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Palawan - The Last Frontier

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If up until now you are still THINKING, DAYDREAMING about experiencing Palawan, a remote province located in the southwest of the Philippines, THINK again. I found one of the best short film featuring the secret world with the most pristine beaches you could imagine, a magical area with such a view that until recently, was only for the birds. Filmed and Edited by Scott Sporleder, this aerial journey is so nice complementing my El Nido travel stories.

What’s more? Explore hundreds of remote islands of Palawan from North to South. Explore secluded coves and underwater caves, snorkel pristine reefs, sunken shipwrecks and emerald lakes, visit hidden lagoons, explore water falls, trek lush jungles and experience the famous underground river.  You may want to see a group of crocodiles too which most of the times are in the news headlines. These are among the many wonders of Palawan, available for your senses to feel and experience.

Now, do you agree that Palawan is one of the best places to visit? So, what are you waiting for?

Courtesy of

Travel & Leisure - Top Blogs Philippines

If you have been to Palawan, I’m sure you’ll agree that, indeed, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit and explore. For those who are not yet stepping in the country’s last ecological frontier, read this story to know why Palawan is among the best: “Palawan is the best, no earthquake, the safest”. (And hey, take advantage of those cheap tickets offered by airlines fying from and to Palawan. Who knows, few months later it will shoot up and will be more expensive to avail.) What’s more if you got the chance to explore Batanes! That’s great! Or better yet read this (Tayo na sa batanes!) to know more about Batanes. Now, if you’ve been to both places, here’s the question for you: Which is the best, Palawan or Batanes?

Experience Batanes through the following photo essay of featured places -  a must see attractions that will inspire your senses. I hope you enjoy as you browse along and have the desire to experience them onhand. You will not regret visiting the place for your experience is non-equaled and immeasurable. Here’s among the top locations to stir your imagination.

Valugan Bay along Batanes circumferential road.

When I first saw the sea shore of Batanes having irregular rock formations, I kind of in awe to see a span of sea shore stretched with finely shaped boulders. It has been said that in 400 AD, the eruption of Mt. Iraya leaved these enormous rocks along the shore. I find the place good for spending time to pass by or even good for healing broken hearts and souls.

In my experience, Batanes is among the top tourist destinations in the country. The only setback I see is its accessibility from the mainland. When I first went there, only one airline (SkyPasada) is flying from Tuguegarao. Just recently, on occassional basis, other budget carrier airlines started to have flights to Batanes in a specific days. Through that, tourism is expected to boom in the island due to this new development.

Road Trip in Batanes

Road trip in Batanes is not exciting without the unusual sights like this one. The zigzag road has sturdy looking cliff of coralline materials on the other side towering almost vertically that makes it unusual and thus, requires careful and full attention of the driver when passing by.

I must admit, my admiration to Batanes is so deep to a point that I wanted to help preserve and promote Batanes as “The Ultimate Cultural Destination in the Philippines”. When I learned the history of Batanes I wish to see the Ivatan Cultures be preserved, as well as experience the reviving Old Ivatan Traditions. As a tourist who saw the magnificent structures which invaded the fury of the storms, I longed to save Ivatan Architectures as well such as stone houses like the “old stone houses” in Ivana. I can not physically do those dreams but in my little way, through this blog, I can do my share in preserving and protecting them and telling the world that Batanes is another great place to see, a sea away from the luxurious lifestyle of the mainland. If tourism improves it will generate jobs and provide income to the local people there and even to the local government to help sustain there mission of preserving and sustaining Batanes. Through this blog, I would like to salute the Ivatan people for being courteous at all times when the rest of the world is morally in a mess, for their acts characterized by courtesy and gracious good manners. Why? With my stay there, townsfolk always greeted us, strangers, and say “Magandang umaga po!” (good morning!) or “Magandang hapon po! (Good afternoon!). “Po” and “Opo” are distinctly Filipino ways of showing respect to one’s elders – which is slowly dying in this modern time. Everyone we encountered along the road would do that with a smile from their hearts! Can you imagine that? You can feel it in your heart too, the deepness, the truth they are trying to share. They live a simple life and contented to do so which in a way telling us something from our world so busy that we don’t even care to smile. One more thing, Batanes is one of the safest place to live in, in terms of crime rates. That’s one of the advantage of small population.

Well, our tour guide told us that Batanes getaway is not complete if you cannot feel the sea breeze at Marlboro Hills. It is a good place to sit idly by and dream of your paradise at present moment in the confinement of Batanes scenery overlooking the mighty sea. The lush greenery I failed to smell for a long time reminds me of my childhood while dreaming of becoming ‘something’ and attaining ‘something’ in life when I grow up. Here, I relive that day and it’s soothing to feel being young again.

Well, our tour guide told us that Batanes getaway is not complete if you cannot feel the sea breeze at Marlboro Hills. It is a good place to sit idly by and dream of your paradise at present moment in the confinement of Batanes scenery overlooking the mighty sea. The lush greenery I failed to smell for a long time reminds me of my childhood while dreaming of becoming ‘something’ and attaining ‘something’ in life when I grow up. Here, I relive that day and it’s soothing to feel being young again.


The lighthouse is a good spot to view Batan island from one side to the other side. The cool breeze here truly calms the being and draws you in one with the nature.

The lighthouse is a good spot to view Batan island from one side to the other side. The cool breeze here truly calms the being and draws you in one with the nature.


This towering lighthouse is the magnificent watcher from either side of the island.

This towering lighthouse is the magnificent watcher from either side of the island.


This is the oldest house in Ivana, Batanes which was built in 1887 and is still standing up to now. Its walls are made of stone and limestone. Typically, the houses here are divided into three sections: the rakuh or main room includes the living room and bedroom, there’s a kusina which is of course the kitchen, and also a rahawung or storage shed.

