Items filtered by date: Thursday, 02 March 2017

Fajardo takes home 4th All-Filipino Best Player award

June Mar Fajardo continues to etch his legend among the league’s greats.The ever-humble Cebuano giant rewrote the history books anew, winning his fifth Best Player of the Conference award on Friday.
The honor allowed Fajardo to tie the record set by Beermen great Danny Ildefonso, who also won five BPC awards in his 17-year career.

The 6-foot-10 big ma can’t help but be overwhelmed with the distinction he now shares with his mentor.
“Of course, I feel proud because I don’t expect that I can match him. I just feel really happy,” said Fajardo in Filipino.
Averaging 19.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.5 assists, Fajardo has once again stamped his class among the locals, winning his fourth BPC plum in an all-Filipino conference.
And after helping San Miguel reach the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, it’s all but a lock that the three-time PBA Most Valuable Player adds another hardware to his already loaded trophy collection.
Fajardo netted 1217 votes to nab the crown, besting fellow candidates GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo, Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, and teammates Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos.
However, Fajardo’s goal remains the same: to help give San Miguel its third straight Philippine Cup and claim the Perpetual trophy.
“I’m thankful, but it’s better if all of us are happy so I really want to be a champion again.”

Romeo was at distant second in the BPC race with 711 votes, followed by Cabagnot (556 votes), Santos (381 votes), and Abueva (370 votes).

  • Published in Sports


Spring is a great time for enjoying the trails in the East Bay Regional Parks. The hills are green, wildlife abounds, and all kinds of wildflowers are starting to appear.Unfortunately, another appearance is trash left behind by park visitors. While walking the trails myself, I’ve noticed especially lots of discarded plastic water bottles and citrus fruit peels.The plastic bottles weigh less empty than they do full. Moreover you can squash and roll them so they take up little room, then deposit them in the green recycle bins that are found at many trailheads.People sometimes believe that orange peels will biodegrade. That’s true, but it takes a really long time. Meanwhile, the peels present an unsightly mess. Animals don’t like their taste any more than we do. And citrus detritus is not a natural part of the environment.So please pack out any litter that you generate while in the regional parks and encourage others to do the same. The plastic bags in which newspapers are delivered during the rainy season make handy, waterproof receptacles.* * *Spring brings a bouquet of naturalist-led activities. There’s lots to choose from in the coming week. Here are some possibilities:Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley has a “Delta Discoveries” program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Drop in any time for hands-on arts and crafts activities with a natural history theme.Or you can help the staff test the Delta water from 9 to 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Results go into a regional database used by scientists and water managers.“Dawn Chorus Yoga” will be offered at Big Break from 7 to 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 4 and again on April 1. Bring a yoga mat if you have one, and join in movement, breathing and meditation.Big Break is located on Big Break Road off Oakley’s Main Street. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 3050.* * *Many miners and their families who lived and worked in what is now Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.Learn about their lives during a naturalist-led walk to the cemetery from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5. Meet in the parking lot at the upper end of Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4 in Antioch.Rain cancels the program. For information, call 888-327-2757, ext. 2750

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Naturalist “Trail Gail” Broesder will lead one of her “Footloose Friday” hikes from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at Briones Reservoir. This is a long one, 13 miles through woods and fields.It will take place rain or shine, though heavy rain or mud may shorten it. Meet at the Briones Overlook staging area, which is on Bear Creek Road several miles east of theintersection with San Pablo Dam Road in Orinda.Gail also plans a “canine capers” dog walk from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 at Briones Regional Park. You don’t need a dog to participate, but if you have a furry friend, bring water and treats for him or her. The group will cover six hilly miles, starting at the Alhambra Creek staging area off Reliez Valley Road south of Martinez.For information and directions on either of Gail’s hikes, call 510-544-2233.* * *Little kids can learn how to care for little animals during a program from 10 to 10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Little Farm in Tilden Nature Area near Berkeley. And pigs will be the focus of a “talk with the animals” program from 11 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 5 at the Little Farm. The program features a different animal each Sunday.The Little Farm is at the north end of Tilden’s Central Park Drive, accessible via Canon Drive from Grizzly Peak Boulevard in Berkeley. For information, call 510-544-2233.

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Stories, songs and habitat exploration are all part of a program from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4 at Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda, led by naturalist Morgan Dill.Crab Cove is at the end of McKay Avenue off Alameda’s Central Avenue. For information, call 510-544-3187.* * *Snakes are the stars of a program from 10 a.m. to noon and repeating from 1:30 to3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, led by naturalistDino Labiste. Learn all about snakes and make a snake spiral craft to take home.Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. For information, call 510-544-3220.* * *Find out more about the regional parks and their nature programs at the district website,


South San Francisco Senior ServicesSENIOR HEALTH & FITNESS FAIR

South San Francisco Senior Services will conduct their 20th annual free Senior Health &Fitness Fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, March 10, 2017, at the Municipal ServicesBuilding, 33 Arroyo Drive, South San Francisco.The Senior Health & Fitness Fair is sponsored by the City of South San Francisco SeniorServices Division of the Parks & Recreation Department and co-sponsored by KaiserPermanente, Westborough Royale Assisted Living and Health Plan of San Mateo. The event includes: Free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and glaucoma.  Information on emotional well-being and medication safety. Tips on dealing with women’s and men’s health issues and preparing an advance health directive. Suggestions on nutrition, skin care and allergies.


