Monday, November 30, 2009

Bonifacio Day

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

Hi there! It’s another week. If I may repeat what I always write on a Monday like this (read: holiday), nothing beats waking up on a Monday knowing that you are not expected to report to work. And today is one of those days. It’s all over the place, today we honor Andres Bonifacio. Yup, it’s a day that is often referred to as National Heroes Day. So, what’s with today being a holiday? You don’t have to answer that question. Surely many are into extended sleeps, cleaning, lazing around, and yes, a long night last night.

First things first. This item has been announced in Calbayog via the local radio stations: it’s the COMELEC decision on the protest case against Mayor Mel Sarmiento. I recently got hold of a copy of the said decision and here are some details:

The 2,777-page resolution had to do with the Tuazon vs. Sarmiento EPC Case No. 2007-32. With 32,259 votes for Sarmiento against 28,530 votes for protestant Tuazon, or a margin of 3,729 votes. The Commission (on Elections) resolved to deny the instant petition. The resolution was signed COMELEC Chairperson Jose A. R. Melo, Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento, Armando C. Velasco, Elais R. Yusoph and Gregorio Y. Larrazabal. Commissioners Nicodemo T. Ferrer and Lucenito N. Tagle did not sign the resolution.

* * *

Back to Andres Bonifacio. Instead of my usual acerbic comments about the world around me, today I have decided to give you something about Bonifacio. Sorry, it’s the history buff and yes, the teacher in me. It’s something I found while googling Bonifacio Day.

Let me give an excerpt from an article by Ambeth Ocampo explaining why commemorate Bonifacio not on the day of his death, but on his birthday, yes his birthday (source: Nov. 27, 2002 www.inq7.net):

“. . . If my faulty memory serves me right there was once a move to contract our list of national holidays, and one of the casualties was Bonifacio Day that was renamed National Heroes Day. Naturally, the move was perceived by some as an official downgrading of Bonifacio by making him share the limelight with all national heroes. That has since been settled when National Heroes Day was set on the last Sunday of August. Now Andres Bonifacio rightly has a national holiday all to himself on Nov. 30.

Bonifacio Day is also odd, because heroes -- like saints -- are often remembered more for their death than their birth. Rizal's birthday, June 19, is a holiday in Laguna province, and the date of his execution, Dec. 30, is a national holiday known as Rizal Day.

Anyone who knows Philippine history will understand why Bonifacio is remembered on his birthday, Nov. 30, rather than the date of his death, May 10, 1897. Unlike Rizal who was executed by the enemy, and other heroes who died in battle, Bonifacio was executed by fellow Filipinos.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Bonifacio have been debated for decades, and it remains unsolved, a skeleton in our closet. One would hope that more material on Bonifacio would come to light, but then we know of him mainly from the accounts of people who knew him. Unlike other heroes like Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, etc., he left very little of his own writings, making the task of the historian difficult.” (read the complete article)

* * *

The CKC - Jose Gomez Orchestra is off to Manila for a series of concerts. Originally scheduled last October, it was postponed due to typhoon Ondoy. From the original three, the orchestra will have five engagements to be highlighted by a performance at the Manila Cathedral. The said performance will be among the activities of Pondong Pinoy. The orchestra will be performing upon the invitation of Manila Archbishop, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

Here’s their schedule:
  • December 7, 2009: Sanctuario de San Antonio (Forbes Park)
  • December 8, 2009: Mall of Asia (Atrium)
  • December 9, 2009: Saint Anthony Shrine (Manrique Street, Sampaloc, Manila)
  • December 10, 2009: Santuario De San Pedro Bautista Church (San Pedro Bautista Street, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City)
  • December 11, 2009: Manila Cathedral

Except for the performance at the Manila Cathedral, all engagements are set at 7:30 in the evening. Proceeds of the concerts will be for the scholarship of the orchestra members and for the procurement of additional instruments. For other details / inquiries, please contact Arthur at: +63 915-215-6548

* * *

Parokya ni Edgar will be performing at the Calbayog Calbayog City Sports Center on December 21, 2009. For tickets you may call (055) 209-1646.

