Friday, March 27, 2009

According to stories passed on from generation to generation, the name of the town was derived from an abundantly-growing plant in the area, known locally as “Sali-argaw”. Extant records pertaining to the establishment of Argao as a town go only as far as the middle eighteenth century, when the Augustinians started building the church in Argao, later named after St. Michael the Archangel. According to church records, the church of Argao was founded on October 16, 1733. Another source says that Argao began as an encomienda and that the Argao parish was founded on May 17, 1734. The first town executive during the American regime was Capitan Juan Lucero.

The main poblacion of Argao remains one of the reminders of Spanish influence in Cebu. The old municipal building is also made of the same structure as this old house, and indeed this structure is perhaps one of the remaining old municipal buildings in the province of Cebu. The following buildings and structures are places one can visit if doing a tour around the pueblo:

San Miguel Archangel Parish Church and Convent. Argao became a parish in 1703, which prompted the construction of a beautiful rococo-baroque church structure in 1734 and was completed in 1788. A good number of religious artifacts have remained in the church. The altar (retablo) of the church is still the original. The church was renovated for its bicentennial celebration in 1988, and its outer walls were scraped. Despite some renovations and modernizations done to it, the San Miguél Archangel Parish still remains one of the richly furnished churches in the South. The unique ceiling of the Church. Its church is with unusual ceilings of canvass painted all over with religious motifs.

The Pipe Organ of Argao. The Church of Argao is possessed of one of the remaining 14 Spanish era pipe organs, and is one of the three towns in the whole Cebu province to still have this instrument. The pipe organ of Argao, though today no longer useable, is estimated by many historians to have been built between the 17th to the 19th century. Organs built in this period were of typical Spanish Baroque style except for the ones built during the last part of the 19th century which are Neo Gothic in style. It is a great possibility that Argawanons took a great part in building their pipe organ along with Spanish or Mexican Organ-builders. Professional organ makers describe Argao’s organ as having “windchests constructed from a massive solid wood. Three towers are separated with flat field of pipes. Unfortunately, no records in the church exist to show who played the organ, though according to some residents, after the 2nd World War Mr. Juan Calledo played the instrument and a certain Noy Ino was tasked to pump the organ.

The Argao Museum. Through the initiative of one of Argao’s most loved residents, Monsignor Elias Matarlo, the Argao Museum was constructed in 1999 in order to house what was left of the church’s priceless antiques, and also to showcase the religious artifacts and icons of families who have decided to let the museum safe-guard their family heirlooms. Church Plaza,

The Site of the Former Palacio, Morgue/Chapel. Visible also in this area is the former “Palacio”, the temporary residence of church dignitaries from Manila or Cebu City who came to Argao to visit. Also, sadly located at the back of the Kintanar Memorial Hospital, is the Church morgue, a very old structure that was build around the early 1800’s.

Historical records reveal at least five renditions of the name of the town. Four years after the creation of the suffragan diocese of Cebu in 1595, Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, OSA, in his Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas listed Boljoon as one of the many parishes under the jurisdiction of the Augustinians in the Province of Cebu in the year 1599. Bermejo himself was said to have taught the local women cotton weaving and if Fray Gaspar's writings are to be considered, then Bermejo already found existing cotton cultivation and weaving industry in Boljoon.

Boljoon is 103 kilometers from Cebu City to the southeastern part of Cebu Province. The name of the town is derived for the local word "Bolho" which means springs of water.

The town is centuries old. According to oral tradition, pilgrims from as far as the town of Dalaguete visit the Virgin of Bolhoon during her annual feast to attend mass in the town's Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic parish of Patrocinio de Santa Maria is located in the town of Boljoon, Cebu. The forty-third parish priest of the Boljoon Parish Church in his list of Religiosos Agustinos Calzados Y PP Clerigos dated July 15, 1881 maintained that a church was previously erected in Boljoon 1599 under the administration of the Augustinians. Some ecclesiastical historians believe that the Boljoon Parish was originally founded as a visita of Carcar. Records of the private council of the Augustinians on June 23, 1599 referred to Boljoon as a "convent and parish to Siaro (Carcar)". (Archives of the Augustinian Province of the Philippines, File no. 5 page 118

The Parish of Boljoon was returned by Jesuits in exchange for "Liloan", Cotcot and Maraling", the last Augustinian Parish Priest of Boljoon, Fray Leandro Moran, OSA, turned over the administration of the parish to the Archbishop of Cebu on July 1, 1948. It was not clear as to reason for the delay when the last Augustinian Parish priest of Boljoon. Fray Leanfdore Moran, OSA, turned over the administration of the parish to the Archbishop of Cebu on July 1, 1948.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What is now Daan Lungsod was the original site of Oslob. It was a favorite waterhole of both natives and travellers alike for its fresh waters were cooled by the huge branches of a nigad tree. The Castilian took it as the name of the place. The churches of Oslob, Boljoon, Dalaguete and Argao were part of a defense system against Muslim invaders. They were not just churches. The tower and cemetery were built by Fr. Mauricio Alvarez. He also built the municipal tribunal and municipal church.

