14 February 2009


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,



they keyword that appears should have been "
mycobacteria," not "myobacteria."

the voice-over should have said "and has often
been thought," not "and has often thought."

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


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...



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