Archive for the ‘Legazpi City’ Category

30,000 families to be relocated in Bicol train rehab

December 13, 2008

It’s like Rip Van Winkle coming out from sleep. At last, the plan to repair the Philippine National Railways (PNR) from Laguna to Legazpi City is alive again. For the project to push, it will require the relocation of 30,000 families settled on the 15-meter clearance of the train’s path.

The government plan is definite good news to Bicol, but it’s mind-bending why only now will repairs be undertaken. The train plying the southern end of Luzon is different from how it looked decades ago as it meandered in the craggy mountainsides of Quezon Province to the foot of Mount Isarog in Camarines Sur and Mayon in Albay. Huge numbers of people have already crowded the tracks, the 483-kilometer stretch from Manila.

Vital to travel in the Bicol region and the rest of the country, the PNR had been largely neglected. It practically operated in meager maintenance budget even if plans to extend the line, about 135 kilometers from Legazpi to Sorsogon had been on the works.

Wooden planks and metal supports on the transportation line were continual victims of thieves who used them as firewood or sell them as scraps. For many years, almost nobody took action for their upkeep, to the disappointment of Bicolanos. The yearly torrential rains caused infrastructure damage. The government did little to prevent people from building houses along the railway tracks.

This early the concern for the legal rights of the squatters has been raised. Human rights groups are pushing for standard eviction amenities. The enormity of the problem causes some interested investors to back out of the project.

“Jun de la Torre, Community Organization of the Philippines (COPE) assistant regional coordinator said they have strengthened their social preparation efforts in favor of the railway settlers by collaborating with 10-federation strong Bicol Urban Poor Coordinating Council (BUPCC) headed by Lorna Chavez to ensure that the rights of these affected settlers would not be derailed when the PNR rehabilitation project starts in the near future.” Bicol Mail, (12/12/08, Neola, J)

The project is rocked with questionable political deals. P17 billion has been allotted to remove the illegal dwellers on the dangerous tracks. It constitutes a third of the total budget of P52.19—the cost of the much delayed project which was earlier scheduled in 2005 to 2011.

It is uncertain when the money will come or if it is adequate. With the postponements that go with government projects, at this time, the railway rehabilitation remains a dream for Bicolanos. (Photo Credits: Orangedroplet; Alcogoodwin; Alcogoodwin; orangedroplet)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Life on the railway tracks & the fate of Isadora Duncan” Posted on Friday September 12th, 2008


Bombo Radyo Legazpi conducts Blood letting

November 25, 2008

Bombo Radyo Legazpi conducted its’ 4th yearly bloodletting activity named “ Dugong Bombo, A little pain . . . a life to gain.” at the 3rd floor of the Pacific Mall in Legazpi City last Saturday, November 8, 2008. The daylong activity which netted around 130 qualified donors is part of the 6th Bombo Radyo’s simultaneous bloodletting activity in 24 key cities nationwide in honor of the birthday of Bombo Radyo Philippines’ President/ CEO Dr. Rogelio M. Florete.

The bloodletting which was in partnership with the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) was led by Bombo Radyo Legazpi Station Manager Jun Derla who were joined by practically all his staff which includes popular anchors Nelson Bulalacao, Nilda Barcelo and Mr. Siramity- Joshua Martinez, Jr. who was seen donating blood. Aside from the PNRC, other partners include the Department of Health (DOH), Provincial Health Office, City Health Office and a number of volunteers. Among the sponsors were Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and 1st Colonial Grill of Mr. Bong Aspe who donated packed lunches.

The blood donors include men and officers from the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, reservists, Philippine Guardians, Kabalikat Civicom, the Albay Medical Society and the general public who were in queue at the Pacific Mall entrance even before the mall opening. All Dugong Bombo blood donors were given “Dugong Bombo” T-shirts, fluid replacements, snacks and multi-vitamins, courtesy of the national and local sponsors.

