Painted garbage cans around Bonifacio Global City.

I went to Bonifacio Global City this morning to have breakfast with Bern. We walked about, circling several buildings to look for a place where we could eat.

In the end, we decided to eat in a canteen at the building across the street from Bern’s office, though we certainly took a circuitous path to get there. It was called “killing time”.

The walk wasn’t a waste, though, because we spotted several colorfully-painted garbage cans designed by local artists. They looked very pretty, it felt almost unjust to have them smeared with garbage.

The welfare of one person should not take priority over the needs of so many.

Before anything else, here are websites listing how people could help flood victims of Sendong:

Philippine Red Cross: Emergency Alert: Tropical Storm Sendong
Here’s To Life!: How to help victims of Tropical Storm Sendong

Aerial view of damages caused by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan De Oro. Image Credit: REUTERS/Stringer
Aerial view of damages caused by flash floods brought by Tropical Storm Sendong in Cagayan De Oro. Image Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

After President Aquino created a controversy for supposedly partying after in the aftermath of Sendong, this story about his youngest sister, Kris, is currently spreading around Facebook and was also quoted in Pinoyexchange (one needs to select and highlight the “hidden” text):

A friend of mine who’s volunteering at ABS-CBN right now texted me. She said they were already at Consolacion to distribute the relief goods to the people, the people were already lining up, when suddenly they rerouted and went back to Balulang. The reason? Kris Aquino is there and they have to fetch her and go back to Consolacion so that she can also help.

Imagine the faces of the people already waiting for the releif goods; All hungry and thirsty and still covered in mud and they all needed fresh clothes to change into…They were shocked to see the ABS-CBN trucks leaving. All they can do is watch and wait for them to come back again. That’s what my friend witnessed just a while ago.

It’s disgusting how Kris Aquino had to be given more importance over the flood victims who desperately needed help. Was is really necessary for all the trucks to leave in order to fetch one person? Couldn’t the ABS-CBN crew begin their relief program and just let Kris just join them when she arrives?

I don’t know whose decision it was to temporarily stop the relief program (to be fair to Kris, I am not assuming it was she who asked for the trucks to fetch her), and I am not belittling ABS-CBN’s efforts to help the flood victims. But an incident like this seems to show misplaced priority on the welfare of one celebrity over those of hundreds of people who truly needed help.

Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong) kills hundreds in the Philippines
PNoy’s ‘partying’ in Sendong aftermath sparks debate on propriety
Valerie draws flak for partying with PNoy during Sendong
Aquino sisters defend PNoy on ‘party’ issue

What’s at the moonbow’s end?

NASA posted this wonderful photo the other day. It is one more reason why I should save up for a trip to Iceland.


Waterfall, Moonbow, and Aurora from Iceland
Image Credit and Copyright: Stephane Vetter (Nuits sacrees)

The longer you look at this image, the more you see. Perhaps your eye is first drawn to the picturesque waterfall called Skogarfoss visible on the image right. Just as prevalent, however, in this Icelandic visual extravaganza, is the colorful arc of light on the left. This chromatic bow is not a rainbow, since the water drops did not originate in rainfall nor are they reflecting light from the Sun. Rather, the drops have drifted off from the waterfall and are now illuminated by the nearly full Moon. High above are the faint green streaks of aurora. The scene, captured one night last month, also shows a beautiful starscape far in the background, including the Big Dipper, part of the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major).

It’s so beautiful and otherworldly. When I showed the image to a co-worker, he wondered how come there were both a rainbow and stars in the photo. Except that what looks like a rainbow was made by the light of the moon. How dreamy.

Gay penguin romance to end at Toronto Zoo.

Penguins in the Toronto Zoo are in the news because of their apparent same-sex pairing. Buddy and Pedro (which sounds like the title of a buddy movie) are a pair of endangered African penguins who seem to be into a rather close bromance.

According to the Toronto Star, zookeepers have noticed that although Buddy, 20, and Pedro, 10, swim and play with the other penguins in their enclosure by day, they pair off and nest together at night as well as exhibit other telltale mating behaviors, such as touching, making braying sounds and defending their territory.

…In accordance with the species’ survival plan, the zoo staff will separate Buddy and Pedro so they can fulfill their biological destiny: to create more African penguins.

While it’s sad to see these penguins separated, they were placed in the zoo to breed. While there is much to learn about apparent homosexuality among these penguins, the more pressing issue here is that their species is endangered and their population should increase.

If humans were a dying species and I needed to have sex with a woman in order to increase population, I will do it. My personal sexual preference takes a back seat to the greater need of species. The question here is one of survival. We can’t assert the rights of gay penguins if there are no more penguins to fight for.

gay penguins

Tough Love: Toronto Zoo to Separate ‘Gay’ Penguin Couple
‘Gay’ Penguins to Be Separated at Toronto Zoo

Dear Ortigas: Your paper bag campaign isn’t really a great idea.

Stores around Ortigas has recently adopted the city’s resolution to use paper bags instead of plastic, in an attempt to make Pasig more environment-friendly. Seems sensible, right? Everybody knows that biodegradable paper is better than nonbiodegradable plastic.

paper bag

The sight of brown paper bags is indeed somewhat prettier and more charming compared to plastic bags. Thing is, the Pasig campaign pushes on the use of paper bags exclusively; consumers does not have the option to choose if they prefer paper or plastic.

This becomes problematic if:

  • The object that should go in the bag is too heavy for paper. Plastic bags tend to be sturdier than paper bags of the same size.
  • Said object is moist and requires a waterproof package.

Individual paper bags also tend to be so much thicker than plastic bags, hence consuming more space (both when stored and when it gets into a trash bin later), and heavier.

The ordinance also seems to have paid little attention to what should happen to the paper bag once what’s in it has been removed. Do we just throw them away? Could they be collected for recycling? Unlike plastic bags, paper bags could only be reused a number of times before they eventually tear.

But still. Everybody knows that biodegradable paper is more environmentally-friendly than nonbiodegradable plastic, right?

Actually, it isn’t, according to Environmental Impact:

Do you want your groceries in a paper bag or a plastic bag? Well, if the impact on the environment was your concern, then the answer is simple: if you have to pick one of these, pick plastic. That’s because, all in all, using plastic bags impacts the environment much less than using paper ones.

The Composite Environmental Impact Index (the site defines this as “the overall measure of environmental impact” of a given product) of a plastic grocery bag is 6.46 compared to a paper bag’s 77.69.

The production of paper consumes much more resources, and produces much more waste than plastic, even if the recycling is taken into account. Of course, most likely a reusable cotton bag will be better than either, but we need to calculate it’s CEII to be sure.

Ironically, a campaign to make the city more environment-friendly is actually bringing more negative impact to the environment. This goes to show that most lawmakers routinely fail to do their research thoroughly before enacting laws that they think will give them more “pogi” points to the public.

[image source]