Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Palawan Underground River for Seven Wonders of Nature

I am so happy that the long wait is over. I kept checking the website for the Seven Wonders of Nature today and finally the results of the 28 finalists for the Wonders of Nature has been released. Out of the top 77 that was voted by the people worldwide from 261 natural sites, 28 of them were selected by a panel of judges. Everyone is encouraged to vote for seven of the 28 beautiful sites and I am highly endorsing Puerto Princessa Underground River of the Philippines to be included in the list of seven.

The St. Paul Subterranean River National Park of Palawan is truly an amazing and wonderful site. I had the chance to visit this wonder in the year 2006 when we had a youth leadership forum joining Commissioner Priscilla Abante and Steve Arquiza at Puerto Princessa City. Mayor Hagedorn lent us a vehicle to use going to this site passing by a long bumpy road. It is located 50 kms north of the city. On our initial approach to the actual site we have seen monkeys which might snatch bags to look like a bag of food for them. The monitor lizards would also approach you and stand by for any food that you may give them or if ever they smell barbeque smoke.

We donned lifevest for security and a helmet to avoid some bat droppings inside the underground river. We took a boat with a guide who was the boatman himself explaining the evolution of this wonder and sharing some good humor to the guests.

The said park features a spectacular limestone karst mountain landscape. Its navigable underground river has a length of 8.2 kms. which directly flows to the sea and subject to the influence of tidal waves at its lower portion. Its totally dark inside. With the use of flashlights we saw the major formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

I was left in total awe with what I have experienced. Its one of a kind. This natural wonder was inscribed to the prestigious list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the year 1999. The Seven Wonders of Nature will be announced in the year 2011 and I have the big faith that a Philippine treasure would be one of them. So let us all support it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Karayan ni Adan: A Song for Adams

When I attended a simple celebration of the Feast of the Holy Redeemer on Sunday at the Redemptorist Quarters at Roieng Laoag where I was the only guest, I had the chance to jam with Brothers Joel, Eugene, Jose, Edwin, Sisters Mai and Rose, the Seminarians and of course with Fr Dennis Despues. He mentioned that he composed a song for the town of Adams. He eventually made and uploaded a video of it to the you tube channel. It was a beautiful song composed by a non-Ilocano priest. Fr Dennis hailed from Oriental Mindoro but he was able to express his fascination over the beauty of Adams, Ilocos Norte through his Ilocano composition. I first heard of this song when a teenage girl sang this when I visited Adams.

The following are the lyrics:

Manipud natalna a biag daguiti nagkauna a tao
Nasirpatanda maysa a paraiso
Rumimatrimat ta danum ti karayan
Daguiti agayayam nga bulos nga ayos
Karayan ni Adan
Intay amin salluadan
Karayan ni Adan
Ikkan tayo ti biag
Karayan ni Adan
Patuluyen ti ayos
Agbibiag itti kinadameg itti aglaulau
Agragragsak itti kinabaknang kultura
Nadumaduma man ti naggappuan
Daytoy paraiso intay annadan
(repeat chorus)
Nagduduma tay man
Pateg tayo itti nataudan
Itti panagkaykaysa, padur-asen ti lugar
(repeat chorus 2 times)
Paraiso a lugar,

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nailian A Kanta

This is the Ilocano translation of the Philippine National Anthem, Lupang Hinirang. It was translated by Professor Gregorio Amano interpreted by the MMSU-CTE Chorale during the Sukimat Book Launch. Following are the lyrics:

Oh! Pilipinas
Anak init ti daya
Gil-ayab puso
Ay-ayaten daka

Ili a nasantuan
Taeng dagiti bannuar
Dimi ipalubos
Nga irurumendaka
Dagiti langit mo ken ul-ulep
Bantay, turod ken baybay
Masirpatmit lawag
Mariknamit ngayed ti wayawaya

Wagayway initmo ken bitbitwen
Rayraydat patpatgen
Dinto nga aglidem ti gagem
Dagiti mairurumen

Pintas daga ni ayat
Pagilian a naraniag
Barukongmot pagkamangan mi
Ngem nadaydayaw kam

A madusa ken matay
No dayawmot inda idadanes

Launch of the Book Sukimat

The new book entitled Sukimat: Researches On Ilocano and Amianan Studies was launched on July 16, 2009 at the Mariano Marcos State Universtiy College of Teacher Education. This is an anthology of the research works and proceedings of the 2007-2008 Nakem Conferences.

