Tagum City hosts 3rd International Strings of Unity Festival

7 02 2011

By Antonio C. Hila
Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE 3RD Cuerdas ng Pagkakaisa (Strings of Unity) international festival will be held in Tagum City, Feb. 12-19, and at the UP College of Music, Feb. 21-24.

Sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through the Musicological Society of the Philippines, the City of Tagum’s Tourism Council and the UP College of Music, the festival will be a week-long musical event participated in by some 500 artists that comprise rondallas and plucked-string groups from all over the world.

Held every three years, the international festival is now on its third run. It fulfills the aspiration for unity through the instrumentality of music, said Ramon P. Santos, project director and president of the Musicological Society of the Philippines, in a press launch held recently at Barbara’s in Intramuros.

The global tradition of plucked string is shared by the country through the rondalla, Santos said, which has been ingrained in the psyche of the Filipino people, about survived three colonial epochs, and is now a glorious part of the present living tradition.

Santos was joined by Malou Jacob, executive director of NCCA; Vice Mayor Allan Rellon of Tagum City; and Alma Uy, chair of Tagum City’s Tourism Council, who took turns reading their statements before the press.

Shared musical tradition

The festival has drawn more participants, numbering about 30 than in the rondalla festivals in 2004 and 2007.

Participating countries include Russia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, Iran, India, Indonesia and Taiwan. The Unesco International Music Council will also attend.

The festival will feature concerts, exhibition, outreach performances, international conference, seminars, workshops and other special related activities.

It will be highlighted by the participation of indigenous groups from Mindanao giving one performance in every concert. They will be a major feature in the festival’s exhibit.

Cuerdas ng Pagkakaisa will activate and provide the initial energy to the World Rondalla Society which will sustain the development of an important musical patrimony and at the same time promote global peace and understanding through a shared musical tradition.

Coupling of East and West

In her welcome remarks, NCCA director Malou Jacob said the festival was a “musical coupling” of the East and the West, an instrument for promoting global peace, strongly endorsed by the Music Committee, headed by Joey Ayala.

Vice Mayor Rellon gave an update on the preparation Tagum had undertaken to achieve the best result, which would go beyond the city with its advocacy for international understanding through the sharing of a common musical root that is the plucked string.

Alma Uy, spouse of the mayor of Tagum, said all systems went for the festival and all roads would lead to Tagum, the City of Palm Trees and the new Home of Festivals.

The festival shows Mindanao, through Tagum City, as a venue of beauty and peace, a vibrant venue for international musical gathering promoting peace and understanding.

Different stylistics

To the enjoyment of everyone, the UP Rondalla under the direction of Elaine Cajucom superbly rendered finely voiced and nuanced selections. The rondalla showed its versatility to render selections scored in different stylistic vein, and add a non-plucked instrument such as the flute, from the traditional paso-doble and folk tunes to a classical standard and avant-garde pieces.

The playing reflected the growth and development of the rondalla from the colonial era to the present, following a script read by Chinggay Bernardo, who hosted the launch.

The pieces were Dominic Salustiano’s Paso-doble No. 3.; Alfredo Buenaventura’s, Philippine Medley No. 2; Tchaikovksy’s Serenade for Strings, arranged by Celso Espejo; and “Pagpipiko,” by Cristine Muyco.

For details, call 9260028 or 0920-9266387; e-mail cuerdasphil@yahoo.com; visit http://www.cuerdasfestival.com.ph.


Places to Visit in Tagum City

7 02 2011
  • ROTARY PARK AND SPORT CENTER – a center for sports activities and physical fitness in an entertainment and leisure mood.
  • ENERGY PARK – a 28 hectare site for national agencies complex and camp site theme park.
  • FREEDOM PARK – an expression space where family, friends and even lovers gather for fun, relaxation and leisure.
  • CRAB PARK – a livelihood project converted into an agri-fishery recreational space developed as settler’s economic living.
  • MANGROVE PARK – a home of the century-old mangroves species resonating the visitor’s environmental esteem and warmth.
  • CHRIST THE KING CATHEDRAL AND ROSARY – a Roman Catholic edifice that dwelt the world’s biggest wooden rosary and a thematic indigenous designs of the 14 station of the areas.
  • UNDERWATER MARINE PARK – a rehabilitated underwater park enhanced with artificial coral reefs for marine production and abundance.
  • PUBLIC CEMETERY – a new public graveyard transformed into a place of meditation and soul searching.
  • NEW CITY HALL – a landmark of the new Tagum City where a modern government center rise.
  • TRADE AND CULTURAL CENTER – a home of the pasalubong center and array of souvenir stores and a performance space surrounded nightly by the traders in night market.
  • NIGHT MARKET – a daily selling of food, beverages and dry goods from 6PM to 2AM along the major streets within the trade center area.
  • REGINA ROSARII – a Dominican-run religious park and retreat house.
  • BANANA PLANTATION – a 36-hectare Cavendish banana plantation where products are harvested for export.
  • BARRET BEACH RESORT – beach resort inside the export authority zone.
  • WILD LIFE FOREST – a place of adventure to experience wild life such as white monkeys, wild boars, birds and others.

