Mabolo folks back demolition on Mahiga creek

01/31/2011 - DESPITE the inconvenience it wrought on him and his constituents, Mabolo barangay captain Reynaldo Ompoc found something to be thankful for in last week's heavy rains.

He said if last Tuesday's flooding didn't occur Cebu City officials wouldn't have cracked down on the rising number of settlers occupying the riverbanks of the Mahiga Creek.

Part of the creek located in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City narrowed down to four meters wide, down from 14 meters.

Ompoc blamed this on the growing number of settlers who chose to stay in the area because they have no place to go.

Ompoc said these settlers used gravel to build their homes, desilting the riverbanks.

What's worse, he said, is that most of them came from Mandaue City with only 300 from barangay Mabolo.

The Mandaue settlers came from the other part of the Mahiga creek after their homes were demolished by the Mandaue City government four months ago.

Ompoc said they have been asking the Cebu City government to do something about the settlers along the river to no avail.

“This serves as a warning to them (city government). They would only take action after they are affected. If the rains came in the evening, a lot of people may have perished,” said Ompoc.

Ompoc said some of the settlers could be relocated to sitios with basketball courts and in higher land.

He would also lend them tents to augment the 10 container vans given by the city government.

More importantly, Ompoc said it's high time the city government clean up and dredge the river to avoid overflowing.

Councilor Alvin Dizon earlier said residents in high-risk areas will be relocated and given adequate assistance.

He said P10 million will be spent for displaced residents.

At least 1,000 houses in Mahiga Creek will be demolished by Cebu City's Squatters Prevention Encroachment and Elimination Division (SPEED).

About 3,000 residents in sitios Lahing-lahing, San Isidro, San Vicente, Holy Name, Sindulan, New Frontier, Magtalisay and Camansi will be relocated.

Dizon said permanent relocation sites will be provided to qualified beneficiaries.

Settlers who came from the province will be given fares or given free transportation by the city government for their trip back home.

Gerry Carillo, Cebu City Disaster Coordinating Council (CCDC) consultant, said displaced families will be given P3,000 to P5,000 aid for their troubles.

Dizon asked those to be displaced to leave their areas and carry with them whatever materials remain from the demolition.

Councilor Roberto Cabbarubias also proposed to have floodgates built at the exits of creeks and rivers to prevent overflowing of water.(Cebu Daily News)

Wife wins Sinulog docu-film contest

01/31/2011 - video documentary on the Sinulog made by a full time housewife won this year’s Sinulog Video Contest.

“Images of Faith” by Charmaine Maria Estella Cagang, won the first prize during the Oscar-inspired awarding ceremony at the SM City Cebu Cinema 2.

Her documentary also garnered most of the major awards like best in editing and cinematography.

Cagang was awarded best director and went home with P50,000.

Her husband Rolando and daughter accompanied her in accepting the best video award.

The audience applauded when she introduced them as her “production staff.”

Rolando did voice over work for the documentary.

Cagang, a biology graduate, placed third in last year’s documentary contest. She said that aside from being a dedicated housewife, she enjoys video editing.

“I didn’t even own a video cam when I first joined the Sinulog Video Contest,” Cagang said.

In the short film category, “Ukit” by Karl Vincent Porio won the grand prize of P50,000. The story is about a boy, his uncle and the Sto. Niño.

One night, the boy accidentally broke the image of Sto. Niño in his uncle’s room.

Worried that his uncle might reprimand him, the boy carved a new Sto. Niño image using a knife. While doing this, he accidentally wounded his hands.

At meal time, the uncle noticed the wound and scolded the kid, who ran away.

The uncle then discovered an unfinished Sto. Niño image under his pillow and realized what his nephew was trying to make. He then seeks, finds and reconciles with his nephew.

Ker Ortiz, who played the boy in the film and Chikoy Romualdez, who played the uncle, won the best child performer and best actor awards.

“Regenesis,” the story of an alien who discovered Sto. Niño in a decimated Cebu City, won second prize. It was directed by The Freeman photojournalist Aldo Nelbert Banaynal. The film also won best in sound engineering and musical scoring, best story, and best production design, and best special effects. The film “Biyahe” won third prize (Cebu Daily News)

Baguio City deemed rival for Congress bid

01/31/2011 - A “dark horse” of sorts emerged as potential competition for Cebu and Cebu City in the bidding for this November's 22nd Philippine Advertising Congress.

