5-hour fire razes public market in Sorsogon town

NAGA CITY–A five-hour fire that started at  9:30 p.m. Sunday burned down the whole public market in Gubat town in Sorsogon, affecting at least 150 stall holders and establishments.

Gubat Mayor Roderick Co said by phone that the fire, which started in a carinderia (eatery) for still unknown reason, spread so fast that the lone fire truck in the town with 4,000 liters of water was not able to contain it.

Co said he asked help from fire fighters in the neighboring Barangay (village) Abuyog of Sorsogon City and Pilar town but they were not able to control the fire until past 2 a.m. Monday.

Original article is published at Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 23, 2014.
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Feature: People behind the scenes that make UNWTO ASEAN Summit a success

LEGAZPI CITY, May 26 (PIA) – They made the recent United Nations World Tourism

Organization (UNWTO) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) International Conference on Tourism and Climate Change a success but they did not make it to the headlines.

At least 250 and probably more manpower served as the summit’s protocol officers, ushers/usherettes, tour guides, drivers, chorale members, dancers, members of the secretariat, emergency response and medical teams and media center staff who worked day and night prior, during and even after the weeklong international event that commenced on May 15 and ended on May 20 that happened for the first time in Albay and in the entire Bicol Region.

Roxanne Joy Jesalva, a 21 year-old business administration student of Bicol University, is one of them who served as usherette .

“I was assigned at the Legazpi City Airport to welcome and guide guests,” Jesalva said.

Jesalva belongs to the Albay Pageant Academy, a local institution that trains future beauty titlists supported by Albay Governor Joey Salceda. She is a local beauty queen who won many titles such as Miss Sosogon 2010 (Sorsogon City’s festival), Mutya ng Magayon 2011 (Albay’s festival), Miss Bicolandia 2011(Peñafrancia Festival), and Mutya ng Ibalong 1st Runner Up 2013 (Legazpi City’s festival).

“Being part of the academy and a title holder, I was among the 20 ladies and 10 gentlemen handpicked for the event,” Jesalva revealed.

Ashley Himor is a member of the Bicol University (BU) and Albay Magayon Dancers of the provincial government Albay who entertained guests with different genres of dances upon their arrival and during parties of the weeklong event.

Prior to the UNWTO ASEAN preparations, the group was already on their toes the previous month with the month-long celebration of Albay’s Magayon Festival in April this year.

Greg Naz meanwhile was behind the wheel transporting representatives from different media organizations.

“I belong to a transport service company accredited and tapped by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to provide vehicles and drivers for the event,” Naz said.

Jesalva, Himor and Naz all affirmed that the trainings conducted by the DOT prior to the international event boost their confidence in dealing both international visitors and VIPs.

In accomplishing her tasks, Jesalva followed this simple mantra: Be patient, act professionally at all times and smile always.

Himor also learned that being hospitable, warm and kind is necessary for her task as dancer.

“Having all these I believe we could attract more tourist come and visit Bicol most especially Albay. The character of every people here is the best thing that we can be proud of,” Himor added.

“I have met different people with different personalities and culture and I need a lot of patience and flexibility in dealing with them,” Naz said.

Being part of the ground staff had some perks though, and “my most memorable experience was when I saw President Aquino face to face, not everybody is given the opportunity to see the President in person,” Jesalva smiled.

Himor candidly admitted that she really enjoyed all the activities of the UNWTO, “but the most memorable for me was the Retro Party when I played the role of Marilyn Monroe who was a very popular international movie icon.”

“I had the chance to meet media personalities that I only listen on radio and see on TV,” Naz revealed.

Bob Gigantone, DOT project coordinator for UNWTO ASEAN events revealed that DOT lined up trainings that they required for the working groups such as effective customers service, tour guiding techniques, food and beverage training, social graces, protocol Training and personality development, among others.

“We invited experts on the specified areas among them Ambassador Fortunato Oblena for Social Graces and Protocol,” Gigantone said.

Gigantone admitted that the selection process of personnel for different groups was tedious and meticulous, wherein a selection committee from the provincial government and DOT was formed to scout people based on international standards required and specified by the UNWTO-ASEAN organizers.

