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Archive for September, 2006

The vagaries of Philippine agriculture

September 30th, 2006 No comments
BURIED in the middle of that same Inquirer story are these key paragraphs:

Planning officer Percival de Villa of the agriculture department said around 70 percent of Bicol farmers, mostly in the second and third districts of Albay, had not yet harvested their rice when Milenyo struck....

“They were already at the reproductive and ripening stage when the typhoon hit the region. They were just three to four weeks away from harvest time,� De Villa said.
Bicol is still largely agricultural. This site for instance shows that eight national irrigation systems in the region benefit 24,304 farmers; the number excludes 473 communal and 2,396 privately owned systems. With 7 of every 10 rice farmers at the losing end, multiply that by 5 or 6 (the average family size), and you can already imagine the impact that typhoon will have on the lives of its people at least until December.

I should know because my parents have been farming all their lives, and they are looking to harvest their ricecrop this week. When I visited them in Pili yesterday, my mother said:
"Arapla su mga paroy 'noy." ("The palay were flattened, son.") They are looking at a loss of 20% minimum because of Milenyo.

The picture above gives you an idea of what my mother is talking about: it is a flattened farmland on my way home to Pacol. Note that the grains are already turning from green to gold. And Naga did not suffer as much.
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The vagaries of Philippine agriculture

September 30th, 2006 No comments
STUCK in the middle of that same Inquirer story are these key paragraphs:
Planning officer Percival de Villa of the agriculture department said around 70 percent of Bicol farmers, mostly in the second and third districts of Albay, had not yet harvested their rice when Milenyo struck.... “They were already at the reproductive and ripening stage when the typhoon hit the region. They were just three to four weeks away from harvest time,� De Villa said.
Bicol is still largely agricultural. This site for instance shows that eight national irrigation systems in the region benefit 24,304 farmers; the number excludes 473 communal and 2,396 privately owned systems. With 7 of every 10 rice farmers at the losing end, multiply that by 5 or 6 (the average family size), and you can already imagine the impact that typhoon will have on the lives of its people at least until December. I should know because my parents have been farming all their lives, and they are looking to harvest their ricecrop this week. When I visited them in Pili yesterday, my mother said: "Arapla su mga paroy 'noy." ("The palay were flattened, son.") They are looking at a loss of 20% minimum because of Milenyo. The picture above gives you an idea of what my mother is talking about: it is a flattened farmland on my way home to Pacol. Notice that the grains are already turning from green to gold. And Naga did not suffer as much.
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Milenyo brings grief to Southern Bikol

September 30th, 2006 No comments
TODAY'S issue of the Inquirer banners the story about the terrible damage Milenyo wrought to our region, especially Sorsogon province.

Sorsogon suffered P2.9 billion in estimated damages, more than half of the P4 billion Milenyo caused in the entire region. The typhoon is said to be the strongest to hit the province in 30 years. My heart bleeds especially for Sorsogon City, led by its indefatigable Mayor Sally Ante Lee, which is a fellow member of the PGS Dream Cities circle.

But knowing Mayor Lee, her civil society partners, as well as the local community, they will join hands in rising to the occasion and overcome this temporary setback. And the broad network of Sorsogueños here and abroad--2006 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Eugenia Duran Apostol and billionaire Loida Nicolas Lewis easily come to mind--will surely waste no time to raise the needed resources to bring the province back on its feet.

Everybody is most welcome to join the effort, which should be top in the agenda of the city government when it reconvenes tomorrow.

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Milenyo brings grief to Southern Bikol

September 30th, 2006 No comments
TODAY'S issue of the Inquirer banners the story about the terrible damage Milenyo wrought to our region, especially Sorsogon province.

Sorsogon suffered P2.9 billion in estimated damages, more than half of the P4 billion Milenyo caused in the entire region. The typhoon is said to be the strongest to hit the province in 30 years. My heart bleeds especially for Sorsogon City, led by its indefatigable Mayor Sally Ante Lee, which is a fellow member of the PGS Dream Cities circle.

But knowing Mayor Lee, her civil society partners, as well as the local community, they will join hands in rising to the occasion and overcome this temporary setback. And the broad network of Sorsogueños here and abroad--2006 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Eugenia Duran Apostol and billionaire Loida Nicolas Lewis easily come to mind--will surely waste no time to raise the needed resources to bring the province back on its feet.

