We’ll Remember You Always, Manay Edna!(1950-2009)


Yesterday, the 22nd of April 2009, Wednesday morning, our eldest and beloved sister Edna Asuncion Penos passed away totally unexpected.

We greatly mourn the loss of a loving and caring sister who dedicated her entire life to her family and to teaching our young Tagabulans. These children above were once her pupils in Bulan North Central School. She herself was the most loyal Tagabulan among us for she never left Bulan except during her college years in Legazpi city. She passed away a few days after her arrival in Cubao, Quezon City on her regular visit to her own family- husband Danny Penos and two grown up sons Bonbon and Jay who are all working in Manila.

I cannot describe in words the importance of Manay Edna in my own life and how this sudden not-being-with us-anymore pains us  all. Again, I rebel inwardly, will not accept that death is such a harsh reality. We would have loved that she stayed with us for many years more…


Manay Edna will be brought back to our town Bulan for her final rest. Bulan, you are just too near for us…

We’ll remember you always, Manay Edna!

jun,  with menchu, jerry, malou, dennis, judy- and families, and mama with our youngest brother roy.


The melody that reminds me  always of Manay Edna:



Bulan, Sorsogon, April 23, 2009.

A big new development in the maritime transportation between Bulan Town and the mainland of Masbate Province was announced today by Sta. Clara Shipping Lines, thru its General Manager Antonio Sugahid, that it will start operations of their roll on roll off ferry on May 1.

In a courtesy audience with Mayor Helen De Castro, Municipal Administrator Luis G. De Castro and PIO Antonio G. Gilana, Mr. Sugahid said that that one ferry boat will ply the Masbate-Bulan route. It will have a two-hundred passenger capacity and can accommodate about nine buses. Departure time from Bulan Pier will be at 8:00 in the morning, arrival at Masbate port around 11:30 AM. Then it will depart Masbate at around 1:30 and arrive in Bulan by 5:30 in the afternoon.

Mayor De Castro welcomed this development as will be another added investment in the municipality and can help boost the economic sector especially among those living in the Port Area of Bulan. She added that Bulan is an investor-friendly municipality, and thanked the shipping line executive for the trust given the municipal government.

It can be remembered that on April 28, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo launched part of the Philippine Central Nautical Highway here in Bulan. This forms part of her economic agenda of linking the whole country through the nautical highways.

Historically, passengers from Masbate Island used to make Bulan as a connecting point for their travel to Manila and other Bicol Cities, but with the opening of the Pilar Port in Pilar Town, Sorsogon, many of the passengers were diverted to that area. Only those coming from the Dimasalang, Masbate area came to Bulan for their trips to Manila. But the M/V Kathleen sea tragedy in November last year and the closure by the DOTC of the Dimasalang Port once more prevented Dimasalang passengers from coming to and from Bulan.

With the start of the roro operations, it is projected that there will be a resurgence of maritime trips between Bulan and Masbate, since it will be more convenient on the part of the passengers plying the Masbate-Manila trips to utilize Bulan as connecting area.

In the meanwhile, at the Bulan Integrated Terminal there will be no change in the volume of transaction since most of the clientele served by it comes from Ticao Island towns and Bulan. It is even expected to increase services in view of the increase in the number of public convenience vehicles and private vehicles which will be coming in and out of Bulan.. (PIO-LGU-Bulan)

Hostage Update: The Swiss Andreas Notter Released By Captors

Bulan Observer Quick Press


We are happy for the positive turn of events that led to freedom for the Swiss Andreas Notter. We also hope for the best for the remaining hostage Eugenio Vagni.



jun asuncion

Bulan Observer


News from Swissinfo:

April 18, 2009 – 1:16 PM  Swiss ICRC hostage is free

 Islamic rebels in the Philippines have freed Swiss aid worker Andreas Notter but continue to hold another European captive, security officials said on Saturday.
The circumstances surrounding the release of Notter, an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were unclear, and he himself said he was not sure how it came about.

“I walked out and am happy to be alive and safe,” Notter told a media conference at the house of the provincial governor on the southern island of Jolo, where he was brought early on Saturday.

The 38-year-old from canton Aargau spent 93 days in captivity.

“I am very glad to be here with you. It happened very quickly. I am still a bit confused how it happened. My concern for now is my companion, Mr Eugenio Vagni. You are all aware that he is injured.”

In a statement, Switzerland’s foreign ministry said it was “relieved and pleased” with Notter’s freedom. It has demanded Vagni be “immediately and unconditionally released”.

Bern remains in close contact with the ICRC and Philippines authorities, spokesman Andreas Stauffer said.

Notter, Italian national Vagni and Philippines national Mary Jean Lacaba, all with the Geneva-based ICRC, were abducted by Abu Sayyaf rebels on January 15 when they were on a field visit to a prison on Jolo, a guerrilla stronghold.

Lacaba was freed by the rebels earlier this month and newspapers have said ransom was paid. The ICRC denies the claim and says it did not pay to free Notter.

“We never received any ransom demand for his release and we therefore have not paid,” said Florian Westphal, a spokesman for the ICRC. Notter’s return to Switzerland was “not foreseen in the coming hours,” Westphal added.

Attempted escape
Philippines Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno said a group of men holding Notter was attempting to slip out of the security cordon around the guerrilla camp in the interior of Jolo when they were spotted by security forces who gave pursuit.

“The kidnappers left behind Mr Notter because they were not able to drag him with them anymore,” Puno told reporters, adding military pressure forced the rebels to free the hostage.

“We are fortunate that this incident ended without injury to Mr Notter.”

Earlier, a military spokesman had said Notter was found by troops. Richard Gordon, a Philippines senator and head of that country’s Red Cross, said that Notter was found walking near Indanan town, in the interior of Jolo, early on Saturday morning.

“He is relieved and he is glad to be alive,” Gordon said. “I told him the whole country prayed for him. He expressed concern for Eugenio. He said ‘Thank you for all your efforts.”‘

« We are fortunate that this incident ended without injury to Mr Notter. »

Philippines Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno Notter, unshaven and with long hair, was smiling when he faced journalists after doctors gave him a clean bill of health, although he looked to have lost weight during his captivity.

The former history professor was given time to rest after a glass of milk and a soft meal, Puno said, adding Notter had already contacted family, friends and Red Cross colleagues.

“He is suffering from fatigue and may be a little bit disoriented for the moment,” Puno said.

“In good health”
“When we first heard reports of his extrication from the kidnappers, we were afraid because he was seen walking around with a cane. But he looks in good health. The doctors did not find any serious health problem.”

The Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent militant group based on Jolo and nearby Basilan, had earlier demanded that troops relax the tight cordon they were keeping around the rebel hideout before talks for the hostages’ release could start.

