Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween? (or that other day of the year)

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! I’m back. It’s the last day of October and we’re into that other day of the year again – Halloween. We’ll have more on that later.

Ahh Miriam. It’s not that I am totally against it, but I never really enjoyed watching the Senate investigations until, thanks to the ‘euro generals’ issue, the latest investigation led by the lady Senator. And yes, I’ll be changing the main picture of my friendster account with the one of me posing with Miriam.

And Bolante. Finally, he’s here. After the dust has settled (literally and figuratively), I suppose we’re in to some more grandstanding (again). How I wish the Bolante issue is under the Senate’s Foreign Affairs committee. You ought to know why.

Meanwhile, the real news (which is) the U.S. Election (what’s the news without anything about the U.S.?). They are crying foul over mean campaigning brought about by personal attacks. As far as I know these personal attacks are in the form of referring to Obama as a socialist, McCain being elitist and Sarah Palin’s wardrobe (150 thousand dollars worth of clothes isn’t too much, is it? Yes, considering the economic crunch). Hello! That is kids’ play! I mean they should try Philippine elections and know what being mean really means. And the faulty election machines? Alas, not even the money and techies available can give them the assurance they need. Well, remember their 2004 election, Florida and the chad?

* * *

Now for the good news. Calbayog’s 60th Birthday Celebration came and went. Surely, there were a good number of activities that are worth noting. One of these was the presence of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap. Before you raise your eyebrows, let me add that in addition to his presence, we would like to take note on what he said especially during the Closing Ceremonies.

I got too excited about taking down notes that night that I had to wait for the email confirming the Agriculture Secretary’s pledges for Calbayog and Samar. Secretary Yap was in Calbayog City on October 16, 2008 in conjunction with the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Celebration and the Turnover of INFRES FMR and Flatbed Mechanical Dryer.

Here is the list of projects that he announced during the celebration:
  1. 1. Three (3) Million Pesos for (6) six additional units of flatbed mechanical dryers for Calbayog City.
  2. Four (4) Million Pesos for a SWIP project in Roxas II, Calbayog City.
  3. Twenty (20) Million Pesos for a Farm-to-Market-Road (FMR) project from Barangay San Jose to Barangay Himalandrog, Calbayog City.
  4. 8.5 Million Pesos funding support for a Farm-to-Market-Road (FMR) Project in Sta. Margarita endorsed by Congressman Reynaldo Uy.
  5. Four Hundred Fifty Thousand (450,000) Pesos for 26 units of ram pumps coursed thru the Diocese of Calbayog for the 24 municipalities and 2 cities of Samar.

* * *

So, we are into that other day of the year. Well, if you have been following my columns, you ought to know that Valentine’s is what I refer to as ‘that day of the year’; and Halloween is ‘that other day of the year’. So, what’s with Halloween? It happens every year when I see signage all over the place greeting everyone Happy Halloween! That’s one greeting which makes me feel uneasy. After all, this day of the year is something that has to do with the dead and / or the supernatural.After ranting about it for the past few years, I have decided that it’s time to share what I got from encarta.msn.com. Here I go:

Halloween is a holiday observed on the evening of October 31 in most areas of North America and in some areas of Western Europe. The holiday is symbolically associated with death and the supernatural. Halloween falls on the eve of All Saints’ Day, also known as Allhallows or Hallowmas, a holy day in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. Originally a pagan festival of the dead, All Saints’ Day was established by the Catholic Church in the 9th century to honor Christian saints. All Souls’ Day, a holy day established by the Catholic Church in the 10th century, is also closely linked to Halloween. All Souls’ Day, on November 2, is observed to help purify the spirits of the dead.

Halloween is historically related to similar folk holidays celebrated in other countries. The Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that coincides with All Souls’ Day, blends Roman Catholic and Native American traditions about the souls of the dead. On the Day of the Dead, Mexicans decorate their homes with playful imagery of animated human skeletons, leave offerings of food for wandering spirits, and tend the graves of their deceased relatives.

Most Halloween festivities are based on folk beliefs concerning supernatural forces and spirits of the dead. Halloween decorations typically feature imagery associated with supernatural beings such as witches, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. Images thought to symbolize bad omens - such as black cats, bats, and spiders - are also commonly featured in Halloween decorations.The most celebrated Halloween decoration is the jack-o’-lantern, traditionally a hollowed-out pumpkin carved to resemble a grotesque face and illuminated by a candle placed inside. The jack-o’-lantern derives its name from a character in British folktales. According to these tales, the soul of a deceased person named Jack O’Lantern was barred from both heaven and hell and was condemned to wander the earth with his lantern. Orange and black, colors associated with pumpkins and darkness respectively, figure prominently in most Halloween decorations.Now, having taken all that, you still feel like partying?

