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Recognizing women octogenarians

/ 08:12 AM September 15, 2013

The invitation to the September 8 awarding ceremony in Carcar City turned out to be historical and memorable. The  awardees were octogenarians and four of the six were female (the other two were the incumbent mayor and vice mayor). The occasion was the 136th birth anniversary of Mariano Avila Mercado, mayor of Carcar in the 1920s. During his administration, Mercado built the Carcar Dispensary, formerly health center before and after the war and is now a museum, the swimming pool just behind the dispensary which served as American soldiers’ recreation area, the Rizal monument, the Carcar Rotunda, the city’s landmark, and improvements in the Mainit and Mabugnaw springs in barangay Guadalupe. The family of Mariano Mercado, Catalina Mercado-Lucero, the only child and her children and grandchildren pay back to a grateful community by recognizing individuals and institutions who have contributed to the development of the city. Last year, the Mercado family recognized the outstanding Barangay Health Workers of Carcar City. This year, the family decided to recognize retired octogenarians, incidentally all female, who contributed to the development of the city and even the province. The awardees are all natives of Carcar and have rendered service for the constituents of Carcar.

Petra Alfafara-Valencia, born in 1926, finished Bachelor of Science in Education in UP Diliman and taught at the Carcar Academy from 1952 to the late 60s. In 1971, she became a full principal in the Upland Elementary School and served for 20 years in the public school. She was very active in civic concerns that she was able to convince the local government unit and local church leaders to swap land in the plaza complex that made possible the putting up of an Home Economics Building. She also convinced a landed resident to donate 5,000 sq. meters that would house the Maximina Barangan Elementary School. Incidentally, Ms. Maximina Barangan, the donor, was an alumna of St. Catherine’s School and she was my Mathematics teacher in first year high school in St. Catherine’s School. Petra Valencia was also awarded the plaque of recognition by the Carcar Academy Alumni Association on their Diamond Jubilee in 2005.

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Dr. Lolita Montecillo-Cui, born in 1930, served as government physician in Carcar for 34 years.  She was awarded Most Outstanding Rural Health Physician in 1972. Her hard work and relentless service made the Tapol Barangay Health Center number one in the whole Philippines. She also made possible the establishment of the Jesus Paraz Emergency Hospital of Carcar City.

Sister Maria Belen Alcoseba, ICM, born in 1933, familiarly known as Sr. Mabe, is known for her civic involvement and women empowerment activities. She taught in elementary school before entering the ICM Congregation and has been  with the ICMs for fifty years. Part of her civic involvement was the organizing of 5,000 families who lost their homes in 1975 in Zamboanga and helped them relocate in five different areas. She also organized the Higalang Kababayen-an based in Balamban, an organization to help women improve their lives. Sr. Mabe is one of the Sugbuanang Tag-una or Cebuana Trailblazers initiated by the Legal Alternatives for Women Center, Inc. (LAW Inc.) for the Provincial Women’s Commission in 2005.

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Luz Mancao-Sandiego established the Sandiego Dance Arts Studio in 1947 and was then known as the Cebu Ballet Studio.  As a researcher and conservator of Cebuano Folk Dance, she was one of the pioneers of the organization of the Sinulog Festival in 1979 together with the late Estelita Diola. She is one of the Cebuana Trailblazers honored by the Provincial Women’s Commission through the Legal Alternatives for Women Center Inc. (LAW Inc.) in 2005.

Special recognition was bestowed on the Cebuano Studies Center for being the repository and source of important information and history of Carcar and its prominent personalities.  Also, Trizer Dale Mansueto was recognized as the valuable researcher and curator of the Mariano Mercado memorabilia.

Still on Carcar, the 5th Carcar Lecture Series was held on August 17 which featured Fr. Diosdado Camomot and Vicente Florido.  Fr. Camomot, the step brother of the late Monsignor Teofilo Camomot, the most recent candidate for sainthood, wrote religious plays the most significant was a play on Santa Teresita, on the life of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. Trizer Dale Mansueto, the paper presenter, shared Camomot’s play, Santa Teresita, particularly the scene where two devils were discussing how they tried to tempt the young Teresita but failed and they admitted difficulty in tempting Teresita. At that time the devils were characters to entertain and were used to spread the Christian faith. Camomot also contributed to Cebuano grammar. His works all contained the letter h at the end of nouns ending in vowels. This was an offshoot of the pre-colonial style of writing which reflected the influence of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

On the other hand, Vicente Florido, known as the “Magdadagang” or essayist  dwelt more on oratory which reflected his training as a debater. In “The Epideictic Rhetoric of Vicente Florido,” Genesis Bedio discussed Florido’s training as debater and writer and editor for local papers, and his works particularly “Gems in Oratory” all pieces which he composed for oratorical contests which were very popular in the late sixties. Eventually his style of oratory lost popularity with the onset of Voice of America and other media of communication.

The 6th and last Carcar Lecture Series will be held on September 21 at 1:30 p.m. at the St. Catherine’s College Audio Visual Room.

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