Design tips to beat your ‘boring’ home interior

Umay, that nauseating feeling you get when eating the same food over and over again, can also be used to describe your feeling toward your home interior, especially after seeing the same view over and over again for six months. 

As lockdown eases and as people adjust to the new normal way of living, a lot of homeowners now realize the importance of having an interior that’s not only functional, but fun as well. There is a clamor for more “joy” in terms of home interior design as this can ease anxiety, lift your mood, and boost your spirit amid these challenging times. 

Putting “joy” into your interior need not be tedious (you don’t need additional stress!). You don’t even have to spend much or undergo a major renovation just to make your interiors lively and happy once again. It just takes a few tweaks and a lot of creativity, and sometimes professional help, to beat that “boring” home interior. 

STARK CONTRAST The before and after photos of a living and dining area that has undergone interior styling

If you’ve already done your share of quarantine renovations and DIY home improvement projects, it’s not impractical to ask for expert advice to “elevate” your interiors. There are companies right now who are offering “online interior styling,” or what they call as the “new normal of interior decorating,” where packages do not involve changing the architecture and finishes of the home, but instead putting interior design and styling solutions to enhance a present living space. 

‘We provide new ways for you to collaborate with designers through a purely online process. We believe everyone deserves a designer home, and we’re trying to curate our shop to have the most beautiful things for just about each unique individual.’

One of these companies is GussyDesign Inc., which was launched early this year by three friends who are all interior designer—Mark Steven Perez, Raleene Cabrera, and Vianca Favila. They are joined by business partners Precious Hernandez and Albert Padin. What sets GussyDesign apart from others is that it is hip, innovative, and fun, characteristics needed to survive the uncertainties of the times. 

“Gussy means to spruce or dress up. We want our name to say much about what we do as a brand, an easy and convenient way to improve and change the look of any interior space,” says Mark. 

“As an interior designer, I get a lot of clients asking about non-permanent design solutions. A lot of what interior designers do is about changing the interior architecture of the space, but the final stages of design involves adding layers through decor and furniture. We want interior design to be for everyone. That’s why we decided to introduce a new way of sprucing up homes that didn’t have to involve breaking the bank,” says Raleene.  

What makes the arrival of GussyDesign timely and relevant is that it is an online styling service, which is what they planned all along, even before the pandemic. 

“GussyDesign is an all online styling service, so if people want to have a more inspired home interior, they can do online consultations with us at budget-friendly prices. You can also shop online for all the home items you need that will help you create the designer home you deserve,” says Mark, explaining that they made it convenient for homeowners as they only need to click on a few details on their website. “We provide new ways for you to collaborate with designers through a purely online process. We believe everyone deserves a designer home, and we’re trying to curate our shop to have the most beautiful things for just about each unique individual.”

For the company, which is supported by a team of young yet experienced interior designers, what they do now is very relevant. 

“Your surroundings affect your overall mood and wellbeing. There is a lot of psychology involved in interior design, and it’s a systemic art of influencing people using spaces,” says Raleene. “Since we are forced to stay home, there’s this inherent need in all of us to create the most comfortable and functional space. We all used to personalize our desk, but the eight to 10 hours we spend in the office has now moved into the home. Most homeowners now have to navigate their family, work, or school life in one’s space. That’s why there’s a big demand for redecorating. GussyDesign is here to help you.”  

SAFE WAY The GussyDesign team follows safety protocols during a styling


Friends from GussyDesign Inc. share these tips if you want a quick, budget-friendly, and easy way to have a more inspired home interior. You can do the following with your family to make the project more personal and fun for all.  

  • Create your own personal nook at home 
    It can be your work desk, makeup station, or an arts and crafts station. Invest in a desk with storage, a comfortable chair, and a chic table lamp. 
  • Put soft finishes 
    Try to update your living room through fun pillows, new drapes, and throws. These add some pattern to the design and are easy to replace.
ENHANCING SPACE Incorporate throwpillows and indoor plants to put life in the living area
  • Add some low and mid-level lighting
    Table lamps, sconces, or floor lamps really add to the overall mood of the home, especially when you don’t need to keep all lights turned on. 
  • Get some new rugs and layer them 
    If you’re bored with your flooring, get some new rugs and layer them! This will prevent you from having to do a total renovation. Rugs are also easier to replace and there are so many types that are kid and pet-friendly, too. 
  • Create an accent wall by adding wallpaper or by doing a gallery wall 
    You can even do both by installing new wallpaper and adding statement frames. This will create a fun area that’s sure to be Instagram-worthy. 
ACCENT WALL An interior created by GussyDesign uses wallpaper and a rug to enhance the space
  • Add indoor plants
    Green is in these days. Add indoor plants into your interiors and take good care of them. These don’t only literally add “life” to any interior, they’re also a great stress-relieving hobby to start pursuing.
  • Bring in new sets of plates, glasses, and cutlery 
    It’s always nice to mix and match your tableware for a more inspired meal set up, even if it’s just an ordinary day.
  • Don’t forget to declutter 
    A happy home is a clean and orderly home. A clutter-free space helps give you clearer thoughts and inner peace. There’s no joy in seeing dirt and mess.

Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla talk about getting married

Kapamilya stars Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla are talking about getting married during the pandemic.

Collectively known as KathNiel, the stars finally broke their silence on rumors that they are taking the plunge.

In an exclusive interview for TV Patrol Monday night, KathNiel confirmed that they are really getting married not in real life but only in their digital movie.

“We’re getting married… sa pinakabagong handog sa ating lahat ng Star Cinema. Sa digital movie series na ‘The House Arrest of Us,’” the real-life sweethearts revealed.

“The House Arrest of Us” is a 13-part romantic family digital movie series about two individuals caught by the lockdown under one roof, together with their families, the news program reported.

But the stars clarified that the digital movie is not a sequel to their 2018 blockbuster film “The Hows of Us.”

Photos courtesy of ABS-CBN.

“It’s not a sequel. Basically hindi siya connected sa ‘Hows of Us’. It’s a family series, nandun din ‘yung romance. Halo-halo siya pero it’s not related kay George at kay Primo’ (their characters from ‘The Hows of Us’),” they said.

The cast and crew for the digital movie have been shooting for the past two weeks now.

