October 22, 2019

A new restaurant cum bar has just opened in Davao City and is located along Dona Vicenta Village, off JP Laurel St. From the corner of Chow King, which is directly in front of Victoria Plaza, one walks just a few meters down the road and immediately sees the sign—THE BAU HAUS. The building’s facade can immediately grab the attention of any architectural student as it has a fascinating style quite unique among the buildings along this street. Just reading the name of the resto, one can easily miss what it refers to. But one has to read it aloud—THEBAU (and the sound of the combined words of course refers to the name of this city) HAUS. Got it? But Bauhaus also has a German meaning. Wikipedia has this explanation of the name: “The Staatliches Bauhaus commonly known as the Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. The Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. The German term Bauhaus—literally "building house"—was understood as meaning ‘School of Building’, but in spite of its name and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not initially have an architecture department. Nonetheless, it was founded upon the idea of creating a Gesamtkunstwerk (‘total' work of art’) in which all the arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design, and architectural education. The Bauhaus movement had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.” THE BAU HAUS in Davao City certainly lives up to the German Bauhaus for it combines all aspects of the creative arts—architecture, decorative arts, interior design, exotic cuisine, music and will eventually house both a sculptural and visual arts galleries as well as a robotics section. Its total package was conceptualized and executed by one of the few Renaissance man of this city—Jon Traya. Wearing different creative hats—architect, constructor, furniture designer, interior designer, chef, visual artist, farmer and more—Traya dreamt building The Bau Haus a few years ago. He knew he was going to pursue the school of “geometric explorations of consciousness” and the building that houses The Bau Haus is characterized by all kinds of geometric explorations that bring the diners of this resto to a consciousness of their roots and identity. What provoked Traya’s dream was getting a copy of Macario Tiu’s Davao Cuisine—Recipe of the 10 Tribes of Davao City published by PWC Davao. Tiu had gone around the city researching indigenous food preparations from the Islamized groups (Maranaw, Maguindanao, Tausug and others) and those who held on to their indigenous belief system (Blaan, Mandaya, Manobo and others). The book provides information on ingredients used and the process of cooking so Traya went out of his way to find out if the instructions would yield positive results. He tried and tried until he got the taste right. Today these are the specialties of The Bau Haus as a restaurant, perhaps one of its kind not just in Davao City but throughout Mindanao. For the moment their bestsellers are the following: Piaparan A Manok (from Lake Lanao), Kaliya (Sulu), Landang (the Pulangi River Basin), Pianggang (Sulu) and Titula Itum (Sulu). Those of the Lumad are still not in the menu as ingredients are difficult to access or it takes special attention, e.g., in the case of food cooked in bamboo. There are, however, other dishes to choose from, like vegetable salad or adobo ala king Paella, from classic garlic chicken to sweet and sour pan fried fillet smoked bangus. The prices too are reasonable: a group of us who dined recently ordering at least three of those in the menu paid less than P150 each (and we had a few drinks, too). Having opened only a few months ago, the crowds coming for lunch and dinner have just began to swell. One can easily spot Muslims dining here, some of them claiming that the food they ordered tasted like the ones cooked by their grandmothers and mothers at home in Marawi or Sulu or wherever they came from. For the moment, the resto is not yet accredited as solely serving halal food as pork can be made available if ordered in advance. Sitting comfortably in the uniquely designed furniture, one notices how ingenious is the use of steel for the building’s posts. These not only hold the roof, but serve as lamp posts as soft lights are attached to them. And as this is a green resto, climbing vines are planted to weave their way through the steel posts. As the ceiling gives way to sunshine and light during the day, the plants inside should flourish in the months to come. The handcrafted lights on the ceiling are also one of a kind. A table designed by Traya, which one can see in the offices of the second floor, takes its inspiration from mangroves that seem to support the table top. Traya used to own CALLE 5—a bar cum café along J.P. Laurel St. further up the road. It closed early this year and people wondered where it transferred. It turns out CALLE 5 is at the back of The Bau Haus, separated only by a glass door. It retains its former identity and thus local bands still perform there every night. Eventually this hall of Calle 5—during the day—could serve other purposes, including holding seminars or a culinary workshop for those interested in learning about The Bau Haus’s special cuisine and other dishes. There is more to this building’s complex. There is a second floor above Calle 5 and part of it is a patio that Traya envisions could be for outdoor gigs or even an in-situ sculptural exhibition hall. An airconditioned adjacent room will be the future visual arts gallery.. To both sides of this hall are the business offices of Systems and Shelves—Traya’s business firm. Already the entire complex is envisioned to be a center for “Taste Learning Differently” involving the design of collaborative spaces which aims at “creating a space where imagination is the only limitation.” This Center hopes “to eliminate the gap between thinking and creating through the promotion of experiential learning, designed to accommodate diverse range of activities covering a wide array of inquiry such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.” In time, it will build up its Robotics section, making it an educational resource to create a fun and interactive way of learning. In the end Traya’s dream is “to draw inventive and creative individuals by fusing together their natural creativity with technology by providing them a space that serves as outlet of creativity, a highly interactive place where they will be able to practice their critical thinking skills, explore their imagination and come up with solutions to real-world problems.” One is quite excited how The Bau Haus will end up one day! [Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is author of several books, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw).]