Everybody is most welcome to join the effort, which should be top in the agenda of the city government when it reconvenes tomorrow.

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Repertoire

September 29th, 2006 No comments
If there is a place they called home, where is mine?
When the angels sang the song, where am I?
After the flower blooms why does is wither?
When the sun rises, does it change the weather?

It keeps going,
Keeps on rollin’
The line is seeking of its nearest ending.
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Repertoire

September 29th, 2006 No comments
If there is a place they called home, where is mine? When the angels sang the song, where am I? After the flower blooms why does is wither? When the sun rises, does it change the weather? It keeps going, Keeps on rollin’ The line is seeking of its nearest ending.
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Typhoon Milenyo: The aftermath, Part II

September 29th, 2006 No comments
I PHONED our EDP unit at around 12pm, and Ansel Maño answered on the other line. No, they don't have a standby generator, but he heard from somebody that there might already be internet access at the posh Avenue Square, which prides itself as a total Wi-Fi zone.

Ansel's lead is heaven sent, so here I am at the Coffee Beanery, thoroughly enjoying free wireless internet access on the pretext of relishing a cup of iced coffee and some pastries. My hats off to Bayantel for an exquisite DSL experience in the aftermath of Typhoon Milenyo: a luxury in these difficult times.

Here are pictures I took yesterday morning after confirming that everything's all right at the School Board office:

Mayor Robredo checking PT&T's fallen microwave tower. I later saw it when I did the previous post at the PT&T office.

A fallen signboard staring down Casureco II's boom truck.

The payloader of the City Engineer's Office hoisting a chainsaw-armed frontliner, taking on a fallen acacia at the Civic Center...

...while a youngster does his share in picking up trash that Milenyo left behind.

Bitter rivals share the same fate in the face of Milenyo's howling winds.
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Typhoon Milenyo: The aftermath, Part II

September 29th, 2006 No comments
I PHONED our EDP unit at around 12pm, and Ansel Maño answered on the other line. No, they don't have a standby generator, but he heard from somebody that there might already be internet access at the posh Avenue Square, which prides itself as a total Wi-Fi zone.

Ansel's lead is heaven sent, so here I am at the Coffee Beanery, thoroughly enjoying free wireless internet access on the pretext of relishing a cup of iced coffee and some pastries. My hats off to Bayantel for an exquisite DSL experience in the aftermath of Typhoon Milenyo: a luxury in these difficult times.

Here are pictures I took yesterday morning after confirming that everything's all right at the School Board office:

Mayor Robredo checking PT&T's fallen microwave tower. I later saw it when I did the previous post at the PT&T office.













A fallen signboard staring down Casureco II's boom truck.

















The payloader of the City Engineer's Office hoisting a chainsaw-armed frontliner, taking on a fallen acacia at the Civic Center...














...while a youngster does his share in picking up trash that Milenyo left behind.


















Bitter rivals share the same fate in the face of Milenyo's howling winds.
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Typhoon Milenyo: The aftermath

September 29th, 2006 No comments
I WENT around the city center again looking for an 'live' internet cafe as I wasn't able to find one yesterday; fortunately, there's already one at PT&T. As far as I know, Bayantel and Digitel are still down.

Power is yet to be restored, and it is only expected to be back online tomorrow at the earliest, Mayor Jesse Robredo announced over the radio this morning. Government services, particularly garbage collection, is expected to normalize by Monday. But the city has hummed back to life. Most businesses have opened since yesterday. On the other hand, many schools, particularly at the elementary level, have decided to postpone classes to Monday instead and focus on putting things back into shape. Exceptions include Ateneo de Naga University and the Camarines National High School which resumed operations a full day after Typhoon Milenyo struck.

The city government and volunteer groups are focusing their attention today on collecting debris, mostly fallen tree branches, that residents have collected and piled up along city streets. Yesterday's efforts centered on road clearing, as trees felled by Milenyo littered the city's main and secondary roads. It was another occasion where the local community, as Filipinos are wont to do in the aftermath of calamities, came together as one.

