In Focus: The DWU High School Class of 1966

With apologies to Kurt Vonnegut,Jr., you go out into the world, and it’s high school all over again: class officers and all. And for all the time that you are out, there’s this longing to meet up, to relive the banter of those years with your second family–yes, family, as in home!

June 25 through June 29, 2016 marks the Golden Jubilee of the Divine Word University of Tacloban High School Class ’66. A half century since the best years of your life. And it is a de rigueur that you attend. The venue is where else but the DWU campus in Tacloban City. (DWU has since closed shop, but the buildings are still there, and the school has morphed into LICEO of Tacloban.)

The air in those days reverberated of the Beatles, Cliff Richard, the Monkees, Dave Clark Five, the Beach Boys. Where such beauties as Marie Villegas and Baday Chapman lorded it over, in the same manner that Father Joseph Jaschick ruled the Boys High with an iron first. Where your JS Prom was held in the hangar, masquerading as a gymnasium. Where your military ball was on the roof top of the Granda Building. Where your movie theater of choice was the Republic along Gran Capitan.

Those were the days. . .

Where during the baccalaureate breakfast, Romeo Antido would wolf down a chunk of ersatz butter at Rolando Villablanca’s taunting. Where you were in awe at the Liz Taylor-ish beauty of Josefina de Veyra, your Literature teacher. Where Tito Gonzales’s antics rolled the room in hysterics. Where you filed in cadence during the flag raising under the huge narra tree, which was bedecked in colored lights at Christmas. Where Estefano de la Cruz was tops in mischief; ditto Eduardo Nierras.

And along the way you reckon that you have lost Benito Pacho, Alfredo Morden and Enrique Enage, Jr., and that you wish for their peace in the afterlife.

Yes, you are raring to touch base with your second family, long lost in the travel through time, if only for the last moment.

Your Teacher is Here


You’ve got serendipity when your teacher shows up–basically because the student is ready.  This teacher has so much power that the instant he does things for you, the ailment that you have been suffering from for the past three years goes pfft, just like that.

And when he opens his mouth, the golden nuggets that spew forth dance in a kaleidoscope of colors in front of you and you cherish every word of it.

He came forth at the right time, just when you are about to give up.  Lo, and behold, he also is an old soul, just like you, albeit a more developed one.  He says that old souls have reincarnated gazillion times since the dawn of time and that they are suckers for impossible tasks and problems, the better to perfect themselves.  Thus, in his present incarnation, his physical body yearns for respite, but his soul has this urge to live in a war-like environment.  The teacher is saying that the old soul’s taskmasters are akin to the army sergeant who gives you push-ups at the slightest urge, but that all the sergeant wants is for you to evolve into a man of steel.

Teacher Ronaldo then says that in order for an old soul to materially progress, he must have  self-induced amnesia about the past and concentrate on the NOW, for it is the foundation for a better tomorrow.  The rewards of tomorrow have their seeds in the now.  It might be difficult to forget about past transgressions, but in this instance forgetfulness is a must for one to progress going forward.

As the teacher is a master of the Tarot, he offers you a fresh deck of cards, saying that tarot cards have memories and using a deck used for other persons will not give an accurate reading it being contaminated by the previous persons for whom it was used.  He shuffles the brand new cards for a good fifteen minutes with the justification that he has to give the cards his life force to better connect, nay converse with it.  He then lays out three cards from right to left, the first card representing your past, the second the present and the third the future.

He then gives out the secret that ALL billionaires and Hollywood superstars rely on teachers like him that they consult on a daily or weekly basis and that these powerful men and women will not act on a situation until they get the wisdom from the psychic realm. The reason these people hide this secret is so that they project that their success comes from grit and not from spirit.  So much for dishonesty in this world.

Then, wow, you realize that you’ve got the luck to even be considered by this teacher.  He is saying that there are no coincidences; that you have had this connection from previous incarnations.

Composting is Basic

Food is a basic human need, and it starts with the basics of composting. With the world-wide trend of weaning away from chemical inputs, composting carbon-based materials is a sine qua non to a successful organic farm. We in Guinarona have the brain trust, manpower and resources to implement such program.

Below are the basics of composting manure. be it from horses, carabaos, pigs, chickens, etc.

Multiple bin system for composting manure.

Multiple bin system for composting manure.

Why Compost?

Many horse owners and small livestock operations do not have access to sufficient land to make good use of manure by spreading. Composting provides another option for managing manure on the farm.
Microorganisms in the compost pile, including bacteria and fungi, break down the organic components of manure and bedding into smaller particles while releasing carbon dioxide, water and heat. The end product of composting is a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling product similar to potting soil. Although manure can decompose on its own, composting speeds up this natural process. If done properly, composting decreases the volume of waste, kills parasitic eggs and larvae, destroys weed seeds, and transforms a potential liability into a marketable resource.

