Shedding Light on the Kabbalah Mystery

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Many have come across Kabbalah, but what is it all about? Is it a religion? A Philosphy? An exclusive club . . . a cult? Or is it just a theoretical concept?
Admittedly, I struggled in questioning about it’s concept during the launch of the first Kabbalah Center in the Philippines last March 21, 2017 at Baranggay Poblacion, Makati. I didn’t know where to start so I asked questions off the top of my head, groping for a definite direction. A panel composed of selected members were presented to respond to questions from the guests, they were: Reema Chanco, Nicky, Plinky Recto, and Pinky Amador. Perhaps due to curiosity and a certain amount of interest, I ended up asking the most questions. Even Sarah Weston, Head of Kabbalah Center-Far East, assisted the panel in addressing perhaps a question that may have been tricky to answer.

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PH Govt Urged to Protect Benham Rise

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Press Update:
Oceana, Earth’s largest international non-government organization working on ocean conservation, urged the Philippine government to protect Benham Rise – an undersea territory east of Luzon brimming with natural resources.

“Benham Rise is part of Philippine territory. We must exercise our sovereignty over this area and assert our rights. The immediate creation of a management framework to ensure the protection of this special place and the conservation of its marine resources is a compelling first step,” says lawyer Gloria Estenzo Ramos, Vice-President for Oceana Philippines.

The Department of National Defense (DND) recently disclosed that a Chinese vessel conducted an unsanctioned survey in the region, believed to be rich in both marine and mineral resources.

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A New Playground for Bikers at Circulo Verde

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Biking is not only fitness-friendly, environment-friendly, but it’s also a friendly fun activity for friends and family-bonding time . . . or even for your alone time. And now biking has gotten even more exciting with the new Circulo Verde’s The Bike Playground.
Offering a unique Biking Experience, The Bike Playground has so much to offer biking enthusiasts and newbies — the Philippines’ first Signature Pump Park, a 1 km Outdoor Trail, and an Outdoor Kids Track. The Bike Playground will no doubt encourage more Filipinos to take up biking and at the same time elevate the biking scene to another level.

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TOFARM Finalists Named for Farming Inspired Music and Film Creativity

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After Levi Celerio’s classic “Magtanim Ay Di Biro” (Planting is No Joke), the time has come to find a present-day take on uplifing music that celebrates the life of a farmer. Not just in music, but in film as well. The search for a moving story about the farm life has wrapped up as well for 2017 with six finalists selected in a variety of genres. This, together with the ten finalists for the TOFARM Songwriting Competition was presented last February 8 at Novotel Hotel in Cubao.
The event allowed media to interact with the finalists and ask more about how they came up with their works and what was their inspiration. Clearly the music presented by the 10 finalists were rich in melody and thought-provoking in lyrics, and at this point all of them were winners already. Whoever will be announced as the final winnner in April 9 will just be a formality. The same goes for the six finalists of the film category. They are already winners as they were selected from the numerous entries. The theme for 2017 centered on “Planting the seeds of Change”.

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Ipo Watershed Rangers Get Needed Support Against Illegal Loggers

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Ipo Watershed by Gregg Yan & WWF

They don’t pack high-tech gear nor high-caliber weapons, but the Dumagat rangers of Ipo Watershed patrol Bulacan’s forests like it were their home. Because it is.

“Sometimes we spend up to three days patrolling these mountains,” gestures veteran ranger Bayani Cruz to the distant mountains east of Ipo Dam, already scarred by kaingin or slash-and burn farmers. “Conditions are rough, especially during the monsoon season, when rivers swell and trails turn to streams – but we always do our duty. We earn only one hundred Pesos per day – but we don’t do this just for money. We are Dumagat. We were born in the forest and we are just protecting our homes.”

Sporting simple tools and gear donated by mountaineers, the rangers work day and night to protect the Sierra Madre mountain range against illegal loggers, slash-and-burn farmers and charcoal collectors. With little gear and basic pay, they’ve had a tough run, but they finally got help.

Last 10 January, the watershed’s rangers received solar lamps and mobile chargers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) and AVolution, a digital signage solutions company whose core business is to supply and install LED screens across the Philippines. A total of 52 lamps were made available to the rangers to augment their capacity to patrol at night, while allowing them to charge their mobile phones and other communications gear, increasing the range of foot patrols.

“Our LED There be Light initiative illuminates distant communities and helps locals do their jobs without relying on dangerous, dirty and expensive kerosene or carbide lamps,” explains AVolution’s President and General Manager Lani Kimber Campos. AVolution also gave 200 solar lamps to farmers in Brgy. Tiniguiban, Gumaca, Quezon Province last year.

Ipo Watershed, together with the Angat and Umiray watersheds, supply 98% of the water consumed by Metro Manila. Situated northeast of the sprawling Metropolis, it covers 7161 hectares in Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan, plus Rodriguez in Rizal.

Sadly, the watershed’s forests are in full retreat. Though protected by several proclamations including a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for the Indigenous Dumagat tribes of the watershed, the area is pockmarked by patches of bare soil. From 85%, forest cover plummeted to 40% in recent years. The government and groups like the UP Mountaineers have been helping locals protect the watershed.

WWF and its allies, which include Banco de Oro, Samsung and the Sunlife Foundation, recently joined the fray. “The deployment of solar lamps is just part of a larger initiative to protect the entire watershed,” explains WWF-Philippines Project Manager Paolo Pagaduan, who formerly oversaw a watershed conservation project in Rizal.

“We’re now working to develop a sustainable watershed management plan, form an effective management body for all micro-watersheds, aid groundwater recharge, minimize erosion and siltation, mitigate pollution through waste management, conduct regular monitoring and the evaluation of interventions and replant denuded areas to provide livelihood opportunities and maximize forest recovery. Simply put, we’re going beyond tree-planting,” he explains.
Through the efforts of the aptly-named Bayani, plus the rest of the rangers protecting the Ipo Watershed, Metro Manila’s 12 million residents can rest easy, knowing there will always be water to drink.

Renewable Energy is key to Ph Development

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Clean and renewable energy sources like geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar energy are among the country’s few competitive advantages – especially since it has no significant deposits of fossil-fuels. Its continued dependence on imported fuel has made Philippine electricity rates among the highest in Asia.

Relying more on RE has brought down the cost of electricity with fuel diversity, shielding Filipinos from price fluctuations as no fuel cost is incurred. This shows the care or Malasakit of the government, particularly coupled with increased energy access with distributed RE reaching off-grid communities.

“With the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017 until 2022 now being finalized, we challenge the government to increase the share of RE to 50% by 2030,” explains WWF-Philippines climate and energy programme head Atty. Gia Ibay. “Green and sustainable development fits perfectly with the administration’s mantra of Malasakit, Pagbabago at Kaunlaran because RE provides affordable, sustainable and accessible electricity – especially for remote communities.”   More

Vertical Race and More at BPI To Fund Eco-Friendly Village

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Press Update:

Employees of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) tackled 20 flights of stairs plus a host of grueling physical and mental challenges in the annual BPI Vertical Race, which will fund an eco-friendly village in Guinhadap, Masbate.

Over 200 participants climbed to the top of the BPI headquarters in Makati last December 10, 2016, where top male athlete Jose Augurio de Vera Jr.finished in 4:42. Top female athlete Jules Villamor completed all challenges in 5:18, while fastest group ‘Team N’ breezed through the race in 4:24.

The Vertical Race is part of BPI’s employee donation campaign. Launched in October 2016, the move generated P250,000 to support the World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF’s Earth Hour Village in one of the poorest Philippine provinces, Masbate. More

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