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Follow her as she prepares and partakes the "bread for the stomach" in http://beforesixdiet.blogspot.com/ . And while you are full at it, she offers you the "bread for the soul" in her travels by foot and by thoughts in http://footandfire.blogspot.com/ Happy Reading!

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Peach in Jelly Pudding

Peach Slices, drained
Jelly Powder pack
6 cups water and peach syrup

In a serving dish, arrange peach slices (Dole has these). Set aside.
In a deep pan, dissolve jelly powder in a tap water.
Bring to near boil while constantly stirring. Add sugar and stir. Remove from fire.
Pour in the setving dish where the peaches are arranged. Let cool and chill.
Serve as is or cubed and added in a cold iced tea.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Beef and Mushroom Biryani Rice

250gms ground beef
Greek yogurt
Canola oil
2 cups rice
2 cups water
2 packs Asian Gourmet  spice
Carrots, chopped
Chopped oregano
Toasted cashew nuts

Marinate beef in yogurt for 10 minutes
Saute beef in a little oil. Set aside.
In a wok, rinse rice. Add water, turmeric and prepared spice. Bring to boil covered.
Add mushroom and carrots. Cook in low heat. Add hot water to adjust rice absorption to allow it to cook.
Garnish with cashew nuts and chopped oregano. Serve hot.

Squash Ukoy with Tostitos Spinach Dip

Squash, grated (Use steel cheese grater)
2 heads Onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Toasted garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper
Dried Italian herbs and/or turmeric
Canola oil for frying

In a deep bowl, put first six ingredients.
Add oatmeal until manageable to form into patties. Just add flour a little at a time to adjust.
Fry each patty and drain excess oil in a paper towel.
Serve with tomato ketchup or Tostitos Spinach dip.

Posted via Blogaway

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Echegaray did not confess guilt until his death? (Reflections on how cheap lives are these days)

 Why Echegaray did not confess guilt until his death?
(Reflections on how cheap lives are these days)

Anyone can win any argument here whether he espouses Echegary's innocence or his guilt. But to put things in a proper perspective, under our criminal justice system, Echegaray was found guilty and thus, he was sentenced to death. But many firsthand accounts from his priest, lawyer and others who came to his side before his state-sanctioned death claim that he did not confess guilt. Since the supposed natural (and thus, expected) reaction of someone facing death is to say the truth, some believed in his innocence. But he did not confess guilt.

I believe that he was guilty, and I always have in mind that his victim is condemned with the ill-effects of the gruesome crime of rape committed to her by her stepfather. But then, he did not confess guilt.

If Echegaray confessed guilt, our society could have had let go of a sigh showing some relief that we did the right thing: Kill him. But then, he did not confess guilt.

I firmly believe that he did not confess guilt because it could be that in the brain of an alcoholic who had a memory lapse, or in the brain of a drug addict whose brain is short-circuited or in the shrinking brain of any criminal who has a substance abuse history, he committed nothing. So we did the right thing to do to Echegaray: Kill him. That ended his story.

But he did not confess guilt.

And that is his gift to our society, to our humanity, to our civilization. We will always reflect on why he did not confess guilt and not rest on the fact that he deserved to die and that justice is served to the victim.

With the present state-sanctioned deaths vis-a-vis the drug campaign espoused by our President, may the latter and his executive arms (that includes me) always keep in mind why Echegaray did not confess guilt. 

And that killing Echegaray ended his story but not ours as a society.

Photo Credit:
Captioned as Seven men on the gallows, sketch by unknown artist, Bolognese school c. 1630
Taken From http://www.executedtoday.com/?s=leo+frank

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mourning, Marshal Law and Marcos in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani

Mourning is a personal closure, since it brings humans to a full circle of birth and death, of comings and goings. When I saw the headline that a sister whose brother was missing during the Martial law era said that "Buti pa si Marcos may bangkay," (Lucky is Marcos, he has a cadaver) I just can't shake it off from my thoughts.

