Available Balance
Solar Lamps are Nice Gifts
20140323_095958

If you could not think of a nice gift for occasions like Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings or fiestas, a rechargeable solar lamp is a best option.

You see, we were thinking of giving away cakes or other food items for my relatives when we attend their fiesta today, but the cakes cost so much. It can go beyond our budget, to think that we will be giving gifts to seven families! They are my sisters, and some my nephews and nieces who have their own families and houses.

It has been the custom here in our place to give something to the household, even any gift or food item, just to show our appreciation for their invitation. But we can always go there without any gift, they just wanted our presence.

Good thing we saw this beautiful solar lamp at a mall. It can be charged by putting it under the sun or sunlight for eight hours; or if there is no sunlight, you can plug it into an electric source through a charger cable that goes with the unit. It costs less than a cake! So we saved a lot, and it would be very useful to them for a long time.

We have so much sunlight in the Philippines, all year round; and there are frequent brownouts or power outages especially during rainy or stormy months, so having a rechargeable solar lamp is a best thing. There is no need to grab for matches, lighters or candles to light the home or rooms of the house. A solar lamp would provide light for some four to five hours!

It is a nice invention; a very useful gadget, even in areas where there is no electricity supply; like in very remote mountains or forest areas. They can have some light at night which children or students can use when making their assignments or studying their lessons at night.

It is also safer to use, unlike candles or lamps that use kerosene for fuel. It is fire hazard when it was accidentally dropped or it is toppled by a person, cats or dogs at home, unlike solar lamp that do not have an open flame. There is a bulb that lights when turned on. Maybe it has a lithium-ion battery that has a longer capacity to give power.

I think the recipients of our gift will be happy about it. They can take it anywhere, even in picnics or overnight swimming as a reserved light source when there’s sudden blackouts.

It is a very useful, nice and affordable gift.

Avoid Eating Too Much During Fiestas/Celebrations
May 14, 2017
4
20140323_095958

In the Philippines, there are so many celebrations like fiestas or feasts of Patron Saints. Many of them are observed during the dry season months of May and June when children/students are on vacation from schools.

During these celebrations, there are so much food offered to the guests. Many of our relatives prepare food for us, and for their other guests. Just like today, we went to our siblings houses to “bond” with them. The fiesta of St. Isodore, the Farmer (San Isidro) will be tomorrow, May 15, but they prepared food for us because many of our relatives have offices/works tomorrow, it being a Monday.

My husband and I were laughing as my older sister invited us to eat lunch. There were so much food, like big crabs cooked in coconut milk, shrimps with chili and butter, fish, pork barbecue, chicken, watermelon, and other fruits.

We just ate a shrimp, a slice of chicken and a crab’s claw, then a very small amount of rice. Then a small slice of watermelon. There was also a big can of native ice cream, with lots of cheese and jackfruit flavor. They enjoyed eating the ice cream, so I was tempted to have a scoop, just to taste it. But after that, I felt guilty, thinking that my blood sugar could rise above the normal level.

Aside from drinking a lot of water, I will walk for some 30 minutes tomorrow to “burn” the excess sugar!

Do you have such an experience when you cannot refuse to partake of the food, but you are worrying about your health? It takes a lot of discipline or self-control to refuse such offers.

It is really hard to be so concerned about health. But it is good to be cautious than suffer the consequences. Though I am not yet diabetic, I am keeping my sugar level below the borderline to be healthy and I do not want to take synthetic drugs or drug maintenance for some lifestyle diseases like diabetes.

Dead Whale Full of Eaten Plastics
May 13, 2017
6
IMG_20170507_120847

Have you seen that photo on Facebook posted by netizens about a big dead whale that was washed ashore in Cavite, Luzon, Philippines?

It was such a lonesome sight! The whale was already dead. decomposing, and its stomach was full of plastics, or all kinds of garbage which probably it had eaten from the sea where it came from.

It is a picture of irresponsibility of people who throw garbage, especially all kinds of plastics, like plastic canisters, plastic containers, plastic bag, and so many other debris that the poor whale probably thought were edible sea creatures, the reason for its death, presumably.

Or it could be that the whale came from a seashore or sea that people used as garbage dump where they throw their garbage; or it could be that some dumpsites were flooded and the trash and other non-biodegradable materials like hard plastics were washed into the sea. When floating around, large fishes, turtles, and other sea creatures like hungry whale sharks will just devour it to fill their hungry stomachs! They did not know that it is deadly, like that poor whale who had eaten so much volume of trash that caused its death!

It is a clear picture of man’s irresponsibility and cruelty to nature; specifically to animals who could not tell if what they will eat could kill them!

