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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Awaiting Super Typhoon Yolanda

A few days ago, a very strong storm developed in the Pacific. Haiyan was formed in almost perfect conditions to become the strongest storm in the world this year. Haiyan is locally known as Yolanda. Super Typhoon Yolanda has a similar path of the legendary typhoon Ruping that battered Cebu.   Yolanda is much stronger, though. Packing winds of over 250 kph near the center, it is bound to create much damaged. 

One factor that substantially increased the survival rate of Filipinos is the internet. the internet helped newsmen and bloggers get more information about the typhoon. Information is very important because the government weather bureau PAGASA do not provide ample details until the weather disturbance enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility. With more information and early detection, more Filipinos become aware of the potentially catastrophic weather occurrence.

Class suspensions were announced days early and many people started preparing for the super typhoon as early as Monday. There was a buying frenzy for flashlights and canned goods. Grocery sales were good.

I ended up buying a few flashlights even if knew that landfall would likely be during daytime. It's better to be safe than sorry I guess.  My mom in law told me that she was not able to buy flashlight because they were no stocks anymore at the Fooda Panagdait.  I have drive Parkmall to be able buy it.  There were ample stocks in Handyman in Parkmall and there were a lot of people there.
I also bought cellphone load and subscribed to unlimited internet just in case. Hopefully, the signal would still be good during and after the typhoon.  I am also hoping that there will be no power outages.

Cebu was put under public storm signals earlier today but all in all, it was a nice cloudy day. Many people were actually confused on the absence of rain or winds but I think PAGASA just wanted to err on the side of  caution. The wait for Yolanda is quite tough. It's like fighting Manny Pacquiao and you know you can't lower your defenses because the power punch will come, you just don't know when. 
While waiting, I prepared a checklist on the things that I should have when Yolanda  strikes.

1. Load - How can you call people if you have no load.
2. Charge - There is a big possibility of brownouts  so you have to charge everything.
3. Cash - Just in case you need to buy stuff and if there's no power then there will be No ATMS.
4. Food - You have to buy easy to prepare items.  You may even also have to buy dog food if you have pet dogs.  
5. Water - It is probably one of the most important things to have. You can survive days of being hungry but not much being thirsty.
6. Emergency Lights - This is a priority especially for people who doesn't like sleeping without lights.
7. Parking - You have to move your cars in a safe place. You should park away from weak structures, poles, or trees.
8. Documents - Passports, Insurance, Bank Books must be in dry and secure place. Flooding could happen and it will be tiring to replace these documents if gets wet.
9. Emergency Numbers - You have to know who to call in case of emergency.
10. Wires - Disconnect appliances from the sockets that could be flooded.

How about you, have you prepared anything?


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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Super Typhoon is on its way....

Just weeks after parts of the country was devastated by a strong earthquake, a super typhoon is set to make landfall in the country days from now.  Way back in December, this blog had an article about preparing for Super Typhoon Pablo, which was supposed to pass Cebu but changed course and it still became the most destructive typhoon in Philippine history.

Costliest Philippine typhoons
RankNamesDates of impactPHPUSDRef
1Bopha, (Pablo)December 2 -9, 201242.2 billion1.04 billion[18]
2Parma, (Pepeng)October 2–10, 200927.3 billion608 million[19]
3Nesat, (Pedring)September 26–28, 201115 billion333 million[20]
4Fengshen, (Frank)June 20 -23, 200813.5 billion301 million[21]
5Ketsana, (Ondoy)September 25 -27, 200911 billion244 million[19]
6Mike, (Ruping)November 10 - 14, 199010.8 billion241 million[22]
7Angela, (Rosing)October 30 - November 4, 199510.8 billion241 million[22]
8Flo, (Kadiang)October 2 - October 6, 19938.75 billion195 million[22]
9Megi (Juan)October 18 - October 21, 20108.32 billion193 million[23]
10Babs, (Loleng)October 20 - 23 19986.79 billion151 million[22]

Based on this list, six of the ten most costly typhoons came in the last 5 years.  Super Typhoon Yolanda (international code: Haiyan) is coming and it could potentially make this list as it is expected to cross the central part of the country. It is time for everyone to prepare while it is early.

This blog had an article about what to prepare days before a strong typhoon comes.  Here is the LINK.
I would like to add these tips:
1. Load up your prepaid phones. How can you contact or call anyone if you do not have load. If possible, load unliText.
2. Secure important papers and documents.
3. Have an emergency cash. You have to withdraw money this early because there will be a chance that power will be cut off and you cannot use the ATMs anymore.

Let us hope and pray that typhoon will not cause so much damage or loss of life.  It's always better to prepare this early and we have to spread the word.  Initial forecasts say that the super typhoon will not make landfall in Cebu but typhoons are unpredictable and its course could change in a few hours.  Last year, many thought Super Typhoon Pablo will just affect the Visayas but instead it devastated Mindanao, where most people were unprepared for its wrath making it the costliest typhoon in history. Pablo caused the death of 1,146 people.  Super typhoons should be taken seriously and early preparation is a must.

