Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Very Special Moment With President Cory

by Antonio C. Antonio
August 1, 2014

Today is the 5th Death Anniversary of President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino.  This is just my simple tribute to the hero of all freedom-loving Filipinos.

In the 1st quarter of 1989, the Tarlaqueños, under the leadership of Governor Mariano Un Ocampo III, organized a dinner to honor the greatest daughter of Tarlac, President Corazon C. Aquino.  This occasion eventually became a fund raiser to support the livelihood projects for the people of Tarlac.  President Cory was very gracious to lend her presence in this noble cause.

As sure as this was an austere activity, most of the participants in the program were volunteers.  With three other amateur/bathroom singers (Em Santos, Malou Dizon and Armin Ibarra), I found myself a reluctant volunteer to provide entertainment for President Cory, the numerous guest dignitaries and the paying patrons.  We had barely two weeks to choose the appropriate musical pieces, re-arrange songs and record the background music.  We only had two practice sessions in a small room at the Tarlac Provincial Capitol building but nothing enough to prepare us for singing in a venue as spacious as the main function hall of the Philippine International Convention Center.

So the great day came and our moment of trial was at hand.  It was hard enough to sing before a handful of friends, harder when we had to sing before a crowd of 4 thousand and hardest when the President of the Republic was present and barely 8 feet away from us.  As we were being introduced preparatory to our number, Governor Mar, as he promised us earlier, leaned towards President Cory to provide us with a small measure of “excuse” that we were all amateurs and mere volunteers to this daunting task.  I noticed that President Cory nodding as Governor Mar whispered to her… then she looked our way and gave us a reassuring smile that things will work out right.

The music blared through the crystal clear sound system of the PICC and I stepped forward to start things off.  It was hard enough to stand there and sing… harder since I had to be the first one to sing and set the tone for the entire performance.  My knees trembled as I filled my chest with air.  Then, on cue, I belted the lines:  “See the fire in the sky.  We feel the beating of our hearts together…”  The crowd suddenly burst with a round of applause as I stepped backwards and Em stepped forward to do the next 2 lines of the first song.  Then I looked towards President Cory and our eyes met.  She gave me an approving nod and I will never forget her smile.  Our nervousness was suddenly gone and we proceeded like professional singers… like we did this every day of our lives.

Three more songs and our part was over.  After taking a bow, all of us approached President Cory and she said:  “Sabi ni Mar amateur daw kayo?  Gee!...  you guys were very good! Thank you.”  I remember answering: “Salamat po Ma’am for the encouragement, you really made it easy for us.”

This is our unforgettable experience with President Cory.  Like the person she really is, she helped us calm down when we were so nervous, she made us feel strong when we were wilting in fear, she made us believe in ourselves when we had less of it and she made us feel that we can do things beyond our own capabilities.  President Cory’s simple smile, noble nod and dignified demeanor encouraged us, ordinary singers, to sing ordinary songs extra-ordinarily well.  This is indeed a very special moment with President Cory.


by Antonio C. Antonio
July 21, 2014

Over-extraction and utilization of natural resources are considered to be the main causes of environmental degradation.  Although environmental abuse can be measured by the tonnage of minerals extracted or the number of trees felled, there are causes of environmental degradation that also cannot be measured and quantified.  They are intangible (meaning: incapable of being perceived by touch, not definite or clear to the mind) such as:

1.     Greed – Described as the inordinate desire to possess wealth and material possessions of abstract value with the intention to sustain oneself far beyond the dictates of basic survival and comfort.  There are also those who have a high degree of desire for status and power which leads them to be greedy.  The Philippine political system does a lot in contributing to and encouraging people to embrace greed as a way of life.

2.     Apathy – Defined as the lack or absence of feeling, emotion, interest or concern from people.  An apathetic person has an absence of interest in or concern about the emotional, social, spiritual, philosophical and physical life of the people around him... and also the physical elements (the world in general and the environment in particular).  Most people prefer not to get involved and stay away from contemptuous issues such as the environment simply because it is more convenient.