When the winds eased up at 6 am yesterday, I tried to motor down to the
centro looking for gas. Three tree trunks blocked the wooded section of the Naga-Carolina road along Km 8. Two hours later, it was already passable, thanks to the efforts of a handful of local residents, including one who volunteered his chainsaw that speeded the cutting and chopping down of the biggest one. Oca Orozco, the city environment officer, passed us by on board his motorcycle. He had went around, he said, and told me that Sitio Caromatig had many more fallen trees blocking traffic.

Five hundred meters down the road, another old man was busily hacking at a smaller tree with his trusty bolo, knowing that life will be much easier for everyone. They did not wait for government to do the task for them.

Naga appears to have been spared of the typhoon's projected peak winds of 260 kph. According to Mike Padua's own weather station in Naga, the strongest wind gust that hit us only reached a maximum of 106 kph. Its eyewall went past by at around 11 pm, about 30 kilometers south-southwest of the city.

But the rest of the province, especially nearby Iriga City, were badly hit, according to DWNX which has been doing emergency broadcast on its own power over the last two days. As of this morning, 1 of the reported 2 casualties in Camarines Sur was from the place, the other coming from Libmanan. Today's Inquirer on the other hand said Milenyo left 8 people dead in neighboring Albay province, including 1 in Legazpi City.
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Typhoon Milenyo: The aftermath

September 29th, 2006 No comments
I WENT around the city center again looking for an 'live' internet cafe as I wasn't able to find one yesterday; fortunately, there's already one at PT&T. As far as I know, Bayantel and Digitel are still down.

Power is yet to be restored, and it is only expected to be back online tomorrow at the earliest, Mayor Jesse Robredo announced over the radio this morning. Government services, particularly garbage collection, is expected to normalize by Monday. But the city has hummed back to life. Most businesses have opened since yesterday. On the other hand, many schools, particularly at the elementary level, have decided to postpone classes to Monday instead and focus on putting things back into shape. Exceptions include Ateneo de Naga University and the Camarines National High School which resumed operations a full day after Typhoon Milenyo struck.

The city government and volunteer groups are focusing their attention today on collecting debris, mostly fallen tree branches, that residents have collected and piled up along city streets. Yesterday's efforts centered on road clearing, as trees felled by Milenyo littered the city's main and secondary roads. It was another occasion where the local community, as Filipinos are wont to do in the aftermath of calamities, came together as one.

When the winds eased up at 6 am yesterday, I tried to motor down to the
centro looking for gas. Three tree trunks blocked the wooded section of the Naga-Carolina road along Km 8. Two hours later, it was already passable, thanks to the efforts of a handful of local residents, including one who volunteered his chainsaw that speeded the cutting and chopping down of the biggest one. Oca Orozco, the city environment officer, passed us by on board his motorcycle. He had went around, he said, and told me that Sitio Caromatig had many more fallen trees blocking traffic.

Five hundred meters down the road, another old man was busily hacking at a smaller tree with his trusty bolo, knowing that life will be much easier for everyone. They did not wait for government to do the task for them.

Naga appears to have been spared of the typhoon's projected peak winds of 260 kph. According to Mike Padua's own weather station in Naga, the strongest wind gust that hit us only reached a maximum of 106 kph. Its eyewall went past by at around 11 pm, about 30 kilometers south-southwest of the city.

But the rest of the province, especially nearby Iriga City, were badly hit, according to DWNX which has been doing emergency broadcast on its own power over the last two days. As of this morning, 1 of the reported 2 casualties in Camarines Sur was from the place, the other coming from Libmanan. Today's Inquirer on the other hand said Milenyo left 8 people dead in neighboring Albay province, including 1 in Legazpi City.
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Bracing for Typhoon Milenyo

September 27th, 2006 No comments
I'M DOING this quick post while power was temporarily restored. It's been on and off since the weather started to worsen as Typhoon Milenyo (international name: Xangsane), now with wind gusts of up to 260 kilometer per hours, is poised to strike the city. When we reported for work early this morning, its maximum wind while passing through Northern Samar was only around 130 kph.

According to Mike Padua's popular typhoon tracking website, it is currently battering Albay; its eyewall is expected to be in our neighborhood from 10pm tonight until 8am tomorrow.