Keep safe, everyone!

Forecasted Storm Track

Time to Prepare for a Super Typhoon
Remembering Typhoon Ruping
Haiyan (Yolanda) gaining strength
Emergency Numbers for Cebu Residents
Cebuanos prepare for Super Typhoon Yolanda

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kalag kalag 2013: 2nd stop - Angelicum

The second stop of my All Saint's day itinerary was Angelicum.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kalag kalag 2013: First Stop- Cempark

The Cebu Memorial Park (Cempark) is the first stop of November 1 itinerary. It's the nearest to my home and it is where my mom's parents and brother were buried. Wayback when I was in high school, I used to spend the night at Cempark with my brother Alboom and some of our friends.
Times have changed as we grow older. Now, I have to go to different cemeteries because I'm married and I also have to join my wife's family in their All Saint's day traditions. This year, our mass at Cempark is early. Lotlot and family were there as she came with mommy Ely. Uncle Ruben and family also arrived to joined us. Food is quite abundant compared to the past few years. There's lechon, fried chicken, maja blanca,  fruits, and many more.  The mass was officiated by father Chris of the OAD.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

My Intense Fitness Weekend

Over the weekend I joined 2 charity events related to fitness. I have been working out regularly for the past couple of months but I am sort of raising it to another level by joining some fitness events to augment my fitness regimens.  Last weekend was quiet busy a joined a late afternoon dance marathon then woke up very early the next day for a fun run. 

The first event I joined was the ICancerVive Dance to Combat Breast Cancer.  It was held at Persimmon Plus in Mabolo and it was organized by real estate developer AboitizLand.  I joined because the fitness instructors on that event were my home gym (Fitness First Cebu).  I also have been a supporter of Pink October events and I even joined the Pink October Run the other week.  The 2 hour fitness marathon involved Sh'Bam, BodyCombat, and Zumba and the proceeds of the event was breast cancer patients.  Many of the gym regulars were there to support the "Dance to Combat Breast Cancer".  I even brought my wife to tag along and she ended up sweating more than I did as I was contented in taking photos and videos of the participants. It was a good time to test how good my new mobile phone (Xperia Z1) in taking photos and pictures during events.  I really had a great time in the dance marathon and I would not hesitate joining similar events in the future.  I was even able to take videos of the different segments of the 2-hour dance marathon, check these out:

After a nice dinner, I have to hit the sack because my wife and I are joining a fun run the next day.  The fun run dubbed as "Run for SugBohol" was a charity run organized by Run for Sight and GMA Network to fund relief efforts for the earthquake victims in Bohol. I joined the 5k while my wife and her parents joined the 3k. There were over 1,000 runners who joined the run and more than a quarter of a million was raised during the event.  I brought my Xperia Z1 to the event and thanks to Smart LTE, I was able to instantly upload some pics via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Since the phone is waterproof, I just held the whole time while doing the 5k.  My time was around 35 minutes and I practically arrived at the finished line at the same time as my wife. For participating in the future, we were both given a free entrance ticket to St. James amusement park. I was able to take some photos of celebrity Donna Cruz-Larrazabal after the event and I even have a photo with her husband Dr. Yong Larrazabal, the organizer of the event.

It was an intense weekend and I ended kinda sore the next day but it was all worth it as both events were for a good cause. I am also happy that I was able to involve my wife in the events that I am passionate about.  I am hoping that she feels as fulfilled as I am. ;)


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some perks of being a fitness first member

Fitness First has become one of my favorite places to hang out. I have been getting good results in my fitness regimen and enjoy the many extras that I received while being a member at the gym. One of the best perks is getting to chill at the gym's lounge.

The fitness first lounge is quite big. It has 2 desktops where members can go online. The lounge has wifi as well which is great for people who like to check Facebook at the comforts of their own mobile phone or laptop. Coffee and tea are available for free. The lounge has comfortable seats where people can relax and chat after a great workout. For more food and beverage options, there is a Fruit Magic branch in the lounge where one can order shakes, juices, sandwiches, and pasta.

Get a free trial NOW by visiting the gym at the 4th level of ayala center Cebu.

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My Fitness Blog
Teacher's Day Free Workout at Fitness first
Dance to lose weight!
An Intense Weekend of Fitness and Good Causes

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Earthquake Readiness Tips

Another strong earthquake happened and it made think what can one do during an earthquake.  Panic usually sets in when you do not know what to do. Drills could help but a lot of people do not take it too seriously. After what happened, I wanted to know more about being prepared before the earthquake and being able to do the right thing during and after an earthquake.