3.     Lack of Knowledge and Awareness – Ignorance and naiveté are two of the most destructive characters of man and, because of this, it becomes hard for him to understand negative environmental implications.  It is openly said that sometimes people don’t realize the wrongs they do and cause simply because they do not know or (at the very least) aware that they are doing wrong.

The first thing that people in the business of abusing the environment and natural resources would not want to see happen is an increase in the level of awareness and knowledge on environmental issues and concerns.  An informed populace and citizenry will only further expose their nefarious practices.  They would rather that people remain ignorant and unaware of environmental issues and concerns.  Don’t you think they are anti-intellectual?

Just my little thoughts…

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


by Antonio C. Antonio
July 30, 2014

This article is a fitting sequel to another article entitled “Research Method” which I wrote last July 13, 2014 but posted it on Facebook and published it only yesterday. 

Writing about plagiarism brings back memories of Sottoism (Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto translating President John F Kennedy’s speeches in Pilipino) and Mark Joseph Solis (plagiarizing prize-winning photographs).  I honestly believe that none of us would like to join this pair of high profile plagiarists.  There is no pride and honor nor a sense of fulfilment in this. 

Plagiarism could perhaps be traced in the not-too-desirable culture of the Filipino of wanting to put one over the other.  But, on second thought, this is also a trait that most cultures in the world have… just a little bit more pervasive in Philippine society as we experience it every day.  In crossroads alone, we see several drivers wanting to beat red lights and are very proud to do it.  We also see a lot of our countrymen wanting to cut into lines than follow the end of the queue.  This is part and parcel of this culture very much associated with plagiarism.

By definition, plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.  Plagiarism however could be avoided by the simple motion of formally citing the source of the literary piece.  But then we could argue that one could come up with a written piece composed of a series of cites or citations.  In all likelihood, such literary work will not follow a logical pattern.

How do we check plagiarism?  There are several available software that could detect this.  However, nothing beats good old human instinct and intelligence.  Thought processes vary and no two people think in the same way… because of differences in backgrounds.  Sometimes, even siblings display different attitudes and behavior.  Everyone is distinct from others.  

Everybody has their own brand and type of “speak”.  Writing styles differ too.  In both forms of communications, the character of the speaker/writer is revealed through his manner of speaking and his writing style.  There will always be some sort of pattern and consistency which could only be the result of a singular thought process… this could never be replicated by another person.

Literature, specifically in written form will practically give away our writing character.  Subsequent written work, plagiarized (in part or in full) from another person’s work or written by someone else, will show a sudden deviation from this writing character.  And when something is off-character, it would be safe to say that someone else (not the person we think) is communicating with us.  Additional written communications will only serve to confirm this.  However, only human instinct and intelligence could detect this.

If we have to write, let’s just write.   Copying the thoughts of others and passing them off as our own can also be considered as intellectual dishonesty.  And there really is no difference between intellectual dishonesty and plagiarism.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders and Landscape Ecology UPOU on Facebook orfollow me at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Research Method

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 13, 2014

Last night, I met up with a long-time friend, Dr. Randy Regala of Tarlac, at a wedding reception in Clark, Angeles City.  He said that he has been reading my blogs and Facebook posts and that he has been longing to ask if what I’ve been writing about comes from “stock knowledge”.  I simply smiled and said: “Some lang, but most are the result of research”.  We talked about a lot of other stuff but, taking Randy’s lead seriously, I’ve decided that this article should focus on research methods, methodologies and alternative approaches that are useful in studying most anything on earth… including human and environment relationships.

Research methods are tools that gather information, statistics and data.  But figures and values would just be what they are without an understanding of methodology.  The information, gathered with the use of a process system, do not jump out of the woodwork and appear on our tables.  Methodology will help us classify and segregate raw data to organize our thought processes to better understand the objective of the research.