“Iba siya sa nakasanayan namin. Naka-lock in lahat ‘yung set-up tapos limited lang talaga ‘yung mga pumapasok, at lahat fina-follow ‘yung safety protocols. Nakakapanibago pero lahat naman nagko-comply,” Bernardo said.
Padilla said: “Kakaiba ‘yung experience na nandito kami sa village, parang nasa bubble lang din kami. Walang pwedeng lumabas o pumasok. Kami kami lang ang nandito, astig din siya.”

Fans of KathNiel speculated that the stars were finally getting married for real after the mothers of the stars, Min Bernardo and Karla Estrada, posted photos of a wedding gown and invitation with the ‘KN’ initials.

Also appearing in the digi movie are: Herbert Bautista, Ruffa Gutierrez, Gardo Versoza, Arlene Muhlach, Dennis Padilla, Riva Quenery, Alora Sasam, and Anthony Jennings.

The “House Arrest of US” premieres on Oct. 24 on and Oct. 25 on iWant TFC.

Indicators show Cayetano will honor gentleman’s agreement

With President Duterte in the middle, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano vowed to step down as leader of the House of Representatives, reportedly to give way to the ascent of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to the vacancy and ultimately honor the 15-21 term sharing pact brokered by the Chief Executive last year.

(photo from Sen. Bong Go)

Although no one is talking about what transpired in the Malacanang meeting of the two House leaders, some indicators and sources say Cayetano is stepping down, as agreed.

Duterte met his two top allies in the Lower House to discuss the leadership change controversy in Malacanang on Tuesday evening. Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go was also present in the said meeting.

As of press time, no statement has been released by Malacanang to  confirm or deny the reported outcome of the caucus, with Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque saying it is up to the House of Representatives to announce what has been discussed.

Neither the Cayetano nor the Velasco camp has released an official statement.

“Bawal muna kami magsalita pero October 14, APC will resign. (We have been barred to talk but APC (Cayetano) will resign on October 14),” a senior congressman revealed in a viber message to Manila Bulletin.

However, another source who was privy to developments at the Palace said that Velasco will take over upon Cayetano’s resignation.

In a Twitter post, PDP-Laban executive  Ron Munsayac said: “Tapos na ang boksing,” indicating an end to the term-sharing controversy.

Duterte stepped into the problem by inviting Cayetano and Velasco and their respective key allies to the caucus.

The President made the move when it became clear that Cayetano is not going to give up his seat.

This was confirmed by the signing by 202 House members of a manifesto declaring their support for Cayetano’s continued leadership of the Lower House.

The outgoing House leader has also accused Velasco of plotting numerous times his ouster as speaker.     

Velasco, head of the PDP-Laban contingent in the Lower House,  never responded to the accusations despite Cayetano’s decision to sack the alleged ouster plot ring leaders – Reps. Isidro Ungab as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and Salvador Leachon as head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

PBA discourages player interactions inside bubble

No penalties for violators, but protocols will be imposed
BCDA President Vince Dizon wants strict measures inside the PBA bubble. (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

High fives, fist bumps and hugs during games could be a rarity during the course of the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga.

That’s because the league is discouraging players from doing any physical interaction as part of the strict health protocols that will be observed once games start on Oct. 11.

“Pinagbabawal natin yung more physical contact apart from the game play,” Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementor of the National Action Plan against COVID and Bases Conversion and Development Authority chief, said in Tuesday’s press conference at Quest Hotel.

Dizon later clarified that these gestures aren’t strictly prohibited, though adding that having such protocols in place is something he hopes the players can eventually practice.

“It’s very difficult in the heat of the moment, in the excitement of the moment, mahirap talaga. But at least the players know natin na it’s discouraged,” Dizon said. “It’s like us in the new normal, in this pandemic, it’s like always thinking of not shaking hands and do an elbow bump instead. 

“Nung una medyo mahirap, you know, muscle memory yun e ‘diba? Yung kakamayan mo yung tao. But I think ‘yun purpose natin na discouraged pero hopefully masanay din mga players natin,” added Dizon.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial also said that there’s no reason for him to slap penalties on teams that won’t observe such acts.

“Sa una, pagsasabihan muna natin sila na iwasan, pero alam mo naman pag buzzer-beater siyempre maeexcite. Pero pipilitin natin na ‘wag nilang gawin so wala naman penalties pero ‘yun nga mga nasa protocols kaya susundin natin,” said Marcial.

The league is also requiring players to wear masks while sitting on the bench while they’re also banned from cleaning the ball using their jerseys.

All teams are accounted for at Quest Hotel, needing only a negative COVID-19 test before they can start holding 5-on-5 scrimmages at Angeles University Foundation.

Kathryn Bernardo misses home, worried about kababayans in Nueva Ecija

Kathryn Bernardo badly misses home. Because of travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as her heavy workload, she has not been able to go home to her beloved Cabanatuan since the start of the lockdowns.

“Nitong past few months nung start ng lockdown, hindi na talaga ako nakakauwi kahit gustong-gusto kong umuwi at miss na miss ko na yung Cabanatuan at saka yung house namin. Medyo nakakalungkot lang, pero blessed pa rin po dahil maraming work na dumadating,” the actress shares.

Like most Filipinos today, Kathryn admits that she also worries about her health. On top of that, she is also concerned about so many in her province whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic.

“I know it’s difficult to be positive nowadays but we have to persevere for the sake of our loved ones. As I always say, di naman po tayo bibigyan ng pagsubok na di natin kayang lampasan. But we have to take care of our health, asset po natin yan sa panahong ito,”she says.

Kathryn is happy that San Miguel Corporation is building the new Manila International Airport, and an adjacent economic zone, in their neighboring province, Bulacan. She believes these developments will help revive and boost the economy, including of her home province Nueva Ecija.

“Marami talagang nawalan ng work nitong pandemic. It breaks my heart to see people losing jobs and unable to provide for their families. If possible nga na magawa na yan agad so we can already attract businesses and give people jobs. A lot of people really need help right now. In our personal capacity, what we can do is to help the people around us as much as we can. But for the long-term, jobs po talaga ang kailangan,” Kathryn related.

Kathryn also sees the airport as providing more and better opportunities for businessmen and even farmers who produce food and raw materials. “If you need to transport products quickly or perishable yung goods mo, big advantage yung magkaroon ng accessible na airport like the one sa Bulacan. I’m sure this is a positive sign for many businesses in Nueva Ecija and even as far as the north like Baguio, Pangasinan, and Ilocos. Mahirap isipin now because a lot of businesses are struggling, but when the time comes na matapos na yung pandemic, then the airport will be ready and we can start and help a lot of people recover.”