Long time ago, there was a popular place in town called “Bolocboloc”. The place was called Bolocbol because of its existing spring located beneath the shoreline at the foot of the barangay. The flow of the water was so strong as if the water was boiling which can still be seen at this present time.

At present, the place is now known as Nigad (a name of a tree). The place is named Nigad because of the existing tree that grew in the place which is seldom seen to grow in the shoreline. From the name Nigad the word “Oslob” was born due to the misunderstandings between the native couple and the two guardia civil (civil guards) in the year 1785. While the said couple were taking a rest under the tree and were eating their brought boiled bananas soaking it with vinegar and salt, the two guardia civil suddenly appeared with the words, as if they were asking: “Como se llama esto pueblo?” – which if translated in English would mean:”What is the name of this town?”.

The couple was astonished for they were not able to comprehend what the civil guards were saying. Since, the couple, at that time, were then soaking bananas with the vinegar and salt, they thought that the civil guards were asking them as to what they were doing, and thus, the couple answered in unison saying ”Toslob”, which means “soaking”. After hearing the word “Toslob”, the civil guards kept on repeating the word “Toslob” in the thought that the said word was the name of the town. This has been the start of the word “Toslob” which was later changed to “Oslob” due to the passes of time.

Until now, the flowing of the water at Nigad was still there quenching the thirst of the many people of the place including the nearby inhabitants specially when there is a shortage of water.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a theft, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.

As adults, their lives will be braided together by ambitions, love, greed and revenge. They will see prosperity and famine, plague and war. One boy will travel the world and come home in the end; the other will become a powerful corrupt nobleman. One girl will defy the might of the medieval church; the other will pursue an impossible love. And always they will live under the shadow of the unexplained killing they witnessed on that fateful childhood day.

World Without End is the sequel to Pillars of the Earth. However, it doesn't matter which you read first. The second book is set in the same town, Kingsbridge, but takes place two hundred years later, and features the descendants of the original characters.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett happened as the last millennium dawned when Europe didn't amount to much. Illiteracy, starvation and disease were the norm.

In fact, Europe in the year 1000 was one of the world's more stagnant regions—an economically undeveloped, intellectually derivative, and geo-politically passive backwater.

Three short centuries later, all this had changed dramatically. A newly invigorated cluster of European societies revived city life, spawned new spiritual and intellectual movements and educational institutions, and began, for reasons both sacred and profane, to expand at the expense of neighbors who traditionally had expanded at Europe's expense.

Ken Follett has filled memorable details as he unfolds this story.

The novel treats medieval society: the warrior aristocracy of knights, castellans, counts, and dukes; the free and unfree peasants whose work in the fields made the existence of medieval society possible; and the townspeople, the artisans and merchants who represented the newest arrivals on the medieval scene.

It examines the intellectual and religious history of early medieval Europe. You study monks and the monastic life, charismatic preachers, and theologians. You examine the lives of those who found themselves outside the religious mainstream, especially the heretics and Jews of early medieval Europe.

Also it discusses partly the major political developments and events between 1000 and 1300, including the First Crusade, the Norman Conquest of England, and the granting of Magna Carta.

When he falls ill on his way home from school, 15 year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. The two begin an unexpected and passionate affair only for Hanna to suddenly and inexplicably disappear. Eight years later, Michael, now a young law student observing Nazi war trials, meets his former lover again, under very different circumstances. Hanna is on trial for a hideous crime, and as she refuses to defend herself, Michael gradually realizes his boyhood love may be guarding a secret she considers to be more shameful than murder....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some talk has been devoted to whether the Mumbai terror attacks and the $1bn accounting scandal t Satyam Computers in India will affects growth in BPOs in the country.

I could only imagine now the companies that have exposure in those locations are now looking aggressively to mitigate their risks and therefore considering at countries like the Philippines. But much of the growth comes from the size of the market, not so much the market shares. We don't know if we'll benefit from that. Nobody wishes a terror attack anywhere and any negative report on the industry affects everyone because it's global industry.

Another problem is Barack Obama, as a candidate, had pledged to create jobs that cannot be outsourced and tax policies to discourage American companies looking to bring jobs abroad. It's Obama's fiscal policy versus the whole outsourcing equation and I think the realities of the global economy will take over.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Satyam scandal has shocked India. It has brought into question the levels of corporate governance in the country, and has cast an ugly shadow on the once shining image of Indian industry overseas.

Satyam shares plummeted on the news by 75%, dragging down India's main stock market by 7%. This will put the spotlight on Indian companies, and overseas investors will be wary of putting their money here without taking a good, hard look at the company's books.

