Benefit Concert 2013

by junasun

The Ketsana Foundation in Zürich which was founded by Franklin Patricio and Milagros Asuncion, with active members Jun Asuncion and Elizabeth Patricio, has organized another Benefit Concert in Zürich this coming November 21, 2013 which will  be held at the Gemeindesaal Zollikon, Rotfluhstrasse 96,  8702 Zollikon, Zürich.

This will be another  classical piano evening which will showcase for a charitable cause the musical talent of Mr. Robert Siebenmann, himself a seasoned Swiss heart surgeon working at the world-class Hirslanden Clinic in Zürich.

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Dr. Robert Siebenmann, classical pianist and heart surgeon

Convinced of our cause of helping young people develop love and passion for reading printed books, and impressed at how the Filipino pianist Mr. Cases played for the Ondoy victims last 2009 to help our medical missions in the Philippines, Dr. Siebenmann readily offered his precious hands to help us raise funds for our project of building a modest public library in Bulan for the young students.

To add extra boost to the morale of the Swiss-Filipino friends who support this project, we have also invited our Philippine Ambassador in Berne Mr. Leslie J. Baja to join us this evening. With Dr. Robert Siebenmann’s precise and relaxed hands as a surgeon, an evening of quiet and relaxing classical piano music of Johannes Brahms and Frederic Chopin  awaits us on the 21st of November for sure.

We also invite friends of Bulan Observer from all over the world to join us and to help support this Library Project.

library

My personal message for the Concert on November 21:

Now, may I ask? When was the last time you were in a library? Long ago? Not me, for I’m every day in a library, – in my mini library at home. Indeed, it’s such a special privilege or a luxury to have one at home where you can read and write undisturbed to compose your mind. In my library, I have written many articles for my blog. A library is very similar in a way to a Karate Dojo because it’s a place of quiet, respect and introspection; a place for working and of balancing your mind and body.

The Roman Orator Cicero once said that ” if you have a garden and a library, then you have everything you need”.  The same Cicero said that  “We are not born, we do not live for ourselves alone; our country, our friends, have a share in us”, – kind words from a man who existed over a hundred years before Christ.

It is in this context of garden, library and sharing that we felt moved to take Cicero literary and continue with this project of building a modest library in Bulan for those children who don’t even have a garden or a proper home. A library is a meeting place, a very democratic place where young people learn to know their culture. Hence, raising funds to build a library is building up culture as opposed to destruction of culture by  cutting funds meant for public libraries as some government leaders do.

There is a personal background to this library project. For it was once my plan to help a primary school in Bulan by sending boxes of books in English I have bought myself for their library which in itself is in a very desolate situation for lack of government funds. But on their way to Bulan, in 2009, these books were destroyed in Manila by a series of heavy floods that hit the Philippines at that time. Instead of replacing those books, my friends here decided we would rather send medicines and first aid materials to the victims in Bulan. Yet along the way we have never given up this library project in spite of the typhoons, floodings and earthquakes that batter the archipelago every year.

But a noble dream remains just a dream if one does not act.

We acted and that’s why we are gathered here tonight because we invited you to help us make this dream a reality. The fact that you are here tonight means you support culture and you feel that others have a share in you.

One person who felt the same way even went beyond that for he volunteered also to play piano for us tonight. As a heart and vascular surgeon by profession, his duty is about saving lives of people who come to him with broken hearts in the true sense of the word, people who are between living and dying. The same hands and fingers that have saved people from dying will be playing the piano tonight and thereby saving a piece of culture in Bulan someday soon, – i.e., as soon as the library building has been built with a little help from all of  us.

My heartfelt thanks then to our pianist Dr. Robert Siebenmann, a heart surgeon with a heart for the less fortunate children, for taking with us the very first concrete step to realizing this library project, – where  children living ten thousands miles from here  may have dreamed of.

About Dr. Robert Siebenmann (English translation of the German original by junasun)

Robert Siebenmann began his piano studies at the age of 12 years with piano lessons at the music school and the Winterthur Conservatory with Emil Schenk.

During his High School in Erlangen ( Germany ), he continued it with Karl Pratter. In addition to the study of medicine in Zurich , he took piano lessons with Alfred Ehrisman . The time-consuming and demanding training as heart- and later as  vascular surgeon, had left him at times with little or no time for playing the piano, However, he had never given up completely to continue with his favorite hobby. But as a busy cardiovascular surgeon at the clinic Hirslanden he has but only on the weekends the time to practice and play .

He feels honored to receive as  an amateur the opportunity to play for a charity event in front of an interested  audience. The main thing here  is primarily to support a charity event, an event being organized now and then  and with success by a group of Filipino nurses of Clinic Hirslanden and their friends. He asks the audience not to expect a professional performance yet  he hopes that he is able to do justice to  the music and to the composers..

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Our Lady of Penafrancia Assured of a Shrine In Chicago

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

Joseph Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – The celebration of the miraculous Our Lady of Penafrancia has been observed in the Chicago, Illinois for the last 22 years. Last Saturday, Sept. 17, the Rev. John J. Sanaghan, pastor of St. Matthias Church at 2310 W. Ainslie in Chicago’s north side, assured devotees that they could call St. Matthias Church as the home of Our Lady of Penafrancia “for the next 301 years.”

In brief welcome remarks after the translacion (transfer of the image of the Virgin of Penafrancia from one church to the other), Father Sanaghan, impressed with the big crowd that packed his parish church, has offered his parish church to be shrine of “Ina,” the revered Bikol name of Our Lady of Penafrancia.

The Penafrancia festivities have been observed annually in the home city of Ina in Naga in the Philippines for the last 301 years from the second Friday up to the third Saturday of September. Other parts of the world where there are preponderance of Bikolano devotees have also observed the same festivities simultaneously.

After a 30-minute fluvial procession from Belmont Harbor to Burnham Harbor in Lake Michigan in Chicago Saturday, the image of Penafrancia was returned to St. Matthias church on board a school bus along with the devotees.

BOAT BUFFETED BY WAVES

Medyo ma-alon ang Lake. Pero hindi naman ako natatakot dahil kasama ko ang Virgen ng Penafrancia,” (The boat was buffeted by big waves of Lake Michigan. But I was not afraid because I was with the Virgin of Penafrancia.), according to Avelino “Ben” Ner, one of the devotees, who joined the fluvial procession.

But Daniel Hernandez, the three-year-old son of Larry Hernandez, who joined the fluvial procession, was dead tired, when the bus returned to St. Matthias church. His lola (grandmother), Dr. Dona L. Hernandez, who was also on board the boat, said Daniel might have felt dizzy during the trip on board the boat.

The fluvial procession was the culmination of the nine-day novena to usher the feast of the patroness of Bikolnons from the Philippines.

As in the eight previous nights, a chaplet, Rosary and Novena were held starting at 7 p.m. since Sept. 9 in St. Matthias Church.

When the fluvial devotees arrived in front of the St. Matthias Church, like a similar refrain in Naga City, welcoming devotees shouted “Viva La Virgin De Penafrancia !!! Vila El Divino Rostro! (Long Live Virgin of Penafrancia! Long Live the Holy Face!)

In Naga City, the fluvial procession is held at the Naga River.

To sustain attendance of devotees, residents who hailed from different six provinces and three cities of the Bikol region took turns alternately in hosting the nightly vigil.

President Roger “Boy” R. Odiamar of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Penafrancia said observance of the Penafrancia festivities in Chicago is growing each year because of the support of the Filipino American community. “We even got support from a boat owner, who provided us the boat for free during the fluvial procession for the last 22 years. I cannot just thank enough our supporters, including the flower and cape donors, voyadores (devotees), etc..”

But he is also thankful for the support of the Bikolanos notably the group called Bikol U.S.A., which was later renamed Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest now headed by Ms. Evelyn R. Tolledo of Catanduanes in the Philippines but is now a resident at suburban Schiller Park, Illinois. Ms. Tolledo is this year’s ad hoc committee co-chair.

PENAFRANCIA RETURNED TO ORIGINAL HOME

At the mass during the Fiesta, Fr. John Era was the main celebrant assisted by Rev. Fr. Nelson Garcia and Deacon Roland Merced.

The nightly liturgy ministers included Fathers Nelson Garcia, John Era, Andre Beltran, Danilo Soriano, Leoncio Santiago, Tirso Villaverde, Joel Lopez and Noel Reyes.

Members of this year’s ad hoc committee included Jimmy Alto, Monette Calderon, Amor Saenz, Delia Silva, Aida Joseph, Lura Gonzales, Dona Hernandez, Romy Sarcilla, Alice Llames, Lilia Untalan, Danny Auro and Fely Odiamar.

In Naga City, on the second Friday of September, that is, September 9 this year, the image of the virgin and the Divino Rostro (Holy Face) are transferred, hence the term traslacion, from the Penafrancia Church to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral by barefoot male voyadores or devotees. While at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, the faithful start the Novenario. 
In previous years, the image of the Our Lady of Penafrancia was kept at the Basilica. But last year, the 300th year or tercenary of celebration, it was brought back to its original home, Penafrancia Church.

The festivities feature a fluvial procession on the ninth day of the novena bringing back the image to the Basilica for the Pontifical Mass. While only men can participate in the traslacion and fluvial procession, women devotees on the other hand have their own procession around the Basilica.

Photos:

OUR LADY OF PENAFRANCIA AFTER TRANSLACION IN CHICAGO:

The image of the Virgin of Penafrancia is moved from the school bus after the fluvial procession towards the St. Matthias Church in the north side of Chicago, Illinois as it is met by female devotees last Saturday, Sept. 17. Photo shows foreground at left Roger “Boy” R. Odiamar, president of Confraternity of Our Lady of Penafrancia, talking to a devotee.

OUR LADY OF PENAFRANCIA ENTERS THE CHURCH:

The image of the Virgin of Penafrancia is surrounded by devotees as it is being brought inside the St. Matthias Church in the north side of Chicago, Illinois last Saturday, Sept. 17, after the fluvial procession.

OUR LADY OF PENAFRANCIA INSIDE THE CHURCH:

The image of the Virgin of Penafrancia is ushered inside the St. Matthias Church at the north side of Chicago, Illinois last Saturday, Sept. 17, after the fluvial procession, led by Fr. John Sanaghan (from left), Fr. John Era, and Fr. Nelson Garcia while devotees look on.

(Photos by jGLi Joseph G. Lariosa)

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The Loving Eye For Detail

  

A 19th-century burgher records the faces of his people (originally published in the 1975 edition of the Archipelago magazine) 

by Santiago A. Pilar
 

Portrait of Romana Asuncion (cover Archipelago Magazine 1975)

 

Perhaps the most satirical of witticisms expressed about the Philippines during the Spanish times was made by a visiting French nobleman in a report to his country in 1766. « I am writing you from the other side of the globe, and may I even add from the 14th century ! » declared M. Le Gentil de la Galasiere who, steeped in the ideas of the then modern French Enlightenment, must have been intensely shocked about the medieval lifeways of Spain’s territory in Asia. 

The erudite Seigneur’s caustic esprit was only one of the volley of similar pointed comments hurled at the quality of the Spanish rule in the islands, criticisms which eventually stirred up some enlightened Spanish hearts into taking steps toward a better administration. Out of these attempts at reforms aimed primarily at improving the country’s unpredictable economy, one move was the institution of government-subsidized agricultural projects and incentives. 

Whereas years of economic dependence on the Chinese silk trade with Mexico neglected the natural potentials of the islands, the colonial government now turned its attention to the development of natural resources and the stimulation of agricultural activities. 

The much sought- after spices of yore no longer commanded a monopoly of interest; crops like sugar, tobacco, indigo and hemp began to be in demand. In 1834, when Spain at last officially opened Manila to international commerce, progress began to be seen in manifold manifestations, among which was art patronage. 

Perhaps no other painter’s life was more intimately interwoven with the course of newly prosperous 19th-century Manila than that of the early master, Justiniano Asuncion. Gifted with a durable life of 80 years, he witnessed prosperity coming upon the once languid city and bringing new turns in the destinies of its awakened inhabitants. As a consequence of this long life, his painting career reflected the artistic preferences of his flourishing milieu perhaps more faithfully than any of his contemporaries. 

Justiniano Asuncion was elected cabeza de barangay in the community of mestizos in Sta. Cruz, Manila. For this reason, he was ever after fondly called Capitan Ting. The biographer Manuel Artigas y Cuerva jotted a 14-sentence sketch of his life and called him modelo de honradez, an exemplar of tacto y prudencia

The Sta. Cruz of 1816, when Capitan Ting was born still carried the features of what Le Gentil de la Galaisiere, 50 years earlier, referred to as the “fourteenth century”. As any other Christianized spot in the islands, the district reminded the monsieur of some medieval European faubourg: a self-complacent artisan’s village that only trembled when threatened with the fires of hell. Little surprise it is, therefore, that the quiet nest of sculptors, smiths, embroiderers and jewelry setters was noted for spectacular church processions, activities which must have absorbed the year-round material profits and efforts of its dexterous denizens. 

According to the medieval scheme of things, the fine arts were crouched within the level of the crafts. The painter, however much praised, was seated between the tailor and the carpenter. In fact, he had to enlist himself in a guild encompassing all citizens who practiced his profession. This guild system was a mechanism of the colonial government to facilitate the collection of tributes. 

Another medieval aspect of Sta. Cruz’ lifeways was the classification of its citizens into communities according to race- Chinese, mestizo or native. Each community elected its own officials and competed with each other in the civic and religious affairs of the district. The Gremio de Mestizos, to which the Asuncions belonged, since 1741 surpassed in prestige its father guild, the Gremio de Chinos.and continued to be the most influential group in the arrabal until the end of the 19th century. 

It is often said that artistic genius runs in the family. Justiniano’s lineage is a shining example. His elder brothers, Antonio, Ambrosio and Mariano, were all recognized by religious organizations for their talents as painters. Antonio even earned a flattering epithet, Fra Angelico Filipino! Manuel and Leoncio- Justiniano was the youngest son in a family of 12-  maintained a sculptors’ shop and executed many life-size figures, like the Tercera Caida which was carried during Holy Week processions in their home district. 

Neither were the Asuncions an ordinary mestizo family. Their father, Don Mariano, assumed the coveted position of cabeza de barangay in 1805. An engraving of his ancestor, copied from a paste original by Justiniano, depicts him in the powerful pose of a grand patriarch. Of interest is his costume. Typical of his mestizo class, he wears loose pantaloons, an equally loose camiza, intricately embroidered at the hems, and a collar kerchief to simulate the European cravat. His hair is gathered at the back of his head into a Chinese pigtail. Curiously, he wears a pair of slippers with curled toes. 

Perhaps it is important to mention that the family name was recently acquired. Don Mariano was originally surnamed Kagalitan. Perhaps the old man adopted a Spanish surname as he rose in position in society. The spirit of change was beginning to dominate the times. 

Neither did the ambiance of progress leave the artistic world untouched. When Justiniano was about six years of age, the painter’s lot as a craftsman was elevated to better status with the establishment of Escuela de Dibujo, the first public art school in the community. Since the painter now went to school, the respectability of his position became fairly assured. Thus when young Ting reached schooling age, he had not only exposed himself to the artistic influences of his brothers, he must have also attended the Escuela wherein Don Damian seems to have been the sole professor. 

When the school closed in 1834- “for lack of funds”- aspiring painters had to seek private tutorship from recognized masters. Both the lessons under Don Damian and those under private tutelage seem to have consisted of the same rigorous training designed to acquaint their pupils with the nuances of realistic painting, with the fastidious emphasis on details, as the standard of times dictated. The supreme test of this sensitivity to details was the limning of miniatures, religious portraits on a golden or ivory or cloth surface, usually the size of a thumb and later on framed on chains or rosary beads. Justiniano made many of these locket paintings but it is difficult to make infallible attributions of extant examples to his name. 

One authenticated early work establishes his affiliation to Don Damian and his contemporaries. This religious painting, wrought on copper sheet, is entitled “The Coronation of the Virgin”. A favorite subject of religious paintings, the original picture may have been a polychromatic estampa. The subject, as further interpreted by local painters, has acquired an Oriental grace, a visual flatness or lightness as done in very fine polish with the Chinese brush. The young Justiniano’ painting of the Virgin had a cool sweetness that emanated from cautious hands. 

Filomena Asuncion (Oil portrait, miniature, c. 1875)

 

Little drawings of native costumes and scenery such as those trajes painted by Don Damian in the 1820s grew in popularity as more foreign ships docked in the country. What today would be called picture post cards, these little mementos attracted foreign travelers no end. A recently discovered collection of these so- called tipos del pais was done by Justiniano to depict the attire of his times in the 1840s. This album attests to his mastery of water color in drawing the minutest details. A matter of interest is the fact that his album had both Spanish and English captions which hint that they were aimed at some English patrons. 

A thriving contemporary, Juan Transfiguration Nepomuceno, also drew similarly costumed figures to illustrate the French scholar Jean Mallat’s Les Philippines. In comparing the two albums, an ineffable difference is at once apparent. While Nepomuceno’s models looked like garbed mannequins, cold and poised, Asuncion’s are breathing humans, pulsating and alive. The characterization of these figures indicate his realistic capturing of the particular personality of his portrait sitters. 

Justiniano’s album de trajes was to become the standard to be copied, both in subject and configuration, by future magazine illustrations in his century. His influence is clearly evident beginning with the drawings of C.W. Andrews, the British illustrator of La Illustracion Filipina, a magazine which ran for publication between 1859 and 1860. 

Toward the end of the 1840s, Justiniano’s name as a painter had grown in importance. In 1850, Rafael Diaz Arenas, a Spaniard who contributed articles to Diario de Manila, published his memoirs and in it made allusions to Justiniano’s fame. He wrote: “After Damian, Arceo excelled in portraiture…now it is said that there is one in Santa Cruz who paints very well but I do not know him” 

By this time, Justiniano had married Justina Parafina. In February 25, 1853, he was elected cabeza de barangay de mestizos in his district like his father before him. During his term, he inaugurated a new street along the San Lazaro Hospital area which is known today as Oroquieta. 

By the 1850s, a considerable number of truly affluent Filipino families began to emerge as a result of the flourishing trade with British and American firms. With more money to spend on the amenities of life, tastes for leisure, entertainment and material acquisition began to change accordingly. In the arts, for instance, a marked shift in interest from religious to secular paintings arose not out of sheer irreverence on th clientele’s part, but because it was almost mandatory to equate one’s wealth with more mundane signs. Moreover, the new bourgeoisie’s success in business and agriculture and their eventual ascent to society had precipitated their growing importance as individuals. Understandably, in posing for a portrait, one invariably underscored one’s position or consequence. 

Understandably then the earliest known portrait painted by Capitan Ting was dated in the 1850s. The sitter was probably the most influential señor of his district, Don Paterno Molo y Agustin, businessman-proprietor of a chain of merchant boats that brought divers goods as far as Aparri. It was actually Don Paterno’s first name which was later adopted by his socially prominent and affluent descendants as their family name. When he posed for this portrait Don Paterno was in the twilight of his life and his son, the equally prestigious Don Maximo or Capitan Memo was already overseeing his business for him. 

Another early portrait executed by Capitan Ting is a half-body close up of his niece, Filomena, eldest daughter of his brother, Leoncio. This retrato is dated to the late 1850s by inference of the style of the model’s costume. Interestingly, this is the only extant portrait depicting a Maria Clara of that period-  the panuelo over a non-transparent blouse with striped and relatively tapered long sleeves. One can easily pick out Filomena’s costume among the female figures painted by the German Karuth in 1858. 

By the early 1860s, the affluent in the provinces caught the fever for portraits. The portrait painters of Manila now traveled to the provinces to seek the patronage of the town principalia. In Candaba today, in what was once a great house there used to hang the magnificent life-size portrait of Don Norberto Castor, a wealthy landlord of that feudal town. Don Berto’s importance is more than suggested by Capitan Ting in the portrait he painted in 1861. Togged in the fine European fashion of his days, the retrato speaks of a bygone era now romanticized in the movies. 

In the late 1870s, Justiniano went back to the Paterno mansion to paint Capitan Memo’s third wife, Doña Teodora, and his daughter, Dolores, composer of the ballad La Flor de Manila, now popularly known as Sampaguita.The three portraits executed by Capitan Ting for the Paternos- Don Paterno  included- are of equal artistic merits all attest to the painters unsurpassed forte of capturing his sister’s individual personalities. 

Comparatively speaking, however, Don Paterno’s portrait would perhaps draw the interest of the more analytic viewers. Here, the subject is the venerability of old age rather than the relatively common place topic of Filipina femininity or the intricate embroideries of the Maria Clara. Capitan Ting seems to be playing homage to senility rather than to the worldly prominence of his sitter. His interest is in the steady gaze, the heavily drawn lips and the highly domed forehead. The conscious stiffness of his model’s carriage seems to be the wisdom of one who has had battles with life and emerges with more resolute views about it. The infirmity of age is however lightened by the rich designs of his embroidered cuffs and collar. The bold vertical line of the barong gives the old man one last tenacious display of strength and power. 

In contrast to the tone and temper of Don Paterno’s retrato, the one of Dolores is a visceral display of bourgeois ostentation. Justiniano justifiably eschews in this masterpiece the element of character- he is primarily concerned with what the eyes can behold rather than what the mind can analyze. The subject is a handsome young woman of the gentry class, and perhaps it should be so. Here, the actual and symbolic nuances of mundane prosperity is at once the order; the rich embroideries of the pañuelo and skirt, the rings on seven fingers, the bejeweled hairpin brooch, the matching fan and kerchief she clasps in one hand, the limpid eyes of one who has not seen much hardship in life, and the fine lips set in an aristocratic smile. The viewer is held back however of begrudging Dolores all her well-appointed fineries because Justiniano imbues her with a kind of inner warmth emanating from an Arcadian purity of mind and spirit. The eyes and the suppressed smile definitely conveys Dolores’ genial nature. 

Capitan Ting devotes equally meticulous attention to the exquisite embroidery of the pañuelo in the portrait of Doña Teodora. Yet still, the gracious-but-firm character, which a woman so young had to evolve as matriarch of Capitan Memo’s brood by two previous marriages and as manager of a complex joyeria, or jewelry store and workshop could not but illumine the smooth wood of the picture. 

The portraits executed by Capitan Ting, each a unique statement on the nature of a particular individual, always draw out fresh and varying experiences from their viewers. The opposite effect is what is rather felt in portraits done by his contemporaries who almost never went beyond idealizing their sitter’s physical appearance and whose work therefore when seen as a body, despite the variety of subjects, rather leave their viewers with a sense of the monotonous: that you’ve-seen-all-if-you’ve-seen-one-effect. 

The impression does not hold with the works of Capitan Ting. An admirer would, on the contrary, be even more amazed upon seeing his portrait of his niece Romana, daughter of his brother Antonio, married to a Carillo from Biñan. This, he painted in 1875. Here, the Master, can no longer be held back by the rigid artistic convention of his setting. The strict surveillance made upon the painter in the previous century conditioned the artist to merely copying engravings or actual objects and forbade him to express any personal interpretation of his subject. Now, the highly individualistic artist that Capitan Ting was, breaks away from the professional distance that he is expected to keep to his work and unabashedly suffuses it with his own presence, his own fine madness. His painting therefore reaches the level of a poet-artist’s manifesto. 

Unless other works of similar temperament come to the fore in order that a stylistic lyrical period among Manila’s painters of that time could be established, the portrait of Roman Carillio remains a phenomenon of expression in the entire history of painting in the Philippines. The presently known paintings dated to that decade are likeness-portraits by Antonio Malantik, Lorenzo Rocha, and Simon Flores. 

In 1875, neither Juan Luna nor Felix Resurrection Hidalgo had yet reached Europe to experience artistic emancipation. It could only have been through the spark of some book of artistic reproductions or the temperament of some circulating foreign novels that led the highly sensitive Capitan to the possible heights of freedom of spirit that the artist could enjoy in places outside of his environment. 

The decade during which Capitan Ting lived, the 1870s, was the decade of Cavite mutiny, a period of witchhunting and, as a whole, was stiflingly repressive. Perhaps such atmosphere was what precisely sent the Maestro to soar into some Elysian sphere. Indeed, the sublime aspiration to transcend the harsh, the bitter or the cruel is the one and only theme of the portrait of Romana Carillo. Just as Romana clasps a book, Capitan Ting’s oeuvre is an appeal to Reason, to Knowledge, to the Order that sometimes only art is capable of. Perhaps it is necessary to mention here that Justiniano went through a very bitter experience when in 1863, the calamitous earthquake that wrecked Manila, ruined his home and killed his bachelor brother, Ambrosio. 

There is much more to the merits of “The Woman with a Book” as a phenomenal milestone in the stylistic evolution of Philippine painting. In this work, Justiniano rises above the ground on which he and his artistic predecessors have hitherto worked. In painting the sunset behind Romana Carillo, he advanced the possibilities of the local realistic style, shifting it from its mere use as a technique to render life-likeness to its possible virtue as an idiom of temperament, a mode of self-expression. The landscape, not as a scene per se, but as an instrument to create atmosphere, was itself a novelty and the use of the colors of the sunset could have been a point of departure from the extremely linear predisposition of the current realism. 

Indeed, a highly creative person like the Capitan was now bored with the miniaturistic style and wanted to move to another direction in his art.His milieu, however, the entire powerful force actually lagging behind him compelled him to work with it. Hence the detailed workmanship of the portraits of the Paterno ladies. The spirit of the 1880s all the more called for the artist to record his setting in the graphic detail. The decade that cried for reforms- for material, specific changes- obliged the artist to graphically immortalize whatever was gained. 

After the earthquake of 1863, there was a rebuilding and renovating of church buildings and the most ornate of ornamentation possible, present evidences seem to say, was the natural defensive reaction toward the witnessed perishability of things. 

Four life- size oval frames painted by Capitan Ting, which used to hang on the predentives of Sta. Cruz Church depicting the figures of Saint Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose and Gregory the Grant were typical of the taste of the period. These works were done in the trompe l’oeil tradition, offering occasional distractions upon devotees who would look up now and then to wonder whether the adornment of the Saints’ robes were real or painted. An extant example he did in this phase of realism is the painting, “Virgen de Antipolo.” As in paintings of a truly realistic nature, the Capitan was able to capture the natural light that, translated to the canvas, projected the holy image’s priceless jewels to very high relief. Here is realism at its full development, and here was Capitan Ting, bored with it but desperately tied to it whenever commissioned by his powerful patrons. 

In the state of boredom, he often used his skills to amuse and confuse his guests and admirers alike. He is remembered to have painted on the downstairs wall of his newly built house, right under the window balustrade, a life-size infant falling in midair. The picture never failed to startle or evoke shrieks from passersby who at first glance thought the child was real. Once he also painted on the top of the chest, a scattering of very realistic coins, causing embarrassment to guests who stopped to pick them up. 

It was indeed time for Capitan Ting to amuse not only others but himself. The spirit of change seemed to be no longer working on his side. In 1884, Luna and Hidalgo become a sensational dou when they won major medals at the Exposition de Bellas Artes in Madrid. This achievement created a completely new turn in the artistic tastes of the time, for now artists who were educated abroad were lionized over those who stayed home and did not have the benefits of a European training. The wily ones began to copy Luna’s or Hidalgo’s techniques and concepts. Others who chose to remain as they were risked the danger of vanishing from the success scene. 

Capitan Ting who was in his 70s probably considered himself too old to compete with the young and trendy painters. In Manila’s art circles and to Capitan, it was clear that the miniaturistic style of realism had passed. 

Gray times too fell on the mestizo businessmen of Manila. The many foreign firms that had branches in Manila found faster market for their goods in the retail store of Chinese merchants. The Chinese, in turn, by virtue of their business connections with these big foreign firms, began to move steadily toward gaining control of the retail trade, once the domain of the mestizo businessmen. 

In the ambiance of this redoubtable financial losses, Capitan Ting’s adventurous son, Zacarias, set out for the province of Sorsogon about 1886, there to find better business opportunities where the Chinese had not yet gained foothold. It is said that his was the first “supermarket of Abueg town. With his marriage to a girl from nearby Masbate, Remedios Ramires, Zacarias so firmly established himself in that province that Capitan Ting felt sufficiently called upon to make the long and arduous trip to visit him. 

While in faraway Sorsogon, Capitan Ting learned of a new reform introduced in Manila. In a decree signed by the Overseas Minister of Spain, the guild system was abolished and replaced by a more systematized structurazation of the municipal government itself. By a stroke of the pen, the world of the Gremio de Mestizo, in which Capitan Ting figured most prominently, was cancelled. Capitan Ting never returned to Manila. In 1896 at the age of 80, Capitan Ting died in Abueg, Sorsogon, far removed from the middle class milieu that nurtured him and gave him fame. 

Rather ironically for such a meticulous portraitist, Capitan Ting’s own self-portrait does not exist today. It was kept in the house of one of his descendants in Malate, a southern district of Manila, which saw heavy damage not only during the battle for the liberation of the city in 1942, but also during two subsequent fires that leveled many houses to the ground. Yet more works of Capitan Ting, however, may surface. The Paterno family is supposed to have a representative collection. There has also been word that there are several works of Don Justiniano in Spain. When all his works are accounted for, another chapter in the life of Capitan Ting and his generation will reveal yet more delights. 

————– 

The Archipelago Magazine 1975

 

To see the scanned fotos of the  original1975 publication of the Archipelago magazine, please click here

About the author: Santiago Albano Pilar is a professor of art history at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. He teaches advanced courses in art history and connoisseurship in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Pilar has authored several art books which include Juan Luna: the Filipino as a Painter, Pamana: The Jorge B. Vargas Art Collection and Domingo Celis: Inspired Calm and Harvest of Saints. He is associate editor of the Cultural Center of the Philippines‘ Encyclopedia of Philippine Art Volume IV: The Visual Arts. He was the 1980 TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) Awardee for Art History and won the Araw ng Maynila Award: Tagapag-alaga ng Sining in 1996. He is also a consultant of exhibition projects for the Ayala Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Cultural Center of the Philippines. 

—–end—– 

 

The Noodle In Asuncions’ Soup

 by jun asuncion            

             

           

Clarifying some confusions.            

Old Sta. Cruz, Manila

 

  I’ve tried to know whether our patriarch Mariano Kagalitan was originally a  native Muslim. He was for sure not a mestizo of any kind or a Spaniard for he also had to change his family name later on to a Christian name (which is Assumption, later  developed to its present form  Asuncion)  under the Claveria Decree of 1849.            

What was known was that Mariano was one of those prominent people who resided in Sta. Cruz, that he was an accomplished artist himself who, as many of you know by now, produced master artists  like Leoncio, Justiniano, Mariano, Jr. and Antonio. Marianos’ ancestors were unknown to us until now. But about his wife Maria de la Paz Molo much is known.            

 The Beginnings…Of What We Know Only Today.            

Maria De La Paz Molo’s father was Ming Mong Lo, who- according to the family history – was a Chinese apothecary of Mandarin origins and married a local woman. Ming Mong Lo adopted the Christian name Jose Molo upon baptism –  and that was before the Claveria decree of 1849 and prospered as a merchant in the district of Binondo. He was said to have bequeathed five children, among them Paterno Joseph Molo and  Maria de La Paz Molo.            

 No doubt Maria de La Paz was half-Chinese and half-Filipino – assuming that her mother was not a “local” Chinese ( I have problem understanding what a “local” woman or man meant at that time).  Her mother’s  identity is totally unknown to me until a few days ago.            

And there was some sort of confusions in my search because of this:            

Old Binondo, Manila

 

 In his book,  Brains Of The Nation (published 2006 by Ateneo de Manila University Press), Resil B. Mojares took up as subjects of study his  “three figures of Filipino Enlightenment”, namely, Pedro Paterno, Th. Pardo De Tavera and Isabelo De Los Reyes and their influence on the production of modern knowledge in the Philippines. He mentioned that Ming Mong Lo, the earliest known patriarch of both the present day Asuncion and Paterno families, got married to a local woman with “blue blood” in her veins, she being  the “direct descendant of the Great Maguinoo, or Prince of Luzon”.            

My question was: Does this mean that the Asuncions could go as far as Raja Soliman as one among their patriarchs? This Great Maguinoo or Prince of Luzon could only be Raja Soliman, the famous King Of Tondo who initially resisted the Spanish adelantados. Resil’s argument had led me to wrong places which increased the confusion.            

 Until I was summoned by Maning Yatco by way of his comment here at BO to visit Toto Gonzalez’  Blog Remembrance Of Things Awry because of the interesting discussions there about the Asuncion-Molo-Yatco’s connection. It was in this site where I got an authoritative argument coming from Mickey and Jean Paterno who said that Ming Mong Lo (Jose Molo), their ancestor, married Anastacia Michaela , the proofs of which are the “baptismal records of his sons circa 1780’s.” They argued that their ancestors originally belonged to the “parish of the Parian” and that most probably they moved to the “upcoming barrio San Sebastian in Quiapo, the place “which his children cite as their principality in their legal documents.”            

It was probably in Quiapo where Maria De La Paz was born to Ming Mong Lo and Anastacia. ( Her birth had fulfilled already one requirement among others for the realization of the Asuncion clan.) By this point, it was clear to me that we couldn’t count Raja Soliman as among our patriarchs, the “blue blood” in our veins is out of the question then. Resil’s argument was not right, unless Anastacia Michaela, the wife of Ming Mong Lo, could be proven as descendant of Rajah Matanda or Raja Lakandula, both uncles of Rajah Soliman (political dynasty is as old as our history!)            

But who was this woman with this blue blood in her veins whom Pedro Paterno was explaining to the English author Mr. Foreman?             

Well, at this point we have to clear up first another confusion about Molo and Paterno. Substantially, they are the same. The  family name Paterno of the succeeding Molo generations came to be adopted by 1849 (most probably in fulfillment of the Claveria decree) to honor Paterno Joseph, a son of Jose Molo (originally Ming Mong Lo). Notice that Paterno is actually a first name. But it was common at that time among the Chinese mestizos to acquire the first names of their parents as their family names- exactly what the Molos did, at least with certainty by Paterno Joseph’s son, Maximo Paterno who was the father of the widely known historical figure Pedro Paterno of the Pact of Biak- na- Bato.            

It was probably from the lineage of Paterno Joseph where this “blue blood” in the veins could be traced back among the succeeding generations of Paternos due to his marriage with Miguela Yamson, the daughter of Juan Yapson and Maria de la Cruz- the name which is claimed  to be a descendant of Raja Soliman. (Note that during the introduction of the Claveria Decree, those natives who couldn’t read and write were just asked -or ordered- to draw a cross after their first names, hence the family names De La Cruz).  But it was through this  “marriage to Miguela Yamson that opened to Paterno Joseph Agustin (Molo) opportunities available only to local royalty, or the “principalia”. Hereafter, he was addressed as Don Paterno Agustin and qualified to run for public office”, commented Micky and Jean Paterno of today.            

