Independence Day, June 12 & July 4, 2014


“Prevent others from suffering what you have suffered, that in the future there be no brothers murdered or mothers driven to madness. Resignation is not always a virtue; it is a crime when it encourages tyrants: there are no tyrants where there are no slaves!” – Dr. Jose P. Rizal (Simoun to Basilio in EL FILIBUSTERISMO)

Advance happy Philippine and U.S. Independence Day, all…I write again after a long break. Glad to once again have time to write.

In its modern form, tyranny no longer always towers over us but instead now burrows itself deep into our psyche that we, ourselves, stand in our own way, perhaps more profoundly, aiding and abetting those who strip us of our true power and value, after they mine from us the same for their own use.

Independence Day should remind us not only of history but also of the modern day internal struggle we all have, which we must also heroically win.

We all endure our own struggle in finding our true personal power. What I have learned through my own life is that while it is important to look outward for inspiration, we should not neglect to also fix our attention inward so that we may draw from what we abundantly already have within.

Over the past 18 months, my personal journey has been replete with blessings. I have had to teach my self to take in these blessings graciously, a mark I suppose of my own personal development, noteworthy enough in my mind to process and share a bit.

It wasn’t that long ago that I would have seen myself ‘undeserving of winning’; I still, to this day, look away from the glare of praise, even from my trusted students. I was raised to be humble, and I was trained by mentors to lead with humility. Community organizing, after all, has no celebrities; there is only room for solutions and everyone’s empowerment.


Somehow and somewhere along the way, my mentors’ valuable lessons morphed into some kind of negative limiting belief that made me not only put my original dreams on pause but also made me build the dreams of others, thinking that it was not my time still. I believed this for years.

At the end of 2011, I woke up, thanks, primarily, to my beautiful wife who made me see more clearly, and, secondarily, to my family and good friends who believed enough in my dreams to also make them their own.

Trust me when I tell you that there is self-belief in waking up, that there is power in self-belief. I wish all of you to find soon your self-belief for it is sweet and its gifts are abundant. At some point, all the preparing, learning, and observing must give way to doing.

If you have also been keeping your own dream hostage, set her free. It is time. Do not fear it. She will be a blessing to you and to many others, many of whom you are destined to meet.

Best of all, by doing so — by believing enough in your own dream to give birth to it — you will set your true self free.



Training with the late Guru Bill Aranda, Note #4

Training date: Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I remember the most from training:
I was taught the meaning behind the ‘single’ in single sinawali and the ‘double’ in double sinawali. I was also taught upside down double sinawali, and ‘bak-bak’ (?). In addition I learned a little bit about distance and an application of ‘hakbang paiwas’.

What the session made me understand/think/learn
1) Sinawali is a method of striking and connecting with a target in a very organized way. Single sinawali is about single-motion striking: one arm strikes high, medium, low in sequence. Double sinawali is about double-motion striking: both arms working in a loop and in a parallel but opposite motion, i.e., as one strikes, the other is cocked, ready to strike. Sinawali is an efficient defense and offense against multiple targets because of the multiple strikes it can generate in a short amount of time and at various levels (high, medium, low). Sinawali can be executed wildly with extended arm movements in order to strike undefined targets, or more conservatively with small/short arm/wrist movements in order to strike specific targets.

To help me visualize it, I think of another similar approach to making a connection, this time electric current, namely series and parallel circuits. Single sinawali is similar to a series circuit in that it is about single motion, like a series of light bulbs being lit one after the other; there is only one path in a series circuit in which the current can flow. Double sinawali is similar to a parallel circuit in that it is about parallel motion, like a loop of lightbulbs being lit simultaneously.

Training with the late Guru Bill Aranda, Note #2

Training date: Sunday, January 20, 2013

What I remember the most from training:

It was much more a contemplative session than a physical training session.

  • While I was taught a “sayaw” primarily to show me what to do with my ‘live hand’
  • I also got into an honest and probing conversation about both things personal and FMA practitioner

What the session made me understand/think/learn

Novelty/innovation is always there. Dynamic systems theory says novelty, or innovation, is built into systems; it’s always there because solutions — some of which may need to be novel ideas — are always available to a system internally when that system goes off balance, at least according to this theory.

