Author Archives: Alex P. Vidal

About Alex P. Vidal

Alex P. Vidal is a Filipino journalist who travels to chronicle community and international events in sports, environment, politics, media, health, government, among other interesting subject matters.

‘Friends cursed me for marrying a poor and sickly US citizen’

“Friends come and go, like the waves of the ocean, but the true ones stay like an octopus on your face.” –Anonymous
By Alex P. Vidal


ARLINGTON, Virginia — Since “running away” from her Arab boss who brought her in the United States from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2001, Rosita “Rose” Junatas, a domestic helper, has not seen her family in Tarlac, in the Philippines.
“I hope to reunite with them soon,” Rose, 61, wished in an interview with this writer July 9.

She plans to go back to Ramos, Tarlac, where she finished sixth grade in 1969 at Ramos Central Elementary School, as soon as the remaining documents for her green card, being processed through the help of Falls Church-based preacher Mariano C. Evangelista Jr. and his wife Armida, will arrive.
The Evangelista couple “adopted” Rose and allowed her to stay in their church at Christian Evangelization Ministry in the City of Falls Church.
Rose lost her American husband, Michael “Mike” Bradley, 68, to a lung cancer on June 4, 2018.
She lived with the Evangelista couple after Mike’s cremation on June 19.
Rose and Mike didn’t have their own children.

Rose and Mike, a printing press employee, had been living together as husband and wife in McLean, Virginia since 2001; she decided to process the important details in her green card only when Mike was already dying in the hospital.


Rose, then 45, said she met Mike, then 52, on Good Friday in 2001 through a co-worker, Elsie Ribao. She went to live with Mike in an apartment in McLean on Labor Day of the same year.
The romance kicked off through a series of phone calls where they professed their love for each other and willingness to live together, Rose said.
They got married at the back of a house on September 27, 2001 in a civil ceremony.

Rose wasn’t able to obtain the complete details of her green card because of “complications” in Mike’s previous marriage.
Mike’s former wife, Marilou, also a Filipina, divorced him after living together for five years. Before meeting Marilou, Mike had been married to a fellow American with whom he had a 40-year-old son.
Rose was Mike’s third wife.
Rose’s first husband, Leopoldo Gicete, a mining engineer from Samar, Leyte, died of asthma in 1982.
After Leopoldo’s death, Rose worked as domestic helper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for 18 years and raised alone their two children–Rosenda and Leopoldo Jr.
Rosenda now resides in Aklan with her own family and a fishery business, while Leopoldo Jr. is now a seaman.
They talked regularly through the Facebook Messenger.


In Virginia, Rose’s former boss, an Arab national, resented her decision to “run away” and live with Mike.
The boss paid for Rose’s air fare from Jeddah to Virginia and was hoping Rose would stay with the Arab boss’ family while in the United States.
It was Mike who helped Rose transfer her personal belongings from the house of her Arab boss to Mike’s apartment.
“Sa galit ng amo ko sa ginawa namin, hindi niya ibinigay ang mga natira ko pang suweldo (my boss was so enraged that he didn’t give me my remaining salary),” Rose recalled.

Since Mike didn’t have enough money, Rose said she did some housekeeping job in the houses of Mike’s friends to help buttress the couple’s income.
Rose said Filipina friends who visited her in their apartment frequently always engaged Mike in a verbal tussle when Mike ribbed them for not washing their dishes and for leaving all the chores to Rose alone.
“I told them to ignore Mike and not to engage him in a quarrel because he was sickly, but they refused to listen,” Rose narrated.


The same set of friends also gossiped behind her back and “belittled me when I was down and feeling hopeless at the time when I needed them most,” Rose added.
“When Mike was in the hospital, nobody cared for us. When Mike died, none of them visited us. One of them even told our friends buti nga (good riddance),” lamented Rose.
When Mike was gone, her friends “totally abandoned me and even cursed me for marrying a poor and sickly American citizen,” she sobbed.
She said she didn’t inherit any property from Mike, who was penniless before his death.
While in the custody of the Evangelista couple, Rose said she does not anymore entertain calls and inquiries from friends “who will only open up a conversation and pretend they care only to get information about my present situation, share it to others, and add insult to my injury.”
“I will just keep quite and maintain my peace here (Christian Evangelical Ministry) and wait for the complete papers in my green card. I know I am in good hands. No more friends. I don’t want to be hurt anymore,” Rose concluded.

