Philippine Places: Lakawon Island

July 25, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Posted in All, Environment, Lakawon, Philippines, So You May Know, Travel | 14 Comments

Another hidden treasure of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines is the Lakawon Island. This one is very special to me.

Lakawon is a 15-hectare banana shaped island about 3 kms off Cadiz City. The island is not very popular among Pinoys outside the province. Even I only came to know about it when I asked my sister-in-law of places to go when Shane would come to the Philippines for the first time. That was in 2003.


lakawon-island-resort-beach-part.jpgLakawon has a gorgeous white beach (that can rival that of Boracay) consisting of coarse corals. It is also covered with palm trees and in some parts dense bushes.

The island has a resort managed by the family-owner. Unlike Boracay, Lakawon Island Resort is UNcommercialised and the owner wants it just that. If you want peace and quiet in your holidays, this is where you go. If you want glamour and parties at night, you go to Boracay.

In 2003, there were only a few cottages, air con and non-aircon. lakawon-island-resort-front-view.jpgThere was not much activities to do in the island except swimming and some related water activities (like banana boating and lakawon-island-resort-back-part-of-island.jpgwind-surfing). There’s not much recreational facilities. The resort is purely for unwinding and relaxation. The rooms have no TV sets and radios. No electricity during the day. A generator provides power in the nights which starts at dusk and turns off at daybreak. Incidentally, we have perfect mobile phone reception so we still have communications outside the island. The island is not too far away from the mainland that cellsite coverage still reaches it. Note that it has been almost five years since our trip there so this may have changed now.

Getting there : The access to the island is via Barangay Cadiz Viejo. A motor boat owned by the resort usually takes visitors to the island. The ride is about 30 minutes.

From Bacolod City, travel by private car will take just over an hour. There are also buses plying the Northern Negros which stops at Cadiz Viejo.

So why is this place very special to me? Because this is where Shane kneeled (while I was yelling at him for immersing his fresh shorts in the water) and popped the question, “Will you kill marry me?” 🙂

For more photos of the island, check out this blog here and here. I will post more pics once I get a chance to scan some photos. I’m a slacker at the moment.

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Philippine Places: Sagay City

July 6, 2007 at 1:24 pm | Posted in All, Environment, Philippines, Sagay, So You May Know, Travel | 29 Comments

I would like to help spread word about the Philippines and I’ll start with the place where I grew up, Sagay City. Not to be confused with Sagay in the island province of Camiguin, Sagay City is in the northenmost tip of Negros Occidental, about 84 kms or two hours travel by land from the province’s capital city, Bacolod.

sigayshells.jpgSagay got its name from sigay, a semi-spherical shell abundant in the town’s shores.

From a municipality, Sagay became a city in June 1996. Then President Fidel V. Ramos formally proclaimed Sagay the seventh city of Negros Occidental, citing it as an excellent example for other striving communities.

So much has changed since I left Sagay in 1986. I lived with my bro and his family in college and would only go back to Sagay once in a while. I was assigned in Manila for my school’s compulsary industry exposure (OJT) and since then have lived in Manila until I moved to Melbourne. It wasn’t financially practical to visit go home every so often. I may have seen a lot of the Philippines but mostly they were gratis as I have mentioned in this post.

From a third class municipality, Sagay is now a second class city. The unwavering and relentless efforts of it’s local officials has made the city what it is today.


sagay-underwater.jpgSagay now is home to a 32,000 hectare marine reserve that includes Carbin Reef, Panal Reef, Maca Reef and Maca Shoal. There is also BalayKauswagan, (read: House of Progress) an ideal venue for seminars, skills training, art exhibits, trade fairs, wedding receptions and even a place to stay when you’re in the area.

steam-train.jpgsinigayan-festival.jpgOther points of interest includes the City Garden and the Living Tree Museum, Museo sang Bata (Children’s Museum) sa Negros, Vito Church which was built in the 1800’s and the biggest annual event in the city, the Sinigayan Festival.

A steam train, called the Legendary Siete is in display a the city plaza. Colin Garratt, author of the book, Iron Dinosaurs considered Siete as the “world’s most incredible steam survivor” and even proclaiming her a ‘portrait of a dinosaur’ at the date his book was published in 1976.

A travel article at Inquirer.Net recently featured Sagay. That article also appeared blog.


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Ten Commandments of Driving

June 20, 2007 at 4:40 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Environment, Life et al, Melbourne, So You May Know | 3 Comments

The Vatican has released a document called “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road”, part 61 of which is the Ten Commandments of Driving. Read full contents of the document here.

