Sunday, May 21, 2006

Subic exports used vehicles to Thailand

(PNA) - Subic Bay Motors Corporation (SBMCV) has exported 181 used vehicles to Carlyna Trading Co. Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand.

This consists of 129 units of Mitsubishi Pajero, 50 units of Toyota Hilux Surf and two units Toyota Landcruiser.

Carlyna Trading is the trading partner of Apple International Co. which distributes both brand new and used vehicles in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and neighboring countries.

In a send-off ceremony held at Riviera Pier, Subic Freeport Zone, SBMCV General Manager Ben Perez unveiled his company's re-export program.

Perez stressed that since the government is bent on stopping the sale of used vehicles to the local market, SBMC plans to focus on the international market.

"Together with our new Japanese investors, we plan to form a new joint venture company to re-export reconditioned vehicles to countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Russia and other left-hand drive countries in the Middle East and Africa," he noted.

Perez said his company will leave it up to the Court to determine the legality of Executive Order 418 which imposes additional P500,000 specific tax on all imported used vehicles.

"In SBMCV, we shall continue with our business and cooperate with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to help stop illegal activities in the Freeport," he said.

"We hope that the SBMA Board of Directors will approve our investment proposal to register our new export company," he added.

Perez said with this new company, we can bring in more capital, widen our market and employ hundreds of workers who will be displaced by the closure of small retailers.

Monina Pineda, SBMA Sr. Deputy Administrator for Support Services who graced the occasion in behalf of SBMA Administrator Alfredo Antonio, said SBMC's exportation business is the kind of activity that SBMA supports.

"We are not here to stop the business on used motor vehicles but as part of the government, we abide by its rules and regulation. We acknowledge SBMC and encourage other traders to go on export business," Pineda said.

Last December 2004, SBMC exported 20 ports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks to Sudan in Africa.

Currently, 300 units are being reconditioned and about 1,000 units are expected to be imported in the coming months all for re-export after local value-added activities like steering conversion, mechanical repairs, tinsmith and repainting. (PNA)

data MAY 21, 2006

202.124.130.# Subic, Batangas 4:44:13 pm 1 1:43
203.87.177.# Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga 4:38:43 pm 1 0:00
3 Olongapo 4:28:38 pm 1 0:00

Busty Bulldog: A Reharsh?? Do not think so. How about the murder, extortion, drugs, etc. that still plague Olongapo? Gordon? No way.

202.124.130.# Subic, Batangas 10:01:38 am 3 10:59
203.87.177.# Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga 9:58:24 am 2 15:47
3 Hemet, California 9:48:43 am 4 9:34

206.126.163.# Ogden, Utah 10:19:04 am 1 0:00
2 Lai Chi Kok 10:12:09 am 1 0:00
202.124.130.# Subic, Batangas 10:13:47 am 5 23:08

Busty Bulldog: "Tough love from who" What a load of ---! Where are the millions of pesos from the Subic Volunteers?

Canada Ottawa, Ontario
United States Summerville, South Carolina
United States Ogden, Utah
Hong Kong Lai Chi Kok
Philippines Subic, Batangas
Philippines Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga
United States Hemet, California
Hong Kong Hong Kong
United States San Jose, California
Korea, Republic of
Philippines Makati, Rizal
United States
Austria Vienna, Wien
United States Rockledge, Florida
Hong Kong Hong Kong
United States Los Angeles, California
United States Seattle, Washington
United States Bayside, New York
Macau Macau, Taza
United States
Philippines Olongapo
United States Bethesda, Maryland
United Arab Emirates Dubai, Dubayy
Thailand Bangkok, Krung Thep
United States Lodi, California
United Arab Emirates Dubai, Dubayy
Philippines Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga
Canada Toronto, Ontario
Vietnam Ha Noi, Dac Lac
United States Saint Louis, Missouri
Philippines Philippine, Benguet
Philippines Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga
Philippines Manila Heights Subdivision, Quezon City
Hong Kong Hong Kong
Canada Ottawa, Ontario
Philippines Olongapo
Malaysia Petaling Jaya, Wilayah Persekutuan
Philippines Dela Paz Norte, Pampanga
Philippines Cebu City
Philippines Guadalupe Station, Rizal

Mayor: $1T Saudi investment in Clark "pure hogwash, lies"

By Dante Fabian - Sun Star

ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin has branded as "the most impossible thing in the world" the recent news report that the Saudi Arabia government is set to invest some US$1 trillion at the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ).

Lazatin, after reading the banner story of another local newspaper, said "those people who say that Saudi is to invest that much money are crazy and are out to fool the people."

The third-term mayor said the US$1 trillion is already the budget of the National Government for more than 50 years. He added that the news could be nothing but "pure hogwash because that huge amount could not be invested in Clark for the former US military base is too small."

Lazatin said the people are fast gaining the trust and confidence of the Arroyo administration and "the least we can do to help the President is to stop fooling the wise Pampanga folk."

He was referring to the content of the said story that promises 500,000 jobs at CSEZ.

Lazatin did not mention any particular person he was referring to.

But Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president and CEO Antonio Ng, who was with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her state visit to Saudi Arabia last week, said in a press statement that the oil-rich country was interested in investing at CSEZ and at Subic Bay Freeport.

Ng added that the Saudi Arabia officials are set to invest US$1 trillion at the ecozones, which will generate some 500,000 jobs.

Ng said Arroyo frequently mentioned the potentials and advantages of investing at Clark and Subic in his meetings with Saudi officials that was why they were convinced to invest in the country.

Echoing Lazatin's sentiments, a barangay official lamented that that Ng "keeps giving false hopes and pure lies to his province mates just to keep his post."

"Worse, Ng treats us like little children who can believe in fiction and fantasies," said the Barangay Lourdes Sur East councilman.

"We need jobs and progress at Clark not people to feed us with a bunch of lies," said a mechanic in Barangay Lourdes Sur East who gave his name as Melo Reyes.

Another city official said Ng "should begin packing his bags for the benefit of the Clark investors and the people of Pampanga who deserve a much better CDC executive."

Ng could not be reached for his comment.

Fake policeman rises to colonel in 16 years

By Romie Evangelista

IN AN effort to save the National Police from “a big embarrassment,” Chief Arturo Lomibao has ordered the investigation of a high-ranking police officer who is said to have falsified his papers to get into the force more than 16 years ago.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Lomibao identified the officer as Supt. Napoleon Cauyan, chief of the Traffic Management Group in Central Luzon.

“I have ordered an investigation against Supt. Cauyan since two months ago because of what I heard that he falsified his absorption papers. If this is true, the PNP had been paying the salary of a fake officer for more than 16 years,” Lomibao said.

“It would be a big embarrassment to the officers corps and to an institution if it was found that Supt. Cauyan’s absorption papers were faked.”

Acting on Lomibao’s orders, the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management ordered Cauyan’s relief pending the outcome of the investigation.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Ele Jr., chief of the directorate, said Senior Supt. Napoleon Estilles, a lawyer, would handle Cauyan’s case.

This is not Cauyan’s first administrative investigation.

In 2001, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group probed Cauyan on similar charges, but the case was shelved when investigators failed to provide the courts with his supposedly fake absorption papers.

When he hurdled the charges before a Quezon City court, Cauyan was “absolved” from the case by former police director general and now Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Chief Supt. Rodolfo Mendoza Jr., deputy chief of the directorate, is said to be reluctant to act on Cauyan’s case due to pressure from his “peers and superiors.”

Sought for a reaction to Cauyan’s case, Mendoza replied: “No comment muna ako diyan.”

Other officers sympathetic to Cauyan interviewed by the Standard Today said the case could again be “whitewashed” because of Lomibao's impending retirement on July 5.

Those seeking Cauyan’s ouster said the officer’s supposed illegal absorption, if true, would affect the morale of the PNP officers corps.

“If Cauyan’s case is not acted upon within Lomibao’s term, he would likely again go scot-free and clear his name,” a source who requested anonymity said.

The source added that based on his information, Cauyan was a former Constable 2nd Class during his stint with the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police. He migrated to the United States some time in the late 1980s.

When Cauyan surfaced in the early 1990s, at the time the Constabulary was detached from the Armed Forces and the National Police was formed, “he was able to enter the force with the rank of second lieutenant.”

“At the time, those who knew Cauyan personally were shocked to learn that he was already a PNP officer,” another source said.

Standard Today’s efforts to contact and seek the reaction of Cauyan, who is stationed at the Central Luzon PNP headquarters in Camp Olivas, Pampanga, went unanswered.

USCIS explains how immigration security checks work

IMMIGRATION CORNER By Michael J. Gurfinkel
The Philippine Star

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the US Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) has required enhanced criminal and national security background checks on all applicants for immigration benefits, regardless of ethnicity, national origin or religion. Applicants have sometimes expressed frustration over delays that sometimes stretch to a year or longer.

USCIS realizes the great anxiety that these delays have caused, but the USCIS recently issued a press release, explaining the need for these background checks in order "to enhance national security and ensure the integrity of the immigration process."

In fact, according to USCIS, these security checks have uncovered applicants who were involved in violent crimes, fraud, misrepresentations, drug trafficking, and individuals with known links to terrorism. The USCIS stresses that these investigations require time, resources and patience. The agency is working closely with the FBI and other agencies to speed the background check process. It said, however, that it will never grant an immigration service or benefit before the required security checks are completed, regardless of how long those checks take.

The USCIS uses several background checks for persons applying for immigration benefits:

1. The Inter-agency Border Inspection System (IBIS) Name Check – This system is a multi-agency effort, with a central system that combines information from multiple agencies, databases, and system interfaces to compile data relating to national security risk, public safety and other law enforcement concerns.

2. FBI Fingerprint Check – FBI fingerprint checks, which are required for many applications, provide information relating to criminal background within the United States. Generally, the FBI forwards response to USCIS within 24 to 48 hours. In cases involving arrests or charges without disposition, USCIS requires the applicant to provide court-certified evidence that the cases have been dismissed.

