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What Should You Not Miss In Tobacco Festival
March 30, 2017
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Accept it or not but tobacco is one of the most important thing among the lives of many Ilocano. Tobacco have been part of the tradition and cultures especially to the city that the biggest budget for its projects and program coming from the excise tax called RA 7171.

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Because of this reason, Tobacco festival is celebrated by the city who produces the biggest volume in the whole Philippines—the city of Candon. The citizenry and city officials might be one in campaign against smoking but not the production of it because it’s the main cash crop or livelihood of the people here.

So, here comes the Tobacco Festival, but just to be clear, its not Cigarette Festival but Tobacco Festival, there’s a big difference.

Year 2017 is another spectacular events and activities for the fiesta that started on March 24 and ended on March 28, 2017. There’s the major significance on this dates besides the start of the tobacco season on this year. First important date is March 25—the so called Cry Of Candon. On this date, the first Republic of the Philippines was founded when the local hero Isabelo Abaya raided and conquered the seat of power of Spaniards in Candon. He shouted the first Independence on that date.

The second important date is March 28—the ratification of cityhood of the city through plebiscite 16 years ago. The cityhood brought the progress of this place with the jumping of its Internal Revenue Allotment from the government. It brought progress and development through infrastructure projects,  programs for agriculture and fisheries, sprouting of the businesses and the wide assistance for the citizenry.

Now, the city is celebrating the first independence and the cityhood of Candon. Being the business central of the 2nd district of Ilocos Sur and that also includes some provinces in Abra and Benguet who make their business here, the city boost the wide market. People converge here.

Many activities lined up that many of these already remarkable because of years it is being presented every fiesta. Here are the most notable activities for this year.

  1. Tobacco Streetdancing And Showdown. This biggest crowd drawer of the fiesta. Ten of thousands of people from different places come and converged here to watch the colorful and joyful streetdancing competition and showdown. The streetdancing starting at barangay Bagani Campo and the participants dances through the national road going south reaching final destination which is the Candon City quadrangle where the showdown is held in the elevated wide stage.
  2. Miss Virginia Tobacco. It’s not just a beauty contest. Miss Virginia Tobacco is so prestigious now. Why? Simple because it’s now the 25th year of the pageant. The beauty contestants usually come from the province of Ilocos Sur, Abra, Ilocos Norte and La Union—the prime producers of Virginia tobacco in the Philippines.
  3. Agriculture Day. Candon City is still an agriculture based city. The people’s main livelihood still in farm. Planting tobacco, rice, corn, vegetables and peanut. The vast lands are mostly farm fields. We may still depending on farming but we are also living in the modern technology now. So, the Agri-Day is included in the events. It include the contest for biggest cows, carabaos, goats and chickens; crustaceans and fishes like shrimps, tilapia, milk fish; then the crops like squash, string beans, malunggay, ube, and many more.
  4. Search For Grandma and GrandPa. The beauty contest for Grandma and Grandpa is always a pleasing for us. It dubbed as Lolo and Lola Ti Siudad” where the senior citizens held the beauty and talents among them.

These are only few of the notable activities as there are other parts of the fiesta you should not miss like the Trade Fair and Exhibits, Miss Candon, Educational Day and many more.

It’s good to be here. As the slogan is saying, Candon City, Your Destination.

4 Local Cuisines Of Ilocano In Fiesta Day
March 25, 2017
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Taste the best of local cuisine of Ilocano; showcasing the dishes that define the taste of what early Ilocano have in the table called dulang.

Taking pride to the traditions and history of cooking.

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Cuisines of French, Japanese, Chinese, Mexicans and among others might caught the taste buds of people of the world but the Ilocano of Northern Philippines can also showcase the recipes like sapsapuriket, kilawen, pinakbet, sinigang (of local fishes). The distinctive taste soothe from the ingredients that mostly harvested in local farms and waters.

The Candon City’s Tobacco Festival is not only to celebrate the number one cash crop of the people here; or the sweet calamay that become the synonym of the city when regards to food. Candon also boost the agriculture and aquaculture industry being an agriculture base city of the country. The fiesta is also showcasing the natural gift of cooking of the local cuisines of Ilocandia.