Nationwide, the bloodletting activity totaled 5,123 successful blood donors generating 2,323 liters or 11.6 drums of blood. Bombo Radyo Philippines has been cited and awarded several times by the Philippine National Red Cross for their one of a kind blood donation program which exceeded their record last year. Bombo Radyo Philippines pays tribute to the countless donors including those who did not qualify to ensure the nation’s blood supply requirements which are critically needed during calamities and dengue outbreaks and during November and December when blood is usually in short supply.

JCI Legazpi creates waves at the 2008 JCI National Convention

November 25, 2008

The Junior Chamber International (JCI) is a worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs whose members are more popularly known as the Jaycees. In the recent 2008 Dakak JCI National Convention held in different venues such as Dakak, Zamboanga del Norte and Dipolog City in the south, the JCI Legazpi showed their contemporaries of over 1000 delegates from over 200 chapters around the country that when it comes to achievements, they are in a higher category all their own.

The JCI Legazpi delegation composed of President Charlie Chua, EVP Uriel Maddela, VP Internal Yves Eli Yu, VP External Martin Reynoso, JCI Sec.Gen. Sam Boviles, JCI Senator Joseph Barra, JCI Treasurer Roel Rutuerma and PP JCI Senator Noni Calleja first won the “Early Bird Award”. They have earlier won the “Most Outstanding JCI Chapter” under category 2 or those composed of 46-75 members. They placed 7th in the National JCI PEA ( Philippine Efficiency Awards) wherein points are accumulated by a chapter based on the number and quality of their projects raising their ranking from 9th the previous year. The JCI Lagazpi also garnered the “Best Environmental Award” which netted them the “Best of the Best Award”, a very notable achievement considering the significance of the project with today’s global warming phenomenon.

The prestigious “Best of the Best Award” won by JCI Legazpi was the first Coral Farm in the Bicol region using a modular design that stimulates the growth of corals from 5-10 times its normal growth. Corals are the backbone of the marine ecosystems where fishes breed. Corals are destroyed by a variety of causes among them- pollution, siltation, erosion, chemicals and ship spills, dynamite fishing and their natural predator- the crown of thorns. Without corals, there will be no fishes and all the living things in the food chain will be severely affected.

JCI Martin Reynoso, Project Chairman and inventor of the Self –contained system explained that his invention generates 3-4 volts of electricity that stimulates the growth of corals. Unlike other models that costs around $25,000, his modular design costs around P5,000 and can easily be transported to where it is needed such as oil spill areas. This corals could also be sold to aquarium owners without the need to disturb existing corals.

JCI Martin Reynoso drew his inspiration from the Jaycees creed that says, “Earth’s great treasure lies in human personality”. Fully aware of the effects of global warming and the need to protect the environment, his invention- a Modular design that is efficient, compact, portable and cheap adopted by JCI Legazpi is one great contribution to environmental protection and worthy of the “Best of the Best Award”. Indeed to Martin and JCI Legazpi, “Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life”.

Filipina is Miss Earth 2008

November 10, 2008

The Philippines’ Miss Karla Paula Henry was crowned Miss Earth 2008 at the Clark Expo Ampitheater in Pampanga Sunday besting a field of beautiful, talented and environmentally- conscious girls from 85 countries. It was the first time that a Filipina won the Miss Earth pageant which is considered as among the top 3 pageants worldwide.

Other winners are Tanzania’s Miss Miriam Odemba 25,1st runner-up, who was crowned Miss Earth Air; Mexico’s Miss Abegail Elizalde Romo 23, 2nd runner-up who was crowned Miss Earth Water and Brazil’s Miss Tatiana Kelen Alves 24, 3rd runner-up who was Miss Earth Fire. Aside from the four, those who made it to the top eight were: Spain’s Miss Adriana Reveron Moreno, 23; Colombia’s Miss Ariane Rodriguez Merchan, 22; Venezuela’s Miss Daniela Torrealba Pacheco, 19 and Switzerland’s Miss Nasanin Nuri, 19. Rounding up the top 16 were Thailand, Poland, Nigeria, Czech Republic, Romania, USA, Russia and Korea.