Anna Conejero, managing director of Graphic FX Advertising and Design and a point person appointed by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to head the city's bid, said they consider Baguio City as their closest competitor to host the lucrative Congress.

She said Baguio City lost its bid to host the event last Nov. 2009 due to bad weather conditions.

Conejero said the Baguio City mayor offered to host dinner for more than 4,000 delegates if they were chosen as host.

“We will never do that. Can you feed 4,000 people? We cannot just feed them with barbecue and puso (rice packed in banana leaves),” Conejero told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

She said what Cebu City can offer is a secure venue with adequate transportation and facilities.

“Transportation wise, air and land, we have. For the conference, we have the Waterfront, the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), we have the new hotels. But this is nothing new to them. What is new to them is CICC and Radisson (hotel),” she said.

Conejero said Cebu City was given until 12 midnight of February 2 to file their bid.

“What plays a major role (in the bid) is the commitment of the government side,” Conejero said.

She said the city government can provide better security and traffic management for the delegates.

It can also regulate the prices of basic commodities and souvenir items like danggit (dried fish), vegetables and fruits for the duration of the event, she added.

Conejero said the city government is also prepared to offer the South Road Properties (SRP) and the IT park for any related events like nightly dinners and shows which require an open area.

As of yesterday, Conejero said her team is finalizing the requirements for the city's bid to host the event.

She said they were getting the list of restaurants, convention halls and hotel accommodations for more than 4,000 delegates and their respective support teams.

She said she also expects three of the country's biggest TV networks to outdo each other in the coverage of the event.

At the Capitol, the provincial government sent its letter of intent to host the Ad Congress.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s executive assistant, Elizabeth Francia, said in a phone interview that the Capitol's bid will be submitted today.

“We will issue our response to the requirements they have sent,” Francia said.

Some of these requirements include the host city's accessibility to transportation, infrastructure, affordability and availability of local suppliers, security systems and local government support. (Cebu Daily News)

RDC sectoral groups approve draft plan

01/27/2011 - THE Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 Sectoral Committees approved yesterday the draft Central Visayas Regional Development Plan 2011-2016, which will be submitted to President Benigno Aquino III on Feb. 20, the deadline set by Malacañang.

The sectoral committees are the infrastructure development committee (IDC), economic development committee (EDC), social development committee (SDC) and development administration committee (DAC).

IDC Chairperson Emmanuel Rabacal said the RDC 7 full council will meet on Feb. 1 to review and approve the draft so they can make it to the Feb. 20 deadline.

EDC chairperson Argeo Melisimo will act as RDC 7 chairperson because Negros Oriental Gov. Agustin Perdices, who was appointed by Aquino, died recently.

The full council will also submit to the President another list of government officials to succeed Perdices.

Aside from Percides, the list they submitted to Aquino last year included Govs. Edgar Chatto of Bohol, Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu, Orlando Fua Jr. of Siquijor and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Rabacal said once Aquino will approve the Central Visayas Development Plan 2011-2016, it will become the guide for development in Region 7 during his term.

He said the plan includes development framework, vision and goals; high and sustainable growth; access to development opportunities; and development support system.

The draft was based on the consultations conducted by the sectoral committees in Montebello Hotel last Jan. 18; Siquijor and Negros Oriental last Jan. 19; and Bohol last Jan. 21.

On the strategic framework (access to development opportunities), the committees included the issues on development constraints and challenges; objectives, targets and strategies; policy and legislative agenda; and major programs, activities and projects.

They discussed increasing productivity and generating decent, full and productive employment.

Poverty reduction was also included with focus on reducing malnutrition among children from zero to five years old; and reducing infant mortality rate. (Sun Star)

Rainfall hits 10 times Cebu’s daily average

01/27/2011 - A RARE weather phenomenon caused the “extreme” rainfall that left widespread flooding in at least two cities yesterday morning, said weather specialists.

In less than two hours, they measured 35.7 millimeters (mm) of rainfall, said Alfredo Quiblat, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) Mactan senior weather specialist.

In contrast, the normal January rainfall ranges between 100 mm and 110 mm for one month, or a daily average of only 3.2 to 3.5 mm of rainfall.

Quiblat attributed the “extreme rainfall amount” to the La Niña phenomenon or the cooling of the surface water of oceans, which disrupts global weather conditions.

