FEBRUARY – MARCH 2012
alikbayan February – March 2012 19
VOLUME III NUMBER 1 FEBRUARY - MARCH 2012
INSIDE ASIA’S SANTORINI
Patterned after Santorini in Greece, Marinduque’s
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is the perfect
romantic destination this February.
is February, we bring you to the “Heart
of the Philippines”—the island province of
Read about Bessie Badilla’s successful
campaign, “Come Visit My Philippines”
and the positive power of social media.
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30 THE BEAUTY OF
Read about the wonderful
experience of the Miss Earth
2011 delegates at Hotel
Ponteno in Batangas.
In celebration of the 26th
anniversary of EDSA I,
we bring you back in time
through a Paulinian’s memoir.
52 MANILA IS ALIVE
WITH THE SOUND
review of Resorts World
Manila’s e Sound of
54 “HERE’S JOHNNY!”
Do you know that the
creator of the iconic
Johnny Bravo character is
a Fil-Am? Read about
Van and Johnny here.
58 DENTISTS TO
Discover what Dr. Nelda
Valencia Eufemio and her
partners have in store for you
at NU.U Asia Cosmetic
Do you know how the rst
pair of Marikina shoes came
to be? Discover the story
62 THE ROADS OF
A balikbayan’s essay about his
recent road trip via the roads of
64 MANILA THEN
A photo essay of Manila’s
once revered spots.
INSIDE MALACAÑAN PLACE
We take you on an inside tour of the
Philippines’ presidential home.
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President & Co-Publisher
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Vice President for Business Development
Raphael John C. Oriel
Lito Ocampo Cruz
Katherine Castillo Eustaquio
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Rowena Mara Diocton
Kristine Bernadeth Manaog
Cynthia de Castro, Rueben Nepales
Christina M. Oriel
Raphael John C. Oriel, Jerey Bulanadi
Rowena Diocton, Kristine Bernadeth Manaog
Oliver Bayani, Victor Benedicto
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Vice President for Circulation
and Special Events, Philippines
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Joseph Mark Camiring
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KEEPING A JOURNAL
s Valentine’s Day approaches, we not only think about
our loved ones, but also the places we love and the
adventures we long for. e core of Balikbayan Magazine
rests upon the love of a place and the admiration of
a homeland. Each time we tour a new island, a new
province, or a new city, we are astounded and fall in love once again
with the beauty of the Philippines. is issue, we deeply fell in love
with the island province of Marinduque, the unbelievable resort
island of Bellarocca, and the distinct Filipino hospitality in the new
4-star deluxe hotel in Batangas, Hotel Ponteno.
Last January, the Philippine Department of Tourism kicked o
the New Year with an energizing campaign—“It’s more fun in the
Philippines”, leading Filipinos, both young and old, to interpret the
slogan in their own way. is widespread, personal interest in the
new DOT campaign resulted in non-Filipinos to curiously wonder
what makes the country such an attractive destination and why it
is more fun in the Philippines. Be it exotic cuisine, magnicent
beaches, or the exuberance of the people, there is no doubt that the
7,107 islands of the Philippines have so much to oer to the world.
On the cover of our February-March 2012 issue is the
picturesque island of Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa, an exclusive
resort located in Marinduque, which is dubbed as the “Heart of the
Philippines” not just for its location on the Philippine map but also
because it’s a place where all good things stem from. Not only is it
tting for the month of love, it’s also another example of the worldclass
resorts found in the Philippines.
Let the following pages be an ode to our country, this spectacular
place we call home. And may each article bring to your heart a
feeling of pure Filipino love.
ROGER LAGMAY ORIEL, Publisher & CEO
e Asian Journal Publications, Inc.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "#"
hen we were planning our Febuary-March 2012
issue, we decided that we wanted to take the
roads less traveled—roads that would lead us to
magnicent locations and amazing nds.
On board Bellarocca’s resort van, we took on the rough, winding
road towards the marina where the speed boats patiently await our
arrival. The gentle, steady hands of the locals helped us to the
boats that took us to that isolated, elephant-shaped island better
known as Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa. It was almost dark
when we sailed and somehow, it felt like that scene when the boywho-lived
first arrived in the wizarding school. Except for the soft
whirring sounds of the speed boat and the occassional spritzes,
everything was quiet, everyone was in awe of that beautifully lit
island. And just like the wizarding school, Bellarocca is magical.
For our Valentine’s issue, we found ourselves in the “Heart of the
Philippines”—the island province of Marinduque. Truly, the love
of country is so evident and so strong in “The Geodetic Center of
Philippines.” And it’s not just the Moriones Festival that makes
Marinduque remarkable. Ancestral homes line the streets of
the capital town and each one holds a rich history that add up
to the province’s strong cultural heritage. The old churches are
magnificent, true survivors of the pirate attacks that one plagued
the island province. One of their cultural gems that we found so
endearing is the traditional “putong” ritual that you’ll read about in
our travel destination feature.
In Manila, our country’s rich, albeit mixed, culture remains
strong amidst urbanization and changing times. In “Manila Then
and Now”, we feature the old and the new in a single angle. And
speaking of the past, we also pay tribute to the 26th anniversary of
EDSA I this February.
With today’s modern technology and artistic prowess, the same
love for one’s country has developed many faces. It may appear
different, but it’s there. Like in the works of proud Fil-Am Van
Partible, the creator of the iconic Cartoon Network character,
Johnny Bravo. And speaking of icons with worldwide fame, we
also revisit former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ love for shoes and
her influence and support for the Marikina Shoe Industry.
Modern technology also allowed one person’s passionate love
for the country transcend distance and timezones. Bessie Badilla’s
“Come Visit My Philippines” campaign has gone viral through
Facebook and has become not just a mere hobby of posting photos
from the Philippines but the advocacy of an evolving group of
passionate balikbayans who converge and discuss the many ways
they can bring more tourists to discover the amazing things the
Philippines has to offer.
Our recent coverage in Marinduque has been a fruitful one and
definitely one that we’ll hold dear to our hearts. And just like
the ‘buttefly wishes’ we made before we boarded the plane back
to Manila, we just know that the “Heart of the Philippines” is
throbbing to welcome us back. In the succeeding pages, Balikbayan
Magazine shares with you how amazing and fulfilling it is to take
on the roads less traveled. We hope that you’ll find our discoveries
equally amazing and we hope that they can bring you closer to
where the heart is—home.
KATHERINE CASTILLO EUSTAQUIO, Managing Editor
Balikbayan Magazine would like to thank the following:
Congressman Hermilando I. Mandanas, Atty. Regina Reyes-Mandanas, Governor Carmencita O. Reyes, Mr. Renato S. Martinez,
Mr. Dindo Asuncion, Mr. Joven Lilles, Mr. Rudolf Studer, Mr. John Tanjangco, Ms. Sheila Evano, Mr. Alexis G. Tibayan,
Engr. Luisito M. Reyes, Ms. Carmelita Rejano-Reyes, Mr. Menan M. Peñael, and Mr. Teolo Mangol.
BY KATHERINE CASTILLO EUSTAQUIO 3 PHOTOS BY KRISTINE BERNADETH MANAOG
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In 1666, the Boac Cathedral was built in honor of
the Virgin of Immaculate Conception. e old cathedral
is located inside a former fortress that served as refuge to
Filipinos and Spaniards during pirate attacks.
At the foothills of the dormant volcano, Mt. Malindig,
lies the Malbog Sulfur Springs Resort. Years ago, the
so-called medicinal water from the sulfuric springs were
bottled and sold as “Aqua de Boac,” which claims to be a
cure for stomach problems when taken orally. It also claims
to cure skin ailments like eczema and acne. Visitors from all
over the world traveled to Marinduque to visit the sulfuric
springs. Today, the Malbog Sulfur Springs Resort, which is
located in Malbog, Buenavista, is a famous destination for
locals and tourists who wish to bask in the warm, medicinal
waters of the springs.
When it comes to hot springs, people always think of
Laguna. When you’re in the island province of Marinduque,
there’s also a number of hot springs resorts you can go to, one
of which is the Marinduque Hot Springs Resort located
in Malbog, Buenavista. Apart from the public hot springs
pool, they also have small private pools you can choose to
rent for small, private gatherings.
For that laid-back, afternoon-at-the-beach trip, head
to Poctoy White Beach Resort in the town of Torrijos.
is government-run resort is a popular venue for beach
lovers, even for the guests from the luxurious Bellarocca
Island Resort and Spa.
When the former Elephant Fantasy Island in
Buenavista, Marinduque opened as Bellarocca Island
Resort and Spa, it put the island province of Marinduque
on the map of the world. Luxurious, exclusive, and
breathtakingly beautiful, Bellarocca is reminiscent of the
world-renowned Santorini in Greece.
While Rejano’s Arrowroot Cookies can be bought in
various pasalubong spots in Marinduque and even in major
supermarkets in Manila, a visit to Rejano’s Bakery in Brgy.
Banahaw, Sta. Cruz, Marinduque is always a must-do for
those traveling to the island province. Make sure you take
home one of those variants with malunggay powder. ey’re
savory, moist, and absolutely delicious! Aside from the
wide selection of arrowroot cookies and several pasalubong
favorites, baker-owner Carmelita Rejano-Reyes might even
and your guests.
Along Mercader Street in Boac, Marinduque is the
beautifully restored ancestral house of Don Emilio Hidalgo,
a music enthusiast and major historical gure in the province.
e ancestral house is now the home of Kusina sa Plaza
(fast-food style restaurant) and Café (coee shop), two of
the most popular restaurants in Boac. On the second oor
is Casa de Don Emilio where you can savor the best ulangulang
soup, a native dish made of grated young coconut, deshelled
shrimps, and calamansi (Philippine lemon).
e Boac Hotel, located at Brgy. San Miguel in
Boac, Marinduque is one of the most sought-after tourist
addresses in the island province. ey have several room
accommodations at aordable prices even for large families.
e look and feel of the hotel is warm and inviting, with
old, black-and-white photos lining the walls of the small
cafeteria, down to the simple but charming interior of the
A short stop at the Marinduque Lepidoptera Farm
in Gasan, Marinduque is the best way to conclude your trip
to the “Heart of the Philippines.” Catch a buttery, make
a wish, and release it before you board your plane back to
“There’s a place
flowers, and glasses of refreshing pandan juice.
