Saturday, May 31, 2003

9 May '03

It's TGIF! Great! I feel like jumping and bouncing in my bed...

It is pretty ironic to realize that I came to a point where I am wishing that it is already Friday when in fact, it is only Monday. The shift with regards to my new task has left me but wanting to have a much longer weekend. I used to remember how I hate it when Friday comes, when we have holidays, when typhoon strikes the city... I hate it when there's no work,; I hate it when I have to stay home instead of goin' to the office...

But now, I find it so weird to wish that Saturday is already here. I cannot find any enthusiasm or eagerness in my work anymore. I hope this kind of feeling will not persist for a long time. It will only lead me to the point of leaving the company.

But then, sometimes, things seem all right when I can get all the information, statistics I need for the research. Like what happened today. I have been trying to gather statistics for the number of passengers from the Civil Aeronautics Board . I need some stats of passengers for the months of March-April 2002 and that of March-April 2003. I have to make a comparison with regards to the impact of SARS epidemic and that of the Iraq war. Darn! Why is it so hard to get information from the government. They cannot give you the exact person whom you can talk to.They keep on passing you to people, giving you tons of telephone numbers. Later in the day, you will still get nothing. In short, you just wasted your precious time for nothing!

I also tried to call Phillippine AirLines and NorthWest Air so that somehow I can still have some available stats for reference. They requested me to write a letter addressed to their General Managers. I wrote both GMs so my request for data will be grnated. Blasted! Those darned staff, secretaries aren't doin' their job. I wanna scream my lungs out to them for being so dumb. They act like they were superiors, even if they are far from being one. I called them up to follow-up if my request was granted. I called NW. That lady was pretty surprised when I asked her if the GM got a feedback for me. She lied through her words, trying to fool me. I don't think the GM even got to see my damn letter. I don't think she even informed him. All she can say was that they weren't allowed to release such info. All right! She has been saying that for 2 days now. Then, why does she have to tell me to make a letter?! Blasted!

I did not check PAL for I have the gut feeling this will only worsen my already dampened spirit. I got a deadline to beat and I still have more data to gather for other research work. I thought of contacting the Department of Tourism and even
the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
. Guess what? =) I got the stats that I need and all I can say is that I was truly satisfied with what I got. I even requested for more information and they readily gave it to me. I wanna thank Joey and Elmo from the Tourism Office and Kathleen from the NAIA Office. You guys are heaven-sent. May the Heavens bless your souls. =)

I still have to communicate with the president of a marine association in connection with the launching of a 5-year development program. He is still out of the country and I have to find ways to get to him or any of his designated staff. I have to make a phone interview. Same with the government side. She is currently in Cagayan and will be back on Monday. I wish I can produce some good results.


Good Mawning@ 5:12...

Hehehe! I think I have to prepare my stuff for my workout tonite. I wonder who will be joining me and TJ. It was only the 2 of us who hit the gym. We were kinda early too. I was surprised to see a few people working out. Not too congested.

What I was missing and TJ , too, I think, was seeing this Vince Perezlook-alike. He is not so goodlooking but we find his eyes way too friendly. Hehehe! Boy-hunting! Hope we can see him again. We are wondering why is not working out everyday unlike before. But I heard from the instructors that he was pretty busy at the moment. Overtime!

I don't have any scheds for tonite so I might as well spend it at the gym. Better! I guess there will be less people too since it is Friday. Better chance to workout on my favorite equipments. =)


I was checkin' mails when I came across this one: Pretty on...

My husband was an engineer. Since I met him, he was always an unflappable rock in my life. I knew he always had his feet firmly planted on the ground, and it seemed that no matter what else went crazy, he would be the one constant.

Three years of romance, and two years of marriage later, I got tired. He was the most unromantic man I know. He never bought me flowers, he never surprised me, and nothing changed in our marriage.

After some time, I finally found the courage to tell him that I wanted to leave him. He just sat there, speechless. My heart froze...What kind of man was I married to that didn't even know what to say to make me stay? After a while, he spoke, "What can I do to change your mind?".

"I will stay if you can give me a good answer to this question," I replied coldly. "If I asked for a flower that grew on a cliff, and you knew that getting it for me means certain death, would you get it for me?". His face grew troubled.