Provincial governor Tan sent a team of Muslim clerics to the rebel camp earlier this week to seek the release of Vagni, a 62-year-old who is reportedly suffering from hernia.

General Alexander Yano, the Philippines military chief said in a statement that disclosing the details of Notter’s rescue “may derail current efforts to ensure the safe release of the remaining victim”.

There was no word on any progress.

The Abu Sayyaf, with links to the Southeast Asian regional militant network Jemaah Islamiah and to al Qaeda, has been blamed for the worst militant attack in the Philippines, the bombing of a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004 that killed 100 people.

It is also notorious for high-profile kidnappings and large ransoms and has a history of beheading captives.

swissinfo with agencies


Bulan Priorities: Local Technology and Environmental Protection

by: jun asuncion


THE STATUS OF BULAN. Bulan has all the basic  infrastructures needed to develop itself  to an economically strong town and the potential of becoming a city in the future. Bulan has the sea port integrated in the Central Nautical Highway program of the national government and fully-developed Maharlika  highway that connect it to the rest of the Philippines. And with the addition of the Bulan Airport which is supposed to be operational by 2010, Bulan has completed the requirements for mobilization and transportation and will be practically connected with the whole world. What else does Bulan need? Is it consciousness of  its powerful potentials? A dynamic and proud LGU? A business and technologically- oriented community? A politically active constituency?

BE PROUD OF YOUR TOWN. In any case, Bulan is moving forward, slowly but surely, to the place it is destined to, to a status worthy of its inhabitants. This is something each one of us should be  proud of. To be proud of your town- this is applied Utang na Loob, which is a way of looking back to pinanggalingan, to one’s origin,  a topic we have deliberated  quite at length already. Let us as individual Tagabulans redefine our relationship to our town and ask how we can help each other realize our common dream of a progressive Bulan. If you are a student, study well and perform well and just think of giving out your best. The same way if you are a teacher, a fisherman, a farmer, a businessman, a policeman or a politician- altogether the effect is the enhancement of our town. This is synergia, a Greek concept first demonstrated by the Spartans in ancient Greece, which means  that combined effect of two or more forces is greater than the sum of their individual effects. This concept of synergy should guide our town planning and management.

BULAN DEVELOPMENTS. Development is not only the production of ideas but also the realisation of these ideas materially. Since we know that Bulan is also endowed with marine and agricultural resources, the focus of economic thinking should be not only on the available local raw materials, capital and labor but also in encouraging and supporting new  technologies developed locally geared at harnessing the local resources to the maximum of profitability. This is the other factor needed to boost local economy aside from the infrastructures. From an agrarian and fishing community to a modern IT-Community? From Tricycles to BLRT- Bulan Light Rail Transit System- plying from the Bulan Airport to the other reaches of Bulan? How about a Bulan Mall? A Technorama, a Zoological Garden, a Planetarium, a Bulan Symphony Orchestra, a Concert Hall and a huge Sport Stadium? 

 THE ENVIRONMENT FIRST. It’s all a matter of time, of creative time starting now. A town, once its momentum of  growth  has been set to motion at the right time, develops itself to completion, obeying an inner logic. The main concern is that a town tends to be blinded by its  achievements – becoming a city but forgetting the very foundation of  its success- the natural environment. This has been the case of many cities of today: hardly perfected, are already in the brink of collapse because the rivers and seas are already dead, trees cut, water, soil and air polluted, people sickened-  like some parts of  China today. It is therefore imperative to have a sincere desire to protect and conserve the ecosystem right from the start: each Tagabulan by doing  all the things he knows about environmental protection and the government by educating the public continuously, building and maintaining the appropriate infrastructures and investing in technological research and environmental programs.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A COMMUNITY SEWAGE SYSTEM: But before everything, we should pay attention to this question: What happens when you pull the plug, wash your clothes, have a shower or flush the toilet – where does all the water and wastes go?”. For me, this is the central issue in any environmental program and this should complement solid waste management. Bulan should start realizing this concept for otherwise its environmental program will remain incomplete. This question suggests to us the necessity of a  community sewage system to which ideally every household must be connected. Network of pipes (reticulated sewerage systems) underneath Bulan should be built and should carry sewage from homes to modern sewage treatment plant located in any ideal place in the outskirts of  Bulan. Once treated, only then is this water released into the environment, i.e.. back to the rivers, streams or seas. I am aware that at present this costly project lies somewhere above every Bulan household but this should at least be taken into account in community planning by now.

 MARKETING  BULAN AND ITS PRODUCTS. Marketing of local products is the core of economic life. The Bulan  airport will be a big factor in marketing the local products and in rousing the interest of local, national or maybe international investors. But for the marketing of Bulan, we are all task to do that. Let’s be positive this time and help one another in introducing our town to the rest of the nation and the world. We know that Bulan has made a name in our nation because of its Waste Management Concept and the Ecopark. That’s already a substantial achievement indicative of the vast developmental potentials of Bulan community. But it’s no reason now to rest on one’s  laurels for it is just the beginning. We should defeat this attitude of complacency  which seems to be inherent in us if we want to improve the quality of life and living standards in Bulan, should not be satisfied with little achievements but continue on raising the standard of our concept of quality and on improving already existing and well-recognized programs.

Market synergy means creating an environment that is conducive to business and entrepreneurship growth by developing a local  investment strategy that promotes networking among local  and regional business people, products providers, raw materials suppliers, retailers, consumer organizations, local policy makers, local and regional academe, technological and marketing  research institutions, transportation, etc. The existing town  industry clusters- fish ( marine) and  rice (agricultural) industries in Bulan should be intensified in order to assert their  regional and national competitiveness. The Bulan Airport will bring with it the emergence of new industry clusters like tourism, etc. but an open eye must be kept for other local products that would significantly enhance investments once fully developed and marketed.

A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR BULAN. What is of utmost importance  is a functioning LGU with stable and modern bodyof political concepts translated into actions by visionary yet competent and professional local politicians. A performance-oriented and transparent LGU who leads the people to new frontiers. This is the foundation, a transparent politics and efficient leadership  anchored in public trust without which nothing can be achieved. It’s not a question then of who is running the administration and for how long but of how is Bulan being administered and for whom.

BE READY TO WELCOME GUESTS. Start cleaning your surroundings not only today but everyday so you will not be ashamed when tourists come. Put permanent trashcans in every corner of the town and along the seashores so that people will stop throwing their wastes directly into the  sea or seashores. Now we have in Bulan many good environmental programs like Fiesta Sa Kabubudlan, Ecopark, Tree planting activities, etc. How about calling to life a program like Clean Bulan- whatever you name it- whose goal is community cleaning on a big scale, and this should be held annually. Special attention should be given to our rivers, streams and sea and their natural regeneration. To this effect, the LGU-Bulan should let its creativity work in devising environmental protection programs which involve partnership with the private sectors. Remember that Bulan was twice the cleanest and greenest town of Sorsogon under Mayor Guillermo De Castro, Sr. Our concept of cleanliness should be divorced from the ningas cogon attitude that is somehow always within each of us.