This is the oldest house in Ivana, Batanes which was built in 1887 and is still standing up to now. Its walls are made of stone and limestone. Typically, the houses here are divided into three sections: the rakuh or main room includes the living room and bedroom, there’s a kusina which is of course the kitchen, and also a rahawung or storage shed.


We just had a stopover in this view deck to see different angles of Batanes – towards the sea, across the road behind a towering cliff, along a winding road, etc. I may consider this as one of the spot perfect for picture taking. As you go closer to the deck, you will find a grotto perfect to release your day’s tiredness due to non-stop activities. This is the Mahatao View Deck.

We just had a stopover in this view deck to see different angles of Batanes – towards the sea, across the road behind a towering cliff, along a winding road, etc. I may consider this as one of the spot perfect for picture taking. As you go closer to the deck, you will find a grotto perfect to release your day’s tiredness due to non-stop activities. This is the Mahatao View Deck.


This is the Grotto at Mahatao View Deck, a perfect place to be quiet and for paying full attention to yourself. Cool breeze will take you to calmness of your being.

This is the Grotto at Mahatao View Deck, a perfect place to be quiet and for paying full attention to yourself. Cool breeze will take you to calmness of your being.


Fundacion Pacita is a boutique hotel with rooms that resemble galleries. It is also the most expensive accomodation, with rooms costing from around five thousand pesos. Though part of the proceeds is used to support young Ivatan artists and heritage conservation projects in Batanes.

Fundacion Pacita is a boutique hotel with rooms that resemble galleries. It is also the most expensive accomodation, with rooms costing from around five thousand pesos. Though part of the proceeds is used to support young Ivatan artists and heritage conservation projects in Batanes.

So, that’s it! I encourage everyone who dreamed of experiencing Batanes to start planning now. There are promotional tours offered by various travel agencies which are friendly in the pocket. The experiences is worth your time and money. Before going outside the country and experiencing other cultures than ours, first visit what naturally is ours, like Batanes. It is one of a lifetime experience and you won’t regret including Batanes in your travel plan.

Have a pleasant and memorable trip to Batanes!

And when you have done that, now is the time to answer my question, which is the best place to visit, Palawan or Batanes? The answer is yours to make.

Are you not familiar with Palawan? Search it in google map and here’s what it looks like:

Palawan map viewed from Google Map application.

Palawan map viewed from Google Map application.

Palawan is composed of the long and narrow Palawan mainland, plus a number of other smaller islands surrounding the main island. The Calamianes Group of Islands to the Northeast consists of Busuanga Island, Coron Island and Culion Island. Durangan Island almost touches the westernmost part of Palawan Island, while Balabac Island is located off the southern tip, separated from Borneo by the Balabac Strait. In addition, Palawan covers the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The disputed Spratly Islands, located a few hundred kilometres to the west, are considered part of Palawan by the Philippines, and is locally called the “Kalayaan Group of Islands”.

And in my point of view, what makes Palawan unique are the following:

  1. Palawan is the Philippines’ Last frontier
  2. the Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock
  3. NO earthquake

Philippines’ last frontier

Many people who have been to Palawan testified for its unique environment rich in flora and fauna. In its forests and grasslands, the air was filled with different songs of more than a hundred kinds of birds. Butterflies flutter around the mountains and grass fields of Palawan which attracted thousands of hosts plants found there. Sea turtles nest on white sand beaches, though at present they are facing extinction.

I did not mentioned all these because I am a Palaweno but a person who have heard testimonies of what other people foreign from this land have experienced once in their lifetime. I have lived for years both in Palawan and Manila. My first 21 years of existence was spent there in the former.

As a matter of fact, Palawan, the only Philippine island cited, is rated by National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2007 as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region, and the 13th best island in the world having “incredibly beautiful natural seascapes and landscapes. One of the most biodiverse (terrestrial and marine) islands in the Philippines… The island has had a Biosphere Reserve status since early 1990s, showing local interest for conservation and sustainable development” (source:

What more? The province was also categorized as “doing well” in the 4th Destination Scorecard survey conducted by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted its beaches, coves and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia. Also, a renowned underwater explorer has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world. And in the future, who would think that the islands of northern Palawan become a future destination for Asia’s growing economic and environmental conferencing? I already witnessed the beauty of the northern Palawan, El Nido, in particular.

In 2012, the purple crab was discovered there along with four other species.

Palawan island is made up of continental, not oceanic, rock

Would you believe that Palawan is stable largely because the island was once part of continental Asia which separated around 100 million years ago and drifted toward the Philippines? That’s according to some experts. Further, the rock of the island is continental and different from other parts of the country, which is made of oceanic rock. Sounds safer? Read this Wiki description of islands for reference.

In details, the crust of the island is thicker at 30 kilometers, compared to the 12 km of the oceanic rock, having derived from the Pacific seabed. The crust of the island is thicker and older and, therefore, not as prone to earthquakes.

NO earthquake

The richness of spectacular landscapes and seascapes that has made it the favorite of many travelers, it would seem that the paradise island of Palawan also offers the safest haven for those fearful of a Haiti-like tremor occurring in the country. Compared to other parts of the Philippines, Palawan is “relatively stable” geologically, according to experts at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS).

According to them, there are hardly any earthquakes in Palawan and certainly none strong enough to cause major damage. The whole island is probably the most stable area of land in the country. I can attest to that since up until now, I did not experienced a single ground movement there as a result of a seismic activity. Additionally, there were hardly any active faults under the island compared to the rest of the country. Plus point for Palawan, huh.

Attractions in Palawan

The Puerto Princesa Underground River

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines - one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan province, Philippines – one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The whole underground river has been designated as the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites worthy of preservation because this underground river flows directly to the sea and so its cavern entrance is subject to tidal influences that brings about a unique sort of marine diversity to the river.

