Sunday, October 14, 2007


“ Your Online Banking is Blocked !
Because of unusual number of invalid login attempts on you account, we had to believe that, their might be some security problem on you account. So we have decided to put an extra verification process to ensure your identity and your account security. Please click on sign in to Online Banking to continue to the verification process and ensure your account security. It is all about your security.
Thank you. and visit the customer service section. “

I opened my email and discovered this disturbing official notification from one of the largest banks in the United States . For Expatiates living here, a block on their bank account could mean a personal financial disaster. How would you pay your rent? How would you buy food? How would they re-new their passport?

Many people would have clicked on the link and immediately tried to resolve the problem. Unfortunately what would probably happen is that they would have every dollar in their bank account stolen!

My first clue that this was a possible hoax is the fact; I have no account with this famous international bank. Now, it is possible that someone has stolen my identity and opened a new account; but then why would they contact me instead of the person who stole my identity? In addition to this anomaly, I have placed a special alert with all credit bureaus. The credit bureau is directed to report to me, immediately, all “new” accounts. I have received no such notification. A check with them shows no such account has been opened.

So what is going on here? Look at the notice. This notice is purportedly from one of the largest banks in the world. This notice has at least sixteen grammatical, punctuation and syntax errors. One error is possible, but sixteen is ridiculous for a bank of this stature. Obviously the people who composed this message, not only do not work for the bank, but it would appear English is their second language.

If you click on this link you open your computer to these criminals. They can place a “key-stoke” virus on your machine and steal your identity. If you complete the form you will give the crooks direct access to your personal bank account. They then can steal all the money you have in your account.

Anytime you receive a notice supposedly from a legitimate business (EBay, Bank of America etc.) instead of using the link provided, contact the business through a different route. Ask the business directly if the notice is legitimate. My experience is that these notices never are legal. Responsible businesses never give you a link and demand passwords or account numbers. They always just ask you to contact them as soon as possible.

I suggest you contact the three largest credit bureaus and have them place your account on “alert”. Request they contact you in the event any new accounts are added to your record. Also request a copy of your account and clean it up. There are procedures for removing obsolete or inaccurate information. The first step in preventing identity theft is prevention.

Finally, be VERY cautious about what you send over the internet. Never send passwords and account numbers through links even to what may appear to be a legitimate web site. On the rare occasion you need to transmit this data, go directly to the companies’ web site and access them through a secured system. I access my bank through two levels of security. In addition I constantly scan my computer for “key-stroke” viruses. Once your identity is stolen you can never get it back. Be an Everyday Hero, protect yourself and educate your friends.


He came busting through the front door of the Smart business office like a wounded pregnant carabao. His face was contorted in anger. He snapped and snarled at the security guard, then took his number and waited his turn. At the counter his mood had not improved. He spoke to everyone as if they were idiots. His choice of words was not fit for a whore house much less a place of public business. He obviously thought the louder his voice the quicker his problem would be resolved.

I will never understand why people do stupid things like this. First, he is abusing the wrong people. These people are not personally responsible for his problem; why does he feel compelled to hurt and insult them. Second, how can hurting and making angry the very people you need to help you, make those people more inclined to give that help. I do not know about them; but I would be less inclined to help.

Never underestimate the power of a smile and a sense of humor. I had a similar problem with Globe. I went into the service center with a smile and tried to make the situation as painless as possible. It took awhile, but the problem was fixed. The Globe service people worked extra hard to help the “nice” man.

The huge mango tree needs insects and animals to stay alive and propagate. The insects pollenate it's flowers so fruit will grow and animals eat the sweet mangoes distributing the fruit pits and making new trees grow. The tree does not shout at the insects and demand they pollinate it. The tree provides beautiful flowers and sweet necture to encourage the insects to do their job. The tree does not beat it's limbs together and demand birds and humans eat it's fruit and plant it's seeds. It makes its fruit sweet and juicy to encourage our help. These are the lessons of life that God has wisely provided all around us. Things work better His way.

Calling people "stupid" does not make those people smart nor does it resolve your problems quicker. Be an Everyday Hero. Do not abuse people. Learn the art of patience and living in harmony.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Most people are familiar with the symbol but many do not understand the concept. The “Unity of Opposites” is a Chinese philosophical concept that recognizes a world filled with contrasts. Good is contrasted by evil. Wet is the opposite of dry. Slow is relative to fast. Each of these conditions or objects needs the other to define itself. The concept of hard means little unless you compare it to soft. Often these opposites combined to form something even more special. If you take a dark velvet night and combine it with a bright silvery moon it becomes a night to remember.

Many of us believe there is someone special in this world who is our other half; someone who is the Yin to our Yang. I have searched all of my life for the other half of my heart. I had finally given up the hunt and resigned myself to living out my remaining years in solitude. I was here in “the land of beautiful women” a year before I even thought about dating anyone. I had made peace with my lonely fate.

Suddenly there was Cora. Interestingly, I was attracted by her inner beauty long before I even noticed her outer beauty. She routinely sublimated her Pinoy pride in an open quest for self improvement. Her determination, dedication coupled with an unusually high intellect was inspiring. She showed an uncommon empathy and compassion. Her quick wit and sense of humor made her a stimulating companion.

Shakespeare once wrote, “The course of true love never did run smooth” and that was certainly true of Cora and I. Our love has had a long and rough trip. She even admits, when we first met, she did not love me; in fact she was a little afraid of me. But I had a simple plan. I would keep her in my life long enough for her to forget the “wrinkled old man” and fall in love with my “young heart”.

Love is not a word; love is a lifestyle. Saying “I love you” is easy but living that love is difficult. Everything she did told me she did not love me. Several times over the past three years we came terribly close to separating. Finally about eight months ago things began to slowly change. I could see and feel her love growing. We were becoming a true couple, a “team”. Finally I asked her to be my wife.

Last Wednesday we pledged our love and were married. I traveled halfway around the world and finally found the other half of my heart.

Friday, September 7, 2007


“Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.” ~African Proverb

The history of the world is written by those in power and to serve their own needs. Japanese history school books say little or nothing about World War II or their role in that disaster. For centuries, America almost totally ignored the contribution of minorities to our own history. Then in the early 1960’s the Civil Rights Movement forced a change to our historical records. Until 1946 Philippine history was controlled and recorded mostly by western powers. Since then such authors as Dr Gregorio Zaide, Antonio De Morga, and Negros Orientals own Caridad Aldecoa-Rodriguez have enlightened the world to the many valuable contributions made by Filipinos, both here and around the world.

Sadly despite over an estimated 4,000 new books on Philippine history many distortions and inaccuracies still survive. To illustrate my point I want to compare two historical figures, one western and one eastern.

Leonardo da Vinci is known around the world in every nation as a “genius”, a “Renaissance Man”.

“He was the most diversely talented person to ever have lived.”….Wikipedia

“Leonardo can be considered to have been the universal genius par excellence… Five centuries have passed, yet we still view Leonardo with awe”…. Liana Bortolon, 1967

“"There may not be in the world an example of another genius so universal,…. so far ahead of his own century “….H. Taine, 1866

Jose Rizal is not nearly as well known.

"A gem of a man.”…. Dr. Reinhold Rost, Curator British Museum.

"Pride of the Malay Race" ….Wikipedia

"The First Filipino"….Wikipedia

"Greatest Man of the Brown Race"….Wikipedia

Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a peasant girl; Jose was one of eleven children born into a middle class Philippine family. Leonardo accomplished very little until his teenage years when his talent for drawing was recognized. He became the apprentice / student for some of the greatest artists of his time. Jose could write the alphabet at age three and was reading and writing by age five. While his talent for art was also acknowledged, he was never provided any formal training. Leonardo never attended a university, while Jose not only attended four top quality universities but earned two doctorates. His student performance was always sobresaliente (outstanding). Leonardo only spoke Italian. Jose not only spoke Italian but twenty-one other languages. His linguistic fluency was such that he graduated from universities in three different countries.
Jose Rizal was a pacifist. Both Gandhi and Nehru credit him with originating the concept of “passive resistance”. Passive Resistance eventually freed India from British colonial rule. In contrast Leonardo spent much of his life designing and building “war machines”, unfortunately many of his designs were impractical and/or failures. His “helicopter”, “tank” and “airplane”, while ahead of their time, were poorly designed and would not actually work.
During Leonardo’s 67 years he is credited with being a : scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, writer, aeronaut, botonist, civil engineer, chemist, geologist, optiical engineer, and zoologist.

During Jose’s brief 35 years he is credited with being an: anthropologist, architect, artists, businessman, cartoonists, cartographer, civil rights reformist, dramatist, diarist, editor, essayist, educator, economist, ethnologist, engineer, Freemason, hospital director, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, ophthalmic surgeon, pacifist, poet, propagandist, psychologist, playwright, martial artist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, teacher, theologian and writer. He was also an expert swordsman and an excellent shot. He carried on a very active correspondence with intellectuals from around the world, often in their own language.

