Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Philippines holds the distinction of having the longest observance of Christmas than any other country in the world. The official start of their Christmas season begins with the "ber" months -- SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, etc.
By September 1, it isn't a bit uncommon to see some of the first decorations in the malls and hear the holiday music. And it becomes quite common to see the count-down of shopping days left until Christmas on the morning TV news shows such as "Umagang Kay Ganda," "Unang Hirit" and others. In fact, many radio and TV stations begin playing Christmas tunes as their various personalities announce the "countdown-day" as they open their show or sign on each morning.
The Philippine Christmas tree is put up on display in the homes as early as November 2 --the day following All Saints Day -- and they are left up as late as mid-January.
Instead of the Evergreen or pine tree commonly used in the USA, most Filipinos erect and decorate a Magit tree for Christmas. This is a small mangrove-type tree mostly associated with the ground-cover among the palms. Others use the Bakau -- a bushy little scrub-tree having numerous small branches that grows abundantly in swampy areas. Either of these trees are usually obtained as early as the first week of September in anticipation of the holiday to provide time for it to dry out. Then around November 2 or 3 they put the tree up in a big container, such as a Nido milk powder can or something similar, fill it with small stones or sand to keep the tree upright, and place it all in the corner of their house in a front room. They then wrap each little branch with green, white, or red crinkled tissue paper -- which they call Japanese paper but what Americans refer to as crepe paper -- and decorate the tree in more detail with handmade ornaments made of paper, foil, candies, and/or lollipops. Sometimes they will whip detergent soap into a white foam and spread that onto the branches of the tree that, upon drying looks like snow-covered branches.
If afforable, many Filipinos are now wrapping small lights around the branches of their tree & using store-bought ornaments to complete their decorating. Christmas lights and star-shaped lanterns, called parols, are also often arranged in all the windows of homes and stores during the holiday.
Under Philippine law, by December 20 at the latest, all employers are required to provide a Christmas bonus equivalent to one month's salary to every employee's pay. The shopping centers & malls begin holding all-night holiday sales soon afterwards through the 24th. Nine days of pre-dawn Catholic masses begin on December 16 through December 24, during which nearly all major commerce comes to a complete stand-still as many companies close for the holidays, including many big businesses and manufacturing plants. In addition, ALL mail delivery stops between December 15 to January 2. As a result, many working people use this as their only vacation opportunity and go off to visit family and friends in other localities.
Friday, September 10, 2010
I have read that the bird populations around the world have gotten out of control in many areas.
I thought we were KILLING OFF ALL THE BIRDS according to that Ultra-Liberal Rachel Carson & the lies & ignorance she presented in that over-sensationalized book SILENT SPRING, fretting so about DDT. All during the 1960s Equally-ignorant liberal government officials prompted by those "brilliant" UN leaders then outlawed DDT based solely on her mis-leading book and publicity.
As a result, millions of children in Third World countries around the globe die every year -- including hundreds all across the Philippines -- from dengue fever, malaria and similar illnesses as a result of mosquitoes that were once controlled with DDT. Before Carson's book, such diseases and deaths were slowly being eliminated. Carson's book was based on a whole host of enviornmental mis-information and sensationalism. Rachel Carson was the Al Gore of the 1960s.
In 2009 there was over 38,380 cases of dengue in the Philippines. SO FAR, in 2010 there are already over 77,000 reported cases of dengue fever!
It is a shame that it had been nearly eliminated by the late 1950s until the stupid, uneducated environmentalists got envolved and the UN & many other governments sucked it all up and went along with it.
Why can't these ignorant people EVER learn?!? Such enviornmental hysteria has always produced unintendeded consequences. We had a baby in our own Cebu neighborhood die of Dengue Fever -- known in the USA as encephalitis. Why are we allowing the killing-off of our defenseless babies and little children around the world to save birds that are NOW out-of-control causing additional problems of their own!
Will Some Philippines government official finally tell the UN that their mandates will no longer be followed in the interest of the Philippine people or will Some UN Official finally smarten up to the unintended consequences that their enviormental hyteria has caused!?!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The new President, “Noynoy” Aquino, 15th President of the Philippines, took his oath of office at Noon Wednesday, June 30, 2010 (midnight 6-29/30 EDT) at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila in front of the imposing statue of national hero Jose Rizal.
The ceremony began shortly before 11 a.m. with the singing of Lupang Hinirang, the Philippne National Anthem, as the traditional opening. Followed at 11 a.m. by the swearing-in of Vice President Binay before the 12:00 p.m. swearing-in of the President.
