Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bais Boys of yester-years

I got a picture of once young (party) boys of Bais City, land of many haciendas and sugar plantations.
If you come from Bais City and perhaps was born in the 1940's, you would be able to recognize these "boys".
From left standing: Panchito Garcia (deceased), Tony Ortigas (not from Bais), Jaime Yoldi, Martin Sagarbarria, Tony Yoldi, Enriquito Llanderal (deceased), Chitong Sagarbarria, Manuel 'Manolet' Teves, Carlitos Longa.
Sitting from left: Bodigos Montenegro (I was told he died in a plane crash in Manila in the late 1960s), Bingo Larabaster, Pastor Joseph "Bebeng" Saad, Gogot Perdices, Ruben Carballo, and a certain Sienes.
One of "boys" from the pictures tried to recall when this picture was taken.
He said it was most probably taken at the Nuestra Senora Del Pilar in Bais City during one summer in the early 1960's.
I can recognize only a some of them. Definitely I belong to some other generation.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Paradise called Antulang

There is a paradise in the south of Negros Oriental province (Philippines).

Simply called Antulang, it is undeniably one of the top resorts in the region.

The name Antulang was derived from a local flower called "Antulanga". The flower by the way, abounds in the resort.

Resort owner Juanito Boy Lee, personally oversees the continuing development of the resort, ably assisted by his children Anabelle and husband Edu, and son Jonathan.

Antulang is nestled on top of a cliff of rocks that welcomes visitors to a panoramic view facing the Mindanao sea.

Antulang is located in the town of Siaton, which is a 45 minute drive southwards from Dumaguete City.

According to Boy Lee, he "discovered" this paradise while he was engaging in one of his favorite hobbies: hunting.

And boy, Boy Lee has hunted and found a lot of beauty in this area.

Attracted to the place, Boy began to imagine how it can be developed into a worldclass resort.

Antulang has amenities that bring it to a league apart from ordinary resorts.

Immediately noticeable in Antulang are the private villas.

The villas are enclosed, thus it accords absolute privacy to its guests.

What the private villas offer are nothing less than excellent.

Within the enclosed premises and fronting the main bedroom is a private pool where one can dip to his heart's content.

Beside the private pool is a jacuzzi that will relax one's body after spending hours in the private pool.

The bedroom is first class.

There is a huge bed strategically placed in the center of the room with the headboard stuck to one side of the wall.

Fronting the bedroom is a glassdoor that will allow visitors view of the private pool and view further, the splendor of the Mindanao Sea.

Of course there are hot-and-cold water and refrigerator available 24/7.

Dream TV with a ready subscription card serves as entertainment. Kids just lie on the floor watching cartoon shows just in case the outside amenities drive them to boredom.

The private villas of Antulang is the place that can erase all the stress.

The presidential suite is one-of-a-kind. It is room that is built on top of one huge rock. It provides a different kind of privacy, as it has no walled fence. Yet nobody can easily approach since the rock upon which it stands is separated from the cliff.

Other than the private villas, there are fully air-conditioned cottages (cabanas) that is ideal even for honeymooners.

Sports activities can be arranged for guests if they choose to. Guided horse backriding is something kids will definitely enjoy.

There is also a large pool for swimming called the Infinity pool that allows swimmers to see and feel the pool extending to the horizon.

But I prefer to wade in the pool designed for training of scuba enthusiasts. The water is around 15-feet deep but is smaller that the regular infinity pool.

The sea beneath the resort affords an added place for enjoyment for Antulang guests.

Well-cemented stairways lead all the way to the shore below where guests can engage in another arena of fun.

You can go swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the white sands of Antulang.

But the most spectacular experience is riding on the MV Anabelle Lee.

Antulang provides a boat-stroll along the seas of Siaton aboard the MV Anabelle Lee.

The MV Anabelle Lee is anchored a few meters away from shore. So guests have to take a small motorized banca that will ferry them from the shore to the boat.

Guests are treated aboard to a full breakfast of their choice, while sightseeing.

The stroll will take guests to the renowned Tambobo Bay of Siaton. It is a body of water nearly encircled by land, and serves as refuge for boats in distress in times when the weather turns foul.