Prior to the launch, a forum on Mother Language Education was held. Presentations on the said topic were made by Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Dr. Ricardo Nolasco of the University of the Philippines Diliman. It was followed by the reactions made by Provincial Board Member Elena Nalupta representing Gov. Keon, Ms Cely Pastor of DepEd Laoag City representing Mayor Farinas, Dr Cecila Aribuabo of DepED Ilocos Norte, Dr. Norma Fernando of DepEd Batac and Mr Peter Julian of Philippine Daily Inquirer representing the media.

The book is composed of 12 select essays from a pool of 100 papers presented during the Nakem Conferences. This is Nakem�s response to the growing national and international conversation on issues related to cultural pluralism, linguistic democracy, education to democracy and freedom, and mother language education. This was edited by Drs Agcaoili, Felipe and Visaya. The book is available at the MMSU-CTE Library at a rate of P300 per copy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Real Bagel of Montreal

On my visit to Montreal last February, my host Tita Linda took me to a bakeshop called Real Bagel. She bought me a pack of bagels which I tried and took some of it to New York City. According to her, bagel from Montreal has a distinctive taste compared to bagels of other places especially in New York.

Bagel is a bread product which is formed into a ring shape. This is usually hand-made and wood-fired baked bread. Typically, it contains wheat flour, yeast leavening, salt and water. However, bread flour or other high gluten flours are preferred to create a bagel that is firm, dense but of spongy shape and chewy texture.

Bagel is derived from the similarly shaped doughnut. The bagels with poppy seed (black-seed) and sesame seed (white seed) were the varieties that I saw in the bakeshop. These are the predominant varieties. Other varieties of bagel are salt, onion, garlic, egg, cinnamon, raisin, chocolate, cheese and others. They also make it into a bagel sandwich which they put some luncheon meats. Bagels with cream cheese and cured salmon are considered as traditional American Jewish cuisine. Other shapes also exist such as the square one. It is called squagels. Flat bagel is called flagel. There is also pseudo-bagel which the hole does not go all the way through.

Bagel originated from the Jewish community. "Bagel" comes from a Yeshivish term which means 'one who sleeps 12 hours straight'. This is in reference to the fact that bagel dough has to "rest" for at least 12 hours between mixing and baking. They pronounce it like bay-gel in Canada and vary to other places.

When I got my first bite of the freshly baked bagel, I proved that it really has that distinct taste. It’s chewy and yummy. It is truly the real bagel.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kannawidan Festival of Bangui

This is another festival showcased during the Ragrag-o Festival. The town of Bangui featured the Kannawidan Festival which is a five day celebration starting every 26th of April. This is the most awaited event in the said municipality wherein the townsfolk participate to showcase their traditions.

The festival showcases the old customs, traditions and culture of Ilocanos especially Banguinians. This is what Kannawidan would refer to. It aims to preserve and sustain the old traditions, attractive products and practices of the Ilocanos. It also aims to promote the local tourism industry.

In this celebration, they showcase Banguinians passion for development especially in the industry of fishing and farming where these are the main occupations of the local people. This is a music and dance festival of folklore and traditions from the centuries-old history of Bangui.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bac-Bacarra Festival

I covered this event during the Ragrag-o Festival where every town of Ilocos Norte showcased their festival celebrations.

The town of Bacarra staged the Baca-Bacarra Festival. It was started in the year 2005 as a revival and preservation of their cultural heritage. Bac-bacarra is a legendary word which refers to specie of freshwater fish abundant in the rivers of the town in the olden days where it got its name by a Spanish soldier who passed by the place.

Fishing is the main industry in the town where they get good catch of quality and high valued fish products. They owe it to their patron Saint Andrew the Fisherman. And this festival celebration serves as a thanksgiving to the abundant fish catches. The highlight of the said event is the street dancing depicting the history of the town and fishing itself. Young boys and girls clad in their blue and yellow fish net costumes, salakot and fishing gears interpreted and presented the dance.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Great Wall of China: Wonder of the World

Another site declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World on July 7, 2007 in Portugal was the Great Wall of China which is located in Beijing China. I am so fortunate to have seen this monument of architectural grandeur and of historical significance when I participated in an exchange program in China in 2007.

