Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Year on Google Maps

It was just a little more than a year ago that I first received an email from Google Maps letting me know that some photos I had uploaded of San Antonio de Padua parish church in Sibulan had been viewed more than 5,000 times.

At the time, I believed that to be quite an achievement. In the year since then, my photos of the church have topped over 12,000 views, but the number of views for all the photos I've uploaded to Google Maps have gone well over 2 million (+) views.

For quite some time now, my top two photos (by views) have been one of my photos of St. Joseph parish church on Pope John Paul II avenue in Cebu, and one of my photos of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Redemptorist church in Dumaguete.

 Earlier this month, I expressed surprise that my photo of the Star Oil gas station located near the airport had reached 4th place with more than 30,000 views. Now, I find the photo is my 3rd most viewed photo with more than 35,000 views, finally passing Manhattan Suites Inn by 2,000 views. That photo is only 4,000 views behind the 2nd placed photo, and could pass Our Mother of Perpetual Help church. It is 23,000 views behind the number one photo. I will be very shocked if a photo of a gas station overtakes first place.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Piglets at Nine Weeks

Our piglets were born June 23. This past Friday ( August 25 ) they were nine weeks old.

After taking these photos this morning, we sold one of the pink piglets to one of my wife's sisters and her husband. That piglet will be moved into one of the empty pens until the in-laws have a place ready on their property.

One less mouth to feed.

The Tabili

My wife and I drove out to the property in Magatas, Sibulan this morning to bring feed for the pigs. After feeding the pigs, I walked around the property a bit and spied this lizard crawling along the fence. Naturally, having my camera ready, I had to take a few photos.

When I my wife saw the photos, she told me this particular lizard is called tabili. Doing a little web-surfing, I find it is the Lamprolepis smaragdina AKA the "Emerald Tree Skink", "green tree skink" or "emerald green skink".

Sunday, August 27, 2017

National Catholic Reporter Should Become National Islamic Reporter

I mentioned in Friday's post that the high cost of electricity here on Negros island, and the surprisingly large amount of electricity used by my PC, has put a dent in the time I've been spending on the computer lately. That has naturally put a crimp in my blogging.

I haven't been totally absent from the Internet, however. My iPhone uses a relatively small amount of electricity, so checking my email and Facebook hasn't been a problem. I can even read my favorite blogs on the iPhone.

Earlier today, I was visiting the creativeminorityreport and going through their blog links. Unfortunately, most of the links go to blogs that haven't had an updated post in years, or in some cases to blogs that no longer exist.

One of the blog links that is still active and current is to Dymphna's Road. In a post from Saturday, Dymphna provides a link to a "distasteful article from National Catholic Reporter" entitled "The Muslim Jesus provides common ground for Christianity, Islam".

The writer of this particular article bemoans the increase of "Islamaphobia" in Trump's America. The writer tries to bring together Christians and Muslims by letting Christians know in what high regard the Quran places Jesus.

The writer mentions that the Quran refers to Jesus as "Spirit from God, "Word from/of God", "Prophet-Messenger of God," and the "Messiah" who will come back on the Day of Judgment to destroy the Antichrist. He goes on to write that "naturally there are theological differences between Muslims and Christians regarding Jesus" but fails to mention that Islam teaches that Jesus was "the precursor to Muhammad" and a prophet, not God incarnate, nor the Son of God. He also fails to mention that Islam teaches that Jesus was not crucified nor raised from the dead.

The idea that "the Muslim Jesus provides common ground for Christianity, Islam" is an insult to Christianity. The writer, obviously does not understand the teachings of Christianity.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Next on the Reading List

Here in Sibulan, our electricity comes from a geothermal power station located less than 15 miles from our home. In spite of the fact that it is geothermal, the electricity here is very expensive.

After looking at our meter, I've discovered that my PC uses a tremendous amount of power - much more than I would have imagined. Consequently, I've been using my PC less than I have been. That is partly why I haven't posted anything on to my blog recently. I can check my email and Facebook using the less costly iPhone, but blogging with the phone isn't my cup of green tea.

Having finished books 1 and 2 of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy, and finding book to be incredibly boring, I've gone back to reading Elizabeth von Arnim. I've just finished my tenth novel by her for this year (having read 1 of her novels in late 2016). I've begun on #11 - The Enchanted April. As only 12 of her novels are available for download at Project Gutenberg, this will be the last of her novels for me this year, unless, perhaps more will be available at a later date - copyright laws differ from country to country; I'll check to see if any of her novels are available on Canadian or Australian websites.

Breaking from my recent habit, when I've finished this last novel by von Arnim, I will read 2 printed, paper books - Volumes I and II of Sister Lucia's Fatima memoirs. I was reading these memoirs in 2005 when Sister Lucia died. These two books are among those cloth and paperback books shipped to Philippines via balikbayan box when we moved to Philippines in 2014.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

If You Post Confederate Flags on Facebook..........

