With about 40% of the world population being expected to live in water-scarce regions by 2025 and electrical consumption of water sectors projected to increase by 30% for the next 20 years, it’s very important to integrate the discourse of water-energy needs in the global platform. We obviously have to strike a balance between elevating the discussion to more comprehensive alternatives down to implementing it in the grass roots through simple and engaging community solutions.

In light of the global threat, what steps can individuals, businesses or world leaders take to address the most pressing and often interrelated water and energy challenges? And with the current trend of internationalization that we have in status quo, how much of a unity is worth commending when it comes to individual efforts and accumulating them up to a global endeavor?
We need to look at the lens of water being an eminent source of energy, where foundation of human existence is centralized. By the very basic fact of it, utilization of any other form of energy is hinged on the ability of humans to control and harness potentials. Increasingly, water and energy scarcity is a global phenomenon and it affects millions of people all over the world.
Thus, what are we going to do to solve the water and energy threats that the globe is facing?
Sustainability is a big key in our options. We need to layer out where the problems exist and start from there.Plus, we have to make the move bigger so that everyone could freely contribute in the process.
All of us, whether we be national leaders, ambassadors, social media actors, teachers and all, are community individuals ourselves. Therefore, we have an utmost responsibility to contribute in our very own localities given our ability to consume and pose the threat in supplementing our needs. This stands on the idea that humanity is the greatest threat to environment but also its greatest hope. So whatever action we do being community individuals, we’re already contributing to the global process. The only answer is to harness the immediate solutions around us being ourselves, utilizing the influence and resources that we have in hand.
Business leaders can always introduce eco-friendly solutions in the private sphere without compromising their ability to forward their very own corporate interests. It’s currently happening with private actors tying up with the government in giving incentives to water-conservation efforts or alternative energy innovations. Perfect examples of which are the water-fuelled car which directly derives it energy from water and the Green awards that provide recognition and merits to those who have done exceptional efforts for the environment.
On the other hand, the best that world leaders can do is to enable empowerment of communities, organizations and even local actors who think of the solutions available at hand. It can range from sustenance of research centers that put remarkable lights in saving energy, aids of patent applications and recognition to scientists, down to provision of scholarships to experts who have made remarkable advancements in creating technologies for the treatment of waste water, and all other things. We can also tap on a rich multimedia content in amplifying education about water conservation efforts.
All in all, it still trails back to being the individual that we are in our communities. If it means going beyond what we are now, we should willingly take that to escalate the movement into another level. We all have an indirect accountability with each other, and that means direct accountability to the place where we live. All of us are agents of change, and we create the pieces of that movement.

This is an entry to the Masdar Engage Blogging Contest. 


How to Do Eco-wrapping

For this season of gift-giving, everyone wanted to keep up with the trend and that certainly includes all the cheers associated with gifts. Gift-giving is just everyone's thing. It's a way of reminding us that we have to return the blessings that have been given to us. And even if we don't receive anything in return, that warm feeling of having been able to give something to others and make them happy is already well-elating enough.

2012's Christmas is different. It was projected that 4 days before the Christmas Day will be the doomsday, a certain end to the world according to the told-to-be one of the most accurate calendars in reference - the Mayan Calendar. And I'm writing to you in 24th, which means that if I believe enough in an end to life, then it's accurate for me to say that the end of the world has been postponed. The relevance of which is that, this whole fear is founded on the threatening outfits of climate change, like typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes and many more. 

Corollary to this, wherever you are in the world, you're bound to give or receive something in this season. And almost all of these Christmas gifts that we receive, or give, are packaged in papers and plastics among all other things. It would even be of tradition to give credit to someone who comes up with the best wrapping. But in the end, at the bottom of it, all of us carve the demand to cut more trees to package these fancy gifts that we have. If we don't wrap a gift, it would lose the surprise associated with the gift itself. So gift wrapping has been traditionally part of the whole idea.  Yet the clamor still exists. How do we supplement this demand and enjoy the Christmas without necessarily compromising our environment?

The answer is Eco-wrapping. 

