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    Xavier JHS student victors BFAR-10  vlog-making contest

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–A 15-year-old junior high school student from Xavier University High School won the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Region (BFAR)-10’s vlog-making contest in fish and marine conservation, which concluded, Septembet 30, during the bureau’s culmination of civil service month.

    Jeremy Barraquias, a grade 10 junior high school student, overshadowed three other vlog entries produced by students from different schools within the region with his “pun-filled” vlog.

    Jeremy creatively staunched the theme of the 59th Fish Conservation (FishCon) Week, “Pagkain ng Bansa Siguruhin, Likas-Kayang Produksyon ng Isda Isulong Natin!” and garnered a whopping cash prize worth P5,000.

    The green screen technique in video editing allowed him to design virtual backgrounds conveniently instead of personally going to specific locations, which gave him the edge in clearly rendering his audio and video presentation.

    “Layunin ng vlog na ito ay makapagbigay impormasyon sa kahalagahan ng produksyon ng isda sa ating bansa na siyang pinapahiwatig rin ang mga malalansang suliranin na tinatamasa ng produksyon nito at ng mga mangingisda,” elaborated the winner.

    (This vlog aims to inform people about the importance of our country’s fish production that’s been experiencing stenchy challenges in its yield and the fisherfolk)

    “Nawa’y ang vlog ko at vlogs ng aking mga kalahok ay magbibigay kaalaman, mensahe at inisyatibo upang ating pahalagahan ang sang-kaisdaan at ng mga mangingisda,” he added.

    (Wishing my vlog, as well as the vlogs of my opponents, will give knowledge, and insight to bring forth initiatives in valuing our fisheries and fisherfolks)

    Meanwhile, BFAR-10 Regional Director Teodoro Bacolod, Jr., expressed his appreciation for the immense effort the contestants put forth to make quality, innovative vlogs with the minimum budget and equipment.

    This day in age, technology and social media play a paramount role in information dissemination, especially when you want the younger generation to understand and inculcate the value of hard work in our field. So, thank you (participants) for sharing your time and energy for this advocacy,” said Bacolod.

    Moreover, 20-year-old James Vincent Abao from the Camiguin Polytechnic State College bagged second place with a P3,000 prize, and 21-year-old Jay Abcede from the Lourdes College, Incorporated earned the last spot with a cash prize worth P2,000. (BFAR-10/PIA-10)

    This Week in World War II History: Angeles L. Limena, Soldier-Priest

    Angeles Labrador Limena was born October 2, 1899 in Sorsogon, Sorsogon. He was christened Angeles by his parents since his birth date fell on the Feast of the Catholic festival of the Guardian Angels.

