMA e-forums, PnC (PlebesaNdCavaliers) and ACF (Academy Cavaliers’ Forum) – on this subject, Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President, at one reason per week. Contributions from readers are welcome. As we have done this week, we will acknowledge the contributor, unless he/she asks us not to do so.

[4]   A contribution of Cavalier Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69.

[5]   Members of  PMA-NORCAL, a fraternal organization of former PMA cadets in San Francisco and the rest of  Northern California area as a “boodlefight.” [x] Initially a term used by the military, particularly in the military academies, the term boodlefight has taken on different meanings over the years and used now even by civilians. Its original meaning:  A military style of eating, boodlefight is a symbol of brotherhood where food is served usually on top of the banana leaves, or newspapers if banana leaves are not available. Food is eaten with bare hands. No plates. No spoon. No fork. No chairs.

[6]   This is what we wrote in that WTW issue:
"It is the simplest of pre-marital agreements or pre-nups.
My fiancée keeps all that she has.
I keep all that I don't have."

[7]   see 09-10-14 WTW/”Initial-ly Speaking: Presidential and Vice-Presidential Hopefuls et. al.”)

[8]   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.