Five on Imee’s mind

While I am not exactly into numerology, the number five is meaningful to me. Herdy, Herdz, and Yumul each has five letters. I was born on the fifth of June. I am the fifth among five siblings. I weigh 55 kg. and stand 5’5”. I live in Brgy. 5 in a street named after a politician whose first and last names each have five letters, and our house number is, you guessed it, No. 5, too. When I published my first book, it had five chapters containing a total of 55 essays handpicked by The He(a)rd Mentality team which had five core members.

The number five apparently runs deep in Governor Imee Marcos’s consciousness these days. She has been campaigning (harder than ever before, say insiders) to ensure victory for all of her five candidates for board member in Ilocos Norte’s first district. Imee’s energy is unmatched even by youth volunteers who are literally panting in their effort to catch up with Manang as her team One Ilocos Norte hits the campaign trail, traversing town after town, barangay after barangay, home after home, pressing as much flesh as she humanly could.


Congressman Rudy Fariñas, unopposed like the governor, is campaigning hard, too, but only for her daughter Ria who is eyeing a seat in the provincial board. Rudy is believed to be concentrating on Ria’s campaign which explains why the candidacy of his son Carlos for the Laoag City vice mayor’s post has been virtually shelved. While Carlos has not officially withdrawn, we have not heard any activity going for him over the past month.

You should remember, dear karikna,  that Rudy is now out of the “One Ilocos Norte” the Marcos and Fariñas families forged in 2010. Intramurals within the Fariñas Dynasty has led to an apparent showdown between Rudy and Imee. Continue reading “Five on Imee’s mind”

Keon withdraws; who benefits?

In an unexpected move, Michael Keon has withdrawn from the Mayoralty race in Laoag yesterday, saying he does not want to be the cause of division within the Marcos Family. It was widely believed that while Ilocos Norte Governor Imee, hugely popular and unopposed,  endorses thecandidacy of Chevylle Fariñas, incumbent mayor Michael’s wife, the rest of the family—Madame Imelda, Senator Bongbong, and Ms. Irene—are behind Keon. There were also speculations that Ms. Imee will eventually junk Chevylle and help pick up the political pieces for her first cousin whom she beat, with a thrashing margin, in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Michael Keon’s candidacy was already gaining a lot of steam, especially among those who have grown tired of Fariñases, especially in recent months when family members have become fierce political enemies. Keon’s withdrawal is bittersweet news for the Fariñas Clan. While this would surely mean a more bitter infighting within them, Keon’s resignation also means one thing: the next mayor of the City of Laoag will still be a Fariñas.

So, who benefits from this development? For sure, the Marcos endorsement became stronger and more credible, and those who subscribe to the mantra of “One Ilocos Norte” and want to make sure that the mayor of Laoag is Governor Imee’s ally so that programs and projects in the pipeline can go without kinks might turn to Chevylle.

However, we also have to understand that supporters of Keon are not supporters of the incumbent. Meaning, the mere fact that they were supporting Keon and not the current mayor’s wife means they were looking for an alternative. Continue reading “Keon withdraws; who benefits?”

No typical nerd: Meet Dane Calica, summa cum laude


He regularly plays DoTA, watches cartoons on television, spends long hours with his barkada, and nurtures a vibrant love life.

But Dane Mikhael S. Calica is no ordinary boy. He will lead the 1,926-strong Mariano Marcos State University Class of 2013 in the Commencement Exercises to be held, April 3, at the university’s Sunken Garden. Making history, he is only the second MMSU Summa Cum Laude since the university’s birth in 1978. The late Gemma Ulep, who finished accountancy in 1999, was first.

Calica obtained a General Weighted Average of 1.1994. His transcript of records, peppered mostly with 1.0s and 1.25’s, shows that his lowest grade was a 2.0 in Invetebrate Zoology from Prof. Wilnorie Rasay. He has 1.75 in three subjects: Entomology and Comparative Anatomy, also both under Mr. Rasay, and English 2 under Dr. Aurora Reyes.

In 2009, Calica graduated as first honorable mention at the Ilocos Norte National High School-Special Science Class. When this Laoag City native took the MMSU College Freshmen Admission Test, his score of 156 was highest among around 5,000 hopefuls from various provinces in Northern Luzon.

An advice

In his speech during the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Graduation Ball, March 21, Calica shared that an unsolicited advice given him early on helped define his college life. He was referring to this writer who did a story on the CFAT topnotcher. I was sure that Dane is intelligent but, because he shunned extra curricular activities in high school, the reason why he graduated only third in rank despite having the highest grade average, I had doubts as to whether he would fully enjoy what a university education has to offer. After the interview, I told Dane that there is so much to learn outside the four-cornered classroom and that he should aspire for a well-balanced college life. I also told him that our people expects him to do great things and so he should use his gifts well. He did not say anything. The incoming nursing freshman just let out a shy smile.

Continue reading “No typical nerd: Meet Dane Calica, summa cum laude”


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Herdy Yumul

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