Hawaii Filipino Chronicle - April 1, 2023

Page 1


Kisig OrOzcO: A BeAutiful Puzzle Piece

APRIL 1, 2023
tO tHe
in tHe
HOnOlulu city cOuncil PAsses Bill BAnning guns frOm scHOOls, HOsPitAls And OtHer “sensitive PlAces” BOOK REVIEW triggered-- creAtive resPOnses
extrAjudiciAl Killings
PHiliPPines AS
SEE IT AsiAn HAte crime

Filipinos Are Helping to Keep the Catholic Church Vibrant

Globally in the 21st Century

When we talk about and search for what Filipino religiosity could mean, immediately for Filipinos what comes to mind is Catholicism, our belief in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), our reverence for Mother Mary and the praying of the rosary, our understanding that through intercession saints and angels could have an impact in our daily lives, and a strong love for the Catholic Church and the Pope.

Within Judaism and Islam there are more mystical-based over orthodoxy-based branches. For Judaism the mystical sect are the Kabbalists and for Islam they are the Sufis. It can be argued that Catholicism is also practiced differently globally with certain countries emphasizing orthodoxy like in the U.S.; while in Mexico and the Philippines, the mystical aspects of Catholicism (love for praying the rosary and belief in saints and angels) tend to be more pronounced, relative to other Catholic countries.

Outside of Catholicism and comparing practices of Christianity (of course Catholics are Christians) across nations, Filipino religiosity/Catholicism (the two practically synonymous) begins to look even more unique than, say, Christian Evangelists in the U.S. It’s safe to say, there would be some discomfort in Filipino Christian Catholics leaving the heavily ritualistic Mass in place of a Sunday hours-long Bible studies session followed by a service with a band and preacher.

Ultimately, the expression of religion is heavily cultural and there must be something special about Catholicism for Filipinos to keep their high level of religiosity while Christianity and religion in general are taking a huge dip in popularity in the U.S.

According to Pew Research Center’s Global Attitude survey, 87% of Filipinos consider religion to be very important in their lives. Of the 40 countries surveyed, the Philippines ranked 10th in religiosity.

In contrast, a new 2023 poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the independent research institution NORC shows under 40% of Americans said religion was very important to them compared to in 1998, when the publication first asked this question, and 62% felt that way about religion.

What’s keeping Filipino religiosity high

What are the elements keeping Filipino religiosity high and our continued fondness for Catholicism? The answers will vary. It could be the mystical aspect over orthodoxy as mentioned above. It could be liberalism relative to more hardline Christianity. It could be the ancient ritualism and shorter duration of the Mass compared to an hours-long service in an environment that doesn’t look like a church, relative to Catholic churches. It could be tradition and being part of a thousand-plus years old church. It could be the social-political undertones of Catholicism linked to the plight of the poor and the marginal. It could be the universality of the Church, its global stature and outreach. It could be all of these and far more not mentioned here.

It’s important to mention that while Filipino religiosity/Catholicism remains relatively high, there are signs of waning due to competition in the U.S. from other Christian churches or the growing secular-humanist movement that sees religion itself as counter productive to a highly advanced society.

There are also those who feel the Catholic Church is not moving fast enough (even with the liberal Pope Francis who some call an incremental revolutionary) to have women in the highest echelons of the Church (some demanding women be allowed to serve as priests) or that gay marriages be recognized.

Within the Catholic Church there is also a shortage in the


We are in the tail-end of the Lenten season with Holy Week starting Sunday, April 2 and culminating with Easter on April 9. As many in our community are observing this solemn, reflective and spiritual time of the year, we have an interesting and fascinating cover story this issue. HFC associate editor Edwin Quinabo looks into Filipino religiosity, what God means and how God plays a role in the lives of some in our community. He opens with the arrival of Catholicism/Christianity to the Philippines and the 500th anniversary celebration locally in Hawaii that marked this historical occasion. As the oldest Christian nation in Asia and the third most populous Catholic nation in the world (behind Brazil and Mexico), the Philippines now plays a pivotal role in exporting the Catholic faith globally, including helping to build it in Hawaii with missionary priests who arrived in the islands beginning in 1917. He then looks into the role that religion has in society and what some Christians feel it should and shouldn’t have. Lastly, the cover story, highlights Lenten traditions some in our community are practicing.

Also in this issue, our international correspondent Seneca Moraleda-Puguan features Kisig Orozco, a 14-years old autism and ADHD student and his beautiful literary piece titled “A Puzzle Piece.” He wrote, “I hope for a day when I wouldn’t be so full of flaws, and when passers-by would look at me in awe instead of disappointment or dissatisfaction. I know the world doesn’t work this way though, so as I gradually piece myself together and my finish comes to a close, I’ll accept whatever picture I turn out to be.”

Just days ago there was another school shooting that resulted in the deaths of three children, three adults, this time in Nashville, Tenn. In local news, the Honolulu City Council passed a bill that bans firearms in schools, hospitals, polling places, public parks, public transit, bars, large gathering places, and more. If Bill 57 is signed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi, the bill would be effective beginning May 1, 2023.

HFC contributor Rose Churma contributes an important book review on “TRIGGERED — Creative Responses to the Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines” that highlights a time of state terror in the Philippines that must not be forgotten. As for violence on our Asian community on the mainland, HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko in California updates us on Asian hate crimes.

Lastly, I am reminded of a Lenten tradition in the Philippines, the re-enactment of the suffering of Christ by carrying the cross and crucifixion. It’s discouraged today, but is a reminder of the meaning of Easter, which is one of love and hope, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us – for our salvation and sins. We wish you all a Happy Easter. Rejoice in the Risen Lord.

We hope you enjoy this issue. Visit our webpage for back issues at thefilipinochronicle.com. Thank you for supporting the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. Until next issue,warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

ministry, an area that Filipinos are helping to fill.

500 years of Christianity in the Philippines

Recently, in 2021, Filipinos globally celebrated the 500th anniversary of the introduction of Catholicism/Christianity to the Philippines.

How long ago was 500 years? It was a time when the Ottoman empire expanded. China was in its Ming Dynasty era. Michelangelo just completed the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Hernan Cortes leads the conquest of the Aztec Empire. The Protestant Reformation begins. The very last vestiges of power ends for both the Holy Roman Empire and Mongol Empire. The Inca Empire was in full-swing. Columbus freshly landed just de-

Publisher & Executive Editor

Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.


Junggoi Peralta


Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant

Lilia Capalad

Editorial & Production Assistant

Jim Bea Sampaga


Carlota Hufana Ader

Elpidio R. Estioko

Perry Diaz

Emil Guillermo

Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

J.P. Orias

Pacita Saludes

Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq.

Charlie Sonido, M.D.

Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista

Edna Bautista, Ed.D.

Teresita Bernales, Ed.D.

Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.

Rose Churma

Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D.

Linda Dela Cruz

Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand

Amelia Jacang, M.D.

Caroline Julian

Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D.

Federico Magdalena, Ph.D.

Matthew Mettias

Maita Milallos

Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D.

Renelaine Bontol-Pfister

Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

Mark Lester Ranchez

Jay Valdez, Psy.D.

Glenn Wakai

Amado Yoro

Philippine Correspondent:

Greg Garcia

Neighbor Island Correspondents:

Big Island (Hilo and Kona)

Grace LarsonDitas Udani


Millicent Wellington


Christine Sabado

Big Island Distributors

Grace LarsonDitas Udani

Kauai Distributors

Amylou Aguinaldo

Nestor Aguinaldo

Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros

Molokai Distributor

Maria Watanabe

Oahu Distributors

Yoshimasa Kaneko

Shalimar / Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives

Carlota Hufana Ader

JP Orias

(continue on page 3)

Hawaii Must Never Allow a Gun-Friendly Majority in Any Governing Body; Kudos to Honolulu City Council on Their Gun Ban at Sensitive Places

The Honolulu City Council’s approval of a bill to ban guns from sensitives places will save lives. It is one of the most significant legislations to be passed in the history of the Honolulu City Council. The news of this bill has been receiving national attention and hopefully it will spark a trend for city councils across the mainland to enact similar legislation.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi is expected to sign Bill 57 in days. If it is signed, the bill will take effect May 1, 2023.

These are the members who voted to approve bill 57: Tommy Waters, Esther Kiaʻāina, Radiant Cordero, Matt Weyer, Calvin Say, and Tyler Dos Santos-Tam.

The three members who voted AGAINST this bill are Andria Tupola, Val Okimoto and Augie Tulba.

Voters should remember this vote tally. And this historic vote will follow the candidates each time they’re up for election. The media will make sure of this – this is how significant this bill is.

