Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2013

Mobilizing resources

BAKAWAN, the vernacular term for mangrove literally translates as “haunt of nightjars (bakaw).” The tangle of branches that the slow-growing, sturdy tree locked in tight hugs over mudflats, marshes, shoals, and stretches of riparian parts looking over the sea also hold teeming wildlife—most are edible, some a delight to epicures… egrets, herons, arboreal snakes, sea serpents, migrating geese or ducks, even an endangered species or two.
The knot of roots that a mature mangrove jabs into a nether bed of mud and sand fan out every which way deep, ramifying into a network that sucks in and tames tide-borne throwaways, trash, toxins, even oil slicks. Indeed, mangrove stands render seawater fit for marine life.
Low tide unravels a mangrove stand’s teeming hoard- octopi, crabs, clams, mussels, oysters, eels, lobsters, mantis shrimps, a barracuda or two, the usual shrimps and the young of motley deepwater-dwelling commercial fish species. Mangrove stands serve as nurseries or halfway shelter f…

A farewell to alms

WHAT did not kill some five million people-- super typhoon Yolanda mauled them to an inch of their lives—will likely toughen them. They have withstood. They will stand. They will move on with their lives.
Vegetable vendor Clarissa Bueno, 42, is eyeing a P10,000 loan to go back to tending her stall at a market in a town adjacent to Tacloban. With that seed money, she hopes to recoup her losses and send two of her children back to school—one is a grade 7 student, another is a criminology freshman.
A father to six children, 31-year-old fisherman Diorico Cordoves says he needs P20,000 to buy a five-horsepower diesel engine and a small boat to fit it to. He avers with resolve: “I could provide for our daily needs and my children will be happy.”
He has no house to go back to. But all it takes for farmer Geronimo Dawat, 49, is about, he reckons, P60,000. With such a sum, he sees that he can get back on his feet, bring back to life a three-hectare spread of rice paddies that he rents.
Most …

Cal y canto con camote

FENG shui (literally, wind water flow) lore has it root crops embody a hidden store of treasures. Say, a local food conglomerate needs yearly 35,000 metric tons of cassava for livestock feed-- the available local supply falls short of 13,000 tons. Cassava granules sell for around P9 a kilo.
Demand for the same root crop to be used in liquor manufacturing is hitting above the roof. Why, raising cassava is a no-brainer task— this is one tough crop that can grow in the most hostile patches of earth, providing sustenance for ages to dwellers in sub-Saharan parts of Africa.
While the hardy cassava is nearly pure starch, the lowly sweet potato or kamote is considered by nutritionists as a super food, the most nutritious of all vegetables—kamote levels of Vitamin A are “off the charts, rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.” A fist-sized kamote can supply a day’s dose of glucose to fuel the brain, muscles, and organs, so they claim. Count the country lucky for having been bl…

Fool people all the time

SHOULD the putative brains of the P10-billion pork barrel plunder run into liquidity problems, she might give a bit of thought to cranking out a tell-all book— that ought to be a runaway bestseller.
Such a confession can rake in wads of cash once it sees print and hits the bookshops. And maybe, bring the heat a few notches higher to cause rashes to her pachyderm-skinned cohorts in Congress. After all, her accomplices chomped on the lion’s share of the loot-her P10-billion cut is a mere 30 percent of the largesse.
Taxpayers, mere mortals that we are, would likely be willing to fork a few more hundreds of pesos for a copy. We would want to see the devil in the details how the heist was carried out, not just once.
Indeed, some people can be fooled all the time.
And she can rub a whit of insult to injury by her account of how the modus operandi was carried out-- with ease, and maybe gobs of grease. Why, she can name names. Trot out a list of culprits. Let out money figures that would m…