I was not asked by ANA if I am vaccinated or have tested negative on the Covid-19 Test before the flight while I was processed at the Departure Counter. This scenario is totally different from the time I travelled to the US in July 2021. I had to present my vaccination card, should be negative on the Covid-19 Test at least 72 hours before departure, bought a Covid-19 Insurance Policy to cover my medication expenses while abroad, and to register Online with the Immigration Office of California/USA about my trip. All of these were all gone and I guess, everything is coming back to normal just like those days before the Pandemic.
On my trip last July 2021, the first thing that I did was to have my Covid-19 vaccine a day after my arrival in Los Angeles, California. Even if I was vaccinated with Sinovac months earlier in the Philippines, my daughter advised me to have my Covid-19 shots in the US. So, I had my complete dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles. My Vaccine Card was updated and the staff removed my Sinovac Vaccine as my first Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer is considered as my first Covid-19 vaccine after all.
I had my booster shots with Pfizer in the Philippines last May 2022 but my 2nd booster shot did not materialize until the time I scheduled my latest trip to the US. I have it planned last November or December but I simply forgot all about it.
Now that I am here again in the US, my daughter brought me to the same Medical Center for my Bivalent Booster Covid-19 Vaccine.
I gave my Covid-19 Vaccine Card to the Medical Staff and she updated my record/file for a few minutes. She asked me to choose the Vaccine Brands available and I asked her the Moderna Bivalent Booster Vaccine which happens to be the latest Covid-19 Vaccine to be produced so far.
I can say the injection is more painful on the Moderna as compared to Pfizer. It has been a week after the vaccine but I can still feel a bit of pain from my left shoulder. Actually, the plaster or medical tape that covers the injection part is still on my shoulder. However, I did not feel any after effects of anything on my body from the Moderna vaccine.
The medical staff who attended me was kind enough to update and issue me an updated vaccine card with all the vaccines I got starting with the Pfizer I got last July 2021 up to the present. All in all, it took me less than 20 minutes stay in the said Vaccination Room as I was the only one being attended to during that time.
My first day in Los Angeles was very fruitful and rewarding.
While browsing on the Facebook Page of Mayor Michael Keon after watching his Live Interview with Pinoy Athletics in the past few weeks, I found this particular post or story on the Mayor’s FB Page. This story answers the question why he resigned from the Project Gintong Alay.
My snappy salute to Mayor Michael Keon for his conviction for the good of the Philippine Sports during those days when the Project Gintong Alay was at its peak and success.
My last trip to the United States was in July 2021 and stayed there for almost two months. The Covid-19 Pandemic was still on its highest peak in terms of casualties but it was a fulfilling trip.
My last trip abroad before the Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown was my participation in the Kota Kinabalu 105K Ultramarathon Race and our plane back to the Philippines was the last plane out of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and one of the few flights that I arrived when the Lockdown was implemented last March 2020.
My trip in the US in July 2021 has a lot of travel requirements but after almost two years, traveling abroad is back to normal. Of course, I am fully vaccinated with Covid-19 vaccines and boosted with Pfizer in the US and in the Philippines and had never been infected with the said disease.
With my trip in 2021, I took the Philippine Air Lines as my carrier as it was not allowed yet for transit passengers in other countries, thus, every passenger going abroad should take a direct flight and there was no other choice than to take the PAL flight. The fare was very expensive and there was no other way or choice. And on my arrival back to the Philippines, I have to take a 10-day Quarantine stay in an Authorized Hotel which added more expenses in my trip.
At present, the fare is a bit lower in ANA and the travel requirements like Covid-19 test before Departure; Covid-19 Travel Insurance; Vaccine Card; and restriction on Transit Flights are all gone! There is a semblance that the pre-Covid-19 days are back and the economy is slowly peaking up.
ANA, a Japanese carrier, was recommended to me from a friend who had his experience flying in it few months ago. The story is very inspiring and I grabbed the opportunity to experience flying with the said carrier. I am glad I did it. My experience with my flight with ANA to Los Angeles, California was great! The inflight movies are A-okey and I was able to watch 2 movies for the whole flight. The meals and snacks are very nice and filling to my stomach. Their wine and fruit juices were soothing. And I did not know that there was a Free WiFi onboard! Hahaha! My best experience is having a Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream served after a Meal!
