Saturday, 4 May 2013

Young bathers … As in the past, this portion of the beach just a stone’s throw away from the town hall of Jose Panganiban continues to draw local bathers and swimmers. One morning a few days ago, a group of young fun seekers (pictured) took the plunge and made do with what the bay could offer in the absence of an easily accessible place such as the local beach.

The usual spoilers … However, the children’s fun would be short-lived, as a group of small-scale gold miners invades the water with their mining paraphernalia (pictured). Very soon, the bay water would turn murky and brownish until it becomes unsuitable for dipping and swimming. MWBuzz believes that any effort to put Mambulao in the tourism map should begin right on where tourists would like to be – on the beach and in the water. If the kids were turned off by these gold miners’ mindless act of polluting the bay, which forced them out of the dirty water, how much more with real tourists? On a given day, at least 30 miners work in concert to retrieve the gold and that’s more than enough to make the water hostile to our young bathers. When the JP-LGU launched a program to promote Mambulao as a tourism destination with the slogan It’s more fun in Mambulao, it appeared that the gold miners were not on its radar. They will surely spoil the fun in Mambulao and this is bad news. – MWBuzzpics and text by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ


Potential investment ...  Another group of Chinese investors this time is looking at putting millions of US dollars in the economic zone in Larap. Two executives of the still unidentified Chinese company recently met Mambulao Mayor Ricarte (Dong) Padilla at his residence to discuss a project that aims to process minerals at the EZ. The prospective investors will set up a plant to process earth materials to be sourced at a quarry at Napaod, Labo, Cam Norte. Padilla has invited the two Chinese executives for a tour of an export processing zone (EPZ) in Cavite after which they would execute a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the proposed project. The company will export the processed minerals that included gold, copper and iron to mineral–hungry industries in China.

Political family … (From left) Roy Padilla IV (aka Cuatro); Vice-Mayor Ariel (Aye) Non; vice-gubernatorial candidate Boy Padilla; and Mayor Ricarte (Dong) Padilla … two of them are targets of assassination plots.  

Vice-mayor and re-electionist Ariel (Aye) Non stresses a point during a night sortie at sitio Patiao, in Mambulao recently. Despite death threats, he continues to come out in meetings with voters to explain their development program that he says has to continue progressively and this could be possible only if the people would vote straight in favor of the eight Sangguniang Bayan candidates under the "Dong-Aye" tandem.

Security concerns ... Roy Padilla (Casimiro Jr), who is running for the seat of the vice-governor in CamNorte (NUP) was reliably tipped off by the intelligence community that he is a target by a black motorcycle-riding gunmen. The alleged hit men were earlier caught by a CCTV at the vicinity of Padilla’s residence, who were also observed by the candidate’s security men while moving around the area. The intel group has described how the suspects looked and were being profiled. Jose Panganiban Vice-Mayor Ariel (Aye) Non, who is seeking re-election, has the same concern. A group of alleged gunmen were monitored to have been casing his residence. Earlier, his former residence in Parang was sprayed with automatic bullets by still unidentified gunmen one early dawn. That time, the house was being occupied by his parents-in-law. Aye suspects that the same group is trying to carry out a hit, sponsored by someone reportedly known to the vice-mayor. Roy Padilla suggested that he armed himself and beefed up his security and that of his family. Padilla also urged Aye to install a better type of close-circuit TV, similar to what he has at his home. However, Aye would hear none of it, and instead suggested an option to expose the plot. MWBuzz was present at a closed-door meeting that devised a plan to forestall the threats. Aye, in a campaign sortie at Sitio Patiao later, revealed the plot to the public. The question Padilla and Non were asking: Who will benefit politically in case either of them is killed?

Bayong King ... Every time Tres Panganiban spoke in LP’s nightly sortie around Mambulao, he was armed with a prop – a bayong. He told the audience that he would win with votes he will amass using the “bayong”. In a lengthy oration that put some of his SB colleague-candidates to near-sleep, Panganiban promised to provide free education to the less-privileged youth of Mambulao. What the listeners remembered most often was about his being a top-notch student of UP Los Banos and student leader. He hinted that he would rock the SB floor during a council debate.

