March 17 - 23

Ramon Magsaysay.  
Bodjie Dasig    
Karl Roy 
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Why The World Needs Magsaysay

During World War 2, the atrocities of the invading Japanese soldiers forced young Luis Taruc to go to the hills and establish the Hukbalahap, a communist insurgency army. After the war ended, the charismatic peasant leader continued his struggles – this time against abusive government officials and cruel landowners. But when he saw the sincere efforts and the incontestable integrity of the new President – the former Defense Secretary who was his mortal enemy – he then finally bid farewell to arms: “I no longer have any reason to continue,” he told the then 21 year old Ninoy Aquino, the President’s emissary. “Most of what I’ve been fighting for is now being done.”
            President Ramon Magsaysay has become the symbol of good government. That a man like him became Chief Executive and Commander-In-Chief is testament that God used to love the Philippines. Like Dwight Eisenhower, his extraordinary valor in wartime was followed by a presidency marked by decency, progress and principled leadership. Like John F. Kennedy, his untimely death plunged the entire nation in mourning the loss of what is and what can be. Like the Rock of Gibraltar, his place in history is solid and immutable. He is our Camelot – the vision of a glorious and romantic past.

            But history moves in cycles. Condrado F. Estrella wrote in an article in March 1998: “As the May elections draw near and as the people have once again primed up to choose their national and local leaders, Magsaysay’s qualities come to mind as timely guideposts in selecting who is genuine and worthy.”

            Immediately after his Inauguration on Dec. 30, 1953, Magsaysay created the Presidential Complaints and Action Committee. The staff was deluged by cries for help. Then, as now, they had a recurrent refrain: corrupt officials, unemployment and poverty.

            One of the supplicants is Hermogenes Antonio, a farmer-tenant in Muñoz who was beaten up by his landlord. The PCAC quickly sent a telegram to the provincial police commander. There was no reply. “Send another telegram saying I am interested,”   Magsaysay said quietly. Two hours later, there was still no reply. Slamming his papers on his desk, Magsaysay got up furiously and shouted, “Come on, let’s go!” – and the President rushed all the way from Malacañang to Nueva Ecija.

            His presence spread like wildfire. The whole village went out to welcome the beloved leader. “Where’s Hermogenes Antonio? He wants my help,” he told the adoring masses. They found Antonio – and discovered something else. Apparently, the sadistic landlord was one of the biggest contributions to Magsaysay’s election campaign

            The President was livid. He whirled to Manahan and roared, “MANNY, SEE THAT THE MAN IS PUT ON TRIAL!” The landlord was eventually found guilty and thrown in jail.

            Magsaysay was the quintessential family man. He believed that strong family ties act as shelter against the world’s cynicism and indifference. However, he will not let anyone – even his family – to take advantage of his position. After the elections, the President and Manahan were having lunch at his parent’s home. Manahan saw firsthand how close the Magsaysay family was to each other – so he was embarrassed when the President boomed: “MANNY, REMEMBER THSES FACES! IF ANYONE HERE TRIES TO USE HIS CONNECTIONS WITH ME TO OBTAIN FAVORED TREATMENT, THROWN HIM IN JAIL!

In the most amazing electoral triumph in local history, he won with an overwhelming 68.9% of the votes in an honest, orderly, peaceful election. Ramon Magsaysay was now the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

            A record crowd of 500,000 from all walks of life gathered at the Luneta for his Inauguration. When it was time to go the Palace, the President refused Quirino’s Cadillac and instead borrowed a Ford convertible. The entire crowd was cheering as they escorted our country’s most beloved President all the way to Malacañang. The scene was eerily similar to the Quiapo procession of the Black Nazarene.

After Magsaysay took a quick shower, he was surprised to find the crowds gone. His security officer explained that he locked he place doors. The President then gave his first executive order: “OPEN ALL GATES AND DOORS! YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO KEEP THE PEOPLE FROM ME!

The legend is true: Magsaysay literally threw open the gates of Malacañang and embraced the people. His immortal dictum will reverberate forever: “Those who have less in life should have more in law.”

            “One other trait that endeared Magsaysay to the common folk was his policy of transparency in government,” according to Estrella. “Not a whiff of scandal or charges of corruption tainted his governance because he had nothing to hide and was decisive in thwarting wrongdoings.” Magsaysay exemplified the glory of a morally ascendant leadership with a clear mandate, and he proved that the presidential-bicameral form of government is perfect for the Philippines.

            “After the Huk threat diminished, the economy improved, and money saved from military expenditures was used for education and social services,” recalls Manahan. “The 1957 presidential election approached, and candidate after candidate, eyeing Magsaysay’s unmatchable popularity, withdrew from the running. His friends began nurturing a dream: Magsaysay as the candidate of both major parties. But it was not meant to be.”

Destiny moves in mysterious ways.  On March, 17, 1957, the unthinkable happened. After being in office for 3 years, 2 months and 17 days, President Ramon Magsaysay died in a plane crash in Mt. Manunggul in Cebu.

The news stunned the nation into immobility. The outpouring of sorrow was palpable and gut-wrenching. In Malacañang, somebody told Manahan, “Manny, we’ve got a problem. What can we do about Luz and the three children? We’ve just learned that Monching doesn’t even own a house!”

            His legacies live on. Every year since Aug. 1958, The Ramon Magsaysay Awards has been honoring the most outstanding men and women of Asia, those “exemplary of the ideals and spirit of service personified by Ramon Magsaysay.” Some of the honorees include Mother Teresa, Haydee Yorac and the Dalai Lama.