My evolving view of martial arts nowadays is that FMA is not a system, gung fu is not a system, none of the specific martial arts is a system. These are subsets of a larger system. The larger system is using human limbs (which number only four for everyone) to fight. So, from this perspective, innovation is always there, and its comes from human creativity, represented by the different subsets, or fighting styles. I think this view is older than Bruce Lee, by the way. Humans have been fighting and adapting to each others’ fighting styles for as long as we learned how to punch and kick.

You reminded me that you teach me what you learned, not what you were were taught. To me that means the same thing that I’m now looking for: not a style but how to optimize how I naturally fight, i.e., uncover and hone how my body naturally moves. Why would one want this? So that you fight with more fluid movement without thinking; so that you fight according to the way your body naturally moves.

In this sense, all fighting is both unique and common. A #3 strike is either going to come from the center line, or outside it. Whatever unique path or extra steps we take to get to the target from inside and outside the center line is and can be unique to how we naturally move, but ultimately, the strike can only come from inside or outside the centerline, i.e., the expression may be unique, but the principle is the same.

Is novelty/innovation possible in martial arts? My take on the answer is yes and no. It is both/and, not either/or. Innovation is possible and not possible. I say this not to be philosophical, but to express a nuanced view of novelty, or innovation. It is possible, but this is so when you focus on media, or expression, or ‘hardware’. It is also not all that clear that the principle behind an arrow versus a bullet — a projectile traveling at high speed to pierce a target — is all that different. When you think of ‘software’ – the underlying principle or meaning behind the use of an arrow or a bullet, you find that there is one underlying principle, as is the case in any punch or kick or strike.

In many ways, this both/and perspective is what FMA and ‘gung fu’ teaches us: there is innovation between the blade and empty-hand, between the stick and the blade. But the underlying principles behind strikes are the same.

Life lesson. In life, we have it within us to help ourselves, because novelty — new ideas, innovation, solutions — are baked into each of us. But it is also true that only in our engagement with others do we see our strengths and our weaknesses, and our interrelatedness to everything. Alone in our thoughts, in our inner world, we can find the answers we seek, the power we need to adapt and survive. But we are flawed; so some ideas are flawed. And it is only also through our engagement with our environment and in the quality of our relationships that we find what is right, the true path, the meaning behind life, behind personhood, behind community.

A student learning to fight has it in him to sort out how to use his limbs efficiently and effectively, and how to use tools as extensions of his limbs, if need be. But it is also true that he only learns to fight because his neighbors provoke him, or his teacher shows him principle and which techniques will not work in a real fight.

Training with the late Guru Bill Aranda, Note #1

Guru Bill asked me to do written homework in 2013 after each training session with him. His homework question was simple: “What did you think I was teaching you?” This series (four posts total) covers some of my notes resulting from training with him in his last year of life. Part of me still mourns him for he taught me not only FMA but also life.

Training day: Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I remember the most from training:

  • I was taught an alternate set of 12 angles of attack. They were similar to other sets of angles I already know, except for three: #7, #9 and #10. The transition from #6 and #7 was unnatural for me but I have sorted it out after repeated practice.
  • I learned three ways of executing angles #10-#12. These ways are combinations of thrusting and slashing/cutting strikes. Completely new material for me.
  • I was also taught a framework for understanding the origin of strikes, namely a framework of two origins: “abierta” (strikes originate from outside the center line) and “cerrada” or “serrada” (strikes originate from the center line). Knowing this allows me to figure out how to generate other strikes. I had never known this before.
  • We also reviewed footwork, but this time, using the asterisk drawn on the ground as a cue. This reminded me of GM Manaois footwork.

What I think I actually learned

I had to really think about this, knowing that the answer cannot be the obvious. It turns out the only way for me to be content with my response was to not make the search for an answer strictly an intellectual pursuit, but also a personal one. Doing this allowed me to be content with an answer that is true for me, as opposed to an answer that may be true only in the abstract. What is true is contingent on your standpoint.

I think I learned three fundamental things: fluid movement, precision, and speed.

I think these are some of the fundamental lessons of being asked to do all 12 angles progressively faster, i.e., in a count of 6, then 4, then 3, then 2 and finally as a singular, flowing motion. Speed makes the strikes carry more power. Precision makes them serve their function. And fluid movement enables the person to integrate the strikes into the way his body would naturally move, including where to place one’s weight, how to manage one’s footwork, how to move one’s shoulders, when to dip closer to the ground, and how to turn one’s body. Without consciously focusing on fluid movement, I find myself moving less gracefully, less natural and more contrived. I find that this not only slows my motions down because I have to think, but also disproportionately makes me rely on memory when striking instead of just naturally striking. Reminds me of that one lesson about “fighting with no mind.”

