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Earth Hour 2011

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Earth Hour 2011: It’s time to go beyond the hour

At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

With Earth Hour almost upon us, our thoughts are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

El Niño wreaking more havoc!

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The dreaded El Niño phenomenon is wreaking more destruction. After victimizing farmlands, it’s devastating power is now slowly spreading out to bodies of water.

Two familiar words come to mind: global warming.

Fishkill in Ifugáo, Isabela; church storms heaven

The prolonged dry spell that is triggering power and water shortages throughout the country is beginning to take its toll on vegetable, fish and livestock farms and on the rice and corn crops in certain regions.

In Ifugáo and Isabela, dead tilapià could be seen floating in fish pens, cages and ponds in the first incidences of “fish kill” as the worst of the El Niño sets in.

Fishermen in Ifugáo province said they have lost about 30 tons of tilapià in fish cages and pens along the Magat River as water levels there have started to drop.

Farmers in Zamboanga City could only shake their heads in dismay at the failure of their vegetable crops because of the lack of water and the onset of pests and diseases brought about by the heat.

Agriculture officials in Western Mindanáo expect the rice yield in the region to be reduced by 15 percent.

The dry spell has destroyed P7.5 million worth of rice and corn crops and about P1.24 million worth of livestock in Negros Occidental, officials said.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has asked the Catholic faithful to “storm the heavens” with prayers for rain.

“Let us together storm heaven with our supplication, that God’s mercy be upon us and send us the rain we need,” Rosales said as he issued an Oratio Imperata Friday. (Inquirer.net)

A porkless Christmas threatens us all!

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What?! No pork?!

(To the tune of Weezer) — Say it ain’t so!

What would become of our noche buena (and media noche) without our beloved jamón?!

No hamon or even pork adobo for many this Xmas

It may be a blue Christmas for many pork-loving Filipino families. Powerful storms and widespread flooding in recent weeks killed many pigs, creating a looming pork shortage that will be felt most during the holiday season.

Meanwhile, meat importers have been unable to secure adequate overseas supplies to make up for the shortfall. The result could be sky-high prices.

Even those families who save up for a hearty noche buena may be unable to buy pork. Click here for more.

And with global warming making things worse for us each passing year –this time destroying much of our livestock–, former matinee idol Richard Gómez thinks it is best to grab as much “pork” as he can.

HON. RICHARD FRANK GÓMEZ

This guy just won't stop.

Blog Action Day 2009 — Fight climate change NOW!

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Fighting climate change will save our descendants' earthly existence!

Fighting climate change will save our descendants' earthly existence!

“When you try to scientifically observe the data… we will find this year and last year as very strange years, and we can only presuppose that this is due to climate change” — Anthony Gólez (Civil defense chief), on Typhoon Ondoy

“We can’t just blame this on the rain. We know this is the worst deluge in 40 years. We know there is climate change happening, there is no debate about that. This is just a glimpse of what will happen. This is not even a super typhoon. We need to be prepared. This is just a taste of things to come. We need to have more preparations and we need to factor in climate change.” — Mark Día (Greenpeace campaigner), on the same typhoon which killed hundreds of people in less than nine hours.

And so I will make this blogpost as brief and as comprehensible as possible…

To those who are ignorant of the situation, the recent killer typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, which incapacitated the capital of the Philippines and wreaked havoc in many parts of Luzón, are just that — natural calamities. It’s devastating, but it’s normal. Yes, Ondoy and Pepeng are indeed deadlier compared to other killer typhoons of the past. But it has never crossed the mind of the unitiated as to why the typhoons are getting stronger and stronger every year.

These typhoons may be natural calamities, yes. But their origins can be traced to manmade irresponsibilities. Throughout the centuries, man has innovated technology to suit himself to changes in his culture and behavior. Wittingly or unwittingly, this pursuit of “change for comfortability” has drastically altered the normal course of climatical phases throughout modern history (especially since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution).

OK. So the only thing that’s permanent is change. But climate change is one type of change that won’t be for the betterment of mankind. It’s called global warming.

Global warming has become a very familiar term during this decade. It was made even more popular by world-renowned environmentalist Al Gore in his bestselling documentary video entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”. It has made many people sit up and take notice — but only those who are educated enough to be interested in watching documentaries. That is never enough.

The educated should educate the masses because a great bulk of them are unfamiliar with the cause and effect of climate change and global warming. And besides, many of them use products that are harmful to the environment and which contribute to this abnormality that we’re experiencing with our weather. As US Vice President Joe Biden said: “I think it is manmade. I think it’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That’s the cause. That’s why the polar icecap is melting.”

