Kindness matters

Photo from Cong. Ria Fariñas’ FB page

Anything about Adams excite me. If you’ve been following my blog since its inception, you know that Adams was my home away from home. I even actually planned to retire in the mountainous town.

Reading a social media post about the handing over in a personal capacity by Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Ria Fariñas a 4×4 pickup truck, as an emergency vehicle, to Sitio Bucarot in Adams brings me to a thankful mood coupled with nostalgia.

Christmas in 2012 took me to the most distant side of Adams — Bucarot, a village so isolated in the truest sense. We had to enter the backdoor via the Cadcadir (Claveria, Cagayan) – Tanglagan (Calanasan, Apayao) route for a friend’s personal gift-giving activity. The excitement in the eyes of children to walk in new slippers, and the elderly smiles to match new reading glasses are still fresh in my mind. (Story here.)

Photos I took in Bucarot in 2012.

The entire trip opened my eyes more to social inequalities among my provincemates in Ilocos Norte. Bucarot is only one among the neglected communities in my home province. Even for 2-wheel vehicles, the road from the municipal hall to the sitio was not always safe.

Fast forward to today, how can the previous and the present administrations borrow billions for infrastructure that we really don’t need, but keep their “kakailians” underserved? A bigger capitol, a more modern stadium, a dead Dap-ayan successor, a vinyl island in a national park? Where are the good roads? Where is the better life? Where have all the pronouncements and promises gone?

Since it is election time, an act of kindness can easily be misconstrued as something else. Just so you know, Bucarot has only around 80 voters. Knowing the lady representative as a kind soul, as I was once a recipient of her kind deed while crossing a street, I see it as pure benevolence. Thank you, Cong. Ria!


Ang buhay ay color color lang

At a meeting in LA yesterday, I heard Leni was set to file her CoC for president. Pacquiao, Marcos Jr., Ping, and Yorme Isko have already made theirs official. When I arrived home, news of her filing were all over the net. Pink, suddenly, was trending. Not BBM’s pink shirt nowadays, but Leni’s new yellow. The rebranding is refreshing. For having the courage of her convictions, she deserves more the girl power pink.

News from my city of birth, Laoag, was getting interesting too. The same old political parties running against each other now include first time politicos and surprisingly a seasoned one I thought has already retired from the political arena. I noticed the newbies are mostly from the business sector. Just a thought that crossed my mind, let us all pray for economic recovery for the greater good and not for a politician’s own personal enrichment, especially during these turbulent times.

Like I said in my last post after the May 2019 elections, anything can happen before the May 2022 elections. The Keon and Lazo pairing is now officially off. Both are running against former mayor CVF. Manong Rudy’s eldest son Carlos is Chevylle’s running mate. Marcos Jr.’s heir, rookie politician Sandro, officially attempts to snatch the Ilocos Norte District I congressional seat from incumbent Rudy Fariñas’ daughter Ria, who has shown she can stand on her own.

Among the reds, the pinks and the greens, the only noticeable yellow I saw was the shirt of Manong Puco Aurelio when he went to file his CoC for Laoag City Councilor as an independent candidate.

Best of luck to all the candidates! Please make it clean, and color the future bright.


The young Fariñases follow in dad Rudy’s footsteps

Last termer Congressman Rudy Fariñas, in his 39 years as public servant, rose from being a newbie city mayor at the age of 28 to House Majority Floor Leader from 2016 to 2018, during which he led the probe on Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ (also on her last term) alleged misuse of tobacco excise tax to fund her personal projects. The ousting of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez cut short Rudy’s powerful post. A few days before the May 13 midterm elections, he withdrew his gubernatorial bid against Imee’s son Matthew Manotoc and announced his retirement from politics to focus on his children’s desire to do the same as him and continue his brand of service, particularly the direct delivery of services to the communities through his Rang-ay ti Barangay program, renamed Rang-ay iti Amin.

No one in his right mind can ignore Rudy Fariñas, his brilliant mind; the peace and order in the province of Ilocos Norte, which opened for his fellow provincemates the gates into the distant and unconnected barangays in the Cordillera mountains such as the towns of Adams and Dumalneg and parts of Vintar, Piddig, Solsona and Nueva Era, post-EDSA revolution when he was governor and the many roads to obscure and unsullied spots in the North he helped pave as congressman, improving access to nature destinations like Anuplig Falls and Mt. Palemlem in Adams and Mt. Sicapoo in Solsona, thereby putting Ilocos Norte on the adventure map pre-Imee governorship; the numerous bills he has passed in congress; his plainspoken, yet eloquent and entertaining manner of expressing himself; and the devoted father that he is to his children.


After the recent tight election races where Marcos-backed politicians in Norte ran against Fariñas scions, it was proven that Fariñas is still a name to be reckoned with in Ilocos Norte. Ria, who was Rudy’s chief of staff during one of his terms as congressman before she became a provincial board member herself, defeated aspiring politician Ryan Remigio resoundingly, contrary to earlier Facebook polls. Junior, the youngest, emerged number one board member in the 1st District like his sister during her first term, while Probinsyano Ako partylist, with Rudys Ceasar also known as Baby Boy, as its first nominee, is already assured of a seat at the House of Representatives. Before the elections, Kris Aquino in an IG post, shared with her 4.2M followers Probinsyano Ako’s platform which includes the delivery of health services to the people like bringing the hospital to the patient instead of bringing the patient to the hospital through mobile clinics.



The Fariñas clan in  a post-election gathering. RJ, son of Rudy’s older brother, former mayor Roger, also makes it to the Laoag City Council. (Photo grabbed from the Rang-ay iti Amin FB page.)

Incumbent Laoag City Mayor Chevylle Farinas, wife of Rudy’s nephew Michael, who passed away in a car crash last year, lost by hairline to comebacking politician Michael Marcos Keon, who once ran against Imee Marcos for governor and lost. Chevylle’s son John Michael also lost his bid for Laoag vice mayor to Toto Lazo, son of the late Antonio Lazo, vice governor during the Ferdinand Marcos regime when the Keon-Lazo was the OG tandem.

It will be remembered that Imee and Rudy ran under the same ticket in the 2010 elections and Chevylle and Michael severed their ties with their uncle only to be reunited before the 2016 presidential elections. Imee is set to be proclaimed senator. Her son Matthew takes over the governorship. Anything can happen between now and the next elections.

*Photos posted by Jomel Manjares on the Rang-ay Iti Amin Facebook page.