All posts by Ruben Gerardo

Just Like Father Obet

Father Roberto Romano Gilboy

(Credits to Philippine Daily Inquirer)

By: Amante A. Julaton – @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 05:04 AM August 26, 2021

The news came in eight words — one brief sentence: “Father Obet passed away yesterday due to COVID.”

That news stopped me in my tracks. I was speechless. Father Obet is gone. My mind was in literal shock, struggling to grasp the information.

There is nothing as unsettling as receiving news about the death of someone you know. And Father Obet was not just someone I knew the way one would get to know a random stranger’s name. As the priest in charge of our small church community, he became more than just the man I used to listen to from the pulpit every Sunday. He became, for me, a mentor and friend.

His sudden death brought me back to the time when I was still a young, naïve teenager, with a budding aspiration for the priesthood. It was Father Obet who first learned about the desire I had at that time. I remember how he listened patiently as I confided to him and generously answered each question I posed, in the process gradually clearing the cloud of doubt that troubled my mind. I took to heart his words of advice, which proved to be helpful when I eventually entered the seminary.

Father Obet was a simple priest who lived a simple life. He had a temper that was often misunderstood by some. But our correspondence at the time of my initial discernment allowed me to know the kindness in his heart. I saw that kindness not through extraordinary acts, but through his simplest gestures, like lending a listening ear to the young man that I was, allowing me to borrow some of his books, or even inviting me to a meal whenever I made a casual visit to the convent.

He was a simple priest who tried to love his parishioners the way he knew how. Every day, he administered Masses and other sacraments for the people and regularly visited far-flung barangays that were within the jurisdiction of his mission center. He did that every single day of his priestly life.

There is no sugarcoating it: Everything about Father Obet’s life was simple and ordinary. It was not the life that we usually find in books and memoirs about “significant” people. He did not write any books or do anything special that made him a cut above the rest.

Today, to hear of someone who succumbed to COVID-19 is not unusual. Father Obet’s death counts as just one among many. It was not featured in news articles, and neither did it generate buzz in the city where the parish he was recently assigned to is located. His death was an additional statistic in the mortality rate of the pandemic.

Both in his life and in his death, everything about Father Obet was ordinary.

But one thing is for sure: His death has brought me profound grief. I am grieving for him, not because he lived an extraordinary life, but because he was a friend who, in his simplicity, had shown me kindness when I needed it.

The tears I shed for him are proof that his life, though ordinary in every way, mattered.

Just like Father Obet, most of us are not going to be superstars or personalities that the world will deem important. Whatever vocation we are called to or have chosen for ourselves, all that we are ever going to do is to take care of whatever it is that we are in charge of, in complete ordinariness and obscurity—though this fact may not be easy to acknowledge in a world that puts so much premium on individuals who make great and permanent marks.

The novelist Nicholas Sparks has some words that, for me, succinctly describe Father Obet’s life: “I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”

Father Obet’s death had such a great effect on me that it trimmed my life down to its essence. In a few years’ time, God willing, I will also be ordained to the same vocation. And after everything is said and done, all I want now is to become like Father Obet, a simple priest who was not afraid to embrace the ordinary.

Like him, I will also be kind — perhaps to another young man who is curious about the priesthood, or that random parishioner who attends the daily Mass, or that poor community in the outskirts of the city that is in dire need of spiritual assistance.

And if, in the end, that is the only impact I leave in this world, that would be enough. God would know it is enough.

Villa – Inop Han Kamorayaw

by Cesar Torres (August 30,2010 from Budyong Han Villa)

Many years ago, I once wrote:

“Everyone needs a hometown whether to love or to hate”.

Now after being away from Villa, this line seems to be constantly reverberating over and over again. Sometimes I feel that it has been transformed -it is now coursing through my veins. At times it becomes a soft. caressing, and teasing breeze. whispering at the edge of my consciousness: “To love or to hate, to love or to hate. to love or to hate… ” For indeed, there is never a moment when I do not think of Villa, when I do not daydream of Villa.

Every now and then. the contours of the beloved town would leap into my mind- of Mangarit. ofTayud. of Hawod, of Rawis . of Quindot and Puro or of the outlying places I have been to- Lam-awan. lnasudlan. Himyangan. Guintarcan, Bangkil, Plaridel. Sta. Rosa, lnarumbacan. San Andres. San Roque. lgot. Buaya and Sabang. I recall faces of friends and acquaintances of years back, some of them are no longer with us. while we shared our hopes and desires or were engaged in a fiery debate that somehow always ended up in chorus of laughter or a crescendo of harmonious and beautifully blending voices wafting into the blue skies or rising to the heavens on a starry night accompanied by the strumming of a guitar.

I would remember the magical beauty of Villa especially on moonlight nights in May when the sea is akin to a shimmering glass and the silhouettes of Lamingao, Mahayag, Pangpang, Rawis. Pacao and the surrounding areas of Maqueda Bay are bathed in the soft rays of a full moon and the sea is alive with the darting and jumping diamond images of its denizens. I would hear the pealing of the church bells summoning the faithful to a day of worship or the praying of the Angelus and at the same time signaling the children to end their play for the day and run home to the waiting and loving arms of their mothers and fathers accompanied by a gentle chiding. I would recall the gentle breeze of December nights at Christmas time when the young carolers would gleefully fleet from one house to another hoping for a “Pamasko”; or when the night is late, of the huddle of men and women whose voices would break the stillness of the night singing the haunting “Panarit” and startling the dogs who would erupt into a barking chorus of their own.

In our youthful days when the sun was about to set, we would watch thousands upon thousands of birds flying across the skies of Villa to roost for the night in Puro and the adjacent islands. They came from the virgin tropical forest of Villa and Samar when they were havens and sanctuaries of a teeming wildlife.

The sea was a veritable fountain of plenty. Fish, shellfish, “bahong”. and other edible products of the sea were abundant. I can remember the time when the Omnipotent must have favored us with His special grace. There was so much crabs that the when the moon was shining, they would rise to the surface of the sea to be scooped and netted by Villahanons. There were days and months when hundreds of “bangrus” would be sold in the Mercado, when “sarad” was so cheap and plentiful that you could have a “sumsuman” by just asking.

In the midst of this simplicity and contentment. expectations would heighten during the month of August. The fattened pig would be eyed more frequently these days. New shoes, dresses and shirts would be cajoled from reluctant parents. Korioso, decana, torta and all sorts of goodies are being prepared in anticipation of the advent of the town’s annual homage to its Patroness, Sta. Rosa de Lima .

I long for the lilting and haunting tunes of the “Diana” played by old friends composing the remnants of the once-famous “La Playa” orchestra while parading at daybreak around the town to herald the dawning of the “Kaadlawan” of the fiesta. No matter how befuddled our minds may be – after all the previous night was the “Bispera” and was spent in merrymaking in the company of friends, relatives and guests – we never fail to awaken from our brief sleep on the joyous strains of the “Diana” which creeps into our semi-conscious minds. Flung by destiny into distant shores, I am now in a place across the Pacific Ocean. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, Fate would occasionally provide me with the singular privilege of standing in front of a podium to present or acknowledge the presence of delegates representing various towns of Samar and other places in the Philippines. When the Villahanon delegation is presented, I would invariably go into an inspired narration of the only town in the Philippines with two names, one the formal of “Villareal” and the other, a nickname, the more tender, and more endearing of “Villa… Perlas han Maqueda”, of the town in Samar which had produced the most numbers of priests, including Msgr. Lesmes Ricalde, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Palo, or the world famous martyr to the cause of the downtrodden and the oppressed and of Christendom itself, Fr. Rudy Romano.

As a percentage of total town population, Villa’s number of college graduates at one time was the highest in the entire province of Samar. The town has given birth to top ranking administrators in the national, regional and provincial governments. Its passion for education has developed a pool of competent educators untainted by corruption. Long before other towns in Samar and the Philippines had thought of non-governmental organizations, Villa had already the Omawas Foundation organized in the service of the less fortunate Villahanons. Two of its pillars, Jose and Nitnit Dalwatan, gave their lives in the pursuit of its vision.

Moreover, Villa, again at one time, may have been the only town in the entire island of Samar with a newsletter, “Budyong han Villa”, its untimely demise notwithstanding. Its civic and religious organizations have involved themselves in town projects, in cleaning its seashores – probably the first in the history of the entire island of Samar, admirably undertaken by a disappearing group, calling themselves “The Potentials” -in the establishment of a Museum, in the erection of a “Stairway to Heaven” of the Knights of Columbus and in the beautification of the church surroundings, a project of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate. In Metro Manila, a group of forwardlooking Villahanons have banded together to flesh out the resounding and mournful call of Pope Paul VI to help the poorest of the poor, a call which was transmitted to Christendom in his earth-shaking encyclical, “Populorum Progressio”. The town’s literary tradition has produced some local writers and well known dramatists. The burning issues of Philippine society and the imperatives of economic and social justice have given birth to Villa’s fearless idealists who have consecrated their lives for the liberation of the poor from conditions of extreme poverty and exploitation.

And in places far from its shores, its sons, and daughters are recognized leaders in Filipino communities in North America and Europe.

“To love or to hate” … This is the moral dilemma of mankind, the tension pulling man in opposite di- rections. It symbolizes the dualism immanent in the universe, of pride and humility, of graciousness and vanity, of purity and corruption, of beauty and ugliness, of forgiveness and unyielding hatred.

