Social Spark

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Run For A Cause

Our company organized a fun run for the benefit of patients in Southern Philippines Medical Center's (former Davao Regional Hospital) "House of Hope" - a facility built to accommodate children with cancer having their chemotherapy sessions, along with a family member to serve as support during the course of treatment.   The treatment sessions (i.e. medicines, facilities, services, etc.) aren't free,  so they needed support from kindhearted individuals, and what's a best way to raise immediate fund than the ever reliable fun run.

It was made compulsory for our company's employees to join with one invite.  It's a good thing and it wasn't a loss to anyone since it's going to be for a good cause.  Later, it was disseminated that the company will be shouldering the registrations of all it's employees, thus we only paid for our invites.  That's how our company love their employees, which we repay with our all out support.

I brought my daughter with me during the run.  It was her first.  So I picked up the shortest distance for us, 3 kilometers.  We had not practiced enough for the event, due to somewhat busy schedule and weather issues.  But we had some jogs and stretching exercises days before the scheduled run, and that's it.  Good thing we're not eying for a place and settled for just finishing the race.  Just kidding, it was our intention from the very beginning to just jog and walk during the event.

When the 3 km run started, we had a good start.  We were catching up with other participants one after another.  Then at the middle of the event, she was already complaining of aching legs and her thighs were beginning to be itchy.  At that moment, I knew I had to carry her before she gets muscle cramps.  So, I ended up carrying a kid on my back.  It was my decision anyway and what mattered most was I had a great bonding moment with my daughter.

Upon reaching the finish line, after catching up with our breath, got a chance to meet some of the benefactors.  It broke my heart thinking why these kids, so young and faultless, suffer these dreadful disease that's eating up their youth... their lives.  By just looking at them, I knew, we did something good that day.  It might not be enough to cover all their expenses for the whole treatment, but at least it could help.

I hope we'll have more events like this which can help those who needed most.  In as much as I pray to our Lord to spare the lives of the children by laying His healing hands upon them.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Beach, Falls And Bats For Summer

We had our employees summer outing in Samal City, it gave us the opportunity to visit some of the famous tourist spots there, particularly Monfort Bat Colony, Hagimit Falls and Pearl Farm Beach Resort.  Our company provided buses for our transportation.  The buses were then transported using barges in a ferryboat located at Km. 11, Barangay Sasa  here in Davao.  As we reached Samal, we immediately proceeded to our first destination... to the bat cave!!!
One of the tour guides overheard my question, the reason why bats don't cluster
 in the exposed portion of the cave is to protect themselves from predators like the raven.
By the way, they are a record holder.
Upon arrival, the site in-charge gave us a short background about Monfort Bat Colony, the importance and significant contributions of bats to our environment and rules to follow in bat watching.  The rule is simple, don't disturb the bats in any way since they have sensitive senses and a lot of them have babies which when dropped will die, and don't over crowd in one place, the surface above the caves can only carry a couple of people (safe to say, 30 max).

Here are some important facts about bats that was shared during the event:
  • Bats are mammals that give birth to 1 baby a year and they do this hanging upside down;
  • They control parasite (i.e. mosquitoes), crop pest and other insects being their major predator;
  • They love nectar, making them a big contributor to cross pollination of wide array of tropical fruits (i.e. durians, mangoes, bananas, etc.) found in our place; and,
  • They play an important role in the dispersal of seeds they get from trees to our forests, thus helping rebuild our damaged environment.
After being overwhelmed seeing millions of bats in the place,   we moved to another equally breathtaking (literally) place, Hagimit Falls.  Since our buses can only drive us up to the highway (due to narrow road towards the place), we needed to walk a bit long way, not to mention the couple of steps down the walkway to the falls.  Well, you know what, it's worth it.  The beauty of the place, just took my breath away (now, I'm figuratively speaking).

It may seem everything is blurry and starting
to lose colors but I'm almost there... LOL.
In as much as we wanted to stay long and take even just a short dip, due to time constraint, we needed to go and face the uphill trek towards our rides.  It wasn't a joke, especially to those who haven't stretched their muscles for a long time.  But hey, it's a good stop, a great prospect and something to recommend to everyone who wants to visit Samal.