I lost my father this year and I am still finding myself some comfort in knowing that he rested from the physical pains. I know he died and I know we ushered him to a resting place. These thoughts actually comfort me. Thus, putting myself in that sister's shoe, I just can't imagine myself mourning without a closure. Perhaps, she will always mourn until she can no longer mourn.

There are many personal stories of loss and unnecessary deaths during the Marshal Law that we just cannot close our eyes and say that the past is past and we should move on as a nation. No, we cannot just do that because there was no positive action from the family of the late Ferdinand Marcos regarding their intention to ask for forgiveness for the human rights violations and there is no moral (if legal is not feasible) restitution of the wealth we lost during the regime. The nation cannot forgive if there is no asking for it. In fact, the insistence of FM being buried in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani is not a national sentiment but only that of the current President (add the Ilocanos there) obviously because Marcos Jr was an ally when he ran for the presidency.

The injuries made during the Marshal law is a historical fact and the fact that one's family was not a direct recipient of human rights violation at that time, it does not mean that Marshal law is a good thing. The Presidential Decrees of FM are still being used today to enforce harmony and I am sure he had lots of good intention for an orderly society but whatever good things marshal law gave us is eclipsed by FM's abuse of power, directly or through his instrumentalities. As a nation, we surely do not want to go through that again. NEVER.

The late president Ferdinand Marcos may be physically buried in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani but we will always tell and retell the stories of the human rights abuses that happened during Marshal law and the many infamies he caused. Go ahead, bury him there. But we will never stop telling the story so we will never forget.

To close, while the Marcos family wanted a heroes' burial for FM, there are many Filipinos who are still looking for a body to bury and put to rest. I just can't imagine the pain they feel from the mere presumption and forced acceptance of the conclusion of the death of their loved ones and the emotional abuses made to them from time to time by false news of unearthed bodies of their relatives, some fortune tellers telling them where to find their loved ones' body for a fee, some emotional blackmailers, and now, some news of forced "moving on" from Marshal law.  

*Photo credit: MARIANNE BERMUDEZ, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Friday, June 24, 2016

Three Poems on Mourning and Healing

Two days before your third month away

You were back.
The vacation must be good:
I did not notice your white hairs
or your blackheads.
And I did not even look at your belly,
or your battered hands.
I just immediately saw you
with your robust cheeks,
all reddish and radiant.
I missed you
but longing melted right away
when I held your warm hands,
and you transfused to me
your joy within.
Did I just see eternal peace?

By Gerlie M. Uy
Copyright June 2016


With my father, 15 April 2016

You were lying on your bed,
And playing with Lola Epyon.
Crisp laughter I heard;
I am not mistaken.
I was surprised you were around
And I came near you.
You stood up beside me;
I touched your bloated belly.
Is it still painful 'Tay?
You said, "Not anymore."
"Oh, in heaven the pain is gone,
But your belly is still bloating," I teased.
Then, I held and kissed your hand;
It was warm and alive.
The kiss left a smile on my lips.
Thank you for visiting me
In my sleep.

By Gerlie M. Uy 
Copyright April 2016


Riding away with the waves

Today, we will go to the sea
and have a piece of your belongings
ride away with the waves
so that you will leave in peace.
This may free you
from the burden of our worldly sorrows,
from the heaviness of our longings,
from the bondage of our thoughts,
from many what ifs when you're alive,
from many unfinished business to do,
from many plans we still wish to pursue with you.
Today, we will go to the sea
and have a piece of your belongings
ride away with the waves.
This may free us too.

By Gerlie M. Uy 
Copyright April 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Farewell To Our Father

Our relationship with our father was one made of love and hate.

We loved him deeply for taking care of us first. He wanted to be a teacher but stayed in the well-paid job of being a policeman until he retired. He proved that work can go well with family first policy. That is why with his salary and loans and augmented by our mother's, he raised us all five children well with good education. He was a devoted husband to our mother, a gift he also indirectly showered us. He was a generous giver because it was a joy for him to give us P500 or P1000 every time he received financial blessings. He made our education a priority, a lifetime investment he staked in, that he even extended that to our relatives who wanted to study. He loved to put us to his “fattening” or “feeding” program because he enjoyed cooking for us because according to him we should be well-fed and not sickly (and grow up tall), a way of living he shared with us until he was diagnosed with cancer November of last year.

