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Mark Timothy J. Libunao is a 32-year old registered Medical Technologist, a father to a 5-year old amiable and smart little boy and a husband to a registered Physical Therapist. He is an accomplished campus journalist, student leader, businessman, salesman and most of all, a loving father and husband, an obedient son, a caring brother, a very loyal and dear friend.

An Editor-in-Chief of his high school and college publications, a student council president for three years in college, a volunteer grade school teacher and a social mobilizer who was able to spearhead various community projects in Quezon City. He led several national organizations including the Quezon City Red Cross Youth Council, College Editors' Guild of the Philippines, Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines and Philippine Society of Medical Technology Students. His glorious years came when he was elected as a student commissioner of the National Youth Commission under the Office of the President of the Philippines last 2002 and 2003. He worked and was designated as the Chief Medical Technologist of Murphy Diagnostic & Multi-Specialty Center and Hope Medical & Multi-Specialty Center in Quezon City before he entered medical school.

He is the eldest son of Mr. Freddie Mandario Libunao & Mrs. Ma. Sonia Jaleco Jesena of Hughes St., Maasin, Iloilo. He has two siblings: Bryan Paul graduated with a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications in the University of Asia and the Pacific and Maria Mikaela who is a second year Medical Technology student of Centro Escolar University.

His wife, Ma. Theresa Acay of Marikina City is a registered Physical Therapist while his son Mikhail Thaddeus is a pre-school pupil of Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Christian Academy (JCA) in Quezon City.

He finished his grade school and high school in Ateneo de Iloilo (formerly Santa Maria Catholic School). He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Medical Technology in World Citi Colleges and was awarded as the Most Outstanding Intern of the Year of Philippine Heart Center & World Citi Medical Center. He is presently on his third year Post Graduate course as Doctor of Medicine in Far Eastern University - Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation where he served as the Treasurer of the Medicine Student Council last 2007 and 2009. He was a former faculty of the KATINKO Wellness Institute Foundation Inc. where he taught Anatomy & Physiology, Massage Economics, Microbiology, Parasitology and Public Hygiene to Massage Therapists. Presently, he is one of the board of directors of Healthville Inc., a wellness company he co-founded with his brother.

Monday, May 6, 2013


A true champion is always prepared and ready to compete 
however stiff or easy the competition is.  
Never loses hope in losing, aspires more in winning 
and never retreats even when the competition looks tough.

Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City

Queen Festival of the Philippines

Hall of Fame - ATOP - DOT Best
 Tourism Event in the Philippines

Six-time with 4peat Grand Champion
Aliwan Fiesta Streetdance Competition


Photo by Jake Borres

Greece and Rome were influential cities in the past but they are now dwarfed if not obliterated by the many new emerging and prosperous cities like New York and Dubai but their glory and grandeur were never placed in the backroom of our thoughts. That is mainly because of the many significant contributions Greece and Rome has brought to the modern world.

ILOILO was granted the LA MUY LEAL Y NOBLE CIUDAD DE ILOILO (The Loyal and Most Noble City of Iloilo) seal by the Spanish Queen Regent Maria Cristina in 1896. From that seal originated the QUEEN'S CITY IN THE SOUTH moniker which denotes that Iloilo is the Queen's favorite city in the Philippines. Iloilo then became the Philippines' most important city with many of the country's significant academic, legal, political, economic and international affairs channeling within Manila and Iloilo only. Hence the title evolved to become the QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH because no other city in the Visayas and Mindanao region can or has ever match up with Iloilo's overall grandeur.

History is past and way beyond what is today but without looking back into history, great cities of today will not be what they are now had they not learned from what the past has offered.

Just like Greece and Rome, many cities in the Philippines have already overtaken Iloilo especially in terms of progress but Iloilo has remain steadfast with its history, heritage and culture. With Iloilo's many significant contributions to the Philippine and world history, no amount of progress can simply erase its wonderful past.

Therefore just like Greece and Rome, Iloilo deserves such preservation of every single glorious mark it has stamped in history. Hence the QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH title should always be with ILOILO.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


A first person rebuttal authored by 
Alfred Adrian P. Chavez and Mark Timothy J. Libunao

This is done to rectify what has been spread to cloud the people’s understanding on which is really which. In the facebook fanpage “ILOILO: Queen City of the South”, a certain Rey Don Alegado Tenchavez posted a portion of the article entitled “Cebu or Iloilo – Which is which?” last April 21, 2011. The article was written by Chris Malazarte, a Cebuano writer in The Freeman, a local Newspaper circulated in Cebu. I adore the Cebuano writer for he has the knack of writing the article in the hope of clarifying, validating or even informing the mainstream on what province is the rightful owner of the prestigious Queen City of the South title.

I was amazed after reading the article because it was magnificently done. It’s as if a president is delivering a SONA and so I patiently followed. Since only a fragment was posted, I was forced to look for the copy of the whole article to cool my temper down expecting that something impartial and not misleading will come out. I finally found the controversial article through the internet and alas, everytime I read each paragraph, a part of what I truly know as being factual is slowly being robbed. So instead, I have chosen to write a rebuttal so that in my own little way, I have done my part in exposing the blunders of the article all for the sake of truth. An online version of the article is over the internet and millions of Filipinos are starting to digest and nourish… well, a sumptuous deception in the making.

