Saturday, October 23, 2010

Living Legends

The Knights of Columbos honors 10 members who were able to serve the order for 30-40 years.

KofC Butuan and Agusan Council Chair Ponciano Joven lead in giving the plaques to the 2010 Living Legends with Monsignor Ruel Lasco

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sama Tawi-Tawi: Supply & Support Vessel Of Balangays

Another historical milestone for Butuan happened on July 16, 2010 when the 3rd Balangay boat was launched at Luna Compound, in Barangay Bading, Butuan City.
Christened Sama Tawi-Tawi, the boat functions as a supply and support vessel for the Balangay Diwata ng Lahi and Balangay Masawao Hong Butuan in their journey to the waters of Southeast Asia.

The design was patterned to the "kumpit", a trading and commercial boat of the Sulu Seas, made of wood with only a steel underbelly, having a dimension of 75 feet long, 15 feet wide and about 9 feet tall.

It also has an 85 horsepower diesel marine engine, kitchen, a bridge, sleeping quarters, enlarge storage bunks and two toilets.

The only similarity with the two other Balangays, Sama Tawi-Tawi has a mast near the bow to unfurl the colorful vinta-like sails, a famous symbol of the seafaring people of Mindanao.

Sama Tawi-Tawi, was named for the Sama people of Tawi-Tawi in Sibutu, who according to history is the last true bastion of the Badjao boat-builders.(photos by Sato Rayon, Butuan Balangay crew)

3 Balangays Off to Conquer Southeast Asia Seas

The pride of Butuan and Filipino people, credits to Fung Yu

Balangay Sama Tawi-Tawi credits to Ivy Amante

Balangay Diwata ng Lahi credits to Minda Ponce

Balangay Masawa Hong Butuan credits to Dr. Ted Esguerra

What was only a dream to recreate 1 Balangay to relive Philippine history turned out as an inspiration that 2 more were built and sailed towards international waters, hoping to reach China to become part of the World Expo 2010.

The 3-Balangays namely: Diwata ng Lahi, Masawa Hong Butuan and the latest is the Sama Tawi-Tawi have started their journey from Zamboanga port taking the 14,000 kilometer voyage to Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and China before going back to the Philippines.

"We want the balangays to not only be the source of unity for the country but also as a source of unity for the whole of Asia," said Art Valdez, team leader for The Voyage of the Balangay.

The Voyage of the Balangay started in Manila on September 1, 2009 and arrived in Zamboanga City on May 1 after 70 multi-port stopovers, covering 2,500 kilometers which lasted for 8 months.

The 3 boat flotillas are expected to reach Vietnam in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in September 2010.

The Balangays are also expected to dock in mainland China by mid-October for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

The World EXPO has provided an unparalleled opportunity for the tourism industry and an opportunity for Butuanons and the Filipino nation to feel with pride the message of Art Valdez who said: “We want the Balangays to not only be the source of unity for the country, but also as a source of unity for the whole of Asia.”

The theme of the exposition is "Better City – Better Life" and what it does to China hopefully will be trickled down to the Philippines....and perhaps to Butuan?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Masao Beach

El Rio de Butuan, now called Masao is the only beach in Butuan City known by its history as Magellan's Landing Site.

Every year on March 31, Butuan City celebrates MAZAUA DISCOVERY DAY to commemorate a historic milestone.

In 1995 a bill was filed by then Congresswoman Charito B. Plaza of Agusan del Norte claiming the Easter mass on March 31, 1521 was held at Butuan not Limasawa. The bill's contention was that the wooden boat called "balanghai" dug up at Butuan proved it was Mazaua.

The National Historical Institute officials "adopted" the finding of the Gancayco Panel which dismissed the Ginés de Mafra account as fake and forthwith unilaterally reverted the discussion to pre-de Mafra context which was back to whether the "site of the first mass" was Limasawa, the isle without anchorage, or Butuan, which is not an isle.

The NHI re-affairmed its previous pronouncements that Limasawa is Magellan's port.

Despite NHI's decision, Butuan Historians believes otherwise based on documents.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Magsaysay Bridge under-going Repairs

Constructed during late 50's and now the DPWH implemented a major repair of the old Magsaysay Bridge, another big development for Butuan

Butuan Historical Park Construction Underway

Phase I of the construction of the Butuan MDG (Millennium Development Goal) Historical Park along Agusan River costing almost 150M pesos.

The Boardwalk Project was envisioned to be Butuan's next tourist destination as it provides recreational waterfront experience for residents and visitors.

This would be the city's primary location for outdoor community gatherings. The Boardwalk provide a safe and scenic route, offering views of the Agusan River and Magsaysay Bridge.






