traffic analysis

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Three items caught my attention in today's issue of  Business World.

The first being the front page graphics of the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF) illustrating "the largest ASEAN-led financial initiative in its history -- to address the region's critical infrastructure development needs."

The second, again the infographics on the Philippines' Millenium Development Goals (page 11), summarizing the eight goals, its specific targets, economic indicators used to measure progress, etc.  What caught my eye specifically was the green color-coded (to indicate High Probability in Achieving The Goal) Number 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education / Target; Ensure that all children will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

Like the need for farm-to-market roads, infrastructure is crucial to further advance education in the rural areas. We all have read or seen on TV how some children in the rural areas walk many kilometers, crossing mountains, rivers, from their houses to go to school.

The third item is actually an advert on the last page of the main section, photos and names of the Top Ten Placers of the October 2014 Certified Public Accountants Licensure Examinations!  😃
(Exclamation Point included in advert, smiley is blogger's)

The number one placer is Mark Anthony Tacuboy form the University of Saint Louis, Tuguegarao. "Wow! From the regions" I thought. As I scanned the rest of the advert, I noticed in an instant that most of the Top Ten came from universities outside of Manila. In fact only three came from Manila schools.  Second placer from Asia Pacific College in Makati, 7th Placer from UP Diliman and 10th Placer from PUP. All the rest came from the regions! Yoohoo!

Two from the Saint Louis University in Tuguegarao (1st and 4th Placers), another two from Baguio, the other 4th Placer from University of the Cordilleras and 6th Placer from Saint Louis University, Baguio. 8th and 9th Placers from the Cavite State University and the other 10th Placer from Central Mindanao University. Way to go guys! (Absent on this year's CPA Top Ten is a University/College from the Visays).

If there is one thing we can infer from this advert, it is that 'Quality Education' is slowly being decentralized from Metro Manila. Of course this is not a new 'phenomena', as other Licensure Exams for fields such as Medicine, Law, Engineering, etc in the past have also shown the strength of Regional Univeristies and Colleges.

With further infrastructure upgrades, and am not only talking about roads and bridges, but even power grids, internet access, etc. rural areas in the Philippines will be able to compete with Metro Manila.

The long journey for the country to achieve Economic Development worthy of World Class Standards lies in education!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

They Will Weather The Storm

While conducting our film showing at the Baguio Cinematheque yesterday. A newly wed couple were holding their wedding reception at the Hill Station Restaurant next door. Despite the weather, the couple, who hail from Bicol pushed through with their wedding. They brought up their respective families and friends for an intimate gathering.

By 4pm as guests were entering Hill Station's main dining hall, electricity had not yet been restored at Upper Session Road. Candles were lit on the tables and on the corridors to aide the guests weave their way through.

A few minutes later, the newlyweds arrive and the bride was hoping to do some last minute touch-ups on her hair and make-up before entering the hall. But since there was no electricity, she told her stylist that she would do her re-touch right there by the entrance. She was such a trouper and was in a good mood despite several last minute change of plans for the wedding because of the bad weather. (The reception was supposed to be held in a private garden somewhere in Baguio that Hill Station was supposed to cater, so they just moved it to the resto instead).

The bride was cracking jokes, taking selfies, while her groom turned on the light on his mobile phone to assist her stylist in retouching her make-up. I overheard the bride say, "I will weather this storm"! And yes, how she did! Despite the major setback that was Typhoon Mario, the bride was radiant, composed and had a great sense of humour. Ditto her groom!

With that kind of attitude, I am sure they will have a great life together as a couple!

I am betting my bottom dollar that the sun will shine on their wedded life and that they will weather any storm that comes their way!

Congratulations and Best Wishes!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Valmont skipped off my chair and hid under the shade of my table! Good Cat, very good Cat!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hindi Ako Si Catwoman

At 40+ years (okay, 40+++), I recently moved out of my mother's house and found myself a small studio, by a creek, in Baguio City. The day I moved in, a cat adopted me. How spinster-ish can that be?!

Let me orient you about the studio first. In the compound, it is a single-detached unit with a working fireplace. It is soooo small that 3 out of the 4 tatami mats I own can only fit into the floor. The fourth one I use now as my headboard. There is a small kitchen counter with sink and a toilet. The fireplace I now use to store the few books I have decided to keep. Otherwise, everything is within arms reach if you stand in the middle of the studio.

The cat adopted me on my first day there. I was smoking outside my studio (my dining table is outside under the overhang of the roof) and noticed the cat across the property. It was slowly crawling down the creek. I stood up to see where it was going and what it was up to. I found it entering the culvert, and so I called it: "ssswwwwssss, sssswwwwssss..." the cat looked at me strangely. That was mistake number 1.

