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Showing posts from 2012

‘Christmas without my baby’

For those who are spending the holidays for the first time since a loved one has died, especially when the death is recent, celebrations are bittersweet. “It’s very hard for us especially this Christmas season,” said April Rose Lucine, mother of Angel, a child who succumbed to cancer early this year. “Everytime I see the Christmas lights and decors, my heart aches. Whenever I pass by the hospital, sometimes, I don’t realize that I’m crying already,” she added, referring to West Visayas University Medical Center where Angel had her chemotherapy eversince she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2010. Ewing’s Sarcoma is a malignant round-cell tumour found in the bone or in soft tissue. “Daw amo na ina ang second home namon halin sugod nya chemo,” Lucine said. Prior to December 25, Lucine said the family does not feel the spirit of Christmas. “Maybe, we’ll just go to church. My husband has put up the Christmas tree that Angel made last time,” she added. Lucine said, “We’ll continue to miss An…

Sanitary toilet bowl gift brings recipient to tears

Hyacinth Espin, her husband and their three year-old son recently transferred to a “bahay kubo” in Brgy. Alalasan, Lapuz, Iloilo. It’s a one-room shanty made of bamboo slabs, but the couple is happy to have a place they could call their own. However, it lacks a basic component of a home, which is the bathroom and a sanitary toilet. With Espin’s meager income and that of her husband who is a trisikad driver, it would take time for them to complete what they need. “Our area is called a ‘waterworld’ because we live on top of a body of water, with garbage floating around,” Espin said. “We take a bath in our kitchen. The water just goes through the floor made of bamboo. Thus, when I take a bath, I have to wear clothing,” she added. Thus, Espin was teary-eyed upon receiving a sanitary toilet bowl from businessman and philantrophist Rommel Ynion recently. “Kinahanglan gid ini namon (We really need this),” she said. She shared that with the toilet bowl, life would be easier for the family. “Kinahang…

GMA Ratsada: It pays to be unpredictable

Nowadays, most people have an attention span like that of a child. Short, easily diverted, and on the lookout for something new.
So, the team of Ratsada, news broadcast of GMA Iloilo is working hard to continue enjoying viewer loyalty by not falling into the trap of predictability.
“Before, Ratsada was so formal. Now, we want it to offer something new, something different,” said Rexcel Sorza, head of News and Public Affairs of GMA Iloilo.
“In fact, ang Ratsada subong, if na-observe nyo, may elements kami nga amat-amat gina-incorporate. So, in the next few months, I assure you, sige gihapon ang improvement sang Ratsada,” he added.
What we see in Ratsada are products of constant brainstorming among Sorza, hosts Gerthrode Tan-Mabilog and Mark Nuneza, supervising producer Julius Belaca-ol and the production staff.
They also consider the comments they receive through social media.
“May time nga grabe man ang mga comments, but kanami lang kay very open kami sa mga constructive criticisms t…

Wine, anyone?

Roger Ebert, entertainment writer described the 1995 movie “A Walk in the Clouds” that starred Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as a “glorious romantic fantasy, aflame with passion and bittersweet longing.”
With vineyards and wine making tradition as the backdrop of the story, it’s not difficult to understand why. Wine has been synonymous to romance. Even the word “bittersweet” is an apt description of one of the varied tastes of wine that one can enjoy.
Benjamin Bailleux, 28, shared that for someone who was born and raised in France, it’s normal to develop a passion for wine.
He was exposed to his parents and their friends experimenting on wines. Phrases like “This smells like raspberry” and “This one smells like strawberry” are like magic that can catch any child’s attention.
Now a wine expert of Sommelier Selections, Bailleux visited Iloilo City to share to the patrons of Henry’s Wines and Liquors his passion for French and Italian wines.
The company’s name, by the way, was d…

There's money in farming

If you’re a money-hungry youth, Jeff Arabelo will probably tell you to drop the corporate suit and pursue farming.
A graduate of Accounting, Arabelo worked in Metro Manila for 22 years but later left in order to cultivate the nine-hectare land owned by his parents in Bago City, Negros Occidental.
Arabelo was recently recognized by East West Seed as the Most Outstanding Farmer in Region 6 during its 30th anniversary in 2013.
East West Seed is a company that creates seed varieties which Arabelo patronizes for 10 years now.
He was chosen among 30 Hero Farmer awardees because of his unique success story as a farmer, he has helped the vegetable farming sector grow, has created jobs, has shared his knowledge to other farmers and has adapted improved technologies in vegetable production.

BEST PRACTICES
Now at 67 years of age, Arabelo continues to enrich his knowledge.
“It really pays to continue learning the latest technology in farming. For example, whenever there’s an East West Seed activ…

Is your building safe?

“Earthquake or natural calamities don’t kill people. But poorly built structures, do,” said Architect Jomari Moleta.
 “When an earthquake strikes, it affects the structures. Concrete crack, glass shatter and fall on people and that’s when you have casualties,” he added.
Thus, Moleta stressed that stakeholders – engineers, architects, plumbers, contractors and owners, among others, should ensure that the building they are erecting or living in are safe.

HOW OLD IS THE HOUSE? “Investigate how old the house is. If it was built before 1950, ask the structural engineer if it’s capable of resisting forces like earthquakes. He/she will tell you if the house is habitable or can be subject to renovation,” Moleta said.

DESIGN. A lightweight roofing is safer than concrete or any flat roof. “It will just move. It will neither crack nor collapse,” he said.
“For glass, the building owner should make sure that the installer employs a technology that follows safety standards.  A fuse made of rubber …

Ilonggos’ Mt. Kinabalu climbathon experience

Constant running, mountaineering, cycling and other fitness activities have prepared four Ilonggos for the hardest climb of their lives, the 26th Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon held last Oct. 14, 2012 at the Mt. Kinabalu Park, Sabah in Malaysian Borneo.
Jun Ramirez, 37; Rocky Go, 37; Jeffrey Natividad, 26; and Johnny Young, 53 or Team Iloilo Skyrunning ran against top runners from various countries in order to gather points to become the series’ world champion.

Ramirez, a university research associate and outdoor sports enthusiast narrated that he had cramps on his right leg after eight kilometers of running uphill. Then, two kilometers before the finish line, he experienced slight hypoglycemia.
“My vision started to get blurry and my legs are like rubber already.  But I kept on, praying that there will be a store along the way.  And what a blessing! I saw a mini grocery store around 700 meters before the finish line. Good thing I pocketed a 50 Ringgit bill in my compression l…

DENR supports sustainable shopping thru eco-bag use

As stewards of the Earth, all humans are enjoined to do their share in reducing wastes in order to address the problems on the rising amount of garbage, the lack of space to accommodate these wastes, pollution, flooding and most of all, climate change.
This is the call of Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Regional Director Jonathan Bulos during the launching of SM Supermalls’ Eco Bag last Nov. 12, 2012 at SM City Iloilo.
“We have a problem on where we will dispose our solid wastes,” he said.
With mountain-high dumpsites around the region, Bulos said that local government units (LGUs) are now required to create their own sanitary landfills and stop operating dumpsites. This is mandated by the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, or Republic Act 9003.
“But, it’s hard for an LGU to establish one due to monetary considerations. A landfill costs P60 to 100 million,” he said.
There are operational landfills in the region, like in…

The family behind Jo’s Chicken Inato

Eighteen years and still counting.
That’s how long the Jo’s Chicken Inato has existed since couple Jesse and Josephine Bejar-Ng opened their first branch in Dumaguete.
Their famous chicken, whose name is inspired by the Cebuano word “inato” meaning, “aton-atong lang”, has enjoyed a good following because of its homestyle cooking.

The demand has led the couple to open another branch in Bohol. Then, more demands for the chicken dish in other parts of the country paved way for Jo’s Chicken Inato restaurant to become a family affair.
In Iloilo, the branches were founded by Josephine’s brother Nowell and his wife Regina while the branches in the Mindanao area are owned by their relatives.
“My mother Regina and my father Nowell are both hands-on in the business. In fact, when we started the business here in Iloilo City way back in 1992, my parents worked as the cashiers. They also did the marketing everyday. And since our house is just at the back of the restaurant, it was easier for them …

Clothing expertise that spans three generations

In the 1950’s, hablon was a popular woven cloth that was used by fashionable women.
In Iloilo, a popular hablon weaver at that time was Rufina Avancena who created shawls, household linens and patadyong with the use of hablon and pina.

Naturally, she passed this expertise to her daughters Violeta and Leonor, who started the
Philippine Handicraft along with the art of weaving, and then expanded to selling Philippine-made
handicrafts around the country.
This story was told by Violeta’s daughter, Jaki Avancena Alcantara-Penalosa considered as one of the region’s bankable fashion designers because of her creations’ clean and elegant lines and her unwavering support to the hablon industry.
“I grew up watching my mother and aunt work and I have come to appreciate and respect the craft, so I guess it came naturally for me to develop an interest for that kind of artwork even at a young age,” Penalosa said.
“In fact, I was already helping my mother when I was in high school. And when I finall…

Girl with lupus serves as inspiration to others

By Christopher Millora
(Published in The News Today)

When Ruthell Moreno was diagnosed with a deadly immune system disorder, she felt that every single day that she woke up alive after that dreadful diagnosis is in itself a great blessing from God. Battling systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) everyday, she knew that waking up for another morning means a whole lot more than just “another day at work” or “a day back to school.” It was a divine extension of her existence.
That is why, the day she found out that she ranked fifth in the 2012 National Licensure Examinations for Teachers (LET) for Elementary Level she could not explain the magnitude of gratitude wanting to burst out of her heart. She was thankful for the rank, she was thankful for the license and she was thankful that she was, again, given another beautiful day to live.
Ruthell Moreno, a Bachelor in Special Education Major in Teaching Children with Mental Retardation graduate from West Visayas State University, became a hous…

St. Joseph School: Valuing education

Pre-school teacher Maria Lourdes Josefina-Ilagan Garcia and her husband Roberto de Leon Garcia, Jr. put up the St. Joseph Kinder School in 1972 without the “business sense” in mind.
For Mrs. Garcia, it was a continuation of what she had been doing in Manila. Added to that, “my own children were of pre-school age, I thought that having them in my class would mean that I could personally address their academic preparation.”
She served as the school owner and principal at the same time. Under her were three teachers and one office staff who catered to the needs of 40 students.
In 1986, the school offered elementary education and in 2002, it opened the high school department.
The then St. Joseph Grade School became St. Joseph School (Iloilo), Inc, a non-profit institution, which, according to Mrs. Garcia, wants to become “a center for holistic learning – the school’s priority over and above profit.”
Mrs. Garcia revealed that her children – Bong, Richard and Lourdes – expressed negativism…

‘A wise man builds his house on a rock’

With some urban areas in the Philippines becoming more flood-prone, an architect suggests that it’s time to consider building a house on stilts and such inspiration can come from the bahay kubo.
“The owner of the house and its designer should follow the principle of the bahay kubo,” said architect Jomari Moleta, district deputy director for 2012-2013 of the United Architects of the Philippines.
A bahay kubo, which is perfect for a tropical country like the Philippines, is elevated and the space between the ground and the floor of the house can either be empty or used for storage of things that are not of daily use.
“However, houses in urban areas should use durable materials like concrete. The stilts’ structural elements should be rooted. Check the highest water level in the area and take off from there. Base your height from there,” he added.
With the Philippines being visited by an average of 20 storms a year, Moleta said that Mediterranean or European-designed houses which carry d…

Taking a leap at the stock market

* For as low as P1,000 you can already own shares of stocks

With the rising living costs nowadays, Ilonggos face the challenge of finding ways to give their loved ones a comfortable life and things that they can truly call their own like a house, a car and most importantly, financial security up to retirement age.
Au Hugo, stock broker and abundance workshop facilitator, once told participants of the “True Self, True Wealth” seminar she conducted, that apart from their jobs, they should have an extra source of income. It could be another part-time job or an investment wherein one need not work extra hours but still ensures that his/her money grows.
The latter can be addressed by a high-risk and high-yield personal finance tool – the stock market.
According to the Philippine Stock Exchange, a stock “represents a claim on the company’s assets and earnings.”
This company, considered as the primary market, issues shares and sell them to the investing public.
Then, investors, which form t…

Maruyog Charms: Stylish amulets

Aetas are known for making and peddling “anting-anting” or amulets. Oftentimes, we see some of these stones or roots pinned on children’s shirts.
But, Churchille Montealto, producer and TV host of Amazing Planet Channel has found a way to turn these exotic and physically unattractive yet important elements into fashionable pieces that even the “sosyal” will readily wear.
“It is a branded and innovated traditional ‘anting-anting’ of the indigenous people. It consists of dried roots from special plants like Salindugok and Amigos. These are believed to bring abundance, health and love to the person who wears it; special stones crushed into tiny pieces known as “Diamante Negra”, which provides protection from psychic attracts and can strengthen the aura; and special coconut oil known as “lana”, which is believed to drain negative energies, provide serenity, and healing. Each colored streak for design purposes is chosen to represent the colors of each energy psychic center or chakras,” sa…

Sustainable fishing pushed

* Delegates called strongly for fisheries sector to be taken out of the WTO mandate

The increased demand for aquaculture products around the world has led to an increase in intensive aquaculture production that has become detrimental to our seas and its capacity to provide more food for humans.
“The carrying capacity of our seas has been breached and it can no longer sustain marine and human life. It is about time that we come up with a global process for sustainable development. Let’s create solutions for the survival of the planet,” said Antonio Tujan, an executive of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) and Ibon International, during the International Conference on Fisheries and Globalization at the SEAFDEC in Tigbauan, Iloilo last Sept. 19 to 21, 2012.
According to the Fisheries and Marine Environment Research Institute, Inc. (FMERI), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said that as of 2010, aquaculture production was at an all-time high …

The Math Wizters: Samantha and Maxinne Co

For sisters Ma. Samantha Ysabel and Maxinne Louise Dominique Co, being math wizards at a young age of 11 and 10 respectively, meant double victory when they won bronze and silver in the 8th International Mathematics Contest in Singapore last August 3-6, 2012.
But, before such feat, these two Ateneo de Iloilo-educated sisters underwent intensive training starting with the 12-Saturday Mathematics Challenge for Filipino Kids Training Program (MCFKTP) held in West Visayas State University and conducted by the Mathematics Trainers' Guild, Philippines (MTG).
After that, they qualified for the four-day MTG Young Mathematician's In-House Intensive Training Program (YMIITP).

Samantha shared that the training enhanced their math skills, ability to interact with other trainees from different parts of the country and develop their independence.
After that, they took the Philippines Invitation Mathematics Examination (PIME). If a student passes this, he/she can represent the country in in…

Thea’s not giving up

Take part in school activities. Graduate summa cum laude in college. Become a nurse and help people.
These are some of the aspirations of seven-year old Thea Fantinalgo, a Grade 2 pupil of the Special Science Course in the Dumalag Central School in Dumalag, Capiz.
“She’s an active student, a Star Scout leader and she loves to dance a lot,” said Marilyn, 38, Thea’s mother who is a teacher in Dumalag.
“She’s very intelligent and responsible. For example, she can do multitasking like doing her homework and watching television yet she gets high scores still. She’s a first honor student, in fact,” added Marilyn.
As for becoming a nurse, this desire developed after the Fantinalgo family received a terrifying news: Thea has acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

According to the Boston Children's Hospital, “Leukemia is a type of blood cancer. It develops in the bone marrow — the soft, spongy center of the long bones that produces blood cells. The child’s bone marrow makes white blood cells …

Why Interpersonal relationships are important

My thoughts: Amid modern technology, let's encourage our children to go out and be with other people (the ones who will have positive influences in his/her life). 
Nothing beats face to face communication, a hug or any form of human touch to let someone know that he/she is not alone.
In the book "Happiness in a Troubled World" by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, His Holiness stressed the importance of being with people, of having a sense of community in order to lift people from depression.
We were not born to be alone, but rather to reach out, to touch, to love and to be part of our human family.

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PHL tops cases of depression in S.Asia

By Vicente W. Villavert
Reprinted from Philippine Information Agency

The  Philippines has the highest incidence of depression in Southeast Asia, according to Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial of the Department of Health who was in Iloilo City to campaign on the prevention of suicide.

DOH Assistant Secretary…