Archive for the ‘Bula’ Category

Camarines Sur farmers’ 444 kilometer march to Malacanang

December 1, 2008

There is sympathy elicited by the pictures of about 50 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur who embarked on a march to press their demand that Malacanang reverse the order of Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita which kept them out of the land awarded to them 11 years ago under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The basis of Ermita’s decision was that the 123 hectare property previously owned by the Fajardo family of Baao Camarines Sur didn’t qualify to be awarded to the farmers because it was used for grazing cattle, instead of agriculture.

This led to the revocation of the certificates of land ownership award (CLOA,) of 57 farmers who were beneficiaries of the land distribution. Ermita’s decision ignored the earlier Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) rulings in 1999 and 2007 which favored the farmers.

Started on November 17, 2008, the 444 kilometer walk includes 82-year old Pobleo Clavero, the oldest of the group of farmers who wants to leave his 1.7 hectare land to his grandchildren when he dies. Their leader, Jess Bergantin, says they have to resort to what the farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon did a year ago to get Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s favorable decision. The group are still negotiating the dangerous winding highway towards Manila where they hope to get a solution to their land problem.

The case of the Fajardo Estate farmers shows the limitations of the CARP, which continues to pose problems to farmers 20 years since the program was started. Though there have been successes in the awarding of land to worthy beneficiaries, many however are blocked by landlords and the system of CARP implementation.

The bureaucracy of the DAR that impedes the acquisition of land, the reversals of award decisions like the Sumilao and Fajardo Estates, the controversial land use, conversions and funding of the program are among the problems that stand on the way for the full CARP implementation. For lack of education and know-how, many farmers have no sufficient means to make their acquired land productive. About half of the beneficiaries end up not tilling, decreasing productivity, and illegally selling the land.

As I watched the photos of the Fajardo Estate farmers marching from Banasi, Bula Camarines Sur, I could only think whether their lives had improved since CARP was instituted. Some who walked barefoot were very tired, their calloused feet endured the searing heat of asphalt in the highway; others had their skin abraded by friction caused by cheap sandals they wore. From their faces, I could guess most of the farmers had meager education preventing them of fully understanding their rights under the land reform program. Their looks made me suspect their financial position didn’t improve. They had been as poor as the days when CARP wasn’t part of their lives. Photo Credit Pakisamagallery)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation”Posted by mesiamd at 11/28/2008

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Nuns abducted in Kenya, farmers from Camarines Sur march to Malacanang & the US national debt of $10,664,871,159,771.01 bogs the nation

November 27, 2008

The message of Thanksgiving is as beautiful as the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Both holidays are times of reflection and joy for all peoples of the world. Yet today, November 27, 2008, in spite the celebration’s purity of purpose and its significance, dark forces break our peace and try to shatter our hope.

The rejoicing which accompanies the holiday is marred by negativities in the news all over the world. Blocking the way of prayers, reflections, family reunions, turkey dinners, sharing food with the needy, parades, and football games, are spoilers of today’s obervance. Here are some examples:

Mumbai India Massacre

1. Mumbai Terrorist Attack in India with rising numbers of casualties: 104 dead & 314 wounded. Undetermined number of hostages is being held by a militant group believed to be Islamic extremist radicals. An Australian and a Japanese tourist are among the dead.

Kidnapping in Kenya

2. Maria Teresa Olivero, 60, and Caterina Giraudo, 67, two Italian Catholic nuns on a mission to help alleviate hunger and maintain health programs in Kenya were abducted by gunmen on November 17, 2008 and were taken to undisclosed location in lawless Somalia. Their abduction shows the difficulty of helping the poor and underserved in troubled countries like those in Africa.

Thailand’s State of Emergency

3. Thailand has declared a state of emergency around two airports. Scores of protesters against the government have massed on terminals of both airports resulting to all flight cancellations.

UPDATE: As of Sunday November 30, 2008, more than 30 anti-government protesters have been wounded by gunfire and grenade blasts. The closure of the airport strands about 100,000 travellers in Thailand.

Fajardo Estate (Banasi Farm) March from Camarines Sur to Manila

4. Fajardo Estate land dispute escalates when 49 poor farmers from Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur decided a 21 day march to Malacanang Palace to demand the return of their land which covers 123.349 hectares. Before the CARP, the disputed property is owned by Edilberto Fajardo, Corazon Fajardo, Angustia Imperial and heirs of Baao, Camarines Sur.

“Nagsikad na poon kan Noviembre 17, 2008 an 21 dias na paglakaw kan 45ng paraoma hali sa Banasi, Bula, Camarines Sur pasiring sa Malacañang nganing huroton ki Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo na ibalik sa sainda an 123.3490ng hectariang daga na parte kan Fajardo Estate na enot pig-award sa sainda susog sa Certificate of Land Ownership (CLO) No. 00495527 base sa Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).”—Bicol Mail, (11/20/08)

Every American Owes $34,947.22/person

5. As of November 27, the outstanding public debt of USA is $10,664,871,159,771.01 (approximately $10.7 trillion dollars). According to the National Debt Clock’s tally, the national debt increases by about $3.89 billion/day since September 28, 2007. Amercan citizens share this debt at $34,947.22/person.