3. FBI Name Checks – The FBI Name Check is totally different from a fingerprint check. The records maintained in the FBI name check process consist of administrative, applicant, criminal, personnel and other files compiled by law enforcement. Initial responses to these checks generally take about two weeks. In about 80 percent of these cases, no match is found. Of the remaining 20 percent, most are resolved within six months. But if you have a very common name, and someone else with the same name has a "hit," it would take time for this security check, to make sure it was not you who committed the crime.

All applicants for immigration benefits must be aware of the importance of these background checks, and should be more understanding of the delays in immigration processing because of these security checks. If there are issues of an erroneous "hit" on your record, i.e. you’re being accused of a crime or violation you did not commit, I suggest you consult with an attorney, who can advise you of the reasons for the delay and perhaps help you present needed evidence if there are problems with your application. * * *

Four offices to serve you:

PHILIPPINES: 8940258 or 8940239

LOS ANGELES: (818) 5435800

SAN FRANCISCO: (415) 5387800

NEW YORK: (212) 8080300

Color-coding on jeepneys costly: group

THE plan to impose a color-coding on all public utility jeepneys in the country to boost tourism is not practical at a time when prices of commodities are steadily rising, a jeepney group said on Friday.

Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap)-Baguio president Perfecto Itliong Jr. said re-painting one jeepney unit to conform to the color of the trunk lines in Baguio is too expensive.

Repainting of one jeepney unit costs P20,000 to P25,000.

Itliong said that aside from repainting, paper work is also involved in the process since clearances will also have to be obtained from the Traffic Management Group (TMG), the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The tourism department is eyeing the color-coding of public utility vehicles similar to the transportation system in Olongapo City.

As the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is bent on strictly imposing the practice of hygiene among public utility drivers, Itliong urged local commuters to also report to the Traffic Management Branch of the Baguio City Police Office violations on hygiene and non-use of driver's identification cards and uniforms.

He said there is an existing memorandum circular, which mandates drivers to always wear their prescribed uniforms, to provide garbage receptacles within the jeep, and to maintain their personal hygiene all the time.

He advised commuters to record the plate number of the jeep and submit this to the president of the concerned association so that appropriate action could be done. (RO SunStar)

Legacy of '30s Filipina entrepreneur

Margie Quimpo-Espino, Inquirer

THE typical Filipina during the 1930s was a homemaker who tended the house and the kids. Rare was a woman who worked and rarer still was a woman who went into entrepreneurship.

Asuncion Quiray Abiva was one such woman.

A schoolteacher in the 1930s, Asuncion, together with husband Luis Sr., also a teacher, published reviewer manuals for civil service exams of patrolmen and junior and senior teachers under a firm called Abiva Press in 1936.

The husband and wife team were really entrepreneurs. They also started a ferry business from Manila to Subic. But they gave up on this business.

The publishing business, however, grew quickly. It started as a one-room affair on Evangelista Street in Quiapo, Manila but by 1939, moved to a bigger place on Misericordia Street (now T. Mapua).

Business was picking up when World War II broke out. And in 1942, tragedy struck when Luis Sr. died suddenly of a heart attack.

Asuncion was left to fend for her four children—Nena, Felicito, Rosario and Luis Jr.

"It was at the height of war. Amid countless checkpoints by the Japanese Army and while aboard a cargo truck provided by Ramon Magsaysay to transport our father to his final resting place in Zambales, I could see how my mother greatly grieved the loss of my father. But then and there I also sensed and learned from her inner strength and determination," wrote Nena in a tribute to Asuncion.

The matriarch opened a motor shop in her house and hired relatives to repair vehicles and trucks.

She also bought and sold old clothes at Bambang Street just to purchase a bag of rice and mongo beans for the family's next meal.

After the war Asuncion made coffee from toasted rice and bibingka and sold these along Avenida, Rizal to support her family. She also rented out some rooms in the house.

In 1945, she had some savings and rebuilt Abiva Press. She received requests for educational materials from teachers and went into the publishing of elementary and high school books.

Abiva pioneered in publishing the Oral English Skills Program which featured listening centers and language laboratories.

In 1965, it became the exclusive distributor of SRA (Science and Research Associates).

In 1969, it set up its own printing company—the Hiyas Press. It was the first press to print Christmas cards using paintings on the cover commissioned by Asuncion.

For 70 years, Abiva has remained a family-owned company. Asuncion eventually passed on the baton to her children and spent her retirement years travelling.

Recently, Asuncion's first grandson, Jorge A. Garcia took over the reigns of the publishing house. It was passed to him by Luis Jr., the youngest child of Asuncion.

Jorge grew up within the walls of the publishing house, which was within the family compound. He started "working" when he was six years old collecting trash in the office.

As he grew older, Jorge continued to be exposed in the business working in the packing section of the publishing house, preparing textbooks for delivery to various schools.

Being the eldest grandson had its perks. He was Asuncion's constant travelling companion enabling him to visit many countries at a young age.

But while Jorge practically grew up in the publishing business, he was made to work in other firms.

After getting a Marketing degree at De La Salle University in 1981, he was hired as an assistant brand manager at GF Equity, a management services company of consumer food items.

It was no surprise then that when Jorge joined Abiva in 1983, he set up the marketing department.

Jorge admits the textbook publishing business is a very tough business because of the tendency of some publishers to resort to bribery and other corrupt practices to sell the books.

He says the bribe paid out by some publishers accounts for up to 60 percent of the cost of books.

"We do not go into these kinds of dealings," Jorge states. He says what Abiva does is compete via much lower prices and better quality books. This is achieved through efficiency and an integrated operation.

There are about 80 textbook publishers in the country and Abiva is among the biggest and is the oldest.

Jorge also admits there is a dearth of textbook writers in the country as it loses its teachers to the US and other countries where they get much bigger pay.

But he says Abiva remains committed to continuing the legacy Asuncion started, and will believe that Abiva's textbook writers are "nation builders."

Friday, May 19, 2006

TagBoard 19May2006

Raf: there simply are too many companies in the freeport with unpaid accounts, why single out the Legenda? To favor Diamond?
Raf: the plight of the workers is our outmost concern
Raf: Olongapo residents simply hate the mobster like execution made by PAGCOR, its like when Payumo attacked building 229
Mika: Every day, the happy person does at least one difficult thing
Readers are Leaders : Today a learner, tomorrow a winner!
Anna: Courage is saying, "Maybe what I'm doing isn't working; maybe I should try something else
ed: Their contact numbers and complete address can be viewed at . . . . . .You may contact Peter Paul for details.
gEnOs@iD: good pm po sir ed. natatanggap nyo po ba yung email ko? i sent an email po regarding sa query ko. eto po ulit ang email ko: Sana po ay matulungan nyo ako. Tnx!
Arlan: When we accept tough jobs as a challenge to our ability and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen
Nap: It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed
(-: Hi
cha: hellow....
deng: galing ni brenda sa big brother house, she can read minds. Let's support Brenda
Ed: gEnOs@iD email me direct regarding your querry
gEnOs@iD: hello po. pwede ko po bang malaman kung ano-ano yung mga ka-kailianganin ng HANJIN para sa ship building project nila? like kung ano-anong meterials?
Ed: I suggest that you first register online ( for employers to notice you
Aiza: Fast learner saan? Curious lang po! Hihihihi!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

6,000 km cross-country in 22 days on a motorbike

By Hans Peder Pedersen, Inquirer

“Get your motor running, Head out on the highway, looking for adventure and whatever comes our way. Born to be wild!” –Steppenwolf

THIS is a story of a 6,000-km, 22-day cruise on my Harley Davidson Sportster 1200, across the Philippines from Zamboanga City, and back—via Dapitan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Surigao, Tacloban and Sorsogon cities, Manila, Subic (Zambales), La Union, Vigan City, Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte), Tugueguerao (Cagayan), Banawe (Ifugao), Baguio City, Manila, Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro), Kalibo (Aklan) and Dumaguete City.

For many years, I have traveled in this country on a bike in February, and I’ve never experienced a single day of rain during those trips. But this year, it was raining when I left Zamboanga in January and was pouring down when I came back in March, and lots of rain along the route.

I passed Southern Leyte a few days before the landslide. Maybe, it was a late La Niña. But in Banawe, the hotel people told me that it was the warmest month they could recall.

Most of the roads are fairly good, some even excellent. Of course, others are bad and a few, real ugly. The worst are the roads in most of Samar, and their terrible state is a crime against the Samareños, as well as travelers.

The first leg to Zamboanga del Norte was a great ride. The road along the northern coast of Mindanao runs close to the sea, sometimes high above and sometimes at sea level—a beautiful section.

All the way to Davao, the roads are of good quality. The newly built stretch from Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental) to Bukidnon via Malaybalay was a very pleasant ride over cool high plains.

As an architect, I had worked on the master plan for Cagayan de Oro and Davao cities 25 years ago, and I wanted to see the development since. Davao has followed up well with infrastructure improvements, such as overpasses, while Cagayan de Oro seems unchanged, with traffic in bad shape.

From the Davao Insular Hotel, I made a day trip to the Pearl Farm on Samal Island. The cottages in architect Francisco Mañosa’s distinguished contemporary vernacular style is resort design at its best.

The road from Davao to Surigao and from Tagum to Butuan is under rehabilitation. The bad news is the entire pavement has been removed from a stretch of about 100 km, making it a very unpleasant ride in a bowl of dust and black diesel fumes from buses and trucks.

I missed the ferry in Surigao by 15 minutes due to a change of schedule nobody but the shipping line had heard of. I spent the night in a training center near the pier and got on the early morning ferry to Leyte.

Black cloud

Every town now has an emission control station. If the black color on my face after a day’s ride is any indicator, buses, trucks and jeepneys seem to be exempted from control. But what do I know?

I traveled the Pan Philippine Highway many years ago when it was in very good shape. It will take a lot of work to get the full length in proper condition. I reached Tacloban and checked in at the Leyte Park Hotel where Linda, a one-woman band back after years of performing abroad, gave me the old rock-and-roll routine.

