Philippines Floods – At Least 49 Dead

Thousands of Filipinos have shoveled dirt and debris from flood-ravaged homes, shops and roads under a shining sun after nearly two weeks of non-stop rain shut down the capital and forced hundreds of thousands to escape from the deluge.

At least 49 people died and more than two million people were affected by Manila’s worst flooding since 2009.

More than half of the sprawling metropolis of 12 million was submerged at the peak, and schools and offices have been closed for days.

Under a hot sun on Thursday as the rain finally stopped, residents began to fix disheveled homes and stores in flood-hit communities that resembled a wasteland littered with mud-caked garbage.

Some of the displaced in still-crowded evacuation centres have begun to trickle back to neighbourhoods where floodwaters have subsided, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said, but more than 314,000 people remained in hundreds of evacuation centres in Manila and outlying provinces.

“We were totally washed out,” said Rudy Aquino, a flower shop owner along Araneta Avenue, where more than three metres of rampaging floodwaters swamped everything and carried all sorts of garbage and even a wayward cargo truck.

Aquino, whose shop also was hit by the more massive flashflood in 2009, told The Associated Press he was moving to a safer location when the deluge engulfed his business on Tuesday and again late on Wednesday when floodwaters rose again.

As he tried to rise from the latest onslaught, a fresh supply of red orchids arrived at his shop on Thursday as he and staff were cleaning up.

Even though the weather has cleared, the government was busy with rescue and relief work in the worst-hit areas, especially along swollen rivers and coastal communities.

In hard-hit Marikina city in the capital, rescuers on rubber boats floated down still-flooded streets to reach thousands of residents marooned in submerged houses along the Marikina River.

After the rains stopped, thousands of shoppers descended on grocery stores to stack up on food and other supplies.

The death toll jumped to 49 late on Thursday after casualty reports from the provinces reached the Civil Defence Office. Most were drowning victims. At least six were missing.

Manila Named 3rd Worst City For Driving

The capital of the Philippines, Manila, was been marked by the “CNNGo” travel and lifestyle website as the world’s third-worst city when it comes to driving.

The website mentioned that Filipinos’ concern about traffic clogging is their number one problem in the country and to be followed by the following, like air pollution, garbage collection, flood control and the need for security.

“So, Filipinos care more about getting to work on time than they do about respiratory ailments, mounting trash heaps, drowning or being assaulted?” it said.

According to CNNGo, Manila borrowed US$60 million last 2001 from the World Bank for transit-related activities.

“Among other things, the funds were meant to ‘promote the use of non-motorized transport,’” it added. “A campaign asking locals to ‘Please stop driving,’ however, wasn’t necessarily the best approach to traffic management.”

The website thinks that officials may be doing something to solve the traffic untidiness in the city. “Redeeming quality: You’re in a country in which smooth-flowing traffic is apparenly of utmost importance to residents. So, you gotta figure somebody, somewhere is working on the problem. Right?”

It was said that Beijing in China topped the list as the world’s third-worst place for driving, then followed by New Delhi in India.

The other cities that were also considered on the list are Mexico City in Mexico, Johannesburg in South Africa, Lagos in Nigeria, São Paolo in Brazil, Moscow in Russia, Toronto in Canada and Monaco.

MMDA doubts report

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officers expressed doubts regarding the report.

“Siguro hindi naman totoo iyan. Ano bang basehan nila? Convenience? Travel time?” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.

“Ang ginagawa natin sinasama na rin natin ang mga residente para sila rin ang gumawa ng paraan against traffic,” he added.

The county is not being left behind with regards to the state of roads and vehicles, but he also mentioned that some Filipino drivers really need more discipline on the road.

“MMDA, under Chairman Tolentino’s strong leadership, is working hard to improve Metro Manila’s traffic situation,” according to Yves Gonzalez, agency’s traffic discipline unit head.

“We’ve implemented speed limits, motorcycle lanes, installed traffic light timers, utilized social media, and mobile apps to inform motorists,” he told ABS-CBNNews.com

“All projects aimed at improving Metro Manila’s traffic situation. All this in less than 2 years, and we have a lot more ahead,” Gonzalez said.

The 32nd Archbishop of Manila


“Dominus Est! It is the Lord!,” says Archbishop Luis Chito Tagle in his homily yesterday that marked his installation as the 32nd Archbishop of Manila at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.

