@your SiRVis... Simon Francis Blaise R. Vistro wants to be known as SiRVis (an amalgamation of his name, profession and penchant for service). He is a polymath wannabe in the fields of training and education, civic voluntarism, sports, arts, travel, photography and social networking. Born and raised in Dagupan City, he is a staunch advocate of the preservation of Pangasinan language, arts and culture. Follow me on: Twitter. Facebook, Tumblr, Plurk.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Prepare for Disasters

Many have been said and written about what to do when a disaster strikes. It has been said that prevention is always better than the cure. Although we may not prevent earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, typhoons from happening, we can always prepare for them. This is the reason why I wrote about Disaster Preparedness in the household level. Many thanks to the following for their contribution to the article- Kuya Robert Erfe-Mejia, Mja Bayle, Dave Paragas, Maite Quesada and Tin Tin Babao. 

Bug-out bags and other ways to be disaster-prepared

Don’t be scared; be prepared.
This admonition, sound as it is, is easier said than done. Who wouldn’t be scared with the current disasters that hog the headlines? These are headlines about the earthquakes, floods, tsunamis that seem like doomsday stories: Australia's Queensland faces 'biblical' floodNew Zealand earthquake: 65 dead in ChristchurchDeath toll in Japan quake, tsunami surpasses 10,000 and At least 75 killed in Myanmar earthquake.
In the Philippines, the more recent disasters have been caused by floods and typhoons. Fresh in our minds are the lethal floods in Bicol and Isabela. Not too long ago were devastations and deaths caused by Typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng. But the recent earthquakes and the possible tsunami are the ones now terrifying Pinoys. Instead of being afraid and stressed out from worrying, we should learn from the disasters and prepare for whatever might happen.
Dagupan City after the 1990 Earthquake
It has been 20 years since the July 16, 1990 Luzon earthquake but the magnitude of destruction and number of fatalities continue to haunt the memories of those who experienced the seismic disaster. Who can forget an earthquake which caused deaths totaling to an estimated 1,621 people? The earthquake was one of the deadliest and costliest natural disasters in the Philippines.
I was a senior high school student in Dagupan City when the 1990 earthquake happened. My classmates and I were in the third floor of the Mother Goose Special Science High School building when the earthquake shook us like we were sardines in a crumpled can. Luckily for us, the building did not collapse or sink like the other buildings in the city. But chaos was everywhere. I fetched my younger cousins from their schools and we walked for kilometers as we braved the aftershocks, petrifying road cracks where water oozed and the horrifying scene of sunken establishments because of liquefaction. One of Dagupan’s bridges split into halves like a crisp soda cracker. Deaths caused by the killer quake could have been minimized if the structural integrity of buildings was frequently checked. People should have been calm and alert so that stampedes and accidents were avoided. Preparedness could’ve spelled a big difference between life and death.
Safety begins at home so I interviewed Dagupan City’s Public Order and Safety Office and City Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council Chief, Robert Erfe-Mejia to know what to do for disaster preparedness at the household level. Here are prescriptions he gave:
  1. Appoint a Safety Officer in the family. There is a need to have someone who will be in-charge of everyone’s safety in case of a disaster or an emergency. Someone who will not panic and lead the members of the family to the safe areas and be responsible to conduct first aid as well as decide for the welfare of the family. There should be at least two appointed safety officers just in case one is not around or if the other is injured or not capable to perform the duty. The safety officer could be the father, mother, one of the children, the kasambahay or the trusted house help.
  2. Structural integrity of the house should be examined and checked regularly. This is important in preempting possible destruction that could cause serious injuries or even death. Repairs and reinforcements should be immediately made to ensure that the house can withstand disasters or at least minimize ill effects to the household in case of disasters.

Read my other articles at Philippine Online Chronicles here. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

No KIDding, This K is the Answer to KKK

This Kid is kay gwapo!
What is K and why is it the Answer to KKK? K is short for Kambing (Kanding in Pangasinan) or Goat. Yes, it the same ruminant (an animal with four stomachs) that you love as pulutan or ulam. The kambing can be cooked in to a variety of K dishes: Kaldereta, Kappukan, Kaleskes, Kinigtot and Knorr (just to make it start with K) Sinampalukan/ One Set (Goat's head and feet in tamarind broth). It is the answer to KKK - Kagutuman, Kahirapan and Kalusugan.

SiRVis holding a Nubian kid
Days ago, I visited Urbiztondo Goat Farm which is owned by my brother-in-law Camilo Velasco, Jr. and his family. I enjoyed the experience as it was a gastronomical feast (an upgrade's meat was  cooked as kaldereta and pinapaitan) and an educational tour in one. I admire how UGF has turned goat-raising as an answer to poverty, health and nutrition. It has provided work for farm hands, part-time forage gatherers and soon for goat milkers. UGF is now concentrating into Nubian breeding and milk production. 

Kids kidding kids kidded kids with kids
(as described by John De Guzman)
The Nubians are beautiful but I learned that the ideal Nubian is one that is a good milk producer. The Beauty Queen should also be a Dairy Queen! This breed of goats are famous for its milk's high butterfat content. 

