Monday, April 26, 2010

My sweet Caroline

I "discovered" this new restaurant last Saturday. But I should give credit to Raddy Mabasa for this because he insisted on it while at first, battling sinuses and a fever, wanted to go somewhere else. Good reason, or shall I say, "sige na nga", prevailed and we walked over to Caroline Pattiserie. It's a minute's walk from Raddy's clinic in M. Paterno Street in San Juan (close to the San Juan Arena).
The moment I stepped in, well, I got that nice homey feeling that I felt at Cookbook Kitchen or Serendipity. And those cakes were plenty inviting. I'd say Banapple but as much as I love the place is too cramped for comfort.
The pattiserie, located at #17 M Paterno Street, is small with six or seven tables. At most, it will seat like 20? But even if it's small you don't feel boxed it. It retains that homey ambiance.
The food is homemade. As was my lunch -- corn beef! And for dessert -- a slice of Tres Leches cake that had me ordering another. Talk about a sugar shot right there. But it was good. hey, Raddy! I'll be back and to take pics of that old Spanish house.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Gustavian @ Ayala Cebu

An excellent European restaurant in Cebu. There are two -- one in the Ayala Mall (beside another fave of mine Cyma) and one near the airport.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

At the Waterfront Hotel, Mactan, Cebu

Stayed at the Waterfront Hotel just beside Mactan International Airport.Never forget to make sure you are booked in a non-smoking room! Arrrghh! But the rooms were spacious and clean. Not so bad. Wifi is like Php600 for half a day and it's super duper fast. I brought with my Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. Haven't been able to finish it but this time I will. Food is expensive at the hotel. You might want to cross over to the airport where they have a nice resto called The Tinderbox. Outside the airport there's a stall that sells lechon. So you can just buy rice and literally pig out. This is Cebu so the lechon has no sauce. But all in all though, I enjoyed my brief stay.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Iron Potatohead

Check out the Iron Man Mr. Potatohead. Cool isn't it? I wonder if they also have a War Machine and Iron Monger version of this. I have the Optimus Prime version. Better than the Bumblebee edition that didn't look kosher. Here's to the success of Iron Man 2. Mr. Jon Favreau... I know this is a long ways off but are we going to be seeing the Mandarin or Crimson Dynamo is the third film?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Global Warning

A Global Warning

Climate Change is both real and frightening and not the product of some filmmaker’s unfettered imagination. Unfortunately, we are merely players. Rick Olivares takes a look at the signs and asks everyone to take the issues of Global Warming more seriously. This appears in a forthcoming issue of Philippines Free Press.

Roland Emmerich, producer of extinction event films The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, couldn’t write anything more frightening than this.

Exactly one year after Leo Oracion reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 17, 2006, he went up again. This time, along with Erwin “Pastor” Emata who scaled the world’s tallest mountain peak alongside him, they were back to guide three Filipina mountaineers – Noelle Wenceslao, Carina Dayondon, and Janet Belarmino on their date with destiny.

During the ascent, Oracion was aghast at the sight of a barren portion of the mountain side that only one year earlier was white from the snow and ice. As much as he was excited for the three Filipinas, he couldn’t help but think of the implications of the melting ice. “I hope we don’t pay for this,” he silently prayed.

Oracion made no bones about his concern for Mother Nature and when he returned back home. He took every opportunity tell anyone who was willing to listen about the effects of global warming. “When you’re a mountaineer, you have a better appreciation for life, your surroundings, the world… everything. You cannot be indifferent to these changes because it affects everyone of us.”

More than two years later, Oracion’s worst fears were confirmed when Typhoon Ondoy submerged Metro Manila as a frightening form of payback after years of deforestation, erosion, pollution, and a general lack of care for the environment. It wasn’t anything of Biblical proportions similar to the time of Noah, but it did sweep away many a home, property, and a life. Nature served a stern warning that no one – whether rich or poor – was unreachable by her wrath.

Despite moderate winds, Ondoy (international codename: Ketsana) brought down the worst rainfall in the history of the country in a matter of hours. A “State of Calamity” was declared over Metro Manila with water levels reaching an alarming 20 feet high. At least 464 people lost their lives that day.

Months after the incident, it is as if nothing has happened. The municipalities of Marikina, Cainta, Pasig, and other hard hit areas have been swept clean of mud and debris, infrastructure repaired, and houses given a fresh coat of paint. The rehabilitation efforts are cosmetic for the scars remain. Real estate prices have gone down in the flooded areas as its previous residents have left for safer and higher ground. The rivers have receded but remain quiet and still predators. Every once in a while, talk about the disaster crops up. Some dismiss it already as a freak event.

After all, life goes on and there is the urgent matter of the coming national elections.

Yet lost amidst the electoral mudslinging was a bit of news that quickly made the newswires last March 24 even if it emanated from thousands of miles away. To say that the news was every bit disturbing and frightening is a massive understatement.

