iGNACIO  BUNYE'S  VIEW  FROM  THE  PALACE

MANILA,
APRIL 16, 2007 (Office of the Press Secretary, Malacanang) View from the Palace (For the week ending April 15, 2007)

As a postscript to last week’s column on our Holy Week on the road, on the way back to Manila, we finally tried a restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac, that we have long been curious about. With its imposing Easter Island-esque statues in front, it is very hard to miss "Isdaan," which I understand is owned by the Barrio Fiesta Group. The fact that there are always many cars parked in front had always intrigued us, but we did not have the time to stop there until last week.

Isdaan did not disappoint. We were all ravenous, having reached Tarlac at almost 3 pm. Many menu items are favorite Filipino staples, with some innovative new dishes like "plapitos", a crunchy and spicy fish appetizer. While waiting for our orders, we were serenaded by a Freddie Aguilar impersonator who sounded and looked like Ka Freddie, down to the long hair and hat.

One of the attractions at Isdaan is the "Tacsiyapo Wall." "Tacsiyapo," I understand is a swear word in Kapampangan. The object is to fling objects at the wall while shouting "tacsiyapo" (or some other epithet) to release one’s anger or negative vibes. Since we were there on Easter Sunday, Isdaan was having a promo [perhaps in the Easter spirit of leaving the negative behind and starting anew] and was giving patrons plates to throw for free. Ordinarily the items to be thrown [eg. plates, mugs or even television sets] are for sale.

While, overall, we enjoyed our days on the road, it was not without challenges, namely: reliable maps and clean restrooms. The travel maps we purchased, while ostensibly geared toward tourists, surprisingly omitted mention of certain towns and cities. Road signs, particularly between La Union and Ilocos Sur, were cryptic, so we made many stops to ask and confirm directions. Jollibee was consistently reliable in providing directions and clean restrooms – its many signs dotting the highways gave us an indication of the distances to our desired destinations. If I were Mr. Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee, I would come up with a map or guide highlighting the tourist destinations around its many branches nationwide.

*****

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Children for Breastfeeding, Inc., and the TESDA Women’s Center recently launched a project that aims to get the Philippines into the Guinness Book of World Records for simultaneous breastfeeding in multiple sites.

The project, dubbed "Sabay-Sabay, Sumuso sa Nanay! Uso ang Magpasuso!", to be held May 2, 2007 in approximately 40,000 day care centers nationwide, aims to institutionalize simultaneous breastfeeding as an annual national prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of motherhood and breastfeeding. It also seeks to promote breastfeeding which is important during the first six (6) months of a child’s life and even beyond two (2) years, and which has been proven to reduce illnesses in both mothers and babies.

In May 2006, the Philippines, through the Children for Breastfeeding, Inc. and the City of Manila, in partnership with Nurturers of the Earth, Inc., UNICEF and the Department of Health, broke the record for simultaneous breastfeeding in a single site when they mobilized 3,541 mothers to breastfeed in San Andres Sports Complex and Civic Center.

The previous record was garnered by the USA in Berkeley, California with 1,130 mothers in 2002.

*****

Manny Pacquiao lived up to his billing as "The Mexicutioner" by disposing of previously unbeaten Mexican boxer, Jorge Solis, via an 8-round knockout. But fans of the Pacman had their scare when Pacquiao suffered an ugly cut below the left eye in the 6th due to accidental head butt. The cut, however, only seemed to provoke Pacquiao who gave his all until he flattened the Mexican on the 8th.

Immediately, President Arroyo, who is one of Pacman’s most avid fans, issued this statement:

"The fighting faith of Manny Pacquiao is the fighting faith of the Filipino - the dream of victory after victory in the firmament of world competition. We must keep up the faith and win in all fronts – in physical prowess, in the excellence of our skills, in the will to overcome the foes of poverty and injustice. Manny stands for the dream of every Filipino in the ring of life and the arena of the future. I thank God for the blessings of life and victory dawning upon us each passing day in our struggle to overcome all odds."

To this, we would like to add our own tribute:

Once again, Manny Pacquiao has done us proud. His every victory is a cause for celebration as it brings our nation together. Even for a moment, political, social and economic differences are forgotten as Manny Pacquiao has a place in every Filipino’s heart.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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