She believes the airport project will also open Luzon, including her province, to more local and international tourists, once the airport is completed. It will also be more convenient for locals to travel anywhere in the country, or abroad.

“From our house in Cabanatuan, it’s either we use Clark or go straight to NAIA to fly out. But in Manila, I always have to brave the traffic going to the airport and it is difficult pag naghahabol ng flight. We all experience this naman po, we have to be there hours before our flight,” she said.

She added: “But with the new airport, there’s another better option. And from what I heard, it’s going to be really big, spacious and modern. If sanay ka sa big airports like in Japan, Korea and in Europe, it’s going to be that big and I’m proud to be part of the San Miguel family that is making this happen.”

“Matagal na yung San Miguel, and maganda yung reputation nya so I’m sure like sa TPLEX sa amin sa Nueva Ecija and yung iba pang projects nila ay maganda rin yung quality ng work, like their products that I endorse. Hopefully, pag maagang matapos yung Bulakan airport at may time at pwede nang magbakasyon, makakasakay rin ako dyan. Just praying and hoping na matapos na po itong crisis para we can live our lives normally like we are used to,” she added.

Kathryn, who endorses San Miguel Corporation brands San Miguel Foods’ Magnolia Ice Cream, San Mig Coffee Crema White, and Nutrichunks, reiterated that she is thankful for all the work she has been getting despite the pandemic, even if that means staying in one place and being closed off from outside contact while taping or shooting.

“Marami pa rin pong projects and right now we really have to stay in a bubble, as in we have to stay in one place para mabawasan yung chances na magka-Covid 19. So most of the time I’m away talaga from home. We know it’s for the welfare of everyone so we have to very conscious and compliant with health regulations like washing of hands, wearing masks and social distancing,” she said.

“I encourage everyone po to please be mindful of the safety of others around you and always practice safety measures sa panahon na ito. Huwag po tayo magpabaya. kakayanin po natin ito,just keep praying and helping our families and friends,” she advised.

Zephanie scores spots in multiple playlists with ‘Sabihin Mo Na Lang Kasi’

Zephanie landed on Spotify’s local editorial playlists through her newest single “Sabihin Mo Na Lang Kasi,” taking a spot on multiple music playlists that focus the spotlight on rising and leading OPM songs.

“I was kind of worried if people would like it since it’s different from my other singles. But when I started receiving and seeing comments about my song, it was such a relief that people liked it,” the young artist shared.

The sentimental acoustic track is currently featured in Spotify Philippines’ “OPM Rising” and “Pinoy Love Ballad” editorial playlists which promotes new releases by OPM artists and rounds up ‘light and sugary’ OPM tracks respectively.

It also previously enjoyed inclusion in “Tatak Pinoy” editorial playlist which lists down the current leading OPM songs.

“Sabihin Mo Na Lang Kasi” is unlike the “Idol PH” winner’s earlier releases, as it tackles not the bliss of young love, but its looming end. It’s a brave take on an impending breakup, with the singer provoking her partner to be honest about what he truly feels about their relationship.


Prior to her latest single, the talented vocalist sang the theme song of the Star Cinema film “James and Pat and Dave” with her catchy version of Gloc-9’s “Simpleng Tao,” which succeeded her third release, “Pangako Ko.”

Meanwhile, Zephanie teased upcoming projects that she will be busy with for the remaining months of 2020, including the possibility of reviving more OPM songs due to the success of her YouTube song covers.

“Before I had my original songs, doing song covers on YouTube was something I usually did and it’s amazing that people can discover or listen to anyone who wants to share their own version or style of a song,” she explained. “I want to try my best to be one of the artists who keeps our OPM alive.”

Watch Zephanie’s performance video of “Sabihin Mo Na Lang Kasi” on Star Music’s YouTube channel and stream the song on various digital streaming services. For more details, like Star Music on Facebook (, and follow it on Twitter and Instagram (@StarMusicPH).

DSWD manifests support for the new Department of Disaster Resilience

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expressed readiness Tuesday (Sept. 29) to transfer its resources, funds, and personnel to the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR) whose creation is proposed under a bill passed by the House of Representatives a week ago.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said the agency fully supports the creation of the DDR as proposed under House Bill No. 5989 or the proposed Disaster Resilience Act, which was approved on third and final reading by the Lower Chamber on Sept. 22. 

“Bilang pangunahing ahensya sa kagalingang panlipunan, ang DSWD po ay sinusuportahan ang pagtatag ng Department ng Disaster Resilience. Handa ang DSWD na ilipat kung sakali ang lahat ng resources ng ahensya hinggil sa disaster response and management kabilang na ang pondo, gamit, makinarya, at maging ang mga kaukulang kawani sa mabubuong bagong DDR,” he said in a virtual press briefing.

 (As a primary agency on social welfare, the DSWD supports the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience. The DSWD is ready to transfer all its resources related to disaster response and management, including the funds, supplies, machinery, and even its personnel to the new DDR that will be created.) 

Voting  241 against seven with one abstention, the House approved on third and final reading HB 5989 which calls for the establishment of the DDR. Under the bill, the DDR shall lead, organize, and manage the national effort to reduce disaster risk, prepare for and respond to disasters, recover and rehabilitate, and build forward better after the occurrence of disasters.

“Wala ring pagtutol ang ahensya sa paglipat ng Disaster Response Management Bureau at National Response and Logistics Management Bureau, kasabay ang rekomendasyon na nagbibigay ng garantiya sa pag-absorb sa lahat ng kawani ng dawalang bureaus na alinsunod pa rin sa Civil Service rules and regulations,” Bautista said.

(The agency has no objection to the transfer of the Disaster Response Management Bureau and the National Response and Logistics Management Bureau, together with the recommendation that guarantees that the personnel of the two bureaus will be absorbed based on the Civil Service rules and regulations.)  

HB 5989 provides that the existing organizational and administrative systems and processes of the transferred Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) will serve as the core organization of the DDR. Under the measure, the applicable powers, functions, funds and appropriations of the OCD and the Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau and the National Resource and Logistics Management Bureau of the DSWD will be subsumed into the DDR.

“Naniniwala ang ahensya na matutulungan itong matupad ang mandato ng DSWD sa ilalim ng Republic Act 10121 o ang Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng regional disaster resilience offices at response hubs na nakalaan sa implementasyon ng mandatory disaster preparedness and response management programs at magmanage ng disaster quick response funds para agarang makaresponde sa nangangailangang mga pamilya at indibidwal na apektado ng kalamidad,” Bautista said. 

