Monday, May 31, 2010

My World#71 Jose Rizal's Laguna Home

June is the birth month of Philippine's national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Thus, I'd like to feature his ancestral home in Laguna where he spent his childhood days. A scion of influential Filipino-Chinese businessmen, Jose Rizal, had a happy childhood in this family home.

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Back of the house

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The main stairway which is situated right at the center of the first level of the house.

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One of the bedrooms in the house with an antique gas lamp on a dresser, the sliding wooden windows are made of capiz shells.

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Kitchen table with a clothe fan overhead to ward off insects.

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Antique cupboard with some of the antique chinas.

To see the front of the house, go here.


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Skywatch#32 Mt. Pinatubo: Lahar Pastureland

As we rode our 4x4 vehicle going Mt. Pinatubo under blue skies with scattered fluffy clouds, we passed by not only the lahar-covered lands of Tarlac but surprisingly, a small patch of pastureland where cows can be seen scattered around.

For more than a decade, lahar ruled supreme all over the then part of the rice basket of the Philippines. Hectares and hectares of ricefields, forests, rivers, streams and communities were inundated by lahar during and after the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Slowly though, the land is healing.

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50% off Japan and Korea flights!

Cebu Pacific, offers seat sale fare for as low as P1,999 from now until May 23, 2010 for travel August 1 to October 30, 2010.

P1,999 'Go Lite' seats are up for grabs for flights from Manila to Incheon, Cebu to Incheon and Pusan. Those going from Manila to Osaka can avail of P2,999 seats. These fares are 50% less than the lowest possible year-round fares for Japan and Korea.

For those traveling out of Clark, P1,499 'Go Lite' seats are also offered on flights going to Bangkok, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore. Clark-Cebu flights are also on sale with a 'Go Lite' seat sale of P499. Travel period is from July 1 to September 30, 2010.

CEB now accepts web bookings up to four (4) hours before your scheduled time of departure. Hurry, grab your seats at www.cebupacificair.com!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

My World#70 The Aetas of Mt. Pinatubo

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I saw them walking on the vast emptiness of the now lahar-covered agricultural lands on the way to Mt. Pinatubo. They looked pitiful, scruffy, thirsty and hungry while they wander in groups to hunt and gather food. I asked our driver if we should stop and offer them a ride or something but I was told that they would ask help if they want to, when they want to. I was surprised with the driver's answer but I decided to let it go and just waved at them.

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We passed by two Aeta villages along the way and saw these Aeta kids. They smiled  while I took their pictures as our 4x4 vehicle slowed down near their vilage.

Who are the Aetas? (Source: http://litera1no4.tripod.com/pinatuboaeta_frame.html, wikipedia)

Aetas are small, dark skinned, and kinky haired people with big round eyes who occupy the forest areas of Mt. Pinatubo. The Pinatubo Aeta are part of bands residing in mountanous , forested ares of the archipelago from Luzon to Mindanao. They are believed to be the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Philippines.

An interesting aspect of the Pinatubo Aeta is their continuing resistance to the acculturation process, and their ability to modify whatever they borrow from the outside to suit their own culture. They assimilate only the cultural elements compatible with their social reality -- like some of the Sambal's techniques and rituals in agriculture, concepts of spirits, curing and burial rituals.

Before the Mt. Pinatubo explosion, the Aetas are an indigenous group of people that lived on the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo and its surrounding areas for centuries. They escaped the persecution of the Spanish during the Spanish regime by staying on the highlands. A hunter-gatherer people who were extremely successful in surviving in the dense jungles of the area, they also grew some staple crops such as wheat, barley, and rice.

After Mt. Pinatubo’s explosion, the Aetas were displaced from their ancestral lands and were further marginalized. While they received government and foreign aid assistance, these have not been sufficient and consistent enough to help sustain the Aetas and also, to prevent them from pursuing their nomadic lifestyle. Thus, a lot of them are uneducated and are suffering from extreme poverty.



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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skywatch#31 Mt. Pinatubo

The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo was felt worldwide. It contributed a lot in cooling down the earth's temperature as what the scientists said but it also erased a lot of communities from the map.

Nowadays, Mt. Pinatubo and its crater draw a lot of tourists from all over the world. The shortened hiking trail contributed to the influx of visitors and people of all ages can actually this crater.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

My World#69 Philippine 2010 Elections

"This is going to be a long day." That was my first thought upon entering our voting center. Today is the 2010 Philippine Election Day. We arrived at a little past 10 o'clock in the morning and already, the place was brimming with people, voters and onlookers alike.

Not surprising since there was just too much hoopla going on for this first ever electronic national election of this country. So, how was the 2010 national election Philippine-style like?

First, the would-be voter goes to his/her designated voting center or voting precinct. A lot of people started as early as 7 o'clock in the morning but only were able to vote at 10 o'clock in the morning.
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Would-be voters look for their name in the voting list by the door of the voting precinct. This one created chaos among the voters because a lot of them did not know what precinct and what cluster they belong to. It would've been easier if the confirmation was first done online or the Commission on Elections sent out letters to voters informing them of their assigned voting precincts.

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After the voter confirmed his/her name in the voting list, the voter will next get a priority number by the entrance of the voting precinct and wait for his/her number to be called. Today, the waiting time took about more than three (3) hours compared to about an hour during the previous elections.
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They call the numbers by tens per batch. Senior citizens are allowed to get on line ahead of the others. When the voter's number gets called, the called voter lines up to be identified, to sign, affix their right thumbprint and get their ballot papers from the Bureau of Election Inspectors (BEI). This has caused more waiting time than the previous elections when would-be voters won't need to wait for their numbers to be called and could just line up on a first come, first serve basis.

Usually, there are three BEI's, who are mostly public school teachers, assigned in each precinct.

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After getting the ballot paper from the BEI's, the voter takes a seat and starts casting his/her vote in the provided ballot paper by shading the small circle beside the preferred candidate's name.

In the previous elections, however, casting one's vote entailed writing the exact name of all your preferred candidates on the spaces provided in the ballot. The shading of the small circles took me about 10 minutes while for some people it took them about 15-20 minutes to do it.

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After accomplishment, the voter will take the ballot and feed it to the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine. The voter will then wait for the confirmation of acceptance to be flashed on the machine screen.

PHilippine 2010 elections


After acceptance, an indelible ink would then be placed on top of the right index finger of the voter by one of the Board of Election Inspectors to signify that he/she  voted already.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Skywatch#30 Quiapo Church and Plaza Miranda

Overcast skies over Plaza Miranda and Quiapo Church.
Quiapo,Plaza Miranda


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Monday, May 3, 2010

My World#68 Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila

Plaza Miranda is the public plaza or square in front St. John the Baptist Church or more popularly known as Quiapo Church which is located in the old downtown Manila. The plaza was named after Jose Sandino y Miranda, who served as secretary of the treasury of the Philippines for 10 years beginning in 1853.

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It is a popular site not only during the Black Nazarene fiesta which is annually held every January 9 but also a popular site for political rallies which had its heydays during the Marcos regime in the 1970s.

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On August 21, 1971, while the Liberal Party during that time held their Miting de Avance in the plaza, a bombing occurred, killing 9 and injuring almost 100 civilians.

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Nowadays, aside from the unsightly election paraphernalias hanging and plastered everywhere, the plaza is now filled with ambulant vendors selling products ranging from flowers, colored candles with specific purposes (candles for love, good luck, healing the sick, pardon, etc.), fruits, healing herbs, to body massages, palm and card reading.


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