Category Archives: Media/Journalism

P-Noy mentions Laoag twice in SONA but has never visited Ilocos Norte as president

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Then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino in Laoag City, 2010

Then presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino in Laoag City, 2010

NOT ONCE but twice. President B.S. Aquino mentioned Laoag City two times in his State of the Nation Address on July 28 at the Batasan in Quezon City.
First is when he announced that NEDA (which, incidentally, is headed by an Ilocos Norte native and MMSU alumnus—Sec. Arsenio Balisacan) has approved the Laoag City bypass road; second when he illustrated the extent of national highways his administration has built: it can connect the cities of Laoag and Zamboanga four times, he said.

It is quite refreshing to note that Laoag City bears an imprint in the President’s consciousness, yet he has never come here since he became president. I am not sure why, but it could be two things: maybe he thinks Ilocos is hostile ground for him or, in reality, he doesn’t really care enough about this part of his kingdom. To her credit, Governor Imee Marcos has always spoken well about P-Noy, and would share stories about their experiences in congress—they being together in the opposition during the time of Gloria Arroyo.

P-Noy did come to Ilocos though when he needed our votes, and while he did not rank first in the polls here, with Joseph Estrada and Manny Villar besting him, it was not bad. Compared to her late mother who got zero in a number of precincts in the 1986 snap elections, P-Noy got from Ilocanos a good number of votes, and that included mine and, I guess, most of my colleagues in The Ilocos Times who bought his anti-corruption tack: Mitch Esmino, Steve Barreiro, and Jun-B Ramos.

Not only did I vote for P-Noy; I wore yellow for almost two months preceding the 2010 presidential elections. But I have not worn those shirts in a long while. It is odd that he mentioned Laoag twice regarding roads which connect us to the rest of the country while he has seemingly disconnected himself from us since we became part of the body he collectively calls “Boss.”

I may be P-Noy’s boss, but Nora Aunor is my idol. As a Noranian, I was deeply hurt when the country’s one and only Superstar was rejected by Malacañang as national artist. I hope it had nothing to do with Ate Guy’s glorious Ilocos Norte visit and her being declared as honorary daughter. Only a paranoid drug addict would do that.

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Filed under Government/Politics, Laoag City, Marcos, Media, Media/Journalism

‘Naimas nga agserbi’

riknakem.jpgNear midnight of Oct. 28, my Uncle Gerry in Hawaii posted a lengthy note at the Labayog Clan Facebook page. There was good news for the clan. (For the curious, yes, Labayog is the La in La Yumul.) My brother was elected as chairman of Brgy. 7-A, Laoag City where his family has lived for around 25 years. I reside in nearby Brgy. 5. The following is Uncle Gerry’s post quoted verbatim.

“Wow! Again, the Labayog Clan made history. Herry Labayog Yumul is elected as kapitan.

“If you are a Laoagueño, West Riverside is like a municipality within a city. It covers Barangays 1 to 10. Barangay 7-A is like its capital, being the center of the densely populated West Riverside.”

“Herry, who has the heart of a leader, deserves the position. When I attended his graduation in Baguio City, I already saw in him the makings of a leader. When his name was called, there was a thunderous applause and standing ovation. He even captured the heart of the most beautiful co-civil engineering graduate and now his wife Gina. Sabi nga nila, may inalat si Herry.

“He practiced briefly in construction supervision. But his salary was not enough to raise a family. With 3 children to feed and send to school, his salary was not enough so he ventured in business. As a market vendor, the hundreds of vendors in Ilocos Norte were amazed of his character and personality and elected him as president of the Ilocos Norte Ambulant Vendors Association. He had represented them in dialogue with government officials for a system beneficial to both sides. He is currently president of the Laoag City Night Market Vendors Association.

“In 2010, he ran as a barangay official, and was overwhelmingly elected. In this election, the outgoing Brgy. Captain made Herry his personal choice to lead 7-A. Even high-ranking provincial and city officials gave him their blessings. Thankfully, he was also endorsed by the Iglesia ni Cristo.