Read my adventure in this wonderful natural park which is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Coron Island

In the town of Coron, Coron Reefs could be found which attract nature lovers featuring the Seven lakes surrounded by craggy limestone cliffs. Busuanga Island, on the other hand, is the jump-off point for numerous dive operators. The principal dive sites are 12 World War II Japanese shipwrecks sunk on September 24, 1944 by US Navy action. They depth of the dive site from the surface is approximately 40 meters. This offers exciting wreck exploration for enthusiasts, from novice divers and snorkelers and recreational divers to experienced divers. The aquatic views from the sunken Japanese warships off Coron Island are listed in Forbes Traveler Magazine’s top 10 best scuba sites in the world.

Visit the picture-perfect town of Coron on the island of Busuanga at the northern tip of Palawan, known for its majestic limestone islands, crystal-clear blue waters, and pristine white beaches. Watch this:

Pamalican Island

Between Palawan and Panay, in the northern part of Palawan, Pamalican Island is situated. It is a small island of the Cuyo Islands in the Sulu Sea. The island is set in the middle of a 7 square-kilometer coral reef. It has a length of 2.5 kilometers, and measures only 500 meters at its widest point. The island is serviced by a Dornier 228-202K plane flying from Manila, which is used to ferry customers and to bring supplies to the resort. Each bungalow comes with a personal buggy for free circulation throughout the island. The atmosphere around the island is extremely tranquil and secluded.

Want to have fun? Diving activities are available, allowing for nice coral viewing and encounters with large turtles and rays. Several windsurf boards and sails are provided at the “Windsurf hut” on the north shore. During the northern monsoon season (usually during November to May) when the wind blows onshore, easy windsurfing on a flat surface of the shallow protected lagoon is especially favorable.

Did you know that the resort has been nominated as one of the best island resorts in the world? Nice, no?

As others put it, “Set on its own private island in the Philippines’ Sulu Sea, Amanpulo gives a perfect setting for sentiment, encompassed by white sand beaches and crystal-clear aquamarine waters teeming with marine life”, Pamalican Island is quite a remarkable place to go. Watch this video to take  a closer look:

Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reef Marine Park is the protected area of the Philippines located in the amidst of Sulu Sea. It is a marine and bird sanctuary which consists of two huge atolls, the North Atoll and South Atoll and a smaller Jessie Beazley Reef covering a total area of 97,030 hectares. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands. The reef is located 150 kilometres southeast of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan province.

A lot has been said about the Tubbataha Reef and its role in the global maritime ecosystem. But how important really is it and why should we continue to protect it? Watch this:

Honda Bay

Have you heard Dos Palmas resort? Well, the place where this known resort is called Honda Bay, a bay on the eastern shore of the island of Palawan near Puerto Princesa City. The bay is used for both subsistence and commercial fishing and recreational activities. Boats can be rented there for the day and used for travel to nearby islands. Honda Bay is ideal for snorkeling.

Want to ride an outrigger boat to Starfish Island, Pandan Island and Snake Island? Experience it at Honda Bay. You may find starfish which is a common site at Starfish Island.

El Nido Marine Reserve Park

A visit to El Nido can never be complete without experiencing island hopping. So, we woke up early to prepare our things and ourselves for this first time island hopping in this part of Palawan. Catch my travel stories in El Nido.

Inside El Nido's Small Lagoon.

Inside El Nido’s Small Lagoon.

Did you know that on the January 2008 issue of international magazine Travel + Leisure, published by the American Express Co. (which partnered with Conservation International) listed El Nido’s sister hotel resorts El Nido Lagen Island and El Nido Miniloc Island in Miniloc and Lagen Islands as “conservation-minded places on a mission to protect the local environment? The resorts are active in both reef and island conservation which are both worthy of your visit. Read my El Nido travel stories here.


7 Truths About Working Abroad

What a 2014 ! It’s just the start of the year and here I come, in a down-to-earth decision making dilemma. Just received a call overseas and you know why I turned panicked when it was just a call? I had a job offer abroad that is hard to reject. The terms are good and chances are I can get the job with greater probability. The bottom line is – I have my mind set not to leave the country. I argue to myself before that what I earned here is just acceptable but then truth kicks me off the chair. And that hurts. My finances are getting bigger and bigger as my family is getting bigger. Heard of the same story? Well, just in time. gave me ideas something about working abroad. Please read below for the following may help you decide. Just like I do (perhaps). Good luck to us.

suitcase2 Leaving to make a living outside your home country is a difficult decision to make. Whether it’s because you landed a job offer, following a dream or maybe a simple change of scenery, the realities of moving and living abroad are often bittersweet.

It takes a good deal of courage, determination, and strength of mind to leave everything you’ve grown to love and cherish for a long time. Everything from preparing your travel documents, packing your luggage, and finally saying goodbye can be a struggle.

Whatever your reasons are or wherever it is you’re going, here are the top 10 bittersweet realities of working/living abroad.

1. New-found Freedom

Working or living abroad will help you experience a new-found freedom. A sense of being able to do and go as you please, the freedom to explore new places and make new choices can be overwhelming. If you’ve never had the chance to be yourself back home, being overseas will help you be who you want to be without worrying about what other people think of you. It’s a wonderful feeling you’d only know when you experience it yourself.

2. Time Flies By

When you’re abroad, your concept of time changes. Life back home goes by so fast and the next thing you know, your kid, your niece or your nephew, even your parents and your siblings are already a year or two older. You miss being part of their lives as you struggle to make sense of your’s in your new environment, this can make your personal relationships either strengthen or fizzle out. . However hard it is, the fact that life goes on for the people you left behind is something you have to learn to accept.

3. Meeting New Friends and Leaving Old Ones Behind

While you meet new friends, it is also inevitable that you lose old ones. As you spend more time trying to get to know people from your new workplace, your new neighborhood, or perhaps your new school, some of the relationships you’ve built back home begin to decay. “Out of sight, out of mind” is definitely a bittersweet reality you’d have to embrace as you begin your life abroad.