    He went to study in Sorsogon to be a priest, but before he was ordained he left to join the armed forces in Manila where he was accepted into the Philippine Constabulary.
    Limena was assigned to the School for Reserve Commission in Camp Keithley, Lanao (now the Philippine Army Officer Candidate School at Camp O’Donnel, Capas, Tarlac) where the American camp commander noticed his all around abilities and sent him for formal military training to the Philippine Constabulary Academy at Camp Henry T. Allen, which eventually became the Philippine Military Academy in 1936.
    However, before he was assigned to Baguio, Limena met and married Mary Figuro Kelley while he was at Camp Keithley. Mary was the daughter of Marion Lee Kelley from Grand Rapids, Michigan, a US Army veteran who fought in Cuba during Spanish-American War, and came to the Philippines to help educate the Filipinos.
    When World War II broke out, Limena was assigned as the Provincial Commander of  Camp 1Lt Vicente Garcia Alagar, Cagayan de Misamis, Misamis Oriental. 
    On May 9, 1942, Major General William F. Sharp, commander of the USAFFE Mindanao Force, on orders of Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright from Corregidor, ordered all American and Filipino soldiers under his command to surrender to the Japanese.
    Limena surrendered Camp Alagar to the Kawamura Detachment on May 10, 1942, and he and all his men were forced to walk from Cagayan to Camp Casisang, in Malaybalay Bukidnon, previously a training ground for the Philippine Constabulary.
    Another Death March?
    Although Google maps says it usually takes a one hour and 54 minute ride to negotiate its 93 kilometers, the old Sayre Highway which the marchers took was a much longer route, and definitely as long as, if not more brutal than the Bataan Death March.
    It has an all uphill stretch at Carmen Hill in Upper Puerto and a particularly difficult stretch through the Mangima Canyon where it dips down gorges and up cliffs as deep and high as 420 meters. Older folks from Malayabalay used to say it took them around 5-6 hours to travel to Cagayan by motor vehicle over the old route!
    However, even before the Japanese evacuated all POWs from Camp Casisang on August and October 1942, Limena managed to escape, walking towards Misamis Oriental, avoiding Japanese soldiers, crossing rivers, forests and mountains. He reached Alubijid where he meet few of his trusted soldiers guarding his family.
    Guerrillas Organized
    On September 22, 1942, Limena organized the Western Misamis Oriental Sector Guerrilla at Manticao, Misamis Oriental, around the core group of Ramon Legazpi, Sr. They covered the province from Lugait, Misamis Oriental to Ugyaban river, Cagayan.
    Unsurrendered soldiers from the USAFFE, Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Army and Philippine Scouts comprised the fighting core, while fishermen, farmers, students from surrounding barrios also volunteered to serve as civilian volunteers.
    Among the ranking officers who reported to Major Limena upon the creation of his guerrilla were Major Juan Taduran, Capt. Laureto Talaroc, Capt. Carlos Subang, Capt. Porferio Pakingan, Capt. Ricardo Abellanosa, Capt. Magno, Capt. Vicente Austria, and Capt. Antonio Ognir.
    Major Juan Taduran, a Bicolano, inducted the new officers-Lt. Ramon Legaspi Sr., Lt. Salvador Legaspi, Lt. Paterno Padua, Lt. Elson Lagrosas, Lt. Paterno Lagrosas, Lt. Elegio Pacana, Lt. Jose Carlos, Lt. Alfonso Dadole, Lt. Ben Johnson Ratunil, Lt. Gang Wilkomm, Lt. George Wilkomm, Lt. Jose Gabe, Lt. Eutiquio Madriaga, Lt. Amado Ravidas, Lt. Monico Chaves, Lt. Herculano Babatido, Lt. Edipalo Lagrosas, Lt. Jesus Juario, Lt. Romeo Villaraza, and Lt. Elpedio Lagrosas.
    On November 28, 1942, Limena was designated Regimental Commander of the 109th Infantry Regiment. 109th Division by Col. Wendell W. Fertig.
    His assigned officers and their designated area of responsibility included Lt. (later Maj.) Fidencio Laplap’s 1st Battalion, covering Lumbia District to El Salvador, Cagayan; Capt. Carlos Subang’s 2nd Battalion, covering Alubijid to Initao, Misamis Oriental; and Capt. Vicente Austria’s 3rd Battalion, covering Naawan, Initao to Lugait, Misamis Oriental. 
    Perhaps it was only fitting that Limena returned to his Creator on April 9, 1976, appropriately enough, the 34th Anniversary of the  Araw ng Kagitingan.

    Melvin Lachica Opening Doors to the Future for Oro’s Designers

    “Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    “I live for opening doors for the young generation of creators. If we do nothing else with our success, let’s open up some doors.”- L.A. Reid

    2009 Philippine Fashion Week
    The world of Haute Couture by its very nature, has often been marked by creativity at the highest level, and cut-throat competition among the world’s leading designers constantly striving to outdo each other with their high quality, expensive, unusual fabrics sewn with extreme attention to detail, crafted by a team of most-skilled artisans and craftsmen.
    In fact, for any collection to carry the label, French law mandates the designs should be made-to-order for private clients, have an atelier (workshop) in Paris that employs 20 full-time staff members and at least 20 full-time technical people; and present a collection of at least 25 original designs twice a year (January & July) at the Paris Couture Week.
    While its true Pilipino couturiers do not have to comply with such lofty standards, still, it’s indeed rare to find, even among local designers in the regions, someone who generously shares the “tricks of the trade” to younger designers, opening doors not only for local talents, but even going beyond by inspiring and mentoring them to become the best version of themselves. 
    Even while he was still in high school, Melvin Lachica was already fascinated with drawing and inclined to fashion designing.
    “I was into arts even at a young age, and most of what are learned I learned by self-study. The way to success was smooth,” Melvin recalls.
    Although he passed the entrance exams to UST for Fine Arts, his parents couldn’t afford it, so he took up nursing instead, passed the 1990 nursing board exam, and worked as an ICU nurse in Davao for 2 years.
    But he did not give up his dream. While working the night shift (11pm-7am), he worked as a house designer for C. Pablos (1-5PM), and slept in the morning.
    “Anything’s possible when you are young and driven by your dreams,” he recalls.
    In 1995, was given the chance be the house designer of Marilou Venadas’ LOUISSE, a high-end couturier atelier based in Cagayan de Oro City.
    Mindanao Silk Coillection

    “Melvin and his good friend were recommended to me by one of the famous designers of Davao,” Marilou recalls. “I requested them to submit their designs and they were both good, but had different styles and concepts. The designs of Melvin caught more of my attention because it was so detailed and classic. Elegance was there!”

