More and more Filipinos are going hungry. This is according to the Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) late last year. After surveying almost 6,000 households all over the country, FNRI reported that 62.1% of families experienced moderate to severe food insecurity. 

When does a household qualify as being “food insecure”? The FNRI gives the following criteria:


The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be the cause of this hunger spike. FNRI states that more than half of surveyed households reported having less access to food during community quarantine because of: 1) lack of money, 2) limited public transportation, 3) job loss, 4) limited food stores in their area, and 5) being an elderly with no family members to help them buy food.

But food security may be achieved through one’s own efforts. Last year, FNRI posted a call for Filipinos to grow their own food during the pandemic. This way, households are assured of food supply despite limited mobility. This is especially true in urban areas, which are “less likely to consume fresh produce, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals that boost immunity.


Kangkong harvest (photo by Chie Roman)


Being a Farmer in Your Own Backyard

The terms “plantito” and “plantita” became popular during the lockdown as Filipinos turned to gardening to care for their mental health. The challenge now is to shift the focus from greens that beautify the home to edible plants.

According to PAGASA, the hot and dry season this 2021 would be shorter than the previous years’. This may be considered good news because in a Panahon TV interview, Agriculturist Lito Bollosa from the Bureau of Plant Industry said that both the onset and end of the rainy season is the most ideal time to plant. 

However, one can still start planting during the hot and dry season. “When it comes to vegetables, we can plant the ingredients of the pakbet. These are indigenous crops that can survive adverse conditions and the constant changes in weather,” Bollosa explained in Filipino.

Bollosa states that crops which require minimal supervision and water include:


Aside from being low maintenance, these crops are also easy to plant. “With indigenous vegetables  like alugbati, kangkong, and kamote, you only need to stick the cuttings into the soil. With just a little water, they can already survive,” said Bollosa. He added that other crops that are able to survive intense heat include mung beans, corn—and dragon fruit, which belongs to the cactus family and therefore doesn’t require a lot of water.

Meanwhile, fruits that take center stage this hot season are watermelon and mangoes. “We see an increased production of fruits and vegetables now because of the sun’s constant presence. These crops need sunlight to produce their own food. The excess nutrients end up as fruits.”

However, extreme weather conditions may also cause plants to flourish. This is because of their need for survival, causing them to release more antioxidants and other protective chemicals. “Prolonged heat or rains can cause plant stress,” shared Bollosa. “For example, when the calamansi experiences excess heat or rains, it tends to produce more flowers and fruits.” This technique is used in farming to boost fruit production. Bollosa elaborated, “Fruits like rambutan, lanzones, and avocado flower during the hot season. After the ‘ber’ months, they are subjected to heat to induce flowering.”


According to Bollosa, calamani produces more fruit when stressed. (photo by Chie Roman)


Planting Tips

Before planting your own food, Bollosa suggests these tips:




Growing young ginger (photo by Chie Sales)


Following the Planting Calendar

To be able to successfully grow food, Bollosa stressed the importance of following the planting calendar. Certain plants grow their best in specific months of the year. The Department of Agriculture released a comprehensive planting calendar, which Panahon TV condensed below:


All SeasonsEnd of Rainy season

to Cool and Dry Season






Chinese cabbage












By following nature’s rhythm, you can reap the benefits of growing your food. Aside from getting the nutrients your immune system needs, you are ensured of your food’s safety and quality. Planting can also help you save money, protect the environment, and boost your household’s food security. You can enjoy all these rewards, while taking part in one of the greatest miracles—nurturing another life besides your own. 


Watch Panahon TV’s interview with Lito Bollosa here.


The Hot and Dy Season continues to draw travelers to the country’s world famous beaches and attractions. If you’re planning to hit the beach today, the weather will be in your favor!

According to PAGASA, the Ridge of a High Pressure Area (HPA) extends across Luzon and Visayas, while Easterlies prevail in the eastern section of Mindanao. “Ridge” refers to the extended part of a High Pressure Area or an anticyclone. When this weather system prevails, formation of clouds is usually suppressed, producing  less chance of rains. Meanwhile, Easterlies are warm and humid winds coming from the Pacific Ocean. However, since warm air or heat is a major factor for cloud formation, Easterlies can also generate isolated thunderstorms, mostly in the afternoon or evening.