Banana growers: removal of biosecurity measures in Davao Norte may worsen spread of fusarium wilt

October 22, 2019

The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) expressed fears that the planned removal of the biosecurity installations along the farm roads of the banana plantations operated by Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (TADECO) will worsen the fusarium wilt infestation in the province. PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig said on Tuesday that he was not aware whether the provincial government of Davao del Norte has already set schedules on the removal of that biosecurity installations, but the 72-hour temporary restraining order issued by the Panabo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) last October 9, 2019, in favor of TADECO had long expired. “I do not know about the schedules. My fears are that it will possibly spread the fusarium infestations,” he said. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “fusarium wilt disease has been a major constraint to banana production for more than a century... It is one of the most destructive diseases of banana worldwide.” The provincial government allegedly wanted to temporarily remove biosecurity features such as entry barriers that guide the public to go through “tire dips” and insecticide sprays for passing vehicles and “footbaths” for pedestrians entering the plantation, as well as the gates to the plantation managed by TADECO in Barangay Tanglaw in the municipality of Dujali; El Canto Road in Barangay Balagunan in Sto. Tomas; and Bugtong Lubi Road in Barangay Bobongon, also in Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte. In a press release issued Tuesday, PBGEA said the dreaded fusarium wilt has already affected 2,402 hectares of banana plantations in Barangays Kimamon, La Libertad, Salvacion, Talomo, Lungaog, Casig-ang, Balagunan, Tibal-og, and Kinamayan in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte where no biosecurity measures are in place. Instead of risking the banana industry, Antig urged provincial and local governments to help promote the industry since the banana companies provide revenues in the form of taxes to the government. “Their constituents are largely dependent on the banana industry for their livelihood. They should help the banana growers, and not interfere in their operations,” Antig said. The release added that Davao del Norte province had been placed under quarantine due to fusarium wilt on the strength of Special Quarantine Order 01-2012 of the Bureau of Plant Industry and, as such, “banana plantations are obliged to implement quarantine and border control measures such as checkpoints and installation of wheel and foot baths.” It said Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Ano made a clarification on Memorandum Circular 121-2019 that it was intended for “road clearing of public roads and not for purposes other than intended, including demolishing structures in private lots without notice and just compensation.” It added that the Bureau of Corrections’ Davao Penal Colony, the owner of the contested land which is being planted to Cavendish bananas by TADECO under a joint-venture agreement, said it had sent a letter to the provincial government explaining that the farm roads that are subjected to road clearing are privately owned. 

