Monday, April 30, 2012

Vitamin D and Sunlight

Vitamin D provides a wide range of health benefits, especially in treating bone diseases such as osteoporosis.  However, according to this article, it's estimated that 30-50% of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency. 

The human body produces vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, when exposed to sunlight. However, in the United States, during winter, it is impossible to get enough exposure anywhere north of San Francisco or Philadelphia. People in southern states who slather on sun block or who stay indoors most of the time may not be getting enough either. The same goes for people who are housebound due to illness or whose work keeps them inside all day.

Vitamin D, in the form of calciferol (vitamin D3) is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found in food, but also can be made in your body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Vitamin D exists in several forms, each with a different function. Some forms are relatively inactive in the body, and have limited ability to function as a vitamin.

The liver and kidneys help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form known as calcitriol; so, in actual fact, vitamin D technically is sunlight derived pro-hormone calcitriol. Vitamin D in its active pro-hormone form of calcitriol is important in determining how our cells express themselves and is vital in the production of various hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in the brain). For the purpose of more clarity and understanding we will refer to calcitriol as vitamin D.

The major biological function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium, and thus helps to form and maintain strong bones and teeth. It regulates bone mineralization in unison with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones. In short, without vitamin D, bones start to become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children, osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults.

The bottom line is that if you take good-quality calcium supplements (for better health avoid pasteurized milk) and get adequate natural sunlight exposure or supplement with a good source of vitamin D (such as high quality cod liver oil), you could easily improve on the 60 percent reductions recorded in this study... but why is it better to get vitamin D from the sun?

The ultraviolet rays of the sun (UV) are the only ones that actually trigger the synthesis of vitamin D in our body. So if you rely on solariums or sun tan beds to get your natural sunlight, check if they radiate some ultraviolet rays.

Deficiency or insufficiency of natural sunlight and vitamin D has been associated with the following conditions:  adrenal insufficiency, Alzheimer's, allergies, auto-immune disorders including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, cancers of the colon, breast, skin and prostate, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), diabetes, Type 1 and 2, gluten intolerance, lectin intolerance, heart disease, hypertension, Syndrome X, infertility, sexual dysfunction, learning and behavior disorders, misaligned teeth and cavities, obesity, osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia (adult rickets), Parkinson's, psoriasis,  and PMS.

The question we might ask is why do we not hear as much about the importance of vitamin D as we hear about calcium? The reasons for this, as most would already know, there are no profits in promoting natural sunlight, not for the cancer council or for the pharmaceuticals industry.

In conclusion of the safest way of ensuring adequate vitamin D, getting at least some early morning direct sunlight is very beneficial for all of us. The best sun exposure would be 30 minutes approximately of early morning sun before 9:00 am.

Exposing the back to the early morning sun

Related links:

Sunday Roundup

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lourdes Church at Tagbilaran City

The Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tagbilaran City was built on a promontory overlooking the city’s scenic bay.

The church’s structure was originally a clubhouse of the Knights of Columbus Council 3290. Erected in 1955, this was the venue of the K of C’s social and religious functions, foremost of which were the Holy Masses held regularly for the members and the families of this fast-growing organization. With Boholanos being well-known for their religiosity, these masses were a great boon to nearby communities.

Eventually, the church became a chaplaincy, whose primary goal was to provide for the spiritual needs of the increasing number of the Filipino-Chinese populace. Rev. Fr. Thomas Chao, a refugee from mainland China, was the first resident chaplain.  In 1995, it finally became a full-pledged parish.

From a clubhouse, the structure of the church building has metamorphosed into a work of art -- reminiscent of old Gothic designs -- with its roof sharply pointing heaven-ward and with three gables in each side. This well-ventilated church can properly seat 500 people at a time.

The altar differs sharply from the altars of ancient churches that abound in Bohol. The main altar is a landscape painting on the wall, of sea, clouds and sky as backdrop to a sculpted heaven-ward rising Christ in its midst. Beneath the bronze figure of the Risen Christ is the sepulcher from which He emanated, with its half-opened tomb and stone cover.

Midway on the right side wall is a beautifully-made rock grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, with St. Bernadette kneeling beneath, among the rocks where a real fountain flows. Across the aisle, in the middle of the left side wall, stands a life-sized Crucified Christ. A portrait of Jesus of the Divine Mercy is placed nearby.