Speaking of melting icecaps, the Philippines is in grave danger since it has countless small islands that will easily disappear when the sea level eventually rises. Majestic coastlines and seaside villages and towns will be affected, displacing hundreds of thousands of Filipino families. And expect more destructive typhoons from the Pacific which will make Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng seem tame.

¡Kilos ná!

If you guys have genuine compassion for the young –our only planet’s next generation– then start acting now! By simply not littering at all outside the streets is already a BIG accomplishment, believe me. Love the environment. Love this planet. It’s the only planet we have. So…

Fight climate change! START RIGHT NOW!!!

Fight climate change!

Fight climate change!

This is FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES very brief take on BLOG ACTION DAY 2009.

Blog Action Day 2009 (Climate Change)

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FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE!Blog Action Day 2009 will be held on the 15th of this month. This time, bloggers around the world will focus on humanity’s greatest challenge today: Climate Change / Global Warming.

The recent killer typhoons which terrorized and destroyed much of Metro Manila and Luzón are caused mainly by climate change. Even if there were no garbage clogging the waterways, I believe that the floods would have still caused major damage. Just imagine: Typhoon Ondoy pouring a month’s worth of rain in just six hours? I have never heard anything like that in my entire life!

So to all bloggers, let us join this annual event. It may not drastically alter our climate, but at the very least we will be able to alter the minds of those who are not knowledgeable about this impending threat. Let us all do our share to save the environment for our children’s future.

Typhoon Ondoy: A Global Warning!

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According to reports, yesterday’s tremendous tempest dumped the heaviest rainfall on Metro Manila and nearby provinces in more than four decades!

I was stuck in our office in Alabang, Muntinlupà City for hours after my shift. But the downpour never ceased. I was supposed to attend a kid cousin’s birthday, but I thought it best not too.

Seeing that it was hopeless to wait for the rain to cease, I just barged outside using my dilapidated umbrella. And I was disgusted by what I saw — stranded motorists! It reminded me of my college days getting stuck in the same situation. I remember one time when I had to walk from Adamson University in Manila all the way to Parañaque City! It was a scary flashback because yesterday, I didn’t plan of walking from Alabang all the way to San Pedro, La Laguna.

Little did I know that a tragedy was already happening all over the metropolis and its surrounding provinces.

I waited for almost an hour under the Alabang viaduct. And underneath the viaduct, traffic was hell. Counterflows where virtually everywhere, and many commuters were already soaking wet. Whenever empty jeepneys pass by slowly, exhausted commuters surround them, like vultures waiting for their prey to die. Luckily I was able to catch an apprehensive jeepney driver (I saw the look on his face; he was still undecisive whether or not he should just drive home or still pick up motorists). I ran as fast as I could (the veteran that I am from all these flooded moments), getting the choicest jeepney seat — the front seat.

In just a few seconds, the jeepney was filled. Initially, the driver decided to drive us only up to Muntinlupà (the población), but no one seemed to care. We all had one thing in mind: to go back to our respective homes as close as we can get.

The driver chose the old National Road (Mahárlika Highway) instead of the South Luzón Tollway because the traffic flow in the said expressway was almost immobile. But it was even worse in the national road. Many parts were flooded. I was surprised. This was no ordinary rain. I’ve never seen Muntinlupà flooded that way before.

I started sending text messages to friends, asking them their situation. I learned that even in Manila, it was flooded. It was no surprise because floods in many parts of Manila is almost “normal” (no thanks to litterbugs).

Surprisingly, we noticed that there was no more traffic jam in the población. So the driver decided to drive us all the way to San Pedro, La Laguna (which is supposed to be a couple of minutes away). I wondered why there was no more traffic jam. I found out minutes later.

When our jeep drove past Susana Heights, it started to rain heavier again (I already threw my useless umbrella in the garbage bin; anyway, I was already prepared to get wet myself). I got the shock of my life to see that the highway in front of me turned into a virtual sea of flood!

So that’s why there were no more vehicles! And the few vehicles that remained were those whose engines were flooded already. Poor owners! And there were people everywhere, braving the rains and the waist-high floods.

Our driver was still apprehensive: should he drive through the waters or not? I egged him to “go for it, dude!” The guy was cheerful all throughout the trip, and was very thoughtful of his passengers (may God bless his career). And yes, he did decide to drive on. The secret to it was not to remove his foot onto the pedal. He must continue driving through the flooded road without stopping or else the waters will enter and engulf the engines.

And so he drove, turning his rickety public utility vehicle into an amphibian-jeep, creating waves along the way, splashing commuters who decided to walk through the floods. And other vehicles who were coming from La Laguna made more ripples and waves in the flood. Some of the flood waters even entered where I was seated.

For some odd reason, the sight excited me. And I was very, very disappointed for not having with me my wife’s Motorola v3i (the only “digital” camera we have). I should’ve taken pictures of the flooded scene for this website and for ALAS FILIPINAS.