There are some of us who believe that most, if not all, potential research subject matters have already been covered by researches in the past.  I believe that matters needing research are infinite.  A combination of two or more previous researches can constitute a new and different research altogether.  Even the simple and mundane everyday matters of concern can be potential subjects for an in-depth research.  For example, PIGS.  Why are they called “pigs” in some cultures while others call them “swine”?  The difference in the tagging or naming of pigs/swine alone would be an interesting socio-cultural research undertaking.  As a result, we will have a deeper understanding on the "whys" and the "how comes" of labelling pigs.

Social, economic, science or environmental researches are equally challenging.  Some will even argue that environment has relatively less data and information available… making environmental research a little bit more daunting because most data are still being recorded at present and research is seemingly an on-going and infinite activity.  Even the popular climate change or global warming lacks in real-time usable data.

There are numerous research methods and methodologies that can be adopted and used in the conduct of a research.  So long as their recommended methodology is followed, they will, most certainly, result to new scientific knowledge... whether this pertains to man, culture and society in general.  Research is creative work done, using a structured system and hard-core data to come up with new knowledge and information. 

What are the types of research?  Honestly, I’m almost tempted not to mention them at all… so there will be a compulsive reaction to research on them.  Anyway, in a nutshell, they are: (1) Basic research; (2) Applied research; (3) Quantitative research; and, (4) Qualitative research.  Qualitative research is further broken down to the following research formats: (a) Phenomenology; (b) Ethnography; (c) Case Study; and, (d) Grounded Theory.  There is another form of research method known as Fundamental Research that is used to support other researches, which includes: (1) Descriptive research; (2) Analytical research; (3) Conceptual research; (4) Empirical research; (5) Longitudinal research; (6) Field research; (7) Clinical research; (8) Diagnostic research; (9) Exploratory research; and, (10) Historical research.  Anything under and beyond the sun could be studied using the appropriate research method.

Just my little thoughts...

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

100 Million Filipinos

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 27, 2014

“As of 12:06 am today, the world welcomed the 100 millionth Filipino” (Rappler, 2014)… meaning, our official population is now 100 million.  What is the significance of this bit of information?  Can we just brush this aside as another mundane statistical figure?  Can we consider this news item as another fun addition to our many trivial stories?  Is this a non-problem?... I seriously don’t think so. 

“100 million Filipinos” could also be spelled in a different way… “overpopulation”.  Some of us will say that “overpopulation” is a relative term which, more often, is considered as spatial in nature and character (meaning: occurring in or existing in space and/or the availability of space)… and, therefore say that the Philippines is not overpopulated.  This argument may seem to be right because our countryside has so much empty and uninhabited areas.  But overpopulation cannot be determined by the number of people living in a given measure of land.  Overpopulation can best be determined by the degree of competition for resources and the quality of life of people. 

Overpopulation weakens the core of the socio-economic and political structure of the Filipino.  Competition for resources, in relation to overpopulation, can be an economic, a social, a political, and an environmental problem as well.  We could even say that overpopulation is a combination of all these problems or, at the very least, intertwined with each other… to name a few, (a) Economic because overpopulation will only thinly spread resources and meagre resources will spell lesser quality of life; (b) Social because Filipinos will have to go elsewhere to make ends meet and this crack in the family structure (the Filipino’s basic social unit) will only bring about social stress to the erstwhile close-family ties foundation we are known for; and, (c) Political because overpopulation will only bring more chaos to an already volatile political situation where the rich are getting richer while the poor are growing in numbers and citizens are losing faith in their government’s capability to offer stability due to pervasive graft and corruption.

Competition for resources also has profound effects on the environment.  With 100 million mouths to feed and an ever-increasing rate of population growth, more space will have to be converted from forest land to agriculture and from agriculture to residential and commercial use.  This unnecessary stress on our forest has definite negative effects on our ecosystem… and ecological degradation could only lead to more dire consequences foremost of which is desertification.