The question and answer portion was the clincher for the Filipina where the final four were all asked the same question, “ If you are given the chance to speak with newly-elected US President Barack Obama about the state of our global environment, what will you tell him?” Karla Henry said that she would encourage Obama to implement an environmental subject in the curriculum of schools. She added that it is important to teach the youth knowledge about the environment so that in the coming years, they will take care of Mother Earth. “I believe our future lies in the youth”, she concluded.

Karla won US$20,000 while the three others won US$2,000 each on top of other prizes and perks. Karla also won as Miss Photogenic aside from winning the very first Fashion Design competition held at the Amazing Theatre in Pasay City on November 4, 2008. She wore an Ivan Raborar creation.

Miss Venezuela’s Daniela Torrealba wearing a luscious and elegantly-designed dress which complemented her classy personality won the Best in Long Gown Award during the long gown competition held at PAGCOR, Grand Theatre in Paranaque last November 3, 2008. Miss Talent was won by Australia’s Rachael Smith during the Talent Competition held last November 2, 2008 at Tamayo’s Villa Immaculada in Manila.

The preliminary swimsuit competition was held last October 25, 2008 in three locations: Sabang Beach Resort, Puerto Princessa, Palawan; Golden Sunset, Calatagan, Batangas and Manila, Philippines. The candidates were divided into three groups and the top 15 in each group then competed in the final swimsuit competition held at the Fontana Leisure Park in the Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga last November 1, 2008. The Best in Swimsuit and Miss Fontana awards were garnered by Miss Mexico Abigail Elizalde and Miss Philippines Karla Paula Henry respectively. The National Costume competition was held at the PAGCOR Grand Theatre in Paranaque City last October 28, 2008. The Best in National Costume was won by Miss Panama Shassia Ubillus who was unanimously chosen by the members of the press.

The Miss Earth candidates have been touring the country’s different tourist destinations like the Philippines’ bets in the New 7 Wonders of the World- The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Mayon Volcano, Chocolate Hills and other sites planting trees, picking-up garbage and promoting the message to protect our Mother Earth. Several of them including Miss Earth Japan, Hungary, Netherlands, Guam, Israel, Liberia, Brazil and Mexico were here in Legazpi City last October 22-24 planting trees, promoting Mayon Volcano and joining the Parada de Legazpi last October 23. Among Legazpi’s visitors were Mexico’s Miss Earth Water Abegail Elizalde who was also the Best in Swimsuit and Brazil’s Miss Earth Fire Tatiana Alves.

Photo credits: XINHUA/ Reuters

Ibalong Festival 2008 Street Presentation

November 4, 2008

The Ibalong festival Street Presentation was held last October 30, 2008 along the main streets of Legazpi City.

Legazpi celebrates Fiesta, Ibalong Festival

November 4, 2008

LEGAZPI CITY- Legazpenos celebrated their fiesta and welcomed the return of the Ibalong Festival with much funfare characterized by month-long festivities. Among the highlights of the celebrations were the CEBIKA Art exhibit; Agri-Fair; 1st Ibalong Airsoft Challenge; Mayon Trail Run; Drum, Lyre and Bugle Competition; Brass Band Competition; Fiesta Parada de Legazpi; the Mutya ng Ibalong Pageant and the Street Presentation of the Ibalong Epic.

The 1st Ibalong Airsoft Challenge featuring 25 teams from Sorsogon; Naga City, Camarines Sur; Daet, Camarines Norte; Legazpi City; Polangui and Daraga, Albay was hosted by Cagsawa Airsoft Tactical Company and was held last October 26, 2008 at the Bicol University grounds. It was co-sponsored by the Saint Agnes Academy Batch Grade School ’80 and High School ’84. The challenge gave cash prizes ranging from P3,000 to P10,000 aside from recognizing the most honest, most disciplined and best in uniform teams.

The Mayon Trail Run was sponsored by the JCI Legazpi and was conceptualized to promote awareness of Global Warming.
The Fiesta Parada de Legazpi Band competition was won by Legazpi City High School- 1st in the High School category; 2nd place went to Felix Alfelor High School while 3rd place went to Dominican School of Pilar, Sorsogon. In the Elementary Division, the winners were 1st- Iriga Central school; 2nd- San Isidro Elementary School and 3rd- Bagtang Elementary School.