visit http://www.tagumcity.gov.ph

Filipinos apologize to the World, especially to Hongkong Nationals

26 08 2010

Here’s a copy of the letter posted on CNN iReport with Reigno Jose Dilao’s permission

As you are reading this letter, I bet that you have seen/heard about what happened earlier in our country.

Tourists were hostages of a policeman here, Rolando Mendoza. After a few hours of the horrible crime, some of the victims were dead including the hostage-taker.

I wrote this letter not just to apologize but also to let everyone know that we Filipinos are not all like Mendoza. We are loving and good-hearted people.

For so many years, our country has been standing tall and surpassing every dilemma; be it small or big. Years ago (back when I wasn’t born yet), you have watched us fight for what we think is right. We fought for the democracy of our nation.. The EDSA revolution. But that’s just one out of many.

Second. We Filipinos have been serving other countries for our families and we treat you as our own as well. With all due respect, I thank you all for giving us the trust through the years. For helping us to become what we are now.

The Philippines is more than just a group of islands. We are a nation of strong and remarkable people. A country of beauty and love known to be hospitable and well-valued. I humbly apologize for what happened tonight. No one in this world would want something like that to happen for life should be valued.

I politely ask the attention of the world. Please do not judge and mistreat us just because of what happened tonight. I have been searching the net and found terrible things. Hong Kong advices to avoid travels here, China and HK bans Filipinos and that Philippines is the worst place to go.

I can’t blame you for what you have decided but I hope that you could understand. Our country is now in a sea of problems. And I know for sure that we helped you in a way or another. Let peace and understanding reign this time.

I know that this letter will just be trash but I wish that you would understand. On behalf of the Philippine population.. WE ARE SORRY.

As a song puts it…

And I believe that in my life I will see an end to hopelessness, giving-up and suffering. And we all stand together this one time then no one will get left behind. Stand up for life. STAND UP FOR LOVE

Sincerely yours,

Reigno Jose Dilao


By Janie Octia, Yahoo! Southeast Asia

In an attempt to inform the world of the good things about Philippines following Monday’s hostage crisis, 15-year-old Reigno Jose Dilao writes a letter to the world.

Dilao, a 4th year student of Samar National High School, posted the letter at CNN’s iReport site Monday at around 10:00 P.M. after the hostage crisis ended leaving at least 10 people dead, including the gunman.

In a phone interview with Yahoo! Southeast Asia, Dilao says he was disappointed with yesterday’s turn of events.

“Sana pinag-isipan ni Mendoza yung mga ginawa nya [Mendoza should have thought twice about his actions],” Dilao said.

He believes that this incident will take its toll on the country’s tourism.

“Ang hindi magandang epekto, sa turismo natin. Ang mga turista, iniisip nila lahat, lalo na ang safety [This will have a bad effect on our tourism. Tourists think about safety],” says Dilao.

Dilao also criticized the authorities who handled the crisis.

“Parang hindi pinag-isipan ng mga police officers yung strategy [It looked like the police officers didn’t think about their strategy],” Dilao said.

Dilao, a campus journalist for three years, dreams of being a journalist.

While some criticized members of the media for yesterday’s reportage, Dilao said media is just doing its job.

In his letter, Dilao defends the Filipino people and describes them as “loving and good-hearted people.”

Dilao says the Philippines is a nation of strong, remarkable and hospitable people.

As of this writing, his letter has been viewed 269 times and shared 24 times.

Dilao also expressed his apologies in the letter but also asked the world not to judge the country for this incident.