Roll-on, roll-off

The roro is an exotic experience. You line up at one window to pay the terminal fee, move to the next for a passenger ticket, and to another for a bill of lading for the bike typed carefully with one finger. You proceed to the Port Authority to pay for handling and, finally, to the Coast Guard for a rubber stamp on the registration.

In Surigao, they have added a little humor to this pedestrian procedure. A woman at a table outside the booths collects P50 for the “Barangay Tax.” I got a receipt, though.

I started the next day toward Luzon in pouring rain over the impressive San Juanico Bridge and on to Samar—the worst and most dangerous bike ride of the trip. This is the worst road I have ever experienced during years of biking around the world. I made it to Allen with only a slightly damaged shock absorber and got on the roro to Sorsogon for the night.

The ferry trip was rough. Many plastic bags were out to catch lunch. Seasickness seems to be contagious.

Public transportation

It’s always interesting to study the specific, often innovative, local versions of tricycles and bikes. Each area has its own design. In Southern Leyte, I saw bikes with roofs so big and mounted so high that they looked like hand gliders ready for takeoff. One operator recognized the resemblance by calling his unit “Airborne.”

I took the 550-km ride from Sorsogon to Manila in one go, stopping only for gas. I was descending from the hills toward Lucena on a meandering road just as sunset painted the landscape red and yellow—a beautiful sight. On the last stretch to Manila, I was all alone on the Skyway and gave the bike full throttle, blasting through the night with Harley rumbling.

I had the bike serviced and got a new tire after the sometimes rough ride. My friend King did the job in his Harley shop “Full Throttle” in Makati. I was ready to go north.

In Subic, I joined up with my old friend, Leo Prieto Jr. He left his Fireblade “crotch rocket” home to test his new BMW R 1200 GS on the trip to Pagudpud. So here we are, two old dudes on different bikes both basically designed more than half a century ago with some evolutionary improvements.

We spent the day at the peaceful, relaxing Mangrove Hotel before riding to Vigan. The coastal road through Zambales and Pangasinan is ideal for biking—long sweeping curves, not much traffic, and a well maintained pavement. Heavy traffic slowed us down in Dagupan City, but we were onto the great ride along the Lingayen Bay to La Union where we spent the night.

Vigan is a fast-growing city. We stayed in the classy Vigan Plaza Hotel at the main plaza. We arrived early, in time for an afternoon stroll through the old streets of Spanish colonial houses and a visit to the cathedral.

The ride to Pagudpud was easy. Approaching the northern point of Luzon, we passed a number of sandy coves shaped by powerful waves rolling in from the open sea.

Pagudpud is a serene area with strong, fresh wind and big surfs. After sunset, “the night comes falling from the sky,” as Bob Dylan experienced it. A pitch-black sky makes the stars shine as brightly as I have ever seen. The waves thundered against the shore.

Jr. had to return to Manila to take care of business the next morning, and I headed for Tuguegarao and Banawe.

The ride around the northern tip of Luzon offered an exciting experience. At one time, the road is actually on a bridge-like structure between the coast and steep mountain slopes covered with rainforest.

I spent the night in Tuguegarao and continued the ride to Banawe early next morning. The access from Bagabag, Isabela is easy on concrete. A heavy deforestation is prevailing in this area, exposing large denuded mountainsides.

Banawe has not changed much over the last couple of decades. Most of the terraces are still maintained. Many tourists were arriving.

I proceeded to Bontoc on the old dirt road. It was raining since early morning and the track was slippery, making it hard to steer the heavy loaded Harley. It was certainly not an off-roader. On one side, you have a free fall of several hundred meters and on the other, the mountain wall.

It was mainly a ride on first gear. I made the trip, also in heavy rain, 30 years ago on a Juniors Triumph Bonneville.

Touching the sky

While slowly ascending on the winding road, I suddenly found myself inside a rain-filled cloud. Visibility was only a few meters. No colors but grey, like riding in a black-and-white movie. The mist was sprinkling my face with water, a pleasant cool sensation on the skin. Riding in a cloud felt strange, like touching the sky.

Shortly after starting the descent, a sunbeam cut through the mist and lighted up a strip of the valley below. The shades of green came back and a small triangle of clear blue sky appeared between two mountain peaks—a transition of poetic beauty. The power of the sun gradually took control and revealed the strong sculptured rice terraces in the valley.

It was a slow but scenic ride on a dirt road in Bontoc, Mountain Province. It follows a river with small rice terraces on the brink. Getting closer to Baguio, the traffic increased. Many vegetable trucks were driving like mad on the meandering mountain road, and the situation called for careful, defensive driving.

The entrance to Baguio is a war zone of jeepneys fighting for passengers. I reached the city proper and got gobbled up in the traffic mess and choking polluted air.

Urban decay

When Baguio was built following Daniel Burnham’s plan, it was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful mountain cities in the world. Over the last couple of decades, it has become an example of how bad it can get when there is no development control to match blind greed and short-sightedness. A sad story of a dethroned beauty queen of the mountains turned whore.

I spent some time with old friends before starting my trip back to Zambonga City on the Nautical Highway.

First stop was Manila, where I had another checkup of the Harley for the 1,500-km trip. I took the South Superhighway to Batangas and the roro to Puerto Galera. I spent a day with Jim, who manages the peaceful Coral Cove Diving Resort in Sabang away from the circus in the town itself.

The rain followed me on most of the journey back. I headed for Roxas, where the roro took me to Caticlan. We arrived around 10:30 p.m. and everything was closed. The bike was low on gas but a helpful guy took me to a house where I was able to buy five Coke bottles of premium.

Little sleep

I reached Kalibo at midnight, looking for a place to get a little sleep after 19 hours of traveling, mostly in heavy rain that made the muscles cold and sore. But as John Mellemcamp sings: “It hurts so good,” especially when it was over.

I found the ideal place to sleep where I had to pay only P200 for three hours and P35 for the following hours. I paid for six hours and started early to Iloilo and the roro to Bacolod. I continued to Dumaguete where I arrived at around 8 p.m. after another rainy day on the road.

I spent two days in the city. It’s a lively place, especially along the boulevard with its string of cafes. A friend from Zamboanga has a daughter who studies at Silliman University. She was the perfect guide and introduced me to a group of her good friends. We spent a pleasant evening in one of their homes where they served delicious vegetarian supper for me.

I took the 7 a.m. ferry to Dapitan and proceeded to my home in Zamboanga City. It was still raining.

There are many good hotels all over the country. From three- to five-star hotels, whose prices range from P1,200 to P2,700 per night, but all good value for the money in their own right, such as Dakak in Dapitan, Harbor Light Hotel in Cagayan de Oro, Insular Hotel in Davao, Leyte Park Hotel in Tacloban, Mangrove Hotel in Subic, Vigan Plaza Hotel, and Banawe Hotel.

Not in this category is the most expensive room on this nationwide trip in Saud Resort in Pagudpud, where a single traveler is charged P3,550 per night.

As a biker, I love to ride into the unknown, chasing the wind. But it’s another story if you are a tourist who wants to plan and budget a vacation. I was part of the team that carried out the “Tourism Masterplan for the Philippines” and can appreciate that angle, too. There is a need for coordinated and currently updated information on schedules and prices (they seem to change frequently). I suggest that the Department of Tourism supplement its travel maps with a website providing this service.

Editor’s note: The author is an architect and senior biker, and a long time resident of Zamboanga City.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Zambalenos Messages

Message 1
From: "Edgar Millan"
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 5:03pm(PDT)

I don't understand how a thing like this can happen without legal implications. Doesn't the political system there have their own checks and balances? My unsolicited advice to Vice Governor Lacbain is to face off with Gov. Magsaysay in the next elections and let the people decide once and for all if they still want to retain the old system or not.


Message 2
From: ""
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 7:47pm(PDT)

May I know who are this board members, ask I recall during the Manuel
Barreto's term he did not do this to Juan Misa or Paulino Guerrero.
How did majority of sane Zambaleno elect this character, Where does our
beloved province going NOW...

Message 3
From: "plm712001"
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 10:09pm(PDT)


I hope the NPA would help in eradicating Vic Magsaysay and his thugs.
This is a case where using the bullet will be justified.

Message 4
From: "william francia"
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 10:11pm(PDT)

I agree with you Edgar...but I don't know if the people of Zambales is aware of this..

It is not how long you live
that counts but it is how you enjoy your life!!!
William 'bradpans" Rabara Francia
South West Lodge # 283 National City, CA
Pinatubo Lodge # 52 San Narciso, Zambales
San Diego, CA
Hometown: Sto Nino, San Felipe, Zambales

----- Original Message -----
From: Edgar Millan
To: Zambales Forum 2
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2006 5:03 PM

I don't understand how a thing like this can happen without legal implications. Doesn't the political system there have their own checks and balances? My unsolicited advice to Vice Governor Lacbain is to face off with Gov. Magsaysay in the next elections and let the people decide once and for all if they still want to retain the old system or not.


Message 5
From: "plm712001"
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 10:26pm(PDT)
Subject: Not a Zambales news but affects Filipino Diaspora

Saudi's Penis Reattached After Maid Cuts It Off

Message 6
From: "Generoso de Dios"
Date: Wed May 10, 2006 10:34pm(PDT)

People of Zambales are aware of these shenanigans of the governor, especially those "sabungeros" who frequent his cockpit in Castillejos. But, they will all be anesthesized by his money during elections in cahoots with the local officials from the mayor to the barangay captains and councils including the religious sect that choose him no matter what he does to this province or ultimately the manipulation of the election thru the so called body Comelec. So what else is new, what with all the kick backs he is getting now with the ongoing projects in Zambales plus the jueteng payolas he is armed to the teeth now. Sinong papalag diyan " patay kang bata ka!" So Vice governor be careful kapag di mo kaya huwag ka na lang pumalag, bata ka pa . Nawala lang 'yan noong panahon na nawala rin si Marcos, but look what happened to Deloso, nakulong pa.Ngayon balik na naman siya , ewan kung paano, but he really knows how to play politics. Balita ko pati NPA nakaya niyang bayaran . Now he is preparing his succesor probably his son, it has been his dynasty all over! So, tiis na lang mga ka-probinsiya.
Mahirap na baka mapaginitan pa ni gob. Malay natin tamaan ng kidlat o liparin ng may taring manok 'yan at tamaan sa kilikili, solve ang problema, baka sakali 'yung pumalit matino na.
Haay buhay...bayan gising kayo!