Environmentalists called on local officials to make an urgent shift to climate change adaptation measures.

Oscar Tabada, Pag-asa Mactan station chief, called yesterday’s phenomenon a “cloudburst.”

“There was a concentration of clouds over Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City and Cebu City,” he said, adding that the rainwater collected in the clouds poured in less than two hours in a small area.

“In my 32 years, karon pako nakakuha ingon ana kadaghan na ulan (this is the most amount of rainfall I’ve seen),” he added.

Tabada said the floods could not have been caused by the level of seawater because at the time of the rains, which began around 8:50 a.m., it was low tide.

He said a cloud burst could pose more risk than a typhoon.

During the disastrous floods in September 2009 in Northern Luzon, when 455 millimeters of rain poured in Quezon City alone in 24 hours, a typhoon moved very slowly so there was a concentration of the volume of rain.

Tabada said the landslides and flooding in Ormoc in November 1991 were triggered by a cloudburst.

“If the rains lasted longer, let’s say for two to three hours, the effects would have been worse,” said Tabada.

Among the factors to be considered are the state of the drainage system and clogged rivers.

“We should think about what we did to the environment,” Tabada said.

Environmental lawyers said the heavy rains and flooding are “realities of the times.”

“Instead of building another coal (-fired power plant), they should channel resources to address climate change adaptation measures,” said Atty, Benjamin Cabrido.

“This will be a normal occurrence in the future and we would expect dislocation of communities. The local government units should have infrastructure plans,” he said.

Cabrido also suggested reviewing the drainage system, clearing riverbanks and controlling quarry activities.

Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, meanwhile, said, “with this unprecedented flooding, we hope more citizens will help fashion sustainable solutions to climate change.”

She said local governments should prioritize implementing a “green economy, renewable energy and serious implementation of environment laws ‘at wartime speed,’ to quote Leslie Brown, the climate economics guru.” (Sun Star)

3 proposed Cebu flyovers bucked

01/21/2011 - CEBU CITY (PNA) — Cebu City officials have expressed objections to the plan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 to build three new flyovers in the different areas of the city.

The three flyovers will reportedly be built along Gen. Maxilom Ave., Gorordo Ave. near Asilo dela Milagrosa
Church and M.J. Cuenco near Carreta Cemetery.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman Sylvan Jakosalem and Metro Cebu Traffic Council chairman Bunny Pages said the DPWH 7 should first finish the flyovers that have been left incomplete, such as the flyover on Archbishop Reyes Ave.

City collects P400-M taxes
CEBU CITY (PNA) — The Cebu City Treasurer's Office (CTO) has collected over P400 million in business taxes from thousands of taxpayers who trooped to City Hall to beat the deadline for the payment of business taxes Thursday.

The amount includes tax payment from schools who entered a compromise deal with the city, according to City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva.

She said their inventory shows there are at least 28,000 business establishments in the city and that their office has assessed more than 25,000 business establishments with P1.3 billion in tax fees.

Aquino's sister hands school aid
CEBU CITY (PNA) — A foundation led by a sister of President Aquino turned over Friday five pre-school buildings to local officials in Cebu.

“Let’s start right when they enter Grade I,” said Pinky Aquino Abellada, the chairperson of "Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa" (Aggap).

Gabriel Cruz, Cebu representative of Aggap, said they are building 100 classrooms in a year and another 1,000 classrooms in six years.

Two of the five school buildings in Cebu are in Mandaue City. Abellada said they are building classrooms to reduce dropout rates of pupils.

'Spiderman' on top of bridge
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — A man nicknamed “Spiderman” created a stir in this city when he climbed to the top of the tower of the Marcel Fernan Bridge here and still had not decided to go down as of press time despite pleas from the police and the public.

He had been on top of the tower for more than 48 hours already. Initial investigation said the man climbed the pier to steal copper wires and was adamant to go down for fear that he might be arrested by the police.

The man was armed with two bolos. (Mars W. Mosqueda Jr.)

Seaweed exporter selling property
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Shemberg Manufacturing Corp., the country's top carrageenan manufacturer and exporter, announced Friday that it is selling its 18-hectare prime property in Basak, Mandaue City and is now aggressively looking for potential buyers, preferably those who are engaged in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the company's top official said.