* * *

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Barbarians at the Gate

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

Hi there! It’s another long weekend. It would have been an extra-long one had the palace not flimflammed on its earlier declaration about today being a holiday. But considering the recent tragedy to hit the country, a holiday will not matter anymore.

Barbarians at the Gate. It’s the title of that 80s movie about the extreme moves that the corporate giants of America are willing to take (in the name of greed, I suppose.) And barbarian is the term that came to mind after reading about the massacre down south. Yes, the act was heinous, considering it as barbaric is putting it softly, so softly.

* * *

Local news. Last Tuesday, the LGU together with DepEd Calbayog and DILG Calbayog conducted the Barangay Education Strategic Team (BEST) Summit.

The one-day event which was held at the Calbayog City Sports Center was aimed at coming up with mechanisms to ensure school attendance among the public school students in the various barangays of Calbayog. The event was participated in by the Barangay officials and SK officials from the three districts of Calbayog.

Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento was on hand to deliver his message. Also in attendance were Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, Councilor Ina Rabuya and Calbayog SDS Edita Paculan.

Summit highlights included the Statement of Purpose / Orientation given by Mr. Ramon Miano, ES-1 Mathematics; and "Support on BEST Project” presented by DILG City Director Valente Bajet.

* * *

The Cebu-Calbayog-Cebu service of Cokaliong shipping Lines has commenced. The maiden voyage of M/V Filipinas Ozamis arrived at the Manugino-o port last November 17, 2009. The shipping company will offer Calbayog-Cebu trips on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

* * *

Milagrosinians will gather tomorrow for their annual alumni homecoming. Dubbed as SAGUBAY 2009, the event which will be held at the La Milagrosa Academy Auditorium is anchored on the theme: “Pakig-urusa… Pagsiplat san Nakalabay”. This year’s host is Class of 1985.

* * *

The CKC - Jose Gomez Orchestra is off to Manila for a series of concerts. Originally scheduled last October, it was postponed due to typhoon Ondoy. From the original three, the orchestra will have five engagements to be highlighted by a performance at the Manila Cathedral. The said performance will be among the activities of Pondong Pinoy. The orchestra will be performing upon the invitation of Manila Archbishop, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

Here’s their schedule:
  • December 7, 2009: Sanctuario de San Antonio (Forbes Park)
  • December 8, 2009: Mall of Asia (Atrium)
  • December 9, 2009: Saint Anthony Shrine (Manrique Street, Sampaloc, Manila)
  • December 10, 2009: Santuario De San Pedro Bautista Church (San Pedro Bautista Street, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City)
  • December 11, 2009: Manila Cathedral

Except for the performance at the Manila Cathedral, all engagements are set at 7:30 in the evening.

Proceeds of the concerts will be for the scholarship of the orchestra members and for the procurement of additional instruments.

For other details / inquiries, please contact Arthur at: +63 915-215-6548

* * *


Parokya ni Edgar will be performing at the Calbayog Calbayog City Sports Center on December 21, 2009. For tickets you may call (055) 209-1646.

* * *

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Charity or Pride?

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

Hi there! It’s another week. So sorry to miss you the past so many. Well, blame it on the easiest excuse there is – busy. I think after the word love, busy is the most overused word in the world today. Anyway, so Manny is back. And each time Manny enters the ring, it’s the artist who does the national anthem than I am waiting for. I still have to hear what the NHI has to say about the performance of the trio.

Back to Manny, poor Manny, forget about the Order of Sikatuna, (see video below)


(For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV )

... it’s the taxman who was in the news recently; and that it’s gonna be windfall for his (the taxman’s) agency. Which brings me to the local stores in Cabayog. One reason why I opt to do groceries at Mercury and Rose is that regardless of the amount you pay and the line which you are in, you get to receive an official receipt. They do issues receipts in the other stores, but that is another story, correct me if I’m wrong, it’s either you get what is called the factora, or in a bigger grocery store, you do get a machine printed receipt but I doubt if it’s official because they have a special lane for those who would like to get an official receipt, and the experience (in that line) is not so encouraging. Anyway, why am I saying this. Well, it’s not only the fix-income earners (like an ordinary employee like me) and count in Manny too, who are supposed to pay real, exact, correct and proper (?) taxes.

