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Saturday, December 12, 2009

About Me: ART VILLASANTA


MY CRAFT IS WRITING. My business is providing profitable information that advances my client's interests in both the online and offline arenas.

I began my career as a journalist for a business newspaper and migrated to writing for corporations and doing research. I’m an Editor; an Editorial Content Manager for websites and mobile media; an Editorial Consultant for publications; a Research Consultant and a Public Relations man all rolled into one. It's a multi-tasking job made necessary by the convergence of digital and traditional media.

I write "INFORMATIONALS." That's a word I coined to denote my special brand of "research-based writing" or "knowledge-based writing."

My INFORMATIONALS' creed, "Inform in Abundance. Entertain in Style," aptly describes what sets my INFORMATIONALS apart from other kinds of writing. 

My INFORMATIONALS website at www.informationals.blogspot.com features five samples of my INFORMATIONALS.

My emphasis on INFORMATIONALS also extends to my stories published by the "Philippine Daily Inquirer," the Philippines' leading newspaper (in print and online). It can also be found in my healthcare and other stories published in "Enrich," the monthly healthy lifestyle and living magazine of Mercury Drug Corporation sold at Mercury pharmacies nationwide. I've also tried my hand at this weird job called "content aggregation."

Advocacy and Journalism
My kind of writing is part “advocacy" and part journalism. Advocacy is a skill markedly different from journalism. 

Unlike journalism, advocacy doesn’t aim to expose the whole truth and nothing but. This doesn’t mean, however, that advocacy is journalism’s evil twin.

An advocate will err on the side of caution instead of going hell bent for the truth like a journalist. An advocate's frame of mind makes sense when you consider that companies are always at each other’s throats, and that misplaced words can cause a world of hurt that could lead to a loss of sales, a loss of markets and a loss of jobs—including yours.

Freedom of the press generally insulates journalists from the consequences of their mistakes. This protection doesn't extend to the advocate in the world of business.

My job marries the single-minded focus of advocacy with the thirst for truth of journalism. The result is my INFORMATIONALS which, to quote a famous adage, focuses on delivering "Truth Well Told."


I’m also deep into Information Technology and am looking to write more for companies in this unimaginably dynamic industry.

I’ve written and been “ghost editor” to some 20 company newsletters and magazines; over half a dozen annual reports and a lot of published materials for marketing, sales and HRD. I’ve also created concepts and written copy for print ads and other promotional materials.

Then, there are my short stories that dwell on speculative fiction, and assorted essays dealing with life's mysteries, including that eternally baffling emotion called love.

The Philippines in Space
My other advocacy is getting the Philippines to launch itself into Space and, therefore, into the Future. This country doesn't have a single operational satellite orbiting the Earth or a "Space Industry" to speak of.

My blog at www.greatfilipino.blogspot.com has many stories advocating the Philippines join the Space Industry. I've also advocated a search for the first Filipino astronaut since the year 2002. I began writing about satellites in earnest for Philippine readers in 2001.

The International Space Station

Boyhood awe
My fascination with space was influenced by a boyhood wonderment about science, space, science fiction and the fantastic. Then in the 1960s, I discovered Marvel Comics and was hooked on the fantastic forever.

Great comic books from the "Silver Age" of Marvel.
A copy of the Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-man, X-Men, The Avengers, Tales of Suspense (featuring Iron Man and Doctor Strange), Tales to Astonish (The Hulk, Giant-Man/Ant-Man, Namor the Submariner) and Journey into Mystery with the Mighty Thor cost just 65 centavos in my youthful, halcyon days. I walked the 15 minutes from our home along Roces Avenue in Quezon City to Top's Market during the first week of every month to buy these marvelous comic books.

Stan Lee was my god of creativity. Jack Kirby and Johnny Romita were the greatest artists on Earth. "Make Mine Marvel" was the motto of us Villasanta kids (Art, Fides, Eric and Gilbert) and my cousin, Dennis Gargantiel. We were all "Marvelites" who hated corny DC Comics with a vengeance.

