Tag Archives: cordillera

Can we be Disaster Free?

In November, Benguet Province’s festival ‘Adivay’ was celebrated with a heavy heart, but full of hope, as it reminds us to be strong after the disaster, through its theme: “Benguet Culture – Unity, Industry, Prosperity: Managing Adversities with excellence thru enhanced Indigenous Resilience”. The celebration was full of traditional prayers for a single goal: A Disaster free Benguet in the future.

In order to attain the goal, you can always help. In your own simple way, manage or eliminate the Hazard you see, so that nothing will ever become a Disaster. This is what the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of La Trinidad is doing now through various programs, projects, and activities. When the hazard can’t be eliminated, at least make everyone prepare for its adverse effects or ensure the resiliency of the community.

But before anything yet, I think there is still a confusion on what the word Hazards and Disasters means to everyone. As I always emphasize during my lectures on topics for Preparedness, we do not want to use the word ‘Disaster’. This word is only used to indicate that there is Loss of Lives and Damages to Properties that happened, and we don’t want that, or do you?

So what word concerns you?

Disasters are caused by Hazards. So, when you don’t want a Disaster, you have to know a lot about Hazards, talk about it, manage it properly, or, better yet, eliminate it.

Hazards are those that can cause a Disaster. There can be no Disaster if there are no Hazards. Steep slopes around your home’s yard is an example. Hanging boulders, Denudated Forests, Clogged Canals, Dilapidated Roofs of your house, Electrical Wirings, etc. are some. When these are not managed, eliminated, or fixed, it may cause severe damage which will already be called a Disaster.

Now, since the Philippines is Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and Pacific Typhoon Belt, we do have a lot of bigger hazards to manage, aside from those mentioned above. Weather Disturbances such as Typhoons is on the top list, followed by Earthquakes, and Volcanic Eruptions.

Of course you cannot stop Typhoons or earthquakes. But you can still do something so that these Hazards won’t become a Disaster. You can always prepare! There is a lot of time before a Hazard becomes a Disaster (if it should). Recall TY Ompong – Public advisories were disseminated and preparations were done before it arrived. Class Suspended, Liquor Banned, etc., even when there is no rain yet, to give time to preparations for the hazards, so it won’t cause a Disaster.

Your preparations in your home is the first best thing to do to prevent a disaster from happening: Know your Hazard; Transfer your valuable things where there’s no flooding; Always ensure free flow of water on Canals; Construct your slope protections on steep slopes; Purchase supplies and equipment that you need; Have a Go Bag that is available anytime; be sure to have the complete set of emergency numbers to call, just in case; and better evacuate as early when the typhoon has not yet arrived. Consider your experience during TY Ompong. Remember that Balili River overflowed causing flood in the Valley and mountains saturated causing massive landslide everywhere.

Prepare your Farms too: Fix its drainage system, Use materials that can resist strong wind and rains, reduce steep slopes, and avail of available crop insurance to make sure that you will have something to start with, in case hazards will damage your crops. (You may contact The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist for assistance).

When in other areas you are not so familiar with, (i.e. Swimming pools, Beach, Resorts, Training Halls, Restaurants, Hotels, Tourist Destinations, etc.) prioritize to learn the hazards upon arrival and know how to get away from them by looking for possible escape routes and emergency numbers.

Preventing Disaster is possible when Hazards are managed. Start the practice this Yuletide Season. Avoid the hazards, or eliminate them, and your Celebration will be the best that it can be.

Benguet School of Arts and Trades is… Where?

I grew up in the Rural Community of Ambangeg, Bokod, Philippines and finished my High School at the Benguet School of Arts and Trades, or Commonly known as BSAT-the educator in this part of the world before and of the Millenials where a lot of Teachers today have graduated.

My High School Building

Right after the 1990 earthquake, this makeshift building was constructed to replace those that collapsed. It is located at the center portion of the entire school. When I last visited it last week, it was still there but is not being used. The partitions inside were already removed.

As I take a peek of its inside, the memories with my classmates in it came right into me. Amazing High School life. The plays I did, experiments, exams, presentations, games, parties, dances, lessons, teachers, and of course the love stories were recalled there with those shiny plain cement floor. Haha!

