No gain from Dinagyang tickets – JPT

By Herbert Vego

WHILE I have no role whatsoever in promoting the forthcoming Iloilo Dinagyang Festival on Saturday and Sunday, friends and relatives have been asking me about where to buy tickets. No problem. According to the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc. (IFFI), they are available at Hotel Del Rio, GT Hotel, Days Hotel and Richmonde Hotel.

Honestly, though, I don’t know whether tickets are still available for the main staging area at Freedom Grandstand, or at any of the three others along the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, Mabini-Delgado, and Quezon-Ledesma streets.

If there are still vacant bleacher seats, it must be because of the prohibitive prices ranging from ₱500, ₱1,000 to ₱1,500 (depending on proximity to performance area) for the “Kasadyahan sa  Kabanwahanan” on Saturday; and from ₱1500, ₱2,000 to ₱2,500 for the “Ati-Ati Tribes Competition” on Sunday.

Honestly, I could not understand why they are priced so high. It used to be only ₱1,000 for the entire two days at Freedom Grandstand. Perhaps, I guessed, would some of the proceeds go to Iloilo City Hall for whatever government projects need funding?

When the opportunity presented itself last Sunday, I asked Mayor Jerry Treñas whether City Hall would gain from ticket sales.

“No,” he quipped.

Oh well, IFFI is a tax-exempt foundation. Under Sec. 30 of the Tax Code, foundations are exempt from income tax under certain conditions with respect to the funds it generates from donations, grants, and operations geared towards the fulfillment of its purpose as a foundation.

Weh, ano nga ba ang purpose?



“OH no!”

That was how I reacted to the unexpected news last Monday, Jan. 22, about the death of journalist, historian and former Iloilo board member and vice-governor Demy P. Sonza – one of the few politicians who had not been tainted with graft and corruption.

He was already 89 and a few days short of his 90th birthday on March 3.  I guess he was really looking forward to that because he had made a 100-day countdown on his Facebook page.

On the first day of the countdown on November 24, 2023, he wrote, “By God’s grace, I plan to meaningfully celebrate this milestone in my life to the glory of the Lord.”

But the Lord must have asked him to hurry up to the waiting arms of his late wife, Gloria, who passed away in 2009.

Reviewing his page, I noticed that his last entry last Friday (Jan. 5), was “58 Days to My 90th Birthday.”  Underneath, he composed a short poem with accompanying picture about the smallest rose locally called pitimini. Nothing else.

I can only guess that he was no longer feeling well on that day because, in response to a lady who would like to pay him a visit, he wrote, “Wa-ay ako nagabaton bisita anay. Order sang doctor, Suzett.”

Manong Demy is a great loss to us in the writing field, way back from his days as a working student at Central Philippine University (CPU) in the 1950s. If I heard right, he had written 13 books, mostly historical and biographical.

On the lighter side, he was planning to compile in book form his humorous Facebook essays about his glorious life with wife Gloria, to be titled “The Way with my Wife”.



INSTEAD of placating its blackout “victims”, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has raised its transmission charge by 10 centavos or 19%, thus adding the amount to bills payable to the distribution utilities.

As a result, MORE Power has likewise added the same amount per kilowatt-hour effective the present billing period between January 18 and February 14, 2024.  In other words, the amount would be added to the December 2023 rate.

Are we being blackmailed into bearing the added burden in order to stay energized?

Anyway, here’s the reason given by NGCP: The amount would pay for inflated ancillary services that are essential to maintenance and reliability of power lines, enabling the system to resist power failure.

MORE Power itself, however, has imposed no extra charge for distribution, and metering.

Another good news is that the power plants have slightly lowered the generation charges that also pass through MORE Power’s billing system.

The latest cumulative power bill collected by MORE Power (doubling as a collecting agent for NGCP and power plants) was only ₱10.2259 per kilowatt-hour.



CONGRATULATIONS, Doc Lemuel John Tonogan, a young orthopedic surgeon, for being one of the two global winners of the prestigious AO Spine contest. “AO” is for Association of Osteosynthesis.

Tonogan, a spine fellow, participated in the AO spine contest known as “My Most Challenging Case”.This extraordinary case involved the endoscopic removal of a bullet done sometime last October at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City.

The young doctor, a 2015 graduate of the Western Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Medicine, was selected as one of the two winners worldwide.  Because of his groundbreaking case, he will represent the Philippines in the World Surgery Tour Festival in Germany.

His achievement not only highlights the cutting-edge expertise of our team but also puts the Philippines on the map of the global spine surgery community.

Dr. Tonogan, who is still pursuing his spine surgery fellowship at Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital, hails from Brgy. Badiang, San Jose, Antique.

He is the eldest son of Dr. Samuel T. Tonogan and the former Leany Moscoso. He is married to  Dr. Angela Grace Debuque-Tonogan, an anesthesiologist.