Copy of the Message of the Honorable City Mayor, PEDRO B. ACHARON, JR. for the delegates of the 2nd Mindanao Bloggers Summit held on October 25, 2008 at the Family Country Hotel and Convention Center, General Santos City.

The message, in toto, was delivered by the Honorable City Councilor, Margareth Rose N. Santos.


 Magandang Gensan . . .

 In your language, I am a newbie.  Although, I am an active advocate of cyber technology as can be gleaned from the numerous ICT projects or ICT-support programs of the LGU, I am regrettably not tech-savvy.  

Much effort was made in order for me to deliver this message.  I have to educate myself, in order not to be off-course.  The more I learned, the more I admired this new medium called “weblog.”

Blogs, as personally published documents, can be liberating and at some point stress busting.  Imagine, stay at home mothers, gone are the days when they are cut-off from the world.  Not only are they up-to-date with their surroundings and even beyond; they can share their joys and woes of motherhood and exchange parenting tips with other parents.  Imagine flourishing poets and writers, gone are the days that they have to wait months or years for a publishing house to notice their works.  Now they can publish their literary pieces at their convenience and at the comfort of their own homes.  Imagine emerging businesses, market placement and business matching was at the mercy of resource entities.  Now they make themselves known over the internet and make personal correspondences with visitors and clients. At some instances and under the cloak of anonymity, you and me, can project frustrations and express true opinions about work, politics, or religion.  Indeed, on a deeply personal level, blogging is empowering.

 However, the question before me is, how can this medium, this new source of power, be used for Mindanao?

 Let us consider the benefits of B.L.O.G. and discover how Mindanao can and will be transformed.

“B” in blog means better communications.  As blogs are personal publications over the internet, it provides a chance to share experience and expertise to a wider audience.  Mindanao Island, our home, has been plagued by and subjected to negative publicity for too long. Today, we say, “no more!”  There is now an alternative to the traditional media agencies.  We are the alternative.  The power to correct or verify news about peace and order situations, business climate, or political issues.  Blogging provides us with the avenue to educate the rest of the country and the world the beauty of our people, the richness of our history and culture, the serenity of our land- and seascapes, the modernity of our infrastructure, and the vibrancy of our economy.  Decades ago, Mindanao was the land of promise.  Today, bloggers will make it the land of fulfillment.

 “L” in blog means lower cost.  Blogging is a cost effective alternative to traditional broadcasting or media printing. It is an inexpensive method to amplify personal voice and views or get business going over the internet.  This “L” is an accessory to our earlier “B”.

 “O” is for opportunities. Blogging presents a multitude of opportunities for the user.  Information for personal and relationship development, family and home improvement, career enhancements, financial advancement, and many others are available at a few clicks.  These informations can lead to or create opportunities for the blogger.  Opportunities which may also be relevant for the continuing growth of Mindanao.

  “G” obviously refers to global.  Global in terms of reach and scope.  Global in terms of magnitude and importance. 

 Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Mindanaon… the topic assigned to me today was “Empowering the Bloggers in Mindanao.”     Yet, after having delved into the subject of blog and blogging – – I concluded that bloggers do not need to be empowered.  For there, within each blogger’s grasp is the awesome power of multimedia, the power to inform and be informed, and the power to educate and be educated.  The only thing required is for the blogger to be aware of it.  What is most significant today is the challenge for the empowered blogger to empower Mindanao. 


Magandang Gensan sa muli and happy blogging!


I am joining the MBS2

I keep a journal.  Does this make me a journalist?

Journalists often adhere to certain ethical standards.  I wonder if bloggers have too.

I am going to the Mindanao Bloggers Summit to find out.



Thank you to the following for making 2nd Mindanao Bloggers Summit possible:

City Mayor Pedro B. Acharon, Jr.

