Posts Tagged 'typhoon'

Hagupit vs Nina

We were sent home a bit earlier today—5:00pm instead of the usual 5:45pm—because Typhoon with international name “Hagupit” was about to reach Hong Kong. In fact, the No. 8 storm signal was raised around 6:00pm. Bad news for me! This means we might need to work tomorrow since Signal 8 never lasts more than 12 hours. Sigh! I wish Hagupit (PAGASA name: “Nina”) did not arrive too soon. Anyway, the extra 45 minutes I saved today were enough to enable me to make this post.

Isn’t it ironic that the local designation for typhoons has become more foreign-sounding nowadays while the international community seems to be more accomodating to Filipino-sounding names? The name “Nina” has Hebrew or Spanish origins while “Hagupit” is definitely Filipino. I prefer the previous system actually wherein typhoon names were taken after Filipino women’s nicknames ending in “ng” from A to Y. I grew up with that nomenclature and I find it more classy than the current one despite the nicknames having been derived from Spanish.

When the Philippine Weather Bureau in 1999 initiated the “Name A Bagyo Contest”, I wish they required that the entries be absolutely derived from Filipino. When I say Filipino, all the dialects should have been included. The current naming process may be more systematic for PAGASA but, as in other aspects of our eroded culture, this shows how we tend to forget the need to promote our own language. Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!



Walang PAGASA?

(No Hope?)

Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) ravaged the Philippines today. At least 80 people were confirmed dead as of posting but this number is expected to rise. A Sulpicio Lines passenger ship, MV Princess of the Stars, with more than 700 passengers capsized off Romblon. As soon as I read the news by sms from the Philippines, I hurriedly booted my notebook to check the PAGASA website and verify the typhoon status. PAGASA is the acronym for Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. PAGASA coincidentally means HOPE in the Filipino vernacular. The government office is supposed to be the forecasting authority in times of calamities such as typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis in the country.

My jaw dropped when the laptop screen gave me this:

Walang PAGASA!

It read: “The connection has timed out/The server at is taking too long to respond…Try Again.”

So I did try again, and again and again and again and again and again… After the nth refresh, I finally succeeded. The PAGASA site announced:


Public Storm Warning Signals elsewhere now lowered.

Residents in low lying areas and near mountain slopes under typhoon signals are advised to take all the necessary precautions against possible flashfloods and landslides. Likewise, those living in coastal areas under signals 2 and 3 are alerted against big waves or storm surges generated by this typhoon.

Typhoon “Frank” will continue to enhance the Southwest Monsoon and bring rains over the Western sections of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

The public and the disaster coordinating councils concerned are advised to take appropriate actions and watch for the next bulletin to be issued at 5:00 p.m. today.


How vague can a weather warning get? Where is elsewhere? What do “take all necessary precautions” and “take appropriate actions” mean? What should people do to make it “appropriate”?

I can’t help but compare PAGASA with its counterpart in Hong Kong, the HK Observatory. It is super hot here today. The HK Observatory through its website warned:



Very Hot Weather Warning

The Very Hot Weather Warning is now in force.

The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting very hot weather
in Hong Kong tomorrow. The risk of heatstroke is high.

When engaged in outdoor work or activities, do drink plenty
of water and avoid over exertion. If not feeling well, take
a rest in the shade or cooler place as soon as possible.

People staying indoors without air-conditioning should keep
windows open as far as possible to ensure that there is
adequate ventilation.

The Hong Kong Observatory advises that prolonged exposure
under sunlight is to be avoided. Loose clothing, suitable
hats and UV-absorbing sunglasses can reduce the chance of
sunburn by solar ultraviolet radiation.

Swimmers and those taking part in outdoor activities should
use a sunscreen lotion of SPF 15 or above, and should
re-apply it frequently.


Now, that is very specific! People are instructed about what to do and what not to do. The advisory even gives suggestion to swimmers: use SPF 15 sunscreen lotion! My God, we have a killer typhoon in the Philippines. More than 80 are dead (and counting)… More than 20 typhoons hit the country every year, yet PAGASA can only advise to “TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION!!!”


Read similar post at duskfading’s blog

Philippine “Typhoons”; bad for the poor!

“The Standard”, which styles itself as “Hong Kong’s first free English newspaper” reported on the comments of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the disaster profile of the Philippines. The bank said that disasters have been a major factor in the country’s continuing “poverty and vulnerability”. ADB also stated that the disaster relief programs in the Philippines are inadequate due to “poor governance.”

I think the Philippine government should dig into this issue further. Disaster preparedness should be another top priority. In my half-year stay in Hong Kong, I only noted one tropical cyclone and it was not strong enough to cause destruction on a massive scale. On the other hand, the Philippines was hit by numerous typhoons in the same period of time. The damages due to typhoon Egay alone in August 2007 were estimated to cost more than Php 20M!!!

Maybe the Philippines remains in the quagmire it is now in because we are lacking in disaster vigilance against the 20 or more typhoons that hit us every year. Maybe Hong Kong is rich because it does not have to deal with so many cyclones.

On another note, I wish the ZTE “political typhoon” would be over soon. The next president whoever he/she may be should immediately push for more effective calamity protection efforts especially for the impoverished. I also pray that the next president would not be as “typhoon-prone” as the incumbent.


Manila slammed over misery of disaster millions

The Standard: Friday, March 07, 2008

Natural and man-made disasters affect nearly one in 10 people in the Philippines every year but millions of victims are largely left to fend for themselves, the Asian Development Bank said.

“Disasters, both natural and man- made, have been a major source of poverty and vulnerability in the Philippines,” the Manila-based lender said in a country report yesterday.
Situated in the “Ring of Fire” of volcanic islands around the rim of the Pacific Ocean and in the typhoon belt, the country gets a hefty dose of typhoons, floods, waves, landslides, quakes and volcanic eruptions.

These “adversely affected an annual average of about eight million people, mostly in rural areas,” the bank said.
“Only about one-half of the affected people received assistance from the government and private relief institutions.

“Of those assisted, the value of assistance was a miniscule amount, not even representing 1 percent of the average income during `normal’ times of the poorest 30 percent of the population.”

The bank said there was a lack of funds as well as “poor targeting” caused by poor governance, leading to “significant leakages and wastage of resources.”

It said the scant aid reaching displaced populations was “a serious concern considering that disasters often inflict severe damage and loss to property and destroy the only means of livelihood for the poor.

“Failing to receive assistance, they risk falling to perpetual poverty traps.”

The bank said the Philippines gets hit every year with 20 typhoons that come with strong winds, intense rainfall and flooding.

Separately, the nation’s Senate has summoned two executives of Chinese telecoms giant ZTE Corp to testify about a corruption scandal battering President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It is investigating a state broadband deal with ZTE, endorsed by Arroyo, that was allegedly tainted by bribery.
Arroyo, her husband Mike and the country’s former elections chief Benjamin Abalos deny wrongdoing.


...sapagkat ang gobyerno natin ay may "cash cow mentality" pagdating sa mga Overseas Filipino Workers.

(Read On "Milking the Cash Cow")

...sapagkat ako ay isa ring OFW; may mithiin, marunong magisip at nagnanais marinig... Makabagong bayani daw... Sa totoo'y tampok na gatasan ng pamahalaan. (English)

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