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Good Friday Biking Adventure

24 Apr

My mom says that Good Friday should be reserved for religious activities like going to church and joining the prayers for the day of Jesus Christ’s death. But I’m not religious and yesterday was a good day for a bike ride – cool weather and cloudy skies with no rain. Actually, I wanted to capture with my camera the gorgeous sunsets that come during summers in my area. However, the weather that Friday wasn’t exactly summer weather, and I had no such luck with my original goal. So I took advantage of the even muted lighting and resorted to floral and object photography instead.

Coldplay was on Repeat in my mp3 player and the songs made biking more enjoyable. Also, gravity is on your side so it’s easy to go downhill away from my house, and I got really far. I left the house at 4 pm and decided to turn back at around 6 pm. Eeep! It was already dark. Gravity was now against me so the uphill journey back home wasn’t so smooth. I don’t exercise regularly anymore so my endurance was way down. I had to take breaks and walk while pushing my bicycle. 6:30 pm and I was still a long way from home. My bike got stuck in a ditch for a moment. No stars were out and there was no moon because it was still so cloudy. I moved against the traffic so I could see the lights on approaching vehicles and avoid them. I pushed on through the night. Fortunately, I brought water, so I wasn’t in danger of getting dehydrated. Finally, I reached our house at around 7:30 pm.

Moral of the story: don’t be too complacent. Through my trek back home, I was in constant danger of getting into an accident or taken advantage of because I was just by myself on that lonely highway. And bring water and snacks. And your guts! Hah!

Chemistry Society Industry Tour 2010

15 Feb

I joined fellow student chemists on a tour of some industrial plants in Misamis Oriental and Iligan Citylast February 1, 2010. We traveled from Xavier University to Villanueva, then to Iligan, and back to Xavier from 8:00 am to 9 pm.

First stop is the Philippine Sinter Corporation in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental. Their main product is the sinter core used to make steel in Japan. It is a Japanese-owned company with Filipino employees.

We then proceeded to go to Iligan and had lunch on the way. An accident happened when we were in the middle of Iligan City. The second jeepney, which was a few cars behind the jeepney I rode on, bumped into the rear of the car in front when it suddenly braked. The rear bumper was clearly damaged and, to make it worse, the owners are Muslims. Now, this may be stereotyping, but they do have a reputation of taking minor infractions seriously. Fortunately, one of the students had a relative who is an official of the city, and he came to our rescue. We were allowed to go on our way. I’m not sure but, maybe, this matter will be settled through that official.

The second plant we visited was owned Mabuhay Vinyl. Their main products are caustic soda, chlorine, sodium hypochlorite, and hydrochloric acid, which are all made from industrial grade salt (sodium chloride) and no other chemical. Physical processes are employed to make these products. The wastes are metals and water vapor and they have their own waste treatment center.

I have no pictures of the plant facilities because it wasn’t allowed. However, as I saw it, it was a clean and pretty place despite being a chemical plant. They even had recreational facilities and landscaping.

The next stop was the AGUS VI Power Plant. It features the famous Maria Christina Falls. This hydroelectric power plant owned and run by the National Power Corporation produces the electricity that powers industries and lights up homes and commercial buildings in most of Mindanao.

The plant was renovated to cater to a growing tourism industry. People had already visited the plant for the same purpose and I remember going there with my family in the 1990’s. But they have added decorations and facilities that I think will make it more appealing to guests. It’s unfinished as of now but, once completed, they will also feature a zipline and white water rafting. It’s ideal to visit on the weekends because they open up the dam and to release more water into the falls.

The last stop was the Chemistry Department of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. Their instruments there a old but still functioning and some were not available in my private and supposedly wealthier school. The Physics Department has a new Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer but we no longer went to see it. The university accepts requests for analysis aside from its own members. I didn’t take pictures anymore because I was too tired.

On the way back to XU, I spotted a beautiful scene of the full moon reflected on the sea in Opol, and it was right beside a pretty seaside restaurant. However, as the jeepney was running very fast, all I got was this mess of a light show.

After a long and tiring day, I got a late dinner upon arrival in Cagayan de Oro City, then went straight to bed .

Community Service the Chemistry Way: Part 1

6 Oct

I finally finished editing my photos from this trip. So, even if it’s two weeks late, here is my narrative and photo documentation of the first day of the community service with fellow BS Chemistry students.

September 12, 2009

We were supposed to assemble at school on 7 am but I arrived late and got a scolding for it. After that, we immediately boarded our vehicle – the old, blue multicab owned by the Marine Center. There were 12 of us, including our professor, Mr. Tarongoy, the head of this research from the Marine Biology department, and the driver.

It took less than an hour to reach the capital of the municipality of Jasaan. There, we met with the local government officials inside the municipal hall.

My classmates during the meeting

My classmates during the meeting

Representative from the local government

Representative from the local government

Jasaan Municipal Hall

Jasaan Municipal Hall


After the meeting, we traveled again and made our way to the first research area (Greenwater Resort, Purok 1, San Antonio, Jasaan) for inspection and a briefing by the representative.

My classmate, Zyrah

My classmate, Zyrah

On the road

On the road

My unruly classmates :P

My unruly classmates 😛

View of the sea in San Antonio, Jasaan

View of the sea in San Antonio, Jasaan

The seafood restaurant overlooking the bay

The seafood restaurant overlooking the bay

As I would find out later, Purok 1, San Antonio, Jasaan would be the cleanest of the three areas of study. It is also the least populated.

The next stop was Bobontugan, Jasaan. This area is more populated and has both well-to-do and poor residents. The main source of livelihood of the poor is fishing. I met a man who asked us what we were going to do there. I told him we were going to study the seawater. He told us to please inform his community as soon as we finished our study because their fish catch was already low.

The 2nd area is an estuary - the mouth of the river that meets with the sea

The 2nd area is an estuary - the mouth of the river that meets with the sea

The team hikes up the river

The team hikes up the river

A local bathes with his pig in the river

A local bathes with his pig in the river

Young boys also bathe in the river

Young girls do the familys laundry in the river

Young girls doing the family's laundry in the river

One of the bigger houses in Bobontugan, Jasaan

One of the bigger houses in Bobontugan, Jasaan

Bobontugan also has antique houses that are still occupied today.

Bobontugan also has antique houses that are still occupied today.

Preserved Paypay fish hanging in front of a locals house

Preserved Paypay fish hanging in front of a local's house

The last area of interest is in Aplaya, Jasaan – the last barangay in the seaside municipality.

Instead of fishing, the common source of livelihood in Aplaya is making and selling macaroni chicharon.

Instead of fishing, the common source of livelihood in Aplaya is making and selling macaroni chicharon.

A factory is sighted in the horizon from Aplaya bay

A factory is sighted in the horizon from Aplaya bay

I spotted a strange plant growing on the Aplaya seashore.

I spotted a strange plant growing on the Aplaya seashore.

After all the traveling, we then had lunch in Zyrah’s home in Jasaan.

My classmate’s family gave us mangoes as a parting gift. Since they were still slightly unripe, I just put them on top of the table when I got home and didn’t touch them until they ripened. I gave them to my siblings and parents afterward.

I like activities like this that involve travel. It always presents new opportunities and new subjects to photograph.

As of today, my class has finished sampling from the areas and we won’t be going back until the next sampling. I have more photos and stories from the next 3 weeks after this first excursion.