2018 International Men’s Day: 23 Different Men of Milagros

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein DiffAll        In celebration of 2018 International Men’s Day, TMA selected 23 Milagreños men of varying and unique backgrounds across the world. “Positive Male Role Models” is this year’s theme and inspired by this, I asked TMA members to name Milagreno men whose inspiring stories are truly worth mentioning. With 42 individuals as initial nominees, and shortlisted to 30. These shortlisted individuals were formally informed through Facebook messenger about the selection process. Some did not want to be included as they chose to remain private about their lives, which I respected.

      The following stories were sewn in unique ways by time, personal challenges and victories, passion, diligence, perseverance, consistency, and positive behaviour toward success. I personally collected and curated these stories amidst everyone’s busy life. Beyond perfect but worth the time of reading through.DiffRey

     Rey Arcenas who is a Florida-based (USA) medical doctor, remains humble despite of his scholastic and professional achievements. Dr. Arcenas graduated Magna Cum Laude at Velez College in Cebu City with a degree in Nursing. He finished fourth nationally for the Philippine Nursing Board Exams in 1994. He created remarkable history for himself and for the Province of Masbate, as being the first Masbateño to hit the top place in February 2001’s Physician Licensure Examination. I will definitely write a more substantial item about Dr. Arcenas comes 2019. DiffJoveno      Dr. Joveno Galvez is a cardiologist by practice who chose to serve his province, most especially providing medical service to his fellow Milagrenos with discounted professional fees or completely free of charge. He served as former Medical Director of Masbate MMG Hospital Cooperative in Masbate City and presently the Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine of the same medical institution. 

     Drs. Arcenas and Galvez are today’s most sought after medical practitioners in the US and Masbate, respectively.

      DiffLeoGarra        Next in line are the two honorable gentlemen with 4H (handsome, hardworking, honest and humble) practicing the principle of political will gearing toward social change in their own humble ways. Leo Garra served as Brgy. Captain Greater Lagro (District 5) in Quezon City. Serving as member of the barangay council for many years before winning the seat of the Barangay Captain in May 2018 elections. In an effort to maintain the awards that his predecessors received in 2016 and 2017, Kap Leo received the same Gawad Dangal ng Lungsod for Barangay Seal of Good Housekeeping Award, making Barangay Greater Lagro as a Hall of Famer. Presently, he is one of the Board of Directors of League of 142 Barangays of Quezon City.DiffJoseleo          Meanwhile, in Barangay Poblacion East, Milagros — Chairman Joseleo “Bibiboy” Tan — also committed to bring different air in the name of public service and social change to his local jurisdiction. Evident to this commitment are infrastructure realized throughout his leadership. To name these wonderful undertakings which his constituents are enjoying are concreted pathways, footbridge, street lights and CCTV installations, constructions of chapel, multipurpose building, barangay plaza, health center, and emergency response vehicle that is not only limited within Poblacion East but also accessible by other barangays. Kap. Bibiboy Tan also advocates for environment protection and preservation. Among his achievements, Pob East was the first barangay to successfully achieve Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) under the partnership of Department of Health (DOH) and  the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) aiming to end open defecation. He is a recipient of awards of appreciation  from different organizations such as ACF (Action Centre la Faim) International, UNICEF and the Local Government of Milagros. I will definitely support his causes in Milagros. 

DiffPaul          I also believe that Milagreños can globally compete. Remember TMA Most Admirable Bachelor finalist Paul Germar Espinas who presently resides in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam?  He is making a name, internationally. He is the founder of the UpUp App, an interactive project management and HR services company that rewards employees for completing tasks and hitting KPIs. Before the idea of starting his own business, Paul was the Director of Marketing of VietnamWorks.com. Recently, he travelled to many different countries to market his successful app. DiffArtag        Another Milagreño in the Middle East is also emerging as the only Masbateño to date to hold such highest position. Sir D’Artagnan Bantiling Oliva is the current Operations Manager of MERAAS Dubai, one of the best real estate developers in UAE. He was the former General Manager of the famous Burj Al Arab. “Kuya Tag” as I fondly call him, helps his relatives and our kahilungsod to find employment in the region. 