The City’s Responsible and Preventative Action

Bill 57 is in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision

cades earlier in North America (1492) and it would take another 300 years before the First Congress is formed in a federal U.S. and the U.S. Constitution is written in 1787.

While the 16th century (or 1500s) is considered by historians the beginning of modern history, the events mentioned above is arguably ancient history to most in the 21st century.

So, the Christianization of the Philippines, least to say, happened during the early stages of modern civilization.

Filipinos helped to build Catholicism in Hawaii, and plays role in global Catholicism

that expanded gun rights that would make it easier for people to carry concealed handguns in public. Since that ruling, the Honolulu Police Department has received 582 concealed-carry applications. To date, 41 have been approved, HPD spokesperson Michell Yu said.

Because of Bill 57’s expansive definition of “sensitive places” it’s likely that even if more concealed handgun applications are approved, those permitted to carry these guns will have limited places to actually carry them.

Bill 57 would ban firearms in the following places: city-owned buildings, state and federally-owned buildings; schools and child care facilities; public parks; shelters, including homeless and domestic violence shelters; places frequented by children, including the Waikiki Aquarium; polling places; public transit; businesses that serve alcohol; large public gatherings, including protests; concert venues; cannabis dispensaries; and hospitals.

We encourage that private establishments also adopt rules to ban guns on their premises as well rendering that misguided SCOTUS ruling impotent.

Why must gun-friendly lawmakers be held accountable?

By the time modern Hawaii started, well before statehood, the Philippines (already an established Catholic country) begun to export Catholicism on behalf of the Catholic Church with its first missionary priest Father Ignacio Cordero from the Philippines arriving in Hawaii in 1917. Father Cordero was sent to minister to the spiritual needs of the thousands of Filipino plantation workers.

Since then, waves of Filipino priests were sent to Hawaii. Today, about half of the priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu (serving the entire state) are from the Philippines. About 10 Hawaii

There’s abundant statistics available that more guns increase the likelihood of gun violence.

The current Hawaii law requires that a permit be acquired in order for a concealed weapon to be carried in a public space.

But what happens if a state opens the door wide open and allows anyone (over 21) that’s not a felon to carry a gun without going through a permit process – that next dangerous step?

There’s a recent model of this in the state of Texas, and the results have been disastrous!

This is why the city council lawmakers who voted against Bill 57 must be held accountable – and that such gun-friendly lawmakers collectively must never comprise a majority in Hawaii in any governing body.

In Texas where they have a “permitless gun carry law” that was passed by their state legislature just over a year ago, the statistics have just been recently made available.

It shows a shocking number of mass shootings rising 62.5%. From June 13, 2020, to June 13, 2021, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the permitless carry law, Texas had 40 mass shootings. In that same time period from 2021 to 2022, the number of mass shootings rose to 65. The numbers were compiled using the

Catholic parishes are run by Filipino priests.

Filipino priests are in every continent of the world. There are three bishops in the U.S. from the Philippines. There are three Cardinals currently in the Vatican with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, as of 2020, reaching Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, rank of cardinal-bishop, which is the highest rank of a cardinal in the Catholic Church.

As congregants, with over 92 million (84 in the Philippines, 8 million outside of the Philippines), Filipinos are a major force helping to keep the Catholic Church vibrant.

databases from the Stanford University MSA Data Project, the Mass Shooting Tracker, Vox’s Gun Violence Archives, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, the FBI, and the Congressional Research Service. All incidences met at least two definitions of a mass shooting.

In the one-year period before the bill was signed, 187 people were killed or injured in mass shootings in Texas. In the one-year-after period, it was 375 people killed or injured, a 100% increase. Even if the 40 people killed or injured in the Robb Elementary School Massacre are excluded, the increase is 79%, a huge jump in gun deaths.

And these statistics are just for mass shootings. Individual shootings have yet to be compiled.

Keep Hawaii’s gun violence low

Hawaii must never get to a point where we have lawmakers like in Texas that ignore countless gun deaths and statistics or raise absolutely silly arguments such as “government overreach” that would enable a wild west environment to destroy Hawaii’s aloha society.

Hawaii’s gun violence is relatively lower than in the mainland and we want to keep it that way. Ask any Hawaii

transplant living on the mainland, and they will tell you gun violence is a real problem and out of control, which is why Bill 57 is such an important measure and essentially acts as a containment legislation.

While the Honolulu City Council’s bill when signed will have the full weight of the law, the Hawaii State Legislature should pass a similar bill to encompass all other counties in our state. A state law will also send a message that Hawaii will not follow states such as Texas and that we in Hawaii value life, safety and security over an outdated, misinterpreted Constitutional amendment that have been weaponized for conservative votes.

A big mahalo to the members of the Honolulu City Council who showed heart and leadership by passing Bill 57.

The just days-old mass school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee that resulted in the deaths of three students and three adults is yet another reminder why lawmakers should be doing everything in their power to stop the gun violence.

AA majority of Americans are tired, saddened and angry that more innocent children are being killed to gun violence. The next step at the federal level should be a ban on automatic weapons.

(Filipinos...from page 2)

From Conversion 500 Years Ago to Today’s Filipino Religiosity and Embrace of Catholicism

On March 16, 1521 explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed on Cebu. Two weeks later on March 31, the expedition’s chaplain, Father Pedro de Valderama, celebrated the first Mass.

This marked the arrival of Catholicism (Christianity) in the Philippines.

In 2021, Filipino Catholics globally celebrated the 500th anniversary of the introduction of the Catholic faith to the Philippines. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu also commemorated the historical event at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in downtown, March 15.

Father Pascual Abaya IV gave the homily during that mass, describing how the Christianization of his home country beginning 500 years ago –kept alive through the Spanish colonial period and after 1896 by missionaries from the U.S. and Europe – has resulted today in the Philippines’ assuming a reversal role, exporting their faith around the world.

Father Abaya explains, “Go to any diocese from Alaska to Argentina, from New York to Japan, and most of the dioceses in countries in between, the chances are that you’ll find a Filipino priest or religious sister or brother ministering to the people of God there.”

Hawaii received its first missionary priest from the Philippines in 1917 when Father Ignacio Cordero from Nueva Segovia came to minister to the migrant Filipino plantation workers. Today more than half of the active priests serving in the diocese in Hawaii are from the Philippines.

Likewise with the Philippines’ massive diaspora, it’s also typical to find Filipino congregants at Catholic churches around the globe from the Middle East to Europe to Canada and the U.S. And commonly in cities with larger Filipino communities, there are Filipino Catholic Clubs that serve their communities spiritual and social needs.

In Hawaii, Msgr. Osmundo Calip,

from Nueva Segovia Philippines, was sent to Hawaii in 1949 to do mission work. During his time on the islands, he created Hawaii’s Filipino Catholic Club (FCC). Today there are FCCs in most Catholic churches in Hawaii all under the Diocese of Honolulu (serving the entire state). There are FCC Councils of Kauai, Maui, Hawaii (Big Island) and Oahu.

Some of their functions are to support the parish in its various projects, conduct a Novena for a deceased family or member of the parish, celebrate Flores de Mayo (2nd Sunday in May) and the Misa de Gallo at Christmas. One main function is for FCC members to do the rosary together.

Father Donald Calloway shared in coolcatholics.org how he was converted to Catholicism by being inspired by Filipino women praying the rosary.

He explains, “For the first 20 years in my life, I was not a Catholic. I didn’t believe in God. I went to a Catholic Church one day and saw these Filipino women praying the rosary. I didn’t know what they were doing. I never heard anything like this. And they asked me to participate. I began to go to that church every day in the morning. And saw those Filipino women doing the same thing. Eventually it piqued my interest, and I began to participate. It put holy images in my mind and in my heart.”

Prior to his conversion, Calloway was a drug addict, drug runner and served time in jail. Since his conversion to Catholicism, he’s been an author of several books related to Roman Catholicism. His conversion story was made into a documentary titled “The Testimony of Fr. Donald Calloway, which won an Emmy award in 2017. Calloway is a Catholic priest in the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

Until today, the Catholic priest author who sold millions of books, encourages the praying of the rosary that he learned from the Filipino women in a parish in California. He says if more men would

pray the rosary, it would change the world.

Pandemic and post-pandemic impact on the Catholic Church

During the highpoint of the pandemic, Catholic Churches were closed. Religious processions and festivities in the Philippines were suspended. During that time of uncertainty and tens of thousands dying from COVID-19, many Filipinos say their faith in God were renewed and praying, including praying the rosary, was something to do while in isolation from mandatory lockdowns.

After the pandemic’s critical period, today FCC Filipino women can be seen once again at churches before masses praying the rosary.

