Today's Top Stories

  • Pueblo de Oro to invest P6-7B more, redevelop Township | Uptown Pioneer shares vision for Makati of Cagayan de Oro

    Pueblo de Oro to invest P6-7B more, redevelop Township | Uptown Pioneer shares vision for Makati of Cagayan de Oro

    The man who went where angels feared to tread and almost singlehandedly willed the creation of what has now become the booming Uptown Cagayan de Oro, recently shared his vision for what lies beyond the post-pandemic horizon. Guillermo D. Luchangco, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PDO), perked up the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc.’s (Oro Chamber) 2nd General Membership Meeting and Induction of New Members on June 22nd, in his response to the unveiling and dedication of the Guillermo D. Luchangco Hall at the Oro Chamber building along P.N. Roa Sr. Avenue in Upper Carmen, and the granting of his lifetime membership in the city’s leading business organization. “When I first started coming here more than 25 years ago, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape, and  I used to tell my associates it was “Marlboro Country”, with rolling hills framed by the mountains in the background, winding rivers and the sea.  It was indeed a jewel of an urban community set in the countryside, which meant you could achieve a great combination of business and leisure without leaving home,” Luchangco said. “Mark my words. This type of life will be the future of the Philippines, the style of community to which many will migrate post-covid.  People will look for smaller, less crowded developments but those which have complete facilities to offer, like smaller commercial areas or malls, spaced out leisure and lifestyle areas, green residential villages, all far from the overcrowded public areas and congested streets and traffic jams of places like Metro Manila,” he stressed. Luchangco described how the covid pandemic unveiled a ‘silver lining’ by thrusting the country into the new age of technology, with employers and employees realizing how it was possible for some to work from home, and how the internet made it all possible. “Thus, in Luzon, you will see booming communities rising up outside of NCR, going both southward and now, especially with the construction of the skyway above Metro Manila that cuts travel time to the north, also towards Bulacan, Pampanga and further,” he noted. Head start  Luchangco described how Cagayan de Oro is in a unique position to take advantage of this trend because it is already known as a regional center, with good facilities, an international airport, a major container port, a shipping port that serves more tonnage than Davao, many educational institutions and a thriving business community, all within reach of rolling mountains and hills, scenic landscape and the sea.  “And we must not forget one of its major assets, a lively and friendly population.  No wonder it is called the City of Golden Friendship.  Not every regional city in the Philippines can claim such attractions!” he exclaimed. Increasing the Value Proposition “And to put my money where my mouth is, I wish to tell you that, in addition to the billions of pesos Pueblo de Oro has already poured into Cagayan de Oro, we will now invest at least P6-7 billion more!” Luchangco disclosed.  “But while we will search for new areas to develop, we will not just do that.  We will also seek to re-develop the area we are already in, in order to increase the value proposition for those who invested with us earlier.  By upgrading the present area of Pueblo de Oro, the land and asset values here will also rise,” he added. The Makati of CDO In addition to additional investments and redevelopment of Pueblo de Oro, Luchangco also revealed how from “Marlboro Country”, he would be leading the charge to further develop the uptown area of Pueblo de Oro township into the “Makati of Cagayan de Oro”. “Many of you will recall that in the 1950s, Makati was just a barren field, with the old Nielson tower which previously served as an airport terminal, one small apartment building along Ayala Avenue, then Rizal Theater and a supermarket.  But look at it now!  Rizal Theater has been transformed into the Shangri-la Hotel, Ayala Avenue is full of high-rise buildings, and land in the area is worth around P1 million per square meter!” he exclaimed. “Now look at Cagayan de Oro’s uptown area.  When I first visited here, it was a barren field.  Today, it is a booming location, with SM Mall on its north side, and the new Gaisano Mall on its southern rim.  SM will be developing a five-hectare condo area close to its mall, as well as expanding the mall itself.  Cebu Landmasters and Portofino are also in the uptown locale.  And Pueblo de Oro township sits in the middle of all this!” Beyond the pandemic horizon In the near future, Luchangco said Pueblo de Oro Township would not be merely building more of the same types of structures.  “Just like when I started our project years ago, and told a group of prominent Kagay-anons that I would give their city a township that they could be proud of, even if they traveled to the cities of Europe, Pueblo will now go beyond the current types of developments you see dotted around the city and build bigger, better and/or more state of the art projects!” he revealed. Besides further raising the city’s profile a cut above the rest of the country’s highly urbanized cities and increasing its footprint as a unique destination point, Luchangco foresees how this would result in greater economic benefit to the city and increase revenues for the local government.  The City of Cagayan de Oro maintained its ranking in 2020 as the 7th Overall Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City (HUC) in the 2020 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index. The city has consistently been in the top 10 since 2013, and is one of only two cities outside the National Capital Region (NCR) to make it to the top 10 in 2020.  The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index is an annual ranking of Philippine cities and municipalities developed by the National Competitiveness Council through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.  The ranking is based on overall competitiveness scores, the sum of scores on four (4) main pillars: economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure, and resiliency. Cagayan de Oro ranked 5th among HUCs in infrastructure, 6th in resiliency, 9th in government efficiency, 12th in economic dynamism. Guillermo D. Luchangco Hall Dedication “I can definitely say that this is indeed one of the proudest moments of my life as I am being honored with honorary lifetime membership by the Oro Chamber and with the naming of the Guillermo D. Luchangco hall in its building within the Pueblo de Oro Township. I am truly thankful to all of you for this award and recognition!  And it is indeed gratifying that I am receiving it from the business community of Cagayan de Oro.”  “Believe in the future of the City of Golden Friendship, and  thank you, my friends, for the honor you have bestowed upon me.”

    June 24, 2021

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  • The History and Legacy of the Bautista Manuscript on the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province 1900-1901

    The History and Legacy of the Bautista Manuscript on the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province 1900-1901

    Many Kagay-anons may have heard about the famous “Bautista Manuscript” but to this day few know what it was all about.   It was written by a public-school teacher Filomeno Marcos Bautista, Sr., who was the former Academic Supervisor of Surigao, Bukidnon  and Misamis upon his retirement in 1933. Filomeno Marcos Abellanosa Bautista was born on April 25, 1890 in Cagayan de Misamis. He personally witnessed the Fiesta Nacional of January 10, 1899 celebrating the Philippine independence from Spain. A government scholar at the Philippine Normal School and the Philippine School of Arts and Trades, he was appointed the first principal of Mambajao Elementary School in Camiguin and eventually became the Division Academic Supervisor of Misamis, Surigao and Bukidnon. “But his crowning glory as an academic was when he founded the Parents-Teachers College (PTC) in 1946 with a group of civic minded individuals,” said his son, the late Filomeno “Dodong” A. Bautista, Jr. during an interview we conducted at his residence on May 5, 2020. PTC opened in in June 1948 initially offering classes in the elementary and secondary (day and night) school and courses in Education, Liberal Arts, Secretarial and Commerce in the tertiary level held at a two-story building in Licoan. It was later renamed the Cagayan de Oro College (COC) when the Dongallo and Argayoso families invested in it, and now renamed the Phinma Cagayan de Oro College following its buyout by the Phinma Group.  “He retired in 1933 to write Glimpses of Mindanao-The Land of Promise and The Bautista Manuscript of the Philippine Revolution in Misamis Province, 1900-1901, both published in 1939. I was his clerk for both manuscripts,” Dodong, as he is known to friends, disclosed. According to Fr. Francis C. Madigan, S.J., who headed the Xavier University’s Research Institute for Mindanao Culture (RIMCU) who edited and published the 56-page mimeographed manuscript in 1968, the author had to rely on oral testimonies of eyewitnesses to the events narrated in his manuscript due to the dearth of written sources. However, Antonio J. Montalvan II,  a Kagay-anon columnist, social anthropologist, university professor and heritage activist, believes this could be an apocryphal statement usually assessed of the Bautista Manuscript. “Actually, there is no dearth of written sources of that time. Numerous documents of that era exist, including accounts of the Phil-Am War at the US Library of Congress and Hispanic documents at the National Archives,” Montalvan notes. “There is nothing wrong with a book based on oral testimonies. Bautista’s sources were eyewitnesses. What he did by recording their narrations of a distinct historical event was already a noteworthy act. Trained historians, however, will look for the fine print to establish credibility. For example, who were the sources? There must be attribution for oral sources. Without that, readers can easily say hearsay. Reading a historical narration of that kind requires corroboration to give justice to the author,” he added. Although he already knew of the manuscript’s existence in 1957, it took Fr. Madigan another ten years before the first mimeographed edition was published by RIMCU in 1968. According to a book review written by the late Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J. in Philippine Studies vol. 16, no. 4 (1968): 788–789 published by the Ateneo de Manila University in 1968, the elder Bautista’s manuscript is divided into two parts: Cagayan de Oro’s history prior to the American Occupation, and the Filipino resistance to the American Occupation in Misamis. However, Fr. Bernad said the first section contains some inaccuracies due to the author’s lack of access to a good library. “Apparently the culprit is not just a good library. It was easy to subject it to the test of verisimilitude. He mentions the collapse of the new bridge to Carmen on the day of its inauguration. There was only one casualty, a Spaniard who he names as Castillebe Hebrad. I know where the man was buried. We knew his family. He was married to Modesta Reyes of Mambajao. There at the Reyes Cemetery was his tombstone:  Luis Hebrard de Castellvi. There are living descendants. Castellvi’s only child Luisita Castellvi de la Rama had a daughter who is still alive today – Paching de la Rama Batestuzzi. Her son Luigi was a student of XU in the 1970s. They live in Manila,” Montlavan said. Fr. Bernad cited the following as an example: ‘According to history, there was a time when the capital of the province was moved to the town of Misamis now in Occidental Misamis, but due to its unfavorable condition the capital was moved back to Cagayan.”  The facts: The Corregimiento which comprised much of Northern Mindanao had its capital first at Iligan. In 1766, under Father Ducos, it was transferred to Misamis, Whence the name: “the Corregimiento—later the Province—of Misamis.” The capital was later transferred to Cagayan. Nevertheless, the eminent scholar praised the latter part of the manuscript as “the valuable part of Mr. Bautista’s contribution to history.” “The remaining 25 pages tell the story of the Filipino resistance to the American Occupation in Misamis: the bombardment of Cagayan by the American ships; the landing of the American troops; the organization of a Filipino resistance army at Gango under Nicolas Capistrano; the battle of Cagayan; the removal of Filipino headquarters to Tanculan; the battle of Agusan; the battle of Macahambus Hill; and finally the surrender of the Filipino troops at Sumilao.” “Mr. Bautista has done a thorough job, giving a list of the officers, and the dead and wounded in each particular action. He has also reproduced some of the Visayan ballads of the era.” “This is consequently a contribution of very great value to the history of a district. There is need for many more monographs of this kind dealing with local and regional history, and Father Madigan and the Institute for Mindanao Culture of Xavier University deserve much credit for bringing the Bautista manuscript to the attention of scholars,” Fr. Bernad recommended. Although he was not quite sure where copies of the 1968 mimeographed manuscripts are today, the younger Bautista said he was sure “there are some copies still floating around” and mentioned Mrs. Ruth Tiano Pañares, whose late husband was his “experimental Class” teacher in City Central School as one of those who had a copy. Montalvan acknowledged he also has a copy. “What I have is the Madigan mimeographed version. It came from my brother in-law who was one of Madigan’s editors.” During Dodong Bautista’s term in the Cagayan de Oro Historical and Cultural Commission (Hiscom) with Fr. Francisco Demetrio, S.J., Atty. Pureza Neri, Atty. Federico Del Puerto and Atty. Tommy Pacana, the Bautista family provided a copy to Xavier  University. “My only copy which had a signed dedication signed by my father (Filomeno M. Bautista, Sr.) I gave to Msgr. Antonio Ledesma, S.J., (Archbishop Emeritus of Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese), since he was very interested in the history of Cagayan de Oro, and I believe is the best person who can perpetuate the history of the city,” he added.   Despite its limitations, Montalván said it is still proper to accord The Bautista Manuscript its rightful place in Cagayan de Oro’s History. “For me, the best compromise to accord the Manuscript and give it dignity is this: It is a secondary source of historical events narrated by eyewitnesses. Being secondary, it has to be used corroboratively,” Montalvan said. “It is also about time that a present-day version be published by Xavier University edited of its errata.” For those interested to read The Bautista Manuscript, it is printed in its entirety in The Local Historical Sources of Northern Mindanao edited by Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio, S.J. published by Xavier University in 1995, copies of which may still be purchased from the Museo de Oro. (compiled by Mike Baños)

    June 15, 2021

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  • Kagay-an, the historical name of Cagayan de Oro

