Monday, August 29, 2011

The Music Man of Samar (3)

Hi there! It’s a new week and yes we’re still into our long weekend. How I wish we get to have some more of these Monday holidays. Ah Ricky and Mitos. What a show, oops, I’m at a loss as to what to call that tussle between Secretary Carandang and Congresswoman Magsaysay. Anyway, I guess that showdown was not unexpected. And yes (as a news report had it), considering the history of the House (of congress) and its members, budget hearing oftentimes become a venue for lawmakers to faceoff with cabinet secretaries regarding (more of) their parochial concerns and oftentimes not so much about the budget and the like. Well, as la vida. Or should I say everything boil down to three words: perks and occupational hazard. That’s depending on which side of the debate you happen to find yourself into.

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Patrun sa Calbayog. The 9-day Novena Masses in preparation for the Calbayog City Fiesta will commence tomorrow. This year’s Hermanas Mayores are all members of the Diomangay Clan, they are Thelma Diomangay – Manaog, Delia Corrales – Diomangay, Tomasa Corsiga – Antivo and Sheila So Seng – Montagot.

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Events at my alma mater. The Philippine Science Centrum will open its Science Fun Caravan Travelling Exhibit at Christ the King College on Thursday (September 1). Invited to speak during the opening program are Calbayog Schools Division Superintendent Edita Paculan, Congressman Mel Sarmiento, Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and CKC President Fr. Marcelo Tubac, OFM.

The Philippine Science Centrum (PSC) is a comprehensive educational program composed of various interactive science exhibit modules and write-ups, teacher activities, lessons and projects. To reach the various individuals, communities and academic institutions and organizations in the countryside, the Science Fun Caravan Travelling Exhibit was established. This mobile exhibition was designed to reach out and bring the exciting educational offering of PSC in Metro Manila to the regions.

The Calbayog run of the exhibit will last until the end of September.

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Here’s the conclusion of the article about Jose Gomez, the Music Man of Samar.

Like in the Wink of an Eye: The Heroism of the Gomez Sisters. To protect the authorship of his music after the war, he obtained letters from the Adjustment General. But the most tragic blow in his life came with the death of his kin and five members of the guerilla band who were captured by the Japanese soldiers in Barangay Acedira in Bobon, Northern Samar. They were interrogated and tortured to reveal the whereabouts of Jose. Refusing to give in to the Japanese, his sisters Josefa, Francisca and Trinidad were made to walk the nine-kilometCatarman. Josefa died along the way on March 7, 1944. Francisca and Trinidad reached Catarman only to be bayoneted to death at dawn of March 9, 1944. They were buried in a common grave together with the five members of the Cecilian Band who were also killed by the Japanese namely, Corporals Basilio Comilan and Maximo Del Monte, Private 1st Class Pablo Aniban and Irencio Jalayajay and Private 2nd Class Ramon Aniban.

Jose expressed his grief over the loss of his sisters in a heart-rending composition, “In The Wink Of An Eye”.

He was also moved to write a song “An Kamote” in praise of the lowly plant which saved many families from starvation during the war years. He also composed “Bandit Of The Hills” after the Japanese called his guerilla group “bandits”.

The leadership qualities and the courage which Jose Gomez demonstrated during the war made him a logical person to organize the Calbayog Police and acted as its leader.

After Calbayog became a city on October 16, 1948, he took the additional responsibility of being the Chief of the Secret Service Division of the Police Department. This arrangement continued until 1953.

Musical Performances for CKC.Upon the arrival of the American Franciscan Fathers of the Assumption Province of Pulaski, Wisconsin, Jose and other civic-spirited Calbayognons helped the Friars acquire six hectares of land situated in the eastern part of the city. The area was known as “Hamorawon Hills” and was owned by seven families.

The Friars arrived in Calbayog to take over the administration of the Colegio De San Vicente De Paul (CSVP). Musical performances were staged and sponsored by the faculty of the CSVP to launch the school now known as Christ the King College (CKC). At CKC, Jose trained “some 70 boys and girls comprising the college band”.

Shower of Musical Thoughts. Jose never ceased from writing music, church hymns, guerilla marches and graduation marches for schools in Calbayog. Famous among these are CKC’s “Christi Regians”, “Bongto Ko” and “Mutya -San Kagab-ihon" which won the 1st prize, besting the different schools in Region 8 during the CIDAL Meet Singing Competition in Catbalogan, Samar. He also wrote Christmas songs entitled “Panarit No. 2, 3 and 4”, the "La Milagrosa March”, Calbayog Pilot Central School March and the Tiburcio Taninco Memorial Vocational School March.

Jose Gomez has written 5,000 songs, 500 of which he applied for copyright. He filed this in his bound collection called “Shower of Musical Thoughts”.

On September 1974, he won in the “Paligsahan sa Musika” Songwriting Competition. His song “Hiboy-Hiboy” won during the municipal, provincial and regional levels. But he lost to Dodong Pinedero during the Grand National Finals at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

“Pa, did you receive a plaque?” On November 1974, he suffered a stroke paralyzing his left arm. It was probably caused by his fight against a recording company for its alleged violation on the patent right on his composition “Ahay”. He was brought to Manila for medical treatment.

During his stay at the hospital, his eldest son Tony happily showed him a plaque.

“I received this for my outstanding contribution to the company I worked for”. He continued, “Pa, did you receive any plaque of recognition for your musical efforts in Calbayog?”

That question struck Jose speechless and motionless, he turned his gaze away from his son and stared pensively at the window. Tear slid down slowly upon his aging cheeks. It was only at that moment that the eldest son realized that he asked a sensitive question.

Against the advice of his doctor, Jose insisted on going home believing that he will recover in Calbayog. He came home on January 1975. In the early morning of February 2, 1975, like “in the wink of an eye”, grim reaper intervened and snuffed the life out of Jose Gomez.

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

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