Congresswoman Darlene Antonino-Custodio
Department of Tourism XII
ABS-CBN Regional Network Group
Bariles Republic
Gen. Santos City Tourism Association


AMA Computer Learning Center
Grab A Crab Restaurant and Coffee Club 101
Gregoria Printing Press


Asia United Bank
Family Country Hotel & Convention Center
East Asia Royale Hotel
Fine Pixel Advertising

GenSan Sale.Com
Blogging from Home Book
Pacific Seas Seafood Market
Generals Logimark Exponent
Prints and You
Writing Edge.Com
Forest Lake San Carlos Park
Rolee Bakery & Cafe
Jehzlau Concepts
Jaypee Online.Net
Blue Media Communications
International Container Terminal Services, Inc
Shalom Wizard Academy
Dreamworld Travel and Tours
Sta. Cruz Seafoods, Inc.
Dellosa Design Build Services
Kristan Bookstore
DOLE Philippines
Husky Bus Lines
Shakey’s Pizza
Family Brand Sardines
Gaisano Mall of GenSan
Chowking – KCC
Jollibee National Highway
Procter & Gamble Philis., Inc
Mega Sardinesc


Achieving Excellence in 2008

Among other reasons why I am offended by the “Labanan ang Kahirapan” campaign is that it highlights a negative reality – Poverty.  It could have been more effective if the spin-doctors  capitalized on the strenghts of the Filipinos to draw cooperation and move them to action.  A case in point is this article I wrote for the GSC Digest, a quarterly publication of the LGU.

In the beginning of this year, the Honorable City Mayor of General Santos City, Pedro B. Acharon, Jr.  issued Executive Order No. 01 mandating that the year 2008 shall be the Year of Excellence. Each official and employee in all city level departments shall, in the performance of duties and functions, use the Total Quality Services program as the good governance tool in the delivery of basic public services.

This advocacy was reiterated and was given much emphasis when he delivered the Sate of the City Address.  In that report, the City Development Strategies of good governance, competitiveness, livability and bankability were discussed according to their interdependence, such that “Good governance ensures that an environment of transparency and accountability is practiced in the local government, which will strengthen the competitiveness capability of the city; Thus, making it bankable in order for social and other services programs to be implemented making the city livable.”

This interdependence among the CDS principles is further manifested into a working framework. It is highly important that each public servant in the LGU understands that the CDS is a symbiont program of the four principles.  There is a cooperative relationship between and among the cabinet clusters.  While each department have its own mandate and each cluster functions independently; their existence and efficiency does not depend on the other departments or clusters.   But the existence, efficiency and the responsiveness of the entire local government of General Santos is dependent on the cooperation, support and mutual respect each department or cluster provides the others.

The mechanism is actually very simple.

To make the city well-governed, we have to enrich pro-active consciousness. And it starts with our sensitive awareness of what is going on around us. Most notably is the acknowledgement that as government workers, we are not super heroes.  Therefore, we must engage the participation of all stakeholders in the development processes, public and private alike.

To make the city competitive, we have to produce competitive individuals.  And it starts with finding our individual strengths by way of honest evaluation of what we can and cannot do, and of what we have and do not have.  Through acceptance of our strengths and weaknesses as an organization, we acknowledge the things we are capable of doing (and doing it well!), and the things that we need to invest on, improve and enhance.  As a result, we create, for the LGU and the city, an environment that sustains productivity and encourages value creation to our products and services.

To make the city bankable, we need to inculcate collective sensible values; and it starts in our own individual endeavors.  These undertakings do not require high-end or complicated technological gadgetries, but demand the basic and inherent human virtues of trustworthiness, integrity and accountability.  If we are to encourage investors, whether local, domestic or foreign, to pour their capital with confidence, we must prove that we have the ability to provide the necessary and appropriate climate for business and economic growth.

To make the city livable, we have to create healthy communities and it starts from our own homes. The first line of defense is the family.  The basic unit of society must be empowered to be able to send their children to school, clothe them and provide for nutrition, medical and health care. While there are LGU programs instituted for these concerns, these must be mere augmentations.  Furthermore, environmental protection and preservation is a universal responsibility.  As public servants, we must serve as the exemplars of family resource management, and of cleanliness in our immediate surroundings (among other functions expected of a family!).

Raising the Benchmark

Last July 4, the city received its third Most Competitive City Award from the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center.  The city greatly values this award because it is an affirmation among the business community, within and outside the city, of the efforts done by the local government to protect and promote their economic interests.

