011514 :The Urban Tracker (In Tarlac): The Candid Mayor Takes Wings In San Nicolas

Victoria municipal hall's emblem

here’s a reason for the mayor of Victoria to be candid today as obvious as his first name ‘Candido’. That's because he realized his passion could be a vision for his hometown. In the early sunrise, as our group peered out from the balcony of municipal hall, things looked rosy for the town of Victoria.

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Past and present meets at Victoria's municipal hall corridor
Earlier, we were poring among the portraits of past mayors of Victoria along the wooden corridors of the townhall. From among them includes the current mayor's father. The elder Candido Guiam was a former mayor of Victoria from 1960-1979. The younger Candido is a third generation direct descendant of the family. One of his staff entertained us and even allowed us to take a look inside the office of the Mayor . She told us their Mayor is a simple guy who just drives a dirt bike on his way to office and treat his staff as close family.

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The bazaar still sleepy in mid-morning
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Immaculate Concepcion Parish in San Nicolas
Just across the municipal hall the bazaars were slowly coming to fold. They lined up the streets that leads to the space where there's the public park with a replica statue of Rizal, where the Immaculate Concepcion Parish stood tall among aged trees, and a carnival at rest all part of Barangay San Nicolas. But we found our way to the covered court they call bulwagan where we started our set-up. But what makes the surrounding more inviting were the general presence of giant trees cheering up making one feel welcomed as it started swaying from the gust of air.

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The covered court the venue of the highlight of event
We found our place on what they call ‘bulwagan’ ,a spacious covered court. We  soon took our working arms and handworks of the stage to form an assembly of kites to make it more appealing along with the tarpaulin. The people from city hall alongside were kind enough to work along -  taking turns to set-up the seats and tables, and the sound system. We were expecting 150 workshoppers for a turn out today. And soon they started filling up the seats.

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Teachers and kids at work for their own fashion of kite
As soon as we mounted all the kites for display in the premises, participating teachers were already flashing their gadgets to take selfies and groupies like kids backgrounded by big colorful kites. That’s the time Janet the secretary showed up to give us final instruction about the program. Victoria as Ms Janet told us still stood on the heels as 2nd class municipality, one step short to becoming 1st class but she said their annual income had already reached the quota to qualify as 1st class.  

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Mr. Vic Lapurga one of the event organizer and cultural supporter.
A man in checkered long sleeve also approached us to give overview about the town.. the very friendly Mr Vic Lapurga who's in charge of livelihood of town projects and one of event organizer. He was sharing his thinking of a project he tauted as a source of livelihood for the people of Victoria. Kite-making he shared would be a good idea since their town is rich in supply of raw materials like bamboo that is used as frame for local kites and this would bring a source of livelihood for people. He also wanted to encourage people to engage in kite flying as a hobby since Victoria is all plain, scarce of high mountains with only rivers, stream land formation and windy open spaces ideal for kite testing. The town could embrace kiteflying I suggested further. Who knows the next time tourists may flock in if they translate it to festivals like what bangus did to Dagupan, flowers did to Panagbenga in Baguio, or the coconuts did in San Pablo. Adapting a product to highlight once Victoria is elevated as 1st class city could advance the sleepy city, I thought. 

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The dashing down-to-earth Mayor Guiam of San Nicolas
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Students and teacher in bonding session making kites
The teachers and students already filled up the seats with estimated of 200. The teachers from Dep. Ed, people from DSWD, and the private schools converged and in excitement to learn the rudiments of kite-making. The mayor arrived shortly and I didn’t realize that he is the mayor as he strikes as just an ordinary fellow. But when he came up  to the stage Mayor Candido was obviously well-known and respected. His candor and eloquence set him apart as he craned while talking.  He was as a staunch kiteflier himself admittedly. He told the crowd that his infatuation with kite started as a kid and even after maturity and now a mayor, the hobby never left him. He further stressed that he wants to share his dreams to his constituents to push kiteflying as a hobby, and he designed the affair to demonstrate the activity as possibly an income-generating livelihood project aside from a stress-relieving hobby that's both available for kids and adults. But more than anything, it’s to carry on the disappearing tradition and to practice the use of eco-friendly materials in kite-making.

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Sweet goodies peddled during the event
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Native products like the baskets are sold in the neighborhood.
The teachers and students eagerness were apparent with the workshop instructing them step by step on making a perfect flying kite. No matter how big or small the kite, the secret lies on its ‘parisukat’ or triangle. With materials for simple kite like thread, bamboo stick (for lighter weight), hopia paper (for its air toughness and easy coloring property), coloring materials, paste and crepe paper for tails; one can come up with a simple but eco-friendly kite. Presence of local peddlers like this candyman and from another corner,one selling mobile handicrafts provided a local charm of the event.

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Action begins on the open ground kicking off the big kite fly
Later we took the flying action on the park where  the mayor took the lead in the take-off. He seemed to have filled the air with his colleagues as most of them bought kites and flew them along with him. If there’s one thing  Mayor Guiam wanted to happen for a long time is to adopt the kite as one event on upcoming fiesta and permanently. But with this man’s rediscovery of childhood fantasy and respect to the tradition; his town could be the next ‘Angono’ of the north. After all, Mayor Candido Guiam just wanted to leave a legacy, a kind of heritage for his town folks to believe and be candid as one could get.

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Preparing the last tying of thread for the next flight out.

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