By Apolinario Villalobos

Many presume that the name of the province is derived from “kapis” shell that abounds around the island of Panay, of which Capiz is a part, aside from Iloilo, Aklan and Antique. But, it is said that the early Spanish settlers coined the name “Capiz”. The Spaniards pronounced the name referred to the place which was “kapid” as “kapiz”. “Kapid” which is the vernacular for twin was referred to the province then, when it was yet ruled with Aklan by Datu Bangkaya, one of the ten Malayan datus who came in the thirteenth century.

Long before the arrival of the Spaniards, commerce had been flourishing between the province and other islands such as, Cebu, Masbate, mainland Luzon, mainland Mindanao and even Borneo which at that time was called Burnay. Commerce was through the port of Pan-ay River.

In 1569, a Spanish contingent headed by Legazpi landed on the shores of the old settlement by the mouth of Pan-ay River. Despite the hostility of the natives, he was able to convert them into Christianity within a year. By 1590, Capiz port was made as a naval yard of the Navy of Acapulco. It was here where the Spanish armada would take shelter from typhoons. The first gobernadorcillo of Capiz when it was officially established as a town in 1757 was Don Juan Alba.

Just like the rest of the provinces during the Spanish time, the province was not spared from the ravages of revolutions. The progress which it had been enjoying since the American occupation was stunted by the WWII.

The province which comprises a total land area of 2,633 square kilometers is located on the northeastern part of Panay Island. It is bounded on the south by Iloilo, on the north by Aklan and on the west by Antique.

The province’s western terrain is characterized by rolling hills that gradually descend from the highland from which Pan-ay, Mambusao and Ma-ayon rivers also originate. Its towns and capital, Roxas city, are interlinked by a semi-rough road system.

The Capizeῆos are of Visayan stock. They are good-natured and are the kind who would rather tame time than be enslaved by it. Although, majority of the population descended from settlers who came in the thirteenth century, a small percentage is comprised of migrants from Luzon and Mindanao. A negligible number of aborigines whom the locals call “Mundo” are found in the hinterlands, particularly, in Tapaz, the southern border of the province, and which is famous for its unique “Mundo dance”.

As characteristic of Visayans, the Capizeῆos are soft-spoken. The prevailing dialect is Hiligaynon, but unlike the Hiligaynon used in Iloilo, the Hiligaynon-Capizeῆo is heavily accented, and there are variations in some words.

The provincial capital was known before as Capiz until May 12, 1951 when it was chartered into a city and named after the first President of the post-WWII Republic, Manuel A. Roxas. The 9,505 square hectares area of the city is sliced by the chocolate-brown colored Pan-ay River.

With the decline of sugar as one of the coutry’s top exports, and which is also one of the provincial major products, it was left with the fishponds where shrimps, crabs and prawns are cultured, to lean on. Freshwater fish and some marine products such as oyster and mussels, are also among the province’s main peso earner.

The Pan-ay River which traverses the province helps facilitate the transportation of farm products to the city and towns. Bamboo rafts and big dugouts are the usual sights from dawn till dusk, heaped with nipa shingles, baskets, mats, hogs, fowls, and other produce.

The city museum, named “Ang Panublion” should not be missed by those who are interested in the culture of the province and its people. In the public market are stalls that sell colorful handwoven mats and baskets. “Patadyong”, the Visayan wraparound skirt usually printed with colorful stripes and checkers can be found in most of the textile stores.

About ten minutes from downtown is the city’s Baybay Beach. It is unspoiled yet and the long stretch of fine black sandy beach is the favorite weekend retreat of the locals. Near the beach is a fishing village that hums with activities such as salting and drying of fish under the sun during peak summer fishing season.