In the Philippines, religious festivities have resumed, but not to the levels as it were before the pandemic. On Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, Manila, more than 80,000 Catholics joined the 3.7 mile “Walk of Faith” procession to venerate a centuries-old black statue of Jesus Christ, called the Black Nazarene. It’s an annual religious tradition that typically during pre-pandemic years would draw more than a million worshippers.

After a midnight mass, the procession would trail from a historic park by Manila Bay to a church in the Quiapo district. Participants would pray, sing and chant “Nazareno” while marching for hours in early morning before sunrise.

(continue on page 5)


(From Conversion....from page 4) Faith,

Hope and Love

Some religious scholars say the story behind the Black Nazarene is a story of faith, hope and love – of the struggles in life from poverty to worsening health, and despite whatever life afflictions we may be faced with, there is still God, walking with us during extraordinary times.

The Nazarene statue is believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila on a galleon in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The ship that carried it caught fire, but the charred statue survived. Many devotees believe the statue’s endurance, from fires and earthquakes through the centuries and intense bombings during World War II, is a testament to its miraculous powers.

Similarly, humanity’s faith often is rattled and shaken, but perseveres among the faithful.

Liz Martin, Ewa Beach, tells of her struggle and how she put her trust in God. “I am an ovarian cancer survivor. I was unexpectedly diagnosed at 27 years old. I went through surgery and three rounds of chemotherapy. During my cancer journey, I learned to wholeheartedly trust and surrender to God. I never asked God, ‘Why me?’ I trusted His plans for me no matter the outcome.”

She explains, “Shortly after I was declared ‘in remission,’ my oncologist delivered the news of a possible cancer recurrence. He ordered a PET scan to see if there was any cancer activity in my body. To celebrate my completion of undergoing nine weeks of chemotherapy, I had already booked a trip to Kauai.

“After the PET scan, I remember anxiously waiting in the waiting room for the staff to release my test results. I looked on the TV monitor and couldn’t believe what was on... it was a helicopter island tour of Kauai! At that moment, I felt God’s presence and it was like a huge relief. I started crying and I knew my PET scan was negative. The following week, off to Kauai I went to celebrate God’s gift to me: MY health and MY second chance at life,” Martin said.

Liz identifies as a non-traditional Roman Catholic. “I believe that God is our Cre-

ator and He is the Most High. God is an abstract being, a wonderous mystery, yet He is full of infinite love, compassion and forgiveness. God is a part of my life as He gives me a sense of belonging.”

Emme Oliva, a Catholic, attends church regularly and focuses on praying during Lent. She says, “God is a higher power who is standing by and ready to help -- the One who turns chaos to peace, who turns your sickness to good health, who turns your suffering to happiness, who turns your anxiousness to confidence, and who turns all your despair to full of hope! I am a believer that with God, everything is possible!”

She said, “when God becomes part of your being your thoughts and your actions are much more focused on kindness, prayer and giving even to those people who are cruel to you. God gives you a big favor by wrapping your whole being with gentleness. And, because of this, you feel loved and grateful. It feels good to be closer to God - God is always part of my life!” Oliva says she sees God attending to her needs and cites a new venture that she and her husband have been praying for that is now in motion with the help of Dr. Charlie and Chona Sonido.

Her idea of what religion should and shouldn’t do – Oliva said, “Religion is good when it is used to spread God’s teachings. Religion should not cause separation, but be inclusive regardless of skin color, age and gender. Religion can


teach us how to live with God in life. Just as what Jesus had done.”

Grace Manipol-Larson, Hilo, a Christian Protestant, says God is her personal savior and redeemer. She believes in a Trinitarian God (God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit). “God is a big part of my life. He is the source of my strength, happiness and hope. If all else fails, I can kneel and pray for deliverance and renewal of my spirit. Every time there’s some bad news from my family in the Philippines or there are struggles, I’ve been through or good news to celebrate, I always pray and give thanks to God. If not because of Him, I will not be here today testifying His goodness in my life.”

Tris Sandigan, Pateros, Metro Manila, also is a Catholic. She studied in a Catholic School and Catholic University. “I feel like this is a very Filipino thing because almost all private schools in the Philippines have their foundation in Catholicism.”

Like Martin, Sandigan believes in a forgiving God. “God to me is the most understanding and forgiving person. Whenever I’m at my lows - I seek God for courage and guidance through prayer. Whenever I’m at my highest - I seek God for humbleness. Whenever I’m not at my lows and highest - I seek God for motivation to make it through the day.”

Sandigan doesn’t have one personal experience that has brought her closer to God, but she sees God in Filipinos’

“Shortly after I was declared ‘in remission,’ my oncologist delivered the news of a possible cancer recurrence. He ordered a PET scan to see if there was any cancer activity in my body. To celebrate my completion of undergoing nine weeks of chemotherapy, I had already booked a trip to Kauai. After the PET scan, I remember anxiously waiting in the waiting room for the staff to release my test results. I looked on the TV monitor and couldn’t believe what was on...it was a helicopter island tour of Kauai! At that moment, I felt God’s presence and it was like a huge relief. I started crying and I knew my PET scan was negative. The following week, off to Kauai I went to celebrate God’s gift to me: MY health and MY second chance at life.”

struggle for social justice.

She said, “Incidences that make me closer to God are whenever I see activists in the street fighting for justice and fighting for basic human rights. During the time when labor strikes are heightened [one incident], I talked with an activist in Legarda, just in front of San Beda, Manila. He was very keen on teaching Philippine history, but I could see through his eyes the exhaustion.

“The exhaustion that basic human rights shall be fought and demanded, instead of freely given. The exhaustion that even until this day, the same injustices Jesus died for on the cross must be demanded over the powerful capitalists and government. This very incident made me closer to God because of how living through

Him is manifested through an ordinary person who still chooses to protect marginalized people,” Sandigan said.

God in Society

Sandigan’s perspective of seeing God in people fighting to improve society and the human condition is one shared since time immemorial across all countries and religions.

In Latin America, there is the concept Liberation Theology – the social concern for the poor and political liberation for oppressed peoples that religion can be an active agent towards this end.

Pope Francis canonized in 2018 Archbishop Oscar Romero who is now known as St. Romero, the patron saint of the “voiceless and activists.” While Romero did not

(continue on page 6)


I’m still in Manhattan as I write this and I’m wondering, if New York is the Big Apple, why isn’t Honolulu the Big Pineapple?

Among other things, I’m performing in a play off-Broadway at Theater For the New City, and it’s totally impacted my perspective on everything.

First of all, I’m not a New York tourist, I’m more like a working resident. I’m “acting” like a New Yorker.

And when it comes to whether or not there will be protests over the possibility of an impending Trump indictment, New Yorkers seem more concerned with when the cold weather is going away, not when Trump is going away, or with any repeat of Jan. 6.

Judging from New Yorker attitudes, if anyone wants to

From the Big Apple to the Big Pineapple —Some Thoughts As I Await America’s First Presidential Indictment in History

“take back the government” in the name of Donald Trump, I’d like to see them take on the NYPD.

I’m actually still quite immersed in the play I’m in, Ishmael Reed’s “The Conductor.” It deals with how world events impact local grassroots politics. In Reed’s play, a fictional Indian despot’s actions impact Indian Americans who face a wave of xenophobia and are forced to flee to Canada on an “underground railroad.”

Hence, the need for a “conductor.”

Turns out everyone who is feeling some heat may need one to flee the U.S. In the play, it makes for some strange bedfellows.

“The Conductor” runs through March 26, and is doing so well, the theater is bringing it back in August.

Reed wasn’t so prescient to include the possibility of a Trump indictment or four, but my being in New York this week makes me wonder if the

(COVER STORY: From Conversion ....from page 5) self-identify as a liberation theologist, he was influenced by Jesuit Catholic priests and liberation theologists Father Jon Sobrino and his friend Father Rutilio Grande of El Salvador, who was assassinated. Some religious scholars see Romero’s work on behalf of the poor and speaking out against the violence inflicted upon the poor by the military during El Salvador’s pre civil war that erupted into a full-blown civil war in 1980-92 as liberation theology. In 1980, Romero was shot by an assassin while celebrating Mass.

Sandigan said, “I believe that religion should be more of opening our eyes to the injustices in the modern time and encouraging us to demand what Jesus could have demanded from them - being with the marginalized. Religion shouldn’t only be about prayers and masses; it should be more about being one with the less fortunate.

Given how Jesus Christ lived among the marginalized and He himself was poor, to many, it makes sense to some that those on the political left would see Christ as inspiration in their struggle.

But also historically, Christianity has been used by the conservative establishment. In the U.S., this latest manifestation is in the Christian Nationalist movement. The strongest base of support for Christian nationalism comes from Republicans who identify as Evangelical or born again Christians. Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert and politician Doug Mastriano are some of the leaders in the fundamentalist Christian nationalist movement, and they call for a Christian-led government and sees the separation of church and state as myth.

