Monday, July 31, 2006

Philippine STAR

Heal ye, heal ye, there’s medicine in our food!
The Philippine STAR 08/01/2006

The Father of Medicine Hippocrates dished out this mouthful of wisdom, "Let your food be your medicine." Part of Hippocrates’ legacy to the medical world is a compilation of over 400 herbs and their uses.

Over the ages, people have been aware of the health benefits of some foods. For instance, the Chinese have used ginger to treat nausea and upset stomach. Ginger tea, anyone? (But more on this pungent aromatic rhizome later.) Or remember your anxious mom lovingly applying a towel drenched in vinegar over your forehead to bring down a raging fever? Or are you one of those who gargle with lukewarm water spiked with a dash of salt when you have a sore throat?

Today, more and more people are discovering the healing powers of food and turning less and less to drugs.

Says Julie Conquer, director of Guelph’s Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, "We have an aging society who wants to stay healthy with less use of drugs. They don’t want to be on many different medications like their parents were. They want to be out enjoying walking and gardening until they’re 100. And that’s what they perceive these kinds of things can do for them."

Don’t be surprised if someday soon, we’ll see less prescription pads and more hearty menus or health recipes. For starters, here’s a menu of 20 "miracle cures for anything that ails you":

• Arthritis – Arthritis sufferers now have something to sink their teeth into: sardines, yes, or salmon, tuna, mackerel.

• Asthma – Have some onion rings. It’s been said that onions help ease the constriction of the bronchial tubes and thus provide relief for asthma sufferers. Indeed, in onion there is strength.

• Bladder infections – Drink cranberry juice. High-acid cranberry juice controls harmful bacteria. (Most health stores carry healthy juices, like cranberry juice.)

• Blood sugar imbalance – Eat your broccoli or snack on some peanuts. The chromium in broccoli and peanuts helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.

• Bone problems – Bite into a slice of pineapple. The manganese in pineapple can prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis.

• Breast cancer – Take this wheat-y advice: Have some wheat or bran. And don’t forget to eat your cabbage to keep your estrogen at healthy levels and ward off breast cancer.

• Clogged arteries – Have some avocado. The monounsaturated fat in avocados lowers cholesterol. And so does the miracle virgin coconut oil, which the country’s so richly blessed with.

• Colds – Drink some hot garlic tea to clear up that stuffy head. According to the National Cancer Institute, garlic has anti-tumor properties. It’s got 18 anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal substances. This natural antibiotic helps stimulate the immune system and flush out the toxins from the body.

• Cough – For that nasty cough, your friendly neighborhood herbalist prescribes hot red pepper. Studies show that a substance similar to that found in cough syrups is found in hot red pepper.

• Diarrhea – Get an apple, grate it with its skin, let it turn brown, and eat it. An apple a day can keep diarrhea away.

• Headaches – Take fish oil or ginger tea. Studies say that ginger tea relaxes the blood vessels in the head and diminishes swelling in the brain. It also activates the natural opiates in the brain that relieve pain and reduces prostaglandins responsible for causing inflammation.

• High blood pressure – Take some olive oil; it’s been shown to lower blood pressure. Or grab some celery. Celery contains a chemical that lowers blood pressure.

• Influenza – A scientist in Spain has gone out to prove that honey contains a natural ingredient that kills influenza germs and protects us against flu. Now, that’s a sweet way to beat those nasty germs!

• Insomnia – Take some honey if you can’t sleep. Honey acts as a tranquilizer and sedative. Sweet dreams, honey!

• Lung cancer – Have a dose of beta carotene (a form of vitamin A found in dark green and orange vegetables).

• Memory problems – Eat some oysters. Oysters are loaded with zinc that helps improve mental functioning. Don’t you forget that.

• PMS – Are you suffering from depression, anxiety and fatigue due to PMS (premenstrual syndrome)? Here, have some cornflakes. Cornflakes contain a healthy dose of riboflavin and niacin, both members of the vitamin-B family.

