Chronic Stress is Your Body Calling for Help

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Your body has a way of sending out a cry of help. When you have a nagging headache, feel the tension creeping in your neck or feel the urge to either escape or punch the person nearest you, these are signals of chronic stress.

According to the American Psychological Association, stress is defined as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down from unpleasant events. Unlike regular occasional stress, which is sometimes considered as beneficial, chronic stress is constant and persists for a prolonged period of time.  Not managing this right away has far-reaching consequences on your health – in both the mental and physical aspect.  In fact, some of these consequences may not be easily seen right away including:

  • Changes in your brain:  Previous imaging and postmortem studies have reported a lower brain volume and a smaller size and density of neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) of subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD)1.
  • Increased risk of heart attack: St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute revealed that those suffering from chronic stress are at greater risk of developing heart problems. Stress is also linked with a 42 percent higher risk of dying two years after a heart attack2.
  • Depression: Some stress can keep you motivated and alert, although researchers from the US National Institute on Mental Health found that chronic stress could lead to depression in sensitive people3.

So how do you help your body cope with stress and improve your health? “Well, the road to good health starts with a positive mindset and the determination to make better life choices,” notes Dian Yu, Product Manager of Enercal Plus, an adult nutritional supplement made by Wyeth.

The following are some of the things you can start off with:

  • Do your lifts and push-ups. Or at the very least, make sure that you have some form of physical activity or exercise. An ideal time frame is 30 [1]minutes, for at least three times in a week.
  • Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake. We know that nothing beats a sugar or caffeine rush; but be mindful of the fact that the “highs” that they provide often end with a sudden crash in mood and energy.
  • Say no to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. All these may provide an easy escape from stressors; but the respite they give is at best, temporary and at its worst, ultimately debilitating. Always remember that it’s always best to deal with everyday life with a clear mind.
  • Eat healthy! Start the day right by eating breakfast (don’t skip it!) and keep your energy up throughout the day by eating nutritious meals. Remember that the key word to eating healthy is “balance” – too much or too little of anything can be bad for your health.  Drink a glass of Enercal Plus to help make sure that you get the nutrition that your body needs.

ENERCAL THERMALEnercal Plus, a product developed by Wyeth Nutrition Philippines, contains Nutri-Life Plus, which is a balanced source of 28 essential nutrients for immunity, strength, and heart health. It contains whey and soy protein that is a good source of amino acids needed by the body, which is easily absorbed to support muscle synthesis. Enercal Plus also contains vitamins A, C, and E to support the immune system, calcium and vitamin D for bone strength, and has 0g transfat for a healthy heart.

So listen to your body and do not ignore its cry for help!  Start on ways to improve your health right now!

For more details, photos & updates, visit


Natural Remedy for Uric Acid Crystalization

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Another great Facebook share from Juicing for Health . . .


Cucumber juice helps bring down body temperature, is highly alkalizing and effective for removing uric acid crystalization in joints, like in the case of GOUT. There may be a slight pain when drinking this juice – it is the stirring of the old toxins to be eliminated. The celery and ginger will help reduce inflammation during the cleansing. Perfect combo!

– 1 medium-sized cucumber
– 2 ribs of celery
– A slice of lemon
– 1-inch young ginger root

My Mojos, Silent And Reliable Outdoor Footwear

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SAM_1349What the brand Colgate is to toothpaste, Coke to softdrinks,  Xerox to Photocopiers, and Kodak to photos , top of mind brands that became common terms  for its poduct,. . . well Mojos was the common term  for this outdoor footwear many years back.

SAM_0904In a recent trip to Sagada and Benguet province, our group of bloggers were sponsored Mojos footwear for our farm tours.  The women got the regular flipflops to try while the men tested another style.  The Mojo flipflops turned out to be quite comfortable, sturdy and felt secure in my feet.  Especially since the path we trekked went uphill and downhill, including steep inclines, and sudden drops. The bottom of the flipflops including the surface had this slightly rough texture to provide traction on the slippery path as well as on the feet to prevent accidental slips.    It’s a good footwear to pack for mountain- area trips, aside from beaches with rocky shores like Batangas and Pangasinan. Well and good.

