The Logic Of Greed

(Or, The Long Process Of Moral Evolution)


We Bikolanos can only hope for a miracle: That in view of 2010’s election, these trapos(traditional politicians) are also thinking genuinely about the welfare of the Bikolanos, and not only that of maintaining their staus quo. However,given this more or less the same configurations of trapos in Bicol region running for “Office” in 2010- and most probably the same story in all other regions of the Philippines- I see 2010 not really as a chance for a profound or deep change in the politics of our country but just to keep things the way they currently are. So we Bikolanos should rather expect more from ourselves with regards to our own personal political education and thinking for a deep, qualitative social change will happen only if each one of us arrives at this level of political maturity and wisdom, that missing factor that is at the root of all these socio-political chaos in our nation. I also do not believe in the battlecry for moral revolution now happening in Manila for it is again just an emotional campaign of some people whose motives and consciousness are corrupted themselves as in the case of Jose de Venecia, Jr., the former Speaker of the House of Representatives.We may recall that, during the height of his power, de Venecia was the epitome of the corrupt traditional politician.

 “We need a moral revolution today and make a fresh start, we badly need cleansing,” says de VeneziaI. But I suspect such loud cry for cleansing for behind it is again the abuse of the Christian doctrine of repentance and forgiveness. That after all my transgressions, all my cheating, my killings, denunciation, injustice done to the society, corruption and plundering the town or the nation,I can simply turn to my catholic belief and ask for spiritual cleansing. Thus a “moral revolution” that will “dramatically reduce political corruption in the country,” so the ousted Speaker de Venezia. He goes further,“When I say this, I mean I am not without sin,…I am 70, and I want to leave a good legacy for my country, for my children and for my grandchildren. We must now do something to lead our country from corruption, from despair and from poverty.” Yes, suddenly this urgency from a former Trapo King, now leading the crusade for moral revolution (a case of a trapo king becoming a political saint?) while sounding like confessing to a bishop for his own salvation. His salvation, but not for the nation.

 Corruption cannot be curbed this way if we want to be honest with ourselves. For as we have said before, corruption is just the tip of an iceberg. It takes more than just a ningas cogon to remove it, more than just a moral revolution and it needs a lot of time. Therefore, I think the the real thing is moral evolution, a natural social evolutionary process of replacing gradually our present moral make-up with something that has a future and sustainable for each one and for the whole nation to survive, where objectivity and rationalism, maturity and genuine political will has the upperhand and not the other way around,yes, this other way, where and how we are at the moment- a nation run like hell by emotions and by the logic of greed, hypocrisy and pseudo-morality – and corruption.

 Our current moral make-up has no future, and so our current political culture for it is badly flawed. Our elected public officials are the rebels themselves against the law of the land. Now, how can a sane man expect them to deliver basic services and social justice to the people when they become interested only in their own pockets and lowly desires the moment they are exposed to the power a government office brings with it? The Filipino politicians regress to primitivity and to his jungle past once given the chance to govern. This is a sad fact, an attest that there is something fundamentally primitive yet with our social perception.The Philippines is governed by thieves from Malacanang down to many municipalities- including Bulan. So don’t expect our nation and our town Bulan to progress as long as our system is rotten and as long as we have not evolved morally into politically-matured people.

 Paraphrasing Hegel, Karl Marx noted that each historical fact repeats itself twice–the original drama becoming a farce. But Marx proved himself wrong for history has shown us that history repeats itself much more frequently. Look at the facts: Before de Venezia, Marcos himself cried out for reforms and self-discipline (“Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”) But what happened? Estrada advocated the same.What happened? C. Aquino did the same. What happened? Ramos cried out for the same moral revolution? What happened? And the sitting Arroyo? Let’s listen to her speaker Ermita ,” the President has pushed for the creation of the transparency group that monitors public biddings; the conduct of automated counting and anti-dynasty bill as part of several political reforms, and the Executive branch has been strongly supporting the independent function of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights(CHR)” and that ” it has been the duty of every leader to pursue a program on moral revolution to provide a better future for the people.”

 Defending like a rotweiler dog his Honorable President, he continued , “It can come out in any other term, any other form, but definitely the stability of our country, the welfare of our people, and the moral stability of our country is paramount in the mind of every leader, every President, and that includes definitely President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” so the blinded Ermita. I just wonder how much he was paid for talking as idiotic as this. Statements like this one from Ermita is a proof that the age of Enlightenment has not yet arrived in our nation’s history. We still are in the Dark Ages like that time in Europe, when lies were a plenty so as political murders, corruption and religious persecutions for the church dictated politics at that time,- as it is today in the Philippines. But things have changed since then in Europe, though it slid back from time to time in its history to situations comparable to the Middle Age. This is simply the mechanics of social evolution.

Albert Einstein once said that “one cannot cure the ills of society from the very consciousness that created the ills in the first place.” Therefore, be catious, my fellow Filipinos, may fellow tagaBulans. De Venezia’s consciousness is corrupted itself and his motives is one of egoism, of revenge. And there is something suspicious with his method when he surrounds himself with bishops from different churches of the country. This is more of a religious crusade, reminds me somewhat of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages that burned the church heretics. (see my Response To Timothy). This is leading to nowhere for this movement is superficial,hypocritical, very emotional and childish and is doomed to last only short. This applies naturally a considerable pressure to Arroyo but in the long term- or at least for 2010’s election- this will not result in having morally upright people getting elected. We need to progress morally but we need a new ground to start with for as I see it, everything that we have now in our moral department has only led us to defeat and failure as a nation. Something must change fundamentally with our character if we really want to get out of the pit.This is possible to happen, though it will take hundreds of years if we follow the natural course of social evolution. Events to come will gradually transform us to new social beings with genuine sincerity, rationality, better moral instinct and politically mature individuals, a nation of people which has transcended its past and its old maladaptive personality.This moral revolution movement now and in the past is just a small, natural step to this moral evolution in its long process. So again, don’t overrate (or expect too much) this moral revolution happening now for it will not yield good fruits in the coming 2010 election. But in the long run, this is part of those natural procesess that are shaping our future as a nation. Deep within our collective soul, the process of natural self-correction is running incessantly, slowly but surely, in an effort to adapt and survive as a nation. It simply needs a lot of time. And history has shown us that societies evolve and tend to be better with time. In this sense, Taoism’s doctrine of ” do nothing and everything will be done” applies.

