Editor’s Note A rich catch indeed in this 1st Quarter 2010 issue of Silver Threads! There are first of all the winning photographs from the recently‐concluded Bayani‐ han Photography contest. By them‐ selves these photos can stand alone and are worthy of display in any ex‐ hibit. Then, interestingly, we have two takes in the same subject ‐ ʺwhen an office becomes a placeʺ‐ written from two different perspectives ‐ George Manalacʹs and Doc Vir Ofianaʹs, both mainstay writers of Silver Threads. We have a sketch on Ed Alcaraz, ST Edito‐ rial Consultant, enthusiastic supporter of the UBF in all its programs and eve‐ rybodyʹs friend. Talking of which, I remember when my late wife was un‐ dergoing treatment for a malignancy, Ed would badger his colleagues in the CFDM for expensive chemotherapy drugs which he passed on to me, sav‐
ing my family thousands of pesos at a time when hospital expenses were burning a big hole in my pocket. Ed shrugs it off; that is just the way he de‐ fines friendship. A num‐ ber of times Ed dragged me along as a guest to at‐ tend meetings and fellow‐ ships in the various or‐ ganizations where he is a member. I can tell you now: Ed knows everybody and every‐ body knows Ed. No pushovers, his acquaintances either. They are the big names in government, media, civic organizations and civil society. ST never lacks for contributed articles. In this issue, we have en‐ grossing pieces from Rudy Ibanez and Jerry Esquivel ‐ writings that are quite revealing as they dig deep into the heart of hearts of these former heavyweights from Marketing. Good reading!
Twenty‐six Boston marathoners wannabes comprising Unilab retirees and the entire staff of the United Ba‐ yanihan Foundation braved the dawn hours of March 7 to join the Run United for Wellness at Global City in Taguig. Led by UBF Executive Director Bert Lara, the retirees‐UBF contingent formed part of the 6‐thousand plus who donned their running shoes to participate in this yearʹs first big fun run event which was cobbled together by a high‐power Unilab task force composed of representatives from ULCH, Corporate Affairs, Em‐ ployee Relations and the Office of Company President Clinton Campos Hess no less. Proceeds from the run will go to the Childrenʹs Hour and the K.I.D.S Foundation. Fittingly, a Wellness Village was set up to cater to eve‐ ryone regardless of age or gender. Booths that dis‐ pensed gifts packs and products at discounted prices competed with those where one could get free medical
consultation, listen to health tips, and even join in fun games. Retirees Jimmy Nuyda, Nano Mariano and Mike Mejillano finished the 10k. Four others did the 5k while the rest of the of the UBF coterie gamely hacked the 3k. Like the tale of the tiger and the deer, everybody has to run for his life.
enjoyed. flected on and truly re d, ea I r ch hi ” w th the “Silver Threads iting upon or the 4 Qtr issue of would not be as exc Thank you so much f ife t l ha t t gh ou th hen I red to live rez’ “HOPE”. Just w ) to those who da Pe y” ng rfl Lo te ut ith w (“B ing ed ot en op n the right fo es continued to be The issue started o ities and adventur bil ssi po ”), lar pil er retirement (“Cat t is yet to come. man at with UBF, the bes th el I fe s. am eatest asset is its hu re gr d ’s ab their nil t U ha “T eed: deed very touching! uched on United Cr of great value was in lyn Campos‐Hess, to ls ce ar Jo s. pe M as s, ed es ss dr re The Chairman’s ad a retiree, to be add t into focus. And as gh ou br ain hite sugar is known ag as w asset,” d into reality that w lte jo ‐ as I w ts, ee nd of sw n taking those deli call. As a person, fo be more prudent i nd up ke e a re wa e f a as t m w se e” ill os etheless, I hope it w Vir Ofiana’s “daily d he truth hurts. Non , t gh . U n” iso Po e as “Whit hocolates. is not work but a cious pastries and c s, where she is now Ye e. ac gr ing az am ter retirement with d, living a dream af sse ble ly tru is o iag Mel Sant ulfillment. Mel, er joy, peace, and f hobby that brings h on earth? a glimpse of paradise that I remem‐ gets were met. One ar s t ale t s ha e t ur e to draw a to ens Center. He asked m number of projects rts n a po t i y S gh Cit ou n br zo he ue e, of Kit’s way n’s tim ed at the Q fair it was and one During Kit Pamintua af on Clinic he organiz ed int nd m tte ad ll a e B th we A as aler. lved in w acy (Q.C.), a wholes bered and was invo cers of Rose Pharm ffi o he t t uc str in game plan to mer. and peace y of a leading custo they find comfort ay to sustain the loyalt , m ind eh t b ef s l nd to the loved one d the great divide, a se os cr e av h ho l w To Kit and to al me.” ty. Lam‐ They are all safely ho s “ o’ eñ ed i C irees Christmas Par Re et m R fro r’s ea t y las ”, el young t the Gym ne was the “Frolic a s and be made to fe o ain big p st nd la a he es ch . T a BF ish ent with U ould enjoy and van ab days. Ah, never a dull mom ade sure that all w m reliving the old Unil ny A. pa .S. m Co e U n th tio om uc fr od es Pr ire ’s et ra f r La r o berto a numbe s rnational affair with hoto of Mr. Campo again. It was an inte in our lives. That p ks ar t m ed ef sit s l vi po co ua am se Y. C rto Got ward Dee and Albe ories of how Mr. Jo Ho em s, m po s m m ar po Ca m s. e w Ca sr av r. es h M es n M A number of retire . Yes, it does appear kes memories whe e sea, off Singapore stroll by the sea evo th g a by kin rf ta ha e seaside. ez s W an fle Ib af r. with D rtant decisions mad a stroll at R po ing m ak y i e t bl er ba ro w oo t p os y t m he of blue water, and Singapore (1968). T y the calming effects d b ine y our place, he um ill as w ce brillian h. Before dropping b alt he is r h fte a ed ok were and how he lo ow simple his ways s h d. es tn ve er wi a e s ) b lso ps a We were be (dried shrim o (porridge) with hi requested only luga ing our lives. coming and enrich or s f po m Ca r. M r” announced it. Thank you , until “Tawa Corne es ur as re f t l o ul t f f mine was a ches t this ageing body o the Publisher, I never realized tha work of art. And to a ut g o tin ut p lly killfu e increase. congratulations for s igher! May your trib st s h me he ar tc no y w al m er d, ev ar n s ditorial Bo ayanihan Foundatio And lastly, to the E ctorship of Untied B ire e d th ing ak r t fo our gratitude, Jaime T. Miralles
