March 29, 2009

A win-win proposition for the coal power plant debate in Sarangani

I originally posted this as a comment to one of the blogs I encountered a couple of days ago. But somehow my comment got lost along the way and never got itself published, so I might as well just put it in my own blog. The comment, of course, was a lot shorter than this.

The context was the frequent brownouts (power curtailments) this region of Mindanao is currently experiencing. Some sectors are forecasting dire times ahead as the energy needs of Mindanao are climbing rapidly for power supply to catchup; hence the need for more investments in power infrastructures -- e.g. power plants.

Now, we all know that a coal-fired power plant is to be put up in Barangay Kamanga in the town of Maasim, Sarangani Province. Project proponent Conal Holdings Corp. (a company partly owned by the local Alcantara Group), in trying to allay fears of environmental havoc, has been assuring the public that a cleaner technology will be utilized for the plant's operations. Environmentalists and their allies, of course, are not about to buy the idea. Needless to say, two opposing sectors are currently slugging it out to win the hearts and minds of the public and the government who, in the final analysis, have the final say whether the power plant pushes through or not.

Last Sunday, I came across a feature article in the Inquirer Mindanao section of PDI, which contained one of the most interesting and witty proposals which, for me, can finally end the debate. This came from one Chris Dearne, an English conservationist based in General Santos City, who was quoted in the article as having "...dared the company (Conal Holdings) to put up the facility (coal power plant) side by side with the sprawling aquamarine farms of the Alcantara family in Alabel if it believes that it is really environmentally safe." (A. Zonio. "Saving Sarangani Bay's coral reefs" Philippine Daily Inquirer, 24(104): A19, March 22, 2009).

I know the above proposition may have been thrown in sarcasm, but don't you think it's a fairly brilliant idea?

March 16, 2009

Blue Haven in Banga, South Cotabato

Two weeks ago, I and my household decided to escape the early summer heat and have our Sunday lunch out. It was easy for me to decide which place to go. Having already tried many places within the city, I thought, why not revisit Blue Haven Resort and Durian Park in the town of Banga? It's been a while since the last time.

Blue Haven is not your typical pretentious resort. Its beauty is in its simplicity; its sprawling grounds being located in a very idyllic setting -- in the middle of vast ricefields just outside Banga proper, its surroundings lined with durian and other fruit and wood trees.

The resort has a picnic area with kiosks that can accommodate groups of varied sizes, and a mid-sized irregularly shaped pool in the middle mainly for the use of kids. On one side is a canopied space for wedding and baptismal receptions and similar parties; and on the other is a covered and raised pavilion for the more serious stuff like meetings and conferences.

But if one wants a more serene atmosphere, he or she can always retreat to one of three lodging cabins, two of which offer a good green (or golden, depending on the season) view of the surrounding ricefields from the shared veranda. The cabins are a new feature of Blue Haven which was absent during my last visit to the place. According to Ms. Gemma Young-Paciente, the other half of the couple who owns the place (the other being Mr. Armand G. Paciente), they hope to add more lodging space in the near future to accommodate growing demand for it.

Blue Haven's front desk hall houses the restaurant where patrons can indulge on food and drinks while sitting and dining on exquisitely designed hardwood chairs and tables.

My family, being less adventurous than I am, was not up to tasting some of the unique food that the restaurant has to offer. For lunch, we just opted for the common yet nonetheless satisfying chopsuey and fried chicken. We also did not pass up the chance to feast on the "native chicken" tinola, a kind of food which one cannot always have in the city. (Piece of advice: to fully enjoy this dish you may have to request for a longer cooking time as native chicken, as we all know, has meat that's very "hard to please".)

The resort's menu, however, lists food that can face up to the challenge of patrons with more discriminating tastes. The inihaw na hito (grilled catfish), pritong kokak (fried toad) and some quail and rabbit dishes are just some which can make one's visit in Blue Haven a great food trip.

The fresh durian fruit was missed however as it was not season. Blessing in disguise, as the refreshing durian shake proved to be a worthy substitute.

Blue Haven Resort and Durian Park is located at Barangay Liwanay (Barrio Uno), Banga, South Cotabato. If you are going westward along the Allah Valley highway, you can't miss its signage to your right just before you exit Banga towards the town of Surallah. For reservations and other inquiries, you may call Gemma or Armand at (083) 239-2616.

March 9, 2009

You can't talk peace and have a gun

Ladies and gentlemen, once again I give you... Francis M.

video remix by icespaceonline

So many faces, so many races
Different voices, different choices
Some are mad, while others laugh
Some live alone with no better half
Others grieve while others curse
And others mourn behind a big black hearse
Some are pure and some half-bred
Some are sober and some are wasted
Some are rich because of fate and
Some are poor with no food on their plate
Some stand out while others blend
Some are fat and stout while some are thin
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most

Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin’ round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world

Some are great and some are few
Others lie while some tell the truth
Some say poems and some do sing
Others sing through their guitar strings
Some know it all while some act dumb
Let the bassline strum to the bang of the drum
Some can swim while some will sink
And some will find their minds and think
Others walk while others run
You can’t talk peace and have a gun
Some are hurt and start to cry
Don’t ask me how don’t ask me why
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most

Kaleidoscope world
In this kaleidoscope world

I am a fan.

March 8, 2009

Thank you, sister!

My friend Gaynor emailed me the following prose. She says it's not her original. The author is a woman, that's for sure. But I am forwarding it myself nonetheless. Not all women that matter to me have their email and postal addresses in my directory, so I am re-printing this in my blog as my own way of sending my message of gratitude to all of you Sisters who have helped made my life meaningful. Happy Women's Day to you!

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your Sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass.

"They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters.

Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.

"Remember that 'Sisters' means ALL the women... your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too.

"You'll need other women. Women always do."

'What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman thought.

'Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!'

But she listened to her Mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:


Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Careers end.


Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you.

Or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead.

Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.

Pass this on to all the women who help make your life meaningful.

March 6, 2009

Some people have been hibernating

This happened a few moments ago in the TV game show Pilipinas Game Ka Na Ba?:

Question: Saang lalawigan makikita ang pandaigdigang paliparan ng Heneral Santos?

The first contestant was quick to the draw.

Contestant 1: Buzzzz!....Cebu?

Edu (Host): Wrong!... Steal!

Contestant 2 did not even bother to wait for the question (and the choices of answers) to be reiterated by Edu.

Contestant 2: Buzzzz!... Davao?

Grrr... Some people have been hibernating.