The lovely stained glass windows reflect Biblical scenes. Above the right wall is that of the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Magi, and the Presentation of the Child at the Temple. On the left wall are clearly shown Mary and Joseph Finding the Lost Child at the Temple amidst synagogue elders questioning Him, Jesus Changing the Six Jars of Water into Wine, and the Crucifixion Scene, with St. John and the Blessed Mother looking up at the Crucified Christ.

Gov. C. Gallares St., Tagbilaran City, 6300 Bohol
Telephone: (038) 411-2413, (038) 235-3600
Feast Day:  February 11th

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Water: Conservation and disinfection

Potable water may soon become the most valuable commodity in the world.  At present, the clean water flowing from your faucet -- which is about 2 gallons per minute -- could be deemed liquid gold by many people in developing countries.  

Question is, are we willing to change our habits to start conserving water now before we reach the tipping point?

Nonetheless, the following are methods for disinfecting water as recommended by Dr. Diana Sarmiento.  They may seem extreme, but the information may come in handy in the event of natural disasters (of which the Philippines has more than its fair share).

Here are some easy ways to disinfect water for drinking:

1. Pass water through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and boil water for 3 minutes.

2. Fill a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle with 1 to 2 liters of water and expose to the sun for at least 6 hours on a sunny day or 48 hours on a cloudy day.

3. Add 30 ml. of lime juice (dayap) to 2 liters of water and let stand for 30 minutes.

4. Add 2 drops of bleach to 1 liter of water and let stand for 30 minutes.

5. Add 5 drops of 2 percent iodine (found in your medicine cabinet) to 1 gallon water.

The lack of potable drinking water has fueled the research at the Johns Hopkins University Global Water Program to come up with ways to bring safe drinking water to millions who have none. 

Read more here:

You may have heard the latest statistic that 1 in every 6 people in the world does not have clean water for drinking, cooking and washing. That means a billion people globally are suffering.  

Australia is in the midst of a 30-year drought, and human populations in areas of Africa and Asia are growing exponentially while their fresh water supplies are severely limited.  In the U.S., where most people take clean water for granted, 36 states are predicted to have a water shortage by 2013, and the southwest in particular is struggling to have enough clean water. 

Factors affecting fresh water supplies include population growth, massive water usage for agriculture (70% worldwide), growing use of water for industry (currently 22%), and decreases in precipitation due to global warming in areas prone to drought.    

Since 97% of the earth’s 9.25 million trillion gallons of water is salty, and 2% is locked up in snow and ice, we are left with only 1% to provide for all our needs. In the future, it will be essential that we efficiently use the water we have, and that we use innovations to clean and reuse water as well.

Read more here.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Bohol Real Estate

For some time now, some readers had asked if I knew of or had seen any properties for sale here in Bohol.  At the same time, some people here in Bohol had asked if I knew of people who may be interested in buying their real estate properties (house and lot, farm land, lodging house, small resort, etc.).

Thus, I had decided to help out these folks by posting their properties for sale on my blog, and I had also just created another separate blog for such purpose: Bohol Properties.

For starters:

This house for sale in Baclayon may be brand new or newly-refurbished and painted, I'm not sure.  It is located along the highway, and right across is the view of Cebu Strait and Panglao Island.

If you wish to know more details about this beautiful blue and white house, send me an email and I will reply with its agent's numbers who can provide all of the property's pertinent information.

More real estate posts in the future!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Nova Shell Museum of Bohol

The Nova Shell Museum, in Panglao Island features an enchanting collection of sea shells, especially those endemic to the waters of Panglao and Bohol.

The museum is owned and operated by Mr. Quirino Hora who has practically devoted half his life in the collecting, study and archiving of these underwater creatures. It was his elder brother’s introduction to this enchanting sea creatures that eventually turned Mr. Hora into a compulsive collector of shells.

And such compulsion was so infectious that subsequently, many of his friends started collecting shells as well.  Most notably, his hobby soon developed into a source of income for his family and provided employment opportunities to the local folks.  

And since the waters of Panglao in particular and Bohol in general were deemed a haven for the biggest variety of shells in the South Pacific, shell collectors enjoyed immense supply of fascinating species for a thriving business.

Shells that resemble snake skin patterns and colors are considered lethal by experts. They have needle-like protrusions on their heads that contain deathly venom which they use to to ward off predators.

The museum features a limited number of corals, which are not for sale.  There are also some fascinating rare shells on display such as the one on the above photo (right).

I went to the Nova Shell Museum mainly to find out if they have any nautilus shells.   They do!

