“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
Such were the words of George Raymond Richard Martin, an American novelist, short-story writer, television producer and the brilliant mind behind the hit series Game of Thrones.
Truly, reading plays an important role in shaping a person’s life, and the society as a whole. Reading allows us to explore new things, gain information and understand the world from various perspectives.
In 2008, former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III declared November 27 as Araw ng Pagbasa to stress the vital role of reading. Thereafter, the annual advocacy program continues and has been adopted by the Department of Education (DepEd).
If you can’t decide on what book to pick up next, let your favorite PanahonTV reporters give you some ideas:
Amor is a senior weather reporter of the program. Seasoned at covering issues on climate change, disasters and preparedness, she goes by the title of Weather Lover and believes that, “Ang taong handa at mahinahon, kayang lagpasan ang hamon ng panahon”
What is the importance of reading?
Reading is the cheapest way to explore. It’s like having a special power to travel the world, meet people and discover new things for free. It is a sweet escape from the real world, but could also give you the chance to become a better person when you go back to reality.
What is the title of your favorite book?
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
What is your favorite line from the book?
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is not visible to the eye.”
What is the most important lesson from the book?
Dubbed as a children’s book written for grown-ups, The Little Prince offers a myriad of life lessons. This book reminded me that beyond the appearance, what is more important is what’s underneath. Most people prioritize how they look on the outside, without realizing that what’s inside their soul matters the most. Each one of us conceals a treasure that can only be discovered by the heart.
Eunice enjoys wearing many hats, including being a handicraft artist, storyteller, photographer, and most recently, Panahon TV’s latest weather reporter. Being a responsible broadcast journalist allows her to spread her eco-friendly advocacies, and inspire her fellow youth to embrace their uniqueness and creativity.
What is the importance of reading?
Reading is a shared experience. It connects us into a more solid foundation of learning. Books are beyond imagination; it could take us to places without minding the rule of time. Most importantly, it is like navigating through endless possibilities guiding us in everything we do.
What is the title of your favorite book?
The Holy Bible
What is your favorite line from the book?
“The Lord is my shepherd.”
What is the most important lesson from the book?
Our life has a purpose. The Bible gives specific answers to this life’s most difficult questions. I learned that there is a God who is so loving and who wanted to give us so much more than what this life could offer. Reading the Bible is a lifestyle.
Reading may be one of the cheapest ways to learn, but it can certainly make a person richer in all areas of life. When you read, you are not only limited to what you can imagine. The worlds, characters and ideals described in books, newspapers, magazines and other reading materials help us expand our understanding of what is possible.
One of my favorite books was written by Miss Universe 1999 First Runner-up Miriam Quiambao, entitled He Can Catch You When You Fall.
My favorite line from the book is: “Ever since I tripped and fell down at the Miss Universe coronation night, God has always been there to pick me up and redeem all the mistakes and falls I’ve made in the hope that it will inspire many to trust that, indeed, God can catch you when you fall.”
I personally love this book because it’s uplifting and inspiring. I admire how the author shared her life stories, which really encourage women to be honest and share the Truth. I’ve been through a lot when it comes to romance, failure and sadness, but this book reminds me that letting go and letting God would go a long way. Everything else will fall into place, in His perfect timing and His perfect Will.
Walking the same streets where some of our nation’s artistic giants left their footprints on is definitely an enriching experience.
Angono, a first class municipality in the province of Rizal, is known for its strength and vibrant culture. Its rich artistic history can be traced back to 3000 BC, and proof of which is the discovery of the Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest known work of art in the Philippines. Angono is also home to some of the country’s highly celebrated artists like composer and musician Lucio San Pedro and muralist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, who are both National Artists.
Apart from exemplifying artistic talent, the townspeople definitely know how BIG a deal it is to be dubbed as the Art Capital of the Philippines. Angonians are well known for making larger-than-life caricatures for one of the most delightful fiestas in the Philippines, the “Higantes Festival.”
Check out this video to experience this exciting celebration:
Preparation starts as early as September, where students with their drums and lyres can be heard practicing their parade piece. The vibrant color and sound uplifts the whole celebration, encouraging onlookers to move and groove with the beat.
It’s really bigger than you think! Some of these faces might even be familiar. Can you guess who this giant is with his trademark checkered polo and that hands-under-the-chin pose?
That’s right! That’s no other than President Rodrigo Duterte.
