By JUNE S. BLANCO
ONE more step to go, and the Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado’s bill upgrading the bed capacity of the Don Emilio del Valle Memorial Hospital (DEDVMH) will be transmitted for approval by the President.
The Senate has approved on third and final reading the counterpart bill sponsored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian upping the hospital’s bed capacity from 50 to 300 – with the attendant improvement of its buildings, equipment, staff.
Aumentado thanks Gatchalian and Committee on Health Chair JV Ejercito for the supporting his move at the Lower House.
The bill is now en route to the bicameral conference committee for consolidation and polishing prior to transmittal to the Office of the President.
Aumentado said slowly but surely, “We are getting there (upgrading)!”
He said in its current state, the hospital is getting congested because patients coming not only from the 2nd District, but the 3rd District also, as well as from the island municipality of President Carlos P. Garcia and even Southern Leyte choose to be treated or confined there.
Aumentado attributes this to the improved facilities and better services the hospital now offers on account of its ongoing modernization program.
He said the Del Valle hospital has come a long way from its moniker “del valle-bad” (balibad is to decline) because its previously poor facilities cannot handle emergency needs like Caesarian sections or stab and gunshot wounds.
Through the years, however, started by the solon’s namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor, former governor Erico Boyles Aumentado, the hospital has established dialysis units, expanded its obstetrics and gynecology department, improved its administration building and services, acquired a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment – the first government hospital hereabouts to offer this service, and is now International Standards Organization (ISO) certified.
Aumentado of Bohol’s2nd District
(center), andSenators Sherwin
Gatchalian (right)and JV Ejercito are
now poised for the bicameral
conference consolidate the versions of
both Houses of Congress pushing for
the upgrade of the Don Emilio del Valle
Memorial Hospital in Ubay (above), for
approval by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Gatchalian sponsored the bill in the
Senate. Ejercito chairs the Committee
on Health. Photos: Facebook
That ubiquitous ubi solemnly embellishing the popular Pinoy halo-halo, may soon be lost, thanks to a culture that looks down on the hardwork and perseverance of ubi-farmers, being low class, dirty nailed slaves of the land.
Bohol has gained over 200,000 kilos of ubi in the past year, according to data cited by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.
The figure however is yet to be shown in the local markets as there have not been much of the 200,000 kilos, enough to flood the markets with the purple or the white yam.
On the 18thUbi Festival here, there is enough reason to believe that ubi could possibly vanish in the next generation.
Here for generations immemorial, ubi has endeared itself to Boholanos, that the crop sits on a pedestal along with some faint objects associated with the pagan animist faith. It is so defined in some family altars during the padogmak (harvest thanksgiving) which also coincides with the All Saints and All Souls day.
But how did the ubi get there?
According to scientific research, ubi(DioscoreaAlatasp) was said to be brought in by THE Austranesian cultures. But the natives have another story for this.
A drought which lasted for months practically killed almost all the food plants. The natives found vines with traces of green or purple towards the roots, and they started digging it up.
Out came the ubi, a food natives believed was provided by the gods of the forest and the gods of the land.
And true enough, it is seasonal and survives towards the last months of the year.
As it is, farmers who have not really been into the industry said the crop is just too delicate to be gambled in. But more importantly, a crop that has attained an ethno-religious elevation is not something to gamble on.
So why is this so?
Domesticated by the natives as a crop which they also introduced to the Spaniards and no sooner, the first ubi made its transatlantic crossing for Europe, to the galleon trades as a exotic product for Europe.
Extensively cultivated from generations, over time, farm families tried to uncover the secrets to a successful pamanlin, anything that adds up to the efforts during harvest they secretly bequeath the folk knowledge on the manner of nurturing the crop, all also knowing that not all farmers are gifted with the hardwork, patience and the perseverance of a saint.
Guarding the secrets like family heirlooms is understandable;with each family picking their own set of perceived beliefs and the resulting harvest.
Cultivated in kaingin patches, ubi is grown from diced tubers, laid in especially dug hutok (holes) laid with a weave of dried leaves, rice straw, banana leaves and sometimes dried sargassum and burning refuse.
And that is getting ahead of the story.
This year, while the OPA reported 200,000 kilos more, farm technicians agree that young farmers, which are fewer, do not put the ubi among their typical options, for several reasons.