And what’s with today’s title? That’s the line that came to mind after hearing a sermon during Charity Sunday (I guess that was the Sunday before last). I think we all know what charity is (I suppose so anyway). And if I may repeat an earlier line, after love and busy, maybe charity is another overused word there is. Forget about ladies in Calbayog whose organization has to do with charity and how some of these ladies locked horns with one of the pastors, that’s another story which I don’t intend to elaborate, sayang ang effort (at ang editorial space).

So what about charity? Suddenly I’m reminded of my history lesson and the debate on some matters of faith between the Protestants (reformists) and Catholics. For the former faith is enough; for the latter, it’s faith and good works, charity included. I dunnow who won in that debate, but both sides have survived through the years. Yes, we need to be charitable to our fellowmen and yes, to our church. If there is one thing I noticed about how financial wiz do their stuff on TV, it’s that a good number of them mentioned about setting a part of one’s income for tithe, or charity, or good deeds to our fellowmen.

Suddenly, I see the beggars and the streetchildren all over the place. Do the money we give them make us charitable? I forgot who said this - that our less privileged brothers are there for the privileged members of society to be charitable; or to give them the chance to do charitable works. I would like to agree with that, but it makes me uneasy to be giving out to children begging with their parents or some older person guiding them along the way; or giving to beggars who are able-bodied and could earn their keep by doing laundry, gardening or carpentry work; or to beggars who come in groups (in season) like the Badjaos who unconfirmed reports say that were brought to various places in the region by van (that certainly blew me away); or those solicitors who make it a point to get solicitation permit and go around the city on certain periods every month.

Whatever is your take on it, I respect it. But each time the word charity becomes the subject of the discussion (and I’m not referring to how a priest castigated some ladies in a sermon saying that charity and bad talk don’t go together), I am reminded of a sociologist who commented about people who are into works or deeds of charity. Is it because that person is really charitable? Or is that because he has the capability to be charitable? Nice point over there. And I got that line many years ago. Recent experiences made me ask a similar question: Charity or Pride?

* * *

Belated birthday greetings: My mom Vic Ladrero-Ricafort turned a year older last November 17; and Mrs. Isabel Gomez-Hernandez turned 103 years old last November 19.

Congratulations to teacher Rolando “Rez” Saplad, Jr. He passed the recent board exam for teachers.

* * *

This is it for now. Let me give you something to smile about this week. It’s something I got via email; and it’s some sort of a reminder for us believers in God to be aware of our obligation (and if I may add, should it regardless of the kind of pastor we have in our parish?) Don't Wait 'til the hearse hauls you to Church, if you do:

  1. You will go regardless of the weather.
  2. You will go regardless of how your family feels.
  3. You will go regardless of the condition of your body.
  4. You will have beautiful flowers but you won’t enjoy them.
  5. Regardless of how good the singing, you won’t enjoy it.
  6. Regardless of what the minister may say it will do you no good.
  7. You will go to the altar but you will not pray.
  8. You may have a great need but no one will be able to help you.
  9. You will never be able to attend church again.
  10. There will be relatives and friends there but you will not worship with them.
  11. You will go regardless of how many hypocrites are there.
  12. You will go regardless of how much you are needed at home or on your job.

The Pastor would rather help you now than try to console your loved ones if you die without God. So make it your choice to go to church while you have a choice.

* * *

Have a nice week everyone! Ciao!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Days

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

Hi there! It’s another week. And it’s another week of labor at the office for ordinary mortals like me. But hey, this should be one of the most exciting weeks of the year, I mean days before the year-end bonus. Or so I thought. While many of us are looking forward to be “a-year-end-bonus-richer” in the next few days, for many it will just be another ordinary week, what with their bonus already handed-over to some money lenders due to various reasons that bottomline is always the economic crunch, or so they said. Anyway, es la vida. Or is it?