Kundiman music #1


Meditative and evocative at the same time, this video makes me feel more Filipino. I have watched it many times.  My aim is to easily find it whenever I want to watch it by posting it here. If you are to be similarly touched by the music as a result of my selfish act, then that would be icing on the cake.

For little-known historical info on the lost practice of ‘kundiman’ and ‘harana’, go here and here. May this beautiful practice of nationalism, respect, chivalry and tenderness find the youth generation that will aim to restore it with sincerity.

More info from youtube:
“Guitar Duo of Michael Dadap and Florante Aguilar perform Joselinang Baliwag, the most popular song during the revolution against Spain in the 1800s. Arranged by Michael Dadap for 2 guitars, the song is part of the Folkloric Suite in Dadap and Aguilar’s upcoming duo album.

This footage is also an excerpt from the upcoming film Harana directed by Benito Bautista and produced by Fides Enriquez. Music video edited by Emma Francisco.”

Guro Bill Aranda (January 22, 1947 – April 12, 2013): A True Warrior’s Path


Guro Bill was like a father to me; he was bad-ass but he was also a thinking man, and pushed me to critically think about the principles behind FMA. I re-post this in his honor and with permission by Guro Dino Florence who originally wrote it. His original post is @ 

Guro Billʼs involvement in the Filipino Martial Art (FMA) has spanned a period of over 6
decades.  He has been studing and researcing this complete, ethnically Filipino, fighting
art with masters and guros of Kali, Escrima, & Arnis from both the Philippines & the
USA since the summer of 1962.  His years of training has familiarized him in the use of
single & double, equal & unequal length, rigid & flexible, bladed & impact weapons, and
in the Filipino empty hand art of bunoan (grappling), suntukan (boxing), & sipaan
(kicking).  Today he continues to actively promote the art through individual & group
classes and public seminars & demonstrations.


His years of practice has led him to see this simple, direct, & intuitive art not just as the fighting art that it is, but also as a path for personal growth (physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual) that can be taught and practiced by all people regardless of sex, age, nationality, and martial arts background.
It is his hope that through the FMA, people will develop an appreciation for All Things
Filipino (ATF) – especially its culture and history.


Guro Bill has trained with many different teachers specializing not only in the
FMA, but also in other weapon and empty hand based martial arts through
training seminars & classes given on an individual & group basis, in a formal &
informal environment, using structured & unstructured teaching methodology.
Through the years his training progressed through different phases.  From the
early 60s thru the 80s, the conscious effort was on learning the lessons taught by
his instructors (the how & when phase).  On the 90s, learning continued with an
emphasis on understanding the lessons (the what & why phase).  From the
beginning of the millennium to the present, the learning & understanding was
augmented with extracting the essence of the lessons using the Lee methodology.

The many instructors who have served as a guide and influence in Guro Billʼs
personal growth as a martial artist and to whom he will be forever grateful,
include the following:


• Guro Mike Barairo, Private Individual Training
Makati, Philippines
Eskrima, Arnis, Judo, & Boxing

• Guro Dan Inosanto, Formal Group Classes
Kali Academy of America, Torrance, CA
Leo Giron System (Arnis), & Angel Cabales System (Eskrima), Villabrille/Largusa
System (Kali), John La Coste System (Kali), Pekiti Tirsia (Eskrima)
Inosanto Academy, Culver City, CA

Leo Giron System (Arnis), & Angel Cabales System (Eskrima), Villabrille/Largusa
System (Kali), John La Coste System (Kali), Sikaran, Western Boxing, Wing
Chun, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Tai Chi
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA

Leo Giron System (Weapon All Ranges), Angel Cabales System (Weapon Corto
Range), Villabrille/Largusa System (Weapon & Empty Hands Training Methods &
all Ranges), John La Coste System (Weapon, Empty Hand, & Kicking Ranges),
Western Boxing (Empty Hands w/o Reference Points), JunFan Gung Fu (Energy
Drills, Chinese Boxing, Trapping, & Attacking Concepts), Silat (Leveraging
Concepts), Doce Pares System (Uneven Length Weapon), Siniwali (Equal
Length Weapon), Capoera (Brazilian Kick Boxing), Savate (French Kick Boxing),
Muay Thai (Thai Kick Boxing), Cinco Teros System (Long Range),
Suntukan/Sikaran (Filipino Kick Boxing), Carenza, Numerado, & Sumbrada
(Filipino Training Methods), with special emphasis on proper body mechanics,
fighting ranges, rhythm, & timing

