The 68th Leyte Gulf Landing Anniversary: A Celebration of Victory

The Leyte Landing Memorial in Palo, Leyte was among the places I first visited when I arrived in Tacloban.

Image from

The spot where General Douglas MacArthur and the American liberation forces had landed fascinated me. It was not only good site to take pictures but the best site to remember the lessons of war. It was the same spot where General Douglas MacArthur said his famous line, “People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.” – as famous as his “I shall return”. (See Battle of Leyte)

This year marks 68th year of Leyte Landing. This year’s celebration has the theme: Leyte Gulf Landings: A celebration of victory.

Among the highlights of the celebration are the different activities planned and organized by different stakeholders (source: PIA)

  • On October 14, 2012: 12.5 KM Marathon Race (men and women categories) on October 14 organized by the Leyte Amateur Sports Association
  • On October 18-22, 2012: 4th Leyte Gulf Landings Photo Contest and Exhibit organized by the Camera Club of Leyte and Samar
  • On October 18-22, 2012: Battle of Leyte Gulf and 100K and 50K Ultra Marathon
  • On October 20, 2012: 7th Annual Regional Inter-school Band and Leyre/Bugle Competition at the RTR Plaza (Tacloban City), organized by Pintados Foundation
  • October 21, 2012: 3K and 5K Liberation Fun Run organized by the Local Government Unit of Palo, Leyte

I think the best way for me to celebrate is to visit the Leyte Landing Memorial.

I hope the wish of Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas (DOT – Eastern Visayas) will be realized soon. That is to have wartime museum. It would be best place that would remind us and the next generation about the lessons we should learn from history.

Event: Liberate Concert

I mark 20th of October as an important date. It is the 68th Leyte Gulf Landing anniversary. On the same date, 8 Magazine brings us its 2nd Year Anniversary and Benefit Concert called, Liberate.

Liberate Concert

Image from

Liberate concert features the band Six Part Invention, Pinoy Idol winner Gretchen Espina , and actor Daniel Matsunaga. Among the popular songs of Six Part Invention are Falling in Love With You and All This Time.

The concert will benefit the Leyte Young Men’s Catholic Association (YMCA-Leyte) and The Sisters and Sons of Mary and Adorers of The Holy Eucharist (SMAHE) for The Orphanage of The Virgin of Guadalupe.

Be there on October 20, 2012 at the Leyte Park Hotel Gym, Tacloban City. The concert starts at 8PM. Ticket is 120 pesos only!

Oktubafest 2012

People must be very sad kon waray na tuba ha Leyte (if there is no more tuba in Leyte). Fortunately Warays are producing a lot of good tasting tuba, bahal, and bahalina.

Image from

And to further promote the most well known wine in Waray region, An Waray party-list sponsored and organized Octubafest. This year is the 5th Oktubafest!

Patterned after the famous Octoberfest in Germany, Oktubafest comes from words Octubre, tuba and festival.

Let’s join and take part on the activities of Oktubafest 2012 on October 26, 2012 at the Leyte Park Gymnasium. This year’s Oktubafest will be highlighed with the seach for best tuba, bahal and bahalina; and tuba concoction and tuba infused dish contest.

Tuba should not be confused with the musical instrument tuba. Tuba is coconut wine.

Waray’s bahalina is considered as the finest local wine. Bahalina is a one-year old carefully fermented tuba (coconut wine) which tastes like red grape wine. Dried bark of barok (mangrove) makes tuba reddish.

In 2009, there was an attempt to break the world record for the biggest number of participants of wine tasting event. It was held at the McArthur Shrine and National Park. However, organizers has not received yet the certificate from Guinness World Records (as reported by Sun Star).

Tacloban City’s Parade of Lights

Tacloban City’s Sangyaw Festival 2012 was more exciting with the much anticipated Parade of Lights on June 29th. It was the night before Tacloban Day.

Parade of Lights had become the talk of the city. I was as excited as everyone. Right after work, my sangkay and I went to Justice Romualdez Street and join the hundreds to thousands of people waiting, anticipating for the parade of 20 floats bedecked with LED lights.

I had the Sinulog feeling as I gazed through the lines and shadows of people of all walks of life (I was not sure if there was a millonaire among us but I was pretty sure, there were many poor folks like me.)

I was expecting a more organized parade. But I was dismayed that it looked like the organizers of the Parade of Lights had not prepared for a large crowd though I doubt if they had not anticipated it.

I have not appreciated the event. For me, the Parade of Lights in Tacloban was a little mess. People are invading the parade area making it too small for both the light float (of different forms) and dancers.

I was so frustrated seeing the colorfully-costumed dancers called merrymakers who walked and run on the streets during the parade, not to mention the few to stop over to have snap-shot with the crowd.