SB candidate Artem Andaya … more benefits for Mambulao’s senior citizens.

Promises to senior citizens ... Pushing for a better welfare for the elderly in Mambulao, SB candidate Artem Andaya has pledged for wider pension coverage for indigent senior citizens. As of now, indigent senior citizens from 77 and above are entitled to a P1,500 pension every quarter, or P500 a month, which would pay for their medicines and other personal needs. The pension is provided under a law that promotes the welfare of senior Filipino citizens.  Andaya told a group of potential voters during a night campaign sortie at Purok 5 in Parang, that not all of those indigents in Mambulao aged 77 and above are getting the monetary benefits. He also pledged to work an ordinance that would provide a toilet to all households along Parang beach, as one way to help rehabilitate the shoreline after being inundated with community rubbish from plastic materials to human excreta. A local tourism advocate, Andaya said putting Mambulao on the local tourism map would benefit the local people economically and pledged to help the tourism initiatives of the municipal government under Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla.

Re-electionist Mayor Ricarte (Dong) Padilla … some more time needed to complete his development program.

Vice-mayoral candidate William A Lim aka Walim … full support to Mayor Ricarte Padilla’s program for progress. – All MWBuzzpics by AP HERNANDEZ

Numbers game ... Voters living along the Parang shoreline told MWBuzz that they never understood the significance of voting straight for Mayor Ricarte Padilla’s Sanguniang Bayan candidates until this blogger explained. “Ang madalas po naming marinig sa mga nangangapanya dito ay ganito: Supurtahan po natin si Dong Padilla para maging tuloy- tuloy ang pag-unlad sa ating bayan ... ngayon lang po namin nadinig ang mga ganitong paliwanag ninyo sa amin kung bakit mahalaga ang straight voting o ang mas nakararaming myembro ng konseho na galing sa linya ni Meyor Dong ... tama po kayo ... kung iboboto nga si Meyor Dong pero hindi naman po matibay ang pundasyon ng kanyang bahay na ang katumbas ay ang mas nakararaming miyembro mula sa kanyang listahan, eh seguradong babagsak din siya.” One resident said that it would be difficult for them to vote straight as this would mean sacrificing a candidate from Parang who belongs to the Liberal Party. Para po sa amin, hindi na kailangan pa naming lumayo para magkaroon lang ng isang konsehal na tutulong sa aming mga pangangailangan bagama’t hindi po siya kabilang sa mga tao ni mayor. Pero kung kinakailangan po na isakripisyo namin ang mga pabor mula sa kanya na magtatagal lamang naman ng tatlong taon ng kanyang panunungkulan kapalit ng mga benipisyong tatanggapin ng mas nakararaming taga-Mambulao mula sa maunlad na bayan, ay papayag po kaming mag-straight voting.” He was amazed to know that the real battle for progress takes place on the floor of the municipal council because it is here were proposals for development are either passed by the SB members or voted down over one reason or the other. And since the role of the opposition is to fiscalize, which actually means “to block, to oppose or to thwart” any image-enhancing program forwarded by the incumbent administration, a majority number from the Liberal Party headed by William A Lim would always aim to stop or frustrate any initiatives for progress. They would not jeopardize Mambulao-LP’s interest by allowing the administration to soar high with its people-focused projects.

P1,000 per head ... The on-going rate for one vote in Daet a few days ago was P1,000, courtesy of the moneybags from the Kapitolyo. It only shows how desperate incumbent provincial governor Edgardo Egay Tallado is in his bid to cling to power. He may not have the funds, but his “friends” do – businesses that are just too willing to help in the name of business survival. What do you do if the Kapitolyo’s top guy tells you not to supply the building materials needs of his rivals in politics? What does a rival who’s trying build an infrastructure for one beneficiary community do if the cement supplier tells him that he was ordered to hold his deliveries to your project? Sort of economic sabotage, you see. P1,000 per vote seems too small right now when compared to the money it would become on polling day. A source from Daet said one moneybag was spending at the rate of P7 million a day to cover the votes. But it’s not really a problem when recouping it. The money in the cookie jar is just too massive and ready for the taking to worry about the daily cost of buying votes. But the capitol seat has to be won at all cost. And the money to spend doesn’t matter much this time - it's the seat, stupid.

