I brought my kids to the Open Capitol activity held Feb. 2 in celebration of the 194th Founding Anniversary of the Province of Ilocos Norte. Eighty Accountancy Students enrolled in Sociology 1 (Society and Culture, which I teach) formed part of the estimated 7,000 visitors who trooped to the Capitol that day. The tour to the province’s seat of power was timely as we were just about to begin our classroom discussions on government as a social institution.

Here, dear karikna, are some of the observations and insights of my students.


I am so grateful that I finally had the chance to see what’s inside our very own capitol. We were toured inside by the ever lovely Manang Cleng (Clenntroy Guzman of the Communication and Media Office). Her energy and dynamism made our trip very memorable. She shared jokes while we explored every office of the Capitol and she even got us food stubs after. Manang Cleng, a self-confessed ambisyosa, introduced us to heads of offices and elected provincial officials. She encouraged us to take pictures at every nook and cranny of the majestic structure. As she treated us in a very special way, we felt that we were VIPs even for a moment.

Honestly, I thought the tour will be boring but I was wrong. I thought that visiting the different departments won’t mean anything. I realize now that it was a meaningful exercise in transparency and participatory democracy.

As we went along the trail, something caught my eye. It was the plan for the different tourist spots in Ilocos Norte prepared by someone named Palafox and his associates. I was amazed by the novel ideas depicted in the drawings. I never imagined a restaurant near the Cape Bojeador and a floating diner near the mangroves in Pasuquin. I was really glad to know all of these plans which will surely make our beloved Ilocos Norte even more famous and progressive.

Indeed, the Open Capitol opened my heart to new possibilities. So proud to be from this province. Julian Marie Lorenz “Jolo” Alipio


I was really surprised that the Capitol, a symbol of strength and unity of our people, was even more beautiful in the inside than its view from the outside. …However, infrastructure and materials alone do not complete the tour. The most important component is the people who work dedicatedly. Walk at any corner of that building and a smile would welcome you. Officials and employees of the Capitol were always ready to answer our questions. They even cracked jokes and laughed with us. Many of them joyfully said, “taga-MMSU talaga dagitoy, nariringgorda.” Provincial Administrator Windell Chua was there and he even offered as summer jobs. He talked to us as if he is not a person in power. We also met and took photos with Vice Governor Angelo Barba right at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Hall. He was very accommodating and had a jolly face. Kristel Mae Sison


I was standing at a corner when Governor Imee Marcos walked towards me (my heart thumped wildly!) and asked, “May tao pa ba sa office ko, anak?” I answered, “Yes, ma’am.” Chuckling, the governor said, ahy, sige, tingnan ko nga muna sila at rarampa pa ako.” Ma’am Imee also asked me about my studies at MMSU. As an ordinary student, I really felt overwhelmed and honored. I discovered that aside from being pretty and brilliant, the governor is also very approachable and warmhearted, qualities which I think are infectious, as everyone we met at the capitol were so kind and hospitable. They were not at all the grumpy and snobbish people I always imagined them to be. Maria Loreto Vallejo


(One student, however, is not amused by the fanfare. Whether or not you agree with him, you just have to appreciate his youthful candor, the depth of his insights, and his healthy dose of cynicism.)

Even if they were accommodating, fact remains that Philippine government is one of the most corrupt and inept in the world. It is still the government which has a share in every single property in the country (even candies are taxed!), the government that doesn’t listen to the people yet calls itself democratic. We were thankful that they gave us free food, but we remain “hungry” for answers. Kevin Elrey Arce


We really appreciated it so much that Capitol employees prepared short lectures about the nature and flow of work in their respective offices, and they did it in a way that simple folks and students like us could easily understand. The Accounting Office even gave us pencils which we will surely treasure as we hold on to our dreams of being CPAs someday, and of being able to serve our nation through honest-to-goodness work.


At the treasury, the ‘Sir’ there opened the vault to show us the money, a lot of money! He also let us hold bundles of it. He said that it is so possible for us to have that amount of wealth, even more, if we work hard. Then, as if it were holy water, he tapped the bundles of money on our heads to bless us. Very funny.  Frances Lyka Baris


Seeing Governor Imee Marcos, all smiles and very sincere, made me feel like a person who was just saved from a typhoon. Mary Anne Agcaoili










Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

15 thoughts on “OPEN”

  1. Kevin Arce was my high school batch mate and I’m not surprised with his answer.hahaha, and yes, everyone should be hungry for answers!