So, is it the excitement and the few moments of happiness and excitement brought by the bonus that led me to today’s title? Nope! It’s about what else but the season that a good number of Filipinos will always be excited about; and it is the season which always brings out the best and the worst among us Filipinos. So is it that Merry Christmas thing? Nope! Not even Happy Easter! It’s the election season, what else!

Ako ang simula, Boto mo I-patrol mo, these are but some of the advocacies one get to see on TV and other media outfit. But hey, the trappings of traditional politics (not necessarily politicians) are all over the place: addition and subtraction (you know the political party-hopping of political butterflies), celebrity endorsements, news / press releases of this and that advocacies, projects or humanitarian projects of this and that politico. And don’t ask me why happy days on election season. You ought to know what makes Filipinos happy every three years; and we are not talking about goodwill from candidates here.

And yes, do you still remember the news reports about how things went during the voters’ registration in a good number of COMELEC offices? No system, not enough forms, and complaints of all shapes and sizes were hurled at the poll body. And yes, I love that lady who aired here complaint over TV and she did it in perfect English. I have no question about how nice her English was. To you and to the rest of your tribe, COMELEC may never have a perfect system, but I understand the voters’ registration started late last year yet. Yun lang!

* * *

The GTZ project for Calbayog. As reported earlier, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Develompent (BMZ) has recently approved the 3-year Urban Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Project in Calbayog City . Here are a few details of the said project:
In July 2009, GTZ was commissioned by BMZ to review the development-oriented emergency and transitional aid project Disaster Risk Management in cities, Philippines . The appraisers were in the Philippines from 20 June to 31 July 2009 to analyze the situation and to conduct talks with representatives from institutions, organizations and potential target groups at national level and in Region VII ( Eastern Visayas ).

A result of the review was the suggestion to implement a German-Philippine cooperative project in Region VIII. The following three cities were prioritized as pilot locations: Ormoc, Tacloban (both in the province of Leyte ) and Calbayog (in Western Samar ). Given their vulnerable location and large populations, they are at serious risk, but DRM has been initiated. Furthermore, in two of three cities one can fall back on existing GTZ structures or can build on them. The municipalities and the target groups believe that the highest priority should be accorded to activities that strengthen preparedness structures and safeguard livelihoods.

a.) Strengthen preparedness structures by offering basic and further training, also recovery teams; setting up and equipping evacuation centers; setting up early warning systems; and developing disaster protection plans.

b) Safeguard livelihoods by making agriculture less disaster-prone; improving health (hygienic) conditions during disasters, with special reference to drinking water and sanitation; and making houses more disaster-resilient

The target group comprises poor, disadvantaged and disaster-affected population groups in selected cities in Region VIII. The target group in the three prioritized cities covers up to 17,000 households or families (approximately 85,000 persons). Special attention is given to the following groups: women in general and women-headed households; (unemployed) youth; and migrants from marginalized areas.

The overall objective of the project is: Selected municipalities in particularly affected cities are better equipped to handle DRM and can therefore mitigate the damage and losses caused by natural disasters.

The following key indicators have been identified for assessing the achievement of this objective: On the basis of risk analyses, the selected cities have identified appropriate risk-reduction measures that have been operationalized in DRM action plans; In at least two cities, the investments stipulated in the annual investment plan (AIP) for disaster prevention and preparedness measures, distilled from the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP), have doubled; At least X% of the target group in each city uses at least one of the preventive measures promoted by the project (values will be allocated to the indicators in the first project year); More than 60% of the target groups in each city confirm that they feel better prepared for dealing with disasters (opinion survey).

The lead executing agency is the Department for the Interior and Local Government (DILG). It supports the project at national level ( Manila ) in the effort to incorporate project experiences into the design of the national policy process. At regional level, DILG is represented in the Development and Planning Councils; it advises cities on integrating DRM into planning processes and plans and, together with the respective city, partners the project in planning and implementing certain infrastructure measures.

