ber month 2

A few more days to Christmas! But before rushing to stores, make sure that your Christmas shopping list is made up of local products!

Christmas is the time, not only for get-togethers and sharing; for many Filipinos, gift-giving is an important tradition this time of year. To make sure that your gifts are memorable and unique, try veering away from the mass-produced items in stalls and department stores, and opt for quality, proudly Pinoy-made items.
Here are some items we hope will find your way in your shopping cart:

Eco-friendly Bags, Purses and Wallets
You’re not only saving the environment, you’re also making a unique fashion statement with accessories made from recycled plastic. One example is Bag-O Plastic crafted in Bago City, Negros Oriental. A livelihood project for mothers and widows in Bago City to help them provide financial support for their families, Bag-o is a Hiligaynon term that means “new—a fitting name since the project aims to give old plastic bags its new purpose.
Products from Bago City are handmade from 100% recycled plastic bags. Prices usually range from P30 to P1000.

Imbibe the holiday spirit with the help of local spirits! The coconut vodka, popularly known as Lambanog, is a Filipino favorite produced in the province of Quezon.
You can also give friends fruit-flavored wines produced in Laguna. Goyena, famous for making wine from tropical fruits, has a variety of flavors such as lipote (a local fruit related to the duhat and makopa), abiu (caimito), bignay (currant), pineapple, and the rambutan.

Bamboo Speakers
For the audiophile, you can’t go wrong with sound speakers that operate even without the use of electricity. These sound amplifiers are made of bamboo and work best with smartphones and other portable devices. Handcrafted by Cebuano artisan from bamboo grown locally and harvested manually, Loudbasstards are available online.

What is sweeter than sending chocolates as Christmas present? Forget important goodies; Malagos Chocolates is among the sought-after sweet-makers from Davao that makes its products from local cocoa.
Another must-try is the Theo & Philo Artisan chocolate bars with varieties of dark and milk chocolates, Pili and Pinipig, Barako, Labuyo and Green Mango and Salt. A business that began in 2010, Theo and Philo was first established to promote Philippine cocoa. These chocolates are available in cafes and specialty outlets, such as stores promoting eco-friendly products.
Meanwhile, Risa Chocolates, which is making its rounds in the vicinity of BF Almanza in Las Pinas and Metro Manila, promotes dark chocolates from South Cotabato.

Natural beauty products
If you’re planning to give beauty or health product sthis Christmas, go organic! Now, you can enjoy the beauty benefits of your soap, lotion, and facial wash and cream, minus the chemicals that harm both your health and the environment. Go visit Zenutrients Organic and Natural Beauty outlets or Human Nature, which can be found in different malls nationwide.
Why go local?
Remember that it always helps to buy local because these products don’t only boost tourism by highlighting the provinces where they’re made, but also creates jobs for Filipinos. When you buy Pinoy products, your money goes back to our economy, where it’s needed most. When the demand for Philippine products increase, companies are encouraged to boost their supply by hiring more local workers and expanding their product line.
If you want to check out local products, visit the Department of Tourism’s “Countdown to will showcase the best tourism products and services from 16 regions in the country. Vignette fiesta performances, native arts, and locally processed food products are among the much-awaited highlights.
Aside from featuring locally made products, there will be a travel consultant or concierge who will share vital information regarding the tourist destinations.
For more details, please contact the office of the DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato, Jr. through artboncato@gmail.com or telephone numbers 459-5200 to 30.

Jenny has accelerated while traversing the North Philippine Seas. At 8:00 AM today, Jenny was located at 355kms. northeast of Itbayat, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 185 kph near the center, and gustiness of up to 220 kph. It is forecast to move west northwest at 19 kph. PAGASA Weather Forecaster Shelly Ignacio said that Jenny is expected to exit Philippine boundary on Tuesday.
Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) no. 1 is still up over Batanes Group of Islands, wherein rains and gusty winds will be experienced within at least 36 hours.

Meanwhile the southwest monsoon, being enhanced by Jenny, is now affecting Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Western Visayas. This will result in cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms in Metro Manila, Mimaropa, Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Ilocos Region, the rest of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Panay Island.
Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms will prevail over the rest of the country.

Six years have passed after the entry of Tropical Storm Ondoy, with international name Ketsana, into the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on September 24, 2009. Ondoy enhanced the southwest monsoon or hanging habagat, which triggered heavy to torrential rains in most parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila.