Wanting to learn the root cause/s of overpopulation in the Philippines, I did an internet research and two related causes became apparent… (1) Lack of education; and, (2) Ignorance.  Most internet research materials say that people here do not have sufficient knowledge on the use of contraceptives because the powerful Roman Catholic Church disapproves any form of sexual education and birth contraception.  And because of political expediency, government continues to fail in bringing down the population growth rate.

Let’s hope and pray that some sort of middle ground is reached by these influential sectors in Philippine society on our worrisome population growth issue soon. Or else, we will only add to the number of people lost in the labyrinth of ignorance… after 100 million Filipinos.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ecological Succession (Part 2)

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 23, 2014

Over a month ago, I visited my daughter (Prof./Atty. Regatta Marie A. Antonio) at the University of the Philippines – Manila campus.  Walking from the parking lot to the faculty lounge, my attention was caught by a sprig of life along the way.  It was a small twig with leaves growing out of the pavement.  Using my mobile phone, I took a picture. (Please see photo.)  I should have taken a “selfie” but thought that my face or image was inconsequential to this very important find.  While taking the photo, my mind was already swirling with the term “ecological succession”.

What is ecological succession?  Ecological succession is a natural process of change in the species (fauna and flora) structure of an ecological community over a period of time.  The process begins with a few pioneering animals and plants and a long-drawn sequence of morphology which ultimately results to a climax community of living elements in an ecosystem.  I remember having written an article entitled “Ecological Succession” published on before.  In this article, I mentioned:  “There have been a few disturbances in the Philippine landscape in the last 25 years that could be considered as primary succession.  Notable among which is the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 that covered most of Central Luzon with ash.  The subsequent lahar that changed the flow/stream of the river systems in Tarlac, Pampanga and Zambales can also be included in this disturbance regime.  But if we visit these places now, there is hardly a trace of Mt. Pinatubo’s devastating eruption.  Other forms of disturbance --- floods, landslides and storm surge --- can be considered secondary succession since the presence of soil, which is the primary catalyst for ecological succession, still exists.” (Antonio, 2014)

The unique situation of the plant I captured in the photo is the absence of soil or just a thin film of it.  Although this still very characteristic of “secondary ecological succession”, this case is largely influenced by other factors such as: (1) the protracted rainy season and availability of water, (2) the abundance of sunlight and (3) the absence of any prevailing disturbance regime.  It should be noted that this solitary plant grew near an out-flow road drain which facilitates its access to water.  The initial disturbance was due to the laying of base course materials and the paving of the road with cement which covered soil.  But in spite of this, secondary ecological succession still happened as evidenced by the plant growing on top of the concrete pavement.

There are two basic types of ecological succession… primary and secondary.  Both types of ecological succession are anchored on the principle that forests and plant life will successfully grow (in time) and survive so long as they are not subjected to disturbances.  Tree planting (sans tarpaulins and photo ops) definitely helps.  But if only forests and trees are left to their natural growing order and not disturbed by illegal logging, slash and burn farming, land use conversion, etc.… they will regenerate.  Thanks to Mother Earth’s capacity to heal by herself in a process called ecological succession.

Just my little thoughts…

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Friday, July 25, 2014


by Antonio C. Antonio
July 25, 2014

A couple of months ago I conducted a seminar on the topic “Sustainable Forest Management” at the De La Salle University in Manila.  Towards the end of the seminar, I asked a rather grotesque question to the student-participants:  “If you had a choice, what would you like to be after you die?... and why?”