What I hate most in my International Flights is to see the Inflight Toilets to be scattered with used tissue papers or toilet papers on the floor. Whether it is a Korea Air or PAL flight, there are always passengers who just throw their used toilet papers on the floor or stuck on the lid/cover of the trash bin near the faucet/sink area. I really don’t understand why passengers could not dispose their trash or waste into the bins properly. However, in all the ANA toilets that I have used during the duration of my flight to Japan and then to the USA, the toilets are very, very clean! This is my first time to see a clean toilet every time I use them during a flight. Great! What a big change from the other international flights that I have experienced.
When I asked for a cup of hot coffee at the back of the plane while I was stretching from the stewardess, she immediately offered me one by grabbing the coffee pot from the array and rows of cabinets and put some in a paper cup and asked if I need sugar and cream with it. I said, I want my coffee black and she was smiling as she handed me the hot coffee! Wow! In most of my past flights, if I ask for coffee when I am standing near their serving starvation, stewardess would simply instruct me to get my coffee and cup from the rack and serve by myself. ANA and the Japanese stewardess are simply amazing and very helpful.
After passing through the Immigration (another post will be written about this), I was surprised again that two of their Flight Stewardess are in the Baggage Pick-up Carousel attending to all the passengers getting their Baggage, making sure 100% that are are getting your right baggage! Wow!
By the way, in the Check-In Counter at the Manila International Airport, the processing was very quick and fast! And the counter staff did not even ask for my carry-on luggage to be weighted on the weighing scale! I asked and requested for an aisle seat and I was given which was almost very near to the Business Class area. Sweet!
And here is the thing that some Filipino passengers with connecting flights to the US would complain about. ANA would strictly enforce and advise that passengers going or disembarking in Tokyo, Japan would leave the plane first before everybody else. I really don’t complain about this. If this is their policy, so be it. They give first priority to passengers going to Japan!
As for the boarding process and protocol on ANA flight, I have observed that boarding passengers are grouped from Group 1 to Group 5 and ones designation is printed and shown on the Passenger’s Boarding Pass. I am from Group 5 and our group was seated at the back most portion of the Boarding Area. I think Group 1 are for the First Class Passengers and Group 2 are for the Business Class Passengers. I came to realize why I was at Group 5 when I was seated already in my assigned seat. I think Group 3 passengers are for those who are seated at the Window Seats; Group 4 are for those who are seated at the Middle Seats; and Group 5 are for those seated at the Aisle Seats. Group 3,4,5 are in the Economy Class! See? It makes sense! The Japanese people are really organized and disciplined people. Their is no stress and chaos in boarding and settling yourself inside the plane. This is my first time to experience such kind of boarding in a plane since the time I started traveling by air.
I always travel in style and properly well dressed. As a Senior Citizen, I don’t want to be “profiled” as a “working class”. I want the other passengers to know that I am a constant traveler and from the TSA and Immigration personnel that I am a professional and decent traveler.
Traveling with an ANA Flight for the first time was a very memorable experience. I highly recommend this Japanese Carrier to everybody. You will not regret it! Thanks for reading! Bye for now!
First, I would like to post the photo grab that I made from the NEWSLETTER from ITRA dated December 2020 which I received through e-mail on December 24, 2020. I received this letter because of the fact that I am a member of the ITRA.
I would like to make it a point or stress that this newsletter did not come from the International Association of Ultrarunner (IAU) which the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU) is a member representing the country.
Early this year, I planted some vegetables in my backyard and I was able to harvest for our home consumption. However, when the rainy season started in the month of June, I stopped maintaining the plants and they were overtaken with the growth of weeds and other grasses.
Starting on the middle of last month, I acquired a grass/bush cutter to clean my backyard and start again raising some backyard vegetables. It took me some time to clean the whole lot as the weeds, plants, and tall grasses became so thick that some of my fruit-bearing trees and plants were covered by them. However, I was able to clean the whole backyard.
In the next days, I will start to till and cultivate the land again. We will see how the backyard looks like in the next weeks and months to come.