The main theme of the President Aquino’s inauguration speech was “Tagumpay ng Taong-bayan, Panata sa Pagbabago” (or, in English: The People’s Victory, An Oath for Change)The new President pledged to end graft, corruption and waste in government and to vigorously prosecute and get reimbursement from those who do.
Aquino did not have an inaugural parade and did not want an expensive inauguration, intending to save “the people’s” money.
Finally, the ceremony closed with everyone present, including the 500-thousand spectators, saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the Philippine Flag.
Again, to save money, there was No big inauguration party afterwards. The people were left to celebrate in the street with dancing and singing with a fireworks display at midnight.
All Filipinos eagerly look forward to the future under the Aquino Administration in the hope it will remain corruption-free and begin to bring prosperity back to the country such as it was during the late 1950s to 1960s, before the Marcos’ regime. The country, then, was regarded by the world as the most advanced of all the Asian countries with a strong developing infrastructure and strong economy. The value of their piso (peso) at that time was 2 to the American dollar. It now currently trades at about 45 to a USD.
The Aquino cabinet was announced this past week, before his inauguration, in which all the individuals seem to be strong, honest, and very capable individuals, adding to the anticipated hope and change for the near future. They are as follows:
•Executive Secretary – Paquito Ochoa
•Budget and Management– Florencio “Butch” Abad
•Finance – Cesar V. Purisima
•Justice – Leila L. de Lima
•Defense – Voltaire Gasmin
•Education – Armin A. Luistro
•NEDA – Cayetano Paderanga
•Agriculture – Proceso V. Alcala
•Environment – Ramon Paje
•DoTC – Jose Ping de Jesus
•Labor and Employment – Rosalindo Baldoz
•Health – Dr. Enrique Ona
•Tourism – Alberto Lim
•Trade and Industry – Gregory Domingo
•Social Welfare and Development – Corazon Juliano Soliman
•Energy – Jose Rene Almendras
•Public Works and Highways – Rogelio Singson
•Science and Technology – Dr. Mario Montejo
•Agrarian Reform – Virgilio R. De Los Reyes
•Foreign Affairs – Albert Romulo
•Peace Process – Teresita Quintos Deles
•Presidential Management Staff – Julia R. Abad
•Spokesperson: Edwin Lacierda
•Presidential Legal Counsel: Eduardo V. De Mesa
•Commission on Higher Education: Patricia Licuanan
•Bureau of Internal Revenue – Kim Jacinto Henares
•Armed Forces of the Philippines – Maj. Gen. Ricardo David Jr.
•For the Philippine National Police, (PNP) Aquino said that he will wait until Philippine National Police Director-General Jesus Verzosa retires in December.
Abad at Budget & Management and Romulo at Foreign Affairs were temporally held over from the previous administration as were seven others who had previously broke away from the Arroyo administration disheartened, who Acquino judged to be honest and trustworthy from that administration.
ALL of these cabinet members will serve under President Aquino and they are All expected to perform efficiently for the change and for the good of this country with accountability and transparency in every way as possible.
Meanwhile it was announced that the Office of Press Secretary will be combined into a communications group and Atty. Eduardo De Mesa has been appointed as the Presidential Legal Counsel. He is a graduate of the University of the Philippines. Attorney De Mesa will serve as the one and only legal counsel to President Aquino, unlike many previous presidents who had a number of appointees for the position.
Acquino admitted that he was considering his vice-presidential running mate Manuel Roxas II for a Cabinet Post position after the one-year required ban and also Senator Richard Gordon, who also falls under that ban.
Roxas, by the way, was appointed to head up Aquino’s Transition team, instead of his Vice President Binay as is normally done.