    Kagay-an, the historical name of Cagayan de Oro

    Kagay-an is a word that directly relates to the city's culture, history and people, who call themselves Kagay-anons. Cagayan has always been pronounced by lumad Kagay-anons as Kagay-an. In fact, nobody says Kagayanon but Kagay-anon. It is the historical original name of Cagayan de Oro, formerly known as Cagayan de Misamis. Even the original citizens of the capital town of the Segundo Partido de Misamis pronounced it Kagay-an, attesting to the timelessness of the name.  Historical documents prove Kagay-an was used to refer to Cagayan de Oro as early as 1571 (Fray San Francisco de San Antonio, 1738-1744 & de Loarca).  It is cited in the Olaging (chanted) epics of the Proto Northern Manobo (Cagayan de Oro's proto people) describing Yumagmag Katiguman, wife of the hero's elder brother Paumulaw as 'Queen of Kagay-an, Queen of Lambagohon' (Opeña, 1979) (Montalvan, 2007) Kagay has its origins in the Filipino word for river, and ostensibly refers to the riverine origin of the city. It is a word recognizable in most places in the Philippines as river (or something close or similar to it like the Northern Cordillera kagayan, the Ilokano karayan, or the Kapampangan kayayan). According to some friends who are members of the Ancient Baybayin Scripts Network (a Yahoo Groups Forum) Dr. Lawrence A. Reid, researcher emeritus of the University of Hawaii's Department  of Linguistics, and Richard Elkins, ethnic linguist on the Manobo and Tasaday, agree that Cagayan comes from the ancient word for "river." Some sources say that the original word for river is kagay, which, when combined with -an (place), became kagay-an (river place).  Dr. Reid says the original word is unknown because the ancient speakers of the Proto-Philippine language are dead. But it can be scientifically reconstructed as *kaRayan, pronounced like "Cagayan". The asterisk in *kaRayan is a linguistic symbol, indicating that the word is hypothetical. The capital R represents an unknown sound -- referred to by Reid as "proto-phoneme" -- that was most likely a fricative g, which is similar to the sound of g in "gamma". *kaRayan then evolved into the Northern Cordillera kagayan, the Ilokano karayan, the Kapampangan kayayan, and others. All these words mean "river". Reid contends the word for river in the Philippines is one that evolved into karayan, kahayan, and others. Each of these words is a full word, with a complete concept, the concept being simply "river" and not a combination of two -- such as kagay + an. Regardless of its origins, it has in fact evolved in time into Kagay-an, with a dash, or what is more technically known as a glottal stop. Mr. Elkins explains a glottal stop is not a hypen.  The glottal stop simply indicates the phonetic spelling of the word.  You put a glottal stop when people pronounce it with a glottal stop.  That's why Kagay-an should be spelled with a glottal stop and a K instead of Cagayan, to differentiate it from Cagayan de Sulu or Cagayan Valley in the North. A footnote on the name Cagayan de Oro before we end. This is often credited to the late Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez since he filed the bill which eventually became Republic Act No. 521 which President Elpidio Quirino signed into law on June 15, 1950 creating the City of Cagayan de Oro. However, without taking anything from the late statesman’s substantial contribution to the creation of the city, the name Cagayan de Oro actually antedates the city charter as proven by the existence of the Cagayan de Oro Hotel owned by the Bautista-Avanceña family, a 1939 photo of which is found in the book of Filomeno M. Bautista Sr. “Glimpses of Mindanao.” Antonio J. Montalvan II, a Kagay-anon columnist, social anthropologist, university professor and heritage activist, also cites documents in the Archivo de la Unibersidad de Santo Tomas (AUST) where students from then Cagayan de Misamis enrolled in the Ateneo de Manila and the UST from the1890s listed their place of origin as “Cagayan de Oro.” “So there already was a tradition for such a name,” Montalvan notes. Not the least, not many Kagay-anons today are aware that while R.A. 521 was signed into law under the watch of then Misamis Congressman Emmanuel Pelaez, he was actually following up on an earlier bill for the creation of “Cagayan de Oro” filed by the late Misamis Congressman Pedro Sa. Baculio of present- day El Salvador City. Kagay-an is the one easily recognizable word Kagay-anons all over the world, all over the country, and anywhere in the city can recognize, so from the name alone, any Kagay-anon worth his salt can easily tell it refers to Cagayan de Oro. Thus, the name Kagay-an facilitates easy name recall not only to Kagay-anons everywhere around the globe, but to other Filipinos as well, without sacrificing its uniqueness as exclusively referring to Cagayan de Oro and not to other places with similar sounding names. 

    June 15, 2021

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  • Memorial Day in the Philippines: Honoring Kagay-anon Patriots of World War II

    Memorial Day in the Philippines: Honoring Kagay-anon Patriots of World War II

    On May 31, 2021, the United States celebrates Memorial Day, a federal holiday dedicated to honoring and mourning military personnel who had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Previously observed on May 30, it has been officially moved to the last Monday of May since 1971, purportedly to allow people to enjoy a long weekend. Memorial Day in the Philippines Memorial Day has been similarly observed in the Philippines in cemeteries of American military personnel who died in the line of duty. Most notable examples are the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Cabanatuan American Memorial and Clark Veterans Cemetery which are officially cared for by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,184, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The Clark Veterans Cemetery was formed between 1947 and 1950 by moving the headstones/markers and remains from at least four other U.S. military cemeteries (Fort Stotsenburg 1 & 2, Fort McKinley, and Sangley Point Naval Cemetery) to the new 20.365 acre, 12,000 plot cemetery located just inside the main gate of Clark Air Base.  All WWII dead were moved to the American Cemetery in Manila.    Clark Cemetery contains the remains of U.S. veterans from the USA, USN, USMC, USCG, USAF, Philippine Scouts (PS) and their dependents.  Some, but not all, were veterans of the Spanish/American, Philippine-American War, WWI, WWII (died after the war), Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq wars.   The largest category interred are civilian, mostly U.S. and Filipino and their dependents, all of whom worked for the U.S. Government. There are nearly 9,000 individuals buried in the cemetery as of May 1, 2019. Dual flags have flown over the cemetery since March 1984. Victory Week While there is currently no Philippine equivalent to Memorial Day, the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office and Armed Forces are pushing to have September 2nd officially recognized as Victory Week to honor and mourn military personnel who died while serving the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). “We have started informally building the surrender of Gen. Yamashita as Victory Week since last year, which we treat as the equivalent of the US Memorial Day. It takes a legislative action to establish it so we made it initially as a tradition until we could elicit acceptance,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto L. Aguilar (ret.), executive director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and former chief of the PVAO’s Veterans Memorial and Historical Division. Even before that is officially recognized by the Philippine government, allow us the privilege of honoring and mourning some of our local heroes who perished during the Second World War in service of the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and the guerrillas of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), when the Philippines was still a colony of the US. Although bitter adversaries during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902 (still carried in American history books as the ‘Philippine Insurrection’), and the first and only colony of the US in Asia since that time, Filipinos never bought into Imperial Japan’s line they were here to free us from the American yoke as partners in the “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". When the Pacific War broke out in December 8, 1941, with Japanese planes bombing Clark Field and other US installations in the Philippines, the greater part of the Filipinos sided with the US and when the USAFFE Mindanao Force under Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp, Jr. surrendered to the invaders on 10 May 1942 in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, most of the American and Filipinos melted away in the hills of Mindanao to start what eventually became the biggest and most organized group of guerrillas in the 10th Military District, USFIP under Col. Wendell W. Fertig. For this year’s Memorial Day, we honor and mourn some of our Filipino martyrs who fought and died in the service of their beloved Philippines and their adopted country the United States of America. Our Local Heroes Capt. Antonio Julian C. Montalvan (Feb. 8, 1906 - Aug. 30, 1944) was a member of an espionage team as G-2, MC Liaison and Intelligence Officer, of the 10th Military District under Fertig in Mindanao, who reported directly to Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  As a medical doctor, he was able to get information by moving through various hospitals in Manila about Japanese troops in Mindanao, which he passed on to Fertig and which eventually reached MacArthur in Australia. As a member of a spy network, he helped establish coastal radio relay stations in Mindanao, Visayas and Southern Luzon. After three successful intelligence gathering trips by banca to Manila from Mindanao, he was arrested by the Japanese Kempeitai (Military Police) in Tayabas, and was later detained and tortured in Fort Santiago and the Old Bilibid Prisons in Manila. On August 30, 1944 he was executed by decapitation with the group of Senator José Ozámiz, and the Elizalde Group of Manila which included the writer Rafael Roces and Blanche Walker Jurika, the mother in-law of guerilla leader Charles "Chick" Parsons. The execution took place at the Manila Chinese Cemetery. Dr. Montalvan is buried with the rest of the Ozamiz/Elizalde Group in Manila's North Cemetery. 1st Lt. Fidel Saa, Sr.   of Cagayan de Misamis was the 109th Regiment’s dental surgeon. He married Enriquita Mercado of Gingoog City with whom he had three sons: Le Grande, Fidel Jr. and Ruel. On January 1944, he and four other guerrillas and one civilian were captured, tortured and bayoneted to death when the Japanese ambushed their headquarters in El Salvador around 04 January 1945. The other victims were 2nd Lt. Eufronio Jabulin, Sgt. Gregorio Macapayag, Cpl. Gerardo Saguing, Pvt. E. Eling and Chong Ing, a Chinese trader. The Japanese also captured Maj. Fidencio Laplap’s father  Melanio and brought him to Cagayan where he was tortured and killed. The Japanese had no reservations about the age of the suspected spied and guerrillas they killed. Sometime in 1942, Cox  Banquerigo, an intelligence asset of the guerrillas was betrayed by a “friend” and neighbor at the Parque (now Gaston Park) who was an enlisted man with the Japanese-sponsored Bureau of Constabulary (BC). Only 16 at the time, Cox was brought to the Ateneo de Cagayan where he was interrogated, tortured and beheaded. The guerrillas eventually caught up with the traitor and killed him at Barangay Agusan.  Perhaps the most remarkable Kagay-anon patriots were the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after, another story apparently forgotten by the present generation. No less than six of the siblings, five males and one female, were involved in fighting the Japanese in World War II, making them our counterpart to the famous Sullivan Brothers of the US Navy. While only the second eldest sibling Nestor  was killed in action vs. the Japanese at the young age of 24,while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942, this does not by any measure diminish the sacrifice of his five other siblings in the struggle against the Japanese Occupation during the war. The eldest Ronaldo, a 1st Lt. in the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC) with the 7th School Squadron based at Maniquis Field, Nueva Ecija, survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the concentration Camp in Capas, Tarlac and instructed to report to the Japanese headquarters in Cagayan. He came home wearing his full PAAC uniform. Instead, he joined the 120th Infantry Regiment under Maj. Angeles Limena as one of his staff. After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL). He died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. Apollo became a 2nd Lt. and platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental. He died fighting with the 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8  at the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of  Korea on June 20,1952 while repelling a superior force of the Red Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The Philippine Navy’s BRP Apollo Tiano (now decommissioned) was named in his honor. Uriel became a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital together with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse at the regimental hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental. As Corporal Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of the Guerrillas: The Barefoot Army, Lt. Fe Tiano and PFC Jaime Tiano were engrossed in their hospital work, tending to the sick of the regimental hospital. They were so busy that they forgot to apply for their vacation, and when they did, it would be disapproved. Truly a dilemma that our frontliners in our hospitals and health care facilities could relate with!  “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano and two sisters Ruth and Emily were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,” Ilogon noted.  There are too many others, both known and unknown, who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in our fight for freedom, and it’s beyond our limited knowledge and present capacity to mention all of them here. But let this not diminish our recognition of their uncommon valor and faith in our ultimate victory that may serve to inspire us withstand the trials of this unseen enemy which now confronts us the world over. Thank you for your service to the Philippines and the United States of America! MABUHAY!

    May 31, 2021

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Mommy Toots marks Century Milestone | The Life and Times of Ruth Tiano-Pañares, 100

