2014 IS HERE!


Just 1 Barangay

A curious little big fact... have you seen or heard of a town in this country that has only one (1) barangay?

Yes there are! Three of them, in fact!

One is the town of Adams in Ilocos Norte, in its border with the province of Cagayan - just below Pagudpud. The other is Dumalneg, yep, just beside and to the west of the former. The third is the town of Kalayaan (Palawan) in the Spratlys!

These towns are composed of just one barangay each! Hmm, can you imagine what political exercise they'll be holding come October 2013? What would be a barangay captain for as opposed to having a mayor in these three towns? Hehehe, redundancies, 'no?!

Anyway, I got curious and asked around...

Adams only has about 2,000 residents or less - a place can be called town by congress if there are at least 25,000 inhabitants hehe. And I would be very sure it cannot earn an annual income of at least 2.5 million pesos which is another requisite. The 3rd 'must' is having 'a contiguous territory of at least fifty (50) square kilometers as certified by the Lands Management Bureau' - Adams is 159.31 square kilometers - so it passes at least this requirement! Why is it a town then? Well, it preceded congress hahaha! This town was created during the American occupation or sometime therearounds!

Dumalneg is just 88.48 square kilometers and also has less than a thousand inhabitants! Also created as a town long ago, this place boasts of having a majority of its residents being members of cultural minority groups. Quite a showcase of our past in an entire town!

Well, the 3rd town that has only one barangay is way out beyond the island of Palawan though still part of it. Kalayaan is part of the Spratly Islands claimed by so many countries near and far. West Philippine sea, remember?! BUT, as if it was any different, the lone barangay of the town is called Pag-asa hehe. At least, unlike the former two, this town has a differently-named barangay and is not landlocked and actually composed of 6 or so islands. Population? You'd be happiest to see if there were anywhere more than 500 people anywhere at one time hahaha!

Interestingly, though Kalayaan is a town of just one Barangay, it has its own runway, a water-filtering plant, power generators, weather stations and a communications tower. And, the mayor hold office in far Puerto Princesa!


Chinese New Year Haircut

Saturday, just a few hours before Chinese New Year. Someone told me not to forget having a haircut. I said yes, as I have been doing that for decades. Reason why I never had a haircut since December 31 – so that the barber will at least have something to actually cut. If only for me to say I got the service I paid for! And I told myself, I should do this at about 8PM when there will not be too many of them folks lining up at the barbershop. It’s a Saturday y’know!

Voila! The usually jolly reception clerk who could only manage a half-smile at me used her fingers counting people in the air and told me I was 17th in waiting? What?! And she shook her head a bit saying the 4 barbers might not anymore make it to all of us as they close at 9PM. Whoops alright, someone just got off one of the barber’s chair, so that made me 16th! Yey! Then a father and two sons entered to join the waiting list. Whah! Clerk’s ‘problem’ was that ALL of us “in waiting” were/are regular customers.

There was an attempt from the lady hairdressers to invite those in line if anyone wanted their crowing glories done by them beauticians. One did. He was No. 9 in the list. That made me move up to 15th! All in a span of probably 5 minutes hehe. I grabbed a ‘more than crumpled, nearly mangled’ daily to while my time away. But I would see or hear others also coming in for a haircut. In my mind I was saying “maybe all these guys were thinking like I did – come here late expecting there’d be no more clients”. So I resolved that next year I’ll do this at opening time!

Still more were coming, some would go out (exasperated, I think) accepting that their heads won’t make it for the 9PM closing time. So I stood up, went to Miss Unjolly Clerk hehe, and asked her what time the mall closes. She managed a bit of a smile and said midnight because there is a big sale. So I told her to ask their boss and/or the barbers if they would like to extend the services as there were too many people in line. She said “hmm, teka” and went inside (I think to talk to the boss).

Both came out in a while and the lady boss made a cursory look at all of us waiting for a haircut. When she got near me I told her “pera din yan, masamang umaayaw sa kita lalo na new year ngayon”! She was nodding and I followed that with “sige ka, baka malasin kayo sa buong year of the snake”! After talking to the barbers, I saw her nod at Miss Now-Jolly Clerk who actually just finished writing on a piece of paper with her pentel pen. It said “Closing Time Today: 11PM” and she went to stick that signage on the glass door. I think she even made calls to some of those who just went away to tell them they have extended their closing time.

And the earlier quiet barbers were now talking and bantering (they usually do) with two of them who kept repeating a sing-song “pera din yaaaan”, “overtime din yaaaan”, “pambili ng ponkan”… and so on! I returned my attention to the daily news. Jessica Soho was already on with her State Of The Nation program! And I was still number 7 in waiting. Hmm, that would have been the ‘normal closing time’. Good I coaxed them to extend. And good that the ladies and gay hair dressers were helping out and succeeding in convincing some men to “succumb” to their scissors hehe. I think lady or gay hairdressers do it too long a time per head. I just think so!

Anyway, I sat there thinking… what does a haircut really have to do with Chinese New Year? Or even the regular Christian New Year? I wondered! Why do we Filipinos (even those of us without Chinese blood) do follow this ritual? Or is that a belief? A superstition? A fad? A norm? A Custom? Hmm, a curious little thing that I should research on sooner or later! Does anyone know?

All I can remember is that when I was still very young, my grandmother told me that we should all ‘meet’ the new year with a clean face and body so that it will be a joyful start hopefully to last the whole year through! I think that’s reason enough for me to have been doing this “ritual” for decades now! Then again, some others might know other reasons. Do you? Tell me please!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!


Never On A Monday

This is a pamahiin (superstition) that (I think) borders on the realistically practical. But a pamahiin just the same and quite interesting!

What is it?

It is said that many (if not all) of the companies owned / controlled by Lucio Tan and his family do not release employee salaries on a Monday.

Let us say their salaries are supposed to be every 15th and 30th. PAL and/or Allied Bank and/or the other of their sister companies won’t release salaries if that 15th or 30th is a Monday. Now hold your horses and carabaos – if you might be thinking they could get into trouble with the law or the labor unions. How do they do it? On the Friday or Saturday prior that Monday! If in case that “Friday or Saturday” is a holiday, then their suweldo will be available at the ATMs on the last working day prior that holiday. Advanced!

Why is it so?

Well, everyone I asked say, it is a Chinese belief that it is unlucky for anyone to be releasing money “OUT” at the very start of the week. It should be a “buena mano” instead, according to them! Actually, the many folks who told me also say that it is not only talking about the week but any “start” for that matter. Therefore, the same pamahiin applies to start of day, start of year, start of month and so on.

Aliw ‘no?!

But for me who is not really into superstitious beliefs, I think what they’re doing is just practical. To be releasing money at the start of a week, day, month or year would seem to have a negative psychological ‘effect’ on your brain, right? The more positive feeling would naturally be to start something with earnings coming “IN”. Simula araw pasok kita para saya negosyo insik!

Okay, di ba?!


Gov’t moves to mainstream eco-friendly jeepneys

MANILA, April 17 (PIA) -- The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said on Monday that the Philippines is finally making progress in introducing a new breed of jeepneys that run either on electricity or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 

In a statement, Efren Moncupa, DOTC undersecretary for project implementation and special concerns, noted that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recently approved the franchises of the first 20 e-jeepneys, which ply three different Makati Green Routes: Legaspi Village, Salcedo Village, and Heritage Village loops. 

The new e-jeepneys run on electricity, which is less costly than diesel and does not contribute to air pollution. With this, the jeepney, which has been a boon to the Filipino culture but a bane to the environment for its reputation of being a smoke belcher, is set to get a much-needed reinvention, one that would make it more eco-friendly. 

Apart from the franchises that the LTFRB has started granting for e-jeepneys, the DOTC have also started talks with various transport groups to convince their members to switch to environment-friendly modes of transport. 

“A meeting with (the jeepney transport group] Pasang Masda was held. The group is proposing (the adoption of) a 21-seater e-jeepney that costs around P450,000 to P500,000,” Moncupa said. 

Moncupa added that the DOTC is also looking into promoting jeepneys whose engine will run on efficient and eco-friendly LPG. He said the DOTC is now coordinating with a local supplier of LPG-run engines. 

The move to reinvent the jeepney is part of the DOTC’s initiative to promote clean air in the country by coming up with programs for the transport sector that will significantly reduce air pollution. 

Earlier, Roxas said the DOTC is also eyeing to steadily reduce the age limits of PUVs over time. Currently, buses have a 15-year old age limit; taxis, 13 years; and AUVs, multicab, and vans, 10 years. 

The DOTC also signed recently a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the Philippines (UP) seeking for assistance in conducting research on environmentally sustainable transport policies. 

These initiatives, said DOTC spokesman Nic Conti, should help the country improve its Environmental Performance Index. Last February, the biennial Environmental Performance Index (EPI) prepared by Yale and Columbia Universities ranked the Philippines 42nd among 132 countries categorized as a global “strong performer” in environmental performance. 

The EPI, a project of the World Economic Forum in Geneva and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Italy, is a method of quantifying and numerically benchmarking a country’s performance on its environmental policies. 

Conti also said the move to promote e-jeepneys, LPG-engines, and younger fleet age for public utility vehicles should result in improvements in the amount of total suspended particulates, the measurement used to gauge air pollution. 

“As it is, the country already recorded a 30-percent drop in the amount of total suspended particulates from 166 µg/Ncm (micrograms per normal cubic meter) in June 2010, to 116 µg/Ncm towards as of end of last year,” he said. 

He added: “With these initiatives, as well as the LTO’s continued implementation of vehicle emission standards set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, we should be on our way to the normal standard set for TSP by the World Health Organization, which is 90 µg/Ncm.” (DOTC/RJB/JCP-PIA NCR)