The pearly luster of Villa is sometimes dimmed by the dirty stains of discord oozing out from the corrupted morality of extreme self-righteousness. With greater humility, understanding and compassion – in the tradition of the Sta. Rosa – Villa can become more vibrant and a model community. Giving our best and cooperating with others in civic endeavors will not diminish the greatness and nobility of our delusions. Rather, it can enhance our self-esteem and moral stature. A sense of history, compassion for the less fortunate, a concern for the welfare of future generations, and an understanding that our lives are finite, that devoting our waking hours to a flaming hatred of others is psychotic- these and others more should constitute the irreducible minimum qualities of those aspiring for community leadership.

We realize that our humanity is fraught with the intrinsic pitfalls of our weaknesses. But this should not paralyze us to inaction.

In the words of Desiderata:

“As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. … [T]he world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.”

We have to cast away our despair for Villa and our sense of helplessness. Fear and apathy exemplified by the constant refrain of “Waray kita mahihimo”, “What can we do?” should not rule our lives. We have to hope. We have to act without malice, without calculating the benefit that we can derive from our initiative. Otherwise, the alternative is horrifying for our succeeding generations.

After all, to quote the Ecclesiastes:

“There is a reason for every season under the heavens,

A time to be born, and a time to die.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh,

A time to love, and a time to hate,

A time of war, and a time of peace.”

These immortal lines are as timeless as the stars. Harkening to them can make Villa scintillate like the Northern Star making it the beaconlight for other towns and communities. Inspired by the Sta. Rosa, as in days of yore, we can vanquish the phantoms and goblins of greed, malice, and incompetence, of pride arising from insecurity and our stone-cold hearts. Then we can shout with greater fervor: “Maupay nga Patron ha aton ngatanan!”

But I hear a mournful crying in the wind. . .

Golden Memories of My School

by Gertrudes Seludo Llarenas-Ragub

It was my home away from home, my initiation to formal education. A nostalgic trip down memory lane, of wistful images of great
years gone by – this is what it’s like to remember my days at Villareal Elementary School.

Considered the primary university of Villareal, it has produced many notable and successful Villahanons. Its portals hold precious and unforgettable memories that remain in the hearts of its alumni. For the young Villahanons today who never had the privilege of witnessing the glory days of Villareal Elementary School, allow me to share some fond recollections.

The School’s physical structure was different back then, for there were not a lot of buildings. There was the Azanza Building where most intermediate grades were located, the Gabaldon (concrete) Building, the Home Economics Building that housed a busy
playground at recess time, the Shop Building, the old building near the acacia tree and a makeshift PTA building. I still recall that some classes were held in rented private homes within the community to make up for the lack of classrooms.

The School’s main entrance was made of concrete and covered with climbing vines of garlic-scented violet flowers. The pathway from the main entrance to the Azanza building was unpaved, and most of the teachers were reluctant to wear their highheeled shoes for fear it might get stuck in the mud. To ease this problem, a pathway cementing project was undertaken. We were mobilized to bring sand and gravel everyday when we come to school. There were even some afternoons when, instead of cutting the grass in our assigned section in the wide school plaza, our entire school population was mobilized to gather sand and gravel. A minimum number of three trips to gather sand and gravel was required and trips beyond that quota were rewarded with lavish praises or candy treats from our teachers.

Our favorite spot for getting sand and gravel was the seashore just across the old Holy Name Academy. There was a time when Apoy Ninay Nunez, the old lady guarding that part of the seashore, would drive us away. In fear, we would all scamper in various directions, sometimes even leaving behind our baskets full of sand and gravel. There was no pantalan(wharf) that time, and the only house closest to the seashore was the that of ‘Tay Benok Castillano. That part of the seashore then was the nearest beach resort of Villa. During high tide months, especially in May, young and old Villahanons would take a dip in the water to cool themselves off from the hot summer days.

Announcement of early dismissals by the school principal never
ceased to make us jump with joy! For the more adventurous
pupils, this spare time was used to pick some guavas in nearby
Kalubi-an, just behind the Azanza building; others would walk to
Arado until they reach Manggarit, where there were more guavas
to harvest. The pupils who stayed behind, on the other hand,
would either play in the plaza or play jack stone using a marble
ball in the shiny, cemented hallway of the concrete building.

Whenever the school has guests, food preparations were done
at the Home Economics Building by ‘Nay Meming (Clemencia
Geli-Ricalde) and Tiya Choling (Melchora Dasmarinas-Realino).
They would usually ask the help of some students, and the four
inseparables-Zabeth Gelera, Elma Garcia, Eve Garcia and
myself- were always hoping that Tiya Choling would choose to
call on us for help. Sadly, she always selected other pupils.
Disappointed but determined to help, the four of us would linger
around the Home Economics Building. It was during these times
that Mano Cadio (Leocadio Figueroa) would see us and send us to gather some firewood for roasting the pig. We knew that after the guests had eaten, ‘Nay Meming will surely spot us. True enough, she would almost always see us and invite us to have some of the leftovers.

Villareal Elementary School had a wide plaza, which was usually used to host municipal and regional athletic meets. Preparations for hosting these meets would involve the whole school as well as the entire Villa community. In charge of the ground preparation was my father (Ponciano Dalwatan Llarenas) and ‘Tiyo Tonying (Antonino Varela, Sr.). Pupils were made to bring woven lara (coconut leaves) and bamboos to be made into temporary kitchens and bathrooms. Teachers were made to bring beds and beddings for the visiting delegations. Villahanons eagerly awaited these athletic events
as delegations from Marabut, Basey 1, Basey 2, Sta. Rita and the host delegations from Villa compete in what was usually a weeklong sports extravaganza. The event would open with a grand parade followed by a welcome dance in the evening for the teachers and heads of delegation. The event was meant not only to showcase the athletic prowess of the competing delegations, but also to feature their academic and artistic talents during the Literary Musical Night.
School operettas were held annually. Preparations start as early as January and the directors and choreographers, ‘Nay Corazon (Corazon Dasmarinas Seludo and Mana Tados (Teodosia Geli-Figueroa), selected lead casts and all other participants. Some of these unforgettable operettas were Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. The operettas were usually staged at the end of the school year and had become such a treat to Villahanons.

This was the Villareal Elementary School of my childhood years. So much has changed since and many years have passed, yet the fond and golden memories linger, forever etched in my Villahanon heart and mind.

The author is the daughter of the late Ponciano Dalwatan Llarenas and Socorro Dasmarinas Seludo-Llarenas. She was a former teacher at the Villareal Elementary School. She is married to a fellow Villahanon, Dr. Quirino Agote Ragub and they are now happily settled in Ottawa, Canada with their two sons, Bap and GR

Mga Siday ni Ernilo A. Maraya

(The Author, Ernilo Amistoso Maraya is presently residing in Tacloban City. A graduate of law and working at the Department of Agriculture RFO 8. He is the son of Ernesto Bohol Maraya and Loreta Presnilla Amistoso, a native of Villareal Samar. He was born in Tacloban City but grew up in Villareal.)


Sikat ine hiya nga sarayawon
Hit mga Leyteño ngan Samarnon,
Sayaw nga masukot tukaron
Hit mga lugar nga may patron.

Ine nga sayaw may estoryahon
Parte gugma hin magtiayon,
It lalaki naghihingita nga kuhaon
Kasingkasing hit babaye nga higugmaon.

Ine nga sayaw duro hin kamarahalon
Kay gala nga kuwarta kinahangalanon,
Salit manarayaw pirme gud may balon
Kuwarta nga papel para abwagon.

Ine nga sayaw makikit-an la ha aton
Kay imbento la ine hit mga waraynon,
Unta ine hiya padayon nga sayawon
Ha mga tiarabot pa nga henerasyon.



Dinhe ha kalibutan waray permanente
Mawawara tanan nga aanhi,
Tanan nga nakikita naton dinhe
May katapusan it iya kinabuhi.

Kalamrag hit adlaw mawawara
It kalibutan magsisisrum na,
Mga kadagatan mahubas nala
Pati kabukiran marurumpag hira.

Samtang aanhi pa kita ha kalibutan
Itadong ta aton mga binuhatan,
Kay bangin ha urhi aton pagbasulan
Kun mahingadto kita ha karat-an.

It kalibutan may katapusan
Sugad hit kinabuhi naton ngatanan,
Pero kun sano ine mahuhuman
Diyos la it labi nga maaram.



Tikang pag-abot hit kakurolpon
Tubtub pag-ulpot ha maagahon,
Ha kalangitan hiya makikita naton
Kaupod an mga bituon.

Hiya it lamrag ha kagabihon
Para kalibutan dire magsisirum,
Kalamrag niya dire paraliton
Kay hatag ine han makagarahum.

Hadto nga mga panahon
Mayda mga estoryahon,
Nga kun may bulan damo it urusahon
Kay igarawas ine hit di sugad ha aton.

Mayda liwat naton darahunon
Nga may mga tawo dinhe ha aton,
Nga kun panahon nga bulanon
Naatakar it katuloson.



Makaharadlok it iya hitsura
May mga tango ha iya baba,
Mayda liwat mga dagko nga mata
Ngan ikog nga hilaba.

Buaya it tawag ha iya
Naukoy ha tubig ngan ha tuna,
Ginkakahadlokan it ha iya nakita
Kay bangin kumagat todas hira.

It mga buaya moderno na yana
Aada na hira hit mga opisina,
Mayda liwat aada ha mga kalsada
Mga pustorahon it hitsura.