    Melvin Lachica (3rd from left) with colleagues from the Oro Fashion Designers Guild

    To gain more experience and exposure, Melvin decided to join fashion design competitions which were then very much in vogue during the 1990s.

    Aspiring for Excellence

    In his first competition, he was proclaimed Mindanaoan Designer of the Year and Grand Winner of Viva Etnika Fashiondayag ‘95 held at the Grand Ballroom of Pryce Plaza, Cagayan de Oro on August 26, 1995.

    He followed this up with a semi-final finish in MEGA Magazine’s Young Designers Competition 95 where his triangular-shaped dresses, tent blouses and party pants in hand painted jusí in contrasting black and white, the sole designer from Mindanao to so finish.

    Melvin Lachica’s Design 21 creation (2nd from r ight, second row, with his signature)

    After opening his own atelier Casa Lachica at San Agustin-Gaerlan streets in 1996, Melvin made the big leap to global prominence when he was selected by an international board as the Philippine representative for the second edition of the UNESCO Design 21 over the likes of Katrina Goulbourne and his schoolmate Cebu-based designer Julius “OJ” Hofer, who inspired him during his teens to get into the profession.

    Design 21, created by UNESCO and the Felissimo Corporation (Japan), is a social design network whose mission is to inspire social consciousness through design. The network connects young creators who want to explore ways in which fashion can positively impact communities.

    The second Design 21was organized with the support of Lectra Systems and Trevira, and held in conjunction with World Expo ’98 in Lisbon, Portugal.

    Melvin Lachica with his creation represented the Philippines in the 1998 Design 21 Competition held in Lisbon, Portugal.

    Participating countries were asked to select three young designers who were then be screened by an international jury designated by the director-general of Expo ’98.

    Melvin Lachica was one of the young designers featured during the 2002 launch of Fashion TV Philippines.

    Thirteen design entries from young Filipino designers were judged by a local preselection board which selected the three Philippine entries, headed by then Tourism Secretary Mina T. Gabor, with the late TV host Maurice Arcache, designer Ben Farrales, CITEM executive director Eli Pinto Mansor, model-turned-fashion entrepreneur Tina Maristela-Ocampo, and model-editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine Philippines Myrza Sison.

    Melvin’s design along with other selected entries from 140 country-participants at the World Expo in Portugal were presented on the May 22,1998 opening day, featured in a Fashion Show at the Anfiteatro na Doca on the Expo ’98 site in Lisbon on June 7, 1998, and exhibited until the end of September at Belem Cultural Center.

    In the following years, Melvin actively participated in the annual Philippine Fashion Week, and was one of the featured designers during the 2008 launch of Fashion TV Philippines. He also finished as a semi-finalist in another the search for the Philippine representative to the Air France Concours International Des Jeunes Createurs De Mode 2000.

    Looking back, Marilou Venadas of Louisse had two words to describe how she feels about selecting Melvin as her former house designer : “Perfect Choice!”

    Glory Days, Changing Trends

    After making a name for himself in the national and international design competitions, Melvin settled down to attend to his flourishing atelier which experienced its glory days during the 1990s, and moved to a bigger space at Capistrano street in 2000.

    But the new millennium brought the emergence of new trends which drastically changed the industry.

    Whereas local couturiers previously took charge of styling and dressing an entire bridal entourage, the emergence of gown rentals, good quality RTW imports from China, and wedding events planners changed all that.

    “Weddings and other social events used to account for 80-90% of our business, but when the new trends emerged, the share of that business dropped to only about 60%,” he noted.

    Since 2000, younger women have favored RTW from brand by designers like Goulbourne which were more affordable. Good quality party gowns from China typically cost only P1,800 vs. P10-12K charged by local couturiers for custom-fitted gowns with full embellishments, quality material and finishing. Also, wedding planners had their own favored suppliers which catered to most budgets.

    But Casa Lachica chose not follow those trends and maintained its Class A & B clients who appreciate good design and good taste.

    “It’s a constant challenge to the artist,” Melvin said, but says it’s the kind of challenge to their creativity that couturiers like himself like to meet.