4. Language

Unless you’re moving to an English speaking country, learning a new language is a necessity if you want to be able to communicate with the locals. Imagine how amusing it would be for your co-workers to talk to you in the native tongue and then hear you reply to them in the same language? You can also explore the area with confidence if you can read and understand what the signs are saying. More importantly, you can haggle for lower prices during your weekend shopping spree without letting vendors take advantage of your inability to speak the language.

5. New Stories To Tell

The stories you experience and pick up during your stint overseas will help shape your own personal adventure, especially if you work in an internation company. our co-workers will no doubt have new and interesting stories to tell, most of which will definitely help you learn a thing or two about their background. The majority of these stories would make an amusing insight of your new life when shared with family and friends back home. Truly, spreading your wings takes on a new meaning when you’re living or working abroad.

6. Homesickness

Perhaps the single, most difficult part of living and working away from home is when homesickness sets in. You may have read stories of people not finishing their employment contracts abroad simply because it has become too much to bear, this does happen. At the end of the day, the question is, how important is this experience and opportunity for you? Are you going to allow yourself to feel homesick and just throw everything away? It’s a good idea to remember that home will always be there and you can return anytime, if you feel your time abroad is up then it may be the right time to return to your motherland but if you have any doubt think about the opportunities you may be giving up overseas.

7. Personal and Professional Growth

Being in a place that is thousands of miles away from your home can make you grow up fast. With no one but yourself to rely on, you have to step up and face the challenges of living and working abroad. No more parents to help cook meals, do your laundry, or wake you up in the morning, either you do things on your own or you end up finding yourself on a flight back home.

You also need to adapt to working with people from different cultures, work ethics and attitudes that may be very different from your own or you’ll find things difficult at work. The sooner you accept the fact that you need to speed up your personal and professional growth, the better your chances of moving up the the corporate ladder.

The good thing is you don’t have to do everything in a day. Start slow, test the waters and see how far it’ll take you. Sure, you’ll start alone, but you will meet new friends down the road and when you do, working and living abroad isn’t as hard as you first thought it would be. Save yourself the trouble and don’t panic because when you think about it, you only have two options, sink or swim, fight or flight. The choices you make will decide the kind of future you have abroad so make sure you plan and make decisions carefully. Good luck!

If this is helpful, please keep me updated. Okay?

3Questions_7 Yesterday, I was tasked to interview two (2) civil engineer applicants. It is my first time I do such an interview and I recalled the old times when I was in their shoes. And that’s five years ago! Job interviews are really nerve cracking. Coldness even enveloped me when my turn is coming. My heart beats fast and sounds like a thunder. Oh my God!

Anyway, yesterday’s interview with new applicants turns out well. And I can feel the same feeling they had just like myself back then. I just hope there are no other applicants who will surpass their qualifications so that they get the job.

Here’s the top 3 common interview questions and best answers I read from I believe they are helpful.

Going on a job interview is always an unnerving experience.  Most job seekers dread the idea of facing interviewers and fear the possibility of giving the wrong answer to the questions they may ask.  Fortunately, most companies use a standard set of interview questions and knowing these common questions allows you to practice how best to answer them.  If you go through the questions and answers in your head even before you step inside the interview room, you will have a better chance at giving the best answer and ultimately getting the job.

Here are some of the most common job interview questions and the corresponding suggestions on how to answer them.  Remember that your answers to these questions should be spontaneous, so you don’t risk sounding as if you memorized your replies on your way.

Question number 1: Tell us something about yourself

What makes this question very difficult to answer is that it’s too broad.  The question also sounds disarmingly informal which throws a lot of job seekers off balance, enough to lose their concentration and begin rambling in their answers.  Most recruiters and employers often use this question both as an icebreaker and as an opportunity to get to know you beyond what’s in your resume.

Suggested Answer: Highlight your Unique Selling Proposition or Personal Branding Statement

This is your opportunity to capture the interviewer’s attention by providing a short “synopsis” of your unique selling proposition or personal brand.  Give a one to two sentence description of who you are followed with a statement on your strongest personal strength and how the company can benefit from the strength you have mentioned is an ideal structure to wrap your answer around.

Add more value to your answer by incorporating a monetary value to the strength(s) you bring to the table.  You are most likely to get a follow-up question probing the scenario behind your answer so be prepared to talk about the details of your response.

If done correctly, your answer will pique the employer’s attention and they would want to know more.  This will help increase your “recall” value that will also increase your chances of getting considered or possibly hired for the position.

Question Number 2: Why do you want this job?

Interviewers are looking for a compelling reason about why you want the job and why they should give it to you. Answering this question correctly helps move the interview forward as the question of how much you want the position is already answered.

Suggested Answer: Come Up with a Great Sales Pitch

The Undercover Recruiter shares four key steps in selling yourself into the job.

Step 1:  Flattery Will Get You Somewhere

A little bit of flattery will get you somewhere.  Start your answer with a short statement on why you’d like to work with the company and what you really like about it.  The only way you can answer the question without sounding insincere is when you research about the company prior to the job interview.  Use the internet to find out as much as you can about the organization, the culture, and the people working for the company.

Step 2: Share Your Insights About the Job Posting

Impress the interviewer by sharing what you know about the job posting.  This shows that you are genuinely interested in understanding the dynamics of the position and are willing to embrace the requirements of the job posting.

Step 3: Relate Your Previous Achievements to the Job Posting

Interviewers and employers alike will appreciate your efforts to relate your achievements to the job posting you are applying for.  This indicates you won’t have problems going through training, seminars and other activities you may need to attend to do the job well.

Step 4:  Prepare a Rebuttal Statement

Expect follow-up questions that may question your suitability to the job and be ready to fend off concerns about why you’re perfect for the job.  Always wrap your answers around the fact that you are genuinely excited to be working with them and that the skills you have fit perfectly with the job requirements.

