Kanidugan Festival 2023: Batch Night

The town fiesta celebration or the Kanidugan Festival this year was moved on April 10, to make way of the holy week, but the celebration started already on April 1 through the opening of the Agri Trade Fair and Agency night in the evening, followed by the Barangay Night and the finals of Odiongan Got a Talent on April 2.

[Photo grabbed @ Odiongan Public Information Office]

On April 3, there was a Paraw Regatta and Asi Poem and Song Contest in the coast of Tabing-Dagat, but unfortunately I am not able to see it, because we have worked and we’ve been busy preparing the Odiongan Plaza for the Batch Night.  VM was the organizer, so the Legislative was in-charge for everything, it took us one whole day to prepare and arranged the tables and chairs, because of many changes.  It was almost six in the evening when I decided to go home and prepare for the evening, we were requested to attend and help and I was designated to be one of the usherette of the event.

I wasn’t able to eat dinner anymore, because when I went home I immediately did the household chores, feed my cats and took a bath. When, I checked my phone a co-worker is already looking for us, usherettes, because people are already arriving, so I immediately asked my sister to transport me to town.

[Photo grabbed @ Odiongan Public Information Office]

The event was jumped packed, it was full of people. It was actually tiring ushering people to their table and friends, especially some visitors doesn’t want to do the shortcut because they were shy to passed by other batch or tables, with this I have to walk longer distance so I could bring them to their table, and whenever I have a chance I visited the table of my own batchmates, sit there for few minutes, took pictures and move back to the gate to guide new people.

The main attraction of the event was  the performance of four different bands,  it was a night full of fun and laughter, seeing each other bring back old memories, and me feeling busy and happy seeing old classmates, I forgot to take pictures of the said event, haha.

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Clear Blue Skies: Hiking to Palati Falls for the Second Time

Traversing a  muddy trail for two hours  just to see the beauty of Palati Falls in Libertad is more than worth it. It was only a week ago when we hiked to Palati Falls, but I have to hike there again for the second time around on July 28th.

A second hike was planned and organized by one of the members of RBM after he failed to come home early from Manila and wasn’t able to hike with us, so I have informed my cousins and neighbors about the hike. They have asked me when will be our group returning to Palati Falls hence they were interested to come with us upon seeing the photos I have uploaded in my Facebook account.

Unfortunately, they were not able to go because it is a workday, but my younger first cousin was very interested that he keeps asking for the event time, so I told him to be ready at 5:30 in the morning because the group will leave at 7 o’clock from the meeting point in town.  I didn’t take him seriously because I thought he was just kidding, and that night I accidentally trampled in the hollow-blocks while feeding my cats resulting to laceration in one of my toes so I really have no plan to hike again to Palati Falls, but my cousin showed up early in the morning with his swollen eyes while I am still asleep, I am about to tell him that we are not going but my mother and sister says, I gave my cousin hope last night so I shouldn’t cancel it, so I told him to get ready because we are leaving soon, I just have to prepare my bag and I have to bath.

Well, I could easily tell my cousin that I can’t go, but I feel bad about it. He doesn’t feel good and he isn’t looking good, it was last night when he passed by our yard going to their house crying like crazy, my Uncle or his father told us that his son’s girlfriend broke up with him without apparent reason, according to some chit-chat outside the girl found another guy.

Anyway, he patiently waited for me with his father, whom I think very much concerned for his well-being. We went to town using their motorcycle, I have to buy food in town for my lunch since I wasn’t prepared for this hike.  We waited a bit for other interested hikers before heading to Sitio Boliganay in Panique.

The road to Boliganay wasn’t that muddy like a week ago since it didn’t rain frequently anymore, we used the same trail. If we are 18 hikers a week ago, this time we are only 7 people making our pace quicker. My cousin was already feeling tired when we started going upward the hill,  he keeps stopping and drinking his bottled water. I wasn’t able to ask him to take photos of me because he keeps complaining he is too tired to do it (lol).

Unlike my previous hike where I felt too tired and slow, on my second hike the trail was already easy for me, I am able to run upward without getting tired, I wonder if it is because I used different bag and shoes. My hiking bag was too heavy to carry so I have used a school bag making everything lighter, I took my shoes off when we are already in the stream heading to the falls, and I jump along the large rocks like a frog.

The wound in my toe was hurting especially when we are going down the slope because it is hitting against the wall of my shoes, but I have no time to complaint nor cry about it.

There was a clearing, the sky wasn’t gloomy and within less than two hours, we are able to reach Palati Falls but it was a downer because there were no twin falls, there was only one falls.  We took some photos, create a vlog, ate our lunch and rested a bit before going down, we traversed the same path again last week, we headed to the stream to find our way home.

