Mike in manila - Vacation ideas

Things to do on vacation... good simple ideas for families on a budget.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Typhoon Semiang (Utor): Severe Weather Bulletin 10:45am (+8gmt)

December 10th, 2006

Forcast: As of 10:45 am Manila time +8 GMT


Severe Weather Bulletin Number TWELVE
Tropical Cyclone Warning: Typhoon “SENIANG” {UTOR}
Issued at 10:45 a.m., Sunday, 10 December 2006

Image: http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/wb/track.gif

Effect: Maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center
and gustiness of up to to 150 kph

Direction: west northwest at 17 kph

Early tonight:
to pass close to Coron, Palawan
Monday morning:
250 kms northwest of Coron, Palawan
Tuesday morning:
over the South China Sea

Signal No.3 (100-185 kph winds)

Southern Occidental Mindoro, Southern Oriental Mindoro, Calamian Group of Islands

Signal No. 2 (60-100 kph winds)

Rest of Mindoro, Lubang Island, Romblon, Aklan, Antique, Cuyo Island

Signal No. 1 (30-60 kph winds)

Iloilo, Guimaras, Capiz, Northern Palawan, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Burias Island, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Marinduque, Batangas, Southernn Quezon, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Metro Manila

Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere are now lowered.

Residents in areas under Public Storm Warning Signals # 3, # 2 and # 1 are alerted against flashfloods and landslides. Those residing in coastal areas under Public Storm Warning Signal # 3 are advised to seek higher grounds due to possible storm surges or big waves. The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5 p.m. today.

source: http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Philippines:HAZMAT spill gear/training badly needed

A pair of incidents within 24 hours shows the dangers of hazardous chemicals in the Philippines. The first event took place in a countries richest municipality’s - the City of Makati where a spill cause problems for a local community after a local high school science lab had a major accident while people were looking over chemicals for end of the year experiments.

toxic substances were unreleased accidentaly - more due to neglect and error.

[] ” … ABC News Australia report:

Manila: Ten high school teachers and two security guards were hospitalised yesterday after they inhaled noxious chemicals in their school lab in Makati City, school authorities and officials said. They were taken to a government-run Makati Hospital for contamination testing after they vomited, developed skin rashes, could not breathe, and felt giddy when they went near the science section of the San Isidro High School yesterday, said Fire Chief Superintendent Sofia Mendoza.
“They have to stay in the hospital for about four days. We are still determining the types of chemicals that have affected them,” said Dr Joselito Pascual of the poison control centre of the University of Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. “We are looking at six to seven types of chemicals that were suspected to have affected the health of the patients,” said Pascual. …’ []

The second spill took place in a small town north of Manila - in the now semi urban area of Marilao - a once small town - now filled with subdivisions from the ever rapidly growing cities of Manila.

[]…”Chemical Fumes Sicken 31 in Philippines
Forbes, NY - 1 hour ago
Noxious fumes from chemical waste dumped into a Philippine creek forced thousands to flee their homes and sickened dozens Tuesday, officials said.
Philippines: Thousands evacuate after chemical spill CCTV
Philippine chemical spill sickens 31 Houston Chronicle
Philippine chemical spill sickens 20 people; 3,000 flee homes International Herald Tribune …” []

Here as international reports show from the wires- agonise, it was more sinister- a truck carrying chemicals from area factories or industrial sites dumped its waste into what perhaps a driver thought was a place where few people were. result 31 hospitalised and the chemicals caused severe damage to the local community.

But a email I got from a local security expert based here in Manila - who has worked internationally with major foreign law enforcement agencies says both spills show the risks and dangers HAZMAT cleanup, handling and investigation when events like these occur.

Most local government units do not have the proper equipment and or capability to handle things like this - the danger considering how much chemical use in manufacturing is so prevalent. The need for more Hazmat safety gear is bdly needed per my security expert.

Here’s an excerpt from the email.