I do not want to denigrate Leonardo da Vinci. He was a genius and far ahead of his time but it becomes immediately obvious that Jose Rizal accomplish ten times as much in half the time. He was NOT just the “greatest man of the brown race”; he was a great man of all races. If Rizal had been given the support and opportunities that Leonardo enjoyed, one must wonder to what intellectual heights he might have soared.
There is much to be appreciated in Philippine history and culture but you must search it out because the full story has been hidden for over 500 years. Be an informed Everyday Hero. Do not accept everything you hear and do the research. Check even me and when you think I am wrong, write the editor. Truth is more important than ego.

One last bit of information you might find interesting. Modern genetic research has revealed Leonardo da Vinci’s mother was probably an Asian slave from Constantinople.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


For the last thirty seven years the Philippines has been fighting what seems to be an endless war against Abu Sayyaf (“Father Sword Maker”) and other insurgent forces. Abu Sayyaf, by itself, has murdered an averaged of one innocent civilian each day during those many years (over 100,000 people). My friend Nick Rowe was targeted and murdered by these communist criminals. Nick was a loving husband and devoted father. He was one of the nicest people I ever met and a good friend. Surviving horrendous torture while a prisoner of war in Vietnam (“Five Years to Freedom”; his war biography) he was assassinated riding in his car on a quiet Manila street.

Currently the Philippine government is negotiating a peace treaty with these animals. You have only to look at world history to see how useless and silly that is. Thailand signed a peace treaty with its communist rebels only to have that treaty broken just a few years later. What makes the Philippine government think they can make a treaty with people who slaughter innocent women and children? These criminals have no honor. They respect no treaty.

Abu Sayyaf has never had more than two or three hundred killers on its roster. You can add to those numbers maybe 3,000 supporters. This handful of criminals has held the entire nation in fear. They are cowards that attack from ambush killing unarmed civilians. When faced with “real” Filipino soldiers they run and hide. They negotiate fake “Peace Treaties” to avoid their own annihilation.

I spent almost thirty years teaching and fighting this type of warfare. Bullets and false “Peace Treaties” will not stop the terror. Every time you kill an “insurgent” you create two to take his place. Every time you sign a “Peace Treaty” you give them time to regenerate and continue the war. There is only one way to fight this type of war and it is not with bullets or treaties.

You fight an insurgency by using your brain. The Philippines leads Asia in fighting insurgencies. They were the first Asian country to fight against western imperialism. The Philippines set the worlds standard for a successful counterinsurgency campaign. The Philippine people have only to study their own history to know the way to stop the carnage and eliminate these cowards. Magsaysay’s victory over the PKP’s “Hukbalahap” is a classic example of how to conduct a counterinsurgency.

Some western historians claim the fall of the Huks was caused by the assassination of the late President Quezon’s widow but that explanation is far too simplistic. The Hukbalahap was defeated because Magsaysay understood the dynamics of an insurgency. He studied the enemy and developed programs which stripped the communists of their ability to fight and survive. If he had lived to complete his plans; we would not be fighting this war today. In my opinion Magsaysay was one of the greatest leaders in the modern world. He is highly underrated by many historians including some Filipino writers.

If the current government would study and follow Magsaysay’s example they could eliminate ALL the insurgencies in the Philippines, without outside help, within two years. In addition the economy and the plight of the poor would be improved. As this great humanitarian leader once said, “I believe that government starts at the bottom and moves upward, for government exists for the welfare of the masses of the nation.” Sadly many in the current government have forgotten this simple truth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Persie Mapili’s life was not that unusual. Born poor some forty-four years ago; she eventually met and fell in love with a handsome young Filipino. They were married and started their family. As time passed Persie’s focus became her five children. She dedicated her life to helping them escape the very poverty she had suffered. Her sacrifices were never ending. If there was one bite of food left, her children got it. If there was one peso left, she spent it on clothes and school supplies for them. All her money and energy went into her children and their future. She encouraged them and monitored their academic progress. Two of her children are now university graduates and earning a good living. Two are still in the university and the last one is doing well in high school.

What started as a small lump in her breast began to grow and was uncomfortable. Again she sacrificed for her children. Rather than see a doctor she spent the money on tuition fees. Later as the discomfort became pain she finally was forced to see that doctor. It was breast cancer. If they operated and treated it, they might be able to save her life or at least give her a few more years. The ride home in the pedicab was long and silent. She stared at the road as it sped by, thinking about her choices. By the time she reached home her mind was made up. She would make one more sacrifice for her children. She would give up her life.

There was no expensive surgery, no expensive medicines; she continued to dedicate her life to her children and their future. Her children suffered whenever she cried out in pain, so she endured the pain without sound or tears. Even on the final day of her life she showed no sign of the searing pain that tore through her body. Her last words were, “I am fine; Go study.”

While I honor and respect Persie’s sacrifice, I can not help but think her family would prefer to have her at their side. Her children would rather have her smile than ten diplomas.

The Philippines is the leading country in Asia for breast cancer deaths. Breast Cancer is the third major cause of death in the Philippines. We even have more breast cancer deaths than several of the larger western countries. During a World Health Breast Cancer survey in Manila 54% of the women examined were found to have signs of possible breast cancer; of those examined only 27% sought medical treatment. While breast cancer can be cured if caught early enough, in the Philippines one out of every two breast cancer victims will die the first year because they were not diagnosed or treated soon enough. Over 64,998 Filipinas and Filipinos are diagnosed with this disease every year. (Yes, men get breast cancer too.)

Who is at risk for breast cancer?
*High risk people are men and women between 35 and 50 years old. But BC can strike teenagers also.
*People who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk.
*If you use contraceptives you increase your chance of getting breast cancer.
*Post menopausal women are at a greater risk.
*If your first pregnancy was after your 34th birthday the risk is higher.
*If you are infertile and can not have children you are at greater risk.
*Some foods can increase your BC risk ( Deep fried foods, food boiled in coconut milk, charred meat, etc)
*Not getting a regular medical check up puts you at greater risk. If you can afford it get an annual mammogram. At the very least give yourself a periodic breast self exam. Have your husband help you with the exam. You can help him check for testicullar cancer. Do not wait for something to hurt. When it hurts it is often too late.

Many Filipinas/Filipinos put off seeing a doctor thinking, “What I do not know can not hurt me.” “Why spend the money?” “I feel fine an exam is a waste of time.” There is an endless stream of excuses and that stream often ends in the cemetery. Your family NEEDS you. Be an Everyday Hero, prevent breast cancer; get an exam regularly and teach your friends to do the same.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


In the column “MYSTERY” I challenged you to fight graft and corruption. What I failed to do was explain HOW !

A friend of mine came to me with his tale of corruption. He and his wife went to a local government agency to process some paperwork. Later when he returned to check on the project he was told the paperwork was “lost”. After he paid an additional 900P his paperwork was suddenly “found”. He asked me what he should or could do. To be honest, I had no answer for him. I began to research the local corruption problem.

The closest Oddbudsman Office is in Cebu. Having lived there, I know they have their hands full with their own corruption. In Dumaguete City, elected officials can not act against corruption without committing political suicide. Everyone here is related to someone. If politicians put one corrupt official in jail that officials relatives will vote the politician out of office. Elected officials are in effect powerless to stop corruption. The local police are hard pressed to fight rape, robbery, drugs and murder. The police work long dangerous hours for low pay and the temptation to look the other way on what they see as a relatively minor crime like corruption is very strong.

Everybody hates corruption; but I could find nobody locally who is doing much to stop it. Several community leaders realize it needs to be stopped. If the community is to grow economically corruption must be stopped. None of the leaders, I spoke to, knew exactly how to halt this insidious “cancer”.

Corruption has plagued many nations. In the 1930’s corruption in America was as bad, if not worse, than it is here today. Almost every judge or policeman in America was on the “pad”. Justice was for sale to the highest bidder. We created the “Untouchables”. They were a group of special police who sought out and prosecuted corruption. The “Untouchables” could not be bribed or politically influenced. America solved much of their corruption problem and the Philippines can solve its corruption problem also.

Dumaguete City could be the “first” corruption free city in the Philippines. Local leaders just need to follow the example of the Philippine national government. Form a special “Anti-Corruption” police unit. Shield the unit from outside political or economic influences. Authorize them to conduct “sting” operations. Establish an anti-corruption phone line, so honest Filipinos can safely report corruption crimes. Enact local “Whistleblower” protection laws that will keep people trying to fight corruption from being unjustly punish for their honesty. Publicize the special police unit’s successes and make the “Anti-Corruption” Squad local crime fighting heroes. A similar program is working nationally; national corruption statistics have improved. The PERC has even withdrawn it’s unjust “Most Corrupt Far East Nation “ label and apologized for the injustice, not that that repairs the damage they did.

Nothing bad ever gets better by being ignored. If we want to lift Dumaguete City economically and eliminate poverty, we must first remove corruption. In a corruption free zone we can enjoy not just domestic investments but foreign investments. Economists say, “The rising tide lifts all boats.” That means the financial success of one business sector of Dumaguete City will eventually benefit everyone. We can fight corruption and improve the quality of life in our city but we must all work together.

Friday, August 17, 2007


When you start to read this column many of you will wonder, “Why did he title it ‘DANGER’? “ Be patient my friends; I will show you the danger.

