From Everything To Nothing


by jun asuncion


Transparency and accountability are two things that are so earthly. You don’t blame the universe if it’s hard for people on Earth in responsible governmental positions to cultivate these two qualities while in office and having access to the material which the Bible calls the source of evil: Money. But one time I reasoned out that it’s not money but our basic instincts that are the real causes of our “evil” actions- the instinct of hunger, the libido instinct, etc. Later, I realized that instincts per se  are not evil for how can they be evil  if they keep you survive, protect you from dying?

What is the source of evil then, a source that is true for all men? I found out, however, that- to come to a satisfying answer to this question- first we should know what is evil. What then is evil? What  is an evil thought, what is an evil action?

Again, I realized that there are many definitions of evil, depending on the  discipline from which you view it, – philosophical, legal, theological, psychological, etc. I also think that it is indeed a relative case because people from different professions, cultures, and people having different views of the world have different conceptions or even experiences of evil. Therefore, since, I had no intention of writing a  lengthy “Treatise On Evil” for anyway I just wanted to make use of my coffee break  and post my thoughts as soon as it was time to go again,  I’ve concluded that evil is hard to define and so I just went back to the most personal knowledge of  evil or source of evil as I view it.

And exactly here,  I bounced my head against a thick wall  where I no longer knew what I know, where my thinking has failed me and led me  from everything to nothing. But in truth, it was not that there  was nothing left in my head but it was  my thinking that seemed to prevent me from arriving at a quick and simple solution to my coffee break dilemma: what is the source of evil?

About to go back to the music room when I remembered a video clip that was forwarded to me  by my  music teacher some years back. It is called the Black Hole. Alas, I found the answer in the middle of being within a black hole myself. It is Greed, that I think is the source of evil, and evil is the  negative, painful or destructive result or results that it brings to others and to the doer itself. Greed is not a basic instinct but is a distortion of the basic ones. For  there are no greedy animals, only hungry ones.

 And we know of greedy human beings even though they are not hungry. It can afflict everybody, rich or poor, weak or strong, educated or not, religious or not. If Greed is a human problem, then evil is a human problem. If  it’s our intelligence that created human civilization, it also distorted our instincts and the corresponding negative events that accompanied civilization.

 Hence, greed is the distortion of basic instincts by way of the mind. Colonization, wars, etc.. were basically driven by greed. On the personal level, it is responsible for many of our problems in human relationships like failed marriages, felonies of all sorts and even leads us to self-destruction or  self-imprisonment. Let’s watch the video:

Greed among our government officials is the root of all our problems in the Philippines, of all the evils of our society such as poverty. Poverty is evil because it is not supposed to occur in a country with abundant natural resources. It is evil because it leads to many other problems; it is evil because its root goes back to the greed of our political leaders. But at least its the same root that destroys them, the same evil that leads them  from everything to nothing- to their own black hole.

This video speaks the truth.


From Nothing To Everything


by jun asuncion


Today’s condensed thoughts while reading the write-ups of  Mr. Guim,  Mr. Geronilla and  Mayor Helen De Castro.


On Chess and Politics. Up to a certain point,  chess and politics do fit together because they both are concerned with power and winning. Only that in chess, the players have more intelligent options to choose from, whereas in politics you hardly have options, let alone intelligent ones; in chess you can sacrifice a move for the good of all, in Philippine politics, things or even people are sacrificed for the good of a few only.

Desire into action? It’s important that good desires be translated into action while in office; but of course there are lots of actions occurring in Philippine politics but mostly they are  translations of these permanent personal desires (interests).

Therefore, our people should empower themselves, should not wait to be empowered for the system does not allow it and- as the ruling class tend to see their power as God-given-  it would never voluntarily pass it to other people. The first step to empowerment of the people is for the people to realize that the power that their leaders enjoy is not God-given but People-given, that sovereignty resides in them and that all government authority emanates from them.

Leadership as God-given? Mayor Helen de Castro’s New Year 2010 Message to the people of Bulan has an over-all quality of a humble  reflection, But there was just this line in there that seem to reflect and reinforce the notion that our leaders still cling to the idea, albeit subconsciously, that leadership is God-given.

I qoute:

“Help us pray that we leaders must realize that we are nothing, and that from God emanates everything, especially this gift of leadership.”

Said privately this line is a prayer- and would not be open to interpretation or misinterpretation,  done publicly and in a Church,  it is, both ways. At the outset, I already saw  that  it collides  with the Article II,  Section 1 of the constitution which states  that “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s. We acknowledge that life emanates from God, but that by His act of grace, we humans have been given this ability and intelligence to organize ourselves, make rules and laws for ourselves (positive law) to provide for peace, security and protection for our  rights  and responsibilities so that  a just society of humans be made possible.

