Acoba, Aguinaldo Win 2011 Scholastic Championship Awards

Lawren Vince Acoba and Janine Jessica Aguinaldo, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, of the Bangui National High School-Main Campus, bested their counterparts from the Banban Campus and Lanao Campus in a combined Math and Science written test proctored yesterday by Nenita P. Arucan.

Acoba and Aguinaldo will be awarded the Valedictorian Academic Medal and the Salutatorian Academic Medal, respectively. Both will receive 10,750 pesos each. The cash awards were donated in the name of the late Felix P. Soriano by relatives led by sister Emily Soriano-Padua and nieces Pureza Alupay Capriles and Eden Soriano Caletena who now reside in the United States.

The scholastic championship medals and cash (please check immediately preceding post) will be awarded to this year’s scholastic champions by Ruben Alupay and Noriel Soriano, both nephews of the late Felix P. Soriano, himself an alumnus of the then Bangui Provincial High School, at the graduation ceremonies of the Bangui National High School-Main Campus.

This is the second year in a row that the graduating valedictorian and salutatorian of the Bangui National High School-Main Campus won the scholastic championship awards.


Felix P. Soriano Scholastic Awards To Be Given in April 2011

The Annual Bangui National High School Scholastic Awards in the name of the late Felix P. Soriano will be awarded to the winning Valedictorian/Salutatorian team of the graduating class from the three campuses–Banban, Poblacion, and Lanao–based on a written test to be administered at a convenient date in March 2011.  The winning valedictorian/salutatorian team shall receive the awards in conjunction with the winning campus’ school-year-end commencement exercises.

Emily (nee Soriano) Padua, sister of the late Boy (as Felix was known) wrote me on November 27, 2010: “I’ll make sure the money is sent in early March.  I’ll have to coordinate with Noriel (Soriano), Ruben (Alupay) and Sylvia (Calipjo).  Thank you so much.”  Manang Mely also wrote that Pureza, Eden and she will put up the amount for the 2011 Boy’s Scholastic Awards.

The 2010 Scholastic Champion Awards were won by  Mariann Jane Gan and Philip Victor Garen Garvida, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, from the Main (Poblacion) Campus, based on a comprehensive written test proctored by Ms. Nenita P. Arucan. The scholastic awards were presented by Jane P. Soriano, widow of the late Felix P. Soriano, during the 2010 Bangui High Reunion held last May 2010.

Connie Benemerito keeps celebrating a new milestone

[Following is a heartwarming story of someone who came from what was the old Bangui (when Pagudpud was still a part of the municipality)–one who’s doing well to live to celebrate her 102nd birthday and some more.  The story appeared in the Aug. 22, 2010 Orange County Register.]


BUENA PARK — Connie Benemerito said she didn’t have any secrets on how to live past 100, but her actions have long given away the secret of her longevity.

At her 102nd birthday party on Sunday, family and friends credited Benemerito’s longevity to a love of family and a sense of humor that quickly become evident to the 40 or so visitors at the party.

“My secret is don’t worry,” Benemerito said. “If you are hungry with no food, just go to sleep.”

Benemerito was born and raised in the Philippines, where she worked as a pharmacist. She counted a young congressman named Ferdinand Marcos among her acquaintances.

“I knew him personally,” Benemerito said. “But I didn’t know him when he was president.”

Family drew Benemerito to the United States – specifically Buena Park, where she has lived for the past 35 years. While her daughter, Gale Stoddard, was traveling the country working as an entertainer, Benemerito moved to the United States to care for the next generation of her family.

“My grandkids needed me,” Benemerito said. “They didn’t like their baby sitter, so I came.”

Lesliann Stoddard, one of Benemerito’s three grandchildren, said her grandmother became the primary caregiver. Stoddard related a time as a teen when her band – that practiced in Benemerito’s garage – was waiting for the drummer.


Connie Benemerito

  • Age: 102

  • Residence: Buena Park

  • Received a birthday card from President George W. Bush on her 100th birthday in 2008

  • Received a birthday phone call from former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin last year

  • Has never missed a vote in any election

  • Daughter Gale Stoddard, grandson Greg Stoddard and granddaughter Lesliann Stoddard are professional musicians

  • ______________________________________________

“We heard some banging on the drums and went out and Grandma was sitting on the drum set,” Stoddard said. “She said she should have taken up the drums.”

Stoddard said the roles have changed, as she is now a caregiver for her grandmother. Benemerito still manages to pester her granddaughter.

“When I leave, I tell my grandmother, ‘Don’t die on me,'” Stoddard said. “When I come back to take care of her, she says to me, ‘I’m still here.'”

Benemerito eats five or six meals a day, reads without glasses and according to her daughter, takes less medication than Stoddard.

“When we go to the doctor, I’m the one who has the most prescriptions,” Gale Stoddard said. “The only thing is that she doesn’t hear very well.”

Benemerito had no suggestions on how to live past 100 – or at least none that she wanted to share.

“Go ahead and get here,” she said when asked what one could do to live that long. “I got lucky.”

Contact the writer: 714-900-2049 or

Bangui Is In The Heart…

Antonio Padre

Uncle Joe,

I may not be able to realize our dream of  moving to Canada in the near future. My office offered me a scholarship to which I cannot say no. My initial impulse was to back out of it as it affects my “plan” but our assistant secretary asked me to stay for a while with the office. I accepted the scholarship because its aim is very important to the government (although its problems seem insurmountable, at least we are moving in the right direction).

As I have mentioned in an earlier email, our office has also tapped me to conduct computer literacy trainings for teachers (as part of DepEd computerization program). My assignment is Northern Luzon. I accepted this additional responsibility because I shall have the opportunity to share whatever knowledge I have gained with the folks back home. It’s a commitment on my part being that one of my frustrations is not having the chance to share my knowledge with our own folks. I have done this to other regions throughout the country and now that I have the chance to share it with Bangui, I am taking that opportunity. I am trying also to come up with a computer literacy module for senior citizens so that we can pioneer to conduct senior citizens training. I am closely coordinating with TESDA on this matter since TESDA is the accredited agency to conduct training in this area. Our office (Region 1) has entered into an MOU with TESDA 1 to conduct computer literacy trainings for public servants using their modules even as the training is conducted after office hours.

Since we started the training about the 4th quarter 2009, we have about 350 graduates and about 75% of that figure have obtained TESDA competency certifications already. And that is only being conducted in our Dagupan City office. We are about to roll out the same program in Alaminos, Vigan and Laoag by May 2010. I have already coordinated with our local officials for the hosting of a Community e-Center in Bangui. They pledged to make available a room with at least 7 desktops. I was able to negotiate for our staff to manage the facility – including maintenance. We agreed that the municipal government shall not have any participation in managing the facility.

The problem is, however, the up and coming general elections. Hope that those who will be elected shall support the proposal. I am also coordinating with our project management office for the release of that was created about 4 years ago for our municipality. Hope that once released, we can find somebody to shoulder the cost of webhosting (or that the LGU shall share its IRA to pay the hosting). Administrative training shall be conducted once the PMO and LGU enter into a MOA on the website usage.

Hope to update you on several programs aimed at helping our own town of Bangui get into the mainstream of IT. I only hope that our municipal officials shall grab the vast opportunities that IT can share to everybody (especially in its development). Or at least, they shall understand and accept that IT plays a vital role in the development of the countryside.

Antonio Edward E. Padre

Bangui National Hi (Poblacion) Honor Students Win Scholastic Champion Awards

Based on a written test covering math and science given to the valedictorian and salutatorian graduates of the three campuses of the Bangui National High School, those coming from the Poblacion Campus were adjudged the winners of the 2010 Scholastic Champion Awards.  Mariann Jane Gan and Philip Victor Garen Garvida, valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, from the Poblacion Campus bested their counterparts from the Banban Campus and the Lanao Campus in the written test given to them on Saturday, April 9, 2010, with Nenita P. Arucan and Noraini Arucan acting as proctors.

An award ceremony in conjunction with the 2010 Bangui National Hi Alumni Reunion Farewell Dance will be held on May 2, 2010.  Jane Soriano, widow of the late Felix P. Soriano (both alumni of Bangui Hi), will present the awards to the two lucky winners.  The awards consist of a Valedictorian medal and a Salutatorian medal, Academic Excellence medallions, plus cash awards donated by Jane Soriano.

Under consideration is a plan to raise funds, perhaps a Certificate of Deposit or Trust Fund to continue the Bangui National Hi Scholastic Champion Awards as an annual tradition.  The first donor to the fund is Dr. Edison Cabacungan (from Sinait, Ilocos Sur), former Chair and Professor Emeritus of the Food Marketing & Agribusiness Management/Agricultural Education Department of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

A night with Jasper Garvida and Miele

Somewhere out there in London, England, someone whose roots (his dad, Modesto, is iBangui) is making things happen in a big way:  Here’s the account from FOREVER BETTER:

Image courtesy of Stylist Stuff

On the 29th of March we’re going to be spending the evening with fashion designer Jasper Garvida.

Jasper will be talking about his latest collection and discussing garment care. We’ve already got a full guest list and the night promises to be one of quiet glamour among the sparkling surroundings of the Miele Gallery in London.

We’ll make sure we capture as much as we can and relay it all back to you through our Flickr account and here on Forever Better. We’ve got, among quite a few others, ThatGirl39 from Forty Not Out, Kavita from I Heart Vintagex and Reena from Fashion Daydreams attending, which means style is going to be in abundance – and we can’t wait.

There’s also sure to be conversation on the Miele Fashion Prize 2010, the chance for an aspiring designer to see their design made real by Jasper and shown in an exclusive event later in the year. Full details are here.

Although the guest list for the meet and greet with Jasper is full, Forever Better will be doing more events like this throughout 2010. If you’d like to be involved just send us an email telling us why and we’ll get straight back to you. Right, we’re off to start picking out our outfits.

40 windmills to be erected in Pagudpud

Written by Leilanie Adriano / Correspondent
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 19:52
pagudpudLAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte—A total of 40 wind turbines, expected to generate 80 megawatts of electricity from wind power, will soon be erected in Pagudpud, a town in the northernmost part of Ilocos Norte province, after the Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corp., an affiliate of UPC Renewables, one of the fastest-growing wind developers in the world, launched its wind-power development here.

Troels Carstensen, managing director and vice president of UPC wind management, said on Tuesday at least 102 hectares in Pagudpud have been leased by UPC with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for 25 years. Under the lease agreement, UPC will utilize the government land for the renewable-energy project with an annual land lease of P2.7 million.

That same day, Carstensen handed over two checks amounting to P2.7 million as first-year payment of the land-lease agreement to the DENR, represented by regional director Remillio Atabay, at the office of Ilocos Norte Gov. Michael Keon.

Earlier, wind developers from UPC Asia had conducted wind survey in the municipalities of Pasuquin, Burgos and Pagudpud and also in the provinces of Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija. Study results, however, showed that Pagudpud has the best wind source, Carstensen said in an interview.

Carstensen said investors and developers of renewable energy like UPC have become interested to invest in the country following the national government’s signing of the renewable-energy law that gives incentives to foreign and local developers, suppliers, manufacturers and end-users of renewable energy.

Republic Act 9513, otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, specifically ensures that a big percentage of the government share that goes to the host community shall be used to lower the electric bill of consumers that do not use more than 100 kilowatt-hours per month.

Also, the corporate-tax rate of renewable energy-generation companies has been lowered from the usual 30 percent to just 10 percent after the seven-year income-tax holiday. The law states that recipient companies may only use this incentive if they pass on the savings on their income-tax expenditures to consumers in the form of lower power rates.

In addition, farmers who are engaged in the plantation of biomass resources such as, but not limited to, jatropha, coconut and sugar cane do not have to pay duties and value-added tax for all types of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, machineries and others.

The Pagudpud wind farm, which is next to the neigboring Bangui wind- power project of Northwind Development Corp., hopes to establish cooperation with Ilocos Norte in terms of producing environment-friendly electricity not only for local residents here, but also in its neighboring provinces, Carstensen said.

The second wind-power farm in the province cost about $480 million, which was obtained through a combination of export credit from Europe and in cooperation with local banks for renewable-energy projects, Carstensen added. He reported that development in the 102-hectare land area will commence before the end of this year while the construction of the first UPC wind turbine will start in early 2010.

For his part, Keon told residents here that with the increasing number of foreign and local developers interested in renewable energies such as the establishment of wind farms, he expects that electricity rates will definitely be lowered.

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