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Getting Lost in Nature: Hiking to Palati Falls, Tablas Island

One of my mountaineering friends (RJ) shared an event on Facebook and it caught my interest because RBM already went over there and unfortunately I wasn’t able to go because of the bad weather.

Well, I was caught in between which event should I go with, because my training class (Tourism Promotion Services or TPS)  had planned to do round Tablas on the same day (July 21th), but I got help from above when Sir Gab had a prior commitment in the morning so the whole plan of TPS will not materialize.

As planned, the group meets up at Children Paradise at 6:00 AM. I was a late comer, but they waited for me and while preparing to hit the road, a classmate and friend (MJ) from TPS went near me, it turns out she went to the training center, but it was closed and she happened to see me, so I asked her if she wanted to go with us. She’d like to, so I informed RJ about it, and they find someone from the group for her to back ride.

Brgy. Libertad is subdivided into four sitios, and one of them is Palati, which was my destination the day after my TPS group visited Mainit Falls, it is the most interior part of the Barangay and its name means second growth forest. Palati Falls is located in Libertad, but our jump-off was in Sitio Boliganay of Brgy.  Panique, a barangay after Libertad if you are coming from the town. The road to Boliganay is under-construction so as expected, it is muddy during the rainy season, if you don’t want to be stuck in the mud you really need to drive carefully.

When we arrived at the jump-off, we did only a short prayer and there was no stretching because the young guys were saying not to stretch anymore. We started walking up hill, gladly MJ went with me or else I have to walk a little bit slower to walk with the sweeper who’s accompanying the hikers that were a bit slow.

The trail was muddy, it is combined of uphill and downhill. There was no clearing so you can’t appreciate the view that much, the sky is gloomy. Nevertheless, all of us enjoyed the abundance of water in the streams, as well as the presence of guavas along the way.

MJ and I were in the middle together with two highschool students who are just a few meters away from us, ahead of us were my fellow RBM members.  We reached the point where we are not able to see the first group, we have waited a bit where the two highschool students met us, and since MJ and I were  both impatient waiting for the last group so we head on and followed the trail leaving behind the two young girls.

(MJ #feelingtired)

We reached a place where there are three houses, where we have asked where to go, the woman in the last house informed us that there was a path going to Palati Falls behind the smokehouse, so we did and I carefully examined the mud, and I was sure it was the right path since I am seeing fresh footprints of shoes in the soil and when we climb upwards, it was all grass and the footprints were gone, I looked around and found an almost hidden path behind the thick cogon grasses. We traversed it and we both realized where moving away from the sound of swift flowing water, we end up to a small shaft with a pig tied in the yard and dogs barking at us.  We called out, but no one is answering so we decided to return to the smokehouse, and there we found two paths. One is going to the left and the other one is going upward, but we are sure when we passed by at that point that there was no other path other than the path we took. You know, what is bothering me, when we passed by a coconut leaf fell from the tree on the left side, I don’t know what does it mean. If someone tried to warn us that we are heading to a wrong path or someone blocked the left path so we will choose the path upward?

Anyway, we decided to try the left path and we end up in a rocky stream, I have told MJ that maybe if we follow the stream we will not be lost, since the water will be surely coming from the falls. Maybe due to fear and excitement, I slid on the rocks not just once, but twice, and the second one was almost fatal because I slid into the water with my phone.  It scares the hell out of me because I don’t know how deep the water was, as we continue to walk the rocky stream I have seen people ahead of us, giving us a relief that we are on the right path to the falls.

When we are nearing RJ meet us half-way, he said they just arrived as well and he is about to look for us because he didn’t see us around. I have told him, we got lost.  The first group ahead of us were sorry that they left us when I told them we are just behind them, they also said they also almost get lost and they asked one of them to check the path upward if it is the right path or not, I didn’t inform them anymore about the coconut leaf that fell because my mind is not on its proper place, I was feeling scared, nervous and unwell for my phone. It is the second Asus Selfie phone I accidentally dropped in the water, the first one died after it swam in the salt water when it was not a year old yet and this second one is just less than two months old and it swam in the water too.

We reached Palati Falls for about over two hours, including the time where MJ and I got lost. If you walk faster you can reach Palati Falls in one and one half hours.

Palati Falls was on its beauty when we decided to visit it, there was a lot of water because of non-stop rain on the past few days. We rested a bit and decided to eat our lunch together, afterwards endless photo shoots.  We stayed for about an hour and descended together. We took a different trail going home, we traversed the river heading to the dam site where heavy rain fell on us, making us all soak.