Eco-wrapping has been slowly introduced in the mainstream right now and more and more people attend to the cause. There are many ways in coming up with a good eco-wrapped gift. 

1) First is to look for the available materials that you have. Of course, we have to utilize the available resources that we have so that we can come up with a personalized wrap. You can look for newspapers, used colored papers, scissors and gluing materials. 

2) Secondly, think of a design given the resources that you have collected. Always take note of the size of the gift that you are wrapping. It wouldn't make sense recycling a shoe box when you end up wrapping a wrist watch after all.

3) Now start cutting and trimming the papers given the designs you have in mind. You can be as creative as you can be. You can also include images from used magazines to make your gift more colorful. But also remember that you have to keep it simple and neat. 

4) Then lastly, add a sticky note stating the name of the person to whom the gift will be sent to.

That is just my idea about eco-wrapping. All of us have our own creative insights and ideas on how to do it. Personalize it so that you can come up with something more unique. Add more details and all. It would be cool to integrate our advocacy with the fun activities that we do in our daily lives.

Happy Holidays everyone! Merry Christmas!

Photo credit:

Christian Sangoyo


On Love

Being in love makes you feel like you can do every thing. But at the same time, it can make you feel powerless. 

Love comes in different forms. It can be love for your family, love for material objects, love for your romantic partner, love for faith, love for yourself and many more. Some people are really very good at balancing all these outfits of love. And on certain cases, they just can't really co-exist. To me, love for one's self is the most important. You shouldn't do anything that will make you feel powerless in a situation. Love is sometimes greedy, and it asks you to face extreme lines where you have to choose only one from these forms. But when you choose to love by giving up the things you preserve for yourself, you're keying in the worst possible outcomes. And those things come when you lose the last tidbit of self-esteem that you have. For if you can't afford to love thy self, what kind of love can you really share to others?

Others say love is also about lust. And yes, maybe it makes sense getting into the pants of someone before you shed emotions all along. But I think if you look at the greater perspective, it's more than that. It can be a part of it, but it just really isn't. 

Love sometimes becomes our own interpretation of escape from things that we continue to deny to ourselves. We deny to ourselves how imperfect our families were, and that's why we look for attention from someone else. When we fail in an exam in the name of love for excellence, we seek comfort by going into shopping in the love of material things; or maybe because we wanted to clothe ourselves because in a way it hides our ambiguities, failures, doubts and rejections. 

Whatever it is, love is so complicated. And it's hard to accept that all of us look for its real meaning. Yet at the same time, it is the reason why we live and we still live the life that we have - regardless of how sad it could be. And regardless that we know that in finding one is abridgment of pains, sadness and sorrows, we continue to trudge the path this life is caving in. For if it isn't love, then what else could it really be that could explain why we choose to live after all?


The Glamour of Lights in the Midst of Forested Heights

There are so many images that flash into our minds just at the thought of going to Baguio City. You can definitely imagine yourself picking up the bare strawberry fruits in the famous farm in Benguet. Yes, Strawberry Farm is not in Baguio City, but is 30 minutes away from the heart of the Pines Central. This one interesting fact is just one of the many astounding realities Baguio has to offer to visitors who hail from all over the world. It's not my first time in Baguio City. But every visit seems like a first time tied with new adventures and unique experiences. 

 Every time I go to Baguio City, I always make sure that I have this kind of shot. I have been keeping pictures of me riding a horse in  this exact place ever since I was a child. It's a way of reminding myself how I've grown through the years. 

Baguio is a place for everyone. As how Chanda say it, she can definitely live in Baguio for the rest of her life. For me, Baguio City is the best place I've been into in the Philippines. I travel a lot, but Baguio is just something worth remembering. It's a place you would want to visit every single year with your loved ones. 


Sining Kabataan para sa Kapayapaan 2012

"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war" - Vijaya Laksmhi Pandit (1900-1990)

I can still remember that very moment when I first heard this phrase. It was in YMCA's Extemporaneous Competition way back in my high school years. Since then, this quote reminds me of how peace is one of the elusive things that a lot of people in this world are looking for. And that is the answer towards justifying why liberty becomes the greatest gift to humanity. Right now, I find myself in the midst of my own discretion, finding myself as a peace advocate, a believer of reconciliation of dissenting parties, a Mindanaoan weaving my own thread of efforts for a peace that we can call truly ours.  