June 15, 2021

Feature

By: T2 Mike, On June 8, 2021,  Ruth Tiano Pañares, the only surviving sibling of the famous Tiano Brothers celebrated her 100th Birthday with family and friends. It's a pity Cagayan de Oro was under MECQ otherwise "Mommy Toots" as she fondly known by one and all,  would have been accorded the honors due to her and her siblings as Heroes not only Cagayan, but of the Philippines as well. Mommy Toots was born June 8, 1921 in Cagayan de Oro de Misamis to Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano. She was the fourth of eight siblings: Ronaldo, Nestor, Apollo, Uriel, Fe, Jaime, and Millie. She finished her elementary course at City Central School, High School at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS), and college at Ateneo de Cagayan with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. The Tiano family evacuated to Lapad, Laguindingan at the outbreak of World War II, where the elder siblings actively participated in the guerrilla war against Imperial Japan. Perhaps the most remarkable Kagay-anon patriots, the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after, involved no less than six of the siblings, five males and one female, in the war versus the Japanese occupiers in World War II. The eldest, Ronaldo, was a 1st Lt. with the 7th School Squadron of the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC) Class 41-B, based at Maniquis Airfield in Cabanatuan under Lt. Benito Ebuen. He survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the POW Camp in Capas, Tarlac joined the 120th Infantry Regiment under Maj. Angeles Limena as one of his staff.  After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL). He died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. The second eldest sibling, Sgt. Nestor, was killed in action at the young age of 24 while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942. 2d Lt. Apollo was a platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental. Although he survived World War II, he died fighting with the 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) defending Hill 191 (also called Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie, comprising Combat Outpost No. 8 at the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of Korea on June 20,1952, while repelling a superior force of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. The Philippine Navy’s BRP Apollo Tiano (now decommissioned) was named in his honor. Uriel was a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as a medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse at the regimental hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental. As Cpl. Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of a Guerrilla: The Barefoot Army, “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano and two sisters Ruth and Millie were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,”. “While her brothers went to war, the family tended the farm and fed soldiers who sought shelter while passing through the area,” said  Faith Wallace, Mommy Toot’s second daughter. When the war broke out, Mommy Toots married Conrado Pañares, a visiting supervisor from Cebu, whom she met while teaching  at City Central School. The couple were also members of the congregation of the Evangelical Church (now the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, UCCP).  The oldest of Mommy Toots’ Raul was born during the war, Cynthia during liberation time. Faith followed ten years later, and Earl was the youngest. Raul and Earl are now both deceased. Two endeavors have defined Mommy Toots for most of her life: Her passion for Scouting, and her Protestant Faith as a lifetime member of the congregation of the UCCP Cagayan de Oro Church. “She taught third grade at the City Central School,” Faith recalls. Upon her retirement from City Central, she accepted the offer to become the elementary school principal of the then new Cagayan Capitol College (CCC). “At the same time, she busied herself with Boy Scouting, she was also a Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star in Cagayan de Oro, and led and sang with the UCCP Chancel Choir every Sunday until her 94th birthday.” She would visit her family in the US and stay to assist in cooking for her grandchildren. While visiting, she wouldn’t miss singing by joining the choir in Faith’s church. “My most significant memories of her was when she and my mother, Luneta ( Luning) Abellanosa (who were best of friends and distinguished Cub Scoutmasters of BSP Misamis Oriental Council) motivated me to the max to strive and excel in Boy Scouting in the 60s to the 70s,” mused Emmanuel “Bong” Abellanosa, a recently retired executive with the national transmission operator. “So I became a patrol leader, then a Senior Patrol Leader, and many more leadership roles. I rose from the ranks under their tutelage, from Tenderfoot, 2nd class, First Class. Mommy Toots and my mom inspired me to work hard to get most coveted rank, that was the Jose Rizal Scout Rank, equivalent to the Eagle Scout in the US,” he recalled. “With their inspiration, I was awarded in 1970, the rank of Jose Rizal Scout, the first in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. I know she did the same to the succeeding Jose Rizal Rank holders after my time,” Bong shared. “Mommy Toots and my Mom were both recipients of the coveted Leadership Awards of the prestigious Wood Badge Course, and were awarded the prestigious Gilwell Pins, Woodbadge Neckerchief, beads and woggle. Wood Badge is a Scouting leadership program and the related award for adult leaders in the programs of Scout associations the world over. Wood Badge courses aim to make Scouters better leaders by teaching advanced leadership skills, and by creating a bond and commitment to the Scout movement. Courses generally have a combined classroom and practical outdoors-based phase followed by a Wood Badge ticket, also known as the project phase. By "working the ticket", participants put their newly gained experience into practice to attain ticket goals aiding the Scouting movement. The first Wood Badge training was organized by Francis "Skipper" Gidney and lectured at by Robert Baden-Powell and others at Gilwell Park (United Kingdom) in September 1919. Wood Badge training has since spread across the world with international variations. On completion of the course, participants are awarded the Wood Badge beads to recognize significant achievement in leadership and direct service to young people. The pair of small wooden beads, one on each end of a leather thong (string), is worn around the neck as part of the Scout uniform. “Mommy Toots was awarded 4 Wood Beads -- 2 for completing Wood Leadership Training, 1 for volunteering/assisting during a Training Evening, and  #4 for serving as Leadership Team Member for planning and executing a National Wood Leadership Training Event,” noted Mike W. Wallace, Faith’s husband. The beads are presented together with a taupe neckerchief bearing a tartan patch of the Maclaren clan, honoring William de Bois Maclaren, who donated the £7,000 to purchase Gilwell Park in 1919, plus an additional £3,000 for improvements to the house that was on the estate. The neckerchief with the braided leather woggle (neckerchief slide) denotes the membership of the 1st Gilwell Scout Group or Gilwell Troop 1. Recipients of the Wood Badge are known as Wood Badgers or Gilwellians. “Mommy Toots was known for her excellent role in the development of boys into good citizens. Mommy Toots attended many campings, camporals, Jamborettes, National and International Jamborees in her lifetime,” Bong noted.  “She always assumed the role of a Camp Mother, whose loving and tender care to Cub and Boy Scouts has earned her the respect of thousands of Boy Scouts, whose lives were changed for the better, in organizational and spiritual leaderships.” “Another of her beautiful attributes is her devotion and commitment to our Lord God, by consistently having actively participating in countless UCCP church activities, from her young age until her early 90s, stopping only when she had mobility issues,” he added. Until now, at 100 years old, she is still smart, and alert. Her selfless commitment to the Lord is unbelievable, still singing in the Chancel Choir until the last few years. She always lives by the motto of the Boy Scout, “Be Prepared”, and slogan, “Do a good turn daily”. Once a Scouter, always a Scouter.

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Kagay-an’s Ancestral Houses and Other Heritage Structures

June 15, 2021

Feature

By: Mike Baños, We are heartened that  the City Tourism Office’s series of videos online dwelling on various aspects of the city’s history and heritage for our 2021 commemoration of Cagayan de Oro City’s  Himugso Festival which had to be conducted virtually due to the city’s current MECQ status. Its first offering aired 8 June entitled “Soul of the City” focused on the city’s iconic water tower now housing the City Museum and taglined “The Oldest Public Structure in the City.” It’s nice to recall heritage structures that every Kagay-anon should know about, and another to label it as something it isn’t. Perhaps future enunciations like these emanating from city hall should be properly vetted by our City Cultural and Historical Commission (Hiscom) which has the final word on matters such as these. That’s because there are still quite a number of “public structures” (i.e., privately owned) still existing around the city which are significantly older than the old water tower. None more prominent perhaps than the main building of the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS) along Apolinar Velez Street. According to a post Heritage Structures in Cagayan de Oro, Religious and Non-Religious, Post-Spanish to Contemporary written by Antonio J. Montalvan II in the website Heritage Conservation Advocates, this public structure was inaugurated as the Escuela Provincial on Dec. 15, 1909 by American Governor General William Cameron Forbes and House Speaker Sergio Osmeña. Forbes provided the funds for its construction while the Cagayan citizens raised P9,000 as a local counterpart through Act No. 1801 (the Gabaldon Law). More on the Gabaldon School Buildings later. “History is a science that requires peer review. Once one person claims a fact and it happens to be erroneous, you can just imagine the miseducation. The City Tourism produced this video claiming the 1922 water tower (presently used as the City Museum) as "the oldest public structure" in Cagayan de Oro. It is most definitely not,” Montalvan said in a post on the social media page “Cagayan de Oro History and Heritage” dated 8 June 2021. Montalvan is a former member of the Hiscom. “Plaza Divisoria is 1901, the Misamis High School is 1909, the St. Augustine Cathedral (even if it was renovated in 1946 but the original structure is still extant beneath the cement plaster) is 1845. The City Museum should be well advised not to be a source of miseducation. Any scientist of today, as current professional praxis goes, submits one's work for peer review,” he added. Plaza Divisoria was constructed in 1901 by Tirso Neri y Roa, a rich merchant who was then municipal mayor of Cagayan de Misamis, the old name of the city. Much of the site used for the plaza was donated by Neri to the town. Within Plaza Divisoria itself is another “public structure” which definitely qualifies under the term and predates the old water tower. On June 19, 1917, the patriot Porfirio Chaves and his wife Fausta Vamenta turned over one of the earliest monuments in the country of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal which still graces the center of the plaza. The city appropriately celebrated its centennial on January 19, 2017 with the installation of two marble plaques with Bisaya ang English translations of the original Spanish inscribed in marble. There’s also the El Pueblo a sus Heroes monument also on Plaza Divisoria constructed during the tenure of Municipal Mayor Apolinar Velez sometime 1928-1932. It contains the bones of Kagay-anon Patriots killed during the Battle of Agusan Hill with American Soldiers of the I Company, 40th Infantry Regiment of the United States Volunteers. The Kagay-anon Patriots were defeated and suffered 38 fatalities including their commander, Capt. Vicente Roa. Still older than Plaza Divisoria and the Rizal Monument is the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral whose original structure  was built in 1845 by Fray Simon Loscos de Santa Catalina, an Augustinian Recollect missionary, along the Gothic style. Its walls and buttresses were made out of coral stones imported from China. According to Montalvan, some of these stones are still embedded inside the present concrete walls, and some of it were exposed and demolished when the sanctuary was recently renovated. The original structure was destroyed by the American aerial bombardment of Cagayan on October 21, 1944. Archbishop James Hayes SJ built the present structure. Inside the Cathedral are rare and priceless stained-glass windows that came from the chapel of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of New York and are the works of well-known masters. The old belfry was located on the left side and beneath it was the grave of another Spanish Recollect missionary, Fray Ramon Zueco de San Joaquin, who died in Cagayan in 1889. Just outside the porte-cochere façade is a wooden Santa Cruz erected in 1888 by the Augustinian Recollect missionaries which can again be considered another public structure. Unfortunately, this heritage structure was encased in concrete without the approval of the National Historical Cultural Commission (NHCP) as required by Republic Act No. 10066 (the National Cultural Heritage Act), which could hasten its deterioration. Still other existing public structures which predate the old water tower are the Gabaldon School Buildings at the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS), City Central School, Cugman, Agusan and Iponan. Based on the 2016 National School Building Inventory (NSBI) under the enhanced Basic Education Information System (eBEIS), a total of 2,752 Gabaldon Schoolhouses still exist in 2,304 different sites nationwide: 1,065 in Luzon; 936 in the Visayas; and 751 in Mindanao. The Gabaldon School Buildings, also referred to as the Gabaldons, originated from Act No. 1801 (the Gabaldon Law), a legislation penned by Isauro Gabaldon of the Philippine Assembly in 1907 which provided a ₱1 million fund for the construction of modern public schools across the Philippines from 1907 to 1915. The Gabaldons were built by the American colonial government with American architect, William E. Parsons as the designer of the blueprints of said buildings. A standard size of 7 by 9 meters (23 ft × 30 ft) was conceptualized by Parsons for the school buildings regardless of the number of classrooms for swift construction of public schools. According to historians, the buildings are modern in design while drawing elements from the bahay kubo and bahay na bato common in most towns at that time. The Gabaldons are raised 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) on a platform made of wood or concrete. The buildings also exhibit large windows and high ceilings for ventilation and lighting purposes. Probably the best representative of the genre, the Gabaldon building at the Iponan Elementary School was recently repaired and repainted after termites unfortunately destroyed a similar one in the school campus. Ancestral Houses The Casa del Chino Ygua at the corner of Hayes and Velez streets has often been acknowledged as the oldest residence in Cagayan de Oro. Constructed in 1882 as a “Bahay na Bato” by the Chinese merchant Sia Ygua who originally came from Xiamen, China,  the original structure was built from bricks transported from China aboard Chinese junks. The house has been renovated twice, once after World War II when it was badly damaged, and again more recently, albeit badly and far from the standards of historical preservation. New bricks, probably made in Bulua, were used to cover the old Chinese bricks. However, three other residential houses may either have predated it or were built during the same period. One is the Trinitas Roa Reyes Ancestral House along Burgos street, built in the Spanish Colonial style, also sometime during the 1800s. “This is a very historic house. It was the residence of Jose Reyes y Barrientos who was a member of the Philippine Independence Mission to the US in 1919 and who was earlier Misamis governor in 1913,” Montalvan said in his HCA Post. “In the 1930s, his wife Trinitas Roa Reyes had the house rented to Bishop James Hayes SJ after his appointment as first Bishop of Cagayan. And so the house became a temporary Bishop's Palace. Hayes installed quilted canvas on the ceilings. Today, the house is in a dilapidated state. It  has beautiful corbels and some piedra china on its sidewalk, and all the posts are large round hardwood timber topped by exposed beams with intricate carvings.” Still two other residence constructed around the same time are the Moreno-Valmores House at the corner of Aguinaldo and Yacapin Streets, built in the Post-Spanish period style; and the Gabar House at the corner of Toribio Chaves and Pabayo streets, also built in the same Post-Spanish style, and now owned by Happy and Loving Fuentes family. Lorenzo Fuentes and the late Belen Mercado Fuentes, reportedly the great grand niece of Dr. Jose Rizal, have 8 children, 15 grandchildren and 2 great grand-children. American and Commonwealth Period Of more recent vintage having been built during the American Colonial and Philippine Commonwealth Period is the Acero House along Gen. Capistrano street next to a funeral home. Constructed in 1936 by Felix Acero in the American Colonial style, it has been renovated but along lines faithful to its original design. “The house was spared from damage during World War II because Japanese military officers occupied it as an office and bedroom,” said Mrs. Gloria Acero-Delgado who now occupies the house. “Some names were written on the bedrom doors but these were erased. During the Liberation, the Mindanao Bus Co. used the first floor as an office.” Another is the Art-Deco Tamparong Building at Plaza Divisoria at the corner of Velez and Tirso Neri Streets. Although badly damaged during World War II, it was likewise rebuilt following its original design though that is hardly recognizable today with its ground floor extensively renovated by merchant firms renting it. Started 1933 by Fr James TG Hayes SJ, Superior of the Philippine Jesuit mission and first Bishop and Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro, Ateneo de Cagayan sprouted several buildings with high school, college and grade school established in 1940. Forced to close on December 9, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army used the school as their regional headquarters from May 2, 1942 until the city was liberated on May 12, 1945. Meantime, an American bombing raid on October 21, 1944 reduced most buildings to rubble including the iconic Lucas Hall and Administration Buildings. Fr Andrew F Cervini SJ saw to the reconstruction of the school and it reopened in 1946 with classes held in the partially restored buildings. Other contemporary structures built during this inclusive period are the Lourdes College Main Building at the corner of Capistrano and Hayes Streets, the Archbishop’s House facing Gaston Park beside the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral built 1934-1935 but was almost completely destroyed by the American bombing of Cagayan on October 10, 1944; the Trinidad Gate of the City Central School along Velez Street  which was built in 1936; and perhaps the most famous, the Executive House of the City Hall Complex housing the Office of the City Mayor and other executive offices of the LGU Cagayan de Oro. “Inaugurated on August 26, 1940 as the new Municipal Hall of Cagayan town and became the City Hall of the new Cagayan de Oro City in 1950. The building survived World War II,” Montalvan noted. “The frontal porch is Neo-Classical for sure,” noted esteemed Architect Edwin Uy. “The rest of the facade has remnants of Colonial architecture here in the Philippines during the American Period, though it can also be traced from the Spanish Colonial times (with the original capiz windows for example) which were replaced with modern French windows later on.”  Post-World War II Two other post-war buildings of note may be considered heritage structures as they approach their three quarters of a century of existence and fall into the purview of the National Cultural Heritage Act, officially designated as Republic Act No. 10066, mandating the preservation of all historic buildings over 50 years old. Foremost among them is the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol built during 1948-1950 in the American Colonial style. Another would be the San Jose de Mindanao Seminary at Seminary Hill, Camaman-an, built in 1956. Probably the most massive religious architecture in Cagayan de Oro, the design of this building was patterned entirely after the Jesuit Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, Manila, from wingtip to wingtip.    To prevent future slip-ups, Montalvan suggests the city undertake cultural mapping and conduct an inventory of its tangible cultural properties. “Does this also indicate that the city does not know how to perform one method that is indispensable today -- cultural mapping? If it knows its tangible cultural properties, it would not commit the mistake of saying "the oldest public structure" if it had such inventory. Obviously, there is none,” he stressed. “There should be a cultural mapping. Ideally, integrated also into the Comprehensive Land Use Plan. From this should come the LGUs annual plan on culture, arts and cultural heritage,” said Titus Velez, currently Municipal Planning and Development Officer of Gitagum, Misamis Oriental. Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año earlier exhorted LGUs to promote appreciation for their local culture and arts by creating or strengthening their local culture and arts councils. “Culture and arts are the heart and soul of our nation. They preserve our history and act as conduit to our present and future. They showcase what real Filipino talent is,” Año stressed. “Each region in the country has their own unique culture and arts that promote local tourism as well as educate their people of their heritage,” he added. According to the DILG, a Local Culture and Arts Council is to be chaired by a local chief executive with representatives of local historical societies, artist groups, business and academe, indigenous peoples, and the local representative of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The Council prepares an annual plan on culture, arts, and cultural heritage consonant with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for Culture and the Arts integrated in the local development plan and in the annual appropriation ordinances. The Council also spearheads cultural events such as cultural festivals, competition, lectures, seminars and symposia. Moreover, the Council declares and maintains a heritage zone in their local government unit (LGU) as mandated by Republic Act No. 10066 (the National Cultural Heritage Act). The law defines ‘heritage zone’ as “historical, anthropological, archaeological, artistic geographical areas and settings that are culturally significant to the country.”  “Republic Act 10066 mandates LGUs should have a local register of cultural properties. From there, they can declare and maintain a Local Heritage zone. This will ensure the protection, preservation, conservation and promotion of local culture and historical heritage,” Velez noted. The National Cultural Heritage Act, officially designated as Republic Act No. 10066, is a Philippine law that created the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property and took other steps to preserve historic buildings that are over 50 years old. It was signed into law on March 25, 2009.