Recipe for Successful Composting

A manure pile does not constitute composting. Microorganisms responsible for composting need food, water, air and the proper temperature:
Moisture: is necessary to permit biological activities and support chemical processes. Moisture content should be about 50-60%. When squeezing a handful of composted material, it should feel like a damp sponge; it will wet your hand with no free water drops. Moisture is continuously lost by evaporation due to high temperatures. Therefore, regularly wet the materials without soaking. To increase the moisture content of compost from 25% to 55%, add about 20-30 gallons of water per 100 cu ft of compost. Wet each load as you fill the compost bin.
Air: Oxygen is needed for respiration of the microbes while breaking down the materials. Too much sawdust may compact so tightly that it will make the compost pile anaerobic. Thus, manure should be mixed with bulking materials, such as straw, lawn clippings (free of pesticides), leaves or hay. Inserting a perforated PVC pipe into the pile may also provide oxygen to microorganisms in the pile center.
Appropriate C:N ratio: Microbes use carbon (C), which is the main element found in bedding material, as their source of energy. They also need nitrogen (N) for forming proteins. The challenge is to ensure the proportions of C and N in balance for successful composting. In general, less bedding in the compost results in a faster process and a higher quality final product. If the bedding material is sawdust, it takes a longer time to compost. Lignin, an important component of wood, resists decomposition by many microbes. Only a few fungi are able to decompose lignin to CO2 and water. Also the end product’s quality is low (high C:N ratio). Adding higher N content materials such as grass clippings or N fertilizer to the pile (e.g. 1 lb of urea per cubic yard of collected waste) speeds up the process and improves its quality.
Temperature: During decomposition heat is given off creating an ideal environment for the microorganisms. They operate best in temperatures between 130–150ºF. At 140ºF or higher, pathogens, weed seeds and fly larvae in the composting materials are destroyed. However, at temperatures above 160ºF the microorganisms will also die. Therefore, it is essential to regulate the oxygen and temperature levels by regularly turning or inverting the compost pile (about once a week). Monitor the temperature using a long stemmed thermometer. Typically, fresh materials will heat up within 24 hours and within 2- 3 days internal temperature may reach 155ºF. At a point perhaps 2 ft. down from the top of your pile or bin, carefully insert the thermometer halfway into the side of the composting mass. Take temperatures at several locations to obtain an average. At the start, measure temperature at least daily for the first week. When the temperatures reach between 130-160, the time between measurements may be decreased to twice-weekly intervals. Declining temperatures early in the composting, indicate declining oxygen levels, but it may also be due to less than optimal moisture or inadequate available N for the microbes. After turning, the temperature may drop to air temperature, but should rebound within 48 hours. The thermophilic cycles may last 2-6 weeks depending on the starting C:N ratio.

Choosing a Composting System:

You can tailor your composting system to meet your needs depending on how many animals you have, the space and equipment available, and how intensively you plan to manage the compost pile.
Compost Piles: Making compost does not necessarily require a special structure to store the materials. A simple, free standing pile can be turned into an effective composting system and works well for example, for a one or two horse operation. The pile grows as composting materials are continually added to the top or sides of the mass. When the pile gets too big, additional piles can easily be created. Covering the pile with a tarp to prevent rainfall soaking in, and frequent turning of the pile speeds up the process. Free-standing piles will require more space and careful consideration of location to prevent runoff and leaching of nutrients.
Multiple bin composting system: In this system decomposition takes place faster and less area is used. A three bin system is recommended for small operations. The first bin is allocated to fresh collected waste until it is full. The material is then shifted into bin two for composting. Meanwhile, bin one can be refilled. When bin one is full again, materials in bin two are shifted to bin three, and materials in bin one are shifted into bin two. Shifting material from one bin to the next serves as part of the turning process. Ideally, by the time bin one is full again, materials in bin three will be completely composted. A simple low cost system for those handy with tools is to use 7 shipping pallets stood on edge to make a 3 bin system as shown above.
Note: When done correctly, composting decreases the volume of waste, kills parasitic eggs & larvae, & destroys weed seeds.

Did Filipinos help build the Chinese islands?


The Society of Honor: the Philippines

sand mining coastalcare dot orgLet us imagine the worst of the worst of those amongst us, those Filipinos who are in business, not for the betterment of mankind, or even Filipino-kind, but for themselves.

Who are a few of these despicables?

  • Soldiers who sell arms to rebels.
  • Filipinos who traffic in Filipino women and children.
  • Mayors who sell their civic oath to a Binay for financial consideration.
  • Smugglers who sell sand to China to build military islands in Philippine territory.

“Whoa!” you say. “Wait! Wait! Stop just a minute! What sand? When? Where?”

Me, too. That’s what I said when I read reader Vicara’s stunning revelation, which I have condensed for brevity:

  • Reports have been floated – and have yet to be followed in depth by the news media – that sand and other raw materials quarried in Ilocos have been used for the Spratly buildup by China. This could not have happened without a local business agreement, which…

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The why’s of sustainability series III: Why bat guano from Samar?

Anibongpalm's Blog

If you’ve gone inside a subterranean cave full of bats, you would notice the endless rain of piss and droppings, pelting your head and the countless bats whirling around you, sometimes smack into your face.  There are also the cacophony of bat shrieks and shrilly sounds filling the caverns.  And you wade through thick layers of moist guano–yes, guano, as in the best natural fertilizer on planet Earth.

The fresh droppings are nitrogen-rich–the right fertilizer for your vegetables or plants whose leaves are prized.   As the guano deposit goes deeper, the more it becomes phosphoric–as in phosphorus, which makes your trees yield the sweetest fruits and your shrubs the proudest flowers.

Here in the states, you would find all sorts of man-made soil conditioners packaged individually for instant use in your garden or flower pot as the case maybe.  But I haven’t seen one declaring guano, either of the…

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