Posts Tagged 'philippines'

what anomalous Php 10B Pork Barrel Fund can do

Stormwater Detention Tank

Project: Bonifacio Global City Stormwater Detention Tank
Location: Burgos Circle
Purpose: Detain Excess Stormwater underneath before it is pumped out to Pasig River to minimize if not prevent flooding on streets and overflowing of dams/ rivers.
Project Cost: Php 60-65M
Misused Pork Barrel: Php 10B
Project Duration: 8 mos.

With the Php 10B PDAF misused by numerous Legislators both in Upper & Lower Houses thru these hoax NGOs (particularly that of Napoles’ JLN), we could have had:

153 Stormwater Detention Tanks around Metro Manila!!!

Hello Pres. Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy)??!! Filipinos wanted to see your “tuwid na daan”. We demand these Legislators and their minions to be held accountable for misuse of taxpayers’ money! Please grab them by the balls, and ensure every single cent is accounted for!!! We are counting on you on this!

– screenshots from ANC (Abs-Cbn) vid clip

– orignally posted here:

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Attempt to Helping Tarsier Conservation

One of Bohol’s tourist attractions is visiting tarsier in its natural habitat. Though it’s my 6th time in Bohol, we’ve frequented that one in Loboc. And quite frankly, I wasn’t happy at all seeing this endangered specie removed from its natural habitat, altered its natural behavior and held captive in a cage. This does not actually help in the conservation measures of Tarsiers.

So this Easter, when P said he wanted to see the famed smallest primate, I proposed to go to Tarsier Sanctuary, in Corella. It’s a natural environment abounding with trees and bushes protected and managed by Tarsier Foundation. Their doors are open from 9AM to 4PM. They showed us an hour video first on how they carry-out their protection/ conservation program and taught us how to be a responsible Sanctuary guest. (Hop here for heaps of information).

We went inside the Sanctuary with 4 more people on a guided tour (they try to keep a very small group per guide). The tour guide alone can interact with the tarsier, it being territorial, solitary and extremely sensitive to noise, we were showed where the tarsiers are resting / sleeping. That day we were told they found 4 Maomag (tarsiers’ local name) among 88 others (if I remember it correctly). P and I respected their habitat and hardly spoke during the visit except for the occasional whispered woows and amazement =) He took only few photos as he was just happy to see how tiny they are, how enormous their eyes are compared to their body and how their tails are really long relative to their height. We even witnessed one that leaped from one branch to another and how it used its tail to balance itself after the jump. It was waaaay too cute =)
photo(7)

photo(10)

photo(8)

We would have stayed longer and just ogle to the little creatures but since it’s just the 1st leg of our motobiking day, we took off and left the Sanctuary moved and with the understanding how we can help to keep it from extinction.

We were heading to our last stop of the day, Chocolate Hills Complex, right after the arch that welcomes all Carmen town visitors, P suddenly stopped and spoke to a woman carrying a green net with her. I sped past thru them until I realized P wasn’t following so I went back to see what was he up to on the side street.

Voila! The woman he was talking to was selling him a live tarsier captured in her tiny net basket. He was so perplexed to see that this woman was selling the tarsier on broad daylight, on the street, without a trace of shame on her face at measly Php 500. So he was talking to the woman that it’s illegal to sell it, and was telling her to return it to the wild. The woman even had the nerve to say that they didn’t steal it and that her son caught it in the forest to be taken care of by its buyer. He thought of buying it so he can return it to the wild but we talked about it that we don’t want to be caught by the authorities with it on our way to the wild and that we don’t want to patronize such practice. So we told her we will be back and immediately left the woman. We went straight to the foot of Chocolate Hill Observation Deck and reported what we saw to the men at the Barangay Outpost. We said the woman is just on the street about 500-800m away with the Tarsier. But to our surprise the men told us that it was a normal practice there to sell it and they added there was no harm done to us. Disappointed and frustrated, we went up the hill and saw a Tourist Police Outpost and narrated again what we saw downhill. Relieved to finally have somebody understood our concern and this the man in uniform took his bike right away and called one of his colleagues and went straight to where we said the woman is.

We really hoped, they’d be able to catch her and teach her that selling Tarsier is strictly prohibited. However, after we climbed up the 200+ steps to the Observation Deck, we were advised by the police officers that they didn’t find the woman anymore. Their efforts were futile as the woman maybe was able to sell it already or maybe she realized we will be reporting her to the Policemen and hid somewhere already.

Before we hopped on our motobikes again, we can’t relinquish the thought that maybe we should have dealt with it differently. We should have let the woman go with us on our motorbike and brought her to the Police Station to report her right away. Maybe just maybe, we’re able to save one tarsier right there and then.

I saw how disappointed he was specially, knowing that this illegal practice can go on right below the town residents’ very nose. We both agreed next time we would be more vigilant and more decisive.