 Middle Age is also present in Bulan and is best exemplified by the present government of Bulan. For there is no trace of rationality, transparency but an apparent lack of political understanding and social responsibility. They, too, are rebels against the law of the land, against the constitution, against the Bill of Rights and is ruled not by democratic logic but by the logic of greed. How do you expect them also to deliver genuinely basic services to the people of Bulan? Like a decent hospital and better school buildings in the remote barangays, security and protection for the people, environmental protection. These things are not in their heads for the logic of greed follows that they think first on how they can run away with their spoils of war as they go on fooling the people of Bulan by a little feeding program here and some repaintings of old walls there.This is trickery and superficiality. It is therefore not upon an oath to serve the people and upon an oath to protect the law of the land that this municipal government is based but upon rebellion against the people and of the existings laws of the land.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer























Or, A Change Must Come From Within!

by: atty. benji

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Ours is a nation (or a town, province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty, passivity, cheating, graft and corruption, exploitative patronage, nepotism, factionalism, political instability, love for intrigue, lack of discipline, lack of patriotism, greed for power and the desire for instant gratification, etc. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis; the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. The times call for analysis of the social cancer.

And, we are both the doctor and patient. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

Many years back, then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP), has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature.” It is her view that at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. We don’t need an economic recovery program; we also urgently need a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program.

Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption, there is violence, hatred, hostility, greed for power, divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. We have to cleanse our national body, to rid it of its poisons and toxins, if the country is to survive. This times demand self-examination. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Let us translate this wise saying to the national level and examine our own character as a people to ensure that we are growing in the proper direction, with proper values and proper priorities.”

Why concentrate on the weakness of the people, it might be asked? and you might be asked too?

-Because, as in every sick person, we must analyze his disease or diseases. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character, of how Filipino children are brought up. If the children and youth age 12 to 16 years old are already encouraged by their parents to practice child prostitution to add to the family income, can we expect these children to be upright and law abiding citizens? If the child sees so much physical violence and brutality at home and in society, is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age, not only during the period of elections but on a daily basis?

Is the economic situation so desperate that thousands of our women refuse to learn other skills other than selling their bodies several times over every night? Why do we always disobey traffic rules and regulations? Why has cheating become a normal way of life in the Philippines particularly during the elections?

Several years ago, the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Today, the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. What has gone wrong? Can’t we put our own house in order? Why is there such a big demand for pornography and smut?

It is also important to realize the extent of this sickness and to be aware that in order to eliminate graft and corruption, society as a whole must change and we must change too. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well.

Do we have the political will to change ourselves, undergo a major surgery, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty, self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation, and in our town, too. Can our educators realize that it is not enough to change the child and the homes but also the whole of society?

“Let us minimize our weakness and strengthen our virtues, of which we have many. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”, said President Fidel V. Ramos in his Proclamation No. 62 .

After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. 10 adopted on September 18, 1987, which directed Senate Committee on Education, Arts & Culture, & the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Development to conduct joint inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character with a view to solve the social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fiber.

-Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. 62, issued by then, President FVR on 1992 declaring a Moral Recovery Program of the government & calling for the active participation of all sectors of the society in the MRP.

After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino, ganun parin tayo!

Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN, maka-TAO, maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS, ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan, dayaan sa eleksyon, gahaman sa poder, palakasan o padrino system, laganap ang prostitution, talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas, kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda, tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko, walang disiplina sa sarili, kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome, crab mentality at iba pa.

In short, bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino.

Thus, there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation, as advocated by Senator Shahani.

There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community, and government, (or in the municipal government of bulan). Mabuhay ang maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino.

It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town, or province). For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values.

Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos, “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”.

Tayo ba ay may disiplina sa sarili? tayo ba ay masunurrin sa ating batas? tayo ba ay masunurin sa ating mga magulang? at may pagpapahalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa bayan?


Or, Belated Happy Mother’s Day.

by : attybenji

Honor thy Father and thy Mother – is the best and everlasting presents that child can give to the his/her parents, specially the mother (free of charge), when we all celebrated the MOTHER’s DAY a week ago – though the message is a little bit late, but it does’nt matter, as the saying goes “better late than never”.

This fifth commandment (in the Old Testament) is a command rather than a request. No “ifs” no “buts”. That regardless of their character, (whether they’re wicked, irresponsible, etc.) children are bound to honor and respect their parents. No condition! That’s an order…

Hereunder are the lyrics of “Nanay ko Tatay Ko”, a popular bicol song has a sentimental message to the “ANAK” – to shower her “TATAY y NANAY” with love, care and respect without condition, because of his “Dakulang Utang na Boot sa Magurang”.