Along the way to our last stop, our bus experienced a mechanical damage.  So we needed to transfer to one of the other buses.  We had to fit passengers good for 2 buses into 1 bus (since the other buses were already ahead of us.  I really couldn't think that moment if we were lucky or not.  Well, what's important was we somehow arrived to Pearl Farm safe and sound.

Upon arrival, we had a short program, picture taking and prayer, then we had our bountiful lunch.  The food, just wowed me, one of the many things I like about the place.  Then, we roamed around the Malipano Island (still part of Pearl Farm where our outing was held).  A couple decided to simply take a swim by the beach, while others took opportunity of the discounted rates for use of facilities (banana boat, kayak, and JetSki rides) given to employees just for that day.
Prepared for lunch... me.
Then we called it a day.  We took a 45 minutes boat ride from Pearl Farm on our way back home.  It was fun, but I just wish that I can also share such experience with my family.  I hope and pray that I will, someday.  Yahweh bless.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Glimpse Of Our New Angel

We are expecting our baby by the end of this year.  My wife, in her prenatal checkup, was able to see our still tiny baby in her womb.  How I wish I can always be right beside her during these wonderful moments, but I need to be in my work.  So I had to satisfy myself with the ultrasound scan result.  And it was really a great feeling to see our baby for the first time.

The memories of my children came back to me, moments when they were still in their mom's womb.  The thought gives me the feeling of excitement of the experiences I'll have with our newest member.  Knowing the gender, selecting a name, and a lot of good things along the way.  And so as the anticipation of the challenges it'll give... baby crying-give milk-sing endless lullaby-baby crying again-change diapers-baby sleeping-baby crying again... Not to mention the necessities, milk and diapers.  But hey that's the essence of being a parent.

Right now, we don't have a gender preference.  But my daughter wants a sister and our son wants a brother, and we can't have both since it's not a twin.  But whatever our baby will be, we just want him or her to be complete and healthy, and we all agree on this.

To our thirdy, your ate, kuya, mom and I are very eager to meet you personally.  We love you so much and we pray that you'll be healthy and safe with your mom.  Yahweh bless.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Immunization Is Better Than Cure

A week ago, I brought my kids to our company initiated vaccination program.  It's not free but my wife told me the shots were cheaper than the usual price.  There were 4 vaccines available namely; for Influenza (Flu), Pneumonia, Hepatitis B, and Cervical Cancer HPV.  I had a Pneumococcal vaccination while my kids had their flu shots, having already done with the other needed vaccines.  Sharing some commonly asked questions answered during the orientation at the start of the program:

Flu Vaccine also known as a "flu shot" is an inactive vaccine, containing killed virus, injected through a needle usually in a person's arm or buttock's area.

How often should a person have a flu shot?
Yearly, different virus strain and type is likely to develop each year.

When will it take effect?
Antibodies against influenza viruses will develop about 2 weeks after vaccination.  Therefore, you can still be infected by an ill person within the time being.

Who should not be vaccinated?  
Without a doctor or physician's approval, the following should not receive flu shots:
  • People having severe allergy to chicken eggs;
  • Those who previously had severe reaction to the vaccine;
  • Children younger than 6 months;
  • A person with fever; and 
  • Those with history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome.
What side effects may occur?
The flu shot can't give you flu since it contains killed viruses.  However, these side effects may occur after the shot and usually last 1 to 2 days, considering your healthy enough to take the vaccine:
  • Soreness or muscle aches where the shot was given; and
  • Low grade fever

Pneumococcal Vaccine (PPSV23) is for the immunization against 23 strains of pneumonia causing bacterium specifically pneumococcus.  Like the flu shot, it is also injected usually in a person's arm or buttocks.

How long will the vaccine take effect?
A healthy person develops antibodies 2 to 3 weeks after receiving the dose.  Usually, its only good for 5 years protection and another shot is needed afterwards.  But for some people, a single dose is already sufficient and booster doses are no longer required.  Still best, consult your doctor about it.

