Monday, October 09, 2006

SOS for Sorsogon

Please say a short prayer for my hometown, Sorsogon, which bore the brunt of Typhoon Milenyo's destruction.

Although things seemed to have returned to normal by the time I came to visit one week later, the city remains in terrible condition: no power (the electric cooperative, mired in debt, projects full power restoration only by December), no classes everywhere with the extensive damage to school buildings, hundreds of evacuees still housed in classrooms, and ordinary businesses that can't afford generators unable to function. The regional power breakdown extends all the way to Camarines Sur. On my way back by bus to Manila, town after town was in total darkness, and the lights came on only in Lucena.

In terms of human casualties, Milenyo isn't the worst storm to hit Sorsogon. Typhoon Sisang in 1987 was far deadlier, with enormous floods claiming some 3,000 lives, 600 alone in the coastal barangay where I lived. But Sorsoganons agree that while Milenyo didn't dump too much rainwater, it had much stronger winds. The result was more widespread destruction to property.

The belfry of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which hosted a radio-TV tower (a striking image of religion embracing technology), now stabs the skyline with a mass of twisted steel. Smart, which also used the tower as a cellsite, is said to be under contract to help rebuild the tower. Do it, Smart, and people like me might just consider switching from Globe (which, incidentally, took about two weeks to restore its signal in Sorsogon compared to Smart's two days).

If you wish to help, donations may be sent to Ella Duran Nolasco (6469980), Azucena Grajo-Uranza (9289844) and Fr. Noli Alparce (0917-8877927).

In the hurlyburly of our urban lives, we light a candle to our roots.


totepperez said...


salamatonon for this article and for the pics. you gave me a glimpse of Milenyo's trail...

i hope the OLPS Alumni Foundation willalso do its share...


benj said...

I could somehow relate to this a bit. Though my hometown (Sto. Tomas, Batangas) was not as badly ravaged as Sorsogon, the typhoon did cause a muddy flashflood to engulf nearly everything under shoulder level. The cars in our garage were literally floating and banging against each other.

I've only been to Sorsogon once (to Donsol). And ironically, my family went there without reading the weather report. As luck would have it, there was a freakin' storm coming the next day! hehe. Im not sure, but I think that typhoon was 'Caloy'.

the roads were blocked by fallen trees by the time we were trying to drive out. i actually took pics of the timber blocking the road. somebody from your network actually told me that you could've used the pictures because it was hard to get them because of the conditions. Too bad my pictures didn't make it.

I hope your hometown gets up from this. best of luck.

gibbs cadiz said...

thanks a lot, benj. uh, btw, when you say 'from your network,' you mean a TV network? am with inquirer, not gma. just to clarify. :)

benj said...

ah. i see. sorry mr gibbs. please accept my apology.

wendell said...

thanks for this gibbs. i was about to send you cheers about your blog's bituing walang ningning article being published in the inquirer today (i read philippine newspapers here daily online). i feel so sad for sorsogon. i didn't realize you're from there. one of my closest college friends is menchie lanuza who grew up there--we were classmates in college along with arnold clavio, shirley pizarro (bulletin), edmund silvestro (filipino reporter, new york), ian farinas (people's journal/tonight). lito zulueta, glenda gloria, patrick paez and jim libiran were our editors in the school paper. menchie's dad was vice mayor in the 1980s i think. professor elmer ordonez of UP (later lyceum and FEU) is from there too. and if im not mistaken professor paz rodriguez hidalgo of UP european languages dept and her famous sister tita CELIA RODRIGUEZ are from there too. the alindogans, our neighbors in sampaloc when i was growing up, are from sorsogon as well. ive been to sorsogon (way beyond irosin and the point where you board the boat to samar). twice. bicol is so beautiful. can't typhoons go to the white house instead? take care over there.


gibbs cadiz said...

hi wendell, thank you for your post. i agree completely--why can't typhoons visit the white house and the pentagon instead? :) lemme tell lito z. about his being one of YOUR editors. that should tell us about his real age, haha. :)... yes, sorsogon has produced its fair share of good people, including PDI founding chairman Eggie Apostol, this year's Magsaysay awardee for Journalism. we're so proud. baligtarin ko: the Lord taketh away, but the Lord also giveth. :)

Ole Danielsen said...


