Christmas season was in the air.  This was in the last quarter of 2016.  Dapecol chief security, Robert Quinto had just passed through his office in the prison camp before he headed back home.  As he parked his vehicle in front of his house and disembarked, a shadowy figured appeared before him and instantly shot him on the chest.  Three days later, Robert succumbed as a consequence of internal organ failure.

A month later, prison guard Willy Plasabas after his tour of duty in the main prison camp, went about his routine of passing by his parent’s house before going home.  He was on his motorbike and a few kilometers away from his house when he was tailed by a riding in tandem characters.  The back rider pulled his gun and shot close range Willy.  The guard lost control of his bike and it crashed on the sidewalk.  The gunner stopped by and walked towards an unconscious victim, aimed his gun on the head and gave the coup de grace.

Five weeks later,  prison officer Kabungsuan Makilala, like all week ends before, prepared himself to leave the prison camp and visit his family in Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, a four- hour drive from his place.  He boarded a bus en route to his hometown when only a few kilometers before he left, while he was comfortably seated in front of the bus almost perpendicular to the driver, a gun man appeared at his back, aimed the gun on Makilala’s head and gave a single shot.  The assailants fled away after the bus screeched to a stop and even managed to shoot it out with a responding police officer, who unfortunately was shot on the leg.  The assassins flagged down a motorbike and used it in escaping from the scene.  A few kilometers away, the motorcycle was found abandoned along the highway.

The victims are all prison officers from Davao Prison and Penal Farm.  They are all still relatively young, in the prime of their age and at the peak of their respective career rank.  They have made a mark in their performance, accumulated friends, met haters too but by and large, esteemed by their peers.  They all died instantly from violence, from gunshot wound.

And there seems to be a pattern.  They just left the prison camp and about to go home.  All three are not aware that death follows them the very day they encountered it but they are more than aware that they faced real danger because of their institutional exposures.

Like ordinary prison officers who are constantly hounded with hazards and intrigues, constantly tarnished with innuendoes and rumors, blamed and impugned, maligned and slandered, to be murdered is farfetched.    The worst that could befall them is to be administratively terminated from holding office or criminally convicted.

But these are difficult times when society is undergoing surgical changes.  There is a war going on in the fringes of the provinces while another war has started on the slums against illegal drug users and peddlers.  The law enforcement agencies of government have been directed to aim their firearms against the enemies of the State, against rebels, against criminals, against almost anything illegal.   Criminal elements from syndicates to gangs have mounted their own firepower directed against anyone suspected of kowtowing with their enemies.  To be hit at the cross fire is a collateral instance oftentimes ignored.  Like rainfall, as in war everyone is subject to wetness.    To be exterminated at this time meant a lot of implications; even if death is a result of accident.  There will be insinuations that it happened as a consequence of the unfolding events.    Even personal vendetta becomes a socially attributable response.

The deaths of these youthful prison officers may have shocked their friends and families but for sure, it never remedied any social defect nor created an advantage on anything at all.

It merely spelled a loss.





tatay 2

Nobody can recall that my father (Prof. Carlos Legaspi Tesoro) was a hero, greater even than those we read in our history books.   He was unfortunately bumped by his contemporaries but not in the deepest bin of history, at least not as long as my notes on history is concerned.

During World War II, there were numerous accounts of heroism.  Soldiers fought mightily hard, statesmen fought using their position of influence, guerillas fought on the sidelines, martyrs fought with their faith, so on and so forth.  All of them became heroes, were feted, recognized and even lionized for a while.  They all went out of their way to keep enemies at bay and while some survived to live another day, others perished.

My father was not a soldier during World War II.  He was not conscripted too in the guerilla movement.  He was neither a martyr nor anyone pretending to…

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Crime in the country never occurs if anticipated.  It happens when least expected.  That is how crafty and stealthy criminals are.  A lot of victims swore that they never felt they were being wronged at all.  The offenders are almost like professional magicians.  They knew when to attack.  They can outsmart anyone they intend to target.

When a friend proposed that he would visit me in my area, in a remote provincial town—-a good 1,500 kilometer distance from his place and he intends to travel by land, which means a 5 day ordeal on the road, he intends to challenge the gods of luck and yes, go through a period of backbreaking expedition.  It is not the tiresome journey though, because the sights are exciting but the travails of being victimized by crime that matters actually.  That was my principal concern.  But it was never a matter of significance according to my friend.  He can smell danger a mile ahead so no worry.