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Xavier Ateneo bids farewell to XUGS Macasandig

June 1, 2021

Feature

By: , The Xavier Ateneo community has bid farewell to the XUGS Macasandig campus.  Tributes and prayers were offered to the past and present faculty, staff, administrators, Jesuits, parents, guardians, and pupils of the XUGS Macasandig on May 28. “For 50 years, this campus has been the home of the XU Grade School, particularly that of the Macasandig community,” said Dr Dulce Dawang, Xavier Ateneo VP for Basic Education, in her welcome remarks. “An important chapter of the XU Grade School is coming to an end,” she said, “however, there is also a whole new chapter that awaits it.” “Our track record shows that Xavier has filled us with so much confidence that we can readily take on any challenge. The GS community is indeed a great model of magis, grit, and resilience,” she added. Memories and prayers Five stations were set up around the XUGS campus, each dedicated to a particular group. “XUGS Macasandig would not have reached Level 3 PAASCU Accreditation without the dedication, commitment, and perseverance of all the teachers it had throughout its 50 years of tireless service to our young learners,”  said Nico Calunia, assistant principal for Academics and XUGS alumnus, during his sharing at the first station dedicated to the members of the faculty and staff. “As we close this campus' gates, let us remember all the memories we have shared with these grounds,” he said. “XUGS Macasandig has been a trailblazer in its time and we, the teachers and staff, will continue its legacy as we move to our new home.” XU Grade School started operations in 1941, but was transferred to Macasandig from the Corrales campus in 1970. In honor of the past and present school administrators, Teacher Hilda Gumanit recounted her experiences under different GS leaderships. “Let us not forget the wisdom and spiritual guidance of Fr Leo Pabayo SJ and all other chaplains and Jesuits who inspired us and prompted us to always find God in all things,” Gumanit said. “All these were lessons and legacies from our administrators together with their key and middle-level team, which will forever be carved in our hearts and minds.” The event also paid an homage to the Jesuits who led the XUGS Macasandig: Fr Theodore Daigler SJ (founder), Fr Jorge “George” Hofileña SJ, Fr Leo Pabayo SJ, Fr Bob Suchan, SJ and lay leaders, past principals Flerida Neri, Fatima Paepke, Emmanuel Gomez, Eva Auxilio, and their lay colleagues for the past 50 years. Messages for the pupils and parents XUGS Guidance Counselor Jenny Ugat shared at the third station her heartfelt message to the alumni and current pupils of the grade school. “As your educators and second parents, it is our joy to see our young Ateneans do spontaneous gestures of kindness, doing something good even when no one is watching or even when not being told to,” she said. “This makes us feel fulfilled that you have inhibited our culture of being men and women for others.” A thousand paper cranes with hopeful messages, submitted by pupils, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff adorned the hallways. “This may be a goodbye, but we are hoping that our children will have a better and new educational environment [in the Pueblo campus],” said Atty Johanna Lawrence Adaza, PTA President of XUGS-Macasandig. “This move is toward the better and for the good of our children,” she added.   XUGS Chaplain Fr Frank Savadera SJ gave the final blessings to the Macasandig campus. “As we travel the roads together, may the good Lord hold us always in the palm of His hands,” Fr Frank said, quoting an Irish prayer. One in mind and heart A statue of St Francis Xavier from Macasandig was transferred to XUGS Pueblo, marking the start of the consolidation of the two campuses. St Francis Xavier, the university’s patron saint, lived “a life of many transitions” as he traveled to many foreign and unfamiliar shores carrying out the mission of the Society of Jesus. A Eucharistic celebration capped the program, along with the symbolic transfer of XUGS memorabilia, such as the mace, PAASCU certificates, and trophies. “For us, consolidation is not only a physical integration of two groups of grade school communities.” Fr Mars Tan SJ, University President, said during his homily. “But more importantly, it is about being one in mind and heart as a grade school community, being inflamed by one Xavier Ateneo vision and mission, sustained by the same Ignatian values and ideals, and bonded together by the same love for our students and pupils.” The #OneXUGS project forms part of the strategic plan of the university, in line with its educational mission and vision of “becoming a leading ASEAN university forming leaders of character by 2033.” The consolidated XUGS is now integrated into the XU Basic Education Complex in Pueblo, along with the Preschool, Junior High, and Senior High School.

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Morphing Art into Fashion with Laguindingan Silk

June 1, 2021

Feature

By: T2 Mike, As Cagayan de Oro transitions into MECQ status in response to a surge in covid-19 infections, one of the city’s leading artists is optimizing the time available to him as he works from home. “Five years ago, I made a customized minaudière for a good friend. I did not expect to gain attention from the fashion industry since I'm producing home accessories,” said Christopher L. Gomez, one of Cagayan de Oro’s senior Kagay-anon designer who’s a multi-disciplinary creative and advocate of Sustainable Design. “Today, I reinvent again to produce in a limited-edition, hand-painted minaudières  made of Laguindingan Silk,” Chris reveals. “ As an artist, I want my product to produce in a limited way. So there will only be 43 pieces of these made-to-order, customized fashionable pieces which are proudly made in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao.” A minaudière is a women's fashion accessory, generally considered a jewelry piece, which stands in for an evening bag. A case with compartments, it allows several items such as a makeup compact, lipstick, watch, reading glasses, or keys to be stored in a small space. Usually metal plated and oblong, sized small enough to be held within the hand, a minaudière is a dainty accessory. Gomez’s creations are textile designs with Laguindingan Silk overlaying a frame with hand painted designs. “Each piece is hand-painted and hand-crafted using traditional materials abundant in the region,” Gomez said. “The clutch is made of shell clasp thoroughly manipulated to achieve a greener tone.” According to fashion journalist Lloyd Boston, a minaudière constitutes an essential part of an evening wardrobe, a small object with no limit to its usefulness, and a fabulous character. The minaudière appeared during the 1930s. Its invention is attributed to Charles Arpels (of Van Cleef & Arpels), but many jewelers and haute couture designers have created their own models, like what Chris Gomez is doing. The word minaudière was a French term for a coquettish woman, from the word "minauder" (to flirt or simper). As a Product Development Mentor accredited by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, and a Product Design Specialist of  Design Center Philippines (DCP), Chris has been a mentor to Kagay-anon designers eyeing to break the glass ceiling that has constrained them from attaining their full potential to breach the event horizon and define a Kagay-anon Design Paradigm instantly recognizable anywhere in the world. Among his many laurels: Finalist, 2011 National Philippine Art Awards; Grand Prize winner (water-based category) 2012 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence Awards; Finalist, 2014 Look of Style Awards (British Council/Look Magazine); and Finalist, 3rd Habi Kadayawan Design Competition held August 2019 at Davao City. As one of the spark plugs of Design de Oro, composed of graduates from two previous design workshops which aimed to build their capability through trainings with designers, Chris has sought to keep local designers updated  with trends, techniques, manipulation, up to the prices of saleable products. More recently, his design class modules were adopted by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) One Town, One Product (OTOP) through the MODA (Modernong Obra, Desinyung Atin) Designer Manlilikha course, a virtual online program conducted September-November 2020 which graduated 125 aspiring designers all over the Philippines. Featuring eight design leaders in their respective design fields from fashion. furniture to packaging and visual merchandising, MODA Manlilikha aimed at growing the capability and creativity of regional designers. “As a program director, I want to level up the growing capacity of our designers to understand better design solutions and marketable products to be executed by our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” Chris said. “This program is supported by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DTI Undersecretary Blessila Lantayona, and OTOP Assistant Secretary Demphna Du-Naga.” The second phase of the program will be launched in August and will start in September with design mentors from Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro. “Our 125 graduates will undergo a specialized program that best suits their design interests. We are finalizing the lists of mentors because we want our young designers to be better equipped with skills and design thinking.” Not the least, as one of the most sought-after designers not only in the region but from all over the country as well, Chris considers his work as the connection between his art and his family. “My art also serves as fulcrum between a day job and my family. It connects the two in a very organic way, a sort of translation device.” “For me, design is always answering the question “is this product good for my family?”  “Having three children today has better connected me to the child I was before, fearlessly and innocently drawing in between studies, chores and games.”

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Pag-IBIG MP2, home loans hit record-high in Jan-Apr 2021

June 4, 2021

Billboard

By: , Pag-IBIG Fund achieved milestones in the first four months of the year as members availed of its voluntary savings program and housing loan program in record numbers despite the ongoing health crisis, top officials of the agency said on Friday (June 04). From January to April, members’ savings under the voluntary Modified Pag-IBIG 2 (MP2) Savings program reached P8.65 billion. On the other hand, home loans eleased during the period amounted to P27.39 billion, helping 27,041 members realize their dream of homeownership. "We are happy to report that we were able to achieve two ‘highest-ever’ numbers early on in 2021. The strong showing of our MP2 and housing loan programs is a testament to the trust of Filipino workers in Pag-IBIG Fund. Our members can rest assured that we will continue doing our best, so that we can provide them high earnings on their savings while maintaining the low interest on our loans.  These are our contributions to the national government’s efforts towards economic recovery under the lead of President Duterte," said Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) who also chairs the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees. In 2020, members saved P13.3 billion in MP2, growing 11% from the previous year and setting the record for the highest amount saved in one year. Pag-IBIG Fund’s home loans also reached a record-high in December last year when the agency released P12.11 billion, which is the highest amount disbursed in a single month. Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti expressed optimism that the agency’s strong performance will continue throughout the year, especially as the restrictions are being eased to help the economy. He noted that the phenomenal performance of its MP2 last year and the increasing amount of home loans released in the last quarter of 2020 continued until the beginning months of 2021. He said that even amid the ongoing health crisis, MP2 Savings collections in January to April grew 81% while home loan releases rose 64% compared to the same period in 2020. "Even with the ongoing pandemic, the amount of home loans released and MP2 Savings collections for the first four months of 2021 are not only record-highs but are higher than what we achieved during the same period in 2019, prior to the pandemic. In the case of our MP2 alone, the amount our members voluntarily saved from January to April this year is already equivalent to two-thirds or 65% of the amount saved in MP2 for the whole year of 2020. We thank our members for their continued trust in Pag-IBIG Fund and in choosing to rely on us for their home financing and savings needs. These give us hope that, barring another black swan event, we are on our way to another best year in fulfilling our mandates to Filipino workers here and abroad," said Moti. (END)

