9 Extremely Notorious Pinoy Gangsters
Posted on August 11
"Filipino pop culture tends to trivialize or even glorify the gangster lifestyle so much that we sometimes forget just how dangerous these people can be. Yet for all their dastardly deeds, there are just some gangsters whose exploits made them so notoriously well-known that we can’t help but unconsciously put them on a pedestal.
Without further ado, here are some of the most notorious gangsters to have ever set foot on the archipelago.
9. Emilio Changco
"One of the most infamous Pinoy pirates of all time, Changco and his gang terrorized Philippine waters during the 1980s and the early 90s. Using a hotel that overlooked Manila Bay as their base, Changco and his henchmen were often hired to seize commercial vessels to the tune of $300,000.
Usually, the clients would hire the gang to steal the ship’s cargo, repossess a ship, or to collect fraudulent insurance in case their ships neared the end of its service. Changco’s career in piracy finally came to an end when he and his men brazenly hijacked the state-owned M/T Tabangao oil tanker. For that crime, he was given a life sentence in Bilibid.
Changco was later shot dead inside the prison in 1992 by guards who claimed that he was trying to escape. However, Changco’s frail condition (he could only walk with a cane) led some to believe it was an attempt to silence him."
8. Marvin “Shyboy” Mercado
"It’s easy to see why Mercado got eight life sentences without parole in the US. As the leader of the Asian Boyz Gang he had founded in the 1970s, Mercado—who is a Filipino-American—had been found guilty of killing eight people and attempting to kill another ten in 1995 in Los Angeles, a crime spree that authorities dubbed as the “summer of madness.”
During this time, the gang committed robberies, violent assaults, and killed people just for the sake of it. To avoid the authorities, Mercado later fled to the Philippines where he married a socialite and tried to keep a low profile. However, the long arm of the law finally caught up with him in 2007, resulting in his arrest and deportation back to the US."
7. Octavio “Ongkoy” Parojinog Sr.
"Although we’d usually remember the Kuratong Baleleng as the unfortunate gang on the receiving end of an alleged police rubout in 1997 in Quezon, some say it was a well-deserved fate. After all, the Kuratong Baleleng was said to be one of the most notorious gangs to have ever come out of Misamis Occidental.
Ironically enough, it was the military who organized the group in 1986 to counter increased NPA activity in the area. Led by the first leader Ongkoy Sr., the group was effective in stifling communist expansion in Western Mindanao although allegations were rife that Parojinog also used the group to further his criminal activities such as robbery, kidnapping, and exortition.
To the people in his hometown however, he was known as the “Robin Hood of Lawis” due to his reported generosity. After the military deactivated the group in 1988, it eventually focused more on organized crime and splintered off into several off-shoots. As for Parojinog, he died at the hands of the authorities who shot him in a botched drug sting inside a local cockpit in 1990.
The Kuratong Baleleng was later implicated in the deaths of the authorities involved, ostensibly as retaliation for their founder’s death."
6. Grepor “Butch” Belgica
"Although he may be known today as a born-again pastor, Grepor “Butch” Belgica was at one point one of the most infamous gangsters of the 1960s and 70s.
A spoiled brat from a prominent family, Belgica earned his ticket to the big house at the age of 16 when he was convicted as an adult for the murder of another scion. He spent jail time in Muntinlupa and a penal colony in Palawan.
During his prison term, Belgica became known as a gang leader, as well as being a dedicated communist. Fortunately, he also became a born-again Christian while inside prison, and was later rewarded by President Marcos with a pardon in 1976. Since then, he has never looked back and has dedicated his time to civil and pastoral work."
5. Alvin Flores
"Other than being the leader of the ultra-violent gang that bears his name, little is known about Alvin Flores’ background. While authorities say that Flores—who died in October 2009 after a shootout with NBI agents in Cebu—used to be a waiter with no military or police training, a former comrade claimed that Flores once worked as a car thief for the communist hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade in Malabon in the 1980s."
