Monday, August 31, 2009

Vittala Temple, Hampi

Hampi, is the cradle of Vijaynagar architecture as showcased by various monuments in the region. But,the Vittala Temple is the prime attraction among them. No words of explanation can do justice to the architectural extravaganza of this temple. The construction of the temple was initiated in 1513 AD by the Maharaja Krishnadevaraya. The work was later supported by its successors Achuta and Sadasiva till its destruction in 1565 AD. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Sculptures on the tower of gateways

The sprawling temple campus was built inside the high boundary walls with 3 gateway towers on the east, south and north. The eastern entrance is used for entry into the temple complex. Inside this campus there are many halls, pavilions and temples.

Stone chariot

In front of the main temple is the Stone Chariot. This has become a iconic monument in Hampi. Even though it is referred as monolithic, it is in fact built with many giant granite blocks. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Temple Maha Mandap

The Vittala Temple stands on a strong ornate stone basement that has been richly carved with designs of horses, elephants, dancing girls, floral motifs and soldiers. The temple can be entered through a series of steps flanged by elephant balustrades that leads to the Maha Mantapa. This contains four open halls within. While the central western hall has collapsed, the south, north and the east ones are still intact.

musical pillars

The main attraction of Maha-Mantapa is its superbly carved giant monolithic pillars. The outermost of the pillars have slender and short pilasters carved out of the giant pillars. They are known as musical pillars as they emit musical tones when tapped. The tapping on it is not permitted for the sake of preservation. (Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Sculpture on the pillar

The eastern hall is known as the musicians hall because of the sculptures of musicians on the pillars. The southern hall pillars are carved with mythical creatures called Yalis. The northern hall is surrounded with a series of pillars with the Narasimha themes. The ceilings of the halls are carved with lotus in the centre. The inner sanctum is devoid of any idol.
(Click on all the images for bigger picture)

Pillared Hall in the temple campus

Even the other halls inside the campus are equally worth noticing. There is a 100-pillared hall at the southwest, the ceremonial marriage hall in the southeast. Even they have been richly carved.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


(Photo: Battle of Pulang Lupa celebration, 2007)


Lt. Col. Maximo Abad is probably one of the most elusive among the Filipino soldiers who fought during the Philippine-American War, the hero who led the Marinduque revolutionary forces and defeated the Americans in the “Battle of Pulang Lupa”. During the last four decades after the first commemoration in Marinduque of this, now annually-celebrated event, facts about Abad have remained equally elusive.

So little is known about him – the Maximo Abad who tenaciously adhered to the cause of Marinduque’s defense and Philippine Independence. For one, the name does not appear in the Centennial Resource Book, “Ang mga Bayani sa Ating Kasaysayan” listing of famous and unsung heroes, a project completed in connection with the Philippine Centennial in 1998.

The Philippine National Police provincial headquarters in Marinduque is named after him: “Camp Col. Maximo Abad”. Yet, for years the Camp has tried, in vain, to also trace his mother's surname so the initial could be appended between “Maximo” and “Abad” in the welcome signage there.

Since nothing really appears to have been written about Abad’s background, (except his well-documented exploits in the Marinduque battle), we felt it appropriate to try to dig into some old documents, surf, recollect, and ask around here to trace his steps, to know a bit more about our celebrated hero. After all, August 31 is a holiday for national heroes.

Birtle (U.S. Army’s Pacification Campaign in Marinduque, April 1900-April 1901), described him as “a moustachioed school teacher from Luzon’s Cavite province”. We dig up an old Boac fiesta souvenir program with a brief description of the town’s history naming Maximo Abad as a “Maestro” in the first school for boys established there, “Escuela de Nino”, and that he was from Imus. Imus, of course, has always been associated with the resistance movement, and this might explain his early association with Gen. Mariano Trias, from whom he’d eventually be getting orders in the course of his Marinduque exploits. So we’re beginning to find connections.

Birtle contends that the civil and military leadership of the resistance movement on Marinduque was firmly rooted in the island's middle and upper classes, and that the insurrection was also in many ways a
family affair.

The American writer then goes on to tell us that Abad’s brother-in-law, Capt. Fausto Roque commanded the 1st Guerilla, and that Fausto had a cousin, Teofilo Roque (of the Battle of Paye fame whose biography also appears nowhere and likewise, needs to be written for history buffs). Teofilo commanded the 2nd Guerilla.

That leads us to the Roque residence in Mercado St., Boac, hoping to find more clues, particularly the name of Abad’s wife and children, if any, because that was our original intent.

We find that Fausto and Teofilo were cousins, indeed. But at the moment, no one remembers the name of Maximo’s beloved wife. They had a son for sure, we are told, but there's uncertainty if they had other children too.

We, however, unearth some information about Teofilo, the Paye hero. Teofilo was born in 1873, the son of Tomas Roque*, native of Bulacan, and Juana Navaroso, a local lass from Boac. Teofilo was the third of nine children. He graduated as a law student at Ateneo de Manila, and was still a bachelor in 1898, when he served as Lieutenant in the Marinduque Revolutionary Force.

By the time the Paye episode transpired he was already married to Filomena “Nena” Morente. The marriage did not produce any offspring. He was 60 when his wife died, then moved to Manila where he died in August 1942 at age 69. That appeared to give us some idea about the Teofilo Roque persona.

Then we zoom in again on the Abad character, one who has been described as passive, and turn to the internet.

Wikipedia credits Abad for being one of Gen. Licerio Geronimo's riflemen in the Battle of San Mateo (erroneously referred in that site and in many other sites as "Battle of Paye"), which occured on Dec. 19, 1899. But since a major confusion has been caused by Wikipedia in calling it by another name, and considering the fact that it was Abad's men who were involved in the real Battle of Paye on July 31, 1900, in Boac, Marinduque (led by Capt. Teofilo Roque), we'll have to consider it a confused claim unless backed up by verifiable references.

We then discover the text of a Supreme Court document dated Oct. 22, 1902, that showed Abad was earlier charged and convicted for having denied to an officer of the U.S. Army the existence of certain rifles which had been concealed at the time of his surrender in April 1901. It appears that he appealed the conviction and the Supreme Court held that the violation committed by the appellant Abad falls within the scope of “treason” and “sedition” and covered by the amnesty proclamation. The Court decided that Abad was entitled to the benefits of the proclamation and ordered that he be discharged.

So, this shows that the Americans pulled one over him after having dangled the carrot that ensured fair treatment if he surrendered. He did surrender on April 15, 1901, at Boac’s town plaza in an impressive ceremony attended by the townspeople.

We then come across other leads, chancing upon a listing of municipal heads in Imus from 1888 to the present which showed an entry: “Maximo Abad (1910-1912)”. That appears to tell us that our man returned to Imus and even became its mayor eight years later.

What happens next? A passage from Cotabato’s history states a new twist, thus:

“The first Christian settlers in Cotabato from outside of Mindanao, mostly coming from the province of Cebu, arrived in Pikit on June 17, 1913 at the behest and as a result of the efforts of the late President Sergio Osmeña, who was then the Speaker of the Philippine Commission. Expenses of their transfer to the "Land of Promise" were subsidized by the government. The administrator of the colonies given to the settlers at that time was a superintendent by the name of Maximo Abad, a government appointed official, who took care of the settlers’ needs like food and farm implements. There were six more batches of colonies that arrived thereafter...”

