Archive for the ‘loss’ Category

Feeling the loss of Maogmang Lugar’s market fire

November 14, 2008

by Pitoy Moreno

The big fire that gutted Naga City Supermarket has been quickly extinguished but the magnitude of the loss is incalculable. Those who shop in the market now find the vendors displaced, selling their goods in Igualdad and General Luna Streets. There is confusion— something that’s expected when a calamity gets into the lives of the people. For having a “super” market, Naga suffers a “super” loss.

Fondly referred to as “Satuyang Sa’od,” the Naga Supermarket was at one point the largest public market in Asia. It had been a source of pride of the Bicolanos. During its construction in the early 1970’s, the impressive concrete edifice rose with two large covered floors and an open roof deck, occupying two city blocks. The supermarket was one of its kind until the mega Malls became popular.

Two underpasses cross the belly of the building assuring easy mobility of pedestrians and tricyles. At the center, a spiral ramp was designed to allow wooden carts and vehicles to bring merchandise directly to the top. Huge stairways service the commercial edifice for the convenience of sellers and shoppers alike. Natural breeze aerates the sturdy building.

The supermarket is a major hub of activity in Naga City. At the break of dawn people flock to the place to start the busy day. Early “birds” in search for the proverbial “fat worm” are drawn in the commercial paradise where an eclectic mix of merchandise and service thrive. Off-school children and teenagers eager to earn cash help moms and pops tend their store. The market isn’t just a place to buy and sell, it’s also an interesting place where people congregate and socialize in Maogmang Lugar.

In specified sections of the supermarket, fresh fruits, organic vegetables, choice meat, and an array of farm harvests are sold hand-in-hand with locally made home furnishings and native products. There are carenderias, flower stores, beauty shops, and bakeries that keep business at fever pitch all throughout the seasons.

Known for its plebeian openness and domesticity, the supermarket is never short of exciting activity. Seafood are hauled from places like Calabanga, Pasacao, and Cabusao and sold in the market at mark down prices. Farmers from Pacol and Carolina bring baskets of balatong harvested from their gardens. Those from Panicuason and neighboring towns bring sacks of freshly harvested corn, talong, coconuts, and edible greens to the delight of shoppers. As far as Tinangis at the foot of Mount Isarog, they come with their fresh produce to sell. That’s why as a matter of habit, store-owners in the city and neighboring towns rely on the supermarket to keep their trade going.

Shoppers love the market for the tuyo, badi, tocino and longaniza they buy for their families, but it is also a place where they meet their friends and relatives. Pili sweets are mainstay favorites enjoyed by their visitors. Young and old, they enjoy the ukay-ukay and the ready-to-wear clothes stalls which sell copies of big name brands of fashionable apparels at low prices.

Newpapers and magazines are sold in the first floor. In the market’s upper levels, vendors offer familiar Bicolano foodstuffs— red hot sili, bawang, kangkong, petchay, sibulyas, laya, and kamatis. The tempting aroma of Bicol cuisine fills the air. Rows of eateries serve ice-cold fruit juices and halo-halo to banish the tropical heat of summer. Native calamay sweets, balisoso, dila-dila, and ibos are available for hungry shoppers. Puto, bokayo, latik, pinuyos and baduya never frustrate the taste of those who seek them in the market.

It’s no wonder why Naga sorely misses the market that has been razed by fire. Many ask how long it will take the government to restore the place to its original ambience. As one can imagine, the supermarket is the truly the heart of a vibrant city where businesses flourish and the soul of the people dwells. (Photo Credits: bingbing; hellochris; hellochris) =0=

Mayor Jess Robredo Meets Naga Fire Victims

In a gathering at the site of the fire that gutted the Naga Supermarket, Mayor Jesse Robredo explains to his constituents the measures he will take to tackle the problems that follow the displacement of vendors and shoppers of the market. According to Bicol Mail, an estimated P70 million worth of goods and property were lost. (Photo Credit: Bicol Mail, Movember 13, 2008)

RELATED BLOGS: “Naga Public Market (Supermarket) Burns Down” Posted by myty555 at 11/07/2008; “Huge Loss in Naga Supermarket Fire” Posted by mesiamd at 11/09/2008;”Fire brings woes to Naga City market vendors” Posted by mesiamd at 11/07/2008

UPDATE: Inquirer (11/17/08, Escandor J.) Announced by Sen. Joker Arroyo and Budget Sec. Rolando Andaya, the national government will release P70 million to finance the reconstruction of the city’s three-story public market. Fire damage assessment was upped to P100 million from the earlier reported P70 million reported.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago loses bid in ICJ

November 7, 2008

After so much hype that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is Philippines’ bet to the International Court of Justice (ICJ,) it is reported that she isn’t selected to be part of the judicial body.

Observers have their own explanations, but the reasons behind her non-selection can only be guessed.

Certainly there are lessons to be learned about the flamboyant, often controversial senator-lawyer with volatile demeanor and assumed superlative intelligence. She bemuses her colleagues, entertain the public, and cow members of the local legislature.