There is at least one in every Barangay. The ugly sight of this pitiful creature is enough to tear the heart out of any dog lover. Their hair has almost all fallen out. Their naked flesh is crusted, raw and oozes a yellow fluid. Sometimes there is a secondary infection causing even more misery. The itching and pain must be almost unbearable. Sometimes the animal’s eyes are crusted over and they can barely see. These poor creatures live in constant misery.

Mange is caused by one of three tiny insects. These insects are so small you can not see them with the naked eye. These little mites burrow into the dogs skin and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch the new tiny insects repeat the process until the animal is covered with tiny bites. The itching is almost unbearable.

Mange can be treated and even cured. The sooner you seek treatment the better your chances of obtaining a cure. Even if you do not care about the animal you should seek treatment. Why, because mange is highly contagious and can even infect humans. In humans it is called “scabies”. You do not have to come in direct contact with the infected animal to become infected yourself.

An infestation of these tiny insects can quickly spread from person to person and through out your home. The incubation period is 3-4 weeks so your family may be infested before the first itching signs occur. In humans the pathology is slightly different than dogs and cats but the suffering is no more pleasant. Beyond the itching you can develop secondary infections and ugly rashes. Children are highly susceptible. Bites are usually found on the soft tissue of the body such as under arms, the pubic area and between the fingers. But you should inspect the entire body. Bites are often hard to detect on people with dark skin. Itching will sometimes not be related to the actual bite. When you scratch, it is recommended you use a wash cloth. Scratching with the fingers can cause secondary infections.

An old home remedy for mange is bathing the dog in old motor oil. This does work if the used oil has sulfur content of 10% or higher. While there are many home remedies the best course is to seek proper medical attention. There are sulfur soaps that can be used, but that requires direct contact with the infected animal and rubber gloves are recommended. The animals sleeping area must be treated also. There are modern medicines (ivermectin ) that can stop an infestation fairly effectively. The problem becomes how to stop re-infestation. You almost have to clean your entire house. These tiny creatures can survive for up to five days on bedding and clothes.

Unlike head lice, which even the cleanest child can get from just playing with other children, mange is the result of neglect and a contaminated environment. Be an Everyday Hero and protect your family. Seek knowledge and clean your environment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


No matter how many times I tell my wife she looks "GREAT!” she always asks, “Are you sure?” She then immediately seeks out the opinions of everyone in the immediate area. But let me say that the outfit she is wearing does not look good and she will immediately accept the negative comment and change her clothes. This seems to be a general Pinoy trait. Many Filipinos resist or reject positive comments but are very quick to believe, without question, anything negative about themselves or even their nation.

Not to long ago, President Arroyo acknowledged that the Philippines is “the most corrupt nation in the Far East”. This ugly and economically damaging label was bestowed on this beautiful country largely because of a small survey done by the Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) headquartered in Hong Kong. The media immediately jumped on this criticism and flashed it around the world. Everyone, including most Filipinos, just accepted this economically crippling label without question. Most people did not even bother to read the full report but just focused on the lurid headline.

If you read the full report you discover several positive facts that everyone seems to have missed. First, while the report does label the Philippines the “most corrupt nation in the Far East”; the report also says that there is little or no difference between the five nations on the bottom of the list. Anyone of these nations could have been legitimately labeled the “most corrupt.” The report also cites significant improvements in the Philippine’s war on corruption. The solicitation of bribes, in both the public and private sectors, has gone down since the 2005 report. There has also been a significant increase in honest business practices. That means the Philippines did not fail in the war on corruption but has actually been winning that war. Somehow the media seems to have missed this very important point.

On its web site, PERC claims to provide information to foreign businessmen so they may safely invest their money. That is a very important and powerful mission. Accuracy of information and conclusions are vital. Their report can mean the difference between having a job and starving to many people in these developing countries. I join with several leading government advisors and believe there is no legitimate way to accurately evaluate or compare corruption levels. These reports are little more than the perception of a few selected people. The data is highly subjective.

The PERC report surveyed 1,476 expatriate businessmen in 13 different countries. Almost half of those surveyed were in the Philippines. PERC never explains how it compensates for this great disparity of data sources. In addition there is no model compensation for the impact of the media on the perception of those surveyed. Independent statistical data says the corruption levels in the Philippines have dropped yet those surveyed state corruption levels are higher. I find the fact that PERC went with perception rather than the facts to be a telling piece of information.

The Philippines averages three arrests per day for corruption. In 2005 the conviction rate for these arrests was 55%. In 2007 the conviction rate has been 77%. Over 50 government officials have lost their jobs. The Philippines even arrested a sitting President for graft and corruption. President Arroyo has hired the man responsible for ridding Singapore of its corruption problems. Singapore now rates number one in Asia for the least corruption. Do not know about you, but I think the Philippines is working damn hard to clean up the country and getting no credit for that work.

This beautiful country loses over 2 billion dollars each year to graft and corruption. It is impossible to estimate how many billions of dollars the Philippines lose in foreign investments and new jobs. If you want to blame someone for all the poverty in the Philippines seems like a good place to start would be those people involved in kick backs, bribes, graft and corruption. Be an Everyday Hero help us fight this “cancer” that threatens this beautiful country.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Modern Filipina’s are tired of “Evil” minded prejudice people slandering them. These “new age” Filipina’s are speaking out by the hundreds. They are tired of being ashamed of something GOOD; something BEAUTIFUL. They are tired of silently standing by as these prejudice people hurt innocent women. Here is just one of the many responses I have received.

I want to say something (in) support (of) Kojak !! …It is not true that all Filipina-foreigner relationships are fake. I have a foreigner husband and we have one child. Every time we go out together people (look) at us murmuring (and) laughing. It happened (so) many times to (us). When we're traveling the (ignorant) people will (overtake) us, looked (in) at us (and) then laugh out loud. It was a very (racist and ugly) thing to do. … We have done nothing to them but they (insult) us anyway. I used to love my country and love my fellow countrymen but … not anymore. When people see a Filipina … with a foreigner they … think she's a whore and of low class. …. I hate it when someone asks me if the foreigner, I (am) with is my father or my lolo. It is obvious he is neither, and they know it. I do not know if it is only Filipinos that do these stupid things… I even had an English teacher telling her students that ALL Filipinas with foreigners (were) UGLY! (I ask you) is (she) a good model (for) her students? I know a lot of (movie and television stars) who are pretty and sexy. (They) married … foreigners. (Nobody calls them names or says they are whores) They think we are uneducated.....these people are self centered (and insensitive). They (do not realize how much) they hurt us. Sometimes I do not (want) to even go out (because) I know what is going to happen… When I stepped out (of) the house, (I feel their eyes staring at us) So what if I have a foreign (husband)? So what if he's big and I am small? So what if I am brown and he is white? …God sees what they are doing to us...they are judgmental (vindictive) people!!!!! One day, they will be judged by GOD (for their cruelties).


Filipinos have long been the target of unwarranted and painful prejudice. From the ugly “little brown people” epitaph to the grossly prejudicial song “The Monkey’s Have No Tails In Zamboanguita’ the justifiably proud Filipinos have endured the bigotry of the west. NOW the Filipino people are turning on their own. They hurt unfairly their own people. If it is WRONG for foreigners to do this to Filipinos , it is even more wrong that Filipinos do this to themselves.

The other day a respected teacher at Silliman University said, “ All foreigners have HIV.” When one of the students listening to her, uncharacteristically, challenged her, she back off and said it was a joke. Excuse me Mam, HIV is not something to “joke” about. For an intellectual role model you make "stupid" jokes. Not just because you have NO facts to support such a gross misstatement (I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get the HIV statistics for the entire Philippines for six months) BUT because it is unintelligent and illogical. Why should an HIV positive American leave his country, where he gets the best HIV care in the world, often for FREE, and come to the Philippines to die. As good as the Philippine health care system is, and I use it frequently, their HIV care does not match that available in America and it is definitely not FREE.

I have long been proud of the mature way Filipinos handle their attitude toward “Bayuts”. I even had two gays on my teaching staff. They did an excellent job. You show true Christian compassion, fairness and sensitivity toward this alternate lifestyle. That is something often missing in other countries. But when it comes to DOM relationships, many of you do not show an equal level of compassion and fairness. You unfairly and unjustly hurt others who have committed no crime other than falling in love with an “old man.” Be an Everyday Hero and cleanse your mind of these gross prejudices. Do not slander and hurt others. Get some Christian compassion.


I want to pay tribute to a very special lady, my sister.

I learned this week that she has been terminally ill for some time now. Dorothy would not let anyone tell me how bad it was, evidently, to keep me from flying to her side and make a fuss. That is typical of this strong tough lady. When life handed her crap, she used the crap to grow flowers. She refused to let anything or anyone keep her down. She was a true warrior all of her life and I am proud to have call her my sister.

My first memory of her was at age five. While our parents worked, she was my baby sitter. Somewhere I had picked up a “nasty” word and was enjoying the fact that I could shock friends and neighbors. She warned me to stop “or else.” The “or else” turned out to be having my mouth washed out with a soapy rag and being sat on for half an hour. I quickly learned not to mess with my big sister.