Message 7
From: "Frank Raposa"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 5:13am(PDT)
Subject: Re: Not a Zambales news but affects Filipino Diaspora

Message 8
From: "Frank Raposa"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 5:30am(PDT)
Subject: Re: Not a Zambales news but affects Filipino Diaspora

OFW's here in KSA is in bad light.

Before this "cutting off of male organ",

Message 9
From: "Frank Raposa"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 6:11am(PDT)

Certainly he is afraid of "kidlat" (lightning) kasi ang puso niya ay battery-operated na. Kaya nga yun office nya sa kapitolyo pina-renovate para lightning-proof.

Eh yun kalye namin sa baryo nasementuhan (not whoever else made it), well, a collective effort of barrio folks. Kaming mga nakatira dun each home ay nag-contribute to buy cement, graba at buhangin ay libre na dahil may quarry dun at manpower siyempre, Pinoy essence of Bayanihan, and wala kalye namin sementado. Why wait for alms from the provincial office? wherein that alms will never drip.

Generoso de Dios wrote:
People of Zambales are aware of these shenanigans of the governor, especially those "sabungeros" who frequent his cockpit in Castillejos. But, they will all be anesthesized by his money during elections in cahoots with the local officials from the mayor to the barangay captains and councils including the religious sect that choose him no matter what he does to this province or ultimately the manipulation of the election thru the so called body Comelec. So what else is new, what with all the kick backs he is getting now with the ongoing projects in Zambales plus the jueteng payolas he is armed to the teeth now. Sinong papalag diyan " patay kang bata ka!" So Vice governor be careful kapag di mo kaya huwag ka na lang pumalag, bata ka pa . Nawala lang 'yan noong panahon na nawala rin si Marcos, but look what happened to Deloso, nakulong pa.Ngayon balik na naman siya , ewan kung paano, but he really knows how to play politics. Balita ko pati NPA nakaya niyang bayaran . Now he is preparing his succesor probably his son, it has been his dynasty all over! So, tiis na lang mga ka-probinsiya.
Mahirap na baka mapaginitan pa ni gob. Malay natin tamaan ng kidlat o liparin ng may taring manok 'yan at tamaan sa kilikili, solve ang problema, baka sakali 'yung pumalit matino na.
Haay buhay...bayan gising kayo!


Message 10
From: "Rodel Ramos"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 6:25am(PDT)


Marami na talagang pang-aabuso sa atin ang Vic Magsaysay na iyan and pamilya niya. Pati ang kapiraso kong beach area sa Iba inaagaw pa. Ang mga katabi kong mga malalaking bahay binuldozer and binaon.

We can still fight them by making allies with the media people and organizing the youth who are still with principles and are daring to challenge the system. We overseas have the money and the power to counter the abuses but most of us are all talks and no action. Also, we would rather do our own thing separately (kanya kanya) which never works. To fight a powerful moneyed people, we have to plan and work together and ally with other sectors of society. There is no other way to fight back.

There are Zambalenos in the media like Monica Feria of Cabangan who is with Graphics Magazine, Rolly Edevia (email: of Candelaria. I met them at the National Press Club when I was there. Also Ethel, Belen and Chit Ramos. Get in touch with them.

If you want to organize the young people (students) I can set up a plan for you. But we need people to implement it. Appeal to the Chruches. I am sure not all of the Churches like what is happening to Zambales. I heard the Bishop in Iba is against what the Magsaysays are doing.

We can put up a newspaper to promote our cause. Let the Vice Governor find out how much it will cost to publish it and we should share in the cost.

Vic can't run anymore because this is his last term but either his son or daughter is running. I heard they are starting their campaign already.

Mang Rodel

Generoso de Dios wrote:
People of Zambales are aware of these shenanigans of the governor, especially those "sabungeros" who frequent his cockpit in Castillejos. But, they will all be anesthesized by his money during elections in cahoots with the local officials from the mayor to the barangay captains and councils including the religious sect that choose him no matter what he does to this province or ultimately the manipulation of the election thru the so called body Comelec. So what else is new, what with all the kick backs he is getting now with the ongoing projects in Zambales plus the jueteng payolas he is armed to the teeth now. Sinong papalag diyan " patay kang bata ka!" So Vice governor be careful kapag di mo kaya huwag ka na lang pumalag, bata ka pa . Nawala lang 'yan noong panahon na nawala rin si Marcos, but look what happened to Deloso, nakulong pa.Ngayon balik na naman siya , ewan kung paano, but he really knows how to play politics. Balita ko pati NPA nakaya niyang bayaran . Now he is preparing his succesor probably his son, it has been his dynasty all over! So, tiis na lang mga ka-probinsiya.

Mahirap na baka mapaginitan pa ni gob. Malay natin tamaan ng kidlat o liparin ng may taring manok 'yan at tamaan sa kilikili, solve ang problema, baka sakali 'yung pumalit matino na.
Haay buhay...bayan gising kayo!


Message 11
From: "Edgar Millan"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 9:33am(PDT)
Subject: Zambales news

3 Zambales firms benefit from DOST Setup program
Message 12
From: "Edgar Millan"
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 10:02am(PDT)

Don't count on it, Manong Rodel. Vic Magsaysay is the number one supporter of Gloria regarding PIG (People's Initiative for Gloria) for Charter Change. Once this has been amended, there will be no more term limits and he can become the absolute king of Zambales. Scary thought but it's possible.


Rodel Ramos wrote:

Vic can't run anymore because this is his last term but either his son or daughter is running. I heard they are starting their campaign already.

Mang Rodel

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Interagency project to hire 230 Zambales workers

Iba, Zambales (10 May) -- Two hundred thirty workers from unemployed families in this province will be employed through a partnership of government agencies spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The workers (165 will come from the 1st Highway Engineering District and the other 65 will come from the second Highway Engineering District) will pass through screening of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Philippine National Police (PNP). Their deployment will be taken care by the DPWH, which will supervise them.

District Engineer Domingo Mariano said that the workers will be hired through President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's job creation program as stipulated in her BEAT THE ODDS and as promised during the election campaign.

The project will be launched on May 15, 2006 at the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Partner agencies in this project are DPWH, DSWD, PNP, Metro Manila Development Authority and Philippine Information Agency.

Assistant District Engineer Hercules Manglicmot said that the first batch of worker-beneficiaries will work starting this May and ends on Augost while the second batch will work in September,2006 to January, 2007. (by Lito Abuan PIA)

Saga of Golden Buddha won’t simply fade away

Inquirer Northern Luzon : Saga of Golden Buddha won’t simply fade away

By Delmar Cario

THIRTY-FIVE YEARS after it was found in a tunnel near a hospital in Baguio City, the Golden Buddha and the controversy it has generated simply refuse to fade away.

Its discovery promised wealth and fame for its finder, the late Rogelio Roxas, a locksmith-turned-treasure hunter, but the legal and family squabbles that followed spoiled what could have been a life of fortune for his family.

The recent decision of a US court that human rights victims of the late President Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorial regime should share in the damages that the Roxas heirs could get has opened old wounds, both legal and personal.

Golden Buddha Corp. (GBC), which Roxas and his foreign partners established in 1986, is locked in a multimillion-dollar damage suit against the Marcos estate in US soil.

Marcos was believed to have masterminded the Golden Buddha’s seizure from Roxas’ house in Aurora Hill in Baguio City on April 5, 1971.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled last week that the 9,539 human rights victims under Marcos’ rule were entitled to partake of between $35 million to $40 million in damage compensation to Roxas’ heirs.

Not a setback

Roxas’ son Henry and brother Danilo did not consider the ruling a setback but wished that the cases GBC filed against the Marcoses would be resolved soon.

“I will leave it to our lawyer on what to do with the decision. My father suffered much because of the Buddha and I hope justice would soon be given to us,” Henry, 38, said.

Lawyer Daniel Cathcart of the Magana, Cathcart and MacCarthy law firm based in San Francisco, California, is representing GBC and Roxas’ heirs in the civil suit against the Marcos estate.

“As long as our claims [are] finally recognized and we will be compensated properly, we do not mind sharing with the human rights victims,” Danilo said.

The Inquirer interviewed Henry and Danilo separately on Monday and Tuesday, as both have not spoken for more than a year. Henry said he and his uncle could not see eye to eye on the Golden Buddha issue.

But Judge Antonio Reyes of the Baguio Regional Trial Court admitted that the US court ruling was in conflict with a decision he issued on May 30, 1996.

Reyes then declared that the bronze-plated statuette in the court’s custody in Baguio was the same item that Rogelio found in 1971.

“The US court’s decision appears to imply that the Golden Buddha existed and I really do not know how the conclusion was arrived at and what [pieces of] evidence were presented,” he said.

Recalling the proceedings before his court, Reyes said there was an admission that Rogelio’s find was not really gold.

“The mere fact that a petition was filed in court to claim the bronze statuette was an indication that indeed no Golden Buddha existed,” he said.

Reyes was very emphatic: “The government has vast resources under its control and surely it could have found the Golden Buddha it if really existed.”

Told that the real statuette was allegedly melted into gold bars and became part of the Marcoses’ hidden wealth abroad, Reyes said: “That’s only a theory since no hard evidence had been shown. It is speculative.”

He said the conflict brought about by the US court decision could affect rules on international law but stressed that court decisions were “territorial,” meaning decisions are only enforceable in the country where the decision was issued.