Martin says of this intermingling of church and state, “Religion and politics should always remain separate. When

voter fraud case; the Mar-aLago stolen presidential documents case; and the case involving the Jan. 6 insurrection.

twice-impeached former president of the United States would soon need a “conductor.”

To get to Canada? After all he said about Justin Trudeau?

I was thinking out loud with Filipino American Studies Prof. Daniel Phil Gonzales on my Emil Amok’s Takeout on www.amok.com (Episode 489/481).

We go beyond whether Trump will get indicted and go straight to wondering if Trump will get convicted for any of the cases that are brewing from minor to major, they include the New York hush money/ Stormy Daniels/falsifying of documents case; The Georgia

religion and politics intertwine, it affects the rights of persons within that society. Society should not be governed by government officials who are unable to make decisions without religious influence.”

Manipol-Larson says “The role of the church in society is important in my opinion for the spiritual well-being of a person. If struck by problems or spiritual plague, church brethren can inspire each other, compared to the secular people in the community. Brothers and sisters in spiritual life are more likely to help each other than those in a social organization.” She advocates people to focus on their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and makes a distinction between spiritual growth versus “religion.”

Mark (last name withheld) says religion has done more historical wrongs and been more abusive than it has done actual good. Born into the Catholic faith, he says he still has a cultural soft spot for Ca-

If Trump lost any one of them, would he even have the courage of Martha Stewart to don a matching orange jumpsuit? Or does he just flat-out leave the country? Sort of like the way Marcos left the Philippines to hide out in Hawaii.

Gonzales says Trump won’t have the guts to face the music and will leave. But to where?

I think Trump has his Putin parachute ready under his left arm.

And under his right arm, there’s his North Korean parachute fashioned together with love letters from Kim Jong Un.

Ah, a former president in exile because he dared to want to be president again?

But that’s the narrative the Republicans are drumming up, as if all this legal drama is merely political, and that no laws were broken (that we

tholicism but believes a future world without religion “could be better for everyone.”

He says, “Christian Evangelism in the U.S. is nothing more than a tax haven monolith that’s a business and political entity. The Christian right in the U.S. is the obstacle that enables the proliferation of guns. No matter all the deaths that keep happening. What does God have to do with being pro-gun? They are gung-ho over U.S. militarism. What does God have to do with being pro-military? They are ardent capitalists and militant against government social assistance calling it socialist. Again, where is the link there for God being against a government helping the less fortunate, and instead, siding with the super-rich.

“And all that nationalism within the Christian Evangelist movement, since when was God for any one or set of nations? That movement [Christian nationalism] is far

know of). Trump still continues to rile up his base to protest, calling the legal proceedings a “Witch Hunt.” (If I were a Wiccan, I would be offended by his continued use of the term).

Republicans can bad mouth the legal process all they want, but it’s another thing to intimidate the New York DA with threats of congressional investigations.

What’s worse is that the law and order Republicans can’t see they have a blind spot when it comes to respecting the rule of law when their own fearful leader is the possible perp in violation of laws.

Trump’s reaction was simply to go half-cocked, not even knowing what the charges are. But most appalling is his goto—the call for violence.

“Protest, protest, protest,” Trump wrote in his social media posts. The twice impeached former president, who wants to be president again respects the law so much, his best response (continue on page 8)

from who Christ was and what He stood for. But these people believe they’re somehow in God’s favor and call those who oppose them, literally, ‘evil.’ It’s mind-boggling how they can arrive to such conclusions, which unfortunately, isn’t the first time that groups of people use God for their own special interests in the most warped, twisted ways,” Mark said. “I think they [Christian Nationalists in the U.S.] are turning people away from God with their bad politics and nonspiritual agenda.”

A new 2023 poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the independent research institution NORC shows under 40% of Americans said religion was very important to them compared to in 1998, when the publication first asked this question, and 62% felt that way about religion.

(continue on page 12)


Full disclosure:

“It is not the size that matters. Even an ant bite can sting.”

– From “Memoirs” of Emmanuel S. Tipon

“You are a better performer than my husband,” cooed the ravishingly beautiful mestiza to her lover. “And he is younger,” she added as a footnote.

The Ilocano lawyer who was the object of her affection responded. “I do not have erectile dysfunction. I could make love with you every night.”

“How about during the day?” asked the mestiza, expecting the lawyer to say “touche.”


Erectile Dysfunction, Immigration, and An Ilocano Lawyer

“I have to work during the day so I can give more money to you,” answered the lawyer, who was quick at repartee and avoided acknowledging a touche.

What is erectile dysfunction?

According to Matthew Ziegelmann, M.D., a doctor at the Mayo Clinic: “Erectile dysfunction (impotence) is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.”

Immigration related marriage not consummated

Immigration officer to visa applicant: Was your marriage consummated?

Visa applicant: No, sir.

Officer: So, your marriage is not bona fide.

Applicant: It is sir, but I cannot have an erection. I have erectile dysfunction.

Patay kang bata ka. (You are dead, young man.)

No erectile dysfunction in Ilocano

There is no Ilocano word for “erectile dysfunction.” Our associate Mae Joy and I are writing an English-Tagalog-Ilocano dictionary. We do not have any entry for “erectile dysfunction.” There is no such creature as “erectile dysfunction” among Ilocanos. There is no evidence that the following story is true: A balikbayan man and his new bride went to a first-class hotel in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte for their honeymoon. As they were consummating their marriage, the man asked his wife, “Darling, na feel mo?” The wife replied in disgust: “Napilco” (It is bent).

No erectile dysfunction in the Bible

Biblical scholars find no such thing as “erectile dysfunction” (ED) in the Bible.

King Solomon reputedly had 1,000 women in his life (700 wives and 300 concubines). 1 Kings 11:3. You cannot have sex with such a large number of women if you have ED.

King David, father of Solomon, had less, but still a significant number. David had to make love frequently to the young Bathsheba, a woman of incomparable beauty, whom he lustfully saw bathing under the last rays of the setting Mediterranean sun.

David stole her from her husband Uriah, a younger man and a soldier in his army, whom David sent to the battlefront to get him killed. David was about 70 years old when he died, but still making love. He is considered Israel’s greatest king. David was a firm believer in God and God rewarded him.

No ED.

Then there is Abraham, said to be the patriarch of David and Jesus, who was

100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him and his wife Sarah who was 90 years old.

In addition, Abraham had to make love with the young Hagar, a slave, who was Sarah’s handmaiden but who gave her to Abraham so that he could have a child with her and have an heir. That was before Sarah herself had a child with Abraham.

When Hagar became pregnant, however, Sarah became jealous and treated her harshly and she fled into the desert. She bore a child who was named Ishmael. But after Sarah died, Hagar came back and Abraham married her.

This proves that if you do not waver in your faithfulness to the Almighty He will reward you by allowing you to have a mistress, have an erection, and children even though you are 100 years old and above.

(continue on page 13)



(CANDID PERSPECTIVES: From the Big Apple....from page 6) to an indictment in New York is to throw a dictator’s tantrum and to use a dictator’s tool— violence.

This is a man who doesn’t understand American democracy and doesn’t deserve to be president even once.

I find it astonishing that it’s not just leading Republicans, but those in our communities

who are still supporting him.

When it comes to Asian Americans running for president, Nikki Haley is still mum. But there’s Vivek Ramaswamy, the anti-woke Indian American rushing to Trump’s defense.

“It is un-American for the ruling party to use police power to arrest its political rivals,” Ramaswamy said on Twitter.

“This will mark a dark moment in American history and will undermine public trust in our electoral system itself,” Ramaswamy continued. “I call on the Manhattan District Attorney to reconsider this action and to put aside partisan politics in service of preserving our Constitutional republic.”

New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Harvard College, Harvard Law graduate, who grew up in Harlem and knows what it’s like to be stopped by police for no good reason other than one’s race, has said his prosecutors will not be intimidated.

It’s important that this first case go through. America needs to let it sink in. The case involving hush money to a porn star may not be so insignificant if falsified documents were involved, and if the payoff of Daniels to keep quiet had any impact on Trump’s campaign (it probably would have exacerbated that “Access Hollywood” tape that came out at the same time).

If Bragg’s indictment comes down in the next week or so, Trump will get booked,

printed and photographed. He will be treated like a former president and a common criminal. That’s never happened before in history. Will it make him more popular? No democracy-loving American would vote for an indicted outlaw for president a second time.

It’s almost not important there’s a conviction. Just getting the first indictment out will clear the way for Fulton County DA Fani Willis, another African American with a sense of justice. She’s seeking the death penalty for the shooter of the Asian Americans in the Atlanta Spa Killings. In the Trump matters, the possibility of racketeering charges coming out of the grand jury has been raised.

