01 April 2009

DO YOU EAT FLOWERS? I DO.

Apart from the online jobs that I have these days as a result of my self-serving job ad, I also have recently embarked on a microretail enterprise that involves promoting Dulce De Dingle or dried green papaya "flower candies" of Dingle, a fourth-class municipality in the province of Iloilo in Western Visayas, Philippines.

Dried green papaya flower candies--or simply papaya candies--are traditional Ilonggo confections that originated in the municipality of Dingle in the province of in Western Visayas and are considered as the trademark of the town.

This rare, local delicacy is made of unripe or green papaya pulp coated with sugar and formed into a flower or a rose. At the center of the "flower" or "rose," there is a delicious-looking yellow stuff called
yema (a sweet concoction made of milk and eggs) that reaches down to the upper part of the “stem,” which is also made of dried green papaya.

Unlike
pinasugbo, piaya, bande, bukayo, butterscotch, biscocho, and other common delicacies identified with the province and the city of Iloilo, green papaya flower candies are quite unknown and are always hard to find because production is based on pre-orders only. In fact, it is so rare that almost no local confectionery store sells it in Iloilo City.

Despite their lack of publicity, these candies are probably one of the oldest Ilonggo delicacies there is--dating back as far as the 1920s. This was according to my father, who is a good son of Dingle, where I also spent a part of my childhood.


Another factor behind their scarcity is, it takes nearly a week to prepare the freshly harvested papaya pulp because it has to be soaked first in water with lime powder for a few days, before placing it under the sun for at least a day to dry.

Also, there are times when supply of unripe or green papayas becomes a bit limited or more pricey than usual.


The "assembly" of the dried papaya pulp into a "flower" or "rose" is also very meticulous. It requires dexterity of fingers, patience, and creativity to finish even just one "flower."
 
Fashioned by the loving and hardworking hands of low-income housewives from the town of Dingle, green papaya flower candies feed nearly 20 families in this fourth-class municipality and help them send their children to school.

So, if in case you want to order this rare delicacy, please don't forget to appreciate first all the hard work that these people have put in
before you make your first bite.

Shelf life of these candies is usually one to two weeks only--but I'm sure a pack won't last for three days once you've tried them. They are addictively delicious!
 
Packs of Dulce De Dingle come in three sizes--packs of 25, 50, and 100--all in basket-shaped, golden yellow cellophane. The smallest pack (i.e., 25 pieces) costs P200.

However, if you’re outside or far away from Iloilo City, you’ll have to add something for courier/shipment and minimum order is two packs of 25. Otherwise, delivery is free.

Yes, I understand, P200 for just a pack of 25 candies is a bit steep especially these days, but, by buying the product, you will also be helping:
  • Low-income families of the municipality of Dingle.
  • Out-of-school youth, who spend their time making these candies instead of doing drugs or, uhm, making babies.
  • Working students, who try to earn in-between classes just to send themselves to school.
  • Me. (Hehe.)
Also, Dulce De Dingle's green papaya flower candies are best for:
  • Pasalubong, which is a plus because they are so unique you can’t find them just anywhere.
  • Watching TV and/or DVD with the family. (Believe me, you'll be surprised at how fast these candies will disappear. Hopefully, you won't end up killing each other. Hehe. Kidding.)
  • After-meal treat.
  • Happy meal during bad days, LQs (lovers' quarrels), dysmenorrhea, job retrenchment (hopefully not), and the like--because they can be a good (and healthier) substitute for your favorite chocolates.
  • Bribing your boss. (Try it to prove it. Hehe.)
  • Saying "I Love You" to a girl (or boy)--because these candies are a good and creative substitute for the predictably boring bouquet of real flowers.
  • Crazy “circus performances”--others who will see you eat these candies would actually think you’re eating real flowers. (Hehe.)
  • Your health--they’re 100% natural, no harmful preservatives, nutritious--green papaya being a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, papain (good for digestion), arginine (good for male fertility), and carpain (good for the heart), among others.
Interested? Please just text or call the following numbers:
  • +63946-871-2222 (Smart)
  • +63906-871-2222 (Globe)

22 March 2009

A BROKEN RIB OR A BRAIN INJURY FOR MANNY PACQUIAO--IF HE GETS CARELESS

Anything can happen.

If Manny Pacquiao gets careless against Ricky Hatton, he could end up getting a broken rib or, worse, a brain injury.

That may be way too extreme, but then again who says boxing is a gentle sport?

Fine, Pacquiao (48 wins, 3 defeats, 36 knockouts, 2 draws) has a much superior skill set compared to Hatton (45 wins, 1 defeat, 32 knockouts) to score the decisive victory that most people (including myself) look forward to, but an upset isn't too remote to happen.