Last November 17, the "Sining Kabataan Para sa Kapayapaan" Pre-Finals Selection was conducted under the theme  "Love of God, Love of Neighbor, A Challenge for Mindanao". The activity attracted about 54 different submissions all over Mindanao and encompasses different forms of art like paint, drawings and digital art.  Here are some of the winning posters in the said event. 

The members of the selection committee were Datu Loloi Sandigan, Anna Marie Dizon, Rhea Connie Coopera, Rev. Philemar Sabarre and Abduljabbar Guro. 

After the activity, the Top 20 posters will be brought to Davao for the finals. The winning poster will be used as the official poster of the Mindanao Week of Peace, and the winning artist will be invited for an all-expense paid trip to join the peace dialogue in Davao as well as receive cash prizes.  

With the help of these happy volunteers from CCCM-JPED and Mindanao Tri-partite Youth Core, the event was deemed to be successful. But this is yet the start of the many activities that are lined-up for the celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2012. By taking the steps slowly, peace in Mindanao will finally pave its realization someday. 


Seeking Adventures at Dahilayan Adventure Park

"The Little Baguio of the South"

This is how some people describe the Dahilayan Adventure Park right now, which is also called Forest Park. If you want to have extreme adventure, for sure this place must be a very good option. It boasts the longest dual zipline in Asia. It also has the Zorb, Trampoline, ATV ride, treetop challenges, winch boarding, drop zone, ropes course and many more. 

When you set your foot at the place, the feeling of the cool wind gushing at your face and welcoming you at full delight is just very heart-warming. It actually feels like you're in Baguio, where it's windy in a sunny day. It's cool everywhere, literally. There are many lounges and picnic tables. There are many picturesque shots that you can take photos of. It's really a wonderful scenery out there. 
The Forest park is located around 44 kilometers from Cagayan de Oro City, at a municipality in Bukidnon called Manolo Fortich, which happens to be my hometown. It's a place with loads of things to do. I think what you have to prepare is a bit of money for the rides, since they range from about P200 - P800. The park itself has some swamps and man-made lakes where there are fishes and ducks swimming. In the forest area, you can find many miniatures of animals of great diversity. 

If you could notice, most of the animals are miniatures of those that rarely exist in our country. Giraffes, for example, can't be found in the Philippines. They make up a good view of display shooting up as if you really are trapped in a real forest.  There are playgrounds and fish ponds in the area. If you feel hungry or thirsty, a restaurant is right at the gate area which serves a diversity menu. There is also a souvenir shop that sells customized t-shirts, key chains and many more. You can also opt to have a henna tattoo. 

If you're going to go to Dahilayan, it's best if you have a private vehicle so that you can have full control of the time on when to leave the place and also for checking the nearby places. There is a resort  adjacent to the Forest Park which also offers different sets of activities for enjoyment.

Dahilayan is really at its verge of development. I even wonder how developed it can get by now since it has been some time already from my last visit. And some celebrities had their movie shot in the awesome area. But the best healing is to check the place by yourself. 

If you can't secure a private vehicle, there is a ride by van from Cagayan de Oro City that will really get you to Forest Park. It waits in Coffeeworks Divisoria by 8 am during Saturdays. Other good option is to take a van to Camp Philips from Agora Terminal and upon arrival, take a deal with a motorcycle driver fixing the rate first before you take the ride. Most importantly, always verify the details before the trip and plan ahead. 

You can check their website here:


10 Awkward Things that I Do ( And You Might Too)

In a lot of times, we find ourselves in awkward situations. Don't get me wrong 'cause I know all of us have these awkward moments. It's just either we don't wanna admit it, or we find it awkward to talk about awkward things that we do (whether it be in public or not). And so I came up with a list of the things that I do awkwardly, just so to find out if other people do so and not make me feel looney on this matter. 

1) Pretending to laugh.

Sometimes, I pretend to laugh on times when I don't get the thing and everyone else is laughing. That's just crazy. It's maybe because we just don't wanna feel like we're too 'bobo' lagging behind a common joke which everyone finds hilarious. But on some cases, I understand jokes pretty well, but I don't find them funny. And that's where I start pretending to laugh just to make it look like 'I'm not the room's party-pooper'. Yet guess what, there's always that someone who comes out to be the one who can't pretend to laugh. It's a choice that we should all respect, the variation of how we fit ourselves in a specific situation. And it's certainly, awkward!

2) Singing when someone finds us talking to ourselves. 
Admit it or not, but I have asked a couple of people about it and it also happened to them. There are times when we just wanna talk to ourselves, right? It's not the typical 'shirts-off posing or fueling narcissism in front of the mirror'  shit but it's a natural human doing in our alone times. And the absolute rule is to never get yourself caught, otherwise the person who caught you talking to yourself will think that you're silly. I do that sometimes, like recalling a debate speech or rationalizing what to respond to someone. And when someone finds me doing so, I pretend to sing in a random note that even me don't understand. That's crappy awkward!

3) You have to Google a word so you can respond to a chatter.

And there's a tip here. You need to google that hellish word out of nowhere that is used by that alien person chatting you as fast as possible so that he won't find out that you don't know the meaning of that crap. Okay, that's just a long sentence. I do that sometimes 'cause I' m not a vocab geek. But at the same time, it's unnecessary act. But if you do so, it might get a bit awkward but it can help you in improving your dictionary. I actually feel like I wanna help X Factor by banning the word 'amazing'. Shoot to you, Brit. 

4) Everyone is quiet and you sound like a dying whale because of your cough - the worst when it happens in a retreat.

Dude, this is one of the worst feelings ever. Like ever. Last year's November, I went to a leadership retreat in Taytay, Rizal. And I'm at my worst state. I was having a fever then, with cough and colds. It's a retreat, right? So we do have a lot of quiet sessions. But I can't help it. There are times when I just can't exit because I'm in a closed circle discussion or asking an excuse in a group of 30 to go to the comfort room is just not an option. What am I gonna do? Keep the noise as awkwardly minimal as possible, even if you sound like a dying whale. Awkward! (I love whales though)

5) That moment when you say goodbye to someone and you both walked the same way
Well, it happened to me a couple of times. And you're like, f*ck , that's just awkward, most especially if you're not that close to that someone. 

6) When you can't stop laughing while telling a joke and when you're finally done, your friends don't even get it.

This is so me. When I share jokes, I can't help myself but laugh about the whole idea and I always end up having friends who are laughing at me and not on the joke simply because they don't get it. 

7) When you stutter and someone dropped it off because the person thinks you're over. 

Sometimes, I really stutter when I'm talking and it's weird when people drop it off and start talking thinking that you're done. It happened to me once, I guess. When I was introducing myself to a couple of people, and I got a little bit stuttered. But then the emcee started thanking me for that. Well, thanks! 

8) That moment when you try to explain a song but you don't wanna sing it and your friends are like 'What's the first note? Can you sing it?'

Okay. I just said it. I find it really awkward though because I have been into so many 'trying-to-explain-a-song' moments and I just don't really wanna sing it because I don't know the lyrics. 

9) There's something in your friend's face when you're eating together and he/she's in front of you. Or you were in a date at a movie theater eating pop corn and you don't know where to scrub your hands to get rid of the orange flicks. 

It's awkward. I'm sure it's gonna be difficult to tell your friend about the situation. But at the same time, I think it's gross to continue eating with such a view or the possibility of it getting into your food. On the second one, and someone taught me this, you just have to rub it off in the bottom of the chair and you're cool. 

10) That moment when you accidentally typed your password at the username box when you're using someone else's computer.

The worst is if it's your girl/guy, right? Privacy call, pronto! I think everyone deserves privacy, but sometimes, lameness pays off. 

So I know that a lot of people have their own miseries and awkward moments to share. I have a lot when it comes to previous relationships but it's too privy to share. I think awkward moments are good in a way because they're good sources of hilarity. I pretend to text when placed in an awkward situation, or pretend like I'm not listening and say that it's one of my random pet peeves. But it depends from one person to another.