Forty three kilometers west of Roxas City is Dumalag where the multi-chambered Suhot cave can be found, and some of which are not yet explored. Another countryside attraction of Capiz are the stretches of white sand beaches of Ivisan. And for old churches, visitors should take time to visit Sapian, Dao, Sigma and Cuartero for their old churches. Sapian is also famous for its mussel farms. Aside from the Suhot Cave, Dumalag prides in its centuries-old church, built in 1873. At Barangay Burias of Mambusao is Quipot Cave, at Pan-ay are Napti Island and Buntod Beach, and another cave, the Igang can be found at Maayon.

On the eastern side of the province is the Pan-ay Church with its big bell cast from seventy sacks of melted coins donated by the townspeople during the eighteenth century. The bell which weighs 10,400 kilos, measures seven feet in diametr. Further still, is the phenomenal mummified remains of Maria Basaῆes at Casanayan, Pilar. I heard about the story of the mummified remains of Maria from the locals that I befriended at the wet market where I had breakfast, one day. I decided to visit the barrio and see for myself if the phenomenon was true. She died in March 12, 1929 and more than fifty years after when her remains were retrieved, it was found to be still intact, although, shrunk significantly. She was brought home by her great grandchildren and kept in a glass case. Also, at Pilar are small caves where the Japanese retreated during the Liberation days of the WWII. A good snorkeling site is the town’s Tucad Reef.

The most popular festival of the province is “Halaran” (offering), cultural and religious celebration that revolves around its patroness, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The festival, lately, has been referred to as “Sinadya sa Halaran Festival” (Fun at Halaran Festival), a variation from the original name which was just “Halaran Festival” and celebrated in Roxas City during the first week of December. Activities during the festival are street dancing that includes “higantes” (giant paper dolls), fluvial procession, floating of lighted candles in the river, seafood exhibit, agri-aqua trade fair, and pyrotechnic display. Adding color to the celebration is the beauty pageant during which the queen of the fiesta is chosen.

During the time that direct flights to Caticlan, the jump-off point to Boracay Island, were not yet available, the airport at Roxas City was made as an alternate debarkation and embarkation point of tourists if the flights for Kalibo were fully booked. From Roxas City, buses can be taken to Kalibo for a connecting trip to Caticlan. The same option happens during the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, when flights to the latter are fully booked. It is this convenient travel option that makes groups to cap their Capiz tour with a sidetrip to Boracay Island.

Bakit May “Savings” Kung Maraming Pangangailangan Ang Mga Ahensiya?

Bakit May “Savings” Kung Maraming
Pangangailangan ang Mga Ahensiya?
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa isang Senate hearing, inamin ng mga taga-Commission on Audit (COA) na marami silang kakulangan, hindi lang ng tao kundi pati na rin ng mga makabagong kagamitan upang mapabilis ang kanilang operasyon, kaya hindi sila nakakasambot sa mga kinakailangang gawin. Kalimitang naririnig ang ganitong klaseng paliwanag kung panahon ng budget hearing, kung saan ay pinaglalaban ng mga ahensiya ang mga pangangailangan nila upang maisama sa budget na dapat maaprubahan.

Hindi lang COA ang may ganitong problema, kundi halos lahat ng ahensiya. May mga istasyon ng pulis na napuputulan ng kuryente at tubig dahil sa kawalan ng pambayad, at mapapansin na karamihan sa mga istasyon ay masasabing halos niremedyuhan lamang upang maipatayo nang makapagserbisyo agad sila sa nasasakupan. May mga fire stations na kawawa ang hitsura lalo na ang mga nasa probinsiya, karamihan din sa mga fire trucks nila ay di na mapatakbo ng maayos. Karamihan sa mga barangay health centers nakikisilong sa mga barangay halls dahil walang matatawag na sariling klinika. May mga paaralan sa mga liblib na barangay na gigiray-giray na, butas-butas pa ang bubong at dingding. May mga trial courts din na nakikisilong lang din sa mga munisipyo at city hall, ang mga abogado at huwes, maliliit ang sweldo.

