Posts Tagged ‘typhoon sendong’

pop goes the world: an introvert’s holiday

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  22 March 2012, Thursday

An Introvert’s Holiday

It’s summer, when temperatures rise and nerves get frayed to snapping.

School is out and children are bored at home. Parents want to wean them off their electronic teats – Internet, television, video games – and send them out to play and learn in the real world. Stress-wrecked grownups who can’t calm down despite the regular inuman with friends or coffee-shop me-times want to reclaim their inner peace.

But how to accomplish all this without having to part crowds like Moses and deal with the yammer of the multitudes?

Rolando Tolentino, columnist and dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, tweeted yesterday: “Pag umaapaw ang aligaga na kahit ang usual treat-to-self ay di na umuubra, panahon nang pisikal na pagtakas. Fly high at bumalik na lang.“

A change of environment is called for.

Last December I took my two daughters with me for a tranquil yet creatively stimulating week in Baguio City. For many of us it was the default vacation location of our childhood. It’s still a magical place, channeling a Buddhist vibe of serenity despite the burgeoning pollution, construction, and population explosion.

Veer away from the usual haunts and immerse in places you haven’t yet been. Baguio is a city that is a living artwork. At Chocolate sa Batirol open-air café at Camp John Hay, even the stumps of trees that serve as seats are gaily painted with words and figures.

Paintings, sculptures, and antique wood carvings fill National Artist Ben Cabrera’s BenCab museum; its basement shelters Café Isabel and overlooks foliage-blanketed hills as fog rolls across your field of vision. Sip a cup of hot Benguet Arabica while you meditate on nature and art coming together in one enchanted dell.

View from the BenCab Museum balcony.

At Cafe Isabel, BenCab Museum.

Along Session Road, visit Namaste at Porto Vaga for bespoke crystal bracelets and Buddhist artwork from Nepal. Sit and read at Mountain Cloud bookshop, then walk a few steps to Hill Station restaurant next door for apple pie and more coffee. Go to VOCAS/Oh My Gulay at La Azotea for vegetarian meals inside an art gallery.

Namaste is visual bliss.

A “bookshelf chair” at Mt. Cloud bookshop.

Aerial view of Hill Station, from the Casa Vallejo inn staircase.

Vegetarian dishes at Oh My Gulay within VOCAS art gallery.

At Hotel Elizabeth along Gibraltar Road, enter a state of Zen at Bliss Café, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at Café by the Ruins on Chuntug Road.

Interesting interior of Bliss Cafe. The light is warm and enveloping.

Cafe by the Ruins is adorned with artwork.

The easiest way to get to Baguio is by bus. Victory Liner has a fleet of airconditioned buses bound for points north; the deluxe ones have an on-board toilet and acres of legroom. An online ticketing system makes getting seats stress-free.

The Victory Liner terminal at Baguio City.

The people of Victory Liner are kind and helpful – the kids and I wound up at the wrong terminal, and the people there called ahead to the right one to let us know we were on the way to catch our bus. When we arrived photo-finish, puffing and panting, only smiles greeted us as willing hands reached out to stow our luggage in the cargo hold and guide us into our seats. A bus attendant handed out bottled water, snacks, and magazines. It was like taking an airplane flight.

For accommodations, book reservations online for the Microtel Inn right beside Victory’s Baguio City terminal. The food is great, the breakfast chef cooks your eggs the way you like it, and there is free-flowing coffee in the lobby.

The Microtel Inn is right beside the Victory Liner terminal.

Take your journey, the one that will help you rediscover your balance, gain peace, and recharge your soul.

* * * * *

Last December 17, typhoon Sendong obliterated entire communities in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, leaving over 3,000 persons dead and missing and 342,000 more displaced and homeless, living in tent cities or barangay sports courts.

In the aftermath, 56 people, some of them young children, tried to take their own lives. There is an increase in incidences of teenage pregnancy, incest, and rape, especially in the tent cities.

Psycho-social intervention helps by coaching survivors in stress-relief techniques based on yoga and proper breathing. To help continue sustaining the Art of Living trauma relief workshops being conducted in the area, Hongkong-based opera singer Wayne Yeh and international theater performer Lissa Romero-de Guia will be singing on March 26 at the “Opera vs. Broadway” fundraising concert for the benefit of the survivors of typhoon Sendong.

