All posts tagged Visayas

Lumad: Understanding the Issue.

Published Agosto 4, 2017 by jptan2012

Although, I have made some political forecast on this blog, this blog has never been political. One of the latest ‘political’ forecast I have written is about the 2016 Philippine presidential elections. Both my forecast regarding the presidential and vice – presidential results both came true. As I have said, those are forecast and although it is about politics, the nature of the post is not political.

Today, however, I’m going to write about something that may be perceived as highly political. I want to write about the plight of the Lumads. If you are a Filipino who have watched or been up to date about the current political situation in the Philippines, you would have heard about the Lumads. In fact, the Lumads has supported President Rodrigo Duterte in the last election. However, recently just before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) one of their leaders has come out and blatantly said that they regret supporting PDuts and that it was a wrong decision fro them to do so. Consistent with the President’s personality, if you criticize him, he will attack you, and so he did and said that he will bomb all the Lumad schools because they are run by NPAs. Since the announcement, the DND Secretary has since announced that no such move will be made.

After the SONA, I have heard of people attacking the Lumads, but upon probing they seem not aware of who the Lumads are and what are their plight. And so I have decided to write about Lumads and their sad plight. Please note that some parts of the post might be perceived as critical or as highly political. The truth is as much as I want to avoid being political there are truths that can’t be avoided and I do have to write about it, these truths, unfortunately, are political in nature.

So here’s a brief on the struggle of the Lumads.

Lumad is a generic term for all Mindanaoan tribes but I think this excluded all Muslim tribes. .

As tribes their ancestral lands have been threatened many times, on different issues, and by different groups.

Their usual struggle are with loggers, big and small scale, mining companies, big and small scale, etc. To put it simply, any group or anybody who threatens their ancestral lands is also a threat to the Lumads. For years they are being driven out of their ancestral lands to the point that they no longer have stability and peace. Different groups now reach out to the tribes – religious groups (Catholic and Protestant), International and Local NGOs. Government agencies are not as aggressive in helping, if not totally not felt.

Education is also a challenge because DepEd does not put up schools in remote communities. They expect the IPs (Indigenous People) to walk kilometers on end, and expect them to blend with non IPs.

Aside from the fact that DepEd’s curriculum is not IP friendly. It does not have special subjects on culture, tradition, and other IP related issues, which are very important to help them maintain their identity and culture.

Being so, different groups, in different areas different groups have opened IP schools, with volunteer teachers being given “allowances” only. Some teachers are really LET passers that doesn’t have the privilege of having backers at the DepEd and are unable to get a job. So instead of working as cashiers, store clerk or house maids, etc, they’d rather teach even if they only go home 1x, 2x a month and receive only allowance.

The curriculum in these schools are more sensitive to IPs. Of course, there’s emphasis on environmental protection like it’s not proper to cut down trees, and one should take care of rivers, seas, and mountains.

There are ares where the oppressors are aggressive. Mining companies that have driven out IPs maintain PAGs or Private Armed Groups which co exist with the local Phil Army. PAGs have high – end ammo, sometimes they are even than what the army carries. Several of my friends has seen some of them carrying AK -47.

In areas of Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, mining companies are trying to explore “other” sites, which are ancestral lands of the Lumads. These are also the sites where the oppressors are more aggressive.

Lumads doesn’t have any weapons, unless bolos are counted, but they only use it for their daily life like chopping bamboos.. Lumads are generally peaceful tribes or people. They’re not warriors like the Tausugs. So when threatened, they NEED to look for help. So when they become vulnerable because of a threatening situation, they don’t have much choice but to ACCEPT the help of the NPA. The Lumads also admit that there are a few ‘renegade’ Lumads that are being recruited by the PAGs. Of course, in situations like this, money is involved. These renegade Lumads turn their back on their tribe.

As mentioned Priest and Nuns also help the Lumads. The nuns who sells Turmeric Powder, they usually get it from the Lumad communities.

Of course, each group has it’s own approach. The church usually helps in education, livelihood and spirituality. The NPAs provide protection and security.

At this point I would like to make it clear that there is no way I condole violence and support the ideology of the NPA.

2 years ago, a foreign owned mining company that seems to have ties with a Congressman from Visayasdrove out and burned a community in Surigao which they have been wanting to EXPLORE but the Lumads have tried so hard to protect. Because of this the PAGs killed the executive director and 2 volunteer teachers in Surigao IN FRONT of the whole Lumad community. PAGs with the local Army (of course they denied), gathered the whole community, separated the men, women, children they then slit the throat of the ED, then gun down 2 teachers in full view of the shocked Lumads.

Governor Pimentel (although some say he is also connected with Mining companies) took the thousands of Lumads and housed them for over a year at the provincial sports complex. He challenged the national agencies (NBI, PNP, AFP) to arrest and disarm the PAGs.

The national agencies said, why didn’t the police of the Governor arrest them? But according to the governor the .38 caliber of their police is literally rusty, how can they fight with PAGs with AK47!

Anyway, no apprehension was ever made.

It is sad that lately the Lumads are evacuating the area again because they are being harassed either by PAGs or the Army.

This problem has been existing for quite some time, and it is difficult to put the blame on a single administration. However, it is also clear that mining is one of the main reason of this attrition. But so far, mining continues, despite of the pronouncement that the administration is against it, it does continue to these days. Gina Lopez was supposed to be the hope and savior of the Lumads, but her efforts were put to an end when the Commission on Appointments didn’t approved her, and it is perceived that the president didn’t put pressure on CA to have her approved.

Anyway, so every so often, this is what happens to the Lumads. PAGs will threaten Lumad communities, the church will help, but when violence erupts it really are the NPAs who help them.

