November 21 - December 04, 2005

Steve T. Barreiro


The immensely successful staging of the 2005 PBA All-Star Game may have solidly put Laoag City on the map as a regional sporting venue. The Centennial Arena was packed to the rafters by fans eager to witness basketball prowess at its finest. Encouraged by the success of the game, LC first lady Chevylle Fariñas appealed to the PBA to consider holding at least one championship game here in Laoag this coming February.

PBA insiders have confirmed this request and further state that they are seriously considering the offer. In fact, they confirmed that Laoag and General Santos City in Mindanao have been two of the most successful venues in terms of fan support and ticket sales. Credit must go to the city mayor for being at the forefront of bringing the PBA games to Laoag and for acting as the perfect host.

Trivia: Veteran PBA All-Star, Fil-Am Jeffrey Cariaso took time from the busy itinerary to visit the gravesite of his mother in Batac. Another cager with roots in the province is rookie and former NCAA MVP Leo Najorda who hails from San Nicolas.

Popular Fil-Am JayJay Helterbrand in a dazzling display of ballhandling wizardry, spectacular drives, nifty passing, and long-range accuracy led the North to a 128-124 victory romping away with the MVP award. For the South, up and coming Purefoods star James Yap wowed the fans with his acrobatic shots; Yap is also the fiancée of popular TV-host and actress Kris Aquino. Probably, the singular highlight of the games was the incredible aerial artistry of Nino Canaleta whose spectacular high-flying act elicited the biggest cheers from the fans en route to winning the slam-dunk competition. The All-Star Games were staged for the benefit of the PBA Players Fund and a portion of the gate receipts from some of the activities was allocated to the scholarship program of the city mayor.

Congratulations to my good friends - PBA operations honcho Rickie Santos, ABC 5 chief PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon, Sta. Lucia team manager Atty. Ariel Magno, and to the PBA boys, Ray, Joy, Botong and company. I’ll see you guys in Manila.


The DOH has pronounced the dengue season to be over but like the ubiquitous aegyptis mosquito, the issue keeps on sprouting out of the marshes. City Health Office head, Dr. Mateo has again insisted on the necessity for fumigation, continually ignoring the DOH advisory contrary to the process. In a statement to media Dr. Mateo referred to fumigation as necessary to eradicate mosquitoes, which carry the dreaded disease. Is the good doctor dreaming? Is he cognizant of the effort needed to eradicate an entire insect population? Or is he playing a starring role in a political game?

According to several sources, the contract for the purchase of the fumigating chemicals was overpriced anywhere from 200-500%. Is the alleged huge mark-up that some stand to gain if and when the fumigation contract in its current form pushes through, the reason for the continuing insistence of some officials to promote fumigation. At any rate, between the statements of the DOH and the CHO, I would place more credence on the stand of the national health authority particularly the statements of DOH chief epidemiologist Dr. Tayag (the local equivalent of the director for the US Center for Disease Control) who declares fumigation to be ineffective in eradicating dengue mosquitoes.

Perhaps Dr. Mateo and Mr. Dela Cuesta can explain why they have continually and conveniently ignored the DOH advisory.


According to a fellow passenger, the papal nuncio Antonio Franco, D.D. is a very simple, unassuming man. At the airport lounge while waiting for the delayed flight to Laoag City, he sat alone, quietly reading a small book. Upon boarding the plane, he carried his bags by himself and was in the process of loading his luggage onto the overhead storage bins unrecognized by the flight crew, when former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos who flew in to attend Msgr. Jose’s ordination as Bishop of Urdaneta, asked the flight crew to let him join her in business class. That this man despite his position as the Vatican City ambassador to the country chooses to travel incognito in such a simple and unassuming manner bespeaks volumes of the humility and dignity inherent in his character. In stark contrast to the pretentious displays by this country’s political leaders such as some officials who made a lavish show of meeting the papal nuncio at the airport.

Whatever her place in history may be, former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos remains as one of the most recognizable figures in the country; a commanding and regal presence. Reportedly, she and her late husband continue to be held in the highest regard in foreign diplomatic circles.

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