The dimming light of Capones Island

Category: By DuNi
I decided to create a separate entry for my Capones Island adventure since the lighthouse was special to me in some ways. It was the site of my first outdoor exploration when I was still with Environmental Protection of Asia Foundation, an environmental non-governmental organization. Around 5 years ago, they sort of needed an errand boy - that is - taking pictures, doing research, and a little image or graphic optimization for the website. I have never seen a lighthouse at close, so there was a lot of excitement back then.
If my previous trips (yes, I have been there a couple of times) were pure work, this year was the first time that I went there to really enjoy the scenery.
From our camp in Anawangin (see separate blog), we were fetched at around 7AM. We decided to go to the lighthouse as early as possible since most of the time, the waters of the South China Sea are rough and there are waves that could scare the hell out of you. In my previous experiences, if you don’t want to get nervous with the waves in front of you, go to Capones as early as possible. Pundakit Bay is much calmer during the morning. Apparently, it was too calm during that day that we could risk taking photographs in the middle of the sea and still not get the cameras wet.
We reached the rocky shores of Capones shortly since the boat ride was smooth but we had to deal with getting ourselves soaked from waist down. The boat cannot get near the dry land since rocks and corals have filled the beach down to the seabed, some are large enough to make you swim back to Pundakit if the boat gets cracked in its bottom. We were struggling in the water with all those slippery rocks and corals and trying to balance our way to the beach so as not to get our cameras wet. I still remember they used to call it Slippers Island since there are a lot of lost slippers trapped in the beaches, and sure enough, the beach is still packed by a lot of them. I was searching, trying to get lucky and find a Havaianas but there wasn’t any.
The hike up was easy since there is a concrete plight of stairs midway to help ease up climbing the rocky hill. After that, there is a short walk as we entered a pathway with lush vegetations of trees and plants that enclosed the path as if you are entering a cave.
We reached the gate of the lighthouse compound and I was a little disappointed to see how the surroundings have gone from bad into worst. The only thing the government can do with a measly budget on maintaining the lighthouse was to let it rot.
Capones and Bojeador lighthouse in Ilocos Norte are - should we say - twins. The design used were typical with both lighthouses, with a little bit of revisions that was mostly dependent on each of the lighthouses’ location. Although I might be wrong, I believe both places was commissioned by the Spanish government to a single surveyor, Antonio de la Camara (whom Camara Island was named) and the very same Engineers that designed and built the two lighthouses, so they almost look a lot like each other. Capones lighthouse is unique since the island is sometimes inaccessible during stormy seasons. The tower was designed to include a living quarter, an office, and a yard for the keeper, sometimes including his family, to survive those days that the island is inaccessible from the mainland of Zambales. The roofs and the drains inside the compound are directly collected to the cistern under the ground and served as potable water from the well inside the compound. Ingenious, since water supply was scarce on that rocky island, they had to improvise when it is hard to navigate by boat from Pundakit to the lighthouse and supplies aren’t coming in.

The only other remaining traces of the Spanish era were the red bricks that were believed to be made within the island itself. The original clay roof was replaced by galvanized iron sheets. The helicoidally made iron stair still stands but is rotting at some joints at the wall, which tends to shake while you climb up the tower. Even the lighthouse tower was renovated so that it can function through the changing times. The old lantern which uses vegetable oils and minerals was replaced by the solar-powered light installed and donated by the Japanese government. It has a radio transmission system which notifies the Philippine Coast Guard when the light is not working in order. The Coast Guard are the ones managing (or mismanaging, whatever you may call it) all the lighthouses within the country. All the improvements have restored the lighthouse tower into full operational capacity, while the building and the yard remain in a highly denuded state.
But still, the view from the tower is magnificent, facing probably Vietnam, or Thailand, or maybe China, depending on which direction you look at. The sea in front is an important shipping route, and Capones lighthouse serves as a main navigational point for ships bound to China. Some parts of the lighthouse have withstood the test of times, but unfortunately, only those who have been to Capones can vouch for its historical legacy, as the government and its greedy officials continue to ignore its cries of decay for decades.

