Issue of January 19, 2020
Mt. Province
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Pickle relish anyone?
Stella Maria L. de Guia
I am sweet pickle relish condiment fan, I use it when I make chicken potato salad and chicken sandwich. Pickle relish goes well with mayonnaise, chicken, burgers and hotdogs. A sprinkling of pickle relish gives one that delicious- different taste. Which brings me to the Pickle Relish Reggae Band. And guess what? They used to be called “Mayonnaise” but changed it to “Pickle Relish”. Interesting di ba? When asked why, Ken and Imson chorused, “kasi habang tumatagal, sumasarap.”

PICKLE RELISH -- (From left) Philip Pascual, Ken Ponchinlan, Imson  Lacamen, Kris Reyes, Ian Marquez, Vianey Alagao, Anthony delos Santos,and Pier Abubo.

There are times when one wants to listen to “feel good” music and to dance the night away. Well, here is a group of young businessmen and students whose ages range from 20 to 40, who can satiate your yearning for good music. Formed in September 2008 and influenced by the band “Binhi “ of Ayuyang, Bagiw and Daluyon, the band is called Pickle Relish, your answer to having an enjoyable and wonderful time.

They started with two members. Ken Ponchinlan plays bass and Imson Lacamen, is the vocalist. Then they became three. This is with the entry of Anthony Delos Santos who plays the trumpet. They now have eight members with the inclusion of Lance Romero - saxophone, Vianey Alagao, - guitar, Ian marquez - drums, Joseph Diax- tenor sax,and Kris Reyes - percussion.

They play at the 18BC Music Lounge along Legarda Road every Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. They come from different genres and combined their ta-lents to form reggae and roots rock music. For those interested, they also play at gigs, parties, weddings, barangay affairs, fiestas, debuts, hawaiian gigs, and beach parties. They have been invited to many parts of Manila and Northern Luzon.


I’m so happy to hear a lot of good feedbacks about the good deeds of these guys. If one is interested to hear and see them, here are their numbers: Ken - 0921 738 2760 and Imson – 0965 691 5611. One thing admirable about this group, is their capacity to reach out and their genuine desire to help people and patients in need. They play in “benefit concerts”or “concerts with a cause”. This Feb. 14, they will be playing at Cowboy Town in La Trinidad, Benguet for the benefit of a “cancer patient.” I have not been to Cowboy Town, but I heard this is a good place to gather, and listen to country music. In fact, Ofelia Empian of the Baguio Midland Courierwrote about it. Please support this concert for a cause.

According to research, “Roots Rock is a style of rock music that draws material from various American musical traditions including country, blues, and folk. On the other hand, reggae originated in Jamaica in the `60s and was popularized by legendary Jamaican artist Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s “One love, One heart” talks about getting together and feeling alright. A very famous and meaningful song.

The immediate origins of reggae are in ska and rocksteady; from the latter, reggae took over the use of the bass as a percussion instrument. Reggae is deeply linked to Rastafari, an Afrocentric religion which started in Jamaica in the 1930s.” The Rasta flag has the colors red, yellow and green. Red stands for the blood of black people, yellow for the stolen gold and green for the lost lands of Africa.

Over a cup of coffee and pizza with Ken Ponchinlan and Imsom Lacamen at the Venus Park View Hotel.

Ken and Imson differentiate Ska as fast music and reggae as slow music. I can still see in my mind the jumping dance of my children when they were younger every time there ska music and reggae played in the background. So much fun. Sometimes nagkaka-untugan na sila. The Pickle Relish Band repertoire reaches up to four hundred which is quite an achievement. They have original compositions like: “Masaya,” “ Tuktok ng Buwan,” and “Philippine Islands” all based on personal experiences. They make revisions on their repertoire to make it upbeat and reggae. They adapt their music to fit their audience.

One of their original compositions is based on an unforgettable experience they had, when they were invited to play for a famous reggae festival on an island in Bataan. There, they encountered a lot of unforeseen and weird events from blackouts, to trekking in the darkness - they could not ride the boats going to the islands - to car breakdowns –all in a day. Talk about luck. What they enjoyed most about these happenings is meeting all kinds of people and going to new destinations. Sounds like they could be good tourism ambassadors.

These young businessmen are also avid dog breeders and members of a Good Samaritan Motorcycle Club who helped the Baguio community when the rides were nil. Ken who took up management at Saint Louis University has a car accessory and detailing shop while Imson, who took civil engineering at the University of the Cordilleras has a repair shop for motorcyles. The family used to grow strawberries in their farm in Puguis, La Trinidad. For both of them, or all of them, music is their therapy and family comes first.

It truly is a feat to be so accomplished and be so humble at the same time. Meeting this young group of professionals has been a rewarding experience. Imagine if the world had more people such as them. But, that’s for a different article. For now, let us enjoy their riffs, their music and their company. Kudos to you, Pickle Relish!

