WHY VIGAN, NOT PANGASINAN? — I often wonder why Vigan City attracts so many local and foreign tourists and is often promoted by the Department of Tourism.
In fact, it recently gained world prominence when some 20 candidates of Miss Universe 2017 pageant hosted by the Philippines went to this city to promote the country’s terno in a cultural fashion show at the famed Calle Crisologo.
For the past five years (2010 – 2015), I traveled almost monthly to Vigan City to visit a son studying in that Heritage City. I’ve visited almost all popular sites in the city—from riding a calesa along the cobblestone streets where Hispanic houses – witnesses of the past – are located, to the jar factory where a visitor can enjoy a hands-on experience in pottery making, then many times to the 80-hectare Baluarte mini zoo of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson.
Not to be left out, of course, is the Vigan Cathedral with its Baroque architectural design, one of the landmarks of Philippine Catholicism in the North.
Padre Burgos Museum, an old ancestral home of the patriot Fr. Jose Burgos, is located few meters away from the place where my son was studying at the time.
Also included in my memory lane of my journey to Vigan is the Syquia mansion where former Philippine president Elpidio Quirino, a Vigan-born, resided.
Bantay Bell Tower, Hidden Garden, Dancing Fountain, Crisologo Museum, Plaza Salcedo, and a lot more were part of my five-year itinerary in Vigan City.
So each time I traveled back to Pangasinan, these questions always came to mind: Why is Vigan City so successful in its tourism promotion? Pangasinan has a lot more to offer but why can’t we duplicate its feat?
Parang linya sa kanta kaya yan, my favorite in fact, from James Ingram’s ‘Just Once‘: “I did my best but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.”
Kulang pa rin, push pa more. —Tita Roces
A MASTER STROKE IN THE OFFING. — Those who were spreading the nasty rumor that Mayor Belen Fernandez will be suspended were perhaps looking for a suspension by the Ombudsman for the continuous use by the city of its open dumpsite in Bonuan in violation of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological and Solid Waste Management Act.
But those who foisted this yarn did not know that in case of such a suspension, the vice mayor as well as the local environment officer also get axed.
Now you know who floated the suspension tale in the social media because of the belief that a vice mayor will take over. Things are not going to happen as they want it.
So, I suggest they just sit back instead and try to learn from Mayor Belen how to solve the more than 50-year garbage problem of Dagupan.
Offhand, knowing that the limited land area of Dagupan will not allow the construction of a sanitary landfill, she is now pushing for the construction of a waste-to-worth project that can convert garbage into gas and diesel fuel with the backing, not only of the DENR but also of the international community.
Based on her report to those who frequently see her at city hall, this project is now under evaluation and she is hoping against hope that Dagupan will finally pass the test.
Under this project, a private company will build the multi-million-peso project on a lot already designated without a single centavo required from the city government.
If plan proceeds as planned, it will be one master stroke: it will not only solve the city’s perennial problems on garbage but it will surely boost Belen’s stock in 2019, which her political detractors, of course, will try to derail.
The Belen bashers should not forget that her predecessor had three full terms to solve the problem but failed. The purchase of the almost 30-hectare property in Awai, San Jacinto purportedly for a sanitary landfill proved to be one big fraudulent deal.
Although fully paid at an overpriced P16 million, from only P7 million value just months before, the land title was never accrued to the city. Because of this, COA wants some heads to roll since P16 million paid by the city was never returned.
Mayor Belen will be compelled to sue the people who defrauded Dagupan of P16 million. – Leonardo Micua