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Littéraire Features & Literary

June–September 2011

El Obrero “Writing is prayer.”

Section B

Section Editor: William Andrew G. Bulaqueña

The 12th town mayor


Nilo Florentino Z. Sy: A Josephian leader

ondly called as ―Boy Sy,‖ Mayor Nilo Florentino Z. Sy graduated from the then Saint Joseph High School in 1976. In 2010, he was elected mayor of Sindangan for the next three years. El Obrero staff had the opportunity to visit one of the illustrious high school alumni at the Mayor’s Office on Sept. 19 for this exclusive interview.


Reger Ed A. Caperig


High School Life

NS: I wanted to make Sindangan a better place to live in.

El Obrero (EO): After graduating from high school, where did you go? Nilo Sy (NS): I took up commerce at Manuel L. Quezon University (Manila) and graduated in 1982. EO: Can you tell us about your family? NS: My mother Leonarda Zapatos was married to Sy Hock, a Chinese. I have three brothers and six sisters: Juanita, Erlinda, Josephine, Rosendo, Neonida (Dr. Simbulan), Sancho, Danilo [deceased], Ma. Jocelyn, and Ma. Joann. EO: When and where were you born? NS: June 17, 1958, in Sindangan. EO: So you are a Gemini. Is this related to your personality? NS: I am not familiar with the characteristics of my zodiac sign. EO: A Gemini is highly adaptable and versatile, has great communication skills, intellectual, and youthful in appearance. NS: I guess I have those traits. EO: How about your own family? NS: I am married to Christine Candido (SJC Batch 1975), a businesswoman. We are blessed with three children: Neil Carlson Tan (SJC Batch 2004), a registered nurse; Neil Cammi (SJC Batch 2006), a business administration student; and Neil Cairo, a senior at SJCSI– HS.

EO: What was your favorite subject? NS: History EO: Least liked? NS: Math. EO: Who was your favorite teacher? NS: Miss Basilia P. Delicana. EO: What was your ambition then? NS: To be a good basketball player. EO: Which school activities were you active then? NS: Basketball. EO: Were you already a student leader? NS: No. EO: Any memorable experience as a Josephian? NS: Being a star player. Also when I joined a group of mischievous students for several moments we all had fun and a lot of experiences in high school life.

EO: What motivated you to run for the mayoralty post? NS: Sindangan was entangled with power abuse and corruption. I wanted to free the town from these.

Career EO: Who is your personal idol? NS: I admire Gov. Isagani Amatong and Rep. Rosendo ―Dodoy‖ Labadlabad. Amatong is an honest leader. He did a lot of projects in the province. Labadlabad, too. They know how to spend money wisely for their projects. EO: Did you like being a business and politician before you became the mayor? NS: Definitely. EO: What were your goals then?

Personal Life EO: What are your major accomplishments in life? NS: Getting a college degree, completing three terms as councilor, and being elected mayor of Sindangan. EO: What do you consider to be your greatest loss or failure? NS: When I lost in the 2007 mayoralty election by a mere 11 votes, which I felt was rightfully mine. EO: What are your short- and long-term goals now? NS: To uplift the economic condition of Sindanganons by alleviating poverty. EO: Who has been a great influence in your life? NS: My family.

Mayor Sy C7

State of the Municipality Address Excerpts from Mayor Nilo Florentino Z. Sy’s State of the Municipality Address (SOMA) delivered at St. Joseph College of Sindangan, Inc. Gym, June 17, 2011.

Inherited problems Uncollected daily garbage; hauling trucks and heavy equipment in a state of disrepair; undisciplined personnel; unmaintained streets and roads; P75-million loan for public market and transport terminal construction; unstaffed public high schools; unfinished road constructions; high crime rate, drug abuse, and addiction; environmental degradation, and the list goes on. During the first year of this administration, they had accomplished the following to address the Sindanganons‘ concerns:

Education Employment of 16 teachers for the high schools in barangays Siare, Maras, Dumalogdog, Lapero, and Siacin–Camp Ferrer as part of the ―No Child Left Behind‖ vision of the administration.

Potable water supply Appointment of three members to the board of directors of the Sindangan Water District to safeguard the P25-million loan intended for the equipment and system upgrading in order to provide potable water to the constituents.

Health Allocation of P350,000 to fabricate concrete water-sealed toilet bowls to be distributed to barangays Mawal, Dagohoy, and Upper Nipaan; immunization of 15,954 children from the 52 barangays; hiring of 12 nurses to vaccinate the children from 9 months to 8 years old; distribution of 6,135 pieces of treated bed nets courtesy of the Global Fund Malaria Project to malaria-prone barangays of Titik, Bucana, Bato, Tinaplan, and Dagohoy; establishment of a birthing facility, a P1.5-million grant from the European Union, to serve pregnant women from 11 northern barangays; conduct of competitive bidding for medicines by the bid and awards committee.

Agriculture Purchase of high value vegetable seeds distributed to farmers in barangays Labakid, Dicoyong, Sto. Niño, Dumalogdog, Fatima, and Nato; establishment of a nursery for 18,000 rubber seedlings to be distributed to the barangays; training for the sadyap and kaping bamboo craft workers in barangays Bitoon, Misoc, and Pangalalan; opening of a 15-hectare plantation for coconut and banana intercropping in Brgy. Imelda.

Youth Opening of clinics for lawn tennis, volleyball, basketball, boxing, and other sports during summer; providing social welfare to children in conflict with the laws.

Human resources Installation of biometric time-telling attendance machine to monitor attendance of civil servants; conduct of a seminar on anti-red tape to promptly serve the public during transactions with the government; opening of a one-stop shop for license processing; distribution of the 10 DOLE Nego-Karts to peddlers for their livelihood.


Sindangan FACOMA. Mayor Nilo Sy attends the inauguration of the coop’s corn mill during the 55th founding anniversary on Aug. 30.

SJC King and Queen of Hearts, 1976. Nilo Sy and Chona Zosa

Passing of 545 resolutions, six municipal ordinances, six appropriation ordinances; and two legislative ordinances prohibiting minors from playing computer games at Internet cafés during class days, and establishing a system of garbage collection.

E B2 Features & Literary Lakbay Jose Rizal@150

El Obrero Littéraire │June–September 2011


o commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Department of Tourism, Heritage Conservation Society, Intramuros Administration, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and the National Parks Development Committee launched the Lakbay Jose Rizal @ 150 to encourage Filipinos to visit the 26 Rizal sites all over the country. A passport can be obtained from any tourism office and the stamp from the respective curators. A fully-stamped passport can be redeemed for a token and a Kalakbay certificate. In Region IX, all the sites are found in Zamboanga del Norte.

