If only I was born super rich, I could have....

Visited Japan again and saw these place in my own time, no schedules to follow, no more watchful eyes and above all, I call the shots.... I thank the owners of these photos whom I do not know.

This is the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo where we stayed, living like kings.
It was grand...

I could just see this Japanese garden from my window.

The entrance to the hotel.

...and ride the shinkansen to destinations of our choice.

more wishes in my next blog entry. i have proven that wishing does not cost a thing.




All of these photos were taken from a blog (
Thanks to Mila and her wonderful baby, these are indeed a breather.
Enjoy them as much as I enjoyed looking at these, too.



Davao Lass with AIDS Fights Her Toughest Battle

By Carlos H. Conde (source: )

DAVAO CITY -- The moment she heard the news, Sheila got furious. "You bitch! How could you withhold something like this from me for so long? Do you think you are God?" she yelled into the phone. The person at the other end, a government doctor, kept silent. The doctor knew that, at that point, arguing with Sheila was pointless because she, understandably so, was terribly upset.

It was June 1, 1998, and the then 23-year-old Sheila (not her real name) had just learned that she had contracted the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS (Aqcuired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

"The doctor later tried to appease me,” Sheila says. She told me that the infection has a window period, as though that should make me feel better." A window period is the time the body needs to develop HIV antibodies, which act like soldiers protecting the body from intruders such as viruses. The start of the period varies in those infected, from as early as three months up to as late as six months upon infection.

A week earlier, Sheila (her picture on the left) had taken an HIV test in Manila but was told that the test results would take longer to come in. So she decided to go back home to Davao City. "But at the back of my mind, I knew something was wrong. I knew that they knew something. I got scared and I thought of my two children. They were still so young!" she says. For one full week, Sheila was depressed. When an aunt noticed that she had been crying much too often, Sheila told her she might have the virus. The aunt asked her to call the doctor and badger her for the test results.

Death sentence

"It was like a death sentence," Sheila, now 27, recalls. After the call, Sheila walked aimlessly around downtown. Her mind was blank. She only realized how far she had gone and how tired she had become when the rains fell and she was soaking wet. "Then I thought of my two children," she says.

But the thought of her kids failed to soothe Sheila. She sank into depression and paranoia (she was convinced government men would whisk her off to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, where persons with AIDS are taken care of) and rarely, if ever, got out of their house in a poor community somewhere in downtown Davao City.

When she realized she had to work in order to feed her kids, she learned one other bitter thing: she could never work again, at least not in the sex industry.

As it turned out, her fellow prostituted women and their pimps and managers had learned of Sheila's test results way before she did - and promptly spread this. The result was that Sheila was shut out.

She asked the government doctor to allow her to work again as an entertainer but she was told that that would never happen. "I promised to her that I will never have sex with customers again, but she said, 'That's impossible. If your client points a gun at you, how can you resist?'"

"I went to see the manager of the bar I had worked in but he wouldn't take me. I pleaded that I could do the dishes if he wanted but he said no," she says. Before Sheila left, the manager gave her P500. "I felt so useless," Sheila says.

Without any education or any skill that would land her a job, Sheila went downhill from there. She tried washing clothes for neighbors but she could only do so much of it. Besides, the money was simply not enough for the children, not to mention her siblings who were also young.

She also couldn't rely on the father of her child because he was jobless. "He works sometimes as a tricycle driver but most of the time, he was good for nothing, which is why I broke up with him a long time ago," Sheila says.

Back from the pits

Then a friend mentioned that an NGO could help. First, the NGO approached City Hall for P2,000 so Sheila could start a sari-sari store business. When this venture failed, she was taken in as a staff by the NGO, doing such tasks as filing newspapers and cleaning the offices. Sheila is still with that NGO today, happy that she was brought back from the pits.

But the virus has grown stronger. She has had oral candidiasis, herpes sores, oral fungal infection, among others. Also, for one whole month, she suffered fever. "My lymph nodes were swollen all the time," she says.

The lymph nodes are the part of the immune system where antibodies are produced. When the nodes swell, it means the immune system is working very hard to fight off infections. Contrary to popular belief, the reason why it takes long from infection to full-blown AIDS is not because the virus is dormant or takes a long time to spread. The reason is, every second of the day, the body's immune system is producing antibodies to fight off the virus, thus the constant swelling of the nodes. Eventually, the antibodies get overwhelmed by the virus, whose ability to multiply is phenomenal, thus crashing the body's immune system. This explains why persons with AIDS contract all sorts of infection, even the most common ones such as cold, and have a difficult time recovering from these illnesses.