When our jeep neared San Pedro, La Laguna, the floods got worse. All esteros overflowed, destroying the shanties along its coast. The boundary between Muntinlupà City / Metro Manila and La Laguna province has become water world. I suddenly thought of San Pedro’s mayor, Calixto Catáquiz, who is a family friend. His home in Barrio Sto. Niño lies is near Laguna de Bay and is not in an elevated place. I hope he’s OK.

Driving through the boundary is the most difficult drive we encountered. The flood was much higher, and there were so many standed people who were blocking the way, slowing us even more (I wasn’t ready yet to “dive” into the murky, garbage-filled flood). But luckily, we went through. I was confident that as soon as we get to the San Pedro bridge, we’ll be OK because the bridge was built very high above the river.

Although the river didn’t overflow on top of the bridge, the place has been converted into a “parking lot”. I’ve never seen the bridge filled with so much vehicles! There were so many parked cars, jeepneys, and even buses that I feared we might not get to the other side). But we did.

When we got to the other side, I dropped off because our apartment was just near. It was no longer raining heavily, but it was still drizzling enough to soak me. But I never got the chance to walk to our home which is what I usually do — the road was flooded with almost-knee-high waters. I had to take a trike. Luckily our apartment is situated in an elevated place. And even if it gets flooded there, we’re on the second floor. I later learned today that others who have two-storey homes, such as sexy actress Cristine Reyes, were not so lucky:

Even this year's FHM Queen wasn't spared from Ondoy's wrath!

Even this year's FHM Queen wasn't spared from Ondoy's wrath!

Funny thing is that after breakfast I was just reading a copy of FHM Philippines 100 Sexiest Women for 2009 where she won the number one spot, hehehe! I wasn’t able to watch TV news because we still have no cable (and no internet connection yet; I’m now at our neighbor’s internet shop). F*ck, we even lost our water supply. Yesterday was even worse: when I got home, there were both no electricity and water supplies.

Now that I’m online, I just realized the magnitude of yesterday’s massive downpour:

RELATED LINKS:
‘Ondoy’ leaves 72 dead and missing
‘Ondoy’ like ‘Katrina’
Tropical Storm Ketsana 2009
Typhoon Ondoy, Emergency Disaster Relief Numbers
Typhoon Ondoy displaces 153 families

And here’s a really scary video of Marikina River uploaded by INITIATE360 in YouTube. Typhoon Ondoy turned the river into a mammoth killing machine:

Below is INITIATE360′s account of the above video:

“I just got back from the river’s edge 5 minutes ago. A 10-15 feet height differential between the Marikina River and the embankment has now been reduced to the point that water is splashing against the high-rises of Eastwood, Metro Manila. A security guard for this sealed off area approaches me and covers me with his umbrella while I snap pictures from my phone. “Where are the police or firemen?” I asked. He first points at a speck in the middle of the river 300-400 meters out to my right. “That was a woman with her 2 year old infant clinging on to her. She passed through here in the middle of the river – waving at us for help. There was nothing we could do – she had passed though within 5 seconds. We’ve been seeing other people washed away.” We watched helplessly at the 20+ people 200 meters away that are now sitting on top of their corrugated roof-tops as the river rages beneath them on their submerged homes… waiting for emergency personnel yet to come.”

Marikina River, as well as other rivers in Metro Manila, overflows from time to time during typhoons. But not like this. And according to Reyes herself, she has lived in Provident Village, Marikina City for many years. This is the first time her home was inundated.

In other news, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro has his hands busy working with the National Disaster Coordinating Council with all rescue and relief operations. According to him, this is the worst typhoon tragedy he has ever encountered. Even the Philippine Navy claimed that this was the first time that they had received so many calls for help at the same time.

Since Gibô Teodoro is at the helm of all rescue and relief operations, I’m afraid that this tragedy might be given a “political color” to it because this is actually the best time for Gibô to up the ante with regard to his presidential aspirations. He might win (or try to win) the hearts (and votes) of thousands of Filipinos who were affected by the typhoon. Nevertheless, may his rescue team be successful with their endeavors.

It’s past 4:00 PM in the afternoon. The rains have slowed down, but hasn’t stopped yet. Malacañang Palace has already declared a state of calamity in Metro Manila and other 25 affected provinces. Close to a hundred people lost their lives. And thousands have been displaced. Eighty percent of the capital is underwater.

May this serve as a GLOBAL WARNING to all those who disrespect Mother Nature (such as litterbugs, smoke belchers, illegal loggers, etc.). Like countless others, I am mighty sure that climate change has something to do with this.

Click here for more photos of the tragedy (culled from various Facebookers).

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