We don’t take issue on the fact that our good human qualities- including the gift of leadership- have their origin from God, but we should formally separate  leadership that’s  emanating from God (God-given) from leadership that’s emanating or mandated  by the people; separate Church and the State, religion and politics.

 We know that political leadership is connected with power and authority, rights and privileges and that all of these- in a republic and democratic state-  should rather be viewed as emanating  from the people, thus making sure  that our government does not slide to Absolutism or Theocracy by putting things in proper places.

Therefore, it’s a tightrope walk for a  municipal executive  belonging to a local political clan to combine words like “especially”, “gift”, ” leadership”, “God” , “emanation” and to choose a church as a venue to deliver such a speech. But verily I think that this is not done on purpose – at least this line in the speech- but only a heedless sentence construction.

I think that  for an elected public leader, it is more safer to use such phrase  like God- fearing or God-inspired leadership,

Or, if I may rewrite this line in the speech, it would be simply like this: ” God, from whom all good things flow, guide us leaders  to humbly serve You as we lead and serve the people of Bulan.”

Popular sovereignty:  A Filipino illusion? Popular sovereignty is defined in most dictionaries or in Wikipedia  as the “belief that the legitimacy of the state is created by the will or consent of the people who are the source of every political power.” The Philippine Constitution clearly defines it as residing in the people and that all political authority emanates  from them.

But where are the Filipino people and where is this popular sovereignty? The fact  is that this sovereignty is not well-respected in the Philippines by our government officials. They make use of this sovereignty during the election and forget about it the next day once they got elected. Our presidents- with the exception perhaps of the late President Cory Aquino- were leading in this respect. The best proof of this is this culture of impunity and corruption. Only the chief executive can be held responsible for such a mess when corrupt or criminal people from politics, business and military go unpunished. Such a mess is an insult to people’s sovereignty, an abuse of the power entrusted to them.

Indeed, it is true that popular sovereignty is just a concept, it is not a full reality in our society, not yet;  for now, it begins and ends with election. In some societies, this concept as defined by Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke and Franklin is a fully translated reality and the absence of  culture of impunity, grand scale corruption and state treasury  plunderers are  proofs to this.

Hence, the key to our progress definitely lies in this concept of popular sovereignty. This constitutional “desire” could be translated into action in two ways: The government should respect and protect it, and the people should be aware of it and use it effectively. One concrete example: For 2010 candidates, don’t buy people’s votes, for the people, don’t sell your votes. This is a simple working definition of respected popular sovereignty. 

Kairos: From Nothing to Everything. Back to chess and politics: When politicians humbly sacrifice anything, it is done to make something in their favor, like a chess player sacrificing the bishop to capture the queen. Hence, to show humility, make oneself small by acknowledging nothingness and asking for  forgiveness before a crowd of constituents has actually the hidden effect of making oneself bigger and stronger in the minds and hearts of the people. Who would not forgive a kneeling and pleading Ina san bungto? But don’t fail to see that forgiving is accepting, and that acceptance by the people is precisely that what every politician highly desires. For this means secured votes in the coming election; hence, from nothing to everything.

Contrasting points or events in a speech, play or music are moments when magic things happen, from nothing to everything, when this Kairos happens, a  Tyllichian-inspired word as  employed in our mayor’s New Year’s speech,  this part of which I now quote:

“Ini na presente na panahon nato niyan, nan an maabot na mga adlaw nan taon, kisyera maging sayo na Kairos, o panahon sin pambihira na engkuentro san Mahal na Dios nan Tawo. Let 2010 be a Kairos, a supreme moment of encounter between us and our God. Let it be a Kairos, o momento na kun haen an mga krises sa buhay ta maging panahon sin oportunidad. Let this year be a Kairos of Grace.”

Kairos means time for the ancient Greeks, the right time  or  supreme moment, hence, is qualitative in nature as opposed to  chronos which is the ordinary sequential time, hence, quantitative in nature.

However, it is unknown to many of us that Kairos is a rhetorical technique employed  by the ancient Greek Sophists.

Election is a Kairos in itself, a special moment for the country and for each candidate. But then again, it is also a rhetoric time,  a time of promises, of verbal combats, of personal advertisement in every imaginable venue- even a Church.

This reminds me of those inuman sa kanto in Canipaan or elsewhere in Bulan where verbosity increases with the number of shots of gin. That’s also a moment of Kairos when the discussants reach the heights of their geniuses and  agree without knowing, in loud, drunken voices that everything  discussed shall be forgotten the next day.