Indian's main stock exchanges have announced they are removing Satyam Computers from their indices as of January 12 because of the stunning revelations. But caution alone may not be enough to convience international investors that Indians companies are serious about cleaning up their governance. Many of Satyam's customers were persuaded to get into business with the company because of Mr. Raju's suave, professional image. The Western educated MBA graduate was one of the poster boys of India's new economy.

According to Mr. Raju's statement, about $1bn of the cash on the company's books was made up---and analyst say it was the manipulation of the cash flow which could have been one reason why the deceit was undetected. Many analysts also say that the chase for huge profits and the desire to keep up with the breakneck speed of India's $50bn outsourcing industry's growth rates that may have been behind Mr. Raju's motivation in fudging the accounts at his firm.

But trying to get any answers from Mr. Raju since his confession letter is proving to be impossible---he has disappeared.

Friday, February 13, 2009

cotton beach 2

Don't leave the island without...
(click for more pictures here)
Boracay has made itself to be known for many things. The shopping experience has something for everyone. We bought two pairs of islanders over expensive havaianas, I think D'Mall is complete with anything you'll need to supplement your stay and they've souvenirs to buy for pasalubong to people back home. Also, there are many great restaurants to choose from at D'Mall. We tried the choriburger/ chorizo burger at the beach but you should try the Real Coffee's sandwiches, True Foods' Indian cuisine, Aria's Italian food, Cyma's Greek delicacies, and the buffet at Sea Wind.

We walked on the 7km white sand beaches that separated the crystal blue waters and the lush hilly landscapes. We'd Jonah's and Jony's famed fruit shakes while sauntering under the sun. Along the beach, Doug decided to try the masseuse under the coconut trees and I'd mine inside the hotel. They can give you a very relaxing massage in your hotel room or even right there under the sun. The massages are very affordable as well.

Nightlife in Boracay is ushered in with a panoramic sunset. Suddenly the beachfront is alive with bar music, dining, and drinking. We'd dinner and bar at Nigi Nigi Too located in the very center of White Beach. They served us with some of the fresh seafood and disturbingly we're told that these are sourced as far as southern Mindanao. What had happened to the sorrounding seas? Why it couldn't give us seafood? To my mind it somehow answered the 50 pesos environment fee collected per guest at the quay.
(back to original post)

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

18 Suck-It-Up Moments that Pack a Serious Payoff
THEGUYLIST compiled by the Men's Health Staff

  1. Returning a wallet. With all the dough. Witnessing the owner's delight is worth more than money.
  2. Abstaining. If the Starbucks line snakes out the door, thou shalt not whip, frap, steam , cream, or half-caf. When time is of the essence, take it like a man: straight up.
  3. Weaving. Your entire hand, not just the middle finger. Thousands die each year in aggressive driving-related accidents. Showing up five minutes late to work is better than showing up 6 years early to your funeral.
  4. Stopping at second base on a first date. Especially when she's waving you in from third. Settling for a stand-up double almost guarantees fireworks next time, when you put it over the fence.
  5. Donating platelets. One apheresis session yields the same amount of clotting factor as six standard transfusions---and provides crucial help for burn victims, cancer patients, and organ-transplant recipients. Whose life have you saved today?
  6. Fighting a bogus ticket. The day we're too tired to fight even the smallest of insults is the day the bureaucrats break out the tattoo needles and bar codes.
  7. Voting. Did you do it last month? If you didn't weigh in, you don't measure up.
  8. Holding your tongue. Every man possesses a simple superpower: silence. Too few flex it on a regular basis.
  9. Dancing. Especially if you can't. No woman can resist a man who puts her pleasure ahead of his ego.
  10. Laughing. At that humorless "joke" your dad trots out before family reunion meals.
  11. Not laughing. When yur boss ponders what his secretary might do in a closed room with a clown. And in a wading pool. And with Joe Lipa. Standing up for your beliefs doesn't always require a lecture. See number 8, "Holding your tongue."
  12. Cashing in your chips. In a perfect world, the dealer would continue to bust and the Mavericks would be a lock at +. But Lady Luck is a fickle lover. Take the money and run.
  13. Donating to charity. Anonymously.
  14. Ordering salad in a steak house. So what if your buddies are biting down on 24-ounce porterhouses and taunting you mid-chew? Your payoff comes at the beach; theirs vanishes with a belch.
  15. Wearing blinders. When the attractive lady with the heaving chest and tiny tank top bends over. So what if she wouldn't notice, or wouldn't mind: You gain more power by exercising restraint when sin comes in the form of 42DD cleavage. To wit...
  16. Forgoing. As in "Thanks, but I think I'll pass out on that tap dance."
  17. Putting it in writing. It's too easy to dismiss a casually uttered "thanks" or "sorry." If you really mean it, commit it to paper.
  18. Concealing your connections. At least at first. Sure, mention your father's first frat days with the mayor and you might score the job. But saving it until you're already n board earns you respect.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cal realizes that once this book is published that he may become the most famous hermaphrodite in history, and he names a few of the other historically famous hermaphrodites. Cal then goes into an argument that he is a better case to study because he was born with a brain chemistry of a male but raised as a girl. Therefore, his situation is a great study of nature versus nurture.

