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Click Here — …item 2.. 34 Men Arrested in Underage Sex Sting, Names and Pictures Released — North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task .. ICAC .. operation dubbed TALLYOP (October 18, 2011) … (Photo credit: marsmet552)





“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”


– Albert Einstein


Throughout history, human beings have been guilty of solving problems by enforcing all-encompassing strategies that produce collateral damage.  Sovereign nations defeat their detractors by going to war, killing and destroying innocent victims in the process.  Dictatorial leaders are ousted through force by the masses, unmindful of the constitutional crisis that an unlawful ouster creates.  Rebel groups are dismantled by keeping them in isolation, making the children of these rebels incapable of living a decent life with adequate education and making these children grow up as rebels themselves.  Such is the level of creativity that is fostered when anger and greed take over one’s thinking – decisions are made at the spur of the moment without adequate introspection and discernment of the possible consequences.




In the treatment of cancer, collateral damage to healthy cells occur as a consequence of the killing action of drugs and radiation.  In an attempt to eliminate the non-compliant cancer cells that divide unimpeded, something akin to a nuclear bomb is detonated into the affected area of the body.  Unfortunately, this aggressive treatment leads to the well-known side effects of cancer management – loss of appetite and vomiting due to the destruction of fast-dividing gastrointestinal cells, falling hair secondary to the inhibition of cell division in the hair follicles, and anemia secondary to lysis of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.  Yes, we eliminate the problem, but we have to address the resulting complications.




The cybercrime bill, recently enacted into law,  is no different.  To curtail the freedom of information that is inherent in the far-reaching platform of the worldwide web, governments are hard-pressed to impose limitations on the erring few.  As an aftermath, responsible writers and information seekers are stymied in their attempt to maximize the internet’s benefits.  This situation is not something new or unexpected.  How many times have lives been risked in order to corner a hostage taker?  Who were the true victims of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the world trade center?  What has happened to Libya after it ousted its oppressive leader?  Every attempt to correct a problem or a wrongdoing is linked to a repercussion that presents new, more challenging difficulties.




Must we fight the cybercrime law?  Must be continually rant, rally, and raise hell about it so that the powers-that-be would listen and recant their perceived misdeeds?  Maybe we need to approach the problem differently.  A more creative and in-depth strategy to defeat cybercriminals and cyberbullies must be presented by those who believe that the cybercrime law limits freedom of expression.  It is up to the netizens to start thinking rationally to make valid suggestions that will pinpoint the wrongdoers and spare the innocent.  But it must be done with the kind of thinking that is free of angst and hate.  History has taught us the mistakes of acting based on emotions.  It is time for everyone to pull together and work for a more positive and constructive internet content.




We owe it to our children and for the future of the human race.





Jesse Robredo

Jesse Robredo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I always say that we have already raised the bar of public service. However, it’s not enough that we are good or effective. We need to have both qualities so that we can be rightful custodians of public coffers.”

–  Jesse Robredo

Once again, death seals a legacy of greatness.

Mostly ignored and taken for granted during his lifetime, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo is now hailed as the epitome of a servant leader.  The low-key cabinet official has inspired people from all over the country – with stories of his touring his hometown of Naga City in a bicycle, engaging with his constituents clad in shorts and slippers, and being extremely approachable and humble.  Until his untimely demise last August 18, 2012, he was still to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments – a sad fact that reflects on the political maneuverings taking place in the inner circles of government.

What made Jesse Robredo an effective leader?  It can all be summarized in his good name:  JESSE ROBREDO.

J – Justice-driven

According to an article by Rina Jimenez-David published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the DILG headed by Robredo coordinated with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to file charges against individuals involved in questionable procurement contracts.  As the handler of the Philippine National Police (PNP), he supported initiatives for better civilian security to counteract terrorism, carnapping, and kidnapping.  Thus, crime volume dropped 17.41 percent from January to June 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Police visibility also increased with the deployment of 90 percent of the police force, as opposed to 85 percent previously.  Robredo also provided bigger logistical funds for the police.  Thus, more crimes now lead to the arrest of suspects and filing of cases in court.