How about you? Would you have done it differently? How can you help in Tarsier’s conservation? I don’t know about you, but one thing for sure, there’s Tarsier Foundation who began a good work somewhere in the small town of Corella, Bohol.

Tarsier Sanctuary is only 28.6 km Northeast from Alona Beach, and 14km Northeast of Tagbilaran City.

Sanctuary’s entrance fee is P50/hd that is used to help fund conservation advocacy of the Foundation.

Exploring Bohol Differently

The french beau was speed freaking at 80 to 100km/h whilst at my best, I was only inching to reach 60 km/h and was mustering all my energy to brush-off my head my freaky motobike accident in Saigon some yrs ago. But after a couple of intersections, several towns passed, got chased by dogs, blindly drove on sharp curves and hairpin bends without lamp posts or well-lit signages and terribly burnt shoulders, I felt I’m slowly getting the mojo back. (And Oh! Yes Dad!!!) I drove a motobike again and on a national highway from one island to another, without me being brought to ER for a knee surgery =) (I’m sure I made you proud!). I’m not yet 100% but i know, I’m traumatized no more.

Tagbilaran City

Loay Interior RoadLoay Interior Road or “tina-i sa manok”

One of the remarkable part of the leg, is what locally known as “tina-i sa manok” or chicken intestine. There were several sharp curves and hairpin bends that have actually made me ask myself again, “how far would I go with my zest for adventure?”.  I don’t know how many times I heaved sighs of relief after each curve, knowing that a slight miscalculation on my turn, I’d fall on the dreaded ravine on the road side. On one of the stops we did, told P how $h#t scared and how ecstatic I was at the same time to brave it. Told him though that on our way back, which would definitely around night time, is a different story. He took my hand and reassured me, how I was doing well on the handlebars =)

manmade forest drive

BIlar Man-made ForestBilar Man-made Forest

Bilar Man-made Forest is a two-kilometer road beautifully dotted with mahogany trees, rendering shade from summer’s scorching heat to its revelers. Covering approximately 10 hectares stretching from Loboc to Bilar towns, it’s a local government reforestation project to address the growing ‘kaingin’ concern during the early ’50s. The colors here are so rich, that reminded me of the colors of Fall. The scent of the woods is so distinct I had to ask P to stop for a bit so we can appreciate it longer.

Definitely my favorite drive of the day =)

choc hills driveUphill to Chocolate Hills Observation Deck, we’re welcomed with spectacular view of hundreds of similarly shaped grass-covered hills, which to date remain a geological puzzle as to how they were formed. It’s so picturesque, we had to do sooo many stops before heading to the 214 steps at the Observation Deck.

photo(3)Chocolate Hills Observation Deck

photo 2

It’s already 5ish and we were running late already. Manong who rented his motobikes to us said we should be back by 6pm. But the sunset that served as our backdrop to Bohol’s No.1 tourist spot, was so gorgeous, it’s ridiculous not to marvel a little longer.

We started driving back and at the foot of the hill, P signaled to me to stop so we can discuss our route back. He showed me his intended route back to Panglao, which was actually shorter and less busy. He snagged my helmet again and requested me to accelerate a bit more, before letting me hop on my motobike and start another road adventure.

It was a little less than 2-hr drive back to Alona Beach, but it sure felt waaaay longer than that. And though I’ve somehow regained my confidence on the handlebars, since my knee surgery, the highway back to Panglao can be really challenging especially at night.

Motobike Route

Out biking for 10hrs including all the stops and breaks we did, covering approximately 160km and consuming about 6L of fuel, we were immensely happy bikers!!! ♥


*Map Legend:
A& F – Alona Beach area
B – Tarsier Sanctuary Corella
C – Loboc River Cruise / Loboc Church
D – Bilar Man-made Forest
E – Chocolate Hills Monumental Complex
*motobike / scooter rental rate: Php 300 for 8hrs with Mang George, +63906.451.3424, one of those locals who rent out their bikes to tourist whom we met by the street next to Alona Beach Tourist Police Station. He’d provide you helmets, after signing a Rental Agreement and providing your driver’s license number. We paid him though extra because we returned his bikes after 10hrs :-)
(I would have wanted to rent from Mike Bike Rental Shop, for its reputation in the island, however they have 3-days minimum for rental and were actually fully booked during the Easter)
*If you’re up for a new adventure and wanted to explore Bohol differently, motobiking is definitely the better option!
*Entrance Fee to Chocolate Hills Observation deck is P25/head (adult).

NO to Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

NO to  Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

NO to Republic Act No. 10175 or The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

i’m amazed how our government works. it would take years and years to approve the Reproductive Health Bill that is already of paramount importance but this rubbish law was passed just like that even with some Senators admitting missing some of the provisions on the Bill.