We need the New York case as a first stress test for the legal battles ahead.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) decried it all, saying he just wants to see equal justice for all.

We all do, especially in the BIPOC community, where equal justice is hard to come by.

Trump himself has said he wants his “perp” walk, the parade before the media as he’s

transferred during booking. He believes it will make him appear to be the victim? Oh, so now he’s playing victim games?

I don’t think it’s going to work. Even scalawag Republicans wouldn’t stoop to elect a man so tainted as a perpy, indicted Trump.

But this is why he’s dangerous to democracy. There are the holdouts among the leading Republicans who are willing to lose all their credibility for this man.

Forget the banks, worry about democracy.

And don’t worry about Trump. He’s probably going to sell an NFT of the first presidential mug shot.

NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Catch it Live most days @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.

EMIL GUILLERMO is a journalist and commentator. His talk show is on www.amok.com.


In the mainland, hate crimes among Asians, especially the elderly, occur so often.

Suddenly you hear a senior citizen being a victim of extortion in city streets; Asians being mulled and accosted in department stores, in the parking lot, and right in their homes.

This is alarming.

Since March 2020, Stop AAPI Hate has tracked nearly 11,500 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons across the U.S. and up to now Anti-Asian racism still haunts the San Francisco community according to ABC News.

In their report, Sasanna Yee’s grandmother, Yik Oi Huang, was attacked in 2019 and died from her injuries one year later as a new wave of violence hit the Asian American community.

The report further said, Stop AAPI Hate co-founder Russell Jeung’s family was


Asian Hate Crime

forcibly removed from their homes in Monterey, California, in the late 1800s.

“When the townspeople wanted the Chinese out, the landlord evicted them. When the Chinese wouldn’t leave, a fire burned down the entire village,” Jeung told ABC News.

They found a new home in San Francisco’s Chinatown, “as the only place of safety against that racism,” Jeung said. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, that safe haven became a target of anti-Asian racism.

Statistics show San Francisco officials received 60 reports of hate crimes against AAPI people in the city during 2021, a more than 500% increase compared to the nine incidents reported in 2020.

Again, the figures are alarmingly concerning considering that most of the victims are seniors like me. This is one of the reasons why it is preventing us not to visit San Francisco for leisure or site seeing. Most Asian visitors/ tourists are likewise prey, just like the seniors.

“We have high numbers of elders reporting, even though elders tend to underreport,” Jeung said. “Our Asian elders, they often don’t speak

English. They don’t have online technology. So, the high rate of elders reporting just shows that it is a problem facing them.”

Currently, Anti-Asian hate incidents are reportedly down across the country, but the trauma and reality of this hate remain, especially for Susanna Yee, whose 88-yearold grandmother was brutally attacked while exercising one morning in a local park in January 2019.

“Although I have come to a place of forgiveness, there’s still pain and feelings of grief that wells up occasionally,” Yee, the granddaughter of Yik Oi Huang, said in an interview with ABC News.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed pledged continued support for the community, saying she suspects actual numbers are much higher because people are reluctant to report to the police.

I agree with Mayor Reed, and in fact, other public officials maintain the same opinion. Berryessa District School Board Trustee and former CA District 25 Assemblymember Kansen Chu for example said the same thing.

In an interview, he said: “The reason why Asian Americans are easy prey is because they are reserved, very quiet, law-abiding citizens, and seldom go out in the community and mingle with others.”

Chu said they need to make their presence felt in the community, they need to be brave enough to report to the police or the authorities if they are mistreated or bullied and have to testify if needed.

Chu observed in his years of public service, lots of Asians shy away from controversies and are afraid to come out when bullied or so.

“I think we need to mobilize social media to encourage them to go out and to show their presence in the community. Also, during elections, I observed that they are not studying the credentials and qualities of the candidates they are voting for. They need to scrutinize their qualifications, spend their time to know their candidates, and vote for the candidates who are worthy of serving the community,” Chu commented.

To avoid being prey, Chu is obviously saying that Asians need to show their presence in the community, be vigilant, concerned with what’s going on in the area, and connect with their officials and leaders in the community.

They need to assert their rights and be more courageous enough to report incidents of injustice or personal physical injuries they incurred as victims. They need to be assertive and brave for any injustices--not remain silent or reluctant to report a crime to the police-they need to come out in the open.

That’s the reason why statistics do not show the whole picture because not everyone reports the incidents.

According to a study released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, the nation’s Asian, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander populations had the lowest rates of violent and property victimization among all racial and ethnic groups between 2002 and 2006.

Among the AAPI community, the average annual rate of nonfatal violent victimization (including rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and sim-

ple assault) was about 11 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older, compared to 24 per 1,000 among non-Asians.

The average annual rate of property victimization (including household burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft) among AAPI households was 115 per 1,000 households, compared to 162 per 1,000 non-Asian households.

The report further said AAPI were victims of 340 homicides during 2006 or about 2% of all murders in that year. Asian homicide victims were typically male or age 30 or younger. Nearly 3 in 4 AAPI homicide victims were males, and about half of all Asian homicide victims were aged 30 or younger.

Most nonfatal violent crimes against Asians were committed by strangers, the report said. An estimated 77% of violent crimes against Asian males (compared to 59% for non-Asian males) were committed by strangers. About half of violent crimes against Asian females were committed by strangers, compared to 34% for nonAsian females.

Offenses measured in the study include those reported to police as well as those that went unreported. About half of all nonfatal violent crimes against Asian victims were reported to police, a percentage similar to that of whites and Hispanics.

About 40% of property crimes against Asian households were reported to the police, which was the same percentage found for white, black, and Hispanic households.

In light of all the reports and latest developments, let’s be vigilant, assert our rights and come out in the open! Just like a thief in the night, we don’t know when they will strike!

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.

Honolulu City Council Passes Bill Banning Guns From Schools, Hospitals And Other “Sensitive Places”

On Mar. 15, the Honolulu City Council passed Bill 57 that bans the public carry of firearms in schools, hospitals, polling places and more.

In response to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen which relaxed gun regulations to be able to publicly carry firearms, Bill 57 was drafted to designate sensitive places where gun carry is heavily restricted.

The bill designates 13 sensitive places wherein public carry of firearms is prohibited:

1. City-owned buildings

2. State and federally owned buildings

Celebrate Merrie Monarch With A Three-Day Celebration

Celebrate Hawaiian culture, live music and arts with the threeday event 2023 Mele Manaka Community Celebration. As an extension of the world-renowned Merrie Monarch Festival, the celebration will be held on April 13-15 at the SCP Hilo Hotel from 9am to 3pm.

The three-day celebration will feature award-winning live music, giveaways and complimentary cultural workshops by local artisans and community leaders such as lei-making, t-shirt printing, coconut hat and lauhala weaving, poi pounding, fishing pole making and more.

The Mele Manaka Community Celebration is open to the public for all ages.

The event is possible with SCP Hilo Hotel and Hawaii Rise Foundation in partnership with Keaukaha General Store and Kimie Miner’s Haku Collection.

3. Schools and childcare facilities

4. Public parks

5. Shelters including homeless and domestic violence shelters

6. Places frequented by children such as the Waikiki Aquarium

7. Polling places

8. Public transit

9. Businesses that serve alcohol

10. Large public gatherings

11. Concert venues

12. Cannabis dispensaries

13. Hospitals

Moreover, the bill also requires persons carrying a firearm, in any interaction with law enforcement officers, to inform them that they are currently carrying and must present their license.

“Hawaii historically has had low rates of gun violence, and we need to keep it that way,” said Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs.

“Over the course of five hearings, we listened to the

public and identified what we as a community would consider to be ‘sensitive places,’ like schools and hospitals. We also worked to make clear rules that the licensees could follow. Bill 57 is a step toward keeping our island home safe from the violence and tragedies we see on the mainland.”

Council Chair Tommy Waters said the community’s health and safety is the top priority.

“While the Legislature is at its halfway mark in Session, we cannot wait for them to act. There is no certainty that any State

bills will pass, and even if one does, the counties are still able to legislate to protect their residents,” he said.

“With approximately 55 already issued by the Honolulu Police Department, and over 800 applications pending, establishing ‘sensitive spaces’ is paramount. This is an issue of public safety, and I appreciate the hard work this body has demonstrated to fulfill our kuleana and uphold the safety and well-being of our residents.”

If Bill 57 is signed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi, the bill would be effective beginning May 1, 2023.


TRIGGERED — Creative Responses to the Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines

Since taking office on June 30, 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has carried out a “war on drugs” that has led to the deaths of over 12,000 Filipinos, mostly urban poor, according to the Human Rights Watch.