It was by then nearing lunch and so I go to the Carinderia a few meters away from the compound and take out some food. Upon returning home, I saw the cat by the fence near my studio. I get my plate and a bowl to put the food I had bought and started to eat. The cat unabashedly mewed and came to me. It rubbed its ears, neck and tail on my bare legs. It seemed hungry. But I told him to wait until I had finished eating and I would give him some leftovers. That would be mistake number 2.

I left him some of the dinuguan I had and mixed it with some rice. I got an old plastic plate and put his food in it. He sniffed the food first, then licked some of the sauce over the rice. Then  he continued to pick only the meat from the plate, digging under the rice for more meat. After he had eaten all the meat, he walked away. I left the plate there just in case he came back in the afternoon and was hungry. The Spitz owned by the neighbors in the unit next to mine came and lapped up the cat's leftovers!

The next day, I bought food for the cat again. I thought, as long as the cat visits me, and if I am around, then I shall feed him. But he will have to fend for himself on those days I will be out of town. And so it was when I left for Cagayan de Oro for the Cinema Rehiyon in late February, and then again when I left for Manila in the second week of March.

Last Monday, I had bread for breakfast. The cat was mewing and wouldn't stop until I gave him some. I tore a piece of bread and tossed it on the ground. He ate it. Then continued mewing. I did the same thing for about five times then he stopped mewing, was probably full already, then walked away. Just like that.

Yesterday, when I awoke, the cat had given me a gift next to my door. It was a bull frog. Well, what was left of it anyway. The bullfrog, lying on its back, bloodied and his left leg half torn off. Its blood staining the pebble wash near my dining table. I swept the dead bullfrog away (okay, I dumped its body by the creek, biodegradable naman diba?). I scolded the cat, who was by now lying down on my chair. I told him: "You don't sit on my chair!"

Today, I wake up and the cat is on top of my dining table. Sleeping. I didn't want to wake him up because I thought he might pounce on my face. I texted my friend Lyssa, who is code-named 'Atty. Tequila' in my phonebook: "Txt me nga kce I'll put my fone on vibrate, then lay it on d table nxt to d cat!" After a few seconds, I forward the same text message to two other friends, Padma and Babeth.

Padma was the first to reply: "Hahaha! Lemme know what happens." And then another text: "Missed call pa, you want?" I replied: "Try miscol! Suplado! He ddnt wake up nor flinch! How am I going to have bfast now?" Babeth was unsympathetic to my plight, texting: "Bagay sa indie spirit mo :-)"

My friends rang my celfone to no avail. The cat wouldn't wake up. I remembered Vicky Costina's book on cats and went inside the house to get my copy. I was hoping there would be some tips on how to keep your cat off your furniture. There was the usual info about what to feed cats, about their litter boxes, grooming, spaying, neutering (hmmm... my thought balloon: Hey you, Tomcat! If I'm not getting any, then you're not getting any either!), and then... EUTHANASIA! Which I texted to Atty. Tequila, Padma and Babeth.

Now don't get me wrong. I do love cats. Back when I was in elementary we had two cats. A blue-eyed albeit cross-eyed siamese cat whom we called Panquis (pronounced pang-key, kunwari french, pangkis being ilocano for cross-eyed) and a Persian whose name I now forget.The Persian had the most luxurious black coat. Sometimes it would look like it was midnight blue. I enjoyed grooming these two cats. Picking their fleas was a pastime for me. And how many times was I clawed through my jeans, whenever they had enough of spending time on my lap.

Along with these two cats we had a poodle. And parakeets. My cousin who lived in the unit below us had a doberman. My cousins next door had a spitz. My grandfather had 5 german shepherds, a pig and chickens in the poultry. My mom had goldfishes in a pond next to her accounting office. So you see, I grew up with pets. Which is my point now...

At 40+++, I've had it with pets. I'm done with pets. I don't need a Tomcat, I need a Tom Cruise! Heck, a Tom Babauta will do!

Now back to the cat on my dining table. While exchanging text messages with my three friends, the cat, just like that, woke up, stood and arched his back. Leapt off the table and scampered away! Tse! I guess I'm stuck with Tomcat. While showering, I was thinking if I should name him Jose (after Jose Cuervo) or Yangco (after Padma's and my street) or Pablo (after Picasso, coz Babeth paints and she gave me a painting of a cat that's too big for my studio).

I go back to my dining table outside and sit by the chair. A few moments, Tomcat comes to me, mewing, rubbing its ears, neck and tail on my legs. Still mewing. Dinedma ko nga siya. I put on my Glenn Close/Marquise de Mertuil stance. After all, Tomcat is as ugly and haughty as John Malkovich/Vicomte de Valmont. That's it! I'll call him Valmont!

Tomorrow if Valmont comes again, I shall look him straight in the eye and say: "Alright, war!"

