Posted in Country snapshots

Reclaiming the BIBAK Lot at Harrison Road, Baguio City


BIBAK lot along Harrison Road
The demolition of illegally built structures at the BIBAK lot located along Harrison Road on October 18, 2017.

A lot located along Harrison Road  measuring about 5,000 square meters was segregated by the government from the Original Certificate Title (OCT) No. 1 in favor of the BIBAK Dormitories Inc. in 1961.  The lot was intended to build a dormitory way back in 1960’s to cater to the housing needs of students from the Cordillera studying in the city and other parts of Benguet.

In 1955, the centralized BIBAK Student Officers Association in Baguio City and from the Mountain Agricultural College in La Trinidad, Benguet passed a resolution requesting President Ramon Magsaysay for a site in Baguio City for the construction of a dormitory and requesting funds for its construction. This was channeled thru Gov. Bado Dangwa of the old Mountain Province handing it to the President. It was then forwarded by the President for action to the Mayor of Baguio City Alfonso Tabora and the proclamation was made.

BIBAK is the acronym used by students and other associations of the old Mountain Province before the Cordillera region was created.  The five (5) sub-provinces of the old Mountain Province were Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao and Kalinga.

In 1987, the Cordillera Administrative Region was created  under EO N0. 220 joining the Provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province and the chartered city of Baguio. BIBAK then was also expanded to BIMAAK which now includes the Province of Abra and to replace Bontoc with Mt. Province. The BIMAAK is now the term used by the local and international Cordillera Organizations for its identity and unity.

During our high school and college days in the City of Baguio in the 1970’s to 1980’s, most BIBAK students rented boarding houses that were crowded with no security measures and amenities.

Educational institutions like Saint Louis University, University of Baguio, Baguio Colleges Foundation had BIBAK student’s organizations who had been making resolutions for the development of the BIBAK lot but put to waste because of the squabble and politics.

Until this time, unscrupulous people and businessmen who only thinks of profit were there playing with politicians. Education should have been the priority of the planners and organizers of this project but the business was about money. The business should have been for public good and not for private greed.

BIBAK lot 1 along Harrison Road
The City Police and the Bureau of Fire Department enforce the demolition of the structures built illegally. 

Many times the City Government attempted to dismantle the structures built illegally by the informal settlers or squatters but failed. The informal settlers have been doing business at the BIBAK property and even given extensions many times to the detriment of those who should have used it. Other influential people or groups even tried to maneuver taking  the lot intended for their own interest in the name of the Cordillera autonomy.

The BIBAK lot should have been the site for a students dorm or a multi-purpose center, cultural workshop center, and other structures that will provide a healthy, comfortable and convenient space to stay.

An online petition by the BIBAK Students Dormitories, Inc. on

On June 28,  1973, the following great leaders – Ben Palispis, Andres A. Cosalan, Alfredo G. Lam-en, Damaso Bangaoet, Samuel Dangwa, Sinai C. Hamada, Olga Muller Braddy, Inocencio Maliaman and Moises P. Cating registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the BIBAK STUDENTS DORMITORIES, INC.

This corporation was primarily formed to “IN TRUST, to own, possess, administer, operate, maintain, manage and supervise the BIBAK STUDENTS DORMITORIES, INC., including all the assets, accessories as well as other properties of said BIBAK STUDENTS DORMITORIES, INC., within the City of Baguio and elsewhere in the Philippines for the benefit, welfare and advancement principally of cultural minority or native students coming from the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Abra x x x”

This corporation “seek ways and means to provide for healthful, comfortable and convenient accommodations for students belonging to the national cultural minorities of the Philippines who are enrolled in the educational institutions in the City of Baguio.”

The BIBAK Lot measuring 5,000 square meters was segregated from Original Certificate Title 1 in favor of the BIBAK STUDENT DORMITORIES, Inc in 1961 to cater to the housing needs of the students coming from the BIBAK areas.