[]”… ” Mike,
my former partners were the ones who responded with the bunny suits and SCBA breathing apparatus. all the gear of gov’t were deployed in cebu for the ASEAN summit. the gov’t should consider upgrading its hazmat and WMD capabilities. the one at san isidro was just a school accident, what if it were a terrorist act??? the gear that was brought to the site was from , the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in laguna. They were kind enough to respond with their equipment. ” - …[]

The need and demand is high and gear is limited. Perhaps DENR could get into the act and start equipping PENRO / CENRO offices in the country with HAZMAT gear- in HAZMAT emergencies - after all DENR Sec. Angie Reyes’s people would most likely be the lead agency when disasters like a HAZMAT problem occur in prosecution and later in enforcement and cleanup.

DILG and the PNP have gear but it is limited. Imagine the scene today in Bulacan which I saw unfolding on TV. I know personally the reporters who responded. Doland Castro of ABS-CBN at about 6:20 in the morning was reporting from an area near the spill and promptly came to the conclusion his gear a few masks were more needed by local emergency workers and gave up his filtered mask gear.

He later reported most people in the area - were sick nearest the spill and scores more were ‘walking to the site to see for themselves.” what the bad smell was.

Here the LGU could have and should have set up a safety zone and also cordoned off the area. HAZMAT training is clearly lacking at the Police and LGU level - the level of chemical danger and risk is not only smell in many cases but even mere exposure alone.

One need only be reminded of the tragic Bhopal chemical spill that killed thousands in India among them scores of ill-equipped first responders who rushed into the area to give aid only to fall victim to the very toxic cloud that was there.

Let both Bulacan and Makati be a lesson - there is a risk and danger. As well as a need. Perhaps this Christmas shopping list for local government and the PNP and the DENR should be HAZMAT equipment and training sessions. before something worse happens.

: news, News and politics, war on terror, terrorism, Views, philippines, Filipino, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., freedom of speech, Pinoy, Palawan, Makati, Jemaah Islamiah, President Arroyo, Guimaras Oil Spill

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Philippine Oil Spill: National level Calamity declared

President Arroyo’s order is more than just a formality that most diasters require for the release of funds to handle natural disasters. It also brings the level of responce up to treaty level and allows more direct international participation in the clean-up.

[]…” Arroyo declares oil spill calamity President Arroyo on Friday declared the oil spill in Guimaras a national calamity as the slick spread rapidly and threatened some of the country’s richest fishing grounds.Mrs. Arroyo, who made the declaration during the 18th National Convention of the National Prosecutors’ Week in Cebu, said the oil disaster in Guimaras demands the cooperation and solidarity of all Filipinos. “I call upon Petron and the ship owner to immediately clean up the mess and the Task Force Guimaras and Coast Guard Admiral Arthur Gosingan to attend to environmental and health issues,” she said. …” [] ABS-CBNNEWSonline

I do not know which PR agency is advising the Petron people what to say when they appear on TV- one man in particular yesterday was talking about -”product recovery” The insensitive nature of the comment and term might lead some to believe there is more concern over product- than people the environment and safety.

But then again had the concern been with true product integrity - delivery of product to destination in the most safe & secure manner to an end user i wouldn’t even be writing this blog and those people sick and in hospital and the man who died and hundred imillion peso partail clean up bill not needed?

Uncategorized, news, News and politics, philippines, Rants, Raves, Whathaveyou..., OFW, Guimaras Oil Spill

A rare travel adivory from the South Korean gov't has some wondering as to why it was issuesd on the source of the threat information.
Korea is normally very careful in any such advisory - not like many other countries - who issue these things on mere rumor.
But this is worth looking into- even if to see what the base line information for this came from.