(That's Tom Babauta. I did get a photo of Valmont on my celfone, but can't find the cord to attach it to the pc. Me must get me self a i-phone. methinks!)

Friday, October 11, 2013


This post should've been written in time for this year's Baguio Day but I had another 'writing assignment' that needed to be submitted first. I have been back in Baguio since last quarter of 2012 and my love-hate relationship with the city of my birth is at its strongest now. Allow me please to vent some of my frustrations/observations. I have no solutions to offer except those that I practice already. (And please do not think I am being self-righteous). Anyway, here goes...

Baguio's population is bursting at the seams. I refuse even to google the latest census update on the city's population. Overpopulation is felt, seen and heard. Well, economists and other social scientists have predicted at the turn of this millenium that people from the rural areas will flock to urban centers. It is happening around the globe. Baguio is no different. Expect Baguio's population to grow some more. Even if the RH Bill were passed and every child-bearing-aged person in Baguio would practice responsible parenthood, our population will still grow due to migration from the rural areas. Add to that longer lifespans in the future due to advances in the medical field. (Who knows, maybe stem-cell therapy 10 years down the line would be as affordable as a root canal). Yes, Baguio will be packed ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road. People will come here for job opportunities, education, etc.

With the little space Baguio has, buildings will be built higher to accommodate population growth. We see these happening with our universities already. Also, condominiums and other development projects are rising higher and higher. I am just hoping they adhere to earthquake and other safety standards knowing the vulnerability of the city. Just like in Japan. It would be an added bonus also if they were aesthetically designed. Again, just like in Japan.

My neighborhood in Yangco has seen such transformation the past years. And it will happen to other parts of the city. When properties belonging to old timers (who may or may not have migrated), or those summer residences belonging to out-of-towners, will be sold to developers -- expect more high rises. Gone will be the days of white picket fences, gardens and bungalows/cottages. 

We cannot stop anyone from selling his property especially if offers are good. And of course developers have a totally different mindset altogether. They will need to recoup their investment and make a profit. Ergo, they will maximize the area of property they will purchase and yes, they will build taller buildings.

Clash of values is happening now. What one values may be different from the other. It will be a tough and even bitter battle between old-timers (those longing to preserve what little heritage Baguio has now) and between  the city government and developers. Forget John Hay and Burnham Park, the only green space in the future will be Baguio Country Club. I must learn to play golf...

I cannot help but wonder: when ancestral claims are granted to the vast open spaces we have left in the city (some of which are watersheds), will the claimants retain these as open spaces? Or will they and their relatives cash in and sell these once it is awarded to them?
 I haven't been to the Flower Festival's main attractions in the past years except during the evenings when downtown is closed. It was a surprise for me to hear that there was traffic gridlock along Leonard Wood Road all the way to South Drive, Gibraltar, Mansion, etc. in last February's parade. A taxi driver told me it took him 4 hours to take a lady from the market to Pacdal. (He couldn't let her down because she was very pregnant. Imagine if she labored that time?)

With the growing population of Baguio, expect that kind of traffic to be an everyday occurrence in the future. We can only widen our roads so much and I don't think there is any more space for more flyovers. I doubt an underground transportation system will work either. Yippee! It will be like Panagbenga everyday!

My solution: WALK. When the weather is fair and you don't have much stuff to carry. WALK.  Or BIKE. Like some of my friends do. And please no more colorum FX's. We have more than enough. When it's not rush hour you see all these FX's parked along Yangco, Kisad, Gen. Lim, etc. (These are the daily routes I walk, so I see them everyday).  And I'm not even going to talk about the pollution from all these vehicular emissions!

 No need to pester City Hall to make Session Road strictly for pedestrians. It's going to happen inevitably. With the looming population growth and terrible traffic scenario, expect downtown to be like Divisoria. From Bonifacio, Bokawkan, Legarda, Kisad, Leonard Wood Road, Gen. Luna, Gov. Pack Road -- people will start walking to town. Because it will be faster for them to do so.

With foot traffic occupying the streets, expect enterprising vendors to take over. After all, most of these migrants have come up for the 'economic' opportunities this urban center has to offer. With these will come trash. Allow me please to be a bit nostalgic. Ang linis, linis, linis, linis, linis, linis, linis, linis ng Baguio nuon. In elementary we were taught to pocket our candy wrappers and other trash and throw them in receptacles once we got home or when we got back to our classrooms. But never to throw them in the playground or in the streets. With the migrants now, especially the students who are not from here, what do they care? Hindi naman sila taga-Baguio eh. They will graduate in four years' time and leave the city anyway. Ngayon, ang dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, dumi, ad infinitum ng Baguio. 

Oh don't you just love the future? TRASH!  And muck. For those who've been to Divisoria, you must've noticed that the streets are covered with some mush-like 'substance' -- must be bits of paper, plastic, mud, vegetables, etc. mixed in with the rainwater and trod upon by pedestrians and vehicles alike, only to be re-mushed again every time it rains.

