Arroyo names Argao mayor consultant on water projects

PRESIDENT Arroyo has designated Argao, Cebu Mayor Edsel Galeos as a consultant for the National Government’s water projects, impressed as she was by the southern town’s irrigation scheme.

Arroyo, who visited Argao last May 19, saw the system that, for only P300,000, has benefited about 80 families without using any electricity.

“The President was very impressed with this because as you know this is part of the government’s program, especially that we are confronted with the global food crisis and we are trying to enhance food production,” Presidential Management Staff Chief Cerge Remonde said.

“So, she has immediately ordered the National Irrigation Administration to go to Argao to study the Galeos model. She has appointed Mayor Galeos as a national consultant for small irrigation projects,” Remonde said.

Galeos can no longer receive a separate salary as consultant because he is already a government official, but as an incentive, President Arroyo will give Argao town P20,000 per small irrigation project that the mayor can help create elsewhere in the country.

“But what is more important here is that once again, we in Cebu have shown the way. And that makes us very proud as Cebuanos. Necessity is really the mother of invention,” Remonde, who hails from Argao, also said.

Also at present, Galeos is constructing the Diosdado Macapagal Sports Complex in Argao, which he wants to finish before the town’s fiesta in September. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)

Accommodations

Visitors to Argao may choose from a number of affordable accommodations available to tourists, from classy resorts to simple lodging houses. Below is a listing of available resorts, hotels, and pension houses in the town as well as their contact details.

Name/Address Services Price (in pesos) Contact Details
Woodruff: Argao Rooms with cable tv (032) 367-7388
Beach and Restaurant air-con room (day use) 900
Tulic, Argao, Cebu overnight 1,200
Swimming pool
* adult 75
* kids 40
With billiards, Internet cafe, videoke
Aballes Apartelle 2 double bedrooms (with ref, gas range, bathroom)
Looc, Argao, Cebu * overnight 800
* monthly 15,000
2 double bedrooms (no tv, ref, gas range, bathroom) 600
Ademco Tourism Bldg. Good for 10 persons
* daytime 750
* nighttime 1,000
(20 pesos per additional person)
Argao Kingfishers Beach Good for 10 persons (032) 485-8855
Resort and Restaurant * daytime 750 (032) 485-5633
Tulic, Argao, Cebu * nighttime 1,000 0918-5341898
Bamboo Paradise Beach Good for 10 persons (032) 366-7271
Resort * daytime 750 (032) 485-5527
523 Poblacion, Argao * nighttime 1,000 info@bamboo-philippines.de
Aircon rooms www.bamboo-philippines.de
* Double (with bathroom) 900
Non-aircon rooms
* Double (with bathroom) 650
* Triple-sharing (with bathroom) 900
BEBS Resto Bar 3 non-aircon rooms (each room
Langtad Seaside, Argao good for 4-6 persons) 2,500
excess person 100
Looc Garden Resort Rooms (032) 485-9516
Looc Argao, Cebu * non-aircon, 1 bed 800
(good for 4 persons)
* with aircon
(2 beds, good for 4 persons) 1,500
* VIP room
(4 beds, good for 8 persons) 2,500
Additional fee per excess person 100
Charge for TV, DVD, VCD 100
Pool Garden Mountain Native cogon house 1,200 for (032) 4858688/93
Resort * two rooms available 2 persons 0919-7275486
6406 Cancainap, Tulic, (With hot and cold bath, bar and Glenn Penronde (manager)
Argao Cebu kitchenette)
Deluxe 1,800 for
* two rooms available 2 persons
Amenities: 14×6 m pool, banquet
hosting
Riverstone Castle Resort Family rooms 1,300 (032) 261-8883
Jomgao, Argao, Cebu * family-sized bed, ref, and (032) 273-1570
toilet and bath 0919-4479081
0920-4466791
eg_and_i@i-cebu.com.ph
Sea Breeze Resort Aircon rooms 2,000 0920-9105571
Looc, Argao, Cebu * with sala, sofa, ref, and stove
Lawis Beach Park (032) 485-8404
Looc, Argao, Cebu (032) 367-7234
0917-6059395
argaotourism@yahoo.com

Argao’s IT-in-charge

What does the town of Argao get for one peso a year?

It pays for the services of a man responsible for the town’s new technology innovations–IT consultant Querubin Momongan.

Momongan is responsible for putting into place a proposal for a wireless fidelity (wi-fi) zone at the town square.

