Friday, March 26, 2010

15 days and counting

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend. Yes, we are 15 days away to the 100th Birthday of the Diocese of Calbayog. Among the events slated for the celebration are the Priests’ Congress, the Calbayog Clergy Concert and the Diocesan Centennial Awards.

Holy Week is almost there so I have reserved my acerbic comments on the world around me after Easter. In the meantime let me give you some updates on Calbayog.

* * *

Local news. Last Monday, the City Government of Calbayog cited the secondary and elementary students who won medals in the recently concluded EVRAA 2010. Mayor Mel Sarmiento was joined by DepEd Calbayopg PESS Supervisor Bobby Diomangay in distributing the cash incentives to the young achievers at the City Hall Stage.

Winners in the individual category received 2,500 pesos (for gold), 1,500 pesos (for silver) and 800 pesos (for bronze) 800. Winners in the doubles category received 3,000 (for gold) 2,000 (for silver) and 1,000 for bronze). Group events winners received Php 3,500, Php 2,500 and Php 1,000 for gold, silver and bronze respectively. More than 20 athletes were present to receive their rewards. After congratulating the young achievers, Mayor Sarmiento also thanked the various local sports associations of Calbayog for the support they have given to the young athletes.

During the same occasion, the City Mayor called on the City Solid Waste Management Office and COMELEC Calbayog to form a team that will tear down campaign material that are posted or placed in areas other than the common-poster areas.

After the awarding program, the Mayor proceeded to the Handumanan conference Hall where he delivered a message during the opening of the Seminar Workshop on Disaster Management for the City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) and the Disaster risk Management Office (DRM). The event was done under the auspices of the German GTZ program.

* * *

Last week the Calbayog City Water District sent an El Niño Advisory to various institutions in Calbayog. It called on all concerned to use water wisely.

"Calbayog City Water District is expecting significant reduction in its raw water supply in the coming months as a result of El Niño. We wish to assure our concessionaires that we are making necessary preparation and linkage with the concerned government agencies to manage the situation and minimize concessionaires' inconvenience."

"We must remain vigilant in preparing for the possible continuation of drought cycle. Thus, the CCWD Management appeals to the general public to CONSERVE AND USE WATER WISELY."

"We will provide the public with regular updates regarding the effect of El Niño on our operation and service delivery so we can better manage our water supply."

* * *

Calbayog City will observe Earth Hour 2010. The LGU through the City Environment and Natural Resources Office and the City solid Waste Management Office has prepared a 3-hour program tomorrow at the City Hall Stage. Various NGOs were invited to the event. Fr. Iluminado Paulino will lead the Opening Prayer. The officials invited to speak during the event are Congressman Reynaldo Uy, Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Vice Mayor Ronald Aquino, Councilor Susano Salurio. CENRO OIC and Earth Hour 2010 focal person Lorenzo Ras will give a brief talk on how to conserve energy. The SOS Youth will perform a Hands Play entitled “The Mission”.

* * *

Greetings. Congratulations and Best wishes to Bryan David and Gina Chambers. They will get married tomorrow. Fr. Bart Dumalag will preside over their wedding mass at the Holy Trinity Parish Church in Trinidad, Calbayog City. Reception will be held at Marju Krisel Resort Hotel.
Happy Birthday to Mr. Pio Santos. He will turn a year older tomorrow.

* * *

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bayang Magiliw

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

Hi there! It’s another week of work for ordinary mortals like me. And yup, we’re 19 days away to the Centennial celebration. The Pontifical Mass which we fondly refer to as the Centennial Mass will be held at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral on April 10, 2010 at 10:00 am. Other events slated are the Calbayog Clergy Concert, the Clergy Sports Fest, the CKC Orchestra Concert and the Centennial Awards. More details in my forthcoming columns.

* * *



And what’s with today’s title, you might want to ask. I know that the title of the national anthem is "Lupang Hinirang". It (I mean today’s title) is my way of getting your attention. So what about the national anthem? Needless to mention about the brouhaha over the way Arnel Pineda belted it out in the latest Pacquiao fight. So Arnel has apologized. And then comes Christian Bautista saying something like every artist has the freedom to feely express himself, blah, blah, blah. Well, considering our (read: us, Filipinos) super, very short memory span, let it be put on record that Christian omitted something like two lines from the national anthem when he sang it in one event called a boxing match. In other words I guess he should be the last person to give any suggestion or comment on the issue on the national anthem, the NHI and whoever the artist-flavor-of-the-season is.