Nagkaalaman na maraming kakulangan ang hanay ng mga huwes, mga abogado, mga auditor, mga health workers, mga guro, at iba pa. Subali’t ang nakapagtataka ay bukambibig sa Kongreso, Senado at Malakanyang ang “savings” o ang “natipid”. Lalong nagkalabuan nang may nagsabi na ang malaking bahagi daw ng mga “natipid” na budget ay napunta lang sa mga bulsa ng mga tiwaling mambabatas at mga opisyal ng gobyerno. At ang matindi ay pinipilit daw ng mga ahensiyang magkaroon ng savings kahit sa kalagitnaan pa lang ng taon upang masiguro na mayroon silang matatanggap ng mga bonus, lalo na ng Christmas bonus, sa pagsara ng tinatawag na budget period o katapusan ng taon. Paanong matatawag na savings ang ganoon kung may natitirang kalahating taon pa na dapat lapatan ng gastos? May mga kwento nga na nagpapayabangan ang mga empleyado ng iba’t ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno sa laki ng tinanggap nilang Christmas bonus at kung anu-ano pang inimbintong bonus na pinalabas na “employee benefits”. Yong ibang ahensiya, ang mga nakaupo sa matataas na puwesto ay mayroon pa palang pang-grocery!

Ang wala sa ayos na “pagtitipid” ng mga ahensiya ay nagdudulot ng pagkapilay ng kaniklang operasyon na may masamang epekto sa taong bayan. May mga ahensiya na dahil sa kakulangan ng mga tauhan ay natatambakan ng backlogs sa over-the-counter service at paperworks. May mga barangay na ang pangangailangan ng mga tao ay hindi naaatupag dahil kulang ng health workers o midwife man lang. In fairness sa ibang ahensiya, isa sa pagpapakita nila ng pagpursigi upang makatugon sa pangangailangan ng taong bayan ay ang tuluy-tuloy na pagtrabaho ng mga tauhan nila kahit na lunch break. Pero hindi naman lahat ng ahensiya ay gumagawa nito.

Ang kanser ng pagkagahaman ay talagang kalat na sa buong sistema ng gobyerno. Kung ilang dekada itong napabayaan kaya lumala. Ang masama nito, hindi yata lahat ay naaambunan ng “grasya”, dahil maraming empleyado ng gobyerno na ang sweldo ay maliit pa rin. At dahil ang gamit ng “savings” ay para sa bonus lamang, ang mga sweldo na dapat taasan ay hindi natitinag, subali’t ang mga opisyal nila ay bundat sa ibang benepisyo. Samantala, ang mga nasa ibaba naman ay hanggang asa na lamang na nakanganga!

Iloilo: Spain’s Once, Loyal and Noble City in the Far East

Iloilo: Spain’s Once, Loyal
and Noble City in the Far East
By Apolinario Villalobos

A mere mention of Iloilo would bring to mind the whole triangular island of Panay. In fact, for the Ilonggos (inhabitans of Iloilo), Panay is Iloilo or vice versa. The past has so much to do with this kind of esteemed treatment of the province, especially, during the early part of its Americanization which put it in the commercial map of the world.

Historians supported by archaeological diggings would say that the thirteenth century began the historical pages of Panay Island which was known then, as Madia-as. This century saw the arrival of the ten Bornean datu under the leadership of Datu Puti who escaped from the cruelties and tyranny of Sultan Makatunaw. On board ten sailboats called barangay, they landed at the mouth of Siwaragan River, southwest of Iloilo coast in what is presently, the town of San Joaquin. About a hundred persons including the families of the ten datus set foot on the new-found land which was ruled by Marikudo and his wife, Maniwangtiwan.

A peaceful negotiation for the exchange of the land with a “sadok” (hat) of beaten gold, a golden necklace and a basin made of gold for the wife of Marikudo, took place. In addition to the gold were some clothing materials, beads and trinkets. After the exchange, Marikudo and his people retreated to the mountains, leaving the lowlands to the new settlers.