(The agency believes that this will help the DSWD carry out its mandate under Republic Act 10121  or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 through the institutionalization of regional disaster resilience offices and response hubs that are expected to implement mandatory disaster preparedness and response management programs, and manage disaster quick response funds to immediately respond to the families and individuals affected by the calamities.)

The proposed DDR Act  authorizes the DDR to undertake and implement certain emergency measures in anticipation of, during, and in the aftermath of disasters to protect and preserve life and property and ensure and promote public safety and welfare.

Among these emergency measures are carrying out of preemptive and forced evacuation; imposition of curfew; and temporary take over of any private utility or business, subject to payment of just compensation when there is imminent danger of loss of lives or damage to property. 

HB 5989 also calls for the setting up of the National Disaster Operations Center (NDOC), Alternative Command Centers (ACC), and Disaster
Resilience Research and Training Institute (DRRTI).

Under the bill, the DDR is empowered to recommend to the President the declaration of a state of calamity, whether in whole or part of an area, in case of an extraordinary disaster wherein the repercussions on public safety and welfare are serious and far-reaching.

The proposed Act provides that the President shall  impose administrative sanctions against local chief executives and barangay officials for willful or negligent acts performed in the implementation of, or compliance with the act.

Gov’t ready to sell Roppongi, other properties –Roque

The government can sell other properties apart from the real estate assets in Japan if the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will need more funds for its vital programs, Malacañang said Tuesday.


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the public should not worry since President Duterte will ensure the embattled state health insurer will have sufficient funds for the implementation of the universal health care program.

“Dahil nga po sa Universal Healthcare Law, kung kulang po iyan ay tutustusan po galing sa kaban ng taumbayan. Kaya nga po, kung kinakailangan, ibibenta iyong mga properties na iyan. At hindi lang naman po Roppongi, marami pa tayong mga ibang properties na pupuwedeng ibenta (Because of the universal healthcare law, if that is not enough, it will be augmented by the nation’s coffers. If needed, we will sell the properties. It’s not only those in Roponggi, we have many other properties that we can sell),” he said during a press briefing.

“So in other words, sinasabi lang ni Presidente, ‘Sagot ko ang inyong kalusugan,’ dahil iyan ang batas na sinertify [certified] niyang urgent noong iyan po ay tinatalakay sa Kongreso, paninindigan po niya iyong obligasyon ng estado na pangalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino. If it means having to sell assets, why not (In other words, the President is saying, ‘I will take care of your health’ because that’s under the law certified as urgent. He will stand by the obligation of the state to take care of the health of Filipinos. If it means having to sell assets, why not),” he said.

Roque admitted though that there was no way of telling how long the PhilHealth funds could last due to the massive corruption in that office. He claimed no one was telling the truth in PhilHealth.

In his televised address Monday night, the President revealed the government’s planned sale of certain assets in Japan to raise funds for PhilHealth. Duterte made the statement after disclosing plans to ask Congress to abolish the corruption-stated state firm and create a new agency.

“That is why we are selling properties. That is the reason why we are selling properties, real estate properties in Japan because we have to raise money. Wala nang pambayad ‘yang sa PhilHealth na ‘yan (There is no more money in PhilHealth),” Dutehe said.

A day later, Roque clarified that the proposed sale of the government’s assets in Japan was just a “suggestion” if needed to augment funds for the pandemic response. 

He said any sale of these properties will require the consent of both the President and Congress. He noted that the Supreme Court earlier declared that such assets are “part of national patrimony” since these were acquired under the war reparations agreement with Japan.

Philippines eyes large chunk of Japan’s demand for agricultural products

The Philippines shipped the first batch of okra (ladyfinger) export to Japan on Tuesday as the Department of Agriculture (DA) tries to lead the country’s economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(photo from Ariel Fernandez)

Leading the send-off of two tons of okra was Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Magsasaka Party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat.

Dar said the Philippines is trying to corner a large chunk of Japan’s high demand for agricultural products, and we know that Japan is looking at high quality of agricultural products. 

As other business sectors continue to bleed on account of economic slowdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are blessed to have a sustained activity in the agri-industry front.

Dar told representatives of farmers groups present during the send-off that the okra export were harvested from various farms in 14 barangays in Tarlac – especially in Victoria, Balayang, palacpalac, Batang-Batang, lalapac, Mayang San Pascual, Villa Bacolor, Matayumtayum,Sam Jose San Manuel, Balingcanaway, Cutcut, and Lapaz.

The project involved at least 300 farmers, led by young farmer-entrepreneurs Jeffrey Fernandez and Rap Pelayo of Jel Farms.

With the present set-up, a farmer can earn up to 90,000 to 100,000 net of expenses per hectare of okra, Fernandez and Pelayo said.

Like okra, edamame is another in-demand agricultural product in Japan. Both products are in demand in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and Nagoya. Harvesting schedule is from July to September while planting may be done all year-round.

Dar said earnings could easily reach up to P120,000 per hectare for okra and edamame if farmers could avail themselves of a cold storage.Under my watch, I assure you that the DA will extend all the assistance we can give to every farmer, including the group involved in this okra-edamame exportation to Japan to enhance our agriculture. 

Buying ‘Godfather’ shoes helps Marikina cobblers thrive

The Marikina shoe industry, which has been the biggest part of the city’s economy, is struggling to sustain operations amid the prevailing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

SHOE INDUSTRY. Godfather Shoes has stepped up to the plate by making sure that their local shoemakers are well-paid amid the pandemic. All Godfather shoes are handmade by some of the best artisanal shoemakers in Marikina. (Photo of Godfather Shoes)

Hoping to keep business afloat in challenging times, this Marikina-based shoe brand has stepped up to the plate by making sure that their local shoemakers are well-paid.

Godfather, known for their semi-bespoke leather footwear, takes pride in giving credit to the skill of their shoemakers who make every shoe by hand based on their client’s preferences.

“One of the things we’re very proud of is we pay our shoemakers well. While our products may be quite expensive, a huge portion of our earnings go to the sapateros (shoemakers),” Matt Lester Matel, head of Godfather’s Metro South branch, said in an interview.

The shoemakers as well as customers, he said, deserve to know that the company values their craftsmanship over profitability.

