“Thankfulness and National Grandparents’ Day” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Sept. 9-15, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 9-15, 2015

Thankfulness and National Grandparents’ Day

We have so much to be thankful for! First, I am thankful because the column I wrote a month ago, “Pistahan notes: Bataan Legacy, our history (vol. 26 no. 32; Aug. 12-18, 2015, page A5),” encouraged three readers to write me, and so I forwarded their emails to Ms. Cecilia I. Gaerlan, the founder of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society. I want to help Tita Cecilia by drumming up support for the upcoming opening of an important exhibit at the Main San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) this coming Sept. 12, called “World War II in the Philippines: The Legacy of Two Nations,” An Exhibition and Conference. For this reason, allow me to clear this writing space for Ms. Gaerlan who wrote the following press release:

“In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, Bataan Legacy Historical Society, Memorare Manila 1945, the San Francisco Public Library and the Philippine Consulate General present “World War II in the Philippines – The Legacy of Two Nations,” an exhibition and a conference. The four-month exhibition will open on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 10:30AM at the San Francisco Main Public Library (Third Floor) located at 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA. The Conference will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at 10AM at the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Public Library. Both events are open to the public. Admission is Free but Registration through Eventbrite (Bataan Legacy) is recommended for the Conference. The Exhibition from September 12, 2015 to January 9, 2016 will depict the story of World War II in the Philippines, a seminal piece of history that has been mostly forgotten. The exhibition will present a compelling story of the sacrifices of Filipino, American and Allied soldiers and civilians. One million civilians perished in the Philippines during WWII and its capital Manila became the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw. It will depict the Bataan Death March, one of the most horrific events during WWII. Keynote speaker will be Vice Admiral Charles W. Ray, U.S. Coast Guard Commander of the Pacific Area and Defense Force West. The Conference on October 24 will feature speakers from different perspectives of the war. WWII veterans Chief Johnny Johnson of the USS San Francisco, the most decorated carrier during WWII and Maj. General Richard Keith of the 511th Parachute Infantry will be among the speakers. Veterans and survivors of the war will also act as panelists. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson of the California Department of Education will give the opening keynote speech while Congressman Mike Honda will give recognition to the WWII veterans. For further information, please visit our website at http://www.bataanlegacy.org.”

Like I said at the start, we have so much to be thankful for. Did you know that in 1978, then President Jimmy Carter declared the Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day? So this year, we’re celebrating this special day on Sept. 13 (Sunday), which is just a day after the opening of the World War II exhibit at the main SFPL sponsored by the Bataan Legacy Historical Society. For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been talking about gratitude, thankfulness, “pagtanaw ng utang na loob” (paying back a debt of gratitude). Nothing exemplifies these concepts more fully than the way we love and respect our elders. I hope you make sure that you spend quality time with your grandparents in the next couple of days. Actually, the ideal scenario is that it should be Grandparents’ day every day. Why? Because most of them (I’m saying most of them) are fun to be around, oozing with gravity yet not above bribing you with a sweet or a cookie. And even if your grandpa or grandma is a little bit feisty or forgetful or a terror, you still cannot deny the fact that without them, your parents wouldn’t have been alive and you wouldn’t even have been born. So this life that you’ve been taking for granted is actually rooted in years of shared and valuable family history, securing your place firmly on earth and under the skies to continue the legacy of your blessings. Many people spend a lot of money tracing their ancestry, but you and I can actually hold and embrace our grandpa and grandma right here and now, if they’re still living. What’s keeping us from doing so?

Here’s my mini-tribute to my grandparents. My Mom’s father, Prudente Ragasa, was a law student who became a high-ranking guerilla officer in the boondocks of Santa Catalina, Ilocos Sur. Lolo Puding was killed in action so my Mom didn’t even grow up with a father. My Lola Remedios (Meding) Lazam-Ragasa, my Mom’s mother, was a brave and enterprising Aries woman who raised my Uncle Jess and my Mom Aida by teaching grade school and making clothes through her Singer sewing machine which is “de-padyak.” Lola Meding remarried, and it was to Lolo Juan (Johnny) Santos, a good-looking Virgo teacher-administrator who was so generous to us kids with presents and coins. Imagine, this was in the early 1970s, and he would give me 25 centavos per single white hair that I plucked from his head! With Lolo Johnny, my Lola Meding Santos had three more children, my two aunts and only uncle– all of whom later had their respective partners and children. Lola Meding had a younger sister, Lola Tomasa (Chata) Lazam, who in turn had a BFF, my Lola Candelaria (Andie) Manarang. Lola Chata has passed on; Lola Andie is still alive. They are my grand-aunts.

On my father Ron’s side, I have another “Lolo Johnny,” my Dad’s dad, Juan Carmona, a solid Taurus who worked as a city engineer for Gattaran, Cagayan, and actually has a small bridge named after him in the area. My Lolo Johnny was a US WWII veteran, having served in the USAFFE. My Lola Margarita (Margie) Sumabat-Carmona, or Lola Mamang for short, is a bubbly Gemini who made a home for my Lolo Johnny, Dad, and his brothers and sisters. Lola Margie likes reading suspense novels and dancing. Of my immediate grandparents, only Lola Mamang is still alive today, and we cherish her as our family treasure. Lola Mamang, at 88 years old, still has the sharp wit, the wisdom, and that wonderful quality of being appreciative of the people who are helping her now.

So segue upon segue upon segue… are we really surprised that gratitude, thankfulness, World War II, the Bataan Death March, and (this week’s) National Grandparents’ Day are all somehow interconnected?! So here are the takeaways from this week’s column:
1. On Sept. 12 (Sat.), please attend the opening of the exhibit: “World War II in the Philippines” at the San Francisco Main Public Library.
2. On Sept. 13 (Sun.), honor your grandparents, grand-aunts, and grand-uncles. Respect.
3. From last week’s column, heed a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas: “Give us, O Lord, thankful hearts which never forget Your goodness to us. Give us, O Lord, grateful hearts, which do not waste time complaining.”

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“Gratitude, V-J Day, and the elusive AB 199,” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Sept. 2-8, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of Sept. 2-8, 2015

Gratitude, V-J Day, and the elusive AB 199

Among other things, we shall be talking about “pagtanaw ng utang na loob” or owing a debt of gratitude. For what shall we be grateful? To whom shall we be thankful? A prayer by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) goes: “Give us, O Lord, thankful hearts which never forget Your goodness to us. Give us, O Lord, grateful hearts, which do not waste time complaining.”

If we just focus on being grateful, we wouldn’t even have time to complain. So let’s start acknowledging our debt of gratitude, although it may be overwhelming just to start thinking about where to begin. A useful system I learned from social studies long ago was the macro-mezzo-micro division, from the widest society levels down to the group and then personal levels, all working in tandem to present a holistic view of society according to the ecological systems theory. So when we say that we are grateful for the macro or the most general facets that affect us all, we can say (if we want to) that we are thankful for public policy, media, development of regulations, or food pricing, for instance. What about being thankful for the men and women who perished in World War II for their sacrifices so we can enjoy the rights and freedoms we do now?
September 2, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of V-J Day or “Victory over Japan Day.” According to Holiday Insights, “the U.S. government, anxious about ending World War II, dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 with the objective of forcing the Japanese to make an unconditional surrender. Instead, the Japanese government debated on what to do, so the U.S. dropped the second bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. On August 14, 1945, Japanese Emperor Hirohito cabled the U.S. to surrender, and agreed to the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. On August 15, 1945, news of the surrender was announced to the world. World War II was finally over. Hostilities ended. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese formally surrendered aboard the U.S. battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Truman declared this to be V-J Day.”