A trip to memory lane

And so my friend took a provincial bus and commuted.  We grew up in an urban area, virtually rubbed elbows with bullies and delinquents, exchanged notes and even participated in petty offenses, we were as smart as street smarts can be.  No one can fool us unless we play the fool ourselves.  No one can push us unless we allowed it.  With that in mind, my apprehension for my friend, who, like me is already a senior citizen and therefore physically helpless to indulge in a cat and mouse run around with crooks, has been subdued.

I could monitor his pictures on Facebook since he would post photos where he is.  He would pose in every landmark of the province he would stop by for a station break.  And he was indeed a picture of a kiddo during its first field trip.  Traveling on the South Road was a treat he pledged to himself.  He has seen almost the entire US as a Federal worker, he might as well see the whole of his country of origin since he has retired and has all the time in the world to offer in adventure.  It was also his first time to travel southward.

Onwards to the countryside

He was confident that he could muster everything to reach his goal.  He is still healthy and has no physical irregularity that would impede his movement.  His mind is stable since he plays the chess regularly as a ranking contender and reads a lot.  On top of that, he has got the mullah, the dough, the fund making him liquid in every activity he would lay his interest on.  He receives his monthly pension in dollars and that means a buck is almost 50 times greater than the ordinary peso in the currency.  The implication there is the fact that he is bigger if not greater 50 times than his local neighbor.

Such confidence allowed him to defy convention and went ahead to check on friends even if they are situated at the ends of the earth.  For my friend, he thought that I was in that situation.  He must see me before I fall off from the precipice.  He knew me.  We came from the same neighborhood.  We are urbans boys through and through.  Unless there is a very important reason, he will never believe that I would choose a remote area to spend my time.  And that reason may perhaps be that I am hiding my miserable condition from my peers.  He wanted to check how I am and if possible rescue me.

Off he goes in the continuing journey or a friendly crusade.   Mid way through his tour while stretching his aching body on the inter-island barge, he dozed off only to realize that his expensive gadget has been plucked out.  Realizing that he lost a valuable item and that it was intentionally fished from him, he made a little commotion, short of a scandal, until the unit has been returned to him.  It was a minor breach inside the barge which should give my classmate a friendly reminder to be alert all the times.  But excitement drowned whatever upheaval he may have caused.

He reached Davao on the fifth day together with a fellow retiree.  I immediately drove to the Bus Terminal to see a good friend.  It has been a full year since we joined a celebration which allowed us to see our elementary classmates we never saw for the last 50 years.


We were so glad to see each other.  My friend was hale and his cheeks were still pinkish, a sign that he has lived in a cold climate for several decades.  He was generous too.  He instantly gave me an expensive wine!  It was a token, a symbol of superiority.  I reckoned and responded accordingly by volunteering to take them around as their tour guide and driver.

I brought them to my house and later took them to a food trip, the finest gourmet in the city.  I escorted them to see the city’s botanical and zoological garden.  I could have taken them to more but my classmate begged off.  Aside from checking my situation, he also wanted to see more of the countryside.  I volunteered to assist him but he wanted to proceed on his own.  He was that assertive and self-assured.  The next thing I heard was his scheduled trip.  He went to Mati, Davao del Norte and experienced up-close how it was to receive the first break of dawn.  Davao del Norte is the first province where the eastern sun would show on the horizon.  And he was there for a couple of days.

A case of the missing wallet

And then, as quickly as his posts on internet, he was already in General Santos City (Gensan).  He was about to turn around, reaching the goal, the farthest, the southern tip of the country, when he felt there was something remiss.  He enjoyed watching how yellow fin tuna are harvested, transported and then presented in sliced pieces for export.  He relished the tropical wind, the thick vegetation, the innocent looking beautiful lasses he would meet.  He was about to declare that he was in paradise until he felt that his wallet is gone already!

Gone were his Identification Cards, bank notes, cash and a handful of dollars.  He could not believe what happened.  It was impossible that he would be duped.  It was equally untenable if someone would snatch his valuable in broad daylight.  If at all he would be emptied of his resources, it was because he threw a big party in the terminal and like Willie Revillame, gave out cash for no reasons at all.  But he was just an ordinary traveler that day.