Is it really about artistic freedom? I think I found the answer from a fellow blogger (www.heavenpurgatoryandhell.blogspot.com) And here’s what I got from him and I do not disagree with him:

“What gets me is that while our artists claim "vocal liberties" at song renditions, the national anthem IS NOT some hot number that needs a vocal rendition or a make-over. It is a song that talks about the nation's pride. It is to be sung in a manner befit that of respect and dignity. Which is also why I can't get over the fact that these tone deaf fans are there to defend the artists rather than the song! It is not how melodramatic the song is sung, or how much heart is put into it, or how well we showcase the Filipino talent, but how the song should be sung because it is, after all, the Philippine National Anthem.”

“Once in a blue moon, we showcase to the world the Philippine National Anthem.”

“And sing with pride we must, even if it is a rowdy boxing match of a national boxing icon in the likes of Manny Pacquiao. Every time we raise that flag, we must rise to the occasion of respecting it, even if our government officials do not.”

“As a nation, we owe it to ourselves to make the statement that we are Filipinos.”

“And that we intend to make the world realize that there is one version, and one voice, and one tune to singing the Philippine National Anthem.”

“And this is our pride. It's all we have left.”

* * *

In town last Thursday were former Senate President Frank Drilon and Congressman Neric Acosta. They met with the Calbayog media after arriving from Catarman.

* * *

PGMA was in Calbayog last Friday. Well, at the Calbayog airport to be exact; and for a few minutes at least. She took the chopper at the airport en route to San Jose de Buan. As per OPS report, the President braved the stormy rains, to inaugurate several Kalayaan Barangay Program (KBP) projects consisting of two units of two-classroom schoolbuildings, two healthcare centers, and the barangay street lighting system. The KBP projects with the total cost of P4.7 million were funded by the President’s Social Fund. She also ordered the provincial government to immediately implement the road pavement project on the Lokiloan-San Jose De Buan provincial road.

* * *

Belated birthday greetings to Archbishop Jose Palma. He turned a year older last Friday.

* * *

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

Friday, March 19, 2010

What Now?

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and we are 22 days away to the big day which is the 100th birthday of the Diocese of Calbayog. The Papal Nuncio has confirmed his attendance in the celebration on April 10, 2010. More details on the event in my forthcoming columns.

And what’s with today’s title? It’s my take on “where to?”, that usual question this time of the year when schools churn out a good number of graduates. Yes I’m referring to both the real schools and the diploma mills. Suddenly I hear Frank Sinatra crooning “What now my love?” Yes what now that a good number of our young people have left school and joined the ranks of those with diplomas to boast, but sadly with still uncertain future in the jobs market. It’s all over the place, even graduates from reputable schools can have a hard time looking for a job, no need to mention how those from schools ruled by the lesser gods will fare. Well, es la vida.

* * *

New Deacons for the Diocese of Calbayog. Bishop Isabelo Abarquez on Wednesday presided over an ordination ceremony at the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Ordained as deacons were Rev. Joseph Rabuya De Guzman (of San Policarpo, Calbayog City ), Rev. Roger Mañoza Oñate (of Oquendo, Calbayog City ), Rev. Cris Uy Tan (of Pagsangjan, Samar), Rev. Mario Benjamin Cobilla Mangubat (of Villareal, Samar), Rev. Ronjie Cabrales Raquil (of Pinabacdao, Samar) and Rev. Jake Jester Portugaliza Yboa (of Catbalogan, Samar ).

* * *

The Presidential campaign. Senator Manny Villar would have been the first presidential candidate to visit Calbayog after the official campaign period started. He was expected to fly in a week ago today. For still unknown reasons, only Senator Loren Legarda made it.

Senator Noynoy Aquino flew in last Wednesday. He gave a presscon with the local media before talking to his supporters at the Nijaga Park .

* * *

As reported a good number of countries paid homage to women two Mondays ago. I thought I was just gonna look at it as just that, another celebration, until I came across a yahoo news article which gave focus on how the day can hardly be had in some parts of the world. I though I’d like to share a part of that article:

“What made last Monday’s observance is that it marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. The day doesn't get a great deal of attention within the United States , but many other countries honor it with a national holiday. Nations that officially honor it are far flung, ranging from China and Russia to Macedonia and Vietnam . Some countries will encourage men to lavish gifts on the women in their lives, in the tradition of greeting-card holidays like Father's Day and Mother's Day. Other countries promote women-only commemorations of the day, with all-female parties and dinners.”

“We were happy to report about activities for women. But then, International Women's Day is still an occasion of danger, rather then levity, in some parts of the world. In 2007, numerous men and women were beaten and arrested by government officials in Iran for merely planning to celebrate the holiday.”

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week. The last part of a piece which I suppose was written by a woman. It’s battle of the sexes again: Men & Women: The difference... Men are just happier people. What do you expect from such simple creatures?

NICKNAMES: If Laura, Kate and Sarah go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Kate and Sarah. If Mike, Dave and John go out, they will affectionately refer to each as Fat Boy, Godzilla and Four-Eyes.

EATING OUT: When the bill arrives, Mike, Dave and John will each through in £20, even though it's only for £32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

BATHROOMS: A man has six items in his bathroom: toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap and a towel from M&S. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify more than 20 of these items.

ARGUMENTS: A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

FUTURE: A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

SUCCESS: A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

MARRIAGE: A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.

DRESSING UP: A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the bins, answer the phone, read a book, and get the post. A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

NATURAL: Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing.

* * *

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

Monday, March 8, 2010

HOPIA

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

Hi there! It’s a new week. And yes, we’re almost there, I mean the official campaign period for the local bets. Forget about the city being dirtied by those posters and streamers, if you can’t beat them join. Or that we have more than enough of our share of these posters all-year round, what with all those agents advertising and selling this and that product. If there is one billboard that is most welcome, especially as we kick-off the campaign season, that would be the billboard with the Peace Manifesto / Covenant which the local bets signed during the 10:00 a.m. mass yesterday. Yup, it’s that other election tradition wherein candidates gather in the church and pledge to contribute to the holding of peaceful elections. I understand this is being done all over the country. As to how effective the manifesto is, well.

(As it turned out, yesterday's Covenant signing did not push through. rrlr 03-08-10)

Talking about the election. Move over HOPE, it’s time for the HOPIA. Hmm, I think I’d rather have the latter, as the former reminds of those tobacco-addicted friends of mine who always make my shirt and hair smell bad when I am near them. Back to the hopia. It seems like the poll body tried to go further this time. It used to be HOPE as in H-onest, O-rderly and P-eaceful E-lections. Hmm, they have put on a new challenge upon themselves: HOPIA as in like H-onest, O-rderly, P-eaceful, I-______ and A-ccurate Elections. Sorry, I forgot what the “I” is for. Anyway, let’s hope and pray that this becomes a reality.

* * *

Women’s Month celebration. In observance of Women's Month 2010, the City of Calbayog will join the Bantay-Abuso Network (BAN), WESADEF and other agencies and non-government organizations in a 7-part program today.

Today's event will commence at 7:00 am with the registration at the Jogger's Court in Barangay East Awang. The Opening Program will follow at the City Hall stage at 8:00 a.m. Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Councilor Regina Rabuya and CSWDO Betty Jane Arnejo have been invited to deliver their messages during the opening program which will be followed by a motorcade.

The official opening of the Women's Multi-Services Fair will be held at the Jogger's Court after the motorcade. The said fair will offer various services like Health and Nutrition, Personal Care, Social Services, Advocacy, among others.

The Closing Program will be held at 4:00 p.m. BAN member and Broadcast Journalist Eleen Lim and CSWDO Betty Jane Arnejo are expected to deliver their messages. Invited to lead the distribution of certificates are Mayor Mel Sarmiento, Councilor Regina Rabuya and DILG Calbayog City Director Valente Bajet.

The program will be capped by the Hataw Bayan to be led by SPO3 Gloria Arioja and Prose Bingayen.

This year's celebration is anchored on the theme: "Babae, Tagumpay ka ng Bayan!"

* * *

Calbayog City will participate in the 2nd One Visayas Festival of the Arts. This will be held in Roxas City, Capiz from March 11 – 16, 2010. The LGU through the City Arts and Culture Office will present a collection of Calbayog songs and dancesdubbed as Lokal nga Arte Kultura ug Bahandi of LAKUB; and the “well-traveled” comedy-play on environment protection entitled “Inodoro”.


The One Visayas Festival is an undertaking of the Regional Development Councils (RDCs) of Regions 7, 8 and 9.

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this week. I suppose this was written by a woman. It’s battle of the sexes again: Men & Women: The difference... Men are just happier people. What do you expect from such simple creatures?

  • You can open all your jars.
  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  • If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  • Your underwear is £3 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
  • You almost never have strap problems in public.
  • You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  • Everything on your face stays its original colour.
  • The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
  • You only have to shave your face and neck.
  • You can play with toys all your life.
  • One wall and one pair of shoes, one colour for all seasons.
  • You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
  • You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.
  • You have freedom of choice concerning growing a moustache.
  • You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on 24th December in 25 minutes flat. (to be continued)

* * *

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

Friday, March 5, 2010

Human and Divine

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

Hi there! It’s another weekend and in two days time we’ll be in for the third Sunday of Lent. But first things first. Let me give you this update on the Centennial Celebration of the Diocese of Calbayog, it’s on the Jubilee of the Youth.