What really surprised me was when a friend of mine noticed the other footwear I was wearing.  I brought with me an old pair of rubber sandals which I have been using for 20 years for rocky beaches as well as mountain treks.  This was the actual footwear I wore most of the time for the tough activities like caving and the rugged mountain climbing.  To my surprise, she noticed and brought my attention to the fact I that my ageing, old-designed  rubber sandals which I didn’t give much thought of when I bought them in the 90s, were actually Mojos.  That was when I realized what a reliable, long-lasting brand Mojos was for outdoor activities.

SAM_0906 SAM_0909

Preserve Coral Reefs . . . Preserve Our Food Supply, Increase Income

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???????????????????????????????According to a 2009 WWF report, coral reefs may disappear from the Coral Triangle by the end of the century and the ability of the region’s coastal environments to feed people might decline by 80% if no effective conservation measures are implemented. That is something to worry about.

But first, what is the Coral Triangle? The Coral Triangle is scientifically defined as the marine region encompassing the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands. “Though it covers just 1% of the Earth’s surface, the region hosts 30% of the world’s coral reefs, 76% of its reef-building coral species, plus vital spawning grounds for fish, birds and sea turtles,” Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje explains.

To address the gloomy future trend of coral reefs, the Coral Triangle Support Partnership  (CTSP) was created. Through the CTSP, the US government, with the coordinated efforts of USAID, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, Department of State and other agencies collectively known as the USCTI Support Program provides technical and financial assistance to the six CTI country governments.  Great, so there are funds coming in to preserve this critical food source.

CTSP promotes community participation in the protection and management of their marine and coastal resources, as well as private sector involvement to ensure long-term and sustainable use. This supports the shared vision of the Philippines and the United States to achieve broad-based and inclusive growth for Filipinos,” US Embassy Manila’s USAID Mission Director for the Philippines Gloria Steele says.  The five-year CTSP is US government funded and implemented through Conservation International (CI), the World Wide Fund for Nature / World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).  Community participation and Private sector involvement  for the long-term and sustainable use  is key to the solution.

An update on the progress of this effort is reported during the forum. Fortunately, the Philippines has  good news to share.  The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Philippines Forum, held at the Hotel InterContinental in Makati City on 14 August, highlighted the contributions of various partners in achieving the goals of the CTI-Philippines National Plan of Action.  Organized by the CTI-Philippines National Coordinating Committee (NCC), co-chaired by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the event was attended by more than 200 representatives from the public and private sectors, including local government leaders and community groups in CTSP sites Palawan, Tawi-Tawi and the Verde Island Passage in Batangas.

“Local communities are the delivery systems of conservation. By delivering bottom-line results that not only provide livelihood, but create wealth, we exert a profound influence on sustainably transforming systems and practices. Going beyond science, beyond policy, beyond plans and pilots, our collective goal should be to give our stakeholders and allies a future where they can reap strong, sustainable benefits. In a climate defined future, this is conservation at work,” says World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan,

Plectropomus leopardus (WWF)Protecting Palawan’s Marine Resources

Federico and Nida Illut, fisherfolk from the municipality of Araceli in Palawan, finally upgraded their flimsy bahay kubo to a two-bedroom concrete house – the direct result of rising grouper or lapu-lapu yields.

Palawan, which is home to over 40 % of the country’s reefs and diverse fish species, generates 55% of all Philippine seafood including the highly valued suno or red grouper. Exported to Hongkong, Singapore, mainland China and other seafood hubs, this colorful fish species contributes over Php1 Billion to the country’s annual revenues and s

upports the livelihoods of 100,000 people in Palawan alone.