• Guro Pete BatungBakal, Private Individual Training
Makati, Philippines

• Arnis, Tabak Toyok, Japanese Sai & Staff; through this teacher Guro Bill met GM
Porfiro Lanada of the Lanada System

• Guro Chris Kent, Formal Group Classes
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA
Inosanto Blended System using impact & bladed weapons, empty hands, and kick boxing

• Guro Ted LucayLucay, Formal Group Classes
Kali-Eskrima-Silat/JunFan Martial Arts Academy, Marina Del Rey, CA
Inosanto Blended System plus the LucayLucay Kali/JKD System of
Panantukan/Sikaran, Knife Fighting, tabak maliit

• GM Topher Ricketts, Private Individual/Group Training
Glendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Ilustrisimo (Eskrima, Kali), Sagasa (Filipino Karate), Ngo Cho Kun (Beng Kiam
Kung Fu), Boxing, Hand Sparring

• Guro Richard Bustillo, Inosanto Blended System
• Guro Jeff Imada, Inosanto Blended System
• Master Fernando Bernardo, Scientific Lightning Arnis
• Guro Louis Campos, Pentjak Silat Serak & Bukti Negara
• GM Bobby Taboada, Balintawak Arnis Cuentada
• Punong Guro Edgar Sulite, LAMECO Eskrima
• Pendekar Guru Besar Herman Suwanda, Pencak Silat Mande Muda
• GM Leo Giron/Master Tony Somera, Bahala Na Arnis/ Eskrima
• GM Dionisio Canete, Doce Pares Eskrima
• Guro Hans Tan, Kalis Ilustrisimo
• GM Ising Atillo, Atillo Balintawak Eskrima
• GM Irineo Olavides, Caballero JDC-IO
• Master Rey Galang, Bakbakan Kali, Tulisan Knife Fighting System
• Guro Dino Flores, Ilustrisimo (Kali, Eskrima) and LAMECO Eskrima

• Guro Victor Gendrano, Private Individual/Group Training
All over Los Angeles County, CA
Inosanto Blended System, H2O FMA System impact & bladed weapons, empty
hands, & kicking techniques; drills; & controlled sparring
• Master Instructor Tony Morel, Formal Group Classes
Yama-Kan Kajukenbo Self Defense School, Austin, TX
• Master Joe Tan, Private Individual Training
Glendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Tapado Arnis long range fighting, striking concept
• Guro Bud Balani, Private Individual/Group Training
Gendale FMA Academy, Glendale, CA
Kali, Silat
• Master Ramon Rubia, Private Individual Training
Buena Park, CA
San Miguel Eskrima

From his long time FMA instructor and mentor Guro Dan Inosanto, Guro Bill also
learned the following valuable lessons in learning & teaching:

• to teach is to learn twice
• one ought to teach what one has learned not what one was taught
• the teacher is the pointer to the truth and not the giver of the truth
• all learning is ultimately self learning

Guro Bill believes that we are all seekers in this earthly journey of ours called life, that
there is a spiritual component to this life, and that ultimately we all seek the same
transcendental things.  He summarizes this belief in the following message to all his

To all seekers of “The Way, The Truth, & The Light”
Knowledge comes from The Master
Guidance comes from your instructors
Strength & Wisdom come from “within”

And it is in the spirit of these lessons and values that Guro Bill gained the courage to
share his art and hone his skill through teaching.  Guro Billʼs initial teaching experiences
were of the private, one on one type because they were easier to conduct.  Today he
continues to take private students because he enjoys the closer teacher/student
interaction.  His private, individual teaching experiences are listed below.

