Monday, May 26, 2014

PIA Bohol volunteers arts, literary 
Workshops at Bayani Challenge 

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 24, (PIA) –People who write well tends to think well. And people who think well tends to be successful. 

And in response to the call for heroism and creating the environment for new heroes to effect the change the Philippines needs, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Bohol put in Arts and Literary Workshops for students in Tagum Sur High School, in Trinidad town, May 22, 2014. 

Fresh from a soccer clinic as part of the agency’s contribution to the Bayani Challenge 2014 which the town committed for May 20-22 at the Municipal Training Center grounds, the PIA then picked up the pace to volunteer anew for the student arts and literary skills capability building in barangay Tagum, some four kilometers from the town center. 

The PIA took up the challenge of raising new heroes as the largest social mobilization to re-ignite the fire of heroism in the Filipino gained momentum since April 12. 

The idea is to gather one million volunteers across 12 provinces, says Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, during the April 9 launching in Bohol. 

Every year since 2006, Gawad Kalinga (GK) and its partners have staged the Bayani Challenge with the objective of building relationships, bringing out the hero in everyone and raising resources and results for the poor that can only be achieved by working together, states Bayani Challenge website.

While volunteerism is the call, there is also that need for young leaders to get into the groove, acquiring the necessary skills to do packets of heroism by inspiring others or by themselves modeling to others, PIA said. 

The idea is to guide the student writers to make use of the arts and literature to express as well as to boost their self-confidence, said workshop organizer who talked with school faculty at the workshop sidelines. 

At the literature writeshop, students dealt with feature writing and used the theme on planting trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

This was after an hour long of discussions on the difference between straight news and feature articles. 

Meanwhile, at the Arts workshop, the discussions dealt on the basics of sketching, elements of art, coloring and rendering plates according to the basic elements. 

Student artists from grade seven to high school seniors joined the arts workshop which used basic pencil and crayon, held at the high school science room. 

PIA also gave a free film showing to the community in the evening, just as the Bayani Challenge volunteers were readying the barrio fiesta themed solidarity dinner. (PIABohol/RAC)

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NEC records 498 HIV
positive in March ‘14

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 24, (PIA) – The prevalence of Visayans working overseas and the propensity to have unprotected sex especially on homosexuals could have largely contributed to the region’s owning 17% of the country’s 498 reported Ab sero-positive of Human Immuno Virus (HIV) in March 2014.

In Bohol, about four persons were monitored to have asymptomatic cases from January to March of this year, according to the National Epidemiology Center’s Philippine HIV/AIDS registry. This adds up to the 45 asymptomatic in commulative reports since 1984. 

This too, as the NEC reported 498 new HIV Ab sero-positive individuals, as confirmed by the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrom (STD/AIDS) Cooperative Central Laboratory (SACCL). 

The Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry (PHAR) also bared that since 1984 when the country had only about two reported cases, the numbers started to get alarming 10 years later when the cases when as high as over a hundred.

What is even more fearsome is that since 2004 which had only 199 reported cases, the figure ballooned to 4,814 in 2013, with a tendency for 2014 to surpass the figure with the disease’s characteristic progression. 

Since 1984 and over the years, over 17,000 Filipinos have been reported to have tested positive, and over 16,000 of these persons are asymptomatic, the disease is not manifested and continues to be a threat to unsuspecting partners. 

At the Philippine HIV and AIDS registry, for the month of March 2014, about 95% of the cases are males, 59% of them within the 20-29 year old bracket. 

Reported modes of transmission were sexual contact (443), needle sharing among injecting drug users (54) and mother to child (1), according to the March registry.

In the March 2014 registry, it showed 81% of the new HIV cases come from NCR, Region, 7, Region 4A, Region 3 and Region 6.

PHAR said sexual contact was the most common mode of HIV transmission, accounting for 95% or (1,577) of all reported AIDS cases and 43% (677) of sexual transmission was through homosexual contact, followed by heterosexual contact and (592) bisexual contact.

In 2014 too, AIDS surveillance group at the Department of Health’s NEC, noted there were 162 HIV positive OFWs, comprising 11% of cases reported for the year. 

Of these, 142 (88%) were male and only 20 (12%) were female. All acquired the infection through sexual contact (61 heterosexual, 60 homosexual and 41 bisexual. 

In Bohol, Provincial HIV council held a candlelight memorial for HIV AIDS last Sunday, an event attended by Dr. Jonathan Neil Erasmo, and Governor Edgar Chatto at the Plaza Rizal. (PIABohol)

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Tourist destination re-invented
Tigers versus tarsiers at 
“new” Zoocolate Thrills

LOBOC, Bohol May 23 (PIA) –A destination along the famed Bohol countryside tour circuit re-invents itself and repackages itself after a devastating earthquake in October last year, but would this be enough to get them the tourists they so need?

Zoocolate Thrills, a Yupangco-group of companies zoo-themed park in Gotozon, Loboc dreams of making itself an integral part of the standard Chocolate Hills Tour, but does it have all it takes to get there?