Question Number 3: Tell us about your Strengths and Weaknesses

Recruiters, hiring managers, and employers ask this question to assess job seeker skills and assets that will prove most valuable to the company once hired.  The question also allows them insights to job seeker traits that may be problematic for the organization in the long run.

Suggested Answer: Highlight your Strengths while Downplaying Your Weaknesses

Emma Charnock, Hays Hong Kong Regional Director suggests highlighting the skills you are good at and demonstrating a competency relevant to the job applied for, such as report writing, time keeping or your ability to get things done on time. Review the job advertisement for information on the skills required for the position and focus on these areas by using examples that demonstrate these skills.

With weaknesses, Charnock suggests talking about things you find difficult doing and putting a positive spin to it. For example, you are very thorough which can take time, but you’ve also found this means the quality of your work is always high.

Sample Answers:

“My greatest strength is my ability to multi-task without sacrificing the quality of my work.  I do this by keeping a daily calendar of the things I needed done for the day and sorting them according to priority.  I also make sure to follow-through with the schedule as much as I can and in case I am unable to complete them that day, I make sure they’re first on my list the next day.  My greatest weakness is my tendency to over-think. I sometimes find myself taking too much time strategizing on how to go about a certain task and testing several solutions before settling on something which was in fact one of the first things I thought of.”

“My greatest strength is my ability to work in a highly-organized manner.  I like to plan my strategy from start to finish making sure to anticipate any hiccups or roadblocks that I may encounter along the way. My <greatest/biggest> weakness is related to my greatest strength, I am very organized to a point that when things don’t go according to plan, I begin to worry and can be a bit inflexible.”

These are just three of the most common interview questions job seekers are likely to encounter in the course of the job search process. I hope these help. Good luck to job seekers out there.

Jose P. Rizal, the Philippine National Hero.

Jose P. Rizal, the Philippine National Hero. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Rizal Day

Rizal Day is a national holiday to commemorate the execution of our national hero – José Rizal. Philippines observe Rizal Day on 30 December every year. Today, which is December 30, in the year of 1896, José Rizal was executed by Spanish government at Bagumbayan, now  known as Rizal Park.

The Origin of Rizal Day

In 1989, President Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree to institute the date of José Rizal’s execution as a national day in the mourning of Jose Rizal and all the victims of the Spanish government in Philippines.

Then, the Americans took control of the Philippines after defeated the Spaniards in Spanish-American war. An American governor, William Howard Taff, then declared Jose Rizal as the Philippines National hero in 1901. A year later, the date of Jose Rizal’s execution was proclaimed as a public holiday through the Act no. 345.

Mi Último Adiós

First stanza of "Mi Ultimo Adiós", by Jose Rizal, written before his execution on December 30, 1896. The poem was untitled, but this is the most common name it is known by.

First stanza of “Mi Ultimo Adiós”, by Jose Rizal, written before his execution on December 30, 1896. The poem was untitled, but this is the most common name it is known by. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Mi Último Adiós in Spanish which means “My Last Farewell” is a poem written by Dr. José Rizal on the eve of his execution on 30 December 1896. The piece was one of the last notes he wrote before his death. There is another one that he had written and was found in his shoe but its contents remain a mystery because the text was illegible. Rizal did not ascribe a title to his poem. His friend, Mariano Ponce, a fellow reformist, titled it Mi Último Pensamiento (“My Last Thought”) in the copies he distributed, but this did not catch on. It is Fr. Mariano Dacanay who use the title Mi Último Adiós, who received a copy of the poem while a prisoner in Bilibid. He published it in the first issue of La Independencia on Sept. 25, 1898. The title retained till today to carry the thoughts and message of the last poem of Rizal.

Thus, to remember the enlightening message of this poem I decided to publish it here in English and Filipino translation. Hope you find the message deep in your heart the result of which is our Freedom. Jose Rizal is not just a man, he is our hero.

Wish you a happy Rizal Day 2013.


English Translation:

“My Last Farewell”

Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caress’d,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give thee my Life, sad and repress’d;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to thee for thine welfare at most.

On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give thee their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place matters not: cypress, laurel, or lily;
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom’s site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.

I die as I see tints on the sky b’gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!

My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigour to attain,
Were to see thee, Gem of the sea of the Orient,
Thy dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.

My life’s fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to thee, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet ’tis to fall that fullness thou may acquire;
To die to give thee life, ‘neath thy skies to expire,
And in thy mystic land to sleep through eternity!

If over my tomb some day, thou wouldst see blow,
A simple humble flow’r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of thy breath, a whiff of thy tenderness.

Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o’er my site.

Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporise
And with my clamour behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray, thee, for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that thou may seest thine own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet’ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Disturb not their repose, disturb not the mystery:
If thou hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t’thee intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be ploughed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover thy earthly space.

Then it matters not that thou should forget me:
Thy atmosphere, thy skies, thy vales I’ll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to thy ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolised Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye; oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone doth reign.

Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell to all I love; to die is to rest.

Filipino Translation:

“Hulíng Paalam”

Paalam, sintang lupang tinubuan,
bayang masagana sa init ng araw,
Edeng maligaya sa ami’y pumanaw,
at perlas ng dagat sa dakong Silangan.

Inihahandog ko nang ganap na tuwa
sa iyo yaring buhay na lanta na’t aba;
naging dakila ma’y iaalay rin nga
kung dahil sa iyong ikatitinawa.

Ang nanga sa digmaan dumog sa paglaban
handog din sa iyo ang kanilang buhay,
hirap ay di pansin at di gunamgunam
ang pagkaparool o pagtagumpay.

Bibitaya’t madlang mabangis na sakit
o pakikibakang lubhang mapanganib,
pawang titiisin kung ito ang nais
ng baya’t tahanang pinakaiibig.

Ako’y mamamatay ngayong minamalas
ang kulay ng langit na nanganganinag
ibinababalang araw ay sisikat,
sa kabila niyang mapanglaw na ulap.