Palati Falls isn’t for the frail of heart, but seeing  it with  your own eyes is very fulfilling so you must see it once in your life .  You can hire a motorcycle from downtown town and it is up to you to haggle, but ₱40-₱50.00 is enough to reach the Barangay Hall of Libertad, where you can ask for help or guide, or if you need someone to guide you, don’t hesitate to contact me I can maybe help you to find one depending on the availability of my fellow mountaineers. The jump-off is located at Sitio, Boliganay of Brgy. Panique, Odiongan, Romblon. You must remember that hiking to Palati Falls takes about two hours,  the trail is slippery when raining so wear proper shoes to avoid meeting an accident.

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Popular Street Food in Odiongan Town New Market

It was been a month since I have an update over here, it just came to the point I felt tired writing. Anyway, I will probably post backdated post for Sundays I’ve missed to post. My sister and I went to the town market today, we bought a kilo of fish at the wet market and pieces of bread at the bakery, for our father’s snacks at work.  Nearby the wet market there are two carts of street food, we usually buy to go street food when my sister and I have extra shackles for it.

Tonight they have plenty of lumpiang gulay (vegetable rolls), isaw (chicken’s intestine) and what they called dynamite, a stuffed green chilli peppers like the street food in Korea (gochu twikim) and since it is mouth watering I can’t let it passed. These street foods are always sold out every day and it is rare that they are still available.

Street foods are very popular in the street of Philippines and aside from the food I mentioned above fishballs, kikiam,  siomai, calamares, chicken and meat barbecue were very popular street food too among Filipinos.

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Odiongan Town Fiesta: Kanidugan Festival 2016

Odiongan celebrated town fiesta every 5th of April but the celebration opened on the evening  of April 1st through a color run in the public plaza, a night inspired by light followed by a beach party featuring a reggae singer “Kokoi Baldo” then on the 2nd of April there was Agency Night sponsored by Romblon State University and Barangay Night on the next night sponsored by barangay associations. On April 4th a fluvial parade and oar boat racing in the town shoreline and grand coronation of Ms. Odiongan on the evening at Odiongan Public Plaza.

Kanidugan Festival is the highlight of Odiongan fiesta celebration, it was been a decade ago since it was first opened. When we went to town the parade and street dancing was already starting and the intersection going to the public market was already blocked with vehicles and people so we returned and use the other route but it was also blocked so went the other way and we are able to find a good place where we can see the street dancing but on my disappointment my camera didn’t cooperate with me, it won’t focus and there was too much light in the photos.

After the parade and street dancing the Kanidugan competition follows at OSCES grounds. It was a very hot day but there was a lot of people. It was a shame but many Odionganons left their manners at home that day, people were redundantly told to sit and not to leave their grounds so other people at the back can see but many didn’t listen so as expected everybody swarmed upfront and of course I wouldn’t just remain seated in the ground seeing different shape of legs and butts so I went nearer as well so I could take better photos.

Well, I wasn’t able to find a good spot but I can’t go back since a lot of people swarmed up in our back, it was very discomforting, it feels like my ear drums will pop out and when the current performers ends I left to find my companions and since most people left out of disappointment, the ground became a bit spacious and my companions were able to find a good spot beside the stage ground, I took a bit of photos and asked them to go home, the last tribe performing was very lame anyway, their sounds wasn’t good.

I think the people in San Agustin, Romblon during their festival and ground demonstration was more disciplined except from one teacher who also left her manners at home that day.

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Oar Boat Racing in Odiongan Shoreline

The fluvial parade at the sea or biniray was religiously done in the capital town of Romblon celebrating the devotion of the people to their religious beliefs but in recent years biniray was also done in the island of Odiongan although it wasn’t so fabulous like how it was celebrated during every second week of January in the capital town.

Odiongan Boat Racing

A day before the town fiesta of Odiongan there is a special celebration in the town shoreline aside from the fluvial parade of boats adorned with coconut leaves there is also a boat race.  A year ago they held Paraw Regatta a popular annual festival in the province of Iloilo where the main event is a sailboat race in Iloilo Strait that features the Paraw, a Visayan double outrigger sail boat. It is dubbed as the oldest traditional craft event in Asia and the largest sailing event in the Philippines but this year in Odiongan they held oar boat racing which was joined by more than fifteen boatmen, it was made possible under the management of DepED teachers in town.

Well, the boat race this year wasn’t very colorful like a year ago since the boats were not adorned with colorful sailboats. The boat race was themed “Bugsayan” since the participants will race using “bugsay” a local dialect for oar or paddle.