The Cebuano writer is brilliant, however, I am doubtful of his main motive as to whether he attempts to clear the vagueness of the truth or further complicate the issue since some (if not all) the data presented are debatable, really debatable to some extent that my whole wide tummy has gone so hungry after reading the full article. Join me as we dissect this so-called sumptuous… work?

Cebu or Iloilo – which is which?
(TRADE FORUM By Chris Malazarte (The Freeman)

The title is very interesting as if signifying that the Cebuano writer is an authority, a historian that is, who is well acquainted with the historical evolution of these two beautiful and lovely cities. Where should Iloilo be? I guess it follows the alphabetical order.

I realize how delicate it is to wake the regional sensitivities of people. A popular fanpage in Facebook said to be owned by ABS-CBN, was cluttered with what appears to be “a war of claims” by Ilonggos and Cebuanos who strongly argued that they are the rightful owners of the title “The Queen City of the South.” As I was reading both sides, the discussion became heated and unhealthy to the point of insinuating that the other was “uneducated.” The fanpage’s wall was also littered with hyperlinked pictures related to the achievements and developments of their respective provinces to support their claim.

The Cebuano writer in his opening has already mentioned that the topic he is going to share about is a delicate one. Thus, he has to strip himself of whatever regionalistic biases he is into. He should keep his pen unprejudiced and balanced to at least pacify the existing war-of-claims. Clearly, his attention has been awakened by what he has read in the wall of the said fanpage. It is possible that he may also be a fan, otherwise, he would not have read the heated-and-unhealthy-discussions-to-the-point-that-the-other-was-uneducated. What then is his definition of educated and uneducated? Who, by the way, is the “uneducated other” he is or his article is referring to?

He describes the fanpage’s wall as littered with hyperlinked pictures exhibiting the achievements and developments of the two provinces. I do not know if the achievements and developments of both provinces to the Cebuano writer are a litter to his eyes or he is merely referring to those posted by the uneducated-others’? Should it be the standard that the fanpage’s wall remains “un-littered”? Anyway, it is still a wall for everyone to endorse and promote what his/her province can offer and the Cebuano writer cannot deny that even Cebuano-posters are overactive if not proactive in posting the achievements and developments of Cebu and so are the Ilonggos for Iloilo. As far as I know, it is not only a fanpage participated or created exclusively for Cebuanos and Ilonggos because the said fanpage is supposed to promote beautiful things, sumptuous delights, spectacular happenings, great people and the many wonderful places in the Philippines.

Whoever started it all, I don’t know. I have many friends in Iloilo and I know them to be mostly less argumentative. But from the posts I read, I noticed a more assertive breed. Very passionate about their claims and aggressive to march forward with what they think. They had this big red logo that had a crown above the “Iloilo the Queen City of the South.”  I noticed too that the logo was used by its supporters as their Facebook profile picture to identify that they are part of that, I should say, “movement.” The Cebuanos on the other hand, were behaved but argumentative – typical of his competitive nature. They pointed that Cebu is the Queen City of the South on the basis of her being the most progressive city outside Manila.

In the first sentence, he signified innocence of whoever initiated this war-of-claims. He even tried to appear friendly or should I say unbiased since he had “many-friends-in-Iloilo-and-I-know-them-to-be-mostly-less-argumentative”. He also pointed out the usual Cebuano reasoning “that Cebu is the Queen City of the South on the basis of her being the most progressive city outside Manila” to defend their right to the title but he never realized that by doing so, he only made himself look arrogant by focusing on economic progress as the sole determinant of a city’s glory. Never did, in any international social or geographical dissertation and evaluation, appear that a city’s greatness is measured by its economic progress. In fact, in the Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program, economy appeared to be the least important criteria as it gave more weight on a country’s or a province’s life expectancy rate, functional literacy rate, combined elementary and secondary enrolment rate and per capita income ratio of the richest and the poorest citizens. Per capita income ratio by the way refers to the income generated by any individual in all economic classes with emphasis on comparing how far is the income of the very rich from the very poor and as per UNDP report, many progressive countries in the world have failed to make both ends meet.

Nevertheless, the Cebuano writer has already started to undermine himself with his wordplay. He is starting to insinuate something, something that is very fishy. He further describes in detail how the assertive-breed-of-Ilonggos have participated and joined hands in the red-logo-movement. Thus, the war-of-claims is really that appalling!

On the other hand, he describes Cebuano-fans as behaved-but-argumentative-and-typical-of-his-competitive-nature. Oh well, if I were a Cebuano, I would have been so much flattered by the way a fellow Cebuano commended my cyber ethics. Or is it?