TOXINS (2): Foul air, the invisible predator! ny enemy is a formidable foe, but more so if you can’t see it. And, worse still, if it’s ubiquitous and insidiously invasive. It’s called fine‐particle air pollu‐ tion which is measured in terms of Total Suspended Particulates (TSPs). These distinct particles are composed of airborne dust, gases, soot, mist, acid fumes and metallic and mineral granules produced by motor vehicles and fuel‐burning facilities. One‐ third of TSPs are coarse, measuring 10 microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter); two‐thirds are 2.5 microns or less and they pose the greater danger since they are inhaled into deeper parts of our air‐ ways. In a past issue of the reliable British medical journal Lancet, researchers described how particles lodged deep within the lung, can cause inflamma‐ tion that leads to blood clotting, then to respiratory and circulatory disorders and ultimately, death. Outdoor pollutants from vehicular and indus‐ trial emissions are quite well known to us. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide are known to combine with hemoglobin in our red blood cells dislodging the oxygen that these cells carry to all parts of the body. Acute poisoning from these gases can be fatal. In Sweden, these pollutants have been reported to increase the incidence of heart attacks by 50 per cent! We are less aware of indoor pollutants. Do you know that chloroform, formaldehyde, and ben‐ zene can emanate – “off‐ gas”—from paints, build‐ ing materials and dry‐cleaned clothes? Or, that im‐ properly vented woodstoves and scented candles can emit polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which can cause cancer? Carbon monoxide can escape from space heaters, furnaces, stoves and other appliances and poses a threat in a poorly ventilated room. There can even be radon gas, another odorless and invisible cause of lung‐related deaths, produced from decay‐
ing uranium in the soil and may seep indoors through cracks in the floor. Formaldehyde deserves special mention since this is the active ingredient in embalming fluid, but is being used in a lot of other places besides dead bodies – in plywood panels, fiberboard, plastics, upholstery, carpets, paper products, cosmetics, eye makeup, nail polish and permanent‐press clothing. The chemical is extremely irritant to the lungs, sinuses and liver. Low‐level ex‐ posure to it is associated with eye irritation, asthma and depres‐ sion. Now in the kichen – smoke from overheated cooking oil, especially previously used oil, may contain cancer‐producing chemicals! Pest control chemicals and household cleaners often used in the kitchen area can be toxic if inhaled or ingested. Dish‐ washer detergent can react with food residues to form chloroform, a toxic gas. And, oh yes, lest we forget! Do you know that tobacco smoke contains, by one account, about 4000 chemicals including sulfuric acid that eats away the linings of the lungs and arteries? Or, as shown in a recent study of young adults who smoke 5 to 6 sticks a day, that just one cigarette can reduce their arterial elastic‐ ity by 25 % compared to nonsmokers? Consider how scared stiff must be the arteries of heavy smokers! Have you ever imagined that air fresheners and personal care products (e.g., men’s aftershave, women’s foundation makeup) contain chemicals called terpenes that can cause harmful reactions with ozone, the product of automotive exhaust fumes interacting with sunlight? Terpenes react with ozone (itself an irri‐ tant) to form so‐called volatile organic chemicals or VOCs that can trigger allergies including asthma and related respiratory ill‐ nesses. And – are you aware that lipsticks may contain lead that can pile up in the body over time and lead to infertility and mis‐ carriage? Or, that aluminum (alum) added to antiperspirants may be linked to breast cancer as British scientists have reported? Just as less thought about is the risk that humidity in a house or building can enhance the growth of microbial contami‐ nants such as mold, mildew and dust mites all of which can cause allergies and trigger asthma. Bewail the air that makes us breathless. And to think that we cannot survive without air for longer than three minutes!
By: Doc. Vir Ofiana
The process of growing young is called neoteny or pedomorphosis. The human traits associated with childhood are referred to as neotenous or pedomor‐ phic traits. They include eagerness to learn; open‐ mindedness; curiosity; playfulness; imaginative‐ ness; unbridled laughter; humor; energy; honesty; and, most valuable of all, the need to love. The truth about the human species is that in body, spirit or mind, feeling and conduct we are designed to grow and develop in ways that emphasize child‐ like traits. In fact, the retention of juvenile physical and behavioral traits into adulthood is one of the major qualities that differentiate human beings from animals. Thus, barring social restrictions, when humans are able to retain their neotenous qualities well into adulthood, they can revolution‐ ize their lives and become for the first time, per‐ haps, the kinds of creatures their heritage intends them to be: youthful all the days of their lives! Unfortunately, society has ingrained in our culture the conventional wisdom which requires that as we grow all “childish” traits must be left behind just as one does his or her outgrown clothes. The penalty for non‐ conformity is to suffer the stigma of the “second child‐ hood” in which possession of “childish” qualities is erro‐ neously equated with regressive behavior associated with mental and physical break‐down as in Alz‐ heimer’s disease and senile dementia. Senility is a disease ‐‐ not an inevitable consequence of aging. Perhaps, the accurate description of “old age” is not “second childhood” but “second wind.” For the later years can truly be the happiest of one’s life. Many of those who have achieved a ripe old age admit to feeling embarrassingly young, as if such feeling were an unex‐ pected freshness, not unlike that renewed burst of en‐ ergy that the long‐distance runner experiences at the fin‐ ish line.
