July 30, 2021

Jeremy Pacatiw of Team Lakay is Victorious in His ONE Championship Debut

Jeremy Pacatiw has arrived. The young fighter who hails from the town of Kapangan in Benguet made his debut for ONE Championship on Friday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. He fought Rui Chen of China in the undercard of One Championship: Battleground.

Pacatiw bested his Chinese foe and was awarded a unanimous decision victory. It was a hard-fought victory but there was no doubt at the end of the third and final round that Pacatiw will get the nods of the judges. He was dominant especially during the first two rounds where he scored takedowns and multiple submission attempts. Chen had his moments in the last round but it was clear the Filipino fighter had the fight in the bag.

With the win, Pacatiw improves his record to 10-4-0 while Chen drops to 9-3-0. Chen is a veteran of the One Championship promotion. Although he only  joined the company in 2019, he had five fights under the promotion prior to facing Pacatiw.

Pacatiw signed a contract with ONE Championship in June of this year. Before joining ONE Championship, Pacatiw mostly fought for Brave FC, an MMA promotions company based in the Middle East. 

With his impressive debut, the road looks good for Pacatiw. If he continues to win, he can be 3 to 5 fights away from challenging the reigning bantamweight champion in Bibiano Fernandez. The long-reigning Brazilian champ is known among Filipino MMA fans for his four fights with Kevin Belingon. Fernandez is 3-1 against Belingon. 

Pacatiw fights in the bantamweight division, the same division for his Team Lakay stablemates Stephen Loman, Kevin Belingon, and Jhanlo Sangiao.

July 6, 2021

2 Dead in Shooting Incident in Cuba, Kapangan, Benguet

Two men reportedly died in a shooting incident which occurred at barangay Cuba in the municipality of Kapangan on Wednesday morning. According to the latest report from PTV Cordillera, the incident happened around 5:30 in the morning within the vicinity of sitio Nalbengan.

In an interview with Police Captain Jerry Pangosfian, chief of the Kapangan Municipal Police Station, it was divulged that the two men were aboard a light blue Isuzu elf truck. The truck contained the marking "Kibungan Vegetable Dealer". The truck carried the plate number WMA-413.

The scene of the crime is still being processed and the identities of the victims are yet to be known. Investigation is still ongoing on the motive behind the shooting and the perpetrators of the crime.

June 29, 2021

UCCP Pastor Arrested In Bohol Police Raid; 4 Firearms Allegedly Recovered From His Home

A pastor/minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was arrested by the police on June 25 (Friday) during a dawn raid at his residence in Purok 5, Barangay San Jose, Mabini, Bohol. The suspect was identified as Nathaniel Vallente Bernales. He is also known as Pastor Dodo.

The Bohol police raided Bernales's home at 3:00 am by virtue of a search warrant. According to the police, they recovered 4 .45 caliber pistols, 4 firearm magazines, live/empty bullets, and a bag which they claim to contain "subversive documents".

Aside from being a minister for the UCCP, Bernales is also a program coordinator for the Farmers Development Center (FARDEC) in Bohol. 

What is FARDEC?

From their Facebook page: "Central Visayas Farmers Development Center, Inc is a non-stock non-profit organization established in 1989 by a group of religious and lay persons to serve as a regional support mechanism for farmers in CV—Bohol, Cebu, and Negros Oriental."

From their website: "Borne out of the belief that the peasants are an indispensable force in attaining sustainable development, individuals from the church, academe and peasants grouped together to build an institution for the farmers. Thus in 1989, Central Visayas Farmers Development Center, Inc. was born. Since its inception until today, FARDEC continues to serve as a support institution for the farmers in Central Visayas. Given the situation of the farmers past and present, its development framework rests in the idea of working hand-in-hand with the farmers in attaining genuine agrarian reform and sustainable development. Throughout the years, FARDEC’s programs and services underwent changes to cater to the changing needs of the farmers but its development framework remains the same as the farmers’ situation continues to exist."

FARDEC has been red-tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense in the past.

Also arrested in June 25 was Carmilo Tabada who is also a program coordinator for FARDEC in Bohol. 