“We really want to put value in these shoes. We don’t want to treat them as just a commodity. Ang sukli sa amin (Our reward is), we get high quality products,” he added.

Founded in 2016 by Aaron Angeles, Matel said Godfather began as an idea that shoes can be personalized to a tee — customers can choose their preferred length, width, color for the shoe’s leather, sole, and midsole and also have their names engraved on the shoe’s undersides.

He said the goal is to produce shoes that are not just comfy and durable but also “finely-crafted” and “personalized.” The shoes’ wooden box can also be engraved with a name, a logo, or a message.

“The craftsmanship and the artisan spirit is really there. No one shoe is like the others. It’s like buying an artwork. It’s really high-quality and you will really be proud of what you’ve seen,” he said.

With these qualities, Matel said Godfather helps play a role in restoring faith in the once thriving Marikina shoe industry.

Godfather shoes takes pride in giving credit to the skill of their shoemakers who make every shoe by hand based on client’s preferences. (Photo from Godfather)

Private fittings, virtual meetings

Despite temporarily ceasing operations due to coronavirus-related lockdowns, Matel said their showroom employees and marketing teams have been pretty busy.

He said they shifted to the digital platform and reconfigure the work areas as safe spaces during the pandemic.

“We had to change how we operate. We needed to do private fittings. When you get to our store, you’re the client in the showroom,” he said, adding that their employees disinfect the showroom after customers leave.

Their showroom employees, he said, are also equipped with personal protective equipment to ensure everyone’s safety.

Customers, he said, may also have virtual meetings where they are assisted by employees in measuring their shoe size.

“Instead of an actual visit to our showroom, we do Zoom calls, Facebook Messenger calls where we show them our products and give them instructions on how to measure their feet properly,” he said.

Godfather also launched a two-month sale last July to August to cater to the pre-wedding season market.

These personalized Godfather shoes are comfy, light, durable, and finely-crafted. (Photo from Godfather)

“We’re seeing clients come back. Mostly, our clients are grooms-to-be and executives who normally wear dress shoes,” he said.

Matel admitted that the company experienced a dip in sales, but remains optimistic about strategizing around a new normal while taking advantage of opportunities that may arise.

“I think this pandemic is something we cannot discount but matatapos din naman to (this will eventually end). It somehow slowed the growth but in a years’ time, things will get back to normal. There would still be a demand for high-quality Filipino products. We hope to further expand and be known outside of the Philippines. There’s no way to go but up,” he said.

Godfather has four showrooms across the country — Marikina (main), Metro South (Parañaque), Pampanga, and Cebu.

Their premium-quality leather shoes take at least six weeks of work while prices start at P5,900 for rubber soles, and P6,900 for leather soles.

Roque: Metro Manila might still shift to MGCQ

There is still hope for Metro Manila to eventually shift to the less restrictive modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), according to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

The capital region, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, has retained its general community quarantine (GCQ) status for the month of October. The Palace earlier cited the downtrend in new coronavirus cases in Metro Manila based on the monitoring of a local research group.

“May pag-asa naman po as reported by UP OCTA Group. Ang growth rate naman po natin ay bumagsak din tapos iyong ating attack rate ay bumabagsak din (There is hope as reported by UP OCTA Group. Our growth rate has dropped while our attack rate is also deceasing) so, there’s always hope,” Roque said during a press briefing Tuesday, when asked if it will be long time for Metro Manila to graduate to MGCQ.

Roque explained that Metro Manila kept its GCQ status after the government took into consideration several factors, including the new indicators — the two-week growth rate and average daily attack rate.

He said Metro Manila’s two-week growth rate, which measures how quickly the number of cases are changing over a period of time, is recorded at “medium” level at 45 percent.  The two-week growth rate of more than 200 percent is ranked “high,” between 0 to 200 percent is “medium,” and while 0 percent is “low.”

Roque said Metro Manila’s daily new attack rate reached “medium” with 5.8 cases for every 100,000 population. The attack rate is the number of new cases over a two-week period divided by the population of the local government unit. The daily attack rate of more than 7 percent is ranked “high,” rate between 1 and 7 is “medium,” while below 1 is considered “low.”

According to Roque, the critical care capacity of Metro Manila also remained sufficient that allowed it to keep its GCQ status. “Although we are moderate in terms of growth rate and average daily attack rate, we are below critical and we can still take care of those with severe and critical cases,” he said.

In Metro Manila, at least 51 percent of the 4,000 isolation beds are occupied while 58 percent of the 755 intensive care unit beds are in use as of Sept. 28.

Other measures taken into consideration to determine an area’s risk classification by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) are epidemic curve for cases based on symptom onset date, epidemic curve for deaths, positivity rate , case doubling time and reproduction number, and health system capacity of the concerned local government unit.

“We need to live with COVID and in spite COVID, kaya po iyan, pag-ingatan lang po ang ating mga buhay para tayo po ay makapaghanapbuhay (Let’s take care of our health so we can continue our livelihood),” Roque said.

Meantime, the task force has approved the recommendations of the Department of Health (DOH) in the operationalization of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE).

CODE, initiated by DOH, involves active case finding through house-to-house symptom checks, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for symptomatic persons, and quarantine and isolation for those infected.

In resolution No. 75, the task force directed the DOH and the Department of Interior and Local Government to issue guidelines to expand the implementation of CODE to local government units.

The Department of Trade (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have also been ordered to localize CODE to different workplaces and labor sectors. The CODE plans must be complementary to the implementation of the minimum health standards.

Safer workplace in esports

Photo from Kaisaya Facebook page

Professional player and shoutcaster Em “Kaisaya” Dangla advocates for a safer workplace in the Philippine esports industry as fellow caster Zeus Torquator left the scene in the wake of an alleged sexual harassment issue pressed against him. 

“I only hope that everyone will work in creating a real professional and safe workplace for the Philippine esports. We are not clowns. We are not disgusting. Let us make ourselves and our industry worthy of being called professionals,” said Dangla in a message sent to the Manila Bulletin on Monday night. 

Dangla on Saturday broke her silence about an unpleasant experience in the growing industry, claiming that she did not get justice from a case she filed against ex-boyfriend Aron Laxamana and Torquator almost two years ago after caster Shin Boo Ponferrada backed out as a testifier. (Related article) 

Numerous local esports organizations and personalities have since made statements condemning any form of sexual abuse and harassment in the scene, and have thrown their support and commended Dangla for speaking up. 

Torquator’s sister sent a lengthy message to the Manila Bulletin defending him.