The heritage trail

Dipolog City Cathedral

Punto del Desembarco

Rizal is said to have designed the church altars of the Dipolog Cathedral. Although the façade has been extremely renovated, the interior remains relatively intact.

On July 17, 1892, Rizal landed on Santa Cruz Beach at 7 p.m. with Captain Delgras and three artillery men. They walked through Sta. Cruz Street with a farol de combate to the Casa Real where he was presented to Don Ricardo Carnicero, the Spanish military governor of the area.

Rizal Farm-Katipunan Zamboanga del Norte The farm was acquired by Rizal from Calixto Carreon, a blind patient who offered it out of gratitude for his successful treatment. Rizal refused and paid him P200 for the land. He cultivated it on weekends with his pupils.

A National Cultural Treasure, this map was created by Rizal as an aid in teaching history and geography to his students.

Meryl A.R. Enriquez

Dapitan City Plaza A National Historical Landmark, the Dapitan Plaza was planned and beautified by Rizal during his exile. Acacia trees, which he personally planted, are still found in the plaza.

Site of Casa Real

Dapitan City Church Relief Map of Mindanao

Rizal Shrine The park houses replicas of structures that Rizal built there for himself, his family, pupils, and patients: Casa Residencia, Family Kitchen, Casa Redonda, Casa Quadrada, Casitas de Salud, and Casa Redonda Pequeña among many others. Rizal purchased the property with his prize from the Manila Lottery and his earnings as a farmer and merchant during his exile in Dapitan from July 17, 1892, to July 31, 1896. He also built a waterworks system.


A historical marker is found at the exact spot where Rizal used to stand every Sunday in the St. James Church of Dapitan (built in 1883) during his exile for four years.

Rizal had lived from July 17, 1892, at the official residence and administration building of the politico-military governor of the district until he was transferred to Talisay in March 1893.

The spat over Spratlys


Freedom, hope, and tension on the high seas


hat can be a better contrast than this? Sun-splashed islands, turquoise seawater, waves slapping the shores, and wind whistling in the ears—all resembling to a typical Philippine serene and backward rural village—versus the tensions that have consumed politicians and diplomats in distant capital cities in Asia. China refers to the disputed waters as the South China Sea; the Philippines insists on renaming it as the ―West Philippine Sea.‖ The Spratlys are a group of 52 islands and reefs, shoals, and cays lying 480 km west of Palawan, some 34 hours away by boat from Rizal town. Besides the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei Darussalam are claiming wholly or partly the Spratly group of islands for their potentially oil- and gas-rich waters teeming with marine life. The Philippines controls five islets, two sandbars, and two reefs. Vietnam controls 22 isles and reefs; China, six; and Taiwan, one. Pag-asa (Thitu), the biggest island at 37 hectares, is controlled by the Philippines. It has a civilian population of about 40 people, mostly employees of the Kalayaan municipal government. It has a single gravel airstrip and some structures, but it does not have any car, newspaper, Internet, or shops. The island has three 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, three 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, and bunkers. However, China also claims this island. On Ajungin shoal, the military put a wreck of a ship as a sign of the Philippine claim but the wreck needs replacement as it is very old. The Philippine Air Force has 12 patrol routes in the area to make sure that landmarks are visited at least ―twice a month.‖ The military also relies on Filipino fishermen for information. Recently, the Philippines and Vietnam have been in disagreement with China over the territorial dispute and incidents like the Chinese allegedly firing on Filipino fishermen, Chinese vessels harassing a Filipino oil exploration ship, and the building of structures in unoccupied islets claimed by the Philippines. China insists on claiming the whole archipelago. So far this year, the military has recorded nine incidents like these, all of them involving the Chinese, the last one being the discovery of a ―floating wharf‖ in Sabina Reef in July. Aside from the last fight involving China and Vietnam, kill-

ing more than 70 Vietnamese sailors in 1988, tensions flared again this year after the Philippines and Vietnam separately accused China of encroaching into their territorial waters, sabotaging oil exploration, and harassing fishermen. China, which claims the entire South China Sea on historical grounds, acknowledges some of the incidents in what it says were its waters. Beijing has warned other claimants to stop exploring for oil and gas without its permission. Washington, D.C., says it is ready to play a role to peacefully resolve the row, but China has warned the United States of America to stay away. Moreover, China denounced the recent visit by a contingent of lawmakers who proceeded with their peace mission to the disputed islands. It said it would only destabilize peace in the region and sabotage the Sino-Phil relations. It was the first time that members of the House of Representatives and the governor of Palawan visited Pag-asa Island. The solons only wanted to assert Philippine sovereignty over the area and to urge all claimant-countries to resolve territorial disputes peacefully in the ―West Philippine Sea.‖ The visit also served as a data-gathering opportunity on how to help develop the infrastructure and community in the area. Despite the Philippines being the closest of the claimants, its occupied islands are among the least developed in the Spratlys. To reach Pag-asa Island, a ship has to drop anchor 4 km away and use rubber boats to deploy or fetch military personnel to or from the island. The waves reach up to about 3 m in rough weather. Some other islands have strongly-built structures with concrete airfields and one held by Malaysia even has a hotel for tourists. Chinese-, Malaysian-, and Vietnamese-occupied islands have marinas where ships can dock. Unless the territorial dispute is settled, the potentials of this archipelago for tourism and oil exploration will remain floating upon the waters of a troubled sea.

Rosel Rio R. Tobias

A Brief History In 1946, then VicePresident Elpidio Quirino reasserted that the Southern Islands, the forerunner name for Kalayaan, were part of the Philippines. In 1947, Tomas Cloma, a Filipino adventurer discovered a group of several uninhabited and unoccupied islands/islets in the vast South China Sea. In 1956, Cloma and his brother Filemon took formal possession of the islands and named it ―Free Territory of Freedomland.‖ Cloma declared to the whole world his claim and the establishment of a separate government for the ―Free Territory of Freedomland‖ with its capital on Flat Island (Patag). His declaration was met with violent reactions from several countries especially the Republic of China (Taiwan). Unable to surmount the difficulties and pressure, Cloma ceded his claim to the Philippines for P1. The Spratly Archipelago or the Spratlys is the international reference to the entire archipelago wherein the Kalayaan Chain of Islands is located.