Ubi farming is courting failure more than mastering the art of the unknown. And it entails a whole lot of sacrifice, which unfortunately is on bankruptcy levels among younger farmers.
For how could one be as careless when even picking the ubi patch from a secondary growth forest or thick bushes has to be meticulously weighed.
The slope must be considered, ubi thrives in areas where theire is sufficient drainage and water does not gather, this will rot the tubers, a plant disease farmers call as bonggak.
Another consideration is that the patch must have tall bushes that can support the harug (trellis) where the ubi vines can crawl and hang. Primary among the consideration is an abandoned bamboo patch, as the bamboo roots age great aerators. Some also pick abandoned dwellings.
Having selected this, the farmer leaves the area and comes back a few days later to bring an offering to the ‘owners of the land,” one that may be a whole boiled chicken without salt, a roll of tobacco, or anything that may endear him to the spirits so they would allow him to use the land.
Days later, the farmer starts to clean up the undergrowth, carefully leaving some tall shrubs that can be the support for the katayan.
Then he starts digging hutok (planting mounds), carefully digging out the rocks and stones that can wound the ubi. Each hutokcan be a foot in diameter and a foot deep. Mounds cango as much as over a thousand, or a few hundreds.
After completing this, he leaves the farm to gather dried coconut leaves for the hampas. Each coconut leaf, he piles one on top of the other over the entire patch, making sure each mound is covered. This can mean hundreds of dried coconut leaves.
And in one late afternoon after completing laying the dried leaves, he starts burning the coconut leaves from the lowest point of the patch. The fire crawls up and eventually consumes all the dried coconut, leaving some shrubs standing but dead. Burning assured all pests are killed and the ash helps treat the soil.
By the next week, he starts the arduous task of digging out the soil from each mound, replacing it with a good amount of dried banana leaves, a weave of coconut husk, ash, sea weeds, and more dried leaves falling from the burnt bushes.
Meanwhile, in his pinsa or kamalig where he keeps the aerated binhi, he picks the best kinds and uses the sharpest knife to cut diced sitt, about two fingers in width, which would go to each of the hutok. A sharp knife, accordingly would be less harmful as this does not bruise the seedling.
A kilo of guha (diced sitt) can produce over ten kilos of ubi harvest, but that in fact is no stunning motivation to young farmers who would rather dream of some office over the toiling backbreaking and laborious ubi farming.
On one late afternoon, the farmer, sometimes accompanied by the wife, treks to the patch and selects three mounds forming a tripod. He may or ask the wife to plant the first three mounds, carefully invoking the spirits to bless the seedlings, make it as big and possibly one that cracks when cooked. These that cracked are accordingly the sweetest. This is palihi.
A week later, sometime in early May to early June, gathering all these diced sitts to the farm, he, along with a good number of neighbors who join the communal planting called hungos, trek to the ubi patches, this would be timed when the moon is full, and on the waning side and not just anytime.
Some families forbid the farmers from talking too much during the planting, careful not to offend the wounded ubi, carefully laying two sits on the woven coconut husk, or dried banana leaves and then putting in the dug soil back, making sure it forms a mound to drain the rain and keep the sitt from rotting.
When everything is planted, it is now the sole responsibility of the farmer to visit his ubihan and check if the seedlings start to germinate. The moment the green shoots emerge from the mounds, he starts putting up the trellis, which he leans upon the remaining bushes. When this is done, he makes it his daily mid-afternoon to late afternoon ritual to produce some smoke from burning grasses to drive away grasshoppers and pests that feed on the shoots.
Ubi patches during these stages must not be approached, as soon as the shoots are touched, they sulk and won’t grow anymore. The same is true when it is raining or in the early mornings. As the ubi vines start to climb the katayan, care must be exercised so as not to touch them. If in case a harug falls, the farmer must slowly fix the trellis, careful not to wound the vine or affect other plants. Especially by August to September when the ubi would be at its fastest growth rate.
By the last week of November, the farmer goes back to the palihi mound, digs the first three mounds using a wooden panlin, (stake used to dig the ubi)nadthen goes to the last mound planted and also digs the tuber.
These make up the first harvest, and would be forming part of the altar offering, the rest goes to the padogmak, cooked into nilunaw, boiled or simply inanag and displayed uncovered in the padogmak table and left.
Eating these can only happen after each family member returns after visiting their dead. There is the belief that the spirits and the souls of the departed, especially the elder farmers would partake of the food prepared on the padogmak table spread.
