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Gale Gale

Even before the onset of the Hot and Dry season, parts of the Philippines have already been experiencing hot weather conditions.

That’s why we need to learn how to protect ourselves from the heat, especially those who are at greater risk during this season. These include elderly people aged 65 and above, infants, young children, people who are overweight, with chronic diseases, with mental illness, and even healthy individuals undergoing strenuous physical activities during the hot months. They are the most vulnerable to heat-related incidents as high temperatures can affect the body’s ability to release heat and properly cool down.

Being exposed to high temperatures and inadequate intake of water can result to heat exhaustion. Water depletion and salt depletion are two types of this illness. Although this is not as serious as heat stroke, heat exhaustion is not to be taken lightly as it may progress to heat stroke if left untreated.

Warning Signs:
• Dehydration, intense thirst
• Warm, flushed skin
• Dizziness or fainting
• Weakness or discomfort
• Anxiety
• Headache
• Fatigue

The most serious of heat-related illnesses, heat stroke occurs when the body overheats and is unable to cool down.

This is a life-threatening emergency that may cause permanent disability or worse, death, if medical assistance is not immediately provided.

Warning Signs:
• Very high fever
• Rapid heartbeat
• Nausea and vomiting
• Convulsion
• Delirium
• Unconsciousness

Individuals, who remain physically active in hot weather, engaging in activities such as exercise, sports, and extensive manual labor, are vulnerable to heat cramps. These are intermittent, involuntary muscle spasms, and are often associated with dehydration.

Most cases occur in the thigh and leg areas, the core and arm muscles during or after exerting effort in a hot environment.

Warning Sign:
• Muscle spasms that are painful, involuntary, intermittent and may be more intense that the typical muscle cramps

Prickly heat or bungang araw is a skin condition characterized by tiny bumps or water blisters that appear due to the clogging of sweat glands during hot and humid weather.

Its most common locations are the forehead, upper back and chest, armpits, and groin areas.

Warning Signs:
• Prickly sensation
• Red bumps or rashes on the skin
• Mild swelling of the affected part

The most obvious result of staying under the sun for too long is sunburn. It is the term used for reddish, irritated and sometimes, painful skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It may vary from mild to severe, the extent depending on skin type, amount of exposure to the sun, and the sun’s intensity.

Warning Signs:
• Reddening of the skin
• Development of blisters
• Fever or chills
• Nausea
• Headache
• Weakness
• Itchiness
• Peeling skin

Tag-init Common Diseases Sunburn Series 1

Tag-init Common Diseases Sunburn Series 3

Another health woe during this season is sore eyes. Also known as conjunctivitis, this is characterized by redness and inflammation of the membranes in the eyes.

It can spread through direct contact with hands contaminated with eye secretions of an infected person, or through other things contaminated with the virus. This can also be acquired by swimming in poorly chlorinated pools.

Warning Signs:
• Watery to pus-like discharge
• Redness of the eye with pain and/or itchiness
• Eyelids stuck together upon waking up

Vacation time, coupled with hot weather conditions, is perfect for different types of outdoor activities. But remember to keep cool and use common sense so you stay healthy during the hottest days of the year.

Here are important tips to prevent heat-related woes:
• Drink plenty of water and replace the salts lost through perspiration.
• Avoid intake of tea, coffee, soda and alcohol to lessen chance of dehydration.
• Schedule rigorous physical activities at the beginning or the end of the day when it’s cooler.
• Take a bath every day.
• Wear light and loose clothing.
• Limit exposure to the sun.
• Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to avoid sunburn prior to going out. Reapply it during the day.
• Adjust to the environment; pace yourself and take it easy.
• Do not leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
• Stay up-to-date with weather reports to gauge how long you can stay out in the sun.

National Center for Health Promotion
Department of Health

A tropical cyclone with international name “Maysak” is now being monitored by our state weather bureau, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and other meteorological agencies like the Joint Typhoon Warning Coucil (JTWC) and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Maysak is a cyclone name contributed by Cambodia, which is a kind of tree.

Maysak is still outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) but as it moves, it continues to intensify due to some factors that are favourable for its development – ample amount of water vapour and warmth of the ocean. From a low pressure area, it developed into a tropical depression and was upgraded into a tropical storm.


PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jori Loiz said Maysak was spotted at approximately 3, 100 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 2:00 PM today. Packing winds of 85 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 100 kilometers per hour, it moves in a westward direction at 15 kilometers per hour. If it maintains velocity, it is expected to enter the PAR by Wednesday or Thursday. Once it enters the PAR, it will be given a local name “Chedeng.” Loiz added that there is a chance for Maysak to intensify further or might also weaken in the coming days as it moves closer to landmass.

Meanwhile, JMA regularly updates their website with the cyclone information and forecast. Based on the latest information, Maysak moves west southwest slowly. In the succeeding days, it is expected to continue moving westward and slightly accelerate to 25 kilometers per hour.

On the other hand, below is the update from the JTWC. The forecast track shows that there is a great possibility that Maysak will enter the PAR next week.


Loiz clarified that as of now, Maysak is still too far to determine the areas that will be directly affected but rest assured that PAGASA will keep observing and will provide latest information especially once it moves closer to our boundary.

Climatologically speaking, an average number of 0 to 1 tropical cyclone could enter the PAR during the month of April. Thus, the “tag-init” season does not always equate to a “bagyo-free” season. Preparedness is an integral part of our lives so as we enter the Holy Week, it is better to monitor weather updates to help us plan and adjust our activities.

Earth Hour 2015

Earth Hour 2015 will be celebrated worldwide on March 28, 2015 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM on our local time zone. This annual global movement aims to get everyone involved to turn off their lights for 60 minutes as a symbol of their commitment to saving the planet.

But this voluntary action is only the first step in addressing the myriad environmental issues across the world. On the 9th edition of the campaign, the theme focuses on the power of people uniting to make a difference against the effects of climate change.

However, why not go beyond the 60 minutes? Just turning off the lights and enjoying a few activities during Earth Hour is a good start, but they’re simply not enough. As experts claimed, a single no-power hour does “pretty much nothing” in terms of having an actual impact on the environment.

So here are some things you can do, to not only reduce the costs on your electricity bill, but also help conserve the environment. You can follow these simple tips at home, your school or your workplace.

Keep it cool and clean. Use electric fans to keep you cool during the Hot and Dry Season but turn them off when not in use. If you choose to use an air conditioner, keep the doors and windows closed to keep warm air from coming in. Maintain your air conditioner by cleaning and replacing its air filters. A well-maintained appliance uses less energy and lasts longer.

Unplug it. Switch appliances such as televisions, computers and cellphones off when not in use. Unplug electronics once they are charged. Adapters plugged into outlets still use energy even if they are not charging.

Lights out. Switch to LED bulbs or CFLs. Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. During daylight, let the natural sunlight illuminate your home. Opt for LED bulbs or compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that last longer than incandescent bulbs. These can also save you as much as P200 on your monthly electricity bill. Soft tones and gloss paint on your walls can also help reflect more light so you can use lower wattage bulbs.

Keep the fridge full but not too full. An empty fridge generates a lot of energy. Packing it with organized allotment in the shelves means less surface area to cool. Every time a refrigerator is opened, up to 30% of cool air can escape. At the same time, warm air enters, requiring the fridge to use more energy in restoring cool air.

Get rid of inefficient appliances. Even if they’re still working, an aging appliance could cost you much more than you think. Getting rid of spare items can also cut down your energy bills yearly and give you a bit more space.
Save the trees. Reduce paper use by printing on both sides of the sheet. Save energy and conserve other resources by using e-mail instead of sending memos or faxing documents.

Set a designated laundry and iron day. During laundry day, wash and dry full loads using cold water. Separate lightweight clothes from dry towels and heavier cottons. Ironing clothes in bulk once a week also saves energy.

Use a power strip. Aside from supplying power to several appliances, a power strip gives you the convenience of turning them all at the same time using just one switch. This way, you don’t leave any appliances plugged in.

Invest in energy-efficient items. In some cases, the purchase price of energy-saving appliances might be higher, but in just a few years, it can save you heaps from energy cost and save you money in the long run.

The northeast monsoon or amihan remains to be the dominant weather system affecting Luzon. Amihan is expected to bring light rains over Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and the provinces of Aurora and Quezon. Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains, while Visayas and Mindanao will have a generally fair weather aside from the isolated rain showers or thunderstorms mostly in the afternoon or evening.