E – Effective

Jesse broke down barriers that separated people and ideas.  He was a consensus builder; he truly helped people, and in effect, he touched lives.  He was effective because he cared, not because he exhibited what he knew as an educated individual.

As Mayor of Naga City, Jesse encouraged people participation in governance.  His system involves various sectors being involved in planning, implementing, and monitoring projects.  He accomplished things efficiently, not forcibly.  And best of all, he never used coercion or an iron fist to attain his objective.

S – Servant Leader

Energy Secretary Rene Almendras coined the term “tsinelas leadership” for Secretary Robredo.  The “tsinelas”, or “rubber slippers”, is the usual footwear worn by the common man. “Tsinelas leadership” is about the readiness to wade in floodwaters – the determination to go where no man dares to go to serve people.  He was said to be one of the most well-traveled Cabinet members, because he went to many places where most national officials would back out, just to reach out to those in need.  That’s servant leadership.

S – Simple

According to Atty. Leni Robredo, Jesse’s wife, his multi-awarded husband was also just a regular husband and a regular father who also had to do household chores.  He was the one the family turned to when their house needed repairs, and he would do it on weekends when he gets home.  He was very simple with ordinary interests.  During the weekend, when he is in Naga City, he would just wear his t-shirt, shorts, and slippers, biking around town sans security.  Most of all, he refused to live in plush neighborhoods, choosing to stay in a simple apartment in Naga.

E – Efficient and Productive

Under Robredo’s leadership, the City of Naga conceptualized a program to bring out the city’s potential as an economic hub.  This involved the provision of services to meet the requirements of the people.  Robredo focused on getting optimum results with minimal spending, without sacrificing quality.  Services were also made accessible and acceptable on the principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number.”

R – Responsive

Congressman Dato Arroyo, son of Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said that when he was still in college,  then-Naga City Mayor Jesse would tell him not to hesitate to call or ask for help. Even as DILG Secretary, Jesse would still extend a helping hand to Dato- even if they belong to opposing political parties.  Such was Robredo’s responsiveness – going beyond political barriers.

O – Objective

Secretary Robredo adopted a Performance Management System tool to objectively measure the performance of local governments.  This assessment tool is validated by a third party to ensure impartiality.  As a result, the number of local governments which got high overall performance ratings jumped to 1,261 last year from 1,050 in 2010 and 913 in 2009.

B – Burden Easer

According to Department of Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, Jesse always eases the burden of his superiors whenever there is a crisis.  He tells everyone that he will be the one to do it himself.  No problem was too small to merit the attention of Jesse.  He resolved the big or small problems that were presented to him.  He is there after a every natural or man-made calamity, and he would be very frugal and responsible in public spending.

R – Religious

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma took privilege and honor in officiating a mass for Robredo.  Palma noted that he was touched upon learning of Robredo’s habit of going to confession regularly.  He also mentioned that the fact that his wake was held at the Naga City Cathedral shows his closeness to the church.

E – Egalitarian

It is said that Jesse Robredo prioritized the needs of the poor.  He improved public services in Naga City, and established day care centers in barangays.  He raised productivity through a merit system that rewards performance in order to avoid favoritism and nepotism.  His empowerment ordinance was embraced by the people.  And when it was time for him to step down, he refused to establish a political dynasty, giving other people a chance at leadership.  If there is anything that will establish the legend of Jesse Robredo, it would be his ability to treat everyone equally.

D – Dutiful

During his commencement address to the graduates of Ateneo de Manila University Class of 2003, while he was still the mayor of Naga City, Robredo emphasized that desire and commitment to duty far outweigh knowledge and skill. He uttered that success is measured in terms of how pleased you are with the results of your labors- not as to how other people define it.  For Jesse, neither successes nor conquests give satisfaction. It is paying back to the community that nurtured you that matters.

