Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheap flight to Europe, a beer and a schnitzel!

It’s 3:30 PM. I’m in the office, thinking about Wurstel and beer and Sauerkraut and beer. And also about Schweinsbraten and beer and Steckerlfisch and did I mention beer? The month of October brings along one of the world’s largest festivals and largest amount of drunken people in the same place – this is Germany’s Oktoberfest.

The Munich Oktoberfest is all about the beer, the “liquid gold” and more than 6 million litters of beer will be drunk in this Oktoberfest. The traditional tapping of the first barrel of Oktoberfest beer happened earlier in September and now there are 3.3 million thirsty Germans attending the festival.

Everybody can visit Oktoberfest for free but you will have to pay for the beer and the schnitzel. One liter of beer costs around 8.50 Euros, so drink up in order to forget how much you paid.

Of course that there’s also German folk music and dance, and pretty awesome rides for the kids.

Visit our website at www.doalltravel.com or give us a call at 718-972-6000 and find out more about Oktoberfest and your cheap flight to Europe

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bottle Pocket - Better Than the Wineskin? Maybe!







Check this out! Are you always afraid that your wine or olive oil is going to break in your luggage? I've managed to bring home all sorts of bottled goodies without having them break, but I'm always on the look-out for an easier way. Well, last year, I blogged about the "Wine Skin," (http://www.magellans.com/store/Health___Hygiene___Food___DrinkFP321?Args=),


. There is now another product on the market: the Bottle Pocket. It looks great for packing home that precious wine or olive oil ! I still might bring my paper wine tubes (similar to the one in this picture, http://www.papertube86.com/products/Paper-Wine-Tube-corrugated-tube-gift-tube-ball-tube--HG-0185.htm though I get mine at the local "Tuesday Morning" discount store.) I've found that the combination of bubble wrap and the strong paper tubes really works. The Bottle Pocket adds another layer of protection - if the bottle should break, the Bottle Pocket will contain the leak. Hope this helps. Happy Traveling!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RESURRECTING HERMENEGILDO FLORES

HERMENEGILDO FLORES: FROM BULACAN TO MARINDUQUE
by Eli J. Obligacion

(By coincidence, I am on my way to Marinduque from Malolos, Bulacan after attending an arts and council forum there with all-Luzon participants. Did succeed in finding additional data...)


The last two decades of the 19th century saw Filipino writers in Spanish expressing themselves in poetry urging Filipinos to shake off the chains of imperial rule that had imprisoned them for three centuries. These included Jose de Vergara, Pedro Paterno and our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

During the last decade of that century appeared a trilogy of poems expressing sentiments that ranged from reformism to separation from the Mother Country, Spain.

Hermenegildo Flores wrote the first of this trilogy in Tagalog in 1888, with “Hibik ng Filipinas sa Inang Espana”. At this time, Rizal was in London doing research for his annotations on Morga's history of the Philippines. (Perceptions of the Past in Southeast Asia, ANthony Reid, David Marr). "Hibik" is composed of 66 quatrains where the poet, speaking as an oppressed daughter pours out his major grievance to Mother Spain – the abuses committed by the frailes, friars.

Among others, the daughter complains:
“Sa bawat nasa mong kagaling-galingan,
ayaw ng prayleng ako'y makinabang,
sa mga anak ko'y ang ibig lamang
isip ay bulagin, ang bibig ay takpan”.


And she specifies:
“Sa pagpapalago ng kanilang yaman
bendita't bendisyon lamang ang puhunan,
induluhensiya't iba't ibang bahay
ng mga sagrado naman ang kalakal”.


Flores, son of Bulacan, the Philippine province known as the cradle of revolutionary heroes, had a role to play in the life of Marcelo H. del Pilar, foremost of the Filipino propagandists of that era. National artist Bienvenido Lumbera referred to Flores as del Pilar’s “former teacher and fellow propagandist” (Tagalog Poetry, 1870-1898: Tradition and Influences in its Development”, by Bienvenido Lumbera).

Del Pilar left the Philippines for Spain in October 1888 joining Graciano Lopez Jaena, Mariano Ponce and Jose Rizal, the leading lights of the Reform Movement. The following year, while in Barcelona, Spain, del Pilar's response to Flores, “Sagot ng Espana sa Hibik ng Pilipinas” saw its publication. The longer poem had 82 quatrains. The poem has been described as “for the most part pedestrian verse, yet it is powerful because of the theatrical design behind the poem”. In the poem, Mother Spain recognizes how the friars have maltreated her daughter, but advises the daughter to bear her cross in silence.

While in Spain, Del Pilar succeeded Lopez Jaena as editor of La Solidaridad, the Filipino reformists’ propaganda paper that lasted for six years under del Pilar. Its last issue was on Nov. 15, 1895. Under extreme penury, he fell ill and died in a hospital in Barcelona on July 4, 1896.

By this time, Bonifacio has re-organized the remnants of La Liga Filipina that was originally organized by Rizal for reforms through “peaceful and legal means”. Convinced that such efforts were futile it became a revolutionary society under Bonifacio called “Kataastaasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” (KKK).

Events were to prove that Filipinos kept her vigil until seven years later, in 1896, the founder if the Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio, wrote his rejoinder to the Flores-Del Pilar companion poems.

“Katapusang Hibik nang Pilipinas sa Ynang Espana” has been described as “the climactic moment to the history of Tagalog poetry during the 19th century”. In Bonifacio’s poem, the terms of endearment exchanged between the poems of Flores and Del Pilar are no longer contained. Spain is described as “inang pabaya’t sukaban” (negligent and malevolent mother), and “inang walang habag” (merciless mother). (“Metaphors of Protest: Anti Colonial and Nationalistic Themes as Tradition in Tagalog Poetry” by Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, Univ. of Hawai’i; “Navigating Islands and Continents, Conversations and Contestations In and Around the Pacific”, Selected Essays Vol. 17, edited by Franklin, Hsu & Kosanke).

Flores, with his comrade Del Pilar forever silenced by death, with Rizal deported to Dapitan and eventually in the Intramuros cell to await his martyrdom, and with the armed struggle reaching its point of no return, joined the revolution.

In the later part of 1896, Hermenegildo Flores, who was also a friend of General Emilio Aguinaldo, choosing to follow the beaten path and completely giving up his writings, contrary to the general picture written about him, “went to Mindoro and Marinduque and persuaded the patriots there to rally to the libertarian cause”. Flores raised a revolutionary army and set up his headquarters in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque. (The Philippine Revolution, Gregorio F. Zaide, footnote on p. 145).

