Showing posts with label drought. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drought. Show all posts

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Olalala...Bohol's 'coco bra' for summer keepsake

Scene: The docu-drama of the Regional   Huwarang   Pantawid   Pamilya   Search   2016 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII  was aired last Friday and Saturday on Cebu Catholic Media Network (CCTN) channel 47. It featured the Torrentira  Family  of  Barangay  Dagnawan, Sagbayan town, in Bohol.  The Torrentira family won last year’s Huwarang Pantawid Pamilya Regional Search and also placed 2nd  runner up at the national level.

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week was actress Valerie Concepcion for a vacation. The tour was arranged by Wow Bohol Travel and Tours (09081724641/09176838051)
Scene: At least 2,800 incoming kindergarten and elementary pupils from San Isidro, Carmen, Inabanga and Sagbayan towns have received school supplies from GMA Kapuso Foundation for its annual Unang Hakbang sa Kinabukasan project.

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For many travelers to this Bohol’s anomalous town, which is at least 99 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran, the town fulfils the province's promise of easy breezes, slow days and perfect beaches.

What may come as a surprise are the twists recently added to the town.

New resorts are constructed along the famed beaches of Anda, while some resorts undergo major refurbishments.

The exquisite coconut bra or “coco bra” is an added 
twist to Anda town, in Bohol province, where members 
of Talisay Fishermen Association (Tafias) are crafting the
 unique brassiere for souvenir item.  Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
New cafes. New spas. New pools. 

And the latest?

The coconut bra!

It may sounds Hawaiian, but coconut bra, a woman’s brassiere, is now crafted here by the members of the Talisay Fishermen Association (Tafias).

The coconut bra, “coco bra” for short, is made of real coconut shells with braided raffia or hemp strings to tie around the neck and the back.

It is one size coconut bra which fits most adults who dare to wear it.

“The coco bra is probably better described a coconut bikini top,” said Robin Gurney, founder of AndaKidz, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization which focuses on the hungry kids of Anda town, which is supporting and helping Tafias projects.

“Coco bra just sounds snappier and cooler,” he added.

When coco bra was introduced to the market last March, it caused a stir among foreign men and expats.

“Philippines is a tropical destination for tourists (domestic and international). Many when they are in holiday mode make instinctive, impulsive purchases of tourist souvenir items,” Gurney said.

Coco Bra
Coconut bra sells well in Hawaii, he said.

The coco bra and hula skirt are iconic images of hula dancing and party wear at Hawaiian luaus. The 1961 movie “Blue Hawaii” starring Elvis Presley, featured Hawaiian women wearing coconut bras.

“We had seen that in Hawaii the coconut bra sells well so we tried to do a Filipino version because they are many coconuts in the area which could in theory be up-cycled to higher value products,” he said.

At least 50 Tafias members, mostly fishermen and out of school youth, were trained to produce wide range of coconut and bamboo jewelry, said Gurney.  The materials and tools were donated and provided by AndaKidz as part of project co-funded by Estoninan Development Cooperation.

Through Tafias, its members get paid to make the coco bra and other native jewelry, added Gurney.

They can make at least 50 coconut bras for a day.

“I estimate 100 per day is possible, more if we have supplies and labor. It’s very scalable,” he said.

Gurney hopes Tafias can find resellers and stockist in all tourist beach destinations.

"The coco bra is new but we have had orders from Estonia and Boracay so far,” Gurney said.

In Bohol, coco bra is available at Coco Loco Cafe in Poblacion, Anda town, for P300.

The Coco Loco Cafe also sells other Tafias products ranging from fashion items -earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles and even a bow tie made of coconut shell, to homemade organic ice-creams and the tilapia chips.

However, the most selling item is the coco bra.

“Isa sa mabenta dito ay ang coco bra. Maraming mga dayuhan na pumupunta dito para bumili sa amin ng mga souvenirs,” said Rizza Amoguis, staff of Coco Loco Cafe.

In Barangay Talisay in Anda town where the Tafias center can be found, AndaKidz also helped Tafias put up an eco-friendly community center which uses plastic soda bottles and liquor bottles as walls.

The community center also boasts of a children’s library, children’s play dens, musical instruments and study tables and spacious halls where community volunteers also put up trainings and discussions.