Unlike the ones that Pacquiao has fought in the recent years, Hatton is no faded fighter, is at the prime of his career, is as old (or young) as the Filipino boxing champ, and--as a swarming brawler--is probably more aggressive.

Hatton certainly doesn't belong to the class of warriors that Pacquiao has fought and defeated--Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar De La Hoya--but he does belong to the type of boxers that the latter rarely fights in the ring: half-wrestler, dirty, relentless, granite-chinned, and has Neanderthal-like punch strength.

This could possibly be Pacquiao's hardest fight yet.


On the other hand, my countryman has almost everything that any opponent should worry about.

Stamina-wise,
Pacquiao is both a machine and a fitness specimen: he can be relentless up to the final round without signs of fatigue. Hatton--despite his notorious love for beer, oily food, and late-night parties--seems to have no problem with stamina either, but that remains to be seen.

In terms of footwork, the current pound-for-pound king is the hands-down winner. In fact, Pacquiao's best defensive weapon is, in my opinion, his baffling lateral movement. Every time his opponent punches, he's no longer there. This makes parrying and blocking no longer necessary and a waste of movement. Most of his opponents--with the exception of Marquez--could hardly lock on him as target. Hatton is also fast, but--against Pacquiao--he will appear like on slow motion on the television screen, just like David Diaz did.

In the same manner, Pacquiao is a god in the hand speed department. He connects even before his opponents can blink. Hatton may have watched all Pacquiao's fight videos and would've probably said his opponent doesn't move that quick, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'll have a change of opinion once when he's already on the receiving end of the Filipino's furious flurries come fight night.

Okay, Hatton may be
the stronger puncher, but Pacquiao is definitely no patsy in the punching power department either. The Filipino champ's knockout record is a testament to this, and Hatton only has just more than a month to find out that the Philippines produces not only the world's best nurses and caregivers but also "warrior-babysitters" like Pacquiao--who sends boxers to sleep.

However, Pacquiao should avoid getting tagged by one of Hatton's power punches as he might not survive a difficult round. If he wobbles from one of the Briton's monster hooks in the middle of a round, it could be the end of Pacquiao's reign and winning streak.

Pacquiao should also avoid Hatton's infamous body shots by
not getting trapped on the ropes and/or by getting in and out very quickly before the British boxer could hug him like Hulk Hogan. He should also watch out for some of Hatton's sneaky elbows while in a clinch.

Pacquiao usually has problems against good counterpunchers; and while Hatton is no counterpuncher, he is still and can always be dangerous.

With the identically aggressive styles of these hard-punching fighters, I think that whoever gets cut first will l
ose the fight. If Pacquiao gets a nasty cut first, half of the battle is won for the hungrier Hatton, who will naturally capitalize on the situation by mercilessly pounding his bloodied opponent all the more.

The intensity that these two boxing superstars bring into the scheduled match makes this impending War of the Worlds or Battle of East and West a potential fight of the year. And let's just hope that nobody really gets a broken rib or a brain injury after all.

The outcome of this fight is and will be very difficult to predict, but--just for discussion's sake--who do you think will win, and why?

13 March 2009

HIRE ME!

As a "second courser" nursing student, my remaining last four semesters in school will be very light and easy. Starting June this year, I will only have two subjects every semester.
 
I now want to work again (and earn) during my free time, which is and will be a lot.
 
But since I am now in Iloilo City, where it is relatively hard to find non-8-to-5 jobs, I thought I should post this self-serving ad here.
 
So, if you need--or know someone who needs--the following, please just refer to my CV below:

  • An advocacy/communications plan consultant/manager;
  • A project/business concept developer;
  • An IEC/promotional materials concept developer/designer;
  • An advertorial, position paper, and advocacy writer;
  • A press release writer (both for print and broadcast);
  • A speech writer;
  • A cartoonist and/or a book illustrator (for textbooks, children's books, IEC materials, and the like);
  • A company/organizational/school publications adviser/consultant (e.g., annual reports, newsletters, briefs for special projects/major programs, media kits, et cetera);
  • A proofreader (for dissertations, theses, research papers, manuscripts, IEC materials, important presentations, and others);
  • A block-time radio program host/anchor (in Iloilo City).

I prefer more output-based, short-term engagements--for obvious reasons.

You can contact me on these numbers:
  • +63946-871-2222 (Smart)
  • +63906-871-2222 (Globe)

14 February 2009

FEBRUARY IS PHILIPPINE LEPROSY AWARENESS MONTH

Yes, February is Leprosy Awareness Month in the Philippines.
 
A search on Google though would reveal that the Department of Health or its regional offices--except the one in Davao City--seem to have not made any effort to inform the public about it. (All the Department of Health has is an old article on its website that tells some facts about leprosy. This old article can be seen here.)