........go ahead and unfriend me now.

I've been quiet about the riots going on in the U.S. now. I've thought, I'm not there now, let those folks sort this out without my comments. However, after seeing one of my Facebook "friends" post a Confederate flag onto his Facebook page, and write something about our heritage blah, blah, blah, blah, I've changed my mind about keeping silent.

Four years ago, when I discovered that someone I went to high school with was behind the movement to permit homosexuals into the Boy Scouts, I wrote a blog piece entitled Go Ahead, Unfriend Me. It that piece, I mentioned that I had "unfriended" four people over their support of homosexuals in Scouts, and asked that, if I had missed anyone then, by all means unfriend me now.

I feel the same now about this Confederate flag and monument dust up. Within the next 24 hours, after allowing one Facebook friend the opportunity to read this link on Facebook, I will remove him from my list. Should any of my other "friends" post the flag, and I'm not aware of it, go ahead and "unfriend" me.

To show the seriousness of this, I am uploading onto this post a photo of the man most hated by Confederate supporters, the man who burned Atlanta - William Tecumseh Sherman.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Update on the Fallen Tree

In one of yesterday's posts I published a number of photos of an acacia tree that had fallen across the highway in Sibulan, Negros Oriental. As can be seen in today's photos, the tree is no longer blocking the highway and traffic is proceeding normally through the town.

When I wrote the post yesterday, I was not aware of an exact time as to when the tree feel. There had been heavy rain that night, and apparently the ground was overly saturated. We experienced an electrical brown out sometime around 3:00 AM, and I've learned since then (via Facebook, of course) that that is about the time the tree did fall.

I've also learned since yesterday's post, that the tree was more than 100 years old.

Not all the tree could be removed from the area. Basically, it was shoved to the side of the road. The area where the partially cut up tree lay was previously used by fruit and vegetable vendors to sell their produce of the weekends. The canopies used by the vendors have been set off behind their original location being placed inside the park, as can be seen in a number of my photos.

I have no idea what will finally be done about the tree. Perhaps local wood sellers will be allowed to remove whatever they can use.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Empty Pen

I mentioned in an earlier post that there would be a change in our plans regarding the piglets and one of the adult pigs. The sow we called Olivia had had some sort of miscarriage. She would not be delivering piglets after all.

We don't really understand exactly what happened, but it's likely that the sow had miscarried and her body absorbed the embryos. This was also the sow that did not get pregnant on the first attempt at breeding. We've decided to cut our loses and sell her for slaughter.

Not knowing just how many she might have had if she had carried to term,it's difficult to say exactly how much money the miscarriage has cost us, but at approximately 7,000 pesos per saleable pig, it's quite a bit. (that number comes from the selling of a 70 kilo pig @ 100 per kilo).

The top photo shows Olivia's empty pen. She was sold a few days ago, and unfortunately we were unable to get more than 95 peso per kilo. Normally, the buyers want a 70 kilo pig and this one weighed more than 100 kilos. None of the buyers could budget for such a large sow.

The second photo is of Olivia's sister, Peppa - the mother of the piglets. The plan now is to sell two of the piglets when they've reached about 70 kilos. One of the remaining piglets will be raised for breeding, while the fourth piglet will be fed until November, when it will be slaughtered for my wife's birthday.

Bringing in the Water

It has become increasingly difficult toting water from the spring to the piggery. In addition to providing water for the pigs, we'll need water for cement once we start back working on the house. We've decided to make the situation easier by bringing water to the property.

We actually had two options. There is an underground stream running beneath our property. We also had the option of running the municipal water to our property from the main road in Magatas. My wife's papa has a pump which was retrieved from a previous dwelling. With the pump, we'd only have to drill down and run pipe to the water. My wife was against the idea of the pump. I think she was afraid we'd still be pumping water by hand when we finally move into the house.

I felt that we should do which ever option was the least expensive. After getting estimates on the drilling, as well as the cost of having a line run from the road, it turned out that drilling, and then connecting the pump was far and away more costly than installing the water line from the road.

We bought the materials needed for that project this morning. The line will be about 25 meters (82 feet) in length. The two photos show a portion of the line dug along side our property.

Fallen Tree Across the Highway in Sibulan

Taking my son to school this morning, we were met by a large number of tractor trailer trucks coming down St. Anthony Street. We immediately wondered what was going on. There are never those types of vehicles coming down our road. As we got closer to the highway, we saw Ceres buses and automobiles following behind the trucks. We had our answer when we reached the highway.

During last night's heavy rain, a tree had fallen across the highway at the intersection of the highway and San Jose street across from the Gasmate LPC company building.

Being a local, I was able to get where I needed to go via a few side streets.

After dropping off my son at his school, I took a different route home. Upon arriving at the apartment, I donned my walking shoes and headed back to the Poblacion area for a few photos.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, August 15, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a holy day of obligation for Catholics.