Nautiluses are the sole living cephalopods whose bony body structure is externalized as a shell. The animal can withdraw completely into its shell and close the opening with a leathery hood formed from two specially folded tentacles. The shell is coiled, aragonitic,  nacreous and pressure resistant, imploding at a depth of about 800 metres (2,600 ft).

The nautilus shell is composed of 2 layers: a matte white outer layer, and a striking white iridescent inner layer. The innermost portion of the shell is a pearlescent blue-gray. The osmena pearl, contrarily to its name, is not a pearl, but a jewelry product derived from this part of the shell.

My great interest in the nautilus shell began when I first saw Allan Razzo's photographs with nautilus shell as subject.  It was truly stunning.  And since then, I've always wanted to have this shell to use as photography subject as well.

Mr. Quirino Hora

Included among Mr. Hora's collections is the rarest and minute shell found deep down the waters of Balicasag Island.  It was named after Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It is so tiny that you have to use a microscope to fully appreciate it. 

His highly prized collection, however, are the two shells named after him. The first was discovered in 1987 and named “Bursa Quirihorai”. The other was christened “Primovula Horai” upon its discovery in 1994. Both these shells were found in the waters of Panglao. These honors certainly were the ultimate rewards to his love for these sea creatures.

The museum also has a gift shop that carries souvenir items, handicrafts, necklaces, lamps, hanging shell designs, bracelets and wind chimes.   There are also packages of starter collection sets and some slightly damaged shells that you can buy at a very good price.

Nova Shell Museum 
is located in Panglao Town, Poblacion Proper, 
(adjacent to Petron gas station)

It is open from 8am till 5pm.
Tel: 038 502 8074 -- Cell: 09215103151


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Panglao Island Weather Report

Daybreak at Alona Beach, Panglao Island in Bohol

The PhilippineAtmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)  recently announced the soaring temperatures does not imply that the country is in the grip of a heat wave.

PAGASA senior weather forecaster Jori Loiz said the sweltering heat is normal at this time of the year.

He cites the highest recorded temperature in Metro Manila so far this year is 35.9 degrees Celsius, and the highest in the country is 38.4 degrees Celsius registered at Clark, Pampanga. And that the hottest hour in a day is about 2 p.m. because ''although the sun is overhead at 12 noon, there is a lag time of two to three hours before the land heats up and that is the time that the temperature rises.''

This month, PAGASA said the expected temperature in the Visayas, which includes Bohol, hovers between 23°C to 34°C.

Be that as it may, here in Panglao, fine white sand beaches abound where one can go to and get respite from the soaring temperatures.  However, the island weather remains very pleasant – cool in the early mornings and evenings, and not so unnervingly hot and humid during midday. 

There was a brief torrential downpour the other night that lasted no more than 20 minutes.  It cooled the night and provided an even more restful sleep for everyone.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inspiring Quotes by Ernest Holmes

Here are ten inspiring quotes by Ernest Holmes:

1. Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.

2. The most destructive force you and I have – and the most constructive – is our own unconscious emotional and thinking and feeling state.

3. Prepare your mind to receive the best that life has to offer.

4. There was a time when a man was so convinced that the world was round that he was determined to prove it.

5. You can attract only that which you mentally become and feel yourself to be in reality.

6. The road to freedom lies not through mysteries or occult performances, but through the intelligent use of natural forces and laws.

7. It is done to you as you believe.

8. Success and prosperity are spiritual attributes belonging to all people.

9. Declare the truth by telling yourself that there is nothing to be afraid of, that you no longer entertain any images of fear.

10. God gives some more than others because some accept more than others.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Scarborough Shoal Conflict

A diplomatic cable released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks said China could not specify a historical document to support its claims to disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.

In diplomatic cable 08BEIJING3499 sent to Washington by the US embassy in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2008, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) official and a local scholar could not identify specific historical records to justify China’s “Nine Dashes” claim that covers the whole Spratlys and areas within other countries’ exclusive economic zones.

MFA Department of Treaty and Law Oceans and Law of the Sea Division Deputy Director Yin Wenqiang told a US embassy political officer on Aug. 30, 2008 that “China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters.”

“Yin admitted he is not aware of the historical basis for the ‘Nine Dashes’ and only mentioned unspecified ‘Chinese historical documents’ that indicate the basis for China’s claims on territory west of the Philippines,” the US embassy official said.