My classmates and I decided to feature leprosy in a
short video documentary for our Microbiology and Parasitology (Biological Science 3) class. The video documentary is a major course requirement, whose original deadline was second week of March.

However, our professor--in anticipation of the "upheavals" in connection with the
impending change of management in the University of Iloilo--gave us a new, much earlier deadline (12 February 2009), which fell on the same week of our midterm exams.

It drove us students nuts
.

The change in deadline
prevented us from bringing the original concept into reality. It already had a title--A Date With The Outcasts--where my groupmates and I would supposedly celebrate Valentine's Day as well as my 31st birthday with the leprosy patients of Western Visayas Sanitarium/Leprosarium in the town of Santa Barbara, Iloilo.

It would have been a selfless, less-than-usual celebration of Valentine's Day for all of us in the group because--instead of spending the day with our girlfriends, or boyfriends, or loved ones--we would have spent it with leprosy patients, many of whom are ostracized and neglected by their own families and relatives.

We had to think of something else. (My deepest apologies to Dr Annabelle P De Guzman, chief of Western Visayas Sanitarium/Leprosarium, who believed in our original concept and approved our project proposal.)

Below is our finished product, a 12-minute video documentary that attempts to address the common misconceptions especially among
Filipinos about leprosy. It also shows the inspiring, successful recovery of leprosy patients--proving time and again that the disease is very much curable and that patients still have a chance to live a healthy, normal life.

The script was written for only three to four hours, while the entire video was edited for only two days. With such haste, we admittedly have overlooked some flaws (which you'll notice if you look and listen carefully). Despite this, the video documentary received a 98% rating. (Many thanks to Prof Rhoda Mae P Cerbo.)

Special thanks goes to Dr Alfredo G Salcedo Jr of
Guimaras Provincial Hospital, for sharing his time and expertise as this documentary project's resource person on leprosy.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here's our 2009 Leprosy Awareness Month feature presentation,
LeproStigma.

Enjoy.

video  
ERRATA

At
02:33-02:34,
they keyword that appears should have been "
mycobacteria," not "myobacteria."

At
05:29-05:31,
the voice-over should have said "and has often
been thought," not "and has often thought."

At
08:02-08:09,
the year that appears in the subtitle should have been "1970," not "1978"--in accordance with what the subject actually said in the interview.

01 February 2009

THE FIRST FILIPINO AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN BLACK BELT IN JUDO AND BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU

Sixth-degree black belt John Baylon has long been a legend in Judo and the Philippines' pride in sports.
 
Baylon may not be as familiar among most Filipinos as Manny Pacquiao is today, but everyone in the martial arts community knows and respects him.
 
You really have no choice.
 
Undeafeated in the Southeast Asian Games since 1991, he is an eight-time SEA Games gold medalist in Judo--the first and only person to have the highest medal tally in an individual sport.
 
He is also a two-time Olympic Games competitor (1988 in Seoul, South Korea and 1992 in Barcelona, Spain), a four-time Asian Judo champion in four different weight divisions, a bronze medalist in the 2003 World Masters Judo Championship in Japan, and a consistent placer in the Asian Games.
 
But apart from being the country's most decorated Judo black belt, Baylon has made another milestone when he was recently awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from his Japanese teacher, Wado Toshiyuki, in Tokyo--making him the first Filipino and only Southeast Asian to hold such high ranks in both Judo and BJJ.
 
This Filipino prodigy has been a regular visitor to Toshiyuki's BJJ academy since 2002 when he was visiting Japan as part of the Philippine national team.

Baylon is currently the co-head instructor of Team Fabrico BJJ/Judo Academy along with New Zealander Judo and BJJ black belt, Stephen Kamphuis.

In November 2008, he ended a match in just two minutes against the much younger and more agile Mike Fowler--a Copa Atlantica BJJ champion, Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Championships medalist, World Abu Dhabi Combat Club finalist, and head instructor of a BJJ school in Guam--via an armbar in the 2008 Hajime! Judo Competition at the Ateneo De Manila University.

Born on 6 November 1964 in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental but grew up in Zamboanga City, this decorated Judo player started honing his skills in Japan while working and taking Nippongo lessons back in the late eighties. He became a member of the Philippine national team in 1988.
 
Despite the long list of injuries he sustained in more than two decades of fighting and against the advice of well-meaning friends, Baylon continues to spend countless hours in the gym, perfecting his skills.
 
The following clips show some of John Baylon's recent victories...

JOHN BAYLON VS MIKE FOWLER


PHILIPPINES VS VIETNAM

Info Source: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Philippines Website  
Video Sources: Gerard Teruel's YouTube Channel and GMANews.TV  
Photo Sources: Men's Health Philippines Website, Jamd Website, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Philippines Website

31 January 2009

ARNIS / KALI / ESKRIMA TRAINING GROUPS IN ILOILO CITY

Iloilo City, just like its neighbors in the Panay Island and the Visayas region in general, has a rich and proud martial history and tradition.