Related to this remembrance, the Bataan Legacy Historical Society (www.bataanlegacy.org) is sponsoring an exhibit and a conference from September onwards at the San Francisco Public Library’s Main branch on Larkin and Grove. Let’s take it from “At the Library,” Sept. 2015 (vol. 49 no.6), SFPL’s newsletter: “World War II in the Philippines – A look at the dramatic and horrific story of the Philippines during World War II, including the infamous Bataan Death March, the guerrilla liberation movement, and the Battle of Manila, where 100,000 civilians died in a month’s time. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared war against the Empire of Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor the ravages of war did not come to the continental United States. Instead, the war was fought in the Philippines, a U.S. colony from 1898 to 1946. Filipinos made up seven-eighths of the main line of resistance of the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East (USAFFE). Manila became the second most devastated city after Warsaw, Poland. By the end of the war, approximately 1 million civilians had perished. For more information about the exhibition and the conference, please visit http://www.bataanlegacy.org. Main Library, International Center (3rd Floor). Sept. 12, 2015–Jan. 9, 2016. Related Programs: Opening Program: Sept. 12, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room. Conference: Oct. 24, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Koret and Latino/Hispanic Meeting Room.

Since we’re still in the macro level in our discussion, let’s also mention Assembly Bill 199 (AB 199), which was signed into law in California way back in 2011 but had never been implemented. Re: AB 199, according to the legislative counsel’s digest, “This bill would encourage instruction in social sciences for grades 7 to 12, inclusive, to include instruction on World War II and the role of Filipinos in that war, and would encourage that instruction to include a component drawn from personal testimony, as provided.” As the Bataan Legacy Historical Society remains at the forefront in the fight to implement AB 199, you and I could do our part in making sure that our grateful voices are heard, too. You see, there will be a vote on Oct. 8-9 in Sacramento related to this Bill which is basically about curriculum revision, and the California Department of Education will have a say in it. We are hoping that before the Bataan Legacy SFPL conference on Oct. 24, some form of good news can already be shared with the attendees about the fate of AB 199, considering that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson will be one of the main speakers. Here’s hoping that our gratitude mixed with civic action will lead to positive results!

Going to the mezzo level now, we can choose to be grateful for the groups and associations to which we belong. We can give thanks for work, school, ease of access to resources (like what has been made possible by the Americans with Disabilities Act), social support, and culture. On the micro or intrapersonal level, we can be thankful for our preferences, knowledge, skills, abilities, perceptions, motivations, health and socioeconomic status, among others. A spirit that’s thankful for what it already has, uncomplaining and not craving for things it doesn’t have, is actually happier than the ego that keeps overreaching for things it thinks it needs. And the mystery is, the more thankful you are, the more the blessings keep coming! (Anecdotal evidence available: ask any grateful person that you know.) They do say that gratitude is the great multiplier (Rhonda Byrne, “The Power”). Related to this, they also say that what you focus on expands.

I would like to make a special case about the special people in our lives right now who have been in this world far longer than we have. I am talking about our great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents. Once upon a time, we were helpless babies and they were at the peak of strength, providing us with all our needs, including tuition and allowance for approximately 20 years of schooling. Oh, getting a college education is SO important to the Filipino-American family! And now it’s 20 years later, you’re working, you’re busy, you have your own family – hey, you couldn’t even reflect one bit about the goodness and nurture you got from your Mommy and Daddy? Is your memory suddenly short-circuiting every time it attempts to look back at the past? If our memories are colored by hatred, can’t we find it in our hearts to forgive? How much do we owe the ones that came before?

We owe them our very lives. And you’re right: one can never totally repay one’s debt of gratitude to them. You know what, I won’t even try. Let me spend the rest of my life looking back and thanking my forebears for their instrumental roles in my life. Now I’m doing my share to make sure they get cared for. I could only hope that when it’s my turn to be weak of body and mind on account of age, young people in my family would step up and care for me. This presupposes, of course, that I have been an example to them of caring for the seniors in our family during my time. And why am I doing this again? Oh yes – because I’m grateful.