    In 2015, the constantly rising overhead costs forced him to close his atelier on Capistrano street in downtown Cagayan de Oro and move it to his residence in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

    To adapt to the changing trends, they had to accommodate other businesses, such as making uniforms which was another challenge which constrained artistic creativity since it basically challenged them to fit the same design for different types of persons, and entailed engaging a bigger work force since contracts usually included also meticulous repairs and adjustments.

    Casa Lachica chose to focus on serving small offices and professional conventions for this niche, but even this market has been reduced due to trend towards RTW mass produced by Manila-based, large scale garment companies

    Opportunities, Threats

    But every cloud also has its silver lining, and the local couturier industry is no exception.

    Such is the emergence of fashion conscious chic males who follow the latest fashions, and affect wearing clothes that are elegant, hip, stylish, swanky, tony, and trendy.

    In fact, Melvin notes how orders for his line of men’s fashion generated the most response during the Mindanao Fashion Summit hosted by the Oro Fashion Designers Guild (OFDG) last August.

    “Young males are now more fashion conscious,” Melvin observes. “The K-Pop Wave also led to this trend that Filipino males identified with.”

    On the other side of the coin, the industry still faces an uphill struggle with the diminishing number of skilled workers such as sewers, embroiders, and beaders.

    Ideally, each shop used to maintain in-house workers. But now, production has shifted to sub-contracting, with cutters working from home, choosing their working hours, and setting their own rates.

    Even more alarming perhaps is the aging work force, with the younger generation seemingly uninterested to pursue the various trades of sewers, and most especially beaders and embroiders.

    Melvin believes OFDG needs to address the issue collectively to establish a manpower pool-tie up with TESDA for training a program specific to their members’ particular needs.

    Passing the Torch

    The door will be opened to those who are bold enough to knock.” – Tony A. Gaskins Jr.

    Through his performance in past design competitions, Melvin takes pride in how he opened doors for Kagay-anon designers to join national and international competitions and gain prestige for CDO as a Fashion City.

    He urges the younger generation of fashion designers to go into design competition. With his lofty finishes in design competitions here and abroad, he made CDO prominent and opened the doors for the younger wave of fashion designers who got invited based on Melvin’s showing in the fashion scene.

    He takes pride in how his “babies” like his former Casa Lachica apprentice Roel Rosal moved abroad later and has now established his own atelier in Binondo, Metro Manila; Shine J. Casiño, who finished first runner up in the Habi Kadayawan 2019 and now also has his own home-based atelier championing the Mindanao Look to the World, and Alan Yugo Sajulga, whom he encouraged to focus on, and is now one of the established Hair and Make-Up Artists of the city with Bella Donna Haute Couture.

    He encouraged them to compete in national and international design competitions to build up their names and experience, and all three are now also engaged as full time as Stylists.

    Despite having to look after his own business, Melvin says his door remains open and welcome for those who wish to learn and work for it.

    “People can open doors for you, but you… must walk through.”- John C. Maxwell

    Looking forward

    Although not in the same scale as the booming nineties, Casa Lachica has maintained its clientele in the A&B market, which is still expanding. As a home-based atelier, it does not have many walk-ins, but nevertheless gains new clients mostly through referrals by its original loyal clients.

    For the future, Melvin is encouraged by the prospects for Laguindingan Silk (formerly styled as Mindanao Silk) when his RTW collection got raves and quickly sold out at a national expo.

    He was among the first to champion Mindanao Silk when it was originally promoted by the Ayala Foundation and Ben Lego in 1999 but failed to take off. Now, the local silk industry has been revived by DTI and DOST, and he looks forward to promoting it at a US tour scheduled for October 2023 in Los Angeles, USA.

    Meantime, he continues to maintain his classic look, adapting his lines to new trends, but not necessarily changing his signature image.

    For instance, despite the industry’s current mania with silhouettes, he advises his clients to maintain their public image based on their status and career, and not to totally embrace new fashion trends, hook-line-and-sinker.

    “Client-Designer relationship is maintained by trust,” Melvin notes.

    “While a person’s silhouette is the first impression a garment exudes when it comes to catwalks and fashion walks, they are a vital part of your personal style—and you don’t have to live in Paris or wear Chanel to make deliberate fashion silhouette choices.”

    In fashion, your silhouette is the shape that your clothes make when they hang on your body. It is used to look at overall shape before jumping into the details of fabric, texture, etc. It helps in making decisions which part of the body needs to be emphasized and which part should be hidden, he adds.

