July 22, 2024

We mourn the passing of a dear and old friend whose untimely demise came as a shock to his family, friends, relatives, admirers, and political allies, particularly to the good people of Benguet.
A former three-term governor and Benguet’s elected representative in the May mid-term elections, Nestor Fongwan was the ultimate politician whose record was unblemished except for the time he lost his first bid to be the province’s representative in 2016.

Nestor was blessed by the heavens with a uniquely amiable and pleasing personality that the voters look for and love to see in anyone seeking public office.
He had a gift for the game, that was envied by many – quick to catch the attention of his audience, make them laugh, listening closely even when discussing the complexities of politics and government, assuring his people that he was for and with them.
Our condolences to his family. Godspeed, Apo!

Every December, us Carantes cousins would gather together and make plans on how to make some money for the holidays, and this was soon after schools had closed for the Christmas break.
Preparing a schedule where and when to go, favorite places were Brent Road, Military Cut Off, ending our itinerary along Kisad Road, where rich and old families like the Corominas, the Padillas (Senator Ambrosio and Lily Padilla) and the Cariños had their family mansions.

Calling it a night after, we would sit down beneath a street lamp to count our earnings, which on good days, would come up to P15 or P20, a good enough take for seven cousins 10 or less years in age.
The problem was in the division of spoils, since arithmetic was more puzzling than a jig-saw puzzle itself. Consider too that we sing a capela – no guitar, not even a harmonica, and at times, even singing off-key. But Baguio folks were kinder in those days, only too happy to help out enterprising kids in the spirit of the season.

Our Apo Kensha, dream or no dream, made sure we would have our fill of food throughout the season – cañao ngayon, cañao kinabukasan.
No one was turned away from her door, not the hungry neighborhood yagits, not the stray dogs that were thrown not just bones but meat morsels.
Take-out was also tolerated. Christmas at its finest form from the ever-charitable Ibaloy heart.
Legs of ham, grapes, and apples were also aplenty, and each hungry stomach was given a fair share.
Those were the days. Still, at the end of each and every year, even now in our adult years, the birth and story of Jesus inspires us all.
A Merry and Blessed Christmas to all!

Here is Bernie Vergara’s Christmas gift to the city of Baguio. Find time to appreciate it.
In line with President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program, under which all expenses will be shouldered, Bernie proposes the modernization of two Baguio landmarks: the Loakan Airport and Kennon Road.
Also the construction of a Y-shaped flyover along Naguilian Road starting at City Hall all the way up to the welcome arch including Bokawkan Road.
Extend the existing tunnel at Badiwan (Tuba) to Green Valley and Balacbac barangays.
This will decongest traffic along the Marcos Highway with southbound vehicles passing through the newly constructed tunnel while southbound traffic will pass through the existing one.
No cost to the city.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the city of Baguio under the active leadership of Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Rep. Mark Go should undertake the construction of a diversion bridge between Kisad and Gov. Pack Roads, starting in front of the Crown Legacy Hotel towards where the Lion’s clubhouse is located, and the construction of a diversion road from the Toyota building along Bokawkan Road headed towards Dizon Subdivision.
The bypass bridge will decongest traffic at the BGH flyover while the diversion road will decongest traffic at the Magsaysay flyover.
Motorists from Dizon Subdivision, Lower Pinget, Lower, and Middle Quirino Hill need no longer pass or take the Magsaysay flyover when heading towards the downtown area.
Cheers, Bernie adds, even if he wishes us all a merry and less frenzied Christmas.
The season’s blessings upon you and your family too, kumpadre!

P.S. At long last, after a 10-year trial that had judges inhibiting from the case for some reason or another, a tough lady judge named Jocelyn Solis-Reyes has tendered a decision finding the masterminds and active participants in the gruesome murder of 58 individuals including 32 journalists, guilty as charged.
But even today, the country is still asking – why would a powerful and politically entrenched family resort to mass murder.
It certainly was not a crime of passion. Why do our politicians oftentimes think they are God?