Bound for Japan

Sheila was born in this city to a poor family. Her mother was a laundrywoman, her father an occasional house painter. She is the eldest among six children. She was 12 and in her first year in high school when her mother died of cervical cancer.

She stopped going to school because the family simply couldn't afford it. "My father didn't care that much about us. It was like we were leading our own wretched lives," she says bitterly. Because of poverty, Sheila decided to try her luck in Japan. She was only 16.

Unfortunately for Sheila, she was brought to Manila by an illegal recruiter who had promised her a job in Japan. She ended up in a casa in Makati, where a 35-year-old Japanese who worked in a jewelry shop in Tokyo eventually "bought" her for P50,000 from the prostitution house and sent her home to Davao City. "We had planned to get married but he died in Japan even before that could happen," Sheila says, sighing. "I thought he was the key to end my misery, but luck was not just on my side."

Sheila was stuck in Davao, intent on staying away from prostitution. It was here where she met her boyfriend, who impregnated her in 1995, when she was barely 19. It must be noted that this pregnancy and the following one, and the economic difficulty these brought on Sheila, were critical factors in her decision to go back to the sex industry.

No choice

After delivering the first child, Sheila decided to go back to work. "I had no choice," she says. She also made sure that she would be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. But Davao was just not lucrative enough, so she moved to Cebu, where she stayed for six months. After earning enough money, she went back to Davao, depending on her boyfriend's meager income.

Two years later, she got pregnant again. This time, after giving birth, Sheila stayed put in Davao. "Nobody was supporting me, my children or my siblings. My boyfriend's income as an occasional tricycle driver was just not enough. Besides, he turned out to be good for nothing. That's why I decided to go back again to prostitution," she recalls. She had herself tested and was found negative of HIV.

For a year, Sheila plodded along, entertaining local clients, mostly Filipinos who, she now says, are the hardest people on earth to convince to wear condoms. "If I refuse, that meant lesser income for me. Besides my Filipino clients easily get upset when I ask them to wear condom," she says. The next year, in 1998, she contracted the AIDS virus.

"I would never go into prostitution without a reason. I had planned to stop but I simply couldn't do anything else. I thought the father of my children would rescue me from this hell but, like everything else that happens with my life, I'm just not that lucky," Sheila says. (The father, by the way, tested negative for HIV.)

Sheila says coming out is not yet an option. "I could be interviewed like this but I could never be identified," she says. She has two reasons for that. One is that she doesn't want her sister to be affected in case she comes out. "She is a very good student, she is doing great in school and she is our only hope. She is the only chance for my family to prosper. She also promised to take care of my children when I'm gone. Coming out would devastate her and my children," she says.

The other reason is fear. "If I come out, I'm sure all the men I had sex with will hunt me down and kill me, as if all this is my fault," she says.



Vitamin Increases HIV in Breast Milk

Vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements are unsafe for HIV-positive women who breastfeed because they may boost the excretion of HIV in breast milk, thereby increasing the chances of transmitting the infection to the child, a pair of new studies suggest.
Vitamin Increases HIV in Breast MilkEpidemiologist Eduardo Villamor of the University of Michigan School of Public Health says transmission of HIV through breastfeeding happens because breast milk carries viral particles that the baby ingests. Supplementing HIV-positive women with vitamin A and beta-carotene appears to increase the amount of the virus in milk.

This may be partly because the same nutrients raise the risk of developing subclinical mastitis, an inflammatory condition that causes blood plasma to leak into the mammary gland and viral particles to then leak into the milk, he says.

Villamor's findings appear in two separate articles in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Nutrition. The results are significant because they provide biological explanations for a previous report that supplementation with these nutrients increased chances of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

“So there are now strong arguments to consider the implications of supplementation to pregnant or lactating women who are HIV-positive,” said Villamor, an associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health sciences. “It does not look like it’s a safe intervention for them.”

Mother-to-child HIV transmission is a huge problem in developing countries where HIV is prevalent, Villamor said. In 2008 alone, there were 430,000 new infections and more than 95% of those resulted from mother-to-child transmission. Most were in sub-Saharan Africa. (Source:




 (Author Unknown)

Discuss this list with your husband. Ask him to check the ones most meaningful to him and then arrange them in order of importance to him. Use this list as a basis for learning his views. Your relationship can be greatly strengthened as you use these suggestions.

