Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Singaporean star goes to Sablayan


Udaya Soundari, the actress-host from Singapore, is the latest celebrity guest who came to Sablayan and experienced the places and faces this trailblazing town in Occidental Mindoro has to offer. And who am I to refuse her begging to pose for a photo with me. I am just kidding, of course!

Seriously, Udaya and the rest of the television crew visited various places in town and mingled with the people and immersed in some of our tourist spots last June 4 to 5, 2017. Unknown to the local folks that she rubbed elbows with, she is a heck of a celebrity in Singapore’s Tamil TV history. Udaya is the first individual to win three-layered awards in just a year in an annual ceremony which bestows citation to artistes in a Singaporean Indian television called Pradhana Vizha. The team from Asia-Medicorp, Singapore and Verite Productions visited the Parola Park, the Apo Reef, Pandan Island and the Alangan Mangyan community of Calamansian for video shoots. They all experienced riding the longest island-to-island zip line in the world.

As I have said, Udaya made it to the local Tamil TV history for she is the first person to win three awards in one year in an annual ceremony which honours the best in local Indian television. Never in the past Pradhana Vizha awarded more than one winner since 2012 and our recent guest bagged three: Best Actress, Best Host (Info-Ed) and Most Popular Female Personality in 2014. In retrospect, Udaya got hit the magic pot in the TV industry in 2007 as a contestant on reality TV singing competition Vasantham Star, in which the beautiful lass shown in the picture above (with me) landed on the top 10.

But not everything went smoothly in her career. She figured in a certain issue in 2015 and was side-lined for some time. But because she’s a big, big talent, figuratively speaking, she was able to come back and continue to inspire aspiring artiste of this generation. But that was already water under the bridge and now diluted in high seas of detachment and impertinence.

Many guests from all over the world considered Sablayan as the epicentre of economy and politics Occidental Mindoro and home of true champions of sustained ecotourism and participatory governance. Sablayan’s approach to tourism development is not only limited to promotion of tourism areas. Enterprise development is perceived as basic strategy towards empowering community members to earn supplemental income from the tourist traffic through various economic endeavours and income-generating approaches.

But of course media projection is important especially if it is shown in other part of the globe. That is the story the production is going to tell where Udaya Soundari, the artiste par excellence, acts as program host whom in her heart entertainment is a passion…

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(Photo : Pauline Licop Gilongos)

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Of St. Blaise and Fishbone


A fishbone was stuck deep in my throat two weeks ago and believe me when the wound is infected, it’s so excruciatingly painful. After accidentally swallowed a bone of a fish locally called bugaong, I paid no attention to it believing that it was already dislodged by mouthful of bananas and marshmallows I swallowed hours after without chewing. I presume, like in the past, the wound would naturally take care of itself without me even trying.

But after three days my condition worsened. I cannot tolerate the pain anymore and there’s already a tint of blood in my spittle so I have to cut short the Gender Sensitivity Training I am attending that time at the Grand Creek Resort in Sta. Cruz and rushed to San Jose to see my EENT.

Dr. Alexander M. Rivera, MD examined my throat, assured me that the fishbone already been dislodged but left an infected internal wound surrounded with abscess. He prescribed me heavy dosage of antibiotics to be taken for 7 days. On the sixth day, my medical condition worsens, so I went back to his clinic. He changed his previously prescribed medicine, added a pain reliever and an oral antiseptic for my extended medical treatment.

I was writhing with pain and discomfort one Friday night and my youngest child related to me about the homily shared by a visiting priest during a Eucharistic celebration at school. Sophia is a Grade 7 student of Divine Word College of San Jose. The mass was held February 3 (I swallowed the fishbone February 17), Feast Day of St. Blaise, once bishop of Sebaste in Armenia.

St. Blaise’s biography revealed that science and faith are not on opposite poles. He was a physician before consecrated bishop. By the 6th century, St. Blaise’s intercession was invoked for diseases of the throat. He was a physician who treated by means of medical science but equally performing miraculous cures. While being imprisoned and tortured for his Christian faith, he phenomenally cured a little boy choking to death on a fishbone lodged in the kid’s throat.

