Saturday, December 31, 2011


2011 is a very exciting year for me as a blogger!

First of all, this is my first year as one.
I started just last January 2011 with 6 posts, the first of which was on the Apple Stores in Boston and New York and second, on a memorable wedding of friends from the US celebrating it in Zamboanga City.

However,  when an unprecedented explosive incident happened by the end of January, my momentum as a blogger halted since my priorities changed... and I wasn't able to write anything on February and March!

In April, I tried to start writing again as soon as I came from Penang and Singapore and I thought, I have things to write about now, and also the trauma of the explosion has died down.

I wrote about the Marina Bay Sands and also about my new Nikon Coolpix P500 36x wide superzoom.
Interestingly, the blog about the NIKON P500 36X WIDE SUPERZOOM POINT AND SHOOT: SUPERZOOM MODE is the most popular blog!

From April to July, I only wrote 3 to 7 blogs per month, but I also realized how long the blogs were.

August came and I wrote 15 blogs... an improvement I may say.
I wrote about our road trip from Zamboanga to Camiguin and back.
I also found something close to my heart, which were pictures of Zamboanga City taken by me in a chopper! Not everyone is given a chance as I had in 2005. BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF ZAMBOANGA CHURCES AND PARISHES CIRCA 2005 is my second most popular blog.

The other popular blogs were on Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree in HongKong and even on the Lantaka Hotel and Vinta Regatta in Zamboanga City!

By the end of August, I had to go to Cebu for the demise of my nephew. I wasn't busy there and so I had time to blog. But most interesting was, I wrote 12 blogs on my experience with the JICA Friendship Program 1987 Science Students group on my first travel abroad to Japan last 1987!
Can you imagine 1987 events!!! I was so inspired since my batchmate, Dr. Emil T. started a Facebook group and was trying to look for our batchmates and indeed, we found many Filipino and Japanese friends.
It seemed all the memories flooded back, of course, with the help of my old albums and typewritten data! 
2012 marks our 25th year anniversary of that special event in our lives!

By September, I had a total of 27 blogs that month. The most number of blogs written in a month.
What inspired me this time were things related to Zamboanga City =  places and events, especially that the Fiesta Pilar was coming on October.
Also at this time, I dug up many of my old photos from the late 1990s to mid 2000s on activities and places in Zamboanga City.
I felt I wanted to share to the world about the beauty of Zamboanga City, which is usually a misunderstood place!

By October, the Fiesta Pilar itself was my inspiration.
I also had many travels related to work and also with important family activities.

By November, I continued to enjoy visiting at interesting places in Zamboanga City. I realized not much is written about my dear Zamboanga City.

This December, I have written on varied topics which ranges from  happy Christmas events, hotels stayed to depressing calamities.
In fact, I have ended with a sad note talking about Typhoon Sendong, but I still believe in hope and rising above adversity.

I wrote a total of 131 blogs this year!

Interesting gadgets that thrill me as I check on them include Topblogs which I started last September 26, where I started with the # 300 and now at #112, at times reaching #93 when I was really busy writing. Of course, the number goes down whenever I don't blog.
My statistics says that I had the most readers last November 8, 2011 with 159 views and 145 unique visitors that day.

In my Blogspot stats, I had 188 pageviews last December 23, 2011. And I enjoy the places where the audience comes from.
Of course, most of my audience are from the Philippines (5,923), then the United States (1,766); third from Singapore (377) ; fourth, Russia (350) and fifth, Malaysia (235).
I can't imagine that many of my audience would come from Russia

I started with the Flag Counter last November 13, 2011 and enjoy seeing each new country, the latest of which is Macedonia
I now have 69 official countries and 4 from unknown satellites from Asia-Pacific and the European Union.
I have 114 flags collected including regions in a month a a half.

I also like looking at my MapLoco which now shows 286 countries in two weeks time. 

I also just started Adsense last December 21, 2011  and now I have $0.98 to my name! I am not really optimistic that I am going to earn from blogging but it tickles me to know about this.

2012 will bring so many changes in my life.
I have lots to blog about since the last quarter of this year is full of many activities and places visited.
However, since I am facing new challenges which may take up most of my waking time, I may not give as much time to blogging.

Whatever 2012 may bring for me, que sera sera!


Friday, December 30, 2011


My friend, Dr. Greg C. invited me to pass by Iligan City and we did.

As I showed earlier, we could see the very sad effects of Typhoon Sendong by the highway and how it affected the bridges, the homes and transportation.