According to Wikileaks, Yang said China’s claims “date back to ancient times, prior to the development of the modern nation-state.”

“Neither MFA’s Yin nor Beijing University’s Yang could specify a historical document that indicated the basis for the demarcation of the ‘Nine Dashes’,” the cable added.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blue Sky, Green Earth

The wealth of the nation is its air, water, soil, forests, minerals, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats and biodiversity… that’s all there is. That’s the whole economy. That’s where all the economic activity and jobs come from. These biological systems are the sustaining wealth of the world. 
                                                                                                    Gaylord Nelson

The genesis of Earth Day is credited to Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. 

Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day, to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated that year, and this Earth Day is now observed on April 22 each year by more than 500 million people and several national governments in 175 countries.  Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

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Baclayon Church

Baclayon Church in Bohol is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines made of coral stone.  It is also known as the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

The first Spanish missionaries or doctrineros in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Shortly after their arrival, a visita was erected on the spot.

Although Baclayon was the first seat of the Spanish Jesuit missionaries, fear of Moro marauders soon forced them to move their headquarters more inland, to Loboc.

It was only in 1717 that Baclayon became a parish, and construction of a new church commenced. Some 200 native forced laborers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks, and piled on to each other.

They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position, and used the white of a million eggs as to cement them together. The current building was completed in 1727. The church obtained a large bell in 1835.

In the Baclayon church is a dungeon, which was used to punish natives violated the rules of the Roman Catholic church.

It is one of the best preserved Jesuit build churches in the region, although in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church.

A major tourist attraction of this church is the image of Padre Pio, or Saint Pio, which is imprinted on one of the pillars of the church.

Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887 in Italy. He had poor health but despite that, he was able to finish his studies due to strong will and soon enough, ordained as a priest in the year 1910.  It was on September 20, 1918, that his simple life as a priest changed when he became the first stigmatized priest in history. All 5 wounds of Jesus appeared on his body, marking his deep love for God and the Eucharist and beginning his life of apostolic activity for the many that flock to his confessionals.

After a devotee found the image on the photos of tourists taking pictures against the wall, Ramon Rodriguez, who had been healed through the intercession of Padre Pio of his half-blindness, called on Fr. Antonio Pompilio, an Italian priest to evaluate and confirm the image.

Right next to the church is the old convent, which also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century.

Included in the collection are an ivory statue of the crucified Christ looking towards heaven; a statue of the Blessed Virgin, said to be presented by Queen Catherine of Aragon; relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola, old gold embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, books with carabao skin covers, and librettos of church music written in Latin on sheep skins. 

Here you can also find the cuadro paintings made by the Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian in 1859.

Baclayon Church started the trend in Bohol of establishing parish museums. The amount of liturgical material preserved in Baclayon is impressive. The church inventory books have helped in dating some pieces. 

In Baclayon cantorals (large handwritten music books) was found the Misa Baclayana, a musical setting for the Mass which has been revived and is part of the repertoire of the LobocChildren's choir. Permission from the parish is needed to see the museum, which is generally locked for security reasons.

In 1835, a large bell was installed and in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added the front facade of the church with its three arches and a number of stone buildings which now surrounds the church. All these are still standing at present making it the most preserved church in Bohol.

The church may have avoided getting totally destroyed during the Second World War, but it remains vulnerable from forces of nature. The occasional typhoons made it impossible for caretakers to protect its walls from moss patches.  Moreover, the coral stone walls are susceptible to breaking when exposed to mists.

There were supposedly several attempts to repaint the church ceilings but no one knew of any preservation technique that would protect the original paintings.  Another probable sentiment is that the church may not be able to afford the professional fees of restorers like those in Italy.

Be that as it may, Baclayon Church has been a significant aspect of Philippine history, not just in its attempts to propagate Christianity in the archipelago, but in serving as the political backbone of Spanish colonial rule, when Church and State were regarded as one.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Irma Bunachita: The Jeweler of Dauis

Aling Irma Bunachita is one of the few remaining fine jewelry makers of Dauis.   

Unbeknownst to many visitors and tourists, in Dauis, one of the two municipalities comprising Panglao Island, and one of the oldest municipalities of Bohol, there is an industry probably as old as the town itself — fine jewelry making.

Aling Irma, to this day, continues the colonial tradition of hand-making jewelry from which she creates fine pieces of jewelry using the traditional “stamping” technique that she had learned from her mother and grandmother.  They, in turn, learned from their ancestors. 

