Filipino crewmembers praised for heroism on the Costa Concordia

Thank you to Jean (Local Nomad) for sending the link below about the Filipino staff of the Costa Concordia being hailed as heroes:

The site GMA News On-Line also has a report and video footage titled “Pinoy Crewmen of Costa Concordia Praised for Heroism”.   Excerpt and video footage below.

While many of the Filipino crew members of Costa Concordia came home on Thursday with nothing but the clothes on their backs, one of them, Reyson Cartago, had with him a video showing the hospitality crew’s resilience and bayanihan amid the chaos in the tipping ship reportedly left by its captain.

The video footage—which Cartago shared with GMA News—showed fragments of the incident, including rows of passengers putting on life vests and a messy kitchen that seemed to be shaking in real time.

As he helped out, Cartago also videotaped his Filipino colleagues—mostly cooks, dishwashers, and waiters—as they ran around, searching every nook and cranny to make sure that nobody was left behind the ship.

Some of the poignant moments in the video include a Filipino cook running to the altar and making a sign of the cross, two Filipinos helping a limping colleague walk, and Filipinos letting the foreign passengers get out of the ship first.

One can also overhear bits like a Filipino consoling a female passenger who was afraid of jumping off the ship. He said: “If something happens, it’s my responsibility, so I hope you understand. You’re going to have to, Madame.”

By the end of the footage, calm was evident in the dark, where Cartago spoke: “Awa ng Diyos, naka-separate na kami sa mother ship, Concordia.”

For the sake of duty

In an interview with GMA News reporter Sareema Refran, Cartago said: “Basta [para] sa amin, ginampanan po namin ‘yung alam naming magagampanan namin.”

Another Filipino crewmember, Rogelio Barcita, said their team effort only made him prouder of being a Filipino.  Barcita made it back to the Philippines in his kitchen uniform. He had two items with him: a wooden rosary, which he wore around his neck, and a teddy bear—his pasalubong to his two-year-old daughter.

‘To the end’

Following the incident, some of the Costa Concordia’s foreign passengers shared their experience to the media, highlighting the Filipino crew’s effort to make sure they made it out safe.

“A French passenger said, ‘Those who helped us were cooks and stewardesses, all Filipinos. They roped themselves together to help us get down to the lifeboats. We were able to get in at the last moment,’” the statement read.

On Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) commended the Filipino crew members of “Costa Concordia” for their professionalism while the ship was in trouble.

Photo of Filipino crewmembers of Costa Concordia - Source

“You are men and women of courage, heroism and dedication. We commend you for showing to the world the best traits of the Filipino seafarers. In the words of President Benigno S. Aquino III, you are our ‘sailing ambassadors,'” he said.

How many — and where do — Filipinos live and work overseas?

Most Filipino-Americans have relatives, or at least know someone personally, who work abroad.  We know about the Filipino professionals — nurses, doctors, architects, engineers, accountants (and most recently, teachers) — the seafarers and those in the merchant marine trade, as well as construction laborers.  However, the majority of overseas workers are women who apply for domestic jobs.

It is estimated that about 11% (from 9 to 11 million) of the Philippine population work overseas, and send money home to support their families.  Although India, China and Mexico receive more remittance money from overseas workers, remittances sent by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) represent the largest proportion — almost 14% —  of their country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — making overseas Filipino workers one of the largest contributors to the Philippine economy.

Here are the numbers:

Flag of the Philippines.svg
11,000,000+ estimates
Regions with significant populations
 United States 2,877,666
 Saudi Arabia 1,159,003
 Malaysia 900,000
 Canada 639,686
 UAE 609,704
 Japan 350,972
 Australia 336,140
 Qatar 263,980
 Spain 241,268
 United Kingdom 200,987
 Mexico 200,000
 Hong Kong 168,550
 Singapore 163,090
 Kuwait 155,744
 Italy 119,508
 Taiwan 94,283
 South Korea 81,395
 Germany 55,309
 Greece 51,656
 Bahrain 50,695
 France 50,013
 Oman 41,000
 Israel 39,002
 Jordan 32,896
 Lebanon 31,348
 Austria 29,824
 New Zealand 27,139
 Libya 23,713
 Guam 23,563
 Switzerland 22,431
 Norway 20,683
 Cyprus 20,284
Information from the Philippine Government and other sources in Wikipedia. Click on this link to the Wikipedia site “Overseas Filipino” for more details.