Shortly after, at 17, she ran away from home. I did not see her again for 12 years. During that time she had worked at a wide variety of jobs and took abuse from no one. While other women were baking cookies and going to dances, my sister was flying her own plane and parachuting. She was the modern equivalent of an American pioneer woman. She took whatever life threw at her and whipped its butt. Dotty took life in both hands and shook it into submission.

In her younger days Dotty was strikingly attractive. She had no shortage of male suitors. In fact she was married five times and raised two children. Dorothy was no submissive, dutiful, shy housewife. She was a strong, outspoken “partner”. If her husband did not respect her and their marriage vows, she kicked his boney butt out the door. She never moaned or complained about the past but always planned for a brighter future. She did not have time for self pity or charity.
She was a “modern woman” before there was such a label.

You might think from my description that my sister was ruthless and cold but you would be so very wrong. I never met anyone with a greater capacity for love and tenderness. Her hugs and soft words still warm my heart. I can not ever remember her raising her voice in anger and Lord knows I gave her plenty of reasons over the years. She had an especially soft spot in her heart for the innocent and vulnerable among us. Whether it was a child or just a lost kitten, she was always there with soft words and a helping hand.

Some would call my sister a “character”, even an eccentric, but I like to think of her as a rugged individualist. You never knew for sure how she would react in any situation and that made her an exciting companion. Wherever she went she made friends easily. People seemed to sense she was “real” and they opened up to her. In 67 years I have never met anyone quite like her and I doubt I ever will. I do not know where I am going when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but wherever it is I hope it is with her. An eternity being hugged by my sister would be heaven.

Goodbye Dotty…I love you

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


This was sent to me by a friend. I have no idea if this is a true story, but if it isn’t it should be.

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. “Information Please” could supply anyone's number and the correct time.My personal experience with this amazing person came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible.I ran around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. "Information." "I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. "Isn't your mother home?" came the question. "Nobody's home but me," I blubbered. "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked. "No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts somethin’ terrible." Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," she said .After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she help me locate Philadelphia. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk would eat fruit and nuts.Then, there was the time “Petey”, our pet canary, died. I called, Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to so many, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, " Wayne always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better.All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle . I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. "Information."I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."I laughed, "So it is really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister."Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."Three months later I was back in Seattle . A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally."Are you a friend?" she said."Yes, a very old friend," I answered."I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was very sick. Sally died five weeks ago." Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute, are you Wayne ?" "Yes." I answered."Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. As she read I felt a pain in my heart."Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."I thanked her and gently hung up the phone.
We never know how profoundly our actions can impact the lives of others. If you have a chance to give a simple act of kindness, no matter how small, don’t think about it, be an Everyday Hero and just do it. Kindness and love are never wasted.


This story might strike a cord with some of you.

It seems there were these islands in which the United States had some interests. The islands had once been the possession of Spain but we won them in the Spanish-American War. Later we built and occupied military bases on these beautiful lush green islands filled with equally beautiful brown skinned people. From the beginning there was trouble. These proud people demanded to be free. Our two cultures clashed on many levels. There was strong resistance to American dominance of their economy and territory. They also object to “Gringos” marrying their beautiful young women. They even tried to assassinate a United States President!

No, it is not the Philippines. I refer to the island of Puerto Rico and her sister island, Vieques. For those geographically challenged, these are two small islands about 90 miles off the coast of Florida. While I served there, the “Independantistas” tried to assassinate my boss and did kill several sailors at Sebana Seca.

For years the people of Vieques have fought to eject the US Navy from their little island. The Navy has used half the island as a weapons testing area for almost 75 years. The ground is so contaminated no one will be able to use it for several hundred years and fishing is restricted. Even though the ejection of the Navy would gain the people of Vieques nothing; their pride demands the removal of these crude uncouth intruders. I was once almost assaulted by a 350 pound woman protesting our being on her island.

After years of demonstrations and arrests Congress decided to pull the Navy and return the island to Puerto Rican control. The government has not disclosed what it will do with this contaminated pile of rock filled with unexploded ordinance but they at least they have successfully ejected the imperialist barbarians.

Actions have consequences. Always be careful what you wish for, you may get it. On the nearby island of Puerto Rico the Navy has a huge complex called “Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station.” It employed over 1,200 civilians. There were over 700 military families living and working in the area. Each year they pumped 300 million dollars into the local economy. Entire Puerto Rican communities depended on “Rosy Roads” for their existence. Because we no longer test our pilots and equipment on Vieques, the US government decided they no longer needed this expensive facility and closed it.

Suddenly the Governor, Sila Calderon, held a news conference in San Juan, protesting the base closure and stating, “The people of Puerto Rico don’t now nor ever did have an interest in closing the Vieques bombing range or Roosevelt Roads. We are interested in both staying in Puerto Rico.”

After years of German protests, “Yankee Go Home”, the US government has announced it will pull American troops out of Germany. That will mean a six BILLION dollar annual loss to the German economy. There will be a lot of businesses which will have to close their doors. Thousands will be forced to stop their schooling. I am sure some of the rich Germans will make a lot of money selling old US military land and facilities but the vast majority of “little” people will suffer an economic down turn..

Personally, I think America should pull all its troops from every country around the world. Stationing troops in other countries is counter-productive. It has no real strategic military value and is actually just US “welfare” for other countries. That "welfare" creates a balance of payments problem and a drain on the American economy. It is almost like we are trying to buy or bribe friends and that never does not works well.
We are not ”Big Brother” or the world’s police force. While I support humanitarian aid, without caveats, our intrusion into the internal affairs of other nations seldom comes out well and is usually not appreciated by those nations. It is time for other nations to “police” themselves. Beyond simple economics and the strategic waste, the American military is not our best export. Unlike Filipinos, Americans often do not adapt well to other cultures. We have a tendency to be our own worst enemy and create a cultural backlash such as we had in this country.

America has the finest fighting force in the world... but we lack some grassroots diplomatic and adaptive skills.

Just the humble opinion of an old war dog…..


I had this foreign friend who was married to a sweet beautiful little “barrio” girl. One day in casual conversation he said, “My wife is an idiot!” I felt very sad for him. I knew his wife and he was the “idiot” not her. With all his academic credentials he failed to appreciate one simple truth.

“We are all idiots and geniuses depending on the subject”

There are many things about life here in the Philippines she could have taught him but he was not wise enough to listen to her. Because someone has not seen snow or ridden on a train does not make them an idiot. Just as you may not know which fish taste best and how to pick the freshest fish does not make you an idiot. We all have different life experiences.

The truly sad thing about my myopic friend was he missed the fantastic chance to increase his own knowledge and share with her the wonders of his life experiences.

I was in a hotel room with a friend who had spent her entire life in a simple fishing village. She had seen bamboo walls and painted concrete walls but she had never seen “wallpaper”. What followed was an interesting talk about how wallpaper is made and installed. How the pieces are matched and glued to the wall. We even talked about the history of wallpaper. Did you know that many historians think that the great French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was killed by wallpaper? Napoleon was in exile and living in a villa. The walls of his bedroom had wallpaper with a green flocked pattern. To create this textured surface the manufacturer used arsenic and copper. In the warm tropical climate of St Helena the copper-arsenic together with mold produced a toxic gas. Historians think that over a protracted period of time Napoleon’s body absorbed enough of the poison gas that it killed him.

In the US Army Ranger School survival class the first rule is to “copy the natives”. They know better than you how to survive in their environment. I am constantly seeking knowledge from my Filipino friends. The very title of this column was changed from “purok” to “barrio” based on advice of a Filipina friend.

To my foreign friends instead of trying to change your Filipina wife or girlfriend into something she is not; glory in her uniqueness, in her special beauty. You should honor her and respect her. Explore her world; increase your own knowledge and life experiences. Turn your life into an adventure with her.
Be an Everyday Hero open your heart and your mind.


The people who disagree with me deserve a chance to be heard.
Rosa wrote:

Dear Mr. James:
I read your articles with interest, you write of our beautiful country from a foreigner's point of view. You have always been gracious about your being here.
One topic that perhaps many locals do not understand is your lavish praises for the Filipina girlfriends or "wives" of foreigners. Truth to tell, they are not our regular Filipinas. By their dressing and actions, they cannot be mistaken for the homegrown Filipinas. They are more western than Asian, perhaps to mimic or impress (?) their foreign partners.
Another topic we locals do not understand is the "May - December" relationship ( it is more February - November relationship) that you write about and we see all over. All told that is simply not the norm and was not until the foreigners started flaunting their money in front of these girls.
You can very very rarely see an old regular Filipino (sixty or seventy years old) with a 16 or 17 or 20 years old Filipina. It just is not a regular relationship. The sensible older Filipino marries a reasonably mature Filipina, not a teen-ager.
What we see are old foreigners with one or two skimpily dressed Filipinas hanging on as if it was the most normal thing in the Filipino culture.
Even in Europe and America, the average older men are not seen with girls 20 or 30 years old younger than them. They would be the ultimate laughing stock pair! Fortunately for the foreigners here, the locals are to polite to laugh in their faces and call them dirty old men or naive fools. Even without words, the foreigners must know what the locals think.
Maybe there will be rare exceptions to what I write, but the odds are 1 or 2 to a hundred. It is almost as disgusting as the child bride of India; what makes it different is the foreigner and the young Filipina profess Love instead of the word manipulation.
After all is said, one thing is clear: this old Foreigner-young Filipina syndrome has corrupted the real Filipino culture and moral values. It has fallen to a business transaction with each side trying to get the most out of the other.
Try standing on our side looking out and see if it isn’t disgusting.