The Army is said to hate the IP schools because IP kids become more intelligent and know their right because of the IP schools.

Before I end this post, I would like to state that this is how I understand it, but please feel free to learn more about it by doing your independent research. I would like to stress here, I don’t mean to put what the NPAs are doing in a good light, neither do I support any form of violence, be it from the rebel or from the government. I also don’t support the ideology of the NPAs.

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email


Vajrapani Ruel Stories (12): Finding Long Lost Biological Father with A Bonus of Finding True Love!

Published Hulyo 13, 2015 by jptan2012

Today, I would like to share with you another wonderful Vajrapani Ruel story.

RD is a 36 – years – old single man born out of wedlock. His mother fell in – love with his father who is a German. Unfortunately, due to circumstances not very clear with RD, because his mom never shared the whole story with him, his father left them even before her mother found out that she is pregnant with RD.

When RD was about 8 years old, his mom married again, this time to a fellow Filipino. He can’t say that his stepfather was bad to him, but neither did he treat RD as his won. According to RD, his stepfather provided for him, but he seems a little distant. His relationship with his half – siblings are great but RD felt that his stepfather simply took him as part of the packaged that he couldn’t get away with. Because of this, RD’s father’s image is his maternal grandfather. But when his grandfather passed away when RD was 21, he started to yearn to search for his biological father.

That became the beginning of an on and off search. But without pictures, with a very common name, and no last known address except the city, the searched proved to be quite difficult. According to RD the German Embassy here in the Philippines has been helpful, but they would always reached a dead –end. At one point, given that they have gotten in touch with a lot of Germans, who is about his father’s age, he thought he must have found his biological father already with one of the men, but that his biological father simply denied because he doesn’t want RD.

Photo uploaded from Google Images.

Photo uploaded from Google Images.

In the process, RD is unable to have long-term relationships. He would have a girlfriend, and his longest was 5 years, but he simply feels that he hasn’t found the right girl. As a result they will leave RD, to which RD would feel it is a relief because he simply feel that he can’t love anybody enough to trust them. But this kind of attitude also bore him 2 children out of wedlock, a boy and a girl.

It was RD’s younger sister who happens to be regular reader and a friend of my secretary who got the Vajrapani Ruel for him the very first time I wrote about the Vajrapani Ruel.

According to RD he didn’t really know what to do with the Vajrapani Ruel when it was first given to him by his sister, but kept it anyway more to make his sister happy than really finding it useful.

However, that same week, RD through a friend was introduced to a woman, who was here on a vacation. According to RD they clicked right away, and he felt he found the one. In RD’s words this is the first time he felt that way, but something was holding him back, because he knew that NL, the girl who was introduced to RD by a friend, is only here for a vacation. RD felt he is not the type of person who can stand long distance relationships. He can’t keep relationships when the girl is here how much more long distance relationships. So like his other relationships, RD held back from her and didn’t really open us.

NL works in Germany as a live – in private nurse. RD confessed that maybe it was because she was a nurse in Germany that he decided to keep in touch with her. So they would chat on FB and sometimes do video chat on Skype. Two months after NL went back to Germany they formally became boyfriend – girlfriend. This is also when RD decided to open up about his life and that he was looking for his German biological father.

When NL first heard about RD’s search she felt pity for RD because the name of his father’s is a common German name. RD’s father is also from Berlin, and as much as she wants to help it is difficult for her because she works in Frankfurt.

NL herself has a good life in Germany, although working as live – in nurse, the family that she worked has been really nice to her. And the wife of her patient would sometimes talk to her about her personal life. It was approximately 2 weeks after NL found out about RD’s story that she got to share this with her patient’s wife. NL boss became very interested with the story and inquired about RD’s name and that of RD’s mother’s name.

The Vajrapani Ruel looks simple, maybe even rustic, but this simple amulet is packed with a special talisman paper inside, with various ingredients, which includes Namtso Salt, soil, various herbs and plants, crystal, and a relic from a high lama. It's important to put the ruel inside a amulet holder or something sturdy as to not ruin it. If the cloth had tear which exposes or spill the ingredients inside, the ruel becomes useless.

The Vajrapani Ruel looks simple, maybe even rustic, but this simple amulet is packed with a special talisman paper inside, with various ingredients, which includes Namtso Salt, soil, various herbs and plants, crystal, and a relic from a high lama. It’s important to put the ruel inside a amulet holder or something sturdy as to not ruin it. If the cloth had tear which exposes or spill the ingredients inside, the ruel becomes useless.

To make the long story short, as it turn out, and as fate would have it, NL’s patient’s wife’s brother is the father of RD. In fact, NL had met the guy a couple of times, although she only knew him with his first name and not his family name. NL also doesn’t know her patient’s wife’s maiden name (her boss).

Apparently, another German friend found out that RD’s mom got pregnant and informed RD’s biological father. However, when he tried to look for her to bear responsibility for the child, he can’t find her because she left province in the Visayas, and came to Manila to start a new life. She also purposely broke communication with him and left no forwarding addresses because she found out that she has a family in Germany.

RD and his father have now gotten in touch with each other, and his father has come here in the Philippines to see him. If everything goes well, he is also arranging for RD to visit him in Germany and perhaps start a new life there. Meanwhile RD and NL are ‘madly in love’ with each other, and I’m using RD’s words.

According to RD, he believes that all these became possible of the Vajrapani Ruel. Personally, I know that the Vajrapani Ruel helped, but who am I to say that fate has nothing to do with it.

You can also read the following posts about the Vajrapani Ruel:

For questions, comments and suggestions please email


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