A camper's paradise in Anawangin

Category: By DuNi

With the new Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, it’s hard not to think about Subic if you wanted to temporarily escape from your hectic chores or on your busy work.  So when I decided to plan for a quick getaway, the area of Subic popped first in my list of places.  And since travel time to Subic Bay, even for those coming to Manila, has been shortened by the newly-built SCTEX (it’s famous acronym), my friends and I decided to make the trip a little bit farther, to Anawangin cove.

Anawangin is a secluded cove in San Antonio, Zambales.  The best way to reach it is to ride by boat from Brgy. Pundakit, the same jump-off place going to Capones Island Lighthouse.  From Cubao, you can ride the bus going to Iba or Sta. Cruz Zambales and get off in front of San Antonio Municipal Building and then ask the tricycle driver to bring you to Pundakit.
I wanted to pass the SCTEX on the way to Zambales since I can catch a ride from Dau Terminal in Mabalacat, but my friends are coming from Bulacan and Manila so we decided to meet in San Fernando instead, since that was the most convenient place to meet by public commute.  We then took a ride on one of those PUV’s, or public vans, to Olongapo and then caught a mini bus going to San Antonio.  We bought some of the stuffs we needed at the market in San Antonio and hopped a ride in a tricycle to Pundakit.

In Pundakit, you can negotiate for the boat ride that will take you to Anawangin or depending on where you want to go.  Our package costs 1,500 pesos – they will be bringing us to Anawangin, leave us there to camp overnight, fetch us the following morning and bring us to Capones Island, and back to Pundakit.  Not bad considering we got a new boat and a courteous owner.  The last time we were there 2 years ago was traumatic since we overpaid and the one navigating the boat was rude and threatened to leave us in Camara Island and never come back for us.

I was worried about the trip since about a week ago there was a typhoon that passed north of Iba, but the weather was cooperating - actually it was perfect!  The sky was clear and blue, telling us that there won’t be rain spoiling the rest of the day, and night.  The waters of Pundakit bay was calm even at five o’clock in the afternoon, considering this is one of the practice areas of those who want to learn surfing. 

We arrived at the cove with still a lot of time to setup the tent, prepare the foods, frolic in the water, and enjoy the sunset even though the sun was blocked by a cliff at the edge of the cove.  The cove was full of campers, but luckily we were provided with a place to camp - a few meters away from the makeshift toilets and the fresh water pump, a small table, plus we were just a few meters away from a kiosk selling important stuffs managed by locals from Pundakit.  With a great location to camp, we didn’t even complain for the 100 pesos per head payment for staying there. 

The campsite was divided in two, just as the cove is divided by a rock cliff in the middle.  Only one side of the cove has the store so the campers were all concentrated on that part.  We humorously thought that the store in the middle was the only thing that separates the campsites of La Salle and Ateneo, since we saw a couple of campers wearing shirts resembling of those coming from the two arch rival schools.

The nicest thing about Anawangin is that it makes you feel separated from civilization with its seclusion and serene surroundings, yet it is not that far to reach.  There is no electricity in the cove, so you have to provide your own means of light, whether bringing something rechargeable or collecting wood for your momentous bonfire sessions.  The warm waters at the cove were the ultimate climax of our stay, there was not a cold breeze that might spoil our dip in the beach even during the night.  We were able to see the bright stars of the sky even with the bonfires and lights around the beaches.  It was every moment enjoyable, that is why Anawangin is a byword for campers, trekkers(around 6 hour trek over the mountains from Pundakit), would-be’s, and even those show offs.  Even though some groups were noisy and there were killjoys who brought their music players and spoiled the quiet ambiance, the overnight stay was worth repeating over and over again, depending on my budget, of course.  I guess if I needed to be as close to nature as I want it to be, Anawangin would be the first place that will come in my mind.