The town should always remain clean and presentable even when there is a change in the administration so that the people- especially the children- will feel good. Take note that children growing up in dirty and squalid places will have a very poor concept of hygiene standards. The town should start now educating the young Tagabulans by example and by regular cleanliness program. As in many other things, cleanliness also begins in the head (consciousness).’This is of high priority that pays off in the long run.

FEATURED ARTICLE. In this post I feature an article from DOST V ( Department Of Science AndTechnology ) I found in the net which was written by my brother Engr. Jerry Asuncion- DOST- Provincial Science Officer- where he introduces the newly-developed technology of Pili pulp oil extraction. Pili is one among the raw materials that could help define positively the future of Bulan if farmers and investors are given the incentives to grow them locally, or at least stimulate investment  in the development of mechanical Pili pulp press  in diverse models and capacities from manually-operated machines that would meet a household need for Pili oil extraction to motorized units for industrial production purposes. For as Jose Dayao- the Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director for Bicol – said  “The government is revitalizing the Pili nut industry in Bicol through a program designed to commercialize production of the crop and transform it into one of the Philippines’ export winners”. Bulan should venture into this dream of our national government and find local ways to help realize it. Pili nuts and oil are products unknown yet to European markets but- as to my observation- these are quality products that will easily find its place  in the European palate once introduced to them.

Bulan Observer




DOST V Develops Pili Pulp Oil Extraction Technology

Written by Engr. Jerry N. Asuncion, S&T Media Service
Friday, 18 July 2008                                                                                             

The Department of Science and Technology’s provincial office in Sorsogon developed a simple method of producing oil from pili nut pulp. The process extracts oil from freshly harvested pili nuts using minimal heat and simple cooking and filtration tools. Because the process retains the aroma and natural green color of pili pulp, the resulting oil can be considered of premium or virgin quality.

DOST-Sorsogon provincial office initiated the development of the technology as an alternative to the process introduced by National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at University of the Philippines in Los Baños, which uses enzymes in extraction and chemicals in refining pili pulp oil. This technology, while more efficient, is rather complicated and requires substantial investment and may not be suitable in a micro or village scale pili nut-processing venture.
There is also a need to satisfy the demand of local organic groups, which took interest in the product for naturally processed, chemical-free, and virgin quality pili pulp oil for food, health, and cosmetic applications.

Oil Yield                                                                                                                       

Using manual extraction, the technology was tested using different varieties of pili obtained from different areas in Sorsogon province. Oil yield, computed as percentage by weight of whole fresh pili nut, varies widely and is clearly associated with the variety of pili nut. However, the maximum yield recorded so far is about 6 percent, which translates to about 65 ml/kg of fresh whole nuts.
Establishing the varietal differences in oil yield requires further study. But oil recovery is expected to increase if a suitable mechanical pulp press or extractor becomes available.

Oil quality

Analyses conducted at DOST V laboratory showed that the oil produced by the process has a very low free fatty acid (FFA) content of 0.06% and moisture content (MC) of only 0.04%, which favors a longer shelf life of the product.
Chemical and Nutritional Analyses
Chemical and nutritional analyses of pili pulp oil are very similar to olive oil. However, pili pulp oil have more beta carotene, a known vitamin A source, and carotenoids, which makes it more nutritious than olive oil.

Other Benefits

Pili oil has always been featured in traditional medicines and herbal remedies in Bicol region where it abounds. Indigenous knowledge gathered attest to its efficacy in treating skin diseases such as scabies and de-worming capability for livestock such as pigs and chicken. Recent testimony to its ability to cure diabetes was published by Fernando Simon of YAMANKO enterprises.
Some groups that advocate and promote organic products reportedly believe in the potential health benefits of pili pulp oil, which they claim could equal or even surpass that of virgin coconut oil.



Technology Transfer

The simplicity of the technology allowed for its easy diffusion through technology transfer trainings to pili processors, traders, and farmers in Sorsogon. Since October 2004, DOST Sorsogon provided technology transfer training to the following:
Melinda Yee[proprietor of Leslie Pili Products, Sorsogon City]
• Pili Producers Association of Sorsogon (PPAS)
• City Agriculture Officers/personnel of Sorsogon City LGU
• The Lewis College
• Prieto Diaz LGU
• Gubat LGU

Developing the industry

The introduction of the technology generated renewed interest among local stakeholders and is paving the way for the establishment of the pili pulp oil production industry in Sorsogon. At present, raw pili pulp oil sells at P100 per liter. In support of the industry’s development, DOST V is currently working to develop technologies on mechanical extraction and other non-chemical approach in oil refining.    (Engr. Jerry N. Asuncion, S&T Media Service)


Note: I have included here other sources of informations about Pili for further studies. / jun asuncion


New Crop Fact SHEET:

Pili Nut                                                                                                           pili-nuts

Contributor: Francis T. Zee, USDA-ARS, National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Hilo, HI.
Copyright © 1995. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.


English: pili nut
Philippines: pili, anangi, basiad, liputi, pilaui, and pili-pilauai.
Scientific Names
Canarium ovatum  Burseraceae        


Pili nut kernel is the most important product. When raw, it resembles the flavor of roasted pumpkin seed, and when roasted, its mild, nutty flavor andtender-crispy texture is superior to that of the almond. Pili kernel is also used in chocolate, icecream, and baked goods. The edible light-yellow color oil from the kernel is comparable in quality to that of olive oil, containing 59.6% oleic glycerides and 38.2% palmitic glycerides. The young shoots and the fruit pulp are edible. The shoots are used in salads, and the pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned. Boiled pili pulp resembles the sweet potato in texture, it is oily (about 12%) and is considered to have food value similar to the avocado. Pulp oil can be extracted and used for cooking or as a substitute for cotton seed oil in the manufacture of soap and edible products. The stony shells are excellent fuel or as porous, inert growth medium for orchids and anthurium.

Philippines: abundant and wild in Southern Luzon, and parts of Visayas and Mindanao in low and medium elevation primary forests.
Crop Status

A minor crop produced only in the Philippines. The bulk of the raw nuts are supplied from wild stands in the mountains around Sorsogon, Albay and Camarines Sur in the Bicol region. The average annual production between 1983-1987 was 2925 tonnes of dried nuts from an estimated 2700 ha. Pili nut has the potential to become a major nut crop. Improvement of nd knowledge in efficient vegetative propagation, ecological and cultural requirements of pili as a commercial crop, and the mechanization for commercial processing are needed.


