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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Of Rick Steves, Ilocos Sur, and Random Thoughts

Hi, everyone! A pleasant good day to all of you! Here's me, again, sharing with you my life...

This Saturday morning, I was awaken, as usual, by the sounding off of our alarm-clock-radio at six. Set permanently on NPR-affiliate local public radio station WHRV (Norfolk, VA) on 89.5 FM, our white-colored SONY alarm-clock-radio started broadcasting the news, first and foremost, then followed by Travel with Rick Steves, a one-hour radio program usually aired every Saturday morning from 6 AM to 7AM over Hampton Roads region and beyond. (Here are some photos of Rick Steves, from Wikipedia and YouTube.)

As some or many of us know, Rick Steves (who's based in Edmonds or Seattle, Washington) is also the host of Travel with Rick Steves on PBS Television, via his Rick Steves' EUROPE Through the Back Door. His website is (How I wish he visits other places in Asia like the Philippines, specifically in Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too! I bet/guess that would be an interesting life experience for him!)

Well, after my morning routine (smiling briefly at the pictures of Sto. Nino de Praga and The Good Shepherd hanging on both sides of our bedroom, doing a short prayer of thanks, using the restroom where I prayed the rosary silently), I went back to our bedroom. My wife was still in bed, although I knew she's already awake. No, I didn't go back to bed anymore but logged on to my laptop resting on a Queen Anne's chair by my bedside, while listening to Rick Steves on the radio. He was interviewing Steve Innskeep, co-host of NPR (National Public Radio, based in Washington, DC) Morning Edition. (FYI: Steve's other co-host is Renee Montagne.) After that, Mr. Steves talked to his next guest, Sasha from Oklahoma who was discussing something about global travel or table adventure and food like that. She mentioned about the website. And I kept on repeating/memorizing the website three or four times while still in bed: Global Table Adventure.

So, out of interest and curiousity, I visited, and briefly browsed its features. I thought of sending/writing a short message or comment to the person/s behind this website. Here's what I wrote:

"Hi Ms. Global Table Adventure (a.k.a. Sasha) and Mr. Picky Eater (a.k.a. Keith),
This morning, while still in bed, our alarm-clock-radio (which is regularly set at 6 AM, on NPR-affiliate local public radio station WHRV (Norfolk, VA) on 89.5 FM, sounded off , and a s usual at 6 AM on Saturdays, the first radio program I hear or listen to is Travel with Rick Steves. After his interview with Steve Innskeep of NPR's Morning Edition, discussing about the state of journalism and news (gathering and) reporting in foreign countries, Rick Steves (who's based in Edmons/Seattle, WA) talked with you next. And, listening to you talking about one of your passions or shall I say your "brainchild" which is Global Travel Adventure, I immediately rose up from bed and logged on to my laptop and visited your website for the first time. Surprised I was to find out about your gastronomical global adventure with your family. Such a passion of yours! So impressed I am by what you and your family are doing to make a difference in promoting peace throughout the world! Kudos to you and your family for all your efforts and (future) endeavors. I commend you for such a feat. keep up the good work. Best regards to your #1 critic and best food taster, your daughter Ava! Happy, Healthy and Lucky New Year 2012!"

Opps, after a few minutes, I found out I had a mistake in my comment. So I followed it up with a short message. I wrote and sent this terse note:

"I stand corrected. In my comment, I wrote Global Travel Adventure. It should be Global Table Adventure. My bad. Sorry.-chris"

There you go, my congratulatory message I wrote and posted on Global Table Adventure's under its post a comment section.

Well, as you may know, folks, I love knowing and learning or relearning, and "traveling" as much as I can. Now, on my third paragraph in this blog entry, I mentioned about Vigan City. Guess what I visited next on the internet. Your guess is as good as mine---Vigan City, via the website: first, then hopped on to (which is the Heritage Province of Ilocos Sur official website). As I understand, the first one is a commercial website for Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, good for those people who have business. The second one is the official website, for the public. Now, my mind wandered (traveled) as I enjoyed perusing the website, reading useful, interesting information and news, watching photos and embedded videos, etc. Interestingly, I happened to come across this video, on YouTube, featuring the book ILOCOS SUR: An Illustrated History. Now, hear this. I'm glad and thankful that in our small family library, Filipiniana collection, we have a copy of this 250-page book ILOCOS SUR: An Illustrated History by Deogracias Victor "DV" B. Savellano. And, it was autographed/signed personally by the author-governor himself! I know, he had a hectic schedule at that time but we had a brief encounter, and I was able to shake hands with him after signing my copy. Thank you, sir. (FYI: Savellano is the former Ilocos Sur governor and currently the vice-governor. Incumbent governor of Ilocos Sur is Luis "Chavit" Singson.)