O – Obedient

According to Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, who volunteered to help Jesse with the Commission on Appointments, Jesse was so humble to follow his recommendations for confirmation.  On his last day here on earth, it is said that he was in Cebu because he was ordered to be there by the President himself.  He obeyed, even if it meant that he might not be able to make it to an awarding ceremony for his daughter in Naga City.  In his attempt to make it on time for his daughter, he chartered an ill-fated plane, leading to his demise.

Goodbye, Secretary Robredo.  You will surely be missed.


“Stop worrying about the start, the best part of the race is the end.”
– Usain Bolt

English: Usain Bolt at the World Championship ...

English: Usain Bolt at the World Championship Athletics 2009 in Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)















In triathlon, athletes start with a swim and end with a run.  Here in the Philippines, with non-stop rains and flooding once again dominating our landscape in the metropolis, we also begin by swimming through our troubles for a fresh start.









It is going to be a struggle for those affected by nature’s wrath.  In the coming days, we expect a rash of illnesses, and the sad part is, even our hospitals were not spared of damage.







In the midst of misery, we wonder about our existence and the meaning of life.  Are we really destined to suffer?










And then, when the storm ends, we start to pick up the pieces.  We leave the swimming behind, and move through the bike stage.








After that, we run!









And in the end, we emerge triumphant!








After all, it doesn’t matter how bad you started.











It’s how you end.








It’s who you are.  









It’s not the price, it’s not the game
It’s not the score, it’s not the fame
Whatever road looks way too far
It’s not what you have
It’s who you are

It’s not how fast, it’s not how far
It’s not of cheers, it’s who you are
In the darkest night, you make your sun
choose your race and then you run

It’s never the glory, it’s never the score
It’s never about seeing who’s less and who’s more
cause when you found out how fast and how far
You’ll know it’s not much you have
It’s who you are

You lose the moon, then be a star
It’s not too soon, be who you are
whatever road looks way too far
It’s not what you have
It’s who you are

When you have found how fast you can run
When you have found your place in the sun
It won’t be just you that you’ll find
Has made the run and the climb
It’s everyone

learning to bend and not to break
living to give more than you take
Dying to live, living to try
Feet on the ground, dreams in the sky

It’s never how much you have
It’s who you are


English: Dolphy, Filipino actor

English: Dolphy, Filipino actor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Most nephrologists would agree that patients who are likely to have an unacceptable quality of life should not be subjected to the discomfort of dialysis. Sparing such patients the inconvenience and discomfort of hospital attendances, surgical access procedures, and dialysis treatments is a major benefit.”

– Indranil Dasgupta and Hugh C. Rayner

  Consultant Nephrologist, Renal Unit, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, United Kingdom

A living legend needs our prayers.  Comedy King Dolphy, whose comedic talent has brought laughter and cheer to multiple generations of radio, TV, and movie followers, was recently admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and is said to be suffering from Toxic Metabolic Encephalopathy.  The illness requires regular dialysis treatment, because his kidneys can no longer do the job of removing toxic wastes from the body.  This has affected his brain function, thus the medical term “encephalopathy”, which generally refers to an illness that affects brain.  As a hospice and palliative care practitioner, I decided to look into the benefits and risks of dialysis treatment on our 83-year-old comedy king.

According to studies,  patients on dialysis are subject to much more intensive medical care in the last month of life than are patients dying of cancer or heart failure.  Data reveal that 30% of dialysis patients receive intensive procedures, a rate that is three times higher than that of cancer patients. Also, only 20% of kidney-failure patients are referred to hospice, compared with 40% of the patients dying of heart failure and 55% of cancer patients.  Among patients 75 and older, the five-year survival rate for patients on dialysis is 15%.

This brings us to some  important questions.  Is it sometimes better to provide supportive and palliative care without dialysis to an elderly patient with renal failure?  Can dialysis be safely delayed when the benefits remain uncertain at best?  What does conservative management entail, and how should it be given?

According to experts, a patient over 75 who has heart disease, diabetes, liver failure, severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other significant chronic illnesses will have little to gain from dialysis.  A more conservative approach with the consent of the patients and relatives may be better.  What could be more cost-effective is to treat anemia and ensure acid-base and fluid stability.  Health care workers who are well-versed in hospice and palliative care should also be on hand.