Bohol farmers plant melons

The drought affects rice farmers very significantly. It is expected to last until last week of May or early weeks of June this year, said Hermes Hinlayagan, weather forecaster of the local Pagasa.

The current dry spell has pushed water tables deeper underground and is drying up some creeks and springs.   Although rainshowers have experienced in some towns, there is a need for water.

With drought jeopardizing Bohol agriculture, some farmers in some towns are fighting to survive. They have  shifted to  other crops that are drought-resilient, such as watermelons, bitter gourd (ampalaya) and string beans..

Some farmers in Lila and Dimiao towns are planting watermelons and string beans to beat the dry season. Donald Quim grows watermelons for  extra income for the family while the drought is drying up the land in the province.  Watermelons and beans thrive well during dry season.   Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
In Lila town, at least 100 farmers are in the fields in the morning and afternoon in coastal barangays of Taug, Tiguis and Lomanoy.

Donald Quim, 46, of Barangay Taug, started planting watermelons in the 300-quare-meter farm last year after he was convinced  by his wife Luzviminda, 53, that these melons are profitable. Last year, he earned P7,500 from 375 watermelons, which he sold for P16 to P20 a kilo.

This year, Quim said he spent at least P 1, 750 in farm inputs, including watermelon seeds for P750 and fertilizers for P1,000.

He said watermelons could survive  hot weather akthough the still needed to be watered twice a day.

“Maka-survive ang watermelon basta lamang naay source nga makuhaan og tubig. Basta mabubuan sila maka-survive yamu ang melon. Buntag ug hapun  ang bubo. Mao na nakalami namo diri dapita sa Lila kay naa mi tubig. Magamit namo ang basak after harvest sa panahon sa tag-init,” he said.

Quim said his pocket should not dry up this dry season.

“Kakugi rana. Twice a day . kada semana mag-abuno. Check-up the farm tingali naay magbinuang,” he said.

Generally, the fruits are ready for harvest after 65 to 90 days. One vine can produce four to five fruits. Smaller fruits usually weigh 3-4 kilos, but bigger melons weigh 5-7 kilos.  He sells it for P15-20 per kilo which is lower compared to malls and markets in Tagbilaran.

If Quim has to compare planting rice and melon, he would prefer the former since it is profitable.

His last rice harvest was in the middle of March this year in his 1,000 sq meter. He was able to  to harvest 20 sacks of rice. 

“Dili pa na net. Gamay ra og abot ang basakan,” he said.

In the neighboring town of Dimiao, at least 50 farmers in Barangay Balbalan, known as the “watermelon country” in Bohol, were a bit late than Lila farmers. They just started planting watermelons last March.

Ricado Cagas, 50, planted watermelons last first week of April in his 300 square meter farm. He said he is expecting to harvest them this June. His wife Rosita, 34; and three children-RR, 24; Lemuel, 22; and Gladys, 21 are helping him managing the farm.

He said he spent at least P4,000 for farm inputs for seeds, fertilizer and chemical spray.  Last year, he was able to sell melons for P20,000.

Farmers grow a Sweet 16 variety of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew.

Cagas said he liked panting watermelons because the waiting time to make a profit was shorter.

“Lami ang watermelon kay makakuwarta dali. Ang humay kay dugay anihun kay 120 days. Ang watermelon mga 1 month and tunga,” he said.

Another farmer, Eduardo Lagrada, took advantage of planting water melons this dry season.

 “Sayang ang panahon kung dili mutanum og melon nga maoy tiempo nga tigtanum. Usik bah. Mentras iyang panahon tamnan para dili masayang. Makatabang sab,” Lagrada said.

He grows watermelons to prepare for the coming classes in June.

“Gipangandaman sab ni ika-pangabri sa klase bah. Dako sab ikabatang sa panahon og tigklase. Makapamalit og kinahanglanun,” he said.
GMA Kapuso Foundation In Bohol. 
Both farmers in Lila and Dimiao have claimed they have the sweetest and delicious watermelons. Farmers are selling watermelons in makeshift sheds along the national highway.

However, not all farmers grow water melons this dry season.  Some grow ampalaya (bitter gourd) and string beans like Eleuterio Patana, 57, of  Barangay Datag, in the same town, who started planting ampalaya last month.  Another farmer Sergio Bakilid, 56, also planted string beans. He said string beans could thrive in the heat.

“Batong ang permanente itanum ingaron basta tag-init kay mulahutay og way tubig,” said Bakilid.