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blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

“Pistahan notes: Bataan Legacy, our history” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Aug. 12-18, 2015; page A5)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of August 12-18, 2015

Pistahan notes: Bataan Legacy, our history

Last weekend, Filipino-Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area celebrated the 22nd annual Pistahan Parade and Festival once more. There was something for everyone: food, music, entertainment, health advice, art, culture, lambanog – you name it! This is probably my 8th year of volunteering, choosing to serve in the Heritage Pavilion for the past 4 years. I believe that the Wells Fargo-sponsored Heritage Pavilion at the Pistahan allows me to meet interesting people – volunteers and visitors alike. I also believe that by helping set up the exhibit of artifacts, photos, and such with fellow volunteers, I get a much needed history lesson and a reality check. Ganito kami noon, paano kayo ngayon? “This is how we were, so how are you doing now,” asks the Tagalog title of a film by Eddie Romero.

But do we really know how it was before, especially when it comes to important pieces of our common history as Filipinos from the motherland? The only way to know for sure is to look back through the eyes and experiences of those that came before us. Then we need to document these stories so that they are preserved, disseminated, promoted, and leveraged to increase in value going into the future. We are trying to avoid oblivion – what we want is recognition.

Recognition for whom? You ask. This year, the Heritage Pavilion is the proud exhibitor of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society. It’s a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization with the mission of educating the public on the historical significance of the Bataan Death March and World War II in the Philippines. The Society continually fulfills its mission by presenting the war from different perspectives – Filipinos, Americans, soldiers, and civilians.

“Bataan Legacy Historical Society was created as a response to the lack of information on the Filipino defenders of Bataan. It began during public readings of a historical novel, “In Her Mother’s Image,” written by the founder of the organization Cecilia I. Gaerlan. The novel was inspired by the many WWII stories that Cecilia heard while growing up as a child in the Philippines. Her father, Luis Gaerlan, Jr., was with the 41st Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army Forces of the Far East and survived the Bataan Death March as well as his incarceration at Camp O’Donnell.

During public readings of the novel, she realized that not too many people have even heard of Bataan or the war in the Philippines. While doing research about the war, she discovered that many history books only mention the American defenders, even though seven-eighths of the main line of resistance were manned by Filipinos. There are also some sources that deride or even malign the Filipino soldiers even though they did most of the fighting and the dying.

Drawing from interviews with Filipino and American veterans, survivors and Bataan experts as well as extensive research using books and documents from many sources (e.g. military documents from the national archives), a comprehensive picture has emerged from different points of view. The first Bataan Legacy presentation took place on April 9, 2012, during the 70th Anniversary of the Fall of Bataan at the California State University, East Bay Campus. With each presentation, the multimedia production continues to evolve and brings the WWII experience firsthand to the audience by featuring veterans and survivors.” (“History of the Project,” written by Cecilia I. Gaerlan, http://www.bataanlegacy.org)

At the Heritage Pavilion, which housed archival material like soldiers’ uniforms, photographs, and other memorabilia related to World War II and the Bataan Death March, I proudly served as a volunteer alongside the bigwigs of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society themselves like Tita Cecilia Gaerlan, the Executive Director and pavilion manager; Tito Edgar de Leon, Board Member, whose 6-footer son Jon also helped during the setup before he had to report for work; and Ret. US Navy Senior Chief Mass Communications Specialist Robert “Bob” Hansen, also a Board Member and veteran of the Vietnam War. We also had volunteers from Lowell High School, plus Anna Millan, Tito Del Esmane, and a couple of others whose names escape my memory now. It was a two-day festival so I’m sure there were a lot of other volunteers. I salute you all, my fellow workers.

I have some stories to tell about World War II, heard from my grandparents and parents while I was growing up, but maybe I’ll save it for a written account that would go into the Bataan Legacy Historical Society’s ongoing campaign to get various accounts of the WWII in the Philippines, not just from the soldiers’ point of view, but from civilians and other nationalities as well. For now, let me just pay tribute to a man who left behind a book to chronicle his own experiences of the war. His name is Mr. Angel Pagaduan and I met him as he was browsing through the displays in the Heritage Pavilion on Aug. 11, 2013. His book is called “The Japanese Sneak Attack in Subic: An Untold Story of World War II,” which chronicles Tito Angel’s life, starting from the bombing of Subic, his birth town, when he was in fourth grade in 1941 (available at Arkipelago Books, SF). He had copies of his book, and he was willing to bend the ear of anyone who would listen to his animated stories about how it was during the war from the POV of a kid like him at that time and how the war influenced him and the community from then on. Tito Angel and I talked for maybe an hour. Then he let me buy his book at a discount and graciously autographed my copy: “To Bles, May the best of everything in life be yours always, Sincerely, Angel Pagaduan.” To tell you the truth, I’ve been meaning to read the book, and I did reach Part 5, but somehow I stopped. Just like a gracious older lady who dropped by the pavilion this year said, “When I see these photos, sumasama lang ang loob ko, gusto kong maiyak.” (“I feel bad, I just want to cry.”)