On the day of the arrests, Marianne Corazon Tagalo, Officer-in-Charge of FARDEC released the following statement:

"FARDEC's program coordinator for Bohol Carmilo Tabada was arrested at around 1am today in his Trinidad, Bohol home by a composite team of the CIDG, PNP, and AFP over planted firearms and grenade explosive, his family confirmed. He is currently detained at the Trinidad Police Station. 

At 3am, Pastor Nathaniel Vallente of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines was also arrested in Mabini, Bohol over the same planted evidence. Claiming that they have a warrant, the raiding teams were not wearing any body camera and the barangay officials did not even sign the manifestation of arms and ammunition retrieval. 

Pastor Vallente is an active counselor of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa San Jose (NAMASAJO), one of our peasant partners in Bohol. FARDEC denounces to the highest degree this series of attacks that harks back to Negros island's Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO) that massacred innocent farmers in 2018 and 2019. 

Tabada is a barangay councilor and leader of esteemed commitment that greatly helped implementation of our projects for peasant communities in Bohol. Eloy, as Tabada is fondly called, joined FARDEC in 1998 and became Bohol coordinator in 2002. Among the results of Tabada’s efforts and grassroots networks was the rice mill in Trinidad which significantly aided local farmer unions, among them NAMASAJO, in setting rice prices and breaking buyer monopolies before its forced closure in December 2020. 

Since March 2021, when a motorcycle-riding mob staged a red-tagging protest in front of his home in time for the New People's Army's founding anniversary, repeated red-tagging and surveillance forced him to scale down presence and prioritize his family's safety. 

This newest incident of attack on FARDEC staff impedes our operations toward truly eradicating poverty and hunger among farmers in Central Visayas. This comes a little over a year since our Sustainable Agriculture Program coordinator Elena Tijamo was abducted from her Bantayan island, Cebu home. 

Her whereabouts and fate remain unknown. We call for the immediate release of both Tabada, Pastor Vallente, and other peasant leaders in Bohol who have been victimized by intense counter-insurgency pretense in recent weeks. This is yet another reflection of the government's failure to curb the worsening human rights situation in the country."

April 29, 2021

Eduard Folayang Loses to Shinya Aoki by Submission

Shinya Aoki has always been considered as one of the greatest grapplers to ever compete in mixed martial arts. Of his 47 wins as an MMA fighter, 30 were via submissions. He proved once again on Thursday morning why he's a feared specialist when he submitted Eduard Folayang in the opening round of their bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The two legends fought in the undercard of ONE on TNT 4.

When the cage door was closed and the bell was rung, the Japanese fighter wasted no time in taking the bout to the ground. He slowly worked his way to find submission openings. He found what he was looking for and ended the bout with an arm bar.

This is the third time that Aoki and Folayang shared the cage. They first fought in 2016 in a competitive bout which the Filipino won via knockout in the third round. They had their rematch in 2019 which the Japanese won by submission in the first round.

With the win over Folayang, Aoiki extends his winning streak to 4 after losing to Christian Lee, the reigning ONE Championship lightweight king. His record now stands at 47 wins and 9 losses.

Folayang on the other hand sees his stock drop with 22 wins and 11 losses. A former One Championship lightweight titleholder, Folayang has lost 5 of his last 6 fights. 

After his victory and during his post-fight interview, Aoki said that he is more than interested to face Folayang again for the fourth time. He also called out Sage Northcutt and Yoshihiro Akiyama.

The main event for ONE on TNT 4 was a light heavyweight title bout between Reinier De Ridder and Aung La N Sang. De Ridder dominated Sang to capture the belt.

March 4, 2021

John Lineker to Welcome Stephen Loman to One Championship

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Brave FC bantamweight champion Stephen Loman has vacated his belt and that he has cut ties with the organization. Shortly after, it was announced by his gym (Team Lakay) that he has signed a contract with One Championship.

His decision to leave Brave FC and sign with One Championship shouldn't be a surprise to anyone familiar with Asian MMA. Nearly all Team Lakay fighters fight for One Championship. It was just a matter of time before Loman joined his team mates there.

