Vol. XX No. 40

December 13, 2000

Virac, Catanduanes


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The Catanduanes Tribune

Rawis, Virac


Philippines - 5001

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   or 811-2640

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Edwin A. Gianan




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Calgary, Canada





by Fernan A. Gianan


For an enduring Cheers

This Saturday, the Christmas Cheers opens its 15th season with the usual motorcade around the poblacion and another magnificent performance by CSC’s Hablon Dawani.

When the 13-day festival was conceptualized by Msgr. Ping Molina in the mid-80s, with the support of the Marriage Encounterers and the Catanduanes Tribune, little did organizers know that it would grow into an event that is anticipated not only in Virac but also in Metro Manila. From its humble beginnings at the cathedral patio to its new home at Plaza Rizal, it has become part of the local culture and tradition, with a night at the Cheers a must for all children.

It has undergone changes, some unfortunate. There used to be makeshift stalls selling snacks and beer. Now there are more than 30, peddling anything from fruits to pulutan along with gin and other hard drinks. There used to be gift-giving. Now, the costs of running the show have severely limited the options of organizers. Now, they have been driven to ask for donations from the public and all those who love celebrating Christmas. In the span of 15 years, the Cheers have gone from a purely voluntary effort to one which cost P71,000 to stage last year.

We say there are advantages of converting the Cheers into a foundation so it can go begging around in a more dignified and legal manner. The effort would cost at least P50,000, which is what SEC demands as capital of any foundation.

Perhaps, if the response of the public and civic-spirited citizens and businesses would be encouraging (with one wealthy donor giving a sizeable sum), the Cheers organizers would be able to stage it in such a way that its original flavor – the taste of the patio shows – would be recaptured. Any takers?

An early morning show on cable – the National Geographic Channel – featured last Monday an African with an idea that won the Rolex Award.

Frustrated by the loss of vegetables and other foodstuff wilting in the desert heat, he invented the Desert Cooler, a refrigerator that uses no electricity and is as efficient in preserving food.

Essentially, the cooler consists of two big clay pots, similar to what rural Pinoys use for storing water. One of the pots is smaller than the other by at least 4 inches in diameter and is inserted into the bigger pot. The space in between is filled up with wet river sand. The vegetables would go into the bigger pot, with the opening covered with a suitable lid.

According to idea man Mohammed Ben Abbah, the evaporation of the water from the wet sand makes the inner pot cooler and preserves the foodstuff for as long as three weeks as long as the sand is kept wet.

There are topics like this, useful and educational, that abound in television. We do not learn of them because we are too addicted to entertainment, movie gossips, fake wrestling matches, the travails of Mexican actresses, basketball and MTV.

The war of attrition between Governor Hector S. Sanchez and Congressman Leandro B. Verceles, Jr. is not doing anything good aside from enriching local attorneys.

It has turned the provincial board into a battleground, with its members trampling public interest as they fight for their masters. Vital measures are held hostage, with the people denied the use of their own money from the 20% Economic Development Fund for two years now.

Even other agencies are not spared, with key officials of the DPWH district office here spending sleepless nights as alleged ghost projects are probed by the NBI. Both main protagonists are digging up dirt on each other and particles of garbage are flung all around.

Civility and respect for public office are gone. What the pair has demonstrated so far has been their capacity to endure pain and the lengths to which they would go to amass power.

Perhaps, we can find others decent, capable and of good nature to lead our province out of its political abyss. Maybe we can start voting without money in our hands?





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