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This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Goosebumps and teary-eyes

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

It’s another Monday, and we are 3 days away to the 60th Calbayog City Charter Day Celebration. The celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CALBAYOG . . . towards Excellence, Service and Leadership”

* * *

Today’s big event is the awarding ceremonies for the Ten Outstanding Calbayognons (TOC). The ceremonies will be held at the Nijaga Park at 7:00 pm tonight. The final result of the TOC 2008 has not yet been released as I wrote this column. I’ll keep you posted on that.

The other event for the day is the performance of Jose Gomez songs after the awarding ceremonies.

The other events scheduled are the following:

October 14, 2008- Judging and awarding: LADAWAN … Kalbayog (Photo Contest)- Oktoberfest / Greenpeace Band
October 15, 2008- Launching of the Calbayog Coffee Table Book- Gloc-9 in concert
October 16, 2008- Thanksgiving Mass- Civic / Military Parade- Closing Ceremonies: Pagtigman. Kalbayog . . . An Pag-Ilawod

* * *

As I have reported last Friday, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has been invited to the celebration. As of last Friday, the program of activities for Sec. Yap will include the Farmers’ Congress, a working lunch with the SIPPaD members, the Thanksgiving Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, his speech during the Charter Day Parade and during the Closing Ceremonies.

* * *

So what’s with today’s title? The two words sum up the feelings that enveloped me (and I suppose also a good number of people) during the maiden presentation of “KALBAYOG … AN PAG-ILAWOD (The Journey). It was a presentation of Calbayog history in songs and dance. It was history, and more often than not, history is boring. But not with the presentation which told everyone how Calbayog came to be. It focused on the five settlements of Calbayog.

The first settlement: HIBATANG situated near a river, fertile and rich as it collected the waters from many tributares and has extensive and productive fields. The place was occupied by 500 tributos (4 individuals in a tribute).

The second settlement. Characterized by the Palapag uprising of 1649. Some of the tributos followed the river to Catarman. Others traveled down south. Hibatang was transferred to a new site, in a place known as CAYBAGO, south of Tarabucan and near Hibatang River.

Third & fourth Settlement. Perhaps due to the Moro depredations or the floods of the Hibatang river, the pueblo site was transferred to ANISLAG. It settled again in SABANG. Hibatang-Sabang was one of the visitas of Calbayog.The present site. From Sabang, the settlement was transferred to its present site in 1739 and they called the place CALBAYOG. It became a pueblo in 1785; and on March 14, 1845, Fr. Jose Gomez de Huerce was appointed as parish priest of Calbayog.

Considering the dates and names I have just enumerated, the show must have been boring. It was not. It will have its second presentation on Thursday, just before the Closing Ceremony of Bulawanon nga Handumanan at the Nijaga Park.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bulawanon nga Handumanan

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another weekend and yes, WE ARE 6 DAYS AWAY TO THE 60th CALBAYOG CITY CHARTER DAY ANNIVERSARY. This celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CALBAYOG . . . towards Excellence, Service and Leadership”.

The Celebration formally opened last Wednesday, with a bang if I may add. Well, that’s literally taking into consideration the fireworks display that capped the Opening Ceremonies and the day’s other events.

The day started with the opening of the Agro-Industrial Fair at the Nijaga Park where booths have been set up for various groups to display their wares. Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento together with the Director for the Agro-Industrial Fair, Councilor Arturo Pasacas and DA-RFU-8 ARD Rufino Ayaso (who represented Director Leo CaƱeda) led the officials and some Department Managers in the opening ceremonies. The said fair will run ‘til the big day on the 16th of October.

Two other events opened yesterday (I think I’ll refer to it as soft opening), the Art Exhibit at I’s Plant and the Photo Exhibit dubbed “That Man from Samar” at the Calbayog Museum.

The Day’s big event was the Opening Ceremonies which included the Mayor’s Message, the maiden presentation of “KALBAYOG . . . An Pag-Ilawod (the musical play which depicted the history of Calbayog. More about this in my next column), the Formal Declaration of Bulawanon nga Handumanan, the flying of the Traditional Lobo and the Fireworks Display.

A good number of Calbayognons turned out for the affair. Among them were school heads, artists, businessmen and students. Among the VIPs present were the members of the SOS Philippines National Board of Trustees. The members of the City Council were also present (in their Filipinana fineries) not just as part of the audience, but as part of the cast of “Kalbayog… An Pag-Ilawod”.

* * *

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap has confirmed his attendance in the Charter Day celebration. He is expected to arrive in Calbayog on the 16th of October.