However, it must be stressed that data can only serve as a guide.  The best medical decisions rest on a collaborated effort between doctors, nurses, caregivers, social workers, the patient’s family, and the patient himself.  Our prayers for Dolphy would also be invaluable, not just to prolong his life indefinitely, but to pray that he is at peace with himself and with his Creator.


English: left to right: Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sef...

English: left to right: Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, and Kevin Durant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you experience setbacks, change your strategy, then move on.

This week, a young NBA team is going to the NBA finals for the first time.  The Oklahoma City Thunder, deemed to be inexperienced underdogs, overcame the odds to emerge as the best team in the tough Western Conference.  With its low-profile superstar Kevin Durant and a host of key role players in tow, OKC is now four games away from basketball’s biggest prize.

To appreciate how this team has improved and how we can apply what they learned in our everyday lives, let’s take a look at their story.

The team started off as the worst team in the NBA in 2008, coming off a bitter lawsuit between its owners and the city it used to play in.  With no star players, untested young players in Durant and Russell Westbrook, and dwindling revenues, the future looked bleak for OKC.  However, after a coaching change, hope started to surface.  After starting out with just 3 wins in 32 games, they ended up winning 20 of their next 50 games.

The next year, they improved markedly, reaching the playoffs.  But they still lost in the first round to the reigning NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers.  In that year, management decided to improve the team step by step, not by adding superstars, but by building from its core of young talent.  In addition to youngsters Durant and Westbrook, they drafted James Harden, who eventually became the NBA’s best sixth man.

Last year, OKC became a team to be reckoned with.  They won their first playoff series by eliminating the Denver Nuggets, then reached the Western Conference finals with a hard-fought 7-game victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.  Although they lost to the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in five games, it was clear that OKC was destined to win an NBA title in the near future – maybe 3 to 4 years.   Last year, OKC decided to plug its “soft” center spot and traded for Kendrick Perkins, another young and rugged no-nonsense defender who had won a championship with the Boston Celtics.

Finally this year, OKC’s script has been something like a fairy tale.  First, they avenged last year’s loss by sweeping the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.  Next up for the team was the Los Angeles Lakers starring Kobe Bryant,  the NBA Champions 2 years before.  They eliminated the favored Lakers in five games, but they still were not getting noticed as potential title contenders because of their perceived immaturity.  For their next opponent, the Thunder came face to face with the mighty San Antonio Spurs, who have the best record in the NBA this year.  San Antonio boasts of a lot of championship experience with tested veterans in four-time NBA Champion Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and 2012 Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich.  Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and another young defensive menace Serge Ibaka showed maturity beyond their years, booting out the Spurs in six games after losing the first 2 games.  This year, OKC also added veteran Derek Fisher, a heady point guard armed with five NBA titles won with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Let’s list down the steps OKC took to reach new heights in such a short span:

1.  Resolve leadership problems.  They started out in management turmoil with a lawsuit in tow.  But they resolved this first.  They also fired their coach, and elevated assistant Scott Brooks to the top bench post.  Two years ago, Brooks was adjudged the NBA’s Coach of the Year.  Lesson: Iron out any leadership concerns as a priority in order to carry out improvements.

2.  Build with young talent.  Train the young guys and guide them through the process.  Today, OKC’s young starting five of Perkins, Ibaka, Durant, Harden, and Westbrook are deemed a powerhouse.  This was not the case a few years ago, when other teams were counting wins the moment they saw the name OKC on their schedule.  Lesson: If the old guard is not giving you results, give the hungry young turks your trust and confidence.  They may be the ones who could turn your organization around.

3.  Sprinkle some winning experience into the mix.  The addition of previous championship winners in Perkins and Fisher no doubt had an impact in the OKC locker room.  They presented actual experiences of winning, and this rubbed off on the young guns.  Perkins learned defense from former Defensive Player of the Year Kevin Garnett, his teammate at Boston, and his defensive toughness has rubbed off on the young Serge Ibaka, now the league’s best shot-blocker.  Fisher has knocked in a lot of sense to young Westbrook, and Westbrook has responded with less turnovers and better decision-making.  Lesson: When hiring from outside the organization, look for people with proven track records of success.