1. Filipino citizens don’t pay their taxes to get mediocre service from the lawmakers.
2. Filipinos have no obligation to nurse hyper sensitive politicians’ wounded ego. it’s the government’s job to serve its people.
3. Because there are some sore losers in the government, Filipinos will be deprived of Freedom of Speech, in this case over cyber world?

so, where do we go from here? I hope Supreme Court will do its job.

328568_415133131875591_1815757097_o

Yes, i understand Freedom comes with Responsibility. Just so you know.

the RH Bill Agenda

the RH Bill Agenda

if you have not realized the need of our country to pass this long overdue Bill, you still have time to do your homework and understand what it’s all about.

Hop here for more info:

http://www.mydailyrace.com/?p=2376

we have the right to make intelligent choices, AND we have the responsibility as well to disseminate truthful information.

let not ignorance fool us!

25th Year of People Power Revolution

i was looking for a quote connecting heroism and society, when i stumbled upon this post in Filipino Quotes, (which i’m reposting here).
it’s the 25th year of the EDSA Revolution, and tonight, during dinner, my mom would for sure recount how she and her co-teachers (public school teachers), joined thousands of people to publicly demonstrate dissatisfaction to the Dictator. to my mom, its novelty has never faded. the nights they had along EDSA can still stir her emotions and bring her to tears. i was only a 3rd grader, to understand all these. but thankfully, hopeful, inspirational and moving stories like this, are never left untold.
now i’m in my early 30s, very much aware and involved in my country’s day to day battle, as we commemorate that monumental time in Philippine history, let me leave you with this question:
have you done something, no matter how small you think it is, to keep the spirit of EDSA alive?
~~~
“The shot reverberated throughout the country but instead of scaring the people with the awesome display of martial law power, it freed them from their lethargic acceptance of martial rule and roused them to a fever-pitch revulsion of it.

At Ninoy’s wake, thousands of people from all segments of society – the rich, the poor, men, women, and children – paid him their last respects. And 10 days later, more two million people walked 12 hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. beside his bier to escort him to his final resting place or watched from the sidewalks more in anger than in sadness at what they thought was a senseless sacrifice of the life of a man who was destined for greatness.”

“But was Ninoy a hero made or was he hero born?

The question may sound academic but it has a bearing on whether or not Ninoy deserves the accolades that he has been receiving from our people since 1986 when martial law was finally uprooted from the land.

Skeptics probably entertain the view that setting aside August 21 of every year is an example of an undue honor for the man who would be hero.

I beg to disagree. It is not the setting aside of August 21 to commemorate the day of Ninoy’s assassination every year that makes him a hero. To belabour the point, it is rather the sum of his selfless deeds that makes him so and gives meaning to August 21 as a celebratory occasion for the people to remind ourselves of the meaning of his life and especially of his epic death.”

“Despite its inherently evil connotations, Ninoy’s assassination – as the Fates had decreed it – was, thus, a good thing for the Philippine society as a whole.

For as the philosopher Jean Baudrillard asked, “What is a society without a heroic dimension?”

Ninoy Aquino offered his life to answer the question and in the process proved the sceptics wrong. He also showed that he was right along with those of us who believed in our people: that indeed, the Filipino was worth dying for.”

– Privilege Statement of Sen. Nene Pimentel

at the Senate August 13, 2008

Tubbataha Love Affair

What we went through to finally be again aboard this vessel, Stella Maris, would give the reality show, ‘The Amazing Race’, run for its money. But that’s history already (hop here for the story).

And I am not exaggerating if I say the suspense ‘24’ always delivers was pale in comparison to what I had at the airport’s check-in counter 20minutes before ETD (Estimated Time of Departure)…yes folks…20minutes before ETD because of a long, slow & chaotic campaign motorcade of a mayoral & vice mayoral candidates of Quezon City which I’m tailing to. It made my supposed 40-minute drive swell to 90minutes of unbearable, heart-pounding and buzzer-beating-not travel time. But thanks to L & Z who pressed hard the check-in officer not to close the counter as I am only a minute away (actually they’ve been saying that for the past 15mins, my friends are just cheeky like that). I was lucky too that the flight was delayed thus they have generously extended the checking-in time for me.  With my laptop bag, DSLR camera bag, 10kg duffel bag, I felt light, almost elated in fact, because I made it and the promise of Tubbataha was already within reach.

From the smooth landing to Palawan’s soil to the airport transfer to PPS Pier to the embarkation to Expedition Fleet’s Stella Maris, everything went like a breeze.  I have to say though I felt rather odd not to have hassles & stress since we flew out Manila. I’ve been waiting for those mishaps to break lose again but none came until we sailed to the open seas around dusk time, right after TPMO oriented the 18 aboard divers of Park’s laws and policies and got off the boat.

