Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas In General Santos

General Santos City may be the new site of Robinsons Mall and the soon to be constructed SM City but a tour around the downtown area will show you that the city is still in dire need of improvement infrastructure and investments wise.

There was a time during the administration of former Mayor Rosalita Nunez when General Santos was really booming--meaning commercial buildings everywhere, big malls, infrastructure projects and a vibrant market. I know Robinsons and SM are big investments (I am not even sure if SM will push through) but a friend who also hails from General Santos City and who studied College and started a family here said "ay ewan" when I told her the good news about Robinsons. Seeing Gensan now, I seem to have understood her reaction.

I was tryign to pin down the tail on the donkey as to what was missing in Gensan despite the big investments coming in. Finally, I realized that the small and medium entrepreneurs were missing in the picture. Streets like Pioneer Avenue and Magsaysay Avenue were like ghost town in the afternoon of December 24. It should have been different considering that people are still hot on their Christmas shopping.

Go to the malls like KCC and Gaisano though and you will see lots of people there. But KCC and Gaisano are not just the only entrepreneurs in Gensan. I would favor the growth of the small and medium enterprises first rather than see them die in the hands of big investors like KCC, Robinsons and SM.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas At NCCC Mall

The NCCC Mall in Matina has gone all out this Christmas, constructing two giant Christmas billboards along the entrance side. The billboards contain the mosaic-like images of kids which appropriately sends out NCCC Mall's message--that Christmas is truly for the kids and the kids at heart. It is only with a kid's heart that one is able to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas sans the expensive blinking Christmas lights, the sumptuous noche buena and even the expensive shopping list. On the sides of the billboards are giant parols customized for the design,

However, the Maa side of NCCC Mall is equally if not more attractive. Take a look at these photos.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Minimum Fare Back To P7; Taxi Fares Sans P10 Additional Rate

The Christmas wish of millions of commuters all over the country has finally been granted with the rollback in public utility fares starting today December 15.

Starting Monday jeepney fares will be back to the original P7 rate for the first four kilometers and an additional P1.40 for every succeeding kilometer. The dreaded and much-criticized P10 additional fare for taxi has also been scrapped and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board XI will start removing them today.

LTFRB administrative office Edgar Violan however said this is only a provisional fare rate which is effective from December 15, 2008 to March 15, 2009. The rollback came as a result of the series of rollbacks in oil prices in the world and even the lcoal markets.

The LTFRB will spearhead a hearing on February 18, 2009 to discuss final fare rates for jeepneys and other public utility vehicles.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Free/Libre Open Source Software Orientation For Small and Medium Enterprises.

Software piracy is prevalent but the government and other groups are speeding up their campaign against software piracy. This has placed small and medium enterprises at a disadvantage due to the expensive software they need for the efficient operation of their business.

There is however an option and if you are interested in availing of free and open source software then join the Orientation on Free/Libre Open Source Software (F/LOSS) for Small and Medium Enterprises which will be held at the DabaweGNU Lab (2nd Floor BexPhil Building), Sobrecarey corner Vinzon St., Obrero in Davao City tomorrow Decemebr 13 from 12:30 to 4PM.

The orientation is sponsored by the International Open Source Network (IOSN) ASEAN+3, a Center of Excellence for Free Open Source Software (FOSS) in the Asia-Pacific Region, Team Mango Cloud- Mindanao in Association and DabaweGNU.

"Join us and learn how to minimize your investment cost in software which will improve your operating efficiency,"Arturo Esmeralda Jr. Team leader of F/LOSS 4 SMEs Team Mango Cloud told Datelinedavao. Esmeralda said all businesses including the small and medium ones need that technological edge to be more competitive in the market.

You have to register here to signify your intent to join the orientation because there are limited slots available. Aside from a short discussion on F/LOSS, there will also be focus group discussions regarding the more popular Open Source software like WebERP, OpenOffice, Ubuntu and Gimp.

