Friday, 30 March 2012

Happy village kids … Obviously contented with what’s going on with their lives in their serene and breezy village of Gawad Kalinga, a new community of poor families that sits on the mountain slope in baranggay Osmena just outside the poblacion, this group of kids has convinced photo enthusiast Arnel P Hernandez to snap them for possible Facebook posting. They were rowdily playing around that morning while the rest in the village busied themselves with home chores, being a Saturday. Last January, Japan-based Balikbayan Arnel P Hernandez visited the GK village, now known as Ancop village (Ancop for “Answering the cry of the poor”), to snap pictures for MWBuzz. – Text by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

A little more patience … This rickety jeepney is about to take off for another torturous drive to one of Mambulao’s far-flung baranggays, heavy with passengers, provisions and foul mood. By its look, this contraption has seen better days but would have to grind its way just the same as in the previous day through the bumpiest roads Mambulaoans have ever seen to render a service vital to the daily lives of hapless rural dwellers. One of these days maybe, the ride to town from the farm, and back, would be a little bit easier and a little more comfortable, thanks to the local government’s effort to rehabilitate impassable roads, build new ones and concretize those crying out for a facelift. It may do good somehow if able Mambulaoans – particularly those with means – help in this road-cementing effort by chipping in a bag or two of cement. It could burn a hole in the pocket but would give our rural roads a new lease on life and our rural people the much-needed push to be more productive.  Truly, what they badly need is a genuine inspiration only an honest municipal government could offer. – Text by AP HERNANDEZ/MWBuzzpic by ARNEL P HERNANDEZ

Still unspoilt … This is a portion of the shoreline along the road to Baranggay Osmena on the outskirts of the poblacion of Jose Panganiban town. A scene like this easily pleases the eyes of anyone who happens by this end. Sadly, it is a sharp contrast to what is seen along the beach of Baranggay Parang on the other side of the town – filthy, stinking and thriving with disease-carrying germs populating the tons of community rubbish carpeting the beach. You’re right: An item for the Guinness Book of World Records. - Text by AP HERNANDEZ/MWBuzzpic by ARNEL P HERNANDEZ
In This Edition

Monday, March 26, 2012
Volume 1 No 10





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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Letters from Port Moresby

      Tintin works on the color printer at home for her class project. – MWBuzpic by 

       Tintin proudly displays a certificate recognizing her top performance during the 
       school year 2011-12. She is among the Top 10 in Grade V batch at the Colo     
       Elementary  School, in Baranggay Colo, Dinalupihan, Bataan. Happily looking on 
       is her Mama Raquel, her mommy's elder sister, who has raised her since she was a 

Recognition Day: My daughter Tintin in Top 10

Batch ’65 – JPHS
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

MY 10-year-old daughter relayed through her cell phone the good news: She’s among the top ten in Grade V who will march up the stage come Recognition Day on Friday.

Happily, Tintin said she has snatched the 6th place, although she was aiming for the first.

“Whatever happened,” I told her, “your being on Top 10 of the Grade V batch” – overall – of the Colo Elementary School in
Baranggay Colo outside Dinalupihan town, “is really great”.

This school year, there are eight Grade V classes of about 400 pupils.

“Don’t feel bad, anak … what is important is that you did your best …”

She said, apologetically,: “Eh daddy, sobrang galing po ‘yung mga kalaban ko this year … at isa pa, may absent ako sa class namin this school year …:”

I assured here that as her Dad, I am very happy about her feat and very proud of being her dad.

I understood her excuse, which, also, was her personal disappointment.

The previous year, she was the overall No. 2 in the entire Grade IV, out of more than 300 pupils.

Just to think that she was away from school for more than a month after she had a freak accident that injured her spinal column and caused her to limp for more than six months.

But she got back on top in no time.

When she came back to class, she showed the intensity of her desire to get back at the opposition in her class, scoring high marks in periodic exams and division exams, in which all schools within the School Division in Bataan province competed.

Despite her slight limp, which -- thank God -- was fixed after more than six months of Saturday therapy sessions in Olongapo City with a PT, she managed to join a number of extra curricular activities, including Girl Scouting, sports and music club where she played banduria and xylophone in a drum-and-bugle corps.

This school year, she and her competition in Grade V, along with top students in Grade VI delivered high marks in the recent Bataan School Division examination, landing her baranggay school in 2nd place overall, enthralling all their teachers.

Of course, this year’s competition to earn high marks (apart from periodic tests results) in Grade V is really tough.

Teachers would no longer be happy to see a pupil submitting research works in black and white prints – they should be in living color.

And those who are in competition for honors had seen to it that they delivered their homework just that – in living color.