Cal then rewinds the story once again to the summer of 1922. The story begins on the slope of Mt. Olympus in the Asia Minor with Cal's grandmother Desdemona. While working in her silkworn cocoons, she is sure that she feels her heart skip a beat. This feeling will be the genesis of her always feeling ill inside a perfectly healthy body.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

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cotton beach

(Click for more pictures here).
Boracay, the three-syllable word is said to have come from the local word borac, meaning cotton, an obvious reference to the beach sand's color and texture. When Doug and I went there, it was few weeks before the typhoon Frank hit the island, sometime between June and October. During this time the resort and restaurant prices are cheaper than at peak season that starts early November and ends around May, and the island is at a more relaxing pace.

They said that it is dumb bell-shaped, perhaps they've seen it from above but for us who were traveling and sailing, it was several buses and ferries ride from Toledo to Kalibo, motor cab to Caticlan jetty, from there it takes 15 to 20 minutes, to get to Boracay.

At the jetty, we're hustled by fixers of the over 300 beach resorts who chanted the same spiel, theirs is located at the White Sand Beach. Thanks to this lady fixer, she billeted us at Alice in Wonderland Resort, non-beachfront, between Station 2&3, main White Sand Beach. The resort offers 35 well appointed air-conditioned cottages with queen sized bed and pull-out couches, private toilet and bath, your own veranda with a hammock awaiting your arrival. In the middle of its well-groomed grounds is a quaint two-story tree house. It has a swimming pool and an area for the guests to play table table tennis, billiards, chess and darts. One could sit at the bar and restaurant and enjoy the freshest seafood 24 hours while looking at the sea before you.

Doug wonder at this last detail after reading the resort's brochure. How could we ever look at the sea? We're across the road before the beach inside the resort compound! That's a joke, a roaring starter for our stay in Boracay.
(Continues to Cotton Beach 2)

Friday, February 6, 2009

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Monday, February 2, 2009

(click for more pictures here)

Doug had to take the Saturday night boat in Cebu while I was on a bus already traveling from Davao to Cagayan de Oro. We're planing to spend Lent in Camiguin, the island known for its many festivals but we chose the Panaad, and it was held during the Holy Week. Panaad is a yearly gathering of pilgrims from allover the country in Camiguin for the Holy Week. The pilgrims usually start the Panaad by walking 64 kilometers around the island and trekking the Old Vulcan, as expression of penitence and spiritual enrichment. I arrived ahead of Doug and decided to spend the night with my relatives in the city, and meet him early morning at the pier.

We traveled 1.5 hours more to Balingoan, and took M/V Yuhum, the hourly scheduled ferry crossing the channels of Mindanao Sea, and later docked at the port in Guisiliban. It was lunchtime when we landed in Camiguin, and we decided to nourish ourselves at the nearby eatery. Doug and I ordered in Cebuano, since it is spoken freely inside the eatery, sutokil (a combo of fishes grilled, souped, and soaked in vinegar), kan-on (Valencia rice), and ginamos (salted fish) as side dish. There was an old couple at the next table talking ancient language that I assumed they're natives of the island. I asked them for Mambajao, the capital town, which they told us to be at the northern part. After we had our orders, and surprisingly in a snap, we hired a motor cab to Mambajao.

We're booked at the Paras Beach Resort, the most popular accommodation, just a short ride from the travel agency in Mambajao. The rooms are fully air-conditioned and with private shower and bath. We chose a room closest to the beach, to watch a breathtaking sunset, and not to be missed also the swimming pool at the middle of the resort. Our dinner wasn't a problem, the resort has an in-house resto that is open from 6am to 12mn.

If it wasn't for Lent that we went there, we could have avail of the fun tours they offer. Among the choices are the whole day island tour of volcanoes, and the white sandbar (a three minute boat ride from the Resort), and sightseeing the waterfalls, island hopping, and snorkeling in the Sunken Cemetery---this I've second thought, if given the chance. They also have water activities such as jet-ski, banana boat, para-sailing, and scuba diving.

Waking up to a fine April sky was perfect for Panaad, the first thing in our itinerary. We hired a motor cab, the common transport available in the island, to visit the old ruins of San Roque church, convent and belfry in Gui-ob. These are the remnants of the eruption of Old Vulcan Daan in 1871 that almost wiped out the entire town of Catarman. The thick century old walls that partly exposed the ruins are also remainders of the second Spanish settlement in 1697. When we came back from the ruins, we stopped at the beach besides the road to look at the towering cross in the sea that marked the Sunken Cemetery.

