My Hometown

My Hometown: Palo

Palo is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 47,982 people in 9,272 households.

History of  Palo
The discovery of the advancing communities of Palo dates back to the early 16th Century A.D. along the banks of Bangon River. However, local historians believe that the settlement of Palo started as early as the 10th to 13th century A.D..
The first known settlement were the kingdom of Takuranga, first name of Palo under King Guban, and the Kingdom of Kaluugan, the second name of Palo under King Pitik. From the 14th to the 16th centuries, some other settlements were formed which also became the succeeding names of Palo, until finally in 1550 Don Miguel Lopez de Legaspi coalesced the settlements and named the new confederation “Palo”. The other settlements were Kasangitan, Binangalan, Kasuguran, Bunga, Bangon and Guindapunan. The settlers of Bunga played a vital role in the history of Palo, having formed the settlement of Bangon which is now the town center. Palo formally became a town in 1768 with Kapitan Balasabas as its first administration.
Accordingly, the early settlers of Palo were the clans of Panganuron, Kadampog, Manlangit, Kumago, Kawaring, Kabalhin, Kumagong, Maglain, Bilyu and Dilyu.
Palo is considered to be one of the most historical towns of Leyte. It is well known as the site of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s return to the Philippines together with Philippine and American military forces after a period of exile in 1944. Hill 522, a hill located near the town center, was the site of fierce fighting between Allied and Japanese forces during the Second World War. The metropolitan cathedral of the archdiocese, located right across Palo’s municipal hall, was used as a hospital for wounded Filipino and American forces. A memorial now stands at the beach site where MacArthur and his troops landed, locally known as the MacArthur’s Park. The first Gabaldon Building is also situated in Brgy. San Joaquin Palo, Leyte. It was inaugurated by President Sergio Osmena.
The town is very active in commerce and in tourism. It attracts a significant number of tourists every year. The town also has its historic Municipal Building which was the former Seat of the Provincial Government of Leyte. Its location is conducive to and ideal for trading and commerce.
Palo is strategically located in the northern part of the Province of Leyte, 8 miles from the capital city of Tacloban. It is composed of 33 barrios (barangays) with a total population of 40,000. The main source of income for most of the citizenry is the buying and selling of farm products and the production and fermentation of the local wine “tuba”.
Palo is a town that takes pride not in its material wealth, which rates poorly in terms of economic growth, but in the fame and glory of its being a rare “Town of Firsts”—culturally, historically and spiritually.
The landmark that has brought Palo to the annals of world history is the Red Beach, in barangay Candahug, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur first landed to liberate the Philippines from the Japanese occupation on October 20, 1944. Palo was also once the capital of Leyte. The town’s Purissima Bridge was the first steel bridge built in the province.
In 1957, sitio Campitic was converted into a barrio,  while barrio Baras-Candahug was divided into two: Baras and Candahug. Barrio Maliron was renamed as Libertad.
On the spiritual side, Palo is believed to be a sacred place by clerical observers. It is the seat of the ecclesiastical province, the Archdiocese, where the Roman Catholic Archbishop resides in Bukid Tabor. One can find the Metropolitan Cathedral in Palo. Also, the seedbed of vocations to the priesthood is found at the Sacred Heart Seminary and the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology. Two Paloan nuns were also Superior Generals in their respective congregations. To date, there are 79 ordained priests and 106 nuns from the town alone.
Palo has established its identity as a conservative and religious town with a highly cultural characteristic that makes Paloans extremely proud of their birthplace.
Tourist spots
MacArthur Landing Memorial Park
The Leyte Landing Memorial is a memorial to the landing of General Dougals MacArthur and his men at Red Beach. It is located in Candahug, a barangay of the municipality of Palo in the province of Leyte. Also known as the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park, the memorial consists of larger-than-life bronze statues of the general with other men, including then Philippine president Sergio Osmena, Jr., standing in a manmade pool. The memorial was erected in tribute to MacArthur’s fulfillment of his promise to return to the Philippines after it was occupied by the Japanese during World War II. The Japanese Occupation of the Philippines ended soon after MacArthur landed at Red Beach on October 20, 1944 with 225,000 troops and 600 ships. The anniversary of this event is commemorated annually at the park with a reenactment of the famous landing, attended by local and foreign dignitaries.
Hill 522 
Commonly called Guinhangdan Hill, from the root word: “hangad” which means to look upward (522 ft. up), was the entrance to the first liberated town of Palo in 1944 after having been heavily bombarded to destroy the garrisons built by the Japanese artillery units; foxholes built by the Japanese still exist; memorial marker built by Mie Prefecture. Fierce fighting for the control of this strategic hill lasted two days (Oct. 20-21, 1944) and cost the lives of about 50 Japanese soldiers and at least three American soldiers.
Palo Metropolitan Cathedral