But yes, we also hated him. We hated him for his NOT taking good care of himself. His battle with alcohol was almost a life-long struggle. He almost died in 2002 for liver cirrhosis. Miracle was given him when he was able to recover, even his doctor was surprised. About five years after that, he went back to alcohol. His body was not tolerating alcohol and the devastating effect of his alcohol use slowly seepped in until the day he left us. We went to and fro the hospital for many complaints about his health, the underlying reasons of which were his alcohol consumption. I will not deny that he betrayed and hurt us many times in the process of NOT taking care of his own health, by going back and forth to alcohol. We all agree that he lost his battle, not with cancer, but with alcohol. But in the end, he was still graced with a graceful exit. He peacefully slept. Thank you, Lord.

But then, in the end, love wins. We now cry out loud for what we most loved about him. He is now in every glass or mug we use (We should put it in the sink after use). He is in every kitchen knife we use (We should return it to its place after use). He is in every pot and pan in our house (We should clean them after use as they have life of their own). He is in every chop suey, linaga or pochero we partake (That is our staple dish in the house). He is in every tomato, onion or garlic we buy in the market (Buy it in bulk as it costs more if we buy in retail). He is in every place we head to (We have to bring him a t-shirt with the name of places we visited). He is in the christian songs we sing at the SDA Church as much as in every “Please Release Me” karaoke song.

We may now think that he is in some place we go or some things we see or do but only to understand that he is actually constantly dwelling in the memory of our hearts.

We love you Tatay.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Women in my line: Education shaped the course of our lives

On the left is my Aunt Imelda who inspired this story 
while the woman on the right is my mother. 
Both turned 75 and 65 this year. 
Photo taken in Taoist Temple in Cebu City last year.

I was so sure that my father's zest for education led me to my profession. Become a lawyer so that your signature turns expensive, he would say. But it turned out that I was only partly correct. I learned later on that my story also started from my maternal side through my aunt.

My lola married my lolo, who was ten years her senior, at the age of fifteen. They begot her in 1941. Being the eldest to a stern uneducated farmer and a chinese-garter-playing teenager was a challenge. As parents, they were unorganized, dominant, and unreasonable. It was because they were uneducated. My Lolo finished just his Spanish alphabet equivalent to grade one while my Lola, her grade three.
"Education in my family is a family history. It is worth retelling to a generation which neglects what is readily served to them by their parents."
As early as the age of five, she was being brought along by Lolo in the farm to do farmworks. She started to sow monggo seeds and often got spanked for not doing it correctly. Physical punishments came easy from them. As a child, she felt deprived not only of love but also of material comforts. She understood how hard it was without money. I have no new dresses. While walking from home to school one day during her grade school, she daydreamed of finishing college. This daydreaming continued on despite tiredness from long walks and empty stomach. She had foreseen herself becoming a teacher in the future, and even wished to become a lawyer. At a tender age, she saw the link between education and poverty. How would I eat when I grow up if I got no profession?

Other children were born after her. They were ten all in all. Meanwhile, she graduated from elementary at the age of fifteen but was refused to be sent for high school. The tuition was a hefty P80 then, and there were other children to feed. Above all else, my Lolo subscribed to his neighbor Pancho's reasoning. Why send girls to school when they will end up marrying anyway? My lola had to support her husband's decision. My aunt has to do something.

When she heard that there was a three-month vocational course offered on tailoring and hair perming, she grabbed the opportunity. She asked Lola whether she will send her to high school. Why go to school when you can earn money from what you know now? With sheer determination at sixteen, she went to Manila and worked in a beauty parlor. She excelled in what she did. She was even offered to go to Davao to lead the seminars on hair perming but she did not take that opportunity because she has another thing in her mind. I will go back to Antique to finish my high school.