The next would be climbing the Old Vulcan Daan, it is the landmark of Panaad, the volcano with stiff drop-off of 7,080 meters above sea level. At the foot, we're told to buy 14 candles appointed for the stations above, and we've seen also novelty shops for buying souvenirs later. The Via Cruses is trekking the old volcano slope. The 14 Stations of the Cross have life-sized statues, depicting the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, that dotted the trail to the peak. At last, we crested the fourteenth station and found a sepulcher carved out of volcanic rocks, where they usually held mass for the Lenten season. The view was impressive. A thousand feet below lay Mambajao capital town of Camiguin, but that was about it. The ascent was Christ-like, as if the whole ordeal in Golgotha was happening to us. However, praying from sepulcher, we staggered down and bought our souvenir t-shirts and some Vjandep pastels, these are soft buns stuffed with sweet cream of different flavors.

The best way to resurrect the aching muscles would be a relaxing dip at the Ardent hot spring. It is a natural Jacuzzi at 400 Celsius. Here is very interesting information, the heated pool is collected water running down the vents of Hibok-Hibok volcano, and this you wouldn't mind. It has therapeutic effects on our aching muscles. The place has picnic huts and tables in the beautifully landscaped gardens, and there is also a resto that catered to our already famished stomachs.

The province is a pear shaped volcanic island in the northern tip of Mindanao. The island is said to be "born of fire." It has seven volcanoes unmatched in the world that eruptions have created wonders and historic ruins. Its pristine and rustic setting marked it as one of the top 25 tourist destinations in the country, and the seventh diving spot in the world.

I should say, it is a tiny island of lush forests as evidenced by its eternal hot and cold springs, the splendid Catarman ruins, and the idyllic life. It is a virtual paradise, a beauty entirely locked in eternal embrace of the sea, an unfazed by the pressures of today's hurried way of life. The experience we had in Camiguin was never enough that someday, Doug and I promised to go back there to re-discovery this island of fire.

If Only Blogging Were Easy…

Bloggers, mostly newbies like me, often think that blogging is easy stuff. But now that I'm into it I would say it isn't. When I started, I was confronted right away with what to post in my blog. Not to mention that writing is one of my frustrations, I've a hard time writing down my thoughts, or whatever is upthere in my brain. This can't be called writer's block since I haven't written any. But I prevail! When you have nothing to do, you're out of job, blogging is an alternative.

It doesn't only win over your difficulty in writing but it is said to give you money! Very well then! This is what I badly needed at this time. But it isn't as easy as expected, I need to attract more readers into my blog, and beg them to give me those precious backlinks, so that the advertisers would notice traffic for their products and lastly monetized the whole process.

But this doesn't end here, some advertisers don't pay as promised by their campaigns, at the rate of being called stupid. They set their standards more often as the weather, their easy is clincher for me though. I would've second thought for this one! I think I'm fair with my deals.

My blogging experience isn't as easy as I expected but this doesn't mean it is same with others. To each his own!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The purpose of this documentation is to amplify the interplay of realities presented, met and subsequently addressed by the Upland Development Programme in its struggle to facilitate the embankment of its mission to the lives of upland folks in southern Philippines.

After eight years, UDP has threaded the dreams of improving lives in remote terrains found in mountainous topographies. Despite the many pitfalls and setbacks, it continues to struggle and reach out to better the lives of the upland folks and communities. This is its story woven and entangled by the challenges, failures and successes of true people engaging to make a stake at progress...

Pictures of upland realities in yesterdays struggle

The traces of the past are essential tools in dealing with the future. It is the memory of lives spent hurdling with difficulties. Sometimes it posts barriers for improvement, making its trail strongly felt to burden the present in the struggle to reach a better future. The upland is practically the most difficult road to traverse. Its remoteness may prove to be unfriendly and hard to transgress...most of the time; it is left out and hardly awakens by progress.

This is an attempt to unveil the past pictures of upland communities…the struggle of its people on the road to rehabilitation and positive changes.

An abstract of the lives of eight villages scattered in the hilly and mountainous terrains in southern Philippines will somehow paint a replicating picture of common realities lived by and survived by upland folks. Let us try to imagine the lives of people resplendent with mediocrity, simplicity, and scarcity by journeying into the flashes of their past before the UDP and other key players for progress started working on the new pictures of their struggles…

Synchronizing goals through community formation

another facet of this documentary is snapshots of realities found in the many faces of upland lives when the UDP started its journey in the realm of its mission and goals.

We will attempt to immerse and become acquainted with the endeavors of initiating little changes in communities as a means of staking bigger and more practical schemes for development. The upland folks are the major stakeholders of progress who are rarely afforded the opportunity to grow beyond the confines of their ordinary and customary day-to-day struggles. Yet when the UDP alternative and more systematic stance against all forms of scarcity became felt in their communities, motivating changes gradually beat common insecurities and apprehensions.

The Stories:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I was born twice: first, as a baby girl (Calliope), and then again, as a teenage boy (Cal), and so begin Jeffrey Eugenides's second novel, Middlesex. He won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel, and also he is the bestselling author of The Virgin Suicides.