It therefore appears that the adventurous spirit of Abad never waned and he journeyed to a vaster frontier that imposed bigger challenges.

Finally, we find something as we come across a site attempting to trace genealogies:
“Col. Maximo Abad (deceased) Husband of unknown and Consolacion; Father of Ramon Lozano Abad and Josefina”
And related information stating that “Ramon Lozano Abad” was “Half-brother of Ramon, Francisco and Julito”

Fresh leads. He appears to have remarried and raised more children, and three appear to be half-brothers. In time, someone might prove instrumental when we finally gain access to the Revolutionary Papers tightly guarded within the confines of the National Archives.

It's not an easy task to put it all together. But we're seized by the inescapable feeling that tracing the paths of an elusive person brings. We feel it's a good start. A great National Heroes Day for me, I might say.

(*Tomas Roque (Dec. 29, 1841-June 6, 1907): Boac Gobernadorcillo from 1877-1979 and 1897-1898. Helped in the local distribution of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibustrismo” together with Marcelo Mirafuente of Boac; was authorized by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 to recruit and train soldiers who eventually figured in the Paye and Pulang Lupa battles. “Tomas Roque Street” in Boac named after him.
Source: Document from granddaughter Juanita Roque-Enriquez as told by Joaquin Roque, a son of Tomas Roque)

The Journal of Military History 61(April 1997) The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900-April 1901 by Andrew J. Birtle.
Interview with Mrs. Fe Corazon Roque-Recalde. She supplied documents on Teofilo Roque prepared by her mother, Juanita Roque based on an account by Joaquin Roque, a brother of Teofilo.

A Spacious Aztec Signs - Mexico Travel World


For as Philippine History continues to be re-written, know all men by these presents...

An Overview of the Philippine-American War

February 4-5, 1899 Battle of Manila: American Victory
April 9-10, 1899 Battle of Sta. Cruz (Laguna): American Victory
April 11, 1899 Battle of Pagsanjan: American Victory
April 12, 1899 Battle of Paete: American Victory
June 13, 1899 Battle of Zapote: American Victory
(Decisive American victory.150 Filipinos killed, 375 wounded; 15 Americans killed, 60 wounded. Consequently the Philippine Army resorted to guerilla warfare tactics seeing it could not square off against the Americans in large western style military actions)

November 11, 1899 Battle of San Jacinto(Pangasinan):American Victory
December 2, 1899 Battle of Tirad Pass: American Victory

December 19, 1899 Battle of San Mateo (Morong): Filipino Victory
(14 Americans killed, 15 wounded. This battle is erroneously referred to in many accounts (including Wikipedia), as the Battle of Paye. The NHI historical marker at the battle site cites “Labanan sa San Mateo”. This is where Gen. Henry Ware Lawton was killed, the highest ranking U.S. official killed in action during the Philippine-American War. The American defeat was regarded as a great moral victory for the Filipinos. The Morong Command was led by Gen. Licerio Geronimo. His riflemen, known as “Tiradores del Muerte” is claimed to have included Col. Maximo Abad who would later lead the Filipino forces to victory in the Battle of Pulang Lupa.).

April 15-19 Siege of Catubig (Samar): Filipino Victory
(21-31 Americans killed, 3-8 wounded;
Filipino casualties unknown)

June 4, 1900 Battle of Makahambos Hill: Filipino Victory
(1 Filipino killed, 3 wounded; 9 Americans killed, 9 wounded, 1 captured)
April 7, 1900 Battle of Cagayan Misamis: American Victory
May 14, 1900 Battle of Agusan Hill: American Victory

May 20, 1900 Battle of Sta. Cruz (MARINDUQUE): American Victory
(Under the command of U.S. Major Charles H. Muir, Americans claimed 6 Filipinos killed. The victory was followed by a four-day expedition into the interior where 36 Filipinos were captured).

July 31, 1900 Battle of Paye (BOAC, MARINDUQUE): Filipino Victory
(Filipino forces under Capt. Teofilo Roque ambushed the American patrol led by First Lieutenant William S. Wells, wounding 2 Americans and capturing 2 before the patrol escaped).

September 13, 1900 Battle of Pulang Lupa (TORRIJOS, MARINDUQUE):Filipino Victory
(Number of Filipino casualties unknown;
4 Americans killed, 6 wounded, 50 captured)
(Considered a milestone in Philippine history. Led by Lt. Col. Maximo Abad on the Filipino side, Capt. Devereux Shields' defeat sent shock waves through the American high command and it was considered the worst defeat suffered by the Americans during the war. This led to the first application in the Philippine-American War of population concentration in Marinduque’s six town centers, a coercive measure that finally led to Abad’s surrender on April 15, 1901).

September 17, 1900 Battle of Mabitac: Filipino Victory
(American claim:
11 Filipinos killed, 20 wounded;
21 American killed, 23 wounded.
Filipino claim:
2 Filipinos killed, 3 wounded;
180 American killed, 9 wounded)
March 1901 Battle of Lonoy (Bohol) American Victory
(406 Filipinos killed; 3 Americans killed, 10 wounded)

September 28, 1901 Battle of Balanguiga (Samar): Filipino Victory
(28 Filipinos killed, 22 wounded;
36 Americans killed in action, 22 wounded, 4 missing, 8 died of wounds)

Sources: Filipino-American War
The Journal of Military History 61(April 1997) The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900-April 1901 by Andrew J. Birtle

Friday, August 28, 2009


Translation of this historical marker at Pulang Lupa: "Here took place the bloody battle between the Filipino forces under Lt. Col. Maximo Abad and the American forces under Capt. Deverieux Shields on September 13, 1900. The Filipinos won in this battle.

By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 260, August 1, 1973, supported by Presidential Proclamation No. 1505, June 11, 1978, this place was declared a National Historical Site on Sept. 24, 1991."

Two days ago we met with representatives from the National Historical Institute who visited Marinduque as part of NHI's historical mapping activities. Among the topics discussed were the Battle of Bintakay in Mogpog which occured during the Philippine-Spanish War, the Marinduque Provincial Capitol Building, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Church in Gasan and efforts to declare these as historical sites, the Battle of Pulang Lupa Historical Site and development of the same. The need to organize historical societies or reactivate existing ones appear to be more imperative now.

It will be recalled that an offshoot of the Oral and Local History Conference held in Vigan in 2007, was the holding of a Historical Conference on Marinduque the following year, an effort by the provincial government to raise the level of awareness on Marinduque culture and history.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


One hundred cyclists from Metro Manila and Luzon provinces will arrive in Torrijos on September 12 via Cawit and Balanacan onboard ro-ro vessels and will tour the six municipalities where local cyclists will also join them in a tour of the island-province including the mountain road to Pulang Lupa. Local motocross groups are also joining the event to drumbeat the 109th Battle of Pulang Lupa commemoration. The provincial tourism office in cooperation with various groups are organizing this Fun Ride and Tour of Marinduque.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This video shows portions of the Battle of Pulang Lupa commemoration in 2007, our first visit to the mountain site in August of that year - clearing the site and transforming it towards a meaningful celebration a month later. This blogger composed the theme song, "Awit sa Pulang Lupa" and directed the dance-drama shown in the video depicting the battle with young artists from Bangbang National High School participating.

