Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crocodile Farm of Palawan

Palawan is a sanctuary to many wildlife that cannot be found elsewhere in the Philippines.  There is a special place called the Crocodile Farm in Puerto Princesa City where both saltwater and fresh water crocodiles are being cared for.  It is open for public viewing where the crocodiles are kept in their own special containment.

The start of viewing them is in small containers starting from baby crocs.  The aisle in the middle divides the several containers where the left side is for fresh water crocodiles and the right side contains the saltwater crocodiles.  The height of the containers is about 4 feet high.  Viewers are discouraged from taking photos with flash on because this can agitate even the baby crocodiles that can cause them to jump out of their cage.

As one progresses to the farther containers, the crocodiles contained in them are older and bigger than those in the first containers.  There are fewer of them in each container because they are larger.

Going to the larger containers that are actually large concrete pits are the adult crocodile.  A walkway above these pits is where the visitors walk to see them from above.  Again from the first pit going to the last pit, the crocodiles in them are larger than the previous pit.  The last two pits contain the largest crocodiles who are solo in their own pits.  The largest in captivity in the farm is one meter shorter than "Lolong", the biggest crocodile on record that was captured captured in the Philippines.

The largest one is a bit larger than the crocodile skeleton enclosed in a glass cage at the entrance to the crocodile tour lobby.  Don't miss to check out the Crocodile Farm of Palawan when you're there.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Typhoon preparedness

People can say that preparedness is something that can be a hedge against a bad situation or incident.  There are many things that we can be prepared for but there's no way to tell what the forces of nature can do.  The Philippines has experienced heavy rainfall from monsoon rains brought about by weak typhoons.  Many were caught unaware of the floods that happened.

The case of super typhoon Yolanda is something that nobody can prepare for except probably evacuate to a place where it will not pass through.  Weathermen say it was not proper to call the storm surge a tsunami.  They failed though to stress that the storm surge will be equal to a tsunami for a super typhoon like this.

The people living in the places where the typhoon passed through were probably prepared for strong winds and rain.  No one told them of what happened around a hundred years ago when their location was hit by a typhoon as strong as Yolanda.  No one had any idea how nature will take its toll.

Would a government call for donations a week or a few days before the storm hit land?  Who would donate something when no one is in need, yet.  Will planes and boats be put on stand-by for rescue and delivery of relief goods?  If ever such a preparation was made and the typhoon suddenly veered or even dissipated, critics now will be laughing at the government for a stupid move, right?

So there is no point in saying there was no preparation.  Even the staunchest critics of government are not even prepared for anything that can happen to their person.  What happened in the areas that the typhoon ravaged is what is referred to as fortuitous event.  Can anyone say what those people should have done?  Can relief operations be conducted at the snap of the fingers?

Read this:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Crabs of Iwahig Penal Farms

Crabs sizes can be different from place to place.  How fat they would be will also be another thing.  45 years ago when we were in Palawan, I was amazed on the size of the crabs that were sold to us at the Iwahig Penal Farms.  They were really big in size compared to those what were sold in the market in Baguio City.

The crabs then, if I remember right, were caught in the rice fields
where there were a lot of coconut trees around the rice fields.  As I was just around 13 years old then, I lacked the curiosity of knowing if the crabs were fat or not.  What was important to me was that they were yummy and satisfied my palate.

Crabs - Iwahig Penal Farms
Going back this October 2013, I asked people around Iwahig if there were still a lot of crabs caught in the rice fields.  According to them, there are not as many now as it was way back in 1968.  I thought to myself that if ever there were any, they would probably cost much that it will not be affordable to have them.

Opened Crabs - Iwahig Penal Farms
A good friend though who is from the Iwahig Penal Farms, said he would sponsor lunch for us because we have been away for so long. The lunch came on the day before our departure. The crabs he had prepared were not as big as they used to be but they were really bulging with fat. My daughter feasted on two of the fattest crabs that were specially picked for her by my friends.

Don't forget to have a taste of the Iwahig crabs if you get to visit the place.

Super Typhoon Yolanda's destruction

As far as I can remember, there have been other destructive typhoons that have hit the Philippines of all the times I have been aware of natural calamities.  We were also a victim of one caused by nature which was the July 16, 1990 7.4 earthquake.  There was widespread destruction in our City of Baguio and neighboring provinces.  There was still no internet and advanced cellular phones during those times.

