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Tag Archives: #IloiloCity

Dinagyang’s New York trip on despite visa problems

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”
— Zig ZiglarBy Alex P. Vidal
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NEW YORK CITY
 — The participation of a tribe from Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival in the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade here on June 3 was nearly canceled after tribe members encountered visa problems in the US Embassy in Manila.
This was revealed by Joji Juele-Jalandoni, former president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), who called up this writer morning May 26 to convey the message that “everything is set and ready after the problem has been resolved.”
Jalandoni, from Victorias Milling Company in Negros Occidental, said if the problem was not fixed on time, only the nine-day “Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum” from June 1 to June 9 would be held without the Dinagyang tribe in the parade to be represented by 2018 grand champion, Tribu Panayanon, of the Iloilo City National High School.
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Jalandoni said another tribe from Guimaras’ Mangghan Festival, Hubon Manguguma, will represent the Philippines together with Tribu Panayanon in the biggest Filipino-American Independence Day parade in the East Coast that is expected to attract some 100,000 audience on Madison Avenue.
“They (Dinagyang and Manggahan contingent) will arrive on May 31 (US time),” confirmed Jalandoni, a registered nurse in New Jersey, who is responsible for bringing the two festivals from Iloilo City and Guimaras here.
Problems hounded Tribu Panayanon after only 11 members were given travel visa by the US Embassy, Jalandoni said.
“They have to recruit warriors from Tribu Salognon who already have the visa in order to complete the team, thus the problem was resolved,” she explained. “It’s not nice to see only 11 warriors dancing during the parade.”
Tribu Salognon is the 2016 grand champion and represented the country in the New York parade’s 118th edition.
The first-ever trade mission, to be led by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Mrs. Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, will fly to New York via Hong Kong on May 29 (Philippine time) and will arrive in the US on board Cathay Pacific on May 29 (US time).

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The Espinosa couple, accompanied by Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Executive Assistant Enrique “Rex” Aguado and Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel “Aye” Castaneda, fashion designers Jackie Penalosa and Bo Parcon, journalists Florence Hibionada (The Daily Guardian), Tara Yap (Manila Bulletin), and Herbert Vego (Panay News), West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Mass Communications dean, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, among others, will grace the opening of Ilonggo fashion and jewelry exhibit at the Philippine Center Gallery on 556 Fifth Avenue on June 1.
The Ilonggo trade missionaries are tasked to “introduce” Iloilo City to New York City, Washington DC and Fairfax, Virginia through roadshows showcasing the creations of Ilonggo jewellers, fashion designers and property developers.
Espinosa will host a UP Alumni event on June 2.
The annual parade, spearheaded by PIDCI, will blast off at 12 noon on June 3, followed by cultural presentations.
The city mayor and several representatives from the private sector will hold the Trade and Investment Forum at the Philippine Center.

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Famed NY-based Ilonggo entertainment producer Jhett Tolentino will spearhead the group in a Broadway tour at seven o’clock in the evening on June 5.
An investment forum at University of North America, Fairfax, Virginia will be held on June 6.
This will be followed by a Childhood Education Study in Washington D.C. in the morning and Investment Forum in the evening at the Philippine Embassy on June 7.
The Iloilo contingent will tour Washington D.C. on June 8.
The will cap their US visit with a Philippine Independence Day Ball in the evening at Hilton, East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 9.
Members of the Iloilo Trade Mission depart to the Philippines on June 10.

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Will Sara Duterte back Joe III vs Jerry?

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” –Groucho Marx

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If we stretch our imaginations, the only way for Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to face Rep. Jerry Treñas for mayor in the 2019 elections is for Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founder, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to endorse his candidacy and for House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s PDP-Laban to officially back acolyte Treñas.
HNP is currently slowly inching its way to forge a tie-up with various satellite political parties first in Mindanao, and now in the Visayas, in a hope to grow and expand in time for the next congressional elections.
PDP-Laban, of course, is not happy about the new kid in town and is, in fact, getting increasingly pissed off and insecure especially that it is being spearheaded by the most powerful and influential daughter in the Philippines today, who is rumored to be the next candidate for president.