New Moore Island (or South Talpatti Island as it is called by the Bangladeshis), a tiny island four square meters long and the subject of three-decade long dispute between Bangladesh and India, was no more. Gone as if it never existed.

There's no trace of the island any more,'' proclaimed Sugata Hazra, a professor from the School of Oceanographic Studies at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. “What two countries could not resolve was settled by Mother Nature.” The only evidence left of the island’s existence are some branches from a tree that jut out from the water as if it were waiting to be rescued. But given the quick rising sea level, it is only a matter of time before even those defiant branches would be swallowed up by the silent but silent waters.

The loss of New Moore Island is by no means over. Hazra also warned that the rising waters could eventually claim another ten other islands in the area. And if nothing was done soon, by the year 2050, Bangladesh and its population of 150 million people will be in extreme danger.

It isn’t only the seas around the Bay of Bengal that have been on the rise. The phenomenon is worldwide. And the Philippines essentially being an island nation, the signs are telling.

The Klima Climate Change Center, located at the Manila Observatory of the Ateneo de Manila University in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, prepared a report that noted a steady rise in the sea level around the CAMANAVA (Cavite-Malabon-Navotas) area as well as Bohol and Iloilo in the Visayan region.

“If people think that the floods are nothing out of the ordinary since we live in a tropical country then they have another thought coming,” said Deanna Olaguer, spokesperson from Klima. “It’s like a Pandora’s Box. Once opened, flooding spawns a whole new set of problems from health and sanitation. Not to mention means of livelihood. We cannot be fatalistic about such things. We have to act now while there is still time because this is one battle (against nature) that we cannot hope to win. We cannot just throw up our hands and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to be good now’ and everything will go back to normal. It doesn’t work that way.”

Studies have shown that from 1961-1993, the sea level rose at 1.8 millimeters a year. Then from 1993 onwards, it almost doubled at 3.1 millimeters a year.

The Philippine National Statistical Coordination Board reported an increase of diseases such as dengue, cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea.

Global warming affects the temperature, precipitation (rainfall), sea level rise, and extreme events such as typhoons and heat waves. In more specific terms, it means that there has been a decrease in rainfall in Northern Luzon that threatens our food security. However in the Visayas, there has been a significant increase in typhoons passing over the area. Overall, it also means more hot days and nights and fewer cold days and nights.

Natural disasters have plagued mankind all throughout history yet the indications are there that in the 21st century, they will happen more frequently and affect man more severely.

And with the rapid urbanization of our surroundings, more and more people are exposed to risk and disasters. In the Klima report, 20 areas were listed as the most susceptible to risk to typhoons, rainfall changes, temperature increase, and El NiƱo.

1. - Ifugao

2. - Albay

3. - Pampanga

4. - Sorsogon

5. - Rizal

6. - Cavite

7. - Sulu

8. - Biliran

9. - Laguna

10. - Northern Samar

11. - Batangas

12. - Pangasinan

13. - La Union

14. - Basilan

15. - Nueva Ecija

16. - Metro Manila

17. - Western Samar

18. - Tarlac

19. - Masbate

20. - Camarines Sur

In the 2007 study by the Belgian Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), the Philippines ranked second in the world with an average of nearly 3,000 people killed annually due to natural disasters. More than the human cost, the economy pays a stiffer price with an estimated $988 million lost per annum.

“It is the poor who usually suffer the most during disasters,” noted Olaguer who underscored a tripartite approach of Prevention-Mitigation-Adaptation* to Global Warming. “First we have to acknowledge that Climate Change is happening and is affecting us. The three-pronged answer is the best vehicle for no regrets measures. And for this to really give us a fighting chance against Climate Change, there has to be a honest-to-goodness effort from all sectors – transport, energy, forestry, industry, agricultural, waste management, and land use. It’s the only way. There is no other way. And while there is still time.”

The last sentence is loaded and says volumes for it means a profound restructuring of lifestyles. Whether the country, currently embroiled in selfish measures in a struggle for power, or the world with all its concerns, gets its act together is altogether another matter.

In the meantime, last February 26, a massive 2550-long glacier broke off from the Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica. The iceberg not only presents a threat to the shipping lanes but also reduces the fresh water supply of the world as it melts into the salty ocean.

“You mean another Titanic could happen?” asked one wag in an online forum about Climate Change referring to ill-fated passenger liner that struck an iceberg in its maiden voyage out of Southampton, England on its way to New York City that received a Hollywood treatment in a film starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.

“I wonder if we take things seriously.” said an exasperated Oracion as he summed up his talks about Climate Change, “We are the architects of our own problems.”


· Prevention refers to the reduction of greenhouse gases and the protection of the earth’s atmosphere.

· Mitigation refers to measures or actions to decrease the intensity of Climate Change.

· Adaptation refers to minimizing the effects of Climate Change.