Due to the presence of amihan, gale warning is up over the seaboards of Northern Luzon, the eastern seaboards of Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Visayas. Wind force of 52 to 63 kilometers per hour and wave height ranging from 3.4 to 4.5 meters will be experienced in the seaboards of Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Cagayan, La Union, Isabela, Pangasinan, Ilocos provinces, Aurora, Camarines provinces, Catanduanes, Aurora, and the eastern coasst of Albay, Sorsogon, Quezon including Polillo Island, Samar and Leyte. Sea travel for fishing boats and other small seacraft is risky.

Despite the prevailing amihan, the country still experienced warm weather yesterday. Laoag City’s temperature reached 34 degrees Celsius. Here are the highest temperatures recorded by PAGASA on March 25, 2015:


Meanwhile, PAGASA is monitoring a low pressure area (LPA) outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). As of now, it is still too far and according to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, there is a slim chance for it to enter our boundary until the end of the month. However, all are still advised to monitor updates and further development regarding the weather disturbance.

Dry Spell vs. El Niño

Hundred of hectares of farmlands, and millions worth of damage in crops and fishery products have been observed in different areas of Mindanao, including Zamboanga City and General Santos. PAGASA says this is brought by the “dry spell.” Mendoza explained that dry spell refers to prolonged period of no rainfall for a week or more. It normally occurs in the Philippines, mostly when the temperatures get higher.

On the other hand, El Niño is the unusual warming of the ocean or the increase in the sea surface temperature (SST). PAGASA has initially confirmed a weak El Niño and Mendoza said this can trigger the dry spell that is currently experienced in the country.

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

Most students are now preparing, or have just completed, one of the most fulfilling stages of their lives—Graduation Day. As this momentous occasion marks a successful achievement of an era, it also heralds the beginning of a new one.

As some students move on to the next level of education, others are gearing up to enter the workforce—their first step toward financial independence. To help them land a job after graduation, Joeven R. Castro, Student Development Director of Far Eastern University and a Freelance Leadership and Communication Competence Trainer imparts these tips:

Apply for the job that complements your strengths. According to Castro said, “A fresh graduate must match his or her competencies and interests with the desired position. Apply in jobs relevant to actual training.”

Thoroughly prepare for the job interview. Because job interviews are the company’s doorstep screening, Castro believes that responses shouldn’t be impromptu. “Anticipate interview questions and prepare responses. An applicant can think of actual examples or situations that can exhibit his or her competencies before the interview.” Because the interview confirms what is written on the resume, make sure that your bio-data highlights the outputs and training connected with the skills the job requires.

When you land the job, always frame each experience in the context of experience. “The real world of work is a place to learn, network, and to be tough. Colleagues may assist or ‘grill’ you. Learn from every experience, either good or bad, because this can contribute to your professional and psychosocial wellbeing,” Castro shares. He also encourages fresh graduates to set priorities so as not to be overwhelmed with work. “When you are willing to learn and are determined, the kind-hearted will readily assist you,” Castro added.

In the meantime, live in the moment and savor the moment of graduation. To celebrate your special day, we’ve compiled some bits of trivia on this landmark event.

Mortarboard. Church luminaries first wore this traditional graduation headgear in the 16th century. These were called mortarboards for of its similarity to a masonry tool. In the 19th century, the tassels were added and worn on the right side. During graduation rites, it is moved to the left when the candidate receives his degree.
Toga. The graduation gowns used today are inspired from long gowns of scholars during the middle ages. Back then, the gowns effectively staved off the cold in study halls. Graduation gown traditions took off in the 12th and 13th centuries, along with the opening of universities.
Diplomas. Originally, diplomas were written in ink on paper-thin parchment made of sheepskin, rolled and tied with a ribbon.

College Ring/Class ring. Rings worn by the alumni and alumnae to commemorate their graduation. It was in 1835 when the first ever class ring was created for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor comes from the Latin words bacca which means “a berry” and laureus for “the bay laurel.” During the Renaissance Age, laurel branches filled with berries were used to decorate the heads of graduates with completed degrees.

Pomp and Circumstance. The famous familiar tune played during the graduation march is entitled “Pomp and Circumstance,” a military march composed by Sir Edward Elgar back in 1901. When Sir Edward was invited at the Yale University’s Graduation in 1905 to receive an honorary doctorate degree, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra played his now famous piece to honor their guest.

To all the 2015 graduates, we wish you the best! Congratulations!

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After crossing the landmass, the low pressure area (LPA) is expected to dissipate within 24 hours, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Manny Mendoza Said.