This is Number ONE Law of Power in the the book, “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene.
This had been my guiding principle and reminder once I was able to buy a copy of this book in 1998. In 1998, I was then the newly-designated Secretary of the General Staff of the Philippine Army and I was directly under the Office of the Chief of Staff, Philippine Army. Basically, all the documents coming from the different General Staffs and Units go through my scrutiny and screening process before each document goes to the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. I did not have any Command Authority over the different units under the Philippine Army as I was a “facilitator” of good and efficient flow of communication to the leadership of the Philippine Army. At the same time, I also disseminate instructions of the leaderships down to the subordinate units throughout the country.
My position then was a powerful one but I made sure that my authority was within the personnel and staff in my office who fully supported me to accomplish the tasks of the office.
It was in this office and position that I first applied the “Laws of Power” while I was in the active military service. On hindsight, I might have violated some but in the end I think I was successful in my career by following these “laws”.
Up to this time, I would review and re-read the first book that I have but most of the time, I have them re-read through online if time permits.
In the military, Commanders would only hear these two important words from their subordinates, “Yes, Sir”! As a subordinate, one is not allowed to go against the order/wish/suggestion or idea of a Commander. A subordinate is only allowed to say anything if the Commander ask for it. If not, just stay silent. Always remember the saying, “Obey first before you complain”.
As I transitioned to the civilian life, these “laws” had been ingrained to my attitude towards everybody. As I am enjoying my retirement as a civilian citizen, I know I still have the power as a citizen of this country.
This statement had been my guiding principle since I retired from the military service.
At this time in my life, I don’t have so many friends. I can count only with my fingers whom I consider as my friends. Their cellphone numbers are in my Iphone Directory but I haven’t called them for unnecessary things and it had been years since. Some of them are my friends on Facebook and that is the only way that they can see me.
Make life as simple as it can be. Trust only those whom you could depend upon through the years.
Yes, Politics is dirty and stressful. If there is a topic that I want to discuss with people and friends, it is Politics that I would try to avoid. Why? Because everything you say is just your personal opinion and most of the time, very different from what are the facts on the ground. Now that I am retired and enjoying a simple and non-stress life, I don’t want to add emotional or mental stress on my myself.
When I was in the active military service, I observed how politics work. Sometimes, I apply politics in dealing with my superiors, peers, and subordinates. However, politics outside the military service is totally different but the concepts are still the same. To make it simple, everything is a “give and take” arrangement. Very basic!
In my Social Media posts, I try to avoid making my personal opinion on issues and matters about politics. I just keep them on myself and let the time pass until after I finally don’t have time to recall them. Always remember that when you post your personal opinion on the Social Media, whether you are an expert or knowledgeable on the topic, there is ALWAYS somebody out there who will argue with you. And most of the time, these arguments would lead up to personal matters and the issue at hand to be discussed is put aside. Most of the time, you don’t know these people who would argue with you. So, every time when I am confronted with this kind of situation, I would just end the conversation.
People have different upbringing, orientation, and attitude. Every individual has its own mind, perception, and opinion on anything and if they are not aligned with yours, then argument and misunderstanding will follow.
I think I am going to start writing again. I am thinking of devoting at least ONE HOUR everyday just to write “what is in my mind” while I am in front of my Laptop Computer.
For the past five to six days, I have refrain from posting on my personal account on Facebook. But I spend a considerable time scrolling everyday on posts which seem to be no longer interesting and I thought of limiting my exposure and attention to these posts and information that I read from the said platform. Instead, I will be writing some of my daily thoughts in this blog. I think I said this thing in my previous posts. Hahaha!
For the past few days, I came across a video on YouTube Channel about a girl keeping a some sort of diary of his daily schedule. To make the story short, it seems that this girl had been efficient in doing her daily activities and she became more productive in accomplishing a lot of things. So, I applied this concept to myself through an Application which I downloaded and have it handy in my cell phone because I don’t need to use a notebook and a ballpen. I am now hooked to my TO DO LIST on a daily basis and I think I am more productive during the day. To my surprise, after two hours from the time I wake up this morning, I have done already 4 tasks in my Today’s TO DO LIST. I think I am going to be completely transformed as a result of what I have started.