Here are some helpful tips that I found in the internet:

Before Earthquakes

  1. Have an emergency kit. It is useful during earthquakes as well as typhoons and other natural calamities. Your kit must have food, medicine, water, flashlight, batteries, battery powered AM Radio or a gadget with AM Radio and a first aid kit.  Buy a fire extinguisher if possible. Put you kits in a safe place and let everyone know where to get it.
  2. Avoid putting jars, bottles, and heavy or breakable materials overhead especially along your normal exit path. These items could fall and hit you during earthquakes.
  3. Repair cracks and other structural defects in your house or buildings. Small cracks could open up during tremors leading to bigger damage.
  4. Secure flammable materials. Fires usually follow after earthquakes if flammable materials are not properly secured.
  5. Hold earthquake drills and take it seriously. Drop, cover, hold, and identify safe places to stay.  Know the earthquake drill in your school, and office. Make one for your home. Make a family earthquake preparedness plan.
  6. Know the emergency numbers in your place.
  7. Put your important documents in a safe place.  Documents like passports, insurance, bank passbooks etc.
During Earthquakes

When Indoors
  1. Drop to the ground. Take cover under a table, desk or anything sturdy.  Hold on to something stable until the shaking stops. If you can't find anything to cover yourself, brace and cover your head with your arms and stay at the corner of a structure or somewhere with ample support.  The key is to find a place where there are no falling objects or find a place where you are protected from these falling objects or debris.
  2. Stay away from breakable materials like windows, glass, bottles, and TV screens. They could break and it could cause injuries.
  3. If you are in crowded building, do not panic join the frenzy of the people trying to get out of the building.  Many deaths are caused by stampede during the rush for the exits.
  4. Never use the elevator. Just imagine being stuck there and the big probability that power will be cut off during strong tremors.
  5. As much as possible secure your cellphones and wallets so that you can contact important people after the earthquake and also be able to buy some thing if necessary. Never forget to bring those items when exiting your house or building.
When Outdoors
  1. Stay there and do not go back inside a building.  Find an open space away from buildings, lampposts, electric wires, or walls to avoid potential harm.
  2. Wait until the shaking stop before deciding next what to do.
When Driving
  1. Slow down and find a good place to stop.  Avoid stopping suddenly because you might cause an accident. Avoid stopping in bridges, flyovers, or near electric posts or tall buildings.
  2. When the shaking stops, proceed to your destination with caution and be wary of panicking pedestrians, broken items in the street, and other obstructions. Be watchful of your speed and be aware of possible traffic light outages.
When Trapped under Debris
  1. Do not light a match. There might be leaking gas or flammable objects nearby that could a start a fatal fire.
  2. Find something to cover your mouth. Dust inhalation should be your first concern.  Do not move around too much or kick indiscriminately because it will move the dust to the limited air that you breathe. 
  3. Find a pipe or something that make a sound so that the rescuers can locate you.  Shout only at the last resort like when you can hear the searchers because shouting exposes you to dust inhalation. 
After Earthquakes
  1. Watch out for expected aftershocks. Aftershocks are very common and it increases the initial damage caused by the initial tremor.  Do not move until you are that it is already safe.
  2. Before going back to your house, you have to check for initial damage. If the house or building has visible damage in its structure, you should avoid going inside unless it is necessary.
  3. Check for injured or trapped persons.  Apply immediately first aid to injured people. Call for help if someone is seriously injured and avoid moving a severely injured person.
  4. Check for fires and extinguish it ASAP to avoid more damage and injuries.
  5. Turn on your radio to check on the latest news. Listen to possible Tsunami alerts, fires, and get info on damaged roads and buildings.  Announcements on classes and work stoppages are normally broadcasted over the radio.
  6. Clean up spilled liquids.
  7. Anticipate possible power outages and prepare your emergency kits.
  8. Inspect utilities. Check for sparks, leaks, and other issues.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What was I doing when the October 15, 2013 Earthquake happened?

Another earthquake affected Cebu. The Oct. 15 earthquake struck at 8 in the morning. I was still in bed trying to enjoy the start of my day.  There is no work because it was declared a holiday. The earthquake was very strong, my wife and I have to scamper to go outside our room.  When we reached our sala,we saw my father in law just waling casually not knowing that a strong earthquake was happening.  He thought it was just raining because the roof sounded like it was hit by a heavy downpour.  We all immediately went out of the house.  The shaking went on for a couple more seconds and I could see my AUV dancing.

When the first tremor was over, we were just outside the house.  I realized I was just wearing my green underwear.  It was kinda funny but I did not mind anymore.  Despite the strong aftershocks, I had to brave and go back to my room to find my shorts since my wife is so insistent that I should change. She was furious when the first thing I did when I went back to the room is to find my macbook and try to check on facebook. Well, there was no electricity so I decided to join the family outside the house.  The whole subdivision was practically in the streets.   Even our four dogs were panicking.  After around 30 minutes power restored and we were able to go back to the house.