With my patience and perseverance, and with the help of fellow writer and friend, Mancielito S. Tacadena, I got the chance to have my copy of that book signed by the author himself, then Governor Savellano! How did it happen? Well, having learned about the book from frequent visitation to back in 2008-9, I told myself that I'd love to own a copy someday. I realized that, thanks to God, when  there was this opportunity for me and two of my siblings to visit the Philippines in early November 2009. You see, I've made up my mind that I won't go back to US without having a copy of that book. For less than P1000 (less than $20, if I remember it right, then), I have the book which, to me, is a valuable tool for all elementary and high schools, even colleges and universities, in the Philippines as far the teaching of Philippine history is concerned. This is also a good read for history aficionados or enthusiasts, and a must for libraries in their Filipiniana section. Thanks, Mancielito for your assistance when I was there, visiting Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol. Thanks also to Engr. Odilon P. Negapatan, for designing and managing the official website of Ilocos Sur.

Now, from the official website, here's what I found that my wife (who was already fully awake that time) is still familiar with because she can still recall partly its wordings/lyrics: Ilocos Sur Hymn. I haven't heard of this for ages but I found it interesting, for me, to learn or re-learn. I don't know about you, folks, out there, my fellow Ilokano, or "kababayan" if you have sung this in (elementary) school or that familiar with it. I hope you're as excited as I am in knowing and/or learning about it. I believe the content and/or the meaning rings true today.

With my apology and permission from its author (I'm sorry; I don't know who the author/writer/composer of this hymn and when composed), here's...

Ilocos Sur Hymn

Where the brave heroes fought for freedom
And her men and women bring her fame
That's the province we'll cherish forever
Whose glory we will treasure and proclaim
There is peace on the hills and the valleys
There is joy amidst the verdant plains
That's the place we call our own
ILOCOS SUR beloved home
Ever ours wherever we may roam
ILOCOS SUR dear land of the free
Home of men, strong in faith and unity
With the people courageous, bright and fair
Dedicated to strive and toil with care
With your light to guide us we will never fail.
(Repeat the whole hymn.)

Isn't the poetry above beautiful? I love it, much more so when I hear the song, or sing it along. Undoubtedly, I feel the nostalgia already, reminiscing the old times when I was young, and connecting those memorable, truly unforgettable memories/moments with my kin and relatives and friends over there in "Amianan" or Ilocos Region. I know, how life has changed us, and how the world has transformed over the years with technological advancements and breakthroughs. Our culture is still there, with us, intact, preserved, and being studied and re-studied by everyone interested in knowing and discovering us. I'm grateful for all the people behind its preservation and. Our culture is a part of our identity as a human race. It's inherent in us. Take it away from us and we're nothing. We're just a wandering constellation of stars with no name and identity.

Like the rest of us, I know how and what it feels to be exiles, migrants who've been away from our native land, the Philippines, the land of our birth. It hurts and is painful to be separated from our kin, relatives and friends, like our OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers). But, we have to accept the fact that because of our desire to have a better life than the life we have had when we were born, we're emboldened to get out of it and leave behind all that matters to us. Yes, we've become adventurers, dreamers out there trying our best to realize those dreams of a better life, and trying to enjoy our freedom and life, like everyone else on the planet Earth.

With our God-given potentials, we try to achieve the impossible with the ultimate aim/goal to become successful, in our way, in our own perspective and standard. Yes, whatever it takes to achieve our goal or desire for a better life, with hope and determination, and acknowledging others' help and assistance and support, in one way or the other, we do what we have to do to become better citizens of the world. Yes, we try our best to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world wherever we may be, or destined to be. In our daily struggle, we try to help make a our world safer and better for our future generations, observing the laws of the land, adhering to principles of the UN (United Nations) charter, and the Holy Bible, for us Christians. We try to respect others and observe the Golden Rule. We try to give back to society what is required of us, serving others in various ways, careers, callings and professions.

Oppps, I got carried away, folks! Where are we now and where was I?  Aha, it's time to park my pen now. Thank you for being with me. Peace! -chris a. quilpa, 07Jan2012

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