• 1981 an American co worker & black belt instructor in American Kenpo Karate at
the Northrop facility in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
• 1982 a Filipino CISI manager w/o prior martial arts training at the Meralco gym in
Pasig, Philippines
• 1985 an American co worker & senior instructor in Southern Praying Mantis Kung
Fu at the Northrop facility in Hawthorne, CA
• 1986 my American manager w/o prior martial arts training at the Litton facility in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
• 1992 a Filipino co worker & black belt student in Hawaiian Kenpo Karate at the
GTE facility in Thousand Oaks, CA
• 1995 a Vietnamese co worker w/o prior martial arts training at the SCE facility in
San Dimas, CA
• 1996 an American co worker w/o prior martial arts training at the Kaiser
Permanente facility in Pasadena, CA
• 2004 to present a Filipino friend w/o prior training, motivated by his brother who
passed away to study the art at the Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA
• 2006 an American friend & black belt student in Tae Kwon Do at Club Cascadas
de Baja in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
• 2007 my favorite Brazilian instructor in Kajukenbo from Ausin, TX at Club
Cascadas de Baja in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
• 2007 a Filipina acquaintance with no martial arts background, married to an FMA
student of GM Topher Ricketts, at their residence in Beverly Hills, CA
• 2011 an American acquaintance & black belt student in Kajukenbo at the
Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA

Guro Billʼs group teaching past & present teaching experience in a classroom
environment and training seminar format are listed below.

• 1993 to the present at the Glendale FMA Academy in Glendale, CA
• 1995 to 1996 at GM Bill Ryusakiʼs Hawaiian Kenpo Ryu Dojo in Chatsworth, CA
• 1997 at the Inosanto (Westchester) Academy in Los Angeles, CA as guest
instructor of Guro Victor Gendrano
• 2003 to the present at Master Tony Morelʼs Yama-Kan Kajukenbo Self Defense
School whenever he comes to visit his daughter, granddaughters, & hermano in
the art in Austin, TX
• 2004 at Professor Moses Williamsʼ Fire Dragon Martial Arts Institute in Austin, TX
• 2008 at Master Eddie Urbistondoʼs Panther Martial Arts Center in Camarillo, CA

Guro Bill also got the opportunity to hone his FMA Estillo Entablado (Stage Style) skills
while performing as part of a demo team at the following events:

• 1985 Marina Yacht Club Dinner, Marina Del Rey, CA
• 1986 China Town New Year Celebration, Los Angeles, CA
• 1996 Ryu Dojo Beach Training Weekend, Ventura, CA
• 2005 Annual South American Hispanic Festival, Los Angeles, CA
• 2006 Annual Festival of Filipino Art & Culture, San Pedro, CA
• 2007 Historic Filipino Town Festival, Los Angeles, CA
• 2008 West Coast FMA Congregation, Duarte, CA

Personal Life
Guro Bill was born in the city Manila, the former capital of the Philippines, in the island
of Luzon in January, 1947.  He migrated to the US in July, 1967.  The same year he got
married to his wife, Tina Palanca Aranda. Together they have 2 daughters and 5
grandkids – Kristen & Kate from Claudine & Kevin Thorne of Austin, TX and Madison,
Nick, & Kit from Catherine & Scott Braybrooke of Hermosa Beach, CA.

Guro Bill received his Certificate of Citizenship in February, 1979 documenting his US
citizenship from birth by virtue of being the son of a US National, Filipino father (Antonio
Katigbak Aranda) and a US citizen, Filipina mother (Teresita Abad Santos Peralta), both
residents of the Philippines, a US territory, 1 year prior to giving birth to him.

Guro Bill currently resides in Glendale, CA in the apartment building he bought in 1986
with his 2 brothers and the present location of the Glendale FMA Academy, he
established in January 1993.  He is by profession an independent Information
Technology (IT) consultant and by avocation, a perpetual martial art teacher/student.

Formal Education

Ateneo University, Loyola Heights, Philippines
Major Economics, Minor Accounting, 1st  – 3rd Year

Loyola University of Los Angeles, Westchester, CA
BS Economics, 4th Year

ITT Computer Learning Center, Los Angeles, CA
Certificate in Computer Systems & Programming


Services for :

Guerillmo “Billy” Aranda
Guro Bill

Born – January 22, 1947
Died – April 12, 2013

Visitation will be on:

Wednesday April 17, 2013
@ 10-9pm

Thursday April 18, 2013
@ 10-4pm

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1712 S. Glendale Blvd. Glendale, CA

Prayer service on:

Thursday April 18, 2013
@ 6:15 pm

Forestlawn Chapel
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1712 S. Glendale Blvd. Glendale, CA

Funeral Mass

Saturday April 20, 2013
@ 10:00am

Incarnation Church
1001 N Brand blvd
Glendale, CA 91202

Please feel free to share this information with All his Martial Arts family
and friends.

Excerpts from my soon-to-be novel…


Sharing a couple of excerpts from my first historical fiction novel…It is abundantly about Filipino martial arts (FMA) on the surface, and the first contact with Spanish conquistadors, but it is also about the resilience of an ancient people that derived wisdom from a keen understanding of their environment and each other, and a healthy respect for the spirits of the natural world.

Nearly eight years in the making, I will keep you posted when the novel finally comes out. Aiming to get it out there by October 2014 for Filipino American History Month. I look forward to your feedback.

Copyright © 2011 by Russell B. Vergara WGA Intellectual Property Registry #1508807

Excerpt #1

Bagitong-a-wigwigan paused for a second to allow Aponidaydayawen to react. But what the messenger did not know is that Aponidaydayawen already knew what was to be asked of him, thanks to bimmake loyal to him who knew those close to the elders. From the hundreds of clans among the Ifugao there were probably over seven hundred bimmake already in service, and another one hundred in training. Aponidaydayawen expected to hear what he heard. He knew the elders well; he had served them for years, and understood the decision-making conventions they often used. When caught in a difficult situation, they reliably favored a course of action that saved face. Aponidaydayawen knew that the elders would avoid the possibility of a showdown with him and his bimmake by demoting him.  He played along to protect his sources.

“May I go on, my lord?”

“Please, messenger. Go on.”

“The elders see a need to punish you, and ensure balance: make sure everyone who is watching knows not to disobey the elders, and that there are consequences if one does. Your punishment is to be stripped of your title as mangipangpangulo of the clan’s bimmake.”

Bagitong-a-wigwigan paused once more to soften the other blow yet to come. He searched for a reaction in Aponidaydayawen’s face; there was none.

“May I go on, my lord?”


“The eight bimmake most loyal to you are stripped of their bimmake status, as well. You are all forbidden to leave the village and to engage in any village affair. If you must leave, even for personal errands, it needs to be done under specific permission from the elders…I know this is difficult to hear, my lord. I am simply the messenger.”

“I understand, Bagitong-a-wigwigan. Is that the end of the message?”

With his open right palm down, the messenger cut the air before his face to signify that he had reached the end of his prepared message.

Excerpt #2

“I am so tired, manong. And I’m glad you are here,” Bugan responded.” Our brothers have been my strength this whole time … but we still look to you since you are our eldest brother. We need you. – When will you finally settle home?”

Aponidaydayawen felt the sting of guilt. He could not respond immediately as a good answer eluded him.

“I do not know. Our clan continues to need me and my men, and I don’t know when our duty will be over.”

“You’ve said that so many times, manong, but you always manage to find another mission. It’s not just us who need you – so do your wife and your young son. They are managing without you but is that the life you want for them – a life without you?” Bugan asked.

“I’m fulfilling my sworn responsibility …” Aponidaydayawen responded.

“No, manong, you are making a choice,” Bugan replied. “And you continually choose your duty over family.”

“I am a bimmake.

“You are a selfish dreamer!” Bugan shouted, her grief and anger in full bloom. “And like every other dreamer, you hurt the people who love you most! … We carry the weight of the world with you, and daily live up to your unrealistic and unfair sense of responsibility for others, whether we like it or not … What have others done for us? We have our own problems to solve. Why not let others do the same with their own problems? Worry about their own? Fight for their own? Advocate for their own?”

“Because they cannot!” replied Aponidaydayawen, upset. “Not every one has the same fighting spirit as you and our younger brothers. There are many of our people who need to borrow the strength of others, who depend on the might of others. These are the people whom I have sworn to serve … and I cannot turn my back to them. They are not as fortunate as you. You, our brothers, mother – you may not see me as much as you would like, but you do not need me to survive, to live a quality life. You have everything you need.”

“… Except you, manong. You have given yourself to others and you continue to choose them over your own family,” Bugan said. “I do not fault you, manong because I know you do not know how to live a different life; you get hopelessly lost when you try. I know living your life the way you do is how father raised you — a conscientious member of our clan. I just want you to appreciate the sacrifices we are making because you have chosen this path. I feel badly for your wife and son, the most. They need you more than you think…And this is what I believe…Many of us largely misunderstand the community. Some view it as a child who waits to be served, who needs to be coddled. Others view it as a parent who is inflexible and to be feared, who must be followed at all times. Not many view it as an adult, who competently blazes her place in the world, who has her own vision of how the world ought to be, and who strives to do her best in living a life that is honorable and right…The community does not need you, brother. It is stronger and more resilient than you think.”