Sunday, November 27, 2011

Lebak Market: Lean and Clean

One of the cleanest public markets I have seen in these parts. The Lebak Public Market.

Lebak is a town in the province of Sultan Kudarat; among the most difficult-to-reach towns of the province owing mainly to its natural boundaries of high mountains on one side and the vast expanse of the Moro Gulf/Celebes Sea on the other. 

Recent road infrastructures however have made access to/from Lebak from/to various points in Mindanao considerably easier than before. Lebak is now connected to Cotabato City by a newly constructed concrete highway that passes through the mountain towns of Upi and South Upi in Maguindanao. Air-conditioned passenger vans now provide direct service between Lebak and the cities of Cotabato and Davao and the provincial capital town of Isulan.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Masskara Moment

How colorful is Bacolod City's Masskara Festival? This colorful. You have the whole mass of spectators - Bacolodnons and not - inching for space trying to watch and catch, with whatever gadgets they have, every tinge and hue of the festive masquerade as it traverses the main streets of the city.

Photo taken October 16, 2011. My first Masskara festival. Awesome.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cebu City Public Library: Reborn

After more than two years of hullabaloo following the announcement of its closure in late 2008, Cebu City's Rizal Memorial Library and Museum is finally back. And with a vengeance.

Its 72-year old building which is a neoclassical architectural standout by itself has undergone a multi-million peso facelift and now houses 3 major learning spaces to serve the public -- the city public library on the ground floor, the city museum on the second, and a venue for cultural and historical functions on the third called Sinulog hall.

Now that's what we call investing for the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Barili in my mind

A fish wardens' shelter 'watches over' a child at play as she picks pebbles on the rocky beach of Sitio Cabacungan, Barangay Japitan in the town of Barili, Cebu.

The place is home to the brave men and women of the San Rafael-Cabacungan Fishermen Association (SANRACA), and the Kapunungan sa Nagpakabanang Kababayen-an (KASANAG-KA) - two organizations that are among those in the forefront of various coastal and marine resource management initiatives and advocacies, locally and at the national level.

I used to live and work here as a development worker in the mid-1990s. I took the photo above during my recent visit to the place, my first after some 16 years.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Beginning

I and my family visited Tacurong City in the province of Sultan Kudarat a few hours ago. We are happy to note that the old municipal building has begun its repair and reconstruction. Signage on the roof reads a budget of close to a million pesos has been allotted for the building's rehab and improvement. The building is set to house the city's public library and museum, among other local offices.

The people of Tacurong cap their weeklong celebration of the city's 11th anniversary tomorrow, September 18, 2011, with the Talakudong Festival street dance and other festivities.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) holds its final mine design disclosure and consultations with communities and stakeholders within and around its Tampakan Copper-Gold Project, prior to its application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). Photo was taken the other day in the town of Tampakan in South Cotabato which will co-host the mining project along with Kiblawan in Davao del Sur and Columbio in Sultan Kudarat.

SMI is mostly owned by Xstrata, one of the largest and leading mining companies worldwide. It aims to dig up, primarily by open-pit method, what is described as the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposit in the Southeast Asia-Pacific region. It plans to begin construction by 2012 and commence full operations by 2016.

The Philippine national government, backed by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, has continuously expressed openness to large-scale mining investments such as that of SMI-Xstrata. However, various civil society groups, led by the Catholic Church, have strongly opposed large-scale mining investments and have recently obtained backing from the South Cotabato provincial government when the latter passed a local law banning open-pit mining in the entire province.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Top Speed

A replica of the yellow fin tuna is carried around during one of the focal presentations of last year's Tuna Festival street dance. The Tuna Festival is an annual event held in General Santos City in the island of Mindanao, Philippines, to celebrate the city's charter anniversary. This year's festivities - the 2011 Tuna Festival - run from August 27 to September 5.

Real live tunas have been clocked at a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour while swimming the open ocean.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mr. Madame Butterfly

A butterfly, mounted on a glass panel. I took this photo during a recent visit with my family to the Simply Butterflies Conservation Center in the town of Bilar in Bohol. The butterfly farm is among the growing number of butterfly sanctuaries dotting the island of Bohol, and is among the stops when you go on one of those regular day tours to the island-province's top tourist attractions. The farm keeps just a modest collection of both live and mounted butterflies, but is staffed by incredibly knowledgeable tour personnel who, during our visit, succeeded in making us realize how ignorant we were of many things about these amazing creatures.

Did you know that assymetrical patterns on a butterfly's wings signify its sex is neither male nor female but, well, somewhere in between?