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MambulaoWatch: The wife behind the man


Sangguniang Bayan Member Pompe D Guzman (left)… all allegations of anomalies denied.  –MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ 

MAMBULAO, CamNorte: I never knew Mrs Susan Ong-Guzman, wife of Mambulao Sangguniang Bayan Member Pompe D Guzman, from Adam, but during our chanced encounter last week at her public market store, she poured out her heart’s aches to this complete stranger as if tomorrow won’t come anymore.

Our meeting was unexpected.

I was looking for a shop that could plastic-laminate my PhilHealth ID that I got while working my POEA exit clearance and my feet led me to a darkened shop where the service was offered.

Greeting an elderly woman behind the shop counter, I fished out my new, bare ID card and handed it over to her.

For quite some time, she concentrated on the fine print in the card, looked up and said: Kayo po si Mr Alfredo P Hernandez ng Jose Panganiban Facebook at MWBuzz?

“Opo,” I replied.

“Ako po si Mrs Susan Ong Guzman, asawa po ni Konsehal Guzman ...”

I froze.

“Matagal ko na po kayong gustong makausap at nabuhayan po ako ng loob ng sabihin po ng kaibigan ko sa Assessor’s Office sa munisipyo last week na nandito raw po kayo sa Mambulao ...”

“At magbuhat po ng araw na iyon, ipinagdasal ko po na sana’y magkita tayo ....”

Her prayer for a desperate meeting with me was apparently answered. Immediately, I knew why.

“Gusto ko pong pabulaanan ang mga paratang na isinulat ninyo sa Facebook at sa MWBuzz laban po sa aking asawang si Pompe D Guzman ... lahat pong iyon ay walang katutuhanan ... napakabuting tao po ng aking asawa at talagang naglilingkod po siya para sa kapakanan ng mga taga-Mambulao...”

“Sana po ay magawan po ninyo ng kaukulang pagtutuwid ... masyado pong naapektuhan ang aking mga anak... ang aming buong pamilya ...”

I was touched. 

Her eyes welled and the few minutes that I expected would quickly burn out glowed to almost an hour. It made me very uneasy.

First, she denied the allegations that Guzman raked in money by servicing the transport needs of the municipal government during ex-mayor William A Lim’s time.

“Hindi po totoo yan ... totoo pong ipinagamit namin sa municipio ang aming bus pero nakarecord po sa munisipyo kung magkano ang rentang siningil namin ... nagpahiram din po kami ng unit na walang siningil na bayad ... eto ay bilang tulong namin sa munisipyo ...

“Hindi rin po totoong kumita kami ng P800,000 sa pagpapagamit ng aming bus sa municipio noong panahon ni Meyor Lim ...”

The allegation was that Guzman and Lim made it appear that the bus service to the public was for free, when in fact, Guzman collected an over charged bus hire “under the table” that amounted to P800,000 over nine years.

I told her that Guzman solicited two water pumps from Congressman Jojo Unico for use in the Parang beach cleanup but the donations just disappeared in thin air and the residents involved in the clean up along the beach told me they never saw or heard of them (pumps).

“Hindi po totoo yan... ang totoo, kami pa nga po ang namimigay ng mga water pumps ... kabilang po diyan ang mga jetmatic pumps na napunta sa mga baranggay.

She said Guzman did not have to approach Unico as CamNorte Governor Edgardo Tallado has always been ready to provide such assistance to his party mates in government.

“Noon pong bumagyo nang malakas ... hindi po kami nagdalawang isip na tulungan ang mga naapektuhang mga familya sa tabing dagat ... nang masunog po ang isang bahagi ng poblacion, tumulong po kaming mag-asawa sa pag-apula ng apoy.”

“Iyon pong mga taong inabutan ninyo dito sa tindahan kani-kanina lamang ay mga tao pong humihingi sa aking asawa ng tulong pinansyal, panggmot at iba pang pabor na sinisikap po naming maibigay.”

