Who Was Carlos The Jackal?

Saturday Stories  July 14, 2018

On September 5, 1972 in Munich, Germany during the Summer Olympic Games, eleven athletes from Israel were murdered by the Palestinian group Black September. The leader was said to be the terrorist Carlos The Jackal.

It was a chilling eye-opener to read "To The Ends of The Earth: The Hunt For The Jackal" by the award-winning investigative journalist David Yallop. It took him ten years, from 1983 to 1993, to finish the book. One of his contacts from the French intelligence community told him to contact a man in Paris, who told him to contact a man in Milan, who told him to contact a man in Algiers, who told him to contact a man in Beirut – who took him to Carlos.

"To place my story in your hands is not much," said Carlos as they finally came face to face on May 1975 in Lebanon. "You are placing your life in mine."

For a man whose exploits and notoriety are legendary, I find it almost appropriate that I first knew about him f…

Way Back Home

Saturday Stories July 7, 2018

What Happened At Little Rock?

Saturday Stories June 30, 2018

One of my close friends when I was a teenager was a Canadian expat. He was a retired university professor with a Ph.D. from an Ivy League school in the United States, yet he treated me as an equal, like how good friends treat each other, and I admire and respect him for that.

Looking back, I see that now as a sign of decency and emotional maturity. On the other hand, insecure people would treat you in a patronizing or condescending manner, as if you are stupid. Frankly, I find that irritating, and, well, stupid.

We talked about a lot of things, mostly sociology, his field. It was because of those conversations that I became interested about what makes an individual and groups of people act like they do. Our culture helps shape our character as much as our genes and childhood.

This naturally led to our many discussions of race. I myself have not personally experienced outright discrimination, yet I know that countless people since the dawn of mankind hav…

"Out of Love For Every Living Thing"

Saturday Stories  June 23, 2018

"You like dogs!" a friend remarked some weeks back when he saw me calling out and fondling every stray dog we encountered.

"I like them better than people sometimes," I said half-jokingly. "Dogs are loyal, they don't gossip, they are not after your money, and they are good judges of character."

I have always loved animals. My first dog as a young boy was named Hutch. (My cousins, who would sometimes visit during the weekends, had a dog named Starsky.)

I love horses with an equal passion. There is a place here in Cebu called Papa Kit's where I've gone to ride a couple of times. I remember my very first time – at the Boom Na Boom carnival in Manila when I was teenager. I asked the handler for the biggest: a white stallion like in those White Castle whiskey commercials, and for him to let go of the reins and let me ride on my own.

It felt so natural. But it was an odd feeling, like a combination of being excited …

When We Come Back From The Dead

Saturday Stories June 16, 2018

Olaf Sunden was fourteen years old when he died. It was a simple tonsillectomy. But in those days, patients were given a whiff of ether as anesthetic – and his heart stopped.

The boy knew he was dead. He felt so happy and free. There was no pain. He lost interest in the things he was leaving behind. Death is insignificant next to the incomparable beauty that surrounded him.

Then he saw The Light. At that moment, he understood what the greatest scientists in history have been trying to find despite the limits of our finite physical brains.

But he was told to go back – it was not his time yet. The doctors were shocked that he revived after they pronounced him dead, and they even forgot to take his tonsils out.

Olaf became an honors student after that experience, and even after being told by his teachers that he had learning disabilities. His amazing increase of intelligence made him one of the leading engineers in the R&D field, and he now holds over …

Finding Your Own Fulfillment

Saturday Stories June 9, 2018

The song "The One I Love" by Mike McClellan is playing as I write this. It's perfect because it says what I want to say.

"I don't care for parties and I like the quiet life, and I've never felt at ease in a crowd..."

I think the most authentic people in the world are those who have embraced who they are, and they stay true to themselves in a world full of plastic.

These thoughts came to me as I re-read Leo Buscaglia's The Way of The Bull, the story of his own spiritual journey. His title was inspired by "10 Bulls," the classic Zen treatise by the Zen Master Kakuan during the twelfth century.

I'm happy to know that I wasn't the only one who had questioned the things we have been conditioned to believe. And I find it very inspiring that someone far wiser than I had also dared to listen to his own heart.

"I began to believe in my own senses, to trust my own mind," says Leo. "It soon became…

There Is No Death

Saturday Stories  June 2, 2018

The man reached into the coffin as I stood beside him. He pried the rosary from the cold, stiff hands of the corpse. It was fascinating to watch.

We were at a funeral in Manila years ago. The deceased was the aunt of a friend. Somebody had asked the morticians to wrap the rosary on her hands.

The elders had protested. They said it was bad luck. It may sound superstitious, but I don't scoff at traditions because I know the power of belief.

But even the relatives were afraid. I wasn't, but I also wasn't related. I just stood beside the only man in that room who could have done it.

I think of that scene as symbolic of people's fear of death. It is human nature to fear the unknown, and death is the ultimate mystery. Everybody wants to go to heaven – but nobody wants to die.

My concept of death has evolved in my current lifetime. I have my own personal reasons why I've lost the fear of death long ago. If we can just be open to the idea th…