June–September 2011

│El Obrero Littéraire


Features & Literary B3


An epic journey in the Horn of Africa

Entrancing Ethiopia

historians and writers of centuries U nlike past, I have the photographs to back up my

Gilbert B. Lamayo

Leaving behind the chaos of Addis Ababa, I headed to ―Africa’s Petra.‖ The two-day overland trip was quite long and arduous, but I arrived in an ancient world frozen in stone that still stands today. Paper boat. A papyrus boat sits on the Blue Nile riverbank.

stories of this once-in-a-lifetime journey in northern Ethiopia—the historical circuit covering at least 2,500 kilometers or 10 solid days on a bumpy bus. I visited the 11 magnificent medieval rock-hewn churches in Lalibela at sunrise. Descending into tunnels barefoot, crawling through dim passageways, and climbing to the rooftop only to find myself standing in awe before the buildings gave me the feeling like that of a pilgrim‘s. After all, Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been a center of pilgrimage for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians since the 16th century. Another day-long bus trip brought me to the city of the Queen of Sheba that dates back to the 10th century B.C. Littered with the ruins of stelae, palaces, and underground tombs, Axum was undoubtedly once the site of a great civilization. However, many locals still believe that the Ark of the Covenant is hidden here. Axum, another World Heritage site, continues to thrive as it has for millennia. The skeptic in me just could not help but wonder how the legends and myths were intricately interwoven with the archaeological evidence. Farther on the historical route was another day passing through the Simien Mountains National Park. Rarely was I speechless during the whole bus ride, but standing on a precipice at 4,200 m was more than enough reason to be quiet while admiring the panoramic Abyssinian abyss, the mythical Gelada baboons, and the sprawling landscape of this World Heritage site. They say it is the journey, not the destination. But for me to be sipping macchiato and wandering in Gonder, ―Africa‘s Camelot,‖ was the most surreal of experiences. You could be forgiven for thinking you are in Europe. I thought I was in France amid its regal castles, high stone walls, parapets, turrets, and towers. Declared as a World Heritage site,


Ma. Joeresa P. Jamora

The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) was admitted by the United Nations General Assembly as the newest member state on July 14, 2011. It became the 54th member state of the African Union on July 28.

the Royal Enclosure still overlooks the now sleepy town that once witnessed the splendor of the Gonderine period. I had never known that the legendary Nile (The Gihon), which inspires both reverence and fear among Ethiopians who live along its banks, was either ―blue‖ or ―white‖ until I traced the source—the murky brown waters of Lake Tana with its 37 islands. Centuries-old monasteries are hidden from view; and a number of them post a stern warning ―No Entrance for Lady,‖ strictly off limits to women from even stepping on their shores; and incredibly the same restriction applies to hens, nannies, cows, etc. It was rather fitting to visit the ―smoking‖ Blue Nile Falls before heading back to the capital. Like its waters that flow 5,223 km to the Mediterranean Sea, join with the waters of White Nile in Sudan, and fertilize the valleys of Egypt, travelling in northern Ethiopia was not at all easy going but definitely enriching and life changing, too.

193rd UN member state; 54th AU state


UNESCO World Heritage sites. King Fasilades’ castle, Gonder (top); Saint George’s Church, Lalibela (bottom); and a stela in Axum (right).

South Sudan: The birth of a nation

f it takes Africa’s longest war to give birth to a new nation, then it was worth fighting for. After it ended in January 2005, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and the Government of Sudan signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to provide for an expression of the right to selfdetermination for the people of the South to hold a referendum. A clear vote by the peoples of South Sudan to break from its bitter antagonist in the north paved the way for that glorious day on July 9. Geography

Challenges ahead

South Sudan is a landlocked country in East Africa. Its capital and largest city is Juba. RSS is bordered by Ethiopia to the east; Kenya to the southeast; Uganda to the south; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest; the Central African Republic to the west; and Sudan to the north. RSS also includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd formed by the White Nile.

Several important parts of the 2005 CPA remain to be implemented, including the final status of Abyei Area, disputed by South Sudan, controlled by the Sudanese government. Sudan and RSS also need to finalize agreements on issues such as oil, citizenship, and the demarcation of parts of the common border. South Sudan is one of the poorest countries with possibly the worst health situation in the world. It has the worst maternal mortality rate; most children below 13 are not in school; and 84 percent of women are illiterate As to relationship with Sudan, they have to divide their debts and oil, settle border disputes, and decide citizenship for their peoples. The security is also shaky with the presence of at least seven active rebel groups.

History The present day South Sudan was part of the British and Egyptian condominium of Anglo–Egyptian Sudan and became part of the Republic of the Sudan after gaining independence in 1956. After the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and existed up to 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon developed and ended with the CPA in 2005. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed.

What’s new?


South Sudan has to issue passports; launch a currency that lauds its heroes; print stamps that show the nation‘s achievements and bring revenues especially from philatelists; adopt the anthem composed by students and teachers who won the contest; apply for internet domain name; and, as an African state, establish a decent football team, among the other requirements.

A Transitional Constitution was ratified before the independence. Signed by the President on Independence Day, the supreme law of the land superseded the Interim Constitution of 2005. The constitution establishes a mixed presidential system of government headed by a President who is Head of State, Head of Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. It also established the National Legislature comprising two Houses: a directly elected assembly, the National Legislative Assembly; and a second chamber of representatives of the States, the Council of States. Legislative power is vested in the government and the unicameral South Sudan Legislative Assembly. The Constitution also provides for an independent Supreme Court.

The Philippines has officially recognized the Republic of South Sudan as a ―sovereign country‖ nearly a month after the latter gained independence. The Department of Foreign Affairs said the ―the Philippine government and the Filipino people share the aspirations of the people of South Sudan for self-determination and wish them happiness and prosperity.‖ In a statement, the DFA said Manila ―hopes to establish diplomatic relations with South Sudan and is prepared to work with its government in initiatives that would mutually benefit the peoples of the Philippines and South Sudan and promote regional development, peace, and stability.‖

Natural resources South Sudan has significant potential sources of wealth—oil reserves and agricultural lands—aside from iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, and hydropower. It also exports timber.

RSS–Philippine relations

E B4 Features & Literary





Denuded oasis

In suffocation, I can‘t breathe False phrases, truth for me. You made me hope on something that‘s impossible. You made me believe yet it was an agony.

Life’s a theater

It hurts… Oh, noisy confusing Eros With your mischievous rebound Seemingly chastising the throes Bleeding spirits abound.

Discriminated among the crowd, Worthless inside they shout, Fragile is my heart, But still they kept on tearing it apart.

It hurts… But the most unbearable of all When there‘s none to make the remedy Throwing you in an infinite fall A burden of vexatious melancholy.

I have nothing to do than live on imagination. It was better, it was a comfort Because I‘d rather live in my own lies, Better to be a victim of my disguise.

El Obrero Littéraire

Monotonous episodes of living Redundant saunter in every spring. Right or wrong, good or bad Bare choices of any wandering lad. Pardon past, future, present The world is unfolding in its own accord Let your option hail the notion— Let your story be told. Behold! Iveanne Therese E. Malinao

Cynthia Kareen J. Nazario

Crying is my cure when loneliness devours me, A companion when I‘m alone and in confusion. In this darkness it is my candle, A simple antidote of the unbearable.