For three years, she sent money to Lola and Lolo and saved a little. When she went home at nineteen, she expressed her desire to go to high school but once again, she was refused by her parents who should have been her ardent supporters. But she found parenting from her teacher-friends. She was encouraged by teachers, who liked to have their permed hair done by her, to enrol in high school. When she doubted if she can defray the expenses, her patronesses assured her that they will help. You will repay us by having our hairs permed. She enrolled in high school without my Lola's and Lolo's knowledge.

She persevered in her studies and money came easily with her skills in tailoring and hair perming. Lola and Lolo eventually accepted the fact of her enrolment without their blessing. She finished high school at age twenty-four. To make her success sweeter, she finished as salutaturian in her class. My lolo and lola turned out proud of their daughter.

The next challenge is college. While it might have appeared to others as too late for college, she enrolled and took summer classes so that she finished the same a semester ahead. She graduated in Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She passed the board examination and started teaching and earning. Lola and Lolo were regarded highly in the community for having a professional daughter. Her success spelled a big difference to the lot of her other siblings.

My mother, who was born ten years later than my aunt, was sent to elementary and high school without hesitation. She stopped for one year after being caught by my Lolo entertaining a boyfriend but failing to prepare the supper. However, she was given a second chance the next school year. When it was her turn to go to college, this time, my Lola asked my aunt whether to send her or not. She should be sent to college; I'll help you out. My mother became a social worker.

I wanted to say that the rest is history. But I just can't.

What if my aunt did not fight for her right to education? What if my aunt failed in her attempt to finish what she started? What if my aunt got married in the middle of her quest? Will my mother go to school too? Will my mother be able to meet my father who was her co-worker? Will I ever be born? Will I be sent to school too?

Education in my family is a family history. It is worth retelling to a generation which neglects what is readily served to them by their parents.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

TIKUM KADLUM (The Enchanted Dog, The First of the Ten Epics of Panay Bukidnon)

At the house.
One day, Bulawanon engaged the help of Tikum Kadlum, a hunting dog with the gift of sensing the spirits, in cooking rice for his husband Paiburong and his brother Dumaraog who will be going hunting. When the rice was cooked, the brothers ate fast. Then, while Bulawanon packed the betel nut for her husband, Paiburong and Dumaraog dressed themselves, with Dumaraog suggesting they match their sashes and belts, since he is his brother's loyal protector. To complete their hunting preparations, the two brought out their long-bladed sharp knives, shields, spears, and lances from their gold chest and wall hanger. When everything is set, Paiburong bade goodbye to his wife, Bulawanon, who reminded her husband to be careful as he might meet in the forest one named Makabagting, who is accompanied by a man-eating woman called Muwa. Makabagting is a nobleman and a warrior who is widely known as having tasted human flesh. Paiburong went out of his house, and he heard a sound. It warned him of some bad luck ahead. He ignored the omen and called for Tikum Kadlum, and the three headed to the forest as planned.

At the forest.
The brothers reached the hunting grounds in the forest. Nothing was heard by either of them but the incessant barks of Tikum Kadlum. The brothers were wondering what was the dog seeing. Paiburong and Dumaraog wielded their weapons and rushed to where Tikum Kadlum was, only to find out that there was nothing in his midst except the Buriraw, a golden bamboo tree, which he kept looking up to. Paiburong declared that he will cut down the bamboo tree because Tikum Kadlum appears like a fool gazing up to its tip where the burugsak or the golden bell is tied, and he would not leave it and even incessantly circles the same. Dumaraog stopped his brother and reminded him that he was warned of a bad luck earlier but still Paiburong can never be held back. Paiburong cut the Buriraw and there was a series of bursting sounds. The burugsak attached to the window of Makabagting sounded off.

Makabagting has awaken.
Makabagting, whose chest measures seven stretches of one's thumb and pointfinger, got angry. His Muwa was also awakened and declared that she will shred into pieces the culprit who cut down Makabagting's buriraw. Makabagting explained that the Buriraw tied with a burugsak has a tuos or sacred promise to his ancestors Makalikbo and Luon-luon, so that whoever cuts it or bends it shall exchange it with his life. The Muwa repeated what Makabagting has just explained. This revelation made Paiburong tremble with fear, and Makabagting reached for Paiburong. Dumaraog interrupted, apologized and pleaded for mercy. He insisted that they have no knowledge that the Buriraw tied with a burugsak has a tuos.