Writing his story is yet another birth, which is now taking place...Three months before being born, his grandmother held her magical spoon over her mother's pregnant belly. The spoon swung from north to south, foretelling the birth of a son. Cal's mother, Tessie did not believe her mother-in-law's prediction and believed so strongly that a baby girl would be born that she already had the name Calliope picked out. Tessie and Milton, Cal's father, was so desirous to have a daughter that they had determined to do whatever it took to have a girl.

Topics to discuss...

  1. The author's chosen point of view. Do you believe this story could be told in another point of view? Would it be as effective?
  2. What part does the choice of setting the story in mid-west Michigan, specifically Detroit and Grosse Point play in the story?
  3. How important to the story is Cal's being a hermaphrodite? How similar would this story be had Cal not been a hermaphrodite?
  4. Why does the author choose to never introduce Chapter 11's given name?
  5. Discuss the author's purpose in including flash-forwards in Cal's present life in Berlin? How would the story change without the flash-forwards?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Barangay Maligang in Kiamba, a town in the province of Sarangani, is experiencing the difficult road connecting them to the nearest market---the common problem in the upland communities. The village has about 261 families and mostly indigenous people, and farming is their livelihood. The area is highly suitable to abaca production.

The FIDA, a government authority on fiber, opened Kiamba for Abaca production, however, unfortunately, their first attempt to organize failed. In 2001, UDP rekindled the interest in Tinagak making, using the knotted abaca fiber, into fabric, and other handicrafts. The UDP had worked closely with the FIDA in conducting skills training and exposure trips; thereafter a Tinagak producers association was formed and despite their lack of capital ventured on Tinagak making.

The village is on undulating hills with rivers to cross, and its roads are hardly passable on rainy days---the slippery stretches, and the gullies. But these didn’t hampered the productivity in the village, while farmers are growing abaca, their women, youth, and even elders are preoccupied into tinagak making, as additional income for their families.

Abaca, the primary crop grown by farmers in Maligang, can be considered a viable enterprise for them.

The odds…

The nagging road problem is among the many struggles of the community. The deteriorating quality of abaca due to age and diseases is also a serious concern to sustain the enterprise. However, the people are unfazed with these odds that they even work harder to achieve their goals.

The knotted strength…

From its lowly beginning, the association is now known as United Maligang Farmers Cooperative with 181 members accumulating a capital of some P38, 000.00 pesos. It has also increased its production of tinagak from 8.35 kilos in 2001 to an average of 140 kilos per month, employing about 115 people, mostly women, youth, and elders. The enterprise has contributed an increase in household income of about P700.00 to P5, 000.00 pesos monthly. The growth of the coop can be seen in the participation of the community, and the assistance from local governments and funding agencies.

The Task...

However, the small gain by the coop in trading isn’t good enough. They still need to strengthen themselves by building skills and right attitude, that in realizing the dream to improve their lives, they must also take care of the environment.

Bringing development to Maligang is a formidable task but seeing how it gradually changes their lives is inspiring.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This is Doug, my significant other. I just bounced back from a broken relationship when I met him. I thought it was only a 'one night stand' but I was wrong. He moved into my life and open up a gateway to infinite possibilities. Our relationship is not normal but he is like a solid rock that stands firm in the storms that rage about us.

Doug is very hard working. He is more than happy to put in a full day at the office, realizing that it will likely take a lot of those days to get to the top. Life is one big project for him, and he adapts to this by adopting a businesslike approach to most everything he does. That's no problem, he is practical as well, taking things one step at a time and being as realistic and pragmatic as possible.

I'm always there for him. At times, however, I tend to get caught up in his dream and views of how things should be. I fear that my pleas aren't being heard that I tend to lapse into melancholy and, worse, the kind of pessimism which leads to procrastination and lethargy. Thankfully, he is patient, too, and is happy to wait for me to come along...

I'm the ultimate finisher. Nothing can stand against my determination and willpower. Victory is mine! I'm the most modest and unassuming. I acquire knowledge, and then sometimes fail to show it, often regarding it of little consequence and believing that other people who brag about their ability must actually know more than I do. But, I'm most cautious of all, where my own efforts are concerned. I have a happy disposition! I could ride over deep troubles almost as trifles.

I'm selfless, spiritual and much focused on my inner journey. I also place great weight on what I'm feeling. Yes, feelings define me, and it's not uncommon for me to feel my own burdens (and joys) as well as those of others. My intuition is highly-evolved. Many people associate me with dreams and secrets, and it's a fair association, since I feel comfortable in an illusory world.

I'm not quite a pushover, but I'm certainly sensitive. Even so, I revel in my compassionate and imaginative natures and love to cater to others. I could also be quite romantic, dreaming up delicious treats for my lover. Hopefully, any kindness would be reciprocated, because I could certainly turn blue if I'm not.

Life in Libi

Rancho and Kolambog are villages at the eastern hilly sides of barangay Libi, and the B’laan tribes settled in them since the 1930s, about 30 families scattered in some 869 hectares.