The destruction that super typhoon Yolanda has brought upon in the Visayas region, especially in Leyte, was very devastating.  It wiped out entire towns that were never done by other natural forces of nature.  It wrought havoc that made it impossible to estimate loss of property and lives immediately after a few days.

Super typhoon Yolanda was almost like a giant tornado that was 600 kilometers across compared to only around 150 meters for that of a tornado.  It also traveled across for days unlike a tornado that would dissipate after a few miles.  It was a typhoon and tornado at the same time rolled into one destructive force of nature,

Comparative photos of locations completely destroyed by typhoon Yolanda can be seen at

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Palawan after 45 years

It seemed to have been just a dream to see Puerto Princesa City, Palawan after 45 years.  I studied there at Holy Trinity College (HTC) now Holy Trinity University (HTU) when I was in the second year and half of third year in high school.  That was from 1968 to 1969.

In those years, we lived inside the mining compound of Palawan Quicksilver Mines, Inc. (PQMI) that was around 14 kilometers from the heart of Puerto Princesa.  The roads then were dirt roads with some gravel.  They were lined on both sides with thick vegetation, shrubs and trees.  On our way to school and back, we often encountered monitor lizards and roadrunner birds crossing the streets.

Now, all major roads in the city are concreted and the highway that leads to the Underground River some two hours of road travel from the city are all concrete.  The distance will be something like 120 kilometers as we traveled at an average speed of 60 KPH.

The areas within 15 kilometers radius from the center of Puerto Princesa has been developed and much of the trees and plants were saved.  The existence of many trees and dense vegetation makes the weather cooler than any other place in the Philippines that is near the seas.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Burnham Park - Baguio City

The Baguio Burnham Park no longer allows parking on the streets around the lake.  Some people who drive their cars to work used to park there because of lack of parking space elsewhere.  It did not matter to them if it was quite a walk to their offices.  Malcolm Square has been closed for a long time now because it was converted to "istambayan" when it was one of the original parking spaces in Baguio!

Some time ago, corrupt officials allowed Jadewell to conquer the parking spaces along the streets of Baguio to make them pay parking.  This was contested and now gone but maybe a case is still being heard in court.  The parking area beside Ganza is now useless because of this.

The city now made the former site of the Public Library in Burnham Park as parking area.  Php 40.00 for the first hour!  I did not bother finding out how much it would be for the succeeding hours.  Compare this to parking at SM that is covered and secure that only costs Php 35.00 for the whole day and that of Baguio Cathedral that charges only for Php 20.00 for the first hour.  If less than an hour it's free.

Why are the city officials less concerned while private people understand that parking space in Baguio is very limited and make them available at lesser cost?  Is it because no more pork barrel to get money from?
It pays to exercise in Burnham Park

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pork Barrel - Philippines

Since the Janet Napoles issue came out, several politicians were linked to her by "photo".  Several photos of her with prominent Philippine politicians came out but does not necessarily mean that they have coursed their pork barrel through her foundations.  Quite surely there are many people who have photos with politicians and if ever they did anything wrong, that does not mean the politician with them in a picture had something to do with it, right?

There are also politicians who deny knowing her and a photo with Napoles does not necessarily mean they know her.  The problem with some of us Filipinos is that we are quick to conclude.  We have to accept that whenever there is an opportunity to have a photo with a celebrity or politician, we are so eager to get in with them in pictures.

The point here is investigators should now come up with names and proof that the politicians indeed funneled their pork barrels through her foundations.  That should also include the people in government agencies that have been dealing with them directly in processing the PDAF that Janet Napoles made a lot of money from.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dollar to Philippine Peso speculation

In late 2012, there was news that the Philippine peso was to get stronger against the U.S. dollar.  There were speculations that the exchange rate would be $1.00 to 38.00 or even 36.00 PHP.  This was because of the said economic growth of the Philippines compared to its Asean neighbors.

Until now news still comes out that the Philippine economy is getting stronger.  However, the speculated stronger peso to the dollar has not happened yet.  Actually the peso weakened against the dollar and is currently around 42.00 to 43.00 to a dollar!