He surmised though that the US ruling could have merely categorized Rogelio in the class of human rights victims and that it had nothing to do with the existence of the Golden Buddha.

The statuette in the court’s custody was surrendered by lawmen days after Rogelio complained that his Golden Buddha had been seized.

Rogelio, who died in 1993, claimed that the statuette that was returned was a replica.

Detachable head

It did not have a detachable head and a hollow torso unlike the Buddha he found in 1971, he said.

The Buddha was made of gold and its torso contained pieces of jewelry, Rogelio said of his statuette believed to be part of the war booty of Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the acknowledged “Tiger of Malaya.”

The statuette gained new interest in 1995 when Jose Roxas, Rogelio’s eldest brother and a locksmith in Olongapo City, petitioned the court to release the statuette to him as a memento of Rogelio’s treasure hunting days.

But Jose, 71, earned the ire of his siblings and nephews Henry and brother Gervic, when he declared in court that Rogelio never found a Golden Buddha.

Jose, who had been accused of conspiring with former First Lady Imelda Marcos to spread the yarn on the statuette, is still disputing with Henry and Gervic the right to bring home the Golden Buddha now in the Baguio court’s custody.

Pandora’s box at LTO

DECENTRALIZATION was the evil key that unlocked the Pandora’s box of car smugglers in the country.

Thus alleged Bureau of Customs intelligence officers as they claimed the Land Transportation Office has no authority to decentralize the registration of imported vehicles.

Intelligence officers under the office of Customs Commissioner Boy Morales and Deputy Customs Comissioner Celso Templo claimed that under the law, all imported vehicles must only be registered with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the LTO Central Office.

The sources said the memorandum of LTO Assist. Secretary Anali Lontok two years ago directing regional directors to accept for registration all imported cars with certificates of payment issued by the BOC violates some Customs provisions.

“Paano malalaman ng mga local LTO sa iba’t-ibang regional office kung tunay o peke ang BOC-certificate of payment (BOC-CP) namin, eh hindi naman nila agad naku-confirm ito sa aming tanggapan,” the BOC intelligence officers said.

“Tulad ngayon, libo-libong certificate of payment for confirmation ang dumating sa aming tanggapan buhat sa Davao at Cebu. Ito ay may mga petsang mula Enero hanggang Mayo 2005. Paano namin malalaman kung ang behikulo ay buo o hindi na ipinasok dito?,” the highly-reliable sources said.

They also intimated that a businessman has filed a case against a legitimate car dealer in Makati City regarding an imported vehicle he had bought.

“Natuklasan na ang Audi car niya na binili ng mahigit P1 milyun ay hindi ipinagbayad na duty at taxes sa Customs, pero na-rehistro sa lokal na LTO sa Tagbailaran City,” the sources said.

To stomp the car smugglers, the intelligence officers said the Customs commissioner issued a memorandum last week to centralize the issuance of certificates of payment with the BOC.

by : Jess V. Antiporda
People's Tonight

San Diego and Tijuana women debated on sex web site

By Brian Swarthmore

San Diego--As a native San Diegan, I get some of my information from respectable news sources like the Union Tribune,, and, of course,

"You can’t find good whores in San Diego anymore and the best looking and sleaziest women in T.J. hang out at two Tijuana clubs called the Chicago Club and Adelitas." But there is one website that provides news I can’t get elsewhere: News on sexual providers. It’s called and, true to its word, it provides reviews and commentaries on whores, sluts and prostitutes from around the world.

Naturally, there are sections on San Diego and Tijuana that give a good idea of the sex scene in both cities. In a nutshell: You can’t find good whores in San Diego anymore and the best looking and sleaziest women in T.J. hang out at two Tijuana clubs called the Chicago Club and Adelitas.

I’ve never actually tried any of the reader tips. Hey, you don’t have to be an athlete to read the sports pages, do you? Well, you don’t have to be an asshole to read about sport screwing.

A few glances at the various pages provide an illuminating world into literature that would surely please Charles Bukowski (who would prefer liquor to licking).

Here’s a recent posting from a man who calls himself “A Real Superman,” but I’m not sure that’s his real name. He wanted to hear about experiences at a San Diego massage parlor called Won’s, which he helpfully added was “on 32nd by the drug store.” His post:

“Anyone have anything redeeming to say before I relate my experience here?”

A man named “Jumper1” (again, probably not his real name) responded:

“Have been going to Won's off and on for about 5 years. Used to be a reasonable alternative to driving to Escondido if the traffic was bad. Not any more. Has gone to the dogs. Save your money and go elsewhere. Oops, forgot. Elsewhere is getting more and more difficult to find here in SD.”

“A Real Superman” relayed his encounter:

“Parked out back, rang bell. Mamasan let me in and collected 100 for an hour and body shampoo. Girl came in, said her name is Gina. Very lame table shower. Lame massage but I was not there for a massage. Flip over. Very lame hydraulics. ‘No’ on any other extras. Total waste of looks with no talent. The best part was when she asked for 60.00 tip. She got less. Talks way too much and not enough action. I won’t be back to Wons.”

“SDBigdogg88” (which, I must point out, is likely a pseudonym) replied:

“Well, you got the Won treatment. Gina is a chatterbox that likes to waste your time. She is basically lazy, if you allow her to be. If you let her run game on you, she will yak it up for about 40 minutes, all the while, doing something with her hands that in no way resembles a massage of any type that I've ever experienced anywhere on this planet. After about of 30 minutes of this bullshit, she'll get down to business and play with your buns and weenie, while trying to ferret out of you how much you are going to give her for whatever you want that's on the menu.

“Now I'm not going to hold anyone’s hand and tell them how to negotiate with a provider, that's for everyone to find out for themselves.

“Long and short of this, do not session with Gina for any reason. IMO it is a waste of time, effort, money and [bodily fluid].

“Instead, you want to ask for Yo Yo. She has a hot smokin little body, and attempts to give a half assed massage for me as I've seen her more than a few times and she is comfortable with knowing me.

“She's good in the rack, not lazy with the oral accomplishments, but kind of a sloppy box on her. Good effort on her part though. Just don't be a chump and pay them more than the session is worth for you.

“This place is not high on my list of places to go, since the mamasan is a real shark, but her and I speak the language on this subject, and have a mutual understanding of how things work in the universe.

“I recommend instead driving the half hour to Escondido, where you will usually have a better experience for the time in most cases. Plenty of prior posts on the Escondido providers to do your research on."

With friends like that….

I first started reading back in the 90s when I was traveling to third world countries to sample the local women. Now I’m either too mature or too broke to do that, so I get a vicarious thrill out of reading the paid-for sexploits of others.

But it’s not the sex stories that keep me coming back, it’s the philosophical discussions. For instance, there is a big debate on the Philippines section of the website on whether you should actually take a whore out to dinner after sex.

Some guys feel it makes it seem less seedy while other guys think it’s just a waste of time. One guy even felt compelled to point out that the standard of living is so low for hookers in Angeles City that they may feel uncomfortable if you take them to a place like McDonalds, which is considered fancy eats in underdeveloped parts of the world.

Also, back in late 2001, when the U.S. was reacting to 9/11, some WSG readers discussed whether it was patriotic to visit the Trophy Lounge in National City, which allegedly attracts a lot of “West Pac widows,” Navy wives who cheat on their hubbies when they’re at sea.

I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that the majority of people chiming in felt it was quite appropriate to have sex with the women, especially because most of them were ex-bar girls from Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Currently, the big debate on the TJ page is which race or culture of women are the best in bed. A man named “TJ Time” spoke for many when he wrote, “Mexican chicas rock! Speak a little Spanish to them buy 2-3 drinks (if you are in a bar). Smooth skin about 19! Cute face & perky tits & they love to talk dirty too! In Spanish... Give a few sexy compliments you will be [action], [action] & if you ask given a nice massage. All depending on your budget! I live in San Diego. Depending on my mood & budget for the evening I can have a full day of food beers & bitches for $100. But that's a cheap night! For everything! Food, beers, strippers, & laid.”

Taken and noted. Now, if you don’t mind. I need to take a hot shower. By myself.


Brian Swarthmore is an opinionated crank with an axe to grind.
VYUZ San Diego

Sequel to Da Aragoncillo Code

Sequel to yester-day's ar-ticle Da Aragoncillo Code in this column, I harped on US spies operating in the country. This is not fiction. This is a cold documented fact, that even ten thousand angels swearing against it, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales who has of late showed bias for US inte-rests, cannot effectively deny its authenticity.

To recapitulate, a Filipino-American ex-US Marine and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intelligence analyst by the name of Leandro Aragon-cillo has pleaded guilty in a US federal court that he passed top secret infor-mation to friends in the Philippines. Specifically, Aragoncillo admitted having released confidential information on US national defense particularly relating to "terrorists threats on US government interests and American military per-sonnel in the Philippines."


In his talk with the media, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales touched on the subject of extradition particularly referring to former President Joseph Estrada, et al., who had been named in the com-plaint against Aragoncillo with the US court. Gonzales intimated that the Phi-lippines may extradite them upon request of the US government in deference to the US-RP Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.


To be sure, whatever transmittal of secret information lifted from FBI files which the Fil-American ex-US Marine admitted sending to some members of the Philippine opposition and even to certain Malacañang offi-cials, was not damaging to the Philippine government. The information merely related to US national defense which he trans-mitted by telephone, through fax and e-mail. The recipients of the confidential information were branded by the US prosecutors "conspirators" for identification in the unauthorized transmittal of classified matters subject of the espionage complaint against Aragoncillo.


Speaking of espionage, it technically means the use of spies by one government to secure confidential information from another country. The United States has been spying, even unearthing unpleasant things about the Philippine government through its espionage ring which people invariably suspect with the knowledge of its embassy in the country.


