Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Philippines Newly Acquired First High-Tech Ambulance Hospital Ship for the Red Cross- Commissioned

MV Amazing Grace
The Philippine Red Cross’ first and only humanitarian ship, formerly a ferry owned by the Mat-Su Borough, will be used as a marine ambulance and disaster response vessel. (Philippine Red Cross via Facebook)

Troubled Mat-Su ferry gets a new name in the Philippines, leaving its checkered past behind

The former Mat-Su ferry known as Susitna has a new name: M/V Amazing Grace and recently commissioned in the Philippines.

That's the name bestowed upon the ferry after a naming contest conducted by the ferry's new owner, the Philippine Red Cross.

The organization revealed the name at a press conference Monday in Manila attended by Red Cross dignitaries from several countries including Japan, Germany and the United States. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday christened what Red Cross calls the country's first and only humanitarian ship to be used as a marine ambulance and disaster response vessel.

The 198-foot vessel started its life as a U.S. Navy prototype acquired in 2011 by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough after the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens wedged an earmark into a Department of Defense spending bill.

Commissioning of MV amazing Grace Ship hospital
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, on Tuesday christened what Red Cross calls the country’s first and only humanitarian ship to be used as a marine ambulance and disaster response vessel. (Philippine Red Cross via Facebook)

The Susitna was transformed from a beach-landing barge with some ice-breaking abilities to a ferry at a Ward Cove shipyard. A $12.3 million federal grant paid for design, engineering and a $4 million ferry terminal at the borough port on Point MacKenzie.

But the high-tech vessel never left the dock, thanks to a combination of funding and political shortcomings.

The borough finally sold the ferry to the Philippine Red Cross last year at a loss: $1.75 million instead of the $6 million borough officials had originally sought.

Officials here liked to call the Susitna the borough's "free" ferry. It wasn't. A combination of grant matching fees, maintenance and repair costs tallied more than $10 million. The Federal Transit Administration in 2013 demanded Mat-Su repay the $12 million grant, but that has yet to be resolved.

The borough is still negotiating with the Federal Transit Administration to lower the grant repayment, borough manager John Moosey said this week. Read more at ADN


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BRITISH Student “RESCUE” to Save the Philippines “Needs help”

Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk
BRITISH Student “RESCUE” to Save the Philippines “Needs help” Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk

Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course


A SEARCH and rescue training course is showcasing what young people can do in Salisbury.

A group of students from Wiltshire College have been working alongside disaster response charity Serve On at Salisbury Fire Station to gain a nationally recognised search and rescue qualification.

They have also been working with Chilmark-based charity Team Rubicon UK.

This is the first time the Search and Rescue Level 1 course, which started last September, has been offered by the college.

Foundation Studies lecturer James Lewis says he has seen the students grow in confidence. He said: “What the students have done here is amazing.”

Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk
 Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk

The students have been able to learn about different aspects of search and rescue from safety and equipment checks to practical techniques including water rescue.

Craig Elson, of Serve On, added: “What we are trying to do for these young people is to give them opportunities and experiences that they wouldn't otherwise get. These young people have a massive amount of untapped enthusiasm and potential, our goal at Serve On is to help them come to realise that fact.

“It has been testing at times, but that's what makes it so rewarding. I have seen these guys and girls grow in confidence and demonstrate some of the capabilities that they have. They can all be justly proud of how far they have come.”

Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk
Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk

It is hoped that four of the students will be able to travel to the Philippines in May where they will help rebuild a school.

But help is needed as it will cost about £3,500 to get them out there.

Mr Lewis said: “They will work with groups of school students doing English, work on community projects, get experience of that culture and exposure to search and rescue teams. We hope to raise the profile of what young people in Salisbury can do and what they are capable of.”

Serve On, Team Rubicon UK, the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation, Manduae City Government, the Congressman from the Philippines Government and various local surgeons and health workers are also due to be involved.