Excellency David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia, and First Lady Linda Hurley; their Excellencies, Special Envoys and Heads of Delegations; His Excellency Most Reverend Charles John Brown and the esteemed members of the Diplomatic Corps; Vice President Sara Duterte [applause]; President Fidel Ramos; President Joseph Ejercito Estrada; President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; Senate President Vicente Sotto III and the honorable members of the Philippine Senate; House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco and the honorable members of the House of Representatives; Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and the honorable justices of the Supreme Court; of course, First Lady Liza Araneta and my children: Alexander, Sandro; Simon and Vincent; I cannot proceed without a special greeting of course to the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; my friends; ang aking minamahal na mga kababayan; magandang tanghali po sa inyong lahat.
This is a historic moment for us all. I feel it deep within me, you the people have spoken and it is resounding. When my call for unity started to resonate with you, it did so because it echoed your yearnings, mirrored your sentiments, and expressed your hopes for family, for country, and for a better future. That is why it reverberated and amplified as it did to deliver the biggest electoral mandate in the history of Philippine democracy.
By your vote, you rejected the politics of division. I offended none of my rivals in this campaign. I listened instead to what they were saying and I saw little incompatibility with my own ideas about jobs, fair wages, personal safety, and national strength and unending want in a land of plenty. I believe that if we but focus on the work at hand and the work that will come to hand, we will go very far under my watch. You believe that too. At pinakinggan ko ang tinig ninyo na ang sinisigaw ay “pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa, pagkakaisa”.
We will go further together than against each other. Pushing forward, not pulling each other back out of fear, out of a misplaced sense of weakness. But we are the furthest from weak.
The Filipino diaspora flourishes even in the most inhospitable climates where they are valued for their quality. The changes we seek will benefit all and will shortchange no one. I was not the instrument of change. You were that, you made it happen.
I am now — you picked me to be your servant to enable changes to benefit all. I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility that you’ve put on my shoulders. I do not take it lightly but I am ready for the task. I will need your help, I want to rely on it.
But rest assured, I do not predicate success on the wide cooperation that’s needed. I will get it done. I once knew a man who saw what little had been achieved since independence. In a land of people with the greatest potential for achievement and yet they were poor. But he got it done. Sometimes with the needed support, sometimes without. So will it be with his son. You will get no excuses from me.
I am here not to talk about the past. I am here to tell you about our future. A future of sufficiency, even plenty of readily available ways and means to get done what needs doing by you, by me. We do not look back but ahead.
Up the road that we must take to a place better than the one we lost in the pandemic. Gains made and lost, opportunities missed, well-laid plans superseded by the pandemic. Indeed, ours was the fastest-growing economy in ASEAN by ways now outdated. We shall be again by radical change in a way the world must now work to recover what we have lost in that fire and move on from there.
We face prospects of the spread of the war abroad of which we are totally blameless. We seek friendship with all. But countries like ours will bear the brunt of it. And if the great powers draw the wrong lessons from the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine, the same dark prospect of conflict will spread to our part of the world.
Yet, there is more out there, like going forward by new ways of doing the pandemic forces to adopt. A stronger resilience, quicker adaptability, they are our best prevention, they are our best protection.
Quiet reflection in a rough and tumble campaign of a breadth and intensity never experienced revealed some of them. Such as a willingness to listen despite the noise. The hesitation to quarrel over differences and to never, ever give up hope of reconciliation. This gave me the peace to ponder deeper. There are hints of a road not taken that could get us out of here quicker to something better, something less fragile.
There is also what you the people did to cope. But this time empowered by new techniques and more resources. You got by. Getting some of what you needed with a massive government help. And for this, I thank my predecessor for the courage of his hard decisions.
But there is a way to put more means and choices in your hands. I trust the Filipino. Imagine how much more you would achieve if government backstops instead of dictating your decisions. Always there to pick you up when you fall. Giving what you need to get past a problem.
Imagine if it invested in your self-empowerment to bring it closer to taking on whatever challenges come. Imagine a country that in almost every sense is you. Now imagine what you and government can achieve together.