The full computerization of business processes in the municipal hall was implemented under his guidance and expertise.

Argao’s IT-in-charge also leads an ambitious undertaking to decentralize treasury operations to the barangays and provide Internet access to all schools, homes, and villages through the local broadband network (LBN) project.

Although he retired in 2003 after spending almost 24 years as a bank consultant abroad, Momongan said he came out of retirement last year when he was asked to help by Mayor Edsel Galeos, a close personal friend.

“He (mayor) is a very good friend of mine. He asked me to help so I helped,” he said.

Momongan explained he is trying to duplicate in Argao what he has learned abroad, given the budget constraints and other limitations of a third-class town.

“We are 15-20 years behind technology advancements” of a first world country like the United States, he added.

He said though that once the town implements its LBN project, it would be at par with other technology-savvy nations. That’s not bad for an idea that first cropped up over a bottle of wine, he added.

Momongan attributes to the mayor improvements seen in the past 10 months that have not been witnessed in the town for so many years.

“This is all because of him (mayor). He is strong-willed, goal-driven, charismatic, approachable. Wala siya’y minus (He has no bad trait),” Momongan said, by way of explaining his desire to continually introduce improvements to the town using new technology, for a salary of only one peso a year.

Wireless in Argao

MUNICIPAL WI-FI. I spent a day in Argao and was pleasantly surprised to find several dependable and free Wi-Fi hotspots. I was surprised because in Cebu City, free Wi-Fi access isn’t as widespread as they say it is in places such as Davao City. When I say free, I mean full Internet access without having to enter passwords or keys. At least full “http” access, I don’t mind not being able to use the other protocols.

Many shops, at least the last time I went warbiking or going around on a motorcycle to check for free Wi-Fi hotspots, just depend on zones ofPLDT and Globe for their customers’ wireless Internet access.

But not Argao.

The municipal government turned its beautiful plaza into a free Wi-Fi zone. There you are, surrounded by Spanish-era buildings, three cannons, beautiful masonry, and music that comes from cleverly hidden speakers, and you have free high-speed wireless Internet access.

I was told that the Wi-Fi zone was set up last year by Argao town officials. Now it isn’t, technically, municipal Wi-Fi—the term means the entire city or town is covered by wireless Internet signal—but it’s a start. Its munisipyo Wi-Fi.When I was at the plaza on a Saturday night, I saw one person park his multi-cab near the Argao town hall, take out his laptop and thenaccess the Internet. I opened my Asus Eee PC, which is such amarvelous piece of gadget, and checked my e-mail. The connection was relatively fast.

I wasn’t able to do speed tests, though, because I was supposed to beon a quick vacation—to “get away from it all” and my family was already on their way to the museum.

VOIP. I asked Ruel Rigor, who showed us around, on the extent of the Wi-Fi spot’s usage and he said only a few locals use it. The availability of free Wi-Fi in the town plaza is such a huge help for tourists and locals who need to access the Internet.

It also opens the possibility of using the signal in the plaza to make VOIP calls for free. If you have a Symbian-based phone, you can use Fring with Wi-Fi not only to chat with your friends, but also call themvia Skype or the application itself, if they’re also using it. The call is free because you’re connecting through Wi-Fi.

I was able to chat with some contacts using Fring, but none of my Skypecontacts were online when I was in the town center so I couldn’t testcalling with Fring.

OTHER SPOTS. Wi-Fi access isn’t just limited to the area near the Argao town hall. I was able to detect another Wi-Fi access point, albeit secured, a few meters away. The resort I stayed in near theMahayahay beach resort also offered uninterrupted free Wi-Fi access. The signal covers part of the public beach resort so you can probably get away with piggybacking near the beach, even at night.

I hope other local officials, especially in tourism areas, follow Argao’s Wi-Fi deployment. Heck, I hope more Cebu shops follow Looc Garden Resort and start offering free Wi-Fi to costumers.

The last time I was in a coffee shop in Ayala several months back, I was told to buy a card when I asked about Wi-Fi access. But things are starting to change. I’ve been told many coffee shops are starting to offer free Wi-Fi to costumers.

Asking the city where I live in, Lapu-Lapu, to follow the example of athird class municipality might be a pipe dream or a financial nightmare—remember how much Lapu-Lapu City Hall paid for computers it distributed to schools?

(Max Limpag maintains a blog at max.limpag.com)

Bugasok Falls photo gallery

Click on the photos for the bigger sizes and captions. Photos by Sun.Star website and Argao Tourism Commission.

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