Similar preparations are now underway for the commemoration of the 109th anniversary of the Battle of Pulang Lupa in Torrijos, Marinduque. The said battle is considered the first major victory of Filipino soldiers over their American counterparts during the second phase of the Philippine Revolution - the Filipino-American War.

It was during the term of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal in the early 60's when the Battle of Pulang Lupa was first celebrated in Marinduque. During the term of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos a presidential proclamation was issued declaring Sept. 13 "Marinduque Day". During the term of Pres. Corazon Aquino Republic Act. No. 6702 was passed declaring the same day as "Battle of Pulang Lupa Day", a special non-working holiday in the province of Marinduque. (Marinduque Day or "Araw ng Marinduque" is now commemorated on February 21, the day the island-province was declared as an independent province in 1920).

In recent years, a more thorough account of the American pacification campaign in Marinduque from 1900-1901 was published in the Journal of Military History 61 by Andrew J. Birtle. The pacification in Marinduque was characterized by extensive devastation and marked one of the earliest employments of population concentration in the Philippine War, used in Marinduque's six town centers and eventually applied in the two most famous campaigns of the war, in Batangas and in Samar.

Then Philippine Commissioner and future U.S. Prsident William Howard Taft wrote of the Marinduque campaign: "The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out".

The full account of the Filipino-American War in Marinduque could be browsed in administered by Curt Shepard whose work as an avid researcher on Marinduque is admired by local historians from the island-province.

Queen's Bath, Hampi

In Hampi, the Queen's Bath is part of the Royal Enclosure. This was constructed during the Vijaynagar Empire any time from 1336 to 1565. This is a enclosed space, consisting of a complex of changing rooms and a bath. At present only the bath is extant.

Queen's Bath interior (Click on the image for bigger picture)

A strikingly, simple facade structure, in the Indo-Islamic style of Vijaynagar architecture, the interior of the bath is total contrast, with its ornate stucco and plaster work.

View of Queen's Bath balcony

The structure is 30 sq. mts., with a 15 sq. mts, bath inside, which is 1.8 mts, deep. Pillared and vaulted corridors run all around, with ornate balconies projecting into the bath. There is a water channel inlet to the East, and a moat that runs all around the structure that ensured a constant supply of fresh water. There are steps leading down to the floor of the bath to the North, and the remnants of four pillars in the center, which probably supported a pavilion. But there exists no evidence to justify the name. The wall on either sides 1.e., inner and an outer face of smoothed and fitted stone blocks with an earth and rubble fill between them.

Another view of Queen's Bath balcony

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ganesh Chaturti

In India this is the season (August - November) of festivals. It starts with Krishna Ashtami followed by Gouri Pooja, Ganesh Chaturti, Dasahara and Deepavali (festival of lights). If one wants to be part of fun and frolic this is the best time to be in India. One can enjoy the celebrations in each of the festival which last for 1 to 12 days.

Lord Ganesh decorated on the first day at the temple

Ganesh Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chaturthi for the first time was started by the great Maratha ruler, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, to promote culture and nationalism. Later the festival was revived by Lokmanya Tilak (a great freedom fighter) to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. The festival provided the Indians a feeling of unity and revived their patriotic spirit and faith.

Lord Ganesh being worshiped at the temple

It is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. He is worshiped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and auspiciousness in Hinduism. He is one of the most popular deities in Hindu religion. It is observed on the fourth day after no moon in the month of August - September as per traditional Hindu calendar. This is celebrated in temples, street corners and in individual homes. The elaborate arrangements are made for lighting, decoration. On these days, special prayers are performed in all Hindu homes and hymns and songs are sung in praise of Lord Ganesha. The festival is so popular that the preparations begin months in advance. The artists who make the idols of Ganesh compete with each other to make bigger and more magnificent and elegant idols. The bigger idols are 10 to 50 meters in height. The 12-day Ganesh Chaturthi ends with the immersion (Visarjan) of the idol on Ananta Chaturdasi day.

Design of Lord Ganesh done using half cut coconuts at the temple

In our family we celebrate it in the native place for one day. It is this time of the year all the family members gather for the celebration. All the members of family reach here on the previous day itself. The preparation start with the previous night, by cutting of vegetables for the next day. On the day of Chaturti the idol is placed in its rightful place and decorated with flowers of various types. All offer their prayers to him and take his blessings.

Lord Ganesh decoration at home over the past few years

These statues are then carried on decorated floats to be immersed in the sea after one, three, five, seven and ten days. In some places where there is no sea nearby it is immersed in the lake or well. Thousands of processions converge on the beaches to immerse the holy idols in the sea. This procession and immersion is accompanied by drum- beats, devotional songs and dancing.

For more visit Thursday Challenge

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zenana Enclosure, Hampi

In Hampi, the rectangular fortified enclosure surrounding several monuments is popularly known as the Zenana (harem) Enclosure. But there exists no evidence to justify the name. The wall on either sides 1.e., inner and an outer face of smoothed and fitted stone blocks with an earth and rubble fill between them. (Click on all the image for bigger picture)

watch tower

The four corners of the fortifications have watch towers. Three of these two storied towers can be still seen in close to the southeast, northeast and northwest corners. Like Lotus Mahal these are built in unison of Indo-Islamic architecture style.

A number of unnamed structures are present inside this enclosure. The major attraction inside the enclosure, the Lotus Mahal located at the southeast corner. Apart from this, as soon as one enters the enclosure, there are remains of water pavilion with a decorated platform in the center of it. Another major attraction is Elephant Stables. As the name suggests this place was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants.

Elephant stables

Elephant Stables is one of the least destroyed structures. This is a long building with a row of 11 domed tall chambers. Some of them are inter-connected. The center one is specially decorated and big when compared to adjacent domes. The entire building is symmetrical with respect to this central hall. The tower of the central hall resembles more like that of temples, where as the five pairs of domes on either side are of Islamic in style. The central dome is slightly destroyed, but others are better preserved and of alternating patterns. There are metal hooks on the inside of the roof. This could have been used for tying the elephants. At the rear of each hall are small manhole type openings for the mahouts to enter the elephant compartments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Playa del Silencio - Asturias - España

Situada en la costa occidental de Asturias - España.

Es un paraje natural donde los acantilados se cierran sobre sí mismos y con distintivo de bandera azul por la calidad de sus aguas.

Su longitud es de unos 500 metros y en tan poco espacio cuenta con un paisaje muy bello, combinado con los acantilados que protegen a la playa, islotes dispersos por la orilla y la calidad y color especial que tienen sus aguas.

Esta playa está protegida y se conserva en inmejorables condiciones.

Un sitio que dicen que es relajante, que te rescata de la vida cotidiana y te hace disfrutar de la belleza que tiene este rinconcito de España.

Sin duda, espero no tardar en ir a visitarla.