However, I am an Ilonggo. I must admit that I am active in the fanpage. I witnessed (one of the many who have seen) how unhealthy-and-uneducated the comments from the Cebuano-fans have become. Many, if not all, were initiated by Cebuanos who had been very proud at using countless accounts with numerous identities promoting Cebu. I have nothing to argue about this but wait, some of the Cebuanos’ posts are so devastating to the extent of humiliating Iloilo’s image by proudly posting provocative and malicious pictures about Iloilo’s demise brought about by the previous calamities (as if Cebu did not have her own share). Even a simple promotion about Iloilo has been tailed after, taunted and jeered at. Believe me! In almost every post promoting Iloilo, Cebuano-fans always have something negative and provocative to say many of which are offensive and foul. On the other hand, Ilonggos never posted malevolent pictures and posts against Cebu. Worst, these so-called “behaved-but-argumentative-and-typical-of-his-competitive-nature” Cebuanos are promoting Cebu at the expense of others. They would promote Cebu so close to perfection that they are already undermining the potentials of other places to progressive as well; it’s as if no other city or province in the Philippines deserves the right to be economically advanced. Alas! The Cebuano writer was blinded by his love for Cebu that he has greatly camouflaged the misgivings of his fellow Cebuanos (in-the-fanpage). Really, I am so perturbed with his way of defining his statement “behaved-but-argumentative-and-typical-of-his-competitive-nature”. Or I suppose this is his way of defining the uneducated-other? I do not know.

After all, I was fuelled to defend my City (my pride!). Being competitive does not necessarily mean destroying and provoking others just to appear superior, better, finer, greater – almost close to heaven and perfection!

If I were to fairly look at the issue, there is what we call in law as de jure and de facto government.The former, being vested by legal title while the latter being vested by virtue of “fact” or common perception (not necessarily legally sanctioned).

How can this Cebuano writer look at both sides fairly when from the start he has already patiently and creatively written his article with twists and turns just like teleseryes while at the same time dramatically conditioned the minds of his readers that there is something wrong with Ilonggos, especially those whom he labeled as the more-assertive-breed?

Did Chris really mean that Cebu was vested with legal title, Queen City of the South? When did it happen? Where did it happen? In Cebu or maybe in Iloilo (during the dethronement? But when?)?

Or did Chris mean that Iloilo has no documents to show, no evidence to unleash and suddenly proclaimed herself as such?

Ah… like the Cebuano writer, I have also overlooked some of the details. Let me clarify that what he dares to assert is that Iloilo is the Queen City of the South de jure and Cebu is the Queen City of the South de facto. In the field of Laws, these terms are applicable to refer to a government or anything judicial for that matter. But the principles of law will never be applicable to the annals of history because these are, in the first place, two different disciplines. Why compare? Why relate? As the saying goes, “We cannot compare apples with oranges.”

In History, this is not possible. De Jure and de facto should be one and the same. Otherwise, Cebu is a self-proclaimed Queen City of the South. I do not think Cebuanos will agree if I will have to be more-assertive with this. Dates and places are important spices of history. Iloilo has the paper to boast and the preserved landmarks and edifices to flaunt about its rich historical background. And so is Cebu, the first settlement of Spaniards in the Philippines and the Seat of Christianity (and if I may add, Crusaders of Truth).

If we claim something beyond the pages of history, then it is a historical blunder. Filipinos have proven to the world that indeed we are worth dying for. I can remain silent and insensitive about the issue on this historical blunder (in-the-making). But which is really which? We need not to wallow in darkness of deception. It is not just about the de facto thing or about the de jure’s. This is about the truth! This is about history, our history.

It is painful to note that until now we even have a distorted view of how we evolved as a people and how we look at history as ONLY a thing of the past… trash that is! Note that it is history that has shaped us to be who we are and is continuously shaping our consciousness day after day. If the culture of treachery and silence reign, what will happen next?

I would like to compare the claims of the Ilonggos as a right by virtue of legal title.  Iloilo was granted the title the Queen’s City of the South NOT the Queen City of the South or her loyalty to the Queen of Spain during the time of the Spanish resistance.  From then on, the Ilonggos took it to mean that Iloilo was really the Queen City of the South as she was the most economically progressive region outside the National Capital until the decline of the sugar industry after the post war era. The title was immediately “transferred” to Cebu as it was no longer inappropriate for Iloilo to assume the title because of her ailing economy.History has it that Iloilo was granted the title the Queen’s City of the South NOT the Queen City of the South for her loyalty to the Queen of Spain during the time of the Spanish resistance.

Now, this part is very tricky. Notice how the Cebuano writer badly altered history. I would like to correct this by presenting four major points:

First, the word “grant” (according to thesaurus) means allow, permit, approved of and so on. Ilonggos never asked nor pleaded for the title – whether to enjoy its prestige or whatever it really entails. The title is lawfully GIVEN. My second and third points will later disclose how “Queen City of the South” has evolved.

Second, the title “Queen Regent’s City in the South” was given birth in 1901 after the Americans assumed government power in Iloilo. The title meant to signify that Iloilo is the Queen Regent’s favorite city in the south pursuant to the “La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo” as a moniker of the previously bestowed Decree by the Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain in 1896. Since the latter was too long or shall I say awkward for the new administration (American regime), an English-version came out. Later, the title Queen Regent’s City in the South was changed to Queen’s City in the South again to emphasize that Queen’s favor rests upon Iloilo.