    Trust indeed, is a vital part of a client-designer relationship in projecting the former’s image, and Melvin will continue to toe the line in their interest. And that, is what makes all the difference.

    Connell School to collaborate with Xavier Ateneo

    By Steven Constantine,
    Connell School of Nursing

    An agreement brings together the nursing schools of two prominent international Catholic, Jesuit universities

    Connell School lobby
    The Connell School of Nursing and Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan College of Nursing in the Philippines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formally brings together the nursing schools of two prominent international Catholic, Jesuit universities.
    The agreement is designed to support and facilitate collaboration between the nursing schools for academic and research engagement.
    The MOU was signed at the close of the last academic year by Barry Family/Goldman Sachs Endowed Professor in Nursing and Associate Dean for Research Christopher Lee and Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan President Mars P. Tan, S.J.
    Founded in 1933 and located in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, Xavier Ateneo enrolls more than 13,000 students, forming leaders of character for the needs of Mindanao, the Philippines, and Asia-Pacific.
    The XU College of Nursing continues to be among the best performing schools in the country, consistently topping the national board exams. It was recognized by the Commission on Higher Education in 1992 and graduated its first batch in 1993.  The first board takers immediately pinned a 100% passing rate in the Integrated Nurses Licensure Examination.
    The William F. Connell School of Nursing is the professional nursing school at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The Connell School of Nursing awards undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees, while offering a continuing education program for practitioners in the field.
    Founded in 1947, the Connell School of Nursing is a community of students, clinicians, educators, scientists, innovators, and leaders who are all passionate about the same thing: improving human health and building healthy communities. It has the top-ranked master’s nursing program in Massachusetts, over 85 clinical partners in the Greater Boston Area, and 34% of its students study aboard. All of its graduate students (100%) passed the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt in 2020, while 96% of its undergraduate students passed the NCLEX-RN on their first attempt in 2020.
    “We hope to learn from Boston College and share our best features and practices as well,” said Fr. Tan. “I am confident the collaboration will be fruitful for both institutions.”
    CSON faculty involved in the discussions say their Xavier Ateneo counterparts are interested in online teaching, expanding the use of nursing simulation, and developing a foundation for research, among other topics. Student and faculty exchanges have also been discussed.
    Connell School Associate Professor Corrine Jurgens will work on developing a research capacity series for Xavier Ateneo faculty that will include forming programs of research, ethical review of projects, and collaboration/guidance on publishing and dissemination.

    Once research interests are determined, she said, “we will be working on writing a state-of-the-science paper(s) for publication. These papers will assist in identification of gaps in knowledge and direction for future research.

    “I foresee [Connell School] research faculty outlining the evolution of their programs of research followed by development of research teams to build a collaborative international research relationship.” (with additional research by Mike Baños)

    Lanao Sur artisans get support
    to boost economic enterprise

                                                By Nef Luczon, 
                                         Philippine News     Agency  

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Lanao del Sur provincial tourism office has provided networking opportunities for local artisans to boost economic enterprise on homegrown craftsmanship.

    Kawyagan sa Marawi was held in 2017 at Ayala Centrio Mall.
    Speaking at the Meranaw Artisan Summit in Marawi City on September 27, Lanao del Sur 1st District Board Member Ringo Usman Gandamra said the works of local artisans not only represent the Meranaw’s rich culture, but also serve as an instrument to change how others perceive the community.
    “Artisan work should not be taken for granted - with the height of technology and Westernization, we must double efforts not just keeping our Meranaw culture from being forgotten but also thrive on how to reach our full potentials,” he said.
    The lawmaker said there is a need to invest in the local sector’s capacity to create handmade crafts as it can not only boost cultural diversity but also empower economic opportunities.
    The summit forms part of the first 100 days development agenda of Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr., which aims to ensure cross-sector collaboration and immersive educational experiences.
    The activity also hoped to provide a bridge between artisans, industry, and key players in the handwork economy, and also encourage Meranaw artisans to be registered and provide a platform exhibiting their craft.
    The summit includes three forums, with six panelists, engaging participants on matters of culture and creativity, while sharing experiences on how Meranaw artisans thrived in the competitive marketplace.
    Mohammad Pangandaman, representing the cooperative sector, said coops and local entrepreneurship are contributors to Lanao del Sur’s economic stability.
    He said having artisans form cooperatives can be a viable solution to solving socio-economic problems in the province. (PNA)
    Brassware & Inlaid Wood Chests from Kawyagan sa Marawi 2017
    Meranaw Dolls

    GIS maps salt farms and supply
    chain in Visayas and Mindanao

    By Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin,
    S&T Media Service

    Experts mapped out selected salt farms in Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental in the Visayas and Misamis Oriental and Zamboanga in Mindanao islands using the ArcGIS 10.5 software to track the country’s supply chain in the salt manufacturing industry as reference for future development.