This popup storm update from Padua's site says the eyewall
is the ring of rain clouds surrounding the "eye" of a typhoon. It is here where the strongest winds and heaviest rain of a typhoon can be found.
The projected storm track above (nicked from the same website) was issued at 5pm today, and shows Milenyo passing through the Camarines Sur mainland tonight on its way to Metro Manila.
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Bracing for Typhoon Milenyo

September 27th, 2006 No comments
I'M DOING this quick post while power was temporarily restored. It's been on and off since the weather started to worsen as Typhoon Milenyo (international name: Xangsane), now with wind gusts of up to 260 kilometer per hours, is poised to strike the city. When we reported for work early this morning, its maximum wind while passing through Northern Samar was only around 130 kph.

According to Mike Padua's popular typhoon tracking website, it is currently battering Albay; its eyewall is expected to be in our neighborhood from 10pm tonight until 8am tomorrow.

This popup storm update from Padua's site says the eyewall
is the ring of rain clouds surrounding the "eye" of a typhoon. It is here where the strongest winds and heaviest rain of a typhoon can be found.
The projected storm track above (nicked from the same website) was issued at 5pm today, and shows Milenyo passing through the Camarines Sur mainland tonight on its way to Metro Manila.
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TULA

September 27th, 2006 No comments
AN PRESYO KAN PAGKALALAKI



Nagdakul an pagtalubo

kan saiyang bigote.



Garo ini mga layas na doot

na nagkukua kan saiyang hinangos

asin pigbubuhay kan sadiring ganot.



Mantang tinatakla an labaha

na ginamit sa paghali kan labaw na kublit.





ANG HALAGA NG PAGKALALAKI



Dumami ang pagtubo

ng kanyang bigote.



Para itong mga ligaw na damo

na kumukuha ng kanyang hininga

at dinidilig ng sariling pawis.



Habang kinakalawang ang labaha

na ginamit sa pagtanggal ng sobrang laman.





Sa Modernisasyon



Ngonyan na an mga tinampo

igwa ng mga darakulang poste,

bako na sana man na layog-layog

an nadulok sa bagong liwanag,

yaon naman pati mga kulalapnit.





Sa Modernisasyon



Ngayon na ang mga kalsada

ay mayroon ng malalaking poste,

hindi na lamang mga gamu-gamo

ang lumalapit sa bagong liwanag

Narito na rin ang mga paniki.
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SIISAY AN MASABAT SATO SA MASBATE?

September 27th, 2006 No comments
Midbid ko an lugar sa duwang bagay sana. Enot si mga seminarista na nakairibahan ko kaidto asin mga nagin amigo ko naman sagkod ngonyan asin an rodeo na pirang beses ko naman nadalan sa lokal na programa asin sa Living Asia. Sa mga seminarista, tanda ko sinda bilang mga marhay pumorma, dakul parati an bisita, mga may-kaya an kadaklan asin an saidang tataramon na agid sa Bisaya asin sa samuya sa Rinconada. Sa rodeo man, mas nagigiromdoman ko an mga cowboys kan Mehiko asin an Amerika na nagbabaradilan asin mga nakalunad sa matatandos na kabayo arog kan Marlboro Country.



Kaining nakaaging semana, kan huring Biyernes, nagduman ako kaibahan an historyador na sinda Danny Gerona kan Ateneo de Naga University, Fr. Manny Zagada kan Minor Seminary, Fabie Arejola kan Museo Conciliar de Nueva Caceres asin si Clod Ceron kan UNC museum. Gabos kami, enot pa sanang nakaabot sa lugar na idto pagkatapos nin haros limang oras na biyahe hale sa Naga. Puminondo kami sa Pilar, Sorsogon nganing igarahe asin iwalat si darang awto sa parokya dangan luminunad kami sa fast craft na kun dati kaidto aaboton nin apat na oras, ngonyan, duwang oras na sana. Malinig an lunadan asin an pier, dawa may darang kamundoan parati an mga terminal para sa sakuya. Kadakul mga aking nagpapabakal nin mga dulsing pili asin iba pang kakanon na sinayumahan ko nin huli ta gatok pa man an sakuyang tulak sa kabasugan asin dakul na akong bitbit. Siring sa mga nahiling kong mga paratinda, may hararom na pagtios sa mata kan mga aking idto na dapat ngani mayo duman kundi yaon sa eskwelahan.