He alarmed the terminal personnel and asked if there was CCTV in the area.  I had the same experience at Manila Airport where my shoulder bag was ripped away, without my awareness, although my bag was right there in front of me all the time.  I sought the CCTV footage to check how it happened.  In my case, at the precise time when I was waiting at the bay area and the camera was about to zoom in, it zoomed away as if it eluded that significant frame how my bag was snatched.  The CCTV gave nothing to me.  I lost almost half of my lifetime savings that time.  I could only blame my katangahan.  How I wish to know who the fellow who did it to me not to exact vengeance but for me to offer him my respect.  He was that adept and skillful!

There I was priding myself as one of the five brightest thinkers in the field of Philippine Corrections in the country and there I was virtually conned.

From the looks of it, my friend never saw what happened to him on CCTV also and how his wallet was forked out.  He could only proceed to the police station to have the incident blottered.

History on Thievery

I remembered reading an article about Philippine History.   Sometime in March 6, 1521 Ferdinand Magellan marooned his ship in an island in the Philippines and tried to mix and greet the natives.  When he returned to his ship, he found that the natives had a grand time ripping away their valuables.  Before the country was christened as Philippines, Magellan referred to it as Islas de los Landrones (Islands of Thieves).  He was baffled because the natives that he encountered were economically prosperous.  They have abundant foods and organized.  Yet he felt that probably the culture that defines the natives was one of thievery.

Well, I don’t know if there is any connection with ancient culture but from the looks of it, the criminal culture has not left us since.  Our country, for victims, may as well be fittingly called Islas de los Landrones!





American author Dan Brown’s mystery thriller novel Inferno mentioned that one can find the gates of Hell right in the city of Manila!  The book goes on to describe the city as “filled with six-hour long traffic jams, suffocating pollution and horrifying sex trade, where young children are sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”

In the face of desperation and government ineptitude, some of its denizens turn to substance abuse to dampen their senses which consequently made them not only as drug addicts but wild animals.

The grossly offensive filth, highly unpleasant and almost inhuman congestion, hostile criminality, would indeed qualify the capital city as Hell.  In Greek mythology, they refer to it as Hades.  It’s a bit tamer though than the Christian or Dante Alighieri’s Hell although in Hades the atmosphere is dapper, lonelier, more depressing and gruesome.  It was exactly Manila when Brown was writing his novel.

In mythology, there was a mortal hero Odysseus who consulted a friend who can give him directions to go home.  There have been a lot of changes since he left his place he could no longer determine his way back.  His work as warrior has finally been completed.  His friend expressed confidence because he knew someone knowledgeable but there is a problem.  The expert is dead.  If Odysseus really wanted to consult the dead adept, then he must go to where the souls are—in Hell or in Hades.  Another problem presented itself.  Those who reach Hades can no longer go back from where they came from.

Odysseus came through.   And despite the challenges and nerve wracking encounters with monsters, deadly threats, perfect storms he charmed himself away from danger.  Hhe eventually reached his destination badly bruised, mortally injured and grossly disfigured.  But he is alive.  He recovered instantly and lived happily ever after.

My elementary classmate was no Odysseus.  He was just a lucky guy who fortunately conducted his way towards a bright future.   And definitely, the Manila he eventually landed was no longer smelly like Hell.  There was political change and the country has improved a lot.  If there was anything that would compare my classmate with the Greek hero, it is their absence for a number of years from their respective homes.

This is his story.

After almost two decades in USA, a classmate of mine in grade school, one of the bullies during that period, decided to go back to his country, The Philippines.  He retired as postal worker in the US Federal Mail Services.  He probably wanted to spend his dollar pension in his country where a green buck means almost 50 times its purchasing power in the local currency.  Not bad.

If a dollar pensioner receives, say, a thousand bucks a month, over in his country of origin, it instantly translates into more or less 50 grand.  I tell you, for as long as he receives that amount, he will never go hungry, well, unless he chooses to have a vice or two like unlimited booze, drugs or gambling.

