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Did you feel the chill these past few days? It’s all because of the Northeast Monsoon, locally known as Amihan, which continues to affect several parts of the country. Amihan is characterized by cold and dry air mass coming from Mainland China or Siberia.

For some, it may be a little confusing why we’re feeling the cold weather only after the Holiday Season. Amihan usually affects the country during the “ber” months, but it reaches its peak in January or February, wherein temperatures usually drop.

Based on history, Baguio City has always experienced most of the coldest days. The temperature even dropped to 6.3 degrees Celsius

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This year, PAGASA recorded 10.8 degrees Celsius in Baguio City last January 26. The state weather bureau says so far, this has been the lowest temperature for this year.

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Philippine Weather Forecast: Slightly Cold and rainy


Due to the surge of the Amihan, rains will be more concentrated in Visayas and CARAGA, where cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains will be experienced. Residents of the said areas must prepare against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Meanwhile, light rains will prevail over the regions of Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, provinces of Aurora, Rizal and Quezon. Isolated light rains may also occur in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. The rest of Mindanao can still enjoy generally fair weather, aside from possible isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

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Meanwhile, gale warning is up over the eastern seaboards of Northern and Central Luzon, the eastern and southern seaboards of Southern Luzon, and the eastern and western seaboards of Visayas. With these rough to very rough conditions with wave height rising to 4.5 meters, fishing boats are not allowed to venture into the seas.

In line with this, the Philippine Coast Guard stated in its update that as of 8 AM today, a total of 297 passengers, 6 vessels and 22 motorized bancas were stranded in different ports in the country because of the gale warning.

The month-long Sinulog Festival has already kicked off in Cebu this January, and tourists are stuffing social media sites with colorful photos from the event.

The Sinulog is a dance ritual, wherein dancers are dressed in bright and colorful costumes, moving to the beat of the drums while chanting Viva Pit Senor!, honoring the image of the Santo Niño. This year’s Sinulog theme is “Sinulog Goes Global.” National costumes of various countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Hawaii, USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Brazil, Venezuela and Egypt will fill the streets of Cebu during the grand parade.

Sinulog is derived from the Cebuano word sulog that means “water current movement.” It basically defines the forward-backward step of the Sinulog dance. It gained popularity among the tourists, both local and foreign. In January last year, foreign arrivals in Cebu reached 155,567.

The Tourism Department of Cebu expects a significant rise in foreign tourisst because of two major events: the Sinulog Festival and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress 2016 with 12,000 delegates representing 72 countries.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights in Sinulog festival.

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Cebu City Public Information Office

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Based on reports, a total of 569 passengers were stranded in the different ports of Cebu. This is because the Philippine Coast Guard barred sea vessels from sailing due to gale warning issued by PAGASA.

Amihan is now affecting the entire Luzon and Visayas, including the eastern section of Mindanao. Due to its surge, gale warning is still in effect along the seaboards of Luzon, Visayas and the eastern seaboards of Mindanao.

Light to moderate rains will be felt in Bicol Region, Visayas and CARAGA, while light rains are expected over the regions of Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Rizal, Aurora and Quezon.


The rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, will have lighter rains, while the rest of Mindanao can look forward to fair weather conditions.


PAGASA Weather Forecaster Buddy Javier said that Baguio City’s temperature has dropped to 10.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest temperature so far this Amihan season. Cold weather is expected to prevail in Luzon and Visayas in the coming days.

 

Coutesy of Fe Vivas-Quilet, January 24, 2016 in Maryland, USA
Coutesy of Fe Vivas-Quilet, January 24, 2016 in Maryland, USA

 

Causing thick snow and hurricane winds, Winter Storm Jonas brought what is dubbed as Snowzilla over the east coast in the US, forcing to shut down the operations of private and public offices, including the ones in New York City and Washington DC. Eleven states were declared under a state of emergency as the whole area was paralyzed by heavy snow.

 

Courtesy of Bertha Lina, January 24, 2016 in New York City
Courtesy of Bertha Lina, January 24, 2016 in New York City

 

Snowzilla killed not less than 30 people in the United States, and cancelled thousands of flights all over the east coast, dumping at least 20 inches of snow, and causing major flooding in New Jersey. This prompted some residents to declare that this was even worse than the devastation Superstorm Sandy had caused in 2012.
 

Courtesy of Fe Vivas-Quilet, January 24, 2016 in Maryland, USA
Courtesy of Fe Vivas-Quilet, January 24, 2016 in Maryland, USA

 
Today, as Jonas subsides, it is now forecast to make its landfall in Great Britain, bringing six inches of rain and 70 mph winds. The Met office has warned NorthWest England, the west of Scotland and much of Wales to prepare for the severe weather.

 
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As the Northeast Monsoon (Amihan) strengthens, it brings cold weather to most part of the archipelago, particularly Luzon and Visayas. For those who are residing in the Bicol region, Visayas and the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon, you will be experiencing cloudy skies with light to moderate rains. Meanwhile, light rains prevail in the regions of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and the provinces of Aurora, Rizal and Quezon. If you are in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, isolated light rainsares expected. Favorable weather will prevail over Mindanao, but always bring your umbrella for the possibility of localized thunderstorms.
 
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Gale warning was raised in the seaboards of Luzon and Visayas. Fisherfolk with small seacraft are not allowed to venture into the said seaboards due to the rough to very rough sea conditions. This is due to the strong to gale force winds associated with the Amihan.
 