If you read my column “EVIL” you would know I agree with you about the DOM relationships based on lies and deception. Where we part company is when you assume that all of these DOM relationships are false. I object to you taking it upon yourself to be judge and punisher of people you do not know.
Back when I first started writing this column a young Filipina wrote me a poignant tribute to her older foreign husband. She had been a young widow struggling to raise her children and keep a roof over their head and food on their table. Her life was slowly falling apart. Without a father, her children were beginning to make bad choices. This “old foreigner” sold his home in America and risked everything to come here and marry her. Their “May-December” love turned tragedy into a true love story. Together they created a loving functional “family”. I later met this couple and you could feel the love and respect they had for each other. I object to you calling her a “gold-digger, whore and prostitute” just because she fell in love with someone older than her.
You make several bold statements of “fact” that are really just your opinion. First you say these “May-December” relationships are “not the norm”. Who says it is not normal? Check the Bible. These “May-December” relationships have been going on for thousands of years. There are no laws against them. There are no scriptures against them. These relationships pose no real threat to society and are the “private” business of two adults. They hurt no one. They do not threaten society. Even the “May-December” relationships based on lies hurt only themselves.
You say these DOM relationships are not “a regular relationship”. You say that normal Filipinos chose people their own age to marry. As they say in the courtroom, “You assume facts not in evidence”. You assume that because older Filipinos usually chose brides in their own age group, they would not chose a younger bride if they could. The fact that “Dolphy” and others marry young brides proves that elderly Filipinos would marry young girls if the young girls would have them. The choice is not the elderly Filipinos; the choice is in the hands of the young Filipinas. That is how it should be; their choice not yours. You try to slime these “May-December” relationships by comparing them to the “disgusting … child bride of India” You must be truly disingenuous and desperate. How do you compare a free choice made by two adults to the selling of innocent children?
You claim “in Europe and America, the average older man is not seen with a girl 20 or 30 years younger than him.” I do not know where you get your “facts” (?). “May-December” marriages and even the marriages of total strangers have been practiced many thousands of years around the world, including Europe and America. Even if you were accurate in your claim, which you are not, the existence or non-existence of these DOM relationships does not negate their right to exist. Two adults have the right to associate and marry whom they wish without your approval.
“Locals are too polite to laugh in their faces and call them dirty old men or naive fools.” I admit that most Pinoy’s are very gracious and polite. One of the many characteristics I admire about the Pinoy culture. But the people you speak of are NOT “too polite”. They are foul mouthed cowards. They use the foreigner’s ignorance of Visyan to verbally assault the young Filipina in public. They call her ugly names and ask her ugly personal questions about her sex life. If I did this to your mother you would be justifiably outraged but people like you feel free to do it to this young Filipina simply because she loves a man older than her. You do not know if her love is real but you still set yourself up as the judge and punisher.
You claim that “this old Foreigner-young Filipina syndrome has corrupted the real Filipino culture and moral values.” How? How has the free choice of two adults changed your life or your society? These kinds of relationships have been going on here and around the world for centuries. You still live by your values. Nobody has forced you to change your lifestyle or morals. Without searching, I know of three Filipino families where the father openly breaks his marriage vows with any woman who will lay down with him. I read in the newspaper where fathers molest their own children. My own “wife’s” uncle was murdered and the killer was set free. If you want to protect the “real” Filipino culture and moral values get outraged at these breaches and leave the relationship of consenting adults alone. They are not yours to judge or punish. That job belongs to God.
“Try standing on our side looking out and see if it isn’t disgusting.” Those “false” DOM relationships based on economics punish themselves. The “May-December” relationships based on real love deserve our respect and to be honored. Your problem is you punish EVERYONE with your ugly words and contempt. You could use a little Christian compassion and empathy.


If your leg were broke, you would not just ignore it. You would seek proper medical attention. Not to see a doctor would be “stupid”. It could cause you to possibly lose your leg or even die.
If you have measles, you would not ignore it. You would seek proper medical treatment. Not to see a doctor would be “stupid.” Not to be treated would not only endanger you but the lives of others around you.
The human mind is like any other part of your body. Your mind can get sick or be injured. Not to seek help from a doctor is “stupid.” Not to seek proper medical help could cause the injury or illness to get worse and might even destroy your life. Mental illness and injury can be treated, controlled and even cured.
We are not ashamed of a broken leg. We are not ashamed of having the measles. But for some illogical reason nobody wants to admit they might have a “mind” that has been injured or is sick. There is an ugly fear, even stigma, of being diagnosed as mentally injured or mentally ill.
The usual response to aberrant behavior is to ignore it until it gets so bad you can ignore it no longer. You hide your “crazy” aunt in the back room. You tolerate your nutty uncle’s bad behavior and just avoid him. The shame of this is their illness may just be a chemical imbalance that could be cured with medication. They could possibly live “normal’ loving productive lives if someone cared enough to help them get proper treatment.
The Philippines has an excellent Mental Health Association. The local chapter is compassionately managed by Mrs. Aurora Caluscusin-Flores. The office is staffed by equally compassionate and highly professional people. The new patient is given a series of psychological tests and their condition is expertly diagnosed. With proper treatment many patients fully recover and lead normal lives.
How do I know all this? I am one of their patients. I suffer what is called “Anxiety Disorder; acerbated by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. I suffered a dysfunctional childhood and then was further traumatized by my military service. I take medication and undergo therapy sessions. Despite what my critics say I am not really “crazy”. My illness manifests itself in hypersensitivity and rages both of which I have been successful in controlling. Most people do not even know I have a medical problem. The shame is not in having a mental injury; the shame is not seeking proper treatment.
Substance addiction, beyond damaging the body, can also be an indication of possible mental problems. If your “loved one” is drunk every night, that is not normal. A friend of mine has a teenage son who pulled a knife on the maid and he is constantly physically abusing his little brother. He has serious separation anxiety and rage issues. He needs professional help before he kills someone. If you have a friend or relative who is subject to uncontrolled rage or anti-social behavior get them to the Philippine Mental Health Association and seek professional help. Mrs. Caluscusin-Flores and her staff are my Everyday Heroes for this week. Keep up the good work.


I have been inundated with a flood of support from Filipinas and Foreigners who are angry with petty small-minded black-hearted evil people who have been attacking Filipina-Foreigner relationships unchallenged for years. These evil people only have the courage to speak out in Visyan and hurt defenseless young Filipinas. Now, normally non-confrontational Filipinas are speaking out. The following email from a proud Filipina is typical of this new Pinoy voice that will not tolerate this abuse any longer..

Jinky writes:

“Hello, a good day to you. I am an avid reader of Negros Chronicle… I would like to react to (the)” Everyday Heroes” column by James KOJAK Hughs. I am a filipina married to a foreigner. I agree with what he has written in his July 22 ,2007 column. I would like to (stress) not all Filipina-Foreigner relationships are fake or ugly. Not all Filipina(s) who marry foreigners are “gold diggers” or just want to go out of the country in search for greener pastures. I know some people who are so shallow minded, judgmental and (vindictive) about us Filipinas married to foreigners. My relationship with my husband is built on love, trust,( and ) respect. My relationships with … past Filipino boyfriends didn't work out. I wanted to find my happiness; I wanted to love and be loved. What is wrong with that?... Being married is being happy. What is” wrong” (are these) people who think all Filipinas married to a foreigner are prostitutes and gold diggers!!”

In the past three years, I have been told of hundreds of these cowardly attacks made against innocent Filipinas. Filipinas, who have had to stand silently and unflinchingly as the vilest of comments were directed at them “IN PUBLIC!”
If some Foreigner had said these things to a Filipina married to a Filipino, the foreigner would have justifiably been attacked and punished. But these malicious cowardly attacks have, up to now, been silently tolerated. Maybe that silence has finally been broken. I applaud Jinky and the other Filipinas who refuse to apologize for loving and honoring their foreign husbands. Women who refuse to tolerate these cowardly attacks and are speaking out for justice, fairness and respect. Jinky, you and your modern Pinoy sisters are my Everyday Heroes for this week.


