Virac Public Market is set to reopen

Last Jan. 14, 2021, market vendors who were forced to relocate outside the 50-year old Virac public market building were assembled by the municipal government for an orientation on the occupancy of the retrofitted and renovated edifice.

No less than Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr. was there, along with Councilors Rosie Olarte, Juan Paolo Sales and Faye Louise Pastor, and municipal administrator Elouisa Pastor who took the responsibility of enlightening the attendees on how the market’s 208 stalls in seven separate sections would be leased to prospective occupants.

Initially funded with P50 million for retrofitting works by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during the term of former Mayor Samuel Laynes, the market has been the beneficiary of largesse from Malacanang coursed through the DPWH regional office and allegedly released through the intervention of former Mayor Flerida Alberto in whose term a large part of the market was ordered vacated for being unsafe for occupancy.

Under the plan, there are seven market sections with corresponding number of stalls: Meat Section, 34; Fish Section, 60; Balawan/Bagoong Section, 11; Coconut Section, 12; Fruits and Vegetables Section, 71; Dried Fish Section, 8; and, Poultry/Frozen Meat Section, 12.

With preference given to Virac residents, especially existing vendors, the applicants will be evaluated on the sustainability of their business and capacity to pay rental dues, and records of delinquency and violations of market guidelines.

The applications will pass through a committee chaired by the mayor and with the vice mayor as vice-chair and other members, along with the federation president of the market vendors association.

The stalls will be covered by a one-year lease agreement, with rental rates provided under the LGU’s Market Code. The awardee will have to pay a two-month rental deposit upon contract signing.

As of now, all the building needs is its electrical connection, as FICELCO has yet to install the required power transformers.

The long-running question of “How long is temporary?” posed by displaced market vendors years ago is about to be answered.


Unintentionally left out of the article on US-based Dr. Oscar O. Enriquez’s appointment as Port Arthur, Texas health authority was his family and educational background.

A son of the late Jose Enriquez (Cheung Sen) of Virac and Salvacion Olfindo of Viga, Oscar finished elementary and high school at Catanduanes Colleges before enrolling at Far Eastern University where he graduated as member of the 1980 Medical Technology class and 1984 College of Medicine class.

President of Texan Friends of Catanduanes and theUnited Catanduanes San Diego (UCSD) from 2011 until the present, he founded the “Gift of Love” Humanitarian Mission, which recently sent boxes of goods for typhoon victims in his native province.


On Friday, Jan. 22, my good friend and kumpadre Architect Remund Go Abundo, now in Fresno, California, marks his 58th birthday. A day later, on Jan. 23, will be the turn of another good friend and kumpadre, BIR man Fredeswindo Mendez Alcala Jr. May your celebration in this pandemic be as joyful as before!

(I am older than both by one and two days, respectively…)


FACE-TO-FACE WITH A WOLF. A tourist guide was talking with a group of schoolchildren at America’s Yellowstone Park when one boy asked him whether he had ever come face to face with a wolf.

“Yes,” said the guide, “I did come face to face with a wolf once. What made it worse was that I was alone and unarmed.”

“What did you do?”

“What could I do? First, I tried looking him straight in the eyes but he slowly advanced towards me. I crept back, but he kept on coming, nearer and nearer. I had to think fast.”

“Wow! How did you get away?”

“As a last resort, I just turned around and walked quickly to the next cage.”

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