On March 4, 1897, Flores was to lead the first direct assault on the Spanish quarters at the Casa Real of Sta. Cruz, Marinduque.

On March 23, 1897, the date when Aguinaldo took his oath as President of the revolutionary government, Flores convened the patriots of Mindoro and Marinduque in Sta. Cruz. The assembly attended by local patriots was presided over by him with Mariano Ricaplaza acting as secretary. “After mature deliberation, the patriots took the oath of loyalty and adherence to the cause of the Revolution and Flores was elected governor of Mindoro and Marinduque”.

(to be continued)

Truffle Trivia

Do you know all the differences between white and black truffles? between summer and winter truffles? Do you know how much you should pay for each kind?

Check back in mid-October for a post on "truffle trivia."

The information comes direct to you from the "people in the know," the chefs of "Il Tartufo," which means "The Truffle," a lovely historic restaurant in the heart of Umbria and one of the places where we hold our La Contadina cooking classes. Remember to come back and check out the blog!

pere al vino UPDATE

OK, you have GOT to try this! I made canned pears two ways yesterday - with ruby port wine and with pear brandy. Both ways are intoxicatingly delicious. I wish I had enough to ship a jar to everyone who reads this blog. You only add 1 tbsp. of the liquor to each 8 oz. jar, while the rest is packed with the sliced, lightly-cooked pears and the sugar syrup. Indescribable.

What "Ondoy" did to Quiapo.


A day after Typhoon "Ondoy" poured rain the whole day up to early evening yesterday, certain areas in Manila, such as Espana and Dimasalang, remained flooded in the morning but receded by afternoon. The Quiapo underpasses remained under water as shown in these photos taken at around 4:00pm today.
Some children had fun swimming in the virtual 'Quiapo swimming pool'. It was reported that some cars here were abandoned and are buried under the water. It could take two days for the underpass to be emptied with floodwater and be passable to motorists.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TYPHOON "ONDOY" IN METRO MANILA

Typhoon "Ondoy" brought rain continuously the whole day yesterday in Manila where I got stranded on my way back to Marinduque. It triggered the worst flood to hit the Metro causing widespread blackouts from around 3:00 pm. Power has not returned up to now in Manila but certain areas in Quezon City did not suffer from the power outage. People were stranded on rooftops and the massive flooding paralyzed business and transportation. Government has declared a state of calamity in Metro Manila and 25 Luzon provinces including Marinduque.

According to reports, Metro Manila's average rainfall for September is 391.7 millimeters, but for the first six hours "Ondoy" had dumped 341 millimeters of rainfall. Most of Manila residents are used to floods but the sudden surge of floodwaters and the speed by which the waters buried roads and residential communities to as high as 5 meters came as a surprise. Up to this morning in Pasig, people are still crossing through neck deep waters in major thoroughfares, as there were simply too many to be evacuated.

Today the sun is back, the rain has stopped, but in many places such as Dimasalang, Espana, Del Monte and other areas in Quezon City people who evacuated at the height of the flooding have returned to their homes to go back to their normal routines.

Above photo tells it all, courtesy of tipidpc.com

AARP: Single Travel

I find it really annoying that one can't travel alone anywhere without having to pay for two ("based on double occupancy"). Is there any cruise or package plan for one person? I am a widow and would like to travel, but everyone seems to penalize you for traveling alone. PLEASE HELP.
read article

Friday, September 25, 2009

Las Cuevas de Camuy - Puerto Rico


El "Parque de las Cavernas de Camuy", red asombrosa de cuevas subterráneas naturales de piedra caliza.

Las cuevas fueron creadas por las aguas subterráneas del río de Camuy, hace ya más de un millón de años.

Se documentaron en 1973 en el libro "Discovery at the Rio Camuy", escrito por Russel y Jeanne Gurnee.

Alrededor de las cuevas se creó un parque público de 268 acres, que está situado en la ruta 129, kilómetro 9.8.

Este lugar es impresionante, una de las formaciones subterráneas más grandes del hemisferio occidental y hasta ahora solamente se han explorado siete millas (11 km) de esta serie de cuevas de piedra caliza.

Los caminos de la selva tropical descienden suavemente a las cavernas en forma de catedral. El parque es una de las redes de cavernas más grandes del mundo.

Los visitantes pueden dirigirse a través de una de las cavernas y dos "sinkholes", donde se pueden ver unas estalagmitas y estalactitas impresionantes

Hay lugares de comida en el parque, caminos de selva tropical y otros negocios.

También hay una exposición y tienda de recuerdos.

Abren de Miércoles a domingo de 8 a 4 p.m. Alrededor de 9 euros los adultos y 8 los niños.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FLORES' POEM

(Filipino soldiers at Malolos, 1898)




(Photo of playwright Severino Reyes of "Walang Sugat", that ushered in the golden age of Philippine sarsuwela. He was also the writer behind Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang).

1872 saw the execution at Bagumbayan of the Filipino priests Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. It was the start of the season of change and revolt. In 1888 Hermenegildo Flores' germinal poem was distributed to the masa. It depicted the abuses and excesses of the friars. Fourteen years later, the zarzuela "Walang Sugat" would still explore the same subject.

"Hibik ng Pilipinas sa Inang Espanya"
ni Hermenegildo Flores

Inang mapag-ampon, Espanyang marilag,
nasaan ang iyong pagtingin sa anak?
akong iyong bunsong abang Pilipinas
tingni't sa dalita'y di na makaiwas.

Ang mga anak kong sa iyo'y gumigiliw,
sa pagmamalasakit ng dahil sa akin,
ngayo'y inuusig at di pagitawin
ng mga prayleng kaaway mong lihim.

Sa bawat nasa mong kagaling-galingan,
ayaw ng prayleng ako'y makinabang,
sa mga anak ko'y ang ibig lamang
isip ay bulagin, ang bibig ay takpan.

Nang di maisigaw ang santong matuwid
na laban sa madla nilang ninanais
palibhasa'y wala silang iniisip
kundi ang yumaman at magdaya sa dibdib.

Sa pagpapalago ng kanilang yaman
bendita't bendisyon lamang ang puhunan,
induluhensiya't iba't ibang bahay
ng mga sagrado naman ang kalakal.

