US Open season

29 08 2007

Martina Hingis Andy Roddick 

This time of the year I wish I was in New York. In the two weeks beginning last Monday, the tennis world’s eyes will be on the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year at Flushing Meadows, New York . Tennis ranks up there with football and badminton as one of my favorite sports. This year I am rooting for Martina Hingis and Andy Roddick to win. Martina because I am one of her biggest fans (and I wish she would recover from her recent slump coming back from a hip injury) and Andy because he is oh-so yummy and because I am tired of Federer winning all the time! Both my bets won their opening matches. Hope this continues up to the final.


Mining anyone?

27 08 2007

I recently viewed a coverage of the August 23, 2007 Sangguniang Panlalawigan (of Antique) session where representatives of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the PNOC-Petronas joint venture appeared to answer queries regarding their impending petroleum exploration offshore of Antique. Although I am not privy to the contracts entered into, nor am I a mining expert, these are what I gathered:

a.  Petroleum or organic mineral exploration and extraction are not under the Philippine Mining Act. Hence, the checks provided by this particular law against any destruction of the environment do not apply;

b.  Mandatory Prior Consultation imbedded in the Local Government Code as a requirement for activities that have high environment impacts , it seems, is not a requirement for securing a Certificate of Non-Coverage. The CNC, from what I gathered is the go-ahead signal for exploration activities to ensue. Thus, the appearance by the mining permittee is merely construed as a courtesy they afforded the SP. PNOC-Petronas are not compelled to seek their endorsement, nor to comply with any of their demands. In fact the exploration is to begin on September 6, and they only sought audience with the SP barely two weeks prior.

 During the session, technical terms such as Environmental Compliance Certificates, Environmental Impact Assessments were discussed and how PNOC-Petronas has complied with all necessary requirements. I could not help but be suspicious, however, since all these activities have been kept under the radar. It seems that only top government (at the national and local levels) were privy to information regarding this venture. They say that the exploration stage holds the barest of minimums in terms of impact to the environment and to the communities involved. What they don’t seem to grasp (what with their fat salaries) is that the barest of minimums, although translatable to let’s say a mere P50 / day (or even a week) of lost income for barangay residents, is already a lot to these marginal fisherfolks. Their remedy? Write the DOE, which is the regulating body for these types of activities, to instruct PNOC-Petronas to utilize whatever funds they have set up for such cases. How long do you think will this take?

This suspicion of mining or any extractive activities is warranted in the context of Antique. A large part of the Island of Semirara has been converted into a wasteland by open pit coal mining, so much so it was even recommended to become the dumping area of Metro Manila’s waste. Lucky for us this was avoided primarily due to the uproar of Antiqueno and Aklanon protest. We have been victims of oil spills, also in Caluya, and several of our rivers have become silted due to silica and marble extraction. Above all these costs to our environment, we at least expect the communities affected to have felt an improvement in their lives. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Principal to my hesitation on the acceptability of this particular petroleum exploration is that the site is adjacent to the Pandan Bay. Pandan Bay is an ecologically important marine resource that serves as fishing ground for four (of 18) municipalities of the province: Culasi, Sebaste, Pandan and Libertad. Further, marine products from this area feed most of Northern Antique and some parts of Aklan, including Boracay.

I am not a purist; I do acknowledge that should petroleum be found in commercial quantities in the site, it could be a boon to the national coffers, and a mitigation to our power shortages and our oil dependence. What I do insist is that mechanisms be in place that ensures the least environmental impact, the most benefit to local communities (at the barangay, municipal and provincial levels) and maximum participation of local stakeholders in operations, in determining social projects (that ultimately will be afforded them) and in environment impact monitoring.

Yehey! Man Utd wins!

26 08 2007

man-utd.jpgHaaay! At long last! After four matches, 2 draws and 1 loss, Manchester United finally wins one, against Tottenham.  What a relief. After a lackluster offense in its first three matches, my team finally gets a goal. Just one, but enough to earn three valuable points. Hope this signals the start of a winning streak. Soon Ronaldo plays again after serving out a red card, adding more dimension to the Manchester United offense. 

 Go reds!


