Groups propose ban on feeding of sharks

Government agencies, LGUs and nature conservation groups are recommending ofbanning the feeding of sharks. Image is via

OFFICIALS of government agencies, local government units and nature conservation groups recommended yesterday a ban on feeding of sharks.

The feeding ban was among the recommendations during the first Philippine Shark Summit, held in Cebu City. The summit was organized by Greenpeace in cooperation with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Cebu Capitol and other conservation groups.

Feeding affects the behavior, health and reproduction of sharks, said AA Yaptinchay, director of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines.

In Oslob, Cebu, a group of fisherfolk feeds whale sharks, locally known as tuki, as a tourism activity.

Yaptinchay said whale sharks are migratory species. Feeding them might prevent them from migrating, he added.


Yaptinchay said whale sharks spent most of their time 50 meters below the surface of the water. During feeding, they are forced to stay close to the surface, which affects their body temperature.

He said shark tourism standards require minimal intrusion into the habitat of the creatures. Feeding and interaction, he added, are forms of intrusion.

Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren said the fisherfolk-shark tour guides give krill to the whale sharks so that tourists can see the creatures.

He said the feeding only happens during the whale shark tour, which is from 7 a.m. to noon.

The mayor said the municipality enacted an ordinance to regulate the activity and protect marine wildlife, especially the whale sharks. He stressed that the provisions of the ordinance are strictly implemented.


Yaptinchay said whale sharks are also present in Sogod Bay in Leyte, Palawan and Donsol, Sorsogon.

Whale shark tourism in Donsol began in 2007 and attracted 8,6005 visitors on its first year of operation. In Oslob, 98,295 tourists came to see the whale sharks on the first year of its operations in 2011.

Summit participants who tackled tourism during the workshops, noted that enforcement of laws and regulations remains weak in shark tourism activities. They also said there is a general lack of understanding of sharks and their importance to the marine ecosystem.

BFAR 7 assistant director Allan Poquita said the agency is strengthening its information drive on the need to protect sharks by reaching out to remote coastal communities.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 25 percent of 468 shark species known at present are threatened with extinction.

Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao (Pampanga, first district), told the summit’s 150 participants that he is willing to file a bill related to the protection of the sharks. He said inputs for the bill has to come from people.

“Make me your errand boy in Congress,” said Guiao, also a Philippine Basketball Association coach.

Daanbantayan Vice Mayor Gilbert Arabis Jr., who participated in the summit, said the municipality plans to enact an ordinance protecting sharks, especially the thresher shark.

Conservation group Save the Philippine Seas is helping the local government draft an ordinance providing for the protection of sharks and rays.

The original article is published at Sun Star Cebu on August 14, 2014.

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Lover, misis pinagtataga ni mister, kritikal

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines – Nasa kritikal na kondisyon ngayon sa pagamutan ang isang misis at 26-anyos na binata, na umano’y kalaguyo nito matapos na pagtatagain ng mister ng ginang nang ma­abutang magkasiping sa loob ng bahay ng lover ng asawa sa Brgy. Sampaloc, Sorsogon City kahapon ng madaling-araw.

Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Melinda Janer, 39, at umano’y lover nito na si Renante Malazarte; kapwa residente sa lugar.

Pinaghahanap naman ang suspek na si Felixberto Janejr Jr., 44-anyos, asawa ni Melinda na mabilis na tumakas.

Sa ulat ng pulisya, dakong ala-1:30 ng madaling-araw nang sugurin ng nasabing mister ang tinutuluyan ng ka­laguyo ng asawa nang may makapagsabi ritong nakita ang ginang sa loob ng bahay ng lover nito.

Nang maaktuhan ang dalawa ay pinagtataga ito ng suspek na bagaman naka­sigaw pa ang ginang upang bigyang babala ang lover ay  hinarang ito ng kasamahan ng kanyang mister na nagsilbing look-out sa insidente.

Nabatid na ang ginang ay may isang buwan nang hiwalay sa kanyang mister matapos itong sumama sa kanyang lover. Iniimbestigahan pa ang kaso.

The original article is published at Philippine Star on August 24, 2014.