Nothing can stop a fan from taking a selfie with this giant sporting the uniform of his favorite basketball team! And don’t you think his smile says it all?
Gilbert Onidad 16, has been carrying the Higantes for five years, “Tradisyonal po ito kaya ginagawa ko at panata na rin po. Gusto ko pong makapag tapos ng pag-aaral para makatulong sa magulang.”
Regardless of the tiring day, they still manage to smile believing that they have contributed something for their beloved hometown.
BIG Environmental Concern
As Mayor Gerardo Calderon strictly imposes “Zero Basura”, the Higantes are made with recycled paper. This emphasizes the importance of creative recycling and consequently, conserving the environment.
BIG Art Platforms
Angonians continue to attract art lovers not only from across the country but as well as globally. One of the highlights of this festival was an exhibit launch, which promotes the use art for intercultural dialogue and understanding. Figurative artist and art leader Nemesio “Nemi” R Miranda Jr. explains, “Last year, 2015, our Philippine embassy, together with the Malaysian embassy, helped us coordinate with Malaysian artists. We entered to an agreement and applied to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, that we are wiling to implement that cultural bilateral. We did the initiative to visit Malaysia and get to know the artists. And from that we are able to come up with what we call ‘ArtDialogo’.
“In this intercultural exhibit, we showcase both Filipino and Malaysian artists.” Nemiranda also stresses that, “This is the start. We are trying to put Angono in the global map as far as art is concerned.”
Looking back, I realized that the best way to truly appreciate Filipino art is by immersing oneself in the company of innovative individuals and in a place where artistry remains a priority. Walking the streets of Angono and taking part in their Higantes festival provide a different perspective and a beautiful reminder that continuing one’s traditions is key to solidifying one’s identity.
For a more enriching cultural experience, the town of Angono should definitely be high up in your list of must-travel destinations.
Disasters strike like thieves in the night, unpredictable and dangerous. In a span of six days, they’ve wreaked havoc in different parts of the world, including the Philippines.
Sinkhole in Downtown Fukuoka
On November 8, a giant sinkhole ripped a busy road in the southwestern stretch of Fukuoka, Southern Japan. The 15-meter-deep sinkhole spanned 30 meters—
roughly half the size of an Olympic swimming pool. Though not a single person was injured, it caused interruptions in water, power, telecommunications and gas supply in some parts of the city. Residents speculated that the nearby subway construction might have triggered the slumping of the 5-lane thoroughway, but civil engineering experts attributed it to the soil’s composition, which is mostly sand.
Japan proved its efficiency in crisis management as sewage pipes and utility lines in the business district were restored in just two days. Nearly a week later, the collapsed road was repaired with a mixture of sand and cement, making it 30 times stronger than it used to be. On November 15, pedestrians and vehicles started using the re-opened street.
Quake in New Zealand
On November 13, a powerful 7.8 magnitude quake hit New Zealand’s South Island—the strongest in the region since 1929. Tsunamis towering up to 8 feet followed minutes after the groundshaking. These inundated communities in Kaikoura, a coastal town near the city of Christchurch. “This is the highest tsunami wave that New Zealand has seen in at least 38 years,” said Weather Watch New Zealand. According to experts, the tsunamis could have been more catastrophic if these transpired during high tide. Luckily, tide level was low at that time.
Apart from homes, livelihoods, office buildings and transport routes reduced to rubble, two fatalities in Canterbury were also reported. “In the short term, what we’re trying to do is to make sure that people of Kaikoura and the like have food, water, help and backup,” NZ Prime Minister John Key said.
No less than 40 aftershocks were recorded, but the strongest was a magnitude 6.2, which occurred a few hours after the major quake.
The 2016 Kaikoura quake has less death tolls than the massive 6.3 magnitude quake that struck Christchurch in 2011, causing 185 fatalities.
An average of 15,000 quakes per year are recorded in New Zealand, but about 150 are strong enough to be felt. The country is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped region where the most number of quakes and volcanic activities transpire.
On the same day, a 6.2 magnitude quake rocked Northwestern Argentina. The epicenter was recorded in the La Rioja province, but tremors were also felt in Catamarca, Tucuman, and Cordoba. However, these caused no damage and injuries.
Know how to prepare for huge quakes:
Volcano Erupts in Mexico
Western Mexico’s Colima Volcano, also known as the Volcano of Fire displayed unusual seismic activities, which prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people earlier this year. After a few months, this volcano erupted, forcing similar evacuations last October.
