Thursday, 24 November 2011

Glory days goneThis was the Parang beach a few years ago – clean, healthy-looking and inspiring for children to explore their own world along the beach. Sadly, this beach nowadays is in an appalling state, having been turned into a dumping ground for community rubbish and the bay – the Mambulao Bay -- which has become the repository of mud and silt, courtesy of indiscriminate gold-panning operations around the municipality, has become a body of dead, brownish water. – Picture grab from Facebook

In this Edition

 November 25, 2011

1. Editorials
    a) Support LaPIMa’s scholarship program
      b) Data base of Global Mambulaoans needed

2. Glory days gone … A picture of Parang beach

        to PERCY OSTONAL
    b) Road to staying fit By PERCY OSTONAL
    c) The secret of our “bakawan” Christmas tree By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
    d) The big “handaan” of Christmas in my youth By Norma LIM DIZON

9. Columns:

    a) Letters from Port Moresby by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
    b) Health … there and everywhere by NORMA LIM DIZON

10.Book review:

     God -- the source of all healing

     A Return to Love
     Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

Health ... there and everywhere

Living long ... with vitality 

Batch 66
Toronto, Canada

(Editor's note:  After some pestering persuasion from MWBuzz, Ms Norma Lim Dizon of Toronto, Canada (JPHS 'Batch 66), has agreed to run a regular column for MWBuzz, dealing on health and nutrition. It will be called "Health ...there and everywhere". To lay the foundation for such an exercise, she is putting forward a little story in this edition as to why she became an advocate of healthy eating and good health.)

FOR BACKGROUNDER why I am so passionate to share experiences and knowledge about nutrition, let me give you a little story.

I was born malnourished because my mother got sick when she was having me in her womb. According to stories I heard when I kept on asking why I was given away to my grandparents was that I was born sickly.

They told me my mother could not eat anything, cannot swallow solid foods and was sustained only with fruit juices to have me. I was given away when a sibling was born before I was not even one-year old.  He came into this world ahead of two days before my first birthday.

I came to be a Mambulaoan when in December 1963, my mother brought me home to Parang, in Jose Panganiban, to recuperate from an in-and-out hospitalization that lasted for last three years, with the advice from a doctor that I should be moved to a place where there will be no recall of whatever had bothered me in the hometown where I grew up.

In short, I was now an adopted daughter of Mambulao. I was highly sedated, not even remembering much of what had transpired from 1963 to 1965.

I think I became lucid only when I was in fourth year high school. I just remembered that there was no pressure from my parents. I was there in Parang to enjoy life and I thought I really enjoyed life for its simplicity. 

There were no emotional challenges -- from an angry child, I became a happy-go-lucky person doing just the ordinary things of life that I did not really do before. 

Norma and batch mate Manny Malangyaon last August at Norma's home in Toronto.
I enjoyed helping my parents on the day-to-day life. 

Say washing clothes on a mountain-foot brook (sapa), the name of which I could no longer recall (The place was a farm at the back of Parang cemetery popularly called by the locals as "kina Legaspi. It was favorite "labahan sa batis" by mothers in Parang. - Editor). Here I really enjoyed fresh, cold water and afterwards while the clothes were drying, my mother and I let ourselves under the water picking stones we called "buhay na bato" and used these stones to play "sintak" -- a form of jack stones.

I think these joyful memories were the reasons I wanted to be a Mambulaoan. Now, I jokingly tell friends when they said I look young that I am younger by three years. It was because of those three years of my life that I had forgotten the three years in and out of hospitals from 1961 to 1963.

I finished high school at JPHS and became an accountant -- a CPA back home -- and before doing government service at the Central Bank, did teach at my alma mater JRU now JRC then (Jose Rizal University now), to lay the foundations for would-be accountants.
Now, I am in Canada. I came here after a mini-stroke in 1986. I was afraid to die young with still massive responsibilities at the Central Bank - I was one of those trying to sort out the nation's financial troubles during the Marcos regime.

I wanted a better life for my children, not for me. 

Thank God, I achieved the purpose for which I came here. I was still sickly, anyway. Thanks to modern drugs, they kept me alive. I almost died in 1995, but no bells rang yet in my mind. Then, I had a brush with death in 2002 and those bells rang so loud that I registered for a course in nutrition.

I managed my health through knowledge learned from those courses in 2002 through 2004. My life turned upside down in 2004, so many things happened in between 2004 and 2009.

I was unable to finish my course in those years as I was too involved with so many matters that prevented me from doing the required 15 cases and a book report (A Return to Love) - a requirement for graduation. I had done these requirements but was made to study so many more courses again before I finally graduated in June of 2010.

Unfortunately, before I could become a CGA (Certified General Accountant) here in Canada, I had to repeat the accounting course again - that one which I took in Manila. Same thing with nutrition; I almost repeated everything due to lapse of five years. 

Natural Nutrition, according to the management of the school, is a new science and it just keeps on developing, that continuous education is mandatory.