This may be gleaned from the case of that Washington undercover agent by the name of Michael Meiring who almost blasted himself to death with the bomb he was preparing in his hotel room in Davao City some four years back. He was charged by the government with violation of Philippine laws under illegal possession of explosives. A warrant has been issued for his arrest, but the fugitive US spy successfully eluded apprehension by secretly leaving the country with the assistance of the US Embassy.


Meiring entered the Philippines as a tourist, traveling back and forth to the country for the past decades far as could be recalled. He stayed in an economy hotel at Sta. Ana district in Davao City and impressed himself to friends as a treasure hunter although this information was never annotated in his travel papers. As the hotel boys had it with police investigators, Meiring left the hotel for weeks and sometimes months without word of his whereabouts and just pop up in the hotel after long absence.


The American spy was severely injured when the bomb he was preparing inside his hotel room ex-ploded. Strangely enough, this incident happened sometime in 2002 when Mindanao was rocked by a series of bomb explosions in public places killing people which the military quickly attributed to acts of terrorists. Badly mangled, Meiring was immediately brought to the hospital for surgery.


Immediately following the incident, a US consular official and two FBI agents escorted by a Philippine National Police (PNP) col-onel, acting upon orders of the US Embassy in Manila flew to Davao in a char-tered jet, removed Meiring from his hospital bed and spirited him to the capital city without the knowledge of the local government authorities. The injured American was later smuggled out of the country via Subic Bay by the unseen hands of the US Embassy to evade police arrest.


Among Meiring's personal possessions turned over by the police to the City Prosecutor's Office after his flight from the country was a picture of the American spy in combat uniform posing with a Muslim rebel officer somewhere in the wilds of Central Mindanao. Was the American spy selling arms to the Muslim rebels to fight the government? Was he teaching them how to prepare bombs to intensify terrorist attacks?


Before the justice department starts thinking of extraditing Estrada et al. to the United States in the Aragoncillo espionage case, Justice Secretary Gonzales should first work out the extradition of that American fugitive spy Michael Meiring, back to the country for violation of Philippine laws. Meiring has a pending case with the local courts and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.


Justice Secretary Gonzales will do justice to the Filipino people if he seeks the US government to extradite US spy Michael Meiring back to the country to face trial for violation of our sovereign laws. Reliable sources reveal that Meiring now lives a life of a free man in Florida USA under an assumed name, taunting the Philippine laws and mocking the Philippine authorities, thanks to the US Embassy.


The justice secretary talks of giving honor to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the United States and the Philippines. Gonzales should give more honor to the Philippine laws which are wantonly violated by US military agents in the country.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

101 Ideas for Recruiting the Employees You Want

By Cathy Fyock

1. Anticipate staffing needs.

2. Target messages to a specific candidate.

3. Understand the needs of targeted candidates, and appeal to their needs.

4. Investigate the employment of older workers in your organization.

5. Workers with disabilities may be a target market segment that will help meet your staffing needs.

6. Analyze the ways that moonlighters might meet staffing needs for nights and weekends.

7. Look at career shifters as a group to enter your industry.

8. "Back-to-work-moms" are looking for employment opportunities that offer training as well as flexibility.

9. Target disadvantaged youth as a market segment to meet recruiting needs.

10. Exiting military are looking for career opportunities in the civilian world.

11. Prison release programs have job candidates that are looking for a second chance.

12. Work with government funded employment and training programs that will assist you in the recruitment process.

13. Look carefully at internal issues before employing non-traditional workers; see if diversity training is appropriate for supervisors and managers of these new workers.

14. Put yourself in the candidate's place--where would they hear about you?

15. Investigate high school and post-secondary vocational education programs--DECA, VICA, FHA, FFA, etc. (and if you don't know what they stand for--find out!)

16. Participate in Junior Achievement and other youth business education programs--it helps establish the employer and the career choice in that student's mind.

17. See if your city has a business-education partnership for youth.

18. Consider your image as an employer, and develop strategies to enhance the image as an employer of choice.

19. Advertise in alternate sections of the newspaper.

20. Use different newspapers to advertise your recruitment message--don't overlook the local and community papers.

21. Place testimonial advertisements.

22. Investigate the use of the papers sold in convenience stores such as the Thrifty Nickel or the Bargain Mart.

23. Use compelling graphics and ad copy.

24. Stress your benefits--sell the opportunity!

25. Use recruiting advertising agencies for more effective advertising.

26. Limit the number of recruiting messages used in one medium--you don't want to appear desperate (even though you are!).

27. Use the media to promote the benefits of working at your organization.

28. Offer coupons in your newspaper ads for candidates to complete and mail in.

29. Staff your telephones on Sunday so that candidates can call in for information at that time.

30. Use an 800 number so that out-of-town candidates can more easily contact you.

31. Institute a recruitment hot line so that interested individuals can call to get information on the kinds of positions that are open.

32. Use the Internet to publicize your organization and specific job vacancies.

33. Try a product advertising agency for a fresh approach.

34. Tap into your company's resources and work with your marketing/advertising departments for recruitment ideas.

35. Investigate the use of cable television.

36. Use radio with print advertising for best results.

37. Look into prime time television to send your message.

38. Hold an open house to attract career shifters, or to fill multiple positions.

39. Try a call-in open house by asking candidates to call a number for more information.

40. Join with other employers and participate in career fairs and job fairs.

41. Set up your own career fair with your local mall.

42. Buy a recruiting booth when participating in career fairs.

43. Develop recruitment videos to play at career fairs and open houses.

44. Create recruitment literature for use in all recruiting activities.

45. Plan give-aways for candidates that identify your organization (include contact information).

46. Offer free career planning workshops to the public--and at the end sell them on careers with your organization.

47. Use posters and signs with tear-off application forms in grocery stores, banks, community centers, laundromats, churches.

48. Try telemarketing--reaching your prospective candidate by phone.

49. Use traditional employment agencies to find candidates.

50. Investigate the use of agencies that conduct research for you.

51. Work with agencies to conduct telemarketing campaigns.

52. Use vendors to establish a computerized database resume retrieval system.

53. Investigate the use of temporaries with temporary placement agencies.

54. Use leased employees.

55. Try part-time employees and job sharing as flexible means to attract a wider range of candidates.

56. Investigate the use of telecommuters to attract more job candidates.

57. Offer flex-time as a staffing alternative.

58. Don't give up--persistence pays!

59. Direct mail can be an excellent way to target the candidates you need.

60. Mail audio tapes instead of letters to targeted candidates.

61. Door hangers are another method to use when you want to attract candidates from a geographic area.

62. Use point of sale recruiting messages.

63. Enhance your employee referral program by reminding employees through payroll stuffers, posters, and announcements at staff meetings.

64. Revamp your employee referral program, and use it only during peak need periods.

65. Recruit in locations where you have a competitive advantage.

66. Use a mobile recruiting van.

67. Advertise on mass transit.

68. Lease a van to transport employees.

69. Work with realtors on career assistance for relocating spouses.

70. Connect with Welcome Wagon in your community to provide career assistance for relocating spouses.

71. Offer employee housing when you are in a remote location, or when housing costs are not affordable by job candidates.

72. Develop methods to effectively handle "walk-in" candidates.

73. Create a data bank for unsolicited resumes.

74. Advertise in trade journals and professional publications.

75. Work with professional organizations and their placement services.

76. Network with other professionals to find top applicants.

77. Check on business closings for laid-off employees, and team up with outplacement firms.

78. Use airplane banners to send messages at the beach or at sports events.

79. Use highway billboards to display recruitment messages.

80. Highlight your message on electronic billboards at sporting events.

81. Display your message on kiosks located in malls and airports.

82. Try a cinema billboard to send your message.

83. Use magazine advertising to build image.

84. Recruit your customers by placing recruitment messages in with customer billings.

85. Involve your customers in recruitment by implementing a customer referral program.

86. Get your recruiting messages to the churches in your area.

87. Collaborate with other businesses in your area for locating potential employees.

88. Contact other divisions of your organization for locating potential job candidates.

89. Send recruiting messages on video tape to prospective candidates.

90. Look at recruitment as an on-going effort, not a response to a job vacancy.

91. Build college recruiting by concentrating efforts on a fewer number of schools.

92. Build relationships with colleges through intern programs, scholarships, donations.

93. Get involved with local high schools to build your image.

94. Use an outside management consultant to assist you in developing creative, non-traditional strategies.

95. Push top management for recruiting dollars.

96. Don't rely on any one method for recruiting.

97. Be creative--take risks!

98. Dare to be different from your competitors.

99. Attend seminars and conferences on recruitment.

100. Involve the entire management team in the recruitment process.

101. Look to employee retention as the long term recruitment solution.

Cathy Fyock, CSP, SPHR, is an employment strategist, helping organizations recruit and retain employees in a volatile labor market. She can be reached at, or toll-free at 1 (800) 277-0384.

Bio: Catherine D. Fyock, CSP, SPHR, is an employment strategist providing speaking, educating, and writing on the issues of an aging and changing work force. She combines her talents as speaker and her knowledge of work force issues to provide innovative and inspirational learning events, and to help organizations attract top talent, reduce turnover, and improve productivity in a volatile labor market. A dynamic speaker and seminar leader, Cathy has provided over 200 national seminars for the Society for Human Resource Management, including presentations at each of their past seventeen annual conferences. As a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Cathy has demonstrated her dedication to excellence in speaking.

You are welcome to read, download, or reprint this article, as long as you include the author's copyright and byline at the end of each piece. Please inform the author where the article is used. She can be reached at P.O. Box 1229, Crestwood KY 40014, via email at <> or by phone at 1-800-277-0384.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

PJ Tierro, rising star of tennis

By Manolo Iñigo - Inquirer

IF BASKETBALL did not captivate them, (Carlos) Loyzaga, (Robert) Jaworski, (Ramon) Fernandez, (Alvin) Patrimonio and (Rico) Villanueva could have been famous too in another sport like tennis because they have the height and build. They could have been world-class players competing in the Wimbledon, French Open, US Open, Australian Open and all the other ATP events.