Monday, June 28, 2010

New Retablo of St. Joseph Cathedral, A Divine Genre of Art

Senora Sta. Ana

Patron Saint, St. Joseph

Bishop Juan de dios Pueblos, the new Parish Priest of St. Joseph Cathedral during the dedication of the new Retablo & Blessing of Altar with priests & bishops from other parts of the country

On June 23, 2010 at 4pm Butuan again made history with the dedication of the new Retablo and blessing of the altar table with its new Parish Priest Bishop Juan de dios Pueblos attended by bishops & priests from Tagbilaran, Zamboanga, etc

This is a project of Parish Vice Rector Reverend Father Joesilo Amalla, costing 10M pesos, made by the famous Ecclesiastical Artist Wilfredo Tadeo Layug of Betis Galleria in Pampanga

Reverend Father Joesilo Amalla proudly announced that the diocesan Shrine of St. Joseph Cathedral was the first church in Caraga Region to acquire a Retablo or Lamina, literally meaning 'behind the altar'.

In Spanish, Retablo means a painting or sculpture rising from behind the altar of a church.

For the people of Butuan, it means a token of devotional thanksgiving to almighty and saints, and an inspiration.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sama Tawi-Tawi to join Voyage of the Balangay, Soon

Masawa Hong Butuan souvenir item put on sale at Butuan Boat Building site

Miniature replicas of "Balangay Diwata ng Lahi", "Balangay Masawa hong Butuan" with the "Sama Tawi-Tawi" at the center (photos from Pierce Martin Chiong Chua & Marilou Monet-Solidum)

Progress of Sama Tawi-Tawi

Almost 90% complete, the Balangay boat builders once again will make history with the third boat called "Sama Tawi-Tawi" which will be joining Diwata ng Lahi and Masawa Hong Butuan in their journey to Southeast Asia and Madagascar.

"Sama Tawi-Tawi" will serve as the service vessel of the two Balangays, carrying provisions and serving as communications center.

Unlike the two Balangays, it now has a marine diesel engine, a cabin with head and radio system, and it will be launched on July 3, 2010 in the morning, still at the Butuan Boat Building site in Luna Compound, Bading, Butuan City.

A brief history: Tawi-Tawi is inhabited by several ethnic groups, including the SAMA, Tausug, Jama Mapun and Badjao (Sama Delaut). The 'Sama' comprise the majority, inhabiting almost all of the island municipalities.

Within the Sulu sea basin alone, the majority of the coastal people belong to the Sama cultural community. The term "Sama" is a derivative of the word "Sama-sama" meaning togetherness. Sama may be described as a cohesive and peace loving people.

Each Sama sub-group is identified geograohically according to the name of their coastal settlement. This include: Sama Simunul, Sama Balimbing, Sama Sibutu, Sama Ubian and Sama Tawi-tawi. Each of them have varied ancestral background, outlooks in life, economic life ways and types of social up-bringing.

(photo from Minda Monica Ponce)

The Diwata ng Lahi and Masawa Hong Butuan currently docked at Zamboanga

Saturday, May 22, 2010

DILG XIII Awarded as the Best Float for 2 Consecutive Year

DILG XIII Float composed of the DILG, PNP & Bureau of Fire Protection

ML Huiller float, Most Colorful & Attractive float

Dept Agriculture float, Most Thematic Float

The DILG XIII float entry once again stood out and bagged the first prize award in the Butuan City Fiesta’s Grand Float Parade contest when it bested 10 other entries from the national government agencies, private organizations and the academe on May 19, 2010.

This is the second win of the agency since it joined the contest that started in year 2008 as part of the city's fiesta honoring its patron saint Saint Joseph.

This year’s theme was “Balangay, the Symbol/Image for Development” showing the pride of Butuan that made history which is the balangay boat, epitomizing trading of ancient Butuan with neighboring communities.
This year's DILG XIII entry has a Dove which symbolizes primitive desire for peace and the Transformation Torch of the Philippine National Police as a manifestation of the serious intent of the PNP to develop leaders at all levels and is the beacon that carries the light symbolizing the transformation program being undertaken by the PNP to turn itself into a more capable, effective and credible police service.

This float was designed and artistically built by PO3 Rico Mata, who also designed last year’s float which also won first prize.

Mutya Hong Butuan 2010 Winners

Ms Tourism Kristine Kay Montilla Rosales, Mutya Hong Butuan Soundy Manuel & 1st Runner Up Rose Murphy
(photos by digital teens)

Mutya Hong Butuan 2010 Ms. Soundy Manuel
(photo by Nia Buyan)

The annual search for the Mutya Hong Butuan is a project of the City Tourism Council and the City Tourism Office of the city government of Butuan.

The pageant is one of the highlight of the month long celebration of the Balangay Festival in line with the city's feast of St. Joseph which falls on May 19.

Nine candidates vied for the crown for this year's Mutya Hong Butuan in a ceremony held on May 17, 2010 at Father Saturnino University Gym.

Soundy Manuel sponsored by the United Architects of the Philippines was crowned Mutya Hong Butuan 2010.