And such research works are no longer done in the library but at home – via the Internet and DVDs of encyclopedia.

Aware of these teacher’s idiosyncrasies, I made it a point that Tintin got her unlimited Internet access at home, backed up by an efficient computer set, DVDs of encyclopedia, a stack of print paper and a color printer.

And aware that her competition was in every school activity – translation: extra-curricular activities – she made it a point that she joined most of them, too – from on-stage fashion modeling, sports competition, musical activities (banduria class), provincial class tours to the most important of all – Girl Scouting.

11-year-old Tintin during their Recognition Day ... happy as can be
All this I knew.

A school kid in the 50s at the Jose Panganiban Elementary School (JPES), I had my own battle with my competition in our class, of which I dominated. (JP was then a bustling fishing-iron-and-gold mining town in Camarines Norte.)

From Grade 1 to Grave IV, I lord it over, so to speak.

But in Grade V, I settled for No. 2, and in the next school year, ended up delivering the graduation speech, being the batch’s salutatorian.

My fiercest competition and my childhood best friend – Oscar Baliwag – had kept me on the second slot from Grade V to Grade VI.

We tied in everything that we did in school – periodical exams, division exams, class projects, extra curricular activities that included Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting, and in terms of “teachers’ cheering squad” if we are to consider this (may kanya-kanya kaming cheering squads among our teachers who rooted for us.)

When the time to decide who would be the valedictorian of our graduating class (1960) – and the choice was narrowed down to me and Oscar – there had been arguments among class advisers and teachers who handled us during the year.

Our teachers in Grade V were also consulted just to come up with a solid decision.

Oscar and I tied neatly in every aspect – from our behavior as pupils to our attitude towards our lessons, from extra curriculars to academic performances. Those who were consulted to review our school records had no arguments after that.

Oscar and I went neck-and-neck.

Then, when the Principal brought about the issue of our residence in school from Grade 1 to Grade VI, the balance was tipped.

The so-called committee named to deliberate on who should be the year’s valedictorian, found something “incriminating” in my academic records.

The panel discovered that when I was in Grade IV, I was away from school for ONE MONTH. This was the time when our young family went for a month-long holiday in Iloilo province at my mother’s hometown in Pototan.

With my lack of school residency being in the open, and therefore a big minus, the panel had no trouble this time naming Oscar as the school year’s Valedictorian.

I was made to deliver the Graduation Speech, but it’s a job a Salutatorian usually does.

AS a dad just like you and him, seeing his/her child slugging it out on the way to the top of the class pyramid has always been exciting.

Tintin’s achievement this school year is something I would always be proud of, hence this little story.

And for her feat, I promised her a touch screen cell phone!

       Tintin (centre) with dad APH and mommy Ann Q Ferrer during an outing at SM San 
       Fernando City last year.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


A colorful treatment on the JPNHS sign board seen inside the school campus. – MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ

JPNHS 2012 alumni reunion: What about those who are poor and could not come?)

THE GENERAL homecoming of the Jose Panganiban National High School (JPNHS) alumni falls this year – on the 28th-29th of April.

Held every five years – the last of which was in 2007- the gathering of several hundreds of graduates from this school has always been a happy occasion for those who are able to come however distant their bases across the globe may have been.

And without much emphasizing it, many alumni of JPNHS are rooted across the world.

Mention a place, just any place on the global map, and chances are there would be a Mambulaoan toiling under the sun, inside refrigerated rooms, in ocean-going vessels, in military submarines, in hospitals, in shopping centers, inside bread and biscuit factories, in oil rigs, in kitchens and in war-torn countries in Africa and Middle East, just to name some places that are easily recognizable.

They come home once a year to see their families, old friends, childhood chums. It’s an occasion to replay experiences at work – sometimes with drama -- over party tables, rounds of beer and bottles of scotch and brandy – things that made their life richer and their wallets thicker while being away from their love ones.

And whenever there is going to be a big gathering such as the alumni homecoming, it is always safe to assume that they would want to be there when the action unfolds.

This is a natural instinct among Mambulaoans – to be around with old friends and acquaintances and to grow a little bit more in spirits and in pride during the next 48 hours in which fun and laughter are to roll over.

They are able to come because they have the means. Many of them can do so yearly because their employers have been quite generous to pay for their return fares plus holiday money – making sure that they come back to work, to continue producing goods and time for the company. So that next year, they could again send them home for month-long break – all paid for, so to speak.

Others just have the money and can come home whenever they please.

