Learning from Mayoyao’s cultural haven

“The unique geographic advantages of Mayoyao should be fully tapped into.”

By Anthony A. Araos

Aside from publicly-run museums, ancestral houses are important instruments in determining the value of a locality as a cultural haven. To my mind, ancestral houses are already an integral part of a cultural institution.
Undoubtedly, an educational or travel plan to Mayoyao for the purpose of getting a closer view of these ancestral houses thus, looks pretty solid from all looks of it. There are also van trips of ITTAG and Brotherhood from Baguio City. Nightly trips of ITTAG leave at 7:30 and fare in Php 510. Trip is via Santiago City in Isabela. The long trip from the nation’s summer capital will always be synonymous with one of your best decisions in a lifetime because Mayoyao is ideal for a tranquil vacation.
As a cultural haven, Mayoyao has resonated with the appeal of attracting visitors as a historical landmark.
I have a strong feeling that these ancestral houses have a profound origin in the history of Ifugao. It has to do something with its architectural design.
I see enormous potential in the development of these ancestral houses in Mayoyao that will become a tourist spot. Its old architecture is a mix of tradition, culture and craftsmanship. I noticed that a lot of value on interior designs has been placed.
A review of the town’s strategy to draw visitors in 2019 and beyond is important. Integrating a plan to include these ancestral houses is surely helpful to ensure the growth of the town’s tourism industry. If ancestral houses are situated in remote villages, building of roads leading to tourist sites is vital.
Mayoyao doesn’t boost of the trendiest shopping malls around. In fact, its public market is so small and if I’m an investor I’ll put up one somewhere in barangay Poblacion. Yet, it is in my all-time, must-see place because Mayoyao is a place for a relaxing private retreat for local and foreign tourists. From the Poblacion village, the major attractions are just nearby.
The unique geographic advantages of Mayoyao should be fully tapped into.
Notwithstanding the foregoing views of the town, I’m still unsatisfied in saying this is the “ultimate” guide to culture in Mayoyao. Let me take this opportunity to add one more essential thought. Without a doubt, Mayoyao is one of the Cordillera Administrative Region’s most ideal havens too. This is my personal view of Mayoyao.
There are four aspirants for Governor in Ifugao in the 2019 midterm elections. They are Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. of the opposition Liberal Party, Vice Governor Jose Jordan Gullitiw of the administration Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), former Vice Governor Nora Dinamling and Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog.
It is expected that the said position will be hotly contested as there is no frontrunner yet in this tight race even before the start of filing of the certificate of candidacies (CoCs) on Oct. 11.
It is of great importance that the next governor must make critical decisions. He or she must exercise political will at all times. By all means, there must only be “one” governor of the province. No “little” governor. No “second” governor. No “other” governor, please. This system of having someone else run the Office of the Governor maintains the inefficiency of the system. Ifugao folks are so familiar with this problem. In fact, it is an open secret!
Candidates should be asked to sign a Covenant of not condoning such incredibly stupid practice.
Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) hit Ifugao at its harshest point last Sept. 15. A number of provinces in northern Luzon immediately placed their places under a State of Calamity. All told, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Isabela, Kalinga, La Union and Quirino made such an appropriate and wise move. I asked a Board Member on Sept. 26 if the Sangguniang Panlalawigan already took a similar action during its session on Sept. 25. He replied: No action taken. Can’t believe it! Ten days passed since the typhoon battered the province. Mayoyao, Aguinaldo, Asipulo and Alfonso Lista towns were placed under a State of Calamity. Typhoon Paeng (international name: Trami) already passed the country. What’s taking them long to declare a State of Calamity?
The same board member pointed out: “We’re still going over all the reports. Here’s how the system works. The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) makes a request based on reports submitted to the office for the declaration of a State of Calamity. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan makes such a declaration. It took me only five minutes going all over these reports. With reports of the damages in Mayoyao and in the aftermath of the town’s declaration of a State of Calamity on Sept. 15, I hand-carried my communication to President Duterte in Malacaòang Palace on Sept. 18 with the request for augmentation of assistance to Mayoyao. I got word from unimpeachable sources that the Palace responded affirmatively. Well, that’s how the system should work for the benefit of the people. Bottom line: make every second count, time is of the essence.
The declaration of a State of Calamity allows a local government to access funds for rehabilitation and emergency assistance after a disaster strikes.
Upon declaration of a State of Calamity, the “Quick Response Fund” (QRF) will be utilized for the benefit of the victims. The QRF is a standby fund used for the government’s rehabilitation and relief programs and projects, including prepositioning of relief and equipment, in areas stricken by calamities, epidemics, crises and catastrophes, from the last quarter of the preceding year to the current year. I’m simply talking of the 30 percent of the 5 percent of the calamity fund. So why are certain quarters now squandering the opportunity of tapping this fund as a means of helping typhoon victims in the province. I’m certain that the “Quick Response Fund” shall bring hope to the people of Mayoyao, Aguinaldo, Asipulo and Alfonso Lista to whose lives the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan have committed to make a difference through good and responsive governance.
