Saturday, September 27, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Even if I want to concentrate in preparing for my wedding in Sarrat, I cannot avoid my duties and obligations as Board Member.
After 3 days of delivering the bulk of the
On September 20 Ria and I attended the Reyes-Cua Wedding in Sta. Monica Church, Sarrat. Yep, the same venue of our wedding. We wanted to see how a wedding looked like in that church. At the same time, we also wanted to visualize how our wedding would look like. Thank you to Junie and Elaine for inviting us. Congratulations to the both of you!
Ria and I missed the reception in
I went to San Nicolas to attend the Ms. Primacare Pageant. I was excited to judge the event. I was expecting girls and a swimsuit competition. After all, it was the MS. PRIMACARE PAGEANT.
Hollee Mollee, it was a cross-dressing pageant!
Now I’ve judged everything. I’ve judged little kids in a pageant. I’ve judged young ladies in a pageant. I’ve judged senior citizens a pageant. And I’ve judged gays in a pageant.
Judging real men dressed as women completes my pageant bucket list.
I thought to myself, ‘I missed a wedding reception for this?’ I wanted to leave.
But that changed when the talent competition came up. My god, I never laughed so much in a long time. This guy, who looked like a government official in drag, stripped within 4 ft away from the judges’ table and shook his booty.
He was wearing a wig, a bra and a g-string.
A 230 pound man in his late 30s.
I couldn’t look at him straight in the eye. I was laughing so loud.
And then there was this other guy whose talent was to draw in a legal size pad for 20 seconds with a pencil, and show his ‘work’ to us at a distance of about 30 feet. I saw a blank white page. THAT was his talent.
Anyway, the pageant lasted until 1am! And there were only 9 contestants. It took us 5 hours to choose a winner. My gulay, daig pa namin ang Miss Universe. Imagine, there they get to select a winner within 2 hours from a pool of 80 contestants. And here we are taking us 5 friggin’ hours to choose one guy winner among 9.
And the guys smelled of liquor pa ha.
Early Sunday morning I had to wake up to participate in the 32nd Milo Marathon – Ilocos Norte leg. I only had 4 hours of sleep. I was the first Board Member there. Governor Keon came. So did Board Members Barba, Ranada, Galano, Peralta and Castro. But they weren’t in running attire. I thought we would all run, the governor at the very least. But he told me he was out of shape.
Anyway, before the race nag-ribbon cutting kami sa recently renamed President Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium and blessing of its new synthetic track oval.
Afterwards, marathon na. Madaming participants. They said there were about 15,000 runners. First to run were the 21K participants. Mostly composed of runners from out-of-town (
I am not fit. The only training I did for this race was last Wednesday when I walked around the village for about an hour. That’s it. I tried to run, but after one kilometer I was panting already. I had to slow down and brisk walk. But when I saw teenagers wearing jeans and sneakers and carrying knapsacks passing me, I just couldn’t take it. Imagine kids in heavy jeans, flat sneakers and bags beating me?
It took me 41 minutes to complete five kilometers. It was embarrassing.
But at least natapos ko.
And I beat most of the kids in jeans, sneakers and bags.
Now, my body is starting to hurt. Bring out the Alaxan FR.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
First, we loaded 20 mountain bikes on an Elf Truck in Laoag City. Then we travelled 100 kilometers north of Laoag to Brgy. Pancian, Pagudpud town.
When we got there, we had to transfer the bikes to a dump truck because the Elf won't be able to handle the rough terrain uphill.
But then it started getting harder. This next picture shows a portion of the road affected by a landslide brought about by Typhoon Karen a couple of weeks ago. We encountered around 5 obstructions like this:
When I called up the mayor a few days ago telling him I'd deliver the bikes I told him that we'd just have a simple turn-over ceremony. I thought we'd call the recipients one by one from their classes, I'd interview them, and then hand over the bicycle.
After the short program, where I told the students that the bikes didn't come from me, but from Wheels 4 Life Foundation, we called on the recipients one by one. And when we had everyone on stage, we posed for posterity's sake (and for my accomplishment report to the foundation)
Here I am (in blue) with the school principal, the social welfare officer, Jason (on bike), Dr. Bawingan and the mayor. Notice the clothes hanging on the right. The photographer did not notice it while taking this picture.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Be careful in making promises
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:01:00 08/25/2008
Upon becoming a governor after years of being a broadcaster—switching from being an observer to being the one observed—one of the first things I learned was why people in government were often accused of making a lot of promises and not keeping them.
One possible reason is the sheer number of people who come to you, needing various things, often seeing you as their last and only hope. In my case, I was the answer that finally came to Isabela, after hearing almost nothing from those who came before me.
We have so many needy people in our country, and when they get the chance to talk to a mayor or governor any place, they will not let the opportunity pass.
One time, a lady who had just received holy communion saw me as she was returning to her seat. With the holy host still in her mouth, she stopped to tell me of a need in their barangay. I told her, “Manang, bumalik ka muna sa upuan mo at tapusin ang iyong dasal.”
Our poor people hang on to every little hope for their big needs. I have learned to be sparing of my gestures and expressions because even the slightest of smiles or a nod or two, as you listen to them, may be taken as approval of their requests, raising their hopes.
With the very limited resources of government, not every clamor can be granted. And even if one is able to grant a hundred requests, there are still a thousand waiting for a “promise” to be fulfilled.
When the request is not delivered when it is needed (and it is always needed right away!) a promise is once again broken by a politician.
