Available Balance
The Seas are Clean; Thanks for People’s Awareness
May 9, 2017

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

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Traveling By Sea is So Relaxing
May 8, 2017

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!

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Heavy Rain Last Night, It Feels Like June
April 24, 2017

It rained to hard last night. It was an unusual occurrence considering that it is still dry season here in our country.

In the past years, you can never expect any rain until May or early June, and so many people flock to the beach and other summer resorts to beat the heat away. Owners of resorts have their peak season; although some of them still have guests in rainy months, just like in hot spring resorts.

When it rained last night, I sighed that, “oh I have not been to the beach, and it is already raining!” It was because we were planning to go to the best by this month’s end. We are some two hours away from a beautiful shoreline/beachfront. One is about more than an hour only but it is not so beautiful. But no matter how it appears, I just love the sea!

We expected that the rain was just temporary, or it will shine again till the “normal” rainy season starting June or July, and we can still go to some beach destinations we have lined up! We are just waiting for our dear sister to come home during her vacation from abroad.

While it was raining last night, it was so refreshing. I love the smell of wet leaves and grasses. The temperature is so cool, and the scent of the rain was just so relaxing! The rain was a great relief for people here living in low-lying areas who experiences hot temperatures. At least the temperature had gone down, making them a little comfortable in their sleep last night. Even this morning, it feels so good. The plants looked alive, and the birds were chirping, apparently they are happy because of the rains. It is indeed a blessing for a tropical country like the Philippines to have enough rains so the farmers can also plant corn, rice, and other vegetables.

It is unusual to rain in April. Though it brought us happiness, we are also worried because of the weather changes. We fear that if the rainy season comes, it would bring excessive rains causing massive floods. We also observed that the storms during the past few years were quite fiery unlike in the past. There were storm signals reaching up to Signal No. 4, which was uncommon in the past. Could it be because of the global warming?

Whatever the implication could be, right now, we consider it a blessing and enjoy this cool morning after-rain feeling!

Photo shows one of my favorite beachfronts in the Philippines

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Sea or Swimming Pool, Which Do You Prefer?

Photo shows one of the beautiful beaches we visited

It is swimming season now, the sun is shining so hot everyday, the temperature so humid, making people seek comfort from the heat.

One way of combatting the very uncomfortable temperature is by staying in air-conditioned rooms, taking a bath twice or thrice a day, using electric fans, or drinking very cold water or fruit juices.

But for many people who do not have air conditioning units, or they wanted to save on electricity for an air conditioner, they flock to the malls to spend the day and enjoy the free air conditioning. They can just sit there and have some snacks when they go hungry. Some would go to the movie houses inside malls and spend the hours there.

But the best thing people are doing now is going swimming in the sea, rivers, or lakes, and some in man-made pools or swimming pools.

Swimming in the sea is the most preferred by many because it offers some unique feeling of bonding with nature. You can smell the water, can touch the sand, see the fish swimming by, or enjoy picking some sea shells, although some famous resorts ban this activity, even getting sand from it like in the famous Boracay beach where the sand is very white and fine.

It is easier to swim in the sea because there is more buoyancy, but just stay at a safe distance from the shore to prevent drowning. Do not go past the allowed distance set by resort owners. Sometimes you can never tell when you can have leg cramps which will be hazardous when swimming because you can not move your legs well. It is always advisable to wear life jackets or have some floaters for safety.

Do not swim alone, always have some companions with you, or let the lifeguards know that you are swimming.

Swimming in Pools

Sometimes it is easier to go to swimming pools which are always available if you are living far from the sea. There are exclusive swimming pools which you or your group can hire for a day or days. It is good to rent this kind of swimming pool because you can enjoy some sort of privacy compared with public pools.

There are also public swimming pools which charges lower fees for using it. Although I do not like it so much because there are so many people at the pool, and you can never tell if they follow the rules of using the comfort room for urinating. You just wonder how they can stay so long in the pool for hours without urinating?

And do the swimming pool owners/management always change the water daily, or on a regular basis? There are also cases when you can smell the chlorine that is added to the water to purify it. It could be itchy to the skin and dangerous if you continuously inhale it.

But just to beat the summer heat, people just ignore these dangers, saying they will just rinse well after taking a swim at the chlorinated pool. They say anyway, they are just doing it every summer months.

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Increasing environment related problems in coastal areas
March 26, 2017

I had recently written a post about one of my trips to Sundarban which is also known as Mangrove Forest the Sundarbans, a natural forest mostly in Bangladesh but a small part of it in India too.

Let’s try to understand what actually mangroves stand for. Technically speaking mangroves are a group of trees and shrubs that live and grow in areas with low-oxygen soil in the coastal intertidal zone where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate. We have heard about such forests in certain parts of the world but Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest of its kind anywhere in the world.

My post this time is not about beauty and travel experience but my concern on environmental issues the forest is facing after a ship carrying a large amount of coal sank in the nearby area. Incidentally this is third such case in within a short period of last two years in this particular area. Bangladesh, as many of you might be aware has common boundaries with India so any environmental changes make difference on each other’s climate.

The fact is it is environmental changes are not in this particular area but all along our 7500 km long  coastal area with 12 major and more than 200 smaller harbors continuously posing risk by disposing waste and by way of leaked oil in sea. Besides harbors, all large petro-refineries and chemical plants located in the coastal areas adding to problem beyond human control by disposing waste directly into the sea.

As if that was not enough the fact that there are at least 190 major towns and cities situated at the coastal areas discharge almost 55 billion liters of garbage into the sea directly without any treatment is source of major environment related problem effecting people living in coastal areas. If we take into account the waste discharged in sea by hotels and resorts located at beaches the situation is grave and needs our immediate attention.

Image source https://pixabay.com/en/water-monitor-lizard-varanus-salvator-1226647/

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