Philouise’s Weblog

Sangal di Kultura

The Arm of the LORD is not too short to save

God willing, the voters make a decision this Monday towards a new administration in the national level and in the local government units. This campaign period, I have decided to be on the observing panel of the election preparations. For more than 26 year our family has been in the political exercise because of my dad’s 15 years as a councilor later on my short stint in city hall. But personally, I started earlier as we were the first to volunteer in NAMFREL when it was organized.

This coming election is expected to be bloody and highly controversial. “They cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts…” We are faced with a possible dictator, the last one we had was proclaimed with no warning at all, this one is uttered openly and boasting that “papatayin ko sila. etc etc” this is an election where people are cheering for a president who openly abuse women’s, disregard rule of law and practice open execution, COA ruling on ghost employees, rule Davao with the NPAs and more. Several pastors I heard say “God used the evil to right wrongs of Israel” I agree because people have become disobedient and prostitutes of other gods, that God allowed it.” O people of God, we have called judgment upon our disobedient people. Have not humbled ourselves and confess our unfaithfulness and seek God’s mercy.

But some people I talked to say that it’s a protest vote, but when I followed up and say “so ayaw mo daang matuwid, how about Aroyo was it a better administration” its is revealing that they would say “a hindi, mas maganda pa daang matuwid” so what are they protesting about. I am sometimes baffled with the response. And most of the young voters, have no history or experience of martial law, because they lived where peace was in the land. They do not realize that many died to keep that peace and democracy. But to some they prefer martial law then democracy. Oh peace, as elusive as love of a forsaken lover!

We have alternative candidates, so voters cannot say there is no choice. We have a choice and the decision is ours. Voters do not exactly know the candidates, so they rely on media, social media included to TV, radio and caucuses which is to enlighten or black propaganda. Voters do not really know these candidates and they are only influenced to make a vote. However, it goes it is a decision to be made.

“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm worked. According to what they have done, so he will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. “ (Isaiah 59:15-18) We are testing God and asking for judgment, we have arrogantly dismissed forgiveness for our wrongdoings, we have ceased to uphold democracy and we have stopped humility and now awaiting the consequences of our deeds. We enjoyed peace since 1987, that a short time but so history repeats itself.

But yet we can rise from this if the people will sober up and humble themselves for- the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (Isaiah 59:1)
(Philian May 7, 2016)

Sangal

Sangal Di Kultura
People without a past… without a soul

Seretse Kamma said a nation without a past is a lost nation, a people without a past is a people without a soul. Unfortunately, the Filipino youth of today are losing a sense of history of what made this country what it is today. Young adults of today have no idea of what Martial Law was during the time of the Marcos and Edsa non- violent revolution that put Cory Aquino into the Presidency. This part of the Philippine history was experienced by their parents and grandparents, yet it is too distant for them to fathom. They are like a generation with no clear identity and a description of what they are as a people – Igorot, Cordilleran, Filipino.

The educational system has changed and tried to integrate culture by introducing the mother tongue in the primary school curriculum. Unfortunately, still the education department seemingly is ignorant of its people like calling the Igorots as Aetas in its handbooks, describing the bodong as a means of revenge and not a peace pact. The Igorots are now using media of all medium trying to correct printed literature that is being used in the whole archipelago, but will the writers, editors and the education department apologize and restitute- big doubt, but at the same time give them a benefit of proving otherwise. It is a sense of identity that one needs to dig deep into one’s history and traditions.

This weekend, I just finished giving a walk-through of the history of BSBT during the Employees Development Program at San Fernando. It is worth mentioning that BSBT has left footprints into the life of past students, past employees and the community. When technical and vocational institutions were unpopular and seem to be an obscure, BSBT pioneered practical and relevant courses meeting needs of industry. These later became popular and been made into TESDA competencies. The BSBT courses included training of room boys and chambermaids which we now call Housekeeping NC II. Courses like “ practical bookkeeping for non- accountants” in 1972 which is now Bookkeeping NC III of TESDA. This historical past has carved the heart of BSBTs existence which has made it a school with its degree courses in BSBA, BTTE and BSHRM and now the Senior High School of the Technical Vocational Livelihood Strand. It is the legacy that the founder, Galo D. Weygan left a sense of history that shapes its identity and guide BSBT’s future.
Going back to our present young generation, questions are raised like “what is their sense of history that will guide them as they participate in the May 2016 election?” The older generation? it is understandable as they have short memories but what about our youth, what will guide them in their choices? Did their parents and other members of the older generation prepare this generation enough for them to be able to make a choice based on a history which will bring a bright future for the country. Maybe, we need lots of soul searching even past the Holy Week.