We are not suggesting that Mayor De Castro’s prayer for a Kairos of Grace  will lead to nothing the next day. For already at that very  moment of delivering her New Year’s speech, a Kairos  of Grace already occurred to her because the people who were  in the  church were also in search for a Kairos, for magic moments.

                                                   ———– end———



Three D’s of Success

by Jess Guim, Taga-Bulan sa New York City

Whatever you do in life, you always expect success as the end result of your efforts. But victory is not easy and could not be achieved without nurturing these three D’s of success. Remember this, one of them can not help you succeed in life without the other. So, nurture them all within yourself, and you will reap the fruit of success.

First, you need the DESIRE or motivation to achieve your objective. The starting point of all achievements is desire. Some people might say your dream is impossible to achieve, but with your own desire to accomplish it, there’s nothing you can’t fulfill without it. A poor man becomes a millionaire because of his desire to have more money. An NBA star believes he could fly to shoot a ball in the ring, because of his desire for fame. A writer never sleeps at night, as long as ideas come out of his mind, because of his desire to become a blockbuster novelist and movie screenwriter.

The desire (motivation or passion), on the other hand, should be strengthened by DISCIPLINE. There are people, who in the midst of their near-success, meet temptations that lead them to the wrong direction. A student who’s almost graduating in college failed to finish his course, because he joined a fraternity that buried him into the ravine of drug addiction. An entrepreneur who’s almost becoming a millionaire with his innovative marketing ideas, went bankrupt when he associated with gamblers who turned him into compulsive gambler. These are simple examples of temptations, that lead people to failure when someone’s discipline is not strong enough to achieve one’s objective to succeed. So, strengthen the discipline in you by surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

DETERMINATION is the father of desire and discipline. You can never achieve and win what you desire if you have no definiteness in acquiring such victory. But simply having determination doesn’t mean you’re already on the road to success. Determination should be powered by knowledge of the skills needed to achieve an objective. You need to learn about the skills and place them into practice. Then, when you have enough training to strategize your steps, you need to develop your experiences into expertise. It is these expertise that strengthens your determination to achieve success.

About the Author:

Jess Guim was born in Canipaan, Bulan; raised by his parents in Gubat; and got married to a Sorsoganon (Kapitolyo). He is currently living in New York City. He is the owner and web developer of the new web site “Experts Write About…” at

This Or These: The Tyranny Of Words And The Agony Of Choice


by  jun asuncion


 To Bulan Observers

We always enjoy constructive discussion or criticism for it  leads us to improvement or stimulate our thinking- as opposed to discussion or criticism that is closed, no substance, undifferentiated, egoistic and even sadistic.

On Perfection and the striving for Excellence

I give credit to the arguments presented both by Mr. Geronilla and Mr. Bulan in conjunction with Mr. Geronilla’s posted article  Have A Way With Words  in as much as we are operating within the context of constructive discussion.

Language is a tool to convey our thoughts and feelings, the very substance of communication. If you can get this substance across with simple English, then why not? This is what Mr. Bulan had in mind, a more practical application of the tool.

But language as a tool becomes an art when one strives to use it to show the beauty of its form; hence, the striving for excellence  according to Mr. Oliver Geronilla. This entails sticking to the formal rules. And so, if you can get your substance across in an artistic way, why not?

The next thing  is that this tool can become not only as an art but a profession. And here is the crux of the matter, of this discussion.

What’s the signficant difference when a pistol is in the hands of a trained law-enforcer- as in the hands of a criminal? The pistol is in the hands of  someone restricted by laws and by profession with respect to his public behaviour and right usage of the pistol (or any other weapon) at any given situation.

This is Oliver’s situation; he carries this responsibility in any given (written) situation  for that is his profession and this explains his being particular in expressing himself in perfect English. Why not express (write) the professional way?

But, if I may add something, it’s not totally fitting when he says that he is not striving for perfection but for excellence, for it is by trying to be excellent that we are actually striving for perfection, and also because these two words are just the two sides of the same coin; perfection is that ideal form (the highest state or goal) and excellence is the striving (action) for this ideal form.

But perfection is not equal to impossibility- at least when talking about the language. If you abide by the agreed or standard rules of  the American English grammar for instance, you can surely construct a perfect sentence and then a perfect paragraph. Isn’t it so?

Hence, to  recognize the error and to correct it is just a proof of our striving for perfection.

Nobody is perfect?

This is a cliche’ and normally by this we mean or understand that  everybody makes mistakes or has some flaws in character, judgement or in appearance.

But who’s definition of Perfection is being used in this statement?