“Old age” should be embraced as a harvest time when the riches of life a r e reaped and e n j o y e d while it con‐ tinues to be a special pe‐ riod for self‐ development and expan‐ sion. We, all of us, carry within our‐ selves the core, the es‐ sence of an eternally youthful spirit whose inner light is de‐ signed to warm and illuminate all the days of our life. The whole of life should be a journey toward youthful old age, toward being forever cheerful, optimistic, imaginative, creative, loving and car‐ ing for others. Aging is just another name for growing. Old age, like time, is a gift! (Ashley Montagu is a distinguished anthropolo‐ gist and author of Growing Young and more than forty books; he was professor and head in the de‐ partments of anthropology at Rutgers University, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Califor‐ nia) Ed’s note: Growing old sure beats dying young anytime!
Easter Sunday, 2009 Mr. Clinton Campos Hess President and CEO, Unilab Group Dear Clint, Let me first take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new position as President and CEO of Unilab, a position you more than deserve. I am a warrior of Unilab. I con‐ tinue to be. I am one of those
ñez By: Rudy G. Iba
grown warrior. Ours was the time when
“Senior management led by President and CEO Clinton Campos Hess tours several Unilab com‐ pounds; the Key Personnel greet the employees with good wishes for the coming year while congratulating them for their excellent performance the previous year.” (Bayanihan, Feb. 2009)
they say is an original, a pioneer. Though I am a hybrid, I came by way of stock swap between two leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. I may not have started my career in Unilab but I got absorbed early enough to have some claim of being a home‐
streams were crossed with the reliable Toy‐ ota Van because most of the time roads did not exist. Air‐con in a car was but a dream. You bathed in dust, driving a hundred kilo‐ meters, to touch base with a doctor in the barrio. Those were the times when you left your car by a river, ride in a banca, walk a distance and leave your stocks in the only drugstore in town. No, there was no detail‐
ing done, the drugstore owner who was also the doctor asked you what was in your bag and the other big box you car‐ ried on your shoulder. How much did all of the stuff cost? You were paid in cash, so you could rush back to the last banca that would ferry you across the river. The doctor’s wife walked with you while you’re finishing the drink she insisted you took and the rice cake she wrapped for your baon. “Mag‐ingat ka hijo at hu‐ wag mong masyadong tagalan ang pag‐ balik.” An anecdote about your other Grandpa, Ambassador Howard Q. Dee, captures an era that pictures the pioneering spirit of the time. Let me share it with you: In one of their expeditions in the mountains of Banaue they decided to visit an Ifugao village for whatever assistance they might be able to extend. The Land Cruiser could only go so far; they had to go on horseback for an hour before tak‐ ing the long walk to the village. Mr. Dee out of habit looked for a drugstore first. There was none. There was a sari‐sari store, though. They have a few bottles of San Miguel Beer, some bread, and Pepsi. To his surprise the store was carrying a box of Medicol! Can you believe that? I’d like to think that the pioneers of Unilab made that happen. The kind of Bayanihan we knew then was the presence that Amo (that’s how fondly we call our Chairman, your Grandpa) exudes. He was the symbol of trust, someone who looked after us like a
father. A man whose words bonded us to the knowl‐ edge that he would care for our family should disas‐ ter strike, that he would be there when we needed him most. And so we worked unmindful of the diffi‐ culties, the long hours, the meager pay, and the bene‐ fits that were yet to come. After thirty‐four years of service I retired from Unilab. I told myself I would not fade into nothing‐ ness. I remember the words of General Douglas McArthur standing before the Corps of Cadet at West Point the day he retired, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” In my mind I was not retir‐ ing, I was simply changing careers. Besides, I did not feel helpless about what the future would bring. The umbilical cord was not cut. It was like moving from one house to the next. The Unilab Foundation opened its doors to me. The Foundation contributes to the continuing strength of the company. That the recognition was bestowed on us speaks well of the Company’s care for its employees. It was as if Amo was saying, “Pag‐pasok mo sa Unilab ay lalabas kang Unilab pa rin.” Unilab Forever! It is true some of us Pioneers are dead. But we refuse to fade away; I refused to fade away. The doors of academe became the new challenge for me to con‐ quer. Amo is at my side, the teacher who taught me lessons of life, of what malasakit, pakikisama, hiya, and utang na loob means. I was not that confident in the beginning. I feared in my search for new horizons I would take the philoso‐ phical nuances of a thesis unmindful of the morality they projected. Young minds are like shoots of bam‐ boo that bend to the wind. I was afraid with the con‐ stant bombardment of unmanaged information for the sake of academic freedom I would turn out gen‐ iuses expert in their chosen professions but retarded in their spiritual growth. I had no reason to fear. The institutions I associated with cared. You cannot measure the satisfaction of seeing young minds wonder at the discovery of new concepts, new knowledge that you helped them un‐ derstand. I kept in touch with Unilab. A few times I was fa‐ vored with a call from your Mom, our new Chair. Those short moments reminded me of Amo’s care for us, of the intensity of a man on fire whose purpose was to serve our country and uplift the well‐being of the Filipino no matter in what modest way. Your Mom has your Grandpa’s heart. She spoke of her concern when she assumed the highest position in
Unilab: “Bayanihan, the soul of the company must live in every‐ one’s heart. That no air will separate us, the old members wel‐ come the new with open arms, the new exert all efforts to im‐ bibe what Bayanihan spirit is all about, and in the end we are one.” In‐between my teaching load and helping manage a university I discovered new lessons in life. That it takes more than an an‐ nual feast day or a special bonus to inspire people working with you. Jane Sunley, Managing Director of Learn Purple says, “Creating a motivated workforce is less about monetary re‐ wards and more to do with management styles. Consistency is important. If you want to be an inspiration to your staff, you must walk the talk. Be an example of what you want from oth‐