As a matter of fact, we discovered that so many yachts and sailboats skippered by people of different nationalities were the ones freely enjoying this majestic natural treasure, in the absence of any regulation by the local government.

We stopped for a while in Tambobo Bay, and dipped ourselves in the cool waters. The boat has available facilities for snorkeling.

The boat stroll aboard M/V Anabelle Lee capped a relaxing adventure.

Antulang is truly a paradise.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Buendia corner Makati Avenue

I'll begin the blog with today's hot news: Taylor Hicks of Alabama has just won American Idol Season 5.

The choice wasn't unexpected, although his fiercest rival Katherine McPhee was absolutely deserving to be in the finals.

Everytime Taylor Hicks performed, it was like he was imprinting his signature. He stood out. He evoked versatility throughout. With versatility, he combined with uniqueness. He capped his performance with style. I think that was why he was voted the newest American Idol.

Anyway, last night my wife and I had dinner in a restaurant located in one of the busiest intersections in Makati, a place that I realized I have been passing through for the last thirteen years or so.

There is a Petron gasoline station at the corner of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue (formerly Buendia Avenue) and Makati Avenue, Makati City.

Since I set foot in Manila in 1993 I have been passing through this perennially congested crossing, one of the busiest in Metro Manila. It is right at the heart of Makati Central Business District.


This place is a landmark for Makati City.

One of the very earliest buildings was errected right at this corner, the Development Bank of the Philippines building.
I saw an old picture of my father one time when he attended a seminar. The background of the photo was a lonesome building in Makati.

It turned out that the building was this old DBP building right at the corner of Gil Puyat and Makati Avenue. It was taken at a time when Makati was virtually barren, where tall, green, itchy ('ma-kati) grasses reigned over the land.

I believe it was taken in the 1970's, when the hotbed of commerce was Cubao, Quezzon City, and the blue-colored air-conditioned Love Buses were the king of the highway, being the primary mode of public transport.

Now, DBP building looks old and weary, but has stood to be a mute witness of the progress of what is indubitably the center of commercial activities in the country.

Familiar place

Buendia corner Makati Avenue is a familiar site to me. When I began my journey in the metropolis, as a probinsyano, I traversed this major intersection daily since the law school that I attended was just walking distance from this place.

The jeepneys that criss-cross Buendia Avenue are labelled "Bel Air-Taft", meaning the jeepney routes is from the Bel-Air entrance locagted at the EDSA-Buendia intersection in the East, to Taft Avenue corner Buendia in the west.

Buses also used to ply along Buendia which went all the way to Quezon City via EDSA.

In going to and from school, I usally take the bus having the Buendia route.

The traffic light in this intersection is one of the "slowest."

Anyway, this intersection, has undergone its own transformation.

The Petron gas sation had always been there. But recently, it underwent a facelift. One can now see some restaurants in the area, like Pancake House, Singkit, Tariyaki Boy, and popular pork barbique seller Aling Inengs..

The convenience store has metamophosed, and it now houses a coffee outlet of Gloria Jeans, a branch of Big Chill, seller of modern day ice cold refreshments, Mister Donuts, and many more.

Another landmark in the area is the building right accross DBP building which is the Pacific Star Building.

For a time, and during my law shcool days in the 1990's, this was the tallest building in Makati.

From afar, the neon lighted ensignia of Pacific Star used to be the guiding light for motorists.

It functioned like the guiding light and reference point in the horizon for fishermen who were out at sea.

But the Pacific Star has been dwarfed by sprouting skyscrapers.

Parallel to Buendia (Gil Puyat Ave) is Jupiter Street, where many government offices are located. Some of these government offices are the Department of Trade, the Emplyees Compensation Commission, the Intellectual Property Office.

Makati Avenue meanwhile, is the south-north intersection of Buendia. Further south is Ayala Avenue, while going north would take you to Mandaluyong City via the Makati-Mandaluyong bridge.

So if you find yourself in this intersection, you get to see a little of Makati's history and commerce.

It is a place that has adapted to the changing times, and like Taylor Hicks, has its own unique qualities and style.