If Barack Obama expands the government spending with his promised programs and he increase taxes as the financial meltdown reels on, the economic strain and debt burden are likely to push the Americans to the limit. At this time the public is watching nervously to see the mettle of the incoming president. (Photo Credits: Reuters/PunitParanjpe; ____, Pakisamagallery/JuanEscandor; JsDart)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India” Posted by mesiamd at 11/27/2008.

UPDATE: November 28, 2008—The death toll and injured in Mumbai massacre rose to 125 and 327 respectively.

The San Fernando, Camarines Sur-Oas, Albay Diversion Road

November 23, 2008


The construction of a San Fernando, Camarines Sur to Oas, Albay bypass (diversion) road has recently been approved. It is one of 10 priority projects in Bicol for 2008-2010 along with the construction of the new Legazpi airport. P500M has reportedly been released for the project. The rationale of the project is to decongest the main road running from Naga to Legazpi. A shortening of the travel time between the two cities is expected.

The planned diversion road is 61.90 kilometers long. Only 14 kilometers will be new road as it just intends to use old roads that already exist. Thus, 32.22 kilometers of existing gravel road will be paved and 15.68 kilometers of the existing Maharlika highway will be improved. An old bridge will also be repaired and a new 40-meter bridge will be built. The total project cost is estimated to be P2.25 billion.

This bypass road will connect the old roads connecting Legazpi to Naga (see my previous article, “The Old Roads of the Naga-Legazpi Corridor and Dialectal Variations Along Its Way”, 11/18/08). From the town of Oas it will probably use the old Mayao road that connects the town to Libon, Albay.

From Libon, it will use the gravel road that connects it to the upland barrios of Nabua. This is the Libon-Buga-Tandaay road. This road crosses the Nabua-Balatan road in the big barrio of Tandaay, Nabua. The road runs through the southern shores of Lake Bato.

From Tandaay,Nabua a gravel road runs to Bula, Camarines Sur, running south of the plains irrigated by the Bicol River. This road skirts the southern side of Lake Baao. This is the old Malawag road.

It seems the new road construction mentioned will be used to connect Bula to San Fernando, Camarines Sur. It is probable that the paved road running west of Bula to the barrio of Panoypoyan will used. If not, some other farm-to-market (feeder) roads might be used like the road to Bagoladio. It seems the new bridge will be used in this stretch since the Bicol River will have to be forded here, a connection that hencetoforth does not yet exist. Before reaching San Fernando, the road will pass through portions of Minalabac, if not the town proper. However, Milaor will be bypassed.

This diversion road for the most part will pass through the foot of the long mountain chain on the southern side of Bicol which is always visible from the road when one is traversing the Sipocot to Ligao stretch of the Maharlika highway.

Concerns have been raised about the possible effects on Naga and the towns that will be bypassed by the new highway. There’s fear that the economic downturn suffered by Daet and the Camarines Norte towns when the Quirino Andaya highway was opened will be replicated here.

But to sustain progress sometimes new infrastructure must really be built. There is no question that the Naga-Legazpi road is already a little bit crowded and this won’t get better anymore. Anyway the first users of this highway will probably be the cars, trucks and buses that just passes by the area en route to Sorsogon and Eastern Visayas.

Whatever, it is imperative that a comprehensive study be made of the possible impacts of the new highway should be. This is needed to warn the sectors that will be affected and also anticipate future problems.

It is now being bandied as the “GMA Highway”. The information is from NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Region V office so it must be official now.

Grandma’s Yummy Favorites in the Bicol Kitchen

August 4, 2008


1. Ginota’an na Natong (Laing) is probably the most popular Bicolano food. It’s made of fresh or dried natong (dasheen bush leaves) bathed in gota (coconut milk.) It’s flavored with pork bits and spiced with superhot siling labuyo(chili,) garlic, ginger and shrimp.

In places like Iriga City, Ginota’an na Natong includes fresh libas leaves which give a tasty sourness to the dish. Ginota’an na Natong, also called Bicol Express, comes in many versions in different Bicol provinces. Green hot peppers, squash, young squash leaves and flowers, curacding (mushrooms,) balatong (string beans,) eggplants, lambo (bamboo shoots,) and langcawas tubers are ready natong susbstitutes.

2. Gulay na Lubi-lubi is a special treat from the tropical forest. The uncommon wild young lubi-lubi leaves are cooked in coconut milk with minched tinapa (smoked fish) and a cube of flavorful roasted dina’ilan (shrimp) from Camarines Norte. Similar gulay can be made from green papaya, jackfruit, marigoso, calunggay or young cassava leaves.