Doing it on your own
A plugged nickel ...
I'm a freelancer or free agent. In my line of work, the competition for projects is severe. If you don’t have a project you don’t eat. The job does have its upside. You’re your own boss (every employee’s dream, isn’t it?) and there’s no 8-5 routine.

But you’re also your own worst enemy. The line between being a freelancer and being unemployed is hardly discernible. Sometimes, especially during the “downtimes,” being a freelancer and being unemployed can appear like one and the same thing.

My brass ring
Being freelance also gets you to make time for jobs really close to your heart such as my personal advocacy to increase this country’s awareness of PEFTOK and what it accomplished in the Korean War.
... and a brass ring
can sometimes seem like one
 and the same thing. 

I’m doing this through this PEFTOK website (formerly found at www.geocities.com/peftok) and in the stories about PEFTOK I keep sending out to the media to be published online and offline or broadcast.

Being the "Forgotten Historian" of a "Forgotten War" has taken a lot out of me, and no one seems to care enough to support me, but I look at the Future and tell myself the sacrifice is worth it. It's the only consolation I have.

If my generation hardly cares about PEFTOK and the Korean War, will my children’s generation give a damn? Will the generation after that care?

They probably won’t if they don’t know that PEFTOK and the Korean War existed. Hence, my two PEFTOK websites and my relentless awareness campaign. And there’s a brass ring in this for me.

It’s a comprehensive history about PEFTOK in one book or in one gigantic website. But I can’t do this alone and will need your help. Corporate sponsorship would be of great use to me here.

The 10th BCT parades at the Rizal Stadium in Sept. 1950 before deploying to Korea.

Thank you
Every one of those persons here and abroad who took the time to visit the PEFTOK website is one more person who knows more about PEFTOK than he did before. And he or she may spread the word about PEFTOK to others.

It will go on from there. Hopefully, one of the coming generations will see fit to fully honor PEFTOK and the victories it achieved in defense of that ideology we call Democracy.

Each of this website's visitors has done honor to the memory of the men of PEFTOK. For this I am deeply grateful.

We owe them our freedom.
We must not forget the more than 7,200 Filipinos who fought in another country’s war because it was their duty as Filipinos to battle the enemies of their state, both foreign and domestic. It would probably be fair to say that the PEFTOK BCTs were the best combat units we had at the time, which is why they were sent to Korea.

Yes, the men of PEFTOK did bitch about why they had to fight communism in Korea when communism was threatening to overrun the Republic of the Philippines and turn it into the communist People’s Republic of the Philippines.

But, as good Filipino soldiers, they fought the foreign war they were asked to fight. And when they returned home, the PEFTOK BCTs returned to fighting the Huks or Muslim bandits in Mindanao.

Escolta, Manila, the Philippines' business center, in the 1950s.

And what did the men of PEFTOK achieve? They won a double victory in the 1950s: they helped preserve South Korea’s independence and—most important of all—played a vital role in decisively defeating communism’s first and most serious bid for power in the Philippines.

The decade of the 1950s guaranteed the existence of the Philippines as the democratic state it is today.

That the Philippines and South Korea remain democracies is also the fruit of the sacrifice of thousands of ordinary Filipino men and women who did their duty in a "Forgotten War" despite their doubts, fears, flaws and limitations. These men and women have earned the right to be honored as heroes.



REMEMBER PEFTOK.
-- And Honor the Hero in Us All --



--O--

TV5 INTERVIEW ABOUT E. DE LOS SANTOS

I WAS ONE OF the historians who talked about the polymath and historian Epifanio de los Santos on the  TV5 program "History." The Epifanio de los Santos episode broadcast Feb. 26, 2014 is a three-part clip on the History website. You can click on either the image or caption below to view the episode. History is hosted by Lourd de Veyra and airs 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. 


The TV5 History episode about E. de los Santos



--O--



The entire PEFTOK website on Blogspot.com was written by Art Villasanta, whose full name is Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta from Quezon City in the Philippines.



