Tuesday, July 29, 2008









Estes Park Colorado

Thursday, July 24, 2008






Photo by tinali778
You may want to read CHAPTER 12, first.

As the night progressed, Benny was increasingly growing anxious. "You've got to get some sleep," Julia reminded him.

But he could not!
He got up every hour to scout the
camp's perimeter and talk to the men on guard.
He stood vigil with them in what seemed to be the longest night of his life.

In between this, he sat in the dark thinking of appropriate countermeasures that he could implement.

He had to act swiftly or everything would be lost forever.

He was endangering the lives of the people in his unit by staying longer in the camp.
The longer they stayed there, the more likelihood that they would be ordered "terminated" by their own rebel organization.

Surrender was not taken well by the higher-ups and Benny had now realized fully, that the real agenda of the top leaders were totally different from his own.

They wanted absolute and total control of the country. The military aid from foreign countries had started trickling in as evidenced by the new ammunitions arriving from foreign shores and this did not bode well with Benny.

Importing more guns and war ammunition denoted that the leaders had no plans of ending the "war".

He wanted it to end. He wanted to believe that "his" government was sincere in its peace offering . He would rather be under a struggling government run by his own people than a prosperous one run by foreigners. All he wanted was justice for the poor and peace and quiet for his countrymen.

They have to leave camp as soon as possible! Tomorrow it was imperative that he establish anew the lines of communication between him and the General.

He was startled when a shadow detached itself from the darkness. It was Julia.
" Let's get some sleep," she had one loving hand in his.
Her touch never failed to excite him. Just her mere presence added so much felecity and vibrancy to his life. That night; however, he did not want her to see how worried he was, that was why he made an excuse of doing the rounds.
" Yes, let's get some sleep. I have completed the rounds now," he said, and warmly draped an arm around her shoulders.
They slept in each other's arms dreaming of the peaceful, happy world their unborn child would soon have.
General Aman knew the danger that Benny was exposed to, so he camped not far from them and scouted the area for unusual activities.

For sure - that night - the media would be reporting the failed attempt of Ka Benny to surrender. He was now a marked man in the rebel organization.

The following day, General Aman was informed through the radio that there was a group of bandits who owned up the responsibility of disrupting the earlier attempt of Ka Benny's surrender.

Although, it was more practical to communicate directly with Ka Benny, General Aman still sought the assistance of Fr. Belucci. He knew Benny trusted the priest absolutely.

The undercover, personal emissary of Fr. Belucci scurried from Talococ to Benny's camp at least several times that day before a final arrangement was made.

The second surrender date was finally set the following morning.

There were no stones left unturned to ensure that the second attempt would proceed without snags.

There was a scouting party who double checked the area every hour and a soldier was stationed every 50 yards from each other to make sure that there were no third parties within the vicinity.

At exactly 9:47, both groups finally converged.

Once more Benny and General Aman started to walk to the center of the clearing. Everyone stood tensely and waited as the two men proceeded to meet. Cameras were whirling and there was a live feed on TV while the reporter made a commentary.

Ka Anton did not leave the responsibility to the army alone for making sure there were no instruders.

He and a small group of rebels were not watching the historical surrender; they were too busy scanning the nearby thick foliage for any sign of intruders.

There were none because outside the perimeter of the two groups, there was still another group of soldiers patrolling the area.

When General Aman and Kumander Benny finally shook hands, a loud cheer erupted from both camps.

"Kumander , welcome back," General Aman was sincere in his solicitations.

"Thanks, general," the handshake was warm and reassuring and Benny knew he could trust General Aman.

They spoke briefly but these were powerful sentences that marked a momentous event in the hearts of both rebels and soldiers.

Julia's cheeks were wet and she kept blinking the trickle of warm rivulets from her eyes.

It's just the forest wind, she thought and she walked on. She was a few steps away from Benny. Ka Dan was assigned to personally escort her.

Benny introduced her to the General when she came abreast them. It was evident the general liked Julia.

General Aman personally escorted them to the army camp and had never left their side until he was certain they were safe and sound.

It was a big , glorious victory for the government and they made sure this good news was aired in all Primtime TV programs and in the Late News. In the morning the event was in print in all newspapers around the country.
"Kumander Benny Surrenders! screamed all headlines in various native tongues.

After several days, when the government stayed true to their word, several small rebel units, followed suit after Benny's surrender.

Except for the one-week debriefing of Benny's unit in the army camp - they were set free afterwards, and were even given suitable livelihood projects to start their life anew.

The whole village of Taloctoc, was happy to have their most outstanding son back to their fold.