Synonyms: Canarium pachyphyllum Perkins, Canarium melioides Elmer.

Pili is a delicious evergreen tree up to 20 m tall with resinous wood pili_tree1and resistance to wind. Leaves are compound and alternate with odd-pinnate leaflets. Flowers are borne on cymose inflorescence at the leaf axils of young shoots. Pollination is by insects. Flowering of pili is frequent and fruits ripen through a prolonged period of time. The ovary contains three locules, each with two ovules, most of the time only one ovule develops. Fruit is a drupe, 4 to 7 cm long, 2.3 to 3.8 cm in diameter, and weight 15.7 to 45.7 g. The skin (exocarp) is smooth, thin, shiny, and turns purplish black as the fruit ripens: the pulp (mesocarp) is fibrous, fleshy, and greenish yellow in color, and the hard shell (endocarp) within protects a normally dicotyledonous embryo. The basal end of the shell (endocarp) is pointed and the apical end is more or less blunt; between the seed and the hard shell (endocarp) is a thin, brownish, fibrous seed coat developed from the inner layer of the endocarp. This thin coat usually adheres tightly to the shell and/or the seed. Much of the kernel weight is made up of the cotyledons, which are about 4.1 to 16.6% of the whole fruit; it is composed of approximately 8% carbohydrate, 11.5 to 13.9% protein, and 70% fat. Kernels from some trees may be bitter, fibrous or have a turpentine odor.



Crop Culture (Agronomy/Horticulture)                     

There are three pili cultivars in the Philippines, they are : ‘Katutubo’, ‘Mayon’, and ‘Oas’. ‘Poamoho’ is the only cultivar in Hawaii.
Production Information

Pili is a tropical tree preferrring deep, fertile, well-drained soil, warm temperatures, and well distributed rainfall. It can not tolerate the slightest frost or low temperatures. Refrigeration of seeds at 4 to 13C resulted in loss of viability after 5 days. Seed germination is highly recalcitrant, reduced from 98 to 19% after 12 weeks of storage at room temperature; seeds stored for more than 137 days did not germinate. The seedlings take 40 to 50 days to emerge; year old seedlings can be used for rootstock. Asexual propagation is best through patch budding, which claimed to have a success rate of 85-90% in the Philippines. Marcotting is too inconsistent to be used for propagating in commercial  production. Production standards for a mature pili tree is between 100 to 150 kg of in-shell nuts. Most of the production in the Philippines are from seedling trees and are highly variable in kernel qualities and production.

Harvesting is from May to October, peaking in June to August, and requires several pickings. Fruits are de-pulped, cleaned and dried to 3 – 5% moisture (30C for 27 to 28 h). Nut in shell with a moisture content of 2.5 to 4.6% can be stored in the shade for one year without deterioration of qualities.
College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines at Los Banos, College, Laguna 4031, Philippines.
USDA/ARS, National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Hilo, P.O. Box 4487, Hilo, HI 96720 (limited).


 Latest News About Pili:

Gov’t to make pili nut industry more globally competitive


The government is revitalizing the pili nut industry in Bicol through a program designed to commercialize production of the crop and transform it into one of the Philippines’ export winners, Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director for Bicol Jose Dayao said.

Dayao said the proposed P150-million Pili Development Program (PDP) will involve a massive replanting of seven pili varieties in the Bicol provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Sorsogon, which account for 82 percent of the supply of the crop. “Pili has high potentials for being a top export commodity for the Philippines, as it can very well compete with macadamia, cashew, almond and walnut in terms of quality,” he said.

The PDP, Dayao said, will kick off with the production and distribution of quality planting materials through the DA nurseries, the private sector, local government units (LGUs) and research outreach stations. Through the LGUs, the department will also put up technological demonstration farms and pili orchards; distribute organic fertilizers and provide soil analysis services; conduct training and provide extension support to farmers; undertake research and development work, marketing activities and monitoring and evaluation of the PDP.

Dayao said the target areas under the PDPcover5,000 hectares that will include 3,750 hectares in the municipalities of Bacacay, Malilipot, Malinao, Sto. Domingo, Tiwi and Tabaco City; Rapu-rapu, Camalig, Daraga, Manito and Legazpi City; Guinobatan, Libon, Ligao, Pio Duran, Oas, Polangui and Jovellar in Albay.

For Camarines Norte, Dayao said the target area is 150 hectares, while for Camarines SurtheDA is aiming to expand pili production in 600 hectares. For Catanduanes, the covered area is 150 hectares, and Sorsogon, 350 hectares, he added.

Under the PDP, the DA will promote production and processing technology through model farms to be put up at the local level, particularly within the region’s Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zone.

Dayao said the research, promotion and development efforts under the PDP would involve the production of quality products with vast market potentials; establishment of strong marketing linkages between users and producers; and improvement of the packaging of pili products and by-products.



Kidnapped ICRC Workers: Good News And Bad News

by: attybenji 


The good news is – Filipina hostage Mary Jane Lacaba was rescued and recovered alive from the kidnappers (April 2, 2009). Some reports alleged that she was handed-over formally by the captors to the negotiators, not rescued, upon payment of ransom!

The bad news is – the Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni are still under captivity, sad to say, a day after freeing Lacaba, the kidnappers threatened to execute these two remaining captives. We do not know when? May awa ang diyos, huwag po naman sana!

With this new development, authorities are readying the evacuation of over 21,000 residents in 5 towns of Sulu for a possible worst case scenario or armed confrontation between security forces and the Abu Sayyaf bandits, as reported in various newspapers (April 3, 2009)

In retrospect: Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni have been kidnapped and remained in the jungles of Sulu since January 15, 2009. They were abducted after a visit to a local prison where the Red Cross is funding a water project.

Recall that barely an hour before the ultimatum would lapse, Philippine Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon asked the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers for proof that the three Red Cross volunteer workers were alive as government troops and tanks moved closer amidst the threats to behead the captives. (April 1, 2009)

Senator Gordon’s messages to the captives, while uttering the words of comfort and inspiration, suddenly tears fell from his eyes, saying – “The whole family of Red Cross prays for you and I’m proud of the way you’ve comported yourself”. “I’m sorry I should be stronger than you because I’m not in the midst of the ordeal you are in now.”

And to the captors he pleaded, – “There was no glory in what the captors are doing. You are just pinning yourself down. These people are not your enemies. They were here to help the prisoners in the city jail by providing them with water and other needs”.

As the crisis deepens, the Catholic Church is urging Filipinos to pray for the release of the kidnapped ICRC workers.

