IT’S gonna be on February 26 or 14 days from now.

Yes, the third annual staging of Caragan Festival in Mabalacat is finally pushing through. The event is in honor of the town’s early settlers – the Aetas – headed by then chieftain Caragan.

Mayor Marino Morales is happy to note that the event is being likened to the famous Sinulog Festival of Cebu with its street dancing and all the fanfare. This year, the parade of “aeta tribes” will even be longer as it would start in Mabiga and end at the new town hall in Barangay Tabun. That’s about seven kilometers long.

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I am just glad that Mayor Morales is fully backed up again by the town hall’s chief event maker and cultural expert in June Magbalot. June is highly respected by performers and artists of the town (and even those from outside). He wields such great influence on them with his charisma and dedication to work.

But if I must tell you, June’s fulfillment is not only found in contributing his Ts (time, talent and even his own treasure – sana enaka manabono ne) that make for successful events in the town. June also finds elation on the fact that his events are able to help a lot of out-of-school youth.

You see, the events such as the annual and successful staging of Miss Mabalacat get to discover a lot of talents – dancers, singers, artists, handlers and beauty queens themselves. And in many occasions, June shells out his own money for transportation and food (and even tuition fees) for these people just so they could harness whatever God-given talent they have.

Wow, June. Such an unenviable post you have. Never mind those critics. Your job may seem to go thankless at some point BUT the wonders and cultural renaissance you create for the town will never go unnoticed by the greater majority.

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This year’s Caragan Festival, I heard, would officially launch the copyrighted Caragan dance tune or music. June also worked for this piece of intellectual property, which I suggest, be officially registered with the National Library for documentation and protection.

June is ably assisted by event co-chair and kumpare Deng Pangilinan. As a media man himself, Deng makes sure that the event is given the widest exposure. He was responsible in having Caragan featured in GMA’s morning show Unang Hirit in the first two stagings.

Both Deng and June are thankful too for the support given by Mayor Morales and the Sangguniang Bayan of Mabalacat.

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I am just delighted to see the young but very capable turks of Mabalacat help out Mayor Boking.

One of them is Municipal Administrator Rosan Pacquia.

Pacquia is not only teeming with bright ideas that could make things better in the town from traffic, livelihood, budget, revenues and other concerns. He also takes in suggestions from sensible people who could have different perspectives of the soon city of Mabalacat.

Young as he is (is he 40 yet?) Pacquia is one municipal official who could help push the town to greater heights. He has good sense of leadership, integrity and credibility.

Keep up the good work chief.