My classmate however never had that predilection anymore since he already had too much during his youth.  When he went to the States, he reinvented himself and worked seriously until his family became stable and in his case, became steady up until his career faded positively away.  As a Federal employee, he had a worthy and respectable occupation for some time.   As soon as he was given the chance to retire, he immediately took the opportunity to make good with whatever is left for him to enjoy.  He got his retirement benefits in dollars and in spending it, it would be in pesos.  For him, it was like having a cake and eating it too!   He chose not to reduce himself into a non-entity in a country known for its work ethic.  He might as well go back home where he could live comfortably without stretching too much and ingesting a number of stressful expectations.  He stood to win at any angle.

It took a while though before he finally decided to go back to his country.  It’s appalling because it means leaving his family and latter day friends behind.  It’s sickening because it will forego with the means to enjoy residing in a technologically advanced environment.  It’s nauseating because he has learned and adapted to the equable climate of America.

But his country offers more.  He can personally check his ancestral properties in his province without being duped.  Without any family member with him, he can travel light.  He can even choose whoever is the person he wanted to be with for a while.    He can procrastinate until kingdom come.  He has no one to adjust whatever his idiosyncrasies are.  He has freedom in the strictest sense.  Now, that is priceless for a senior citizen to bargain for.

He chose Baguio City, the summer capital of his country as his base.  It is in this pine scent of a community, up above the mountain ranges, where real clouds no longer resembles the usual smog of lowlands, where morning dews are directly dripping from the heavens, where he procured a studio where he could house his personal effects, with enough space to stretch his body and his mind.  Everything important to him, documents and pictures are all in that tiny thumb like USB anyway.  He can travel anywhere and everything precious is in his pocket.

And he moves around quite sparingly and at times clandestinely.    He knew personal security like the back of his hand.  He is in a country where laws resemble a neighborhood ordinance and he knows that everything, including public safety is always trifled.  Much as he wanted to look like stateside, he is aware that the better part of valor comes from being commonplace.  He must have taken quite a time marking mud over his genuine Nike shoes to make it look like a hand-me-down.

He was excited to see his peers.  He was very excited to have bonding with his best friend, already a lawyer of note.  But it was a little tragic because his buddy had a heart attack and crossed over.  It was unsettling for him to lose someone he adored.   Last year, he was there during our 50th year of Reunion.  Sometime last year also, we had coffee and that’s it.  The next thing I heard was his journey from one local tourist spot after another.

For this expatriate, he must see the world not in the global sense but in a nationalistic way.  He may have explored Sierra Diablo Mountains of Texas but has not explored Tacloban City, Leyte where the strongest typhoon in the world flattened a whole province.  He intends to crawl down through the South road and explore the innards of Mindanao.  I bet he must be fidgeting to see a real Muslim in person or a tribal gang in in its tangible form!

By now, he must be somewhere in Mindanao.  It is one promise he kept on himself and which he intends to realize while his skin and bones, flesh and spirits are still youthful and strong.

We will definitely meet in Mindanao, specifically in its de facto capital— Davao City, for another round of coffee before the curtains of old age would finally roll down on us.

In a way, we were both like Odysseus—we are both at home.



Where your family is, there is your home.  It is not a place, it is not some kind of a dwelling, like a house or a residential manor, neither is it a room or abode where habitation is presumed.  It is where your parents, your siblings, your loved ones are.  When the whole family travels, home is there wherever they may be.  No one is lost if the person is with his family or loved ones.

The family begins with the parents and children.  Once the children grow up, they eventually find their own family.  A home evolves into homes.

Depending on orientation, a person may find his country as home, or his school, or his neighborhood.  Hence, there are expatriates who long to migrate back to their own respective country because for them its home.  The same is true with scholars who would rather retreat to the confines of library and school campus because reality is too harsh for their scholastic background.  To the scientist, the earth is home.  To the religious, the Church or Temple or convent, wherever faith is expressed.  To the musician, it’s the studio; to a physician, the hospital; to a sportsman, the gym.  So on and so forth.

But for the ordinary run of men, home is where his family is.  It could be a mansion or a hut; a vacation house or a shanty;  a manor or a cave.  If it is a bird, it’s the nest or aviary; hutch for the rabbits, sty for the pigs, aquarium for the fishes, pen for the cow, den for the lion.

For those who have survived and lived through up to their twilight years, there is home for the aged, or a room in their children’s houses, an ancestral dwelling perhaps, a remote outback farm or tragically, the streets.  It is the end of the road.  Not even wisdom can shield an elderly away from the reality of bereavement.

