Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Iloilo: A Rich And Noble Land

Palangga, love, is perhaps the tenderest word in Ilonggo. Children and parents, husbands and wives, lovers, best friends are each other’s palangga. Uttered in Iloilo’s melodious language, the word evokes indescribable affection, takes on a physical dimension, like a caress lovingly bestowed and as lovingly received. With no counterpart in other Philippine languages, the Ilonggos hold a patent to the word, creating a form of ethnic branding distinguishing them as a people. Where did the word come from—and all its affable associations? It’s hard to tell. The one sure thing is, many things about Iloilo are endearing beyond words. 

There’s the land. In parts as primordial as the world before the Fall or as contemporaneous as the present century. Often, these two time zones are just within nodding distance.
There are the people. Perhaps the most charming Filipinos, and Filipinos are nothing if not charming. It is said that even when Ilonggos are disagreeing, to the point of saying ”Patayon ta ka!” (I’m going to kill you), they seem to be pleasantly agreeing. 

There’s only one canker in the rose. More than a hundred years after it was dubbed “Queen City of the South” in the late 1800s, Iloilo City—and its province—went down from royalty to commoner. Why did Iloilo City, once second only to Manila in importance, along with its province, once the richest in the Philippines, lose its crown? Fortunately, in recent years has emerged a new breed of young, enlightened leadership, which is training its energies toward regaining Iloilo’s old glory. Iloilo’s history has proved that Ilonggos have the spirit, strength, creativity, brains to become the best of what they can be. They can do it again.

This determination is palpable everywhere in Iloilo. It gives the place an added glow—so palangga in another sense. 

Higantes, giant puppets dressed as farmers, dancing in front of the historic Miag-ao Church in San Joaquin, are popular Iloilo icons featured in this photo of the cover of a new coffee table book entitled: ILOILO: A RICH AND NOBLE LAND.

The book takes the reader on a tour through Iloilo’s history, economics, food, language, architecture, literature, sports, cosmology, resorts and much more. It tells why this former royal province of the south became a commoner and how it is now regaining its crown as Queen City of the South.

The book provides attractions of present-day Iloilo such as its tourism sites, particularly the Santa Barbara Golf Club, the oldest golf club in the Philippines, which is celebrating its 100th year. The colorful volume also gives helpful information on retirement havens and investment opportunities.
Sixteen writers, mostly Ilonggos, wrote the various articles edited by Anita Feleo, photography by Sonny Yabao and book design by Felix Mago Miguel. The Editorial Board for this Iloilo book project consisted of: Oscar M. Lopez, Rex C. Drilon II, Narzalina Z. Lim, Raul Rodrigo, Dario J. Pagcaliwagan and Dulce Festin-Baybay.

The book is published by Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. and distributed by ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc. It is available in leading bookstores nationwide




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