M/V Stella Maris Explorer

M/V Stella Maris Explorer, our home for 7 days (photo from SPD)

It’s more than a month of waiting for this second attempt and we were careful not to spill any hint of excitement to our other friends outside the Mamburao crew. We’re hush-hush the entire time not to preempt the trip again. But amongst us, an uncontainable excitement was ever present. You can call it a delayed reaction when we all started celebrating. We have already lost mobile phone signal and traversed the strait when we, all 10 members of the original 20-member Mamburao crew, cheered in unison, “THIS IS IT!!!”.

I was greeted the next morning with a ringing bell signaling our first dive of the day! Finally, thankfully, officially we’re right at the heart of Sulu Sea and below where our boat was moored is arguably The Holy Grail of Philippine diving! What else can we ask for but to gear up, hop on our assigned chase boat and ask either our buddy or the boat man “clear?”. It didn’t take us long before we all found ourselves doing a synchronized back roll to the Amos Rock dive site. Boy!!! The splashing of waters and our dive computer’s beep echoed sweetly to my ears as my closest dive buddies and I descend to the depths. Water temperature was perfect and visibility was incredible! The reef wall, which we kept on our right shoulder was heavily covered with colourful gorgonian fans, whip corals, christmas tree worms, and soft corals. On our left was an infinity of blue waters liven up by a seemingly soiree of various fishes. It’s stunning, overwhelming and magical until on the twelfth minute immediately after L & I saw our first juvenile shark, a minor mishap on my inflator hose shot me & my buddy Z to the surface. (This deserves a separate post).

banggigay wall diving

drift diving (photo from Sharkbite)

The succeeding dives were all drift dives making it more enjoyable and doubly exciting! We rode the current as we get charmed with the pelagic around us. Hawksbill sea turtles, Bluespotted Stingrays, Marble Rays, Eagle Ray, Nurse sharks, Grey reef sharks, Blacktip sharks and the ubiquitous Whitetip sharks were perpetually gracing all our dives. Schools of big Tuna, Trevally, Barracudas, Grouper,  Harlequinn Sweetlips, Wrasses, Parrot fish, Bat fish, Angel fish, Damsel fish and a lot more marine species we are yet to fish ID gave us an extravagant showdown underwater. Our safety stops were like send-offs to us by playing big, fat Whitetip sharks and turtles as they swim around us to conclude each dive with a remarkable close shallow encounter.

whitetip shark

Whitetip shark (photo from SPD)

sleeping shark

sleeping shark (photo from SPD)

school of juvenile barracuda

school of juvenile Barracuda (photo from SPD)

Hawksbill sea turtle

Hawksbill sea turtle (photo from SPD)

bluespotted stingray

Bluespotted Stingray (photo from SPD)

Emperor Angelfish

Emperor Angelfish (photo from SPD)

preggo map puffer fish

prego map puffer fish (photo from SPD)

It was so surreal you wish to hold the time for as long as you could. Fifty to sixty minutes of diving wasn’t just enough to marvel the beauty of Tubbataha Atolls. Tubbataha indeed defines ‘teeming with diversity of marine life’!!! It first teases you with its 20-30m great visibility then transports you to an enchanting world of marine life before it finally seduces you to the pleasurable climax of the whole diving experience!

We came to Tubbataha with a very high expectation, as we hear our buddies, who dove it, rave about it incessantly even after 2-8 yrs have already passed. We knew that sightings of hammerhead sharks and roving mantas are few and far in between, but we were optimistic of what a wild marine park can deliver. We did not relinquish the quest and up to our last day of diving at Shark Airport, we were positive about seeing them. But when we did our final chase boat ride back to our chartered boat, after our 20th dive, there was no sign of disappointment nor discontent among the 10 divers for not seeing them on this trip. With such lush landscape and bountiful sea life, how could we ask for more?! We were all ecstatic and screaming “we love you Tubbataha” for all the world to hear how fantastic the weeklong trip was!

Mamburao Group (at least half of it) at Tubbataha ReefMamburao Crew (at least half of it) at Tubbataha Reef promoting world class Philippine diving (photo from SPD)

banggigay's tubbataha dive log map dive log map (map courtesy of this site)

chase boats

Parked Chase Boats (photo from Wanderlass)

last day euphoriaLast day euphoria at shower deck (photo from Sharkbite)

Tubbataha you did not fail us! All these raves about you are nothing but understatements of what we have experienced in the last five days of diving! In your waters, there was a spiritual experience. I was humbled immensely how little we were compared to the vast beauty you have generously shown us. If to others, you are a love-hate relationship, you to me are love, love, and love alone!  You are beautiful and immeasurably so much more!

fish ID was aided by this site

– photos were from SPD, Wanderlass, Sharkbite

– dive site map was from this site

– for further info on Tubbataha Reef Conservation, please hop here


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