The new Manila Archbishop was overwhelmed with such emotion that he paused twice while reading his homily. The first instance that Tagle cried was when he expressed his appreciation to his parents, who were all there to witness the Rite of Liturgical Reception Eucharistic Celebration and Canonical Possession.

Tagle’s brother Manuel Jr. who was also there to support him said, “We are very proud of him but there are a lot of challenges so we need a lot of prayers. We need a lot of strength for him because he would be facing many problems.”

The second time the new Archbishop cried was when he talked about the maternal love of Mother Mary.

Tagle said that his new post will not change him and who he is. “I tell myself as though it were the Lord telling me, ‘Chito, do not think you have become great because of your new position. Be great rather in being a beloved and loving disciple of the Lord’,” he added.

The liturgical and canonical rites, which lasted more than two hours, were witnessed by 2,000 faithful, including some government officials and other dignitaries. It was the first time in the history that the President of the Philippines didn’t come to witness the ceremony. However, Pnoy’s sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, and Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee – were present to celebrate the rites.

Nicholas Sparks to visit fans in Manila

Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks is set to visit Manila on October 28 to to meet his fans and launch his 17th novel, “The Best of Me”- a story of high school sweethearts who are forced by fate to meet again, only to discover how far apart they have become.

Sparks’ visit includes a book signing and a press conference on October 28, 2011 at 5 p.m. at the Podium mall in Pasig City. People who will buy copies of “The Best of Me” at bookstores nationwide will get a chance to win signing presses.

Having someone like Nicholas Sparks here in Manila is an amazing chance for Filipino readers to actually meet him. Authors don’t come much bigger than Nicholas Sparks,” said Xandra Ramos-Padilla, National Book Store’s merchandising director for books.

Some of Sparks’ famous novels turned movies include “Message in a Bottle,” “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John,”The Last Song” and “Nights in Rodanthe.”

Storm surge hits Manila Bay; A first in Manila

A storm surge over Roxax Blvd. Manila

During the wrath of Typhoon Pedring in the Philippines, specifically in Luzon, large waves hammered the coastline of Manila causing a storm surge into the coastline that caused the flash floods near the area.

According to PAGASA, the storm surge, which was a first in Manila, began early in the morning during a high tide, spilling seawater spilling on nearby streets by 8 a.m. The streets of Raja Sulayman, Roxas Boulevard, Mabini, Ermita, Kalaw,Taft Avenue, and Ayala Boulevard were affected by flood waters and had to be closed causing heavy traffic and big problem to commuters.

In addition, the yachts anchored in the Manila Yacht Club were also battered by the storm, as well as Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Parked vehicles were seen floating in the hotel’s car park and flood waters caused evacuations of the hotel’s guests to other hotels. SM Mall of Asia’s Baywalk was also affected by the storm causing floods in the array of restaurants in the area.

Also unable to escape from floods and got struck of the typhoon was the Embassy of the United States. According to embassy information officer Tina Malone, “The extent of flooding is not yet known, but it affected mostly the grounds, not the buildings”.

Meanwhile, witnesses posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter their reactions with the storm surge describing it as a “Tsunami-like disaster” and a “scary wrath of nature”.

Overpopulation: Another cause of flood on Metro Manila

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) indicated that overpopulation is the primary cause of flooding in Metro Manila.

“Ang pinaka-kalaban natin ay population. Habang dumadami ang population, nag-e-encroach sa waterways. Inagawan natin yung tubig ng pupuntahan niya. Tapos ‘pag may namatay na tao, sisihin natin yung ulan,” DENR MGB director Leo Nazareno said.

From an interview with Maki Pulido of GMA News’ “24 Oras,” DENR MGB director Leo Nazareno said that natural waterways can cope with the volume of heavy rainfall but the draining of floodwaters is impeded.

Small houses in Metro Manila are increasing due to the growing population in the community. The DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said that these houses are blocking the way of the natural flow of rivers and streams.

Jasareno explained how the Pasig River is unable to serve its function as the outlet of excess water from the Laguna Lake to Manila Bay. Rivers have drainage and its path so that it will not overflow but drainage that are unclogged and houses that blocks the path of the river makes flood water to rise in places like Pasig City, Marikina, Pateros, Muntinlupa, Taguig and Parañaque.

“Kasi ang Marikina River, pupunta ng Laguna Lake. And then yung Laguna Lake, pupunta ng Pasig River. So, kung barado ang Pasig River, tataas ang tubig sa Laguna Lake. ‘Yung Marikina River, tataas din,” Nasareno said.