“Sana malaman ng mundo kung ano ang Pilipino, hindi lahat ng tao katulad ni Mendoza [I hope the world will know who the Filipinos are and that we’re not all like Mendoza],” ends Dilao.

Official website launching

2 08 2010

Few days from now, we will publish our official website. Stay connected!

Coming soon: CCTVs on NLEx, SLEx

26 04 2010

By Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:02:00 03/02/2010

Filed Under: Transport, Road Transport, Police, Crime,Robbery and theft

MANILA, Philippines–Criminals hoping to make their getaway through the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways should think twice.

Director Roberto Rosales, head of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), told reporters Tuesday that he has proposed the installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras along the expressways.

He said the proposal was submitted to the Joint Anti-Bank Robbery Action Committee (Jabrac) whose members are also part of the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

Rosales said the CCTV system would be able to scan, profile and identify vehicles passing through NLEx and SLEx using modern digital character recognition technology.

This would enable law enforcers to monitor and intercept vehicles which are under surveillance or the subject of an ongoing operation, he added.

Rosales said the police would also be able to identify which vehicles are stolen by matching the car models with their license plates.

“This is a milestone. We face difficulties in solving crimes because we don’t have this kind of facility,” Emiliano Templo, a representative of East West Bank and a Jabrac member, said.

He added that bank robbers use NLEx and SLEx to immediately get out of Metro Manila after their illegal activities.

Rosales said that once the system has been installed, they expected a downtrend in the number of cases of kidnapping, car theft, hijacking and bank robbery in Metro Manila.

“The monitoring system will not only help us document incidents of crime for purposes of presenting them as evidence in court but will also enable us to immediately and appropriately respond to any crime incident that happens within NLEx, SLEx and adjoining thoroughfares,” Rosales said.

The NCRPO has allocated P10 million from its funds for the proposed CCTV system, which, according to Rosales, would cost P30 million.

Rosales said he had asked NLEx and SLEx officials to provide counterpart funds.

Metro rail loop finally finished

26 04 2010

By TJ Burgonio, Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:47:00 02/26/2010

Filed Under: Railway, Travel & Commuting, Infrastructure,transportation

MANILA, Philippines—Imagine taking a commuter train around Metro Manila without having to leave the line except at your final destination.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Thursday had that exhilarating experience when she took the media on atrain ride from Quezon City through Caloocan and Manila to Pasay City and back.

Ms Arroyo marked the 24th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution by taking the inaugural ride of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 North Extension project from North Avenue in Quezon City to Monumento in Caloocan City.

The P7.6-billion project completes the LRT-Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 loop.

“This is to decongest Metro Manila. By making it convenient because it’s O-shaped, you don’t have to go down and take another transport. You can go anywhere and get off anywhere, and you just take the transport for your final destination,” Ms Arroyo told reporters during the inaugural ride.

After 14 months of work, the project is expected to operate commercially by March 15.

The North Extension project involved the construction of a 5.7-kilometer elevated viaduct to connect the LRT’s northernmost station, Monumento, to the MRT’s North Avenue station on EDSA (Epifanio delos Santos Avenue).

Three new stations

The project, built by DM Consunji Inc. and First Balfour Inc., plans to add three new stations on the northern end of the LRT line 1—Balintawak, Roosevelt and North Avenue—all along EDSA. The last station will be shared with the MRT.

By the middle of next month, LRT Authority (LRTA) Administrator Melquiades Robles said the government would open only the Balintawak station, which is strategically located to benefit commuters coming from the North Luzon Expressway.

While trains can already pass through all stations, more tests are needed to ensure the safety of the Roosevelt and North Avenue stations, Robles said.

He said the extension, once operational, could boost the number of people riding the LRT line by up to 100,000 a day. LRT 1 ferries an average of half a million people daily. The LRTA expects to have all three new stations operational before the third quarter of this year.

Robles said the construction of the North Extension, dubbed as “Closing the Loop,” was one of the cheapest and fastest infrastructure projects of the government.

90-minute ride

Ms Arroyo took the train ride from the MRT Santolan station and back in one-and-a-half hours after raising the flag and speaking at the 24th anniversary celebration of EDSA I at the People Power Monument.

She walked for a few meters from the monument to the nearest gate of Camp Aguinaldo, and then took a presidential bus for the Santolan station, with Cabinet officials and reporters in tow.