Recently a three-judge panel of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided on January 26, 2023 to authorize the court’s prosecutor to resume his investigation in the Philippines, advancing accountability for extrajudicial killings in the country. As to be expected, the Philippine government appealed the decision last February 3.

On August 16, 2017, 17-year-old Kian de los Santos was mistaken for a drug addict and mercilessly gunned down. The killing was caught on CCTV and was shown on national news outlets. Kian was heard saying before he was killed—“Tama na po, test po ako bukas.” (Please stop; I have a test tomorrow).

The incident made an impression on a literature teacher Jocelyn Martin and asked herself— besides going to the streets to protest the killings and signing petitions, what else could a teacher do?

As she notes in the book’s introduction: “…Staying silent is not an option. Silence during

Lent 2023

An estimated 92 million Filipino Catholics worldwide (84 million in the Philippines and 8 million outside of the Philippines) participate in some way the annual Lenten religious season, which lasts six-weeks or 40 days as spiritual preparation for Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year Lent started on February 22 and will end on Thursday of Holy Week. Easter falls on April 9 this year.

Lent is characterized as a time of purification and reconnection to God. It is a time for

these grave times could contribute to a form of “complicit forgetting.”

She felt that the “interrupted lives” of the victims can be “prolonged” through fiction. So she challenged her freshmen class to express themselves through short-story writing.

Twelve short stories showed a lot of promise, where the students showed their “creativity, empathy and sense of justice.”

Six of the best stories were chosen for publication. Her fellow teacher Cyan Abad-Jugo invited professional writers to mentor the six students to process a very complex topic as well as improve their creative outputs.

In addition, the mentors also contributed their own written works. The editors also reached out to artists to provide illustrations for the written pieces.

The result is “an anthology of creative responses to a crucial subject, a conversation between generations, and a memorial against oblivion.”

One of the stories that intrigued me was “Baptism by Fire” by Jan Ong, a graduate of management engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Instead of writing from the perspective of the victims or the victims’ families and next of kin, her story revolves around a police officer charged

Catholics to engage in fasting, praying, penitence and almsgiving. The 40 days period represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. That time span is believed to have occurred in 40 days.

Marline Martin, Liz’s mother, self-identifies as a traditional, old school Catholic. She says she prays and says the rosary every night, whether it’s the Lenten season or not. “Praying every night makes me feel complete. I come from a devoutly Cath-

The precinct had been given a quota of addicts to take care of, and the protagonist as the newbie in the precinct was given the task of getting his hands dirty to save the nation (“Kailangan ng ating mga kamay na madumihan upang mailigtas ang ating bayan”) the euphemism for shooting the identified addict, including planting the evidence to ensure a smooth indictment.

go Duterte waged war against drugs, but the authors of this anthology waged war against forgetting, against erasing from institutional memory the lives and sacrifices of the victims of EJK.

with dealing with this drug war.

The opening sentence is telling: “I’m not a bad man, I just want to do what’s best for my country.”

It follows a typical day at his precinct, where he is tasked to go through the pile of anonymous “tips” identifying drug addicts. His sense of dread accelerates when he is informed that despite his misgivings about the truthfulness of the “tips”, it was best to take them all—it was better to ensure that no addict is left and not worry about a little detail such as the lists’ accuracy.

The dialogue is in Filipino and reflects the cadence of the language of the streets, but the protagonist’s inner conflicts are written in English. The text moves effortlessly from Filipino to English without the use of italics which is normally the case when another language is used.

olic family. Lent was always such a special time in my childhood and even now. This very solemn season of deep reflection and prayer culminates in Holy Week when my family would attend Mass every day. It’s a beautiful tradition,” Marline said.

Besides engaging in prayer, Marline and her family give up eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Her personal sacrifice that she gives up during Lent is quitting all social media. The idea of giving up something for Lent is a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice (His accepting dying on the cross)

The monologues that describe his inner conflicts are heart-wrenching. He is also a victim. His inner war will be replayed in his memory over and over again. And the story ends as it began: “I’m not a bad man, I just want to do what’s best for my country.”

Ironically, most of those who voted for Rodrigo Duterte including his diehard supporters justified their actions in the same way—to do what is best for the Philippines.

The last paragraph in the editor’s introduction says it best when she writes:

“Triggered is about letting ourselves be disturbed. Disturbed by the numerous “collateral” damages of this war, disturbed by the powers acting as judges and executioners; disturbed by mostly poor children now without parents, or parents now without a child. Like an epitaph, our volume can also, but not only, function as trace, as translation, as survival of the dead…”

The government of Rodri-

for humanity. In place of what is given up, that time instead, is spent on connecting to God, Catholics say.

Like her mom, Liz observes Lent and Holy Week, and gives up something of importance during the Lenten season.

Sandigan says she does not observe Lent that “intensely.” She believes praying, fasting, and penance ought to be practiced every day, and not just during Lent. If pressed on what she ought to give up during Lent, Sandign said, “I feel like I should give up my self-doubt during this period

In addition to the stories, illustrators and their graphics were also included to illustrate the literary works (short stories and some poetry). A special panel discussion was held to analyze the stories of the student writers brought additional feedback and insight from folks with diverse educational backgrounds and training.

The team that produced this book decided to donate its book sales to the EJK Orphans program of the Diocese of Kalookan which provides support to the victims and their families.

Aside from the financial gain, one teacher’s initiative to ensure empathy for the EJK victims by assigning a fiction-writing activity developed into mentorships, panel discussions and workshops, and a literary anthology that forever documents the nightmare that the country was subjected to.

ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established Kalamansi Books & Things three decades ago. It has evolved from a mail-order bookstore into an on-line advocacy with the intent of helping global Pinoys discover their heritage by promoting books of value from the Philippines and those written by Filipinos in the Diaspora. We can be reached at kalamansibooks@gmail.com.

and trust God. Just like how Peter doubted Jesus, I want to recover as well into trusting the Lord on His plans for us.”

Mark said, “I am critical of religion. But that doesn’t stop me from the spiritual and cultural expressions during Lent that I take seriously. How and what I do during Lent is private. What I can say is that I do feel closer to God during this time of year.”

It’s a special time of year for Catholics around the globe and Filipinos are helping to keep this ancient Lent tradition (as well as the Catholic faith) alive and vibrant.

(COVER STORY: From Conversion ....from page 6)


Kisig Orozco: A Beautiful Puzzle Piece

Iwas browsing through Facebook one day when I came across a beautifully written article entitled “A Puzzle Piece.”

It was posted by a friend of mine and she said that it was written by her son. When I found out about his condition, my heart was touched, and I knew I just had to share his story and his literary piece with the world.

Fourteen-year-old Leonardo Makisig “Kisig” Orozco is from Roxas City, Philippines and is the second among three siblings. He is currently a ninth-grade student.

Upon the recommendation of his kindergarten teachers at an inclusive-progressive school, his parents had a consultation with the development pediatrician who visited the school regularly.


Kisig was diagnosed with mild autism and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) at the age of seven.

According to his mother, Gerlen, it was only a confirmation of her hunch based on red flags she noticed about him since he was a toddler.

Kisig had difficulties keeping still in enclosed spaces as he would shout randomly and could not remain immobile for long periods.

He has many sensory processing issues such as being overly sensitive to sounds, cloth texture, and food taste, among others. He also seemed to have a poor adaptation to social cues and norms.

Despite his condition, Kisig has a beautiful mind, excellent hands, and a special heart. His name which means ‘splendor’ and ‘elegance’ in Filipino reflects the kind of person he is.

He is into digital arts, and

I have read the Bible –both the English and Ilocano version. There is no “erectile dysfunction.”

Viagra and erectile dysfunction

Most people never heard of erectile dysfunction until 1998 when Viagra was introduced by a pharmaceutical company as a “cure” for erectile dysfunction.

The Ilocano lawyer tried Viagra. A few minutes later the ceiling turned blue. His heart beat faster. He whispered to his playmate in bed that he had taken Viagra. His playmate remonstrated: “You told me I was your Viagra.”

The lawyer whispered: “You are still my Viagra. I just tried Viagra once just to feel its effect.”

Viagra can have deadly results. The Ilocano lawyer told this story when he went to Ilocoslovakia. A former congressman’s son, who was the Ilocano lawyer’s classmate in elementary

he likes to draw fan art characters as well as original ones. Recently, his writing compositions have earned top marks at school. His mom said that he has a strong sense of morals and is justice-sensitive. Here’s his beautiful literary piece that captured my heart and allowed me to see his extraordinary mind.

A Puzzle Piece

If I were a thing, I would be a puzzle piece. It would hold an incomplete picture, and the other puzzle pieces are nowhere to be found.

school, reportedly was told by a woman companion at a hotel to take Viagra.