Nazareno suggests that aside from dredging another effective solution is the relocation of squatters who populate areas at and near Pasig river and other major waterways. —AY/ELR/VS, GMA News

NCR will go through another 36-degree Celsius weather today!

After experiencing a 36.1 degree heat at Metro Manila last April 26, another 36-degree weather will hit Manila again today.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) our weather today will approximately be the hottest between 2 and 3 p.m.

Ben Oris, PAGASA forecaster, said in his interview with dzBB radio:
We can expect 24 to 36 degrees Celsius today, and residents may want to keep out of exposure to the sun between 2 and 3 p.m. at Metro Manila.

PAGASA’s weather forecast for this week showed that Metro Manila may experience the 36-degree weather again on Thursday and Friday. In Tuguegarao, there is a great chance that the weather may go higher up to 38 degrees at the end of the week.

PAGASA’s forecast for today on the different locations inside the country:

  • An intertropical convergence zone may bring rains to Visayas and Mindanao, and Palawan.
  • In its 5 a.m. bulletin, Visayas and Mindanao including Palawan will experience mostly cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms.
  • The rest of the country will be partly cloudy to at times cloudy with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms.
  • Light to moderate winds blowing from the east will prevail over Northern Luzon and coming from the east to northeast over the rest of the country.

Red Roses for Lady Bus Passengers this Valentine’s Day

BY: KRIS JOHN ENCOMIENDA

Heart is in the Air. Early this morning, spotted about 200 Bus Marshall from the  Manila Police District (MPD) while controlling and still keeping an eye on the possible terrorist and criminal aggressions surprisingly gave red roses to female passengers for the celebration of Valentine’s Day after their flag ceremony to express and throw some love in the air today.

Reportedly, some of the passengers who are passing along Taft Avenue in Manila are those who received roses from these mushy people of MPD. Others are commuters come to pass by the Light Rail Transit along Manila.

These Gentlemen stay active and alert on their duties to knock up violence, crime and possible bombing attacks on roadways and parkways, business and commercial establishments like malls, motels and restaurants for the possible reoccur of 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing where 4 people were died after a bomb explosion in a bus in Makati City.

Female passenger’s received red roses for Valentine's Day

Female passenger’s received red roses for Valentine's Day

News Source: GMANews.TV

PHOTO: NPPA Images

Taylor Swift: Live in Manila for February concert

Country pop singer and Grammy award winner Taylor Swift will be performing live for Manila concert for the first time. It will be on 19 February 2011, at Araneta Coliseum. Her hits such as Love Story, White Horse, You Belong With Me, Teardrops on my Guitar, Fearless, and her latest single Mine from her second album Speak Now.

I’m so excited with her Manila concert because she’s one of my favorite international artists. When I searched TicketNet site, still no reservation yet. But when I read an article, the tickets will go on sale on 08 November. Taylor Swift Fans Club Philippines members can buy their tickets exclusively starting on 05 November. I really want to watch her concert. One of my favorite songs from her is You Belong With Me. I am liking her latest single Mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t bought her two albums yet. But I really enjoy watching her music videos in music channels like MYX, MTV, and Channel V, and listening her hits in different radio stations.

She was  controversial lately because she wrote two songs for her ex-boyfriend John Mayer. She was indeed young and talented woman. I just want to meet her soon. If I’m gonna able to watch her concert, maybe this will be a nice graduation gift for myself.

2 triple triumphs for ‘Lola’

MANILA, Philippines—For an indie film shot in the flooded communities of Malabon City and the dingy, dead-end streets of Quiapo, Manila, Brillante Mendoza’s “Lola” has come a long way.

Eighty-five-year-old screen legend Anita Linda couldn’t believe that at her age, she could still win a best actress trophy from an international film festival.

“Oh my goodness! Who knew that our little movie would go this far?” she told the Inquirer Sunday.

Over the weekend, Linda’s so-called little movie, “Lola,” scored two victories in two festivals in Europe—two “triple triumphs” in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, and in Fribourg, Switzerland.

“Lola” tells the story of two grandmothers who find themselves on opposite sides of the criminal justice system. As one lola (played by Linda) struggles to bury her grandson, another lola (essayed by Rustica Carpio) tries to raise money to get her own grandson released from prison.

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