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Showing posts from May, 2011

Bicol Express Making a Comeback

MANILA, Philippines—The train service that can take travelers from Metro Manila to Naga City in under 10 hours is set to make a comeback in the next few months, promising to help the Bicol Region maximize its immense potential for economic growth. The state-run Philippine National Railways (PNR) has been working on the Manila-Naga rehabilitation since the start of the Aquino administration. Following a test-run earlier this month, the PNR on Wednesday declared that the dream of reviving the fabled “Bicol Express” could soon be a reality. In my assessment, the Bicol test-run we conducted was 95-percent successful and we are nearing our objective to put back in operation the commercial PNR trips to the Bicol region, PNR General Manager Junio Ragragrio said. We were delighted to reach Naga City from Manila in less than 10 hours. We were even more in high spirits on our return trip to Manila the following day since it only took us nine hours going back, he said. Ragragrio said the…

Resilient and Raw in Catanduanes

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos are known for having positive attitudes. Whether they play their cards right, or when they are dealt with the wrong cards, they pick themselves up and move on. No one best exemplifies this resiliency than the Catandueños, natives of Catanduanes, a province situated in the eastern tip of the Philippine peninsula. The constant battering the island gets from the monsoons coming in from the vast Pacific Ocean spawned the nickname The land of the howling wind. Despite having to brave through one calamity after another, Catandueños have not only survived but thrived, and are living harmoniously with their rich land. Ironically, it is because of this environmental conditions, that the island is blessed with arguably some of the most pristine beaches and unspoiled terrains in the Philippines. Surf the turf The only sure thing that comes out from a collision between strong tides and land are powerful waves. And when wave after wave start to batter the shore…

Aquino Launches National Greening Program

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - President Benigno Aquino III launched yesterday the National Greening Program (NGP) that aims to recover the country's depleting forest areas and ensure self-sufficiency in its timber needs. The launching of the program at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was in relation to an executive order that Aquino issued earlier this year for a nationwide reforestation initiative. The President issued Executive Order 26 in February this year designating the DENR as the leading agency in carrying out the program in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform. In his speech at the launch of the NGP, the President called on the people to join him in the greening program saying that the country is now starting to realize its dreams for the benefit of the Filipinos. Under the NGP, the government targets to plant 1.5 billion trees covering about 1.5 million hectares of lands in public domain f…