Immediately after the contract signing, it was announced that Loman's first opponent in the organization will be no other than former UFC bantamweight top contender John Lineker. After leaving the UFC in 2019, Lineker signed with One Championship and has so far notched two impressive wins. His most recent outing was a knockout win over Kevin Belingon, a Team Lakay fighter.

It goes without saying that Lineker is going to be Loman's toughest opponent to date. Lineker is a strong and crafty veteran with a record of 33 wins and 9 losses. Loman on the other hand has 13 wins and 2 losses. Lineker is way ahead when it comes to cage experience.

And let's not forget to take into account each fighter's level of competition. Loman may have worn a strap around his waist but he did so in a small organization. The caliber of the fighters he has faced can't even come close to Lineker's. Lineker has locked horns with the likes of Cory Sandhagen, Marlon Vera, TJ Dillashaw, and John Dodson.

Lineker also has the better punching power. 15 of his wins were via knockouts. In comparison, 4 of Loman's victories came by knockout. If they decide to stand and trade blows inside the cage, Loman will likely be the first to go down. 

Chin strength is also going to be a huge factor in this fight. Lineker has never been knocked out. All his losses were either via decision or submission. Loman has two knockout losses. This is despite the fact that Lineker has double the number of Loman's total fights.

Needless to say, Lineker is going to be the favorite in this matchup. He is more experienced. He is stronger. And he has the tougher chin. In many ways, it boggles the mind why One Championship decided to feed Loman to Lineker in his debut. They should've built his name first with lesser caliber fighters.

The only way I can see Loman winning this fight is if he fights on the outside, use movement to pick his shots, and take the fight to a decision victory. If he has any advantage over Lineker, it's that he's quicker. He should watch the Dillashaw-Lineker fight. That right there is the blueprint to beating Lineker.

October 30, 2020

Eduard Folayang Loses to Antonio Caruso Via Unanimous Decision

Filipino mixed martial artist Eduard Folayang bowed to Antonio Caruso of Australia in their bout at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Friday night. The fighter from Team Lakay wasn't able to fend off the Australian's takedowns in the first two rounds. Folayang also got knocked down in the second round.

Folayang rallied in the third round and was able to score with his boxing and with his trademark leg kicks. But this wasn't enough to sway the judges. Caruso was awarded a unanimous decision victory.

With the victory, the younger Caruso improves his record to 8 wins and just 1 loss. His only loss was to Pieter Buist which was incidentally his debut fight on One Championship last year.

With the loss, Folayang's record slides to 22 wins and 10 losses. He has lost 4 of his last 5 fights. The two-time One Championship lightweight champion has previously faced the best fighters in the division including Shinya Aoki, Eddie Alvarez, and Martin Nguyen.

Folayang is widely considered as the pioneer of MMA in the Philippines. He's the first MMA star to come out of the republic. His success inside the cage has paved the way for other fighters to shine in the sport, most of whom also train at Team Lakay.

Team Lakay, a homegrown team and gym which is currently based in La Trinidad, Benguet has produced multiple world champions like Joshua Pacio and Geje Eustaquio. The fighters train under Mark Sangiao, the team's head coach.

June 13, 2020

First COVID-19 Case Recorded In Kiangan, Ifugao

The town of Kiangan in Ifugao has recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Saturday (June 13). The patient is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who came from Saudi Arabia. He arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 4. He checked in at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on June 9. He went through swab testing and the result was negative.

Because he tested negative for the initial swab testing, he was allowed to travel back home. He was fetched by the Kiangan police on June 10 at Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. Upon arriving in Kiangan, he was brought and admitted at the municipal quarantine facility. Rapid and swab tests were administered on the same day.

The rapid test result was non-reactive but the patient complained of an irritated throat which prompted the town's health officials to conduct further testing. The results arrived on June 13 and these were positive.

Photo credit: Shubert Ciencia

The patient has been transferred to the Region II Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong for close monitoring. In light of this development, Kiangan Mayor Raldis Bulayungan is urging the town's residents to observe extra precautions in defense against the threat of the COVID-19.