Torquator finally spoke about the issue through a Facebook post on Monday night and revealed that he would be stepping out of esports for the meantime. 

“As much as I want to ask for another chance and prove that my downfalls do not reflect my character as a whole, after considering hateful comments that mentally and emotionally affect not just me but the people I love the most, I made a decision for myself and the people I love. I am leaving the esports community at the moment.” 

Dangla said she was glad of Torquator’s decision and even wished him good luck while he is taking his time out of the industry. 

“My initial reaction was that I’m glad he stepped down. I sent him a private message sending him good luck in his future endeavors and hoping he will learn from his mistakes.” 

Selena Gomez reposts Barbie Forteza’s dance cover of ‘Ice Cream’

Looks like Barbie Forteza earned herself a new fan in Selena Gomez.

The actress participated in the Ice Cream Dance challenge on TikTok, posting a dance cover of the song, which is a collaboration between Gomez and K-pop group BLACKPINK, on the platform.

On Tuesday, Forteza’s video made it to Gomez’s Instagram Stories. 

Selena Gomez (Instagram)

Her fans were naturally agog, sharing the happy news on social media.

Forteza on her part, simply reposted Louise delos Reyes’ Instagram Stories about it, commenting with tongue firmly in cheek: “Sabi ko sa kanya wag na ko isama eh. Malalaman pang close kami.”

Barbie Forteza

She went on to add: “charot” in all caps with a crying-laughing emoji. 

She then thanked delos Reyes, tagging Selena back, saying, “I love you.”

Drilon, Villar oppose ‘punitive’ approach; Zubiri, Gatchalian back ARTA plea on gov’t processes

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon thumbed down on Tuesday the Anti-Red Tape Authority’s (ARTA) request for additional powers for its enforcement of laws streamlining government processes.

Senator Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Senate Committee of Civil Service, Government Reorganization, and Professional Regulation was discussing the Senate Bill No. 1844, which seeks to grant the President of the Philippines the special power to expedite bureaucratic processes and suspend or waive the need to secure permits and licenses during national emergencies.

The ARTA had asked for the inclusion of the grant of authority for them to be able to file administrative and crminal charges, as well as subpoena and contempt powers, against officials and agencies that do not comply with the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act.

ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica explained that their power to streamline government transactions is only recommendatory and that concerned agencies are not mandated to adopt or implement their suggestions. Citing complaints reaching their agency, he pointed out that streamlining and automation of processes are key to solve red tape in the bureacracy.

Drilon, one of the authors of the bill, however, said he has “very serious reservations” on the ARTA’s proposal to “weaponize” the proposed law.

The minority leader said the ARTA, instead, should rethink its approach to addressing excessive bureaucracy.

“Maybe Mr. Director, you may wish to consider assisting the bureaucrats with their duties under the law,” Drilon told Belgica.

“My suggestion to you, is that, instead of filing cases as a first option, that should be the last. I would rather like to see you help the bureaucracy, the bureaucrats, by exposing them to management systems, and not keep on just threatening them.”

“Have systems experts, look at the process in a particular agency and suggest how to improve so that they can comply with the periods,” he suggested.

Drilon said solving red tape through the filing of charges might only end up in vain as this would involve tedious judicial processes. He also noted that government career officers and employees are protected under civil service laws and cannot easily be removed from office.

He advised the ARTA to veer from its “law and order” approach and help improve efficiency in government.

“Your first option should be to help the bureaucracy, help the professional career people. I tell you, these career people want to do their jobs, because they love to do their jobs and not because that cases will be filed against them. Mali po iyon (That’s wrong), considering filing of cases as the first option. That is the problem with your approach,” he said.

“My point is, to make the bureacracy more effective, it is not a law and order problem, it is not a matter of granting [powers] making the ARTA a quasijudicial body, the power to issue subpoena, cite for contempt, file cases, employ underground agents or assets…But I’m not saying that they should have  no power to file cases, but it should be the last resort.”

“Our intention was to address the red tape and I’m sorry but I will never contemplate on this [bill] being treated as a criminal statute,” Drilon said.

Senator Cynthia Villar agreed with Drilon that the ARTA should focus first on helping in the system improvement and automation of the bureaucracy.

“I would like to warn him, that, coming from the business sector, no logical-minded businessman will file cases against his regulatory agency. I mean, that’s the reality you have to face, walang magdedemanda na isang businessman against the regulatory agency kasi lalo siyang mapapahamak doon (no businessman will file charges against the regulatory agency because it will just endanger them),” Villar said of Belgica’s appeal.

Villar also doubted that entities will file complaints and charges without divulging their identities. Belgica earlier said they have “secret filers” in ARTA.

“Pwede ba ‘yon (Is that possible)? Na nagfa-file ka ng cases hindi ka magpapakilala (That you will file a case without identifying yourself)? I dont think so,” she said.

“You will have a problem with that…You will be better off listening to Sen drilon that you help in system improvement and automation in the bureacracy. You will accomplish [from] there something, but in filing cases, I dont think [so],” she also told Belgica.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, said he supports efforts to empower the ARTA to further enforce the EODB law. He is also a co-author to the SB No. 1844.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also backed ARTA’s request for subpoena and contempt powers to “give them a big stick and a whiplash to make sure that reforms will be implemented.”

“We have to strengthen also the watchdog and make sure that they have the proper ammunition to fight corruption,” Zubiri said.

Drilon, who asked his colleagues to maintain the original intent of the bill, had pointed out that Senate leaders wanted to give President Duterte the flexibility he needs to solve red tape and corruption.

AFP chief rallies troops to double efforts vs. S. Luzon communist insurgency

General Gilbert Gapay, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) exhorted the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) to double down on its mission to end communist insurgency and win the peace in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay

“I am proud and elated to know that SOLCOM continues to gain ground in sustaining our joint and interagency operations that have resulted in the significant reduction of communist insurgents in your area of responsibility,” Gapay said in a speech before the troops during his visit at the SOLCOM headquarters in Camp Nakar, Quezon province on Monday.

He cited the recent surrender of eight NPA members in Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro last September 20, which “showed the sincerity and genuine efforts of the government” in employing the so-called whole of nation approach to defeat communist groups.

So far, there were 5,000 NPA members and supporters who were neutralized by the authorities.

Of these, 408 were from Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

It includes 35 suspects who were killed in military offensives, 334 surrenderees, and 39 others who were arrested in various internal security and community support operations.

