ILOILO City – During the 85th Charter Day celebration of Iloilo City held last August 25 was unique. Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came over and gamely played as storytellers to Ilonggo children.
At the Graciano Lopez Jaena Learning Resource Center and Museum in Jaro district, the Vice President – also the Secretary of Education – read to about 30 children the Barter of Panay which tells about Borneans led Datu Marikudo settling in Panay Island and being welcomed by the Ati natives led by Datu Puti in exchange for a long pearl necklace and a golden hat called a salakot.
For her part, former President Arroyo – currently a congresswoman of Pampanga – read to the children Ang Alamat ng Iloilo – how Iloilo got its name (supposedly after its nose-like shape).
“It is always nice for young people to know more about their history, culture and community. The more they know, the prouder they become about Iloilo,” whose husband, former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, is an Ilonggo.
The former President also shared this to the children. Her husband’s great-great-grandparents were Ignacio Arroyo and Doña María Pidal, who had three children: Maria Beatriz del Rosaro Arroyo (an Ilongga nun who is now a candidate for sainthood); Sen. Jose Maria Arroyo; and Gov. Mariano Arroyo of Iloilo.
It was Senator Arroyo and Governor Arroyo who established the water system of Iloilo. The Arroyo Fountain in front of the old Iloilo provincial capitol (now called Casa Real de Iloilo) has been named after them.
“The children enjoyed it,” said City Librarian Marione Aguirre assigned at the Graciano Lopez Jaena Learning Resource Center and Museum.
The children-participants were residents of Barangay Fajardo, Jaro where the resource center is located.
“When I was campaigning for senator in 1992, siling ko you had a Senator Arroyo from Iloilo. I want to be the second Senator Arroyo and you gave me a very good victory here in Iloilo. I am very grateful for that, sa mga kasimanwa sang akon bana,” the former President said.
Meanwhile, after the storytelling session, the Vice President and the former President proceeded to Guimaras to grace the island-province’s Bamboo Summit.
Last night, they were special guests at the Mayor’s Dinner at the Iloilo Convention Center.
“Happy Charter Day, 85 years! It’s a very important jubilee. I am thankful to Mayor Jerry Treñas for his invitation. He was my student, as you know,” said former President Arroyo.
“I am very happy to be here. I have contributed to the progress of Iloilo during my presidency,” she added./PN Balmis T. Diao Jr. Writer The National Policy