Ine hira nga mga buaya
Waray iba nga ginhuhunha-huna
Kundi an manguha hin kuwarta nga dire ira
Ngan dagos la isuksok ha bulsa.

Mga tawo nga waray konsiyensya
Dire naawud bisan klaro na
Nagpapaka bungol-bungol ngan buta-buta
Mga pirestihon kaupay pan-anitan nira.



Mayda kuno usa nga politiko
May uyab nga aada ha husgado,
Salit tanan niya nga kaso
Nadaug bisan waray klaro.

Mayda liwat aada ha gobyerno
Edaran na pero hiya in ulitawo,
Kay babaye dire niya gusto
Kursunada niya lalaki nga gwapo.

Dinhe liwat ha aton bungto
Maydo hadto ginuusa an mga tawo,
Mayda aswang nga ginkukuno-kuno
Nalupad ngan nahugdon ha usa nga establisemento.

Mayda liwat usa nga abogado
Nan looting kuno kahuman han bagyo,
Ha CCTV nawong klarado
Mayda bibit TV nga dako.

Ine nga mga ginsumat ko ha iyo
Mga tsismis la nga hinbatian ko,
Mga estoryahon kun nagkakatitirok it grupo
Samtang sige it tagay hit bangkero.



Tanan ta nga mga desisyon
Hiton mga binuhatan naton,
Kita adton may kaburot-on
Waray iba nga pagsayupon.

Kun santup mo nagsayup ka
Kay an im nabuhat dire asya,
Ha iba nga tawo ayaw kasina
Kalugaringon mo iton basola.

Kun waray ka magpasagdon
Hadton imo mga buruhaton,
Bisan sayup imo ginpadayon
Kalugaringon mo it basolon.

Ugsa kumiwa anay santupa
Kun desisyon nat sakto ba,
Ha bug-os nga kinabuhi ta
Waray pagbasol nga nauuna.



May dignidad tanan nga tawo
Bisan mapobre man o mariko,
Angay ine tagan hin pagrespeto
Kay kita nga tanan in papreho.

Ayaw hunuhunaa nga labaw ka
Ha iba nga tawo ayaw pamintaha,
Ayaw pagtamaki it katungod nira
Kay bangin umabot ha im it gaba.

Dire hira tagan hin pag paka-alo
Ha atubangan hit iba nga tawo
Kun ito liwat buhaton ha imo
Di ka maayon sigurado la ako.

Respeto it kinahanglanon ta
Para ngatanan in magka urusa,
Respetohan it aton tagsa-tagsa
Kay ha Ginoo papreho la kita.



Kahuna mo pusturahon ka na
Kay imo kahimo damo it pintura,
Kolor hit mga kulo magkaiba-iba
Alahas ha kalawasan ginbabandera.

Mga panapton puros bag-o
Dire napalabay kun ano it uso,
Pero ha pamilya dire nanginginano
Kun may pagkaon pa ha mga plato,

Kawat hin kuwarta paluyo-luyo
Para ha mga bisyo makasustento,
Kay kalawasan duro hin kamagarbo
Napasikat sidngon manla hiya nga riko.

Gin iintende iya kalugaringon la
It importante nga makalabaw hiya,
Pero waray pagtagad hit iya pamilya
Akon masisiring ha im kairo mo manla.



Mga tulay gin papanhimo
Mga kalsada pinan semento,
Pero an tinuood hine nga gasto
Sobra hin siyento porsiyento.

Damo iton mga proyekto
Pero waray man nahihimo,
Kun mahuhuman waray klaro
Kay gin bubulsa la it pundo.

Kawat dinhe kawat didto
Salit bulsa pirme la puno,
Waray awud ine nga unglo
Karasa piripit-on it ulo.

Aton nasud dire naasenso
Kay damo sugad nga politiko
Dire tinuod it pag serbisyo
Pangurakot la it trabaho.



Naghahatag hiya hin lamrag ha kasisidman
Sugad hin paglaum kun may kakurian,
Kinabuhi niya mayda katubtuban
Sugad hit tawo dinhe ha kalibutan.

Iya suga makalilipay pagkinitaon
Nagsasayawsayaw ha hangin naabuyon,
Mga ngisi nabadlis ha akon bayhon
Ha pasalida duro it akon pag-ayon.

Mga mananap ha iya naatraka
Tungod ha kahusay hit iya hitsura,
Naglilibot-libot ha lamrag hit iya suga
Sugad hit ulitawo ha usa nga daraga.

Inen kandila suga-sugad hin tawo
Iya mga balhas sige it panuro,
Maabot it panahaon nga kita maretiro
Aton kinabuhi dire na maootro.



Lugar ine nga akon tinuboan
Salit makuri ko gud hikalimtan,
Pirme ko gin bibinalik-balikan
Kay damo dinhe it akon hinumduman.

Parasyadahan ko hadto an pantalan
Danay liwat mangarigo ha kadagatan,
Ngan kun makusog an uran
Sige darudadlagan ha kakalsadahan.

May maupay hiya nga simbahan
Ha igbaw iya kinamumutangan,
Kay tikang han am gin uukyan
Magsasaka kami hin hitaas nga hagdan.

Torta nga linuto ha hudnu-an
Masag nga dakop ha bunoan,
Keseyo nga tikang ha kakarabwan
Dinhe mo la matitilawan.

Han bumalhin kami ha Tacloban
Dinhe an akon bakasyonan,
Sige kita-kita han mga kadaragan-an
Namimiling kun hino it haharana-an.


by: Simplicio Solis

(The Author is a retired Head Teacher of the Bureau of Public Schools (now Department of Education) after 40 years of government service. After retirement, he ran for public office and won a seat in the Municipal Council, Villareal, Samar for three (3) consecutive terms (1992-2001). He is also a 4th Degree member of the Knights of columbus, Villareal Council 5847.)

May gin mamahal ko nga usa nga bungto
Bungto Villareal nga natawhan ko
Katundan han Samar an iya hinmotangan
“Real village” ha English, matahum nga ngaran

Igin paparayaw ko it Villa ha iyo
May naturalisa nga kinaiya hine nga ak bungto
May ada panayoran higluag nga taramnan
Hiluag nga kadagatan hora hin kaisdaan.

May ada kahagnaan nga it Villa ginpalibutan
May mga hagna ha timogan ug dapit sinirangan
May ada ha amihanan sugad man ha katundan
Taramnan hiya hin mga homay kanan parag-uma kahuraan

Ako naglalaum it Villa ma asenso
Dire mapaorhi hit iba nga bungto
Kay hi Mayor boy Latorre buhatan maduruto
Buotan ug tangkud hit iya serbisyo.

May ada mga bus para Catbalogan Tacloban
May dako nga motorboat para kadagatan
May ada ha Manila mga pansarakyan
Kanan taga Villa gintatag-iyahan.

Para ha Manila di kana magkokori
Kay kada semana it ira biyahe
Lunes ug Huybes, Miyerkoles ug Sabado
Di ka na magkokori, barato pa it pasahi.

Hingangandayan ko naman parte pag aradman
May gobierno ug pribado, High School nga kakadtuan
May Barangay High Schools kumpleto hin kagamitan
Waray nagud iiliwon hit mga nag aaram.

May mga produkto hin mga liburan
Mga professionals nga mga bantugan
Mga ahensiya han gobierno, pribado ginpangaptan
Higtaas nga posisyon, hira gintaporan.

Idinadasig ko ine nga ak bungto
Kay nagkakaurosa mga taghimongto
Waray mga krimen pagperde hin tawo
Kay an panuyo gudla bungto umasenso.

Yana nga panahon it Villa tikadto
Pag-gios, paguswag hin ka progresibo
Hi Mayor Latorre may ada proyekto
Bayanihan nga kalsada hiya’n nagmangulo.

Ine nga kalsada tikadto ha Kasang-an
Gin ngaranan ine “Kalsada Bayanihan”
Mga taghimunghto pati baryo
Gin buburubligan ine para la mahimo.

Mga Villahanon ha iba nga nasyon
Dagko nga kantidad an ira donasyon
Kay ira panuyo kalsada humanon
Para masayon na it at transportasyon.

Bungto Villareal hi ikaw palaran
An mga anak mo di ka ginpabay-an
Ha mga kasakit pati kakurian
Ngatanan burublig imo katalwasan.

An naturalisa ug kinaiya han bungto hit Villa
Puros ginpulsan in nga mga grasya
Hatag han Makagarahum pati ni Santa Rosa
Hiya man an amon Patrona ha Villa

Kami nagdadayaw an mga Villahanon
Kan Santa Rosa gugma ug bulig ha amon
Kadam-an nga grasya amon nakarawat
Salamat, Santa Rosa, Salamat! Salamat!


Myths of Villareal,Samar

The Road Full of Engkantos

Location: Brgy. San Fernando, Villareal Samar
Informant’s age: 47
Occupation: Farmer

Transcription of Myth:

“According to a tambalan of whom we have consulted to treat my daughter’s condition, she is suffering because engkantos find her weak. The engkantos see her everytime she walks to and from school since their habitat are alongside of the road. They are living in the bamboo trees, like neighbors. Up until now, you can see those five bamboo trees which signify the habitat of these five engkantos. I tell the children everytime they walk along that road to be careful and neither to be too noisy nor too quiet and have at least one companion especially when it is already dark.”


