BrightWorld

Dreams, Optimism, Wisdom

PACQUIAO BEATS DIAZ, RP BOXING SUPREMACY ASSURED June 29, 2008

PACQUIAO BEATS DIAZ, RP BOXING SUPREMACY ASSURED

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Good afternoon!

Elation and euphoria are back in the Philippines and across the borders today as Manny Paquiao beat David Diaz in the lightweight division of world boxing. Flat on his face in the ring’s floor, Diaz looked like a whacked baby in comatose, ready to face the surgeon for some serious eye and facial injuries sustained during nine (9) rounds of unrelenting offensive from the unbeatable Manny.

From the first through the ninth rounds, Manny Paquiao exhibited superior punching and maneuvering ability and was the clear upper hand points-wise for all of those rounds. His superiority in both speed and power, added to his outstanding maneuvering skill, made him throw every kind of punch on the pathetic Diaz, candidate of America, with ease.

On the 5th round of the game, my compassion as a yogi-mystic began to surface while watching with eyes glued 105% on the TV screen. My compassion was, of course, addressed towards Diaz, whose face already sustained bleeding as early as the 2nd round, and I wished that Manny would knock him out on the 6th round as a matter of compassion. It would be cruel for any professional boxer to go on throwing deadly punches on an enemy who is almost down, and should, in my mind, work out to knock out the opponent early enough so as to minimize heavy injuries that could lead to death at the worse.

That knock out came finally on the 9th round, which made me felt a feeling of relief, and so I exclaimed my jubilation for my compatriot’s victory and compassion. Of course, I thanked God that Diaz is still intact, and was able to stand on his feet at least, thus assuring no further need for surgical operations or whatever. It was just a fight, may this fighter practice more. But like the rest of my kabayans, Manny has warmed our hearts so much again, and on this day he’s the one hero who had united the nation for at least some couples of hours.

Manny is now assured of his Hall of Fame status, with his gaining of a 4th title victory, notwithstanding the awarding to him of the most prestigious World Boxing Council or WBC belt at the 135-lb category. He is also impeccably Asia’s best, as it was the first time that an Asian won four (4) world titles in his career, thus ensuring Asia it’s place in the globe as a continent worth watching for.

Finally, and this is what has given us great pride, Manny’s latest victory has ensured Philippine supremacy in boxing from here on till maybe at least ten (10) years to come. Manny was not just representing himself, but rather he’s the chief icon among couples of others in the middle down to lower weight categories. The coterie of top-gun boxers have made Manila the team to beat, and had swept off Mexico and Thailand as the previous holders of this sports tiara.

For all boxers as a whole, Manny Paquiao’s latest victory had added prestige to the lower boxing weight divisions, and the spotlight of boxing had all the more been focused on these divisions away from the middle-to-heavy weights. He joins the coterie of titans such as De La Joya who earlier gave so much prestige to the lower-to-middle divisions.

 Mabuhay si Manny Paquiao! Mabuhay ang mga Filipino boxers! Mabuhay ang Inang Bayan!

[Writ 29 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

THE PAKISTANI SPECTATOR INTERVIEWS ERLE ARGONZA AMONG RISING BLOGGERS June 27, 2008

By The Pakistani Spectator • Jun 25th, 2008 • Category: Interviews • (2,809 views) • No Responses

 

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

Erle: The erleargonza.blogspot.com’s my main site. About relations, wisdom, cosmic awareness, self-development. …I am a sociologist, economist, consultant, yogi, mystic, guru of self-realization, artist, powerlifter. Age 49.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

Erle: Yes. I’m learning to write blog-style. I used to write technical-academic-scientific. I’m learning.

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

Erle: I’m new as a blogger. The most memorable now is the commentary, both positive and antipathetic. I like feedbacks a lot.  Among all feedbacks, those from spiritual seekers who seek a guru are the most memorable.

 What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?
Erle: Open the blogs everyday. Begin at 7 a.m. Continue on time availability. Till 9:30 pm I work.

 What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?

Erle: Blogs, cellphones are the coolest. Blogs for internet-based.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

Erle: Very much. Tried & tested even here in Manila.

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

Erle: I’m a guru and yogi, I can intuit on higher knowledge not knowable to the ordinary, not even to geniuses. Such as the opening of the stargate portal to other star systems, I saw this in my vision.

 If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Erle: Big dreamer, far-sighted dreamer.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

Erle: Happiest: release of my 1st book. …Gloomiest? None really, simply sad but not ‘gloomiest’.

Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what?

Erle: Of course. But do they have any better choice?

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s   paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?

Erle: Egypt–Great Pyramid; Glastonbury in England; Maui in Hawaii

What is your favorite book and why?