Are you protected from pneumonia when you had the vaccine shot?
Yes, but only for the 23 strains of pneumococcus bacteria included in the vaccine.  There are more than 80 types of pneumococcus bacteria and other several other microbes that causes pneumonia.  But these 23 types were the most leading cause of the said illness.

Who should receive the vaccine and who should not?
The following people are advisable to receive it:
  • Adult 65 years of age and older;
  • A person more than 2 years old with chronic heart or lung disorder; and,
  • People more than 2 years old with diabetes mellitus,  chronic liver disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, blood malignancy (leukemia), immune deficiency (i.e. HIV infected), kidney failure, spleen dysfunction, multiple myeloma, spinal fluid leaks, and organ transplant;
  • Cigarette smokers and alcohol drinkers; and
  • Anyone 2 years and above taking drugs that lowers body resistance such as those in steroids, chemo and radiation therapy.
While these are the people who should seek first their doctor's advice:
  • Those under 2 years of age
  • Persons having history of hypersensitivity or severe reaction to the vaccine;
  • People who are moderately or severely ill; and
  • Pregnant women especially those in their first trimester.
Can a person receive other vaccines together with pneumococcal vaccination?
Yes, inactivated (or killed) viral and bacterial vaccines can be administered at the same time or at any time before or after a dose of PPSV23.

Any side effects?
Again, vaccines don't make you sick.  But, the following may occur to some people:
  • Soreness or redness at the injected portion;
  • Low grade fever;
  • Mild rash; and,
  • Allergic reaction.
Haven't took notes with the other 2 vaccines.  Don't get me wrong, they're equally important.  It's just that too much information is hard to digest (LOL).  So is it worth it?  Absolutely, I wouldn't wait for a member of my family to suffer any of these illnesses before I do something.  You can save much more in prevention than in cure.  The choice for me is really easy, the lives of my family are far more important just to save some money.  Yahweh bless.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ordinance For A Cleaner Davao City

Usage of non-biodegradable containers particularly plastic bags and polystyrene foam (commonly called as Styrofoam) will be totally banned in the city starting June 28, 2012.  This is in accordance to Section 7, Article V of the Ordinance 0361 series of 2010 of the Davao City Ecological Waste Management of 2009.  According to the ordinance, only recyclable, biodegradable and reusable materials are allowed to be used as food and beverage container especially in market places and fast food chains.

It was also mentioned under Section 10, Rule VI of the ordinance’s implementing rules and regulations encouraging food and packaging industries to develop a more environment friendly container to replace the non-biodegradable ones.  I hope they immediately come up with the substitute material as not to affect the employment of it's labor force.

Meanwhile, public information drives are being held by concerned government offices prior to the ordinance implementation.  With this, no can avoid from being prosecuted by claiming not being aware of the ordinance.  Nonetheless, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
If successfully implemented, this is another breakthrough for Davao City.  Added to it's people and environment friendly list of ordinances (i.e. no firecrackers, no smoking on public places).  I already observed that some supermarkets are already using paper and biodegradable plastic bags for groceries, which is a very good indication.

It maybe hard for others to let go of the ever convenient plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.  But think of it as a challenge, to create and look for much better and eco-friendly alternatives for such materials.  In the long run, it'll benefit us all:
  • help us have cleaner sewage and canals thus minimizing flooded streets, as a result, good traffic flow;
  • less polluted rivers and seas, which means greater life sustainable area for our marine food;
  • lesser clogged drainage, lesser stagnant water, lesser breeding ground for disease causing insects;
  • lesser garbage (minus biodegradable, reusable and recyclable materials), cleaner Davao City, and everything follows.
Let us all support the ordinance and be role models for other cities to follow. Just a little something to show that we care for the environment.  Proud to be Dabawenyo... Yahweh bless.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Who Let The Dogs Out!