Oar Boat Racing

Many Odionganons were too excited that they started running in the shoreline when the racers are going ashore so dunno how the management find the winner when many people blocked the shoreline already, wasn’t able to take photos of the boatmen going ashore since my view was blocked with people.

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New Signage in Odiongan Town

Odiongan is moving progressively now adays, there are several things that the town had been accomplished in the past few years. A year ago a tourist centre was opened and since then bit by bit something new arises; a well-known fast food chain was in construction in town to cater local people and visitors.

Odiongan Romblon

Anyway, a recently the town accomplished a new building for teenagers then a new signage in the food terminal just in front of almost abandon commercial building. It was already very late if you ask me since Odiongan is a first class municipality but another town belonging to fifth class municipalities has signage already years before Odiongan has, as well as other municipalities belonging to lower class.

Odiongan Town at Night

On the first few days that the signage was lit, it attract old and young people. Many had their photo taken and shared in social media sites. Well, I hope the town can accomplished more things in the future.

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The aborigines of this town were the Negritos. It is believed that those people came from a tribe in Iloilo under Chieftain Juan Marikudo. For their route they used the island of Carabao Island between Tablas and Panay as “bridge”. These tribes increased after the followers of Marikudo who were displaced by the Bornean Datus migrated to Tablas during the 14th century. At Tablas coeast they for sometime but later on, more advanced groups of settlers pushed from firther to inner Tablas in what is now Pato-o and Langit-non. At present, traces of Negritos blood can be seen among the “Kalibogans”, Negrito half-breeds of Pato-o Langitnon.

The Mangyans were the next settlers who came to Odiongan from Mindoro. When and how they came to Odiongan is not definitely known. The Mangyans came however, in a very tible in the area.

The next group of settlers who came to Odiongan were the Onhans and the Nayons from Panay. They were the more civilized group of settlres, with more advanced tools in production, culture, and warfare. They drove group the Negritos and Mangyans firther to the interior mountains and occupied the coastal regions. But because they came in small nuber, their tribe was displaced by succceding tribes. Their traces can be found today in the Ferrol town, Atabay and Ginagoman. These are the places now in Odiongan whose residents speak in Inonhan”.

Sometimes in 1810, an attempt was made by the Bantoanons to setle in Odiongan.

They numbered around fifty determined men and women under the leadership of a certain Jose Barrion. They organized a settlement in a well-chosen place, suited for agriculture. They were highly civilized, industrious, and determined people imbued with the spirit of oneness and civic consciousness. They built housed of light materials and the community must have been on the way to progress when its settlement was destroyed and burned by pillaging Moros.

In 1840, another settlement from the same people, a now under the leadership of Franscisco Salazar and Fray Jose Aznar de los Dolores, attempted in the same area. These people came equally determined. They were deeply religious, civic-spirited,, disciplined and helpful group. They found a well located site, free from immediate dangers of outside depredations. The site—the “cota”(fort)- has a natural defense against marauding Motors, This was the settlement that withstood the depredations and the hardships of pioneering life.

The name Odiongan was derived from “Odiong”, a local term for arrow. The story goest that sometime during the height of Moro forays against Christians in the Visayas and Mindanao (Which was a reaction to the war of annihilation waged by the Spanish colonialists against Muslim of South), a Moro contingent attacked the “Coto”, a fort situated in a midget peninsula between the Bongoy and Bangon Rivers. The people of Odiongan under the leadership of Fransisco Salazar resisted. After the particular battle, an arrow, so the story goes. The place-swampy land now sandwich between the Fermalo and Washington Bridges— usuage. Odiongan emerged as the popular name.

The Cota was frequently subjected to attacks by Moros that the settlers from superior forces. In 1884, a strong typhoon belevelled the settlement to the grounds. This Catastrophe and the burning of the village two years later in December, 1846 discourage the people and promoted them to transfer their town to the Eastern bank of Bongoy River. This is the present site of the town Odiongan. And to commemorate the town’s transfer from the old settlement to its present site, the settlers designated April 5th of every year as the Foundation Day and Town Fiesta, with St. Vincent Ferrer as Patron Saint.

The government of the settlers of Odiongan was the “Barangay”, just like the system of government of early Filipinos. During the Spanish time, we know from history that the Spanish utilized existing forms, organizations to control the population. They simply centralized and improved it. At the time, Odiongan was governed by the colonialists through the Capiz Command headed by a Governadorcillo, assisted by several deputies or agauceles. The head of the local government, the Cabesa de Barangay was appointed from among the wealthy and educated people of the of the community. Pedro Fortaliza, Hermenigildo Fabon, Juan Fesarillo, Eustaquio Fortaleza are the Odiongans who led the town under the title of Cabeza de Barangay.