The Basketball Court

Outside is the Star Player maker: The Basketball Court. This court is where I learned how to play basketball. Since my elementary days, after school, we come here and play. Even when at the hottest-mid-day, we ran, we shoot, we play. Its floor was also rough that it causes bruises when we fall.

The Binnejayeng

At the southern portion is the famous Binnejayeng Lake. Mysterious that this lake never lost its water.

It was around it that I learned to farm. The open areas were once our school garden. Every Student has an assigned area to plant. I personally planted gabi and sitting beans on my slot and harvested them too.

BSAT now

Today, BSAT is now under the Benguet State University and they call it their Bokod Campus (BSU Bokod Campus). It was made so because it was thought that it will offer other College Courses for the students option. Perhaps it will happen in the Future.

Nevertheless, if you are an alumni of this school, it is always worth revisiting. It is still there 🙂

THE AMBITION

Proving things in life needs a whole lot of sacrifice. And we all know that sacrifice comes along with pain and hatreds. But, one man’s desire cannot be turned-off by merely flushing it with an extinguisher. Warm coal always insists to burn out from inside just to prove that he could achieve its ambition.

            I am but a normal person whose ideas are of the standard but ambitious. In this stage of my living, I find it hard to find what I have been longing to see. When I was a little younger, I thought education and work are all that matters. I failed to see the heart that pumps and warms the soul. The heart that would pair mine to face the world, make my dreams into reality, and might even help me cross the sea.

            But finding the heart will never be easy. Women always believe that a man sets standards of whom they would want to be with. And, yes, who wouldn’t? Even women do, but not on same scale. As for me, I thought a perfect woman would be someone firm of her thoughts and ideals with a mind set of attaining her goal. That no matter what surrounds her, she is focused on what she wants to do and what she wants to achieve for herself and most importantly, to her family. Sounds unrealistic? Consider me Ambitious.

             Everybody has his own ambition in life. And at this very moment, mine is simple-Finding her. Many are astonished of the time I’ve already spent, but then, I still insist of not rushing. There is no room for mistakes on this issue. I heard a lot of stories that proved my theory of finding the right one. While some changed my belief, others strengthened it. So, I thought, I just have to hang on. And patience didn’t upset me when I came to know someone who brought back my belief and ideals of finding the right one.

            If I have to tell you, I met someone who is so focused and powerful but fun and happy. The very moment she told me of her primary objective in doing school made me bow down to her. Their Family has always been her priority and she would do things out of the ordinary to make her family happy. While cultivating her mind at school, she worked to buy the needed fertilizer of her wisdom. She is intelligent and truehearted much more that she is beautiful. She never shows weakness to people for she believes in herself. She often laughs at me for she thinks that I am weaker than she is. But, I know what she means. And I understand. Situations aren’t just that cordial to her. If I got the right picture, she is challenged. She carries her family on her shoulder trying to mobilize it from a place of uncertainty to a more relaxing area on her own. By her focus, she doesn’t want to show any weakness or signs of surrender for it might disturb her. That’s why I settled for another ambition – To help her in any way I can. Not the kind of help which I might distract her for I know how hard to carry such a load. Just clearing her way going there or carrying her load at rest, or anything she might request as to where or how she wants me to be.

            In a sensible mind, I am compulsive. I am hoping that my ambition would come true. The fact that I met someone beautiful, truehearted, intelligent and dedicated to her goals partially fulfilled my ambition. But there has to be more. If I am the best swimmer in the world, I am not satisfied of merely finding the dam. Fulfillment can only be felt when I swam across the dam.

Viewing Poblacion Bokod from the Deck

When you travel to the North towards Mt. Pulag, Daklan Sulfur Spring or to the Municipality of Kabayan, you will pass by Barangay Poblacion of the Municipality of Bokod, Benguet Province. You can see its bird’s eye view on a View Deck uphill, named Bokod View Deck.

But, the view there is not just a sight for the people living in Bokod. It symbolizes resiliency and hard work after the 1990 Killer Earthquake.