Sapagkat anumang bilhin sa kanila,
kaya namamahal, dahil sa bendita,
kahit anong gawin pag may halong kanta
ay higit sa pagod ang hininging upa.

Ibig ng simbaha't kumbentong marikit
organo't kampana aranyang nagsabit,
damasko't iba pa, datapwa't pawis
ng bayan kukunin, mahirap mang kahit.

Ani sa asyenda't kita sa simbahan
sa minsang mapasok sa mga sisidlan
ng mga kumbento'y di na malilitaw
kaya naghihira, balang masakupan.

Ang dulo'y marami sa mga anak ko
ang di makabayad sa mga impuwesto
sa gayong katataas ng mga rekargo
pagka't kailangan naman ng estado.

Sa bagay na iyan, ang mga mahirap
na walang pagkunan ng dapat ibayad,
sa takot sa Sibil, aalis ngang agad,
iiwan ang baya't tutunguhi'y gubat.

Dito pipigain naman ang maiiwan,
na di makalayo sa loob ng bayan,
siyang pipiliting magbayad ng utang
kahima't wala ng sukat na pagkunan.

Maghanapbuhay ma'y anong makikita
wala nang salapi, ibayad ang iba
pagkat naubos nang hititin ng kura
sa pamamagitan ng piyesta't iba pa.

Sa limit ng mga piysta't mga kasayahan
ay walang ginhawang napala ang bayan
kundi ang maubos ang pinagsikapang
sa buhay ng tao'y lalong kailangan.

Ang kapalaluang paggugol ng pilak
nang dahil sa pyesta ay di nag-aakyat
sa langit, kundi ang santong pagliyag
ng puso ang siya lamang hinahanap.

Niyong ang ating Amang hindi madadaya
sa inam ng pyesta at lagi ang ganda,
sapagkat ang ating gawang masasama
ay di mangyayaring bayaran ng tuwa.

Ibigin ang Diyos nang higit sa lahat
at ito ang siyang lalong nararapat
ngunit ang prayle'y walang hinahangad
kungdi magpalalo't ang baya'y maghirap.

Ang pangako nila sa mga anak ko
ay magbigay lamang sa mga kumbento
ng kuwalta'y sa langit naman patutungo
at ligtas sa madlang panganib sa mundo.

Saka sasabihang ang kanilang aral
ay utos ni Kristong dapat na igalang
bago hindi'y gayo't kauna-unahang
lumalabag sila sa Poong Maykapal.

Ang mga anak ko'y turuan nga lamang
ng bala-balaking dapat matutuhan
kahima't maubos ang lahat ng yaman
kikilanlin ko pang darakilang utang.

Dapwa'y sa akin daya at pag-api
ang siyang nakayang pawang iginanti,
kaya hanggang ngayon sa iabubuti
ng kalagayan ko'y wala pang masabi.

Gayunmay'y ako pa ang siyang masama
kung aking idaing yaring pagkaaba,
sarisaring dusa nama'y nagbabala
sa balang dumamay sa aking pagluha.

Yamang may hustisyang hindi humihibik
kung dili sa balang ayon sa matuwid
sa di natutulog na awa ng langit
ipauubaya yaring pagkaamis.

Ngunit hindi kaya ngatngatin ng pula
ng ibang potensya sa balat ng lupa
ang kamahalan mo kung mapag-unawang
sa anak ay inang tunay ang dumusta?

Hanggang dito ina't ang bahala'y ikaw
dangal mo'y tanghalin ng sansinukuban
ang pagkakasundo ng lahat mong kawal
ay lumagi nawa sa kapayapaan.

"WALANG SUGAT" (Not Wounded)


Am in Malolos, Bulacan now for the "Unang Gapas" 1st Luzon Arts & Culture Forum from Sept. 23-25. Last night, the delegates were treated to a performance at the Gat Blas F. Ople Hall of Severino Reyes'"Walang Sugat", a production of the Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation, Inc. This zarzuela was premiered in 1902, and was the vehicle for the song "Bayan Ko", revived in the early 80's by Freddie Aguilar that became the revolutionary song of the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Barasoain Kalinangan is a recipient of the Gawad CCP para sa Sining. It utilizes traditional art forms such as the awit, sayaw, balagtasan, moro-moro, senakulo, kundiman and sarswelang Tagalog with ingenious contemporary innovations. It has continuously developed and promoted the richness of Bulacan history and culture through original productions that pay tribute to Bulacan heroes and artists. The group has been chosen by the provincial government of Bulacan as its key partner in its cultural program. "Walang Sugat", directed by Armand Sta. Ana, is the first non-original production of this theater group, part of Sarsuwela Festival 2009 held at the U.P. Theater.

It was written by the well-known Father of the Sarsuwela, as his statement against imperialism. The musical play depicted the cruelty of the Spanish friars and the experience of Filipinos in their hands. The story revolves around the hero Tenyong and how he outwits people trying to separate him from Julia, his love interest. The many twists and turns of this sarsuwela has made it very popular among theater audiences. "Walang Sugat" has also been twice produced on film.

"Malolos", "Bulacan" "Flores". Serendipity. Don't look now, somethin's comin'up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time-off

I was suffering from lower backache for more than 3 months now and was under treatment, cure by exercise. Unfortunately the condition worsened. The doctors have advised surgery and complete bed rest for 4 to 5 weeks depending on the response to the recovery. Hence I will not be able to share my travel experiences with you all for the period.


Meanwhile, you can still go through my old posts, if you have missed anything and share your thoughts. Once back, I shall go thorough all your posts, which I like very much and respond to them.




Monday, September 21, 2009

Sightly Kerala Backwater

travel india

Sightly Kerala Backwater

Watch This Space 2009. The London National Theatre Summer Fest

What’s going on London? The city of theater hosts a summer long festival with outdoor theater, circus, music, dance, comedy and film on the Southbank.

Watch This Space is the name of the two-month London National Theatre Summer Fest, welcoming a truly outstanding range of England’s best artists with a selection of international artists who bring the life to the foggy English city in various spaces on and around the National Theater building.

While the locals are traveling between one show to another, the festival offers a relaxing giant outdoor living room (gotta see it to believe it), including tea time and coffees, cocktails and food and when the youngins are all gone off to bed, fun kicks off with a late night bar and musical bingo.

If you catch a flight to London (a cheap flight to London!) you can still enjoy some great shows, a mass Ukelele jam, a Sunday picnic of innovative food, the wild painting theater of Jon Hicks and much much more.