A settlement was also established in Malandog on the eastern coast of the island by Datu Sumakwel who was instructed by Datu Puti to explore other parts of the island. When Datu Puti went back to Borneo to check the situation of those who were left behind under the tyrannical rule of Sultan Makatunaw, he designated Datu Sumakwel to assume the leadership. Datu Dumangsil and Datu Balensuela, and their wives went back with Datu Puti to Borneo. They sailed northward until they reached a mortar-shaped island, the shoreline of which they followed. They came upon a fertile land broken by a river which they called “Katal-an” due to the abundance of “tal-an” trees on its shores. Datu Dumangsil and Datu Balensuela decided to stay on this promising land while Datu Puti went on with the journey and nothing was heard of him ever since.

The seven datu who were left in Panay decided to divide the territory into three: Hamtik (Antique), under Datu Sumakwel, Irong-irong (Iloilo) under Datu Paiburong, and Aklan under Datu Bangkaya. The three were formed into the Confederaton of Madia-as with Datu Sumakwel as the Chief. The eastern province was named Irong-irong which means nose-like, as it looks like one when viewed from atop Balaang Bukid (Sacred Hill) of Guimaras Island. Hamtik on the other hand, refer to big black ants. For three hundred years, before the coming of the Europeans, the islanders lived in comparative prosperity and peace under organized government and the laws in Kalantiaw Code promulgated in 1432.

Further on its historical side, the mountain ranges of Manyakiya and Dumingding yielded mementos of a Neolithic civilization. The uncovered layer of the New Stone Age that dates back to the period between 8000 to 500 BC showed the beginning of sedentary village life and new techniques in making tools – all indications of an advance civilization. Recovered from the sites were hundreds of meticulously carved and figure-etched slabs which they believed constituted the floor of a courtyard. Etched on the slabs were geometric and human figures, ancient scripts, as well as, images of animals.

The year 1536 saw the arrival of Spaniards under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi from Cebu, and who established a settlement in Oton. One reason why Legazpi left Cebu was the frequent attacks of the Portuguese from the East Indies. In Oton, Ronzalo Ronquillo was appointed as deputy encomiendero who founded the town of Villa Arevalo in 1581. Villa Arevalo later on became the capital of the alcaldia of Panay which included half of Negros Island (northern) and all of Romblon Islands. To repel Moro attacks, Villa Arevalo was later on fortified. In 1583, the Spaniards moved to Irong-irong which they shortened to Iloilo for convenience of pronunciation, where they built more fortifications. Fort San Andres was constructed in 1616, but even before it could be completed, the Dutch under Admiral Spitzbergen tried to capture the town in 1617. Actual bombardment of the town began on September 16, 1616.

For administrative convenience and also due to the remarkable increase in population, the alcaldia of Panay was again divided into three provinces in 1703, namely: Iloilo, Antique and Capiz; in 1734, Negros was made as a military district and eventually became a separate province.

Iloilo has earned the title, “La muy leal y noble ciudad”. Unfortunately, the autocratic rule of the Spanish crown masked by the seemingly noble activities of the friars pushed the Ilonggos, who for a long time had been tolerant, to the edge of their temper. A secret revolutionary movement of the elite was formed in March 1898. Rising to prominence as the sower of nationalistic ideals was Graciano Lopez Jaena who founded the La Solidaridad. Santa Barbara was the seat of their revolutionary government which was inaugurated on November 17, 1898.

As the Spaniards felt the strongly brewing rebellious activities, Governor-General Diego de los Rios was ordered to leave and evacuate all that remained of his forces to Zamboanga. Don Vicente Gay became the first civilian alcalde when the Spaniards left. Three days after his installation, however, the Americans under General Marcus Miller arrived but were not allowed to land. It was at this time that the Treaty of Paris was being ratified by the American Senate. The treaty had a provision for the turnover over of the Philippines to America.