In a letter sent by UNWTO Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific Director Xu Jing to DOT Assistant Secretary Rolando Cañizal a month prior to the event, he specified the requirements for reception of participants, transportation, ground arrangements for registrations, invitations, recording of proceedings of the meeting, venue arrangements, ushering and a lot more.

“It is therefore essential that the staff deployed should be enthusiastic, motivated, responsible, patient and responsive to the participants’ needs,” Xu wrote Cañizal.

Gigantone meanwhile said thae greatest challenges that he encountered were during the lobbying for approval of plans, converging and synchronizing specific tasks, and responsibilities of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF) which was created by Governor Salceda through Executive Order No. 6 last March 14 to manage and supervise all tasks and activities related to the hosting of the said conferences and meetings.

“We did some trouble shooting outside the master plan, when some unexpected events happened,” Gigantone admitted.

Gigantone was thankful for the persons he encountered especially those who gave him encouragement to fulfill his tasks.

“They kept me going, reminded me to be strong and never be afraid to start over and rebuild things or do better the way people want it to be,” he said.

“I salute DOT Bicol regional director Maria Ravanilla for her strong leadership and management style and for giving me the opportunity to handle this event, and most especially to the competent leadership of Governor Salceda” Gigantone added.

Ravanilla expressed her gratitude to the provincial government of Albay, the member committees of the JIATF, and all those who provided their support for the success of the UNWTO ASEAN international meetings and conferences.

“This will not be successful without your support and help. We look forward for our unending support for one another in our future endeavors,” Ravanilla said in an official statement.

Salceda also confirmed through the social media that the UNWTO ASEAN top officials and delegates especially Xu were so impressed with Albay’s hosting and staging of the weeklong event.

For the meantime, Governor Salceda and the province of Albay are looking forward to its next international hosting, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference in 2015. (MAL/JJP-PIA5)
– See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/index.php?article=2591401092795#sthash.TNcNayvd.dpuf

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Archbishop to ordain four priests

Image via the Catholic Sentinal

Alexander Sample. Those being ordained are Revs. Mr. Francisco Bringuela, Jr., Moises Leal Gonzalez, Martin Tavares Hernandez, and Julio Cesar Torres Montejo.

Four men will be ordained priests at 4 p.m., Friday, June 6 at St. Mary Cathedral by Archbishop

Rev. Mr. Bringuela Jr. was born in 1983 in Irosin, Sorsogon, Philippines. He attended schools in Sorsogon City, graduating high school in 2000. He attended Christ the King Mission Seminary, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2004. He studied theology at Divine Word School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines. He worked in campus ministry for a year at Divine Word College in Legazpi, Philippines. He entered Mount Angel Seminary, where he completed a master of divinity degree in 2014.

His ministry includes a pastoral year at the Madeleine, Portland; St. Alice, Springfield and Queen of Peace Parish, Salem. He was ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Sample in 2013 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Rev. Mr. Gonzalez was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1973. He attended elementary and secondary school in Jalisco, graduating secondary school in 1989. He received a degree in philosophy in 2006. He earned a master of divinity degree from Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., in 2014.

Rev. Mr. Gonzalez’ ministry has included assignments at St. Mary Parish, Corvallis, St. Alice Parish, Springfield, a summer at St. Pius Parish, Portland, St. Paul Parish, Silverton, a summer at Sacred Heart Parish, Medford, St. Luke Parish, Woodburn, St. John Parish, Yamhill, and San Martin de Porres Mission, Dayton.

He has also served at St. Adalbert Parish and San Rafael Archangel Parish both in Milwaukee, Wis. Rev. Mr. Gonzalez was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Sample in 2013.

Rev. Mr. Tavares was born in 1967 in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico. He attended elementary and secondary school in Guadalajara, Jalisco graduating high school in 1989. He studied at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2002. He earned a master of divinity degree from Mount Angel Seminary in 2014. He was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Sample in 2013 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Rev. Mr. Tavares’ ministry training has included assignments at St. Alexander Parish, Cornelius, a pastoral year at St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Astoria and Clinical Pastoral Training at the University of California Davis in 2012.

