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5 Things To Love about Joseph Gara's Songs

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- Full disclaimer here – I am a huge Joseph Gara fan.
I saw him for the first time in a wedding party of a dear friend, unmindfully singing as guests were entering the ballroom of a hotel. Apart from his guitar, he was his own prop, tucked neatly at one side of the stage, almost unseen as a massive bouquet of giant white lilies and carnations stood beside his guitar stand.Right there and then I thought that this guy would go places, because it was quite clear that he liked his music, and while he sang covers of popular acoustic ballads, he seemed to claim them as his own, making the music sound fresh, and the words as if they were freshly minted.
I am an avid spectator of his shows – at South Palms Resort,one of our favourite staycation spots in Bohol, where he seemed to be a regular; at the many weddings that he was contracted to serenade; at the many cultural events in the province where he was a part of or was the sole reason for its convening.I also follow his Spotify releases, his Y…

New Beginnings

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I am resurrecting  Boholanalysis today.

In the past I earned some admiration and a lot of ridicule for the kinds of things I post here.  So maybe, it is about time to do something else.

In 2018, I would like to devote the blog to stories of people from Bohol, those that I had the fortune of knowing. People whose stories have inspired me in my pursuit of answers of the eternal question - how can we build a better Bohol? A better world?

In publishing these stories, I hope we will get to harvest some lessons to improve ourselves, our communities, and eventually, the world.

I invite you to take this journey with me.


Two Cases of Government Responsiveness

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With the bad things that happened with government service delivery these days – from tanim-bala to market fires due to bad cables – it is easy to be swayed to the opinion that this government can never do right, and that everything in the Philippine government, whether local or national, are all wrong.  If facebook posts and tweets are measures of the opinion of the “connected” Filipino nation (which, by the way, comprises only around 40% of the total population), it  seems that the general sentiment is that this country is so badly-governed that entertainment is a happy escape from the current mess we are in. 
But often we forget that there are also many good things going on in this country’s government.  I do not want to be an apologist of the government but I want to speak of two experiences where I can say that as a citizen, I have benefitted from government’s willingness to protect the interest of its citizens and from government’s responsiveness to an ordinary citizen’s question…

Some Questions on Justice

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The “twisted ruling” of the Supreme Court, granting bail to Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile for a non-bailable case, and purportedly finding a constitutional basis to do so, showed once again how justice bends to the will of the powerful and the mighty.  One part of the story is the ability of the rich to engage better lawyers and build a stronger case (Lopez, 2009). Another part of the story is the potential for justices to exhibit partiality in exchange for a sum of money, or in order to side with the powers that be.
This brings me to an important question that I think every Boholano needs to answer – What do we mean by just?  When do we say that something is just?  How can we say that justice has been served?  I will not attempt to answer these questions here, but add some more, using recent events in Bohol as a basis for framing the questions.
Question 1:  Is the killing of supposedly “drug pushers” justified?  Several people were killed last year in the province and their murders remain …

A Concrete Road to Nowhere

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First day of the year 2015, Arlen and I took a walk from our house in San Isidro, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, to the city public market in Dao to exercise and at the same time buy the week’s provision of fish, vegetables and rootcrops.  For quite a time, the road that connects Dao proper and Dao Lanao intersecting the national highway going to Corella has been closed to traffic. We have used this road before when it was still surfaced with asphalt.  We knew that the other half of the road which leads to the city public market in Dao was almost completed that we wondered what took the project so long to be finished and opened for public use.
So that we would have answers to our questions, we walked through the road. Apparently that portion near the national highway has not been touched yet, for one primary reason – there is a claimant of the property that has long been used as a public road.  After a well concreted road section, probably completed for months already, a makeshift fence stoo…

Analysing Disaster Preparedness in Maribojoc

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Maribojoc is a fourth class municipality in the province of Bohol. Located 30 kilometers southwest of Tagbilaran City, the provincial capital, the municipality is composed of 22 barangays whose residents are primarily engaged in farming and fishing.  The municipality is home to one of the oldest watchtowers in the country and one of the oldest Spanish churches in the province.
Maribojoc has a total of 20,491 people with a population density of 2.6 persons per hectare as of 2010.  Urban population consists of 26.61% of the total town population.  The population is predominantly young, with 30% of the total population aged 0-14 years old.  The productive force of the municipality is 60%.
Land formation of the municipality ranges from sea-level to very steep slopes. The highest elevation of the municipality is 304 meters above sea level.  The municipality only has around 18.99% that do not experience erosion.  Moderate to severe erosions occur in the areas with very rolling to very steep s…

Earthquake, SMS, and Social Media

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A seminal work by Elder and others (2013) entitled “Information Lives of the Poor: Fighting Poverty with Technology” discusses in clear prose and through illustrative examples the promise of information and communication technology (ICT) in building the lives of the world’s poor.  It starts with a foreword by Mohammad Yunus, Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, which highlights the Grameen Village Phone program that afforded poor people with access to telecommunication facilities while at the same time providing income for poor village women in Bangladesh.
It highlights, among other things, how technology has penetrated society and even poor households.  Use of mobile phones, for example, spiked beginning in 2002, surpassing all other forms of technologies like television, personal computer, and the internet, a fact also pointed out in the paper. Its attendant effects were also highlighted in several studies apart from those mentioned in the book - about how network c…