Eksakto alas kuwatro nin hapon nagtunog an sadit na barko, senyal na pwede nang palaogon an mga pasahero. Makaskas si dalagan asin tulos kaming nakaabot sa Masbate bago pa magtanog an bagtingan para sa orasyon. Sa pagpaduman, sinabat kami nin magkapirang mga isla nin puting gapo na may mga saradit na kuweba. Nin huli ta garo akwaryum si samuyang lunadan, dai mi na nahiling si mga dolphins asin mga pating na kun paminsan-minsan daa kaidto mahihiling mo sa biyahe.

Tolong isla an nasabing probinsya, an Ticao, an Burias asin an Masbate. Sa huring pag-adal minaluwas na an probinsya saro sa pinakatios na lugar sa Bikol. Bagay na nahiling kong totoo nin huli sa halakbang na distansya kan mga tios asin mayaman sa lugar. May mga hacienda asin rancho alagad kadakul man na migrante na bako man mga orihinal na taga-duman alagad sa Masbate na piniling mag-erok asin makisugal sa buhay. Bagay na minsan kaidto totoo naman nin huli ta sa lokasyon kan Masbate na iyo man an pinapahingaloan kan galleon na sinabi sa lektura ni Sir Danny Gerona katakod kan ika-38 anibersaryo kan pagmukna kan diyosesis kan Masbate. An mga isla man kan Masbate minaatubang sa iba pang parte kan Pilipinas kun kaya minsan sa mga panahon na ini, dai manigaran na an penomenon kan migrasyon nakaulakit naman sa kultura asin tataramon kan mga Masbatenyo. May mga lugar na an tataramon Cebuano naman asin igwa man mga Ilonggo dangan an mga yaon sa San Pascual na nakaatubang sa Pasacao iyo sana an nagtataram kan Bikol-Naga. Kun iisipon garo sadit na Pilipinas an Masbate kun saen mahihiling niyato an pagsarabatan kan kultura. Mahihiling man niyato kun pano pinapatios lalo an lugar kan maating sistema nin pulitika asin an ralaban kan mga militar asin mga NPA. Alagad kun susugon an lektura ni Gerona mahihiling an orog kagayon na kultura asin yaman kan nasabing probinsya na pwede niyatong sabihon napabayaan sa paglihis kan mga panahon. An kadaklan sa saiyang mga aki naghale asin dai man talaga nag-erok sa Masbate asin nagmukna nin mga negosyo asin kabuhayan na pwede kutang nakapagtao nin mga oportunidad sa trabaho asin orog na pagtalubo kan klase nin buhay.

Sa ginibong lektura ni Gerona tinawan niya nin pasugmadan an mga tawo nganing magkaigwa sinda nin magayon o kun dai man hararom na pagkaaram kan saindang istorya bilang sarong banwaan na nag-ako kan Kristiyanong pagtubod. Isinalaysay ni Sir Danny an kahalagahan kan Masbate sa panahon kan mga Kastila asin an yaman kan nasabing lugar na luhay-luhay na inuubos kan mga kapitalista na mayo man pagmakulog sa Masbate. Alagad sa ginibong lektura ni Sir Danny na pinagmawot asin pinagmarhay na mangyari kan diyosesis sa pangengenotan ni Obispo Joel Z. Baylon asin kan mga maestro asin maestra kan mga taga-Liceo de Masbate nagkaigwang bagong giya asin kusog an mga tawo sa pagsalingoy sa nakaagi asin pag-atubang sa bagong kaagahan para sa lugar.

Sa halipot na lektura ni Gerona tinawan niya nin panamit pa sana an Masbate na apwera sa pagiging midbid sa rodeo, ini man an “gateway of the galleons� kan panahon kan mga Kastila. An halaga kan galleon susog ki Gerona nangangahulugan nin buhay na ekonomiya sa laog kan sarong taon na kun ini minaabot sa Manila, ini sinasabat nin Te Deum, pagbagting kan mga kampana asin sarong bulan na baraylihan asin irinuman sa plaza pagkatapos kan anom na bulan na paglakbay sa dagat. An Masbate, sigun ki Gerona an naging pailihan kan galleons na maabot haling Acapulco o maluwas hali sa Manila. Ini an stop-over kun saen nagkukua nin mga dugang na rikositos asin tubig na sinasabi sa mga testimonya na managom asin daing parong. Maluwas nin sarong libro si Gerona manungod sa galleon. Abangan ta ini.