Finally, when the treaty took effect, General Miller took over the city by force. Don Vicente Gay continued his duty as the mayor with Matias Ybiernas as the vice-mayor. The Ilonggos in the meantime, fought from their lines of defense from Balatang to Tacas, Sambag and Jibao-an. Their surrender initiated by Col. Quintin Salas took place on October 24, 1901.

The period under the Americans saw Iloilo heading towards progress. Roads were constructed and the railway system was improved. The sugar industry which was “fathered” by Nicholas Loney further pushed the economy of the city. It was also Iloilo that played womb to the country’s airline industry with the opening of the first air service between Iloilo and Bacolod in 1925. The first full blown commercial air operation, however, began on February 2, 1933 by Iloilo-Negros Air Express Co. (INAEC) which was established in late 1932 by Eugenio and Fernando Lopez. The march to progress was hampered only by the invasion of the city by the Japanese on April 16, 1924, during the WWII.

The province’s 5,324 square kilometers area is sprawled on the southwestern side of Panay Island. It includes several islands and islets that dot the southeastern coast from the Visayas Sea to the Panay Gulf. Among the islands, Guimaras is the biggest, with its highest elevation towering at 252 meters. It lies between Negros and the main island of Panay. Mountain ranges provide natural boundaries between Iloilo and Antique on the west and Capiz on the north. Wedged between the hilly northern and mountainous western sections and extending downward towards the coast is the largest lowland area of Panay. Draining the Iloilo plains are Jalaud, Jaro and Sibalom rivers that flow out toward Guimaras and Iloilo straits.

Tactful, yet, insistent, the Ilonggos are noted for their social flair and discriminating taste. Aside from their ways that are oftentimes misinterpreted as arrogant, their dialect, the Hiligaynon, evinces their kind of pleasantness which earned for them the popular reference – “malambing” (romantic). Hiligaynon is a mixture of the ethnic Malay words and a sprinkling of Spanish and spoken in a very soothing accent. A popular joke about this dialect is that, for those who are not familiar with it, spoken invectives may sound more like names of French dishes.

Another thing which may intrigue strangers while in Iloilo is the diversity of dialects. For while Hiligaynon, is popularly used, other dialects, are also spoken by those in the west and the north. The most prominent, is called “karay-a” which is spoken with a rolling accent.

Iloilo has Hispanic buildings that still stand as tangible manifestations of western influence. These edifices constitute one of its come-ons to attract visitors. Aside from those, all that one has to do is visit the countryside to discover and appreciate more of what it offers.

For a start, suggested is the nearby Guimaras Island, known for its caves, waterfall, springs and islets. The island is just fifteen minutes away on a ferry. Its significant landmark is the cross atop Balaang Bukid (Sacred Hill) which dominates the southern skyline of Iloilo. A chapel was built on the Bundolan Point, from which several hundred footholds were carved for the convenience of pilgrims who would trek to the crest of the mountain as a sacrifice during Holy Week. On the same island, Nueva Valencia with its coral-rich waters, especially, those of Naburot, Ave Maria, Igang and Tandog, is a haven for snorkelers and scuba divers. Unfortunately, its caves that are of archaeological value have been abused by guano collectors. Equally popular among sea lovers is the Puting Balas Beach. Also on the same island, is Daliran Spring. The town is well-remembered too, for the stay of General Douglas MacArthur, when he was yet, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and whose significant accomplishment was the town’s wharf.

A short distance from the town proper of Jordan is a Trappist monastery. Visitors are allowed to visit the premises at certain times. An optional feature for the island-hoppers, are the Seven Islands, more known as Siete Pecadores, and the Roca Encantada.

Iloilo has its own “hundred islands”, scattered like jade beads from north to southwest, with Sicogon as the most developed. The elongated island has mountains and pockets of forests distributed in its area of 1,104 hectares. The island is accessible from Estancia, a northern border town, from where pumpboats can be hired. Other frequently visited islands are Gigantes, Balbangon, Isla de Caῆa, Calagnaan and Agho.

