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Monday, December 31, 2012

Common New Year Beliefs

We Filipinos are accustomed to different "pamahiin" or elderly beliefs, be it our own or adapted from our neighboring nations, or the influence of other countries, especially those who colonized us before.  An occasion like the New Year, isn't exempted even in my family.  Although we don't really talk about it that much, we respect each others belief as long as no one gets to any trouble believing it, it's fine with us.  Well, I'll be sharing with you some of it.

Taking a bath.  Yup, there are just people too lazy of taking even a short shower during the cooler months.  But not this day my friend,  wash away your misfortunes along with all your dirt so you'll have a clean start in the first day of the year and leave all your bad lucks in the past year.  But if you still think that nothing had change, look again, at least now you're clean. 

Making noise.  Believed to be driving away bad spirits and unwanted aura or elements.  Even if we are a firecracker free city, there's just a lot of things that can be used around in making noise.  And you need not teach the kids how to make them.  beeeeep... tooooottt... waaaaahhh...  claaang... booogg... hahahaa... But how do we know that the spirits are affected by such noise?  Oh well, at least we have fun doing it, and no one complains this time.

Wearing polka dots.  Circles represent coins or money, and wearing them is believed to give the person good inflow of money throughout the year.  Well, in that case, I'll be wearing rectangles instead or have a shirt printed with money of huge denominations.  Who knows, it'll work.  But if it doesn't, cheer up, its not everyday you can wear your favorite polka dots shirt... the long wait is finally over.

Putting coins in your pocket.  So that it won't be empty towards the year.  Then you give them away after, by tossing the coins to the air while the kids pick them up for themselves.  The sound of the coins are also good luck, and so as sharing your blessings to them, good karma.  For that, I won't be recommending bills here, unless of course you're prepared in giving it away.  And the bills don't make any sound, unless they are in bundle.  If that happens, count me in... I'm joining the fun...

Preparing and eating sweet sticky foods. That if you have something sweet and sticky in your "media noche", good things stick along with it.  But just a friendly reminder, especially to other places were firecrackers are allowed... sticky foods, hands and firecrackers, is not a very wise combination.

Rounded fruits.  Another thing that represents money is the rounded shape fruits.  I'm not quite sure if it's the number of kinds of rounded fruits or is it okay even if you have just one or two kinds as long as you have plenty of them. Anyway, whatever the case maybe here, no one is more happier than the seller of these overpriced fruits for the New Year.

Jumping high.  They say, the higher you jump, the taller you'll get.  But genes don't lie.  Probability of 99.99% you'll get your parents height and with proper health, might be more taller than them.  But hey, while you are in midair, you'll see others a little bit shorter than you are, even for a moment.  And it's fun to jump with others, right?  Then again, I believe miracles do happen.   

A lot of people may say that there's really no logical connection in doing these beliefs to getting the wanted result.   And the only way in getting these things is by working really hard (for material wealth) and having good and balance intake of foods (for growth and health).  But, there are still mysterious things happening in these world that even science cannot explain.  And I don't mind a little belief with some hope and a lot of prayers, if it could give a person a kick start to begin his year.  More, it's quite fun looking and/or joining the kids jumping none stop and scrambling for coins and just having some silly moments, than being so prim and proper for such jolly occasion.  Happy 2013 everyone and may Yahweh bless each day according to what we need most.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas In Gensan

It's the first time that my family celebrated Christmas in General Santos City and with our newest member, our very own, Jacob.  We planned it long before the holiday, applied for a couple of days leave, just to have more time to spend.  But what we haven't planned was the accident I had days before Christmas, indeed a bummer, but even that wasn't able to stop the cheerful air that was brought by the season... and of course, being together as a complete family.  Nothing would beat that.

We had a simple but significant celebration.  Unlike what we used to have in Davao, we dressed for the event, since there was a picture taking (though i was quite uncomfortable wearing pants due to my knee injury... araguyyyy!!!).  Followed by the most awaited opening of presents which my kids asked me when for a thousand time.  But I wouldn't miss a single moment to see my kids eagerly opening their gifts... those big bright sparkling eyes and cheerful laughter were truly a sight worth remembering.

Afterwards, we had our dinner of Filipino cuisines, kalderetang kambing (goat meat), kare-kareng baka (beef), inihaw na baboy (roasted pork) and buko (coconut) salad, to name a few.  I tried them all, just don't ask me how i was  able to make room for it, but with good cooking you just swallow one after the other.  All praises to my in-laws for preparing a very yummy meal. 

Then, the fireworks and loud firecrackers started.  Yes, we're a little bit eager to see and hear it again since it's banned in our city years ago.  No, I'm never against the policy, because since then, firecracker related accidents are almost erased from our city.  There are just a lot of irresponsible and careless people handling such dangerous explosive stuff.  I guess, what I'm trying to say is, firecrackers are safe if only it's handled by experts and/or at least able persons.

Lastly, I thank the very essence whom we are celebrating Christmas for, Jesus.   For the Almighty Father, for the gift of children... the gift of life.  And for giving His only beloved Son.  The light no matter what darkness we've been through.  The hope that Jesus had given the world, that by becoming one of us and dying for all our sins, He had given all of us a hope to still be with Him in heaven everlasting.  Happy birthday, our Lord... until You come again.  Yahweh bless.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Very Own "Simbang Gabi"

It's Simbang Gabi or Night Mass, but it's held early morning which varies usually from 3:00 to 5:00 a.m., depending on a Roman Catholic parish church.  In our parish for instance, the mass starts at 4:00 in the morning.  Maybe it was termed "night" due to the fact that it's still dark in our place during those particular time.  And according to trivia, the practice started when our country was under the Spanish regime, early mass were held for farmers so that they could still start early in planting in the fields and finish their tasks before noon.

It starts December 16 and ends on the 24th of the same month.  The last day being celebrated before Christmas Eve, as we call it "Misa de Gallo" which means Rooster's Mass (the name originates from the Roman's association of the cockcrow to the start of the day, eve or midnight).  But as practiced, we usually have the last Simbang Gabi mass at 10:00 p.m., to give the people ample time to go home and make their finishing touches in their Noche Buena preparations.

I was able to wake up early and attended the very first "Simbang Gabi" today.  I should have been with my daughter, but she decided not to come in the last minute.  As I arrived, the church was already congested, so I had no choice but to stay outside.  After I said my prayers, I couldn't help but observed the people around.  Some were asleep while standing but a lot were there to meet their friends and chat.  It was a lot more of being festive  rather than being solemn in prayer.  It's not a bad thing though, but there's always a right place and time for everything.

After the mass, outside the church, one would find various Filipino delicacies like suman, biko, sapin-sapin, puto at kutsinta, cassava cake, bitsu-bitsu among others, made from "malagkit" or glutinous rice, cassava flour and other native ingredients.  I was looking for "puto bumbong" but no one was selling at that time, there was "siomai" or steamed dumplings instead.  As a lot of fast food chains and food cart businesses are opening in the city, so as the diversity of food.  But a lot of Filipinos still go to what they were used to having especially during the season.

It's nearing Christmas and the days are moving fast, it's just like telling us that after all the trials we've been through, no matter how difficult it may seem, there's always hope.  And for me, that's the very essence of Jesus' birth.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Preventable Shooting Tragedy

Almost real life graphics on computer games, videos, and movies of killings or slaughtering people using various weapons, cutting the heads off of a zombie or vampire, or people being tortured and cut into pieces by a psycho or monster, showing every single details clearly to viewers all state of the art technology of fictional violence.  Gone were the days of pixelation or blurring and hiding of gruesome scenes and images.  Cool?  Exactly...

The infamous Connecticut shooting tragedy that claimed many innocent lives.
We knew that it far improved the quality of films and television series proved by the increased number of viewers worldwide.  And all might be earning millions in cold cash.  Though it was recognizable how our video graphics improved throughout the years, but these visual effects might be giving our young ones the wrong notion of associating cruel acts to coolness.  What’s worse, it’s giving them ideas on how to commit crimes, though fictional, still it indirectly teaches them everything about it.  Money and fame or our social responsibility?  Well, whatever we choose, we face the consequences of our actions.

Those who were at fault might be sentenced and face justice, but we can never be sure that there are still people around having same deranged motives and way of thinking.  No one had predicted nor even thought that a person could take such innocent lives simply because we can’t read minds and we can’t see intentions.  So we just don’t have a choice but to react when a tragedy happens.

The acts of children is the result of how their parents or guardians raised them.  True enough, it is the responsibility of the parents to guide their children, spend time with them, being there to answer their questions, and if possible, looking at the things they do to be able to guide them.  But that isn't always the case, there are always those unattended ones, and parents can't always be with them 24/7.  And of course, other factors such as too much freedom, being liberated, to loose in possessing guns and deadly weapons and internet access to violence and adult sites to name a few.  We adults made it all possible for them.  All our actions, do have consequences.  But then again, life gives us chances to correct things.  It's just waiting for us to make a move.

Again, we must all take responsibility for what happens around us because we didn’t do anything to prevent it, we just allow it to happen.  No matter how we ostracize ourselves from everyone, we can’t change the fact that we are part of it.  My point is, everything is a product of the decisions we make in our lives, whether we choose to stay quiet or do something.  No matter how small a voice is, if a good idea is shared, it can make a significant change.  We can definitely prevent violence from happening and help save innocent lives, if only we choose what is right and good for the majority.  May the Lord guide us all.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Unsaved By The Bell

At 2 minutes 59 seconds of the sixth round, Manny Pacquiao was knocked down by Juan Marquez.  Many may be surprised, as we were used of Manny's opponents usually were the ones who were sent flat on the canvass.  But hey, that's why it's called sport.  It's not all the time our guy or team wins, and this time Juan was the better man.  He really had hit Manny pretty good, which Manny never denied during his interviews.

Lucky shot or not, a win is a win, and it's all that matters.  Let's just be happy that none of them incurred permanent damage or worse, disability.  Juan, won it fair and square.  It's his day, let's just give it to him and let him celebrate his victory.  And for Manny, he gave his all and though this time was a lose, we should not forget that he was the one who brought back our country in the map, making us known to the whole world.  He risks his life everytime he steps in the ring, no matter what the outcome maybe, he deserves a hero's welcome, win or lose.

