People's Journal - A hot night in Tacloban

30 June 2011

By Eugene Asis | People's Journal

Featured-Image-Journal-OnlineWITHOUT the rest of the Toto band members, lead vocalist Bobby Kimball alone wouldn’t have filled up the huge Tacloban Convention Center (Astrodome) in his Wednesday night performance as part of his Philippine tour. But with the promise of hearing the famed rock group’s popular hits like Africa, Rossana, among others, people from Tacloban and neighboring towns turned out to watch him.

Those songs, plus the superb back-up job by the Manila band, Zoo, kept the night alive. In their solo numbers, Zoo (the band which Arnel Pineda served as lead vocalist before he was summoned by the international group, The Journey) performed splendid covers of some Beatles ditties (Come Together, Eleanor Rigby) and the highly-electrifying Jump by Van Halen.

Before the show ended, producer Steve O’Neal (Dahnee Samonte) requested Kimball to call onstage Tacloban councilor (and First Lady) Cristina Gonzales for an impromptu number. Being a former recording artist and singer herself, Kring Kring did not disappoint her constituents (and the surprised Kimball!) by doing Twist and Shout with aplomb.

The ever-gallant mayor (Kring Kring’s husband) Alfred Romualdez quickly gave her a hand as she descended the stage after the number.


The show somehow eased the stressful day for Mayor Romualdez (who came to watch the show with Leyte First District Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and cousin, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.), who just came from a deliberation with some city council members regarding the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival controversy in the city.

The day before, there was hostility in the city when the Pintados group, led by Palo, Leyte Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla, allegedly refused to follow specified route as approved by Mayor Romualdez. “We really don’t understand why they have to destroy and go through our barricades when it was clear in the special permit I have signed that they (the Pintados group) could not pass through Real-Burgos Street as it would disrupt the businesses there,” Mayor Romualdez explained. “I also don’t understand why they want disunity, when we could do a compromise. I told them, why not hold a joint festival on the 29th (of June), we organize the event, they support (it), and people from all over Leyte will be united.”

Mayor Petilla is the mother of Leyte Governor Jericho Petilla.

The city of Tacloban has its own Sangyaw Festival which Mayor Romualdez described as “the real Waray festival.” Sangyaw (meaning proclamation or offering), according to Tacloban folks, has been practised even before any term was coined to describe the festive event in the city. It was Former First Lady Imelda Marcos who first used the word to describe the grand festive mood of the Waray who come home during the Tacloban fiesta to honor its patron saint, El Capitan Santo Niño.


Meanwhile, it is quite glaring how Tacloban has become clean and green since Mayor Alfred and his wife, Kring Kring initiated cleanliness and orderliness projects in the city. The city can now be compared to other popular ecologically sanitized cities like Puerto Princesa in Palawan, especially with its natural landscapes and proximity to the sea.