Rev. Mr. Montejo was born in Cardenas, Tabasco, Mexico in 1982.

He attended elementary and secondary schools in Aqua Dulce, Veracruz, Mexico, graduating high school in 2000. He studied at the Major Seminary of Mary Immaculate earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2004 and a bachelor’s degree in theology in 2007. He earned a master of divinity from the Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., in 2014. He was ordained a deacon by Archbishop Sample in 2013.

His ministry training includes a pastoral year at St. John the Apostle Parish in Oregon City.
Parish assignments for the four priests will be announced in June.


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Go Sorsogon!

Naugma man ako na an Sorsogon palan an saro sa may mga bago na sistema sa pagkolekta sin buwis si bilog na Pilipinas. Maurag talaga!

Image via Rappler.com

Read more: BIR shames cities for low property tax collection

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Over .5 M voters from QC, Davao face deactivation

MANILA, Philippines – Over half a million voters from Quezon City and Davao City with no biometrics data might not be able to cast their votes in the 2016 presidential elections.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Grace Padaca said that Davao and Quezon cities have the most number of registered voters without the required biometrics.

Padaca said Davao City has more than 300,000 registered voters without biometrics registration or with incomplete biometrics.

After Davao City, Padaca said, Quezon City has 269,675, the second largest number of voters without biometrics.

Others cities with big numbers of voters without biometrics are Zamboanga City with 206,213; Caloocan City with 113,208; Bacoor, Cavite with 95,621; Batangas City with 69,378; Binangonan, Rizal with 66,907; Cabanatuan City with 65,673; Taguig City with 62,683; and Cotabato City with 62,016.

Based on Comelec data, there are 9,301,386 voters without biometrics data registration.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

But Padaca said that Pangasinan had the highest turnout of voters that had their biometrics taken in the first four weeks of the registration period with 12,651.

Other provinces with high number of voters with biometrics are Quezon with 9,647; Batangas with 7,065; Isabela with 6,944; Sorsogon with 5,857; Leyte with 5,736; Samar (Western) with 5,658; Negros Occidental with 5,298; Cavite with 4,737; and Negros Oriental with 4,667.

The commission stressed that each voter must secure biometrics data before they can vote in the 2016 elections.

“Those who do not have biometrics data cannot vote in 2016, even if you have already voted in previous elections,” Padaca said in a previous interview.

Republic Act 10367 or the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act of 2013 provides that voters who fail to have their biometrics taken prior to the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and not be allowed to vote.

Biometrics data refer to the automated identification of an individual, particularly his/her photograph, fingerprint and signature.

The Comelec has provided an online system to enable registered voters nationwide to check if they have their biometrics in the Comelec list.

Voters  can log  on  to  http://www.comelec.gov.ph/?r=VoterRegistration/NoIncompleteBio.

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Baluko Chowder, Anyone?

Golden Bridge, San Francisco.

San Francisco always reminds me of their $5 cup of clam chowder. At first, it may sound expensive, but it was all worth it. Kay pan-o talagang may clams! Lain pareho didi sa kingdom of Manila na puro lang sabaw o patatas.

And this is where I got the idea of trying out Baluko as a replacement.


Baluko Chowder, Pinoy style. The bread that goes with it is Pan de Legazpi straight from Sorsogon.

I took the recipe from allrecipes.com.

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Kinilaw na Tinga San Baluko

During my family’s last visit to Sorsogon, I brought a kilo of tinga sin baluko. My uncle, who is a great cook, suggested to try kinilaw na tinga sin baluko. He mentioned that it just takes vinegar, chopped ginger, onions and garlic.

So I decided to try just that.

1. Combine the tinga with the vinegar and mix well. Add some salt.
2. Leave it for 20min (mine I left it in the ref).
3. Mix with chopped onions and ginger and minced garlic.

Finally, I served it with a cool bottle of Cerveza Negra.

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