Palo Metropolitan Cathedral

The Palo Metropolitan Cathedral was constructed on 1596 under the direction of the Jesuits who founded Palo and also used for some time as thier residence. Eventually this was taken over by the Augustinians on 1768 and by the Franciscans on 1843. Although the Augustinians were the first to spread Catholicism in the place, the construction was spreaded by Jesuits, Fathers Juan del Campo and Alonso de Humanes who taught the few inhabitants with the Gospel and later baptized, taught the children to read and write, pray the rosary, sing hymns and play the flute. Later, another Jesuit became a permanent Parish Priest who was instrumental in bringing together as a community the baptized natives and Father Humanes. He became successful in this work that he was able to convert more pagans to the catholic faith. By 1600, Palo had become a central missionary station with the jurisdiction over the missions of Dagami, Malaguicay, Malirong and Banabon. The catherdral was repaired by Fr. Augustin built the two towers on 1850. Fr. Pantaleon dela Fuente added new features from the money he won from a lottery in Spain, he then installed a clock on the façade on 1896. This was also proclaimed a catheral on the 25th of March, 1938. Msgr. Manuel Mascariñas, first bishop.

Palo Library

This is an old house in Palo Leyte owned by the old dons of Leyte, Don Pedrosa, a founder of the Prudential Bank (now merged with the Bank of the Philippine Islands). He’s also the grandfather of that CNN anchorwoman Veronica Pedrosa whose family was exiled during the Marcos time. While I was growing up, the first floor used to be the Public Library, with lots of donated books from the US. The building is designed after the Spanish old homes in the Philippines.

Holy Froday / Pamalandung

Pamanlandung in Waray means ‘meditation on the Crucifixion of Christ’. This is a festival held every Holy Week in Palo where the crucifixion is reenacted from the Last Supper to the Resurrection of Christ. During Holy Fridays, there’s a street theater participated in by the whole community that reenacts the capture of Jesus, the sentencing and the crucifixion at the calvary ‘hill’ which is only a stage set up for this purpose. Around 3pm, the crucified Jesus is brought down, and if you’re new to the town, don’t be surprised to see the people rush to get souvenirs of the branches and leaves (‘basbas’) that were propped on the stage. They say these are blessed and holy and have curing qualities. Between 5 and 6pm there’s a long procession of all the saints and Jesus statues from all over Leyte.

My Barangay: Cogon

History of Barangay Cogon

Barangay Cogon is 1.3 km southeast of poblacion Palo bounded on the north by Barangay Salvacion, on the east by San Pedro-San Pablo Bay, on the south by San Joaquin River and Barangay San Joaquin and on west by San Joaquin River and Barangay Takuranga. It has a total land area of 719,812 hectares of flat lands with sandy soil type. Its main product is coconut. Swamplands which comprise about 37% is planted to Nipa where families derived additional income in making nipa shigles for sale. But the main occupation of the people is buy and sell, mostly on fish vending. Some are fishermen but many of the males also gather sands on the river beds for sale to truck operators and contractors.

Barangay Cogon got its name from the cogon grass that abounds all over the place at that time. The areas used to be a path, people used pass when they travel by foot, the only means during the early part from Barangay San Joaquin to the Poblacion of Palo. This was during the time when cars where not yet used and there were no road network at that time. Along this path, cogon grasses of the thrives and when the traveller look right and left, he can see the vastness of the cogon growth, so far and side.

This barangay was once a sitio of barangay San Joaquin, its mother barangay, when many settled in the place, the people konged to be independent from San Joaquin. The people petitioned to make the place a legal barangay and with assistance of the municipal council they worked towards attainment of such goal. It was only in 1954 that Cogon became a barangay, independent from San Joaquin. At first, its name was barangay Cogon-San Juaquin, was shorted and eliminated the word San Joaquin for proper identity.
A barangay chapel was provided for 98% catholic adherents with their own patron saint celebrated each year. About 1% of the population are Iglesia ni Cristo, 0.5% Jehova’s Witness and 0.5% belong to Mormon faith.
As of 1983, households of barangay Cogon numbers 1,318 with total population of 1,036.

