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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


A Loss 


Last week, we were a tad tardy; more than a tad as a matter of fact, someone suggested – and this is not the first time, mind you – that ‘Woefully Tardy, Wednesday’ would be more apt for WTW than Witful Thinking, Wednesday.


Trying our best to beat our self-imposed deadline, we were working on the issue for 2009-09-23 WTW, with ‘Tag of War, Tug of War, Thug of War?’ as our center-“piece” subject [1].

But before we could complete and post that issue, we were overtaken by that cataclysmic event, the tropical storm that devastated the Philippines on
Saturday, September 27, 2009. We had to drop what we were doing and decided on an abbreviated issue. Thus, last week’s “Typhoon Ondoy/Tropical Storm Kesana,” the shortest of WTW’s past 38 issues, as we found ourselves at a loss for words and emotions in the face of such misfortune and suffering.


And why are we tardy once again, and this time, not just by a tad, but by a thud, a thundering thud? And whatever happened to that 2009-09-30 issue?

Running out of excuses [2], we are afraid this may be the last one: Ralphie ate it! 

Ralphie, a.k.a. Ralphatron, Ralphi Tank, RalphaMale, Ralphecta is a puppy of Carlos. Carlos is the youngest son of my fiancée.


The good news is that today is Wednesday and for the first time in a long while, this WTW issue is on time. Never mind if we had to skip one to get back on track.


We were reading “Culture of Corruption,” a book by MM (no, not the celebrated Marilyn Monroe – we wish it were – but Michelle Malkin who may not be as celebrated as Monroe but a celebrity nonetheless to some, particularly those who tune in to the "fair and balanced" reporting
We think Cavalier Arturo "I Told You So" Vidad ‘81 would be very pleased to know, if he hasn’t read the book yet, that Malkin is writing about corruption in IBP [3] but in the good, old US of A.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we left the book at Deakins Hall [4]. And there goes our chance to be on the good side of our favorite ex-professor of PMA, the erudite and learned Cavalier Dante Simbulan '52 who insists upon "informed comments." Without Malkin's book, how can we engage in informed commentary with our Obamanianical colleagues and friends?


“Gibo’s Nr. 1!”

We could hardly believe our ears when we heard this, in Washington, DC of all places and from somebody like Gibo, a lawyer and graduate from Harvard, whose intellect and judgment we have always respected.

He wasn’t pulling our leg, as we had suspected. He was referring to Gibo’s 1 per cent in the latest poll among presidentiables.


Wasn’t it less than 1 per cent when he was chosen as standard-bearer by the Lakas-Kampi Party? Talk about momentum.


Headline:   GMA places entire country in a state of calamity.

Didn’t she place the country in that state a long time ago and long before Ondoy and Pepeng?


Panglao Island, Bohol – the twin towns of Dauis and Panglao off Tagbilaran City – we found to be so beautiful we enjoyed every minute of our first visit there over the weekend and wished, when we left barely 24 hours after our arrival, we could have stayed longer.

The only downer to our visit: no sighting of a SONDALU {5} at or near the two resorts, Panglao Island Resort and Natural Spa, where we stayed and Flushing Meadows Resort and Playground where we attended a wedding reception. This was despite adequate EWDs, Early Warning Devices (translation: Tireless Trio of Taskmasters in the persons of Cavaliers Clarence “Iron Man” Martinez ’83, Alfonso “Ponsoy/PonsWA” Alvarez ’83 and Augusto “Jun/MarQ” Marquez ’84) and our promise that rounds of San Mig Lights would be on us.
On this score, this visit to the Land of Dagohoy [6] was a far cry from our visit to the Land of Lapulapu [7] last June (see 09-06-17 WTW/”LOL1, Laughing Out Loud; LOL2, Land Of LapuLapu”).


It was one of those moments, a 'love and politics' moment, for want of a better phrase, between us, my fiancée and me. She heard exactly what I said of Noy2 [8]: among all the presidentiables – declared candidates or candidates still in "divine guidance" or "discernment" mode – he is the least tainted.

"Not tainted," my fiancée corrected me.


A correction to the correction, anyone?

Not you, Cavalier Geronimo "Gerry" Cunanan '66. I think I know what you are going to say.


Meanwhile, I am left to wonder what the tandem of Democrat consultant James Carville and Republican consultant Mary Matalin, husband-and-wife, would be doing under similar circumstances.


Whether you were a betting man or not, you would say this was not one he was supposed to lose, not by a long shot; otherwise, as calculating as he is, he would not have done it in the first place. But you know you would be wrong, of course, because when the announcement was made, it was clearly a loss for POTUS Obama, who came all the way from Washington, D.C. to Copenhagen, Denmark to lead the effort to lobby for Chicago, USA as the venue for the 2016 Olympics.


Rio de Janeiro, not Rio de Chicago was chosen by the International Olympic Committee.

