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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 3, 2017

Mayor Cristina Gonzalez Celebrates Her 1st Year In Office As Mother Of Tacloban, In Time With The Annual Sangyaw Festival Of Lights

SINGER-ACTRESS TURNED Tacloban City Mayor Cristina “Kring Kring” Gonzales-Romualdez celebrated her first anniversary as the Mother of Tacloban last June 30, in time with the city’s annual fiesta and Sangyaw Festival of Lights. So how is it so far?

“The transition wasn’t that hard kasi 9 years naman akong councilor,” she says. “Kaya lang, kung noon, more active ako sa legislative side, this time, I’m the city’s chief executive and I learned to be more patient in solving the various problems of our people kasi I attend to all their needs at gusto ko, mabigyan agad ng solution ang mga problema. Hands on kasi ako at I try to mediate even sa traffic situation in our city and among sa mga nag-aaway na barangay captains. It's good I have my husband (former Mayor Alfred Romualdez) by my side to help me out.”

We tell her that Tacloban has really been revived and risen marvelously after it was ravaged by typhoon Yolanda. “We want to thank all the people who helped us. Una na si Pres. Duterte. Doon sa relocation sites, 1,500 new houses lang ang nagawa, but with his help, he really pushed all the agencies concerned para mas madagdagan and we now have 7,000 new homes for those who lost their houses during Yolanda. We also have new boats, a text alert system, and new rescue teams to help those living in the danger zones in case magka-typhoon uli. Ang dami ring business establishments na nadagdag. Before Yolanda, we only have 40 hotels in the city. Now, we have 75 hotels and also new malls. We continue to invite new investors to invest in our city and we have put up an industrial zone to help them.”

For their 128th fiesta celebration, they have to be extra careful with their security measures. “Siempre, naliligid kami ng dagat, ang daling pumasok kung may teroristang gustong manggulo, so we tell the people na kapag may nakita silang mga bagong mukha sa lugar nila, to please inform us right away. We’ve also put up more checkpoints pati sa San Juanico Bridge and bawal din ang fireworks sa fiesta for the safety of everyone.”

She wants to thank Manila-based singers who helped entertain their people for the fiesta, including singers and celebrities like Ima Castro, KZ Tandingan, Lloyd Umali, Joey Generoso, Callalily, True Faith, Michelle Vito, Neil Coleta, Joseph Bitangcol and Starstruck winner Migo Adecer.

Her eldest daughter, Sofia, has recorded a single for Viva and Boss Vic del Rosario really wants to push her showbiz career. “Sabi ni Boss Vic, I will make you a big star. Kaso, ayaw namanniyang mag-artista. She just wants to focus on her music. She sings, composes her own songs, plays a lot of musical
instruments. She’s now making her first album. She’ll be in graduating from high school next year and she’s enrolling in MINT (Meridian International) College this August where they have a good music curriculum. After that, she wants to go the U.S. and enroll at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Very simple lang siya kaya ayaw mag-artista. She’ll turn 18 na nga and I ask her if she wants to have a big debut. Kaso ayaw niya, what she wants to do is to travel abroad daw.”

What can she say to some comments that Sofia is a better singer than her? “Totoo naman. Wala ako kumpara diyan. She has genuine talent. Iba siya. Artist talaga siya. Ayaw niyang basta sumikat lang na pa-cute or pabebe. She really wants to show more of her artistic side.”

What can she say about rumors that their political rivals are trying to convince Karla Estrada to run against her as mayor in the next elections? “We’re friends and she even called me up when that came out and said it’s not true. At si Karla, when they featured Tacloban in their show recently, ‘Magandang Buhay’, nagkausap pa kami when she was here nang mag-taping sila. Wala akong kaaway, lalo sa showbiz, kaya wag na lang kaming intrigahin. Ayoko ng may kaaway, mai-stress ka lang, papangit ka, tatanda ka pa. I try to make peace with everyone. Yun namang mga kalaban namin sa politika, laging naghahanap ng mga ilalaban sa mga Romualdez. Alam yan ng mga tao rito at alam din nila kung sino talaga ang nagtatrabaho at tumutulong sa kanila nang tapat para maging mas maunlad at maganda ang Tacloban.”

The Sangyaw Parade of Lights was held peacefully on Thursday night, the eve of the actual fiesta. It was so nice to see the various delegations from different barangays of Tacloban in their colorful and lavish costumes, all well lighted, doing intricate street dance routines in the honor of the Senor Sto. Nino.

The winners of Miss Tacloban were on a separate float and the title holder is truly a stunner, 18-year old Chelsea Cabias Fernandez, a broadcast communications student at Asian Development College. Her runners up are Angela Cabel, 1st runner up; Lourdelyn Briones, 2nd; Laurence Comandao, 3rd; and Beverly Rose
Basalo, 4th. The coronation night was help at the Tacloban Astrodome. A search for Mr. Sangyaw Bodybuilder was also held at the Robinson Activity Area. All in all, the entire celebration was a big success and Taclobanons can look forward to a bigger fiesta and bigger Sangyaw Festival next year.