It is dust unto dust.  Even memories would later be blurred.  History keeps on changing and while life goes on indeterminately, consciousness flickers and is replaced one thought at a time.  Time goes on until Judgment Day.

Well, at this point, may I seek your indulgence as I pause to share a familiar song, HOME ON THE RANGE.    (  https://youtu.be/ShlkZKx2hDc )






One of Sharon Cuneta’s hit song in late 70s was “High School Life” where the melody began with “Highschool life, oh my high school life, ev’ry memory ay kay ganda; high school days, oh my high school days,  are exciting kay saya…”  Well, she was right.

High school is almost everything.  It shatters innocence.  It demystifies myths about almost everything.  In high school, confidence is high; friendship is almost at par with family, and life force is greater than anything bizarre.  During those times, I knew nothing about threats and all I knew was my invincibility.  I cared little about my health, welfare and the future.  For me, everything is to be lived at the present time.  That was during my high school days.


(I was in front row, fourth from the left.)

Graduating in elementary was fulfilling since it ushered the end of days of virtuousness.  No more childhood batting.  No more childish fixation.  It was more on being treated nearly as adults.

Entering a new school however was a sickening period to start with. My mother enrolled me at nearby private school Roosevelt Memorial High School.  (The school, a couple of years ago, was torn down already.)  There was only one classmate in the elementary (Malou de los Santos) and a neighbor (Elmer Moreno) to make my first year high school environment- friendly.  It was an absolute adjustment period.  New faces, new milieu, new setting, almost everything was new.

I got my first academic medal (Salutatorian/ Second Honor) during my first year in High school.  My elementary years were spent in public school hence my secondary education, my mother believes, should best be in private.  She was right.  I got recognition and became an honor student.

Well, my father was not impressed.  He thought that since I was a nobody in elementary; the private school may be hallucinating in granting me a high grade.  My father, despite his suspicion, went ahead and pinned me my award during the Recognition Day.  Thereafter, however, he sought my transfer to another school—FEU Boy’s High.


(I was on second row, first from the right.)

FEU (Far Eastern University) is one of the country’s top academe where some of the country’s great statesmen graduated.  That was where my father wanted me to complete my secondary education.  And so, there I was on my third year.  I have to commute daily, some 20 kilometers from traffic-infested roads.   I have to be early because I entered the ranks of the Junior Police instead of the usual PMT requirement.  I was posted always at the entrance gate of high school.  And it was there where the bug of being authoritarian had bitten me.  I was no longer bullied unlike in earlier years, this time; I was the bully of bullies in the school.  I bully no one but only the bullies.

It was in FEU high school that I got to know some talented school mates, like Philippine Tom Jones, I forgot the name lang, and film heartthrob Edgar Mortiz.  There were a number of celebrities, mostly in the field of entertainment, choreographers and good dancers all.  But what made my schooling more exciting was the fact that my school was virtually enclosed with numerous gambling joints—billiard halls, pula’t puti, honkiangan, alaswerte, huwego, name it, they were all there.  My allowance of P5 then could balloon to almost P500 in an instant.  Gambling joints hated me.  Note that during that time (early 70s) a liter of special gasoline was only P15!

Quezon City, where my town is, was laid back compared to Manila where I became street smart.  Where before I was too shy even to ask for directions, my stint in Manila gave me that audacity to explore everything that my eyes could discern.

The silly things, the morbid exposures, the intimidations, the pressures, the gloomy times I had during those times became fodder for my strength, things I needed for my later battles with the demons of reality.  It’s just a pity that somewhere along the way; some of my dear friends would wither and fade, addicted to the game of chance, to drugs, booze and vices.  The journey started during high school and onwards until the day one’s hair color (or the lack of it) becomes a symbol of wisdom.

How I wish to be reunited, just for a round of coffee, with my former high school classmates but the problem is more on recall.  I could no longer remember their names, well most of them, and I could no longer recognize them either even if I would perchance meet them in some alleys in broad daylight.  It’s a pity that only a few, less than 10 out of 100, have facebook accounts.

My prayer though is for all of them to be successful in their respective field of endeavors.  By now, they should be majestic in their elderly roles at home.