DiffRasti       While in the City of Makati, Philippines is Erasto Lupango Panes tasting his own glory of success as the current Director of AFS Philippines Inc., an international brokerage firm with offices in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and The Netherlands. Early in his career, Rasty worked as a Consultant of Rural Banks and other lending companies engaged in Microlending and SMEs operations. He spent his more than ten years in CARD Bank Inc and held various positions such as Regional Director, Assistant Vice-President for Learning and Development at CARD MRI Development Institute, and Internal Technical Provider at Partner MFIs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

Paul, Kuya Tag, and Rasty are in demand in a corporate world precisely because of their bright minds and strong decision making.

Jumping to next set of talents, our noble teachers, are:DiffGregorio         Sir Gregorio Apues Legal, the School Principal of Mary Perpetua E. Brioso National High School (MPEBNHS)  of Tigbao, Milagros, has brought honor to this school for bagging the 2017 and 2018 Brigada Eskwela Best Implementing School Winner for Secondary Medium Category. The said award is an annual program initiated by DepEd aims to promote volunteerism among the members of community and to ensure that the school is safe and clean learning environment for the students. Legal, is the man behind the success of the school electrification through the solar electrification project provided by One Meralco Foundation. Last September 2018, MPEBNHS is also one of the beneficiaries of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Medicine Donation Program held in Manila. Sir Gregorio was a graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education in Osmeña College and placed top 10 in the April 2009 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). 

 DiffJoseOliva        The next educator worth of respect, is an Industrial Engineer. Jose “Boy” Lacson Oliva, for most of his friends is a mathematician. Most of his teaching career (Mathematics, Calculus and Physics) revolved around academias in Metro Manila (San Sebastian College (Manila), University of the East, Arellano University, Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP Manila), AMA Computer University, Siena College (Quezon City), National College of Business and Arts, Ortanez University, Perpetual Help System University in Laguna, PATS School of Aeronautics, Jose Rizal University (Mandaluyong), and Rizal State University). He is currently teaching at Mariners Polytechnic College Foundation in Legazpi City, where he was awarded as Best Performing Professor of the Year and Student Choice Award for 2015. 

DiffJoey       Another teacher included in the list is Joey Cabarles Canaway of Sitio Mapili, Barangay Tawad. He focuses on his teaching career to help his family needs as he is the family’s breadwinner. This 2014 Mr. Pagdangan fourth runner-up was a scholar of LGU Milagros when he was studying in DEBESMCAT. He passed the March 2017 LET. Currently, he is a Junior High School teacher at Sulpicio T. Condor Sr. National High School in the municipality of Cawayan.

DiffAlvinDelaCruz         The next professional teacher I selected was born and raised in Bara, Milagros. Alvin excelled academically and very active in co-curricular activities. He was his class salutatorian in Melchor B. Burlaos Memorial High School in Bara and a recipient of “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Award of Outstanding Achievements” during the 2010 graduation ceremony.  He once brought pride to the Division Province of Masbate after representing the province to the Regional Skills Development Competitions where he was crowned 1st Runner-Up in the Mr. and Miss STEP (Student Technologists and Entrepreneurs of the Philippines) 2009 held at Camarines Sur National High School, Naga City. He also successfully represented the Municipality of Milagros during the Mr. and Miss Rodeo Masbateño 2011 where he bagged the 1st Runner-Up spot. He was sent to the said competition after winning the first ever title of Ginoong Pagdangan 2010. He obtained his Bachelor in Secondary Education major in English at City of Malabon University and eventually passed the Professional Licensure Examination for Teachers in September 25, 2016.

       Their talents, skills and characteristics are the qualities that made them a good and great mentors. 

DiffJulius         I have three nominees working as seafarers, however, the two asked me not to include them. Thank you to Julius Galvan Galve for responding and accepting my challenge. This very generous seaman who is presently working for Crossworld Marine Services Inc. He donated a portion of his land in Sitio Imbudo, Barangay Jamorawon to be used as a small plaza. Julius also loves farming so in April 2018, he registered the first Jamorawon Vegetables Farmers Association (JVFA) through Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which he organized himself. The organization’s objectives are to unite all farmers, to further improve the knowledge in modern farming, and to help market their local produce. His ultimate vision is to make Jamorawon as one of the big vegetable producers in Masbate. 