Local companies like Amon Marketing, which is engaged in the distribution of Kwikset Lock sets and Nevada paints, will be there to present their experience. You can also call Esmeralda at 0918.589.4822/3007053, Nelia Victolero at 0920.448.4243 or Evamay Dela Rosa at 0920.938.2285.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Nutcracker Staged In Davao

The show was directed by and choreographed by Nicolas Pacaña and Gregory Aaron of Atlanta Festival Ballet under the overall supervision of Girlie Royeca who hails from General Santos City.

The Nutcracker is a very fitting show for the season and while it takes inherent and nurtured taste to like ballet, even the kids appreciated the ballet show. It is a Christmas story which takes you back on that one Christmas Eve in the mountains of Bavaria sometime in 1893.

Act 1 of the Nutcracker revolves around the Christmas celebration at the home of Baron and Baroness Von Stahlbaum (danced by good friend Jenny Hirakawa). The family here shows familiar Christmas traditions practiced by the Filipinos like family visits and the opening of gifts.

Herr Drosilmeyer, the children’s favorite uncle added some pizzazz to the celebration when he brought along life-sized dolls that came to life and danced for them. Ciara gets “The Nutcracker” as a gift. The Nutcracker gets broken and takes Ciara to dreamland where mice and soldier and all the toys come to life.

The Land of Snow was perhaps the most exciting part of the show since the stage was filled with snow-like flakes falling all over the dancers and the stage for several minutes.

Ballet like these should be encouraged because it promotes ballet closer even to those who can only dream of such wonderful things.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Manny Pacquiao WIns Over Oscar dela Hoya In Only 8 Rounds

Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao won versus Oscar dela Hoya in Round 8 of their Boxing Dream Match held in Las Vegas, Nevada today.

"I worked hard and trained hard but as I told other people in the ring it's a whole different story," del Hoya said when interviewed after the bout. Pacquiao really trained like a champion and he deserves everything, he added. Dela Hoya was sporting a heavily blacked left eye.

My heart wants to fight but if your body does not respond then what can I do, dela Hoya said when asked why threw the towel in the 8th round.

"I am lucky; I think I did well tonight," Pacquiao said. I've been working everyday, I knew speed would be the key to this fight, he added.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kahalaan Festival Today

The various indigenous tribes of Mindanao have launched their own festivities today named "Kahalaan Festival". Kahalaan Festival is much like the Kadayawan since it is a festival of thanksgiving but only a lot smaller in scale. While the Kadayawan festival is big budgeted, the Kahalaan Festival is low profile and still unestablished.

However, while the Kadayawan Festival includes the Muslims, the Kahalaan Festival is exclusive to the Ata-Manobos, Mandaya and the Manguwangans. The festival, which is open to the public, features native handicrafts. The native houses were also transferred to the park beside the Crocodile Park in Diversion Road as part of the Festival celebration which will last up to December 27.

"December is a time for Christmas challenges and we are celebrating it here through the Festival," Festival chair Bai Norma Rivera said.
Businessman and Crocodile Park owner Phillip Dizon, who is celebrating his birthday today, said he wants to establish a partnership with the Indigenous Peoples and want them to further enrich their culture through the Village called "Tribu Kamindanawan" which is annexed to the Park.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

KMU's Omar Bantayan Debunks Military Claims He Is With The NPA

Kilusang Mayo Uno's Omar Bantayan yesterday called up DXAB anchor man Stephen Manangan debunking claims he has already gone to the boondocks to join the New People's Army as claimed by Major Medel Aguilar of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 5th Civil Relations Group.

Omar said he is definitely just in Davao and is visible to anyone who wants to see him. He said he is still with KMU but has ceased to be their spokesperson as he was assigned to union work.

Aguilar earlier said two militant leaders namely Bantayan and Jeppie Ramada of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan have been seen in the company of NPAs in Compostela Valley. Aguilar said they received reports that it was Ramada who negotiated for the release a few months back of three policemen who were abducted by the NPA rebels in Davao Oriental.

Bantayan said he is fearful for his life as the military may be conditioning the minds of the people to justify whatever happens to him in the future.