JY Campos, the Compleat Motivator, leading the cheers during the THERAPHARMA rally in Hongkong with President Sonny Samson, Rudy Ibañez, Tan Wan Lian and Tito Granda. ers. Don’t blow your top if you have a bad day. If things go wrong deal with it; and always be energetic even if you don’t feel like it.” Clint, you are now at the helm of Unilab and much is expected of you. There is only success in your path. The road you have chosen has been travelled by a man greater than all of us, Amo, your Grandpa. At the end of the day Amo is right, the one les‐ son I will always remember from him is, “people make the dif‐ ference.” In time we will not be able to distinguish who Amo is and who you are. You two have become one, now greater. I am a Unilab Warrior forever! All the best always,
place. The diminution, or worse, the loss of intercon‐ nectedness is the deadly bane of retirement. This we know because people who continue to have whole‐ some social support get to live longer, healthier lives. They have stronger immune systems and can better cope up with stress; they sleep well, too. Life, we agree, is not perfect but in that imperfect exis‐ tence we can create perfect moments. In the UBF of‐ fice, the encounters among retirees who know exactly who they are and where they came from make perfect
Filling up medicine vale forms and get‐ ting replenishment for one’s mainte‐ nance medication have been its business ‐ as‐ usual attraction. Over the years, however, the UBF office has evolved into a “contact point” somewhat remi‐ niscent of the ACC/TCC days of old minus the coverage plans, a place at least to exchange long‐time‐no‐see greetings or huddle on the run. Thanks to its widened space and improved lay‐ out – and, of course, splendid service of its staff‐‐ the office has lately been more accommodating not only to increased foot traffic but to more varied activities as well. Not surprising then that you would see people either engaged in spiritual healing or practicing for the choir or planning for the next ST issue. On some days you would also bump into people geared up to undertake the foundation’s corporate social responsi‐ bility (CSR) tasks, e.g., medical mission and urban farming. On a regular basis, you see people pass the time reading the papers, some dozing off their bore‐ dom over the usual headlines. Still oth‐ ers would be in a round‐table huddle over a cup of brewed coffee whose
strong aroma usually gets visitors to gravitate to‐ wards the kitchenette— specially those who have been hooked to caffeine due to the bottomless coffee they had been treated in the canteens all those years. Just so you would know ‐‐ a whiff of coffee aroma will stimulate some brain circuits to release dopamine, the good‐ feeling neurotransmitter. And, yes, anything that makes you feel good can be addicting. Indeed, the office has become a convenient stop‐ over for many retirees who happen to be in or near the UNILAB premises for a specific mission. Un‐ knowingly, it is providing retirees the healthy social network to make up for the interactions they used to have in the old work‐
Try to visit the United Bayanihan Foundation office, and one of the things you’ll notice it’s seldom empty of people: retirees other than the perennial customers who go there regularly to buy or have their prescribed UL medicines filled, sub‐ mit medical receipts or pick up checks for reimbursement. The people central to these per‐ sonal reasons, are those who go there for activities other than official business. These are retirees who seem to have found a second home, those who come to join informal gatherings of old and new ac‐ quaintances while sipping freshly brewed, steaming hot coffee that enriches conver‐ sation; listen to the burning news of the day (some people have the gift of tongue); get a dose of the latest in old Unilab or news about former buddies who hibernat‐ ing in the province to take care of farm or
poultry; or scan newspa‐ pers and magazines scat‐ tered on a center table. Since its renovation some‐ time ago, the UBF office has become a ʺplace”, a haven for tired feet and souls wearied from mun‐ dane cares, a refuge from a merciless sun or venue to share stories with old and new‐ found friends, stories that drift along with time, told and retold and getting better with the telling, at times enticing a laugh here, a teardrop there, because they highlight the spring‐ time – yes, the green years ‐– of our lives. And UBF Exec Diirector Bert Lara’s heart swells with happiness. That’s how the shepherd wants to see his flock. And that’s how it’s founder, JY Campos, envisioned the foundation to be: a bastion of unbreakable bonds, still dominated by the spirit of damayan. Retired employees from the provinces who come for some business in Metro Manila and visiting former employees from abroad never fail to drop in to relish that rare atmosphere of being still a part of the Unilab Family. The UBF today is not only an office with a friendly, accommodating staff, but a place of hello and welcome, and, shall we say, a showcase that makes one feel that the Foundation cares. –George Mañalac
uplifitng moments out of the jewels of shared bayani‐ han experiences and other cherished memories culled from the field, office, lab or the production lines. The UBF watershed is a place where retirees no more mindful of their former ranks can have the luxury, however fleeting, of trying , as it were, to “bring back the hours of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower.” There, as Barbara Streisand suggests, is the place for us!
Against the backdrop of the bigger picture, it will for‐ ever be the subject of debate whether in stumbling upon a scene or a diorama one has, to his singular good fortune, found Bayanihan, or, whether one sets out deliberately, to discover Bayanihan in the mun‐ dane as it spools out in an unending stream of ordi‐ nariness. Regardless, the word escapes exact defini‐
why we do things with that characteristic aplomb that borders on��chutzpah, and with such resounding success. We have made our lives simpler with a straightforward orientation of Bayanihan as all of communal effort and sharing in the bounty with which “togetherness” is inevitably rewarded. Actu‐ ally it puts a good working handle on the issue and has been the steadying helm in episodes of famine (few of them, anyway) or when the good times rolled.
tion and for ages we have tried to drill down on it, the better to define it, in the vernacular even, as if rolling the synonyms familiarly off our tongues and printing them in italics, would somehow bring the concept to bay, lassoed and owned at last. Sama‐sama. Malasakit. Damayan. Matulungin. Utang na loob. Mapagbigay. Salu‐ salo. None of the above or all of the above?