And while the alumni gather among themselves, enjoying a new-found closeness and camaraderie, it would be obvious that there are still many among those who graduated from JPNHS who would not be able to come to party, although they are just around as they have never left home just like what many of their former classmates and schoolmates did and have been doing year in year out.

They could not join the celebration simply because they don’t have the means to pay for the P500 fees required of every alumnus to be able to become bona fide members of the JPNHS Alumni Association (JPNHSAA).

So, as expected, they would just satisfy themselves watching the members pass by as they march along the road that leads to the campus of their Alma Mater in baranggay Parang – a more-than-a-kilometer walk across town from the parish church.

These less-fortunate spectators may number in several dozens, who should be among those marching to the campus for the big celebration but could not because they are unable pay for the gate fees.

This little thing did not escape an alumnus who loves coming home to be with his former classmates during their batch reunion.

Yokosuka, Japan-based Arnel P Hernandez (Batch 73) has raised this little issue about other alumni being unable to pay for their membership fees, which he said could be taken care of (translation: sponsorship) by batch members who are financially able.

Hernandez said if each of those overseas members of Batch ’73 could sponsor the P500 membership fees of at least four of the less-fortunate colleagues in Mambulao, then there would more alumni who would be able to experience and enjoy a homecoming reunion.

But of course, our poor fellow alumni are not limited to Batch ’73 alone who are eking out a living right in Mambulao, as they are not fortunate enough to pursue education that could have equipped them to seek for a better-paying jobs elsewhere.

There were more than 60 batches that graduated from JPHS, now known as JPNHS, and each batch, for sure, would have many who have grown old without living their hometown.

And so, there is sense – merit, most likely - in this call from Hernandez – that is, for those overseas alumni to sponsor the membership fees of their poor batch mates who have been left behind during the scramble for jobs overseas.

He said that a US$50-hole in the pocket could anyway pay the fees of four unfortunate batch members.

There’s barely a month before the big celebration.

One thing that could be done is for those older batches – starting from batch 64 up to the last younger batches in the 1990s – to organize a search for their “lost” poor classmates in Mambulao and bring them the news that they could also join the party on the 28th and 29th of next month.

Who knows? Their being able to reconnect with their old campus mates from long time ago during this big event would turn a colorful page in their less-exciting lives.

And of course, we knew that the more alumni showing up, the merrier the reunion would become.

So, why not sponsor a batch mate? It could make you a few hundred bucks poorer, but would make somebody else’s life richer.
-AP Hernandez


Donations to LaPIMa projects hit P61,123.65

A TOTAL of P61,123.65 has been donated to LaPIMa by members to support the association’s various projects that included vocational scholarships for deserving poor Mambulaoans.

Sam Tatom
Most of the donors are based overseas.

The amount was deposited with LaPIMa’s account with the Bank of Philippine Island (BPI), according to Samuel Tatom, LaPIMa secretary.

The donations came from the following members:

1. Berting Remot (Daet)                                                P 5,000
2. Lemuel Laroga (California)                                          4,138.65
3. Roque Baliza (New Zealand)                                       3,000
4. Camat Family (Australia)                                            17,164
5. Tatom -Elep Family  Marikina)                                   10,000
6. Penalosa Family (Makati )                                            5,000
7. Excel Dasco Palomo (Los Angeles, Calif)                  8,121
8. Ed Tarog (Jakarta, Indonesia)                                       5,700
9. Mameng Briones (San Francisco, California )            3,000                     
Total:      P 61,123.65  

LaPIMa has also received monetary pledges from the following:

  1. Prieto Family 
  2. Johnson Kho Ting 
  3. Manny Acenas 
  4. Terry Alferez 
  5. Evelyn Bungay
  6. Monina Ordiz 
  7. Jorops Ropeta 
  8. Ian Sureta 
  9. Tess De Guzman 
10. Tess Evallespa 
11. Jun Loveria 
12. Joselito Sapinoso 
13. Alfredo P Hernandez (One TESDA scholar from Parang @ P12,000)

“On behalf of LaPIMa, the Core Group is once again knocking on your generous hearts to raise funds to sustain LaPIMa's objectives,” Tatom said in an email circulated to members.

LaPIMa will continue its livelihood projects such as piglet distribution, and would soon start a tilapia fish cage project at the water reservoir in the two former mining pits in Larap, namely the “Main Pit” and the “Bessemer pit”, Tatom told members in previous emails.

Donations should be sent/deposited with LaPIMa’s bank account with the Bank of Philippines Islands, directly credited to LAPIMA Inc, bank account No. 0411-0191-79. .

Please notify Tatom regarding your donation for proper recording/ monitoring through email, or contact him through cell phone 0917-822-9983and landline (632) 681-5722.