These Nubian goats are big! Mature bucks grow as tall as calves and weigh as much as 200 pounds. Imagine how much the upgrades (cross breed of Nubian and local goats) would cost in the market. That's one big yummy Kaldereta!
Nubian Buck: UGF HUGU TLA
Goats practically eat everything green- grass and leaves of shrubs and trees. This was the initial reason why Camilo raised goats; to eradicate the weeds in the around the Mahogany trees he planted in Dalanguiring, Urbiztondo. But when he came across Anglo Nubians, it was love at first sight (quoted). 
Serendipitous Mahogany Trees

Forage for the goats however differ in nutritional value. Mulberry leaves for example have high protein and low fibre content and high digestibility. It is planted in the UGF as source of forage. 
Nubian Kid
Nubian kid
Upgraded Nubian Kids cost P10,000 and Purebred Nubian Kids are worth P25,000.

To learn more, visit the farm or UGF's Multiply and Webs.com site.
Kambing is the Answer to KKK. And I'm not KIDding (pun intended)!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This is Good News (at least for Postpaid Subscribers)! Globe Telecom brings another first: Unlimited Text Messaging to All Networks (Globe, Sun, Smart, Talk 'n Text, Red and TM)! Globe just launched it's newest promo My SUPER TXT ALL. It's P599 for 30 days of Unlimited text to any local network (that's just P20 per day!). Visit www.globe.com.ph or tweet @enjoyGLOBE for details.

Only if this is available for Prepaid subcribers then this would be Great News! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What makes March special?

March is just one month among the 11 other months of the year. For some, March is special; for others it is just but an ordinary month. Read about March and what it means- as seen through my eyes. Here is my Philippine Online Chronicles article

A March to remember

What’s so special about March? What makes the month of March different from the other months? Here’s a trivia: March which was named after the Roman god of war was once the first month of the year during the ancient times. This is because in the Northern hemisphere, spring season (which associated with rebirth, renewal and regrowth) begins in the month of March.
Philippine history is replete with events that happened in March. Magellan discovered (or rediscovered depending on one’s standpoint) the Philippines on March 16, 1521. Pinoy novelty singer Yoyoy Villame’s song however had it wrong as it is in the uninhabited Homonhon Island, Samar where the Portugese explorer actually first set foot in the Philippines:

On March 16, 1521
When Philippines was discovered by Magellan
They were sailing day and night across the big ocean
Until they saw a small Limasawa island
Magellan landed in Limasawa at noon
The people met him very welcome on the shore
They did not understand the speaking they have done
Because Kastila gid at Waray-Waray man.

It is the first mass in the Philippines that was held at Limasawa, Leyte on March 31, 1521. Several years later, on March 15, 1565, the Sandugo or a blood compact was made between Datu Sikatuna and Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Bohol as a sign of peace agreement.

The Tejeros Convention was held at Tejeros (now General Trias) in Cavite on 22 March 1897. This is considered as the first Presidential and Vice Presidential election in the history of the Philippines. In March 23, 1901, General Emilio Aguinaldo was captured in Palanan, Isabela. The American colonial government considered this the end of the Revolution. On March 24, 1903, Meralco was granted franchise by the government to supply Manila and its environs with electricity and the electric street-railway system. The Tydings-McDuffie Act, otherwise known as the Philippine Independence Act, was signed into law on March 24, 1934.
Former President FVR with the author
Speaking of beginnings, March is the birthday month of our three former Presidents: MiongJPL, and mykaluyagan (provincemate and idol) Tabako. Sadly, it is also the month when “My Guy”, arguably the best President we ever had, died. March also marked the publication of two important revolutionary works, Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere in 1887 and KKK’s secret newspaper, Kalayaan in 1896.

Read my other articles at Philippine Online Chronicles here. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

iPad 2 is Here!

iPad 2 is Here! iPad 2 is Here! 

After a much awaited launch of the new iPad, it's finally out. And it's probably worth the wait, hoopla  and anticipation.  The iPad 2 is thinner, lighter and faster and more...

According to the Apple website, the iPad 2  is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the 1st iPad. This makes one enjoy the experience with comfort- literally technology in your fingertips. I'm changing the lyrics of Laurie London's song to "You got the whole world (wide web) in your hands fingertips." 

With the Dual-core A5 chip, the iPad 2 just became twice faster. The graphics is also super fast (up to 9x faster). Multi-taskers and gamers would surely drool! I can't wait to try and play my favorite online game Shaiya using the iPad 2!

iPad 2 has two cameras (front and back). You know what that means? FaceTime! This is one feature that I enjoy in my iPhone 4. And it's now in an iPad 2! Woohoo!

Then there's this thingy called iPad Smart Cover. It's not just for aesthetics but also for protection and function. iPad 2 + iPad Samrt Cover = MFEO!

Tech Specs? Click here. For more iPad 2 features, click here

Mark your calendar. Apple iPad 2 is out in the market on March 11. Price starts at $499!

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