Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Day 2008

The City Government today welcomed the 2008 People's Caravan which will participate in the Earth Day 2008 Celebration in San Fernando, Pampanga.

The Caravan is spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) RO-8 through Regional Executive Director Alfred Pascual. It was participated in by the Provinces of Leyte, Biliran, Easter Samar, Northern Samar and Samar.

Part of the caravan's whistle stop is Calbayog City. Vice Mayor Ronaldo Aquino was on hand to welcome the group at the City Hall Stage.

The caravan's next stop is Allen, then they will take the ferry to meet the delegation in Matnog and from there they will proceed to Pampanga.

The acitivity is anchored on the theme: "Lakbay para sa kalikasan; lakbay para sa kinabukasan"

One of the participating vehicles with the Earth Day 2008 streamer

Vice Mayor Ronaldo Aquino as he exchanged pleasantries with DENR RO-8 RED Alfred Pascual

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dengue Awareness Campaign

The City Government thru the City Health Office in coordination with the Department of Health launched the "Dengue Awarenss Campaign". The activity was held yesterday at the Jogger's covered court in Calbayog City.

In attendance were Mayor Mel Sarmiento, DOH-8 Dengue Control Coordinator Dr. Adelfo Labnao, City Health Officer Cesar Sabenicio and Barangay Officials, Health Workers (BHW) and Nutirion Scholars (BNS) from Districts 1 & 2. The activity included a lecture on "Dengue: the disease and its prevention" and the symbolic rininging of bells which launched the 4:00 o'clock clean-up habit for all barangays in the city.

The Aedes mascot

Dr. Cesar Sabenicio

Mayor Mel Sarmiento delivering his message

Monday, March 24, 2008

World TB Day

Today is world TB Day. The City Health Office is spearheading the celebration in Calbayog City.

Thanks to the TB DOTS program, TB have dropped from being the 3rd to the 4th killer disease in Calbayog. High Blood (or any related ailment) remains to be the number one killer disease in Calbayog.

Good Friday in Calbayog

Hello! I'm back. So sorry for not giving you any updates. Been busy with the Holy Week activities. In the meantime, let me share with Nelson Petilla's take on Good Friday in Calbayog. Please check this link.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holy Week in my hometown

Hi there! It’s Good Friday. A few days ago I unearthed in my collection a VCD copy of Jesus of Nazareth. I first watched it when I was in high school, and I can still clearly remember a newspaper review raving how Franco Zeferelli gave an unglamorized portrayal of the life of Jesus. Well, that was how it was for me until I came across that the Passion of the Christ with all its gory details about the suffering of Christ. Well, if I may add, that movie was made by one of the most homophobic movie directors there is. Anyway, what about these movies? It’s nice to note that we have in our midst some works of art that can help us ponder upon the suffering of Christ. In a way, to encourage those who are not into the usual penitensya and stuff that the Holy Week is made of.

* * *

Today we are halfway through the Easter triduum. On a personal note, this is always the busiest weekend for the past so many years. And for many generations of Calbayognons, Calbayog’s observance of her Lenten traditions is always one reason to come back to one’s hometown in Holy Week.

As usual, yesterday the image of the Dolorosa gave way to the monumento which will be the object of veneration of the faithful until noon today. The 12 persons (usually members of the K of C) who were selected as this year’s apostoles had their feet washed by the Bishop. Later at the parish rectory, they had their dinner with the bishop. I was once a part of this “ritual”. The bishop seated at the center with the twelve apostles on both sides. So was it a good dinner? I dunnow. Try to imagine having dinner while a lector reads a good number of gospel passages and a choir sings psalms in between. Then at exactly 8 pm, it was time for the jubileo, that saying of the rosary while in procession around the Cathedral and going in and out of it (yes, through all its doors).

As with the past years, today’s service begins, on the dot at 1 pm with the siete palabras. Priests from the parish and the parishes nearby take turns to reflect on the even last words. Old folks fondly recall that many years ago this activity ended with some sort of reenactment of the death of Jesus. Someone would say a line (supposedly the last line uttered by the Lord) and on cue, a parish employee in charge would pull a cord and the head of the crucified Christ moves or bows down portraying the death of the Lord and in a way gave goosebumps to many parishioners. Alas, things can never go perfect. There is this barbero story that in one Good Friday service, the person in charge missed the cue, and forgot about pulling the cord and the head of the crucified Christ did not move. The line cannot be uttered again, so how did they do it? Someone supposedly called (‘twas more of a loud whisper) the name of the person in charge and said, “tiwasi na!” Ahh, Filipinos indeed can always make something light out of anything they go through. And yes, I saw this myself a few years ago. There was this guy who I presume was inspired by the crucifixion of folks in Luzon or maybe in his effort to do penitensya, had himself crucified. And there he hanged on his cross somewhere in Rawis. It was some kinda sight to behold until he called on some of his companions, nope not to reenact the seven last words, but to ask for ice water.

* * *

And what is Good Friday without the procession? Today there will be at least 14 corrozas that will go around the city. There are certain carrozas that have always fascinated me as these are the ones I grew up with, so to speak.

An carro san Señor” is how members of the Gomez family fondly call the more than a century old life-size image of Christ being tied and scourged on the pillar.

Then there is the one owned by the Rosales Family. It is the one depicting the third fall of Jesus. Life-size images of Christ on the ground with a big cross on his back and at least four hudeyos with their glaring eyes are my earliest images of the suffering of Christ.

And then there is the Santo Intierro of the Sarmiento Family. For whatever reason, it is always the most popular among the mass goers. On top of many people taking time to touch its feet, its decors and flowers always get plucked even just halfway through the procession.

The image of the Dolorosa or the Sorrowful Mother gives what I consider an eerie twist to Good Friday when it goes on procession in the middle of the night. It goes through the silent streets of Calbayog with the recitation of the rosary blaring and the moon peeping over the horizon.

* * *

We have our own memories or images of Holy Week in our hometown. Whatever these memories or images are, it boils down to one thing. I believe that holy week have always been declared as a holiday, a long one at that, for us to spend some holy days before the big celebration which is Easter.

* * *

Have a holy week everyone! Ciao!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Women's Month in Calbayog

Various Women's groups in the city today launched Women's Month Celebration. The event is anchored on the theme: "CEDAW ng Bayan. Yaman ng Kababaihan"

The event started with a parade which commenced in front of the City Hall Hall. It was capped by a program at the Joggers court.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fire Prevention Month 2008 (March 1 - 31, 2008)

Many Calbayognons today woke up to blaring sirens as the Bureau of Fire Protection launched Fire Prevention Month 2008. Their theme for this year is "Prevent Fire: Be Informed, Get Involved"