OVER 200 Cuyunons and non Cuyunons attended this year’s Cuyunon Baragatan held last August 23, 2014 at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City. This 7th year affair is an annual convention of Cuyunons base in Metro Manila and in overseas as well.
Palawan Governor Jose Pepito Alvarez serves this year’s keynote speaker. In his speech, Alvarez cited his efforts for the province and his forthcoming projects, he announce that Balabac could be next Maldives due to its potential to tourism.
To support this claim Alvarez announces that it’s a plan of his administration to put up International Airport in Balabac to boost its tourism potential. But not only in Balabac that he will build airports, accordingly there is four Airports with international and regional access that is soon to be place in Palawan. This includes the one in Coron, San Vicente, between Taytay and El Nido, and in between Brookes Point and Bataraza. But Alvarez point out this plan is under his 10 year program for the province in case he will be given a chance to continue his term in the coming years. He also said that majority of the tourist destination in the province will have a good hospital, this will support as well his aim of a three million tourist arrival after 10 years.
At the said convention of Cuyunons largely base in Metro Manila, USA, Canada and Australia, Alvarez also take the opportunity to discuss his up-coming and ongoing projects in the mainland Palawan. This is the 5,570 Kilometer road rehabilitation under auspices from National Government, and a lot of funding for livelihood assistance to augment the 63.8% poverty index of the province. He also discusses the plan to move the Provincial Capitol outside of Puerto Princesa City to two other Municipalities, one in the north and in the south.
Since it’s a Cuyo affair, Alvarez announce that the well-equipped and efficient hospital is due to its completion probably early next year in Cuyo. The P50million worth project is his project with the counterpart of the national government. He also said that he is planning to make Cuyo a marvelous tourist destination with its historical background and to create parks with manmade lake coming from the natural springs of the island. This programs according to Alvarez is a good reason for the Cuyunons to go back to the island municipality and to the mainland as well. Palawan he said is still a suitable place for retirees after many years of struggling in life.
At the end Alvarez also clarify information claiming that he don’t have any Palawan blood, he said his grandmother is originally from Pawa, Cuyo. It so happen it migrate to Antique where they grow up, but he never announce if it’s from his father or mother side.
The Cuyunon Baragatan this year is headed by Grace Ong-Gobing as the President of the organization, usually held every August in Manila before the main Fiesta celebration in Cuyo, it aims to unite Cuyunons wherever they are. This year’s conventions start at three in the afternoon with joyous numbers and guest from different fields. Among this year’s attendees are Palawan 2nd Dis Rep. Erick Abueg with his dad, former Congressman Amor Abueg , Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, Board Member Leoncio Ola who serenade the crowd with his Ploning rendition. Provincial tourism officer Mabelle Buni and Information Officer Gil Acosta also grace the occasion.
This year’s honoree is Mariel Dedicatoria, reigning Mutya ng Palawan who represent Cuyo last Baragatan Festival. Daniel Santos, Dedicatoria’s successor for next year pageant is also introduce to the crowd as early this time to make sure that Cuyo will continue to hold the crown. Special performance from Capitol Choir also highlight the evening with their rendition of Cuyunon songs. Ernie Delgado also did some guitar performances on stage. Delgado, a Cuyunon base now in the US once became a guitarist of the then famous band Electro Maniacs wayback late 60’s. Cuyonon Organizers close the evening with traditional dances of Cuyo.