The Asuncion and Paterno (Molo) Connection            

This started with the marriage of Mariano Kagalitan Asuncion to Maria De La Paz, the sister of Paterno Joseph. Paterno’s son Maximo was therefore a cousin of the first Asuncions — Justiniano, Leoncio, etc. It was Maximo who supported Justiniano Asuncion by commissioning portraits for the ladies of his house. Maximo had an astute sense for excellent investments and he had maximized his  fortune  in his capacity as gobernadorcillo of San Sebastian and Quiapo. He himself married thrice, the first with Valeriana Pineda, the second with Carmen De Vera Ignacio and the third with Carmen’s sister Theodora De Vera Ignacio whose portrait is shown here as painted by Justiniano.             

Hence, two things are clearer to me now: First,  that the Asuncions have partly  Chinese blood in their veins, second, that though they had also engaged in politics, like Mariano, Justiniano, etc., down to Don Zacarias and Adonis Asuncion their strength was not in politics, i.e.,  the way we understand “political strength”  in the Philippines before and now, but it is in the arts and the humanities and sciences that they excelled and earned recognition even beyond their times.            

                                                                                            —————             

Acknowledgement:  Sonny Rayos- Asuncion, Toto Gonzales’ Remembrance Of Things Awry, Micky and Jean Paterno, Resil B. Mojares, Wikipedia            

      ——————end——————–

The Asuncions In Politics, Arts And Sciences

by  jun asuncion

 

Part I: The Search Begins

This post is my reply to this comment from Jeffrey, an Asuncion. This made me take out my copy of our Family Tree which I got from my sister Menchu. The research for this Family tree is largely credited to my uncle Dr. Ronaldo Asuncion. So there is something private in this post, with the purpose of connecting with the other relatives of mine who would be willing to supply more information about our lineage and/or help me answer Jeffrey’s inquiry.The Asuncions have always been closely associated with the town of Bulan and they are proud of their town.

Here is Jeffrey’s comment:

hi i am jeffrey i grew up in manila but have roots in bulan. I learned that my great great grandfather rodolfo asuncion sr. is a son of zacarias. I wanted to know more about the line in the entry above stating that zacarias was among the many bulan residents persecuted by spaniards during the Revolution. would just like to know the exact details of what transpired that led to his detention. I presume this was the factor which led him to stay in pasig afterwards.”

Jeffrey was referring to this entry in Wikipedia/Bulan website which mentioned our great-grandfather Don Zacarias Asuncion:

“Don Teodoro De Castro y Zabala was arrested and incarcerated in Bilibid, because he was found in possession of letters written by anti-Spanish natives in Manila. Don Zacarias Asuncion and other residents suffered the same fate, for having no cedulas personales and for singing anti-Spanish songs.” (Wikipedia, Bulan website)

Personally, it interests me to know the music and lyrics of those anti- Spanish songs which my rebel great-grandfather sang and which led him behind bars. Composed or improvised?

Unable to find an answer, I went back to Justiniano Asuncion in search of any clue that might shed a little light to the Zacarias issue. Again, I found no answer but names after names of Asuncions in politics, arts and sciences. Verily, I’m proud of my grandfathers! To write about Justiniano alone would fill up pages, a task I wish I could do.

JUSTINIANO ASUNCION 

(1816-1901)

Religious Painter

Well-known as “Capitan Ting,” Justiniano Asuncion was one of the leading Filipino painters in the 19th century. He was born on September 26, 1816 in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He was the 11th among 12 children of Mariano Kagalitan, whose family name was changed to “Asuncion” following the Claveria Decree. In 1834, he studied at Escuela de Dibujo, where he obtained his skills in painting. Sometime in 1855, he became capitan municipal of Sta. Cruz, Manila. Asuncion was the painter of the famous “Coronation of the Virgin,” the “Virgin of Antipolo,” “Filomena Asuncion,” and “Romana A. Carillo.” He produced life-sized paintings of San Agustin, San Geronimo, San Antonio, and San Gregorio Magno which were kept at the Sta. Cruz Church before the Pacific War. These precious canvases were destroyed when the Japanese bombarded the church in February 1945. His works mirror the mannerism of that period – the first 75 years of the 19th century. The portraitists of those time carefully delineated features of the head; the hands and other minor details with linear accuracy; usually disregarding tonal values and emphasizing hardness of effect. The University of Santo Tomas Museum owns one of Asuncion’s paintings, dated February 1862. An unsigned portrait of Fr. Melchor Garcia de Sampedro at the UST Museum is said to be the work of Asuncion. Most of his other works are kept as national treasures at the Central Bank of the Philippines Museum. On September 12, 1983, at the façade of Sta. Cruz Church in Manila, a marker was installed in his honor. He died in 1901 at age of 85.

A painting of Justiniano:

Portrait of Teodora Devera Ygnacio

Justiniano Asuncion (1816-1901)

ca. 1880

References:

CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, vol. IV. Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994.

Manuel, E. Arsenio and Magdalena Avenir Manuel. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume

3. Quezon City: Filipinana Publications, 1986.

(Justiniano Asuncion [1816-1901] was my great-great- Grandfather. Married to Justina Farafina Gomez. Their children: Benita, Zacarias, Marcelina, Jacobo, Gabriel and Martiniana. Justiniano’s father was Mariano Kagalitan, Sr. (later Asuncion) whose other children were: Manuel (1792), Antonio (1794), Victoria (1796), Mamerta (1798), Justo (1800), Mariano,jr. (1802), Epifanio (1806), Ambrosio (1808), Pascula (1811), Leoncio (1813), Canuta (1819), Theodoro (18??).

————-

Don Zacarias Asuncion (son of Justiniano)

JEFE DEL PUEBLO (Municipal Mayor Of Bulan): 1898 – 1900

 “Don Teodoro De Castro y Zabala was arrested and incarcerated in Bilibid, because he was found in possession of letters written by anti-Spanish natives in Manila. Don Zacarias Asuncion and other residents suffered the same fate, for having no cedulas personales and for singing anti-Spanish songs.” (Wikipedia, bulan website)

Zacarias was  my great-grandfather. With Juana Zalvidea he had two daughters, Guia and Consuelo. With Remedios Ramirez he had I think 9 children: Adonis, Jacobo, Rodolfo, Salvador, Justina, Justiniano, Zacarias [jr?], Kenerino [founder of Southern Luzon Institute SLI, later KRAMS, married to Leonora Paras] and Digna.

————– 

 Adonis Asuncion

(son of Zacarias)

Municipal Mayor of Bulan:  1941-43; 1945-46

 

Adonis was my grandfather, grew up with him in our compound; in 1967 this wonderful grandfather of mine wandered all over Bulan South Central School looking for me with a handful of school supplies. It was just the opening of classes. He found me at the classroom of Miss Ceres McCoy Villareal (?), my grade one teacher. Unforgettable!

Uncles and aunties:

Rafael Asuncion ( national artist, he comes from the Leoncio Asuncion lineage. Leoncio was a brother of Justiniano).

“Rafael Asuncion comes from the long line of Asuncion artists, namely Justiniano, Mariano, Leoncio and Jose Maria. This present-day Asuncion is a Master of Fine Arts graduate of theAsean Institute of Art. A recipient of many top awards, he was also a founding member of the Art Association of the Philippines and a president of the Art Directors Club of the Philippines. Asuncion is likewise credited with designing a dozen commemorative stamps and the 10, 50, and 500 Philippine peso banknotes and coins-flora and fauna series with two other artists. He is credited with designing the UP College of Fina Arts official seal. The Asuncion artistic lineage does not end with Rafael. His children, along with other members of the Asuncion clan are also artists and so the saga continues”

Among Rafael’s designs: The P500 bill

                                         

SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVERS/BOARD/ BAR TOPNOTCHERS

1. Digna Asuncion (sister of Adonis Asuncion)- Topnotcher, Pharmacy Board Exam/ Pre-War Doctor Of Philosophy and Letters, Universidad de Madrid (Spain) Summa Cum Laude

2. Rodolfo G. Asuncion, Jr. – No. 1 Marine Officers Examination (married to Remedios Grayda; his parents were Rodolfo Asuncion Sr. [brother of Adonis] and Monica Gerona; Among his siblings were Salvador [father of the actress Aurora Salve], Rizalina, Raquel, Ruben, Ronaldo [a medical Doctor, former Dean Of Radiology Department, UST] and Rene. )

3. Iluminada Asuncion (daughter of Jacobo, Adonis’ brother) 11th Place, Dentistry Board 1953

4. Consuelo Asuncion (sister of Iluminada)- 1st Place, Pharmacy Board 1954

5. Natividad R. Asuncion (sister of Iluminada)- 1st Place, Nursing Board 1954

6. Rizalina Asuncion (sister of Rodolfo, Jr.)- 1st Place, Sr. Teacher Exams for Physics 1956

——

 JOSE MARIA R. ASUNCION

(1869-1925)

Painter and Writer

The eldest of four children, Jose Ma. Asuncion was born to Hilarion Asuncion and Marcela Raymundo of Sta. Cruz, Manila, on December 14, 1869. His father, the son of LeoncioAsuncion, a notable wood carver, was a portraitist and painter of religious subjects. Asuncion enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1888. At the time, he was studying at the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, 1884-1889, then under the direction of Agustin Saez. Later, he transferred to the University of Santo Tomas to study under Felipe Roxas, who advised him to take further studies abroad. In 1890, both Roxas and Asuncion were in Paris. Asuncion received a grant from Agustina Medel, wealthy patroness of the arts from Manila and, later, owner of Teatro Zorilla.

While in Paris, he met the Filipino painters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and French artists. The following year he enrolled at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where he studied for four years, 1891-1895. He garnered first prize in general history of art and costumes and obtained second prize in theory, aesthetics, and philosophy of art. While at the Escuela, he befriended Vicente Francisco, a government pensionado in sculpture who was then enrolled at the same academy. In 1895, he sailed back to Manila, passed a competitive examination, and was appointed assistant in the Escuela Profesional de Artes y Oficios, in Iloilo, which position he held until November 1898.

During the second stage of the Philippine Revolution, he served in the military administration and at one time took charge of the provisions for Filipino forces in Iloilo. He was transferred to the engineer corps as lieutenant under Gen. Adriano Hernandez. He helped in the construction of fortifications and trenches in Jaro, Leganes, La Paz and other strategic points. He also served under Gen. Pablo Araneta during the Filipino-American War. He was promoted to captain in February 1899, and three months later, to commander.

When the Americans gradually gained ground on his forces, he retreated to the mountains. After some time, Asuncion and his wife, Juana Hubero, whom he married in September 1899, went to Calbayog, Samar to join his father who ran a grocery store. It was in his town that his wife gave birth to their first child, Vicente. A year later, finding Samar not yet wholly pacified, he moved his family to Tacloban, Leyte. He stayed there for four years, spending his time painting landscapes and telons for local comedias. He also engaged in photography, a business which he left to his brother Gabriel’s management when he left for Manila in 1905.

He studied law, 1905-1909. He became a member of the Partido Independista, and was soon contributing articles on art and social and economic problems to the party’s organ, La Independencia. He also wrote for El Ilonguillo, La Voz de Mindanao, La Union, El Estudiante, El Renacimiento, The Independent, and Dia Filipino. Together with Rafael Enriquez, he founded the Sociedad Internacional de Artistas of Manila. Enriquez became its first president and Asuncion, its secretary. During their term, the Exposicion de Bellas Artes y Industrias Artisticas was held in December 1908, in time for the visit of an American squadron. This exhibition displayed more than 4,000 pieces of art. It aroused much interest and emphasized the need for a publicly supported institution in the arts.

Asuncion was a Freemason. His masonic writings may be found in Hojas Sueltas and The Cabletow. His studies on the history of Philippine art and his sketches of Filipino costumes are among the few exceedingly valuable contributions on these subjects. The drawings numbered 215 when Manuel Artigas y Cuerva saw them, but they were never wholly published. Some appeared in print under the title, “El Traje Filipino, 1750 a 1830,” in Revista Historica de Filipinas, for August 1905. He could have left a much more significant tribute to his memory had this collection of studies and drawings been published. But after his death, it was neglected. When another painter, Vicente Alcarez Dizon, saw Asuncion’s scattered works, they were already in a bad state. He acquired them and used them later for his studies.

When the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts was opened, Asuncion accepted an appointment to its faculty on June 1, 1909. Two years later, on July 1, 1911, he was made secretary of the school. Asuncion’s paintings are included in the private collections of Alfonso T. Ongpin, Antonio Torres, Epifanio de los Santos Cristobal, and the Limjap family. He was considered by Fabian de la Rosa as a specialist in “still life” and, at the same time, as one who “devoted himself with notable ability, to the studies of art, archaeology and journalism.”

He died on May 2, 1925. His remains were buried in the Veteran’s Lot, Cementerio del Norte, Manila. In 1932, his heirs donated his collection of writings to the National Library. /

(References: CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art Volume 4. Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994. Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume I. Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1955.)/

Jose Maria R. Asuncion, the versatile Asuncion, painter, writer, soldier, educator, freemason, family man…what else shall we wish for? His father was Hilarion Asuncion, his grandfather was Leoncio, the brother of Justiniano. What else is there? Yes, he was the father of our living Asuncion artist Rafael Asuncion! Rafael has two other brothers,Vicente and Gabriel. That R in Jose’s name, his middle name, came from Marcela Raymundo, his mother, naturally.

—–

Part II  The Noodle In Asuncions’ Soup

Clarifying Some Confusions

I’ve tried to know whether our patriarch Mariano Kagalitan was originally a native Muslim. He was for sure not a mestizo of any kind nor a Spaniard for he also had to change his family name later on to a Christian name ( which is Assumption, later developed to its present form Asuncion) under the Claveria Decree of 1849.

What was known was that Mariano was one of those prominent people who resided in Sta. Cruz, that he was an accomplished artist himself who, as many of you know by now, produced master artists like Leoncio, Justiniano. Marianos’ ancestors were unknown to us until now. But about his wife Maria de la Paz Molo much is known.

The Beginnings…Of What We Know Only Today.

Maria De La Paz Molo’s father was Ming Mong Lo, who- according to the family history – was a Chinese apothecary of Mandarin origins and married a local woman.

Ming Mong Lo adopted the Christian name Jose Molo upon baptism – and that was before the Claveria decree of 1849 and prospered as a merchant in the district of Binondo. He was said to have bequeathed five children, among them Paterno Joseph Molo and Maria de La Paz Molo.

No doubt Maria de La Paz was half Chinese and half Filipino – assuming that her mother was not a “local” Chinese ( I have problem understanding what a “local” woman or man meant at that time). Her mother’s identity is totally unknown to me until a few days ago.

And there was some sort of confusion in my research because of this:

In his book, Brains Of The Nation (published 2006 by Ateneo de Manila University Press), Resil B. Mojares took up as subjects of study his “three figures of Filipino Enlightenment”, namely, Pedro Paterno, Th. Pardo De Tavera and Isabelo De Los Reyes and their influence on the production of modern knowledge in the Philippines. He mentioned that Ming Mong Lo, the earliest known patriarch of both the present day Asuncion and Paterno families, got married to a local woman with “blue blood” in her veins, she being the “direct descendant of the Great Maguinoo, or Prince of Luzon”.

My question was: Does this mean that the Asuncions could go as far as Raja Soliman as one among their patriarchs?

This Great Maguinoo or Prince of Luzon could only be Raja Soliman, the famous King Of Tondo who initially resisted the Spanish adelantados. Resil’s argument had led me to wrong places which increased the confusion.

Until I was summoned by Maning Yatco by way of his comment here at BO to visit Toto Gonzalez’ Blog Remembrance Of Things Awry because of the interesting discussions there about the Asuncion-Molo-Yatco’s connection.

It was in this site where I got an authoritative argument coming from Mickey and Jean Paterno who said that Ming Mong Lo (Jose Molo), their ancestor, married Anastacia Michaela , the proofs of which are the “baptismal records of his sons circa 1780’s.” They argued that their ancestors originally belonged to the “parish of the Parian” and that most probably they moved to the “upcoming barrio San Sebastian in Quiapo, the place “which his children cite as their principality in their legal documents.”

It was probably in Quiapo where Maria De La Paz was born to Ming Mong Lo and Anastacia.(Her birth had fulfilled already one requirement among others for the realization of the Asuncion clan.)

By this point, it was clear to me that we couldn’t count Raja Soliman as among our patriarchs, the “blue blood” in our veins is out of the question then. Resil’s argument was not right, unless Anastacia Michaela, the wife of Ming Mong Lo, could be proven as descendant of Rajah Matanda or Raja Lakadula, both uncles of Rajah Soliman (political dynasty is as old as our history!)

But who was this woman with this blue blood in her veins whom Pedro Paterno was explaining to the English author Mr. Foreman?

From Molo To Paterno

Well, at this point we have to clear up first another confusion about Molo and Paterno. Substantially, they are the same. The family name Paterno of the succeeding Molo generations came to be adopted by 1849 (most probably in fulfillment of the Claveria decree) to honor Paterno Joseph, a son of Jose Molo (originally Ming Mong Lo). Notice that Paterno is actually a first name. But it was common at that time among the Chinese mestizos to acquire the first names of their parents as their family names- exactly what the Molos did, at least with certainty by Paterno Joseph’s son, Maximo Paterno who was the father of the widely known historical figure Pedro Paterno of the Pact of Biak- na- Bato.

It was probably from the lineage of Paterno Joseph where this “blue blood” in the veins could be traced back among the succeeding generations of Paternos due to his marriage with Miguela Yamson, the daughter of Juan Yapson and Maria de la Cruz- the name which is claimed to be a descendant of Raja Soliman. (Note that during the introduction of the Claveria Decree, those natives who couldn’t read and write were just asked -or ordered- to draw a cross after their first names, hence the family names De La Cruz). But it was through this “marriage to Miguela Yamson that opened to Paterno Agustin opportunities available only to local royalty, or the “principalia”. hereafter, he was addressed as Don Paterno Agustin and qualified to run for public office”, commented Maxi and Jean Paterno of today.

The Asuncion and Paterno (Molo) Connection

This started with the marriage of Mariano Kagalitan Asuncion to Maria De La Paz, the sister of Paterno Joseph. Paterno’s son Maximo was therefore a cousin of the first Asuncions — Justiniano, Leoncio, etc. It was Maximo who supported Justiniano Asuncion by commissioning portraits for the ladies of his house. Maximo had an astute sense for excellent investments and he had maximized his fortune in his capacity as gobernadorcillo of San Sebastian and Quiapo. He himself married thrice, the first with Valeriana Pineda, the second with Carmen De Vera Ignacio and the third with Carmen’s sister Theodora De Vera Ignacio whose portrait is shown above as painted by Justiniano.

Hence, two things are clearer to me now: First, that the Asuncions have partly Chinese blood in their veins, second, that though they had also engaged in politics, like Mariano, Justiniano, etc., down to Don Zacarias and Adonis Asuncion their strength was not in politics, i.e., the way we understand “political strength” in the Philippines before and now , but it is in the arts and the humanities and sciences that they excelled and earned recognition even beyond their times.

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Acknowledgement: Toto Gonzales’ Remembrance Of Things Awry, Sonny Rayos, Micky and Jean Paterno, Resil B. Mojares, Wikipedia

Part III  The Roughness Of Times

The search for the roots can never be a one-man undertaking even if given the time and the means to pursue it. It is a teamwork. For unlike writing an article on a particular theme, for instance, where one has an infinite resources available on the web or libraries, the search for one’s lineage is like an archeological adventure: the material is scarce and one is dependent on that factor that we call luck. Luck in finding the right spot on a vast space to start digging and luck if you meet the people who are working with you, not against you. You may have the complete tools that you need for this kind of work but without luck and this teamwork, you wouldn’t bump on the materials you are searching for that will answer the questions you have posed at the start of your quest.

I’m for instance lucky and happy that the fundamental work on our family tree was done already by other relatives who worked hard together in gathering the data they needed. That’s teamwork. Now, my search focusses primarily on biographical details of our ancestors and in the future perhaps more on my own reflections on these.

Big thanks, of course, to today’s internet technology which has made many things a lot easier for us, from transfer of ideas to transfer of digital documents. Indeed, a lot easier and faster.

But still, your progress for this kind of work is still very much dependent on the materials you find or get from different sources, of documents that are relevant and could probably link you to another, or give meaning to the seemingly irrelevant material or even idea that you already have for long.

So, as in any work in progress, your grasp of the whole subject is constantly adapting to the new materials that you are getting or even losing because of being proven to be wrong. Here lies the excitement of the situation, here is the excitement when you find luck, here is the joy of teamwork.

One such excitements that occurred to me was when I got an E-mail with an attachment which I think the best E-mail attachment that I received so far in my yahoo career. The e-mail came from my cousin Sonny Rayos who lives in Texas and who has been very much ahead of me in his search for the Asuncion roots. He said that he also received this document from a cousin Gabriel Asuncion.

The attachment is an article authored by the now Prof. Santiago A. Pilar about Justiniano Asuncion entitled The Loving Eye For Detail which is a biographical sketch of the artist Justiniano Asuncion. I said authored by the now Prof. Santiago because the article was published 35 years ago in now defunct international magazine the Archipelago and that I don’t know if Santiago was already a professor at that time. I’ve tried to contact Professor Santiago to ask for his permission for the reprint of his article here in Bulan Observer but as of now I haven’t been successful. In any case. I consider it necessary not to let this article lay dormant for another decades before it will have its readers again. Indeed, for such a beautiful work, to risk being accused of copyright infringement is justified. But to the best of my estimation, a scholar in the caliber of Prof. Santiago wouldn’t lay about me if his work is appreciated for such a purpose that we have and within such circumstances.

In this article, and in other documents I received from Sonny Rayos, a few but very important questions were answered or earlier concept disproven. Disproven was my original conception that our patriarch Mariano Asuncion wasn’t a mestizo. He was indeed a mestizo with caucasian features and a prominent one in the 19th century Sta. Cruz. One solid proof of this argument is the existence of a sketch of him rendered by his son Justiniano, the master painter himself. And my question that was answered through Santiago’s article was whether Justiniano ever visited his son Zacarias in Bulan. Indeed, the ageing father visited his son in Bicol and remained there until his death.

But there is one big thrilling question here because Prof. Santiago mentioned another name of the town in Sorsogon which is Abueg, not Bulan which I expected. I thought for a while that Abueg must have been an old 19th century name for Bulan but my intensive net surfing rendered negative results. I really don’t know of any place in Sorsogon that bears this name today and in the last centuries. For the meantime I leave this issue open and just hold on to my assumption that this was a mistake until proven otherwise. Indeed, this is a work in progress.

With more and more inputs coming from other relatives about who is who and from whose line and where, this time is opportune to start updating the Tree. Hence, I urge whoever is in possession of valuable material related to this work, blood relative or not, to share it to us so we can move on. Information of this kind should be passed around for it is not about you and me but for the future family generations to come and of continuing what Justiniano had started to pass around: His portraits of the Asuncion women, his drawing of his father and his self-portrait which unfortunately was destroyed by the roughness of times.

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Featured article:

A 19th-century burgher records the faces of his people (originally published in the 1975 edition of the Archipelago magazine)

by Santiago A. Pilar

Perhaps the most satirical of witticisms expressed about the Philippines during the Spanish times was made by a visiting French nobleman in a report to his country in 1766. « I am writing you from the other side of the globe, and may I even add from the 14th century ! » declared M. Le Gentil de la Galasiere who, steeped in the ideas of the then modern French Enlightenment, must have been intensely shocked about the medieval lifeways of Spain’s territory in Asia.

The erudite Seigneur’s caustic esprit was only one of the volley of similar pointed comments hurled at the quality of the Spanish rule in the islands, criticisms which eventually stirred up some enlightened Spanish hearts into taking steps toward a better administration. Out of these attempts at reforms aimed primarily at improving the country’s unpredictable economy, one move was the institution of government-subsidized agricultural projects and incentives.

Whereas years of economic dependence on the Chinese silk trade with Mexico neglected the natural potentials of the islands, the colonial government now turned its attention to the development of natural resources and the stimulation of agricultural activities.

The much sought- after spices of yore no longer commanded a monopoly of interest; crops like sugar, tobacco, indigo and hemp began to be in demand. In 1834, when Spain at last officially opened Manila to international commerce, progress began to be seen in manifold manifestations, among which was art patronage.

Perhaps no other painter’s life was more intimately interwoven with the course of newly prosperous 19th-century Manila than that of the early master, Justiniano Asuncion. Gifted with a durable life of 80 years, he witnessed prosperity coming upon the once languid city and bringing new turns in the destinies of its awakened inhabitants. As a consequence of this long life, his painting career reflected the artistic preferences of his flourishing milieu perhaps more faithfully than any of his contemporaries.

Justiniano Asuncion was elected cabeza de barangay in the community of mestizos in Sta. Sruz, Manila. For this reason, he was ever after fondly called Capitan Ting. The biographer Manuel Artigas y Cuerva jotted a 14-sentence sketch of his life and called him modelo de honradez, an exemplar of tacto y prudencia.

The Sta. Cruz of 1816, when Capitan Ting was born still carried the features of what Le Gentil de la Galaisiere, 50 years earlier, referred to as the “fourteenth century”. As any other Christianized spot in the islands, the district reminded the monsieur of some medieval European faubourg: a self-complacent artisan’s village that only trembled when threatened with the fires of hell. Little surprise it is, therefore, that the quiet nest of sculptors, smiths, embroiderers and jewelry setters was noted for spectacular church processions, activities which must have absorbed the year-round material profits and efforts of its dexterous denizens.

According to the medieval scheme of things, the fine arts were crouched within the level of the crafts. The painter, however much praised, was seated between the tailor and the carpenter. In fact, he had to enlist himself in a guild encompassing all citizens who practiced his profession. This guild system was a mechanism of the colonial government to facilitate the collection of tributes.

Another medieval aspect of Sta. Cruz’ lifeways was the classification of its citizens into communities according to race- Chinese, mestizo or native. Each community elected its own officials and competed with each other in the civic and religious affairs of the district. The Gremio de Mestizos, to which the Asuncions belonged, since 1741 surpassed in prestige its father guild, the Gremio de Chinos.and continued to be the most influential group in the arrabal until the end of the 19th century.

It is often said that artistic genius runs in the family. Justiniano’s lineage is a shining example. His elder brothers, Antonio, Ambrosio and Mariano, were all recognized by religious organizations for their talents as painters. Antonio even earned a flattering epithet, Fra Angelico Filipino! Manuel and Leoncio- Justiniano was the youngest son in a family of 12- maintained a sculptors’ shop and executed many life-size figures, like the Tercera Caida which was carried during Holy Week processions in their home district.

Neither were the Asuncions an ordinary mestizo family. Their father, Don Mariano, assumed the coveted position of cabeza de barangay in 1805. An engraving of his ancestor, copied from a paste original by Justiniano, depicts him in the powerful pose of a grand patriarch. Of interest is his costume. Typical of his mestizo class, he wears loose pantaloons, an equally loose camiza, intricately embroidered at the hems, and a collar kerchief to simulate the European cravat. His hair is gathered at the back of his head into a Chinese pigtail. Curiously, he wears a pair of slippers with curled toes.

Perhaps it is important to mention that the family name was recently acquired. Don Mariano was originally surnamed Kagalitan. Perhaps the old man adopted a Spanish surname as he rose in position in society. The spirit of change was beginning to dominate the times.

Neither did the ambiance of progress leave the artistic world untouched. When Justiniano was about six years of age, the painter’s lot as a craftsman was elevated to better status with the establishment of Escuela de Dibujo, the first public art school in the community. Since the painter now went to school, the respectability of his position became fairly assured. Thus when young Ting reached schooling age, he had not only exposed himself to the artistic influences of his brothers, he must have also attended the Escuela wherein Don Damian seems to have been the sole professor.

When the school closed in 1834- “for lack of funds”- aspiring painters had to seek private tutorship from recognized masters. Both the lessons under Don Damian and those under private tutelage seem to have consisted of the same rigorous training designed to acquaint their pupils with the nuances of realistic painting, with the fastidious emphasis on details, as the standard of times dictated. The supreme test of this sensitivity to details was the limning of miniatures, religious portraits on a golden or ivory or cloth surface, usually the size of a thumb and later on framed on chains or rosary beads. Justiniano made many of these locket paintings but it is difficult to make infallible attributions of extant examples to his name.

One authenticated early work establishes his affiliation to Don Damian and his contemporaries. This religious painting, wrought on copper sheet, is entitled “The Coronation of the Virgin”. A favorite subject of religious paintings, the original picture may have been a polychromatic estampa. The subject, as further interpreted by local painters, has acquired an Oriental grace, a visual flatness or lightness as done in very fine polish with the Chinese brush. The young Justiniano’ painting of the Virgin had a cool sweetness that emanated from cautious hands.

Filomena Asuncion (Oil portrait, miniature, c. 1875/ click photo to enlarge)

Little drawings of native costumes and scenery such as those trajes painted by Don Damian in the 1820s grew in popularity as more foreign ships docked in the country. What today would be called picture post cards, these little mementos attracted foreign travelers no end. A recently discovered collection of these so- called tipos del pais was done by Justiniano to depict the attire of his times in the 1840s. This album attests to his mastery of water color in drawing the minutest details. A matter of interest is the fact that his album had both Spanish and English captions which hint that they were aimed at some English patrons.

A thriving contemporary, Juan Transfiguration Nepomuceno, also drew similarly costumed figures to illustrate the French scholar Jean Mallat’s Les Philippines. In comparing the two albums, an ineffable difference is at once apparent. While Nepomuceno’s models looked like garbed mannequins, cold and poised, Asuncion’s are breathing humans, pulsating and alive. The characterization of these figures indicate his realistic capturing of the particular personality of his portrait sitters.

Justiniano’s album de trajes was to become the standard to be copied, both in subject and configuration, by future magazine illustrations in his century. His influence is clearly evident beginning with the drawings of C.W. Andrews, the British illustrator of La Illustracion Filipina, a magazine which ran for publication between 1859 and 1860.

Toward the end of the 1840s, Justiniano’s name as a painter had grown in importance. In 1850, Rafael Diaz Arenas, a Spaniard who contributed articles to Diario de Manila, published his memoirs and in it made allusions to Justiniano’s fame. He wrote: “After Damian, Arceo excelled in portraiture…now it is said that there is one in Santa Cruz who paints very well but I do not know him”

By this time, Justiniano had married Justina Parafina. In February 25, 1853, he was elected cabeza de barangay de mestizos in his district like his father before him. During his term, he inaugurated a new street along the San Lazaro Hospital area which is known today as Oroquieta.

By the 1850s, a considerable number of truly affluent Filipino families began to emerge as a result of the flourishing trade with British and American firms. With more money to spend on the amenities of life, tastes for leisure, entertainment and material acquisition began to change accordingly. In the arts, for instance, a marked shift in interest from religious to secular paintings arose not out of sheer irreverence on th clientele’s part, but because it was almost mandatory to equate one’s wealth with more mundane signs. Moreover, the new bourgeoisie’s success in business and agriculture and their eventual ascent to society had precipitated their growing importance as individuals. Understandably, in posing for a portrait, one invariably underscored one’s position or consequence.

Understandably then the earliest known portrait painted by Capitan Ting was dated in the 1850s. The sitter was probably the most influential señor of his district, Don Paterno Molo y Agustin, businessman-proprietor of a chain of merchant boats that brought divers goods as far as Aparri. It was actually Don Paterno’s first name which was later adopted by his socially prominent and affluent descendants as their family name. When he posed for this portrait Don Paterno was in the twilight of his life and his son, the equally prestigious Don Maximo or Capitan Memo was already overseeing his business for him.

Another early portrait executed by Capitan Ting is a half-body close up of his niece, Filomena, eldest daughter of his brother, Leoncio. This retrato is dated to the late 1850s by inference of the style of the model’s costume. Interestingly, this is the only extant portrait depicting a Maria Clara of that period- the panuelo over a non-transparent blouse with striped and relatively tapered long sleeves. One can easily pick out Filomena’s costume among the female figures painted by the German Karuth in 1858.

By the early 1860s, the affluent in the provinces caught the fever for portraits. The portrait painters of Manila now traveled to the provinces to seek the patronage of the town principalia. In Candaba today, in what was once a great house there used to hang the magnificent life-size portrait of Don Norberto Castor, a wealthy landlord of that feudal town. Don Berto’s importance is more than suggested by Capitan Ting in the portrait he painted in 1861. Togged in the fine European fashion of his days, the retrato speaks of a bygone era now romanticized in the movies.

In the late 1870s, Justiniano went back to the Paterno mansion to paint Capitan Memo’s third wife, Doña Teodora, and his daughter, Dolores, composer of the ballad La Flor de Manila, now popularly known as Sampaguita.The three portraits executed by Capitan Ting for the Paternos- Don Paterno included- are of equal artistic merits all attest to the painters unsurpassed forte of capturing his sister’s individual personalities.

Comparatively speaking, however, Don Paterno’s portrait would perhaps draw the interest of the more analytic viewers. Here, the subject is the venerability of old age rather than the relatively common place topic of Filipina femininity or the intricate embroideries of the Maria Clara. Capitan Ting seems to be playing homage to senility rather than to the worldly prominence of his sitter. His interest is in the steady gaze, the heavily drawn lips and the highly domed forehead. The conscious stiffness of his model’s carriage seems to be the wisdom of one who has had battles with life and emerges with more resolute views about it. The infirmity of age is however lightened by the rich designs of his embroidered cuffs and collar. The bold vertical line of the barong gives the old man one last tenacious display of strength and power.

In contrast to the tone and temper of Don Paterno’s retrato, the one of Dolores is a visceral display of bourgeois ostentation. Justiniano justifiably eschews in this masterpiece the element of character- he is primarily concerned with what the eyes can behold rather than what the mind can analyze. The subject is a handsome young woman of the gentry class, and perhaps it should be so. Here, the actual and symbolic nuances of mundane prosperity is at once the order; the rich embroideries of the pañuelo and skirt, the rings on seven fingers, the bejeweled hairpin brooch, the matching fan and kerchief she clasps in one hand, the limpid eyes of one who has not seen much hardship in life, and the fine lips set in an aristocratic smile. The viewer is held back however of begrudging Dolores all her well-appointed fineries because Justiniano imbues her with a kind of inner warmth emanating from an Arcadian purity of mind and spirit. The eyes and the suppressed smile definitely conveys Dolores’ genial nature.