Our Scam of the Month...

By DuNi
Dahil sa patuloy ng paggawa mga scam ng ating mga MAGAGALING na OPISYALES... eto naman po ngayon ang SCAM of the MONTH... dahil boring ang gobyernong Arroyo pag walang SCAM...

MANILA– Sa tamang lugar at panahon, marami pa umanong isisiwalat ang babaeng junior officer ng Philippine Navy tungkol sa iregularidad sa paggamit ng pondo sa 2007 Balikatan Exercises na kinasasangkutan ng mga opisyal ng militar.

Sa panayam ng GMANews.TV nitong Miyerkules, sinabi ni Lieutenant Senior Grade Nancy Gadian na hindi lamang si Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, dating hepe ng Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), ang nakinabang sa P46-milyong pondo sa joint military exercises ng Pilipinas at United States noong 2007.

“Mayroon din matataas na tao. Pero sa tamang panahon ko po sasabihin. Isa lang ito sa mga pangyayari sa loob. Kapag dumating ang panahon malalaman ninyo," pagtiyak ni Gadian.

Sinabi ni Gadian na si Cedo pa lamang ang kanyang pinangalanan dahil ito umano ang dahilan kaya siya iniimbestigahan ng Separation and Efficiency Board (SEB) ng Navy.

Ang imbestigasyon ng SEB kay Gadian ay bunga ng alegasyon ng kanyang mga pinuno sa pagwaldas ng P2.3 milyong pondo ng Balikatan na ibinigay sa kanyang unit.

Si Gadian ang pinuno ng civil military operation sa tatlong command post sa Zamboanga del Sur, Sulu at Cotabato sa isinagawang Balikatan 2007 mula Pebrero 1 hanggang Marso 16.

Iginiit ni Gadian ginamit niya ng tama ang naturang pondo para sa kanyang grupo. Nagsumite na rin umano siya ng liquidation report sa Camp Aguinaldo na karamihan ay gastusin sa komunikasyon.

Sinabi ng opisyal na hindi siya nagreklamo kahit P2.3 milyon lang ang pondong ibinigay sa kanya, gayung batid niya na P4 milyon ang dapat na inilaan sa kanyang unit.

Kung mayroon umanong naglustay o “nagbulsa" sa pondo ng Balikatan, itinuro ni Gadian si Cedo.

“I have documents to prove na ang pagkakasabi sa amin, naisulat ko ito, is that about 4 million would be used to support the CMO event," ayon kay Gadian.

Kabilang umano sa mga alegasyon laban kay Gadian ay ang malulo nitong pamumuhay at pagsuway sa kanyang mga opisyal.

“Ginastos ko raw at extravagant ang living ko at lavish ang spending ko," ayon kay Gadian. “Ni wala akong Palasyo. Hindi ako nagkaroon ng RAV-4 at ibang sasakyan."

Idinagdag niya na maging ang mga testigong iniharap ng prosekusyon ay pawang pumanig sa kanya.

“Sobra na ang pang-aapak sa iyo kung alam mo namang hindi tama ang binibintang sa ‘yo kahit bata iiyak… Ang haba ng agony ko," pahayag ni Gadian.

Sinabi naman ni Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, pinuno ng public information office ng AFP, na si Gadian ang dapat na magpaliwanag sa paggamit ng pondo batay sa kinakaharap nitong imbestigasyon sa SEB.

Mas malaking anomalya

Sa ngayon, sinabi ni Gadian na sa P2.3 milyong pondo pa lamang ng CMO siya maaaring magsalita dahil ito ang halaga na kanyang hinawakan.

Pero naniniwala umano ang junior officer na marami rin iregularidad sa P46 milyong kabuuang pondo na inilaan sa Balikatan noong 2007.

“For sure, may nakinabang din doon," ayon kay Gadian na nagpahiwatig na posibleng may mga iregularidad din sa paggamit ng pondo ng iba pang naunang Balikatan exercises.