Jatico Extreme Adventure Park and Macahambus Cave

High school days are definitely some of the best memories that a person can have. Perhaps, this goes to most of the people who share the same brand of education as we do. It has been a tradition for our batch to have mini-reunions every time we have some breaks from classes and work. Friendship has always been awesome at the time and spending moments with each other is part of that investment to it. 

This time, we did some kind of traveling. It was three consecutive days of being together but everything has been worth it. In the first day, we went to the 'Little America of the Philippines' which is the Barangay Philips of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. I wasn't able to take so many photos around the area since I'm already acquainted with the place. 

Our first destination was the Jatico Adventure Park. This is kind of far from the city. Indeed, it's a couple of kilometers away from  the Lumbia airport and it would be best to have a private vehicle in getting to the place. You can also take the PUV going to Talakag at Carmen Market but you have to make sure that you're done by 3 pm since it's the time for the last trip from Talakag to CDO. In our case, we took a taxi from SM CdeO to Jatico, which is expensive and is advisable only as a last resort.

You can see breath-taking mountain views upon arrival at Jatico Extreme Adventure Park. And just for disclaimer, it's not a resort, but an adventure park. It has a butterfly garden, playhouse, aviary and huts for relaxation. Certainly, the place is ideal to unwind from work stress and breathe some fresh air. 

And of course, giving justice to why it's called an extreme adventure park, Jatico is home to many adrenaline-gushing activities that will really entice many adventure-seekers. The 5-course zipline, Big Swing, Bungee Jump,Zorb and Spelunking are the things that you can try in the area. Airsoft played at the wide campground is also an addition to the many options that is laid for the visitors in the place. Jatico Park is also ideal for team-building activities. Their website gives you a full detail of the rates including the night-stays for different group numbers and packages.

Then we went to Macahambus Cave. This is the site of the Battle of Macahambus last June 4, 1990 which was one of the few battles won by the Filipinos in the Philippine-American War. About 200 meters away from this site is a 130-foot circular doline called Macahambus Gorge.

 It's really dark inside the cave that is home to many bats, that's why you need to rent a flashlight from the caretakers and that costs P20.00 each. Inside, you can see the amazing rock formations and stalactites forming in the area. Just a short review from Earth Science though, stalactites are those formations that hand from the ceilings while stalagmites are those that emerge from the ground. There are also some parts in the cave where you have to pass through a narrow hole so you really have to watch out for your moves. 

And on the other end of the cave tunnel, there is a veranda/viewing deck wherein you will can see the Cagayan de Oro river. You will also be able to see some rafters paddling since this is the site of the popular Cagayan de Oro White Water Rafting Adventure. 

Tips for Travelers:

1) Secure flashlights.

2) Wear trekking footwear.
3) Bring spare money for unprecedented transportation emergencies. 
4) Plan your trip well (most especially to Jatico). The place is not really for random trips since services are best availed thru packages. 


Exploring Iligan's Finest Waterfalls

'The City of Majestic Waterfalls' might just sound like a cliche to people who ask what Iligan is known for. Yet for the people who travel with these cascades, explore the beauty that lies within, walk with the locales to find the august crystals, dive in the basin blues among all other things - every waterfall brings a unique and sound experience that is really unforgettable. 23 stunning waterfalls, natural enticements to travelers and wanderers, comprise the popular tagline being labeled to Iligan City. 

Of course, topping our feature is the Tinago Falls. Aside from the fact that this falls is not that profiled, I find it particularly interesting that Tinago has now grown to become one of the top picks of travelers in Iligan City. Just by the name 'Tinago' which means hidden, the waterfalls can be found at the heart of a tropical forest between Linamon and Buruun. You have to take about 400 steps downstairs in order for you to reach the falls, so you better prepare some water bottles to keep up with the demands of the steps. I can remember very well that the first time I went there, my knees are badly jittering as I finally got in the foot of the falls. 

