lifestyle

THE SM STORE | SO MANY MARKDOWNS

July 1, 2020

We know you missed shopping with us and that's why we've got SO MANY MARKDOWNS just for YOU here at #TheSMStore! 😱🙌 Shop with ease knowing that your safety is our priority with mandatory temperature checks, regular sanitizing and alcohol spraying of all areas, and social distancing protocols. Plus, with so many markdowns— IT’S THE BEST TIME TO SHOP! Experience #SoManyAtSM from July 1 to 31 at #TheSMStore branch nearest you!  Can't go out yet? Don't worry, we can SHOP for YOU via #SMCallToDeliver! Just call or message us at +639178001074 for your orders and inquiries. CONTACT NUMBER FOR CALL TO DELIVER: SM CDO DOWNTOWN PREMIER:  0977 652 4992 0999 566 1499 SM CAGAYAN DE ORO (UPTOWN):  0916 272 6968 0916 272 6992 ➡️ Join us on Viber for the latest updates and exclusive discounts: bit.ly/JoinSMViber Per DTI Permit No. FTEB 101011, Series of 2020

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Couch Potato available soon in CDO for online delivery

June 30, 2020

COUCH Potato has just opened its first ever branch in Mindanao right here in Cagayan de Oro City via Food Hub. Located at Stonestown Suites along Masterson Avenue in uptown Cagayan de Oro, Food Hub introduces Couch Potato to Kagay-anons and more. They also serve their in-house dishes of rice meals (bacon liempo with egg, sisig rice, ground pork with quail eggs, chicken fillet with white sauce, beef tapa with egg) and standalone dishes (sisig, chicken fillet with white sauce, gambas, ground pork with quail eggs and beef tapa). Couch Potato is the source of flavorfully awesome fries. Whether you like your fries tangy, salty or sweet, there’s bound to be a flavor for you. Despite being affordable, their premium fries retain their crispy touch hours after being cooked and don’t get soggy at all. Customers get to enjoy the good stuff at reasonable prices. The signature flavors of Couch Potato are adobo and ube but they do serve the following too: queso de bola, ranch, cheese, taco, sour cream, barbecue, jalapeño, Samyang, chocolate and couch special. They are available in five sizes: craving, dieting, hungry, starving and drooling. Here in Cagayan de Oro City, Couch Potato and Food Hub are available via Food Panda and Grab at the following times: Mondays to Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

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Virtual Adlaw Kagay-an for Oro’s 70th Charter Day