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HNP and PDP-Laban are still currently “distinct and separate” from one another in as far as legitimacy and recognition by the Comelec are concerned, although they both can sleep in the same presidential bedroom together albeit in two separate beds.
Still on infant stage, HNP is obscured by its regional-level status, while PDP-Laban is a behemoth party with strongholds and incumbent elected officials all over the archipelago.
It’s a common knowledge that Inday Sara and Alvarez are not on speaking terms after the latter had branded Inday Sara’s group as “the new opposition.”
Joe III and Treñas are both PDP-Laban stalwarts and have also allegedly quarreled (of course we didn’t believe this).
The most likely scenario in the event the Joe III-Treñas alleged spat was authentic and they are hellbent to dispute the top city hall post in 2019, is for HNP and PDP-Laban to pick between the two “magbilas” (their wives are sisters).
Inday Sara might go for the “underdog” and fellow incumbent local chief executive, while Alvarez might choose a colleague in congress he thinks will be a “sure winner” for mayor.
This is, of course, a wishful thinking and, as we mentioned earlier, can only be possible if we stretch our curious imaginations.

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We still strongly believe that Mayor Joe III and Rep. Treñas will swap positions and are only trying to confuse their rivals who still continue to read between the lines and mutely observe the Joe III-Treñas “civil war” from afar.
By keeping the cards closer to their sleeves, Joe III and Treñas increase the chance for their opponents to face a grim prospect of kicking off their campaign offensive against a windmill like Sancho Panza in Don Quixote.
In fact, Joe III confirmed to city hall reporters recently that he would be running for an elective post in 2019.
The fact that he did not reveal which position he intends to aspire for in 2019 is a clear indication that he (or they) really plans to further draw a jigsaw puzzle in the minds of his (or their) political rivals.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2018 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Treñas’ foes try to link him to illegal drugs  

“Politics have no relation to morals.”

 — Niccolo Machiavelli

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– Some of the possible rivals of Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas for city mayor have started to sharpen their knives now that the congressman has declared his intention to run again in 2019.

In order to stymie his candidacy, some of Treñas’ prospective opponents have begun “establishing” his supposed links with the slain drug lord, Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr.

The disgraced drug kingpin, who was slain together with his wife, Merriam, in Caticlan, Aklan on August 28, 2016, reportedly cemented his narcotics fiefdom when Treñas was city mayor in 2001-2010.

It did not mean, however, that William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson was in cahoots with the mobsters only because he was the mayor of Chicago when Al Capone terrorized the Windy City.

True or not, Treñas can’t remain silent on the issue.

Sooner or later, he will be forced to answer the accusation lock, stock, and barrel, especially when the election campaign officially starts.

He can afford shrug off the issue today and consider it as a mere “mosquito bite” since it is not yet certain whether he is really running for city mayor or just trying to bluff certain characters.

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It was the issue on illegal drugs that prematurely put an exclamation point to the city hall stint of dismissed Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, although many of his supporters maintain until today he was innocent and only a victim of political vendetta.

We have been warned always that if we ignore the danger signs, they could spell our ignominy when we least expect it.

Mabilog, confident of his innocence, and his supporters could not believe that a mere “mosquito bite” would turn into a poisonous wound inflicted by a deadly Python when no less than the misinformed Presiden Duterte swallowed the canard hook, line, and sinker.

A lie repeated several times becomes the truth, according to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

But even the truth in politics, more often than not, can’t save any politician from the pit of destruction.

And the rest is history.

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Even without a resolution from the Iloilo Provincial Board calling for a speedy investigation of the murder of STL operator Samuel Aguilar, the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) must pursue all angles and run after the perpetrators.

It doesn’t matter whether the victim was a VIP or an ordinary person. Murder is murder; a crime has been committed in broad daylight when unidentified gun men ambushed Aguilar’s vehicle in Barangay Buyuan, Tigbauan, Iloilo on March 13, 2018.

If a prominent personality can be killed despite the presence of his bodyguards, there is no guarantee that an ordinary victim who walks alone or rides in any vehicle won’t be waylaid and shot fatally by any criminal.

Aguilar was not the first “big name” in the gambling business killed in Iloilo.

Five years ago, Jimmy Punzalan, a retired Philippine Constabulary sergeant and believed to be also engaged in numbers game, was also murdered in cold blood by unknown assailants while resting in his restaurant in Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Punzalan’s killing was never solved.

Let’s hope the twin murders were not connected.

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2018 in CRIME, ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Treñas, Joe III feuding? Tell it to the marines

“In a false quarrel there is no true valor.”

–William Shakespeare

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I won’t gamble my fifteen cents to swallow hook, line and sinker the suspicions–or rumors– that Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III are at loggerheads and heading to Splitsville.

But I won’t be surprised also if they will take advantage of the flap and use the puzzle to confuse their enemies.