4.  Get social support and give back.  OKC fans are some of the most rabid and loyal fans in the league.  Players visit youth camps, and the owners have dedicated their success to the fans.  The Thunder have united the City and given them hope.  Lesson:  Never forget to give back to the community when aiming for success.

Are you looking for sustained improvement in a short period of time?  Just think of the OKC.  They have laid out the template for all of us to emulate.



Gloria Arroyo and Renato Corona

Gloria Arroyo and Renato Corona (Photo credit: Piercing Pens)

Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

– Keri Russell

Tomorrow, May 29, 2012, will be a big day in Philippine history.  Chief Justice Renato Corona will be handed a verdict by the Senate that can result in his ouster.  Five months of dramatic debates has come to this moment.  The decision will have a lasting effect on President Benigno Aquino’s goal of altering the image of the Judiciary in particular, and Philippine politicians in general.

But the question remains: will removing the Chief Justice from power result in sustainable changes that will lead to economic development?

Let’s see by looking at the important elements of lasting C.H.A.N.G.E.

C – Commitment.  People have a strong desire to do what is right.  But they must focus on the ultimate goal.  While the removal of the Chief Justice from office may be a start, it does not end there.  There is no magic pill that acts instantly – change, like any other medical treatment, takes time.

H –  Hurdle.  It is painstaking to make changes.  Obstacles must be hurdled.  Undesirable effects will arise, but everyone needs to believe in the system.  A country must surpass the limits of its patience.  If the change would result in a stronger democracy, let us accept the minor setbacks along the way.

A – Associate.  One man is not enough to make changes.  While one can exert influence and trigger change, social support is necessary.  A divided nation with people acting on their own interests will not get the job done.  We started the concept of People Power – let us, as Filipinos, keep its spirit alive.

N – Numbers.  Democracy, like it or not, is ruled by the majority.  Its premise is that the voice of the people is the voice of God.  A limited few cannot constitute the majority that builds a snowball effect.  When people flooded the streets in great numbers in EDSA 26 years ago, the seemingly impossible change became possible.  Now, more than ever, we need to demand our leaders to be accountable for their actions.  And with great numbers, no leader worth his salt can afford to ignore the mob.

G – Genuine goodness.  Be an honest citizen.  Abide by the laws.  Never circumvent the process and hide through technicalities.  Not a single drop of dishonesty must pass through your veins.  It’s high time to get out of ourselves, and think of the welfare of all.

E – Environment.  Take care of mother nature.  Be wary of short-term gains at the expense of the long-term effect on the environment.  The world we live in is crucial, because if it is altered beyond repair, we will no longer have the resources to sustain us.

Will the Corona impeachment create sustainable change?  It’s not up to the senators.  Ultimately, it’s all up to us.


American Idol logo 2008–2011

American Idol logo 2008–2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“As a child I always wanted to be a singer. The music my mother played in the house moved me – Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Mahalia Jackson. It was truly spiritual. It made you understand what God was. We are all spirits. We get depressed. But music makes you want to live. I know my music has saved my life.”
Mary J. Blige


In this season’s American Idol Finale, Filipino-Mexican-American singer Jessica Sanchez attempts to make history as its youngest winner ever.  She has done extremenly well – receiving numerous accolades – and there is no doubt that she will have a fruitful singing career.


But behind Jessica’s success, the road was filled with thorns.  This season, she was saved from elimination by the judges, who overturned the decision of the voting public.  There is a lot of meaning to being saved, and we can all learn from Jessica’s experience.


So what does it mean to be saved?


S – Second chance


Jessica’s American Idol journey could have been over a month ago, when she received the least number of votes.  But the triumvirate power of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson to save a contenstant this season was timely.  The power to save can be used only once – and Jessica was the beneficiary.  After being saved, Jessica was never the same again.


She sang her heart out in the weeks that followed.  It was obvious in the way she prepared for her numbers.  She no longer held back – and the public saw it.  She never ended up at the bottom again after that.