There was a constant use of “Queen’s City in the South” in any legal and business transaction at that time. Eventually, the Americans came out with a simplified form, Queen City of the South because Iloilo was the only city in the south (anything outside Luzon then is referred to as part of the south) that has remained glorious in terms of economy, history, culture and most importantly, a citizenry that has managed to become important and valued in almost every field available in Philippine society, government and the private sector. It is also interesting to note that Iloilo has achieved many historical firsts that has greatly contributed to the evolution of Philippine history.

Third, let me clarify that there is no such thing in the historical evolution of the mentioned title as “QUEEN’S CITY OF the South”. It was Queen Regent’s City IN the South. I presume that the Cebuano writer overlooked some of the significant historical data or shall I say, “it was just a slip of the pen”. An intelligent writer knows that an apostrophe with “s” is very crucial as this could mean something other than the original meaning. In as much as I would like to believe in his sincerity, I am becoming more skeptical. On the contrary, I am certain that writing is the highest form of communication as this is the product of prudence, reflection and reason.

Moreover, IN THE and OF THE are two different things. So please let us not be deceived. Allow me to differentiate the two. The preposition IN basically denotes point in space (as “in the South”) while the preposition OF in this case, functions as an association with or adherence to (as “of the South”). Nonetheless, for great writers and keen readers alike, every usage of a word or even just a simple comma, period and an apostrophe especially in dissecting the truth plays a vital role in the purpose of clarifying, validating facts and above all, informing the mainstream. I suspect the Cebuano writer knows all of these.

Fourth and my last point, the writer also overlooked that it was during the American regime where the title “Queen City of the South” emerged referring to Iloilo. English language was nowhere in sight during the Spanish era, the whole country knew about this. Spaniards would otherwise undermine themselves if they had used English as a mode of communication to the Filipinos. Their purpose of colonization primarily centered on evangelization, power and wealth while educating Filipinos using the English language was never seen in their list. Notice that the writer clearly mentioned “Spanish Resistance” to refer to the time element when the title “Queen’s City of the South” first came out. Again, the “La Muy Leal Y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo” title was given to Iloilo as a reward for her contributions in helping the Spanish government topple down the resistance and not the Queen’s City of the South as the Cebuano writer claimed. Nonetheless, the Cebuano writer’s self-coined word “Queen’s City of the South” is semantically wrong because never will a possessive noun/phrase (Queen’s City) correctly coincide with an adherence phrase (of the South) thus making his statement not only a historical blunder but a grammar blunder as well.

Deducing from this, the prevalent use of Queen City of the South to refer to Iloilo started during American regime pursuant to the moniker of the previously bestowed Decree by the Queen Regent of Spain in 1896.

From then on, the Ilonggos took it to mean that Iloilo was really the Queen City of the South as she was the most economically progressive region outside the National Capital until the decline of the sugar industry after the post war era.

Again, let us remember that Ilonggos never asked the American Government at that time to bestow unto them the title “Queen City of the South.” Alas! The Cebuano writer further complicated the truth. His arguments were blemished with ambiguity. He was saying earlier that Iloilo is the Queen City of the South de jure and now at this point, he implied that only the Ilonggos are too assuming to claim that really, Iloilo is the Queen City of the South? Talk about inconsistency?

If I am ignorant, I would have agreed with how the Cebuano writer appeared very convincing in his claims that Iloilo is really the Queen City of the South only for Ilonggos. However, this is not the case. Let me reiterate that during the American Regime the title “Queen City of the South” was vastly used to refer to Iloilo in business and legal transactions. This means that not only the Ilonggos are recognizing this title but all those whom Iloilo have transacted business with including Australia and the United States. If Iloilo has dealt business with Cebu that time is yet another story.

Iloilo is the most-economically-progressive-region-outside-the-National-Capital describes the Cebuano writer. This is a truth that Iloilo never used, misused and abused of for queenship’s sake. Economy is not the only basis of the Americans to bestow the title to Iloilo. It is a historical fact and I need not to elaborate.

While the sugar industry started to face its doom, banking remained to flourish even during the Post Was era. To wit, as early as 1897 the first branch of Banco Espanyol-Filipino (now Bank of the Philippine Islands) was established in Iloilo. In fact, the mentioned bank played a major part in the nation building. Banks are widely spread in the whole city until these days. Street after street, banks are like mushroom increasingly sprouting in Iloilo. Could this be one proof that the middle class, upper middle class and even those of the upper class have dominated Iloilo?

The title was immediately “transferred” to Cebu as it was no longer inappropriate for Iloilo to assume the title because of her ailing economy.

If I would be asked when and where did the transfer take place? I definitely do not know about the transferred-to thing. A title that is uniquely and historically designed for a province or place is not like a home address nor a school nor a beauty pageant wherein there is a semestral or annual “immediately transferred to” phenomenon. Who is ought to dictate? To emphasize my claim, no parcel of historical data up to this very moment can prove that such a transfer of title from Iloilo to Cebu took place. Not even a single politician can stand-up and say that he was responsible for such transfer, oh well maybe Cebuano politicians in the past can be asked about this.

But a friend of mine joked that none of them deserves to make such claims as both provinces do not really come from the south but from the central Philippines. Davao, Zamboanga or Cagayan should be the rightful parties to fight it out among them than between Iloilo and Cebu.

I would like to joke you also. (Joke lang…) I really really like how he has used the word joke as a verb in the sentence. Anyway, I agree that Davao, CDO, GenSan and Zamboanga, are economically competitive cities in Mindanao. If only economy is the sole basis for “Queenship”, then the Philippines would have so many Queen Cities of the South! Then again, it cannot be possible for if this happens, this is going to be the biggest joke in my whole wide hungry tummy! Seriously, if economy and progress is the sole determinant of a city’s right to queenship, then again the Philippines will have a myriad of Queen Cities of the South. But again, the title was meant for Iloilo and no one or no place can ever claim such.

But why do we have to argue or be indifferent with our neighbors for a mere title? I don’t get it. A title is nothing but a low self-esteem on steroids hidden usually in post nominal letters like Ph. D or MBA or some designation of office or royalty that is no different from such other titles as barangay tanod, metro aide, or butler. Titles have been used a means to justify our ego-tripping and self-admiration sprit– an inch closer to a personality disorder like narcissism. 
Titles or names do not make a person. It is the person who makes a name for himself. So as countries or places. Iloilo can always assert herself to make such claims, however, it is a gargantuan task to retake the lost honor and perception now that the public is already accustomed to the notion that Cebu rightfully deserves it better than Iloilo. I suggest that they abandon the idea and move on with life.

The Cebuano writer on the early part of the paragraph is boldly convincing his readers that there is nothing valuable about titles and that fighting for the said cheap narcissism is useless. He clandestinely defines the dichotomy between the elite and the proletariat but being safe at implying that after all we are humans – capable-of-justifying-our-ego-tripping-and-self-admiration-spirit. Again, Iloilo never pleaded nor implored to be given with a title so sumptuous. If this title had been a dish of some sort, the preparation is not enough to feed some hungry egos.

Funny though how Cebuano-fans, using so many identities are hiding and hiding as if they are inch closer to Multi-Personality Disorder, have been mightily justifying their ownership of the title with some things that their investors’ own, claiming ownership to what is historically designed for Iloilo and something that Iloilo has been known for more than a century.

Who sets the standards? Who dictates? Like a mushroom, the “Queenship” of Cebu suddenly sprung out without notice to the rightful owner. The title was never asked, it was given lawfully and historically for Iloilo. If stealing is a crime, then there is a criminal who should be sought liable for all of these. Definitely, it is not the Cebuano writer since his is just an attempt to reconcile arguments… arguments which are bold and nervy and of course inconsistent.

For as long as there are many of us, Ilonggos, who are fighting for something we rightfully deserve, then the movement will never cease to inform the mainstream of the truth. For as long as there is someone interested to take her crown away, then the Queen will always have her watchful guards to keep an eye and protect her from impostors. We will never stop.

I do not understand what the Cebuano writer really wanted to insinuate with this “I suggest that they abandon the idea and move on with life.” I am afraid he is endorsing silence in the midst of ambiguity. I am more than afraid that he is endorsing apathy and cynicism over arrogance amidst this so-called war of claims. If there is a perfect time for us, the more-assertive-breed-and-the-very-passionate-to-march-forward, with what we firmly believe in and what we rightfully deserve, then… it should be now! Otherwise, let us abolish this part of history.

Iloilo never lost her honour being the Queen City of the South. The whole province even the whole Island of Panay suffered tremendously with the series of natural calamities yet Iloilo remains gracefully standing tall and proud. Graft and corruption never went out of Iloilo’s grasp and so are the other provinces, even other countries. But Iloilo has been exceedingly working it out… faster than ever before. Iloilo after all did not frustrate and put the entire country to downfall.

Cebu on the other hand should preserve that borrowed trust or might as well make no big deal about it. Cebu does not need a title to be noticed. The world has already noticed Cebu for what she is and for what she has to offer. Investors, tourists and leaders look up to Cebu not only as an economic hub but a destination to enjoy life.

Does the Cebuano writer’s term “preserve the borrowed trust” refer to the Queen City of the South title? Obviously yes and by saying so, he has just confirmed again that Iloilo indeed is the first, the original and the rightful Queen City of the South and that Cebu only “borrowed” or should I say “took it away” from Iloilo without notice. Interestingly, the title was taken aside by Iloilo when she was groping in the dark during the time when the entire city was under economic and political crises during the 60’s and this was the time, I believe, when Cebu proclaimed herself as such.

Ilonggos are loving people and we never destroyed Cebu’s nor Cebuanos’ image just to rise above and feel superior. If provoked, then expect venomous negation. If roses no matter how beautiful they are, still have thorns to defend themselves. If a snake can attack surreptitiously and take in its prey helpless inside its stomach elegantly leaving no mark of arrogance… if and only if.

We are but human beings and are still Filipinos, at the end of the day. May we not nurture our fellowmen with falsehood and deception. For undeniably Juan dela Cruz will always be the poor and unheard fellow amidst darkness gazing towards the stars elegantly seated in the skies of his beloved soil.