One of the earliest buldings was errected here. Also, it remains a bustling place busy with economic activites day-in-and-day-out.

If there is a place in Makati that doesn't sleep, its the corner of Buendia and Makati Avenues.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Mall of Asia

From the years it entered in retail business by selling shoes, Shoe Mart has gone a long way.

It no longer manufactures shoes. It builds gigantic malls. And lately it opened what arguably could be the biggest mall in Asia.

In fact, the latest and biggest SM mall is called the "Mall of Asia" which opened last Sunday in Pasay City.

You won't miss the Mall of Asia, not only because of its size. It is also located at the tip of Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue (EDSA) going south, at the reclamation area.

The mall covers a floor area of 386,000 square meters, or just about thirty eight hectares, sprawling upon reclaimed land of about sixty hectares, frongint the Manila Bay.

Last Sunday we heared the mall was already open so I took my brother and his children Pia and Nat-Nat who were on a brief visit in Manila, to see the SM Mall of Asia.

Little did we realize that it was opening weekend. And a multitude was there.

I really don't like going to malls. Its a place where you usually see the same stores.

But I noticed there were some new stores that opened in the Mall of Asia. When we entered the north entrace, we were greeted by an Olympic-size skating rink where a huge photograph of Mount Everest is mounted.

For a moment, one gets to feel like he's at the foot of the mountain.

Well, expectedlly, the kids wanted to go straight to the Toy Kingdom. And boy, all the other kids were there.

Since it was opening weekend, popular characters of television cartoon shows were there to entertain the children.

We only got to visit the northern part of the mall because it was just too big.

The usual restaurants are housed in one section in the northern part of the mall.

I told my wife we should visit the Mall of Asia again, but not on a weekend so there would relatively be lesser people.

I used to work in the Senate which is just a few hundred meters away from the SM Mall of Asia.

At the time I was there, I remember looking from the top what used to be an empty piece of land, with contruction going on.

Just a few years have gone by, and the empty lot now hosts the country's biggest mall.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Da Vinci Phenomenon

The Da Vinci Code will remembered in history as one of the most successful publicity stunts film promotion.

I just learned on television that in three days after it opened in movie houses worldwide, the film raked in US$224-million.

I have watched the movie and I think a lot of sectors, even those raging against the content of the movie itself wittingly or unwittingly contributed in the film's marketing success.

There was just too much hype.

Imagine, as we were heading towards the movie house, there were others riding on the publicity stunt. There was this company issuing credit cards engaging on a marketing spreee, distributing credit card applications.

Its main marketing scheme was to let its credit card holders crack a Da Vinci Code by pressing a four digits based on a series of numbers in the receipt of their last credit card purchase amounting to not less than a thousand pesos.

If the credit card holder is able to press the right combination, the vault opens, and the card holder wins P400,000.

To attract participants, it displayed a lousy replica of the Monalisa.

I condsider the Da Vinci Code more of a detective fiction I am not inclined to watch a second time.

The religious aspects of the film were just blown out of proportion, to the extent that movie goers flocked to the theaters out of sheer curiousity.

My simple mind provides an explanation why the film had to advance a baseless insinuation that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene.

Without such claim, there would have been no justification of Sophia's character. (Princess) Sophia is supposed to be last descendant of that royal bloodline that can be traced to Jesus Christ.

If I recall it right, it was alleged in the film that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Naturally it would have created a widely negative reception in the Christian world had it been alleged that Jesus sired a descendant out of wedlock.

That is why Dan Brown had to concoct a wild suggestion that Jesus was locked in matrimony to Mary Magdalene.

I sympathize with the group Opus Dei because I think they were the ones disparaged in that film. The film suggested that this deeply religious and influential organization justified murder and assasinations. I don't think this is fair.

As a Christian, not a shred of my faith has not been shaken. I even left my faith at home when I watched the movie at Rockwell.

When I viewed the film there was nothing that made me believe or disbelieve.

There were suggestions in the film about things that happened sometime in history. We may never be able to verify and see that for ourselves.

But as an ordinary Christian, I can only find comfort and solace in the assuring words of our Lord who said that "blessed are those who do not see, yet believe."