Everyone has heard the sad story about the “American Promise”. How an American would come here to the Philippines and meet some sweet beautiful young Filipina. He will promise to marry her, then take advantage of her trusting nature and rob her of her innocence. Often these sweet girls would be left with fatherless children and shattered lives. Sadly there is some truth to these stories. It did / does happen; maybe not as often as some people think, but just once is too often. There is another side to this “ugly” human tragedy. There is the Filipina who robs the trusting foreigner of his money and crushes his dreams.
Over the last two years I have watched numerous foreigners get robbed and emotionally destroyed by ruthless Filipinas. There is Patrick who married a Filipina and started a local business. After a year of cheating on him with half of Dumaguete City, she finally took all his money and left him penniless on the streets. There is the Australian who built a 1.2 million peso home on another island only to have it stolen by his Filipina girlfriend. Heartbroken he come here and fell in love again. He built another beautiful home and his new girlfriend kicked him out and brought in her lover. Then there is the simple lad who sold his home in Ireland and married a Filipina. They started a nightclub in Manila. Next thing he knew, she had his 12 million pesos, the business and a new lover. He became another penniless human wreck on the streets of Dumaguete City. He has been befriended by some local Filipinos. I am watching to see if this trusting boy is being ripped off yet again.
I do not excuse or condone either of these life shattering crimes but I find it interesting that some Filipinos only condemn the “American Promise”. Filipinos make movies about the “American Promise”, but no one talks about the “Filipina Promise”. They talk about the “American Promise” in the classrooms at Silliman University and say vicious nasty things about people they do not even know. The consensus seems to be that old foolish foreigners deserve to be robbed and have their lives and dreams destroyed. That teacher who spewed those ugly attacks against foreigners in his classroom ought to borrow a text book on logic from the Philosophy Department. If it is wrong for foreigners to destroy Filipina lives; it is also wrong for Filipinas to destroy foolish old foreigners lives.

Be an Everyday Hero and cleanse your heart of prejudice and racism. We are all God’s children and deserve respect until we earn something less.


This was told to me by Lowell E. Hedges, a retired professor. He was taught this little lesson by a young student who was a refugee from Central America. There is a lesson here not just for the Philippines but for the American Congress.

How to Catch a Wild Pig
First you find out where the wild pigs are roaming and feeding. You then put some corn out in an open field. Soon the pigs will come to eat the free corn. You keep putting out this free corn everyday. More wild pigs will come. After the pigs get used to your free corn, you put up a length of fence along one side of the open field. Soon the pigs will get accustomed to the fence. You keep giving them the free corn. Later you put up another section of fence at right angles to the first. You keep giving them the free corn. The pigs get used to the second fence. After awhile you put up a third section of fence at right angles to the second section. You now have a U-shaped fenced open area. You keep giving them free corn. Then you put another section of fence with a gate in it, making a closed area except for the gate. You keep giving them free corn. Now, the pigs are no longer out in the woods, working to find their own food. They get accustomed to the fenced area with the open gate. Then, one day you slam shut the gate trapping the wild pigs inside. They quickly lose their ability to find their wild food and become totally dependent on your free corn. They can not survive without you.

This is how communism and socialism works. They give you “free corn” until you are dependent on them. Until you lose your ability to support yourself. They rob you of your free spirit and your self respect. You become their domesticated worker pigs.

I see pictures of Che Quevara and hear socialist / communist propagandist all around Dumaguete City, especially at the universities. The “free corn” is very seductive. Communism / Socialism offer the illusion of ultimate equality, “free” medical care, and “free” homes and food. Marx said, “To each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs” The implication is that we would all be taken care of by the state. The sad reality is that great promise has never been fulfilled. Many have tried; all have failed.
With any form of government someone has to be in charge. Someone has to have the power to distribute the benefits. Those with power will eventually abuse it. They become the new elite. While millions wait in line for their free bread; the elite have theirs delivered. While millions live in no rent apartments; the elite have no rent homes and a dacha (summer cottage) on the Black Sea (Russia) or the Isle of Pines (Cuba). While millions wait for that doctor’s appointment; the elite have their own physician.
There is no difference between communism / socialism and any other corrupt government system. They all have “haves” and “have nots”, the privileged rich and the desperately poor. If that is true, why then is democracy preferable over communism? Simple, democracy and capitalism have one advantage over all other systems of government. The word is “CHANGE”. There is the possibility to change and improve. Not just change and improve the government but change and improve individually. There is social and economic mobility. The “have nots” can become the “haves”.
Rather than hunger for the false promise of socialism and communism, seek to change and improve the system you already have. You have the building blocks here to create the greatest nation in the Far East. Look around you. You have great climate, good resources, strategic location, hard working intelligent people, and an inordinate ability to adapt and change.
Are there problems to be solved here? Of course there are, but I believe the Philippine people not only can solve those problems but are well on the way to solving them now. Name another nation that has put a sitting President in jail for corruption. Many countries need to, but only the Philippines has actually done it. That is not a mark of shame but a badge of courage and commitment.
I believe in you, my Philippines; it is time for you to believe in yourself.


Did you know here in the Philippines that it is specifically against the law for foreign guests to become involved in local politics? If you think about this, the prohibition makes good sense. Most of us do not even speak the local language; much less understand the nuances or subtle undercurrents that pervade local politics. For us to use our money and influence to obtain our idea of what we think the Philippines needs not only smacks of neo-colonialism but would corrupt a political system already plagued by serious problems.
Most people think the prohibition against our involvement in local politics started with the Philippine Constitution and the anti-colonial movement, but its roots are much older. The historical precedence is closer to 500 years old.

Now for the rest of the story.

Most people know that Ferdinand Magellan was killed by local natives in 1521. Few of you know “WHY” he died. To put it simply, he got involved in local politics.
When Magellan first arrived in the Philippines he was greeted with open arms by Rajah Humabon of Cebu. They exchange gifts and the Rajah even converted to Christianity. From Datu Zula, Magellan learned there was a war going on with Chief Lapu Lapu of Mactan Island. Magellan volunteered to use his superior fire power and vast military skills to resolve this ugly situation. He even invited the Rajah to watch as he destroyed their enemy. Underestimating the enemy was just one of the mistakes that led to Magellan’s death. His superior weapons were still stuck in the boats off shore when his body and inflated ego was pierced by a native bamboo spear. The Rajah tried to rescue his new friend but it was too late. The Spanish retreated in chaos. Do not get involved in local politics. You can get hurt.


Not long ago a woman from Occidental Negros was caught smuggling over one hundred poisonous snakes and reptiles out of this country. She was taking them to Malaysia to be sold for a variety of uses. The reptiles were in little plastic bottles in her luggage. Many of the poor reptiles had died during the short suffocating trip from Bacolod to Manila. I am sure some of you are shivering and saying, “Good, Lets ship all of the little nasty creatures out of the country. Who the hell needs them?”
Actually, WE all need them. They are an important part of the web of life and help keep a very delicate balance. Surprisingly, they probably indirectly save hundreds of lives here every year. They may have saved your life.
While it is true a few of these poisonous reptiles do injure people; they do so only in self defense. Their normal prey are rats or mice. In fact there are many homes in Korea that keep snakes in their garden to control rodents. While a few thousand people around the world die from poisonous reptiles, literally billions of people die or have died from rats and mice. Rats carried the plague that wiped out half of Europe. Just a few years ago rats carried a hemorrhagic fever in the four corner area of Arizona, killing several people before we got it under control. Rats and mice carry rabies which can cause an excruciating death. A rabid rat will hunt and attack you. Even normal rats will bite sleeping babies, especially around the mouth. Snakes want nothing to do with you; but mice and rats will eat and poop in your food.
Many of you are afraid of snakes and lizards. Everybody is afraid of something. Learn to deal with your fears. Knowledge is power. Knowledge conquers fear. When you remove the snakes and lizards from the web of life, you allow the rats and mice to breed unchecked. You upset the balance of nature and endanger us all. If there is a poisonous snake or lizard near your home, try to safely move it or have it moved to a new home; you should kill it only as a last resort.
God left us as custodians of this wonderful world. We need to learn to do a better job. We need to live in harmony with nature and each other.


Charles Ponzi did not invent the scheme named after him but he certainly perfected it. In the 1920’s He got thousands of people to invest in his Postage Redemption Plan. The plan was simple and seemed perfectly legal. Someone would buy cheap postage coupons overseas then send them to Charles to have them redeemed at the much higher American rate. The profits were then shared by the investors. Ponzi guaranteed profits in excess of 50% each 45 days. The investor would deposit $300 on the first of each month then collect a “guaranteed” $450 after 45 days. As the investors raked in the cash the lines at Ponzi’s Bank stretched around the block. What they did not know was there were no postage coupons, no investments and no profits. What Ponzi did was pay the first investor with money provided by the second investor. Eventually Ponzi collected over $9,000,000.00, and then the scheme fell apart and Ponzi disappeared.
Greed blinds people to the obvious. No one bothered to think or investigate. In order to earn the millions of dollars Ponzi had claimed, astronomical quantities of coupons would have to been redeemed. One can only imagine hordes of Ponzi agents, pushing wheelbarrows full of coupons to post offices, unloading them with shovels or pitchforks. Shear logic should tell you; “something is wrong here”.
This is a type of fraud is called a pyramid scheme. This system of making money requires an endless stream of victims for success. The first few investors might make a little money but the scheme will quickly exhaust any new investors. In fact if you use the world’s entire population, an impossible 50 billion people, there will only be 500 million winners and 4.5 BILLION LOSERS.
The only way anybody can make money through a pyramid scheme or chain letter is if other people are cheated out of their money. That is not only morally wrong but it is also very likely you will be the one cheated.
Pyramid schemes are popular because most people are greedy and greed can fog your thinking. Scam artists know how greed works. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can outsmart these grifters. Even police departments have been victims and they should have known better.
In 1995-96, at least 67 employees of the Sacramento Police Department, including 45 officers, were investigated for involvement in a pyramid scheme. The chief of police said that he will fire at least seven officers and discipline 60 other police department employees. Nine officers were placed on administrative leave and relieved of their guns and badges. According to a prosecutor, the scheme involved more than 200 people. The minimum amount lost by those who were on the bottom of the pyramid was $500, not to mention losing their jobs. This police pyramid scheme was called an "investment club". The scheme is sold to investors by claiming it is “perfectly legal” and approved by the BIR and that it definitely is not a pyramid scheme. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true; it probably is not true.

