2017 November Editorial Features

Dear Reader,

Tremendous effort and dedication manifested in long hours of seemingly endless writing, editing and re-editing of articles have been embraced by the editorial staff.  We took it with conviction and fortitude and probably honor as we stand by our words and rally for each other through hardships, trials and tribulations in driving our mandate forward.  At the onset, we forewarned ourselves of expectations when we committed to assume the responsibility behind the production and publication of Epistoliorum.  While we aimed at serving a product bereft of errors and flaws, we know deep inside that it is impossible.  There will always be ambivalent opinions, criticisms and even discourses to challenge thoughts and processes of which many will be brought to the surface, especially by those who have the propensity to discern and cast judgement.  To those who have keen eyes and discriminating tastes, whom we know there are many, we leave the prudence and reasoning up to you with the hope that you will help us pinpoint positively where errors can be rectified and flaws strengthened. 

As copywriter, co-editor and creative director of Epistoliorum, my demons are many.  I hate it when I’m in the queue for coffee and muffins at Tim Hortons and out of the blue bright ideas pop up.  I know for sure that I could not retain it no matter how close my driving distance to home is, where I can quickly scribble down bits and pieces of what remains in my brain.  There are moments when, grammatically speaking, action words and identifiers cascade in my brain but by the time I find time to log in to my Surface Book everything dissipates, leaving no trails for recovery.  Sometime later they would bubble up in my head but no sooner than I have the time and means to entertain them than they pop out, like ballons, into oblivion.  How I wish I could allocate a certain segment of memory in my brain to some ideas so that like a computer, I can always recover and bring them to life even when they are technically dead.  Such is the predicament that will continue to confront a senior in me.  But out of the struggles and challenges of being on top of everything, memory included, my role in Epistoliorum will help me pursue my passion, predispose myself to contribute, and probably even protract the life of some brain cells to slow down the onset of dementia.   

To all my Filii brothers, most of whom are schooled philosophers, I sincerely believe in the many aspects of brotherhood, compassion being one of them.  I trust that you will not weaken my resolve to write by presenting me your tenable philosophical stances on the many issues you may find and choose to delve into, in lieu of artistic tolerance and creative appreciation.  If I may, I can lend you a set of eyes to help you magnify those which glamorize the presentation of truth much less legitimize designs and challenge the imposition of creative elements even if you might be myopic to bright colors and unable to perceive substance beneath the article.  I ain’t heavy and I’m your brother, so we say out loud, therefore shoulder to shoulder let us all strive to become indispensable partners in forbearance and fortitude to objectify the many things we espouse and preach to others via Epistoliorum. 

To my good friend, fray Jerry Botial of Philstar, I place myself entirely under your grammatical mantle, and mercy, and hope that you will spare me your demolition axe when you begin your natural tendency as reporter to dissect sentences and paragraphs and reduce them to nothingness.  Deep in my heart I know there is still room to elevate good to best in “friend”.  Raising the adjective to a superlative degree will inspire me more, and may you be my mentor and partner in promoting the essence of “Writing Without Bullshit” by Josh Bernoff. 

To all my friends and relatives outside of the Filii domain, may you be honest enough to tell me straight in the eye that the article I’ve written does not appeal to you and the messages I tried to convey fail to penetrate the threshold of your distinct taste and understanding.  It is only by being painfully outspoken that I can truly appreciate whatever friendship and kinship we have between us.  Thank you. Sincerely. 

To my wife, who tried to persevere as a buffer of the initial impact of being the first person to read my draft and digest coarse material in order to elicit feedback.  I appreciate your patience and I bite my tongue when you expressed your honest opinion and told me invariably that there were not too many words you could understand.  This compels me to retreat to my draft and work with Mr. Thesaurus for a better and more intelligible option and burn deadwood out of my articles.  You may not be my target demographic but your no-nonsense opinion pierces through my penetrable skin.  Ouch!  I also realize that my writing style should be reconfigured.  I tend to coast east-west and swerve left and right losing sight of my reader.  I may be quiet while I drive you to work in the morning.  But I mind you, it is not road safety that renders me tight-lipped.  My mind is just too busy catching up the pendulum swing of dangling modifiers and too preoccupied parrying the onslaught of redundant words and keeping them at bay, at least in my mind.

Thus, preludes myriad of things that beset the fate of a writer.  When I alluded the birth of a newsletter in my memoirs (Memoirs of 6th Filii Biennial Reunion), I had no expectation as to the scope of work entailed in co-managing the publication of Epistoliorum.  A week after the successful reunion of Filii brothers in Canada, fray Peter Nuñez sparked the conversation and brought the three of us on even keel to discuss the feasibility of publishing a newsletter.  The conversation began subtly unassuming.  But three heads working together produce a deluge of great ideas that lead to the formulation of a concept fortified by the technical knowledge of fray Joel Gabriel who asserted his role as the architect behind the technological challenges of building and maintaining an online publication.  As fray Joel explained computer jargons in many of the back-and-forths in our chat thread, and in an attempt to demystify what b2e coding can do, realization dawned on me.  The ensuing works are gargantuan and b2e became one single word that begins to haunt me even during my brief torpor, more so in my sleep as it surfaces in my dreams.

May I call out all members of the advisory body who place themselves behind our efforts and provide their unconditional support keeping our esprit de corps intact as we journey gung-ho through humps and meandering paths to reach our destined fate as writers.  We may trip and fall along the way but it is comforting to know that you are there to pick us up so we may continue the work we fervently undertake.  