The German contribution involves the assignment of one long-term expert (50%) for three years. Philippine experts and auxiliary staff will also be paid from the project budget. In addition, the following contributions will be made within the framework of the German assistance: advisory services, training measures within the country and abroad, equipment and materials, and local subsidies. The contract value for the three-year project term is EUR 950,000.

* * *

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

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy, Gay and Successful

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend. Surely in a few days’ time, the whole country will be “united” and “at peace” once again as they get glued on TV to watch Manny on the ring. Ahh, such an irony, it takes a bloody sport to “unite” the Filipinos. On the other hand, it’s not how Manny will fare in the fight that I am excited about, it’s on who will sing the Lupang Hinirang and what flimflam will that performer do this time.

At last, the country was given a respite from the onslaught of typhoons. And I think it’s working, I mean during a talk show at the height (literally and figuratively) of the flooding, somebody made an appeal on TV, calling the authorities, officials and all concerned to observe a moratorium on the blame game. Hmm, they must have heeded that call, or it’s just that I have not watched or read the news lately.

Talking about typhoons. The floods came and went. I’m wondering if the legislators will call for an investigation (should we count in the one on the dams in Luzon?); or if some priests will blame politicians for yes, the floods?

It’s a known fact that the Philippines is a record holder when it comes to the number of typhoon visitations (oops, sorry for the term). So what about it? Wala lang. In the States, when a hurricane warning is raised, you see CNN and other news networks report about people evacuating. No need to mention what happens in the land of Juan de la Cruz, well at least until Ondoy. On the other hand, I agree with what one Dr. Arcilla said on TV. It’s a sociological question, I mean the issue on people living in areas which are considered “doormats” of typhoons.

So, the recent flooding and the havoc it wrought, was it an act of God? I don’t think so, act of man is more like it.

* * *

Tomorrow is Alay-Lakad day for Calbayog. This yearly activity is being spearheaded by the City Government thru the City Social Welfare and Development Office. Other private agencies involved in the preparations are SOS Children Village Calbayog and Bugto Association. This yearly event is being to raise fund for projects for the out-of-school youth of Calbayog.

* * *

Also tomorrow, the City of Calbayog will be giving out certificates of commendation to Calbayog PNP Chief PSupt Lito Bigoy and seven Police Officers who members of PNP Calbayog TRACKER Team namely, PO1 Bernadine Valenzuela, SP04 Edgardo Advincula, PO3 Charles Copada, PO1 Ricson Paghunasan, PO1 Maximo Repol, PO1 Marvin Rosco and PO1 Kim Santiago. The team will be cited for their “exemplary performance and invaluable support which greatly contributed to the immediate apprehension of the suspects and solution of a robbery incident last November 1, 2009 in Brgy. Balud”. The awarding of the citations will be part of the Alay-Lakad program which will be held at the Calbayog City Sports Complex grounds.

* * *

And what’s with today’s title? I already had it in one of my columns a few years ago. And it’s the same line that came to mind after watching a segment of that popular Sunday variety show on TV. It was the first time I was able to catch a production in the said show.

It was that portion where the mega-star sang “Aray” and on the side there was the comedian Chocolate making pa-sweet tweetums with a male hunk. No need to elaborate the message or storyline there. Anyway, to make it short it was a story of smile and tears for the bading. Meaning, the bading did have some “happy” moments with the hunk, at what price? No need to elaborate on that. But in the end, that bading becomes a second class citizen and had to be “thrown away” by the hunk because he had a girlfriend to attend to. Moral of the story? On top of being poked fun at, gays are always on the losing end. Question: does it always have to be that way? Your guess is as good as mine. But please did I mention the word successful in today’s title?

It’s ironic, gays are called just that gays, when it’s not a totally happy life. Yes, relations give joy or at least some moments when you think life is truly exciting. But at the end of the day, or at least on Christmas, Valentines and other important events, more often than not, it’s a case of being by yourself, feeling lonely (not necessarily alone) and oftentimes, crying in rivers. But hey, it’s the coping mechanism (which many people do not see) that makes gay life, well, gay.