Since man has more complex brains, and more intelligent than animals, they should be responsible enough not to scatter their trash just anywhere. Governments even private organizations can do a lot in protecting such sea creatures and other wild animals who are entitled to a clean environment and a clean source of food.

If man will continuously pollute the land and the seas, then time will come that natural foods from the oceans like fish, etc, would be scarce; or man could not eat them because they are contaminated with hazardous wastes like mercury, etc. It is like destroying the food chain.

We can do a lot to save our environment, our natural resources by being responsible and being simple in life. If we do not consume so much goods, then throw away the foil wrappers or containers just anywhere, soon it will pollute the oceans and other bodies of water which is one of the main sources of our food.

We still can do a lot to achieve change; to help the government, or just be conscious enough not to scatter trash anywhere. Simple things can mean a lot to help conserve our natural resources; our wildlife, our seas, the fishes, whales and other sea creatures.

When Planning for Reunion, Plan Earlier to Avoid Problems
IMG_20170507_120650

My photo of a seashore

My husband’s siblings planned a family reunion for the next weekend and they chose it to be held in a resort so everyone can have swimming moments at the pool.

They chose to hire a hot spring resort in Laguna, province in Southern Luzon, Philippines. And it will be an overnight affair until the next day, a Sunday, for those who wanted to stay there longer and avoid the sizzling temperatures in Metro Manila.

Some of them would be coming from Mindoro, Southern Luzon, some in Metro Manila. We will be around 40 to 50 people in all, including the children.

Now here’s the problem: It is summer season, and it is the peak season for swimming pools, or resorts. Many of those we called or inquired online are almost fully-booked. Even the one which is our favorite resort in Laguna, the so-called “Batis ng Makiling” (River of Makiling) was fully-booked. We should had reserved earlier the private pool area there which is very suitable for family gatherings. It is a secluded area within the resort, which has five big family rooms that can accommodate some 30 people. It has a big gazeebo with long table and chairs where the guests can eat, or enjoy singing in the videoke.

But it was late, we should had made the reservations during the first week of May or even earlier so we can have that date booked for us.

So we settled for another resort nearby, also a hot spring resort, but I think it is less beautiful than the first choice we had. It is alright because the manager gave us some discounts if we reserve for one night and one day; so it will be on May 20 evening up to the whole day of May 21.

Everyone seems so excited about the reunion. We had group chats, or group video calls to make the reunion a reality. We listed who will join, and how much each had pledged to pay for the resort and for the food. Some of us will also bring extra food, like it would be potluck. Later on, we will cook our food there, or will just order some food from nearby restaurants there.

I hope it would be an enjoyable bonding time for all of us! nd next time, we will plan everything in advance, in earlier time to avoid so many problems.

Sea Gypsies, I Pity Them, But Authorities Banned Giving Them Money
May 13, 2017
3
IMG_20170507_135132

IMG_20170507_135141

These are people on boats, popularly known as “sea gypsies. We often see them on piers or ports. They sail near arriving or departing roll-on-roll-off ships or other sea vessels transporting passengers from one island to another. They are expert swimmers and divers, who can dive so fast to retrieve coins thrown by ship passengers. They usually shout “hagis!” (throw) for people on board the ships to throw them some money usually coins because paper bills can be swept by the wind or be wet when it touch the water.
IMG_20170507_135132

As you can see in my photo, they swim or sail next to passenger ferries to beg for money or for some loose change. I pity them to see them struggling to dive especially if passengers throw small coins or smaller denominations of money. If they throw bigger denominations of coins like PhP5.00 or PhP10.00 even PhP1.00, it will be easier to dive for it. It sinks slower too, and from the ship, the thrower or giver can see the coin sinking slowly in a zigzag manner, not sinking directly down the bottom of the sea. So the “sea gypsy” easily catches them.

I wonder how much they can earn from departing and arriving ferries. The government has banned travelers from throwing money to them because a “sea gypsy” died some years ago when he got trapped in the ship’s motor blades. Maybe he tried to retrieve a coin near the blades, and when the motor is running, it can hit the diver or he could be stucked in there!

The local governments through the Department of Social Welfare had offered livelihood opportunities to the “sea gypsies” to prevent such accidents, and for them not to risk their lives trying to dive for coins for a living. This is the reason why travelers were also banned from throwing them coins, so they no longer find it lucrative to beg for money in the ports.

Though ferry or ship passengers are already prohibited from throwing coins to the sea beggars, some could not resist, or they are too soft-hearted or kind-hearted to share some of their loose change to them.