“In his campaign sorties, members of the Labayog clan extended their all-out support. They were with him everywhere, rain or shine. The Pink Ladies—composed of Mafae, Mafel, and Girlie (Herry’s nephews)—were even Branded as EBB or Eat Bulaga Babes. I call them Herry’s Angels.

“I laughed at one of their campaign slogans. ‘Ibotos tayo a Kapitan ni Tito Herry, naimas nga agserbi’ (Iboto natin si Tito Herry, masarap siyang magsilbi.) And they follow it up with, ‘Uray damagenyo ken Tita Gina.’ (Kahit tanungin niyo pa kay Tita Gina.) Dinamagko ken Gina, kasta unay ti katkatawana. (Nung tinanong kay Gina, sobrang tawa niya.) Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Government/Politics, Laoag City, Media, Media/Journalism, Personals

Two tips on how to plagiarize and (try to) get away with it

As a teacher and writer, one of my biggest pet peeves is plagiarism. Good thing I don’t teach in Iskul Bukol and I am too young to be teacher of Tito Sotto, Eat Bulaga host and Philippine senator, who offers the following advice on how to copy the work of others and not feel bad about it even when caught.

Tip # 1. Insult the person you copied your work from:

“Why would I quote from a blogger? She is just a blogger.”

Tip # 2. Translate somebody’s work, word for word, paragraph by paragraph, into another language and claim that it is no longer plagiarism.

Plagiarism? “Impossible. It’s a good thought and better in Tagalog.”

and, oh, there’s one more:

Tip # 3. Get a really imaginative Chief of Staff like Hector Villacorta who would say:

“Copying is a common practice. The Bible reached us today because the monks copied from the Greeks. Everything really started from a little copying.”

And, drumroll please…

“Even our image was copied from God. We are all plagiarists.”

From the Filipino Freethinkers Facebook page

I can imagine Sotto saying, “Why would I quote from Robert Kennedy? He is just Robert Kennedy.”

UPDATE: Finally, if all these fail, pass a law criminalizing libel in the Internet, and send to jail all your cyber bashers.

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Filed under Education, Media, Media/Journalism

MLQ3 to meet Ilocos Norte bloggers

Manuel L. Quezon III

Malacañang Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, grandson of the Commonwealth president, is coming to the province on May 4 for a couple of engagements. Himself a blogger, he wishes to meet Ilocos Norte bloggers in the afternoon. I am helping his staff identify participants, and I have so far listed twelve, aside from myself.

  1. Tina Tan – blauearth.com
  2. Edwin Antonio – ilocandiatreasures.com
  3. Ericke Tan – surprisinglykitsch.com
  4. Shermon Cruz – ilocosfutures.wordpress.com
  5. Guien Garma – guiengarma.wordpress.com
  6. Marianne Pasion – maryaneeephotography.blogspot.com
  7. Tricia Domingo – triciadomingo.blogspot.com
  8. Sherene Ruiz – mylifeneverbeeneasy.blogspot.com
  9. GD Baltazar – iamthesupergd.wordpress.com
  10. Jonas Paul dela Cruz – simplejonas.wordpress.com
  11. Peter La Julian – pedroblogspotcom-peter.blogspot.com
  12. Ritchelle Blanco Dejolde – resurrectingtheilocanospirit.wordpress.com

I have met Manolo Quezon on several occasions, especially when I was still teaching at Colegio de San Juan de Letran, the alma mater of his illustrious lolo. At the Intramuros school, the Quezon family always graces the August birthday celebration of the Ama ng Wikang Pambansa. I am a fan of The Explainer, his television show where issues are discussed with great detail and insight. Also, he is supportive of the Philippine Blog Awards where I have been a national finalist three years in a row in the society, politics, and history category. I really look forward to May 4.

This is the first time bloggers here are coming together, and I am thinking of finally initiating the Ilocos Norte Bloggers Commune. In other parts of the country, bloggers have long organized their respective societies which allow them to initiate activities and write for common causes and advocacies. Now is time to do it here.

