Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Princesa’

OF COURSE, everyone who considers the Chinese Calendar his/her Fortune Bible knows that 2008 was the Year of the Rat under the earth element — or Year of the Earth Rat — which started on February 7, 2008 and will still end on January 25, 2009.

In effect, under the Chinese Calendar, we’re still in my year — the Earth Rat year.


I don’t really have confidence in astrology. I don’t agree so much that people should rely their fate in the study of the positions of the moon, sun and other planets in the belief that their motions affect the behavior of human beings.

As far as it is concerned, what I only know is that when its full moon, many people are subjected to thoughtlessness. Or to be quite frank and honest about it, LUNACY — that period when many turn to be unintelligent, ridiculous and reckless.

I was born in 1972, and it’s one of the years identified under the Rat. Believe me, I’ve heard too many times that I’m LUCKLESS. They said that people who were born under this year will live to be UNLUCKY all the time.

Why not? To be able to feed (steal food in homes, hahaha!), they have to gnaw at wooden planks to get at stores of food. This means that before they even find luck, they have to work hard to get there wherever it is.

And because they are considered as pests, people always run after them to extinguish them, which means they have to be on the run constantly too. Translated to life, people born under the Rat sign have to constantly work hard for their life goals, their dreams.

Hmmm… close enough comparison… but not quite. Like what I’ve said, I don’t think much of the Chinese Calendar when it comes to my fate. People make their fate and what they want it to become.

But I have nothing against those who believe the Chinese Calendar as their guide to life. As what one Chinese fortune teller said, PRAYER for guidance is what people should do to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams. That’s where my belief is. There is a Higher Being who knows better.

So much talk about the Year of the Ox however, compelled me to also check out what the Chinese Calendar has in store for people who were born under the sign and under mine. Next to that, while driving last December 28 to BM Road to attend a JCI Regional Party, I noticed that most houses we passed by have changed their paints to shades of yellow, green and orange.

Instead of looking like really cool and beautiful houses, they’ve become unattractive abstract paintings to me in lush green garden settings. Aren’t the green gardens enough for GREEN?

What’s going on? Then I found out on television that this year’s lucky colors are these. If you want luck to come to your homes, you have to freshen the paints. Use yellow, green and orange.

The Rat Year begins first in the cycle of 12 animal signs. It starts the sequence and relapses every 12th year. The Chinese Calendar says it is often a “time of renewal.”

A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal.  This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start.  Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful.  The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find.  People born in an Earth Rat are said to be logical realists, shrewd, charming, ambitious, and inventive.  Of course, the entire horoscope must be considered when making any personality assessment.

Unlike how we think of the rat as an animal who destroys our home and steals our food, in the Chinese Calendar, it is respected as a “courageous, enterprising person.”

People born in the Year of Rat are clever and bright, sociable and family-minded.  They have broad interests and strong ability in adapting to the environment and able to react adequately to any changes. They are gifted in many ways and have an easy going manner.  They are active and pleasant, tactful and fantastic, and are able to grasp opportunities.  They seem to have interests in everything and hope to participate in doing it and usually do it very well.

I’d say AMEN to the quote. I think I’m about to turn into a BELIEVER of the Chinese signs and everything they represent. Hahhaha!

Many have the misconception that when the year 2009 has the same animal sign as Rat are, most likely their luck is going to be worse than usual. This is not the case for Rat this 2009.

According to what I’ve read, seen and heard in the news, this year is going to be filled with good news and opportunities. The year 2009 is a great time for Rat People to transform their dreams into reality – to pursue the dream job, the dream position, the dream salary, the dream business, etc.

They should not feel that their dreams are far to reach as “they will get the support, meet the right people and find the appropriate resources that can bring them to their goals. What’s important is keeping their hearts and mind open to opportunities.

No matter how good the stars align for people born under the Rat sign, they still have to do their part in order to gain the best out of what they can do.

If there’s anything we should watch out for, it’s that there will be more disputes, arguments, betrayals and misunderstandings than usual. The key to get out of these dilemmas is to always try to be humble, calm and objective. Avoid being stressed out and be focused all the time to avoid accidents and skirmishes.