Drivers’ “Ten Commandments”

61. In any case, with the request for motorists to exercise virtue, we have drawn up a special “decalogue” for them, in analogy with the Lord’s Ten Commandments. These are stated here below, as indications, considering that they may also be formulated differently.

I. You shall not kill.

II. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.

III. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.

IV. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.

V. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.

VI. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.

VII. Support the families of accident victims.

VIII. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.

IX. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.

X. Feel responsible towards others.

Victoria is averaging 176 (in 5 years) road fatalities a year. TAC has a daily road toll update here.

This is a very timely reminder of how people on the road behave now. Speeding, among others, coupled with stupidity kills. Isn’t that irresponsible?

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Are water bottles safe to re-use?

April 4, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Posted in All, Australia, Health, So You May Know, TV, Water | 8 Comments

Drink lots of water everyday; That’s what the doctors say
It helps you keep hydrated; Skin moistened, joints lubricated.
Drinking lots of water; Helps curb a bit of hunger
If you are in a diet; Less food more water will help lose weight
If enough water is in your body; You feel you have more energy
Perspiration will occur constantly; Even without strenous physical activity
So here’s to you oh water; For making me feel much better
You are a healing wonder; Cheers to you and your power.

We do need to drink water. And lots of it. For the lack of safe drinking water when we are out, we resort to bottled water. But what do we do when we need more? We re-fill the bottle. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who in one time or another re-use water bottles. I did on a lot of occasions. Isn’t it always handy to have a bottle of water somewhere where you can easily reach out and have a sip?

There was an episode of the show “What’s Good For you” in Channel 9 which I think is worth re-telling. It was about re-using water bottles.

The test was conducted to find out about the health risks of refilling water bottles.

Water bottles were taken to a lab for analysis. These were:

  • A two-day old ottle from an office
  • A two-day old bottle from a car
  • A bottle that has spent a whole week being re-filled
  • One that’s been topped up for two weeks
  • A shared water bottle
  • And a bottle that someone has been re-using for six months.

The results:

The two-day old bottle from an office was found to be safe though bacteria were already starting to build up. In low doses, it will not cause any problems. Other bottle samples showed more bacterial build-up. The more they were refilled and the longer they were used, the more bacteria have grown. Yaiks!

Now, the bottle that has been used for six months showed some green colour in it. Algae! The microbiologist can not tell how the algae got into the bottle. Under the microscope, the bottle was swarming with bacteria but fortunately, the algae were not toxic. She emphasised though that there are some pretty serious water-borne toxins around.

So how did the bacteria get into the water bottles? Probably from the cells in the mouth which dislodge easily, saliva. Also, some of the food can get back into the water bottle by way of backwash. Yes, backwash, the outward flow of liquid, in this case, water.

To prove the backwash, three persons were made to dye their mouths and drink from water bottles. Two drank normally with their mouths touching the bottles. One drank by pouring water into his mouth without the bottle touching his lips.

The bottles which had benn drunk from normally have dye colours in them. This howed that any contact with lips on the bottle causes some form of backwash to go in. Nothing has changed with the bottle that has not touched the lips of the drinker.

So to avoid backwash, don’t let the bottles touch your lips as you drink. But that’s only from one’s own mouth, what about from a shared bottle?

The results from the sample taken from a shared bottle revealed staphylococcus growing. Staphylococcus? Doesn’t that sound icky? It is.

From Medterms: Staphylococcus is a group of bacteria that cause a multitude of diseases. Under a microscope, Staphylococcus bacteria are round and bunched together. They can cause illness directly by infection, or indirectly through products they make, such as toxins responsible for food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome. The best known member of the Staphylococcus family is Staphylococcus aureus.

From Healthline: Staphylococcus aureus is found on humans and in the environment in dust, air and sewage. The bacteria is spread primarily by food handlers using poor sanitary practices. Almost any food can be contaminated, but salad dressings, milk products, cream pastries, and any food kept at room temperature, rather than hot or cold are likely candidates.

There is a risk of picking up something nasty from using a shared bottle. Sharing bottle also means sharing germs.

So, will you be re-using water bottles? It’s not an absolute no-no to re-use bottles. The key is to wash it regularly with hot water and detergent and if possible store it in the fridge. Bacteria grow much faster in a warmer environment.

Me? I do re-use bottles but only for the same day I started using it. It goes to the recycle bin after that.



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