• Heart attack – Take a regular dose of tea, which helps prevent buildup of fatty deposits on artery walls. Also, eat fish, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

If you don’t like fish, try some scrambled eggs. The Ontario-based Burnbrae Farms Ltd. has come up with Omega Pro, a liquid egg mixture enriched with fish oil. Those who ate this egg showed a drop in their levels of triglyceride fat by 32 percent after 21 days, lowering their risk of heart attack.

• Ulcers – Go ahead and eat your cabbage. Cabbage contains chemicals that help heal both gastric and duodenal ulcers.

• Upset stomach – Have a banana. The most versatile of all fruits, bananas are almost a complete balanced diet, loaded as they are with potassium, magnesium, vitamins, and fiber. In case you didn’t know, potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate blood chemistry and improve carbohydrate metabolism. Bananas are strongly recommended for diarrhea and constipation, too. Can’t blame people if they’re going bananas over bananas.

Excuse us while we finish our banana.
* * *
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Sunday, July 30, 2006

pera sa resibo

Want P1 million? Keep that receipt
Last updated 03:21pm (Mla time) 07/30/2006

THE BUREAU of Internal Revenue (BIR) has restarted its “Premyo sa Resibo” (PSR) or Prize in the Receipt text messaging raffle.

This time, it has upped the ante with a much larger pot: five winners of one million pesos each every month until the end of the year.

A large part of the amount would come from The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which is BIR’s first-time partner for the raffle.

Likewise, the tax agency is also working with PhilWeb Corporation, which developed the random-number selection for the PSR raffle draw and Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular for their text messaging facilities.

So far, the number of text messaging participants for Smart alone has been averaging 70,000 per day since they started in June 1, the BIR said. The tax agency is expecting over 100,000 participants once Globe and Sun Cellular open up their facilities.

The PSR started three years ago as a method for the BIR to monitor the issuance of official receipts by tax-paying establishments, as well as to capture those violating regulations to issue receipts.

BIR Deputy Commissioner Lilia Guillermo said the one-million peso prize would entice more mobile phone owners to join the raffle.

In previous PSRs, the BIR offered 25,000 pesos for 38 winners each from 19 regions, and a monthly one-million peso winner.

However, Guillermo admitted that the BIR was unable to sustain the activity due to low turnout of participants and had to stop it last year.

Newly installed PhilWeb President Dennis Valdes said the new PSR raffle will run until the end of the year.

He said that the raffle could become a weekly event next year, depending on the turnout of participants.

PAGCOR PSR Manager Julio Peña said PAGCOR will shoulder most of the prize money for the winners. “It’s more of the BIR and PAGCOR’s corporate social responsibility to give back to the society what it deserves.”

To join the raffle, a participant has to type in the raffle code (PSR), the tax identification number and official receipt number, the total amount stated in the receipt and send the information to either 9777 or 9778. The minimum purchase amount in the receipt should be 100 pesos and each subsequent 100-peso amount in a receipt is considered one raffle entry.

Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Collateral-free loans

Collateral-free loans to ‘unbankable’ pays

By Ana Colayco
Last updated 04:13am (Mla time) 07/30/2006

Published on page A1 of the July 30, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

PROFIT matters and is important to keep a business running. But it is people, not material capital, that make businesses an expression of human kindness and compassion.

Francis and Tess Ganzon believe this to be the secret behind their successful endeavor in the high-risk world of microfinance, the provision of collateral-free small loans and financial services to help micro-entrepreneurs reap the rewards of their own labor.

The Ganzons, who are part owners of the Bangko Kabayan-Ibaan Rural Bank in Ibaan, Batangas, are members of Focolare, the spiritual movement founded by a group of young women led by 22-year-old Chiara Lubich amid the destruction and hopelessness of World War II. Focolare members resolve to live their lives as people whose thoughts and actions are based on the Gospel.