    SALT FARMING. A salt farmer in San Lorenzo, Guimaras fills up pans for salt production. (IMT NEWS)
        The GIS maps will be useful references for devising salt production suitability maps that will tackle the land and water resources and infrastructure, enabling salt farming in the selected study sites. The geographic location of the supply chain actors’ visibility on GIS maps will be an effective support tool in determining their population as well as for tracking the geographic flow of salt during production, trading, and consumption.
    GIS or geographic information system is a system that is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data.  Where some portion of the data is spatial, thus data is in some way referenced to the locations on the earth.
    This was cited in a study published in 2021 on “GIS Mapping of Salt Farms and Salt Supply Chain Actors in the Visayas and Mindanao, Philippines,” conducted by the team of researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna, University of the Philippines in the Visayas, and Cavite State University.
    A total of 376 supply chain actors composed of 149 salt producers, 70 intermediaries, six institutional buyers, and 151 household consumers were interviewed for the collection of the salt production and marketing data
    “One of the industry’s biggest challenges is the changes in weather patterns due to climate change which adversely impact the production cycle. It does not help that salt remains excluded from the list of priority commodities of the government, plus the prominence of traditional methods of production, and low productivity of local farms,” as explained by Bartolome, et al., on the problems plaguing the industry.
    Worldwide, the Philippines ranked 28th among 91 countries in terms of the production of salt, which is surprising considering that the country is an archipelago and ranked 5th in the world (World Factbook) in terms of coastline length. In 2019, salt production reached 1,147.97 thousand metric tons (TMTs) with an average annual growth rate of 3.0%. China with 63,603.9 TMTs topped the global production of salt, followed by United States, India, Chile, and Australia.
    The practice of salt-making in the Philippines is dominated by the use of solar evaporation method. Salt production is carried out during the summer months, between November to April, when there is abundant sunlight and weather condition is favorable to allow the formation of salt crystals in especially built salt ponds. Out of the 149 salt farms studied, only one farm produced salt using the cooking method while the rest of the producers employed the solar evaporation technique.
    Over 51 percent of the 1,628,352.00 kgs of salt produced in 2018 was accounted for as Class A from the Visayas and Mindanao.
    Class A salt is characterized by the whitest crystals among the three salt classifications and is commonly used for home consumption.  Most salt producers in the Visayas can be found in the provinces of Negros Occidental and Guimaras. In the Mindanao region, salt farms are mostly situated in Misamis Oriental.
    The mapped salt supply chain participants consisted of farmers, traders and consumers. Market intermediaries or traders refer to the market players who perform one or a combination of practices involved in salt marketing. These intermediaries usually control the prices of salt depending on the practices that they perform during value-addition. They can be classified into four categories, and in the Visayas and Mindanao among those surveyed, the retailers were found to be the highest in terms of number (42.9%), followed by wholesaler-retailer (25.7%), assembler-wholesaler (22.9%), and wholesalers (8.6%).
    The “viajeros” or assembler-wholesaler were traced in Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Misamis Oriental. These viajeros directly purchase salt from the salt producers for transporting to the market center where they are distributed to other intermediaries or directly sold to institutional buyers. With the implementation of Republic Act No. 8172 (ASIN Law), the assembler-wholesalers perform the iodization of salt before packaging if they will distribute the salt to other provinces.
    In their recommendation, the team of researchers suggest that to increase the accuracy of the GIS maps, the exact GPS coordinates of each supply chain actor must also be obtained. They also proposed an open-access salt-mapping system for government entities and other interested parties that will greatly help in updating and validating the information on the GIS maps.
    Salt is an important mineral. The bulk of salt produced worldwide goes to the industry for the manufacture of heavy chemicals, ceramics, glasses, textiles, and metals. It is also an extremely essential compound for proper nutrition and function of the human body by helping maintain internal balance, normal physiological activities, and addressing medical concerns like sore throat, toothaches, and digestion problems via intake of saline solutions.