The Sign of the Rat

An opportunist with an eye for a bargain, Rats tend to collect and hoard, but are unwilling to pay too much for anything.  They are devoted to their families, particularly their children.  Quick-witted and passionate, they are capable of deep emotions despite their cool exteriors.  Their nervous energy and ambition may lead them to attempt more tasks than they are able to complete successfully.  Rats are blessed with one of the best intellects going.

The sign of the Rat is the first one in the cycle giving Rat people exude great leadership qualities and are good at taking the lead.  They don’t mind a lot of responsibility and they demonstrate a strong presence that other people respect.  For those with the Rat nature, status and monetary satisfaction are the greatest motivation.

The affect of the sign of the Rat is energetic, and demonstrates enough endurance to fight most any sickness.  Yet, all Rats tend to be tense, full of nervous energy, and prone to stress.  Yoga and meditation would benefit Rats by calming their aggressive natures and helping them manage stress.

Rats make good homemakers who are always willing to do household chores.  Because this is a sign of acquisition, the Rat person’s house is presumably bursting with various knick-knacks collected over the years.  Most Rats are cheerful, domesticated individuals who find happiness at home with their family.

The Chinese say others should always listen to the advice of the Rat.  Because of their intellect and observatory powers, Rat people possess prudence and perception.  They can anticipate problems, and are always able to see the big picture.  Status, money, title and recognition are important to the Rat.  They have keen sense of observation that allow them to foresee upcoming business opportunities as well as potential occupational problems.  The Rat makes a better boss than an employee.  Rats work better in flexible situations where they can be freely creative.

Cunning and thrifty, Rats have a knack with money and are apt to save for rainy days.  When capable, the Rat is a great money saver, and in strapped times he knows how to make something out of nothing or how to make things advantageous for himself.

Generally friendly and sociable, the Rat is one of the extroverts of the 12 Animal signs.  They have a special gift for easing the minds of others.  It is not surprising that Rats have a lot of friends.  To the people they love, Rats can be amazingly charitable, popular and supportive. Although Rats like to be in the driver’s seat, they do need partners who can keep up with their active lifestyles.  Rat people are romantic, and are always happier to have someone to share with.

Famous people born under the year of the rat are Alyssa Milano, Cameron Diaz, Charlotte Bronte, Daryl Hannah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennie Garth, Kristen Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Lucrezia Borgia, Teng R. Formoso (you have to find me here!) Margaret Mitchell, Margot Kidder, Mata Hari, Nancy Wake, Olivia Newton-John, Sinead Cusack, Stevie Nicks, Toni Collette, and Tracy Pollan.

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THERE’S A new airline coming in to Puerto Princesa, and it’s called Zestair. Sounds like a fresh mint, but hey, why not?

Zestair was formerly Asian Spirit, which was apparently bought by the owner of the popular juice drink in tetra pack, according to my visitor in Palawan Times office the other day. Am not sure who owns Zesto. I only encounter it whenever we go on medical and dental missions; it’s handy to give as refreshing drinks to our people in the team.

I don’t want to appear ignorant about Zesto Corporation so I went on a 3-minute Internet journey to personally meet whoever the owner is online. The chief executive officer of Zesto Corporation is Ambassador Alfredo M. Yao, who is quite good looking despite his age.

Yao also holds the chairmanship of Zest-O Corporation (excuse me, not Zesto as previously encoded). Simultaneously he is also the president and general manager of Solmac Mktg., Inc. (boy, I’m only limiting my www travel on Zest-O, am not looking for what this is) and president of other companies, including Semexco Marketing, Inc. and SMI Development Corporation.

Sounds like he’s a busy guy to be involved in running an airline company, but again… Zestair is flying Palawan so, why not?!

I was told that two aircrafts of Zestair are brand new 56-seater ones. They’re newly acquired and will be servicing several routes: Puerto Princesa, Cebu and Manila. There are more but silly memory forgot to take in every name of every place where it’s going to do business. What happened to Asian Spirit’ old planes?