Inspired by Lubich’s call to create a more humane and compassionate business and economic paradigm known as the Economy of Communion, or EoC, the Ganzons ventured into microfinance at the height of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 when bank loans became difficult to obtain even for those with good collateral.

They were well aware of the high risk of nonrepayment by people regarded by many as “unbankable,” but the Ganzons believed in their hearts that there was wisdom and joy in helping people without capital but who sincerely and honestly wanted to start their own businesses.

EoC beginnings

The EoC had its beginnings in Brazil in 1991 when Lubich issued a challenge to the Focolare community there, particularly the entrepreneurs, to build a new type of economy where the profits of an enterprise are channeled toward three goals: To help the poor, to develop the business, and to build structures that would ensure the continuance of this philosophy of putting business at the service of men.

This challenge was taken up eagerly, not only by the members of the Focolare community in Brazil but also by all Focolare members throughout the world.

The Ganzons had always lived by the precepts of fairness and justice when it came to managing their employees but they found new inspiration in the EoC.

“We were struck in our hearts by the message of Chiara Lubich,” says Tess Medrano-Ganzon.

“All of a sudden, something more was being added—the dimension that the reason for the existence of a business is to directly help the poor. We were being challenged to likewise ‘grow the business’ beyond the confines of our own satisfaction because it no longer existed just for us, or for the other stakeholders, or for the family of the employees but for a much larger group of people to support through its profits,” she says.

Potent tool vs poverty

The couple saw in microfinance a very potent tool for poverty alleviation. They saw that they could make a difference in the lives of a great number of people who would not otherwise have access to credit.

Microfinance was pioneered by the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in 1976 to address the difficulty of poor people in obtaining capital for livelihood and self-sufficiency. The concept is anchored on peer respect and responsibility, regarded as the best way of assuring repayment even among the most hard-up members of a community.

Microfinance works through the women of the community who are organized into cells and bigger groups called centers. The women are then given training in credit discipline and in other forms of livelihood to supplement their income.

“It means a lot of hard work because we have to meet with the women, organize them, train our credit officers to give an input in the weekly meetings, and then lend out only what they can pay back. And also collect savings,” says Tess.

But in microfinance, the Ganzons say they have “finally found greater meaning in our mandate” as a financial institution.

Giving, getting back

“When I have to deal with cash-strapped borrowers who ask for a restructuring of their accounts or for redeeming assets foreclosed by the bank, I just remember the phrase: ‘Give and you shall receive a hundredfold,’” says Francis.

On many occasions, a farmer would come to him asking to redeem a piece of land that had long been foreclosed and offering payment that is less than the amount due. Seeing there is no other means to raise the additional money, Francis finds himself acceding. Later, during the week or within the month, another transaction pulls through where the bank earns an even larger income.

Bangko Kabayan reaches out today to more than 3,500 small entrepreneurs in Batangas province, where businesses range from small cottage industries like weaving, vegetable farming and making native delicacies to medium-scale pig and poultry farms.

Barbecue business

Typical customers are Elma and Rodolfo Guerra. The couple has to struggle to support their five children. Their main source of income is a small barbecue business which they were able to set up with credit from Bangko Kabayan.

Domingo Fesalbon has been a client of Bangko Kabayan for almost three years now. Through a loan, he and his wife were able to expand their business of making nilupak, a native delicacy made of cassava.

With another collateral-free loan of P50,000, Domingo was able to buy a four-hectare property where he plants his own cassava. He now supplies nilupak to a hundred vendors and keeps a small general merchandise store.

It is no easy task, though, to introduce the concept of savings to people who have been used to several generations of hand-to-mouth existence.

Personal savings

Bangko Kabayan has found the solution in contractual savings. More than 50 percent of the bank’s microfinance portfolio is now matched with the personal savings of its clientele. These savings are an integral part of the microfinance program.

Domingo for instance has about P15,000 in the bank, which he intends to withdraw only in an emergency.