There should have lines or a way to control the crowd. Cebu did it well during Sinulog and with comparably small crowd, I don’t think Tacloban could not do it the same way.

There was indeed Sto. Nino which at the very least painted the event with little religion. And of course, there was also a little bit politics with the presence of the Mayor Alfred Romualdez and his wife Cristina Romualdez. Of course we expect them there but joining them were Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Rep. Cynthia Villar, Teddy Casino among others I could not recognize.

What made them more interesting was the goodies they throw to the crowd; candies, T-shirts, apples. Yes, apples were thrown like candies. Of course people enjoyed it. Fortunately, my sangkay was not hit by the apple thrown by Cristina Gonzalez Romualdez – he caught it instead. So later in RTR, we got bites of the apple! Funny.

If I still have a chance, I would still watch the Parade of Lights next year (2013).

I hope that year, it would be more organized and would not include non-dancers so that the show would not be spoiled.

I am referring to the parade participants – who just walked, talked as if nobody watched them. I suspect they were students, barangay officials, merchants. Actually, they have no aesthetic value to the parade unless they bahave well.
What I am saying is that those who participated in the parade were mostly acting like undesciplined and unruly baboons – so frustrating!

Next time, it would be nice to have dancers join the parade provided that they will really dance and not walk and talk and run while many are watching and anticipating a nice event.

Why Sto. Niño is the Patron (Saint?) of Tacloban and Leyte?

Cebuanos once considered Santo Niño as their patron saint but the Church (Roman Catholic) discouraged such veneration because the Sto. Niño is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and cannot be called upon for intercession. So in 2002, Our Lady of Guadalupe was declared by Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal as the principal patroness of Cebu.

Here in Tacloban and Leyte, people are speaking and writing Sto. Niño as the patron saint. Are these people misguided by the Catholic Church?

There are reasons why the people here venerate Sto. Niño. In a story published in PIA website, Rodrigo S. Victoria, quoted Father Gilbert Urbina’s explanation why “Sto Niño is Leyte’s patron saint”.

See? A Catholic priest himself call Sto. Niño as saint. Part of the story goes:

Sr. Sto Niño became the patron saint of Tacloban City after people living in Tacloban village were healed and saved from cholera epidemic that plagued the community on June 30, 1889.

The law (REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7676), that declares June 30 every year as special non-working public holiday in Tacloban and Leyte states:

The thirtieth day of June of every year, being the feast day of Señor Santo Niño, the patron saint of Tacloban City and the Heavenly Patron of Leyte, is hereby declared a special nonworking public holiday in Tacloban City, Province of Leyte, to be known as “Tacloban Day.”

I sent an email to Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palo to ask some guidance. But until I have not receive reply from them, I continually be confused.

But of course, I am not against the Feast of Sto. Niño per se. what I don’t understand is that why people refer the Holy Child as saint when in the the Apostles’ Creed (Symbolum Apostolicum) which are recited every holy mass, Catholics would say:

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

My faith as Roman Catholic is strong, I should say. Happy fiesta, Tacloban!

Celebrate Tacloban 2012!

Tacloban is in festive mood. A week before Tacloban Day on June 30, the city’s event spots are jampacked with activities and people.

I am not quite sure how should I call the celebration as I’ve heared Sangyaw, Kasadyaan, Parayawan, Pintados. I think it is safe to say “pista sa Tacloban”. Locals here call fiesta as “patron”. So while Cebuano says “mamista” they will say “mamatron”.

If one ask if I am talking about a religious or government activity – I would say, I don’t know. Political faces and lining up with images of Sto. Nino.

While we must enjoy and celebrate with these cultural and political activities, let us not forget that it all start with religion. The Holy Child should be at the centerpiece. Among the religious activity are the Balyu-an Rites and the Fluvial Procession. For Cebuano like me, this sounded like Sinulog. But unlike Sinulog, there is too much politics here.

My sangkay (friends) here told me that Pintados is a Leyte Province festival, while Sangyaw is Tacloban City’s pet activity.

Last year (2011), when I still have not even considered Tacloban as my next ‘to-visit’ place, national media carried news about Pintados street parade that was blocked (read as not allowed) in City streets. This year, Pintados men decided not contain their activities in Leyte High School Grandstand.

One must understand the status of politics between Leyte Province and Tacloban City to understand the situation. And also, one must know that Tacloban City is now independent from Leyte Province. If not with sour relationship among provincial and city officials, the June celebation must be very meaningful. While the it’s undeniably festive, the month-long celebration become meaningless. It looks like politician’s grandstanding.

Politicians here take all the opportunities to show-off. In Balyu-an for example, gigantic tarpulin show the faces of the City mayor and his wife. In RTR Plaza (also named as Pintados – Kasadyaan Plaza), the faces of province officials are at the stage making it appear like there is meeting de avance rather than a festival. For those who have not known, province men hold their activities there as they own RTR Plaza.