When on the 30th Anniversary of the United Bayani‐ han Foundation last year (See what we mean? Our founding fathers did not turn Bayanihan upside down searching for subtle meanings. They just upped and said let us create a foundation, through which we shall channel manifestations of our Bayani‐ han) it became obvious that the occasion must be marked in some memorable way, cogitation deliv‐ ered the idea, not earth‐shaking initially but becom‐ ing more and more so as it got tossed around, to hold a Bayanihan Photography Contest among em‐ ployees and retirees. Well, why in heaven’s name not? (1) It has never been done before. (2) With to‐ day’s mobility and access to some pretty cool gizmos like 5 megapixel mobile phone cameras, digital cam‐ eras the size of a slice of meat loaf and laptops and PCs that upload and download like a hot knife cut‐ ting through butter, taking good photos is child’s play. (3) Most important of all, it is a “picturesque” probe into our grasp of the concept, a kind of read‐ my‐lips in black and white or full color.
In the end, we throw up our hands and decide that the topic is much too rich for our blood. We have written, if somewhat unintentionally, and lived the prologue; let future generations write, and live as they must, the epilogue. What it boils down to is the definition we of our genre of Unilab are most familiar and at ease with; our “comfort zone” explanation of
At final bell, we were not at all disappointed. In fact we were short of ecstatic over the turnout and result. Thus when Ronald Apolonio of Westmont submit‐ ted his IIsang Bangka which ran away with the Grand Prize and P20K in cash, we see in the black and white picture not only 4 men pulling in unison to bring in a net full of the previous night’s catch, but
Grand Prize Winner Ronald Apolonio’s moving photo, Iisang Bangka
feel the cut of sharp pebbles on bare feet and the sun relentlessly beating down. No pain, no gain. Ah, now it sinks in. No such thing as a free lunch; you gotta do your share. Not surprisingly his Dasal won for Anthony John Lumpan of UAP‐Medichem the 1st Runner‐up and People’s Choice award for a total take of P25K. Be‐ yond the dramatic effect achieved by the seamless blending of candlelight, rosary with crucifix and fingers clasped in prayer (it is also a very technically sound photo with a masterful use of focal length), Dasal evokes an older and more original representa‐ tion of Bayanihan, the Carlos “Botong” Francisco mural displayed at the Unilab Main Lobby. Many have read the woman carrying a baby in the mural as in fact the Madonna and Child. That in itself does not strike a discordant chord in Unilab – wit‐ ness the Holy Infant Jesus Chapel in our midst and the many many religious activities we hold and host throughout any given year. Sa tulong ng Diyos at Bayanihan lahat ng bagay ay kaya natin abutin. Of course in Dasal the Infant is now Man and hangs quite lifeless from the cross. But that is the essence of our faith – death and resurrection.
ally upgraded through training. Nine other entrants in the photo contest that ran through the entire last quarter of 2009 bagged the Im‐ age Excellence Award which carried a P3500 cash prize. Of the more than a hundred entries submitted, 30, including those in the winning circle shall see print in a coffee table book which the UBF contemplates this year. As an exciting exercise, the recently‐concluded Ba‐ yanihan Photography Contest has few parallels in the response and result it generated. But the thought‐ provoking and ultimately fulfilling participation of the viewer is trying to see beyond the photos’ konstrukt and coming face‐to‐face with Bayanihan as a truth and reality that guides our everyday life in a company that has long embraced it.
2nd Runner‐up Lambat ng Buhay (P10K cash prize) of
At the awarding of the winners, Retiree Renato Juntereal bags his nth prize
Grand Prize Winner: Iisang Bangka by Ronald Apolonio
Lee Tagoc of UAP‐Medichem, explores the fishing theme further, though the emphasis now shifts to the transfer of a vital skill as an assurance of conti‐ nuity and survival in the future. Premised on that, it is easy to make the Bayanihan connect which gravely proclaims in the United Creed that the human asset is our greatest asset and vitalizes that committed belief with a strong HROD that leaves no stone un‐ turned to insure that our human capital fit the re‐ quirements of the job and whose skills are continu‐
UNILAB heads grace the exhibit launch at the Bayanihan Center
o most people Novem‐ ber 11, 2009, was just another day. Nothing beyond the ordinary. It was a work day, a mar‐ ket day, or a day for doing one’s daily rou‐ tine. But not to retiree Eduardo S. Alcaraz (Eddie/ Ed). He felt light when he woke up early that morning. There was sprightliness in his body. That morning Ed was kaibigan ng mundo. And for good ‐ unusually good ‐ reason. On Nov. 11, 2009, Ed marked his 50th year of continued service to Unilab. Truly a privilege, a rare achievement, unreached by most employees. Ed was formally retired in December 2000, but man‐ agement asked him to stay on and continue serv‐ ing the company through the PR agency he’d put up. Apparently management believed that with his long experience, his wide, reliable contacts in the public and private sectors, the media in par‐ ticular, and his insight into the public relations work, Ed could still render valuable service to the company, which as with most institutions, faces concerns related to PR on an almost daily basis. Most important of all is his fingertip famili‐ arity with Unilab’s operations, and his trustwor‐ thiness. Public relations managers are usually privy to corporate confidential matters and Unilab could not just entrust this sensitive post to any outsider. There’s something else above all these, some‐ thing implicit in his character: loyalty. Ed’s loy‐ alty to the company is beyond any scale measure. Unilab has been his life. He forsook a potentially lucrative career that usually awaits an Ateneo Law graduate. As a detailman he got swept up in the Unilab bayanihan system of damayan and the close circle of fellow employees who shared his own goals and ideals. Simply put, he loved Unilab “even in his sleep.” He’s still making his regular media rounds to maintain important contacts and sits with them in coffee gatherings, as hedge in case “debts” have to be called in in the future.