Copyright 2000 by Arthur Dominic J. Villasanta











8 comments:

  1. Sir,
    I am doing a Masters in Defence Studies here in Australian National University. One our subjects, Intervention and Expeditionary Operations, delved into the Korean War. In particular, I found that a lot of materials were written by Australians regarding their participation in the Korean War. the books and journals that are part of our readings consists of Australian participation from the following perspectives: foreign policy; defence force capability development particularly on doctrine, organizing and training, and sustaining defence forces deployed outside of the country. They have practically studied their participation in the Korean War on how best to organize and equip their defence forces.
    I am doing an essay now on the Philippine participation in the Korean War and I found your blogs very useful. I think you are now the foremost authority when it comes to our participation in that war.
    I, however, found so little materials with regards to how the AFP then trained and equipped the BCTs it sent to Korea, how it sustained them while they are deployed (relief of Col Azurin?), and how did the PEFTOK affect the AFP's capability development. When you mentioned about Marikorea, what unit trained them? what doctrine were the Philippine Army was using then?
    I hope you could do some research on these topics and publish them. These will be an important contribution about our military history.

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    1. I do hope you write about our country's participation in the Korean War when you received your Masters. I'm the only one who does this and I welcome a fellow Filipino who will tell the many yet unknown stories there is to tell.

      As for how the BCTs were trained, this is what I gained from my interviews with surviving PEFTOK veterans.

      The 10th BCT was the Philippines' first armored battalion and was headed by Col. Azurin who trained in armored warfare at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

      10th BCT veterans told me that their training regime was crafted by Col Azurin and his officers based on existing U.S. armored doctrine. At this time, tanks were still considered support for the infantry, which was their role in World War 2.

      Unable to train with real M4 Shermans since the Philippines sent its Shermans to Korea before the 10th deployed to that country, the battalion improvised.

      Veterans told me they fashioned make believe tanks out out of bamboo and sawali matting to create a box like structure. The four men inside this sawali tank used their feet to maneuver this "tank."

      The men stuck a length of wood to the front of this box to simulate a 75mm gun. On sighting a "target," the tank commander (who was looking out of a vision slit cut into the front of the sawali) would yell, "Halt!"

      The marching crewmen would stop. The commander would yell range to target: "Tank, 500 meters! 2:00 o'clock."

      The gunner would echo these commands. The loader would pretend to load the wooden gun with AP ammo. The commander would shout, "Steady On!" as the gunner aimed his "gun." The gunner would yell "Boom," as he "fired" his gun.

      Succeeding BCT's had the benefit of training with real M4s and the combat experience gained by the BCTs that preceded them in Korea.

      The deployment of five BCT did not diminish the war effort against the Huks as the army was churning out BCTs. The Huk threat was mostly confined to Luzon, which meant that the Army's aim was to contain this insurrection inside Luzon. The Army succeeded in this aim.

      I have been trying for more than a decade to write a book about the Philippines' role in the Korean War. I have had no success. I cannot publish anything more about our role in the Korean War since no one wants to sponsor my efforts and publish my book.

      Perhaps Australia would want to help and perhaps we could do the book.

      Best regards,

      Art Villasanta

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    2. I'm moved by your commitment to perpetuate the heroic deeds of our Filipino Veterans, specifically the PEFTOKERs. I, for one, am also a grandson of a WWII Veteran and a son of a Post-War Veteran (late Col. Vicente S. Santos Jr.), and it is also one of my thrusts in life to honor our dear veterans and memorialize their heroism through articles, speeches and other forms of publications.

      I've read your sentiments regarding efforts of reminding Filipinos about the heroism of our PEFTOKers in the Korean War:

      "I'm the only one who does this and I welcome a fellow Filipino who will tell the many yet unknown stories there is to tell...I have been trying for more than a decade to write a book about the Philippines' role in the Korean War"

      Maybe, it would delight and inspire you to know that last 2008, a book entitled "THE WAR IN KOREA" was written by the late Gen. Victorino T. Azada, a PEFTOKer himself. It was about the heroism and gallantry of the PEFTOKERs during the Korean War. The book was published by the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO).