As an Ilonggo, I am not bitter about the influx of tourists and investors in Cebu. As a Filipino, I am a regular visitor to Cebu by the way. On the other hand, Iloilo is a province with a large number of Middle class and Upper Middle class. Because of this, majority have been insensitive about Iloilo’s ownership to the title since everyone is in the comfort zone. However, this more-assertive-breed of Ilonggos has been awakened by truth and has become more sensitive about it.

Investors are soon coming to venture in Iloilo. In fact, many of them have already started and enjoyed the warm welcome they get from the Ilonggos. I hope Ilonggos will remain staunch in defending and preserving the tradition and culture of our ancestors (had immediately-transferred-to this more-assertive-breed).

However, having many visitors (please count me in) and investors alike (in Cebu) do not and cannot guarantee that the entire populace can clothe themselves and can feed their tummies three times a day – them who are the taxpayers, them who are the true helpless of the society, our society at large.

“The Island in the Pacific” seems to be a perfect fit 
for what truly Cebu is.

Cebu can claim so many titles. As the Cebuano writer mentioned above, it is the person or a place that makes a name for himself. And if given a chance to name Cebu, it would be “The Most Gorgeous and Fabulous Island in the Pacific.” Indeed, Cebu is lovely.

I have used Cebuano writer instead of “historian” to be safe. In fact, I have never encountered his name in any of the history books about Iloilo nor about Cebu nor about Philippines. Thus, if there is someone called for to clarify, validate and inform the entire country about this war of claims, then he could have been a Historian… a credible Historian.

Here’s the original article Cebu or Iloilo – which is which?, the aim of the rebuttal, authored by Mr. Chris Malazarte and was published on The Freeman and can be accessed through its website at:

Friday, March 11, 2011



In 1886, the Philippine Islands were divided into
two provinces only, MANILA & ILOILO.
After the proclamation of the two provinces, Manila adopted the red ensign of 1845 while Iloilo used a new white and blue ensign.

***The first capital city of the Spanish Crown
in the Philippines is Manila (Intramuros).


Victorino Mapa was born in Capiz with parents from Iloilo. He graduated his Bachelor of Laws and Jurisprudence from the University of Santo Tomas at the age of 25. He was chosen as one of the Associate Justices of the newly created Supreme Court of the Philippines in 1901, together with Cayetano Arellano and Florentino Torres. He then left the Supreme Court to be Secretary of Justice in 1913. He was called to be Chief Justice in 1920, upon Arellano's retirement.

His tenure was brief, as his frail health forced him to retire early. He died April 12, 1927. On April 29, or 17 days later, his fellow retired Justice, Florentino Torres, also died.
They were both given necrological services by the Supreme Court.

***The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is
Cayetano Arellano.



In 1965, an American mestiza from Iloilo, Louise Aurelio Vail won as the second Binibining Pilipinas who in that time is selecting candidates intended only to compete for Miss Universe. She competed in the Miss Universe Pageant in Miami Beach, Florida. She joined Bb. Pilipinas contest and the Miss Universe Pageant as Louise Vail Aurelio in an attempt to Filipinize her name. That year Louise was a semi-finalist in the Miss Universe 1965 pageant. The first ever Binibining Pilipinas winner was Maria Myrna Sese Panlilio in 1964, the first year when Binibining Pilipinas Charities started to handle the selection for Miss Universe contestants.

***The first Binibining Pilipinas winner is
Ms. Maria Myrna Sese Panlilio in 1964


(Top: Panay Railways Inc. during the early years of its operation in 1910. Bottom: The contemporary Panay Railways Inc. in its hub located beside Muelle Loney - Aduana)

Panay Railways Incorporated was conceptualized by Nicolas Loney in the 1850s primarily to ease out sugar transport in Iloilo but it was only in 1901 when the project was realized. The railway was completed in 1907.

***The first railroad system in the Philippines was established in 1892,
the Manila Railroad Company that connects Manila to Dagupan


The year 1912 marked the birth of Iloilo Central Commercial High School – the premiere and the second oldest Filipino Chinese School in the Philippines. Conceived and installed by Iloilo Chinese Chamber of Commerce, she bore an original name “Iloilo Chinese Vocational School” formerly located at Yu Tiak Ha Building at Aldeguer Street. In a short span of time, she obtained a piece of land opposite the street and erected hereon a building which was called Tian Po Hall. A year later, the school was renamed “Iloilo Chinese Primary Commercial School” with only an approximate number of 60 enrollees.

It was in year 1918 when the Chamber of Commerce and the school itself finally acquired a piece of land along Iznart Street, which is now a remnant of her laurels and glories. With the help of these two institutions, the school was established permanently with a stronghold of optimism that “this school” would find her place at the summit of excellence. In 1927, alterations of her name went into different waves. She was called “Primary Commercial School”, and later became “Iloilo Central Commercial High School”.

***The oldest Filipino-Chinese School in the Philippines is
Philippine Tiong Se Academy in Binondo, Manila established in 1899

Friday, March 4, 2011


The movie YANGGAW, a full length Ilonggo film that starred Ronnie Lazaro, Tetchie Agbayani and Joel Torre among others, is the only non-Tagalog mainstream film in Philippine Movie history that became successful both in awards and box-office sales.