It is true that there are five bamboo trees alongside of the road and we were even told during my elementary days to be careful when passing by that road as we attend school in the nearby barangay. The primary school in our barangay only holds three grade levels so children are enrolled in the next barangay by the time they reach grade four to six. This scenario is still prevalent today but it was only in our time when the informant’s daughter got sick that we were really scared to walk alone. His daughter was diagnosed with typhoid fever and eventually died. People in the barrios would seek first the help of a tambalan to cure whatever they feel because of financial constraints and thinking that they might have offended some engkantos which is a belief everyone holds on in our community even today. The informant was told by the tambalan to offer a native chicken with red feathers to please the engkantos. Later they did know that his daughter is suffering from typhoid fever after they had the enough money to bring her to the hospital since the offering seemed to have no effect.

This story of the informant’s daughter is told to children as an example if they will not going to heed the elders’ advise to be careful when passing by that road. The road is not yet concrete and there are no houses within the vicinity. Aside from bamboo trees, there are mangrove trees since it is near a swamp and a large mango tree which are believed to be inhabited by engkantos as well. The story serves as a warning for children to behave properly and to go home early. It maybe has a truth in it because of the story of the informant about her daughter of which I can confirm but it plays a main role in shaping the children’s behavior.


Two Kingdoms

Location: Villareal, Samar
Informant’s age: 67
Occupation: Vendor

Transcription of Myth:

The narra tree in front of my house is actually inhabited by engkantos and even by Carolina. I believe my husband and my son were taken by them and are now currently living in that tree. They are actually building two kingdoms, taking the souls of our departed loved ones in there. The other kingdom is that tree in the opposite side. There were many unusual events happened in my house because these engkantos often comes here. Those who were seen mostly by them, either passing by or just sick were already dead but with unusual deaths. Some planned to cut that tree but many are afraid what the engkantos’ wrath might bring to us.


The house of the informant in the town proper was actually my boarding house way back in high school. I even experienced one of the unusual events she is referring when her granddaughter was possessed by an engkanto. The tree she is talking about is a big narra tree of which some people in their neighborhood believes to be an enchanted one while the other tree some meters away in the opposite direction is not that infamous at all. You would not dare to cut even a single branch or else the next thing you knew in the morning is having an unbearable pain made by these engkantos as a punishment. Some people living within that area of which the tree stands right now died of unusual deaths or those which doctors in the hospital were unable to explain. Maybe, the people tried to associate such deaths with the tree since this tree is very big and has large branches. In rural areas, if a certain tree is strangely huge, they would suspect it to be the home of engkantos. Carolina is a woman of whom many believed to be a bad spirit and she has that narra as one of her homes. This story serves a great role in shaping the behavior of the people. They were taught to respect the nature without even realizing it. What they acknowledge is the fear they have for the tree but in a way, this fear helps them conserve our environment.


When it is already Dark

Location: Villareal, Samar
Informant’s age: 78
Occupation: None

Transcription of Myth:

“Children are not allowed to play anymore when it is already dark because they might shove some engkantos. By 6pm, children should go home to give way for the engkantos to play as well since they consider night time to be their playtime.”


This saying by elders is still prevalent in our community of which most of the children would obey because of their fear to offend the engkantos. By 6pm or even when night would soon fall in, you will not see a single child playing in the road anymore. This proves that authority of the elders is still plausible through sayings. But aside from the possibility that engkantos really exist, the possible origin of this saying could be traced back in the time when families were conducting “Angelus” in their homes. Children were encouraged to join in such religious activity. However, playing in the afternoon makes it hard for parents to convince their children to join them so they may have made up a story to threaten their children thus, restraining them to play at night.


Kataw (Mermaid)

Location: Villareal, Samar
Informant’s age: 50
Occupation: Vendor

Transcription of Myth:

“It was said that in Brgy. Guintarcan a fisherman once captured a Kataw or mermaid. Because of this, many typhoons devastated our Region which includes Typhoon Undang in 1984 and followed by several other strong typhoons. But Undang was the most terrifying one because house roofs were really flying and just one wind surge can carry a person few meters away. It is unlucky to keep a kataw in your place because bad lucks will surely ensue. So, when that fisherman released the kataw, the calamities seemed to stop. However, they denied this rumor and further said that there was no kataw captured in Guintarcan since a government official went there to investigate and found out that it was just a made-up story.”


The rumor became wide spread after a series of calamities that the informant only relied her information in hearsays. The chance to verify this rumor is not possible since this happened way back in 1980’s. But it is true that Typhoon Undang was really a strong natural calamity. As a matter of fact it is included in 11 worst typhoons in the Philippines causing many casualties. People often associate natural disasters to a particular cause. The one cited here is kataw or mermaid with the belief that such sea creature really exists and the bad luck that comes in capturing it. Brgy. Guintarcan is an island barangay in Villareal, Samar which is a one-hour travel away from the town proper. The primary livelihood source of residents there is fishing and it is far from other barangays so the rumor may have been acceptable to some thinking it may be possible but having no chance to confirm its validity. This rumor often reminds everyone or those who have witnessed the series of disasters to expect the worse and to be more prepared of such natural disasters.


Prudencio Calubid of Brgy. San Andres

Prudencio Calubid grew up in San Andres, Villareal, Samar.  His family hailed from the upper middle peasantry and was able to set aside some funds to enable him to study in schools in the capitals of Samar and Leyte provinces. He studied high school at the Samar Trade School in Catbalogan and the Leyte Trade School in Tacloban City. He started taking up Political Science at Samar College in Catbalogan, continued with his course at Leyte Colleges in Tacloban and studied law at the same school after graduation.

It was in 1965-66 when he first became aware of the revolutionary movement. He was then working in Metro Manila as a collector. At that time, he became close friends with Ka Oscar, a fellow employee at the company who was also an organizer for the then fledgling national democratic movement. They held frequent discussions on social and political issues.

Ka Dindo had strong sympathies for the poor and the oppressed and an ardent desire to help them. He saw the need for revolution in his discussions with Ka Oscar. He felt strongly about this after witnessing the poverty and wretchedness in the lives of his relatives and townmates and the workers and urban poor he mingled with and befriended in the squatter’s area near the place where he was living in Manila. He became determined to wage revolution to help the people rise from their backwardness, bondage, poverty and oppression.

But because the revolution was then only in its initial stages nationwide, Ka Oscar advised Ka Dindo to return to his home province, go back to college, become active in the student movement and initiate and develop the revolutionary movement in this area. He readily agreed and soon carried out the suggestion.

Ka Dindo was like a hardy seed that sprouted and flourished in Eastern Visayas. In 1971, he continued his studies at Leyte Colleges and upon graduation,studied law just so he could have an opportunity to organize his fellow students and the people in the area. He immediately became active as a student leader upon his return to college. He organized students, teachers, friends, and even high school students at Leyte Colleges.

He joined many fora, campaigns and mass actions within and outside the college, and began arousing, organizing and mobilizing students, market vendors and jeepney and tricycle drivers. He linked up with the middle forces such as officers and members of the Rotary Club and Knights of Columbus as well as local businessmen in Tacloban who were won over to join people’s struggles against exorbitant taxes and electricity charges. Ka Dindo also led the first big mass rally in the city. For two years, Ka Dindo also worked as a commentator in a radio station in Tacloban where he broadcast patriotic, pro-people and progressive ideas and analyses.

Along with other advanced student activists, Ka Dindo established the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) at the school. He was soon elected to chair the SDK’s chapter in the city and became a member of its regional council. Amid political mobilizations, they conducted studies and discussions on Struggle for National Democracy and Philippine Society and Revolution.

He was recruited into the Party in 1971 along with two other student activists after taking up the Party Primary Course. The three of them were constituted as a Party branch assigned to Ka Dindo’s area. Ka Dindo served as the branch secretary. They immediately went to Ka Dindo’s town where they began organizing the peasants in the barrio and nearby areas. The unit was advised that it would be better if it could give stress in the future to organizing peasants in the interior towns along the Samar-Eastern Samar boundary where the Party planned to set up the first guerrila zone in the island.

But they lost contact with the higher organ when the cadre who was supervising them was arrested after Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Ka Dindo and his comrades continued their organizing work in their area with the general objective of reaching the more interior villages. At this time, the guerrilla zone they had organized already comprised eleven barrios in the towns of Villareal, Sta. Rita and Talalora. They were able to put up local people’s democratic governments under the barrio organizing committee in six of these villages.

The national democratic movement and Party organization rapidly expanded in the months after the Marcos fascist dictatorship imposed martial law in September 1972. Student activists from the schools in the town centers and nearby city swelled the ranks of fulltime forces. With a much bigger fulltime force, they were able to cover a number of villages nearer the interior.

The presence of a bigger number of comrades led to the establishment of an armed NPA unit. They began accumulating arms from allies, the masses, friends and relatives. In the last quarter of 1972, they had 15 people who were ready to form an oversized squad of the people’s army and had accumulated seven rifles, including an M2 carbine, two M1 carbines, a patented shotgun and a homemade shotgun as well as five short arms. Because they still had not reestablished contact with the higher Party organ, they tookthe initiative of launching the first-ever military training in the island and established the first unit of the people’s army in the island’s first guerrilla zone. They carefully expanded towards the hinterland barrios, covering 15 villages. They were also able to organize Party branches in a number of barrios.

When Jorge Cabardo, who used to head the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee escaped from detention, he was able to establish contact with and join Ka Dindo’s unit. He closely guided the unit, which began concentrating on establishing a guerrilla base from Villareal to the more interior towns up to the mountainous and forested boundary between Samar and Eastern Samar, in accordance with the unit’s original perspective. They were able to cover 40 barrios.