Another item: Nagtangka ho kayong ma-corner and digital ID card business sa high school at elementary school at ginamit ninyo ang inpluwensya in Konsehal (Guzman) … pero hindi ito natuloy.

Reacting to almost a jump, she said: “Ganito po yan …”  

“Tutoo pong gusto naming magnegosyo ng digital ID cards sa eskwela at dahil dito ay nag-invest ho kami ng more than P100,000 sa ID making machine … nang maiset-up po namin ang business na ito, bigla hong nagdesisyon si Mayor Dong Padilla na gawing libre ang mga ID para sa mga bata.

“Ano naman po ang mangyayari sa aming capital …? Ipinaalam po namin ang pangyayari kay mayor at siya po ay humingi ng dispensa dahil hindi niya alam ang aming plano … pero nakiusap po naman kami na ibigay na sa amin ang negosyo para sa replacement ng mga nawalang ID at pumayag naman po siya..."

Mrs Guzman said the school ID was good for “life”, meaning the student will use the same ID until he/she graduated.

“Sa ngayon po, naghahanap po kami ng negosyo para sa aming ID machine sa mga kompanya sa Daet at mga schools para naman mabawi namin ang investment sa equipment na ito …”

I told her that Tallado gave the Mambulao-LP some P15,000 to fund the party’s post-election activities and coursed it through Guzman because he was Tallado’s “right hand man” for quite some time. 

However, the money that reached Walim, who is the party head in Mambulao, amounted only P10,000. 

Walim confronted Guzman about this, telling him that Tallado sent P15,000 as his assistance to the Mambulao LP.
“What happened?”

From that time, animosity over money gradually hovered over them.

However, Mrs Guzman denied such incident ever happened.

“At hindi rin po totoong nag-aaway sila tungkol sa pera.”

Guzman, a re-electionist, is tipped to top the SB race in the next month’s local election, a welcome news that lightened up Mrs Guzman’s face.

“Salamat naman po at gusto pa siya ng mga tao ...”

Having clarified all the issues against her husband, she finally decided to resume working on my PhilHealth ID plastic lamination.

“Magkano po?”

“Kinse lang po ...”

Our conversation officially ended when I picked up the P5 coin as change to my P20 bill.

Hailing a tricycle, I was continually amused by those tears that broke in her eyes.

More so with our chanced meeting that she said was orchestrated by a prayer.

She must be telling the truth.


William A Lim, vice-mayoral candidate (left) and Guzman during the night sortie at Purok 5, Baranggay Parang, recently ... together again after money squabble? - MWBuzzpic by AP HERNANDEZ

FEATURE: Beach of Parang – Breathing life again

Beach kids pose for a Facebook picture … they now enjoy the water more amidst clean sand on the beach. – MWBuzzpics by AP HERNANDEZ


A FISHING boat gliding towards the sand after an overnight expedition; a group of children frolicking in the shallow water; four middle-aged fishermen huddling in a tight circle as they squatted in the sand, chatting the day’s radio morning news.

Nearby, a fleet of “sibiran” sits on the edge of the silent water, glowing mutedly in their colors under the 7 o’clock sun.

This morning, the bay water is serene with its long, tiny ripples rolling languidly towards the shore.

The most obvious of them all, however, is how the stretch of the beach looks this morning: the ribbon of light-brown sand is now free – well, almost – of sea debris called garbage.

More than two years ago today, you can’t step on the sand without parting away the rubbish so there’s a space for your feet to step on.

It was a total mess, a curse of modernity tolerated by man.

The natives who returned after being away for almost a generation were appalled, saddened and utterly disgusted over the unfortunate journey this beach has taken.
They could not believe their eyes, seeing that it had become a common rubbish dumpsite.

But somehow, things have to change for the better this time. And this is the good news.

“Maganda-ganda na rin pong tingnan ang ating tabing-dagat dahil pinagtitiyagaan po naming linisin ito,” says one fisherman whose family was shacked along the beach.

“Nagtutulungan na po ang mga nakatira sa tabing-dagat at ang baranggay upang patuloy pong nalilinis ito.”

However, he lamented the fact that rubbish continued to invade the shoreline.