* * *

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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kalag-kalag

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

Hi there! It’s another week. And yes, nothing beats feeling good on a Monday (morning) than knowing that this is still part of the long weekend, thanks to yet another presidential proclamation. Just wondering, do people really travel on long weekends? After all that’s the idea behind the holiday economics. Anyway, as far as I know these long weekends provide me enough time to sleep and yup, to clean my room, that’s if I still got time after those long-hour sleeps.

So, what’s up for us this week? All roads today lead to the cemetery, at least that’s based on my Calbayog experience. We all know that people in other parts of the country spend time with their dear departed on November 1 - the day fore the saints. And this year, thanks to typhoon Santi, a good number of city folks visited the cemeteries much earlier. I still don’t see any sense as to why we pay respect to our departed loved ones on a day reserved for the saints. Anyway, that’s kultura, kahi-araan kumbaga.

Taking about kahi-araan. In my column last Friday, I was ranting (well, almost) about people making a big deal about Halloween. I forgot to state that we have to charge (or is it blame?) it to the capitalists who had to give everybody else a reason to spend their money on, you know like all those days for fathers, mothers, grandparents, yup and even secretaries. Just curious, with the current economic downturn, will they ever come up with a day for pets? Anyway, back to kahi-araan, there is one thing I always feature in my column when the season or the day for the dead comes around, and it’s about that tradition called pa-nobena (I understand this is something akin to the padasal of the Tagalogs), and I fondly refer to this as the prayer marathons.

There are many kalag-kalag traditions in my hometown, to name but a few: to be at the cemetery on November 2; to put food and in some case tuba (and lately it could be Red Horse or Tanduay) on the grave or in front of the picture on the grave of a departed; and to attend or at least offer some money (inside an envelope with blanks provided for the names) in the hourly masses. Talking about those envelopes, considering the volume of the names of the departed, would the heavens have enough time to attend to these intention? (Oops, don’t take that line seriously, just wanna make you smile today). Going back to my hometown’s kalag-kalag traditions, something that stands out among these (at least for me) is the 9-day novena prayer for the dead the exact local name for that is something which I still have to find out as it is commonly referred to as “nobena san patay”; and we usually have old ladies do the prayer. So, what about it? Each time the day for the dead comes around, these ladies always get booked (fully-booked if I may say as the feast gets nearer). And this is what makes me smile (my apologies). Oftentimes they get fully-booked that instead of nine days, they end up with 9-hour prayer marathons. Whew! But that’s not the end of it. The prayer marathon(s) also includes breaks like after the second or third hour. And these breaks mean partaking of some bounty which oftentimes consists of sinugba, sinakugan, humba and tuba. Now, you don’t have to imagine how the ladies do it halfway through the prayer marathon, err, session. Of course not all prayers ladies (sorry, that’s the only term I can find at the moment) do marathon session. The old ladies are well, exactly that - old. It seems like no young people are willing to follow their path. Back to the marathon, you may smile or scoff at it, but hey it’s tradition.

* * *

This is it for now. Let me give your something to smile about this week. A few days ago while surfing the net, I came across this news item which was placed under the ODD news category. I had a good laugh reading it. I thought I wanted to share this with you. The item was entitled: “Sicilian prefers prison to house arrest with wife”

PALERMO, Sicily (Reuters) – A Sicilian builder transferred from prison to house arrest tried to get himself locked up again to escape arguments with his wife at home, Italian media reported Thursday.

Santo Gambino, 30, did time for dumping hazardous waste before being moved to house arrest in Villabate, outside the Sicilian capital, Palermo, Italian news agencies reported.
Gambino went to the police station and asked to be put away again to avoid arguing with his wife, who accused him of failing to pay for the upkeep of their two children.

Police charged him with violating the conditions of his sentence and made him go home and patch things up with his wife. (Writing by Stephen Brown; editing by Philippa Fletcher).

* * *

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

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