Zestair will also be flying Coron, the newest tourism destination in the country today.

I came across this blog that says funny things about the name the new owner chose. The blogger claimed he doesn’t want to ride something that sounds like a drink… or something along this line of thought.

I had to smile at this blog. I must admit though that I like the way the blogger thinks — it’s kind’da fruity too!

Puerto Princesa is a favorite destination among domestic and foreign tourists. Last year, our tourism arrival doubled from 2006’ figure. Finally, we’re back on track after that Abu Sayyaf kidnapping incident at Dos Palmas Island Resort that rendered many establishments here to close shop. I can only name a few restaurants that remained in business while the weight of the disaster was taking its toll on us. Kalui is one of them.

Now that we’re seeing changes in our tourism industry get higher, new opportunities are, of course, welcome. Whatever sounds fruity, refreshing, minty, thirst-quenching, stimulating and energizing is welcome to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Welcome to the air, Zestair!

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ONLY HOURS after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared an autarchic ceasefire for the Holiday Season, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) staged again a daring ambush in Palawan that killed three elements of the Philippines Marines Corms (PMC) under the Marine Battalion Landing Team 9 (MBLT).

Western Command (WESCOM) commander Commodore Ruperto C. Borromeo in a phone interview said the Marines were ambushed by communist guerillas on the morning (around 7:30 a.m.) of December 16 at a rural community called Binga in the municipality of San Vicente in northern Palawan.

The body of one of the three dead Marines is loaded in a PAF rescue helicopter to be brought to Puerto Princesa.

Apparently, the Marines were on their way to get food and other supplies from a nearby marketplace.

In a media conference called immediately at the WESCOM, the military said the ambush group was composed of 20 heavily-armed rebels led by wanted CPP-NPA leader Gilbert Silagan.

The three Marines were reportedly wearing civilian clothes and were unarmed when they were waylaid by the CPP-NPA.

Last September, an ambush also staged by the leftist group at Sitio Double Line, Barangay Ibangley, Taytay killed two innocent children and PO2 Saturnino Lazo. Since the incident, the WESCOM has been on a vigorous campaign to arrest Silagan and a woman rebel who goes by the alias Alma Moreno.

Advertisements were placed by WESCOM in weekly newspapers in the province for any information leading to their arrests. A bounty was offered too to anyone who can give information regarding their whereabouts.

In Manila, a story from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) said Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Ariel Caculitan disclosed that because of the incident, they have instructed all troops in the country “not to be complacent with their security despite a ceasefire that’s in effect.”

He was quoted in saying that the CPP-NPA did not reciprocate the good gesture of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which is supposed to be for the spirit of Christmas.

Caculitan said the rebels “should have exercised restraint in attacking the soldiers, noting that they were in civilian clothes and unarmed.

Meanwhile, Commodore Ruperto Rico C. Borromeo, commander of the Western Command, said they will be more vigilant against the CPP-NPA in Palawan following what happened.

On December 26, the CPP-NPA is celebrating its 39th founding anniversary. It is not clear if the ambush was a prelude to its celebration.

Manhunt operations have already been ordered to look for the armed rebels who staged the ambush, WESCOM said. (see http://thepalawantimes.wordpress.com/)

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I sat the other night as chairman of the board of judges in a search for the five prettiest gays here in Puerto Princesa. It was my good friend Bianca (one of the prettiest gays I’ve ever set my eyes on so far) who called and invited me to be one, I can’t say no.

Bianca, when I was taking my oath as national vice president of the JCI Palawan Region last October in Cebu, was the one patient enough to stand up and take my pictures where some of my Peacock Jaycees friends have failed. How can I say no to her?

I’ve never sat as a judge in a gay pageant before, that’s why when I got to the Baywalk on the night of December 11, I was anxious to talk to someone to brief me on the criteria for judging. The call time was 7:30 p.m., but when I got there, the City Government was still showing Storm Chasers, a 1998 film about a widowed storm chaser sent to Chicago to investigate a destructive tornado.

