November 21 - December 04, 2005

IN & OUT (2)
Steve T. Barreiro

A Christmas Message: Unity?

It has been a tradition to regard the ber months as part of the extended holiday season. In Laoag, the argument can be made that the holiday season may even extend unto the fiesta. Perhaps one of the harbingers of the Christmas season is the presence of decorative lights adorning the city.

However the economic crunch brought about by the successive increases in the price of oil and the ripple effect these have had on the economy resulting in steep increases in the prices of basic commodities, have palpably dampened the Christmas spirit; the debilitating power rates resulting in but a few homes lit up with decorative lights with Christmas barely a month away.

On reflection however, while our economic woes may have severely crimped our pocketbooks, the situation may still possess a silver lining. We have forgotten the true message of Christmas. We have come to view Christmas in a materialistic manner. Perhaps the economic woes we now endure may compel us to realize the true spirit of Christmas. This is not to be found in the glittering decorations nor in the lavish presents nor in the endless parties that have typified Christmas occasions of years past but in the relationships with our families, with our friends and relatives, all of the people who get together to celebrate the occasion of season. Christmas is the quintessential time when bonds and acquaintances are renewed; when disputes and warring parties are reconciled.

As we look forward to the reunions typical of the Christmas season, let us not forget the Christmas message of peace. Let us all cast aside our differences and unite for the betterment of our nation and our people. Particularly for those in the administrative and legislative branches of Laoag city government, perhaps in deference to the Christmas season you can resolve your differences even unto the fiesta. According to reliable sources, the protagonists have already acquiesced to an agreement in principle, of course barring another incident of the “February 2 history repeating itself” variety.


To those looking for a new experience, try the Herencia restaurant in Paoay right in front of the historic Paoay Church. Herencia is Spanish for heritage, a fact reflected in the establishment’s décor. The place is definitely upscale in its ambience and features gourmet and fusion cuisine with Ilocano and Continental influences. Their pasta is flavored with fresh, home-grown herbs and the prices are very reasonable. You can also try their mashed potatoes with gravy in lieu of the usual rice. Then there is the unrivalled atmosphere of dining with a view of the renowned Paoay church, a UNESCO world heritage site in the background. The place evokes images of a genteel age and reminds me of Café Intramuros where the experience is made infinitely more pleasurable by dining amidst the ancient walls of Old Manila.

Already a number of prominent personalities have reportedly been impressed with the whole experience. It is said that some foreign parties have signified their intent to help upgrade the lighting equipments highlighting the church; perhaps some concerned groups would do well to assist the local government and the parish in the maintenance aspect as power rates are very debilitative. It would be a shame to install modern lighting equipment only to be idle considering the potentially high electricity costs.

The tourism authorities should look into this and attempt to emulate such developments; to make use of our renowned tourist sites and to upgrade our local cuisine. The Herencia complex has done both and should serve as a model for tourist developments throughout the province.


For those who have followed the Jimmy Chua slay case, all the arguments between the prosecution and defense have already been submitted to the DOJ. However, the public is anxious as to why a definitive ruling still has not come out when the DOJ panel’s duty is simply to discern “probable cause” and point out who should be charged or not and what charges are to be filed.

Meanwhile, Attorney Sandra O. Coronel, legal counsel for the Chua family has been quite visible handling high profile cases; the latest is being the attorney for embattled Q.C. councilor and movie actress Aiko Melendez concerning the “infamous” bar case. To those who know Mrs. Coronel, her steady ascension up the legal firmament comes as no surprise.

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