It's a song co-written and originally recorded by Anslem Douglas and later performed by the Baha Men... anyway, this doesn't have anything to do with this post.  I just witnessed another motorcycle (MC) accident caused by a stray dog.  A motorcycle was behind me when suddenly I heard a crashing noise.  When I looked at my side mirror, I saw the MC along with it's driver lying on the road.  Luckily the dog wasn't hurt that much since it was able to run (most probably to its owner's house).  While the man was helped by the passengers of the van following him.  Looking at him, well, I think he'll also be just fine.

This wasn't the first time I've seen nor heard this type of accident... some weren't that lucky.  My co-worker needed to be on sick leave for a long time to let his bruises and fractured hand heal.  Also, I witnessed an unconscious man being carried by paramedics after hitting a dog in a fast lane.  The dog also wasn't that lucky, since it was crawling to the sidewalk, dragging both it's hind legs likely being badly hurt during the accident.  And these were only few of the incidents I heard and personally witnessed in road misfortunes involving stray dogs.

Not to mention... stray goats! :-)
So why dogs?  It is because they are the most commonly allowed to roam on the streets and could have been easily prevented if only their owners were responsible enough to keep them in the boundaries of their property.   Pet and animal owners not only of dogs but also of cats, chickens, cattle, horses and alike must be concerned of the safety of their animals and their surrounding community.  Likewise, owners must be held liable for the damages or accidents involving their pets, not to mention a case, in violation of the animal welfare for negligence, if there is such.

Here are some things a motorist can do to avoid animal accidents on road:
  • Slow down and be anticipative of dogs and other animals' behavior when being spotted near the road.
  • Blow your horn to get the animals attention and shoo them away.
  • If, by chance, you came across residents of the nearby community, try asking them to tell the owners to please restrain or tie their dogs or animals and prevent them from being on the road.
  • If no action was taken, report the situation to the nearest government dog pound or animal control for proper problem solution.
The highways and roads are for motorists and  pedestrians use.  It would be safer not only for the road users but also for animals if they will be kept away from the roads and be within the vicinity of it's owner's property.  Yahweh bless.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Does Google PageRank (PR) Matter?

Let me first share how proud I am of our "Trunk Locker".  Just a couple of days ago, a blogger posted a comment on one of my group in a social networking site, suggesting to check if there were any changes in our PR.  Just had the PR2 a couple of months ago, so I wasn't expecting any change at all.  But just to satisfy my curiosity, I checked it using and...

It showed that our blog is already PR3... Praise Yahweh.  Just to make sure (since I really can't believe it, lol), I also checked it in my "Sponsored Reviews" account and it gave the same result.  I told my wife (being the "chief" editor) about the good news and she was so happy about it.

What is PageRank?

Based on the definition from Wikipedia, it is a link analysis algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google Internet search engine, that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of "measuring" its relative importance within the set.

Google said:  "PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.  In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B.  But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote.  Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important".

How Important is PageRank?

Well, it somehow affects where your web page appears in a search result ranking.  This means that the higher PR you have, the more probable your page will be in the top of the list.  I used "probable" because it is only one of the many factors Google is considering.

Also, there are advertisers who prefer pages or blogs with higher PR than the others.  In other words, the higher PR value a blog has, the greater chance it'll be chosen by an advertiser to create a paid review or post for them.

So, What's the Real Score?

I would be a hypocrite if I would say that I wouldn't be affected if our blog's PR would go down or be stripped off (and Google can do that anytime).  I consider it as Google's recognition for all the efforts we gave our blog.  But, what really keeps me going are these few people who actually read my posts and follow my blog (which, for me, plays an important part in the PR's considerations)... and I can only count them in my fingers.  Just a simple, "Hey, I read your latest post in you blog... great share.", already means a lot to me.  What's the purpose of our blog or page anyway, if no one actually reads it.

Personal Thoughts.

Our sincere gratitude to all readers of Trunk Locker and to all our friends who helped us improve it.  May Yahweh continue to bless us with good health and wisdom, that we may provide informative and helpful posts to all.  We are always open for corrections, comments and ways to improve our blog.  Thank you and may all the praises and glory be unto Him.  Yahweh bless.