DiffChristianLuzong        In the same field, another young farmer is Christian Alvarez Luzong of Barangay Narangasan, Milagros. His parents, currently managing the Lucky CJ Farm, were the ones who motivated him to continue the family business. Christian became a  Facebook sensation because of his Urban Container Gardening platform advocating for organic and natural farming system. Through this he was invited to present in many seminars, trainings, and conferences on the same topic throughout the Philippines. He believes that sharing gardening knowledge can help eradicate our country’s food security issues. Christian presently lives in Finland with his wife and will go home back soon to Masbate. 

DiffRadam        Next highlight is for performing professionals. The first is Radam “Bong” Almoguera, a professional dance instructor who now lives in Imus, Cavite. Since 2011, Almoguera is the Dance Instructor Head for Senior Citizens of Dasmariñas. He works as well  as a dance consultant for Congresswoman Jennifer  Barzaga of the 4th District of Cavite. He joined and won in different ballroom competitions. He was the Grand Champion during the 2016 Region 4 Carnation Ballroom Competition.

DiffAlvinCaca        Another dance enthusiast is Alvin Sia Caca who loves to hit the dance floor with his hip-hop and modern dance Filipino group in Kuwait City. In December 2016, he was officially launched as member of Next Episode Crew after he passed the audition. His group was hailed as grand champion last September 2017 during the Salmiya Talent Hunt 2017 (Dance Category) in Kuwait. Alvin is the Chef Supervisor of The Kind Ones Restaurant in Kuwait.  Radam and Alvin are proven that Milagreños can do classic, ballroom or modern dance anywhere in an overwhelmingly big crowd.. 

DiffNoel        Our snappy salute to our roster of Law Enforcers who made to the list. Senior Police Officer 2 Noel Villegas Dalanon II and Philippine Army Murito Danao gave a positive response. October 3, 2005 when Noel was successfully admitted to the PNP service. In his thirteen years in the service, he was promoted and awarded with Best Police Non-Commissioned Officer (PNCO) in 2009, Best Police Community Relations (PCR) and Police Non-Commissioned Officer (PNCO) in 2011. He had been part of many law enforcement operations and anti-criminality campaigns throughout the province that he received total of 23 awards and medals such as Medalya ng Paglilingkod laban sa Kriminalidad (1), Medalya ng Paglilingkod sa Luzon (4),Medalya ng Papuri (8), Medalya ng Kasanayan (7) and Medalya ng Kagalingan (3). Currently, SPO2 Noel is assigned at PHQ, Masbate PPO, designated as Foreign Liaising Section Police Non-Commissioned Officer (FLS PNCO). 


Meanwhile, on August 1, 2003 Murito Danao joined the Philippine Army service. Last year, this tough guy was in Marawi, fighting the Maute terrorists. Our gratitude to Noel and Murito for serving and protecting our town and country. 

diffEking             The next Milagreño who made in the list is a dedicated and a great father. Mr Enrique “Eking” Valenzuela is a proud fish vendor. This man raised his children with many learnings in life. According to his daughter who is now a licensed teacher “Papa is the man who always reminds us that family always comes first. He chooses “bulad” rather than meat. If life would give me another chance to live and will give me the oppurtunity to choose a father, I would choose him again not because I already knew that I was once his daugther but because I know that he will give his all and his best to raise his family.” Wonderful father like Tay Eking will make home a better place.