There are no clinic and school, before the clearing for the road in 2003, the villages and their children had to walk over five kilometers to reach the health center, and for the children to attend elementary. But horses are also available for easier visits.

Potable water was also lacking and the villagers fetch in the springs far from their houses. Corn is largely planted in the villages, and rice is grown for eating, and cassava, sweet potato and banana are other staples.

In essence, life in Libi is simple and unsecured…the people are praying for land to farm to improve their lives.

‘Win some, loss more’

These upland villages in Libi are in Malapatan, a town in the province of Sarangani. The UDP came sometime in 2004, and provided consultants to assess their existing and potential local enterprises to be managed by them. The same consultants were again contracted to assist KRANFO, an upland barangay association from the two villages, in preparing the business plan and manual. Also, they are there to provide coaching and training in operating the enterprise and install some systems.

To date, KRANFO has their business plan but their proposed enterprises are not yet started. The organization is composed of 62 members, 30 of whom come from Rancho and 32 from Kolambog.

The UDP’s partners in the projects in Libi include the town of Malapatan that allocates counterpart funds, and maintains a project team headed by their agriculturist, and assigns personnel to provide technical assistance. There is also the Rural Bank of Sarangani to loans to farmers using the model packages by the UDP.

During the business planning with the consultants, the farmers have identified the trading of banana and peanuts, and a store to be managed separately by each of the villages. However, the villages in Libi still struggle with the changes. Their pitfalls usually mean missteps for the association. It was realized that so much is left undone that every step forward somehow lead them away from their goals. Notwithstanding the fact, the farmers are still willing to stake at progress because they have shared with the UDP’s vision of development.

Guinang Fucal, a pastor and one of the chairmen in Libi in their dialect said, ‘Before, we are always short of cash. Until UDP came, we only had corn and coconut, but they taught us to plant all types: from long-term like coconut, mango and coffee; and medium-term like banana; and short-term crops like mongo beans and peanuts.’

Here, we will somehow see that people are people, their issues, small gains and heavy set backs are part of the process.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The trails to Kablon…

The village is at the foot of Mt. Matutum with an area of 4,700 hectares, more or less. It is the most populated in Tupi and most of its inhabitants are indigenous people, the B’laan tribe. It has very fertile land, and cold weather with no distinct wet and dry seasons, favorable to vegetables like potato, radish, carrot and cabbages that are commonly planted. The village life is mirrored by the ‘habal-habal,’ a modified motorcycle to transport farmers and vegetables that ply along its roads, aside from trekking by foot. The land tenures are merely certificates of stewardship that worried the farmers.

The farmers relied heavily on lending at unreasonable rates to finance their farms. They could hardly get by their income. Health care is scarce in this part of the upland, and education is expensive that only few farmers are literate. Despite these facts of life, they still enjoy the horse fights and “Amyak Maleh Matutum,”-a climbing activity at the peak of Mt. Matutum.

…or a descent to perish?

Ever since Glandang is into vegetable farming producing vegetables in commercial scale and trading normally takes place at the roadside. The price is so unstable and usually happened at harvest when vegetables flood the market, and farmers would engage in price war just to avoid spoil.

The UDP approved the proposed Bagsakan, a buying station at Glandang to improve the trading of vegetables in Kablon. It was completed in 2003, with a rainwater reservoir for washing the vegetables. The farmers finally experienced payment on time at delivery; while their association with scarce capital could only buy a limited volume of vegetables--such with some internal conflicts, the buying stopped after two months.

However, the UDP have known their problems, and provided them with consultants to revive the Bagsakan Center. A team was formed, the “Matutum Enterprise,” as a subsidiary of the farmer’s association.The farmers made a business plan and manual focused on renting the bagsakan and how the enterprise would run the center. The association is able to prove that the business is profitable. The farmers were not able to make use of the bagsakan, as a trading facility, in a sense they failed to manage.

Until now, the Bagsakan is not operating. The farmers insisted on their old ways and hard to accept changes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hi and welcome to The Box of Laughs!

The purpose of The Box of Laughs is just some ways to put more fun and humor into our lives! I compiled a List of 10 Ways, which I think will make you happy. Weekly, I'll create a post and publish it every Monday for The Box of Laughs, which will include the suggestion, and a link to the person who submitted it. You don't have to participate every week, if you don't have the time, and there is no specific day you have to post it on. Just make sure you come back and leave a comment, when you do so, others can visit you. It's as simple as that!

Read my DreamBook guestbook!
Sign my DreamBook!