Erle: Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky. It’s the most advanced lesson in wisdom, mysticism for me.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?

Erle: Level of intelligence, by looking at their forehead, head configuration, sensing their aura.

 Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?

Erle: No, never.

 How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

Erle: I can’t say much. My blogging is for serving spiritual seekers, hobby, not for money (I’m studying this now).

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

Erle: Not exactly. Even very busy professionals became successful bloggers which is just their hobby.

 What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are?

Erle: It’s their choice, not mine to make judgement about. It’s cool, it can reach out to many, can’t say of disadvantages.

    What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?
Erle: Very much. Blogging is new. But it’s beginning to become the ’salon’ or ‘coffee shop’ of the future where ideas get to shape the world out there.

 Who are your top five favourite bloggers?

Erle: I hardly have time to read others’ blogs really, can’t comment.

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

Erle: Catchy title, non-technical but short.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

Erle: A great people! Nothing can erase that. Pakistan was once part of the seat of Mogul (I was a majarajah there during Akbar’s time, what can I say…)

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

Erle: Not really. Being a sociologist, I expect uniqueness.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

Erle: Developed: the most strategic industries are in the high-tech industrial sectors. Developing, still mired in low-tech industries such as furniture, garments & textiles, and very big agricultural sector (past 50% of GDP).

What is the future of blogging?

Erle: Very very big! It is the salon of the future! It is where geniuses of the world meet, also the mystics and superhumans of the world. Very big!

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

I got connected to new contacts, professional friends. Some of them already arranged face-to-face negotiations with me in Manila, inviting me to projects. It began when they read me, and i read their interests.

What are your future plans?

Erle: Become a master of wisdom, travel to other nations as a guru-master. Continue using blogs and open a formal URL.

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Work out to strengthen your nation, unite, bond amid ethnic differences. Don’t succumb to the whims of the global oligarchs who want to fragment Pakistan and then control the mini-states later. You are a great people, believe in your historical grandeur and collective strenth. Allah hu Akbar!

 

 

TREE PLANTING & DENDROTHERMAL, ECOLOGY BALANCE June 22, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Perhaps the readers may recall that a couple of years back, Sec. Angelo Reyes of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initiated massive tree planting and the  constitution of ecology volunteers’ groups for the purpose. The trees were visibly planted along the pan-Philippine highway and strategic areas, for greater impact generation.

 

That project was very appreciable, but it was not the original thing. In the years 1979-81, the new Ministry of Human Settlements or MHS constituted village brigades comprising of volunteers, one such brigade being the ‘ecology balance brigade’. With ‘ecology balance’ identified among the ’11 Basic Needs of Man’, it was but proper to organize brigades and enact ecology balance via massive tree planting, biodiversity where appropriate, recycling or ‘waste utilization’ projects, and new laws declaring as mandatory in all new residential villages the allotment of 30% of land for parks & open spaces alone.

 

I joined the MHS in early 1981, then fresh from college, as a community services assistant at the Regional Liaison Office – Regioin II. I recall well that one of the first tasks I had to do was to monitor the brigades and town-level organizers (Human Settlements’ Officers). The ‘ecology brigades’, to my amazement, were at par in organizational development with the others (water, power, education, S&T, mobility…), its members actively engaged in localized projects.

 

But the most focal impactful project of that time was the massive tree planting, with the giant Ipil-Ipil serving as lead crop. The small native ipil was also massively disseminated, more so that it served as good input for livestock feeds. The miraculous thing about the giant ipil-ipil was that it grew so fast, its branches extending outward at rapid rates, and so it took no time at all to harvest them.

 

Unlike the Reyes-initiated project that concentrated cultivation in main arterial roads, the Maharlika tree planting (as the MHS dubbed the project then) cultivated in both the arterial and peripheral roads. And, in pioneer ipil tree farms inland, many of which took off and benefitted the small planters with great fulfillment.

 

It was during my monitoring sortees to the different towns of Cagayan Valley that I conducted the extra task of morale-boosting the ecology brigades and briefing the HSOs accordingly about the massive tree planting program. By the start of the 2nd quarter of 1981, we staff devoted succeeding days for immersing ourselves in the tree planting efforts, documentation and consultations with tree planters, and networking with state agencies that supported the project. We did the same thing again in 1982, and another session in 1983 (my last year in the MHS/Region II).

 

Seeing the success of the 1981 wave of ipil cultivation, the newly constituted livelihood program quickly caught the ecology fever and designed ‘tree farming’ and ‘dendrothermal’ projects, utilitizing ipil trees. They were circumscribed within the ‘agroforestry’ and the ‘waste utilization’ project modules (there were 7 such modules then). Seeing my acumen for project development, the new management pulled out pronto from community services and was directed to be among the pioneer staff for livelihood, which I so gladly accepted. I had many wonderful moments brainstorming and conceptualizing enterprise projects, from micro- to SME levels, including this wave of ‘tree farming’ and ‘dendrothermal’.