Visual Haiku

Is this suffering an endless deep? Is there a world of constant happiness? End this being engulfing thee. God, I am flooded. When does this rainbow descend upon me? William Andrew G. Bulaqueña

m a n y



Thy crimson sun‘s light, Oh, set down and seize the night. Strengthen the weak knight.

Lotus flowers bloom. On murky waters they float. My enlightenment.

Mara Aubrey Sistine L. Escoreal

Roxanne B. Dataro

Sindangan @ 75: The diamond Pre-Colonial Period

Colonial Period

Commonwealth Era

How the town exactly got its name remains a mystery to this day. Even its own legend has two versions: A Spaniard comes across a flower and asks the locals if there is any pest in the plant. With their limited knowledge of the foreign language, they answer ―sin dangan,‖ meaning ―without pest.‖ The place is inhabited by the Subanen people (suba or river) who call their settlement a benwa. Buklog, considered to be the most significant of their religious rituals, is held in a specific community at least once in seven years. Buklog is a conglomeration of rituals for thanksgiving, recovery from illness, and for the spirits; and a culmination of the other rituals for the planting season, harvesting young rice grains for pinipig or anticipating a bountiful harvest, thanksgiving for good harvest, and celebrating good health and harmonious living.

The other account tells of a fisherman carrying a basket of fish. The guardia civil asks him of the name of the place. Thinking he is being asked of the fish he is carrying, the fisherman politely answers ―indangan‖ or ―sturgeon,‖ the brightly-colored coral-fish with knifelike spines at the tail.

Sindangan used to be part of Dapitan Parish since 1645 and then of Katipunan Parish from 1876 to 1935. It becomes independent as parish on Dec. 29, 1935. The Rev. Nicasio Patangan is its first pastor.



Sindangan Farmers Cooperative Marketing is founded on Aug. 30, 1956; changes name to Sindangan Farmers and Teachers MultiPurpose Cooperative, 1998; FACOMA merges with Sindangan Cooperative Credit Union, Inc., and Sindangan MultiPurpose Cooperative, 2006; restores the Sindangan FACOMA name, 2011.

Sindangan Barrio High School is established in 1966; is converted to Sindangan National High School, 1982. Saint Joseph High School is founded by the Rev. Constancio P. Mesiona to offer sectarian secondary education, 1968; it offers secretarial, clerical, and commerce courses in the 1970s and changes its name to Saint Joseph College; is now known as Saint Joseph College of Sindangan, Inc., 2011.

History President Manuel L. Quezon issues Executive Order No. 27 appointing Bartolome Lira Sr. as the first municipal president to organize the Municipality of Sindangan, Dec. 22, 1936; Lira serves as the first elected mayor until 1941. Emilio Ortuoste serves his term from 1942 to 1945.

Joaquin Macias is elected mayor in 1946 and serves until 1953; Abundio Siasico, 1954–1957; and Joaquin Macias, re-elected, 1958– 1963. Sindangan Junior High School is established, 1947; is converted to Sindangan National Agricultural School, 1958.

Donalyn E. Aquino

e │June–September 2011

Features & Literary B5



Melancholy Alone, Livid, startled. Lurking in the dark side The macabre shadows of my past. Help me!

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Janine Claire T. Jalosjos

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. . gh ers ties, nce i h h . t in ra y er d. Fl st o rta eve d id nce ers d! ren in m Am ll u te p har sur nd a a ve ut t a s, In min tri tho ar ye a e S w i he u t . eñ s u s b e q t n Di la es ce i not, mil z u of pea alt o s .B e G D B ep H w e re K d An m ia ill W

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. ’s nd ly s, mi r. . rf ile ye d de t sm u an en tte b r t e. Do not, ear sur Bu nc h t A lt in ou rd! era a s H ce ith ha ev ie t s a e r n w ña pe t iv e ai s, ue p es tr e p rt er ee f z S nat nce oth . ulaq K o i u t h B Be em all ids hig G. ss y Di In Am Fl rew d

(A cinquain)


Janine Claire T. Jalosjos

, ,


Three rengas

Leap back. See the reality. Something o‘er the hill Or remembrance Awaits all the troubles Causing the turmoil. Repugnant— You‘ll see.

, .

I Constant and erratic wheel of life In this daunted and deathlike abyss, The sound of silence crack‘d distorted. II It breeds grievance from brazen depths. Bloodcurdling atmosphere predominates In leaping to cast the valiant thread.

Condemn it. Truths are utmost perplexing. They strike, deceive, And turn you into pieces. All the insolence conceived, Malfeasance It is.

III Animosity that bears vengeance Devours every inch of anyone‘s soul. Chivalry of voices droop‘d painted. Yanessa S. Naval Janine Claire T. Jalosjos Andrew G. Bulaqueña

Donalyn E. Aquino

jubilee for a multi-faceted town 1970s



Filomena Macias is elected mayor, 1964–1967; Jose Tan, 1968–1971; and Mariano S. Macias, 1972–1979.

Ricardo S. Macias is elected mayor, 1979–1986; Engr. Crescente Y. Llorente Jr., appointed, 1986–1988; elected 1988–1991; and re-elected, 1991–1995.

Engr. Winnie O. Albos serves three terms as mayor, 1995–2004.

Hillside View Academy offers elementary, secondary, and college education at Mandih Campus, 1975; renames school to Philippine Advent College and relocates to Brgy. Magsaysay. Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative supplies electricity to the town and its adjacent barangays, 1983.

Sindangan Port serves cargo vessels for timber and chromites; passenger and cargo vessels ply the Sindangan–Nabilid–Pulauan– Cebu route. Incoming through traffic ply the Sindangan–Liloy route and vice versa. Trans-Asia and Cokaliong Shipping companies serve the town.

In 1960s, Sindangan has a functional power plant that provides electricity to residents in Brgy. Poblacion at nighttime.

Cruz Telecommunications Company installs landline telephone in the town proper and nearby barangays.

Post-Millennium Bert S. Macias succeeds the vacated post in 2004; is elected mayor, 2004–2010. Nilo Florentino Z. Sy is the incumbent mayor of the municipality.

Commercial establishments accept electronic payment of goods and services; commercial and rural banks put up branches and ATMs in the town.

MBC Radyo Natin 92.1 starts airing from its station in Brgy. Goleo, 1997.

Sindangan celebrates its 75th founding anniversary during the week-long Linggo ng Sindangan, Dec. 16–22.

Sindangan Water District supplies potable water to concessionaires in 15 barangays, 1994. Incoming and outgoing national and international long distance calls are provided by the National Telecommunications.

Prime Cable TV provides subscribers around 50 national and international news, documentary, movie, and sports channels.