There was one reaction I still vividly remember.  I noticed, earlier on, that there was this particular student who was very attentive throughout the two-hour seminar.  Having recorded the proceedings in a digital recorded, I am able (even now) to accurately recall, word for word, what he said:  “Sir… I am a Catholic and I believe in life everlasting.  I believe that our spiritual life transcends beyond our physical life and that there is life after death.  Our physical body, however, will have a different fate.  It will decompose and decay into the earth… as this is the natural order of things.  So, if our physical bodies will simply go back to becoming soil, I would always choose to become a matter of five letters and one word… humus.”  He obviously picked up the word “humus” from our earlier discussion and, while the other students were seemingly oblivious and clueless, I understood perfectly what he meant. 

Now, what is humus?  “Humus is a dark, organic material that forms in soil when plant and animal matter decays.  When plants drop leaves, twigs, and other materials to the ground, it piles up.  This material is called leaf litter.  When animals die, their remains add to the litter.  Over time, the litter decomposes.  This means it decays, or breaks down into its most basic chemical elements.  Many of these chemicals are important nutrients for the soil and organisms that depend on soil for life, such as plants.  The thick brown and/or black substance that remains after most of the organic litter has decomposed is called humus.  Earthworms often help mix humus with other minerals in the soil.  Humus contains many useful nutrients for healthy soil.  One of the most important is nitrogen.  Nitrogen is a key nutrient necessity for most plants.  Agriculture depends on nitrogen and other nutrients found in humus.  Some experts think humus makes soil more fertile.  Others say humus helps prevent disease in plants and food crops.  When humus is in soil, the soil will crumble.  Air and water move easily through the loose soil, and oxygen can reach the roots of plants and trees.” (  From this short literature on humus, it not hard to believe that it contributes significantly in supporting the growth and health of crops, plants and trees.  Humus is popularly known as compost.

“In the sweat of thy face thou shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shall return.” (Genesis 3:19) is an age-old Biblical adage.  “Dust” was, perhaps, the only known term in the olden days… when nitrogen and humus were still unknown elements.  Nature has a way of going full circle where biotic and abiotic elements in our ecosystem will surely merge at some point.  So, if our physical bodies will eventually return to “dust”, this student chose the best life-supportive and life-sustaining matter he could be in death… humus.

Just my little thoughts…

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Rope That Ties Our Hands Behind Our Backs

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 24, 2014

An environmental advocacy is arguably one of the toughest advocacies in modern time.  The fact that these are “modern” times immediately states the problem.  Modernization played, still plays and will continue to play, a critical role in present-day and future environmental problems.  Whatever level of modernization any country has achieved so far had a lot to do with that country’s utilization of its natural resources.  Environmental degradation is somewhat curbed in countries that found ways to make their use of natural resources sustainable.  The rest are now experiencing dire ecological problems such as deforestation, soil degradation, air and water pollution and, in some extreme cases, desertification.

Natural resources depletion is, more often than not, caused by efforts by countries to modernize which normally equates to industrialization.  It seemingly becomes necessary to use natural resources in the name of economic development… we don’t have any quarrel with this strategy.  Progress and economic development is a must for us to cope with the demands of our ever-changing socio-economic landscape.  However, there should be a relentless and conscious effort to assess the degree of utilization as opposed to preservation or conservation.  So long as natural resources are replenished and the replenishment quantity is always more that what we utilize, we could use whatever is the resultant balance or surplus.

There is another critical concern that we should also be worried and conscious about… the fact that natural resources are either renewable or non-renewable.  Although all forms of natural resources (renewable or non-renewable) should be treated with equal concern, more diligence will have to be exercised when it comes to non-renewable resources because of their finite nature.

Caring for the environment should be everybody’s concern… not only that of government.  However, government, more than ordinary citizens, has the necessary authority and police power to enforce environmental laws, rules and regulations.  The worst case scenario is when government, by its own incompetence, inefficiency and neglect, becomes the primary cause and catalyst of our environmental malaise.  Confusing public policies in the upland, unrestricted land use conversion, failed reforestation programs, ill-effective anti-illegal logging and mining campaigns, unregulated mining sprees, selective or non-implementation of existing environmental laws, ineffective rules and regulations, graft and corruption, too much politics (that sacrifices effective governance), and misfits in government service are but a few of the compelling reasons that exposes our natural resources to misuse and abuse.