          Today, Magsaysay is more relevant than ever. As I wrote an Op-Ed article: A great change will happen to the country if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo studies the life of the late President Ramon Magsaysay. It was The Guy who earned back the people's trust in the government in the aftermath of the golden orinola issue. How? By proving -- in word and in deed -- that he does not tolerate shenanigans even from his closest allies. That was leadership-by-example at its finest, his greatest achievement and most enduring legacy. That's why people still honor his memory -- he never used his powers to protect those who abused theirs.

          Manahan has eloquently summed up the intangibles that made Magsaysay great – and timeless.

         “Magsaysay taught us how a freely elected presidency could work in a troubled, developing nation such as the Philippines. Above all, he showed us grandly we Filipinos can respond, given the chance, to dynamic, democratic, incorruptible leadership.”

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I'm tweakin' my life. I see myself as a work in progress. I'm constantly re-engineering my mindset and streamlining my daily habits to be more focused and productive. I have adopted kaizen, the Japanese ideal of continuous improvement, the heart and soul of the spookily efficient Toyota Production System. It's not reinvention. It's kaizen
Rock icon Karl Roy, frontman of Kapatid, P.O.T. and Advent Call, and brother of Kevin Roy of Razorback, died on March 12, 2012. He was a maverick in the true sense of the word
As a teenager in the 90s, I love Bodgie's Law of Gravity, even bought a cassette tape of their album. My favorite song was The Traveling Song (or is it The Traveler Song? Can't find a video of that. On their next album, they changed their name to Bodjie and The Law of Gravity
Bodgie Dasig, frontman of Bodgie's Law of Gravity, singer of the classic Ale, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako? and the phenomenal hit Sana Dalawa Ang Puso Ko; composer of timeless hits like Don't Know What To Do sung by the late Ric Segreto; husband of the singer-songwriter Odette Quesada who gave us Friend of Mine and You're My Home, died on March 12, 2012
Just last March, OMD performed live in Manila at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. I first of heard OMD when I was in grade school during the 80s New Wave era, when British musical artists reigned supreme on the airwaves.

One such act was The Adventures, who sang Two Rivers, named after my blog 2Rivers. Oh, I think it's the other way around!
Photo Credits

Bodjie: Why Not Coconut

POT: LiveJournal

Advent Call and Kapatid: Music Bytez

Magsaysay banner: Tumblr

Magsaysay: Image Shack
Photo of OMD courtesy of Wikipedia
Here's one of my Facebook updates today, March 16

You're Only Human (Second Wind)
~ Billy Joel

(Part 37, The Huggybear American Songbook)

You're having a hard time and lately you don't feel so good
You're getting a bad reputation in your neighborhood
It's alright, it's alright
Sometimes that's what it takes
You're only human, you're allowed to make your share of mistakes
You better believe there will be times in your life
When you'll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you'll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school

Don't forget your second wind
Sooner of later you'll get your second wind

It's not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You're gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It's alright, it's alright
Though you feel your heart break
You're only human, you're gonna have to deal with heartache

Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You're not the only one who's made mistakes
But they're the only thing that you can truly call your own

Don't forget your second wind
Wait in that corner until that breeze blows in

You've been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you're thinking everything's gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong
But hold on
Till that old second wind comes along

You probably don't want to hear advice from someone else
But I wouldn't be telling you if I hadn't been there myself
It's alright, it's alright
Sometimes that's all it takes
We're only human
We're supposed to make mistakes
But I survived all those long lonely days
When it seemed I did not have a friend
Cause all I needed was a little faith
So I could catch my breath and face the world again

Don't forget your second wind
Sooner or later you'll feel that momentum kick in
Don't forget your second wind
Sooner or later you'll feel that momentum kick in

Photo and lyrics courtesy of Lyrics You Love and LyricsMode
As Henry Van Dyke once said, "Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live."

Death is a rite of passage, a normal part of life like puberty. It is the beginning of something new.

Huggybear's story, What Happens At The Hour of Our Death?, is a personal journey in the phenomena of near-death experiences. It presents two controversial but life-affirming books in the most rational and objective perspective.

It is also meant to serve as a source of comfort for the bereaved that there is life in the hereafter.

This story originally appeared in the My Favorite Book contest of The Philippine Star Lifestyle section in 2009

As I write in my third paragraph: " What happens at the hour of our death? There's a very personal reason why I began studying the afterlife. I came across two books that taught me there's more to this world than our finite minds can label and put in a box."
Today March 18 I posted this in Facebook:

Our culture is increasingly becoming a kaleidoscope of flash images and sound bites. Today's students are overwhelmed by excessive information and I believe it is necessary for them to have a concise and comprehensive reference for the things that really matter in life.

This is the guiding light behind Huggybear’s story, Student's Digest, A Guide for College Graduates — a distillation of the timeless ideas by some of the most highly respected educators in the Philippines, Britain and the United States.

I hope this little work will keep alive the teachings of Dean Jorge Bocobo, Prof. Paz Latorena, Prof. Vidal Tan, Henry Cardinal Newman, Chancellor Louis Finkelstein and Prof. William James for the present and future generations.
All your comments are welcome. You can link your site with EasyHyperLinks
Today, March 19, I posted the links to the MTVs of Keno and Paul Williams in my FB Timeline
Today March 20 I posted this on my FB

This Huggybear story, Forever Jung, has two objectives.

First, it directly deals with the issue of the youth's growing indifference to their roots. Forever Jung is, in essence, a celebration of our rich cultural legacy.

Second, it is an original and interesting introduction into the fascinating world of the human mind. Psychology, after all, is ultimately a study of oneself, and as Dr. Johnson said, "A life unexamined is a life not worthwhile."

I'm sure that discerning and intelligent readers will appreciate this story, based on Jung's books Man and his Symbols, Modern Man in Search of Soul, The Undiscovered Self and Memories, Dreams and Reflections
And that is why Ramon Magsaysay award is given in many nations for courageous and dedicated political services. Its a huge honor.