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Posted by on July 12, 2018 in CULTURE AND HERITAGE, Family


Manny Pacquiao is our World Cup

“The only thing I focus on is just winning. Once we win, everyone remembers a winner. That’s what I’m focused on.” –Kristaps Porzingis

By Alex P. Vidal 29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

ARLINGTON, Virginia — The only source of our pride in sports has been Manny Pacquiao.
The 39-year-old senator and part-time pugilist is our own version of World Cup.
Everywhere he fights, Pacquiao brings with him our dignity and pride, just like the soccer players worshiped like demigods in FIFA football fields from Milan to Guadalajara and Moscow.
During his prime, Pacquiao disposed of rivals from Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, Korea, Russia, Australia, England, Hawaii, Dominican Republic, and Africa with supreme dominance.
If he topples Lucas Martin Matthysse, 35, on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Pacquiao will add Argentina on the list of those countries.
Filipinos pin their hopes on Pacquiao as a one-man wrecking crew against any boxer from superpower countries.
Only in boxing can we have an opportunity to gain the respect and attention from countries that have qualified and even won the FIFA World Cup since the pre-war era.


Pacquiao is so immensely popular that his former promoter Bob Arum considered him as “the next president of the Philippines” just like how Brazil immortalized Pele and Argentina hailed Diego Maradona.
We cheer for either France or Croatia, finalists in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, but whoever wins on Sunday in Moscow will not have a direct impact on our pride and glory as a nation.
Both Croatia and France have big followers in every Filipino community worldwide.
On the other hand, if Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) will hurt and out-duke Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) for the 12-round WBA welterweight title, it’s like losing a World Cup final anew.
Pacquiao also blew away another “World Cup final” when he bowed to Jeff Horn via 12-round unanimous decision for WBO 147-lb title in Sydney, Australia on July 2, 2017.
Once is enough. Twice is a humiliation.


We won’t get tired though of reminding boxing fans in the Philippines that Pacquiao has not won a knockout since 2009.
Some Pacquiao fans think the boxer is a Superman.
They complained and cried “we wuz robbed” each time someone who is younger defeated him.
Pacquiao weighed 144 lbs when he scored a technical knockout (TKO) against Miguel Angel Cotto, 145 lbs, at 0:55 in the final stanza of the 12-round WBO welterweight war at he MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 14, 2009.
Since beating Cotto, Pinoy boxing fans were hoping that Pacquiao would again pulverize his opponents.
There was a stoppage in his sixth fight since blasting to bits Cotto, but it was Pacquiao who got knocked out cold at 2:59 in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez.
In Pacquiao’s last seven fights after the Marquez debacle, he won five and lost two times (to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Horn).
Pacquiao won all his five bouts on points. He struggled against a patsy Horn.
What are his chances against Matthysse who arguably is better than Horn?

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Posted by on July 12, 2018 in SPORTS


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What does FIFA World Cup mean to us Filipinos?

“Knowing what to say, in the right way – at the perfect moment – can mean the difference between a world-class life and an average one.”
–Robin S. Sharma

By Alex P. Vidal

ARLINGTON, Virginia — Filipinos are not part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in terms of actual participation, but we are very much involved in many practical and historical reasons and circumstances.
By virtue of our being part of the global sports fraternity; in terms of the spirit of Olympism; and because we have been inflicted, in one way or the other, with a soccer mania since time immemorial, we are within the parameters of the World Cup village.
What does it mean to be part of the World Cup?

It means we need to further improve our sports program, not just in soccer but also in other events with global impact–Olympic events that will bring us in the threshold of world class competition.


We must show that we belong not only in words but also in drawing inspiration from extra-ordinary performances of these incredible players and their teams and use this inspiration to improve our own standards even in regional competitions like the Southeast (SEA) Games and Asian Games.
We breath, cheer, discuss, argue, monitor, broadcast and write about World Cup but we don’t and can’t have a team in the elite competition.
We root for certain teams like Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, final qualifier France, but we aren’t there physically to savor the prestige and actual excitement felt by competitors watched and cheered by billions of fans all over the planet.
We need to review and upgrade our sports facilities, as well, and send our athletes in tough competitions abroad.
We can’t afford to be obscured in the doldrums or be lagged behind and remain as kibitzers for life just because we are a Third World country.
Supremacy in sports translates into supremacy in economy, but we can always pull the rug from under and walk extra mile to show the world that the Filipinos can also become world class athletes even if we are a struggling economy.