Religion wise, our Lord is fair and just.  Both players, may it be Manny or Juan is a son to Him, as every single one of us.  He didn't and wouldn't side to any of the player.  So the change in Manny's religion, doesn't really answer why he lost the game.  He still believes in the same God, does he?  And blaming his loss to his religion is like blaming our Lord for it.  So, let us just think that everything that happened had it's reason, maybe to humble us in a way.

For Manny, the Filipinos love you no matter what.  You already are a legend being the only boxer in the world who won world titles in eight different weight divisions and no one can take that away.  The Filipinos take pride on that.  You have far uplifted the hopes of Filipinos in the international world, because of you, a lot became proud of who they are, and started exceling in their own fields.  And that I think, is one of the many things the country should be thankful to you.

It's just a defeat compared to all his victories.  I think for now, if Manny decides to continue with his boxing profession, he must learn from what had happened and think of it as a thing of the past.  Moving forward, he was thinking of sharing his blessings to those unfortunate brothers of ours who were badly affected by typhoon Pablo.  And that's the best move for him now, for even his defeat will be nothing compared to the loss experienced by these people.

True champions are those who recognize defeat, know how to stand to it and use it to win again.  Yahweh bless.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jollibeerthday Surprises

It's Justin's day and the family prepared something fun for him today.  I took a leave and arranged my daughter's absence from her school (so she'll be excused from her exams for the day) just so we can celebrate his birthday together.   Likewise, it's also my mom-in-law's birthday, the more reason there is to be joyous.   

He woke up early, as he had a written exam in the afternoon.  But, apart from that, he's actually very excited for his Jollibee party where all his classmates and teachers are invited as his guests.  So, as soon as we got to school, he finished his exam right away and excitedly waited for the party to be set-up by the Jollibee personnel.  They brought along with them some goodies and giveaways for the kids and of course, they'll never forget, the ever energetic and a little bit naughty, Jollibee.  Maybe it's a part of  the characteristics needed to qualify as the mascot. hehehe.

The kids enjoyed the games and merienda (snacks), but most of all, they had fun being with Jollibee.  I don't know whats with the character, but the kids including my son and daughter really love him.  You know, that twinkle in their eyes and cute laughter, it's just a lovely sight.  And the party ended well... But the surprises haven't stopped, we didn't tell him that his cousins along with our relatives and family in Davao were coming.  So when we got home, he was so happy to see them, that he eagerly showed all his new toys to them as well as talked to them of almost anything under the sun.  I guess he just missed them so much and it's been just a month of not seeing them, what more if it's longer?


Since we just had limited time in Gensan, we immediately went to a mall they wanted to visit.  Good thing, since we also wanted to give our children what they were kept on requesting, to play in the fountain within the mall premises.  Actually, it's more of they wanted to take a bath and play at the same time.  I enjoyed watching them play, thinking that if I'm at there age, I would likely enjoyed the same.  But I was kinda  kill joy, i couldn't help to always remind them not to run fast... not to open their mouth to the shooting water... not to... hahaha.  I know it sounds annoying but as a parent, I was only after their welfare.  I don't want to regret something I can prevent.

Then, on our way home, we brought with us some delightful and yummy treats from our friends from Pablo's Steaks and Crabs.  These are gifts for the celebrants, my mom-in-law and my son.  We then enjoyed sharing with each other the sumptuous blessings from our Lord, the blessing of food, health and most of all, life.

Happy birthday to our very own, Justin and Mamang.  We wish you both all the best in life.  And we will always be thankful to the Lord that you both became part of our lives... To Yahweh be the glory.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What Would You Do This Christmas?

Luke 3:10-14

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The pastor threw this question to the congregation, "What would you do this Christmas?".  He told us, the answer might be very easy for us... but how about for those who were badly affected by Typhoon Pablo?  The answer wouldn't be as easy...

For those typhoon victims that were left homeless, jobless and worse, who lost their family members, what would Christmas be for them?  Would they even have the time to pause and think about it, when they don't even have food to eat, a warm place to stay, and a family to return to.  But through the effort of various sectors to help them, there might be some spark of the Christmas spirit, though little, can bring back hope to one's heart.

But that's just the least we can do for them, that would temporarily aid their burden.  More we can help prevent such awful disaster from happening again if we just do our part and be responsible to our environment and fellow countrymen.  We can't stop typhoons but we can definitely lessen it's effect.  With hundreds of lives sacrificed, hundreds more still missing and thousands injured and affected, it wouldn't take someone from Compostela Valley to see what caused the devastation that worsen the effect of typhoon Pablo.  Flash flood with mud, rocks and huge piles of logs rushed down from the mountains, even the best swimmer would not survive that. 

bagged bodies recovered from debris brought by the typhoon.
(photo taken from
What's done is done.  Hope we learned from what had happened.  Now, even areas not known to be visited by typhoons are no longer safe.  Worst, our mountains had lost their capability to hold and lessen the force of ravaging flood and mud brought by the typhoon.  The rampant logging, deforestation and mining, we all brought it to ourselves.  It's not too late and it's not irreversible.  But the government cannot fix this problem alone, the cooperation of our citizen is needed.  We still can log but not to the extent that we clear our forest, we just take what is enough and needed.  Then we replace what we cut and let the forest recover.  We still can mine, but not too long and extensive in one place.  The mountains also need to recover.  Just picture this out, what do you think would happen if a mountain with cut-down trees and bombarded with holes would be poured with huge amount of water?  It would definitely spell "disaster".

