By Anna Valmero INQUIRER.net THE streets of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas at the Makati Central Business District (CBD) burst into a sea of colors during the 2009 Caracol festival on January 17. Hundreds of students from Makati City schools and university clad in nature-inspired costumes joined the Caracol parade, which started at about 4 p.m. and the competition at around 5:30 p.m. Like in 2005, the students convened at the Gabriela Silang carpark on Ayala and Makati avenues at 3 p.m. The event is instrumental in making Makati a tourist spot and promoting the city’s advocacy for environment conservation, according to Mayor Jejomar Binay. “Every year we get prouder because the presentations are great and this is a significant part of the city. It promotes environmental awareness and conservation of land, sea and air,” adds Binay. Caracol is Makati’s own adaptation of the Mardi Gras. But it focuses on the preservation of the cultural heritage and conservation of the environment, according to the city’s Museum and Cultural Office. While the idea for event came about in1986, the first annual parade was held in 1989. For this year, a total of P455,000 was given to winning schools at the Caracol festival. Winners of the student performance competition received P50,000 for first prize, P45,000 for second prize and P40,000 for third prize, in the elementary, secondary and tertiary categories. An additional of P50,000 was given to the overall champion. All winners received a trophy. Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School topped the student competition and bagged P100,000 at this year’s Caracol festival. The school won both first place in the high school category and best in costume special award, making them the overall champion among 19 participating public schools. The Makati 4 group of Maximo Estrella, J. Magsaysay, N. Garcia, and F. Benitez elementary schools won first place in the elementary category. The group also won a special award, best in choreography. It was followed by Guadalupe Viejo Elementary School and Gen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School at second and third place. For the high school category, Benigno Aquino High School ranked second and Ft. Bonifacio High School placed third. In the tertiary level, the Angel Fish group won first place, followed by the Flying Gurnard group at second and the dolphin group at third. All groups were from the University of Makati. Brian O’neal, a tourist from New Zealand, says he has never seen a lively, colorful event such as the Caracol. “This has really been a fantastic thing to see. Many groups of people in different colors and lots of music. I have lived in Vietnam and I have never seen anything that can match this,” says O’neal during the event.
Recently in Makati Category
By Anna Valmero MAKATI CITY, Philippines -- Good news to Makati commuters. Taxi drivers who abuse their passengers will be apprehended, according to Makati city mayor Jejomar Binay who ordered the re-launch of the "Oplan Isnaberong Tsuper" this holiday season. According to the Makati City local government website, Binay ordered both the Makati Police and the Department of Public Safety to help protect Makati’s constituents from taxi drivers who refuse passengers and even charge extra fare. “We will no tolerate abusive and snobbish taxi drivers in Makati. Taxis are public utility vehicles and as such they must be fair in their dealings with the public,” Binay said in a press statement. Operatives in plainclothes are deployed to conduct entrapment operations against abusive taxi drivers in Makati. Moreover, enforcers of Department of Public Safety will be deployed at mall taxi stands of Shoemart, Landmark, Rustan’s, Glorietta 1 and 3 and public loading areas in Makati. In a phone interview with Sherwin Cruz, data controller at Makati City Hall Command Center, passengers can report erring taxi drivers to the Command Center. “When they call the Command Center, they must give the body number of the taxi and the plate number, which we will then report to the LTFRB,” Cruz said. Penalties for violators include confiscation of licenses and issuance of Ordinance Violation Receipts with P1,000 fine. For assistance, Cruz said passengers can call these numbers: 870-1920, 870-1923 and 870-1926.