The entire  country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies, or generally fair weather except for isolated rain showers or thunderstorms in the latter part of the day.

Humid weather is still expected today. The highest temperature can reach up to 36 degrees Celsius in Tuguegarao.

The Low Pressure Area Inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility will continue to dump rains in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

At 4:00 am today, the LPA was spotted at 235 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur. According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza, it is not expected to develop into a tropical depression but may cross the Visayas area tomorrow.

Due to this weather disturbance, cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms are expected in Eastern Visayas and Caraga. Cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms will be experienced in the regions of Bicol, Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao. Residents of the said areas are advised to take precautions because these heavy rains may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

Due to the continuous surge of the Hanging Amihan in the Northern Luzon, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains will prevail in Batanes, Cagayan and Ilocos Norte. Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

Regarding the official announcement of the onset of the Hot and Dry Season in our country, Mendoza says that this will only be done when the Amihan weakens and a continuous record of high temperatures in our country is established.

march 2

With the two dominant weather systems,the Northeast monsoon (Amihan) and the Tail-end of a cold front, light to moderate rains prevail in Bicol and the provinces of Aurora, Quezon and Samar. Light rains will also be experienced in the regions of Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, Cordillera, and the rest of Central Luzon. In the next hours, fair weather is expected in the rest of the country, including Metro Manila.

march 2.
Due to the winds associated with the Amihan, gale warning was raised in the seaboards of Northern Luzon, and eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon, and Visayas. Fisherfolk with small seacraft should avoid venturing into the said seaboards due to the rough to very rough sea conditions.

According to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Aldczar Aurelio, the Hot and Dry Season usually begins in March and ends in May, but since the Amihan is still present in our country, this season will be put on hold for a bit. However, Aurelio added that the Amihan will slightly weaken this weekend.


The month of May may be down to its last days but the Philippines will still continue to experience hot weather due to the prevailing Ridge of High Pressure Area affecting Luzon.

This weather system will bring partly cloudy to cloudy skies, bearing generally fair weather conditions. However, due to the heat, thunderstorm formation is still likely in the afternoon or evening.

In Metro Manila, the heat index forecast may reach up to 40 degrees Celsius today. With this temperature, food spoilage may easily occur. Avoid this from happening to secure your health: http://www.panahon.tv/blog/2015/04/slow-down-spoilage-this-sunny-season/


During this season, it is best to keep cool and use common sense to stay healthy during the warmer days. To prevent heat-related woes, read: http://www.panahon.tv/blog/2015/03/staying-cool-this-hot-season/

Tag-init Common Diseases Sunburn Series 1

The longer we stay under the sun, the more we are prone to dehydration. Aside from water, you can rehydrate in tastier ways. Know more here: http://www.panahon.tv/blog/2015/05/fruits-that-beat-the-hot-weather/

prutas taginit


With temperatures soaring at this time, food spoilage is one of our immediate concerns.

Ingesting contaminated food and drinks results to diarrhea or even food poisoning which may lead to dehydration. And dehydration is the very thing we need to avoid when the season is hot and dry.

So why do food spoilage easily occur during the warmer months? Most likely because of the following factors:

Improper food storage
This is the leading cause of food spoilage. Perishable food unrefrigerated for more than two hours is better headed to your compost pit than your stomach. Foods such as fish, meat, poultry and dairy products are especially prone to contamination in warmer weather.

Spoilage Bacteria.
These microscopic organisms multiply, sometimes rapidly, as long as nutrition and water are present. Bacterial growth rate is high in warm climate, resulting to the rotten appearance and foul smell in spoiled food.

To prevent food spoilage from spoiling your fun in the sun, here are some tips to keep your food safe and fresh:

· Wash your hands before handling food.

· Store food items separately and in tightly sealed containers to prolong their shelf life.

· Monitor food for sign of spoilage. If food is on its way to getting spoiled, remove it immediately to prevent its bacteria contaminating everything else inside the refrigerator.

· Avoid cross contamination by using separate utensils for raw and cooked foods.

