Sorsogon Update

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


As promised…here’s now the continuation of my articles regarding the Old Houses of Sorsogon City. You’ve enjoyed reading the story of the old house of the Gillego Family, how it survived the test of time. The three remaining old houses of Sorsogon City are……

Located at Barangay Bitan-o…this house was built in 1937 by Alejandro Monje and Marta Jesalva Monje. According to Tia Sasay Monje, the daughter of the mentioned couple, she was only two years old when the their house was built. She and her other siblings grew together in the said house.

Tia Sasay told me that during those days, Sorsogon is very different than how it looks today. In Bitan-o there are just but a few houses in the neighborhood. The road near their house up to to the site of Colegio de la Milagrosa is not yet cemented but just a pathway of soil. But inspite of this very simple living, the people of Sorsogon are definitely happy and contented during those days.

The worst nightmare of every Filipino came to reality when World War II exploded. Japanese troops invaded Sorsogon Province and controlled it. Sorsogueños leave their houses and evacuated in fear of the Japanese soldiers. The Monje’s felt the same way so their parents decided to flee at Castilla, Sorsogon and leave their house behind.

Four years of Japanese occupation, and the Monje Family has nothing to do but to hide in the mountainous part of Castilla. According to Tia Sasay, her father receives a news that their house has been occupied by the Japanese soldiers as their quarter. Life during the Japanese war was so mesirabale…Tia Sasay said.

Finally, war is over. It was year 1945 when the Philippines was liberated by the Americans from the claws of the Japanese occupation. Filipinos hiding for four years…came out and went back to their own place and houses. Indeed the aftermath of Japanses war are unforgettable. Some houses we’re burned and destroyed, bridges and roads are devastated….but the Monje family has something to cheer up…because their house stood still amidst the terror of war.

The Family decided to go back to their house at Bitan-o. Four years of absesnce plus the occupation of the Japanese soldiers makes the house so messy. Tia Sasay told me that their Family don’t give up on that matter but rather started to rehabilitate the said ancestral house.

Three years passes and the life of the Sorsoganons slowly came back to the normal situation. Another catasthrope came to test the strength of the Monje’s old house but by this time it’s a natural calamity. Sorsogon was hit by the strongest storm they can ever imagine that will gonna happened. Thypoon Trex devastated the Province in 1948. According to Tia Sasay that was the strongest thypoon she ever experienced during those times. What happen to the Monje’s house? When the storm was over the following day…to their amazed it still standing

Five decades had passed away and here we are to the new melinium…but the old house of the Monje’s is still standing. As a proof, if you are here in Sorsogon City, try to pass by at Bitan-o and you can see this old house that I am telling you. Inspite of the changes of our society today
The Old House of the Monje Family is the evidence of strength of Filipino craftsmanship that will be rermembered through out the times.


My article concerning De Vera’s old house is very limited due to lack of resource person to tell me a story behind this house. Built in 1905 (because the year is engraved at the iron grills of the terrace) and this house is located just beside the Sorsogon Pilot Elementary School. According to some stories that I’ve heard this old house of the De Vera’s is one of the biggest house in Sorsogon during the early years. This house also was used by the Japanese as their Garisson during the Worls War II.

For pictures of the De Vera’s old house, just visit our SorsogonWeb Gallery and look for it under the Old Houses Category.


Likewise…the old house of the Mella’s has it’s own story to tell but because of lack of resource person, the author wishes to ask an apology for such situation like this. The Mella’s Old house was built in 1936 and it is located at Almendras, Sorsogon City.

For picture of the Mella’s house please visit our SorsogonWeb Gallery and look for it under the Old House Category.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


One of the treasures that Sorsogon Province posses are, it’s Culture and Heritage. Amidst the influence of modern technology that this Province is now oriented, the existence of it’s history, culture and heritage are still visible, even now a days.

The Province of Sorsogon is so rich with natural resources and manmade heritage that every Sorsoganon should be proud of. We have the majestic Bulusan Volcano and it’s lake, the white sand beach of Subic Island in Matnog, the caves of Bulan and Prieto Diaz, the Botong, Palogtoc and the Bayugin Falls, the Masacrot and the San Benon Hot and cold spring of Irosin and many more.

Relics of historical ruins or structures, that serves as evidence of the lives of the early Sorsogueños are still existed. Among this relics are the old church of Barcelona and Bacon , the ruins of old municipal building of Barcelona , the fortress of Bacon called “Baluarte” and the old houses.

The Municipality of Juban is well known for their old houses, old houses that are built during the Spanish occupation. But at this point of time I’m not going to post the old houses of Juban, but the old houses of Sorsogon City instead. Later I will post an articles about the old houses of Juban.

As I grew in Sorsogon, Sorsogon (now Sorsogon City) seen a lot of old houses around the City. But as the years goes by, some of this old houses, vanished due to some circumstances. Some was destroyed by natural calamity, specially typhoon. The others were demolished by their owner and was replaced with new buildings.

But there are four old houses in Sorsogon City that are still standing, even this time. And this four old houses are our featured topic today.


This old house was located at Burgos Street, Talisay Sorsogon City, in front of St.Louise de Marillac formerly Collegio de la Milagrosa. I’ve personally interviewed one of the heir of the said house, and he is Mr.Abilio P. Gillego or “Tiyo Bil”.

According to Tiyo Bil, their house was built through the effort of their parents,Don Roman and Doña Magdalena Gillego during the early 1900’s (1904 or 1905).

Tiyo Bil said that, there are nine siblings in the Family. Their eldest was born on 1909, while he was born on 1927. Tiyo Bil’s story was filled with enthusiasm, “Sorsogon was a very peaceful place during those times, everybody is safe and secured.” He said..He and the other siblings spent their childhood and youth’s in that house.

During the Japanese occupation (1941 – 1945), the Gillego Family choose to stay in their house rather than to evacuate and leave their house like the other Sorsogueños did, in fear of the Japanese soldiers. Tiyo Bil even pointed to me the place where the Japanese soldiers have their check points, just near their house.

Four years of Japanese occupation, but the Gillego’s stayed on their house. Finally the war was about to end when the American Troops arrived to liberate the Philippines from the invading claws of the Japanese Army. The Gillego Family were forced to leave their house for a while to evade the excessive crossfire between the American Troops, the Japanese and the Guerillas. But according to Tiyo Vel they don’t leave that far, they’re just somewhere in Bitan-o ( a nearby street).

Finally the war is over, but the house of the Gillego’s remain standing amidst the terror of the second world war.

1950’s, another decade for the Gillego’s abode. The strength of this house was tested when the strongest typhoon of the decade hits Sorsogon, the “Typhoon TREX”. Hundreds of houses within Sorsogon, Sorsogon was destroyed by this Super Typhoon Trex that hit the Province during the 1950’s. The house of the Gillego’s prevails the test of time for the second time.
Tiyo Bil pointed to me the portion of the house (somewhere in the kitchen) that was slightly torned by the said storm.

Four decades (1960,1970,1980 and 1990) passed, and now it’s a new millenium, the year 2000’s, but the old house of the Gillego’s still standing triumphantly after the pressures of the test of times. I couriously asked Tiyo Bil how they maintained their old house, he said “ they did some repairs, but they see to it that the original structures of the house, remains as is..” Tiyo Bil pointed to me the crooked post of the house, and he said “ try to hammer a nail into that post and let us see if the iron nail penetrates?" .. The carvings on the ceilings are so amazing, it's silently testify the aged of the house.

Finally, our conversation (me and Tiyo Bil) has come to an end. I thanked him for spending his precious time just to tell me the story of their old house. I’ve learned something from Tiyo Bil’s story, and that is to be strong to the test of thetime, just like their Family and their House.

For pictures of the Old House of the Gillego Family, please visit our Sorsogonweb Gallery...look for it under the category of the Old Houses. Thank YouTO BE CONTINUED

Thursday, June 30, 2005

"And the winner is"............

Finally, the search is over!....the MS.SORSOGON PILI FESTIVAL 2005 has been revealed.

June 27,2005 was a special night for the Sorsogueños. The Sorsogon Provincial Gym was jampacked by so many people, who wants to witness the 12 Ms.Sorsogon Candidates as they face the final moment of the search.

The show begins with a doxology,the acknowledgement of the sponsors and the introduction of the seven members of the Board of Judges by City Councilor Charo Dichoso, over all Chairman of The Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005.

The Community Base Theater Group (CBTG) of Sorsogon City usher the twelve candidates as they ramp on the stage with their native attires. The twelve candidates looks so fabulous with their costumes as the host of the night Mr.Totep Perez and Norlissa Presado anchor the said show.