UPMIN To Hold Beekeeping Training

If you are interested in the "Bees" business then check out the 2-day Beekeeping Training which will be held on December 9 to 10, 2008 at the University of the Philippines Mindanao campus in Mintal, Davao City.

Beenet Mindanao president Epifanio Loyola, Jr. will be the lead resource person for the training. Beenet Mindanao is a network of beekeepers in the island. The Beekeeping Training will include the basic knowledge and techniques in hive management, the earning potential of the apiculture or beekeeping industry and operational knowledge in apiculture as a business enterprise.

A registration fee will be collected from the participants to cover expenses for snacks and lunch, seminar kit and instructional materials. A complete starter colony package consisting of a nucleus colony (one queen bee and three brood frames) and a standard hive will be sold after the training for those interested.

For inquiries and reservations you can contact Michael Gatela or Joel Sagadal at (082) 2930494, or (0919) 2515825.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ARMM Still RP’s Top Seaweed Producer ; Davao Eyed As Seaweed-Producing Area

Davao City is being eyed as an ideal seaweed production area but the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is still the top seaweed producer of the Philippines accounting for 70% of the country’s seaweed production.

This was bared by Ronald Simbajon, a Marine Biologist and Seaweed Consultant who presented the unique investment opportunities of seaweed farming during the Mindanao Investment Conference held in the city from November 25 to 26.

Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are among the areas with high seaweed production but they are selling raw or dried seaweeds to processors who export it to China and other countries. China alone requires 80 thousand metric tons of dried seaweeds per year.

Seaweeds are farmed not only for its known importance as food but also for the extraction of hydrocolloids which are used as food additives, Carageenan for sauces and salad dressing and alginates for paper coatings, gels, dyes, adhesives, and in textile printing.

Seaweed farming is very profitable, he said because it is in demand in the local and in the export market. About 80% of the total seaweed production of the country is exported. However, he said, there are only about 20 thousand hectares all over the country being used for seaweeds farming as opposed to the hundreds of thousands of hectares available.

“Even the top seaweed producing area like the ARMM is not able to maximize its seaweed production because of factors like peace and order and trader control,” Simbajon said.

ARMM can benefit from the dollar-earning potential of seaweeds but the fact that it still ranked high in the poverty incidence level statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board shows that it is not maximizing its production capacity. The NSCB said ARMM appeared to be the poorest region in Mindanao with a 61.8%.poverty incidence rate in 2006.

Seaweed farming may be the answer to the country’s poverty problems considering that it will benefit over 160 thousand families dwelling in islands and coastal areas.

“Seaweed production is a potential dollar earner for the country if only the seaweed production areas are expanded outside ARMM,” Simbajon said. The other seaweed producing areas in the country which contributes about 30% of the country’s total seaweed production are Palawan and Bohol

He said the Davao area is ideal for seaweeds farming because of the large bodies of water here. Seaweed thrives in brackish or seawater with sufficient light.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Don't Trust Nograles-RRD

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said he is not willing to work together with 1st District Representative Speaker Prospero Nograles regarding the Balikatan problem of Dabawenyo homeowners.

"I don't trust him," Duterte said. "I will never ally or join him in any undertaking kay wala ko'y tiwala kay Nograles," her added.

The Balikatan problem started when the National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation sold the housing debts of the homeowners to the Balikatan Corporation who later announced it will foreclose the houses whose accounts have remained unpaid.

Duterte said the Balikatan problem could not be resolved in the local level and it is the national government that can solve the problem. "Balikatan is a universal problem (meaning all over the Philippines) and not just here in Davao," he said. The mayor recently met with the Balikatan people but he said it is difficult to come up with an agreement saying "mas mabuti pa i-class suit na lang natin ito."

He said if the Dabawenyos affected by the Balikatan problem thinks Nograles can help them solve their problems then he is willing to return the problem to him since "he said he has handled the problem before". Nograles is said to be willing to handle the Balikatan problem if Duterte is willing to work closely with him.

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