For now, victims are crying for any help they can get, that too much hunger and thirst even let them forget to mourn for their lost loved ones.  I know we will continue to help them and someday they will be back on their feet again.  But then, what will stop a similar tragedy from happening again?  Not unless we do something significant about it.  We might be looking for a miracle, but nothing is impossible... May the Lord guide us all.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

You're Already A Month

My daughter and I have been traveling almost every weekend to Gensan just to visit our family there.  It was our decision that my wife spend her maternity leave with her parents so she could have all the time she needs to rest and recover.  And we think that it would be very convenient for her since she could have all the help she needs in taking care of baby Jacob, for the time being.  Though our family craves to be together, we just need to sacrifice a little bit, and think of what's best for everyone.  So, we just let each other feel how much we missed one another during our short visits... How we wish we would no longer return for work and school...


This was our first visit since my paternity leave weeks ago.  Our Jacob just turned a month old now.  He drinks a couple of ounces of milk almost every 2 hours, has more muscles and movement control especially in his hands and feet, fuller body and face (definitely gained weight) and still sleeps and cries a lot, but this time, it's louder... LOL.  And his kuya (older brother) Justin is coping up nicely in his new school.  He is doing pretty well with their school lessons and activities.  How I terribly miss my boys... and their mom... huhuhu!!!

Though tomorrow would again be "a crying time" for my girl as we would be returning to Davao, and again leaving them behind, our foresight is already for next week, as our kuya Justin will be celebrating his birthday... hahay, already I feel that longing to return here even if I haven't left yet.  Hmmm... I guess in life there will always be sacrifices...  but as long as my family is okay and it's whats best for each and everyone, then it's fine with me... Just have to learn to bend with the circumstances and have faith in Him that everything is according to His will.  Yahweh bless.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - Punishment Tours And Other Hurdles

August 1996 - Aside from academics and guard duties, I spent the month serving my accumulated punishment tours.... and with a little help from those touring conversions... fatigue duty, study period and the most dreadful punishment... watching debates.  LOL.  Well, these conversions were a lot relaxing and beneficial than walking full battle attire with rifle under the scourging heat of the sun for hours.

September 1996

I started the month in maximizing my complied hours of punishment tours, as the long break at the end of the month was fast approaching.  And I needed to finish all of it, otherwise I won't be able to go on vacation... and I still had a couple.  Speaking of pressure, on top of it, I had deal with it during the month where we also had our academic final exams.

12- I had my first "Major A" from the platoon run competition for having the least time in finishing the race.  It was later sewn in my corps jacket.  This symbolized a victory from the yearly held intramurals fought between the PMA companies.  And not all cadets were lucky enough to have even one during their stay.

14-17-  We also had a inter-company dart competition where I was able to reached semi-finals.  I had competed with almost against my upperclassmen.  But sometimes, I had to cancel due to my touring duties tsk...

20-  We were again given the privilege to watch SLU students with their rendition of West Side Story.  How I wished we also got touring hours credits for watching the play or was I asking too much?  Hahaha, got it, then it wouldn't be a punishment anymore, isn't it?

23-26- Just like any other universities, our main focus, aside from our military training, were our academics.  Adding to the pressures of a yearling were subjects like physics, literature, calculus, philosophy, history, psychology, etc... Final exams week, cadet duties, touring... bring it on...

25- To help cadets reduce and finish their touring, we were given the optional distance touring where if we could finish a particular distance, that would be equivalent to 1 touring hour (TH).  I made 8 THs that day, making it very possible for me to go home.  I was never been so determined of finishing all my punishment tours... it was my ticket to home.

27- Initiation day for the class 2000.  Met a lot of "kababayans" 4th class cadets from Davao City, which I haven't got the chance to visit from other companies due to hectic time schedule.  It was a "rotting" (rough) day for the plebes, but for the soon to be recognized members of the corps, foresight... plebehood would soon be over.

It was actually a fun event for the upperclassmen.  We were in our relaxed mode during the event, we even sympathized with our plebes hairdo, wearing our general athletic uniform and just making sure every plebe that passed by us performed their designated exercises.  It really felt like it's more of a frolics than having the intention of giving the plebes the hardest possible day they could ever have.

28-  Then came the symbolic "Recognition Day".  In as much as I was proud of all the plebes that were standing in that octagon formation, I can't also help but felt proud of myself that day, since I was one of those who recognized the plebes.  It only meant that we survived our own challenges and obstacles that we must face as cadets.

29,30- Last days of "rallying" for my punishment tours, and I was able to finished every single one of it.  At last... going home.  By the way, that was my first since I reported to PMA to be a cadet.  And I thank the Lord that I managed all those hurdles... Yahweh bless. 

Recent Related Post:  New Things, Old Things

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Decade Of Working

I would like to thank our Lord for giving me a work that helped sustain and provide the needs of my family for the passed 10 whole years.  I'm so glad that I stayed this long, and I know it wouldn't be possible without His guidance.  It seems like yesterday when I prayed and asked Him for any work, since I was about to have a child back then and I was needing all the help that I can get.  I told Him that I'll take the job even if I start below minimum.  But He gave me more than what I asked for.