PJ Tierro is aiming to realize that goal. With his long reach and towering height, this 6-foot-1 athlete from Olongapo City is slowly but surely reaching that target. Now the country's No. 1 tennis player, the 20-year-old Tierro has moved up in the ATP ladder to 927th from his previous 1,171.

Tierro is supported by a dedicated group of trainers, coaches and sponsors. He is now on his third year of a five-year development program run by veteran tennis coach Beeyong Sison and bankrolled by sportsman Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Under the program, Tierro is trained to acquire playing skills not only by the typical training workouts but by competing in actual tournaments here and abroad. The team believes that for Tierro to learn more about the game, he should travel to other countries and play in different surfaces such as clay, shell and grass against some of the world's top netters and under all playing conditions.

"I personally believe in PJ's talent," said Lhuillier. "He has the heart and dedication to pursue excellence in his sport. Provided with the right training and exposure, PJ will reach his full potential."

The Filipino gained the attention of former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash while attending the Pat Cash Tennis Academy in Brisbane in 2003. "Tierro is definitely a talent with a world-class forehand," Cash said. It was also in 2003 when Tierro's potential was first noticed. He reached the finals of the Cebuana Lhuillier Men's Circuit where he lost to then No. 1 ranked Johnny Arcilla. Tierro advanced to the finals after beating then No. 2 and Davis Cup player Joseph Victorino in the semifinals.

In 2004, Tierro played in the Davis Cup Zonals where he defeated Hong Kong's Hiu Tung (ATP 970), capping the year with a nail-biting 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Rolando Ruel in the finals of the Spex-Philta Open. In his travels to Europe, Tierro spent a total of 10 weeks in Germany competing in non-ATP/ITF Open tournaments that boosted his confidence. He took part in his first ATP/ITF event in the latter part of 2004 during the $25,000 India Satellite Circuit where he played alongside ATP ranked players.

2005 was a busy year for Tierro. He practically lived in a suitcase, playing in various local tournaments and in several Asian countries such as Indonesia, India, Thailand and Japan as part of the country's preparation for the 23rd Southeast Asian Games. That paid off as Tierro, together with Johnny Arcilla and Fil-American netters Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino, won the SEA Games' team gold medal. The team's strong showing revived interest in the sport and boosted our chances as well of making good in the coming Doha Asian Games.

"I'm so thankful that I have the support of my parents (Bayani and Melba Tierro), coaches and sponsors, especially sir Jean Jenri, in pursuing my career in tennis," Tierro said.

Transco to finance Clark power line

By Rendy Isip - Manila Standard Today

CLARK FIELD, Pampanga—A new power project is in the offing at Clark Special Economic Zone after the National Transmission Corp. agreed to finance the P340-million power line that will provide a steady supply of electricity to the former US facility.

Clark Development Corp. president Antonio Ng said the project is expected to be completed by December 2007 and the 230 kv line will add more power to the economic zone, bringing capacity to 135 mw.

From the present actual usage of 32 mw, CDC officials said the extra capacity will address future power needs of new locators, like Clark Techno Park, Fort Stotsenberg Hotel, Raffles Hotels, Paradise Island and Clark Hostel, including the operations of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.

Clark has a new alternate power grid installed by Transco to provide reliable power generation inside the ecozone. The alternate 69 kv line was installed for a more regular and continuous supply of electric power in Clark.

The CDC’s Buildings and Utilities Regulatory Department said the 69 kv line 1 and 2 will significantly lessen power interruptions inside the economic zone and ensure that the power rates in the facility remain the lowest in Central Luzon and other economic zones in the country.

Ng said the lone 69 kv line in Clark is more than 40 years old and the new one is expected to provide efficient and uninterrupted power supply in Clark. The project will not cost anything to CDC because it will be a joint undertaking of Transco and Clark Electric Development Corp.

Ng said the CDC is committed not only to lower power cost in Clark but improve its quality and reliability as investors continue to eye CSEZ as an investment haven in the Asia Pacific.

Workers demand wage hike nationwide

By PDI Bureaus - Inquirer

THOUSANDS of workers across the country marched on Labor Day to demand wage increases in rallies that were generally peaceful.

The loudest cheers were heard in Davao City when Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announced that he had allotted P10 million as a bonus for City Hall workers.

“I understand your situation, especially during these times. I urge Congress to grant the workers’ salary demand for a wage and salary increase,” said Duterte at the rally attended by 1,000 workers at Rizal Park across from City Hall.

In Baguio City, about 100 workers found their ranks “invaded” by self-proclaimed teenage “anarchists” whose May 1 message contradicted the crusade that union workers had been asserting for centuries.

The spike-haired teenagers’ cause was “anti-work.” They argued that militant workers should fight to “free themselves from slave labor to win genuine freedom from capitalists.”

One worker reacted angrily to the teenagers, saying: “All forms of work are dignified, but we are fighting for higher wages to guarantee that this dignity of work continues. These children know nothing about real work.”

The youths were members of an underground punk music movement that had been protesting the Feb. 14 arrest of 11 teenagers who were linked to an alleged communist rebel raid on a military detachment in Benguet province.

They carried placards that said: “Tired of your work? Go anti-work.”

Other placards advised people to “love your life, not your work” and “work for your life, not for your boss.”

Cha-cha heckled

Negros Occidental Governor Joseph Marañon said in Bacolod City that business groups had agreed that those who could afford to should raise the wages of their workers to help cushion the effects of rising prices.

More than 4,000 workers attended rallies in the capital city of Negros Occidental province.

In Iloilo City, around 2,500 protesters assembled at a rally led by the militant groups Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) at the Iloilo Rotary Amphitheater.

They heckled activists portraying President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez and dancing the “cha-cha” to show opposition to Charter change.

In Capiz province, around 800 protesters participated in a rally led by Bayan, Gabriela, Anakbayan and the Capiz Movement Against Arroyo’s Cha-cha at the Roxas City Bandstand.

In Aklan province, 300 protesters marched from Pastrana Park to Crossing Banga in the capital town of Kalibo.

More than 2,000 laborers joined separate rallies on Colon Street in Cebu City. The rallies were peaceful, except for a brief confrontation between the Partido ng Manggagawa and the KMU.

In Leyte province, more than 300 members of different militant organizations held a rally at the Old Bus Terminal on Rizal Avenue in Tacloban City.

Calabarzon protests

An estimated 12,000 workers from the highly industrialized Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) staged protests in different parts of the region and demanded economic relief for workers instead of Charter change.

A caravan of close to 1,000 motorcycles and tricycles also joined the protest mobilizations in four sites.

Doris Cuario, secretary general of the human rights group Karapatan in Southern Tagalog, said at least 150 workers were prevented by police and military troops from marching toward a park in Antipolo City in Rizal province.

In Albay province, about 1,500 protesters from different multisectoral groups joined the rally. They started marching at 9 a.m. from the Ninoy Aquino Park in Daraga town to the Pinaglabanan monument in downtown Legazpi City.

Release Beltran

Beverly Quintillan, Bicol-Bayan Muna public information officer, said her group would like Anakpawis party-list Representative Crispin Beltran and five other militant congressmen facing rebellion charges to be freed.

The protesters also insisted on a P125 daily wage increase for workers in the private sector and a P3,000 across-the-board raise for government employees.

In Tabaco City, also in Albay, over 1,000 laborers of Tabaco Port Cargo Corp., the biggest labor organization in the city, marched in the downtown area.

In General Santos City, some 1,500 militants staged a rally pressing for a P125 increase in daily wages.

In Cagayan de Oro City, about 4,000 paraded in the streets. They came from as far as Bukidnon, Iligan City and other towns of Misamis Oriental province.

Muslims cry harassment

In Pagadian City, at least 700 protesters gathered at the plaza. In Cotabato City, angry Muslims accused lawmen of harassing them while they staged a rally.

In the City of San Fernando in Pampanga province, some 1,500 workers from the three biggest economic zones in Central Luzon demanded a minimum “living wage” of P600 daily.

The marchers belonged to several unions at the Bataan Economic Zone in Mariveles, Bataan; Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales and the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga where 100,000 workers are employed in mostly exporting companies.

Emily Fajardo, spokesperson of the Manggagawa sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (Makabayan), said the current daily minimum wage in the region, ranging from P178.50 to P228.50, should be raised threefold to meet the basic needs of families.

The National Economic and Development Authority pegged the cost of living at P600 daily, she said.

Subic Bay Freeport

In Olongapo City, some 500 members of the Makabayan in Zambales picketed at the gate of the Subic Bay Freeport to seek living wages.

Before they joined the rally, at least 120 garment workers from Clark were stopped for 30 minutes by police at Barangay Sindalan in San Fernando, according to their leader Emy Guevarra. Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Jolene R. Bulambot, Carla P. Gomez and Joey A. Gabieta, PDI Visayas Bureau; Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Job B. Belen and Michael B. Jaucian, PDI Southern Luzon Bureau; Rolando Pinsoy, Dennis Jay Santos, Judy Quiros, Aquiles Z. Zonio, Grace Cantal-Albasin, Jeoffrey Maitem and Michael Sarcauga, PDI Mindanao Bureau; Tonette Orejas, Central Luzon Desk; and Vincent Cabreza and Desiree Caluza, PDI Northern Luzon Bureau

Family, Friends Mourn Duane Heisinger, 75

Duane Heisinger at January's dedication of the POW Memorial in the Philippines.

Whether he was fighting for his community, raising funds for a POW memorial or simply being a good husband and dad, Centreville's Duane Heisinger was a man among men.
So his death Monday night from cancer leaves a deep hole in the hearts of those who loved him and in whose lives he made a profound difference.

"MAYBE THE Navy life of moving around and saying goodbyes was supposed to train us for this," said Judy Heisinger, his wife of 49 years. "But to say we'll miss him terribly would be an understatement."