During the Spanish era, Ilonggo conscripts--together with Cebuanos and other Visayans--were a mainstay of the Spanish armed forces in maintaining "peace" and "order" in both the northern (i.e., Luzon) and southern (i.e., Mindanao) parts of the country.

They pillaged local kingdoms, burned down tow
ns, massacred insurgents, sowed fear to potential dissenters, and generally did most of the dirty work upon orders of the Spaniards.

Used as frontliners in battle, Ilonggo and other Visayan warriors were instrumental in forcing the different tribal leaders of Luzon and Mindanao to kneel before the Spaniards and lick their boots.

It's no wonder then why--even up to these days--Iloilo City remains one of the best places in the Visayas region to learn the art of indigenous and traditional sword, stick, and empty-hand fighting.

Here is the
partial list of groups that teach Arnis/Kali/Eskrima in Iloilo City:
  • UNO-BLANCO ESKRIMA SYSTEM. They're at La Paz Plaza on Sunday mornings, almost beside the tennis court. They don't wear uniforms, but when you see guys doing some Tai Chi moves (yes, they also do train and practice authentic Tai Chi), that's them. From the looks of what they're doing, theirs is a very efficient blade-based style. They're open to everyone but they don't accept just anyone. For details, you may contact Talibung Antikenyo of the Filipino Martial Arts Forum.
  • NORTEGA ESKRIMA TRAINING GROUP. Grand Master Antonio Nortega, who was his family's duelista or representative fighter back in the old days, teaches this family system. From the looks of it, Nortega Eskrima seems more stick-based than blade-based. There's very minimal footwork, but the strikes are so powerful and "deceptive" they could surprise even a seasoned Arnis/Kali/Eskrima practitioner. Check out this YouTube video posted by a close friend to see a sample of their moves. For an appointment with Grand Master Nortega, you can either contact me (so I can hook you up with his senior students) or the person who posted the YouTube video.
  • COMBATIVE AND SPORTIVE ARNIS SYSTEM ASSOCIATION. This group is led and founded by Master Guru Melecio Balberde from the municipality of Cabatuan. The style is a clever mix of traditional systems that are indigenous to Iloilo, Balintawak Eskrima, and Modern Arnis, Master Guru Balberde being a practitioner of Modern Arnis and also a former official of International Modern Arnis Federation of the Philippines in Iloilo (though their website doesn't state this). They excel at sport Arnis/Kali/Eskrima competitions, and they have several smaller training groups around the city--at La Paz Plaza, in public and private schools, at Iloilo Sports Complex, and many others. For details, you may visit their website.
  • PHILIPPINE DYNAMIC ARNIS. Grand Master Rogelio Galvarole is the founder and chief instructor of this group. Just like the Uno-Blanco Eskrima guys, they train at La Paz Plaza on Sundays, but you can also spot them on other days--usually mornings--and it's easy to do so because they're the largest group that does Arnis/Kali/Eskrima at the park. Another way to spot them is to look for a grey-haired guy who wears hakama in the middle of La Paz Plaza. From the looks of what they're doing, this system is also a mix of various styles, is more stick-based, and incorporates Karate and Tapondo/Combat Aikido moves in their repertoire.
  • MODERN ARNIS-ILOILO CHAPTER. They may be too mainstream for some, but they also do very well even in full-contact tournaments (i.e., with minimal protective gear). For one, I have personally witnessed how Modern Arnis-Iloilo Chapter guys defeated Pekiti Tirsia Kali players in a full-contact tournament at Iloilo Sports Complex sometime in 1997 or 1998. Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr of PTK was there. If my memory serves me right, only two PTK players won out of the seven or eight bouts. Five or six victories out of seven or eight bouts is no fluke, in my opinion. I learned just in April 2008 that it was Master Rosauro "Roy" De Leon of IMAFP-Iloilo who trained the Modern Arnis guys that competed back then. He also used to serve as the Arnis/Kali/Eskrima instructor of the criminology students and the police interns of the University of IloiloYou can reach Master De Leon at +63 (33) 500-2749.
  • FILMOCAN-SAN MIGUEL ESKRIMA CLUB-ILOILO CHAPTER. While this style is originally from the soils of our brave Cebuano brethren, the club already has a branch in Iloilo City and is being run by an Ilonggo instructor, Master Edward Ace Peler. FilMoCan-San Miguel Eskrima is old-style, blade-based Doce Pares. Master Peler, who now teaches a small group of select students, is a direct senior student (third-degree black belt) of the late Grand Master Filemon "Momoy" Canete's grandson, Grand Master Franchot "Panto" Flores. For contact details, you may inquire with Grand Master Flores through his Facebook account.