      1. I’ll take that as a complement :)) haha. I know that with sociologists like you sir, students would developed that sensibility to within society, and later on, our nation.

        Lastly, I believe that with Gov. Imee at the helm, Ilocos Norte is on the right track to another shot at greatness :))

  2. Was laughing when I read this. The student was referring to the Tourism Master Plan prepared by Palafox and Associates, a premier architectural firm.

    “As we went along the trail, something caught my eye. It was the plan for the different tourist spots in Ilocos Norte prepared by someone named Palafox and his associates.”


  3. Hi Mr.Yumul,

    Una po sa lahat maraming salamat sa pag publish ng inyong libro.Hindi po ako akademiko ngunit mahilig po ako magbasa ng mga libro. At ilan sa mga paksa ng iyong mga sinulat ay mga bagay na gusto ko ipamahagi ngunit wala po ako Kredibilidad o sa madaling sabi hindi po ako nakapagtapos.ganun pa man hindi ko dun tinapos ang
    aking pag intindindi at pag unawa sa pilosopiya at literatura.Ako po ay nabahala at lubos na namangha ng ipabasa ko sa mga tao na nakapgtapos ang inyo libro.Marami po sa kanila ang hindi nakakakilala kay
    Friedrich Nietzsche at Kay Karl Marx.ISa sa mga patunay na naging biktima ang henerasyon na nakalipas sa Teknolohiya na mapanlinlang(social network).Ganun pa man ako po ay umaasa na magkaroon ng paksa mula sa inyo tungkol sa pag balik at pag linang ng kaalaman na napabayaan.

    Hinihingi ko din po na magkaroon ng paksa tungkol sa minoridad na ating mga kababayan tulad ng mga muslim,sila po yun mga tao na nakalimutan,at di lubus na nauunawaan ang relihyon ng nakakarami dito sa atin lipunan.

    Marami salamat po at pag ibayuhin nyo po ang pag linanang sa ating mga kababayan

    1. Hello, Abdullah..

      Hindi ako naniniwalang wala kang kredibilidad nang dahil lamang sa hindi ka nakapagtapos. Sayang naman kung hindi mo ibahagi ang iyong mga kaisipan. Batid ko, mula sa iyong panulat, ang katapatan ng iyong mga adhikain at ang tunay na pagpapahalaga sa karunungan.

      Salamat sa iyong mga mungkahi. Inaasahan kong makapagsulat tungkol sa mga paksang iyong nabanggit. Nagkataon na kamakaila’y bumisita ako (kasama ang aking mga estudyante sa Race and Ethnicity, isang major subject sa sociology) sa Muslim Village, sa Brgy 1, Laoag City. Maraming mga makabuluhang datos at kaisipan ang aming natamo doon, at nawa’y maisulat ko sa madaling panahon.

      Muli, salamat.

  4. Mr.Yumul,

    Hinihingi ko po ang paumanhin dahil wala po sa topc ang aking mensahe.Ako po ay ksalukuyan naninirah dito po dito po sa Laoag

  5. Hi Mr Yumul,

    Ako po ay isa inyong taga hanga o taga suporta.Ako po ay nagulat at nagtanong sa akin sarili kung bakit kailangan natin ipagdiwang ang fiesta ng Pamulinawen?Isa ito sa paksa ng iyong libro titled “pamulinawen
    and the festival epidemic”St.William as the patron Saint of Laoag as you have mentioned in your book.Ito po sa aking pananaw ay isang Spaniards remnants of of Ideology.Hindi po ako sumulat dito para tuligsain o kontrahin
    ang inyong palatuntunan.nandito po ako para hilingingin sa inyo na gumawa ng isang paksa na mag lilimita sa nakagawian natin na ipinamana ng mga Kastila na nag bigay sa atin ng limitasyon para magdesisyon,mabuhay,at maging malaya sa ano man paniniwala.

    Maraming Salamat po

    1. Hello, Abdullah, hindi ko naman ibig sabihin na ilimita ang ating mga sarili sa kung ano ang ipinunla ng mga kastila sa ating kamalayan. Ang sa akin lang, kung bubuo tayo ng mga Festival, sana ay tunay na makabuluhan para sa mga taumbayan, at dapat ay nakaugat sa ating kultura. Sabog pa kasi ang konsepto ng Pamulinawen Festival kaya’t marapat na pag-usapan at hubugin upang tunay itong magkasaysay.

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