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DOT questioned on P140-M ‘roads leading to nowhere’

A Philippine Air Lines plane taxiing on the runway of Legazpi Domestic Airport. In the background is the majestic Mayon Volcano.

A Philippine Air Lines plane taxiing the runway of Legazpi Domestic Airport. In the background is the majestic Mayon Volcano. The airport will be moved in Daraga town, nearer to Sorsogon.

A proposal to allocate P140 million to construct two roads in Albay has left tourism officials stunned after being informed by lawmakers that the two projects are actually “roads leading to nowhere.”

During a congressional hearing for the Department of Tourism (DOT) budget, Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. appeared flabbergasted as he failed to give a rational response to inquiries about the inclusion of two new Albay road projects under the DOT-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Convergence Program.

The proposed P140 million funding for the projects appeared to have been deducted from the P150 million proposed initial allocation for the construction of a new access to the Legaspi International Airport and tourist destinations in Sorsogon, popular worldwide for “butanding” (whale shark) sightings.

From the original P150 million in approved funding, the Legaspi airport access road was left with only P50 million, it was learned.

Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe questioned the inclusion of the two road projects, saying that none of these will traverse through tourism destinations.

“One will lead to a Chinese cemetery which cannot qualify as a tourist spot at all,” Batocabe said as he noted that the DOT-DPWH Convergence Program was supposed to implement the Tourism Road Infrastructure Project Prioritization Criteria (TRIPPC).

Under the TRIPPC, funding for road projects with tourism values were to be prioritized in accordance with the innovative bottoms up budgeting system. This method requires all stakeholders, from the barangay up to the provincial level, to approve an infrastructure proposal.

The P150 million Legaspi airport road was placed on top of the list of budgeting priorities under the TRIPPC. On the other hand, the two new roads were nowhere in the list.

Batocabe, chairman of the House Committee on Bicol Recovery, said they discovered the irregularity only after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the proposed P2.606-trillion national expenditure program last month.

“I do think the TRIPPC is a very good, laudable project,” said Batocabe. “ But somebody pulled a fast one here.”

The party-list solon aired suspicions that a “syndicate with strong connections” with the DOT-DPWH Convergence Program could be behind the incident.

Original article is published at Manila Bulletin on August 17, 2014.

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Paglaom, A Bicol Song

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Binaha Kami Niyan – Bagyong Glenda

I called my mom to say, hi, and also check her status in Brgy. Bibincahan, Sorsogon City. It was around 530pm. She told me that the water was rising and the level was above her ankle already. Considering that our house is a bit elevated relative to the road, that means, it’s really flooded (initially, I thought because of the leak in the roof).

Luckily, a kasambahay is with her as of this writing. They are busy lifting stuff to higher place to avoid getting soaked.

So far, this is the worst typhoon that hit our area. The last flooding of our area that I could remember was during Bagyong Sisang. But the water never even reached our house’s flooring.

Is it really the amount of rainfall or our environment is really messed up? Or both?

Ingat tabi an nasa agihan san bagyo.

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Pili Nut Snack at Kultura

While trying to figure out what to bring to the states as pasalubong for my colleagues, friends and relatives, I found the Sorsogon’s Pili Nuts. I took more than a couple.

I am proud to give this to my friends and colleagues, prouder that I found it on one of the most popular souvenir ship.

Maurag talaga!

[Front] Sorsogon's famous Pili nuts is now in the mainstream. I found this at Kultura while looking for pasalubong for my American colleagues.

[Front] Sorsogon’s famous Pili nuts is now in the mainstream. I found this at Kultura while looking for pasalubong for my American colleagues.

Lo and behold! The Pili snack is courtesy of Tia Berning.

Lo and behold! The Pili snack is courtesy of Tia Berning.



[Back] The packaging looks attractive enough. I bought a couple of boxes for a relative in the states.

[Back] The packaging looks attractive enough. I bought a couple of boxes for a relative in the states.

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Bagatao and Sablayan Islands

According to Wikipedia article of Sorsogon City, the islands of Sablayan and Bagatao are under the supervision of the said local government. It doesn’t mention which barangay administers the said island.

Which barangay do these islands belong to? Image via Google Map

Which barangay do these islands belong to? Image via Google Map

 Would anyone know?

Dios mabalos!

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