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Friday, November 30, 2007


1. You and your teeth don't sleep together.
2. Your try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren't wearing any.
3. At the breakfast table you hear snap, crackle, pop and you're not eating cereal.
4. Your back goes out but you stay home.
5. When you wake up looking like your driver's license picture.
6. It takes two tries to get up from the couch.
7. When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
8. When happy hour is a nap.
9. When you're on vacation and your ENERGY runs out before your money does.
10. When you say something to your kids that your mother said to You, and you always hated it.
11. When all you want for your birthday is to not be reminded of your age.
12. When you step off a curb and look down one more time to make sure the street is still there.
13. Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.
14. It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
15. Your memory is shorter and your complaining lasts longer.
16. Your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.
17. You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
18. The pharmacist has become your new best friend.
19. Getting "lucky" means you found your car in the parking lot.
20. The twinkle in your eye is merely a reflection from the sun on your bifocals.
21. It takes twice as long - to look half as good.
22. Everything hurts, and what doesn't hurt - doesn't work.
23. You look for your glasses for half an hour and they were on your head the whole time.
24. You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
25. You give up all your bad habits and still don't feel good.
26. You have more patience, but it is actually that you just don't care anymore.
27. You finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
28. You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don't even remember being on top of it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I think a corrupt government like what we have here in the Philippines is like a sick patient who refuses to acknowledge that he is sick. When a doctor encounters a sick patient, the first responsibility of the doctor is to make sure that the patient acknowledges that he is indeed sick. But there are really patients who prefer to believe that they are not sick and will get angry when the doctor tells them they are sick. That is why I believe corrupt government is like a sick patient.

A corrupt government is like a sick patient in that there are parts of the sick patient that are really corrupted, dying and beyond the scope of treatment. But there are also parts that are still okay and merit being saved from the corruption that has eaten away at the sicker parts. The sick parts have their days numbered already, meaning eventually they will meet their demise - that is a given due to natural laws of life. But it is possible to save the healthy parts if the sick parts are cauterized and amputated from the well parts. Like separating the goats from the sheep as Christ said. For the well-being of the entire patient, the corrupt parts need to be removed so that their toxic presence no longer pollutes the entire patient.

But I said that a corrupt government is like a sick patient who refuses to acknowledge that he is sick right? So a corrupt government will stubbornly cling on to the corrupt parts in the deluded belief that the very existence of the whole patient will be threatened if the corruption is to be removed. This is the sickness that is afflicting our government now, and the sad part is that even the healthy parts of the patient will go down with the corrupt parts eventually when corruption is not amputated and excised from the whole body.

Who then can correct this formula for death, wherein the days of our government are literally numbered? In any sick patient, towards the end, when the corrupt parts can no longer sustain life, these corrupt parts will drain the life out of the healthy parts in order to sustain their own lives. You can see this in any sick patient you encounter. The health and life of the healthy parts is sacrificed (unfairly) to sustain the health and life of the corrupt parts. But in the end, not even all the energy and resources of any healthy part will be enough to sustain the life of the entire patient, or even of the parasitic corrupt parts. In the final analysis, it is a formula for death and the whole patient will collapse, go into a coma, and die a natural death.

And we wonder why the middle class and the educated are fleeing for better living conditions in other countries? That is simply a survival reflex. The question is: how can this deplorable situation of the sick patient be completely reversed? it is a mystery.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Armistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the ceasefire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.

The date was a national holiday in many of the former allied nations to allow people to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. After World War II, it was changed to Veterans Day in the United States and to Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Armistice Day is an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium, known also as the day of peace in the Flanders Fields.

In many parts of the world, people take two minutes of silence at 11:00 in the morning as a sign of respect for the roughly eight million who died in the war, as suggested by Edward George Honey in a letter to a British newspaper though Wellesley Tudor Pole established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917. Beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest the 11th, in order not to interfere with wartime production should the 11th fall on a weekday. Since the 1990’s a growing number of people have observed a two-minute silence on 11 November, resulting in both Armistice Day and Remembrance Day being commemorated formally in the UK (although in 2007 they fall on the same day). (Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


As each day goes by, you see and hear stuff that makes you feel like
All you can do is sit by watching it all happen

As the plight of others gets worse you start wondering to yourself is this what

My life is for and asking why the world has to be the way it is

When the turmoil appears to be at its worst, you wonder if your life was meant to be

Wasted in a world full of pain and sorrow

As the outlook looks bleak and no one appears to be doing anything at all you start

Feeling as if you can no longer just sit around anymore forcing you to stand up and fight

You see others who feel the same way then you notice that for many of those you see, your
Actions are a rallying call in coming out and saying we’re not going to take it anymore

As each person stand up to fight it says in a unifying voice that we cannot go quietly into the night