I later found out that it was a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and the epicenter was in Balilihan, Bohol.  It was the strongest earthquake that I felt in my entire life. So many buildings in Cebu were damaged and as of now, there are at least 20 casualties. Classes are suspended for tomorrow and some companies suspended work as well.  When I was driving around just a couple minutes ago, I see many people in the streets including the call center agents working at a nearby building. It is better to be safe than sorry.

How about you? Where were you when the earthquake happened?

Strong Earthquake damages buildings in Cebu
What was I doing during the 2-6-2012 Earthquake?
AM Radio stations in Cebu
Visiting Chocolate Hills Bohol
Rainmakers go to  Bai!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Staying at Parklane Hotel

Last April, Steph and I were finally able to use the complimentary stay at Parklane Hotel.  Parklane Hotel is located in Escario Street, Cebu City and it just a walking distance from Ayala Centre Cebu.  One thing I like about the hotel is its location which gives us so many options when it comes dining or other activities. One can easily ride a jeepney going to the other parts of the city. As for Taxis, it is not hard to find one in the area.

The hotel have good sized rooms and the one we got was spacious enough and we have view overlooking the Escario street. Their TV unit could use and upgrade but I was not there to watch TV.  Their pool is nice and you have a nice of the city in that floor and they also have a gym for people who love to exercise while on vacation.

The hotel has good options when it comes to food but guests can find more options in the nearby mall and restaurants. The breakfast buffet has a wide choice that it is typical to 4 star hotels. I certainly could recommend this place to friends who would like to spend in Cebu.

Parklane Hotel Website
Aunt Alice Visit Cebu and stayed at Radisson Blu
Our stay at Shangri-La Hotel
Wedding reception at Be Resorts
Our stay in Sabin Resort Hotel, Ormoc

Monday, September 30, 2013

Dance Dance Dance to Lose Weight...

I really wanted to lose weight and I do not like running. I am just not one of those who love job and run around in circles.  I think it is because I get bored easily. Good thing, I found a fun way weight to be fit. I really love dancing.  While it does not give the same calorie burn as a 10k, the fun factor for me is just more than 10 times better. 

The nice thing about dancing in Cebu now it is becoming as common as fun runs. There are daily and weekly public Zumba classes. You can even now dance inside the malls like Ayala Centre, J Centre Mall, Parkmall, and Robinsons Cybergate. It's convenient, fun, and more importantly, effective.

My "addiction" to dancing started when I went back to Fitness First Cebu late last year.  I was really out of shape and I have not worked out for 2 years. It was tough.  I do not like the sound of the treadmill when running even at the speed of 7.5 km/h. The pounding sounded more like a carpenter in hammering away rather someone running smoothly at the machine.  Heck, I did not want to embarrass myself.  Good thing my gym offers 3 kinds of dance classes. There is Zumba, Sh'Bam and Body Jam.  Zumba is probably the most popular fitness dance program in the world while Sh'Bam and Body Jam are programs designed by internationally recognized Les Mills.

I felt so much better in dancing and my stamina and skill improved after each session. I even made a lot friends because of dancing.  The group effect contributed a lot in my weight loss.  I was even able to invite a lot of friends to join the craze.  

Last summer, Fitness First Cebu launched its new programs at the Ayala Terraces. I was there  along with my wife and many of my colleagues at Robinsons Homes Rainmakers Group. I was not the only one having a great time. Here are some of the pics of my Summer of Dance:

Glace, Arian, Aliel and Jessa

Me, Nectar, Steph, and Angie

The Rainmakers during Intermission

Cry Cry and Kerwin joining the dance

Afternoon Dance

Posing with Cire and Lindy
Dancing is a good way to lose weight.  You do  not even have to spend anything as you can practically dance anywhere.  Dancing is a skill as well.  By improving your dancing skills, you will be more confident in your next Christmas presentation or the next time you go clubbing with friends.  Let's Dance! If you want to join us in the gym, let me know. ;)

My Fitness Blog
Rainmakers of FY2013 2nd half
The night I danced in Fitness First Cebu
Robinson Homes 2012 Christmas Party
Going to Alona Beach, Panglao
Zumba Fever at the CICC

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Trekking then Swimming in a Hidden Falls in Toledo

Last Summer, Mama was invited by a family friend to visit her rest house in Toledo.  We jumped at the chance because we rarely go out hiking.  It was quiet enthusiastic because I sort off missed this kind of activities.  I missed going to hills, climbing trees, and exploring nature.

 The first part of our adventure involved hiking and trekking.  We crossed several streams and climb some hills for about an hour.  Steph and I were enjoying the walk as we had fun being trekking buddies. After minutes of trying to find the hidden waterfalls, we finally arrived in our destination.