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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Happy 442nd birthday to La Laguna, my beloved adoptive province!

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Soon after my discovery of La Laguna province’s long-lost foundation date last year, ordinance #44 , s. 2012 was drafted by then provincial board member Neil Nocon who also chaired the committee on education, tourism, history, arts, and culture.  But up to now, the ordinance has not yet been passed, mainly perhaps because of the previous elections (and Mr. Nocon sadly did not make it to the winners’ circle). Nevertheless, Dr. Nilo Valdecantos, tourism consultant to Governor ER Ejército, did not have to wait for its approval to have the date celebrated. He organized a simple yet lively festivity which took place in his avant-garde café-art gallery called Kape Kesada last night as we welcomed the 28th of July with much music, poetry, and booze!

Last year, the date was celebrated only in our humble abode (and online by a few concerned Lagunenses such as Gil Nielo Almendral of ABOUT LAGUNA). So last night’s event can be considered as the the very first grand celebration of this special occasion as we await the passing of the ordinance that was drafted by the very active and passionate Neil Nocon.

Left to right: me, Dory Colcol, historian Nonia Tiongco (of the Santa Rosa Studies Center), and Dr. Nilo Valdecantos (owner of Kape Kesada and organizer of the event).

Homegrown talents of Paeté.

“Ang La Laguna ay isáng nápacagandang lugar. Mayaman sa calicasan, cultura, at casaysayan. Daluyan ng macasining na camalayán at mg̃a obra. May auit ang bauat diuang malayà.”

—Dr. Nilo Valdecantos—

Mario Valdellón rocks the house!

Many talented and well-known Paeteños graced the affair. Also in this photo are three of Paeté’s best talents, below us seated by the window (left to right): former Paeté mayor Elmoise Afurong (now DTI member for the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council; he also owns Exotik Restaurant in nearby Kalayaan), world renowned neo-genre painter Dominic Rubio (right below me), and famous movie and TV actor Leandro Baldemor.

With BOSERO photographers of Paeté (left to right: Aieen Tanay, Jade Cadang, Mira Umali, and me).

¡Muchísimas gracias por el apoyo, Señor Nilo Valdecantos! ¡Eres un amigo de buen corazón! =)

With my publisher and editor Ron Yu of In-Frame Media Works.

CLICK HERE for more photos! And watch out for my debut book LA LAGUNA The Heart of the Philippines (an In-Frame Media Works publication) coming out before the year ends! 😀

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Nuestra Patria / Bayan Ko

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DID YOU KNOW? The famous patriotic song “Bayan Ko” was originally written in Spanish by General José Alejandrino, a close associate of General Antonio Luna. The original title was “Nuestra Patria“. The Spanish lyrics were originally written for the famous 1898 zarzuela Walang Sugat” (No Wound) by Severino Reyes, and it expressed opposition to the ongoing United States Occupation. It was later translated into Tagalog by José Corazón de Jesús; the music was written by Constancio de Guzmán.

The Tagalog version became more popular during the Marcos dictatorship. It was heavily played during the funeral of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., during the People Power Revolution of 1986, and most recently during the funeral of Aquino’s widow, former president Corazón Aquino.

I could just imagine what song they would play in case the current president leaves us too soon. Anyway, the video below is a more popular rendition of Bayan Ko by folk musician Freddie Aguilar.

Click here for the original lyrics in Spanish!

The mysterious Lang Dulay

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The mysterious Lang Dulay

It’s not everyday that you get to meet a National Living Treasure Awardee. Here I have the rare opportunity to meet Lang Dulay, the famed T’boli “dreamweaver” of the colorful T’nalak cloth. The delicate and intrinsic geometrical patterns of the T’nalak cloths that she wove (such as those behind us) originated from her dreams, thus the “dreamweaver” tag. Strange but true.

Photo taken last week, 07/16/2013, during the Familiarization Tour of Travel Writers to Allah Valley 2013 in Lake Sebú, Cotabato del Sur (South Cotabato).