With this backgrounder, permit me to share life experiences in relation to health and the knowledge gleaned from all the studies undertaken.

I continued to study because now, I am on my ninth life (kung baga sa pusa -- siyam na buhay). I had another brush with death last November 2010 with an open/close lung surgery. It was explained to me by the surgeon before I closed my eyes -- it took six hours to snatch me from the fang of death. 

Well, miracles happen. It was not an open/close surgery (they will just close me again after opening if there was cancer in the lymph nodes) as there can be nothing that could save me from adenocarcinoma of the lungs. Although PET scan said the growths were malignant, they were not cancerous after all; that is after the pathology report last January came.

Or else I would have been "kalbo" na ako ngayon after chemotherapy.  It is a miracle from the Blood of Christ of which I kept on asking every time I go to communion from the priest of the Precious Blood at the Chapel of St Gaspar at St Clair, Toronto, Canada.  "Wash away O Lord all the impurities of my soul and of my body."

So until next time dear friends, dear Mambulaoans when I start imparting knowledge -- tidbits by tidbits. 
I will start with basic things such as water, sugar, fats and from there, we discuss anything you wanted to be researched.  Let us live long with vitality to be able to do things for the glory of God.

Merry Christmas!

BORDER NIGHTMARE: Quest for better life in US

Illegal immigrants use sewer tunnels like this one to enter the United States from Mexico. – Photo courtesy of CNN
(The story of Vina originally from Tondo, Manila, as told to Percy Ostonal, JPHS Batch 66, of Michigan, USA, during a “tell-me-what happened-to-you-after-high-school” sharing session with Pinoy friends in Sacramento, California.)

“YOU ,,, LADY …. keep moving …we are running out of time …”
That was the low-keyed voice of the Mexican runner, who led them through a stinking sewage tunnel across the border between Mexico and California.
“Soon … it will be daybreak … hurry up!!!... vamos andole … vamos andole (let’s move faster …)
Equipped only with oxygen pipes and battery-operated torches, Vina and five other Pinays took the most dangerous plunge of their lives into uncertainty for nothing but America.
It was three days and nights of harrowing grind across the Mexican desert, inching in agonizing crawl through an underground sewage tunnel towards the border and beyond it, hopefully.
Disguised as ditch and canal cleaners, their faces fully smeared with dark greases, they wormed their way through black pitch darkness.
Hungry and thirsty, they ignored nasty pains crawling all over their bodies. The goal at hand was to reach the other end of the tunnel.
On Day 3 – joyfully the end of their crawl where pinhole dots were spurting thin ribbons of daylight-- they finally heard the distant noises of cars and trucks.
Their clothes soaking wet, they popped their heads throbbing with pain out of the tunnel’s mouth, and felt a mild brush of breeze against their faces coming from a small crack on a wall.
They were inside a dark warehouse.
Great God … finally ! They’re in California ...!
This one was used by drug mules to enter Texas and California from across the Mexican border. – website picture
THAT WAS 19 years ago with the last US$15 notes lining her pocket.
It was a tough to start her life that way in America. There was no other way to get in but regret was the last thing in her mind.
“It may take my whole life to be able to get a “green card’ and become a citizen, I can bear with it. What’s important is that I can work legally now, with my “working authorization card” to show to anyone who would like to employ me.
And of course, I got a valid driver’s licence for ID purposes,” Vina said.
Back home in the Philippines many years ago, life was equally tough.
Barely making it to her second year in college, her world stopped spinning with the deaths of her parents.
There was this modest family business she had to takeover to keep the family intact and to keep sanity among her four younger siblings.
For almost 20 years – from 1969 to 1989 – she operated their “pancit luglug” and other “kakanin” business inside the “telahan (textile) section of the Divisoria Market.
She had to. Her siblings had to stay in college till they earned their degrees. That was the only way for them to get out of this Catch 22 grid called near-poverty syndrome.
Thank God, all are doing well now.
One is working a good paying job at the Bataan Export Processing zone; another is at Levi’s Philippines. The third works at the King Khalid General Hospital in Saudi Arabia. The fourth is doing great at a rubber company in Indonesia.
So, what is there to ask for?
At age 37, what do you think would a single woman want?
Now that her four siblings are on their own, Vina decided to call it quits. She sold their “kakanin” business and moved to Sta Rosa, Laguna, hoping that she would meet her soul mate there.
The Romeo she had been praying for never came. In lieu of it, urgings for her to go overseas, maybe to Hong Kong or Singapore, kept pestering her.
Why don’t you go overseas? Maybe, one day, your future husband would just pop before you. You can have an American for a partner.
No, way. It was difficult to get a US visa simply because she was not a qualified tourist, she said.
But one day, she finally gave a go for one: To Singapore. Then to Mexico.
"Ang sabi ko nga sa sarili ko: Aba kahit wala pa akong nasisilo na puweding mag “petition” sa akin dito sa America in order to become a legitimate resident, eh okay lang. Ang mahalaga andito na ako, with proper documents.
And proudly, she said: Just like any American, I can sing America's “Amber Waves Of Grains".

