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.


Sweltering days are here as two weather systems begin to prevail.

According to PAGASA, an extension or ridge of a High Pressure Area extends over Northern Luzon, while Easterlies remain dominant in the rest of the country. Today, the whole of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will experience generally fair and humid weather except for chances of localized thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening.

The country may be experiencing rising temperatures, but according to PAGASA, the Hot and Dry Season is yet to be officially declared. For this to happen, all of the following indicators should be present: the elimination of the Northeast Monsoon, the presence of High Pressure Area and Easterlies, and increasing temperatures.

Today, air temperature in Metro Manila can soar up to 33 degrees Celsius while residents of Tuguegarao can expect a scorching 35 degrees Celsius.

Along with rising temperatures is the increase in electrical loads. To cope with the extreme heat, many people tend to use appliances throughout a longer period, leading to high electricity consumption.

Last year, Luzon reached a record-breaking high at 9,726 megawatts (MW) in May. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), this was 9% higher than the 2015 peak demand of 8,928 MW.

Meanwhile, the highest demand in Visayas crawled up to 1,878 MW on May 11, 2016. This was 6% higher than the 2015 peak demand. The high demand was also seen in Mindanao, where a 5% increase in demand was observed.

This kind of high demand, not only leaves a bigger carbon footprint and uses up non-renewable energy, but also translates to high electricity bills. To save on costs and help care for the environment, here are some tips to lesson your electricity consumption.

– Always clean the fluorescent tube. The dirt or dust on your bulbs or fluorescent tubes can reduce illumination by 50%.

– DOE recommends using energy-efficient lamps like LED.LED or Light Emitting Diodes last up to 10 times longer than other types of bulbs, which helps you save money on replacement costs. These bulbs do not cause heat build-up in a room, also reducing air conditioning costs at your home.

– Another way to save energy is to use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs are miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents. These are four times more efficient because they use 50 to 80% less energy than incandescent.

– If you notice that the bulb is already dimming, immediately change the tube or starter.

– Turn offthe light when not in use.

Courtesy: www.treadingmyownpath.com

– Use the right type of washing machine.According to Greenpeace Philippines, choose the ones with the energy label EU A+/A/A label as thisguarantees the best energy efficiency and washing results. A high-efficiency model with a power consumption of less than 0.9 kilowatts per hour washing cycle is also recommended.

– Limit the number of clothes per wash; avoid overloading or under loading your washing machine. As much as possible, load the washing machine according to its capacity. Washing one large load will take less energy but this will compromise your clothes’ cleanliness.

– Iron clothes in the morning when it’s brighter and slightly cooler. This way, you can save energy because you no longer have to turn the lights on or use the aircon while ironing.

– Thicker and heavier clothes must go first before the lighter ones. Iron the denims first because with these, you have to set the iron to the highest or maximum heat. You may then set the iron knob to low heat and proceed to the lightest clothes, made of fabrics or synthetic materials that need less heat.

– Consider the size of the pan. Preparing smaller meal calls for smaller pans. Using the right size will also help you cook faster and more evenly.

– Matching the burner and pot size can help reduce heat loss and maximize energy efficient cooking.

– Cover your pans as you cook as this makes the food cook faster while keeping the kitchen cooler.

– If the ingredients are chilled or frozen, thaw or defrost them first before cooking.

– Look for the high Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) label when buying an air conditioner. EER indicates the cooling efficiency of the unit.

– Inspect, clean or change your fan and air filter regularly.

– Choose the right temperature for the room size.

– Ensure all windows and doors are closed when using the air con.

Courtesy: www.blitz.arc.unsw.edu.au

– Avoid putting the gadget on standby because this still consumes energy.

– Unplug the appliances when not in use or when fully charged.

– As much as possible, limit the use of computers and televisions. Find alternative ways to be entertained.

Tag-init is the perfect chance to have fun under the sun. Going outdoors for a swim, to exercise or enjoy a picnic can also help you keep the energy consumption at a minimum. Saving energy during this season may be challenging but by following these simple tips, keeping your energy consumption at a lower level can help give your pocket a break!

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.

Weather plays an important role in our lives. By monitoring the weather, we are equipped to handle our routines and are prepared for possible hazards.

But in this day and age where ideas can be disseminated with the click of a mouse, it’s our responsibility to verify before sharing them. To get you started, here are some weather myths that need to be debunked.

1) Climate and weather are the same.

This is one of the most common weather misconceptions that can be clarified by understanding one important factor – time.

Weather refers to the condition of the atmosphere over a short period of time. It is what we experience when we step outside on any day: sunny, windy, cloudy, rainy or stormy. Climate, on the other hand, refers to how the atmosphere behaves over a relatively long period of time, usually 30 years or more.

2) Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Originating from an idiom which means that a highly unlikely incident can never happen to the same person twice, this myth–when taken seriously— can actually lead to misfortune.
The truth is that tall, pointed, isolated objects can generate strong electric fields that can be repeatedly struck by lightning.

In the Philippines for example, lightning has struck the Metro Rail Transit lines thrice in the past years, halting operations. In fact, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explained that cloud-to-ground lightning frequently strikes the ground in two or more places. The chances of being struck are about 45% higher than what most of us commonly assume.

3) Sun + Rains = Tikbalang Wedding

According to Philippine folklore, whenever rains fall while the sun is shining, it means that a mythical creature called tikbalang (a half-human, half horse trickster that hangs out in the forests and mountains, leading travelers astray) is being wed.

PAGASA explains that both sunshine and rain may occur at the same time during the Hot and Dry Season. Called “sun showers”, this happens when the ground surface heats up, resulting to a vertical movement of warm air. This forms clouds that bring precipitation while the sun is at a 30-degree angle from the earth. This weather phenomenon most likely occurs in the months of March, April and May.

4) There is summer in the Philippines.

Summer vacations, summer adventures and summer getaways are some phrases we off-handedly use during school break from March to May. do you know that there is no summer here in the country?

According to PAGASA, the Philippines, being a tropical country, has only two official seasons – wet and dry. A season refers to the time of the year caused by the tilting of the Earth. The location of an area, whether it is in the northern or southern hemisphere, affects its seasons. Other regions have complete seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall.

In Philippine context, the Hot and Dry Season is the equivalent of summer. This marks the start of warm and humid days.


Asthma is a common chronic disease among children. According to the World

Health Organization (WHO), 235 million people across the globe suffer from it.

By 2025, WHO projected 100 million people to suffer from the said disease.

Extremes of both high and low temperatures can trigger asthma. And since we

are experiencing above-normal high temperatures these days especially with the

effect of the El Niño, asthma attacks are on the rise.
But the good news, according to PAGASA Weather Forecaster Robert Badrina, is

that the El Niño will slightly subside in the coming weeks. In fact, we are now

transitioning into a neutral condition starting this month until July.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of asthma can prevent the attacks from

becoming severe.

tag init

Because asthma is a chronic breathing disorder, what we inhale can trigger

attacks. Here are some things to watch out for:

 indoor allergens (house dust , carpets and stuffed furniture, pollution

and pet dander)

 outdoor allergens (such as pollens and moulds);

 tobacco smoke

 chemical irritants
In case of an asthma attack, take only medication your doctor prescribed. If

you’re already experiencing a moderate or severe attack, better go to the

nearest hospital or clinic in your area. According to Dr. Reynaldo Salinel Jr.,

there are ways to prevent asthma attacks.
 Stay away from the triggers.

 Avoid too much stress and fatigue.

 During hot days, take a shower twice or thrice a day.


Source(s): www.who.int


Though summer vacations are all about having fun under the sun, travelers must take caution to avoid accidents and sicknesses. The best way to be prepared for small emergencies is by packing a travel kit filled with the following things:
Bottled water – This can be used for instant hydration, taking medicines, and also for sanitation.
Portable flashlight – With the imminent power shortage this summer, a portable flashlight can be your best friend. It’s a handy tool when you’re lost and finding your way in the dark.
Whistle – When you find yourself detached from the tour group, a whistle is an important tool in bringing attention to yourself, instead of shouting yourself hoarse. It can also alert others to life-threatening instances, such as an intruder in your room.
Rubbing Alcohol – This can be used to disinfect hands before eating and for cleaning wounds.
Wet wipes- For a quick, refreshing break, swipe on some wet wipes to cool down your body. It can also be used to clean surfaces and parts of your body.
Insect repellant- The Dengue and Zika Viruses are still lurking around, so slap on some insect repellant to drive those dangerous mosquitoes away.
Thermometer- Because fever can strike anytime, anywhere, it’s best to equip yourself with a digital thermometer so you can monitor your health.
Sunblock with SPF 30- Avoid sunburn and even skin cancer by applying sunblock before going out.

mgc 2

Suggested Medicines:
• Paracetamol for fever
• Antihistamine for allergy attacks
• Antacids for heart burn

For Cuts and wounds:
• cotton
• Povidone-Iodine
• adhesive bandages
• antiseptic cream
Always remember that instead of self-medication, it’s best to consult a doctor. Stay safe and healthy while enjoying your vacation!