The most popular old district of Iloilo is Jaro, once the enclave of the elite. It was known as “Salog”, derived from the name of the river that runs through it. The pre-Spanish Salognons were elaborately tattooed and lavishly bejeweled, and theirs was among the only advanced cultures in the region. For reasons not yet known, Salog was renamed Jaro during its Christianization in 1534. During the reign of Queen Isabela II, Jaro became a diocese and elevated into an archdiocese not long after, making it the religious capital of western Visayas. Despite the reversal of roles with Iloilo city, Jaro with its several schools and public utilities, is still and by tradition, a cultural hub of the province. One of the prestigious universities in the country, the Central Philippines University is located in Jaro. Its once five-storey bell tower that has been leveled almost to the ground by man-made and natural calamities, still stands. It has become a marker of Jaro plaza. The tower which once sent solid peals of the bell far and wide has now only about twenty feet as a solid remnant.

A little farther away from Jaro is the Villa Arevalo which was once the seat of the first Spanish mission on Panay Island. It is also known as Iloilo’s garden. Front yards of quaint homes are abloom with flowers throughout the year. During the pre-Martial Law days, Arevalo was also famous for all kinds of fireworks. The district is also famous for its high-quality, handwoven jusi, piῆa and jablon cloths. The district is also known for its bibingka (rice cake).

Molo, about three kilometers from Iloilo city is the Parian of the old, being the Chinese quarters of Villa Arevalo. What catches the attention of visitors is the district’s classic church whose slim spires seem to pierce the sky. It is also the home of “pancit molo”, an Ilonggo soup whose distinct ingredients and piquant flavor earned for itself the adulation of gourmets throughout the country. Aside from the “pancit molo”, the district is also famous for its bakeries for their tasty breads and biscuits. Another district known for its distinctive Ilongo dish is La Paz, with its “batchoy” whose counterpart in Manila is “mami”.

This writer was lucky to have talked to Ms. Liza Ydemne, a self-taught Ilonggo dish “chef” and foodie enthusiast, who told me that other Ilonggo delicacies are “pinasugbo” (banana fritter) cooked in brown sugar, “barquillos” (rolled rice wafer), “binakol”, chicken cooked in young bamboo tube, “lumpia”, strips of young coconut pith and bits of meat rolled in egg and flour wrapper, and “achara”, green papaya pickled in spices. She also mentioned about the “KBL” or “kadyos (beans), baboy (pork), langka (young jackfruit)”. The KBL is a rich dish that is always part of festive fare of Ilonggos, according to Ms. Ydemne. For an authentic Ilonggo soup, she mentioned the “lagpang” a soup preparation consisting of shredded broiled freshwater fish, spring onion, garlic, and chili. As for veggie soupy dishes, she mentioned the “laswa”, which is a combination of “saluyot” (hemp), eggplant, squash, stringbeans, onion, garlic, ginger, flavored with “ginamos”, a condiment that the Ilonggos use to make their dishes savory. Another authentic dish she loves to cook is that of “tambo” (bamboo shoots), “saluyot”, native young corn, shrimp, flavored with onion and garlic. “Ginamos” is made from krill, pounded into fine consistency, salted and set aside for several weeks before being used to flavor dishes. Ms. Ydemne confided that her mother, as a young woman, was an expert in preparing “ginamos” not only for home use but also for patrons. She added in her input the batchoy and siopao of Roberto’s, which has become a byword among the Ilonggos, the world-famous mangoes and pastries of Guimaras, as well as, the dried fish, especially, the “pinakas”(sun-dried deep sea and coral fish) from Estancia.