The Santorini-inspired architecture greets one with
alluring white structures that depict simplicity. Decorated
only with select neutral hues and bare, rock-solid spaces, the
colored chairs and light fixtures were tastefully chosen to
create a sense of a clear-headed recluse.
After the welcoming remarks by the General Manager
Rudolf Studer, the guests were ushered to their rooms and
villas to freshen up before their respective private dinners held
at various resort locations such as the Hotel Al Fresco Bar.
Situated off the south west coast of Marinduque, this
seemingly mystical island is easily identifiable from afar with
of its white-washed structures that resemble the great Minoan
architecture of the world’s glorious past. Its grandiosity shines
in the lapis lazuli sea and bright sky. The island that used to
be a ‘fantasy haven’ is now home for the beautiful recluse.
RIGHT IN THE “HEART OF THE PHILIPPINES”
“The resort promotes luxurious amenities, ultimate
privacy, and pampering as only the Filipinos can deliver in
the most unique resort setting in Asia,” said John Tanjangco,
Bellarocca’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “The resort
style and setting break free from the usual thatch-roof, native
designed resorts that can be found anywhere in Asia.
“Why in the Philippines? Well, the country is known globally
for the Filipino’s exceptional service and innate gracious hospitality
that remain unmatched anywhere in the world. These, together
with the unique resort and its facilities, all in a private island
setting, assure one of a truly amazing and unforgettable holiday.
Moreover, its location in Marinduque offers something new, fresh,
and intriguing. The location also adds mystery to the resort and
BELLAROCCA: “BEAUTIFUL ROCK”
Human culture associates the color white with purity,
innocence, and cleanliness. It is often in this knowledge that
guests see the luxury resort of Bellarocca as a secluded refuge
where one can escape the hassles and stress of city living.
In architecture, the use of this particular color leans toward
its “cool” quality. And by that we mean its ability to retain
a slightly cold temperature even in the blistering heat of the
midday sun. Considering the fact (albeit ironic) that the “safe
haven” lay bare amidst the waters of Marinduque, it could get
searing hot during the summer, transforming the lush, green
leaves of the trees to earthy brown. But still, the grand, white
halls of Bellarocca remain cool to the touch. After all, white is
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the considered by many as the color of perfection.
Every terraza, hotel room, suite, or villa lls one’s senses with
the sight, feel, and smell of home in the luxurious lightness only
Bellarocca so aptly provides, including a Hi-Fi compact sound
system. Its quaint and lovely furnishing adds to the comfortable
appeal of the one’s accommodation. Private balconies open to a
view of an open sea framed by a mountainous terrain, where one
can relax with complimentary cup of tea or coee or choose from
local and imported selections of alcohol at the room’s personal bar.
e garden and cli villas of Bellarocca do more than just oer
relaxation and serenity. With its majestic views that one can enjoy
while immersed in the outdoor Jacuzzi or the villa’s own innity
pool, Bellarocca lures you away to a dierent state of mind, one
that is more relaxed and positive. e opulence is evident in the
resort’s modern bath facilities that are matched with equally highend
skin care products from imported brands like L’Occitane, and
TRUE TO ITS PROMISE
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa has always enjoyed the
reputation of being one of the top resorts to go to for honeymoons
and anniversaries. In fact, many proposals and high prole
weddings have taken place inside the lavish white walls of this
paradise, some on the grounds of the 9-hole Par 36 Golf Course,
which is exclusively available for Bellarocca guests who wish to
mingle at the Golf Course Club House. Strategically located
across this small island are several meditation sanctuaries where
yoga sessions are held. ere is also a Tea House where you make
requests for that romantic, private dinner. A hundred-step trail up
a mountainous cli leads to the hillside spa treatment rooms where
guests can escape their worries or take a dip in the small innity
pool overlooking the sea where guests are on their early morning
water sports activities. ere is nothing quite like boarding a Jet
Ski and circling the elephant-shaped island while battling the
occasional waves. How about a romantic sail on the resort’s Hobie
Cat while watching the setting sun? For such a small island of
majestic grandeur, there are many water sport activities to keep
both the young and the old preoccupied.
And what is a trip without taking a piece of Bellarocca with
you? e Bellarocca Boutique Shop, which is located in front of
the hotel’s main lobby, oers guests with unique nds that they can
take home and share with family and friends. Soon to open is their
online gallery shop that will allow you to purchase items found in
TO THE HEART’S CONTENT
Only three years in the making, Bellarocca makes it a point to deliver
the desires of its guests—a specially cooked meal, a private romantic
dinner at any designated area on the island, or a reworks display for
a marriage proposal. All these are complemented by the personalized
service that is delivered by a Filipino sta.
e resort’s location in Marinduque is perfect; as though Mother
Nature herself has been commissioned to bring such perfect location
into existence. For on this “Beautiful Rock” is one of the many reasons
why travelers from all over the world keep coming back to the Heart of
HOW TO GET TO BELLAROCCA
Guests can go directly to the island on board chartered planes or
yachts. e resort has a private helipad for guests who require utmost
privacy. Bellarocca guests can also take the 30-minute plane ride from
Manila via Zest Air, a Philippine commercial airline. A 40-minute
land travel on board the resort van takes guests to the marina where
they will board a speed boat that would take them to the unbelievable
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa.
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40 | balikbayan | OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2010 | balikbayanmagazine.com |
COME FOR THE NEWS,
STAY FOR THE VIEWS.
| balikbayanmagazine.com | balik!"#"$ OCTOBER – NOVEMBER February 2010 – March | balikbayan 2012 | "1S" 41
to the /+$%"0
of the 1/&,&11&'+2
BY KATHERINE CASTILLO EUSTAQUIO
& KRISTINE BERNADETH MANAOG
A famous local folklore tells us the story of star-crossed lovers Marin
and Duke (Mariin and Garduque in other versions). Beautiful
and of noble birth, Princess Marin had many suitors, including
three datus (royal leaders) of three neighboring lands—Camarines,
Mindoro, and Laguna. However, Marin’s heart belonged to a
humble sherman-poet named Duke. Despite her father’s absolute
disapproval, Marin continued to meet with Duke in secret until she
decided to escape the royal life she was born into and ultimately follow
an out-of-town coverage. e “crowns” they placed on our heads
were made of rattan coil and owers, the scepter was a long, leafy
stalk of an indoor plant, and the short waltz with the putong singers
was surreal as we danced among the strewn pieces of Santan owers
that they showered us with a few minutes ago. ey also showered
us with coins, some of which landed on our heads, which we merrily
picked up as we were told they were for good luck, good health, and
While dierent towns in Marinduque have their own versions of
putong, this tradition can only be found in Marinduque and dates
back to a hundred years when it was practiced as a healing ritual that
was participated by the entire town. e ancient practice of putong
involves saints and patrons, leis and coins, drinking and eating, and
lasts from six whole hours to an entire day without ceasing. Some
claim that the collective positive energy of the townspeople during
a healing ritual can heal the sick. In modern times, the putong is
practiced in welcoming guests or celebrating one’s birthday.
Another fascinating discovery that can only be found in the
island province of Marinduque is the Pangkat Kalutang—a group of
men who plays beautiful musical using a unique set of instruments:
wooden sticks. ese wooden sticks are made from the branches
of bayog and kwatigan trees. ey vary in sizes—the smallest pair
resembles a cylindrical remote control while the largest pair can be
used for a backyard fence. Each pair produces only four dierent
notes by banging the wooden sticks together in specic spots.
We were told that the group is, more often than not, hard to
catch. With our putong crowns placed rmly on our heads, our party
climbed the grand staircase of the capitol building to be surprised
by the Pangkat Kalutang. Sitting there, feeling every bit of the royal
visitors they positioned us to be, it felt truly wonderful to be serenaded
by the island’s unique music.
HERE COMES THE MORIONS!
Among the many treasures and revealing secrets of the island
province, the Moriones Festival is probably its most signicant and
alluring gem of all, earning it the title “e Lenten Capital of the
Philippines.” e Moriones Festival opens on Palm Sunday and ends
on Easter Sunday, making it the Philippines’ longest festival.
Interpreted as a “parody of the Roman soldiers” during the time
of Christ, the festival dates back to the 1870s when Father Dionisio
Santiago, the local parish priest in the town of Mogpog, started the
ritual to encourage the townspeople to focus on the Catholic faith’s
activities during the Lenten season. Using a passage from the Bible
“…and at once blood and water poured out” ( John 19:34), he made use
of the story of Longino, whose blind eye was miraculously healed by
the blood of Christ that came from His Wound. It was Longino who
guarded the tomb of Christ and witnessed His resurrection. It was
during the dawn of Easter Sunday when Longino ran around town
making known to everyone that Christ is the Son of God.
e Moriones Festival runs seven day straight when the
“morions”, most of them men, parade around town in their full
morion costume—hand carved wooden masks depicting the stern
faces of Roman soldiers, elaborate headgear, and wooden swords and
shields. It is part of the festival’s tradition to keep the identities of
the morions a secret, as they are actually fullling a vow of penance
For an entire week, the morions parade on the streets, some play
pranks on children and engage in sword ghts much to the delight of
the crowd coming from all parts of the country. Once Longino goes
around town proclaiming his faith, the “hunt” or “wild goose chase”
for the Roman soldier begins. is is ocially called the habulan.
e townspeople help hide Longino, which adds to the merriment
of the festival, as the hunt can go as far as climbing trees and crossing
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inuenced the towns of Marinduque the most. e Spanish priests,
who stayed in the towns, had much more impact to the urban
planning that took place. us, the strong Spanish lineage and
inuence they left in the island province of Marinduque are evident
not just in their culture, but more notably, in their architecture.
e old churches in Marinduque reect the transition era from the
Middle Ages to Renaissance period in Europe where the architecture
is patterned after. e Boac Church was built in 1666 in honor of
the Virgin of Immaculate Conception and served as a refuge to
many Filipinos from pirate attacks, especially since Marinduque is a
province surround by oceans and mountains.
“Architecture, like no other forms, reects the ideologies of
its designer or composer. From 1580 until its completion and
consecration in 1792, the church design and construction continually
evolved—from a wood and anahaw structure to the imposing stone
and brick edice we see today,” Dindo Asuncion wrote in the book,
Marinduque: e Heart of the Philippines.
e church’s architecture is classied as Baroque style, which is
the dominant architectural style in Europe in the 1600s. However,
the architecture of Boac Church is a far cry compared to Baroque
European churches because of some consideration.
