By Mielmia Marie T. Baquiran
The Provincial Government of Cagayan recently hosted the lakbay-aral of the members of the Congressional Spouses, Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) in the province last March 1-4, 2012. The congressional spouses toured various municipalities including Tuguegarao City, Peñablanca, Piat, Iguig, Alcala, Lallo, Gonzaga and Sta. Ana.
Governor Alvaro T. Antonio joined Congressman Randolph S. Ting of the 3rd Congressional District of the province; CSFI Member Michelle Antonio (wife of Congressman Patrick Antonio of Agbiag Partylist and the coordinator of the lakbay-aral); different Mayors of the province; Blessida Diwa, DOT Region 02 Regional Director; Jenifer Junio-Baquiran, Tourism Officer of Cagayan; PGC Department Heads and employees; City Government of Tuguegarao; DOT; police officers of PNP; students of USLT; and other well-wishers in welcoming the group during their arrival at the Tuguegarao City airport on March 1, 2012.
The group was welcomed by the University of St. Louis Tuguegarao drum and lyre corps and they were treated with local delicacies at the nearby arrival area. The group then proceeded to the St. Peter and Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral for a brief educational lecture on the history of the church. A dozen kalesa (horse-drawn carriage) were waiting for the group for a “joyride” around town. After the ride, the congressional spouses went to St. Paul University for another church visit before they proceeded to Hotel Delfino for lunch, which was sponsored by Mayor Delfin Ting. They visited the famous Callao Caves in the afternoon and watched with awe the circadian flight of bats, as the municipality of Peñablanca, through Mayor Marilyn Julia-Taguinod, sponsored a program for them.
The second day was a trip to Piat, visit to the Tuguegarao RIC and Demo farm before they proceeded to San Pablo, Isabela. The group returned to the province for a night in Sun City, Sta. Ana. Meanwhile, they had a stopover in Alcala to visit the famous old house in town and St. Philomene church.
Governor Antonio hosted the “Governor’s Night” with a luau theme party in Sta. Ana with the participation of the local government, headed by Sta. Ana Mayor Darwin Tobias, BMs, Mayors from other municipalities and other visitors. In his message during the gathering, Governor Antonio extended his gratitude to the congressional spouses. He said that their visit to the province is a worthy way to promote the tourism offerings of Cagayan. “I hope that you will be able to impart to some of your colleagues and family how beautiful Cagayan is. We hope that you can visit us again,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jenifer Junio-Baquiran, Tourism Officer of the province said that the visit of the congressional spouses in Cagayan is an opportunity to showcase our vibrant culture and the province’s potential as one of the preferred tourism destinations in the country. “We also hope that the group will be our partners in pushing tourism progress in the province and the region,” she said.
In Sta. Ana, the group visited Palaui island where they planted mangroves. Before going back to Tuguegarao City on the third day of the lakbay-aral, the ladies were treated to a lunch and cultural show by Mayor Carlitos Pentecostes in Gonzaga. They also visited the historical St. Dominic Church in Lallo. Board Member of the 1st District Olive Pascual and Lallo Mayor Florante Pascual welcomed the guests to the historic municipality.
Meanwhile, a streetdance and cultural show was awaiting for the group in Iguig. Iguig Mayor Juditas Trinidad and Vice Mayor Ferdinand Trinidad gladly welcomed the visitors to the municipality.
The CSFI is a non-governmental organization comprising of the spouses and family members of the country’s House of Representatives. It was founded to complement their husbands’ legislative initiatives through various socio-civic actions like rehabilitation of women victims of abuse in the country.
CSFI funded many charitable institutions and initiated various programs. It has helped women and children in the country by giving them a large scope of services for their care, protection, recovery, rehabilitation, and development.
At present, the organization’s President is Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte of Quezon City, the daughter of House Speaker Sonny Belmonte.