 More than 70 resources including Always Best Care, HICAP (Insurance Counseling), Legal Aid Society, Medical Care Professionals, South San Francisco Police & Fire Departments, HIP Housing and much, much more!The event is open to seniors on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, call(650) 829-3820 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..###February 25, 201

  • Published in Health

What was never predicted: A 'first' ever in Oscar history

The team for what was called the 'odds-on' favorite musical "La La Land," was conveying its numerous 'thank-you' greetings on stage; but in a few minutes, there was an announcement that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had called on the wrong winner.
"Moonlight," categorized as the 'underdog coming-of-age story,' was the correct winner.
An apology emanated from the accountants, Price Waterhouse Cooper.
What called attention to "Moonlight" was the diversity of the prize-winning picture, which included Mahershala Ali, the first Muslim actor to win the award as best supporting actor.
As he opened the program, Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars host, poked fun at President Trump.
The show's late-night host evidently did not keep himself away from calling one Oscar-winner Mel Gibson, whom Kimmel called "the only one 'Braveheart' in the room.
"And he's not going to unite us either," the host added in the midst of laughter that filled the audience.
Kimmel turned serious when he stated that if each one watching right now "took a moment to reach out to one person you disagree with and have a positive, considerate conversation...we could really make America great again."
His initial crack on Trump was to thank him because. "remember when last year the Oscars were considered racist?"
Returning to the Oscar winners: "Moonlight" was known to have 'the devastating vulnerability of its protagonist, and filmmaker Barry Jenkins' brilliant writing and visionary direction.'
What was usually related to past Academy Award winners reflected artistic excellence. Yet, in recent years, subtlety has been part of the awardees as they accepted their respective acclaims: how America's identity is being disseminated around the globe.
As word has been heard from various film critics, the year's Oscars were 'guaranteed' to be more 'inclusive' than in past years.
Seven actors of color received nominations for their performances; those that came up for 'best picture,' aside from "Moonlight," were "Hidden Figures," and "Fences."
Films about the white working class: "Hell or High Water;" "Manchester by the Sea;" "Hacksaw Ridge," a female 'academic' dealing with extraterrestrial visitors; "Arrival," a little boy on his own as he survived in India via "Lion." Not to forget, how about the numbers of those 'kids' singing and dancing that made "La La Land" the way it turned out to be?
"Manchester by the Sea," is indeed lauded for being a 'masterpiece of screenwriting,' hence, the star Casey Affleck, who garnered 'the best actor of the year,' award did not come as a surprise at all.
"Fences" star, Viola Davis, who won the Oscar for her supporting role underscored her country's earned reputation: the United States remains in the forefront: as a champion of fairness, humanism and self-awareness. May the latter description of America be perpetuated, was the essence of Davis' performance.
The emceeing role of Kimmel closed with: "Some of you will win tonight and give a speech that the president of the U.S. will tweet about in all caps."
As what was never expected: "Moonlight" won the best picture after "La La Land' had been announced mistakenly.
The error, fortunately, was corrected as fast as change on the stage could muster.


The complexities of political colors

The Filipino people were united in toppling the Marcos dictatorship during the 1986 EDSA Revolt. Fast forward to February 25, 2017 and we witnessed the anti-dictatorship movement gather at the People Power Monument in EDSA while supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed the EDSA commemoration by organizing at the Quirino Grandstand. The colors that stood-out prominently in both venues mirror the current social order in the Philippines. “Fighting colors” are more common in collegiate sports and cheering competitions than in politics. College teams in the Philippines carry their respective colors with pride (i.e. Ateneo Blue Eagles, La Salle Green Archers, UST Golden Tigers, UP Maroons, and San Beda Red Lions). In Philippine politics, the most common and often used colors by political parties and candidates after World War II were red, white, and blue. This was an easy choice because these are the colors of Philippine flag. Regardless of party affiliations, candidates want to present themselves as “pillars of patriotism” and “promoters of nationalistic ideals.” Before Martial Law was declared, the two main political parties (Liberal Party andthe Nacionalista Party) were very much alike in their party emblems and political platforms. Both were also represented by the elite who tried to maintain the status quo.