“e Boac Church parallels Il Gesu (of Rome) in many respects,”
Asuncion wrote. “A pediment with a vaulted niche tops the facade. e
placement of windows reects the frontage of the Jesuit Mother Church.
Nevertheless, the use of local craftsmanship and materials, thicker walls
reinforced with a persistent dose of buttresses, the emphasis on girth
rather than height resulted in an interesting variation—the ‘earthquake
On the other hand, the architecture of both Sta. Cruz Church and
Gasan Church leans towards the cruciform as its inspiration. “Perhaps,
the missionaries wanted the church structure to relate closely to the
town’s name,” Asuncion explained in the book. “Hence, the Jesuit
designers opted for the cruciform mode of the basilica leaning towards
the Latin cross variation (with the nave forming a longer arm) rather
than the Greek cross alternative (arms of equal length). e addition of
the transepts intersecting the nave made this possible.”
AMAZING FIND: ULANG-ULANG SOUP
On our second night in Marinduque, it felt as if we were transported
back to the time when gentlemen wear barongs and don hats, and when
women wear kimona and saya and cool themselves with handcrafted
and embroidered fans. We found ourselves in the capital town of Boac
where the streets are lined with Spanish-style ancestral houses and
where the occasional kalesas still roam the city at night.
We stood in front of an old ancestral house whose ground oor
was converted into a canteen-style restaurant. Our guides ushered
us towards the second oor of the ancestral home where we found a
quaint, beautifully-lit restaurant called Casa de Don Emilio. e house
is made of large planks of wood and overlooks the Boac Town Plaza
and the Marinduque Museum. With our team’s professional cameras
and everyone’s smart phones poised at the array of Filipino delicacies
they served us, the use of modern technology is an amusing irony to
the overall ancestral look and feel of the place. Apart from the nicely
restored antique furnishings, the walls are decorated with old musical
instruments and charming chandeliers.
Another Marinduque gem we found is the delectable “ulang-ulang”
soup, a native dish made of grated young coconut, de-shelled shrimps,
and calamansi (Philippine lemon). e strips of young coconut meat
were so tender we thought it was a type of native pasta and the shrimp
meat tasted so fresh especially with the hint of calamansi that left us
craving for more.
Ulang-ulang soup, now considered as one of Marinduque’s ocial
native dishes, is actually the homegrown recipe of Aurora Pitero, mother
of Mary Rose Sotta, who is the owner of Casa de Don Emilio. e
dishes served in the restaurant trace their roots to family recipes like
the bestsellers Paella Valenciana, Adobong Manok sa Gata (another
Marinduque delicacy) and Boneless Crispy Pata.
Locally embraced and widespread famous among tourists, Casa de
Don Emilio has become a favorite dining spot especially for guests
coming from Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa who wish to have a
taste of the province’s best kept recipes.
A WISH BEFORE THE TAKE-OFF
On our way to Marinduque Airport in Gasan, we made a quick stop
at the Marinduque Lepidoptera Farm (Buttery Farm) in Barangay
Uno. e province of Marinduque is actually dubbed as the Buttery
Capital of the Philippines, supplying 85% of the country’s exports
of pupa and butteries. While buttery breeding is a relatively new
industry in the Philippines, its growth rate is pretty strong considering
that three-fourths of the country’s top buttery breeders can be in
Emer Sevilla, the OIC of the Marinduque Lepidoptera Farm,
gave us a quick walkthrough of a buttery’s life cycle and the role the
butteries play in the tourism of Marinduque. People believe that
when released, the butteries bring one’s wishes up to heavens.
Each of us was asked to catch one buttery and place it inside a
triangular envelope with our names on it. Before we boarded our
plane that would take us back to Manila, each of us gingerly took the
butteries out of the envelopes and whispered our wishes softly. After
a brief moment of silence, we released them and watched in awe as they
ew towards their freedom. ey told us that the butteries would
bring us back to Marinduque someday, knowing that the Heart of the
Philippines is throbbing to have us back.
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Vow to the Heart
of the Philippines.
BY KRISTINE BERNADETH MANAOG
Experiential travel is not a new concept in the Philippines. With
so much natural beauty in rural communities, the country is best
travelled by experiencing the rough roads leading to hidden waterfalls
and lakes; sweating a bucket to reach the summit of majestic mountains;
and immersing oneself in the laidback life of the rural communities to
establish bonds and lifetime memories.
Noted travel writer Diane Daniel once said, “Experiential travel
gives tourists a great time—and gives something back to the places they
visit.” is quote is very much true for the province of Marinduque.
Dubbed as the “Heart of the Philippines”, the best way to appreciate
the island province is to touch, feel, and experience its natural haven
to discover and understand the essence of the place—the same way
A PARADIGM SHIFT
Legend tells us that a land emerged right smack in the center of the
Philippine archipelago after ill-fated lovers named Marin and Duke
drowned themselves together when Marin’s father and soldiers cornered
the lovers in escape. Today, the heart-shaped land between the Tayabas
Bay and Sibuyan Sea is called Marinduque. Other story narrates that
the name Marinduque is derived from the name of Mount Malindig
(pronounced as “Malindik” by the Spaniards), the island’s highest peak.
e province of Marinduque has been proclaimed independent from
Quezon since 1920.
Governor Carmencita O. Reyes, who is also addressed as “Nanay
Carmencita” by her constituents, will be best remembered not just for
her tourism actions for Marinduque but also for her administration’s
scholarship programs, widespread support to small-scale businesses,
cultural heritage, road improvement and maintenance, and good
As Marinduque enters a paradigm shift under her leadership, the
island province is well on its way to carving out its name to be the next
“We are really entering to a paradigm shift,” Goveronor Reyes said.
“Before, Marcopper Mining Corporation was here in Marinduque and
became the second largest copper mine in South East Asia but because
of the disaster, we are now very much aware of our environment. Rather
than exploiting it, we would want to preserve nature. We are going for
more sustainable forms like tourism, organic farming, and more. We
want it to be community-based, we want to give them ownership. We
really don’t want to urbanize the place because we want it to be still
like a paradise.”
Shifting the concern to tourism, Nanay Carmencita spearheaded
the campaign for Heritage Mapping Program, a widespread eort
which will enable the people of Marinduque to be more aware of their
collective culture. e Heritage Mapping Program will provide the
origin or birth right of the various heritage sites that Marinduque has
not yet discovered.
“Other than these projects, we want to capitalize with the fact that
we have so many caves,” Nanay Carmencita shared. “We also have an
underground river in San Isidro and of course, the cathedrals. We’ve
been planning to put a zip line and have a horseback riding activities
following historical trails.”
Besides being the “Heart of the Philippines”, Marinduque is also
the Geodetic Reference Center of the Country. Last August 9, 2011,
the Luzon-Datum Origin National Landmark has been unveiled at
Hinanggayon, Mogpog, Marinduque. e Luzon Datum of 1911 is
the reference point of all geological surveys and map making in the
country. e geodetic reference is also crucial as it also denes property
boundaries. Governor Reyes specically highlights that for her, the
Luzon Datum of 1911 is not just a geodetic reference but also a pride
of the Marinduqueños and is a part of their historical heritage.
Apart from the Luzon-Datum Origin National Landmark and
the Heritage Mapping Program, Nanay Carmencita is pursuing to
recognize Marinduque to be the next hot spot for medical tourism.
“As a matter of fact, we are processing the requirements needed to
recognize hilot as a cultural part of the heritage,” Governor Reyes
proudly announced. “We are going to compete internationally to
show that we are older than acupuncture and all that, that we are also
even better...making Marinduque center of medical tourism.”
HERE COMES BELLAROCCA!
“e Elephant Fantasy Island before was categorized as one of the
best of its kind in the Philippines. But when Bellarocca opened, it did
more [compared to Elephant Fantasy Island] and can fully compete
with the bests of the world,” Nanay Carmencita cheerfully shared.
With the re-opening of the Elephant Fantasy Island as Bellarocca
Island Resort and Spa last 2008, the tourism of Marinduque ourished
even more. e establishment of Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa put
Marinduque in the must-see places in the country, as the resort is listed
as one of the most luxurious resorts to visit.
“With the opening of Bellarocca, Marinduque became popular,”
Governor Reyes continued. “Everybody wants to go to Bellarocca and
going to Bellarocca means going to Marinduque. But of course, with
Bellarocca, you really pay for the luxury. It’s a hideaway for the rich
Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa is located at the South West wing
of Marinduque. It is a separate island patterned after the Santorini,
Greece in terms of island location and remarkable architecture. Since
its soft opening last 2008, Bellarocca has garnered several accolades. A
luxurious hotel like this working closely with the local ocials and the
rural communities has proven that private companies, together with
the government, can put the Philippines’ name on top of the tourism
Dindo Asuncion, the OIC of Marinduque Travel and Tourism
Oce even added, “Bellarocca is patterned after the Santorini island
of Greece. Now, it is more popular than Santorini itself.”
A YEAR TO GIVE IT ALL
With just a year left in the position as governor of Marinduque,
Nanay Carmencita only wishes to help Marinduque the best way she
can. She may not be a direct native of Marinduque but she has sworn
her life to serve the hometown of her late husband. Nanay Carmencita
is the wife of the late Commissioner Edmundo Reyes.
“It is going to be a mission in life,” Nanay Carmencita fondly shared.
“I am not really from Marinduque, but it has become my mission in
life to help Marinduque. It gives my life more meaning.”
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 !"#!
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balikbayan February – March 2012 9
Pasalubongs can range from key chains to I’ve-been-here
T-shirts to furniture, but the favorite ones are always local
sweets one can buy in bulks. In Marinduque, the most famous
pasalubongs are Rejanos’ Arrowroot Cookies and they are—most
definitely—deserving of the title.
Rejano’s Bakery is managed by Carmelita Rejano-Reyes, who
is the third generation owner of the famous bakeshop and has
made the Rejano’s Arrowroot Cookies one of the Marinduque’s
Also known as uraro cookies, these
peculiar-looking cookies are made
from pure arrowroot starch. Rejano’s
Arrowroot Cookies are delicate, soft, and
they easily crumble due to the low gluten
content. Unlike puto seko, arrowroot
cookies are somewhat moist and they
melt in your mouth as you bite into them.
Plus, they’re good for digestion because
of its high fiber content.