Philippine National Bank and Land Bank of the Philippines offer services to depositors in the countryside.

Smart Communications and Globe Telecom provide broadband Internet connectivity. 3G, Wi-Fi, and DSL technology enable the residents to be connected to the information superhighway 24/7.

Junrey Balawing is listed as the shortest living man by the Guinness World Records during his 18th birthday, June 12, 2010.

The town, a first-class municipality, celebrates another milestone, strives for socio–economic stability and prosperity, and looks forward to its cityhood in the coming years. 

E B6 Features & Literary Christ was calling me to serve Him as a priest

El Obrero Littéraire │June–September 2011 Religion

A step to sainthood

Blessed Pope John Paul II (1920-2005)


o many Filipinos, Pope John Paul II is immortalized for the historic 10th World Youth Day in 1995 that drew an estimated four million people during the closing mass at Luneta Park. The event was recognized in the 2004 Guinness World Records as the largest papal crowd of all times. I am often asked, especially by young people, why I became a priest. Maybe some of you would like to ask the same question. Let me try briefly to reply. I must begin by saying that it is impossible to explain entirely, for it remains a mystery, even to myself. How does one explain the ways of God? Yet, I know that at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: ―Come, follow me!‖ There was a clear sense that what I heard in my heart was no human voice, nor was it just an idea of my own. Christ was calling me to serve him as a priest. And you can probably tell, I am deeply grateful to God for my vocation to the priesthood. Nothing means more to me or gives me greater joy than to celebrate Mass each day and to serve God‘s people in the Church. That has been true ever since the day of my ordination as a priest. Nothing has ever changed it, not even becoming pope. Pope John Paul II Los Angeles, Sept. 5, 1987

Pope Benedict XVI, inspired by the calls of ―Santo Subito!‖ (Saint as soon as possible!), beatified the Pope John Paul II on May 1, Sunday, at St. Peter‘s Square before an estimated crowd of hundreds of thousands. He declared the Polish pope formerly known as Karol Josef Wojtyla, now Pope John Paul II, to be blessed and put him in a process of canonization for sainthood. It was telecast around the world and witnessed by hundreds of millions or even billions of people. ―He restored to Christianity its true face as a religion of hope,‖ Benedict stated in his homily. ―From now on, Pope John Paul shall be called ‗blessed‘,‖ Benedict proclaimed in Latin, establishing that the late pontiff's feast day would be Oct. 22, the day of his inauguration in 1978. In early 2006, the Vatican News Center reported a possible ―miracle‖ associated with John Paul. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, a French nun confined to her bed by Parkinson‘s disease, was reported to have experienced a complete and lasting cure after she prayed for the intercession of John Paul II. After that, she was back to normal and was working again at a hospital. The late pontiff suffered from same illness until his death in 2005. ―I was sick, now I am cured,‖ she said. ―I am cured, but it is up to the church to say whether it was a miracle.‖ After five years, the Vatican certified Sister Normand‘s cure as a miracle, and advanced John Paul‘s cause. Beatification is defined as one being ―blessed,‖ and it is the first step in the usually lengthy process of being declared as a saint by the church. Sister Normand was among the faithful at St. Peter‘s Square. She carried a vial of John Paul‘s blood, which was extracted during his long illness. While the overwhelming number of Catholics welcomed the beatification, a minority are opposed, with some saying it was fast-tracked toward sainthood. But the Rev. Thomas Williams, LC, Th.D., a Catholic priest and professor of theology and ethics, disagrees. ―This was a response to the grassroots petition rather than a top–down decision,‖ he said.

Reginald C.S. Pondoc

―There was a public clamor for Pope John Paul II to be recognized as a saint as soon as possible. The process began quickly, but there was (sic) no shortcuts taken in the process. His life was scrutinized in minute detail and the result was what people expected: He was a holy man,‖ he added. Liberals in the church decried that John Paul was too harsh with theological dissenters who wanted to help the poor, particularly in Latin America. Some say John Paul should be held ultimately responsible for the sexual abuse scandals involving the clergy because they occurred or came to light when he was in charge. Ultra-conservatives say he was very open towards other religions and that he allowed the liturgy to be ―infected‖ by local cultures, such as African dancing, on his trips abroad. Some traditionalists believe he made unacceptable compromises with other religions; and many progressives argue he fatally weakened the innovative legacy of the Second Vatican Council. Ahead of the ceremonies, the pope‘s cedar coffin was exhumed from its resting place in the Vatican crypt beneath St. Peter‘s Basilica and was placed in front of the main altar for public viewing. It was then moved to a new crypt under an altar in a side chapel near Michelangelo's ―Pieta.‖ The marble slab from his first burial place will be sent to Poland. The pope was beatified on the day the church celebrated the movable Feast of Divine Mercy, which this year happened to fall on May 1, the most important feast in the communist world. The coincidence is ironic, given that many believe the pope played a key role in the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. The Vatican said at least 21 heads of state and 87 official delegations from around the world attended the ceremony. Pope John Paul II will not be officially declared a saint until he is canonized, which requires a second miracle after beatification, though a pope may waive requirements. Beatification is the last step on the road to sainthood, though not all those who are beatified are finally canonized.

A closer look at the new banknotes



The comedy of errors

illiam Shakespeare’s play of the same title draws humor from slapstick, mistaken identity, and pun—much to the enjoyment of his readers. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ recently released New Generation Philippine Banknotes set draws criticisms due to geographical inaccuracies, technical errors, and printing capability limitations—much to the delight of numismatists for a limited edition of collectibles, and to the public outcry for what has happened to our money. BSP redesigned our banknotes late last year. A total of six denominations: P20, P50, P100, P200, P500, and P1,000 bills, which have new designs, were especially printed with improved security features to protect the public from counterfeiters and to uphold the integrity of Philippine money. The Filipinos who played significant roles at various moments of our nation‘s history are honored, like the addition of former President Corazon C. Aquino beside her husband Sen. Benigno Aquino Sr. on the new P500 bill. The UNESCO World Heritage sites, iconic natural wonders, and endemic animals are shown on the reverse side. However, as this new set of bills circulated, Filipinos took serious criticisms to the social networking due to the various obvious errors.

Mara A.S.L. Escoreal

Villasper, a cartographer and member of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. ―In choosing the design, we are always guided by our commitment to enrich the appreciation and knowledge of the Filipinos we honor on our banknotes, as well as the unique sites and species our country should be proud of,‖ said Fe de la Cruz, BSP corporate affairs director. ―For our banknotes, we used an artist‘s rendition of the Philippine map that by virtue of space and aesthetics does not reflect all of our islands and the precise coordinates of each site,‖ de la Cruz added. BSP deputy governor Diwa Gunigundo mentioned in a separate report that the mistakes will be fixed and corrections may be available on the next batch of banknotes.