"Can I give you an answer tomorrow morning?" he asked. Hearing that kind of answer, my heart died. I knew that I could never be happy with a man who couldn't even give me an answer straight away.

The next morning, when I woke up, he was missing.

In the living room, under a warm glass of milk, was a note. My eyes grew misty as I read it...

"Dear, I have my answer. I will never pick the flower for you if it meant certain death. But before you leave, I hope you can give me a chance to Give you my reasons....You will always sit in front of the computer and type about for the whole day, but every time you will end up in tears cause your formatting will always go all over the place... I need my fingers, to do the formatting for you, so your tears will become smiles. You like to travel, but would always get lost...I need my eyes, so that I can bring you to the nicest places on earth. Every time you leave the house, you would always forget your keys... I need my legs, so that I can run home to open the door for you.

You never knew how to take care of yourself... I am always there for you when you need me most. I need my hands to help you get rid of the pesky white hair You hate so much when you grow old, to trim your nails, to feed you.

So you see, that's why I can't pick the flower for you.

Until I find someone who loves you more than I do, I will need to have an able body to take care of you.

If you accept my reasons, then open the door, where I will be waiting with your favorite muffin."

With tears streaming from my eyes, I opened the door, and there he stood, with an extremely worried look on his face. He still had nothing to say, but just stood there waving the packet he had in his hand in front of me. And then I knew for a fact that I will never find another man who will ever love me as much as he does.

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean that they don't love you with all they have...


An article from dated 9 May 2003...


In Ifugao Province, rice is the great grass. Its bright yellow-green prairies form splendid giant carpets on terraced mountainsides, scenic valleys and river deltas. Believed to be many times the length of the Great Wall of China, the amazing Ifugao Rice Terraces were painstakingly handcarved by the Ifugaos over 2,000 years ago. It took centuries to build these awesome structures and work is still unfinished making it the longest agricultural project in history. It is the greatest monument of antiquity not made by slaves but by a free people. Its existence is clearly the result of the struggle for survival by the Ifugaos from their harsh environs.

In December 1995, the World Heritage List of UNESCO listed the Ifugao Rice Terraces (covering 20,000 hectares that span the towns of Banaue, Hungduan, Mayoyao and Kiangan (as the first living cultural landscape. In the Philippines, the other tourist sights proudly include in the World Heritage List are the Tubattaha Reef Marine Park, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, the Baroque churches of the Philippines and the historic town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur.

Together with Rep. Alfredo Mara (of Negros Occidental who chairs the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; soil erosion consultant Noah Manarang; OIC director Virgie Agcopra and executive assistant Lia Anonas (from the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization), we took the 10-hour drive to Banaue to find immediate solutions to save the rice terraces from soil erosion, the proliferation of giant worms, as well as prevent it from completely drying up. We were welcomed by Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao at the well-appointed Banaue Hotel operated by the Philippine Tourism Authority. At the Imbayah festival held at the town plaza, we watched Ifugao men garbed in traditional wear running after a big black greased pig. While watching the games, my sister Michelle Soliven delightfully sampled their tapuey (rice wine) for the wine-tasting contest.

The next day, we proceeded to the Mayoyao rice terraces located 41 kilometers from Banaue. Joining us were Rep. Jesli Lapuz of Tarlac, Albay Rep. Krisel Lagman-Luistro, and former Manila Rep. Sandy Ocampo. At some point during our trip, we encountered a roadblock (a rock the size of a 10-wheeler truck blocked our way. But thanks to dynamite, the road was cleared in 40 minutes! Stand-up comedian Bum Tenorio entertained us with his song and dance numbers while we waited. After the road was cleared, we had a blast of a time the rest of the way.

Just a two-hour drive via a winding road is the municipality of Mayoyao, where the world (most majestic, yet still undiscovered, rice terraces await the more adventurous traveler. Cozily snuggled in the bosom of the Central Cordillera mountain ranges, it has earned the monicker of the "Land of Eternal Spring." It has a land area of 360 sq. km. and is one of the 11 towns in Ifugao Province. Spellbound, we trekked to Mayoyao (foremost attraction stone-walled rice terraces stretching from the mountain-perched barangay of Chaya to the banks of the legendary Penangah River downstream. Each terrace wall is carefully paved with stones, some so huge that it was a wonder how ordinary mortals without modern equipment were able to transport the stones from the river below. With bare hands and crude wooden tools, the Ifugaos had built an enduring marvel that baffles even modern-day engineers.

