Jagna – Camiguin Route

By Joe Espiritu

So a fast craft now serves the Jagna – Camiguin route. They ply that route three times a week. We sincerely hope it will last.  We are sure it will last. Statistics are favorable. Even when the population was scarce, this route had been once maintained and there s no reason why it will not only be constant these days. It may yet grow. The route not only serves the province of Camiguin but places in northern Mindanao near that island.

 Boholanos were a seafaring people. They were merchant traders selling everything, from tobacco to kitchen ceramics to nipa shingles – every Boholano product saleable. Sloops or single sailed, outriggered bancas locally called bilos and ketches, the double sailed version called dos bilas carried merchandise from Bohol to northern Mindanao from as far southeast as Surigao to as far southwest as Misamis Occidental.

 Those traders may have brought information about productive lands they had seen prompting adventurous Boholanos to settle there. Settlers in those places bear Boholano surnames. Then their customers are mostly expatriated Boholanos. The Sanos as expats are called never lost touch with their home province either by mail or periodic visits. During American times, steam boasts, real smoke belchers since they are powered by coal like the Bolinao and J. Paul Jones served the Jagna Camiguin route and beyond.

 During the Japanese period, the dos bilas sailboats took up the slack and after the war converted freight ships or FS from the US Pacific fleet served the route. For a while Jagna was a port of call of FS ships running the Manila – Masbate – Gingoog route. Some of them had Cebu – Maasin – Jagna – Butuan trips. Other ships called on the ports of Jagna – Mambajao or Binone – Butuan or Cagayan de Oro. However, after the fall of Ferdinand Marcos, most of those routes were abandoned except during the months of April, May and June.

 Jagna was an educational and cultural Mecca of the descendants of Boholano expats then. As the connection slackened, passenger and vacationer traffic slowed down. However, with the resuming of the Jagna – Camiguin connection, Jagna may regain her old prestige. The descendants of Boholano expats may trace their roots once more since the Sanos are really clannish.

 The popularity of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may be falling in most part of the country but not in Jagna. She personally opened the Food Highway, which passes this port. Her government supported the Jagna – Camiguin RORO missionary connection until it became viable. This may have paved the way for the opening of the fast craft route.

 Trade and passenger traffic may be light at first but this may grow. When Philippine population was 40 million and the Jagna - northern Mindanao connection was strong, trade and passenger volume made business profitable. Now when Filipinos are pushing 80 million and the Jagna – northern Mindanao route is improved there will be more business opportunities for the enterprising. This may reawaken the entrepreneurial spirit of the Sanos.

Guinness Book of Records in Inabanga, Bohol

By Ric Obedencio

This predominantly agricultural town, about 70 kms. north of capital Tagbilaran City, had been the base of a revolt known to be the longest in the country, led by Francisco Sendrijas, a.k.a. "Dagohoy" against the Spanish regime. 

The town, led by Mayor Jose Jono Jumamoy, eyed for the Guinness Book of Records when it unfolded the 24-inch by 1,813.5 meters long hand woven raffia fabric during the town's vesper last June 29. 

Hundreds of students and pupils, teachers and personnel of different offices unfolded the fabric along the national highway.
Media men in the region, including the two giant TV companies covered the event.

Tourism Undersecretary Phineas Alburo officially declared amid public applause the length of the hand woven.
This length of 1,813.5 meters practically overshot the target of only 1.6 kilometers. 

Engr. Greg Sayson of the Department of Public Works and Highways personally measured and certified the length of the fabric with DTI representatives and other agencies, who helped document the event. 

"We only have to work harder to come up the desired length of 1.6 kms. by that time," has paid off, Mayor Jumamoy said during the launching last May 19. 

The ambitious project, he said, is like "hitting two birds with one stone." First, he said, is to generate jobs among the people under the "One-Town-One-Product" (OTOP) concept introduced by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the second is to make it to the world records. 

The project counts 1,900 "direct" workers, including weavers, with, more or less, 8,000 work force as "indirect" support workers, said DTI regional director Asteria Caberte, who personally attended the unfolding of the fabric. 

This made the town project as "real" OTOP in region seven, she added. In fact, she said, a lot of awards have been accorded for this industry. 

The workers are producing 1,050 raffia rolls and 26,250 placemats per week in at least seven barangays in this town alone. There are 4,375 highly skilled loom weavers and 13,125 individuals as support workers of the industry in the entire province. 
Products of raffia include sleep mats, placemats, drying for rice or corn, novelty decors, pillow cases, hand bags, fashion accessories, and lifestyle products of export quality. 

Caberte said that the problem of Inabanga in raffia industry lies "not all about on the market development." The problem is to come up with the right volume for the right market. Hence, she pins hope that with DTI's assistance the industry's volume would increase to meet or compete with the global demand. 

Caberte dropped broad hints to avail of the government's pouring of "financial resources" from the government for people's livelihood. The town received from Gov. Erico Aumentado the check worth P200,000 during the launching of the project. Another P300,000 check handed over to Mayor Jumamoy by provincial administrator Atty. Tomas Abapo, Jr. during the unfolding. 

Vice-Gov. Julius Herrera, who is acting governor during the same occasion, pledged another P300,000 from his office and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol which he chairs.

Provincial Board Member Josephine Socorro Jumamoy, mother of the mayor, bared that this gargantuan project could not have been possible without the financial assistance in the amount of one million pesos extended by the Gov. Aumentado for the industry here. 
She said that her efforts along with her constituents now bear fruit. When she was the mayor, she started to plant buri plants with 25 hectares under the Community-Based Resource Program in a bid to sustain and replenish the resource.  She said that she's glad because her mayor-son also plans to expand the buri plantation with additional 25 hectares for this important resource. 

For his part, Vice-Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera expressed commendation to the Inabanga leadership for the laudable project as he expressed full support for the endeavor and the industry as a whole. 

Among the guests who attended the event and joined the parade include provincial and other town officials, provincial administrator Atty. Tomas Abapo, Jr., provincial board members Amalia R. Tirol, Ma. Fe Camacho-Lejos, Alfonso Damalerio II, Cesar Tomas Lopez, Atty. Aster Piollo Cong. Edgar Chatto and his wife Pureza, and other dignitaries and heads of national agencies. (RVO)