From the original recipe, Carmelita
came up with the idea of adding some
“extra flavor” and this brave move pushed
Rejano’s Arrowroot Cookies ahead of its
competitors. The Arrowroot Cookies
with Pinipig has become a fast favorite
for those who wanted some crunch. We
also found a variety that has malunggay
powder in it. At first, we thought the
somewhat bitter taste of malunggay would
overpower the cookies but they were
actually savory and moist. There is also a
sugar-free version that is perfect for those
`0 balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
Miss Earth 2011 Delegates Graced
Batangas City’s Brand New 4-Star Deluxe Hotel
Miss Earth 2011 delegates experienced the beauty of Batangas
from the vantage point of the new 4-star deluxe hotel, Ponteno. e
group arrived Sunday, November 27, 2011, for pre-pageant activities—
Swim Wear Fashion Show, Tree Planting Ceremony, and Provincial
Tour. e twenty-nine delegates walked on a red carpet right beside
Hotel Ponteno’s newly renovated pool and bar for the night’s
Swim Wear Fashion Show. On stage, each Miss Earth 2011 delegate
expressed her beliefs about the environment and its preservation.
“I hope you understand that you do not only represent the
beauty of your faces and bodies. You represent the beauty of your
respective countries, the continent you live in, and your unique
culture,” Divina Chingcuanco, the Chief of Party USAID Climate
BY ROWENA DIOCTON PHOTOS BY NOEL GODINEZ
Change and Clean Energy Project (CEnergy), said.
e USAID (United States Agency for International
Development) partnered with Hotel Ponteno to bring the
Miss Earth 2011 delegates to Batangas City, the recent gold
medal awardee for the Liveable Communities (Livcom)
Competition held in Korea.
“We supported Batangas because we believe in Batangas
City. And how right we are,” Chingcuanco said, adding, “You
ably demonstrated to the world—we need not have skyscrapers
like the ones in New York City, we don’t need to have bullet
trains like Europe, or mega-infrastructure of developed
economies. We only need a pool of local government ocials
and environmental ocers who are proactive and who are
committed in protecting the environment.”
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Ocer for
Ponteno Residences Fely Ramos said that, in coordination
with the Environment Code of
Batangas City, the hotel is against the
use of plastic and Styrofoam materials,
even seeking to nd paper straws at
the time of the event.
at night, the media enjoyed a
taste of the local Batangan cuisine for
dinner, nishing o with the sticky
rice cake called sinukmani for dessert.
To allow the media to know the
delegates better, we were arranged in
round tables, each one with one or two
delegates assigned. In what I regard
as the high moment of my coverage,
I sat right across the crowned beauty
queen—Miss Olga Álava of Ecuador.
Right from the moment she sat
down smiling in her blue embellished
gown, she had everyone’s full attention.
Humbly, she told us how she got tips
from her boyfriend’s sister who joined
an international pageant a few years
back. e charming Ecuadorian spoke
of volunteerism and community work.
A while later, she excitedly asked the
group for the time and then said, “My
parents are coming in tonight!”
In between bites of what she calls
Philippines eater in Diliman,
Quezon, where the humble
Ecuadorian beauty, Olga Mercedes
Álava Vargas, gained the Miss
Earth 2011 title, a rst for her
DYNAMIC GRANDEUR: THE
OLD AND NEW IN HOTEL
When traveling to Batangas
under a clear sky, passing through
wide farms and lone nipa huts, one
can’t help but be lled with positive
visions of a relaxing vacation.
Instead of the rough roads most
faraway provinces are notorious for,
the land trip towards Batangas is
short and enjoyable, much thanks
to the new Star Tollway.
Just a few minutes from the
Batangas City rotunda stands an
elegant row of Neo Victorian-
themed townhouses—the Ponte-
no Residences. Many balikbayans
from the US can’t help but remember seeing a similar view in
San Francisco, where many houses were renovated to follow the
Neo Victorian style. Each one of the thirty four existing Ponte-
no homes is decorated with intricate woodwork nished o with
a charming array of vibrant colors.
Not surprisingly, almost all of the three- to four-storey townhouses
were already sold.Apart from the fully furnished setup of the
units, the management also oers a protable rental agreement to
homeowners and investors, helping them earn monthly by renting
`/ balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
out their unit to Ponteno Hotel’s clients while they’re out of
A stone’s throw away from the residences is the hotel, a behemoth
of wood, steel, and concrete elegance structured in a way
that redenes the typical R&R with a twist of the old stepping
right beside the new to provide a place for serenity.
Housing sixty rooms for guests, a number of the hotel rooms
are sold as “condotels”—a mix of a condominium and a hotel.
“You buy the unit, lease it back to the hotel, and the hotel
ents it out to guests. e buyer with the lease gets a share of
the revenue, and then they get free 24-nights-a-year stay at the
hotel,” Ramos said, adding that this is great setup for overseas
Filipino workers because they can earn money as well as enjoy
free accommodations when they come from for vacations.
“ere are some people here who are also leased with us and
we’re giving them 30 percent of the revenues of their unit,”
Ramos added. “For example, if the unit is being leased for
Php10,000 a day, then they get Php3,000 a day.”
THE RETIREMENT HUB: CONDOTEL AND PRIME
“What we’re trying to show here is total community,” Ramos
said, announcing the plans to accommodate the vast demand
from the market. “In fact, we are encouraging retirees even from
abroad. We have talked to a lot of retirees f rom the US who
want to retire here. We are tying up with medical groups so that
we can have a retirement community. You know how it gets very
expensive to retire in the US or some European countries.”
By the end of the year to early 2012, the public can expect
a rollout of grand oerings from the Ponteno development.
As part of extending its land area to an 8.5 hectare commercial
project, the group will build two additional hotel towers, with
the East Tower as home to 119 rooms, more than doubling the
hotel’s present capacity.
An 8-storey tower will have 105 purely residential units; 64
of these will be oered as condotel units and will ll the rst
four oors, while the top oors will serve as condominium units.
Shop house-style town houses will add to the commercial district
of Ponteno Residences. “We are oering these to entrepreneurs
who would like to put a store in the ground oor and
live in the second and third oor,” Ramos adds. Clearly a protable
investment option, the four shop house units are double
in size—240 square meters—to accommodate the bulk of the
Apart from the condotel and residential plans for expansion,
the management is set to open up the development for our
balikbayans and investors who seek to live in the retirement hub
but is privy to the price. e Ponteno Prime, twelve initial single
detached houses are priced below Php3M each. Compared
with the existing residences, which are sold at an average of ve
to seven million, the Ponteno Prime answers the needs of the
OFWs who wish to provide a luxurious dwelling to their families
at an aordable price.
TO THE GROWTH OF BATANGAS
“is is in response to the growth of Batangas that we are
expanding the hotel,” Ramos said. Just in time for the Batangas’
ongoing plans for tourism, the Ponteno Hotel and Residences
oers balikbayans, OFWs, and local and foreign investors an option
for business, residence, and relaxation.
“It’s a good investment for people who are not here yet, who
are planning to retire in the future,” Ramos added. “Take a
break from the stress of Metro Manila and the pollution, and it’s
not so far. It’s only one and a half hour away.”
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "``"
LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
“The most interesting ones
are from members who
share their knowledge of the
Philippines–those who ‘teach’
us things that we never knew
about our country.”
“A few hours after we posted the rst set of photos, we received
comments from friends and the thread grew so long that it became
dicult to follow,” Bessie continued. “Our friend Francois Medina
decided that we should start a Facebook page for people who
also believe in the beauty of the Philippines. He started the page
last September 25, 2011 at 12 noon. Twenty-four hours later, we
had 3,500 members!” Bessie, Alex, and Francois, a supervisor at a
nancial institution, were stunned.
“I was happily overwhelmed!” exclaimed Bessie, whose downto-earth
nature and gregariousness easily win her friends, whether
online or in person. Bessie’s wacky sense of humor, evident in her
Facebook comments, is one of her most endearing traits.
“But the member requests kept on coming and that was when
I panicked!” Bessie confessed. “What are we going to do now? I
people who spend a lot of time on Facebook like me. We added
Francis Murphy, Raphael Salonga, and Frederick Maniquis from
the East Coast; Fletcher Callanta from the West Coast; Marita
Barral, Miguel Sarmiento, Xaviera Petell, and Ronnie Leonardo
from Europe; Giboy Sarayba, Jay Sta. Barbara, Melo Martinez, Mae
Paner ( Juana Change), Myra Abundo, Gaby Tinio, Noel Mate, Lito
Boy P. Pangilinan, Nap Beltran, and Roland Fontanilla Jr. from the
Philippines. We wanted to have a 24/7 site watch so new members
could be accepted to the group at all times.”
When I wrote this article, CVMP’s membership has grown to
more than 34,000, an astonishing feat considering the page was
almost new. Most of the active members are in the Philippines
while the rest come from North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle
East, Australia, and New Zealand.
Bessie, whose latest project is “Brinoy,” which is her rst album
of Filipino and Brazilian fusion songs, reected on why Filipinos
responded to CVMP in such a phenomenal way. “I think it’s because
CVMP is one of the very rst Facebook group sites that is positive
`P balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
BY DANIELLE CLARA P. DANDAN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFFREY BULANADI
egal architecture. Majestic balconies and
windowpanes. History enveloped in giant wood
carvings. Class in every furniture. ese are just some
of what the Malacañan Palace is all about. Balikbayan
Magazine brings you inside the seemingly exclusive
walls of the Philippines’ presidential home.
ere are two important notes for rst-timers to remember.
“Malacañan”—the G-less version of the word, pertains to the
Palace itself, while “Malacañang” should be used with the word
“compound” as it pertains to the entire complex. So, if you’re
planning to send President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III a letter,
address it to Malacañan Palace.
A walk inside the Malacañang complex on a sunny afternoon
is a pleasant breeze on its own. e sight of Presidential Security
Guards on almost every corner is a relief that safety is all in
place. It is a quiet community, especially for one located in the
busy streets of Manila—near Quiapo that is. Getting inside the
complex follows a certain protocol for dierent types of vehicles.
e compound has an ID system, but we have witnessed stricter
measures in compounds around the metro than Malacañang.
COLONIAL AND REVOLUTIONARY EXHIBIT
ROOMS ALA-TIME MACHINE
Our rst stop is a Brieng Room in Kalayaan Hall where
tourists are oriented on what to expect during the tour and the
house rules inside.