SANGAL DI KULTURA

Refining Government service

God said “Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurities, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.” Ezekiel 24:13

This week I have been processing papers in Baguio City Hall and in agency offices in San Fernando. It still bothers me that for an item in a process there are two or three signatories before it moves on to the second process item. It is taking me a hard time to accept that despite Citizens charter and the Anti-Red Tape Act, a SUMVAC activity has not been properly coordinated in the request of budget and even the setting up of chairs for the activity. I understand why the person next to me complains it is baffling, confusing and frustrating. I try to give maximum tolerance in dealing with government offices, having the experience of 3 years in government, out of my nearly sixty years.

Government is supposed to improve the lives of the citizens and protect them. Many countries will come up with means to attain this purpose, and many will debate on how government should do it. Structures are formed with the purpose of making live better. Yet in this most advance stage of technology and intelligence the ordinary person feels harassed with all the requirements to make his life better – be it to pay taxes or be it to exercise democratic assembly.

Closer to home this present administration came up with the Bottom-up-Budgeting (BUB). One purpose is for more participation, from those who are recipients of government programs.

This week another meeting was called to look into the process of a general assembly of skills training recipients, but still the organizers are looking for the proper venue to hold the assembly. It was also a time of reviewing the monitoring team’s budget. The Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan (UBAS)—a partnership of local Catholic churches, the LBP, and the DILG for the observance of good governance principles at the community level will monitor the proper implementation of the projects. However, in the city of Baguio the local executive appointed representatives of church and Civil Society Organizations to form the monitoring team. I was one of those who form the monitoring team. After the first monitoring we conducted last year, my observation is that most participating agencies and representatives are not yet familiar with the mechanics of having recipients participate in the whole cycle of a project.

From the official gazette it states that at least 1,590 local government units have participated in the BuB program since it was implemented in 2013. There were a total of 42,221 BuB projects reported in the Open BuB Portal. Of this number, 13,712 projects have been completed as of December 1, 2015 (exclusive of dropped projects that were replaced, split, or merged). For 2016, about 14,325 local poverty reduction projects have been allocated P24.7 billion. This is an increase from P8 billion in 2013 for projects identified in 595 cities and municipalities.

It is unfortunate that some good government service cannot be sustainable because of changes in political focus of elected officials and the unchanging poor service of government employees and department heads. Those in career will blame the elected officials, while the elected officials say “it is your job to deliver the service being in those positions longer than us.” It is not the blaming game, it is not even the budget restrictions but it is a personal character that makes a person delivers acceptable government service. Despite the guidelines and the restrictions that a government person has to abide, still regular people suffer miserably in the hands of government. As God has challenged us to change, to be refined and to be clean – seemingly our government deserve the wrath of God.

Together Again

Summers and Christmas breaks are the perfect time for Reunions because most schools are on vacation. Families, clans, class, schools, organizations and people groups come together for common interest and strengthening the value of unity and self help through these reunions.