Other tourist attractions here are Mt. Amuyao being the 8th highest mountain in the country, the glorious Mahencha and Tenogtog waterfalls, (Or which is a large mausoleum containing the bodies of the town (native warriors and Mt. Nagchayan, a town where Japanese troops under Gen. Yamashita fought fierce battles during WWII.

In Mayoyao, we attended the indigenous annual town fiesta called "Igkhumtad Ad Majawjaw," a colorful tapestry of tradition meant to relive the revered cultural customs of their ancestors.

We checked out the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) property (a cozy log cabin in the mountains which just needs P3.5 million to be completed. With the structure operational, more people can enjoy the Eighth Wonder of the Natural World. This dream for the terraces to be accessible to the world will be easily realized with the servicing of commercial airlines to Bagabag Airport in Nueva Vizcaya, about 90 minutes away from Banaue.

After a sumptuous dinner of taro with ginger, succulent lengua, beef with cheese, mountain rice and leche flan, we huddled around a bonfire to keep us warm on that chilly night. As we sipped piping hot mountain coffee, we discussed the beauty of the rice terraces and what action to take to save it.

Earlier that day, Rep. Mara (and Noah held a dialogue with local agriculture officials and farmers affected by soil erosion. It was alarming to find out that in Mayoyao alone, 20 percent of the rice terraces have been destroyed by erosion while another 50 percent are already deteriorating. The giant worms, on the other hand, have created holes on the terraces and dried up the soil. The commercial pesticides they used also killed the fishes thriving within the terraces. With proven effectiveness in controlling and preventing soil erosion, Vetiver grass technology will be utilized in the terraces. Noah, who we fondly call the Vetiver Queen, is one of the 13 individuals from around the world cited by the Vetiver Network for outstanding work in this field. Formerly with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, she learned this technology from a study grant project of His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in 1994.

"One of the special characteristics of the Vetiver grass, also called the miracle grass, is its three-meter roots that grow vertically at the rate of one foot every month. It can thrive in extreme conditions such as drought, submergence in water, toxic and acidic soil," Noah enthused. Being very affordable, the farmers were very receptive and eager to try it. Apart from being organic, the grass blends aesthetically with the terraces having the same appearance as the rice.

Hedgerows of the grass could be planted on the edge of the terraces for the roots to bind the stonewall with the soil. With its fibrous roots and its natural insect repelling properties, the worms may be deterred from digging their way through the walls of the terraces. A program is being drawn out to train local agricultural officers to propagate the grass with proper applications in planting them on the terraces. The team hopes to source enough funding to implement the program. For now, select pilot sites are being planned. Vetiver can also be used as roofing materials for the native huts which have since given way to galvanized iron sheets because of the depletion of cogon grass. The Lonely Planet travel book even wrote that (a pity to see these iron roofs that glisten under the sun." Vetiver grass for the roofs will bring back the rustic charm of the huts as they sit nestled at the heart of the terraces. Vetiver leaves can be made into baskets, mats and souvenir items as well.

We were exhausted by midnight but had the best sleep ever in our authentic Ifugao hut perched on a hill. As we watched the sunrise over the majestic terraces the following day, we realized there truly is splendor in the grass. We should get our act together before it (too late for this kind of beauty and grandeur comes but once in a lifetime.

HOW TO GET THERE: Mayoyao is reachable by land from Manila either through the lowland provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and the Ifugao towns of Lagawe and Banaue or through Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and the Ifugao towns of Alfonso Lista and Aguinaldo. Air Philippines flies to Tuguegarao, a four-hour drive to Banaue, Ifugao.

For more info, contact Banaue Hotel & Youth Hostel at (074) 386-4087; telefax (074) 386-4088; Cordillera Administrative Region Tourism Office, (074) 442-8848

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