Here are some indicators that you should investigate further before investing your money in a company or club.

-Be wary of high start-up costs / investment requests. Pyramid schemes want you to pay a large amount up front. The promoters behind the scheme make most of their profit on the signing up of new recruits.

- Find out if the company will buy back inventory not sold. Keep in mind that normal legitimate companies will buy back at least 80 percent of your stock purchases.

-What is the consumer market for the products or services? If the company seems to be making money by recruiting, you will want to stay away! Multi-level marketing depends on selling to consumers and establishing a market for a quality product. Pyramid schemes are not concerned with actual sales of the products or services.

-Check with others who have experience with the company, its products or the club and its services. Are the products actually being sold or services actually being provided?

Not every business opportunity is a crooked scheme or an attempt to steal your money but before you invest you owe it to yourself to thoroughly investigate, especially if it sounds too good. Especially if the “investment opportunity” promises high profits and with little risk. Be an Everyday Hero and lets work together to protect each other.

(What happened to Charles Ponzi? He was eventually caught. He spent time in prison, was divorced, was deported and eventually died in a charity hospital in Italy. )

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There is an insidious slimy black-hearted evil here in the Philippines . It is grounded in ignorance, jealousy and prejudice.
I came to the Philippines with two dreams. I wanted to live a better life and to write a book. I did not come here to be a DOM (Dirty Old Man). In fact I found old foreigners taking advantage of young sweet poor Filipinas particularly repugnant. To me it was a form of prostitution. A relationship built on individual needs and mutual deception. It was a facade of lies and pretence. I have an almost childish belief that love and relationships should be “real”. They should be grounded in truth.
Without truth there is no honesty
Without honesty there is no trust
Without trust there is no love
Without love there is NOTHING

Not all Filipina / Foreigner relationships are fake or ugly. I personally know of several of these “May-December” relationships that are true romantic treasures. Two people from different cultures and different generations who have managed to find each other amid the chaos and pain of this world. Two people who genuinely love each other. But sadly some of these DOM relationships are not real but merely a hollow empty sad “business” deal. I was determined not to be a part of that ugliness.
I had searched all my life for “real” love. I wanted to find the other half of my soul. Enjoy the bliss of “never having to say you are sorry” because the one you love “knows” you would never hurt her on purpose. I fell in love with a young Filipina. She eventually fell in love with me. For a brief period we were very happy. I wrote about that joy many times in this column. I wrote of the pride and respect I have for this Filipina flower. My heart soared with the promise of the great adventures we would share. Her compassion and love were limitless. She wanted to help her own people. Not just her family but friends and neighbors. There are 32 students we alone are putting through school. Our lives were productive and filled with love. Then the evil came.
Like most Filipinos she is VERY sensitive. Each day she had to sit silently as her fellow Silliman students spewed forth the dirtiest foulest attacks against young women in DOM relationships. They called them whores, prostitutes and gold diggers. These students never met these people but they somehow “knew” that they could not possibly be in love. Even some of the faculty vomited this same malicious ignorance and prejudice. They made it clear they had "no respect" for people in these relationships. The ugliness of these people's souls was so palpable it became a part of her daily student life. She was forced to hide our relationship in shame. She had to invent lies to hide something beautiful and good; something she should be able to shout to the world. She loved me and I loved her. But this beautiful truth would have destroy her. The other students would have shunned her. Whispered ugly things behind her back. It might even have affect her grades and prevented her being able to graduate. This secret began to tear us apart. The constant pounding eventually drove her from my arms.
There is no scripture against this kind of relationship. There are no laws against it. Yet these small minded people have made themselves judge and executioner. They, with their ignorance and prejudice, destroy and hurt others; people they do not know.
The scripture says, “Judge not ; less yee be judged”. One day all of those bigoted people will face the “real" judge and answer for the pain and ugliness they have inflicted. I pray God has more compassion and understanding with them than they have shown us.
It is too late for me and the lady who once loved me. She was not strong enough to stand up to the vile names and stigma heaped upon her. The other day a fellow student saw her with me. She ran in a panic away from me so the "shameful" secret of our love would not be discovered. She has now given up her academic dreams. She has thrown away the promise of a better life we could have had together. I am sorry my Beh, I could not protect you, take away the pain. I failed you.
These cowards only mutter their vile words in Visayan because they know better than to rile my wrath. They pick on the innocent, the vulnerable because they have not the courage to face me.
If she really was a “gold digger”; she never would have quit. She was just a sweet simple young girl who’s only crime was to fall in love with the wrong man. Where ever you are dear, one last time, “Mahal Kita Walang Iba”.


The story goes like this:

Once before in American history we had an episode of Islamic terrorism. It was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines (1911), when General. “Black Jack” Pershing was in command of the occupying US troops. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks and General Pershing was determined to stop them.
Terrorists were captured and forced to dig their own graves. US soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, leaving the carcasses in the open graves. They then rubbed their bullets in pig blood and fat. The terrorists were horrified. If they are contaminated with pigs' blood, they could never enter heaven.
All but one terrorist was shot, their bodies then dumped into the contaminated graves. The lone survivor was set free and allowed to return to the terrorist camp. He told his comrades what happened to the others. This brought a stop to Philippine Islamic terrorism for the next 50 years.”
As you can see this story is very popular in the world because it provides a very “simple” solution to a very complex problem. The harsh sad truth is it will not work, it will most likely would cause greater problems and, in historical fact, never even happened.
General Pershing was Governor of the troublesome Mindanao-Jolo area. There is absolutely no record of this incident having ever happened and in fact it is in direct conflict with General Pershing’s recorded conduct and known feelings. When the terrorists refused to obey Pershing's order banning firearms, he sent a letter to the Moro leadership expressing sorrow that his soldiers had to resort to violence to enforce that order. He wrote paternally, “All Moros are the same to me as my children and no father wants to kill his own children”. When negotiations stalled and matters became critical, Pershing was still reluctant to be responsible for more unnecessary loss of life.
The interesting dichotomy in this historical excerpt is that the current terrorist / insurgency problems can be solved with lessons direct from Philippine history. Magsaysay knew the answer. Aguinaldo learned the answer the hard way. Negros Chronicle columnist Dindo Generoso had it almost correct (column “Books Not Bullets”). The answer is NOT found with bullets and violence, but sadly not found in books either unless of course it is a Philippine history book. Study your own history and you have the answer to the current terrorist/insurgency problems.


Evidently some people think I have “magical” powers. They feel all I need do is write about a “problem” here in the Philippines and somehow it will magically be resolved. Only wish it were that easy or that I had that type of influence. There are many Filipinos much smarter and more articulate than I trying to solve most of these problems. My mumblings and scribblings go in a different direction. All I do is try and focus on the positives; while giving you a possible “new” way to look at an old problem.
One of these old problems that people keep bringing to me is “air pollution” Specifically the burning of trash each evening. Most of the people complaining are upset about this odorous pastime but I doubt they have really given it any real thought.
Why is the trash burned? Obviously the first reason is to get rid of the trash. Then why not just have the trash hauled to the dump? Oriental Negros uses 2.5 hectares of landfill per year. Not only would hauling this extra trash to the landfill stress the already overburdened sanitation trucks but potentially it would double or triple this annual land loss. In the current situation it is not practical or efficient to try to haul it all away. So what can we do? If you let the trash accumulate we run a high risk of having an unplanned fire that would kill people and destroy property.
The secondary reason the trash is burned is indicated by “when” it is burned. Trash is burned usually in the early evenings when insects are at their worst. Without the smoke of the burning trash to help control these insects there would be a sharp increase in disease. For example many more children and old people would die of dengue fever. So why not get chemical foggers like they do in the United States? First, where do we get the money to support this expensive program? Beyond that, I have lived in Florida where they have these “safe” (?) fogging programs. The fog not only smells much worse than the smoke but it kills “good” insects as well as the bad. This could upset the balance of nature and create more problems. For example without good insects farming could be impacted. If the fog kills insects how good can it be for our growing children to breathe it?
You have children going hungry or not being able to go to school because they can not afford supplies and uniforms. You have children living and eating amid the fetid stench of a landfill to just survive and you worry about a little wood smoke each evening. Sorry but I think the burning of trash is a non-problem and sometimes the smoke even smells good. Be an Everyday Hero and help a child get an education and stop worrying about a little smoke.


