Onward, forward


Jullie Y. Daza

To cap her graduation from the House of Representatives, Rosemarie (Baby) Arenas received the ASEAN Interparliamentary Service Award last November in Cambodia. No similar award in the Philippines, where we have more than 300 members sitting in the Lower House?

Baby’s daughter Rachel has stepped into her mother’s role as representative of vote-rich Pangasinan’s largest district. Rachel is among the busiest congresspersons besides her job as head of the foreign affairs committee, a position that seems to have been prophesied by then President Ramos when he said to me, “She will make a good diplomat.”

Some of us may want to ask Rep. Rachel to consider legislation to help the saltmakers of Pangasinan, though the problem goes deeper than the available technology. Nor is it simply the shrinking size of those areas available to make salt, for as more families have moved closer and closer to the water, the wastewater coming from their households has turned soapy, contaminating the salt beds.

Back at the Arenas farm, the air is sweet as Baby’s workers turn out fragrances. Scents make sense when they are packaged as men’s cologne (one brand is said to have been Napoleon’s favorite!), bathroom essentials such as handwashing liquid, and aromatherapy candles for the home and spas. The line introduces unusual combinations like berry and orange, basil and neroli, no longer the same rose and lavender as usual.

Moving onward and forward, congratulations, jyd, you’ve learned a new word! Surprise of surprises to this illiterate, it’s a high-tech word: techglomerate, for which I thank Maricar Bautista, AVP and communicator-in-chief of the Aboitiz Group. Techglomerate, to quote Maricar, “is basically a conglomerate that behaves with the agility, efficiency and innovation of a life-changing start-up, driven by technology and a renewed entrepreneurial spirit.”

Maricar is quick to add, Aboitiz Group’s on its way to become the Philippines’ first techglomerate. Carpe diem!, I reply with an old-fashioned pair of words.

During a cocktail party attended by what looked like 1,123 guests at Manila Bulletin’s 123rd anniversary last Thursday, friends asked why the day’s issue carried 100 pages “only.” Well, a signature is four pages, so 123 pages is not divisible by four. Wait for next year’s 124th.