!0 balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
is rst room is like a teaser of how much sophistication the
Palace is ready to unfold for its curious visitors—the high and
lofty silk curtains, the classic Presidential seal on the podium
(where one can freely pose like a chief executive delivering his
speech to the people), and the simple but elegant wooden chairs.
e group is then led to e Old Waiting Room where a
collection of Spanish period artifacts lay on protective glasses
and tables. Entering the room is like walking into an entirely
dierent world. It may be a cliché, but the whole room chills
one with the idea of a time machine. We have to take note that
before becoming the ocial residence of the President of the
Philippines, Malacañan Palace was once the vacation house of
powerful Spanish leaders during their reign in the country.
We proceeded to e Old Executive Secretary’s Oce where
original relics during the revolution are found such as the thimble
used by Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo when she sewed the rst
Philippine ag placed on special glass container. A sculpture of the
three martyr priests collectively known as Gomburza by National
Artist Napoleón Isabelo Veloso-Abueva is also prominently
displayed. But the star of the room is, of course, our country’s
national hero. Jose Rizal’s handwritten notes are delicately housed
in one glass-covered table.
e room next to e Old Executive Secretary’s Oce houses
memorabilia from the American colonization. is includes
an artist’s graphic rendition of the late US President William
McKinley attempting to kill a mosquito, which according to some
accounts, represents Emilio Aguinaldo and the rebellious Filipino
people at that time. Along the corridors of the second level of the
building hang in frames some keepsakes from the Japanese invasion
like news clippings, photographs, and old Philippine bills. ere
are several other rooms the tour itinerary has in store for guests,
including the former Vice President’s room, the former Cabinet
meeting room (where the conference table is too small since there
were fewer Cabinet members in the past administrations), and the
former ballroom-turned library, among others.
MAINTENANCE AND ARTIFACT PRESERVATION
To the naked eye, the whole of Kalayaan Hall looks
generally well-maintained. is has been declared by the
National Historical Commission as a Heritage Site. Since
the Palace is popularly tagged as the “seat of power”, it is
already prohibited for tourists to sit on the historical executive
chairs so as to preserve them for a much longer period.
MARCOS ’ FAMOUS FAREWELL WAVE
e tour also allowed us to see where the Marcoses’ made their
last public appearance before they ed the Palace for Clark Air
Base onto exile in Hawaii.
In a similar-looking balcony inside the Palace, one can see the
former house of Marcos’ mother, now known as “Bahay Pangarap.”
Below it is the grand Pasig River where Philippine Coast Guards
are on duty 24/7.
FRIENDLY REMINDERS AND GETTING THERE
e nearest point a tourist can get into the country’s seat of
power is by joining the Presidential Museum tour. e package
tour under the group Malacañang Food and Heritage Tour sis
at P750 per head. is includes a full meal at the very posh Casa
Roces Restaurant that will let you relive the favorite breakfast and
merienda sets of the past chief executives, including a meal called
“PNoy Power Brunch” among others.
Casa Roces, which is located across the New Executive
Building (formerly the Malacañang Press Oce), oers these
meals exclusively to the patrons of Malacañang Food and Heritage
Tours, and likewise oers an optional tour of the previous ancestral
home of the prominent Prieto-Roces clan across the Malacañang
Press Oce. Kape Chino and Galeria Roces aim to introduce
a newly furbished 1930s house for friends, families, and loved
ones to gather and partake of comfort food in an artsy ambiasnce
graced with paintings of distinguished Filipino artists.
One does not simply take the Malacañang Museum tour at a
whim. ere is a seven working-day registration protocol that is
strictly implemented by the Presidential Security Group.
Interested parties can contact the Malacañang Food and
Heritage Tours through their Facebook fanpage or through their
For more details on food packages, one can also check out
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "!1"
Residential resort living in the heart of the country’s central
business district is made possible by Geo Estate Development Corp
through e Beacon project that stands proud right at the corner of
Don Chino Roces and Arnaiz Avenue in Makati City.
With almost a hectare to spare, Geo Estate is in the process of
putting up three residential towers in the middle of a fast-paced
corporate environment that embody the very essence of simple yet
elegant living. Several units in e Beacon Towers I and II have
sold out in a couple of years, with professionals and balikbayans
dominating the client roster and with Tower III soon to rise in
During an interview with
Balikbayan Magazine, Geo
Estate Chief Operating
Ocer (COO) Miriam
Katigbak shares that e
Beacon is likely to house more
and more young professionals
working in Makati. With the
towers’ studio units ranging
from 21 to 24.8 square meters,
they are the perfect retreat for
on-the-go professionals and
e Beacon’s loft and
two- to three-bedroom
units are perfect for growing
families as each unit oers
magnicent views of the
Manila Bay, Makati skyline,
and Laguna Bay. Meanwhile,
for clients who wish for
a more spacious unit, e
Beacon is quite exible when
it comes to customization.
“We have clients who are
buying one, two, three, even
ve studio units,” Katigbak
shares. “ey intend to
customize and connect these
units as one big unit for their
e Beacon amenities
cater not just to the young
professionals abundant in the
city but also to large families,
especially the young ones.
“e amenities of e Beacon
are second to none,” Katigbak
beams. “We have just about
everything— separate toddler
and kiddie pools, as well as a 50-meter lap pool. We also have the day
care center and the indoor and outdoor playgrounds.”
e Beacon residents can also enjoy barbeque parties with friends
and family in the towers’ Barbeque Pit area and roof deck garden.
Sky Lounge is also a true luxury at e Beacon’s 42nd oor, where
one could enjoy panoramic views.
In terms of in-house entertainment and tness, e Beacon is
equipped with high-end facilities such the 20-seater private cinema
where families could gather for popcorn, movies of their choice, and
quality time; the spa that is perfect for parents who wish to relax
after a hard day’s work; and the jogging trail and bi-level gym facing
a magnicent skyline view for the health-conscious bracket. All of
these amenities can be found in the roof deck of the towers, including
the exercise stations located—literally—in every corner of the area.
NOT JUST A NEW NAME
e Beacon is the product of simplicity, class, and elegance. With
the successful selling of Towers 1 and 2 (also known as the Roces
and Arnaiz Towers respectively), Geo Estate proves that there is
more to the company’s fresh name in the property development
industry. Geo Estate is an exciting addition to the list of prominent
property development rms
in the country. e team
is composed of successful
industry veterans who have
property development projects
across the country for the past
decades. Its president and
COO is a good example.
Miriam Katigbak’s career
with Ayala Corporation made
her a well-rounded expert on
property development. She
has handled a diverse lineup
of projects—from parking
spaces, to malls, to residential
and commercial buildings,
and even the waterworks in
Ayala, Alabang. roughout
her career, she has developed
not just properties and spaces
but also the utmost passion
for her career that brought her
to the helm of the prominent
1,400-hectare Nuvali project.
“I stayed there for about 20
years,” Katigbak quips.
is love aair with
property development did not
stop Katigbak from going even
further. Her former supervisor
in Ayala Corporation,
Francisco Licuanan, had put
up Geo Estate Development
Corp that Katigbak now leads.
“He told me to call him when
I’m bored (after retiring from
Ayala Corporation), so I did,”
Katigbak fondly recalls.
“We know what buyers are
looking for and we know that we need to keep up to date with what
they need,” she adds. “It’s experience that tells you these things.”
As a “condo-dweller” herself, Katigbak has rst-hand knowledge
and experience in condo-living. She truthfully understands what
fellow “condo-dwellers” are looking for. Geo Estates recognizes that
most of their clients are putting in their life savings to purchase a
unit. “And so we owe it to them to give the best service, not just in
terms of quality and service, but in the mindset that we are actually
partners in this.”
For inquiries, you may log on to www.eBeacon.com.ph.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "!#"
!" balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
An Ordinary Filipina’s Account
of Extraordinary Times
BY MARIONETTE OCAMPO-MARTINEZ
PHOTOS BY JEFFREY BULANADI
‘e Filipino is worth dying
for’—becomes the battle cry
of his people.”
“If there was an age of emptiness, this
must be the age of enlightenment. e nation
has suddenly become ‘alive, awake, alert,
enthusiastic.’ People, old and young have become
interested in the state of the nation.”
!R balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
old oak tree, it’s been three long years, do you still want me” and hope
for his coming. e hope is not without fear for government has
warned that Ninoy will be arrested upon his landing on Philippine soil.
We are glued to our television set when he arrives. We see the last
few pictures of him in the plane—with a look on his face that I see so
clearly to this day, the slightest hint of worry clouding an otherwise
excited expression. en bedlam; snatches of “pusila, pusila”; cameras
going awry; shots red; and the sight of a fallen hero, sprawled on the
tarmac; shot in the back.
I am moved to tears. I run to the bathroom to hide them (from
whom, I do not know). My son Stevie is nine, my daughters, Rina and
Anna, are six and three. ey would not understand why their mother
is crying for a man she does not know and has never met, but who put
a face to courage and patriotism.
I stand in line outside the Santo Domingo Church. e Sisters have
been very understanding. Teachers can accompany their classes to Santo
Domingo or give seatwork if the classes choose to remain in school.
How important is it to learn the intricacies of diagramming sentences
or nding the solutions to calculus problems? Put on a weighing scale
with learning what heroism is, paying homage to a present-day hero,
being one with the Filipino masses, there is no comparison.
e line is a long and winding line, spilling out of the nave and the
aisles, into the courtyard, zigzagging back and forth and out into the
streets of España and P. Florentino. In the long line, under the glare of
the noonday sun, we Paulinians stand together, unmindful of the heat
and the dust and the thirst that they cause—for the physical thirst is
overpowered by a thirst for justice, and freedom, and peace.
After about three hours, I am inside the church, suddenly cooled by
the silent reverence with which the viewers le near, at, past his con,
wiping tears at the sight of the blood-stained jacket and feeling for a
while, like the man with the hoe. Not the burden of the world, but
certainly of the country, suddenly aware of the emptiness of the age
If there was an age of emptiness, this must be the age of
enlightenment. e nation has suddenly become “alive, awake, alert,
enthusiastic.” People, old and young have become interested in the
state of the nation.
ere is an assembly in the Fleur-de-lis Auditorium. e guest
speaker is Butz Aquino, younger brother of Ninoy. Butz is not a
stranger to the Fleur-de-lis stage for he has appeared in the Broadway
musicals, Brigadoon and Show Boat. He is well known in St. Paul as
a talented actor and singer, a “jolly good fellow.” But this morning,
he is not an actor or a singer or a jolly good fellow. is morning, he
is Butz Aquino, leader of ATOM (August Twenty-One Movement)
and brother of the slain hero. During his entire talk, you can hear a
pin drop, which is unusual in college assemblies. Today, the students
come without being shepherded, on their own, looking for seats quietly,
settling down quickly and giving the speaker their undivided attention.