Session Road as Divisoria? It's not far-fetched.  It's happening in Harrison Road now that Ukay-Ukay is allowed during the evenings. That is only the start.

Let's say global warming will be abated in the future. Let's say our average rainfall will remain the same. With the growing population will we still have enough water for everyone? Especially when our watersheds have given in to high rise residential and commercial buildings? Not to mention the numerous private water delivery services with their own deep wells, but, essentially siphoning from only one main source? A lawyer friend illustrated it to me this way: Imagine Baguio's water source as one large soft drink bottle. BWD has the largest straw supplying most of Baguio's water needs. All these private water delivery services are like little straws dipping into the same soft drink bottle! Egads!

Will we get our water from the northern provinces, say,  Kalinga? The way California gets its water from the Northern States? Can we afford such infrastructure? Will the cost be passed on to us consumers? Hello, will the province of Kalinga even allow that to happen in the first place?

Adda pay kuma ti danum in the future ta haan nak met nga agininum ti sopdlink!

There is hope, dear reader. Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba (I heard they added Tublay) or BLIST should be enacted. If our leaders sit down and really think of the region's future, and not only Baguio's, BLIST is the only way to go. Of course it will be a tough and lengthy debate. Some may feel shortchanged. There will be clashes. There will be those who will not budge. (I am somehow reminded of Uncle Benny Carantes' recent tirades in his Baguio Midland Courier column). But in the end, it will be for the future generations. And a bright tomorrow is the best legacy we can give them.

In the book "Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed" by Jared Diamond, he prescribes that mankind should get out of the 'It's Someone Else's Problem' mindset (ISEP). ISEP'ers are those who are apathetic. They do not care about the environment. As long as they're comfortable, ISEP'ers will not budge to change the status quo. Or to question existing laws. Or to make a stand. Not until they feel the heat.

We should adapt instead 'It Still Is Possible' (ISIP). Mag- ISIP-ISIP tayong lahat!

ps: I advice the readers to read Jared Diamond's "Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed". The Chapter on Montana is, like, soooooooooo Baguio. And it inspired me to post this blog.
pps: I grabbed the photo from the internet. Whoever owns photo and wishes that I take it down, please tell me via comments page.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Hoda and Kathie Lee recently featured Cronuts (Croissant-Donuts) in their show and how these delectable desserts have been trending lately with hundreds literally falling in line for a taste of the new snack. The owner has decided to put a maximum on the number of pieces one can buy -- 6 only per person. He refuses to mass produce the cronuts to maintain quality and taste.

Here now is a list of Pinoy Dessert Mash-Ups which could one day appear in a stand in your favorite mall:

1. SIOMON -- A Mamon shaped like Siopao filled with asado or bola-bola.

2. HOPRUN/TUPIA -- Turon filled with sweetened mung beans (pwede ring baboy)

3. BUTA SEKO -- Burung Talangka spread over Puto Seko

4. GALLEMAS -- Galletas with Yema in the center

5. PACENSIOSO -- Pacencia Biscuit cradling a Siomai filled with Suso ( this should give the French a run for their escargot)

6. BILEY'S -- Bibingka laced with Bailey's

7. PAN DE SOL -- Pan de sal and Espasol

8. HAWLO-HAWLO -- A pitted longan sandwiched between two Haw Flakes

9. TIRAMISO -- Tira-Tira and Miso

10. UBE-GLAD -- (pronounced 'you-be glad') Ube with Ginadgad na Langka

11. LECHE PLAN -- Leche Flan with Plantains

12. CORNVENT BREAD -- Basically a Tortilla made from scratch by an angst-filled colegiala

13. KANO NI GO -- Any snack derived from an american brand now localized by Robina Gokongwei

14. SINTURON -- Singkamas, Tupig at Polvoron

15. PILITA -- Pilipit and Taho (served in a rock glass, the Pilipit used like a swivel stick)

16. KAYO GERMS -- Bukayo with Wheat Germ

17. COCO MARTIN -- Pan de Coco with Star Margarine in a Tin Can (de lata ito)

18. MANI PAKYOW -- Pakwan dipped in a spicy peanut sauce (mapapa 'YOW' ka sa anghang)

19. GUAPOE -- Guava Jelly/Jam spread over Sen. Grace Poe's fave dessert

20. IMELDA -- Iced Melon and Dalandan Sorbet

21. LEA SALONGAN -- Ube Jalea, Sampalok and Longan (wala nang glo-global pa dyan!)

ps: pasingit. pinilit lang talaga ako ni Frankie eh...

22. FRENCH CIMATU --Deep-Fried  Mahi-Mahi and Tuna with a cinnamon laced batter.