The families of the ex-rebels were the happiest of all, they held a celebration in honor of those who were finally in their midst.

Benny's parents cried with joy when they finally embraced their son and daughter in law. Julia's mother was a dotting grandmother soon-to-be, as she never left Julia's side.

The festivity was like Benny and Julia's nuptials all over again, except that this time, both army and former rebels stood shoulder to shoulder as comrades.

Even the circle of lookout guards outside the barrio's perimeter was composed of both uniformed and plain-clothed men.

There was tight security because they were still wary of any possible retaliation from the NPA's higher echelon of leaders.

The first thing Benny did as a freeman was to visit Fr. Belucci.

Ka Anton, now simply called Anton never left his side.

There were three army men assigned momentarily as bodyguards to ensure Benny's safety, but Anton was the best friend Benny never had in school.

Fr. Belucci had aged a lot the last time he had seen him. But he still had the same spunk and gay spirit that he so admired in him. Benny hugged the priest and he was speechless from emotion. Fr. Belucci had been a father, a confidante, a friend, a teacher and everything Benny could ask for. He remembered when he was still a young boy and how the priest had painstakingly taught him the moral values that a good person should possess.

" Back to school for you, Benny," Fr. Belucci's voice quivered when he finally spoke.

"I've got a family now to feed, Father" Benny gently reminded the good priest.

" I'll take care of that. You can pay me up to the last centavo after you have graduated and have landed a decent job."

"But...." Benny started to protest.

The priest lay a gnarled hand on Benny's arm, "This is what your people want. Each has already contributed a share. They know you have the needed qualifications to pursue a higher degree. I would have gladly shouldered all your expenses but they insisted and wanted to be part of your education. Don't let them down."


Monday, July 21, 2008


You may want to read CHAPTER 11 first.

The mountains stood like mute witnesses to the drama that was about to unfold on its once pristine grounds. The mephitic stench of bloodbath that had occurred recurrently was now a necessity that they endure- a purge that has to happen to purify their mundane existence.

The three groups - Kumander Benny's , General Aman's and Ka Lito's- were slowly converging at the designated place.

Ka Lito's band of scalawags however, was a few yards ahead of the two and was intercepting both groups.

When they were more than a hundred yards away from General Aman's army, Benny ordered a full stop.

The two leaders unarmed themselves and began to walk towards the center of the clearing, as their men watched anxiously; even the forest stood still in eerie silence.

Suddenly, a shot rang piercingly through the thin air . Then another... and then another. ..

Ka Anton, saw Kumander Benny go down in a heap on the first volley of gunfire. "It's a trap. It's a trap. Take cover!" he shouted and fired aimlessly into the company of soldiers.

He was about to crawl towards Benny, when he saw him waving his hand shouting, "Retreat, retreat." Benny knew they were no match for the army's mighty artillery.

by soldiersmediacenter

There was bedlam! The media covering the event were busy clicking their cameras unmindful of the danger of being wounded in the crossfire.

General Aman was shouting too
"Cease fire, cease fire!" His face was a mask of anger and anxiety.

A few staccato bullets were fired by the retreating NPA rebels but they were gone within minutes.

There were no casualties on the government side.

"Who fired those first shots ?" General Aman demanded indignantly.

"We didn't, " Captain Abasolo replied. "We had assumed , it was them."

" You mean, they would shoot at their own Kumander? " the General asked the question incredulously.

"We were shot at too, General. " Lt. Carreon interjected. "Won't we be going after them? It would be easy to follow them as their leader is wounded."

" We are not savages, Lt. Carreon. I gave my word to Kumander Benny that I'll personally make sure they'll be safe and sound, and now he is wounded. Listen up," General Aman was yelling. "No one is to fire another bullet from here onwards."

He looked at his men soberly and added in a low, powerful voice , " I want you to remember this, a war can be won, not only in the battlefield - it can also be won peacefully."

"General Aman is right," Captain Abasolo seconded, " We have a bad reputation as an army of ruthless and heartless men. It's time we start proving to them that there are still good men in the military."


Ka Lito and his men were watching General Aman's army from a distance.

"How come they didn't pursue them?" Ka Lito was frustrated and furious. "They should pursue them and pulverize their camp."

"Let me shoot that imbecile general," Ka Dencio was fuming too. He was an envious man, who thrived on intrigues and conflicts. He was immensely enjoying plotting the downfall of Benny - someone he considered a "lucky" bastard.

"Don't " Ka Lito restrained Ka Dencio's hand. " We're no match for them, and they'll come to know, we are the culprits. Let's go, we have succeeded in our goal."