At present, the BIBAK LOT is being illegally occupied by more or less FIFTY (50) private individuals, who entered the property without permission from proper authorities, depriving our children and students of their right and privilege to a housing facility in the City of Baguio;

These squatters do not belong to the marginalized sector as they claim with the Philippine Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) since they had also utilized the area for business and profit;


It is high time to reclaim the BIBAK LOT and utilize it based on the INTENTS AND WISDOM of the FOUNDERS;

Posted in Lifeway

Mass Wedding and A Day of National Protest September 21, 2017

Mass wed FVR gym Baguio

On this day, September 21, this mountain city hosted 33 couples to be unionized during its 23rd mass wedding ceremony. The qualified couples who were certified to be married was finally solemnized by the Mayor. The mass wedding is an institutionalized program of the City Government and the City Social Welfare and Development Office in celebration of the Family Month on September. Any interested couple of more than 25 years of age who have been living together for several years, those who forgot to follow-up their licenses and young couples who could not afford to pay the fees for legalization are given the chance to legalize their marriage through this wedding ceremony sponsored by the City Government.

In the neighboring municipalities, the mass wedding ceremony had long been practiced especially during its foundation day. The affair is offered to couples who were married on the traditional way in the community as witnessed by relatives, elder leaders and friends

Meanwhile, September 21, was  proclaimed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines as a national day of protest after various groups, including the political opposition and critics of the administration, announced planned mass actions to denounce extrajudicial killings, Mr. Duterte’s pronouncements on martial law and the Marcoses, and his administration’s anti-drugs campaign, among other issues.

On the anti-drug campaign of the  administration, I am for the instilling of good family values starting on the marriage day.

Educating every family on the ills of drugs and strengthening marriage and family is one program that will help the government solve the country’s drug problem.

They say,  it takes a community to raise a child. That may be the case, but it is proven that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a good community.


Posted in Country snapshots

Cropping in the Rainfed Rice Farm

Our forebears came to settle in this awesome upland community curving mountains into rice terraces and turned ridges into gardens.
With no climate change on that decade, the month of June to November was the rainy season of the year and the period for planting indigenous rice varieties.
The time for the rice harvest is on the month of November. After harvesting the rice, the farm will be planted with root crops and other vegetables that need small amount of water.
Nowadays, the rainy season pattern seems not on time, delaying the planting of rice. The farmer folks know that during the rainy season, the spring water is in excess bringing enough water to the rice fields. Waterfalls along mountains are visible. The rains replenish the watersheds to continuously supply water to the irrigation system.
The rice harvested from a family owned ricefield could provide a year round supply. Other families use their fancy grains for making rice wine or cakes for sale.
Hints on how to manage a rainfed farm.
The government’s weather bureau are assets of the farmers which would give  them data and have a real time situational awareness for their crop production decisions in providing crucial weather information such as the start and end of the rainy season and the distribution of rainfall during the cropping season. It could also give advice on the optimum planting times, which variety to use, and the amount and timing of fertilizer application in rainfed rice areas under current and future climate conditions.
The method of rain harvesting should be adopted since during the rainy season, the water is so abundant even flooding the irrigation and farms. The water coming from the springs induced by the rain is relatively clean and absolutely free. Rainwater can be harvested almost anywhere. In this farm, it can be harvested from springs, mountains and other surface or ground areas. Other farms have constructed small farm reservoirs (SFR) or small water impounding project (SWIP).
After the rains, water comes out from the mountain sides.


Posted in Country snapshots

Relaying the Cordillera Unity Gong

As of July 8, 2017, the Unity Gong Relay kicked-off in Benguet Province and passed to Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Baguio City then host Benguet and will revolve again.