A declaration of a State of Calamity is resorted to do social justice. The provincial government failed to declare a State of Calamity in Ifugao when typhoon Lando hit the province a few years ago. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan should rectify past errors and reverse injustices committed in prejudice against the casualties in Hungduan town. People will surely never forget!
In failing to place Ifugao under a State of Calamity during typhoon Lando’s wrath, the provincial government has ignored all the established norm of handling a major problem, and also disregarded the expert opinion of the local government units for taking such a position. As a result, many were deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to be entitled to recover from such a calamity thus, be given a second lease of life. In the absence of such declaration, typhoon victims will have to make do with any means all by themselves. In other words, invariably they were told: “Bahala na kayo sa buhay ninyo!”
Typhoon Lando wreaked havoc across northern Luzon on October of 2015 and left 48 people dead, 68 injured, four missing (presumed dead) and destroyed Php 11 billion in agricultural crops and infrastructure. Believe it or not: the total QRF allocation amounted to Php 6.7 billion. Yet, the powers-that-be in Ifugao opted to ignore the clamor to declare a State of Calamity. To my mind, this is the height of irresponsibility!
By declaring a State of Calamity in Ifugao last Sep. 25, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is sending a profound message that it is responding quickly to the pressing needs of the people. It just wasted such opportunity for no reason at all. Placing the province under such a status sometime in October is something else. It is too little, too late!
Improved adherence to good and responsive governance meant a lot to the poor and marginalized because greater opportunities are created for them to recover in critical or emergency situations.
Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno is one of the three senatorial candidates of the LP in next year’s midterm polls.
He is the son of the late senator Jose “Pepe” W. Diokno. Diokno is chairman of the Free Legal Assistance (FLAG) and founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law. FLAG was founded in 1974 by Diokno’s father, a foremost nationalist, and also former senators Lorenzo Tanada Sr. and Joker Arroyo. Its lawyers defended the countless government officials, journalists, activists, students, laborers and farmers who were arrested, detained, tortured or summarily executed during martial law.
Diokno achieved his greatest prominence as a human rights lawyer. Proven performance would surely help candidates stand out and get voters’ attention. I see no reason then why Atty. Diokno should not be given the opportunity to serve the people in such capacity.
A good number of Filipinos have scoffed at the prospect of having more clowns and crooks at the Senate. This is an excellent chance for the electorate to put someone who is competent and not corrupt.
Competence and integrity are issues that the voters must face squarely and something that the media should prepare the electorate to deal with, both in preventing the occurrence of putting into office actors who are ill-prepared for the job of crafting laws and instead end up in trouble with the law and protecting the image of the Senate as a cornerstone of “check and balance” system of democracy. This simply requires an “enlightened choice” when casting a ballot.
I also got the information recently from a reliable source that Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) Administrator and CEO Raul Lambino is eyeing a slot in the ruling PDP-Laban Senate slate. Atty. Lambino is concurrent Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon. He hails from Pozorrubio, Pangasinan. An advocate of federalism, Atty. Lambino is a relative of mine. I’m hoping and praying for his inclusion in the said political party for a simple reason. It isn’t because of blood ties but, because he is well-qualified for the position. He is a visionary leader. He has a heart and compassion to improve the conditions of farmers. The Senate needs fresh faces. Secretary Lambino should be a welcome addition to the upper chamber of Congress.
Blooper in Ifugao: A mini-grocery in Lagawe posted this sign just near its entrance: Leave all your bags here. An elderly woman left her handbag at the so-called baggage counter. When she was about to pay her purchase, she went back to the counter to get her wallet at the bag. The male personnel assigned at the counter made the mistake of interchanging two handbags. She got a bag with no wallet in it.
A tip for success: Seriously discuss any plan to expand or diversify one’s business. It will be practical and productive in the long run, most especially during these rather difficult economic times. For it simply involves lots of money at every turn.
For our food delights corner: It is time for Paksiw na Bangus (milkfish), Bagnet from Ilocos Sur and sautéed beef broccoli. Don’t forget the steamed rice. This is great for lunch or dinner. Your family or loved ones won’t let this delicious meal be taken for granted.
For appetizers and dessert: bring out the best of yumpanada. This is simply your home-cooked empanada with a generous mixed of ground beef, potatoes and carrots. A yumpanada is unique, personal and created by anybody who truly relishes a true empanada treat. Make it our yummy empanada. This is a favorite of mine for a number of years. This is certainly a wonderful item with a slice of papaya and chilled mango juice on the side. Again, say your prayer for all the blessings at the time. This is what the Almighty Creator is waiting from you each meal time.
Finally, a thought for our readers: “”Let your face shine on us, O Lord, and we shall be saved.” Ps 80; 2ac and 3b, 15-16**

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