“Let us sustain this momentum so that we can finally bring just and lasting peace in the country,” Gapay said.

Gapay’s visit to Camp Nakar was a continuation of his tour of major camps nationwide following his designation as AFP Chief early in August of this year.

Prior to this, Gapay has made stops at the Western Command in Palawan on September 25; the Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac on September 7; the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City on August 19; and the Eastern Mindanao Command in Davao City on August 16.

“The purpose of my visit is not only to lay the grounds of my leadership and my guidance, but also to ensure that our actions are in sync with our operational thrusts and goals,” he noted.

“Having said that, and for us to effectively perform our duties, it is imperative that the Unified Commands’ plans and programs are aligned with the General Headquarters’ vision and mission,” he concluded.

The SOLCOM is the military unit assigned to safeguard the gateway to the country’s seat of government in Metro Manila from the south.

Two week ‘timeout’ checked COVID-19 spike; sustained efforts urged

An expert from the OCTA Research team said the two-week “timeout” asked by healthcare workers in August was a big help in the current COVID-19 situation in the country which continues to see a downtrend in the number of cases that should be maintained.


Dr. Butch Ong of the OCTA Research group who has been studying the coronavirus outbreak in the country, said figures of new daily cases, reproduction number, as well as the positivity rate have lowered following the enforcement of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The timeout pushed the government to place again Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan under MECQ from August 4 to 18 following pleas of medical frontliners to impose a stricter lockdown due to the continuous spike of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Before (the) timeout, the new cases per day are almost 4,500 to 5,000. Right after we instituted MECQ, we began seeing the downtrend in the daily new cases. Bagamat ngayon ay nagkaroon ng (Though there is currently a) slight increase, ang ating (our) daily new cases now are at least 3,000,” Ong said in a “Laging Handa” briefing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ong said the reproduction number or “r-naught,” which is used to measure the number of people one confirmed case can infect, is still below 1 and has further declined to 0.85 across the country, and 0.77 in the capital region.

“When the reproduction number is below 1, ibig sabihin (this means) the virus is actively transmitted into the communities, while below 1 means that it is now being controlled,” he explained.

The positivity rate in the capital region, or the share of tests that come back positive, has also decreased to 9 percent, lower than the 10 percent initial target of the group. Ong said this should further reduce to five percent as recommended by the World Health Organization.

While the gains of the two-week MECQ have a positive impact on the current health situation, Ong warned the public to not be complacent and instead be more vigilant and strict in observing safety guidelines.

“Kung mayroon mang panahon na maging mas disiplinado at mas strict tayo sa mga sarili natin, now is time. Ngayon na pababa na ang trend, huwag nating pabayaan ang benefits na nakuha natin ever since the MECQ,” Ong said.

(If there will be a time for us to be more disciplined and more strict with ourselves, now is that time. Now that the trend is going down, let’s not take for granted the benefits we have received ever since the MECQ.)

“We should still maintain minimal health standards. The downtrend is encouraging but the message here is it can actually surge again at any time so we have to be more disciplined,” he emphasized.

The health expert also urged the public to “tell the honest truth” when it comes to contact tracing as he said it is crucial in managing the pandemic.

He also recommended to further improve the country’s testing capacity through adding contact tracers and testing facilities to be able to “see a better trending in our projections.”

President Duterte approved on Monday the recommendation of the government’s coronavirus task force to keep Metro Manila and a few other areas under GCQ until October 31.

The research team, in its monitoring report issued last week, recommended retaining the GCQ status in NCR until its “regional health indicators further improve, and qualify it for the modified GCQ status.”

The group explained that prematurely downgrading the quarantine status in high-risk areas, especially in Metro Manila which is currently the epicenter of the pandemic in the country, may lead to “exponential growth in the number of cases and deaths apart from overwhelming our health care system.”

The Boyz’s ‘Chase’ album sells more than 200,000 copies in first week

Eleven-member K-pop idol group The Boyz’s new album has sold more than 200,000 copies in the first week of release.

Korea’s Hanteo Chart has revealed that The Boyz’s “Chase: The 5th Mini Album” has garnered 212,666 copies in sales from Sept. 22 to 28, a personal record since their debut in 2017.

This is a whopping 338 percent increase compared to their first studio album “Reveal” that was released last February and had first-week sales of 48,538, or a difference of 164,128 copies. The “Chase” sold 64,652 copies on the first day compared to 14,827 for “Reveal.”

On Hanteo’s weekly chart from Sept. 21 to 27, “Chase” placed second overall with 210,325 copies sold.

“Chase” is led by the main track “The Stealer.” The official music video for the song has accumulated 12.46 million views as of writing since its release on Sept. 21, compared to their last MV “Reveal” which has garnered 7.89 million views since Feb. 9.

The Boyz (Twitter)

During their album showcase, Hyunjae compared “Chase” and “Reveal” albums, saying, “If the previous album ‘Reveal’ expresses the ambition of teenagers who are immersed in love, ‘Chase’ will talk about chasing love,” according to Osen.

“We had shown the boys’ instincts towards love, but this time we transform into ‘heart stealers’ who pursue love. Above all, the album contains our determination to conquer the dreams, ideals, and hearts of the public as a K-pop artist,” said Juyeon.

He added, “While the highlight in our previous album is ‘scene-stealer,’ this album’s notable point is the feeling when ‘your heart is stolen’ after listening to all the songs.”

Sunwoo, who participated in writing the lyrics for “The Stealer,” said, “I am grateful to write the lyrics for this song. The song’s highlight is the opposition between different parts. It’s the important verse before the third hook so I tried to focus on the contrast when writing the lyrics.”

Last June, The Boyz emerged as the winner on the Mnet TV program “Road to Kingdom,” which pitted The Boyz against six other K-pop boy bands.

For “Chase,” the goal of The Boyz is to win first place on TV music shows with Eric saying, “We plan to work hard to gain public recognition. If there is a wish, The Boyz hopes to win first place on music shows, including ‘The Show’ that Juyeon is hosting.”

Former ‘PBB’ housemate Mikee Agustin announces pregnancy

Seven years into her relationship with dancer Yexel Sebastian, ex-“Pinoy Big Brother” housemate and former GirlTrends member Mikee Agustin is now pregnant with her first child.

Yexel Sebastian, Mikee Agustin

The two revealed the news through a video posted on Yexel’s YouTube channel titled: “Vhong Navarro Victim! Buntis si Mikee prank.”