Come to think of it, the movie only solidified my faith.

At least I have something to thank Dan Brown for.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Spending Fiesta in Bohol

My family and I are very thankful and happy that we were able to spend fiesta in Tagbilaran City this year.

Spending fiesta in Bohol has become a rare experience o for me and my family as well, because we no longer get to visit Bohol, our home province, that often.

The month of May is fiesta season in the province of Bohol.

It is true that everyday during the entire month of May, there is a barangay, town, or city that celerbates a fiesta.

So therefore, even if you have abosolutely nothing to eat, and you happen top be in Bohol in May, you somehow get to eat everyday and will never starve.

On May 1, the capital city of Tagbilaran celebrates fiesta.

May 1 incidentally is a national legal holiday being labor day. But in Bohol, there has been no labor rally, as what usually happens in other cities in the coutnry, as everybody in Tagbilaran is busy preapring for the fiesta festivities.

We spent fiesta with our grandmother, Mommy Charing, where we met our cousins, aunts, uncles and other relatives who also came over, some coming from Cebu.

There is one rare trait among Boholanos. No matter where they are based, Boholanos always find time time to come home in the month of May and join the fiesta activities.

Mommy Charing had her food catered, so to relieve herself of the hassles of food preparations.

We stayed in the family owned beach house in Panglao island and drove to Tagbilaran in time for lunch.
We had the usual lechon, beef, pancit, macaroni.

Best of all, we were able to meet our cousins and aunts and uncles who were also able to come home for the fiesta. We had fun. Mommy played the piano, and uncle Jun Amora, tita Milet's husband, was with his antics.

He joked about how his former classmates in the seminary who had "unusual sexual preferences" shoved off threats they wouldn't make it to heaven. Uncle Jun said the "mahuyang" would be quite comfortable sliding over the rainbow.

Meanwhile, my young cousin Dex Araneta, who is based in Cebu, brought along his Magic Sing Extreme.

This portable karaoke microphone stores around a thousand minus one songs. My son Joshua enjoyed using it, even if it was his first time to ever handle a minus-one microphone.

We are not sure of the next time we would be able to observe fiesta in Tagbilaran City again.
But we are looking forward to next year's festivities.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mommy Charing is Ulirang Ina Awardee

Bohol's Media matriarch is Uliran awardee

Rosario Pernia Dejaresco was awarded this year's prestigious Ulirang Ina for media and journalism in elaborate ceremonies at the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati City on the ocassion of Mother's day on May 14, 2006.

Rosario P. Dejaresco, mother of nine children who are now professionals, has taken over the reigns of the Bohol's most successful print and broadcast institution, the Bohol Chronicle Radio Corporation (BCRC).

The media institution which operates a newspaper publication, the Bohol Chronicle and radio stations DYRD-AM, DYRD-FM, and DYZD-AM was founded by Rasario's late husband, laywer Zoilo D. Dejaresco, Jr.

Since her husband's demise three years ago, Mrs. Dejaresco has taken active charge in the continuing public service of the family media corporation, assisted by her two sons Zoilo III and Peter, who are occupying the top management positions in the company.

The annual Ulirang Ina Awards 2006 is an initiative of the National Mother's Day and Father's Day Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. which selects outstanding model Filipino father and mothers.

In choosing Mrs. Rosario P. Dejaresco as Ulirang Ina for media and journalism, the foundation stated:

"Life has not always been easy for Rosario, being the wife of an editor-publisher of a local community paper and a crusading radio station in Tagbilaran City, because it meant she has to deal with friends and relations who may have been hurt or slighted with the position her dearly beloved husband Jun Dejaresco took in their media business.

When her beloved Jun passed away, she became the treasurer of the media business, which had evolved into a corporation.

She learned how difficult it had been for her late husband handling the media business as he did.

Through it all Rosario was a mother who tended to her nine children and saw them through school.

While her husband was out running the media business, she was the anchor at home to her nine growing children.

Today at 83, she is still a doting mother to her nine children, her in-laws and three scores of grand children and great grand children.

Rosario contends that her happiest moments are those spent with the family.