Fast-forward to mid-May this year. Suffice it to say that I saw Tito Angel’s obituary notice at the Hayward Daily Review. He lived a fruitful life of 83 years, surviving many previous health challenges and also achieving many milestones as a grade-school teacher. Rest in peace po, Tito Angel.

Now if you or anyone that know have stories you want to share about World War II and the Bataan Death March, you can contact the Bataan Legacy Historical Society by visiting their website: http://www.bataanlegacy.org. There will be an Exhibition which will open on Sept. 12 and a free-admission Conference on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Public Library.

Bring your histories, bring yourselves.

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blessingsandlight725@gmail.com

“Presidents’ Day the Filipino way” in this week’s issue of the MANILA MAIL (Feb. 18-24, 2015; page A7)

Pilipinasblitz Forever
A column by Bles Carmona
For the week of February 18-24, 2015

PRESIDENTS’ DAY THE FILIPINO WAY

Have you ever wondered why the USA celebrates Presidents’ Day and our home country, the Philippines, does not?

In 1885, US President Chester Arthur set the third Monday of February as “George Washington’s Birthday” to honor “the father of our country.” George Washington’s Birthday became a federal holiday. Much later on, in the 1960s, some reformers wanted to change the name of the holiday to “Presidents’ Day” to include Abraham Lincoln. That reformist move was defeated in Congress, so in fact, the original name of the holiday, George Washington’s Birthday, was actually unchanged. However, since that time, “Presidents’ Day” has been ushered into popular usage, appearing in official communications, advertisements, and event announcements. The reason for commemorating Presidents’ Day in the USA is to acknowledge and honor the contributions of the past Presidents to nation-building and democracy. Our current President, Barack Obama, is our 44th head of state and government.

Filipino-Americans who were born here have learned all about the American presidents in their grade school civics class. As a naturalized American, I would like to supplement the knowledge of my readers with some brief comments about the presidents of the Philippines. In this way, we as Filipino-Americans can also acknowledge and honor the contributions of the past Philippine presidents to nation-building and democracy. President Benigno (“Noynoy/PNoy”) Aquino III is the current and 15th President of the Philippines. But who was the first one? Who was next, and so on?

1. Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the revolution between America and Spain, was the first president of the Philippine Republic. He was appointed head of a barangay in the province of Cavite by the Spanish government at the age of 17, then later promoted to mayor. Aguinaldo faced some controversies during his day, but he was credited with having declared independence from Spain and the US on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. The refusal of the Americans to recognize this 1898 independence resulted in the Philippine-American War. The Philippines started commemorating June 12 as its Independence Day during the term of the 9th president, Diosdado Macapagal, in the 1960s (more on him later). In his 30s, Aguinaldo retired and became a farmer. He died in the mid-1960s at 95 years old.

2. The second president of the Philippines is Manuel L. Quezon, also known as the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth. When the Philippine-American War broke out, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the revolutionary army, later to be promoted to captain. After the war, he practiced law in Baler, Tayabas (now Quezon) and by age 27 was elected governor. His political career eventually catapulted him to the position of resident commissioner in Washington DC. It was during his term that the Jones Act was passed in the US Congress, granting independence to the Philippines. Later on, he was part of a delegation that secured the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, setting 1946 as the year of independence. With the Act’s provision for a commonwealth government, Quezon was elected president until World War II began. He passed away in Saranac Lake, New York.