Civil society (to include pro-environment advocates like the Pro EARTH Crusaders), the religious sector, the business sector, the academe, etc. are hard-pressed and become pathetically helpless when government refuses to acknowledge the problems being presented and brought to their attention.  No matter how passionate ordinary citizens are about their environmental concerns, nothing dramatically positive happens… especially when government literally becomes the rope that ties our hands behind our backs.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders and Landscape Ecology UPOU on Facebook or follow me at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pro EARTH Crusaders

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 22, 2014

Earlier today, I bumped into a graduate of the College of the Holy Spirit in Tarlac (CHST).  It was a rather unique and interesting meeting in cyberspace... to be more particular, on Facebook.  Her name is Amy Sangalang Pascual and she is presently based in Singapore.

Amy initially said “Hi Sir Anton” but I could not really recall where we’ve met.  Sincerely, her name did not ring even a tiny bell in my head.  She gamely re-introduced herself as a member of the Rotaract Club of CHST (which my club, Rotary Club of Downtown Tarlac ’86, sponsored and I was the Committee Chairman) sometime in the early 1990s and I was her “thesis defense tormentor”.  I still remember that, at about that time, I was also invited by CHST to be a member of the thesis defense panel and Amy was one of the thesis proponents.  She went on to say that I placed her on a hot seat on the day of the thesis defense and had she known that I was part of the panel, she could have approached me on the nature and scope of the questions I would ask.  She also implied (although in very friendly terms) that I was largely to blame for their collective anxiety during the defense.  I suddenly realized that I should have given them a big scare and I was a “hated” person among the candidates for graduation at CHST back then. Gee… was I that bad before?

In most of the proponents’ theses, I remember having segued from purely management and financial matters to environmental concerns.  Curiously, the environmental issues were never anticipated in their preparation and review.  I could only imagine now how they were placed in horrifying situations.  It was just too unfortunate that I already put emphasis on environmental issues even (way back) then… some 20 years ago.  To Amy’s credit, however, she was able to successfully convince the panel on the acceptability and merits of her thesis with flying colors.

Now that our paths (Amy’s and mine) have crossed again, I thought we could have a better start or, more appropriately, a better re-start.  She is no longer a thesis proponent and I am no longer a panellist.  As a measure of goodwill, I thought of making it up to Amy by inviting her to “like” the Facebook Page “Pro EARTH Crusaders… a pro-environment advocacy community.  And she readily did.  This time, she will be in the company of super heroes (please see photo)… And if, by any chance, Amy is again tormented by a “bad ass dude” in the defense panel named Sir Anton, she could always ask for help from her new-found friends in a group of Mother Earth lovers called Pro EARTH Crusaders…

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders and Landscape Ecology UPOU on Facebook or follow me at

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good Faith

by Antonio . C. Antonio
July 21, 2014

“In Good Faith” is a sincere intention to deal fairly with others; and, Good Faith is an abstract and comprehensive term that encompasses a sincere belief or motive without any malice or the desire to defraud others.  The doctrine of “Good Faith” would anchor strongly on the credibility of the person professing it.  The term “In Good Faith” suddenly came into public consciousness after President Benigno S. C. Aquino III used it to defend his administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

In my simple mind, “In Good Faith” is a personality-based term.  The profession of “Good Faith” has a lot to do with the ethical standards and credibility of the person who enunciates it…. and the degree of believability of whoever says “In Good Faith” largely depends on how this person is perceived by others.  If the person is perceived to be trustworthy, people would readily believe what he/she says; and, if the person is perceived to be less or not trustworthy at all, people have a tendency to take his/her words as useless, trivial or even colloquial.  Ironically, in this case, perception takes precedence over what is true.