The symbolic Unity Gong will be relayed around the provinces and city comprising the CAR by the delegates and officials of each province and city. The relay was included in 2012 in the celebration of the founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Ceremonies will be performed from its origin and to every arrival of the Unity Gong in each province and city where officials will take turns in beating the Unity Gong. Other relevant activities will include a brief program, annual tree planting, regional autonomy and the preservation of the Cordillera culture.

The relay starts one week before the Cordillera Day which is on the 15th day of July. It is a week-long celebration culminating the arrival of the gong in the host province.

The gong or gangsa is a common musical instrument used in traditional ceremonies and rituals by all of the indigenous groups in the Cordillera. It is used in wedding ceremonies, traditional gatherings like canao or festivals, thanksgiving and clan reunions where both young and old dance to the rhythm of gong’s vibrant sound.

Posted in Overseas

The Pacman Playing with Age

Manny Pacquiao, a Senator and boxer still has his name if not his punch. At age 38, he is still boxing and when the boxing begins, our roads are clear of traffic and the crime rate is down to zero in the back streets.

Last July 2, 2017, we watched the battle of Brisbane in Australia for the World Welterweight belt between Manny Pacquiao and challenger Jeff Horn. Before the match, there were predictions that Horn could not survive 12 rounds of boxing but he had other things in mind. Horn mixed it up and remained aggressive throughout the rounds then got the title.

Fighting in an opponent’s territory by not knocking out your opponent  is sometimes given the benefit for a draw or even the win. Manny Pacquiao was close to knocking out Horn on the ninth round but punched himself out and allowed Horn to come in the final rounds.

Pacquiao had been fighting too many ring wars for years and age is catching up. The way I see him, he can still fight for two more battles.

The battle in Brisbane was an upbeat fight. Both fighters were bloodied and battered. They kept fighting through head clashes and they refused to surrender until the final rounds with blood still flowing.

Many people around here still like to see Pacquiao fight and a rematch will again be exciting.

With results at Suncorp Stadium

Jeff Horn, Australia vs Manny Pacquiao, Philippines- Welterweight
Horn wins World Boxing Organization World Welterweight Title
Scoring: 117-111, 115-113, 115-113 Horn.

Referee: Mark Nelson
WBO Official: Francisco Valcarcel.

Pacquiao landed 182 punches, Horn 92 punches.

Posted in Country snapshots

Mindanao Connection and Martial Law 2017

Mt. Apo
Mount Apo

My grandmother and her two sons and other relatives explored Mindanao in search of a better place to live as Mindanao was then said to be a land of promise in the 1960’s. They stayed in South Cotabato, the others in Davao and Bukidnon. The people who came from the Cordilleras are good farmers especially in gardening or planting vegetables.

In Mindanao, as of May 23, 2017, Martial Law was imposed by the President due to threat of a terror group Islamic State. About a hundred militants or more waving black Islamic State flags rampaged through the City taking hostages then started burning buildings.

The Marawi clashes started on May 23 in the afternoon when the military launched a surgical strike against high-value targets of the Abu Sayyaf headed by Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute Group.

Malacanang said that the assault was already the start of an IS bid to establish a caliphate there. The Maute group with the Abu Sayyaf group had plans to establish cells or wilayat (caliphate) in Mindanao reinforced by jihadists of Malaysian, Indonesian and other nationalities.

What’s happening in Mindanao is no longer a rebellion of Filipino citizens but has transmogrified into an invasion by foreign terrorists who heeded the clarion call of the ISIS to go to the Philippines if they find difficulty in going to Iraq or Syria.

For those of us traveling going to Mindanao, here are important things we have to do and bring with us all the time.

First, it is necessary to carry ID at all times. There are check points along roads manned by the Police and Military which would require IDs or when you board utility vehicles, IDs are required.

Second is to cooperate with the authorities. The authorities are doing their best to protect the safety of everyone.

Our relatives in Mindanao through text messages say that they are in favor of the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao since they believe it is for their own protection for peace and prosperity.

Lake Lanao
 MSU Golf Course and Lake Lanao, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur