Friday, March 22, 2024

The Ultimate Adventure: Alaska from Above

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Alaska, the Last Frontier, is a realm of untamed beauty, vast wilderness, and breathtaking landscapes. From the icy embrace of glaciers to the rugged peaks that pierce the sky, its natural splendor is unparalleled. While there are numerous ways to explore this magnificent state, there's one experience that truly stands out: seeing Alaska from the sky. This unique vantage point offers a perspective that is both awe-inspiring and humbling, revealing the grandeur of nature in a way that ground-based tours simply cannot match.

Experience Unmatched Beauty with Alaskan Flightseeing/Plane Tours

For those seeking the ultimate sky-high adventure, Blue River Aviation, Palmer, Alaska, is your gateway to the heavens. This high-quality aviation company specializes in flightseeing and plane tours, offering an unparalleled opportunity to witness Alaska's majestic landscapes from above. With Blue River Aviation, guests are not just passengers; they're explorers embarking on a journey to the heart of the Alaskan wilderness. Their experienced pilots and well-maintained aircraft ensure a safe, comfortable, and utterly unforgettable experience. It's an invitation to see the world from a new perspective, to uncover the hidden jewels of Alaska that are only visible from the air.

Glaciers, Mountains, and Wildlife: A Bird's Eye View

Imagine soaring over the vast expanse of the Denali National Park, home to North America's highest peak, or gliding past the shimmering face of a glacier that has stood for millennia. From the sky, the intricate patterns of ice and snow unfold beneath you, revealing a world of pristine beauty. Wildlife sightings become an exhilarating game of spot-the-creature, as you glimpse bears wandering through forests, moose traversing the tundra, and eagles soaring at your wingtip. Every flight is a new adventure, a chance to witness the untamed and untouched corners of Alaska in all their glory.

A Journey Through the Clouds

Embarking on a flightseeing tour is more than just an activity; it's a journey through the clouds that offers a profound connection with nature. It's about experiencing the scale of Alaska's landscapes, from the steep fjords and serene lakes to the endless horizons that stretch beyond imagination. This airborne adventure provides a unique sense of freedom and exhilaration, a feeling that resonates with the spirit of exploration and adventure that defines the Alaskan wilderness

Making Memories That Last a Lifetime

Seeing Alaska from the sky is not just about the views. It's about creating memories that will last a lifetime, about stories that you'll share for years to come. Whether you're a photography enthusiast capturing the perfect shot, a family looking for an extraordinary experience, or a solo traveler seeking the thrill of adventure, a flightseeing tour offers something for everyone. It's an opportunity to step away from the everyday and embrace the extraordinary, to see the world from a perspective that few ever will.

The Sky Awaits: Embark on Your Alaskan Adventure

Alaska's vast, untouched wilderness, with its blend of natural beauty and rugged landscapes, is a sight to behold from any angle. Yet, to truly appreciate the scale and splendor of the Last Frontier, you need to see it from the sky. As you plan your Alaskan adventure, consider making a flightseeing tour part of your journey.

With the sky as your canvas and the earth's majestic beauty below, it's an experience that promises to be as unforgettable as Alaska itself. The sky awaits; are you ready to explore?

How to effectively combat acne?

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Acne, a common skin condition mainly affecting adolescents and young adults, manifests itself with the appearance of pimples, blackheads and whiteheads on different areas of the body such as the face, neck, décolleté and back. Although not dangerous, it can affect self-esteem and self-confidence due to its aesthetic impact. Fortunately, there are several effective remedies to combat it. This article explores the different steps to combat acne, notably highlighting the Her Cosmetics anti-acne cream.

First, it is crucial to understand the origins of acne, mainly due to an overproduction of sebum by the sebaceous glands, which clogs pores and causes skin imperfections. Factors such as hormones, diet, stress and genetics can influence its appearance.

Establishing a suitable care routine constitutes the second step. This involves regular cleansing of the skin with gentle products, using toners to restore pH balance, and applying a light moisturizer to maintain hydration.

Next, using products with active ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and glycolic acid can be effective in treating acne. Her Cosmetics Anti-Acne Cream, for example, combines these components with natural ingredients such as aloe vera and tea tree oil, providing a comprehensive, non-aggressive solution.

At the same time, adjusting the diet by avoiding foods with a high glycemic index and dairy products can help reduce acne symptoms. Additionally, managing stress through relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can be beneficial.

In case of severe or persistent acne, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe more specific treatments such as antibiotics or retinoids, or even dermatological procedures such as peels or laser treatments.

Finally, it is important to be patient and persistent, as acne treatment can take time to see significant results. By following these steps, it is possible to effectively reduce the appearance of acne and improve skin health without resorting to aggressive methods.

MPT South Prepares for Increased Traffic Ahead of Holy Week 2024

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Metro Pacific Tollways South (MPT South), a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), is gearing up for the anticipated surge in motorists during the upcoming Holy Week observance in 2024.

The toll road operator foresees an 8% to 10% rise in vehicle traffic on its toll roads, including the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX), as well as its C5 Link segment. This increase is expected from Monday, March 25, to Sunday, March 31, from the usual 43,000 daily traffic on CALAX, 170,000 on CAVITEX, and 12,300 on C5 Link.

MPT South is reactivating its "Safe Trip Mo, Sagot Ko" motorist assistance program and elevating operational readiness to cater to motorists' needs to address this surge. Additional manpower will be deployed for services including traffic management, toll collection, standby emergency medical services, and incident response teams. Motorist assistance remains accessible through 24/7 Customer Service Centers, a 24/7 Customer Care Hotline at 1-35000, and 24/7 social media channels (Facebook:,, Twitter:, to ensure a hassle-free journey.

During the period, free towing will be provided for CLASS 1 vehicles up to the nearest exit, available from 6AM on March 22 to 6AM of March 25, 2024; 6AM of March 27 to 6AM of March 29, 2024; and 6AM of March 30 until 6AM of April 1, 2024. Construction and lane closures along the carriageway will also be suspended unless safety repairs are necessary.

Mr. Raul L. Ignacio, President and General Manager of MPT South, emphasized the importance of RFID for toll transactions to streamline motorists' journeys. "Utilizing Easytrip RFID at MPTC Toll Plazas significantly reduces travel time compared to waiting in long cash lanes,". Motorists were also encouraged to download the MPT DriveHub app to efficiently manage their Easytrip RFID account and receive real-time traffic updates across various MPTC toll roads.

"Furthermore," Mr. Ignacio added, "Poor vehicle maintenance remains a leading cause of breakdowns on expressways, causing inconvenience to motorists. With an anticipated increase in holiday travel during Holy Week, we advise motorists to conduct a thorough BLOWBAGETS check on their vehicles before hitting the road for a smoother travel experience."

BLOWBAGETS, an acronym for battery, lights, oil, water, brake, air, gas, engine, tire, and self, serves as a comprehensive checklist for vehicle maintenance.

MPTC, the largest toll road developer and operator in the country, manages a vast network of toll roads including CALAX, CAVITEX, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), NLEX Connector Road, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), and Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in Cebu.

Leading Ladies: Women Shaping Environmental Conservation

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Women’s Month highlights the vital role of women and is celebrated every March through Philippine Presidential Proclamation Number 227.

There were an estimated 7.95 billion people on Earth in 2022, with four billion men and 3.95 billion women. With the fairer sex comprising nearly half the world’s population, disempowering women curtails global productivity.

For the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the United Nations Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN), gender equality, women’s empowerment and inclusive leadership are central tenets to truly sustainable development.

“Women’s empowerment and gender equality are vital to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which envisions a world of universal respect for human rights and individual dignity,” says UNDP Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran. To celebrate Women’s Month 2024, DENR-UNDP BIOFIN sat down with three leading ladies working to conserve Philippine biodiversity.

WOMEN AS COMMUNITY LEADERS AND EDUCATORS: Mary Paduganao and the Cabladan Bantay Gubat Association

At 71 years young, Mary Paduganao has become one of the ‘Lola Rangers’ of the Sibalom Natural Park, one of Antique’s rapidly-rising ecotourism destinations.

“In 1978, I was the captain of Barangay Imparayan. We set up the very first batch of ‘Bantay Gubat’ or Forest Wardens for the park. Today, after 46 years, we’ve grown to almost 80 wardens – both women and men – who regularly patrol the park to thwart logging, wildlife poaching and the occasional brushfire.”

Through the years, ‘Lola Ranger’ has worked with various environmental groups such as the Haribon Foundation and DENR-UNDP BIOFIN. “These groups empowered us with the skills and knowledge to become effective Forest Wardens, environmental educators and tour guides, especially now that more visitors are coming.”

Working with ‘Lola Ranger’ is the Cabladan Bantay Gubat Association (CBGA), representing one of four barangays ringing the protected area. In Barangay Cabladan, female Forest Wardens serve as chief educators on the importance of protecting the park, becoming conservation advocates to their fellow residents. “We share everything we learn from BIOFIN’s ecotourism workshops and training sessions,” adds CBGA board member Mergie Elloran. “We share them whenever we attend Barangay Cabladan’s assemblies.”

The CBGA’s female Forest Wardens also provide additional ecotourism services to park visitors through tour guiding and catering.

Together with allied people’s organizations like the CBGA, ‘Lola Ranger’ and the other Bantay Gubat are working to help protect the Sibalom Natural Park, home of the Philippines’ multi-hued ‘Rainbow River’ and endangered wildlife like wild pigs, deer and Rafflesia, the largest flower on Earth.

Here and in other protected areas across the Philippines, both women and men work in harmony to protect the country’s natural resources.

WOMEN IN SCIENCE: Lisa Paguntalan

Wildlife biologist Lisa Paguntalan is no stranger to the outdoors, having studied endangered Philippine wildlife since 1996.

“My drive for conservation began in college. We were studying bats in the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes when I realized that three of the four bats we collected were endemic or found nowhere else but the Philippines. However, I also noticed that many of our local forests are receding, meaning some of our endemic species might become extinct. Unless of course we do something about it.”

Today, Lisa leads the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Incorporated (PhilBio), which addresses the long-term conservation of native and threatened Philippine species by working closely with local stakeholders. “Part of the work we do is engaging local governments and agencies to invest in conserving less-popular threatened or endangered species and their habitats.”

Lisa encourages more ladies to enter the field of conservation. “Women are at the heart of the conservation arena in the Philippines. We need more boots on the ground to save our natural treasures.”


As a scholar of the 1980s-era Bureau of Forest Development (BFD), Armida ‘Neneng’ Andres immediately jumped into government work after graduating from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1985.

“While most staff were men, I can remember no distinction between tasks. Both women and men were expected to conduct thorough resource inventories, site assessments, project monitoring and evaluations of our country’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.”

Neneng fondly looks back at many of her field adventures. “We were assessing the expansion of the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park in Mindoro when the 1986 EDSA Revolution broke out. We were stuck for over a week in the mountains surviving on whatever plants we could harvest around us. We ate bananas, taro leaves, even tubers! I had to study for my forestry licensure examination under a kerosene lamp. Fortunately I passed, topping the board in July of 1986.”

Neneng recalls that in the 1990s, there were already more women than men in the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB), now called the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB). “It was a privilege to have worked with strong-willed lady leaders like Dr. Cora Sinha, Dr. Mundita Lim and many others.”

Today, Neneng is the OIC Assistant Director of BMB, helping develop policies for biodiversity conservation, networking and advocating for mainstream biodiversity conservation, plus much-needed finance solutions across all sectors. “I’m also part of the team which conceptualized the recognition of women in biodiversity through a publication entitled Igniting Passion, Finding Fulfilment, Inspiring Stories of Women in Biodiversity. It contains moving narratives of women taking part in biodiversity conservation and management.”

Neneng hopes that women leaders continue to multiply in number and be empowered at all levels of governance. “Behind every woman in government is a story full of struggles, fulfillment and contributions to make our country a better place.”

Lola Mary, Lisa and Neneng are just some of the many women and men DENR-UNDP BIOFIN works with.

Launched in 2012, BIOFIN is a global initiative supporting the development and implementation of national Biodiversity Finance Plans to transform how biodiversity finance is mobilized and allocated.

This includes the mobilization of USD200 billion in annual domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from public and private-sector sources, plus raising international financial flows from developed to developing countries by at least USD30 billion yearly.

Celebrating its 10th year in the Philippines, BIOFIN has so far raised over USD10 million for 107 Legislated Protected Areas by pushing for increased congressional financing, while over USD300,000 was raised for terrestrial reforestation through the Mynt and GCash GForest Programme.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done for Women’s Rights. There are 800 million women in the Asia-Pacific region who are looking for jobs. Including them in our workforce can add trillions of dollars to our region’s GDP,” concludes DENR-UNDP BIOFIN National Project Manager Anabelle Plantilla, who heads the all-women team of BIOFIN in the Philippines. “Through Gender Equality, we can maximize the chances of a better life for all families living in our region.”

About the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN)

BIOFIN was launched in 2012 and seeks to address the biodiversity finance challenge in a comprehensive manner – building a sound business case for increased investments in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity, with a particular focus on the needs and transformational opportunities at the national level. For more information:

About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

In the Philippines, UNDP fosters human development for peace and prosperity. Working with central and local governments as well as civil society, and building on global best practices, UNDP strengthens capacities of women, men and institutions to empower them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the objectives of the Philippine Development Plan. Through advocacy and development projects, with a special focus on vulnerable groups, UNDP works to ensure a better life for the Filipino people. Learn more at or follow at @UNDPPH.

WORLDBEX Drawn Another History in the Industry!

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The World of Building and Design Expo (WORLDBEX) proudly announces the successful conclusion of its highly anticipated event, Worldbex 2024. Throughout March 14-17, 2024. With the theme "Drawn to Ascendancy", WORLDBEX 2024 served as a platform for industry professionals and enthusiasts to explore the latest trends, technologies, and innovations shaping the future of the construction, architecture, and interior design industries. From immersive showcases to interactive exhibits, attendees were treated to a glimpse of the transformative power of design and creativity.

Throughout Worldbex 2024, attendees had the opportunity to engage with a diverse spectrum of exhibits, seminars, and networking events. From exploring the latest advancements in sustainable architecture to discovering state-of-the-art design solutions, there was something for everyone at WORLDBEX 2024.

As Worldbex 2024 draws to a close, the organizers would like to thank all attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, and partners for their support and participation. Together, we have celebrated the spirit of creativity, innovation, and collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible in the years to come.



UP Geologists Discover Evidence of Gas Hydrates in Manila Trench

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Gas hydrates are great alternative energy sources, but they could also harm us and the environment.

Bathymetric map of Luzon, including the Manila Trench, the North Luzon Trough (NLT), West Luzon Trough (WLT), Stewart Bank (SB), and Philippine Mobile Belt (PMB). (Photo credit: Maglalang et. al. 2023)

Much like carbonated drinks are water infused with carbon dioxide, gas hydrates are ice mostly infused with methane, a natural gas used as fuel. Gas hydrates are ice-like substances that usually only form beneath the seafloor, where the pressure is high and the temperature is just below the water’s freezing point of 0°C.

Elisha Jane Maglalang, Dr. Leo Armada, Madeleine Santos, Karla May Sayen, and Dr. Carla Dimalanta of the UP Diliman College of Science National Institute of Geological Sciences (UPD-CS NIGS) discovered that gas hydrates may be abundant in the Manila Trench, west of Luzon. Their study is the first to investigate these substances in Philippine trenches, pioneering gas hydrate research in the country.

Because gas hydrates contain huge amounts of carbon and methane, they can be a great alternative energy source. “The western Philippines has vast potential for this unconventional energy resource,” the researchers said. They discovered that a total area of around 15,400 square kilometers in the Manila Trench, or about the size of Palawan, could contain gas hydrates. They estimate these substances might be around 200 to 500 meters below the seafloor.

However, gas hydrates can be a geologic and environmental threat. Because gas hydrates are unstable solids, they will dissociate and melt when the conditions in which they form change, usually during earthquakes. Worryingly, the Manila Trench is an active margin, responsible for numerous earthquakes in Western Luzon. When gas hydrates melt, it will agitate the seafloor, possibly triggering submarine landslides and tsunamis.

Moreover, methane can harm the environment when released into the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, and just one cubic-meter block of gas hydrate contains as many as 160 cubic-meter blocks of methane in its gas form. This is equivalent to 14% of an average Filipino’s methane emission in 2021.

“Therefore, it is essential to determine the distribution and stability conditions of gas hydrates offshore of the Philippines,” the researchers emphasized.

To determine their location without drilling through the seafloor, scientists rely on sound waves. Similar to how a pond reflects sunlight, gas-bearing substances like gas hydrates reflect sound waves. These seismic reflections, called bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs), indicate where gas hydrates might be present. By analyzing existing seismic data in the Manila Trench, the UP geologists were able to map out BSRs and, consequently, deduce possible locations of gas hydrates in the region.

A section of the seafloor as mapped using sound waves. (Photo credit: Maglalang et. al. 2023)

The researchers note, however, that while BSRs are tell-tale signs of gas hydrates, they are not definitive. “Future drilling of offshore targets will be instrumental in confirming methane hydrate occurrence,” the researchers said. “These investigations offer a vital opportunity to develop our indigenous energy wealth,” they added.

To move forward, the researchers are conducting additional investigations in other offshore places in the Philippines to expand our geophysical dataset. Moreover, the team is spearheading efforts to foster marine geophysics in the country. ”These efforts will contribute not only to the advancement of scientific knowledge but also to the development of the expertise of Filipino geoscientists in marine geophysics,” they concluded.

References:Maglalang, E. M., Armada, L. T., Cecília, M., Sayen, K. F., Dimalanta, C. B., Shu Kun Hsu, & Yumul, G. P. (December 2023). Bottom simulating reflectors in the Manila Trench forearc and its implications on the occurrence of gas hydrates in the region. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 158, 106538–106538.

By Harvey Sapigao

Metro Manila to see largest condominium completion since 2018

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Bay Area to have largest condo supply as Metro vacancy nearing pandemic peak

Metro Manila will see the turnover of nearly 11,300 condominium units in 2024, the biggest completion since the 11,700 units delivered in 2018, according to data from leading diversified professional services and investment management company Colliers

 From 2024 to 2026, Colliers sees the completion of 8,000 new condominium units in Metro Manila, much less than the nearly 13,000 residential units turned over in the capital region every year from 2017 to 2019. Colliers recorded the delivery of 1,240 units in Q4 2023. This brought total completion in 2023 to 3,540 units, lower than our earlier forecast of 4,920 units due to delay in the completion of some projects, particularly in the Bay Area. Colliers forecasts condominium completion to recover in 2024 with the delivery of 11,290 units, the largest since 2018. According to Joey Roi Bondoc, Colliers Director of Research, the Bay Area will likely account for more than 60% of new supply during the period. “We also expect this submarket to dominate other Metro Manila sub-locations in terms of condominium supply in 2024. By the second half of this year, the Bay Area will have the largest condominium supply across Metro Manila with 44,000 units, even higher than Fort Bonifacio’s total of 43,800 condominium units.”

Lukewarm Metro Manila pre-selling launches and take-up

In 2023, Colliers recorded the take-up of about 23,400 condominium units in the Metro Manila pre-selling market, an improvement from the 21,600 units sold in 2022. The affordable to lower mid-income segments (PHP2.5 million to PHP7 million per unit) dominated in terms of pre-selling condominium demand in Metro Manila, accounting for 57% of total take-up in 2023. Meanwhile, pre-selling condominium launches reached 24,900 units in 2023, down 4% YOY. In our view, developers are becoming more cautious with their new residential launches especially with still sizable number of ready-for-occupancy (RFO) units in Metro Manila with remaining inventory life currently at 3.2 years. 

Vacancy in the secondary market improves

Vacancy in the secondary residential market dropped further to 16.8% as of end-2023 as vacancies across all sublocations improved. Residential leasing in major business hubs, such as Rockwell Center, Fort Bonifacio, Makati CBD, Ortigas Center, and the Bay Area, was mainly driven by returning expatriates from outsourcing, manufacturing, and logistics industries. Some local employees that are starting to return-to-office (RTO) are actively looking for units to rent, taking advantage of rental corrections for studio and one-bedroom units in prime business districts such as Makati CBD, Fort Bonifacio, Bay Area, and Ortigas Center. Vacancy nearing pandemic peak due to sizable completion in 2024

“We project rents and prices to grow albeit at a slower pace starting 2024. We attribute this to still elevated vacancy given the substantial number of RFO units in the secondary market. We see substantial addition to Metro Manila RFOs given the new units to be delivered especially in the Bay Area,” said Bondoc. “Colliers forecasts residential vacancy to increase to 17.7% in 2024, near the record-high vacancy of 17.9% we recorded in 2021. We see vacancy in the Bay Area submarket rising to 28%, an all- time high, partly due to the completion of more than 7,000 new condominium units this year.”

About Colliers

Colliers (NASDAQ, TSX: CIGI) is a leading diversified professional services and investment management company. With operations

in 65 countries, our 19,000 enterprising professionals work collaboratively to provide expert real estate and investment advice to clients. For more than 28 years, our experienced leadership with significant inside ownership has delivered compound annual investment returns of approximately 20% for shareholders. With annual revenues of $4.5 billion and $98 billion of assets under management, Colliers maximizes the potential of property and real assets to accelerate the success of our clients, our investors and our people. 

PHLPost expand Kadiwa pop-up store to other post offices

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The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has partnered with the Department of Agriculture in establishing the “Kadiwa pop-up store project” in Tarlac City Post Office in cooperation with the Local Government Units (LGUs) in providing residents and city employees, direct access to fresh and affordable food and basic commodities.

PHLPost would like to expand and replicate the Kadiwa pop-up store program’s rollout in other post offices in the country to provide farmers additional opportunities to market their products.

“Patuloy po ang ating pakikipag-ugnayan at pagpapatupad ng adhikain ng ating mahal na Pangulong BBM na maipalaganap ang proyektong ito, hindi lamang dito sa Northern Luzon kundi sa sa mga siyudad at munisipalidad sa buong bansa na may presensya ang PHLPost”, said Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos during the inauguration ceremony.

PMG Carlos added, “the postal service is now coordinating with the Department of Agriculture to become the logistics provider in part or whole of our farmers and the agricultural sector in transporting goods at cheaper price ”.

As a logistics provider, PHLPost can also deliver or transport their agricultural products such as seedlings, fertilizers, and crops to far-flung areas  without access to major cities in the provinces.

“We can help our small farmers sell their products to cities where there is a potential market for them. PHLPost would like to help and uplift our local farmers to sell their product and improve their livelihood”, Carlos said. 



KADIWA POP-UP STORE AT PHLPOST. (From left to right) Ariel S. Campo - Postmaster VI, Tarlac City, Ms. Merma Lea R. Abalos, Area Director, Northwest Luzon Area 2, Luis D. Carlos, Postmaster General and CEO, PHLPost, and Ms Carmencita S. Nogoy - Senior Agriculturist, Department of Agriculture during the inauguration ceremony of the Kadiwa store held in Tarlac City Post Office.

UPD Study Investigates Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Mega Manila Rivers

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Sources of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDC) contamination of Mega Manila rivers. (Photo credit: Sta. Ana, et al., 2023)

Under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) project, “Post-Wastewater Treatment Determination of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds for Interventions,” researchers of the UP Diliman College of Science Institute of Chemistry (UPD-CS IC) studied the rivers of Mega Manila and demonstrated the presence of EDCs, or endocrine-disrupting compounds.

EDCs are mixes of chemicals that can mimic hormones and thus adversely affect hormone regulation in the human body. Long-term exposure to these compounds can lead to a number of endocrine-related health issues, such as respiratory and neurodevelopmental problems, infertility, diabetes, obesity, and even prostate or breast cancer. Because of this, EDCs are considered water contaminants of emerging concern (CEC).

The study of Dr. Maria Pythias Espino and research assistants Kate Galera, and Katrina Sta. Ana is the first to report on the occurrence and concentrations of EDCs in the Marikina, Pasig, Angat, and Pampanga rivers. This provided useful baseline data for DOST’s ongoing research program on “Removal of Excess Nitrogen and Endocrine Disruptors from Wastewater” (RENEW).

“In the Philippines, it is important to know the presence and concentrations of EDCs in aquatic systems because many Filipinos depend on aquaculture and fishing for livelihood and subsistence,” said the researchers in their paper.

E1, or estrone, is a hormone that can induce endocrine-disrupting effects even at low concentrations of long-term exposure, such as fertility issues in aquatic organisms. It had been the only hormone detected to date in this study of the rivers, and its presence was attributed to municipal wastewater since this type of hormone can come from human and animal waste.

Industrial chemicals bisphenol A, nonylphenol, and octylphenol were also detected in the rivers. The researchers surmised that this was due to their extensive use in manufacturing various products such as detergents, textiles, plastics, and many more, but clarified that the concentrations are still below international guideline values.

The US, Canada, and the EU have guidelines for some EDCs in their environmental waters. The Philippines, however, does not have guideline values yet for the regulation of these compounds, nor the wastewater treatment facilities that would ensure the mitigation of CECs. The research team hopes these findings will hasten the formulation of national guidelines for the monitoring and control of these contaminants.

“Even in nanogram per liter to microgram per liter concentrations, these contaminants of emerging concern may have harmful effects on aquatic organisms and humans. The findings are critical evidence of contamination because there are no regulatory guidelines yet on these contaminants in the waterways and water systems,” the researchers explained, pointing out how the risks of EDCs lie particularly in their bioaccumulation and persistence.

“More cleanup efforts, effective regulations in wastewater treatment, and sustainable water resource management policies are needed to improve the water quality of the rivers in Mega Manila,” they advised. The Marikina and Pasig rivers, along with the Angat and Pampanga rivers, all drain into Manila Bay, affecting one of the country’s major socioeconomically important bodies of water.

Water samples from the four rivers were processed by solid-phase extraction and analyzed by liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry, a method of separating and identifying compounds in ultra-trace concentrations.


Endocrine disruptors. (n.d.). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Sta. Ana, K. M., Galera, K. C., & Espino, M. P. (2023) Contamination of bisphenol A, nonylphenol, octylphenol, and estrone in major rivers of Mega Manila, Philippines. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

By: Maria Alexandra Marmol

Asian study reveals endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in personal care products from the Philippines

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In a press briefing in time for the observance of World Consumer Rights Month, BAN Toxics, a chemical and waste management NGO, discloses the findings of recent laboratory testing indicating the presence of parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban, classified as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), in personal care products sold in the country. The result underscores potential health risks for infants, children, and adults alike as scientific studies have shown that said chemicals exhibit adverse health effects.

“Among 19 children’s products sent for chemical analysis, propylparabens (PPs) or butyl parabens (BPs) were detected in three products–a brand of kiddie toothpaste, an infant tooth gel brand, both manufactured in the Philippines, and a baby body wash brand made in China. PP was detected in a range from 3.71 μg/g to 152 μg/g. Disturbingly, trace amounts of isobutylparaben—a chemical compound banned for use in cosmetic products under the regulations in the country, within ASEAN and European Cosmetic Regulation—were detected. Triclosan and triclocarban, antibacterial chemicals added to consumer products, have likewise been detected in a liquid hand soap and a deodorant.

“While most of the specific brands analyzed may be largely compliant with national standards in terms of chemical concentration, the empirical evidence that EDCs are present in products either mouthed by children or applied to their skin is equally worrisome. While low doses may seem harmless, the daily use of numerous products could potentially lead to various health issues," said Jam Lorenzo, BAN Toxics research and policy development officer.

Eight Asian countries, including the Philippines, participated in a product survey conducted by South Korea-based Wonjin Institute for Occupational & Environmental Health (WIOEH) in 2023, supported by Korean Financial Industry Foundation(KFIF). “The aim of the study was to assess the presence of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) in personal care products and determine compliance to international and domestic standards and labeling requirements, focusing on the potential presence of propylparabens (PBs) and butylparabens (BBs) in personal care products. The identification of nine parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban involved the utilization of high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) for chemical analysis to obtain the results,” Dr. Won Kim of WIOEH said.

“Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the impacts of chemicals due to their ongoing physical development. Parabens, when applied to the skin, are easily and directly absorbed into the body. These products may also be consumed or inhaled, leading to absorption into the blood and distribution throughout the system. With the current baby and child skin care market in the Philippines estimated at 1.5 million and given the increasing trend, more and more Filipino babies and children are becoming exposed to these hazardous chemicals,” said Lorenzo.

Parabens belong to a class of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in various consumer products and most widely used in cosmetics. They are considered chemicals of emerging concern, as scientific findings suggest their ability to interfere with the functioning of the endocrine system, potentially disrupting hormone activity in the body and posing risks to fertility, reproductive organs, birth outcomes, increasing the risk of cancer, and causing skin irritation. BPs and PPs specifically have been shown to disrupt the male reproductive system.

Triclosan may play a role in a variety of health issues including endocrine dysfunction, irregular embryonic development, and immune suppression,” Lorenzo added. The marketing of consumer antiseptic wash products containing triclosan and triclocarban as active ingredients has been prohibited by the US Food and Drug Administration since 2016. The EU Regulation 2014/358, implemented in 2014, restricts the use of triclosan to products that are washed off after application (rinse-off products). This means that the use of triclosan as a preservative in body lotions and skin care creams is no longer permitted. It has also banned the use of triclosan in mouthwash and has established limits on its use in cosmetics products, capping concentrations at a maximum of 0.2%.

"Additionally, we have to worry about fragrance allergens in personal care products, because we found that 14 kinds of fragrance allergens were listed in 50 products (14%) purchased in Asian countries. It is well known that fragrance allergens are related with contact dermatitis and respiratory effects," Won added.

“Survey results further confirm manufacturers’ non-compliance with ingredient labeling in the products, a mandatory requirement. Five out of 65 products did not match the label, in violation of the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, an agreement among ASEAN countries that prescribes proper labeling of cosmetic products to ensure truthful and accurate information,” he added.

"Eight product types were tested, including antivirus wipes, baby wipes, deodorant, toothpaste, body wash, feminine wash, hand wash, and mouthwash," Won elaborated. "Among the products with ingredient labels, there were 269 products from all participating countries that did not separately label parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban. Out of these, a total of 60 labels were found to be incorrect."

BAN Toxics explained that all these findings indicate “the need for stricter regulation in cosmetics and personal care products. The cosmetics industry must shift to alternatives and replace parabens, triclosan and triclocarban with other safe chemicals or natural preservatives to prevent negative health effects,” Thony Dizon, BAN Toxics advocacy officer said.

“We support and join WIOEH’s recommendations to regulatory agencies to conduct a national market survey to ensure regulatory compliance. Urgent measures must be taken to enforce stricter regulations concerning children’s products. Considerations should be given to issuing a joint declaration among participating countries to prohibit the use of PP and BP in children’s and feminine products.”

"One meaningful practice of exercising our consumer rights is to carefully read ingredient lists of the cosmetic products we purchase, seek out brands labeled 'paraben-free' and 'triclosan-free', and avoid those containing listed endocrine-disrupting chemicals." Dizon appealed to the public. 


Instituto Cervantes opens an exhibit on Nebrija, the grammarian who helped to preserve the Filipino vernacular languages

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Did you know that Tagalog had its first grammar published before many European languages? The linguistic milestone can be greatly credited to the Spanish grammarian Elio Antonio de Nebrija, who played a pivotal role in that development. On March 12, Instituto Cervantes unveiled at its Intramuros branch the exhibition Nebrija en Filipinas, dedicated to celebrating the cultural contributions of Nebrija (1444-1522). Nebrija's impactful legacy extends to languages like Tagalog and Cebuano, which had grammars published ahead of many European languages.

Nebrija en Filipinas, tailored for Filipino audiences, is an adaptation of the Nebrija exhibition organized by the National Library of Spain in 2022, commemorating the 500th anniversary of Nebrija's death. Through informative panels and displays of books, the exhibition will highlight Nebrija’s cultural contributions and seek to contextualize them within the publication of the first grammars of the Philippine vernacular languages. These linguistic endeavours were directly shaped by Nebrija's teachings.

Nebrija was a highly reputed scholar during the Renaissance period in Europe. His book Introductiones Latinae, a groundbreaking manual for teaching Latin, not only earned him recognition in Spain but also garnered international fame. He also wrote bilingual dictionaries in Latin-Spanish and a Gramática de la lengua castellana, published in 1492, which is recognized as the first grammar of modern European languages. It became the model for Spanish friars who attempted analyzing the grammars of the new world, both in America and the Philippines. These missionaries, who had learned Latin from Nebrija’s methods, applied the model, with its theoretical considerations and bilingual translations, in their description of these languages. As a result, Tagalog saw its first grammar book published in 1610 with Francisco Blancas de San José's Arte y reglas de la lengua tagala. It was followed by similar initiatives with other vernacular languages, among them the Arte de la lengua iloca, composed by the Agustinian Francisco López in 1627, and the Arte de la lengua bisaya de la provincia de Leyte, written by the jesuist Domingo Ezguerra in 1663.

Proud, intelligent, and audacious, Nebrija was a stalwart fighter for pure Latin and always wanted to go down in posterity with the nickname grammaticus (grammarian). When he presented a preview of what would later become his Grammar of the Castilian Language to Queen Isabel la Católica, the sovereign was initially surprised, unable to grasp the utility of a treatise teaching the rules of a language acquired naturally. However, Nebrija successfully persuaded her that languages benefit from both descriptive and normative grammars to prevent them from running amok. The paradoxes of fate have made his Castilian grammar his most renowned work today. Nevertheless, Nebrija deserves to be remembered for many other reasons.

For Nebrija, the revival of Latin was an incentive for other scholarly pursuits. The voyages of the discoverers aroused his curiosity, leading to a fascination with cosmography and a desire to learn about developments from across the Atlantic. In these and other scholarly ventures, Nebrija revealed himself as a full-fledged humanist.

Even after his death, Nebrija’s fame did not diminish. His grammars and lexicons were not only published in Spain but also gained recognition in France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Latin manual he had written for his students in Salamanca attained exclusive authorization for teaching the discipline, a decree made by King Philip III in 1598. Nebrija's Latin grammar manual continued to be esteemed, annotated, and adapted based on location and circumstances until the 19th century.

The exhibit Nebrija en Filipinas, which will run until 12 June, 2024, is organized by Instituto Cervantes in collaboration with Fundación Antonio Nebrija (Madrid), the Embassy of Spain and AECID, Biblioteca Nacional de España, and the University of Sto. Tomas (Manila). Nebrija en Filipinas is an adaptation of the original exhibit Nebrija, curated by Dr. Teresa Jiménez Calvente, with addition of panels focused on the Philippines composed by Marlon James Sales, of UP Diliman. The exhibit will have a second leg from August to October in the Miguel Benavides Library of UST.

For further information about the cultural program of Instituto Cervantes de Manila, please visit their website (, or follow Instituto Cervantes on the following social media pages: (Facebook: InstitutoCervantesManila; Instagram: institutocervantesmanila).

UK Recognizes UP Scientists’ Contributions to Philippine Research and Development

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Photo above shows Students using VISSER, a portable learning device CS Dean Giovanni Tapang helped commercialize (Photo credit:

Pamela Louise Tolentino of UP Diliman College of Science National Institute of Geological Sciences (UPD-CS NIGS) and CS Dean Giovanni Tapang are among the Filipino scientists highlighted by the UK in their decadal recap of joint scientific achievements with the Philippines.

Since 2014, Filipino scientists have been collaborating with UK scientists through the scientific partnership between the two countries. In 2016, the Newton Agham Fund was launched, aimed at providing £3 million (about ₱180 million) of funds for key research projects in health and life sciences, environmental resilience, and energy security.

Tolentino is one of the lead investigators in their project examining where rivers flow and how they change landscapes. By understanding the geomorphological processes behind river systems, their work provides evidence-based solutions for a more effective flood risk assessment and planning. Tolentino and colleagues’ work is under the “Understanding the Impacts of Hydrometeorological Hazards in Southeast Asia Programme” and is funded through the Newton Agham Fund.

In 2016, Dean Tapang was a Leaders in Innovation Fellow, a program that trains and mentors scientists in bringing their inventions to the market. Last year, he spearheaded the commercialization of the Versatile Instrumentation System for Science Education and Research (VISSER), a portable learning device that allows students to conduct 120 experiments in chemistry, biology, environmental science, and physics. At the end of the year, the company distributed 43 VISSER units and generated ₱3.4 million in total revenue. Read the VISSER press release here.

“Every project should have collaboration and inclusion at its core to have impacts that last way beyond its lifetime,” said Tolentino in UK’s Science Snapshot. “I honestly believe that more than the outputs such as methods and data developed from the project, it is truly the conversations where the common goal of providing a better future for everyone that will drive the changes.”

To express interest in continuing the partnership, the UK and the Philippines held the first Joint Committee Meeting (JCM) at The Manila Peninsula Makati City on February 22, 2024. The JCM would now be held every two years to bolster cooperation between both parties.

By Harvey Sapigao

“Bridging Hearts and Hands”: The Pilot and the Scientist Unite for Social Good

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Left: Sci. Dpl. Glenn Banaguas, Middle: Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD; Right: Capt. Stanley Ng

In a heartwarming collaboration, the President of Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the UN-acclaimed scientist have come together to create a powerful outreach program called “Bridging Hearts and Hands”. This program aims to make a lasting impact on communities by fostering connections, empathy, and positive change.

Captain Stanley Ng, both a seasoned pilot and astute businessman, imparts invaluable wisdom drawn from his aviation journey and professional life. Recently, he kindled hope and joy during a visit to the Sandiwaan Center for Learning in Tondo, Manila. There, he delivered an inspiring talk, emphasizing hard work and the pursuit of dreams. Reflecting on his challenges as a student in Manila, Capt. Ng urged young listeners to persevere: “Life is an unpredictable adventure, much like climbing a mountain. As you ascend, you’ll encounter steep slopes, rocky paths, and breathtaking vistas. Remember that every step, even the challenging ones, contributes to your growth.”

“When doubt whispers, drown it out with determination. Remember, you’re not alone on this climb. You are capable, and your potential knows no bounds. The world needs your unique light, your unwavering spirit. Surround yourself with fellow adventurers, seek wisdom from those who’ve scaled their own peaks, and keep your eyes on the horizon. The summit awaits—your legacy etched against the sky,” Ng declared.