 We will not go deeper into it it but at least let us mention Aristotle’s definition of perfection (In his book of Metaphysics) which is,  that 1. which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts; 2. which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better; 3. which has attained its purpose.

Therefore, if I would look at any normal  human being or an apple tree with Aristotle’s definition of perfection, I would say that human being or apple tree is perfect.

If human being could be perfect, why not a sentence or a paragraph?

But, roughly speaking, if you prefer Mr. Bulan’s view of accepting imperfections as along as the argument has a substance, it is also alright for this view has also its philosophical tradition, namely that of another Greek, Empedocles, who maintained that the world is imperfect and  that imperfection possesses that pull to completeness and ultimately to perfection as it develops with time, a concept adopted by the Italian esthetics in the baroque period by insisting that perfection is completed in the mind and imagination of the one viewing an art work.

Viewing an art work?  How about in reading a comment or article here in BO with such minor lapses in grammar or spelling? Can we really apply here Mr. Empedocles’ view on perfection?

Of Bulan pupils perfecting in their minds the imperfect  grammar or spelling they are noticing here in Bulan Observer?

Well, there is a hope. Because if they “notice” such errors, this means they have learned their lessons well at school.

Hence, it is imperative for the language instructors in our schools in Bulan to master the language they are teaching.

The other side of the coin:

A Necessity

“Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.” Karl Marx

 Mr. Geronilla is right to say that edition is needed for any printed message. For me alone, an editor would have a very hard job editing “my” English, a language which-before I even  had the chance to master it, has been buried deep in time, eaten up by the worms of oblivion when I went back to it  for a purpose. I wasn’t sure anymore if I could ever use it to even  form some basic phrases. I tried because there was this necessity.

Now, had I let myself be intimidated by English, I wouldn’t have met some good friends from Bulan. Sometimes you just need to do it, don’t wait for perfection for it will never come- at least in my case! That you just go for it. This is the lesson I learned in jazz music. Afraid to play an improvised solo in front of an audience? Forget it, just play! My guitar teacher was right. Perfection is a goal in every artist, even for the ones whom we think are already at the crest of the wave. The way to it is only through practice and deep reflection- this is the only way, again the way to something we cannot after all reach- at least subjectively. For perfection is not only the technical side of the craft, but it involves the question of the longing of our soul for something even better, something new- the will 0′ the wisp.

Afraid to make mistakes? Well, who’s not? Again, it takes courage and the will to overcome that which we set as our own limits. Courage can indeed open up new horizons, new possibilities for positive changes. At least you have tried- even you have failed, but definitely you also have learned something during the entire process.

Kein Master ist vom Himmel gefallen as they used to say it in German- or No one is born a master. No one, yes but it seems that for some it doesn’t take long to be one. No matter in which group you may belong, there is no reason not to try to master any craft available here on earth and to try other crafts as well. In this way you don’t waste your precious time.

My back  up against the wall

I’ve been writing English for two years now and I’m still glued in the most basic level. There were moments though when I was  almost eaten up by my doubts that I almost removed Bulan Observer from the net. But the strong pull to send message to Bulaneños took the upper hand and so BO exists until now.

Now we have grown a little bit, we Bulan netizens. I’m glad about this development.

BO was conceived not as an On-Line Newspaper for flawless plain reporting or write-ups but as a platform where Bulaneños could loosely meet and express their views. That’s the reason why I was not particular about editing comments or contributions. One thing more, it needs a lot of time even- as I’ve mentioned- for my own posted articles alone. It is right that lapses in grammar in written form are not permissible to protect the young mind from being corrupted at least in this subject. I cannot argue against it.

LIFE itself is a flux

But, in essence, all our mistakes here are not intentional, and so,- placed against a greater context,- forgivable. That greater context is LIFE itself. Life allows growth, trials and experimentations; it allows spontaneity of activity, of emotions, fantasy and thinking. In short it is free. And for those who try, they make mistakes. For those who do not try, don’t make a lot of mistakes, just a bigger one.

In BO everybody is welcome to participate in this freedom. We will keep this blog form still for a while since it reflects our philosophy of life as a flux, a continues flowing event. A new message covers the last one; what is gone, is gone; the moment is the most important for here is the chance to be free, to be better than the past.

Like The back Of Our hands

Going back to language, there is no doubt as to the beauty and advantages of having mastered it, so in effect there’s nothing else to write about it. How about just being at the basic level, is there also beauty and advantages left to it?

I think there is: One is forced to be simple and make the most out of one’s limitations. Isn’t it great also? This is very much in line with our goals for our town: To be a different town from the rest aside from its given limitations.