One for all and all for one...

I started at a decent rate, enough to accommodate the needs of a starting family.  Then 6 months after, I got my first increase along with my regularization at work.  And then again, I thank the Lord for He touched the hearts of the people around me and everything just fell into place.  I got to travel out of town and go to a known resort (our company owns) during our work engagements.  With that, I would like to thank my previous office mates and our first department head.

When we had our reorganization due to the major movements and changes in the executives of the company, we also had a new head along with new colleagues.  Even though our head was tough to be with back then (LOL), I was promoted during his time.  And that wouldn't be possible without the recommendation from our previous team leader (which by the way, is already holding an executive position in the company as an assistant vice president now).  I was transferred from pre-audit to do post-audit works, and new staffs were hired.  I learned a lot of stuffs and acquired skills due to that experience.  Since I was already assisting in audit engagements even when I was still in pre-audit, it was easy for me to adapt to my new assignment.  It was really a blessing, just in time, since I had my second born and it really was a great help for my family.  My gratitude to everyone who made it possible.

Then years after, another reorganization was made.  Again, we had a new head, and a lot of friends and colleagues were either transferred to our affiliates or to other departments.  Challenging years, I may say, there were a lot of reassignments and changes made which affected our group.  There were just some personalities you can easily get along with and there were the exceptions.  I was just glad that our Lord gave me my family where I can always get my strength from especially during those times.  More, the Lord was truly good to me, I was transferred again to pre-audit in one of our affiliates where my friends were and where I can work to my full capacity again.

Now, with change being constant with the top management, we had a new department head now and along with newly hired officemates.  Though they are all younger than me (am I getting that old already?... Nah!!! hahaha), I got high hopes with these guys.  I know they'll do better in our department.  Me, well, I just thank the Lord more and more each day.   Above the 13th month, leave conversions, bonuses, salary increase and monetary blessings I receive, I thank Him for the good health, peace of mind, friendship, and family. 

Thank you for the 10 years, my Lord.  To Yours be all the praises and glory, forever and ever...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Calamity Season Underscores Need For Readiness


The height of the wet season in the country isn’t getting much help from the spate of other natural disasters like earthquakes and a string of typhoons. While such upheavals may be considered normal because of our orientation along the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, there’s the even larger context of climate change whose impacts are felt all the way around the world.

Climate change or global warming has become evident in recent years as regions experience extreme climates, from warm seasons hitting record-high temperatures to wet seasons exhibiting massive precipitation. This is precisely the reason why organizations from both the public and private sectors call for extra vigilance.

As an advocate of safety and awareness, Eveready Philippines is taking an active stance in educating the public about being always ready when disaster strikes. “Now that we are at the height of what we can rightfully call ‘typhoon season’, Filipinos are again reminded to ensure that their family is always ready,” says Energizer representative Johanna V. Emata “This, of course, starts with awareness of certain situations and proper knowledge of which equipment and supplies are needed to be ready for any type of calamity.”

Keep up with the latest
The first thing to do at the onset of any calamity is to keep watch over the situation regardless of whether you are located near disaster-prone areas or not. This means keeping constantly updated with breaking news about the progress of the storm and related developments over television or radio.
It also helps to be oriented on PAGASA’s Public Storm Warning Signals (PSWS) as well as their recently released color-coded rainfall advisory, which would help people be ready for any possible situations. While PSWS corresponds to increasing storm intensity from PSWS#1 to PSWS#4, the rainfall advisory tracks the level of rainfall that determines rising water levels.

Code Yellow means heavy rain that will deposit about 7.5 to 15mm of water—a situation that requires constant monitoring of the weather condition because of the possibility of flooding. Code Orange, on the other hand, means intense rain that will deposit about 15 to 30mm of water. This code requires people to be alert for possible evacuation due to threat of floods. Code Red, like any other red-alert status, means danger. With more that 30mm of rainfall, low-lying areas are to expect serious flooding that would require residents to immediately evacuate.

Knowing these facts offer foresight and provide a chance to be always ready for possible disaster. Being ready means having ample time to strategize on which areas to avoid, how to safeguard property, or, at worst, evacuate the premises.

Basic Needs
If you and your family do get caught in a situation that leaves little or no margin for error, it helps to be prepared and armed with the right equipment and supplies. “Faced with an emergency disaster situation, what you have inside your home, or ultimately inside your bag, may spell the difference between life and death,” says Emata. “Being prepared with the right tools will definitely ensure you and your family’s survival.”

Securing the basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing is of utmost importance. Making sure that the household is secure and waterways are free of debris are essential, as is stocking up on provision like bottled water and food that have a long shelf life.
An emergency kit that includes a multitool knife, First Aid materials, transistor radios, and flashlights should be accessible at all times. Cell phones should be charged in case of power interruption and emergency numbers must be on hand.

Help is on the way
It’s also important to stock up on long-lasting batteries. Aside from powering radios for information and flashlights for navigating through the dark, a good set of batteries powers signaling devices that can spell the difference between getting rescued and being left behind.