If the basis of suspicions or rumors was the “irrevocable” resignations of the six so-called “Treñas Musketeers” composed of Melchor Tan, Jose Rico, Maria Irene Ong, Hector Alejano, Mitch Antiqueña, and Rudiver Jungco Sr. as Joe III’s advisers, we have more reason not to fret over the present political relationship of the congressman and the city mayor.

Joe III could not have sacked the six, who were reportedly meeting with Treñas outside city hall when Joe III called them for a meeting.

A case of a bad timing or the city mayor decided to abruptly call for a meeting when he learned the six were outside the barracks?

And he only wanted to show them who’s the boss when he tasked executive assistant Jojo Castro to “chide” the six and refrain from “paddling their canoe in two rivers.”

Whether there is a tampuhan between Joe III and the six, the tampuhan does not translate into a full-blown political conflict.

Mature people can easily shrug off any potential time bomb that would divide and eventually bring the house into wobbly legs.

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Both Treñas and Joe III could actually benefit from perception that they are having a cold war.

This would send mixed and confusing signals to their political rivals.

Treñas has already signified his intention to run again for mayor in 2019, while Joe III has not yet made up his mind whether to run for congressman, which is the only logical move if he will avoid a collision course with his bilas (their wives are sisters), or quit politics, which isn’t about to happen judging from Joe III’s appetite for public service since capturing city hall in October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Could it be that Treñas and Joe III, by “acting” as Punch and Judy, were reading the Laws 6, 17, and 37 of the 48 Laws of Power?

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LAW 6 (CREATE AN AIR OF MYSTERY) says, “Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do. Do not show all your cards. Mystery and uncertainty create anticipation – everyone will want to know what comes next. Use mystery to beguile, seduce, even frighten.”

LAW 17 (KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENSE: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY) says, “Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.”

LAW 37 (CREATE COMPELLING SPECTACLES) says,

“Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.”

If these “laws” or the messages they convey happen to reflect some nerve-tingling coincidences and similarities in the scenarios currently unfolding in Iloilo City’s political landscape, you be the final arbiter.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2018 in POLITICS

 

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I hope there will be no regrets

“When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.”

–Maurice Maeterlinck

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — If Iloilo City in the Philippines is a human face, the condemned Iloilo Freedom Grandstand sitting on the area of the 600-square meter Sunburst Park, serves as the face’s mouth.

It has been one of Iloilo City’s most prominent landmarks facing the “eagle” building on J.M. Basa Street for more than 50 years now.

In the name of development, it will soon disappear and relocated to Muelle Loney, adjacent to the waterfront area of Customs House Plaza, Sunburst Park’s old name.

Because of its intrinsic value, many Ilonggos have considered it as part of the metropolis’ tangible past.

Owing to its cultural and practical values and especially that it’s not an eyesore, some Ilonggos are sad that after the face of

“The Most Loyal and Noble City” or “La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo” has undergone a major surgery this year, its mouth, a reminder of the metropolis’ culture and complexity, will no longer be found under the nose.

In one of his “farewell” visits in various places in the Philippines, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, accompanied by President Carlos Garcia, set foot at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on July 10, 1961 and delivered a nostalgic speech.

This event will forever be etched in the memory of the Ilonggos.

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We just hope that there will be no regrets after the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has been demolished.

It can’t be denied that the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, renovated by the late Rep. Raul Gonzalez Sr. several years back, has brought character and certain charm to the neighborhood that Ilonggos had lived in ever since the late political maverick former Senator Rodolfo Ganzon gave it a sparkling name nearly 50 years ago.

Once it’s gone, there is no more chance to restore or save one of Iloilo City’s most memorable historic sites.

Once a major bureaucratic decision has been made with finality, no one can be certain what will be valued in the future.

Once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever like a member of the family who passed away.

The memory of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has taught us about the history that happened before we were born; it’s imposing image has promoted the respect for those who lived in different times and different political and social climates not only in the city and province of Iloilo but also in the entire region.

It has cultivated pride of our past and heritage making the Ilonggos unique in the world.

 

 

 

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Iloilo Freedom Grandstand perfect!

“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” –Michelangelo

By Alex P. Vidal

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NEWARK, New Jersey — The present location of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on J.M. Basa Street in downtown Iloilo City in the Philippines is perfect.

Some Ilonggos find it difficult how to locate the Hoskyn’s Compound, the Iloilo Sports Complex, the Plaza Libertad, the Fort San Pedro, the Nelly’s Garden, the Jaro Belfry, the Rotary Ampitheater, Camp Martin Delgado, among other major destinations in the “City of Love”, but they know how fast to reach the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.