Sumabat – Alumit Wedding

Miss Aleta Lourdes Teano Sumabat and Attorney Gregory Herman Dacpano Alumit celebrated their exchange of marriage vows with their parents Attorney Antonio and Mrs. Lourdes Sumabat and Mr. Hermogenes (+) and Dr. Evelyn Alumit, families, relatives, and friends last December 31, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Joseph the Worker Church, Pacdal, Baguio City. Reception followed at the Baguio Country Club. -- Photo by Even After Weddings and Portraits


Answered prayers
Nonette Bennett
Answered prayers are not exclusive to the Roman Catholics but cut across all sects, so it is proven at the Breakfast Feeding for Learning, Inc. under 63-year-old Pacita Panaguiton. What started as a remedial reading class five years ago is now a feeding and remedial program for some 100 children and 50 mothers.

Mothers of the beneficiaries are organized at a meeting every month for shifts and schedules and other concerns by Sister Paz (right)

Called Sister Paz in the community, she returned to the Philippines from the U.S. more than five years ago to take care of her sister’s property at a subdivision in Dontogan. She said she felt that the work routine in America was not her purpose in life. She had worked with the Aetas and Mangyans for 21 years before her sisters convinced her to try a life there. After seven years of earning dollars, she decided to return and devote her time to volunteer work in the community around her sister’s house.

With the Aetas and Mangyans, the non-government organization (NGO) she worked with devised the learning programs and materials for the education of the children which was then called the indigenous school. At that time, they needed to focus on the milieu of the indigenous people (IP) to help them see the need for education using their language, customs, and traditions as reference. Although lacking the training as a teacher, it was the work that she enjoyed most. She says that her parents influenced her to take up Commerce instead of Education, which she had a passion for.

Remedial classes are held after lunch. Pacita Panaguiton (right) sits with two Grade 1 students and two fourth graders for reading and math tutorials simultaneously. The Rotary Club of Baguio North and the Baguio Water District have helped them build the structure through funds and materials while the labor is from voluntary work from the fathers of the children beneficiaries.

Wanting to volunteer to do remedial classes for children with reading and arithmetic problems, she approached the principal of Dontogan Elementary School and was able to work out her tutoring classes at the principal’s office. She was overwhelmed when she realized that reading and Math were problems of more students than she could handle. She convinced 10 mothers to volunteer so they could divide the 30 students among them and she patiently taught the mothers how to sit with the children even if they too had no formal trainings in education. Then, they had to conduct the remedial classes in three areas where the children lived. It was then that she noticed the languor in some of the students and asked them why they were like that. She realized that hunger was the root of the learning problems more than the subjects. One child said that she had not eaten lunch, neither breakfast.

Cordillera style baby carrier makes a mother able to wash dishes for the Breakfast Feeding for Learning, Inc. center.

Prayers and prayers were what guided Sister Paz each step of her life. This new challenge of feeding her growing number of students required resources, she only had warm bodies but no money. “Walang imposible sa Diyos (nothing is impossible with God),” she prayed. By coincidence, her school reunion in 2016 to celebrate 40 years as graduates with her classmates became the opportunity when asked what she was busy with. The money for the feeding program was answered by classmates working abroad in time for the next school year. The next step was organizing the mothers of the children to help in the preparation of breakfast so the children could concentrate on their lessons instead of their grumbling stomachs. Again, she realized that the children were more practical than hungry and often reserved the meal for lunch. On the second year, the funds were trickling because enthusiasm of the donors was waning. The prayers never faltered and Sister Paz was led to the office of Porta Vaga of the Diocese of Baguio and Fr. Marlon Urmaza approved the feeding program budget for the last quarter of the school year 2017-2018. Thereafter, the feeding program and the other needs of the students have been generously funded by Porta Vaga.

Older beneficiaries dry plates to be put away in the plastic boxes for the next day.

The center of the feeding program has also been provided by answered prayers says Sister Paz. Dontogan kagawad Simplicio Talangcay had generously identified a portion of his lot where a kitchen and feeding center could be located. Today, the concrete structure that is still in progress has been enclosed and walls smoothed through the “bayanihan” (volunteer labor) of the fathers of the children in the program. Sister Paz says that many of them have volunteered a total of 30 days of work to date.

In 2018, the Rotary Club of Baguio North donated an initial amount of P30,000 for the construction which was later augmented in 2019 by the Baguio Water District through construction materials. Recently, the solar lamps were donated by RCBN through Director Jose Antonio Mendoza.

Still needing window panes, a toilet, sink, water tank, and other facilities, Sister Paz smiles and says the prayers will be answered.

Mother volunteers have shifts for marketing, cooking, and cleaning through the week. Their other younger children benefit from the feeding too.


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