However it was the Brass Bands of Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (CSSAC), Mariners Baras and Legazpi and University of Saint Anthony (USANT) which was the main attraction of the Legazpi Parade aside from the Miss Earth beauties who anchored the parade. Mariners Baras showed why they were the best marching band in the recent Penafrancia Military Parade while USANT showed Legazpi why they were the best majorettes in Bicol for this year aside from being the overall champion in the Penafrancia Military Parade last September in Naga City.
In the Mutya ng Ibalong Pageant, Patrixia Sherly Santos of Daraga, Albay was this year’s fairest. Dianne Necio was 1st runner-up while Catherine Lagrimas was the 2nd runner-up. The coronation night was held at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi last October 29, 2008.

The highlight of this year’s Ibalong festival was the Street Presentation of the Ibalong Epic and 14 contingents from all over Bicol participated and vied for the hefty cash prizes. After the smoke of the battle cleared, Camarines Norte State College was the Overall Champion. For the minor category, Legazpi City High School was adjudged the Best in Sound. Camarines Norte State College was Best in Costume. In the major category, Best in Moving Choreography winners were: 5th- Bulan National High School; 4th- Pagasa National High Shool; 3rd- Legazpi City High School and the Champion was Camarines Norte State College who won P100,000.

In the Exhibition category, 5th- Tabaco National High School; 4th- Pagasa National High school; 3rd- Banquerohan National High School ; 2nd- Legazpi City High School and Champion was Camarines Norte State College who pocketed P200,000.

Truly, the month-long festivities of the Ibalong Festival was one happy occassion for the City and its residents, the business community and the events winners who trained and worked hard to to claim the glory they rightfully deserve. It is also a tribute to the various sectors, too many to mention- who worked hard to make the month-long festivities meaningful and successful, worthy of another encore.

Mutya ng Ibalong: Are Daraguenas the fairest of them all?

November 4, 2008

LEGAZPI CITY- It’s all happening with noticeable regularity and all too familiar results. Another lass from Daraga out of the 101 towns and 7 cities in the Bicol region, emerged as this year’s Mutya ng Ibalong as candidate no. 18- Patrixia Sherly De Lumban Santos stamped her beauty, talent and class over a field of 20 candidates to win the coveted crown. It must be remembered that in April and September this year, Miss Melody Adelheid Gerbasch, another Daraguena, won the prestigious Mutya ng Magayon and Miss Bicolandia pageants. Daraga, which is composed of 54 barangays, has retained its reputation of being the most progressive town not only in the province of Albay but in the whole of the Bicol Region. For decades it has enjoyed the air of progress, being a long time first class municipality in the province.

Patrixia pocketed the top prize of P100,000 aside from winning the Miss Photogenic and Miss Talent awards during the Coronation Night held last October 29, 2008 at the air-conditioned Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City. Candidate no. 15- Dianne Samar Necio from Polangui, Albay was the first runner-up and won P75,000 aside from being named as “Model of the Year”. Meanwhile candidate no. 8- Catherine Dominique Lagrimas of Nabua, Camarines Sur was the 2nd runner-up and came home P50,000 richer. Patrixia garnered an average score of 94.24%, Dianne got 93.34% and Catherine averaged 89.90%. Patrixia who admitted she’s an Anime fanatic is also the reigning Miss BU and won as Miss Cagsawa in the Mutya ng Daraga Pageant held last September. On the other hand, Dianne was a runner-up in the Miss Bicolandia 2007 aside from being a majorette of USANT which won the overall championship in this year’s Penafrancia Military Parade.

Candidate no. 19- Jane Riel Banares was the Best in Long Gown while candidate no. 5- April Armamento Santillan was voted as Miss Friendship and won as Best in Swimwear. Aside from the 5 aforementioned candidates, those who made it to the finals were candidate no. 7- Lizi Louise Resoles, candidate no. 13- Sarah Syed, candidate no. 16- Kelly Obligacion, candidate no.17- Ma. Rochelle Perez and candidate no. 20- Ma. Rochell Ruth Rebeta.