Last estimated at 260 kms. west of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, the LPA induces the northeast monsoon, bringing cloudy skies all over Luzon in the following hours, he added.

The rest of the country, on the other hand, will have at times cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms. All are advised to monitor weather updates.

Meanwhile, despite the cloudiness that dominated the skies this weekend, majority of the National Capital Region experienced a hot and humid weather.

Mendoza states that this is due to the “long wave terrestrial radiation” wherein the heat on the ground is unable to penetrate the upper atmosphere because of the overcast skies. He likened it to a boiling pot with a lid on top where the steam can’t get throught the lid.


Today is the celebration of World Meteorological Day.

With the theme “Climate Knowledge for Climate Action”, the World Meteorological Organization aims to encourage the younger generation to know more about the weather and climate system, and to participate in the global movement against climate change.

In conjunction with this event, PAGASA celebrates its 150th anniversary of dedicated service to the Filipino people.

The weather bureau has prepared activities to commemorate its anniversary:

Blooming daffodils, a songbird at dawn and the warmth of the afternoon sun – spring is coming!

Vernal Equinox, also called “March Equinox” or “Spring Equinox,” marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The word equinox is derived from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night).

During equinox, the sun crosses from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere. At some point, the sun shines directly over the earth’s equator, providing each of the earth’s hemispheres with almost the same amount of sunlight. A nearly equal amount of daylight and darkness at all latitudes is a result of the tilting of the Earth’s axis neither toward nor away from the sun.

Equinox means the day and night will be in approximately equal length. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the “nearly” equal hours of day and night are due to the refraction of sunlight or bending of the light’s rays, causing the sun to appear above the horizon when the actual position of the sun is below it.

This event takes place at the same moment across the world. In the Philippines, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said it will happen on March 21 at 6:45 AM in Philippine Standard Time (PST). It occurs when the motion of the sun allows it to pass the first point of Aries, an imaginary location in the sky.

Since we only have two official seasons here, the vernal equinox does not herald spring, but will mark the start of longer number of hours during the day. Because it takes the sun longer to rise and set, days become a little longer at the higher latitudes. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Gener Quitlong, higher temperatures will begin as we get longer exposure from sun rays.

Spring as seen from space

Fireball Season

Bill Cooke of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said the rate of bright meteors or fireballs increases during the weeks around the vernal equinox. In spring, fireballs are more abundant– the nightly rate reaching 10% to 30% higher than usual. Fireballs are meteors brighter than the planet Venus. Studies have shown that aside from the fireballs, meteorites are also common in spring.

Photo Credit:

Aurora Season

Scientists found out that the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights. The bright dancing lights of the aurora are caused by the collision between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. NASA has deployed a fleet of five spacecraft to study auroras and was named THEMIS (short for “Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms”).

It was discovered that magnetic connections between the Sun and Earth are favorable during springtime. During equinox, the magnetic field of the Earth is best oriented for “connecting” with the sun, giving way for solar wind energy to flow in and spark Northern Lights.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey R. Hapeman of Lac du Flambeau, Wis.
Photo Credit: Jeffrey R. Hapeman of Lac du Flambeau, Wis.


At 4 AM, the low pressure area (LPA) was last spotted at 600 kilometers east of Infanta, Quezon. Moving westward, PAGASA Weather Forecaster Gener Quitlong said it is expected to cross the Bicol Region tonight. As it moves closer to landmass, it will start bringing rains over some parts of Southern Luzon.

Bicol Region, CALABARZON and the province of Mindoro will experience cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

Due to the slow pace of the weather disturbance, Quitlong added that rainy weather will prevail over the weekend in most parts of Luzon. However, on Monday, gradual improvement is expected as the LPA traverses the West Philippine Sea.


Meanwhile, the northeast monsoon or amihan has resurged and is now affecting Northern Luzon. Despite its presence, no gale warning was raised today but all are still advised to take extra caution in venturing out into the sea, mostly over the eastern section of Luzon. Coastal waters along these areas will be moderate to rough.

Supermoon occurs this Friday

Tonight’s New Moon is also called the Supermoon, a coincidence of a Full or New Moon with the perigee. New Moon happens when the illuminated part of the Moon facing the Earth is on the back side, blocking the part lit by the sun.

Perigee refers to the point where the Moon is at the closest distance from the Earth, making the satellite appear bigger than usual. However, because it is on its New Moon phase, we will not be able to witness its larger appearance.