Archive for the ‘Naga City’ Category

Soup Kitchen Project in Penafrancia Parish

April 5, 2009

To help feed the poor residents of Naga City a group of church-goers of the Penafrancia Shrine bonded together to set up a soup kitchen. The weekly project supported by donations from friends and benefactors started last March 21, 2009 with indigents of Liboton, Penafrancia and San Felipe as recipients.

The humanitarian activity which aims to supplement the nutrition of the poor is spearheaded by Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Gerry Hernandez who serves as the spiritual director. Volunteers include Dulce de Guzman as president, Joan Padillo, secretary-treasurer; Helen Juanillo auditor; Capt. Roland Villanueva, Tony and Edna Amparado, Pacing Oriño, Josie Lumangaya, Naty Virata, Eden Agravante, Lolit de Jesus, Mameng Roñosa and Shirley Mendoza, members. (Photo Credit: Princesse_Laya) =0=

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UPCAT—The Movie Links UP Ibalon And UPAA

March 2, 2009

There is a bunch of inspired members common to UP Ibalon Alumni and the UP Alumni Association of Camarines Sur. Inevitably, both organizations teamed up when the latter brought the premiere of UPCAT –the Movie to Naga City on Feb 28, 2009.

UPCAT–the Movie is an independent film that features upstart talents: Felix Roco, Hiyasmin Neri, Director Roman Carlo Olivarez, scriptwriter Alfred Reyes, and producer Joselle Acuña.

According to Director Roman Carlo Olivarez passing the UP College Admissions Tests (UPCAT) has become a common symbol of hope and dreams of the Filipino youth in their quest for intellectual excellence, a commodity that young people appreciate more personally as tough global competition stares then right in the face in the 21st century. This Communication Arts graduate of La Salle says he has no intention of creating a mystique around UPCAT, but its compelling symbolism is so significant and so timely UPCAT deserves to be a movie title. (You can view our video interview with Director Roman Carlo Olivare at our other website www.upibalon.com).

The UP Ibalon Bicol is happy to have supported the premiere of UPCAT—the Movie in Naga City, indirectly cheering up independent film makers and teaching the Filipino youth to dream.

Producer Joselle Acuña, also a UP alumna, promises to be back to Bicol for a sequel to UPCAT. She likes Bicol to be the setting and she likes to feature stories of real-life UP graduates. (You can view our video interview with Joselle at our other website www.upibalon.com).

Many Ibalonians of course have life stories worth telling. (Mighty be prepared to tell your story).


Acknowledgment: All photos in this post courtesy of Director Roman Carlo Olivarez, who had his Nikon digital SLR camera handy all the time.

Go to our other website www.upibalon.com for more photos and videos related to this activity.

UPCAT—The Movie Links UP Ibalon And UPAA

March 2, 2009

There is a bunch of inspired members common to UP Ibalon Alumni and the UP Alumni Association of Camarines Sur. Inevitably, both organizations teamed up when the latter brought the premiere of UPCAT –the Movie to Naga City on Feb 28, 2009.

UPCAT–the Movie is an independent film that features upstart talents: Felix Roco, Hiyasmin Neri, Director Roman Carlo Olivarez, scriptwriter Alfred Reyes, and producer Joselle Acuña.

According to Director Roman Carlo Olivarez passing the UP College Admissions Tests (UPCAT) has become a common symbol of hope and dreams of the Filipino youth in their quest for intellectual excellence, a commodity that young people appreciate more personally as tough global competition stares then right in the face in the 21st century. This Communication Arts graduate of La Salle says he has no intention of creating a mystique around UPCAT, but its compelling symbolism is so significant and so timely UPCAT deserves to be a movie title. (You can view our video interview with Director Roman Carlo Olivare at our other website www.upibalon.com).

The UP Ibalon Bicol is happy to have supported the premiere of UPCAT—the Movie in Naga City, indirectly cheering up independent film makers and teaching the Filipino youth to dream.

Producer Joselle Acuña, also a UP alumna, promises to be back to Bicol for a sequel to UPCAT. She likes Bicol to be the setting and she likes to feature stories of real-life UP graduates. (You can view our video interview with Joselle at our other website www.upibalon.com).

Many Ibalonians of course have life stories worth telling. (Mighty be prepared to tell your story).


Acknowledgment: All photos in this post courtesy of Director Roman Carlo Olivarez, who had his Nikon digital SLR camera handy all the time.

Go to our other website www.upibalon.com for more photos and videos related to this activity.

Nepalese MD’s to train and render service in Bicol Medical Center

February 14, 2009

As a result of the drop in the number of medical school graduates and the exodus of local doctors to foreign countries, the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga City has resorted to bringing in 40 doctors from Nepal. From the remote country close to Mount Everest, Nepalese foreign medical graduates will be in the city to train and render service.

“The Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Concepcion Pequeña, Naga City is a 500-bed government tertiary hospital under the direct supervision of Department of Health Center for Health Development – Bicol, Legazpi City. It is a non-profit institution and one of the 13 medical centers under the National Government.” http://doh.gov.ph/bmc (Photo Credit: bmc)

The presence of imported healers in Naga is expected to beef up the medical personnel of the government hospital which has suffered the lack of MDs for the last 5 years. There have been fewer applicants to fill in the 28 doctor-vacancies in BMC. Therefore, the coming of the international physicians appears to be a boon to the hospital service in the city. But is it?

Without inciting any nativist sentiment against the foreign professionals, I think it is justified to ask if the Nepalese doctors’ schooling is comparable to those of the local physicians. The adherence to standard medical training (i.e. in the tradition of Western allopathic medicine) is important before they are allowed to handle patients. Their medical background must be adequate to meet the peculiar health needs of the community. To ascertain competency and avoid compromising the health of patients, they must be tested for basic communication and clinical skills.

Though the Department of Health (DOH) approves of these foreign doctors, does the government have guidelines that define the scope of medical duties and accountability? Are the professional regulations in place to protect the doctors, their patients and the hospitals where they work? Will the presence of these trainee-MDs not interfere with the training and oversight of local doctors, nurses, and other paramedical professionals? Are there enough senior MDs to supervise and teach them? Are they not in violation with the rules of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) which regulates physician licensure and practice? Has there been discussions on the effects of foreign doctors on the healthcare of the nation? Their presence may distract the government from pursuing the programs which will make local doctors stay and serve the community instead of going abroad.

In a blog I posted on August 27, 2008, I wrote:

According to Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Reynaldo Santos, M.D. the arrival of these foreign medical trainees attests to the high quality of education in the country. But this is doubted in the wake of a sharp decline of the number of hospitals, a marked rise in patient load for doctors and nurses, a low passing rate of Filipinos in the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE,) an over-crowding of patients and trainees, lack of budget, equipment upgrade, and medical facilities in many hospitals.

I hope Bicol Medical Center has ironed out the important issues cited above. Otherwise, sending in the Nepalese doctors will solve some of the current healthcare problems of Naga City, but it can also spawn fresh and bigger challenges that haven’t been given enough attention and consideration.=0=

RELATED BLOG: “RP’s 40% drop in med school enrollment & the foreign doctors” Posted by mesiamd at 8/27/2008

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UP Ibalon with Physicians for Peace in Naga City

February 7, 2009

The Physicians for Peace gave out free wheelchairs to pre-screened indigents in Naga City. UP Ibalon Bicol was a partner in this project and may act as conduit for future donations by the Physicians for Peace, an international charity organization headed by a Fil-American, Dr. Juan Montero.

This partnership of the UP Ibalon and the Physicians for Peace came as a result of the efforts of Dr. Josephine (Jenny) Robredo-Bundoc, a UP Ibalon alumna and currently a world consultant of the physicians’ group. Jenny is the younger sister of UP Ibalon Bicol president, Butch Robredo and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo.

The wheelchairs were pre-fabricated and the UP Ibalon members had the fun of their life assembling the equipment. The activity was a satisfying spiritual experience for Ibalonians, having been exposed to disabled while having the capability to offer help, however small.

Having grassroot reach in the city’s 27 barangays, the members of the Kapisanan ng Sangguniang Barangay Kagawad (KSBK) Naga City chapter had searched for recipients. Lolit Nantes heads the KSBK as President.

The City Social Welfare Department further screened the recipients.

Watch the video above and share the fun.














Erlinda Requejo-Arellano: outstanding Bicolana community leader of New Jersey

January 18, 2009

As the Bicol National Association of America (BNAA) gears for its July national convention in New York City this year, I can’t help but pay tribute to Erlinda Requejo-Arellano (Linda,) president of the Bicolandia Association Inc. of the Eastern Seaboard USA. She is at the helm of the preparations for the grand event which will draw Bicolanos and friends in the tri-state area.

I believe Linda is most capable in doing the job. She is a well-known community leader with outstanding accomplishments to her credit. Having been the founding president of the Filipino American Political Action Coalition of New Jersey, Inc. (FAPAC-NJ), she serves as the organizer and founding President of the Filipino American Political Action Group of Essex County and Vice President (Eastern Region) of the Bikol National Association of America.

She is the auditor of the Philippine American Communities Executive Council and the vice president of the Filipino Association of Northern New Jersey, Inc. (FANNJI). An adviser and three-time past overall chairperson of the Philippine Day Organizing Council (PDOC,) she is a mover in the Women’s Initiatives of Nutley headed by the mayor Joan Cocchiola.

Linda assumed headship and remains to be an engaging adviser of the Our Lady of Penafrancia Devotees Association, Inc. (OLPDA,) a religious organization which promotes the devotion to the patroness of the Bicol Region. A strong-willed daughter of a war veteran-hero, she took the position of founding president of the Sons, Daughters and Orphans of Philippine American Veterans, Inc.

Among Linda’s other numerous community involvements was her longtime presidency in the Filipino American Voters’ League, Inc. She admirably served as a mentor in the Juvenile Urban Mentoring Program of Passaic Youth, treasurer of 2002 Multicultural Committee of Passaic, member of the 1999 Facilities Advisory Board and Chairman of the 1998 Quality of Life Program, both of the Passaic Board of Education.

From 1995 through 1998, Linda prominently sat on the board of the United Passaic Organization (a CAP agency) as an able treasurer, chairman of the finance committee, and member of the education and fundraising Committees. Professionally, Linda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Born with twin sister Mila, Linda hails from Canaman, Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, Philippines where the Requejo family has humbly served the community for over 100 years, majority of the years were under the mayoralty of her grandfather and father Damaso who served the most. Her brother Emmanuel is currently the mayor.

A consistent honor student at the Colegio (now Universidad) de Sta. Isabel, Naga City, spanning her elementary and high school years, Linda was one of the Three Most Outstanding High School Students. She was bestowed leadership and academic excellence recognition from among over 5,000students in the city.

After high school, she won an American Field Service scholarship and spent a year in Kenmore (Buffalo) New York. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila with a Bachelors of Science degree in Commerce major in Accounting. Soon after passing the Philippine accountancy exams, she joined Sycip, Gorres and Velayo, CPA’s and LM Power Engineering until she immigrated to the United States.

She worked for Franwall Optical Co. while taking graduate credits at the State University of NY in Buffalo. She moved for a better career offer with an accounting firm in Clifton, NJ where she earned her New Jersey license as a certified public accountant (CPA.) She was senior accountant and office manager of the firm for 17 years. Presently, Linda is the comptroller of the Passaic Board of Education, a job of trust which oversees a budget of over $200 million.