· Thaw frozen food in a refrigerator or microwave oven before cooking, and not in the counter to avoid bacteria from rapidly contaminating your food.

· Fruits and vegetables should be washed before cooking to remove any dirt and soil residue that may contain bacteria.

· Keep cold food cold and reheat food after it has been kept in room temperature for a long time to destroy any bacterial growth.

· When doing grocery shopping, head to the frozen food section last. Pack raw and cooked foods separately.

· When eating outdoors, keep food covered and under the shade to prevent pests from diving into them.

· When faced with the dilemma of food spoilage, remember the wise words, “Remember, if in doubt, throw it out!”

pet care

The Hot and Dry Season is the perfect time to spend sunny days outdoors with friends and family, which, sometimes, include a furry companion or two. With beloved pets in tow, swimming and playing under the sun becomes more enjoyable. Still, it’s important to remember that like humans, animals are also susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

The expected rise in temperature in the following days may pose challenges to your pet’s well-being. At this time, watch out for potential dangers due to hot weather.

Swimming with Pets
This season, what better way to cool down than swimming? Although it is no secret that our canine friends enjoy swimming, not all dogs have mastered the doggie paddle. Here are some tips to keep your canine friends safe and healthy when taking a dip.

• It is best not to leave pets unsupervised around a pool or on the beach. Small dog breeds may have trouble swimming, so for Lassie’s sake, buy a flotation device to keep your pet safe.

• Prevent your dog from drinking pool water as chlorine and other chemicals may cause him an upset stomach.

• After swimming, rinse your dog with fresh water to remove chlorine or salt to avoid skin irritation.

• Just like people, dogs can have sunburn too with thin-coated and light-colored canines at higher risk. To prevent this, waterproof sunscreen formulated for pets are also available.

Know the Warning Signs: Dehydration and Heat Stroke
Dogs enjoy sitting in the sun as much as cats enjoy lounging in its warmth. However, too much exposure to extreme heat may cause dehydration and heat stroke.

Your furry friend is at risk for heat stroke if he has any of the following characteristics:
• very young
• very old
• has a heart or respiratory disease
• overweight
• short-nosed
• dark-colored,
• thick-coated
• not conditioned to prolonged exercise

Leaving your pet in the car during hot weather is a big no-no, not even with the windows slightly rolled down. This instance results to a rising body temperature of your pet, in which case heat stroke may occur.

Signs include:
• Excessive panting
• Rapid heartbeat
• Difficulty breathing
• Decreased urination
• Drooling
• Mild weakness
• Dry gums
• Excess lethargy
• Lack of coordination
• Refusal to eat
• Glazed eyes
• Seizures
• Bloody diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Unconsciousness

If any of the last four incidents happen, bring your pet to the vet immediately.

To avoid any of the above from happening, be sure to keep plenty of water available for your cat and dog at all times, both indoors and outside. Position them in a shady spot. Help them cool down with a few ice cubes in their water bowl, or even freeze some treats they can enjoy.

It’s all about the timing and street smarts
When the temperature is very high, sidewalks can very hot, capable of harming your pets’ paws and footpads. If you don’t like walking on that pavement with bare feet, limit your dog’s time on it, too.

Stay away from asphalt or rough pavement and only walk your dog in the early morning or late evening when outdoor surfaces are cool. Adjust the exercise routine you have with your canine in accordance with the temperature.

Time to have a trim
Just like any season of the year, grooming is important during warm weather. Feel free to have pet’s mane trimmed but never shave it. The layers of their coats protect them from sunburn and overheating. Your dogs and cats will also thank you for brushing their fur to get rid of matted or excess fur, which can contribute to overheating.

Visit the vet
Having your pets regularly checked is a must especially when parasites such as ticks, fleas and other insects are at their peak during the hot months. Your veterinarian will be able to give recommendations for safe flea and tick solutions.

Just like anyone in your family, your cats and dogs are susceptible to the dangers of hot weather. Protect them from too much sun and heat and you can still continue to have fun in the sun—together.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), a dry spell has been affecting different parts of the country since December 2014. Dry spell happens when below the normal rainfall conditions (21% to 60% reduction from average) are experienced within three consecutive months or two consecutive months of way below normal rainfall conditions (more than 60% reduction from the average). As of April 7, 2015, 30 provinces have been affected – 13 in Luzon, 3 in Visayas and 14 in Mindanao.

