Isko tries ‘bulalo’ strategy in ‘sinanglaw’ country | Inquirer News
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Isko tries ‘bulalo’ strategy in ‘sinanglaw’ country

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:26 AM February 18, 2022


Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

SAN FERNANDO City, La Union—Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s first foray into enemy territory in the Ilocos Region, part of the so-called Solid North bailiwick of the Marcos clan, was met with a muted reception from city folk here, but he was optimistic he could sway at least some of them to vote for him.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer, accompanied by his running mate Dr. Willie Ong and senatorial bet Samira Gutoc, went on a motorcade around the provincial capital, receiving waves and cheers from sparse, scattered crowds on the pavement under the sweltering heat.

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Domagoso saluted the residents, shouting his “thank-yous” as the blue flatbed truck negotiated steep, narrow roads, followed by a convoy of media and staff vans. At times, screams from schoolchildren or office workers were heard coming from buildings here and there.

But the reception for the 47-year-old mayor appeared to be cooler than during his earlier visits to friendlier towns and cities in Metro Manila, the Southern Tagalog region and Samar Island, over the past weeks since the campaign season began on Feb. 8.

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Ilocanos are Filipinos, too

For stretches during Thursday’s motorcade, there was no one in the streets for Domagoso to greet or wave at. A livestream of the group’s movements on Facebook was cut as the procession saw little activity.

While he acknowledged former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s deep influence in the Ilocano-speaking areas of Luzon, he said he hoped he could win them over eventually.

“I can be their alternative. Besides, I would be happy to get a few votes from this place. Every vote counts. So to the Ilocanos, please spare a few votes for me. That would be a bonus,” he told reporters after emerging from a closed-door meeting with La Union Gov. Francisco Ortega III.

Domagoso’s camp released photos of the courtesy call in Ortega’s office at the capitol building, but the governor did not make any endorsement nor did he leave his office to meet the press.

The mayor likened Marcos’ solid voter base in Ilocandia, home to the offal stew called “sinanglaw,” to “bulalo,” or beef shank soup, whose tough meat could become tender given enough time to boil over the fire.

He said he might even brave the Marcoses’ home turf of Ilocos Norte at some point during the campaign.

“Why not? There is no need for a passport to go there. I wouldn’t need a visa. It’s still part of the Philippines and the people there are Filipinos too,” Domagoso said.

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La Union gave Marcos a resounding win in his losing bid for the vice presidency in the 2016 elections, delivering the lion’s share of the province’s 454,778 votes. Some 538,730 La Union residents are registered to vote in the May elections.

On Friday, Domagoso will visit another Ilocos province, Pangasinan, the third most vote-rich province in the country with nearly 2.1 million registered voters.

“We will smile and wave and try to reach the people. And we’ll see. As they say, bulalo, no matter how tough, will soften if you keep it boiling on the hot coals,” he said in Filipino.

“That’s my outlook in life, from all the hardship I’ve experienced. It teaches me so many lessons to persevere if you want to achieve something, and we will try to be in places like Northern Luzon and Southern Luzon… And we’ll be in Mindanao after this,” Domagoso said.

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TAGS: bulalo, Domagoso, Elections 2022, Isko Moreno, La Union
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