Sa isyu na ano ta an Masbate parte kan Bikol, poon pa sa kapinonan, sinimbag ini ni Gerona sa paagi kan nasabing pagbarangaan kan mga misyonero kan mga designadong lugar na saindang pagmimisyonan. An barangaan na ini kan simbahan kaidto iyo na an naging basehan kun tano minsan sa panahon na ini parte an Masbate kan Bikol. Bagay na marhay para sa mga gabos nin huli ta kaipuhan niyato na orog na masabotan an Masbate. Sa bagay na ini, kaipuhan niyatong orog na pakusugon an pagkamidbid sa sadiri niyatong kahimanwa. Makamundo na bakong gabos nakakaduman nin huli gayod sa kamahalan kan pamasahe asin rayo alagad minsan si may kaya dai man nagmamawot na magduman nin huli sa mga enot na niyatong nadangog na maraot. Alagad, papatunayan na sala kita, bakong harayo an Masbate sa satuya, yaon digdi an mga pambihirang yaman kan Bikol na kun mas lalo niyatong pakikinabangan asin matatabangan man an mga tugang niyato duman na mahale sa maating sistema nin pulitika na bako man na harayo sa eksperinsya niyato digdi sa peninsulang Bikol, bakong harayong isipon na pwede kitang makatipon nin kusog na orog na mapauswag kan lamabang saro satuya.

Sinabat kami sa Masbate nin mga bagong bagay asin paghiling na bako kitang harayo sa lambang saro. An makamundong pagpabaya kan lugar, mahiwas na eksperinsya kan Bikol. An kapagtiosan luyap, alagad may mga tawo asin institusyon na arog kan diyosesis asin kan Liceo na mabalukat kita sa kaoripnan kan hawak asin kalag. Sinabi kan hoben na obispo kan Masbate na an kultura kan banwaan iyo an kalag kan banwaan, bagay na labi ko ikinaogma nin huli ta nangangahulugan ini nin mas mahiwas na pagsabot sa pagtubod. Yaon an sarong pastor na dai lamang ikukulong an saiyang karnero sa tukal, kundi mimidbidon an saiyang mga karnero asin an kultura ninda. Yaon an pastor na minsan istranghero, hihingowoan niyang makisumaro sa paglakbay kan saiyang mga nasasakupan bilang katuwang sa pagtalubo asin pag-uswag. May mga nanumpungan man na katuwang an pastor nin huli ta nagtubod siya sa kakayahan kan mga karnero. Sinabi kan obispo sa saiyang mensahe na an mga laiko na mismo kan Masbate an naghingowa asin naghimo na mapangyari an selebrasyon kan saindang anibersaryo, sarong indikasyon na an simbahan orog na buhay, orog na nagtatalubo, orog na nagbabaklay sa dalan nin pagtubod. Nakukua kitang kasurog sa Masbate, mga tawong andam asin bukas na pangatamon asin orog na mamidbiran an kultura na pinakalag kan satuyang banwaan. May kasurog kita sa Masbate, siya an masabat satuya asin an saiyang banwaan.
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The 1978 Naga town plan

September 27th, 2006 No comments
AFTER patiently explaining to Job Oliva, statistician of the city planning office, what I wanted, we finally found yesterday the information I was looking for: the 1978 town plan of the city in the form of two maps.

The maps were already in a state of decay, which does not speak well of how we handle information of high institutional, not to mention historical value. It's a picture of what the city wanted itself to be three decades ago, for chrissake!

Fortunately, technology (our HP scanner, plus Adobe Photoshop CS, Microsoft Paint and Microsoft Office Picture Manager) came to the rescue. Restoration is still a work in progress, and I'll be asking Mike, our ever dependable graphics artist, to spare some time in doing a better digital restoration effort.

But for the meantime here they are, available for comparison with the 2000 land use plan, as well as how Naga has developed spatially in the last 28 years, via Google Earth.
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