"What goal Ka Lito?" the voice rang loud and clear . They all turned to face Ka Anton. " I'm thankful now I was not able to teach you very well in marksmanship," Ka Anton added.

Ka Lito tried to reach for his gun, "I wouldn't dare, " Ka Anton gave a quick flick of his fingers. Twelve men materialized from the thick foliage. "Disarm them." he commanded.

Ka Lito's group submitted without protest. Ka Lito grumbled and scowled but that was all he was able to do.

Ka Anton gave one last glance at General Aman's retreating army, before he trudged behind the prisoners.

They came upon Benny being treated by Julia. Luckily , the bullet had just grazed his right arm. A second scar that would be a perfect match for the already existing old one.

How much wound can a man take? Ka Anton wanted to ask Benny but he said instead, "The soldiers aren't pursuing us, Kumander" he assured Benny, " but I found these traitors ."

"You call me a traitor, hmmp... look who's talking..." Ka Lito was bursting with so much enmity.

"You're the ones betraying the ideals of our organization by surrendering. I was aiming at your heart but you're one lucky devil." he pointed an accusing finger at Benny.

Benny said nothing but looked straight into him, " They were the ones who fired the first shots..." he was nodding comprehendingly.

Ka Lito blinked and guiltily looked the other way.

"Let me do the honor of shooting this filthy scumbag," Ka Anton raised his gun.

"No, " Benny said calmly. " They should be brought to General Aman and be held liable for the trouble they had caused."


Saturday, July 19, 2008


You may want to read CHAPTER 10 first.

"Anyone who does not want to surrender, may leave now," Benny said as he scanned the unsmiling and anxious faces around him.

" Those who have decided to come with me, I assure you that I'll do whatever that needs to be done to ensure your safety. We can't stay here in the mountains forever. I know how you would want to go home to your families too."

There was a general murmur of agreement. Not all had their families with them, especially those with very young children. The clean mountain air and natural environment would be an ideal place for growing children, but the constant movement of the rebel troops would be too much for them to handle.

" We don't trust anyone but you Kumander. So if you say it would be fine, then we'll be coming with you." Ka Anton, Benny's most trusted aide, expressed the sentiments of those who were present.

And so the group of more than a hundred men commenced their arduous trek downhill. General Aman was to meet them halfway.

Benny thought about the NPA's higher echelon of officers. What would be the reaction of the Supreme Kumander? As of that moment, it had been kept a secret but it wouldn't be long before they would come to know about it and there would be hell to pay. He shook his head to banish the morbid misgivings.

Benny was more concerned about Julia, his unborn child, and the lives and future of the men under his command. He felt he was personally responsible for each of them.

The agreement of Benny's surrender to General Aman was made through Fr. Belucci and selected emissaries from Taloctoc.

Fr. Belucci personally requested for General Aman as he trusted him. He had known the man since he was a lanky kid in high school. Just like Benny, Henry Aman was honest, trustworthy and responsible.

The plan was that Benny and his unit would be escorted by General Aman's army from the point of convergence to the military camp, where the rebels were to surrender their arms.

Benny requested that the local media be present to record the proceedings. He did not fancy hugging the limelight, but he knew that any vital, government player who may plan to sabotage the event would think twice, because of the presence of the media. Most traditional policitians were meticulous about their public image and they took great pains in maintaining their impeccable self esteem.

The media were allowed- now and then - to broadcast events which the government considered newsworthy. The surrender of Kumander Benny - one of the most respected and revered rebel leader - would be an astounding success for the government and would be a tremendous blow to the insurgency movement in the country.

Of course, inevitable questions would soon arise as to why Benny was surrendering when he was supposedly incarcerated already by the military.

Strategists in the government knew that the whole story of Benny's escape would have to be revealed eventually, but only after his surrender.

That way the government still had the "victory".

by soldiersmediacenter


A few miles away from Benny's camp, Ka Lito with 5 other men were changing into army clothes.

"A job well done, Ka Dencio," Ka Lito was smiling as he donned the pilfered military uniform.

"Look how this perfectly fits me," and he guffawed with laughter. "I'm now a Major in the Army."

"Major, Captain Cerrudo, reporting for duty, sir." the smallest man said.

"You look like a chipmunk," Ka Lito roared with laughter , and the other five followed suit.

"Let's get back to business, " Ka Lito assumed his serious air of arrogance.

"Are you sure of the route they'll be taking?" he asked Ka Dencio.

"Yes, I got it from a reliable source, from the mouth of babes, comes forth the truth... " Ka Dencio's source was a naive, barrio kid whom he had sweet talked. Ka Dencio was an intelligent, misguided man who rejoiced in the misfortunes of other people. He had never met Kummander Benny up close, but he despised the popularity of the young man. Probabaly because, he should have been also a respected Kummander if he hadn't been too self-absorbed with his own ulterior motives.

