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Mar 31st
Home Sections History Why Select Magallanes Town as the Site of a World-class Movie Studio with a Revived Shipyard for Making Galleon Replicas and Sailboats?
Why Select Magallanes Town as the Site of a World-class Movie Studio with a Revived Shipyard for Making Galleon Replicas and Sailboats? PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - History
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Saturday, 16 July 2011 12:47



Why Oplan “Magellan2021” Will Be the Perfect “Prestige Project” to Reinvent the Philippines, One Province at a Time


By Lolo Bobby M. Reyes of Sorsogon City, Philippines, and West Covina, California


Part Two of a New Series on the Oplan “Magallanes2021” 


T his writer has proposed quite an ambitious 25-year plan called the “Bicol-Leyte-Samar Socio-Economic Development (BLeSSED) Program,” with major emphasis on doing five revolutions: Blue (water), Cultural, Green, ReVOTElution of Hope and Wireless. But to begin the development process, there is a need to launch a “Prestige Project” that can capture the imagination of the people and their local-government units (LGUs) and even the national government of the Philippines. And of course those of the Overseas-Filipino workers and the Overseas Filipinos.

Doing a blockbuster of a movie about the historical event of this century and at the same time reviving the Filipino film industry and an old Spanish shipyard in Magallanes town of Sorsogon Province seem to be the perfect “Prestige Project.” Here are the reasons why the move seems perfect:

1.0             The film, movie-studio and shipyard projects will not entail huge inftrastructure requirements that will also necessistate the doing of massive feasibility studies, environmental-impact reports and huge hundred-million dollar investments. Many of the film-making equipment could be leased and additional technical requirements – from editing to music and sound-track components – could be subcontracted to studios in Hollywood and/or Italy.


2.0             The presence of Hollywood and Italian movie stars will attract foreign-and-domestic tourists and tourism-industry entrepeneurs that can facilitate the development on build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) schemes the long-delayed international-airport project in the adjacent Bulan town, the road from Magallanes to Bulan and the proposed tourism infrastructures leading to the development of Sorsogon as the pilot province for a “Las Vegas-Caribbean of the Orient” series of cultural-and-gaming resorts. The movie sets and production facilities could be designed so as to have a Sorsoganon version of Universal Studios, complete with a theme park like that found in Los Angeles, California, which can be part of the tourism industry.


3.0             Then more development could be ushered in, as described in this article: How the ReVOTElution Will “Reinvent” Education and Life in Sorsogon


4.0             While it is true that the Spanish expedition commanded by Ferdinand Magellan did not land in Magallanes town, there are only two towns in the Philippines that were named after him. Then Magallanes town of Sorsogon Province is the site also of the first Catholic mass in the island of Luzon (done by the Spanish expedition led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi) plus it had a Spanish shipyard building and/or repairing galleons for more-than a century. (At the latter part of this presentation is a discussion of the many historical stories and oral history that can be turned into world-class movies and/or documentary films.)


How the Dream for Magallanes-Bulan Towns Started


B elieve it or not, the whole idea why Magallanes town in Sorsogon Province is the targeted site of “Oplan Magellan2021” started in 1955. I was then a 9-year-old third-grade student. My father, Dominador Sesbreño Reyes, won the political convention of the Nacionalista Party (NP) for governor of the province. But the NP national headquarters refused to proclaim him as the party’s official candidate because at that time, then-President Ramon Magsaysay wanted his protégée, Juan G. Frivaldo, a newspaperman, to be the party’s official candidate. The Office of the President offered my father a position in the Court of Agrarian Relations if he would not run and back up instead Mr. Frivaldo. My father refused the offer of President Magsaysay and decided to run as an independent candidate. The Liberal Party (LP) fielded former Congressman Tomas Clemente as its gubernatorial candidate.


At that time, there was no vice-governor position to elect and there were only two slots in the Provincial Board. Many of the NP municipal and provincial officers and members abandoned the bid of my father, as they were pressured by Malacañang Palace. Many of my Dad’s municipal line-ups deserted him. At the end, there were only two brave souls who stood by and with my Dad and they accepted our political family’s offer for them to run for the PB. They were the brothers Adelardo and Bartolome Lee of Magallanes town. They were offered also positions in the government if they would not run with my Dad but the Lee Brothers followed their principles.


The idealism and courage of the Lee Brothers and my Dad won the last-minute support of retiring incumbent Governor Salvador Escudero, Sr., of the Liberal Party. Because of the Escudero group’s support, my Dad came out a close second in the 3-cornered fight. The Lee Brothers lost also. Mr. Frivaldo won.


I never forgot the sacrifices for my Dad’s candidacy made by the Lee Brothers of Magallanes town and I believed from that day sometime in November 1955 that some of the bravest and finest Sorsoganons lived in their town. Because of Magallanes town, I became an avid student of history and naturally the Spanish expedition of 1519-1522, as commanded by Fernando de Magallanes, always intrigued me.