Visit our website at www.doalltravel.com or give us a call at 718-972-6000 because you can be in London tomorrow!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

View our latest Press Release:

http://www.prlog.org/10348235-la-contadina-travels-tours-announces-new-italy-tour-itinerary-my-own-private-italy.html

Announcing the new "My Private Italy" tour! Mid December 2009

Announcing our new “My Private Italy” tour, mid December 2009.

We have developed a new itinerary featuring some of the places highlighted in Steve’s film, “My Private Italy,” and we’ve also included some old favorites from the “Postcards from Italy” tour itinerary. Plus, there are a few surprises included that we just can’t mention ‘til we get there!

We are planning to stay in Lucca, Tuscany for the 1st part of the tour, with day visits to the Cinque Terre (5 villages clinging to the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, and famous for their pesto and their wine), to Firenze (Florence), a major art and cultural city in Italy, and to Santa Luce, a darling hilltop village. Lucca, founded by the Romans, was later encircled by a series of pink-brick ramparts (construction began in 1544), which are now a favorite place atop which both locals and tourists like to stroll, gazing down into the city and out over the surrounding mountains. It's a lovely place to stay for 4 nights, and you will have some free time to explore Lucca on your own and find some souvenirs and do some Christmas shopping :-)

Santa Luce and the Cinque Terre are featured in Steve's film, "My Private Italy." A copy of this film is available on DVD to those interested in booking the tour. Just send us an email and provide your mailing address.

Starting this tour in Pisa also affords us the opportunity to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa before we head to Lucca - an added bonus not to be underestimated. You can see a picture of me on top of the Leaning Tower on a blog post below. Climbing the marble steps once climbed by Galileo is a very powerful experience.

Then we head to Spoleto, Umbria for the last few nights of our tour. Spoleto is where we have our fabulous cooking class (it is SO much FUN!). Spoleto is a hilltop town in Umbria that boasts fabulous restaurants and a lot of Roman sites (an ancient "teatro," or theater, and the famous "Bridge of the Towers," which began as a Roman aquaduct. That's also where my favorite ceramics shop is located. I plan to buy a few more coffee cups this time - the perfect spot for Christmas gift shopping.

Spoleto, by the way, is featured in another of Steve's films, "Postcards from Italy."

Following our precious time in Spoleto, we transfer to Rome and our tour concludes upon our arrival at the airport, about noontime. Some tour guests like to stay on at the end of the tour and explore more of Rome on their own for a day or two. I always stay myself for a day or two to do some shopping (my favorite bookstore is there!) and exploring. There is still so much to see!

This tour includes a wine tasting, the cooking class, all transportation including airport pick up and drop off, all breakfasts, and either lunch or dinner (more dinners than lunches), and wine with dinner. Tour starts in Pisa and ends in Rome. Let me know what you think! Cost is 2300 Euros, plus airfare (which is about 1/2 the usual cost right now!).

"Mis Lagrimas a Ti, Kapitan Bindoy!"

“MIS LAGRIMAS A TI” (My Tears To Thee)
By Eli J. Obligacion, 1996

Excerpt from Scene 1:

KORO:

“Marso a-cuatro 1897, isang gabing madilim
Nang ang casa ng bayan ay kanilang lusubin
Walang nakatanggi, wala ring pumigil
Kanilang kaaway, kanilang siniil.

Bagaman at salat sa de-putok na armas
Ay lumusob silang matindi ang dahas
Sa tindi ng poot na balot ang dibdib
Sa pinaslang na nila’y ni walang tumangis!

Wala pang nakita sa tangi kong pulo
Ng gan-on kasukdulang tapang at kilabot
Ang poot ng Kapitang lagablab ay sulo
Sa lahat ng panig ng pulo’y umabot.”


Above is a brief poetic narrative of an event that happened in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque referring to an episode that transpired there on March 4, 1897, during the first-phase of the Philippine Revolution. The Casa Real was attacked by the local revolutionary force headed by “Kapitan Bindoy”.

The koro verse was part of a Tagalog play I was commissioned to write by PRRM’s Marinduque Area Manager, Trina Malaga, in 1996, to be presented during the opening program of “Daupan II Festival” for the Centennial of the Philippine Revolution (Gasan, 1996). “Daupan” was a gathering of popular educators from all over the country promoting “pop-ed” theories and practices as tools for people empowerment.

Based on research writings from the towns of Boac, Mogpog and Sta. Cruz I’ve gathered before, “Mis Lagrimas a Ti” was conceptualized. It was not too hard to write the script for I had become familiar, somehow, with the local story. Or so, I thought.

The play was an exploration of the revolutionary struggle in Marinduque during the Philippine-Spanish War, seen through the eyes of a fictional character, “Ilyong”. Ilyong was supposedly a tambolero, drummer, from Cavite who joined the Marinduque forces after being sent on a mission to this island by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Such a character was necessary because up to that time, I could not find any link between the leader of the revolutionary force, Kapitan Bindoy, and Aguinaldo nor Bonifacio.

Thus began the character, Ilyong’s, meetings with the local revolutionists Hermenegildo Flores (Kapitan Bindoy) of Sta. Cruz, Remigio Medina (Ka Mio) of Torrijos, Cayetano Vida (Alapaap), Don Martin Lardizabal of Boac, Fabian Medenilla of Mogpog and others.

The plot was really not much different from the other small stories of the revolution where heroes are made for their fierce love of country and pursuit of aspirations even with their lives at stake.

The story ends with Ilyong’s account of the dramatic killing of Kapitan Bindoy and Ka Mio, to the final departure from the island of the last of the Spanish cazadores and the islanders’ triumph in finding freedom for the first time.

(“Mis Lagrimas” was directed by Jonjon Tuazon of PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association), with a cast composed of selected students from Immaculate Conception College in Boac. The following year, the script was revised and entered as an entry to a regional performing arts competition held in San Juan, Batangas, also in relation to the Philippine centennial celebration. Under the title “Himagsik ng Budhi” the play with students from Marinduque National High School in its cast was adjudged second runner-up).

I thought my interludes with the Marinduque revolutionists ended there, for most of the materials I had collected, including my own writings, had disappeared over the years – some destroyed by the elements, others stolen. Realizing the painstaking task of reconstructing what has been written after long, sleepless nights of sifting through and analyzing old documents and torn pages, the hard work of local town historians, I just had to give up the idea of doing research all over again.