Kung dugo ang iyong kinakailangan
sa ikadidilag ng iyong pagsilang,
dugo ko’y ibubo’t sa isa man lamang
nang gumigiti mong sinag ay kuminang.

Ang mga nasa ko, mulang magkaisip,
magpahanggang ngayong maganap ang bait,
ang ikaw’y makitang hiyas na marikit
ng dagat Silangan na nakaliligid.

Noo mo’y maningning at sa mga mata
mapait na luha bakas ma’y wala na,
wala ka ng poot, wala ng balisa,
walang kadungua’t munti mang pangamba.

Sa sandaling buhay maalab kong nais
ang kagalingan mo’t ang paiwang sulit
ng kaluluwa kong gayak ng aalis,
ginhawa’y kamtan mo. Anong pagkarikit!

Nang maaba’t ikaw’y mapataas lamang,
mamatay at upang mabigyan kang buhay,
malibing sa lupang puspos ng karikta’t
sa silong ng iyong langit ay mahimlay.

Kung sa ibang araw ikaw’y may mapansin
nipot na bulaklak sa aba kong libing,
sa gitna ng mga damong masisinsin,
hagka’t ang halik mo’y itaos sa akin.

Sa samyo ng iyong pagsuyong matamis,
mataos na taghoy ng may sintang dibdib,
bayang tumaggap noo ko ng init,
na natatabunan ng lupang malamig.

Bayaan mong ako’y malasin ng buwan
sa liwanag niyang hilaw at malamlam;
bayaang ihatid sa aking liwayway
ang banaag niyang dagling napaparam.

Bayaang humalik ang simoy ng hangin;
bayaang sa huning masaya’y awitin;
ng darapong ibon sa kurus ng libing
ang buhay payapang ikinaaaliw.

Bayaang ang araw na lubhang maningas
pawiin ang ulan, gawing pawang ulap,
maging panginuring sa langit umakyat,
at ang aking daing ay mapakilangkap.

Bayaang ang aking maagang pagpanaw,
itangis ng isang lubos na nagmamahal;
kung may umalala sa akin ng dasal,
ako’y iyo sanang idalangin naman.

Idalangin mo rin ang di nagkapalad,
na nangamatay na’t yaong nangaghirap
sa daming pasakit, at ang lumalanghap
naming mga ina ng luhang masaklap.

Idalangin sampo ng bawa’t ulila
at nangapipiit na tigib ng dusa;
idalangin mo ring ikaw’y matubos na
sa pagkaaping laong binabata.

Kung nababalot na ang mga libingan
ng sapot na itim ng gabing mapanglaw,
at wala ng tanod kundi pawang patay,
huwang gambalain ang katahimikan.

Pagpitaganan mo ang hiwagang lihim,
at mapapakinggan ang tinig marahil,
ng isang salteryo: Ito nga’y ako ring
inaawitan ka ng aking paggiliw.

Kung ang libingan ko’y limot na ng madla
ay wala nang kurus at bato mang tanda
sa nangagbubukid ay ipaubayang
bungkali’t isabog ang natipong lupa.

Ang mga abo ko’y bago pailanlang
mauwi sa wala na pinanggalingan,
ay makaulit munang parang kapupunan
ng iyong alabok sa lupang tuntungan.

Sa gayo’y wala ng anoman sa akin,
na limutin mo na’t aking lilibutin
ang himpapawid mo kaparanga’t hangin
at ako sa iyo’y magiging taginting.

Bango, tinig, higing, awit na masaya
liwanag at kulay na lugod ng mata’t
uulit-ulitin sa tuwi-tuwina
ang kataimtiman ng aking pag-asa.

Sintang Pilipinas, lupa kong hinirang,
sakit ng sakit ko, ngayon ay pakinggan
huling paalam ko’t sa iyo’y iiwan
ang lahat at madlang inirog sa buhay.

Ako’y yayao na sa bayang payapa,
na walang alipi’t punong mapang-aba,
doo’y di nanatay ang paniniwala
at ang naghahari’y Diyos na dakila.

Paalam anak, magulang, kapatid,
bahagi ng puso’t unang nakaniig,
ipagpasalamat ang aking pag-alis
sa buhay na itong lagi ng ligalig.

Paalam na liyag, tanging kaulayaw,
taga ibang lupang aking katuwaan;
paaalam sa inyo, mga minamahal;
mamatay ay ganap na katahimikan.

I was thinking what could be the best wishes I could give to my friends and relatives this new year when I come across which shared the top 10 happy new year greetings. I loved them so I decided to republish it here.

Happy New Year 2014. Photo courtesy:

Happy New Year 2014. Photo credit:

New Year wishes are meant for wishing our friends and relatives on The New Years Eve. It is a transition period when the current year is passing by and on the other hand a New Year is approaching with heaps of new hopes and opportunities. The Eve of New Year 2014 is celebrated all over the world and New Year greetings are the expression of joy and love for all our associates expressed in words and pictures.

These new year wishes can be conveyed by greetings card, via Mobile SMS or via instant messaging. Not only for friends and associates, New Year wishes can be addressed to our elders as well as the relatives and friends staying far away. Its a wonderful way to let them feel that we are always remembering them.

Top 10 Happy New Year 2014 Wishes Greetings

  1. May this year bring to you all 365 days of happiness and joy. Happy New Year.
  2. Lets welcome the fresh new year with fresh new hopes and aspirations for all of us. Happy New Year.
  3. I wish you get happiness from deep within and serenity from every aspect in this New Year. Happy New Year.
  4. Fight with your vices, make peace with your neighbors. Let each day of the New Year find you a better man. Happy New Year.
  5. As the world marks a new beginning, I wish you also start afresh forgetting your tears and sadness. Cheer up and happy New Year.
  6. Keep the smiles and forget the tears, remember the happiness and forget the fears wish you a happy new year.
  7. May this year bring to you opportunities, wealth, health, happiness and prosperity in abundance. Happy New Year.
  8. May happy times never leave you throughout the year, and special memories brighten each day and may every day give you a new reason to celebrate. Wish you and your family a happy new year.
  9. People take vodka and tequila shots. May this new year eve you take shots of love, hope, care and mind you the first one lasts till eternity.
  10. New year will be new if you have a new perspective and it will be old if you’d be still stuck in the past. May you have a new one this 2014.