"We'll have to ambush them before they reach Mangga, that way, they'll think they have been betrayed by the army."

Then they danced around in circles and stomped their feet with glee for their wicked machinations .

"I would like to see the expression on Benny's smug face, after this. Remember, we must be swift. We will just create the smoke, then leave them fighting off the fire."


General Aman was giving instructions to his staff.

"Captain Abasolo, be in charge of the lead group, Lt. Carreon - the rear . At no time at all will you be using your guns. No one is to fire his gun until I personally order it. Is that clear?"

" Sir, yes sir," the men chorused.

The two media personnel were assigned three escorts and were instructed to stay behind the lead soldiers.

And so they began their silent march into the deep, unwelcoming forest.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Interesting Contest By Puss Reboots

Puss Reboots is holding a contest and the prices are books.
I have joined because I wanted to win
The Fourth Watcher: A Novel of Bangkok by Timothy Hallinan.
This was copy pasted from Puss Reboots:
-Start of excerpt-

"The rules for the contest are as follows:
To qualify your comment must include a suspense or thriller recommendation. It can be a book, film, graphic novel, manga... just something thrilling or suspenseful.
Contest runs from today through August 13th at 11PM Pacific Time
Winner will be notified via email at 11PM on August 13th and will have 3 days to respond with a mailing address. If no response is received in that time, a new winner will be picked.
Open to the entire world.
For extra credit you can:
a) include your blog's URL
b) blog about the contest and link back here."
-End of excerpt-

The following books will also be given as prizes to the lucky winners:
Unholy Domain Dan Ronco
Virus Games G.L. Sheerin
Dancing Above the Waves Susan Walerstein
Lifetime Loser James Ross
The Fourth Watcher Timothy Hallinan
El Tigre John H. Manhol
So what are you waiting for, visit the site and join!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Photo by FreeWine

Books are treasure troves.

Almost all successful and famous persons I know have been "wide readers".

I have always wanted to share inspiring stories with readers.

It is a dream I know I have to fulfill in this lifetime, or I'll never rest in peace in the other realm.

This book project I will be embarking on would be entitled : "Inspirational Thoughts and Stories from Bloggers All Over the World."

The projected time of completion and publication of the book would be 1 year.

If you have an inspiring article, story or poem that you know could brighten up someone's day or that could enlighten and give hope to people, send them and earn 5,000 ENTRECARD CREDITS.

These are the criteria:

1. The contributor must be an Entrecarder.

2. The length of the article or story should not be less than 1,000 words.

3. If it is a poem, it should not be less than 15 lines.

4. If contribution is accepted, one (1 ) complimentary copy of the book where your article will be featured, will be sent to you (free of any charge ) as soon as publication is completed.

5. As the blog's owner, I will screen and select entries for inclusion in the book. You will be notified through your EC dashboard if your contribution has been accepted or not.

6. You can send up to three entries in any of the categories.

6. For any question, feel free to send a message throught my EC widget/dashboard.
( Gewgaw Writings) or leave a comment in this post.



You may want to read CHAPTER 9 first.

Lt. Antonio was standing before a court martial. There were only 13 people in the room. The 11 were high ranking officials, while the two were guards.

This was an event that the government wanted to conceal from the media.

" After careful deliberations, this General Court-Martial unanimously declares and hereby adjudges the accused - Lt. Rodolfo G. Antonio Jr. - guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the charge covered by Article of War of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. This General Court-Martial hereby imposes the following sentence upon the accused -Lt. Rodolfo Antonio Jr. - to be discharged from the military."

Maj. Gen. Henry Gorospe, president of the 11-member military tribunal, folded the crisp paper and handed it to the Judge Advocate.

Lt. Antonio's face was expressionless. There was a dreamy, peaceful look in his eyes.

Benny learned about this news through the underground's grapevine. His escape and Lt. Antonio's case had never found their way to the media's headlines. Lots of people still believed that Benny was still in the hands of the military. This the government conveniently kept silent about - not denying nor confirming.

Benny wanted to rescue Lt. Antonio but he knew it was safer for him not to keep in touch. Carting him off to the mountains would not be a good idea also, because it would be extremely difficult for Lt. Antonio, as he had grown up in the city.

Benny had a fitful sleep that night, thinking of how he could help Lt. Anotnio. In the morning, he sent a letter through a courier expressing his heartfelt gratitude for all the things he had done for him and that if he so desired to join him in the mountains, he would gladly fetch him - no matter.