And as soon as you get into the basin of the waterfalls, you can now do a lot of things. You can ride the bamboo raft if you want to get nearer to the falls. It is very advisable for you to use the life vest during swimming. Even professional swimmers use the suit for greater safety. In Tinago, there are hidden caves that don't seem to be very obvious. You need to ask some local swimmers who assist people there in the swimming area to take you the caves. It's going to be a bit difficult to get to the 2 caves, since you have to ride the raft, and then swim against the very strong rapids and climb to the cliff. There then, you can reach one small cave which is just good for 4 people conversing. The other one is bigger and can cater to about 10 people. Well, after witnessing the cave, the best (if not the only) exit is to dive from the cliff. There's no other way exit, but it's gonna be worth it. 

Mimbalot Falls is one of the popular ones in the Toursim Triangle Area and is located about 11 km away from the heart of the city. Right now, it is situated in Iligan Paradise Resort. Even though the surroundings don't seem to be so natural since it was improved for the resort, Mimbalot Falls itself is not man-made. And when you get there, you can witness the glamorous falls that will stun you with its grandiose look. The place is ideal for afternoon picnics but you can also have swimming spree with your loved ones.
Dodiongan Falls is so beautiful!  

I tell you, the falls means a lot because it's something that you can easily find attachment with. What I mean is, after a quite long trek, the beauty of the falls is really enough to make the walk worth it. It may be not that accessible, but the best thing to do is to just enjoy the scenery as you go towards the falls. Be prepared to cross the river, climb big rocks, hang in poles or stumble in stones. It is located in Barangay Bonbonon, which is 14 kilometers away from the city, so you really need to have a private vehicle to get there. But if you're travelling alone, renting a motorcycle ride is just good enough. Don't forget to plunge in the crystal basin and you'll enjoy it definitely. 

In the Waterfalling Adventure that we had, we were able to visit many waterfalls of Iligan City. At the leftmost side of the collage, you can see the Maria Cristina Falls. But in the picture, you can just see Maria since the flow was limited that day. For the knowledge of everyone, the hydro-electric power that is being generated from the falls actually makes the area one of the biggest energy supply in the whole Mindanao region. 

Pampam Falls is kinda far, to tell you honestly. It's 13 km away from the city, plus another 20 minutes trek. And you need to get an accompanying locale so that you won't get lost in the area. But the good thing is that there are two falls in one rolling. Kalubihon Falls is just nearby so it must be worth it. You can do a lot of things there, that's why locales as well find it a very soothing place for relaxation. In Pampam Falls, you can just do diving as long as you want. Don't worry if you don't know how to swim. It's really not a deep basin. It's just like a swimming pool. In the Kalubihon Falls, you need to enter a cave before you can see the actual falls. And I wasn't able to take a pic of it since my camera might get wet. But some of my friends have the waterproof one so you better secure something of the sort in going to Kalubihon. 

You can do all these fun things too! Here are some of the tips that might be able to help you in planning your waterfalling travels! They're kinda personal but this might be of help. And definitely, you can create your own very soon. 


1) Always bring band-aid. 
 I always wanted to take risk and even in adventures, I don't think you'd get to enjoy the fullest if you just play it safe. For this adventure though, I slipped through mossy surfaces a lot and I've got many bruises. But it's all worth it and I've got it prepared at hand. 

2) Secure extra camera batteries and memory cards. 
This is something I  always wanna remind myself of when I travel. One thing I've learned from my photography professor in US is that we have to take as many shots as possible. And then choose the best from a wide array of selection. Sadly though, I wasn't able to concentrate on it in this trip because I'm also organizing the Kasadya and this happened at exactly the same date. 

3. Talk to the locales. 
I think what sets an experience apart from the rest is when we explore what's beyond the obvious. And the best people who know what real experience is in a certain place are those people who live with it - and those are the locales. So, walk with them and ask them what more can you find in the area. This is what we did when we never knew that there are hidden caves in Tinago, or the water source of Kalubihon Falls which also happened to be a perfect diving spot for me (because I'm small). 

Otherwise, plan ahead and see you sometime here in Iligan City! Muchas gracias!
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