Capitan Ting devotes equally meticulous attention to the exquisite embroidery of the pañuelo in the portrait of Doña Teodora. Yet still, the gracious-but-firm character, which a woman so young had to evolve as matriarch of Capitan Memo’s brood by two previous marriages and as manager of a complex joyeria, or jewelry store and workshop could not but illumine the smooth wood of the picture.

The portraits executed by Capitan Ting, each a unique statement on the nature of a particular individual, always draw out fresh and varying experiences from their viewers. The opposite effect is what is rather felt in portraits done by his contemporaries who almost never went beyond idealizing their sitter’s physical appearance and whose work therefore when seen as a body, despite the variety of subjects, rather leave their viewers with a sense of the monotonous: that you’ve-seen-all-if-you’ve-seen-one-effect.

The impression does not hold with the works of Capitan Ting. An admirer would, on the contrary, be even more amazed upon seeing his portrait of his niece Romana, daughter of his brother Antonio, married to a Carillo from Biñan. This, he painted in 1875. Here, the Master, can no longer be held back by the rigid artistic convention of his setting. The strict surveillance made upon the painter in the previous century conditioned the artist to merely copying engravings or actual objects and forbade him to express any personal interpretation of his subject. Now, the highly individualistic artist that Capitan Ting was, breaks away from the professional distance that he is expected to keep to his work and unabashedly suffuses it with his own presence, his own fine madness. His painting therefore reaches the level of a poet-artist’s manifesto.

Unless other works of similar temperament come to the fore in order that a stylistic lyrical period among Manila’s painters of that time could be established, the portrait of Roman Carillio remains a phenomenon of expression in the entire history of painting in the Philippines. The presently known paintings dated to that decade are likeness-portraits by Antonio Malantik, Lorenzo Rocha, and Simon Flores.

In 1875, neither Juan Luna nor Felix Resurrection Hidalgo had yet reached Europe to experience artistic emancipation. It could only have been through the spark of some book of artistic reproductions or the temperament of some circulating foreign novels that led the highly sensitive Capitan to the possible heights of freedom of spirit that the artist could enjoy in places outside of his environment.

The decade during which Capitan Ting lived, the 1870s, was the decade of Cavite mutiny, a period of witchhunting and, as a whole, was stiflingly repressive. Perhaps such atmosphere was what precisely sent the Maestro to soar into some Elysian sphere. Indeed, the sublime aspiration to transcend the harsh, the bitter or the cruel is the one and only theme of the portrait of Romana Carillo. Just as Romana clasps a book, Capitan Ting’s oeuvre is an appeal to Reason, to Knowledge, to the Order that sometimes only art is capable of. Perhaps it is necessary to mention here that Justiniano went through a very bitter experience when in 1863, the calamitous earthquake that wrecked Manila, ruined his home and killed his bachelor brother, Ambrosio.

There is much more to the merits of “The Woman with a Book” as a phenomenal milestone in the stylistic evolution of Philippine painting. In this work, Justiniano rises above the ground on which he and his artistic predecessors have hitherto worked. In painting the sunset behind Romana Carillo, he advanced the possibilities of the local realistic style, shifting it from its mere use as a technique to render life-likeness to its possible virtue as an idiom of temperament, a mode of self-expression. The landscape, not as a scene per se, but as an instrument to create atmosphere, was itself a novelty and the use of the colors of the sunset could have been a point of departure from the extremely linear predisposition of the current realism.

Indeed, a highly creative person like the Capitan was now bored with the miniaturistic style and wanted to move to another direction in his art.His milieu, however, the entire powerful force actually lagging behind him compelled him to work with it. Hence the detailed workmanship of the portraits of the Paterno ladies. The spirit of the 1880s all the more called for the artist to record his setting in the graphic detail. The decade that cried for reforms- for material, specific changes- obliged the artist to graphically immortalize whatever was gained.

After the earthquake of 1863, there was a rebuilding and renovating of church buildings and the most ornate of ornamentation possible, present evidences seem to say, was the natural defensive reaction toward the witnessed perishability of things.

Four life- size oval frames painted by Capitan Ting, which used to hang on the predentives of Sta. Cruz Church depicting the figures of Saint Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose and Gregory the Grant were typical of the taste of the period. These works were done in the trompe l’oeil tradition, offering occasional distractions upon devotees who would look up now and then to wonder whether the adornment of the Saints’ robes were real or painted. An extant example he did in this phase of realism is the painting, “Virgen de Antipolo.” As in paintings of a truly realistic nature, the Capitan was able to capture the natural light that, translated to the canvas, projected the holy image’s priceless jewels to very high relief. Here is realism at its full development, and here was Capitan Ting, bored with it but desperately tied to it whenever commissioned by his powerful patrons.

In the state of boredom, he often used his skills to amuse and confuse his guests and admirers alike. He is remembered to have painted on the downstairs wall of his newly built house, right under the window balustrade, a life-size infant falling in midair. The picture never failed to startle or evoke shrieks from passersby who at first glance thought the child was real. Once he also painted on the top of the chest, a scattering of very realistic coins, causing embarrassment to guests who stopped to pick them up.

It was indeed time for Capitan Ting to amuse not only others but himself. The spirit of change seemed to be no longer working on his side. In 1884, Luna and Hidalgo become a sensational dou when they won major medals at the Exposition de Bellas Artes in Madrid. This achievement created a completely new turn in the artistic tastes of the time, for now artists who were educated abroad were lionized over those who stayed home and did not have the benefits of a European training. The wily ones began to copy Luna’s or Hidalgo’s techniques and concepts. Others who chose to remain as they were risked the danger of vanishing from the success scene.

Capitan Ting who was in his 70s probably considered himself too old to compete with the young and trendy painters. In Manila’s art circles and to Capitan, it was clear that the miniaturistic style of realism had passed.

Gray times too fell on the mestizo businessmen of Manila. The many foreign firms that had branches in Manila found faster market for their goods in the retail store of Chinese merchants. The Chinese, in turn, by virtue of their business connections with these big foreign firms, began to move steadily toward gaining control of the retail trade, once the domain of the mestizo businessmen.

In the ambiance of this redoubtable financial losses, Capitan Ting’s adventurous son, Zacarias, set out for the province of Sorsogon about 1886, there to find better business opportunities where the Chinese had not yet gained foothold. It is said that his was the first “supermarket of Abueg town. With his marriage to a girl from nearby Masbate, Remedios Ramires, Zacarias so firmly established himself in that province that Capitan Ting felt sufficiently called upon to make the long and arduous trip to visit him.

While in faraway Sorsogon, Capitan Ting learned of a new reform introduced in Manila. In a decree signed by the Overseas Minister of Spain, the guild system was abolished and replaced by a more systematized structurazation of the municipal government itself. By a stroke of the pen, the world of the Gremio de Mestizo, in which Capitan Ting figured most prominently, was cancelled. Capitan Ting never returned to Manila. In 1896 at the age of 80, Capitan Ting died in Abueg, Sorsogon, far removed from the middle class milieu that nurtured him and gave him fame.

Rather ironically for such a meticulous portraitist, Capitan Ting’s own self-portrait does not exist today. It was kept in the house of one of his descendants in Malate, a southern district of Manila, which saw heavy damage not only during the battle for the liberation of the city in 1942, but also during two subsequent fires that leveled many houses to the ground. Yet more works of Capitan Ting, however, may surface. The Paterno family is supposed to have a representative collection. There has also been word that there are several works of Don Justiniano in Spain. When all his works are accounted for, another chapter in the life of Capitan Ting and his generation will reveal yet more delights.

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The Archipelago Magazine 1975

To see the scanned fotos of the original1975 publication of the Archipelago magazine, please click here.

About the author: Santiago Albano Pilar is a professor of art history at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. He teaches advanced courses in art history and connoisseurship in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Pilar has authored several art books which include Juan Luna: the Filipino as a Painter, Pamana: The Jorge B. Vargas Art Collection and Domingo Celis: Inspired Calm and Harvest of Saints. He is associate editor of the Cultural Center of the Philippines‘ Encyclopedia of Philippine Art Volume IV: The Visual Arts. He was the 1980 TOYM (Ten Outstanding Young Men) Awardee for Art History and won the Araw ng Maynila Award: Tagapag-alaga ng Sining in 1996. He is also a consultant of exhibition projects for the Ayala Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Cultural Center of the Philippines.

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An Asuncion at Mensa- Switzerland

A personal note, written primarily for my relatives and for those interested in child psychology.

Way back in the 1980′s, during my college years in Manila, my favorite psychology subjects were psychological testing (psychometrics), projective techniques, psychopathology, mental hygiene, theories of personality, experimental psychology and seminar on exceptional children. In projective techniques, the student learns the rudiments administering and evaluating personality tests. Throughout these courses, the student begins to be confronted with the question of personalities, the reality of individual differences, inborn and acquired traits, the nature of intelligence in all its theoretical aspects.

A college freshman is faced with these basic questions: First, what is personality? Second, what is intelligence? And then you slide into the third: Is there a direct correlation between personality and intelligence? Do intelligent people have more pleasant personality than less intelligent ones or is there no direct correlation at all between these two factors? The next thing that confronts the student is the relationship between high intelligence or genius and insanity? Is this true that geniuses are prone to mental illness and personality disorders whereas the normal ones not? Or is this just a myth or a hollywood invention? And then comes this simple issue: Are intelligent people practical and independent?

Well, four years of basic psychology studies will not give you instantly the answers to these questions and give you peace of mind. I have learned that my favorite subjects had only given me a good starting point to continue the inquiry. One thing that I have learned after all these years is that everything is a matter of definition and the context to which this definition is being applied. Or, even better, let the context offer the definition of such things as intelligence, normalcy, perfection, etc. The other thing that has taught me more is experience. Experience gives you a solid understanding or even doubt about the subject. My years of experience in observing psychiatric patients have no doubt taught me more than anything else to evaluate roughly a person almost at a glance: Is he/she a schizophrenic, a psychopath, a drug dependent, an alcoholic, a manic-depressive one, a borderline personality, suicidal person or a sexual deviate; or, to evaluate indirectly by way of any available product of that person: a written piece, a drawing or illustration, etc.

But intelligence is something else. It’s requires more to gauge it. A mere glance cannot tell me if one is an average, genius or retarded (except for genetic abnormalities as Down syndrome, etc.). But this time, through indirect way, i.e. by way of a written piece or work of art, etc., I could tell more about the intelligence of the person.

On the other side, my experience has shown me how tricky this aspect is: For example, relying on school performance alone does not give you the real intelligence of a child or a youth. Behind an average or even below average performing child could be a gifted one. It is in the extremes of appearances that we have to exercise caution and observe more. But in general, we can say that a child is intelligent if it grasps abstract relationships within a short time than other children and translates his ideas successfully into concretely observable results for the observers. But what if this translation doesn’t occur, or if the child consciously – or even unconsciously – distorts this translation? It follows that our picture of the child is also distorted.

Then it’s time that we observers, parents or educators must look at ourselves. Are we competent enough to make the right judgment(evaluation) and do we have the necessary experience in this area?

I always recommend observing the child who has problems at school in the totality of his behavior and when needed to send the child to a recognized testing institution for aptitude and intelligence test. Ideally, school – pubic or private – should have also a team of counsellors which includes one or more school psychologists to help troubled parents and children.

In my neighborhood, I have given advice to concerned and troubled parents this way and even offered my on – the – spot analysis of the child’s personality and general mental aptitude drawing out of my experience in this field. I admit, that though it’s really hard to determine the child’s intelligence, still I can say that experience gives me a solid ground to base my guess or intuition. I was right in many cases because these grown-up children are now high achievers, out of the initially hopeless situation when they were in the elementary years.

But now, we come to my experience of this subject within the four walls of my home, an experience that has given me doubts about what I know and challenges that almost went beyond our limit as parents. And that is when my second son, Samuel, came into our life. From birth, I already sensed that he is intelligent. As a child he rarely cried, was very quite, curious and independent in his ways. At age three, he was reading until three in the morning that at times I had to switch off his bed lamp so he would sleep. At this age he had memorized the books he had in his room, performed weird chemistry experiments, etc. He protested by crying when we brought him to a play group but showed great joy when we brought him to a painting group for children.

His week, together with his older brother Cyril, was full of activities already before the age of five: music group for pre-school children and, a few months after, violin lessons where he always astonished his teacher for his excellent hearing, private English, French and cooking courses every Saturday for several years and swimming where he also excelled. Later on he switched to piano and about the same time he started with hip-hop dancing course from a known dancer and teacher and won second place in the Swiss dance team competition. With 16, he started teaching this dance style, now with 18, he resumed his Thai boxing lessons and intends after graduation this summer to go to Thailand for Muay Thai boxing teacher course.

Before entering primary class, he underwent a thorough intelligence and aptitude tests in a private human potential evaluation clinic that took the whole morning with a short break in between. The results showed him belonging to the top 2% of the population of children of his age group. The effect was that he jumped directly from kindergarten to Grade 2 and parallel to normal schooling, he had to attend special courses for gifted children organized and supported by the city of Zürich where they learned other supplementary subjects as chemistry, mathematics, physics, philosophy, etc. This satisfied all of his “mental needs”. During this time, at age 9, he was admitted to Mensa-Switzerland whose only criterion for membership is an IQ score in the top 2% of the general population on a battery of standardized intelligence tests (“normally” from above 130 IQ scores). But this too went not without a little problem because he was “under age”, which means below 15. But they readily made an exception to the rule. And so it went that he became the youngest member in the history of Mensa-Switzerland.

Parents can only be proud of this story but we had our own worries. His normal schooling went on not without problems for he showed little interest in his homework and in most of his teachers in the public school who were not trained for such a child with a different quality of perception. In fact, some of his new teachers in the primary school considered him below average. He was – and is even now – behaving like that so that, at age 12, I let him undergo another intelligence and aptitude test, this time administered by the school psychologist in that private school we found for him after we pulled him out from the Volksschule. I was there again to observe as he made his written and oral examination for hours. From the answers to the oral tests I heard and the awed facial expressions of the psychologist , I knew already that he was still in his “old” intellectual status. Hence, nothing was changed only that he needed the right environment that suits his needs.

But he remained an ordinary boy before the eyes of our friends and relatives and with time we got used to this fact. Only a handful of his friends (who are gifted themselves) realize and appreciate the gift that is in him. Same feathers flock together? Intuitively, I observed, they do.

With 15, he was turned down by many firms as he applied for apprenticeship because of his not-so-shining secondary school grades. Again, another problem for all of us. Until he was admitted to a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology or ETH (Einstein’s alma mater) spin-off IT firm. There his mentor, an ETH IT lecturer, himself a very intelligent man, has told us that “no doubt, your son is very intelligent”.

So, what’s the problem? Samuel will graduate this summer at age 19 as IT specialist. /

jun asuncion

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Asuncion Genealogy: Additional Information from  relatives

The Asuncion and Gerona Connection

Dear fellow Asuncion relatives,

Had breakfast with neighbor Horace Gillego and he supplied me a copy of their family tree. In our previous emails last year, we mentioned that Horace pointed us to the Bulan Observer website of Jun Asuncion (Horace’s roots come from Bulan). Lately, Horace discovered in their late dad’s house an old folder which contained the family tree of Rafael Espiritu Gerona (died April 14, 1871) and Ma. Justaquia Gray (died Jan 1, 1873).

The family tree traces the line from the Gerona & Gray union (they were married July 30, 1821). One of their seven children was Casimiro Gerona (married Zenona Antiado). Their union brought forth four children, the youngest Salvador Gerona (married Rita Gimpaya). And the latter couple produced ten children, one of them was Monica Gerona.

Monica Gerona married Rodolfo Asuncion. Rodolfo Asuncion was one of the children of Zacharias Asuncion. Rodolfo’s mom is Zacharias’ third wife – Remedios Ramirez. Zacharias’ dad is Justinano. Zacharias’ grandpa is Mariano “Kagalitan” Asuncion.

From Rodolfo Asuncion and Monica Gerona came papa Ronnie Asuncion.

From Rodolfo’s brother Adonis came Andres Asuncion (dad of Andres “Jun” Asuncion & Malou Asuncion Lao).

From Rodolfo’s brother Jacobo came Sor Marissa Asuncion’s line.

Ed (Rojas)

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Justiniano Asuncion’s Album Of Watercolors Mirrors 19th Century Filipino Life

( A reprint of Mrs. Florina Capistrano -Baker’s article in Philstar in connection with our search for the artist Justiniano Asuncion. junasun)

By Florina H. Capistrano-Baker

Not a few art enthusiasts are under the mistaken notion that the 19th century album of watercolors depicting various peoples and costumes of the Philippines in a special collection at the New York Public Library is yet another version of the Damian Domingo album at the Newberry Library in Chicago, a misconception apparently stemming at least in part from a typed commentary on a small slip of paper appended to the album stating thus: “Artists: Damian Domingo and Justiniano Asuncion, according to Mr. A. Roces, July 8, 1980.”Further, an earlier notation presumably handwritten shortly after the album was completed, indicates that: “These figures were painted for the sake of the costumes by a native artist of Manila [sic] for M. Soden Esq. of Bath — in the year 1841 or 2 (9 in number). The other four by an inferior artist the former being ill. [signed M.M.S.]“If we were to believe the 1980 notation that the artists were indeed Damian Domingo and Justiniano Asuncion, the logical assumption of most would be that the nine superior paintings were by Domingo, and the other four by Asuncion, who was the more junior of the two. Closer scrutiny, however, disputes the attribution to Damian Domingo, for the rendering of the figures is distinct from that of the signed Domingo album in the Edward Ayer collection at the Newberry Library.

Moreover, it is the opinion of many that Justiniano Asuncion surpassed his erstwhile mentor in artistic skill and virtuosity. It is therefore unlikely that the “other four by an inferior artist the former being ill” could refer to the talented Asuncion. Rather, the nine superior works are clearly those of Asuncion himself, and the four inferior works by another, unidentified artist.The handwritten notation placing the year of manufacture to the early 1840s similarly refutes authorship by Damian Domingo, who is said to have died a decade earlier in the early 1830s. A careful reading of the images, in fact, brings to mind the many unsigned 19th-century prints attributed to Justiniano Asuncion that are still seen occasionally offered for sale in various art shops today.Belonging to the genre popularly called tipos del pais, this album labeled simply as Philippine costumes consists of 13 gouache images of individual types and costumes of the Philippines on European wove paper, with three additional images that do not seem to belong to the set, namely fragments of an image of a Chinese lady, an illustration of different types of butterflies, and a print of a European hunting scene.

The album was formally accessioned by the New York Public Library in 1927, although, even before this date, it was most likely in the collection of one of the three philanthropic institutions that were consolidated to create the core collections of the New York Public Library – namely, the Astor, Lenox and Tilden foundations.Ironically but most appropriately, I first experienced the Justiniano Asuncion album at the New York Public Library two years ago, on the afternoon of July 3, while in pursuit of Damian Domingo albums overseas. As with my first encounter with Damian Domingo at the Newberry Library in Chicago, I sat transfixed as the album was placed before me, prolonging the chase a bit longer, relishing the anticipation, savoring the warmth of the lustrous wood around me – the rhythmic rows of reading tables embraced by luxuriously paneled walls, the hushed readers consumed by their particular passions and obsessions.

Subjecting the exquisite images to my trustworthy magnifying loupe, Asuncion’s distinctive rendering of facial features was magnificently revealed in consistent details otherwise invisible to the naked eye – a dab of red here, a bit of gray there, a dot of white strategically situated to simulate those vibrant, luminous eyes. Painted in a different style from that of Domingo, the Asuncion images appear more European in both features and skin coloring, in stark contrast to the Domingo images which are more Southeast Asian. Despite the marked stylistic differences between Domingo and Asuncion, it is clear upon careful comparison of the images of the Newberry and the New York Public Library that the types and costumes portrayed in the Asuncion album were inspired by, if not directly derived from, the Domingo album.

Besides its artistic virtuosity, the Asuncion album is particularly valuable because of the copious handwritten notes accompanying the images. Thwarted by the Fourth of July celebrations during my first visit, I successfully completed my own transcription of all the notes during my second, longer visit last year.

This revealing essay, for example, accompanies an image of a man with his fighting cock:

“No. IX. This is one of the best. The color, the dress, and the character altogether is exactly that of a Manila man. The fighting cock under his arm is very characteristic; for the two are inseparable — quite! They are constantly training their cocks to fight, and as they meet in the streets they always let their cocks have a little sparring. The peg attached to their leg is stuck in the ground when their owner is tired of carrying them, and they are allowed the range of the string. The natives like gambling better than work, and the Spanish government instead of discouraging, do all they can to encourage them to gamble. In every town or village is a theater built by the government for the sole purpose of cock-fighting; and upon every bird that enters they impose a tax which yields to government 100,000 or 200,0000 sterling.”

How little has changed today, from the lowly jueteng and small-town cockfights, to world-class government-sponsored gambling casinos similarly entrenched, siphoning hand-earned monies to line the pockets of some morally decrepit few!

A chatty commentary describes the customary way of wearing tresses of Rapunzelian proportions:

“No. VII. This is by the same artist as the two first – A Spanish mestiza of Manila. – The most striking part of this figure is the manner of wearing the hair, which gives a most fascinating appearance to the tout ensemble, but unfortunately this is not correctly painted; the hair when worn in this fashion is parted in the center of the head and allowed to fall gracefully and naturally from each side of the forehead over the shoulders and down the back: The comb has no business here; it being quite unnecessary. The hair is so abundant as nearly to obscure the whole figure if not thrown off the face. When bathing it has the strangest effect to see such a quantity of hair floating over the surface of the water and extending such a distance.”

Another detailed account describes the well-dressed damsel’s complete ensemble:

“No. II. Is a Mestiza. This gives a very good idea of the female costume. The blue stripe is a little jacket made of the same material as the man’s shirt; it has not so much work upon it, the cuffs only being embroidered. It reaches to the waist, and is made very loose: Under it is tied the red and yellow plaid petticoat; over which is the cabaya, a long piece made either of silk or cotton, as the wearer can afford; which is wrapped tightly around the body and the end tucked in; which if properly done never comes loose; this is so tight over the hips as to appear to impede the free motion of the limbs… Their slippers, which are very small, only just sufficient to cover the foot, are very prettily embroidered in gold, generally done by themselves. They are so small that the little toe is always outside, which helps to keep them on. They are never worn out of doors in dirty weather, but carried in the hand, and when the señorita arrives at her destination, she finds at the door a pan of water into which she immerses her feet before putting on the slippers. The handkerchief over her shoulders is made of piña cloth, or cloth made of the pineapple fiber, this is peculiar to Manila; in no other part of the world has it ever been made. It is as fine or finer than the finest cambric, and beautifully embroidered; all the señoritas excelling in that kind of work, and in doing which they spend a great portion of their time. The fair sex… pride themselves much in their hair, with which their heads are most luxuriously covered; if they were seen in this country, it would excite much envy… It is all combed to the back of the head where it is dressed; plaited or otherwise according to fancy; but it is always particularly neat.”

While clearly impressed with the mestiza’s charms, the author did not seem to think too highly of her male counterpart:

“No. 1. An exact representation of a rich Mestizo. The complexion is admirably painted and likewise the dress. He is a great dandy and fond of imitating the Europeans, as you may see by his hat and umbrella… The umbrella is to preserve his complexion from the sun. Most people use them when walking in the heat of the day… This man leads a most idle dissipated life; he spends his day in gambling and cockfighting; his evenings in playing and singing the guitar; the songs are limited to very few in number.”

Certainly not a very inspiring image of the ideal Romeo, but most likely gifted with such charisma as to render hapless ladies oblivious to such deficiencies. Nonetheless, one must keep in mind that these commentaries are from a western, presumably male, perspective – male colonial gave undoubtedly swayed by the legendary charms of the winsome Filipina. How much or how little out world has changed since the 1840s!

About the author:

Florina H. Capistrano-Baker

Director, International Exhibitions, Ayala Museum

Born in Manila, the Philippines. Ph.D. from Columbia University. Visiting lecturer at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Specializes in Pacific and Island Southeast Asian art history. Publications include Art of Island Southeast Asia: The Fred and Rita Richman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA, 1994), “Containing Life: Basketry Traditions on the Cordillera” (Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, Philippines, Roy Hamilton, ed., UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1999), and Multiple Originals, Original Multiples: 19th-century Images of Philippine Costumes (Ayala Foundation, 2004). Works in New York and Manila

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An Asuncion Riding On The Crest Of A Wave

My cousin Eduardo Rojas just informed me about Amado Gabriel Esteban, a cousin who is now President of Seton Hall University in the United States Of America, the first Filipino so far to hold this prestigious position. Bulan Observer congratulates Amado for his excellent achievement! jun asuncion

Here is Eduardo’s info about the family roots of Amado:

// We have an Asuncion relative who will be the first (and non priest) Filipino president of the well-known Seton Hall University . His name is Amado Gabriel Esteban. He is an Asuncion through his mom, Isabel “Lita” Munson Esteban. Lita’s mom is Paz Maria Asuncion Intengan (married to Amado Munson). Paz Maria Asuncion Intengan’s mom is Consuelo Asuncion (married to Dr Gabriel Intengan). Consuelo and sister Guia Asuncion came from Zacharias Asuncion, son of Justiniano and grand son of Mariano Kagalitan Asuncion. //

Filipino Amado Gabriel Esteban Seton Hall University President

BY INQUIRER.NETON January 24, 2011 CATEGORIZED UNDER OUTSTANDING FILIPINOS, UNITED STATES

“Other than the food, I miss the sights and sounds of Manila—the packed Sunday Masses, big family gatherings and going out with the ‘barkada,’” he said in an e-mail interview with the Inquirer.

“I have to admit though that the Manila of my youth only exists in my mind. You know you are getting old when I was looking for a CD of Basil, I was asked to go to the oldies section!”

Putting the Filipino brand of leadership on the international spotlight once again, 49-year-old Esteban was recently appointed president of Seton Hall University (SHU) in New Jersey.

Esteban had been serving as interim president of the oldest diocesan university in America and New Jersey’s largest Catholic university with more than 10,000 students before he was named to the post last December.

Two priests in the running withdrew during the search proceedings, according to a New York Times online report.

“As a Filipino, I hope I can serve as a reminder, along with all the other kababayan who have been able to advance themselves, of our potential wherever we are in the world,” Esteban said.

His mother, Lita Munson Esteban, and his late Tarlaqueño father, Jose Esteban, were both educators.

Building consensus

Esteban credits his upbringing for a leadership style that listens and nurtures.

“Growing up in a Filipino-Catholic environment, I learned early on the value of building consensus, learning from past mistakes and failures, and most importantly treating everyone with respect and dignity,” he said.

“In leading Seton Hall University, I hope to never forget something my late father used to say, ‘A great university is not made up of bricks and mortar, but people of great minds with good intentions,’” he added.

Serving a term of five and a half years, Esteban aims to pursue a strategic development plan that would entail “strengthening our Catholic identity, strengthening and increasing our investment in key academic programs, increasing our student selectivity, and developing the financial resources to fund our shared vision.”

Exception to rule

Esteban’s appointment broke tradition based on SHU’s 25-year-old by-laws, where only Catholic priests were qualified to head the university. The university’s board of trustees adopted an exception to the by-laws a week before his appointment.

Two other laymen had assumed the SHU presidency before Esteban, but his appointment was the first for a nonpriest since the university adopted its priests-only selection criteria in the 1980s.

Esteban received praise from the university for his calming presence after the tragic shooting of 19-year-old sophomore student Jessica Moore near SHU in September last year, when he was still interim head.

SHU officials called him the right fit for the job.

In a broadcast e-mail announcing Esteban’s appointment, Patrick Murray, chair of the SHU board of regents, said: “Dr. Esteban has successfully navigated through many challenges during his interim presidency; we are extremely fortunate to have such a proven, compassionate leader at the helm of our University. He is ideally positioned to carry on Seton Hall’s Catholic mission and its tradition of academic excellence.”

UP studies

Esteban finished a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in Business Administration at the University of the Philippines before taking up master of science in Japanese Business Studies at Chaminade University in Honolulu.

He and his wife Josephine, a UP Economics graduate, came back to the Philippines in 1986, just as the country returned to democracy after 14 years of martial rule. He landed a job at San Miguel Corp. while his wife worked for the then Center for Research and Communications (now University of Asia and the Pacific).

The couple later went back to the United States for further studies.

“We had every intention of returning to the Philippines. In fact in the late nineties, I interviewed for and was offered a couple of faculty positions in the Philippines. As we were making preliminary plans to return, the Asian financial crisis hit,” Esteban said.

“Upon deliberation and reflection, we realized that over the short to medium term we had better opportunities in the United States,” he added.

Connecting home

But life seems to have come full circle for Esteban, as his connection to home has become even stronger with the position he holds.

SHU’s College of Arts and Sciences is studying student demand for the Filipino language, which it previously offered. At the university, Esteban has also met several Filipino seminarians and students.

“Seton Hall has a very active student group called FLASH (Filipino League at Seton Hall). We even have Simbang Gabi!” he said.

As an SHU official, Esteban has also established institutional relations with UP, De La Salle University and its College of St. Benilde and Health Sciences Institute.

“Since the establishment of relationships with sister institutions in the Philippines, I have been fortunate to be able to go to Manila almost every year for the past few years,” Esteban said.

The Internet has also made touching base with the Philippines easier, he said. “Connecting to home and friends in Manila was more difficult until the widespread use of technology, including YahooGroups and more recently Facebook.”

Esteban and his family came home for Christmas last year, their first since 1987. With Josephine and his daughter Ysabella, an SHU junior, he traveled to Boracay and Cagayan de Oro City and “spent almost all our time with family.” /

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Faces Of My Fathers

 by jun asuncion

Early in life I have learned to accept that some things shall just remain as dreams, as persistent longings that I’ll be carrying around. Since the start of this search for my Asuncion roots, my longings to know more about my fathers (and mothers) and to find any related information have intensified. And how my great grandfathers may have looked like have greatly preoccupied my imagination but came to terms with the fact that this was all to it and nothing more since even the known self-portrait of Justiniano Asuncion was lost. I thought that was all, lost forever. I thought, but I did not know. I did not know that a certain family by the name of Quintos – Guirzon have been keeping my dream in their photo collection and that one day I’ll be receiving a copy of it from my cousin Ding Asuncion.

Unbelievable but this time it was true. I admit that in my age, even a lightning strike wouldn’t make my eyes bluesy and wet. But that moment when the image unfolds itself by the click of the mouse, I lost almost a river of tears from this great joy and this feeling of reunion with my ancestral roots. I was speechless when I saw the faces of Justiniano, Zacarias, Benita and Jacobo! Zacarias is my great-grandfather. What I remember to have seen in my childhood was just a piece of Zacarias’ gravestone in our compound in Canipaan which unluckily I didn’t find anymore when I came home a few years ago. When times were getting rough for the Asuncions in Binondo, Zacarias left for Bicol in search for new possibilities. A different time, indeed, for who would think today of going to a distant town of Bulan in search for better opportunities? Whatever his true motivation was, Zacarias’ travel estbalished the Asuncions’ connection with this town.

This photo has closed those gaps in my mind and fulfilled those deepest longings of seeing the faces of my fathers.

It was my younger relative Christopher Yatco who first drew my attention to the existence of a new book about Damian Domingo with the photo of Justiniano and his children. My excitement soared even beyond the moon. But being out-of-town, I still do not have this book. And then, a few weeks after, Ding Asuncion, grandson of Kenerino Asuncion and Lola Leny, sent me this copy of the photo together with some excerpts of this book.

Usually, I share such document to my relatives immediately but this time I kept this photo for a while, viewing it many times a day in the intimacy of solitude, immersing myself deeply in my own part of the story, staring at their eyes being my only possibility of communication as I try to imagine many things about them, their pains of living as second class citizens in their own country (a situation I cannot accept) during the Spanish time, their thoughts about the future…

Here, you see the master painter himself, Justiniano Asuncion, the creator of those art pieces we’ve been talking about, those portraits of the Asuncion women, those watercolor paintings at the New York Public Library, etc. He was the first Filipino painter who allowed himself to be ” drawn with light”. i.e., to be photographed. Luckily he posed before a camera, a kind of high-tech gadget in the early 19th century which, to my view, seemed to have been invented to ultimately challenge Justiniano’s perfect eyes for capturing details of the subject when all other painters had given up the fight.

In 1816 Johann Heinrich Schultz discovered that a mixture of silver and chalk darkens when exposed to light. But for our case, a star was born that brightened the world of 19th Century Filipino art when the baby Justiniano was exposed to light also in 1816. Justiniano possessed a pair of highly photographic eyes that perfectly fitted to the miniaturist, realism painting style of his time.

To this perceptual acuity, Prof. Santiago wrote: “In the state of boredom, he often used his skills to amuse and confuse his guests and admirers alike. He is remembered to have painted on the downstairs wall of his newly built house, right under the window balustrade, a life-size infant falling in midair. The picture never failed to startle or evoke shrieks from passersby who at first glance thought the child was real. Once he also painted on the top of the chest, a scattering of very realistic coins, causing embarrassment to guests who stopped to pick them up”.

It was ca. 1894 when Schultz’s mixture went off into action which today – 117 years later – would have a profound effect on many of us, up to this very moment as I try to write while poring over this photo which seems to me a gift fallen from heaven. I’m highly indebted to the prime mover of this event, Hilarion Asuncion, the man behind the camera, my great grand-uncle and for all those good things and chain of events that worked together – in obedience to the inner logic of Asuncion’s fate – that ultimately preserved this image over a century, over these rough and repressive times.

Like his father before him who served as cabeza de barangay of Sta. Cruz in 1805, Justiniano became cabeza de barangay in this community of mestizos in February 25, 1853. By this time Justiniano was already established as a master painter. Thirty years after, his son Zacarias, in search for more better business opportunities, set out for Bulan, Sorsogon in 1886. Hence, this year was a milestone in the history of Asuncions of Bulan. There, twelve years later, at the turn of the century – and of the nation’s colonial history – Zacarias became Jefe del Pueblo (old name for Municipal Mayor) of Bulan from 1898 – 1900.

If artistic genius was in the Family of Justiniano Asuncion and so was community leadership, I think. It was due to Zacarias’ successful Bulan’s adventure that brought Justiniano Asuncion to Bulan, already old and grey, a man behind the sparkle of success, within the silhouette of death. Bulan became his refuge, the sanctuary of his tired body and soul and the gate to his eternal rest. If the biographer Manuel Artigas called him “modelo de honradez, an exemplar of tacto y prudencia”, then it was an honor for Bulan to have such qualities be buried in its grounds. For these qualities had to come out again forty-five years later after his death in the person of Adonis Asuncion, my grandfather, who became Mayor of Bulan in 1941.

