Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father & Son: Who Will Take The Son?

I dedicate this song to my two earthly fathers - my biological tatay - Artaban Marcos Abad and to my papa-in-law Ponciano Ricafort Muga. Even though both of them are no longer with us now, I will always remember them for all of the life's lessons, values and principles that I and my family have learned from both of them.


The following story is one that never gets old. It has been passed around from one email-box to can be found on a lot of websites, and so many times it has been used as sermon illustration in pulpits.

This is a great story! Take some moment to read it (again). I'm sure it will make your day!

Who will take the SON?

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. 'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'

There was silence.

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'

But the auctioneer persisted. 'Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?'

Another voice angrily. 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!'

But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long time gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting.' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

'We have $10, who will bid $20?'

'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son.

They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!'

A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'

'What about the paintings?'

'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

The man who took the son gets everything!' This is one of the stories that never gets has been passed in emails, letters, websites, church services since the year 2004, maybe before that! God Bless!

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: 'The son, the son, who'll take the son?'

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

Now that's LOVE on Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekend at the Desert

When the sandstorm doesn't stop its lashings on a Thursday afternoon and you're afraid that your car bumper's going to be sandblasted when you travel to Jeddah, you have no other option but to spend your weekend like this!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Independence Day and The Chocolate Bar Story!

Freedom is the timeless message not just of Kawit, Cavite but traces back even in the shores of Mactan in 1521. It is a priceless gift bequeathed to us Filipinos. People who are known to be fierce lovers of freedom and enemies of subjection.

The fight for freedom has not ended up 111 years ago during the Kawit Declaration of Independence. It is an ongoing battle and it's going to be a fierce fight for freedom especially with the recent passing of Resolution 1109. The congressmen who voted in favor of CONASS thought that freedom was doing what they pleased.

Similarly, many of "us" take the liberty to do as we please under the guise of “freedom".

As we celebrate today our so-called "freedom" from the colonizers, may we not just find our freedom as a Filipino nation but to also realize that the one-time ransom price has been paid for our freedom from slavery.

A happy independence day to all those who believe that they are free!

Cheers and here are some 'chocolate' candy bars for the celebration!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Power of Gold

Non omne quod nitet aurum est is the Latin phrase for 'Not all that shines is gold!' The proverb was used by Chaucer, by Cervantes in 'Don Quixote' and by Shakespeare in 'The Merchant of Venice'.

That proverb could have been used many centuries ago but today's post will once again prove the timeless and enduring truth of the adage.

The phrase simply means: just because something may look valuable, desirable or attractive, doesn't mean that it will definitely be worth having once you discover its true value or nature.

One of the elements that I will not forget in my high school chemistry is Au. I would always remember my teacher's story that Au came from the Latin word aurum meaning 'shining dawn'.

Her name is not Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn which links the the warm, yellow color of gold and where the Au symbol of gold came from. But she is The Gal Behind the 'Golden Fleece'. (Click the link later after reading the whole post).

I felt for her children, for her husband, for her families and friends and for the many Filipinos who are building up the image of the OFWs and the Philippines. How easy it is for some to destroy the reputation of the Pinoy Expats and OFW abroad fin exchange for the glitter of gold! (in the literal sense of the word). It's really a shame but this has to be posted especially as a reminder for us OFWs who may be trusted with similar responsibilities.

I really deliberated many times today on whether to post this or not because I know this will spoil the excitement going on around in KaBLOGgywood for the 2009 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards. Everyone's anticipating with enthusiasm the 2nd PEBA Season's Hope of the Nation, Gift to the World Awarding Ceremony on the 27th of December 2009. So during those time of contemplation I just went to enjoy the music and video at Jee's Wit's Expression - Lipad Ng Pangarap that made me feel proud again to see the Philippine flag wave confidently beneath the azure skies.

Have a look at the story of the Woman Charged With Using Handbag to Steal $12M in Gold. She is the same Woman accused of taking 500 pounds of gold from job. (As advised earlier, click the links only after reading the whole story)

This is a sad and shameful story ---

NEW YORK—Prosecutors said a Filipina stole $12 million in gold from the jewelry company she worked for, squirreling it away in the lining of her purse over six years. Teresa Perez Tambunting, 50, a vault manager at Jacamel Jewelry in Queens , has been charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. The company discovered in January that nearly $12 million in merchandise was missing.

