The floating umbrellas of Getafe

Wake-uppers:

Scene: Dismissed police officer Maria Cristina Brugada Nobleza  and her husband Reener Lou Dongon who were linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) appeared in court on Friday morning to attend the arraignment of charges filed against them. But they were not able to enter their plea before Judge Jorge Cabalit of RTC Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City due to their pending motion to dismiss the illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them. Nobleza wore a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women, while Dongon who sported a long hair was clad in a grey hood. Both appeared thinner and paler compared to their previous court appearances. Sarah Soriano-Hermida, Nobleza’s lawyer, said Nobleza has been suffering from eye problem-headaches and blurred vision, while Dongon was also suffering from mouth and head pain due to his dental braces.

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Scene:  A hired consultant (HC) of a popular town tendered her resignation after she has a rift with the leader of the place (LOTP). HC posted on Facebook that someone insulted her to the nth degree by expecting her to be a part to such lies and deception.  HC said she was not just a teacher, a parent, an educator but also because her name means truth. HC said she was harassed by the constant calls and texts by the mother earth (ME) who copied her ideas.  HC retracted the entry she had written as attempted identity theft.  LOTP who posted on Facebook that HC is suffering a mental problem. LOTP said HC has no right to demoralize people and destroy the program.  

Scene: The 4th Panubig Festival in Pilar town last Oct. 11.  Five contingents drew cheers as they danced in honor to Nuestra Señora del Pilar or Our Lady of the Pillar, the town’s patroness. Many members of the audience came all the way from neighboring towns to share in the celebration.

If you are visiting the town of Getafe, above your head floats an array of brightly colored umbrellas.

The air was expectedly both festive and celebratory. After all, it was Pilar’s Panubig Festival 2017. “This festival is giving honor to Our Lady of Pillar for the good harvest, for the blessings, for the manpower and labor,” said Butch Bernas, Ph.D., the founder of Panubig.  The event was hosted by Inday Rufing.

Scene:  With a minute of silence, tolling bells and prayers, Bohol on Sunday will mark the fourth anniversary of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake which brought Bohol province to its knees.

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At least 1,200 umbrellas are hoisted high above the town plaza of Getafe, 92 kms from the capital city of Tagbilaran, providing shade and an amazing sight.

When looking up from the ground the parasols appear to be floating all on their own. A thin string runs between the umbrellas- red, green, blue and yellow- in order to hold them up.  

When it was introduced to the crowd last week, it draws hundreds who come to the town to enjoy the sights which is similar to the hundreds floating umbrellas in a street in Agueda, Portugal.

“The umbrellas are so beautiful and attractive,” said Edralenn Torreon, 13. “And the only in Bohol,” she added.

Erstwhile provincial board member Ma. Fe Camacho-Lejos, now the Sangguniang Bayan secretary, said people have enjoyed the excitement of the umbrella canopies which brings a refreshing pop of diversity and color to the area.  

The idea of introducing a canopy of colorful parasols was part of the town’s 143rd founding anniversary.  

However, the floating umbrellas would stay there for good.

Mayor Casey Shaun Camacho said he plans to add LED lights for the umbrellas to glow at night especially for Christmas.

Getafe is home of the largest man-made mangrove forest in Asia found in the island-barangay Banacon.

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Maquindang of Loboc town hailed as a hero in Las Vegas shooting

Tales of heroism have emerged in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

One of those hailed as a hero was 66-year-old Bohol native Winifredo Balbido Maquindang, a taxi driver in Las Vegas just four days on the job.

Maquindang loaded six wounded victims in his taxi and took them to the hospital, speeding through red lights to make sure they got treated as soon as possible.

Winifredo Balbido Maquindang (extreme left) with Delfin Sumampong and Tani and May Balbido in the US. |Contributed Photo

Maquindang, who was on his fourth day working for  Yellow Checker Star Transportation, one of Nevada state’s largest taxi companies, said he decided to wait for fares in front of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino during the Oct. 1 music festival.

Suddenly he heard a series of explosions that sounded like fireworks.

“We are used to fireworks here in Vegas,” Maquindang said.

He later realized that these were not fireworks as shards of glass rained down on the street from an upper floor of the hotel.

As Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, opened fire on the crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival, many became too frightened to move.

Maquindang saw some concertgoers so scared that they did know know what to do.

When a stampede broke out, he said he saw bodies on the ground amid deafening screams and cries.

Maquindang said he packed six who were injured in his taxi, which normally carries four passengers, and sped away to Sunrise Hospital about 6 kilometers away, never stopping for a red light.

“Two of them were in serious condition because they were hit by bullets in the back and in the neck,” he said.

He thought of returning to the site to ferry more people to the hospital but he worried about what his boss might say and the possible damage his cab might sustain during the chaos. So he decided to go home instead.

Six days later, Maquindang said he still didn’t know what happened to the people he took to the hospital.

“I don’t have time yet but I like to visit them to know their condition,” he said.

Maquindang, who hailed from Poblacion Sawang in Loboc town in Bohol province, has been living in United States for 47 years.

His family lives in Los Angeles, California, where he also drove a taxi, but he relocated to Las Vegas after he was hired by the taxi company.

Maquindang was hailed among the heroes of America’s worst mass shooting in recent years.

His daughter, Alyssa Mae, proudly posted her father’s heroic deed on Facebook.

“My dad was caught in the middle of the shooting in Las Vegas. Even though I know he’s safe, watching this video of him with all the gunshots in the background scares me so much. He was working that night by Mandalay Bay and transported those who were wounded to the hospital. So thankful he’s safe and proud of him for saving lives. Love you Dad,” she said.

But for Maquindang, he was just doing the right thing.

 “Basta makatabang lang ta sa atong isigkatawo” he said.

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