The misprints

A much closer look

The scientific names are incorrectly written. On the new P200 bill, the tarsier‘s scientific name is written as Tarsius Syrichta, instead of the correct way, Tarsius syrichta. Scientific names should be italicized and the initial letter of the species name should never be capitalized. Dr. Merab Chan of Ateneo de Manila University said, ―a mistake made on a national currency comprised a very big mistake and should be corrected immediately and before the bills are circulated.‖ The same typographical error appears on the other bills. All scientific names of the wildlife featured at the back of the new bills: palm civet, maliputo (trevally), whale shark, blue-naped parrot, and South Sea pearl are printed erroneously. ―They have to check things like that before putting it on our peso bills,‖ Chan added. ―They should have consulted and verified with a taxonomist first.‖ Moreover, the map of the Philippines on the six bills excludes the Batanes group of islands in the northernmost part of the archipelago. BSP said that this was intentionally left out for lack of space. On the P1,000 bill, the Tubbataha Reef is put out of place and so is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park on the P500 bill. The rare blue-naped parrot, which is featured on the reverse side of the new P500 bill, bears the wrong colors. Its red beak is colored yellow and the tail feathers underneath are green instead of yellow. ―Yes, they have made a very big booboo on the parrot,‖ said Jon

Mindanao is not represented. Five out of the six bills present attractions from Luzon, and only one from the Visayas. Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines, not Mount Mayon. The Philippine monkey-eating eagle is the ―king of birds,‖ not the blue-naped parrot. The Filipino names do not appear. Aside from the erroneous scientific names, only the English names accompany the wildlife species. These animals are popularly known by their local names, which the Filipinos can easily identify and associate with. The new banknotes are not user friendly to the visually impaired. They lack the Braille features and the difference in sizes corresponding to the different values.

The merits The use of Baybayin, the old Filipino script; native cloth designs like the t’nalak motif; the new BSP logo with a stylized Philippine eagle; the inclusion of former President Aquino; the now smiling Sen. Ninoy Aquino and the youthful looks of presidents and heroes; the relegation of former President Gloria Macapal–Arroyo‘s oath-taking ceremony to the lower left corner; and most important of them all are the various state-ofthe-art security measures embedded in the new banknotes. The hullabaloo caused by the errors brought a comic relief to those who own the new banknotes—the Filipino people who forgot for a while the devaluation of the peso but realized the value of the new banknotes beyond money.

June–September 2011

│El Obrero Littéraire


Features & Literary B7 Watch.


Read. Ang Inahan ni Mila*(Mila’s Mother) ISBN 978-971-814-112-0

E William A.G. Bulaqueña These are the magic spells used in ―Harry Potter,‖ the most successful cinematic franchise of all time. Though they are not proper Latin themselves, they provided the characters with the useful effects that made the movie series a remarkable feat. The big explosion of this nuclear-like-weapon had contaminated the whole world with such an incurable virus—not fatal but sort of addiction-producing fever that, when discussed by either young or old, unless not updated, everyone has something to say. Simply put, both the books and movies generated such a passionate following the world over. The grandeur commenced in 2001, which then continued its journey and has existed to be one of the most successful series ever made—pertaining to the glory and influence of the art magic and wizardry. Thank to J. K. Rowling for she, not he, wrote these stories all by herself when she was riding a train. Her true name is Joanne Rowling. Fearing that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a

xpecto Patronum! Reducto! Expelliarmus! Avada Kedavra!

woman, her publishers demanded that she use her two initials instead of her full name. Her imaginative thinking created this book series, which bestowed her that multi-millionaire status within five years.

Harry Potter is the kind of timeless literary achievement that comes around once in a lifetime.—Warner Bros. Awards poured in every part that was released. Even before they were adapted for the silver screen, her books alone had gained immense popularity, critical acclaim, and commercial success. ―The Half-Blood Prince‖ was ranked fourth of the most expensive movie in the case of creation, $250 million in total. When not adjusted for inflation, the series is the highest grossing film series of all time, with $7.6 billion in worldwide receipts. With these enormous special effects, moving plots, and stunning casts that had cost a lot of money,

Mayor Sy… EO: If you could change anything about your life, what would it be and why? NS: I will never change anything that has happened to me even if it made my life miserable. These experiences have made me a stronger person.

Activities EO: May we know your hobbies? NS: Basketball and tennis. EO: Club affiliations despite your busy schedule? NS: Basketball, tennis, and boxing associations. EO: Any group involvement or active membership? NS: Sports, political, and religious. EO: What is your favorite food? NS: I eat almost everything except seafood because I am allergic to it. EO: Music? NS: I go for folk. EO: Movie? NS: The Godfather. EO: Sports? Obviously basketball and tennis? NS: Yes. EO: Book? NS: ―House on Garibalde Street.‖

Moments EO: What was the occasion when you were the happiest in your life? NS: When I finally married my first love. EO: The saddest? NS: When I lost in 2007 by a slim margin. EO: Most terrifying? NS: I still have to experience that one. EO: Most embarrassing? NS: When I was suspended in

their hold unto the moviegoers was beyond expectation. It was unbreakable, nearly. The story deals mainly with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger who, in real life, are Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively. The trio‘s selection was arguably one of the best show -business decisions over the past decade. They have shown admirable grace and steadiness in the face of teen superstardom. It was their friendship that was very much admired by the people. The struggle was then caused by Lord Voldemort, played by Ralph Fiennes. Love, anger, trust, betrayal, unity, courage, hope and magic are all mixed up in the whole series. It is a fantasy with so many insights to learn—the magic—that should be kept and should be put to practice. 

From B1 junior high for misconduct. I had a misunderstanding with a classmate then. I was transferred to Manila, but I came back to Sindangan due to adjustment problems. However, I could not be readmitted; so I stopped studying that school year. EO: Most inspiring? NS: Now that I am leading the people of Sindangan.

Leadership EO: We listened to your state of the municipality address. Of the many concerns and needs of the people, which of them should be prioritized by your administration? NS: We prioritize the agricultural sector because Sindangan is blessed with a vast farmland and a bountiful sea. However, we have a very high poverty incidence rate. Through a productive agro–industry, we can alleviate the people from hardship and for them to enjoy an improved quality of life. EO: What is the greatest accomplishment of the Sangguniang Bayan? NS: We aim to achieve the vision of making our town a solid waste management compliant. We are active in our campaign for waste

segregation, which the public has responded positively. EO: Was the election of all your party mates (except for one) an advantage in the realization of your vision for the town? NS: Of course. EO: Are you actively pushing for the cityhood of Sindangan? NS: No, our population and income are still way below the standard requirements. EO: What are your plans for 2013? NS: Run for re-election as long as I still have the mandate of the people. EO: We appreciate your commitment to the SJCSI Seahawks. Do you have any other plans for the basketball varsity team? NS: I support the needs of the team while the college takes care of their tuition. They have been number 1 in the provincial level for two consecutive years. My next goal is for the team to bag the regional championship. This will be a realization of my personal childhood dream. EO: Thank you do much for this opportunity. Any parting words from you, Sir? NS: Make your parents and yourself happy by getting a college degree.