“People are not only able to engage in livelihood projects but they are slowly acquiring the habit of saving,” says Francis.

The borrowers who put in their personal savings not only enhance their own personal resources but they also help the bank beef up its net value.

6th most profitable

Bangko Kabayan is now the largest rural bank in the region and the sixth most profitable of the more than 700 rural banks in the country.

Francis attributes the expansion of the business to the Economy of Communion.

“In the years following our decision to expand in response to the call of the Economy of Communion, we grew from a one-unit bank to nine units spread all over the province of Batangas,” he says.

Copyright 2006 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Steps

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Steps
20 March 2006
My friend sent this to me and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously.. Please read:
During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *Ask the person to TALK . to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE
(Coherently) (i.e. . . It is sunny out today)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

{NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue... if the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke}

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.


A family guide to caring for persons with Alzheimer’s disease
AN APPLE A DAY By Tyrone M. Reyes, M.D.
The Philippine STAR 07/18/2006

Most of the thousands of Filipinos with Alzheimer’s disease live at home, where they are usually cared for by their spouses, children, relatives, or caregivers. Home-based caregiving often continues for many years, sometimes with occasional hospital admissions for related medical problems. People who develop Alzheimer’s disease in their 60s or early 70s live an average of 7-10 years after the diagnosis. In the coming decades, as longevity increases, the period of family caregiving is likely to become even longer.

In many ways, caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is like caring for a small child. The caregiver needs to be constantly concerned about safety and has to oversee activities such as eating, dressing, and bathing. Like young children, people with the disease may not be able to express thoughts comprehensively or wholly grasp what others say or do. Their frustration and fear cause behavior that tries the caregiver’s patience. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease, unlike a developing child, becomes increasingly dependent, rather than increasingly independent.
What To Expect
No two people with this progressive degenerative disease follow exactly the same course. At first, they may appear to function almost normally. But signs of the disease are already appearing: They grope for words, forget what happened a few minutes ago, cannot add a list of numbers, seem unable to pay their bills regularly. They may become depressed as well.

As short-term memory worsens, Alzheimer’s patients may ask the same questions over and over. They become lost in familiar places, constantly misplace their belongings, and can no longer prepare their own meals. They start tasks and fail to finish them – a serious problem when, for example, they are cooking. Frustrated by these failures and sometimes fearful of surroundings that suddenly seem unfamiliar, a person with dementia may become agitated and argumentative – or the opposite, depressed and withdrawn.

Ultimately, short-term memory loss is severe. They are barely able to communicate. They may become incontinent and lose most of their motor skills, including the ability to swallow. At that point, they are totally dependent on caregivers for the most basic functions of life.
Take Advantage While There’s Still Time
If you notice changes suggestive of Alzheimer’s disease in a loved one – or in yourself – make a doctor’s appointment soon. Although Alzheimer’s is by far the most common cause of dementia, other conditions may be responsible and, in many cases, the symptoms may be reversible. Also, several helpful medications (called cholinesterase inhibitors) have become available. These medications don’t reverse the damage that has already occurred, but they may delay further loss of cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. A newer type of drug that blocks the activity of glutamate in the brain is now being used in moderate to severe forms of the disease.

In early Alzheimer’s, life can go on with few adaptations. As long as the ability to read remains, reminder notes like "Take your pills after breakfast" are helpful. Planning for the future, however, is a more difficult task. Assess finances and legal issues while the person with Alzheimer’s disease is still able to participate in decisions. Legal documents such as a will or a durable power of attorney need the signatures of mentally competent individuals.

As difficult as these issues are, the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease can be rewarding for the family. Because long-term memory is generally intact, the person with Alzheimer’s can entertain loved ones with reminiscences. There’s still time to act on a delayed project, such as a vacation trip or a home improvement project.
Caregiving Principles
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is an endless series of often unpredictable challenges. A few basic principles are helpful:

• Provide structure for the person with dementia throughout the day.