3. Because of environmental conservation, Kinunot, a dish made from sea turtle may recede in the background. That’s because pawikan, the endangered sea turtle is now a protected species like the tiny tabios (sinarapan) fish found in Buhi Lake. When cooked in coconut milk, chili, black pepper, salt and vinegar, sea turtle meat is as yummy as pating (shark) and pagi (stingray.)

4. Tabios, the diminutive endangered fish from Lake Buhi is wrapped in banana leaves, cooked over hot rice, and flavored with lemonsito (calamansi) juice. A yummy alternative is to cook it fried with cornstarch just like ukoy.

5 Sinanglay—tilapia, karpa or puyo (martiniko) fish garnished with chopped onions, ginger, tomatoes, and sour iba (kamias.) The fish is wrapped in fresh dasheen bush leaves and cooked low fire with thick gota (coconut milk) and a dash of hot peppers.

6. Baduya (Sinapot) is very popular with the children. Ripe native bananas dipped in cornstarch are fried. Versions like caling-quing (Bicol camote fries,) tinanok (boiled camote,) and banana/camote cue and linabonan na camote (boiled sweet potato) are excellent meriendas.

7. Sina’sa , common in Rinconada towns like Baao, Nabua, Iriga, Bato, and Buhi is made from charcoal-roasted freshwater fish like puyo (martiniko,) talusog (snakehead) or tilapia. It is garnished with finely chopped tomatoes, ginger, fresh onions, red peppers and a dash of vinegar.

8. Bokayo—young coconut meat, cooked brown with sankaka, sweet caramel prepared from sugar cane.

9. Paksiw na Casili—fresh-water eel (burirawan) cooked in vinegar, ginger, onions, pepper leaves, and black pepper. Paksiw can also be prepared from fish like mirapina, tuna, carpa or tilapia. Frying the eel and fish are good cooking options.

10. Tinuktok na Hito—a soup dish of chopped hito fish and young coconut made into fish balls with garlic, ginger, onions and red peppers; fresh camote tops or breadfruit slices (ogob or og-og.) are added.

11. Piga nin Carpa—carp ovaries and eggs sautéed with ginger, onions, garlic and marigoso (bitter melon.)

12. Adobong Orig—cubed pork meat cooked slowly on its lard with rock salt to taste and black pepper.

13. Tinolang Manok—hot soup of native chicken with lemon grass, fresh green papaya, sayote, calunggay (moringa) and pepper leaves.

14. Ogama—small boiled crabs dipped on salted vinegar, sili ng labuyo (tiny red peppers,) garlic, and onions.

15. Pinuyos—sticky rice with coconut milk and a dash of salt wrapped in banana leaves also called Binugtong. Ibos, a similar version is glutinous rice wrapped in young coconut leaves.

16. Sinabawan na Carabao—hot soup made from young tender carabao or beef meat with taro roots, pechay leaves, cabbage, and red pepper.

17. Lechon—roasted pig of Bicol is usually flavored with rock salt and tamarind leaves. It is served with a brown sarsa (sauce) made of roasted pork liver.

18. Balaw—baby shrimp fries, wrapped in banana leaves, flavored with generous lemonsito (calamansi) juice and cooked over rice.

19. Pancit Bato—noodle dish flavored with chorizo, slices of fish cake, pork or chicken meat, and wrapped in banana leaves.

20. Miswa—hair-thin white noodle soup with hibi (dried baby shrimps) and sliced green patola.

21. Sinugbang Talong—charcoal-cooked barbecued eggplant with a dash of lemonsito (calamansi) juice and salt. Talong can go with fresh garden tomatoes, dina’ilan with lemon.

22. Balaw—shrimp fries sautéed in oil, pork meat, green peppers, and lemon juice. Balaw goes well with blanched camote tops, kangkong, or upo (white squash.)

23. Linubak—boiled green bananas, taro or camoteng cahoy (cassava roots) pounded with grated young coconut, milk, and sugar.

24. Su’so—fresh water spiral black snails or river clams boiled with coconut milk, bamboo or pako (fern shoots,) onions, garlic and ginger.

25. Dila-Dila is sold by itinerant vendors on the street together with suman. It’s made of grounded glutinous rice, deep fried and topped with glazed sugar cane caramel (sankaka.)

Bicol cuisine is mainly dominated by the use of coconut and its derivative products. Scrumptiously hot with fresh siling labuyo and black peppercorns, the native Bicolano food is a fusion of Asian-Polynesian influences as demonstrated by the use of exotic lemon grass and tropical edible plants like dasheen bush, libas, lubi-lubi, kangkong, and calunggay which grow abundantly in the region. =0=