Psychopath is the official name for the world’s worst antisocial criminal. What makes a psychopath and why are they so dangerous? Doctors agree that the psychopaths are devoid of love and guilt. They know what they are doing and care nothing for those they hurt. What makes them dangerous is that many appear quite normal. Their capacity to hurt and destroy can be hidden under a veneer of charm and honesty.
Typical example is John Wayne Gacy. Gacy was a well-respected volunteer in community affairs. He often dressed as a clown and entertained children at a local hospital. He appeared to everyone as a nice sweet gentle man, yet he tortured and murdered 33 young boys and buried them in his basement. His veneer of respectability was so good that despite complaints from victims who had escaped, the police did not investigate. After being caught, not once did Gacy express any remorse or guilt for his savage crimes.
Ted Bundy had a similar mask of respectability. He was a clean-cut law student, and put his charm and smile to good use at a crisis hotline center. After his capture, he confessed to raping and murdering 28 women and may possibly have murdered a hundred more. He showed no remorse or pity. He was a classic psychopath.
The traits that define psychopaths ( i.e. impulsiveness, violence, lack of guilt, etc) are well known. An important predictor of psychopathy is severe love deprivation in childhood. Serial killers were nearly always been beaten or abused when children. They also consistently had family members addicted to drugs or alcohol (an indicator of love deprivation).
Hitler's father, in drunken rages, often beat him and his mother. At 15, Hitler himself beat his mother. The rapist and serial killer Carl Panzram, America's most violent prison inmate, was deserted by his father and beaten by his mother. The multiple killer, Jack Abbott, had an abusive alcoholic father and a prostitute mother, who left when he was four, leaving him to a string of abusive foster homes. Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler, was brutally tortured by his alcoholic father. In each case the effects of “love deprivation” later exploded into terrible violence.
How do we discipline our children without creating monsters? I am not against spanking, but there is a difference between paddling and “beating”. Just because you spank your children does not mean they will grow up to be serial killers or psychopaths. So where do you draw the lines in our attempt to discipline your child. I use two methods: one negative; one positive. I use a variety of negative methods from "time out" and withholding privileges to spanking. The spanking should not be a first option but a last option, and it NEVER should injure.
The most neglected and most important disciplinary technique is the positive re-enforcement approach. Lavish on the child praise, hugs and kisses for everything good they do. Even if the results of their actions are not so good; give them hugs for trying to do the right thing. You should have special “rewards” for positive performance. Remember, when you paddle their butts they jump up and down, going nowhere; but when you pat them on the back, they go forward with a smile. Love is more powerful than pain.
Be an Everyday Hero, love and hug your child today.

Thursday, June 28, 2007



Her life was not going so good. She never would have won a beauty contest, but now things were even worse. She had trusted the wrong person, now she was an unwed mother. Her son was a treasure; but it was not likely any man would marry a woman with a child. She also had no education or job skills so her chances of finding good employment were not very good either. Her family was very poor and her own future seemed equally bleak.
Suddenly, a chance meeting on the internet sparked a romance. He was not handsome and was many years older than her, but he loved and respected her. After they were married, he began the adoption of her son. He even bought some farmland, so her family could start feeding themselves and earn a modest living. God had finally forgiven her mistakes and blessed her and her son.
It did not happen like it does in the movies. He was just walking down the hall when suddenly he stiffened and fell forward. The heart attack killed him before he hit the floor. Her life turned upside down and came to a crashing halt. She was suddenly a widow and her son again had no father. There was no money for food or rent. She still had no job skills or education. She was right back where she started only now there was a hole in her life where there once had been a loving husband.
I know personally at least five women who have suffered a similar life disaster. One woman’s loving Filipino husband went to Cebu and was murdered. She was left destitute with a house full of children. Another woman’s young husband was murdered this year and she has five children. Just this week a nice lady lost her husband to cancer and was hard pressed just to pay for the funeral. I know of two incidents where the wife died leaving the husband with the burden of raising his family alone.
I think I know, psychologically, why we do not prepare for these disasters. We want to keep the self delusion that we will live forever. The harsh truth is we will all die and death can come at any moment. If you love them you must prepare and protect them NOW not tomorrow.
All of you Everyday Heroes, instead of making those you love totally dependent on you; make them totally independent. Educate them and prepare them in case you are not there. Give them job skills and a career. Create an educational trust fund. Keep an emergency bank account to pay for unexpected medical expenses. Get health insurance. If you love them, be an Everyday Hero…. PROTECT THEM NOW NOT LATER !


Did you know that in America the initials “KKK “are the very embodiment of everything evil. The KKK or Klu Klux Klan was / is a secret society born out of the chaos of the American Civil War. The organizations ideology advocated white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Catholism, homophobia, sexism and nativism. They spread their ugly ideology by using intimidation and even murder.

Now for the rest of the story.

The Philippines has their own KKK, except here those initials are the embodiment of everything GOOD. The Katipunan or KKK was a nationalistic partisan secret society founded to oust the Spanish colonial government. Katipunan ideology was a combination of nationalism and egalitarianism. It was nationalist by seeking Filipino freedom from Spanish oppression and egalitarian, in that it believed in the equality of all mankind regardless of class, race or gender. Some of the leaders in the revolution were Filipina. The Philippine people were fighting for equality between the sexes some 30 years before we granted it in America. The Philippines is second in the world for gender equality.


A friend at Foundation University sent me an interesting article. I want you to read some thought provoking extracts.

by INTEL General Manager Robin Martin

Filipinos tend to dwell too much on the negative side, and this affects the perception of foreigners. The negative perception of the Philippines is way disproportionate to reality. Let us all help our country by balancing the negative with the positive especially when we talk
to foreigners, whether based here or abroad. Looking back and comparing the Philippines today and 1995, I was struck by how much our country has progressed physically. Consider the following:

1. The great telecom infrastructure that we have now did not exist in 1995. Since then billions of dollars have been invested in both fixed line and cellular networks producing a system with over 5,000 km of fiber optic(s). From a fixed line capacity of about 900,000 in 1995 we now have over 7 million. Cellular phones practically did not exist in 1995; now we have over 11 million.
2. The MRT, many of the EDSA flyovers, the SKYWAY, Rockwell and Glorietta 4, the Fort, NAIA terminal 2 and most of the new skyscrapers were not yet built in 1995.
3. If you drive to the provinces, you will notice that (many of) the national roads are now of good quality.
4. Philippine exports have increased by 600% over the past eight years…Philippine mangoes are now exported to the US and Europe.

Additional tidbits :
1. INTEL has been in the Philippines for 28 years. The Philippines plant is where Intel's most advanced products are launched, including the Pentium IV. By the end of 2002, Philippine operations became Intel's biggest assembly and testing operations worldwide.
2. TEXAS INSTRUMENTS The Baguio plant is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world. DSP chips are the brains behind cell phones ( the ) Baguio plant produces the chip that powers 100% of all NOKIA cell phones and 80% of Erickson cell phones in the world.
3. TOSHIBA laptops are produced in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
4. If you drive a BENZ, BMW, or a VOLVO, there is a good chance that the ABS system in your car was made in the Philippines.
5. TREND-MICRO, makers of one of the top anti virus software PC-Cillin… develops its "cures" for viruses right here in, Quezon City.
6. Today a majority of the top ten U.S. Call Center firms in the U.S. have set up operations in the Philippines, we are the best in the world in terms of value for money.
7. America Online (AOL) has 1,000 people in Clark answering 90% of AOL's global e-mail inquiries.
8. PROCTOR & GAMBLE has over 400 people in Makati doing back-up office work to their Asian operations including finance, accounting, Human Resources and payments processing.
9. Among many other things it does for its regional operations network in the Asia-Pacific region here in Manila, CITIBANK also does its global ATM programming locally.
10. This is the first year ( 2003) ever that the Philippines will be exporting cars in quantity courtesy of FORD Philippines.
11. The government is shedding off graft and corruption slowly but surely. This is the first time in our history that a former president is in jail and facing charges of plunder. Next time you travel abroad and meet business associates tell them the good news. A big part ofour problem is perception and one of the biggest battles can be won simply by believing and by making others believe. This message is shared by good citizens of the Philippines who persevere to hope and work for our country.

Making your focus constantly on the negative is MORE than just depressing. I feel that negativity is largely responsible for slowing the economic growth of the Philippines AND giving us the false reputation of being the “Most Corrupt Nation In Asia”. HOW ? Annually there is a survey to determine the most corrupt Asian country. A relatively small group of businessmen tell the world what they think about corruption here in the Philippines. If all those businessmen have heard, all year long, is the "NEGATIVE"; then of course those businessmen are going to give a negative report. Foreign investors, fearing corruption, turn to other countries to build their factories hurting the Philippines. I am sorry, but instead of embracing the “most corrupt” label, President Arroyo should have challenged it. We put a sitting Philippine President in jail for corruption. Name another nation that has done that.

One Pinoy blogger stated that a "nation that looks to the past or the present is stagnant". I strongly disagree. Lessons from the past and the present are the keys to improving the future. Inspiration, from past and present, gives impetus and power for progress. Those who do not know or appreciate history are doomed to repeat it. We all need role models and heroes to inspire us to try; to believe in ourselves; to constructively engage the future.

NONE of the problems that face the Philippines are unique to the Philippines. EVERY nation has wrestled with them. Many are still fighting them NOW, just like we are. If all you look for is the "darkness" you miss the sun rise. Be an Everyday Hero “think and speak positive”; be constructive not destructive.