Recently however, in connection with the 109th Anniversary of the Battle of Pulang Lupa, I thought it was time to engage in new research on the said battle’s local hero, Col. Maximo Abad in the Internet. This medium was not yet around here then. (see post dated Aug. 31, 2009, Tracing the footsteps of Col. Maximo Abad)).

In the process, I chanced upon some familiar names. The one that struck me was the name “Hermenegildo Flores”.

Several websites delving into history credit Flores for having been one poet who, in 1888 wrote “Hibik ng Filipinas sa Inang Espana” (Lament of Filipinas to Mother Spain). This stirring poem, then drew a longer response after a year from Marcelo del Pilar, the Filipino propagandist. Del Pilar wrote from Barcelona his 82 quatrains entitled “Ang Sagot ng Espana sa Hibik ng Pilipinas” (Spain's Reply To Filipinas' Lament), and smuggled it into the Philippines.

Seven years later, the Great Plebeian himself, Andres Bonifacio, he who led the Katipunan in the revolution that was to finally sever the relationship between Spain and the Philippines, would write his rejoinder to the work of Flores and del Pilar.

“Ang Katapusang Hibik nang Pilipinas sa Ynang Espana” (The Last Lament of FIlipina to Mother Spain), was Bonifacio’s response, a cold and direct address to “inang pabaya’t sukaban” (negligent and malevolent mother), and “inang walang habag” (merciless mother).

So, look now. Flores poured out his lamentations, del Pilar responded, and Bonifacio expressed his judgment and resolve. By fate’s design, their poetical triad that appealed to the masa, also helped inspire the staging of the Philippine Revolution?

Much has been written about the lives of Marcelo H. del Pilar and Andres Bonifacio for they’re foremost in the list of national heroes that we, Filipinos, have become so familiar with from grade school.

But Hermenegildo Flores? No biography of him appears anywhere. He is somewhat treated merely as an obscure poet, albeit one ilustrado, whose contribution in the struggle was as initiator of the first of three poems that comprised the historic poetic triad.

One book source states “we do not possess much biographical data of Hermenegildo Flores, a poet of Bulacan...” (The Literature of the Pilipinos: A Survey, 1965, by J.V. Panganiban, C. T. Panganiban, p. 165). All other Internet search finds echo the same thing and nothing more.

One account went as far as saying “Flores, far from following the beaten path, chose others...and translated works of practical application to the education of the masses...”. He is credited for a translated work, “Ang Anghel at ang Diablo” (“The Revolutionists: Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, Jacinto”, by Epifanio delos Santos, p. 164).

But, “far from following the beaten path”?


The big question therefore is: Is Hermenegildo Flores, poet from Bulacan, one and the same person as my Hermenegildo Flores, the revolutionist from Sta. Cruz? Were they merely namesakes (there’s at least another one from Mexico)?

And ‘Bulacan’? For me, that rang a bell. I had the opportunity to meet the elderly local historian from Sta. Cruz, Saturnino Rogelio, again in 1997. (A year earlier he lent me his manuscript, “History of Santa Cruz”, from where I first learned about the attack on the Sta. Cruz Casa Real staged by Flores on March 4, 1897). I asked the historian if he knew things about Flores other than those he wrote, like, where he originally came from; were there any surviving relatives that he knew of, matters not contained in the historical account. (My drama script just assumed he was a Marinduque native because of an account that he lived and set up his camp in Napo, Sta. Cruz).

“Taga labas, sa Bulacan galing”, was all the good historian could add.

But that, obviously, is hardly sufficient to make a conclusion. One must find other sources, more links, more clues, but again, finding them could perhaps be a never-ending process.

Yet, I couldn’t leave the puzzle open ended. And because I’ve suddenly been gripped with much curiosity and a sense of unique challenge, must find a way somehow to satisfy those questions.

I have cried and grieved quietly in secret for Kapitan Bindoy, mis lagrimas a ti. Succeeding in finding answers, thus, I could in the end, happily lay everything to rest. (to be continued)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

MARINDUQUE POWER OUTAGES

MARINDUQUE POWER SITUATION

SaysEnergyAustralia: ''a brownout occurs when the voltage is at half strength for more than one second'' resulting in dim lights and a shrinking picture on your TV. Dennis S. Gana, manager of corporate communications at National Power Corporation (Philippines) explains that the two terms are used interchangeably in the country.

''The term ‘brownout' is used only when the power outage is localised, involving small areas. The outages during brownouts involve only distribution lines, not generators. Blackouts are usually caused by power generators and/or power transmission systems, and they cover a wider area..” (rdasia.com, April 2009


Most people, probably, could hardly care about those terms and definitions. For as long as power outages prevent him or her from watching the tear-jerking soap opera in the evening, interrupts the barangay fiesta dance, keeps the body soaking wet without a running fan, continuously disrupts business and Internet connection. The ‘why’ of it all is more difficult to comprehend.

Is the Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Marelco), still in good financial position to effectively address the current situation, I wonder? Recently, it pointed fingers to typhoon “Reming” (Nov. 2006), that caused a heavy toll on electrical installations; where an amount of P 42-million that should have been turned over or paid to Napocor was utilized, unilaterally it appears, for the necessary rehabilitation work that preceded the local and national elections. Then there’s this situation where the independent power service provider involved is no longer in a position to augment the necessary power supply needed for the entire province.

What is really going on?

Item: “Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes is asking Congress for some P3 billion to finance a power contingency plan to ward off a nationwide power crisis next year....Reyes said the Visayas grid has been experiencing rotating brownouts since 2008 due to very tight power generation capacity in Cebu and Panay. Mindanao is also vulnerable and is now encountering power supply problems, he added...Reyes said the Luzon grid might also encounter power supply imbalance starting next year. (Philippine Star, Sep, 18, 2009)

So, who else is having problems if we're not the only ones?