Rosario feels that if she was successful in rearing her nine children, this was through the days when she was a music teacher. She is moved by beautiful music and plays the piano well enough to be a teacher.

Rosario was past president of the Tagbilaran Lions club, the Catholic Women's League and the Holy Spirit School Alumni Association which allowed her to perform some of her civic duties to the community in Bohol.

She is also recipient of the 10-year Lion Monarch Award, for her dedication to family and Christian values due to her many civic activities.

She was also recipient of the Outstanding Mother Award from the Tagbilaran Women's Club.

Rosario's greatest joy lies with her family - the moments of triumph and failure that they shared as a united group. As they saw at the end of the day, all we have is FAMILY."

The Ulirang Ina Awards is one of the projects of the National Mother's Day and Father's Day Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.

The foundation's vision is to inculcate in the citizenry both young and old, to respect and honor their parents thereby strengthening their values and family ties.

The mission therefore is to promote these values by paying tribute to model Mothers through the Ulirang Ina Awards.

The other Ulirang Ina awardees in different sectors were Charlene Mae B. Muhlach, Tanyag na Ulirang Ina; Liticia D. Duque, Uliran Ina ng Tahanan; Socorro C. Ramos, owner of National Bookstore, Ulirang Ina ng Tahanan; Juanita F. Concepcion, Ulirang Ina ng Angkan; Eugenia P. Leonida, Ulirang Ina ng Angkan;

Atty. Lourdes M. Bautista, Posthumous; Atty. Luzviminda D. Puno, Posthumous; Dr. Vivian S. Sarabia, Ulirang Ina special citation; Julie Ong Alonzo Ulirang Ina Awardee for Business & Industry; Elmina D. Fernandez, Judge Esperanza F. Garcia (wife of former Cebu Gov. Pablo Garcia), amparo B. Nepomuceno, Milagros T,. Puyat, Aurora Trinidad, all Ulirang Ina for business and industry;

Dr. Mary G. Calalang, Anita P. Rosales, and Vicente O. Torre (mother of chess grandmaster Eugene Torre), Ulirang Ina for medicine and allied sciences;

Mercedes R. Regalado, Dr. Fe C. Garcia, Ulirang Ina for Education; Josefina D. Pineda, Zenaida M. Santos, Ulirang Ina for socio civic and religious sector.

The awarding rites were graced by Supreme Court Assciate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, the honoraqry chairperson of the awards. She was also Ulirang Ina awardee in 1995.

The keynote address was delivered by Ombudsperson Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez, Ulirang Ina awardee in 1995. The response was delivered by acting Supreme Court chief justice Reynato S. Puno, Ulirang Ama awardees in 2005. His wife, the late Atty. Luzviminda Puno was posthumously awarded Ulirang Ina for the judiciary.

Also gracing the affair were Wilfredo M Talag, Foundation President and Leticia M. Talag, Awards Chairperson.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stressful day

It was a stressful day for me.

I had a rigorous hearing with the board members of the Radio Research Council, and Chris "Rock" Daughtry of North Carolina was ousted from American idol.

Radio Research Council

The hearing with the board of the Radio Research Council (RRC) pertains to the recent decision of the review and adjudication board to delete radio station DYEM-FM from the results of the 2006 survey.

Radio station DYEM-FM was built by my father. Igt has been on air for the last 25 years in Dumagfuete City. It was the pioneer FM station in the province of Negros Oriental.

The deletion of the station from the survey came after it allegedly violated survey rules.

I of course appealed this decision to the board of directors.

Although the course of action has already been decided, the die has been cast, I still went to the RRC board as a gesture of good faith.
This is an interesting case.

Chris Rock bids American idol goodbye

We have been following the American idol competition. I just learned that 26-year old Chris "Rock" Daughtry was given the pink slip.

It is quite ironic because Chris Daughtry has portrayed an image of a rock and roll star. And for this week, they were singing the songs of the king of rock and roll.

I was expecting Chris "Rock" Daughtry would have breezed through this four-cornered contest as rock and roll would have placed in his element.

Nevertheless, Chris is "made" as a rock star.

Left behind fo vie for this year's american idol are Taylor Hicks, Elliot Yamin and Kathrine McPhee.