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Views and Commentaries / Valentine’s Day is a Celebration of Love
« on: February 10, 2019, 02:37:38 PM »
Valentine’s Day is a Celebration of Love
By Maximo Tumbali, Forum Contributor

Every time the month of February sets in, what first comes to mind to most people is Valentine’s Day. This very special day of the hearts always falls on the 14th, and people all over the globe look forward keenly to celebrating it with their loved ones.

Traditionally February is therefore dubbed as the Love Month, during which love relationships take center stage. We thus find sweet couples and lovers preparing themselves with great anticipation for this momentous day, thinking up and looking for fitting gifts to be sent or given personally to their beloved ones come Valentine’s Day itself. And in these days of the Internet, love messages are no longer subject to frustrating delays in delivery as they are now mostly sent and received at instantaneous speed via e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Messenger.


Aside from expressing love and affection on Valentine’s Day, though, there’s likewise a need to reflect on the spiritual significance and meaning of this celebration. The name of this special day is that of the martyred Roman priest Valentine who lived circa 270 A.D.; his natural goodness and benevolence led to his canonization 270 years later as a saint, embodying the virtues of love, sacrifice, and care for people. In his time the notion of love was predominantly spiritual and moral; people in love were expected to be responsible and careful not to allow themselves to fall into immoral sexual practices. To them, love was more of the caring for the well-being of their loved ones and not of treating them as sexual objects by which to satisfy their carnal desires. Lovemaking was to be engaged in only in marriage and not prior to or outside of it.

                                 IMAGE CREDIT: HORRORHISTORY.NET

For this reason, people in those days celebrated Valentine’s Day by finding ways to renew and strengthen their vows of love. Infidelity was a big taboo. Anyone found committing it was a disgrace to society and, if unlucky, could even face capital punishment. This was the Golden Age of love, a time during which chastity and faithfulness got sternly adhered to.

But all of these were upended by the ever-evolving technical and material progress in human life, resulting in the loss of the sacredness and respect for love in its truest sense. More and more, what commands the attention and fancy of people today are the lures of material things that could excite the physical senses, things that more often border on the sexual and the sensual. Women are now predominantly seen by their male counterparts as objects of sexual desire; it is tempting to presume that men are likewise increasingly being looked upon by their female counterparts in the same way. This mundane practice has been bolstered and even further aggravated by pornography, which is now enshrined by the social media as indispensable and crucial for attaining carnal satisfaction.

These days, therefore, many people celebrate Valentine’s Day as nothing more than a one-day affair for consummating their sensual desires. This is the exact opposite of how Saint Valentine manifested his love, concern, and care for people—the rock of admirable virtues on which Valentine’s Day was founded.

Still and all, Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!

Martyrdom of St. Valentine: A Christian Account

Views and Commentaries / The Year of the Pigs
« on: January 12, 2019, 06:38:57 PM »
The Year of the Pigs
Opinion by Maximo Tumbali, Forum Member

The year 2019 has this appellation in the 12-year zodiac cycle of the Chinese calendar—the “Year of the Pig.” It’s a big deal for those who believe in astrology. Taking into consideration the characteristics of a pig, astrology followers have noted down ways on how to approach, live, and deal with the current year as relayed to them by their favorite astrologers, along with what to expect during the whole year.

                                   IMAGE CREDIT: DEPOSITPHOTOS.COM

Be that as it may, what I find quite striking is the use of the pig as a metaphor. It’s a very widely encompassing metaphor, for if we are to observe the nature of a pig and how it behaves, this animal behaves in much the same way that many of us humans conduct ourselves. We actually can speak or write volumes on this commonality.

But I specifically would like to dwell on how pigs and how we ourselves handle our personal lives. Pigs litter; so do we. Pigs are voracious; so are we. Pigs are unsanitary, noisy, and unruly; we’re not much different. Aren’t these enough to justify the direct application of the Pig Metaphor to ourselves?

We have problems on obesity or of being overweight—an outgrowth of uncontrolled food intake, of course—that’s very much reflective of how a pig grows quickly owing to its insatiable appetite for food. We love to call other people “pigs” when they consume more than what their tummies actually need. We dub them pigheaded when, despite warnings, they don’t stop acting like pigs. So how are we to deal with this type of people?