Iloilo is noted for its centuries-old Hispanic churches, spread throughout the province that even laid back towns have one to boast, such as the one of Dingle’s, where Moroboro’s Bulabog Puti-an Park is also found. Barotac Nuevo has its neo-classic church featuring Ionic and Doric pilasters. Uptown Leon which is a little more than 28 kilometers from the city boasts of reputedly one of the largest churches built in the 1800s in the country. Although, the original structure has been destroyed by natural calamities, the ruins are enough to tickle the imagination on how such a quaint and quiet town, named after the city of Leon of Spain, could have had such massive church. Bruised but still intact are the coat-of-arms of Leon, stone sculptures of Pope Leo XIII, St. Mark, and the Blessed Mother of the Holy Rosary. Janiuay and Pavia made use of the simple, yet durable brick combined in moderate proportion with coral stones to make austere-looking structures that hide surprising copious collection of religious artifacts.

The most historically significant church in the whole of Iloilo is Sta. Barbara’s. It was here where the first cry of Ilonggo Revolution was raised. Its convenient distance from the city which is 19.9 kilometers made it an advantageous outpost for the revolutionaries. San Joaquin church on the other hand, cannot be outdone with its military-inspired façade. Portrayed in a relief of white coral stone by Father Tomas Santaren in 1869 is the historic battle of Tetuan in Morocco in 1859. Forty kilometers from the city is Miag-ao whose church has been the favorite subject among culturalists due to its twin towers which, except for the first two tiers, are not similar to each other at all. Its massive build could easily make one understand how it played a dual role – as a house of worship and a stronghold during piratical attacks. Very Filipino in every aspect, Miag-ao church even has indigenous plants as backdrop of the relief sculpture of St. Christopher carrying the Child Jesus. Awarded with a plaque by the Philippine Historical Commission in 1953, the baroque church was built in 1787 by an Agustinian friar, Father Francisco Gonzales. Two other churches which played a defensive role against the marauding pirates are those of Tigbauan’s and Guimbal’s. While Tigbauan’s has a watch tower near the seashore, Guimbal’s just like Miag-ao’s, is strategically and heavily built near the shoreline and is of yellowed coral stone.

The centerpiece of Iloilo’s tourism industry is its Dinagyang Festival. Just like Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan, Roxas’ Halaran, and Antique’s Binirayan or Ati-Biniray, the Dinagyang also revolves around the homage paid to the miraculous image of the Holy Child Jesus. It was known before as the Iloilo Ati-Atihan to distinguish it from Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan. The use of “dinagyang”, an Ilonggo term for merriment is attributed to the Ilonggo broadcaster and writer, Pacifico Sudario who first used it in 1977. It got stuck in the memory of visitors who henceforth, referred to Iloilo’s festival as “dinagyang”. The festival began in 1967 as a joyous expression of the Ilonggos when a replica of the Holy Child Jesus was brought from Cebu to the San Jose Parish church in Iloilo City. In 1977, the festival was made colorful and more significant by the participation of an authentic Ati tribe from the mountains of Barotac Viejo. Later on, it caught up with its neighboring provinces in the celebration of the homage during the month of January.

The new airport of Iloilo is located at Sta. Barbara. Just like the airport of Roxas City, Iloilo’s is also used as an alternate during the peak Ati-Atihan festival of Kalibo. For a memorable holiday on the island of Panay that should include a trip to Boracay, it is suggested that one should spare a whole week, or a few days more, to prevent having regrets for not staying a little longer.

Ang Pagtatakip ng Anomalya at Paghuhugas-kamay ng Sangkot

Ang Pagtatakip ng Anomalya
At Paghuhugas-Kamay ng Sangkot
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ang seryosong nakikinig sa mga hearing tungkol sa anomalya sa gobyerno ay naiinis sa mga kaalyado ng mga nasangkot, at ng mismong nasangkot dahil sa iisang deklarasyon na sobrang gasgas na. Ito ay ang tungkol sa kawalan daw nila ng “direktang aksiyon” upang gawin ang anomalya lalo na sa pag-abot ng pera. Sino ba namang tangang involved sa anomalya ang mismong mag-aabot ng suhol? Sino ba namang tangang involved ang maglalagay ng pangalan niya sa mga dokumentong ginamit sa anomalya? Kaya sila may lakas ng loob na gumawa ng anomalya ay dahil kumpleto sila sa mga payo kung paanong gawin ang pagnanakaw, at kasama na dito ay paggamit ng mga tao at mga paraan kung paanong mawala ang pangalan nila sa “paper trail”. Yan ang bentaha ng may kaalaman sa abogasya.