Linda was recently feted with a leadership award for political advocacy by the Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League, Inc. (PACCAL). Her leadership in political empowerment has also earned her the Go an Extra Mile (GEM) recognition given by the Filipino Asian Bulletin community and the St. Vincent de Paul Public Service Award, for being among the first awardees of the Universidad de Sta. Isabel as an outstanding alumna.

Other sterling distinctions she has had the pleasure of receiving are the United States Special Congressional Recognition for Leadership and Community Service, the New Jersey Assembly Award for outstanding community leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Recognition Award for outstanding leadership, the Philippine Day Organizing Council Bayanihan (Communal Spirit) Award, the Passaic Board of Education Recognition Award as chairperson of the Quality of Life Program, and awards from the Philippine American Friendship Committee, the Philippine Independence Celebration Committee, the Performing Arts of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine American Communities Council, Inc., the Philippine American Veterans Organization, Inc. and the Bicolandia Association, Inc.

Above all these, what Linda brags to be an “award” that’s unparalleled, unsurpassed and only hers to claim is being mother of her two most wonderful children, Gerard, 29and Marie, 28. =0=

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GMA’s ditch-low approval rating, her kiddie “payback package" for OFW’s & a big store in Naga City rises

December 17, 2008

Negative (-30)

President Gloria M. Arroyo gets the lowest satisfaction rating in 2008, much lower than the (-)9 she got the year before. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) result from the 4th quarter poll at the end of November is thought to be bad. It attests to the unpopularity of the administration that’s wracked by corruption and nepotism, believed to be worse than that of Ferdinand Marcos.

Unresolved issues like joblessness, floundering economics, the Bolante fertilizer scam, Euro generals money laundering case, unabated maritime disasters, journalist killings, charter-change controversy, poor education and healthcare, Mindanao secessionist problem, CARP extension, unimplemented cheap medicine law, and the big C (Corruption) noticed by watchers abroad are in the long list of problems that stun the public.

P1.4 trillion

It’s the 2009 national budget which is approved in the second and last deliberation in the senate. Notable in the budget are less allocations for the Department of Agrarian Reform by P3.1 billion, Energy P61 million, Finance 13 million, Local Governments P436 million, Justice P215 million, Armed Forces P75 million, Public Works P3.4 billion, Social Welfare P243 million, and National Economic Development Authority by P25 million. The budget cuts on certain services are allocated in other areas. A P10 billion economic fund is being considered, but no appropriations are set aside for the Office of the Press Secretary, the Philippine Tourism Authority and Kilos Asenso.

4,000

SM, the large monopolistic mall-chain owned by business mogul Henry Sy, Sr. in the Phiippines, is making preparations to open its outlet in Naga City on March 2009. About 4,000 job-seekers are needed in the operation which is estimated to generate $12 million in wages and P40 million in taxes. Expected to compete with small stores of the area, SM may draw shoppers in neighboring towns.

The exact effects of such a huge business in the city of 160,000 people aren’t completely known. Will there be congestion in the city? Will money windfall benefit the Bicolanos? Will profits be carted away from the area and render the mom-and-pop stores struggling to survive? Did the Naga City officials do a thorough study on the cost-benefit of approving an SM store?

50,000

As a result of the global economic crisis, the number of Filipinos abroad expected to be laid off has increased. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo has laid out a “payback package” assistance for retrenched overseas foreign workers (OFW’s,) a tepid offering of skills training, scholarships, and measly P10,000 ($200) to start a “business” upon their return to the country.