We did it in the pandemic. We will do it again. But again, I will not predicate my promise to you on your cooperation. You have your own lives to live, your work to do, and there too, I will help.
Government will get as much done alone without requiring more from you. That is what government and public officials are for. No excuses, just deliver. It was like that once upon a time.
I did not talk much in this campaign. I did not bother to think of rebutting my rivals. Instead, I searched for promising approaches better than the usual solutions. I listened to you. I did not lecture you, who has the biggest stake in our success. And the forthcoming State of the Nation will tell you exactly how we shall get this done.
In this fresh chapter of our history, I extend my hand to all Filipinos. Come, let us put our shoulders to the wheel and give that wheel a faster turn to repair and to rebuild and to address challenges in new ways to provide what all Filipinos need, to be all that we can.
We are here to repair a house divided, to make it whole and to stand strong again in the bayanihan way expressive of our nature as Filipinos. We shall seek, not scorn dialogue; listen respectfully to counter reviews; be open to suggestions coming from hard thinking and unsparing judgment but always from us Filipinos.
We can trust no one else when it comes to what is best for us. Past history has often proven that. Solutions from outside divided us. None deepened our understanding. They were always at our expense.
Never forget we are Filipinos, one nation, one republic, indivisible. We resisted and never failed to defeat foreign attempts to break up our country in my father’s watch. His strongest critics have conceded that.
So let us all be part of the solution that we choose. In that lies the power to get it done. Always be open to differing views but ever united in our chosen goal, never hesitating to change it should it prove wanting. That is how agile, resilient republics are made.
Our future we decide today. Yesterday cannot make that decision anymore, nor can tomorrow delay it. The sooner we start, the surer and quicker the prospect of achieving our future.
These are troubling times. What’s happening to others can happen to us, but it will not. We see what’s happening. We are witness to how it is being stopped and we have seen the glory that crowns struggle against all odds. Giving up is not an option. We’ve been through times of bitter division, but united, we came through to this when it shall begin again but better.
The campaigns I’ve run have taken me here where I stand today. I listened to you and this is what I have heard. We all want peace in our land. You and your children want a good chance at a better life in a safer, more prosperous country. All that is within reach of a hardworking, warm, and giving race.
Your dreams are mine. Pangarap niyo ay pangarap ko. How can we make them come true? How can we do it together? But I will take it as far as anyone with the same faith and commitment can as if it depended entirely on himself.
Sa pangarap na maging mapayapa ang ating bansa, ang pangarap niyo ay pangarap ko. Sa pangarap na maging maunlad ang ating bansa, ang pangarap niyo ay pangarap ko. At sa pangarap na maging mas masinag ang kinabukasan natin at ng ating mga anak, ang pangarap niyo ay pangarap ko.
We are presently drawing up a comprehensive, all-inclusive plan for economic transformation. We will build back better by doing things in the light of the experiences that we have had, both good and bad, it doesn’t matter. No looking back in anger or nostalgia. In the road I had, the immediate [bonds?] will be rough, but I will walk that road with you.
The pandemic ravaged bigger economies in ours. The virus is not the only thing to blame. What had been well built was torn down. We will build it back better.
The role of agriculture cries for the urgent attention that its neglect and misdirection now demands. Food self-sufficiency has been the key promise of every administration. None but one delivered.
There were inherent defects in the old ways, and in recent ways, too. The trade policy of competitive advantage made the case that when it comes to food sufficiency, a country should not produce but import what other countries make more of and sell cheapest.
Then came Ukraine. The most vulnerable when it comes to food are the countries farthest away from the conflict — those bearing no blame for provoking it. Yet, they face the biggest risk of starvation. If financial aid is poured into them, though it never is, there is nothing to buy.
Food is not just a trade commodity. Without it, people weaken and die. Societies come apart. It is more than a livelihood. It is an existential imperative and a moral one. An agriculture damage that diminished by unfair competition will have a harder time or will have no prospects at all of recovering.
Food sufficiency must get the preferential treatment the riches free trade countries always gave their agricultural sectors. Their policy boils down to “Don’t do this, we do. Do what we tell you to.” I’m giving that policy the most serious thought if it doesn’t change or make more allowances for emergencies with long-term effects.