But last November 15, Tuesday, the abnormal activity of the volcano slowly increased as the new lava dome in its summit crater continued to grow. Its lava flow, rock fall, glowing avalanches and ash fall posed a threat to locals.
Colima Volcano has an elevation of nearly 4,000 meters with a 5-kilometer-wide crater mouth. 30 eruptions have been recorded in the past 431 years. It is considered one of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in Central America.
Know how to prepare for volcanic eruptions:
Mandaluyong faces State of Calamity
Three people died as 500 houses were burned down in an 8-hour blaze in Mandaluyong City on November 13, at around 7:45 pm. The fire consumed sections of two densely populated and fire-prone barangays. The Bureau of Fire Protection traced the cause to a leaking gas tank, and estimated property loss at 10 million pesos.
1,465 families from Barangays Addition Hills and San Jose were left homeless. Some have evacuated to a covered court and two elementary schools. The local government promised to provide financial assistance to the displaced families, and help them reconstruct their homes or move to new residences. P8,000 shall be given to families who lost their abodes; home sharers shall receive P5,000; while families who were renting would get P3,000.
On November 15, another fire incident transpired in Barangay Addition Hills—the fifth in the area for this year.
Here’s how you can prevent loss of lives and property due to fire especially this holiday season:
Zika, the mosquito-borne virus captured international attention in early 2015 when an outbreak hit Brazil, where almost 7,000 cases were reported. Since then, researchers have been linking the virus to neurogical disorders, such as the Guillain-Barre Syndrome characterized by the sudden weakening of muscles; and Microcephaly, a congenital disorder that causes babies to be born with underdeveloped brains and abnormally small heads.
As information about the virus continuously evolves, Zika’s reach continues to widen. Currently, it affects 57 countries, including those in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
The Mosquito and Transmission
In 1952, the first human Zika cases were detected in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. In the next decades, its outbreak was reported on the island of Yap, located in the Caroline Islands, part of the Federal States of Micronesia.
Zika is carried by arthropods, particularly mosquitoes and ticks. It is usually transmitted when an Aedes mosquito bites a person with an active infection, and then spreads the virus through consequent bites. It is the same type of mosquito that carries Dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Chikungunya virus. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, but may also bite at night. Recently, researchers confirmed that ZIka could be sexually transmitted.
Signs and Symptoms
In the majority of cases, Zika Virus infection is asymptomatic, which means that victims do not exhibit the following symptoms until 3 to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito:
• Mild fever, headache, muscle pain and joint pain
• Nausea, vomiting, and general malaise
• Pink eye (inflammation of conjuctiva)
• Skin rash on the face, neck, trunk and upper arms, which can spread to the palms or soles
• Sensitivity to light.
• Lack of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, and dizziness
Most people fully recover from the illness within 7 days. But pregnant women are among those who are in most danger when infected by the disease, since the virus can be passed on to the fetus, which may suffer from the neurological defect, Microcephaly.
Zika in PH
Our country confirmed its first Zika case last August this year. A 45 year-old woman from Iloilo City tested positive for both strains of the virus, after complaining about skin rash and joint pains, which are common symptoms of this virus. Later, two more cases were reported from the same household. In September, the virus was reported in three provinces. Seven patients came from Iloilo City, one from Cebu and one from Laguna province. Recently, ten more cases were added to the list.
According to the Department of Health, the Philippines has a total of 33 cases. The first pregnant case in the country is a 22-year-old from Cebu. Initial examination through ultrasound revealed no detectable fetal abnormalities.
For more details on combatting Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, watch this:
The tail-end of a cold front continues to affect several parts of Luzon.
Cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over the provinces of Aurora and Isabela. Residents over these areas are alerted against possible flash floods and landslides.
A vey rare supermoon will appear in the skies this Monday, November 14, 2016.
The term “supermoon” coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 is a new or full moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth during its orbit. This year, what will occur in astronomical terms is the Perigee Full Moon – a full moon that is closer than average to the Earth.
According to the PAGASA Astronomy Division, the Moon will reach perigee on November 14, 2016 at 07:21 PM. This will be the closest perigee since January 26, 1948.
According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, a supermoon or perigee full moon can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon. However, NASA warned that clouds or the glare of urban lights could easily mask 30% of the lunar brightness.
America’s astronomical body also added that the full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to the Earth again until November 25, 2034.