TO HELP

Anyone who would like to sponsor the students' trip to the Philippines is asked to get in touch with Mr Lewis by emailing james.lewis@wiltshire.ac.uk



Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk
Help students reach the Philippines as part of search and research course. Wiltshire College students practice water rescue techniques at the Old Mill in Harnham. Photo: salisburyjournal.co.uk

- Newsquest Media - UK

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Baguio Philippines' Temperature Dropped Down 8 Degree Celsius, Winter-like uptown

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Baguio Philippines' Coldest Temperature Dropped Down 8 Degree Celsius 5:00 AM 15th February 2017. Photo: Inquirer 

Cold, cold Valentine’s Day as mercury dips in Baguio


BAGUIO CITY—Residents woke up on Valentine’s Day looking forward to a day of warmth, only to be greeted by the coldest morning yet this year as the mercury dropped to 8 degrees Celsius at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

School children and office workers were in thick jackets, woolen sweaters and scarves as they streamed out of their homes between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. due to the bitter cold.
“My children refused to take a bath. It was too cold,” said a mother in San Luis village here. “It was so cold I could not even wash the dishes.”

Tuesday was the coldest day so far in 2017, following the 9.2-degree temperature on Sunday and the 9.4 degrees on Monday, said Aljon Tamondong, Baguio weather observer of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) station here.
Tuesday’s cold weather exceeded the 8.1-degrees-Celsius temperature reading on Jan. 18, 2014, Tamondong said.

The cold spell was not over and the temperature dropped further due to the cold front, he said.
He said the Jan. 15, 2009, temperature, when this mountain resort city experienced 7.5 degrees Celsius, might be broken if the trend continued.

The coldest day on record in Baguio was still Jan. 18, 1961, when the summer capital experienced 6.3-degree weather. People who remembered that day described it as their closest approximation of winter.

The chill thrilled businessmen and flower vendors.

“Yearly, without fail, when news reports dramatize temperature drops to those levels, tourists flock to Baguio to experience that weather. This is always a boost for tourism of Baguio,” said Frederico Alquiros, cochair of the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc., which is staging the Panagbenga grand parades next week.

“Panagbenga being in February, capitalizes on this weather,” he said.
Temperatures in upland towns like Atok and Buguias in Benguet province are usually colder than Baguio.

Atok residents described the weather condition in the town as if they were “freezing,” although there were no signs of moisture frosting up the leaves of vegetables grown in gardens, said Atok Mayor Peter Alos.

Pagasa monitored on Tuesday the lowest temperatures in the country since the northeast monsoon season—locally known as “amihan”—began in November.

The Pagasa said that aside from Baguio, the lowest temperatures were observed from 4 to 6 a.m. on Tuesday in the following areas: Tanay, Rizal, at 14.3 degrees; Malaybalay, Bukidnon, at 15.8 degrees; Itbayat, Batanes, at 16.5 degrees, and Basco, Batanes, Tuguegarao, Cagayan, and Ambolong, Batangas at 17 degrees.

Metro Manila also experienced one of its coldest days at 19.2 degrees, although a 19-degree temperature was already monitored in January.

“This is the lowest recorded temperatures since the northeast monsoon started in November. We’re seeing a surge in the monsoon; that’s also why we have gale warnings hoisted over some parts of the country,” Pagasa assistant weather services chief Renito Paciente told the Inquirer.—REPORTS FROM GOBLETH MOULIC, KIMBERLIE QUITASOL, VINCENT CABREZA AND JAYMEE T. GAMIL

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tourist blatantly breaks Davao city's anti-smoking ordinance, swallows cigarette butt

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Duterte forces smoking tourist to swallow cigarette butt

* A local tourist openly defied Davao City’s anti-smoking ordinance

* He also mocked the restaurant owner who confronted him about the violation

* Duterte poked gun at the man’s crotch and gave the smoker three choices

* The man ended up eating his own cigarette

'Papiliin kita: barilin ko ang bayag mo, i-preso kita, o kainin mo ang upos ng sigarilyo mo,' asks the feisty Davao City mayor of a tourist caught smoking

 

MANILA, Philippines – A tourist literally got a taste of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s non-conventional style of law enforcement.

A Filipino tourist was forced by the mayor to swallow the butt of the cigarette he was smoking after refusing to follow Davao City’s famed smoking ban, according to a Facebook post in a page calling for Duterte’s presidential bid.

The post was written by former North Cotabato governor and former journalist Manny Piñol, who openly supports a presidential candidacy for Duterte.

The tourist was in the city for the Kadayawan Festival when he dared to smoke in a restaurant one night, read the post, crediting “sources close to” Duterte for the information.

The restaurant owner informed the tourist of the anti-smoking ordinance in the city which prohibits smoking in public places.