Four dishes were assigned to the four groups: pinakbet dish to Rural Improvement; sinigang na Malaga and kilawen to Fishermen’s Association; and sapsapuriket to Farmer’s association.

Sapsapuriket— a native chicken cuisine cooked with its blood, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, ground pepper among others. The dried dish could be as hot as you want depending on the amount of chili you want to put. Of course sapsapuriket will not be without the blood of the chicken. The golden to brownish color of the dish could be the best for young and adults.

Sinigang Na Malaga—Malaga is a kind of commonly found in brackish water. The flat fish with the tiger-like print of fish but just the dark color is one of the tastiest fish in Ilocos. In fact this is not a cheap fish, it will cost you. Sinigang is sour-based soup dish which Ilocano love so much. The sinigang na malaga is using the natural sour ingredient like tamarind, pias fruits, mango among others. Instead of young kangkong or kamote young leaves, the young leaves of chili is much preferred.

Kilawen—not only the Japanese love the uncook dishes. We do love the kilawen. In fact, kilawen recipes are lining cookbook: kilawen could include meats of goat, cow and pig; fishes may include almost kind of fishes and aquaculture and that includes the best tanggigi or susay fishes (blue marlin and blue fin tuna). Bring in the table the most delicious dishes including a platter of kilawen—that kilawen will gone in 60 seconds.

Pinakbet—who wouldn’t know pinakbet? This one rocks in the table. It’s synonyms to Filipino taste. But the most important of Ilocano pinakbet is using the  bagnet, pork cracklings and even lechon as the main ingredient. Of course the local vegetables are as important as the bagnet. Vegetables that include okra, squash, string beans, eggplants and many more.

Maybe, this is what fiesta means—the traditional way, when all the people gather together in the table and shared the dishes prepared by family.

That is what we did. The competed in cooking these and after the judging, it were all lined up in the table and eat together.

These Businesses Would Likely To Die In Duterte Administration
March 18, 2017
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firecracker

The happiness to some is the crying session for others.

While the administration was praised for strong stance to guard the people and its interest and concern, many of them will be affected. The result could mean the extinction of some of the businesses long been here in the country because they are part of culture and tradition.

While the campaign is true, to safeguard the lives and health of the people but it also means the dying of the livelihood of the families where they get their 3 meals a day, payment for schools, for clothes—the needs and wants of the people. Not to mention the dying of culture and tradition.

But the campaign is strong—for the betterment of the bigger number of the people instead of the livelihood of the regional families.

Here are some businesses that may die down during the present administration of President Rody Duterte of the Philippines.

  1. Tobacco Industry.

The Ilocos region of northern Philippines is known as the tobacco capital of the country ever since. In fact, the epic Biag Ni Lam-ang (Life Of Lam-ang) also stated the importance of the tobacco tabarkan (native tobacco) as part of the courting of that time. It is also part of life of the people. The dinubla means cigar which the old folks smoke and believe gives them relief.

The tradition of cigar and the “mama” continue until the 90’s. There was no problem for Ilocano who are planting tobacco plants which is consider the biggest cash crop. The Ilocano tobacco farmers plant tobacco and brought their family and their places to progress

That was long time ago.

Time has change when the cigar became cigarettes and later on connected the chemicals like nicotine to many diseases like diatbetis, cancer and other dreadful diseases.

With so many issues the tobacco industry is facing: the high tax on cigarettes; the farming which the young generation don’t want to engage because of the hardship of work; the strong campaign of the country against the smoking; the limited market…

… And now the executive order of President Duterte on regulation of smoking in the Philippines.

  1. The Firecracker And Pyrotechnic Industry

No more firecrackers during the New Year’s celebration because of too many victims of injuries and burning related to firecrackers. No more banging sounds and flying pyrotechnics because the Duterte administration wanted to adopt the celebration of new year in Davao City.

The industry of firecrackers and pyrotechnics that would be likely affected is Bocaue, Bulacan. When Christmas season is coming, people here are alive in manufacturing the firecrackers. But because of escalating numbers of victims sent to hospital, it would be likely a dying industry in the Philippines.

  1. The Gambling And Gaming Industry

The bribery scandal involving the Bureau of Custom’s commissioner by the gambling mogul Jack Lam did not only rock the government but also the gambling and gaming industry.