Prosecutors said the thefts occurred from 2004 until Tuesday, and that a search of Tambunting's Scarsdale home turned up 450 pounds of gold. Tambunting was released Tuesday on $100,000 bail. Tambunting was a member of the 1977 high school class at the St. Theresa's College Manila. The other members of that class include journalist Patricia Adversario and doctors Concepcion Cruz Vesagas and Donna de Padua Dolores.

The New York Daily News reported that Tambunting had told relatives at a Christmas dinner that she was terrified of the recession, even though police this week found $12 million worth of gold and jewelry in her basement. She and her husband Edgardo, a director at Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services company, had complained that 2008 hit them hard. The couple migrated to the US in 1991.

I was there at Christmas. They were saying this was one of their worst years, but this year is [going to be] much better, the Daily News quoted their nephew, Gregorio Perez, 28, as saying. Despite this optimism, Perez said, they were afraid the Wall Street turmoil would force Edgardo to change jobs. This recession is hurting everybody. I know they hit20a rough patch, Perez said. Teresa was the youngest of eight brothers and sisters, he said.

All the while, Teresa, her husband and their three teenage kids were sitting on a treasure trove of raw gold and jewelry that Mom hoarded in 5-gallon buckets in the basement of her home, prosecutors said. Perez told the Daily News he had memories of playing in that basement 10 years ago—when the only things stashed there were toys and power tools. We used to go over there a lot, Perez was quoted as saying. They welcomed us in, any time we needed. She was always a generous aunt to us, me and my sister and brother.

Tambunting, the vault manager since 1991, started working at Jacmel Jewelry shortly after its formation in 1977, and most recently earned $165,000 a year, police sources told the Daily News. Soon after the audit, Tambunting came to work dragging 80 pounds of fine gold and jewelry in a rolling suitcase—confessing to one of her bosses that she had to steal it, the Daily News reported. The rest of the stash was returned to the company from her home, said Jack Rahmey, Jacmel president.

Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli

A larcenous longtime employee of a major Queens jewelry manufacturer walked off with a staggering 500 pounds of gold she smuggled out piece by piece over six years -- in her handbag, prosecutors said yesterday.

Teresa Tambunting, 50, of Scarsdale , sneaked the hoard out of a Long Island City vault by stashing "a few ounces" at a time in a false bottom she created in the lining of her pocketbook, authorities said. "I am a very sick woman. I took the gold," she told her stunned bosses once the jig was up, according to sources.Officials at Jacmel Jewelry caught on that they were being bled dry after doing an internal audit in January and noticing they were missing as much as $12 million worth of gold, which now trades for around $900 an ounce. "The defendant is accused of establishing a virtual mining operation in Long Island City which siphoned off millions of dollars' worth of the precious metal," said Queens District Attorney Ric hard Brown.

Tambunting had worked for Jacmel for 28 years, joining the company shortly after emigrating from the Philippines , and had been made a vault manager in 1991. She was paid $160,000 a year and was one of only a handful of "highly trusted" employees who had access to the company's safe, sources said. But even those people were subject to searches by security -- which Tambunting got around with the makeshift hole in a beaten-up black leather, banana-shaped purse she carried for years.. A few days after company officials started going over their books to see if they had made an accounting error, Tambunting walked into work wheeling a piece of luggage containing 60 pounds of "fine gold" -- or buck-shot-sized pellets of unrefined precious metal.

When asked if that was all she had taken, she said yes, but days later, she changed her tune and came in with her lawyer --and a couple of dozen five-gallon paint buckets filled with 447.8 pounds of gold necklaces, rings, earrings and other jewelry. There was enough gold to fill 12 large storage bins. The size of Tambunting's haul stunned employees.