Butz speaks, with an eloquence that comes from a full heart and a
resolute mind. He talks about his brother and his life and death, a
life oered for his countrymen. Ninoy’s testimonial—“e Filipino is
worth dying for”—becomes the battle cry of his people.
e ght for freedom gains momentum. Rallies are held in key
spots in the metropolis, perhaps the most popular of which is Ayala
Avenue. We tie yellow ribbons on our car antenna and put Cory stickers
on our windshields. We join rallies on Ayala Avenue and revel in the
downpour of confetti from the multi-storey buildings. To me it seems
like a chain that binds the employers and employees in the buildings to
the people on the ground, a chain that unites them in this joint quest.
e opposition to the current leadership is reaching fever pitch.
Marcos tries to put a stop to it by calling for a snap election. But the
time of liberation has come. A nation discouraged by the COMELEC’s
pronouncement that Ferdinand Marcos and Arturo Tolentino won
“Someday, I tell them, you will read
about this day in your history books. I
want you to remember what it was
like rst hand.”
the presidency and vice-presidency, is suddenly heartened by the
walkout of 29 COMELEC computer technicians. I cry with joy
and clap my hands for those brave young men and women who
dare to defy the dictatorship.
It is February 23, 1986. I wake up to the call to go to EDSA to
defend Ramos and Enrile, who have defected from Marcos. My
husband is on business trip in Cebu—where incidentally Cory is,
safe in the company of the nuns. I want to go to EDSA but do not
have the means. I want to do something but I do not know what
or how. I walk to our parish church. It is not really that far, but it is
the rst time that I go there on foot, my head in a whirl, my heart
racing with excitement and fear.
Monday, February 24. My husband is back, and together we
go to St. Paul. It is practically a ghost town. Some parents have
not allowed their children to go to school or anywhere else. Other
students and teachers and Sisters have gone ahead to EDSA. We
decide to go. We cannot park anywhere near, for the sea of Filipino
humanity has grown in the past two days. We station ourselves
near the VV Soliven Building and are soon caught up in the spirit
of the crowd. It is a glorious feeling of oneness, of being truly
and simply Filipino under the skin, despite dierences in age and
stature and calling. I see renowned personalities mingling with
masses. I see our St. Paul Sisters; Fr. Horacio Rodriguez of Colegio
San Agustin and some grade school teachers; Esty Juco, fellow
teacher and tireless street parliamentarian, with her colleagues, like
Chino Roces and Rene Saguisag; a very young Gretchen Barretto
and her sisters and parents; and a host of fellow Filipinos.
I am proud to listen to the voice of June Keithley, and I remember
her as a high school student who was forever reading and who
must have imbibed the values of courage and patriotism partly
from her readings. Whenever someone on stage starts singing
“Bayan Ko” and asks the crowd to join, we all do, with hearts nearly
bursting with emotion. “Ibon mang may layang lumipad. Kulungin
mo at umiiyak. Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag. Ang di magnasang
makaalpas,” voices breaking, tears streaming unashamedly, mainly
because almost everyone else was crying too.
Tuesday, February 25. We decide it is safe enough to bring
the children along. We also bring a radio to keep track of what
is going on. I realize it is not easy to handle three small kids and
a rather large radio in this situation; but I do not regret having
brought them. Someday, I tell them, you will read about this day in
your history books. I want you to remember what it was like rst
hand. ey rise to the challenge and behave their best, holding on
to either parent to avoid getting lost, straining to see Enrile and
Honasan. ey pass right in front of us, and we want to touch
them in gratitude but are awed by what they have achieved for the
On our way home this evening, we hear the news of the Marcoses
leaving Malacañang. At home, on television, we see the crowds
climbing the walls of the Palace as if to reclaim it for the people.
e Nation has breathed a collective sigh of relief and whispered
a collective prayer of thanks. Later, the APO Hiking Society will
sing “Handog ng Pilipino sa mundo, Mapayapang paraang pagbabago.
Katotohanan, kalayaan, katarungan, Ay kayang makamit na walang
dahas. Basta’t magkaisa tayong lahat,” and again I am moved to tears.
Fast forward. I am watching a program in school and some
young teachers, having been assigned to depict the EDSA
revolution, are singing the same song, and I am near tears again.
But I look at the faces of the young teachers and I realize that the
song does not—cannot—mean to them what it meant to us.
It seems I have never cried as much for our country and our
people as I am now. At the same time, I have never felt such joy,
such love, such pride in being a Filipino.
balikbayan February – March 2012 49
&ITS The Avenue and the Revolution
in the Mind of the Young
BY ROWENA DIOCTON I PHOTO BY JEFFREY BULANADI
Almost three decades have passed since a crowd of men,
women, and children, who bear a mixture of anxiety and
resignation on their faces, marched and camped along the
Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) towards a unified
goal. From the 22 nd to the 25 th of February in 1986, people
of young and old, of rich and poor, and of different religious
beliefs held their hands in anticipation of either a massive
bloodbath or a peaceful surrender.
Three years after the EDSA Revolution, I was born to the
ongoing arguments that the so-called revolution did not end
“Yet to the hundreds of thousands
of Filipinos from all social classes who
massed on the streets that week, there
seemed to be no doubt that they were
‘making revolution’ and that they were
participating in ‘people power’,” says
Filipino scholar Reynaldo Clemeña Ileto
in the book, Filipinos and their Revolution:
Event, Discourse, and Historiography.
During my elementary days, dozens
of books and papers have already been
written about what everyone regards as
the “bloodless revolution” and the “people
power.” Right before I went to high
school, a second ‘revolution’ was formed—the one they aptly
named the “Second People Power Revolution.” This time,
critics amassed to rethink the meaning of a revolution, the
dangers of a people with its democracy, and the use or misuse
of mass power.
When the third people power broke out the same year as
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the second, news of its divisiveness and political ploy came
about. Due to its main goal of deposing the just-instated then
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and bringing the power
back to once ousted former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada,
claims of the so-called revolution’s impropriety became worth
TO A YOUNG BLOOD
At this age of vast television, radio, and print access, even
a mere student is bound to think. At that time, two or three
years ago, I had come up with a conclusion
when it comes to the three [in]famous
revolutions—“people power” per se started
to be a top-of-mind weapon for political
Today, the Avenue had become a long
road each of one has to go through to reach
an end, a destination. Not one person is
significant enough to question the integrity
of those who truly believed that those
whose prayers and placards, all brought
while marching along EDSA, were of lesser
value than any other measure. For sure, the
power of the people remains a strong access
point. In a way, it’s a force to behold.
Many say that the youth, from whose mouth still sprang forth
milk, should remain quiet lest they utter the inconsiderate. I
say, it’s never too early to pursue what it true, what is righteous,
and what is the best decision at all times. Let EDSA be not
only a venue of congested traffic or a series of uprisings. Let
it be more.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "#1"
balikbayan February – March 2012 1
Manila is Alive With
BY KATHERINE CASTILLO EUSTAQUIO
#/ balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
Under the direction of Roxanne Lapus and Musical Director
Maestro Rodel Colmenar, Resorts World Manila’s production of
the iconic play—e Sound of Music—not only brought to life a
classic but transported each and every viewer to a place in time when
innocence, courage, faith, integrity, and love are ways of life.
Resorts World Manila’s world-class cast is composed of
internationally-acclaimed theatre veterans, starting with Joanna
Ampil, who played the lead role of Maria Rainer, and “King of
Philippine eatre” Audie Gemora, both of whom performed during
the December 23, 2011 run. Having to portray an iconic character
like Maria Rainer could be a grueling task even for theatre veterans
like Ampil, especially since every generation has its own version of
the icon, like Julie Andrews in the 1965 lm version of e Sound of
Music. Ampil’s performance justied every single decision that landed
her the lead role. On the other hand, Gemora’s portrayal of Captain
Georg von Trapp is, more or less, a total reenactment of Christopher
Plummer’s performance in the 1965 lm. Gemora succeeded in
showing how joy, pain, and helplessness can sip through the carefully
structured face of a very stern character like Captain von Trapp.
Designing the costumes for a play that has become synonymous
with every generation’s childhood could be as simple as it is challenging.
After all, we are talking about a play that has stood the test of time.
Remarkably enough, costume designer Francis Libiran did great
justice to the familiar costumes we all know by heart—Maria’s
postulant garb and the von Trapp children’s uniforms. Perhaps, the
most intriguing and absolutely astonishing part of the production set
is that use of modern video technology, particularly the theatre’s LED
wall which is the biggest one in Asian theaters. In most e Sound of
OF RESORTS WORLD
Music productions, we are rst welcomed with the sights of the rolling
hills and snow-capped mountains of Austria. Video Producer Paul
Soriano’s recreation of Austia in 1938 proved to be one of the factors
that led to the success of this production. You can actually feel that
you are inside the Nonnberg Abbey with a real fountain sprouting real
water, or walking the streets of Austria with other settlers, or enjoying
an afternoon tea at the von Trapp mansion with real birds ying high
above the characters’ heads. Moreover, the “real” stained glass window
with “real” sunlight streaming through it during Georg and Maria’s
wedding proves to be a breathtaking sight, never mind that it is not the
nale. Each set opens with an even more elaborate production design
than the previous one, luring the audience back to the consciousness
of their childhood with songs that we all know by heart.
Ampil and Gemora are joined by a myriad of young theatre
performers like Tanya Manalang (Liesl), Paolo Ocampo (Friedrich),
Danielle Sianghio (Louisa), Justine Sian (Kurt), Annika Allado
(Brigitta), ea Zamesa (Marta), and Alexa Villaroel (Gretl)
who played the roles of the von Trapp children. Other notable
performances were delivered by Pinky Amador for the role of Elsa
Shraeder, Viking Valasote for the role of Franz the butler, and the ever
hilarious Debraliz Valasote for the small but outstanding role of Frau
Schmidt, the housekeeper.
