Christine ‘Ting Ting’ Garin – seen and heard the name a couple of times; associated with the Garins of Guimbal. Daughter of Mayor Oscar Garin Sr., sibling to 1st District Representative Oscar ‘Richard’ Garin Jr., and sister in law to former Health Secretary Janette Loreto Garin. Sure, another politician. However, one fateful day, I had the unbelievable chance to talk to her.
Madame. Maam. Vice Governor. First off, I don’t know how to address her. ‘Hello maam, pleased to meet you’ – must have rehearsed a couple of times. Even Googled last minute about her. The first few minutes seemed awkward but much to my surprise, she smiled casually and reached her hand. My insecurities gone in an instant. She even asked where we can get good coffee. A few naichas later, I feel like I can ask her anything.
About Ting Ting. Christine ‘Ting Ting’ Garin, current Vice Governor of the Province of Iloilo, was formerly the elected Mayor of Guimbal from 2007 to 2016. She is the youngest child of current Mayor Oscar Garin Sr. and Ninfa Serag Garin. As mentioned, she is sibling to 1st District Congressman Oscar ‘Richard’ Garin Jr. as well as to partylist representative Congressman Sharon Karen Garin. She is a graduate of Accountancy in University of the Philippines, Masters in Business Administration at Macquarie University in Australia, and Masters in Public Administration at Central Philippine University in Iloilo.
Under her leadership, Guimbal – her hometown – was recognized for many achievements.
Guimbal was recognized as National Winner in 2013, Hall of Fame Awardee for Most Business Friendly Municipality in the Country; National Winner from 2009 to 2011, Hall of Fame Awardee on the implementation of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Programs; Apolinario Mabini Awardee in 2015 as the Country’s Best Local Government Unit on the implementation of programs for persons with disability; and the Country’s Most Child Friendly Municipality from 2011 to 2012.
With this, Ting Ting was recognized as 2011 National Finalist for the PAG-ASA Award of the Civil Service Commission; the Country’s Outstanding Municipal Mayor in 2015; and Outstanding Alumni of the University of the Philippines in 2015.
However, with all these, Ting Ting remains humble.
So, how was it growing up from a political family? According to Ting Ting, there was a time that she didn’t want to be associated with the Garins. As much as possible, she doesn’t want people to be intimidated by her because she comes from a family of politicians. However, her passion for public service came out naturally.
“While most look at this as politics, I look at this as public service.” Ting Ting started at the age of 33. She then served Guimbal for nine years as municipal mayor. After that, she became the first female Vice Governor. When asked how it feels to be the first female vice governor, Ting Ting shares, “the best that I can do is not fail the expectation of women. We have already broken the glass ceiling.”
Ting Ting focuses her advocacy on children, women, elderly, and persons with disability.
So who is Ting Ting Garin out of politics? The first female vice governor likes to watch movies. Ting Ting claims to be a Marvel fan and her favorite Marvel film is Black Panther. She is also a Dan Brown fan. Her favorite Dan Brown book is Origins. Aside from books and movies, Ting Ting likes to swim, go malling, and even spend hours on social media. But with the upcoming election, she spends more time campaigning with her running mate of gubernatorial candidate Representative Ferjenel ‘Dok Ferj’ Biron.
The conversation even led to her ‘love life’. The Vice Governor is still single and would want a man who is responsible and can fend for himself. Most of all, she also want someone who has the heart to help out others.
We could have talked more about the upcoming End Game and enumerate all the books of Dan Brown but our conversation ended when it was time for the coffee shop to close. Thank you Vice Governor Ting Ting Garin for the time spent and for sharing your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.