ONCE UPON A TIME, I was the voice of Philippine corrections.  Anything that moves, anything that matters whether it was a controversy, a scandal, a legislative inquiry or a technical advocacy, I was always at the forefront.  And it was fun.  I get to know up close media personalities we see every day in news forum.  Because of their persuasive style, they have achieved a certain degree of celebrity status.  When they interview a person, that fellow becomes an overnight sensation too.  He gets the proverbial 15 minute fame.

I was the “go to” guy whenever something materializes in the prison system.  I was virtually a luminary during the death penalty execution days in the late 90s.  Tri media covered the criminal justice event and my face was on every major channel, interviewed by The Noli de Castro, The Jesica Soho, The Ceres Doyo, The Randy David, The Kris Aquino, The Mike Enriquez, The Erwin Tulfo, Susan Enriquez, Pinky Webb, and lot more of well-known media personalities.    It was a grand privilege pitting wits with them in public.

I was almost a permanent fixture of talk shows and a main interviewee during primetime news.  Whenever something goes wrong in the penitentiary, even the prison leadership would push me to get into the front to explain everything.  I never allowed media to proceed with their own spin.  But media without any credible ideas lifted from interviews would merely submit their own respective spin and it usually is the cause for more controversies and indignities for those concerned.

It was my perception, my own spin and media loved it.  More so, it’s deeper, well thought of and rational.

My statements were even given a prominent space in a major daily on quotable quotes.  In malls for once, people stopped by as soon as they see me.  School children who delight watching TV news with their elders would even shout upon seeing me in person.  I could not eat alone in any food chain without being lynched with request for selfie.  I was that known and recognizable as Mr. Prison or Mr. Executioner.

I was just waiting for some enterprises to make me a product endorser.   I was already on that level.   But as soon as I have explained the ruckus in prison, nothing follows.  Media would just pack up and leave for another sensational news elsewhere.  No more commercial break.

How fleeting time and the feelings were.  I was like a meteor, bright and shiny, then in an instant, gone.  I was an inch closer to stardom.

When the infamous exposure of prison innards went on air, I immediately asked the prison leadership to allow me to trouble shoot it.  To my mind, the prison scandal could still be restored to normalcy.  Even if for a while the privacy of the incarcerated humanity has been violated it could still be rectified with reasonable explanation and discussion.  Of course, it’s water under the bridge already.  I was not allowed officially to get into the act and hence, I filed my retirement as a consequence.  I felt like Mercury who was banished from Olympus because the gods are afraid he might be worshipped more than the rest of the senior gods and goddesses.

I merely licked in one corner my injured name and reputation.  Win some, lose some.

The correctional agency could have been saved from bashing had there been someone courageous enough to discuss all the issues promptly and competently.  It was media spin that went ballistic and has exploded on all corners of the universe.  It presumed that everything in prison is evil incarnate.  The public was left answering issues which no one in prison wanted to explain fully save for some clarifications which were self-serving.  Until one fine day, everyone seems to be jumping from a sinking correctional ship!

The national leadership had stepped in, the legislative branch of government had gotten into the picture, every Pablo, Juan and Pilar got an inside view on what ails the penal system and everyone in the agency were made as black as pot and as filthy as filth.  The whole correctional system, its posture and integrity went all up in air.  Not even a slice of honor was left.  The agency and its warm bodies were all  humbled and shamed.

I hastily published a novel “Muntinlupa” if only to contribute a figment of an idea (read: spin) into the legislative discussion to save my colleagues from further discomfiture but it came too little, too late.  The correctional agency where I earned my spurs and feathers slowly smoldered and almost has turned into ashes.

I was petrified and almost inconsolable for quite some time.  I have retired and unable to extend my influence.

I could only look back and review what has been done.  The Bureau of Corrections is gradually getting up from where it tripped.  But it is no longer the same agency.  Its innocence gone, its uprightness remains in tatters.  Until someone knowledgeable would step in and save the field called corrections.




BEAUTY PAGEANTS like Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss World, Miss Earth familiarize us with names of countries with their fairest entries.  Countries like Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, Morocco, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Guatemala, Paraguay, El Salvador, Iraq, Thailand and of course, The Philippines.  They almost have the monopoly of beautiful women in the planet.

These countries were also featured in the list of Graphiq and UN World Factbook as the poorest countries in the world.  Beauty it seems is never a factor of economics after all.  It may be accidental or administrative, geographical or racial, phenomenal or merely a flash in the pan.  One may be underprivileged or cash poor but that does not make the person unattractive.  Beauty as it were could not be factored as a collective asset except for the glory it brings to wherever the winner came from and the bright future of the person herself but…

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BEAUTY PAGEANTS like Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss World, Miss Earth familiarize us with names of countries with their fairest entries.  Countries like Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, Morocco, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Guatemala, Paraguay, El Salvador, Iraq, Thailand and of course, The Philippines.  They almost have the monopoly of beautiful women in the planet.

These countries were also featured in the list of Graphiq and UN World Factbook as the poorest countries in the world.  Beauty it seems is never a factor of economics after all.  It may be accidental or administrative, geographical or racial, phenomenal or merely a flash in the pan.  One may be underprivileged or cash poor but that does not make the person unattractive.  Beauty as it were could not be factored as a collective asset except for the glory it brings to wherever the winner came from and the bright future of the person herself but never on the economic lifeblood of her nation.  Beauty is indeed very personal.

Even in Greek mythology, the fairest goddess at times are routed in the beauty department my mortals.  Psyche, daughter of a mortal King, was virtually worshipped by her Kingdom and in faraway turfs for her beauty more than the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite or Venus, herself.  Aphrodite in her revenge sent her son, Cupid to destroy the mortal girl, only for the immortal son to be smitten by the beauty of the subject.  The gods and goddesses of Olympus had no more power to overthrow the mortal beauty but would rather surrender to declare Psyche as one of the goddesses too.  In effect, the incident started the awarding of winners in what could have been the first Miss Universe pageantry in ancient times.

To be in league with the poorest means to be engaged with other countries which we may not be familiar with.  That is right.  After browsing through the list of poorest countries and to a certain extent, discovering the places where beautiful women spring forth, I have learned also that there are countries that existed which I have never known.   I was an ignoramus for a long time not to have known that there are countries like Cabo Verde, Vanuatu, Swagiland,  Tavalu, Guyana, Herzegovina, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Turkmenistan.  For me they sounded more like an expression of anger or some kind of a comic label.  I have never been as international as what my graduate degree has earned (for International Diplomacy).    Well, I never heard anyone winning the pageantry coming from those countries since their respective contestant never placed at all.  But of course that does not mean that there are no beautiful women in those countries.  Beauty is very subjective and it is one virtue which can never be relegated in the realm of objectivity.

Let’s forget beauty and go back to the poorest thing.  Philosophically, to be poor is a matter of choice.  Politically however, it is the weakness of governing bodies.  There are rich countries, they who are considered advanced or referred to as First World.  And there are poor countries which are pooled into a batch called Third World.

It is not only the quality of life that defines the difference; it is also the manner of living.    In First World countries like USA, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Europe it is technology, high definition technology that carries the day for its citizens.  In Third world countries, it is more manual and unsophisticated.

To a large extent, economics play a dramatic role in the country’s index of material happiness.  Countries which are governed properly and economically advanced are the happiest.  These are Denmark, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand,  Norway, Iceland,  Finland, Netherlands and Sweden, to name the top 10.  Economic prosperity however is not correlated with emotional happiness.  There is more suicide in Japan than in Cambodia.  More serial crimes in USA than Jordan.  The Philippines, a developing country, is high on the list of happiest people not because they are prosperous but because they love music.  Filipinos believe that life without music is a mistake.

Whatever.  To be poor is archaic in a world that transcends the meaning of happiness.  But to be poorest is something else.





BEAUTY PAGEANTS like Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss World, Miss Earth familiarize us with names of countries with their fairest entries.  Countries like Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, Morocco, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Guatemala, Paraguay, El Salvador, Iraq, Thailand and of course, The Philippines.  They almost have the monopoly of beautiful women in the planet.

These countries were also featured in the list of Graphiq and UN World Factbook as the poorest countries in the world.  Beauty it seems is never a factor of economics after all.  It may be accidental or administrative, geographical or racial, phenomenal or merely a flash in the pan.  One may be underprivileged or cash poor but that does not make the person unattractive.  Beauty as it were could not be factored as a collective asset except for the glory it brings to wherever the winner came from and the bright future of the person herself but…

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