Eveready, the country’s leading battery brand, took the initiative to equip emergency response units like the Philippine Red Cross and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council with hands-free Energizer Headlights and Batteries needed to conduct rescue and relief operations.

Through partner organizations GMA Kapuso Foundation and ABS-CBN Foundation’s Sagip Kapamilya, Eveready also provided emergency lights and battery energy to families affected by massive flooding during the recent southwest monsoon (habagat) rains in most of Metro Manila and  large parts of Luzon.

As a brand that has empowered Filipino lives for decades, Eveready reiterates the importance of being vigilant and ready at all times. “Given that our country is very much prone to natural calamities, we should all take time to prepare and invest on the safety of our families and homes,” says Emata. “It is a small price to pay considering the value of the things and the lives that you can save.”
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Air B.Urquiola                                                                                      Faye D. Marcelino                                                
Business Unit Director                                                                         PR Consultant                     
Telefax: 725-0237                                                                                  Telefax: 725-0237
Telephone: 470-8535                                                                             Telephone: 470-8525
Cel: 09178328572                                                                                  Cel: 0933-1598929/0906-5839863
        0922-8599216                                                                                 E-mail:

Alvin A. Marayan
Media Relations Officer
Telefax: 725-0237
Telephone: 470-8535
Cel: 0927-5116385

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Donuts Galore!!!

Back then, we only had those fried donuts sprinkled with sugar commonly sold in the city's local markets.  Years later, the famous Dunkin' and Mister Donut(s) came and had their branches in the downtown area and the malls.  And with the opening of Abreeza Mall last year, they brought along with them new food shops to Davao City, including equally sensational GoNuts Donuts and just a month ago, the most awaited Krispy Kreme (KK).  Meaning, we now have lots and lots of doughnuts to choose from.

Last Sunday, while dining at Abreeza, it was actually my first time to know Krispy Kreme already opened a branch there.  I just noticed people carrying boxes of their donuts.  So after our meal, out of curiosity, we checked out their place inside the mall.  

They had a see-through working place where you can actually see their food preparation... and a decent place for those who want to dine in.  More, they are conveniently located at the ground floor along with the other food chains.  I just bought one for each in the family.  The taste, yummy as before... and the price... well, let's just talk about the taste... ha ha ha. 

So, for those visiting Davao City, you won't be missing KK donuts anymore.  Just visit any of the 3 current branches located at Abreeza Mall, SM Ecoland, and SM Lanang, respectively.  Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My PMA Cadet Years (Yearling) - New Things, Old Things

July 1996

2- Dental problems.  I was not able to take care of an aching tooth when I was a plebe.  There was no time for it or should I say, it was not recognized as something to complain about during those times.  But as an upperclassman, yearling to be exact, you'd be so foolish not to attend to such problem especially for a troublesome tooth.  So, I had my dental appointment with our resident dentist in PMA station hospital (PMASH).  Also a good thing, since it was a not so busy month in the academy.

4- Power interruptions.  We were not exempted from blackouts that hit the city.  This was really a big problem to those who didn't have ironed pants, hanky or uniform, in general.  Here, a yearling's resourcefulness will be tested.  You could borrow stuffs from a mistah, since you'll be tagged as "assuming", if from an upperclassman and "shabby", if from a plebe.  Just be prepared in doing a lot of favors for it and sometimes, bawl out or constructive criticism from your mistah.  Or you could start a rain dance if you know how, since rain was the only time we would wear our raincoat on top of our uniforms which in a way, would cover the lack of preparedness... LOL.

13- New room, new roommates.   Some of our mistahs were not able to survive academics and had to leave PMA, so to even up our class numbers per company, some were transferred to other barracks and re-rooming were implemented.  Transferring my stuffs was a hassle but the real challenge there was getting along with a new set of people and learning to deal with each of them.

with my roommates, Darwin and Frederick

14- Non-academic.    We usually had our meals served inside barracks when the mess hall was prepared and used for another activity or there's a duty that required urgency.  It's actually an advantage to both cadets and mess hall personnel.  We didn't need to prepare for the day's uniform and they had  lesser things to clean.

15- Being in Baguio City, we were also observing their holidays like the Cordillera Day.  Like other universities, we also didn't have classes during those times.  However, we're still not exempted to do other duties and responsibilities, sometimes even more strenuous than having a class.   The good thing was we could do stuffs like laundry, ironing and other preparations in a longer vacant time as this.

20-  It was the start of the intramurals, and same as last year, the opening ceremony was held, and with the cheering competition as the starting event.  Though others had new stunts and chants, still a lot were "vault files" or heard and seen performances.  Relying on the previous learned stuffs passed from class after class and/or introduced stuffs from neophytes cadets, the later being unlikely. LOL.

All smiles for the event...
With some of the cheering participants.

23-31-  Typhoon prone. Storm signals weren't new to us.  It seemed like every storm that passed the country, never failed to visit or affect Baguio City.  I was already thinking if it's just a coincidence that the city's name sounds like "bagyo" (tagalog for storm).  We were hit by 2 typhoons, Gloria and Herb, with just almost a week apart.  Though some of our activities were affected like cancelled corps drill and Saturday inspections, but the guarding and other duties like academics were not affected.  Since even if it floods and unlike other students, cadets' academic building was just a walk away.  Lucky for us, we never stopped learning.  hahaha... Yahweh bless.