Communing with nature in Pandan…

25 08 2007

I am currently in Pandan, a small town 4 hours north of San Jose, my home town and capital of our province. I am here for work as part of a team conducting an assessment and planning workshop for an NGO. It’s my first night here; the activity officially starts in the morning. I am staying at a seaside resort, with only the most basic of amenities: power, tap water, and mobile phone signal, but with no WAP or GPRS capabilities. The nearest “tiangge” only sells Tanduay (a Filipino rum that was probably concocted specially to kill alcoholics the fastest!), something I’m quite ready to forego for tonight. Left with nothing to do and far from being sleepy, I ventured to the shore with only my thoughts and my notebook as company.

What the resort lacks in amenities, it amply makes up for with the natural beauty of its surroundings. Although I could barely see much beyond ten meters, I could hear the soothing breathing of the waves. The moonlight sparkles like diamonds as it collides with the undulating waters. And the distant lights of fishers at sea, create an illusion of a city way out into my horizon, Atlantis sprung forth from the belly of the sea.

Looking up, the sky is so clear. I feel like I’m peeking into the lit windows of the gods. No storms tonight. Now I regret not paying attention to my astronomy teacher when she taught us of stars and constellations. How great it would have been if now I could find and name them as I gaze upwards. Still, not knowing their names does not take away my awe in knowing that I am looking at things bright enough to reveal themselves to me even from many light years away. It makes me feel small, dim, obscure.

View from my window in Pandanp1010024.jpgp1010027.jpgp1010026.jpgp1010025.jpgp1010028.jpg

Man Utd woes

18 08 2007

It’s sunday and I’m patiently waiting for the Manchester United match against Manchester City. For the pathetically ignorant I’m talking of football, or soccer to some. Aysus! If you don’t know David Beckham you must be martian. That’s the sport I’m talking about.

I’m a huge football fan. Of Manchester United to be exact. I have several Man Utd apparel, stickers and whatnots. My several pairs of havaianas(es) are even football inspired! What attracts me to game is the fact that it’s replete with the sexiest men on earth… men kicking ball, jostling each other, nonchalantly sporting “the bulge”, and occasionally showing some hairy thighs (or more, depends on how hard you look). But seriously, I love the patience of the game, something I hope to learn, and I hope I’ved learned as indicated by the fact that I stay glued to the TV for about 2 hours waiting for some man to kick the ball past another to the goal. (Secretly, I hope that the ones who ultimately do, turn out to be gay. Some comeuppance that would be!)

Whether you are gay or not, however, you could never deny that these are fine male specimen: Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villareal, on loan to Boca Juniors), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Michael Ballack (Chelsea) and  Roque Sta. Cruz (Bayern Munchen, now Blackburn).

 Unlucky for me and countless other Man Utd fans, the team is off to a bad start in the new Premiereship season. Their campaign to defend their Premiership title is off to a rough start. Two draws in the first two games of the season are not within defending champion standards. The acquisition of Tevez is a welcome development, but I do hope he would bring in results ASAP! Especially since Ronaldo (Papa Cristiano) has been red carded and Rooney is off for at least two months due to injury. Despite these setbacks, I am hopeful that Man Utd will ultimately retain their Premiere League Title and win the coveted Champions League crown this year. I don’t need to keep my fingers crossed, I believe it’s written in the stars. We have the best combination of talents there is.

Manchester United rocks!

Killing time

11 08 2007

I am not much of a writer. It’s ironic since I write for a living. That is, my work involves writing a lot of reports, documentations, proposals. It’s not like I hate writing, just that I’m too lazy to write my thoughts. And fearful that nobody would like what I think, hate my writing, or worse, find out I have absolutely nothing worthy to write about! But it’s midnight where I am, I am not sleepy, and there’s nothing good on cable. And I feel like pooping. It may sound weird but I’ve always been prolific while sitting on the “throne”. So, just the thought of going there gives me brilliant ideas…like starting this blog may turn out to be one, maybe. 

Now that I am actually writing this, I realize that I don’t have to try to sound smart or funny, or anything other than myself. I guess, all I have to do is ramble on and write whatever comes to mind. After all, this is my blog, my first post…there should be no expectations, right?

My friend since high school, Rhoda (, is the culprit who keeps pushing me to do this blog thing. It’s easy for her.  She writes so beautifully, so spontaneously, so articulately and so openly. I, on the otherhand, am not used to speaking, or writing down my feelings. So this is alien territory for me. But then again things could be learned or unlearned, old habits could be undone.

So I guess this means I’m resigned to the idea of maintaining this blog. It’s so therapeutic. I’ve never had a journal or diary growing up. If I had, I probably wouldn’t be as messed up? But that’s a different story altogether. The story of my life unfolding in the coming posts.