Cataratas del Iguazú

Situadas en Misiones - Argentina, en la frontera con Brasil y considerada como una de las bellezas naturales más espectaculares del planeta, formando parte del patrimonio universal declarado por la UNESCO.

Con un gran salto de agua y un entorno natural virgen, selva subtropical con flora y fáuna de la zona, es un lugar digno de ver.

Tienen mucha importancia histórica y arqueológica por las ruinas jesuiticas, que fueron uno de los primeros asentamientos de evangelización cristiana de América del Sur.

Son más anchas que las cataratas del Niágara, con el doble de ancho, 275 cascadas dispersas en una forma de vaso de caballo en tres kilómetros en el Río Iguazú.

Estas cataratas son el resultado de una erupción volcánica que dejó una marca en la tierra. En la época de lluvias (Noviembre a Marzo), el caudal del agua que fluye puede llegar a los 12750 metros cúbicos por segundo.

El agua cristalina cae 82 metros y divididas por varias islas en cascadas distinas, una de las más conocidas es la "Garganta del Diablo".

Afortunadamente son parte de un ecosistema de jungla prácticamente virgen y protegidos, tanto por el lado brasileño como el argentino.

Dícen que se pueden ver las cataratas en un viaje relámpago, aunque lo ideal es quedarse unos días en el lugar y disfrutarlas mejor.

Desde el lado brasileño dícen que las vistas son más espectaculares.

La Garganta del Diablo tiene 14 cascadas que caen más de 100 metros y lo hace con tanta fuerza que siempre hay una nube de unos 30 metros de "llovizna", por todo ello se forma un arco iris.

Recomiendan ver las cataratas en primavera y otoño, ya que el verano es tropical, muy cálido y húmedo y en invierno el nivel de las aguas es muy bajo.

Hay hoteles y agencias de turismo que proveen de tours para recorrer los alrededores.


The title is not only based on NAMRIA's pronouncements that in Marinduque lies the geodetic center of the Philippines, the Luzon Datum, known as the mother of all Philippine surveys. Having known Marinduque as the heart of the Philippines, because the island has the shape of a human heart, and knowing that the language spoken here has been identified as the root of a language (Tagalog) from which national forms of speech have sprung (Filipino, the national language is based on Tagalog), no one else could argue the national importance of this island called Marinduque. Its cultural, historical, geographical and touristic significance are here for all to witness and wonder, to whine and whisper about.

Monday, August 17, 2009


“Pinaka” Foodfest is only one among Gasan’s many ways of celebrating its 400th anniversary this month. The biggest and tastiest of all home-made delicacies are judged and given prizes. All of the old town’s barangays joined the contest that also attracted tourists from as far as the Netherlands.

Some of the delicacies like suman sa ibus, biko, cassava pudding, espasol and sumang balinghoy are shown here together with their proud makers.

Last Sunday, a huge audience came to watch “Miss Gaysan 2009” beauty pageant for gays and “G-Dance Mania”, a modern dance competition held at the municipal tennis court. The contests lasted till 1:30 am. When almost everyone had left, Mayor Vicky Lao Lim was dismayed to see the enormous litter left behind by the crowd, as if people had forgotten that Gasan prided itself as the ‘cleanest and greenest town’ in the region.

Last night was “Harana” festival of Tagalog love songs sung in the days of yore. Today’s event is “Layag Ko”, at barangays Pinggan and Masiga, a painting competition of banca sails. This will be followed at 7:00 pm by “Gabi ng Kulturang Gasan” and “Bb. Gasan Talent Night”. Coronation night of BB. Gasan and Bb. Gasan Tourism on August 19 at 7:00 pm.

On August 20, the big day, “Kalesayahan Festival” of decorated horse-drawn calesas will start at 7:00 am, to culminate in the evening with “Gawad Awards Night” , “Rigodon and Lanceros” and a fireworks display.


A group of Japanese students from Oberlin University in Japan arrived yesterday in Marinduque for a study tour. The twenty one students from said university taking up various courses are here for an understanding of the cultural, environmental, educational, economic and political aspects of the province.

This project is the third of a series of such tours started in the second semester of 2007, by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and KASAMAKA (Kalipunan ng mga Samahang Nagsusulong ng Makadiyos, Makatao at Makakalikasang Pamamahala, a local NGO.

The students will stay for eight-days and will visit Botilao and Calancan causeway in Sta. Cruz to understand the effects of large scale mining in health and livelihood. A similar visit to the abandoned mine site in Capayang, Mogpog to observe conditions in areas surrounding the site and its effects to the community will also be held.

Visits to the fishing village of Pinggan, Gasan for a glimpse of the situation of the marine reserve in the area, and a whole day of living with host farming or fishing families in Poctoy, Torrijos to experience their living conditions first-hand are also included in the program.

A tour of old houses, churches and Boac museum, agro-forestry projects, schools and Marinduque State College have been scheduled. They will also have the opportunity to enjoy the sights at Gaspar Island and Marinduque Hot Spring Resort in Buenavista.

In the company of KASAMAKA president, Rodrigo Masculino and Councilor Randy Ayala of Boac, the Oberlin group paid a courtesy visit to the provincial capitol today. They had a dialogue with vice-governor Tomas Pizarro and provincial administrator, Allan Jay Velasco to better understand the province’s socio-political and economic situation and the local government’s development projects.

Lotus Mahal, Hampi

In Hampi Lotus Mahal is one of the most famous site. Even though the name suggests it is a pleasure pavilion, it is not so. The pavilion probably served as a meeting place of the emperor and his closest advisers. (Click on the images for bigger view)

Lotus Mahal

It is built in Indo-islamic style. Architecture of Lotus Mahal is a successful fusion of temple-like elements of Vijayanagara styles and sultanate elements. If the curved eaves, pyramidal towers depict temple-like elements then the lobed arches, plaster designs depict sultanate elements. The base of the structure depicts a Hindu foundation of stone just like in the temples.

Lotus Mahal arches

It is symmetrically laid out, with equal projections on four sides. It is a two storied structure. It has lobed arched openings in multiple planes surrounded by elaborate plaster designs.
The upper floors have balconies with arched windows. There are hook like structures on the wall close to the upper windows may be for hanging curtains. The arches of the ground floor are recessed and ornate.The walls are protected from Sun and rain by the curved eaves that run continuously around the building. There are 8 pyramidal towers rise over the central and corner bays of the building. The ninth tower is above the central bay similar to the other eight but higher.

Carvings on the arches

The exquisite carvings of flowers and delicate art work on the pillar arches is mesmerizing, especially with the Makara Torana on top of these arches that can still be seen on some of them.

Friday, August 14, 2009


There is a common word present among all vision statements officially drafted and adopted ever since by all six municipal governments in Marinduque, "tourism". All refer to seeing the development of tourism as an important industry in their localities.

The vision and mission statements appearing above are the first ever drafted and adopted for the province in its many years of existence by the Marinduque Provincial Development Council. Within a few weeks after assumption into office as governor of Marinduque, Gov. Bong Carrion convened the said Council for this purpose, and quoted an old proverb: ‘vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare’.

Valuable truth from the wise.