This is what we must do when we are saved.  Make the most of every opportunity.  When someone saves you from imminent death, treat each succeeding day as if it were your last.


A – Alteration


From a laid-back style that was confident but lacking in emotion, Jessica emerged like a wounded tiger stalking its prey after being nearly eliminated.  She wanted to go down fighting.  The public saw it – and it was endearing to see the kind of effort she put in week after week until the finale.


It’s hard to alter a laid-back style when things are going smoothly.  Then tragedy strikes, and we are swept off our feet.  Given the chance to escape, we must grab the stick, hang on, and make changes for the better when we get to safer ground.


V – Vindication


Jessica has been singing all her life.  But she was looking for vindication.  Was she really good?  People said she was – she had relative success in America’s Got Talent at age 11 – but she has never emerged victorious.  Facing elimination yet again was tough.  But she was saved, and the vindication began.  She started to believe in herself more, and took more risks.


Do you know someone who needs vindication?  Lift her up today.  You may be the savior who could bring someone to unprecedented success.


E – Enliven


It is inspiring to see someone emerge from the claws of defeat and emerge victorious.  Today, the Filipino-Mexican community is at the forefront in declaring support for their Idol.  The minority has come alive, and in a big way.  They were not going to allow Jessica to  be voted out again.


Share those uplifting stories about rising from adversity.  Be an ambassador of hope.  Those narratives can save lives.


D – Deliverance


At the end of it all, win or lose, Jessica has delivered.  She is indeed grateful, but there is more to come.  After the series of concerts with American Idol finalists, she will embark on a new journey as a superstar.  And with her experiences, she will surely deliver.


One has to find a way to carry others towards success.  When you reach the top, help others get there too.  Jim Whittaker, the first american to reach Mount Everest, has put more than a dozen more climbers on the summit afterwards.  When you let others experience greatness, life becomes more worthwhile.


Good luck on the finale, Jessica Sanchez!




May 19 is World Hypertension Day.  How do you combat this disease?

H – Have a balanced diet.  Not just fruits and vegetables, but a delicate variety and balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins as well.  And yes, just a little taste of sweets and fatty foods once in a while to relieve stress, but don’t overdo it.

Y – Yearly cholesterol monitoring.  Even if you don’t feel any symptoms, it is good to have your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels monitored annualy starting at age 35.  Remember: high cholesterol is directly correlated to increased risk for heart diesease and stroke, and it could escape detection if not monitored.

P – Pressure check.  It doesn’t take much effort to run to the nearest health center once in a while for blood pressure monitoring.  It also does not hurt to have an electronic blood pressure monitoring device at home.  Just make sure it is always calibrated and the batteries are not worn out.

E – Exercise.  Be active and sweat a little.  This will strenghten your heart muscles and make your blood vessels more compliant, leading to better circulation.

R – Relax.  Avoid getting stressed out.  Remove all your hang-ups, hurts, and hatefulness.

T – Talk to your doctor.  Take medications when needed.  Treatment must not be delayed to avoid complications.

E – Ease up on the alcohol.  Binge drinking stresses the heart and leads to heart failure in the long run.

N – Na.  This is the symbol for sodium, which is present in salt.  Avoid too much salt, because it retains fluid and overloads the heart muscle.

S – Sleep.  A rested mind with adequate sleep keeps epinephrine levels down, which reduces vasoconstriction and improves blood flow to the tissues.

I – Identify your health history.  If you have family members with hypertension, be more vigilant.

O – Omega 3 supplementation.  Population studies and clinical trials provide compelling evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have cardioprotective effects.  One gram a day may be all that you need.

N – No to smoking.  It does not just prevent hypertension, but most other degenerative diseases as well.



May is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  What must one know about this disease?

C – The affected organ in cervical cancer is the cervix.  This is not located in the cervical area of the spine (the neck area), but the lower third portion of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The narrow opening referred to as the cervical os closes to help keep the fetus in the uterus until birth.