15,000

Participants of the Manila’s anti-charter change (cha-cha) rally were larger than expected, according to Makati mayor Jejomar Binay, the president of the United Opposition. More protests against Cha-cha and other frustrating issues are on the works with broadened support from various organizations. (Photo Credits: gmaresign; doublefault2; arty; gmaresign=0=

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A time to build, a time to heal—a poignant account of the fire damage in Naga

November 20, 2008

by Acela Badiola-Bretan

From Leni Robredo, here are the pictures from the Naga City Fire. According to Leni, the city’s priority is to assist the stallholders so they could start selling their goods again ASAP. But most of the stallholders were small-time entrepreneurs and none of them had their goods insured.”—Melyn Lucido, CSI’81

When I asked the vendors how long they will be back, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last.”—Dusktildawn (UP Ibalon Blog, 11/17/08)

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 truly the heart of a vibrant city where businesses flourish and the soul of the people dwells.”—Pitoy Moreno (UP Ibalon Blog, 11/15/08)

Iyo baga…Alms. Si Sherry Guerrero may Botica Lexar. Ang tugang ni Melyn igwa man 24 K pawnshop sa first floor. Napa-ngiturugan ko ngani ang supermarket several weeks ago ta dati akong alalay ni mama pag nagsasaod. Ang price ko kan pagbitbit kang sinaudan kadto iyo an mag snack duman sa kanto kan saodan na igwa nin mga turu-turo na loglog.”—Bingbing Badiola, CSI’81.

The first floor of the supermarket was spared, dai man nasulo. Si 2nd and 3rd floors ang nasulo… Nakasalvar si botica ni Sherry and pawn shop ni Tita Belits. Ang aram ko si Felo may meat store sa 3rd floor… Mapungaw, ta crisis na ngani, nangyari pa ining sulo na ini..” –Nenette Abrigo, CSI’81

Aram na baga what started the fire? Was the entire 2nd and 3rd floor razed down? Sinabihan ako kan sobrino ko kan Friday mismo na state of calamity ngani daa kamo dyan. Hope everything would turn out okay ta harani na baga ang holidays, herak man ang mga na-displace…”—Aleta Gehrke. CSI’81. (Photo Credits: Leni Robredo)

NOTE: The fire that gutted the Naga Supermarket happened on Thursday, November 7, 2008 after a province-wide black-out. It was theorized that an unattended candle ignited the blaze. =0=

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; “Feeling the loss of Maogmang Lugar’s market fire”
Posted by mesiamd at 11/15/2008.

In the Aftermath of the Naga Public Market Fire

November 17, 2008


I was in Naga City last Saturday and instinctively I headed for the burned supermarket that prominently figured in the local and national news recently. I knew the location as well as the market’s general lay-out having visited it or passed around it several times in the past. I was curious on the extent of the damage and how things are different now. Knapsack and camera in tow, I just walked my way towards the market oblivious to the slight drizzle and the sky that is turning dark. I could have easily taken a jeepney or tricycle but there is something about walking the streets of familiar and not-so-familiar places that fascinates me. The few pesos that I would save wouldn’t hurt as recession lurks just behind the corner.

The first thing that caught my attention was the blackened 2nd floor and the crowd of vendors that occupies the street beneath it. The traffic was beginning to build up as tricycles and jeepneys slow down trying to avoid the various obstacles that used to be minimal in the past. Looking at the market from end to end, I realized it’s really huge occupying two big blocks.


The fire that destroyed the Naga Public Market has displaced hundreds of vendors that used to occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are mostly those occupying stalls in the wet market selling meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. They now occupy both sides of J. Hernandez street housed in makeshift tents selling their wares. Both the vendors and the buyers are exposed to the sun and the rain with only their flimsy trapal and umbrellas to protect them. They are also exposed to the carbon monoxide and pollution that are ever present in the street as jeepneys, tricycles and other motorized vehicles inch their way through the narrowed and crowded streets made worse by the rain.


When I asked the vendors how long they will be back to their previous stalls, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last. These are simple people with simple dreams, honest and hardworking who deserve every hard-earned peso they earn. I felt great admiration for them but words weren’t coming out.