Forcing the shake up of the status quo while showing others that there is something better, something far better then what they have been shown that life should be or needs to be

Which gives you the diligence to do more and do your best

With the kind courtesy and permission of Sean Davis

Thursday, November 8, 2007


As you sit there and the realization sets in you wonder what, am I to do now
Do I give up and let it take me or do I stand there and fight

You then ask yourself how do, I muster the strength needed to tell my family and the strength
To put on the bravest of faces for those who matter most

As you sit there struggling to find the words and muster the strength you realize that the strength
Comes from deep inside of you, a place that says I must be strong, strong for those who need
Me the most for they are the ones who have the unwavering faith in my ability to be there
For them

As time goes by and it feels like it is at its worst, with your strength starting to wane you notice
That those who needed you the most are now the ones who are showing the most strength
And exactly when you need the support the most

You then start feeling you strength come back as you realize that those who mean the most to
You are now the source of your strength which in turn gives you the will to keep on fighting
And gives you some peace of mind in knowing that you made the right decision when
You stood up to fight the toughest battle

With the courtesy and permission of Sean Davis

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Excellencies, Ambassadors Lecaros and Brillantes, Mrs. Lecaros, Labatt JBJ and Mrs. Jimenez, Faculty Advisers, Embassy Officials, Filcom Leaders, Malaysian Nationals, Princess Becky, Datu Lim Sun Hoe and Datu Sunny Lim, Honorees, Guests, Fellow Students and Graduates, Friends Countrymen and Visitors, Good Afternoon,

I thank God for this honor and I express gratitude to my country and government for this opportunity. I accept this distinction with both joy and sadness. There is joy in my heart right now because once again I have proven that there is a reward for hardwork, dedication, and excellence. But I am sad right at these moment, I am sad for our country and for our people. I am sad for you fellow graduates. And I am sad for myself.

I am sad that the Philippines, the homeland of brilliant, highly skilled and very articulate people, is now becoming the number one supplier of cheap labor including domestic helper into the booming world of global markets. We can kid ourselves by saying there's nothing wrong in being a domestic helper. Oh come on! I am a domestic helper myself and I'm not ashamed to be so. But then, what?

I am looking at the big picture and I am looking at our country and I am disappointed that there is not much hope if we remain there. I am regretful that every single day, no less than 3,200 Filipinos are leaving the Philippines, many of them for good, in the hope of finding jobs that can send our children to school, buy medicines for our sick, repair our dilapidated shanties or pay for all our indebtedness.

What happened to the Philippines?

Our country is supposed to be the Pearl of the Orient Seas. In 1961, many Malaysians used to envy the Filipinos. They dreamt to study in UP, La Salle or Ateneo. Today, Malaysians are the employers of Filipino domestic helpers. They have sent an astronaut into space, while the Filipinos are still quarrelling about government contracts and alleged rigging of elections.

We, the OFWs must begin the process of the renewal for our country. The FWRC is our center of excellence to be able to compete globally and turn around our country.

The global labor markets are unforgiving. The avalanche of rising demands for quality comes rushing every single moment and the standards of excellence keep on rising without pause. Only those who never stop learning will survive in this crazy and mind-boggling competition for skills.

Filipino engineers and technicians in IT who surf the cyberspaces for emerging opportunities find themselves competing with highly competent Indian computer wizards. Indians are also emerging as our OFW's top competitors in the global labor markets.

Our oil and gas engineers are still preferred by Malaysian employers because the local chemical and mechanical engineers prefer to work in UK and in the Middle East. This is the result of globalization of human capital.

Our domestic helpers from the Philippines are still the preferred ones by Malaysian royalty, high government officials and top businessmen. But the Filipino domestics represent only a miniscule 2% of the entire DH market in Malaysia, Indonesia commands more than 90% of the 500,000 household service providers in this country. But the Philippine government is aiming for QUALITY employment. We frown upon QUANTITY or high volume of 5 D's: the jobs that are DIRTY, DIFFICULT, DANGEROUS, DEMEANING and DECEPTIVE.

Even if the Filipina DHs are only few, they enjoy superior benefits. They enjoy Sunday day-offs every week or at least every another week with the two Sundays paid for when they are not allowed to go. They have much higher pay and better terms and conditions of employment. They are allowed to study in the FWRC Skills Training Program.

The Filipino household service workers, along with other OFWs do study in FWRC. They learn word processing, spreadsheet, internet, illustrator, photoshop, autocad and multiple computer applications. They study Commercial Baking, Advanced Cake Decorating, Western Food Cooking, Basic Nursing, Reflexology and Arts and Crafts. They even learn the Art of Communication, Composition and Correspondences, Business and Social Correspondences, Financial Management, Business Development and Entrepreneurship.