Two production numbers were presented,the first one is presented by last year's Ms.Sorsogon and her First Runner-up. After such, the twelve candidates showcased the affair with their own production number.Minor awards have been given to the deserving candidates. After an intermission number by the CBTG...the crowd begun to scream in exitement as the twelve candidates begun their swimsuit parade.
They look great and sexy with that kind of attire.

The twelve candidates grace the affair as they, once again ramp to the stage with their elegant evening gowns. After such, the host finally revealed the 8 finalist, and they are Candidate no.2,3,6,8,9,10,12 and 13. The twelve candidates has been reduced in to eight, and the ambiance of the Gym started to became very suspenseful as the moment of truth is getting nearer.

Individual questions oming from the judges are being asked to the eight finalist. At this point of time, you will know who among the candidates answered the question smartly. Mixed emotions had been feel by the finalist and the crowd alike as the eight finalist was reduced into five. And the lucky five finalist are: Candidate No.2,3,6,8 and 9.

Finally, the best had been choosen out of the twelve candidates, and one of this five finalist will be crown as Ms.Sorsogon 2005. There is only one questioned that has been prepared and each of them will answered the same question. But while the first finalist is answering the question, the remaining four will be given a headphone and they will first listen to music untill they were called for their turn.(this is, in order for them not to listen to the answer of the other finalist)

The question that is being asked to the finalist is, choose one among the character traits (values formation program that is being implemented by the City Gocernment)whom do you think is the most imporatant? and why? Only two of the five finalist answered it correctly and they are Candidate No.2 and Candidate No.6

And the moment of truth has been revealed.After a couple of weeks of exposure the winners had been announced according to their ranks...

2nd Runner-Up is Candidate No.3 - Mary Ann Rose Lagco
1st Runner-Up is Candidate No.9 - Kiarra Sarra
Ms.Trade and Commerce is Candidate No.8 - Francia Jamisola
Ms.Eco Tourism is Candidate No.6 - Catherine Ebid


Candidate No.2 - Antonette Ariate
Best in Production Number
Ms. San-San
Favorite of the Press
Best in Native Attire
Best in Gown

Candidate No.6 - Catherine Ebid
Texter's Choice
Darling of the Crowd
Ms.Far-Tech International

Candidate No.3 - Mary Ann Rose Lagco
Ms.Triump International

Candidate No.7 - Jaquilyn Reyes
Best in Swimsuit
Ms.Villa Isabel

Candidate No.12 - Rosavel Dollison
Best in Talent

Candidate No.11 - Liezel Dungaran
Ms. Jun's Fantastic Ballon

Candidate No.13 - Redy Lasala
Lady of Character

So there you have it my dear Sorsoganons....the results of the search for MS.SORSOGON 2005. Congratulations to the Organizers, and Congratulation to the Winners....To MS.ANTONETTE ARIATE our MS.SORSOGON 2005....Congratulation!


Hon.Sally Ante Lee
City Mayor

Hon.Charo Dichoso
City Councilor and the over-all Chairman
of the Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005

Mr.Mon Rimpola
Official Choreographer of the
Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005

Jerry and Claire Licup
Clara Photography
The Official Photogarapher of the
Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005

AITV c/o Fr.Alutto and Sauro Amistoso and Crews
for the TV Coverage.

Mr.Totep Perez and Ms.Norlissa Presado
Host and Anchorwoman


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

'PILI BARONG' proposed dress for the Sorsoganon

If the suggestion of Irma Guhit, Philippine Information Agency manager in Sorsogon, would appeal to top officials in the Province, it would be easy to know a Sorsoganon by identifying him/her through her dress.

And not just an ordinary dress, but the "Polo Barong" with a twist - the Pili Barong. "We must have a sense of identity even just in the way we dress, specially if we would like to promote the Pili. Even in our social and official functions, specially during formal occasions, the Pili fruit is a design that can be hand painted on your Barong", said Guhit(on my personal interview with her) who also conceptualized the first Sorsogon Pili Festival in 2000.

"When you don that Barong, you should feel good that you're a Sorsoganon. Wherwever you go, you a marked", she added.

The PIA Official said an insignia of Pili on Government officilas and employees' dresses would readily recognize a person as a Sorsoganon.

Representatives for the WOW Philippines presentatation in Manila, specially the Sorsogon Choir and all the City Officials, for instance will be wearing dresses with hand painted Pili designs to show that they are from Sorsogon, according to Guhit.

She further suggested using differente colored designs to desinate ranks: green for Baranggay Officials,green and violet for Municipal Officials and black for Baranggay Officials. "It has a promotional value. You don't have to say anything because it's a language of it's own." Guhit said.