    In another front, the use of GIS technology, not only benefits the salt industry but also addresses concerns like disaster management. In fact, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has the Remote Sensing and Data Science (DATOS) Help Desk that aims to produce and communicate relevant disaster information to agencies and key end-users to complement the current efforts of existing government agencies and initiatives. DATOS builds on and integrates past and ongoing DOST-supported projects; and different Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and other Data Science techniques. GIS also has beneficial applications in areas of health, environment protection, and agriculture, among others.

    Historical Trails aims to boost awareness,
    domestic tourism in Northern Mindanao

    History isn’t always top of mind for domestic tourists, that many even remain unaware of the historicity of places in their localities. But that may soon change, at least in Northern Mindanao.

    Remains of the Moro Watch Tower at Punta Sulawan, Laguindingan.
    The Northern Mindanao Historical Trails Committee is now taking an inventory of historical places in Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental, to set up historical markers highlighting their significance in local history, and to improve access to these places with improved road networks.
     “We are doing this for the benefit of our people in these areas, that they may be aware of the historicity of these places, and share their stories with the younger generations,” said Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez, (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro) whose office is coordinating the heritage conservation project.
    To start, the committee has identified some 17 places in Cagayan de Oro, five towns in West Misamis Oriental, six in East Misamis Oriental, and five locations in Camiguin with historical sites which have the potential for further development.
    Areas where these historical places are clustered may receive first priority since they require minimum intervention to be  developed further.
    Committee Chair, Agnes Paulita “Nanette” Roa, a Cagayan de Oro historian and archaeologist, said foremost among these is the Old Poblacion of Cagayan de Misamis (the former name of Cagayan de Oro) where the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral and Convent, Old Water Tower (City Museum), Gaston Park, Executive House (Casa Real), Duaw Park, Ysalina Bridge, Club Popular, Casa del Chino Ygua and Plaza Divisoria are all within walking distance of each other.
    Still another is the Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) Heritage Zone where eight historical buildings will be formally honored with a plaque from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). Xavier Ateneo is the first Jesuit University in the Philippines, as well as the first in Mindanao. It was also used by the Japanese Imperial Army as a detention center for suspected guerrillas during World War II and were completely destroyed by two bombing raids conducted by seven B-24 Liberators of the 22nd Bomb Group on October 21, 1944 and 12 B-24s of the 43rd Bomb Group in October 22, 1944.

    In Laguindingan Municipality, Western Municipality can be found the Spanish-era Cotta sa Punta Sulawan (Old Moro Watch Tower); the guerrilla headquarters of the 109th Infantry Regiment during World War II in Barangay Lapad; the landing site at Barangay Moog of arms, ammunition, medicines and supplies unloaded by Pilipino guerrillas of the same unit from the US Navy submarine USS Narwhal on December 5, 1943, which also embarked two men, three women, and four children of the De Vries family.

    Pastor Ilogon’s Sugar Mill at Lapad, Laguindingan. served as a command post for Maj. Angeles Limena (Ilogon Family Archives)

    More significant perhaps, is the 2010 excavation site in a river in Barangay Sinai which yielded the fossilized bones of a Stegodon, considered to be a sister group of elephants and mammoths, which lived from 11.6 million years ago (mya) to the late Pleistocene, and found in Asia and Africa, when it was more prevalent than the Asian elephants. Stegodon may be derived from Stegolophodon, an extinct genus known from the Miocene of Asia.

    An exhibit of the fossilized bones which were identified and classified by the late archeologist and anthropologist Erlinda M. Burton can be found in the XU Museo de Oro, said Oscar Floirendo, acting curator.

    The Congressional Office of Rep. Rodriguez is already coordinating with the Department of Tourism (DOT), for inclusion of the identified sites under DPWH’s “Convergence Program for Enhancing Tourism Access” to facilitate efficient and more coordinated efforts to identify, evaluate, prioritize and implement “technically-correct and politically-participative” road access projects leading to tourist destinations.

    This Annual Tourism Road Infrastructure Program aims to identify, evaluate, prioritize and implement the tourism road infrastructure in priority tourism clusters, development areas in the country in support of the goals and targets of the National Tourism Development Plan and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

    Inauguration of the Puente del Heneral Blanco (Ysalina Bridge) on 26 August 1931. (1)

    The road tourism projects included local roads under the jurisdiction of the local governments. These roads will remain as local roads and the DPWH only asked to be given the road right of way. These local roads, which serve as entry and exit points of tourist destinations, will be paved and upgraded to national road standards.

    What remained of the Ateneo de Cagayan after the American bombings 21 Octo 1944. Photo from Xavier University Museo de Oro.

    MisOr Provincial Tourism Council holds first Quarterly Meeting

    MISAMIS ORIENTAL (PIA)–In line with the Provincial Government of Misamis Oriental’s (PGMO) direction of goal oriental tourism under Governor Peter Unabia’s PAGLAUM program, the Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) held its first-ever quarterly meeting to formulate policies towards the development of the province’s tourism industry and map out its campaign through a unified approach, September 27.

    Provincial Tourism Officer Jeffrey C. Saclot said the council aims to raise revenues through the development of tourist sites and operation of the province and continue promotional efforts with the end goal of attracting tourists and investors which would provide employment for Misamisons.

    Composed of public and private stakeholders, the council would provide technical assistance and capacity building for tourism-related activities and extend financial support in the form of financial loans with very minimal interest to community-based organizations, especially cooperatives engaged in tourism-related businesses and activities.

    “There is so much to do in our tourism industry, Misamis Oriental is a gold mine, we have the power to make it shine, daghan ta trabahoon (we have so much work to do) for our tourism business, this is what this council is about,” PTC Chairperson Erlinda Unabia said. (VPSB/PIA-10/Misamis Oriental)

    CDO urban drainage update as of September 2022

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Out of the 39,406.71 lineal meters (l.m.) total drainage project length, 28,556.74 l.m. have already been funded, which comprised 72.26% of the CDO Urban Drainage Masterplan, as of September 2022.

    Ongoing construction of drainage system along Villarin-Lirio-Gemelina Street, Barangay Carmen is at 18.69% accomplishment as of September 15, 2022.

    Since its initial release in the year 2015, the total budget released as of CY 2022 is P4.11 billion – 59.40% of the total project cost. A total of P1.40 billion was released for the Sapang Catchment, P821.34 million for Carmen Catchment and P1.89 billion for Bitan-ag and Kolambog Catchments.

    To date, 30 project contracts were already completed, 7 are ongoing, 11 were suspended, and 2 were terminated. The terminated projects were due to unresolved RROW issues wherein only 76 Informal Settler Families (ISFs) were relocated out of the 276 identified along the Bitan-ag to Kolambog Creek project alignment. Some permanent structures were also left uncleared. The 11 suspended projects were due to absence of traffic clearance from the city government, pending settlement of RROW concerns, and revision of plans.

    Ongoing construction of drainage system/diversion channel/cross drains along Kauswagan-Bayabas Road (NHA Section) is at 41.15% accomplishment as of September 15, 2022.

    DPWH-10 receives partial budget releases per year intended for the completion of drainage projects, however, due to unresolved right-of-way (ROW) issues in project locations which impede project implementation, some funds were reverted. Relocation of project-affected families were coordinated with the city government. Once resolved and project alignment is cleared, implementation of drainage projects will be in full swing. (DPWH-10/PIA-10)

    RDC-10 MacroCom seeks BSP policy review on lowering interbank fees

    CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–The Northern Mindanao Regional Development Council (RDC)-10 Macro and Development Administration Committee (MacroCom) recommended for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to study the possible lowering of interbank transaction fees, particularly from bank accounts to mobile wallet applications like GCash and Maya.

    This is after the BSP sought the RDC-10’s support for the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) 2022-2028 during the MacroCom’s meeting on 20 September 2022.

    Financial inclusion remains a challenge in the country as many Filipinos still do not have access to formal financial institutions like banks. The NSFI aims to bring more Filipinos into the formal financial system.

    During the meeting, the BSP noted the significant increase of Filipinos opening accounts in GCash and Maya, and the subsequent increase in online transactions in 2021.

    Due to this improved online banking access and adoption, the Committee requested the BSP to consider lowering interbank transaction fees in the NSFI.

    Rogelio Neil P. Roque, MacroCom chairperson and Bukidnon Provincial governor, said instead of leaving the pricing of online transactions to the market, the government may explore caps on fees charged by banks to make online banking affordable, especially among poor Filipinos. He also called for improved internet connectivity to further promote the digital economy and not just online banking.

    The BSP will consider the recommendation of Gov. Roque and look into related concerns raised during the meeting such as the onerous requirements in opening bank accounts, and the high maintaining balance required for bank accounts especially those owned by children or full-time adult students with no income.

    The NSFI 2022-2028 will be presented during the 131st RDC-X Meeting on 26 September 2022 for the Council’s support and adoption. (NEDA-10/PIA-10)