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Showing posts from October, 2009

EBMC Nurse is ‘09 Bb. Catanduanes

Nurses do have the "IT" factor as a 20-year old casual nurse at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center walked away with the Bb. Catanduanes crown during the pageant night at the Virac Sports Center Oct. 23.

Five-foot-six Mae Geraldine V. Samar of Virac, who represented Essensual Ellen Salon, wowed the judges with her 36-26-36 figure and overall performance during the centerpiece event of the three-day Catandungan Festival.

Best in Gown Ma. Fatima G. Velchez of Bagamanoc, 17, was chosen Bb. Catandungan Festival while 16-year old high school student Amylou B. Buendia, who was Bimasanca’s bet, got the Bb. Catanduanes Tourism title aside from Ms. Photogenic. Tall at 5’6" and just 16 years old, Mary Antonette L. Rodriguez of Cabugao, Bato, was first-runner-up while reigning Mutya ng Virac Ma. Amabelle A. Macabia, 17, took the second runner-up honors.

Velchez, Rodriguez and Macabia are all nursing students at the Catanduanes State Colleges along with two other candidates.

Aside from …

Energy to Sign 5 Coal Exploration Contracts - MST

The Energy Department will sign five more coal operating contracts within the week, bringing the total to 16, an official said.

“We will have 16 contracts awarded out of the 30 areas offered,” Energy Undersecretary Ramon Oca told reporters.

Oca said the five contracts covered “areas that had multiple proponents or applicants so we just had to be very careful in evaluating the application.”

The department awarded last month 11 coal exploration contracts that could generate investments of around P580 million in the next two years.

The government on April 14 launched the energy contract rounds to promote and offer prospective coal areas to both local and private investors for l exploration, development and production.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes earlier said the promotion of local coal exploration and development would boost energy security and generate savings from imports.

Reyes said coal might be seen as a “dirty fuel” but cited clean coal technologies that would minimize the impact on …

Trade Fair Showcases Bicol's Agri-Based Products - Philstar

MANILA, Philippines - The best of Bicol products and tourist hotspots are showcased anew in the OK Bikol-Gayon Bikol, the annual trade and tourism fair of the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry Region V, which will runs until today at SM Megamall’s Megatrade Hall 2. According to DOT V Regional Director Maria Ravanilla, the fair is promoting market linkages with the players in the travel industry, trade buyers and investors to further boost Bicol’s tourism, trade and investment potentials. She said the region is highlighting its best travel destinations and festivals, as well as native products under the DTI’s “One Town, One Product (OTOP)” program. On display are Bicol’s signature products such as exquisite native furniture, abaca decors and accessories, gold jewelry, pottery, chili- and pili-based food items, among others. Bicol is composed of the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate. Source: (The Phili…

Climate Change Law Signed - BW

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday signed into law a measure that will institutionalize a climate change policy, particularly on mitigating its impact.

Republic Act 9729 or the Philippine Climate Change Act of 2009 comes in the aftermath of destruction caused by tropical storm Ondoy (international name: Ketsana), typhoon Pepeng (international name: Parma) and typhoon Ramil (international name: Lupit) which is currently pounding storm-battered Northern Luzon.

Ondoy and Pepeng have ravaged Metro Manila and North Luzon, respectively, with damage reaching P30.986 billion and the death toll at 929, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council’s Friday update.

Under the new law, a national climate change action plan would be crafted that would include roadmap for mitigation with emphasis on voluntary reduction of local carbon emissions, and adaptation with focus on disaster risk reduction.

The law created a Climate Change Commission, an autonomous policy-making body atta…

WFP Josette Sheeran: Philippines Storm Aftermath

The head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) pledge the agency's full support to the government and people of the Philippines as they seek to deal with the effects of the violent storms that devastated parts of the country last month.

Following tropical storm Ketsana and typhoon Parma which hit the Philippines in late September, the World Food Programs (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran visited the country for three days and toured the areas worst affected by flooding with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and WFPs goodwill ambassador, actress KC Conception.

WFP said that the two storms cut off basic necessities for up to eight million people and that the agency was providing food for about a million, besides providing the logistics operation for the entire UN effort.

WFP is distributing rice and High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) to the affected people around Manila and the northern Luzon Island. The biscuits are ideal for emergencies such as the current one in the Philippines b…

Respite from Typhoons a Time for PDCC to Plan and Prepare - CT

The province of Catanduanes has yet to be hit by a big storm this year, with "Lupit" detouring to the north and the previous two storms just slipping by, leaving only minor flooding and easily removed landslides.

It is also fortunate that for "Ondoy" and "Pepeng", the province’s leadership convened the PDCC and sent out warnings to the 11 municipalities ahead of time in case the two storms moved closer.

The respite we are getting should give the disaster body enough time to complete the work the unlamented Provincial Disaster Management Office failed to do, particularly in gathering the data needed in disaster preparedness especially communications linkages and inventory of resources.