Shemberg Manufacturing Corp. Chief Executive Officer Benson Dakay said proceeds of the sale will be used to fund for the relocation of its seaweed processing facilities to Indonesia, as well as building modern seaweed processing factories in Cebu, and Zamboanga, which would all total approximately P1.5 billion in cost (Manila Bulletin)

P40-M repairs of oval start in summer

01/18/2011 - WITH the Sinulog over, the manager of the Cebu City Sports Center will now attend to repairing the rubberized track of the oval.

The P40-million repairs will start in summer, not now when it’s rainy, Sports Center manager Ricky Ballesteros said yesterday.

The track oval, which has Olympic dimensions, was built in 1994 in time for Cebu’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa. It has taken a beating from constant use and most especially from the large Sinulog floats that run on it every January.

Ballesteros expects the track to be closed for two months for the repairs.

There will be no running and jogging during the repair period, but the rest of the activities at the Sports Center will go on, he said.

Bidding on the works will be on Jan 26.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama wants the comfort rooms in the Sports Center also improved.

He noted some things that need to be improved in the Sinulog from Sunday’s experience—crowd control, signs, chairs, photographers’ area, awarding program, ticketing system, and use of tents to shield spectators from rain or sun.


Had it rained harder last Sunday, he would have been compelled to cancel the grand parade, he said.

Rama had contacted the Asian College of Technology, the University of San Carlos Main Campus and Boys High School, Sacred Heart for Boys, and Baragays Apas, Zapatera, Lorega and T. Padilla to house the contingents in their gyms.

All these areas are along the carousel route.

Dancing and judging would have been at the Sacred Heart.

Asked if this would be the same contingency plan for Sinulog 2012, Rama replied that the Cebuanos pray for good weather.

PNoy’s presence

The mayor again said that President Aquino delayed the Sinulog program.

He said Aquino’s invitation and confirmation came in late and so there wasn’t much time to prepare for his presence.

He also defended the Presidential Security Guards (PSG) whom people found very strict.

Some Sinulog judges had complained that the PSG blocked their view of the stage at the VIP section. Aquino stayed at the VIP section and the guards were all over and would not budge even with the plea of a judge.

Rama said that is how a president is guarded even in other countries.


City Hall will give incentives to street sweepers for their quick hauling of at least 326 tons of garbage just hours after the Sinulog Grand Parade.

They will each get a sack of rice and a shirt.

Incentives also await employees of the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), department of engineering and public works (DEPW) and Squatters Prevention, Elimination and Encroachment Division (Speed) for performing their job well, Mayor Michael Rama said.

At least 600 street sweepers collected leftover food, plastic bags, styrofoam, water bottles and other meal packaging left by revelers along the parade route and at the Cebu City Sports Center.

The street sweepers are members of “Operation Sinaw,” a special team created by City Hall at the start of the Sinulog activities.

326 tons

In an interview, DPS Head Dionisio Gualisa said the 326 tons of garbage were collected from the sports center and along the carousel route, including Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Osmeña Blvd.

Compared to regular days when they collect only 250 to 500 tons of garbage, Gualisa said the 326 tons picked up from the specific area was a lot.

Because of their sacrifice during the Sinulog and for continuously working until all roads were cleared of garbage, Rama promised to give incentives to all the garbage

Police alert

The police will remain on security alert until tomorrow, Cebu City Police Office Director Ramon Melvin Buenafe said.

He told reporters yesterday that the police controlled the crowd throughout the Sinulog festivities.

For next year, he plans to provide snacks and packed meals to the police teams instead of cash.

Buenafe said most of the police personnel assigned to control the crowd left their post to eat lunch. He also plans to arm them with truncheons.

The police got P70 each for food allowance, on top of the P50 that the Cebu City Government gave them last Sunday.


Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has reported that 18 buses ferried Sinulog revelers to certain destinations after the Grand Parade.

LTFRB 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon said each bus took four trips.

Most of the passengers were southbound.

The fare was P7 per passenger and not the official minimum rate of P8.50 for buses.

Cuizon thanked the presidents of bus operators groups namely Julieto Flores of the Cebu South Mini Bus Operators Association (CSMBOA) and Richard Corominas of the Cebu Provincial Operators Association (CPBOA) for responding to his request to deploy buses after the Sinulog show to prevent revelers from being stranded due to lack of transport facility. (Sun Star)

Rains fail to dampen feasts in honor of Sto. Niño in Visayas

01/16/2011 - CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines -- Thousands of devotees of the Señor Sto. Nino and revelers poured into the streets of Cebu City and Kalibo in Aklan for the 31st Sinulog Festival and the 799th Ati-Atihan Festival, both held Sunday.

It has been raining for two straight days in Cebu, but it did not dampen the fervor of thousands of devotees who flocked to the Basilica del Sto. Nino and lined up for hours just for a chance to touch and kiss the Holy Child’s image.

Throngs of revelers packed the sidewalks and streamed into the streets of Cebu City, unmindful of the rain, as they watched dancers in colorful costumes (with each contingent numbering between 50 and over a hundred), floats and higantes (giants made of paper maché) snaked through the parade route.

At least two million people poured into the streets of Cebu to watch and take part in the Sinulog Festival and about 200,000 joined the Ati-atihan in Aklan, according to crowd estimates by local police forces.

According to newly installed Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, millions of Catholics are Sto. Niño devotees because the Holy Child is the epitome of someone who needs and seeks help from other people.

“When we look at the Sto. Niño, we are reminded that as a little child, he needs the love of Joseph, Mary and the love of other people. He emphasizes he needs others. (In the same breadth), the province needs the city, the city needs the province just as provinces need each other,” said Palma.

Quoting a song, he said, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

The heavy downpour in Cebu that began at dawn drenched the dancing contingents but they still continued to perform their dance routines on the street, to the delight of the equally wet spectators.

Senior supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, the Cebu City Police Office director, estimated the crowd along the whole route at 2 million.

Buenafe said 2,000 policemen were deployed at the parade route, excluding soldiers from the different units of the military who helped in securing the event.

A 15-day gun ban was imposed in Cebu since last week. A liquor ban was also implemented along the parade route.

Movie and television personalities from rivals GMA and ABS CBN networks lent their star power to the Sinulog Festival and boarded their respective floats that took part in the parade.

In Kalibo, drum beats and the melodic sounds of lyres echoed until past midnight on Sunday as residents and tourists joined the street dancing popularly known as “sadsad,” especially around the Pastrana Park, the town''s
public plaza.

Thousands of devotees also visited the Kalibo Cathedral to pray before the child Jesus Sto. Niño and to take part in the traditional “Pahilot or Paepak,” where those seeking cure for diseases joined a healing rite of the Sto. Niño of Kalibo.

Supt. Samuel Nacion, officer-in-charge of the Aklan Provincial Police Office, said on Sunday that the crowd in the town’s main streets reached around 200,000. The revelers included foreign tourists, including those visiting Boracay Island and Filipinos residing in other countries.

On Saturday evening, the Magsaysay Park was the center of festivities capped by the traditional fireworks display at 11 p.m. Thousands also joined the famous “snake-dance” inside the park, which lasted until past midnight.

The festival ended on Sunday with the traditional Mass held early in the morning and the religious procession and street-dancing in the afternoon.

Western Visayas tourism regional director Edwin Trompeta said on Sunday that more groups joined the festival this year and the groups and tribes had also more members.

The Ati-Atihan Festival, considered the merriest and most fascinating of festivals held every second weekend of January, is among those held in honor of the child Jesus Senor Sto. Niño.

The festival traces its roots to a pagan ritual of Aetas in the 13th century, which was later transformed into a Christian tradition in the 18th century after a Spanish priest baptized 1,000 inhabitants of Kalibo. The name of the town is said to have been derived from “Isa ka Libo” (One Thousand), referring to the first baptized.

The festivities will shift to Iloilo City this week for the Dinagyang Festival on January 17-23, also in honor of the Sto. Niño.

Thousands of policemen, reservists and barangay peacekeeping volunteers will be deployed in Iloilo City during the festival, according to Chief Superintendent Cipriano Querol Jr., Western Visayas police director.

The Philippines National Police has also imposed a gun ban from January 17 to 23 in Iloilo City with the suspension of all permits to carry firearms outside of residence. (

UP student wins Miss Cebu

01/13/2011 - A MASS communication student of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu bagged the Miss Cebu crown last night, besting 12 others.

Asked by the judges how she would help in nation-building, 19-year-old Mia Zeeba Faridoon of UP said she can make a contribution by sticking to her values and sharing her knowledge.

The candidates had the chance to pose a challenge to each other: each wrote a question to be answered by any one of them during the semifinal round. From that round, judges picked the top five.

Based on how the contestants answered, Teffanie Lene Llamada and Vanessa Claudine Ammann gave the most challenging questions. Llamada was judged first runner-up while Ammann, who got the most cheers from the audience, got the second runner-up title.

Rosemary Gore was third runner-up.

At least two of the candidates found their fellow candidates’ questions too challenging or were just too nervous and could not utter a word during the first round of questions.

The audience had to egg on one candidate, who paused in midsentence while trying to answer whether she prefers happy endings to new beginnings. She finally said happy endings are better because having new beginnings meant the prior experiences had been failures. The question was written by Llamada, a registered nurse.

Another candidate was asked what object would best describe Cebu, a question formulated by Ammann. Aiko Lyanne Serrano chose the guitar, saying the way the musical instrument is made “represents the true beauty of the Cebuanos.”

Serrano landed in fourth place.

Aside from the crown and the title, Faridoon—who was also named Kapamilya Star of the Night—got P50,000 in cash.

All five winners will get free trips to Hong Kong.

Llamada won the best gown award while Ammann was named Miss Friendship by her fellow candidates.

Others winners include Katrina Raye Yuson for Miss Photogenic and Philil Tampus as best designer. Tampus’s creations were worn by Katrina Jane Esmas.

The candidates and the audience were entertained by two singers and a magician. True to this year’s Sinulog celebration theme, the contestants wore Chinese-inspired dresses for the opening number. (Sun Star)

As new Archbishop of Cebu Palma installed today

01/13/2011 - CEBU, Philippines - Bishop Jose Palma arrived yesterday for his installation as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu today.

On board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 857, Palma landed shortly before 3 p.m. at the Mactan Cebu International Airport, where he was welcomed by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes, Msgr. Achilles Dakay and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza.

At the airport’s Most Important People (MIP) area, Palma was met by Msgr. Cayetano Gelbolingo, Rev. Fr. Augustine Polong, Fr. Jaime Duero, Cebu City Mayor Michel Rama, Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva and Regional Police Director Ager Ontog.

When Palma emerged from the MIP main door, he was bewildered to see a group of men and women from the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. chanting his name to welcome him.

In proceeding to the Archbishops Palace, Palma’s convoy passed waiving schoolchildren and parishioners along the way.

The motorcade passed with ease through the major thoroughfares of Mandue City. Classes of schools along Palma’s route momentarily stopped as students went out to welcome him.

Some establishments also stopped their operations to let their employees join in welcoming Palma.

Yesterday’s 3 p.m. session of the Mandaue City Council was delayed for awhile as Mayor Jonas Cortes and the councilors met Palma, who made a three-minute stop at the city to mingle with Mandauehanons.

Students of St. Joseph Academy also presented a Sinulog dance in front of St Joseph Parish to welcome Palma.

Palma, in a statement after a brief talk with Cortes, said he was overwhelmed by the crowd that gathered to welcome him. His caravan then proceeded to Cebu City.

When Palma’s convoy passed Barangay Mabolo, hundreds of students from Mabolo Central School and parishioners headed by Fr. Joselito Danao gathered to great him.

The bells of Mabolo Parish Church rang as a sign of his arrival.


Palma’s convoy arrived at the Archbishops Palace where he was welcomed by his predecessor, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, at the St. Joseph Chapel.

Upon entering the chapel, Palma was handed a crucifix which he kissed as a symbol of his strong faith. He then blessed the faithful and himself with holy water.

Vidal opened the ceremony with a prayer asking God to guide and bless Palma as “as pastor of Christ” and to “watch over” his flock.

Following a deacon’s reading of a gospel, Palma knelt down and professed his faith through the Nicene Creed.

Palma then delivered his “oath of fidelity” in Latin, placing his hand on the Book of Gospels as an act of loyalty to the pope with the promise to protect the church.

Towards the end of the ceremony, Palma blessed the faithful which include members of the clergy, the parishioners and the media.

Palma said: “Nagasalig ako nga kita mga Cebuano magkahiusa kita ug magbuligay kita, mag inabangay aron atong probinsya ug simabahan motubo ug molambo.”

He is confident that he will have no problem adapting to his new place because he knows the capabilities of Cebuanos.


In his speech after dinner at the Sacred Heart Center, Vidal said: “I thank the Lord that he has given me the opportunity to welcome my successor, to install him in his cathedra and to wish him all the Lord’s blessings as he assumes office as archbishop of Cebu.”

