Archive for July, 2010

(lg2a) arks

Posted in artifacts, culture, events, letsgopinas goes to america, locales, nature, news, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2010 by mijodo

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26

Apparently, the Almighty has tasked his minions somewhat cumbersome set of responsibilities, caring for all organisims, roaming and swimming in the face of the earth. It was the old man Noah who was the first to fulfill such duty among the distinguished people of the Bible.  Although it could be argued that the Lord had to do some heavy prompting to Noah so that he and his family could bring along a male and a female of every animal species for eventual breeding and propagation , and be quartered in a large ark throughout the big flood.

In modern times, zoos can be considered akin to the Ark of Noah.  They are repositories of the most common to the most exotic and possibly, those in danger of declining population from kingdom animalia. However in recent years, zoos or even animal parks may have losing public relation points, particularly from animal right groups. These activiest see enclosures as places for restrained abuse and maltreatment despite the zoos’ initial purposes as innocuous public displays of menagerie for the curious and the animal enthusiasts – including kids.

Just this summer, my cousin, Al Depakakibo and his wife, Gisella, together with the kids and I strolled inl Detroit Zoo, here in Michigan. I got to see some creatures  – lemurs, otters, even kangaroos (loaned in by an Australian city zoo) which I have never seen in Manila or other city zoos I have been to in Asia.  I missed out on the polar bear and even the elephants which Detroit Zoo happens not to have at all (another cousin remarked that at least Manila Zoo has one).

All in all, Detroit Zoo seems to be just like any other zoo or wildlife park in any other city – a seemingly safe haven for animals to stay in for those endemic to the place or for those visiting on exhibit. Apparently, those touring kangaroos and other Australian domestic animals made me think about those giraffes, impalas, gazelles, zebras and other wildlife probably roaming and wandering about in the large expanse of Calauit Island in Palawan.

Apparently, such wildlife species have been token gifts by the Kenyan Government in the 70s when Ferdinand and his wife, Imelda were still in power.   Immediately, Calauit in Busuanga was deemed game preserve for these animals, together with species, original to the Philippines like anteaters, mongoose, Palawan monkeys, and bearcats.

The grazing animals seem to favor the rolling hills and plains, with plenty of warm weather. The Calauit Island Park’s attraction  was to become for the exclusively enjoyment of the family and friends of the Marcoses – a seeming safari for the Philippine elite. From a hundred or so heads, the population dramatically increased to some thousands, thus such animals running, travelling, moving together can be a sight to behold within that 3700 hectare area.

At the moment, ordinary tourists can now flock to the wildlife park, and is part of Palawan Island’s must-see.  After the Marcos era, the Calauit Island Sanctuary seems to be surviving although some years back a tv documentary revealed that mismanagement may have caused the marked depletion of the number of animals, and possible endangering the survival of the park itself.  Overpopulation and food scarcity for many of these grazing animals took a toll on the Calauit Preserve. On top of this, only one person did all the work for the whole area as there were no funds to hire more laborers and veterinarians!

I am not quite sure if such problems do exist at present. But by the looks of it, Calauit Park and its wild inhabitants are far from instinction. God and Noah should be quite pleased.

(lg2a) this is not panama city, panama

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, food, health, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, sports, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2010 by mijodo


An aunt from Canada was to attend a family member’s wake and burial in Panama City, Florida. However instead of going directly to one of the gulf cities of Florida, she found herself in another part of North America –  at Panama City, Panama.

Probably this story has been retold amongst family members countless times, just to regale ourselves and have some hearty guffaws at such an oddball experience.  But it did happen, and can happen even in the Philippines. If you want to go to San Fernando, make sure which Luzon capital city you are stopping by – the one in Pampanga for some culinary experience or La Union for some surfing action in nearby town, San Juan.

When you think about “Cagayan,” you do ask yourself, “Is this the capital, Cagayan de Oro City of Misamis Oriental of Northern Mindanao or is this Cagayan Province of Northern Luzon?” Cagayan de Oro City boasts of whitewater rafting activities and a busy seaport while Cagayan Province has cave exploration and spelunking for tourists. But “Cagayan Province” should not be confused with “Cagayan Valley” or the whole Region 2 area,  which is composed of the provinces of Batanes, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Cagayan Province.

Another name, “Davao,” set in the Mindanao turf, sets chaos probably among the minds of Filipino students studying for a geography quiz. Davao City which is the business and tourism hub of Mindanao is independent of any province, including Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur. Davao del Norte’s capital is Tagum City while Davao del Sur’s is Digos. Interestingly, and even probably more confusingly, Davao del Norte’s official and newest name is Davao Province.
But heck, after some stressful geography lessons in the Philippines, I guess it is time for some destressing which you can get plenty of in Panama City Beach Florida which is distinct from Panama City, Panama.
(For some personal pics on my travel to America, please click on this:
Panama City may not be a top of mind destination in Florida. Miami and Orlando should be prime city targets among travellers in the socalled Sunshine State. However Panama City, together with adjacent environ, Panama City Beach has so much to offer for the sunworshippers – torquoise waters, powdery white shores, and magnificent sunsets. Americans from the Southern states usually enjoy the beaches and the countless high rise accommodations that line the area. Families during the summers and students the socalled springbreak troop to the 27 miles of stunning beachfront sceneries of Panama City Beach.
And between Panama City, Florida, and the country, Panama is the Carribean Gulf. This piece of info should settle the confusion once and for all.
As we try to hairsplit these geographical names, how about finding out where the phonetically troublesome and originally named town of “Sexmoan” is.
How about “Sasmuan, Pampanga.”

(lg2a) a world upside down

Posted in culture, events, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by mijodo

You think everything seems to be running smoothly. You feel that everything seems to be right with your life, just swimming along contently, comfortably in a world that offers much for your existence. Then a letter comes.

The letter asks you to radically alter your life; in fact the letter pushes you to move out of your shell and explore another world – America.

Hastily, you set on a journey to find out what USA is all about.  Then you get to realize that this part of the world is not “Sex in the City” sexy nor “Beverly Hills 90210” bitchy. Much of USA is all about strong work ethic and generosity of spirit – whether it is in the farmlands, industrial towns or the suburbs. There is apparent indication about the dire economic situation in almost every other town or city that I have been to, but it is the Americans’ friendliness and openess that warm the heart of this immigrant.

In the few days I have been here, this newbie has been welcomed and embraced by the relatives and friends who have worked long for years in their adoptive land either as medical professionals or bluecollar workers. I am still weighing the many options regarding my supposed stay here in this country. I am not quite sure how things will work out here in America, but I am assured by their love and concern about my unsureness, my unsteadiness. And I am overwhelmed and humbled with such gestures.

As my world has turned upside down, and some of my initial thoughts on America have completely been disregarded and erased, still the Philippines that I have cared much through this site has never been more pronounced and more vivid than ever.

In this regard, there will be postings on places and my musings on America that will intersperse intermittently with articles solely on the Philippines and Filipinos in this blog. Such thoughts on America will hopefully be relatable to what Philippines and Filipinos is all about, and should even enhance more my love for anything Filipino.  Such articles and postings will be categorized as “Letsgopinas Goes to America (LG2A).”

As early as now, let me also say that I miss my life, friends and family in the Philippines (I miss my work and bidet too). And I thank everyone who has been supportive and cared about me in my nativeland. From the land of supposed plenty – let me say to them “Ingat lagi at salamat.”