El Obrero Littéraire ▪ Features and Literary William Andrew G. Bulaqueña Section Editor Reger Ed A. Caperig Feature Iveanne Therese E. Malinao Literary Yanessa S. Naval Science and Technology Writers and Contributors: Donalyn E. Aquino • Roxanne B. Dataro • Meryl Aurece R. Enriquez • Mara Aubrey Sistine L. Escoreal • Janine Claire T. Jalosjos • Ma. Joeresa P. Jamora • Gilbert B. Lamayo • Cynthia Kareen J. Nazario • Reginald Clement S. Pondoc • Rosel Rio R. Tobias Photojournalists: Reginald Clement S. Pondoc • Kevin G. Siasico

A struggling mother in search for wealth to achieve respect but turns herself to the opposite of common traits, ―Mila‘s Mother‖ shows these with all essence and assertion. Austregelina Espina–Moore‘s ―Ang Inahan ni Mila‖ is a Cebuano novel translated by Hope Sabanpan–Yu, for a wider readership. Yu was single-minded to the goal of preserving much of Espina–Moore‘s style and speech in keeping it to be Cebuano-oriented. Women‘s private struggles engage issues in household and family life. Teresa‘s personality is affected by her past that makes her practical about financial matters. Though becoming selfish is the stereotype for her character, she is a convincing conduit of change. The meaning of ―woman‖ has changed from the dependent, maternal, nurturing submissive to a ―woman‖ who openly expresses her hostile experiences with society. She is a rebel who faces her situations in order to provoke and encourage change. A peek at the last paragraph: “In this life, a person makes mistakes. There are mistakes one can erase; others remain for the rest of one’s life, a stain that will never fade… .” Author: Austregelina Espina–Moore Translator: Hope Sabanpan–Yu Publisher: NCCA Press © 2008 Pages: 52

Men at Sea and Other Stories* ISBN 978-971-814-129-8 ―The sea will not wait for the fisherman. It is man who follows the movement of the sea.‖ Guaranteed to delight the reading public, 10 stories where the limits of faith, memory, and love are scrutinized in an astonishing variety of uniqueness that is Gremer Chan Reyes. ―The child, the bird, and the man‖ portrays a father who realizes that money cannot buy everything while searching for his child‘s happiness to improve his poor health. ―The child and the fearsome crab‖ is one of Reyes‘ beloved stories that tackles family responsibility. ―Every creature has its golden moment‖ echoes the moral on respect for life even in the worst of circumstances. In ―Men at sea,‖ a heretic fisherman dies clutching the image of Jesus Christ in his effort to save it from the eddy. ―The fish of the flower of Talikod‖ reflects the awesome mystery of nature and the unexplainable beauty that reveals itself before anyone who approaches it with reverence. ―The day in the life of a man at Tinagong Dagat,‖ a critique on the government and military, expresses the effects of progress. ―God is with you‖ deals with a rebel as well as the conflicts and tensions in his life. ―A shore on the other side of the sea‖ emphasizes a child‘s nostalgia for his uncle and contrasts the different lives of two brothers: a radical turned fugitive and a teacher. ―At the edge of light and dark‖ speaks of a clearer view of human relationships where a teacher and a student are examined in terms of their expectations. In ―The man dancing with the picture in the frame,‖ an orphan who cannot remember his past dances by hugging the frame with a photograph of a family to experience the joy of being loved. These 10 stories personally chosen by the translator encompass the different themes and styles used by Reyes. His fascination with the sea makes him one of Cebu‘s best literary voices. Author: Gremer Chan Reyes Publisher: NCCA Press © 2009

Translator:Hope Sabanpan–Yu Pages: 88

Cuentos Hispanofilipinos* (Hispano–Philippine Stories) ISBN 978-971-691-930-1 Unravel the humor that is distinctly Filipino as you leaf through the pages of this literary collaboration between writers and friends Edmundo Farolán and Paulina Constancia. You will find delight in the Spanish (translated to English) stories shaped by the duo through a wide range of emotions from the sentimental to the nostalgic and light-spirited to the comical. Farolán‘s ―Palali,‖ ―Tía Luz y Tía Aïda,‖ and ―Mardi Gras with the Montecillos‖ recall the memories of his maternal grandfather Don Drancisco de Paula, a Malagueñan, who had lived and loved Palali, a barrio in Sablan, Benguet. Semi-fictitious as Farolán describes them, the narrations and dialogues of his stories were based on what he heard from his aunts and cousins—some true, some exaggerated. Paulina Constancia is primarily a Cebuano visual artist, but she published a bilingual collection of poetry entitled ―Open Arms/Brazos Abiertos‖ in 2003. In this second book, she takes account of ―The Chinese Man Goes to Mass,‖ ―The Monkey and the Scientist,‖ ―Tatang Goes to New York,‖ and ―The Apostle.‖ Painting and writing are two worlds she united and whose boundaries she linked. Either one is the mirror or the reflection, her storytelling of each character‘ life‘s moments is as colorful as the kaleidoscope in her pseudo-naïf paintings. Authors: Edmundo Farolán and Paulina Constancia Publisher: Central Book Supply, Inc. © 2009 Pages: 139 *Reviews by William Andrew G. Bulaqueña.

El Obrero Littéraire│June–September 2011


Science & Technology Editor: Yanessa S. Naval

Freedom of speech, freedom of speed Internet access: A basic human right


e value freedom of speech as an inalienable right. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) guarantees that ―everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.‖ For communication, entertainment, and a raison d'être for a convenient life is what Internet access is all about. It is a medium to satisfy our desire for knowledge and to awaken interests in almost everything under the sun. As a whole, the Internet is the main medium of communication of today‘s generation. In addition to its unique and transformative nature, the Internet does not only enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression but also to promote social changes. More so, it is a powerful tool capable of changing the world through emailing, social networking, blogging, online gaming, etc. Indeed, in the recent wave of demonstration across Northern Africa and the Middle East, the Internet has played a great role in mobilizing the populace to call for justice, equality, accountability, and better respect for human rights. However, oppressive regimes endangered of being toppled down resorted to blocking and filtering Internet access to

deny their people access to specific content on the Internet as the uprisings began. Syria even cut off access to the Internet entirely after the conflict escalated to the rest of the country. Egypt's government similarly blocked access to the Internet in the early days of its spring revolution. Bahrain's connection slowed as demonstrations got underway there. ―Alarmed‖ by the recent developments in Arab countries and the decision of France and United Kingdom to allow unplugging of illegal file sharers, Frank La Rue published the United Nations report on May 16, 2011. La Rue is a UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. The special rapporteur calls upon all states to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. Disconnecting people from the Internet is a human rights violation and against international law. In a report released on June 3, cutting off users from Internet


