“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”—Natalie Massenet

WHILE President Rodrigo R. Duterte called Iloilo City as “the most shabulized”, Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin was all praises for the City of Love, calling it “like Singapore.”

The President based his statement on “intelligence report” while the Chief Justice based his on what he and his wife, who accompanied him during the 17th National Convention of Lawyers held at the Iloilo Convention Center from March 28-31, 2019, saw with their own eyes.

While intelligence reports can mislead us, our eyes cannot.

Chief Justice Bersamin and his wife were simply amazed by Iloilo City’s cleanliness, especially the highly regarded Iloilo River, one of the best rivers in the world.




When important and credible people say nice things about Iloilo City based on their personal experiences and independent scrutiny, those who say negative and spread derogatory words about Iloilo City based on hearsay and muckraking, will sound and look like fools, especially if they have ill-motives.

When the Bersamin couple and the 3,000 lawyers who attended the recent convention went back to their respective cities and provinces, they would surely spread the good impression they have gathered about Iloilo City.

No amount of brainwashing and twisting of facts and reality from people with ax to grind against Iloilo City and its leaders can change or influence the favorable and truthful impressions.




Now that the heads of the two branches of government–the executive and the judiciary– have expressed their contrasting views about Yrong-Yrong, Ilonggos will be waiting for the honest-to-goodness opinions of the Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo about the erstwhile “Queen City of the South” (the title the Ilonggos allegedly “lost” to Cebu City) to complete the tango.

Having been in Iloilo City more than a dozen times in the past, both leaders of Congress’ upper and lower chambers would never lie if asked about their own impression of Iloilo City under the new local administration and the administrations to come.

Other recent convention attendees, including foreigners, businessmen and dignitaries, must have seen what the Bersamin couple have seen in Iloilo City.

Or more than the cleanliness and orderliness in the metropolis, if they stayed longer.




Candidates for the May elections who will “win” in surveys–bogus or genuine–to be conducted anytime this month should not react as if they hit a lotto jackpot.

As much as possible, they should refrain from “thanking the people for their trust and confidence; for their unwavering or continuing support, etcetera.”

The more they react this way, the more will people suspect the surveys where they “win” are rigged or staged as part of mind-conditioning.

If the surveys are legitimate, the outfits that commissioned the surveys will be the ones to report them to the media.

Let them convey the message to the public. 

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)