There is a parallel problem in our energy supply. Sufficient fossil fuel-free technology for whole economies has yet to be invented. And it is not seriously tried by rich countries. Again, consider the response of the richest countries to the war in Ukraine. But surely, a free world awash with oil can assure supplies or we will find a way. We are not far from oil and gas reserves that have already been developed.
What we teach in our schools the materials used must be rethought. I am not talking about history. I’m talking about the basics, the sciences, sharpening theoretical aptitude and imparting vocational skills such as in the German example, alongside the national language with equal emphasis and facility in a global language, which we had and lost.
Let us give OFWs all the advantages we can for them to survive and to thrive. [cheers] Our teachers from elementary up are our heroes fighting ignorance with poor paper weapons. We are condemning the future of our race to menial occupations abroad, then they are exploited by traffickers.
Once we had an education system that prepared coming generations for more and better jobs, there is hope for a come back. Vice president and soon-to-be Secretary of Education, Sara Duterte-Carpio, will fit that mission to a T. [applause]
We won’t be caught unprepared, under equipped and understaffed to fight the next pandemic. To start with, we never got over the pandemic of poor if any free public health. The last major upgrade of a public health system, exemplified by the resources poured into PGH predates the current shambles by three generations.
Our nurses are the best in the world. They acquitted themselves with the highest distinction abroad, having suffered even the highest casualties. With the same exemplary dedication at home they just got by.
They are out there because we cannot pay them for the same risk and workload that we have back here. There will be changes starting tomorrow. I am confident because I have an Ople in my Cabinet. [applause]
There were shortcomings in the COVID response. We will fix them out in the open. No more secrets in public health. Remember, I speak from experience. I was among the first to get COVID. It was not a walk in the park.
My father built more and better roads, produced more rice than all administrations before his. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte built more and better than all the administrations succeeding my father. Much has been built and so well that the economic dogma of dispersing industry to develop the least likely places has been upturned. Development was brought to them.
Investors are now setting up industries along the promising roads built, and yet the potential of this country is not exhausted. Following these giant steps, we will continue to build. I will complete on schedule the projects that have been started. I am not interested in taking credit, I want to build on success that’s already happening.
We will be presenting the public a comprehensive infrastructure plan. Six years, could be just about enough time. No part of our country will be neglected. Progress will be made wherever there are Filipinos so no investment is wasted. The recovery of Philippine Tourism with its emphasis on accessing nature’s beauty, I am sure we’ll exceed expectations.
And bigger is not always better, but there is something to be said for economies of scale, and yet the country invites investments in fast-rising industries with quick returns and inflicts irreparable damage for future generations.
We have yet to see large-scale practical solutions to pollution. Though some are beginning to emerge. But there are tried and proven new ways of mitigation. Blades have been turning over the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte, harnessing a power all around but unseen long before this day. I built them.
The rich world talks a great deal but does a lot less about it than those with much less, but have suffered more death and destruction from climate change and lack of adaptation.
We will look to our partners and friends to help the Philippines who, despite having a very small carbon footprints is at the highest risk. First, spare victims then help them recover and move on to lessen the harmful impact of climate change. We too have our part to play. We are the third biggest plastic polluter in the world. But we won’t shirk from that responsibility, we will clean up.
We will be disappointed, so do not be afraid. With every difficult decision that I must make, I will keep foremost in my heart and in my mind the debt of gratitude I owe you for the honor and responsibility that you have conferred on me.
Whatever is in a person to make changes for the better of others, I lay before you now in my commitment. I will try to spare you, you have your other responsibilities to carry. But I will not spare myself from shedding the last bead of sweat or giving the last ounce of courage and sacrifice.
And if you ask me why I am so confident of the future? I will answer you, simply, that I have 110 million reasons to start with, such is my faith in the Filipino. [applause] Believe. Have hope. The sun also rises like it today and as it will tomorrow. And as surely as that, we will achieve the country all Filipinos deserves. God bless the Philippines, God bless our work.
Maraming, maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Magandang tanghali po!
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