However, Aling Irma claims that jewelry making in Dauis is no longer as lucrative as it used to be. During the 1980s, the number of fine jewelry artisans dwindled to less than 100, and even less nowadays.  Most of these skilled jewelry makers had left for Cebu and Mindanao for better opportunities..

One of those who chose to remain in Dauis is Aling Irma.  And she has even made it her life’s mission to carry on the tradition by sharing her knowledge and skills to anyone who wants to learn.

Aling Irma Bunachita was recently appointed as the chairperson of the Dauis Jewelry Makers Organization.

History of jewelry-making in Dauis:

History has it that the island adjacent to Dauis, which was known as Bool (where the province got its name), had a quite a thriving pre-Hispanic kingdom. When a datu passed away, his body and his worldly possessions were carried across the island and buried in the present-day location of Dauis.

Later on, sometime in the 1600s, when the Spaniards came and established the town of Dauis, people started digging the area so they could build their houses and they would find gold everywhere.

Being organized that they are, the Bol-anons would keep the treasures to themselves. They would scarcely use the gold nuggets to buy the things they need, and instead, they would just hide them in their baul.

But when the Spanish regime ended, they realized that they couldn’t use the gold nuggets as monetary tools anymore because the American government had already issued new currency. And when one had amassed such a huge quantity of gold, what else was there to do but melt them and create fine pieces of jewelry; hence, the birth of the jewelry industry in Bohol.

According to Aling Irma, the pieces of jewelry were used not just solely for aesthetic purposes, but as a way to propagate Christianity during the Spanish era. The friars condemned the indigenous amulets and talismans and started replacing them with devotional jewelry such as the crucifix and the rosary.

While the Filipino Christians wore them as an act of faith, the plateros (jewelers) believed it was no less an act of faith to create them. Aside from having a ready market, it was their way of going around the royal decrees that prescribed for jewelry owners to declare their personal belongings, and jewelry with religious theme was a way of getting around the restrictions.

Jewelry designers during those times concentrated on making scapulars, relicario pendants which were designed to protect the Agnus Dei seals made from wax, and reliquaries which were labeled with the saints’ names and embroidered with gold threads, among others. Modern-day tambourine necklaces are an off-shoot of the early rosary designs which were created using the filigree technique.


By Ma. Glaiza Lee
Manila Bulletin - August 14, 2011

Irma Bunachita’s fine jewelry collection is available at Handumanan souvenir shop 
on the ground floor of Our lady of Assimption Shrine Convent 
inside the Dauis Church complex.  
Telephone: (038) 502-3016

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Simply Butterflies Conservation Center

Simply Butterflies Conservation Center is one of the sanctuaries that conserves and raises the butterfly population in Bohol, which is host to approximately 300 butterfly species.  And among the goals of this sanctuary is to protect and strengthen the natural environment of the butterflies through plant research, breeding and releasing.

Simply Butterflies Conservation Center also seeks possibilities to bring money into the local economy by using butterflies and butterfly by-products. Local town folks have been taught a livelihood program on how to breed butterflies and at present, there is now a thriving community of breeders.

The breeding of common butterflies for export plus their by-products help to fund the Center’s host-plant research, development and the breeding of rare butterflies.  Only hand bred sources, not those captured from the wild, are used by the Center to protect the butterfly population. Only the surplus from these hand bred butterflies are used for making by-products for both the local and foreign markets. 

A large number of hand bred butterflies are also released into the wild from time to time thus increasing local population. 

SimplyButterflies Conservation Center in Bilar offers a tour of its sanctuary where visitors can observe and learn the whole life cycle of butterflies – from the courting stage, mating, laying of eggs; from a caterpillar, to a chrysalis, and finally into a wondrous butterfly!

Bilar is reported  to host 200 species of butterflies and the Center is always seeking effective methodologies  in breeding and conservqtion. An enclosure has been built to protect the butterflies from predators which can give them 70% survival rate. Outside, survival rate is only 2%. Several of its kind is enclosed in a 30 x 30 foot net, provided with flowering and host plants and water.

The other butterfly sanctuary in Bohol is at Sagbayan Peak.  It is a mountain resort and recreation center located in the town of Sagbayan, about 45 miles northwest of Tagbilaran City. They have a butterfly dome which houses about 18 species of these wondrous winged creatures. Flowering plants augment the inside of the dome with a very big man-made butterfly gracing the center.

(63) 38 535 9400

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