PAGASA Weather Forecaster Meno Mendoza clarified that the dry spell is a normal phenomenon in the Philippines. However, this year’s spell is triggered or worsened because of the ongoing weak El Niño.

Prior to the termination of the northeast monsoon, PAGASA issued the first El Niño advisory in early March. In a press statement dated March 11, 2015, an on-going weak El Niño was confirmed through the climate monitoring and analyses of the state weather bureau. El Niño is a climatic condition characterized by the unusual warming of the ocean or an increased sea surface temperature (SST) in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (CEEP).

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the term El Niño was originally recognized by fisherman off the coast of South America as the appearance of uncommon warm water in the Pacific Ocean. “El Niño” is also a Spanish term meaning “Little Boy” or “Christ child” because this phenomenon arrives around Christmas.

In Philippine context, the weak El Niño is expected to bring below the normal rainfall pattern and warmer air temperatures in different parts of the country in the coming months. Though the average number of tropical cyclones could still be normal, PAGASA has stated that weak El Niño could affect the cyclones’ movement and intensity, causing them to be more erratic and stronger.

Dry spell on electricity and agriculture

Along with the rise in temperatures, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said that electricity consumers might also experience an increased generation charge in their bills.

According to Meralco, electricity rates on April went up by 27 centavos on the back of the one-month maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas field, which forced power plants to use the more expensive liquid fuel. The overall electricity rate in April is P10.68 per kilowatt-hour, higher than the P10.42 per kwh rate in March, but lower than April 2014’s P11.49 per kwh. Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said in an interview with the Philippine Star that the more critical period is in May, with demand expected to shoot up to as high as 9,100 megawatts.

Despite the escalating temperature, power industry players believe that the Luzon grid may survive the hot and dry season because there are no expected blackouts as feared by the public.

But the dry spell has posed a more concrete threat to the farming industry.

Zamboanga City has already been placed under a state of calamity. Reports said that as of March 30, the dry spell and bush fires have resulted to extensive damage in hectares of rice, corn, vegetables, bananas, cassava and coconuts amounting to more than P132 million.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also declared M’lang and Kabacan in North Cotabato under a state of calamity. Due to dry spell, about P230 million worth of crops were reportedly damaged. Aside from the occurrence of grass fires, the absence of rains the past couple of months has also worsened the situation.

If humans feel the effect of soaring temperatures, animals suffer from their impact, too. The veterinary office in Kidapawan City reported that at least seven hogs and a cow died because of severe heat. The city office has also received reports that some farm animals have weakened, possibly due to heat stroke.

Water Conservation

Conserving water is a must during this current dry spell in the Philippines. Here are some of the water conservation tips that you can begin in your home:

Check and Fix. Regularly check your faucet for leaks. A small drip from an impaired faucet can waste gallons of water per day. Also, check your toilets for leaks. The rule is if there’s a leak, repair it immediately.

Turn it off. Make it a habit to turn off the faucet when not in use— even just for a short time while soaping hands, brushing your teeth and scrubbing the dishes.
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) suggests turning off the faucet firmly to prevent leakage. It is better to install low volume/high pressure (LV/HP) nozzles or flow constrictors to reduce water usage by up to 50%.

Pair a pail with a dipper. When taking a bath, use a dipper and pail instead of always using the shower. In this way, you’ll be utilizing just the right amount of water.

Shorten baths. Due to the blazing heat, many of us love to take our time in bathing. However, this can contribute to the dry spell. By reducing your bath time by a couple of minutes, you can save gallons of water per day.

Get it fully loaded. It is recommended to wash only full loads in your washing machine to save water. You can also adjust the water levels to match the size of the load.

Know when to water your plants. Watering your plants is best done during the early morning or in the late afternoon. Early morning helps prevent the growth of fungus, and is also a defense against garden pests. Doing this can also reduce water loss or evaporation.

For energy saving tips, read here:
Going Beyond Earth Hour | Panahon TV Blog

The Philippine Star
Manila Bulletin
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine News Agency

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