Korea Issues travel warning: Philippines & Indonesia

mikeinmanila wrote 1 day ago: The Government of the single largest group of Asian tourists of late to stream to these islands, Korea has issued … more »

Monday, August 21, 2006

Wonderful video on a Sailboat in Boracay,,, just found it on google... Ah! I like this- might make one or more of these soon. I like google videos they seem to work very well.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

  • News image

    FYI News Features

    July 4th, 2006

    From 1946 to the mid-60's, the 4th of July was the day that Filipinos celebrated Independence Day, but for the past 40 years, it has been downplayed to a mere Fil-Am, Friendship Day. But for the American community here, this day marks the two countries' shared values and vision, remembered as intensely as when they fought their common enemies side-by-side. Michael Cohen

  • News image

    Lifestyle Feature

    June 6th, 2006

    Name a favourite spot in the nation’s capital and Baywalk would surely top the list nowadays. This, after the Manila City government did a total make-over of what was once a dimly-lit bicycle lane frequented by shady characters, transforming it into a vibrant park that appeals to people from all walks of life. —Ron Jalmasco

  • News image

    News Feature

    June 1st, 2006

    Around 3,000 Filipinos leave the country every day to work abroad. While government acknowledges that Overseas Filipino Workers are the prime movers of the economy, it is alarmed by the inevitability of a brain drain here at home. —Ces Vitan

  • News image

    News Feature

    June 1st, 2006 Impassioned speeches and slogans filled the streets of Metro Manila and other Philippine cities on Labor Day, as thousands of the country's work force expressed their frustration over low wages and rising prices of commodities, oil and utility services. —Doris Bigornia.
  • News image

    Environment Feature

    May 29th, 2006 It is nice to watch children build their dreams, albeit on sand castles, but to see those dreams fall apart along the banks of a dying river negates the essence of both childlike faith… and dreams. —Ces Vitan
  • News image

    FYI Health Feature

    May 24th, 2006 It need not be a fad to be fit. With stress and unhealthy lifestyles, it still pays to be conscious about one's health and well-being.
  • News image

    News Feature

    May 18th, 2006 Overseas Filipino Workers are often extolled as heroes, but with every cent they remit back home comes an even bigger sacrifice. Save from enduring the difficulties of working away from home, they face the risk of drifting farther from the family they work hard for. –Ces Vitan
  • News image

    FYI Environment Feature

    May 15th, 2006 He could have made it as a bigtime businessman, but Toto Malvar chose to follow God's lead... to go live with His people, nurture them, as they learn to nurture their environment. --By Ron Jalmasco
  • News image

    News Feature

    May 14th, 2006

    A not-so-uncommon sight during rallies is the big number of children and teens participating—perhaps too young to understand the cause that they, or their elders, are marching for. —Erika Guarino

Monday, May 01, 2006

No mouse in the House!

If there ever was a virus that could be created to do worst damage possible to humans using XP Pro it may have hit me today. Or perhaps in my carelessness, I struck a master delete stroke and I deleted the folder, or someone else, using my computer id.
I still can't figure it out or how, but somehow, my driver file for my mouse is gone from my system.

I stared at my PC trying to remember all the hot keys. I hit F1 for help; then grabbed the mouse to look for a topic. Okay, nothing. Now what?! So I did the old Alt-Tab to shift between windows. I went to Ctrl-Alt-Del to go to Task Manager. I tabbed and tabbed, shifted and shifted but nothing happened. I did the piano on F-keys, i banged away in every combination possible, mixed with all the Alts, Ctrl, Shifts that would have made Beethoven proud; it finally brought down a tab.

Since I had hit so many keys, I tried to remember what to do next so I did an old thing I used to do with my older windows 3.1 (or was it 2.5 or 5.0?!). I hit the key to minimize. It shut down my PC, saving all the setting for whatever piece of keyboard strokes I had done in the process!

I called our resident geek-of-this-condo; he came in after the PC rebooted and powered up. Took one look at my settings and ran screaming down the hallway. I don't know what I had done but there was this screen saying Missile Launch Confirmed. Have a nice day. The rest was in Hindi... oh well...

Another friend got in touch; he told me, no problem - hit Win-M to minimize and Win-D to display a window. Cool... I only had about 170 windows. And half of them flashing with the words ‘funds transferred’ and ‘funds deleted’, and all in Russian - something else I couldn’t understand. So I hit Ok, Ok, Ok.