The CBCP circulated copies of a pastoral letter in all catholic churches exhorting all Filipinos as brothers and sisters to reach out to both kidnappers and their hostages with prayers, saying that let it be a whole nation praying that all may experience true freedom and security. Likewise The CBCP is appealing to both kidnappers and the government to use every peaceful means to address thought peaceful process what ever is the root of this on going problem of kidnapping in Jolo, Sulu and the whole country.

We, as peace loving Filipinos, are sympathizing with the plight that the hostages are facing right now in the hinterlands of Sulu. They are facing the uncertainty of tomorrow, “nangangamba tayo na baka gagawin ng mga bandido ang kanilang banta”, God forbids!

– Just try to sympathize with their families, and imagine the sufferings, anguishes, mental torture, psychological-emotional pains, sleepless nights, mental shocks, fears and insecurities. As, anytime from now, the captives would be caught in the crossfire of the battle between the kidnappers and government forces once the latter commences its rescue operations. Also, anytime from now, they can be executed and beheaded by their captors.

From a distance, we can only offer our prayers for the lasting solution to this horrible situation in Sulu and for the release of the two other captives from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

After freeing the Filipina, the fate of the hostages is still uncertain and unknown, and the fear of bloodshed is inevitable once the military begins its rescue operations in Sulu. Madaming inosenteng civilians ang madadamay sa bakbakang militar at mga bandidong grupo!

– Also, try to dramatize the situation, and imagine a scenario, or put yourself in the shoes of the families or relatives of one of the hostages, or of all the hostages, coupled with the shocking news update every now and then that the kidnappers are threatening to behead the hostages one by one. For sure, “hindi ka mapapakali, hindi ka makakain, maiihi ka, matatae ka, iikot ang tumbong mo at hindi ka makakatulog”, why? Because these group of kidnappers are known for their barbaric acts in the past. By all means, they have the capacity to exterminate the captives when their demands for ransom, or otherwise, are not heeded, and not taken seriously by the government negotiators, etc.

In fact, I was monitoring this incident for weeks now, and believe me guys while I was watching the news update on TV, a day before Lacaba was released, “naluha ako at naiyak”, because I could not help but to reminiscence the sad memories of the past, similar to the ordeal and nightmare that the hostages have gone thru for months in the mountains, and the tormented mind of the victims’ families as well, …… I cried, and tears fell from my eyes because some years ago my father, Ceferino was kidnapped by the NPAs, and my brother, Edilberto, was also victim of kidnapping years back in Nigeria.

In local parlance, malungkot ang alaala ng kahapon, kaya hindi ko mapigilan ang maiyak at maluha sa ganitong sitwasyun!


RE; Kidnapping of my father, Ceferino!

Sometime in 1995, my father was kidnapped by the NPAs in San Ramon, Bulan. While my brother, a seaman-engineer, was held captive by the Nigerian rebels in Warri of 2007.

My father, a municipal councilor then, and was active in local politics in Bulan. All of the sudden, one gloomy afternoon, the NPAs had snatched my father in our house and was forcibly brought to the jungle of the unknown, and of place of no return, where most, if not all, of the civilians, who have been held hostage by the rebels were buried thereat after being strangulated, stabbed, or buried alive according the reports; my father used to describe the place as between the boundary of the towns of Juban and Magallanes overlooking the sea from a far. He was held in captivity for almost a week, blindfolded and his hands were tied, and could not sleep well due to the pestering sounds and bites of the mosquitoes, known carriers of malaria virus (hindi pa uso nuon ang sakit na dengue).

Fear of not seeing his husband anymore, my mother has already entertained a thought of committing suicide due to hopelessness, frustration and despair. No news, no update of the incident, or the whereabouts of my father is still unknown, no means of communication, no telephone, no text, no cellular phone to connect thru to the captors at that time. But, worst, the NPAs had advised my mother not to tell anybody about the incident, nor report the kidnapping to the authority, which my mother obligingly did.

Despite said warning, some concerned citizens reported the said incident to the police, and minutes thereafter, the police proceeded to our house in San Ramon to confirm the reported kidnapping of my father, but my mother, for fear of reprisal from the captors opted to remain silent about it and when asked about the incident, she even diverted the interrogation made by the men in uniform saying that my father was in Manila for his regular medical check up, but the men in uniform did not believe her claim, because my mother at that time was uneasy and crying and tears were falling from her eyes uncontrolled by cotton handkerchief.

Luckily, prayers really paid off, because after week long of captivity my father was finally released unharmed somewhere in the mountainous barangay in Irosin.

The reason why he was kidnapped? According to them, my father is a spy for the military, and is having an illicit relationship with another woman. Oh my Gulay, this is a silly accusation? This is a blatant lie and not true. A fabricated and concocted charge purportedly made by his political rivals, who have personal grudge to grind against my father, “mga inggitero” in our barangay. But, this is politics anyway, a dirty politics I should say!

In consideration of his release, a board & lodging had been charged to my father’s account, he was asked to defray of the amount of P45-Thousand pesos, which we obligingly complied with (note: from the first demand of 100thousand pesos, natawaran hanggang umabot ng 45thousand nalang), on the condition that said amount would be treated not as a payment for ransom, but to be referred to as sort of a Donation to the KILUSAN, or as payment for the board & lodging of my father while under captivity. Silly, is it not?


RE; Kidnapping of my brother, Edilberto!

My brother, Edilberto, a seaman-engineer, was kidnapped along with the other 23 Filipino crew while their ship was navigating along the Delta River in Warri, Nigeria.

They were held in captivity for 24 days in the jungle of the Warri by the rebels who called themselves, the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (or, “MEND”), the dreaded and most notorious group of rebels in Nigeria, engaged in piracy, kidnapping and extortion, whose leader opted to remain as a mysterious leader of the group, called “General”.

Within 24 days of captivity, we, the families, have suffered several days of sleepless nights, anxieties and mental shock, and like the ICRC Workers’ hostages, we’re also facing the same fate of uncertainty at that time. Because, the MEND rebels also threatened to execute one by one the Filipino hostages as reported in the CNN and BBC if the government of Nigeria and the ship owner would not heed to their demands. To resolve the problem, the Nigerian government has already called its men in uniform to prepare for the worst case scenario to rescue the captives at all costs, but luckily the purported plan did not push through, because the rebels threatened to use their hostages as human shields once the military pursues its plan.

We were then in constant contact with the representatives of the DFA, OWWA and the Hamonia Shipping Agency, the local manning agency, for more updates, these representatives would always advise us (families of the hostages) not to allow each one of us to be interviewed by media people in order not to jeopardize the on-going negotiations between the Nigerian government and the rebels, as well as the representative of the shipowner.