I have a girlfriend in Sorsogon and I have gotten info about the destruction, I have of course sent money for them to repair their house and to help the closest neighbours, but I guess many many more would need help.

I wish Sorsogon the best, and I am at this moment searching for a house there.

Ingat Ka


Anonymous said...

Aemilianum Broadcasting Network: One Voice (DWAM-FM, The Emergency Radio)

It was October 3, 2006, when Aemilianum Broadcasting Network’s campus radio, broke the odds of silence which momentarily engulfed the city of Sorsogon, courtesy of Milenyo. It was a momentous day for communication in a city when nothing could be heard but sounds coming from different tounges, which at many times filthy and irresponsible. It was the day when the primitive word of mouth way of communication became the master of information. Whatever was it, it was a triumph of mind over matter, of one’s ingenuity, this time I am referring to Fr. Paolo Alutto and the batch of wacky but working individuals led by Rosauro Amistoso. They installed the not impossible but important task of delivering information via DWAM-FM 94.3 mhz, the campus radio turn into an EMERGENCY RADIO.

Eight of them, nine to be exact, to include Fr. Paolo Alutto, this Sauro - led technicians braved the heat on top of ACI’s building fixed, installed what was the Emergency Radio. Sweatingly on a rotation basis, these students upon instruction from Amistoso did a job they knew will surely be proud of as long as they live.

Aemilianum Patron SaintSo, the sound on air began. It was a sound many thought coming from a different areal location, and turned out to be voices of Manny Daep, et al. Thus, Aemilianum Broadcasting Network took the gigantic move of delivering news, music and informations to the people of Sorsogon City. The batteries that never worked before did. The transistors functioned either through batteries or generator. People as per text messages rejoiced, thanking Aemilianum for facing a tough odd, for lurking through dark moments of uncertainties. Yet, it was a deed done, to the benefit of everybody.

AITV 5 SatellitesOne or two weeks, it was only one voice, until suddenly power is slowly restored, the communicators were back one by one. But history unveiled again the Emergency Radio leading the pack. Milenyo’s aftermath, its wrath chronicled and talked at DWAM-FM. Leading voices of Governor Lee, Cong. Escudero, Cong. Solis were heard over the Emergency Radio, their seething voices of power, of consolation, of comfort, and the people listened and understood. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condoled, the city Mayor cried, Soreco is restored, yet the emergency radio DWAM-FM remained steadily at work. Even when the giant radio networks resumed operation the lowly DWAM-FM, the campus radio, the Emergency Radio, continued at one time stood tall and delivered giant tasks.

ONE VOICE, ONE RADIO …. what else?

Nothing else but the EMERGENCY RADIO, DWAM-FM, 94.3 mhz.



DWAM-FM news director



Anonymous said...


From 1989 to 1993 some experimental transmission were
performed in Aemilianum Institute, ( now Aemilianum College) by the
GRCO STUDENTS (General Radio Communication Operator) in FM Band (88-
108 Mhz) with a power of 50 Watts, approximately. During these
experiments we discussed the opportunity to install an FM Station,
not commercial, to serve the students and the school as a
laboratory . At the same time a RADIO TRAINING STATION "DU ECO PAPA
(DU E P)" and an Amateur Station "DU U W" , operating in Short waves
and FM, were already operating.
We requested a permit to operate an Fm Radio Station to
N T C , in Legazpi, in the September 1993.
After almost 18 months, in May 1995, a Permit to operate, as
Educational Radio Station in FM "DWAM-FM 94.3 Mhz, at a low power of
10 Watts (=EIRP 20 watts) was granted.
With a good Antenna system (4 collinear dipoles , vertical
polarization ), with assembled transmitter, made with Italian
professional modules, even with a low power we can cover Sorsogon
city and its municipality.
We so started to air regular programs, from 5.00 a.m. to
11.00 p.m. with music, requests and news. Four D.J., two technicians
and some OJT students were at work.
A telephone line was also installed in the booth, for live
requests and dedications. Our audience was including students,
families and music lovers, day and night .
In 1994 we started to collaborate with EWTN and VOICE OF
AMERICA; first receiving cassettes and VCD pre-recorded, then, in
1997, installing parabolic antennas for a direct connection via
satellite, with EWTN in Alabama, USA, and VOICE OF AMERICA in
Washington, DC, USA.
With direct connection, we pass to a 24 h. service per day. Only one
D.J. and one technician were enough. EWTN for religious programmes;
But very few were the sponsors for our radio programs.
We are an educational , not commercial radio station : this is a
new radio station in the radio waves of Sorsogon city and province .
When we started the TV (2002-2003) we adopted the simulcast system:
some radio and TV programs in the same time in radio and Tv , to
reduce the expenses.