June 15, 2020

Cagayan de Oro will have a virtual celebration of its 70th City Charter Day Anniversary on June 15, 2020 in compliance with the national government’s guidelines for modified general community quarantine, In a memorandum dated 09 June 2020, City Administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a, Jr. advised all city hall department heads and chiefs of office that the city’s celebration of both the 122nd Philippine Independence Day on 12 June 2020 and the 70th City Charter Day on 15 June 2020 would be “simple, yet significant”, and would be limited to a few guests.” Employees of your respective offices are not required to attend the activities on both days,” Sabuga-a added. However, city hall department heads and chiefs of offices were directed to join the 6:30AM Holy Mass at the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral and the flag raising ceremony at the area fronting the executive building immediately after at 800AM.  The City Mayor’s Annual Report by Mayor Oscar S. Moreno immediately follows at 9:00AM after the flag raising rites. However, the mayor’s report would be aired live over Facebook and Channel 45 of Parasat Cable TV thus city hall department heads and chiefs of offices may follow it from their respective offices, it being a special holiday in the city. In its official Facebook page, Kagay-anons here and outside the city and the country were invited to join the virtual celebration to be aired live on Facebook, Parasat Channel 45 and radio stations in the city on 15 June 2020. Adlaw Kagay-an On August 2, 1999, the Cagayan de Oro City Council unanimously approved Resolution No. 4365-99 “Permanently adopting the name Adlaw Kagay-an for the City Charter Day.” The resolution noted that since the signing of the City Charter in Malacañang Palace on June 15, 1950 had been commemorated ever since in the city as “City Charter Day”. However, the council further noted that City Charter Day was a “rather anglicized name” compared to other cities which had already adopted Filipino names for their respective charter days such as Araw ng Maynila and Araw ng Dabaw. “Since the Charter Day of Cagayan de Oro City is considered a significant historical milestone in the city’s history, and the national guiding principles of History from the Filipino point of view must also guide the city in the use of names for indigenous events and activities,” the resolution noted further. Considering how historian scholars had traced the etymology of the term Cagayan to the Proto-Philippine language where the word kagay means “river”, and Kagay-an means “the place where there is a river”. Thus, the city council jointly and unanimously adopted to permanently adopt the name Adlaw Kagay-an for the City Charter Day. The resolution was sponsored by Councilors Maryanne C. Enteria, Noel S. Beja and President D. Elipe with then Vice Mayor John L. Elizaga as presiding officer, and attested by Teresita R. Bancoro, assistant city council secretary for the city secretary. Higala-ay Festival The Adlaw Kagay-an resolution marked the first instance where the first of the city’s two main holidays were renamed. The city fiesta traditionally celebrated on August 28 in celebration of the feast day of its patron saint, St. Augustine of Hippo, has undergone at least four name changes in the last two decades. Previously known as the Kagayhaan Festival, Promote CDO sponsored a competition in 2007 to find a more appropriate name that would reflect Cagayan de Oro’s ethnicity, heritage and history. After initially selecting Karambola Kagay-an, the NGO settled on Kagay-an after receiving negative feedback about the term Karambola. However, the new moniker only lasted six years as the new administration of present Mayor Oscar S. Moreno chose to change the festival name to Higalaay Kagay-an in 2014, before finally dropping Kagay-an altogether in 2016 and changing it again to Higalaay Festival. Spring Festival Since 2016, the city has added two more festivals in its calendar, with one being celebrated every quarter of the year. For the first quarter, the city celebrates its Chinese heritage and history by joining the worldwide celebration of the Spring Festival, otherwise known as the Chinese New Year and locally branded as the Cagayan de Oro Chinese New Year Festival. Since the festival date changes every year according to the Lunar Calendar, the date of the city’s first quarter festival is movable and is spearheaded by the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Community which counts no less than 23 Filipino-Chinese organizations in its ranks. Himugso Festival This is followed in the second quarter by the Himugso Festival which jointly celebrates the Philippines’ Independence Day on June 12 and the Cagayan de Oro City Charter Day Adlaw Kagay-an on June 15. With the tagline Birthing a City. Birthing a Nation. Birthing Tomorrow,  Himugso is a celebration of the Cagayan de Oro City and the Philippines’ history and heritage and traditionally celebrated with exhibits, plays, walking and windshield tours of the city’s historical sites as the new generation is invited to look back at the people and events which made the freedom and prosperity they enjoy today possible.

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The Forgotten Trees of Auld Kagay-an