A Yanessa S. Naval

Yanessa S. Naval This is a condition among humans in which the immune system progressively fails; and the virus is transmitted through breastfeeding, from infected mother to her baby, and most commonly through unsafe sex. Although some cases of this infection are caused by the transfer of different bodily fluids, still it cannot be denied that people contract the killer virus unknowingly through intercourse and careless acts like needle sharing among drug users, incidents among medical staff, pervasive practices of certain ethnic groups, and misinformation. As of 2006, this lifethreatening virus had already taken 2.5 million lives and infected 0.6 percent of the world‘s population. As years go by HIV, the virus that causes Acquired

The crocodile, weighing 1,075 kg (2,370 lb), is suspected to have eaten a missing fisherman and several water buffalos. The townsfolk plan to make the crocodile the star attraction of an ecotourism park. The Guinness World Records lists a 5.48-m-long (17.97 ft) saltwater crocodile captured in Australia as the largest in captivity. access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights, to be disproportionate, is considered a violation of Article 19. La Rue believes that the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies. In particular, the special rapporteur urges states to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws that permit users to be disconnected from the Net, and to refrain from adopting such laws. We used to enjoy freedom of speech. Now we can add to the list the freedom of speed, worldwide reach, and relative anonymity. As long as we remain vigilant, universal access to the Web is just a keystroke away.


ince its discovery in 1981, the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is still afflicting millions of people around the world. Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS, is claimed to have an estimated number of carriers reaching to 33 million. In 2009 alone, about 260,000 children died. But now, the picture is slowly changing. HIV, which was known as a source of panic, a death sentence, a disease with no treatment and no hope, still does not have any cure but medical advancements and people‘s attitudes have come a long way. Antiretroviral medication was developed and has kept patients alive for years. It also includes antiretroviral therapy (ART) that increases the life expectancy of people with AIDS. Even after HIV has progressed to diagnosed AIDS, the average survival time with ART is estimated to exceed even five years; while without ART, someone who has full-blown AIDS typically dies within a year from complications of the body organs. ART reduces both mortality and morbidity of HIV–AIDS. Although ART is still not universally available, expansion of therapy programs has helped turn the tide of AIDS-related deaths and new infections in many parts of the world. Almost 6.6 million people from various countries are now receiving ART for HIV–AIDS at

Biggest crocodile on record

6.4-m-long (21 ft) saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) was captured last Sept. 3 by experts and dozens of residents after three weeks of ensnaring it in an estuary in Brgy. Nueva Era, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.

Living with the virus, fighting the stigma


New world record. Mayor Edwin Elorde extends his arms to show the length of the saltwater crocodile captured in Agusan marshland.

the end of 2010, according to the World Health Organization. And these impressive new findings are an important milestone in the public health response to HIV that was discovered 30 years ago. HIV–AIDS, which is considered as a very critical disease that takes the lives of our friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, innocent children, and other victims of crimes and badly informed cultural practices, is still risky despite the new findings in medicine. It is the social stigma associated with the disease that takes a longer time to be reversed. There is still much to be done by the various governments around the world to help combat the disease and reach the goal of universal access to medication. The medical world, too, needs to innovate for simpler and more accessible prevention and treatment approaches for all those who need it. It may be difficult to our generation to believe that HIV– AIDS was synonymous with death. But the challenge now is educating people. There is no room for self-righteousness even if progress has been made. There is still no cure. The adage that prevention is worth a pound of cure still holds true to these days.


Did you know?

sed to indicate ―at the rate of‖ or ―cost per unit‖ and the de facto delimiter in email addresses, this ―@‖ symbol is actually called an arroba, from the Spanish unit of weight for 11.5 kg (25 lb). In some countries that do not use the same alphabet as English does, and where the keyboards do not conveniently include the @ character, the arroba is called by a variety of interesting nicknames. Most are based on the shape of the character, others are more abstract. Some are original and unique, others are derived from other languages. Metaphors range from animals (worm, snail) to body parts (elephant‘s trunk, monkey‘s tail, cat‘s paw), and to food (roll mops herring, strudel, cinnamon roll, pretzel). Here is a sampling of the many names @ is called worldwide: Czech—zavinac (herring packed tightly in a jar); French—escargot (snail); Hebrew—shtrudl (strudel); Hungarian—kukac (worm); Mandarin—lao shu-hao (mouse sign); Norwegian— grisehale (pig‘s tail); Polish— malpa (monkey), kotek (kitten), and ucho s’wini (pig‘s ear); Russian—sobachka (puppy); Thai—ai tua yiukyiu (wiggling worm).

DOST installs AWS at SPDS


he Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently installed an automated weather station (AWS) at Sindangan Pilot Demonstration School. The AWS is a stand-alone device that measures weatherrelated factors such as wind speed and direction, rain fall, pressure, air temperature, and humidity. It transmits data remotely on real-time basis through text messaging. All weather data from the remote stations are collected on a central database server and further analyzed. Designed to be rugged and standalone, the AWS can be deployed even in the harshest remote areas and can operate continuously, as it gets power from the sun, backed up by the internal rechargeable battery. The AWS has a critical role in hazard mitigation in the country, particularly during typhoons and floods. This equipment will help the country save lives and property. This modern weather


tracking device was designed and developed by DOST–Advanced Science and Technology Institute. It is managed by the DOST and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. (News Bureau)

HIV–AIDS in the Philippines

n 1992, Dr. Juan Flavier was appointed secretary of health. He promoted an ABC of AIDS prevention: A for abstinence, B for be faithful, and C for condom. While he got the ire of the Roman Catholic Church, public awareness level jumped from 12 to 86 percent. In 2009, an estimated 8,700 people were living with HIV in the Philippines. The country has traditionally had a very low HIV prevalence, with under 0.1 percent of the population infected. However, there are reasons to believe that this situation may not last. In early 2010, the Department of Health stated the country was now on the brink of a ―concentrated epidemic‖ due to a rise in prevalence especially among returning overseas contract workers. Condom use is not the norm in paid sex; drug users commonly share injecting equipment in some areas; and among Filipino youth, there is evidence of complacency about AIDS.

El Obrero  

Vol. 5 No. 1 (Section B) June-September 2011 ISSN 2243-8319.

El Obrero  

Vol. 5 No. 1 (Section B) June-September 2011 ISSN 2243-8319.