The farmer gain returns to the ubi patch as soon as the vine’s leaves start to wilt and dry. This signals the pamanlin season.
This is again another time for the hungos, a communal help scheme where every available farmer helps in the harvest.
The harvesters also make sure they do not just stab the mound and wound or bruise the ubi, each harvest piled and the kids, carrying small bukag (bamboo baskets) gather these to a clearing where the owner keeps tabs of the harvest, an ash bowl on hand and immediately applying a thin paste of ash over the ubi woundor where there is skinning: this cauterizes the wound and stops the karma from the ubi. This also allows the ubi to be stored despite a would that could start the rotting, when unattended, This also goes as payment to the farmers joining the hungos.
When all else is done, the farmer then picks the best harvest, this would comprise the next cropping’s sitt.
And the cycle of life of the ubi starts again.
And this is what the young farmers do not want to be engaged in.
If you now relish on the kinampay and baligonhon, the iniling, binanag, kabus-ok, gimnay, tam-isan and still several other varieties, savor it for it may be getting harder to look for that same homey Bol-anon taste in the next generation. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Farm technician Guillermo Lupas, 56, of LibjoSikatuna Bohol agree that there is a diminishing number of ubiadoptors, which could drastically reduce the harvest and contribute to the sad fate of the ubi. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Culture bearer icons of the seven arts: Music, Dance, Drama, Literature, Visual Arts, Architecture, and Film from all over the country descent to Bohol for the National Arts Month in February.
These cultural icons would be joined by Boholanos who have trained in the styes of artistic luminaries as National Artist Napoleon Abueva, poet statesman Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, the Loboc Children’s Choir, the Loboc Youth Ambassadors Band, the Dimiao Children’s Rondalla, Film Director Maryo J. de los Reyes, actor Cesar Montano, Luke Mijares, painters Nene Lungay and RicRamasola, poetess MarjEvasco, composer Joseph Gara, the Diwanag Dance Theater, HNU Chorale, the Tagbilaran City Choir, Alicia Children Bamboo Ensemble, BAJI, KAKA, Noel Tuason, the DepEd Special Program for the Arts, MarianitoLuspo, ReighMonreal, Cocoy Ponte, Henri Cainglet, Sam Penaso, Leo Abaya, Orlando Pabotoy Jr., the KASING SINING TeatroBol-anon Ensemble who are now blazing a trail for others to witness and for dreamers to follow.
It may be recalled that these disciplines blossomed in Bohol since the past decades through a long-stretches of programs of activities that help locals actualize their potentials and using the arts as a form of expression of a nation.
The artistic wealth of Bohol and the creative ingenuity of its people and communities have been proverbial and legendary, according toBohol cultural icopn and multi awarded film director and composer Lutgardoilabad.
It is not a hyperbole to say that seeds of creative genius lie ingrained in many a Boholano’s veins and heart. It was in the mid-90s however that the seedbed of a programmatic progress to empower Boholano artistry was installed, germinating from the Relampagos-Chatto administration, continuing in the Aumentado governance reaching a major summit in the current Chatto administration, he recalled as he pointed out the Bohol cultural renaissance.
As tribute to this singular achievement, the Provincial Government of Bohol, through its Center for Culture and Arts Development (CCAD), in cooperation with the City Government of Tagbilaran, the National Museum Branch of Bohol, and the Bohol Arts Culture and Heritage Council (BACH), is paying tribute to the Seven (7) Arts in February.
Movie icons, Liza Dino-Seguerra, Chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and award-winning Theater Actor and Drama and Film Director Joel Lamangan(MIFF 2019 Best Film Director for Rainbow Sunset) will grace the opening of the Bohol Arts Month on February 6, at 9:00 AM at the Bohol Cultural Center. They will speak on the Art of Film and its potential in expanding the creative industries of Bohol, Labad said.
In the afternoon, Dino-Seguerra will conduct a seminar on the Programs of the FDCP to enrich the direction of the Bohol Film Commission, followed by a special screening of an award-winning movie.
For the arts of Dance, Music, and Literature: a Creative Movement EURYTHMY Workshop with Switzerland-based PETA artist JOSE PURISIMA; a Musical Showcase at the Meridian Hotel on February 16; A Dance Showcase on February 21; a Music Theater Voice Workshop with American artist Allison Englanc and a Yoga Training Workshop with Guillaume Morgan from France from February 24-March 2; Heritage and Arts TALKS at the National Museum Branch of Bohol.
