10 environmental trivia about the Philippines


Tubbataha Reef (credit:

There’s more to the Philippines than Boracay and dirty politics. Here are some environmental trivia to remind us of the beauty of our natural resources, and why appreciation alone is not enough to preserve them.

  • The Philippines is one of the world’s 18 “megadiversity” countries, harboring 70% of all life forms on the planet.


  • According to Haribon, we rank first in the world for the number of endangered endemic species of mammals and birds on an acre-for-acre basis.  Fifty-five of the 70 threatened bird species in the world are found only in our country.


  • Taal Volcano is the world’s smallest active volcano and Taal Lake is the only habitat of the world’s only freshwater sardine sardinella tawilis.


Visayan Spotted Deer (credit:

Visayan Spotted Deer (credit:

  • Out of the 584 Philippine wildlife, 72% are threatened with extinction like the Philippine Eagle, Tamaraws of Mindoro, Visayan Spotted Deer, Visayan Warty Pig, and Dinagat Cloud Rat.


  • The Philippine Eagle is one of the rarest eagles in the world and the Visayan Spotted Deer and Tamaraw are two of the rarest mammals in the world.


  • A tiny orange-colored rodent-like mammal not found anywhere else in the world was recently discovered in Mt. Banahaw.


  • The Tubbataha Reefs in Sulu Sea is the only marine natural park in the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to over 600 species of fish, 359 species of corals, 12 species of sharks, 12 species of dolphins and whales, and over 100 species of birds.


  • The world’s largest pearl was discovered by a Filipino diver in Palawan. Known as the “Pearl of Lao-Tzu,” the gem weighs 14 lbs. and measures 9.45 inches in diameter. It is believed to be 600 years old.


Rafflesia (credit:

Rafflesia (credit:

  • The world’s largest flower Rafflesia was also discovered at the Sibalom National park in Antique. Locally named Uruy, the flower measures 22 inches in diameter and has no stems and leaves.


  • Our coral reefs are among the richest in the world, with about 464 species of hard corals and more than 50 species of soft corals. But of the country’s 2.7 million hectares of coral reefs, less than 5% are in excellent condition today.


Here are some organizations you can contact if you’d like to take that one extra step for Philippine environment:



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The rain and the strange things



On June 9, 2009, I wrote in my old blog:

It’s raining again tonight. I noticed after staring blankly at the dead monitor of my TV, lured by the reflection of the light from my bedside lamp. A silly distraction, I realized, and then I heard the sound of the raindrops.

How strange, I thought, that even without seeing the rain, or feeling it, you know it is. That sound, which I can’t describe, is way too familiar to mistake for something else. And yet the same familiarity diminishes it to a mere background.

Last month, while waiting for my ride at a hotel lobby, I met the chief executive of the company I used to work for. He did remember me, but only to ask if I didn’t shame him for recommending me to the graduate school where he sits as member of the alumni board.

“I’m struggling with my thesis,” I said without really thinking, as if the words came together by themselves and out of my mouth.

“Good luck then,” he said, like the kind you hear out of a movie script, though I sensed he was being sincere. Or at least trying to be.

The words “thank you, sir” came together by themselves and out of my mouth. I was being sincere. Or at least trying to be.

How strange, I thought, that the more you think of the right words to say, the more you lose control.

A few weeks back, when my brother was having a fight with his girl over the phone and his voice was offensively loud, I stepped out of the peace in my room and shouted at him to “grow up,” and I added with something like being sensitive to other people in the house who didn’t give a damn about their relationship.

You see, I’m a diplomatic person, whatever that means, but on rare occasions when I was provoked,  I said the most hurtful of words that made others, even those older than me, cry. My brother cried that night, too.

But it wasn’t the hurtful words I said that puzzled me after; it’s that by asking him to stop, it was my voice that became offensively loud. Mine was even so much louder.

How strange, I realized, that sometimes when you badly want something to stop, you unwittingly become its extension, its accessory.

It’s still raining tonight where I am, and I like it.

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Sally’s serenity

Sally seems shy. She sits sheepishly, seeing sadness sauntering south. She stutters, shakes, screaming silently. “Seize some sun, Sally,” Sarah sneers. Sally’s sanity self-destructs: she scoops some saffron, swallows salt, scatters sauces. “Sullied sanctity, sinful saint,” Sarah said. Sally snubs Sarah. Sarah shouts, “Sanctimonious!” Sally’s spirit seethes. She stands, surges, slaps Sarah. Scuffle starts, strewing sanguine-stained self-esteem.