4. Ben “Tumbling” Garcia
"Hailing from Malabon, Benjamin Garcia—better known as Ben Tumbling due to his acrobatic skills as a former stuntman—achieved notoriety in his hometown by engaging in drug-dealing, robberies, and carnapping.
However, it was his personal hand in the deaths of seven policemen that made him especially feared by authorities. It is said that Garcia hated the police for torturing him in his youth; that hatred reached the point of no return when they also allegedly raped his wife.
Yet for all the fear Garcia evoked in the police, the poor locals held him in high regard because he would share the profits from his criminal activities with them. In fact, thousands of them even attended his wake and funeral after he was finally killed by the police on Friday the 13th, 1981."
3. Marcial “Baby Ama” Perez
"Don’t let the innocuous-sounding nickname fool you; Marcial “Baby Ama” Perez was regarded as one of the most notorious inmates to have ever graced the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
Perez first ended up in jail after stealing money to help fund a friend’s schooling. While inside the prison, he had to endure ridicule and abuse due to his boyish looks. Although he survived it all, it is said that he snapped after learning that his pregnant wife committed suicide after being raped by one of the prison guards.
He later became a hitman inside the jail, offing several of his fellow inmates and eventually emerging as the leader of the Sige-Sige Gang. Perez later conducted the largest and deadliest riot in Bilibid, a bloodbath which resulted in the deaths of nine inmates (including one beheaded).
“Baby Ama” eventually met his end via electric chair in 1961 even after his death penalty had been commuted—a testament to his notoriety."
2. Nicasio “Asiong” Salonga
"Born and raised in the tough neighborhood of Tondo, Nicasio “Asiong” Salonga gradually developed two polarizing reputations. To those neighbors he was generous and amiable with, he was known as Robin Hood. To his enemies and the rest of the country however, he became branded as Tondo’s Public Enemy No. 1 and the kingpin of Manila due to his involvement in several gang-related violence and assortment of crimes, the accusations of which he always managed to evade.
Salonga’s relatively short life—he was 26—came to an end on October 8, 1951 during a drinking spree when a gunman shot him at close range with a .38 caliber to the head. Police identified the assailant as Ernesto Reyes, a henchman of Salonga’s rival and also-notorious gang leader Carlos “Totoy Golem” Capistrano."
1. Leonardo “Nardong Putik” Manecio
"One of the most notorious gangsters to ever come out of Cavite, Leonardo “Nardong Putik” Manecio’s reckless exploits and ability to evade the law made him something of a folk hero to his town mates. It is said that he always carried an anting-anting and would submerge himself in rice paddies to hide from his enemies or evade the authorities.
During his career, Manecio was involved in several felonies ranging from murder, abductions, robberies and illegal possession of firearms. His biggest claim to infamy however, was his role in Cavite’s Maragondon Massacre in 1952, an incident wherein he and his henchmen killed the mayor and the police chief allegedly on the orders of a senator from a rival political party.
Manecio also escaped jail a total of three times; his reign of terror as Cavite’s Public Enemy No. 1 came to an end on February 10, 1971 after NBI agents engaged him in a highway shootout."
6 Top Tourist Attractions in the Philippines
Posted on August 8
Have you been so stressed lately? School or work getting on your nerves? You should definitely get an enchanted vacation! And where would you find those beautiful excursions? In the Philippines of course!
The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea is a marine sanctuary protected as the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park. The reef is made up of two atolls, North Atoll and South Atoll, separated by a deep channel of approximately 5 miles (8 km) wide. It has become one of the most popular dive sites in the Philippines because of its coral walls where the shallow coral reef abruptly ends giving way to great depths. The marine park is open to live-aboard diving excursions between the months of April to June when the waves are most calm.
San Agustin Church
Located in Manila, a visit to the San Agustin Church is a must see. Built in 1589, this beautiful church has survived seven earthquakes and two fires over the centuries and now remains as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. At the main entrance, there are exquisite carvings on the wooden doors. Inside the lovely, Mexican-influenced interior is designed in the shape of a Latin cross. The gorgeous ceiling was painted in the 1800s by Italian artists, Giovanni Dibella and Cesare Alberoni.