A composite group with representatives of environmental agencies, LGUs, provincial and planning agencies, tourism officers, spelunking organizations and other concerned agencies will hold a seminar at the Provincial Training Center in Tamayo, Sta. Cruz. The newly discovered San Isidro Caves and Subterranean River will be one of the topics. An exploration of the cave in the company of visiting cave experts is included in the said activity scheduled Sept. 1-4.


(This morning, the Honorable Gov. Bong Carrion of Marinduque delivered his State of the Province Address at the Capitol Session Hall in Boac, Marinduque. The technical copy of the speech that was accompanied by a powerpoint presentation is reproduced here in full).

Session Hall, Provincial Capitol
August 14, 2009

Good morning, the Presiding Officer- Majority Leader Jaime Jasper Lim, Members of this august body - the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque, All Mayors of our six municipalities, Vice-mayors, Sangguniang Bayan members of the six municipalities, our Barangay Leaders and officials, department heads, heads of offices, distinguished guests from our religious and private sector, sa aking minamahal na mga kababayan:

Today, we meet in this sacred hall as I, your humble servant, am called upon to perform a noble task. The task of accounting for the highest trust that I’ve sought and one that has been bestowed upon me by a great people in May 2007.

As I took my oath of office on that bright, sunny day in July 2007, I was extremely conscious of what the nameless many in the public service, in the religious and private services, and the common ‘tao’, have conveyed to me in many different ways during the campaign: They thirst for a true leader.

During my first term as Governor of Marinduque in 1995, you will recall - we were faced with the biggest environmental disaster we’ve ever known and will perhaps ever know. Yet we confronted it boldly and squarely as one people, for we saw it as a formidable challenge but whose responsibility only lay upon us to resolve, and no one else.

We then gathered the best minds from a broad cross-section of our society, out of which came forth two important documents approved for implementation by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan:


This document provided for the strategies on how Marinduque will pursue its sustainable development...

(Flash: Titles of programs, projects, and activities. “These are programs, projects and activities in support of the strategy of Resource Rehabilitation and Protection; in support of the strategy of increasing water yield; in support of the strategy of Accelerating Guided Urbanization; projects to Enhance Institutional Capability, etcetera. ‘see listing)


This plan showed how all lands constituting the province would be properly utilized for the common good....

(Flash: Provincial Physical Framework Plan of Marinduque.)

Yet, time was not on our side because soon after, we witnessed and experienced, the ills and sorrows brought about by the subversion of our democratic process. It is on record, that for the first time in our local history, our Catholic leaders condemned through a manifesto, the conduct of the provincial elections in 1998. Needless to say, time stood still. For quite a few more years.

And needless to say, those valuable documents, formulated through genuine participatory democracy, the main battle-cry of my governance, are values that did not sit well with those who’d grown accustomed to monopolizing power - thus, the strategic direction set by our people, was totally disregarded, completely ignored.

When I was given that sacred trust once more by you, mga minamahal kong mga magulang at mga kapatid, I knew from Day One that we could be daunted no more by threats to tear us apart.

No, because I came armed, armed with a mandate and a vision that would free us from the corrosive effects of bad politics and power monopolies, the very negative forces that held in bondage our beloved island-province for so long.

I returned armed with the irrefutable knowledge that, from the most deprived of our brothers and sisters in the far-flung barangays, to those who have sought, like me your humble servant, and like all the honorable men in this historic hall, the clear knowledge that we were given the opportunity to serve our people, with their high expectation that meaningful change and a clear direction, are in the offing.

Narito po ako ngayon, ang inyong abang lingkod, upang ipabatid sa inyong lahat, minamahal kong mga kababayan, na ang ating lalawigan ay may mas makabuluhang pagbabago at higit na katatagan kaysa dati.

We now had the opportunity to merge the two major documents through another first for the province, the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan, which is in compliance with the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1 series of 2007.

I immediately instructed the PPDO as PDC Secretariat to create sectoral committees tasked to oversee, review, formulate and recommend plans and programs in pursuit of our collective vision.

(Flash: Vision)
(Flash: the following text:

Sectoral Committees:
Chair, Public Service Sector Committee: Engr. Rodrigo Opis
Chair, Social Service Sector Committee: BM Cesaria Zoleta
Chair, Environment & Natural Resources Sector: BM Yolando Querubin
Chair, Economic Development Sector: BM Eleuterio Raza, Jr.
Planning Consultant: Gen Recaredo A. Sarmiento III

It was a manifestation of our resolve to exercise transparency, good governance and participatory democracy.

So, buoyed up by the new hopes and expectations we all joined hands.
Sa kadahilanang tayo ay napag-iwanan na ng ating mga karatig-lalawigan sa larangan ng pangkalsadang imprastruktura masugid at tuloy-tuloy ang pagkongkreto ng mga farm-to-market roads.

Natapos na ang farm to market roads sa 42 barangay sa Gasan at Sta Cruz mula sa pondong nanggaling sa Department of Agriculture. Nasa atin na ang Notice of Cash Allocation para sa farm-to-market roads sa mga barangay ng Boac at Torrijos na nagkakahalaga ng 30 milyong piso.

Mula sa pondo ng lalawigan o 20% CDF, nakongkreto ang 1.971 kilometrong haba ng provincial roads sa halagang 5 milyong piso; barangay roads na may habang 1.25 kilometro sa halagang 3.4 milyong piso; natapos ang Matalao-Sayao bridge sa Mogpog sa haagang 1.2 milyong piso; tapos na rin ang Box Culvert Bridge sa Balagasan, Boac sa halagang 2.1 milyong piso.

Natapos na rin ang rehabilitasyon ng Magsaysay-Quezon Road sa Boac sa halagang 1.4 milyong piso.

Ang paglalagay sa maayos na kaayusan ng provincial road networks ang pangunahing gawain ng Provincial Engineer’s Office. Naaspaltohan ang 4.60 kilometrong mga daan sa halagang 2.6 milyong piso; para sa road safety devices (o railings) sa Mogpog at Boac na may kabuuhang 693 linear meters, natapos ito sa halagang 7 milyong piso.

To augment the existing road maintenance equipment several heavy equipment (a Hydraulic Excavator, a Wheel Loader and 2 units of Motor Grader), have been delivered as part of the 67.7 million peso loan from Landbank.
Ang ilan pang gawain tulad ng riprapping, lined canal, instalasyon ng RCCP, pagkumpuni ng mga pampublikong gusali, ospital at paaralan ay naisagawa sa halagang 5.7 milyong piso.

May naisagawa ding instalasyon ng traffic signs and safety devices at lighting improvement sa Santol-Bangbangalon through funding from DPWH at 5-million pesos.

The development of CENTRAL MARINDUQUE, where the climate is cool, as a haven for eco-tourism, or as an ideal site for retirees homes and for academic institutions is one item in my Executive Agenda. The ‘garden city concept’ for central Marinduque, still in the pipeline, is now finding its way to realization.

Under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Strong Infrastructure Program Marinduque province is also the recipient of national road programs. The Balimbing-Bantay Road in Boac with a budget of 67-million pesos is almost completed; the Poblacion Torrijos-Maranlig road budgeted at 50-million pesos is 100% completed. These roads will finally connect Boac and Torrijos with the completion of the Hinapulan-Tumagabok bridge.