June 15, 2020

Along with the old houses, street names and landmarks which have become a part of the heritage of Cagayan de Oro, are some trees and their fruits which seem to have inexplicably disappeared over time.  Two trees which have figured prominently in the culture and heritage of Cagayan de Oro are the Lambago and Kayam.  "Our place was once known as Kalambagohan because of the abundance of lambago," Roy Gaane, the late president and founder of Kagayanon International, recalled.    The Lambago tree (Hibiscus tiliaceus) is a member of the Malvaceae tree family that thrives in low altitude areas like seashores, riverbanks and other areas reached by tidal streams.  Long-time resident Titus Velez reminisces how the lambago produced a yellow flower with some red stripes. As the day came and went, the flowers deepened to orange and then to red before falling off. The branches of the tree would bend over time and the wood has been used for boats, firewood, wood carving, rope and many others.  "They serve as anti-erosion sa mga riverbanks, trapping silt during the seasonal floods of the Cagayan River,” Velez said.  “We use to climb this tree from one tree to another. Kasi almost interlocking ang mga branches. The branches are also very flexible and strong even the small ones. We also use the branches as an improvised diving board. During summer we would enjoy its shade.”  “Under the tree we would cook banana with ginamos and one bottle of coke. We could sleep in the branches while bringing the old transistor radio (the ones with Nora Aunor's face on the dial), while listening to dramas from dyHP. We also fly out kites there, well actually on a small clearing besides the trees,” he added.  "Those were the days. The last lambago I saw was along Iponan river but it's not there anymore. I'm not sure if there are still lambago if we go upstream. I think it is a victim of rapid urbanization."  Manny Valdehuesa, Jr. confirms this. “You can see them growing along the western bank of Cagayan River -- and even on the left islet, I think -- if you take the new bridge at Puntod.” On the other hand, the Kayam was better known to elder Kagay-anons for its nut which was a popular delicacy during their childhood days in the city.  "I remember that my mother had a suki who would deliver cooked or boiled kayam to the house," wrote Wendy Ramos-Garcia in her reminisces entitled Memories of the Old Hometown. "I haven't seen kayam for a long, long time now."  "It tastes like castañas (chestnuts) except it is bigger,” Gaane said. “ You can look it up in Google under the name of Tahitian Chestnut or Polynesian Chestnut." The tree was even linked in popular culture to one of the city's barangays.  "When I was still in grade school, there were kayam trees in Consolacion, then known as the red light district of Cagayan," Gaane said. "When men who patronized the district were asked where they had been, they would say, nang kayam 'mi . It became notorious and that was probably why the trees were cut."  Gaane also recalls other fruits of his childhood in Cagayan de Oro but which are now hard-to-find.  "There was the alubijid tree once found by the side of the Provincial Capitol," he said. "Its fruit is evergreen and its seed is hairy like that of the siniguelas except that the alubijid is round and big as a tennis ball.  It probably can still be found in the town of Alubijid. It's crunchy like an apple, green, with hairy kernel. Just like the pangi fruit which was once found in Barangay Tagpangi.  It must still be there,” he added.  Gaane also recalls a fruit better known as the cherry which was brownish and about the size of lanzones.  “There used to be a tree at the Kempski compound that later became Rizal Theatre.  Being a family friend, I used to get my cherries there.”  When he was a grade schooler in Ateneo de Cagayan (now Xavier University), Gaane said he was a patron of the cherries which used to be sold by the Neris who had a property right next to the old gymnasium.     “I remember that cherry tree which belonged to the family of Luisito Neri,” Ramos-Garcia said. “It was delicious but the tree was full of thorns.”  Jazmin Ramos-Sumalinog, eldest daughter of former Pilgrim Institute High School Principal Severino Ramos recalls they used to have a cherry tree in their front yard.  “Didto mi sa taas sa cherry pirmi magsaka to get the dark plum-colored ones.  Daghan gusto mopalit when the fruits look so tempting to passersby,” she said.  “Dante, Bobom, Totic and myself agreed to own part of the tree as our respective branches, so that we get fruits only from our assigned branch. Nakaka miss !”  “The cherry is known as cereales in Davao and serali in the Visayas,” said Sylvia Aguhob, a food tech faculty from Xavier University’s College of Agriculture.  She said cherry  trees still line the pathway in the car park of  the Southeast Asian Rural Social Leadership Institute (Searsolin) at the Manresa campus of XU.  Another fruit which was once abundant in Carmen in what is now the Golden Village was the songsong kabaw. "When ripe it is red and hairy like the mabolo but you only eat its flesh like the mangosteen,” Gaane recalls. Like the cherry, he said he hasn’t seen one since his high school days.   The late journalist Ben Emata also has fond memories of the fruit known locally as songsong kabaw or susong kabaw elsewhere. "This is a sweet fruit that looks like  the nipple of a carabao,” he muses. “When I went hunting during my childhood days, songsong kabaw were abundant side by side with bayabas or guavas. I have not seen this fruit for a very long time. It was not sold in the market since it was a wild fruit."  Philippine Heritage gives songsong kabaw’s scientific name as Annonaceae Uvaria rufe and its found from Northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao where it is known as the susong-kalabaw, susog kaba, and a host of other regional variants.  According to MarketMan of the wonderful blog Market Manila, songsong kabaw  is a  member ot the Annonaceae family, which counts among its cousins, guyabano (soursop), atis (custard apple) and ylang-ylang.  Unfortunately, the songsong kabaw seems to have gone the way of most of the forgotten trees and fruits of the old Kagay-an, as old-time residents fondly call their city, or rather the city as they remember it.  “I last saw and tasted the songsong kabaw when I was a kid up in the mountains of our evacuation place west of El Salvador,” Valdehuesa said. Any good friend of Manny will tell you that was rather some time ago.  Says Valdehuesa: “These unique embellishments should be revived or restored for everyone's delectation -- including the pigok, anga, hipon, casili and others in our seven rivers. Alas…  (Many thanks to Roy Gaane, Wendy Ramos-Garcia, Ben Emata, Manny Valdehuesa, Jazmine Ramos-Sumalinog, Titus Velez and Sylvia Tagle-AguDantehob. Special thanks to Market Man and Market Manila for the pictures of songsong kabaw).