For the arts of Theater and Drama: An International Playwriting Workshop with playwright –teachers from Europe and USA from February 25-27; and a Visayan-wide Theater Festival and Congress with 7 theater groups from all over the region, with performances and demonstrations towards the establishing of a Philippine Theater Academy.
The City Government of Tagbilaran will also hold the following activities: Arts Contests in the morning of February 28 at the Island City Mall Activity Center in the following fields: Balak, Kuradang de Saulog, Fruit Carving, Saulog Head Dress Making. In the afternoon, activities at the Salazar Monument in Ubujan are scheduled, namely: Awarding of Contest Winners, Turn Over of City Cultural Mapping Results, Ribbon Cutting of Capt. Salazar Monument and excerpts from the Capt. Salazar Musical. (PIA)
By JUNE S. BLANCO
REP. Erico Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado has exhorted the 2nd District mayors to update their respective Comprehensive Land Use Plans (CLUPs) – ensuring that these are aligned with the District Economic Master Plan (DEMP).
Aumentado said the updated CLUPs must consider the development and progress of the towns in 10 to 20 years, including the inevitable expansion of the needs for growth centers.
These include markets and malls, bus terminals, seaports, airport and other infrastructure, along with the widening of the road network. The expected boom in population must also be inputted.
More people will need more vehicles, more spare parts and bigger parking spaces and terminals, more farm produce, bigger markets with more products offered for sale, fast food stores, and eateries ranging from carinderias to restaurants, boarding houses and hotels, even more classrooms, bigger infirmaries or hospitals, housing projects, and power, water, and telecommunications utilities, among others.
From three to four buses at a time, Aumentado said the mayors should, as early as now, think of terminals that can accommodate from 10 to 50 buses, with proper ticketing and pre-departure areas.
The towns should also conduct inventories and identify their tourism potentials and the accompanying road requirements.
Buildings must not be randomly constructed. Building officials must see to it that they set back construction according to road classification, otherwise, this will pose a problem when the local government unit (LGU) decides to widen the road.
Aumentado said on top of paying the owners for their property now encroaching into the road right-of-way, they might ask for payment anew for the improvements.
The solon said only when these infrastructure are established will a place be attractive to potential investors.
More often than not, he said, investors pour money only into businesses that they are currently involved in. When they find a locale’s business climate to be suitable, they tend to expand. When they feel the business environment to be friendly, they may venture into new but related businesses.
Putting up infrastructure like seaports, airports, roads and bridges, telecommunications will definitely make a place inviting to locators.
He said these will facilitate the transport going in and out of the locality of goods for raw materials and finished products for marketing.
Harmonizing the towns’ development plans, he said, augurs well for the synchronized and well spread development of the district.
Not only is Tuesday February 5 a red letter day because it is a special non-working day being the Chinese New Year, but also a real red letter day with Chinese giving out the traditional red envelops, donning on red dresses and putting up red decorations; red being a symbol of happiness and good luck.
Other than red decorations in lanterns, posters, red-wrapped gifts, envelops and dragon and lion dances, the celebrations actually start on the ever with a reunion dinner where families partake on tikoy, masi, dumpling and fireworks, lots of it.
Already declared a special non-working holiday in the Philippine through Proclamation 555 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte August 15, 2018, the Chinese New Year is also called the Chinese Spring Festival and is revered and celebrated with festive events not only in China but in the Philippines as well, thus the non-working declaration.
The holiday declaration is also based on Republic Act 9492 which declared specific and movable dates as special or regular holidays.
Another similar holiday: a special non-working holiday comes again on the 25th of February, Monday, the day being the 33rd Anniversary of the EDSA People’s Power Revolution.
According to the declaration, the EDSA People Power declaration restored and ushered political, economic and social reforms in the country, thus the declaration.
For these special non-working days, a “no work, no pay” rule applies, according to the Department of labor and Employment (DOLE).
However, if, on the day of the holiday, a company forces an employee to report for work, or in the case of the employee opting to report for work, he gets a full pay plus 30% of his basic pay for the day, DOLE explained through its compensation guidelines for regular and special non-working holidays.
If the worker renders overtime, anything in excess of the 8 hour work, the worker gets 30% of the hourly rate for his rendered time of duty. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)