France has booked the first slot in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia finals by virture of its 1-0 conquest of stubborn Belgium in one of the all-European semifinals.
The descendants of Voltaire, King Louis, Marat and other precursors of the French Revolution will wait for the result of the other semifinal shootout between Croatia and England.
England is near the hearts of many Filipino soccer fans but we love to see Croatia reaching in the championship level for the very first time and win this year’s World Cup.
The world has always been crazy if it’s a World Cup and is getting crazier as the showdown for the finals approaches this Sunday.

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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in SPORTS


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‘Do we have a Pinoy team in the World Cup?’

“The World Cup experience is more than just the game of soccer. It’s an event. And it will fly by faster than you think. It will end and you’ll be saying, ‘Wow, it’s over already?’ You have to remember to take it all in and enjoy it.”
–Cobi Jones

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– A lot of Filipinos not necessarily soccer fans have been asking me in person and through the Facebook messenger these past two weeks: “Do we have a team in the World Cup?”
We all know, of course, that we don’t have.
We never had a chance.
We have the Azkals (Street Dogs), our national football team that regularly competes in international football, but it did not–and could not–play in the World Cup.
Not even in 2022 Qatar, with due respect to our national players and the coaching staff.

The reason is because the Philippines has never qualified for the World Cup.
The farthest that the RP national football team has achieved, so far, was having been qualified in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.
Its best trophy in a major tournament was second place to Palestine at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
The Filipinos can’t even dominate its rivals in the Southeast Asian (SEA Games) and Asian Games.
There’s a drought of gold medal for the Philippine football team even in the regional invitational games.


Without the Filipino-European and Filipino-American booters in Azkals, we can hardly beat Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia.
It was not too long ago when we were once the veritable “whipping boy” in the region.
Not anymore when the Azkals, now coached by Terry Butcher, was formed.
Even if we don’t play in the World Cup, our football has developed by leaps and bounds and our team is no longer a pushover.
Even before Uruguay became the first country in history to win the FIFA World Cup in 1930, the Philippines was already playing at the international level in 1913.
After 78 years, only seven countries, the so-called “Elite Seven”, have won the World Cup in 18 stagings: Brazil (five times); Italy (four times); Germany (three times); Uruguay (two times); Argentina (two times); England (once); and France (once).


In the ongoing 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, two of the four semifinalists (France, England, Croatia, Belgium) could join the Elite Seven.
If Belgium will beat France on July 10 and Croatia will defeat England on July 11, it will be a Belgium versus Croatia match in the championship.
Either Belgium or Croatia could become the eight country in history to bring home the World Cup.
But first they must hurdle their semifinal assignments.
If France and England will clash in the finals, one of them could win the World Cup only for the second time in history.
As we have been saying in the past weeks, the world is going crazy now that the final two teams are about to be unveiled this week.

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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in SPORTS


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2018 FIFA World Cup: Goodbye, Brazil!

By Alex P. Vidal
Belgium bombed out Brazil in the quaterfinals, 2-1, at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia Friday to barge into the seminfinals versus France, which ousted Uruguay, 2-0, in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

“There were incredible hearts out there. Sometimes you have to accept that Brazil have so much finesse and quality that they’re going to break you down. But we didn’t accept it. Not for one minute did they give up,”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said.
“This was something special. These boys deserve to be very special people back in Belgium. I hope everybody back in Belgium is very proud. The execution of the tactics was magnificent.”
Martinez added: “In two days they changed their tactical disposition, I couldn’t be prouder. We cannot let people down. We need to enjoy beating Brazil in the knockout phase, treasure it, and pass it down the generations. But we need more energy for the next game. We will be as good as we can be in the semi-final.”
Brazil advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Mexico in the Round of 16, while Belgium advanced to the quarterfinals after ousting Japan in an exciting Round of 16 game.
The highest scoring side at the 2018 World Cup, Belgium seemed to come out of the blocks slower than Brazil who created a flurry of chances but failed to convert any of them early on.
Soon enough Belgium grew into the game with power, pace and exquisite passing which caught Brazil napping. The Belgians went onto register an emphatic 2-1 win to set-up a semi-final clash against France.
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Posted by on July 11, 2018 in SPORTS


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Secure Iloilo mayors Centena, Malones, Betita

“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
–Sun Tzu

By Alex P. Vidal16265768_10208183164239698_2290510430437645716_n

NEW YORK CITY — We join our fellow “concerned” Ilonggos in the Philippines and abroad in the call for the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Iloilo Chapter to use all its resources to secure Mayors Alex Centena of Calinog, Mariano Malones of Maasin, and Siegfredo Betita of Carles.
The three are among the local chief executives in the Philippines linked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in illegal drugs.
As among the country’s most outstanding mayors, they don’t deserve to die violently based on wrong information and accusation.
Even if they have repeatedly and emotionally denied their involvement in narcotics, their names have remained dangling in the controversial list.
It’s better to praise 40 thieves and pagans than to condemn and put to risk the life of an innocent person.