He blamed this on baranggays along the coastal waters.

“Sa ngayon po, karamihan ng basura ay nangagaling sa Plaridel, Osmena, Bagong-bayan, Calero, Malapayungan, Sta Milagrosa at Pag-asa.

“Patuloy pong nagtatapon ang mga nakatira dito ng basura sa dagat na dinadala naman ng tubig pag high tide.

“Pagkati po ng tubig, ang dumi po ay naiiwan sa dalampasigan, na siya po namang bumubulaga sa amin pagdating ng umaga.”

It’s surprising to learn that one family, who is not from Mambulao but Capalonga, would spend time to come and collect the rubbish.

“Si Congressman Parale po at ang kanyang pamilya ay madalas na pumupunta dito para hakutin ang basura sa tabing-dagat,” according to one shoreline old-timer.

“Kaya naman po kami ay medyo nahiya na rin at naengganyog tumulong sa kanila …”

The beach clean-up is getting support from the local government which deploys a dump truck to haul off the garbage to an MRF (materials recovery facility) in Larap.

Walking this beach this early morning, I relived those days in summer when many “basnig” called here to unload their catch of galunggong in hundreds of banyera.

Their coming here had drawn many locals every morning, who bought fish straight from the boats at give-away prices.

Naughty young boys climbed the vessels through their outriggers to look for fish that had strewn on the deck floors and under the boats’ hulls where the diesel engine hummed endlessly.

Those boats are long gone now and the prospects of their return are almost nil – they have found new shores to call and unload their catch.

Nevertheless, this beach would again one day attract strollers and bathers as it did long time ago, not the locals, but people from other places.

In his remark during the grand homecoming reunion of the Jose Panganiban National High School alumni last year, Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla said: The clean-up (of the beach) would only succeed through the joint efforts of the people in Parang.

“The significance of a clean beach would never be appreciated unless a sustained awareness campaign is carried out throughout the baranggay.”

True, the people of Parang now want a clean beach to show that Mambulao is about ready to put itself on the tourism map.

More so with a clean beach that would reflect on the people’s discipline and their appreciation for a trouble-free environment.

Meanwhile, let’s get soaked in this morning’s Vitamin D while we walk this beach in our sweet time.

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  A signboard warning against dumping rubbish on the beach.

The beach in Parang nowadays  … relatively clean and pleasant to look at.

A fleet of colorful “sibiran” that recently docked after a night of fishing expedition.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Project in progress … Concrete piles (foreground) sit just next to a bridge under construction in Parang, Jose Panganiban last week. These piles are just waiting to complete its curing process and would soon be installed to serve as beams for the bridge’s running board. The project is one of the bridges being built by the local government under the President’s program to build and rehabilitate bridges across the country. Notice the pedestrian’s wooden walkway to the left of the picture, which was taken from the Parang side of the bridge. – MWBuzzpic and text by AP HERNANDEZ

EDITORIAL: Political maturity in Mambulao

WE COULD assume that by now, the two contending political parties in Mambulao should have each covered more than half of the 27 baranggays in the municipality.

The remaining days towards Election Day would be crucial for both parties and the daily house-to-house campaigns and the nightly campaign sorties are aimed at piling up votes for their respective candidates for the Sangguniang Bayan posts.

The slate led by incumbent mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla and the Liberal Party spearheaded by former three-term mayor William A Lim, who is seeking the post of the vice-mayor this time, are like a fine-toothed comb that is raking across every purok in every baranggay to ensure that every voter and potential voters have been covered.

In the two nights of campaigns witnessed by MWBuzz – one held by Padilla’s team at Sitio Patiao at the poblacion, and the other by LP held at Purok 5 in Parang – it was very clear that the children were the predominant audience.

But the few who milled around the square where the campaigning politicians sat could easily be ascertained as enthusiastic voters awaiting the good news from both parties.

And the good news they were waiting for concerned jobs, education, healthcare, peace and order and most especially good governance.

Speaking before the folks at Sitio Patiao, Padilla immediately went in for the kill. 

He told the people that he recognized Walim’s offer of support towards achieving his development platform should he get elected as the vice-mayor and thanked him for the gesture.

