Among the many tales the strongman invented, one was about his exploits during the Second World War. In that war, he was supposed to have been the leader of a guerrilla unit, one he formed after escaping from the Death March. In truth, he was a soldier who managed to escape and evade the Japanese forces. He was probably part of the guerrilla movement but he was no hero and probably didn't deserve the Medal of Valor that he claimed. The name if the unit he invented would become a fixation including for a proposal for renaming the country that he played around with for some time. And together with his spouse, he continued to pretend he was in another world or another level, or so perhaps was the truth in his mind. He invented other accomplishments that he mixed with actual ones that, in fairness to the man, we are still benefiting from now. This was to make it appear as if the fictitious accomplishments were real and he did so consciously in order to make himself larger than life.
There are many including perhaps ourselves who like to pretend, whether consciously, unconsciously, out of habit or out of necessity. It is usually a mix and there is always a purpose for doing so. A friend who was himself in the business of pretending to be someone, appropriated the Filipino word for pretending - pagpapanggap. There are so many of us who do so partly because we do not have enough skills, intelligence or raw talent to succeed without the help of unconventional talents. Perhaps, pagpapanggap is even the talent that some of us have and we use it to further ourselves, believing it is only fair as long as no one notices or exposes the truth.
I have known such people including some whom I considered friends. It is sad to know the truth and disappointing that we cannot correct certain things without committing so much damage that these people will be ruined if we did the right thing. One such person even faked his way towards attaining an advanced degree with the help, of course, of several accomplices. The quality of his work even today and his approach to what he claims to be research betrays his pagpapanggap. Unfortunately, his pretentiousness seems to be infectious, as I suspect he has spread this on to others whom I assumed were not of the same mindset before.
There are others whom I have knowledge of who prey upon unsuspecting people, even establishing themselves in networks where they hope to propagate their pagpapanggap. On group stands out in the environment sector where they continue to spread misconceptions and misinformation about air quality and other concepts. These are the more dangerous ones who claim to be experts and who engage those less knowledgeable, using them as conduits to their twisted reasoning and wisdom(?). A good friend was duped by these same people and we continue to disown or deny any connection with them even as they continue to drop the name of the Center for their personal benefit. Perhaps, one day, they will be exposed for what they truly are and that other may learn from their pagpapanggap.