1.Communicate with him respectfully.
2.Regard him as important and let him know he's important to you.
3.Do everything you can to at least understand his feelings—even when you disagree with him.
4.Be interested in his friends and occasionally give him time with them (if they are trust-worthy men).
5.Ask for his opinion and let him know you value what he says.
6.Tell him you both love him AND like him.
7.Let him feel your approval and affections.
8.Protect his dignity on a daily basis.
9.Be tender with him realizing he has feelings also.
10.Foster an atmosphere of laughter in your home. Look for ways to laugh together.

11.Avoid sudden major changes without discussion giving him time to adjust.
12.When you go out on a date together don't bring up problems—reserve that time to one of having fun together.
13.Focus on what he's doing right, instead of focusing so often on the negatives.
14.Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
15.Correct him gently and in private.
16.Recognize that the first few minutes after a spouse comes home often sets the stage for the way the rest of the evening will go. So try to make the first few minutes of seeing each other a more positive experience if possible. (And then ease into the negative if it's necessary.)
17.Make special time available to him apart from the children.
18.Don't allow any family member to treat him disrespectfully. You should be the one to defend him to any family member that dishonors his place as your husband.
19.Compliment him often.
20.Be creative when you express your love, both in words and in actions.

21.Talk with him about having specific family goals for each year to work on to achieve together so you will both feel closer to each other as a marital team.
22.Don't over commit yourself. Leave time for him.
23.Be forgiving when he offends you.
24.Find ways to show him you need him.
25.Encourage alone time for him when it's possible. (This energizes him to reconnect with you at other times.)
26.Admit your mistakes; don't be afraid to be humble. Peel away your pride.
27.Defend him to anyone who is being disrespectful in their talk about him, remembering that love protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
28.Respect his desire to do well—not his performance.
29.Rub his feet or neck, or scratch his back after a hard day.
30.Take time for the two of you to sit and talk calmly (schedule it when necessary).

31.Initiate going out on romantic outings (when he's not tired).
32.Write him a letter occasionally, telling him how much you love him.
33.Surprise him with a fun gift of some kind.
34.Express how much you appreciate him for working so hard to support the family.
35.Tell him how proud you are of him.
36.Give advice in a loving way — not in a nagging or belittling way.
37.Help your husband to be the Spiritual head of the home (without "lording" it over him that you're helping).
38.Look for ways to reserve some of your energies for him so you're not so tired when he wants and needs you sexually.
39.Don't expect him to do projects beyond his capabilities. All men aren't born equal in this area of expertise.
40.Pray for him to enjoy God's best in life.

41.Take the time to notice what he has done for you and the family.
42.Brag about him to other people both in front of him and even when he's not there.
43.Share your thoughts and feelings with him (but keep it brief when he's tired—sometimes men can feel "flooded" by too many words).
44.Tell him 3 things you specifically appreciate about him.
45.Honor him in front of the children (and differ respectfully in private when it's necessary).
46.Give him time to unwind for a few minutes after coming home from work, and then take your "time out", giving him a few minutes with the children.
47.Get up with him, even when he gets up earlier than you want to and pray with him. (Hopefully you can go back to sleep afterwards. If not, it's a sacrifice worth making.)
48.Be his "help-mate" in whatever ways you sense he needs it.
49.Do some shoulder-to-shoulder activities with him (like watching a movie or driving quietly in a car) without talking. Sometimes men just like to BE with you and not talk.
50.Be a student of your husband's ways so you can show your love for him in ways he'll better comprehend it.

51.When your husband is in a bad mood—give him quiet time to recover.
52.Help him to finish his goals, hobbies, or education when he needs your help.
53.Treat him as if God has stamped on his forehead: "Handle With Care".
54.Work to get rid of habits that annoy him.
55.Be kind & thoughtful to his relatives. Don't make him choose between you & them.
56.Don't compare his relatives with yours in a negative way.
57.Thank him for things he's done around the house. (It means a lot to men).
58.Don't expect credit for all you do for him and the household. Do it as "unto the Lord".
59.Make sure he understands everything important that you're planning to do.
60.Do little things for him—an unexpected kiss, coffee in bed, etc.