The enhancement of the habagat resulted to widespread flooding in the Metro, Central and Southern Luzon, and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao, resulting in 1,786 flooded barangays in more than 150 municipalities and 30 cities of 26 provinces in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, VI, IX, XII, ARMM, CAR and NCR.

Aside from floods, landslides also occurred along Mt. Province-Cagayan, Brgy. San Juan-Banyo, Arayat in Pampanga, and Brgy. Bongalon, Sangay in Camarines Sur. Water levels also escalated. The gates in the dams of La Mesa, Ipo, Ambuklao and Binga were opened as water levels reached critical status.

In the final report of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (now called the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council), more than 900 thousand families or more than 4 million persons were affected by Ondoy and the enhanced habagat. In terms of casualties, more than 464 people were declared dead, with 529 injured and 37 missing.

Massive destruction in infrastructure and agriculture amounted to around P11 billion. Damaged school buildings were pegged at 1,382, including instructional materials and school equipment amounting to more than P600 billion. More than 185,000 houses were also damaged from the wrath of Ondoy and the habagat.

According to PAGASA, the amount of rain accumulated within 24 hours surpassed the whole month’s normal rainfall. Thus, in just a few hours, Ondoy and the habagat dumped enormous rains to the affected areas.

Six years later, we have learned to be more vigilant when it comes to inclement weather. Flood prone areas in more barangays and cities have been identified through hazard mapping. We may be drenched in water, but the spirit of bayanihan keeps us afloat, allowing us to recover and rise again after a calamity.



At 4:00 AM today, the center of Severe Tropical Storm ‪#‎JennyPH was estimated at 1,120 kms. east of Calayan Island, Cagayan. It intensified with maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 120 kph. It is forecast to move west-northwest at 7 kph. Though Jenny has a slim chance of making landfall on any part of the country, it will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon.
Today, MIMAROPA, Calabarzon, Bicol Region, Visayas, and Mindanao will have rainy weather conditions. Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. The effect of the enhanced southwest monsoon will be experienced in Metro Manila starting tomorrow.

If Jenny maintains its speed and direction, it is expected to leave the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Sunday evening or early Monday morning.


Within 12 hours, Tropical Storm Jenny has intensified with maximum sustained winds of 85 kph, and gustiness of 100 kph, and is now moving west-northwest at 7 kph.

PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jun Galang said that Jenny’s outer cloud bond is affecting Northern Luzon, bringing light to moderate rain showers particularly over Cagayan Valley.

Though Jenny has a slim chance of making landfall on any parts of the country, it will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon. MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, CARAGA and the provinces of Cavite and Batangas will have rainy weather conditions.

Localized thunderstorms, which result in rain showers, will be experienced over the rest of Luzon including Metro Manila.

Jenny is expected to leave the Philippine boundary on Sunday or Monday. As of the moment, no public storm warning signals have been issued by the weather bureau.


As temperatures drop in the morning, more and more people are snuggling deeper into their blankets instead of getting up. Sleeping in is perfectly fine on weekends, but on weekdays when we need to leave for school or work early, time is of the essence. To help you fight off lethargy, here are some tips to help you get up faster during the BER months.

Do not stay awake late at night by surfing or stalking people on social media, or going out with friends. Save these for Friday or the weekend. Sleeping late makes you extra-sluggish in the morning—and coupled with the cold weather, you don’t stand a chance!
Salivating over the latest tech gadget? Dreaming of that dream house you want to build for your family? Then get out of bed and start reaching for your goals. By reminding yourself WHY you have to go to the office motivates you in giving your all at work. Be positive, and keep your eye on the prize. You’ll find it easier to ditch the bed for your workplace.

The reason why we want to stay in bed when cold weather strikes is because of our warm sheets. So why not drink something warm to boost your temperature? A warm caffeine kick may also be the thing to jolt you into wakefulness so you’ll feel ready to face the day.
When inertia is pulling you down, some recommend setting your alarm 15 minutes in advance, and snooze it every 5 minutes for at least three times. This way, your body has time to adjust to fully waking up. With the constant ringing of your alarm, it will be more difficult for you to go back to sleep.
Taking a shower can get your blood circulation going, and help warms your body. If you find yourself nodding off in the shower, ditch the hot water and go for cold. Trust us; you’ll be awake in no time.

So the next time you’re experiencing separation anxiety with your warm bed, try these literally eye-opening suggestions. Here’s to more productive days with an early headstart in the mornings!