They say that the Mandulog River grew wider to a kilometer or more and rose to heights like it never did before for the first time they ever experienced.
But they (some people we talked to like the driver and the people in the stores) claimed that it was not only water that flowed but also huge logs from the mountains.
They say if it was just water, the bridges, houses and transportation wouldn't be physically "beaten" and "broken".
They also say it is the logs which caused obstruction to parts of the river, thus, the overflow!
The water flowed to places even far from the river!
My friend was lucky that they were aware that the water level was rising and so they were able to prepare. But even his car was pushed meters away from the current.

He wanted to show us a deeper look of the devastation of Typhoon Sendong in Iligan. He brought us to a subdivision, Orchid Homes which was closer to the river.

But the houses here were made of concrete and still they were destroyed!!!

These are news related to the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong in Iligan.

Geologist on Sendong flashflood in Iligan: 'Like a tsunami but with more debris'

30-Dec-11, 4:39 PM | Joseph Holandes Ubalde,

Dr. Mahar Lagmay, geologist and professor at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences, said the rampaging Mandulog river in Iligan City collected a lot of things as the water cascaded toward the sea. Among the deadly debris that it eroded and carried were sand, gravel, and huge logs, allegedly from illegal mining in the mountains.

“It’s like a tsunami but with more debris,” he said in a press conference at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
A tsunami is a series of ocean waves or surges onto land brought about by an earthquake. 
Meawhile, Lagmay described the flashflood that devastated Iligan as a “hyperconcentrated flood” that packed speed and power. Due to the force of the water, 35 kilometers of terrain from the 50 km Mandulog river was devastated. It wiped out most of the Orchid Homes Subdivision in Santiago town, where 500 families lived before the floods hit.
Based on Lagmay’s initial assessment, entire communities by the river in Iligan were severely hit by the “raging floodwater,” and even reached areas as far away as one kilometer from the body of water. This meant, he added, that even those at a relative distance from the river, who normally should feel safe, were not spared by the wall of water that carried with it the deadly debris.
According to the latest tally of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 381 of the more than 1,200 killed by Sendong came from Iligan City. Of these, 249 remain unidentified.
Lagmay said Iligan’s devastation was worse than that of Cagayan de Oro City, which recorded the most bodies from Sendong as of Friday. He earlier said the destruction in Iligan surpassed or, at the very least, equalled that caused by the massive 2006 landslide that buried the entire village of Guinsaugon in St. Bernard, Southern Leyte.
Rains are to blame
Lagmay, who was part of the 22-man team of doctors, geologists and engineers from UP who went to Iligan City, said it was more likely that the massive rainfall, not illegal logging, caused the devastation in the area.
“Illegal logging aggravated the floods but the primary reason for this is the extreme rainfall brought by Sendong,” Lagmay said.
Here are photos of Orchid Homes which I would like to share with you. These are the images taken 14 days after the storm!
cars, SUVs, and even trucks are destroyed

mud... and lots of mud fill the houses!
and even the rooftops saw bad times!

the river has grown wider and wilder!

effect of the raging waters 
with lots of debris tangled in the rubble! 
many houses are unliveable!

and nearer to the river, the houses could no longer be identified!...I wonder how the inhabitants are? 
They are the most likely mortalities from this calamity.

trying to salvage some appliances...

and then, there was none!

checking out the area...

This subdivision is filled with houses... but look at it now!
There are efforts for rehabilitation noted in Orchid Homes.
the roads are cleaned and the mud moved to the sides

Here is evidence of help from the Province of Cebu and also help from other sources.

I found this orchid still in bloom in one of the homes.
.I was amazed how the orchid remained beautiful in one of the houses in Orchid Homes, as if it is a sign to rise from all these devastations... an inspiration to continue to live and remain resilient, no matter how weak we seem.

Live on... Live strong, Iligan!!!

Again, thanks Dr Greg C. for this eye-opening experience!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Typhoon Sendong has badly hit Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.

But there are also less known areas which were also affected by the wrath of Typhoon Sendong (Washi).

Here are news report I lifted from the Internet which I would like to share with you.