Item: “Reports are coming in that the town of San Jose has been without electricity since Thursday last week, August 13, 2009, and that it may take 4-5 more days before power is restored. Sources reveal Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, Inc. (OMECO) has been experiencing mechanical difficulties as a result of a dredging operation being performed in close proximity to their power barge...” (Aug. 17, 2009)

Item: “The power outages experienced by the service area of the Albay Electric Cooperative (Aleco) have been making it hard for volcanologists monitoring Mayon Volcano’s abnormal activities to promptly send information to government agencies and the pubic..” (Inquirer.net Sept. 16, 2009)

Item: “The island of Negros is in dire need of a stable power supply says Department of Energy (DOE) Visayas Field Office Supervisor Engr. Rey Maleza. Maleza said what is being applied in Negros and Panay in terms of addressing the current power shortage is only a band aid solution. There is a need for private power investors, he said. Maleza said Negros Island becomes isolated now because of the lack of reserve power...Maleza also explained that the critical period for the power situation in the Negros-Panay grid started during summer this year where brownouts and power interruptions are experienced even up to now.” (The NewsToday Info, Aug. 28, 2008)

Item: “According to Energy Sec. Reyes, the country is on the brink of a power shortage last seen during the Aquino administration. Intermittent power outages have started in the Visayas and by next year electricity demand will outstrip supply in Mindanao, and by 2010, the critical point will be reached in Luzon”. (eccp.com, Jan. 2008)

Well that appears to be a validation that we are not alone, but a part of the whole, indeed. “Need for private power investors”, did the above report from Negros island say that?



Item: “... the windmills has become a solution to the frequent power outage experienced in Ilocos Norte since the province is located at the end of the power grid coming from Bauang, La Union -a province several miles away from Ilocos Norte... Officially known as the NorthWind Bangui Bay Project, it is the first Wind Farm in the Philippines.” (traveleronfoot.wordpress.com, June 10, 2009).

What’s being done then about the Marinduque power situation?

Napocor, in a letter dated Sept. 4, 2009, to Marelco General Manager Eduardo Bueno, has inquired about the status of the privatization of power generation in Marinduque, and the level of energy that will be nominated to Napocor for 1910. Napocor’s concern is “the long delayed entry of your NPP” (New Power Provider). As Napocor units “are aging and the capabilities are diminishing” we may experience more brownouts unless Marelco and a new power provider are able to replace Napocor’s units.

(Photo: The power barge at Balanacan: aging, capability diminishing)

So, it’s privatization of power generation being pursued pala.

In his last State of the Province Address, Gov. Bong Carrion said, thus,:
“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” (SOPA, Aug. 14, 2009)

Got hold of Napocor’s letter to Marelco. It reads as follows:

National Power Corporation
Quezon Ave. cor BIR Road, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

04 September 2009
Mr. Eduardo Q. Bueno
General Manager
Marinduque Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Ihatub, Boac, Marinduque

Subject: Privatization of Power Generation

Dear GM Bueno:

The NPC-SPUG, in its preparation of the 2010 Budget Proposals, would like to know the status of the privatization of power generation in your area, and the level of energy that will be nominated to NPC for the period.

As you had opted to have your own New Power Provider during the 2004 consultation with the Department of Energy, in the promulgation of its Circular No. 2004-01-001, NPC-SPUG’s function has been limited to the maintenance of its existing capacity. NPC’s budget does not allow any provision for increase capacity, since any additional requirements shall have to be provided by your NPP.

Our present concern is the long delayed entry of your NPP. NPC’s units are aging and the capabilities are diminishing; without the expected augmentation from your NPP, and with your load continuously increasing, we may have deficit in capacity unless the cooperative and its NPP setup appropriate capacities to replace NPC’s units.

Hence, we would like to urge the cooperative to fast track their undertakings with their New Power Provider and more decisively in its privatization endeavor.

The Privatization of power generation does not end our mutual concerns on providing electricity service, it even calls for more cooperation as we have to guide and assist the new entrants to ensure a sufficient power service.

We hope to hear from you soon, as we had apprised you of our concern.

Very truly yours,

(Signed)
Melburgo S. Chiu
Vice President
SPUG/WMD/DRFFD


(More time now then, on the beach, under the soothing shade of coconut trees)

Friday, September 18, 2009

CREATURES FOUND IN SAN ISIDRO CAVE & SUBTERRANEAN RIVER


...an unfamiliar bat species that looks like this. The question is, wherelse could they be found?

...a relative species that looks like this.

...shrimp species that looks like this.

... and an undisturbed, unaffected guard of a "poo", boa constrictor.
Prior to the most recent exploration made by the combined provincial and DENR team on the San Isidro Cave, an expanse of about 600 meters was explored. The team this time went farther and covered another 600 meters. They have not gotten any closer to the ends of this natural treasure that has something new to show always.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

King's Balance, Hampi

In Hampi this is a located near Vittala Temple. This 16th century balance also known as "Tula Bara" is 5 meter tall and is a very simple structure. It is believed that on special days like Solar or Lunar eclipse King used to weigh himself in gold, silver, gems and precious stones. Then this used to be distributed among the people of the State.

Balance (click on the image for bigger view)

From far this balance looks like an arch way. Once near the balance on close observation on can see three loops at the top from which balance was actually hung. Also at the base of one of the pillars one can see image of the King carved with his concerts.

Loops in the balance



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

MARINDUQUE AND PHILIPPINE-SPANISH WAR


Philippine History Week is being celebrated this week (Sept. 15-21). Among the activities spearheaded by the National Historical Institute is a ceremony commemorating the 111th Anniversary of the Opening of Malolos Congress at the Barasoain Church Historical Landmark in Malolos, Bulacan.

At this historic site, gathered some fifty delegates of the provinces, “the cream of the Filipino intelligentsia”, the voice and true translators of the aspirations of the Filipinos. It included Marinduque's Ricardo Paras.

What part did the Marinduque soldiers play in the Philippine-Spanish War? The following account was written by this blogger, published in the Mogpog Mayflower Festival 1998 Souvenir Program. It formed part of an unpublished work that simply disappeared from my house several years ago. I have made some updates here, a work in progress, before it disappears again. And simply because there is a dearth of information on this episode on Marinduque history.

I also have chanced upon new and startling discoveries that may lead to a fresh perspective on the Filipino revolutionary work in Marinduque during the Philippine-Spanish War. This will be posted on this blog site soon.



REMEMBERING THE FIRST REVOLUTIONARY HEROES OF MARINDUQUE
by Eli J. Obligacion

The revolutionary forces in Marinduque was led by Herminigildo Flores who made Sta. Cruz his base of operations. He led the bloody attack on that town’s Casa Real, but his hold on the Casa Real only lasted for a few days. Elements still sympathetic to the Spanish forces betrayed "Ka Bindoy" as he was known. This led to his capture elsewhere in Sta. Cruz. He was brought to Boac and was incarcerated at the Casa Real there together with other revolutionists.