My grandfather Adonis Asuncion had led Bulan not in times of political Padrenos, vote buying, plundering and pork barrel but in times of foreign aggression where one must have to defend the basic rights of Bulaneños. So my fathers were community leaders when three superior nations ruled our land; Justiniano in Sta. Cruz during the Spanish time, Zacarias in Bulan just at the beginning of the American rule and Adonis, also in Bulan, during the Japanese occupation. All three men had their share of what I call the roughness of times but all came out hardened in their character, in their convictions. From their stories I learned the lesson that political leadership is about self-respect in the first place. Methinks that the political, civil and military leaders of today who are now facing corruption and plunder charges had failed to respect themselves and their very own families in the first place. Hence, how could they ever respect the community of people they don’t personally know?

The three foreign aggressors may have ruined the Filipinos by introducing to us the culture of corruption, aggression and militarism but it seems that the families of Mariano Kagalitan- Asuncion were among those Filipino families blessed with the immunity from these foreign viruses that they were able to keep their name clean and their being “modelo de honradez, tacto y prudencia” while serving the people – in those times of conspiracies, opportunism and collaboration with the aggressors (survival of the “fittest”).

Their thoughts about the future? That future is here with me in this very moment as I search for my past and found it here in my room where I have spent hours of thinking about my fathers, bending my six strings to soaring bluesy heights as I figure out their faces, how they had lived, to what degree had they suffered from the roughness of times, from the yoke of colonialism and how much they had longed for freedom and dreamt for a better future. I was born 59 years, my father, Andres, Sr., 19 years after Justiniano’s death. Indeed, it seems not too long ago but if I add to it my own life where memories fade out already after a short moment of recollection then everything about my fathers becomes an abyssal zone except for some floating traces they had left which serve only to tickle my inquisitive mind and my longing to know more, thus eventually blowing my mind away every time I was trapped in some of these black holes of imagination.

The first couple, Mariano and Maria de La Paz Molo Asuncion

Faces Of My Fathers

Mariano Kagalitan Asuncion

Justiniano Asuncion (1816 – 1901)

Zacarias Asuncion

Adonis Asuncion (June 14, 1889 – January 8, 1976)

 Andres Asuncion, Sr. ( November 9, 1920 –  November 3, 2005)

Remembering My Father, Andres Asuncion, Sr. (an old post added here)

The Primordial Pain

The demise of our father last November 3, 2005 was certainly a big blow to all of us. Now three years after, we all seem to have accepted the reality of our beloved father no longer physically with us. There are moments though when I am caught unaware and seem not to realize this fact. Then I feel instantly transported back to these moments of grief last November. It is surely not easy to lose a father and I think I will never get over it. There are absolute privileges that you get only once in your life time and that if you lose them you can not replace them. A father is one of these privileges. The pain that you experience tells you how much you love somebody who has been taken away from you. There is nothing on earth can equal that pain. There are no words to describe it. You can only try to express it in some other ways except in words. And you can not describe it in real-time with words. For it is an experience beyond our language. It is a primordial event and that is why it is just purely pain that comes out of our innermost being. It’s like when a newly born cries responding to a sensed change and discomfort , and yet it’s more than that for a newly born is not weeping, – you are weeping.

I don’t know how my mother and my brothers and sisters deal with such moment of despair and pain. We all experienced our father differently, we all have a different image of him that each of us has carried throughout those years. But there is one thing in common that I am sure of, and that is, that we all love him. The way that each of us remember him in his/her own way that sums up the whole image of our father. I am not referring only to the images arising from incidental experience of him as other people had of him but this exclusive experience of inner connectedness to him as his children. This blood connection that goes all the way to the spiritual sphere of our existence.

I have been deprived of my father physically, for instance, for many years. But not a day had passed that I did not think of him. If not in dreams then just in my waking hours are these flashings of his images in my mind, and his voice was and is just there; vivid scenes of my childhood days with him in Ilawod and Canipaan, in Manila and here in Zürich when he came with my mother. In all those years of being away from him there was always this desire in me to have a coffee with him and talk with him about the world, yes, just about anything else. With my father I had always enjoyed sharing thoughts or just sitting together in silence. I felt this freedom, this feeling of fullness as a human being whenever I was with him.

Smoke gets in your eyes

I was about to go to work when I got a call from my sister Menchu bringing me the sad news. My world literally fell apart. As I look back to this moment, I wonder how I could have reacted if I did not know how to use these six strings and a piece of wood that has always accompanied my life ever since. That evening I just bended the strings as high as I could to express what I could not with words. My father played piano not a guitar but he did love its sound. I particularly remember that moment when he was humming the song Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, saying this was one of his favorite tunes. In the meantime I have finally arranged this tune for solo guitar after a long time of wishing to be able to do it. I dedicate this song to my father and when I play it, it’s solely for him for when he left smoke really got in my eyes…

A man of peace

A man of peace that he was and very dignified in his ways, his presence was always a source of joy to those who love him and perhaps an irritation to those who believe in approaching things and issues the more aggressive way.Yes, he remained true to himself to the very last moment of his existence. That’s the measure of being a man. His quiet countenance radiated an inner strength that came from deep insights and wisdom about life and situations. His courage was never an issue of alcohol content in the blood (he never drunk) , but in his refined ways of dealing with things due to his education and his unending patience, sharp intellect, broad knowledge and humility.

My father and the Japanese officer

My father experienced the cruelty of the Japanese invasion in 1945. He was then a young man of 25. He related his stories for the last time last August 2006 to me and my sons Cyril and Samuel, and I feel really privileged to have experienced this. This answered the question I’ve been carrying at the back of my mind for many years, a question that I always failed to ask him whenever I was with him: Why did you not take up your arms and fight side by side with your brother Agusto Asuncion ? (who at that time was the head of the Lapuz Guerilla movement in Bulan). His recounting of his war story last August finally revealed the answer to me. He said, his brother Agusto advised him not to shoot but rather to take charge of the logistics. My father had a very sharp memory and he could remember the details he experienced at that time, names of people and places, to the astonishment of my boys. I noticed his fair judgements of people and events involved. So Papa knew his own role in this war right at the outset. People like me would have instantly joined the front line at that time. But in the long run, justice and history is at the side of the wise and peace-loving people. One should know that my father came from a different tradition, from a tradition of love and compassion to all God’s creation. He came out right from a theological seminary in Paco, Manila when the war broke out.

The Japanese bombed Manila and that seminary where he was one of the three candidates for ordination. They had to separate ways and Pa went home to Bulan to his family, where his father Adonis Asuncion was the town mayor. He walked from Manila to Bulan, Sorsogon for around three weeks and survived the hazards in the streets, especially that critical moment when from under the tree trunk suddenly came out a handful of Japanese soldiers, stopped him, asked questions and inspected his backpack. “I remained quiet, and the officer caught an eye at the shaving blade (Labaha) I had and took it in his hands…(now the officer could have just swung this blade to his neck, if he wanted to.) He seemed to be interested in it so I just nodded my head and they let me go!” Wow, Papa would have flown like a bird if he could at this moment. Kidding aside, I thank this officer so much for letting my father go and, in retrospect, I respect this Japanese officer for his intuition. He must have felt that Pa was not an enemy. And, indeed, Pa did not kill a single Japanese soldier! Now the thing is, if you are proud that your father killed hundreds of Japanese soldiers at that time, I support that for it was wartime, and your father was destined to kill. That my father came out alive without harming anybody’s life, I’m certainly proud of this; he was simply not destined to kill. He was true to his convictions and fate was true to him whole life long. That unknown gentle Japanese officer was right.

The Family Man

I can imagine Pa in his prime: neatly dressed with hair soaked in pomade, misplacing probably his eyeglasses but never his smile. Beside him my mother, excited, and around them the eight of us.The flash went off and here is the picture on my table in front of me, taken about 40 years ago. I treasure this only family picture where we are complete. Those were memories to keep and live by, when my world was young and innocent in the true sense of the word. The family was my ground and I felt safe and fear was foreign to me. I was just happy being embedded in the family and that was everything that mattered most, not the hardships or the lack of other things. A boy who is happy has everything he needs to master the challenges and hardships that are normal concomitants to life. Deprived of this, you can not expect a better course of life.

So, I thank you Pa and Ma for laying down a solid foundation which was a mixture of fine ingredients, – of love, trust and compassion, coupled with patience and loyalty. This was how I perceived my parents and understand their role even up to now. How the rest of us had experienced my parents in our growing years, only they can tell. Throughout those years, there was one trait of my father that impressed me most, and that was his unassuming character. I’d never experienced him boasting around about anything. In fact there was always this permanent aura of understatement accompanying him throughout his life. Simple in his ways and in his daily needs, he would always put you first before him, giving you space and making you feel comfortable in the modest means available. He did not desire for more. For an opportunistic in character, a chance to attempt a coup’d’etat, for a sensitive in spirit a feeling of meeting with a teacher.

Unassuming and reticent that he was, the most profound insights and comments that I heard in life came from him. Being modest in his ways and putting others first, he showed them how to respect themselves. No wonder why he got respected in return by people around him. This was my first lesson about authority, not a coerced one nor based on a false assumption of something but a natural process of growth from within that manifests itself as a result quite naturally in your essence . So harmless that he was before you, you got no choice but to respect him and show the best in you. This was exactly this respect that we learned from him that kept us together in our long journey as a family.

The Hanging Bridge of Magsaysay

With my father, I learned to cross a hanging bridge for the first time in my life in the barrio of Magsaysay where he used to teach. For Papa that was a daily routine, for me an adventure and a source of anxiety. I nearly got sick when I looked down for it was deep and the river beneath was wild and the bridge swinging to its sides, step was not stable and there were holes on the floor. I was then 9 or 10. Pa did not say anything at that moment that I could remember. He just looked at me, stepped on it and I followed him. It was an incredible act of balancing and I became dizzy. I was alarmed, gathered myself together to make it to the other end. He was already at the other end and was watching me, smiling. Reaching the end a feeling of relief and I felt proud as I looked back at the now empty hanging bridge that was still undulating like a long snake. My tension was transformed instantly to fascination when I saw the wonderful garden all around the school buildings and the school children also about my age. Flowers of all kinds. I especially remember the red roses.

Barrio Magsaysay, a world so beautiful abounding with floras and faunas and friendly people. A piece of paradise, just nature as she is. Looking back now, I just realized that Papa spent almost his entire teaching career in places like Magsaysay. I knew that he was also assigned in Sta. Remedios and in other remote places I don’t even know the names anymore. Those years had cultivated in my father the love for simple people, for farmers and nature. I went back to Magsaysay a few times with Papa, most of the times carrying ballot boxes hanged on my shoulders. During election day the teachers were busy and so was Pa. I was always with him to carry those boxes. Crossing the hanging bridge became an enjoyable experience then. I began to love it and in fact now it keeps me wondering if it still exists. That was many years ago but the memories remain. That hanging bridge connected me to my father ever more. I wish to visit that bridge someday for on that bridge were those nice moments left hanging in time.

A schoolbag with guavas- and sometimes a bird.

As a young child it was always a highlight in my life when the day was about to close for then my father would arrive from school. I used to wait for him in the street in front of our house while I played with other children. Then I would run to him the moment I recognized his silhouette at the horizon moving in front of the setting sun that was about to disappear behind the China sea. I would literally dive into his bag to find out what was in there. I remember well the smell of guava fruits of his bag. Indeed, he always brought home fruits of all kinds everyday but it was always the smell of a guava that dominated inside his bag, even without guavas in there. And I loved that smell always. But it was not the guava fruit that I was excited to find, rather it was a bird or two! Pa used to bring home birds he received along the way from his pupils in Magsaysay and he would just put the cage in his schoolbag together with his pens and notebooks. At that time I came to know the most lovely local birds in Bulan through Papa. One time I discovered in that bag a Kingfisher and it was the joy of my childhood to have such a noble bird as a house pet for sometime. I thank my father now for all those nice little surprises every afternoon.

Dinner for the mind by candlelight

Everyday after dinner the same routine: Help wash the dishes and restore order on the table for then comes the next dinner,- the dinner for the mind by candlelight. I would empty my schoolbag on the table and I would begin to work on my homework while Pa on his lesson plan. This went on during my entire elementary years. I also remember my sister Malou being on this scene. I did my homework religiously at that time. But one evening I was so tired that I think I just left my notebooks open on the table, leaving my homework haf-done only as I scrambled for bed. I was then in grade three.

The next morning at school my teacher Miss Chavenia ordered us to open the assignments for checking. So, as usual, she went from one desk to another scanning with her sharp eyes every pupil’s work and with a look which tells you “with me you can’t bargain”, or “you better run for your life”. I was nervous then for I was not sure if my work was finished or not, for I never bothered at all to check my things before going to school. So you can imagine how I’d wished to disappear, to be invisible before she could come to my desk. As I opened my notebook, my eyes nearly fell out on the floor out of disbelief that my homework was done! I instantly remembered Pa and marveled if he finished my homework when I deserted the war zone and went already half-sleeping to bed. Until now this remains a mystery to me and, as usual, I never came to the point of asking Pa about it. In any case I was spared from standing still for an hour in a schoolroom’s corner, a punishment for lazy pupils in my time. Thank you Pa for saving my life – and for all those dinners for the mind by candlelight

(to be continued)

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Some tidbits from Sor Marissa

From Ed Rojas

Dear fellow Asuncions,

Last Saturday I picked up Sor Marissa at her sister’s house, Dr Numen Gonzales, we were then to proceed to Noel’s (my brother) place. At Dr Numen’s house I met one of our second cousins Xavier Asuncion (son of Roberto Asuncion of Bulan). Roberto is the oldest sibling of Sor Naty Asuncion, Dr Iluminada “Numen” Asuncion-Gonzales and Sor Marissa Asuncion. The siblings are the children of Jacobo Asuncion (Jacobo married to Trinidad Rosales).

Jacobo Asuncion’s siblings include Adonis (line of Jun Asuncion ), Justiniano (founder of UPSILON), Kenerino (founder of Southern Luzon Institute: Kenerino Ramirez Asuncion Memorial School or SLI-KRAMS) and Rodolfo (married to Monica Gerona and dad of papa Ronnie).

Jacobo, Adonis, Justiniano, Kenerino and Rodolfo are five of the thirteen children of Zacharias with Remedios Ramirez (based on the copy of the Asuncion family tree I have)..

Some tidbits from Sor Marissa:

1) Zacharias had a second wife after Juana Zalvidea & before his wife Remedios Ramirez. Her surname was Loilo. They had a child, but the child died, and in the Asuncion family tree we have, no mention of their names appeared.

2) Zacharias must have done well in Bulan, as he was able to send his children to Manila to pursue higher education. According to Sor Marissa, when Kenerino came back to Bulan after college in UP, he was shocked that his elementary classmates never got to higher education (no high school and no college). That inspired him to establish the Southern Luzon Institute, which later became SLI-KRAMS.

The information is interesting; because we know our great grandparents (generation of the children of Zacharias) got to finish college, so that must have been in Manila . And if there was no high school in Bulan then, they must have been shipped to Manila for high school at an early age and on to college.

In a past family get together, Auntie Nellie Intengan Jocson remembers her mother Consuelo Asuncion and aunt Ghia Asuncion (both daughters of Zacharias with Juana Zalvidea) were brought up by their unmarried aunt Benita, the older sister of Zacharias. Since Consuelo & Ghia knew Bicolano, can we assume they took their elementary schooling in Bulan? Was their aunt Benita also in Bulan during their elementary school days?

Or was Benita the guardian of Consuelo and Ghia when they had to go to Manila for high school? Who took care of their siblings Jacobo, Adonis, Justiniano, Kenerino, Rodolfo when they too had to go to Manila for high school and college?

Hope the other Asuncions can help.

Thanks,

Ed

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Yasmin Busran-LAO: Walking Her Talk By Running

By Elena Masilungan

 

Yasmin Buran-Lao, peace activist, women’s rights advocate, community organizer, is walking her talk by running — that is, running for senator in this year’s election as a candidate of the Liberal party.

The 48-year old Lao has made public service her life’s mission. She works with disadvantaged communities and the women of Muslim Mindanao, having grown up amid its violent conflicts and grinding poverty. For her efforts, she was awarded the Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Fellowship for Professional Development. The award was given by the American embassy and the Benigno S. Aquino Foundation in 2005.

“Fighting for the rights of Muslim women and other marginalized groups is something personal for me. I get enough satisfaction helping people gain a certain control over their lives,” she said.

Reframing politics

Lao believes that ordinary people must be given opportunities to serve the country even if “they do not have the money and the clout that most politicians have.”

“There has to be new politics that can come in. This kind of new politics comes from ordinary people like us (who) have the capacity and the ability to serve this country…. It is time for the citizenry to be the spokesperson of its own agenda,” she said in a recent interview.

Running for any electoral post was not in Lao’s immediate future. She was all set to leave for Hawaii for an academic fellowship early this year. Her nomination to fill the 12th slot of the LP’s senatorial slate was a “shock” not only to her sisters in the women’s group PILIPINA and her fellow advocates in civil society but, more so, to her.

“For quite some time, the NoyMar campaign team had been headhunting for a Muslim candidate who would embody the reform-oriented politics of the team,” related Elizabeth Yang, national coordinator of PILIPINA, in her email to other PILIPINA members. Lao was one of those nominated, and eventually chosen, to represent Muslim Mindanao, grassroots leadership, and women in the LP’s senatorial slate.

“In our talks after she filed her (candidacy), Yasmin said she felt she had to accept the challenge to raise the bar for her (and our) advocacies on gender rights, peace and good governance,” Yang said. “We need to connect the dots of the struggle for democratic rights and good governance with meaningful engagement in electoral (partisan) politics.”

 “I have been advocating for women seizing the center of power and reframing politics. And how can I go to the community of women and talk about women’s political participation when I was given the opportunity and I said “No?,” Lao added..

 A woman, a Moro and a Muslim

 Lao’s advocacies have been founded to a large extent on her being a woman, a Moro, and a Muslim. Moro is the collective term that ethnic groups living in southern Philippines who have separate local cultures and who belong to the Islamic faith use in referring to themselves. Lao, who hails from Lanao del Sur, is from the Maranao ethnic group.

“They impact my life in such sweeping, profound ways that my life’s work and purpose have become firmly grounded on them. On account of my being a woman, a Moro, and a Muslim, I came to know the meaning of violence, discrimination, injustice and inequality. I not only witnessed them as a regular occurrence within my family and community. I have been personally living through them ever since I was a child,” she explained.

As a woman and mother, the war in Muslim Mindanao, particularly, weighs heavily on Lao.

“Whenever war breaks out between the army and the Moro rebels, or between various clans, it is the civilians who are caught in the middle. They leave their homes and communities for the evacuation centers. But conditions in the evacuations centers are no better, especially for the women and children. They are not favorable to one’s peace of mind nor sense of dignity. When you live in an evacuation center, however temporary, your family does not have access to food, safe shelter, sanitation, education for the children, and income. This weighs heavily on the women who constantly worry about their families’ wellbeing and safety,” she said in describing the ordeal of women and children in evacuation centers.

A peacebuilder

As an NGO (nongovernment organization) worker, Lao has been focused on peacebuilding, the right of local communities to self-determination, and good governance in the Bangsamoro homeland.

 “The war in Mindanao, which is a consequence of bad governance, has shortchanged not just the people of Mindanao but the rest of the country…. In 2008, government spent P50 billion of taxpayers’ money on it, equivalent to the cost of building 50,000 public school classrooms. It costs the country P20 million a day, money that could instead go to creating livelihood opportunities to help our people live better, more productive lives,” she rued, connecting how what is happening in Muslim Mindanao is also affecting the rest of the country.

“Running for the Senate gives me a chance to translate my advocacies to a legislative agenda that is borne out of the experiences of marginalized people who have been confronting poverty and armed conflicts for most of their lives. I have the chance to bring my message of hope that we can achieve lasting peace, justice and equality among all Filipinos, regardless of gender, ethnicity, and religion, even in war-torn Muslim Mindanao. Our hope is to build a country that is inclusive and respectful of each other’s differences despite all the diversities that divide us,” she said.

Lao admits she faces a daunting run for the Senate, what with her limited campaign funds and her being a relative unknown to voters, except perhaps in the NGO community. But she shrugs this off. “I cannot disregard the opportunity the campaign provides to impart my message of hope to different sectors of Filipinos. And of course, it’s time for me to walk my talk,” Lao said with a confident smile.

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The Benefit Concert Was A Cultural Success

by jun asuncion 

The piano concert last Thursday, December 10, was a success in as much as it has shown the cultured face of the Filipinos here in Europe. It was therefore much of a cultural success, less of a financial one due to a relatively short time to advertise it in a big scale to reach out more people and one more, December is just a busy month for many people here in Zürich. We were actually advised by the Swiss-Asia Chamber Of Commerce to postpone it for next year but the Filipino organizers, namely Mila Asuncion with me, and Franklin Patricio with Elizabeth- and above all our virtuoso pianist Aries Cases- decided to keep the schedule and just focussed our attention on the aspect of quality than quantity. Little amount, but sincere support- and most of all excellent music! 

And we were right because more often it is quality that speaks around. The many medical doctors  and some friends who sponsored the event , the other medical personnel of the Hirslanden Clinic and  all the other guests – both Swiss and Filipinos- who appreciate classical music were all fascinated and went home with good stories to tell that Thursday evening. With it,  we have laid down also the foundation for future concert planning with Aries Cases and with other excellent Filipino artists who reside in Europe. 

The Ondoy victims would surely understand us if we cannot send that much alone from this concert’s financial turn-over. But to put things in proper perspective again, this concert was actually our expression of deep sense of gratitude primarily to the Hirslanden Clinic for donating a bigger amount to the Ondoy victims last October after we have approached them wherein the clinic director Daniel Liedtke and the communication officer  Andrea Helm- Jochan, after a thorough examination of our case, had promised us the needed help not only financially but also in creating awareness of the problem among the clinic personnel by means of internal publication. 

However, we will pursue next year with our own  humanitarian projects in the Philippines on our own efforts, planned projects that preceded the typhoons last October. It takes time naturally to organize such fund-generating activities taking into account that we are all busy also with our own work, families, etc. 

I will attempt to make a review of the musical part of that evening in a separate article and hope to be able to bring  justice than damage to Aries Cace’s superb musical performance. 

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Before the Storm

Some photos  taken before the storm, – before that stormy Beethoven’s Sonata No. 23 in F minor.

Aries is enjoying the evening before the concert. The next day, December 10, he was already absorbed in his material,

as he practised by himself a few hours before the concert. 

 

Relaxing pose after Mövenpick’s  fine Ice-coffee and cappuccino. 

Franklin, Aries and Jun. A nice evening and good discussions

about the Chinese pianist Lang-Lang, music and the arts and life in the Philippines. 

 

 

  

  

  

  

 

Mila, Aries and Elizabeth. 

Enjoying the basic chordal harmony of the evening. 

The presentation and Concert Evening

 

 

 

 

 

Mila Asuncion delivering her opening speech with power point presentation;

she talked about her experience of the devastating Dante storm 

last May that hit the town of Bulan. 

 

Consul Margarita S. Ibayan delivering her message as she acknowledges

the typhoon assistance from various Swiss charity organisations. 

Aries Caces receiving the big applause after Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz.

 A relaxed pose with Franklin and Mila after a job well done and 

 that furious leaps and bounds of the Mephisto Waltz. 

  

 

 

The talented girl  Sheena singing Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas ,

a song which brought

everybody back to the “normal” mode after Arie’s  hypnotic playing  of   heavy

and at times dreamy classical pieces. 

 

 

Concert guests hunting for Aries’ autograph.

   

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

   

     

   

 

 

   About the pianist and conductor Aries Cases 

 Vienna based pianist Aries Caces is one of the most versatile Filipino concert pianists. Aside from being a chamber musician and repetiteur, he is also a conductor. The late Manila critic Vilma Santiago-Felipe described him as “another gem in the Philippine music scene.” At the age of seven, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music as a personal scholar of Prof. Feliza Custodio. From 1980 to 1985, he attended the Philippine High School for the Arts and the UST Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Ernestina Crisologo and Prof. Bernardino Custodio. In 1982 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Piano Category). Two years later, he was runner – up in the Manila Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions. Caces came to Graz, Austria in 1985 upon the invitation and arrangement of then Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Friedrich Posch. He studied with Prof. Walter Kamper at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz. From 1986 to 1993, he was under the tutelage of world-renowned pianist Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He finished his “Diplom” in 1989 and obtained his Master’s Degree (Magister Artium) in Piano Performance in 1994 under Prof. Roland Keller. He also studied Piano Chamber Music with Prof. Georg Ebert. In 1999, he finished his “Diplom” in Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna under the tutelage of Prof. Uros Lajovic. Caces has performed several solo recitals and various concerts in the Philippines, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. In 1989, he was soloist of the Hochschulsymphonieorchester in a concert performed at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. He was awarded the “Prix Decouverte” during the Festival International de Musique in Le Touquet, France in 1991. He has also played as soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra and the Hannover Kammersymphonieorchester. In 2001, he was a featured soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra during its first European tour. He was a recipient of several scholarships, including the Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts (MARIA), UST Conservatory of Music Alumni Association, Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines Young Artist’s Fund and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. —

The Welcome Speech

by Mila Asuncion

                                                   

The global warming is the greatest contributory factor that created major climate problems also in our country, the Philippines.

The continues change of temperatures and weather conditions are signs that the Mother Earth has began to suffer.

Therefore, every individual is responsible to focus awareness and consciousness to this problem and help in each own way save the planet Earth from total destruction, or the Philippine archipelago from sinking in the Pacific ocean. So, let us unite to fight for a good cause for the sake of our children and their childrens’ children.

Speaking about my personal experience last May 2009,

in Bicol region in the town of Bulan which is located at the southern part of Luzon, this is the „epicenter“ of typhoons the whole year-round.

So people were almost all the time ready: They have rubber boats, bankas or just about any object that floats for them to survive! The typhoon was raging the whole time in the region.

To our surprise, it came to a point that over night water came up to 10 feet high. In high flooded areas, people were gasping for breath, holding on a rope tied in both ends to save themselves, with water coming up to their neck, fighting not to sink in deep mire where there’s no longer a solid place to stand. I have seen how the flood waters carried them away.

Words cannot express what I felt and seen that very moment but these pictures speak more than words.

It was unbelievable and I was caught unaware when we went to the school building where the evacuees were waiting for reliefs.

I just can`t help and I felt as if an apple got stuck in my throat, as I tried my best to be brave and not to cry, but at the end I bursted into tears. I was shocked!

The shivering children with their innocent looks, hungry, anxious and thirsty that the whole night till we found them the next morning as the storm continued pounding the town without mercy with with torrential rains and gusty winds.

No beds, no warm blankets, but in as much that they wanted to have comfort and security, there is this problem of poverty which is making their situation even more miserable.

We came to their rescue ; me, my husband as well as other relatives around. Indeed, we suddenly found our selves in the midst of Humanitarian Action:

Hot drinks, juices and simple food at that instant moment were served and using our personal belongings to dry them.

The children dared to smile while waiting for their turn when they were served with their foods and drinks.

In Bulan, a town in southern Luzon, we went before this storm to a small barrio called Santa Remedios to visit the Sta. Remedios Charity Clinic, a small but cozy place built by a single woman’s compasion for the sick, the helpless and the vulnerable.This woman is a Filipina nurse working in the United States of America whose name is Angelita de Guzman Kowalevsky.

This clinic has served sick people from neighboring islands with two volunteer doctors and two trained helpers.

This caught my eyes and heart, and I would like to say that this woman, though I have never met her yet personally, is one of the Florence Nightingales in our country.

These pictures were taken the day before the storm.

Unfortunately, this was submerged during the devastating storm.

And this is what Angelita said:

„I had been supporting this clinic for four years now. I need your help desperately. Please save one more life. Let us all continue this humanitarian services“.

Ketsana, Ramil and Parma. The three devastating storms last October.

These became the root and cause of why we are here tonight but this problem that we are facing every time is really very awful.

Billions of pesos were lost in properties and harvests as well as hundreds of lives- an experience that will be transmitted from generation to generation because this was one of the worst catastrophes in Philippine history.

With our heartfelt gratitude, we welcome you all tonight with the presence of our First Secretary and Consul Margarita S. Ibayan of the Philippine Embassy in Bern.

We wish you all a pleasant musical evening.   /

(Photos by Dr. Jun Gao and Mr. Jun Asuncion)

 

 

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The Bulan Town Fiesta

(Bulan Observer Quick Press)

 by: jun asuncion

fary's wheelThe people of Bulan have just celebrated their Fiesta from May 30-31. A town Fiesta functions as a bonding mechanism for it stresses the cultural traditions we have as one people, highlighted by events such as Miss Bulan Coronation Night, Bulan Basketball Championship, colorful parade and marching music, singing  or dancing contest, different awarding ceremonies at the Plaza Rizal (now named as Freedom Park), the  carnival with fairs and circuses, games and magicians, the visiting Ferris wheel (I prefer to call it fairy’s wheel), visiting market  and vendors from all over Bicol showcasing their different products and food specialties and the many guests from the neighboring islands of San Jacinto and Masbate.

As a boy I always enjoyed the town fiesta for somehow the whole town vibrates with life, colors, images and sounds-for my senses becoming magical. I was not involved directly either in sports, dancing or musical competitions nor was I a part of the town  parade but somehow you feel you are a part of the whole thing. And I felt happy and excited, alive and  proud. A town fiesta is like celebrating the birthday of the town. It is an event for everybody, rich or poor. Everyone is supposed to feel happy and proud, every Bulaneño. It is a time with friends and relatives and an opportunity to know other people.

In my time in Bulan, when it comes to marching music, I remember with delight the Banda Duran, owned by Mr, Duran, whom I remember  also served as a town councillor at that time and he lived somewhere there in between of the now existing Solis Institute of  Technology and the Las Palmas Subdivision.

When it comes  to basketball, well , these were the Basketball dream teams of Bulan- and of my youth: The Warlords, The Lucky Guys and The Vigilantes! They dominated the basketball scene of  Bulan at that time. I still remember the faces of  their most famous players, the high scorers, the rebounders and the best forwards. But in Canipaan, there was once this young towering man with whom we used to play street basketball in Loilo Street who later made it  in the 1980’s to the Philippine Basketball Association with the Ginebra Team, whose coach was the mercurial Robert Jaworski: He was Dante Gonzalgo. I already knew at that time that he would be a very good basketball player- and he made it to the top.

Now about the beautiful side of the town Fiesta- the crowning of Miss Bulan. Well, young men were crazy at that time about the Miss Bulans. I was not for I was just a young boy then and there were only two Miss Bulans who remained in my memory: they were my cousins Aurora Salve Asuncion, daughter of uncle Salvador Asuncion of Canipaan and Cecilia Asuncion, daughter of my uncle Robert and auntie Terning Asuncion of Sabang. Yes, they were beautiful and graceful women of Bulan.

A town Fiesta is therefore  indispensable for it has many socio-cultural functions. It is the time when we celebrate as one people and recharge our battery after all the calamities that regularly visit Bulan and the hardship of daily life. We should use this collective event to strengthen ever more our solidarity and loyalty to our town and to our own people.

For me this is also the time to know more about the history of our town, connect oneself with it and reflect on where and how we are now as people of today’s Bulan. For this purpose, I have reprinted here the article from Wikipedia which deals with the facts and figures of  Bulan. I ask  permission to whoever wrote this informative article so I may reproduce it hereunder:

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 Bulan, Sorsogon 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ph_locator_sorsogon_bulan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulan is a 1st class municipality in the province of Sorsogon, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population 91,730 inhabitants.

Contents

1 A Brief History of Bulan

2 Geography

3 Economy

4 Telecommunications

5 Education                                                            

5.1 Primary Education

5.2 Secondary Education

5.3 Tertiary Education

6 Barangays

 

  A Brief History of Bulan

“The town of Bulan has a colorful and dramatic history which dates back to the pre-hispanic period. Legend, however, surrounds the name of Bulan.” The term “Bulan” in the local Bulaneño dialect, has several meanings. It may mean the month of the year, or the moon, or a luminary. According to a local historian, the great Valerio Zuñiga, the last meaning, taken in its truest intrinsic sense, is the more accepted term, due to the historical fact narrated by the “mga gurangan”, the old inhabitants of the town. They said that one night, a Spanish scouting expedition coming from the old seaport of Ticao, sailing northward and at the level of the seacoast of Otabi, saw a big and beautiful luminary, the moon, from the right side of their ship. Some of the natives who accompanied the Spanish explorers as guides and crew members, showed happiness and excitement when they saw the moon which radiated its silvery beams in the night. Asked by the Spaniards as to the cause of their excitement , they shouted, “Builan … builan” pointing at the same time to the moon which had caused their happiness. In memory of this happening, the Spaniards named the place, “Builan” when they landed.

Another version goes that one moonlit night, two fishermen ashore were apportioning their catch when the Spaniards who landed in the place approached them for information about the place. Thinking that they were being asked about the full moon rising in the east, they answered, “Bulan”.

Archaeological evidences point out that long before the coming of the Spaniards , the coasts of Sorsogonwere already thriving with communities of settlers dating back to as early as 4,000 B.C., when the Indonesians reached Southern Luzon. The archaeological findings excavated in San Juan, Magsaysay and Gate, which were evaluated to belong to the Ming and Sung Dynasty support the theories of historical researchers that the southernmost tip of Luzon, mentioned by Beyer and other historians, probably including Bulan, showed signs of civilization as far back as 960 A.D. Golden crowns, believed to exist from 91 B.C. to 79 A.D., were also excavated in Bulan. Historical records disclose that in 1569, an expedition led by Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman and Fray Alonzo Jimenez, an Augustinian Friar , reached Sorsogon soil and found a small settlement of natives engaged in fishing and farming.

This settlement was believed to be Otavi. It was in Otaviwhere Fr. Jimenez, together with Fr. Juan Orta, celebrated the first Mass in Luzon. On May 16, 1572, Capitan-General Miguel Lopez de Legazpi divided what is now Sorsogon Province into various encomiendas, and he allocated “Bililan” (Bulan) as a royal encomienda, which, together with “Uban” (Juban), has a population of 280 or 70 whole tributes. In 1583, the Franciscans began their evangelical work in Sorsogon. Subsequently in 1646, the Franciscans formed Gate as a visita of Bulusan. In January 1690, Builan was constituted as a pueblo civil and Gate was chosen as the townsite. Fray Diego de Yepes assumed administration of the town and at the same time its parish priest. He left Builan sometime in 1696. The growth of Bulan as a town, however, would be arrested as it began to suffer from the pressures of intense Moro raids in Sorsogon which lasted up to the middle of the 19th century. In 1746, a very devastating Moro attack destroyed Gate, which was 12 kilometers distant from the coast. Builan was plundered and razed to the ground. Scores of natives were killed and injured. Women and children were taken as captives. Those who were able to survive escaped the town, fleeing to the hills and hinterlands, abandoning the town totally. For the next 55 years Bulan was erased from the maps.