Do you know of any other serious blogger who might be interested to join the activity?

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Filed under Government/Politics, Media, Media/Journalism

Nuestra Señora de la Mantsa: The Case of the Laoag City Bell Tower ‘Apparition’

And we did it again.

Ten years ago, I wondered in an essay why this Catholic Nation has produced only one saint so far while Thailand, Japan and China–all non-Christian countries–have more. Maybe, unlike Filipinos, I said then, people from those nations have more sensible things to do than creating miracles by desperately looking for images in the stains of tree trunks and forcing statues to shed bloody tears.

Recently, an image of a woman, believed by many as Mama Mary, reportedly appeared at the midsection of the Laoag City Sinking Bell Tower. With pictures of the ‘apparition’ circulated on Facebook, the phenomenon generated public interest, especially after it was featured on national television evening news.

Make no mistake, I love Mama Mary, and I always turn to her for guidance and protection, but, on a personal level, and with all due respect to anyone who does, I don’t believe the image is extraordinary. The blurry figure is obviously a product of stain and discoloration which any old structure, such as the 400-year old Laoag Bell Tower, would have. You can find stains anywhere and assume them to be something, anything. My friend Luvee from Pagudpud says there are also a lot of stains in their toilet wall, and, as a child, it was her hobby to spot them and identify certain images, some of them religious. Rizal Javier, a retired philosophy professor from Batac, is obviously no longer a child but he still spots some images in their restroom and has actually considered publishing those in his Facebook account. There was one problem though: he does not have a Facebook account. Continue reading

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Filed under Church, Debate, Ilocos, Media/Journalism, Religion, Sociology, Tourism

“Uleg”

In the interest of fairness, dear karikna, I talked to Mrs. Elizabeth Madarang Raquel, former president of Gumil Filipinas, regarding the ‘Stupid Quezon’ controversy that has haunted concerned parties in the past two years.

To the uninitiated, just some background. Headlined “University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” the news article was about Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili who, in good cheer, called the late president Manuel Quezon “stupid” during a Mother Language Education forum held at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. He felt that Quezon’s ‘one-nation, one language’ policy was a nineteenth-century measure that led to the decline of Philippine languages other than Tagalog. The news article said many participants, including teachers and students, were offended by the remark.

Raquel admitted that it was indeed she who wrote and contributed the news article bylined Mark R. Limon, published in the July 27-August 22 2009 issue of The Ilocos Times. She vehemently denied, however, that Limon did not have knowledge the article bore his name. “How can he not know?,” Raquel asked rhetorically in Ilocano, “he used to help me encode my articles, and he typed and emailed that particular article.” Limon, in an earlier interview, told your karikna that his former supervisor indeed used him as encoder but that he was informed of the news article’s byline only after it was published. Confessing to be an avid reader of this column, Raquel said she was hurt by my recent article, “The Lie of Eli.”

But did Limon really allow Raquel to use him as dummy? Definitely, according to Raquel, “Kinayatna met ta kayatna met ti agpopular.” (He agreed because he also wanted to be popular.) She described his former protégé as “ambisioso.” Continue reading

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Filed under Arts, Ilocos, Iluko, Language, Media, Media/Journalism

My mom’s Letter to the Editor: In defense of Bishop Utleg

I wish to take exception to Herdy La. Yumul’s column titled “Utlegged”, published in the other week’s issue of your respectable newspaper. While I support the young writer, who happens to be my son, in all of his undertakings, his rather harsh commentary on Bishop Sergio Lasam Utleg is something I do not approve of. In fact, I found myself weeping a lot because of the grief and agony the article gave me.

As a church volunteer, I have always known Bishop Utleg as an honorable person and a respectable church leader. He is humble and kind, caring and nurturing.  I appreciate very much that he sacrificed his whole life in the service of God’s people. I, my family, and many other churchgoers attest to his vast contributions in nurturing the spiritual lives of his constituents, and in helping uplift the lives of the poor and the oppressed. No doubt, he is well loved and well admired by his flock. Continue reading

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Filed under Church, Media/Journalism