I thought I was at the wrong place. Where did they say the pageant would be held? There were only a few people I saw at the Baywalk watching the film. I had to laugh at the thought. Had they shown a Fernando Poe or a Robin Padilla (famous Philippine action stars) film, there’d be more people standing and watching.

Since there’s still no one to help obliterate my anxiety, I just took out my camera and document scenes that captured my interest. I’m still mesmerized by the giant Christmas tree and its 10,000 lights so I got more pictures of it. I was just disappointed that when I downloaded the content of my camera, there’s only one shot that I like. The rest were all blurred.

I had more than 20 shots in my camera, but this one’s the only picture worth posting. The rest can’t be anything but useless.

Deciding that I’ve been waiting a bit long enough, I moved my attention to my mobile phone supposedly to call Bianca and inquire if I went to the right venue. I never got to calling her because as if on cue, I saw Joel, another gay friend, who was too happy to inform me about what I was expected to do.

Joel and I haven’t bonded in a long time. He’s an entertainment radio host and writer for Bandillo ng Palawan, another weekly newspaper where I used to work before. Here in my town, if you want to know the juiciest details about the lives of popular personalities, you only have to look for him to know.

He co-manages too an art cafe called Lorq’s (pronounced as Lora’s), a fast-rising watering hole for the yuppies in Puerto Princesa, located near the airport. Some of Joel’s business partners are known media personalities in this city.

Lorq’s at night. I took this picture during my first visit in the place, when I attended the meeting of the Oil Jaycees. It was rustic; perfect venue for small birthday celebrations and meetings.

The gay pageant started around 9:00 in the evening. The board of judges which I chaired was composed of Louie Oliva, owner of Kalui Restaurant; Yolly Parker-Dixon, my good friend who is married to China-based Brit Geoffrey; Jinky Peneyra, wife of lawyer Bobby Peneyra and also a former beauty queen; and two others whose names I missed getting.

There were 15 candidates; I must say all of them were pretty in their swimsuits and evening gowns and they’re pretty young. The youngest was 17, I think. They walked and did the ramp with the grace of real female models. Yolly, sitting beside me, commented that they’re even elegant and poised than her.

There was a crowd of people that has gathered behind me from where I was sitting. I can hear some of them making very, very unfriendly banters about the gay contestants, I was annoyed I almost retorted back that if they don’t have anything good to say, they should just go home and forget they went to the Baywalk.

You’ll find this lovely corner at my friend Louie Oliva’s “Kalui Restaurant” located along Rizal Avenue, near the airport. This place used to have books, books, books, lots of books. Believe it or not, this started as a small crude shack of a place. But these days, it’s a must-go-to dining place in Puerto Princesa. It’s even popular than some of Palawan’s natural wonders.

I see nothing wrong in the gay pageant. They’re human beings too, they deserve respect. Not just “some” respect. I have many gay friends here in Puerto Princesa; most of them are really talented make-up artists, stage directors, dancers, singers, stand up comedians, owners of restaurants (like Louie who owns Kalui), beauty parlors, grocery stores, etcetera. Some of them live really simple and quietly lives, contrary to notions that they’re loud and they’re a disruption to the order of the community.

Some of our fundraising events in the Peacock Jaycees enjoyed the support of my gay friends, and for that, I am thankful and I respect them more than those whom I know have the capability and ability to help but still denied to give out of passing impulses.

I wish people will have more heart to accept them for who they are and what they can do to help; not hate them because of what they are.

Too bad I don’t have pictures from the pageant to show here. I have to ask for copies from Bianca because I forgot all about my camera when I was already on the table with the other judges.

It was fun — three cheers for Bianca for doing a good job! Although we were delayed, the moment the pageant started, it moved on and on without interruption. We ended before 12 midnight.

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Schloat with Mrs. Hagedorn. He brought his WW2 uniform and medals with him all the way from San Diego, California and proudly wore them.

Standing with “historical man” outside Plaza Cuartel with Mrs. Hagedorn and Dr. Ganapin and an ex-pat whose name I missed getting.