In behalf of the editorial staff, members of the publication advisory body, and all our contributing writers, I present to you with pride, EPISTOLIORUM.  It may sound Latin because it is, but behind the name, there are many things we promise to convey to you and we will do so relentlessly and fearlessly in pursuit of truth and impartiality.

Personal gratification is a priceless reward, the main driver behind long hours of work in front of my laptop.  My friends would ask how the heck did I learn to write.  At the beginning,  it was exactly that, I just write.  It is only when I begin to consider my readers and learn to respect their precious time that I start enjoying writing and feel the connection with them.  Also, because I believe that my effort is directed to convey a message, not just giving myself a selfish motive of self-expression.  There’s only one advice I can give to those who want to write, and it’s not even a secret.  READ!  And read a lot. Just as walking precedes running, reading does precede writing.

Happy reading!

Fray Ted



Like pregnant women, we patiently awaited the arrival of our “firstborn”, Epistoliorum. Although the birth pangs seemed at times intolerable, our indescribable excitement has quashed all our pains. Frays Ted and Joel have suffered the most and thus deserved our  deepest gratitude and sincerest congratulations.

After its birth, its upbringing poses a challenge to all members of Filii who we believe are up to the task. Our brotherhood is composed of admirable men with varied and rich experience, outstanding education, innumerable skills and awesome talents. This is the reason behind our confidence.

We, the members of the Editorial Staff, with the resolute support of many of the leaders of Filii and the Advisory Board, and the effective participation of our initial writers and contributors, have shown that despite our limitations in time, talents and abilities, launching Epistoliorum is not an impossible task. May you be inspired by our collaborative efforts so you may help perpetuate this humble project. On behalf of the Editorial Staff, I hereby thank all of you who have supported us by your prayers, encouragement, articles and good wishes. We rely on your continued support and pray that your participation inspire others to do the same and more.

We believe it is of utmost importance to proclaim the guiding principle we have embraced for the continued success of Epistoliorum. Exhorted by our Teacher who said, “Judge not and you will not be judged.” (Luke 6:37), and schooled in the principles of Logic, we do not tolerate personal attacks in our publication. Ad hominem attacks of all sorts are to be banned from it. This principle is by no means original to us. It has been successfully employed by one of the most popular and most influential publishers of his time, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

In adopting this basic principle, we will be assured of Epistoliorum’s continued professionalism. We envision it to be an agent of unity, a source of pride, and an inspiration to future generation as it fulfills its role as our official means of communication with one another and with the world.

We entrust the future success of our endeavors to the Almighty God and to the patronage of our father Saint Dominic who courageously preached against the errors of his time and founded the Order which carries on his mission to the present day. May Epistoliorum remain a meaningful contribution to this mission albeit a modest one.

My brothers, enjoy your Epistoliorum.

God bless us all.

Fray Peter

Almost a decade or so ago, I registered FSDPI’s web domain with this particular undertaking in mind.  Although looking back, it may not have been particularly clear to me how to go about it, nevertheless it helped that the domain is available at the exact opportune time when inspiration hits and the situation is ripe for such a dream to be fulfilled.  Today may just as well be such a time; and perhaps my changing residence and scenery may have opened the gates to such wonderful collaboration with like-minded individuals as Frays Ted and Peter, intent on building in concrete terms what Filii means and what it stands for us.  Perhaps it’s but proper to elevate the discussion via an official publication, because Filii is not merely one organization or juridical entity — Filii is a community.

I may have taken for granted belonging to such community when I was still based in Manila and convening with the larger group to plan and socialize is but an hour’s drive away.  I can only reminisce now that I am a day and a dream away — how I should have maximized the opportunity before I was plucked out to belong elsewhere.

A decade hence, I am proud to serve Filii in the only thing I know best; for in exchange, it affords me the rediscovery of the most relevant and poignant facets of my existence that is priceless and something that I will carry no matter how and where the wind blows. We are growing old as a community and brotherhood but hopefully not too tired to serve the needs of our unique brand of mission or just to belong. While it is a sad fact that the passing of the years brings with it some distance and gap in the hearts and minds of those who find shelter and joy in togetherness, I learned in the brief exchanges of thoughts and expression of belongingness, especially with our Filii brothers across the seas — that the secret to longevity, like all other preoccupations, is to bridge that very distance and gap — whatever it may be; however it may appear. It’s true that we see defects clearly at close range, but also discover distinct qualities if only we are ready to go the mile. It made me appreciate even more what we stand for; and whatever it is that holds us firmly together proves to be even bigger when distance–and eventually time–could never shrink it to obsolescence no matter the chasms crack or the leaves fall.

May this, our humble effort, unite us all under one brand that is distinctly Dominican in spirit but unabashedly Filii in character.


Fray Joel

FSDPI Editors Group
FSDPI, or more affectionately the “Filii”, translates as: “the sons of Saint Dominic in the Philippines”. It is an organization of men, brothers in faith, who have undergone and received formal religious training in the Dominican life and Spirituality under the Dominican Province of the Philippines. We form a community of men who have willed to continue to profess, live and share, in the world of the laity, the apostolic vision and mission of our blessed father St. Dominic de Guzman under whose patronage the “Filii” is entrusted under.

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