She recomended that Festival activities should zero in on the word "pili" like 'piling-piling musika' or mamayan,inbentor,dalaga at binata ng Sorsogon'

Pili is also considred a "majestic tree" because-from it's roots,trunks,branches,leaves,saps and fruits-it has numerous industrial,commercial,environmental,medicinal and nutritional uses.

A Sorsoganon should embody the good traits of the Pili Tree, according to Guhit.
"I would always believe in the saying that "lambang Sorsoganon,paglaom" (every Sorsoganon is a hope) meaning, you're a hope; in whatever way you can, whatever best you can contribute....go for it". Guhit said.


Ms.Irma A. Guhit
Provincial Manager
Philippine Information Agency

Mr.Emir Gamis
Sorsogon City

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Wonders of "PILI"

"High commodity champion "Pili" (Canarum Ovatum)- technically a fruit, according to Dorren Fernandez's book "Fruits of the Philippines" - is considered the high commodity champion in Sorsogon and considered by the Department of Agriculture the "flagship commodity" in Bicol.

Records obtained from the Department of Agriculture showed that in 1987, Pili production in Bicol was eatimated at 4,585 tons or 78.5 percent of the National pigure.

In 1992, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that Bicol supplied 82 percent of the National production volume, most of which came from Sorsogon. This prompetd the National Economic Developement Authority (NEDA) to declare SORSOGON the commodity champion for Pili.

The Province of Sorsogon is so rich in Pili, partricularly in Bacon District, where Pili Industry is one of their major means of fact there are century old of Pili Tree that are still existing in this area. In Sorsogon City there are also century old Pili Tree, one in Guinlajon,in Almendras and in San Juan Roro.

100 Years Old Pili Tree at Roro, Sorsogon City

I've personally interviewd the owner of the 100 years old Pili Tree in San Juan Roro. According to Mr.Balbino Duran his Pili Tree is certified 100 years old because he inherit this from his great great grandparents. Mr.Duran's property is rich in Pili Trees and other giant fruit bearing trees. According to him he called his property as a "Forest within the City" because of gigantic tress that is planted in his area.

Pili Tree Plantation

Pili fruit is well known through out the Bicol Region, specially in Sorsogon. Sorsoganons love to eat this kind of fruit of the land. Pili fruit has three stage of maturity; the young fruit is known by it's green color, while the middle one is branded by it's violet color. The black one is the mature Pili fruit. This is the stage where it is ready for any process. The well known among the Sorsogueños is the LINANTA NA PILI.

Lantahon na Pili

The mature Pili fruit is dip into a lukewarm water for about 15 to 20 minutes, then remove it to the lukewarm water and presto! it's cooked already. How to eat the Linanta na Pili? First, peel off the black covering then get the fibrous meat and dip it into a sauce called "Patis" (salted fish sauce) and eat it together with your it's so delicious (mananamom baga). You can eat it also as a dessert, by simply dipping it to sugar instead of patis...and this is called "Tampuyak"

Lagting na Pili

The remains of the Linanta na Pili is called "LAGTING". The Lagting is the oval shape pointed ended hard pili shell that in-house the other Pili wonder called "I-LOG'. You have to crack the Lagting by using a stone or a bolo and this process is called "TILAD"

The I-log is the nut shape part of the Pili Fruit. Out of this I-log are various of sweet pili candies (delecasies) can be made, for example: The KUNSIRBA, BUDING, MULIDO, KARMELITOS, ROASTED PILI, MAZAPAN DE PILI, PILI BRITTLE and even SALTED PILI and many more.

One Sorsoganon successesfully engaged in Pili Candy Industry and gained a named as far as Pili Candy are concerned. Tia Berning Detera started her Pili Candy Bussiness in 1988. According to Tia Berning's son, Ryan, they stared their Pili bussiness with a capital of P5,000.00 only. They started in very small Pili Candy store in the corner of Rizal Street Sorsogon, Sorsogon. With that humble beginning, Tia Bernings busssiness...prosper and it's now located just across their original place but this time, in bigger store, still bearing the name Tia Berning's Pili Candy Store. Tia Berning received an award from Quedancor as the 2003 Top Rural Enterprenuer, just to show that Tia Bernings bussiness is prospering.