With such a stellar cast and production group, it’s no wonder
Director Roxanne Lapus received Aliw’s Hall of Fame award for her
work in e Sound of Music. Revisit your childhood past with the
wonderful songs and performances from this award-winning and
much loved play that will run until February 12, 2012 at the Newport
Performing Arts eater in Resorts World Manila.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "#`"
BY KRISTINE BERNADETH T. MANAOG
Perhaps, every 90s kid who went
through the Cartoon Network phase
had—in one way or another—tried one
of Johnny Bravo’s celebrated pickuplines.
Starting with “Hello there,
pretty mama” whenever Johnny meets
a beautiful girl he’ll try to win over or
even the downright amusing ones like
“Man, I’m pretty!” and “Huh-hah-huh!”
whenever Johnny shows off his “guns.”
ARTWORK & PHOTO
COURTESY OF VAN PARTIBLE
JUST WHO COULD EVER FORGET JOHNNY
Bravo with his trademark look—tted black shirt
and skinny jeans, his blonde hair combed back in a
“pompadour”, that Elvis Presley-like voice, and lastly,
those tiny sunglasses he could never do without. Johnny
Bravo’s woman-chasing, self-loving, narcissistic ways
gave the 90s TV show a fresh (no pun intended) introduction.
Despite the fact that Johnny never seemed to win over a
woman in the entire duration of the series, lovable characters
like Bunny (his momma) and Little Suzy (his kid neighbor)
helped the series earn a place in every kid’s childhood since it
rst aired on July 7, 1997.
Fifteen years later, Johnny Bravo remains an iconic cartoon
character of the wonderful 90s. And now, we wonder, what
makes this American animated television series utterly
unforgettable and relatable to virtually anyone, especially
here in our mother country? e answer is as simple as it can
get: Johnny Bravo is the brainchild of Van Partible, a proud
VAN AND JOHNNY ’S BACKGROUND
Born in Manila, Van Partible was raised in California and
grew up copying several artworks found in comic books. It was
not until college when he decided to take up Studio Arts with
Animation Emphasis at the Loyola Marymount University in
Los Angeles. During his senior year in college, he developed
his thesis project titled Mess O’ Blues (1995), a short lm about
three Elvis Presley impersonators.
famous icons like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, fashion
models, and body builders to name a few. Despite its reference
to pop culture, Johnny Bravo’s character is a reection of several
narcissistic men around us—the point reference of the artist
“I’ve always been surrounded by guys who got the girl,” Van
explained during the interview. “I was always very jealous of that.
Johnny Bravo is basically me overcompensating my shortcomings
in the dating pool.
“Besides that, I pulled a lot from my life. For example, back in
college, my roommate, Chris Kelly, used to do an impersonation
of Elvis as a skirt-chasing, meat-eating ladies’ man while my other
roommate used to walk around our apartment without his shirt and
have me guess his body fat.”
To balance Johnny Bravo’s skirt-chasing personality, the show
added depth to the story with two female characters—Bunny
“Momma” Bravo, the one, constant woman in his life; and
Little Suzy, the smart, little girl who has a crush on Johnny.
Unfortunately, Little Suzy is the only girl he’ll never run after.
ese two characters were able to highlight the soft, sweet
side of the obnoxious beefcake. Despite his overcondent
ways, Johnny listens and respects his “momma” and eventually
gives in to the whims of his kid neighbor. Fans all over
the world learned to love his character because of his
“endearing honesty and that everybody has a Johnny Bravo
in their life that people can relate with.”
“SHE LOVES ME, MOMMA!”
“I think that growing up in an American culture had a great eect
on me as I was always trying to t in. Having said that, Johnny
Bravo is constantly looking for armation that he is an amazing
catch but no matter what he does, he’s always his own worst enemy,”
Van revealed, explaining the Filipino machismo trait found in
Johnny Bravo’s character.
With Johnny Bravo being a suave ladies’ man and a
mama’s boy, it’s natural to think that his character is
patterned after certain Filipino characteristics. Countless
male characters in the Philippine entertainment are
reminiscent of that distinct Johnny Bravo air. For
the Van, however, Johnny is the misguided attention
seeker who loves women, his momma, and himself.”
ough it wasn’t Van’s intention to make Johnny
more Filipino, the eect of Van’s
surrounding while growing up
left a big impact. Van further
explains that, “Johnny Bravo
symbolizes the men who never
grow up and believe that life
revolves around them.”
Despite Johnny’s shortcomings and somewhat dimwitted
attitude, this suave, self-loving hunk of a man knows how to
strike back and give it a try again and again. Perhaps, this is
Johnny’s most endearing trait that is often overshadowed
by his huge ego and a bigger hairdo.
After four highly successful seasons and a muchdeserved
fame, Johnny Bravo is sitting prettily up there on
a pedestal. But since summer is just around the corner, we
simply had to ask Van what Johnny is doing for the rest of the
“Working on his tan,” Van replied. We simply assume that
Johnny’s currently posing as lifeguard in Salinas, California (Van’s
hometown) checking out the women in bikinis and chasing some.
#P balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
alik!"#"$ balikbayan February February – March – March 2012 2012 "#Q" 1
BY DANIELLE CLARA P. DANDAN
PHOTOS BY JEFFREY BULANADI
#R balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
Today’s stars shine in the hands of
NU.U Asia Cosmetic Dentistry Doctors
Bonifacio Global City, the Philippines’ new corporate
playground, is the home of NU.U Asia Cosmetic Dentistry
clinic—the nestling pot of the “best kept secret of the stars.”
e posh dental clinic is the go-to place of the biggest names
in showbiz like Luis Manzano, Heart Evangelista, Georgina
Wilson, and Borgy Manotoc as well as top government ocials.
THE LOOK OF LUXURY
e clinic’s location is deserving of the stars as well. NU.U
Asia Cosmetic Dentistry is just across St. Luke’s Medical
Center, at the third oor of the modern 32nd and Fifth building.
Moreover, NU.U Asia is a star on its own, given the high-end,
Zen-inspired interiors. e clinic exudes chic luxury through
the facility’s top-notch interiors—a mix of clean-white aura and
dark woodwork, small fountains, and stylish velvet sofas.
Dr. Nelda Valencia Eufemio explains that their Porcelain
Veneer Installation is the most sought-after service by NU.U Asia’s
dental clients. is method promises to eliminate discoloration
and improve shaping by bonding a thin shell made of porcelain
on the teeth. e porcelain shell also foregoes the need to wear
braces by closing the spaces, lengthening, and straightening
crooked teeth. In addition, the porcelain veneer also protects
worn-out enamel. e clinic also oers other dental cosmetic
treatments such as Teeth Whitening, Cosmetic Bonding, White
Fillings/Porcelain Crowns, Caps or Bridges, Dental Implants,
Gum Re-contouring, Orthodontics, and General Dentistry.
NU.U Asia is the rst and only dental clinic in the country
that utilizes the world’s latest form of anaesthesia applicator—
the revolutionary Wand Plus. is device is a computerized
anaesthesia applicator that replaces the needle and syringe.
It works and looks like a handy pen, making patients more
comfortable during surgery.
To perform these advanced dental services, one must commit
to non-stop dental education, claims Dr. Eufemio. She herself
has attended nearly 10 postgraduate lectures, three of which
were in California and Louisiana. Her partners, Drs. Mia
Rosette Valencia Angeles and Carlito Librando, were attendees
of the recent International Dental Exhibition and Meeting in
Singapore. Both are graduates of Dental Medicine in Centro
Escolar University in Manila, and have undergone several
training with various dental institutions in and out of the country.
“We are always abroad to keep ourselves updated with the
latest technology that we can apply in our dental practice,” Dr.
e three doctors are all members of the Philippine Dental
Association and Philippine Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.
Moreover, Dr. Eufemio is also a member of the International
Association of Orthodontics and Federation of California
‘PRICELESS’ DENTAL PHILOSOPHY
“It’s not about making money, it’s about making more beautiful
smiles,” says Dr. Eufemio, who is also a mother of six-year-old
twins to her lawyer husband, Atty. Edson Eufemio.
An alumna of Centro Escolar University and a frequent
attendee of US-based dental trainings and continuing education,
Dr. Eufemio says that she established NU.U Asia’s cosmetic
dentistry arm with that kind of philosophy and with the help of
her college friend, Dr. Carlito Librando, and her sister, Dr. Mia
Angeles who is the mother of a 3-year-old boy to her husband,
e trio enjoys their job knowing that their patients come
out of their clinic armed with a higher level of self-condence
every single time. As Dr. Eufemio puts it, their team got together
because they share the same passion of bringing whiter and
brighter smiles across the metro. eir mission is shared one—to
perfect dental eld in relation to cosmetic dentistry.
e doctors are available for regular check-ups and treatments
at their branch in e Fort on Tuesdays, ursdays, and Fridays.
Drs. Angeles and Eufemio hold oce at their newly-launched
branch in Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills, San
Juan every Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays. Appointments
could be made at least 24 hours before the desired time and date
of the patient. And what do they advise rst-time patients?
“Know what they want—because we only work with what they
want. Gusto namin, lahat ng tao maganda ang ngiti,” Dr. Eufemio
BY DANIELLE CLARA P. DANDAN
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIKINA CULTURAL
TOURISM TRADE & PROMOTION OFFICE
ANOLO BLAHNIK, JIMMY CHOO,
CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN—these are just
three of the best names in the shoe industry
these days whose passion and ingenuity are
celebrated in every fashion capital of the world.
But there was a time when a Filipina is always several steps
ahead of the world’s top shoe lovers, taking her beloved pieces
to state visits and presidential parties around the world. Such
is the passion of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos
for shoe pieces. Her long-time love affair with shoes resulted
in an extravagant collection now housed in The Marikina City
Last November, the City of Marikina re-launched The
Marikina City Footwear Museum that houses hundreds of
shoes worn by Imelda Marcos, who championed the quality of
shoes handcrafted by the locals.
The art and business of shoe-making in Marikina was born
one ordinary afternoon in 1885. According to history books, the
household of Don Laureano Guevara, also known as Kapitan
Moy, was the official birthplace of the Marikina Shoe Industry
after one of his workers, one Tiburcio Eustaquio, carved out a
duplicate of men’s shoes bought from abroad. Since the workers
were stationed in front of a glass window facing the streets, it
was said that the locals started to watch the art of shoe-making
as a though it was a form of entertainment. Soon, the locals
started “crafting” their own sturdy shoes and selling them. The
Marikina Shoe Industry was born.