 

The seedling banks for ipil trees, both giant and small, were simply too many that they dotted the entire archipelago, including Manila. Likewise was the market for ipil so huge and well established, including the feed mills. It need not belabored that the giant trees contributed in no small measure to the oxygenation of the surrounds, and protective canopies for travelers and pasture breeds.

 

We volunteer and small planters than considered ourselves true ecologists. And, thanks heavens, there were no ‘environmentalist’ groups then, whose ceaseless sloganeering is so annoying they could have slowed down the projects altogether. I really have the great wish that these ‘environmentalists’ will immerse their hands in production and re-green the mountains, so they can join the true ecologists and exercise Oneness in spirit and action. It may not be too late for them to do just that.

 

[Writ  05 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES: HAPPY CENTENNIAL! June 21, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Happy Centennial Anniversary to my Beloved Alma Mater, the University of the Philippines!

Being a development expert, I wish to highlight in this briefer the developmental side to the premier university of my beloved country. The University or the Philippines or U.P. is foremost of all an indication of the maturity of Filipino education and educators, in that after 100 years of existence, we as a people were able to show to the world the viability of a grand university run by ourselves (Filipinos).

Tertiary education was imported directly from the West, being transplanted here from Europe during the Spanish colonial era (1500s-1800s). Albeit the idea of tertiary institutes run by Filipinos themselves is a fairly recent development. To be exact, it was only after World War II, coherent with our own independence from the USA, that the striving for Filipino-run tertiary educational institutions became one of the greatest challenges in Philippine education.

The University of the Philippines was constituted by the Americans after the conclusion of the Philippine-American War.  When that war ended in 1900, there was a period of intense reorganization of the entire society and state, as well as the reconstruction of the economy that was damaged by two (2) consecutive wars (the Philippine revolution against Spain was the first). In 1908 the University of the Philippines was born.

The idea of a premier state university was not, however, an imposition by the USA on the Philippines. During the brief period of Aguinaldo government (1898-2000), the new Philippine state already prioritized the constitution of such a university in consonance with its desire to establish a modern educational program. The pedagogy of that university, had it succeeded, could have been close to those of Spain’s tops, notably the University of Barcelona and University of Madrid.   

But the grand vision of the new republic wasn’t fulfilled as the Americans grabbed that opportunity for self-governance by the new state. However, the Americans themselves realized the soundness of the concept, and so they took on the cudgels for constituting a premier state university. The flagship campus was then the Padre Faura campus in Manila, while the branch outside Manila was the UP College Los Banos. The Philippine General Hospital served as the service arm of the new university. Anglo-Saxon pedagogy and philosophy served as the core foundation, following those of the Ivy League universities.

Americans served as the first professors and administrators of the noble institution. Then, gradually their Filipino apprentices joined the faculty, until the time was ripe for Filipinos to serve as top management officials. Note that it took two (2) decades for such a process to take. When the grand statesman Manuel Luis Quezon became President of the commonwealth, Filipinos were already showing their prowess in administering the university, designing and managing academic programs, launching pioneering research programs, and running classrooms as professors.

The commonwealth government was a testing period for self-governance which incidentally found solid support inside the United States congress and executive. By the early 19040s the self-governance prowess of Filipinos in the state university was already established. So when the USA departed from the Philippines in 1946, Filipinos already had the upper hand in running this institution and there was no great need to import experts (professors and consultants) to run the university.

It was a rough ride all along for the state university. No matter how rough it may have seem, when asked for an opinion, I would prefer to stress the victory of Filipinos first of all in showing the capability to run the university ourselves.

Since that time on, the state university had become the bastion of nationalism and critical thinking in the country. During the dark years of Martial Law, the U.P. became the most powerful lamp that lighted the surrounds for the whole nation, and people outside were dying to read the Philippine Collegian and dying to hear U.P. professors and youth leaders speak about the true state of the nation. This libertarian and Enlightenment facets of the U.P. are very much intact till these days.

Furthermore, the Filipinos were already able to veer away from their Anglo-Saxon heritage in U.P. Gradual Filipinization across the decades led to a rediscovery of the Pacific and Asian roots of Philippine culture, and the result was a blending of Western (Anglo-Saxon, Continental) and Eastern (Malayan, Asiatic) philosophy cum pedagogy. The U.P has led efforts at re-engineering the Filipino language from a conversational to an intellectualizing language sufficient for articulating higher level concepts, a re-engineering that continues till these days.  