Science Diplomat Glenn Banaguas, the UN Sasakawa Laureate and multi-awarded scientist, expressed his profound message: “Passion is the fire that ignites our souls, the compass that guides us through life’s labyrinth. It’s not about the accolades, the trophies, or the applause. No, true passion resides in the quiet moments when we lose ourselves in our craft, when time ceases to exist, and the world fades away. It’s the late nights spent perfecting a brushstroke, the melodies composed in solitude, the code written line by line with unwavering dedication.”

“Chase your passion relentlessly. Let it consume you, shape you, and propel you forward. And remember, the greatest reward lies not in the spotlight but in the quiet satisfaction of knowing you’ve poured your heart into something that matters," Banaguas added.

The “Bridging Hearts and Hands” initiative is a powerful reminder of shared humanity and the importance of kindness in every interaction. It’s a call to action that resonates deeply, inspiring every individual to create an atmosphere of compassion in communities. This project is a testament to the power of inspiring courageous deeds and the difference it can make in people’s lives.

Fr. Benigno Beltran, SVD, the Sandiwaan Center Administrator, conveyed his appreciation for the contributions made by the two remarkable individuals: “May your kindness reverberate through the ages, a legacy etched in hearts and whispered by the wind. For every peso, every gesture, every act of love, we say: Thank you,” the priest mentioned.

Captain Stanley Ng, currently serving as President and COO at Philippine Airlines, boasts over 15 years of aviation expertise. His leadership has driven transformative initiatives, enhancing PAL’s punctuality and reliability. An alumnus of St. Stephen's High School, he completed the Advance Management Program at Harvard Business School and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, Major in Computer Applications from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

Meanwhile, Banaguas—a distinguished scientist and science diplomat—stands as one of Asia’s foremost authorities on environment, climate change, and disaster risk. He studied Climate Change and Energy from the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University and Sustainability Leadership from Yale University. He took the Applied Remote Sensing Program from the National Aeronautics Space Administration and other postgraduate courses from the different world-class institutions.

The “Bridging Hearts and Hands”, which exemplifies the impact of compassion and understanding, resonates with the message, echoing hope and ambition for the next generation.

Japanese delegates conducts mission visit to PHLPost

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Representatives from Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Japan Post together with the Embassy of Japan successfully visited and conducted a two-day mission at the facilities of the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) aimed at helping the postal service improve its mail dispatch and operations.

Japanese delegates met with PHLPost officials led by Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos. The visit is sponsored by the MIC Japan.

Japan is keen on collaborating with PHLPost on projects that would comprehensively carry out a broad range of activities to help improve the postal operations particularly at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City.

This will enable PHLPost to improve and optimized its mail delivery to meet the growing demand especially in e-commerce.

Japan has one of the best postal services and infrastructure in the world. Japan Post Co., Ltd. is a member of the Japan Post Group and operates approximately 24,000 post offices nationwide that provide universal postal, banking and insurance service.

The delegates from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan are Mr. Goto Akira, Deputy Director, Mr. Yamaguchi Hirohisa, Assistant Director, Mr. Hitomi Akihiko, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, Ms. Takachi Haruko, Executive Manager and Mr. Okada Naoto, Expert from Japan Post Co. Ltd.

Aside from CMEC in Pasay City, the Japanese delegates observed and studied mail dispatch and operations in Makati Central Post Office and Quezon City Central Post Office, two of the biggest post offices in Mega Manila.

According to Postmaster General Carlos, the output of the visit will help PHLPost increase its operational efficiency and will contribute to the Integrated Index for Postal Development Score of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in terms of Reliability.

“Our goal is to increase the ranking of the Philippines in the UPU from rank 4 to 6. To comply with this requirement, we need to increase the four (4) R’s, which is Reliability, Reach, Relevance and Resiliency”, he said.

Geek+Pop Gold, the ultimate cosplay and gaming event hits Cagayan de Oro!

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Attention all gamers, cosplayers, and pop culture geeks! Get ready to level up your convention-going experience because Geek+Pop Gold is coming to Limketkai Atrium, Cagayan de Oro, on May 25-26 for an electrifying experience like no other.

“Cagayan de Oro’s gaming and cosplay community is totally lit, and it’s about time the country and the world saw that,” says Cadre 28 CEO and Geek+Pop Gold chief organizer, Joal Cabrera. “But more than recognition, we’re also bringing in what the fans really want, an event that’s not to be missed!”

But Geek+Pop Gold isn't just an event; it's a whole lot of pop culture firsts and THE event of the year for all things cosplay, videogaming, and esports in Cagayan de Oro! Geek+Pop Gold is co-presented by Razer Gold – your ultimate gaming and entertainment recharge store, with over 60,000 titles to choose from. 

It’s two days jam-packed with epic gaming tournaments, and mind-blowing cosplay showcases!

For the first time ever, Filipino cosplay sensation Charess and the one-and-only RuRu will be coming to CDO to meet their fans. From jaw-dropping cosplays to epic gaming moments, these two are guaranteed to bring the hype to Geek+Pop Gold.

But wait, it gets even better! In yet another first, we're unveiling the TopDeck 100K Open, featuring Magic: The Gathering; the One Piece Card Game; and Cardfight!! Vanguard. Plus, there’ll also be lots of stage games so you don’t have to watch from the sidelines.

A well-deserved shoutout to our amazing community partners – Pinoy Retro Gaming, Just Dance Ph, Tekken CDO, and Top Deck Games – for joining us on this epic adventure. So mark your calendars, gather your squad, and get ready to geek out like never before at Geek+Pop Gold on May 25-26. Trust us, you don't want to miss this!

Basic one day pass starts at P400. Follow the Geek+Pop page for more info and updates:

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