There are 6 criteria or drivers used by the policy center in determining the competitiveness of the city:

Cost of doing business – business tax burden, business regulation and procedures, presence of informal fees (a very politically correct term for bribe and other forms of corruption),  and cost of utilities (such as electricity, water, telephone and internet connections);

Dynamism of local economy – business growth and performance, access to financing assistance, and the existence of a functional public-private partnership;

Human resources and training – over-all quality of present workers, availability of competent manpower, skills enhancement programs present/available;

Infrastructure – over-all management of transportation services, reliability of utilities and environmental facilities;

Responsiveness of LGU to business needs – government regulations, investment promotion capabilities, ease and transparency  of LGU in dealings, crafting of appropriate and business-friendly legislations and quality of leadership and performance of the city administration; and

Quality of life – clean and sustainable environment, peace and order, and access to quality health care and social welfare services.

Of the 90 mid-sized cities in the country only 22 cities were ranked; 5 cities from Luzon and 2 from Mindanao were awarded most competitive mid-sized cities.

General Santos city ranked no. 1 in infrastructure.  Yet, among the most notable findings were: the reasonable cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour, very low incidence of or non-existent informal fees in LGU transactions involving permits and licenses, and the high total crime solution efficiency.

The effects of our labors will manifest next year, in 2009.  However, at mid-year of 2008 we are harvesting accolades and achievements.  The greatest challenge before us now, is to surpass these successes.  Gensan must continue its upward spiral and be the embodiment of excellence.

Magandang Gensan!

HELP WANTED (part 4)

Inday#4:   Sa kadugayan, nakakuha ra gyud intawn mi ug katabang.  Usa ka dalagita nga gikan sa uma.  Tungod sa nilabayng "rice crisis"  nihangyo ang mga ginikanan nga magkatabang ilang anak. Pa-eskwelahon lang  bahala’g wala’y sweldo basta hatagan lang ug baon kada adlaw.  Naa na pud ta aning "scholar" nga katabang! Hala sige, maayo na lang kaysa wala!  Utong! 

Ug sa dihang… wala’y nahibaw-an!  Dili kabalo magluto, kami gihapon luto. Nanimaho gihapon ug sabon ang mga baso, magputi-puti pa ang mga kutsara inig human ug hugas, usabon namo ug hugas. Ang mga nilabhan murag bulingon man gihapon, usabon intawn nako ug laba. Inig ka uga sa mga hinayhay, magtapun-og ka gihapon sa butanganan.  Kung dili suguon (with demonstration pa gani) dili pud pamiluon. Ang mga duwa-an sa bata, madugmok intawn kay matumban kay kung dili suguon nga hipuson, pasagdan lang pud. Gitubuan na intawn ug sibuyas, kamatis ug kalabasa ang ibabao sa TV ug istante sa mga figurines, kay wala intawn trapuhi kay wala suguo-a. 

"Tart, nindot kaayo atong kwarto. Murag beach."   Balason na intawn ang salog kay wala silhigi.  Tag-ana nganong wala nasilhigan?

Akong itugon ang salog sa kwarto dayon namong lakaw para mag-opisina.  Inigbalik namo sa hapon, nanilhig tuod! Pero abog  ang ibabao sa TV ug speakers sa component.  Mangutana pa ko ngano? Sorry, sayop nako nganong ang salog ra akong gitugon!

Himan-himan pa ni-ana, pwerteng puti-a sa nawng, murag ungo!  Diay, samtang wala mi ug nanglimpyo (nanilhig ra diay) kuno sa kwarto, nanghilabot sa akong make-up ang karaho! (nosebleed…)


Help Wanted:  Tabangi intawn ko ninyo unsaon nako pagsakop ug tarong nga katabang!!!

HELP WANTED (part 3)

Inday#2:   Tungod kay mas dako ang mawala namong mag-asawa kung magpuli-puli lang mi ug absent para naay mahabilin sa bata. Magkuha mi ug laing katabang.  Naay gi-rekomenda ang kauban nako sa opisina.  Magkita daw mi atong mu-apply inig ka-Sabado sa city hall kay aron matultulan ang among balay.  Tinuod, niabot sa takdang panahon.  Pero wala’y gamit o dakong bag nga bitbit.  Busa, akong gipangutana kung nganong wala siya’y dala.  Ang tubag, "Wala pa ko kadesider kung maka-uyon ko sa inyo."  Agay, kasakit sa akong dunggan.  Abi nako siya ang mu-apply pagka-katabang ngari namo, kami diay ang nang-apply pagka-amo ngadto niya!  (nosebleed…)


Inday#3: Wala gihapon ni makakita ug katabang unya dili na ma-apas ang kadaghan sa labhunon, busa magkuha mi ug labandera nga sinemana.  Naay nagpresentar nga labandera kuno.  Ang kahitabo sa interview…

          Kami:  Pila man ang imong singil?