• Stay with familiar routines.

• Plan activities that call upon the individual’s remaining abilities, modifying them as the impairments worsen.

• Plan meaningful activities whenever possible.

• Allow the person to do things as much as possible alone, but be ready to intervene with simple step-by-step instructions.

• Limit expectations. Focus on the process rather than the end result. What counts is that a grandparent with dementia makes an effort to send a Christmas greeting to a grandchild. It doesn’t matter how perfectly the greeting card is cut.

• Use distraction at the first signs of agitation or frustration. For example, change the topic of conversation or bring out a photo album you can look at together.

• Give yourself a break. Looking after a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is so taxing that caregivers themselves are subjected to significant stress. Call on family and friends to take over once in a while. Seek help from an Alzheimer’s support group.
Day-To-Day Challenges
Activities of daily living – things that most people take for granted – are among the greatest challenges in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some examples of what you might encounter and how you can handle the situation.

• Eating problems. A person with Alzheimer’s may become easily confused when at the table. In the later stages, he/she may lose the ability to use utensils.

What you can do: Use unpatterned dishes and serve only one item at a time. Bowls are better than plates because the raised side of the bowl makes filling a spoon easier. Put a utensil in the person’s hand to get self-feeding started. Finger foods work well for meals and snacks. Keep mealtime conversation simple and background noise to a minimum (no TV or radio with meals!). When needed, give instructions, such as "Take a bite of chicken." Keep medicines, household cleaners, and similar substances out of sight.

• Difficult dressing. Getting dressed, a process with many steps that must be performed in the proper sequence, becomes a difficult challenge for someone who has lost the ability to organize tasks. Buttons and zippers are especially troublesome for people in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, with their impaired motor skills.

What to do. Select clothes with elastic waists and Velcro closings. Lay them out in the order they need to be put on, with underwear on top. If he/she needs help, hand him/her one item at a time, and give simple instructions. Allow plenty of time for dressing.

• Bathing aversion. Like dressing, bathing requires many steps and is an activity adults are accustomed to doing in private. People with Alzheimer’s often become resistant or hostile when they are naked and feel vulnerable.

What to do. Cover the bather with a large towel for privacy. Let him bathe himself as much as possible. If he puts up a fight, try a distraction like singing together. Postpone the bath if resistance continues.
Problem Behaviors
Some behaviors cause too much stress for family caregivers. Here is what you can do.

• Wandering. Leaving the security of home unaccompanied is a major risk for a person with brain impairment.

What you can do. Provide a safe place at home for wandering, such as a yard with a gate that requires a key, or an uncluttered hallway without stairs. Install locks in unusual places, very high or very low on doors. Be sure the wanderer always wears an identification tag with his name and yours, a phone number, and an address. A common cause of wandering is boredom, so fill the day with activities.

• Incontinence. In late Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence of the bladder and sometimes bowel is common.

What you can do. Have a doctor check for treatable conditions such as a urinary tract infection. Establish a regular toileting schedule. You can start with a trip to the bathroom every two to three hours and modify the schedule according to individual needs. Mark the bathroom door with a picture of a toilet. Pull-down pants without buttons or zippers allow quick use of the toilet.

• Aggression. People with Alzheimer’s disease may lash out in anger because of frustration, confusion or fear.

What to do. Stay calm. Don’t shout or lash back. Find a way to distract his/her attention. Remember, he/she is not doing it on purpose; he/she cannot help herself.

Learning how to manage Alzheimer’s-related behaviors can ease the burden for both the persons with dementia and the family members taking care of them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mabuhay ang Batangueño!

A groundbreaking museum opens in Batangas City
Last updated 01:08pm (Mla time) 07/05/2006

Opening in Batangas City on July 15 2006, Museo Puntóng Batangan raises the standards for research, exhibition design and interpretation for local community museums.