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2GO Boosts ‘Fun and Safe Travels’ - MV 2GO Maligaya maiden voyage to Cagayan de Oro

June 1, 2021

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By: , 2GO Travel, the Philippines’ largest premier sea travel provider, is setting its sights to go beyond the #StaySafe mantra for travels in the new normal, by making sea travel both “FUN and SAFE” for its passengers through the new MV 2GO Maligaya – currently the fastest, largest, state-of-the-art vessel in the country.   MV 2GO Maligaya successfully sailed her maiden voyage from Manila to Cebu on May 31st. Upon her arrival in the City of Golden Friendship on June 1, 2021, Kagay-anaons were greeted with the ship’s colorful and energizing livery, which gave them a new, youthful, and stimulating visual-spatial experience of shapes and spaces, representing 2GO’s brand identity, core pillars, and values. MV 2GO Maligaya operates on a Manila-Cebu-Cagayan de Oro route, and is expected to do round trips twice a week, leaving Manila every Wednesdays and Sundays. Earlier passengers enjoyed cruise ship-like amenities that is of international standards, such as private hotel room accommodations, grand lobby, spacious lounge areas, and restaurants. They were also treated to upgraded facilities, on top of the raffle prizes and surprise giveaways, for a total onboard sea travel experience with 2GO. 2GO observes proper health and safety protocols to assure safe travels through regular disinfection and sanitation of all vessels and ports of call. Meanwhile, passengers are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and face shields, and to practice social distancing from check-in, boarding, and disembarkation at all times. The company also ensures that passengers comply with local travel requirements of their destinations. [translated] "Dakoa sa barko, murag mall! Nalipay mi kay bag-o siya og swerte nga nakauna mi og experience sa murag hotel nga barko sa 2GO. Natuyok nako ang barko, mao nga na-enjoy gyud ko ning byahe," said Mae Villar, a passenger of Maligaya’s first journey.   In addition, the roll-on, roll-off passenger (ROPAX) and cargo vessel is equipped with amenities to amplify the travel experience. This includes a café, salon, convenience store, prayer room, shower rooms, bar, clinic, activity area, and entertainment rooms. Accommodation choices include the state room, business premium, tourist premium, business class, tourist class, and the tatami. The rooms and common areas have wider spaces and open-air options for better ventilation. Passengers can also choose to either book a single room for themselves or their family, giving them the flexibility to optimize social distancing throughout their trip. “At 2GO Travel, we give our passengers the peace of mind to journey with us safely and comfortably, while offering them the best sea travel experiences for the best price. Your vacation and relaxation really start the moment you board 2GO Travel ships,” 2GO Vice President and Head of Sea Solutions Dan Fernan said.    Fernan said 2GO Travel is also committed to reliability and consistency as proven by their track record of unabated operations and trips even at the height of the pandemic last year.   To encourage more fun and safe travels, 2GO Travel is offering a ₱99 promo to Cagayan de Oro-Manila and Cagayan de Oro-Cebu, inclusive of a 50-kg baggage allowance. Passengers must book from May 30 to June 3, 2021 to avail of the promo, for sailing on August 1 to December 15, 2021. Other destinations covered are Batangas to Caticlan and Roxas as well as Manila to Bacolod, Butuan, Cebu, Coron, Dumaguete, Iligan, Iloilo, Ozamis, Puerto Princesa, and Zamboanga.   To book your tickets, please visit 2GO Travel’s website, https://travel.2go.com.ph/, call our hotline (02) 8 528 7000, email us at travel@2GO.com.ph, or visit any 2GO outlet and SM Business Centers near you!

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Cebu Pacific remains in the frontline of battle vs. COVID-19

May 24, 2021

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By: , The Philippines’ leading carrier, Cebu Pacific (PSE: CEB), remains in the frontline of the country’s battle to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases with timely deliveries of vaccines to key cities across the archipelago. CEB flew more than 236,000 doses to five cities in the Philippines, specifically to Tuguegarao and Legazpi on April 30, and to Tacloban, Zamboanga, and Cotabato on May 1, 2021.   This shipment comprised 41,600 doses for Tuguegarao, 67,200 doses for Legazpi, 73,600 for Tacloban, 25,600 for Zamboanga, and 28,800 for Cotabato.   "We are delighted to continue collaborating with our public and private partners for the realization of this national endeavor. We consider it our duty to bring these much-needed vaccines across our wide domestic network while ensuring they are preserved well and delivered safely while in our care," said Alex Reyes, President and CEO of Cebgo.  Upon receipt of the vaccines at the Cebu Pacific Cargo warehouse in Pasay, these were placed in a reefer container equipped with cooling systems for proper storage before cargo loading.   These vaccines were immediately transferred to container vans upon arrival at the destinations, ready for local distribution.  On April 29, CEB flew half a million vaccine doses from Beijing to Manila, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH).  CEB has delivered the single largest vaccine shipment to the country so far, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH). A total of 1.5 million doses from Beijing arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) via 5J 671 on May 7, 2021.  “This large shipment of COVID vaccines with Cebu Pacific brings us closer to our goal of protecting every Filipino as fast as possible,” said Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19. “We are grateful to Cebu Pacific for joining forces with the government to support us in ensuring the success of this vaccine roll-out.” “We are thankful for the continued trust of the Philippine government and the DOH, and restate our intention to support our country’s fight against COVID-19 in any way we can. We look forward to picking up more vaccines from across the globe and aid in distributing across our widest domestic network,” noted Alexander Lao, Cebu Pacific Chief Strategy Officer. Upon unloading from CEB’s A330 aircraft, all vaccines were thoroughly inspected by the authorities prior to uplifting to refrigerated trucks via electric forklifts. On May 4, Cebu Pacific transported 6,200 COVID-19 vaccines from Manila to Puerto Princesa. Apart from Palawan, the carrier has delivered more than half a million doses of vaccines to six (6) other cities in the country namely Bacolod, Cotabato, Legazpi, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga.  Following last week’s shipment of 500,000 Sinovac vaccines from Beijing to Manila, CEB has already transported over 2.5 million COVID-19 doses since March 2021. CEB fully supports the nation’s vaccination program by helping ensure life-saving COVID-19 vaccines are flown safely to the Philippines, and distributed across the rest of the archipelago. CEB operates the widest domestic network in the Philippines covering 32 destinations, on top of its six (6) international destinations. Its 74-strong fleet, one of the youngest in the world, includes two (2) dedicated ATR freighters and one (1) A330 freighter. 

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Aboitiz-AIM-NEDA-LGU collaboration to boost PH contact tracing capabilities

May 24, 2021

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By: , To help address the issues surrounding the effectiveness of the country’s contact tracing efforts, the public and private sectors together with the academe launched ‘Project Connect,’ an initiative for the seamless execution of this important pillar in the government’s Covid-19 pandemic response (Test, Trace, Isolate).   Through a virtual ceremony held on May 18, 2020, the Aboitiz Group, premier academic institution Asian Institute of Management-Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (AIM-ASITE), and the local government of Pasig City signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would put in motion a data science-driven project conceptualized by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), to significantly improve contact tracing in the country. The AIM-ASITE, with its world-class computing facility, research tools, and data science experts, will help develop data analysis techniques for contact tracing. The Aboitiz Group, a known advocate of innovation, data science and artificial intelligence, supports the initiative through its social development arm Aboitiz Foundation. Aboitiz helped establish ASITE through a $10 million donation to AIM. It offers Master of Data Science (MSDS), the first graduate data science degree program in the country. “In Aboitiz, everything we do should drive change for a better world and we are a firm believer that data science is a strong foundation that we can rely on as our country continuously fights this pandemic,” Aboitiz Foundation President Maribeth Marasigan stressed. The Aboitiz Group through its Foundation has also donated PHP2 million to fund the implementation of ‘Project Connect’, which includes pilot testing, SMS blasts, and the development of the Application Programming Interface or API which is essential to increase contact ratio from one (1) infected person is to two to three persons traced (1:2-3) to an ideal of one (1) infected person is to thirty to thirty-seven people traced (1:30-37). “One life saved by addressing this gap in the pandemic response, is more than enough reason for Aboitiz to be part of this initiative.  This remains true to our promise of advancing business and communities,” she added. The Automatic Contact Tracing Using Short Messaging System (SMS) Project, through the said API, would help seamlessly execute contact tracing as soon as an individual’s Covid-19 test result comes out by automatically linking the contact tracing applications used by various local government units (LGU) to the government’s testing portal. While the Department of Health data showed that the 7-day moving average for Covid-19 testing reached close to 64,000, the challenge is ensuring immediate testing of those who might have direct contact with individuals who tested positive. This is currently one of the weakest links in the entire Covid-19 response and when addressed would greatly help prevent the dreaded virus’ further transmission. “Through quick testing and tracing, we can identify, test, and isolate asymptomatic individuals before they go out and infect others in the community. Doing so will dramatically reduce cases, limit the spread of the virus, sustain the reopening of the economy, and allow people to go back to work as soon as possible. The gradual reopening of the economy is key to economic recovery,” said NEDA Undersecretary Mercy Sombilla. AIM-ASITE Head and Aboitiz Chair in Data Science Christopher Monterola said by connecting DOH’s data to the contact tracing apps used by the LGUs, required isolation time of compromised individuals can be reduced from seven to just four days. “According to simulations done, this acceleration of the contact tracing process can reduce the total number of cases by 50-60% if tracing is implemented with about 75% of the population complying”, Monterola pointed out. “By connecting the DOH data of infected individuals and the contact tracing data of say Pasig Pass, we can identify the individuals most likely compromised if they are in the same establishment within say 30 mins. We can then prioritize on contact tracing the individuals based on the length of contact, nature/place of contact, susceptibility to become seriously ill (age and gender), and most importantly one’s potential to be a super spreader,” Monterola further explained. Pasig City, the project implementation pilot site is already maintaining PasigPass, a contact tracing solution specifically made for the city which runs via quick response (QR) code system and is required to be accomplished in establishments and operating offices within Pasig.   Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said that while around 2.6 million individuals are already currently on the SafePass app, the city recognizes the need to improve its contact tracing and sees further use of technology and data analytics to better fight Covid-19. “There are so many data points that we can extract [from the app]. You know the potential for data analytics and analysis is really high but obviously, the LGU of Pasig does not have the capability for a lot of these things; it's new to us as well and we’re trying to figure things out as we go along and we need your help,” the mayor said during the project launch. “Every time we identify a close contact, every time someone tests positive and prevents him or her from spreading the disease, that’s a win for us. These are little victories that we see on a daily basis,” he stressed, noting that the initial results’ potential from the pilot test of 1,000 people traced through Project Connect is “through the roof.”   Mayor Sotto thanked all the stakeholders involved in the project including the Aboitiz Foundation. “To the Aboitiz Foundation, thank you for your generosity, for your kind hearts, and your willingness to partner with the LGUs like Pasig City. I know it’s not only Pasig that you are partners with but you have done so much for the community, for our nation and I just want to thank you for that,” he added. Usec. Sombilla said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) agreed to do the pilot test in the consortium cities including Pasig, Antipolo, Mandaluyong, and Valenzuela. The recommendation to the task force is to scale the initiative nationally as soon as possible.   

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Our Community, Our Responsibility | Parasat rolls out cheaper, faster internet plans