However, Padilla made it clear that the job Walim was aiming at is already being worked perfectly by the incumbent vice-mayor Ariel “Aye” Non and that their tandem is the perfect mixed, alongside a complete slate from his party’s Sanguniang Bayan candidates, that could effectively push further the on-going development program in Mambulao.

Padilla made it clear that the past three years which represented his first term with Non and the six administration SB members have delivered what the people expected them to do.

“We need some more time to realize all this,” Padilla said as he appealed to the voters for a total support so that the eight administration candidates could be elected.

By now, Mambulao voters should have known the significance of voting straight in favour of the administration’s SB candidates and that by doing so, they are simply giving them their vote of confidence. 

Padilla explained the importance of a municipal council that is working in perfect harmony towards one ultimate goal – continuous development efforts and sustained progress – something that could never be achieved in Mambulao if the SB is peopled by those with opposing agenda.

“I appeal to my kababayan to give me a Sanguniang Bayan whose members come from my (political) family ... it is an assurance that progress in Mambulao could proceed smoothly as envisioned.”

In his recent night sortie at Purok 5 in Parang, a vote-rich baranggay that could deliver the winning votes, Walim pledged an all-out support to all development agenda of unopposed Padilla.

He quickly denied earlier reports in MWBuzz that he will derail Padilla’s development plans should he get the winning votes against incumbent Ariel.

He said that the SB candidates in his slate would do the same as every politician worth their salt should always work for the good of the majority.

Recognizing that a number of items in their party platform were already being covered by Padilla’s development push, Walim said what they are offering to the people of Mambulao would further boost the benefits from emerging progress in the municipality.

The vice-mayoral contender was trying to point out that caring for the people should not be a monopoly of the current administration.

Walim was mayor for three terms and a vice-mayor for one term on the side.

The night’s master of ceremonies (MC) patronized the listeners by saying that Walim humbled himself by opting not to confront Padilla head-on so he could proceed smoothly with his development projects.

“It’s a clear sign that Walim is also after the progress of the municipality.”

These days, the people of Mambulao are asking why Walim wants to go back to public service.

Is there something important that he forgot along the way that he wants to come back and pick it up?

MWBuzz detractors are pushing the idea that putting Walim back in power, alongside his eight SB aspirants, is a sign of the people’s political maturity.

“Ito’y tanda lang ng isang matalinong pagboto.”

They can say that again but MWBuzz begs to disagree.

- Alfredo P Hernandez

JP primary hospital posts 11% net surplus


THE Jose Panganiban Primary Hospital Service Cooperative (JPPHSC) posted 11.11% increase in net surplus last year.

This was revealed in the cooperative’s statement of operation dated December 31, 2012.

“The minimal increase in income of 11.11%, or P100,000, was the result of operation for the year 2012,” according to the management in an accompanying statement.

JPPHSC generated a net surplus of P1 million last year as against the P900,000 realized at the end of 2011.

The total revenue as of the end of last year was P11.6 million, up P3.16 million, or 37%, from the previous year’s only P8.44 million.

Total revenues during the year were generated from sales of medicines (P5.44 million); income from services (P5.99 million) and from other income consisting of interest income from investment and bank deposits (P50,193); membership fees (P1,950); and miscellaneous income (128,950).

Total administrative costs amounted to P7.96 million last year versus P6.48 million in 2011.

The 2012 net surplus before appropriations was P3.66 million compared to the previous year’s only P1.96 million.

The statement showed that a total of P2.67 million was appropriated for the following: Co-op Guarantee Fund (1% of gross revenue), retirement fund; roofing of main building, equipment acquisition, second floor expansion, general assembly expense, health and benefits of the board of directors and other officers and repairs and improvements.

The statement said that the P1 million surplus was allocated to the reserved fund (P100,000); co-op education and training fund (P100,000); land and building fund (P70,000); community development fund (30,000); and interest on share capital (P700,000).

During the year in review, the co-op’s administrative costs jumped 22.5% to P7.96 million from the previous year’s figure of only P6.5 million.