Farmers in Barangay Quinoguitan in Loboc town have also planted watermelons. Those in Carmen and Sierra-Bullones also grow pineapples, aside from watermelons.

Boholano farmers are still watching the skies and staring at their parched lands they have no option to fight drought than wait for rain.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Music, love on Earth Day

Scene: Motivational speaker and author Bo Sanchez at the 7th year anniversary of the Feast Tagbilaran last Friday at the Bohol Cultural Center. Everyone was inspired and blessed.

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There are worlds within worlds... Everything in our world is connected by the delicate strands of the web of life, which is a balance between the forces of destruction and the magical forces of creation.- Magi Lune  to Crista (Fern Gully)

In Bohol, the rice bowl of Central Visayas, drought affects farmer significantly. Crops have already been ruined by withering heat which affected farmers in 27 towns of Bohol who are now at the mercy of erratic weather. In times of drought, there is often not enough water available for people to drink and bathe regularly. In Barangay Bantolinao in Antequera, west of Tagbilaran City, an ordinance was strictly enforce prohibiting people to bathe and wash their clothes in all springs and creeks in the barangay since drought dried up their water sources. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
To my friends and I, Friday’s Earth Day was our celebration.

It was a night when my friends’ mixed bag of spirituality culminates in a wild night of music, art, nature, food and love.

Different Earth Day activities were held to show our general appreciation for the planet.

The Earth Day celebration was marked by the country’s signing of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding agreement forged  between United Nations member-countries held in Paris, France, in December last year, to reduce carbon emission and limit global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In Tagbilaran City, members and supporters of the Bohol Nature Conservation Society (Bonaconso) gathered on Friday morning to celebrate Earth Day with a special ritual.

At night, a “Bohol Earth Day Concert” was held at the K of C promenade with Tadiyandi and multiawarded singer-songwriter Joey Ayala.  Ayala is a towering figure in the local music scene, his critically-acclaimed albums are inspired by Mother Nature and social concerns. As a musician and artist, he believed in the healing power of song, as well as the connection to the earth that it provided.

Singer-songwriter Joey Ayala who is known for his songs’
 relevance of subject matter – environment, society, values – 
celebrates Earth Day in Bohol province. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
The Climate Change Primer of Bonaconso said that man’s disregard to God’s call to cultivate and take care of Earth, we are faced with the great havoc mostly inflicted by man’s activities which we call in this present age as “Climate Change” or “Global warming.”

Scientists agree that climate change is a real and urgent threat.

Pat Ruiz, president of Bonaconso, blamed the environmentally destructive projects that contributed to the effects of the El Niño, which is strongly being felt in various parts of the country.

The Earth Day Celebration was also significant as the province of Bohol is experiencing deepening drought due to El Niño.

The drought is aggravating the situation in the countryside. The farmers are reeling from the effects of the dry spell that is expected to last either late May or early June.

Bohol’s central ground and northern lowlands have fertile grounds and abundant water supply. It has 2,224 springs, 59 rivers and 200 creeks.

However, the springs and creeks as well as the four major dams-- Malinao Dam in Pilar town, Bayongan Dam in San Miguel town, Capayas Dam in Ubay town and Zamora Dam in Talibon town—in the province are drying up.

According to Larry Pamugas, assistant provincial agriculturist, 42 of the 47 towns in Bohol, were affected.
Pamugas said at least P388M worth of crops had been damaged by the drought in Bohol which had not experienced any downpour since January.

The drought did not just affect the farmlands but also the sources of drinking water of residents especially those in the mountain areas.

“We lack portable water. Other municipalities use firetrucks just to supply water in their respective barangays,” Pamugas said.

In the municipalities of Albur and Dauis, local officials ordered the towns' firetrucks to deliver water to some barangays where the water sources have dried up. Some residents would line up on the streets, bringing their empty gallons, waiting for the firetrucks to arrive.

Russel Villas, Sangguniang Bayan secretary and Information Officer of Antequera town, said surface water sources such as springs and ponds have dried up. The water level of their reservoir in Barangays Tabuan and Ubojan has also gone down due to the drought.

The municipality of Antequera has been placed under a state of calamity since March 21 when their water supply has dwindled, affecting all its 21 barangays and the farmlands.

Antequera officials bought water tanks that were used to ration potable drinking water to barangays.