The town of Mogpog by 1896, was associated with an active resistance group under the command of Flores. The Mogpog resistance group was headed by a native, Basilio Mendez. Mendez' unit was composed of about 25 men that included his brother Vicente and his sister Olympia. Other members were Bartolome Taingaso, Juan Manuba, Felix Lavega, Fabian Medenilla and Dalmacio Lamac and others not named. Originally camped at Balanacan, they moved to Mt. Bintakay finding it more secure from attacks.

(Photo: Mogpog teachers dramatize the story of the Mendez unit. Part of the "Viva Marin- duque!" project, Feb. 2008)

The Mendez unit was armed only with bolos. They had no guns, but out of iron scraps, prototype cannon bullets were designed and made for an ingenuous "homemade wooden cannon". The movements of the Mogpog unit sowed anxiety among the residents of the Boac-Mogpog area. Realizing that an encounter was imminent they feared getting caught in the middle of the two contending forces. Andres Arceo, Mogpog town chief, trying to avoid such an encounter sent a team of "sumatins" (local police volunteers), to the Mendez camp to convince the latter to give up their cause, but this was not heeded. Members of the unit went on to gather huge stones and boulders, placing them in strategic locations where the enemy forces could ascend. Deep holes were dug and earth piled around to serve as trenches.

The Spanish governor, Rafael Morales, gave the order to attack Mt. Bintakay on April 12. With an "alferez" (officer with rank of lieutenant), named "Lima" leading the "tercios" an ascent on the mountain was started. As the Spanish forces approached the summit, huge stones and boulders gathered by the unit rolled upon them. No one was killed, but the attack was enough for an angry retaliation by the enemy forces.

MORE FORTIFICATIONS

Realizing this, the local unit engaged in fortifying their defense position further. Huge sharp rocks and boulders were arranged in line on all possible entry points. Grassy areas were stuck with "pasolos", pieces of bamboo ('anus' variety), tied together with their pointed edges projecting in all directions - the blade-sharp edges of the stuff would cut one's skin upon contact. In the meantime, a piqued governor Morales in Calapan (Mindoro, which administers Marinduque), organized a bigger reinforcement.

"Elcano", a Spanish warship anchored at the port of Laylay on the first week of June with a Company of Spanish marines and Morales himself. The Morales plan was to attack the camp with a bigger force composed of the Spanish marine company - a smaller company of "cazadores" and 50 "tercios and sumatins" combined.

WARSHIP "ELCANO"

It was on June 7 when the "Elcano" navigated from Laylay to Loawan, dropping anchor in a position which offered the best view of Mt. Bintakay. With a show of force the "Elcano" aimed its cannons at the mountain and fired. But with tough luck, the erratic cannons missed and hit Mt. Buaya (now sitio Biyaya), instead. In mockery, the revolutionists blew their "budyong". Morales, now on horseback, gave the order to ascend the mountain. Kapitan Basilio Mendez then divided his men into two groups stationing them at strategic points, and waited.

(Clipping from a US newspaper, The Ashburton Guardian, April 28, 1898. Just look what the gunboat "Elcano" did to an American ship).

The advancing forces were again met with sharp rocks, rolling boulders and bamboo spears thrown in their direction. Towards noontime the revolutionists fired their unique cannon. The loud explosion is said to have caused a dumfounded Morales to fall off his horse.

The revolutionists suffered one casualty and, before the assault forces could go near them, had withdrawn from their position. No one was captured. But their home-made cannon was left behind and the Spanish soldiers felt duped. The cannon which had created a feeling of dread upon the enemy forces was "a piece of wood more than a meter long and painted black, with an iron tube and using missiles made of small pieces of iron".

(Photo: One of the oldest houses in Mogpog)

The Spanish force suffered heavily - from wounds inflicted by the bamboo "pasolos, others from lacerations caused by sharp stones hurled by the insurrectos, and Governor Morales had to be carried by his men". The Spanish force retired to Mogpog with the cannon carried by one man. In total dismay the Spanish sergeant named Perez ordered the piece destroyed.

TO THE BITTER END

What transpired two days later was contained in a 1984 report by Mrs. Elisa Magalang, et al, based on eyewitness accounts:

"Two days later, at noontime, the Spaniards led by governor Morales, attacked from the rear, catching Mendez and his men by surprise. Wading among the tall cogon grass the Spaniards were accompanied by the "tersios" and "sumatins", local volunteers and some townspeople. Mendez commanded his men to deploy, some taking cover in the holes they had dug, others behind big rocks.

"The enemy started firing until a hand-to-hand combat ensued; with the rebels fighting with their "niluglug" bolos against the Spanish guns. With some of his comrades fallen and he himself hit by a bullet in the left ear, Kapitan Mendez ordered a retreat. Diego Manuevo and a certain "Silvestre", who were the last rebels affront, saved their lives by creeping down the steep slope".

But it was not to be the last time the Spaniards would hear of the exploits of the unyielding Mendez unit.

10 DE OCTUBRE

Sunday, 10 October 1897, was the "Feast of the Santo Rosario", a much awaited religious event in the town of Boac. The procession which started at 6:00 p.m. was unusually long. Shortly after the religious procession ended at 9:00 p.m. word was received by the Spanish lieutenant, Fresnede, that the "insurrectos" were on their way to Boac to attack the "Casa". Fresnede was still assessing the report with his cazadores when the revolutionists from Mogpog, led this time by Fabian Medenilla ("Kapitan Fabian"), of the Mendez unit raided the Casa Real in Boac.

There, the last of their comrades-in-arms awaited their fate. The revolutionists fought with their bolos, the cazadores with their guns. The sounds of anguished cries and gunfire gripped the whole town.The ensuing pandemonium could only be sensed by the townspeople, too frightened and confused to immediately know what was happening. Found dead the morning after by the door of a ground floor office of the Casa Real was Fabian Medenilla, a bullet hole embedded on his forehead. The bullet was fired off from the gun owned by Fresnede.

Together with the other dead prisoners inside the cell were found the lifeless bodies of the commander of Marinduque's revolutionary force, Herminigildo Flores ("Bindoy"). Remigio Medina ("Kapitang Mio"), the revolutionary leader from Torrijos, was also found dead. In ultimate mockery, the Spaniards decided that the fallen "insurrectos" were not worthy of a Christian burial, nor "Bendita" nor prayers nor shallow graves. The corpses of the two were mercilessly hauled into the banks of the Boac river then covered with tree trunks and palm leaves. The bodies were burned and reduced to mere ashes.

