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Showing posts from December, 2013

Tranquility at Gethsemane Iloilo

Those who have read the Bible, especially the Book of Matthew, the Book of Mark and the Book of John, are probably familiar about Gethsemane Garden.

It’s a secluded garden where Jesus and his disciples often went to. It was also there when Jesus prayed with anguish the night before he was captured and crucified.

Located at the foot of Mount Olives in Jerusalem, this place continues to be a favorite haven for praying and meditation by Christian pilgrims.

But you need not go to Jerusalem to find Gethsemane. You can find solace and tranquility in a place called Gethsemane Retreat right here in Iloilo.

Located at Brgy. Napnud, Leganes town, it is a getaway that is perfect for prayer, worship and for meaningful gatherings. To go there, take a tricycle bound for Brgy. Napnud at the Leganes Market. The transportation fare is 10 pesos per person. You will pass by a highway and will turn right to a rough road prior to reaching the gates of the retreat house. Outside is a brick fence with a si…

Butterfly gardens and their importance

Butterflies are flower pollinators, making them important in the health of our ecosystem. Through pollination, seeds are created. The more seeds are made, the more plants, flowers and trees will grow.

With more greens around, people will enjoy cleaner air, will feel de-stressed and will be healthier. Studies have shown that the presence of plants in your area reduces your chances of getting a headache and other ailments.

More fruit-bearing plants and trees also mean food security. Thus, the plan of the Leganes Garden Club to put up a butterfly garden and lovebirds aviary is a welcome development.
The club was organized in 2001 under the leadership of Nonito Gulmatico. In 2006, it was registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Currently, the president is Araceli Sulla Tolones. Tolones said the club conducts trainings in flower arrangement, orchid production, ornamental plants propagation, landscaping and making dish gardens. Its objectives include the promotion of h…

Building disaster-resilient schools

Super Typhoon Yolanda was one of the most disruptive disasters to hit the country this year. While life goes on, it would take some time for lives and routines to normalize.

For schools in calamity areas like the province of Capiz’s Parish School of St. Isidore, classes were suspended for nearly a month to give the students and teachers time to get their bearings.  The school also needed major repairs.

With so much to make up for, it was a good thing the school decided to adopt the innovative teaching framework, Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), the first one in Capiz to do so.

The program is a non-traditional pedagogy which aims to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning in the country by promoting independent student learning. It was developed by Ramon Magsaysay Awardees and renowned physicists Dr. Christopher Bernido and Dr. M. Victoria Carpio-Bernido for their school, Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF) in Jagna, Bohol.

CVIF-DLP is not a curriculum…

Iloilo LGUs that excel

The annual awarding of the Search for Excellence in Local Governance or popularly known as the EXCELL Awards of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Region 6 was held last December 19, 2013 at the Iloilo Grand Hotel.


EXCELL Awards continue to recognize the best practices of local government units on its 6th awarding year and has generated overwhelming support from the LGUs in the region which encouraged innovations and documented best practices.
EXCELL is the first of its kind in the Philippines and only in Western Visayas which started in year 2008.  EXCELL mechanism recognizes the best managed local governments in the region with achievements in the following field of governance: Administrative, Social, Economic, Environmental and Valuing Fundamentals of Good Governance.
The Search further intends to encourage positive reinforcement for good performers, popularize replicable best practices, identification of possible interventions to improve LGU performance and insti…

Narra trees, dwarfs and bravery

Located inside the Pagsanga-an Elementary School in the town of Pavia is a narra tree believed to be enchanted.

Just like its “residents” which are dwarfs, the tree is just 4 meters tall as measured from the ground to its first branch while its trunk is 2.7 meters in diameter.

Susan Jovero, municipal planning officer, said that the tree became popular in September 1988 when news broke out that dwarfs were seen swaying to and fro its branches. Because of this, people from different places flocked to the area to offer food and flowers.

Based on a testimony by a native of the place, Rowena Jeco, the tree already existed when the school was constructed in 1949.

The tree has not grown tall despite its age because it was struck by a lightning in 1978, leaving it almost dead. But it grew again.
THE ONE THAT SAVED LIVES. Meanwhile, the narra tree located in Brgy. Calaboa Elementary School in Leganes, Iloilo was a favorite hiding place of government soldiers whenever they had an encounter wi…

Coping with trauma after a calamity

Trauma can change the brain’s architecture. If not prevented, it can cause lifetime psychiatric problems.

Trauma (from Greek word, "wound") also known as "injury", is a physiological wound caused by an external source, according to Wikipedia.

“Few weeks after the traumatic incident, if there is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there will be avoidance, hyperarousal and reexperiencing,” said Dr. Aimee Chua, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Iloilo.
“There will be flashbacks, nightmares, numbness, body pains,muscle tension and other symptoms. It’s as if the incident is happening to you again. That’s why rape victims sometimes crawl as if escaping from a perpetrator; or soldiers have nightmares of being in battle,” she added.



MANIFESTATIONS Dr. Chua said the trauma caused by typhoon Yolanda manifests in the physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual levels.

Some manifestations are irritability, disobedience, hyperactivity, nervousness, clingy to paren…

Greeting cards from discarded boxes

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Iloilo turn old cardboard boxes into useful greeting cards and envelopes and they export these to Japan, proof that the sector is self-reliant and successful if given the chance. “We call this the Case by Case project,” said Annabelle Dumdum, public relations officer of the Association of Disabled Persons of Iloilo, Inc. (ADPI).

“This project is interesting. It looks ugly when you haven’t started yet, but the product is beautiful,” she added.

They cut the boxes and then soak them in a water-filled basin for 30 minutes. Then, they gradually detach the cardboard layers to come up with thinner sheets.

There are two kinds of cardboards, the corrugated and the plain. The former is used for the envelopes while the latter is used for the cards.

When the thin sheets are ready, they iron each one until they are smooth and fine.

When the cards are ready, they apply the designs.

“These products are exported to Japan. We feel so lucky because this project has gone int…

How to attract positive energy in your life

Oftentimes, we hear some people referred to as “saints” because they seem to have been gifted with positive traits - compassionate, intelligent, creative, healthy, positive aura and they attract good fortune.

The secret is Arhatic Yoga, which was derived from the word “Arhat” which is a Buddhist term for “saint” and from “Yug” which means “union with God”.
“The main purpose of Arhatic Yoga is to have oneness with God,” said Arhatic Yoga practitioner and pranic healer Alfonso Ma. (Pons) Parreño of Pranic Healing Foundation of the Phiippines-Westen Visayas Pranic Healing Center(PHFP-WVPHC) Estrella Bldg., Brgy. Simon Ledesma, Jaro, Iloilo City.


He said it was a spiritual teacher, Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui, a Filipino-Chinese from Cebu, who developed this.

“Arhatic Yoga develops your lower and higher faculties. For example, your different kinds of intelligences – creative, abstract, mental, intuitive, among others – are developed. It develops you into becoming a good-hearted, powerful, compas…

An animal’s life after rehab

There is life after an injury. This is proven countless times by people who have determination and positive attitude. This is also true for animals that are living with disability, thanks to people who go out of their way to give God’s creations a second shot at life.

The Aklan Animal Rehabilitation Center (AARRC) owned by couple Michel van der Kleij and Neressa van der Kleij-Toabe has been rescuing and rehabilitating dogs and cats for eight years now.

Michel said it all started with a stray cat named Mimi that decided to live with them at their house in Kalibo, Aklan.

“Our home was not suited for keeping a large number of pets. Soon after, we discovered kittens in the middle of the street and some in the swamp next door, intentionally left there by people,” Michel said. It was when Mimi disappeared a few years later that the couple realized that animals need protection from humans.



“At that time, we started looking around for others in animal welfare and we sought cooperation with the Akl…

Westbridge U-16 silver medalist in Alaska Football Cup 2013

Westbridge Football Club Boys 16 team won the silver medal in the 18th Alaska Football Cup 2013 held last December 7-8, 2013 at Ayala Alabang Country Club, Muntinlupa City.

The championship game between Westbridge and Santa Rosa’s Green Barons ended in a draw with a score of 0-0 which led to a penalty shootout.  The score remained tied at 3 – all after all the players kicked and had to be decided with a sudden death rule.  Green Barons strikers eventually prevailed when Westbridge missed the penalty. The final score was 4-3 in favour of the Green Barons.

The Westbridge U16 Team topped their bracket composed of 6 football teams.  In the first game, they won against Westfields International School with a score of 3-1 courtesy of the goals made by JeushTemplora, RR Portigo and Lord Irvin Jimena.  The second game was more intense as they battled against the formidable team of Ateneo de Manila, winning the game 1-0 as Portigo calmly slotted the ball through the goal after receiving a throu…

Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for climate change: Greenpeace

Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for the deaths and damages brought on by climate change impacts, Greenpeace said today in a press conference in Quezon City. The group exposed an independent, ground-breaking study that names 90 companies responsible for more than 60% of the world’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and called on the Filipino people, as victims of climate change, to demand that the culprits be responsible for the harm they have caused.
The report, “Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010,” published last month in the scientific journal Climactic Change, estimates how much oil, coal and natural gas has been extracted since the industrial revolution and how much these resources had contributed to the current levels of carbon in the atmosphere. This means that those who have been the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions so far can now be named and challenged on their contribution …