Then the Power went off and stream of black vans came up the driveway.
No, it wasn't me. They were there for the neighbor. He kept screaming, “We’re all doomed! We’re all doomed! Were all doomed! “, as those nice men in white jackets put him in a nice robe with sleeves that wrapped around his back.

I also learned, from another friend who called, Alt-F4 closes a window as well as other important keystrokes. I am trying to write this to see if both my hands work and I can actually write something without cutting and pasting from something, somewhere else. The feeling is actually refreshing.

It has only taken me five hours to get this far.

Okay, now my friendly neighbor is back. He seems so relaxed in the stretcher. I'll just go to the window to say hello. Wait.

Ok I'm back. He was fine ‘til he saw me. Then he started screaming again.

This time, all I need to do is use the master control: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Throw-the-PC-out-the-window. I think I'll try it now...

In brief: Can you imagine the impact of something like that would have on, say, a system filled with people who don't know hotkeys, who don’t know what to do if the mouse dies?! What would you do when there is no mouse in house? Or touchpad on the laptop? The pointer device is perhaps something that deserves the Nobel Prize, or a heck of royalty check. But I must admit, the hotkeys are fun and bring me back to a yesteryear of early PC'ing.

So I see I can still write…well, a little. Perhaps it’s not all that bad, after all…

Okay, gotta go buy a new mouse or PC, or see if I can figure out why I’m suddenly on all these new fun chatrooms.

And, oh, some guys have come to visit. Why are they wearing those helmets and goggles and dressed in black, though....

Sunday, April 30, 2006

" Mexico's Congress approved a bill Friday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin for personal use —"

Ok, the headline is bit of a stretch. but I can see it as one solution to a major problem that Mexico has been unable or unwilling to contend with.

i can also see Jay Leno's Tonight Show and those guys from Comedy central's writer's pool and a lot of Hollywood getting ready to write punch lines to jokes; With the same message I had in my headline. While others will be doing it in hotel rooms in Mexico to be there when the bill is signed into law.

" The only remaining step was the signature of President Vicente Fox, whose office indicated he would sign it. Supporters said the law would let police focus on drug smuggling, rather than on busting casual users. The bill also would stiffen many drug-related penalties: for trafficking, for possession near schools, and for possession of even small quantities by government employees." - FOXNEWS.com reports.

I do expect if the law is enacted; a lot of those using and abusing the "personal use" law will be Americans and people from other countries who use and abuse drugs.

I can imagine those drums along the Border in "TJ" where people can dump contraband oin return to the USA will be full of "personal use" items of people returning to the USA.

But; the bottom line, it is a surrender to drug barons and drug dealers in way - however domestic consumption in Mexico is a problem that is encouraged by the huge demand across the Border.

The major problem is Mexican jails are filled with tens of thousands of people who technically are addicts in need of rehabilitation. They need to do a Malaysia and Philippine solution which is to save the user- "rehab" them - and kill the pusher- as provided in the death penalty for drug lords and drug barons.
Read the rest on the website link to FNC.

In light of recent ruling in the United States where a Federal ruling has overturned some states use of medical marijuana it may be way for those who suffer from ailments to seek treatment and may be a move to cash-in before US "smoke rooms" are shut down .

Do not get me wrong; I do not use drugs; I said no a long time ago - nor do I condone the use of the illicit drugs mentioned above for sale illegally or as is now legally allowed in Mexico when Fox signs it into law.

To do such is a surrender; A failure to being able to enforce drug laws effectively or failure to be able to stop the trade.

But what I am saying is it a sad day for those engaged in fighting the sad social scourge and I am sure will be abused extensively by many who are in the drug trade.

Vicente Fox could still Veto the measure; but it is unlikely seeing it is an election year in Mexico.

In fairness to Mexico; in the Netherlands, a similar law was introduced. It was not successful and later redrawn with stricter policies and change as drug abuse and drug tourists visitors escalated to levels many could not tolerate.

Newsflash: Mexico legalizes drug use… may have to put up wall to keep Americans out!