Thanks to the efforts of DPWH under Secretary Ebdane and the good District Engr. Magtanggol Roldan, our people have not seen such determination so that these projects would not be haunted by ghosts.

Under the same program the Yook-Libas-Lipata road in Buenavista (82-million), that leads to Bellarocca Island Resort is now being concreted, intermittent sections of the circumferential road from Buenavista to Torrijos road are also being asphalted. In 2008 a total of 300-million pesos has been released for these projects and 130-million pesos during the first half of 2009.

Marinduque Airport after being non-operational for four years, is now being serviced by ZESTAIR since November 2008. SEAIR will soon fly their 19-seater LET aircrafts, and operations will not be hampered when the 161-million peso runway extension goes in full swing.

(Flash: Airport, Zestair, Seair)

The rehabilitation of Cawit Port, identified as a vital linkage connecting Marinduque to the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (Western Seaboard) as part of the Luzon Urban Beltway project, has been completed and opened last year. The route Cawit-Lucena and Cawit-San Juan is already being serviced with two shipping lines in operation: Montenegro and Star Horse Shipping Lines. During the Lenten season 7,107 Islands Cruise ship also called on the port a couple of times bringing in hundreds of tourists.

What about power outages? It is obviously the newest challenge that has confronted us. The existing contract between Napocor and Marelco where we are at the mercy of Napocor is no longer tenable. I have requested Gen. Sarmiento to sit down with Sec. Angelo Reyes and find available means to address this situation, as two foreign companies and one local company have already expressed willingness to invest in Marinduque using renewable energy sources.

Sa TURISMO naman, naging higit na masigla ang pagsasagawa ng mga programa para sa pagpapalago ng turismo.

Ibat-ibang adventure sports activities ang naganap upang palaganapin ang konsepto ng ecotourism sa Marinduque: mountain biking, motocross, airsoft war games, defensive shooting, hobies, marathon runs, scuba-diving at spelunking.
Dahil sa mga gawaing ito nagkaroon ng pagkakataong makitang tuluyan ang potential ng ilang mga lugar para sa pagpapalaganap ng barangay-based tourism para sa kapakinabangan ng ating mga kababayan.

(Flash: Adventure sports tourism photos)

Ilan dito ang Hinulugan Falls sa Sibuyao, Bulusukan Falls sa Bagtingon, Tarug Caves sa Mogpog, ang Capayang minesite, mga lumitaw na bagong scuba-diving sites sa Torrijos, ang Luzon Datum Ecopark sa Hinanggayon at Argao na nakatakda ng gawing national landmark sa tulong ng NAMRIA at DENR.

(Carrion with Namria & DENR officials)
At sa unang pagkakataon nadiskubre ng cave exploration team ng ating provincial tourism office ang San Isidro Caves at Subterranean River. Maingat ang hakbang na dapat isagawa para ito mapanatili sa kasalukuyang kaanyuan.

(Flash: waterfalls, caves, Luzon Datum, San Isidro Caves)

Nagkaroon ng pagkakataong ipakita ng ating mga kababayan ang iba-t-ibang festivals na patuloy ang pagpapa-develop bilang pangturismong gawain. Naging daan ang pagpupugay sa “Araw ng Marinduque” na idineklara na ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan bilang isang ordinansa, upang patuloy na maibahagi ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na ng mga kabataan, ang kanilang kagalingan sa lahat ng bagay na may kinalaman sa kultura at sining.

(Flash: cultural photos, Viva Marinduque, festivals, “Araw ng Marinduque” logo, “Battle of Pulang Lupa”.)

Nagawa nating payabungin pa ang ating Moriones Festival; matagumpay ang pagsasagaw ng Battle of Morions, Pasyondula, Moriones sa Panagbenga at mas malawak na trade expo na nagrehistro ng record sales na 3-milyong piso, doble kaysa nuong nakaraang taon.

(Flash: Moriones photos, trade expo)

Hindi naging sagabal ang kakulangan sa pananalapi para maisagawa ang mga ito. Pinalakas natin ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa mga LGU’s, DOT, DepEd, NCCA, NHI, at iba pang ahensya gayundin sa mga pribadong kumpanya para maisagawa ang lahat ng ito. Kabilang na ang partisipasyon ng local, national at international tri-media.

(Flash: Kay Susan Tayo, Trip na Trip, mga magazine at news clippings, logo ng Living Asia Channel, ABS-CBN, NBN-4, GMA-7, etc.)

Mas mataas na ang kamalayan natin ngayon tungkol sa turismo, ang industriyang makapagbibigay ng malaking bahagi sa employment at income generation, dulot ng ibat-ibang serbisyong kaakibat nito.

(Flash: STTC photos, resorts)

Sa pagbubukas ng Bellarocca Island Resort ay lalong lumakas ang imahe ng Marinduque bilang isang mahalagang destinasyon. Kamakailan ay sinuportahan natin ang pagbisita sa Bellarocca at Marinduque mainland ng grupo ng international tour operators mula sa iba’t-ibang bansa.
Ang industriya ng MICE o Meetings, Incentives, Conventions at Exhibitions na magiging katuparan sa Bellarocca ay inaasahang magkakaroon ng multiplier effect value na magiging kapaki-pakinabang sa ating mga kababayan, higit sa bayan ng Buenavista.

(Flash: Bellarocca photos)

Sa usaping pangturismo at pangkultura, salamat sa pinagsamang dedikasyon ng lahat sa pangununa nina Bokal Yolando Querubin, Allan “P.A.” Velasco, Gerry Jamilla, Joven Lilles, Eli Obligacion at mga kasamahan sa PPDO.

AGRIKULTURA ang mananatiling pangunahing industriya sa Marinduque. Kaya’t ito ang patuloy na binibigyan natin ng prayoridad.

Sa rice production, 16,590 mga magsasaka ang nabiyayaan dulot ng certified seeds distribution, patuloy na pagbibigay sa kanila ng napapanahong pagtuturo ng mga bagong teknolohiya sa pagtatanim. May mga field schools tayong isinasagawa tuwina tulad ng Palay Check at Palayamanan System, at Information Communication Technology.

Para itaguyod ang Organic Farming sa ating lalawigan, inatasan ko ang Provincial Agriculture’s Office na magsagawa ng mga proyekto tungkol sa Organic Farming at Produksiyon ng Organic Fertilizer at Bio-N.

Sa pangunguna naman ni Gen. Sarmiento bilang Consultant for Agriculture, maging ang ating mga upland farmers na nasasakop ng DBP Forest Project ay naturuan ng nasabing kaalaman sa organic farming.

These are the figures for Rice Production under our watch:
Previous program in rice production from 2005-2006 (4 semesters):
Rice Production in hectares: 11,185.97 Yield: 46,904.08 MT
No. of Farmers benefited: 9,093
From 2nd semester 2007 to 1st semester 2009 (4 semesters):

Rice Production in hectares: 15,246,7 ha. Yield: 59,197.65 MT
No. of Farmers benefited: 16,590
Increase of 36% in hectares covered and increase in yield of 26%.
Increase of 82.4% in number of farmers benefited.)