Davao del Norte town placed under state of calamity due to flood
GMANews – Wed, Dec 28, 2011

The town of Kapalong in Davao del Norte was placed under a state of calamity on Wednesday after continued rains caused a river to swell and flood nearby areas.   Office of Civil Defense Region XI director Liza Mazo said 2,900 families living in the town’s two barangays near the Libunganon River have already been evacuated. 
So far, no casualties have been recorded, she added.   “Dahan-dahang tumataas ‘yung tubig. May mga areas na knee-deep and waist-deep na ang tubig. Nag-preemptive evacuation na. Lahat sila nailipat na,” she said in an interview aired over “GMA News TV Live.”   She likewise said that the local council decided to declare a state of calamity in Kapalong to facilitate relief operations in the area.   “Quick response sa Kapalong noong tumataas pa lang ang tubig. Nag-convene agad ang council nila. Nailikas kaagad lahat,” she said.   Under Republic Act 10121 or the law on disaster management, prices of basic goods and service are automatically frozen and local governments are authorized to dip into funds to repair public infrastructure.   Mazo said banana plantations were destroyed, although the local government has yet to release figures on the damage caused by the floods.   Preemptive evacuations are also being undertaken in nearby Carmen town, the catch basin of floods in Davao del Norte, to prevent any casualty, she added. — ACC/ VS, GMA News
More towns flooded in Davao del Norte
  • By: Jean D. Abangan
  • December 28, 2011
DAVAO DEL NORTE- The weather is fair today here but floodwaters overflowing from major rivers rush through lowland areas of the province affecting three more towns and the capital city of Tagum.
As of 2:35 p.m., reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division revealed that flood waters already reached the municipality of Carmen particularly in Brgy Mabaus where 27 adults and 15 children were rescued.
In Barangay Guadalupe in Carmen, floodwaters were monitored as of 2:00 p.m. to have overflowed towards the national highway, spreading towards Brgy. Bincungan in Tagum City.
This prompted Tagum City government to impose a one-way traffic to and fro Davao City as flood waters at the approach of Gov. Miranda Bridge 1 went knee-deep high, preventing light vehicles such as single motorcycles and automobiles to pass through.
In a phone interview , Tagum City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council action officer Albert Angco said that Gov. Miranda Bridge 2 known as the Maharlika Bridge served as the one-way traffic route after Gov. Miranda Bridge 1 was closed.
Davao del Norte PDRRMD also reported that flood-waters flowed through other barangays in Carmen particularly taking direction towards Ising, New Camiling, Asuncion, Salvacion and other low-lying barangays but the situation “is being closely monitored by PDRRMD staff sent on field.”
Floodwaters also reached Tagum City barangays Cuambogan, Pagsabangan, Mankilam and San Miguel, affecting a total of 3,403 based on Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 11 reports forwarded to the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11 as of 3:30 p.m.

Since we passed by Davao Del Norte on the way back to Cagayan de Oro City, we also saw these post-typhoon scenes. 
These scenes were taken by the highway along Carmen, just before we reached Tagum City...

With rivers this wide in the Davao Del Norte and the Compostela Valley area, it is no wonder that worse effects of calamities can occur! 
Thus, this is the government and community responsibility to be vigilant in prevention of these flashfloods and overflooding, where environmental issues like illegal logging crop up as well as community awareness on disaster risk reduction on possible disasters which are related to these areas.

It is fortunate during this present typhoon that there is no loss of lives because they already made preemptive evacuations. 
There is still loss of infrastructure and produce which would affect the economy of the people in this area.

We pray that they, too, would be able to recover from this calamity fast and be able to rise again after this major setback!!! 


It is 12 days after Typhoon Sendong devastated Northern Mindanao, especially Iligan and Cagayan de Oro City. 

It is heartwarming to note that inspite of the devastation that Typhoon Sendong has brought to these cities, help from all over the country and all over the world have kept on pouring for those who need help.

An example is Team Albay. Albay in itself is in a typhoon prone area, but the Albay government has sent a composite team of 12 people (Team Composition: Albay APSEMO, Albay PHO,  APRU, Albay WATSAN, PSWDO; NG-OCD, DOH-HEMS, BRTTH-HEMS, NAVFORSOL, PAF-TOG5, 901st Bde) to help out the victims in Cagayan de Oro City, and therefore, missing their Christmas and New Year by doing so! I heard they have the support of the Spanish government for the funding, too.
In Iligan, the Iligan Bloggers have made their influence felt by rallying their support to Typhoon Sendong victims.

In Facebook, we have seen our friends share their time and resources to go to Cagayan de Oro like Dr. Anton L. representing Tzu Chi Zamboanga and also Dr. Mike M. representing Brent-ZAPSA group, and many more whom we have not mentioned. 

