Te - Balikbayan Magazine


Te - Balikbayan Magazine





alikbayan February – March 2012 19




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.

! balik!"#"$ February – March 2012



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.




Balikbayan Magazine’s

review of Resorts World

Manila’s e Sound of



Do you know that the

creator of the iconic

Johnny Bravo character is

a Fil-Am? Read about

Van and Johnny here.




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




A balikbayan’s essay about his

recent road trip via the roads of





A photo essay of Manila’s

once revered spots.


We take you on an inside tour of the

Philippines’ presidential home.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any

information storage of retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Publisher. Asian Journal Publications, Inc. regrets that no responsibility can be

accepted for unsolicited material, which will be returned only if stamped, addressed envelope is enclosed.

Printed in the Philippines. Distributed in the Philippines for newly arrived balikbayans at Duty Free Philippines, as well as at select hotels, resorts, restaurants

and cafes and major bookstores and magazine distributors. Circulated at special events and through subscription in the United States of America.

Publisher & CEO

Roger L. Oriel

President & Co-Publisher

Cora M. Oriel

Vice President for Business Development

Raphael John C. Oriel


Lito Ocampo Cruz

Managing Editor

Katherine Castillo Eustaquio

Features Editor

Danielle Clara Dandan

Rowena Mara Diocton

Events Editor

Kristine Bernadeth Manaog

Contributing Editors

Cynthia de Castro, Rueben Nepales

Contributing Writers

Christina M. Oriel

Marionette Ocampo-Martinez

Victor Benedicto

Contributing Photographers

Raphael John C. Oriel, Jerey Bulanadi

Rowena Diocton, Kristine Bernadeth Manaog

Oliver Bayani, Victor Benedicto

Senior Graphic Designer

Richard Erpilo

Multimedia Developer

Nicole Alvaro

Vice President for Advertising

Noel Godinez

Vice President for Sales

Sharon Ann Bathan-San Pedro

Vice President for Circulation

and Special Events, Philippines

Vince Samson

Circulation & Special Events Director, USA

Ed Ferrer

Marketing Executive

Rowena Mara Diocton

Circulation Manager

Arthur Sibulangcao

Accounting Managers

Ria Fabro, Gemma Fabro


Joseph Mark Camiring


Asian Journal Publications, Inc.

2/F Units D&E Fort Palm Spring

Condominium, 30th Street corner, 1st Avenue,

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

1200 Philippines Tel. (+632) 856-4921

USA Advertising Offices

Los Angeles: 1150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,

San Francisco: 841 San Bruno Avenue West,

New York: 5 Penn Plaza, Ste. 1932, New York,

New Jersey: 2500 Plaza Five, Harborside Financial

Las Vegas: 3700 W. Desert Inn Rd., Las Vegas,



Like us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter


For subscriptions, email


! balik!"#"$ February – March 2012



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.


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.


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.







10 balik!"#"$ February – March 2012

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

called Bellarocca…”


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.


“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

the province.”


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

balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "1#"

1P balik!"#"$ February – March 2012

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

Molton Brown.


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

your room.


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

the Philippines.


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.

balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 "1Q"


1R balik!"#"$ February – March 2012

40 | balikbayan | OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2010 | balikbayanmagazine.com |



| balikbayanmagazine.com | balik!"#"$ OCTOBER – NOVEMBER February 2010 – March | balikbayan 2012 | "1S" 41




to the /+$%"0

of the 1/&,&11&'+2




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.


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

or thanksgiving.

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

/! balik!"#"$ February – March 2012








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.”


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.


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.

balik!"#"$ February – March 2012 !"#!



Vow to the Heart

of the Philippines.


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

with love.


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

ecotourism-heritage destination.

“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.”


“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

and famous.”

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.”


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 !"#!

YES! Please sign me up for a subscription of 12 issues to

Balikbayan Magazine for just US$60. I understand that I

will be billed after my application has been processed.








balikbayan is a valentine to everything we love about the

Philippines. The people, the places, the faces, the food,

the music, the history, the culture, the adventure, the

lifestyle, the moments, and the memories. Simply said,

love of country is back in style.



Includes postage and handling

Circulation Department

Asian Journal Publications, Inc.

1150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,

CA 90017-1904

We will not process incomplete or unclear applications. This offer is only valid

for subscriber based in the USA. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing. Or

subscribe online at www.balikbayanmagazine.com.

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


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





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

the country.

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.”


“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.


“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 "``"



“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
















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.



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.


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.


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.




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

email: mfht.qualitours@gmail.com.

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

Amorsolo Street.

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

newlywed couples.

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.


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

launched sophisticated

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





“Ninoy’s testimonial—

‘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

gone by.

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



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

#0 balik!"#"$ February – March 2012

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

of mouth.


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



of Music


#/ 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




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 "#`"




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.”




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



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.”


“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









#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.


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.

Eufemio asserts.

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



“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,













Edwin Angles.

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










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

Footwear Museum.

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.



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.


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.



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"



P/ balik!"#"$ February – March 2012









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







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.



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.


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.






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.


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




!"#$% #&'()*+% ,"-.% &/% (% -(+#% ,(/.0% #$.1.*+%

!"#$%&' ()' *+,-!*' ().' .)' /*(.-0*' )-.' )1' .2*' ,".&'








2"!.)0",' !".*!' .2>.' ,>.*0' .)' >%%' >4*' :0>,6*.!7' ' C)0'



D>#:>%*!' )11*0!' >' 3&(>#",' .0"$' 1)0' .2*' 52)%*'




At Matain, Subic, Zambales

B2&' J*.786>)-&"' ;".0.4' ,2+72' #*"&#%3' +$7*>%&)' 6"=#)-4'


,#$-' -.' &$K.3' -2&' )>01->.>)' 5"+**&%' )&#=..%' )&*&7-+.$)' #-' -2&'



#-'-2&'"&)."-'*+8&'8#3#8+$54'6#$#$#'6.#-+$54'#$%')$."8&**+$5< B2&'




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-+.$I1#78&%'#$%'

).0&' .=' -2&' 0.)-' #0#:+$5' %.*12+$)' #$%' )&#' *+.$)' )2.,' -2#-'

,+**')>"&*3'%&*+52-'-2&',2.*&'=#0+*3"&)' 63' 0&&-+$5' 9.>-2'





PR balik!"#"$ February – March 2012

68 balikbayan February – March 2012






841 San Bruno Avenue West,

Ste. 12-14 San Bruno, CA 94v066

Tel: (650) 583.6818 Fax: (650) 583.6819


1150 Wilshire Blvd.,

Los Angeles, CA 90017-1904

Tel: (213) 250.9797 Fax: (213) 481.0854

You can judge the


by its coverage, content

and circulation


3700 W. Desert Inn Rd.,

Las Vegas, NV 89102

Tel: (702) 792.6678 Fax: (702) 792.6879


2500 Plaza Five, Harborside,

Financial Center, Jersey City, NJ 07311

Tel: (201) 484.7249 Fax: (201) 484.7201


5 Penn Plaza, Unit 1932

New York, NY 10001

Tel: (212) 655.5426 Fax: (212) 655.9241


2/F Units D&E, Fort Palm Spring Condominium,

30th St., Cor. 1st Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Tel: (632) 856.4921 Fax: (632) 856.1661

www.asianjournal.com • www.balikbayanmagazine.com

Similar magazines