“Si Nanay si Tatay”

Si Nanay si Tatay di co babayaan.
Balaquid na boot an sacuyang utang
Si pagdara saco nin siyam na bulan
Gatas cong dinodo di co mabayadan.

Ay Nanay ay Tatay con ako humale,
Hihidawon mo man sa gabos mong aki
Macacoa ca man nin macacasangli
Dai macaarog kan sacong ugali

Ay Nanay ay Tatay kun ako maraot
Pogotan nin payo ibontog sa lawod
Con mahiling nindo na naganod-anod
Ay Nanay ay Tatay sapuda man tolos.

But today, the realities of life differ from the actual message of the above song under the following incidents, please consider the day to day headlines news as published in the newspaper tabloid, FRONTPAGE headlines: such as, Ama pinatay ng sariling Anak: Drug Adik na Anak, kumitil ng sariling Ama: Anak minasaker ang kanyang Nanay at Tatay: Anak na pasaway, binaril ang sariling Nanay: Anak naghuramentado, pinagpapatay ang sariling pamilya: Anak na ayaw padisiplina, tinaga ang sariling Ama; etc…

The reason is simple – kawalan ng disiplina sa sarili at paggalang sa magulang, at sa batas.

What many seemingly have never learned or forgotten is that duty to parents does not end with childhood days at home and under parental supervision.

A very famous song entitled “ANAK” popularized by Freddie Aguilar has another message – is about the child who disobeyed his parents despite love and care given by his parents, but in the end, “Ang Anak ay Nagbago at Nagsisi”.

by: freddie aguilar

Nang isilang ka sa mundong ito,
Laking tuwa ng magulang mo.
At ang kamay nila
Ang iyong ilaw.

At ang nanay at tatay mo,
‘di malaman ang gagawin.
Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo.
Sa gabi napupuyat ang iyong nanay
Sa pagtimpla ng gatas mo.

At sa umaga nama’y kalong
Ka ng iyong amang tuwang-tuwa sa iyo.
Ngayon nga’y malaki ka na,
Nais mo’y maging malaya.
‘di man sila payag,
Walang magagawa.

Ikaw nga’y biglang nagbago,
Naging matigas ang iyong ulo.
At ang payo nila’y,
Sinuway mo.

Hindi mo man lang inisip
Na ang kanilang ginagawa’y para sa iyo.
Pagka’t ang nais mo masunod ang layaw mo,
‘di mo sila pinapansin.

Nagdaan pa ang mga araw
At ang landas mo’y naligaw
Ikaw ay nalulon
Sa masamang bisyo.

At ang una mong nilapitan
Ang iyong inang lumuluha.
At ang tanong,
“anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan?”
At ang iyong mga mata’y biglang lumuha
Ng ‘di mo napapansin
Pagsisisi ang sa isip mo,
Nalaman mong ika’y nagkamali.

What is the true way to honor parents? To live a godly and decent life before all men! The greatest honor a child can bestow upon his parents is to live a consecrated and faithful Christian life.

True honor begins with genuine love for parents. It is manifested even in “little things,” like keeping in contact with them, showing interest in their lives, as well as doing those things for them that need to be done. Letters, calls, gifts, remembrances, words, visits, honor of their views and respect for their advice are such things that parents may lawfully claim and expect from their children.

Charity is not the only thing that begins at home, but also thoughtfulness, truthfulness, honesty, uprightness, good citizenship and respect for authority all begin in the home. Lawlessness often begins in the home because there one can learn to disrespect authority as well as learn to respect it. If the world is ever going to be a better place there first must be better homes.

The welfare of society rests in the family and the reconstruction of family virtues and values, parental authority and responsibility, and the obedience of children to their parents.

The fifth commandment, learned, believed and obeyed is one of the surest safeguards, and is a near guarantee for correct and righteous human behavior. It gives the blueprint for the reign of law and order. It makes possible a life of peace, security and happiness. It will provide, especially for the young, a solid foundation upon which life can be built and lived as God would have it. When children obey their parents they learn to obey those in charge of schools, government officials, employers, and all others with whom they will have to deal in life. While children obey parents they are doing more than learning the right ways and obeying parents.

Christ set the example for honoring parents. His first miracle was undertaken at the request of His mother. As He died on the cross He remarked, “Woman behold thy son,” and to another (probably John) He said, “Behold thy mother.” In this fashion, even as His life was going from Him, He showed care and concern for His mother and instigated the means for her continued provisions in this life.

The obligation children have to parents is not a one-way street. Parents have obligations to their children. There is no law of God that says children must obey their parents in doing that which is wicked. Many parents are not respected because they are not respectable. To be honored one must strive to be honorable. Parents must in some measure earn and deserve respect as well as demand it. Parents earn it and children learn it. It is futile to expect children to respect parental authority when the same parents do not have respect for divine authority.

Belated HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers out there! Kayo po ang ILAW NG TAHANAN. Mabuhay!



“I have persevered against difficulties,
I rose up against defeats &,
I conquered the failures of the past”.


by atty. benji

A billboard in one of the sweepstakes ticket outlets in Quiapo, reads “A quitter never wins; a winner never quits”. Of course, if you quit or stop dreaming you will never win in any contest, challenge or any kind of endeavor that you wanted to carry out. If you fail, never, never, never, give up! Failing is a vital component of growing up process. It’s a baptism of fire!

If you encountered fiascos and failures in your board exams in the past, this is a must read article for you! – Be inspired and enlightened!

If you encountered setbacks in your political career or business in the past, this is a must read for you, too.

If your experienced frustrations and desperations in your chosen profession or vocation, this is a must read for you, also.

