Rain on…Manila

MANILA – 2 week long rains led to the worst floods the capital city of the Philippines has seen in 50 years and the unfortunate deaths of nine people. Only in the past three days have the flood waters really opened up leading to school and major business closing including the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Although all of the major metropolitan Manila suffered from the rain none as much as those in Quenzo City where landslides lead to the deaths of nine family members in a shanty house. The rubble has leveled most of the make-shift housing and left hundreds to thousands more homeless to some current estimates.

20 years after fallout Mt. Pinatubo resurrects from Ashes

June 15, 1991 marked the day of the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. The location: Mt. Pinatubo, Luzon, Philippines. Amongst the Cabusilan Mountains stands Pinatubo 1,485 m (4,872 ft) above sea-level, but before this grand act of nature it stood nearly 300 meters more at 1,745 m (5,725 ft). Pinatubo’s violence devastated the surround area shooting volcanic debris and ash some 500 m into the atmosphere. Nearly 1000 natives lost their lives sadly because of the fallout, however nearly 60,000 Aeta people were saved because of proper seismic readings, predictions and evacuation to surrounding areas including Manila.

A Celebration of Harvest: Pahiyas Festival Lukban, PH

Lukban, Philippines – Dry season has come to the main Philippine island of the Luzon and with it celebrations in thanksgiving for harvest, family and life. In particular, the town of Lukban hosts “Pahiyas” or the citywide San Isidro harvest festival. Located 26 Km northwest of Lucena City or 160 Km southeast of Manila, Lukban’s nearest attraction is Mt. Banahaw (2,158m). However the town is bustles as a hub for livestock trade and local production of native handcrafts. These products are sold locally as well as exported worldwide. But really Lukban’s breadbasket is harvest time with the bountiful crops grown from rainy season into the dry. Pahiyas rejoices this plenty.

Manila rally hopes to spark protests world round

Manila, Philippines — Tentions between the Phillipines and China are escalating as hundreds of Philippino protestors took to the street again on Friday noontime in front the Chinese Embassey in the Makita area of Manila. Officals of both countries are stuggling for control over Scarborough Shoal and Huangyan Island in the center of the South China Sea (West Phillipian Sea). The dispute began over a month ago as both nations have ships station in a show of sovereignty.

The Value of Nature – Mallacoota

The southeastern most tip of Australia provides a wealth of history, knowledge and enjoyment. Gippsland is the area and if you check good’ol Google maps you’ll find the Mallacoota Inlet (map). Situated just south of the New South Wales and Victorian border, the Mallacoota Inlet displays stunning sights and boasts numerous fun activities but it’s importance lies in the function it serves to the environment.

Fuel for Thought: LPG

LPG v Petrol

Why can Australia effective use LPG for public consumption and the US not? (image courtesy of drive.com.au)

A right-handed turn from the left lane. Around the roundabout to turn around. Yielding to electric trams as they stop to pick up passengers. Yep, just a few of the challenges a driver will face in Melbourne, Vic. Not to mention paying on average AUS$1.37 per liter which equates to nearly US$5.20 per gallon at the current exchange rate. yikes.

But the right-sided steering column is not the only thing different between Australian and United States automobiles. How about cars that supplement their fuel usage with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)? We have school buses, heavy machinery and public worker fleets that run on it in the States, why not cars?

Is there really a choice?

I’ve spent the past year and four months (with a one month lapse in New Zealand) under the Victorian and Australian parliamentary system. I’ve had to brush up on my Sophomore year political knowledge for sure. In that year of high school in Chicago, at least if you are on the “university” track, one studies European history which would include a few lessons on England’s current system of government. Australia is not that far off in their structure of houses, organization of parties and selection of ministers. Well, except for one small detail…voting is compulsory down under.

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