Aside from marking the first ber month of the year, one of the most exciting events that we look forward to this month is the Autumnal Equinox. Equinox is derived from two latin words: aequus meaning equal, and nox, which means night. Also known as the September equinox, this event will happen today, September 23, 2015 at around 4:20 PM (Philippine Standard Time) according to PAGASA.

During the equinox, the sun passes directly over the earth’s equator. This means there is nearly the same length of day and night time. Every year, two equinoxes occur: the Vernal Equinox (March) and Autumnal Equinox (September).

The northern hemisphere will now say goodbye to summer as the equinox indicates another season – autumn. This also coincides with different traditional and cultural observances throughout the globe.

In Ancient Greece, the September equinox is a sign of fall or autumn. Fall, in Greek mythology, is associated with the goddess Persephone, who returned to the underworld to be with her husband.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the equinox plays a big role in the oral traditions of the Indigenous Australian culture. Chinese people also highlight this event, which they call Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival, a celebration of the summer’s harvest. One of the main foods served, is the mooncake, which is filled with lotus, sesame seeds, duck egg or dried fruit.

Photo: http://orichinese.com/
Photo: http://orichinese.com/

In Japan, “Higan” is observed during equinoxes every year. For them, it is a time to remember the dead by visiting, cleaning and decorating their graves.

PAGASA explains that the equinox does not have a significant effect on Philippine weather, aside from the longer nights expected after the astronomical event. This is because the sun will move below the celestial equator towards the southern hemisphere. In December, the longest night of the year will be experienced, marking the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere.


hope for the trees

Each year, 10 billion trees are cut down, also cutting down the chances of future generations’ survival. Find out how you can do your share in saving the planet.

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.” – Native American saying

Trees are said to be the most essential organisms on the planet. According to Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ecologist Thomas Crowther, trees cater to an array of ecosystem services for humans. They create an abundant supply of water and nutrients, stabilize soil, absorb carbon dioxide, generate oxygen and provide habitats for every part of ecosystem.

Fast Facts
3.04 trillion. The estimated number of trees worldwide. Accumulated through the use of satellite imagery, forest inventories, and supercomputer technologies, the international team of researchers was able to map the tree population at the square-kilometer level.

A ratio of 422 trees per person. Roughly 10 billion trees are cut down per year. Since the start of human civilization, the study led by Yale University shows that there has been a 46% decrease in the total global percentage of trees.

750 billion trees. The estimate number of trees found in the boreal forests containing coniferous trees and patches of permafrost of North America, Scandinavia and Russia, found to have the highest tree densities. These forests hold 24% of the global total of trees, while 43% of the total or 1.3 trillion trees were found in the tropical and subtropical forests.

Man VS Tree
Since the start of human civilization, negative human activities have become detrimental to natural ecosystems. These include the anthropogenic effects such as land use (ie. conversion of land for agricultural use, industrial and urban development.) As human population increases, the number of trees decline.
Crowther said that the decrease in the total number of trees made significant impacts on climate and human health.

Without trees, there will be higher chance of soil erosion. Its roots anchor the soil. These could lead to more disastrous events like flooding and landslide. Soil erosion could also alter health through silt entering water sources like streams and lakes, which decrease the quality of water.

Tree counts matters especially with the issue of climate change. According to Greenpeace, 300 billion tons of carbon or 40 times the annual greenhouse emission is stored in trees. It filters particulate matter to decrease air pollution. It also creates shades that mitigate the impact of urban heat island effect.

Step up for a Tree

Here are smart ways to save trees.

Paperless Billing. Telecommunications companies today offers paperless billing, you may opt to use this instead of getting your hard copy bill every month.

Choose recycled paper products.

In the modern age of computers and gadgets, you may keep data in soft copies.

In restaurant, use cloth napkin instead of paper napkins.

Be a volunteer. Join organization, which promotes green environment through planting trees.

Web Sources:









At 2 AM today, a tropical depression was located at 2,220 kms. east of Luzon. It is expected to enter PAR tomorrow or on Thursday. PAGASA Weather Forecaster Jori Loiz said that upon entering Philippine boundary, it will be given a local name “Jenny”. Based on its forecast track, this weather disturbance will not make landfall, however this will enhance the southwest monsoon (habagat).

Meanwhile, the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is now affecting Visayas and Mindanao, bringing cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms over Western Visayas, Davao Region, Northern Mindanao and the provinces of Mindoro.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms.