Lest We Forget


Compiled by Chan Chee Khiong

Gifts of talent

Tony Alabastro

January 20, 2001 – Philippine Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz Aranca said Sultan Saiful Rijal who ruled Brunei after the reign of the first Sultan Bolkiah, and Filipino national hero Jose Rizal, share a mystery.

“Nobody knows where he got the family name Rizal, his real name is Jose Mercado We don’t know if he knew the existence of Sultan Rijal, who lived in the 16th country. It’s one of the mysteries we have to solve.”

Sultan Saiful Rijal propagated Islamic teachings through Borneo and the Philippines. Brunei became known as the Islamic Development Centre during his reign.

Cruz-Araneta spoke during the Philippine Night at the Royal Berkshire Banquet Hall of the Jerudong Park Polo Club hosted by the Philippine Department of Tourism, the Embassy of the Philippines in Brunei Darussalam and the Philippine Tourism Industry.

She said the Balikbayani (Returning Heroes) Club, a drive to encourage Filipinos to host foreign guests in their own homes in the Philippines, will soon be launched in Brunei.

She bagged her country’s first of two Miss International beauty crowns (in Long Beach, California) in 1964, and donated her prize money of USD10,000 to a Manila orphanage, Boy’s Town.

Philippine Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta is a former world beauty queen with a heart for poor children. PHOTOS: RUDOLF PORTILLO
Sinika (Sining Kalikasan) singing beauties from the oil-rich province of Palawan

Following the launch of Visit Brunei Year 2001 and Asean Campaign 2002, Philippine Night showcased “gifts of talents from noted Filipino singers and musicians”, said Ambassador of the Philippines to Brunei Darussalam Enrique Zaldivar.

Wearing feathered headgear and colourful skirts, the Sinika musical troupe from Palawan sang environment-themed song accompanied by native instruments.

Noted violinist John Lesaca played a medley of native lullabies and melodies while pop classical singers Mazo Diez and Jonathan Badon sang an Andreas Bocelli-Celine Dion original.

Diez soloed a song for people who are broken-hearted, Ikaw (You), while Badon sang about the virtues of riding a Calesa, a horse and carriage popular since the Spanish times of Jose Rizal.

The Master of ceremonies was Tourism Sttache at the Philippine Tourism Office in Singapore Phineas A Alburo, according to Cultural Attache and Information Officer, Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Carmen Lirio Sta Maria.

Representing Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretary General Rodolfo U Severino Jr was Senior Officer, Public Information, The Asean Secretariat Vic Albornoz Lactaoen. Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) General Manager Nixon T Kua was represented by Yssa U Tizon of the PTA Marketing & Sales Department.

Plants for good luck

Cedrina Clark

January 20, 2001 – With the Chinese New Year just around the comer, the Chinese community is busy preparing for the festival

The year 2001 in the Chinese calendar is the year of the Snake.

Fresh flowers, green plants and artificial plants and flowers are available from Evershine Florist in a corner of Hua Ho Supermarket in Kampong Kiulap, Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan.

We can take flower arrangements according to one’s pick and choice according to Maricel, who has been with the florist for four years, and Naphiza, both Filipinas.

A bamboo basket is decorated with life fresh orchids, sweet honey oranges, and pussy willows.

It is wrapped with a beautiful transparent plastic having a flower design

The corner shop has freshly cut flowers, potted flowers, and African Violets.

It also sells potted lime or kasturi plants, which the Chinese believe will bring good luck

It is good for interior and exterior decoration.

Pussy willows and bamboo plants and many more are also available.

A decorated basket filled with orchids, pussy willows, and sweet oranges, is held by Naphiza and Maricel (L). Bamboo plants. Red strings and ribbons are believed to bring good luck. PHOTOS: CEDRINA CLARK