WORLD WAR II veteran Don T. Schloat might be 86 years old, but he’s still very healthy and well. Looking at him would tell you he was really good looking during his youth.

I was excited to meet him because I was told he was once imprisoned at Plaza Cuartel, which was utilized as a garrison by the Japanese in early 40’s, just a few blocks away from where we live in Jose Abad Santos Street.

History isn’t one of my passion — well, not at least until June 12 this year, the Philippines’ 109th Independence Day which we also celebrated here in Palawan. I managed the event under the Writers’ Pool and Events Management of the City, and since then, I’ve been converted.

For me, history’s only a subject I needed to learn in high school and pass in college as it’s a prerequisite to getting a degree in political science. Other than that, I don’t really spend time reading books about history a lot. Although, I must say I like old things and stuff like antique potteries, paintings, sculptures, etcetera. When I visit new places, the first thing I always want to do is visit museums and be awed by old, old things I see.

So why not a love affair with history? After all, it is said, “a country without a memory is a country of madmen.” In my case, if I don’t know anything about the country’s history, I’m a madwoman. I don’t want to be that.

Lamartine said “histoy teaches everything including the future” and I believe that. Here’s another I strongly believe now, which is a version of that, “knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present.Right!

History is important, even in tracing certain illnesses in the family, or in the discovery of our own personal roots. We shouldn’t really be strange to it.

Don, at age 19, became a prisoner of war during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in 1942 when Bataan fell. That year, he was a medical corps man escorting patients to a POW prison camp in Manila. HBO.com related his war story, and it said during one of their movements, they were separated from their patients and were sent to a POW camp in Cabanatuan, Central Luzon.

At the prison camp, 300 of them were recruited to go to Puerto Princesa to construct an air field for the Japanese. They stayed at Plaza Cuartel. He said the Japanese gave the POWs a difficult life inside the garrison, all they could talk about was escape. In February 1943, Don with two others escaped from Plaza Cuartel and walked along thick mangrove forests, but they were caught. They were brought inside a school in front of the Catholic church and were interrogated there. There was a Filipino man who knew how to speak Japanese and other languages and he was interpreting for them.

But the interpreter would often twist what they were saying, and they would be beaten for them. I believe they were called “Makapili?” They were sent back to Manila later for Japanese court martial. About the same period in Puerto Princesa, on December 14, 1944, fearing that the American forces would repatriate the POWs, the Japanese soldiers ordered them into air raid shelters they built, doused gasoline on them and set them afire also with the use of hand grenades. Those who were able to escape were “gunned down, bayoneted, decapitated and clubbed to death.”

The Japanese court martial sentenced Don to 5 years isolated imprisonment. He related that they were kept in pairs inside 8×6-meter prison cells and were ordered not to talk to each other. A Japanese guard would always check on them to enforce this silent isolation. They were each ordered to face the wall, only two feet away, and their arms were not allowed to touch the ground. He slept in the same place at nighttime.

“Food was scarce in the prison camp so we were all feeling the symptoms of malnutrition,” he said, adding he himself nearly died because of it, but he was brought to a POW hospital. When he was well enough, he was ordered back to the Japanese prison camp to resume his sentence.

Details of Don’s story is compiled in a book which he had written sometime ago. Mrs. Ellen M. Hagedorn, wife of Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn, now has a copy of his book.

Last week, news of Don’s visit 65 years later spread fast in Puerto Princesa. I saw and met many ex-pats I haven’t seen before (I really don’t go out a lot) who were also excited to meet him.

It was Dr. Linda Ganapin, vice-president for academic affairs of Palawan State University, who spotted him a couple of days ago at Plaza Cuartel. She spoke to him and to her surprise, found out he’s one of the 11 names listed in a marker that was built in the plaza in memory of the fallen American POWs.

Information about Don is in this website http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/5850/prisoners.html in case anyone’s interested.

I’m just excited that I was able to meet someone who’d be able to confirm what happened in the plaza during WWII. He said he’s still overwhelmed by the fact that there are Palaweños who are interested about what happened to him and the other POWs, and it would take him a while before they all sink in.

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