Moving away from the tired exhibition formulas, Museo Puntóng Batangan utilizes multiple video projections, computer and television monitors, audio programs, and large-scale photographs to convey information and come close to its viewers.

It will not draw attention to its high tech components merely for their novel use, however. Batangas City is a community in motion, with a lively character that comes across best through a multi-media approach. The fluidity offered by moving images and sound prove appropriate to a place where an independent spirit is the community’s most precious gift, expressed in its use of language, songs, and interpersonal relations.

To further deepen understanding of this independent spirit, this museum is organized according to key concepts in Tagalog.

Fourteen words were selected by the curatorial team, and the social importance of each word in Batangas City is given a small exhibition of its own. Some of these words, like ‘punto,’ will be ‘exhibited’ as sound experiences; while others, like ‘bayan’ and ‘awit,’ are shown as video productions. Others still, like ‘batang,’ and ‘kalumpang,’ are explored via displayed objects.

Through all these sections, extraordinarily beautiful photographs by the renowned photographer Neal Oshima will assist the visitor in understanding the concepts.

Why create a museum in Batangas City?

The creation of a museum in Batangas City began with a resolve to say something to and about an entire community, not just its leaders and well known individuals living in the city center. And so the museum accomplishes a number of ‘firsts.’

It is the first Philippine museum built on a massive research effort that combed through performed and oral traditions of more than 100 barangays comprising this single city. It is the first Philippine museum focusing on specific bodies of knowledge carried by rural folk – identifying Batangas City’s principal culture bearers.

It is also the first Philippine museum that utilizes a foreign archive extensively, i.e. the National Archives of the United States, and the United States Army Archives, which keep the records of the Philippine American War. Batangas province was among the few areas that sustained the most intense impact of the American conquest (it was one of three provinces where the writ of habeas corpus was suspended for continuing resistance to American rule). Handwritten testaments by Batangueños, presently kept in Washington, D. C., allowed the curatorial team to piece together the events that transpired during this now-unknown and brutal war ― including the effects of starvation and cholera.

Museo Puntóng Batangan is also among the handful of Philippine community museums that utilize the Philippine National Archives. Documents like the late 19th century ‘fincas urbanas’ (real estate declarations) have allowed the reconstruction of the poblacion as it was 120 years ago, including old street names.

Finally, three maps owned by the Museo del Ejercito in Madrid, Spain that show the poblacion in the 18th and early 19th centuries have allowed the curatorial team to identify an extensive fortress/wall system which used to surround the church.

The museum comes with a new book

Another first: the book “Puntóng Batangan: Katwiran at Dilà dine sa Batangas City (Batangas Accent, Reason and Tongue Here in Batangas City)” which accompanies the Permanent Exhibition is the first full-color, hardbound book written in both Batangas Tagalog, as spoken, and English.

In five chapters that poetically organize disparate materials gathered through research, this book endeavors to evoke the flavor (or taste) of an oral language with a distinct accent. It does this by emphasizing the attitudes embodied in the old ‘salawikain’ (aphorisms or sayings) in expressive old Tagalog phrases.

This museum was accomplished within a relatively short period of time by a team of veterans with extensive field work, analysis, and design experience. Members of its curatorial team are Filipinos with substantial local, national, and international practice. Their efforts were supported by the current Mayor of Batangas City, Eduardo B. Dimacuha

Copyright 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bubble Gang's

utas na ko katatawa!!!!!!!! =))