With the prevailing Easterlies, warm and humid weather will continue in most parts of the country. Easterlies are winds coming from the Pacific Ocean, which usually affect the eastern section of the country. These winds become dominant during the Hot and Dry season, resulting to higher temperatures.

PAGASA says the whole archipelago will experience generally fair weather with chances of isolated rain showers or thunderstorms. Some may ask how it’s possible for thunderstorms to occur during “tag-init”.

This is because the accumulated heat during the day may speed up the water cycle. Clouds may form in the latter part of the day, generating localized thunderstorms that may last for 1 to 2 hours.

Yesterday, temperatures soared in some parts of the country. Here are the highest temperatures recorded, with General Santos City consistently on top of the list.


When air temperature and relative humidity combine, much higher temperatures are expected. Heat index, which indicates how the human body perceives the heat, is also monitored regularly. Here’s what to expect on today’s “init” feels:


Beware of Rip Currents

Planning to go swimming with your friends? Before you take a dip, be familiar with one of the swimming risks that many people are not yet aware of.

Warnings about rip currents or rip tides have been circulating in social media these past few days. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of fast-flowing water.

Usually, rip currents appear with a 5 to 10-meter gap in a compact area of inward-flowing waves. This phenomenon is dangerous for swimmers because the current can drown you once you get caught in it.

When you encounter rip currents, don’t panic. It becomes harder to think of ways and find solutions if you are in a state of panic. You also have to save your strength to escape. Remember not to swim directly back to shore and instead, swim parallel to it.

This vacation season, awareness remains to be the key to safety. Share this to your friends and help save lives!


It’s the fourth month of the year, and we are now feeling the scorching heat! But this is just an introduction to what we can expect, weather-wise, this April.

With the prevailing El Niño, dry days are definitely not over yet. Most parts of the country may still experience below-normal rainfall this month. While some parts of Mindanao may receive a slightly improved amount of precipitation, Visayas and almost the entire Luzon will only have a 41 to 80% chance of rain.

Warm and humid weather is expected to continue. Thus, temperatures will continue to rise along with the heat index. Also called “human discomfort index”, the heat index determines how our body perceives the warm weather. Obtained when relative humidity is added to the air temperature, the heat index is around 3 degrees Celsius higher than the air temperature.

Here are the average temperatures in the key cities of the Philippines:

Weather Systems
Several weather systems will prevail in the Philippine boundary, including the Ridge or the extended part of a High Pressure Area (HPA.) This will bring good weather because unlike a Low Pressure Area (LPA), HPA produces fewer clouds, bringing less chances of rain.

Easterlies, on the other hand, will dominantly affect the eastern section of the country, bringing warm and humid weather to the affected areas. However, since heat is a major ingredient for cloud formation, Easterlies may also generate isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening.

The Tail end of a Cold Front may also extend over the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR). This refers to the extended part of a frontal system, which is the boundary or meeting point of two air masses wherein the cold air dominates the warm.

Another converging system, the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), can also oscillate or move towards our boundary. ITCZ is a breeding ground of weather disturbances. Hence, formation of Low Pressure Areas and Tropical Cyclones is still possible.

PAGASA says that despite the blazing heat, an average of 0 or 1 tropical cyclone may enter or develop within the PAR. Last year, we monitored a cyclone on April 1 to 5, 2015. Tropical cyclone “Chedeng” dumped rains and brought strong winds in the eastern section of Luzon.

Chedeng weakened into a Low Pressure Area after making landfall in the Isabela area. Its passage within our boundary coincided with the observance of Holy Week last year.

Meteor lovers will have a dazzling April due to the Lyrids meteor shower! If good weather permits, a dozen meteors per hour await sky watchers. Its peak will be on April 22 to the early hours (predawn) of April 23 this year. Though it may not create an abundant display, lyrids are considered to be bright and fast meteors.
The figure below shows the position of the radiant of the meteor shower at the constellation Lyra, the Lyre.