❤ Mindanáo!!! (FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES’ 4th anniversary special)

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I think I have overused the word AWESOME since Sunday. 🙂

But to begin with, my apologies to Dennis Dolojan for using the title of his soon-to-be-iconic website as my blogpost article. I couldn’t help it because it’s catchy, it’s hip, and “LOVE MINDANÁO” are the only fitting words (aside from AWESOME) that I could utter upon visiting and touring that beautiful island for the first time in my life!

Although I don’t exactly tag myself as a travel blogger (because I really am not), I had the privilege to be invited by the Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance to help promote the region’s ecotourism potential. Also invited are more renowned travel bloggers (such as “prim-and-proper” Gael Hilotin and “oozing-with-sexiness” Gay Miriel Mitra-Emami), members of the media, officers from the Department of Tourism, my boss Ronald Yu (of In-Frame Media Works), and world-renowned photographer George Tapan.

With world-famous and award-winning travel photographer George Tapan somewhere on the heights of Mt. Lambilâ, Lake Sebú, Cotabato del Sur (07/16/2013). Tito George also happens to be a distant relative of mine (he’s from Unisan, Quezon). We just couldn’t figure out how exactly; for all we know, he could be my nephew, haha! 😀

Unfortunately, it’s getting late. And because of the week’s activities, I’m now exhausted and spent. So I better hit the sack and leave you guys hanging for a while, hehe! But don’t worry; in the coming weeks, I will definitely serialize on this blog the fun (mis)adventures that I experienced in that promising land in the south that has been unfairly tagged by the media as a dangerous place to visit. For now, all I can say is that “Muslim Mindanáo” is a dirty myth.  And it is NOT TRUE that the whole island of Mindanáo is dangerous. During my brief stay there, I have never felt so secure (and even carefree) for a long time. I even had to be more alert in the asphalt jungles of Metro Manila than in the rough roads leading to the jungles of the Allah Valley. Simply put, Mindanáo is REEKING of FUN and ADVENTURE! So far, my brief Mindanáo sojourn has been the most AWESOME birthday week I ever had!

And happy 4th anniversary to this blog which still has more or less six or seven clueless fans, LOL! Cheers, everyone! 🙂

Webster defines what a Filipino is

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The Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (New York: Portland House, 1989), of which I have a copy, correctly defines what a Filipino is:

Fil·i·pi·no (fil’əˈpē’nō), n., pl. -nos, adj. —n. 1. a native of the Philippines, esp. a member of a Christianized native tribe. —adj. 2. Philippine. [< Sp. derived from (las Islas) Filipinas Philippine (islands)]

Take note of  the phrase “a member of a Christianized native tribe”. This is historically precise because it was the Spanish friars who, upon baptizing the indigenous, automatically Hispanized them. We say automatically because the once pagan indigenous were assimilated into the societies (reducciones which later became pueblos, parroquias, etc.) that were created by the friars for them. In other words, those who were baptized or Christianized were welcomed into a new society which provided them the benefits of cultural dissemination, in a way “civilizing” them because  new concepts and tools from the West were by far and comparatively more advanced vis-à-vis the latter’s cultural way of life.

From these baptized ethnolinguistic groups or tribes evolved the Filipino.

In this regard, it is scientifically, culturally, and historically imprecise to say that the Ifugáos, the Mañguianes, the Aetas, the T’bolis, even the Moros, and all the other unbaptized ethnolinguistic groups to be called Filipinos for the mere reason that they did not assimilate themselves into the societies that could have shaped and molded them into the Filipino cosmos that was the world of José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Padre José Burgos, Luis Rodríguez Varela, and the rest.

This Webster definition is the reason why, in a previous blogpost (Filipino, in a jiffy), I named only three attributes which defined what a Filipino is:

1) Hispanic culture, with Malayo-Polynesian elements as a substrate.
2) The Spanish language.
3) Christianity (Roman Catholic Religion).

The indigenous who never got the chance to be baptized into the Christian faith were not Hispanized, thus failing to be Filipinized in the process. Of course, we can still say that the rest —particularly our indigenous brothers— are Filipinos. But only by virtue of citizenship (most notably, jus soli).

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