"When they walked in the first time, they were shocked and their jaws dropped," a source said. "When she came back three weeks later, their jaws dropped even heavier.." The stash took company officials nearly three weeks to inventory. During that period, they discovered some pieces that dated back to early 2004. Then they went to the DA. In all, the value of the returned gold is roughly $7.3 million, meaning $4.7 million remains missing. Some of that, sources said, could have been lost in routine manufacturing processes. They said Tambunting and her husband, Edgardo, a director at Cantor Fitzgerald, appeared to be living within their means, but probers were still investigating their finances.

The couple lives with their three children in a million-dollar home. Jacmel Jewelry President Jack Rahmey called Tambunting "a longtime employee and a trusted one," but declined to comment any further. She was released Tuesday on $100,000 bail.. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.. Her lawyer did not return messages.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


"Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving"
-Albert Einstein

“Communication is a skill that you can learn.
It's like riding a bicycle or typing.
If you're willing to work at it,
you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
-Brian Tracy

“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind;
it requires the same effort of the brain
that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.”
-Helen Keller

“Life is like riding a bicycle:
you don't fall of unless you stop pedaling.”
-Claude Pepper

“The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle.
We know he got on the bicycle and started to move.
We know that at some point he will stop and get off.
We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off.”
-William G. Golding

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely,
should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets"
-Christopher Morley

(Please read comments)
"A PEN (or a keyboard) is like a giant bicycle- so huge and so powerful;
it can make the world so small, and it can even propel the soul!
But the WRITER is still the rider who takes the responsibility and full control!"
-RJ of The Chook-minder's Quill

Photos taken at Al Laith Corniche, Saudi Arabia
23-Apr-09 with a Malaysian-blogger-friend
Just trying my luck on photo-blogs

As suggested by AJ of Josh of Arabia, I'm posting my pix and that of my Malaysian-blogger friend

Friday, June 5, 2009

Moving Forward With Lessons Learned In Standing Up For What We Believe Is Right

Many of us OFW bloggers have spoken. Our Manifesto clearly outlined and defined our beliefs and stand... the lines have been drawn... the rules we play under have been set...we trusted our instincts and values... we trusted ourselves... we believed in our inner compasses and we did what we feel was right under the circumstances...

Many have been hurt... opinions differed... factions and walls built... and the effect, the Pinoy Bloggywood is in the throes of frenzy and hysteria.

We have condemned the Tsokolate post and have demanded for his apology to the OFW community but if he prefers not to do so, that is his decision and his choice. And I respect his decision. Even now, new posts from his blog-kingdom keep on coming. We may find some of the posts offending but our Manifesto will stand as our guide.. probably adding more post-titles to the list other than the Tsokolate if it crosses the line. Are we going to be entrapped by the snares? Decisions and choices may not always turn out correct but then we should live with our choices without regrets.

While this experience isn’t particularly pleasant for many of us and regardless of the outcome of this, all of us must come out stronger with at least some lessons learned from it.

When all this uproar in the Bloggywood happened, there are several lessons that were reinforced in me as an OFW blogger and that,
(1) I will continue to respect the opinions and expressions of others.
(2) I will continue to write the truth and if not sure on issues, I will continue to do extensive researches and only then will I write my post.
(3) I will continue to write a disclaimer if there are issues or intellectual properties which are not mine.
(4) I will continue to be totally responsible for what I write. If found to be wrong, I will immediately apologize and accept my mistakes.
(5) I will continue to write my stand on the issues that I believe are right and will never take cover under the guise of being Anonymous when I write my comments in the posts of others.

There are countless and more lessons learned but these are the ones that struck me most for now.

We need to move forward... lot more important issues need to be taken up just like the CONASS, which has been passed... this issue calls for our attention and our stand as OFWs... many OFWs need our help and support... the KaBlogs Help Desk and its Jobs Support Program... the 2009 PEBA that all of us are excitedly looking forward to... and many more opportunities that we could contribute our precious time and efforts.

Just like riding a bicycle, we need to move forward to keep our balance. We’ve got to move forward... lend a helping hand... open new doors of opportunities... and doing new things!

OFW Bloggers Manifesto: NO to the ANTI OFW Blogpost of Mike Avenue's 'Tsokolate'

On Mike Avenue Pinoy Blog's 'Tsokolate'*
So that the bloggerworld and everyone may know...