Amidst the advisory from the DFA and OWWA to shun away interviews by media people, feeling uneasy and worried of the situation, I then defied said warning, and taken the cudgel for all the families of the seamen-hostages by writing a letter of appeal to a local newspaper in Nigeria (the “Guardian”) via email. The contents of my letter was published in Nigeria and in also in various newspapers in Manila. Because of that incident, I was summoned by the DFA and that of Hamonia representatives in their office advising me to please avoid further making an appeal to the MEND rebels because in so doing I might be able to complicate or jeopardize the on-going negotiations. Their reason is “lalaki daw ang ulo ng mga rebelde at mas lalong magdedemand ng malaki dahil umaapela ang pamilya ng biktima for humanitarian considerations”.


The Picture below, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers displayed their high-powered guns to the Filipino crew hostages in the undisclosed place in Warri, Nigeria.


Hereunder is my letter to the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria which was published thereat, viz:

Families’ Plea to Captors: Release Seamen in Nigeria
02/03/2007 | 10:48 AM
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Families of 24 Filipino seamen abducted in Nigeria last month appealed anew to the captors over the weekend to release their hostages.

In a letter published Friday in the Nigerian newspaper “The Guardian” (www.guardian.newsngr.com), Benjamin Gaspi of Manila sought a win-win solution to end the crisis.

“We, the families of the abducted Filipino seamen, are hereby appealing to the Nigerian militants for the immediate release of the seafarers from weeklong captivity … Once again, we appeal to the kidnappers to release the captives,” Gaspi said in his letter.

“We hope and pray that both the government and the militants should find a way to come up with a win-win solution to end the crisis. The families of these hostages in the Philippines are suffering from severe anxiety, stressful days, wounded feelings, moral shock, depression and sleepless nights,” he added.

Although Gaspi did not specify his relation to any of the abducted seamen, he indicated he was writing the letter on behalf of the families of the abducted seamen.

He said the crewmen should not have been abducted because they were “not interfering nor are they intervening in the internal and political affairs of Nigeria.”

“These seamen have nothing to pay because they have no money to pay the ransom (if any). If they really want money they can let go the crew, then take full custody of the vessel and its cargo, then the owner can now pay as well as all those people who have interest in the vessel and cargo,” he said.

Negotiations are still ongoing for the release of the 24 Filipino seafarers and crew of Baco Liner 2, a German owned-vessel held hostage by Nigerian militants last Jan. 19.

At least seven of the crewmembers were brought to a safe house while the others remained inside the ship under the control of the militants.

Gaspi also voiced concern that the hostages may contract malaria and diarrhea.

“We are very much worried and anxious because we do not even know the names of the seamen who were taken ashore and those who were held hostage inside the ship,” he said.


 AT HINDI PA RIN PO AKO MAPAKALI, kaya sumulat ako sa Ambasador ng Pilipinas sa Abuja, Nigeria. Ito ang nilalaman ng follow-up letter ko kay Ambasador Umpa, thru email, viz:

February 1, 2007

Ambassador Plenipotentiary
Philippine Embassy in Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Warmest Greetings!

Sir, unless the those captives are released from nearly month long of captivity; anxiety, mental anguish, low morale, boredom, sleepless nights, despair and depressions will always be part of the day to day routine of the wives, families and relatives of the 24 abducted Filipino seafarers since they were held hostage last January 19, 2007 by the so called Nigerian Militants-MEND.

Considering Sir, that the DFA has imposed a news black-out on the progress of the negotiation and even told the families to cooperate with them by not entertaining interviews from the local media so as not to derail the negotiations, may we respectfully ask an update or breaking news directly from your good office on the progress or status of the negotiation between the rebels and the delta state government, including the chances of having them released as soon as possible.

We understand also that your good office is doing its best to fast track the release of the hostages. Just to calm down, pacify and appease the feeling anxieties among the families of the kidnapped seamen, please give us an update on this incident.

We hope also that you will not get angry at us for being so “MAKULIT” in asking an update from your office every now and then, after all, the lives of the Filipino people are at stake here.

Thank you so much sir for accommodating always my request.

Very truly yours,



Another picture, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers performed their native dance and rituals carrying with them loaded high-powered guns, firing their guns down the soil and up in the air.










Upon receipt of my letter, the Honorable Ambassador Umpa readily replied to my query, as follows:


01 February 2007

Mr. Benjamin G. Gaspi
MIS- 43 -2007

Dear Mr. Gaspi:

The Philippine Embassy in Nigeria acknowledges receipt of your letter dated
01 February 2007.
We understand your concern for the welfare of your brother and the rest of the
Filipino seamen abducted in Warri. Rest assured that the Embassy is doing all
its best to work out the release of our Filipino brothers.
I have personally led a six-man Embassy team to make sure that negotiations
are fast-tracked and that the Filipinos are treated well and are in good
condition. Daily contacts with the chief government negotiator are maintained
since Embassy personnel and the Delta State Government officials involved
are staying in the same place.
As regards the conflicting reports, the Embassy assures you that we are
closely monitoring every phase of the negotiations and as such, has the
higher authority to verify and confirm what transpires in the course of the talks
to release the hostages, in close coordination with the chief government
negotiator and other Delta State officials.
Thus, more weight should be given to the Embassy reports than to the articles
written in Nigerian local papers. We reiterate that the 24 Filipinos are safe and
are in good condition. The German office of the ship’s owners, as well as the
representatives of the local manning agency here in Warri have denied being
contacted whatsoever by anyone regarding the critical situation of some of the”
Further, the Embassy would also like to inform you that it is coordinating with
the German employers in the event of release of the 24 seamen.
Finally, we are hoping for the best and we are counting on your prayers and
the rest of the Filipino nation’s so that we could see light at the end of the
tunnel soon.

We appreciate your continued support and please feel free to communicate
with the Embassy any time and be up dated with any developments.
Thank you once again and best regards.

Very truly yours,



Also, picture below (courtesy of CNN), as told by my brother, sometimes kidnappers would point the barrels of their guns to the captives to intimidate them, and more significantly to catch the attention of the international community. (you see how worried they are in this picture).

pix-of-hostages_3At Last, after marathon negotiation with the kidnappers, the 24-Filipino crew, who were held hostage by the MEND militant rebels, were finally released upon paying of, allegedly more or less, 50M U.S. dollars as ransom.