This coming May 1 is the UB Science High reunion, where we will be going back to our alma mater. I always find it refreshing as we will all stand and sing the Science High hymn,

The past week the 11th Igorot International Consultation (IIC) was held in Teng-ab, Bontoc, Mountain Province. It was the late Governor Leonard Mayaen who accepted the invitation to host the IIC which will coincide with the provincial celebration of the Lang-ay. Initially, the Weygan family intended to go where the nieces and nephews were to join the Katagoan caravan and on to the Lang-ay. Two family rooms and one single room was reserved. But with the unpleasant passing on of the beloved head of the province, Leonard Mayaen, everything changed. The activities of the province was canceled and so the family also decided not to join this IIC-11. According to Yvonne Belen who came from Netherlands, the attendance was acceptable as it was a little over a hundred participants considering the current developments in the province. I have attended the IIC in Green Valley, in London, in Australia, in Banaue and in Baguio Country Club. We hope that more will attend the next one in Hawaii by 2018.
Last February 6, 2016 we also had the Galeled Clan Reunion with the theme “Let’s join our hands to reach the world.” The next International Galeled Clan Reunion is on July 7-8, 2016 in Calgary, Canada. Here the members of the clan converge with people coming from the Philippines, USA, Australia and Europe. In these reunions relatives trace their roots, they meet relatives to renew, gain more friends and establish contacts with new found relatives. It is with the idea of strengthening bonds and knowing people in authority who they can seek help, identify professionals who they can go to, and identifying people in GO and NGOs who focus on some concerns they can form partnerships. One of the output of this reunion is the start of the Galeled Scholarship fund, where the Mayor Mauricio Domogan gave the initial fund. Another point of unity is the revival of the Galeled Cooperative that needs to be formally registered and managed.

My husband’s Abanay-Lumbaya family clan just had their reunion this April 16, 2016 at the BSBT Assembly Hall where we had people coming from Mountain Province, Manila, German, Netherlands and other places. One person we met was the family of Bayani Loste, based in Manila and a lawyer with specialty on Intellectual property Rights. He works also at the Fortun, Narvasa & Salazar law firm. Aside from the presentation of the families was the blessing of a set of gongs before it was used for a community dance. After that was teaching the young people to beat the gongs and to dance. It was encouraging to see everyone exchange insights on the positioning of the hands and the sway of the body.

It was my mother who has started me in tracing my roots with her family and dad’s family. When we were younger my mother would so a senga by butchering a pig and calling the different families to come and join the party. At the end of the party was the distribution of the “watwat” a piece of un cooked meat that was segregated to members of the extended families. who came and for those who did not come, my mother would send the drivers to go and give their watwat. She emphasized the importance of being part of the family and the community. My dad was the one who would go from one wake to another, doing bayao and Christian service. My parents would say “ta kabagian tako datodi” meaning they are our relatives. They would go to weddings because they are kakailian and even if they are not directly blood relations, they are in someway relatives because they are affiliated. And so the reunions conducted now are ways to strengthen those relationships. It is “together manen (again) times” where one gets a chance to meet those near and far.

But a critic says “reunion tapno ammo ti ibotos ti election” meaning “Reunion so we know who to vote this election” it is so because relatives are expected to support those who are in the clan. Similarly, classmates campaign for their own classmates and those in organizations cheer on those in their organizations or relatives of their members. And so it is “together again.!”

Sangal di Kultura

The Arm of the LORD is not too short to save

God willing, the voters make a decision this Monday towards a new administration in the national level and in the local government units. This campaign period, I have decided to be on the observing panel of the election preparations. For more than 26 year our family has been in the political exercise because of my dad’s 15 years as a councilor later on my short stint in city hall. But personally, I started earlier as we were the first to volunteer in NAMFREL when it was organized.

This coming election is expected to be bloody and highly controversial. “They cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts…” We are faced with a possible dictator, the last one we had was proclaimed with no warning at all, this one is uttered openly and boasting that “papatayin ko sila. etc etc” this is an election where people are cheering for a president who openly abuse women’s, disregard rule of law and practice open execution, COA ruling on ghost employees, rule Davao with the NPAs and more. Several pastors I heard say “God used the evil to right wrongs of Israel” I agree because people have become disobedient and prostitutes of other gods, that God allowed it.” O people of God, we have called judgment upon our disobedient people. Have not humbled ourselves and confess our unfaithfulness and seek God’s mercy.

But some people I talked to say that it’s a protest vote, but when I followed up and say “so ayaw mo daang matuwid, how about Aroyo was it a better administration” its is revealing that they would say “a hindi, mas maganda pa daang matuwid” so what are they protesting about. I am sometimes baffled with the response. And most of the young voters, have no history or experience of martial law, because they lived where peace was in the land. They do not realize that many died to keep that peace and democracy. But to some they prefer martial law then democracy. Oh peace, as elusive as love of a forsaken lover!

