February 2009

world-conference-on-tobacco1India is known as the second largest tobacco producer and exporter, with China being the first, but it will hold this year’s The World Conference on Tobacco and Health. This will be a 5-day event, starting Sunday, March 15 and will focus on the awareness programs that will educate developing countries of the expanding health problems brought about by using tobaccos. The event will be backed by World Health organization (WHO) and is expected to be attended by around 2,000 delegates from different countries and organizations around the world. The crowd will surely include officials from Anti- Tobacco groups, cancer specialists, and PrakashGapta (president of the conference) among so many others.

It seems odd that one of the largest producers of tobacco worldwide is going to host the world’s awareness program against all forms of tobacco use. But it is not if you will dare to look at the current tabulation of the alarming growing users in India: 57 % of the total population of Indian men uses tobacco in various procedures while 1 out of 10 women aging 15 to 49 use it too. From this statistics, 33.3 % of these men smoke the tobacco, while 23.7 % chew it with Pan Manala (addictive flavoured tobacco and betel nut mixture). Of the women, 1.6 % smokes tobacco, while 10 % chew it just like the way men do.

On top of that, the Indian government has also ratified WHO’s framework on Tobacco Control by intensifying the countries smoking ban in all public places.

As the biggest supplier and producer of tobacco around the world, India’s economy depends largely on its harvest and export of this continuously becoming dangerous plant. Although the India government is amenable to its control and awareness against use, it is still their biggest source of income. It is doubtful that they will keep from planting and exporting it, not just for the sake of the country’s economy but for the sake of the mouths that are waiting to be fed in every farmer’s home. Until the country or its leaders find a way of developing other means of work for their many tobacco farmers, that is the only time the use will decline. You see, if there is demand there just got to be a supply. Think about the 5.4 Million lives tobacco claims every year world wide.


journey-bandFind March 14 on your calendars and clear it from any task or ‘gimik’ to give way to our very own Arnel Pineda and the Journey band! Yes, they will be here days before their concert here in Manila so you can still watch out for all local televisions and radio stations who will surely be airing them the soonest they get their hands and eyes on the group. All concert tickets will also be available via ticketnet at 3,605 VIP, 2,575 Gold, 1,545 Silver, and 515 Bronze. The concert will be held at the Concert Grounds of Mall of Asia.
Two things will surely happen here: Journey, especially Arnel Pineda will stir crowd and the Mall of Asia will get all the advertisement. But who cares who gets what and which? What is important, we are getting a load of artists and entertainments every now and then. That only means that the Philippines are becoming a safe place for all these great artists and performers from around the world. And of course, Filipino talent is also making a great appeal to big stars and bands just like the humbling story of Arnel Pineda: once a fan turned to be the main act of his fave band!
I remember Journey had been in the country last year and that one was very successful. This time, Arnel Pineda and his band will have to prove their worth through the results of tickets bought. Usually, that is how it is going to be. The first time will be crowd stirring and will prove to be a success then the repeat will be the justification. This one though will be tough as Eraserheads will also be doing their own concert on that same date. Although of different genre, E-heads have been one of the most popular bands in the Philippines. Their last concert has resulted to Ely’s, the lead vocalist, near death hospitalization. So this time, it is going to be a lot more dramatic.

Anyway, let us wait and see who gets the bigger crowd….

joy-rojas-runningOnce a TB survivor, Joy Rojas prove her worth of surviving the terminal disease by being the first woman to cross the Philippines running. No, you did not read it wrong, she really did that literally. Joy did that humbling act for her 2 very important goals: to reach her dream and to raise funds for those who are suffering in the same illness as she had in the past. As if not enough, Joy will once again test the sturdiness of her legs by crossing the US running.
Joy Rojas is the first woman who crossed the Philippines during the Hakbang Pangarap: The Philippine Run in 2005. The race lasted for 46 days that started in Davao City and culminated in Pagudpod. She is set to New York in the second week of May for her training with Mateo Macabe, another open-heart surgery survivor. They will work with project coordinator Chuck Crisanto in the upcoming Takbong Pangarap, Trans-USA Run. They team expects to raise good amount for Social Services of Division of the Philippine Heart Center where Macabe was operated and the Anti-TB Program of the Inner Club of Quezon City District 378, which has 10 barangays.
The passion that gripped Joy to long-distance running is not just sparked of her being a survivor; it is just one of the ways she knew she can help. But what really made her run is her will. She started as one of the top female finishers in local road racing circuits from 1995 to 2002. When she joined the Visayas Leg of Father Robert Reyes, which was a 40-day 1196 kilometers run, she found her home. She ended to be dreaming of crossing the country running. Now that it is already done, she wants to once again run for her dreams and her chosen charity: California to New York.

Today is the special day for lovers. You will be seeing and tolerating until your own heart aches a lot of paired lovers doing what lovers do best. For sure, there will be the normal ‘candle lighting’ galore on almost all restaurants who want to look like one of the best fine dines in town. Some have even come up and imitated the ‘lovapalooza’, which is the smooching of couples underneath the big bright heart in the order of some matron or emcee doing his job. But for singles like me, I usually dubbed February 14 as the International Singles Day—lols—
Singles do not have to despise Valentine’s Day as long as they are happy, like I am. I do not have somebody to cuddle with or to spend the early evening with in a candle lit room with the rest of the lovers in town but I love this day. I usually treat myself to whatever I want to eat but trying my best not to over eat. I also love watching couples by the parks, enjoying the day and afternoon with the rest of the family. Way back in my real home, I would ask the family out. A dine with the ones you love will always be a great thing to do.
My activities during the singles day is not actually planned, they just puff out of somewhere. I even think February 14s are some sort of a rest day for everyone. In my younger days, I would even plan for something daring, like trek a place I have never been or climb a mountain to spend an afternoon for a splash in the cool spring water or falls. Now that I am already in the city and there are less places to go but malls and parks, I just eat out and maybe have a good chat with friends or colleagues.