The Story

Before the 1990 Earthquake, the area shown in the picture above was purely rice fields. Not a single residential structure was built there. They just built their residential houses after.

The earthquake actually caused massive erosion on the mountains around the place. And when the typhoons came, it washed out the soils and brought it all the way to the residential areas below. They experience mud flow everywhere like there was a volcanic eruption somewhere.

When they noticed that their rice field areas were not affected, they decided to construct their homes there as a relocation site for them. They now called their new home “Bagong Barrio”.

On the Ground

Today, they lived beside their farm, with irrigation canals and all but with some fruit-bearing trees now.

Others plant seasonal vegetables such as Cauliflower today, Tomatoes Tomorrow while Rice is maintained in some.

What’s New?

On the far end of Bagong Barrio is an area called “Damojak” wherein you can find a Swimming pool. You can refresh yourself there, maybe on your return trip after visiting Mount Pulag or Daklan Sulfur Spring any time of the day upon payment of regular fees.

Explore more! See you there! 🙂

Catos – Delmas Nuptial

On December 22, 2018, I attended the awaited wedding of my cousin Faye Delmas at Boneco (Before Binga), Itogon, Benguet. She exchanged wedding vows with Mr. Ceasar Catos.

They used Gold as their wedding’s motif and utilized their yard for their Garden Wedding.

Aside from the yard for the wedding rites, there is a separate Dining Area for the Sponsors Downstairs as shown in the next Picture:

Of course the wedding Cake forms part of the highlight. Here’s my Cellphone shot of it:

Congrats on your Wedding! May you continue to find those that makes you happy! Again, Congratulations, Best Wishes and God Bless!

The Mansion House in Baguio City

One of the places frequently visited when in Baguio City is the Mansion house-the home of the President of the Republic of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

I was given an opportunity to enter this house and see some things inside.

History

Accordingly, the Mansion House was constructed on 1908. It was used to be the Summer Residence of American Governors-General. Destroyed in 1945 during the war for Liberation but immediately restored in 1947.

The Mansion also served as venue of World Leaders meeting such as the Economic Commission of Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) in 1947, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1948, and South East Asia Union (SEAU) in 1950.

The main road view from Inside of the House

Inside

I entered the Mansion House for the first time during the Cordillera RDC meeting. Its ambiance is Classic. The original form is preserved and it has a wide area for meetings. Of course, portraits of the Presidents of the Philippine Republic is displayed all around.

The Mansion House is indeed a historical place to visit. It keeps parts of the History of the Philippines.

LTMEA on Christmas Day 2018

After my task in yesterday’s Provincial Capitol Performances, I was today’s Master of Ceremony with Ms. Claudette Krayle Palayo in the La Trinidad Municipal Employees Association (LTMEA) Year-end Evaluation and Team Building Activity. It’s part of my Job as a Public Relations Officer of the Association.

The program started with a Eucharistic Celebration then followed by the main program of Team Building Activities which includes Group Performances of Talented Employees in the Local Government Unit. This is part of building camaraderie among office mates as everyone was assigned a role to perform in today’s activity.

The Performers:

1. Office of the Sangguniang Bayan

2. Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office

3. Municipal Health Services Office

4. Municipal Planning & Development Office

5. Municipal Treasurer’s Office

6. Municipal Assessor’s Office

7. Municipal Budget Office, Legal Services Office & BAC Combined

8. Mayor’s Office

9. Municipal Accounting Office

10. Municipal Engineering Office (Best Performers)

11. Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (Best Performers)

Raffle Draws

There were also raffle draws. A LED TV as the first price, Two Washing Machines given to two individuals, a cooking set, Gas Stoves, four – Half Cavan Rice, Cellphones, Radios, a table Furniture, and Blankets.

Parlor Games

This has been another LTMEA Activity planned and implemented for all the employees. Thank you very much for the donors and we had another great one this year.

I hope everyone enjoyed the program with me and Claudette there hosting.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas at the Benguet Provincial Capitol

I was lucky to be assigned by my Superiors to Attend the Benguet Capitol Employees Christmas Celebration today and serve as a member of the team to determine the Best in various categories of the Performances that was Presented.