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

From Philippine Star

Signs of the hard times
The Philippine STAR 07/04/2006

The signs of the hard times are everywhere. You see the grim face of poverty every day in the street urchins pressing their noses on your car window and begging for whatever change you can spare. Jobs are getting scarcer and the lines to the doors of overseas job recruitment agencies are getting longer. Criminality is on the rise and lawless elements lurk everywhere. Stealing or killing (or stealing and killing) incidents are just so rampant. Whether you’re in the relative safety of your own home or you’re out there, there’s the nagging fear that you could be the next victim. These days, mall goers/shoppers are easy prey. A few weeks ago, a friend of ours had a very unfortunate experience while shopping at a mall. She went to the toilet, got into a cubicle, and made sure to hang her bag on the hook on the door. Before she knew it, her bag – with her company’s pay- roll and half a dozen credit cards – was gone! Apparently, somebody fished for her bag, deftly disengaging it from the hook where it was hanging. Of course, she didn’t see who did it. But when she went out of the ladies’ toilet, she saw a woman carrying an extraordinarily big bag – but she was casually walking and not running away from the scene of the crime. Could it have been this bag lady? You never know. These days, criminals come in all sexes, shapes, and sizes. It could be a pregnant woman who’s about to deliver any minute now – who knows what she’s got under that preggy dress! It could be a dashing guy in a corporate suit. Hard lessons learned: Keep your eyes on your bag even when you think you’re alone in the toilet. (Another friend left her bag by the sink when she washed her hands and it disappeared in an instant!) And never trust a stranger, even a pregnant woman or a guy who looks like Jude Law.

Here’s another unfortunate mall incident e-mailed to us:

Dear everybody,

I’d like to share with all of you my horrible and scary experience last Friday night at a mall. Maybe by being aware of this incident, you will be more vigilant even while you’re leisurely shopping.

It was one rare time on a weekday when I and my daughters had the chance to go out for an evening together. Anyway, we took the escalator leading to the store where we were going. I was about five steps away from my two daughters and in front of me were two people (one gay and one girl) in white. They were about five to six steps ahead of me. I noticed that they were walking backwards and I thought they were playing because I only see children doing this. They continued doing so until they were about two steps away from me. I noticed that the gay removed the ponytail band from his hair. Then, as I reached the top of the stairs, he bent forward, as if to pick up something from the floor. I was standing there trying to keep my grip on the handrail lest I fall down. All I could say was, ‘Ano ba, ano ba?’ I felt I was being squashed. I did not know that my daughters were being overtaken by two other people and they thought it was so rude of them to do this. The next thing I knew I was being crushed in front and at the back. I finally got out and cursed the two people for being so ignorant, not knowing how to use the escalator. Then, my daughter noticed that my bag was open and she asked me to check it out. My cell phones were there, but my wallet was gone. We reported the incident to the security guard and all he could say was, ‘Inipit ba kayo?’ I said yes and he told us it is the modus operandi of mall pickpockets. Apparently, this is not the first time he’s heard of such an incident at the mall he’s guarding.

The next day, a construction worker called up my house and told me that he saw my wallet in one of the plant boxes at the bus stop near the mall where I was robbed. He saw a receipt with my name and phone number and he so kindly called me up to return the wallet.

Don’t let this happen to you. Look around you and keep an eye on your belongings even when you’re leisurely shopping.

A concerned shopper
* * *
Follow the law to the litter
Are you a litterbug? It takes little not to be a litterbug, according to the Ecological Waste Coalition of the Philippines, which surveyed its members for possible reasons why this ugly habit seemingly can’t be junked. The respondents, which included the Archdiocese of Manila Ecology Desk, Ateneo Environmental Science Society, Bangon Kalikasan Movement, Buklod Tao Foundation, Concerned Citizens Against Pollution, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Health Care Without Harm, Institute for Educational and Ecological Alternatives, Maskara Youth Theater Group, Pusod Inc., Mother Earth Foundation, November 17 Movement, Sanib Lakas ng Inang Kalikasan, Sining Yapak, and Zero Waste Philippines, shared their opinions on littering and offered practical solutions to eradicate this filthy habit. Read this (and pick up some gems of wisdom):
Who And Why People Litter
Litterbugs are those who strew trash in gutters or streets because they’re just plain lazy or they lack ecological consciousness. They also include motorists who throw their trash out of windows, residents who dump their waste in street corners, vacant lots or waterways, and attendees of sports, entertainment and political events who leave their discards all over the place.