Personally, I just happened to be in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in transit and it saddens my heart to see the effect of the devastation.

Here are updated news reports on Typhoon Sendong last December 27 and December 29.
'Sendong' death toll now at 1,453
Posted at 12/27/2011 12:14 PM | Updated as of 12/27/2011 12:14 PM
MANILA, Philippines – The death toll from tropical storm “Sendong” has reached 1,453, latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) showed.
In its report, the NDRRMC said the number of dead bodies recovered in hardest-hit Cagayan de Oro City now stands at 891, with 502 still unidentified.
In Iligan City, disaster officials said 408 perished from the floods. A total of 330 bodies from the city have yet to be identified.
The NDRRMC said 84 individuals have been confirmed missing. However, it noted that 1,023 more missing individuals are still “subject for verification.”
Evacuation centers, tent city
Meanwhile, 5,521 families or 22,708 individuals remain inside 25 evacuation centers across Cagayan de Oro City.
Some 20 evacuation centers in Iligan City, on the other hand, are holding 5,465 families or 27,812 individuals.
A total of 54,795 individuals remain inside 56 evacuation centers in all areas affected by Sendong.
NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos on Monday said there is a possibility that a tent city will be built for the residents, who are currently taking temporary shelter in schools across CDO.
Latest count showed that a total of 42,235 homes were damaged, partially or totally, by the storm’s onslaught. 

NDRRMC: 'Sendong' death toll rises to 1,257

December 29, 2011 8:52am

The death toll from Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi) rose to 1,257 while the estimated damage to property went up to P1.382 billion early Thursday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

In its 8 a.m. update, the NDRRMC said at least 85 missing people had been identified, while some 4,619 people were injured.

The NDRRMC said Sendong affected 113,411 families or 720,860 people in 789 villages in 56 towns and eight cities in 13 provinces.

Of these, 10,984 families or 54,022 people are being served in 53 evacuation centers.

Damage to property was estimated at P1,382,008,527, including P1,105,356,000 in infrastructure and P276,652,527 in agriculture.

Sendong brought rain and floods that devastated parts of Mindanao and Visayas earlier this month. Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities were among the hardest-hit areas.
Foreign aid has started pouring in for the survivors.

The Department of Health established Surveillance in Post Extreme Emergencies and Disasters (SPEED) in evacuation centers in Cagayan de Oro City.

A DOH-Center for Health and Development team conducted immunization in Ubaldo Laya Elementary School in Iligan, giving vaccines for children. — LBG, GMA News

Official 'Sendong' body count 1,249 not 1,453 — NDRRMC

December 28, 2011 8:48am

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Wednesday the official body count of the victims from tropical storm "Sendong" (international name: Washi) is 1,249 not 1,453 as it reported earlier. 

In its 6:00 a.m. update on Wednesday, the NDRRMC said the tally was based on the actual count of the regional disaster risk reduction and management councils concerned.

"The NDRRMC tally on dead casualties refers to the actual 'head count' (existence of a dead body) regardless of identification/anonymity for operational/strategic purposes whereas the (Department of Health) only counts bodies with established identity and/or with death certificates," the NDRRMC said. 

On the other hand, the NDRRMC said at least 84 missing people had been identified so far.

It added that "Sendong" has so far affected 113,411 families (or 720,860 people) in 789 villages in 13 provinces.

Of these, 11,301 families (or 54,473 people) are in 53 evacuation centers.

Here are images of Iligan City as we passed by the highway on the way to Cagayan de Oro City then Davao last December 26, 2011.
there is now scarcity of clean water... we see people washing clothes in a nearby water source! By the way, this is in Timoga Springs area which is supposed to be for recreation but because of the need for water, the tourist place is now a giant laundromat!

clean-up has started but the houses and the lawns are now still filled with mud!

and more mud all over!

even trucks are not spared...

if huge equipment can tumble down like this,
what more for people!!! 

can you imagine the physical destruction?

the other bridge is destroyed!!!

Can you imagine how high the water has risen and how strong the power of the waves that it is enough to destroy the cement rails of this main bridge?!?! What more for people!!!

And the victims now live in these makeshift houses.

the usual makeshift houses...

and made use of a trailer where a tent is put up for shelter
and with some salvaged appliances

An Islamic group comes to give aid by the highway.

The victims also flock to the Catholic Church for relief goods.

P.S. I have no images from CDO because we passed by the area at night.

It is good to see the good in people in bad times!
May the New Year bring better tidings and blessings for everyone!!!