Image from Lissa de Guia.

Wayne will sing opera and Lissa Broadway hits, in a duel of style and sound at the Isla Ballroom, EDSA Shangri-La Hotel Manila. Ticket details at or call Madeline Pajarillo at (0917)820-2081. *** 

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pop goes the world: shake, rattle, and roll

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  9 February 2012, Thursday

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

There must be something to this “feng shui” business after all.

Astrologers using this Chinese version of geomancy predicted that this year of the Black Water Dragon will be, like the legendary animal, unpredictable and unstable.

A water dragon year occurs once every 60 years. The Water Dragon connotes creativity. Image here.

What can be more unstable than an earthquake rattling the usually calm islands of the Visayas?

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s report of 12:30 AM of February 7, about 13 hours after the quake, detailed the situation and initial responses to the disaster.

The main 6.9 magnitude earthquake of tectonic origin was felt the strongest in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (Intensity VII) all the way to Pagadian City (Intensity I). Various areas in Negros Occidental and Cebu experienced the main shock at Intensity II to VI. There were 157 aftershocks recorded in the same areas.

Quake map. Image here.

A Level 2 tsunami alert was raised and cancelled after a couple hours, although coastal areas experienced inundation which had residents scrambling for higher ground, among them Comendador Beach in La Libertad, where five seaside cottages were wiped out.

La Libertad, at this time, is isolated, with bridges and roads leading to the area having suffered extensive damage. The regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways estimates up to five days to find an alternate route, and two weeks to build it.

The power went out in Cebu and Iloilo, among other areas; classes and work were suspended. Evacuation operations were initiated in several barangays in the municipalities of Moalboal (southwest of Cebu) and Bindoy.

People in Negros and Cebu reported, via Twitter and Facebook, the strong shaking of shelves and other furniture and cracks appearing in the walls of homes and commercials buildings. Bridges, roads, and other infrastructure were damaged, to the tune of P265 million and counting.

NDRRMC, within hours of the disaster, activated their emergency operations center, disseminated alerts and information to other concerned government agencies, and coordinated closely with PHILVOLCS and the Office of Civil Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coast Guard.

The mobilization of the police and military resulted in the dispatch of search-and-rescue teams to scour for victims in distress.

Local authorities requested drinking water, medicines, and medical supplies from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office as among the priority needs. Yesterday, PCSO approved the disbursement of P100,000 via its Cebu branch for the purchase of the items.

By yesterday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development had already provided over P12.426 million in relief in the form of cash-for-work and food items to affected LGUs and families. The Department of Health provided P200,000.

DPWH sent structural engineers to perform damage assessment of bridges and roads, and to determine which commercial buildings may safely reopen so that economic activity may resume as soon as possible.

Road damage in Negros Oriental. Image here.

President Benigno Aquino, celebrated his birthday yesterday by inspecting for himself the damage, receiving assessment reports, and instructing public officials and agency heads to step up their rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts.

After the other unsettling natural events of recent months – typhoon Sendong last December 17, the Compostela Valley landslide last January 5 – it’s good to see public agencies become more responsive as they improve their systems and procedures for dealing with natural disasters.

They’ve come a long way from the Ondoy debacle in 2009, when government unpreparedness was dismally apparent, from the lack of rubber boats that would have been of much use, to the glacial slowness of information dissemination and relief/rescue response.

Practice makes perfect, after all, although this kind of “practice” we don’t need. Let us hope we are spared the further depredations of nature. And should it be our burden to bear more of the same, may we be even more prepared in the future.

From a culture of bahala na and puede na ‘yan, we are gradually shifting to a proactive, responsible attitude where we learn from our mistakes and do better the next time.

In this case, what matters is for both public and concerned private organizations to create the systems and procedures for disaster response, have the will to quickly implement and follow-through on those, and maintain the appropriate personnel and equipment for the tasks. Let’s make this not a ningas-kugon nor a pakitang-gilas thing, but a permanent positive change.

The Black Water Dragon may continue to rampage this year. We can choose to roll with the tides of fortune, but I would rather we chart the course of our own destiny.   *** 

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