We have alternative candidates, so voters cannot say there is no choice. We have a choice and the decision is ours. Voters do not exactly know the candidates, so they rely on media, social media included to TV, radio and caucuses which is to enlighten or black propaganda. Voters do not really know these candidates and they are only influenced to make a vote. However, it goes it is a decision to be made.

“The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene, so his own arm worked. According to what they have done, so he will repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. “ (Isaiah 59:15-18) We are testing God and asking for judgment, we have arrogantly dismissed forgiveness for our wrongdoings, we have ceased to uphold democracy and we have stopped humility and now awaiting the consequences of our deeds. We enjoyed peace since 1987, that a short time but so history repeats itself.

But yet we can rise from this if the people will sober up and humble themselves for- the arm of the Lord is not too short to save. (Isaiah 59:1)
(Philian May 7, 2016)

SILOKEN – a reason to take a nostalgic trip

Going home to Besao is a nostalgic trip as it reminds me so much of my mother. She used to tell stories of the life in the village. When I was in elementary grades she sent me to Panabungen for a summer and I stayed with Lolo Weygan. That summer was very memorable as we roamed the mountains, rivers and the valleys. We danced during the church fiesta and when summer was gone, I came back to grade four full of stories to tell. When I was younger, mom and I spent some time with our Lolo Telba and Lomana in Padang an. I remember that at night there were many people in the house and they tell stories which lull me to sleep while I was keeping warm in front of the fire which was kept lighted to keep the house warm. In the morning I would find myself sleeping in the cot, presumably my grandma carried me during the night.
So it was not a surprise to my parents, when I requested that Raquel Haight and I would spend a whole summer in Besao for our practicum. We would work in the Municipal Hall and in the afternoon walk up the hill to Calvary and watch the sunset as we talk of dreams, of challenges and anything that we find worth talking about. I don’t even remember most of them. During the weekend, when we were not doing laundry or otherwise, we would join the babalasang and babalo for a picnic. At one time we joined a big group entered the caves and ended up in Lake Danu. They brought pots, pans, rise and chicken which ended up to be pinikpkan for lunch. For dishes we had talupac (banana stalk) and we kamet (ate with our fingers.) Many other stories come rushing in my mind whenever I remember Besao, where my forefathers came from.

Last May, the Siloken Clan gathered together in St James High School for the reunion. This was through the invitation of the host families led by Roman and Nelie Basilio as well as Modesto Daytec Gaab. So from Baguio together with Aiza and Jan Michael and cousins Lydia Andres and Balusdan we left on a Friday morning assembling in BSBT so that the scheduled 7:00 am became 8:00. Finally, going and taking stops taking photos at the highest point of the Philippine highway system; in Abatan for lunch and purchased vegetables, at the Mountain Province arc, in Sagada and finally Besao. Upon arrival, we went straight to the Municipal hall to settle taxes and other documentary needs before going down to Padangaan. It was a reunion of some sorts, as cousins came and we talk through the night.

The next day was the reunion and it was full of fun, food and stories. A whole bus came from Panabungen led by Aunty Mary the surviving child of the third generation of Siloken. I am considered a fourth generation and my niece Aiza a fifth generation of Siloken. Another jeepful came from Sagada, those who came from Agawa and the other villages arrived much earlier. People came from as far as Patiacan of Ilocos Sur. I do not know most of them, but many seem to know some and it was a time of tonton (trying to trace the families.) Upon arrival people went to the Reading center of the church for food or they went straight to the registration table.

The program started with all the preliminaries until the most important part of introducing the families. There were four siblings Coman, Mimitan, Damgasen and Lapeyas. So they flashed the family trees to show where the families can trace their roots. The biggest number of participants came from MIMITAN. They include the Balangayao-Langgomay; Sayen-Duday; Laayam –Manuel; Weygan- Engway; Weygan-Catimban. The other families were also presented. And yet in the Mimitan family alone, we do not all know each other so it was a lot of photos taken so we can bring home and see our relatives.