One reason I ran for government office (even if I can hardly walk) was the way many of our people had become constituents of “Barangay Veinte”: Give them P20 and they are fine. Give them free medicines and they are okay even if you do not address the problem of why so many of them are getting sick in the first place. Build them schools and big hospitals, as is SOP. Allow them to sleep, dream and wake up to bet on jueteng three times a day for a little chance to have a better life.
This was the recipe for perpetual poverty.
Having been physically handicapped since I was 3, I have learned that life is not worth living if you are dependent on others. I have learned that despite tremendous limitations, physical or otherwise, no one is ever too inadequate to cope, to adjust and even to shine.
The lessons I have learned, I am now teaching to my apo Isabelinos. I tell them, “Use me as your visual aid.” Perhaps the Lord gave Isabela a governor who is physically weaker than most of her constituents so that, when they see her, they will realize that one can rise above one’s difficulties as long as one chooses to do something about the situation.
I have to tell our people constantly that the battle is not yet over. We may have defeated the dynasty but there are other things we have to fight. We also have to free ourselves from our own wrong attitudes, our misplaced values, our bad habits.
After four years as governor, thankfully I have learned not to say yes mindlessly to the droves of people who come to me for the things they need.
We have devised systems like my weekly People’s Day or Ugnayang Bayan that gives me the chance to listen to them patiently and assess their situation objectively. I explain to them the need to prioritize because of the limited resources of government, especially if they continue to have big families by failing to practice responsible parenthood.
More importantly, I always remind them, challenge them: Mas masarap tulungan ang mga taong marunong tumulong sa kanilang mga sarili.
I know that our poor people, including the jueteng kobrador (collector) and illegal logging bogador (laborers), know how to help themselves. But what they are doing to support their families is not easy.
It is the duty of leaders to direct their energies, their devotion to their families and all their sacrifices towards what is right, sustainable and dignified.
Those of us in government should learn to be careful in making promises and deciding what to keep. We should also remember that there is, in every Filipino, the promise of becoming an honorable, self-reliant citizen if given the chance, as well as the respect, he/she deserves.
(Grace Padaca has been the governor of Isabela since 2004 when she won over a long-entrenched dynasty under the battle cry “Free Isabela.” She will receive the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service on Aug. 31 for empowering voters to reclaim their democratic right to elect leaders of their own choosing. Other recipients of the 2008 Magsaysay award are the RP-based Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) and Thailand’s Therdchai Jivacate for public service; Prakash Amte and Mandakini Amte of India for community leadership; Ahmad Syafii Maarif of Indonesia for peace and international understanding; Akio Ishii of Japan for journalism, literature, and creative communication arts; and Ananda Galapatti of Sri Lanka for emergent leadership.)
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:39:00 09/02/2008
MANILA, Philippines—University of the Philippines Prof. Randy David expressed sadness over the death of Mang Pandoy (real name: Felipe Natanio), saying that the gardener was a victim of the dysfunctional structure of opportunity in the country.
“There are limits to charity … They (the poor) will have to learn to help themselves,” David told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview, stressing that charity cannot solve poverty until the “entire structure of opportunity” is improved.
He said there was a tendency to ignore the structure and just focus on personal charity.
Mang Pandoy, David said, was made a “mascot” of the Ramos administration but he was given a regular income after he was appointed consultant on the poor and given a regular co-hosting stint in a television program.
The government, he said, tried to take care of Mang Pandoy but “there are limits to charity.”
Mang Pandoy was also given livelihood projects, including a hog-raising package, and scholarship grants for his children but they all failed.
“He had ended up expecting the government to help him all the time. But help was not always there,” David pointed out.
He said the moment assistance stopped, Mang Pandoy and members of his family were lost.
“I feel very bad about it but what can we do?” David said, explaining that in improving the structure of opportunity, the entire community instead of just one family must be targeted for investment and not doles.
David recalled that he first met Mang Pandoy in 1991 when he was selling vegetables to members of the faculty at the UP campus in Diliman, Quezon City.
“I was so impressed by his industry. He was always smiling. He was never oppressed by poverty,” David said, adding that it was the reason that he invited Mang Pandoy to be a guest at his public affairs program on Channel 13.
The witty and engaging Mang Pandoy shared his everyday “menu” for stretching the peso.
“Everybody was impressed by his practicality. Despite his poverty, he never lost hope,” the columnist said.
But several months after the program, David learned that Mang Pandoy was ill from an allergic reaction to pesticides and fertilizer and he could no longer raise vegetables to feed his family.
He helped Mang Pandoy as best he could.
In 1992, David interviewed Mang Pandoy as a case study of poverty because he wanted the problem to be the central issue in the presidential debate.
“He (Mang Pandoy) was pessimistic already due to his inability to feed his family,” David said, pointing out that the extent of his depression reached the point where Mang Pandoy offered to get himself killed if his family would be paid P100,000 for his life.
“That interview with him was aired. It became the focus of the presidential debate. Everybody forgot what the presidential candidates said and all offered to help alleviate Mang Pandoy’s family,” David said.
Face of poverty
“Mang Pandoy gave Filipino poverty its face. Many were made aware of the seriousness of poverty. The spontaneous reaction of the people was to provide assistance,” David said. Life eased up for the Natanio family then.
In the succeeding years, Mang Pandoy and his family were New Year’s Day guests at the David home until five years ago when they stopped coming.
“I thought he had gone off to live in the province. I never knew he was still in Metro Manila. It is only now that I found out,” David said.
Although the Natanio children knew his telephone number and where he lived, they never made any attempt to reach him, he said.
Nevertheless, David said nobody should be blamed for what happened to Mang Pandoy. “We cannot even blame Mang Pandoy because he was a victim of the dysfunctional structure.” Jeanette I. Andrade