In 1973, they established the first guerrilla front in the island the Southwestern Front-under the Party’s fifth district committee that covered the southern part of Samar island. Ka Elliot, Comrade Prudencio Calubid’s first nom de guerre, was designated as committee secretary. At that time, he had become a fullfledged member of the Party.

By 1974, Ka Dindo’s unit was operating in many barrios in the towns of Villareal, Pinabacdao, Sta. Rita, Calbiga and Basey. That year, they were able to launch the first victorious tactical offensive against troops of the Philippine Constabulary Task Force Bulig in Sitio Nabutasan, Barrio Gimbanga, Calbiga, Samar under Ka Dindo’s leadership. They wiped out the entire enemy squad that was conducting patrols and seized the troopers’ firearms. The NPA force consisted of one squad accompanied by a relatively big number of militia.

In 1975, he was elected member of the Samar Island Party Committee and the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee. That same year, the unit under his command was able to launch two successful ambushes on a squad of enemy troops aboard and 6×6 truck along the highway in Pinabacdao, Samar.

In 1976, Ka Dindo became part of the leading core tasked with expanding and advancing guerrilla warfare in the northeastern part of Eastern Samar. Here, he was known by the nom de guerre Ka Baki. When Samar island was divided into two areas (the Northern Area and Southern Area), each with its own NPA operational command, he was designated commander of the Northern Area Operational Command (NAOC). He was also elected member of the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee’s Executive Committee.

From 1977 to 1980, he led the intensification of tactical offensives all over Samar island. He directly participated innitiating tactical offensives in the northern part of Samar province and establishing guerrilla fronts in Northern Samar. By then, the NPA in Samar had earned nationwide renown for achieving many victories in fighting the fascist forces of the enemy.

At that point, the revolutionary forces in Samar island had attained the capability to establish a battalion-size formation, which Ka Dindo proposed as a breakthrough move. But the Party Central Committee said that the people’s army in many other regions needed help to catch up and gain strength. Thus, the Party organization and people’s army in Samar provided assistance by dispatching personnel to the other islands in the Visayas. In the early 1980s, the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee sent many military cadres to Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay who were a big help in breaking through several successful tactical offensives in these islands. Ka Dindo was elected member of the CPP Central Committee in its 7th plenum in 1978, and he attended the Party’s 8th plenum in 1980. He became a member of the Visayas Commission when it was formed in 1981. But with the commission disbanded soon after the arrest of a number of its members, Ka Dindo was briefly transferred to the National Military Staff before he again joined the Visayas Commission upon its reconstitution in late 1983.

From 1983 to 1985, he was based in Western Visayas where he continued to help strengthen the people’s army and invigorate the launching of tactical offensives. He led the regional military conference in Negros and the islandwide military training in Leyte in 1984. He also held consultations on military work in Samar. Because of his revolutionary work in both Eastern and Western Visayas, he became known as one of the leading military cadres in the Visayas.

In 1986, he was transferred to the Mindanao Commission as a member of its Standing Committee, where he remained until early 2001. He spent many years helping in establishing and consolidating guerrilla fronts in Far South Mindanao Region. He directly joined guerrilla units int he conduct of mass work, demonstrating by example the establishment of close bonds between the army and the masses and the conduct of step-by-step organizing. He also joined a number of tactical offensives to ensure their success. He also spent time supervising the Northeastern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao regions.

In early 1991, he led the island-wide inter-regional training of Red commanders under the Advanced Officers’ Course. Although he he was among those who promoted the premature regularization and verticalization of the people’s army in the 1980s, he never completely abandoned the correct principles and practice, especially painstaking mass work.

When the Second Great Rectification Movement was launched in 1992, he firmly adhered to it and completely repudiated the wrong concepts and practice he previously held. He was among those who led the dissemination of the lessons and rectification documents. He remained staunch despite the fact that several of his colleagues in the KRSK and the Visayas Commission like Arturo Tabara refused to rectify and in fact led anti-Party attacks.

Ka Dindo took part in the summing up of the revolutionary experience in Mindanao in 1993 where the correctness of the rectification campaign was demonstrated. He participated in Party education campaigns, particularly on the Intermediate Party Course and the initial studies on the Advanced Party Course which was held in Northern Mindanao, Far South Mindanao and the national level.

He was appointed in 1997 as NDFP consultant in the peace negotiations. He was a member of the Mindanao/National NDF Panel that held talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 1998 to 1999. He was one of the signatories of the first cooperation agreement between the NDFP and MILF in July 1999 in Camp Abubakar, Maguindanao.

Ka Dindo was appointed to the leadership of the Central Committee’s National Military Staff (NMS) in late 1997. As a leader of the NMS, he took part in launching several national and inter-regional military conferences, military trainings and projects. Among these were the inter-regional conferences in Luzon in 2001, in Mindanao in 2002 and in the Visayas in 2003. He actively supervised the implementation of the NPA’s national military campaign in late 2005 which reaped numerous victories for the revolution and frustrated the enemy’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

In all the places he visited and among all the comrades that he dealt with, Ka Dindo was considered a model proletarian leader and comrade in many respects. Many cadres, commanders and revolutionary forces and masses looked up to him.

He exhibited the qualities of a true communist. He always practiced the three democracies (political, military and economic). He greatly valued the wellbeing of other comrades more than his own. He never hesitated about giving whatever he could to those in need. If at times he tended to be liberal, it was always for the interest of others and never for himself. He had always tried to be objective and fair. He had an open mind and never allowed his personal interest to cloud his judgement. The people in an area Ka Dindo once visited remember one particular incident which started when his only brother was killed by somebody from a big family. He at first talked about getting even with his brother’s killer. But when he joined the movement, he initiated efforts to talk and reconcile with the killer’s family. He enlightened them on social realities and the need for revolution. Because the local people were aware of the events of the past, Ka Dindo’s actions strengthened their respect for him. The family which he forgave, enlightened and convinced to join the revolution produced many more revolutionaries and became greatly influential and instrumental in the growth of the revolutionary movement in the area.

Depite their long separations from him, his three children by Ka Jo have the highest regard and love for him. In the few times that they got together, he imparted to his children revolutionary ideas and good values. He patiently taught his children discipline but he never hurt them physically and was never verbally abusive. He always gently reminded them to finish their plates as many children and people did not have enough to eat. Even in an informal way, he always tried to provide them revolutionary education and explained to them the problems of society and the necessary solution. He shared with them his views about the big gap between the powerful and wealthy and the broad masses and oppressed people and the need to take the side of the people.

He always tried to explain complex matters in a simple manner. One of his children once disputed him on the reason why there was a big gap between the living conditions of the rich who reside in posh subdivisions and condominiums and the poor in the slum areas. Ka Dindo tirelessly explained and convinced his child that it was not because the poor were lazy but because of the ills of class society that gave rise to exploitation and oppression.

Ka Dindo believed that he may not live to see the resolution of these social ills but his children and grandchildren and many more people will continue the task of changing society to free the people from bondage, exploitation and oppression.

Ka Dindo was also known for his good relationship with and helpfulness to comrades and the masses. He had always shared such an attitude with comrades ever since he led units in Samar. This has been of great help to maintaining good relationships between the leaders and the led, and the people’s army and the masses.

He also firmly adhered to Party and army discipline which manifested in the iron discipline of the NPA units that he handled. Comrades always recalled how he took the rounds of all security posts and possible enemy entry points every morning at 4:00 whenever they set camp and made sure all comrades were alert.

The Party recognizes the numerous contributions Ka Dindo has made especially in military work. Among these was his leading role in the formation of the first NPA units and the establishment of the first guerrilla fronts in Samar island. Many NPA units had been trained and formed, and many guerrilla fronts had been established under his leadership. He lead many break- throughs in launching tactical offensives. He had trained many military cadres, several of whom have excelled in military work. Among them were the military cadres from Samar who were deployed to Leyte, Negros and Panay and helped achieve breakthroughs in successful tactical offensives in those islands in the 1980s.

On many occasions, his reputation in military work became the stuff of legend. Stories abound about his expertise and creativity in combat tactics, causing the enemy tremble upon hearing his name.

It has been quite some time since Ka Dindo’s abduction by the enemy, but the real legends about his life and his contributions to the revolution remain alive. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the entire revolutionary movement and the Filipino people salute Ka Dindo and the comrades that the enemy abducted along with him.

Father Rudy Romano of Villareal, Samar

There are only two things that can prompt a man to defy the most brutal of all tyrants and dismiss the threat of death as a flimsy possibility or as a much-awaited moment of personal epiphany: the first is the feeling of reckless heroism and the second is the sense of profound altruism and self-abnegation. The first refers to the youth-like desire to expand one’s personal horizons at all cost and to enlist this feeling of invincibility in the service of a higher purpose and a far more noble goal. The latter on the other hand, is the paragon of self-sacrifice that is so common among the Christian folk, giving a part of one’s self to the indigent and the spiritually needy so that one may carry his or her cross and become whole.

Fr. Rudy disappeared on 11 July 1985. It has been 20 years now since people last saw him, but he continues to live in the memories of the people who have been a part of his life – the example he taught and left behind is still remembered.  Fr. Rudy was one of those who strongly fought against Marcos’ dictatorial regime in the Philippines. He fought it by never giving up his quest for justice and peace, and by serving the poor.  He also shared conscience towards genuine freedom, especially among  the Cebuanos in Central Philippines and the Warays in Eastern Visayas, where he grew up.  On the website featuring the Directory of the Professed Members of the Cebu Redemptorist Province (Visayas- Mindanao, Southern Philippines), Fr. Rudy’s name is at the very bottom of the page.  His status: Alive but MISSING.