Decades of unsustainable fishing practices once threatened to destroy the Live Reef Fish Trade (LRFT) in the area. “Overharvesting was a problem.  Fishers were catching five times more than what could be sustained. Spawning grounds for fishes were targeted, severely depleting natural brood-stock. Fortunately, local government units and stakeholders started to support conservation efforts – and it is paying off,” explains WWF-Philippines CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.

In 2011, WWF and its allies commissioned science-based studies to guide Palawan fisheries officers on how to identify, establish and manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A concept pioneered by Filipino scientists in 1974, MPAs are areas of marine habitats which enjoy varying levels of protection – from no-take to limited-use classifications. Over a thousand MPAs are now spread across the archipelago.

Two years after declaring new MPAs and protecting fish spawning areas, fisherfolk in the area are reporting good news.  “We can already see improvements in fish yields and coral cover within and outside the protected zones,” testifies Taytay Municipal Administrator Robinson Morales.  “Things have steadily improved since we established the MPAs.”

Mangrove Reforestation in Batangas Fights Climate Change

The entire west coast of Calatagan in Batangas is exposed to waves from the West Philippine Sea.  The area is highly vulnerable to storm surge effects, coastal erosion and flooding – further aggravated by the impacts of climate change. A one-meter rise in sea level will flood about 4700 hectares of coastal plain.

Balibago Mangroves by Conservation InternationalAs an adaptation strategy, coastal villages in Calatagan have ventured into mangrove (bakawan) reforestation and protection – with community members understanding the critical function of these forests as buffers against climate hazards.

An alliance of fishing families in the village of Balibago established a mangrove nursery for 10,000 seedlings in a 10-hectare mangrove conservation area with the aid of the Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP) through Conservation International and strong support from the local government. Apart from supplying mangrove seedlings to nearby towns to widen the mangrove belt in Calatagan, the nursery also became an added source of income for families in the area.  Residents now sell 5000 mangroves saplings yearly and earn additional income from waste recycling while patrolling or harvesting shellfish.

In the nearby village of Quilitisan, a mangrove island known as Ang Pulo (The Island) was developed as an ecotourism site for camping, birdwatching and picnics on rafts.  The site is now fully-managed by a community of fishers, farmers and women.

“Through their mangrove rehabilitation efforts, the people of Calatagan are taking action to address the impacts of climate change in their communities while simultaneously reaping the benefits of ecotourism, ultimately securing a bright future of their families,” says Conservation International-Philippines Country Executive Director Enrique A. Nuñez Jr.

With the success of these initiatives, Calatagan is considered a model site for coastal resource management and is being replicated in other provinces in the Philippines.  The village of Balibago was recently chosen as the site for the 2nd Coral Triangle Day last 9 June by the Philippine Coral Triangle Initiative National Coordinating Committee (NCC) with over 300 participants from Manila and Batangas joining mangrove planting and coastal clean-up activities.

“We are highly aware of the benefits that coral reefs contribute to the country’s food security and we are taking keen measures to ensure our reefs’ sustainability,” assures DA Secretary Proceso Alcala. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Philippines, conducts various fisheries resource conservation and protection programs in support of the CTI as well.

The New Eden: Organic Agriculture and A Disease-Free Nation


jrbustamante1SAM_0296Plants have the power to heal and keep us healthy, I believe.  After all, it is created by a higher power and has kept our ancestors alive when hospitals were not available. If we can only unlock the secrets that lies beneath these living forms perhaps we can eradicate the  man-made diseases that have been plaguing us in this day and age:  HIV, cancer of all kinds, leukemia, skin diseases, mental diseases, dengue, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, to name a few.

SAM_0270During the Organic Farm Tour in Benguet Province, the three farms in focus were: Lily of the Valley, The Master’s Garden, and Garden of Life. In the first farm, the discussion focused on how to grow and maintain healthy vegetables such broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, instead a mix of natural pesticide spray and natural compost for the soil. 