3. Jose P. Laurel was the president of the second Philippine Republic, or the head of the caretaker/puppet Japanese government. He has an advanced law degree from Yale University. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1934. He took office on Oct. 14, 1943 and left office on Aug. 17, 1945.

4. Sergio Osmeña was the second president of the Commonwealth. He was credited with leading the efforts toward rehabilitation of the country after the war. Under General Aguinaldo’s command, he was the staff courier and journalist.

5. Manuel Roxas was the last president of the Commonwealth and the first president of the Philippine Republic. He started as a law clerk of the Supreme Court and later became a governor of Capiz. He was one of the members who drafted the 1935 charter in the Constitutional Convention.

6. Elpidio Quirino, the second president of the Republic, left an important legacy in the form of the Minimum Wage Law and the institution of the Central Bank. The socio-economic measures he implemented during his term resulted in stabilizing the Philippine peso, balancing the national budget, and a notable improvement in Philippine economy.

7. Ramon Magsaysay was the third president of the Republic and many people say that he was the most popular. Magsaysay was a guerilla fighter during the Japanese invasion. After the liberation, Gen. Douglas MacArthur promoted him to the rank of major. Magsaysay will be remembered for opening Malacañang Palace to the people. He broke up big land estates, secured land settlements for the masses, and lowered the price of consumer goods. He died in a plane crash on March 17, 1957. He was 50 years old.

8. Carlos P. Garcia will be remembered for his “Filipino First Policy” and “Austerity Program,” putting the interests of Filipinos above those of foreigners and whichever party was in power. In 1971 he was the president of the Constitutional Convention called by Ferdinand Marcos. He died of a heart attack in Manila in 1971.

9. Diosdado Macapagal began his career as a head of a Department of Foreign Affairs panel that negotiated the transfer of the Turtle Islands from Great Britain to the Philippines. He was also known for his Land Reform Bill which freed farmers from large landowners. He also declared June 12 as Philippine National Independence Day.

10. Ferdinand E. Marcos was the first Philippine president to serve a second term. During his second term, he signed into law Proclamation 1081 declaring Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972. After a 20-year rule, Marcos and his followers had to leave the country following the EDSA Revolution in 1986.

11. Corazon C. Aquino was the seventh president of the Republic and the first woman in this position. Borne by the protests that followed the assassination of her husband Sen. Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, Aquino won the snap elections between her and Marcos. The EDSA People Power Revolution on Feb. 22-25, 1986 held back the Marcos government’s troops from reaching the Ramos-Enrile breakaway group. Aquino’s troubled presidency was nevertheless remembered as a transition government of a country on its way to establishing democracy.

12. Fidel V. Ramos, the eighth president of the Republic, first served as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Marcos government. Later on he became the Secretary of Defense under the Aquino administration.

13. Joseph E. Estrada (“Erap”), the ninth president of the Republic, became a film actor in his 20s and became a showbiz legend. Estrada ran for mayor in the municipality (now city) of San Juan from 1967, getting reelected until he served for a total of around 16 years. He was then elected senator, then vice-president, then president in 1998. After his involvement in a scandal, people staged another mass protest to oust him from power.

14. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal and a former classmate of US President Bill Clinton. When she was still in the Senate, she made waves by working for the passage of bills that have powerful economic impact. She took office in 2001 and left office in 2010.

15. The contributions of current President of the Philippines, Benigno (Noynoy, PNoy) Aquino III, would still have to be determined by history in retrospect. Election year 2016 is coming up. I urge Filipinos in the home country to exercise their right to vote and to vote wisely.

Reference: King, J. “Great & Famous Filipinos,” Manila: Worldlink Books, 2002; Wikipedia.com; Goodsearch.com; http://www.philippine-history.org/

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Photo by Mary Gow-2015. Find advisor Blesilda44 at KEEN.com, 1-800-ASK-KEEN (1-800-275-5336), extension 05226567 either by phone or chat: Mon-Fri 7-10 pm, Sat-Sun 7-11 pm Pacific. I speak English, Tagalog, and some Spanish. For personal readings (fee required), email me here: blessingsandlight725@gmail.com