With the development of computer applied to communications, in 2004
we started to think of computerizing the radio programs. In april
2005 it was ready and from may 1, 2005 our radio station was
completely authmatized; 3 computers in LAN, with Back up; no D.J. nor
technician on board. The one in charge of the system is Engr.
Atienza: 2 or 3 times a week he revises the list of music, updates
the audio-libraries in MP3 and updates the programs.

The official power of our radio is always 20 watts EIRP, but in the
practice we are above 350. You know that the efficiency of your
transmitter depends on the quality and location of your antennas.
Poor antennas and poor antenna cable reduce the output of the
transmitter, but good antennas and good location increase it. We have
two good antennas of circular polarization, JAMPRO type, but Italy

Since a long time, our radio is kept as a background in some stores,
waiting rooms and Bus terminals in Sorsogon City.


In 1998, with the opening of the new courses BSECE and AB-
MASSCOMM, we thought of putting up a TV Station, non commercial, at
low power.
We started with experiments , re-broadcasting VOA WORD NET TV on
channel 7, with only 10 watts power, 2 antennas Mosley, directive, 4
elements, home-made. We could already cover Sorsogon Town and some

We submitted our formal request to NTC and the permit to
operate arrived only in October of the year 2000. We were permitted
to operate a TV station, call sign SSTV , on channel 5, with only
10 watts power (EIRP: 20 watts).
We started a real broadcasting production with the great cooperation
of the students: local news, entertainments, culture, politics,
religious formation. The program that opened the doors of all the
houses was "INI AN BARETA", daily local news. Since we were operating
only via antenna, many people connected to Cable TV could not receive
us. They requested us to enter into cable. DCTV accepted our
proposal; later on also ESTV requested us to join their cable. At
this point the local authorities realized that the TV is a great
vehicle for communication. The Mayor and the Governor reserved their
time, and they can also pay. And up to now our signal , via
cable , reach also Casiguran and Juban , via ICCN TV , and the
remote barrios Tublijon and Rizal , via DCTV
Great audience is attracted by other programs too: KISS (KARAMBOLA
INI SA SORSOGON), an entertainment program very much expected, but
now suspended because too much demanding and too much expensive;
Besides the programs produced in the studio, we developed
great abilities in live coverage in outdoors activities downtown:
religious, social, political, cultural, like City fiesta in June,
street dances, elections , and Kasanggayahan Fiesta in October.
Our technical equipment is improved with the consistent
contribution of sponsors from abroad (Italy and USA). But the
expenses also increase by thousands. Very few the local sponsors,
very few the paid programs. The maintenance of the equipment is
extremely expensive (video cam, mixers, transmitters, satellite
receivers and Antennas , S T L systems).
One of the biggest problems here in Sorsogon is the
disastrous electric power service (power interruptions, fluctuations,
brown outs, overload power, underload power). The damages caused by
the bad electric service amounts to millions of pesos. In TV the cost
of the equipment goes by hundreds of thousands.
At present the people working in our TV station are: 3
Instructors and 22 students, under the supervision of the station

The experience of the Aemilianum Radio and TV is unique in
the Philippines. We are the only one Radio and TV educational and non
commercial. In spite of this, we have already survived for 7years
with the TV and 12 years with the radio. Other schools and
Universities have started educational radio stations or non
commercial Tv , but after a short time they either closed or became
commercial, with Franchise.

see some pics of our station :

fr. Paolo Alutto crs
Station Manager

Anonymous said...

why is the number posted of Fr. Noli Alparce not his according to the person i texted?

Anonymous said...

a different person replied in the number of Fr. Noli that is posted here at Gibbs

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