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A Century and two decades of History The Legacy of PLAZA DIVISORIA

June 15, 2020

If the old trees of Plaza Divisoria could talk, they would be busy regaling the crowds with tales of its storied past, and how it often played a major role in the city’s local history.  Plaza Divisoria was constructed in 1901 by Tirso Neri y Roa, a rich merchant who was then municipal mayor of Cagayan de Misamis, the old name of the city. Much of the site used for the plaza was donated by Neri to the town.  “The purpose of this plaza was to serve as a divider for the town. Divisoria is a Spanish word which means divider," said Antonio J. Montalvan II, Ph.D., a Kagay-anon columnist, social anthropologist, university professor and heritage activist.  “At that time, Cagayan de Misamis, as the town was then called, was continuously razed by big fires. So, in order to contain such kinds of conflagrations, Tirso Neri built this fire break known as Plaza Divisoria."  However, due to its central location, Plaza Divisoria soon became the socio-political and cultural center of Cagayan de Misamis.  On September 10, 1916 it was the scene of a big parade celebrating the passage of the Jones Law, which granted a bicameral congress to the Philippine Commonwealth.  On June 19, 1917, the patriot Porfirio Chaves and his wife Fausta Vamenta turned over one of the earliest monuments in the country of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal which still graces the center of the plaza.  To the east is the old monument to the Heroes de Cagayan, where the bones of local revolutionaries who died in the Battle of Agusan Hill on May 14, 1900 were once interred.  At the center of the old plaza used to be a structure known to all Kagay-anons as the Kiosko (and earlier, the Tribuna).  8In the 1950s, people gathered here for important social and cultural occasions, such as the annual celebration of National Heroes Day. By the 1960s, people were regularly gathering in the area which is now occupied by the Cagayan de Oro Tourist Assistance Center to discuss the burning issues of the day.  This group of residents became what is now known to old-timers as The Plazans and included many of Cagayan de Oro's finest like Councilor Pio Roa, Yo Amon Fuentes, Dr. Jose Montalvan, Jesus Roa, Anastacio Gabor, Ramon Echem, former Governor Paciencio Ysalina, Aquilino Pimentel, Sr., Tawag ng Tanghalan National Champions Tata Neri and Rizal “Boy” Ortega, the late police chief Melo Esguerra, Carlos Yamut, and former PH Ambassador to the US Raul Ch. Rabe, to mention a few.  For some time , the Kiosko was replaced by the  Bandstand built by City Mayor Justiniano “Tiñing” Borja in the 60s, who also restored the central significance of Plaza Divisoria by building another structure, known to Kagay-anons as the Ampi (for amphitheater).  “All Philippine presidents who came to town, addressed the people of  Cagayan de Oro in Plaza Divisoria,” Montalvan recalls. “So in a sense, this is the Plaza Miranda of Cagayan de Oro.”  Borja’s Bandstand has in turn been replaced by the “Kiosko Kagawasan”, built by the past administration of Mayor Vicente Y. Emano. It recalls the architecture of the original Kiosko sans the skylight and the two lions which remain missing to this day.  During the last term of the past administration, the Plaza underwent a major facelift. Besides the band stand’s replacement with the new Kiosko, the “ampi” has also undergone a similar renovation, which thankfully left it in better shape than it was before. But even that “new ampi” was later demolished to give way to a new one is now being constructed and should be ready by 2022.  “Perhaps a better way of regarding Divisoria and its future is in order now,” Montalvan said. “We now have a national law in place, RA 10066, the National Cultural Heritage Law. Government is now capable of declaring sites and landmarks so that these can be protected. There is one classification there called the Heritage Zone that I think is the most appropriate way of ensuring the future of Divisoria. Soon we shall pass from this world. But what assurance do we leave behind?”  Residents and visitors remain hopeful that, in time, these transient problems are resolved and that Plaza Divisoria with its fruit stands, monuments, benches and trees would be there for the next hundred years or so for their afternoon paseos, paradas and procesiones to mark important and historic occasions in this city’s history.

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3 Generations of Tradition: Cagayan de Oro's oldest store looks forward to the next century and beyond