Boracay may be a small island, but it packs great features such as award-winning beaches, beautiful resorts and great adventures like cliff diving, parasailing, motorbiking, horse riding, snorkeling, kite surfing and scuba diving. If that is not enough, boat tours allow visitors to watch stunning sunsets, explore volcanic caves and remote coves of turquoise lagoons. When the sun sets, Boracay night-life pulsates with many bars and restaurants serving food, drinks and fun until dawn.
One of the top tourist attractions in the Philippines, The Chocolate Hills are unusual geological formations that consists of at least 1,268 individual mounds scattered throughout the interior of the island of Bohol. The almost symmetrical and same-sized formations range from 98 to 164 feet (30 to 50 meters) high and are covered in green grass. During the dry season the grass turns brow, hence the name. There is no consensus on how these giant mole hills were formed. One theory holds that the Chocolate Hills are the weathered rock formations of a kind of marine limestone on top of an impermeable layer of clay.
A small island made up of quiet fishing villages, Malapascua Island is popular for its ideal diving spots and for being the only place in the world to see thresher sharks on a regular basis as well as manta rays and hammerheads. The other hidden gems here are the beautiful, sandy white beaches, crystal clear waters bordered by coconut trees and colorful coral gardens.
Puerto Princesa Underground River
Located on the northern coast of the island of Palawa, Puerto Princesa is a nature lover’s paradise. Home to unspoiled landscapes rich in wildlife, this lovely town also lays claim to one of the world’s most unique natural phenomena, an underground river known as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Protected within a national park, this natural wonder is the world’s longest navigable underground river. Guided paddle boat tours show intriguing rock formations and fluttering bats.
Words Are Like Loaded Guns: Cyberbullying
Posted on August 7
The Philippines is one of the early adopters of blogging and social media, though relatively with smaller internet population compared w/ it’s ASEAN neighbours, PH was recognised as the social media capital and home to at least one of the selfie capitals of the world. (H/T www.cyberbullying.ph)
With the high penetration rate of mostly young professionals and students, with PH backdrop of liberal democracy; a cybercrime law that is still in its infancy stage; and no cyber bullying and bullying law that covers adult victims and offenders, cyber abuses is not far behind. Among the common abuses we observed and received feedback from are:
Cyber Bullying & Harassment
Identity theft/Poser accounts
I believe there are actual occurrence of cyber bullying but remain unreported. It is a threat to our kids BUT unrecognized and unaddressed. The following factors are contributory:
The victim will keep the experience/problem to themselves because parents may not be able to relate.
The family of the victim would prefer to keep quiet, sharing their story is like rubbing salt to the wound and it can make two families at odds with each other [if perpetuator is identified].
The school don’t recognize this yet as a problem, thus, there are no policy and process to handle this.
The school assume that the parents are taking care of cyber wellness education [base on my experience, the parents are equally clueless as the schools were] and vice-versa
Most of the school’s curriculum and extra curricular activities are not relevant to the rapidly changing technological environment where kids are growing.
Here are my proactive suggestions [as shared in this blog time and again] until an anti cyber bullying law is passed. Preventive is better than cure as they say.
Incorporate online GMRC in the curriculum.
Inculcate respect and cooperation rather than competition on the school’s culture thru various intervention.
Instead of blocking internet access in school, keep it open so you can log student’s online activity
Roll-out a cyber wellness program for parents-teachers, nannies and students.
For public schools, partner with internet cafe’s so student online researches will be endorsed to them. In return, the parents and school can check the online log of the kids.
For LGUs, pass an ordinance requiring internet cafe operators to
Provide poster size warning of online threats
Provide poster size safety tips
Provide poster size warning of cyber bullying
Serve only age appropriate online games.
Keep yourself updated with different anti-cyber bullying tools.
Can you think of other ways to raise awareness on cyber bullying and how to prevent this?