As a student in the 1980s, I remember “Tatay” Rudy (an endearment meaning, father) as a jack-of-all-trades. He is an artist, a scientist, an engineer, a carpenter, a missionary, a friend, a priest, and a staunch believer in human rights.  He even knew  martial arts. A poet, he writes poems and sealed them in  envelopes with autumn leaves from London. Gifted with creativity, Fr. Rudy loves to tinker with recyclables. Once, he turned a dilapidated room (almost like a bodega or a storage room), into a respectable office of the Coalition Against People’s Persecution (CAPP). He made tables and chairs for the office as well.  It is hard to imagine that such a dear person is gone.  The person that he is seemed to be invincible from the horrors of brutality and injustice. But a dictatoral government prove otherwise.

A “crush ng bayan” to the colegialas, he is also regarded as a dear “Tatay” by the student activists who remember him as the kind priest who always offered them glasses of hot milk after a tiring day.

Despite being in the protest movement, he is foremost a priest, who has time to celebrate dawn masses with the community at the different chapels of the Redemptorist Parish.  We would go to B. Rodriguez, Dignos or at Perpetual Succor and Southern Islands hospitals.”  The missing priest is also resourceful and has a great penchant for alliance-work.  “He helps with the funding solicitation of offices like the Visayas Ecumencial Movement for Justice and Peace (VEMJP) soliciting an Argus SLR- camera from his friends in London, to be used for fact-finding missions (FFMs). “ He has a way of sharing his social awareness with professionals, who became members of protest groups, such as Bayan (which literally means nation).  Boy’s friendship with Fr. Rudy Romano has continued  even after he left the Redemptorist seminary for a happy married life with Carol and their  three children.  Carol was Boy’s buddy during the campaign and the search for Fr. Rudy  in 1985.  “As we searched for him, Carol and I had more meaning of our lives and we continue to dedicate ourselves in  serving others because we know him and have been with Fr. Rudy Romano.”

Fr. Emy Maningo, CSsR, colleague and fellow human rights advocate who like Fr. Rudy, also became  Regional Director of Vocations, wrote in 2004:

Every July 11, we remember Fr. Rudy Romano as an advocate for justice and peace and crusader for human rights. This year, we honor him as Redemptorist missionary and regional director of vocations.  Thus, tomorrow, we will name our Regional Vocations Office as the “Fr. Rudy Romano Room.” It is located at the entrance of the Redemptorist College Seminary, next to the Redemptorist Church.  Fr. Rudy was assigned to the Redemptorist missions from 1965 to 1976. He was appointed regional director of vocations from 1976 to 1980 while spending full time in social action and human rights advocacy from 1980 to 1985. The Redemptorist Community of Cebu also put him in-charge of their Social Action Apostolate.  There were other Redemptorist missionaries involved in social concerns before Fr. Rudy. But, he overtook some of them.


Fr. Rudy was from one of the affluent families of Villareal, Western Samar. His father owned 200 hectares of rice land, a fleet of public utility jeepneys and a store and was a town mayor. At that time, the Redemptorists were invited to give missions and retreats there.

Fr. Jim Power told the young Rudy: “Being a missionary is not always easy. Sometimes you will have to sleep on the floor…There will be long hikes in the mountains, riding horses and motorcycles…”  This attracted Rudy. He left his comfortable life for the poor.

Fr. Rudy gave missions in Leyte, Samar, Negros Occidental, Siquijor, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental and Cebu. He was such an effective missionary that his superiors appointed him director of vocations to recruit young missionaries.

Happy Missionary

Only a happy Redemptorist who believes in what he is doing can convince others to do the same,” said Fr. Flan Daffy, Rudy’s superior on the missions. One of his recruits from Iligan City, Fr. Oming Obach, is now a Redemptorist missionary in Dalat, Borneo.  On Fr. Rudy, Fr. Obach said: “He talked a lot about his mission experience… getting muddy, climbing the slopes of a mountain and sliding back, riding horses, sleeping on bamboo floors. He talked of his love for simple people in the barrios.”  Meanwhile, the situation of the urban poor and workers in Cebu worsened during Martial Law. Rudy took their side.

Adopted son

His dedication was later recognized officially. The post-martial law Provincial Government honored him as an “Adopted Son of Cebu” during its 41st founding anniversary on August 5, 1987.  Actually, it is easy to set up a “Fr. Rudy Romano Room.” But Fr. Rudy would be happier if we continue to be imbued with his spirit, which is the spirit of Jesus and the founder of the Redemptorist Missionaries, St. Alphonsus.  Are we ready to let go of our comfortable lifestyle and rough it out with the poor? Are we ready to face danger, even death, to uphold human rights, especially of the oppressed and exploited?  They can kill Rudy, but he rises again in our commitment—today.

Twenty years after July 11, 1985- I remember “Tatay” Rudy with fondness. St. Theresa’s College in Cebu is a neighboring institution of the St. Alphonsus Collegiate Seminary, where I often would proceed to his office together with other members of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP) or members of the Concerned Students for Human Rights (CSHR), to meet and to plan.  In some vignettes of poetry, I remember Fr. Rudy Romano:

We have grown to become what we want to be

Many of us have seen the days of torture

Of sleeplessness

Of fear


Many of us demur from a continuing

Cycle of dictatorship

In service

In remembrance

That many of us have died

Have been believed to die

Have disappeared.

Rowena Ranoco, 43, knows Fr. Rudy well, too.  Today, her eldest daughter, Aya is already 20.  She gave birth to Aya on exactly the same day that Fr. Rudy Romano, CSsR was last heard from. September 26 is also her husband, Calitos’ birthday.  As a school principal who now heads the National Science High School in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur Rowena recalls moments with “Tatay” Rudy, then they were organizing a Professionals’ Forum:  “Ang ako g’yung mahinumduman niya ang iyang pagtahi og sinina niadtong bata nga lone survivor bitaw sa Las Navas massacre.  Siya g’yud ang nangunay sa pagtahi ug kahibalo gyud siya nga ang bata wala gyud to siya’y sinina nga presentable.” (What I will never forget about Fr. Rudy is the time when he sewed a dress for a girl, who was the lone survivor of the Las Navas massacre in Samar.  He had the foresight that the girl did not have a presentable dress.) “He also had a very good sense of humor and sense of planning and preparation bringing flashlight, umbrella, a bottle of water.  Fr. Rudy was a very patient man, too.  I have never seen him get annoyed.  He liked to hum and would sing a few songs when we had short breaks in our meetings. Rudy had a lot of friends, especially those from his province of Samar and Cebu. He had a wide network because he was a likeable person.”

Marivic Castellon, 44, formerly a political detainee, remembers Fr. Rudy from her high school days.  She was living then at Ma. Cristina, an urban poor squatters’ area which was part of the Redemptorist Parish.  “As a young student at the time, I was a member of the choir of the Redemptorist church. Fr. Rudy was a prominent person in my life because he was the only priest who would make regular visits to our community and facilitate some leadership seminars for young people like me.  Fr. Rudy’s integration with us shaped our social awareness towards understanding the roots of poverty and our sense of dedication to solve structural problems.”  Marivic was saddened when Fr. Rudy was abducted 20 years ago. “I knew that Fr. Rudy’s fate would lead him to that direction because of his dedication to serve the poor.  There are many more missing people like him whom I know, from the urban poor and peasant sectors, but have not been internationally published as they are not personalities like Fr. Rudy Romano.” Marivic’s recollection and inspiration of Fr. Rudy is best sung in Fr. Rudy’s favorite song- “Sinina Kong Gisi” (My Torn Dress), a Cebuano folk song that bespeaks of the poverty of a little girl:

Sinina kong gisi sanglit usa ra ka buok

(This piece of torn dress)

Usa ra kabuok kang Nanay pagalabhan

(Is the only dress my mother washes)

Dili almirulan, dili almirulan

(No time for starching)

Basta makaabot lang sa eskwelahan.

(For as long as it can be used in school)

Tiempong ting- recess kuyog sa akong classmate

(At snack time when I am with classmates)

Palit sila og pan ako nagalantaw

(I simply stare when they eat bread)

Sa akong paglantaw, murag kahilakon

(I am teary eyed as I look on)

Pobre si Nanay way ipabalon.

(My mother is so poor I do not have any snacks)

Tiempong ting-sanggi kaon kamig mais

(At harvest, we eat corn)

Tiempong tinggutom saging lang intawon

(Off season, we partake of bananas)

Mohilak si Nanay, mohilak si Tatay

(Mother and father cry)

Mohilak sila sa among kapobre.

(They cry because we are so poor.)

73-year old urban poor leader and women’s advocate, Violeta Manang1 Viol Jagmoc was  close to Fr. Rudy Romano.  “Gikan pa g’yud niadtong 1972, siya’y nagtudlo nako og mga leadership skills.  Gitabangan g’yud ko niya kung unsaon pag-organisa ang urban poor sector aron matabangan namo ang among kaugalingon.”  (Since 1972, Fr. Rudy has truly helped me become a good leader within the urban poor sector, so we may be able to organize and help ourselves.)  In 1974, Panaghugpong (which literally means unity), was established among the urban poor sector. “Maayo g’yud to siya mogiya nako kung unsay akong buhaton, bisan gani sa akong problema sa tambal, dako siya’g tabang.” (He was my guide in terms of organizing and he also assisted me with health problems by procuring medicines for our group.)  “Imposibleng makalimtan si Fr, Rudy kay bisan hangtud karon nga tigulang nako, siya gihapoy nagsilbing akong inspirasyon sa akong paglihok.” (It is impossible to forget Fr. Rudy. Even in my old age, he continues to be my inspiration with my organizing work.)  Manang Viol is an officer of Kadamay – Cebu, (which literally means empathy), a national urban poor group, and Gabriela, a national women’s advocacy organization.