The pageant was different and unique in more ways than one. In a departure from the usual format, the 10 candidates who did not make it to the finals were the ones who asked the finalists the questions in the dreaded Q&A portion. Also, the mothers and guardians of the candidates became more than just background supporters as they were thrust in the limelight and were asked questions themselves by the three emcees that are stars in their own rights. Paolo Bediones is a well-known talent of Network giant GMA and hosts the popular Survivor Philippines series. Tintin Caballero was the Mutya ng Pilipinas 2002 while Jean Harn was the Miss Earth Philippines 2007.

The Pageant was truly a night to remember filled with great music. Jonathan Badon, known as the Philippine Prince of Operatic Pop sung Josh Groban’s “You raise me up” accompanied by virtuoso violin playing that seems to emanate from heaven and followed this up with Pavarotti songs sung in Italian that only artists of his caliber can deliver. Even the candidates were dancing and swaying to the beat of the music and the sizable crowd was ecstatic. The lighting was sufficient and appreciated by the photographers who were able to take magnificent images in available light. The gigantic LCD background was new and creative and beautifully complements the action onstage. We credit this to the genius and great partnership of Renee M. Salud, the Project Director and Mutya ng Ibalong Chairperson Geraldine B. Rosal who were not afraid to innovate and do what is necessary to make the Mutya ng Ibalong Pageant memorable and worthy of being considered as one of the leading pageants in the whole of Bicolandia.

The young Bicolanas of Mutya ng Ibalong 2008

October 23, 2008

As I read Dusktildawn’s interesting post showing this year’s young Mutya ng Ibalong candidates, I can’t help but be happy seeing the energy and enthusiasm of the stylish ladies on stage.

As soft as the sunrays sending warmth and sheen to the trees, the ladies are refulgent to stir gladness in the heart.

Never losing to find ways to have a bit of fun, they join a community endeavor with showmanship, grace, and remarkable optimism. In spite of the looming presence of difficulties around us, I see in their smiling radiant faces the positive outlook that all of us need. Hope, amity, along with reliance in one’s potential, is what the next generation needs. My kudos to all the beautiful women of the pageant! (Photo Credit: MlJ555) =0=

Mutya ng Ibalong 2008 Candidates Unveiled

October 23, 2008

LEGAZPI CITY- Twenty lovely and talented beauties from all over the Bicol region were presented as the official candidates of the Mutya ng Ibalong 2008 during the Press Conference held at the Venezia Hotel Clubhouse, Tuesday night. The Mutya ng Ibalong was revived after a two-year hiatus and is chaired by Mrs. Geraldine Barrameda Rosal with famed couturier Rene M. Salud as Project Director.

Overall, 6 candidates who made it were from Legazpi City, 3 from Daraga, 2 from Sorsogon City and 1 each from Naga City, Tabaco City, Masbate City, Tigaon, Nabua, Sto. Domingo, Buhi, Polangui and Guinobatan. The official candidates for the Mutya ng Ibalong 2008 are as follows:

Bessie Lucido, 21 2) Shindy Ortal, 20 3) Angela Amador, 17 4) Micah Altea Cabaero, 18 5) April Santillan, 22 6) Paula Angelica Jasareno, 18 7) Lizi Louise Resoles, 18 8) Catherine Lagrimas, 19 9) Casey Anne Austria, 16 10) May Ann Balingbing, 19 11) Crisandra Berces, 21 12) Jessica Biasca, 20 13) Sarah Syed, 19 14) Harijane Chua, 22 15)Dianne Necio, 16 16) Kelly Obligacion, 18 17) Ma. Rochelle Perez, 20 18) Patrixia Sherly Santos, 16 19) Jane Banares, 19 20) Ma. Rochell Ruth Rebeta, 18.

The winners will receive P100,000, P75,000 and P50,000 for Mutya ng Ibalong 2008, 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up respectively. The Miss Photogenic, Miss Friendship, Miss Talent and the Best in Swimsuit will likewise receive P5,000 each plus trophy. The Best Bicolano Gown Designer shall receive P8,000.