With time, I have observed though that my limitation is becoming my strength for I can – with my simple style- give form to my simple way of thinking. Why make it complicated? My way of thinking has always been between intuitive and analytical, my writing expositional. The focus is primarily on insights and logical argumentation. For this purpose, it suffices an English level for everyone, with the set of vocabulary that we know like the back of our hands. Indeed, I discovered- without suggesting anything in my favor- that many great writers/thinkers whose impact were far-reaching and have changed history (Marx, Einstein…) were so simple in their writing style, without idioms overdrive or distortions, or as we say, without being  flowery. I’ve read their works in German.

Language and Thinking

The survival value or goal of communication through language is for two or more persons to make their personal needs or perception be known to others or for them to have common understanding of whatever issue that concerns them.

Hence, verbal and non-verbal forms of communication are of central importance and are present in all human societies and in lower animal forms as well. Language use is the expression of thoughts in man and in lower animals as well. But since man’s thinking is motivated by variety of needs and largely determined by his particular cultural setting, language has grown to be a very complex and specialized phenomenon.

With the increasing speed and specialization in communication technology, the global proliferation of subcultures on internet platforms, miscommunication seems to be increasing also as new words are coined all the time. How would you explain to your grandfather (or even to your wife!) words like Software Engineering, Blogging, Netizens, Netbook? Or Cloud Computing, Buzz Compliant, Green Washing? Many of us “younger” ones do not even know instantly the meaning of these words.

The tyranny of words

But even before the global invasion of these hi-tech neologisms, we even have to continue wrestling with the many idiomatic expressions that come across our reading or listening dasein. If you have to do with westerners you will notice that they just “open fire ” at you with their mother tongue(s) loaded with never-heard idiomatic expressions, words half-eaten but with the velocity of a bmw sports car- without the slightest respect to your language of origin. This is a sign of their assumed superiority or dominance, the expectation being that you should adjust to him- not he to you- if you want to understand him. Very much the same situation during our colonial times when they came and opened fire at us; thereafter, they decreed that we  learn their languages, on the condition that we keep our mouth shut.

The Agony Of Choice

Whether This or These, our tongue has been a split and twisted since the invasion of the aggressive and dominating Europeans and north Americans, forcing the local inhabitants to adopt their languages and relegate their own behind for they were inferior. The reason why most of us write in English and not in Tagalog for we are “educated,”- educated the western way, not the Filipino way, hence, we are not- as a rule- masters of our own mother languages. For this reason, we suffer this agony of choice, a suffering symptomatic of the lack of cohesive cultural identity.

 Too many choices split not only the tongue but also the mind,  hinder the mastery of anything we can call “perfectly” our own. I have always dreamed of writing in a mother language, of how it would feel to observe foreigners writing in Tagalog, have often envied a good German friend of mine with whom I write some articles in German, his own mother language. Speaking about language,  Germany is a country without too many choices and therefore had produced people like Heine, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kant, Marx, Böll, Grass and all other philosophers and poets that we know. All of them wrote their masterpieces in German, their everyday language!

On Idioms: a cultural invasion

Idioms are great to spice up the language and I wish I possessed this knowledge. Idioms for idiot? Why not. I’ve read that both idiom and idiot came from Greek root “idios” which means “of one’s own” or “private”, that at that time idiot meant someone not interested in public affairs- a key duty in ancient Athens. Huh, If I don’t know these idioms, I should at least be interested in Bulan public affairs!

Roughly speaking, I have a somewhat ambivalent attitude towards idiomatic expressions-  or the overly use of them: On the one side, idioms seem to facilitate communication, on the other, they seem to obscure communication as they inject- mentally or even just visually- unwanted associations. But evidently idioms of a foreign language appear illogical to non-native speakers.

Idioms are “figures of speech” whose meaning is derived not from the meaning of collocated words literally but from a group’s consensus or experience of how a phrase should mean whose meaning naturally evolves with time. But basically, idiom is a colloquial language (partly a slang) , hence, is understood only within a particular cultural context.

 And there are many of these cultural contexts! But what’s the connection, you may ask. It is because we are- as average language users (as opposed to language super-users, like Mr. Geronilla), are frequently encountering idioms in the English language that are in themselves not originating from the English or American cultures but from other non-English speaking cultures as well. These foreign idioms are translated in English naturally. Take for instance this expression Not hanging noodles on your ears. Originally, this is a Russian expression which means in American idiom Not pulling  someone’s leg – or not  kidding  or fooling someone. It appears that to know all these idioms, it is like seizing the moon by the teeth (has nothing to do with capturing Bulan by the teeth), this time a French expression for attempting the impossible. And what has death to do with Kicking the bucket? And how about these:

To reheat cabbage: to rekindle an old flame (Italian).