My youngest daughter reminded me of Blaise and led me to start a prayer of intercession that very moment. Even I am away for work, she assured me that she will continue the novena before she goes to sleep. After three days or so, with the invincible combination of medication and meditation, I am back to my old self again!   

While we Catholics invoke Blaise for his protection against any physical ailment of the throat, we are reminded too that we should refrain from spreading the throat’s “spiritual sins” such as cursing, profanity, unkind remarks, detraction and gossip. While I cannot guarantee you me refraining from naughty remarks, take my word that the words coming from my mouth will always speak with comprehension and not intransigence, respect and not disparagement.

I am a believer so I trust that intercessory prayer can contribute to physical healing. But friends, I am in no way advising to say the same prayer to St. Blaise to those who do not believe that he is truly an intermediary to God. More so, I would not suggest to a wounded or ailing atheist to pray. Such a gesture or proposition is a further insult to his injury, much more his conviction!

I believe that the science of a present-day medical doctor and the act of faith in the memory of a martyr from the very distant past healed me.

This I believe deep to the bones…

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(Photo: www.baqgo.com)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Manny Pacquiao’s Swansong: A Philippine Tourism Attraction


Shortly after Bob Arum’s announcement of Manny Pacquiao’s world tour this year, the latter also disclosed his plan to fight his nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez here in the Philippines before the end of the year. In case Juan Manuel Marquez is agreeable to Pacquiao’s proposal, the fight would surely go down in boxing history like the Ali-Frazier’s Thrilla in Manila way back in 1975. Like that historic heavy weight title fight, the “final” match between old time rivals Pacquiao and Marquez if held in the country would have a tremendous impact on Philippine sports tourism.  

Here’s a short flashback on the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry. The two boxing greats, Pacquiao and Marquez, fought in four meetings starting with a controversial draw in their first encounter in 2004. Pacquiao then escaped with close decisions in their 2008 and 2011 rematches. Their 4th fight was held on December 8, 2012, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Márquez defeated Pacquiao by knockout with one second remaining in the sixth round. It was named Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year by Ring Magazine.

But for the Pacquiao-Marquez to transpire, of course aside from a final nod from El Dinamita, Pacquiao needs Php2.5 billion to Php3.5 billion (or more or less $60 million) to bankroll the fight.  The SenaPac has asked Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo Teo for said amount. Tulfo Teo said the only thing that would make it possible for the Department of Tourism to shell out money is if Pacquiao faces a big name. If thing would fall into places, Pacquiao’s request will be granted and his only problem is Arum and the Top Rank supremo’s plan. That is if the Mexican could agree to the financial and other considerations that Pacquiao would offer. But let us remember, Arum said prior to Pacquaio’s 2015 mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr that he wanted to stage the PacMan’s farewell fight in the Philippines someday.

In December last year, the House Committee on Tourism approved a proposal to designate SenaPac as spokesperson for the tourism department’s campaign to promote Philippine attractions here and abroad. I go for the Pacquiao-Marquez 5 in Manila and it would be a sure fire hit, tourism-wise. Marciano Ragaza, Vice-Chair of the Philippine Travel Agencies Associations (PTAA) said that the fight “would have a bigger impact than Miss Universe.” Pacquiao wants the fight and Philippine tourism needs further global promotion. The question is this: Can tourism department afford the amount without hurting its budget or its coffer, without sacrificing its other programs?

If the fight is held in the Philippines there is also a big chance for Occidental Mindoro, specifically Sablayan town, to showcase its own tourism potentials. The respective tourism offices of said LGUs could find ways to find something attached to the event to attract sports tourists from around the globe who will be coming over. For sure, the DOT is open from proposals coming from local governments with regards to uplifting our tourism industry. Occidental Mindoro through Sablayan was host to first two professional fights of Manny Pacquiao which catapulted him to fame and to everything what he is now.

But between Top Rank and Philippine Tourism to be placed in extra advantageous gain, I go for the latter…

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(Photo: Fightsaga .com)