Recent Related Post:  Perks Of Being A Cadet

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ranchero Grill's New Home In Gensan

With Dadiangas as our second home, we have decided that my wife would spend her maternity leave there with her parents.  We had the time to spend three days with her before going back to Davao for work. While we were there, we couldn't resist visiting this  restaurant that's so near to our hearts, Ranchero Grill.  Aside from that the owner was a family friend of my wife's sister, we had our wedding reception in their branch in Davao City, making them a memorable part of our lives.  And with their newly opened branch in SM City, General Santos, we made  sure to pay them a visit.

Upon arrival, the kids immediately roamed and played around the place...  Very nice architecture, I must say.

And after all the exhausted energy, an enticing dinner was waiting for us... 

We had their native chicken tinola for our soup... we also tried their famous sisig which was personally recommended by my sis-in-law... and of course we wouldn't miss their specialty, their super mouthwatering  baby back ribs.  And for the verdict, well as usual, they never let our taste buds down. Two thumbs up!

Let me just straighten this up, this isn't a paid ad nor a press release, but nevertheless if ever you're in General Santos for business or pleasure, I highly recommend visiting the place... whether you're with your family and friends or treating someone important or dear to your heart.... here, you can never go wrong. 

Check them out also in Davao with some details found in this post: Friends Visiting In Davao.  Yahweh bless.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Famous MOCHI SWEETS Now in Manila!

Press Release

Jason Yap (left) and Garry Cheng holding a box of
Mochi Sweets that are now available in the Philippines
Banking on Filipino’s sweet tooth and penchant for embracing food from around the world, the wildly popular MOCHI SWEETS has made its way into the local food scene and is sure to create a mochi craze as seen in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

“Mochi” is a well-loved Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice flour pounded into shape. Mochi Sweets has taken this traditional dessert further by creating small balls of luxurious and flavorful cream and wrapping it in chewy mochi skin.  Think dessert dumplings with frozen cream or mousse in the center and a mochi covering made with just the right thickness, moistness and stickiness.

Business partners Jason Yap and Samatha Paz chanced upon Mochi Sweets in their trips to Malaysia and Vietnam and saw the store drawing huge crowds. Both only in their early 20s but with entrepreneurial exposure from their parents, they decided to write to J Sweets in Hong Kong and were soon awarded the official franchise for Mochi Sweets in the Philippines.

Garry Cheng, President of J Sweets was in Manila to grace the unveiling of the first Mochi Sweets store in the SM Mall of Asia. He was very excited for Filipinos to try Mochi Sweets. He says their dessert is superior to other desserts which loosely uses mochi but don’t produce the right texture and experience. Cheng offers a clue on how premium their product and standards are: “We learned from Japan. We had a Japanese chef who creates these delectable concoctions for us and we use only 100% Japanese mochi.”

Just looking at the cute and colourful balls of Mochi Sweets neatly placed in its classic gift box and you understand why it has earned raves abroad. “First impression counts,” says Jason Yap, president of Mochi Sweets Philippines. “Mochi Sweets first tempts you with how it appeals to the eyes. But the real pleasure is the taste and experience once you bite into it. This is because Mochi Sweets is made from the best ingredients. There is meticulous control to ensure consistency of quality. We do not short-change our customers. We aim to satisfy each customer and make them enjoy life’s simple indulgent treats.”

Hence, the real test is resisting the urge to sink your teeth into these decadent sweets. Mochi Sweets comes frozen and you have to wait 10-15 minutes for it to thaw before you can bite into its gummy goodness. But unlike those with ice cream filling, Mochi Sweets is not prone to messy meltdowns as you eat it. It is also a perfect to-go or bring-home treat since it does not melt all the way through and will be thawed and just-ready by the time you meet your family and friends.

Jason Yap further shows how Mochi Sweets will be enjoyed: “We are a gifting society. A box of Mochi Sweets has 6 to 12 pieces and will definitely be a fun gift for sharing during those special moments and celebrations. Customers can pick different colors and flavors of Mochi Sweets based on the personality and preference of the lucky recipient and this makes each box of Mochi Sweets special and personal.”

Mochi Sweets indeed has a wide array of flavors – from the classic favorites to inspired special concoctions. Clear winners for chocolate lovers are the wickedly good Chocolate Mousse, Cream Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. Coffee aficionados will find delicious comfort in Caramel Macchiato. Kids and kids-at-heart looking for something wholesome will enjoy the fruity confections: Strawberry Mousse, Mango Yoghurt and Honey Lemon Cream. Those who want something different and exotic can try Sakura (or cherry blossom, which is very popular in Japan), Green Tea and Durian Mousse. Currently, Mochi Sweets offers 17 flavors and will continue to dish out cool and yum variants that will make customers think Mochi Sweets when they crave for desserts and comfort food.