Then came the executive order of President Duterte to the police officers to stop all kinds of no permit gaming and gambling in the archipelago.

Sure it is for the common good of the people of the Philippines but since the Filipino’s culture also includes gaming and gambling like card games, cara  y cruz, dado, cockfighting among others, surely this will affect the industry.

 

These industries are the source of livelihood of many people. These are their job and work. But because of many consequences, these industries could be soon… out.

This Is How We Prepare For Running
November 22, 2016
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me jumping_This Is How We Prepare For Running_how to prepare_be a good runner_tips_coming first in running

Running has been one of my favorite sports activity. This is one of my passions. Not only for the health benefits but also the fun of it. It’s really cool when you are running with everyone in the Fun Run or in the Marathon race like the Run Rio, Milo Marathon, Condura Run among others.

Of course it’s not just as easy as it is. Not because you want to participate in those runs and all you have to do is get the registration form, fill them up, pay the registration fee, get the singlet and the freebies and wait for the run day at the running place.

There are preparations we have to make before the run. For example, we need to get up early every day for practice. We usually do it slowly. First, 3 kilometers, then 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers and so on. It depends on what kilometers are you in. The 42K or full marathon needed more practice and exercise than any categories. Its simple mathematics of course.

Then we usually see what to eat or take as food. During the practice we really wanted the foods that can give us more strength and endurance. Foods like bread and fruits are good. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates, potassium, calcium among other vitamins and minerals. We don’t want the foods that are oily and high in sugar. Though we need sugar but not that much.

Then we also need to check what we are going to wear during the run. Though we are provided with the singlet but there are many things that we need to prepare: the running shoes are supposed to be durable; there are running short pants and not those basketball shorts; the socks are also important.

Then, you have to make sure you are healthy and make sure you are not sick before the race day come. When you feel something in your body, it might really affect your performance.

This is how we prepare our running.

How About Family Got Talent
November 22, 2016
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flower_How About Family Got Talent

How About Family Got Talent

A family that prays together live forever.

I was jolly the other night with my family. We had just our dinner and we are all in the living room chatting together: me and my wife Lisa; our children from oldest to youngest: AJ is 17 years old; CJ, she is 15 years old; VJ is 12; Jaeden is 10 and Lian , she is 6 years old.

Just like any other kids they are so playful. They are always outside playing sports games and traditions games every Satuday and Sunday. Most of them are also going to church for worship every Sunday. And just like other siblings, it’s a riot when they are together. Sometimes they quarrel and really having misunderstanding. Even the youngest don’t back down with her brothers and sister. I can say its normal for the siblings to have some quarrel. Of course, over the top is the caring and loving each other. They quarrel but does not mean they will not protect each other. When other children may harm them, expect the other kids to protect their brothers and sisters.

Among them, I found some of them are artists. CJ can do guitar and keyboard and really can sing during their worship—she’s not for presentation or contest, shy on contest but not during worship. VJ is a member of drum and lyre in their school and can really do good in drums; AJ can sing but shy; Lian has potential in acting and the bravest of them all, and Jaeden, oh well he is the most shy of them all, maybe a supporting role.

As I was saying, I was jolly on them at that time. I told them: “why not we participate in the contest in our town?” And everyone said, “nah!” You see we are artist who have no guts to stand up in the stage and sing and dance in front of the thousands of people. Correct! Our talents are hidden in the closet. Its only in the home we perform like a truly entertainer.

I know they won’t agree. My wife is just smiling while I’m telling them my idea. But you know what—even me cannot do the performance in that contest. I was just in the happy mode at that time. For the sake of happiness I tried to tease them for us to perform in the Got Talent in our town which is dubbed as “Harana Atbp”—a singing, dancing and other kinds of talents. There are categories for children, senior citizens and the main event.

“No!” They said. Then I said again, “let’s practice the Pen Pineapple Pen.” Of course you know it—the viral video of, well, I don’t know. But it’s funny. So I think it will work for us. When they responded in negative, I told them again, “how about us dancing the Trumpet”. Oh my, you can see their faces just to disapprove my idea. Then I told them our plan, “if we win, the prize we won is what we will use for vacation in Baguio City.”.