Although many of his Ateneo classmates have retired as CA judges, RTC judges, and not a few making senior partners in big law firms, Ed has zero regret about the path he chose. In the early 60s he was sent to Indonesia to help set up the moorings for Unilab’s business in that bustling country, an assignment accom‐ plished after a few back‐breaking months. Ed was to remain at the head of Unilab’s Indonesia marketing operations for 17 years. Busi‐ ness grew rapidly and today, with its large thriving population, Indo‐ nesia is the biggest Unilab market in the region, next only to the state‐ owned pharma company, and bigger than Pfizer, UL’s fierce rival in the Philippines. At 75, Ed looks more like 60, the up‐side of an active life and appetite for seafood and vegetables, a diet common among Cagayanos. In col‐ lege he was a member of the Aquila Legis Law Fraternity and Bayani‐ han Dance Troupe of international acclaim in folk‐dancing. To this day he holds membership in professional organizations. He was elected president of the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong but re‐ turned the compliment to focus on his work. He was a member of Ma‐ nila Overseas Press Club (MOPC) for several years. He has turned down bids to run as president of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines, but acceded to board memberships and high committee posts, including the committee chairmanship of the recently con‐ cluded 45th Annual Anvil Awards. While heading Unilab Corporate Affairs, Ed represented the company in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, the Chamber of Filipino Drug Manufacturers and Distributors, and the American Chamber of Commerce. When he returned to Manila in 1990 to head Corporate Affairs as DVP, the first thing he did was to beef up Unilab’s media presence in areas where it was needed most through the help of the CAG staff, networking, and personal contacts. Not too many people in Unilab now ‐ whether from the ranks or occu‐ pying executive positions ‐ know about when Eduardo Sanchez Al‐ caraz, a young, good‐looking mestizo from North walked through the proud portals of Unilab decades ago. That is just the way things are. But Ed is happy with himself, for his humble contributions to the company, and friendships he established in half a century. It just as quickly dawned on him when he woke up that November morning of his 50th Unilab year, that these are just as priceless and meaningful as a pat on the back, a warm handshake, or a few nicely written words on a plaque plated in gold.
By Jerry Esquivel
It’s been a while since I got into the list of retirees and senior citizens. After 40 years with the company, I now have the luxury of reflecting upon life’s successes and failures. I have forgotten where I learned that to understand life, we must do it forward, committing fewer mistakes in the process. With the average lifespan of 66‐68 years for urban males, what shall I do while waiting for His call for final retirement from this world? What shall I do in the next 6 to 8 years? It is easy and fun to recall pleasant memories of your high school days. You beam with pride to have had classmates com‐ ing from poor families but who later ended up as con‐ gressman and now city mayor; another who became a member of cabinet; another an editor of a leading busi‐ ness newspaper; yet another who joined the military and later became the president of the police academy … and a host of others who chose to become doctors and are now living comfortably in the US. One cannot forget the exciting assignments one got in the job – the favorable results from activities planned and perfectly executed by you. Having served some of the most iconic members of the medical profession, the experience is humbling. How did they ever put up with me? Was their experience as pleasant as mine? A closer look at home brings back memories when your partner and the children easily fit in a small car – when everybody’s appointment was lunch out with you or an outing in one of the heated springs in Laguna on weekends. The tears start as you dwell on the pain of some experience. The many wish lists one had in childhood which remained a wish. Wearing hand‐me‐downs on Christmas Day; frustration in the job; career setbacks and less‐than‐fair treatment one received. Being told by your child you were never home when we needed you. From readings and actual experience, one develops valuable insight that become the basis of what one does in life. It is said that life is a series of contradictions: pleas‐ ant and unpleasant; good and bad; sorrows and joys; exciting and boring; plenty and few; a tear and a smile; sickness and health. The experiences are split dead in the middle. Life is just a series of choices. Dr. Victor Frankle, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” concluded that
man’s ultimate freedom is the power to choose the kind of response to whatever comes in the course of his life‐ good or bad; pleasant or unpleasant. One must never give up the free‐ dom to choose. Overheard a friend: “Ang buhay, parang life!” If life is a choice, what should be my guide in living it? In one of my job assignments in Thailand, a Filipino officemate complained that local members of the workforce always said, “Mai Pen Rai” which literally means “it’s alright, it doesn’t matter.” He said it from the context that his subordinates were not serious about goal achievement in the job. When I had a chance to confront a Thai co‐employee, I asked him to explain their fre‐ quently‐used “Mai Pen Rai.” He paused a bit and calmly said that in everything he did, he put importance to those related to his God, King and family – in that order. And if things not related to the foregoing were not accomplished, it didn’t mat‐ ter anyway. It appeared that in making choices, they knew what mattered for them, just as I always suspected they did What really does matter in life? The 60 years passed like a breeze. Have I lived like I really knew what mattered to me? Is life’s goal universal or personal? Shall the remaining years, God willing, be a time to rest weary mind and body, or a time to review past choices made? Antoine St. Exupery wrote a line for his character: “That it is only with a pure heart that one can see what is essential because what is essential is invisi‐ ble to eye.” The insight says that life has to be lived with a clear con‐ science and a heart in the right place. A countryman whom I admired in life was Dr. Rey Punong Bayan, a self‐confessed atheist who died rather unexpectedly soon after retirement. It’s a pity I never had the chance to ask him: What does really matter in life? Up until now I can only say that I have faced up to the consequences of my choices and decisions, blaming nobody for any misfortune. Hopefully, I shall be allowed to bring along pleasant memories about this life. I ask the forgiveness of people I was unfair to and offer thanks to those who brought joy and happiness to me. Perhaps this is the true in‐ sight into life as a series of contradictions. Omar Khayyam, the great Persian poet and philosopher wrote in his Rubbaiyat “ strange is it that of the myriads who, not one returns to tell of the road, which to discover, we must travel to.”