Their Celebration was simple but well participated. There were 21 groups who displayed their skills in acting, dancing, and singing that lasted the whole day today. Each of them is assigned with a theme based from a Movie. I was not able to photograph some but here are most of them.

1. Mulan

2. Inside Out

3. Wreck it Ralph

4. The Untold Christmas Story

5. Moana

6. Black Panther

7. Ang Panday

8. Alvin and the Chipmunks

9. Miss Granny

10. The Good Samaritan

11. Iskul Bukol

12. Mama Mia

13. Lampitok

14. Disney Stories

15. Despicable Me

16. Sister Act

17. Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs

18. The Greatest Showman

19. Lapu-Lapu

20. Toy Story

21. (Unknown)

22. Aladin

These groups are composed of employees from different Department Offices in the Benguet Provincial Capitol.

The Verdict

Well, everyone performed well and their Costumes are Superbly made with all efforts! It was amazing. And they were all winners. Awards were given to those who excelled per Category:

  • Best Execution to those whose performances emphasized their theme “Sharing the Love and Happiness”. 
  • Most Innovative to those who performed new style and techniques.
  • Most Spirited to those who were Jolly and Energetic while executing their performances.

There were also special awards given individually to those with remarkable performance that actually carried their Group. (We will be updating this upon uploads of Official Photos of the Event.)

But most of all, It was successful as everyone performed, participated and enjoyed as I did.

So again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the employees of the Provincial Government of Benguet headed by Governor Cresencio Pacalso. Mabuhay Kayo! And Thank you for the Invitation.

La Trinidad ACDVs are Among Cordillera’s Best Volunteer Groups in 2018

Today, the La Trinidad Accredited Community Disaster Volunteers (ACDV) was Appreciated by the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) and National Selection Committee of the Search for Outstanding Volunteers in the Philippines. The appreciation is in recognition of their commendable service, dedication, and Commitment to Volunteering for Development. In fact, they were Nominated to the National Level Search as the best Not-for-profit organization in the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The Awarding Ceremony

The Certificate was handed over by the Regional Development Council (RDC) Chairperson, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan and was received by ACDV representative Glenn Awal, today at the Mansion House, Baguio City.

ACDV Backgrounder

The ACDV are rendering volunteer services in the Municipality of La Trinidad and is a partner of the La Trinidad Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. Their focus is on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Training and Response (during Emergencies and Disasters). They are guided by their motto “we don’t teach, we share” and are composed of individuals with exemplary skills and knowledge in different fields. (Check their Official Facebook Account Here for more details.)

Congratulations and More Power. May you Continue to be the best volunteers in the Cordillera Region, and the entire Philippines soon.

Badekbek: A Sulfuric Hot Spot for You

Badekbek Hot Spring

The earth is boiling inside. It is evidenced by the boiling surface as shown in the photo. The Locals call it “Badekbek”. It means Bubbling due to Boiling.

When I was younger, this Badekbek was not alone. I mean, there was not one boiling surface then. There was at least three. One which was ten meters away from the other. And One which was located at the other side of the Mountain.

But the two holes merged and became this huge one. It is still not as steady. Lately, it was observed to be creating a wider opening.

It is Hot at Boiling Point. There were victims who accidentally slipped their foot on the opening and got amputated. And animals like cows drown and vanish. It can even cook eggs in an instant.

Badekbek sidelines with Visitors

 Wonder

It is a wonder! You cannot see such just anywhere. That wide earth opening with boiling mud in it is found only in Badekbek. And it cures skin disease too. When the mud cools down, you can use it as an ointment for your skin. It is a natural Sulfur.

But Expect it to have that smell too. Accordingly, some visitors describe it as if it is a rotten egg.

Location

Badekbek is located at the Mountains of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines. The Barangay is Called Daklan, which is a part of Bokod Municipality,  Benguet Province.

Most tourists gets to pass by it after a trip to Mount Pulag because it is near Ambangeg – (the gateway to Mt Pulag). No fees are collected when you want to see this wonder. You may also want to pass by the  Ambuklao Dam after.

It is also a good spot for photo shoots. I was able to profile candidates of a Local Pageant here with the Badekbek as a background.