Music Video

Basta Upod Ka Music Video

Basta Upod Ka Music Video (Unedited Version)

“Basta Upod ka” is an original waray waray song of exoduce, a famous singing icon in Tacloban City.

This music video is for educational purposes only. The video is created to serve as an ICT project.

A big thanks to the people who made this music video possible.

Milestone of My Life

My name: A curse or a boon?

GERARD CHRISTIAN was the name my parents prepared while I was being conceived by my mother. GERARD was taken from my father’s name GERARDO. CHRISTIAN was paired with it. According to many my father is a very kind person hence, I was named after him. They too, believed that the name CHRISTIAN of whom they knew were all kind. My name is therefore, considered as a boon. I grew up as they really have wished for – they say I am kind and gentle.

If I had my way, what name would I have chosen for myself?

With a way or none, I would not choose any other name for myself. I really love my name GERARD CHRISTIAN. I don’t have any right to change even a single letter in my name, the only person worthy to name someone is his own parents who gone through difficulties in conceiving him. In my own point of view, my name sounds a dignified one – seems to have a strong personality, with a unique charisma.

My Earliest Memory

What my elder say about me

I may sound too overweening but I am very proud to say how elders describe me.  My neighbors, friends, relatives, acquaintances would oftentimes say I am very respectful, very supportive, very understanding, patient, kind and many others pleasant to hear.   Though I do not sometimes believe that I am really of this kind, I am very thankful that how they see me is very praiseworthy.

My Very First Picture

My first picture was taken during my baptism two week after my birth in April 3, 1995.  I was baptized early since my parents believed that if it is done during an Eastern Sunday, the child will grow up as a very kind child.

 

 

 

First Schooling

Few years passed, I was no longer a baby, rather a youngster.  At the age of four I was enrolled in Palo Angelicum, but because I was sickly, I stopped my schooling and after a year came back as a Kinder 1 pupil.  Though I did not finish my nursery I excelled in the class. In my life I concluded that kindergarten is the most important level of studying, because in this level I learned how to count, write and read; raise my right hand before speaking; having a good behavior and most importantly, I learned to grow and believe that dreams will come true having one’s faith. Growing up for me when I was in kindergarten was becoming mature, not just physically but emotionally, I learned the main types of emotion, happiness and sadness. And my only dream when I was in this level was becoming an excellent pupil so I could make my parents proud of me.

My First Idol

My first idol was Jack Dawson, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the all time blockbuster movie Titanic.  At my age of 3 I was able to memorize and sing the whole lyrics of My Heart Will Go On, the theme song of the movie.

 

 

 

 

 

First Playmate

My first playmate was my neighbor – I was only two years old then.  She was a pretty girl of my age.  At seven we were sent to the same school where we were also classmates until our fourth grade.  I was always the first honors and she was always the second honors.

My First Best friend

As I remember then, my playmate was also my best friend.    She was oftentimes asked by my parents to come to our house especially during Saturdays and Sundays where they can also play with us to include the tutorial while we were not yet at age for school.

My First Crush

My first crush was when I was in Grade IV.  My first playmate and my best friend is in fairness pretty and witty.  I was a bit attractive.

 My First Toys

My toys were mostly bought from the Jollibee with kiddie meals.  Though my parents were not financially able during these early periods of their marriage, I was always given with my needs of which they consider this as a priority.

Travel

Our family is always together anywhere we may go.  Part of our bonding was our going to Cebu City just for a relaxation and this was my first travel.

My First Stage Performance

I was only in my Grade Two when I had my first stage performance.  I was taken to represent the school for a district competition in declamation contest after winning in the school campus contest.

 

 

 


My First Gold Medal

Since we do not have a housemaid and there were no private schools in Palo other than the Bethyl International School, I was just sent in our barangay school- the Cogon Elementary School.   My mother was only new at the EVSU Registrar and for “delicadesa”, she did not want to be sending and fetching me four times a day throughout the years to a private school in Tacloban City.  She wanted to make good on her work and be concentrated.  Luckily, however, I got the highest rank from Grades I up to IV, I was always the 1st Honors.


I Am a Prince, But not the First

Not only in public speaking did my teacher chose me as a representative but also in competition of fame and fortune.   I was chosen as Prince in our Grade IV class.  My Princess was in Grade III.  It was a money competition.   My contenders have aunties and uncles abroad.  This only made me to receive an award of Second Runner-up Prince.  I was the cutest boy but it was a money competition.   I was however, still very happy for this very rare opportunity which only a few could come up stage with lots of fans waiving while on the float roaming around the town.

My First Dancing an Ethnic Dance (IFUGAO DANCE)

I was in Grade III when I was chosen to participate in the Ifugao Dance.  This is a dance where dancers are supposed to be dark-complexioned performers.  I was however, enjoined to join though I was quite big and white-complexioned.   The watchers were however, also enjoying my participation as they described me as very cute and very funny to look at being with the very thin and dark-complexioned participants.  I was a very good dancer then.

THE BIRTH OF MY ANGELIC SISTER

At my age of 7 years old, my mother was conceiving a baby.   Very fortunate then they were gifted another child.  Again, she was not aware that she was pregnant for almost two months carrying a baby.  My great happiness was when she had a check-up with a doctor and that was the reality.  She was then pregnant.   While I was still alone, my parents treated me as a baby until she gave birth in May 17, 2003.  Since they consider this child as a very precious one, they named her Princess.  I, too, consider her as my angelic sister Princess.  She is now 8 years old and a First Grader.

MY FIRST YEAR IN SECONDARY LEVEL

My feelings seemed very different meeting new faces from various schools of the city of Tacloban and nearby towns.  I never thought that I could still make to the top in our section.  With my patience and continued labors in studies was never a failure.   I received the first honors.  The joys I have been bringing to my family are invaluable.

My First Promenade

On my third year in high school   A very enjoyable year since a year more to go we are near to another level.   I did not know what lies ahead then.  There had been moments I feel lazy doing my tasks.  This could probably be due to my changes in growing up of becoming a man looking for someone to inspire me more.        My parents, however, is advising me to be serious more in studies which I am now trying to recover.

Who Am I?

What other may not know about me 
(Who is the real me in my own eyes)
I may not look like serious, but believe in me, behind this laughing man is a serious one. They say if you will be serious in life, it will be boring, dry and lonely, so i always make an impression of joking and doing halarious stuff to hide this seriousness.

Before I was really serious in life, I always wanted to be on the top and by that I forgot how to be a youngster, I forgot how to enjoy life by simple things and I forgot how to be just a simple Gerard Christian. I had a vision of what would my life be if I will escape and cross my borders of being serious to being simple, so I did change myself to enjoy my youngster life.

Now I am just a very simple one, I am not currently on the top of the class but now I know how it feels like to be a youngster and how to enjoy it to the highest level.


Picture or things that could symbolize my personality

Pen and paper. We can do everything with these. We can have notes so we can never forget what we are planning to do. Through these, we were thought how to read and write. And by these we can dream and believe it will come true.

There are times when we have something in our mind but after few seconds we easily forget what was it. There are also times when we are planning on doing something but we haven’t for the reason we forgot all about it.

For me, if I lack a note it seems like my life could never be complete because I lack something. For me notes are written not only by pen on a paper, but written by our mind on our heart.

In my heart, I wrote everything I knew and everything I want to know so I could not forget what I am still wishing to know.
My Philosophy in Life (Principles I live in)

Life is like a beam balance weighing scale, it may not or never be well balanced but it is always fair. Sometimes we feel that we are the most misserable person in this world because we are lacking something we are not certain if it will be achieved or be gained. We are always focusing on what we don’t have and not on what we are rich in. Like me, i may not have the social life i wish to have, but i have a good family, and by that i should be grateful.
Life is like a treasure hunt, it is full of richness, but it is very hard to look for if you don’t have directions.
Inspirations
Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice.
~ David Kenyon Webster~
Figure out what your purpose is in life, what you really and truly want to do with  your time and your life then be willing to sacrifice everything and then some to achieve it. If you are not willing to make the sacrifice, then keep searching.
~Quintina Ragnacci~
“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.” 
~Dr. Karl Menninger~
“If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” 
~Benjamin Franklin~
“It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.” 
~Mother Teresa~