Destination manager said they have tiger enhancements, greyhounds, sheep, ostrich, and largest python as wildlife alternative against the already iconic tarsiers.

Tourism industry workers also believe that offering wild animals to tourists could sell, but it could be depending on the way the destination would see how it could complement the standard countryside tour, or compete with the established tarsier interaction sites along the way. 

Standard Chocolate Hills tour, or Bohol’s famous best-seller Countryside Tour is an 8 hour structured tour that has in its itinerary a City Tour, Blood Compact Commemorative Site, Baclayon Church and Museum, Loboc River Cruise on board a floating restaurant, tarsier interaction, man-made forest and the famous Chocolate Hills. 

While some other tour agencies have enhanced the countryside tour with the Sipatan Hanging Bridge, Butterfly Sanctuary stop, the Ship House and souvenir shopping, the tour generally takes about six to seven hours of the eight hour tour package. 

At the extra hour, Zoocolate Thrills, the home for the largest Burmese python along the circuit as well as a menagerie of wild animals including live Bengal tigers, greyhounds, dwarf horses, ostriches, sheep, wants to get a slice, according to Robert Yupangco, in a press conference last week. 

“The problem however is that the aspiring zoo-themed park would have to compete and exceed the lure of the tarsier,” 

comments a tour-guide who asked not to be named. 

Bohol standard countryside tour is so structured that it puts in the best of Bohol to approximate the country’s lure, the tour guide who sits as officer of a local tour guide association adds. 

The best of the country includes geological wonders like Mayon Volcano’s perfect cones, pristine white beaches like Boracay’s, historical sites like Corregidor, heritage sites like San Agustin Church, environment immersion like in Palawan, outdoor adventure like Pagsanjan, food tripping like Pinoy fiesta local jamming sessions in Ermita and wildlife like the monkey eating eagles.

If Zoocolate Thrills want to compete, it has to “sell” its animals and sidle out the tarsiers and this could be tough, the tour guide said. 

For tour agents here, the standard Chocolate Hills tour is so structured that a few minutes of delay could mean the tourist missing the plane or the boat out of Bohol. 

Before that, the tour agent who sells prepaid tours added that many tourists arrive in Bohol with tours already structured so that they may not have the luxury of other stops other than the one in the itinerary. (PIABohol/RAC)

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Over 60 youth join soccer clinic
At Trinidad Bayani Challenge 14

TRINIDAD, Bohol, May 23, (PIA)—Over 60 youth from barangays Poblacion, Hinlayagan and Banlasan received two pairs of soccer socks and the town got four soccer balls for skills sustainability as the Bayani Challenge Soccer Team completed two days of grueling volunteer soccer clinic, May 20-21.

Mayor Judith Cajes and Vice Mayor Frank Gonzales and local town officials personally witnessed the turn-over of the soccer socks to clinic participants and received the four indestructible balls, at the Municipal Training Center soccer grounds.

The soccer balls, are among the most sought-after soccer balls for grassroots soccer development, needs no inflation and could survive the most brutal soccer punishment, assured training coach Edmar Thaddeus Simpao.

Simpao, the current president of the Bohol Football Association (BohFA) partnered with Philippine Information Agency in Bohol and Trinidad to offer the two day sports clinic to bring out sports skills among Trinidad youth. 

I never realized soccer is that hard, all I can see on TV is that players run and kick the ball. It is much complicated than that, admits a sweat-drenched student at Saint Isidore Academy, a private catholic secondary school in town and clinic participant.

The training also attracted girls, about seven of them came and competed with the boys. 

Also with the BohFA and PIA was Infant King Academy Soccer Team, 13 players who part of the 16 man Bayani Challenge volunteer team responding to the call for new living heroes eager to make the needed change in the country. 

The group intends to be counted among the 2014 legacies at the Bayani Challenge, the country’s largest social mobilization to enliven volunteerism in the Filipino.

“We want to be part of the call to change,” said John Luis Lacsado, IKA soccer team captain as they prepared for another round of soccer skills trainings at the MTC grounds.

“It’s a different feeling when you can help other people like your age gain skills and earn confidence that could be very helpful in the future, adds Joseph Demetrius Ligan, IKA soccer team midfielder. 

The team came to Trinidad spending their personal funds, packing in provisions, cooking them and preparing the solidarity meals while bonding with Trinidad young players. 

The clinic also ended with a mini-league where the clinic participants played against each other’s team as Trinidad put up about four teams. An exhibition game also ensued between the town players and IKA. 

Meanwhile, Trinidad Local officials were able to gather over 3,000 volunteers in the first three days of the week-long Bayani Challenge, according to town information officer Jojelyn Buendia. 

Other than sports clinics and paraisong pambata children’s games, Trinidad Bayani Challenge also includes school buildings and repair, street clean-ups, summer arts and literature workshops, cultural presentations and environment care. (PIABohol/RAC)

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