I have earlier conveyed to our Sangguniang Panlalawigan the folly of allowing our people to wallow in hunger and destitution when the bounty of nature is there. Agricultural lands abound province-wide thus irrigation must be prioritized.

Thank you NIA for the rehabilitation of the 10 irrigation systems in Sta. Cruz, Mogpog, Torrijos, Boac and Buenavista from 2007 to present, covering 280 hectares with the total project cost of P 30.5-million pesos.

We continue to support programs in High Value Commercial Crops production such as vegetable production, arrowroot production and banana production. Assorted vegetable seeds continue to be distributed to farmers, and Farmers Field School classes continue. Recently an orientation on Food Terminal for the establishment of Barangay Bagsakan and Bagsakan Center for market access of these products was conducted.

(Flash: Figures on High Value Commercial Crops (Vegetable, Arrowroot, Banana)
(Flash: Two Municipal Bagsakan Centers (Napo, Sta. Cruz and Malbog, Buenavista)
DA FUND: P 860,000.00 for purchase of cold storage and other equipment.
LGU Counterpart: Site, electrical and water system
One Provincial Bagsakan Center (Tabi, Boac)
Funding: P 1-million for rehab of existing building.
Seven (7) Barangay Bagsakan Centers
(Caigangan, Masiga, Balimbing, Mercado (Boac), Matalaba, Landy & Cabuyo.)
DA Fund: P 140,000 each (for freezer and other equipment)
LGU Counterpart: Site, installation of electrical wirings, water system.)

On Fisheries Development, we continue to conduct anti-illegal fishing campaigns with the conduct of land and sea patrols and monitor shipped-out fish at Balanacan and Cawit Ports.

We maintain a Brackish Water Demo Farm in Tamayo. From the second semester of 2007 to the 1st semester of 2009, the demo farm produced a total of 810 kilograms which were sold to provincial government employees. Demos on fish processing are also in place.

We maintain 81 Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Councils, six Municipal FARMC’s and 5 established marine protected areas and fish sanctuaries in coastal areas in Torrijos and Sta. Cruz.

In 2008, our agriculture technicians assisted in the planting of 39,600 propagules of mangrove in four barangays of Sta. Cruz and 3 barangays of Torrijos.

Also in 2008, 2.1 million pesos worth of technology packages for our fish farmers to increase income derived from seaweeds and bangus culture. Four seaweed nurseries were thus established in Sta. Cruz and Mogpog; 49 hectares of fishpond in 10 barangays in Sta. Cruz and Torrijos were maintained; in addition were lapu-lapu, crab and prawn culture projects in Sta. Cruz to generate increased yield.

A high value and organic fish called Pangassius or Dori Fish will soon be produced locally. The demo pond for this purpose will be established at the Provincial Training Center with design done by PPDO under the supervision of Gen. Sarmiento.

On LIVESTOCK, the improvement of the genetic quality of our livestock; arrest of the dwindling animal population; protection of our island from the incursion of animal diseases; control and eradication of animal diseases are concerns we have addressed seriously.

In support of the hunger mitigation program, we have purchased and distributed imported breeder goats (Boer Buck) and this has benefited 55 goat raisers. The goal is to increase the size of existing native breeder stocks from 20 kg. liveweight to 40-60 kgs. liveweight.
The listing for animal dispersal is as follows:
Cattle – 38 head breeder stocks
Goat – 138 head breeder doe
Pigs - 210 head breeder sow
Sheep – 37 head breeder ewe
Native Chicken – 1,750 heads)

Intensification of quarantine services resulted in the confiscation of eight (8) tons of assorted hot meat sourced from FMD infected areas outside Marinduque. Twenty-one (21) livestock traders and 18 livestock vehicles were accredited.

Our veterinary office under Dr. Josue Victoria has also treated 3,816 different species of animals from various diseases with 1,292 clients served. Our province has the lowest incidence of rabies in the country, and this has been made possible without shooting them and creating headlines; ours also is the only province in southern Luzon without any FMD incident.

My administration remain committed in its pursuit to provide decent employment, adapting various employment generation and facilitation programs. Thanks to Atty. Lord Allan Jay “P.A.” Velasco, to whom I entrusted the operation of our PESO office with the able assistance of Mrs. Erma Reyes and her staff.

(Flash: photos and figures)

In order for us to reach out to the countryside and deliver our services particularly our livelihood programs, I issued Administrative Order No. 2008-01 restructuring the Technology and Livelihood Development Center Management Committee and with full trust and confidence, I entrusted its operation and supervision to Gen. Recaredo A. Sarmiento II.

Various livelihood projects were undertaken with the all out support of the member agencies like DTI, FIDA, DENR, DOST, MSC, LBP, PAGrio, PVet, CDA.

The most recent that’s being pursued is the proposed establishment of the Coco Oil Mill. Dialogue with well known coconut plantation owners and cooperatives has been undertaken and has gained positive response from our stakeholders.

ECCD. One of our deepest concerns is the care of our children at their crucial stage of development, that’s during the time they are still in the womb up to six years old, when the brain is developing. A DepEd study has proven that children with positive child development experience are the ones who make it to higher education, as their capacity to learn and be trained has been developed.

This is the prime reason why I fully supported the Early Childhood Care and Development Program, which Peng Recalde heads. Thanks to the Municipal ECCD Council, they saw this, too.

As I speak to you this morning, we have disbursed 6.6-million pesos for this purpose and still processing 1-million pesos more all for our 0-6 children. We have so far served 6,848 children in Day Care Centers province-wide, including finding ways to continue providing them with school bags and school supplies as we’ve done.
(Flash Table)
38 units of Computer Learning Package were procured and were distributed to the day care centers, sourced from the CDF of Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Lito Lapid.

In EDUCATION, even before my official assumption to office, I personally tasked my technical assistants to meet with the officers of the 57-75 educational consortiums. Determined to pursue the importance of education as stated in my executive agenda, Dir. Mario Deriquito eventually visited the province and held talks with our education stakeholders upon my request.

The First Education Summit was conducted on September 2007, with an overwhelming attendance of 325 participants, thanks to DepEd. And thank you Dr. Celso Guevarra, the President of the Marinduque Education Stakeholders Alliance, Inc. and to Fr. Allan Malapad, the Chairman of the Board.

Our main goal: Reverse the education crisis in the province. Our concerted efforts now appear to bear fruit. In the National Achievement Test result for elementary level, our achievement rate in 2007-2008 was 70.85% - a bit higher than the previous school years’ rates of 50.92% and 62.71% in School Years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, respectively.

We have secured funds from the DepEd in the amount of 10-million pesos for the construction of the two-storey Marinduque National High School building razed by fire in 2007. Phase 1 of the construction has been completed and Phase 2 is in progress. The new building is expected to be completed in time for the opening of the next school year.

In HEALTH, well for one, we fully documented the sad situation of our provincial hospital within a week after my assumption into office. We have since upgraded the hospital laboratory, operating room, wards and administrative office facilities, and purchased new equipment, hired six additional medical specialists or medical officers and filled out vacancies in the nursing and administrative service. This goes with all our other provincial-run hospitals.