61.Don't belittle his intelligence or be cynical in your words with him.
62.Initiate sex periodically. And respond more often.
63.Sometimes let him enjoy his day off work without having to "work" at home.
64.Get to the point in your discussions with him. Spare him details unless he wants them.
65.Discover his sexual needs.
66.Surprise him with a 15 second kiss when he gets home from work.
67.Wink at him from across the room when you're out at a group function.
68.Give him the benefit of the doubt when he says things in a wrong way. Think, "What's he really trying to say?"
69.Don't quarrel over words.
70.Don't forget to use common courtesies with your husband. (Too often we're kinder to strangers than we are to our own spouse.)

71.When something goes wrong, instead of assessing blame, focus on how to do better.
72.Never say, "I told you so."
73.Don't argue over money. Peacefully discuss future expenditures instead.
74.Take him out on dates—pre-planning all of the details ahead of time.
75.Hold his hand in public. Snuggle up close to him at times both at home and in public.
76.Praise his good decisions; minimize the bad ones. (And if you need to discuss the bad ones do so respectfully, looking for ways to make better decisions in the future.)
77.Tell him you love him often.
78.Put love notes in his pockets and brief case.
79.Sit with him while he's watching television—even if the program doesn't interest you.
80.Don't ask of him to read your mind. (Family's are spared the grief when a husband isn't required to read their wife's mind despite the fact that the woman thinks he should.)

81.Periodically, give him time with his family alone.
82.Check with him before you throw away his junky looking papers. (He may view them as more important than you realize.)
83.Work to keep yourself in shape in every way.
84.Let him express himself freely, without fear of being called stupid or illogical.
85.Carefully choose your words, especially when angry—remembering, as the Bible says, to "speak the truth in LOVE".
86.Don't criticize him in front of others—keeping his dignity in tact.
87.Visit his childhood home with him.
88.When you're angry with him, express it in ways that are respectful. Don't give him the silent treatment.
89.Pray for him.
90.Make him homemade soup when he's sick.

91.Look your best—dress to honor him and make him proud to be seen with you.
92.Support him when someone tries to put him down. Be his best cheer leader.
93.Don't disagree with him in front of the children.
94.Take him for a weekend get-away without the children.
95.Cheer his successes whether in business or in other areas of everyday living.
96.Be gracious in teaching him how to show you ways that will demonstrate his love for you.
97.Give him coupons to redeem—maybe for a back scratch or a shoulder rub.
98.Buy him a gift certificate to his favorite lunch spot and put it in his wallet.
99.Hide notes for him around the house where only he will find them.

100.Thank him for just being himself.  (



12 Warning Signs to Check If My Marriage is in Trouble


How one knows that her marriage is in trouble? There are a lot of issues facing both the husband and the wife regarding their married life. Issues that have brought devastating effect to the bond of their love, it can be an issue of third party, lost of interest of the partner, arguments that seemed to be occurring regularly and issue that the relationship is not working anymore.

Marriage as we all know is a sacred bond and a commitment promised by 2 persons that they will love unconditionally until the end of time. Marriage is not tested on the day the 2 persons exchange their vows to one another, but it is truly tested on the time they will spend their lives together in one house as they start to establish a family and raise their children of their own. On the first few years, married life for the couple is like on the honeymoon stage, savoring the moment of love and connection. As time goes by, the couple will get to know more of the personalities they both have, their flaws and even their bad habits - snoring while asleep, leaving unwashed dishes, untidy room, unfolded clothes. As such, it can be one of the reasons of argument between the two, it may just be an ordinary argument but it can stem to severe quarrels. When the partner ask "how can I save the marriage?", then there is really something wrong with the relationship. How can the couple say that their marriage is in trouble?

Here are some signs that will help the couple decide that marriage should be worked out:
1. You do not find your partner lovely, and think of him/her as annoying instead.
2. You go over the same arguments again and again.
3. You no longer walk holding hands. There is a space between the two of you while walking.
4. Your husband changes his appearance with his new polo shirt, sprays cologne over his body and shaves often.
5. You have different activities for a day instead of watching TV together and do walking early in the morning.
6. You sleep with different bed or worst, on different rooms.
7. You no longer laugh at your own mistakes; instead find the mistake as a bullet point for your partner during an argument.
8. You consider the married life as a routine and not a commitment.
9. You no longer ask your partner how his/her day was.
10. You focus more on the flaws of your partner and become defensive when being noticed.
11. You feel like you are the only one who is reaching and working out for the marriage.
12. When a partner is asked where he/she came from, he/she gets mad and accuses the partner of being too malicious.