          Labandera:  200 mam.  Naa moy washing machine?

          Kami:  Naa.

          Labandera:  Twin tub?

          Kami:  Oo.

          Labandera:  Pila ka kilo ang kapasidad sa inyong washing (machine)?

          Kami: 6 kilos. 

          Labandera: Unsa inyong tubig? Water district? Deep well? O bumba?

          Kami: Kadiyot lang ha…. Apil na plantsa?

          Labandera:  Aw, wala’y labot plantsa mam oy.  Labandera man ko, dili man ko plantsadora.

          Kami:  Ang buot nimo pasabot, sa 200 ang imong buhaton, mag lunod ug bulingon sa washing   machine ug magpa-agas ug tubig?!  Dili baya mi mga baldado, day!   (nosebleed…)


Si Inday

Pastilan! Karon nga naa na ko’y pamilya ug naglain na ug panimalay, daghang mga Inday na ang ni-agi kanamo.  Pero, ugtas lang akong na-ani.


Inday #1:   Sa tinuod, mao kini ang pinakadugay namong katabang.  Nagsugod siya nga yaya sa akong 1-year old nga anak.  Maayo ug systematic pud mutrabaho.  Paspas ang pick-up sa mga instructions.  Naay siya’y ambisyon mahimong "teacher" mao nga sa iyang ika-duhang tuig ngari namo, among gipa-eskwela sa night high school.  Alas-4 sa hapon hangtod alas-9 sa gabii ang iyang klase. Sa sinugdanan, quarter to 3pm ihatod niya ang iyang gibantayan nga bata sa akong opisina.  Sa kadugayan, alas-3 palang naa na ang bata sa opisina. Unsa gyu’y sayohan?   Sa sinugdanan, alas-9:15 naka-uli na sa balay.  Sa kadugayan, alas 10:30 na lang wala pa naka-abot.  Unsa gyu’y dugayan?  Among nabantayan nga nausab na ang batasan ug ang agi sa trabaho nagkayamukat na. Magpunay na lang ug text.  Masunog na ang nilung-ag, magtapok na ang labhanan.  Ug sa dihang… naka-uyab diay ug classmate!  Pwede untang palampason, basta magtarong lang ug eskwela ug dili pasagdan ang mga trabaho sa balay.  Sa dihang… ni-uli ko nga wala sa oras kay naa’y kuhaon, akong namatikdan nga ang bata naa lang sa kwarto namo ug naginusarang nagduwa.  Asa man ang yaya ani?  Murag naa’y ga-inagik-ik sa kwarto sa among katabang.  Akong gitawag iyang pangalan.  Sus, naa may lalake nikaratil ug dagan ug nilipot didto sa likod sa balay.  Ang panuway… gihimong motel ang among panimalay samtang tu-a mi sa trabaho!  (nosebleed…)

HELP WANTED (part 1)

Nganong lisod man jud kaayo makakita ug maayo nga katabang karong panahona? Ang dili nako masabtan kung ngano nga ang akong mga amiga nga pwerteng ka-mangtas ug ka-estrikto, mga tarong man ang mga katabang! Pero ako nga buotan man unta, pinangga ug pagustohan lang man gani basta mahuman lang ug tarong ang trabaho, matungnan man sa mga katabang nga tapulan, usikan, hugawan ug ugok!

Si Linda

Dili kaha ako ang naay diperensya?  Taas ra kaha kaayo ang akong standards or expectations sa mga katabang?  Sala jud ni tanan ni Nanay Linda!!!!

Si Nanay Linda, yaya sa akong manghud. Nga nahimong yaya sa akong kinamagulangang anak. Nga nag-yaya usab sa mga anak sa akong manghud. 

