Tan-ok ni Edito, Tan-ok ni Vacie: Or why our Festival of Festivals is better off without ‘stage mayors’

Up, Sarrat Mayor Edito Balintona (left); Down, Bangui Mayor Salvacion Cimatu (center)

In her welcome remarks at the phenomenally successful Tan-ok ni Iocano Festival of Festivals, Nov. 17 at the Marcos Stadium in Laoag City, Governor Imee Marcos noted cheerfully that the delegations were well supported by their respective ‘stage mayors’, using the term in the same context as ‘stage mothers.’ Two mayors, however, went several steps further and took the stage, the center stage no less, and literally.

On a night of splendid dancing, heart-stopping stunts, and an overflow of Ilokano Talent, Honorable Edito Balintona, mayor of Sarrat, was no doubt the lousiest performer. Nearing the climax of his town’s Binakol Festival presentation, Balintona came out seated on top of a huge wooden structure, not unlike a parade float, together with a lady who, I would later learn, is his tourism officer, Dona Siazon. The mayor, who seemed at a loss, was seen being given instructions by Siazon as the performance went on, no doubt an insult to the efforts of dancers who attended painstaking practices for long hours so that they can perfect their act. But there was one thing the mayor did so well… wave at the crowd, a sea of humanity so huge it could have been impossible for him to resist the temptation of appearing on stage …to wave.

“What is their mayor doing there?” asked some spectators who also made comments that are too disrespectful to see print. Judges, sources say, gave Sarrat’s performance one of the lowest scores.

Honorable Salvacion “Vacie” Cimatu, mayor of the windmills town of Bangui, can surely dance. And I know she can sing as well. It was the second time she top-billed her town’s number. She performed, too, in last year’s inaugural edition of Tan-ok. Continue reading “Tan-ok ni Edito, Tan-ok ni Vacie: Or why our Festival of Festivals is better off without ‘stage mayors’”

Tonight: The Tan-okest Show on Earth

I never knew Dr. Shirley Agrupis had an inclination towards arts and culture. To begin with, she is a hard-nosed science professor educated abroad. Also, the lady is constantly busy either in conducting research on biofuels or in collaborating with foreign experts visiting our university. But she called me the other day asking about a festival that has need neither for microscopes nor test tubes.

“I am intrigued about that Tan-ok. I want to go,” she told me.

The other day, I spoke at a journalism workshop at Pasaleng National High School in Pagudpud. It is the farthest barangay in the northernmost town in this province at the tip of mainland Luzon. It takes a two-hour ride from Laoag City to get to that place which is a few ‘tumblings’ away from Cagayan province.

You would think they are secluded in their little paradise, but all the kids and teens there know about Tan-ok (which literally means greatness), and want to go watch if only they could.

Crystal Felipe is a medical technology freshman at the University of Sto. Tomas. Beauty and wit personified, she is focused on her studies. She does not let anything distract her from getting good grades and excelling in school.

But part of her mind will wander at the Marcos Stadium in Laoag City tonight, Nov. 17. This time, Crystal will only be in spirit at the event that gave her goose bumps, in most pleasant ways, last year.

Stories like these, dear karikna, make me realize that the Tan-ok ni Ilokano Festival of Festivals, a brainchild of Manang Imee Marcos, has arrived as the biggest show in the universe I live in. Everyone is abuzz about this year’s edition believed to be even grander than its debut last year. Continue reading “Tonight: The Tan-okest Show on Earth”

Imee: I fervently pray for the Fariñases

Fariñases all: Chevylle, Roger, and Carlos

Official Statement of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (11/11/12), some parts translated from Ilokano:

On this blessed Sunday, I fervently pray for the Fariñas family. Sana huwag tayong maging mapusok, kundi magpakahinahon sa gagawing desisyon. Huwag tayong lulundag sa pinakamadaling kompromiso na pagsisisihan natin sa huli. Naniniwala ako na may sapat pang panahon hanggang Disyember 21 na pwede nating gamitin upang makapag-isip ng tamang desisyon. Sana ang unahin ay ang ikabubuti ng mga taga-Laoag at ang kapakanan ng nakararami. Lubos akong naniniwala na dapat ang mga taga-Laoag mismo ang magdesisyon para sa kanilang kapakanan. Ang mahusay at mabuting pagsisilbi ay hindi lamang base sa apelyido o pamilyang pinanggalingan. Ang dapat unahin ay ang kakayanan at dunong upang maipaabot ang sapat na serbisyo sa publiko. Ipinagdarasal ko ang isang maunlad na kinabukasan para sa Laoag City at sa buong probinsiya.


By end of day of December 21, the last day for filing of substitution of candidates in next year’s midterm elections, we will know who really goes against who in the rowdiest circus that is the Philippine elections.

Pursuant to Comelec Resolution 9518, “if after the last day for the filing of COC’s, on October 5, 2012, an official candidate of a duly registered political party or coalition of political parties dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, he/she may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party.”

In the meantime, our people are holding their breath, especially in Laoag City where a four-cornered fight for the mayoralty post has emerged. The unprecedented Fariñas versus Fariñas versus Farinas intramurals for the city’s top post has been written in the history of local politics. This is the first time that members of this family, the political warlords in Laoag City, are going against each other in an election.

Chevylle Fariñas, the incumbent mayor’s wife, will go against his uncle-in-law Roger who had also served for three terms as Sunshine City’s chief executive. And then there is Carlos, son of incumbent 1st District Congressman Rudy Fariñas.

Former Ilocos Norte Governor Michael Keon also joined the race, plus Cesar Ventura, a former mayor, the only politico who has beaten a Fariñas in an election here.

The next few weeks, dear karikna, could be boggling for political pundits, thrilling for those who auction off their loyalties (and votes) … and sad for those who suck for family values.