Even the holy Sto. Nino church is not spared. Faces of politicians are hung at its wall like telco’s unlimited call and text ads. Are they selling their faces?

I think yes because even during Holy Week, at the Calvary Hill, the faces of a party list representative who reportedly aspire to become Tacloban City mayor are at big tarps and tent.

I see nothing wrong with elected officials greeting “happy fiesta” but when it is clear even to 14-year old that their intention is to get more votes to the upcoming election, the tarpulin with their faces and greetings become a shit.

Let’s not spoil our day with politics though. As this is my first time to witness how the people here celebrate, I would rather enjoy and anticipate joy!

I went to Astrodome (they call it Astro) to see the rides at the Carnival in Astro grounds. I may try some of the rides before it closes on July 7.

For several occasions, my sangkay and I spend some time in Balyu-an where there is Parayawan (practically means celebration). There is live band every night and of course beer because the whole area is San Miguel Beer’s Teritoryo. I have to mention the grilled foods too! I must also mention that it’s city’s pet because of the faces of Tacloban City’s politicians that are displayed there. Besides the hosts of the activities there never fail and keep on mentioning names of such politicians. I am drowned with politics here, I told one of my friends in Mindanao.

In RTR, the activities are quite boring and the hosts sucks. Yikes! They are even aired on TV. RTR activities are province-pet so I wonder why Leyte Province don’t get better hosts for their activities. But setting them aside, we surely enjoy with beer and food there, too!

Unless I have thousands of pesos ready to be disposed and I don’t work the whole week, I cannot join or witness 80% of the events and activities.

Perhaps, the most worthy to mention is the Parade of Lights on June 29.

If we could remember how our senators explain the impeachmet trial of CJ Corona, I would also say the the celebration here in Tacloban is quasi-religious, quasi-political.

Let’s celebrate Tacloban!

World Bloggers’ Day 2012 in Tacloban

It’s more fun in Tacloban. It’s more fun blogging in Tacloban.

Once a blogger shall always be a blogger. I realize that wherever I am, whatever I become,   my  love for blogging remains. For five years, I have experienced, and I felt what other bloggers have experienced.

I posted something that only one reads and only one understands. I have written posts my friends and some of unknown readers love and appreciate. I have posted controversial and  get hate mails for it. I have posted something for the sake of blogging. I have revealed my emotions. I rant about politics. I hurt one for posting my thoughts on a public issue.

I could recall more on my fun with blogging! I enjoyed blogging next to music.

As blogger, I cannot let go a remarkable event for bloggers in this world – the World Bloggers’ Day!

World Bloggers Day 2012 has catchy theme: It is more Fun in Blogging and Social Media!

I’ll join thousands other bloggers in world who will celebrate World Bloggers’ day on May 2, 2012. I hope I can celebrate it with bloggers here in Tacloban.

Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) 2012

War, for me is fascinating, at least in movie houses. But not in real life.

Walls and electric posts along Sto. Nino street got several posters that say W.A.R. Who wouldn’t get curious?

Actually, it’s not a big battle (just like what happened in Leyte Gulf) several years ago. W.A.R. is Waray Art Revolution.

Revolutions are different nowadays. Few months ago, in Cebu, there was also an activity called, Road Revolution.

Well, we shouldn’t get surprised if one day we hear Bloggers Revolution or Sex Revolution. Perhaps we should try another catchy term, Uprising. Soon.

I googled “Waray Art Revolution” to get more information about it. Thanks God, I landed to a post in justjam blog which says that Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) is an event that:

is composed of different kinds of competition. Body painting, henna, breakdancing, rapping, longboarding, beatboxing, skimboarding, skating, wall climbing, photography and just about anything that can showcase your talent

Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) Facebook page says:

W.A.R. or Waray Art Revolution is a movement that will set the stage for the growing talents and skills of Waraynons. The Revolution will start on May 14, 2012.

I have shared to my acquaintances here in Tacloban what I know about Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.), hoping that they, too can share about it. Curiosity indeed works!

Fortunately, I have finally landed to official W.A.R. site. It answers my questions; it provide details about the revolution that would soon start on May 14, 2012. Please go to official site of Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) for details about various events and schedule.

Please check the schedule below (image source: W.A.R official site).

Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) 2012 Event Schedule

Be there at W.A.R 2012 battlegrounds, the main field is at Senator Enage St. cor. Jones St., Tacloban City.

Waray Art Revolution (W.A.R.) 2012 Competitions

Long Board
Skim Board
Tattoo Competition
Down Hill Bike
Wall Climbing
Body Painting
Rap Battle

Now, prepare for the W.A.R. and be part of history!