Lt. Anontio's reply was brief. " I'm just one person Ka Benny, don't worry about me. I have other plans. Continue pursuing your dreams for your people."

Benny however had doubts about the path that he was pursuing now.

The NPA's leadership was slowly corroding because of misunderstandings between their own beliefs. The ideals and principles Benny once fought for were taking in a different, darker shade.

There were atrocities and senseless killings now done by the rebels themselves - not in Benny's unit- but by rebels nevertheless and the higher ranking leaders opt not to notice them - just to maintain their rank and file.

More and more undisciplined rebels, turned violent at the mere hint of hesitation by the people to give "tax" (in kind or in cash), to support the rebels' cause.

They started requesting foreign military aid too which Benny did not approve. This was an internal problem and asking for foreign intervention would endanger the country from opposing forces of powerful nations - the extreme right and the extreme left.

This made Benny started doubting the path that they were treading on. Was this the path to equality, freedom and justice that he so valiantly fought for from the start?

In his hearts of hearts , he knew the course they were following now was definitely not his dreams for his people.

There had been a peaceful call from the government for rebels to lay down their arms and return to the folds of society without any danger of prosecution. This was called the "General Amnesty". "Surrender or Die" -the message of the government was loud and clear.

" What's bothering you?" Julia caressed his nape.

Julia could still take his breath away, Benny thought, "It's nothing" he replied, taking hold of her hands and holding them tight to his chest.

"I've got good news for you," Julia said.

" Let's hear this good news," he tried to sound exultant.

"I'm pregnant, " she intoned happily.

The world seemed to come to a standstill as the unexpected news slowly sinked into Benny's consciousness. The extreme joy of the moment took his breath away and tears began to well up in his eyes. He had to inhale heavily to suck in air. He gave a long, loud whoop and carried Julia in his sinewy arms. He lifted her high up in the air and buried his face in her soft thighs. He was jubilant and overjoyed beyond words.

They were both laughing and caught up in the unadulterated happiness that they alone understood. Ina and Ama would be happy too, Benny thought.

Photo by fauxto_digit

The following week, Benny received a letter from Fr. Belucci through one of their couriers.

My Dear Benny,

It is more peaceful now that Martial Law has finally stabilized. You've been doing a good job looking after your own people. The peace pact has been unbroken even after Julia's father had passed away.

The peace pact that he established together with the other tribal elders is still respected by all tribes.

The government has also ceased pushing through with the dam project altogether, because of your bold stand. In fact, Major Abunda had been relieved from his post.

There's no longer any need to stay in the mountains. Take advantage of this peace offering and come down. This way, you could help your people more.

I heard Julia is heavy with child. Your Ama, Ina and mother in law plead with you to come down. Do this because of your child.

God bless you my son,
Fr. Belucci



Sunday, July 13, 2008

Why This Blog Was Created

The purpose of this blog is to provide short but useful articles/freebies/ photos for internet surfers.

To be posted here are articles that I usually search and not come up with many results.

Feel free to browse. if you decide to use any of the content of this blog, feel free to do so, just link back to this blog.

Thank you and enjoy browsing.

Friday, July 11, 2008


You may want to read CHAPTER 8 first

by smokejmt

Rested and invigorated, he reluctantly stood up and cast a last glance at the dissolving kaleidoscope of colors.

This was where he had always come when he wanted sometime to himself.

The rebel hideout was just a mile away.

His escape had been relatively easy because the military had underestimated his stamina.

The forest was silent except for the sounds of a nearby, bubbling stream, the gentle whisper of rustling leaves and the gaily chirping of birds.

"Tweet, tweet," he stood sill and listened to the familiar sound. "Tweet, tweet", it came again.

He imitated the sound ... "tweet, tweet."

Soon, two men materialized from the tall, verdant grass.

"We've been waiting for you, Kumander" the younger one said. "Welcome back."

" Ka Anton, you're looking good, " Benny gave him a bear hug. "Ka Dan, ..." and then he hugged the other man tightly, their eyes shimmering with unshed tears of joy. "Welcome back , Kumander, " Ka Dan said.

So, they're calling me Kumander now, Benny thought. Did they receive a message from the supreme Kumander for his promotion? He opted not to ask.

They were a few yards away, when they heard a commotion from the camp. Benny did not expect to be assailed by a problem so soon.

There in the middle of the clearing was a man who apparently wanted some attention. It was Ka Lito. Benny's heartbeat stopped momentarily as he saw who Lito was pointing at. It was Julia!