Young people from all over the Diocese will gather in Calbayog City today for the Jubilee of the Youth. The two-day event is one of the highlights of the Celebration of the Centenary of the Diocese of Calbayog which will fall on April 10, 2010.

Today’s activities will be held at the LMA Auditorium. It will include the registration and orientation. At 9:00 a. m., the Conference with the Youth will be led by Fr. Melo Viola of DILAAB, a youth-related movement connected with the Church. Calbayog Bishop Isabelo Abarquez will preside over the mass at 5:00 p.m. This will be followed by the Youth Barrio Fiesta at 7:00 p.m.

On March 6, 2010, the delegates will join the youth and officials of selected barangays in the Calbayog City proper for a street-sweeping / cleaning activity. This will be followed by Inputs on the Environment and Solid Waste Management.

Invited to the event are young people from the parishes in Calbayog, San Policarpo, Trinidad, Oquendo, Tinambacan, Sto. Niño, Almagro, Tagapul-an, Sta. Margarita, Gandara, San Jorge, Pagsangjan, Tarangnan, Catbalogan, Ubanon, Silanga, Jiabong, Motiong, Bassey, Sta. Rita, Osmeña, San Jose de Buan, Calbiga, Paranas, Bagacay, Hinabangan, Pinabacdao, San Sebastian, Villareal, Zumarraga, Daram, Rizal and Talalora.

Also expected to participate are representatives from the various Catholic Renewal Movements, Campus Ministries, Public and Private Schools, the Episcopal Commission on the Youth, and the Central-Eastern Visayas Regional Youth Coordinating Council.

The event being spearheaded by the Diocese of Calbayog through the Diocesan Commission on the Youth led by Fr. Ted Perez. On hand to lend support are LGU Calbayog through the City Solid Waste Management Office, PNP Calbayog, DILG Calbayog and the SK officials and the Officials of five barangays in the Calbayog city proper namely, Balud, East and West Awang, Central and Aguit-itan.

* * *

Back to my intro. Talking about Lent. I came across a very interesting reflection on Lent, on the sacrifices we have to go through and the glory that the Resurrection brings; that life is both joy and sorrow, sacrifices and success; that we need to go through all of these in our lives, otherwise the life that we have should not spell l-i-f-e. And I heard something like that (well almost) again last Sunday.

The celebrant did a lengthy reflection on the transfiguration, the message of lent, and the meanings of the two mountains mentioned in the gospel: Mount Tibor which represented the divinity; and the Mount of Olives which represented the humanity (of Christ). But more than a presentation of biblical facts and figures, the homily zeroed in on love not being love if it is without sacrifice; victory is not what it is without the struggle. God so loved the world He gave His only son (what a cliché you might want to say); Christ had to endure passion and death before being glorified in His resurrection. And it occurred to me, we humans can never be divine, but at least we can be good. And if we can’t be good all the days of our lives, we can be at least in this season of Lent. Now, that’s what being given all the chances to be good is all about.

I was still contemplating on the lines about sacrifice before glory, passion before resurrection when I remembered that it’s also election season. And (again) it occurred to me, on the naughty me (if I may add), that in the Philippines (especially during election seasons), it’s not passion before resurrection or sacrifices before glory, but it’s the other way around! (Oops, just wanna make you smile this weekend)

* * *

Let me leave you with something to smile about this weekend. I suppose this was written by a woman. It’s battle of the sexes again: Men & Women: The difference... Men are just happier people. What do you expect from such simple creatures?
  • Your last name stays put.
  • The garage is all yours.
  • Wedding plans take care of themselves.
  • Chocolate is just another snack.
  • You can never be pregnant.
  • You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  • You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.
  • Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  • The world is your urinal.
  • You never have to drive to another petrol station toilet because this one is just too icky.
  • You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  • Same work, more pay.
  • Wrinkles add character.
  • People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
  • The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
  • New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  • One mood all the time.
  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  • You know stuff about tanks.
  • A five-day holiday requires only one suitcase. (to be continued)

* * *

Birthday greetings. Belated greetings to Board Member Nancy Rosales (March 3); and to Fr. Romy Manzanero (February 28). Advanced greetings to Msgr. Jun Cinco and Liza Cui-Cajusay (March 7).

* * *

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

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