With the support of the Chief of Hospitals we have instituted health reforms in their respective facilities. For the provincial hospital with Dr. Gerardo Caballes as Chief, we have tied up with the Philippine General Hospital for the training of nursing staff, for short course training for medical officers in areas such as emergency medicine and life-saving surgical procedures.

To improve the clinical management of patients at the provincial hospital a Memorandum of Understanding with PGH has been finalized.

To reach out to our people in the remotest barangays, the Mobile Clinic that we launched in June last year has since served 2,863 patients receiving medical/surgical treatment; a thousand patients received dental services; 100 malnourished children given a complete course of treatment and supply of high end multivitamins.

That pregnant mothers and malnourished children are given special attention during the mobile missions is a standing order to these missions. With the support of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, funds for medicines and supplies for the sustained operation of the mobile clinic have been obtained.

We also continue to collaborate with relevant NGO’s like the Marinduque International, GAWWA Foundation through Mayor Vicky Lao Lim, and recently the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society for the conduct of medical missions.

Instead of seeing an imposing building rot in front of the hospital compound, we secured the necessary funds to complete the ground floor to at least 12 rooms private ward by the end of this year.

The Sta. Cruz District Hospital now networks with medical specialists in Opthalmology and Obstetrics & Gyne for patients needing Cataract Operations and eye consultations, and have scheduled this every 4th week of the month.

I issued Executive Order No. 2009/01 creating the Marinduque Inter-Local Heath Zone. This paved the way for the immediate approval of our 5-year health investment plan for Marinduque with the approved investment cost of P. 478,677.496.00 from the Department of Health.

P 87-million will be the province’s counterpart from the joint resources of LGU’s including the provincial government.

A strong Inter-Local Health Zone headed by Dr. Honesto Marquez is therefore now in place to optimize the sharing of resources, address special medical concerns, including free medicine for the needy.

PHILHEALTH insurance for indigents where the listing for families covered now stands at 11,627, thanks to the LGU’s, will now be extended to 100% more within the year. We will now cover at least 90% of the 28,000 families targeted to benefit from this medical insurance.

We are appropriating 6-million pesos from our local fund to reach the target and give our poor families what they truly deserve.

Upon learning of a system for use in the planning and monitoring of plans and programs, one that could provide specific answers to questions like, “Who are the poor?”, “Where are they?” or “Why are they poor?”, I immediately instructed the PPDO to implement the Community-Based Monitoring System or CBMS.

I issued Administrative Order No. 2007-02 authorizing the updating of our CBMS. Our CBMS Survey 2008 is now completed in all our LGUs all of which are now undergoing barangay data validation. Torrijos was the first municipality to have undergone validation and CBMS data for Torrijos have now been made official. CBMS will eventually be institutionalized as the official data source for planning and monitoring to help improve lives.

Our mandate to provide protection and promotion of the rights and welfare of the disadvantaged individual, family and community is zealously undertaken by the PSWDO under Mrs. Julpha Arevalo.

Various programs for Family Welfare, Women’s Welfare, Child and Youth Welfare, Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, Emergency Assistance Programs, Emergency Shelter Assistance Programs and Food for Work programs.
(Flash: Reports. Note that the PSWDO report is too long to be included in the speech; but Governor conveys his other personal remarks while the report is being flashed on screen).

The DBP Forest Project, considered the largest in scope and area among other DBP Forest Project sites in the country, involves watershed rehabilitation, fruit tree forestation and mangrove rehabilitation in an aggregate area of 500 hectares of Marinduque public land.

With the convergence of efforts and resources from Boac, Sta. Cruz and Torrijos LGU’s covering 33 barangays, under the stewardship of Ret. Gen. Recaredo Sarmiento II, it is one project that is also ensured of success.

In addition, an eco-tourism cum livelihood project is being established in the 100 hectare forest area of Brgy. Tungib-Lipata, a joint undertaking of the Provincial Government, the Municipality of Buenavista and Gold Barrel, Inc.

As you know, the only remuneration the General gets for all his efforts is the happiness to be of service to his fellow Marinduqueno.

“HAPLOS NI BONG” continues to help our small-scale entrepreneurs augment their income in an interest and collateral-free micro financing program.

55 beneficiaries from Boac comprised the first batch; funds for the second batch of 30 beneficiaries from Mogpog and Sta. Cruz were released last April; the 3rd batch with 29 beneficiaries are from Gasan, Torrijos and Sta. Cruz, with financial assistance released last July 6. We are happy to note that the collection percentage of the program is from 95 – 100%.

In PEACE AND ORDER, economic progress can be achieved where peace and order reigns. On July 31, 2009, during the commemoration of the Battle of Paye, the Internal Security Operation (ISO) in Marinduque was officially turned over to our LGU and local police - the first such turn-over for any provincial government in the country cleared of NPA presence and influence.

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between our province as represented by your humble servant, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Our gratitude goes to Maj. Gen. Fernando Mesa, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit and Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali and our municipalities for their all-out campaign against insurgency.

In FINANCE, our income for CY 2008 rose slightly to P 304,273,527,05 with expenditures amounting to P 267,088,136.39. For the first 6 months of 2009, P 167,585,827.43. Expenditures for the same period for personnel services, MOOE, and capitol outlay amounted to P 107,085,315.92 or a margin of P. 60,500,511.51 income over expenditure.

We have given all the benefits due our provincial employees like the implementation of Magna Carta for health workers and the Collective Negotiation Agreement incentives for each of our rank and file employees.

Our meager resources did not prevent us from pursuing various development projects and services.
A major breakthrough in the field of assessment is the revision by the Supreme Court, of the Court of Appeals ruling on Marcopper Mining Corporation real properties particularly its Siltation Dam and Decant System.

The decision ordered Marcopper Mining Corporation including its siltation dam and decant system to pay real property tax to the Provincial Government of Marinduque. This amounts to over P 36-million pesos, and the previously claimed as tax exempt are now taxable. Telecommunication companies, meanwhile, are now also subject to tax collection.

But friends, ladies and gentlemen, this SOPA cannot be all about figures. A more thorough report has been prepared by the hardworking staff of PPDO, which should be considered an integral part of this speech.

We could go on and on, but really the true state of our province cannot be captured in photos, charts and figures alone.

A new spirit moves our people because of their newfound hope and dignity.
Most of all, the stark realization that we know ourselves even better now, as an empowered people capable of moving forward to chart our destiny together. That is the state of our province.

The feeling of intense pride is everywhere, found in the beaming faces of our women and children, our farmers and fisherfolks who have become aware that the politics of dependence and dole-outs are no more.
(Insert here: thanks to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, etc.)

We have known our beloved island-province to be the heart of a country, a country often enmeshed in the very same problems that we have faced in our time. But history tells us that we, Marinduquenos, are always the first to move together against despicable acts that make our lives miserable, or even threaten our peaceful and honorable existence. Which is why we celebrate the historic battles we’ve won.

We all know that change could only come from the heart, the heart of a province that we all love. This is the same knowledge that has inspired us to serve our people selflessly and in humility. For our new pride as a people is the source of our strength, one that will outlive those who seek only to tear us apart.

We have just begun and we will continue marching on to victory!
Salamat sa Panginoon! Salamat po sa inyo, mga kapuso, at minamahal kong mga Kababayan!