Here comes Jose Mari Chan

By Herbert Vego

WHO comes into our hearts, eyes and ears today and every first day of September?

Here comes singer Jose Mari Chan, singing “Christmas In Our Hearts” and other songs in his Christmas album that has sold more than 800,000 copies, according to the Philippine Association of Recording Industry (PARI).

September 1, therefore, has become the first day of Christmas in the Philippines.  This should make Chan the “flavor of the ber months”.

Unknown to Chan’s fans, “Christmas In Our Hearts” was originally written with different lyrics by a relatively unknown Chari Cruz-Zarate, intended for the silver jubilee celebration of the Assumption High School Class of 1963.

Chan decided to revise and turn it into a Christmas tune, realizing it was too good to merely come and go on jubilee day.

The record producer, Bella Dy Tan, initially had Lea Salonga in mind to record it for commercial release.  But Lea was too busy performing for the Broadway musical ”Miss Saigon” that she declined.

Monique Wilson emerged as the second choice. She agreed to do it but lost her voice on the scheduled recording day.

Who would still doubt that Jose Mari Chan was destined to record the song himself?

By the way, another fact unknown to today’s young generation is that Chan was a fan of British singer Cliff Richard, a sensation in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s.

Chan first appeared on the local music scene as a guest on Pilita Corrales’s TV program, “An Evening with Pilita ” in 1965. He sounded just like his idol Cliff Richard, whose song “Constantly” had become a global hit.

This became very apparent when Chan himself recorded his first single, “Afterglow,” in 1967.

Two years later in 1969, his first long-play album, “Deep in My Heart,” came out in 1969.

In 1973, he represented the Philippines in the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo with his song “Can We Just Stop and Talk Awhile?”

Thanks to  Bogs Balonzo for supplying me with bits and pieces on JoMa Chan.



“HEART-BREAKING” is the kindest emotion we felt on seeing on TV the “parliamentary courtesy” that the House of Representatives’ appropriations committee heaped on Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio the other day during the budget hearing for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The budget deliberation could have begun and ended smoothly if the agenda focused only on the allotted 2024 budgets for the OVP and DepEd — P2.39-billion and P758.6 billion, respectively – considering the “tyranny of the majority” that the House is notorious for.

For the same reason, her request for P500 million allocation for confidential and intelligence fund (CIF) for her OVP and P150 million for DepEd were likewise as good as approved before the start of the session. She was in the House, breathing on the congressmen’s necks.

But the fly in the ointment was the question on legality of the OVP’s P125-million confidential funds for the year 2022, which had not been included in that year’s General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Sara’s predecessor, Vice-President Leni Robredo, whose term ended in June 2022, had never asked for a single centavo of CIF but made do with an annual budget of only P700 million.

Ms. Duterte-Carpio vaguely told the committee that she could defend the use of the unappropriated P125 million.

But when Rep. France Castro (ACT party-list) stood to ask Sara to explain her 2022 use of P125 million CIF, Rep. Zandro Marcos (the President’s son) quickly moved to terminate the deliberations.

The said allotment had been coursed through a belated special allotment release order (SARO) issued by the Department of Budget and Management on December 13, 2022.

Castro and a few other congressmen known as the Makabayan bloc had criticized the “secret expenses,” citing a provision in the 1987 Constitution: “No money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.”

We would not be surprised if Sara is waxing “confidential” in pursuit of a higher ambition in 2028.

The hypocrisy behind the “unity” between the Marcoses and the Dutertes could not be hidden.

However, supposing Sandro’s strategy is to foment public rage against Sara for being “greedy”?

Take note that his uncle, Speaker Martin Romualdez, is  reportedly also aiming for the presidency in 2028.

Ang saya-saya!



READER Rod Jarumahum texted to commend MORE Power for “not bowing” to typhoon Goring that had flooded scores of barangays in Iloilo City.  There were very few incidents of weather-related brownouts.

This happy development must have stemmed from MOREPower’s modernization program, which calls for replacement of old poles, crossbars, transformers, conductors, cables, insulators and earthing systems.

Gone are most of the unsightly spaghetti wires on the horizon.

The DU has also been generous in publishing safety tips in its Facebook page, such as this one:

“When working outdoors, always prioritize safety by never using an indoor-rated extension cord for the job. Indoor cords lack the durability to withstand outdoor conditions, making them prone to damage, overheating, and potential fires.

“Opt for extension cords explicitly designed for outdoor use, as they are built to withstand environmental challenges. Also inspect your cords regularly for wear and tear, and replace damaged ones promptly.

“By using the right extension cords [preferably recommended by licensed electricians], you’re reducing fire risks and ensuring a safer outdoor work environment.”