Best Director (Richard Somes)
Best Actor (Ronnie Lazaro)
Best Supporting Actor (Joel Torre)
Best Supporting Actress (Tetchie Agbayani)
Best Sound (Joey Santos and Eduardo Velesquez)
Best Editing (Borgy Torre)

Digital Movie of the Year

Digital Movie Director of the Year
(Richard Somes)

Digital Movie Cinematographer of the Year
(Hermann Claravall & Lyle Sacris)

Digital Movie Production Designer of the Year
(Michael Espanol, Donald Camon & Rashel Gumacal)

32nd GAWAD URIAN 2009
Best Actor (Ronnie Lazaro)
Best Supporting Actress (Aleera Montalla)
Best Sound (Joey Santos and Eduardo Velesquez)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


No grand introductions, no sugar-coated promotions,
no expensive venues & stages...
both locally and internationally.


World Folklore Festival in Portugal - 1998

World Expo in Portugal - 1998

Chinggay Festival & Parade in Singapore - 1999 & 2000

Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce Annual Parade 2007
State of Minnesota, USA
Best Parade Crown Pleaser

36th Texas Folklife Festival 2007
State of Texas, USA

St. Patrick's Day Annual Parade in Ireland - 2009

International Dance Congress in Manila - 2009
Opening Performance

Philippine Independence Day Celebration Parade
New York, USA - 2010 & 2011


2003 - 2nd Place
2004 - Grand Champion
2005 - 3rd Place
2006 - 2nd Place
2007 - 2nd Place
2008 - 2nd Place
2009 - 3rd Place
2010 - Grand Champion


Best Tourism Event of the Philippines - 2006, 2007, 2008 - ATOP & DOT

Best Tourism Event of the Philippines -ATOP & DOT

Best Practice in the Promotion of the Localization of the
Millennium Development Goals - United Nations Development Program

Queen Festival of the Philippines - 2010 - ATOP & DOT

Festival of Excellent Folk Choreography - 2005 - NCCA

Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame - 2009 - Palladium Asia

Festival with Best Executing Strategy - 2009 - Palladium Asia

Best Practices of the City Government - Institute for Solidarity in Asia

Best Practice in Public and Private Cooperation - Asian Devt Bank

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ever wondered how Iloilo became the QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH? The title is a a moniker of the previously bestowed decree by the Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain in 1896:

Such title was too long for the new American administrators of Iloilo to use in their official transactions with other English-speaking countries that Iloilo transacts business with. An English description was therefore coined to introduce Iloilo especially to the Australian merchants who are the chief buyers of Iloilo's sugar shipment.
Hence the title QUEEN REGENT'S CITY IN THE SOUTH was born in 1901 after the Americans assumed government power in Iloilo.

The constant use of the long title used to describe Iloilo went on until a new one came out to simplify the writing of articles in sugar shipment manifesto and other political documentation.
Hence the title QUEEN'S CITY IN THE SOUTH.

With the sugar industry flourishing even more that catapulted Iloilo's economy to enormous heights and with the American Government pouring in enormous political and economic functions to the city, Iloilo became the second major seat of power during that time with all administrative functions channeling from Iloilo & Manila only. No other province in the south was as important historically and politically and as progressive as Iloilo.
Hence the title QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH sprung out.

The QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH title was then made as Iloilo's official nickname when Iloilo was legally declared a city for the second time by the virtue of the Commonwealth Act No. 158 in 1937.

In 1886, the Philippine Islands were divided into two provinces only,
After the proclamation of the two provinces, Manila adopted the red ensign of 1845
while Iloilo used a new white and blue ensign.

The book written by the Augustinian Father Policarpio Hernandez titled "ILOILO, The Most Noble City: History and Development 1566-1898." narrates the circumstances of how Iloilo City won for itself the accolade "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo"

"When Andres Bonifacio's Katipunan launched the revolt against Spain at the outskirts of Manila on 30 August 1896, the Ilongo elite was caught by surprise. They immediately responded with protestations of outrage and affirmed their loyalty to Mother Spain. The Ilongos themselves were united in their support of Spain during the first two years of the revolutionary period, nipping in the bud local separatist movements and eventually battling the troops of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

A few days after the Cry of Balintawak, the Jaro Ayuntamiento, comprised entirely of native Ilongos, convened in a special session on 1 September. It condemned the Manila uprising as an unpatriotic act 'that finds no echo in the hearts of the Jarenos.' Iloilo towns also condemned the Manila uprising, and the neighboring provinces of Capiz, Antique and the Negros Island followed suit. Emboldened by this outpouring of love and loyalty toward Spain, the Ilongo elite, with the backing of the Spanish and foreign communities of Iloilo, initiated the organization of loyal volunteers in the region to be sent to quell the Tagalog rebellion. Five hundred native troops volunteered and an Ilongo Volunteer Battalion was formed under the cadre of mostly Spanish officers.