Littering transcends age, gender, educational or class delineation. People who have not yet risen above their self-absorbed consciousness tend to litter more, oblivious of its consequences.

Filipinos generally value a clean living and working environment. The ancient proverb "cleanliness is next to godliness" is, in fact, known to many. But why do people continue to litter? The citizens’ lack of awareness and appreciation of their inherent responsibility to the environment and society is probably the foremost reason.

"Someone else will pick it up." Some people think that littering is acceptable because there are people (such as the diligent janitor and the street sweeper) being paid to clean up after them.

"I simply don’t care." Some people are socially indifferent and are not informed about the health, environmental and other costs of littering.

"Everyone else is doing it." Some people tend to litter when litter already exists.

"It’s a statement!" Some people take it against the authorities, for instance, by rejecting public discipline.
The Effects Of Littering
Carelessly disposed discards cause numerous health, environmental and financial problems. It shows an uncaring culture and perpetuates an attitude of irresponsibility and disorder, which are damaging to the national psyche.

Litter attracts rodents and other pests and serves as breeding sites for disease-causing bacteria, germs, and insects. Dangerous items such as broken bottles, expired drugs, used condoms, and syringes as well as used containers of toxic chemicals are potential health hazards. Cigarette butts are possible fire hazards, too.

Litter affects water quality and obstructs waterways, causing water to overflow, flood surrounding areas, and disperse water-borne pathogens. Removing litter from storm drains and water bodies costs a considerable amount of money. Discards, especially plastic scraps, usually end up in natural water bodies such as rivers and oceans, causing injury and death to wildlife. Cigarette butts, for instance, have been found in the bellies of birds, fishes, whales, and other marine animals who mistake them for food.

Litter turns off tourists, causing revenues to plummet. Litter ruins the aesthetic charm of our country and makes for bad publicity!
Preventing Littering
Sustained education and values formation at home, school, church, and workplace, the active promotion of earth-friendly consumption choices, and the honest-to-goodness enforcement of anti-littering directives and penalties are needed to contend with the culture of littering.

For starters, the Ecowaste Coalition offers these practical ways to free our environment of litter:

As a citizen:

• Never litter. Instead be a role model to your family and community. • Reduce your waste size and exert creative efforts to reuse and recycle your discards.

• Avoid single-use disposable plastic bags, containers, and utensils.

• Trim down your consumption of plastics. Choose products with minimal packaging and remember to bring reusable carry bags when you shop.

As a pedestrian:

• Keep litter until a proper trash container is found.

• Make sure your waste goes into the container and not outside it.

• If there is no proper container, take your litter home for recycling or composting.

• Carry a handy litter bag in your pocket or bag for your discards.

As a motorist:

• Do not hurl your discards out of the car windows.

• Provide a litter bag or bin in your vehicle.

• When transporting waste, do not overload garbage trucks. Also secure and cover loads.

As a smoker:

• Quit smoking for the sake of your health. If you have not yet kicked the habit, ensure that your cigarette filters are disposed of in the proper bins.

• If there is no ashtray available, put the cigarette butts in your own litter bag.

As a law enforcer:

• Implement ecological system for managing discards in your area of jurisdiction.

• Popularize anti-littering ordinances through various channels and enforce them. Apprehend and duly penalize violators.

As a business owner:

• Provide separate bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards for the convenient use of your clients and customers.

• Put up a creative reminder to your patrons not to litter anywhere.

• Keep your dumpster secured and free of debris and pests.

As a homeowner or renter:

• Stop wasting! Separate your discards, reuse, recycle, compost.

• Pick up discards for recycling or composting, and do not hose them down into the gutters and drains.

• Keep the lids of your separate bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable discards secured to keep them from scattering.

• Never set your discards on fire!

For more information, call the Ecowaste Coalition at 929-0376.
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