Tia Berning Store

Tia Berning Pili Products

Tia Berning Pili Products

Tia Berning Pili Products

Tia Berning Abaca Products

Aside from Tia Berning, there are also other Sorsoganons who engaged in this Pili bussiness, and one thing for sure....they too are prospering. Each of them have their own way of promoting their products into the market.

Pili kiosk Store

Early year 2000, when the City Government of Sorsogon and the Philippine Information Agency (Madam Irma Guhit) conceptualized and choose the Pili fruit to be the flagship of Sorsogon City and the yearly Pili Festival was born. This is to promote Pili, not only here in the Philippines but through out the whole world.
The month of June is a long month celebration of the Pili Festival, where Sorsogueños and visitors alike are enjoying the long month activities of the Festival.

Pasalubong Vendors

Pasalubong Vendors

Raw Pili Vendor

Pili Candies are best for Pasalubong....and it's really a delecasies that every Sorsoganon should be proud of.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Search for Ms.SORSOGON 2005

I'm proud to present to you the 12 Official Candidates for the Ms.Sorsogon 2005 on their solo picture.

Candidate No.1: Rosanne Espinas
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.2: Antonette Ariate
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.3: Mary Ann Lagco
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.5: Mae Caryl Demesa
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.6: Catherine Ebid
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.7: Jaquilyn Reyes
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.8: Francia Jamisola
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.9: Kiara Sarra
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.10: Maricel Deuna
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.11: Liezel Dungaran
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.12: Rosabelle Dollison
Photo by: Clara Photography

Candidate No.13: Redy Lasala
Photo by: Clara Photography

According to City Councilor Charo Dichoso (Over-all Chairman of the Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005) Originally, there are 13 young beautiful ladies who heed the call to join this prestigous beauty pageant...but when the screening comes of the said participants for this beauty and brain contest, Contestant No.4 was disqualified because of her very young age that does not require to the given age limit. City Councilor Charo said that the age bracket for this Search is from 16 to 22 years old.

The Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005 is one of the highlights of the month long celebration of the PILI FESTIVAL here in Sorsogon City.

So, now that they are already posted, it's now your turn to choose your bet.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Search is on.....for Ms.SORSOGON 2005

One of the highlights of the Pili Festival 2005, is the Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005.
Twelve official candidates from different Barangay with in the City try their luck to the most coveted title and that is to be crown as the Ms.Sorsogon 2005.

Photo by: Clara Photography

This twelve beautiful Sorsogueñas will be judge according to their beauties and not only their beauties but as their talents and intellegence as well. Who will be this year's Ms.Sorsogon 2005? Who's your bet?.


Candidate No.1 ROSANNE ESPINAS - Talisay, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.2 ANTONETTE ARIATE - Bacon District, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.3 MARY ANN ROSE LAGCO - Guinlajon, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.5 MAE CARYL DEMESA - Bibincahan, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.6 CATHERINE EBID - Cabid-an, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.7 JACQUILYN REYES - Talisay, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.8 FRANCIA JAMISOLA - Polvorista, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.9 KIARA SARRA - Polvorista, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.10 MARICEL DEUNA - Talisay, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.11 LIEZEL DUNGARAN - Bibincahan, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.12 ROSABELLE DOLLISON - Balogo, Sorsogon City
Candidate No.13 REDY LASALA - Salog, Sorsogon City

Photo by: Clara Photography

June 27, 2005 will be the judgement night for this Sorsogon beauties. Don't worry I'll gonna let you know who will be crown as Ms.Sorsogon 2005. But before the night of June 27, the Candidates will be scheduled on the following activities:

June 20, 2005 (Monday)
Press Presentation of Ms.Sorsogon Candidates
Venue: SC Training Center

June 22, 2005 (Wednesday)
Swimsuit Competition
Venue: Botong Twin Falls/PNOC-EDC Bacman Geothermal Production Field
Talent Presentation
Venue:Provincial Gym

June 25, 2005 (Saturday)
Gown Competition
Venue: Vicenta Hall

June 26, 2005 (Sunday)
Pre-judging of Native Attire
Venue: Capitol Kiosk

June 27, 2005 (Monday)
PAGEANT NIGHT Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005
Venue:Provincial Gym.

Photo by: Clara Photography

Photo by: Clara Photography

So there you have it folks....we are proud to present to you the Twelve Official Candidates for the Ms.Sorsogon 2005....choose your bet...


City Councilor Charo Dichoso - Chairman of the Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005
Sorsogon City

Clara Photography - Official Photographer/Search for Ms.Sorsogon 2005
Magsaysay St. Sorsogon City