With enthusiasm compensating for their poor military training, the Ilongo Volunteers gathered at Plaza Alfonso XII (present-day Plaza Libertad) for blessings prior to their departure to Manila. A massive overflow of pro-Spanish patriotism marked the occasion that was attended, in full force, by local Spanish authorities and the Iloilo Ayuntamiento.

As per report of the Diario de Manila, the Ilongo Volunteers embarked on the ship Brutus as folk heroes, cheered by the people who sent them off en masse. Bishop Leandro Arrue and the city officials, led by Governor Ricardo Monet, joined the multitude that wished the Ilongo volunteers luck in their fight for the Mother Country.

The seal was made after Maria Cristina, Queen Regent of Spain declared Iloilo a city,
the first ever Philippine locale that was officially declared a city.
The declaration was made long before Cebu and Manila became a city

Divided into two companies, the Volunteer Battalion arrived in Manila on 16 January 1897. It easily became one of the largest native contingent to serve the government forces against the insurgent soldiers of General Emilio Aguinaldo in the battlegrounds of Cavite province. Regular financial contributions, mainly from the families of the Ilongo elite, supported the Ilongo Volunteers throughout their years of service. The first fund raising campaign in March 1897 generated some 1,615 pesos. Among the leading contributors were Felix de la Rama and Eugenio Lopez, as well as other urban elite families from both Iloilo and Jaro. Before this, as per the report of Diario de Manila, some 40,000 pesos had already been collected when the Ilongo Battalion embarked for Manila, 'an amount at the time that would last them for four months.....'

As expected, the Ilongo Volunteers established for themselves a distinguished combat record in the battles of Cavite against Aguinaldo's revolutionary forces. Once the pact of Biak-na-Bato was signed, the Battalion returned to Iloilo on April 1898. Just like their departure, their homecoming galvanized the people into more public outpourings and manifestations of pro-Spanish loyalty and patriotism.

The Spanish Crown did not let the effort of the Ilongos go unheralded. Queen Maria Cristina issued a special royal decree, dated 10 March 1898, which awarded Iloilo City the perpetual title La Muy Noble Ciudad for its exemplary conduct, its laudable actions during the Tagalog insurrection, and for being the first in organizing, arming and supporting the Ilongo Volunteers.

Such filial devotion of the Ilongos to the Mother Country was understandable. Their allegiance to Spanish rule was a form of loyalty at once comprehensible. Allowed a more liberal degree of local autonomy by the Maura administration reforms of 1893, the leaders of Iloilo, Jaro and the other towns of Panay and Negros thought the uprising and revolt against Spanish rule were preposterous. Involved as they were in the development of Iloilo and Negros, enjoying the prosperity of the sugar boom during the past decades, the Ilongos had always considered themselves part of Spain, their grievances against the Mother Country nil."

In other words, the Spanish honorific "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad" which has fostered a certain distinction and a sense of "home-town" pride among Iloilo City natives is in fact really an award given by Spain for their act of "betrayal" as many people of today would claim against the fight for Philippine nationhood.

Iloilo was legally declared a city for the second time in 1937 by the virtue of
the Commonwealth Act No. 158.
This was the time when the new city seal (above) was used.

With all that has been negatively said about that act, I still don't consider it an act of betrayal since the Philippines were not united then and Iloilo was just blessed enough to have been free or minimally affected by the Spanish oppression. The act therefore made by the Ilonggos in siding with Spain was just an initial reactionary move since Spain was so good to all of Iloilo.

Fortunately as the years pass, Iloilo has awakened from the supposed hypnotic effect of Spain and many Ilonggos begin to fight the oppression. In fact, the very people who fought side by side with the Spaniards are the very ones fight against them.

Many of the Ilonggos who initially sided with Spain were recognized and honored by the National Historical Institute for the massive revolutionary movement that they have established against Spain.

In fact many Ilonggos later on joined with the national revolutionary movement.
Gen. Pablo S. Araneta of the Revolutionary Government of Visayas.
Gen. Marciano S. Araneta of the cantonal Government in Negros.
Don Gregorio S. Araneta of the Malolos Republic.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) recognized the patriotic contributions of afore-mentioned Ilonggo Heroes with the installation of Statues and/or Historical Markers in their honor.


Gen. Martin T. Delgado - Sta. Barbara Plaza-Iloilo
Gen. Pablo S. Araneta - Molo (Convent) Plaza-Iloilo City
Gen. Aniceto L. Lacson - Talisay Plaza-Negros Occidental
Gen. Juan A. Araneta - Bago Plaza-Negros Occidental
Gen. Marciano S. Araneta - La Carlota Plaza-Negros Occidental
Don Gregorio S. Araneta - R.Hidalgo Street Quiapo-Manila
Gen. Pantaleon S. Villegas - Carcar Plaza, Cebu
Gen. Leandro L. Fullon - San Jose Plaza-Antique

The title may have been associated with an act many people of today would consider treacherous nevertheless, the same people who committed such "treacherous" act are the most instrumental people in helping Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo win the fight.

To honor the valiant help of the Ilonggos and the people of Panay, the second of the 3 stars in the Philippine flag was meant not for the entire Visayas but for the island of Panay only.