They explained: “Actually, hindi naman talaga si Kuya Vhong ang pina-prank namin kung hindi kayo. Hindi kasi sa amin ganoon kadali na ilabas agad-agad. Kaya kung napapansin niyo kada live namin lagi siyang naka-black.”

“Saka ‘yung pagpupursige natin sa pagbebenta — ‘di ba nagbebenta kami — kasi magkakaroon na kami ng baby. So talagang nag-ipon kami ng pera.”

Mikee, on the other hand, noted how they see their upcoming baby as a “blessing” amid the pandemic.

“Siyempre nalulungkot kami para sa mga kababayan nating Filipino pero siyempre hindi naman lahat pare-pareho. Gaya ng sa akin, itong 2020 is sobrang blessing sa akin ito. Number 1, ‘yung baby ko paparating at maraming nangyari sa buhay ko ngayong 2020 na mas better kumpara sa 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. Para sa akin the best po ito lalo na may regalo si Lord sa atin,” she related.

“Siya na maglalaro ng aking mga toy, may tagapagmana na. Bagong chapter ito ng aming buhay. Sana ay kasama namin kayo sa panibagong yugto, kasama ang aming baby,” Yexel ended.

Filipino art takes over a San Francisco neighborhood

The urban art covers plain utility boxes, featuring the abakada Filipino alphabet and symbols of modern Filipino culture

For Filipinos who have been there, the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood in San Francisco can sometimes feel like a part of home away from home. There is a large Filipino population that is proud of their heritage so much so that a section has been officially declared the SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District. 

There is perhaps nothing more Filipino than the flourishing of creativity, even in the most unlikely of places. For example, a plain, old utility box being transformed into a piece of urban art that is not only striking but also informative.

On its Facebook page, the SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District proudly posted photos of utility boxes covered with Filipino designed art. Each utility box now has two letters from our abakada Filipino alphabet, one letter on each side. 

With each letter there is an illustration of a Tagalog word that not merely begins with the letter, it is also a word that reflects Filipino culture.

A Filipino flag adorns a design for the letter “w” for watawat, reflecting the pride we have for our country. A radyo can be found on the design for the letter “r” because Filipinos are always looking for music to jam out and sing-a-long with. A loving embrace, or yakap, is on a design for the letter “y” since we are such a hospitable and welcoming people. Although we should probably hold off on any embracing until after the pandemic is over.

On the other sides of the utility boxes are designs inspired by the traditional Hinabi weaving textile designs of indigenous tribes of the Philippines. There are also symbols for the pre-colonial writing system of the country, the Baybayin.

The Art on Utility Boxes project was a collaboration between the SOMA Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and the Filipino education center Galing Bata.

‘The sentiment behind this project was to expose everyone, enrich the youth, engage families, and empower the community.’

It was Lian Ladia of SOMCAN who approached Galing Bata for the project. The education center has provided cultural programs to young children over the years through workshops, but this project would bring the beauty of the Filipino language to the streets for everyone to see. They worked with artist Mel Vera Cruz to create designs that reflected the Philippines and the Filipino community.

“Aside from it being a learning tool, we believe that these flashcards showcase the long-lasting history and continuous presence of Filipinos in San Francisco,” says Galing Bata staff Shari Sarinas and Mark Belocura. “The sentiment behind this project was to expose everyone, enrich the youth, engage families, and empower the community.”

Wenceslao Vinzons, heroic Bicol legislator, honored on 110th birth anniversary

On the commemoration of the 110th birth anniversary of Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, one of the country’s most notable patriots during the Second World War,  Senator Richard J. Gordon today called on Filipinos to honor the memory of the former legislator from Camarines Norte.

(Sen. Richard Gordon / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Wenceslao Vinzons is a true hero of the Philippines. He died defending our country during the Japanese occupation, which too many of us take for granted. Today, as we remember him on his 110th birth anniversary, I hope that we also think of his triumphs and sacrifices for our nation’s freedom. It moves me sometimes that very few of those truly deserving to be called a hero have their deeds lost and causes forgotten,” Gordon said.

Gordon stated Vinzons is a true patriot as he refused to pledge allegiance to the Japanese forces, which led him to death.

His father, wife, sister and two of his children were also executed by the Japanese military shortly after he was bayoneted.

“Others were too willing to make friends with the enemy to protect themselves and their wealth, but not Vinzons. His martyrdom really contributed to our independence as a nation,” he said.

Vinzons was seized by the Japanese military together with his father on July 8, 1942 and was killed on July 15 of the same year. Since then, the remains of Bicol’s freedom fighter have yet to be found.

 “It saddens that Vinzons’ and his family’s remains have never been recovered up to now. For me, it is a mockery of justice. I hope that the government will give attention and importance to this. Their remains should be found as it is the only way that we can give justice to their deaths and value to Vinzons’ martyrdom,” Gordon said.

Gordon has been an admirer of Vinzons because of the latter’s extraordinary love for the country.

On April 20, 2009, he commissioned renowned sculptor Sajid Imao for a bust in honor of Vinzons’ heroism, which was unveiled in front of Vinzons Hall at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.

He also sponsored a resolution “supporting the efforts of different government units in preparing for the nationwide centennial celebration of Wenceslao Quinito Vinzons’ natal anniversary” in April 2009.

“It is sad and unfortunate if we allow stories about the great sacrifices of our heroes to be buried into the pages of oblivion. If we want to move our country in the right direction, we have to look back at our rich history as a nation and as a people, for then and only then can we ably declare that we have conquered our future. The tapestry of our country must be painted by the brave and courageous sacrifices of our heroes and their stories must be told, re-told and passed on from one generation to the next,” Senate Resolution No. 989 stated.

Vinzons was born on September 28, 1910 in Indan, Camarines Norte. He graduated valedictorian from high school and gained fame as a student in UP. He advocated the unification of Southeast Asian nations with a common Malay origin in his oratorical address entitled “Malaysia Irredenta,” which won him the Manuel L. Quezon gold medal for excellence. He took up law from UP and placed third in the bar examinations.

Like Gordon in 1971, Vinzons became the youngest delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1935, where he was instrumental in prescribing Tagalog as an official language of the Philippines. He successfully ran for election to the National Assembly in 1941, representing the lone district of Camarines Norte, and organized an armed resistance in the Bicol region against the invasion army, which had arrived in the region on December 12, 1941.

His hometown Indan was renamed Vinzons in his memory.