Towards the latter part of 1799, a Spanish-mestizo from Casiguran, Don Agustin Camposano, came to Bulan to spearhead the re-establishment of the town. On January 1, 1801, the town was refounded along the banks of the “Mariboc River”, in what is now between Sitio Pawa and Barangay San Rafael. Builan, now spelled as “Bulan”, became a duly recognized pueblo under the Province of Albay, with Don Juan Vicente as the first “capitan” or “gobernadorcillo” and Father Manuel Bernardo as the first parish priest. The fortress of the old town, now referred to as “Banuang Daan” stands as a mute testimony to the dramatic rise of Bulan as a community. On May 15, 1801, Otavi was the first barrio recognized by the Municipal Government of Bulan. Later on, Gate, San Juan (Daan) and Buenavista (now part of Irosin) were recognized as barrios. Fifteen years later, sometime in 1815, a killer typhoon struck Bulan, killing many of its inhabitants, destroying their crops and properties. These forced many residents to move westward, to a safer place to avoid the imminent danger of the floods of the River Mariboc. On November 11, 1849, the Claveria Decree was issued in which new surnames for the inhabitants were adopted to facilitate identification.

In 1850, this decree was implemented in Bulan. The families of Bulanwere given new family names, most of which start with the letter “G”. In 1866, the municipal officials of Bulan decided to transfer the town to its present site. A cofradia, formed by Fr. Francisco Roque, was headed by Don Marcial Gillego, the capitan-municipal and an architect. This cofradia (religious confraternity composed of prominent citizens), was given the task of management in the planning and construction of the new town. In 1883, a cholera epidemic, the worst catastrophe to hit Bulankilled 810 persons or 22 percent of the population in a 3-month period. Many prominent citizens also died during that time. Since its founding, and despite some unhappy events in the life of its people, the town continually and steadily began its rise to prosperity. It surpassed other towns in terms of economic activities, and rivalled with the premiere seaport town of Sorsogon. It was now an important and crowded seaport engaging in commercial trade with seacoast towns of Samar and the islands of Ticao and Masbate, the neighbouring towns in Sorsogon and the city of Manila. By the time Sorsogon province became independent from Albay, in 1894, Bulan’s population rose to 11,000. The big Spanish firm engaged in copra and abaca export, the Gutierrez Hermanos, from Manila, established a town branch. Many Chinese traders resided in Bulan. While Bulan was spared the bloody turmoil of the 1896 Revolution, the Spanish Provincial Government undertook measures to preempt revolutionary activities in the towns, and placed under surveillance all persons suspected of bearing sympathy to the revolutionary cause. Arrests and imprisonments took place. In October 1896, Don Teodoro De Castro y Zabala was arrested and incarcerated in Bilibid, because he was found in possession of letters written by anti-Spanish natives in Manila. Don Zacarias Asuncion and other residents suffered the same fate, for having no cedulas personales and for singing anti-Spanish songs. It should be noted here, that on January 4, 1897, one of the sons of Bulan, Father Severino Diaz, a priest at the Nueva Caceres Cathedral, was shot in Bagumbayantogether with 14 other martyrs. They are now referred to as the “Martyrs of Bikol”. In November, 1898, Bulan was visited by three ranking revolutionary leaders, General Jose Ignacio Pawa, General Vicente Lukban, and Col. Pedro Aguinaldo. They declared Bulan under the New Philippine Republic. Elections were also held that year.

On January 21, 1900, at the height of the Philippine-American War, the Americans landed in Bulan. The American soldiers were under the command of Captain Charles Mclane and Lieutenant B.P. Dishky, of the A and B Company of the First Battalion. There was no resistance from the town. In fact, through the efforts and initiatives of the principales of Bulan headed by Don Rufino Gerona, the pacification campaign in Sorsogon gained ground. It was Don Rufino and company who caused the surrender of Col. Emeterio Funes, a provincial revolutionary leader, in 1901. Not to be forgotten during this period between the First Philippine Republic and the American Occupation is the name of Don Julian Gerona, an illustrious son of Bulan who figured prominently in national affairs. He was a friend of Rizal, Mabini and other revolutionary leaders. He also later on became the first Secretary to the First Philippine Assembly of 1907. The name of this Bulaneño will be etched in the annals of Philippine history. Under the Americans, the community of Bulanflourished. Education, trade and commerce, politics and religion were given ample freedom to prosper. The people started organizing labor unions, political parties and community movements. The setting up of womens’ clubs as the Club de la Mujer, and the Jota de Leche and scouting movements were encouraged. When the Second World War broke out, the Japanese Forces occupied Bulan in December 13-14, 1941. Bulan at first offered no resistance to the Japanese invaders who held camp in various parts of the town. Many young soldiers and officers from Bulan though, fought in the battlefields of Bataan and Corregidor.

Many lost their lives and did not return back. Those who survived Bataan, Corregidor and the Death March came back, organized guerillagroups and fought sporadic battles with the Japanese. There were also incidents of deathat the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army, especially that of the thirteen men, mostly Chinese, who were executed in Gate in June 1942. It was also a sad period that the guerilla groups in Bulan were divided into two major factions, the Lapuz group and the Escudero group. Many soldiers and citizens died, suffered and became victims to this bloody rivalry. With the coming of the American Liberation Forces, the guerillas eventually united, but the town of Bulan was burned by the Japanese forces who retreated to Magallanes. There were many atrocities committed during this time. Bulan was liberated from the Japanese by October 1944.

The air-raid shelters and wartunnels at Imelda, Sta. Remedios, Layuan, San Francisco and other places remain as grim reminders of that dark period in Bulan’s history. The process of reconstruction and rebuilding of the town took place after the Liberation. The people of Bulantook to the task, as withother communities in the Philippines, in an effort to regain what was lost during the war. Politics was lively, as with socio-economic activities and religion. Schools flourished, barrios were organized and constituted, citizens’ organizations grew, population increased. By 1960, there were 54,180 persons recorded, up from 13,431 in 1903. By 1972, there were already 63 barangays in Bulan, compared to eleven in 1900. The declaration of Martial Law in 1972 proved to be another chapter in the history of Bulan. It was a period of uneasy predicaments. During these times, many young students from Bulan became involved in activism espousing socialist and radical change. It was brought about by excesses in politics and government, and a desperate look at the deterioration of the quality of life in many levels of Philippine Society. At first, the people of Bulan welcomed the declaration of Martial Law and its promise of a New Society. But as the turn of events deteriorated, people became fearful of the times. From 1973 to 1975, the far-flung barangays and sitios, especially the isolated ones, notably Gabod, Marinab, and the northern barangays became virtual battlefields of the warring government military forces and NPArebels. There were reports of atrocities by both sides, and many barangay residents fled their homes to escape being caught in the crossfire. Proof of this was the rapid decline of population in barrios. Up to the present, there are still pockets of armed resistance offered by the NPA in the hills and barangays of Bulan. Prominent names of Bulan citizens who joined the rebel movements of the 1970’s were the late Antonio Ariado, Ms. Nanette Vytiaco and many others. In the 1986 EDSA Revolt, a son of Bulan stood out in the national scene. Hw was Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, who later on became a rebel military officer and then a Senator of the Philippine Republic.

The events of 1986 brought new changes in local leadership and in the aspects of Bulan’s community life. In the year 2001, Bulan celebrates her 200th year anniversary or bicentennial, since being refounded along the banks of the Mariboc River. Through the years, Bulan was able to withstand the tests of time, thanks to the resiliency and grace of her people. Bulantoday stands proud for her history and yet humble with the lessons of time. She is now at the forefront of rapid socio-economic and political changes confronting many communities of Philippine Society and in a few years, she will perhaps be Sorsogon’s foremost town. The People of Bulan, a product of the complicated interplay of time, events, race and culture, exudes a character bothcomplex and simple. It is this character that makes him bothreligious and irreverent; stubborn, courageous and proud yet warm and accommodating. He can bend withthe wind but remain strong as not to break. And this character has carried him through both fortunate and difficult times.

The People of Bulan has been shaped by the events of history and has himself shaped history. It is this that will carry this people on, this town on, to the next millennium.

Geography

The Municipality of Bulan is strategically located at the southwestern most tip of the island of Luzon and is a premier town in the Province of Sorsogon. It has an area of exactly 20,094 hectares and is the terminal and burgeoning center of trade and commerce of its neighboring towns. It comprises fifty-five (55) barangays and eight (8) zones and is populated by people of diversified origin. This municipality is bounded on the North by the Municipality of Magallanes, on the East by the municipalities of Juban and Sorsogon, on the South by the Municipality of Matnog, and on the West by Ticao Pass. It has a distance of 667 kilometers from Manila, 63 kilometers from the province’s capital- Sorsogon City, 20 kilometers from the town of Irosin, Sorsogon and 30 Kilometers from the town of Matnog.

Economy

Residents of the Bulan is now looking forward on its cityhood because of its rapid-economic growth considering the fact that it is sited as the richest municipality in the province and 5th among the 1st class municipalities in BicolRegion with an average annual income of Php 58.8M. If it happens, Bulan will be the second city in the province and will be the 9th in the region.

Major export of this town are from its coastal waters, agricultural lands produce copra, abaca fiber.

Most of the revenues come from the fishing port of Bulan and businesses.

There are three commercial banks in Bulan with two ATM. These are the Philippine National Bank, Metrobank (withATM), and the Allied Bank(with ATM), and Rural Bank of San Jacinto, Masbate.

There are also lending institutions like Intertrade, GSAC, and FALPSI that are very popular to SMEs.

Telecommunications

Bulan has fixed landline phones from Digitel and PLDT. Mobile or cellular networks are Globe and Smart Telecommunications Companies. Sun Cellular is also serving on the area

Education

 Primary Education

The Primary Education in Bulan are divided into two Districts, The Bulan North District comprising all the Barangays towards the North coastal Barangays, to the interior land locked northern Barangays. The Bulan South District comprises the southern Coastal Barangays.

Secondary Education

Bulan has many secondary educational institutions. The Largest public high school is Bulan National High School. Formerly, it was the Bulan High School/Bulan Vocational High School, before the former was converted in to Sorsogon State College Bulan Campus. BNHS has satellite Campuses at Barangays Otavi, Beguin, J.P. Laurel, San Juan Bag-o.

There are various private secondary schools. The St. Louise De Marillac School (Formerly Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion) a Catholic school run by the Daughters of Charity religious congregation, Saint Bonaventure Academy of Butag, the Southern Luzon Institute-Kenerino Ramirez Asuncion Memorial School (SLI-KRAMS), Solis Institute of Technology, and A.G. Villaroya Technological Foundation Institute.

Tertiary Education

Sorsogon State College (Institute of Management and Information Technology)

R.G. De Castro Colleges (formerly Quezon Academy)

SLI-KRAMS (Kenerino Asuncion Memorial School)

Solis Institute of Technology

A.G. Villaroya (Post-Secondary courses only)

Sun Yat Sen Memorial College (before Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial School)

Barangays

Bulan is politically subdivided into 63 barangays.

A. Bonifacio (Tinurilan)

Abad Santos (Kambal)

Aguinaldo (Lipata Dako)

Antipolo

Aquino (Imelda)

Bical

Beguin

Bonga

Butag

Cadandanan

Calomagon

Calpi

Cocok-Cabitan

Daganas

Danao

Dolos

E. Quirino (Pinangomhan)

Fabrica

G. Del Pilar (Tanga)

Gate

Inararan

J. Gerona (Biton)

J.P. Laurel (Pon-od)

Jamorawon

Libertad (Calle Putol)

Lajong

Magsaysay (Bongog)

Managa-naga

Marinab

Nasuje

Montecalvario

N. Roque (Calayugan)

Namo

Obrero

Osmeña (Lipata Saday)

Otavi

Padre Diaz

Palale

Quezon (Cabarawan)

R. Gerona

Recto

Roxas (Busay)

Sagrada

San Francisco (Polot)

San Isidro (Cabugaan)

San Juan Bag-o

San Juan Daan

San Rafael (Togbongon)

San Ramon

San Vicente

Sta. Remedios

Sta. Teresita (Trece)

Sigad

Somagongsong

Taromata

Zone 1 (Ilawod)

Zone 2 (Sabang)

Zone 3 (Central)

Zone 4 (Central)

Zone 5 (Canipaan)

Zone 6 (Baybay)

Zone 7 (Iraya)

Zone 8 (Loyo)

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The Way To Bulan Eco-Park

By: jun asuncion +* LGU- Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro and Tony Boy Gilana

 

We have taken all these photos by ourselves on that sultry summer morning last April 2009.  As I was sorting out the photos for this documentary article, I realized that I couldn’t provide myself  the necessary informative captions for each photo.  So I called up Mayor Helen De Castro and asked her if she could help provide the needed information. I caught her right in the middle of a meeting about H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) but she was really  kind enough to listen to my concerns and promised she would send Bulan Observer the materials. I also knew how busy her team was at this point because of the upcoming town Fiesta. So it took awhile, but we have patience for good things.

The purpose of this little documentary is to give readers of  Bulan Observer especially those who are away from home a visual tour of the Bulan Eco-Park so that they will have a concrete image of it. Interestingly enough, my own mental picture of the Eco-Park before my visit did not diverge far from the real picture of it – at least as far as I could roam around and shoot photos and videos of it. Lack of a guide and time prevented me from exploring the whole park for it is really big.

Now, with the additional captions written in our Bulan dialect and other article-related substantial information in English sent by LGU-Bulan, it is practically a guided tour as you go from one photo to the next. The added facts and updates  at the end of the report will  round up your knowledge about the park. So enjoy your way to Bulan Eco-Park!  jun asuncion

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It was a nice April morning when we drove to  Calomagon  to visit the BulanEco-Park. It’s not far from the center of the town. After Somagonsong  we found the signboard on the left side. We were excited and took photos along the way to -and from the Eco-Park. (For your sound as you travel, click the first photo and then minimize your media player)

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 A local Kiosk with young bystanders just passing the time, curios-looking eyes to passing strangers.

 

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  Yet friendly and smiling faces.

 

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 Turn left again to a long and winding – and rough road, naturally.

 

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 Here’s the road in front of us, looking  quite and deserted, windless day, indeed a calm before the storm.

 

 

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 (A quarry pit over there?)

Photo No. 6:

*Mao tabi ini an inkukuwaan ta baras na pangtahob ta sa mga basura saato dumpsite. Regular (weekly) tabi na in-uusong, hinuhulog san heavy equipment unit an basura sa bangin. Pakahulog tabi, tatahuban ini san baras (soil cover).

 

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Looking like a natural gate marking the border to another town.

 

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 Coconut plantation, an almost magical ambiance, like an oil painting from afar, palm leaves silvery and shining.

 

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 Here we are, the Welcome signboard.

 

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The certiicate of recognition to our Mayor De Castro  for excellence in environmental governance on Solid waste Management.

 

 

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 A symbol for natural harmony- at least the way I see it.

 

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Photo No. 12:

*Mao tabi ini an demo garden para saurbanagriculture o container gardening. Laom tabi sini na maipaimod sa mga tawo na sa halip na itapok an mga old containers o butangan (plastic, empty milk cans, platic cups, sako, nan iba pa) sa basurahan, pwede pa tabi ini gamiton bilang plant pots para sa mga ornamentals nan gulay). Intended/designed tabi ini lalo na sa mga urban areas o poblacion areas kun haen limitado o wara na tabi lugar para pagtanuman.

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Photo No. 13:

*Parte tabi ini san kampanya san Lokal na Gobyerno sa pag-implementar san waste segregation

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 A cow discretely resting beside a bahay kubo, seems to be observing us.

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Photo No. 15:

*Mao tabi ini an istruktura kun haen tabi naka locate an Materials Recovery Facility. Pagsakat tabi sin trak para magtapok basura, didi muna tabi ihuhulog an mga basura na puede pa pakinabangan nan ipabakal. Ini tabi na istruktura, hinati sa tolo na kuwarto (Lecture Room, Materials Recovery Facility, Ecology Center).

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Photo No. 16.

*Lecture Room. Didi tabi inhihimo an briefing o orientation sa mga bisita (LGU, estudyante, empleyado, o grupo na interesado maaraman an programa san Municipio sa Solid Waste Management) sa Ecopark. Didi man tabi inhihimo an demo san paghimo san mga manalaen-laen na activators para sa composting.

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Photo No. 17.

“An sulod tabi san Lecture Room

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Photo No. 18.

*Mao tabi ini an section para sa Materials Recovery Facility.

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Photo No. 19:

*Mao man tabi ini an section para sa Ecology Center. Showcase room tabi ini para sa mga recycled products, information, nan mga pictures/documentation san programa sa Solid Waste Management.

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Photo No. 20:

*An nasa left side tabi na structure, sayo po sa mga rest areas o cottages sa Ecopark. An sa right side tabi, mao an vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility. Sa sulod man tabi sini nafacility an shredding area kun haen naka takod po an shredder.

An vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility tabi, sayo na proseso san composting kun haen an ginagamit tabi ulod. Sa Ecopark tabi, an species tabi na may-on, mao an African nightcrawler. Pinapakaon tabi ini na mga ulod sin shredded na mga nabubulok na basura (market waste, grass clippings, etc.), an manure tabi nira, mao an produkto san composting. Mao man tabi ini an ginagahoy na vermicompost na pwede gamiton bilang soil conditioner o fertilizer sa mga tinanom.

An kulay blue tabi, mao an sayo sa duwa na tanke tabi san tubi sa Ecopark na ginagamit pangsaribo sa mga tinanom nan sa operation san MRFnan composting facilities.

An kahiwasan tabi na nasa letrato, mao an inkokonduktaran san mga programa sa Ecopark pareho san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan (film showing, games, concert, disco, nan iba pa).

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Photo No. 21:

*Mao tabi ini an tanke san tubi sa Ecopark. Ini tabi na inguguyod na tanke, mao tabi an nagdadara san tubi sa Ecopark

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Photo No. 22:

*Mga nakasako tabi ini na mga nabubulok na basura (balat nan iba pa na parte san prutas nan gulay, dahon, buto, nan iba pa) na hale sa Public Market. Ini tabi kukuwaon san in-charge sa composting facility para darahon sa shredding area para gilingon, paaguihon sa 2 weeks na anaerobic decomposition saka ipapakaon sa mga ulod.

Maiimod tabi sa upper left side san letrato an shredder. Sa upper right side naman tabi, an mga composting beds o vermi beds.

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Photo No. 23:

*Mao tabi ini an mga tanom na puno san gmelina (about 2 years old). Sa likod tabi ini san vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility.

May-on man tabi didi sin hukay (0.75m x 0.75m x 0.50m) na pag nag-uuran, nabubutangan tubi. Ini tabi nakukuwaan man tubi pangsaribo sa mga tinanom nan compost piles sa likod..

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Photo No. 24:

*Mao tabi ini an vermiculture nan vermicomposting beds. Kapag an shredded na basura tabi na binutang sa bed, halos puro manure na tabi san ulod, ibubutang na tabi ini na mga sako na may laman na fresh (although nag-agui na tabi ini sa 2-week na anaerobic decomposition process) na pagkaon para sa mga ulod. Mao tabi ini an paagui para makuwa an mga ulod nan mabalyo sa iba naman na beds.

Ini tabi na mga manure na, hahayaan mun-a tabi for 1 month sa lugar para maka-recover pa sin mga baby worms sa bed. After 1 month, pwede na tabi ini sakuhon nan i-stock sa bodega.

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Photo No. 25:

*Mao tabi inian shredding machine na ginagamit sa shredding process. Sini-shred tabi an mga basura para mas madali malupa nan makaon san mga ulod.

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Photo No. 26:

*An inkukuwaan tabi letrato san photographer mao tabian tree planting site san naka-agui na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan 2008. Sa left side tabi sini na lugar, mao man an campsite.

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Photo No. 27:

*Mao tabi ini an close up picture san demo garden para saurbanagriculture o container gardening. An bubong tabi sini mao an pakanapan para sa ampalaya, karabasa, nan iba pa na nagkakanap na tinanom. Maiimod tabi an mga lata, sako nan plastic cups.

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Photo No. 28:

*Sa sulod tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Talong tabi ini na nasa sako. Pina-paimod lang tabi na an mga sako san semento, pwede man gamiton na patubuan san gulay/tinanom.

P1070548

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 29:

*Sa sulod man tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Mga kamatis tabi ini na nasa sako man san semento. An kawayan tabi sa taas san tinanom, mao an pakanapan.

P1070550

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 30:

*Sa sulod man tabi ini san urban agriculture demo garden. Manlaen-laen tabi na gulay an nakatanom didi sa mga sako.

P1070552

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 31:

*Tanuman man tabi ini na kawayan. Naka-design lang tabi siya na A-Frame. An mga irog tabi sini, pwede ibutang sa mga roof top san balay.

P1070555

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 32:

*Signage tabi ini san Opisina.

P1070556

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 33:

*Mao tabi ini an Ecopark Office. Nagsisirbi man tabi ini stock room san Ecopark.

 

P1070558

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 34:

*Signage tabi pakadto sa Campsite. Kaupod tabi sa letrato an mga Acacia mangium trees (about 1 ½ years old).

P1070559

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 35:

*Pathway pakadto tabi sa rest areas o cottages. Maiimod man tabi an mga puno san Gmelina arborea nan Acacia mangium sa palibot.

P1070561

  

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 36:

*Pathway pakadto tabi sa campsite

P1070563

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 37:

*Sayo sa mga rest areas/cottages. Kada rest area tabi, may signboard manungod sa solid waste management / waste segregation to inform the park goers about the policy of the LGU.

P1070564

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo No. 38:

*An sayo pa tabi sa duwa na tanke san tubi sa Ecopark. Naka-locate man tabi ini harane sa bungad san Ecopark. Inbubutangan man tabi ini tubi para pangsaribo man sa mga tinanom na nakatanom sa parte na ini san Ecopark.

P1070565

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Driving back after a relaxing time inside the park.

 

P1070571

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good segment of the road, smooth driving.

 

P1070576

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This time a quintet of Calomagon boys. I’m very happy to see them as they look very natural, uncontaminated and safe from the dangers of  too much civilization.

 

P1070578

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards the end of our journey before the exit to the town, a nipa hut  surrounded by flowering birds of paradise! They would cost a fortune in Europe.

 

If you would see the Eco-park as it is, it is surely a big accomplishment for our local government knowing that it is also a place where environmental agendas are being held every year. I would be very glad to see the Feast Of the Mountains, or to attend a lecture or workshop on solid waste management or global warming. How about a Music Festival- or a Jazz Festival? My own fantasy, as I walked on the ground of  Bulan Eco-park with my mind filled with ideas on how it could be improved  with time as Bulan progresses.

I would have wished it was a guided tour when I was there so that I could ask questions about things that were not clear for me. Maybe next time I would have this privilege. One thing that would make you happy are the young trees planted all over the Campsite and the well-kept paths. I wanted to know the names of the trees so I suggest that they’d be written in their local and scientific names. Included would be short information about each specific tree like distribution, importance to Bulan ecology, status ( endangered or not yet), etc.

I haven’t seen a source of drinking  water like a faucet , a well, water pump or  a grilling area , a multi-functional pavilion, garbage cans, a toilet and wash room for Park visitors. And I haven’t seen anybody there- except for a cow behind the signboard which says “Waste Segregation Suportado San KadaBulaneño”. Was that cow segregating also her waste? Cows by the way are one of the biggest culprits of this global warming. /  jun asuncion

—–

*LGU-Bulan Mayor Helen De Castro and Tony Boy Gilana

ANSWERS TO OTHER QUERIES OF MR. ASUNCION:

1. SPECIES OF FOREST TREES PLANTED AT THE ECOPARK:

Gmelina arborea (Gmelina) – exotic

Acacia mangium (Mangium) – exotic

Acacia auriculiformis (Acacia auri) – exotic

Swietenia Macrophylla (Big Leaf Mahogany) – exotic

 

Tinanom tabi ini na species maski aram ta na exotic tabi ini sa dahilan na ini tabi, fast growing kaya sa panahon tabi na nagbabatog pa lang an pag-develop san Ecopark, kaipuhan tabi shade. Although exotic tabi, widely distributed naman na tabi siya sa Pilipinas for how many years.

Pterocarpus indicus (Narra)

Albizia saman (Acacia, Rain Tree)

Leucaena leucocephala (Ipil-ipil)

Fruit trees:

Artocarpus heterophyllus (Langka)

Mangifera indica (Mango)

Carica papaya (Papaya)

Annona squamosa (Atemoya)

Canarium ovatum (Pili)

Cocos nucifera (Coconut)

Theobroma cacao (Cacao)

Ornamentals:

Gumamela

Mac Arthur Palm

Yellow Bell

Bougainvillea

Senyas

Santan

2. SOURCE OF DRINKING WATER / FAUCET / WELL / WATER PUMP /

GRILLING AREA

None yet, pero may plano na.

3. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PAVILION SA ECOPARK

Sa niyan, an ginagamit lang tabi na area para sa mga activities, an kahiwasan san lugar na kahampang san vermiculture nan vermicomposting facility. Nagbubutang tabi stage nan big tents kun may mga lecture, demonstrations, programs, etc.

4. Garbage cans

Dire tabi kami nagbubutang san basurahan sa mga rest areas o cottages dahilan sa ini-encourage namo na paghale san mga park goers sa cottages, dara tabi nira an basura nira para ibutang sa garbage receptacles na naka-locate sa gilid san tinampo.

5. Toilet

Dire lang tabi siguro nakuwaan letrato an mga toilet rooms. May 3 sets (one cubicle for men, one cubicle for women) tabi na toilet strategically located tabi sa Ecopark. Pa-triangle tabi an location san mga toilet since masyadong malaki ang lugar. An sayo sa may campsite banda, an sayo sa may durho na cottage, an sayo sa may centro san Ecopark.

 

 BULAN SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

The “Bulaneño Ako, Basura Ko, Sini-segregate Ko!” Program is one of the priority thrusts of the Local Government Unit of Bulan. It was first conceptualized in 2004, launched in 2005 and strictly implemented in 2008. The program encompasses the whole solid waste management program of the LGUandwas designed for: a.) sanitation and environmental protection, b.) sound solid waste management systems, c.) provision and enhancement of livelihood opportunities through intensive resource recovery and recycling, and d.) minimization of public expenditures.

Prior to the program implementation, there were clear violations of RA 9003 which were really detrimental to the environment and lives of the people. Rampant burning of solid wastes in the household and in the municipal dumpsitewas prevalent. Throwing garbage at the different waterways seemed to be a normal scenario. Moreover, dumping of unsegregated wastes at the municipal dumpsite posed hazards not only to the environment but also to more than thirty (30) scavengers in the dumpsite seekingfor possible resources. Although Republic Act 9003 mandating all LGUstoimplement waste segregation and close all the existing open dumpsites was passed into law in 2001, implementation was difficult to materialize.

In 2004, the call for the execution of the mandates of the Act was very intense. It is the time when incumbent Mayor Helen C. De Castro decided to include Solid Waste Management (SWM) as one of her priority thrusts. To immediately act and address the existingsituation, Mayor De Castro formed a Technical Working Group (TWG). A plan of action was made and a series of multi-sectoral meetings, orientations and seminars for LGU key implementers and other stakeholders followed.

On June 30, 2005, the “Bulaneño Ako, Basura Ko, Sini-segregate Ko!” Program was officially launched. A month after, Mayor De Castro spearheaded the launching also of the Bulan Ecopark, with an aim of transformingthe existing open dumpsiteinto an ecological park. However, the first implementation of the program had not been successful. The problems were eventually traced to lack of regular monitoring and evaluation coupled with some operational deficiencies on the part of the LGU. Mayor De Castro realized the problem and tried to address it.

On November 2005, the Municipality of Bulan was enrolled to the DILGGO-FAR Project. In 2006, Mayor De Castro along with four (4) members of the TWG went to Linamon, Lanao Del Norte to attend the Replication Inception Workshop (RIW) on SWM. The good practices to be replicated then were the operation of Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and the preparation of two (2) compost activators. On the same year, Mayor De Castro spearheaded the replication process. Relevant facilities were established and more intensive IECs on RA 9003 and Municipal Ordinance on SWMwerere-packaged. Finally, on March 24, 2008, the program was strictly enforced givingemphasis on the following; a.) strict implementation of waste segregation-at-source, b.) collection of segregated wastes-at-source, c.) application of waste treatment (4Rs) / alternative technologies, d.) implementation of segregated waste disposal system, and e.) conversion of waste disposal facility into an Ecological Park.

With the efforts of the LGU and the massive participation of the community, the program earned various awards and recognitions both from the local and national levels. In 2007, the municipality was an awardee of the prestigious DENR Saringaya Awards, LGU Category for excellence in Local Governance and Environmental Protection on the field of SWM. In 2008, the DILG through its Secretary, Hon. Ronaldo Puno declared the Municipality of Bulan as Model Town on SWM. In view of being a Model Town, Bulan was expected to host RIWsfor interested replicating LGUs all throughout the country. At present, four (4) LGUsfromfour (4) provinces and two (2) schools including the U.P. Diliman – National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) have already visited Bulan for its SWM Program. In 2008 also, Mayor De Castro reaped the Punong BayanAward of Excellence for championing the program. No less than the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines, Hon. Noli De Castro and LMP National President Hon. Ramon Guicogavethe award at the Manila Hotel during the LMP General Assembly.

At present, the program is workingand regular monitoringand evaluation is being observed. The Bulan Ecopark, a brainchild project of Mayor De Castro is continuously building a big space of hope in the big wide face of Mother Earth.

 

The program since has been enrolled and awarded by the DILG as Model Town on Solid Waste Management on October 2008 caters LGUs, barangays, schools, and other groups interested to visit, observe and replicate the program. Some of the LGUs and groups who have already visited Bulan for its SWMProgram are the following:

a. Personnel from Cataingan, Masbate

August 2008

b. Students from U.P. National College of Public Administration and

Governance (NCPAG), Diliman Campus

September 19-20, 2008

c. Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O)

Division of Sorsogon

October 28, 2008

d. Sorsogon National High School Students

November 20-21, 2008

e. Liga ng mga Barangay, Tigaon, Camarines Sur

December 15,. 2008

f. Barangay Officials of Poblacion, Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte

December 22, 2008

g. LGU Officials of Prieto Diaz, Sorsogon

January 9, 2009

h. South East Asia – Urban Environmental Management Application Project Executives

March 2, 2009

i. Members of Provincial Solid Waste Management Board (PSWMB), Sorsogon

March 20, 2009

———————-

Video Of BulanEco-Park coming soon.

—————————————————end——————————————

A Lesson From The Shamans, Witches And Magicians

Or, Education in Finland

by jun asuncion

 

What do I know about Finland aside from my nokia handy and the outstanding PISA ranking? I digged down and remembered Alvar Aalto, (February 3, 1898 – May 11, 1976)  a celebrated Finnish architect and designer, the Kalevala which is a book and epic poem compiled from the Finnish and Karelian folklore by the Finn Elias Lönnrot, herds of reindeers and moose, the thousands lakes, the Vikings that occupied it, the Lapland region with white snow and unspoilt nature and vast wilderness. For me it is a mystical place that has since excited my imagination, a place so remote that even now when I think of Finland I remember instantly  those Finnish women co-workers of mine who were white as snow covered in golden hairs, reminding me of skilled ancient Finnish witches, magicians and shamans who used music by singing special spells, herbal medicines and also by entering a trance, letting their souls travel to foreign places.

Hunger is not a specific Philippine problem.The worst famine in European history happened in the soils of Finland, killing 15 per cent of its already small population. Added to that, as a Finnish friend tells me, “During the second world war, we have lost almost all our men in Finland”. Finland fought against the Soviet Union and the Nazi-Germany and incurred heavy losses. Heavily dependent on Soviet union as its primary trading partner, Finland suffered deep recession in the early 90’s when the Soviet Union collapsed, simultaneous with its banking crisis, political mismanagement and with the global economic downturn at that time. Not to forget,  this agricultural country was and is better known also for having globally the highest suicide rate and high alcoholism. Alcohol has become the leading cause of death in Finland for men and for women and is surely a contributory factor in suicides, and is involved in deaths caused by accidents or violent crimes.

The population did not rise dramatically even when the economy became better after the second world war. With a total land area of 338,145 square kilometers and an estimated 2008 population of only 5,320,000, Finland is one of the sparsely populated lands of the world. By contrast: The Philippines is only 38,145 square kilometers smaller than Finland. Imagine now if the Philippines had only over 5,000,000 inhabitants! Bulan would have been empty, a wild park.

To survive, the government liberalized its economy and spent large amounts for high-tech education, training of highly-skilled teachers (mostly with master’s degree). This investment in education has paid off. Now Finland is one among the leading  global economies with highly-skilled work force. 

It is said that  Kalevala, that precious book of epic poems had provided the inspiration for the national awakening that ultimately freed the Finns from Russia in 1917. As I see it, the seed of their high-tech culture was already contained in that book, as described in the practices of the shamans like letting their soul travel while in trance, this astral projection as we used to call it. My brother-in-law studied architecture and design with Alvar Aalto in Finland and he provided me some of the most interesting reports about his master teacher Aalto and about Finnish culture in general. One specific story that got stucked in my memory was his story about the practice of mental telepathy by the local Finns. He was told by these people that it was natural for them to communicate with their friends and relatives via mental telepathy for there were no phones (at that time) and they live in great distances from each other. In winter it is cold and dark, thick snow and ice hinder travel even by foot. Telepathy was borne out of this necessity to communicate over wide distances and harsh weather conditions. Astral projection and mental telepathy? What do they have in common? It’s a wireless technology! This technology has always been there looming in the souls of the Finns; they seem to have this natural affinity to wireless technology since the beginning. Now, Finland  is the world leader in wireless communication technology. Just recently, I have read a report about it in a newspaper and reproduce here salient features of it:

-“Nowhere has mobile communication caught on as it has in sparsely populated Finland, where nearly 70 percent of the 5.3 million residents are armed with wireless phones and an ever-expanding array of tools, games and services they can use on the fly.”

-” Finland’s role in wireless development has been a boon for the country that only a decade ago was overly dependent on slumping wood-products industries and doomed trade with the Soviet Union.”

-“Although the phones can’t do all that a home PC can, Finnish companies have soared to the forefront with services that allow users to check news, sports and weather wherever they are, as well as read their horoscopes or biorhythms, order food, pay bills, buy Christmas presents and collect e-mail.”

-” What you see happening here today will be happening in other markets very soon. We’re just a year or two ahead of other Europeans, and Europeans are just a bit ahead of the United States,” says Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, chief financial officer for Nokia, the world’s largest wireless communications provider.”