In celebration of Mary's Assumption, the students of St. Paul's University of Dumaguete, held a procession from the school to the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Dumaguete city - a distance of about 1 3/4 miles.

The students gathered at the school at 4:30 this morning. The plan was for the students to attend Mass at the cathedral after the procession. Classes would not commence until after 8:30 (normally starting at 7:00 AM) and I was to pick up my son after Mass and bring him home for breakfast before taking him back to the school. I had not idea when Mass was scheduled to begin or end, so rather than return home after dropping him at the school at 4:30, I drove to the cathedral, parked the car and waited for the students. I needed to fulfill the obligation as well, so I'd attend the Mass with the students.

I arrived at the Cathedral around 4:40 AM, thinking I'd sit quietly in the church. I was not aware that there would be a 5:00 AM Mass before the procession arrived. This Mass was given by the Bishop, said in Bisaya, and attended by approximately 60 people (more or less).

The 5:00 AM Mass ended just before 6:00 - a few minutes before the students began to arrive. I was able to get a few photographs.

Fortunately for me, this 6:00 AM Mass for St. Paul students was said in English.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

More on the State of the Climate Report

I'm finding the 2nd book in C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy as boring as the first, but I determined to complete the entire trilogy.

I'm about 45% through it and I was going to read the State of the Climate in 2016 Report at the same time, but I've hit a snag. I had downloaded the report and converted the document from pdf to mobi in order to be able to read the report on my Kindle. Unfortunately, that conversion didn't work out so well. Many of the pages in the pdf contain 2 pages, side by side. When converted to mobi, this makes reading the document next to impossible. I'll have to read the report in the pdf format on my PC - which I don't enjoy doing.

Never the less. I believe the report needs to be read and I'll do just that.

Friday, August 11, 2017

State of the Climate in 2016 Report

From an article published in The Manila Bulletin:

"The Earth set a series of dire records in 2016, including hottest year in modern times, highest sea level and most heat-trapping gases ever emitted, a global climate report said Thursday.
A range of key climate and weather indicators show the planet is growing increasingly warm, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down, said the annual State of the Climate Report".

The State of the Climate Report, an international, peer-reviewed publication released each summer is, according to American Meteorological Society,".....the authoritative annual summary of the global climate......"

"The report, compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from scientists from around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space."

The 298 page report is available here.

I've downloaded the pdf and, of course, converted the document to mobi via I've looked at portions and intend on reading the entire report on my Kindle after I've finished reading the the 2nd novel in C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy.

As I've said, I've only read portions of the report, but it also contains information covering the climate on Mars. Looking forward to see how that gets tied into global warming.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Out of the Silent Planet

I mentioned in yesterday's blog post that I had finished reading my ninth novel by Elizabeth von Arnim and was moving on to C.S Lewis' Space Trilogy.
The first book in the trilogy - Out of the Silent Planet - was a quick read. I've finished it and am moving on to #2 in the series - Perelandra .

Obviously, since I've begun reading the 2nd novel in the trilogy, I didn't hate the first book, but I was not overwhelmed by it either.

The book has its interesting moments, but I'm not recommending the series as one that one has to read. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Books at Week 32

According to my 2016 Book List, I read 36 books last year - one less than the the 37 read in 2015.

Calculating the number of weeks using, this is week #32 of 2017; so far, I've read 29 books this year. There's no question, the number of books I will read in 2017 will far surpass the total number read for every year since I've been making my annual book lists. If I hadn't wasted precious time reading Noli Me Tángere, I'd probably have at least 32 books read by now.

I've just finished reading two more novels by Elizabeth von Arnim, The Pastor's Wife and Christopher and Columbus. Like everything else I've read by von Arnim (I've read nine of her books this year), I highly recommend both these two novels.

In an earlier post, I mentioned my having located copies of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy in pdf format, which I've converted to mobi and uploaded onto my Kindle. I began reading the first book in the trilogy last night. I've only just begun, but so far, so good.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Unexpected Change in Plans

This will be my third attempt at posting this update concerning my pigs. We experienced an unexpected brown out during my first attempt and I lost all that I had written. I tried again several hours later; my computer freezing up during that attempt. I've rebooted the PC and I'll give it one more try.

To make a long story short, my 2nd sow is long overdue delivering her piglets - weeks in fact. She has lost weight and her teats have reduced in size to a non-pregnant condition. It appears that she has lost the litter. It's possible that her may have absorbed the embryos as well.

We'll double check our dates with the breeder, but it looks as if we'll be selling this sow for slaughter. We'll cut our loss and not continue to feed a sow that cannot be bred reliably.

I was looking forward to having additional piglets soon. That won't happen now. The first sow hasn't gone into heat again since she delivered six weeks ago.

Of course, my remaining male piglet will become lechon once he is large enough. The three remaining female will probably now be best utilized as breeders rather than lechon.