The only group that challenged the then elite-dominated government was the underground Communist Party of the Philippines (“CPP”) who had strong support among the students, workers, peasants, and the urban poor. The CPP carried the color red which in the Philippine context is associated with protests and uprisings. Red is the fighting color of the revolutionary Katipunan, the Pulahanes, of many millenarian movement, of progressive trade unions like the Kilusang Mayo Uno, and of the militant youth groups Kabataang Makabayan and the League of Filipino Students. During the time of Martial Law and the New Society Movement (Kilusang BagongLipunan), then President Ferdinand Marcos took the political colors of the two-party system and consolidated them into one--- he also consolidated a faction of the Philippine elite. With the people silenced by violence and fear, the only consistent challenge to Marcos again came from the


Driven away from Scarborough Shoal, Filipino fishermen now train in China

MANILA – Leonardo Cuaresma, leader of a fisherfolk organization in Masinloc, Zambales, spent the beginning of 2017 surveying the fishing sites in the province of Guangdong in China, at one point even riding a Chinese coastguard ship along with 15 other Filipino fishermen.
This is the very same ship which at mere sight, had raised fear among members of Cuaresma’s organization, some of whom were attacked with water cannons by the Chinese coastguard in January 2014.
This incident, among others, signaled the growing tension between China and the Philippines over the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, where Panatag Shoal, (also called Bajo de Masinloc and Scarborough Shoal) lies. The two have claimed ownership over the resource-rich area.
But in January 2017, Cuaresma and other Filipino fishermen who ventured in the disputed waters of Panatag Shoal and Spratly Islands in Palawan (5 participants hailed from Region III or Central Luzon and 11 others came from Region IV-B where Palawan is) – were not sent away by this ship; it instead took them to fishing havens in China to expose them to Beijing’s fisheries technology.
“We rode in the ship of [the] maritime coastguard. From the shoreline up to 200 nautical miles, [you can see] fish cages,” Cuaresma, the leader of Nilalamo A Asosyanon Nin Maninilay Ha Babalin Masinloc (NAMBM Inc) or Federated Association of Fisherfolk in Masinloc, said.
It was a gesture of goodwill, one that could not be expected from China 4 years ago, when the Philippines lodged a case against the military and economic behemoth before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Philippines said China’s nine-dash line is an invalid basis for its maritime claim over the West Philippine Sea.
In July 2016, the Philippines won; China did not recognize the ruling.
In spite of this, President Rodrigo Duterte moved to develop warmer ties with Beijing partly because Manila could not match China’s military might. It was also a consequence of his decision to veer away from the United States, the Philippines’ longstanding ally.
The Philippines, along with the 9 other member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 3 of which are also claimants of parts of the South China Sea (Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei) now aim to finalize a framework for the Code of Conduct over the area by June. This was announced on February 21 as ASEAN foreign ministers held a meeting in Boracay.
But outside the diplomatic arena, China’s decision to


Transport strike: Why pick on jeepneys to fix traffic problems?

MANILA – Jeepney drivers and operators in Metro Manila and key cities across the country halted their operations on Monday, February 27, to protest government proposals to phase out old public utility vehicles (PUVs), especially jeepneys.
Modernizing the Philippines' mass transit system should not necessarily entail getting public utility jeepneys (PUJ) off the streets, they said.
Senate Bill 1284 and House Bill 4334, seeking to modernize the transport sector, are pending.
The protest rally was spearheaded by the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) and affected travel for commuters.
In the Bicol region – specifically in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Camarines Norte – members of the Concerned Drivers and Operators (Condor-Piston) said 95% of local transport operators participated.
They said 100% of local jeepneys and UV Express drivers joined the strike. Condor-PISTON, they said, has 12,000 members.
Ramos Rescovilla of Daraga town said about 3,500 jeepneys halted operations in the region. "Our regionwide transport strike is completely successful with 3,500 unit of jeepneys and 12,000 strong members halted from operations," he said.
The Philippine National Police in Bicol went on full alert. They set up police assistance centers in the region to assist stranded commuters and prevent untoward incidents during the strike.

'Attack on poor drivers'
Francisco Pagayaman, chairman of the urban poor group Kadamay in Northern Mindanao, said the planned disposal of outmoded PUJs would deprive drivers and operators of their livelihood.
“It is an attack on the poor drivers and operators? while the capitalists will benefit from it. The P7 million franchising fee is practically not affordable,” Pagayaman said.
Anakbayan commended jeepney drivers and operators "for their strike that brings back to national consciousness the issue of public mass transport."
It added, "Piston and other participants in today's strike deserve our full support for showing the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Department of Transportation as the agency in charge of public mass transport."
Anakbayan continued, "This is an agency that is quick to police the ranks of jeepney drivers, but is quiet about Uber and Grab surges, accidents involving big bus fleets, abuses by airlines, malpractices by big taxi operations, and outright deception by MRT and LRT consortia."
The Kabataan group, for its part, said that they are not against modernization, but corporations, and not the drivers and operators, stand to benefit from it.
“The drivers have been suffering every time there is an increase in fuel prices due to the

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