The nearly lost art of note-taking, post-Yolanda

The nearly lost art of note taking by hand
The nearly lost art of note taking by hand, post-Yolanda.

I’ve been trying to step successively into the shoes, first of Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez, and next of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, without any prejudices whatsoever, and just try to understand what their problem was, really. I mean, there was a national emergency raging outside that room, everyone was waiting for their marching orders, and here were two presumably intelligent government officials trying to set the terms of reference in responding to the post-Yolanda emergency. It took them at least 45 minutes to try to agree on their TOR, and they finished not reaching any crucial agreement. What WAS their problem? Continue reading “The nearly lost art of note-taking, post-Yolanda”

A myth called Pinoy summer (1)

Author’s note: This was first published on 18 May 2003 under my Pathless Travels column published by Northern Dispatch (Nordis) Weekly. I’m reposting it here in three parts, with some revisions to update my own understanding of the issue, and to make it more timely. Read Part 2 here.
Philippine climate map
Philippine climate map showing the country divided into four zones with distinct climate types. Source: Wikipedia

After a couple of false starts, I guess we can now safely welcome the onset of that relentless stretch of scorching days we call “Philippine summer.” You know, school’s out, need to beat the heat, so everyone and their dog head to the beaches or to the mountains.

Invariably, planning one’s summer itinerary soon leads to more talk about the coming rains and one’s school plans at the end of the so-called “Philippine summer.” Invariably, too, the changing of the seasons also revives the long-standing suggestion of changing the Philippine school calendar so that classes start in September instead of June.

The usual argument is that, supposedly, the rainy season is at its heaviest —and thus most disruptive of classes — during the months of June, July and August. Hence the presumed advantage of starting the school year in September.

The other side of the debate objects to the idea, realizing that the proposal will turn April, May and June into school months. “You policy freaks are so killjoy. Get a life! Summer is for kids, so let them enjoy it without worrying about classes,” they will argue. The presumption, of course, is that there’s an unchanging, non-negotiable Pinoy summer.

Continue reading “A myth called Pinoy summer (1)”

Awesome storms and our obsession with landfalls

Author’s note: This article was first published on my GMANews.TV blog in October 2009. I felt that it remained relevant and so decided to revise and re-submit it to Nordis Weekly. Now that residents of Luzon have just gone through destructive typhoon Pedring, it seems appropriate to report it again, this time in my own Iraia blog.
An airplane's view of the wall of clouds that line the eye of a cyclone. Within the wall, the weather is calm and clear. Notice the blue sky seen from inside the eye. Photo from NOAA.

It is typhoon season once more, and those of us in media who have to file reports on a daily or hourly basis know how it is to be on typhoon-tracking mode—to be familiar with PAGASA terminology, to have some sense of geography, and to be on our toes for those instant weather bulletins.

This triggers in me a memorable if somewhat tragic time in October 2009, when my colleagues and I at GMA News Online were trying to keep up with reportage on two successive typhoons, Pepeng and Ramil. Continue reading “Awesome storms and our obsession with landfalls”