Let’s put this proposition to a test.  Who among the 12 most-influential and present-day political personalities would you readily believe if and when they profess “Good Faith”?:

·         Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – President of the Republic of the Philippines and a leading proponent of the “Daang Matuwid” advocacy;
·         Ma. Lourdes Sereno – Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines;
·         Franklin Drillon – President, Philippine Senate;
·         Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. – Speaker, Philippine House of Representatives;
·         Jejomar Binay – Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines and a leading candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016;
·         Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – Immediate Past President of the Republic of the Philippines;
·         Joseph Estrada – Former President of the Republic of the Philippines and (again) a potential candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016;
·         Fidel Ramos – Former President of the Republic of the Philippines;
·         Imelda Marcos – Former First Lady of the Republic of the Philippines;
·         Mar Roxas – Cabinet Secretary and a potential candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016;
·         Grace Poe – Senator and a potential candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016; and,
·         Bong Bong Marcos – Senator and a potential candidate for President of the Republic of the Philippines in 2016.

You may not answer the question but the political personality you choose in your mind will give you a good idea about the doctrine of Good Faith.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders and Landscape Ecology UPOU on Facebook or follow me at

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Inhumanity in Humanity

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 21, 2014

The lady in the photo is Marina Abramovic, a Serbian based in New York, USA.  Abramovic is a performing artist who, one day in 2013, decided to come up with a trust exercise to test humanity… how people will react in a situation where someone submits him/herself to human whims, wants, idiosyncrasies and capriciousness.

Abramovic told a room-full of people that she will not move for six hours no matter what they did to her.  She placed 72 objects on a table that one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a pistol and a bullet… and invited everybody to use them on her however they wanted.

It was noted that everyone present was initially timid and peaceful, but in no time did the situation quickly escalated to violent actions.  To mention a few… her clothes were cut until she was naked from the waist up, rose thorns were stuck in her stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. The fact that Marina did nothing to stop the physical abuse created a very wild and aggressive atmosphere as most everyone forgot that they were causing harm to a fellow human being.  For 6 long hours, Abramovic endured so much bodily abuse as she horrifically remained passive.

Exactly 6 hours later, feeling abjectly dehumanized and totally violated, Abramovic stood up and walked towards the crowd.  At this point, everyone ran and rushed out of the room for fear of retaliation.  This experiment revealed something terribly wrong about humanity… the lesson learned in this exercise is that if you leave the decision and fate in other people, chances are you will get killed.  This is not fiction, this incident really happened.  It will be interesting to know if the situation was tweaked to a condition where Marina had a gun in her hand and was also given the liberty to fight back.

This experiment showed how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back.  This could likewise be said of nature and our environment.  Mother Earth has provided man with nothing less than goods and services to improve the quality of life for everyone.  But in spite of all this goodness, man has violated and abused her for oftentimes selfish reasons and intentions.

Like Marina Abramovic, Mother Earth has never meant harm to anyone.  Of course, there are those who would say that nature has begun to retaliate with global warming, climate change, desertification, degradation, etc.  But these are largely anthropogenic… therefore, caused by man onto himself.  It will again be quite interesting to know how man would be if nature also fought back with equal violence proportionate to the degree of abuse man has caused upon her.

The parallelism between Marina Abramovic and our environment comes with an accompanying profound lesson.  If reprisal for every wrong we do towards man and the environment is imminent and immediate, man will certainly reconsider the inhumanity in humanity.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders and Landscape Ecology UPOU on Facebook or follow me at

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Environmental Road

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 20, 2014

A friend called today to ask if I have finally abandoned my environmental advocacy and segued to socio-political ones.  Perhaps he noticed that my posts and blogs lately have veered away from the usual.  Well… I informed him that the present-day political issues are just too hard to resist and I felt compelled to also throw in my little thoughts.  I also assured him that I have not abandoned my environmental advocacy although it’s healthy to come up with socio-political and human interest topics once in a while..