-“Only about 25 percent of U.S. citizens own mobile phones, compared with about half the European population. Finland’s current 67 percent market penetration is expected to exceed 70 percent by the end of the year, a higher rate than in any other nation. Finland is followed by Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, Israel, Japan, Denmark and Italy in the ranks of top cellular consumers.”

-“Wireless operations also allow Terentjeff to custom-fit the work environment to his employees’ needs, he says, noting that one valued co-worker has negotiated a protracted maternity leave on condition that she keep an eye on her projects via wireless conference calls from home.”

Tangible results of huge investment in education and research:
-“Gross domestic product rose more than 30 percent in the five years after 1992 and is projected to post an additional 20 percent increase by the end of this year. Unemployment has dropped from 20 percent at the start of the decade to 10.5 percent now — a level not expected to change despite healthy increases in new jobs each year because of the specialized training needed for the country’s new high- tech focus.”  ( source: San Francisco Chronicle.)

 

EDUCATION IN FINLAND: A Summary
Pre-school begins at age 6
Comprehensive school: age 7 to 16
Upper secondary school or vocational school: 16 to 19
Pupils in Finland, age 7 to 14, spend fewest hours in school
Higher education places for 65% young people
Second-highest public spending on higher education (source:oecd)

Major features:

The World Economic Forum ranks Finland’s tertiary education #1 in the world
-Free Education: No tuition fees are collected in all levels – elementary, secondary and tertiary education, be it public or private school.

– school health care and a daily free lunch

– school pupils are entitled to receive free books and materials and free school trips

-teaches the same curriculum to all pupils

 

Like all of you, I also wish we would have free education in the Philippines and all the other benefits like the Finnish system. Why not? It pays off in the end for the whole country. It would break the poor education-poverty cycle that we have talked about before. Other things being equal, all people could have education which in turn would give them the chance to work and get out of poverty. With educated population and a country without poverty, the Philippines would move forward. Here is one sad fact about our current educational system: it is elitistic and discriminating, fosters poverty and social divide. It attacks the family itself: for in a family of five or more children, the average parents could only send perhaps a child or two to college and what about the rest of the chiildren? So the system injects into the basic unit of society itself  the evil of division and discrimination. What kind of educational system is it then?

I do not believe that Singaporean minister’s statement  that increasing the teacher’s salary-as rudyb shared to us- is not the solution to the problems of education. It may apply to Singaporean teachers but not to our own teachers. It is indeed not the only solution but it is one of the solutions to encourage the teachers for in my view, the teachers are very much underpaid in the Philippines. In our country, things are a little bit more complex for our politics doesn’t understand the importance of education- and of educated politicians.

Going back to Bulan, I respect the Bulan Teacher’s Day  as started by Mayor Helen De Castro (see her 2007 report- Edukasyon). This is one of the many ways to give incentives to our teachers and teachers to be.

Otherwise it’s about time for us to consult and to learn the lessons from the shamans, witches and magicians. They know the way.

 

Bulan Observer

  

 

 

 

Mayor’s 2007 Report to the People of Bulan

Office of the Mayor, Bulan Sorsogon
July 29, 2008 at 8:30 am · Edit

Note to readers:

Published hereunder is the Mayor’s 2007 Report to the People of Bulan. To follow after this will be the Mayor’s First Semestral Report, January to June, 2008. Thank You

______________________________________________________________________

Republic of the Philippines
MUNICIPALITY OF BULAN
SORSOGON

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
______________________________________________________________________

Second Term’s First Year-end Report to the People of Bulan
(June to December 2007)

REPORT TO THE PEOPLE 2007
By: Mayor Helen C. De Castro

Sa Pinapadaba Ko na mga Kabungto:

INTRODUCTION:

Dios marhay na adlao tabi sa iyo entero.
Ini tabi an saiyo lingkod Mayor Helen “Baby” De Castro, na niyan mahatod saiyo, sa paagi sini na broadcast, san ako 2007 Report to the People of Bulan , o an Report tungkol sa mga nahimo san saato municipio, sa paagi san ako Administrasyon sa primerong onom ka bulan, batog na Hulyo hasta niyan na Disyembre, sini na ikaduwa ko na turno bilang Mayor san bongto.

PAGPASALAMAT AN UNA:
Bag-o ko tabi tukaron an manungod sa mga nahimuan san municipio, sa paagi san ako administrasyon, unahon ko permi siempre an pagpahayag sin maliputok nan sincero na pagpasalamat sa kada Bulanenyo, lalo na tabi yadto na mga nagboto nan nagsuporta sa amo, na mao gihapon an pilion
niyo na mga opisyales san bungto ta, na mao gihapon an hatagan niyo tiwala nan kumpiansa sa pagrenda san ato gobierno lokal, nan maging ilaw, harigi nan ulo san ato komunidad. An Administrasyon san De Castro magbatog pa kan Guiming hasta niyan sa ako nagbibilang na tabi sin Dose Anyos. Nan kun nano kay intiwalaan niyo kami sin irog sini kahalaba na na panahon, kamo na po an makasabi nan makatestigo sa paagi san iyo mandato kada eleksiyon. Naging pilosopiya politikal namo na dapat, sa paglipas san panahon, lalo kami makadara sin pagbabag-o, pag-unhan nan kaayadan; nan maging kasangkapan niyo kami sa pagbilog san padaba ta na bungto. Ini na kumpiansa sayo na regalo na dapat ko hirutan nan atamanon, pagtiwala na dapat ko ibalik sa paagi sin honesto, tutuo, episyente nan de kalidad nan pantay-pantay na pagserbisyo publiko. Kaipuhan didi , sa trabaho na ini, an hararom na responsibilidad, desisyon, dedikasyon nan debosyon.

PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC TRUST:
“ Public Office is a Public Trust”. Sayo baga tabi ini na padomdom sa entero na mga Opisyal san Gobierno, na an poder, autoridad nan capacidad na inhatag sa kaniya sayo na de-kumpiansa na trabaho. Permi ko tabi in-iisip na sa pagiging Mayor ko, nasa kamot nan liderato ko an kaayadan o pagroro san bungto ta, nan sa paagi san amo Administrasyon, makabalangkas kami sin mga plano, programa nan mga proyekto na para sa kaayadan san kadaghanan na mga ciudadano. Importante man na makuwa mi lugod tabi an kooperasyon, partisipasyon nan pagdanon san mga miembros san Komunidad Bulanenyo.
Ini na paghatod ko sa iyo sin Report saro na paagi basi maaraman tabi niyo kun nano na an mga inhimo namo, segun sa tiwala niyo sa amo. Parte ini san pangako mi na accountability nan transparency, na dire kamo nai-ignorar san mga programa san Gobierno Lokal.
Nagbatog an saako ikaduwa na turno san Hulyo Uno, 2007, nan sa sulod tabi sini na onom kabulan, daghanon na na mga programa nan mga proyekto an kaipuhan maaraman niyo.

AN HELEN PROGRAM:
An HELEN Program permi mao an giya nan harigi san manlaen-laen na aktibidades san Gobierno Lokal ta. In-iimplementar mi ini kay mao an mga pinakamayor na mga programa sa paghatod sin serbisyo sosyal, pang-ekonomiya nan pangkomunidad na mga aktibidades. Aram ta entero na an ananuman na pagbabag-o permi mabase sa mga Programa sa Health o Salud, Edukasyon, Livelihood o Pagbuhay nan Aspeto pangEkonomiya, Environment o Kapalibutan nan Nutrisyon and Food Production. An mga Auxilliary Services pareho san Peace and Order, Disaster Management , Infrastructure nan iba pa na Development Programs puro karabit kabit sa programa nato na HELEN.

HEALTH O SALUD:
Unahon ta mun-a tabi an sa Salud o Health.
An Rural Health Unit o RHU mao an agencia lokal na nag-aasikaso san programa sa Salud segun man sa mga naiplano san ato Administrasyon. Didi nakasalalay an mga aktibidades nato basi makadanon kita sa serbisyo medikal san ato katawohan sa Bulan, lalo na yadto na mga pobre na mga ciudadano.
Batog tabi na Hulyo hasta Nobyembre, an RHU nakapagserbi sin manlaen-laen na pasyente san bilog na Bulan.
Huyaa an mga programa pangsalud para sa mga kabatan-an: Sa Expanded Program On Immunization , lalo na sa mga baby, na edad wara pa sangtaon. An nakarecibe sin mga pagbakuna sa BCG, DPT1, DPT2, DPT3, OPV1, OPV2, OPV3 bale 941 na mga kabatan-an; An nakarecibe sin Vitamin A nan anti measles, 981 na mga bata; an nabakunahan kontra Hepatitis sa paagi sin Bakuna na Hepa 1, Hepa 2, Hepa 3, bale 959 na kabatan-an. May-on kita sin suma tutual na Fully-immunized Children na an edad 9 hasta 11 meses bale 936 na kabatan-an.
Sa Knock-out Tigdas nan Vitamin A Supplementation na hatag san DOH, pero an Gobierno Lokal an nag-implementar, sa danon san mga BHWs nato, 9,154 na mga kabatan-an edad 9 hasta 48 months an nahatagan sin Anti-Tigdas na bakuna. 14,945 na mga kabatan-an naman sa bilog na Bulan an nakarecibe sin Vitamin A Supplementation basi maibitaran an mga hapdos sa mata. Ini hinimo san Oktubre 15 hasta na Nobyembre 15.
Para naman sa mga Pregnant o Lactating Mothers, sa mga Borod, may-on kita sin regular na mga programa para sa kanira. Nakaserbi an municipio ta sin 1,002 na borod batog na Hulyo hasta Nobyembre. Nakahatag man kita sa kanira sin mga bakuna na TT2, Iron tablets nan Vitamin A. 860 na borod an pinaanak san ato mga municipal midwives. Sa Clinic mismo san RHU sa Obrero, nakapaanak kita sin 33 na borod. Kun dire pa tabi niyo aram, may-on na kita sin delivery room doon mismo sa RHU-Obrero. Apuwera pa soon, padagos an pagmonitor san ato mga health workers sa sector sin mga borod nan mga bata. Labi an ako pagreparo na maatenderan talaga an grupo na ini kay basi trangkilo an kanira pag-anak.
Sa mga mahapdos sin TB o Tuberculosis, nakaserbi kita sin 245 na pasyente sa paagi sin bulong nan eksamin.
Sa pagkondukta sin mga laboratory examination, nakaserbi kita sa 1,200 na tawo na nagpalaboratorio san kanira mga dugo, ihi nan sa fecalysis.
Sa Family Planning activities naman, nakaserbi kita sin 5,054 na mga tawo sa manlaen laen na pagpili sin Family Planning methods , artificial man o natural. Kaupod na tabi didi an mga paseminar, konsultasyon nan paghatag sin mga gamit sa family planning. Importante pan-o na may pakamangno an mga ciudadano ta sa tama na pagpamilya. 
May-on man kita sin 12 na inasikaso na pasyente sa kaso na Rabies.
Sa lado san malnutrition, 130 na mga bata an naibalik an lawas o rehabilitated dahil sa supplemental feeding program san RHU sa paagi sin mga BHWs. Manungod naman sa dental services o pag asikaso sin ngipon, an dentista nato sa RHU nakaserbisyo sa 409 na tawo, kaupod na an mga bata.
Puwera pa tabi sini na mga espesyal na programa, batog san Hulyo hasta Nobyembre, nakahatag kita danon sa paagi sin bulong nan mga konsultasyon sa manlaen-laen na Health Centers nan Health Stations para sa 4,213 na mga taga-Bulan.
Sa solod man po sini na lima kabulan, padagos an mga paseminar nan mga pa-training sa mga Barangay Health Workers nato nan sa mga Accredited na Partera. Parte ini san pag-upgrade nato sa kakayahan nira na lalo mapakayad an kinaadman sa primary health care, kay kaipuhan sira san mga barangay ta sa solod sin 24 oras.
Basi man lalo maging episyente an serbisyo medical san RHU, nag-order ako na dagdagan an ato doktor sa Center, kay dire kaya ni Dr. Payoyo an solosolo lang siya. Siya tabi si Dr. Kates Rebustillo.
An saato man ambulancia wara pahuway sa pagdanon sa mga emergencia na indadara sa mga daragko na hospital. May-on na kita doon sin permanente na drayber na mao an makaserbisyo sa ato kun available an ambulancia.
Dako dako an problema nato sa Pawa Hospital kay kulang sin doktor. Awat na ini na agrangay nato. Dahilan na dati solo solo lang an doktor ta, kinakapos kita sin serbisyo. An Pawa Hospital tabi dire man yuon sakop san municipio kundi an Gobernador an nakasakop soon. Apesar na kulang gamit, kulang pa dati doctor. Kaya, akoon ta, daghanon an kakulangan sa pagserbisyo. Inisip ko na dapat danonan ta an Pawa Hospital kay kadaghanan doon san pasyente taga-Bulan. An hinimo ko tabi, naghuron ako sa Probinsiya sin tolo na doctor na makaayuda sa Pawa doktor nato na si Dra. Tita Fe Palad. Pag sabado, napahuway man siya kaya may-on sin mga doktor na nakasalida, pareho nira Dr. James Apin, Dr. San Jose, nan Dr. Laguda. Ini na mga doktor haros boluntad na an serbisyo saato, pero naghinguha tabi kita sa municipio na hatagan ta man diyo na honorarium dahil sa serbisyo nira sa ato hospital. Kaya maski puro pan-o baga tabi, dire na ninggayod kita nawawaraan sin doktor maski sabado o domingo.
Gusto ko man i-report sa iyo na an opisina ko nakadanon na sin 364 katawo na nagrani dahil sa pangangaipo sin bulong o medicines assistance, An bulong na naidanon ta sa kanira nagkakantidad sin 50,876.00 pesos.

EDUKASYON:
An ikaduwa na angkla san HELEN Program mao tabi an programa sa Edukasyon. Aram nato an kahalagahan sini na serbisyo sosyal para sa ato komunidad.
Sayo sa pinakadako na ayuda na inhihimo nato, lalo na sa mga pobre pero karapatdapat na mga estudyante mao na mga inhahatag nato na educational assistance o pang-ayuda pinansyal sa kanira pag-escuela. Siempre, bag-o ini inhahatag naagi mun-a sa sayo na evalwasyon o assessment tungkol sa estudyante na nag-aayo sin danon sa municipio. Inrereparo ta man siempre didi an mga grades o marka san nag-aayo danon.
Batog tabi san Agosto hasta niyan na Disyembre, nakadanon na an municipio sin 74 na escuela na nag-ayo educational assistance na nagkakantidad sin 91,046 pesos. Pero kun isabay nato an batog pa san Enero hasta Hulyo, nakadanon pa kita sin 61 na estudyante sa kantidad na 94,542 pesos. An suma total sini entero tabi bale 137 na estudyante, nan an kantidad sin naidanon sa kanira bale 187,870 pesos.
Ini na mga estudyante nag-eerescuela sa Sosrsogon State College, AG Villaroya, RGCC, SLI-KRAMS, Solis Institute of Technology, nan may-on man sin hale sa AMA Computer College, Veritas College, Inmaculate Conception College of Albay nan Bicol University. May-on man kita sin napolo (10) na regular scholars na permi ta insususteniran an pag-escuela.
San Octobre nan Nobyembre, 20 na Computer Students hale sa SSC IMIT an nahatagan sin P5,000.00 Scholarship Assistance hale sa PGMA-TESDA Ladderized Education Program. Yadto na kantidad mao an naging pangbayad nira sa pag-escuela niyan na Second Semester. Maski diyo napakinabangan yadto san mga napili ta na mga escuela.
San nakaagi na Summer, in implementar ta gihapon an Republic Act 7323 o an Special Program for the Employment of Students o SPES. INi sa pakikoordinar nato sa DOLE o Department of Labor and Employment. 90 na college students an pinili nan hinatagan ta pribiliheyo na makatrabaho sa municipio nan an suweldo nira ginamit sa pag-escuela nira sini na taun. Ini man na mga service crew san Jollibee kadaghanan sa kanira mga escuela na hinatagan ta rekomendasyon sa Jollibee nan pakatapos sin pambihira na training nagkapirili an 52 sa kanira. Mao na yuon niyan na naiimod nato na service crew san Jollibee. Seguro, saday lang ini na bagay para sa iba, pero sa mga nabiyayaan sini na recruitment nan referral program dako na pakinabangan ini sa tawo na nabiyayaan.
Sa lado san mga Barangay High Schools nato. Padagos an ato pag-ayuda sa mga escuelahan na ini sa paagi sin paghatag maski diyo na honorarium sa kantidad na P1,000 pesos para sa 11 na volunteer teachers na nagtuturukdo sa Beguin, San Juan Bag-o, Cadandanan, Otavi, JP Laurel nan Gate. Ini na mga volunteer teachers mao an nakasugpon sin dako na serbisyo sa mga barangay ta lalo na sa mga escuelahan na kulang an teachers.
Kun matatandaan baga tabi nato entero, yaa na mga barangay high schools naitindog sa kagahuman san mga magurang, mga maestro nan lalo na sa danon nan suporta sadto san panahon ni Mayor Guiming. Para sa ako, inpapadagos ko lang an legasiya ni Ex-Mayor Guiming sa lado san edukasyon. Kundire naging matibay nan pusuanon yadto na nakaagi na administrasyon, daghan po seguro an mga naging kakulangan sa ato mga barangay. Pero dahil pinadaba namo an mga barangay, sa lado san edukasyon legasiya ini na dire basta basta mararangka san panahon. Daghanon na man na mga dati volunteer teachers sini na mga escuelahan an sa niyan nakapermanente na sa pagtukdo dahil sa kanira trabaho sa mga barangay high schools.
Daghanon pa na mga aktibidades an inhihimo nato sa municipio para sa mga escuelahan pareho san mga sa scouting, sa mga sports festivals nira nan sa ananuman na mga okasyon na puwede makasuporta lalo na an ako opisina. Nagsuporta man kita sa mga paglakaw sin mga escuelahan kun may-on sira sin mga contests sa iba na lugar.
Sini na nakaagi na Disyembre 14, incelebrar nato an Bulan Teachers’ Day, sayo na okasyon sa paghatag ta rekognisyon nan pagsaludar sa mga paratukdo sa elementarya, high school nan college. An saako tabi administrasyon an nagbatog sini na klase sin aktibidad. Ini na an ikatolo na taun soon na Teachers’ Day. Inisip ko na dapat talaga hatagan ta pagkilala ini na mga silensyo na bayani san ato komunidad. Sa paagi sin panguna san municipio, lalo na san ako opisina, naging makolor nan triunfo an selebrasyon niyan na taon. Sinuportahan ta moral nan materyal an pangangaipo para sa Teachers’ Day. Nakapili man kita sin mga Outstanding Teachers niyan na taun. Nan inpapasalamatan ta man tabi an entero na participating teachers nan schools.

LIVELIHOOD O PAGBUHAY:
Huyaa naman tabi an programa sa Pagbuhay o Livelihood. An Municipal Agriculture Office, an Public Employment Service Office o PESO nan an Engineering Motorpool Group an mga opisina nato na mao an nasa prentera sa programa sa Livelihood o Pagbuhay.
Segun sa pilosopiya political san ako administrasyon, an Gobierno Lokal mahimo sin paagi na makapanguna sa mga aktibidades pangkabuhayan pero nasa tawo na na nagbenepisyo an paghigos kun pan-o niya palakawon an hale sa Gobierno. An Gobierno Lokal sayo na kasangkapan san tawo basi makapagpaunhan sin pagbuhay.
Yaadi man tabi an mga naging aktibidades san Municipio sa paagi san Municipal Agriculture Office.
Hulyo 11 – Nakadistribuer an Municipio sin 328 na sako na gahi sin mais para sa 606 na paraoma hale sa ma 50 na barangay. Ini hale sa PCA o Philippine Coconut Authority;
Hulyo 25 – 1008 na paraoma hale sa 20 na barangay an nakarecibe sin 1,008 sako sin gahi na paray nan mga fertilizers basi maibalik sa dati an mga kapasakyan nato na naapektuhan san Typhoon Milenyo. Ini sa danon san Accion Al Hambre;
San Hulyo pa man, 90 na paraoma an nakarecibe sin Bio-N Seed Innoculant, nan 6 n paraoma an recipiente san Tipid Abono Techno-Demo sa Barnagay N. Roque.
San Agosto 2 , 85 na paraoma hale sa 30 na barangay an nakarecibe libre sin 3,000 na tagbong;
September 5,6,7 – Sayo na Participatory Rural Assessment , kaupod si Peace Corps Volunteer Shawn Dolan , an hinimo sa mga barangay san JP Laurel, Sn Vicente, Dolos, Bical, Calpi, Cadandanan, Aguinaldo nan Quezon.
September 12 – Nagbutang kita sin mga Bangus Fingerlings sa San Rafael para sa kanira semi-intensive Bangus Culture.. Nakikoordinar kita sini sa BFAR;
San September gihapon, 75 na sako sin gahi an hinatag ta para sa mga paraoma.
September 25 – Inlunsar nato an Farmer Field School sa Gate kun haen makinabang an 40 na paraoma.
October 8 – Sa Brgy Butag inentrega nato sa mga recipiente an Net for Aquasilvivicutlure. Ini para sa mga paraisda,
October 10 – 30,000 na tilapia fingerlings an indistribuer nato sa 27 na mga fishpond owners, nan may binuhian man kita na mga piyak sa lima na dam san Bulan;
San October 26, Inlansar nato an Farmers Information and Technology Service Center. Didi makarani an mga paraoma kun gusto nira makakuwa sin mga bag-o na kaaraman na teknolohiya sa pag-oma, apuwera pa sin mga asistencia teknikal sa agricultura.
Niyan man na Oktubre nan Nobyembre, nagpakondukta kita sin mga demonstration nan training sa Urban Agriculture, Pili Grafting, Low-cost Food Preparation, Compost Activators nan iba pa.
Dire ta man inpabayaan an pagmonitor san Bird Flu basi dire madestroso an mga manukan nan poultry nato sa Bulan;
Sini man na bulan , nakadistribuer kita sa municipio sin 401 na gahi para sa ma 200 na paraoma . Ini hale kan GMA nan Congressman Sonny Escudero;
San December 12, sa paagi sin Accion Al Hambre, nakahatag sin 1 unit na Power Tiller sa Gate Irrigators Association na mapapakinabangan sin 27 na paraoma.
May mga aktibidades pa an Agriculture Office pareho san paghatag mga pisog san maritatas para sa Gulayan sa Kada Balay, mga meetings sa Agricultural and Fishery Council, pagmonitor sin hapdos na nakaraot sa agrikultura sa Bulan, p;aghatag mga itaranom na mga puno; nan an pagbantay sa kadagatan ta. May nagkapera na man na mga pawikan an ato naisalbar nan naibalik ta sa kadagatan. Nakadistribuer man kita 36 na manlaenlaen na klase sin hayop para sa animal dispersal.
An Public Employment Service Office o PESO naman an opisina na nag-aasikaso sa mga pagkolokar sin trabaho para sa mga naghahanap trabaho lalo na kun may-on sin naabot didi sa Bulan na mga employment agencies.
Nagkaigua sin recruitment nan referral programs kita didi sa Bulan sa paagi san PESO. Nagkanhi an ALCARE Manpower nan AU Management Services na puro accredited san POEA. Dahilan sini nakapadara kita sin 15 na aplikante , 1 na nurse, 2 na DH nan 12 na Factory workers sa Taiwan. In-aanunsiyo man san municipio kun may naabot sa Bulan na mga lehitimo na recruitment agencies kay nadanon an Gobierno Lokal ta sa mga referrals nan recommendations kaupod na an pag-asiste teknikal sa mga aplikante. Yadto na mga Service Crew san Jollibee kaupod sa mga in process san PESO office nato.
Sayo baga tabi sa in-oorgulyo na programa san De Castro Administration mao ini na Heavy Equipment nan Roadbuilding Program, na aram ta man konektado permi sa pagbuhay, agrikultura nan pangisda sa barangay. Kun mayad an ato mga tinampo, mantenido nan masayon an pagbiyahe, dako ini na danon sa pagbuhay san tawo kay nagiging madali nan facil an transportasyon nan komunikasyon. Kaya dire ta inlilimutan na ini na programa alalay sa pagbuhay san mga taga-barangay.

Ireport ko tabi an mga natrabaho san ato Heavy Equipment sa mga barangay. Nailista ko an mga patrabaho batog pa san Enero niyan na taon hasta Nobyembre. Naging problema nato an maraot na mga panahon na mao an nakaulang nan nakaatraso sa ato. Pero, sa parte san Opisina ko, permi na lang kita nahinguha na an mga kakulangan mapunuan na lang sa pag agi san panahon.
Huyaa tabi an mga nahimo na road repairs o kaya mga back-filling activities: San Ramon to Butag, repair and backfilling of baras; Road Repair sa San Ramon Ubo; Sitio Inlobloban , Padre Diaz road repair; Calomagon to San Jose road repair; San Jose Crossing to Brgy Recto road repair; Polot to Jamorawon road repair; Sitio Polot Road Back filling and improvement; Pawa to Lahong road backfilling and improvement; Lahong barangay site backfilling; Fabrica to Otavi Road improvement; Fabrica to San Rafael road repair; Namo to R. Gerona road repair; Somagongsong to Calomagon road backfilling and repair; Calomagon to Dumpsite, backfilling and repair; Calomagon to Inararan, road repair and backfilling; Sta. Remedios nan Bonifacio, backfilling and road repair.
Naka-schedule man tabi sa heavy equipment ta an repair nan rehabilitasyon san mga tinampo sa Roxas to Dolos, Sabang to Bical; Inararan to Nasuje, Montecal , Abad Santos to San Juan Daan, Beguin to Jamora-awon. An maraot lang na panahon nan kauuran an nakaulang sa ato. Pag nag-init nan dianis na an panahon, ipapasige na tabi nato an mga trabaho san ekipahes, basi mapasayon an pagbuhay nan transportasyon sa mga nasabi na lugar.

ENVIRONMENT O KAPALIBUTAN:
I-report ko na man tabi niyan an sa Programa nato sa Environment o Kapalibutan.
Una, gusto ko gihapon pasalamatan an entero na taga-Bulan , nan sa iyo ko ialay an pagkagana nato san Saringgaya Award san nakaagi na taon. Siempre dire man ini mangyayari kun dire dahil sa iyo. An Regional Saringgaya Award mao an inhahatag sa sayo na bungto na dianis an programa sa pag-ataman sa Kapalibutan. Entero tabi kita responsable nan may kargo sa pag preserbar san ato kapalibutan. Ini an buhay nato na mga tawo. Kaya ngani, pokus san atensiyon ko an maenganyar entero, lalo na sa sektor san kabatan-an na magkaigua kirita sin pagkamangno manungod sa bagay na ini. Sa bilog na kinab-an, haros an entero na nasyones niyan nagkakadali na maibitaran ini na insasabi na Global warming. Didi sa Sorsogon, sayo na siguro an municipio nato na labi-labi an pag aktibar para sa Environment Awareness.
Sa niyan, nag-krear na kita sin separado na Municipal Environment Office na mao an nag-iimplementar san entero na programa sa kapalibutan segun sa palisiya san ako administrasyon.
Huyaa an mga naging aktibidades nato sa Environment Program. San Hulyo, in-reorganisar nato an Solid Waste Mangement –Technical Working Group basi maregulate nato sin husto an mga plano para sa environment programs. Sa grupo na ini in-endorso ko na an pagplano nan pag-implementar san mga environment activities.
Sa danon san Environmeent Office, nag-tree planting activity an Sigma Lambda Phi Fraternity didto sa Calomagon Ecopark. Nagkondukta man kita sin sayo na Environment Forum para sa Bulan North District Teachers and Pupils. Nagkaigua sin mga contest pangkapalibutan.. Nagkondukta man sin Demo on Carbonized Rice Hull making sa Eco park.
San Septyembre, Inotro gihapon nato an sayo na Environm,ent Forum sa Obrero Elementary School nan an Bulan National High School YES Group; nagkondukta man kita sin Orientation on Global Warming sa Immaculate Conception Learning Center; nan Demo on Vermi Composting sa Ecopark;

An pinakadako na aktibidad sa taon na ini inhimo ta san Oktubre 5-6, durante san ato ikaopat na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan didto sa Calomagon Ecopark. Inatenderan ini sin rinibo na mga estudyante, barangay oficials, mga grupo sibiko, NGOs, youth organizations, nan media. Durante san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan, nagkaigua kita sin mga treeplanting activities, Environment Forum, Orientation on Global Warming, Demo/Trainings sa manlaen-laen na waste recycling and re-use; nagkaigua man sin misa nan padisco sa mga participants san sira didto mag-camp out. Nan kaupod na aktibidad an BandFest o Musikalikasan didi sa Freedom Park sa Poblacion. Mismo an saato Gobernadora Sally Lee , nan mga bisita hale sa DILG nan PNOC, nag-kaorogma sa hinimo ta na dati dumpsite niyan sayo na na ecopark na puwede pasyaran.
Ini na tabi an ikaopat na selebrasyon san Fiesta sa Kabubudlan. In-maw-ot ko talaga na maging institutionalized na ini na activity sa paagi sin sayo ordinansa san ato Sangguniang Bayan.
Maw-ot ko na dire lang sa Ecopark magkaigua sin Fiesta sa Kabubudlan kundi sa entero na parte san Bulan, kun umabot youn na panahon. Dapat na magka-interes an entero na Bulanenyo sa pag-ataman san kapalibutan. Himuon ta tabi na tradisyon sa Bulan ini na Fiesta sa Kabubudlan.
Niyan na nakaagi na Nobyembre, nan sa Bulan san Disyembre, an mga Boy nan Girl Scouts san Bulan North nan an JP Laurel Elementary School naman an nag-etender sa ato Environment Forum. May Green Philippines Activity nan tree planting activity man an mga taga-Bulan National High School nan an Tau Gamma Fraternity.

NUTRITION AND FOOD:
An ikalima na angkla san HELEN Program mao tabi an programa sa Nutrition and Food.
Ini tabi na programa kabit na sa actibidades nato sa Municipal Agriculture Office sa dahilan na tungkol sa nutrisyon nan pagkaon an ato in-aatenderan.
An MSWDO mao tabi an opisina na nag-aatender san manungod sa Nutrition Program san municipio sa paagi san Municipal Nutrition Council.
San nakaagi na Hulyo, inkondukta nato an sayo na Nutrition Awareness sa mga kabatan-an nan mga magurang durante san selebrasyon san Nutrition month na taun-taon ta inseselebrar.
Sa niyan tabi, aktibo an ato mga Day Care Centers, nan ini inpapadalagan san mga Day Care Workers nato sa kada barangay. Kaupod sa mga pagtukdo didi tabi an pagpadomdom sa mga magurang manungod sa obligasyon nira sa pagkaon san mga kabatan-an ta. An municipio nag-susupervisar niyan sa 1,429 na mga pobre na pre -schoolers, 67 volunteer day care workers sa 57 na day care centers san Bulan.

AN MUNICIPAL SOCIAL WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICE:
Maw-ot ko man tukaron didi an iba pa na programa san MSWDO puwera pa san manungod sa Day Care Service.
An MSWDO mao an responsible sa mga programa serbisyo sosyal san municipio. Lima na grupo an inseserbisyuhan sini: An mga Kabatan-an, mga kababayehan, mga may kapansanan, mga kawaraon nan an mga biktima sin kalamidad.
Sa sulod tabi sini na onom kabulan, daghanon na aktibidades an nahimo na san MSWDO kaupod na doon an Parent Efectiveness Service basi madanonan an mga magurang sa tama na parenting o pagpamilya lalo na an mga bataonon pa na mga inasawhan.
Sa sektor san Out-of –School Youths, 143 na mga out-of-school youths hale sa 5 na barangay an napairarom sa Unlad Kabataan Program san DSWD para madanonan sira sin mga self-enhancement activities, pangkabuhayan activities, sulong-dunong education program nan mga leadership trainings and skills.
Sa sector naman san kababayehan o Women Welfare Program, an MSWDO an nagpasilitar sa pa-organisar sin sayo na self-help group sin mga kababayehan na an ngaran KALIPI. May-on na kita naorganisar na 36 na barangays. Sa danon man san MSWDO, lima na na mga KALIPI organizations nakakuwa na sin asistencia pangkabuhayan hale sa DSWD sa kantidad na 475,000 pesos.
Sa mga may kapansanan, naka-asiste man an MSWDO sa mga pa-training pareho sin food preservation nan iba pa na makukuwaan sin pagbuhay. Pito na na miembro sini na grupo an inalalayan san MSWDO sini na nakaagi na mga bulan.
An MSWDO man an nakaprentera sa pag-asikaso nan paggabay sa mga biktima sin pang-abuso sa kabataan nan mga kababayehan . Nakadanon sira sa pagproseso sin 25 na kaso sin pagmaltrato sa babaye na asawa, 1 na kaso sin rape nan 5 na kaso sin economic abuse. Kaupod didi sa mga asistencia an mga referral sa mga abogado, asistencia medikal, nan pinansyal.
An MSWDO man sini na nakaagi na lima kabulan naghatag gabay nan ayuda sa mga nagkakasala na menor de edad. Nag-alalay ini na opisina sa 21 na kaso sin mga menor de edad. Puwera pa soon, 14 na kabatan-an na biktima sin pang-abuso sexual nan pisikal an inatenderan nan in-aatenderan sini na opisina. 2 sini na kaso an nasa husgado na sa niyan. May sayo man na kaso sin rape an nasentensiyahan na.
Ini na Opisina man an nag-aratender, kaupod an ako opisina nan an RHU, PNP, nan iba pa durante sadto na Bagyong Mina. Sira an nagmanehar san Relief Operations Center san municipio basi madanonan an mga nag-evacuate nan mga stranded na pasaheros. 77 na pamilya o 313 katawo nan evacues nan 16 na stranded na pasahero an dinanonan san municipio ta sa paagi san MSWDO. Ini nangyari san Nobyembre 23.
Gusto ko ngay-an tabi ipaisi na an Opisina ko, Opisina san Mayor, nakahatag danon para sa 1,428 katawo na nagkakantidad sin 1,335,406 pesos. Mga pobre ini na mga tawo na nangaipo sin danon pinansiyal. Nakahatag man kita sin 264,662 pesos para sa solicitation sin 128 na mga grupo nan indibidwal.

AN MUNICIPAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM SAN GOBIERNO LOKAL:
Tokaron ko tabi niyan an Municipal Disaster Management Program san municipio.
Sa Report ko na ini, importante na maaraman tabi niyo an manungod sa Municipal Disaster Management Program nato. Mao ini an sayo na programa na maski ngani bihira mangyari kay dire ta man in-aayo, pero dapat permi kita nakaandam sa panahon sin mga peligro nan kalamidad.
An Disaster Management Program dapat nasa lugar na permi bilang pag-antisipar nato sa mga dire dianis na panahon o kamutangan didi sa komunidad ta.
Napatunayan ta gihapon an kakayahan san municipio sa pag responde sa panahon na kaipuhan an municipio san nag-amba ini na insabi na superbagyo na si Mina san Nobyembre 23 hasta 25.
Dire kita nagpabaya. San maaraman ko na may nagdadangadang na makusog na bagyo na posible tamaan an Bikol, Nobyembre 19 pa lang nagpasurat na ako sa entero na miembros san Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council na mag-andam sa posible mangyari.
Nobyembre 21, bag-o pa magpagahoy an Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, nagpamiting na tabi ako, sa paagi ni Vice Mayor Awel Gogola nan inaktibar na nato ensigida an MDCC nan an mga BDCC. Maogma ako na pinartisiparan ini san mayoriya san Sangguniang Bayan, mga Department Heads, an PNP nan mga organisasyon pareho san Bulan Rescue Team, Uswag Bulan, Beat, Banwa , Kabalikat nan mga Punong Barangay, nan lalo na an mga nasa sector san media, nan radio.
Standard Procedure na tabi san MDCC na pag-signal Number 2, insigida an MDCC dapat magkumperensya lalo na kun nakaamba an mga makusugon na bagyo. Kaya, dahil san miting, inaktibar tulos nato an MDCC Operations Center, Evacuation, Rescue and Relief, Rehabilitation nan iba pa. Naging mahigos man an ato Public Information Office nan an media sa pagdanon na maibalangibog an mga balita tungkol sa bagyo. Naging aktibo an manlaenlaen na grupo sa pagmanaehar sa pagdanon san mga relief nan evacuation centers nato sa Bulan South nan sa iba na barangay. Up –to –date an pagbalita nato sa posisyon san bagyo. Inpreparar nato an mga truck, patrol cars, ambulancia, pati mga first aid nan medical materials engkaso nagtodo an bagyo.
An Bulan kinilala san media sa Sorsogon na sayo sa pinakapreparado na municipio sadto na Bagyong Mina. Pero, mas pasalamat ako na wara nangyari. Mas pasalamat kita sa Mahal na Kagurangnan , sa Mahal na Patrona Inmaculada Concepcion na luminihis an bagyo.
Dahilan sadto na Bagyo,may-on man gihapon sin mga nag-erevacuate sa ato mga Evacuation Centers. 77 na pamilya o 313 katawo, kadaghanan mga kabatana-an an nadanonan ta sa mga evacuation centers. May-on pa sin 16 na pasaheros na tag-Isla an naghulat pa sin tolo kaadlao bag-o nakahale sa evacuation centers.
Dahilan sini na karanasan, gusto ko gihapon na lalo maging masistema an diasater management programs ta. Plano ko na lalo pakay-adon an MDCC nan mga BDCC sa kada barangay, magkaigua sin mga pa-training , lalo pa sa mga bag-o na mga opisyales san mga barangay.

INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES PROGRAM:
Tokaron ko naman tabi niyan an manungod sa Infrastructure Services Program san municipio. Ini naman indelegar nato sa Municipal Engineering Office.
An Engineering Office nakadanon sa paghimo sin 94 na Program of Works nan Construction budget para sa 48 na barangay san Bulan.
Nakadanon man an saako opisina sa manlaen –laen na barangay infrastructure pareho baga san mga minasunod na proyekto. May mga pondo ini na hale sa municipio o gobierno lokal nato: Danao Barangay Hall na kantidad 180,000 pesos; Daganas Barangay Health Center kantidad 30,000 pesos; Installation of water supply sa Somagongsong, 24,000 pesos; San Isidro water supply, 24,000 pesos; nan an improvement san Sabang Park nan mga traffic installations.
An Plaza Rizal na niyan Freedom Park na pinagayon, pinadako nan pinakodalan ta na sin mayad. Testigos kamo soon tabi. An pondo soon in solicit ko hale kan Gobernadora Sally Lee sa kantidad na 3 million pesos. An Old Municipal Building sa niyan inpaparehabilitar nan repair nato kay basi magamit nato sa Municipal Trial Court, nan posible pag-abot sin panahon maging Heritage and Culture Center and Museum ta.
May naghahapot kun nano kay sinalidahan ta an pangaran sin Plaza Rizal na maging Freedom Park. Sayo pan-o yuon tabi na mando san batas na dapat an mga town plaza o parks maging sentro sin pagpahayag san kaborot-on sin mga ciudadano. Dire man po yuon dako na isyu na dapat ikakolog ta sin boot. Respetado ta man guihapon an memoria san ato herowe nasyonal na si Dr. Rizal, pero mas hararom an kahulugan san pangaran na Freedom Park kay mao man yuon an ipinaglaban san ato padaba na herowe.
Kita niyan sa Sorsogon an sayo sa may pinakamagayon an town plaza. Dapat nato ini ikaogma. Nan ipasalamat kan Governor an danon niya sa ato. Inaayo ko lang an danon san mga kabungto ta na hirutan ini na Plaza.
Nakapatindog na man kita sin bag-o na karneceria o slaughterhouse sa Zona 7. Mabatog ini pag-operate sa maabot na taun . Pag nag-operate na tabi ini na slaughterhouse, an mga karne na intitinda sa relanse mas malinig an pagkakatay. Hininguha ta talaga na maitindog ini na karneceria, maski ngani sa paagi sin utang na 5 million pesos, hale sa Land Bank of the Philippines, dahilan sa lumaonon nan dire na malinig an dati ta na bubuan doon sa Obrero, nan dapat na ini iluwas sa mga matawo na lugar. An Bulan niyan an sayo sa mga bungto san Sorsogon na may magayon , dianis na pasilidad segun sa mga spesipikasyon san National Meat Inspection Service.

HUMAN SETTLEMENTS AND LAND PROGRAM:
Sa lado san Human Settlements nan Land Program, naging aktibo an municipio ta sa pagkoordinar sa mga ahensiyas nasyonal pareho san National Housing Authority o NHA, HUDCC o Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, nan sa DENR basi madali an pagproseso sin mga public lands na niyan ingagamit na san ato mga kabungto. An dako-dako an papel sa pagdanon sini na mga bagay an Municipal Assessor’s Office o Opisina san Tasador Municipal.
An municipio nag-asiste sa Barangay resettlement project san Brgy Calomagon na may 3 hektaryas nan 210 na benpisyario, nan sa Brgy Somagongsong.
Nag -asiste man kita sa 110 na residentes san Brgy Managa-naga basi ma-isyuhan na sira sin mga Tax Declarations.
Nagdanon man an municipio ta sa trabaho san DENR sa kanira pagpreparar sin Handog Titulo Program na invuelto an 600 hektaryas na public land sa Brgy Quezon nan Sagrada nan an mga ingod didi sa kabubudlan maihatag na sa mga paraoma nan okupantes soon na mga kaingodan.
Importante man tabi na maaraman nato entero na sa niyan indadanonan ta an DENR, DPWH, nan HUDCC sa kanira inhihimo na mga proceso basi yuon na ingod sa Zona 2, Purok Chico nan Purok Lanzones na dati nasunugan, pinalmente na maihatag sa mga residentes doon. May mga proseso ini na aagihan pero madanon an municipio alang-alang sa kapakanan san mga kaurupod ta sa lugar na yuon.
San Disyembre 14, may nangyari na demolisyon sa Zona 2 na invuelto an 12 na pamilya na awaton na naka-estar sa sayo na insasabi pribado na ingod.. Pero dahil sa interbensiyon ko, nan san mga opisyales san Zona 2, nakahuron mi an tagsadire na hatagan plaso ini na mga tawo hasta na makatapos an bag-ong taon. Nangako man an saako opisina na madanon kami sa ananuman na mga puwede ikaayuda sa kanira pagbalyo sin lugar niyan na Enero.

CIVIL REGISTRY:
Sa lado naman tabi san Opisina san Rehistro Sibil, nakarehistro kita sa solod sin 6 kabulan 1,365 na panganak, 104 na pagpakasal nan 226 an binawian sin buhay.
May programa man an Civil Registrar na Mobile Free Registration sa 17 na barangay pareho san Montecalvario, Otavi, N.Roque, San Isidro, Fabrica, Sigad, Quirino, Roxas, Del Pilar, Butag, Bonga, Quezon, San Juan Daan, Abad Santos, Cadandanan, Danao, R. Gerona. Nag recibe ini na opisina sin 702 na aplikasyon para sa late registration o yuon na mga bata na wara pa karehistro san municipio. Danon ini sa mga ciudadano nato basi magamit an papeles nira sa mga maabot na panahon.

PAZ Y ORDEN:
Sa solod sini na onom kabulan nag-report man an saato kapulisan o Philippine National Police na sa lado san Paz y orden, masasabi nato na relatively peaceful an saato bungto. Pero siempre dire didi kaupod an manungod sa report sa lado sin insurhensiya. An intutukan san ato kapulisan an community peace and order.
May nagkapera na insidente sin magub-at na mga krimen pero mga isolated cases ini na dire man apektado an bilog na komunidad. Alagad, ini na mga kaso ensigida na naresolber san PNP.
San Nobyembre, an ato mga kapulisan, nakadakop sin sayo na estudyante, menor de edad , na nag-eescuela sa sayo na dako na public high school didi sa Bulan. Ini na bata nadakopan sin 15 na sachet sin marijuana sa sulod mismo san escuelahan. Nakipagkooperar sa mga pulis nato an mga autoridad soon na escuelahan basi madakop ini na pusher. Positibo an resulta san mga eksaminasyon sa droga nan ini na kaso in-turn-over na sa MSWDO dahil menor de edad an na-invuelto.
Durante san pagkomemorar nato san Pista sa Gadan, trangkilo na nakalipas an Undas na wara ni sayo man na magub-at na insidente. Ini dahilan sa preparasyon san Municipal Peace and Order Council, nan sa danon san PNP, mga opisyales nan tanod san Sta. Remedios, Zona 8, nan San Vicente. Sa halawig na na panahon, batog san maka ingkod an De Castro, naging trangkilo an kada komemorasyon ta san Pista sa Gadan. Mas hangay na san tawo sa Bulan an matoninong na okasyon pareho san Undas.

TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT:
Sayo sa medyo kaipuhan tutukan nato sin pansin ini na Traffic Management san mga sakayan ta didi sa Bulan , lalo na sa Poblacion. Dako na an volume san trapiko sa Bulan kaya nangaipo na kita sin mga sistema na makadanon basi maayos an ato trapiko.
Sini na Octubre, Nobyembre nan Disyembre, inkondukta nato kada Mierkoles nan Biernes an Traffic Safety and Discipline Seminar para sa mga drivers san Traysikol nan Padyak. Katuyuhan sini na paseminar na maging mapagmangno an ato nagpapasada sa Bulan sa disiplina, kaayusan nan road courtesy nan an manungod sa Traffic Code na inpapautob san PNP nan LGU. Sa presente, may-on na tabi kita sin labi 1,300 na rehistrado na traysikol, pa-sangribo na padyak, nan manlaen laen na klase pa sin sakayan.
Plano po nato na sa masunod na taon, mahingayad ta ini na paradahan san mga traysikol sa may relanse, sa palibot soon na mao an centro san pagparada san mga sakayan nato. Kadanon ko sini an Sangguniang Bayan nan Engineering nan Planning Office.
Rerebisahon ta man sa otro taun an Traffic Code kay basi maka-adjust kita dahil sa pagbatog san operasyon san terminal sa Fabrica. Naniwala po kami na kaya ta himuon yadto na Special Zone na inpautob sadto ni Former Mayor Guiming.

BULAN INTEGRATED TERMINAL:
An pinakakontrobersiyal na proyekto san municipio sa irarom san ako administrasyon ini na Bulan Integrated Terminal na inpatindog ta sa Brgy. Fabrica hale sa sayo na loan package sa Land Bank of the Philippines.
An ingod na inbugsukan sini na terminal indonar san pamilya san asawa ko na si Guiming.
Entero an rekisitos, procedimiento nan dapat na mga legal, ekonomikal, sosyal nan teknikal na aspeto, pati na an pag-adal na didi sa Fabrica ibugsok an terminal , inkompli san Municipio, nan naniwala tabi kami na nasa tama an desisyon sini na administrasyon , na intiwalaan niyo na magmanehar san bungto ta, para sa kaayadan san bungto nato, dire lang niyan na panahon kundi pati na sa maabot na panahon o henerasyon. An inhurandigan mi man gihapon an mandato san mayoriya sa iyo san nakaagi na eleksiyon.
Nasasabutan mi kun nano an sentimiento san mga tawo na pulitika lang an tuyo basi raoton an administrasyon sa paagi sin paggamit san isyu sa terminal. Ginamit nira an isyu san terminal basi mahatagan sira sin buwelo na pakaraw-ayan an De Castro, gutob sa mga pamersonal na atake, pagpakaraot nan pagtatsar. Kilala ta man an nahurandig sa mga tunay na isyu, nan kilala ta man kun sin-o sa mga tawo na ini an namulitika lang. Pero, inrespondehan mi yuon na mga pamulitika sa paagi sin disente, sibilisado, resonable na pagsimbag sa mga isyu. Dire kami malusad sa level san kanira mga pagkatawo.
Pero dahil lider ako, nan may mga kaurupod ako na disente nan resonable sa kanira mga desisyon, lalo na an mga kaurupod mi na mga nasa Sangguniang Bayan, papanindugan mi an desisyon na para ini sa kaayadan san bungto ta. Tinagan niyo kami tiwala san nakaagi na eleksiyon na mao an magmanehar san bungto ta, kaya dapat niyo tabi kami tiwalaan sa mga inhihimo ta para sa bungto. Dire namo isusugal an puturo san bungto ta. An tuyo nato an para sa serbisyo nan kaayadan.
Naniwala po ako na maabot an panahon, mapreciar nato entero kun nano kay sa Fabrica nato naipatindog an terminal. May mga tiyempo na kaipuhan ta magsakripisyo muna. May mga tiyempo na kaipuhan ta an magpakumbaba mun-a.
May nabati ako na surmaton sin sayo na lider na ngaya, “ You cannot please everybody. And you must not” May mga desisyon kita na dire naroroyagan o popular sa iba, nan dire man ngani dapat onrahon an entero na karoyagon.
Ini na mga kalaban mi sa pulitika nag-sang-at sin kaso sa Regional Trial Court na paudungon an pag-abri o pag-operate san Terminal , pero dire yuon nangyayari pa. Kaya, an ananuman na isyu legal san terminal nasa korte na tabi. Pero, mala yuon, wara pa kami sin ananuman na balita manungod sa desisyon san korte, pero kun aram lang po niyo, wara pahuway ini na mga kalaban mi sa pulitika sin kahanap sin sala nan butas tungkol sa terminal. Habo na ugang kami magparatungo sini na mga tawo.
Nagbatog na tabi an operasyon san terminal. Inpabendisyunan ta ini san Disyembre 16. Presente man an mga stakeholders san terminal, si Governor Sally nan mga nagkapera na Bokal. May halip-ot nan simple na programa para sa formal opening san terminal.
San Disyembre 17, nagbatog na tabi an operasyon san terminal.
Sa niyan tabi, may-on sin 54 na rehistrado na porters nan baggage boys an terminal. Ini na mga porters an mga dati man mga baggage san mga terminal sa poblacion nan pier. Dire man sira nawaraan sin pagbuhay.
I-oorganisar ta sira kay may-on pa sin idadagdag na mga porters hale sa pier. Mga maboot, disiplinado an kadaghanan, puro nagpapakabuhay. Luway-luway nato inbibisay an sistema na pantay-pantay sira sa pagbuhay, makapakaon san kanira mga pamilya. May mga report pa sin pang-abuso, pero maabot an panahon masasawata ta ini entero. Mga ikatolong semana san Enero, entero na Porters, sa Terminal man o Pier, may ID na nan Uniporme. I-professionalize ta an paghanapbuhay sini na mga pobre ta na mga kabungto.
May 17 kita na accredited peddlers, mga datihan man na paratinda sin mga pasalubong, yuon gihapon sa terminal nagtatarabaho. Dire man sira nawaraan pagbuhay.
An mga paratraysikol, nakapila-pila, wara sin nakalamang, puro man nakinabang sa pagpasada nira sa terminal. Oro-adlaw, sobra singkuwenta na biyahe san traysikol an nahihimo sa terminal. Niyan luway-luway na inhihimo ta an mas organisado nan sistematiko an pagtaya nira nan pagbiyahe, lalo na poblacion-pier. Maabot an panahon, magiging mas trangkilo ini. May mga report pa sin pang-abuso, pero kadaghanan ssan mga paratraysikol mga maboot, masinunod sa patakaran san terminal, puro nagpapakabuhay.
Dowa na bus company an nakadagdag na nag-aplay sin booking sa Bulan, an JVH Transport nan St. Jude. Sabi nira sadto mawawara kuno, Nagdagdag ugang, duwa pa. Bale onse na an bus lines, plus an Queens nan Weenalyn bale 13.
Batog na Disyembre 17 hasta 28, nakapadispatsa na o biyahe kita sin 354 na biyahe san bus, 94 sini an sa Queens nan Weenalyn., paluwas sin Bulan. May nag-abot man na 300 bus na biyahe hale sa Manila. Poco mas o menos 15,000 katawo na an nagluwas- solod sa terminal sa solod lang sin 12 dias.
Mas napaboran an mga jeepney nan van na puro taga-Bulan an tagsadire. Kada adlao, 35 na jeep an naghahapit sa terminal, idagdag pa an 8 na van.
Nakarehistro na kita sin 50 na stranded na pasaheros na may mga dara na bata an iba, pero mas trangkilo sira sa solud san terminal kaysa didto sira sa may pier, maski diin, nan peligroso pa. Mas asikaso pa sira san ato mga terminal employees.
Wara sin hubog o tarantado sa sulod san terminal, kay dire ta yuon tutugutan , nan kay may mga guwardiya nan tanod kita. Malinig permi an CR. Kun may diyo man na kakulangan, dire ini pareho san maski diin ka na lang sa luwas mag CR.
May taga-Danao na nabilin an bag na may 11,000 pesos na kuwarta sa sulod san bag. Nakabalik tabi ini sa tagsadire. May mga gamit na nabilin na hasta niyan yuon pa sa opisina san terminal, puwede i-claim san maninigo na tagsadire. Wara soon maka-claim kundi an tagsadire. Dire ini mangyayari kun wara sin central terminal na puwede reklamohan.
May reklamo an sayo na taga-Dimasalang, natunton nato an tulo katawo, pinapulis nato, sayo na drayber nan duwa na porter, naibalik an sobra na pamasahe nan taripa na insukot sa kaniya.
May ma-15 na taga-Bulan na pinabayaan sin sayo na kompanya san bus, dire in-uli an kuwarta nira, naghimo na kita reklamo sa tagsadire basi ma refund an kanira pamasahe, kay pinabayaan sira sa Atimonan.
Tutuo, may mga abuso pa, may mga panarantado pa sa mga biyaheros lalo na na mga taga-isla nan masbate, pero, inseseguro mi saiyo,maabot an oras, puwersa na hahaleon mi ini na pagtarantado nan pang-abuso kay nakataya an imahe ta.
Niyan na Enero, matakod na kita sin mga ilaw hale sa Pawa Hospital pakadto sa Terminal. Magiging maliwanag na an agihan soon na tinampo.
Sa niyan tabi, nakinegosyar kita sa PPA, PNP, Coastguard, SB nan iba pa na stakeholders basi lalo ma-perfect an sistema sin porterage hale sa nan pakadto sa Terminal.
Naiintindihan ko an kasibutan san iba na makaimod sin pagbabag-o, may mga reklamo o kun nano pa, pero kampante ini na saiyo mayor nan ina san bungto na mabibisay ta entero , in due time, the soonest possible time.
An Bulan Terminal nan Slaughterhouse dire man tabi profit-oriented o tuyo na makaganansiya o maka-income an municipio. Sala tabi yuon na impresyon. An terminal, service-oriented, tuyo na makaserbisyo sa tawo. Tutuo, may sakripisyo an nagkapera sa ato, pero maabot an panahon na maapreciar nato ini na pasilidad, pareho san sinabi ko kanina.

AN SANGGUNIANG BAYAN:
Niyan man tabi gusto hatagan rekognisyon an Sangguniang Bayan sa kanira suporta sa administrasyon ko. Ini sa pamumuno ni Vice-Mayor Awel Gogola. Dahil sa suporta nan kolaborasyon nira tabi, lalo napapadali an mga mehoras panglehislasyon.
Sini na nakaagi na onom kabulan, batog san magsumpa an mga bag-o ta na mga miembros san Sangguniang Bayan, daghanon na na mga importante na lehislasyon, sa paagi sin mga resolusyon nan ordenansa, an naipasa san Konseho. An mga importante na Ordenansa na naipasar na san SB an Municipal Slaughterhouse Ordinance, Bulan Integrated Terminal Ordinance, nan an Municipal Investment Incentives Code.

PILOSOPIYA POLITIKAL SAN ADMINISTRASYON:
Duro desde pa tabi, batog san mahatagan sin kumpiansa an De Castro na mao an mag-administrar san bungto, permi nasa isip nan puso namo an pagserbisyo para sa mga taga-Bulan. Maski an mga ninuno mi san panahon mao na talaga an nakatalaga sa kanira palad na magdanon nan magserbisyo.
Ini na pagdanon lalo namo nahahatagan sin kahulugan sa paagi sin mandato niyo sa amo basi maging lider san bungto. Sa paagi sini na mandato lalo narerealisar an mga pangaturugan mi para sa bungto ta.
An kaayadan niyo, mga kabubungto mi, obligasyon mi tabi. Surugoon kami san komunidad. Nan pakumbaba tabi sa pagserbi sa iyo. Pero, bilang lider, nanindugan kami segun sa pagtubod mi na mao an dapat himuon para sa ato entero. Bilang lider, tuon mi an saamo dughan nan ulo basi marespeto an dignidad san Opisina nan Autoridad na intiwala niyo sa amo, pero nababa kami kun kaayadan nato an nakataya. Nababa kami kun pagserbisyo an dapat himuon. Dire kami nakilala sin kolor pulitika sa entero na narani sa opisina san Mayor. Kay an Opisina ko para sa entero, para sa kada Bulanenyo.

KONKLUSYON:
Sa pag-abot tabi san Bag-ong Taon 2008, asahan tabi niyo na lalo mi papakay-adon an pagserbisyo sa iyo, sa ato komunidad.
Inpapangadyi ko tabi bilang sayo na ina, an kaayadan nato entero. Inpapangadyi ko na dire kita mawaraan pag-asa, nan inpapangadyi ko tabi na punuon kirita sin biyaya, maski bagaman dire materyal kundi spiritual. Inpapangadyi ko na punuon kita sin pag-asa, nan pakisumayo, nan kaayadan san puso.
An kada pagbabag-o sin taon panahon sin pag-asa, nan panibag-o na paghinguha.
An kada Bag-ong Taon maging dalan lugod sin pagbabag-o sa sadire, sa pamilya , sa komunidad para sa kaayadan o lalo na kaayadan.
Maw-ot ko po an pag-unhan nato entero.
Salamatonon tabi sa atensiyon niyo sini na inhatod ko na Report.
Dios mabalos tabi. Ini an saiyo lingkod, an saiyo mayor nan ina, minagalang po ako sa iyo, Helen De Castro.

When Money Is Not Everything

By: Dora The Mouse

 

When I was a child growing up, I’ve seen poverty and misery at a very young age. I experienced hunger and deprivation like everybody else around my neighborhood.  Those were the years when one can not really comprehend what poverty really like until you experienced it.  When it rains, it poured rain into my house. When I was cold , there was no sweater to keep me warm. When I was hungry, there was no food to eat . When I was sick, there was no medicine to ease my pain. My grandmother will kill a chicken to see what is inside the chicken and diagnose my illness. When I go to school, there was no breakfast to nourish my brain.  When I go home from school, there was no food on the table. When I go to church, I did not have  shoes on my feet. I go barefooted. One time, my  late father bought me a pair of shoes three sizes more than the size of my feet. I cried and told him that the shoes are too big for me. He told me to put some old newspaper inside and it will fit me. He told me that my feet will grow into it.  Three years later, my feet really grew into it and I stop putting newspaper inside my shoes. When I cry for help, there was nobody there to help because everybody was helpless too.   Years later, when I was 10 years old , we still suffer from hunger . My cousin and I will sit under a mango tree after a day’s work in the rice field talking about our aspirations in life.  Everybody wants to be rich like what we see in the movies. We dreamed about driving beautiful cars, big houses and pretty dresses with matching shoes, all the candies and chocolates we can buy. It was fun to dream big dreams but can I  really  do it in real life? Everybody just shrugged it off because we were poor and can not even afford to go to  high school  how much more in college.  As a ten year old kid, I thought, life was a daily struggle to survive. How much more going to college and fulfill my dreams.  It was a big dream for a ten year old kid. I didn’t have a clue how and where to start. But our poverty and the hardships I went through while growing up gave me a very good lesson in life that I carried through out my adult life. It gave me inspirations to work hard, set a goal and go for.   DO NOT GIVE UP! My late father said. Life is like a wheel sometimes you are up there and sometimes you are down here.  Right now we are down here poor and struggling.  Try and work hard.  Whether you succeed or failed at least you tried than not trying at all.  In other words, give your best shot and go for it in full throttle.

Many years later, I reached the age wherein I was ready to tackle whatever is in the future for me. I work hard, I mean, really  hard. You can imagine, working during the day and go to school at night. No vacation, no outing like any  other young adult does. I was stubborn like a tiger and nothing can stop me to reach and attain the goal I set for myself.  A few years later, I finished college and work hard until I   reach the very top of the ladder. I have a good position at work, earned good money, bought anything money can buy, like my dreams with my cousins when we were young and sitting under the mango tree.  Bought the latest sport car,  went to the best restaurant in town and bought the latest designer clothes with matching bags and all. Took care of my relatives and made their lives more comfortable but I still wasn’t happy. The material things that surround me were a temporary pleasure. There was something missing in my life that I tried to search and understand.  I tried to be spiritual and search my heart and my soul. What is it? I was  restless, searching aimlessly, where is happiness? My heart is empty of that inner contentment and peace.  I HAVE EVERYTHING MONEY CAN BUY, BUT IN ACTUALITY I HAVE NOTHING. 

MY SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS.   I traveled and went to far places to search for that elusive HAPPINESS. It was a lonely road. I’ve seen poor people on the sidewalk begging for food, a mother with a child in her arms sitting and trying to breastfeed her child but the child continued to cry. I know that the woman probably does not have enough milk. She herself looks emaciated and hungry. I’ve seen little Nipa  Huts with holes on the roof like we used to have many years ago. I saw this man age 35 years old but look 55 because of long years of carrying heavy gravel by the sack. I’ve visited a local elementary school and the old Principal told me that the children fetch their drinking water from the river nearby and asked me if I could donate a water pump.  I promised him that I will donate a water pump . I spoke to one of the school children  that caught my attention for he was very quiet in the corner.  Asked him if he ate his  breakfast, and he replied, there is nothing to eat but I  still go to school. This reminds  me of long ago when I was his age going to school hungry.  I told him maybe he will have lunch and he replied, if there is any food. What if there is no food, I asked, then I go to sleep. Why sleep? Why not play? I don’t have the energy to play. By the time I finished my interview with him, I was the one crying and the little boy was just looking at me with bewilderment in his eyes.  I’ve visited a local hospital in Pawa( Gotladera Memorial Hospital)  and saw the plight of the patients waiting for help. If they don’t have the money to buy the medicine and medical supplies that was prescribed, then , I guess, they will  just go home without any relief of his/her ailment. I encountered a  very old man walking along side the road, limping and in agony. He told me that he has “rayuma” but can not afford to buy the medicine for pain. Apparently, his children a son and a daughter both died a long time ago. There is nobody there to help him in his old age.  He makes his living by planting camote and camoting kahoy but his rayuma is getting worse now. He is worried what will happen with him when he can no longer get out of the house to work. I looked at him in his eyes, he was crying. I held his old wrinkled  hands and whispered  to him, Help will come soon and  left with a heavy heart. When I reached my house, I send him some rice and medicine for pain.

Why? why all these poverty?  What is the government doing ? Where are our leaders? It had been twenty years since I left my barrio. I did not see any progress. Nothing.  I saw the same people that I used to play with years ago, the sign of hardship in life was very visible. Their sad look in their eyes, the several lines in their brows and faces, the missing teeth for lack of dental care, the emaciated look, the hardened hands from years of  working in the field. These were my friends and when I saw them, I feel very sad.  The government has to do something and do it NOW!

 THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINES IS OVER. After a long search for that inner peace and contentment that I was missing in my life, I finally found it. It was right here in my heart  all along.   The poverty and hunger I went through when I was a child was the driving force to seek the reasons of my restlessness and unhappiness. I want to know why? All the successes that I gained and the honors I was bestowed from my dedication at my work was just a piece of paper. My heart was still empty. I felt like a restless soul, searching, wandering aimlessly in the open field, where all I can see was vast space of empty fertile land with no grass growing, it was like my life, empty and hollow. From the lonely path I was traversing ,  I finally found the happiness I desperately sought.  It was the  realization that YOU CAN NOT BUY HAPPINESS AND  MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING.

WHAT MONEY CAN DO.  I finally found the happiness, contentment and peace I had been looking for. It was my unfulfilled passionate desire to do something to alleviate the sufferings of the poor people that I love. I used to be one of them.  but I didn’t know how and  where to start.  It didn’t dawn to me until I talked to this elementary school boy with those big brown sad eyes. It reminded me of the time when I was his age, hungry and poor. It’s when I saw the old man limping along the road. The young man with a sack of gravel (graba).  I embarked on a mission to help the poor and never expected in my wildest dream that the respond was a tremendous success.

So, what is it? It’s been there for many years and had been serving the poor people for a long time. Maybe it already served some of you but you don’t know who is behind the scene for I don’t seek glory or praise. I am just happy and contented doing it and thankful to God for  guiding me find my niche and  giving me the courage and wisdom to do my mission in my small humble way. 

  I dedicate this article to my late father who taught me the power of pray, love, compassion, humility, hard work and never give up. 

                                                                                          Dora the Mouse

Poignant Memories of the Distant Past

Our Land Of Paradise

By: Tiger Of Serengeti

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Once upon a time, many decades ago, there were these beautiful islands sitting in the middle of the vast blue ocean on the other side of the world undisturbed of its beauty. It was like a paradise. It was indeed beautiful with its lush green forest, rivers and springs flowing with fresh cool crystal clear water from the mountains, wild birds with all sorts of colors fly freely, the thundering sweet calls of the Kalaw birds, abundance of colorful fish in the Coral Sea, the tamaraw and other native animals roam the virgin forest undisturbed by humans. The native people that lived in these islands took care of this country like a delicate maiden protected and unspoiled. They built the rice terraces, not only to plant rice, an engineering marvel, but to protect and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape. They harvested trees to build their homes, but were also careful not to spoil the habitat of the native animals that lives around them. They were very aware that ecological balance has to be maintained and considered to preserve the environment they live in.  These people were uncorrupted by greediness. They live in harmony with nature. The Aetas, the Ifugaos, the Igorots, and other native tribes lived in this beautiful land long before this country was called the Philippines. The native people had taken care of this land with the best of their ability as dictated by their beliefs and conscience. Their peaceful co-existence with other tribes  were  shattered forever by  the arrival of the Europeans, Chinese, Dutch, Indians, Malaysians, Japanese, Americans, etc. and out  of these groups of foreigners, came the modern Filipino of today. I can not call the Aetas, The Ifugaos, the Igorots and other native tribes “Filipinos” because they were already here long before the country was named Philippines in honor of King Philip 11 of Spain. I will call them the natives of the “Pearl of the Orient Sea ” and I am proud of them. These people maintained their identity and never waivered to foreign pressures to change their customs, traditions and beliefs. The native tribes were driven to the mountains by the onslaught of foreign conquest. The once virgin forest where the tamaraws freely roam was inundated of  its timbers by greedy Spanish conquestadores in connivance with Filipino politicians whose main concerns was to enrich themselves regardless of the consequences it will create. ( I happened to come across an old atlas book.  Philippine was listed as the 4th largest exporter of lumber in the world as of 1944. ) Where are the Tamaraws now? They only exist now in drawings and in pictures. What happened with our beautiful Kalaw birds and other native birds that live in the once virgin forest? Sadly, those beautiful birds were on the verge of extinction. Their natural habitats were destroyed by callous disregard of our environment by our corrupt leaders. Our leaders of the government allowed the greedy businessmen to harvest our timbers for money.  Now our mountains were denuded of lush green timbers. The head of our government did not even give a thought of replanting trees to replace what was harvested. There was nobody there to speak up and voice their concern about unabated destruction of our environment. I am sure the great majority of the masses saw these destructions of the environment around them but too timid or afraid to voice their revulsions or could it be apathy?  The denuded mountains are now growing cogon. Massive landslides destroyed homes and unprecedented death and destructions as a result of indiscriminate deforestations of our mountains.  The natural topography of our plains, hills and mountains were artificially redirected and re-routed to fit our modern needs. As a result of this interference with nature’s natural curvature of our landscapes, massive flooding occurs and no one can stop the fury of nature. Our rivers were once flowing with crystal clear water, is now murky, muddy, smelly, stagnant because of piles of garbage.  It became the raw sewage disposal place, mosquito infested, polluted and indeed a very, very sad river (see the river just below R.G de Castro College) Our rice fields was once fertile and a haven for native Hito (black catfish) and dalag that borrows itself in the mud during dry season and comes out from hibernation during rainy season fills our rice paddies. My mother told me how joyful it was to see them jumping, squiggling in the mud during rice planting season. How nature preserve these wonderful fish for us to appreciate. But all of these things are slowly disappearing with the introductions of chemical fertilizers, imported snails not even edible for human consumption, and imported Taiwanese catfish that devoured our native catfish. This is indeed very sad because this catfish (Hito) existed long before the modern human were here.  Our ocean became our garbage dump. Beautiful corals that once thrive in our shores are now slowly dying from pollution and careless scrapping of the corals by illegal fishermen from Taiwan with their big trawlers. We used to have abundance of tropical fish for our consumption and for the future generations to come, but with the insensitive disregard of our country’s rules and regulations for fishing by foreign fishermen, our corals are slowly being  destroyed and so the natural habitat of our endangered marine species. Our beaches that once were clear and the pride of our ancestors are now full of debris and broken glasses scattered around. You have to be very careful where to walk. You might step on human waste or dog’s droppings. We used to have mild weather; natural plants like abaca, rattan, coconut grow very well with the kind of weather we used to have. But when people   relentlessly harvested the trees for lumber and for other purposes without replacing it, our weather changed. It is no longer the kind of weather conducive to growth of our native plants. Our weather is hotter, dryer, less rain. These are all the catastrophic results of callously disregarding the ecological balance and environmental protection of our God given paradise land. I can’t help but reflects the POIGNANT MEMORIES OF THE DISTANT PAST of this land we call home. It was a home where we can breathe fresh air, drink crystal clear water from the rivers, the soft rustling sound of the streams, the croaking of the frogs like a concerto in C minor come rainy days, the singing of the birds in the early morning sun as if rejoicing the new day, the sweet smell of the grass after the rain, the smiling people coming home from harvesting rice, proud for collecting sacks of rice for his day’s work. It was a simple life and happy. What did we do to our land? Why did we not protect our natural resources? It was GREED, GREED, and GREED by our leaders and politicians. These politicians and leaders don’t care what happen with us and our environment. We can make a big difference by starting to be aware of our surroundings NOW. Start planting trees even one tree per family a month by the end of the year, we already had planted a thousand trees; don’t throw your garbage in the ocean, beaches or the rivers. Bury the biodegradable and recycle the reusable. Don’t use our rivers as your raw sewage disposal. It creates diseases and mosquitoes will thrive in it. Look at what happened with our very own river in Bulan. It is now a dying river and it makes me very, very sad. Plant assorted vegetables in your backyard.  Fresh vegetables are healthier than junk food. TEACH the youth to TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR OWN DESTINY; don’t expect other people to do it for you. Don’t be DEPENDENT. It is a crippling disease and takes away your dignity as a person. Teach the present and future generations to care for the animals, birds and other living species.  They are very precious to me. They have the right to live in this world too and they are part of our eco-system.  Teach them to express their thoughts and feelings in a positive way and to be open minded to positive criticism. Take pride in your work. When you work, give your 100% effort. You will feel better when you are honest with yourself.  At the end of the day, you can honestly say that you earned every centavo you made that day. It is a good feeling. For once in your life, you were honest and didn’t cheat.   IT IS YOUR LIFE AND FUTURE. Take away that ugly Filipino character of ( ma-isip, ma-o-ri, orihon, tamad, the bahala na attitude, do it tomorrow attitude, ENVY , DEPENDENCY to others will cripple your ability to survive out there in the real world. Shape your own future by working on it, not depending on others to shape it for you.  Be HONEST, take responsibility of your own mistake by accepting it, correct it, and apologize. Don’t indulge in FALSE PRIDE, it will just ruin you.  ARROGANCE is just an egotistical desire for power and dominance. We can not afford it. We are too poor for that kind of attitude and will bring you nowhere but down. GOSSIPING about other people to elevate oneself plagued the minds of the people for a long time. This kind of thinking is very destructive and it hinders progress. Let us CHANGE some of those ugly characters of the Filipino that is PULLING US DOWN TO CONSTANT POVERTY.  Keep the good traits, trash the ugly ones. We have to teach present and future generations to change this kind of mentality. We have to erase it. We have to start NOW or our country will be devoured by foreigners whose intentions are to take advantage of the plight of the poor people. They already started by building their shipyard in Zambales without regards to the destruction of our forest and natural habitat of our endangered birds and animal species. The Koreans, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Japanese, the Taiwanese, pretty soon, it will be the Vietnamese are coming in droves. They are looking, prodding, calculating, conniving with our leaders, planning, exploring, the possibility of taking over the Philippine’s natural resources, gold mining, oil explorations in the Spratly Islands, the destructions  of our sea shores from  mining of margaha right in front of our very own eyes  but people seem to be indifferent.  Is this what happened many, many years ago when our environment was being destroyed by greedy politicians and nobody was there to voice their concern?  It is sad to say that HISTORY SEEMS TO BE REPEATING ITSELF because of the total indifference of the people. I did not see anybody carrying placards saying “STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT”! About the government projects involving millions of dollars, these countries claimed that they donated millions of dollars on the pretext of helping the Philippines build the roads and other proposed projects to benefit the people. The monies they gave are not to build government projects. It goes to the pockets of our leaders as largesse.  Our leaders are selling our country to the foreigners and were given a free reign to do anything they want in this country. The Korean company Hanjin knows exactly what they were doing. They will not invest billions of dollars in those massive projects and walk away. There will be exposures of bribery, corruptions, overpricing of materials, cooking the book, so they say. No matter how our people complained about the destruction of our forest, our leaders will give in to the Hanjin Company’s demand. They are arrogant and don’t respect our Filipino leaders because they know that our leaders are corrupt and can be bought and were already bought. Few years from now, we will be again the slave of foreign domination. This time we are losing our country to foreign domination by way of subtle economic exploitations.  Our ancestors sacrificed thousands of lives defending our country (We lost 2 uncles, grandfather from World War 11.) but we won the war. This time, it is a different war. A war dominated by economic exploitations of our natural resources by the foreigners in conjunction with our elected leaders of our government.  Our very own government is selling off our country to the highest bidder for their own benefits. It is dastardly sickening to see what is happening to our once paradise land. But we can save our country from foreign domination by working   together as a team. We have to be assertive and take control of the situation. Don’t let the situations control us. It will be a long haul but we can do it.      

 

Email: tigerofserengeti@gmail.com

             

HONOR THY FATHER & THY MOTHER!

Or, Belated Happy Mother’s Day.

by : attybenji

Honor thy Father and thy Mother – is the best and everlasting presents that child can give to the his/her parents, specially the mother (free of charge), when we all celebrated the MOTHER’s DAY a week ago – though the message is a little bit late, but it does’nt matter, as the saying goes “better late than never”.

This fifth commandment (in the Old Testament) is a command rather than a request. No “ifs” no “buts”. That regardless of their character, (whether they’re wicked, irresponsible, etc.) children are bound to honor and respect their parents. No condition! That’s an order…

Hereunder are the lyrics of “Nanay ko Tatay Ko”, a popular bicol song has a sentimental message to the “ANAK” – to shower her “TATAY y NANAY” with love, care and respect without condition, because of his “Dakulang Utang na Boot sa Magurang”.

“Si Nanay si Tatay”

Si Nanay si Tatay di co babayaan.
Balaquid na boot an sacuyang utang
Si pagdara saco nin siyam na bulan
Gatas cong dinodo di co mabayadan.

Ay Nanay ay Tatay con ako humale,
Hihidawon mo man sa gabos mong aki
Macacoa ca man nin macacasangli
Dai macaarog kan sacong ugali

Ay Nanay ay Tatay kun ako maraot
Pogotan nin payo ibontog sa lawod
Con mahiling nindo na naganod-anod
Ay Nanay ay Tatay sapuda man tolos.

But today, the realities of life differ from the actual message of the above song under the following incidents, please consider the day to day headlines news as published in the newspaper tabloid, FRONTPAGE headlines: such as, Ama pinatay ng sariling Anak: Drug Adik na Anak, kumitil ng sariling Ama: Anak minasaker ang kanyang Nanay at Tatay: Anak na pasaway, binaril ang sariling Nanay: Anak naghuramentado, pinagpapatay ang sariling pamilya: Anak na ayaw padisiplina, tinaga ang sariling Ama; etc…

The reason is simple – kawalan ng disiplina sa sarili at paggalang sa magulang, at sa batas.

What many seemingly have never learned or forgotten is that duty to parents does not end with childhood days at home and under parental supervision.

A very famous song entitled “ANAK” popularized by Freddie Aguilar has another message – is about the child who disobeyed his parents despite love and care given by his parents, but in the end, “Ang Anak ay Nagbago at Nagsisi”.

“ANAK”
by: freddie aguilar

Nang isilang ka sa mundong ito,
Laking tuwa ng magulang mo.
At ang kamay nila
Ang iyong ilaw.

At ang nanay at tatay mo,
‘di malaman ang gagawin.
Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo.
Sa gabi napupuyat ang iyong nanay
Sa pagtimpla ng gatas mo.

At sa umaga nama’y kalong
Ka ng iyong amang tuwang-tuwa sa iyo.
Ngayon nga’y malaki ka na,
Nais mo’y maging malaya.
‘di man sila payag,
Walang magagawa.

Ikaw nga’y biglang nagbago,
Naging matigas ang iyong ulo.
At ang payo nila’y,
Sinuway mo.

Hindi mo man lang inisip
Na ang kanilang ginagawa’y para sa iyo.
Pagka’t ang nais mo masunod ang layaw mo,
‘di mo sila pinapansin.

Nagdaan pa ang mga araw
At ang landas mo’y naligaw
Ikaw ay nalulon
Sa masamang bisyo.

At ang una mong nilapitan
Ang iyong inang lumuluha.
At ang tanong,
“anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan?”
At ang iyong mga mata’y biglang lumuha
Ng ‘di mo napapansin
Pagsisisi ang sa isip mo,
Nalaman mong ika’y nagkamali.

What is the true way to honor parents? To live a godly and decent life before all men! The greatest honor a child can bestow upon his parents is to live a consecrated and faithful Christian life.

True honor begins with genuine love for parents. It is manifested even in “little things,” like keeping in contact with them, showing interest in their lives, as well as doing those things for them that need to be done. Letters, calls, gifts, remembrances, words, visits, honor of their views and respect for their advice are such things that parents may lawfully claim and expect from their children.

Charity is not the only thing that begins at home, but also thoughtfulness, truthfulness, honesty, uprightness, good citizenship and respect for authority all begin in the home. Lawlessness often begins in the home because there one can learn to disrespect authority as well as learn to respect it. If the world is ever going to be a better place there first must be better homes.

The welfare of society rests in the family and the reconstruction of family virtues and values, parental authority and responsibility, and the obedience of children to their parents.

The fifth commandment, learned, believed and obeyed is one of the surest safeguards, and is a near guarantee for correct and righteous human behavior. It gives the blueprint for the reign of law and order. It makes possible a life of peace, security and happiness. It will provide, especially for the young, a solid foundation upon which life can be built and lived as God would have it. When children obey their parents they learn to obey those in charge of schools, government officials, employers, and all others with whom they will have to deal in life. While children obey parents they are doing more than learning the right ways and obeying parents.

Christ set the example for honoring parents. His first miracle was undertaken at the request of His mother. As He died on the cross He remarked, “Woman behold thy son,” and to another (probably John) He said, “Behold thy mother.” In this fashion, even as His life was going from Him, He showed care and concern for His mother and instigated the means for her continued provisions in this life.

The obligation children have to parents is not a one-way street. Parents have obligations to their children. There is no law of God that says children must obey their parents in doing that which is wicked. Many parents are not respected because they are not respectable. To be honored one must strive to be honorable. Parents must in some measure earn and deserve respect as well as demand it. Parents earn it and children learn it. It is futile to expect children to respect parental authority when the same parents do not have respect for divine authority.

Belated HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers out there! Kayo po ang ILAW NG TAHANAN. Mabuhay!

CNH (Central Nautical Highway) – An Opportunity (And A Challenge…)

 

by rudy bellen

 

Attached is an excerpt from a news article of Manila Bulletin last April 29, 2008 during the launching of the Central Nautical Highway by no less than Pres. Gloria Arroyo seeing off roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) three day sea caravan plying the maiden route taking off from Bulan port. This is the last leg that completes a sea route connecting Bicol and Mindanao, the final component of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) via the central seaboard. The other two are : 1.) Western Nautical Highway (western seaboard) via Batangas port linking Manila and Dipolog, and  2.) Eastern Nautical Highway (eastern seaboard) via Matnog connecting Samar/Leyte to Surigao City. The CNH is an intermodal transport system offering a safe, affordable transport alternative to travel across the central Philippines or the Visayas. It links Sorsogon, Masbate, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, it also seeks to reduce travel and trade costs and consequently boost economic development in the countryside.

 

–> see Manila Bulletin Online for the original of the following report:

 by Genalyn D. Kabiling

“Filipinos can now enjoy a safe, affordable transport alternative to travel across the central Philippines or the Visayas. President Arroyo yesterday launched the Central Nautical Highway (CNH) that seeks to reduce travel and trade costs and consequently boost economic development in the countryside.

 

The Central Nautical Highway is an intermodal transport system linking Sorsogon, Masbate, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, and Misamis Oriental. It completes the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) composed of 17 ports across the country, inaugurated by the President in 2003.

Accompanied by Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza, transport officials, and local executives, Mrs. Arroyo kicked off a three-day sea caravan in Bulan, Sorsogon, where she switched on the lights showing the ports in the central seaboard.

Under the Central Nautical Highway, the ports are located in Bulan, Sorsogon, Masbate City, and Cawayan in Masbate; Bogo and Cebu City in Cebu, Tubigon and Jagna in Bohol, Mambajao and Benoni in Camiguin, and Balingoan, Misamis Oriental.

The President later sent off the RORO (roll on, roll off) caravan, boarded by passengers mostly members of the media, in Bulan.  From Sorsogon, Mrs. Arroyo boarded a helicopter and travelled to the two ports of Masbate for similar send-off ceremonies.

The President first inaugurated the port of Masbate City, the first national port in the island province. The port exclusively handles containerized cargo among the Bicol terminals, aside from bulk commodities. Its fastcraft operations connect Bicol main with the port of Pilar, Sorsogon.

 

 

So what does it means for us? For me, I can see a great opportunity and benefits that Bulan would gain as the main gateway to one of the most dynamic regions in the Visayas and northern Mindanao. This nautical highway has put Bulan as the most strategic location linking directly to the tourist famous destinations of Cebu, Bohol and Camiguin. It also links us directly to Misamis Oriental in northern Mindanao – site of the biggest Hanjin Heavy Industries’ (HHI) investments (a staggering US$2B), together with the other HHI facility at Subic, these investments when completed would propel the Philippines as the 3rd biggest

shipbuilder in the world just behind South Korea and Japan even surpassing Spain.

 Just imagine, if the enterprising Cebuanos – comparable to Japanese, with no mango plantations yet they are best known for their dried mangoes, guitars, and other famous Cebuano products, would be directly passing Bulan, they might as well discover our native products and services which they can probably help us market through out the world. Or, help us develop our beautiful natural sites not only in Bulan but at the other places in Bicol as well, by putting up and developing tourism oriented facilities. Germans in Bohol are only confined today in their sanctuary in Panglao and other Bohol beaches but once they started to discover the beauty of Bicol they might change their mind. I was once surprised to find in the internet spectacular photos of the Butag bay and sunset at Sabang beach taken by no less than German adventurers!

  This direct “contact” is not feasible before as there’s no alternative land/Ro-Ro transport to offer, Cebuanos, Boholanos and other Visayans prefer to fly or take ferries direct from Manila to their final destinations thereby bypassing Bicol. But now they have the choice and option increasing the chances of more regional trades and tourism activities subsequently capital movements that would boost economic developments. This will also open up intra regional migrations, both for Bulan and the greater Bicol area vis a vis Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao.

  Let us not forget foreign tourists as well, with the big Hanjin investment at PHIVIDEC, Misamis Oriental, expect a throng of Koreans and other nationalities excitingly discovering this part of the country – and what does it means for us? Well, this is another opportunity to take advantage of, for us to globalize our products and services catering to international customers and so on. There is a never ending prospect for us!

 This is exactly what I told Letty in my response to her Kabatas’ blog on her gripes about the status of Bulan today, that there are now lots of strangers and “invaders”. I informed her that this is the strength of our town – a local melting pot, naturally and strategically situated at the crossroads of an important, very dynamic region, they know there is an opportunity. That this is a challenge for the local leadership to hasten, tap and reap the benefits of the blended talents of the local and “migrants” and transform our town to be one of the most vibrant, prosperous and flourishing trading post in our region.

 What should be done? There are lots of things to do if we don’t want to miss this once a in a lifetime opportunity. First we must get our acts together. We need to apply the three C’s of progress – Collaborate, Complement and Cooperate.

· Collaborate – Team up, this call for the public and private sector to work together in partnership. Be proactive. Put first things first and begin with the end mind – no place for lapses, blunder and oversight.

· Complement – Harmonize and supplement, make up for the weakness of the other. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Instead of opposing and rivalry that would create hostile environment, identify strength and niche products or services specific to a place that would give rise to specialization and originality.

· Cooperate – Assist, pool resources, do your part, synergize.

 Another C to watch out is competition, be prepared and organize ourselves for a tough and challenging competition from other contenders. Though Bulan is the official designated CNH Ro-Ro port, Pilar town is aggressively gearing up themselves as an alternative route of the CNH, its fastcraft operations connect Bicol main with the ports of Masbate city or Aroroy town. While they have fastcrafts Bulan has nothing to speak of.

 Second, we must educate our people and make liquid clear the importance of being a tourist or stranger friendly citizens. This negative trait of some of our folks has been with us ever since. I remember one time on one of my occasional break when I went home together with my wife and daughter; we took a bus and upon arrival at the Bulan bus terminal the usual boorish “baggage” boys were banging each other to get first and grabbed our luggage. My wife and daughter were so shocked and afraid so I have to step up and threatened them; coincidentally I was sporting a short cut hair then, they thought I was a military man and they backed off. But the experience doesn’t stop there, after several days of our stay; there was news of a man from Masbate who ran amock at the market. The poor man was “pushed to the wall” by successive depressing events that happened to him – he is traveling back home because his wife passed away, he and his daughters did not catch the last trip to the island and was forced to sleep and wait for the next day trip at the bus terminal, when they woke up, their belongings were nowhere to be found. He reported the incident to the police but instead of helping him, he was passed around and worst of all his young daughters were harassed and molested by the ill mannered “baggage” boys. So there he goes, he went wild and stab every person in his way.

If you have spent some vacation trip at Bohol, there you’ll discover the true meaning of tourist friendly phrase. Hotel staff would politely refuse any form of tips; folks are so friendly and always ready to assist any stranger in their community.

 What do we have to offer? I think we have ample natural and human resources readily available for development and advancement. Butandings (whale sharks) is not exclusive to Donsol alone; we have plenty of it in our waters too. These gentle giants are not confined at Sorsogon bay for their food requirement, in fact they are grazing outside of the bay and most are in Ticao Pass because their food (planktons and small shrimps) are carried upstream by the converging Pacific Ocean and China sea in San Bernardino Strait. Many of our fishermen can attest to this phenomenon. We also have the giant Pasa-pasa (Manta Rays) and plenty of it is right in our waters.

 We have beautiful and unique (margaja sand) beaches from Danao all the way to Marinab, there are exciting diving sites, too, especially in the Butag bay. Possibly under our waters were old age shipwrecks – from Spanish to WWII eras which are a main draw for the diving enthusiasts. Maybe we can convince tours and travel agencies to put Bulan (and Sorsogon province) in their radar maps for their tourist promos as an alternative to other known and crowded beaches of the country.

 We have an airstrip that should have been fully maximized instead of being a grazing place for the carabaos (some portions were already converted to rice paddies). This is one asset that other towns doesn’t have aside from Bacon, and should be an enticing factor for those who don’t want to travel overland from Manila all the way down to Bulan. Small aircrafts and STOL (short take off/landing) crafts can easily be accommodated by this facility. I can still remember when Air Force can even land their cargo planes on it. Maybe some enterprising entrepreneurs can start a chartering business for this purpose.

 Other things to remember. We should also learn from the experience of other towns, like Matnog – it is one of the first municipalities to have the Ro-Ro facility and has been there for some time now, but no significant progress has been achieved by the town. Why? We should gain knowledge and be taught from their failures, acquire and leverage from the know how and technology of the progressive ones.

 As a logistics person, I recognize and see a need for support facilities for the Ro-Ro port to operate efficiently. I think the controversial Bulan Central Terminal (BCT) has its function and purpose after all. But from my point of view, I cannot see the relevance – in any way I look at it, how it would best support the Ro-Ro port from its current site. It is too far! The ideal site should be right beside the port so the arriving and departing passengers would not be inconveniently shuttling or going back and forth. This will irritate the exhausted travelers, besides being time consuming additional expenses would be incurred by the passengers just to catch up with connecting rides. It can be also a temporary holding area for the cars and buses that are waiting for their turn to board Ro-Ro ships, eliminating long queues and crowding of vehicle thereby resulting to a smooth and efficient port operation.

 Lastly, I see a need to relocate the port in five years time or less with an assumption that there would be an unprecedented growth in the number of travelers. The port should be relocated outside of the town proper with enough provisions and support facilities to encourage and promote continued usage. The current road leading to the facility is too narrow and not adequate enough to sustain the volume of vehicles that would be traveling to and from the docks. This would create congestions and gridlock

I know this is only a fraction of a long list of what to do and what do we have and may have forgotten other things that should be done to make our town an organized, equipped and a prepared community for the forthcoming progress. You may add other relevant infos and suggestions that would be of help.

I firmly believe that our town has a bright future and it is starting to manifest now.

 

Bless us all.

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel Free, Come In With Your Friends!

 

A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad. ” ~Albert Camus

 

Good or Bad Bulan Observer? Well, it’s for you to judge- for we respect your freedom to be free with your opinions. And  feel free to write here any article about Bulan, about your life as a pupil or as a student, your dreams and visions for Bulan. Make use of Bulan Observer for it is a platform made for you to express yourself. You have some good poems to share? So, take them out from  that hiding place where they have been left forgotten for years and share them to our  Kabungtos. Or an original musical composition, a song? Or maybe an essay or a scientific article? Or beautiful photos taken lately of Bulan sunset? Share them to our town. Bulan Observer is there to connect each one of us socially and culturally.

You may have noticed that Bulan Observer came into being as a reaction to some form of “political incorrectness” that happened in the past. We have reacted and will react the same to any matters involving social justice. But we leave a space for all of us to meet together and talk about other aspects of Bulan life. We are free to hold the view that if the national politics has divided the nation, this should not  happen in Bulan- or in Bicol region as a whole. Politics must not necessarily divide us for ages but strengthen us as one people that is struggling to survive yet maintaining that Bulan smile and respect for each other along the way. For what is wrong in accepting and correcting errors made in the past  for the purpose of bringing our very own town forward now? In the face of world food crisis, it’s about time that we put our egos aside and start focusing on how we can prevent our Kabungtos from dying of hunger. I think this attitude is sustainable and has a future.

Bulan Observer doesn’t  side to any specific political family in Bulan nor is against any personally, and is not against the idea of Bulan Government, thus, would want to correct any notion that might have arisen hitherto.

Bulan Observer is for the people of Bulan. It is a paid blog site so don’t worry about space. We have more than enough gigabytes at our disposal. So, feel free  and come in with your friends!

For A brighter Bulan!

 (To send your article, just use the comment area -or use  junasun05@yahoo.com)

jun asuncion

Response To Timothy- or The Pillar Of Truth

 

It was the result of my observations that led me to question the role of Roman Catholic Church in nation building, recognizing the fact that Religion and the Church plays a crucial factor in character building of the individual. But why then is a society that is composed of such Roman Catholic -raised and Roman Catholic- educated people is susceptible to moral corruption as expressed in their daily business with one another and most obviously in their political affairs which begins from the national down to the local government officials and extends down the line of traffic policemen. Of course there are still some honest public servants, but they are little exceptions to the rule.The fact is Corruption -and not Religion- has long been accepted as a way of life in the Philippines (and in other Roman Catholic nations as well) since the coming of the Spaniards. Is this but a reflection of the inherited corrupt nature and tradition of the Roman Catholic Church that infiltrated the collective  unconscious (C.G.Jung) and psyche of the Filipino (and of other catholic nationalities ) after centuries of Roman Catholic dominion? Take note that here I’m talking about the man-made institution (Government?) of the Roman Catholic Church, and not the Religion of Christianity as founded by Christ himself.

Observing that many other Roman Catholic nations are also very corrupt like the Philippines has led me to conclude that Catholicism has failed to be a tool for building a better society. I do not accuse but merely reflect back the facts observed and the documented records of the Roman Catholic Church herself. Then, what is a supposedly grandiose and forcefully imposed foreign church worth for if it had no function in the society it had willingly conquered? Is it just there to gather the flock every Sunday, collect money from the “Faithful” and send it to the Bishop of Rome? In any case, there is just this missing factor in the Roman Catholic culture and system of education which hinders the individual to transfer positively the Christian teachings he learned in his interaction withthe society, particularly the way that he handles the public office entrusted to him if he is a public servant. Or is the Roman Catholic Church nothing but an edifice of corruption and therefore do not possess the moral authority, hence ineffective, in preaching the pure gospel of Jesus Christ which is characterised mainly by love of God and His Commandments (Thou Shall Not Steal, Though Shall Not Kill…) and love and compassion for fellow men and all creations?

In my studies I came to realize that Christianity was shamelessly corrupted and politicized the day when the Roman Emperor Constantin 1 showed interest in Christianity through the Edict of Milan in 313 which now treated nicely the long time persecuted Christian communities and his calling to life the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD which decreed which books must be or must not be included in the Bible and the adoption of Catholic Christianity as official state Religion of the Roman Empire in 380 by Emperor Theodosius I in Thessalonica. The Edict of Milan which ended the persecution of the early Christians would not testify to the genuine personal appreciation of Constantin of Christianity for he himself remained worshipping the Deus Sol Invictus-the Unconquered  Sun God-and continued his working on the falsifications of Christian religious history, allowing himself only be converted to Christianity through Ambrose just moments before his death. It was rather clear from the outset that everything was a politically-motivated move of these emperors who realized the unifying potential of the growing Christian population at a time when the pagan Roman Empire was declining (The crisis of the 3rd Century in the history of the Roman Empire) and from this date on, the corruption of Christ’s teachings started, beginning with the incorporation into it of many pagan practices of ancient Rome, to the horrible abuses of perverse Popes acting in the name of Christ, the series of Roman Catholic Church-led Crusades, notably the 35- year crusade against the Cathars beginning in 1209 that killed thousands of people, the permanent institution of Inquisition in the 12th Century (Malleus Maleficarum- The Hammer Of Witches !) that led to the burning of heretics (people holding a different opinion ) at the stake (remember Savonarola?), persecution of scientists including Galileo, and finally the confiscation of the properties of these accused and/or murdered people. This gruesome burning and crusades lasted for 475 years, the last woman in Europe to be executed on suspicion of witchcraft was Anna Göldi, in Glarus, Switzerland in 1782 who was finally rehabilitated last year by Glarus local authorities.

  • With this background of brutal corruption and the failure of Roman Catholic educators to recognize this cruel past of the Roman Catholic Church, no sane man could expect that Roman Catholicism is the answer to the quest for Truth (” no matter how the Roman Catholic Church of today presents the “sweetness and light” that Roman Catholic Christianity brought to the world”) and therefore could contribute to Filipino progress, morally and politically. There is danger in denying history. You surely know George Santayana’s warning with respect to this.
  • The founding of schools and hospitals was no way a sign of progress for the Spaniards who came in 1521 and founded them came not really to introduce the real Christianity but they came to introduce and to represent the corrupted version of Christianity (which actually became a form of government known us Theocracy, with the Pope as the absolute authority ) dating back 325 ( and not the Christianity before this date as taught by Christ himself, his Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers and the ante-Nicene Church fathers i.e.,before the council of Nicaea, who, though defending (Apologia) the Christian faithfrom false doctrine, were still dedicated in transmitting the gospel in its true and pure form, in contrast to the post-Nicene Church Fathers who were now just interested in the writings of Articles of Faith( or better, Constitution Of Faith?) and Theology (the most famous being Augustine), all of which were geared at cementing the power and authority of the pope ( a title of pagan and pre-christian origin itself ) and the church of Rome and its pagan-soaked catholic rituals. One such man-made Article of Faith is the Doctrine of Infallibility which was decreed by the Vatican Council (Vatican Senate ? ) in 1870.
  • The Spanish Conquestadores who, in 1521, came, saw and conquered the Philippine islands, allegedly to “Spread Christianity”, came in fact to spread Terrorism, for they were no doubt acting in the spirit of Inquisition, echoing the notorious Spanish Inquisition at the end of the 15th century under Ferdinand and Isabel. Thus they came to conquer, to kill and enslave the natives and to sequester the whole of Philippine Archipelago.
  • Timothy, Progress is not measured in terms of roads, schools, hospitals and bridges built but in the upgrading of the moral and political consciousness of the Filipino people. Were colonisation, oppression, aggression, murders, suppression of truth, slavery, pillage and denials part of the teachings of Christ himself, and were they conducive to socio-economic and moral upgrading of the Filipinos during this entire Spanish occupation which lasted for almost 400 years? Surely not.
  • Was the public execution by firing squad of the then strongest intellectual critic Dr. Jose Rizal in 1896 not enough to show the intention of the Roman Catholic Church in preventing the Filipinos from developing and, above all, from using their own intellect? I declare once again that the message was clear. During this occupation time, the Spanish civil government and the Roman Catholic Church were one and the same in their intention, though the Catholic friars were much more feared by the Filipinos (Indios, according to them) than the Spanish civil authorities.
    The inability of the Catholics to pray a spontaneous original prayer is not the failure of the individual Catholic but a symptom of the authoritative, truth-denying and dogmatic system of teaching of the Roman Catholic Church (only the Catholic clergy, and not a lay Catholic, is allowed to interpret the Bible to prevent “misinterpretation” ) which does not take pleasure in the development of individuality but in the passive submission of the flock, which is understandable in light of the undisputed Roman Catholic history of persecuting heretics, meaning people who use the brain given to them by God and who think in the opposite direction.
  • The 1 Tim 3:15 was referring to Jesus Christ’s Church as the Pillar Of Truth, not to the Roman Catholic Church that for a long time in its history were presided and represented by indecent people, impostors and murderers, people not worthy an inch of Christianity. If you look back to the old written pages (profile?) of this Church, you cannot help but shudder and admit that it is built neither upon Jesus Christ nor Simon Peter the Rock but that it is built upon the rock of Gotteslästerung-of Blasphemy- itself.
  • Your statement that “the fact that most of the lawyers, teachers, doctors and nurses (priests, engineers and psychologists as well? ) are Catholic clearly refutes the idea that the (Roman ) Catholic Church prevents developing and using your intellect”.
  • Well, the mind is the only thing that cannot be caged  even if threatened with crucifixion as what the Romans did to Christ in Golgotha or to Simon Peter in Rome, the beheading of Paul (also in Rome) or the immersing of an Apostle named John in boiling oil, or the beheading of  that poor Swiss woman Ana Göldi. And besides the Roman Catholic Church has nothing against teachers and nurses as long as they don’t question the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church, its dogmas and canons, the Infallibility of the Bishop of Rome and naturally its gruesome medieval history. This is the truth Timothy that you are tasked to protect- and I hope you’re enjoying it.
  • Now, to your last statements “we’ve already established that there is no fact, but just a common myth, an urban legend”,  and “Hopefully, you are open to the truth which is far different.”
  •  Here, you sounded like those typical Catholic religion teachers who were so dogmatic and not open to the truth which is far different by not allowing us to study the Bible (I haven’t seen one in the classroom) but instead devoted their time in teaching us the Articles of Faith of the Roman Catholic Church authored by Vatican Senate (not by Chirst or Simon Peter), and by not mentioning a word about the history (and secrets) of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Ignorance of History, or were they victim themselves of such method of instruction? You know you cannot defeat facts with philosophical syllogisms alone, a subject you surely love so much, for you need this tool in speaking in defense of (Apologia) the Holy Roman Catholic Church- and you will have more such occasions that will keep you busy for the rest of your life in view of the Roman Catholic scandals now coming more and more to light. You can continue on arriving at a beautiful logical proposition  after inferring from two premises, or throw up Bible verses here and there to make your point. But the fact that Roman Catholic nations are mostly corrupt-like the Philippines or Italy or, for this matter, the Vatican City itself, remains simply a fact, only it is not beautiful. The Truth is simply there to be seen , there is nothing to hide.

In Christ Alone,

jun asuncion

Adonis Asuncion

 by jun asuncion (written Dec. 3, 2007 to the reader prodebate4 in sorsogonnews’s weblog)

Prodebate4, yes I am one of Adonis’ grandsons, and I am very proud of him for as a mayor he placed the people of Bulan first before himsef. That was wartime so the people of Bulan were deprived of many basic things in life but they were not deprived of a leader who loved them during those difficult times. Even in his last years, suffering from dementia, he used to make his late afternoon-rondas with his baston and flashlight in the streets of Canipaan “to make sure that everything is ok in his town”, so to speak. His memory failed him, but not his memory about his duty and reponsibilty to his people. People in Bulan knew him and they would usually help him back home. You see this honesty in his heart that’s why he was also loved by the people of Bulan.
It is important that we look back to our past,- to those leaders who put the interest of the people first, who sacrificed many things in their lives, even in some cases their very own families for the sake of Bulan,- to ground our political views at present. Our town stands on a solid foundation laid down by many noble and dignified leaders of the past. Now it’s your turn to give tribute to them by being guided by their very own ideals as you go on with your daily political affairs in Bulan. In this way there is this spirit of continuity, thus protecting the town from some people who are there just driven by their selfish intentions. Such people are not rooted in Bulan’s history, dissipated and vicious people, and therefore do not deserve to lead a beautiful town like Bulan. Bulan deserves a bright future.
Jun A. /Zürich

You are the Town

  The idea is not to make a 1:1 comparison between past and present leaders of Bulan, nor overrate the past for there were also corrupt leaders before, but rather to remind us always (Remember, “Those who do not remember… are condemned to repeat it” Santayana. ) and for us to focus on the legacy of the good ones for Bulan to move forward. Moving forward requires in the first place a functioning government and leadership embedded in democratic principles.The system of governance and the sovereignty of the people is above any elected leader ( not the other way around ) and the people are conscious of their rights and take seriously their responsibilities. It takes these two elements- Good Government and the People’s constructive participation to achieve the Foundation for that progress that we have been dreaming since ages for Bulan.

 The way to Progress itself is long and requires time, sacrifices, attitudinal change in every one, creativity, tenacity and endurance, loyalty, industry, the will to change for the better, seriousness and courage. This is a Software-pack we don’t need to import from China , it’s in us- and for free! If each one of us realizes this and begins to direct his/her daily life according to it then we may start talking about progress.

Progress begins in the mind. If the collective mind of Bulan has arrived in this level of strength and consciousness, material progress will follow. Real progress can not be measured in some cemented roads and bridges built but in the strength of the society to pursue its visions and to define and maintain its identity at all costs. All other things will follow.

Easier said than done? Pure rhetoric? No.We need each other to build up the foundation first. The way that we exchange ideas now, give and receive critics, encourage one another, etc. is already doing something for that foundation we want to strengthen, each in his own way and experience.Something positive is going on among us, something positive is happening in our town- for we are the town.

 
jun asuncion
Bulan Observer