Sa mga sinasabi nilang corrupt sa gobyerno tulad ni Ferdinand Marcos at Gloria Arroyo, may nakapapagpatunay ba na personal silang nag-abot ng “lagay”? Sa pag-imbistiga, ang hinahanap ay “involvement” sa anumang paraan at hindi direktang pag-abot ng pera o paglagay ng pangalan sa mga dokumentong ginamit.

Sa pagpapatunay kung may nagawang ilegal ang isang tao, lalo na ng opisyal sa gobyerno, maraming bagay ang pinagbabasehan. Ang isang sitwasyon ay ang kasalukuyang pag-iimbestiga kay Napoles. Pinagpipilitan niyang wala siyang inabutan ng pera at wala ang pangalan niya sa alin mang dokumento. Subalit siya mismo ang nagsabi na may nagturo sa kanya kung ano ang gagawin upang pagkitaan ang pork barrel. Lalo siyang nadiin ng mga sinabi ng mga dati niyang tauhan na buong tapat na involved sila kaya alam nila ang kalakaran.

Sa kaso naman ng inaakusahang Bise-Presidente Binay, mismong mga dati niyang tauhan ang nagsabi kung paanong ipaabot sa kanila ang mga instruction, sa pamamagitan ng mismong City Engineer tuwing magdadaos ng bidding. Hindi maaaring sabihin na sariling diskarte ng engineer ang pagbigay ng instruction at pag-abot ng “allowance” dahil lahat ng desisyon at galaw niya ay batay sa kagustuhan ng nakatataas sa kanya. May final signatory sa mga dokumento at alam ng engineer kung sino ito. Subalit may pagkakataon pa rin naman ang partido ni Bise-Presidente Binay na ipagpilitan ang kanyang pagka-inosente, at tuloy, makapaghugas-kamay.

Kung malinis ang isang pinuno, wala ni isa mang tauhan nito ang makakaisip na gumawa ng anomalya dahil magsisilipan sila at magkakanya-kanya sila ng sumbong kung sakali. Pero dahil sa kasabihang walang baho na hindi umaalingasaw, kahit may kutsabahan na kinasasangkutan na rin ng pinuno, talagang magkakabistuhan ng mga ginawang kalokohan sa katagalan at lalung- lalo na kung ang nag-aakusa ay may pansariling motibo na may kinalaman sa pulitika. Kaya maraming kasong mga patayan ng mga tao sa gobyerno “dahil marami na silang alam” – mga kasong kinalimutan na lamang.

Hindi na rin magandang pakinggan ang dahilan ng mga iniimbistigahang sangkot sa mga anomalya na sila ay pinupulitika lamang dahil kung ayaw nilang madungisan ang pangalan nila, hindi na sila dapat pumasok sa larangang ito na mula at sapul ay alam na ng lahat na talagang marumi, at kung saan ay talamak ang nakawan, siraan ng pangalan at pagkukunwari. Sagutin na lang nila ang mga binabatong akusasyon upang patunayang “malinis” sila. Tumigil na sila sa pag-aakalang tanga pa rin ang mga Pilipino. Sa panahon ngayon, tanga lang ang magsasabi na kaya siya pumasok sa pulikita ay gusto niyang maglingkod sa bayan. Kaya sana ang mga pulitiko ay tumigil na sa pagmaang-maangan…. tumahimik habang nagtatrabaho, dahil bawat salita nila ay nagsisilbing pabigat upang lalo silang lumubog sa kumunoy ng kasalanan!