Some of the mayors included in the bloody list are now dead; killed violently by unidentified assailants in separate attacks even before they could clear their names.
There has been no assurance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) or even the President himself that the killings of “narco politicians’” will end soon.
In fact, the President himself has offered rewards for law enforcers who can kill drug traffickers.
President Duterte goaded and “inspired” uniformed personnel sworn to protect the civilians to commit a criminal act against both the drug addicts and drug traffickers.
He even sided with police officials and ordinary cops implicated in extra-judicial killings (EJK) involving suspected drug traffickers–civilians or government officials and rogue cops.
We are not saying that the President and the PNP are behind the murderous binge, but the words and body languages of some PNP generals, especially President Duterte himself, suggest that they don’t condemn and discourage the bloody murders.
As feared by many human rights watchdogs, “they may have even abetted it.”


There have been no solid pieces of evidence, of course, that would link President Duterte and the PNP, but the culture of impunity in the Philippines has been overwhelmingly associated with the administration’s “all out” campaign against illegal drugs.
Now that election season is fast approaching, some politicians and disgruntled syndicate leaders might take advantage of President Duterte’s controversial “narco list” and order the assassination of their opponents in the May 2019 elections who are on the list, to make it appear they were waylaid for their “involvement” in narcotics business.
Whether they are up for reelection, Mayors Centena, Malones, and Betita undoubtedly have been exposed to danger–including members of their family just like other mayors, governors and other elected public officials maligned by the feeble “narco list.”


We don’t point an accusing finger to the President and make conclusions with absolute certainty that he might order the murder of the three Ilonggo mayors, but according to his bombastic speeches in the past, he “will definitely kill” former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog whom he accused of being a “narco politician” and “the cousin” of murdered Western Visayas drug lord Boyet Odicta.
In linking the mayors and other local government chief executives in illegal drugs, an outraged President Duterte said he based it on “intelligence reports” which could also be false or “doctored.”

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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in POLITICS


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Joe III bows to Duterte

“I think I’m a natural-born leader. I know how to bow down to authority if it’s authority that I respect.”

–Tupac Shakur

By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY — When President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived at the Iloilo International Convention Center for the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) 2nd Quarterly National Executive Officers and National Board Meeting on June 20, he was met outside by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, who bowed before the Philippines’ highest official like a Japanese after holding and shaking the president’s right hand with his two hands.

Mayor Joe III’s gesture was normally a form of greeting, probably a sign of respect performed by other leaders almost everywhere in Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China.

Aside from using it to welcome VIPs (very important persons), head bowing is also done before and after martial arts practice and competition, at tea ceremonies and at religious shrines.

Bowing of the head is quite complex and may be used to express deference, sincerity, humility and remorse, although it may look simple like what Mayor Joe III did.


Mayor Joe III’s critics, however, have their own interpretations of that extra body language.

They thought there’s more than meets the eye in the city mayor’s “over reaction.”

They theorized Mayor Joe III had been “starstrucked” or “only intimidated.” Or both.

A handshake would have been enough, they said, since lowering ourselves make us look smaller and less threatening in the concept rooted in animalistic tendencies especially when we come face-to-face with a bear.

Since head bowing is a normal practice in Asia, it’s fine for Mayor Joe III to do it in front of a visiting president, a person in authority whose reputation is worse than a bear especially when dealing with criminals.


Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, the new Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not condone married cops maintaining illicit affairs or having mistresses.

They give the PNP a bad name, Chief Supt. Bulalacao lamented.

He pointed to the PNP’s Chiefs of Police Manual lists the ethical standards for policemen: Morality, judicious use of authority, justice, humility, orderliness, and perseverance, according to reports.

The police general bewailed that womanizers in the police organization are “answerable to God and to the laws of the land.”

Chief Supt. Bulalacao is correct.


But the PNP will waste precious time if they will run after organic members engaging in sexual peccadilloes.

In the Philippines, some of those who have more than one wives are cops and military men.

Next are politicians and media personalities.

It’s in our culture which is patriarchal by nature.

Some Filipino women are suckers to a “false sense of authority” and a “false sense of security.”

If the male perpetrator has a gun or position, he is being looked up to as a “savior” and “powerful”, thus even if he isn’t handsome-or even if he isn’t rich-a woman will easily fall for him.

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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Uncategorized