DiffJoshua           Two young dreamers captured my heart by their stories. First is Joshua Grico Acaba who is now enjoying his job as a Restaurant Crew of Banaple. Joshua did not give up after he failed twice to finish his dream to become a teacher. He was a CHED scholar in Bicol University taking up BSED major in Physics and then transferred to Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Arts and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) to continue his goal. Because of financial problem he decided to stop his studies and worked in different establishments in Masbate and Manila. He knows that education is very important so he enrolled in Access Computer College, passed the assessment and certificate for Hotel and Restaurant Services NCII. He plans to work abroad to fullfill what he promised to his mother who passed away last year.
DiffCaezarAnother young man who has a big dream and full of hope is Caezar Vibar De Castro II. Caezar is an independent software developer based in Laguna. He finished his BS Pharmacy degree from Centro Escolar University but pursued his interests in internet and business. It was in 2016 when he started his own business by creating a website: www.bytes-crafter.com where it offers web hosting solutions, games and mobile applications, film and animation, graphic design and music and sound fx. Most of his projects are BPO websites and e-commerce. He is also currently studying BS Computer Science in AMA Computer College – Online Education. I am pretty sure these two optimistic guys will soon succeed.
The last three Milagreños to complete this group of men are consist of an Engineer, a Fire Officer and a Writer. Engineer Richard Doctolero Fallega is in Romblon working as a Project Manager of ALGIMAR Construction and a part time instructor at Romblon State University. He is a licensed Civil Engineer, a registered Master Plumber, certified Material Engineer and safety officer.
DiffMarcelo        Another talented and pride of Barangay Bara is Fire Officer 3 Marcelo Andaya Lagsa II. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts major in Philosophy and minor in religious studies from the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City. He earned units for Master of Arts in Teaching and Master in Public Administration from Osmeña College, Masbate. In 2006, he applied and was appointed as Fire Officer 1 (FO1) at the Bureau of Fire Protection, National Head Quarters. After OJT and Fire Basic Recruit Course Training, he was down loaded to the BFP Provincial Office serving as finance clerk. In 2009, he was reassigned to Aroroy Central Fire Station holding the office job under the Admin Section at the same time as Nozzleman in the Operation Section. After a year, he was designated as Assistant MFM for Admin and conceptualized the edition of the only newsletter of Aroroy Central Fire Station, “SIGYABO” under the instruction of the MFM Insp Nepthalie L. Pusing BFP. As Editor-in-Chief, his advocacy is to promote Masbateño Pop Culture by inserting sections on the newsletter dedicated for the Legends and stories with direct foundation from the three islands of Masbate like the True Legend of Masbate, Enchanted Snakes of Masbate, and Enchanted Stories of Masbate. Also, he also dedicated portions of the newsletter to promote Masbateño Poems. He was also designated as Fire Truck Driver and Station’s Training Instructor for Rescue (Ropes and Knots, Vehicular Accident Response, Collapse Structure, Water Safety and Rescue, High Angle and Below Grade Rescue, Disaster Preparedness and Response), Medical First Responder (Bandaging and Splinting).
      After almost 9 years as FO1, he was promoted as FO2 and after schooling in Fire Arson Investigation and Inspection Course (FAIIC), he was designated as OIC Municipal Fire Marshal of Balud Fire Station which was then a station which is soon to be founded. He solely founded and established the newly opened Balud Fire Station in September 08, 2016. On December 2016, he was promoted to FO3. Today, after establishing the Balud Fire Station, he now serve as Chief Finance, Petty Cash Custodian, Fire Arson Investigator, Fire Safety Inspector, Chief Operation Section and Chief Fire Safety Enforcement Section. Of his twelve years in fire service, he has earned  three (3) Medalya ng Papuriand one (1) Medalya ng Kasanayan and multitude of  certificates and recognitions in service and different trainings.
         The last but not the least is a poet and writer. Enrique “En” Sia Villasis is a recipient of 2011 Maningning Miclat Poetry Awards and 5 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial awards in different categories (Second Prize 2006: “De-Lata” (Futuristic Fiction -Filipino), First Prize 2011: “Agua” (Tula), First Prize 2012: “Crocopedia” (Tula), First Prize 2013: “Manansala” (Tula) and Second Prize 2014: “Marina” (Tula). In 2015, his first book “Agua: Collection of Poems” was launched and published by Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA) where he is an active member since 2007. Villasis is now working at ABS-CBN Star Creative Unit (TV Production) where he is a regular writer for Kapamilya Teleseryes. Among his projects are “Bagani”(2018), “Dolce Amor”(2016), “Bridges of Love (2015), “e-boy” (2012) and “Guns and Roses (2011). His “Bridges of Love” was nominated in 2016 International Emmy Awards for Telenovela Category. En is a graduate of Electronics Engineering (ECE) from Mapua University (formerly Mapua Institute of Technology) and earned his Master of Arts (Filipino: Malikhaing Pagsusulat) units from UP Diliman. He unselfishly shares his expertise to our future writers in fact he was the speaker of   TMA project dubbed as “ANI: Milagros Harvest of Young Talents” last May 2014.

To these 23 gentlemen and all men of Milagros who have contributed big time to our society, thank you for leading an example, for bringing honor to our hometown,  and for demonstrating the truest attitude of being a Milagreño and as a Filipino – may respeto, maabilidad at lumalaban sa hamon ng buhay! HAPPY INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY!

Note: All photos were grabbed from the respective FB accounts.