Its record of good corporate citizenship already secured, UNILAB, through UBF, embarked on a new and major shift in its social mission. Last March 8, 2010, UBF entered into a MOA with the Rizal Provincial High School in Pasig granting 30 of its deserving graduating students a full college‐course educa‐ tional assistance. The financial aid cov‐ ers the expenses for tuition and living allowance subject to compliance with certain scholastic performance criteria –
is jobless and u n d e r g o i n g weekly dialysis; her mother is a court interpreter earning P16,000 An aspiring scholar is interviewed by UBF Executive Director a month. Four of Bert Lara the siblings, in‐ cluding her, are bound for college this year. he or she participates in UBF’S Or the case of Bernadette Menor, 17, the eldest CSR activities. of 7 siblings whose parents are fish vendors; In its very basic concept, Bayani‐ they share a house with relatives. Or the case han, UNILAB’s avowed corpo‐ of Jessa Garcia, 17, one of 5 siblings whose rate culture, is a natural spring‐ father left them 2 years ago; her mother works board to the idea of social contri‐ as a housemaid. Jessa lives with her best bution. To the company, friend. And then, still part of the heart‐ “corporate social responsibility” wrenching stories, the case of Daisy Relato, is thus quite naturally a conse‐ 17, the youngest of 6 siblings whose mother quential extension of its culture died when she was just 2 years old; she lives to the society at large. In provid‐ with an aunt and grandmother and gets sup‐ i n g s c h o l a r s h i p g r a n t s , port from a sister. Her father had remarried UNILAB’s new tack on CSR is a timely opportunity to help in the and has a new family. The assistance granted each scholar is 100 per alleviation of poverty. It is an mainly grades obtained ‐‐ and location cent of the actual tuition or P1000 per semes‐ ennobling start, however mod‐ of preferred school. ter whichever is lower; and living allowance est, to help educate poor stu‐ Selection of scholars was based on a of P1500 per month if the preferred college or dents and provide them a better number of factors, the major qualifier university is within Pasig, or P2500 if the chance for gainful employment being that the student not only has school is outside the city. The scholar will con‐ in the future. good grades but that he or she also tinue to avail of the assistance provided he or In contributing to the wealth of comes from an economically disadvan‐ she meets certain terms such as maintaining a the nation through education, taged family. The roster of scholars weighted average of 80 % or its equivalent; he could make a good plot for a touching or she has not failed any subject nor incurred UBF’s “Gabay ng Kabataan” pro‐ story. Take the case of Lady Lyn Din‐ any disciplinary action in the school; and that gam makes good economic sense. eros, 17, one of 9 siblings whose father
Summer fifty‐five or so years south of my life was sun‐splashed mornings swimming in the Tumaga River under the San Bernardino Bridge in old Zambo‐ anga. Tong and Itoh, my boyhood chums, and I, would titter precariously on the ledge of a broken concrete slab protruding incongruously out of the flowing waters and dove or jumped in. The slab was the vestige of a flood that had ripped the retaining wall of the bank under the bridge. We went through the same routine without tiring, it seemed: clamber up the slippery platform, dive in, swim around and repeat. Our yells filled the air – Apeman screams and Chavacano cuss phrases, as explicit and dirty as the original Spanish. Chinga te, frio agua! Hijo de la gran p‐ ‐a! Yo Tarzan, aah‐ah‐ah‐ah‐aaah! After the rice stalks were shorn of their golden crowns, great flocks of mayas came, sweeping over the newly‐harvested fields in swaying, dipping, un‐ dulating clouds, their high‐pitched song riding light on the summer breeze. But we were ready for them. We’d trimmed guava branches and coated the limbs with sticky gum made from the sap of the kamanse tree. We stuck 2 or 3 desiccated birds (trophies from previous hunts) on the branches as decoys and planted the twigs where we thought the flocks would land. Out from across the far edges of the fields the rice birds would suddenly appear, tow‐ ering in synchronized flight then bearing down re‐ lentlessly on the decoys, the flocks finally merging into one. A sawing violin concerto from a thousand throats grew in intensity as the birds banked and landed to feed on the remaining grain. With a loud cry we rose from where we’d lain hid‐ den and still on the ground. Arms flailing and shout‐ ing enough to wake the dead, we rushed forward and the flock rose in a brown mist and veered away from the sun‐baked apparitions stumbling loose‐ jointed on the stubble and the cracked earth. All but for the unfortunate ones whose tiny feet were hopelessly mired in the gooey stuff. We felt the warmth of their tiny bodies in our palm, and the terrified thumping of their tiny hearts, and smelled their sweet bird smell before we slipped them into the bamboo prisons we’d made for them. Tong, Itoh and I were the three greatest musketeers that ever tramped the rice fields, our slingshots cocked in hand, the pockets of our shorts bulging with stones, marbles and if we were lucky, with steel ball bearings that flew true and hit hard. Nothing was safe from us. Once a red‐crested ulok (in Zamboanga it is called kanuktok) flushed ahead. In the blink of an eye Tong