E – Epithelium.  This is the thin layer of cells on the surface of the cervix.  The changes in these cells are monitored when one undergoes a Pap smear.  It is important to detect early changes to the cervical cells which may lead to cancer, so a Pap smear is a very important diagnostic tool.

R – Rich less affected.  Most people who die of the disease come from the lower income classes.  This is because those from affluent societies have better access to screening tests.

V – Virus.  The causative agent of cervical cancer, called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the world.

I – Intercourse.  During unprotected intercourse, the virus may be transmitted.  Thus, sexual promiscuity is a risk factor for the development of cervical cancer.

C – Common.  Cervical cancer is second most common cancer in women.  It affects about 16 per 100,000 women per year and kills about 9 per 100,000 per year.  Approximately 80% of cervical cancers occur in developing countries.

A – Acetic acid.  Visual inspection of the cervix with acetic acid allows doctors to directly see lesions and other changes in the cervix.  The health practitioner simply swabs acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar, on the cervix and looks for areas that change color.  This is a very important procedure for screening among those who have limited access to a Pap smear.

L – Lugol’s iodine.  Although this reagent, together with acetic acid, is less specific than Pap smear in the detection of cervical cancer, it is more sensitive.  This means that more false positive results may come out which can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment.  Public health workers, however, believe that the risk for overtreatment is acceptable, considering the greater risk of dying from the disease.

C -Colposcopy.  If the Pap smear result is found to be abnormal, a physician may order this test for better visualization of the cervix.  He or she may also do a biopsy for suspicious lesions.

A – Anemia.   Iron deficiency and tumor bleeding are common causes of anemia in cervical cancer. The presence of anemia is a negative prognostic factor, and its control and treatment improves disease prognosis.

N – Nutrition.  Although some studies on cervical disease and diet suggest that intake of dark green and yellow vegetables, beta-carotene, and vitamins C, D, and E can prevent cervical cancer, these studies are still inconclusive.  The best way to prevent cervical cancer is immunization with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix) prevents the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers.  The quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) prevents HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11.  Gardasil prevents genital warts and also protects against cancers of the anus, vagina and vulva.  Both vaccines are administered in 3 doses.

C – Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is used to reduce tumor growth during the later stages of cervical cancer.  Chemotherapy medicines may be taken by mouth (orally) or injected into a vein (intravenous, or IV).

E – Eva Peron.  The second wife of former Argentina President Juan Peron died of cervical cancer.  Evita, as she is more popularly known, was the first Argentine to undergo chemotherapy for the illness.

R – Radiation therapy.  Radiation treatment is given during the early stages of cervical cancer.  It is given as external beam radiotherapy to the pelvis, or via internal radiation or brachytherapy.


It’s summertime!  April is the best time to see the Philippines, when rainfall is minimal, the beaches are in party mode, and the guys and gals are on vacation.  There are many reasons to visit this country at this time, and I have summarized it for you to remember – just think of the P.H.I.L.I.P.P.I.N.E.S.

P – People

People make it more fun in the Philippines.    Filipinos are naturally humorous and playful.  Just watch a group of friends or relatives – at whatever age – and see how they jockey for position in wacky photo shoots.  A non-Filipino may find it unusual, but even in the face of calamity, you can see smiles on the faces of Pinoys.  Why?  Because Filipinos are very positive individuals who always see the bright side of things.  There are a lot of beautiful places around the world, but being in a beautiful place with happy people doubles the fun.

H – Health Care

Competence is an important trait, but being a compassionate healer is the so-called “X-Factor” that leads to accelerated healing.  This is why most of our overseas Filipino immigrants to other countries are plenty  because of economic reasons.  But most of them come back to the Philippines from time to time to have a vacation and a medical check-up done by a Filipino physician.  What our hospitals may lack in technology is more than made up for by the empathy of our nurses and caregivers.  And don’t underestimate our facilities.  We now have hospitals that are at par – if not even better equipped – than most hospitals in developed coutries.  Yes, the Philippines is also a good choice for medical tourism, at a much lower cost.