Released Finally: as published in Manila Times, and other local newspapers and tabloid, viz:

Emotional Reunion for Released Seamen

Monday, February 19, 2007
REUNITED with her husband Roberto, chief engineer of the ship seized by rebels in Nigeria, Jocelyn Arcangel said she and her family would take a holiday before deciding on their future.
Roberto was among the 24 Filipino seamen recently released after being held captive at gunpoint for 24 days. They flew home Saturday to an emotional reunion with loved ones.
“We will have a very long family vacation after this incident and we’ll decide after whether he [Roberto] should leave again,” Jocelyn said.
“My sons don’t want him to leave anymore. It was very traumatic. We have not heard from them for a long time and there are fears that they were harmed,” she said.
Roberto said he just wanted to be with his family before declining to talk further with reporters.
Glenda Cagas said her husband, Herculano Cagas, the ship’s third engineer, would probably ship out again after resting in Manila, despite his traumatic ordeal.

“It is difficult, but we don’t have any other choice. We need the livelihood for the family,” Cagas said, noting that their two children aged six and four have yet to enter primary school.
“The hardest part for us was when we saw them on cable television being threatened with guns by their captors in masks,” she said.
Looking haggard after their ordeal but smiling and waving, the men were met by government officials and a throng of journalists after disembarking from a commercial flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“We are very happy. Thank you very much President [Gloria] Arroyo,” they said in unison to an explosion of camera flashes.
They were quickly taken to Malacañang and tearfully reunited with family and friends.
Gunmen seized the oil workers on January 20 from a Nigerian-flagged, German-owned cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria.

They were held captive under constant threat by masked gunmen in muddy swamps of the oil-rich Delta region, as Philippine and Nigerian negotiators worked for their release.
It is still unclear who was responsible for the seizure, although a high-profile militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, has fingered a rival outfit identified as Fndic.
The men declined to comment on negotiations that led to their freedom on February 13 for fear of jeopardizing the safety of two other Filipinos seized separately. Filipino diplomats are in Nigeria working to free them.
A Filipina woman was abducted on February 7 in Port Harcourt in Rivers State. Gunmen abducted the woman from the center of the city, at the heart of Nigeria’s oil industry.
A day earlier a Filipino employee of Netco Dietsmann-the Nigerian arm of a Monaco-based oil services company-was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
Nigeria is one of the biggest employers of Filipino workers in Africa, with some 3,900 Filipinos employed there at the end of 2006.
The Philippines is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of manpower, with an estimated eight million of its citizens working as maids, seafarers, oil rig workers and in other labor-intensive jobs.
President Arroyo has banned further deployments to Nigeria in the wake of the kidnappings.
On Sunday she instructed embassy officials assigned in conflict areas to ensure the safety of Filipinos in their areas.
Besides Arcangel and Cagas, the crewmembers of Baco Liner 2 are Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino and Herman Valez.

The President said the government would maintain close watch over the welfare of Filipino workers worldwide.
“We continue to pray with the same fervor for the remaining hostages in Nigeria in the hope that their situation will also come to a happy ending,” she said.
The President also thanked the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs who were involved in the release of the Filipino seafarers.
“To those who work to ensure the safety of our Filipino men, thank you, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Estevan Conejos Jr. and Special Ambassador to the Middle East Roy Cimatu,” she said.
-AFP and Sam Mediavilla


The Picture below of jubilant Filipino crew upon their arrival at the NAIA, after being released from the 24 days of captivity. My brother, Edilberto, is at the center raising and waving his left-hand to the media people. He is the tallest among the crew.










PGMA Welcomes 24 Freed Seamen and their Families in Malacañang


Twenty-four Filipino seamen, who were freed recently after almost a month of captivity by their Nigerian captors in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria, thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last night for her immediate action to secure their release.

The seamen, who arrived at 6:40 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Nigeria via Hong Kong, proceeded to Malacañang to personally extend their gratitude to the President.

The President, together with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, hosted a sumptuous dinner for the 24 seamen along with their family members, relatives and friends at the Palace Heroes’ Hall.

During the emotional family reunions, the President went from table to table and had brief talk with the newly-arrived seamen and their family members.

“Maraming salamat po, Madame President, sa inyong mabilis na pagtugon sa aming panawagan na kami ay mapalaya agad,” said the seafarers as they echoed their gratefulness to the President.

“Welcome back to the Philippines. Praise God! Salamat sa inyong pag-sakripisyo. Have a nice reunion sa inyong mga pamilya,” the President told them.

The Chief Executive had earlier thanked Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for “taking a direct hand” in the release of the Filipino seamen.

She also lauded all diplomats who were involved in the immediate release of the 24 seamen, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. and special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu.

“Salamat sa mga nagtrabaho nating diplomat para masiguro ang inyong kaligtasan, katulad ni Usec Conejos at Ambassador Cimatu. Araw-araw ay sinasabi ko na siguraduhin ang inyong kaligtasan at 24 oras silang
nagtrabaho. Praise God that everything had ended well,” she said.

The released Filipino crew members of Baco Liner 2 who called on the President at Malacañang were Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Roberto Arcangerl, chief engineer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Herculano Cagas, 3rd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino, and Herman Valez.

They were abducted by Nigerian gunmen on Jan. 20 and freed unharmed last Feb. 13 without any ransom paid.

Meanwhile, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said President Arroyo is hopeful that the two remaining Filipino hostages in Nigeria would also be released soon by their captors.

“The government maintains a close watch over the welfare and well-being of our workers all over the world, and President Arroyo always takes a personal hand in critical events such as the last one,” Bunye said.

“Active diplomacy at a high level and the active presence of our diplomats on the ground will continue to be our strategy to keep our beleaguered workers from harm’s way and to bring them home,” he added.
– – – xxx

Actually, may isa pa akong kapatid na seaman na si Alberto, ay muntik na rin makidnap ng mga Somali pirates in 2007, buti nalang daw nai-locked nila lahat ang doors ng ship, kaya hindi nakapasok sa loob at umalis agad,,, the rest is history na.



Long live Bulan Observer.



Chip Tsao: His Missing Chip

Or: When The Servant Is Noblier Than The Master

by. jun asuncion

The article War At Home written by Chip Tsao -where he arrogantly ridiculed his Filipina maid and the whole of the Philippines as a nation of servants -seems to me rather a war inside Chip Tsao after losing the Chip that’s holding his brain together. His case must have been a post-traumatic decompensation to the Mao- indoctrination he underwent, a kind of what the Germans call Dachschaden- a Rooftop (cranium) damage. For his otherwise literary-schooled brain became fragmented like the Spratley Islets he has claimed to be rightfully belonging to China, the master, and not to the Philippines, the servants. Well for sure, I yield to the fact that his fragmented Spratley brain belongs to his China, not to my Philippines. But I do not yield to his arrogant attitude to the Filipino people.

