Hail, Scouts! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:24



Los Angeles, CA. — Sonny Cortez, who’s not shy of showing off his “Hacienda Cortez” in them thar hills of Pasonanca, was a boy scout in high school. And a darn good one. He never had para-military training (PMT), but presumably carried a rifle and did military drills (Reserve Officers Training  Course - ROTC) when he went to college at the Ateneo de Manila University where he earned his degree in Economics, majoring in urban planning.

Sonny was a Rizal Scout, before that an Eagle Scout and an assistant scout master. The late Pompeyo Torres, who taught math in Ateneo high school, was the scout master. Sonny would lead his troops, mostly Tenderfoot like me, to campings in Pasonanca and Pulong Bato. We would hike whistling a happy tune for kilometers after kilometers with our knapsacks on our backs. We had much fun wading in freezing river waters, exploring the forests, eating canned pork and beans during breaks and climbing rugged half-mountains.

The old Boy Scout camp had wooden wigwams and each one would bear the name of former mayors of the city. The amphitheater was used for declamation contests among troopers. This well-kept camp, of course, is nothing compared to the Apache Spring camp sitting on the edge of a large alpine meadow and features a set of teepees with authentic animal pelts and rugs inside. (Ours had cement floorings and no windows.) There’s also a 3-D archery course in which scouts walk along a trail with a bow and arrow and stop at various points to shoot stationary targets. (In contrast, we had only hunting knives.)

The Boy Scouts then are now men with careers spanning from engineering, law, medicine, farming, business and cock-breeding. We had our different stories to tell, our adventures when we escaped the eyes of the scout master and wandered in the once unconquered mountains and trails of Upper Pasonanca.

Saturdays were reserved for scout training in flag signaling, knot-tying and first aid. We were God’s little Indians, immature kids growing up to be more than just scout masters. Scouting changed our outlook of life, because it taught us the hardships and travails of life. Most importantly, we learned to set goals and worked toward achieving them. We always moved forward for that was our motto: DON’T LOOK BACK. JUST KEEP ON MOVING FORWARD. We carried that slogan through college and beyond.

We’d go home Sundays with aching backs and sore feet from hiking. While we had all those intra-scout competitions, at Apache Springs camp the contests are more sophisticated like world long-range shooting, robotics challenge, programming skills challenge, search and rescue, radial youth championships, gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling competitions.

Incidentally, former vice mayor Mannix Dalipe, who’s taking another crack at the congressional belt in the second district, was once chairman of the local chapter of the Boy Scouts Council of the Philippines.

By the way, assuming that Vice President Jojo Binay, former chairman of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines, is guilty of plunder, unexplained wealth, corruption, stealing (the charges are all the same, aren’t they?) — he can’t be prosecuted at this time because he is immune from suits until he ends his term as Citizen Dos. What happens if he wins the presidency on May 9? The charges against him will have to wait for another six years, ‘di ba? Sanamagan. If he loses, he can still skip jail if the next president pardons him, just in case he is convicted for the alleged crimes.

A Duterte government promises to send all the thieves to jail, whoever they may be. It promises to eliminate drug dealers, gun-runners, big-time smugglers, terrorists — everybody who are Lucifer’s advocates.

A Roxas administration will continue President Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid”, plus minimizing crime and poverty alleviation.

A Binay government promises more infrastructure to generate jobs, more foreign investments and a climate conducive to business.

A Poe government promises to send all foundlings free. And what else?

Happy Chinese New Year!