The report noted that salaries and wages for the year amounted to P3.54 million as against the previous year’s figure of only P2.9 million. 

Salaries and wages jumped 22% during the year in review, cornering 44% of the period’s administrative costs.

The report noted that the cooperative appropriated funds for the purchase of hospital equipment, for repairs and improvements of  hospital facilities, provision for additional power need for the projected increase in operation, provision for retirement fund and general assembly expenses from the surplus not appropriated.

Cash balance at the end of 2012 was at P6.3 million, up 81% from the previous year’s figure of P3.5 million.

The cooperative is tax-free and is also exempted in the payment of other taxes. 

A substantial portion of the net surplus is returned to members in the form of interest on share capital and patronage refunds.
As of the end of 2012, the co-op had a 554 members, up 39 from the previous year, not only from Mambulao but also Paracale, Capalonga, Daet and Polilio Island in Quezon province.

The co-op has 42 employees led by three physicians and one head nurse.

Batch ’73: Reliving the tumultuous 70’s

Dr Manny Dagala, Batch 73 president, closing the batch’s 40th anniversary celebration held recently in Mambulao.


IT WAS YEAR 1973 again and Manny Dagala was on the podium donned in a white graduation gown and toga. 

He was making his supposed closing remarks after witnessing the distribution of mock diplomas to the Batch ’73, the alumni members of the then Jose Panganiban High School, a community high school elevated later to its national level.

Dr Dagala, now a medical practitioner at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital said: “We were deprived of the pleasure of coming up the stage in white gowns when we graduated in 1973 from our Alma Mater, the Jose Panganiban High School, and so at this moment, we tried to relish the pleasure of a real high school graduation –white gowns and all.”

The Batch ‘73 mounted the graduation stage in old school uniforms as their names were called.

It was in 1973 that then President Marcos declared the much loathed Martial Law, turning upside down everything in and outside every school campus from the way every student behaved himself to the conduct of the school curriculum under the watchful eyes of soldiers in battle gear.

The mock graduation, participated in by close to 50 members of the Batch ’73, highlighted a reunion that was both nostalgic and roaring, having relived amidst the sights and sounds of the “Hippie Generation”.

It was held last April 26-27 under the theme “Blast from the past, back to the 70’s”.

Joining the fun with sheer abandon were two prominent members of the JPNHS faculty Madam Editha G Chavez and Madam Delia Floranda. 

The two teachers conspired to hack the fun to the fullest by lending their presence on the stage to distribute the rolled white bond paper.

The weekend reunion was held at the multi-purpose hall at JPNHS campus where parlor games and a mini-conference were held.

It culminated at the Milagros Hall at the poblacion where the members gathered once more for a sumptuous dinner and for a quick blast of fun and thrill, courtesy of the roaring ‘70s dominated by the sounds of rock and roll bands led by The Beatles.

One important icon treasured by the batch was the so-called “touring tarpaulin”, which was nothing but the much-travelled banner proclaiming the batch’s 39th year in 2012. 

Actually, it was post-parcelled from Japan several weeks earlier by batch member Arnel P Hernandez, who works as civilian personnel at the US Naval facilities at Yokosuka, Japan.
The tarp has become famous for being much-travelled in the sense that it went around the world with Hernandez, its custodian, whenever he was sent overseas on official work-related errands. 

To date, the tarp has gone to more than 15 cities in about 10 countries and was pictured against the backdrop of famous landmarks such as the temples in Bangkok or the famous battle ships docked in a US naval facility in California. 

Unfolded in public places, the Batch ’73 tarp had been photographed with Hernandez donning Filipino native attire while posing next to it.

In its 40th anniversary souvenir program, the batch paid tribute to 18 members who have joined their Maker over the past few years, and they were truly missed at the reunion.

Phids Advincula (center) “receives” his diploma from JPNHS faculty members Madam Editha G Chavez and Madam Delia Floranda during a mock graduation rites to highlight the batch’s 40th year anniversary celebration in Mambulao.

The Batch ’73 pose for a family picture with the anniversary banners.

The much-travelled tarp banner … touring about 16 countries. – MWBuzzpics by AP HERNANDEZ