Many of Santiago’s Filipino admirers who actively rooted for her are “saddened,” by the result, but they need to rethink what it takes to be in the ICJ, a world judicial body with its own political culture. (Photo Credit: neofinoy.info) =0=

RELATED BLOG: See my blog on May 29, 2008 entitled “Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s flight to reality and her bid to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)”

The loss and return of the Virgin of Penafrancia & the Colgante Bridge tragedy

September 19, 2008


Part I: The Loss and Return of Our Lady of Penafrancia
by Totie Mesia and Mariso Ocampo
Posted by mesiamd at 9/19/2008

Bicolanos like the rest of the Filipinos are supposed to be happy people. We shun gloom, when it relates to the Penafrancia celebration. A diet of ginota’an na gulay, chili, and doses of wicked weather make our fiestas more fun. For each favor we ask the Virgin, we have a positive answer to hope for.

It was in 1981, nine years after the Colgante Bridge collapse that Ina’s image vanished. Carted away by burglars to the distress of the people, Ina’s icon became an object of a nationwide hunt. Prayers were said by the entire nation for the return of the old ebony image which could fetch a good sum as Imelda Marcos’ jewels from antique dealers like Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Reports of malevolent portents and explicable signs occupied us, superstitious Bicolanos. But it wasn’t until unrelenting torrential rains flooded Manila that the image reappeared.

“What’s important is she’s back,” we were told. Although it was a crime to snatch the Virgin’s image, few seemed to know who took it. Punishing the robber(s) wasn’t a priority as some rumors flew that Imelda Marcos was involved.

The sight of bare-footed devotees piously walking the image back to her church brought home the popular message of “forgive and forget” which remained a core value of many us. Forgiving and putting aside foul memories of the theft were easy justifications of not doing anything to prosecute a crime. It stood on the way of bringing justice and closure to those who had been wronged.

“My son died looking for Ina,“ said Salvacion C. Neola of Naga City a few years before she passed away. Like everyone else, Neola, a widow and fervent Penafrancia devotee didn’t insist who was behind Ina’s disappearance> Her son Reynaldo, a Naga City policeman, met his death; his companions were seriously wounded searching for the icon. With little clarity to what really happened, we seemed to have lost a footnote of history and a chance to punish the crime.

Today, the Colgante tragedy where scores died while watching the Penafrancia river procession is an old tale just like the enigma of Ina’s disappearance. We recall the frenzy stirred by the bridge crashing down the river, the victims trapped in the pile of fractured timber resting on severed body parts in the water. More than a hundred drowned deep in the dark riverbed, making recovery and recognition difficult.

As told by Rufo Tuy Jr, the popular DZRB radio announcer, some met their demise when the bridge’s live electrical wirings snapped. As lights went dead, hysterical moms who heard of the tragedy acted like agitated hens, panicked by the immensity of the tragedy. Displayed in a local radio station for relatives to identify, piles of bodies of those who drowned and were crushed by the rushing crowd in stampede scared them. (to be continued…Part II: The Colgante Bridge Tragedy of 1972...) =0=

Losing and finding the icon of the Virgin of Penafrancia: why the public deserves to know

September 8, 2008


The plot was not as riveting and complicated as the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, but when the image of the Virgin of Penafrancia (Ina) aka Nuestra Senora de Penafrancia vanished on August 16, 1981, the Filipinos were devastated.

There was revulsion among the people when unnamed burglar(s) barged into the Penafrancia Church and snatched the centuries-old Ina, the most popular sacred object of Marian veneration of Bicolanos. The antique image went missing for about three weeks fueling speculations and causing the death of a Naga city policemen. The Virgin’s image was returned before the annual September fiesta in her honor.

Countless devotees went on penitential processions praying for the recovery of Ina’s image. On September 5, 1981, Typhoon Ruping swept the land. Msgr. Florencio Yllana, the former chaplain of the Penafrancia Church, went to Manila to receive the 6-part statue of the Virgin when it reappeared.

A thanksgiving mass was offered in the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral after the wooden image was brought back to Naga. The city buzzed with rumors, but church and government officials were tight-lipped on who was behind the theft. At the time when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda were in power, no one dared to ask. The Catholic clergy cryptically said, “it’s enough that Ina is back!”

No it isn’t enough. For the sake of history, accountability, and justice for Patrolman Reynaldo Neola (the policeman who died looking for the missing Virgin,) the public to this day deserves to know. It’s time that those who are privy to the circumstances of the theft must speak up to unravel the truth before time buries an ignominious footnote in Penafrancia’s past. (Photo Credit: JerryLimLee)

Abangan!

The Loss and Return

of Our Lady of Penafrancia

& the Colgante Bridge Disaster

(Parts I & Part II)

by Totie Mesia and Mariso Ocampo

“Thirty-six years after the Colgante bridge collapse and 27 years after Ina vanished and returned, Bikol keeps a blurry recall and record of the events.”