The Development Plan for Bulan-Magallanes Towns


D uring the 1955 election campaign, I would accompany on weekends my father and the Lee Brothers to some of their rallies and caucuses. Then at the rallies or on the way back to the campaign headquarters or to our residences, I would hear them talk of how they would develop Magallanes and Bulan towns together (especially since my mother, Justina Llamas Mercado, hailed from the barrio of Danao, Bulan). Still fresh in my mind are some of their development plans – from a massive reforestation to the “Saving of Sorsogon Bay” (from dynamite fishing to ecological abuse), the completion of the Bulan-Magallanes and Bulusan-Santa Magdalena roads, the expansion of Bulan landing field and the extension of the railroad from Albay Province to Matnog town. The projects became election issues and their opponents promised the same public works but they never did anything about them after winning the 1955 and subsequent elections.


The defeat in 1955 of my father’s provincial slate turned out to be a great setback for the ecology and economic development for Sorsogon Province. Up to now, 56 years hence, the said projects (as described in the preceding paragraph) remain uncompleted – despite the expenditure annually of modest sums of public funds – both in the national- and provincial-government budgets. Even the simple and basic project of completing the Bulan-Magallanes road seems to be an impossible task for the politicians of the province and the country. What more of turning an air strip built by the Japanese Air Force during World War II in Polot, Bulan, into an international airport?


Even in the environment field, Sorsogon Province has retrogressed, as per this article that I first wrote in the early 1980s, The Filipino "Silent Springs" (With Apologies to Rachel Carson).


I promised myself as I finished high school and then college that if I could live long enough to help in realizing the economic dreams of my father and the Lee Brothers, then I would – no matter how long it would take, no matter no great the odds. This was why I brought Italian ceramic industrialists to Sorsogon Province in 1983 and I went twice to Italy in 1983-1984 to inspect Italian ceramic plants, as per this article, Filipinos Are Indeed the Italians of Asia (Part 8 of the "Filipino Psyche" Series).


In 1987, my friends and I submitted to the political leaders of Sorsogon Province a 25-year development program but then the politicians actually threw the written plans probably into the waste basket. This article, The “Save Our Sorsogon (SOS) Bay” Initiative, tells of our 1987 efforts to accelerate development in the province.

E ditor's Note: Bobby Reyes and his friends proposed also in the same 1987-dated  25-year development program for Sorsogon Province the building of a replica of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge that would link the towns of Castilla and Magallanes at the mouth of Sorsogon Bay -- passing through the islands of Malaumawan (of Castilla) and Bagatao (of Magallanes). The Castilla-Magallanes Bay Bridge (CMBB) Proposal would also have a second level -- just like its California model -- that would be used for railroad & commuter-train (just like the Bay Area Rapid Transit or BART) tracks leading to the ferry town of Matnog. The proposed CMBB would cut the travel time from Daraga (Albay) to Matnog (Sorsogon) by more-than 85 minutes. Mr. Reyes and his high-school classmate, Jaime D. Goingo (now deceased), proposed also a tidal-power dam as part of the CMBB Project. The political Herods of Sorsogon Province just laughed off the CMBB and the tidal-power dam ideas.


But as Joseph G. Lariosa said in the lead paragraph of the first article of this series, “After all, dreaming doesn’t cost anything.” My friends and I never gave up; we started reviving what I now call the “Dominador-Adelardo-Bartolome (DAB)” Dreams for Bulan and Magallanes towns and Sorsogon Province. And brainstorming conceptual frameworks of approaches to improving the ideas and eventually doing them.


Many Film Materials for the Proposed Studio


T he 500th anniversary of the landing of the Spanish expedition in what is now the Philippines in 1521 represents also five centuries of the progress of the Filipino people. There are so-many materials for movies and documentary films – the Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Arabic presence in pre-Hispanic Philippines, the second Spanish expedition commanded by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565 that resulted in 333 years of Spanish colonization including the exploits of Chinese and Islamic pirates, the British occupation of Manila with Sepoy (Indian) soldiers, the nearly 50 years of American rule after a Filipino-American War that consisted of two phases (the Christian and then the Muslim Wars against the United States), the Japanese occupation during World War II, the post-war Philippines and now, the Filipino Diaspora.


The real stories of the American occupation of the Philippines have never been really told in film – from documenting the exploits of John “Black Jack” Pershing to Douglas MacArthur, William Howard Taft, Buffalo soldiers, baseball, the Thomasite teachers, the “Pensionado students,” Dwight Eisenhower, Dwight Davis (Mr. "Davis Cup" himself), all the way to Ronald Reagan and how he engineered the EDSA Revolution.


Even on the American-Filipino history, nobody has documented – especially on film – this report, AP Report on “Horrific US Medical Experiments” Fails to Include U.S. Army’s Botched Medical Experiments in Manila in 1900 and 1906


Even in the annals of the Filipino immigrants to the United States, no one has produced a film about a major achievement of Filipino farmers in California, as per this article, The History of California’s “Grape Strikes” Is Not Complete Without Mentioning the Sacrifices of the Filipino Pioneering Farm Workers

(To be continued . . .) 



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