And, if you encountered denials and rejections in courting a woman of your choice, never give up, this article is probably a must read for you. I hope so, he-he-he. -Be inspired! Believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to share this article to all of you, who, or to whomsoever, (as an inspiration, motivation or a challenge) had experienced the pain and nightmare of failing in their chosen career, business & profession several times already (e.g. exams, sports or politics, etc). Failure is an inevitable circumstance! That’s  life!

I did experience several tumultuous failures and frustrations in my chosen career. I did encounter my first major debacle in my chosen profession in 1996 onwards when I flanked the bar exams. But, failure/s did not stop me from pursuing my dream until I claimed victory over it, and conquered the disaster of the past!

Despite depression, I did not surrender; despite desperation, I did not quit; despite anxiety, I did not give up my dreams, my mentor called it, “Spirit”.

The “pyerdido” (loser) of yesterday will be the “ganador” (victor) of tomorrow, I believe so, after all, our past does not define our future!

With this, I was reminded by a comment of a certain “Lazarus” in the sorsogonnews blog against the Guyalas branding them as “pyerdido na politico”. The comment of Lazarus, regardless of his motive or intention, (whether to insult them or otherwise) is uncalled for. For nobody knows, and who knows in the near future, the Guyala will become the next Mayor of Bulan, or Congressman of the 2nd District, or Governor of Sorsogon, or even Senator of the Republic someday. Time will come that a loser will emerge as the victor, and time will come that Guyalas’ debacle will be translated into victory someday. (Sabi nga sa Biblia, an mga nauuna ay mahuhuli at ang mga nahuhuli ay mauuna) –And, time will come, I’m sure, na an kadaghanan san mga botantes sa Bulan magsasawa man sa mga de Castro sa maabot na panahon! And that time is yet to come. Though, the Guyalas, particularly (atty. rene) had lost several times in his political bid many years back but time will come he will emerge as victorious man on earth.

The case of the late Senator Rene “Compañero” Cayetano is a classic example of success after so many setbacks in politics. He lost several times in his bid to challenge then incumbent Congressman Dante Tinga of Taguig-Pateros District (laging talunan nuon si cayetano, hindi man lang nakatikim ng panalo) but when the opportunity comes right during the Ramos Presidency, he instead ran for Senator and topped the senatorial elections. You see! For man’s past does not define his future.

Likewise, the compelling story of Abraham Lincoln is one of the best examples of success after so many defeats in politics.

Lincoln had a very strong desire to make a difference, so he entered politics. In August, 1832, he finished eighth out of 13 in a race for the Illinois House of Representatives.

In 1834, while practicing law in a firm he had established with several partners, Lincoln ran for and won a seat in the Illinois Legislature. He served a four-year term, and he soon developed a reputation as a capable and honest politician.

Unfortunately, over the next decade he experienced numerous business and political setbacks. But unlike most people, Lincoln did not let any of these challenges — including a business and personal bankruptcy — discourage him from going after his dreams.

In 1836, Lincoln won an election to Congress. It was during this time that he took an unpopular stand against President James K. Polk regarding the Mexican War. Abraham thought the war was unjust.

After his term ended in 1849, Lincoln took the next five years off from politics and focused on his law practice. Again, he encountered more business setbacks. But again, he persisted, and did not let “so-called” failures discourage him.

In 1854, he returned to the political arena. One of the first things he did was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to extend slavery to other states.

In 1855, he ran for the Senate but was defeated. The next year he went after the Vice Presidency position, and was also defeated.

With so many failures, a lot of people, in Lincoln’s position, probably would have given up. But because he was determined and committed to make his political dreams come true, he would get up each time he was knocked down. He knew the only way to gain ground, to move forward, to march on, and to turn his goals into reality, was to learn from his setbacks and failures.

Finally, in 1860, Lincoln’s years of persistence and hard work paid off when he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln represents the finest example of persistence. Although he faced countless defeats throughout his life — many that must have seemed insurmountable — he never gave up on his dreams.

LINCOLN LOST EIGHT ( 8) ELECTIONS, failed in business many times, and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times, but he didn’t. Instead, after each defeat he would pick himself up and press forward until he achieved his aspirations.

Malaysian international speaker, Billi Lim, in his Dare to Fail magazines’ series said that from school days we are indoctrinated to adore success. Success and failures are like heaven and hell.

Heaven forbids that you should fail. Many believe when we fail, we are condemned. Failure is not an irreversible chemical reaction. Numerous success stories have their origins in failures. Sowing the seeds of failure brings the fruits of success. A lot of successful people were once called failures.

Failure is not a black hole that we fall into and get stuck there permanently. It is only temporary. Failure is success delayed. We have merely postponed our success. David Ireland authors the book aptly entitled “Failure is Written in Pencil”. Failure is erasable. It is not cast in stone. Erase failure now and begin a new life on a brand new page!

Failing must be courageous!
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever hope to achieve greatly” says Robert F. Kennedy

During World War II, Japanese Kamikaze pilots sang patriotic songs before they flew their fighter planes in suicide mission. They pledged to their beloved country that they will strike deep into enemy’s territories and would perish in their dangerous missions. Because of their courage to die for their country, kamikaze pilots often returned alive.

Failing is a privilege!
Failure is not an option. We don’t chose to fail neither we opted to become a loser. It is an honor to fail. Failure is the baptism of fire. Failure is a wake up call. From failing, we evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. We scout for opportunities and prepare for threats.