He took a pill. It did not work fast enough. She egged him to take another one. He did. He died in bed. The woman fled. Police were called to investigate a dead body in the hotel. They found two Viagra containers on the table. The police caught the woman who confessed to what happened.

Relief for erectile dysfunction

Matthew Ziegelmann, M.D. said: “Having erection trouble from time to time isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. If erectile dysfunction is an ongoing issue, however, it can cause stress, affect your self-confidence and contribute to relationship problems. Problems getting or keeping an erection can also be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs treatment and a risk factor for heart disease.

Someone could look at it with curiosity and wonder what the result would be if it were whole. Another could look at the puzzle piece and try to give it a place to fit in, making their own picture.

The puzzle piece would be blurry, and hazy; you couldn’t tell what it was or what it was trying to be. People would criticize it for its indefinite shape and be harsh on its flaws and muddied colors.

I can relate to it because, like this puzzle piece, I am not something you can enjoy just yet; I am unfinished.

I would not say I need others to be complete. Anyone could decide I am enough and cherish me as if I were a painting made by a virtuoso. It might prove hard to do so though since my edges are jagged and rough and not smoothened by time and experience. So usually people do not like interacting with me, and if they had to it would’ve been brief and shallow. I grew

“If you’re concerned about erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor — even if you’re embarrassed. Sometimes, treating an underlying condition is enough to reverse erectile dysfunction. In other cases, medications or other direct treatments might be needed.”

The Ilocano lawyer – who is now 90 although looking much younger according to adoring women – was told by his beauteous 40-something doctor that he could expect to live another 10-12 years and that he can still have children.

What is the lawyer’s secret? Spend significant time with young women – 18 and above. Any one below that might get you in trouble with the law. Their youthful vigor and outlook on life will be absorbed by means of osmosis.

There are also enzymes (which speed up chemical reactions in the body) made in the young woman’s mouth which can be transmitted by passionate kisses.

used to it, but at the same time, I hoped I didn’t have to.

Because of this, I have few people close to me. These are the people who decided to look past my uneven shape and blurred defects and instead viewed me for what I am. Not focusing on what I was or what I could’ve been. I treasure them dearly, for they are the ones that keep my colors warm and my future bright.

I hope for a day when I wouldn’t be so full of flaws, and when passers-by would look at me in awe instead of disappointment or dissatisfaction. I know the world doesn’t work this way though, so as I gradually piece myself together and my finish comes to a close, I’ll accept whatever picture I turn out to be.

Kisig, like a puzzle piece–indefinite, incomplete and jagged–makes the masterpiece complete and beautiful.

(continue on page 15)

Drink at least half a quart of pasteurized goat milk every day. Eat goat meat. Eat meat from animals with big sexual organs like bulls and bisons. Take all the necessary supplements including those containing horny goat weed and iron. Exercise every day. Exercise even during the long 10-hour airplane flight from Honolulu to Manila. Minimize stress. Be positive. Be optimistic. Believe that everything will be all right.

A very exciting sex life can be achieved if the man has no ailments, all his organs are disease free and functioning properly, and most importantly he has rich red blood flowing smoothly into the penis coupled with a sexually attractive young woman who knows how to stimulate the man to the height of simultaneous orgasm.

As the song goes: “It takes two to tango.” As the poem puts it. “Useless each without the other.” Or as Em-

manuel S. Tipon puts it: BS (Blood and stimulation).

ATTY. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and w rites columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he cohosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com.

Kisig Orozco WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?: Erectile ....from page 7)

Naimpuusuan a Pammigbig ken Panagyamanko

Padak a Volunteers

Wonderful day. Nagasat nga aldaw. Kaniak a biang, kas maysa kadagiti adu a community volunteers, ita nga agsapa ti Sabado, Marso 25, 2023, mamatika man ken saan, ngem daytoy ti simamata a kinapudno, ita nga aldaw ti Adopt a Hwy clean up, ti quarterly nga ar-aramiden ti United Filipino Council of Hawaii ken Oahu Filipino Community Council a maawagan iti SPECIAL PROJECTS, partnership with various organizations, civic group, individual, mairamanen ti Adopt a Park, ken Feed the Homeless.

Nanipud pay idi 2010 nga idauluak daytoy kas naaprobaran ti UFCH Resolution 2010001, kas programa ti Social Action Committee a siak ti pangulo daydi a kombension ti United Filipino Council of Hawaii, ken naangay idiay Lahaina, Maui, Hulio 2010. Malaksid iti dayta a komite, babaen iti panagtalek ti UFCH president Eddie Agas, Sr., siak pay ti Chairman dagitoy a komite: Membership, Golden Book, Publicity, TUNOS Newsletter, Fe Velasco, editor.

Nagpaayak a Board of Governors 2009-2011. Ditoy koma a kombension nga agtarayak a para presidente, ngem gapu iti kalkalpas a major surgery iti Hunio 19-30, 2010, a kaaddak iti ospital, saan pay

a naan-anay ti salun-atko. Imbabawik ti tarigagay ken kalikagumko nga agpresidente ti UFCH, ket inendorsok ti sabali a kandidato.

Ket no daytoy man Resolution 2010-001 nga insaganami kada Jun Abinsay, Danny Villaruz ti pagpaayak a mangidaulo, agyamanak iti gundaway.

Ngem sakbay dagitoy, siakon ti maysa kadagiti nagpaay a chairman wenno co-Chairman. Adda padasko iti kastoy a programa ta nagrugiak idi apagsangpetak idi 1971 ta kamengak iti Lions International Club. Weeful Projects ti sigud a nagan ti Adopt a Hwy.

ITA a bigat, Immuna a simmangpet ni Mrs. Hawaii Filipina 2022 Eva Andres, simmaruno a simmangpet ni pasado presidente ti OFCC Rev. Alex Vergara, Ludi Quero, Solesister ni Angie Santiago, Adela Domingo Salacup, UFCH treasurer ken Philippine Celebrations Coordinating Committee of Hawaii Chairperson; Carol Cardenas, OFCC 1st vp; Hermie Pagaduan, UFCH auditor; Engie Pagaduan, daulo dagiti volunteers manipud iti Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union; ken dadduma.

---Mel Ulangca, pasado presidente ti Magsingal Association of Hawaii ti simmaruno pay a simmangpet, aktibo ken suportado unay kadaytoy a proyekto .

Ad-adda pay a pinapin-

tas ti aldaw idi sumangpet ni sigud a presidente ti OFCC/ UFCH Maggie Domingo, iti nasingsinged nga awagko kenkuana ket “NANA” kas respeto iti inauna. Siak idi ti Publicity Chairman idi panawenna a presidente ti UFCH. Kaduami idi kada Appo Joe Lazo, Annie Corpuz, Romualdo Agustin iti umuna a tawen a pannakairugi ti Mrs. Hawaii Filipina 1987 iti programa ni UFCH presidente Bert Ugalino, maawgan nga ama ti Mrs. Hawaii Filipina, ket ni Mrs. Acela Garcia ti immuna a nakoronaan. Kaduami pay ni Nana Maggie iti Bannawag Hawaii Bureau, Inc, pakairamanan da Appo Joe Lazo, Roland Bueno, Elvin Quicho, Mike Ulibas, Bert Ugalino, Paul Salibad.

Simmangpet ni. Louie Funtanilla, presidente ti Narvacan Association of Hawaii, insangpetna ti sangakahon a haupia, ti nakasamsam-it nga isemna a kunana: I cannot say no to you, no sika a agayab”. Sigud met a pangulo ti Adopt a Hwy kadagiti napalabas.

Simmangpet ni Angie Santiago, awitna ti sangakahon a nagpuypuyatanna nga insagana a home made musubi ken dadduma a makan.

Sumangkaragsak rikna ti kaadda ni sigud a Mrs. Hawaii Filipina 2014 Novie Novie ken ni William Flores nga asawana.

Maysa kadagiti kagagetan a kaduatayo ni Sto Domingo

Organization president Isabel Rivera Phu, kameng iti Hawaii Filipino Lions Club.

Simmaruno met a simmangpet ti maysa pay kadagiti kaaktibuan a volunteers, Espie Badua, kameng iti Cebu Organization, Bulacan Circle.

IMMAWAG ni Divine Word College of Laoag College Alumni Association of Hawaii president Mr. Jesse Pascual, co-Chairman for Food/Refreshment ken Fellowship. Ammuenna no mano ti volunteers tapno ammuenna ti igatanganna iti naimas a pansit, imbagak agarup tallopulo. Ket insangpetna nga agpayso ti BIG TRAY A PANCIT


Kuna ni John Witeck, UH ken regular a volunteer: the United Filipino Council (UFCH) honored its long-serving Project Chair, Amado Yoro, for his dedication and commitment to community service.