But the corpses of the other revolutionists were better treated. These were brought to an old graveyard east of the town, on a small hill in Tampus that served as their final resting place. (Near the graveyard, one fallen body turned out to be still alive and, recovering consciousness, implored the "cazadores" to spare his life. He got more bullets instead).

1 DE NOVIEMBRE

Instead of being cowed, the comrades of the fallen revolutionists, Kapitan Fabian, Bindoy and Kapitang Mio, vowed to retaliate even as their arms were of no match to the enemy's Mauser guns. Before midnight of November 1, 1897, the Mendez unit from Mogpog attacked the Casa Real to free the remaining prisoners. It was to be the last direct and bloody assault on the Spaniards. There was fierce fighting in the dead of night, and the townspeople, in fear and prayer could only hear the gunshots and the cries of men. Mendez and his men were repulsed. Their comrades still in jail were ordered killed. A grim and ghastly silence echoed throughout the building and the now ghostly town.

One of the prisoners, mistaken for dead, was luckier this time. Pedro Madrigal, a pharmacist from Boac who was ordered to check the bodies informed Fresnede immediately that one was still alive. The prisoner, Juan Manuba of Mogpog, fighting for his life raced towards the Boac river, disappeared into the thick bushes and lived on to tell his story.

New Tours Scheduled!

We are announcing a December 2009 tour as well as a spring 2010 tour to Italia! Dates will be released soon. With these super low airfares, we just can't resist planning some new tours to our favorite destination. Check out www.lacontadina.com for more information in the coming weeks, and also note that the La Contadina website will have a fresh look soon. We are revamping and updating the website to better serve your needs!!

New Venice Film Clip from Steve McCurdy

Please view this recently produced short clip on Venice, Italy, by Steve McCurdy. You'll be buying a plane ticket shortly thereafter! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RarC8vlQodo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

pere al vino, and so much more!

Hi everyone,

It's early fall, and it's the season to break out my copy of, "Conservare frutta e verdura," a book in Italian (of course) about preserving your garden's harvest by canning, drying, etc. I stumbled across a "pere al vino" recipe last night, and it's one I've got to try with all the pears that are dropping from my pear tree. Basically, you quarter the pears, core them, soak them in sugary water and lemon juice, then cook them in red wine before canning them. Yum! If they turn out well, I'll let you know and post the "ricette."

I also just received, "The Complete Book of Garlic," a huge volume containing - you guessed it - everything you want to know about growing, harvesting, tasting, and cooking with garlic. I've ordered 4 new kinds to grow next year, including "Italian Purple" and "Lorz Italian." I'll let you know how they taste!

Hope everyone has enjoyed the summer!!
PS Sept 21: I just received my 20'-long fruit tree fruit picker and a cool harvesting bag. I feel like a real orchardist now :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

SPEECH OF DEFENSE USEC ALBERTO VALENZUELA, JR ON 109TH ANNIVERSARY, BATTLE OF PULANG LUPA

Magandang Umaga po sa inyong lahat.

On this day of honor and pride for the people of Marinduque, let me extend to you the greetings and warmest felicitations of the Secretary of National Defense, Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr.

(Photo: DND Sec Giberto Teodoro, Jr. In the U.S. for talks with Defense Sec. Robert Gates)

Governor Bong, Secretary Teodoro asked me to personally give you his thanks for inviting him to be the Guest of Honor and Speaker at today’s commemoration of the 109th Anniversary of the Battle of Pulang Lupa. Secretary Teodoro also asked me to apologize for his inability to be here with you today. As you might have read in the newspapers, Secretary Teodoro is, at present in the United States, for a series of meetings with US Defense and Security Officials led by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

109 years ago today, Marinduque revolutionary forces gave American colonizers their first major recorded defeat in the Philippine-American War. The Filipino soldier went on to fight many more battles against the American invaders. Today, we commemorate not just the victory of Philippine forces at Pulang Lupa. Rather, we celebrate the heroism and patriotism of the Filipino, his love for freedom and his willingness to fight and die for the country.

Today, the enemy that our forefathers fought during the Battle of Pulang Lupa has become our single most important and enduring ally. While the likelihood that the Philippines will again be invaded by a foreign country is remote, we continue to be faced by grave threats to our freedom and prosperity. The Communist Party of the Philippines, through its armed component, the New People’s Army, seeks to impose its will upon the whole country through violence. Muslim secessionist groups are moving to dismember our country. Local terrorists like the Abu Sayyaf sow fear among our countrymen in the South. Among the countries of ASEAN, the Philippines has the most number of insurgencies going on at the same time.

We, like many other countries in the world, are faced with international terrorism and trans-national crime like arms smuggling and human and drug trafficking.

These threats to our national security affect the peace, stability, prosperity and development of our country. Central and Southern Mindanao, with its multitude of natural resources and vast fertile lands, remains largely underdeveloped due, to a large extent, to the threats to peace in the area. Businesses in certain areas of Luzon and the Visayas have to deal with the NPA’s extortion activities.

(Photo: Gov. Carrion and the PNP)

Let me take this opportunity to extend to the Province of Marinduque and its local government officials led by Governor Carrion, the congratulations and gratitude of the Department of National Defense for having reached the point in its counter-insurgency efforts where the presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is no longer necessary in the province. Marinduque is the first province to be declared insurgency-free.

In the face of all these threats to our national security and stability, there is a need for us, as a nation, to recall and reinvigorate the patriotic spirit that brought us this victory at the Battle of Pulang Lupa 109 years ago.
(Photo: Philippine Army Patriots)

The role of defending our stability and prosperity does not belong solely to the AFP or the PNP. Each and every one of us should be willing to stand up for our ideals and fight those who seek to destroy our institutions, or tear our country apart.

Let us use the same patriotism and love of country that led the people of Marinduque to victory in the Battle of Pulang Lupa to guard against and fight all those who threaten our peace and national unity.

We at the Department of National Defense are hopeful that the Filipino people, working together towards peace and stability, will be able to ensure for future generations, the stability, development, and progress that our country deserves.

Once again, in behalf of Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., and the DND Family, we congratulate the People of Marinduque for the patriotism, heroism and devotion to country that they have shown in the past, and I am sure, will continue to show in the future.

Maraming Salamat po at magandang umaga po muli.