" Do you want this woman to lead us? Where is your sense of pride? You agree to be ordered around by this woman, just because she happens to be the wife of Kummander Benny? " Ka Lito was enjoying his performance to the hilt, even swaying to and fro on the balls of his feet.

Before Julia could reply, Benny sauntered to the middle of the clearing. When the people recognized him, everyone cheered. Julia ran towards him, her face brilliant with happiness.

"It's Kumander Benny!" they shouted with joy.

Benny gave her a tight hug and gently pushed her aside. He asked in his low, commanding voice, "Now what is this all about Ka Lito?"

Julia spoke loudly but calmly for everyone to hear, "He had terrorized the old folks in Mandali and threatened them if they won't give all their harvest."

"Is that what you did, Ka Lito?" Benny's voice was incredulous.

"Well, they did not want to give their share , so I had to scare them a bit," he conceded.

" Didn't we agree that intimidation and force should never be used when we asked for donations? " Benny asked Ka Lito patiently.

"The old man suffered bruises by what he did," another man shouted.

"Don't you have any moral scruples, Ka Lito? Hurting a defenseless old man? . You know the rules, Ka Lito. If you can't live by them then you have to leave the fold," Benny ordered ominously. " Right now!" There was no denying the intensity of Benny's command.

Ka Lito hesitated for a moment, Benny can perceive the struggling emotions of the man, whether to accept the order or to defy it.

Ka Lito surreptitiously looked around him, paused and then said, " Sure, I'll go, I don't fancy staying with a band of effeminate rebels pretending to be men."

He walked a few steps forward and then stopped in his tracks.

For a moment Benny thought, he was going to draw his gun, but he didn't ." Those who want to come with me and fight the war like real men, follow me," he hollered.

No one followed Ka Lito as he cursed and swore to high heavens about what a bunch of cowards they were.

by carulmare

During that night in the rebel camp - away from both their native barrios (because of the increasing government insurgency campaign )- Benny and Julia were together again in body and soul - lost in their own paradise of ecstasy and bliss..

"Remind me tomorrow to make sure the old man is doing fine, " Benny was saying to Julia referring to Ka Lito's victim.

His succeeding words were lost as they groped hungrily for each other. Everything else was forgotten.

They slept in each other's arms satiated and fulfilled - making up for the sleepless nights of their unavoidable separation.

Even the grief of Julia over her father's death has taken the backseat.



Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This award was given several days ago but it's only now that I have decided to accept it because I feel it in my heart that it was given in "good faith" by Durano of "The Spitting Vessel".
I have to admit that I was tremendously honored because Durano is one of the writers I admire. In fact, I had thought of awarding him again this trophy.

The Spitting Vessel, is a blog about current controversial issues, interesting insights into world events and factual, no-nonsense posts about truth laid bare.

The author is knowledgeable about a lot of topics from boxing, to cannabis sativa to architecture, etc.

What an unusual mix, don't you agree? It speaks of the writer's versatility and prolificity.

I copypasted from Durano's blog the rules for this award.

- Start of excerpt-

"The rules governing the Award recipients involve the following:

1. Recipients must pick 5 blogs they consider deserving of this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and for contributing to the blogging community in whatever language.

2. Each of the 5 selected blogs must include the name of the author and a link to his/her site to be visited by readers.

3. The recipient must show the award and indicate the name and link to the blog of the one that handed it to him/her.

4. All Award recipients must include a link to the Arte y Pico site to inform all readers about the origin of this award."

According to Arte y Pico - the translation in English of the term is- "Wow. The Best Art. Over the top."

- End of excerpt-

I have at least a dozen blogs I would like to award the trophy to, but since it is an Arte Y Pico Award, I will have to select among my favorite Art, Writing & Literature blogs.

The 5 Writing blogs I have selected are: (In no particular order)

I. Caught In The Stream - Author: Francis Escudellari

Francis is a poet, a writer, a painter all rolled into one - an artist exemplare - that is how I describe him.

His blog features his extraordinary, wonderful work of art. I usually feel like I'm entering into a totally different realm when I visit his blog.

I feel mentally titillated when I read and view his poetry, short stories and paintings, because they evoke a sense of meaningful and participatory input from me - the reader/viewer.

If you want to know what I'm talking about - visit his blog.

II. Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff - Author: Ken Armstrong http://kenarmstrong.blogspot.com/

This writer needs no lengthy introduction as he is already a well - known personality in the Entrecard world- talk about the first comment bomb - that's Ken's Music and Driving post. His writing style, prances around you, like an insouciant, playful kid that refreshes and makes you smile - and even makes you guffaw at times - He is an exceptional raconteur. I always enjoy and look forward to his invigorating, smooth flowing personal stories.