In 1870, Tagalogs, mostly from Batangas, came to Odiongan as merchants. These traders must have found Odiongan full of promise that they never left. In fact they steadily increased, specially in 18885, when a big number of Tagalogs arrived in one vessel.

In 1888, the town razed to the ground. Only a few houses were left. Because of this fire, it is no wonder that old houses of the Spanish type exist in the town now. (The Roman Catholic Church which was said to be of the same size as that of Romblon town, if not bigger was also burned.)

During the Philippines Revolution of 1896, the people of Odiongan joined the struggle against Spanish colonialism and formed a revolutionary government under the leadership of Tomas Fiedacan. The government under Fiedacan existed up to the beginning of the American period in 1898.

One important even took place in 1902. This was the cholera epidemic which killed many Odiongans. It was so widespread that the cemetery was overcrowded and some of the dead had to be buried outside the cemetery.

In 1908, a very strong typhoon lashed the island. This typhoon as the “Bagyong Ogis”. Houses, properties, agricultural plans and animals were either destroyed or lost during the storm. In the opinion of the folks, it was the strongest storm that visited the placed. The records of the municipality were destroyed because of this catastrophe.

The year 1914 marked an economic crisis for people in the community. As a result of the World War I which occurred during this year, famine was common recurrence and prices of commodities increased considerably.

The Jones Act was approved in 1916 and the people enjoyed more freedom in the government. It sent its Commonwealth Government was established and the peo
ple were provided some degree of autonomy in running the affairs of government.

In 1940, Romblon became province directly under the control and supervision of the Department of Interior. The province was reorganized into four special municipalities by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 581. Odiongan became the seat of the Special Municipality of Tablas. Until the province was restored into its former status. The following were the mayors of the special municipality of Tablas; Jose Firmalo, Rafael Gomez and Santiago Leaño.

During the Japanese regime, the following served as mayors: Pastor Fabon, Vicente Osorio and Catalino Fabella.

Odiongan was chosen as the headquarters of the resistance movement in the province. During the Japanese occupation, the people of Odiongan experienced a difficult life. But under the leadership of Lt. Col. Enrique Jurado, a band of USAFEE enlisted men and officers organized the guerilla unit in the province and set up its headquarters at Mainit, a forested partner in Inner Tablas. This unit was attached to the 66th Infantry, 6th Military District (Panay) under the overall command of Co. Macario Peralta, Jr. On September 4, 1943, a Japanese gunboat shelled the “cadre” and the town of Odiongan after knowing the existence of a guerilla unit in the community it did not much damage, but the unit broke into smaller units and were scattered throughout the island of Tablas and some were stationed at Mindoro, where they pursued the intelligence mission assigned to them by the higher command. They operated secretly until the landing of the American forces in Leyte. On November 17, 1943, elements of the Japanese forces stationed at Panay landed in Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan Islands, and committed atrocities which have never been experienced by the people before. About sixteen guerillas, twelve civilians, and twenty-three Chinese were killed in Odiongan alone. Only one Chinese escaped capture and death. The people felt relieved when the Japanese left Odiongan for Iloilo City on December 2, 1948 with some seventy six non-commissioned officers and seven commissioned officers of the guerilla unit as prisoners. One of the prisoners was then Jose Firmalo who served as deputy Governor of Tablas of the Resistance government under the overall government of the late Tomas Confessor of Panay and Capt. Jose P. Orola of the staff of Lt. Col. Jurado.

After the elements of the U.S. Eight Army successfully landed at San Jose Mindoro, a unit of the PCAO (Philippine Civilian Affairs Organization) was established at Odiongan under Lt. Col Clifford. Food was rationed and distributed to the needy. The pre-war government set up was revitalized and some classes were opened. Once again, the people felt some sense of security and gradually resumed normal life activities.

After the liberation Pablo Baculinao served as the first appointive mayor and followed by Nicolas Fernandez as the first Postwar elective mayor, then Conrado Meñez, Francisco Firmalo, Regina Fabello, Alfonso Firmalo, Galicano Maulion, Oscar Ylagan, Jose Firmalo, Alfonso Firmalo. In February 1986, a political storm ended the regime of Ferdinand Marcos and a new leadership was installed in all government levels. Leopoldo Fabriquer, Jr. was appointed as OIC Mayor, in the election on January 1988, Perpetuo B. Ylagan as Mayor and election on May 1995 produced the First Lady Mayor of the Municipality in the person of Hon. Jemly H. Fernandez.

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