Potable drinking water is a problem especially in Barangay Bantolinao since one third of its 1,226 residents depend on community pumps and deep wells.

Since water has become a precious commodity, the village has started to strictly implement a barangay ordinance that prohibits bathing in the water pump to limit the use of water to drinking.

A wooden signage posted in the area reads: “Ginadili ang pagkaligo dinhing dapita kay nagkainit ang panahon...P200 ag multa kung naay malego. Thank you (It is not allowed to bathe here due to the intense hot weather. A fine of P200 will be imposed on those who take a bath).”

Bantolinao Barangay Captain Conrada Pagod said the ordinance has been in existence since 2014 which bans bathing and washing in traditional water source such as tubod (creeks) in order not to pollute their water source.

First offense carries a penalty of P100, P200 for second offense and P300 for third offense.

“Dili na paliguan ang tubod karung panahuna sa among barangay. Sa tubod tigkuha og imnunon kay dili man tigpalit og bottled water kay mahal (Bathing in the creek is not allowed in our village especially now. We get our drinking water from the creeks because bottled water is expensive),”Pagod said.

Women from Bantolinao and other neighboring barangays have to walk at least 7 km to go to a nearest river in Barangay Can-umay to wash their clothes.

In some towns, women and children spend hours walking to and from existing pumps and wells just to provide water for their families.

Ruiz said reclamation projects will not only bring more environmental devastation, and more community displacements, and worsen the city’s vulnerabilities to climate change.

Bonaconso also emphasized on morality crisis. The youth today are taught they must change the world, not their souls. So, they change the world, and it becomes worse. Without moral absolutes to distinguish right from wrong, there is no real basis for ethics.

Bonaconso also said we have to redeem the entire created order for God by making all things right in the environment-ecologically, socially, morally and spiritually.

We are hopeful that the future generation will inherit a cleaner, healthier and a safer planet.

6,000 crowd for Roxas-Robredo rally

Ubay, Bohol – Presidential candidate Mar Roxas and his running-mate Rep. Leni Robredo, including some senatorial bets of the Daang Matuwid coalition, on Wednesday night campaigned in Bohol province, the bailiwick of the LP party.

Vice Presidential aspirant Rep. Leni Robredo 
celebrates her birthday in Bohol province (her birthday was
 actually celebrated yesterday) as she receives a birthday cake 
from LP-Bohol’s leaders Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto 
and Rep. Rene Relampagos. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
At least 3,000 people gathered here to show their support for the Roxas-Robredo tandem at the Ubay public market at around 6 p.m.

Ubay town, which has a registered voters of 40,803 and is located 113 km from capital city of Tagbilaran,  is considered the turf of incumbent 2nd district Congressman Aristotle “Aris” Aumentado of  Nationalist People’s Coalition  (NPC) who is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Roxas told the crowd that he would continue the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) if he will be elected president.

Robredo, who turned 52 yesterday, also received a birthday cake shaped like a slipper prepared for her by the local LP leaders.  The supporters sang for her the customary birthday song.

Asked what would be her birthday wish, she answered, “ano lang po, yung sa akin parati lang good health at tsaka safety ng pamilya.”

She also said she didn’t wish to win the May 9 elections.

“Sa akin po, hindi ko winiwish yun, kug anong ibibigay sa akin handa kong tatanggapin,” she said.

Robredo said she was overwhelmed and at the same time humbled after leading in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) mobile survey commissioned by TV5 for the vice presidential aspirants.

“Merun pang 19 days, pero masaya tayo sa results ng pinakabagong survey dahil nangunguna tayo. Pero hindi siya dahilan para makapanti tayo. Mahigit 2 linggo at marami pang mangyayari. Kaya lalo pa nating sisipagan sa susunod na mga araw. Naniniwala tayo po tayo kasi hindi ito nagdedetermine ng election pero magandang basehan kung ano ang pulso ng tao at saan pa kami magtrabaho,” she said.

Robredo obtained 30 percent, three points ahead of Marcos who got 27 percent while Escudero got 25 percent.  Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes IV and Gregorio Honasan II got 13, 3 and 1 percent, respectively.

After Ubay’s rally, the tandem proceeded to Pilar town, to attend another rally with an estimated crowd of 3,000 at Pilar municipal ground.

Pilar has 15,169 registered voters.

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Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.