Ken, you don't have to formally accept this award. I know this is the second, being awarded the first by Matt Urdan of MTMD, so it's okay. I just wanted to acknowledge you.

III. The Esoterical Journey - Author: Ray Gratzner

I refer to Ray as The Philosopher. When I think on the lines of " Cogito, ergo sum", "Tabula rasa", Carpe diem" - then I visit his blog. His thoughts are profound and worthy of perusal. The concepts he presents in his posts are nuggets of wisdom that one could glean and learn from.

He writes about life in general - the intricate webs that is interspersed with human behavior and many more thought provoking topics.

He maintains a German version of this blog and writes fluently in both English and German languages.

IV. The Big Picture - Author: Tasha Bud

Tasha is a budding romantic writer who created and is still in the process of creating a passionate and heart-wrenching novel about the joys and pains of being in love.

She courageously and wholeheartedly shares her novel "in the making" with her increasing number of readers.

Be an eager witness to her first written novel as she unravels her characters in this romantic, passionate composition. I'm still a romantic at heart so I read her posts voraciously.

V. Pinoy Around The World - Author: Mathe Baniaga

Mathe is a SAHM who has the passion and desire to write. Her poignant stories are about the adventures and misadventures of Filipino workers abroad.

In her simple, crisp manner, she recounts these stories as if they were her own - bringing the scene vividly into the reader's mind.

Watch out for more of her true and interesting stories in her Pinoy blog.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Free Pictures

Free Pictures


Photos by: Starry Vincent

The patient in room 27, who was admitted for gastritis, was singing and a sizable crowd was gathering at her door. They were totally mesmerized by her golden voice. She was Nova Cardona, a budding and talented TV star.

"Hurry up," Lt. Antonio whispered to Benny.

Benny was in the military uniform of a captain. He looked dashing but deathly pale. It had been a week in the hospital but he still felt nauseous and unsteady on his feet.

There were two guards who stood at his door but their back was turned as they too were enraptured by Nova's voice; they hardly noticed the two coming out of the room.

"This way," Lt. Antonio, opted for the stairs instead of the elevators. They ascended the stairs in swift, stealthy movements and reached the ground floor in no time at all.

"I'll take it from here," Benny looked straight at his new found friend. He had never been close to Lt. Antonio in the University. But he was admired by many students whom he barely knew and Rudy Antonio was one of them. "Thanks for the help Rudy, I owe you one." Benny tightly gripped Lt. Antonio's hand.

"I can't leave you alone. You're still not safe here. C'mon, we're wasting time," Lt. Antonio protested and sprinted towards the shadows of the next building.

They were on foot as the checkpoints were still in place and they knew they had to be out off the streets before midnight, because of the curfew hours.

The Doctor's next round in the hospital would be after 6 hours and if they could make it to the army truck at the outskirts of the city, everything would be fine.


It was 9 pm when the twinkling, bright lights had finally turned into pinpoints - indicating they were now at a safe distance from the city. Benny was ready to buckle. He was hyperventilating and his body felt clammy and worn out.

"Go," Lt. Antonio motioned Benny inside the truck, as he jumped into the driver's seat. " Cover yourself with the blanket. If they inspect the truck and see you, act sleepy."

But No one stopped them. They came nose to nose with army vehicles along the road and the usual honking of horns was all that happened.

There was a main checkpoint however, before they could reach the last town; Lt. Antonio was not bothered. They were relatively safe unless someone wanted to inspect the truck and recognize Benny.

It was after an hour that they came to the checkpoint. Benny had fallen into a dreamless sleep and was awakened by loud voices.

"Hello, sir," the swarthy private bellowed. "May I know what we have here?"

" I'm in a hurry, private. Will visit a relative in the next town and will have to be back before dawn."

" Sir, we have strict orders from General Layson himself, to inspect all vehicles passing through this checkpoint - even army vehicles," the private was a good soldier.

The general's order was called for because the next town was believed to be NPA infiltrated and objecting to the search would make the private more suspicious.

"Okay, but make it quick." Lt. Antonio sat rigidly at the wheels, his hand on the butt of his gun. He was hardly breathing. He was hoping Benny would be able to act convincingly.

After some interminable minutes, the loud voice of the private echoed from the back of the truck, " Have a pleasant trip , sir," he said and the signal was given to the other guard at the gate to allow the truck to pass through.

Lt. Antonio breathed a sigh of relief. But how come the private didn't find Benny?

He cruised a little farther away and finally stopped. When he checked on him, his niggling premonition was true- Benny was gone!