June 15, 2020

Cagayan de Oro – In the center of Wadhu's Quality Store stands a 1931 NCR cash register, bought by the store's founder by mail order from Sears & Roebuck in the United States 71 years ago.  During the world war two, the owner wrapped it in grease and buried it in his backyard. After the war, he dug it up and it still serves the same store now run by his grandson John-John.  That cash register is the living testimony of the traditions that has made Wadhu's Quality Store Cagayan de Oro's oldest surviving retail store, a tradition established by the store's patriarch and carried on by the third generation which now runs it.  Eight four years ago, Wadhu Dharamdas Uttamchandani set up in Cagayan de Misamis (as Cagayan de Oro was then known) 'Wadhu's Home of Quality' near Plaza Divisoria, the town's social and commercial center.  Mr. Wadhu arrived as a 12-year old boy from India n the Philippines in 1924. He was employed at the Indian Bazaar owned by his uncle Nebhraj Ramchand Buhdrani in Zamboanga City for 12  years where he gained his basic knowledge and business savvy in the retail trade.  In 1936, he felt he had enough seed money, contacts and experience to establish his own store in Iligan, but decided on Cagayan instead.  His thatched roof store featured items bought by mail order from Sears & Roebuck was set amidst stores run by Japanese nationals near the Heroes de Cagayan monument. Divisoria was the Escolta of Cagayan in those days, and the nearby public market ensured the fledgling store flourished until World War II exploded.  "My father survived the war by bartering his goods for food and clothing," said his son, Wadhu "Dodong" Jr. "He married my mom, Trinidad Babiera Valmores at Balingasag, Misamis Oriental in 1943 and had two children, myself and my sister Linda."  In 1946, Mr. Wadhu (as he was fondly called by friends and customers) reopened at a new location in Plaza Divisoria just across the public market, but moved to the next block after two years, when its present name as Wadhu's Quality Store was first seen.  The store moved to its present site in the corner of J.R. Borja and Pabayo streets when Mayor Justiniano Borja moved the city public market to the Cogon area in 1958.  "My dad didn't want to be too close to the Cogon market where competition would be stiff but he also didn't want to be too far from the former site in Divisoria and his regular customers either," Dodong explained.  In 1973, the elder Wadhu felt the younger generation was ready to take the reins of the business and turned over the store's management to Dodong.  "The idea was to help infuse faster and newer approaches towards marketing and merchandising without changing the original concepts on which we made our reputation," Dodong recalls. "We introduced new products catering to the tastes of the younger generation and terminated others which were slow moving."  And not too soon. By 1975, retails giants Ororama and Gaisano came into the picture, forcing other stores to fold up due to the intense competition.  "We took this as an opportunity, a challenge to make our strategies competitive with the giants," Dodong said. "I have always welcomed competition because it is the only way to serve the public with better service and cheaper prices."  For instance, when more people from Butuan, Surigao, Bukidnon and Iligan began coming to Cagayan, Wadhu's even multiplied its customers despite stiff competition from the bigger stores.  "Our overhead is not as large as the big ones, so we were able to adjust our prices and compete," Dodong said. "Since we were also getting the same merchandise from the same suppliers, we were able to attract more customers with our lower prices without sacrificing service and quality."  The 1990s brought even stiffer competition from malls like SM City and Limketkai Mall which featured a wide variety of stores and merchandise and attractive amenities like national food chains and cinemas all under one roof.  "We kept our loyal customers and even added more through our personalized service," Dodong said. "Most of the sales girls in the big malls are hired on a casual basis and are no match for better paid and motivated sales staff of smaller stores who have better experience and training, not to mention knowing the customers on a first name basis."  "Everyone is equally served and each person is attended to no matter how small their needs are," he adds. "We train our sales people never to look down on anyone and treat them as regular adult customers regardless of age, gender or appearance."  Some years ago, a ruggedly dressed barefoot gentlemen wanted to buy an expensive watch. Sensing the sales clerk was at a loss on how to deal with him, Dodong stepped in to personally entertain him and he paid in cash.  "It was only a week later that I found out he was the owner of a big building which housed many stores in Bukidnon," Dodong wryly recalls. "He told me ours was the third store he went to and the only one who gave him any attention."  More recently, traders from Mainland China, Taiwan and Korea have swamped the city with low quality merchandise at very low prices. Together with the ukay-ukay vendors selling smuggled garments and shoes at rock bottom prices, they have crowded the city's sidewalks and even areas fronting regular stores.  The third generation of Wadhu’s takes all the competition and changes in stride, having been born and raised in Cagayan de Oro under the tutelage of their father and grandfather. They remain confident the "Open Door" policy of the original Wadhu's Home of Quality will see them through the next century and beyond.  "We grew up in this store and we don't see any reason to change how it looks or operates," said the elder Haresh.  "Since my grandfather first started this store, he insisted to my Dad to leave the store's doors wide open. So, even people from the rural areas would not be shy to come in and window shop. They don't feel pressured to buy something and can window shop as much as they like."  In the center of the store, another sale is rung up in the NCR cash register. If the sale totals more than the P99.00 the machine is capable of calculating, a hand-held calculator steps in. It looks like the old machine could easily outlive a dozen or so of its modern counterparts, just like the store it serves in the corner of J.R. Borja and Pabayo streets in Cagayan de Oro has done to many of its competitors.

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