Finally, the U.P. also evolved into the top producer of knowledge and art works for the archipelago. It is the nation’s top think-tank, the bastion of national collective reflection, where we can find the highest concentration of brilliant minds among professors, research scientists, artists and students. All other institutions in the country seek counsel from the U.P. about their core state of affairs, a proof of the maturity and esteem that the U.P had gained across the decades.

Long and arduous will be the route that the state university will traverse yet, but having proved its resiliency and capacity across one century, I am confident that this University will grow and prosper over the next one hundred (100) years of its sojourn. Let us all wish the best of luck for this very noble institution, which may turn out to be the last bastion of freedom for Asia at a time of growing global fascism.

Glory, genius, grandeur!

[20 June 2008, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

RIZAL: MAN FOR ALL SEASONS June 19, 2008

Erle Frayne  Argonza

Visionary genius, patriot, martyr for Philippine independence, Gat Jose Rizal was a man too far ahead of his own time. So titanic was the luck that came upon this blessed archipelago, the Philippine islands, for the embodiment among its humble people of this encyclopedic mind, Dr. Jose Rizal. He is impeccably a ‘man for all seasons’. And he is the national hero of the Philippine nation.

Most nations declare among their top patriots a warrior or military leader as their ‘national hero’. But for the Philippines, ours’ is a genius, an intellectual giant, a mind capable of engaging in issues so recondite and subjects so diverse that, in so short a span, he was able to pen an enormous variegation of topics that befit, in their totality, an encyclopedia. At the age of 35, he was terminated by the demonic imperial forces of Spain, but he never died in vain. On the contrary, his death continued to inspire libertarian patriots here and in other Asian lands, an inspiration that continues for our youth till these days.

Mystically gifted, little did people know that he was actually transformed into a spiritual guru before his death. His guruship was unique, in that he mentored his fellows on the wisdom of nationhood and patriotism. One of his avowed readers if not disciples, Mohandas Gandhi of India, followed in his steps and became, upon his transformation into a spiritual master, a mentor of nationhood and patriotism just like Rizal.

So mighty a mind Rizal possessed, without doubt, that till these days his works overshadow the combined works of his own fellow patriots, including those who’ve gained double doctorate degrees and published widely in academic circles. Rizal’s following is solid, he need not further articulate nor gesticulate thoughts in the vogue of a desperate social marketing campaign, for even long after his death, youthful and scholarly minds read him, try to follow his ethical precepts, and emulate his exemplary patriotic behavior.

He was the first Filipino. Before his time, the term Filipino was bestowed only on those Spaniards born and raised in the Philipines. The Malayan natives were pejoratively called Indios; Chinese, Sangleys; Aetas and IPs, negritos and montanosas; and Muslims, Moros. With scathing indictment of arrogant racism of  Spaniards most especially the friars, Rizal declared, with his mighty pen, that from this day on everybody born and raised in the islands will be called Filipino. That was how we islanders were to be bestowed with the name Filipino, a term that will stick till way into the distant future when a ‘Filipino race’ will evolve from out of a mere nationality today.

In his thoughts he pre-empted the political philosophy of Antonio Gramsci, the eminent Marxist leader of the Italian Left. Rizal mentored his fellow patriots that it will prove unwise to wage an insurrectionary campaign and seize political power, at a time when the ideas of nationhood haven’t permeated the private sphere yet. The most fitting strategy for that long-term goal—of building nationhood—is education. Build the new world’s ideas first till they become hegemonic, after which winning a revolution will be more facile as it was in the French revolution. That’s Rizal, and that’s Gramsci as well, but Rizal preceded Gramsci, let the world be made aware of this fact.

In gender relations, Rizal was no less ahead of his time. He scorned the ‘Old World woman complex’ so deeply that he chose to bury this woman in catacombs of history, which he did by killing Maria Clara, the Old World’s embodiment, in his novels. He advanced the idea of Modern Woman in the figures of the ‘women of Malolos’, even as he championed women who were civic-minded, actively engaged as co-partner in shaping the modern world, intellectually adroit and well-schooled. The Filipino nation he likened to the figure of Sisa in his novels, a nurturing mother who no matter under dire duress will never self-destruct but will stand out firm, tall and well-esteemed by fellows.

Amid Rizal’s liberalism, he never had any fondness for anarchism. Following Zola’s novel-writing tradition (e.g. Germinal), Rizal embodied the anarchist in the young bourgeois creole Ibarra who, at the end of his novel scripts, self-destructed. Anarchism can never be a substitute for prudent authority that should follow the Enlightenment principles of reason, progress, fraternity, and scientific verity. He was a true-blue liberal nationalist, never an anarchist.