drew on his slingshot and released a stony projectile that caught the unlucky bird in the rump, tumbling it in mid‐air. He couldn’t have done better with a shotgun. The water fowl ended up a tasty adobo for the stone‐slinging trio. At another time we chanced upon a co‐ bra on the grassy portion of an irrigation ditch. A hail of stones from 3 slingshots rained on the snake until it writhed its last. Right about now, the fruit of the mangga carabao was at that stage when the smooth white seed was still free in the fruit cavity. In a few more weeks the seed would attach to the flesh as it began to ripen. But now we were in the tienda buying five centavos worth of raw bagoong which the inday wrapped in a fire‐wilted banana leaf and inserted in a triangular wrapper fashioned from old newspaper. Thus provisioned, the inseparable trio climbed a favorite tree on the property of Itoh’s family, crawled along the thick limbs and plucked the green fruits within reach. We pared the fruit with our Boy Scout knives and dipping the sour but crisp morsel in the shrimp paste, proceeded to make short shrift of it. We kept at this labor until our teeth grew sensitive and we said no mas and shimmied down the tree, the remnants of our gluttony strewn on the ground all around. With barely a month to go before school opened, the ritual passage to manhood could no longer be pushed off. The jeers and prodding of those who had gone before us stung our ears and made us feel ashamed. Soon our unwilling footsteps led to the killing field partly hidden in a clump of banana plants. There the butcher awaited, his pale face impassive, his pocket knife shaving sharp from being honed on oilstone and stropped on leather. Earlier we had some‐ how raised thirty centavos each, enough to buy a pack of Diamond cigarettes – all the payment he required. “Et tu, Brute?” Julius Caesar gasped as he fell to the most unkindest cut of all. First it showed white where the skin parted. Then red, as blood began to flow. Dutifully, you sent a green stream of chewed guava leaves on it –phtoo!‐ and then the butcher bundled it all up in strips of gauze bandage. Consumatum est. Tong, who was next, turned ash‐grey and ran away, screaming. Even now I sometimes wonder if he ever went through the baptism of the knife; I never did find out. So the summer lazed away, arcing and peaking sun‐soaked and redolent with the smoky scent of leaves burning and the salty tang of the sea when the wind blew in from the channel. Somewhere in the middle of May the rains would come, tentatively at first, and heal the fissured earth and the refreshing smell of wet soil was etched forever on you. June and classes were just down the road. But you didn’t care. You lived only for this summer, carefree, sunburned and deadly with the slingshot. Of course you didn’t know then that that ugly girl who sat in front of you in class and whose pigtail you occasionally pulled and at whom you sailed paper planes, would suddenly begin to look like Venus. After all, it had only been weeks since you went through the rite of passage.
BEN By Daniel Shelton
Bob works hard at the office but spends two nights each week bowling, and plays golf every Saturday. His wife thinks heʹs pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a localstrip club. The doorman at the club greets them and says, ʹHey, Bob! How ya doin?ʹ His wife is puzzled and asks if heʹs been to this club before. ʹOh no,ʹ says Bob. ʹHeʹs in my bowling league. When they are seated, a waitress asks Bob if heʹd like his usual and brings over a Budweiser. His wife is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and says, ʹHow did she know that you drink Budweiser?ʹʹI recognize her, sheʹs the waitress from the golf club. I always have a Bud at the end of the 1st nine, honey.ʹ A stripper then comes over to their table, throws her arms around Bob, starts to rub herself all over him and says, ʹHi Bobby. Want your usual table dance, big boy?ʹBobʹs wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club. Bob follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her. Bob tries desperately to explain how the stripper must have mistaken him for someone else, but his wife is having none of it She is screaming at him at the top of her lungs, calling him every 4 letter word in the book.. The cabby turns around and says, ʹGeez Bob, you picked up a real bitch this time.ʹ BOBʹs funeral will be on Saturday.
I cannot think of any bet‐ ter way to cap UBF’s 30th year anniver‐ sary celebra‐ tion than the re‐ cently‐ con‐ cluded photo contest and exhibit. It certainly gives all of us an excel‐ lent reason to celebrate because of the overwhelming response and the positive outcome that the exercise generated. Indeed, the program confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that Unilab’s inimitable Bayanihan culture is very much alive within the hearts of every single employee and retiree. It makes us proud that we have in our own little way helped in ensuring that the legacy we inherited from the Founders lives on. I remember Mr. Ben Yap discussing with me in front of the Bayanihan mural, his own understanding of the painting, based on Mr. Campos’ interpretation. The real meaning is actu‐ ally more than what our naked eyes can see. It surprised me to know that it has a deeper meaning than just working together and sharing the produce. Bayanihan is purposeful. It is determined and decisive. Bayani‐ han, just like the people in the mural, needs to constantly move the better to adapt to the changing economic and business envi‐ ronment. Bayanihan is certainly change, much like the house being transferred to a new location, to a place where business thrives and opportunities abound. But it is made possible only
with the help of the community. Many hands enable the occupants to carry the hut. This is exactly what Bayanihan in Unilab means: damayan and tulugan. We have all seen and witnessed how the values were again defined and given life by the win‐ ning photos. The expressions might have changed from generation to generation but the core values of Bayanihan remain constant. It is therefore a great disservice to even think that Bayanihan no longer exists. Thanks for a job well done. Let’s not get tired of living and reliving the collective message the photos convey.
Report on UBF's Fund Raising Project Project Typhoon Ondoy Beneficiary Retirees Cash Report Donation Collection
310,220.50 1,371.00 ($30)
Less Expenses Rice
Grocery Items (Batch 1) Grocery items (Batch 2)
119,911.95 154,692.35 311,569.30
SILVER THREADS Silver Threads is a quarterly publication of The United Bayanihan Foundation for Unilab retirees and their families. Comments, suggestions or contri‐ butions can be sent to the Editor‐In‐Chief, care of UBF Secretariat, United Street, Mandaluyong City or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 8581835 . Tel No: 858‐1000 Loc.7264
EDITORIAL BOARD PUBLISHER EDITOR‐IN‐CHIEF ASSOCIATE EDITOR EDITORIAL ASSISTANT LAYOUT & DESIGN COORDINATOR
Lamberto S. Lara Gonzalo E. Perez George J. Mañalac Carlos T. Ardosa Spot On Productions Marisa M. Cayabyab
CONTRIBUTORS CIRCULATION EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD PRESIDENT AND CEO
Danilo A. Kagahastian Aurora G. Macaspac Miguel Antonio G. Hidalgo Guillermo C. Gastrock Eduardo S. Alcaraz Virgilio M. Ofiana, M.D. Jocelyn Campos Hess Clinton Campos Hess