Other families includes the Koman-Tandangan; Damgasen-Attondi and Lapiyas-Lagman. Then it was too soon to end the program and we all went for lunch of pancit, pinikpkan and lots of rice and pork. We enjoyed fellowship meal together and time to catch up with each other before everyone went their way before the night falls. It was agreed the next year reunion would be in the farm of Col Ernest Gaab. My niece and nephew decided to go to Sagada and I trekked down to Padangaan for another type of reunion with cousins and kakaanakans.

SANGAL DI KULTURA
OF FIRE AND SHARING

Last Saturday May 28, 2016, while we were in Manila, I received a text message saying “prayers and help because fire gutted our home and we only have the clothes on our back, everything gone.” So I contacted people in Baguio what it was all about. They said fire from 10 am to 3 pm in Engineer’s Hill DPWH motor pool and affected more than 30 families. So I contacted some people “to collect relief items and we will collect and sort out Monday morning and bring it by the afternoon.”

We came home to Baguio by the Sunday afternoon and the next day sorted our donations from members of Soroptimist International. By mid-day I went to meet members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 124 at Palace Hotel where we picked up boxes and bags of clothes, shoes, bags and kitchen items. We also got donations from BSBT College, St Louis girls’ high batch 1984 and other donors.

The items were sorted out into the 1) Linen and beddings, 2) Men’s department (pants and jeans, shirts and t-shirt, under wears and socks) 3) Children’s Wear, 4) Women’s Department and then the 5) shoes and 6) bags. These were all brought to the Covered basketball court of Engineer’s Hill. We coordinated with the Barangay and the DSWD as they identified the 42 families and 209 individuals who were victims as of 2:00 pm of May 30, 2016. They said this may increase when the students will be identified. We then agreed that they can get as much as they need, but not everything in one category. The barangay kagawad went to call the fire victims and they came to get what they wanted. We were able to dispose to at least 12 families and so we decided to bring home the items and will bring it back on Wednesday morning.

The Soroptimist ladies decided to share breakfast with them after one day. So on June 1 the ladies brought the breakfast and we shared it with the families and barangay officials. . It was a breakfast of bread, eggs, hotdogs, fruits, coffee, and tea. We coordinated with the barangay to provide the hot water. After the breakfast there was more food to spare. The okay ukay part II was conducted where more clothes were picked up. It was a meaningful way to spend the morning from 6:30 to 9:00 before the Soroptimist ladies went to work, do prayer meetings, back to home chores.

On June 3-4 we went back with the members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 124 and Soroptimist International Baguio where we were able to dispose 15 sacks of rice, 5 packs of used kitchen utensils, water jugs, pots, pans and dishes. Three boxes of noodles, 2 boxes of corned beef and ten boxes of juice drinks. These adds up to the previous collected donations for relief as of May 30, 2016 which included 15 blankets, 4 pillows, set of linen; 6 bag for men’ wear; 13 bags for ladies wear; 2 bags for kids clothes; 2 bags shoes; 1 bag of bags ; 19 bottles mineral water (5 liters) and 39 bags personal items (toothbrush, soap, shampoo etc)

These is their story, the fire victims are employees, homeowners, borders and students. One man shared that he lost 10 years of hard earned home, he just got his 19,000 mid year bonus and he lost everything in the fire. A family were out in Asin when it happened, they owned a three story house and they lost everything except the clothes on their back. They were picking ready to wear clothes as they do not have a proper place to wash clothes and they have to go to work.
During our relief operation one man was picking ukay ukay clothes and was able to get two sacks for him, his pregnant wife and three sons. The men who got the beddings were so thankful because they need it so badly. One boy said that it is sad it happened, while picking clothes for his kid sister.

We were able to meet the man who claimed to be the oldest victim, his blood pressure rose so high when it happened seeing his house disappear in the fire. It was good that Rescue 911 was there and he was given catapres and stabilized. He was so sad when he was sharing his experience. Together with his apo they came to get rice and other food items as they were only camping out at someone’s house.

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