It took Marikina more than half a century to be officially
P0 balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
declared as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. However,
their excellence in crafting “Imeldific” footwear never
waned. Outlet stores have spread in Marikina, with the
Riverbanks Mall as another addition in the recent years.
But one does not necessarily need to visit Marikina City to
purchase pairs of this high quality, locally-made footwear.
A direct seller like the Marikina Shoe Exchange has been
reaching out to more customers over the years through their
several branches nationwide.
REMNANT OF THE MARIKINA SHOE CRAZE
It could be baffling for some to see the connection why
the old Marikina Shoe Expo once stood in the heart of
Aurora Boulevard in Cubao, Quezon City when the very
name itself belongs to Marikina.
Old folks say it was for proximity purposes since
Marikina is way farther than Cubao, while some accounts
tell of a management disagreement. But whatever the
reason, Cubao Expo is now a vivid memoir of the Marikina
Shoe Expo’s glory days.
While majority of the block has been invaded by art
and vintage collection stores, still, a number of shops in
the area continue to serve as a shoe lovers’ haven. In fact,
there’s a store that offers customized shoes. The sapatero
(shoemaker) will only need a photo of the shoe design that
he can recreate in a matter of days for that Imeldific pair
that’s worthy of the shoe museum. The price range for
customized pairs varies on just how much you want your
own shoe design to come to life.
DIVISORIA: EXTENSION OF THE EXPO
If the former Marikina Shoe Expo eventually gave way
to an artsy-fartsy melting pot, Divisoria remains to be the
bargain shopper’s destination of choice. It has always been
the busy and noisy home of beautiful fabrics, steamy street
food, Chinese replicas, and quality Marikina shoes.
In Tutuban Mall, a huge ground floor stall of the
Marikina Shoe Exchange continues to serve the adoring
public. These Marikina-made shoes are neck and neck with
the imported shoes from Korea but the patrons remain loyal
as ever. The designs also cope with time. There is just about
anything in MSE Tutuban, like wedges for women, classic
black shoes for men, and even slippers and native-looking
sandals. This is also the place to visit when one is looking
for a variety of styles and sizes. Marikina-made shoes are
usually the ones that fit perfectly with women with smaller
shoe sizes since Filipinos adjust it to the common bracket
of their customers. The prices are also very affordable
without compromising the quality threaded in each shoe.
MISSION: LET MARIKINA SHOE INDUSTRY
FLOURISH EVEN MORE
In a report published November last year, Roger Py, the
director general of the Philippine Footwear Federation
Inc., was quoted to be firm in his advocacy of “inviting
mall owners, the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines
(FOBAP), and even national and local government agencies and
institutions to give local brands a fighting chance and request,
albeit beg, them to make it their corporate social responsibility
to support local brands.” He also added that “(We) will bring
back the glory days of Marikina as the Shoe Capital of the
In another report, Marikina City is said to have tapped the
Marikina Polytechnic College to include footwear-related
subjects in its curriculum under Resolution No. 184, Series of
2011. This move was approved by the city council, as several
lawmakers saw and rallied the need for subjects like Shoemaking
and Design. The addition of this new course will
benefit the shoe industry and help it flourish again in these
changing times. With such ordinance at hand, the future of
the Marikina Shoe Industry becomes more exciting and vibrant
with the participation of the young blood.
It is history and reputable track record among loyal customers
that pushes the local shoe industry in a good stance versus the
foreigners until this day. The new creations and trends set
by imported goods could stay for awhile in the market, but
definitely, one day they will come and go. But the works of
Marikeños will always be in a Filipino’s household, etched in
time and memory—just the like those Imeldific shoes now
resting in The Marikina City Footwear Museum.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "P1"
MEMOIRS OF A BALIKBAYAN
P/ balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
HIS IS A STORY ABOUT A RELATIVELY
unknown highway to the east. Locally known as
Q uezon), the highway traces its roots way back to
the 1970s. MaRiLaQue starts in Marikina and goes all the
way to the Sierra Madre Ranges of Rizal, the mountaintops
of Laguna, and, finally, to Infanta, Quezon.
On June 20, 2009, while I was riding around Frontera/
Tiendesitas in Pasig City, a “rider” (motorbikes) asked me
what was I doing riding around in circles. “I’m just taking
it easy on my small Yamaha 125,” I answered. The rider said,
“Sama na lang kayo sa amin. Pupunta kami sa Daranak Falls in
Sampaloc, Tanay. Malapit lang. Kayang-laya ng motor ninyo.
Dadaan tayo sa MaRiLaQue.” (Better come along with us.
We’re going to Daranak Falls in Sampaloc, Tanay. It’s near.
Your motorcycle can make it. We’ll pass by MaRiLaQue.)
So I thought, why not? And off I went with Blade (the
rider) and their group called the Fury Riders Club (FRC).
Later on, I found out that MaRiLaQue stands for
Marikina-Rizal-Laguna-Quezon Highway. It’s a very
popular route among motorcycle riders traveling around
Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
At around 7 o’clock in the morning, our group rode off from
Tiendesitas, Pasig. We passed through Marcos Highway in
Marikina going to Masinag, Antipolo. We passed through
COGEO, Cabading Junction and finally arrived at Bosoboso
Valley in Antipolo. At this point, riders can make a left
turn to visit the old Boso-boso Church or a right turn to visit
the Prayer Mountain.
Our group made a short stop at Mang Vic’s Bulalohan
(Km36) to load up on their hot and delicious bulalo. We
continued our journey past ricefields, the Foremost Farms (a
hog-raising facility), and the executive village of Palo Alto
in Baras, Rizal. We stopped at Garden Cottages (Km45)
for a mandatory photo-op. Our group continued to travel
through magnificent, panoramic views of the “twisties” going
up the Sierra Madre Ranges as we passed by the site of future
motorcycle race tracks.
A few kilometres later, we finally reached Sierra Madre
and Pranjetto resorts. A little further down the road, we
passed by the Adventure Camp and the University of Rizal.
A beautiful view of the southern part of Laguna de Bay can
be seen from up here as well as the occasional overloaded
jeepneys. After two more hours on the road, we finally
reached the town of Sampaloc (Km63) in Tanay, Rizal.
Next time you visit the Philippines, please include in your
itinerary a leisurely drive to Sierra Madre in Rizal through
the MaRiLaQue Highway.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "P`"
Old Malate photo by Teodulo
Protomartir, Silverlens Gallery
BY KRISTINE BERNADETH T. MANAOG
PHOTOGRAPHY BY OLIVER BAYANI
FOUND MYSELF STARING AT THE
street of my past—the only road that will
surely bring me to the root of my humble family. It was
near a cathedral—the one that was built seven times at
the same place—and a huge wall that now serves as canvas to
random street art. There I was, staring at the street sign when
an old kalesa passed by and stopped when I called out to the
driver. I asked him to give a tour around the city, this city
of great contrast. The kalesa driver nodded and off we went.
It was a windy day. I tucked my skirt firmly behind my
legs to keep them from blowing in the wind. As we passed
by the famous streets of Manila, I thought of the places I’ve
been to. I remember the century-old residence of the Acosta-
Pastor clan in Batangas City and the grand staircase that
welcomes guest in such grandeur. I remember the carousel
P! balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
Feeling old this 2012. The Malate
Church seems to be undisturbed since
its contruction in 1591.
Old Manila photos from
Daniel Burnham’s City
Beautiful collection courtesy of
Metropolitan Museum of Manila
rides at Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa, Laguna and
their famous hot springs. I remember the pristine waters
of Boracay, the magnificent falls of Antique, the dreamlike
island of Bellarocca among others.
And then I’m back again, here, on board a kalesa that
stopped in front of a majestic basilica. I went inside and spent
a minute in prayer for a safe journey time and time again. As I
stepped outside the basilica, I took a brief moment to admire
the many beautiful contrasts of this city. Manila has captured
the hearts of many, including mine. The reasons may vary as
every one has their own story. So much has changed in this
city of great contrast but the grandeur of its glory days remain
intact and visible for those who care to look. Everyone just
keeps coming back to Manila, and why not? It’s so beautiful.
Then and now.
1. LUNETA PARK.
This famous park is located in the heart of Manila, parallel to the
once-pristine Manila bay. Built in the early 1700s, it was once known
as Bagumbayan, the place where Dr. Jose Rizal was executed. Today, a
monument of our national hero stands tall in the center of the park.
2. LUNETA HOTEL
Standing along Teodoro M. Kalaw Street in Manila, the Luneta
Hotel has survived the changing times. Built in 1918, the Luneta
Hotel was designed by Spanish Architect Salvadore Farre. Though it
was abandoned for many years, it’s being renovated and is gearing up
for its grand re-opening.
3. JONES BRIDGE
The Philippines’ first bridge was once called Puente Grande (Great
Bridge) and Puente de España (Bridge of Spain). The bridge
witnessed how transportation in the Philippines developed over the
years, with only horse-drawn carriages as its first patrons. This neoclassical
arch bridge is the masterpiece of Juan M. Arellano.
4. PHILIPPINE GENERAL HOSPITAL
Since it first opened on September 10, 1910 under the leadership of
Dr. Victor Heiser, the Philippine General Hospital has gone a long
way from their initial 330 beds. Under the wings of the University
of the Philippines, PGH continues to expand and modernize as the
years go by.
balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "P#"
PP 66 balikbayan balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
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D>#:>%*!' )11*0!' >' 3&(>#",' .0"$' 1)0' .2*' 52)%*'
WHITEROCK WATERPARK AND BEACH HOTEL
At Matain, Subic, Zambales
B2&' J*.786>)-&"' ;".0.4' ,2+72' #*"%3' +$7*>%&)' 6"=#)-4'
,#$-' -.' &$K.3' -2&' )>01->.>)' 5"+**&%' )=..%' )&*&7-+.$)' #-' -2&'
At Group I Ilanin Forest, Subic Bay Freeport Zone
At Camayan Wharf, West Ilanin Forest Area, Subic Bay Freeport Zone #$%'0."&'7.0=."-#6*&72'-.'7.$D>&"4'*.$5',&&8&$%)',+**')>"&*3'6&'#7-+.$I1#78&%'#$%'
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,+**')>"&*3'%&*+52-'-2&',2.*&'=#0+*3"&)' 63' 0&&-+$5' 9.>-2'
PR balik!"#"$ February – March 2012
68 balikbayan February – March 2012
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