From the first Mochi Sweets kiosk in SM Mall of Asia (beside the Skating Rink), the team of Jason Yap and Samatha Paz will open three more Mochi Sweets stores this quarter. The next two stores will be at Robinsons Galleria and Eastwood Mall. They promise rapid expansion in 2013 with the biggest Mochi Sweets shop already slated at SM Aura which will open at BGC.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

And There Were Three

It was late night of October 31th when my wife begun to complain of painful contractions and the intervals were getting closer, about 10 minutes apart... and down to every 5 minutes.  I kept on telling my wife that she’ll be okay, as we had already been to our OBGyn.  But I saw how painful it was that she was already crying as she held my hands very tight.  It was passed 1 AM when we decided that we ran to the hospital just to have her checked and her condition be properly monitored.

As we were in a taxi going to the hospital, the pain continued and I could hear her sobbing because of it.  I told the driver not to drive too fast especially when passing rough roads since there were a lot of areas still under repairs.  I was preventing anything that could worsen the hurt she’s feeling at that moment.  We arrived at around 2 AM in the hospital where she was immediately admitted and brought directly to the delivery room.

I was left in the hospital lobby to process the necessary requirements and payments.  The cashier told me that I needed to deposit 30,000 pesos if there will be an advice for delivery.  I told her what our OBGyn told us earlier that my wife was not still due and there’s a great possibility that it was false alarm.  Luckily, I convinced her and she only asked a P5,000 pesos deposit.

Goofing around their brother...
I went and waited outside the delivery room, and it wasn’t the first time, just a few weeks ago, she was also confined in a hospital’s delivery room for close monitoring, so she would not deliver our baby prematurely... he was just barely 8 months back then.  And there I was again... praying that nothing bad would happen... but I wasn’t expecting anything.

It was passed 3 AM when a nurse called me, I was thinking she’s going to ask me for my wife’s meds or for her things...  But life was full of surprises, she told me, “Sir, meet your son”.  I was left speechless.  Before I could react she already went inside the nursery.  I was not able to even ask her if he’s just okay.  Or if he needs special care since he’s almost a month early.  And how’s my wife?

Lucky for me, I had some company which got me out of my worries.  They told me that just by looking at my child, he was perfectly fine.  He’s very active and the nurse let me see him.  They added that normally, if there’s a problem, she will be directed to the nursery’s ventilator or incubator.  Man, was I glad to hear it...  And I later confirmed from one of the nurses.

So, our youngest was born passed the hour of 3 in the morning.  My praises to our Lord that everything went well for both my wife and our son and for the normal delivery, it was indeed a blessing to our family.  As to my son, Jacob, welcome to our family, we may not give you everything in this world but we will definitely give you the love and care you deserve and we’ll do what we can to provide you your needs.  To Yahweh be the glory.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Preterm Labor Worries

We decided to go today to our OBGyn since my wife was having abdominal pains due to suspected premature contractions.  I really learned a lot of new terms for having a pregnant wife.  Though it's still more or less a month to go before the expected delivery, it's better to be cautious than suffer the consequences, more putting my wife and child's life in danger.  We were also worried since according to my wife, the contractions resembled labor pains, similar to what she experienced with our other kids.

Our doctor advised us to have an ultrasound.  But the result contradicted our fears, it showed that she was not yet ready to give birth as the child might come out premature and then we would might need an incubator, or worse, a ventilator for that matter.  So she advised my wife to take her medicines  and continue with her strict bed rest without bathroom privileges.  We still had to wait 2 weeks the least, just to be safe.  Upon hearing this, we went home with peace of mind.
At least, we had a consolation of viewing his face.

We were just glad that the doctor's order was home confinement, for all we thought she would advise another admission to the hospital.  So, just to celebrate a little bit, I bought her a cake.  It was just funny because the only available cake that had her favorite icing had a "Happy Birthday" written on it.  But we didn't mind it as we would just going to eat it anyway.  Plus the store in-charge told me it was newly baked.

Although she continues to have the abdominal pains until this evening, at least we already consulted it.  But in any case that the contractions progress and their intervals become closer, we will surely rush right away to the hospital.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kids And Halloween Scare

What is it with television programs today that they keep on showing scary and sometimes even morbid  horror movie and program clips?  And previews are usually shown on prime time, where our kids usually watch their favorite TV programs.   TV stations show it without giving regard to their viewers, without giving parents due precaution that they'll be showing something not suitable for kids.

It really becomes a problem, especially with my daughter.  At her age, she really believes easily to most of the things she sees on TV.  Now, no matter how I tell her that ghosts and "aswang"(monsters) aren't true and those she saw on TV were just people covered with prosthetics and make-ups, she still believes they're real.  She can't take a bath by herself in the middle of the day... light in the room is open the whole night... and she needs to be accompanied all the time.  I can't even ask her to bring her plate in the kitchen. 

Yes, I know it's Halloween, but isn't it that the whole idea of the occasion is for kids to have fun and not to scare them off.  More, aside from the scare, it's really not healthy for them to see such violence in a horror flick.  It's giving them wrong notions and we can't always be beside them, to give them guidance.  Stations should also be responsible to what they show on TV.  It wouldn't take so much to give some warning before showing it live or maybe move it late night or choose some not so scary parts.  

Let us think of our children's welfare above the income we are trying to achieve.  It is part of our responsibilities as adults, to mold them in the best person they will be someday.  And I don't think scaring them would help... Yahweh bless.