Letting a Hundred Flowers Bloom

After 1985 and Fr. Rudy’s disappearance, the cultural movement flourished in the Visayas and the whole country. People’s festivals were held in Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Bohol, Baguio, Laguna, Manila, Butuan, Davao and Iligan.  Cultural workers from the visual arts, the literary arts, theatre arts and music delivered the best of their craft to attain momentum of the people’s movement that was to become People Power 1.  In this scenario, musicians paid tribute to Fr. Rudy Romano, CSSr, our “Tatay”, the missing one.  Jess Santiago from Manila composed a song for him- “Nasaan si Padre Rudy Romano? (Where is Fr. Rudy Romano?)  And with a new breed of musicians, Rolly Wagas was inspired to write a song for him entitled – Kapayapaan (Peace), which he sang 3 years ago on July 11, at the St. Alphonsus seminary.

July 11 is always remembered as a date of justice and peace, especially for human rights advocates in Fr. Rudy’s memory.  And September 26 is the day that we remember when he shared some of his life with us as we continue to do the work that he has, together with so many others who dream of a free and sovereign nation.  Despite the sadness and tears from friends who recall Fr. Rudy, there is a continued reverence for his legacy and a tribute to his example.  As in the Bible verses of Saint John 12:20-26:20

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

One of the many desaparecidos of the country, Fr. Rudy Romano remains present in the hearts of the Cebuanos. The marker which the local government of Cebu established in his honor in the very place where he was taken by agents of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) is a constant reminder of Fr. Romano’s unflinching commitment to the cause of the downtrodden. More importantly, his exemplary deeds which touched the lives of many will never ever be forgotten. Fr. Rudy Romano is ever present in our hearts.

More than a couple of decades, the Philippine government miserably failed to produce the truth about the disappearance of a man whose cherished dream was to attain a better Philippines for his people and for the generations of the future to live in. Instead, the succeeding administrations after Marcos continued to commit cases of enforced disappearances causing untold sufferings both to the desaparecidos and their families.

Painful indeed it is to note that 23 years after Fr. Rudy’s disappearance, the Philippines is one of the Asian countries which is most notorious in their record of enforced disappearances. Failing to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the Arroyo administration has instead callously committed more than 190 cases of enforced disappearances. As a matter of fact, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances requested the present Arroyo administration to invite it to visit the country and conduct investigation. Yet the Philippine government did not even have the decency to reply. This national phenomenon of enforced disappearances has obliged the Supreme Court to utilize its unused power by convening a National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances, Seeking for Solutions.

This is definitely not the better Philippines that Fr. Rudy Romano lived and struggled for during his time…. Yet, his good examples and his undying spirit of love for humanity should prick the conscience of the present government to resolve cases of enforced disappearances of the past and prevent future ones from happening.

As we remember Fr. Romano, we continue the good deeds he left behind and we go on with this difficult journey towards a world without desaparecidos. This is our modest contribution to the realization of a better Philippines, a better Asia and a better world.
Fr. Rudy is ever present in our hearts.

In retrospect, Father Rudy Romano was a fusion of these two. A Redemptorist priest, Rudy was the perfect follower of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, ministering to the destitute and most hapless of Christ and St. Peter’s flock. But being a product of his times, Fr. Rudy was also one of the harshest critics of Martial Law and the conjugal dictatorship then residing in Malacañang.

It is perhaps this unsettling site of a much-respected Catholic, in all his dazzling religious garments, marching in anti-Marcos rallies that has so infuriated the military and the powers-that-be. For on the afternoon of July 11, 1985, Fr. Rudy was abducted by alleged elements of the Military Intelligence Group (MIG) in Labangon, Cebu presumably to silence a man who has long acknowledged the nature of his calling by living and dying in behalf of God’s brethren.

Abducted together with student activist Levi Ybañez, Fr. Rudy’s disappearance and that of the other 1,716 similar cases that have been reported spanning five administrations reflect our capacity for heroism and a wounding reminder of our callousness and national affliction. While some light a candle so as not to curse in the dark, others seek refuge in the bleakness believing that they shall neither be blinded by the radiance nor be burned by the flickering flame.

Sixteen years has elapsed since then; and neither his fate nor his whereabouts has been divulged by his abductors or by the authorities. It is perhaps truly ironic that a people that prides itself in being the sole Christian nation in the Far East has allowed the disappearance of a Catholic priest along with other Filipino desaparecidos, with most of the case remaining unresolved after more than decade of scrutiny and investigation. Worse, this very same people have elected to the Senate a man who has been allegedly involved in the abduction. Either the Filipino is a people of hypocrites or a nation afflicted with a pervading sense of amnesia. In much the same way, the Good Book not only narrates how Christ asked his disciples to forgive seventy times seven times; but He also speaks of the need for repentance for the sinner to be forgiven. Before there can be forgiveness, there must first be justice.

“He who would be a leader of his people”, says Ninoy Aquino, “must learn to forgive them.” That is easier said than done.

Source: Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)


Villahanons in Canada: Meeting the Challenges in Their Adopted Country


(Dr. Quirino Ragub is a Villahanon born and raised in Tayud, Villareal, Samar. He is married to the former Gertrudes Seludo Llarenas with whom he has two (2) sons, Bernardo Anthony Ponciano (Bap) and GerRino (GR). He was a former Professor with an academic rank of Professor 6 at the Leyte Normal University in Tacloban City. In his tenure as professor at the University, he assumed various positions as Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Director for Alumni Relations and Department Head for Pre-Elementary Education on, Values Education and Special Education. Currently, he is a certified teacher in Ontario, Canada and a principal in a First Nations school in Northern Ontario. His family is happily settled in Ottawa.)

Villahanons generally think of Canada a welcoming country of vast opportunities. In my experience, this notion is true. Canada is truly multicultural and a country I can call my own. One’s language and culture are recognized to co-exist with others. Such is the tapestry of Canada that includes the uniquely Villahanon threads. For these reasons, Canada has now become an adopted country to some Villahanons. Yet coming to and settling in Canada posed some major challenges to Filipinos, in general, and to a Villahanon like me, in particular..

The first challenge- migrating to Canada. While this can be done in several ways such as an independent immigrant and a caregiver, or through a provincial nomination in Manitoba or by claiming refugee status, the current procedures and costs involved can be quite financially prohibitive. However, over a decade ago, this wasn’t quite the case. When my wife, GERTRUDES SELUDO LLARENASRAGUB, moved to Canada in 1990, immigrant admission requirements were more relaxed. Back then, no formal six months training was required from applicants to the caregiver program. Today, one’s training certificate is not enough to guarantee qualification to move to Canada.

Moving to Canada as a contract worker requires one to stay with the Canadian employer for two years. When the two-year contract is completed, one can either be released by the employer or be prevailed upon to stay. Most exceptionally good workers who agree for an extended period of service with their employers are able to negotiate the possibility of sponsoring a relative or sibling to come to Canada. After three years of stay in Canada, one can file for the sponsorship application for a family member. Because Canada is supportive of family reunification, the waiting period for family petitions is not very lengthy for as long as the Canadian immigration requirements are met. This is how Villahanons grew in number in Canada.

The second challenge- finding employment that is suitable to your Philippine job experience. Canada does not recognize degrees earned outside of its borders. Getting your credentials recognized is a very tedious process. I did mine, but I was made to pass through the needle’s eye. Every province in Canada has its own licensing body for every profession. And one must be licensed in every province you choose to work at. Because of the rigors and hassles of licensing, and for practical economic reasons, many first wave immigrants decided to forego of having their credentials recognized and instead opted to take on jobs that were not in line with their educational background and previous training and employment.

This trend in employment continued to such an extent that the Canadian government realized the enormous wastage of the human capital potential of immigrants because of the rigorous licensing requirements. It has now started to harness and optimize immigrant professionals. Despite this development, opening doors to foreign-trained professionals is still often met with opposition. This affects so many Filipinos who had well-paying jobs or lucrative businesses back home, but are forced to take on any job to augment family income while living in Canada.

The third and biggest challenge-coping with homesickness and managing one’s longing for Villa. When my wife came to Canada in 1990, our youngest son was only about four years old. On the day of her flight, she didn’t even wake our sons up because she couldn’t stand the thought of bidding them goodbye. The pursuit of a better future for our children was her driving force and source of determination. Coping with homesickness is costly – the phone bills can be enormous. However, most Villahanons don’t care too much about spending on long distance calls, for as long as they stay connected with their families back home. Fortunately, advances in communication technology have helped ease the homesickness of Villahanons in Canada.

Everything about Villa is missed so terribly. It is the fervent wish of every Villahanon to go back home in every August to attend the fiesta, but work and financial constraints do not make this possible. This longing for home is felt just as intensely by us, the Villahanons in Canada. There really is no place like home. There is no place like Villa.

To cope with our longing for home, Villahanons in Toronto and Ottawa started to celebrate reunions on the Feast of Santa Rosa de Lima every August. It began in 1999 when NORA COLLES-CHAWLA together with MARITES OCANA-ORBESO and THELMA OCENAR had the first gathering in Nora’s former house in Mississauga. Nora was the first hermana of the fiesta followed by Marites Ocana in 2000.