Nagpahayag din ng pagkabahala si Gadian para sa kanyang mga anak – isang 13-ayon na lalaki at 11-anyos na babae, matapos malaman na minamanmanan sila ng militar.

“Bakit nila ginagawa iyon sa mga anak ko. Isa ito sa pamamaraan nila ng pangha-harass," reklamo ni Gadian.

Ikinalungkot naman ni Navy Spokesman Lt. Col. Edgardo Arevalo na lumabas na sa media ang sigalot na kinasasangkutan ni Gadian na dapat umanong panloob na usapin ng militar.

“It is just unfortunate na sa media niya sinabi ito… that she had to ventilate her grievances through the media. [But] she has served the Navy for 12 years. So being an officer, we know that she understands what she is saying and she knows [and] she appreciates the repercussions of what she’s saying," ayon kay Arevalo.

“We urge her to come out in the open, formalize her complaints, adduce evidence, attach documents that would substantiate her complaint or her claims or corruption and then the Navy is wiling to help her clear her name," idinagdag niya.

Inihayag ni Arevalo na naghain ng kanyang resignation letter si Gadian noong Abril 16 – ilang linggo matapos niyang isiwalat ang umano’y anomalya sa pondo ng Balikatan ngunit hindi pa tiyak kung naaprubahan na ito ng liderato ng AFP.

Pasok ang Senado

Nais naman ni Sen Rodolfo Biazon, chairman ng Senate defense committee, na imbestigahan ang isiniwalat ni Gadian na malaking dagok umano sa imahe ng AFP.

“Kailangan magpaliwanag ang pamunuan ng AFP sa naturang eskandalo. Magsusumite tayo ng isang resolusyon upang imbestigahan ang ibinulgar sa Balikatan exercise," pahayag ng senador.

Sinabi naman ni Gadian na kukonsultahin niya ang kanyang mga abogado kaugnay sa posibleng pagharap at pagbibigay ng impormasyon sa gagawing imbestigasyon ng komite ni Biazon.

“Lahat ng nag-offer naa-appreciate namin. Pero hindi ko pa alam kung kaninong ahensya ako tatakbo at kung kanino ako magtitiwala," pahayag ni Gadian.


Wag nyong pakialaman si Martin Nievera

Category: By DuNi

Pwede ba, wag nyong pakialaman si Martin Nievera.  Kung mas magaling kayong kumanta sa kanya eh di kayo ang kumanta sa Lupang Hinirang sa laban ni Pakyaw.

Ang pagkanta ay isang pagkakakitaan.  Sino ba sa kanila ang hindi binayaran para lang kantahin ang National Anthem?  Kung gusto niyo, magprisinta na lang kayo na kumanta sa bawat laban ni Manny.

Wala kayong pakialam na i-criticize ang tao.  Kung ganun siya kumanta ay karapatan na niya yun.  

UNA, kanyang boses ang ginamit niya sa pagkanta.  Hindi boses ng iba, hindi rin lipsynch.  

PANGALAWA, hindi naman yata siya ipinanganak dito sa Pilipinas kaya wala kayong pakialam kung kalahati lang ang pinapakita niyang pagmamahal at paggalang sa bayan.  

PANGATLO, English is his first language.  HINDI SIYA MARUNONG MAGTAGALOG NOON!  Hindi siya nasanay kantahin ang National Anthem dahil hindi siya tumatayo tuwing umaga sa eskwelahan para kantahin ang Lupang Hinirang ng tama sa tono!  Hindi niya alam ang paglalagay ng kanang kamay sa kaliwang dibdib dahil hindi naman itinuro yun doon sa eskwelahan kung saan siya nag-aral.

Kaya pabayaan nyo na yung tao kung yun ang gusto niya.  Pera-pera lang yan.  Kung may pera ka, Malaya kang gawing ang anumang gusto mo kahit hindi maganda at naaayon.  Wala kayong pakialam sa gusto niyang gawin sa buhay niya.