Failure is not final!
“Success is never ending; Failure is never final” says Robert Schuller. Failing does not issue death sentence. It is not the end all. There is always another opportunity to try again. Likewise, success is not a final destination. It is a journey that we strive continuously. Failure shall not drown us. Instead, it is the bridge that connects us over troubled waters to success. “He is no failure. He’s not dead yet” say W.L. George

We must not be ashamed of failures!
It is a daily test of our courage and ingenuinity. Failing is not a taboo. Failure occurs mainly in isolated cases and is often beyond our control.

We must distinguish failures from the acts of failing. If we cast ourselves as failures, it leaves behind a psychological scar. Don’t take failure as an act of not attaining certain bench marks, we can still walk upright with pride. “We do not fail ourselves; it is primarily the work we do that fails”.

We must permit ourselves to fail!
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel”, says Eloise Ristad

We must not fear failure. The minute we stop trying is the minute that heralds failure.

We must not stigmatize Failures!
“He that lies on the ground cannot fail” according to Yiddish Proverb.

The Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) practice a traditional ritual for gang members who failed in their missions or assignments. They chop off their fingers to atone for their failures. Failing is not a stigma. We must not punish ourselves for failures like Yakuza members whose cut fingers are permanent reminders of their failed missions. Failing is honorable. It is not a misdemeanor. Just remember every genius was once a failure. Ask any genius!

“Even the best of men get knocked down many times in a lifetime. Occasional knock downs are not anything to be afraid of. In fact, they make the game of life interesting; they are the hazard and bunkers and sand traps that force us to keep our mind on the game and play our best”, says Clinton Bernard.

Failure is a prelude to success!
We treat failure as the wrong answer and success as the right answer. Failure is not actually the opposite of success. Failure is actually the step preceding success. If we make a decision, it will inevitably result in two results – failure or success. If the result is failure, acknowledge it is a learning process before success beckons. Failure is necessary part of success. In the book entitled “Think & Grow Rich”, I forgot the name of the Author, it says that “failure is a fertilizer of success”. That’s correct!

In fact, many people on the failure track are so close to success when they call it quits. Only if they persevere a little longer, success will be attained. Success is like the bride waiting at the end of the aisle. Thomas Edison hit the nail on the head when he said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

Failure is an asset!
“Every adversity, every failure, every headache, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”, says Napoleon Bonaparte

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart”, says Robert Ingersoll.

“Our greatest glory is not never falling but rising every time we fall”, says Oliver Goldsmith.

Never, never, never give up!
“There is no failure except in no longer trying”, says Elbert Hubbard. The annals of history were laced by great people who failed. Sir Winston Churchill once admonished, “Never, Never, Never give in, in whatever you do”.

Do not judge people who try and fail but those who fail to try. Tom Hopkins, Americas Top sale trainer, advocates, “I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying”.

The genius, Sir Albert Einstein failed many times! He disliked schools because of strict regimentations and structure. At 15, he dropped out of school, He taught himself calculus. Einstein’s poor memory especially for words led to his dismal performance in Greek. His teacher belittled Einstein, “No Matter what you do, you will never amount to anything”. Another teacher ridiculed him, “Your mere presence spoils the respect of the class for me”. His father once sought his head master’s advice on what profession Einstein should pursue. The head master admonished, “It doesn’t matter, he will never make a success of anything. Albert Einstein was named by the Time Magazine as the Person of the Century. Einstein famous theory of relativity led the foundation for the atomic bombs that were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It forced the Japanese to surrender and brought WWII on an abrupt halt.

Another genius, Sir Thomas Edison has failed several times too!
At a press conference, a young journalist asked Sir Thomas Edison how many times he failed before he invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison politely replied, “I was actually successful in knowing 1800 ways of how not to make a light bulb. In his wisdom Edison further enlighten him, “In every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.

If you fail once, twice, thrice and more already in your chosen career, don’t be discourage, and don’t lose hope for there is always sunshine after darkness, as there is always a rainbow after thunderstorm. That’s for sure!

Believe that there are no failures. We merely postpone our success. There are no failures in life, only delays.

But I’m sure you can remember Robert F. Kennedy, the man who failed to be President. You can remember Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela waited 27 years to be President. And President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea; he has been beaten, kidnapped, imprisoned, sentenced to death but he not only became President, he has also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2000.

Many of us don’t understand why sometimes we have to lose. In fact sometimes to win we have to yield just like the grass yielding to the great wind. Those who can’t yield sometimes got uprooted by the great typhoon.

Kusog lawas, labanan an mga Kabiguan sa buhay! Mabuhay kita gabos!

God bless us all. Keep fighting, never give up!


(You can be Billionaire even if you are School Drop outs)
By atty. benji

A bachelor degree is just a piece of paper. (e.g. PHD stands for Permanent Head Damage, just kidding) It is not the degree that makes the man. It is man who makes himself.

“You can be a millionaire or billionaire even if you are school dropouts”, says Billi Lim

Below is a very interesting and compelling part of the speech delivered by Lawrence “Larry” Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. and the 2nd richest man in the world, at the Yale University last month.

“Graduates of Yale University, I apologize if you have endured this type of prologue before, but I want you to do something for me. Please, take a good look around you. Look at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate on your right.

Now, consider this: Five years from now, 10 years from now, even 30 years from now, odds are the person on your left is going to be a loser. The person on your right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And you, in the middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loser hood. Loser Cum Laude.

In fact, as I look out before me today, I don’t see a thousand hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don’t see a thousand future leaders in a thousand industries. I see a thousand losers. You’re upset. That’s understandable.

After all, how can I, Lawrence “Larry’ Ellison, college dropout, have the audacity to spout such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions? I’ll tell you why.