MSU student sill in coma; gunman still unidentified

October 21, 2019

Amid condemnations of the shooting incident and calls for prayers and justice, Ivan Polinar Almeda, the 20-year old freshman who was shot at the commercial center of the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City Thursday night is still in coma as of Sunday afternoon, the President of the Mindanao State University (MSU) System said. No suspect has been arrested or identified. MSU President Habib Macaayong told MindaNews Sunday that  investigation is “continuous” but “wala pa suspect” (no suspect has been identified). Macaayong said Almeda, who hails from Bayugan in Agusan del Sur, remains at the intensive care unit of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, still in coma. Almeda is a freshman at the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recretation (CSPEAR) at the MSU and a badminton varsity player. CSPEAR Dean Hendely Adlawan told MindaNews Sunday that Almeda was still “fighting to survive.” She said doctors informed them the bullet "entered the left occipital and exited right frontal part.” “Hope there is God’s miracle.  Life support / respirator and medicines continue,” Adlawan said on Saturday, as she asked for prayers. The still unidentified gunman shot Almeda from behind at around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Almeda’s mother, Genevieve, an elementary school teacher, arrived early Friday morning in Iligan, accompanied by a neighbor. Macaayong had them brought to the APMC in Marawi immediately. Macaayong also assured Genevieve that the university would attend to the hospital expenses as well as other needs she may incur in Marawi. University officials as well as students and alumni, also sent some donations  to Genevieve, for Ivan, the eldest of two children.

MILF mourns Pimentel’s death; CPP describes him as “patriot”

October 20, 2019

The Bangsamoro people are one with the nation in mourning the death of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. on Sunday, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and interim Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said.   Pimentel, who was among the courageous Mindanawon leaders who fought the Marcos dictatorship,  contributed a lot in finding solution to the Mindanao conflict, Ebrahim stressed, as he expressed the group’s sympathies to his family.   “Senator Nene will forever be remembered by the Bangsamoro people for his very significant contribution to the efforts in finding genuine solution to the Bangsamoro problem,” Ebrahim said in a text message.   He added that since the administration of former President Corazon Aquino (1986 to 1992), Pimentel was among those “who worked very hard to attain peace in Mindanao until the recent conclusion of the peace process.” He was the Cory Aquino’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with the MILF in 1987.  No peace agreement was signed under the Cory Aquino administration but a peace agreement was finally signed on March 27, 2014 under the administration of Cory’s son, Benigno Aquino III: the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro which paved the way for the establishment of the BARMM.   The BARMM replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao early this year, with Ebrahim appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as the new region’s interim Chief Minister.   Ebrahim also expressed the sympathies of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to the family of Pimentel, founder of the Partiod ng Demokratikong Pilipino and “Father of the Local Government Code.”   The BTA which Ebrahim heads is the body tasked to govern the BARMM until its regular officials are elected in 2022.   In a statement issued on Sunday, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) described Pimentel as “a patriot, a democrat and friend of the Philippine revolution.”   “He locked arms with the Filipino people in their fight against the US-Marcos dictatorship. He was detained several times and accused of helping the underground movement,” the statement read. It also noted that in Pimentel was among 12 senators who voted on September 16, 1991 against a proposed treaty that would have extended the stay of American forces in Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.   “He has steadfastly opposed efforts to distort Philippine history and depict Marcos as a hero. The Filipino people and youth thank him for keeping alive memories of past struggles. His lifestory inspires the people in their present resistance to tyranny,” the CPP said. 