Truly, marriage is not a simple commitment to make. It is not similar to wearing a dress that when you are used to it and feels like it is no longer fashionable to wear, you can give it to others or keep it inside the cabinet until it gets damaged and becomes trashed. I say, marriage is not at all happy times. It comes with tears and laughter at the same time that makes the marriage more exciting and an experience to learn to become better. No one can easily leave the marriage behind because it only means that you also leave your responsibilities for your family. One can only say that marriage is in trouble when signs are present and when this is really happening. Take time to talk with your partner, as much as possible and do counseling and respect each other's view. I have known lots of couple who at their 25 years of married life, they still are the same as before, sweet and loving to one another. As such, those warning signs would not happen if the couple from the very start deeply love each other and accept each one whole heartily despite their indifference and flaws.


3 Helpful Tips to Be a Good Wife


Being a good wife takes so much effort and determination. When you want to make your husbands the happiest men alive, this article might help you. Here are three helpful tips:

Be available - Being available means as a wife, you should know when to be there for your husband. You should know their needs and their wants. Try to be there for him every time he needs you. Be supportive and give him enough time to make him feel loved. Staying with him with all the availabilities makes him think that you are more than willing to be there for him and eager to be with him. Make sure to be there for him through ups and downs. A wife's presence can mean so much to them and it could be their source of strength.

Always communicate - Make sure to communicate with your husband all the time. Communication is always inseparably entwined in every relationship. It is a very important factor to consider in becoming a good wife. It keeps you updated with your personal feelings and his feelings as well. Always let him know what you want and what you do not want. Let him know the things that you do not like and the things you like. It is also important that you know what he want and he does not want. You should know what are the things he likes and the things he do not like. To become a good wife requires you to be a good listener. Talk to him politely and avoid nagging.

Be patient and considerate - It is very important to be patient and to be considerate. As a wife, being patient means you should know how to consider the things that you do not understand. It is best that you understand that you are two different individuals and that there are so many things that you are and he is not. There are things that you understand and he cannot. There are so many things you need to consider as a wife, and things that require so much patience and consideration.

Being a wife is not enough. It takes so much effort to be a good one. There are so many things you need to consider. Consider these three helpful tips and be a good wife to your husband.


"MARRIAGE...A MUST READ" (Please do share TO ALL)

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

She requested that every day for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife's divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office.... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.

My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I'm a loving husband....

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don't share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.


So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6



Castro admits 'injustice' for gays and lesbians during revolution


By Shasta Darlington, CNN
August 31, 2010 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)

Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he acknowledges the persecution of gays and lesbians during the Revolution in his country, according to a newspaper interview published Tuesday.

Throughout the 1960s and '70s, Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps without charge or trial.

"They were moments of great injustice, great injustice!" Castro told journalist Carmen Lira Saade from the Mexican daily La Jornada. "If someone is responsible, it's me."

His comments came in the second installment of a two-part interview. The first half of the interview -- a wide-ranging, five-hour conversation at his home -- was published Monday.

"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death, that we didn't pay it enough attention," Castro said of the way gays and lesbians were treated.

In 1979, Cuba decriminalized homosexual acts and more recently, there have been efforts to legalize same-sex unions.

The former leader, whose popular Revolution seized power in 1959, ruled the island nation until ill health forced him to transfer power to his younger brother Raul Castro in 2006.

In the La Jornada interview, Fidel Castro also talked about the impact of the five-decade U.S. embargo on Cuba.

"The biggest problem was always medicine and food, which is true even today," he said.

While the embargo prevented Cuba from trading with much of the world, it also encouraged the country to be more creative, Castro said.

"The fight, the battle that we had to carry out, led us to make greater efforts than we would have made without the blockade," he explained.

The United States imposed the embargo against Cuba in 1961 after Castro's government began seizing private land and nationalizing private companies, and Havana levied heavy taxes on American goods.




From February 2005 to May 2010, I was Vice President for Public Affairs of the University of the Philippines System, serving under UP President Emerlinda R. Roman. Under me were the Information Office, the Office of Alumni Relations of the UP System, and the Gurong Pahinungod.

Because UP was preparing for the celebrations of its Centennial in 2008, our work load—heavy at best—became considerably heavier. A slew of other tasks was added to the regular responsibilities of running three newspapers, maintaining the UP System website, producing regular magazine-sized reports, writing and sending out regular media announcements, providing support for the Office of the President during the annual presentation of the UP Budget to Congress and the campaign in Congress for the approval of the new UP Charter, and providing communications support for the offices of the other Vice Presidents.