Faster, cheaper, safer

The President said that closing the LRT-MRT loop “will bind the metropolis as never before, so that the people can travel faster, cheaper and safer from any part of the metropolis to another.”

Ms Arroyo paid tribute to the train commuters, saying that EDSA was “testament to the quiet heroism of the ordinary Filipino, the commuter who travels the MRT or LRT, every day to and from work, to and from school.”

When the MRT train pulled to a stop at its last station on North Avenue, Ms Arroyo and her fellow passengers got off, and transferred to a spanking new LRT train. [The tracks of the LRT and MRT lines have different gauges, so a commuter must transfer from an MRT or LRT train to another LRT or MRT train to take the second leg of the loop.]

The LRT train took Ms Arroyo and the rest of the passengers from North Avenue to Monumento, stopping only at the Balintawak station for an inspection, and then on to the EDSA-Taft station in Pasay City.

From there, the group walked on a connecting bridge to the MRT station, for the train ride back to Santolan.

1.2M passengers

On the LRT train, Ms Arroyo took her seat at the last car, and coaxed Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza to tell reporters the capacity of commuter trains before she assumed power in 2001 and at present.

“Before the Arroyo administration, the capacity was only 400,000. Now it’s 1.2 million,” Mendoza told reporters and photographers who crowded around Ms Arroyo.

Ms Arroyo agreed, saying that this was all part of her administration’s 10-point agenda.

Fruits of VAT

The North Extension project interconnects Line 1 (LRT line from Monumento to Baclaran); Line 2 (LRT line from Recto to Marikina-Pasig) and Line 3 (MRT Line from Taft Avenue to North Avenue).

Once completed, the ridership of 1.2 million passengers daily is expected to climb by 100,000, Robles said.

“The spirit behind this is the President. This is the cheapest. This is 100-percent local fund,” he said of the project.

Ms Arroyo agreed: “Yes, correct. There’s no loan … These are the fruits of VAT (value-added tax).”

A few minutes into the train ride, the LRT train’s air conditioning unit suddenly stopped working, prompting questions from reporters.

Transport officials, however, explained that the stretch from North Avenue to the Balintawak station was “not yet electrified.”

After the train left the Balintawak station, the air conditioner switched back on.

“We should expect fewer buses on EDSA,” said Vice President Noli de Castro, who joined Ms Arroyo on the train ride at the Balintawak station.

South Extension

While checking on the progress of the North Extension project, Ms Arroyo revived plans to extend the LRT 1 line to Cavite province.

The South Extension project, which was earlier shelved by the transportation department, aims to extend LRT 1 to Imus or Bacoor cities in Cavite, from Baclaran, Pasay.

The South Extension, estimated to cost about $1 billion, will add about 15 km of new tracks to the LRT line 1. The Cavite extension has been on the state’s drawing board for years.

Rooting for bet OK, but betting on pick illegal

26 04 2010

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:22:00 03/01/2010

Filed Under: Casinos & Gambling, Eleksyon 2010, Elections,Laws

MANILA, Philippines—It’s OK to root for Noynoy or Manny or Erap or Gibo, but just don’t bet on any one of them winning in the May 10 presidential election. It could land you in jail.

Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento has warned that gambling on the outcome of the balloting is prohibited under the law.

Article 22, Section 261 (c) of the Omnibus Election Code states that “wagering upon the result of an election” is an offense punishable by one to six years imprisonment, disqualification from public office and deprivation of the right to vote.

“Any money or thing of value or deposit of money or thing of value situated anywhere in the Philippines put as such bet or wager shall be forfeited to the government,” the law says.

Sarmiento said over the weekend that those who liked to bet on the chances of a particular candidate could find themselves losers in the end.

“To those who like placing bets, don’t gamble, don’t bet on candidate X, because if it is proven that you are at fault, you will be punished,” he told reporters.

The bet does not have to involve money to be considered an offense. As long it involves anything of value, it would be a prohibited act.

Sarmiento said that for a bettor to be punished by the Commission on Elections, a complaint must be filed.

Betting on the outcome of races is nothing new. One need not be a high-roller to indulge in a game of odds.

Filipinos are such inveterate gamblers they will bet on any possible outcomes under the sun—like which coin a fly will land on, or who among a group of boys a girl passing by will eyeball and flash a smile on.