We Filipino nationalists will continue to be inspired by Gat Jose Rizal. And his thoughts, the most treasured jewels of Asia during his time, will continue to inspire us, diadems that we magnanimously share to all enthused Fellows of the Planet, thoughts that mentor and serve as balm on the soul, like unto those writ by the most sagely personages. For these are the thoughts of a man no less sagely than the wisest of the days of old, thoughts that long after they are gone will continue to make waves into the minds of men and women of many generations yet to come.

Hail Gat Jose Rizal! Glory, genius, grandeur!

[12 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]  

 

UNFURLING BIGGEST PHILIPPINE FLAG: SIGNIFYING GLOBAL LEADERSHIP DESTINY June 13, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Good morning!

As I was moving back to home-base, done with my gym exercise, my eyes caught the news bit in the newsstands about the biggest Philippine flag recently unfurled in Baguio City. So huge was the flag, it weight over 3 tons.

Whoever may have conceived the idea (a lady), she was acting magnanimously on the behest of her own Guide from Above. The choice of creating and unfurling a big flag, on the occasion of Philippine Independence day, can be perceived as a token of patriotism and love for fellow Filipinos.

On a deeper level, however, the unfurling of a flag so huge goes beyond simple tokenism. There’s more to the flag beyond people coming together and building bridges of Love for peace and world healing, which indeed had been delivered by the flag team at the moment of unfurling. It also goes beyond the hospitality of the Baguio people that was rightly exhibited too at that moment of unfurling.

For one, the size signifies the growth and galvanization of the Filipino identity and weltanschauung that took over 300 years to build. Building that weltanschauung began when the secularization movement was launched during the Spanish Era, and then moved on to the nationalist movement of Rizal’s time, and onwards to the Filipino Renaissance of the 1990s (pre-centennial through post-centennial jubilee). The Renaissance still goes on and may be the next phase of weltanschauung formation that would take probably two (2) centuries to ferment.

The Philippine nation used to be circumscribed within the confines of the archipelago, the same island group that was created by Westphalian-type treaties among world powers. Today, the nation has gone beyond the archipelago’s borders, as Filipinos have been spread across the globe, nearly 100 million strong.

That huge flag signified the strength of the weltanschauung formation galvanizing as identity, psyche, collective taste and temper that now inhere among the equally large population of 100 million. A globalized people and nation must be signified with dignity and honor by an emblem as huge as the world: a 3+ tonner flag. Hugeness means strength, power, potency, global extent. It means there is not any place in the world that we can’t dip our hands into and be part of their reshaping. It means global imprint, global impact.

The year of unfurling is very auspicious: 110th year after the independence declaration. 110 contains the numbers 11 and 10, 11 X 10 equals 110. 11 signifies conquest and leadership in certain domains of planetary life. 10 means 9 + 1, the number of completion that starts with zero (1 is leadership, 9 is martial abilities). Somehow, the Cosmic Hierarchs are heralding to the world, via this huge flag, on this 110th year of Filipinas, that from hereon a new phase of history begins: the phase of global leadership in certain aspects of life.

By the fact that Filipinos were spread across the globe, a feat that can be attributed largely to the Divine Hierarchy in pursuit of a greater Plan (which we 3-dimensional mortals are blind about), already is one cause for wonderment. Hidden Divine Hands are working on these islands, and so the message of the Hierarchy to the Dark Forces who want to destroy our people is for them to ‘make no mistake’, the Divine Plan holds and will hold through. No Dark Force can ever wreck the destiny of the Filipinos, a destiny that has global effects in the future eras to come.

Not even the destruction today of the archipelago through WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and the mass termination of 90 million inhabitants can ever kill Divine Plan. That huge quake that struck China recently, using a Tesla Earthquake Machine or TEM, was already a forewarning by the Dark Forces (Luciferans) of their resolve for destruction and global domination. But they will fail, they can never make Filipinos submit to their dictates, the future Filipino as a distinct sub-race or ‘species race’ will come, no Luciferan abomination can deter or deviate it from happening.   

My kudos goes to the team that did this flag project. But most specially, I salute the Cosmic Hierarchy who actually gave the go signal for this event to take place on this year, 2008, the 110th anniversary of our independence.  

[Writ 13 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE: ASIA’S BEACON OF HOPE June 12, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Philippine solidarity to all Fellows on Planet Earth!

On the 12th of June 1896, as the sun was rising, the Philippine Flag was raised for the first time in Kawit, Cavite. The Philippine National Anthem was also played, in the genre of classical marches, putting it alongside the French Republic’s anthem. Emilio Aguinaldo, first president of the new republic, declared the independence of the Philippines from Spain and the official birthing of the Philippine nation-state.

That moment of victory, no matter how short-lived it was as the American forces soon snapped off the flame of liberty in the islands, was of gigantic significance to all Asia. For the first time, a modern republic was born, forged from out of the struggles and blood of the Filipino people, who fought arduously against the mighty empire of the Spanish Crown. Over three (3) centuries of Western imperial cruelties, demonic calumnies and abominable barbarities were officially ended that day.