Thank you Angie for the foods, thank you Mr. Tom Quintos, presidente ti Santiagenians of Hawaii for the drinks---Hawaiian Sun Juice---Thank you Apo Presidente Leo Gozar daytoy saanko pulos ninamnama a Certificate of Commendation----In part-“Every now and then an advocate comes along with a desire, the talent, the skill, and fortitude in making our community a better place to live and work. You have made our Council proud.

Your willingness to work on this volunteer-intensive committees by building and maintaining the “Adopt a Hwy: and Feed the Homeless” programs spans a remarkable commitment as chair in the highest levels of excellence”.

Signed: Leo Rojas Gozar, UFCH president; Angie Dytioco Santiago, UFCH Vice president & Special projects Chair.

-----This Commendation is for VOLUNTEERS----without U there is no volunteer, without them, without other this projects will never be as successful as this---Ti nasken ti kaaddam Apo. Sapay koma ta agtultuloy latta daytoy a proyekto asino a mangidaulo ti UFCH/OFCC. Purely voluntary in the name of community service as a part of leadership. Leadership in action and good communication and coordination.

AS I SAID: I always be around---I just want to see and support new and a leadership of younger generations-which, at this point in time, Angie Santiago is always active ready and available as my Co-Chairperson.

Ita nga aldaw isu ti panangyallawittayo iti akem a Chairman para ken ni Angie Santiago, baro a Chairperson ket sapay koma ta agtultuloy ti suportayo iti proyekto, ti suportayo kenkuana uray nalablabes pay.


FAUW Sponsors Free Memoir Writing Workshop

The Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW) is sponsoring a free memoir writing workshop led by international writing teacher Nanette Carreon-Ruhter.

Titled “Jump Start the Story of Your Life,” the workshop is for those who want to reflect on their past, organize their memories and leave a legacy for future generations by putting their life story on paper.

Carreon-Ruhter has 44 years of experience as an international English teacher and is an accredited consultant

for the University of California-Berkeley Writing Project and the East Asia Writing Project. In her retirement, she is a substitute teacher at Punahou School, Iolani School and Le Jardin Academy in Honolulu.

The free workshop will be held on April 22, 9am to noon at Esplanade Social Room, 500 Lunalilo Home Road, Hawaii Kai. To register, contact Pepi Nieva at (808) 2251219 or Nanette Ruhter at nanette48@ gmail.com.

FAUW is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and supporting the history, art and culture of Filipinos and Filipino Americans.

ILOKO By Amado I. Yoro

LET’S ZUMBA | Filipino Community Center | Every Monday starting January 9, 2023 at 6:15pm | FilCom Center, Consuelo Courtyard, 94-428 Mokuola Street, Waipahu | Need to unwind in movement and dance after a long workday? Join the community as we Zumba through the evening. Only $5 per class. Proceeds go to support these programtypes for FilCom Center.

COVID-19 & FLU FREE VACCINATION | Filcom Cares | Apr. 20, May 18 and Jun 15 from 10am to 12pm | Filipino Community Center, 94-428 Mokuola St., Waipahu | FilCom Cares is inviting the community to get jabbed in the upcoming free vaccination drive. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 shots are available for free to the community. Just bring your photo ID, medical insurance card (if any), and


your vaccination card. For more information, call FilCom Cares at 808-369-5380.


| AARP Hawaii | April 8 at 8:30am | Japanese Cultural Center, 2454 South Beretania St., Honolulu | From inflation, changing demographics and the future of Social Security and Medicare, learn how to save and invest for your future goals including retirement at this free financial workshop. To attend the conference, pre-registration is required at https://events.aarp. org/Finance4-8.

MELE MANAKA COMMUNITY CELEBRATION | SCP Hilo Hotel, Hawaii Rise Foundation, Keaukaha General Store, Kimie Miner’s Haku Collection | April 13-15 at 9am to 3pm | SCP Hilo Hotel,


126 Banyan Way, Hilo | As an extension of the world-renowned Merrie Monarch Festival, the three-day celebration will feature award-winning live music, giveaways and complimentary cultural workshops by local artisans and community leaders. The event is open to the public for all ages.


MEMOIR WRITING WORKSHOP | Filipino Association of University Women | April 22 at 9am-12pm | Esplanade Social Room, 500 Lunalilo Home Road, Hawaii Kai | This free workshop is for those who want to reflect on their past, organize their memories and leave a legacy for future generations by putting their life story on paper. To register, contact Pepi Nieva at (808) 225-1219 or Nanette Ruhter at nanette48@gmail. com.

AARP Hawaii Offers Free Financial Workshop

From inflation, changing demographics and the future of Social Security and Medicare, learn how to save and invest for your future goals including retirement at this free Finance Your Future conference by AARP Hawaii on April 8 at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii starting 8:30am.

The opening session and workshops will cover trends that could affect your retirement and savings plan. Moreover, participants can also choose to attend the following workshops that cover budgeting, managing credit and debt, understanding Social Security, Medicare basics, investing, estate planning, home buying

and more.

“Did you know that the fastest growing age group in the United States are those 80 and older and the second fastest is people 100 and older,” said Jackie Boland, Outreach Director for AARP Hawaii.

“Will you have enough money to last until you’re 100? If you’re saving over a

long period of time -- for retirement, for your children’s college or even for a house, there are economic and other trends to consider.”

The conference is aimed at people 50 and older but younger people are encouraged to participate as well.

The workshops cover a variety of topics that any-

one, regardless of their age, life and investing experiences, can learn something new. The conference is designed to give information to help participants make their own financial decisions.

To attend the conference, pre-registration is required at https://events.aarp.org/Finance4-8.

Councilmember Introduces Bill to Cut Down Opioid-Related Deaths

Honolulu Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam introduces Bill 28 which will require nightclubs and other high-risk venues to maintain doses of naloxone spray onsite in case of an opioid overdose.

The bill was introduced following the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of naloxone, a lifesaving opioid

overdose reversal medication, to be available as an over-thecounter medication.

The opioid epidemic is a public health issue that has been intensified by the rise of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

From August 2017 to August 2018, there were 59 deaths in the State of Hawaii from opioid overdose according to the Hawaii State Health Department.

(PERSONAL REFLECTIONS: Kisig....from page 13)

He is just one of the many around the world who are struggling with the same condition but in many forms.

They are all fearfully and wonderfully made. They are special.

Yes, they pose an extra challenge to their parents but they bring joy that outweighs any hardship.

Parents who are raising children with autism spectrum disorder are truly remarkable. They are indeed people who exhibit great strength, patience, endurance and great love.

If you are reading this and

you are one, I applaud you. You are awesome!

May the words of Kisig’s mom Gerlen bring encouragement to every amazing parent who raises very special people: “It’s important to belong to a community that helps us with our struggles.”

“Parenting a neurodiverse child can tremendously affect all aspects of life and at times, our coping skills and reservoir of strength can get depleted. When feelings of inadequacy and despair hit me, it felt like I’m close to falling off a precipice after trudging on an uphill climb,”

In 2020, that number increased to 274 deaths.

“Narcan saves lives. With the widespread proliferation of synthetic opioids in our community, it is more important than ever that we make this life-saving resource as accessible as possible. Bill 28 is about keeping the public safe - it is about using every tool at our disposal to prevent accidental overdoses,” said Councilmember Tyler Dos

she explained. “During these moments, I intentionally seek help by reaching out to people with kindred minds, and souls, teacher-advocates, and fellow parents who listen without judgment but with compassion and sound pieces of advice. They serve as my sounding board who can validate my concerns and offer support as we navigate through the stages of grief, adjustment, acceptance, and celebration. Having and regaining a healthy mindset and stable emotions allow me to refocus on the bigger picture: the


A supporter of the bill, Robbie Baldwin, owner of Chinatown nightclub Scarlet Honolulu said: “Overdoses happen, especially when mixed with alcohol. Our bars and nightclubs must be prepared for every contingency.

I am grateful that the City Council is taking on this important issue. This bill will protect businesses, patrons, and the public at large.”

sovereign God has gifted me with a child such as he, and I will trust Him!”

This month, we cele-

If the bill is passed, it would be effective on January 1, 2024.

“Opioid-related overdoses are at an all-time high in Hawaii. Naloxone is a very safe drug that reverses overdoses, and this measure will help get Naloxone into spaces where it will save lives,” said Heather Lusk, Executive Director of the Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center. “Learning how to use it and having access should be as standard as CPR training and access to AEDs.”

brate Kisig and the many puzzle pieces scattered around the world that create a beautiful masterpiece.

APRIL 1, 2023