5 Most Haunted Buildings in the Philippines
Posted on August 6
If you have watched any horror film (who hasn't?), you may have noticed that it's not the characters, or the music, or even the ghost that gives us the chills in the first look -- it's the place. Imagine a horror film set in a supermarket. It just doesn't work. But what really causes chills in our spine is the fact that the movie is based on a true story about the place. About what mystery emerged around it.
So if you're interested in a good travel destination (just kidding), you might want to take a peak on the 5 scariest establishments in the Philippines.
Courtesy of Filipiknow.net
5. Malacañang Palace
Malacañang Palace is a silent witness to those glorious days that have shaped our history. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this building has plenty of spooky stories to tell–including the ghost of no less than President Manuel L. Quezon.
Rumor has it that after Imee Marcos had a vision of Quezon in the study room, the latePresident Marcos seek the help of spiritualists. Employees and residents also reported sightings of President Ramon Magsaysay and other mysterious entities including the black lady of Mabini Hall, ghost of American chaplain named Father Brown, and even a kapre near the Palace’s state entrance.
The headless ghost of Malacañang Palace (Source: malacanang.gov.ph)
4. Ozone Disco
In March 18, 1996, massive flames engulfed Ozone Disco, killing 160 people–mostly teenagers– while leaving the other 95 injured. To this day, it remains as the worst fire accident in Philippine history.
But 17 years later, the horror of that fateful night literally echoes back from Ozone’s old, dirty walls. Terrified witnesses claim to have heard heavy beat of music and muffled voices coming from the abandoned building. There are also reported sightings of ghostly figures dancing in the moonlight–a grim reminder of Ozone’s once lively past.
Ozone Disco today. (Source: www.hauntedamericatours.com)
3. Manila Film Center
Built in 1981, Manila Film Center has been dubbed as the country’s largest tomb. The legend started when a scaffolding of the upper floor collapsed during the height of its construction. Some people died instantly while others suffered injuries. Threatened by an impending deadline, Marcos ordered some of the trapped workers to be buried alive. Or so the story goes.
Fortunately, the building was completed in time for the 1982 Manila International Film Festival. But since then, furious ghosts have refused to keep silent. In a 2005 documentary, Howie Severino confirmed that all 169 workers were traced and not more than a dozen died from the accident. Still, a hair-raising atmosphere at Manila Film Center is always ready to welcome those who dare to enter it.
The Manila Film Center (Source: www.thepinoywarrior.com)
2. Clark Air Base Hospital
Hospitals are said to be gateways leading to the afterlife. Clark Air Base Hospital in Angeles City, Pampanga is no exception. But if hundreds of ghost stories are to be believed, this abandoned hospital will surely make your knees tremble. In fact, Ghost Hunters International has dubbed it as “one of the most haunted places in the world”. It also has the most documented ghost sightings ranging from violent spirit voices to mysterious shadows lurking in the corners.
By reviewing its history, it should not come as a surprise why it has been haunted by restless spirits. During the WWII, Clark Air Base Hospital served as a haven for wounded and dying American soldiers. Its frightening reputation will soon be featured in National Geographic Channel’s docu-series aptly titled “I Wouldn’t Go In There.”
1. The Diplomat Hotel
Any list of Philippine haunted buildings won’t be complete without Baguio City’s Diplomat Hotel. It’s so filled with ghosts that thrill-seekers consider it as a favorite destination. But let us explore first how it turned into a ghost building: During the early 20th century, Dominicans built it to serve as a school, monastery, and finally, as a summer retreat house.
Then, at the height of WWII, Diplomat Hotel was badly attacked by the Japanese forces. Legend has it that several priests were killed by the Japanese at the hotel ground floor and somewhere in the second floor. It is said that babies were also mercilessly killed near the fountain. These horrific murders probably explain why a headless priest and chilling cries of an infant have frequented the abandoned hotel.
In 2012, however, the haunted building was finally renovated and christened with a new name: The Baguio Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park. Whether the ghosts of Diplomat Hotel will remain or not is left for us to discover.