Because I, Lawrence ‘Larry’ Ellison, second richest man on the planet, am a college dropout, and you are not.

Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet .. for now, anyway – is a college dropout, and you did not.

Because Paul Allen, the third richest man on the planet, dropped out of college, and you did not.
And for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the list and moving up fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet again are not.

…. Finally, I realize that many of you, and hopefully by now most of you, are wondering, “Is there anything I can do? Actually, no; it’s too late. You’ve absorbed too much, think you know too much. You have a built-in cap, and I’m not referring to the mortar boards on your heads.

…. I want to give hope to any underclassman here today. I say to you, and I can’t stress this enough: Leave. Pack your things and your ideas and don’t come back. Drop out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me down…”

– End of speech –

CNH (Central Nautical Highway) – An Opportunity (And A Challenge…)


by rudy bellen


Attached is an excerpt from a news article of Manila Bulletin last April 29, 2008 during the launching of the Central Nautical Highway by no less than Pres. Gloria Arroyo seeing off roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) three day sea caravan plying the maiden route taking off from Bulan port. This is the last leg that completes a sea route connecting Bicol and Mindanao, the final component of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) via the central seaboard. The other two are : 1.) Western Nautical Highway (western seaboard) via Batangas port linking Manila and Dipolog, and  2.) Eastern Nautical Highway (eastern seaboard) via Matnog connecting Samar/Leyte to Surigao City. The CNH is an intermodal transport system offering a safe, affordable transport alternative to travel across the central Philippines or the Visayas. It links Sorsogon, Masbate, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, it also seeks to reduce travel and trade costs and consequently boost economic development in the countryside.


–> see Manila Bulletin Online for the original of the following report:

 by Genalyn D. Kabiling

“Filipinos can now enjoy a safe, affordable transport alternative to travel across the central Philippines or the Visayas. President Arroyo yesterday launched the Central Nautical Highway (CNH) that seeks to reduce travel and trade costs and consequently boost economic development in the countryside.


The Central Nautical Highway is an intermodal transport system linking Sorsogon, Masbate, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental. It completes the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) composed of 17 ports across the country, inaugurated by the President in 2003.

Accompanied by Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza, transport officials, and local executives, Mrs. Arroyo kicked off a three-day sea caravan in Bulan, Sorsogon, where she switched on the lights showing the ports in the central seaboard.

Under the Central Nautical Highway, the ports are located in Bulan, Sorsogon, Masbate City, and Cawayan in Masbate; Bogo and Cebu City in Cebu, Tubigon and Jagna in Bohol, Mambajao and Benoni in Camiguin, and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.

The President later sent off the RORO (roll on, roll off) caravan, boarded by passengers mostly members of the media, in Bulan.  From Sorsogon, Mrs. Arroyo boarded a helicopter and travelled to the two ports of Masbate for similar send-off ceremonies.

The President first inaugurated the port of Masbate City, the first national port in the island province. The port exclusively handles containerized cargo among the Bicol terminals, aside from bulk commodities. Its fastcraft operations connect Bicol main with the port of Pilar, Sorsogon.



So what does it means for us? For me, I can see a great opportunity and benefits that Bulan would gain as the main gateway to one of the most dynamic regions in the Visayas and northern Mindanao. This nautical highway has put Bulan as the most strategic location linking directly to the tourist famous destinations of Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin. It also links us directly to Misamis Oriental in northern Mindanao – site of the biggest Hanjin Heavy Industries’ (HHI) investments (a staggering US$2B), together with the other HHI facility at Subic, these investments when completed would propel the Philippines as the 3rd biggest

shipbuilder in the world just behind South Korea and Japan even surpassing Spain.

 Just imagine, if the enterprising Cebuanos – comparable to Japanese, with no mango plantations yet they are best known for their dried mangoes, guitars, and other famous Cebuano products, would be directly passing Bulan, they might as well discover our native products and services which they can probably help us market through out the world. Or, help us develop our beautiful natural sites not only in Bulan but at the other places in Bicol as well, by putting up and developing tourism oriented facilities. Germans in Bohol are only confined today in their sanctuary in Panglao and other Bohol beaches but once they started to discover the beauty of Bicol they might change their mind. I was once surprised to find in the internet spectacular photos of the Butag bay and sunset at Sabang beach taken by no less than German adventurers!

  This direct “contact” is not feasible before as there’s no alternative land/Ro-Ro transport to offer, Cebuanos, Boholanos and other Visayans prefer to fly or take ferries direct from Manila to their final destinations thereby bypassing Bicol. But now they have the choice and option increasing the chances of more regional trades and tourism activities subsequently capital movements that would boost economic developments. This will also open up intra regional migrations, both for Bulan and the greater Bicol area vis a vis Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

  Let us not forget foreign tourists as well, with the big Hanjin investment at PHIVIDEC, Misamis Oriental, expect a throng of Koreans and other nationalities excitingly discovering this part of the country – and what does it means for us? Well, this is another opportunity to take advantage of, for us to globalize our products and services catering to international customers and so on. There is a never ending prospect for us!

 This is exactly what I told Letty in my response to her Kabatas’ blog on her gripes about the status of Bulan today, that there are now lots of strangers and “invaders”. I informed her that this is the strength of our town – a local melting pot, naturally and strategically situated at the crossroads of an important, very dynamic region, they know there is an opportunity. That this is a challenge for the local leadership to hasten, tap and reap the benefits of the blended talents of the local and “migrants” and transform our town to be one of the most vibrant, prosperous and flourishing trading post in our region.