SAM_0282In the Master’s Garden,  the discussion focused on the use of grass fertilizers instead of manure.  The investment of time and resources for healthier soil and produce is a lot in the beginning but the expenses reduce as the years go by. And the returns are more gratifying with healthier fruit and vegetables that’s  high in vitamins, and less sick and malnourished consumers.  According to owner, Mr. Pat Acosta, who offers seminars on how to maintain a healthy organic farm, the only reason that would keep farmers from pursuing organic farmSAM_0286s is LAZINESS.  It is much easier and faster to spray chemical pesticides on the plants once a week or month, than to laboriously apply natural pesticides at shorter intervals. The result is bigger, or rather bloated, vegetables which possess less nutrients than the ones grown the organic farming way.  The organic farm produce may be smaller but tougher, packed with more nutrients from a rich soil, and does not wilt right away.  That is one way on how you can tell if your vegetables are really organically grown: it lasts longer in the fridge. 

SAM_0273To begin organic farming, you have to prepare the soil to make it healthy and this usually takes three years to accomplish, according to Mr. Acosta.  Instead of using manure, he would opt for grass fertilizer applied routinely to enrich the soil.  It  removes any stench, and actually is more appetizing to the mind.  The effort of maintaining an organic farm is double than regular farms but when yoSAM_0278u establish a system or routine, the effort becomes a non-issue and the returns will be financially gratifying assures Mr. Acosta.  Income is continuous now in his case and more customers are coming in, more than his small farm can handle. That is why he made it his advocacy is to teach other farmers his way of farming for a small fee.

 SAM_0275One of his successful students is Mr. Felix Tan, the owner of the next farm we visited,  Garden of Life.  Mr. Tan, who is an herbal doctor,  also applies grass fertilizer for his farm which specializes in anti-cancer plants.  He is a staunch supporter of Mr. Acosta’s farming methodology as he practices Mr. Acosta’s purist way of composting.  His farm is clean and fresh-smelling without the foul-odor caused by decays in the composting area.


SAM_0247The belief that plants may be the cure to cancer or other fatal diseases is not as quixotic as some people may think.  Most medicines do come from plants, but what mix of plants will produce what effect is still the question.  When hope is gone from the medical side, patients look into the power of herbs.  The result of consuming more vegetables to clean and maintain our system is the healthy trend these days. So let’s do our own planting, and what we can’t plant we buSAM_0280y from organic farms, certified organic farms.  Help support Organic Agriculture, it’s the only way to go.  Even if it may not be totally sustainable at this point as there may not be enough supply for the huge demands, let us slowly transition to a healthier way of living by patronizing our organic farmers little by little so they may increase in numbers.

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Organic Farming Key to Reducing Major Health Issues


SAM_0230SAM_0003What an eye-opener my trip was to Benguet and Sagada as part of an organic farm tour. To say the least, I was disappointed to realize that greed would allow health of the public to be compromised by keeping the truth hidden. People may not realize the gravity of the situation as it is perhaps downplayed by the opposing party.  I am talking about the perpetuation of the use of pesticides in the farming industry resulting in inferior crops that contain a certain amount of chemicals being fed to the unsuspecting or trusting public. The victims in the end are not the farmers, but the consumers.  

SAM_0226The pesticides are slowly killing us with chemicals entering our blood stream little by little.  We may blame the migranes, skin diseases, diarrhea, nausea, diabetes or a non-healthy body to stress, pollution, exhaustion but maybe it is caused by the food we ingest.  We may not notice it because it is slowly creeping in until we are diagnosed with the grave sicknesses of cancer, leukemia, heart disease, and the like. What’s even worse is that we pass it on to our children who are born with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, mental retardation or physical deformities.

SAM_0019Greed is what motivates farmers or pharmaceutical salesmen to encourage the use of pesticides despite knowing it’s harmful effects.  The temporary effect of bloated vegetables and faster income in the end will cost the farmers more with total dependency on pesticides and sick consumers.  The Public needs to wake up and choose their farmers and sources of vegetables, fruits, poultry and meats well.  Demand for good, healthy harvests by supporting the farmers who care or follow good farming practices.  Help the Organic Farming Industry flourish and educate unenlighted farmers about the unprofitable use of chemicals in SAM_0093the long run.  One small step at a time.  We can begin by buying organic produce from reliable sources.