They've lived in Bull Run Estates since 1992, and Duane, 75, had a long and distinguished, 30-year career in the Navy, retiring as a captain. He served three tours in Vietnam and commanded two ships — an LST (landing ship transport) and a destroyer.
"And when he went ashore, he worked at embassies and on international staffs in intelligence," said Judy. "His last overseas posting was defense attaché, London, during the Falkland War from 1980-83."
After retiring, he did consulting for companies working with the Department of Defense. He also poured his heart and soul into a book called "Father Found," telling the story of his father's life and death as a Japanese POW during WWII.
His book also helped other POW descendants find out what happened to their relatives and, said his wife, "That gave Duane a lot of pleasure."
Heisinger was diagnosed with lung cancer more than a year ago, although he'd never smoked. But, said Judy, "Being on ships, he was around asbestos and diesel fuel."
However, he didn't let it stop him from realizing his dream of being able to dedicate the Hell Ships Memorial in January in Subic Bay. It's in memory of the WWII POWs in the Philippines.
"He'd finished seven cycles of chemo and wanted to be well enough to complete the trip," said Judy. "Duane helped raise $40,000 for that memorial. It's marble and granite and has four monoliths containing words he wrote."
Heisinger's father, Lawrence, was on one of the "Hell Ships" and, said Judy, "He was buried with 400 others in a mass grave in Taiwan. So after the dedication, five of us went to the dedication of another memorial in Taiwan."
But Duane was coughing when they came home and the cancer had returned. "He started experimental treatments at NIH, but he went downhill very quickly," said his wife. "He had difficulty breathing and was on oxygen, and we had a hospital bed and Hospice at home."

SUNDAY, HE was lucid and able to talk and even occasionally added something to conversations between Judy and their daughter Jennifer. Monday afternoon, Judy was helping him change clothes, but couldn't get him to sit up without help from Jody, another of their daughters. Also lending a hand and support was Judy's longtime friend, Audrey Brickson.
"Shortly before 9 p.m., Audrey started the 23rd Psalm, and everybody joined in," said Judy. "Then we sang some songs, including, 'Be Not Afraid, I Go Before You.'" Eventually, Duane stopped breathing. "It was very peaceful," said Judy. "That was it."
"Jody said she was prepared to be angry at God for taking her father," said Judy. "But she didn't want to see him suffer, so she couldn't be angry. Before he went, there was such praise for God's graciousness to us and to Duane, and thanks for being so aware of his needs. So many people were praying for him — including descendants of the POWs — so this was God's will and mercy reaching out."
Besides his wife, Heisinger is survived by three daughters and their husbands, Jody and David Kopach of Fairfax, Jennifer and Rick Flint of North Springfield and Jeanie and John Newman of Atlanta and 10 grandchildren. His first greatgrandson is due in two weeks. And, added Judy, "I know there'll be a big celebration in heaven [when he's reunited] with his mom and dad."
Judy's president of the Bull Run Civic Association, and she and Duane were both involved in local issues. Said longtime friend and neighbor Mark McConn: "Duane and Judy started the fight against the Tri-County Connector and got our whole community involved. They organized a mounted-horseback protest at the [Fairfax County] Government Center."
At-Large Planning Commissioner Jim Hart called Duane "really a fine man and a decent person, very well-respected. His death is certainly a loss for the community." Bull Run Estates' Christine Sunda said he was "a good neighbor and friend and a strong, family man. It's wonderful that he got the opportunity to go to the Philippines for the dedication. I know that was important to him."
"Duane was such a gentleman, and an interesting individual because of his book and his experiences," added Sully District Planning Commissioner Ron Koch. "Judy and he made a wonderful pair; they were very fortunate to have each other. You could tell how much they loved each other. I felt so bad when I heard [he'd passed away]."

DESCRIBING Duane as a "very cordial person," Jim Katcham — chairman of the West Fairfax County Citizens Association (WFCCA) Land-Use committee, on which Judy served — said he was fascinated to learn of Duane's military career and the book he wrote. Said Katcham: "He was a great patriot and a great man."
Carol Hawn of Centreville's Old Mill community, also had nothing but accolades for Duane. "What a kind, gentle soul," she said. "And he was so generous with his time — always willing to help. He was just an absolutely wonderful person."
About a year-and-a-half ago, she said, she mentioned to him that she wanted to plant some redbud trees in her yard. And without hesitation, he invited her to come over and take some of theirs.
"So I dug up five trees from his yard," said Hawn. "Every day I see those redbud trees, and every day I think of Duane and Judith and what wonderful people they are. We'll miss him tremendously."
Funeral services will be held next Thursday, May 11, at 2 p.m. at the Church of the Apostles, 3500 Pickett Road in Fairfax. Burial with full military honors will be this summer in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations may be made to the Hell Ships Memorial,
By Bonnie Hobbs

15 years on, life returns to Pinatubo

MOUNT PINATUBO -- Life is rapidly returning to this Central Luzon mountain 15 years after it blew its top in an eruption that killed more than 1,500 people and sent a cloud of ash into the atmosphere that cooled world temperatures for years.

At dawn, wild roosters crow lustily around Mount Pinatubo's summit, affirming the triumph of life over death in a region laid to waste by the world's second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.

Fireflies race for the safety of the sparse scrub and tall grass by the crater's edge, just before the first batch of tourists arrive from an uphill trek, breathless and gasping in awe at the scenery.

Among the group of trekkers is porter Randy Dumunot, who was 14 when the volcano buried his family's nipa hut and their three-hectare farm of rice and root crops in the village of Santa Juliana in Capas town, Tarlac province, about 30 km northeast of the volcano.

Dumunot's family rebuilt the house after the June 1991 eruption but the farm was no more, permanently covered in lahar, a fine dust of volcanic debris.

"Overnight we turned into P80-a-day landless farm hands," Dumunot, now 29, told Agence France-Presse.

An estimated 500,000 people were rendered homeless when, after more than four centuries of slumber, Pinatubo erupted so violently that more than five billion cubic meters of ash and debris were ejected from its fiery bowels 30 km into the atmosphere.

Millions of tons of sulfur dioxide shot into the stratosphere, blocked sunlight and cooled the entire Earth by up to 0.6 degrees Celsius for years afterward.

Over the next six years, the volcanic material flowed down nine river channels during the annual wet season, bringing misery to about two million residents in low-lying areas covering 4,000 sq km.

These major waterways were clogged. Floods and mudslides destroyed homes, farms, roads, bridges and dikes built to defend communities from lahar.

Lahar-free homes

Fifteen years later, property developers in the Central Luzon plain tout "certified lahar-free" homes to potential buyers.

Santa Juliana is now experiencing a rebirth as a tourist gateway. Spas and resorts are sprouting up to cater to mountain trekkers, including South Koreans, who climb the mountain daily by the dozens during the dry months.

Lugging an inflatable kayak, a coil of fat rope capable of lifting a two-ton elephant, and a bag of squashed hamburgers, Dumunot now earns an extra P1,000 a week as part of a team of locals who serve as porters and guides to well-heeled visitors drawn to this mountain of death.

"This is a big help," said the father of four children. "My brother-in-law, my cousin and my uncle are also porters."

Dumunot is hoping he can save enough money to buy a sleeping bag and a tent like the colorful, ultra-light types set up for the night along the crater rim here.

Having none, he and the other porters sleep on cardboard boxes in the space beneath the crater's lake view deck.

All-terrain jeeps

At Santa Juliana, visitors rent battered all-terrain jeeps that barrel up the broad, flat bed of the O'Donnell River for an hour toward Crow Valley, a vast wasteland of volcanic sand and spent shell casings. The valley had served as a bombing range for the 7th US Air Force, which was driven off for good from its Clark Air Base home to the south of Santa Juliana during the eruption.

From the valley, the last third of the three-hour hike is through a gently ascending mountain pass, watered by a brook that feeds into O'Donnell. Some now take the climb on horseback, and others even use their own trail bikes.

A few people stay overnight, rappelling down a 25-meter section of the crater wall wearing helmets to protect themselves from the rocks dislodged by the rope.

Eruption remote

They also bathe or ride canoes at the 2.5-km diameter caldera, a turquoise-colored soup bowl of rain water that has collected through the years to a depth of up to 248 meters.

"There won't be another eruption in this generation because based on carbon dating samples, previous ones occurred at intervals of hundreds, to thousands, of years," said Jaime Sincioco, a senior scientist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

"The mudslides are gone. The only problem left is flooding in the low-lying areas because the rivers that radiate out from the crater are heavily silted," Sincioco added.

The government opened Pinatubo to the public in the mid-1990s, launching a new form of tourism where visitors were treated to a vision of hell on earth, featuring a moonscape of canyons and deep gullies in uniform gray.

All the plants and the animals that could not run, crawl or fly fast enough were vaporized by the superheated gases from the rim.

Gradually, by the late 1990s, the vegetation, along with songbirds and fireflies, had returned, stabilizing the remnants of the loose volcanic material deposited by the eruption onto the slopes of the Zambales mountain range.

However, the deeply scarred south side of the crater wall remains shorn of plant cover, destabilized by constant landslides that boom across the crater lake like prolonged claps of thunder. This area of the 1,485-meter-high mountain remains off limits to climbers.

Rapid pace of development

Sincioco is worried at the rapid pace of development around Pinatubo, fearing visitors could blunder into their deaths through ignorance or sheer carelessness.

"We actually discourage tourists from venturing into the crater lake," he said. "The crater wall is fractured, so there is a lot of landslide activity there."

Regulators are also critical of the recently opened dirt road on the ridge above Crow Valley, which shortened the climb by about 75 minutes but which officials fear could unsettle the still fragile ecosystem.

Sincioco said the new road, built by the local government with the aid of a legislator representing the district, would also cut off the tourism revenue streams to Dapili, an impoverished village at the end of the old trail populated by hunter-gatherer tribesmen called Aetas who were almost wiped out by the eruption.

"When we drafted the (Pinatubo rehabilitation) master plan, we stressed that the road should end at Santa Juliana," Sincioco said.

"If you allow motor vehicles beyond that area, they displace the (volcanic) deposits and contribute to erosion," he warned. Agence France-Presse