The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago. It is a series of stones and earthen fortifications built to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from Xiongnu attacks during various successive dynasties. Armies were stationed along the wall to serve as first line of defense.

It is one of the largest construction projects ever completed and it stretches over 6400 kms approximately. This monument can be seen from the Earth’s orbit. Being one of the greatest wonders of the world, it was enlisted by UNESCO in the World Heritage in 1987

I left my camera in my hotel room when we visited this site so I did not have the chance to shoot a good angle of the Great Wall. Nevertheless with the cameras of my friends, I posed for a photo to this monument.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coloseum: Wonder of the World

It is exactly two years now when the Roman Colosseum was declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in Lisbon Portugal. I was in Europe then when it was officially declared. Unfortunately I did not make it to Portugal because my flight was cancelled but I was so lucky to visit the Colosseum which is located in the heart of Rome Italy.

It is a majestic structure which was built in the 1st Century AD to serve as amphitheatre. This elliptical building is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. Its former name was Flavian Amphitheatre named after the Flavian Dynasty. Its current name was derived from Nero’s colossus 120 ft high statue of himself which was nearby. Its construction was commissioned by Emperor Vespesian and later continued by his son Titus. He built it because he wanted to dissociate himself from hated tyrants. There were four Emperors before him who were killed. Thus he provided entertainment to the Roman people by building this Colosseum to gain popularity.

This was a site where gladiatorial contests were held and other public spectacles such as executions, wild animal fights, mock sea battles, reenactment of famous battles and dramas based on Classical mythology. This theater could accommodate up to 50,000 spectators. It was made up of four floors where the first three floors had arched entrances and the last floor has rectangular doorways which were evident on the photo. The building was designed for easy crowd dispersal and that the entire audience could exit in five minutes. The building has three parts namely the arena, the podium and the cavea. In the 21st Century it became partially ruined because of earthquakes. The exterior wall is partially intact while the interior wall is mostly intact.

The Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino) can be prominently seen just outside of the Coliseum. It is a 25m high monument built in AD315 to mark the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at Pons Milvius.

The Colosseum is opened everyday of the year. There is an admission fee of around 15 euros where you can queue to get tickets or one can join a group guided tour.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Treat to the Pinatubo Spa

After an exhausting but rewarding experience of medical and dental mission, Mayor Rey Cat has toured us to the Pinatubo Spa Town Center which is just at the back of the site of the mission. According to him, this has now become the destination of tourists since they can avail much more here such as Pinatubo trekking, hot spring and mud bath, a trip to the Aeta village, Shiatsu massage and the hot sand spa.

We tried to touch the sand, it was really hot and that its possible to cook an egg with the temperature. These are sulfur sand which were taken from the Mount Pinatubo emissions. This is a communal spa which can accommodate 20 people at the same time. There was also an open room for Shiatsu massage. There is a fee of 500 pesos for each service.

All of my friends availed the spa treatment except for me since I have to rush to Manila for an appointment.

An Outreach Activity on the 4th of July

A Medical and Dental Mission was organized and conducted by the Tambayayong group of the Alumni Association of the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program at the village of Santa Juliana in Capas, Tarlac.

From Laoag I dropped by in Pangasinan then proceeded to Capas where I met Mayor Rey Catacutan and the participants to the mission at the municipal hall. It was nice to see my batchmates Dep, Nona, Ivan, Pia, Eloi, Tanjo and Pam. The Strada Club of the Philippines and doctors from different hospitals in Manila joined the outreach project.

There were so many beneficiaries to the mission. There were around 400 patients who were commonly afflicted with colds and fever. Some had tooth extractions. I have seen a number of Aeta people who received medical attention from our team.

We dispensed the medicines based on the prescription of the doctors. It was good that we had enough medicines donated by some drug companies such as Unilab, Hizon Laboratories and other donors. We started at 9 in the morning and finished at 1 in the afternoon. It was so exhausting but very fulfilling that we were able to help and serve a community.