                                             IMAGE CREDIT: GLENDALE LAPASTORA

No less than Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte himself couldn’t help getting miffed and disappointed by people who, despite their avowal of the Roman Catholic faith, behave worse than pigs. One glaring example were the heaps of garbage left strewn all over Luneta (Rizal Park) by the devotees of the Black Nazarene during the recent Traslaciones—that irrationally tumultuous yearly event in early January commemorating the devotion of many Filipino Catholics to Jesus Christ.

                                                IMAGE CREDIT: EDD GUMBAN, PHILIPPINE STAR

The massive heaps of garbage left on Manila’s thoroughfares by the tens of thousands of devotees who participated in this religious procession are, to put it ever so mildly, a blatant manifestation of how people totally overlook their moral and civic duties when in the throes of their religious fervor. It’s a patent and embarrassing contradiction between what they do in real life and the misdeeds they unconsciously do when giving vent to their fanatic impulses.

And when we shift our attention to the government sector in the Philippines, it’s no surprise that we find people who are as greedy as pigs in almost all public institutions, agencies, and offices. We find most of them well-entrenched in all of the three government branches—the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. These branches are, so to speak, well-furnished and air-conditioned pigpens in stark contrast to where the majority of the poor Filipinos live in the country.

Many of these pigs greedily fatten themselves at the expense of the less fortunate in our society, shamelessly gobbling at every opportunity the taxes collected from the working poor. Is it any wonder that not a few of our legislators today are squabbling like pigs over allocations of their so-called pork barrel? Indeed, the ubiquitous presence of these pigs in government makes corruption a perennial problem in the country, making 2019 likely to be just another “Year of the Pigs” as it has almost always been in years previous.

                                                                 IMAGE CREDIT: PINTEREST.PH

Worst, some politicians currently gunning for public positions in this year’s national midterm elections have also begun slaughtering their prospective opponents like pigs. These politicians look at every elective position in government as a pen where a pig can do anything to satisfy its greed.

We are all in for an unspeakable tragedy if we can find no way to purge or eliminate all these pigs in government. It’s really high time for the poor masses to contemplate putting up a slaughterhouse for all these insatiable hogs.

Views and Commentaries / Christmas in Postmodern Times
« on: December 25, 2018, 12:43:21 AM »
Christmas in Postmodern Times
By Maximo Tumbali, Forum Member

Prior to postmodern or contemporary times, Christmas was celebrated in modest and simple ways that were almost devoid of pomposity and vociferous revelry.

People then were more predisposed to celebrating the season in solemn ways, not in profane, worldly activities where the real spirit or meaning of Christmas is lost.


Life then was simple and people didn’t hanker that much after expensive things. They would rather spend the season thanking the Almighty for whatever blessings they had received.

During the entire season you would see them in church hearing masses. In far-flung areas at dawn, flocks or hordes of people would walk long distances by foot to hear the Misa de Gallo or Midnight Mass.

A sense of piety was the hallmark of their celebration, with Christmas focused on the child Jesus. Love in the Christian sense was at its pinnacle, so to speak, as evidenced by simple gift-giving among the people in an atmosphere of peace, harmony, kindness, and friendliness. Christmas then was divine and humane.

But now in postmodern times Christmas has taken on a lowly, worldly image that’s almost pagan. It has thrown away the spiritual in favor of the material. Among businessmen, Christmas has become a source of big business. To materialists, it has become an occasion for splurging on mundane feasts.


Christmas today is practically an all-out war against what is sacred and solemn. It has become a time for extravagance and debauchery. Taking the center stage now are material gifts rather than Jesus, our Savior, and without those material gifts Christmas has become dry and boring.

Amidst all the high-tech gadgets or contrivances we now have on hand, the traditional way of celebrating Yuletide has vanished—and so has our faith in the Almighty. Out of these material inventions we have formed or established new gods, so to speak.

With bravado we now shout to the world that we are capable of doing things even without the intercession of Divine Providence. Yet behind this bravado lurks helplessness or frustration in addressing our deep personal problems.

Hence, it’s not surprising today to hear morbid stories about people taking their own lives for their incapacity or failure to understand themselves and much less solve their problems.

This is what happens when we lose the center of our lives. Mundane pleasures instead of God characterize our notion of Yuletide in postmodern times. We believe more in the material than in the spiritual.