Small businesses are the basis of  a country's economy.  There are more of them than the big businesses.  Small businesses are hard up and a good number of them is closing down.  If they are closing down it means to say people are having less when it comes to source of income.

Some are going for the option of employment after closing down their business.  There's no way that employment can substitute good income from a business.  A good example is phasing out of old model taxi cabs.  There's no way for those who have single units to afford getting a brand new model of vehicle to be used as taxi.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Philippine Economy improving?

News about the Philippine economy is improving does not seem right.  Small businesses should be thriving but it does not seem so.  In the past year, so many internet cafes and shops closed down in Baguio's CBD.  A month ago an eatery cum sari-sari store near my computer shop closed down, then another nearby sari-sari store that virtually had no overhead costs closed down two days ago.

QuadMen NetShop
For my internet shop business, it has been down by more than 50% since late 2012.  It is marginally getting over break-even in most of the days.  Below break-even days in a month is around 60%.  Early this morning, my niece who lives nearby, asked if we could sell school supplies in the shop.  She's also feeling not well with whatever income she's making.

It's a wonder where the economy is making good in the Philippines. Maybe it would be just the big businesses.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Deuterium - Philippines has the largest resource

Thanks to a post on Facebook that tells about Deuterium that can make the Philippines one of the most richest country in the world. The details about this deposit mentions that the Philippines has the largest because of the deep trenches in its seas.

Deuterium is alternative fuel that is now being used by some countries.  It said the Philippines can earn $30 billion dollars a year from this fuel.

It is said that this could be the reason why other Asian countries are interested in staking claims on islands and seas that are rightfully within the territory of the Philippines.  Also, a reason why politicians want to keep their positions in the government.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pinoy TV soaps making people stupid

Why are so many Filipinos so gullible when it comes to Pinoy soap operas that come up?  The reason for them to follow a TV show is the feelings they have on the stories.  They don't think and analyze anymore!  When one TV show had a star having amnesia in the plot, almost every soap that followed had stars having amnesia in the show!

Then there are the look-alike or twins where other characters are confused from one to the other.  The stories hardly happen in real life!  The latest on GMA 7 is one entitled "Temptation of Wife" that has a following at home.  Having watched it twice or thrice with them, I said the show is stupid.  They have a female star who is believed to have perished then came a look-alike girl who is also herself.

The stupid thing there is, some of the characters suspect her to be one and the same.  The show makes it so difficult for them to prove she is one and the same when it is so simple!  Lift off a fingerprint of the new girl and match it with the fingerprint the one who is supposed to be dead!  Filipino TV networks are making big money and making viewers stupid.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Junk and Scrap street buyers

Baguio City has so many junk and scrap street buyers called originally "magbo-bote" (empty bottle buyers).  Early in the morning, around 7 a.m., they start plying their trade.  What they actually buy now are empty plastic bottles, scrap iron and junked appliances.  On our residential street alone, there could be at least five or more of them that pass in intervals of about an hour shouting "plastik, bakal, bote".  

Late in the morning, they would be seen walking down with their fully filled bamboo baskets suspended from both ends of  thick bamboo stick plat.  Both baskets could weigh at least 30 kilos or more at each end.  From the cash they pay out for the junk and scrap, they would have at least 1,000.00 pesos as capital everyday.  

I had the chance to talk to one of them who bought my junk printers for 130.00 from my internet shop.  Curiously, after paying me, he asked if I heard about the "Piso Net" computers where one peso coins are drop in a slot like juke box.  He said that for each peso, one could go on the internet for five minutes.  I told him I've read about it somewhere but the computers are too expensive costing 20,000.00 each.

He told me he has 3 units of those "Piso Net"  computers in Manila (250 kilometers south of Baguio City) that earns him an average of 1,000.00 pesos a week.  This made me realize that these junk and scrap street buyers are well educated and making good profit out of their trade. I see him almost everyday passing by our place for not more than 2 years.

That means that he could have saved at least 60,000.00 in a year or so and invested those earnings in the Piso Net computers.  So, for people who see them, don't think lowly of their trade.  They know how to do business and invest in high-tech.  Unemployment made these guys think and ply a trade where there is money in it.

Your Ad Here