Hereunder the List of 10 Ways (but only 5 are published here and the rest are with the Blogroll.
  1. Get as many members and find ways on how to put more laughter into your lives.
  2. Clip funny cartoons and put them on your site and invite your friends or to those you know would like them.
  3. Make a funny face collection. Have a contest for the picture that gives the best body aching laughter to all. Take pictures of your friends making faces. And animals and search in the internet for more.
  4. Make a Journal filled with funny Jokes and Anecdotes you can remember and tell others.
  5. Observe the funniest person you know and try to imitate his or her behavior-soon you will be laughing with those who laugh with. Take my advice-I'm not using it!
One last favor please read...A Blogroll of all the participants has been created, so that you can go and visit them to see what they have to say on the current item/s on the list. It will be a good way to get to know everyone!

the blogroll

Equus Series presents

The Box of Laughs

This page will serve as the official repository of jokes, cartoons and what-have-you...

As promised hereunder are the remaining 5 suggestions to make the List of 10 Ways.
  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. ...
  4. ...
  5. ...
  6. Share the laughter! Look for a nice Joke book and read one per day that you can tell others about. Make sure your type of humor does not offend anyone.
  7. Make it a point to watch comedies and funny light-hearted shows. Be sure you don't laugh 'at' people but 'with' them.
  8. Record baby giggles, gurgles and play them back while you are driving-they're contagious!
  9. Make a funny story with your friends. Start with one sentence and in a circle, let the others continue one by one. Make the plot really outrageous!
  10. Learn how to make yourself laugh by mastering a funny face in the mirror. When I look this good, watch out!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You do not have to be tagged to play along. This game is simple and so are the rules.

1. Copy from *Start Copy Here* through *End Copy Here*
2. Add your site(s) to the list. Just be sure to post the "Big Bang" at each site you add.
3. Tag or don’t tag, your choice, however, the more tags you create the longer the list will grow.
4. Let me know your blog’s name and url by leaving me a comment HERE. I will add you to the master list. (If you would like the instructions for the scroll box code, leave me your email address and I will email it to you. The scroll box is totally customizeable.)
5. Come back and copy the master list back to your site, often. This process will allow late-comers to get as much link benefit as the first ones in. Once you are on the master list people who have participated earlier will update their bookmarks and help everyone lower than them out on the list.

*Start Copy Here*
1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Juliana's Site 3-Rusin Roundup 4-Grow Rich Along With Me 5-Comedy Plus 6-lynda's loft 7-Amel's Realm 8-MAX 9-Speedcat Hollydale 10-Mariuca 11-Complain Complain Complain 12-Mariuca's Perfume Gallery 13-Life Is A Roller Coaster 14-Sugar Queen's Dream 15-First Time Dad 16-Life 17-My Life 18-The Painted Veil 19-My Thoughts 21-Little Aussie Cynic 22-A Nice Place in the Sun 24-The Down Side OF Up 25-Ladyjava's Lounge 26-Cat Tales 27-moms.....check nyo 28-Colorado Baby 29-It's a Woman's World 30-ENLIGHTENED BITS 31-My View of "It" 32-My Reviews and Finds Along the Way 33-Our Hep Chat 34-Rantings of a Woman 35-The Callalily Space 36-Mom Knows Everything 37-Hazel 38-Chronicles and Tales Unlimited (RED) 39-From the Mouth of Jabber Jaws 40-Sunny Side Up Foodie & Lifestyle 41-Carmel Corn 42-Daily Stock Picks 43-The Whole New World 44-Wifespeak 45-Slavery Bliss 46-Rooms of My Heart 47-Unpredictable Life 48-My Life, My World 49-At Your Service 50-All About Ebay 51-Everything Amazon 52-Dork Muffin 53-My So-Called Site 54-New Wife Blog 55-Tendre Poison 323 56-Nick's Bytes 57-My Scratch Pad 58-Choc Mint Girl 59-Life Is Just Around the Corner... 60-Frog's Blog 61-Maryannaville 62-monaco - monaco's 63-Nyumix's Blog 64-read my mind - my keyboard monologues 65-Shower You Children With Love - The Right Way 66-Secret Agent Mama 67-Pinaymama's Diary 68-Answers to the Questions 69-Work of the Poet 70-A Total Blog 71-My life, my hope, my future 72-NORTE 73-A Window to Our World 74-Life as a Mom 75-FIELD OF DREAMS 76-lisgold 77-See Me for What You 78-Caught in The Stream 79-Pinay Mommy Online - My Home 80-foster me up 81-CRUEL VIRGIN 82-Garden of Moments in Blog 83-So Cute 84-Love Everlasting 85-WeLcOmE To My CriB 86-WELCOM TO PINAYSMILE'S JOURNEY 87-Ice's Icelog 88-Jenny's Wandering Thoughts 89-Hobbies and Such 90-Sweet Paradise 91-Mommy's Gibble Gabbles 92-Rusin Recipe Roundup 93-My Small World 94-Little Peanut 95-Online Ramblings 96-My Mood My Feeling 97-BLOG it with ALLEN 98-Entertainment World 99-Let's Go Singapore 100-Firelynx 101-Catsy Carpe Diem 102-Every Beat Of My Heart 103-Always Da Fresh Princess 104-Listening.. 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