Among these additional responsibilities were President Roman’s alumni caravan, which took us around the country to involve UP alumni in the celebration and in the fund-raising campaign; and several special projects—a coffee table book, another book called Kwentong Peyups, a short documentary film, a UP history book project, supplements for the print media, and several Centennial contests (for the Centennial logo, the Centennial literary award, the Centennial song, the Centennial short film, etc.). My Assistant VPs and I worked long hours, including weekends, and out-of-town trips.

Throughout this period, I continued to teach graduate courses--sometimes one, sometimes two, each semester.

On one such weekend in June 2006, Lydia Arcellana (AVP and Director of the Office of Alumni Relations) and I had a lunch meeting with a group of UP alumni at the Dulcinea, a restaurant on Tomas Morato.

On September 14, 2006, UP received a Subpoena from the “Task Force O-Plan Red Plate” of the Office of the Ombudsman, directing it to submit my driver’s Trip Tickets “and all other appurtenant and relative documents authorizing the use of government vehicle with plate no. SET-536 (the car assigned to my office) for the period June 13-28, 2006.” It contained the ominous threat that failure to do so within 3 days of receipt would “merit the filing of criminal charges” as well as administrative charges. The document, signed by Atty. MARK E. JALANDONI, Assistant Ombudsman, “issued by authority of the Honorable Ma. Merceditas, Tanodbayan,” did not state what these “charges” were.

Atty. Marvic Leonen, then UP Vice President for Legal Affairs, assured me there was nothing to worry about. The car might just have been seen outside the UP campus. He would submit the required trip tickets and a letter with a detailed explanation of the nature of my job. This was in September 2006.

Since we did not hear from the Ombudsman again, we assumed the documents were satisfactory. We were wrong.

In May of this year, I officially retired as full-time UP Professor and VP for Public Affairs. On July 12, 2010 (four years after the initial communication), UP received an “Order” from MEDWIN S DIZON, Acting Director, PIAB-A.

Atty. Marvic Leonen had left his post to become Dean of the UP College of Law. So it was Atty. Theodore Te who replaced him as VP for Legal Affairs who helped me plough through the legal jargon to determine what the problem was.

The Ombudsman was claiming that on June 25, 2006, a Sunday, the car assigned to me had been seen in front of Tonton Thai Massage on Tomas Morato Street at 3:30 PM.

The strange thing is that the accompanying photos (the evidence, I assume) showed the car to be parked in front of—not the massage establishment named—but the restaurant Dulcinea with the sign above its entrance prominently shown. And the affidavits of the people who allegedly saw the car and took the photographs—a certain Peter John R. Arellano and a certain Rholie C. Besoña, “Associate Graft Investigation Officers”—did not claim that they had gone inside Tonton Massage to see whether I was indeed there, or that they tried to find the driver and examine his trip ticket. They even got the time wrong. As indicated in the trip ticket earlier submitted, we had left Dulcinea at 1:30 PM.

On the basis of this, my driver and I were being investigated for graft, and for “dishonesty, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.” Mr. Jacinto claimed that we had “caused undue injury to the government, consisting in (sic) the unnecessary consumption of fuel and undue wear and tear of the vehicle.” He added that this was “flagrant wastage of government funds,” and “showed utter disregard on (sic) the policy that public officers and employees should uphold public interest over and above personal interest.”

Does not working on weekends to raise funds for UP qualify as “upholding public interest over and above personal interest”? Apparently not. For the Ombudsman it might even be a crime.

After we had filed our counter-affidavits, we received yet another “Order” dated August 9, signed by the same Mr. Dizon, concerning the “administrative case” against us. We have complied with more affidavits containing basically the same facts.

I am an elderly academic, with an impeccable record of more than 20 years of public service, and numerous awards, for both my teaching and my writing. The latest is the title Professor Emeritus, surely one of the highest honors UP can confer on one of its own. I cannot understand why the Ombudsman seems determined to believe that I (and my Assistant Vice President and my driver) are lying about our whereabouts on that fateful Sunday, particularly since their own evidence shows my car to be parked in front of the restaurant where we said we were, and their own investigators did not bother to enter the restaurant to confirm this.

I feel most aggrieved. Given the countless cases of blatant graft and corruption, involving billions of pesos, which seem to be resolutely ignored, why am I being singled out for this harassment by the Office of the Ombudsman?