Monday, May 10, 2010
ELECTION DAY 2010 has concluded! Fifty-year-old Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, [photo on left] of the Liberal Party and son of beloved former President Cory Aquino and Senator Benigo Aquino Jr., assassinated in 1983 while in oposition to President Marcos at the time, was elected President of the Philippines with 15.3-million votes, or 42% of the popular vote in a nine-candidate field, while former Makati Mayor, 69-year-old Jejomar Binay [on right] of the UNO Party was elected Vice President, having received over 14.7-million votes, or 42% of the popular vote.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The year 2010 is a Presidential Election year in the Philippines. Here, a Presidential term is limited to one six year term. Since the beginning of Philippine Independence, however, the Filipino Presidential term were similar to that of the USA – 2 terms of 4 years each -- but in 1987 changes were made to their Constitution as a reaction to the, then, recently toppled Marcos regime where he was able to suspend their Constitution and govern for 21 years. The people conducted a national vote for this amendment change and the voters simply chose a “yes” or “no” vote on a National ballot to change the law. But even with that, the current President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has been able to serve as President for a 9 year term. Arroyo was able to serve 9 years because she served the remainder of Joseph Estrada’s term when he was ousted by popular demand – or as his Vice President, taking over by a popular uprising. Later, the Philippines Supreme Court ruled that Arroyo could run for one term of her own. Which ends this year. She cannot run again for President this year but she is running for a Congressional seat in order to keep her family name in politics. For it is a fact that in the Philippines, various family clans or dynasties have developed in politics. The Marcos family still have a number of family members involved at various levels, including Imelda and her USA-university-educated daughter, others include the Aquino family, the Villar and Gonzales families, Larzaro, and Aguillar, among others. In certain parts of the country, such as in Mindanao, it can sometimes result in assassinations of opponents because the graft and corruption sometimes involved, keep many of these families wealthy. ’Course, it is no different than the Kennedys, Cumos, Bushes, and Clintons of this country.
Also in another major difference between the Philippines and the USA, the Vice President is elected separately, unlike in America where it is a political team where the President and Vice President run under the same ticket. Which, sometimes, can also be a source of undermining the President. It is the same for Mayor and Vice Mayor.
Another major difference between the USA and the Philippines, the Philippines has eleven Major Political parties and many minor parties. With this, the ballots are often long lists for each office for any election.
All around each town and all across the Philippines there are political signs, banners and flags covering any area possible. Many fences, walls, poles, and any other spaces where they can find are covered with political campaign signs and posters. Some are nailed or pasted to walls or strung across streets. Trucks, Jeepneys and nearly all public transportation display a variety of political campaign signs. Except in the cases of vehicles, the signs remain up long after the election is over or until they are torn down by the winner’s backers or they disintegrate from the weather.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Giant lizard discovered in the Philippines
By JIM GOMEZ of the Associated Press.
dateline: MANILA, Philippines – Researchers have concluded that a giant, golden-spotted monitor lizard discovered in the forested mountains of the Philippines six years ago is a new species, according to a study released Wednesday.
The 6.5-foot (2-meter) -long lizard was first spotted in 2004 in the Sierra Madre mountains on the main island of Luzon when local researchers saw local Agta tribesmen carrying one of the dead reptiles.
But it took until last year to determine it was a new species. After capturing an adult, researchers from the University of Kansas and the National Museum of the Philippines obtained DNA samples that helped confirm the lizard was new to science.
The Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard or Varanus bitatawa feasts on fruits and snails rather than carcasses, unlike many monitors, including its larger relative, the Komodo dragon, according to American and Filipino researchers who wrote about the discovery in Wednesday's peer-reviewed Royal Society journal Biology Letters. It spends much of its time in the treetops and has unique claws that allow it to reach its favorite fruits.
"I knew as soon as I saw the animal that it was something special," Luke Welton, a graduate student at the University of Kansas and one of the co-authors of the study, said in a statement.
It is not that unusual to find a new species of tiny fish, frog or insect these days. But Welton and his colleagues said it was a "rare occurrence" to discover such a large vertebrate, particularly on an island hit by deforestation and nearby development. They compared their find to the 1993 discovery of the forest-dwelling Saola ox in Vietnam and a new monkey species discovered in the highlands of Tanzania in 2006.
"The discovery of such a large, charismatic, and strikingly distinct new species of vertebrate in the unexplored forests of the northern Philippines accentuates the degree to which the diversity of this global conservation hotspot is still poorly known," Mundita Lim, chief of the country's Department of Environment and Natural Resources Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, said in a statement.
Eric R. Pianka, a lizard expert at the University of Texas at Austin, said in an e-mail interview that it was an "incredible find."
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Easter is an intensely religious period of observance in the Philippines. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are all Official holidays. The period is sadly observed as “the day God died” and on Maundy Thursday all the shops close, nearly all traffic stops, and silence reigns throughout the country as people somberly attend their local church masses. Even Philippines Airlines’ flights stop and do not resume until Saturday in a strict observance of the period.
Beginning that Thursday night, and every evening afterwards, long processions of people, many carrying floats displaying statutes of “Mama” Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and various Saints, walk through the neighborhoods gathering additional followers as they go while reciting the Stations of the Cross and the Rosary. On Easter morning, before dawn, every neighborhood church presents a widely attended Passion Play at the end of the procession and then at dawn everyone attends Mass.