It was a light and happy moment with my family.

Preparing For The Running Events
November 19, 2016
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runner_Preparing For The Running Events

We have schedule for running in our city. It is sponsored by one of the hospital and dubbed to promote good health of the people. There are three categories that include 6 kilometers; 12 kilometers and 18 kilometers. It will be held on December 3, 2016.

I would probably run for 12 K, well this was told by our captain in running. But I wanted to do it in 6K. So right now I am thinking in what category to run. Three of my peers will run in 18K. Wow, that is a long stretch for them. I should have run also in 18 K but I have no training so it’s good I listed in the 12K only. I have the option to 6 kilometers.

6K or 12K, I have to train for the run. So, I have been waking up early these days to have a run or jog every morning. It’s not a long run but only 3 kilometers. Maybe next week I would make it farther, maybe I would stretch it to 6 to 10K. My only problem is waking up early because it’s been my bad habit. But because of this event, I force myself to stand up and then run in the morning.

Sometimes I am with my kids but sometimes I am alone. I do the short run with my kids and the long run when I’m only one.

Before going to run I usually do the warming up, stretching my muscles and some exercise in my bones and joints. It’s important you do it to avoid any injuries during the run. Also, I always bring a plastic bottle of water because I could not run long without water. It’s a big help for me to have that bottle of water.

As the days come near, I am feeling good and I think I’m excited to run again. Anyway it’s been a long time I have not run.

I’m Broke But I Gain
November 19, 2016
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bojong_I'm Broke But I Gain

Because my children wanted to go to the carnival where there are joyful rides and some games that you can win junk foods, stuff toys, candies and chocolates among others—even though I was hesitated to go because it is the time of my favorite television series, I can’t do anything but to obey the wish of my children.

So, we went to the carnival area of our town. I was with my three youngest children: Lian who is 6 years old, Jaeden is 10 years old and VJ is 10. My two other kids did not come and so with my wife Lisa. They decided to just watch the TV soap.

The kids are very happy as we are proceeding to the carnival—around 300 meters from our house. They are jumping and telling each other what they will do when we reach the place.

So, when we arrived, we proceeded to the running lights where you need to bet some coins in the running lights. When the light bulb stopped and luckily at the number where you put the coin, you win. You can win different things like junk foods, soft drinks, coffee mug among others. The numbers is ranging from number 1 to 24—which means it’s a 1 to 24 chance of winning. You need to bet not only to one number but as many as you can so to have a higher chance of winning the prize.

In the end, when we need to go home after one hour, each of my kids have with them two big plastic of cheese curls and chocolate curls. Sounds good and fair. But no, because the amount of that foods they won are not even the third the money I spent just to win those prize.

But you know, kids happiness is what matters most—its priceless. That is why though my wallet left nothing but my heart is jumping to rejoice.

Sneaking The Funeral Of Former President Marcos
November 19, 2016
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Sneaking The Funeral Of Former President Marcos

So finally, the remains of Former Philippine Ferdinand Marcos have been laid to rest in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or Hero’s Burial.

It was a surprise. Some call it sneaking funeral. It’s totally hidden to the people not until the corpse of Marcos was flown through helicopter from his hometown Batac, Ilocos Norte to Libngan ng mga Bayani. It was just at that moment the people got aware that the funeral is actually happening, afternoon of November 18, 2016. The family members of the late president were present; from his widowed wife former First Lady Imelda Marcos; Governor Imee Marcos; former Senator and lost presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos and other families and relatives and selected friends.

That was a sneaking funeral for the president whom his detractors have been into many sneaking moments: sneaking going to Hawaii during the EDSA People’s Power Revolt; sneaking the money of the country.

The opposition mostly the victims of the said to be Human Rights during his presidency came late into the news. The funeral is already happening, the mass and then the 21 gun salute. The opposition immediately organized the protests and rallies… too late the heroes. The funeral finished and the president they hated so much fulfilled his last wish. Then all can do now is squeaking and talking and airing their hate, dismay, protest and shouting to what had happened.

But it was not only the anti-Marcos were present. The pro-Marcos or Marcos loyalists are also in the venue fighting for their beloved former president.

President Rody Duterte who happens to be in favor of the said funeral was not in the Philippines. He was in Lima, Peru for official business.

The sneaking funeral came after the decision of Supreme Court favoring the burial of the former president to LNMB. But there was no detail yet as to when the burial may be happen. All what is known from the family is their plan of just simple funeral. Aside from that, there was no laid plan as to when the funeral may happen. Putting the anti-Marcos in hanging situation.

But I think there is a good thing on that situation. We escape the possible tension between the angry anti-Marcos group, the supporting Marcos loyalists, and the securing and just fulfilling duty of the government officers and personnel.

Just think a heavy struggle and tension between these group, it will spoil the funeral’s essence when that happen. Maybe this is the consideration of the Marcos family why they hide the burial of the late president. At least, aside from protests and rallies now, there was no pushing, punching, screaming and shooting among the people against or supporting the late strongman. And maybe this is the reason it was timely President Duterte is in Peru while the burial is happening. He can escape the heating situation.

Of course, this does not end there. We will know there are more stories to come even after the burial. So now we know who is the real newsmaker and kingmaker of the Philippines.

It’s so happen, though the Marcos loyalists are shouting to the anti’s to move on and heal the past and let there be unity, the opposition are also shouting for justice first.

Some People Are Die Hard Of Politics
November 19, 2016
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rally_Some People Are Die Hard Of Politics

While some people in United States are protesting against presumptive President Donald Trump on his assuming in White House, in the small town of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur in our country Philippines, few people are rallying to Mayor Roque Versoza to stopped the serving of preventive suspension order from the provincial government.

The unanimously approved resolution from the provincial council hand carried by the Provincial Legal Officer, Provincial Administrator and Secretary to the Sanggunian Panlalawigan to serve to the said mayor in his office in the municipal hall. They have the police officers giving them security.

Not until the handful supporters of Mayor Versoza are already in the front of the municipal building holding their placards and chanting their support to the mayor and against to the resolution suspending from office of their beloved leader.

The group from the provincial government tried to enter the building but the group of women blocks them. They did not force to enter as it may ignite untoward incident to the situation. That was supposed to be a surprise serving of the suspension order as the group know it may cause protest and rally. But the supporters already know it will be serve so they put blockade to the front of the municipal building.

The group stayed there until 5:30 in the afternoon. The office hours was supposed to be until 5:00pm. Still, the group did not succeed to serve the resolution.

The supporters just stay there holding placards and chanting until the group went home.

The next morning, the authorized people of the provincial government were not there but the supporters are already there. There was also some tents already set-up in the front of the municipal building.

The municipal mayor was not present during that time nor the municipal officials of the said town. Only the supporters are present during that time.

Well, this is politics ala Philippines.###

Why Do We Love So Much Dead
November 19, 2016
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zombie_Why Do We Love So Much Dead

Isn’t that we are supposed to scared at death?

Long time ago people are just so frightened when they spoke of dead. People don’t want to look at the dead people in the coffin. They are running away when they heard of dead people. They don’t want to pass in the cemetery because of the thought that a dead might get up from the tomb and chase them.

But seems to me people metamorphosis now from scared person to become a brave who just making fun and mockery to the dead now. We are now the species who are just so happy about the dead and other scary things. In fact we do play them and make some funny and drama movies about them.

Look, in the movies alone, we have done so much dead movies and still counting. Have you watch World War Z, Zombieland, 28 Days Late, Night Of The Living Dead and many more.

Then we have the ending zombies’ series head by The Walking Dead, Death Valley, Z Nation and many more.

Not only in the big screen and small screen we can see them that really entertained us, they are also in our mobile phones through to many zombies’ apps and games that we play them: Dead Target, Plants and Zombies, The Walking Dead No Man’s Land, Zombie Highway 2. Lots of them in the apps store and they are coming.

Then in the music industry, they are Zombie by the Cranberries; Zombie Eaters by Faith No More; Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie, Zombie Stomp by Ozzy Osborne and there are many more songs about zombies. Then we are actually singing them.

Oh my, zombies are everywhere and they are now eating our brains and we let them control us. We are not scared of them and we are so fun of them. We have nowhere to go but to be with them.

How come we are not afraid them? Are we gonna be like them soon?