All of Asia watched the unfolding events in the islands then. The young patriarch of the nation, Dr. Jose Rizal, was terminated by the Spaniards in 1896 yet, but his ideas of nationhood spread like wildfire across the archipelago after that infamous moment of his execution. With the founding of a new republic, the Asians realized that nationhood ideas, typified by the thoughts of Rizal, were viable. No matter how mighty an evil empire would be against a colonized people of Asia, the latter will be able to forge collective might and will, terminate imperial rule and build a new sovereign nation-state.

Thus were our fellow Asians emboldened to study the path of national liberation, build the patriotic ideas and revolutionary movements that will serve as their executor vehicles, and wage libertarian campaigns to the finish, even if it will take thousands to millions of martyrs to conclude the national liberation project. Gandhi, Aung San, Sukarno, Sun Yat Sen and leading patriots from fellow Asian lands, who read and digested Rizal’s writings well, stood out among our great leaders in Asia, and the rest was history.

Modern nationhood in Asia started in my beloved country. This is an established fact, though seemingly ignored and forgotten. Because it started here, let it be the duty and obligation of all fellow patriotic Filipino to continue to spread goodwill and good faith unto all the peoples of Earth, whether from developing or developed states. For in today’s context, there are those powerful predatory forces that aspire no end to snuff out the nation-states in the name of their ignominious greed, lust for power, and tyrannical might.

Back home, here, we nationalist patriots continue our struggle against the pro-colonial forces in all spheres of life. Rizal’s dream here hasn’t completely galvanized yet, as the pro-colonials and the oligarchs they serve are ensconced in all terrains of social, cultural, political and economic life. We nationalists are in the margins, while the pro-colonials and pro-oligarchs are hegemonic, and so we will continue with our struggles until the destructive dragons of colonialism and oligarchism will be effectively slaughtered here.

Let the world remember this heraldry, that on the 12th of June 1896, nationhood and the values that underpin it (sovereignty, liberty, brotherhood, patriotism, prosperity) were born and planted in the Philippines as the first instance of nationhood in all of Asia. This being the sublime narrative, we patriotic Filipinos shall continue to bear with us the flame of liberty, and will defend the values that forged nationhood to the last instance of our breaths and energies. That which was first will be the last to fall, and will, with the blessing of Divine Hierarchy, never fall in spirit and wisdom to pursue the grand mission of helping other nations build their own narratives and practices of nationhood.

Hail the Philippine nation! Glory, genius, grandeur!

[12  June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

 

LOBSTERS, CRABS, FISH CAGES – BALLESTEROS VENCEREMOS! June 8, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

[Writ 07 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Writer was former Livelihood Coordinator of the Ministry of Human Settlements, PAC Gonzaga, from July 1981-June 1982. In Jan. 82 he was designated Acting Deputy Provincial Manager, concurrent with the livelihood post.]

Let me go through with my continuing journey as a young development professional, and transport you this time to the town of coastal town of Ballesteros in Cagayan. This town is famous for its crustaceans, notably crabs and lobsters. Let me stress here that the crabs and lobsters were huge by size compared to the ordinary, making them worth writing.

In the last quarter of 1982 my agency then, the MHS, finally recruited, trained and deployed Municipal Staff Assistants or MSAs. It was a great relief to acquire the “new kids on the block”, as it lifted so many burdens from us provincial staff, both technical and communicative (information dissemination of the KKK). From Ballesteros came this lanky young male staff (name now escapes my memory), with long ‘babalo’ chin. He was a no mean staff, to recall.

Mr. Bubbles (that’s how I jokingly call ‘babalo’ long chin folks) brought to my attention right away the huge potentiality of expanding crustacean production in his town. Unfazed by his rather dynamic explanation, who was almost gyrating like Elvis Presley during his presentation, I arranged for some consultations with fish farmers there (crustacean producers who operated onshore) as well as municipal fishers (who operated offshore). I simply wished to verify what my staff had reported to me then.

I found out that my staff did presented information in as truthful a manner as possible, verifying every millimeter of his report to the dot. I then arranged a visitation to the coastal area to see for myself what things were in there. To my own shock (I do get this feeling in the field at times), I realized that their ‘gears’ for fish farming was appallingly primitive (hmmm this is what I got for being an acculturated Big City boy in Manila: culture shock at local life). They used guava twigs that were planted below the sea level, after which the fish farmers would pick them up, with the ‘victims’ riding on the twigs.