Filipino Words That Don't Translate to English
Posted on August 5
Photo credits: 8list.com
Filipino is known to be a funny, strange language. There are words or entire phrases that might be bewildering to the foreign ears, one example is, "Bababa ba?" or even, "Kakabakaba ba?" Trust me, those are complete sentences. Also, due to the uniqueness of this language, there are several words that never translate to English.
Here are several Filipino words that may send Google Translate to self-destruct:
Muscular pain experienced upon immediate contact with cold water, after sweating or exposing one’s self to heat
Example: “Huwag kang maghugas ng kamay pagkatapos mong mamalantsa. Mapapasma ka!”
Pasma refers to a "folk illness" unique to the Filipino culture that is said to be most commonly brought about by exposure of "cold" and water in many forms: water is believed to facilitate the unhealthy coldness that enters the body in the Filipino culture. There are distinct signs, symptoms, perceived causes and treatments which are recognized in the folk medicine of the Philippines, but these are not described in medical textbooks, discussed in medical schools, or generally recognized by contemporary medical science.
Conditions may have been observed by the old folks being aggravated by immediate "hot"+"cold". this phenomenon may be associated by the medical term "rebound effect" in which a preconditioned state of the body, when subjected with sudden change in conditions, will tend to overadapt to the sudden change; and aggravation of underlying symptoms may soon follow.
A comfortable set of clothes usually worn within private spaces and avoided during chichi social events, unless you are from Alabang and you go to the mall wearing this
Example: “Hoy! Magpalit ka ng pambahay. May mga bisita tayo.”
Isn’t it strange that in movies, we see Americans wear this to bed, but a proper term was never coined? ‘Housewear’ does not cut it. Neither do ‘pajamas’ or ‘laundry-day attire’.
Pambahay is something all its own, a word purposed to more tropical climes and societies steeped on modesty.
The act of being discreetly resourceful
Example: “Akong bahala. Diskarte ko na ‘to.”
You may pick related words from "diskarte," such as, strategy, tactic, approach, but neither of those are even close.
But hey, mind you: ‘Tis a handy word to use when your idea of problem-solving requires a little bit of larceny.
SayangAn interjection that connotes frustration over a near-miss
Example: “Sayang! Hindi ako umabot sa party mo dahil sa traffic.”
What the Americans use a sentence to describe, we Filipinos can do in one word.
It’s that all-too-familiar, balls-imploding reaction to something almost achieved, like a slowly spinning basketball that slid out of the ring after an eternity of suspense.
TampoA pretend-tantrum one puts upon to elicit apology from another party
Example: “Huwag ka nang magtampo. Sorry na…”
Tampo is perhaps the girliest behavior Pinoys are prone to. This can be physically manifested through pouted lips and crossed arms, or through treating the offending party as invisible until he kneels down and begs for forgiveness.
PikonA feeling of anger when one gets served a whoppin’ dose of poetic justice
Example: “Natalo ka ngayon; huwag kang pikon!”
Badly put, it’s about being angry at the concept of you being the recipient of vengeance. Pinoys are good at offending, but when the tables are turned on them, they often are spoiled sports.
Pikon’s the word that describes that fuming.
GigilAn extreme urge to squeeze someone or something,usually brought about by a cute or irritating object
Example: ‘Nanggigigil ako sa baby! Ang cute-cute niya kasi.
The English expression that closely encapsulates this feeling is: “You’re so adorable, I want to eat you.” Close but no cigar.
Gigil means what it sounds like. It’s dual-purpose too: You can either feel gigil at the Pomeranian that dressed up as Wonder Woman at the pet show, or at your officemate who spilled milk tea on your new iPad.
KiligA feeling of being intoxicated by the idea of love, whether subjectively experienced or through mirror neurons
Example: ‘Kinikilig ako sa romantic comedy na ‘to.”
If snow is to Eskimos, rice to the Japanese,it looks like it’s emotions for Filipinos. If you’ve paid enough attention to the preceeding entries, our mother tongue has heaps of words for emotions—all twenty-one flavors of it, not counting the elusive umami parallel.