Editorial No. 1

 A student operates a precision machine at a training center of TESDA in Taguig City. He is learning to become a “turnero”, a high-paying trade skill.

Let’s support LaPIMa’s scholarship program

THE vocational and technical training scholarships program that the Larap PIM Association (LaPIMa) has initiated is one step forward in the right direction. 

Such training, aimed at helping deserving Mambulaoan youths, would be carried out through TESDA, a government agency which provides skills training to those who needed a second trade, or those who never had at all.

At present, LaPIMa has four scholars and is targeting a total of 16 very soon, depending on available funds, to be distributed equally among Larap, Parang, Pag-Asa and Jose Panganiban.

One good thing about TESDA (Technical Education and Skills
Development Authority) is that it has branches across the country catering to individuals who did not have the chance to pursue college education.

So, as far as Mambulaoans are concerned, there is a TESDA unit in Labo, which offers an array of vocational and technical courses that may include graphic design, electrical installation technology, industrial electronics, fashion technology, welding, automotive and bricklaying.

Livelihood skills training are also available, such as flower arrangement, baking, throw pillow-making and many handicraft activities.

These trade skills are what the economy needs. They command better pay when worked overseas. This is the target of LaPIMa when it decided to come up with scholarships plan along this line.

Director-General Joel Villanueva
Recently, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva told a big group of trade students during a recent skills competition at the TESDA complex in Taguig City:

 “The thousands of graduates that TESDA has produced are testimony of the relevant role technical education plays to the country's development and progress. 

“The increasing number of young people going into technical education and skills development sends a strong message that TESD is in vogue and here to stay,” Villanueva said.

So, there’s a better chance for many young people of Mambulao to pursue another kind of learning through TESD.

It therefore makes sense to support LaPIMa in its effort to raise the needed funds so that it could send those deserving students to the learning center. 

Doing so, the association is acquiring a big stake in the future of these youths. 


Editorial No. 2

Data base of Global Mambulaoans needed

IT IS certain that a number of Mambuloans leave home from time to time for work overseas, while may be a few would come home after their job contracts were done.

As of now, the most number of overseas Mambulaoans could be coming from Parang, then followed by Larap.

These two baranggays in Jose Panganiban have the most number of population, making them the biggest among the 27 baranggays in the municipality of 49,000 people. So it would be easy to assume that these two have the most number of overseas Mambulaoans.

Based on Facebook memberships of the Taga-Larap Ako (TLA) group, the account has more than 800, which could just be a portion of the actual number of overseas Mambulaoans from this place.

Job seekers take their chances at a recent jobs fair in Manila. More and more overseas jobs are becoming available for skilled and professional Filipino workers.

But of course, not all of them all are overseas workers, because others could be immigrants in the US, Europe, Asia and Pacific. But then, they are Overseas Mambulaoans. Some might be sending money to their relatives back home as financial support.

Others could have just stay put right in Mambulao or elsewhere in the country.

There's no definite figure with regards to Parang, whose 2007 census population was at 5,754 (against Larap's 4,470).

But looking at the number of new construction activities around this baranggay, one could easily deduce the owners of the "home improvement projects" are funded by either gold-panning money or overseas remittances.

Since the decline of sustainable livelihoods in Mambulao, like fishing, gold panning, farming, many had opted to find new source of livelihood and their best bet was to go overseas.

Around Jose Panganiban, specially on the outskirts of the town, many are engaged in gold-panning (pagkakabod), where money could be had by sundown, after a day-long toil with their pangkabod (panner), mercury and ball mills, buckets, shovels and picks, grinders and the most important of all - gold nuggets.

But one would be surprised to learn that aside from trying to eke out a living from the-now-elusive gold dust, the magkakabod is also trying to raise money for the ultimate purpose - money for recruitment fees.

This is one reason why there are clockwork gold-panning activities in the municipality.

Since the municipality of Jose Panganiban is said to be the third group to benefit from the overseas Mambulaoans' remittances in terms of hiked revenues from sales taxes arising from tripled household's food and material consumption, thus generating some money for its public works, would it not make sense for the administration of Mayor Ricarte Padilla to develop a data base of its overseas citizens?

This way, the town government would have an idea where the overseas Mambulaoans are based -- information which it could make handy in future.

This task would not actually require much energy.

All the municipal council has to do is direct the heads of the 27 baranggays to make a survey in their jurisdiction of those who may be working overseas.

The data and related information would be coordinated and collated by a special unit at the Office of the Mayor.

And since the baranggay captain is the most knowledgeable when it comes to “who is who” in his community, there's no reason he wouldn't be able to deliver the statistics pronto.

The office of the mayor is said to be the shepherd looking after the flock. Maybe, it's about time that the office learned where the town's overseas citizens are right now.

It is therefore a must for the town government to have the right data base information on the whereabouts of overseas Mambulaoans.
Who knows? One day they could help the municipal government raise funds for its future projects.

* By AP Hernandez