As usual, my team’s task was to conceptualize what innovation to introduce there. That’s why our job is called ‘development’. To recoup from my initial shock (I really had to criticize myself silently), I quickly arranged for consultations with the technical staff of the BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources) who became our constant partners in the area (they were so elated at our arrival there), as well as the professors of the Cagayan State University (CSU) –Gonzaga branch (agriculture & fisheries campus). From the consultations and research of my staff, we pieced up information about the techno-component that would be simple to operate and utilize local resources for inputs.

Since we already had municipal fishing with bagoong making in Gonzaga, my team, with the nod of our BFAR partners, decided to focus crustacean fish farming in Ballesteros. So we had this double task of convincing the municipal fishers in the town to sideline as fish farmers if they wish to benefit from the KKK enterprise finance program there.

Our simple innovation introduced to them was the ‘fish cage’, or ‘crustacean trap’. It was made of wooden and tree branches, with grill-fashioned openings to let the smaller crabs & lobsters get in, where they’d stay and feed. As soon as they grew in size, it was difficult for them to go out if at all (experiments have shown they don’t go out as they acclimatize to the domicile). Simple indeed, but so sensible as it increased the yield of the marine farmers.

We also had to convince the fish farmers to apply as individual proponents. The parameters in the area were different from that of neighbor Gonzaga where offshore fishing was the primary engagement. It was more fruitful if each individual would work on his ‘crustacean yard’ (by the sea), though collectively they would have to secure the area together (there are always thieves everywhere, remember).

Project approval was fast for this one. I don’t recall now the exact figures per project. But my recall is sharp regarding the approval, financing, re-training of fish farmers, take-off, and the most important: taste of the final result. The lobsters and crabs using the traps were even larger than the previous pre-trap days! I’m sure you’d agree with me that these crustaceans warm up the heart and brighten your day when you see, feel and taste them.

 

GONZAGA’S BAGOONG BRIGHTENS UP YOUR DAY June 4, 2008

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Two towns away to the east of Appari, Cagayan is the town of Gonzaga. Like its neighboring towns of Sta Ana (to its east) and Ballesteros (to its west), and those other coastal towns north of Cagayan, Gonzaga is home to fishery engagements. These are largely small fishers, or municipal fishers who could only go fishing by as much as ten (10) kilometers from the shoreline.

A town in the doldrums economically, this town though had the luck of being chosen as the site for the Provincial Action Center (PAC) of the Ministry of Human Settlements (MHS) for Northern Cagayan & Batanes. The PAC building itself was newly done in 1981 when we respective personnel occupied it. No sooner had we sat down there, I being the new Livelihood Coordinator for that area, when we got swamped with inquiries about the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran or KKK, the new enterprise finance program of government.

It was from this town where my team encountered many small planters and fishers. One group of fishers comprised of gentlemen who each had some fishing gears to operate, comprising of a 12-18 foot canoe (made from wood) with out-trigger, fish net, volvo outboard motor, and accessories. In contrast to the capital town of Tuguegarao where the experience was an attitude of luke warmth-to-indifference of folks towards the KKK, here there was enthusiasm about the program.

After some discussions with them, my team arranged for visitations of the operation area (coast). We had to be careful in dealing with these guys, because that town was home to the insurgent New People’s Army (NPA), and any mistake would turn out risky and costly. Without them telling us, I sensed that some of the folks were in fact doing espionage work for the NPAs. Instead of getting scared of that situation, I took it as an opportunity to show to the folks that development work is sincere, that if we can deliver the goods these same folks would cooperate well with the “new kids on the block” (team of development managers & implementers). Even the NPAs would admire us and not bother us and our beneficiaries for ‘revolutionary taxation’ which they never did.

It took us almost a month of discussions, visitations, and preliminary data gathering before we could decide what to counsel the folks. First, the fishers knew how to go about with their business, but their lives aren’t improving much, so it must be made clear to them that there is a gap in their competencies including technical (their gears are backward, though indigenous to the area). Second, we had information about the fishery resources in the locality, and knowledge about how to expand their markets. Third, we got the extra information that the town folks produced bagoong, or fermented fish, though production was primitive (home-made fermentation using terra cotta jars).

Piecing up the information together, including what institutional innovation to introduce, we then counseled the fishers confidently of the following: (1) instead of individual proponents, the group will cooperativize; (2) certain technical skills, including the management of the cooperative, the finances and control systems, and the marketing strategies, will be taught to them; (3) bagoong production will be the forward integration component for processing of small fish types (notably the dilis); (4) fishing nets will adjust to the larger team of fishers, so that bigger nets can be utilized and bigger outputs yielded.