Dagko na ang among mga anak.  Dili na kinahanglan bantayan.  Sulod sa taas na kaayo nga panahon, wala mausab ang kalidad sa iyang trabaho.  Bisan karon mga medyo may edad na siya, limpyo ug hapsay gihapon ang tibuok namo nga pinuy-anan.

Ni-adtong mga estudyante pa kaming magsuon, inig mata namo sa buntag naa nay pamahaw nga naghulat.  Inig ilis namo, limpyo ug plantsado na ang among mga uniform ug mga baon nga extra t-shirt. Kumpleto ang among mga gamit. Dili na kinahanglan pangitaon ang panty, bra, medyas ug panyo.  Nahimutang na daan sa among tagsa-tagsa ka mga butanganan. Kada adlaw manglaba si Nanay.  Wala pa ma-uso ang washing machine ug fabric conditioner niadtong panahona.  Pero ang mga sanina limpyo ug humot kayo. Kutob sa makit-ang sinsilyo sa bulsa, bisan 25 centavos, iya kining i-uli kanamo. Samtang gihulat nga ma-uga ang mga nilabhan, manglimpyo siya sa mga kwarto ug sa sala.  Ang kusina ang katapusang malimpuhan kay magluto pa man siya ug pani-udto.  Inig human ug panga-on, siya ang manghugas sa mga kinan-an. Mupahuway siya ug kadiyot.  Ang iyang pahuway mao ang pagpaminaw ug drama sa radio mintras gipilian ug tipasi ug bato-bato ang bugas.  Igo nga mahuman ang programa sa radio (Handumanan sa Usa ka Awit), mangutaw na si Nanay kay uga na ang iyang nilabhan pagka-buntag.  Mangutaw si Nanay nga gamit ang kinaraan nga de-uling nga plantsa. Apan walay sanina nga nasunog o nahabiling kun-ot.  Usahay, ipadayon niya ang pagpaminaw sa radio, sa ubang mga higayon magtan-aw siya ug TV (That’s Entertainment) mintras mangutaw.  Inig kahuman, iyang hapnigon ang mga butanganan sa mga sinina ug ipahimutang ang mga pinalantsa.  Ni-ining higayona, musulod siya sa iyang lawak ug mupahuway.  Igo nga mag-alas 6, mugawas siya ug balik aron mag-andam sa panihapon.  Dili na siya maghuwat nga mga defrost ang karne o isda kay iya nang-gipagawas daan sa freezer sa dili pa siya mamalantsa. Alas 7 ang among na-andan nga tingkaon inigka-gabii. Inig kahuman ug panghugas, makig-uban siya namo maglantaw ug TV, samtang  manahi siya sa nga sanina nga naay gisi ang ilok o bilahan, o natastas nga mga sidsid. Matulog na si Nanay inig alas-9. Ug balikon ang iyang agi sa ugma nga mu-abot.

 Graduate na sa nursing ang anak ni Nanay Linda. Naa na siya’y igsoon nga iyang natabangang makagawas ug tu-a na karon sa London nagtabaho, naminyo ug maayo ang kahimtang.  Apan bisan nga nagdawat siya ug regular nga pasalamat gikan sa iyang manghod, naa gihapon si Nanay Linda sa among panimalay.  Gani, wala na namo siya gitrato isip katabang, kun dili myembro sa pamilya.  Sa tinuod, mas daghan pa ug tinigum nga kwarta si Nanay  nga utangan gyud namo siya usahay! Tungod tingali nga mao kini ang akong gidak-an nga kalibre sa katabang, mao usab kini ang akong gipangita.

Labanan ang Paghihirap

Do you see those “LABANAN ANG KAHIRAPAN” large tarpaulins?  You can’t possibly miss them as its plastered and hung everywhere.  Unless, or course, you have a preconditioned blindness to every PGMA publicity.

Done perhaps, in good faith, this “call for action” is bad taste!  Personally, i am gravely offended by the slogan.  I am insulted by this “invitation”.

As a working mother, it demeans my daily efforts to earn a decent living in order to provide for my family’s needs, to send my children to school, to feed them, to clothe them, to have a roof over our heads.    The slogan negates my struggles as a good mother.  It invalidates the plans I have for my loved ones.