SM Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia

I just got a headache when I remember my birthday this coming January, not that I was having trouble for treats but rather my PRC license will surely expire. Yikes! Thanks to PRC in their new online registration system which takes effect on July last year which saves my day. Professionals renewing their professional identification cards can now be done via select SM malls. Imagine what you will go through during your travel going to PRC main office and going back,  not to mention the crowds queuing doing the same. You may need to take a leave which is of course necessary. But that’s the old time, you know. You may now renew your license during mall hours these days, so you can actually fit in renewing your license in between window shopping and dining with your favorite resto or fast food chain.

I have it tried and tested. Here’s how I did it:

1.    Go online at or click here to download it and fill-up the printed form.

2.    Bring the following requirements:

  • Filled up Renewal Form (If you have not downloaded the renewal form, you can fill-up the renewal form provided to you during your visit at the nearest SM Mall Business Services Center)
  • Passport size ID photo
  • Old PRC ID
  • Photocopy of the old PRC ID (front and back)
  • Php 450.00 for renewal fee
  • Php 50.00 for the business center’s processing fee
  • Php 80.00 delivery fee (This is optional. Since I wanted my PRC ID to be shipped at my company address I availed this service)
The SM Business Services Center

The SM Business Services Center

3.   Go to SM Mall of Asia’s “Business Services” center, located at the second floor. For easy reference, when coming towards the mall, find the Aristocrat Resto. There is a stair leading to second floor hallway and along that hallway you will find the “Business Services” center right beside Philcopy and very near Razon’s. Or try to visit MOA Store Locator here. Search for “SM Business Center” and there you will find the place.

Inside the SM Business Center

Inside the SM Business Center

4.   Present yourself to the attendant and submit your requirements. It is advisable that you wear a collared shirt when you schedule for renewal since you will be taken picture there which will be used in the actual PRC license.

5.   Get your Claim Stub indicating the date of claim of your PRC ID. In my case, the attendant told me to wait for 5-6 weeks for my PRC ID to be delivered in my office. There is a landline number provided in my claim stub for follow-up. I’ll update this post when my PRC ID was finally delivered.

The process actually took me just eight (8) minutes. Not bad.

The other SM Malls where you can renew your PRC ID are as follows:

  • SM Novaliches
  • SM Marikina
  • SM Masinag
  • SM Manila
  • SM Quiapo
  • SM Harrison Plaza
  • SM Sta. Mesa
  • SM Sucat
  • SM Mall Bacoor
  • SM Mall Dasmarinas
  • SM Mall Calamba
  • SM Mall Lipa City

I’m done. Let yours too.

Hope this helps.


UPDATE: As of May 5, 2014

I finally got my license after 4 months and 8 days, to be exact. I did not write this blog to promote SM Business Centers providing PRC license renewals nor promote PRC. I’m just a bit excited with this so called “services” initiated by them thinking that through this I can help others by letting them know new means of renewing their licenses. The main reason is: I do believe in PRC and their services, until I get burned.

Anyway, I learned a lot through this experience:

(1) that you can now renew your PRC license without worry (since you will eventually forget that you have renewed your license there),

(2)  that the equivalent of standing before the agent of SM Business Center in short possible time = 4 months or more of processing your PRC license,

(3) that something is wrong with the management style of the service center that needs to be addressed by the PRC,

(4) that PRC itself have to check the performance of their service centers whether they are giving convenience to the general public or providing the same services like what we have experienced,

(5) that you have to call them once in a while to get updates with the status of your license,

(6) that you get unreliable answers whenever you called them,

(7) that as of this moment, the PRC is inefficient through its services as against its mandate to the Filipino professionals,

(8) that we can help others out there by spreading the news about this services.

For a time being, we will judge the services unfriendly and ineffective until we get confirmations from other people who tried them and feels that the services are truly satisfying.

So, for now we suggest that PRC renewal be done the old school style unless you have guts to try and see for yourself the reality. It’s better to queue for half of an hour or two hours more but eventually you get your PRC license just few days after.

Thanks you for reading and your comments are welcome.










“Ang bawat bata”

Naaalala nyo pa ba ang mga linyang ito:

“Ang bawa’t bata sa ating mundo
Ay may pangalan, may karapatan
Tumatanda ngunit bata pa rin
Ang bawa’t tao sa ating mundo…”

Habang naghihintay sa paglipas ng oras ngayong Araw ng mga Santo, naisipan kung mag facebook. Nakita ko ang isang bidyo post ‘don na sumasalamin sa aking kabataan. Isinasalarawan sa nasabing bidyo ang mga larong pinoy na nilalaro ko rin noong kabataan ko pa, mga larong di na nilalaro ng mga kabataan sa henerasyong ito, maging ng aking anak tulad ng Tayaan, Piko, Holen, Bato-Bola, Taguan Pong, Siyatong, Yoyo, Tumbang Preso, at Sipa. Nakakalungkot isipin na ang mga panahong iyon ay di na katulad ng kasalukuyan dahil sa mabilis na pag-inog ng mundo at ng makabagong teknolohiya. Ang mga kabataan ngayon ay mas gusto ang mga larong bidyo games, lahat internet-based. Pero hindi na bale, anuman ang buhay nating kabataan noon isa iyong parte ng buhay na mahalaga at siyang pundasyon ng panahon ngayon. Di ko na maibabalik pa iyon pero lagi itong buhay sa aking alaala.