July 9, 2021

Technology

By: T2 Mike, In celebration of its 31st Year of Service as Mindanao’s Pioneer Premier Cable TV and Internet Service Provider (ISP), Parasat Cable TV Inc. rolls out starting July 15, 2021, its new F.A.B. (Faster Affordable Broadband) Plans  which are much cheaper yet faster internet plans bundled with an unprecedented number of cable TV channels you won’t find elsewhere. “Basically, our long awaited "Faster Affordable Bundles" (or FAB) are new packages which are very competitive to current internet only plans sold by PLDT and Globe,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, president and CEO. “We actually brought down  the rates and increased the speeds to address the perennial demands of customers for faster and more affordable, yet reliable internet services.” Our Community, Our Responsibility Paras said they FAB plans were conceptualized in response to the vastly increased demand for the internet as a basic need for education, work, communication, information, business, news and entertainment, and the cry of subscribers for faster and more reliable connectivity at affordable rates. “Unlike the past decade, internet service speeds have largely been very slow and expensive. Parasat intends to break that barrier with very affordable bundled plans which include Cable TV programming at no additional cost to internet subscriptions,” Paras said.  With the covid-19 crisis affecting face-to-face classes in all levels, online education has now become the new norm. The demand for affordable internet especially from the public-school sector has never been more pronounced during this pandemic, he added. Free Upgrades The best part of Parasat’s Community Social Responsibility (CSR) is its speed BOOST program which increased internet speeds for existing customers by as much as 300% (up to 3 times) depending on the particular plans. “For example, during the last two weeks, customers subscribed to a 3mbps plan now get 10mbps (which is boosted by at least 300%),” Paras disclosed. Parasat also plans another Speed Boost for all previous plans so current customers whether in HFC or Parafiber networks, can now level up with new plans. In this way, old Parasat internet customers would enjoy faster speeds proportionate to their current contracts. Current customers can also opt to recontract their cable and internet bundle based on the new plans without additional charges. Parasat uses two redundant network infrastructures , Parasat HFC (its legacy hybrid fiber co-axial cable network) and Parafiber (its pure fiber delivery network using FTTH, (Fiber-To-The- Home technology). It is also now rolling out its FTTH  infrastructure to its other service areas outside Cagayan de Oro. Discounted Faster Internet Parasat which pioneered its highly successful PISONET plan three years ago, provided cable customers with a lifeline 1 Mbps plan for an additional one (1) Peso. Unfortunately in today’s environment, that kind of speed  could not be usable for online meetings like Zoom and other solutions. Parasat HFC’s P699 plan now provides unlimited 8mbps at only P200 more than the original Pisonet Plan(w/ Starter Cable 56 channels). “This kind of pricing program  is definitely cheaper and more convenient for those using prepaid load for their children’s online classes,” Paras noted.   “Parasat’s WiFi enabled cable/fiber modems allow multiple users per plan. Parasat commits to provide its current and new customers better choices which are very competitive to current “internet only” plans sold by its competitors,” he stressed. The Cable ISP also dropped the price of its 15mbps Work from Home plan by 54% from P2149/month to only P999/month. For families with multiple users and doing online selling, the new P1499 and P1999 plans gives them a whopping 40Mbps/70Mbps with a limited budget. Plans from 100Mbps to 300Mbps are also available for Small Business users and heavy downloaders of videos and games. How We Did It To bring its bandwidth costs down,  Parasat Cable actually acquired multiple routes from bulk  bandwidth Telco providers in order to have a resilient and reliable internet distribution network covering most of Cagayan de Oro barangays; Misamis Oriental towns Opol, Alubijid, Laguindingan, Libertad and El Salvador City to the west; Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan and Balingasag to the East; Manolo Fortich, Malaybalay and Valencia Cities in Bukidnon province.  The company now has enough bandwidth capacity to service its current and new customers under the new speed requirements.  In this day and age of unrestrained demand for Social Media, the company also acquired equipment and technology which allows for a faster connectivity to the likes of Google, YouTube, Facebook and Netflix. The state-of-the-art content servers in the data center, now enable users a low latency (below 5 milliseconds) connection to these major content sources, resulting in decreased buffering of videos and movies and a satisfying viewing experience for the customer. Internet Overdrive PARASAT Parafiber brand for  its Fiber To The Home (FTTH) network now covers major areas of the city from Bugo to Iponan and the Uptown areas.  The fiber optic  plant can now service business or institutional customers for speeds up to 1Gbps (1000Mbps) and provide special  business users who demand reliable point-to-point  fiber connectivity to as high as 10Gbps. It is currently embarking on a large scale upgrading of its FTTH network citywide to cover most of its franchise areas within the year.  Parasat also upgraded its legacy Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) network to be compliant with DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) version 3.1; which will eventually be as efficient as fiber technology in providing internet connectivity. This HFC upgrade will allow current coax cable customers to access speeds up to 300Mbps from a previous 50 mbps limit. More Value for Money Unlike other CATV providers, Parasat Cable  leverages its being a cable operator to bundle cable tv programs with its Parafiber and Parasat HFC internet brands, thus giving customers one solution in delivering traditional TV entertainment and internet based new communication and media platforms. “Having one unified billing system for both cable and internet coupled with multiple modes for payment like online banking, GCash, ECpay and the like, with several payment offices in different locations , is definitely a big advantage for Parasat HFC/Parafiber customers,” Paras points out. To date, Parasat has branches in Cruz Taal, Corrales, Bugo, Centrio, Limketkai, Puerto, Villanueva, Balingasag, Manolo Fortich, Malaybalay, including the recently opened Uptown branch along Masterson Ave. Parasat currently operates in the key cities of Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, San Carlos, Negros Occidental , several towns in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon, as well as with strategic partners in other areas such as Valencia City, Bukidnon.

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Data Science, AI to accelerate Aboitiz businesses’ growth

February 1, 2021

Technology

By: , The Aboitiz Group is fully embracing the use of digital technology, pushing for further innovation, a change in the way that it operates its various businesses through the use of data-driven solutions and Artificial Intelligence. For a hundred year-old company that has witnessed how technology has progressed from the beginning of the 20th century to what it is today, Aboitiz has no plans on stopping.  “Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) are transformative capabilities that will accelerate the Aboitiz Group’s productivity, drive business value, and open up new revenue streams,” Aboitiz Group president and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz said. A strong advocate of innovation, Aboitiz believes that DSAI will become a permanent aspect of the business landscape of each of the conglomerate’s strategic business units (BU),  to develop and support its business models and decision-making capabilities. Aboitiz also recognizes the potential of the data science workforce as it reorganized its DSAI talents across the group. “This new structure helps create a better alignment of standards, processes, and policies, within the Group and, at the same time, moves us closer to our DSAI ambitions by nurturing our  Aboitiz talent through experience and exposure in our different businesses,” Aboitiz shared.  The company formed working groups on Data Governance, Data Science, and Innovation, which will serve as avenues for alignment, consultation, and discussions  to maximize and optimize the reuse of DSAI solutions, knowledge, and source sharing among SBUs. At its helm is global data science expert Dr. David R. Hardoon, UnionBank Senior Advisor for Data and AI and Aboitiz Group Data Committee Chairman. “DSAI is a core differentiator enabling organisations to flourish digitally. Our focus within the Group is to innovate and systematically operationalise DSAI benefits for all BUs in areas such as customer engagement, operations and in materialising ESG (Environmental, Social, and  Corporate Governance) goals, ” Dr. Hardoon said. DSAI across business units Banking and Financial  Services Aboitiz banking subsidiary Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) pioneered in leveraging DSAI in banking solutions as part of its digital transformation. The bank saw a surge in digital banking transactions over the years due to evolving consumer behavior. And with the lockdowns brought about by the pandemic, consumers were forced to embrace digital banking. In 2019, UnionBank encouraged aspiring data scientists to elevate the profession with the launch of its own Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Institute, which is aimed at producing and nurturing big data professionals to help usher innovations at the bank.  To date, more than 65 future data scientists are part of a learning program that covers data processing, programming visualization, analysis and mining, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. PETNET, a financial services unit under UnionBank, has one goal in mind: ensure that team members are data-driven and analytically capable in running the business. Hence, the company formed a Data Analytics team which will help in reading trends and drawing insights to make data-driven and informed decisions to provide better customer service. Power For the Aboitiz Group’s energy arm, Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower), DSAI will play an integral role in driving the company’s 10-year growth strategy. This is to address the energy trilemma of the availability, cost-efficiency, and sustainability of the country’s energy supply. DSAI will be a key component of AboitizPower’s 1AP Digital Strategy, called DigitaLeap, which aims  to implement several initiatives as part of its digital transformation. These include  remote plant operations, convergence of information and operational technologies, next-generation energy trading capabilities, and advanced metering infrastructure, among others. Food For its DSAI implementation, the Food Group built a tool called Analytics Central ー a one-stop portal that not only addresses ease of access to data-driven solutions, but also data security by using a double-layer solution.  Current applications available in the tool are Pilmico’s retail meat shop “The Good Meat,” the Food Group Covid-19 Health Pass, Feeds and Farm Division’s operational dashboards, and budget presentation for management meetings. Infrastructure Meantime, Aboitiz cement manufacturing unit Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc. (Republic Cement), sees the value of DSAI in operations planning and optimization of production costs. The precision that data science offers will not only provide Republic Cement with data-driven insights but also allows it to remain steadfast in delivering consistent and high-quality products for the Philippine market. Republic Cement teamed up with UnionBank’s Data Solutions Team to create a tool that predicts cement quality based on historical chemical concentration combinations. It helps operators and quality managers optimize concentrations of raw materials and efficiently save time, resulting in better resource management and increased operational efficiency. Land Real estate unit AboitizLand is jumpstarting its journey into DSAI as it prioritizes providing better services to its customers. The launch of its contactless homebuying campaign at the onset of the pandemic marked its successful pivot into the digital sphere.  The company recently teamed up with UnionBank for an improved customer profiling system and a predictive model that will detect construction delays. Also in the pipeline is the update of its Sales and Vecino Portal for a smoother end-to-end home-buying process making it easier for buyers to reserve units, track payments made, monitor construction milestones and easily apply for a housing loan.

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Honoring our Heroes

April 19, 2021

Opinion

By: Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar (ret.), By Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar (ret.) Executive Director National Historical Commission of the Philippines   The Second World War produced thousands of heroes but very few of them were known.      Unlike in the Philippine Revolution and Fil-Am War where the concentration of large-scale fighting was in the 8 provinces around Manila, with some in various provinces, resistance to Japanese invasion and occupation was from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.      After the war, there were over 400,000 guerrillas who were recognized. Add to these the over 100,000 who died fighting for our country. This was a big percentage to our population which was 18 million at the outbreak of war.      Every veteran who fought for our county’s freedom are heroes that we must treasure. We are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices for fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Their investment was their blood, sweat and tears.      We meet them in their advance age and even ignore their presence despite their great contribution they remained anonymous to all of us.      They might our parents, uncles and aunts, grandparents and relatives who remain humble about their war exploits, their contribution to our country’s freedom.      It is time for us to rediscover the unsung and unknown heroes in our family and we will be surprised to know that we have the blood of heroes in our veins. It is our duty in this generation to honor our heroes.      Restituto L. Aguilar currently serves as the Executive Director of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). Prior to this, he was the Chief of the Veterans Memorial and Historical Division, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office for six (6) years.      Director Aguilar is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1978 (Makatarungan) and has retired with the rank of Brigadier General in the Armed Forces of the Philippines after 33 years of military service.      Aside from his command and staff postings during his military service, he has been sought as consultant in the research of the history of the various military camps and museums in the country.      He also contributed to the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Philippine Museum in Camp Aguinaldo.      Director Aguilar also published various articles about the history of different AFP units in various academic publications and was the Editor-In-Chief of The Cavalier, the official publication of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMAAAI) from 2002-2012.      He also authored the Philippine Military Academy Register, a product of over seventeen (17) years of diligent research about the individual military histories of over 17,000 men and women who have entered the Philippine Military Academy.

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The Australian Open Test

February 2, 2021

Opinion

By: Charles Lim, Sports Tourism Highlights, The sporting world will focus on Melbourne from now until February 21, 2021 as it plays host to the Australian Open. Australia may have one of the strictest lockdown to combat the COVID19 virus, but still skeptics imply that for this sporting event to take place with live audiences over a 2-week period is reckless to say the least. As a sports tourism advocate, I can only admire the resolve of the organizers. In tandem with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), over one hundred top players are already in Melbourne with over a thousand support staff all under strict 14-day hotel quarantine. Players and trainers are only allowed  five hours a day for practices and workout. They are not allowed to leave the hotel premises. Flying into this Victorian city were all done through specially arranged chartered flights and with tight airport to hotel transfers. The  Victorian State government had announced that they will allow up to 30,000 spectators per day for the entire duration of the Australian Open from February 8 to 21. The number of allowed spectators is only 50% of the normal daily attendance compared to previous years. Still, in totaling up numbers, around 360,000 Aussies as well as Aussie residents would have watched the tournament live. Unlike the Philippines, there are no interstate restrictions imposed on their citizens travelling from one state or city to another within this land down under. In fact, Filipinos scoff that we are the only ASEAN country that restricts its citizens from interstate travel by imposing some health protocols bordering on the ridiculous initiated by and differing from one local government to another.   Apart from the brilliant tennis that will keep you entertained for the good fortnight, sports and tourism advocates will hold their breaths as we witness this sporting event, hoping that there will be no catastrophic incidents until the last point is scored, until new champions are crowned, until the lights are finally switched off at the Rod Laver Arena on February 21. -30- Charles Lim is the Chairman and Founder of the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards. His advocacy for Sports Tourism dates back  to 2004 with the inception of the Sports Tourism Forum - a popular seminar workshop for those in sports and the hospitality trade - which is currently ongoing. He can be reached through charles.selrahco@gmail.com.