What was she thinking?  What were her advisers thinking?  Were they thinking that the majority of the working class are just planting our arses in cushioned seats in airconditioned offices doing nothing and caring for no one?  That we are leading lethargic and apathetic lives?  That we are indifferent to the poverty around us?

I dare say that those who coined the “labanan” crap is naive to the realities of the Filipino’s plight since they drive around in airconditioned cars with fuel paid for by the government, or officed on the top floor of buildings with utilities paid for by the government, or staffed with overworked-underpaid personnel whose salaries are paid for by the government. (After thought: I need not discuss where the government got the money to pay for all those.)

They are protected from the stench of poverty, while we have to wallow in it.  Yet, they have the audacity to tell us to fight it.

Of course, the hidden message of the slogan is:  (You) Fight Pverty. (After thought: Ask any english teacher the syntax for sentences with missing subject) You, who know and experience poverty, fight it.

This is typical of the GMA administration… pass on the blame, pass on the work.

After thought: Another sad reality is that poverty, really, is our concern… not theirs.

Note:  The original unpublished draft is much too hateful and generously sprinkled with profanities than this edition.  I maybe angry, but not insane!

Praises for Avel

To God be the Glory!  And thank God for people like Avel Manansala!

Kuyavel plays many significant roles in my life; as mentor, friend, talent agent, talent manager, and critique.  He is the instrument of my personal, professional and artistic growth.

In 2000, Kuyavel became my talent manager and agent when the KTV Bar of Anchor Hotel was re-engineered and the management decided to take on Videoke Masters to host their nightly operations.  Together with Nestor Almerante and Ryan Velasco, we braved Gensan’s “resistance” to hosted/emceed videoke-ing.  I look back to that time with much fondeness as it was one of the happiest phases of my life. My nights were filled with laughter, music and free booze.  It was good to know that despite initial apprehensions of Anchor’s patrons, we became a big hit!  The KTV Bar became a “must-go” gimik venue in Gensan.

But, just when things started to get better… Kuyavel left for Kuala Lumpur to join the circus!

There are stories to be told about that, but its Kuyavel’s to tell.  Nevertheless, I stayed on at the KTV Bar for awhile but eventually, left the scene too.  Like the majestic eagles, the mentors leave the young in order to make them stronger.  Kuyavel left to make me soar.  (After thought: NO, he did not join the circus as an eagle!)

In 2004, we joined forces again.  This time for government service. 

Have you heard of the saying “Power is intoxicating”?  I believe that this is the curse that plagued the Private Secretary post at Gensan City Mayor’s Office.  Of all my years in service in that office, I have seen a ghost, a bird and an emperor fill that position.  They started very well, sincere in their intentions for public service and noble in their actions.  In due time, their speech, manner of dressing, demeanor, and general attitude are visibly transformed… revealing the effects of the curse from within.  They strut about as if somebody important, yet the quality of the work was abyssmal.  As their egos inflate, their jobs deflate.  

All, except one. KUYAVEL. He was the only person holding that position who was immune to the curse.  He was speech-writer, media liaison, advance party, appointment officer, confidante.  Yet, all the while he was able to keep his lovable, huggable, amiable, efficient self intact.

Well, he no longer holds that position now.  But we are still together in the same office, upholding each other’s sanity as we face the daily challenges of public service.

Recently, Kuyavel is the reason why I’m keeping a journal again.  “Mag-blog ka lagi ‘Let.  Sayang yang utak mo!” (After thought:  I will not translate his words to English.  The essence will be lost in translation.)

I admit that it took awhile before I cracked.  I realize that I have been writing (some good, some bad, some worth publishing, some not worth recycling) for other people.  Always assuming their personalities and seldom taking credit for the good ones.  After numerous years of doing that, I got accustomed in letting other people have ownership of my thoughts.  Anonymity is my comfort zone.  Publishing my thoughts or exposing my views is the same as opening myself to rejection, criticism or ridicule.

“‘Let,I remember a time when nobody could step on you or get the better of you.  What happened?”

“I got married, had kids and gone old.”  I answered.

Girl, I don’t like what you have become! ”  he replied.

That line did it. 

Thank you Kuyavel for setting me free.