Archive for the ‘health and wellness’ category


August 18, 2014

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Let me continue on the issue of hunger, which many politicians are raising howls this early in time for the 2010 polls. The tendency right now, with politicians’ short-sightedness and poverty of wisdom, is that hunger will be perpetuated and sustained even long after the same politicians are all dead.

In the study on fair trade & food security I did for the national center for fair trade and food security (KAISAMPALAD), I already raised the howl about hunger and recommended policy and institutional intervention.

Since other experts, notably nutritionists, already highlighted many factors to hunger and under-nutrition, such as lifestyle problems, economics, and lack of appropriate public policy, I preferred to highlight in that study the factor of trade on food insecurity and the hunger malaise. Let me cite some cases here to show how trade and hunger are directly related:

• Immediately after the termination of the sugar quota of the USA for Philippine-sourced sugar in the early 80s, the domestic sugar industry collapsed. 500,000 hungry sugar workers and their dependents had to line up for food, a tragedy and calamity that shamed the country before the international community. Till these days, the trauma caused by that ‘line up for porridge’ solution remains among those children of those days who are now adults, one of whom became my student at the University of the Philippines Manila campus (a girl).

• Two years ago, a cargo ship carrying PETRON oil to the Visayas got struck with leaks and a tragic spillage covering wide swaths of sea waters. The island province of Guimaras suffered catastrophically from that incident, its economy was as bad as a war-torn economy for one year. Its marginal fishers couldn’t fish for at least one year as the sea spillage had to cleaned up. The hunger and under-nutrition caused by that tragedy is indubitably related to a trade activity: oil being transported to a predefined destination.

• At the instance of trade liberalization on fruits upon the implementation of a series of GATT-related and IMF-World Bank sanctioned measures that began during the Cory Aquino regime, the massive entry of apples and fruit imports immediately crashed tens of thousands of producers of local mangoes, guavas and oranges, as domestic consumers (with their colonial flair for anything imported) chose to buy fruit imports in place of local ones. Economic dislocation and hunger instantly resulted from the trade liberalization policy.

The list could go on and on, as we go from one economic and/or population to another. What is clear here is that trade measures and activities do directly lead to food insecurity and the attendant problems of malnutrition and hunger. In the case of the Guimaras oil spillage calamity, humanitarian hands such as the Visayan provinces and Manila’s mayors’ offices, added to private and NGO groups, quickly moved to help the affected residents. Of course the PETRON itself took responsibility for the spillage, clean up, and offered humanitarian help as well. But did trade stakeholders ever paid for the hunger malaise suffered by the sugar workers and families, fruit small planters, and other families in the aftermath of shifting trade policy?

A strategic solution to trade-related hunger would be to constitute a Hunger Fund, whose funds shall come from at least 0.1% of all tariffs (on imports). A 0.1% tariff alone today translates to P800 million approximately, or close to $20 Million. This can serve as an insurance of sorts for trade-induced hunger. The funds will then be administered by an appropriate body, comprising of representatives from diverse sectors and headed by a nutritional scientist of international repute (e.g Dr. Florencio) rather than by a politician or ignoramus species.

Furthermore, insurance groups here can begin to innovate on food production-related insurance to cover force majeure damages. Cyclone insurance and earthquake insurance would be strong options for agricultural producers, even as other options can be designed most urgently.

I would admit that trade-related hunger and its solutions are practicable for the productive sectors of our population. There are 2.3 million street people today who comprise the relatively ‘unproductive sectors’, who all suffer from hunger. This need to be tackled as a distinct sector and problem, and discussed separately.

[Phiippines, 28 July 2008]
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July 1, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day from the boondocks west of Manila!

Below are update studies and reports done regarding health. The greater focus on the materials is reproductive health. This has great relevance for the Philippines in particular, where reproductive health has been a raging public policy issue for some time now.

There is so much mis-understanding about reproductive health on the side of church players and conservative groups who now manifestly equate reproductive health with killing babies. It is best that those stakeholders should get exposed to the research & development updates about reproductive health, and they should desist from using reproductive health to heap up hysteria aimed at a new Inquisition that will see millions of ‘heathen burnt at stake’.

[Philippines, 26 June 2011]


Maternal, newborn, child and reproductive health

Produced by: The Global Health Council (2010)

This position paper on maternal, newborn, child and reproductive health contains detailed information about each health area, the key interventions that are needed and the Global Health Council’s positions and recommendations for making progress in these areas.

Key conclusions from this paper are:
• improved maternal, newborn and child health can enable families to break out of a cycle of ill health and poverty that may otherwise continue for generations.
• smaller family size and appropriately spaced births allow families and governments to invest more in each child’s education and health, which raises productivity and economic growth.
• poor health adversely affects family income, caregiving, and productivity.
• illness and death contribute to the impoverishment of families through medical expenditures they can ill afford, reducing funds for necessities, such as food and education.
The paper also makes the following recommendations:
• promote integrated programmes.
• focus on health systems.
• establish standard metrics and methodologies.
• conduct epidemiological assessments.
• deliver health systems in an equitable manner.
• promote national authority.
• hold stakeholders accountable for results.
• increase resources to maternal, newborn, child and reproductive health.
• increase support to country-led efforts.
• harmonise funding from all sources.
• hold governements to their international agreement commitments.
• encourage partnerships and evidence- based programming.

Available online at:

Champions for children: state of the world’s mothers 2011

Produced by: Save the Children Fund, USA (2011)

This State of the World’s Mothers report ranks 164 countries on women’s access to health care, education and opportunities. Whereas millions of children are alive today because of past investments in lifesaving programs, the authors note that 22,000 children still perish per day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes.

The authors contend that Norway is the world’s best place to be a mother. Also, eight of the 10 top-ranked countries are in Western Europe, and the remaining two are in the southern hemisphere, with Australia ranking second and New Zealand eighth. On the other hand, eight of the world’s 10 worst countries to be a mother are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The worst place in the world to be a mother, according to the authors, is Afghanistan. The authors argue that despite ongoing conflict and rising civilian casualties, expecting mothers in Afghanistan are at least 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from bombs or bullets. A case in point is the fact that one in 11 Afghan women die from pregnancy or childbirth complications in her lifetime and only 14 percent of mothers in the country give birth with help from any kind of skilled health worker. In Norway, by comparison, the risk of maternal mortality is only 1 in 7,600 and nearly all births are attended by skilled help.

The report notes that in many countries, vaccines, antibiotics, and care during pregnancy are hard to reach and as a result child and maternal death rates are very high.

In light of this, the authors conclude that while many countries are making progress, many are still lagging behind and thus in need of support. Finally, the authors argue that effective solutions to this challenge are affordable – even in the world’s poorest countries.

Available online at:

Good practice guide: community mobilisation through women’s groups to improve the health of mothers and babies

Produced by: Women and Children First (UK) (2011)

This good practice guide, based on the experience of a project in India and Bangladesh called Saving Mothers and Children, describes an approach that has the potential to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, and to address other health problems. The project worked through women’s groups, using a participatory learning and action cycle, to mobilise community action to improve the health of mothers and babies.

The aim of the guide is to provide a case study of good practice in working with women’s groups to address maternal and newborn health and to share lessons learned from this experience. While the guide describes an approach used in rural communities in India and Bangladesh, this can be successfully adapted to different contexts.

In India, the project resulted in a 45 per cent reduction in newborn deaths and a reduction in maternal deaths, as well as a 57 per cent reduction in moderate maternal depression. In Bangladesh, the project resulted in an increase in uptake of health services. In both India and Bangladesh, the project resulted in a significant improvement in hygienic delivery practices, including use of delivery kits, and an increase in exclusive breastfeeding.

The project was implemented by an NGO, Ekjut, in India and the PerinatalCare Project of the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh (BADAS) in Bangladesh, together with the University College London Centre for International Health and Development and Women and Children First, an international NGO based in the UK.

In India, Ekjut worked in tribal communities in West Singhbhum and Saraikela Kharswan districts of Jharkhand State and the Keonjhar district of Orissa State. In Bangladesh, BADAS worked with three rural districts, Bogra, Faridpur and Moulavibazar.

Available online at:

Saving new born lives in Nigeria: new born health in the context of the integrated maternal, newborn and child health strategy

Produced by: Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria (2011)

This report contains new data that shows that as the death toll in Nigeria is falling, the percentage of deaths that happen in the first month of life is increasing. The authors report that newborn deaths now make up 28% of all deaths under five years compared to 24% two years ago. Also, six out of 10 mothers give birth at home without access to skilled care during childbirth and it is in the first few days of life when both women and newborns are most at risk. The authors argue that, since 241,000 babies die in the first month of life in Nigeria every year, Nigeria is the African country with the highest newborn death toll.

Key findings from the report:
• Nigeria’s mothers, newborns and children are dying in large numbers – nearly 3,000 each day.
• most of these young lives could be saved with existing interventions.
• the key interventions to save newborn lives are mostly possible through the existing health system and will prevent the deaths of mothers and older children– but coverage remains very low.
• more than a third of children’s deaths are attributed to maternal and child undernutrition.
• the policies needed to reduce newborn mortality are mostly in place and the cost is affordable.
• inadequate funding and stewardship of resources at all levels hampers the performance of the Nigerian health care system.
• the Nigerian health system is relatively rich in human resources comparedto many other African countries. However, there is inequitable distribution of staff to offer maternal, newborn and child health services.

The report calls for an increased focus on reducing newborn deaths, the vast majority of which are avoidable. The authors contend that thousands of newborn lives can be saved via simple methods, such as teaching mothers about danger signs, encouraging them to seek help early and making sure there is enough medicine and enough healthcare workers at community health centres. Whereas the policies are mostly in place and the cost is affordable, the authors argue that priority must be given to implementing these policies and making sure all families receive essential care.

Recommended actions for healthcare decision makers:
• ensure leadership, appropriate funding and accountability.
• orient policies, guidelines and services to include newborn care.
• effectively plan for and implement policies, including human resources, equipment and supplies.
• track progress and use the data to improve programmes.
• inform and communicate.

Available online at:

See our Health Resource Guide for a complete list of new additions at:


February 22, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


It is night time as I write this note. The easterly winds have been blowing, seemingly reminding us here of the coming hot days. While this happens, winter has been bringing storms in America, storms that accompanied the torpedoing of the new health bill, the torpedo ‘storm troopers’ being the neo-fascistic ‘Tea Party’ of the Republican Party.


The world is watching the unfolding events in America concerning health care. This analyst is among those keenly interested, as the matter of making health care accessible to everyone in my own country has been a mind-boggling challenge for the development experts. We have been scouting around for models of health care accessibility, and the concept of ‘universal healthcare’ that some experts are espousing in the USA is worth examining.


A question that arises from the unfolding events is this: is health care headed for a new summer in America, or is it moving towards a long winter? The enthused readers can go ahead and choose to discuss the matter, and generate their own opinions about it.


My own reflection about the matter makes me conclude preliminarily that America’s health care is heading towards a parallelism with the Nazi health care of the Hitler’s heydays in Germany. Nazi policy in health means a dichotomous delivery of access to health: make those strongest physically and mentally have access to state-sponsored health care, while close the access to those who are the weakest.


To reduce the cost of sustaining a state-sponsored health care program, eliminate those who are the weakest. Round up those with lingering ailments, the lame and blind, the ‘subhuman’ or below-normal intelligence, and so on, line them up on the wall and machine gun them to death.


My own reading of the events in America makes me see, among other things, the increasing closure of health care to the impoverished families and individuals there. Poverty now exceeds 40 Millions of Americans, with the Blacks and Latinos comprising the greatest percentage of ethnicities below poverty line.


It seems, as of now, that no one single political force has a monopoly of Nazi-type health policies there. True, the fascist wing of the Republicans, coming under the names of ‘Tea Party’ and ‘neo-conservatives’, have deep, elitist, condescending scorn for poor folks and colored peoples who are receiving too much state attention via welfare subsidies for health. But that is belaboring the obvious.


There are forces within the Democrat Party—masquerading in the mantle of liberalism—who would have none of the drift of America towards a Welfare State akin to what befell Europe. They know that America’s coffers don’t cough up enough funds for subsidies, so what they do is pretend to be pro-people by voting for bills that allocate greater state subsidies for health care.


Such forces are making use of political parties as Trojan Horses to wage a sadistic attack against the poor people of America. They will brook no quarters in excluding the poorer folks, including immigrants, from mainstream health care, and they commit the heinous act through rigmaroles of legislative fiats.


While such new Nazis, and real Nazis to stress the point, fiddle their superficial policy agenda and do backroom maneuvers that concern health care, hundreds of thousands of poor folks die yearly of every kind of ailment there. By dilly-dallying on the galvanization of the ‘universal health care’ idea alone, numerous dying folks are already being sacrificed in the altar of Evil there.


Let us all watch closely the events concerning health care, and see what happens after another year will elapse. If it will be so easy to forecast that more Americans are being kept out of the health care circuits, then rest assured a Nazi killer agenda is in place to satisfy the sadistic lust for blood by demoniacs in the Establishment.


That being so, the rest of the world, more so the emerging markets, will add another reason to their rising list of rationales for ignoring America as a recognized leading state by showing leadership through example. The year 2012 will be a clear turning point, when nations will decide whether there is still an iota of leadership that America can demonstrate.


Health is wealth, and a nation that closes health care access to its people is a nation without soul and conscience. Other nations should move on in life without that soul-less state to reckon with.


[Philippines, 17 February 2011]




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February 12, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


In the province of Ilocos Norte, in northern Philippines, is a pilot project for wind energy… Hydraulics application has already seen the rise of dams that generate at least couples of thousands of megawatts of power… Geothermal energy will be breaching the 3,000 megawatt level soon, making PH the world’s top geothermal power producer.


There are more such narratives of nascent and maturing power producers that tap alternative energy sources, or energy other than fossil fuel. We have vast reserves of natural gas in the country, which is fossil-related though clean energy in classification.


Solar power is a sunrise industry, and the good news is that our engineers here have exceeded the capability level of those in California and elsewhere in producing state-of-the-art solar panels. Ocean power research & development is proceeding at rapid pace, with installations projected in pilot areas in the short run.


Wind power potentials of the Philippines itself is projected at past the 70,000 megawatt level, which is a whopping figure that is over five (5) times the current electricity needs. Already, over 3,000 megawatts of wind power projects are in the pipeline, either as on-going or soon-to-start-installation projects.


In Manila, shuttle vehicles powered by electricity ferry shoppers at the Araneta Center and the Mall of Asia or MOA. Jeepneys in Makati using electricity are also shuttling shoppers as well as employees around the classy Ayala Central Business District, the country’s financial center. Tricycles powered by electricity are also rising, while motorbikes powered by electricity are now in use in Palawan.


The news about the usage of alternative energy is increasing by the day in the Philippines. Hopefully, the industrialized Northern countries will move ahead in shifting towards clean energy despite the economic downturns they are now experiencing. Emerging markets are surging ahead in this very dynamic field, and this phenomenon is causing me a sense of fulfillment and happiness being a habitué of the ASEAN.


In previous articles, I already shared the information about China’s perfection of the nuclear fusion technology. The news first reached my attention in 2007, and at that time it was projected that the first commercial prototypes for fusion breeder plants will be out in 10 years time. That means that as early as 2016 China will launch nuclear plants powered by fusion technology.


So dynamic is the field of alternative energy R & D that the sources of ideas for it are like oceans of thought. There simply are too many options for deriving alternative energy, so that in the not-so-distant future the starships for traversing space will be fueled by clean-recyclable-inexhaustible energy.


Let’s take the planet itself and its constant motion. As the planet moves around its axis, torque is generated. Torque is a potential source of energy, and for as long as the Earth revolves around its axis, torque will be inexhaustible. This is one area that I wish to be involved in the R&D phase itself.


Airplanes, airships, rockets and satellites can be fuelled in the future by torque among many options. By airships I mean maritime ships of today that can be retrofitted and re-engineered to be able to fly in the air, though at low altitudes, thus turning into a more efficient passenger vehicle more than today’s airplanes.


Another planetary source of energy for tomorrow is albedo. Around 1/3 of the heat that gets to the Earth from the Sun and other celestial sources escape as albedo. My thesis is that the escaping albedo can be tapped as an inexhaustible source of energy.


Necessarily, the policy environment and institutions that will propel clean energy and make it the sole energy source in the future should be prepared and strengthened early enough. Incidentally, the Philippines is among the countries with an exemplary policy environment for clean energy, and so industrialized and emerging markets can emulate the experience of my country in this line of endeavor.


The long-term goal, of course, is to rid the planet of fossil fuel. At some point in the future, extraction of oil & gas should be put to a stop. Prolonged extraction is causing imbalances in the geological structures of the planet, imbalances that can be irreparable in the long run. It would be best to carve out a global policy architecture to cease all fossil fuel extractions in the future, and enforce this strictly.


I would be celebrating the day when fossil fuel will cease to be the source of electricity and vehicular power in the foreseeable future. As far as electricity generation is concerned, the Philippines is almost there. But I shall wait a bit till electricity will be totally clean and using non-fossil energy sources.


[Philippines, 09 February 2011]





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February 4, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Magandang araw sa kapamilyang global! Good day to global community fellows!


This year 2011 will mark the 21st year that this analyst (sociologist, economist, political analyst) and self-development guru has been practicing powerlifting as a regular physical regimen. Being a former competitive athlete in national powerlifting Class A (equivalent to ‘professional’) in Ph, I will dedicate this note to the Zest Fitness Gym, the topgun powerlifing gym that made me into a national athlete and consistent gym weight burner.


This is the narrative of my physical history, fellows. I’ve been doing gym weight training for 21 years now, with no signs that I’d be dropping off powerlifting as my regular physical regimen. I owe it to the Zest gym this love for weight training and the scientific rigor that goes with that training.


I used to jog and swim for eight (8) years prior to my plunge into weight training in 1990. In 1982 I almost lost my life, neglectful as I was then for two (2) straight years of living an active professional and civil life but without a physical program. I contracted falciparum malaria along the way and almost died of it, and so the decision came to me never again to be remiss in my physical fitness programming.


Within a week I would jog for a day or two, and then in between jogging I would swim for at least a day or two in a week. I would jog for around 30-45 minutes, and swam 20 laps in the Olympic pool. My exercises were largely survival training types or non-competitive. I began to pump some weights in ‘86 through ‘89 to give some firmer shapes to my muscles while I continued with the jog & swim regimen.


Then in 1990 I decided to go straight gym or indoor workouts. I simply scorned the days when I couldn’t jog or swim due to heavy rains or inclement weather as the rains restrained me from getting exposed to the elements. So in 1990 I decided to go regular gym workouts, since I can do the workouts even if the stormy day is already whistling Signal No. 2 typhoon beacons.


I was then residing in Cubao, Quezon City, and from there I took a ride to University of the Philippines (Diliman) to do workouts at the PRO Gym. Barely just six (6) months in weight training then, I stumbled into the Zest gym just near my residential area. I was surprised that there was one gym there where topgun powerlifters trained, and it was just around 12 minutes walk from my home.


The gym got me curious about powerlifting, as I was then doing the typical body-building program. An orientation chat with Ramon ‘Mon’ Dabuque, owner and chief trainor of Zest, convinced me sufficiently to try out with the program. Powerlifting builds mass, power and agility, and that was enough to make me try it and linger on with it till now.


Sports science provided the core ‘best practices’ to the Zest weight training, a fact that fascinated me a lot. Being a former weightlifter at the University of the Philippines and a national athlete, Mon Dabuque was very meticulous in doing research and testing the applications of certain programmed practices. Even our diet regimen had to pass the rigors of R & D tested regimen for athletes.


It was through Zest, with its bounty of sports science magazines and literature, that informed me highly about the combinations of macrobiotics (65% carbo, 20% protein, 15% fats), sufficient microbiotic supplements (vitamins, minerals), and catalytic boosters. That knowledge was to be added to my arsenal of knowledge packages about health & wellness, at a time when I was already an advocate of alternative health paradigms.


The program for us athletes then was a combination of the Bulgarian program, Hawaiian program, regular (generic) powerlifting basics, and Mon Dabuque’s innovative experimental program. Scientific and very rigorous, couples of weakling types dropped out of the regimen, while couples of others, myself included, proceeded to take the challenge of winning head on via the rigorous and disciplined regimen.


The beauty with scientific programming is that even if the trainee doesn’t possess ‘muscular genetics’ (low muscular intelligence), the trainee can still be transformed into a topgun powerlifting athlete. Sports science is the cutting edge, and I am witness to the power of scientific training under a brilliant trainor/instructor. Many of us athltetes, myself included, possessed sloppy frail body types with no muscular genetics and yet made it to the top as national-level athletes while just new into powerlifting.


In less than a year of powerlifting training, I decided to try it out in the National Powerlifting Novice Competitions in 1991, and wondrously landed as Bronze Medalist on the Lightweight division. Emboldened by the victories of our Zest Team and the medal I won, I worked hard for a year to qualify for the National Class A Powerlifting Competitions in 1992, and landed as Silver Medalist in the Middleweight division.


During both competitions, I was witness to how the Zest Team lionized the greatest number of medals and bested all other gyms in the total Team scores. PH’s topgun powerlifters—Mon Dabuque, Tony Taguibao, Eddie Torres, Allan Paje, Erlina Pecante—whom we can correctly classify as ‘world class’ athletes today, are from Zest.


To be able to qualify as a national-to-international class athlete, one has to carry a total of over 7 X his/her body weight, by adding altogether his/her performance in Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press. On my last competition, with body weight at around 68 kilograms, my Deadlift was 210 kg, Squat at 167 kg, and Bench Press at 92 kg. I was near that mark just barely 18 months or so into powerlifting, thanks to scientific training.


I also became a member of 200 Club, comprising those who can carry a load of over 200 kilograms in any event—I did it in deadlift. Later, I would learn that Eddie Torres and Mon Dabuque became members of the 300 Club, enabled as they were to carry a load breaching 300 kilograms in their deadlift and/or squat. I was truly ecstatic at my own feat, just 18 months into powerlifting then, and felt edified to have been a Team Mate with the topguns who also became my friends.


I was about to train for the Asian Powerlifting in 1993 when PH was entitled to send a double team (meaning two athletes per weight division). Unfortunately, I was knocked out cold by lingering tonsillitis, decidedly had to undergo surgery, and eventually led to the huge drop in my performance. Late that year, after surgery, I decided to retire from competitive sports, and focus instead on using power training as my regular physical fitness regimen.


Twenty-one years later, I still am a consummate gym worker amid my advancing age. Let me express herewith my gratitude to Zest gym and its core trainor Mon Dabuque, and my continuing appreciation and admiration of topguns Mon Dabuque, Eddie Torres, Erlina Pecante, Tony Taguibao, Allan Paje, and my other Team Mates.


To Zest Gym, Mabuhay!


[Philippines, 01 February 2011]




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January 19, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza
2011 has already started, and it began with an ambience of all-time high optimism across Asian countries. In my beloved country Filipinas, the Hope index measured an incomparable 89%, or that Filipinos are of the predominant hopeful mood that all will be well for their respective lives.

To start the year right, it would be best for each and every one of us to set our goals for the year. On the informal level of the lifeworld, there is this fancy for setting ‘new year’s resolution’ as the old year is about to end and the new year is just minutes away. This ritualistic practice can be improved on if the person sit down and put into writing the goals for the year.

As a professional, I have made it my personal practice to set goals for the year since I began working way back in 1981 yet. Then, at the end of the year, I would assess the level of goal attainment, correct flaws by rectified goal-attainment for the coming year, and then setting all in all the goals for the year in a very organized manner.

It would be best if you scribble your goals in the very diary or appointment book that you are using for the current year. Identify just about a few workable or doable goals, e.g. in my practice I would have just three (3) maximum goals to work on. Scribble each goal thereafter on a distinct or dedicated page in your diary.

After I write down a goal, I would then write some descriptions of the goal, and even identify sub-goals. Then, it would pay that I would also identify the ways to achieve the goal and sub-goals.

You can go ahead and prioritize the goals. Present the goal first which is top priority, then which is moderate priority, and which is least priority. Go ahead and scribble descriptions, sub-goals, and articulations about quantitative and qualitative targets.

After writing down your goals, make sure to check them every week or so. It would be bad practice to log them in, and then forget to check on them later.

The style of goal-setting can be as creative as it can get. For the prepped up young working persons, adding graphic images and jotting down the goals on one’s Blackberry or cellphone would be add fun and excitement to the goal-setting and execution.

For all ye global citizens, please don’t forget to set your goals for the year. If you have no fondness for this kind of exercise, better rethink about your position and begin the practice for your own sake. Moving ahead blindly, without a personal plan for the year, is like straitjacketing yourself.

[Philippines, 14 January 2011]


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December 22, 2010


A pleasant day and Happy Holidays to fellow global citizens!

Yuletide season is now at our doors, and the spirit of fellowship has been harboring glad tidings of good news as Prof. Erle Frayne Argonza, a social analyst and self-development guru from Manila, has been continuing to gain mileage in his magnanimous efforts to enlighten humanity about the current social and cosmic issues. To date, dozens of online newspapers and magazines across the globe have featured Prof. Argonza’s writings on their very own websites.

Another very warming development most recently was the conferment by the Philippine Blog Awards of FINALIST-BEST SOCIETY, POLITICS & HISTORY BLOG on Prof. Argonza’s Ikonoklast. Thus, Prof. Argonza is indubitably among the Philippines’ top bloggers today, buttressing the earlier recognitions of him as one of the world’s top sociology bloggers.

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Join now the growing numbers of global citizens who find Light in Prof. Argonza’s englightening blogs!

Argonza & Associates Consulting
December 2010





December 20, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Kapayapaan! Peace be with you!


This social analyst and guru of self-realization already discoursed on the ‘peace project’ in so many previous articles (academic, spiritual, blogs). I will re-echo the ‘peace project’ as a fitting message for the Christmas holiday, an event that had already begun in the Philippines with the dawn mass or simbang gabi.


I will focus my peregrination though on the family aspect of life, on family peace, which admittedly was left behind in my past discourses. My previous writings were reflections about meta-narratives, about macro realities of war, peace accords, hostilities, discord among classes, ethnicities, and nations.


Wellness and the absence of it take place at many levels, so does it take place at the family level. Since this morph of wellness involves social relations and their affective manifestations, we will refer to it as psychosocial wellness. The term sounds like health-related, and it is: total wellness is the characteristic jewel of health, and health characterizes the quality of family relations.


Christmas celebrates peace in its universal sense, so does it celebrate family peace. The absence of hostilities at the family level—both nuclear and extended families—isn’t the only focal goal to attain as a wellness challenge. The greater challenge is to sustain healthy relations that will redound to growth-inducing bonds.


In philosophical terms, family living should strive to veer away from ‘death principle’/nihilistic state and traverse towards ‘life principle’/creative state. The family should be a ground to take stock of and repair the imbalances and disordered state (relative to dysfunctional) that all members invariably suffer from, rather than a ground for mere passive acceptance of each one’s weaknesses and defects. Coming to terms with such a state is the challenge of family living.


To substantiate my point, let me share to you a narrative about an old friend of mine who is couples of years my junior. Let me call him by a code name Phoenix. I met him in my campus dorm—at the University of the Philippines (Diliman)—while I was in graduate school in ‘84-‘86, he a young man who was intellectually inclined and ambitious. We instantly clicked with one another, became discussion partners and developed a lingering friendship. We both dreamt of authoring our own books in the future, a goal that both of us have already achieved.


While intellectually capable, I noticed that he couldn’t demonstrate his love for a woman and build a granite-strong Eros. A female student shed tears before me, as her love for Phoenix seemed burnt right away in the cold heart of the man. I have to appease the young woman no end, as she kept coming to me for comfort and let me read the poems she wrote for Phoenix (I was already into listening-counseling vocation then).


To my real shock, I found out from Phoenix’s own tongue that he grew up with a father who showed no compunction in beating him up. From childhood through his college years, Phoenix was cruelly abused by his father, who was without mistake a dangerous sociopath. Were it not for Phoenix’s own high-achievement predisposition, his learning could have been badly impaired by the demonic hostility of his own father.


Phoenix eventually finished his masteral degree, took up law which he also finished (U.P. College of Law), became a successful professional, and authored his book (it was published later). Good looking and conversationally engaging, he was the epitome of success that a woman would find in a man. But the shock of it all is that his capacity for Eros, for loving a woman, had been impaired forever by the arid child-rearing he received from a sociopathic father.


There are too many persons out there whose life trajectories are similar or parallel to Phoenix’s. Many of them may have built families of their own, but chances are that, with the dysfunctionalities in them remaining un-addressed (via psychosocial therapy), their families could have disheveled. Some who parented kids have committed crimes of killing their own children/babies, others have committed fratricide, and still others killed their respective spouse. Truly catastrophic endings for families begun with good intentions!


If the personal imbalances in each family member remain un-addressed, they will become the cause of absence of peace internally and among family members. The dense energies within each one will simply keep on recycling and manifesting in hostilities and even suicidal ideation (intrapersonal hostility).


Christmas is a very fitting occasion for renewing bonds. Though bonds may be renewed without preconditions, the reunion during a Christmas occasion can serve as fitting moment for therapy. If each party to the reunion would attune to thoughts of delight founded on devotion, then the occasion would be subtly therapeutic.


That’s why Christmas is so important an occasion, not only for Christians but for men and women of all faiths and persuasions. As I declared in another article, Christmas should be globalized as a multi-cultural holiday. No matter what happens, let there be Christmas holiday every year, as it contributes to building psychosocial wellness at the family and friendship levels (friendship is marked by fraternal bonds).


So for this year’s Christmas holiday, let there be family peace unto all families on Earth. Let this family peace be a timeless testimony to our personal efforts to build peace at all levels of life.


Peace, love, Light unto all of you!


[Philippines, 16 December 2010]











December 12, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The Yuletide Season is now here with us, Christmas is a globalizing special event, so let me say my yuletide greetings to my fellow global citizens.

For this piece, the greatest love and care I wish to share is for the peoples of Africa. The post-colonial efforts of Africans to establish strong nations, sustain economic growth, and graduate to middle income countries have been marred by colossal barriers. Such barriers are strongly external, a matter I’ve treated in past articles, so I pray and wish that Africans will be able to dis-entangle from those encumbrances.

As a matter of revelation, I’ve long wanted to serve Africa as a development expert. There were already two (2) occasions for me to offer my services to do enterprise development for the continent, one for the southern African region (I could have based in Madagascar) and another for the northern region (Ethiopia could have been my base).

Having drafted some project prospectus for each of those endeavors, I then prepared to fly to the continent. Just as when I was ready to move on, driven by my eagerness to serve the peoples there, something happened to my clientele sponsor.  Communications stopped on the African side, which left my consulting team and myself wondering what was going on there.

I guess that’s how tough it is to push through with agenda of change anywhere in the continent. From North to South, East to West, enormous obstacles are getting in the way of change programs. In the end, the marginal peoples of Africa suffer all the more from misery, hunger, alienation, and psyche fragmentation.

I invite my fellow global citizens to please pray with me for the welfare and growth of Africans and the African nations. Let us wish together that Africa would be able to salve its ailing problems of poverty, hunger, dreaded diseases/poor health, discrimination against women & children, ecological degradation, and low human capacities. Let us pray that 2011 would be a much better year, as new opportunities for human development will flourish.

Peace is a pre-requisite for prosperity, for nation-building. So may those guns of warring enemies across the continent be silenced somehow and give way to dialogues for cooperation and mutual help. May there be more procurement of peace and the building of peace zones across the continent in the years ahead.

Let us also pray with the Africans that European imperialism, which seeks to fragment Africa in order that Euro-oligarchs will be able to get back the continent and exploit its natural resources, will erode all the more. May Euro-imperialism be consigned to history in the short-run, thus enabling Africa more breathing space for nation-building, cross-national cooperation, and prosperity.

Finally, let us pray and wish that Africans will be able to forge greater cooperation and unity among the nation-states, and strengthen the continental union that took them painstaking efforts to construct. Let there be a united Africa in the long-run, thus ending millennia of conflicts and hatreds.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you Africans!

Love & Light!

[Philippines, 10 December 2012]



December 9, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza


Christmas is now nearing as of this writing. Christmas bell tolls, kids’ carols, merry songs & dances are now up in the air, inviting everyone else to share the spirit of fun and camaraderie.


A Christian and sectarian holiday Christmas is, no one doubts this. Granted that Christmas is a sectarian affair, is it possible to transform it into a global/universal, multi-cultural event? There are apparently two (2) perspectives that clash concerning the matter.


From the point of view of fundamentalist, ultra-conservative church practitioners, whether Christian or non-Christian, Christmas is a sectarian affair and should not veer into cultural spaces not meant for its observation. A Muslim fundamentalist would throw monkey wrench at any attempt to globalize Christmas, and the same may be true for those fundamentalists of other denominations.


From the vantage point of a non-fundamentalist, cosmopolitan person, Christmas is one occasion that Christians can share to others. It is a multi-cultural affair, and it belongs to the whole of humanity for that matter. Ergo, everyone on Earth better attunes to the Christmas spirit and feel the ‘family of mankind’ fraternal bonds that the affair espouses.


As to where I stand in that polarity of perspectives, I am among those who wish to share the Christmas spirit as a multi-cultural blessing. Born a Catholic, but now a freethinker who espouses post-church spirituality, I remain attuned to the Christmas holidays just the same for the reasons stated above.


Christianity is a cult of Jesus, and I will have nothing to do with following or propagating such a cult. Esoteric Christianity, however, isn’t the same as the folk Christianity of the flocks who regard Jesus as a cult figure, and I squarely stand on the grounds of this mystical version of Christianity.


Esoteric Christianity teaches universal brotherhood among its core lessons. Universal brotherhood, a battle cry of cosmopolitan esotericists, is still a very valid principle to stand up for. It is the ethos that permits a soul to go beyond the bounds of sectarian precepts, embrace fellow humans as co-family members, and build a culture of dialogue across the planet.


I do hope that the more cosmopolitan Christians would consciously invite non-Christians to be part of the holidays, truly embrace their non-Christian brothers and sisters, and allow the latter to participate in such year-end party rituals as gift-giving. And, invite the non-Christians to 24th of December midnight gathering, where they can sit by the Christmas tree and partake of the food blessings for the occasion.


Non-Christians who may not be invited by Christians in their homes on the 24th & 25th of December can also go ahead and celebrate the affair with their families and friends on the said dates. Nothing is wrong for them to put up a Christmas tree at home and party on the 24th midnight and on the 25th of December. And, at the end of the month, celebrate New Year’s Eve too.


In the Philippines, the transformation of Christmas into a multi-cultural event has already been going on in the 60s till 1972. Unfortunately, the Mindanao War came, a Christian-Muslim schism was propagated, and Muslims became reluctant to celebrate Christmas with their brethrens among Christians.


I just hope that the tide of cleavages is now ebbing and ceasing. We formally recognize Muslim and Chinese occasions in this country, and so it would be fitting for all Filipinos including Chinese and Muslims to celebrate Christmas as well. By Chinese I refer to those Chinese who are Buddhist, Daoist, atheist, or non-Christian.


The occasions for Christmas parties are now going on, from one organization to another, and so it is best for us all to participate in these events. And, comes the 24th-25th of the month, celebrate Christmas at home as a ritual occasion to solidify family bonds. Then, comes the New Year’s Eve, celebrate with a Big Bang accompanying a party or gathering.


Peace be with you! Advanced Happy Holidays!


[Philippines, 08 December 2010]








December 4, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Pleasant day to you all!

The Maoists in Manila have just released the update news that an activist (Left-leaning) is killed every week during the incumbency of President Aquino. Maoists constitute the largest Left group in the country, with an organized force large enough to participate in electoral contests and win legislative posts.

That report is surely a very revealing fact. Not only activists, but media men are also the target of summary executions and assassinations in this country, supposedly a bastion of free press in Asia.

Just recently, a topnotch botanist, Leonardo Co, was sprayed with automatic rifle bullets while conducting research on field, killing him and two of his associates. The army unit that is subject of investigation as culprits claimed that the research team was caught in a crossfire between state and rebel forces.

Human rights constitute a totality of entitlements that we have won after so many hard struggles. So much blood has been sacrificed just to make our world a livable one, blood poured to erect the edifices of prosperity, good working environments, balanced ecology, and exercise of our basic freedoms.

During the regime of the previous president Arroyo, an economist with a doctorate among her credentials, hundreds of human rights-related deaths, largely through summary executions by army and police forces, were recorded. No less than the United Nations Commission on Human Rights sent a team to investigate the human rights situation here, with the findings clearly indicating a bad situation for human rights.

Just recently, another team of experts, this time from the Human Rights Watch, did the investigations about the same theme, with focus on those committed in Mindanao. The feudal-fascistic Ampatuan family became the most focal subject of the research, with findings of gory stories of murders committed by Ampatuan politicians blindly intoxicated with power, using state paramilitary forces to commit heinous crimes.

It surely takes time for civility to take shape everywhere else in our planet. Even the bastions of democracy such as the Philippines fail in the tests of indicating successes in building human rights. In the USA, martial law was almost declared during the Bush era, a cryptic act that could have seen millions of Americans jailed and hundreds of thousands exterminated in concentration camps.

In Europe we are witness to the massive prejudices against immigrants, with Muslims appearing to be the key target of slanders and employment discriminations. Sarkozy expelled Romanian Gypsies just a few months ago, and he seems to watch with glee as his economy burns down like hell.

Power assymetries that we though would disappear with the advent of modernity, keep on being recycled in new forms. Rationality—authentic reason characteristic of authentic persons—is fading and giving way to Madness, as lamented by the contemporary philosophers.

Human right is synonymous to civilization, and the full respect of human rights can only happen in a society of rationality, wisdom, and universal love. Such a society operates on the culture of dialogue, the respect for differences, recognition of talents and competencies, and the essential respect for one’s humanity.

Sadly, such a society is not around yet, even as we need to do colossal spade works to build it. I still recall the likes of Jurgen Habermas, Erich Fromm, and Herbert Marcuse pontificate about the ‘sane society’, the ideal society that is rational, full of compassion (loving behavior), and productive. I resonate well with the minds of these thinkers who contended that no matter how bad the situation is, hope is there in building that culture of civility in a ‘sane society’.

Such a dream of building a future world can be done in a non-exclusionary way. Let us not tire in doing our spade works to build it.

[Philippines, 02 December 2010]







December 1, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to all ye global citizens! Magandang araw sa mga kapamilyang global!

The Republicans have recently slam dunked the Democrats in the House electoral contest. This update event has put a closure to Democrat dominance in US governance, an event that will highlight brinkmanship of a dangerously destructive path.

News have been disseminated worldwide that Obama fired his highly trusted economic aides. With no team to recline on in the White House, Obama is compelled by the situation to rely more and more on the likes of Gates of the defense community, Clinton for foreign policy, and other powerful figures inside the cabinet and senate other than the economic aides.

The people whom he relies upon at this time represent distinct voices of diverse ideological persuasions. The defense Establishment is very strongly neo-conservative (read: fascist), the diplomatic community is Wilsonian liberal (center to Left), and the Senate Democrats are liberal obscurantists.

The nationalists, or those articulators of regulation and protection of American economic interests in domestic and foreign policies, have been marginalized all of a sudden. Perhaps their advocacies will be taken over by the more Rightwing Republicans in congress and the bureaucracy, Republicans whose protectionist mindsets translate to protectionism for Big Business and the oligarchy.

Obama’s feat has been to curb the ceaseless economic downspin via the stimulus program. However, unemployment and poverty incidence continue to rise, indicating the flaws in social policies. Health care and war commitments continue to generate rabid detraction.

The question we’re raising this time is: how far governable is the government of the United States? The potency of governance institutions is being weakened by the year, and the direction of that weakening is towards a fragmentation of governance altogether.

I do recall having endorsed Obama’s candidacy to Filipino-Americans and their compatriots there. The reason was that being unencumbered to oligarchic interests, Obama can make a change in policy directions both domestically and internationally. A re-institution of New Deal policies, hopefully, can be effected by his regime, an audacious act that can be emulated by the other countries.

I expected that the Obama regime will re-carve U.S. policy environment towards re-structuring the economy, reviving the physical economy, and quashing predatory finance. Alas! Signs are aplenty that the feats didn’t go that far as expected!

Now the Republicans are back in the legislature and local governments, and so observers better anticipate brinkmanship jettisoning to higher altitudes. The result would prove catastrophic to America altogether, as the exacerbation of lowly governable state surfaces.

A similar fragmentation is now happening among European states and Japan, a development that could prove to be frightening. The situation will also be enormously puzzling to political scientists and sociologists who are deeply mired in ‘re-inventing governance’ paradigm line, a paradigm that is replete with flaws and imprudent peddler of the illusion of ‘end of ideology’.  

Political scientists and sociologists hold a similar contention that America’s civil society had badly fragmented. Such a lamentable situation has eroded the ‘social capital’ of citizens and folks, thus disabling their capacity for leveraging the state and market for greater social goods and services.

With state institutions and governance further weakened and an economy that has deteriorated across the decades, a weak civic life for Americans means they have to anticipate the worst yet to come in their access to social, economic, and public goods.

Obama’s very own sanity or psychological health could be deteriorating now, a fact that will undermine his own capacity to grasp grassroots reality and facts-of-life. Such a deterioration of psychic ‘wealth’ is the least that Americans expect nor dream of, and bodes a dark age for the Saxon power up north.

[Philippines, 29 November 2010]







November 27, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

November 2010

Felicitous greetings to you all!

Let me continue to reverb the message of a most heartfelt gratitude to you enthused readers and fellow analysts/writers who appreciate my notes on society, wisdom, and self-development.

My own eyes continue to witness the rise of end-users and discussants, as I visited the search engines to monitory those sites that have quoted or discoursed on my writings. My social blogs ensue being esteemed among the world’s top sociology blogs, warming up my heart ceaselessly.

With your impeccable appreciation and support of my cyber-crusade, information about me on the internet expanded by several folds.

Special thanks to the following online news, magazines and portals for citing my notes as among the top blogs on cyberspace:


Thanks too to the following sites that have cited, discussed and debated on various notes of mine about a diversity of topics and themes:


Gracious thanks to you all! Mabuhay!


November 16, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Pacquiao just won his latest fight versus Margarito Teves. Kudos to our grand global champ!

What can I say of Manny Pacquiao, I can but think of a plethora of accolades for this humble fighter-turned-global athlete. Not only that, today he is also a legislator of the House of Representatives of the Philippine Republic or RP, where he is expected to champion advocacies for the marginal classes where he came from.

The fight was really a predictable one. Like Pacman’s fight with Clottey, analysts and sports forecasters were of the opinion that Pacquiao will take the throne for his 150-lb class, though the victory will be more of a decision win rather than a knockout.

Even before the fight began, I was already in a mood to pity the Mexican boxer, hoping that he won’t ever get whacked so bad in the head that can tragically take him down the canvass. I knew that he would become a veritable punching bag like most of Pacman’s past title adversaries, which indeed happened as forecast.

As to what was the key factor behind Pacman’s victories, this latest one included, let me re-echo what I’ve stated in previous articles about him: sports science was the cutting edge factor. Freddie Roach constituted a Team of experts, with him at the helm, who ensured a highly studied and calibrated training for Pacman.

Such a training is indubitably state-of-the-art, which is parallel to those trainings in other sports that are science inclined. Sports science calibrates everything, from nutrition/diet to the fight kinetics. I am very keen on this myself being a one-time competitive powerlifter, and I know the discipline needed to win in a competition.

Pacquiao at the commencement of his career was a “bara-bara” fighter whose training was more of a physical education or P.E. format. It took quite some time before he shifted his format, with the help of his trainer F. Roach who would become his permanent trainer and career counselor as well.

Pacman incidentally possessed a high level of emotional intelligence marked by excellent learning attitude. High E.Q. plus high physico-kinetic intelligence are his core inner traits that would match with the rigorous coaching and scientific training from Roach & Team Pacquiao.

Without doubt, Manny Pacquiao is the best boxer of all time, as he won world champ in a total of eight (8) divisions. His agility and acumen will be remembered for all time and will be the subject of boxing pre-fight studies in the future.

He is a much better boxer than Muhammad Ali, to my very own surprise and glee. Surprise because I’d never imagine a fellow Filipino gaining global prowess as he did. Glee since he makes me so proud of him and of my being a Filipino.

His career marks a turning point in Filipino sports trainings, demonstrating thus the enormous power of sports science as a cutting edge tool for winning. His ascent to global quality fighter has inspired many Filipino boxers to go his path to global fame too, a reality that undercut the Mexicans and Thais as the top contributors to world class boxers.

So prestigious has the Filipino boxer become that even in Mexico any top-ranked Filipino boxer is revered as a hero. And that, my friends, is another surprise phenomenon for me and my compatriots. Knowing how patronizing the Mexicans are toward their compatriot athletes, I really could hardly figure out how they’ve come to openly revere Filipino boxers who are welcomed to their places like heroic kings.

Conclusively, Pacman will end up as a man for all seasons. He will be well studied in sports science institutes and universities. Biographies after biographies of him will be writ by enthused writers. Even long after he’s gone, the tots who comprise his global fans today will be narrating Pacman’s feats to their great grand children. Gurus of success, the likes of John Maxwell, will also be discoursing on him as an exemplar of career and financial success.

Mabuhay si Manny Pacquiao! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

[Philippines, 15 November 2010]


October 31, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

October 2010

Good day to you all!

For this month, which was captured by the celebratory mood of the German Octoberfest, the world went through both tumultuous and celebratory moods.

I began this month with a publication of an article on “Fitness Program & Capacity-Building.” Being athletically and fitness-inclined, I began reflections with fitness & wellness as a way of reminding people about the supreme import of de-toxifying the body through a regular fitness program.

This analyst actually got sick by late September, an ailment that over-flowed till early October. I often get sick of severe allergic rhinitis, with the severity moving to acquiring inflammations with fevers.

So starting the month with physical wellness was also a way to remind myself to get back to the fitness game pronto, and go back to the gym as early as possible. By October the 5th I was back on the gym, back on a 4-day gym regimen, and back to long walks in the alleyways and nature sites of my work home south of Manila.

To reverb the times, storms hit the planet as usual, with Indonesia going through another flood episode. Indonesia seems to have solved its forest haze that was an issue sometime back, so we say our own kudos to the environmental precautions implementors in Jakarka and the ASEAN. Finally, there was the powerful 260 KPH typhoon that struck Luzon island of the Philippines.

The anti-terror campaign up North had found renewed vigor after the USA’s own celeb of the 9/11 event. This prompted me to write about concealed truths regarding the terrorist-makers of the USA and Europe, truth that trace such terror-makers right inside the Establishment of the two continents.

Meanwhile, we all watch as the North’s economies continue to flounder, with a 2nd recessionary dip threatening America altogether. Europe continues to wallow in the Jurassic flaks of the financiers (IMF-led) to institute austerity measures in the form of wage cut-backs, social services budgetary cuts, health benefits cuts, and so on.

Asia continued to kept the world in awe though, which is the positive side to the month. Asia’s stock markets continue to move up, defying patterns set in old fogey New York stock exchange (Dow Jones, Nasdaq). Asia’s growth patterns continue at sustained paces, with China on the lead, thus sustaining the global growth amid the downturns of the North.

In my own country, the patterns of growth have so far indicated the positive side. G.I.R. was at all time-high of $49.6 Billion (9-10 months imports), Balance of Payments or BOP stood at past $3B, exports & imports are back to high-growth times, unemployment remains checked at past 8%, and it was identified as the top investment area for Europeans to go to (per British financiers’ assessment).

The only black mark in RP’s growth pattern is the inability to meet the UN MDG target of cutting poverty by half by 2015 (poverty remains at 33% or more of the labor force). Aside from that, there’s the corruption low standing of the country in international yardsticks, something that chief exec Aquino should address very positively.

For the spirit of Octoberfest, Brazilian samba, and Asian world music, let’s celebrate our own growing sense of global brotherhood, peace and cooperation.