The Talent Show will be on October 22, 2008 at the LCC Activity Center. The Swimsuit Competition will be on October 26 and the Gown Competition will be on October 27 at the Pacific Mall. The Pageant night will be on October 29, 7pm at the Albay Astrodome. It will be hosted by Paolo Bediones, Tintin Caballero (Mutya ng Pilipinas 2002) and Miss Jean Harn (Miss Earth Philippines 2007).

Mutya ng Ibalong Chairperson Mrs. Geraldine Rosal said that she wants to give the girls national exposure with the help of Project Director Renee Salud, a famous couturier who is also behind the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageants. She supports and shares the candidates’ aspirations to uplift their lives. She added that with the help of everybody including the media, the pageant will be successful.

1st Mayon Trail Run a Success

October 23, 2008

More than 150 runners answered the starting gun in the 1st Mayon Trail Run- a 5 kilometer fun run and an 18 kilometer foot race which had the runners negotiating man-made and natural obstacles including climbing a hill, fording a river and navigating sandy trails laden with volcanic debris.

The one of a kind race held last October 19, 2008 was organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Legazpi and North Face and is part of an ongoing awareness campaign against gobal warming. The runners who came from all over the archipelago from as far as Cotabato, Davao, Cebu, Laguna, Metro Manila and from the Bicol region competed for the honor of being the first Mayon Trail Run King aside from winning P30,000 for the Champion, P20,000 for second and P15,000 for third on top of North Face products as additional incentives. The highest placed woman runner earns an additional P5,000.

Eighty eight runners- 78 male and 10 female with a good number of them holders of national and international titles took part in the 18 km foot race and they admitted it was one of the most grueling and unusual race they had participated in. The race started from the Penaranda Park infront of the Albay Capitol Building then to the top of Lignon Hill, crossing the Yawa river towards the lava front via the Bonga gulley and made a u-turn back to the top of Lignon Hill.

In the end, Elmer Sabal of Cotabato City was crowned as the 1st Mayon Trail Run King with a time of 1:09:30 followed by SEA Games gold medalist Allan Ballester who came in second at 1:10:08. Elmer’s brother- Cresenciano Sabal salvaged third place with a time of 1:10:35.

In the distaff side, Leszl Lumindas Gitarueles came in first (1:32:26); Merlita Arias was second (1:45:07) and Ellen Tolentino was third (1:49:08). In an interview, Gitarueles, 34, said she is a fitness instructor from Cebu and said she participated in the Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) International Climatron and was fourth. She also placed fifth in the Hongkong Chartered Marathon. Merlita Arias, 34 also from Cebu said she’s a PE Teacher and is the first Filipina to represent the country in Sky Running where she finished 6th in the Multi-International Runner. She admitted she is no stranger to Albay having participated and won first in the 21 kilometer race during the 2005 Magayon Festival.

MTR Project Chairman and JCI Legazpi Vice-President Yves Eli Yu said that the Mayon Trail Run will now be a yearly event and took the opportunity to thank the City Government of Legazpi who is in-charge of the Legazpi Port Fiesta and the Ibalong Festival; the Provincial Government of Albay, CIRCA, Smart, Pacific Mall and councilor Cerilo “Celoy” Chan for their support and cooperation in making the inaugural Mayon Trail Run a resounding success.

He added that the Mayon Trail Run was conceptualized to promote awareness of Climate Change. The runners experienced first-hand the effects of global warming which had greatly affected Albay province with the two successive super typhoons that hit Albay and the Bicol region in 2006. He added that he was jubilant that the MTR took place a day after 10 lawmakers from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America signed the “Manila Declaration on Climate Change” which calls on rich nations to create a global fund to help lessen disaster risks brought about by rising sea temperatures. The 5 page document called “The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation” was signed at the close of a two day meeting in Makati City.

Yves Yu concluded that events like the Mayon Trail Run (MTR) will be a big step toward Global Warming awareness. Provincial Tourism Officer Joe Briones, on the other hand said that the Mayon Trail Run could draw a new breed of tourists looking for ecotourism and adventure sports.