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The search is on for the BANTOANON OF THE YEAR 2004!

Do you know of a Bantoanon who unselfishly shared his time, talent and/or treasure to fellow Bantoanons without expecting anything in return like leading a non-government or civic organization successfully, leading/initiating an activity for the benefit of Bantoanons, or being a donor to noble projects or activities?

Do you know of a Bantoanon who espouses noble ideals or principles that fellow Bantoanons have accepted and followed like starting a tradition of giving? It could be a single act but has inspired others to do the same like an act of risking one’s life to save others’ lives. These could be continuous acts or propositions that have sunk into the Bantoanons’ psyche which have proven beneficial like patronizing local products. 

Do you know of a Bantoanon who introduced new things to improve the lives of Bantoanons even if he personally gained something out of it like establishing a business or opening trade routes or establishing schools that benefitted fellow Bantoanons? 

Do you know of a Bantoanon rendering service as his official duty (for which he earns his living like a teacher, doctor, public servant, a priest, etc.), who performed beyond expectations for the good of the Bantoanons?
Or do you know of a Bantoanon who in any way have made a difference in the lives of fellow Bantoanons?

If you do, you owe him a nomination. E-mail your nomination to rayabrayab@yahoo.com with a write-up on how your nominee has made a difference in the life of Bantoanons during the year. Deadline for nomination is on January 31, 2005. The nominees will be featured in this section. The awardees will be chosen by popularity. Bantoanons will be allowed to vote through this website until March 31, 2005. 

The BANTOANON OF THE YEAR citation was introduced in 1999 by Silak it Bantoanon, Inc. in an attempt to recognize the efforts of Bantoanons to help fellow Bantoanons and/ or to create a better community of Bantoanons. 

The following are the recipients of the award for the past few years: 


The past year was a busy one for Mr. Joemel Ferrancol, 2003 Silak Bantoanon of the Year. He was chairman of Biniray and Head of the Site Development and Environmental Concerns Group of the Banton 2003 Project. He also initiated other projects or continued existing ones that benefits or benefited kasimanwas.

As chairman of Biniray, other than orchestrating another successful celebration of the event, he further expanded its scope to reach out for kasimanwas in the island as it partnered with the Banton 2003 Project in sponsoring the Christmas Gift-Giving Activity for children and indigents. He also started a successful funding campaign for the construction of the formation center at Welfareville. In partnership with the RDL-CLEAR, Biniray also conducted a successful and well-attended medical mission for Romblomanons. Finally, he initiated a funding campaign for at least 200 monobloc chairs each for San Nicolas Parish Church and the formation center.

Joemel is also one the most active member of the Executive Committee of the Banton 2003 Project last year. He headed the Site Development Group that worked hand in hand with the project chairman to sponsor the Site Development Contest. He continues to be an adviser and supporter of the project. 

During the year, he also continued with his other commitments to his kasimanwas – donation of medals to the Nasunogan Elementary School and the management of the Yabawon Barangay Movement (YBM) Basketball Team which participated in the Banton 2003 Yuletide Basketball Tournament and the 2003 Lenten Basketball Tournament. Joemel is also a member of RDL – CLEAR, Philippines.

Joemel is presently connected with Marsman Drysdale as its Finance Manager, Furniture Business. He is also into public accounting and auditing service.

He is gifted with a loving wife, Cely who is a high school Mathematics teacher at the Fabella Memorial School, and four children namely Mary Lesley, Harold, Chelsea and Kristel.

Joemel is a self-made man. He had to work as a casual staff auditor at the National Cash Register (NCR) Philippines to support his intermediate years in college. He graduated in 1979 and passed the CPA board exam in 1983.

2002: NONE


With a hotly-contested local election last year that took quite a long time for wounds and misunderstandings to heal, civic projects and actions seemed to have come to a temporary halt. Not for Nicanor G. Musico, the SILAK Bantoanon of the Year 2001.

Musico brought the Aloha Medical Mission to Romblon in March, last year. The multi-million-peso mission attended to more than 2,000 patients that included 38 residents from Banton who were provided with free transportation and donated medical equipment to the provincial hospital. Musico also sent a pediatrician, a nurse and an aide to Banton who doled out gifts and provided free medical examination and consultation to 124 Bantoanon children.

Musico has also been a member of the board of directors of RDL-CLEAR (USA) which sponsored a theater workshop conducted by PETA in Banton and distributed free medicines to the different municipalities of the province last year.

With these and the impression of love for a hometown that defied distance that he left to the townsfolk, he made the biggest difference in the lives of Bantoanons in 2001.