In lieu of Paiburong's life.
Makabagting, whose chest measures seven stretches of one's thumb and pointfinger, felt mercy towards Paiburong and decided to spare him his life. Then the Muwa declared that in return, Paiburong should offer his two daughters as payment. Right there and then, Paiburong and Makabagting agreed as to the month when the latter will come back for his daughters and the former can take the cut Buriraw home with him as he has exchanged it already with his daughters. Makabagting and the Muwa left for their home. Dumalaog hurried up Paiburong in completely cutting down the Buriraw which he has exchanged with his daughters. And thereafter, the latter called for Tikum Kadlum.

Back to the house.
Paiburong climbed up the steps of his house with a heavy heart. Bulawanon suspected that something was wrong and started to ask questions. Dumaraog made Bulawanon sit down first. He then narrated that "Tikum Kadlum was barking incessantly towards the tip of the Buriraw and even encircled the same as if he hears a Binanog or an eagle-immitating dance and Paiburong decided to cut down the same and bursting sounds from the bell attached to Makabagting's window were heard and it turned out that the Buriraw has a tuos because Makabagting inherited the same from his ancestors. Not long after, Makabagting arrived together with his Muwa. Paiburong pleaded for mercy. Makabagting spared his life but he has to give him their daughters." Upon hearing the story, Bulawanon weeped and asked Paiburong why he did not challenge Makabagting when he is the courageous one and why he did not offer his life when he is already old anyway and finally, why he allowed her two cherished daughters to be taken in exchange.

The time has come.
The marked day of the month when Makabagting had to come for Matan-ayon and Suranggaon, the two daughters of Paiburong and Bulawanon, had finally arrived. Bulawanon was thinking of ways to spare her daughters from being taken away. She bathed her daughters with Tagom, a plant with blue violet dye and placed them by the stove. Bulawanon bathed her maidservant and slave, and dressed them with beautiful clothes and let them lay down in the hammock. Then the Muwa and Makabagting arrived. Makabagting looked for the daughters whom Paiburong had exchanged with his Buriraw. Bulawanon, hiding her grin, pointed at the hammocks where her maidservant and slave were. Makabagting would not believe that they were her daughters. Bulawanon challenged him to look around the rooms to verify whether she keeps her daughters. Makabagting caught a big housefly and the Muwa tied it with her hair and the fly glided around and the Muwa told the fly to look for the daughters of Bulawanon. The Uwa declared that whoever the fly land to, they are the daughters of Bulawanon. And the huge housefly landed on Matan-ayon first and then to Suranggaon who were situated on the side of the dirty kitchen. Buluwanon pleaded to spare her daughters as she could not live without them. Paiburong comforted Buluwanon and explained that he could not do anything as their fates were already written on their palms. The Muwa left and Makabagting left carrying Matan-ayon and Suranggaon on his neck and shoulder.

Inside the enchanted cave.
Makabagting arrived home with Matan-ayon and Suranggaon and he instructed his Muwa sister named Amburukay to boil water in a kawa or giant wok in order to cook them. Instead, Amburukay welcomed the two maidens and she placed the two on her breast, and then, she told her elder brother that she will keep them in the house and make them as her binukot or well-kept maidens. She told Makabagting that she will hide them inside the golden chamber inside the enchanted cave.

Amburukay's motherly instinct.
Amburukay paced back and forth since she could not contain her joy for having her two daughters. She bathed them in the kawa and dressed them elaborately with her own clothes. She also decorated them with all of her accessories. She made them stand, place their hands on both waists, and walk while swaying their hips. She then stared at them and followed them with her eyes; she has nothing bad to say about them. They are all perfect for her. The two will be her playthings.