In his itinerary is the Farmers’ Congress which will be held at the TTMIST Socio-Cultural Center. He is also expected to deliver a message before the employees of the LGU and the stakeholders of the city. He will also speak during the Closing Ceremonies which will cap the celebration.

* * *

The other big event last Wednesday was the SOS Children’s Villages Philippines National Board of Trustees Annual Board Meeting which at SOS Village Calbayog. The Board Members were in town together with their Board Chairman, Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao.One of the highlights of the said meeting was the signing if the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SOS Children’s Villages Philippines and the LGU on the utilization of the old CKC-Herman Gmeiner Elementary School campus for the Calbayog Millennium Voc-Tech Training Center.

* * *

Calbayog at 60. Let me give you some more of the set of activities in slated for the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary:

For today, October 10, 2008. two activities are slated:
- 8:00 am. Continuation of the Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. The Quiz Bee Finals (on Calbayog Kahi-araan) will be held at the Nijaga Park. This will be participated in by students from the public and private secondary schools of Calbayog.

October 11, 2008 (Saturday)
- 7:00 pm. Food Tourism Festival. This is a competition on the preparation and presentation of traditional Calbayog fare. The event which will be held at the Nijaga Park is under the auspices of the City Tourism and Information Office.
- LAKUB Performance will be held simultaneously with the Food Festival. This is a presentation of Calbayog art and culture.

October 12, 2008 (Sunday)- Focus on Calbayog Foldances. There will be live performances and video presentations at the Nijaga Park.

* * *

This is it for now. Have a nice weekend everyone! Ciao!

Monday, October 6, 2008

better late than never?

(This column appears in today's edition of the Leyte-Samar Daily Express)

Hi there! It’s another Monday. Oops, I thinks I‘ve just given you reason to feel drowsy. You know that feeling of being down and lazy at the slightest mention of the name of the first day of the week. Anyway, first things first: Calbayog is about to turn 60 years old. We are 10 days away to the 60th Calbayog City Charter Day Celebration. The celebration, dubbed as Bulawanon nga Handumanan 2008 is anchored on the theme: “CABAYOG . . . towards excellence, service and leadership”

* * *

The much anticipated U.S. Vice Presidential debate came and went. As pundits had it, both sides scored points. It was all jabs but no knockout punches. On the other hand, Sarah Palin’s latest faux pas was in saying that she has been hearing Joe Biden say speeches since she was in 2nd grade. Well, she seemed to have forgotten that Sen. Biden has been listening to Sen. McCain’s speeches since he (Biden) was in 2nd grade. Just when I thought that U.S. election campaign was going to be boring.

Local news had it that flooding occurred in a good number of areas in Luzon. It came as a surprise considering that recent typhoon to visit (how is that different from “to hit”?) the country was kinda mellow. If there was one reaction that knocked me off, it would be that of an official (from an affected area in Luzon) who said it best, “siguro kailangan nang bigyan pansin ang illegal logging at ang pag-aalaga sa kalikasan (dito sa aming lugar)”. Oo nga naman. Well, when nature is in the mood to bring in havoc, one can never have as a motto the line which says that it’s better late than never.

And they said it when the crisis in the U.S economy hit the news; and it has been said again and again. I’m referring to the country’s economic managers saying that the fundamentals of the Philippine economy remains strong. Nice to know that. But on the other hand, let us remember that during the Asian financial crisis, our economic managers then were saying the same thing. And needless to say, it hit us. Anyway, they must have learned from the past experience. On the other hand, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

* * *

Calbayog at 60. The final schedule of activities leading to the 60th Calbayog Charter Day Anniversary is out.

Activities will start this Wednesday, October 8, 2008. The events for that day are the following:
- 10:00 am. Opening of the Agro / Eco Fair. The said activity will be held at the Nijaga Park.
- 2:00 pm. Opening of the Art Exhibit at I’s Plant hotel
- 5:00 pm. Opening of Photo Exhibit entitled “That Man from Samar”. This is an exhibit which pays tribute to the late Senate President Jose Avelino. The event will be held at the Calbayog Museum located at the ground floor of the Old Barracks Building.
- 7:00 pm. The Grand Opening Ceremonies dubbed “Kalbayog … An Pag-Ilawod". This will be held at the Nijaga Park.

Activities for Thursday, October 9, 2008 are as follows:
- 8:00 am. Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. Inter-school Competitions on Siday, Ismayling and Kuratsa at the Nijaga Park.

On October 10, 2008. two activities are slated:
- 8:00 am. Continuation of the Calbayog Kahi-araan Seminar Workshop
- 7:00 pm. Quiz Bee Finals (on Calbayog Kahi-araan) will be held at the Nijaga Park. This will be participated in by students from the public and private secondary schools of Calbayog.I will be providing you with more of the schedule of activities in my next column.

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This is it for now. Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

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