Wednesday, January 26

pickpockets galore?

Just this morning, my sister called from the pier, asking me to look inside her bedroom to see if she'd left her wallet there.  It wasn't there... not in her room, not in her daughter's, not in the living room, nowhere inside the house. Although, and I really hope so, there's a chance that she left it inside her wardrobe cabinet (which is locked).  But the thing is, her shoulder bag's zipper was open when she arrived at the pier. And her wallet gone. She was riding on a tricycle with another passenger whom the driver picked up on the way to the pier. Of course, the other passenger's stop changed after he (allegedly) got what he wanted.

Similar stories like this has been told and heard. It's an annoying fact that this crime is rampant and shows no sign of stopping and of being stopped or solved by authorities concerned. It's an annoying fact that we have to exert more effort trying hard not to become a victim of such crime. I mean, there you are, travelling alone, afraid, and defensive. What could be more exhausting than that?

Sunday, January 16

a wild relative of the soursop?

this wild fruit, as shown above, has a similarity to the regular soursop:   skin texture, smell and color.  Both leaves of the regular soursop and the wild version smells the same, only the wild one is a bit slimmer. (The light green oblong beside the fruit is the bud.) The size however, is just about 1/20 of the popular and otherwise the regular sousop below:
The flesh is also white and fibrous.  But is it edible? Anyone knows what this wild fruit's name is? We discovered its existence recently when we went to an old friend's small coffee plantation.
                                   It was long way up, but it was worth it.

monday kind of feeling

Monday. First working day of the week.  Rain. My mind is not yet switched on.  I just kept looking outside my window.  Drizzle. Drizzle. Drizzle.  For a few minutes, the sun gets through and then back to how it started. I got this feeling that today, this soft rain will go on until late afternoon.

It's been like this for over two weeks now. I miss sunsets. I mean beautiful sunsets...not the kind we had the last two weeks where you see nothing but a gray mantle of a sky.

Monday kind of feeling, figuratively and literally.

Saturday, January 15

Bohol tarsiers in captivity

TARSIER   genus:  Tarsius; phylum:  Chordata; order:  Primates; species:  T. syrichta 

Above mentioned facts, I got from Wikipedia.  Illustration below, mine.

My interest in tarsiers is not really, by any means, scientific and if someone asks what genus do tarsiers belong, I would have no idea. I only know that these cute and shy animals are a great tourist attraction and because of that, I think their existence is nearing end.  Here's why:

A scenario:

A tourist bus with 10 to 15 Koreans take the Tagbilaran - Baclayon - Loboc - Carmen - Danao route. I mentioned these towns as they are where the bus drivers usually make stops. Baclayon is where you will see the oldest church of the Phillipines. Loboc is where the floating restaurants are. Carmen, the Chocolate Hills and Danao, the ziplines, the plunge, caves, wall and root climbing. You might ask why I am telling you this.  What does the Maumag (local name of tarsier) got to do with it? Well, each of these stops have tarsiers IN CAGES.

Tourists are sightseeing during the day and tarsiers which are nocturnal, sleep at daytime.  So? Well, tourists don't want to see tarsiers sleeping behind the leaves. Afterall, they are paying for it...although you'll see signs on a box that says Donation for the upkeep of those hapless tarsiers, still they are indeed paying.  It's been told that a donation box could easily earn ten thousand pesos a day during peak season.  That's more than the monthly salary of a rank and file employee. So what happens is that, to make the tourist happy and not to feel short-changed, the operator wakes them up. The tarsiers have get out from their sleeping quarters (behind the leaves) so tourists can marvel on their cuteness and take photos. Some would poke them with long sticks or shake the branches hard if they refuse to come out from their hiding places.

Sure, they are allowed to get back to sleep after the tourists are gone but not for long.  The last time I was in one of those places, there was a long queue of tourist buses so I doubt it if those hapless tarsiers did get any sleep at all.

Being nocturnals, this predicament these tarsiers are in,  greatly disorients them and without sleep, they will surely get sick and eventually die. And if they do, the operators buy another set.  Set? Yes, set.  Tarsiers don't live long if caged alone. So with this trend of buying tarsiers>burying dead tarsiers >buying a set again (I am sure of this) >burying and so on, there's no doubt about it:  extinction is inevitable. 

There's a man named Carlito "Lito" Pizarras of Philippine Tarsier Foundation, aka, the Tarsier Man who is very active in taking care of these hapless creatures. He had been ridiculed as a fool for tarsier but now has become a national figure.  Nobody knows about tarsiers more than Lito. 

I met Lito 2 years ago at the foundation. Not that he knows me back but to someone who loves tarsiers knows a thing or two about him.  A soft-spoken man.  I saw him whisper softly to one of his tarsiers and this tarsier looked at him and snuggled at his neck. It was a very touching moment. No wonder his wards (tarsiers) love him so.  But what can a single dedicated man do to stop this massive abuse on tarsiers?

In desparation, I once uttered this question after a discussion about the plight of the tarsiers. Maybe we can clone him, one of my friends jokingly answered.

Tarsier Found on Several Islands in Southeast Asia Eating a Gecko Artists Photographic Poster Print by Larry Burrows, 30x40Tarsiers: Past, Present, and FutureTarsiers (Nocturnal Animals)


Wednesday, January 12

links, amazing links!!

It never ceases to amaze me how links work.  Just an hour ago, I was checking my email.  I got several new ones;  deleted some, read a few.  One of those I opened was from for some recipes. After reading the latest post, I clicked on the Popular Articles list, a post (2009) with a title so intriguing, you would do the same, I mean, who could resist a title like You May Be Arrested Soon For Growing A Tomato ? And then one thing leads to another...and another yet.  Imagine! After clicking another link, I was directed to OpenCongress site ! Wow! The Philippine government should have one like that.  It gives more power to the Filipinos.  Or maybe they have already a site.  I don't know.  I have yet to research for it.

Links.  Aren't they amazing? 

Tuesday, January 11

May you be filled with loving kindness

                            I didn't know what I believed.
                              I didn't know if I believed.

                                                       - Lindsey Crittenden in
                                                         A Sceptic Starts to Pray

Reading old issues of Reader's Digest is one of the things I do when I'm home (home is 50 kilometers from here).  The last time I was there, just 2 days ago, I enjoyed for a while the luxury of having nothing to do but soon got bored with it so I started cleaning my desk and shelves.  They were dusty and smelled musty. It took me all morning because aside from being dusty, the shelves were half-full of old issues of Reader's Digest and as I wiped each clean, I was also browsing it.

There was this feature that I found quite interesting and  it started with these two sentences:  I didn't know what I believed. I didn't know if I believed. Intrigued, I read it. It was about the author's own view of prayer and how it somehow filled her with warmth and comfort "that stay put, a presence that never leaves."  And on that same page was another feature entitled Prayers for Unbeliever by Nancy Haught,  It started with equally interesting opener:  What if you don't believe in God but still feel a pull towards prayer?  What if indeed! Here, the author shares a "metta" or loving-kindness prayer.  As suggested by H Bays, a priest in Zen Community in Oregon:  "Sit down, quieten your mind and begin with yourself, say:

     May I be free from fear.  May I be free from suffering.  May I be happy.  May I be filled with loving kindness.

Next, focus on someone you love.  Say the same prayer on that person's behalf.  Then pray the same way for a neutral person.  Finally pray for someone you don't like."

Well, then guys, this is all for now,  and may you be filled with loving kindness.

Metta: The Practice of Loving Kindness