Friday, November 16, 2007


LAST OCTOBER 15, 2007, I WENT to Mactan Island on some official business. I went to Pier 3 to board the River Ferry launch that was to take me to that island from mainland Cebu. It was 2:30 PM when the launch proceeded to cross the Mactan Channel. The rain had just stopped minutes ago where there was heavy downpour that lasted for about an hour before that.

As the launch was now cruising on the livid blue-green waters of Cebu Harbor, I noticed swarms of marine birds, unusual in number, dived and skimmed on the water’s surface. They happened to peck and pick on the flotsam and jetsam that the floodwaters of the Lahug Creek disgorged, whose river mouth is now but a square hole underneath the asphalt-and-concrete berthing area.

As far as the eye could see, discarded pieces of plastic in huge volumes and other kinds of household debris and industrial wastes were floating and bobbing on the surface, scattered over the whole width and length and depth of the channel. It was brownish and dirty and fast approaching the dirty notoriety of murky Manila Bay.

The harbor waters wasn’t THAT dirty 30-35 years ago. I remembered in my pre-adolescent years when the city’s waterfront area was my favorite playing ground and hang-out. I learned (or was forced) to swim there after being pushed intentionally and I swam like a dog. Back then, whenever my time would warrant I would take a dip there. Sometimes, as a sport, we would dive from a departing boat and swim back to the pier and the one who left the boat when it is farthest from the shore was declared the winner!

Marine life were abundant back then. Jellyfish would parade like an army of strange aliens. Squid or cuttlefish would appear in droves when no moon appeared in the night sky and find refuge under the glare of lights of berthed ships. All kinds of fishes could be angled from its depths as well as crustaceans caught inside cagetraps from beneath.

Seashells could be had by the mere picking during low tide by swimming towards the exposed reefs, sandbars and rocky beds nearby Pilipog (Shell) island which is a half-kilometer away from the Aduana*.

Today’s condition of the sea is a far cry from that sea of long ago where I used to swim.

As the launch moved on in the middle of Mactan Channel we passed by Mandaue City. The Subangdaku River let out the same kind of debris and wastes, marked by swarms of marine birds, and they took on a pattern as if it were parading in a straight and wavy line going south. Farther north, it was the same discouraging look as the Butuanon River and other northern rivers aped the previous two.

I have done my share by watching the part of the Lahug Creek where I am living and discouraged my household and my neighbors from disposing their garbage on the waterway for it would surely wind its way to the sea. It has been my advocacy for many years now and, I know, it is not enough. It would take a whole mass of people with the same mindset as I have to reverse this trend.

People living upriver and below mine find it convenient to throw their wastes directly on the creek. My heart ached when I see whole canvass sheets, garbage wrapped inside plastic shopping bags, discarded rubber tires and islands of styropor stuck on the river bed impeding the flow of water and it will take a great downpour to erase that stigma. Which the harbor waters graciously receive into its depths that, I know, is a never-ending vicious cycle imposed by man on his environment.

After witnessing the condition of the Mactan Channel after a heavy downpour did it occur to me to involve myself more by writing this story on my blog and disseminate this information into as many people as possible thru the Internet. I would broaden my advocacy on the World Wide Web.

I surmised, that modern science and technology have made plastic and other synthetic material more harmful to man than good in an indirect manner. Especially, if they happen to be used by some people living in Metro Cebu.

Then you add the government bureaucracies that line the shores of this narrow channel who don’t give a damn about its environs and content themselves passing some toothless garbage ordinances that nobody wanted to enforce!
Lack of foresight, laxity, ignorance, carelessness and a “don’t care” attitude make up for disastrous elements that may cloud the future of our children.

If I may have my way I would opt to ban plastic and other synthetic materials and those goods contained therein for it doesn’t do no good if they happen to be in the hands of those mindless zombies. For the future of our generation, I say, we BAN THOSE PLASTIC AND SYNTHETIC MATERIALS!

Document done in RoughDraft 3.0, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.

* The old Bureau of Customs building. Now the alternative seat of the President of the Philippines and known as the Malacañang of the South.

Monday, November 5, 2007


2007 HAS BEEN A good and kind year for me. It has brought me a series of very simple joys despite the travails of a mid-life crisis, particularly of my being laid off from work. For that, I am thankful I have all the time in my hand.

I get to have more quality time with myself and my family that I haven’t had the opportunity to do so before. Also, I get to have more personal conversations with Him -- who is my personal Lord and Saviour; and get also to do things that I haven’t had the time to do like home carpentry, writing, wood carving and chopping firewood leaving me emotionally-, intellectually-, spritually- and physically-fit and strong.

The year 2007 has given me an opportunity of unobstructed use of the Internet and introduced me to an experience which I have not had thought of before -- blogging! I shopped and looked for different free sites where I would want to blog on and so, last March, I tried Multiply and I have “Slippery Trails...Heavy Backpacks” as the title of my community-oriented personal blog there and another one at MyOpera titled “RiversideCROSSings”, which is faith-based.

I have tried Zorpia, LiveJournal, PerfSpot, Wordpress, Friendster, Tabulas and even in the Greenpeace website but there was something or some feature that I was looking for that all the following could not afford to give space to -- AdSense!

I have a Gmail account registered last January yet. Then I activated and tried incorporating my AdSense account, which is one of Google’s valued features, into all of those sites, but all to no avail. It’s because, in order activate AdSense into my chosen sites I have to be a paying member. Bad break. I could not afford one since I am jobless and, unknown to me at that time, Google’s Blogger feature is capable of accepting AdSense into its site since they are of the same outfit.

I registered with Blogger only last August 23 and tried testing with the copy-and-paste rule on its site and found it easy. Ditto with uploading pictures and images. I temporarily named my blogspot as “RiversideCROSSings” and posted my first entry, a poem about Mount Manunggal. Then on September 4, I inserted a second article about Cebu’s dancing inmates, which has four embedded YouTube HTML, and Blogger absorbed that one without a problem.

Last October 8, I posted my third blog entry regarding my gunless society advocacy and I decided to change the look of my blog and renamed it “Merely My Opinion”; which actually is my late grandfather’s title of his daily column in a local newspaper, the Cebu Daily News, of the 1950s*. As I was doing so it happened that AdSense is a free feature for Blogger so I incorporated my existing AdSense account into it without a hitch.

A week after that I opened my AdSense account and I discovered, to my delight, I have a balance of US$0.32 into my account where, for several months before that, it was a big fat zero! Better late than never. I have 49.68 dollars still more to go to receive my first paycheck! So I’ve finally came home and discovered the real threat of what good blogging really is which I found in Blogger (or Blogspot), by way of my Gmail account. Thank you Google for AdSense!

By the way, this is the first officially-authored entry for my enhanced personal blog here in Blogger, although the previous three would still be incorporated herein. I will now update my entries twice or thrice monthly, even weekly, for good regularity and, hopefully, God willing, I would be able to churn out quality articles to cultivate a good readership attention. Thank you Lord for the blessings!

Document done in RoughDraft 3.0, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.

* My late grandfather, Atty. Gervasio Lavilles, wrote his daily column being Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Cebu Daily News, a Cebu City daily newspaper owned by the late Cebu Governor and City Mayor, then later Senator Sergio Osmeña Jr.