Gone are the days when people would rather talk about the stories of the child Jesus. Now what we hear are people harping on the success of their careers, on their savings and investments, on their newly acquired properties, on these sorts of things. For them God talk is corny, so why the hell should they spend a second or two listening to corny God talk?


In the postmodern era, Christmas has clearly been stripped or divested of its holiness and serenity. It has been taken over by the global spread of all forms of commercialism, boisterous merrymaking, immorality, and the like.

But in fairness to the few who still uphold the true spirit and meaning of Christmas, there’s a flicker of hope that through their influence, humanity will come again to its right senses and embrace once more the divine and less the material things in life.


Due to a serious upsurge in troublesome ad spam postings in the Forum, we are constrained to institute a stricter procedure for accepting new Forum members. Effective immediately, those registering for Forum membership will now undergo prior screening before acceptance. They will be able to make postings in the Forum discussion boards only upon receiving e-mail from the Forum administrator confirming their membership. Through this measure, the Forum hopes to ensure a clutter-free meeting place and a much more pleasant environment for its members.

How Good is Your English? / IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ
« on: October 26, 2009, 01:35:20 PM »
The practice test threads are locked and cannot be replied to.

If you wish to ask questions/make comments, please create a new thread instead by clicking on the "New Topic" option on the upper-right hand area of the forum.

Use and Misuse / MOVED: True Finite Verbs?
« on: October 18, 2009, 12:39:00 PM »

Badly Written, Badly Spoken / MOVED: Which is Which, Joe?
« on: September 28, 2009, 12:26:47 AM »

Education and Teaching / Section Information
« on: August 29, 2009, 02:10:28 AM »
The "Open Forum: Education and Teaching in the Philippines" aims to help find ways to develop a better-taught, much better-educated Philippine citizenry. It invites members of the Forum to post their opinions, perceptions, ideas, observations, suggestions, and experiences about education and teaching in the Philippines; they are also encouraged to invite associates and friends to post their views and join the running discussions.

Members of the Forum are invited to post their opinions, perceptions, ideas, observations, suggestions, and experiences about education and teaching in the Philippines; they are also encouraged to invite their associates and friends to post their views and join the running discussions.

Photo by Luis Liwanag, The International Herald Tribune

There is no firm limit to the length of postings in this open forum, but to keep the discussions manageable, a range of 100 to 1,500 words is suggested. Postings should be confined largely to your own views, knowledge, and experience; if you need to cite long references or background material on the web, just send the links to us and the Forum webmaster will take care of setting up the links with the sites you indicate.

While openness is encouraged when giving your views, please keep the discussions in the open forum civil at all times. The open forum will be closely moderated, and postings with abusive or vituperative language will be stricken off outright.

Let’s keep our goal for this open forum always in sight: a well-taught, much better-educated Philippine citizenry.

See you at the open forum!

Joe Carillo

Member Introductions / Section Information
« on: July 08, 2009, 07:27:18 AM »
In this section, new users can post their personal introductions, to help get themselves acknowledged by the community.


  • Create a topic with any form of greeting. Something like "hey!" or, "hi everyone!" would be okay.
  • Give a short intro on yourself. Write about why or how you came to find the forum. No need to tell us your life story, but if you want to, no one's stopping you.  :D
  • It doesn't have to be in perfect English. That's why we're here, right?  ;)
  • Keep it clean. No profanity, no dirty stuff.
  • To all existing members: try to greet our new members warmly. Hit the nice 'Reply' button at the bottom of their posts to give them a welcoming message.

I hope you all enjoy getting to know each other.  ;D

Site Announcements / Site Advisory - 06/09/09
« on: June 09, 2009, 07:17:48 AM »
Recently, there have been a wave of posts in the "Use and Misuse" section of the forum that appear to be advertising. Worse, there were also ones related to adult material.

These are automated spam bot messages. Please bear with us as we try to monitor and try to find a solution for this.

Thank you for your patience.

Site Administrator

Site Announcements / Site Issues and Downtime (05/25/09) [Resolved]
« on: May 25, 2009, 03:31:28 PM »
Our site's web host is currently experiencing a DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attack. The attack has debilitated the servers, so users may experience extreme slowdown to complete denial of access.

Our host's administrator is looking into the problem. We apologize for any inconvenience, and kindly ask for your continued patience.

Update: The site is back online 100%. Thank you for your patience.

Site Administrator

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