I – Intramuros

Intramuros was the seat of government during the Spanish colonial period.  You can learn so much about Philippine history and culture in this walled city.   Intramuros was built as a fortress, much like the Great Wall of China – in the 16th century.  It was eventually  destroyed at the end of World War II, but it has since been restored.  You must try to have a walk on  parts of the restored walls, which is surrounded by a golf course that you can play in at night. Inside the  walls are many attractions such as Fort Santiago, Rizal’s Shrine, San Agustin  Church and museum, and the Manila Cathedral. Try taking a horse carriage (Kalesa) for a more unique experience.

L – Language

Do you speak English?  If you do, you’ll have no problem going around the Philippines.  Filipinos have a very good command of the English language.  They may not pronounce it correctly, and they may not always be grammatically correct, but it’s surely going to be a conversation – not a monologue – when you speak to a Filipina.

I – Ifugao

The Rice Terraces in Banaue, Ifugao is considered the Eight Wonder of the World.  At about 30 A.D., during the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth, Ifugaos conceptualized and created the rice terraces on the Banaue mountain slopes using only their bare hands. The terraces were carved  to plant rice, the staple food of most Filipinos. The rainforests above the mountain act as a natural irrigation system.  Very creative indeed!

P – Purchasing

Glorietta 5 in Makati

Welcome to the unofficial shopping capital of Asia!  A lot has been said about Hong Kong, but I’d say the Philippines is a better place to shop.  Comparable to Hong Kong’s prices, the fact that there are so many malls in the metropolis gives one the freedom of choice.  From the high-end shops in Makati to the extreme bargains in Divisoria and Greenhills, the options are a multitude.

P – Palawan

Entry point to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is one of the world’s longest underground river. The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to diverse species of plants and animals.  It has recently been declared one of the new 7 wonders of nature.

Aside from the Subterranean River, Palawan has some of the best beaches in the country.  Boracay in Aklan may be the most famous, but if you’d like a little more peace and quiet, try Honda Bay.  It is made up of several white sand beaches, some of the loveliest white sands in the Philippines. Other attractions include numerous islets that are diving sanctuaries. With colorful fishes you can feed and coral reefs you can view by snorkeling, Honda Bay is a water lover’s heaven.

Coron Island is also a great site.  The third largest of the Calamian Group of Islands in Northern Palawan, Coron is known for its beautiful white sand beaches.  Dive sites around Coron include many different reef sites.  Cathedral Cave is also a must see, where at a certain time of the day, the sun throws a beam of light through a hole in the cave ceiling, illuminating the cave’s interior.

I – Island hopping

Puerto Galera

Being an archipelago, the best way to see the country is by island hopping.  While you ride a simple fishing vessel , you can let the sea breeze and the sights wash your blues away.  Two popular island hopping destinations include the Hundred Islands in Alaminos, Pangasinan and Puerto Galera in Mindoro.

N – Nightlife

It was called disco in the 80’s and early 90’s.  Now it’s called bar hopping.  The hippest and trendiest gather in Eastwood City Libis, Bonifacio Global City, or Newport City to party the night away.  It’s the place to see, and to be seen.  With the proliferation of call centers in the metro, you can even find all-night dining sites housed in simple tents, at affordable prices.  Food, fun, and booze are always within reach.

E – Eating

Hungry?  Why not try luxurious but affordable buffets?  For a measly Php 1,000, you can stay for hours near the buffet table to you heart’s desire and savor unlimited international cusine and drinks – including beer!  You don’t have to check in and spend a fortune in a 5-star hotel for this.  For a sampling, check out the daily buffets at the seaside buffet restaurants of Pasay City’s reclamation area.

S – Sulu Sea

In the Sulu Sea, 98 Nautical Miles southeast of Puerto Princesa Palawan, the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park showcases over 1000 species of marine creatures and birds. The Reef is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most popular Philippine diving site for tourists.

Whether you want to shop, take care of your health and well-being, climb a mountain, enjoy nature’s wonders, walk through history, dive, swim, party the night away, eat all you can, or just enjoy talking to people, you’ll find it all in this beautiful country.