In 2001, the celebration was held in Ottawa with GERTRUDES (DING) LLARENAS-RAGUB as the hermana. An image of Santa Rosa de Lima donated by MANA ESTRING LATORRE and ‘NAY MELING QUIJANO, and the “Estandarte” donated by MSGR. LUIS LLARENAS were blessed and made the central focus of the festivities. This image of Santa Rosa deLima was brought personally by Mana Estring Tan-Latorre when she and son ATAT LATORRE came to Canada. The fiesta celebration in Ottawa that year was attended by Villahanons from the United States. MANA CARING PACO and husband MANO LINO, RAFFY OBREGON with wife NANETTE came all the way from California; ROMY and ROSIE AMINTOSO-LATORRE came from New Jersey; and GINA OBREGON flew in from Texas.

In 2002, it was Toronto’s turn to host the fiesta and it was my niece THELMA OCENAR-COLLES who was hermana. In 2003, the celebration was in Ottawa again and my cousin SOL AGOTE-SANTOS was the hermana. In 2004, the hermana was TET LATORRE-ARCANGEL followed in 2005 by BERNADETTE KATI whose roots are from Villa – the Sabios and the Nacionals.

In 2006, the fiesta celebration was held in Ottawa and was a dual celebration – the fiesta for Santa Rosa de Lima and our 25th Wedding Anniversary. With the VILLAREAL BAYANIHAN ROAD RECONSTRUCTION underway, Ding and I requested our guests to give donations to the road reconstruction project in lieu of gifts. Our friends and guests supported our request and we were able to generate one hundred thousand pesos for the road project.

Apart from longing for home, it is also the dream of every Villahanon to see the completion of the Villareal Bayanihan Road Reconstruction Project. This government-forsaken nine-kilometer road connecting the town of Villareal to the national highway has earned so many names. It was called a “Fiesta Road” because it was only in August (the fiesta month) that the cavernous potholes are bulldozed and filled with white soft stones. When the rainy days come again, these wide potholes become mini ponds that render impossible whatever kind of travel by car and motor vehicles. This road was also called “Panaaran” because of the promises of politicians during election campaigns. Elections came and went, and the promises of politicians have all vanished in thin air.

During one Villahanon Fiesta in Metro Manila, MAYOR REYNATO (BOY) RAPANAN LATORRE and DIRECTOR MARIVEL CAMILON-SACENDONCILLO challenged the Villahanons to take it upon themselves to initiate the improvement of the roads since the government had forever turned a blind eye to it. This was how the VILLAREAL BAYANIHAN ROAD RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT started. The challenge fired up the Manila-based Villahanons, and before long, Villahanons from all over the country and around the world wanted to be involved. With dedicated volunteer-service of ELIZABETH GELERA-LATOJA as chairperson for solicitation, monetary as well as material donations kept pouring in constantly for this road project. Free labor (bayanihan/pintakasi style) was provided by Villahanons in every barangay. Even municipal and national employees of the town gave their share of free labor on Saturdays. With the concerted efforts and sustained commitment of all Villahanons and friends of Villa, we know that the realization of this dream is not far behind. The Villahanons in Canada will always be counted on for whatever major project our town will undertake.

There are not many Villahanons in Canada. In Toronto, there is Nora Colles-Chawla and family;

Mira Colles-Hassan and family; Tet Latorre-Arcangel and family; Marites Ocana-Orbeso with parents Mano Arturo and Mana Lilia Ocana; Bernadette Kati and her sister Elsa Maricris Colles;

Juanillo Miel and family (whose roots are from Guintarcan); Mana Aday Quijano-Reyes the wife of

Dr. Jesus Reyes together with their children; and Amparo Ocana.

In Ottawa, there is Sol Agote-Santos with her children Josephine Santos-Tapiru and family; William Santos and family; Ruel Santos and family; Thelma Ocenar and husband Nieto Colles and family; Dandan Llarenas-Ferarris with daughters Frances, Glenda with her husband Blanco; Leonila and Althea Quejada; the Ragub family with my sons Bap and GR; Evelyn Hernandez-Caballero and family; Ethel Hernandez and Alice Hermosura-Tagimacruz.

In Vancouver, there is Belen Hermo Lababo, the sisters Marmie and Letlet Fallorina and Nick Alcorroque. In Winnipeg, there is Patrocinia Seludo Jerusalem-Paulo and family and our latest Villahanon arrivals are Gingging Latorre Tan-Ocenar and her husband Gil.

We may (still) be few in number, but we have a big heart in helping Villareal become a progressive municipality and a better place to live in and raise the future generation of Villahanons.

No matter how seemingly insurmountable the challenges we face here in Canada, we- strong-willed, determined, self-sacrificing and courageous Villahanons- tackle them head on and overcome them. We will not only prevail, we will flourish. This we know because of our love for our dearly beloved Villa and our faith in our beloved Patroness, Santa Rosa de Lima.


Public Service, the Villahanon Way

by City Prosecutor Ruperto Bardaje Golong

(The author is Atty. Ruperto B. Golong, Jr., City Prosecutor of Tacloban City, a law professor, a management consultant and guest lecturer at the University of the Philippines-Tacloban College and Leyte Normal University.)

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw away the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbors,

Catch the trade winds in your sails, Explore, dream, discover-”  (Mark Twain)

These immortal lines from Mark Twain present a vivid picture of my life and ushered me to where I am now. After graduating at the top of our class at the Leyte Normal School, now the Leyte Normal University, with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSEED) in March 1971, I was invited to teach at the Sacred Heart School English Department) and stayed thereat for three (3) years. The following year I taught at the Villareal Elementary School, particularly at Brgy. Lam-awan.

After a year and a half of teaching in a barrio school, I reassessed my priorities and decided on a new career-path. I moved back to Tacloban City and joined the Commission on Population Regional Office VIII under the leadership of Leo Rama, Regional Director, as Supply Officer IV . While working at POPCOM, I decided to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.

In June 1977, I enrolled at the Leyte Colleges, College of Law and completed a law degree, cum laude in March 1981. While studying to be a lawyer, I moved from POPCOM to the Ministry of Human Settlements as Project Officer II. After four years, I moved to the Regional Command 8, to take up a civilian employment as a Research Analyst. In November 1981, the same year I graduated from the College of Law, I took the Bar Exam and fortunately passed.

Immediately after I took my oath as a lawyer, I opened a law office in Tacloban City with the Dean Jose Cusi, Dean of the Leyte Colleges, College of Law as my partner. Law practice was not that lucrative at the start so I accepted a teaching job at the Leyte Colleges, College of Law where I was designated as Asst. Dean, College of Law.

After the EDSA Revolution in 1986 the career service opened a lot of opportunities for lawyers in the country. Judges, Prosecutors and heads of government offices were asked to tender their courtesy resignations to pave the way for new appointees of the Aquino administration.

I was among the first appointee as City Prosecutor of Ormoc City, an appointment made possible through the efforts of Cirilo “Roy” Montejo, then Civil Service Commissioner and later Congressman of the 1st District of Leyte. In September 1991, when the position of City Prosecutor of Tacloban was vacated with the promotion of City Prosecutor Francisco Aurillo Jr. as Regional State Prosecutor, I was appointed City Prosecutor of Tacloban City, a position I hold up to the present.

To prepare myself for other job opportunities both in government and the private sector, I obtained a Master Degree in Public Management at the University of the Philippines, Tacloban College and a Ph. D. in Management at the International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME) in Makati City.

My modest accomplishment in government service is a product of Divine intervention, persistence, hard work, good public relations and a lot of inspiration from my parents MR. & MRS. RUPERTO GOLONG, SR., my ever loving wife MRS. Daniela Kempis Golong, my children, Carl Jeffrey, Joanne (General Manager, SOMERSET Makati, an international chain of hotels) and Jason, my brother and sisters, my teachers, classmates at the Villareal Elementary School batch 1963 and at the Holy Name Academy High School batch 1967. Among my classmates who did very well are Susan Latorre Belez, Tito N. Geli, Jose B. Romano and Carol Conise Mendiola- all successful entrepreneurs based in Manila, Ramon Castillano, a trading mogul based at Villareal, Samar, Teddy Varela, a Senior Officer at GSIS, Manila, Oscar Mendoza a State Auditor assigned at the Post Office, Manila, Oscar Ricalde, a Mall Supervisor based in Guam, Milagros Isaac, a businesswoman based in the USA,Belen Enverzo Nagpacan, Corazon Fabilane Gilbuena, Ofelia Geli de los Reyes, Letecia Golong Araza, all Master Teachers of the Departmentof Education.

I believe that whatever we have in this world are but fleeting fancies. But a good name will always stand the test of times. Allow me to share one of the guideposts in my life, the words of the famous poet Horacio Alger:

If I Would Have My Name Endure, I’ll Write It In The Hearts of Men

By Horacio Alger

I write my name upon the sand,
And trusted it would stand for age;
But soon, alas, the refluent sea,
Had washed my feeble lines away.

I carved my name upon the wood
And after years returned again,
I missed the shadow of the tree,
That stretched of old upon the plain.

To solid marble next my name,
I gave as perpetual trust;
An earthquake sent it to its base,
And now it lies overlaid with dust.

All these have failed-
In wiser mood I turn and ask myself,
What then, if I would have my name endure,
I’ll write it in the hearts of men.