It is the only public grandstand in the Philippines known for its easy access to the regional government offices, universities, parks, landmarks, churches, seaports and arrastre services, a shopping center, media institutions, a business center, a police camp, and the Filipino-Chinese community.

It is the only public grandstand in the Philippines where all types of vehicles and other modes of transportation, except airplane, can enter and park (the archaic Panay Railways used to operate in the back).

When Ilonggos seek redress of their grievances, they march to the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.

There, they easily attract public and media attention.

The issues they bring before the bar of public opinion reverberate all over the metropolis and are easily circulated.

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When Ilonggos hold ungated mammoth cultural, political, sports and religious programs they easily attract national and international attention when they hold them at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand like the Dinagyang Festival, which recently commemorated its 50th year, miting de avance of political parties, and evangelical fellowship prayers of various religious denominations.

Red cross volunteers, social and health workers find the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand as the perfect venue to distribute truckloads of goods, medicines and other donations that need to be expedited for victims of typhoons, fire, and other natural calamities.

Because of its location, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has been considered as the epitome of public service, the vanguard of freedom of expression, the sanctuary of the voiceless and oppressed, the mecca of tourism, the show window of the Ilonggos’ character and cultural heritage.

Bonifacio Drive is not a Bonifacio Drive without the Iloilo Museo and Iloilo Capitol, in the same manner that Calle Real is not a Calle Real without the Iloilo Ampitheater and the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.

The J.M. Basa-Mapa-Aduana-Ortiz-Guanco rectangle would be arid and lifeless if not for the presence of the majestic Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, the pride of all Ilonggos.

 

 
 

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What has the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand done to deserve death?

“It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.”

–Branch Rickey

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — What have I done to deserve death? Did I humiliate the Ilonggos?

Did I commit a heinous crime against humanity?

Did I play host to scandalous and violent activities?

Did I pose a threat to national security?

Did I obstruct traffic and the pedestrians’ right of way?

Did I pillage the environment and natural resources?

Thus would have been the valid laments of the condemned Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City in the Philippines if it could only speak and protest its imminent extermination.

Instead of being “rewarded” for bringing pride and honor to the Ilonggos since it was built some 60 years ago, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand faces demolition in the modern era when men are equipped with scientific knowledge and expertise to build and renovate.

Instead of being preserved and restored to its old glory for helping showcase and sustain the Ilonggos’ spirit, aesthetic and ingenuity in the global village, the grandstand will be blown to bits in the age of technology when innovation and state-of-the-art infrastructure are at fever-pitch.

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The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand has been known to be the Ilonggos’ version of Munich’s Allianz Arena, Rome’s The Colosseum, Milan’s San Siro, Barcelona’s Camp Nuo, Portland’s Providence Park, New Zealand’s Forsyth Barr, Poland’s Stadion Energa, Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana, Boston’s Fenway Park, and Hungary’s Pancho Arena.

It is a source of their hope and pride, not shame and scandal.

Where is our gratitude?

But, wait a minute.

Proponents of the move to dismantle the grandstand and transfer it to Muelle Loney facing the Iloilo River, will argue that the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand will not be actually wiped off the face of the earth.

It will only be transferred to pave the way for expansion and improvement of the Sunburst Park, where the present Iloilo Freedom Grandstand on J.M. Basa Street stands.

From its present location where it faces the giant eagle in a building across the street, pedestrians, and passing vehicles to Muelle Loney, where it will face the river, the boats, and the fishes.

In simple explanation, it will be “demoted demographically.”

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The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand is a legitimate asset. Demolishing it doesn’t make sense.

Preserving it is one aspect of paying homage to our heritage with which we can interact and adapt.

The grandstand, which has survived the test of time, has specific historic context.

It should have been meticulously and exactly preserved.

Since it has become part of our character and identity over the years, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand must be lived in, interacted with and maintained by the public.

The outdoor structure, conceptualized after the Ilonggos’ right to elect their local officials commenced in 1950, has changed with us, thus recording a piece of each generation’s story from circa fifties to Internet Age.

Ilonggos are morally and patriotically obliged to respect this community resource and preserve it for future generations.

Owing to its colorful history, the preservation of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand can help strengthen the community’s future.

The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand’s imposing presence in a piece of property of the former Customs House Plaza, would have helped create vibrant, cultural downtowns that will further draw art, festival, tourism, and other activities which in turn draw investment, revenue, and economic growth for Iloilo City aside from solidifying a community’s past.

 
 

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