With Chicago eliminated on the first ballot, followed by Tokyo and Madrid, it became obvious that the front-liners in the US effort, POTUS Obama and media mogul Oprah Winfrey were no match to their Brazilian counterparts, President Luis Inacio Luda de Silva and soccer superstar Pele Nascimento.  


It was a major lobbying effort that according to knowledgeable sources cost US taxpayers one million dollars for the trip of the high-powered team that was composed not only of Obama and Winfrey but also First Lady Michelle Obama, the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Education – all of whom must have realized, in the end, that it is harder to win votes in Copenhagen than in Connecticut and the Olympic Congress harder to persuade than the US Congress.


For the POTUS, it’s now back to Washington where we think he should have stayed in the first place for a more crucial vote on and more important than the Olympics – the Health Care Reform.

The Democratic Party and their faithful, the Obamaniacs if you will, are confident their superhero won’t lose this one.


We think our account of the dinner and Open Forum for PMAyers and others (09-09-16 WTW/"Gibo, According to Bigo") was not exactly an endorsement of the Defense Secretary for President nor belief in his ability to win but we were not about to say that this early in the game, his bid for the presidency is doomed.

But reader Larry Leviste saw it differently when he wrote us: Gibo, MaBiBigo. [9]


In that issue, we indicated that Cavalier Eusaquito “Sonny” Manalo ’81, was the Defense Attache, Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.  Manalo, in fact, is the Air Force Attache and was the Defense Attache in acting capacity in July. Cavalier Mark Supnet ’79 has since reported for duty as the Defense Armed Forces Attache. Thanks to Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81 for the clarification.


Also in that issue, we lifted from “An Ode to the Soldier,” and Cavalier James Ramon ’62 thought that we were missing a line. A dreamer, he is capable of doing so, but this was no wishful thinking on his part, for we did miss the third line, as he had noticed.

The right quote:
"God and the soldier we adore
in time of danger, not before.
when danger is past and all things righted
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted."

Cavalier Francisco “Mike” San Miguel ’51 was our source for the quote, but the omission was our fault, not his. Sorry, sir, but no we did not miss the third line deliberately to see if you or others were reading our column.


On the other hand, Cavalier Danilo “Dan” Jimenez ’77, well known among PMA alumni, especially the younger classes, for his poetry and prose, suggests that this should really be “An Ode to God and Soldier.”

Who can disagree with a poet?  


To what we wrote in our last issue, “…..the Filipino people who must bear the national burden of recovering from this terrible disaster…..” Cavalier Fernando “Nanding/Butch” Baltazar ’81 asked:  Were you referring to super typhoon Gloring?

Sorry, Cavalier Baltazar, but we do not wish to violate our own counsel on steering away from and being drawn into the blame game with respect to Typhoon Ondoy and its aftermath. Not for the moment, at least. Dial us later. We are not exactly opposed to post-mortems at the right time.


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [10], we are continuing this countdown: 

Sir, there are 215 days, 5,160 hours, 309,600 minutes, 18,576,000 seconds and 37,152,000 ticks before the Philippine national elections (or non-election) scheduled for May 10, 2010.


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-39
makati, philippines

[1] In Manila, the tug of war between Mancao, on one hand and Estrada and Ping Lacson, on the other; the latter tagged by the former as masterminds of Operation Delta the was responsible for the November 2000 killing of publisher Salvador “Bubby” Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito; and a sidelight in the Senate, another tug-of-war between Senators Ping Lacson and Jinggoy Estrada. And in Samar, the tug of war between the military and the NPA: who was the ‘thug of war’ in the killing of the activist priest, Father Cecil Lucero?

[2] Flying from San Francisco to Tokyo and arriving in Manila midnight of Wednesday, September 30 did not help either. Oh the travels, we mean, the travails we have to contend with, in our “shuttle journalism,” a phrase coined for our by Cavalier Wilfredo “Willie” Mejia ’72
[3] Inang Bayan Pilipinas, Mother Country Philippines  

[4] Deakins Hall is the street where we have lived for the past 30 years or so and we don't think Cavalier Urbano Fabros who lives there now has plans to FEDEX the book to us given, his reputation for being careful with his money (Please note we didn't say the other "C," for Cheap).  

[5] SONs and DAughters of LapULapu, referring to the members of the informal group of PMA alumni in the Cebu area that call themselves The Cebu Squad 

[6] Dagohoy is a revered hero of Bohol; he led the longest revolt against the Spaniards  

[7] LapuLapu is a hero of Cebu; he killed the Spaniard Magellan on the island of Mactan

[8] It's Noynoy, I know; but Noy2 saves me two keystrokes! Of course, she would insist that it’s NoyPi 

[9] Gibo (for Secretary of National Defense and presidential candidate Gilberto Teodoro) will be frustrated

[10] In military academies like the Philippine Military Academy and the US Military Academy, a ‘plebe knowledge’ is a collective body of composition – poems, rhymes, verses, definitions, etc. – that plebes (fourthclassmen or freshmen in civilian colleges and universities) are required to know, memorize 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 any important milestone or event, in this case, the Philippine national election  – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks.