A conversation on friendship

By Herbert Vego

JEFFRY, an inquisitive nephew, asked me, “Uncle, how should I know who among my friends are true friends?”

I initially thought of quoting quotable quotes like “A friend in need is a friend indeed” and “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”

“True friends,” I said, in my mind disagreeing with those two quotes, “are hard to find. If somebody in need relishes your presence only because you are useful to him, he’s not a true friend.”

I had in mind a college classmate who no longer finds me worthy of his attention. I don’t mind. So what? That does not really make him more superior in the end. Everybody begins and ends in a common journey – from womb to tomb. Nobody is greater than anybody in the graveyard.

My nephew seconded, “I think our politicians are like that. They convert friends into foes and foes into enemies, whichever is favorable to them.”

“Yes. There are no permanent friends. Even we in the media are vulnerable to political acrobatics.”

In saying those words, I remembered an incident involving a municipal mayor and a radio anchorman. The mayor, guesting on the broadcaster’s program, lambasted another politician for “graft and corruption” despite his knowledge that the object of his hatred was also a friend of the broadcaster.

Alas, as a result, the broadcaster lost the friendship of the lambasted politician.

My nephew told me about a classic friendship he had learned in the grade school:

It was about Damon and Pythias in the 4th century BC in Syracuse, Sicily, which was then under the rule of Dionysius the Younger. Condemned to death for plotting against Dionysius, Pythias asked permission to go home to his family for the last time. Dionysius consented on condition that Damon be held hostage.

Pythias did not show up on schedule, giving the king no choice but to hang Damon. Fortunately, Pythias arrived just as Damon was about to die in his place. Dionysius was so impressed by this example of fidelity that he pardoned Pythias.

I could only say amen to that. We all know of present-day friendships that pass the test of time, proving that we human beings are capable of self-sacrifice for a friend. Whenever we meet a “friendly” individual, we never think it’s only because he needs us for selfish reasons. Thus, we reciprocate the friendship. There is no guarantee, however, that this new friendship would preserve itself for life.

Some of you readers must have remembered that front-page story in 2018 about an old colleague, “friend” and kumpare who punched me on the face at Hotel del Rio for a reason I would no longer want to belabor.

I told my nephew to learn a lesson from that experience of mine because there are really people who get jealous of a friend’s achievement.  However, there are always new and interesting people to replace them with.

“Friendship is reciprocal,” I reminded my nephew. I asked him to be happy when his friends are happy, cherish their accomplishments as if they were his, and always look for friends of good moral character.

“Good moral character?” my 17-year-old nephew joked. “Then you could not be my friend, Uncle.”

Shucks! My nephew must have heard a fake news from Maritess.



AS the month of November is about to end, do you know its significance?

It is Environment Month. Under Republic Act 9512 signed by then Pres. Gloria Arroyo in December 2008, the declaration aims to promote environmental awareness through environmental education.

This corner would like to commend MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power) and its president/CEO Roel Z. Castro for setting a good example in observing Environment Month.

Last Saturday, a team of MORE Power employees conducted tree planting at Brgy. Ingore, Lapaz and Aeta Village in Lanit, Jaro. They planted 1,200 seedlings of Agoho and Madre de Cacao.

It is part of the company’s “green revolution” which I had cited in a past column as one more step toward planting 10,000 trees within the current year.

Aside from raising awareness about environmental stewardship, MORE Power’s tree planting initiative aims to promote volunteerism and teamwork through collaboration with the government in protecting our planet.

They also did their familiar beach clean-up. This time, they picked up garbage along the shoreline of Barangay Boulevard, Molo in collaboration with the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Iloilo City.

Ma. Cristina D. Cabalhin, MORE Power’s Vice President for Marketing and Corporate Affairs, reiterated, “Our commitment is not only to serve as the distribution utility here but also to help clean the environment.”

The team collected 59 sacks of waste materials like paper, masks, plastic bags, plastic bottles and old shoes, among others.

In response, Engr. Danilo Dinson (environmental management specialist at CENRO) relayed the gratitude of the city government to MORE Power for going beyond its call of duty.

Despite that, unfortunately, somebody took advantage of a MORE lineman’s hurry to correct a fault atop a pole in Brgy. San Vicente, Jaro the other day, as you must have heard in a newscast.

While lineman Remark Sorongon was busy on the job, a man stole his bag left in the company pick-up.

Since the incident was recorded on CCTV and police-blotter, he hopes the police could catch the culprit and recover his bag containing cash, ATM cards and IDs.