We believe in the right to freedom of speech as a human right.

We believe in the freedom to hold opinions without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

We believe in the right to freedom of expression to receive and impart information.

We believe that blogging is an expression of one’s opinions, personal experiences, hobbies, commentaries, diaries and we further believe that every blogger has the right to publish his personal expressions and opinions.

We believe that the exercise of these freedoms is not an absolute right but carries with it duties and responsibilities, that may be subject to restrictions or penalties on specific grounds as prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests and protection of the reputation or rights of others.

We believe that majority of the Overseas Filipino Workers have chosen to leave the Philippines to seek and search for better livelihood opportunities abroad so they may be able to support themselves and their families back home.

We believe that the OFW’s search for a greener pasture is not at all that easy and yet hundreds of thousands of OFWs have created names for them and have excelled in their chosen fields of endeavor, setting the world standards for nobility and for hard work.

We believe that there is nothing wrong with doing an honest day’s work as a domestic help or as construction worker or doing any other menial and blue collar jobs.

We believe that OFWs whether professionals or not should be given honor and respect.

We believe that the OFW is the Hope of the Nation, Gift to the World!

With these guiding beliefs:

We regard Mr. Mike Avenue’s Pinoy Blog post on "Tsokolate" as one that lacked research and a flagrant ignorance of the truth about Overseas Filipino workers and expatriates.

We regard this lack of truth and ignorance as especially inexcusable from one who feigns intelligence and high learning and coax people into belief and following.

We regard his statements: “minumura ng amo kapalit ng dolyar” and “humahalik sa paa ng mga dayuhan” as blatant mockeries of the sacrifices of the Overseas Filipino Workers and expatriates and are hasty generalizations of the living and working conditions of the Filipino expatriates and OFWs.

We regard his post as tactless and offensive, trying to make a lame attempt to sarcasm that failed to be funny, at the expense of the Overseas Filipino Workers.

We regard his post as a clear display of arrogance, done in a distasteful manner with blind indifference and unjust condemnation of the millions of hardworking OFWs who work long hours to earn an honest buck.

We regard his post to have overstepped the bounds of sensitivity and responsibility of a decent mind and an accountable and sensible blogger.

Therefore, we the OFW BLOGGERS will not allow this kind of humiliation to pass without making a stand.

We strongly condemn this irresponsible blog post of Mike Avenue.

We consider Mike Avenue as an Anti-OFW persona.

We demand a retraction and an apology from Mike Avenue of Pinoy Blog for this irresponsible blogpost!

We are Filipinos and we should stand together and strive for a better Philippines!


*For the interest of fairness and balanced reporting and for the
sake of those who cannot access the webpage that is hyperlinked
to Mike Avenue Pinoy Blog's 'Tsokolate' we have linked you to other
pages that have the full transcript of his original post. Please check
these links where Mike Avenue's original post on 'Tsokolate' are found:
Kablogs, OFW (Mukhang Pera Nga Ba?)
The non-availability of the webpage may probably be due to his
personal decision, which we respect, to moderate his blog and to open
it only for the invited readers

05-Jun-09, 10:00am
Mike Avenue's Pinoy Blog is now available to the public.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


02 June 2009 - The passing of Resolution 1109 is a classic example of legislative privilege. It is written in the wall - their motives are already exposed and known!

The House of Congress has spoken when 170 Representatives sponsored and passed Resolution 1109 which calls for the members of the House of Congress to convene as a "CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY" or CONASS to propose amendments to the Constitution. The marching orders allegedly came from the President herself!

We should not be surprised to see dissent and disagreement, as well as anger at that turn of events at the House of Congress.

Was the rammed through, railroaded, and passed resolution a dress rehearsal for Martial Law?

As OFWs, what should be our stand on this? All we can do now is to stop this travesty from happening by displaying these badges on our blogs. Grab the badge and display on your sidebars!

We need to be informed and be updated!

Other reading materials on Charter Change!
Matrix House Proposed Charter Amendments
House Resolution No. 1109
Have You No Shame? - An Open Letter to the House of Representatives

More of the Links at A Filipina Mom Blogger's Oppose Constituent Assembly