Group asks Mayor Sara to sustain ban on pigs, pork products due to ASF

October 18, 2019

The Hog Farmers of Davao, Inc. (Hog FADI) has asked City Mayor Sara Duterte to sustain her Executive Order banning the entry of live pigs and pork products in Davao City after Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Año encouraged local government units in Visayas and Mindanao to lift the temporary ban on pork products. Speaking on behalf of Hog FADI, Alvin Teves, said lifting the temporary ban would endanger the local hog industry as the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to affect some parts of Luzon. The City Government of Davao has temporarily banned the entry of live pigs and pork products following the outbreak of the dreaded AFS in some areas in Luzon, 16 days after the Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the disease in the country. In an executive order issued last month, the mayor said the temporary ban “applies to all live pigs, pork and pork-related products and by-products, whether fresh, frozen, processed or cooked, including but not limited to frozen boar semen, from the entire island of Luzon and the other ASF-affected areas.” The same measure prohibited the swill feeding to the backyard hog raisers to prevent the spread of the virus to other swine, as the food scraps may contain infected pork meat. Teves said his group is against the lifting of the temporary ban since the government admitted it lacked the facility to test the presence of the ASF in pork products. “Unsay i-protect sa DA sa amoa? Wala (What will the DA do to protect us? None),” he said. Last Tuesday, Teves said the Samahang Industrya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), the umbrella organization of various agricultural groups engaged in farming, fisheries, and livestock, of which Hog FADI is a member,  sent a letter to Secretary, expressing their concerns that lifting the ban “will run counter to the efforts that were put in place by several local government units like Bohol and Cebu in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao to protect the local hog industries from the global outbreak of the African Swine Fever.” Teves said checkpoints had been established at all entry and exit points, including airport and seaport, here to inspect the entry of the products so pork products from outside the city will not be brought in. He said Mindanao Visayas remain safe from ASF but added the LGUs have to remain vigilant. He said SINAG members emphasized that “there is no other sector that has incurred more losses because of the ASF outbreak than the hog industry as the processed meat industry is minusculeas compared to the P500 billion hog industry and allied businesses.” According to Teves, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) had confirmed that canned goods seized at the Clark International Airport last June 14 were contaminated with the ASF virus. “In that same month, more than 600 kilos of banned imported pork products from Belgium and another batch from Poland, but originating in Germany were seized by the City Veterinary Office in Cebu. Another shipment containing 4,000 kilos of imported frozen pork from Germany was seized in Sta Maria, in Bulacan last June 30,” he said. 

Family buried in DavSur town, 2 died and 3 rescued

October 17, 2019

 A family living in a far-flung community in Barangay Malawanit in the municipality of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur was buried in a landslide shortly after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Wednesday evening, killing the mother and her nine-month-old son. Anthony Allada, information officer of Magsaysay town, said that responders were able to rescue the father, identified as Joyjoy Lakay, and his two other children. But the rescue team failed to save the mother, 22-year-old Arjean Abondo, who was still cuddling her baby, Jayjay, when retrieved from among the debris. The rescued family members were immediately brought to the National Hospital in Digos City for proper treatment. Allada earlier confirmed that there were three recorded fatalities in Magsaysay, one of them two-year-old Chris Joy Chuan Roda, of Barangay San Isidro, who was pinned to death when the kitchen collapsed. The Roda family tried to bring her to the Gonzales Maranan Medical Center Inc. in neighboring Digos City but failed to reach the hospital alive. As of 7 a.m. Thursday, Allada said 21 residents were brought to different medical facilities in nearby areas—in Bansalan municipality in Davao del Sur, and in the cities of Digos and Davao. Many of those injured suffered from bruises and wounds on their feet, but a survivor had lost an arm after a concrete wall collapsed, according to Allada. “Most residents in the Poblacion were shocked and traumatized after the earthquake… Some residents also would not want to go back yet to their homes because of fear of the aftershocks. They slept on the streets, and brought tents and folding beds,” he added. Allada noted that several aftershocks were felt. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reported 170 aftershocks as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Several houses in the Poblacion were totally and partially damaged, he added. Magsaysay Mayor Arthur Davin had already announced a suspension of work and classes both in public and private schools at all levels. He said municipal hall workers had already been advised not go inside the town hall, which had incurred partial damages. In a report released by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, some government buildings, schools, and houses had sustained damages. The Bala National High School, San Isidro National High Schools, and Doña Salud High School in Magsaysay, and Cor Jesu College in Digos City had incurred partial damages. At least 10 houses in Magsaysay were partially damaged while one house was totally destroyed.


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