Those occupying the ground floor of the supermarket were not as affected. It’s business as usual for them except for the fact that they now have to share their frontage with the hordes of displaced vendors that are also trying to make a living in the aftermath of the tragedy. A significant portion of the second floor housing ukay-ukay stalls was spared from the fire. In the inner portions of the ground floor, the beauty and barber shops are still intact. I did not find those barbers whom I used to play chess with many years ago. I wasn’t even sure if they are still there or if I can remember their faces. The row of carinderias still serve snacks and meals, each one trying to entice customers to try out their menus. After a light snack I exited through the rows of stalls selling clothes, dropped by the newsstand and bought a copy of my favorite local newspaper. I used to browse the headlines in this particular newsstand and somehow it felt reassuring that they are still there.


With the commitment of several high ranking Bicolano government officials to reconstruct the damaged Supermarket, I’m optimistic that in no time the Maogmang Lugar public market with its myriad of native attractions and local charm will be back to its feet and will continue to serve the people of Naga City and the surrounding towns as well as continue to fascinate simple travelers like me.

In the Aftermath of the Naga Public Market Fire

November 17, 2008


I was in Naga City last Saturday and instinctively I headed for the burned supermarket that prominently figured in the local and national news recently. I knew the location as well as the market’s general lay-out having visited it or passed around it several times in the past. I was curious on the extent of the damage and how things are different now. Knapsack and camera in tow, I just walked my way towards the market oblivious to the slight drizzle and the sky that is turning dark. I could have easily taken a jeepney or tricycle but there is something about walking the streets of familiar and not-so-familiar places that fascinates me. The few pesos that I would save wouldn’t hurt as recession lurks just behind the corner.

The first thing that caught my attention was the blackened 2nd floor and the crowd of vendors that occupies the street beneath it. The traffic was beginning to build up as tricycles and jeepneys slow down trying to avoid the various obstacles that used to be minimal in the past. Looking at the market from end to end, I realized it’s really huge occupying two big blocks.


The fire that destroyed the Naga Public Market has displaced hundreds of vendors that used to occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors. They are mostly those occupying stalls in the wet market selling meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. They now occupy both sides of J. Hernandez street housed in makeshift tents selling their wares. Both the vendors and the buyers are exposed to the sun and the rain with only their flimsy trapal and umbrellas to protect them. They are also exposed to the carbon monoxide and pollution that are ever present in the street as jeepneys, tricycles and other motorized vehicles inch their way through the narrowed and crowded streets made worse by the rain.


When I asked the vendors how long they will be back to their previous stalls, nobody can give a definite answer. Looking at their faces, I experienced a surge of emotions. I was happy to know that they are still able to sell and earn a living for their children and family. At the same time I felt sad because they have to endure harsh conditions and nobody’s sure for how long this will last. These are simple people with simple dreams, honest and hardworking who deserve every hard-earned peso they earn. I felt great admiration for them but words weren’t coming out.


Those occupying the ground floor of the supermarket were not as affected. It’s business as usual for them except for the fact that they now have to share their frontage with the hordes of displaced vendors that are also trying to make a living in the aftermath of the tragedy. A significant portion of the second floor housing ukay-ukay stalls was spared from the fire. In the inner portions of the ground floor, the beauty and barber shops are still intact. I did not find those barbers whom I used to play chess with many years ago. I wasn’t even sure if they are still there or if I can remember their faces. The row of carinderias still serve snacks and meals, each one trying to entice customers to try out their menus. After a light snack I exited through the rows of stalls selling clothes, dropped by the newsstand and bought a copy of my favorite local newspaper. I used to browse the headlines in this particular newsstand and somehow it felt reassuring that they are still there.


With the commitment of several high ranking Bicolano government officials to reconstruct the damaged Supermarket, I’m optimistic that in no time the Maogmang Lugar public market with its myriad of native attractions and local charm will be back to its feet and will continue to serve the people of Naga City and the surrounding towns as well as continue to fascinate simple travelers like me.