When the crayfish sings on the mountain: never (Russian).

Cleaner than a frog’s armpit: to be poor, broke (Spanish).

To think one is the last suck of the mango: to be conceited (South American Spanish).

Onions should grow in your navel: a mild insult (Yiddish).

Brew tea from dirt under another’s fingernails: to learn a bitter lesson (Japanese).

Belch smoke from the seven orifices of the head: to be furious (Chinese).

Don’t be intimidated by just these few examples for there are tens of thousands of them.

It is interesting to note that many academic elite, scholars take pride in using idiomatic expressions to delineate their higher status from others, mostly from the less educated social strata or subgroups, when in fact most idiomatic expressions originated from these subgroups, from the street people, from the ghettos, from the urban working-class, rural folks, from the farmers, fishers…

The How’s and Why’s Of Language

Idioms- along with phonetics and phonology (the study of speech sounds), morphology (word structures), syntax (word combinations, sentences), semantics (actual  meaning of words and sentences), pragmatics (role of context)- are subjects of study  belonging  to the science of linguistics, or psycholinguistics. Here, you go deeper than just learning the rules, spellings, idioms, vocabularies and writing style,  a field which is very interesting  for it takes into account the  psychological and neurobiological factors that enable humans to acquire, use, comprehend and produce language.

A great authority on this subject is  the psycholiguinguist ( and a politica observer)  Noam Chomsky, whose concept of generative grammar- his term for syntax- is based on the concept of Universal Grammar, an innate apparatus in every human being and is simply evident in the tremendous speeed the children absorb the language(s) around them, able to form complex sentences right after they have learned the most basic features. This connects us to depth psychology, to Carl Gustav Jung’s concept of the archetype (such as the mother, hero, animus, anima, etc.) which is all about the innate psychological dispositions- or prototypes of human experience as contained in the collective unconscious-  in man. But this will bring us too far and too technical so we’d rather stop at this point.

But why do human beings communicate with such distorting and seemingly illogical combination of words as in idiomatic expressions? Indeed, there seems to be a lot of psychology and a lot of Freudian components in each language. Why for instance say Wait till the fat lady sings when one can simply say wait till the final moment? I wouldn’t use it when a lady twice my weight is sitting beside me.

The German language is also overflowing with such expressions and they even take  more grotesque forms in some cases. Expression like In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen (literally translated, in dire straits the devil eats flies) which is roughly equivalent to Beggars can’t be choosers. But why the words devil (Teufel) and flies (Fliegen)?  In any case, this whole affair with the idioms shows us that language communication does not allow only perfectly constructed sentences but also combination of seemingly unrelated words  or  “imperfect” sentences. And if  you would do a study on the text messages of our young Bulaneños today, then I wish you by now good luck.


LGU-Bulan 2010 Budget At 118 Million Pesos

From PIO- LGU Bulan  Mr. Tonyboy Gilana


Bulan, Sorsogon, December 31, 2009:

The Sangguniang Bayan has passed Appropriation Ordinance No. 02, series of 2009, authorizing the Annual Budget of the Local Government Unit for Fiscal Year 2010 in the total amount of 118,197,163.00 pesos covering the various expenditures for the municipal government.

In her Budget Message, Mayor Helen De Castro emphasized the need to judiciously manage the finances of the Local Government Unit to properly address the growing needs of about a hundred thousand people in the municipality, through the various programs of her Administration especially in the areas of Health, Education, Livelihood, Environment and Nutrition/Social Services (HELEN Program).

Of this amount, P98,197,163.00 shall come from the Local Government share from the Internal Revenue Allotment, while an estimated P20,000,000.00 shall be from the local taxes and revenues to be generated by the economic enterprises facilities like the Public Market, the Terminal, the Community Park, the Muncipal Fishport and various other revenue-generating activities.

The bulk of the expenditures, amounting to P54,173,506.00 shall go to General Services accounts like personnel services. Social Services Sector gets a share of P15,989,236.41, with Health taking in P8,884,993.00.The Economic Services Sector expenditures are expected next year to be in the amount of P11,281,176.60.

For Other Services, which includes Statutory Obligations, the 20% Community Development Fund comes in the amount of P19,639,432.60. Five percent or P5,909,858.15 is reserved for the Calamity Fund. P63,000 has been allotted as Aid to Barangays. A Lumpsum Appropriations of P2,500,000.00 as Terminal Leave Pay is also intended this year for out-going elective and other appointive officials.