Wherever you are this Monday night, make sure to look up and take a photo of the rare supermoon!
Each generation has its share of mind-blowing disasters. For our generation, one of the worst devastations ever to hit our country was caused by Typhoon Yolanda. Today, we remember the wrath of this ferocious typhoon that greatly affected the Visayas area exactly three years ago.
Based on the climatological records of PAGASA, tropical cyclones that enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) during the month of November have a higher chance of hitting the landmass. Proof of this wasYolanda, which originated from the Pacific Ocean, gaining much strength as it headed towards the Philippines.
With the international name Haiyan, Yolanda became one of the world’s most disastrous typhoons, packing winds of up to 235 kilometers per hour and with a gustiness reaching 270 kilometers per hour.
Within a day, six landfall activities were recorded by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). On November 8, 2013, Yolanda hit the following areas:
– Guiuan, Eastern Samar
– Tolosa, Leyte
– Daanbantayan, Cebu
– Bantayan Island, Cebu
– Concepcion, IloIlo
– Busuanga, Palawan
Yolanda exited the PAR on November 9, 2013, leaving a horrific view of Leyte and Samar. Aside from flash floods and landslides, the intense winds of the typhoon triggered storm surges that devoured Leyte, particularly the city of Tacloban. Many Taclobanons said it was like the entire sea had crawled over the land.
At least 6,000 people were reported dead while more than a thousand are still missing. Thousands of families were affected in Regions IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI and CARAGA. The combined power of water and winds smashed almost 1.2 million houses.
Days before the first anniversary of Yolanda in 2014, the Typhoon Committee of PAGASA decided to revise the classification of tropical cyclones, adding the category “Super Typhoon” to the list.
PAGASA explained that the revision aims to emphasize the intensity of a tropical cyclone and the threat of its impacts. Using the term “Super Typhoon” will also escalate the sense of urgency and community response in times of an approaching storm.
In October this year, “Lawin” became the first tropical cyclone to be classified as a super typhoon— the first time that PAGASA issued Signal Number 5 as well.
Being one of the most vulnerable countries to extreme weather events, we are also in the frontline when it comes to destructive typhoons. To understand this natural hazard, let us familiarize ourselves with the different parts of a typhoon.
The eye of a typhoon is an area with the lowest air pressure, which can be as much as 15% lower than the pressure outside it. It may vary in shape, which can sometimes be a circle, an ellipse or oval. Its diameter also changes in time, but usually shrinks as a typhoon intensifies.
While many people think the eye is the deadliest part of a typhoon, it is the calmest. In strong tropical cyclones, this area is characterized by light winds and clear skies. For weaker cyclones, the eye is less defined and is usually covered by dense, high and thick clouds.
The eye or the center is helpful for weather forecasters and meteorologists because it serves as the reference point in plotting the typhoon’s location. The formation of an eye is also used as an indicator of the increasing strength of a tropical cyclone.
Surrounding the eye is the eye wall, where the severe weather occurs. It is the innermost ring of convection near the center of the typhoon, packing the fiercest rains and most intense winds.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says this is the zone where surface winds reach their highest speed, bringing the strongest thunderstorm activity.
According to the State Climate Office of North Carolina, the contraction or expansion of the eye wall can cause changes in wind speed and storm strength. As a typhoon grows and changes, it can build concentric eye walls that replace the original eye wall.
Eye Wall Replacement
While most typhoons have a single eye wall, powerful and mature typhoons acquire double eye wall structures. Typhoons with double eye walls often undergo a process called “eye wall replacement cycle”. This occurs when a new eye wall develops and replaces an existing one.
According to the Hong Kong Observatory, this cycle begins with a concentrated ring of convection that develops outside the eye wall. It will then circulate inward, leading to a double-eye wall structure. The inner eye wall dissipates while the other intensifies and moves inward.
Spiral Rain Bands
Spiral rain bands are found outside the eye wall. NOAA defines rain bands as long, arching bands of clouds and thunderstorms that spiral out of the eye wall. Dense bursts of rain and winds are often associated with these bands. Also referred to as “buntot ng bagyo”, rain bands form the outermost fringes of the typhoon structure.
Hong Kong Observatory
American Meteorological Society
World Meteorological Organization
Recovery is still taking place in Yolanda-battered areas, and is expected to be completed in 2017. But how far have we really gone three years after the catastrophe?
