Last Saturday, December 20, 2008, I traveled again the muddy highway going to Surigao del Sur to attend the annual Christmas Party of the Cantilan Bank Incorporated. Actually my trip was hitting two birds in one stone. At 2 pm, we were in Tandag to witness the wedding ceremony of our friend, Atty. Vito T. Gotostos, now an Assistant Provincial Fiscal of Surigao del Norte. Atty. Vito was a colleague of our Department of Agrarian Reform days. He tied the knot with Miss Almira Su, at the San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, Tandag, SDS.
To my good o'le friend Vito, congratulations. Welcome to the club!
Anyway, just as the ceremony ended at past 5 pm, we immediately sped away back to Cantilan for the Christmas party. We arrived at Cantilan at past 6:30 and after a short dressing up at home, we immediately proceeded to the venue. Dinner was served when we arrived there. We sit on the table occupied by the Surigao City branch.
After feasting on lechon, beef recipes and fruits, the formal program began. The night’s event was hosted by Grace Naumi Lim and Paul Kenneth Loren. The doxology was presented by some selected staff of the Corporate Headquarters. Then it was followed by a production number by all of the CHQ personnel. Cute.
President and Chairman of the Board Lt. Gen. W.K. Hotchkiss III
In his speech, Bank President, Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss III (ret.), assured everyone that the Bank’s financial status remains stable and afloat despite the current global economic and financial crisis. In a computer presentation, he reported the Bank’s current state. I believe that the clear and simple presentation was enough to comfort wary investors who have witnessed how other rural banks fall by the wayside.
This year’s presentation was divided into two categories. The southern branches compete in the dance presentation while the northern branches, in the choral competition. The visual and auditory assault started with the dance presentation by the Madrid Branch. Since then there was no let up. Madrid was followed by Tandag Branch, then Tagbina etc.
The winning form of Madrid Branch
"Yuppy look" Tagbina Branch
The New Kid on the Block, San Francisco, Agusan Sur Branch
Sexy dancers from Tandag branch
In the choral competition, Butuan City branch made the opening salvo. Known for its reputation as the team to beat in the choral competition, Butuan City never failed to astound the crowd with their simple but very excellent rendition of “Carol of the Bells” and a Cebuano Christmas song. The crowd erupted in cheers.
"Butuan, Ato Ini!, Kadyawon ta!"The singing stars of Butuan City branch
Butuan was followed by the Surigao City branch which sang Ryan Cayabyab’s “Kumukutikutitap.” However their voices are hardly heard because they are quite away from the microphone. I motioned them to get closer to the microphone but I think they did not hear me.
"Kumukutitap". Surigao Branch glitters...
After Surigao, the crowd was profusely cheering the Socorro branch choral group in their yellow attire and with their matching choreography. Their voice quality was excellent and the choreography, well executed. Socorro branch is tops.
My hats off to the Socorro Branch! Grabe!
Other highlights are the San Agustin branch in their hiphop dance, the Cantilan branch in their animated number, and the Tubod branch with their red Filipiniana costume and complete attendance on stage.
Hip hoppers of San Agustin branch
Hometown bet, Cantilan branch. Wow!
Led by its Branch head, Totot, the Tubod branch
The Mark Lumapas led Claver Branch (with Enteng)
Last but not the least, the Jerome Manlangit conducted San Miguel branch.
In the end, Madrid won the dance competition while Socorro took home the top prize in the Choral competition.
After the competitions came my most favorite part of the evening. The dance-all-the-way portion. Lights were dimmed, the speakers blared, beers were opened, and beverages were served.
The fun begins...
From efficient workers, Cantilan Bank employees and officials transformed into party animals overnight as everyone enjoyed dancing to hiphop and RNB music mixes.
To the Cantilan Bank management, thank you for the invitation.
Yesterday I observed that there are some elderly foreigners roaming around the city. Later I realized that the MSC fathers were having their Centennial in this very city today and tomorrow. What a coincidence that my birthday December 11 is the same day the MSCs will celebrate their centennial.
If you are yet unaware, MSC stands for Missioneros de Sagrado Corazon or the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. Compared to other missionary groups, MSC is relatively young as compared to the Agustinians, Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans and Recollects. It is founded by Jules Chevalier sometime in the early 1800's, much more like by the other new missionary group, the SVD. In fact in Surigao, the SVD and the MSC shared mission territories. Yesterday as I was taking pictures of the MSC exhibit at the Luneta park someone asked "Unsay meaning anang MSC bay?" I thought of answering it but since the question was posed to his friend, I refrain from answering out of courtesy.
This is a big event. I am not really conversant about the history of the MSC fathers but what I can recall is that they began their mission here in Surigao in early 1900's and was called the "Dutch Missionaries" since the origin of the congregation is in The Netherlands. Later I noticed that from Surigao to Agusan most of the parishes were established by the MSC Fathers. In fact of the five Bishops of Surigao that served Surigao, two are MSC prelates. They are Bishop Jan C. Vrakking (2nd) and Bishop Charles van den Ouwelant (3rd). Ouwelant was later succeeded by SVD Bishop Miguel C. Cinches.
As I look into the pictures, I noticed some familiar names. Fr. Mallman of the Mallman Center fame in Cantilan was one of them. There's Father Abao whom I met eight years ago, when a kababayan (the Abaos are primarily from my hometown in Camiguin)brought me to the Communications Foundation for Asia in Sta. Mesa, a huge complex building made of red bricks. Are you aware of Gospel Comics? Its actually a publication of MSC Fathers. Aside from comics they also offer trainings in various media practice such as broadcasting, filmmaking and TV production.
I was even able to enter their provincialate office and have dinner there. I was able to meet some of the priest but I regret I cant remember any of their faces now.
Anyway, like I said this is a big event and I think the faithful from all over Caraga region should cherish this milestone and pay tribute to these untiring missionaries who kept the flame of faith alive in this part of the country.
To the MSC Fathers, Congratulations.
Postcript: A Pontifical Mass for this great event will be held at 4 o clock this afternoon to be presided by His Excellency Edward Joseph Adams, the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines.
SAN FRANCISCO, AGUSAN DEL SUR WELCOMES CANTILAN BANK
Ribbon cutting by Hon. Antonio Petalcorin assisted by President Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss III (ret.)
The 12th branch of Cantilan Bank opened last Friday, October 10, 2008 in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. The event was graced by the bank’s top executives and all the members of the Board of Directors led by Bank President and Chairman of the Board, Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss III (ret.), Executive Committee Chair, Brig. Gen. Charles Y. Hotchkiss (ret.) and General Manager Raul B. Urbiztondo. The occasion was also attended by local officials of the municipality of San Francisco and the nearby towns of Agusan del Sur.
The activity kicked off with a motorcade around downtown San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, followed by the branch blessing and the cutting of ceremonial ribbon by Hon. Antonio Petalcorin, with President Hotchkiss. In his inspirational message, Bank President Hotchkiss stressed that Cantilan Bank came to San Francisco not so much of making money but to become an active partner of progress and development of the town and of the province of Agusan del Sur in general. Mindful of the financial crisis that is stalking the world today, President Hotchkiss whipped optimism that the world and the banking sector in particular can weather and survive the crisis.
The opening activity was capped with the presentation of the bank’s products and services that has become its trademark in gaining the investor’s and depositor’s confidence in entrusting their money with Cantilan Bank through the years.
With the opening of its 12th branch in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, the “encirclement” of Caraga with Cantilan Bank branches was finally completed. The other branches of Cantilan Bank are the Main Branch at Cantilan, Surigao del Sur and its branches in Madrid, Tandag, San Agustin, San Miguel and Tagbina in Surigao del Sur; Claver, Tubod, Socorro and Surigao City in Surigao del Norte; and Butuan City in Agusan del Norte.
Fr. Modesto Malandac O.C. blesses the new motorcycles while Pres. Hotchkiss (right) and Branch Head Basalan (left) looks on.
The San Francisco branch is headed by Bank Manager Rolmar Basalan and his able and well trained staff. It covers the three field offices in Trento, Bayugan and Prosperidad. Cantilan Bank is open from Mondays to Fridays at 8:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon.
The Grand Champion-Suriga West Central Elementary School
Surigao City – A group of school children bagged the top prize of this year’s edition of Surigao City’s Bonok Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival held last September 9, 2008 at the Surigao City National High School grounds in Barangay San Juan of this city. Donning a colorful costume of dominated by red and yellow colors and adopting the tribe name of “Tribu Hiyas ng Kalikasan”, the contingent from Surigao West Central Elementary School also dominated and practically collected all the other awards by winning the Best in Costume award, the Best Choreography award and the Best in Street Dancing award.
The winning contingent was followed by the Municipality of General Luna, the Municipality of Jabonga in Agusan del Norte and the Surigao del Norte National High School which finished first, second and third runner up respectively. The Municipality of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte also won the Best in Musicality award. The Grand Champion went home with P250,000 cash prize, the first runner up with P200,000, the second runner up with P150,000 and the third runner up at P100,000. A consolation prize of P10,000 was also given to other contingents such as those from Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Butuan City, Gingoog City and Saint Jude Thaddeus Institute of Technology.
The Bonok Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival is an annual street dancing competition on the occasion of the fiesta celebration of Saint Nicolas de Tolentino. Some of its past winners were also crowned as grand champion of Cebu City’s Sinulog festival.