IBP-Ilocos Norte Chapter shares a taste of their rich culture with the NorLu Gov.

IBP-Ilocos Norte Chapter shares a taste of their rich culture with the NorLu Gov.

Photo by: Mae Barangan and IBP-Ilocos Norte Chapter

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte– In harmony with the province’s historical ambiance, the officers and members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte (IBP-IN) Chapter convened wearing the Filipiniana and Barong dress code for the Testimonial Dinner for the New Lawyers on the 1st day of March at Northview Hotel here. Atty. Minerva R. Magtanao-Taguinod, Governor of IBP-Northern Luzon Region graced the momentous event as the Guest of Honor and Speaker. Hon. Myra Shiela B. Nalupta, Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court, Br. 65 of Laoag City; Atty. Valentin L. Pascua, City Prosecutor of Batac City; Atty. Lourdes M. Layugan, retired City Prosecutor of Laoag City; and District Atty. Jasmine A. Balucio of Public Attorney’s Office were also present at the event.

The guest of honor and speaker

Atty. Taguinod entered the hall wearing her attire made with piña fabric. Atty. Ria B. Cruz, the chapter’s president, welcomed her and other officers namely Atty. Pia Maria Barbara Mirca C. Pua, the vice-president; Atty. Rozanna Bianca T. Pastor, secretary; Atty. Von G. Pastor, Treasurer; Atty. Kathrine Jessica G. Calano, Auditor; Atty. Pristine Amber C. Aurelio, Public Relations officer; and the Board of Directors: Atty. Cherrie Grace P. Bareng-Asistin; Atty. Angelie B. Gapuzan; Atty. Marie Estella G. Gudoy; Atty. Enrico Pacifico B. Ruiz and Atty. John John P. Felipe (Ex Officio).

After the inspirational part of her speech especially addressed to the new lawyers, she reiterated the importance of dispensing legal aid services, especially to the underprivileged individuals in dire need of legal counsel. Humbly, she kept a soft yet driving voice while she urged her fellow lawyers to keep an active participation in the plans and programs set by the IBP-National, especially in conducting legal aid assistance. To note, Atty. Taguinod is an awardee of Most Outstanding Legal Aid Lawyer of the Philippines in the year 2021, hence her advocacy in legal aid.

She also mentioned the updates on the rollout of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability; Mandatory Continuing Legal Education compliance periods; and the strategic planning that the Governors and Board of Directors led by the national officers have been working on overtime. Before she concluded her speech, she said that after a series of deliberations, a vision was formulated: In the year 2028, IBP will be the leading advocate of justice and the rule of law. She then pleaded to her Compañeros y Compañyeras not to spare any opportunity to empower their chapter. Notable accomplishments contribute to the success of the whole organization, thus her supplication. 

Neophytes on the list

The new lawyers spewed hurting but valuable memories in the law school up to the day filled with anxiety, the release of the Bar Examination result. Of the 25 testimonies, most mentioned were family issues that degenerate the threshold of faith and break up concentrations. But they managed to keep a logical mind to overcome the mind-crushing bar exams; their stories were sweetly resonated within the walls of the hall. The courage to wear stiff resistance was cleverly worn by the takers, now called the new breed of lawyers in the digitalization era. 

Commendable journeys of the Chapter

Atty. Cruz proudly enumerated the successful conduct of activities in line with the services that should be provided to the people in pursuit of the IBP’s desire to make justice accessible to all. Noteworthy from her report was the conduct of the Legal Aid Clinic during the Pamulinawen Festival that provided pro bono legal services, purposely done to promote social justice; jail visit in collaboration with the Diocese of Laoag and Public Attorney’s Office to assist the Persons Deprived of Liberty who needs legal aid and counseling; launching of JusTeach at Mariano Marcos State University-Laboratory High School, a lecture series particularly conceptualized to bring legal consciousness to the students; and the clean-up drive at the coastline of Brgy. Burgos in collaboration with the Local Government Unit and Barangay Officials. Off all the efforts exerted to strengthen rapport with the public, a national award from the Philippine Red Cross duly received by Atty. Cruz unlocked a goal set forth to save lives. 

Sharing the province’s culture label

On the following day, Atty. Cruz fetched the Governor in her hotel in Laoag City and traveled to Paoay with Atty. Gapuzan to let her experience the popular 4×4 sand dunes extreme ride adventure and sand boarding on the eastern coast of Ilocos Norte. The Governor was thrilled by the bumpy ride on the menacing trails, though not so new to her mountaineering hobby.

After the adventure, they headed to Paoay Church and loafed around the scenic façade. At noon, a good gesture to share the rich culture of Ilocos Norte was disguised by foods served for lunch at the restaurant near the church. The appetizer, a delicious pinakbet pizza served with bagoong was new to the Governor, yet she enjoyed every bite from a couple of slices. The popular local dishes particularly the Dinengdeng, Sizzling Sarabasab, and Adobong Ilokano completed the meal. Atty. Pia with her husband Pros. Eric Cua; Atty. Bernie Francis Constantino with his partner, Atty. Mary Rose Madarang; and Atty. Cherrie Bareng-Asistin joined the table. The bonding was a good diversion from their usual everyday life in the court, law office, interaction with their clients, etc. After lunch, they indulged in the colorfully blended dirty ice cream in a cone. Photo ops in front of the vintage scenery of the aged church concluded the day.

Before the Governor bid goodbye, she signified her willingness to join the activities of the chapter, particularly the jail decongestion and legal aid service. In awe of the deep sense of volunteerism, Atty. Cruz answered positively with appreciation.

More taste of the rich culture   

The Governor headed home with a handwoven bag made from dried water lily, a product of Laoag City, handed by the IBP-IN officers as a token. It was filled with Dried Mango, Mini Bites, and Sukang Iloko, also from Laoag City; Chichacorn and Inabel Kumot from Paoay; Miki Noodles from Batac City; Mushroom Chips from Bacarra; Bagnet Chips from San Nicolas; Banna Rice coffee; Bugnay Wine by Adams; Biscocho from Pasuquin Bakery, longganisa and a t-shirt as remembrance from the dunes adventure.

Offing powerhouse of cooperation

The Governor’s short yet lingering moment with the IBP-IN Chapter paved a stronger trail of a leader bound to champion social services as signified by the commitments she made and the affirmative response of the group. After all, her leadership wants to incorporate camaraderie among officers and members of the chapters within her Area of Responsibility. She leads by example, it’s how she wants to nurture the whole Northern Luzon Region where cooperation is not just a practice but a culture to live by.# Mae Barangan

Mae Barangan