Actually, Musico has been a civic-minded person all along. He was president from 1994 to 1997 and presently an adviser of the Filipino Coalition for Solidarity, Inc. (FCSI), a recipient of the Banaag award bestowed by the Republic of the Philippines. The award is in recognition of the organization’s major contributions and accomplishments in promoting the welfare of Filipinos particularly those based in Hawaii, which include among others: assistance to the Fil-Am Veterans of World War II; defense of the rights of Filipinos, especially against discrimination and abuse; involvement in the fund-raising campaign for the victims of Mt. Pinatubo; support for the construction of the $ 13M Filipino Community Center in Hawaii; conduct of awareness programs on citizenship and voting rights of Hawaii-based Filipinos; and coordination of the respective visits of Presidents Ramos and Estrada to Hawaii.

He is either a member of the board of directors or officer of the following organizations: Filipino Community Center, Inc., Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTEP), KNDI Radio Community Education Fund and the Ambassador Minerva Jean Falcon Scholarship Fund. He also served as president of the Oahu Visayan Council and its umbrella organization, the Congress of Visayan Organizations.

Musico is presently a Branch Chief in the Department of Environmental Services of the City and County of Honolulu. He was the recipient of the William Hatfield Award in 1991.


Small in stature. Big in mind and heart. Abraham F. Fabicon, is the 2000 SILAK Bantoanon of the Year.

Fabicon steered the success of the Banton Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. (BMPCI) for the past decade. In Year 2000, BMPCI was declared as the Regional Winner (Region IV-B) – Institution Category of the BAYANING PILIPINO AWARDS sa Taon ng Bagong Milenyo, Gawad Gene Lopez – Year 4. It was even selected as one of the five finalists in the national level.

It placed second in the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Search for the Most Outstanding Cooperative of the Region (Region IV). It is a sweet second place however because the other cooperative who took first place was LIMCOMA, one of the biggest cooperatives in Asia.

Since 1996, under his management, BMPCI consistently holds the distinction of being the Most Outstanding Cooperative in the Province.

Fabicon’s leadership that started ten (10) years ago is responsible for the complete turn around of the cooperative that was established as early as 1972 but was progressing very slowly.

Of course, these citations are but recognition of the difference that the BMPCI and its leadership made in the lives of its members, its employees and to the general public:

Membership grew to 1,451 at yearend, not including about 250 special depositors. It was able to lend P 4.6M to its members at a very reasonable interest rate.

It continued to operate a consumer store with 2 employees. Its Cooperative Assistance Store Help (CASH) benefited 17 small sari-sari stores in Banton which started operation without capitalization.

Its transport service covering 6 areas, although not profitable, provided employment to several Bantoanons; served as Banton’s “mailboat”; began the Banton-Calatrava-Romblon route; and made available these boats in times of emergency.

Raffia production continued. A bigger market demand was achieved after BMPCI made exhibits in malls in Metro Manila and in Tagaytay. Again, it provided sources of income for the Bantoanon loomweavers. More than that, it brought back an industry that flourished in the past which served as one of the signatures of our culture and heritage as attested by the oldest burial cloth in Southeast Asia found in Guyangan Caves.

All of these happened under his leadership as General Manager of the cooperative. Silak, with due recognition to the other movers of the BMPCI, affirms that indeed, he made the biggest difference in the lives of Bantoanons in Year 2000.

Fabicon, by the way, is a Statistical Coordination Officer and married to the former Elsie Fajarillo with three children: Lourd Jean, Marie Leonevie, and Hulbert Jan. 


Ismael F. Fabicon is a Bantoanon expatriate in the United States. In 1999, he made the following contributions to the Bantoanon community:

(1) As the person who conceived the Romblon Discussion List and serving as its moderator up to the present time, he led the organization of the Romblon Discussion List – Computer Literacy, Education and Assistance for Romblon (RDL-CLEAR) for which he served as the overall chairman. This has evolved to become Romblon Discussion List – Cultural, Livelihood and Educational Assistance for Romblon which is in the process of being registered in the Philippines and in the United States as a non-profit, non-governmental organization. Under his leadership, the following projects have taken off:

  • Computer donation program that led to the establishment of computer centers in Banton and Calatrava. These centers have provided the municipalities’ populace with access to computers and computer literacy programs at very reasonable costs.

  • Tree-planting project in coordination with the Bicol discussion group. Funds have been raised for the project.

  • More than that, he has espoused cooperation between Romblomanons apparently divided in their quest for identity and progress – Bantoanons as Bantoanons, Odionganons as Odionganons, etc. but not Bantoaons nor Odionganons nor Simaranhons as Romblomanons.

(2) He continued to manage his website featuring Banton and its people effectively introducing us to the world.

(3) He has maintained his column Bigaon in Silak without any monetary remuneration and contributed many other articles. An eloquent writer, he has contributed in reinforcing our Bantoanon identity, preserving our culture and served as inspiration to the young aspiring men-of-letters. As a supporter of Silak, he has also sponsored one of the younger Silak staffers to the Cornelio Faigao Writers’ Workshop in Cebu City.

With these, he made a difference in the lives of others, especially in the lives of Bantoanons.






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