Benny was already a hundred yards away from the checkpoint. The nap had rested him and he was moving faster now. He was used to walking long distances as in the nature of their condition, they rarely used vehicles for fear of detection.

He was lucky the bullet didn't hit any of his vital organs. The blood loss however may have cost him his life if he had not been transfused immediately with blood .

Lt. Antonio had planned his escape. They had to do it while he was still in the hospital as the top brass was demanding that he be transported ASAP to headquarters when he was well enough to walk.

Lt. Antonio could have requested that he be placed in his custody and a lot of officers would trust his judgement but they both did not want to take chances. Some scalawags in the military might want to "salvage" him. (Salvage" was a popular term during that era, in which people were summarily executed in the guise of self defense or because they allegedly attempted to escape.)

Even, Nova Cardona was such a great help. He had gained new friends from his short stay in the hospital. Rudy had always believed he was the good guy even when he learned of his recruitment to the NPA. And Nova, in spite of her growing popularity, had a childlike insouciance that made her a pleasant companion in the few days that they had their morning sun in the hospital's large garden, where they came to know each other.

He had not seen Julia for over a week and he missed her terribly but to allow her to visit was very risky as she was on the rebel's list too. He also learned from Rudy that his father -in -law died of myocardial infarction, right after he was captured. He felt extremely sad for not being able to attend his wake.

These were the thoughts that accompanied him as he finally ascended the familiar terrain. This is the NPA's stronghold and he was relatively safe. The moon was afloat and the illumination that it provided was sufficient for his accustomed feet. But he knew that the military were slowly inching their way onwards and they have to counteract this recent development.

He reached the peak just as dawn was breaking.

Sitting now at the small clearing and watching the interplay of colors, he was thinking what a lucky man he was, still alive and breathing.

The sun finally broke free from the restraining clouds that had earlier hampered its ascendance.

It now shone on him with such brilliance that gave him a certain assurance that eveything would eventually fall into place.



Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Photo by: Aussiegall

The small congregation of mourners inched their way through the muddy terrain like a laboriously moving snake. It was drizzling and dark clouds were hovering over the horizon like ominous monsters ready to gobble up anyone within its reach. A fierce storm was about to brew.

The men wore black arm bands and the women were adorned in black veils denoting the grief and sadness they were harboring in their hearts.

At the cemetery, the elders paid their respects one last time as each of them gave a brief speech about the departed's courage, bravery and moral integrity.

" Naapon katna e tago e nangwa adte amin eh mambalo ." (Nobody can ever equal the noble thing he did for us.)

" Kabuniyan, sika pay de mangala kan siya." ( God, we entrust him to you.)

Just then, a sizzle of lightning, lighted up the sky and the sonorous sound of thunder rumbled as the drizzle began to increase in intensity - even the sky was grieving.

The women wailed and chanted their cries of grief. " Aiieeeee..."

Julia's pale, stony face stood out amidst the group of women .


In the city, the newspapers screamed the headlines , " NPA Rebel Leader Ka Benny Lomiwan Captured."

The article was extremely brief for a supposedly enormous triumph of the governent's campaign against insurgency. The article described how Benny was seriously wounded and captured in a skirmish between the army and the rebels.

People who read the article were skeptcial, especially that the article was accompanied by a picture of a bloodied man who was hardly recognizable and most especially that it was from the government .

The advent of Martial Law heralded the "news blackout". The few enterprising, TV , radio and print media were tightly controlled by the government - even those pirvately owned. Freedom of speech was no longer a basic right. If someone spoke against the government, then he is a rebel. A curfew was in place from 12 midnight to 5 am. People caught outside during these hours were herded off to jail. Control through military might - that was how the whole machinism of Martial Law successfully worked.

There was no longer any news about Benny, the succeeding days. Freelance journalists tried to dig up the rest of the story but the "government" was silent and the courageous ones who stubbornly persisted in searching for the truth were branded pro communist and incarcerated.

From then on, people refrained from expressing their genuine, anti -government sentiments. Life was peaceful, as long as you have convinced the government you don't belong to the other side of the fence.


Photo: By Larry and Linda
The breathtaking view was like a painting being slowly revealed in the sky. It deserved a Picasso, the man thought. He watched as the awesome interplay of the sun's emerging rays interacted with the nimbus clouds -producing a shimmering kaleidoscope of colors.

He was sitting in a small clearing at the highest peak of the mountain. He had always basked in the beauty of nature- the forest wind on his face, the raindrops pelting his fatigued body, the dip in the cool, refreshing springs; and just watching that awesome "painting" being unfolded infront of his very eyes had given him a renewed hope that in the end, the good will triumph and that everything will eventually fall into their designated places.