Amburukay's Tu-os.
She made a tu-os on the two maidens. Amburukay pledged that whoever can get or take hold of her golden pubic hair which she inherited from Luon-luon, he will pay it with his life, but if he is a good-looking man, he will be the two maiden's husband. Then, she kept Matan-ayon and Suranggaon inside the locked golden chamber inside her cave.

Amburukay leaves the enchanted cave.
She would always check on the two binukot Matan-ayon and Suranggaon inside the golden chamber inside her cave everyday. She derived joy in looking at them. She would always feed them and make them sleep on her two laps. In some days, Amburukay would request the two maidens to take the lice off her head by the window. Amburukay would then contemplate about the future of her two daughters. She forbade Makabagting to get inside the chamber where she keeps them because he might fall in love with her binukot. Amburukay told Makabagting about her tu-os. She weeped upon thinking about the future of her two daughters and her wish to go back to the forest. She said that whoever has the fate of having her daughters as his wives will have pride in them. According to Amburukay, she will just return to the forest because she is not used to sleep in a room and when she is in the woods, she would just gather snails and turtles. But whenever she will be called for, she will come like rain drops by the porch.

*Retelling of the story is based on this blogger's personal understanding of the Contemporary Kinaray-a translation of the Archaic Kinaray-a in the Book 1 of Epics of Panay entitled, Tikum Kadlum, as told by Federico Caballero and Teresita Caballero-Castor with Dr. Alicia Magos as chief translator and published by UP Press. Copyright 2014

UP Press
UP Campos, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. Nos. 925-3243; 926-6642
Email: press@up.edu.ph
Website: uppress.com.ph

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tikum Kadlum (First of the ten epics of Panay as told by the Panay Bukidnon of Calinog, Iloilo)

Tikum Kadlum is the first epic out of ten epics of Panay as told by the Panay Bukidnon of Calinog, Iloilo. This is my first read. There are ten (10) books all in all which are all interrelated. I believe each epic can be told independently of the others but the whole story can be appreciated if read according to the sequence of the series. Like when I finished Tikum Kadlum, another character Amburukay is introduced and thus, the book two is titled in her name.

The book is presented as a transcription of the chants as told/sang by GAMABA Federico Caballero and his sister Teresita Caballero-Castor in archaic Kinaray-a. In a table form, the archaic kinaray-a is then translated to contemporary kinaray-a, then Filipino, then English.

The single best accomplishment of this book is that it is a published documentation of the chant in archaic language. I am not sure if it can hold the interest of those who reads in Filipino or English because as for me, I appreciated the reading more because of the contemporary Kinaray-a. It also may have helped that I was able to witness how a chanting is performed during one Saturday at the School of the Living Tradition (SLT) in the Panay Bukidnon's community. I shall be sharing the video soon. 

Nevertheless, the books are really treasures in a chest which we should all be opening. I recommend that we buy one to support the future publication of the seven more books. I found some online site selling this book. But I got mine (Thanks to my cousin!) directly from UP. Visit

UP Press
UP Campos, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. Nos. 925-3243; 926-6642
Email: press@up.edu.ph
Website: uppress.com.ph

The two other available books are Amburukay and Derikaryong Pada. Shall blog on the story of Tikum Kadlum as soon as I can finalize it! 

Happy Long Weekend...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Whale Shark's Tale (Inspired by the Butanding of Oslob, Cebu)

I did not know 
that you were aching 
to see my spotted Samson-like muscles 
in your waking hours.  
Each day, I pass by your shore 
and I do not mind you 
because I am on a mission.
I am no Samson of your circus; 
I was born to filter the waters 
that is the source of your life. 
I am nature's Ecosystem Engineer.
Yet you simply admire my monstrosity, 
and perhaps, you are only attracted 
by the danger attached to my last name. 
Do not be fooled. 
My bloodline is sure made to fiercely bite
while I was created to humbly clear your waters. 
You lure me with your tiny reddish catch everyday 
and I tend to heed your altogether generous and alluring call.
You captivate me, I must admit.
But I have to quickly shake myself 
from this madness: 
If I continue being with you this way, 
I will let your waters get red. 
And I will lose you.