 What should be done? There are lots of things to do if we don’t want to miss this once a in a lifetime opportunity. First we must get our acts together. We need to apply the three C’s of progress – Collaborate, Complement and Cooperate.

· Collaborate – Team up, this call for the public and private sector to work together in partnership. Be proactive. Put first things first and begin with the end mind – no place for lapses, blunder and oversight.

· Complement – Harmonize and supplement, make up for the weakness of the other. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Instead of opposing and rivalry that would create hostile environment, identify strength and niche products or services specific to a place that would give rise to specialization and originality.

· Cooperate – Assist, pool resources, do your part, synergize.

 Another C to watch out is competition, be prepared and organize ourselves for a tough and challenging competition from other contenders. Though Bulan is the official designated CNH Ro-Ro port, Pilar town is aggressively gearing up themselves as an alternative route of the CNH, its fastcraft operations connect Bicol main with the ports of Masbate city or Aroroy town. While they have fastcrafts Bulan has nothing to speak of.

 Second, we must educate our people and make liquid clear the importance of being a tourist or stranger friendly citizens. This negative trait of some of our folks has been with us ever since. I remember one time on one of my occasional break when I went home together with my wife and daughter; we took a bus and upon arrival at the Bulan bus terminal the usual boorish “baggage” boys were banging each other to get first and grabbed our luggage. My wife and daughter were so shocked and afraid so I have to step up and threatened them; coincidentally I was sporting a short cut hair then, they thought I was a military man and they backed off. But the experience doesn’t stop there, after several days of our stay; there was news of a man from Masbate who ran amock at the market. The poor man was “pushed to the wall” by successive depressing events that happened to him – he is traveling back home because his wife passed away, he and his daughters did not catch the last trip to the island and was forced to sleep and wait for the next day trip at the bus terminal, when they woke up, their belongings were nowhere to be found. He reported the incident to the police but instead of helping him, he was passed around and worst of all his young daughters were harassed and molested by the ill mannered “baggage” boys. So there he goes, he went wild and stab every person in his way.

If you have spent some vacation trip at Bohol, there you’ll discover the true meaning of tourist friendly phrase. Hotel staff would politely refuse any form of tips; folks are so friendly and always ready to assist any stranger in their community.

 What do we have to offer? I think we have ample natural and human resources readily available for development and advancement. Butandings (whale sharks) is not exclusive to Donsol alone; we have plenty of it in our waters too. These gentle giants are not confined at Sorsogon bay for their food requirement, in fact they are grazing outside of the bay and most are in Ticao Pass because their food (planktons and small shrimps) are carried upstream by the converging Pacific Ocean and China sea in San Bernardino Strait. Many of our fishermen can attest to this phenomenon. We also have the giant Pasa-pasa (Manta Rays) and plenty of it is right in our waters.

 We have beautiful and unique (margaja sand) beaches from Danao all the way to Marinab, there are exciting diving sites, too, especially in the Butag bay. Possibly under our waters were old age shipwrecks – from Spanish to WWII eras which are a main draw for the diving enthusiasts. Maybe we can convince tours and travel agencies to put Bulan (and Sorsogon province) in their radar maps for their tourist promos as an alternative to other known and crowded beaches of the country.

 We have an airstrip that should have been fully maximized instead of being a grazing place for the carabaos (some portions were already converted to rice paddies). This is one asset that other towns doesn’t have aside from Bacon, and should be an enticing factor for those who don’t want to travel overland from Manila all the way down to Bulan. Small aircrafts and STOL (short take off/landing) crafts can easily be accommodated by this facility. I can still remember when Air Force can even land their cargo planes on it. Maybe some enterprising entrepreneurs can start a chartering business for this purpose.

 Other things to remember. We should also learn from the experience of other towns, like Matnog – it is one of the first municipalities to have the Ro-Ro facility and has been there for some time now, but no significant progress has been achieved by the town. Why? We should gain knowledge and be taught from their failures, acquire and leverage from the know how and technology of the progressive ones.

 As a logistics person, I recognize and see a need for support facilities for the Ro-Ro port to operate efficiently. I think the controversial Bulan Central Terminal (BCT) has its function and purpose after all. But from my point of view, I cannot see the relevance – in any way I look at it, how it would best support the Ro-Ro port from its current site. It is too far! The ideal site should be right beside the port so the arriving and departing passengers would not be inconveniently shuttling or going back and forth. This will irritate the exhausted travelers, besides being time consuming additional expenses would be incurred by the passengers just to catch up with connecting rides. It can be also a temporary holding area for the cars and buses that are waiting for their turn to board Ro-Ro ships, eliminating long queues and crowding of vehicle thereby resulting to a smooth and efficient port operation.

 Lastly, I see a need to relocate the port in five years time or less with an assumption that there would be an unprecedented growth in the number of travelers. The port should be relocated outside of the town proper with enough provisions and support facilities to encourage and promote continued usage. The current road leading to the facility is too narrow and not adequate enough to sustain the volume of vehicles that would be traveling to and from the docks. This would create congestions and gridlock

I know this is only a fraction of a long list of what to do and what do we have and may have forgotten other things that should be done to make our town an organized, equipped and a prepared community for the forthcoming progress. You may add other relevant infos and suggestions that would be of help.

I firmly believe that our town has a bright future and it is starting to manifest now.


Bless us all.





















On The 18th World Press Freedom Day- May 3,2008

( or Observe Bulan And Win! )

A free press can of course be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom it will never be anything but bad. . . . Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better, whereas enslavement is a certainty of the worse.” Albert Camus

 “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

 Yesterday, the world celebrated the 18th World Press Freedom Day. As expected, the Internet and news media were filled with reports of all kinds pertaining to freedom of the press.  