An advocacy, for all intent and purpose, is also a political process which aims to influence public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions.  Advocacies may include individual or group undertakings aimed at engaging individual or collective action on a particular concern or issue. And, as a matter of approach, my little contribution to public discourse on environmental matters is simply providing perspectives that would generate thoughts from anyone who reads and internalizes the things I write about.  After all, the environment is such a broad concept that should include most everything that influences human life such as economics, business, natural resources management, etc.

On the other hand, environmentalism includes a broad spectrum of concerns like philosophy, ideology and social movements particularly on concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of Mother Earth… not to mention other sciences that are intertwined with ecology.  Environmentalism, as a concept, also incorporates all biotic and abiotic elements that exist on our planet.  With this, it is easy to visualize how huge and diverse are the conceivable topics one could write about with regards to the environment and environmentalism.  But in spite of this, environmentalism largely remains unpopular and not as “in” as political blockbusters.  This is perhaps the challenge that environmental advocacies have to contend with.

Whatever popular conditions may prevail, I am absolutely committed to my environmental advocacy.  What sustains environmental bloggers (like me) in this rather lonely and not-too-popular undertaking are the comments (affirmative or negative) and “likes” from other concerned people.  So long as there is one living soul who responds to my blogs and posted articles, I will always travel the environmental road.

Just my little thoughts…

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ang Pambansang Angas at Pader ng Pilipinas

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 19, 2014

In the final series between San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the two players pro basketball fans loved to hate were Beau Belga and Paul Lee.  Both sport burly physiques and any slight nudge will send other players flying off the basketball court.  Their basketball skill set and playing styles has not endeared them to the fans of the opposing teams.  But good players will always be hated by the fans of the other teams but will always be respected by knowledgeable basketball pundits.

The series had to go the full five games and San Mig Coffee won (3-2).  The day after that sorry loss for their Rain or Shine Team, Beau and Paul has to pack their travel bags to join the Gilas Pilipinas Team in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China (PRC), without the benefit of any rest whatsoever.  Both players were part of the core of players who were able to manage a knock out game with PRC for the bronze medal of the FIBA Asia Cup.

Last night, in a game for 3rd place, Paul’s three pressure packed free throws with no time left in the clock gave Gilas Pilipinas a one-point lead for a win over PRC. The Chinese basketball players now know what “Pambansang Angas” is all about… unflappable with nerves of steel.  Beau, for his part, was a welcomed reliever to our premiere center, Marcus Doughit.  With Beau playing center, the Chinese players had a good feel of what it is to go up against their own “Great Wall”… ang “Pambansang Pader” ng Pilipinas.

There is really a lot of commendable performances from the players of our national basketball team, namely:   (1) Japeth Aguilar; (2) Kevin Alas; (3) Beau Belga;  (4) Gary David; (5) Jared Dillinger; (6)  Marcus Doughit; (7) June Mar Fajardo; (8) Garvo Lanete; (9) Paul Lee; (10) Ranidel de Ocampo (11) LA Tenorio; and, (12) Jay Washington.  We should also acknowledge the excellent mentorship of Coach Chot Reyes and the rest of his coaching staff.  They are our source of national pride.  Our 3rd place finish is by far our best in this annual tournament.

Coming into the bronze medal match, the Philippines was clearly the underdog.  PRC’s players were obviously taller and stronger but the Filipino players had more “puso”… an immeasurable fighting spirit against whatever odds.  This brings us to the present territorial dispute in the West Philippines Sea where the Philippines and China are two of the protagonists.  In the Spratly Islands, the Chinese have the military advantage.  (Please read: “Ang Mamatay ng Dahil sa Iyo”,  What our Gilas Pilipinas Team showcased in Wuhan is the Filipino PUSO… a concept that other nations will only realize if and when they go up against Ang Pambansang Angas at Pader.

Just my little thoughts…

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