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As temperature continuously drops, here are the lowest temperature recorded yesterday in Baguio City:

 
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Because we are now experiencing the first full moon of the year, here are some interesting lunar facts:

 
1. It will take 29.5 days, the equivalent of a lunar cycle, to see the moon full again.

 
2. The second full moon that occurs within a month is called a Blue Moon. This is a rare phenomenon that occurs about every three years. That is why rare events are described as “once in a blue moon.”

 
3. February is the only month that can have NO occurrence of full moon.

 
4. While some who suffer from insomnia claim that they cannot sleep during the full moon, others say they sleep more soundly during this time.
 

5. Though the full moon looks like round, it is actually shaped like an egg with its end point facing the earth.
 

 
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Affecting the whole Luzon, the Northeast Monsoon (Amihan)has strengthened, bringing cold weather and cloudy skies with light rains over the regions of Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and the province of Aurora. It will also be bringing isolated light rains in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. Meanwhile, light to moderate rains will prevail in the Bicol region, CALABARZON and the provinces Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Samar. For the rest of our country, good weather condition will prevail.
 
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And because the Amihan has intensifed, PAGASA raised gale warning in the seaboards of Luzon and the eastern seaboards of Visayas. With rough to very rough sea conditions, fisherfolk with small seacraft are prohibited from venturing into the said seaboards.
 

As temperature drops, here are the lowest temperatures recorded yesterday:
 
5am lowest
 

Photo credit: http://www.philippinetrails.com/
Photo credit: http://www.philippinetrails.com/

Carabao or Kalabaw in Tagalog is scientifically dubbed as Bubalus Bubalis, the national animal of the Philippines. Traditionally, it symbolizes the Filipinos’ hard work and perseverance. A carabao is the Pinoy farmer’s best buddy in the ricefield, aiding in plowing the soil and harvesting crops. They also serve as a mode of transportation in barrios, and are a good source of nutritious milk and meat.

It was on January 26, 1954 when President Ramon Magsaysay declared the prohibition of slaughtering carabaos by virtue of Executive Order No.8. Prior to this, Republic Act No.11, which was approved on September 2, 1946, stated that the slaughtering of male and female carabaos, horses, mares and cows is prohibited, unless authorized by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary.

However, Magsaysay received a report that more than 150,000 carabaos were slaughtered from 1947 to 1953 in Manila and its outskirts, while around 247,000 were slaughtered in the provinces. This indiscriminate slaughtering resulted to scarcity of animals and the price increase of carabaos, which made it difficult for poor farmers to afford these beasts of burden.

Photo credit: http://www.pcc.gov.ph/
Photo credit: http://www.pcc.gov.ph/

The Philippine Carabao Act of 1992
Fast forward to 1992—a time when carabaos once again made it to the law-making scene. Republic Act No. 7307, also known as the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, aims to establish various programs to conserve, propagate and promote the Philippine carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk and hide.

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) was also created under the Department of Agriculture, tasked to conserve our national animal, enable farmers to avail themselves of good quality carabao stocks at reasonable prices, and facilitate training programs for farmers about the proper care and reproduction of the carabao, including the processing of its milk and meat.

Photo credit: avrotor.blogspot.com
Photo credit: avrotor.blogspot.com

On December 3 to 4, 2015, the 1st National Carabao Conference was held in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija. Farmers, local government officials and representatives from different government agencies, as well as private organizations, were among the participants.

With its theme, “Celebrating Partnerships in Championing the Carabao Development Program”, the conference aimed to promote and improve the development of the carabao industry in the Philippines, which is considered to be a factor in poverty reduction, enhancing nutrition and income distribution, and people empowerment.

Carabaos and the Weather
Carabaos can adapt well to a hot and humid weather. However, water is important for their survival—which is why they always need to wallow in swamps and mud, or to be splashed with water for them to reduce thermal stress due to extreme heat.

During droughts, carabaos are also affected because they do not want to eat dried or withered leaves.
Photo credit: www.wsj.com
Photo credit: www.wsj.com


Festivals Celebrating the Carabao
Locals in the province of Bulacan celebrate the Carabao Festival every 14th and 15th of May. Particularly held in Pulilan, Bulacan, it serves as an honour to its patron saint, San Isidro Labarador for the year-long bountiful harvest.

And because carabaos are considered to be a great partners of farmers, this festival also pays tribute to the mighty carabaos. It is also a time to showcase the unique talents and characteristics of these animals, such as genuflecting or kneeling in front of the church – a scene that always stir the crowd.

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Meanwhile in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, the “Gatas ng Kalabaw” Festival is also celebrated every 9th of December. Considered as the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines”, the province of Nueva Ecija aims to promote dairy milk from carabaos and its contribution to health and nutrition among farmers and consumers.

Photo credit: http://www.traveltothephilippines.info/
Photo credit: http://www.traveltothephilippines.info/


Just like our pets at home, carabaos also need our care. Aside from being helpers in the rice fields, they also play a big part in the lives of farmers. Carabaos are symbols of Philippine culture, and the epitome of strength, humility and hard work – qualities that every Filipino should be proud of.

Sources:
http://www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph
http://kahimyang.info
http://www.pcc.gov.ph
http://www.bulacan.gov.ph
http://www.panap.net

Today, the Northeast Monsoon will result to light rains in the islands of Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan, while lighter rains will be experienced in Ilocos, Cordillera and in the rest of Cagayan Valley.

The rest of the archipelago, including Metro Manila can enjoy the good weather.

Welcome Home, Pia Wurztbach
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is set to arrive today. A series of courtesy calls and parades are lined up to welcome the most beautiful lady in the universe.

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