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The Mindanao Death March

July 4, 2021

History

By: Atty. Robert John A. Donesa, During World War II, there were two (2) death marches in the Philippines that were presented at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials as evidence of the inhuman treatment of prisoners of war (POWs). These were the “Bataan Death March”, and the “Iligan Death March”, also referred to as the “Mindanao Death March” or the “Dansalan Death March” in some accounts. While the commemoration of the Bataan Death March is commemorated annually with the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) national highway every April 9th, very few people know about the Iligan Death March. On the 4th of July 1942, surrendered Filipino and American soldiers in Mindanao were made to march on a rocky dirt road and under the blazing tropical sun, from Camp Keithley in Dansalan to Iligan in Lanao – a distance of about thirty-six (36) kilometer (25 miles) prior to their transfer with the rest of the Mindanao POWs to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Transport trucks, although available, were denied the POWs. Without food and water, one by one the soldiers fell down due to exhaustion. Those who fell were shot in the forehead to prevent them from joining the guerrillas in the event they recover. But the story did not end there. The Tokyo War Trials On January 19, 1946, the victorious Allied powers—France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America— established the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo, Japan. The IMTFE had the jurisdiction to try individuals for Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity that were committed during the World War II. The subsequent trials held were collectively known as the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. The Tokyo War Crimes Trials were held between May 1946 to November 1948. The Philippine Prosecution Team presented and proved before the IMTFE at least sixteen (16) incidents of indignities, torture and barbarities committed against the Filipino and Foreign Prisoners of Wars (POWs) and civilians. Of these 16 incidents, only the Bataan Death March appeared in history textbooks. All the others remained unknown. Because the evidence against the accused were overwhelmingly strong, the Iligan Death March, along with others, were only summarily presented and proven during Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Guests of the Emperor The Japanese landed in the Southern part of Mindanao, in Parang, Maguindanao. From there, they began advancing northwards to the Province of Lanao. The Philippine Troops and Moros formed the Bolo Battalion under 81st Division commander Brigadier General Guy O. Fort to defend Ganassi, Bacolod Grande on the southern end of Lake Lanao to stop the Japanese troops. Gen. Fort planned for guerrilla warfare. However, on May 6, 1942, Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright IV, the Allied commander in the Philippines, surrendered the Filipino and American Forces on Bataan and Corregidor. Gen. Homma threatened to kill the American surrenderers from Bataan and Corregidor unless all American and Filipino forces surrendered. Thus, on May 10, 1942, Gen. Wainwright ordered Maj. Gen. William F. Sharp to surrender all his US and Filipino troops in Mindanao. He complied. At Bubong, Lanao del Sur, a large number of Filipino troops escaped to the hills. The Americans were ordered not to desert or face court martial. On May 26, 1942, the soldiers walked 6 miles from Bubong to Dansalan, where they surrendered their arms. The Japanese Commanding Officer declared them to be “guests of the emperor” and not “prisoners of war.” There were 46 Americans and some 300 Filipinos under General Fort who surrendered. While awaiting instructions from Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the POWs were billeted in an abandoned building once used as a mint for producing provincial money. Soon, the Japanese soldiers guarding the POWs were replaced with extremely young men who slapped them if they failed to count in Japanese. From June 10, 1942, the young Japanese guards frequently roused the POWs in their sleeping quarters, looted their belongings, beating and abusing them physically. These incidents resulted in hushed talks about escape. To avert this, the Japanese guards adapted the Honor System, that is, for every soldier who escaped, their officers would be executed. On July 1, 1942, Cpl. William Knortz, Pvt. Robert Ball, Seamen Jas S. Smith and William Johnson escaped. Under the Honor System, Col. Robert Hale Vesey, Captain A.H. Price and Sgt. John L. Chandler paid the price. When asked about the whereabouts of the abovementioned officers, the Japanese interpreter only remarked: “They died like soldiers.” The Japanese were very angry with the escape. As punishment, all POWs were required to walk instead of riding to Iligan. The Iligan Death March At 8:00 A.M., July 4, 1942, the POWs lined up for the march at Dansalan (now Marawi), Lanao. The Americans were arranged four abreast and strung together in columns by a gauge wire through their belts. The Filipino POWs, though unwired, were to walk barefooted. As it was the 4th of July, the march was mockingly dubbed the “Independence Day March.” A truckload of Japanese soldiers with a mounted machine gun followed the prisoners, ready to shoot anybody who tried to escape. As the day progressed, the midday tropical sun became unbearable. Without food and water, one by one the soldiers fell down due to exhaustion. Those who fell were left behind after they fell were shot to prevent them from joining the guerrillas. Among those killed during the March were Mr. Childress ( or in other documents – Kildritch), an American civilian who owned a coconut plantation in Mindanao; Major Jay J. Navin, Commanding Officer, 84th Regiment; and. Robert Pratt, Finance Officer, 81st Division, who died of exhaustion in Iligan after the march.   The Filipino soldiers started the march at a lively pace since they weren’t tied together. But unlike their American counterparts who wore military shoes, they walked barefooted. A few hours into the walk, the hot rocky dirt road started to burn their feet, which was so unbearable that some of them started crawling. One was left behind. The Japanese guard, tired of prodding him to walk, bayoneted him to death. As the march continued, the Japanese killed four more Filipinos, including a Medical Officer with a Red Cross band on his arm. By the end of the day, Fullerton, Jr. estimated some ten or twelve Filipino soldiers were killed by bayoneting or shooting. At St. Michael’s Academy, Iligan By mid-afternoon, when the throng was about 3 kilometers from Iligan, the gauge tie was removed. They arrived in Iligan at around 7:00 P.M. tired, thirsty, hungry and exhausted. The POWs, both Filipinos and Americans, were housed in a rickety two-story school building of St. Michael’s Academy, located across the St. Michael’s Church in Iligan. The Filipino POWs occupied the first floor while the Americans were locked at the second floor. Off to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon After a two-day layover in Iligan, the POWs boarded a canon boat on July 6, 1942, and sailed a hundred miles east along the shore of Mindanao to Cagayan de Misamis, the capital town in Northern Mindanao. From there, trucks took them to Camp Casisang, Malaybalay, Bukidnon where they joined other POWs from Mindanao. The Japanese guards continued to loot the POWs’ money, valuables, gold rings, wristwatches, etc. on the pretext that the POWs had to purchase their own food or transportation. While the Bataan Death March is a widely known indignity to WWII POWs, there seems to be only scanty accounts of the Iligan Death March. At least four (4) of the American POWs who suffered through this death march eventually survived the war and narrated their ordeals before they died. They were Victor L. Mapes, Herbert L. Zincked, Richard P. Beck and Frederick M. Fullerton, Jr. These narratives, however, can only be found online. After validating these sources, it is now possible to retell the story of the Mindanao Death March for present and future generations. Aftermath On the Fourth of July, 1942, Lt. Col. Wendell W. Fertig sat on a high hill near Dansalan looking down on the National Road. Below him the Japanese paraded a long line of ragtag and malaria ridden POWs, in hopes of impressing the citizens of Mindanao. At the head of the column they placed Brigadier General Guy Fort in an open truck. The POWs shambled forward tied together foot and hand with telephone wire. Whenever they lagged, Japanese guards beat them or jabbed them with bayonets fixed on their long rifles. When they fell they were stabbed. Watching from above, Fertig decided he would never surrender. He would fight. (from They Fought Alone, by John Keats, pp 82-83) By late 1944, Fertig commanded the 10th Military District of the US Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) a guerrilla force estimated at 36,000—the equivalent of an Army Corps—with 16,500 of them armed. The USFIP killed at least 7,000 Japanese soldiers and, while a constant drain on Japanese resources, they also prevented the Japanese from fully utilizing Mindanao's resources in support of its war efforts. At one time, the Japanese committed approximately 60,000 troops in an attempt to crush guerrilla resistance on Mindanao, troops that were desperately needed elsewhere. Throughout the entire Philippines, the guerrillas managed to tie down a Japanese army of 288,000 troops, of which approximately 43,000–60,000 were on Mindanao, depending on the time period. (From PBS. 2009. MacArthur: The Guerrilla War. Retrieved March 30, 2021; and  Schmidt, Larry. (1982). American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1945

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2nd Lt Apollo Bacarrisas Tiano | The Forgotten Kagay-anon Hero in the ‘Forgotten War’

June 24, 2021

History

By: Mike Baños, It wasn’t their war, but when one country threatens the freedom of another, Filipinos did not hesitate to answer to answer the call to arms. When the Republic of Korea (ROK) was created in 15 August 1948, the Philippines became the first Asian state to open diplomatic relations with the ROK, and the fifth overall in the world. Thus, when the ROK was attacked by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 25 June 1950, President Elpidio Quirino immediately answered the United Nations summons for assistance in opposing the North Korean invasion by deciding on 07 August 1950 to send Filipino combat troops to fight in the Korean War. The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War” because the 1950-53 conflict happened between World War II and the Vietnam War. Although the main protagonists were North and South Korea, it was actually more a “proxy war”  between the communist Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China on one side, and the United Nations (UN) of democratic allies on the other led by the United States. The Philippine Congress passed Republic Act 573 (the Philippine Military Aid to the UN Act) on 25 August 1950 authorizing the deployment of Filipino combat troops to defend South Korea under the umbrella of the United Nations Command (UNC). President Quirino signed RA 573 into law on 07 September 1950 and immediately dispatched the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) to Korea, the first of five BCTs collectively named the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) becoming the first Asian country and only the third UN member state to send combat troops to the area. Five Philippine BCTs with a total strength of 7,420 officers and men served in Korea from 1950 to 1955 as PEFTOK. Collectively, these BCTs constituted the Regimental Combat Team promised by the Philippines in August 1950 to the United Nations war effort.  “They were actually Armed Forces of the Philippines BCTs since PEFTOK had an air (Philippine Air Force) and naval (Philippine Navy) personnel and units embedded,” said CDR Mark R Condeno, Naval Historian and Museum Curator of the PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall Museum. PEFTOK consisted of the 10th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized); 20th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized); 19th Battalion Combat Team (Motorized); 14th Battalion Combat Team, and 2nd Battalion Combat Team. All the PEFTOK BCTs were combat experienced units, with veterans who had fought against the Imperial Japanese Army as soldiers and guerrillas from 1942 to 1945. They suffered 112 killed in action, 299 wounded,16 missing, and 41 repatriated during POW exchanges. The last of the Philippine troops left Korea on 13 May 1955. The PEFTOK comes to Korea On 19 September 1950, the Philippines’ 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) with about 1,400 men landed at the port of Busan as the first of the five BCTs that would serve under the UNC in Korea for the period 1950-1955. It was the eighth UNC ground combat unit to enter the Korean War. The 10th BCT immediately made an impact by defeating two battalions of North Korean People’s Army (NKPA) in the Battle of Miudong on 11 November 1950. However, two weeks later the Korean War escalated when the PROC threw its Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) into the fray on 19 October 1950 and nearly overwhelmed the UN Force, throwing it back deep into South Korea. The (Chinese) People's Volunteer Army (PVA) was the armed forces deployed by the PROC during the Korean War. Although all units in the PVA were actually transferred from the People's Liberation Army (the official name of the Chinese armed forces) under orders of Mao Zedong, the PVA was separately constituted in order to prevent an official war with the United States. Again, the 10th BCT proved its mettle when it stood firm with only 900 men against a 40,000-strong Chinese Army at the Battle of Yuldong in North Korea, denying the communists a decisive victory. On 05 September 1951, the 20th BCT relieved the 10th BCT, which returned to the Philippines covered in glory as “The Fighting Tenth.” In late April 1952, the first contingent  of the 19th BCT deployed to Korea and arrived in force two months later. Like the other Filipino battalions who fought in the Korean War, the Bloodhounds was a veteran unit composed of soldiers who earned their stripes in the Huk anti-insurgency campaign. According to Cesar Pobre’s “Filipinos in the Korean War,” the 19th BCT “operated in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Rizal and Bulacan.” The 19th BCT was mainly tasked to hold a sector of the main defense line along the Chorwon-Sibyon-yi corridor, which is in the west central sector of the Korean peninsula. Eleven days later, it successfully defended Hill 191 and Hill Eerie in the Battle for Combat Outpost No. 8, a fierce four-day engagement (17-21 June 1952) which brings us to our story. The 20th BCT recaptured Hill Eerie on 21 May 1952, a strategic observation post was invaluable to PEFTOK its future encounters with the PVA. Then 1Lt Fidel V. Ramos, who would eventually become President of the Philippines (1992-1998), led one of the assaults. The Tiano Brothers Perhaps the most remarkable family of Kagay-anon patriots were the Tiano siblings, for whom the Tiano Brothers street in Cagayan de Oro is named after. No less than six of the family’s eight siblings, five males and one female, served with the guerrillas under Maj. Angeles Limena in the 120th Infantry Regiment, 108th Division based at Pangayawan, Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, with the exception of the second eldest Nestor, who was killed in action at the young age of 24 while repelling a Japanese attack at Aglaloma Point, Bataan on Jan. 23, 1942. The eldest Ronaldo served as a 1st Lt. in the nascent Philippine Army Air Force (PAAC), survived the Bataan Death March, but was released by the Japanese from the POW Camp in Capas, Tarlac, then found his way home to join the 120th Infantry Regiment. After the war he joined the newly organized Philippine Air Force (PAF) but left after 18 months to join Philippine Airlines (PAL) and died in a plane crash on Jan. 24, 1950. Uriel became a sergeant of “A” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, and ended the war in the Signal Corps. The youngest brother Jaime was a private first class at only 15 years of age, and served as a medical aide of the 120th Regimental Hospital at Talacogon, Lugait, Misamis Oriental, together with his sister 1st Lt. Fe B. Tiano (RN), who was the unit’s sole regimental nurse. As Cpl. Jesus B. Ilogon relates in his unpublished manuscript, Memoirs of a Guerrilla: The Barefoot Army, “This is the story of the Tianos-brave and courageous, their battles are now part of history. While they went to war, their parents Emilia Bacarrisas and Leocadio Tiano, and two sisters Ruth and Emily were left in Lapad (Alubijid, now part of Laguindingan), to stoke the home fires burning,” Ilogon noted. The only surviving sibling Ruth Tiano-Pañares, had an outstanding career as a teacher and Scouter, and celebrated her 100th birthday recently on 08 June 2021 with family and friends.  Apollo Bacarrisas Tiano However, this particular story is about the third eldest sibling Apollo, who served as a 2nd Lt. and platoon leader of “C” Company, 1st Battalion, 120th Regiment, 108th Division based in Initao, Misamis Oriental during World War II and later, the Korean War. Apollo was born on February 19, 1923, in Cagayan de Oro city, the third of eight siblings. He finished his elementary school at the City Central School and was a high school senior at the Misamis Oriental High School when World War II broke out on December 8, 1941. In 1942, he joined the guerillas with his four other siblings.   Pol, as he was known to family and friends, was promoted to Second Lieutenant and was part of the expeditionary battalion composed of troops from various guerrilla units  that conducted mopping up operations against Japanese stragglers during the Liberation period in 1945. As the commanding officer of the E Company, Apollo helped liberate Malabang, Lanao, in Cotabato and Davao together with the 24th Division, 10th Corps of the US 8th Army. After his honorable discharge, he took up Civil Engineering at Far East University, but later shifted to a nautical course and graduated with honors at the Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI) in 1950. Although he could have chosen another profession after his service as a guerrilla during the Second World War, Pol chose to enroll at the  AFP Service School in Fort McKinley where he became a Second Lieutenant and an instructor of the school. A year later, he volunteered for combat duty in Korea where he was given the rank of 2nd Lieutenant and became a platoon leader for the 1st Platoon, Reconnaissance Company, 19th BCT of the PEFTOK. The first contingent of the 19th arrived in Korea late April 1952 with the last contingent rotating to Korea two months later. We chose this week to recall his ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom being the 69th Anniversary of the Rizal Day Battle for Combat Outpost No. 8 from June 17-21, 1952 where he distinguished himself with uncommon valor that inspired his men to turn the tide of battle and saved his unit from annihilation. The Rizal Day Battle for Combat Outpost No. 8 (June 17 – 21, 1952). As related recently by CDR Mark R. Condeno in a post on the social media page Defense of the Republic of the Philippines, this action dubbed the Battle for Combat Outpost Number 8, and also as the Defense of Arsenal Hill, Hill 191 and Hill Eerie by the the PEFTOK's 19th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) known as the Bloodhounds that fought a gory four-day battle against the Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) 349th and 117th Regiments attempting to overrun their positions in Combat Outpost No. 8, a tactically important segment which comprised Hill 191 (also known as Arsenal Hill) and Hill Eerie. The 19th held a segment of the main line of resistance in the Chorwon-Siboni corridor in the west central sector of Korea. It was first attached operationally to the US I Corps and then to the US 45th Infantry Division. Armistice negotiations to end the war were being discussed when the 19th went into action against the PVA. On June 16-17, the 19th BCT under the command of Col Ramon Z Aguirre, relieved the 2nd Battalion of the US Army's 179th Infantry Division on T-Bone Ridge, Hill 477 (Chondoksan), Combat Outpost 7 (Yoke and Uncle) and Combat Outpost 8 (Eerie and Hill 191) upon orders of Major General David L. Ruffner, Commanding General, US 45th Infantry Division. The hills dominating the Chorwon-Siboni area was considered the most vulnerable sector of the UNC’s front line. The 19th BCT was complemented by the following US units in defense of the assigned area: K Coy, 179th Infantry; 2nd Battalion, 279th Infantry (support); Tank Platoon, 245th Tank Battalion, and the 158th Field Artillery Battalion (with the 19ths FA Battery attached). Overall control of the supporting weapons was delegated to the 19th Heavy Weapons Coy, with 75mm Recoilless Rifles, 3 Half-tracks equipped with Quad 50s, a reinforced Mortar Platoon with 7 Mortars and 2 US Army tanks from the 179th Infantry. The Chinese PVA units commenced the attack on June 18th with an artillery bombardment of the UNC positions in which the BCT lost 2 KIA and 4 WIA.  Fortunately, the artillerymen of the 20th BCT were still on hand and quickly responded with counter battery fire, reducing the impact of the enemy barrage, and allowed most of the Filipino defensive positions to survive relatively unscathed. USAF B-29 Superfortesses supported the defense by obliterating Chinese artillery and mortar positions at T-Bone Ridge which were firing on the Filipinos in Hill 191.  When Chinese snipers began taking potshots at the Filipinos, the Sniper Platoon of Lt Prudencio Regis PA killed 2 Chinese Snipers and neutralized the others. The artillery duel between the two sides continued on 19 June followed by a night probing  mission of the West of Hill 191 which was repulsed by the Filipinos, though 2Lt Cosme Acosta of the 20th BCT was KIA and eight other personnel wounded. By dusk, the heavy guns of the Chinese fell silent. The Filipino defenders immediately went on heightened alert since based on the experience of the 10th and 20th BCTs, the Chinese were wont to launch their vaunted human wave attacks under cover of darkness. The Chinese troops attacked and flares shot up into the sky to light up the battlefield. The Filipino-manned 105mm howitzers directed by the 20th BCT fire observers rained shells on the exposed Chinese troops, forcing them to retreat, but that wasn’t the end of it. On 20 June 1952, Lt. Tiano’s 36-man platoon was ordered to reinforce the 19th BCT defenders of Hill Eerie. About 90 minutes to midnight, the Chinese again unleashed a barrage of artillery and mortar fire on the Filipino's with 80 rounds per minute, followed by a battalion sized human wave attack which flares from the 19th   showed were converging on all sectors towards Hills Eerie and 191. This was met by a heavy firewall thrown by the 19th Field Artillery and Heavy Weapons, further supported by US Army tank and artillery fire which destroyed many of the PVA artillery and mortars.  However, the following day 21 June, an even heavier attack followed on the US Army’s MLR and Combat Outpost Number 8. At some points along the Filipino line, the battle looked like the siege of a medieval castle with the Chinese clambering up ladders and the Filipinos shooting them down or pushing them off.  This time, the Chinese troops supported by two T-34/85 tanks (supplied by the Soviet Union), made a frontal assault on Hill Eerie occupied by the Recon Coy of the 19th BCT under Capt. Alejo Costales resulting in the destruction of the two enemy tanks.  Around 0105H a savage hand-to-hand fighting erupted between the Filipinos and Chinese in the perimeter of the 1st Platoon Reconnaissance Company under 1Lt Apollo B Tiano, which lasted until 0340H. Despite the enemy artillery bombardment, Lt Tiano ordered his men to “fix bayonets!” with the cry, “Laban tayo mga bata!” (Let’s fight boys!), and led a  bayonet charge against an incoming enemy platoon. Although he was struck in his shoulder by a bayonet from a Chinese soldier, he managed to kill his assailant, but would expire later from loss of blood when was again hit on his left shoulder by shrapnel from a mortar shell.  Lt Tiano’s courageous stand inspired the rest of his men to finish off the remaining Chinese squad which eventually led to their retreat although exchange by both sides’ artillery, mortar and rifle fire continued until 0500H.  With the coming of daylight, allied fighters and bombers finished off the rest of the attackers. Although the Filipinos suffered 8 KIA and 6 WIA, they accounted for over 500 of the enemy. It was estimated that troops from two Chinese regiments had attacked the lone Filipino battalion. With three battalions per regiment, the lone Filipino battalion had stood up and defeated an attack launched by six Chinese battalions over four days. Besides Tiano, nine other Filipinos lost their lives. Among them, Lt. Cosme Acosta, a forward observer of the 20thBCT’s artillery unit that had stayed in Korea. Acosta was scheduled to return to the Philippines once he had completed training the 19th BCT’s forward observers. Following the end of this gory, four-day battle, a group of Filipino soldiers ascended Hill 191 and, in full view of the Chinese, planted the Filipino flag on its summit. It was a heroic act of defiance that told the Chinese they had lost this battle. The Filipino battalion was later relieved by the US 2nd Infantry Division  on 18 July 1952. The 19th BCT’s stand during this battle did not go unnoticed and it became the first PEFTOK unit to be awarded South Korea's Presidential Unit Citation and a Battle Citation from the US X Corps.  President Syngman Rhee of the Republic of Korea awarded the 19th BCT the ROK Presidential Unit Citation Medal on July 1952. The medal is awarded to ROK and Foreign Military Units for exceptional meritorious service during the Korean War. In Memoriam For his gallantry in action, Lt. Tiano was posthumously awarded the Gold Cross Medal and Purple Heart, and his name is among those written on the Monument to the Philippines at Kyonggi-do near Seoul dedicated to Filipino soldiers who died in the Korean War. The men of the 19th BCT would later name their main encampment as “Camp Tiano” in honor of the slain lieutenant. On 18 September 1952, a monument was erected in Camp Tiano, Simpo-ri, Korea,  in memory of 2Lt Apollo B. Tiano  of the 19th Battalion Combat Team, PEFTOK, of Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, who was killed in action on Hill Eerie, Karhwun-Gol, Korea on 21 June 1952. The dedication ceremony was attended by Brig. Gen. Jesus Vargas, Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, during his visit to the camp during an inspection tour, and witnessed by Maj. Gen. David L. Ruffner, commanding general, 45th Infantry Division (AUS); Brig. Gen. P.D. Ginder, assistant division commander, 45th ID (AUS), and Col. Stewart Yco, chief of staff, 45th ID (AUS) with  Col. Ramon Z. Aguirre, commanding officer of the 19th BCT, PEFTOK. The Philippine Navy also honored the hero by naming one of its Conrado Yap class fast attack craft as BRP Apollo Tiano (PG-851), one of four fast patrol craft donated by the ROK to the Philippine Government on June 23, 1994. The vessels were received by then Pres. Fidel V. Ramos, who was a 1Lt and led one of the units that relieved Lt Tiano’s platoon on Hill Eerie. Pres Ramos recalled the valor of Lt. Tiano to his youngest sister, Ruth Tiano-Pañares. “I can never forget Pol, because of him, I am now your president.” Pres Ramos said because of Lt. Tiano’s astute planning and tactics, it gave Ramos and his men time to regroup and save their position. BRP Apollo Tiano was subsequently decommissioned on April 8, 2016. The remains of Pol, and his brothers Nestor and Ronaldo are interred together in Forest Lake Memorial Park (formerly Divine Shepherd Memorial Gardens) in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City.

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A German Expat in The Philippines | WITH BEETHOVEN UNDER PALMS (XX) | Chapter XX: We all pack our things! Goodbye Germany!

June 23, 2021

History

By: Klaus Döring, It did not last long. Rossana agreed. We set up an appointment with the then Philippine Vice Consul Armando L. Comia in the Philippine Embassy Berlin. He looked amazed at us  - at me specially. We could get on very  personally through many events in the Filipino Community in Berlin. Then his secretary gave us a list. 18 requirements on how to apply for a Non-Quota-Visa Section 13 (G) of the Philippine Immigration Act.  Yes, my decision was firm. I wanted to immigrate to the Philippines with my wife and, of course, with my mother too, forever. Eighteen requirements - I took a deep breath. Rossana too. My mother, well, several months later, too. Fact is, our subsequent stays in the Philippines made her feel very much at home. Rossana's family had no doubt that sooner or later, we would settle here in the Philippines. Me too. Rossana too. Our coming and numerous trips to the Philippines each together with my mother followed. Meanwhile she became 73. "You don't transplant an old tree!" Many of our old acquaintances and friends in the place where I was born tried to intervene against our plan. "Where else do I have family?" my mother asked. Back in Berlin, we went on many trips. Poland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland. I was a really passionate driver without speed limit on German highways (Autobahn). Sometimes, my car and I reached 200 kilometers per hour. But my thoughts stayed in the Philippines. A never-ending journey of my  mind. In Germany, Rossana and I had a steady and well-paid job. My mother was already a lucky retiree.  The construction work for our new house in the Philippines has begun. Who lives where? Where is my bathroom? Where is the kitchen? How does our furniture fit where? Ask about questions?  In the meantime, Rossana and I tried to answer all the questions the Philippine Embassy Berlin gave us for the emigration. I tried to capture more and more reports on camera about the Philippines for Germany, But somehow, I already lived here. On October 30, 1998 our non-quota visa was issued and signed by Vice Consul Armando L. Comia. Our households were packed in two containers. A 40-foot and a 20-foot container. Christa, our special friend, gave us shelter in her apartment for the last few days. Meanwhile, she worked at the Australian Embassy.  Goodbye Germany. We left a lot behind. No mention of any details. Many things awaited us. Good and bad, But my life as an expat in the Philippines started now. Ludwig van Beethoven was with me. And some others too. Should my trip around the world come to an end? Maybe. But with which amazing consequences? (To be continued)

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UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery celebrates 150 Years

June 23, 2021

History

By: , Last May 28 and 29, 2021, all roads led to the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (UST FMS) sesquicentennial celebration. The inaugural ceremonies took place on the 28th of May at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. Beginning with a eucharistic celebration presided over by Very Reverend  Fr. Richard Ang, OP, Rector Magnificus of the university,  the sesquicentennial year for the UST FMS was officially declared and upcoming activities for the celebration announced. Thomasian physicians from near and far attended the occasion. To enable those who could not be present to still see the inaugural ceremonies, the event was livestreamed on the UST FMS page. Health Secretary Francisco Duque, himself a Thomasian physician, keynoted the event. He reminisced about his life as a UST medical student and called on more Thomasian physicians to enter government service.   The day’s high point was the unveiling of the marker to be placed at the entrance of the San Martin de Porres Building where the FMS is housed. The marker highlights the beginnings of FMS as the Facultad de Medicina y Cirugia, which was originally located in Intramuros beginning in 1871, and FMS’s adherence to its Christian mandate and principles.  Very Reverend Richard Ang, OP, the Regent of FMS Fr. Angel Aparicio, OP, Dean Ma. Lourdes D. Maglinao, and Secretary Duque graced the unveiling. Very Reverend Fr. Francisco Timoner III, OP, Master of the Order of Preachers based in the Vatican, also delivered a message at the ceremony. The following day, a second sesquicentennial marker at the Plaza Santo Tomas in Intramuros, original site of the UST FMS  was officially unveiled. In attendance were Manila’s two highest officials, Mayor Francisco  Moreno Domagoso and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, as well as Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo. Also present were UST’s Fr. Angel Aparicio, FMS  Dean Ma. Lourdes D. Maglinao, FMS Assistant Dean Remedios Chan, and other Thomasian physicians. Both events brought much inspiration to the UST physician graduates and to their Dominican mentors, not only in celebrating the past and giving thanks for what was, but also looking forward to the next 150 years of UST FMS.

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