Nais ko naman ibahagi ang bidyo na ito sa inyo upang maalala natin ang ating kabataan. Sana magustuhan ninyo habang nag aalala tayo sa mga banal at mga mahal nating nasa piling na ng maykapal. At syempre ‘wag natin kalimutan ang karapatan ng mga kabataan…



YouTube Preview Image

Video courtesy of Akap Bata Philippines. Worth posting ang mga ganitong presentation.

Ito ang kumpletong lyrics ng background music mula sa Apo Hiking Society:

Bawat Bata

Artist: APO Hiking Society
Album: Ten Years Together

“Ang bawa’t bata sa ating mundo
Ay may pangalan, may karapatan
Tumatanda ngunit bata pa rin
Ang bawa’t tao sa ating mundo

“Hayaan mong maglaro ang bata sa araw
Kapag umuulan nama’y magtatampisaw
Mahirap man o may kaya
Maputi, kayumanggi
At kahit ano mang uri ka pa
Sa ‘yo ang mundo pag bata ka

“Ang bawat nilikha sa mundo’y
Minamahal ng panginoon
Ang bawat bata’y may pangalan
May karapatan sa ating mundo


“Hayaan mong bigyan na lang ng pagmamahal
Katulad ng sinadya ng maykapal
Mahirap man o may kaya
Maputi, kayumanggi
At kahit ano mang uri ka pa
Sa ‘yo ang mundo pag bata ka

“Hoo-wa-hoo-wa, la la la…

“Hayaan mong maglaro ang bata sa araw
Kapag umuulan nama’y magtatampisaw
Mahirap man o may kaya
Maputi, kayumanggi
At kahit ano mang uri ka pa
Sa ‘yo ang mundo pag bata ka

“Sa ‘yo ang mundo pag bata ka (5x)

“Ang bawa’t bata sa ating mundo
Ay may pangalan, may karapatan
Tumatanda ngunit bata pa rin
Ang bawa’t tao sa ating mundo
Ang bawat nilikha sa mundo’y
Minamahal ng panginoon…”

No to coal. Photo credit: Greenpeace

It was nice to reaffirm that Palaweños, particularly the people of Aborlan, are eco-friendly and eco-conscious individuals. It means they love the environment as much as their lives. The future of their children is proportional to that awareness which is inherited from the past generations. I can say that Palawan still pride itself as the last ecological frontier, not until the DMCI and PALECO joined forces to build a coal power plant there that poses health and environmental risks.

It is thanks to the social media and social networking sites that anyone in the corner of the world keeps updated with relevant information. Facebook, for example, helps me to get the latest information regarding that proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant in which local residents are fighting against. My Alma Mater got my attention as news broke out when students organized rallies and marched to protest the proposed coal plant. Western Philippines University (WPU) together with representatives from civil society, and Aborlan locals participated to show their opposition. Dr. Lita Sopsop, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the university is one among those who are in the forefront of this undertaking. I gave her due respect and admiration for her unselfish initiative. Keep up Maam Lita and may God bless you.

Facebook group “ANAK NG ABORLAN” with 900 plus members has various reactions regarding the issue which concerns everyone for most members are from Aborlan. And I support their campaign for Coal-Free Municipality. As a son of Aborlan myself, I was against this move by the influential parties. Aborlan wants electricity which is not only cheap, but clean energy. To build a coal plant in a place Palaweños have worked so hard to conserve for so many years is not morally justifiable, when cheaper, cleaner alternatives are available, especially with the looming threat of climate change.

Aside from that, Palawan, the “last ecological frontier” of the Philippines, was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1990, classifying the province as a “site of excellence where new and optimal practices to manage nature and human activities are tested and demonstrated.” Visit this link:

What more we need to know?

It is alarming to note that a 2002 report found that Tennessee’s Kingston Fossil Plant, the site of the December 22nd coal sludge spilled, has had persistent problems with public health. The report, written by Abt Associates for the Environmental Integrity Project and Rockefeller Family Fund, found that pollution from the plant cut short the lives between 149 and 171 people in 2001.

The report is available at

According to a WWF-Philippines news release, Palawan, touted as the Philippines’ final ecological frontier, may lose its status as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve if the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant pushes through in the province.

Clean Carbon: A False Hope

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) aims to reduce the climate impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from power station smokestacks and disposing of it underground. Its future development has been widely promoted by the coal industry as a justification for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. However, the technology is largely unproven and will not be ready in time to save the climate. Please read the “False Hope” – Greenpeace report on “clean” coal:

For more information about coal, read this report “Dirty Air, Dirty Power” – Clean Air Task Force report on health impacts from coal:

“Energy [R]evolution” – Greenpeace report on transition to clean energy is also useful information. Read this report

Myths About Coal

In an effort to justify their means, the proponents of the project promoted unfounded claims that:

  • Renewable energies are expensive but in truth solar and wind power are becoming cheaper as technology improves.
  • Palawan has no renewable means of energy when in fact there are multiple DOE-approved RE sites/options available on Palawan, from solar, to wind and hydro.
  • “Clean Coal”- is not true in the essence of environmental concerns.
  • A coal power plant will end the brownouts. No it can’t, even though it has been a long burden to this first class municipality of Palawan.

Our hope

If DMCI is suffering from losses as coal business sags, it should not be justifiable to focus and look for power generation only to boost profit – especially not here in our beloved place. A business is good only if due respect is given to the Mother Earth and the environment and when it respect the sanctity of life.

The Palawan is an archipelago composed of more than 1,700 islands endowed with rich natural resources and highly diverse flora and fauna found in both land and sea. Palawan also holds two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park and the Puerto Princesa Underground River that we treasured most. They are our legacy to keep for the generations to come. I want Palawan to maintain its status as the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier”. Let’s keep it that way!

If the coal plant developer failed get local LGU endorsement in Narra where it was originally intended to be put up, why we allow its transfer to Aborlan? Do our local leaders not as keen as those of Narra’s LGU when it comes to environmental protection and life preservations?






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