Debt-servicing stands at P8,640,000.00 to cover payments for loans made by the Local Government Unit, and these include the Bulan Integrated Terminal and the DOF Premiumed Loans for the public market.

More municipal roads are due for repair and rehabilitation this year on account of the floods that caused much destruction this year, and the LGU is making sure that the pool of equipment is properly maintained to ensure consistent operation.

The municipal government is still waiting for the full implementation of the budget pending final approval by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, which has the power to review and/or reject the municipal proposal. /


“The Municipal Budget last year 2009 was P103,873,243.00. In 2008, the Budget was P102,078,480.70. So there was a marked increase especially in the share the municipal government got from the national government through the IRA or Internal Revenue Allotment.”

Please take note that the Local Revenues/ Incomes (P20,000,000.00) are mostly estimates. This amount will be possible only if we can realize our collection targets, through our economic enterprises and revenue-generating activities like business licenses, local taxes, service facility charges, etc.

The purpose why we released this news is because it is necessary that we in the LGU of Bulan be  TRANSPARENT  in our fiscal responsibilities and duties to the people of Bulan.


Ex-Governor Raul Lee Substitutes For Wife (Sally Lee) As Sorsogon Gubernatorial Candidate


From PIO- LGU Bulan Mr. Tonyboy Gilana


Sorsogon City, December 15, 2009:

In a sudden twist of events, incumbent Sorsogon Governor Sally A. Lee (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), gave up her bid to run for another term, when she filed yesterday at the provincial Comelec a certificate of withdrawal of her candidacy in favor of her husband, former three-termer Governor Raul Lee. December 14 was the last day for filing of substitute candidates by COMELEC-accredited parties.

Political analysts here said that with the entry of the former Governor, the opposition, led by Second District Congressman Jose G. Solis , running under the Kampi Party is in for a real run for their money as the former governor is seen as a more formidable force than his wife. While Governor Sally was seen as having done much for the province in her single term as governor, the ex-governor is believed to be a more unifying force on account of his political keenness and relationship with key political leaders all over the province. He never lost touch with all his political allies, and has continuously observed and participated in major political developments in the province.

While Lee is in for a tough fight in Bulan town, since Solis is from this place, which has a voting population of 46,000, the second biggest in the province, this was neutralized by the partnership with Lee of Bulan ex-mayor Guiming De Castro as vice-gubernatorial candidate. Analysts say Solis may win in Bulan but not with a margin big enough to carry him to victory. The De Castro camp promises a surprise win in Bulan for Lee, who has himself been beloved to the local populace. /



Have A Way With Words


by  Oliver Geronilla


The power to communicate effectively and wisely sets us apart from our primitive roots, but it’s the ability to understand and respond pragmatically and strategically that clearly makes us truly civilized.

Last year, BO readers were exposed to all sorts of communicators. Some were glib if not voluble; others were taciturn and even curt. You could easily tell it from the way they communicated their ideas using logos, pathos, and ethos which all got entwined all in the name of being heard and read. This only tells us one thing: there’s a need for us to have a “reliable” platform like BO where people can freely express their innermost thoughts and even simple observations without the fear of being censured.

Ceteris paribus, it’s simply beyond me when I see or read BO contributors turning in articles or comments decrying politicking when in fact they themselves engage in it verbally or otherwise. That’s the pot calling the kettle black!

This is quite contagious; and we can see this form of verbal malady all over the country. Unfortunately, the incumbent Mayor did not spare herself from being a victim of this political disease which GMA was a victim too. In Mayor De Castro’s 2009 Year-End Report to the People of Bulan, she did not mince (her) words in telling her constituents about how she felt being “criticized” by her political rivals.

That should have been stricken off the report as it did not help bolster her sense of leadership; nor did it help her exude her favorite catch-phrase “Ina san bungto.” In fact, it weakened the almost linguistically well-polished speech she (and perhaps her speech writer) prepared. That destroyed the spirit of Christmas which, according to Christopher Dilts, is all about “seeing the goodness in others, recognizing, acknowledging and reflecting this goodness back to them. This can be done with a loving look, a kind gesture, a warm embrace, a few words of encouragement, or an expression that is as rich and elaborate as you wish.”

Well, she somehow saw the goodness in it by saying that “naging danun ini para maging inspirasyon na lalo namo pakay-adon an pag-administrar nan paglingkod sa iyo.” That and only that. The other elements were missing which I believe would have made her a better ‘mother” had she gone further by hinting at the possibility of working together despite the ugly past that has put them at a very awkward position in being role-models of goodwill and statesmanship.