The visit to The Master’s Garden and Lily of the Valley organic farms in Benguet showed us what healthy vegetables look like and the high amount of nutrition we can derive from healthy crops and healthy soil.

SAM_0010Broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach were the main crops grown at Lily of the Valley organic farm.  We were informed that broccoli is easily infected by pests, so can you imagine how much pesticides is used in the broccoli that you buy in the market if you weren’t sure they came from an organic farm? Scary thought isn’t it, especially knowing that you were feeding your young children with this vegetable supposedly high in nutrition.

SAM_0107The Master’s Garden farm practices the use of grass in its compost instead of manure.  There was no stench at all going around the farm.  I could feel that the vegetables were really clean to eat.  No bacteria from manure was infused in the plant from the soil.  Can you imagine the veggies that we consume that grew on soil that was fed with manure? No one knows how the vegetabSAM_0127les we buy in the grocery and  the market were grown and cared for.  We just place our trust in the farmers.  As consumers, we can demand that our farmers follow healthy practices by showing them where the money goes.  So Let’s support the Organic Agriculture and the Organic Farmers.  It’s the consumers who will benefit in the end.

Lily of the Valley Organic Farm Tour

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Hail the Environment Heroes

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Conservation Heroes 2013 by WWF

Newly-awarded WWF Hero of the Environment Francisco Vergara (holding certificate and cheque) flanked by Badoc Mayor Arlene Torralba, Vice-mayor Tom Torralba and WWF-Philippines Conservation Programmes Vice-president Joel Palma at the Municipal Session Hall of Badoc. Vergara is the 16th awardee of the WWF Programme, now on its fourth year.

Press Release:

Age didn’t stop Francisco Vergara from saving a trapped dolphin in Badoc, Ilocos Norte. Setting out on his tiny bangka at 3 AM last 18 June, the 63-year old fisherman came across an unusual sight – enmeshed in a fishing net between the villages of Pagsanaan Sur and Pagsanaan Norte was an adult rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), struggling for life.

The senior citizen wasted no time – alerting authorities which quickly pooled resources to release the animal by 9:45 AM. For his honourable actions, the Philippine arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently recognized him as its latest Hero of the Environment. Mayor Arlene Torralba, Vice-mayor Tom Torralba and WWF-Philippines Conservation Programmes Vice-president Joel Palma recognized Vergara in a simple ceremony at the Municipal Session Hall of Badoc last 25 July.

“WWF’s Heroes of the Environment programme was launched in 2009 to reward individuals that show decisive environmental action,” explains Palma. “Counting Vergara, WWF has awarded a total of 16 people – ranging from a shy eight-year old that helped save a wounded risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) in Mindoro to highly-acclaimed dolphin and peace mural artist AG Saño, who painted over 30,000 dolphins to protest both the annual killing of dolphins in Japan, plus the keeping of dolphins in captivity. To date, Vergara is our oldest awardee.”

Whales and Dolphins in the Philippines

Most Filipinos are unaware that the country is a hotbed for whales and dolphins. Twenty eight – a full third of all known cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) species – have been recorded in Philippine waters as of 2013.

Cetaceans which ply our waters include the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) – made famous by the 1851 novel Moby Dick, the killer whale (Orcinus orca) – biggest of the dolphins and star of the 1993 film Free Willy, and the massive blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) – the largest creature on Earth, reaching lengths of 100 feet.

Though all cetacean species are protected under Philippine Republic Act (RA) 9147, their incidental capture or bycatch remains a serious and pervasive threat. WWF has been collaborating with leading Filipino marine mammal experts and conservationists to reduce fisheries bycatch and conduct marine mammal training programs with local governments, coastal communities and private sector allies since 1997.

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