      Just recently (December 2012), another book was published by PVAO (thru its Veterans Memorial and Historical Division), and it was written by Col. Cesar Pobre to honor the PEFTOKers; reminding the future generations of the heroism and sacrifices of the Filipino-UN Contingent sent to Korea during their War. The book's title is "FILIPINOS IN THE KOREAN WAR".

      May you continue your noble endeavors in showcasing the valor and heroism of our Filipino Veterans. Keep it up and God bless us!

      Fabian Santos

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    3. Thank you for your kind words. The descendants of our veterans of World War 2 and the Korean War who have written me via email or posted to my PEFTOK website, like you, have a shared trait: a deep patriotism and love of family. Do continue your work to ". . . to honor our dear veterans and memorialize their heroism through articles, speeches and other forms of publications."

      I know of both books you mentioned. I supplied much of the data and many of the photos published in the book of the late Gen. Azada. I also had a role in the book of Col Pobre.

      God bless you and yours.

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  2. Thank you for writing about PEFTOK. I have Korean friends in the Philippines and only one, in his 70s, know that the Philippines sent troops to combat the communist threat in their country. Those in their 40s or 50s don't have a clue about the Filipinos who fought in their defense.

    Looking at the present Korea, it can be said that it is a democracy that was worth defending. South Korea is now enjoying unprecedented prosperity with Korean companies investing all over the world. Korean products from cars to appliances and electronics are gaining a quality-reputation and are fast eating into the market share of Japanese and Western brands. Noteworthy also is their advancement in the field of medical care. I need not say more as information on this Korean phenomenon is everywhere.

    It is just disheartening to note that the Philippines and South Korea share historical parallelisms and this makes us wonder what went wrong with our country along the path of development. We equally had the communist threat - and we still have it domestically while theirs is an external threat. We send a lot of OFWs primarily due to lack of work opportunities locally. South Korea had their own OFWs when in the early 60s, miners and nurses worked in Germany for similar reasons. We both have our share of corrupt government officials. There was also a time when Korea (Park Chung Hee era) was encouraging foreign investment. There was a time when they were also under martial law.. and so much more in common.

    The questions that come to mind now are - What went wrong with us? Did we have any model of development at all or are we following a path that changes with each new president? Are we producing an intellectual populace destined to be an OFW ...until when? And so on and so on...

    The PEFTOK helped saved the democracy of a country that will eventually hold the distinction of unprecedented record-time industrialization. That was all worth it - "forgotten war" or not. The PEFTOK were heroes that help laid the foundation of a free and prosperous Korea. Let us do the same for our own country. Its never too late!

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  3. PEFTOK veterans I've talked to are unanimous as to the reason the Philippines has remained backward while South Korean has made amazing economic progress. That reason is politics.

    Filipino politicians have placed their own greed ahead of the greater good. They have stolen billions of pesos that should have gone to build infrastructure, create jobs, boost education and bolster the military.

    Another reason cited by PEFTOK veterans is the Filipinos' weak love of his country. We are not as patriotic as the South Koreans. We are not as disciplined as a nation and we do not work as hard as the South Koreans.

    We need a LEADER who can make us truly proud to be Filipino. We need more national discipline. We need to love our fellow Filipinos more. We need a more educated population, one that will not elect imbeciles as Presidents, Senators, Congressmen and Mayors.

    In the final analysis, the Filipino nation is at fault.

    A movie about the Philippines role in the Korean War will help instill this great pride. But no one will produce this, as no one will support my effort to write a comprehensive history of the Philippines' role in the Korean War.

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    1. A movie entitled Hill 191 was indeed produced. I am not so sure if it was historically accurate. I couldn't even remember the story but I would love to watch it again from a different and adult perspective because I saw it when I was still young.

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