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7 ways to beat ‘senior’ moments


Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

People now commonly use the term ‘senior moment’ for situations when someone young or old forgets something. The adjective ‘senior’ can be a misnomer because while the difficulty to remember things can come with old age, adults in general can suffer from poor memory health without them being aware of it. 

Here are seven ways you can do, at any age, to boost your brain power for memory:

1. Increase your physical activity

In 2006, a study by the University of Illinois concluded that physical activity improves brain function in almost every way, including memory. Researchers in Netherlands likewise reported that simply walking for an hour, twice a week, could boost a person’s power of recall.

Do you recall the last time you took the stairs instead of the elevator?

2. Get enough sleep all the time

Chronic lack of sleep causes not only poor concentration, but also difficulty to introduce new information into the brain. Experts also say that sleep deprivation may prevent the brain from doing “memory housekeeping” essential to recalling information learned the previous day.

Do you recall the last time you slept for eight hours straight?

3. Sustain your social activities

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health published in July last year reports that older people with the most number of social activities had the slowest rate of memory decline over a six-year period. While experts cannot fully correlate social activities with a healthy memory, the inherent mental workout in social interactions (remembering names, engaging in conversations on a variety of subjects) seems to play a role in improving memory health.

Do you recall the last time you had a very engaging conversation with someone that you lost track of time?

4. Choose to be positive

A study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded that people who are often stressed or depressed are 40 percent more likely to develop memory problems than people with more positive disposition. Depression, experts say, saturates our bodies with high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can damage regions of the brain crucial to memory.

Do you recall the last time you laughed your heart out?

5. Do easier puzzles

University of Pennsylvania scientists found that people who solved word puzzles had a boost of blood flow to the brain, but those who tried and failed had reduced flow. They say that frustration to solve the word puzzle may interfere with the brain’s ability to store new information.

When was the last time you answered a crossword puzzle and completed it?

6. Avoid editing your ideas

A new study in Neuro-Image shows that when people brainstorm without editing their ideas, more blood flows to a memory-processing area of the brain. When you think you can’t fully share your ideas in a meeting, remember it or jot it down on paper and then discuss it with your boss or colleague after the meeting.

Do you recall the last time you participated in a free-flowing discussion or brainstorming at home, school, or in the office?

7. Eat dark chocolates

In a British study, people who downed a cocoa drink had a 50 percent increase in the blood streaming into memory centers of the brain. Flavanol content in chocolate varies, so try a bar with a high cacao content percentage.

Do you recall the last time you feasted on dark chocolate?

Keeping our memory healthy isn’t a ‘senior’ concern; the sooner we start doing it the longer we can enjoy the benefits of a sharp memory for our personal relationships and professional career.

This article was first published in Unilab’s website. Check it out here.

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Back to blogging

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

One Sunday afternoon I had a random thought of going back to blogging.

I used to write in two blogs: the first was for anything under the sun (my travels, some bad poetry, some misguided social commentary), the other was more focused on organizational communication, which I do as a profession and teach as a passion.

Along the way I fell more in love with microblogging—the 140-character limit seemed a lot easier to do than writing an entire blog post. A blank page can really be daunting sometimes.

On Twitter, I can babble on and on, and those crazy enough to follow me won’t mind (I assume). I can also retweet what cool people say, put in ”agreed!” or “can’t agree more,” and I instantly sound smarter than I am (RTs work wonders in making you smarter, I tell you. Try it. Don’t forget to follow me first; it’s the best first step to awesome microblogging. Follow me here now, gorgeous).

On my WordPress blogs, I felt like I can’t do the same. I thought that those crazy enough to subscribe to my blogs or visit occasionally expected some formality in my blog posts, some words of wisdom, some well-researched information made more exciting with links to great content, like funny or heartwarming videos.

In short, blogging demands some effort while microblogging only requires me to say something—anything—and I can be all silly about it.

Said another way: I became lazy to write longer than 140 characters. You can sense that I’m hardworking like that (headhunters, no judgment please, at least I’m honest, right?).

So yes, I abandoned my blogs like a parent giving up a baby for adoption. Only in my case I didn’t look for foster parents; I left them to die. I’m a good guy like that.

But here I am now starting a blog again. I even bought a domain this time and paid for three-year hosting. Crazy people rejoice, you’ve got a comrade here.

So what is this blog about? I don’t know. Not yet. Maybe I won’t ever know. Tell me. Maybe you’ve got a bright idea. It’s the ‘in thing’ to do now, right? They call it crowdsourcing. I call it the-cool-excuse-to-ask-help-when-you-don’t-know-what-to-do approach.  Being clueless never looked this cool. Digital is fucking awesome.

Write your suggested topics in the comments section (c’mon, some audience participation here), and I’ll pretend like I really care. Haha! 🙂

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