The smoker allegedly asked, “On whose orders? Bakit pera ba ni Duterte and binibili ko ng sigarilyo? (Why, am I using Duterte’s money to buy a cigarette?)”

Unfortunately for the tourist, the restaurant owner turned out to be a friend of Duterte. The owner asked the police to inform Duterte of the tourist’s transgression.

A few minutes later, the mayor himself walked into the restaurant, prompting the shocked tourist to drop his cigarette and step on it.

Duterte then sat beside the tourist, “pulled out a snub-nosed .38 revolver and poked it at the man’s crotch,” Piñol wrote.

The mayor then allegedly told the smoker: “Papiliin kita: barilin ko ang bayag mo, i-preso kita, o kainin mo ang upos ng sigarilyo mo (I’ll give you these choices: I’ll shoot your balls, send you to jail, or you eat your cigarette butt).”

To these the smoker could only muster a measly “Sorry Mayor” before picking up the cigarette butt and swallowing it, wrote Piñol.

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Davao City is 9th safest City in the World. Image source: Davao Eagle

Dare to challenge the law?

Before leaving the restaurant, witnesses heard Duterte tell the smoker, “Never ever challenge the law.”

Duterte has earned adulation for his hands-on leadership style that many say helped turn Davao City into one of the safest in the country.

But his “vigilante style” of justice and open support for killing criminals has also sparked outrage among human rights advocates and even Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Surveys tag him as a popular choice for president in the lead-up to the 2016 national elections. In a May 8-18, 2015 survey done by Laylo Research Strategies, Duterte and former president Joseph Estrada were tied at 3rd place with their national rating of 10%.

Though Duterte is yet to declare his presidential bid and although he has been sending mixed signals about his real intentions for 2016, he has been going around the country explaining his would-be platform and all-out support for federalism in the Philippines. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com / Kickerdaily

Monday, June 29, 2015

Swimming at the Airport? First Resort Airport in the World Kicks off in Cebu Philippines

Null Mactan-Cebu touted to be first of several world-class airports

PH breaks ground for world’s first resort airport

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) marks another milestone as it breaks ground for the world’s first resort airport – and the Aquino Administration’s first airport public-private partnership (PPP) project – on June 29.

“The kick-off ceremony for the construction of the new international terminal for the country’s second-biggest gateway, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), is touted to be the start of Philippine airports matching the best in the world,” said DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya.

“It will not only cement our place on the global map as a major tourist and business destination, it will boost the local economy and is projected to generate jobs especially in Cebu,” he added.

The project, which is envisioned by concessionaire GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation (GMCAC) to be regarded as the first resort airport in the world, covers the construction of a new world-class international passenger terminal building (PTB), as well as the renovation of the existing PTB and its conversion into an exclusively-domestic facility.

Construction of the new terminal will be completed in three (3) years, or by 2018, while the renovation of the existing terminal is slated to be completed in 2019. The airport’s passenger capacity will surge from 4.5 million to 12.5 million per year.

GMCAC won the auction for the 25-year PPP contract last year, after offering the government a premium bid of P 14.4 billion. Operations and maintenance (O&M) of the airport was turned over to the consortium in November 2015.

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‘Soft Improvements’ implemented since last year

Immediately upon assuming O&M responsibility, GMCAC began implementing ‘soft improvements’ to the existing terminal, or those improvements which did not require major civil works, to enhance passenger experience at the gateway.

For instance, a centralized security check (CSC) system was opened earlier this month to speed up the processing time for departing guests. It features four (4) X-ray machines that can be used interchangeably, which then doubles the capacity of the final check-in counters.

To further reduce passenger queues, GMCAC also opened additional immigration counters and self-service kiosks wherein passengers can pre-check-in.

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Other ‘soft improvements’ included the installation of LED bulbs for brighter lighting; the optimized use of floor space, which included transferring certain offices in exchange for more check-in counters and waiting areas; redesigning seating patterns to increase usage by passengers; and now, offering self-service check-in kiosks for faster processing.

“It is clear to us that GMCAC brings international expertise into running an airport, immediately it has already made substantial improvements without making structural works yet. What it will do now that we are breaking ground is exciting for us, and especially for travelers to and from Cebu,” Abaya remarked. - dotc.gov.ph

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