Proclaimed 5 prettiest were: Hidie Amor Ignilan of Butuan Banker’s Club and adjudged Mutya Hong Butuan – Tourism, Kristine Rosales, 1st Runner-up (Liga ng mga Punong Barangay), Rose Murphy, 2nd Runner-up (Butuan Chambers) and Rhina Mae Carombana, 3rd Runner-up (Integrated Bar of the Philippines).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Groundbreaking of 4-Storey SP Building

2010 was a busy day for Mayor Democrito D. Plaza II, as he leads the groundbreaking ceremony of 12 mega projects.

One of these is the construction of a new 4-Storey Sangguniang Panglunsod Building and Session Hall.

The project started its construction works at the City Hall Compound with a budget of more than 177 million pesos.

The first 2-floors will be occupied by the Sangguniang Panlunsod members and each of them will have an individual room with toilet facility.

The 3rd and 4th floors will be available to other offices of the city especially those that are not accommodated at the new city hall building.

An exclusive parking area will also be provided to the SP members.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Philippine's Healing Priest in Butuan

For the second time, Congressman Jose Aquino II invited Fr. Fernando Suarez to have a Healing Mass in Butuan City.

The day falls on the Congressman's 54th birthday celebration, a unique way to offer a gift to the people, giving the opportunity to be touched and be healed with whatever afflictions they may have.

People on wheelchair, canes and even a woman who is bedridden for quite a long time due to spinal problems was brought to Sanchez Gym in Caraga State University hoping to be well.

Father Fernando for all his supernatural ability to heal, is ironically a natural, down-to-earth, warm and cheerful person devoid of any self-pride. He is so intimately people-friendly and accommodating that crowds gravitate and relate to him like they have known him as a long time friend.

One character that is his greatest asset to a fault is his simplicity and humility. Father Suarez strikes everyone as a good-natured and humble person that can be instinctively trusted and easy to confide to; thus everyone always wants to come close to him seeking miraculous favors.

But the gift of healing wasn't meant to be kept in secret, it was destined by God to be shared by Father Fernando for the benefit of those who needs it the most. They are the poor, the destitute and desperate who have lost all hope in life, and have no one to turn to for their physical needs.

Father Fernando prioritizes the critically-ill patients who are bed-ridden, next in line are those unable to walk and are saddled on wheelchairs.

Routinely, he would hold both hands and lifting them up to encourage the patient to stand; as he guides them to walk independently on their own. Miraculously, they rise up to naturally walk with him as if nothing of their complications ever transpired. Thereafter, he gives the wheelchair to the patient who pulls it out of the aisle walking on their own.

People in attendance were required to pin a piece of paper on their chest, written on it are the afflictions in the fulfillment of their healing requests.

"The Lord heals by His Presence, His Touch, through His Word and by partaking of the Holy Eucharist. It is by your faith in Jesus that you are healed. When you come to Him, humbling oneself to ask for forgiveness and healing, God responds accordingly with great compassion and outpouring of Love."

Father Suarez is ably assisted by his fellow Canadian priest Father Jeff Shannon. Both of them belong to the Canadian Congregation of the Companions of the Cross. Many who were healed attests to the healing capabilities of Father Jeff and like Father Fernando, it is a common sight to see people falling unconsciously on their backs after being prayed over by them and "slained by the Holy Spirit".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Walk with Women’s Rights

The AFP supports Women's Month Celebration

One significant law giving utmost importance of women in the community is the R.A. 6949, “An Act to Declare March 8 of Every Year as a Working Special Holiday to be Known as National Women’s Day” which was signed by President Aquino on April 10, 1990.

In Butuan City, the Regional Development Council Gender and Development Coordinating Council (RDC-GADCC) formed in 1998 is spearheading the event to highlight women’s achievements.

The Women’s Month Celebration kicks off March 1, 2010 with the RDC-GADCC of Caraga Region headed by its Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Director Atty. Marilyn Pintor leading the 5AM Walk for Women’s Rights with thousands of participants joining followed by the program proper and the Hataw Exercise.

The theme of this year’s month-long celebration which is “Babae, Tagumpay ka ng Bayan!” inspires partners from government agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Magna Carta of Women which they hope will soon be approve this month to enforce the law fully.

Atty. Pintor reminded the women to report all forms of abuses and said, “For one specific problem, one can make a difference, and for one life of a woman, each one can make a difference.”

She said, all laws pertaining to women’s protection against all kinds of abuses will be useless, unless their provisions are disseminated especially to those who need this most.

Part of the activities for March is the holding of a Candidate’s Forum to increase awareness of the general public on the platforms of the local candidates to advance the status of women which can be the basis of holding them accountable in case they win the election.

Candidates from Butuan City and Agusan del Norte were invited and this will be held on March 16 at Balanghai Hotel & Convention Center.