Do You Use Fidget Cube When Stressed or Thinking?
20170510_154344

My photo of a Fidget Cube

My son bought a “Fidget Cube,” the one in the photo above, and I was so amazed upon seeing it. It is like a “toy” for adults.

He said it is used by people to lessen boredom, stress, or to enhance their thinking; apparently to sharpen thoughts.

As seen in the picture, one side has small green buttons, which goes down and make a clicking sound when pressed; another side has a round metal-like button which you can turn and turn around with a thumb or a finger; and also has three layers of small teethed-wheels that can massage the fingers as you turn and push it with your fingers.

One side has a switch-like feature. It makes a clicking sound just like when you turn on an electrical switch for your lights at home; then another side with a round, protruded button with a small “stem” and it bends as you press it. Then there is also a rounded knob which you can push in circular motion.

Maybe the Fidget Cube was created to ease tensions; or to ease boredom, or to sharpen the minds! I don’t know. It is like those “plastic” bubbles in packagings that children and even adults enjoy to “pop” or burst. It provides some enjoyment to the person doing it. When you are bored, you pop it and you feel like relieved of some stress.

When you are angry or anxious, just pop it and you will feel relaxed, because you can direct your anger, or vent it, by popping the plastic bubble. So the Fidget Cube serves the same purpose.

I tried it one time when he left it. He usually takes it to his office, apparently to ease boredom or to vent whatever thoughts he have. It feels relaxing, and when I can not think of what to write here, I use it. It has that “massaging” feeling on my fingers.

Maybe it has some healthy benefits too, because there are points in our finger tips that are directly connected with the organs of the body, according to therapists. The reason why they press the fingers or the fingertips during therapy sessions.

A gadget like Fidget Cube is a nice invention, which is needed these times when people easily gets bored or anxious about life. It can keep the mind busy, as the fingertips are busy pressing the buttons, and the clicking sound is relaxing too. Or it is good to use when you are waiting for your appointment with your doctor, dentist, or the person you had set a schedule with. It is a good stress-reliever.

Little Children Must Not be Given Electronic Gadgets
20140323_095958

Child psychologists say parents should not give their children electronic gadgets like cellphone, tablets, i-pad or other modern gadgets which they use for playing games.

They say, a child can have a cellphone or gadget when he is already 14 years old. This is to protect them from online scams, and other unfavorable sites which should be seen by adults only. Some of these sites are porn sites, etc. which “pollutes” the mind of the children. There could be some safety measures to prevent this like putting lock codes, but children could be so intelligent enough to unlock it.

Children might think that whatever they see online is the right thing to do. They could not think well, or they can be exposed to negative influences like not-so-good friends on Facebook, and other social media sites.

It is said that children who are exposed to gadgets at very early age tend to be impatient; they want things done the easiest way as do an iphone or smartphone does. With just a swipe or a click, they can easily get what they want, or answer their questions instantly. Aside early from this, psychologists say that early exposure to gadgets make the child lazy, or tend to rely on instant results instead of trying hard or exerting his full potentials to achieve something.

This is the reason why I do not like parents who give their children those electronic gadgets instead of giving them educational toys that can help develop their potentials. They should also allow them to mingle with other children to improve their emotional quotient, or to make them well-rounded. They could also learn how to share toys, to be considerate of the feelings of other children; to express themselves, or to be sociable, instead of being aloof or sitting alone in front of a computer all day.

Children should experience to play on playgrounds, to trample on the grass or dried leaves, to feel the ground on their feet. But they should be supervised closely by their parents, guardians, or caregivers.

Some parents justify giving their children electronic gadgets saying they are too busy to supervise them;but they should be creative enough to allot some time for their children; to play with them; to see how their children grow instead of letting babysitters do it for them.

Children will always treasure the days when their mothers or fathers take care of them. They should be cared for by humans, not by robots or electronic gadgets.

The Seas are Clean; Thanks for People’s Awareness
May 9, 2017
2
20170505_115708

During my inter-island travel this past weekend, I noticed a big difference in the cleanliness of the seas, compared with the condition some years ago.

Took notice of this upon entering the roll-on-roll-off ship that will take us to the island of destination. The pier/port waters are clean; no litters, papers, plastics, or whatever garbage. The water is bluish-green, and you can see schools of small fishes swimming near the ship. They are a sight to see, as their silvery skin glares in the noonday sun. If the seawater is murky, you can hardly see those sea creatures!

Years ago, I took notice of a ship we boarded on, who dumped its garbage at the high seas. Their utility men/shipping personnel just hauled drums of garbage into the sea! I was so angry when I saw it, thinking that the shipping company did not know the ill effects of throwing garbage into the sea.

Plastics and other garbage will be eaten by sea creatures like fish, sea turtles, whales, etc. thinking that they are jellyfish or food for them. It can kill them, or it can entangle them rendering them unable to move well in the water. Plastics and other garbage also emit toxins which can be deadly to sea creatures, even to corals which serves as the nesting place for fishes.

Not only shipping personnel throws garbage during those times, but people living on the shorelines also dump garbage into the sea causing so much pollution and danger to marine life.

Those days are a negative thing of the past. Thanks there are sea patrollers both from the government and private organizations who keep watch to protect marine life. They also educate people on the importance of keeping the seas free from garbage and other pollutants because it is the source of food for man like fish and other sea creatures; even seaweeds which are the main source of food and other food ingredients.

The efforts paid off, no one throws garbage at the sea, and communities along the seas are now aware of the importance of keeping the sea clean because it gives them livelihood, from fishing to attracting tourists and local visitors. They could appreciate the beauty of our shores, seas, and give livelihood opportunities for the locals.

Aside from keeping the sea and other bodies of water clean, people living near them started planting mangroves which provides nesting ground for fish. It also protects the people living along coastal areas from strong currents during high tides or when there are storms.

People are now aware of the importance of helping protect and preserve the environment, especially our seas.

My photo of a seashore

Traveling By Sea is So Relaxing
May 8, 2017
2
IMG_20150307_081520

My family went on a week-long vacation to an island we longed to visit for a very long time.

It was fun, and so nice to ride a roll-on-roll-off ship, or an inter-island ship which is a common mode of transportation in-between islands in our country. It is relatively cheaper than riding a domestic flight, or in an airplane.

I enjoyed watching the blue sea, the small waves, and the mountains and small islands we passed by. It calms the spirit; it is so relaxing to feel the cool air touching my face. The inter-island ship has an air conditioned area for passengers’ seats, but I preferred to sit at a bench outside that area, where I can watch the sea and the beautiful mountains dotting the skyline.

I caught almost everything in my tablet camera, photos and some videos of it, so I could “review” what I had seen along the way.

We were on the ship for about three hours. Some of my family members just slept all along the trip, but I just watched the beautiful scenery. It is indeed so beautiful; the contrasting colors of the deep blue sea, the green mountain ranges, and the white clouds above. From time to time, I could see some houses dotting the mountain sides, or resorts near the beautiful shorelines. I was so sorry I failed to bring along my binoculars so I can see the view at a closer range.

When traveling by boat or ship, I always wonder what people along the way are doing. I enjoyed watching fishermen on their small boats; some using only paddles, while others have motorized bancas so they could move at a faster speed.

It was so good to travel by sea during the dry months in our country because the sea looked so flat; so silent and so still. I wished I could spot any big fish or dolphins, but there was none. Some years ago, I spotted a group of five dolphins that “followed” the ship we were riding. It was such a beautiful sight!

Before May ends, we are again planning another vacation; and I think we will ride an inter-island ship again.It is so exciting to experience traveling by sea!

Another Sad Day For An Environmentalist
May 4, 2017
0
20140323_100000

This is another sad day for us, environmentalists and people who just care for the poor and the environment.

It is sad because a leader who gives us some ray of hope with regards to protecting our natural resources and its people, was rejected to lead by some lawmakers in or country.

She was appointed by the country’s President, because of her record of caring for the environment through a non-government organization composed of individuals who like her, aimed to preserve our natural resources.

Her paramount aim, as she said during the deliberations, is to help marginalized people, and for them to benefit first for the available resources. She only wanted people to benefit for what mother earth has to offer; instead of only a few who gain so much from mining, etc.

She had presented to the lawmakers the massive destruction of our natural resources, like the abandoned open-pit mines. Some of it, as shown in her documentary, had mine tailings left on those big and deep ponds. The tailings flow to the tributary rivers, and thus killed those rivers too!

Some people did not know that in one way or another, we are all affected by such improper mining activities. They do not know that the tailings that contain toxic chemicals like mercury can flow into the sea and affect the fish there. Once the fish got contaminated with mercury, people who will consume that fish will also be affected.

She had presented a video of people who were affected by mine tailings; she even presented them in person, but we do not know why those lawmakers rejected her appointment into office.

I do not know the person I am mentioning here personally, but I knew her so many years ago for her works to save the rivers, plant trees, etc. to help protect the environment.

May she continue her advocacy for the environment even though she was not given a chance to do it through a public office.

We know she has the heart for the environment, and for the poor and indigenous people in our country.

Am so sad. I could do nothing but write that sadness here.