It’s been three years since Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck Visayas and Palawan on November 2013, devastating 6,300 lives, displacing more than four million residents, and affecting 14 million people.
Yolanda, considered one of the strongest typhoons in the world in the past century, first made landfall in Samar, wiping out its substandard seawall in Barangay Pinalanga in Marabut. In 2015, the seawall was rehabilitated under the initiative of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Kalahi CIDSS by empowering the coastal community to rebuild the structure. Kalahi CIDSS or Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services is a government program which uses community-driven strategy to address Filipinos’ vulnerability to disasters, poverty and hunger.
After the calamity, teachers in Gigantes Island conducted classes under the shade of trees. But early this year, damaged rooms were rehabilitated and new schoolrooms were built.
As of September this year, the government was able to construct 1,316 new classrooms in areas affected by Yolanda. But over 10,000 schoolrooms still need rehabilitation.
Nearly 50,000 boats were either replaced or repaired by the government. One of the beneficiaries is Billy Bolohabo of Lantangan in Carles, Iloilo. ”They provided us boats, nets and other fishing equipment,” he said. “They even gave out cash support to help us. All of us are very thankful for the opportunity to start again.”
Typhoon Yolanda wrecked 1,140,332 houses— 550,928 from these were totally damaged. The National Housing Authority (NHA) targeted 205,128 housing units but as of June 2016, only 2,287 were distributed from the 25,967 accomplished units.
Ivy Dacuno is one of the recipients of a permanent house from the government a year after the tragedy. She used to live in Barangay 88 in San Jose, Tacloban City, one of the worst-hit areas due to the ravage of storm surges that killed one of her children. Apart from the shelter assistance, the DSWD provided her with a 15-day skills and livelihood training. “Tinuruan kami magluto ng mga pagkaing pwede naming ibenta. Binigyan din kami sa training ng P12,000 para makapagsimula ng sarili naming business,” Ivy explained. (We learned how to cook food that we can sell. They also gave us P15,000 so we can start our own small business.”) She now sells food in their relocation site in Barangay 97, Cabalawan, Tacloban City.
With the DSWD’s Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program, P20.73 billion were distributed among those who were left homeless. As of mid-August this year, 468,528 beneficiaries with totally damaged houses received P30,000 each, while P10,000 were given to those with partially damaged abodes.
Rosemarie Arponbiong, 35, survived the height of the crisis by joining food for work programs. 5 kilos of rice were given to them for fifteen days in exchange for clearing off debris caused by the typhoon. A year after the catastrophe, she received P30,000 from the DSWD, and was able to build a new home for her family— this time, a concrete one.
“Kapag malakas ang ulan, nakikinig na lang ako sa radyo para malaman kung posibleng tumaas ang tubig. Kung sa hangin lang naman, kayang kaya na ng bago naming bahay,” Rosemarie enthuses. (I listen to the radio whenever there are heavy rains to watch out for possible floods. But I’m happy that our new house can withstand strong gusts of winds.)
Eda Dumape, a mother of five in San Remegio in Cebu, will never forget the longest two hours of her life during the onslaught of Yolanda. “Pait kaayo ang kaagi nko sa bagyong Yolanda kay bag-o pakong nanganak nya kay kanag nangaguba pa ang among atop sa balay nyang mga bata namo lisud kaayo kay bag-o pa kong nanganak. Nag-agas-agas akong dugo. Gitakluban nalang ko sa akong bana ug habol kay para di ko maka kita sa tanan nga nanghitabo, kay ang dili ko ma kuwan sa maong bagyo. Pag-human sa maong hangin, pag menor na siya. nibalhin mi didto sa among silingan nga kasaligan sad siya, dayon, mao pud pag kusog utro sa hangin, giuyog pud ang maong among gibalhinan sa pikas balay,” Eda reminisces. (My experience during Typhoon Yolanda was the most difficult because I just gave birth to my youngest. I was bleeding at that time. Because our roof was ruined, my husband covered me with a blanket so I wouldn’t see what was happening. We immediately evacuated and transferred to our neighbor when the winds calmed. But the strong winds reoccurred, and our neighbor’s house started shaking.) Eda received a P10,000 grant from ESA, which she used in rehabilitating their house.
Yolanda may have devastated lives and property, but still, it did not break the spirit of survivors. With the lessons they had learned, people were able to get back on their feet. In the midst of massive destruction, there will always be room for hope, camaraderie and resilience.