Daily Star LogoOpinions


Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 17, 2018
Front Page
Star Business
Opinion
Sports
Star Life
People & Events

 

Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Palanca, the visionary;
Chan the etcetera man

Ninfa Leonardia It was interesting to hear about the new plans for Bacolod's reclamation area, as disclosed by its new president. It seems young blood is taking over the management of the brainchild of Sammy Palanca, whose visionary type of management had brought forth the glory that is now reclaimed area. I know a lot of residents still remember the time when that area was still under sea water where fishermen even went to catch what could be their meal or to sell in the markets.

***

That was until the lawyer and businessman who envisioned the place as a commercial hub that could enlarge the land area of the city, and provide a gathering place for residents and visitors, as well eventually offer a port where island cruising vessels could sail off and land, came along. I remember very clearly how it happened. I was working in the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) when Sammy Palanca applied for a loan to be used in reclaiming the land along Bacolod's shores, from the sea. To be honest, some of us in the bank then thought it was a crazy idea – how could one drive the sea away?

***

But Sammy Palanca persisted, and, fortunately for him, there were officers, top ones at that, in the bank who were as foresighted as he was. They too, did not think it was impossible and the way he presented it was credible, and so, after some time, the first reclamation project of the bank was approved. Oh, there were many hitches when the releasing of the funds began, because, since it was a development bank, compliance with the minutest requirements were very strict. A less patient man than Palanca would have given up, but he persisted. And slowly, the land started to come out from the sea.

***

What happiness it must have given Sammy Palanca and his family to see his “hair-brained” project evolve into what we are seeing in our city today. The site is now bustling with department stores, eateries, and all kinds of business. And with these newly announced plans of adding a first class port there, the dreams of Sammy are all coming true, and the good Lord has also blessed him by having this happen in his lifetime. And note that the Lord must have also granted him the inspiration of putting up the statue of Pope John Paul II in its midst. Now he can also say, “This project is fully blessed, a Saint walked on it!”

***

No doubt about it, the fiesta of Bacolod baptized as the Bacolaodiat by its founders, has gone a long, long way from its very first celebration 13 years ago. Of course the previous ones also brought to Bacolod City some of the most prominent members of the Filipino-Chinese, or Chinese-Filipino, community in the country who were all given distinct honors during the celebrations. They included such stalwarts as Lucio Tan, John Gokongwei and Henry Sy, who were honored, but, in turn, also honored our city with their responses to their recognitions.

***

Last night's Spring Festival Gala 2018, that you may call the peak of this year's celebration was held at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod where the guest of honor and main speaker was internationally known, and locally idolized singer-composer-and businessman par excellence Jose Mari Chan, who never fails to amaze people with the way he has combined what seems to be arty world of music and song, with the hard-nosed but very progressive member of the sugar planters and millers community as well. Talk about a multi-talented guy!

***

And those he also combines all these with his role as a very loving husband to Mary Ann whom he undoubtedly adores even after almost 48 years of marriage, now with five children and nine grandchildren! What a wonderful woman Mary Ann must be for her talented husband to concede that she was the sun, and he was only the moon, reflecting light from her! It was also quite fitting that he would be honored as an adopted son of Bacolod, and even its Mayor for the Day, since he is practically a resident here whom one sees very often, in the airport, and in some activities, especially vigils!

***

The Bacolod Filipino-Chinese community did itself proud with the program they presented last night with spectacular presentations from civic groups and especially local schools. No holds were barred in showing the traditional dances and customs, like the Dragon and Lion dances that were applauded heartily by the audience that virtually filled the SMX hall to the rafters. Another spectacular addition to the gala was the fireworks display at the parking area later that we, alas, had to miss, because this day's issue was waiting to be fed to the press. Meanwhile, Congratulations to all those involved in the celebration of the 2018 Bacolaodiat. Our city is looking forward to another successful celebration next year!*

back to top


   
  Email: visayandailystar@yahoo.com