The Labor Attache and top Embassy Officials teach BLAWSFIL (Basic Labor Laws for Filipino, a subject created by Labat JBJ as a means for empowerment, to arm the OFWs with fundamental knowledge of the labor and family laws, immigration and even contract laws and criminal statutes. The migrant workers from the Philippines are aware of their rights as well as obligations to employers and host government. They have less chances of being arrested and detained and they are more confident when confronted with legal issues.

OFWs from Malaysia who are now venturing to UK like Lyn dela Rama and Gene Sarmiento, both outstanding FWRC alumnae, have better chances of survival and even excellence in more challenging work environments. Former FWRC resource persons like Dang Penarubia who migrated to Canada have better probability of success than others who went withoug FWRC KASH (Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits)

Today, the 21st of October, here in the Grand Ballroom of Crown Princess Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, few shall graduate those among the 490 who enrolled in January, survived the grueling holistic training in FWRC. Today, the word GRADUATION should be understood as a process, not an end, a process of enhancing elevating, improving and developing the KASH positions of the OFW who made the correct decision to study in FWRC.

Today, also is a COMMENCEMENT, a starting point, a beginning, a point of embarkation to a higher level of consciousness, to a better perspective in life, a much improved point of view and a stronger, higher quality of qualification, a better state of readiness, an empowered new beginning of the rest of our lifetime journey.

The quest for excellence, the drive to win the global labor markets, the hunger for bigger challenges, the thirst for learning -- an insatiable yearning to learn more -- these are the hallmarks of men and women who are geared and programmed for success in life.

The next motto of FWRC is "ON TO THE MARCH FOR EXCELLENCE," both in skills and in Character. Both committed and competent. Thus, today is indeed a day for celebration. But after the celebration, we need to do something for our country.

And so today, ladies and gentlemen, what are we going to do to create a meaningful difference in the future of our country? Evil triumphs because good men do nothing. Let us all do something, no matter how small.

FIRST, let us not remit everything that we earn here. Let us save at least 50% through the Samahang Impok Bayan and keep it until we go home for good.

SECOND, let us all take courses in the FWRC that will help us in our reintegration like Business Management, Entrepreneurship Accounting, Basic Laws and other relevant courses. Indeed it is only bring EXCELLENCE THAT WE CAN TO THE GLOBAL WORLD.

THIRD, let us all write to our congressmen, let us write to our newspaper, let us e-mail jour opinions and let us be active in denouncing the abuses of our political leaders.

FOURTH, let us rally behind honest and hardworking officials and staff in government but let us denounce and expose and charge all those who violate their oaths as public servants.

FIFTH, let us help in the FWRC. Whatever honor we receive today should provide us an inspiration to share our knowledge to other OFWs.

SIXTH, let us discipline our families at home. They should learn to value our remittances and not squander them in luxuries. Let us let them learn that we worked hard for the money and we should not tolerate extravagances.

SEVENTH, let us all be aware of all the economic, social and political developments in our country. Let us monitor what are the trends and programs of our country's future. And let us share our thoughts with those who spend our remittances.

AND lastly number EIGHT, let us all be aware that all that were, all that are and all that will be in the Philippines are driven by economic realities, high population growth, labor excess economy, cheap labor, globalization without safety nets, insufficient social services. All these are exacerbating the pains and sufferings of our people.

These are the reasons why the joy of my success today is eclipsed by the sadness in our situation as a nation and as a people.

We've got to feel the pain so that we will do something about it. We can not continue deluding ourselves. We have to face realities and bite the bullet.

According to a great social scientist: THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE DISCONTENTED. The Filipinos should start to be discontented with our situation and tell our leaders of our discontentment.

According to a Chinese Philosopher: IT IS CRAZY TO EXPECT DIFFERENT RESULTS IF WE CONTINUE TO REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKES. The Filipinos should accept that there are for too many mistakes and we have to correct them.

And according to Dr. Jose Rizal in his NOLI ME TANGERE, recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it.

Since the time of Rizal until now more than a century after, the cancer is still here -- a SOCIAL CANCER, AN ECONOMIC MALADY.

The only difference is that we can do something about it. Yes we can. And we should. No matter how strait the gate and how charged with punishment the scroll, we are the masters of our fate. We are the captain of our souls, to borrow from Invictus.

Kaya mga kababayan, dapat umpisahan na ang pagbabago, umpisahan sa ating sarili. Kung hindi ngayon, kaylan pa? Kung hindi tayo and mag umpisa, sino pa? Bahala tayo sa ating kinabukasan at bahala tayo sa kinabukasan ng ating bansa Pakaisipin ninyo ito. Huwag kayong masyadong magsaya. Dapat magkaroon din kayo ng lungkot, upang magsikap kayong magbago. Dahil ang mga problema ay hindi nakakatuwa.

Marami pong salamat.

Ms. Ophelia A. Belo