After getting the clear nod of the group, we went about with our partnering business, taking another month to produce the business plan, begin cooperative training and assist in processing document, designing the tank for the bagoong production site (we had an engineer who helped us design a concrete tank), and other tasks.  The funding then was so open, so when the group submitted their documents and I endorsed the project for approval (funding at P350,000), it didn’t take a month for final approval (by the regional office) and the release of first tranche of funds.

Construction of the bagoong site began immediately, coupled with acquisition of larger boats, nets and gears. In no time at all did the contractor finished the ‘factory’ site, which had a concrete tank of 10 feet long by 4 feet width, and 2 feet height. Fermentation formula was 1:4 (1 can of salt for every 4 cans of fresh fish). The upper portion contained a faucet located 6 inches below the top, which released the patis (fermented sauce) that floated on top.

Upon launching and initial catch plus initial fermentation, our team and the proponents were so elated at the result. The bagoong tasted really good, so was the patis qualitatively good, it didn’t take the group a hard time to market them. So with fish catch (sold pronto in the coast to middlemen traders) and bagoong + patis as sideline, the fishers finally tasted better life. This is truly bagoong for better living, and remains among the legacy of Gonzaga.

[Writ 07 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]

 

 

LONG LINE TUNA MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY June 2, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

Tuna sandwich, tuna adobo, grilled tuna, and more tuna. We’re surely a happy people here in the islands, based on Asian researches showing that in fact we’re the happiest people. I’d say tuna is among those fauna that satiates our appetites and make us happily fulfilled.

In case you fellows would want to know what gears are used to catch tuna—that would not damage the environment nor the infantile tuna—let this be told. Muro ami and purse seiners are still in among some commercial fishers here, but these are stoned aged gears. The purse seiners scrape the coral reefs below sometimes, thus damaging the spawning areas of fishes. Muro ami exploits children who are used with the gear, and threaten their very lives.

In the early 1980s, as a junior executive then with the Ministry of Human Settlements, I had the opportunity to eco-scan the offshore areas of Cagayan, with fisheries experts and investors tugged along. Among the enthused investors were the executives connected with Dr. Edward Litton who was at one time the richest man in RP (he owned Litton Mills, and was into food exports). I also had at some times interacted with the billionaire himself, in his Wac-Wac home in Mandaluyong City (Manila).

What caught my attention then was the opening salvo of new technologies to catch, store, pack and retail tuna without the damaging effects of the stone age gears. At that time, the Long Line Tuna equipment was freshly released, and our neighbor Taiwan was producing the gears in mass scales. It cost P1 M then to purchase a long line tuna which comes with the big boat, the long line, sashimi-grade storage, and packing. That is roughly P18 Million today.

If one would add at least four (4) months of working capital, the funding requirement for a Long Line Tuna Project would cost P1.5 Million in 1982, or roughly P27 Million today. Former executives of Dr. Litton, namely Atty. Pefianco and Efren de Castro, put up their own trading firm, and was the proponent of a start-up project funded under the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran or KKK. Their company though, the EFCI, had joint undertakings with the old boss, Dr. Edward.

The gear surely fascinated me. It didn’t use nets, but rather a long line that could stretch to 7 kilometers long. Using floaters, the long line would be situated just above water, with the hooks containing tuna feedlots just a few feet below the waters. Upon hauling a catch, the tuna is pre-processed right away, cleaned and pre-cut to large sizes, and stored as sashimi-grade products in the built-in refrigeration. The gear could go out to sea for days, at most for four (4) weeks assuming that provisions would be complete.

Another news that fascinated me then was that over 3 Million tons of tuna—that traverse the Pacific towards Taiwan and Japan—die every year due to old age. It means no one is catching them, so they simply die naturally. The point is, why not catch them en masse, catch even just a few thousands of tons? The byline worked, I was convinced of the production side to the project, and I had it be endorsed for approval in late 1982. Loan requested then was P1 Million, with the rest declared as equity.

The fish boat of the long line tuna gear was at that time already the automatic steering type. It was programmable in such a way that, all by itself, it can sense blockages along the way (eg. rock formations, small islets, vessels) and avoid them by re-routing, before it traverses the same path programmed for it. Amazing gears!

Today we could just imagine how the gears for catching tuna and game fish, the real large ones, could have evolved. Great catchers can use the usual fish line to catch a bull as large as 300 kilograms, such as my sibling Emerald who is an expert on game fishing. In Mexico, the Tuna Cage is now in operation, where cages are used to trap baby tunas that are then raised in the same cages placed just below the sea, under the fish boat.

As a development official then, and even after that (as private person), I found it wonderful to go out with fisherfolks for the early morning catch. I can never forget the experiences in Cagayan, Quezon and Batanes in particular. Privately, in California, I’d go out with sibling, bringing along our family speed boat there that also dabbles out as fishing vessel. It was really fun, learning, and thrill altogether.  

[Writ 06 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]