“It is my wish this spirit of gratitude that I welcome Archbishop Joe Palma to his Archdiocese…Cebu might be a dynamo of progress in the Philippine but as you will see later in your first fiesta señor as Archbishop of Cebu, it is also a dynamo of faith,” Vidal said.

While Vidal is leaving his seat to his successor, he said he is not worried as he believes that Cebuanos will always help Palma.

Lawyer Pat Acabodillo, who will represent the entire lay community at Palma’s installation today, assured the new archbishop of full support of the lay community.


Today at 9 a.m. at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Palma will be installed and the new archbishop of Cebu.

Expected to attend are members of his family from Jaro, Ilo-ilo and friends from former assignments in Palo and Calbayog, Leyte.

Only pre-identified personnel are allowed to occupy the front pews of the cathedral, which are reserved for Palma’s family, friends, Cebu clergymen, bishops and guests.

The highlight of the installation will be when Palma is escorted by Vidal to the cathedra, which will symbolize the transfer of seat.

After the three-hour installation rites, Palma and guests will proceed to the Cebu International Convention Center for a thanksgiving lunch. (Freeman)

Cebu ready for influx of tourists for this week’s Sinulog festival

01/10/2011 - CEBU'S hotels and resorts are ready for the stream of foreign visitors coming to Cebu City for this week's Sinulog 2011 celebration.

Regional Director Rowena Montecillo of the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) said they are coordinating with other stakeholders for the Airport Welcome for Balikbayan Flights starting this week.

Montecillo said she also advised travel agencies to coordinate with their office for the tourist arrivals which they expect to swell in the days leading to the Sinulog festival. She said some hotels reported full bookings within Cebu City.

Montecillo said they want to assure everyone that there are sufficient accommodations for the event. She said the DOT hopes to spread the Sinulog fever to the neighboring provinces and municipalities.

“Sinulog as the main attraction in this month's celebration can be a way of promoting to our tourists the other beautiful places of Cebu,” said Montecillo.

The regional DOT-7 chief pointed to the Capitol's Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo tourism campaign as another tourism come-on. “There's so much to discover in Cebu,” Montecillo said. (Inquirer Global Nation)

Sinulog kicks off in Cebu City, partial liquor ban starts

01/08/2011 - As the yearly Sinulog festival kicked off during the weekend in Cebu City, officials imposed a liquor ban of sorts in areas near the venues of the festivities.

Radio dzBB’s Cebu affiliate reported Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama ordered the ban while preparations are ongoing.

The report said Rama also banned brewing companies from selling liquor in places such as parks and sports complexes near the parade route.

A city ordinance bans the sale and serving of liquors and other intoxicating products near churches, hospitals, schools and public plazas.

Earlier, security was beefed up in Cebu City for the Sinulog, one of the country’s major tourist attractions. The highlight of the festival is on Jan. 16.

Many local and foreign tourists have already booked hotel rooms in advance for the event.

Organizers said some 9,000 rooms in the city’s hotels and pension houses had already been fully booked.

Among the guests expected at this year’s Sinulog are President Benigno Aquino III and representatives from Yeosu City in Korea, a sister city of Cebu.

The Sinulog is a dance ritual in honor of the miraculous image of the Santo Niño (Christ Child)(GMA News)

2 niños offer art as tribute to Sto. Niño

01/05/2011 - COLORFUL floats, higantes and puppeteers never fail to amuse the children every Sinulog, as do the hotdogs, masks and other goodies sold in the streets. But the Sinulog is not all about entertainment and revelry for some children, and there is a lot more to it than just dancing and chanting. For two young artists, it’s a time to thank and show their love to Sto. Niño, and a time to pray for peace and unity.

“Dili lang puro sayaw ang Sinulog, apil sad ang pangadyi na naay peace Earth, ug pagpasalamat sa Santo Niño sa grasya na iyang gihatag sa akong family, sa akong grades and sa akong kamot kay ug wala akong kamot, dili ko makadaog ani (It’s not just about dancing, but also a time to pray for peace and to thank the Niño for the blessings given to my family, my grades and my hands. Without these hands, I would not have won this contest),” said 12-year-old Gusty Ruel Rosario. Rosario was chosen as the grand prize winner out of over 100 entries in the first on-the-spot Sinulog poster-making contest held last Dec. 11, an achievement that he offered to the patron. Using a pencil, crayons and oil pastels, he drew a young girl holding an image of the Sto. Niño while dancing in a fluvial procession, with the Magellan’s Cross in the background. The poster also features other dancers and musicians wearing body paint and masks, which he said was inspired by the things he enjoyed the first time he joined the Sinulog celebration in 2004.