*Copyright 2016 Gerlie M. Uy
Inspired by my two visits in Oslob, Cebu in 2015
and the reason why I didn't swam with the butandings.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Of Moby Dick and Whale Sharks or Butanding of Oslob, Cebu

Owing to the new year's long holiday, I was able to watch "In the Heart of the Sea" (2015) which is a fictional narration of a true event that is supposed to be the inspiration of Herman Melville's book we now know as "Moby Dick." It is a story of how sailors braved the seas searching for oil by capturing whales and extracting oil from them on board only to be met by a big whale that destroyed their ship. Some sailors survived, but not without doing the unthinkable. By the end of the 1800's the whaling industry which provided whale oils used for oil lamps and soap is already giving way to kerosene and vegetable oils by the start of the 1900s. Whaling is now generally banned worldwide.

The movie made me think back to the Whale Sharks of Oslob, Cebu, Philippines. I did not swam with the Whale Sharks or Butandings after reading an article that such tourism industry being promoted by Oslob is actually not animal-friendly because it makes the whale sharks dependent to the shrimps being fed by the boatmen to lure them to go near the shore so that tourists can take closer look at the Butanding and take photos with the giant fish behind. If this industry continues, the baby whale sharks will no longer know how to feed themselves. This is a bane because whale sharks are already a vulnerable species.

How do whale sharks feed themselves? 

With that limited information in mind, I tried to look further. Whale sharks are filter feeder, which means that they strain their prey from the water column. Filter-feeding mechanism of whale shark is when the big fish sucks in a mouthful of water, closes its mouth and expels the water through its gills and during the slight delay between closing the mouth and opening the gill flaps, plankton is trapped against the dermal denticles which line its gill plates and pharynx. 

This fine sieve-like apparatus, a unique modification of the gill rakers, prevents the passage of anything but fluid out through the gills (anything above 2 to 3 mm in diameter is trapped). Any material caught in the filter between the gill bars is swallowed. Whale sharks have been observed "coughing" and it is presumed that this is a method of clearing a buildup of food particles in the gill rakers.

It is known that filter feeders can play an important role in clarifying water, and are therefore considered ecosystem engineers. Thus, filter feeders help clarify the ocean waters and a natural check to the deadly red tides.

Implication to the booming tourism industry of Oslob

If the whale sharks are lured by boatmen with ready shrimp feeds every day, I believe the purpose of the natural feeding mechanism of the whale sharks will be defeated. They will no longer look for areas with planktons and other tiny organism to filter but head straight to where food is readily available and they will no longer filter the ocean because they are already full with readily available food.  

Another point is when the baby whale sharks are dependent to the feeding already and will no longer know how to effectively filter-feed, it could be disruptive to the ecosystem (read: red tides), and also threaten their survival.

Observations in Oslob

Earlier photo posts on whale sharks consist of playing with it and even riding on top of the big fish. Such actions are now being policed by the association of boatmen and sea wardens and punished by an ordinance. The penalty of touching the whale shark is P2,500 fine or an imprisonment of four to six months. Marine biologists and sea wardens are watching under the sea.

I believe the organizing of the boatmen and the local people working for the tourist industry of Oslob is admirable. Rather than letting the free lancer boatmen race in finding whale sharks, it is better that the same be regulated. The synchronized movements of the boatmen pushing the boats to the sea and their manning and rowing the boat are also rewarding to watch.

Other tourist attractions when in Oslob

Aside from the the whale sharks, there are actually interesting things to do in Oslob and its neighboring towns. From Boljoon, one can visit the old church which houses the museum where a pre-hispanic excavation pieces are displayed, pass by the Baluarte of Oslob where an Immaculate Concepcion church and an unfinished Cuartel lends beauty to the shoreline. Also, there are a series of falls to go to. We went to Aguinid Falls which is located a little farther from Santander and I highly recommend it! Of course, the Sumilon Island is just a wink away from Oslob where a marine sanctuary is located...

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