Before I go on, I have to make it clear that this is my personal response directed to the person of Chip Tsao alone in reference to his insulting remarks to his Filipina maid Louisa and to my nation the Philippines.
They said Tsao has written a number of satirical books- books I will surely not want to see-, came from a family of writers, studied English literature, worked for BBC and for diverse newspapers and magazines in Hong kong. All these, even far from being a Nobel candidate, are achievements that attest to intelligence and sanity before March 27, 2009, for from this date on he attested to us quite sarcastically that he no longer can hide the mental derangement that has been dissolving him inwardly- most of all his brain and common sense. He lost his professionalism, his Asian cultural sensitivity- and soon his Filipina maid and the sales of his books.

Symptomatic of decompensation is a diminished ability to think including loss of long and short term of memory.
Chip Tsao admits that “We can live with Lenin and Stalin for they were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people” and that “The Japanese That’s no big problem-we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke”. This is a proof of Tsao’s remaining memory content- which is nevertheless a shallow one, already symptomatic of progressive mental deterioration and regression to infantile developmental stage as shown in his fascination with Japanese cartoons.

Actually, these are all his personal problems and these should bother him alone, not us. What bothered me was where in the world did he derive his justification to viciously ridicule and belittle before the world the Philippines and the Filipina maid working in his household? The problems of one country should not be used by any outsider for insulting honestly and peacefully working Filipinos in Hong Kong and the rest of the world. Chip Tsao is sick; his distorted face seems to reveal to us a long history of pains from feats of convulsions and epileptic seizures, or of a man drowned in alcohol day-in and day out, or of a man’s face adopting itself to the cartoon figures he is watching everyday.

 spratlymap2The Philippines’ claim of some islands, notably the Kalayaan Island Group,  of the Spratley Islands, is not just a product of whims and fancies of the Philippines for it has a long standing historical and legal ground. And as a matter of fact, the Philippines is about to present her Philippine Archipelagic Baseline  Law on May 13, 2009 to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

This was probably the latest news that triggered the convulsions and distorted Chip Tsao’s face – and intellect. Now he lost quite a big deal in his life: Aside from being declared by the Philippines as persona non grata, for sure the Filipinos will boycott his books and anything about him aside from attacking him in Internet- and probably in the streets of Hong Kong. The Internet has been boiling from heated attacks by Filipinos against Chip Tsao since end of March and this will go on, enough for Tsao and his relatives to read for a lifetime- and even beyond that. Many families in Hong Kong with Filipina maids will hate Chip Tsao for now they are no longer sure about the noodle soups being served them and about the security of their children when they (the parents) are working. Not that the Filipinas would go amok for it’s not in their nature, but the minds of these Hong Kong parents have been polluted, made paranoid by Tsao’s unpatriotic misdemeanor.

Louisa should take Tsao on a wheelchair and walk with him into the deeper regions of Chinese history after his meditation on Mao’s teachings or after he has watched his favorite face- distorting Japanese cartoons or doing his round-the-clock obsession with karaoke (round the clock? lack of sleep causes amnesia).

Anyway, here are other facts not mentioned by Chip Tsao of why he can forgive Lenin, Stalin, Mao and love the Japanese:

 1. Lenin and his Bolsheviks  murdered around 4 million people – men, women and children – by mass executions, death camps, and state-caused famine.

2. Stalin and his Regime slaughtered around 20,000,000 people in USSR.
3. The Chinese Mao was not a lesser criminal for Mao Zedong’s  regime butchered around 40,ooo,ooo Chinese, probably including Chip Tsao’s ancestors.
And how about Chip Tsao’s fascination of Japan that makes him forgiving when he writes,  “The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem”.
No big problem? How about this fact he forgot to mention:
1. The Nanking Massacre, 13 Dec. 1937-Feb. 38, when the Japanese butchered around 400,000 Chinese. If  Tsao loves and used photography as an investigative journalist, here are some photos  for him of this Nanking Massacre.  My warning: He should visit this site only if he  has the gut for these are very face-distorting photos. The same with this video:
No Dogs, No Chinese- A myth or reality? I have never seen such a signboard and I would never like it if this indeed happened. To my martial arts  idol  Bruce Lee,  it looks like this was a reality. If it were, then at least he was aware of it and protested against it directly and honestly:
Quite earlier than that, in 1882, the U.S. Congress passed  the Chinese Exclusion Act, an immigration law which excluded Chinese labor from entering the United States.
In April 28, 1888, our Dr. José Rizal was in the US – six years  after the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was passed.  He wrote a letter to his parents in the Philippines after his bad experience in America because of this Chinese Exclusion Act:

“Here [in San Francisco] we are in sight of America since yesterday without being able to disembark, placed in quarantine on account of the 642 Chinese that we have on board coming from HongKong where they say smallpox prevails. But the true reason is that, as America is against Chinese immigration, and now they are campaigning for the elections, the government, in order to get the vote of the people, must appear to be strict with the Chinese, and we suffer. On board there is not one sick person.”

 It should be clear by now to Chip Tsao that he missed the lessons of history and failed to notice that the Philippines is not to be found in the list of nations that butchered tens of millions of their own people or other people; it should be clear to Chip Tsao by now that his success in Hong Kong did not really offer him the answer to his search for identity and the right therapy for his feelings of inferiority. Inwardly Chip Tsao is torn between worlds: he wants to be a Chinese but he doesn’t trust his own people, he loves the European nobility but he looks Chinese. Unlike Bruce Lee, he cannot express himself honestly. His article War At Home is double- edged: he attacked his society and his own people by way of attacking the Filipinos. The communist indoctrination has made the Chinese suspicious about each other. A Chinese would rather trust a  foreigner than a Chinese he doesn’t know. This is simply the result of oppressive totalitarianism, not really of an inherent Chinese character. It would take time to overcome this. We understand now how Tsao is divided within himself- at one point he is inside the Great Walls Of China, at another point he is outside of it. This pains his Dasein terribly.

Chip Tsao was said to have made a public apology for this article War At Home. I do not accept such insincere behaviour after callously making fun of the Philippines’ position on the Spratley issue by way of insulting Louisa and the rest of the OFW who are serving the world and their own families back home. Chip Tsao also insulted the Chinese-Filipinos  in the Philippines for many of  them are also workers at home and abroad, servants of lesser degree as Chip Tsao declared, not worthy of self-assertion. Indeed, Tsao is missing his  Chip since March 27.


Bulan Observer



 Here’s Chip Tsao’s Clinical Document:

The War At Home
March 27th, 2009

The Russians sank a HongKong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that-Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diàoyú Island. That’s no big problem-we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.

But hold on-even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the SpratlyIslands, complete with a blatant threat from its congress to send gunboats to the South China Sea to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,580-a-month cheap labor in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.

As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made my blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of the Spratly Islands belongs to China.

Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.

Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in each of our homes in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly.” They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout, “Long live Chairman Mao!” at the sight of a portrait of our Great Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.