Narrating his first memory of the Sinulog when he was only six years old, Rosario recalled standing in awe as puppets, dancers in masks and higantes passed in front of him. It was the first time he chanted “Viva Pit Señor!”

“Dili ko makalimot ato mao nang ang akong drawing naay nagsayaw kay mao man gyud na pirmi ang atong makitan. Ako sad gipili ang scene sa barko na naa sa dagat kay pirmi man sad na adtoon sa mga tawo (I will always remember that, which is why my drawing features a lot of dancers. I also drew the fluvial procession, because a lot of people always go to see that),” said Rosario, a grade six student of Barrio Luz Elementary School. His artwork will be used as front cover for the Sinulog 2011 program of activities booklet and souvenir program, while runner-up Paul Orland Saavedra’s entry will be featured on the back cover. The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) will award Rosario and Saavedra a trophy and P10,000 and P7,000 as cash prize, respectively, during the awarding ceremony on Jan. 17.

“In the Sinulog, it’s the grown-ups who enjoy the most, so we decided to hold the contest to find out what Sinulog means to a child. Through the contest, they were able to show what they think of the Sinulog. We want the children to be involved because after all, it’s the feast of the Child Jesus,” SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros said. Saavedra, for his part, focused his artwork on the “One Beat, One Dance, One Vision” theme of the Sinulog, and said he hopes his abstract design conveys the message of unity. Like Rosario, he offered his poster to the Sto. Niño, along with his prayers for good grades, good health and for the safety of his father who works abroad.

“For me, Sinulog is a time to show our love and faith to the Sto. Niño, and it’s a time to be united… I drew a mask, which symbolizes one vision, and the lady dancing symbolizes the dance that brings us all together. I also drew the earth in God’s hands, which means that God loves us so we should also show our love to Him this Sinulog,” said Saavedra, a grade six student of University of San Carlos-South Campus.

Saavedra plans to give his cash prize to his mother to help pay for his tuition, while Rosario wants to use the money to buy one sack of rice for his family, a cell phone for himself and food for his brother’s birthday party later this month.

“I will also use some of the money to offer a mass for the Sto. Niño,” Rosario added. (Sun Star)

Filipinos face a good year in 2011, Cebu card reader says

01/01/2011 CEBU CITY, Philippines (PNA) – A Cebu card reader has said Filipinos will experience a good economy next year, which is also said to be a good year to tie the knot.

Brother Cirilo “Eloy” Arepal, a sought-after local card reader, envisions the year 2011 as a good time “to look for a partner in life” and build a house.

While he advised couples to tie the knot next year, he stressed the importance of one’s readiness to enter marriage.

“2001 is a good year for the economy,” he said, interpreting the meaning of two ace cards, which he equated with “11.”

Good tidings will shower the country, but it will go through some “temporary difficulties” next year, added Arepal, who started reading cards when he was 12 years old.

He also advised President Benigno Aquino III, whom he described as “sincere and honest,” to be careful of the people around him because ace cards symbolize “betrayal of confidence.”

The year 2011, also known as the Year of the Metal Rabbit, will also be advantageous to those in construction and real estate, Arepal said.

Metal rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac is associated with prosperity and financial stability.

Arepal, who said he predicted the conflict in the Korean Peninsula, also foresees a more intense discourse on the issues surrounding the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.

He did not say if the bill will be passed into law, but he urged the government and church leaders to sit down together.

Church leaders, he said, should “listen” and treat the matter with more openness because the bill, which was almost passed in the 14th Congress, may also prove helpful to many people.

“There should be a negotiation or conference, and government and church leaders should study the matter,” he said.

The youth will also face next year the threat of drugs and unwanted pregnancies, said Arepal.

“If children will not listen to their parents, they’ll become victims of drugs or unwanted pregnancies,” he said.

Arepal said he has decided to lie low from card-reading for health reasons.

He said he reads cards for fun, and advised people not to rely on his predictions because only faith in God can assure one’s good future.

He also said 2011 should remind people of Jesus Christ’s second coming and the need to go back to God (Manila Bulletin)