A doting mother, as we all know, welcomes back to her arms all her children, prodigal or not, without conditions. But that’s far from the gist of her accomplishment report which reeked of angst and frustration. As such, the glaring paradox in her annual accomplishment report has made me wonder how she could continue being a good mother of our beloved town when she still harbors ill-feelings towards those “people who might have gone astray.”

Had she not used the word “ina’ in her report only to bash her critics around prosodically, I wouldn’t  have any qualms about her sincerity in leading Bulan towards a united, progressive, and God-fearing community.

Alas, she’s not properly coached to use language more skillfully to unite her constituents.

Still, I tip my hat to the present corps of leaders of Bulan for continually communicating with us (and hopefully continuously next time)–a step more important than the political junkets that most candidates would be busy undertaking these coming local and national elections.

My (desired) present for everyone this year: the gift of the gab minus the roar of the tiger.

Happy New Year!


Choose Freedom First

by jun asuncion


The year 2010 is finally here- and lucky are those who survived because 2009 was a year of calamities and human tragedies for the Filipinos.

Still, the tired Filipinos have the right to wish for a better year this time, a year with less natural devastations and a new national leadership that would give them back the face of dignity that they have lost and inspire them to continue fighting for the virtues they dearly hold.

Hence, this new year is our chance to go a step forward by choosing a president that has a stately character and the intelligence that’s focussed on how to improve our situation. That’s why choose freedom first above everything else and then choose your president this year.

I can no longer imagine another four or eight years of weak national leadership , another years of deception and series of insult to the Filipino mind. That’s why be wise this time, protect your mind, consider a bigger cause and then choose your president this year.

The Philippines is still not the nation we have envisioned. It is deep within it fragmented and has no direction- the reason why there is no peace and progress.

Though we may proudly declare ourselves anytime and anywhere of being friendly and hardworking Filipinos,  in truth we have no common defined goals on how to change the situations that for decades have been hindering our progress. That’s why we need a national leader that will give us this definition that we need and support our personal struggles for a nation. A multi-ethnic place like the Philippines needs a strong and incorruptible national leader who will work for and not against a Filipino nation, who will put to end this culture of impunity and replace it with culture of justice and human rights; a national leader that places national interests first than  patronage politics.

This could be too much of an expectation for this means to go against the flow of the Philippine real politik. But this is exactly we need in this socio-economic dead-end, somebody who will break the old wall and lead us to the other side where there is more space for positive growth and development.

The same way with our local governments: Choose freedom first and then choose your mayor and governor. Respect your local officials  and political candidates but don’t trade freedom for slavery. It’s more human to be poor yet free than to be poor and be a slave. Avoid manipulation of all kinds, fight for your integrity and choose freedom first.

This is the privilege we enjoy each start of the year – to reset ourselves inwardly and  to dream again for a better Philippines. Indeed, it’s a new beginning for each of us, but an end to those who choose to remain un-free and who have stopped dreaming.

Personally, you might have lost good friends and/or failed to reach your goals you have set for yourself last year. But this should not stop you from dreaming anew. The new year will also bring you new friends when old ones are gone and a new hope so that you can set up new goals again.

Friendship and politics are two things that go hand in hand: Good friendship stays and endures the test of time and expectations, hence has a deeper  quality and meaning. Good politicians are friends to the people for they work for the people’s welfare and never turn their back on the people once they have secured the power but maintain this friendship in an atmosphere of freedom and trust. The result is good governance.

To talk about freedom may sound altmodisch or old style. But for all we know- or for all that we don’t know- freedom needs to be defined and redefined constantly in a society that’s changing and struggling  like the Philippines. It is as old as philosophy itself but still remains the sine qua non of our political dasein and humanity. I’m experiencing that even in places considered to be the most free, progressive and democratic ones in the world, the people’s fight for freedom has never ceased. On the contrary, it’s omnipresent in their daily political debates and in their everyday dealing with one another.

 As a matter of fact, freedom is an issue as pressing as the issues on global warming and climate change and in a way, these issues affect one another: People who choose freedom first and whose freedom is respected have more impact on industries and government decision-making, hence can achieve more in their fight for a cleaner environment than their less-free counterparts in countries that don’t acknowledge such freedom.

The bottom-line now  is to keep your dream  and your passion for a free life. There, exactly in that place where you feel you’ve reached your own dead-end, break that wall and start again. This is really the only way to go to another higher definition within your self. Avoid people and situations that seem to compromise your inner balance or people who attack gladly your own weaknesses. Ignore them and focus on your own strengths so that you’ll be more happy and successful in your own ways.

And finally, don’t underestimate the value of dreaming for a better world for yourself because it is actually your good dream that keeps you alive in this world and keeps you breaking the walls.