Despite the experience with the PDMO, there remains the need to create or reinvent the same body with the view of entrusting it not only with the responsibility of ensuring that the MDCCs and BDCCs are on their toes before, during and after calamities, but also with the job …

PAFC Catanduanes Wins Nat’l Gawad Saka Award

The Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Catanduanes has been adjudged as this year’s National Gawad Saka Outstanding PAFC, entitling it to receive a project grant of P250,000.00. The PAFC chairperson, Ulysses Tabelin of Virac, will personally receive the award tomorrow, Oct. 15, during the awarding ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, with Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to also hand over a presidential trophy and citation. Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Jose V. Dayao delivered the good news to Governor Joseph C. Cua through a letter last week. He invited the governor to join him in attending the affair together with Provincial Agriculturist Herbert Evangelista and PAFC Coordinator Nelia B. Teves. The award comes four months after the the National Technical Committee of the GAWAD SAKA validated the Catanduanes PAFC’s accomplishments as one of the three grand finalists for the national award as …

Heavy Rains Trigger Floods in Albay and Sorsogon - PIA

Legazpi City (14 October) -- Heavy rains spawned by a Low Pressure in the eastern part of Visayas triggered flooding and lahar to cascade down from the slopes of Mt. Mayon rendering some major roads in Albay and Sorsogon provinces temporarily impassable to both heavy and light vehicles.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol reported flooding in the towns of Camalig, Guinobatan, Pioduran, Libon including the cities in Ligao and Legazpi, all in Albay, and in the towns of Gubat, Prieto Diaz including Sorsogon City following a 12 hour rains pelting these places Wednesday.

OCD reports said flooding affected portions of road networks along Camalig-Guinobatan Maharlika Highway, Tagaytay road in Camalig, Libon-pantao Road in Libon. Ligao-Pioduran Road in Ligao City, Padang road in this city.

Flash floods also affected the Gubat-Prieto Diaz road and Gogon-San Isidro Sorsogon road in Sorsogon City.

Except for the Padang road in this city which was covered by heavy volume of lahar that cas…

13th OK Bikol Opens October 22 at SM Megamall - PIA

Legazpi City (13 October) -- The 13th Orgullo kan Bikol regional trade fair will showcase anew Bicol's best products on October 22-25 at the SM Mega Mall in Mandaluyong City. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol regional offices will also bring "Gayon Bikol sa OK Bikol" featuring the best tourist destinations in the region, giving the event an appealing socio-cultural touch. Featured products for this year's Orgullo kan Bikol include wearables, home furnishings, gifts and holiday decors, and food with special setting on "bayong", creative handicrafts, and OTOP, Jocelyn L.B. Blanco, DTI Bicol regional director said. Blanco said amidst the many challenges that we are facing right now, we are still confident to generate sales of P10 million for the four-day trade fair. A total of 134 Bicolano entrepreneurs will be selling their products to institutional buyers and the general public as well. Among the six…

Catanduanes to Reclaim "Crab Capital" Title - BM

VIRAC, Catanduanes—Provincial Gov. Joseph Cua has given his assurance that with the local crab-development program now in place, Catanduanes would be able to reclaim the title of “crab capital” of the Philippines, which it lost to Negros province about three decades ago. He gave the optimistic outlook in a recent provincial One Town, One Product (Otop) assembly at the Capitol Dome, where he said the Catanduanes Crab Center (CCC) established last year has been able to address the rampant poaching and illegal transport of crablets out of the island. Crabmeat processing has been considered as among the Otop choices of at least three municipalities of the province known for the abundance of mud crabs in its coastal and swampy areas. The CCC was also able to standardize the operations of the crab nursery and the culture of crab larvae to crablet sizes for local grow-out production, Cua said. The establishment of the CCC was under a provincial ordinance that prescribes more severe penal…

World-Class Transport Terminal Up and Running in Bicol - BM

LEGAZPI CITY—The Metro Integrated Transport Terminal (MITT) here has started operations providing commuters between the city and all destinations within Albay and the rest of the Bicol region the experience of a world-class public-transport facility.

City Mayor Noel Rosal led the formal opening of the state-of-the-art terminal last week at the corner of Tahao and alternate roads in a simple ceremony attended by top executives of the province.

“This terminal will raise the confidence of investors in Legazpi as a highly commercialized city that serves as the regional government center of Bicol,” Rosal said.

He labeled the P300-million facility put up by private company LKY Group under a 25-year build-operate-and-transfer arrangement as a “futuristic terminal” that will spur economic development in the whole of Bicol.

“Everyone is excited over this futuristic terminal. Even those living in far-flung villages believe that this terminal will bring progress to them,” the mayor said.

The new ci…

US Soldiers Help 'Pepeng'’ Victims

US forces bringing aid to flooded areas around Metro Manila were deploying troops to the northern part of the country on Friday to help people devastated by Typhoon Parma (local name Pepeng), officials said Friday.

At least four heavy-lift helicopters along with 18 teams of water-borne rescue units are moving to help Filipino forces with rescue efforts in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions on the north of the main island of Luzon, according to the Philippine military.

The Japan-based dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry was bringing two of the aircraft along with other rescue equipment to the area, Gen. Victor Ibrado, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, announced on local television.

US forces have been helping Filipino troops bring emergency relief as well as conducting medical missions and clearing rubble from floods caused by tropical storm Ketsana (local name Ondoy), which killed 337 people in and around Manila and displaced more than four million on September…

Majestic Surfing Cup Postponed - CT

Typhoon "Pepeng" left minor damages to infrastructure as it skirted the province last week, with its biggest impact the postponement of the 7th Governor’s Majestic Surfing Cup set Oct. 7-11 in Puraran, Baras.

A preview of an upcoming Adventure/Surfing Documentary called 'The Philippine Dream'.

Mayor Jose "Bong" Teves, Jr. announced Saturday morning that the event was postponed indefinitely due to the effects of "Pepeng" and storm "Ondoy" the week before. The decision was made in consultation with Governor Joseph C. Cua, who went to his office early that day to monitor reports from various towns on the damage wrought by the typhoon’s fringe winds and rains.

The event, which would have heralded the Catandungan Festival scheduled this Oct. 19-24, consisted of the main event of surfing and other activities such as wall climbing, skim boarding, island tour, beach volleyball, boating, marathon, "tupada," beach parties and bingo social…

The Fall of the Maya: "They Did it to Themselves"

Here's an interesting read about the Mayan civilization and environment. This ancient civilization never ceased to fascinate me when I was a kid because of their unique architecture and superior learning. They produced a calendar called, Mayan calendar and was produced into a movie only recently, but that's another story.

For 1200 years, the Maya dominated Central America. At their peak around 900 A.D., Maya cities teemed with more than 2,000 people per square mile -- comparable to modern Los Angeles County. Even in rural areas the Maya numbered 200 to 400 people per square mile. But suddenly, all was quiet. And the profound silence testified to one of the greatest demographic disasters in human prehistory -- the demise of the once vibrant Maya society.

What happened? Some NASA-funded researchers think they have a pretty good idea.

"They did it to themselves," says veteran archeologist Tom Sever.

"The Maya are often depicted as people who lived in complete harmony …

UN Gears Up Relief Operations for Asian-Pacific Disasters - VOA

U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes says the world body is gearing up relief efforts and deploying teams to help the millions of people affected by severe tropical storms, earthquakes and tsunamis in the Asia-Pacific region.

At least six Asian-Pacific countries have been struck by natural disasters in the last week.

John Holmes says about three million people, mostly in the Philippines, have been impacted by Tropical Storm Ketsana. Nearly 300 were killed when Ketsana made landfall on Saturday dropping a month's worth of rainfall in 24 hours.

Vietnam and Cambodia were also in Ketsana's deadly path. The storm caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes and infrastructure.

"An eight-member U.N. disaster assessment and coordination [UNDAC] team is already in Manila assisting the government of the Philippines, and of course the U.N. country team and agencies who are already on the spot. The priorities are the ones you would expect: clean water, sanitation, hygiene,…

Typhoon Pepeng Aftermath

In any rescue and relief operations, map plays a key role in identifying areas that requires immediate attention. The map below was created exclusively to highlight the areas that needed immediate assistance to help our local authorities and aid agencies expedite their relief efforts in the aftermath of typhoon Pepeng.

View Typhoon Pepeng in the Philippines on googlepages

You can collaborate on this map by updating the placemarks, data, add photos and videos.

Flood, Landslide Isolate 3 Towns in Catanduanes - INQ

VIRAC, Catanduanes, Philippines—Three towns on the western side of the island province has been cut off from this capital town by a big landslide and a flooded spillway along the national highway, the Department of Public Works and Highways said Friday.

DPWH District Engineer Ignacio Odiaman said a landslide, triggered by rains due to typhoon “Pepeng,” at Barangay Dariao in Caramoran rendered impassable the national road to the town as well as neighboring Pandan, 95 km from Virac.

He also reported that the Paturok spillway in San Andres along the circumferential road was also flooded and impassable to all kinds of vehicles, cutting off traffic between Virac and San Andres, the second biggest town.

Despite the bad weather, at least two buses bound for the northern towns of Gigmoto and Bagamanoc on the eastern side of the province picked up passengers at the flooded terminal near the Virac port.

Gov. Joseph Cua was in his office as early as 7 a.m. to monitor the situation.

Five families fro…

Typhoon Pepeng Spares Catanduanes

Here are the latest satellite imagery, weather bulletin and animations from NASA, TRMM, Kochi University and PAGASA on Typhoon Pepeng (International Code: Parma).
Typhoon Parma (Pepeng)

As the death toll from Tropical Storm Ketsana continued to climb, residents of the Philippines braced for Typhoon Parma, which continued its westward path across the Pacific Ocean on October 1, 2009. The same day, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this true-color image. Coastlines of the Philippines appear in black, and storm clouds hide the satellite’s view of most of the land areas. Clouds actually fill most of this image, with the eye of the storm appearing in the right half of the picture and long arms extending westward over land.

According to Reuters, early in the day on October 1, the Philippines’ chief weather forecaster characterized Parma as a category 4 typhoon with wind speeds of 95 knots (175 kilometers per hour), and predicted that…