It is true that we Filipinos are freedom-loving people for we had in the past expelled out of the country all those foreign invaders. Coming out from those hundreds of years of forced silence, it is no wonder why  the freedom of expression and of the press has been given importance right on day one as a free republic as can found in the 1897 Constitution of Biak-na-Bato in ARTICLE XXII:RELIGIOUS LIBERTY  which states, “Religious liberty, the right of association, the freedom of education , the freedom of the press , as well as freedom in the exercise of all classes of professions, arts, trades and industries are established.”

Today, 111 years after 1897, the Philippines is famous for intimidating or killing investigative journalists, a clear transgression of the law of the land. Protection for journalists at work is also poor. In fact, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)  Impunity Index lists  the Philippines one among the worst countries ( together with Somalia, Russia, etc.) in the world at prosecuting journalists’ killers.This is a clear-cut evidence that corruption is embedded strongly in our politics, in the heads of many of our politicians and that all claims of democracy is but a sham. For the logic of our powerful oligarchs is greed and they control the machinery to sanction truth-oriented journalism.

Still, no matter how the powerful few play around with our constitution, we will continue to hold on to it for it is the truth that we have agreed upon as a nation to guide us as we blaze the trail of civilization.

Here’s what our 1987 Constitution says about communication and press  under Bill Of Rights:

 Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.

 Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

Section 7. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

Here’s are two  examples of using power to disregard Section 7 of the Bill Of Rights:

In the Manila, here is a case in point:

“We are deeply concerned that the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo, is not using this libel suit to seek legitimate redress. Rather he is redefining libel, a clear affront to the Philippine press. As we know, the test of libel is the presence of malice. But Mr. Arroyo disregards this basic tenet and recklessly uses libel to intimidate and silence the press. The message we’re getting is this: anything that hints of criticism of the First Gentleman or is considered unfavorable coverage of his activities is “libelous.” In effect, he hinders the public’s right to information on matters of public concern.” Pinoy Press

In Bulan, the incumbent mayor caused a scandal that went around the world for refusing to show  to the mandamus petitioners the documents pertaining to her and her husband’s controversial Central Bus Terminal Project. Visit the Sorsogonnews “Kabatas” blogsite ( see Blogroll ) and search for Luisito Panelo’s entry entitled “The Truth About The P80 Million Bulan Bus Terminal Mandamus”.

If you have been reading carefully, you would have noticed that Section 4 is a very defined written law- for it does not express any exception or limitation as opposed to Sections 3 and 7. But all together, these three Sections form a formidable unit of protection and legal basis for every citizen’s right to inform and be informed- verbally or in written form.

Here’s a good news for all Bicol, Bulan Journalists !

According to the Center For Media Freedom And Responsibilty, “the 2008 Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism (JVOAEJ) will focus on corruption/governance, human rights and environmental issues, for reason that ” The country has been rocked by one corruption scandal after another, even as the human rights situation and environmental degradation have worsened.” For Bulan-related articles, go to Sorsogonnews “Kabatas” blogsite and search for the entry ” Bulan’s “Blood” Sand”.

The winning articles can be either investigative or explanatory reports, and will receive the usual cash prize of P70,000 each. Other meritorious investigative/explanatory articles will also be recognized and accordingly awarded.

The awardees will be presented in a ceremony preceded by the JVOAEJ journalism seminar, which this year will be on June 26.”

So, go with your pens, photo/video cameras, observe Bulan write and win!

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


Your Welfare is my Concern

“The Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer is a public opinion survey that has been administered around the world each year since 2003. The Barometer explores how corruption affects the daily lives of ordinary citizens, asking about the general public’s attitudes toward corruption, the extent to which they believe corruption pervades public institutions, their experience with petty bribery and their sense of how the fight against corruption will fare in the future”

 “Key findings in the Global Corruption Barometer 2007 are:
The poor, whether in developing or highly industrialised countries, are the most penalised by corruption. They are also more pessimistic about the prospects for less corruption in the future.

About 1 in 10 people around the world had to pay a bribe in the past year; reported bribery has increased in some regions, such as Asia-Pacific and South East Europe

Bribery is particularly widespread in interactions with the police, the judiciary and registry and permit services.

The general public believe political parties, parliament, the police and the judicial/legal system are the most corrupt institutions in their societies.

Half of those interviewed – and significantly more than four years ago – expect corruption in their country to increase in the next three years, with some African countries the exception.

Half of those interviewed also think that their government’s efforts to fight corruption are ineffective. ” Global Corruption Barometer

 We all know that the topic of corruption is not a new subject for us TagaBulans, for us Filipinos. But if you want a thorough read about this subject, then visit the website of Transparency International (see Blogroll).

Study results and strategies suggested by TI (Tranparency International) represent only one thing. Corruption is an attitude, a mode of social behavior and interaction. That means that without the individuals’  “willingness” to leave this attitude behind, all those studies and strategies are of no use.

 The fact that we have a problem of corruption, I think, is a proof that our dream of democracy will remain a dream. For the first step in building a democracy is the reversal of corruption, which means, switching to “your- welfare- is- my- concern”- attitude. Only upon this attitude can you start building democracy, the attitude that’s in the minds of advanced democratic nations.

On the other side, a reversal of this attitude to “my- welfare -is my -only -concern” is the downfall of democracy also, a trend noticeable in the politics of highly-capitalized  democratic countries of today where people think only of nothinh else but profit after profit. Here, the zenith is almost reached and so the machiavellian’s wheel of history rolling down again.


jun asuncion

Bulan Observer