It was interesting to learn that there are over 1 million OFWs in Saudi Arabia (my cousin J.R. among them).  Also, the high number of Filipino workers in Malaysia and the UAE – United Arab Emirates, and the presence of OFWs in Norway and Switzerland.

Also see Lola Jane’s Filipino population related post: Chameleons: Why Filipinos live and work in just about every country in the world

More Philippine related post from this Lola, are here… including:

And if you are curious about what parts of the United States have established Filipino populations, click here to see the U.S. Census Bureau graphic that show states and percentage of Filipino populations) on my post about the Philippine-based Jollibee restaurant chain.

~ Lola Jane

How many countries in the world, and how many belong to the United Nations?

I’m working on a post related to the Philippines and human development topics, and wondered…how many countries there are in the world.

If you Google the total number of countries in the world, the answer is  is 196.  

And the answer — in terms of the number of countries that are members of the United Nations (UN) —  is 193.  Click on the photo of the UN flags for more details.

Is this number surprising to you?  Did you think that there were more countries, or less?

The United Nations was founded in 1945.  Their website lists 4 main purposes:

  • To keep peace throughout the world;
  • To develop friendly relations among nations;
  • To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
  • To be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.

On a local note, and for those in the Monterey Bay area interested in joining the United Nations Association, their website is 

UNA-Monterey Bay puts together the annual International Film Festival (held at the historic Golden Gate Theater last year).  I found out from attending last year’s festival that the Monterey Bay Chapter has more members than the chapter in Washington D.C. — and it is an ALL VOLUNTEER organization.  Pretty impressive UNA-Monterey members!

New York Giants Win 20-17 over 49ers in Overtime

“We’re all a team.” Justin Smith said of Williams’ plays.  “We win together, we lose together. So that’s all there is to that”.

Click here for details in the San Jose Mercury News

It has been a great year for the 49ers…for a change we were in the playoffs, and just 1 game away from playing in the Super Bowl.  I look forward to the 2012 season!

Spectacular Season for the 49ers

No matter what happens at this Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants — win or lose — the San Francisco 49ers have had the most amazing season.  The 49ers are actually favored to win by a couple of points — and of course die-hard Bay Area fans expect them to win and go all the way to win the Super Bowl.  But no matter what happens, it has been a spectacular season.

With just four teams left to play in the AFC and NFC Championships — and with beating the Saints in a thrilling game last week, the 49ers are in the spot light now…though I kind of liked it better when they were under the radar, when no one outside of the Bay Area were talking about them.

Quarterback Alex Smith finally has shed the moniker “game manager”, but he is still not getting the respect that he obviously now deserves.

Just two more games Alex and this spectacular 2011 TEAM, just two more games to win and quiet all those critics.

For a change, the sports pundits are now talking more positively of Alex and the San Francisco 49ers…and what even sounds like praises….about how resilient Alex been, how tough it has been to play under 7 offensive coordinators.

How do I know this?  This Lola has been listening to sports talk on the radio — on ESPN  and locally, on KNBR 680 — akkkkk!  Really!  And also, football season — and the 49ers — is about the only time I read the sports page section of the newspaper.  Can’t help it…crazy about the 49ers and this team.  I love this!

So this Sunday……again… HOME, at CANDLESTICK ….
and the biggest game for the Bay Area in YEARS….GO NINERS!!!

Filipino Foodie Event in San Franciso Saturday, January 21: Kulinarya 2012

If you are a foodie and live in the Bay Area — or just interested in learning more about Philippine cuisine — make plans to go to the 2nd Annual Kulinarya event this Saturday, January 21st in San Francisco.

Kulinarya is the Filipino term for “cuisine” or “culinary”.  The event will feature cooking competitions and food tastings from Philippine food companies, local Filipino restaurants, and gourmet food trucks.   Admission is free, and food sampling tickets will be available for sale on site or in advance (details on advance ticket purchase at the end of this post).

Part of the proceeds will benefit the Typhoon Sendong relief efforts.

The event will take place from 3:00 to 8:00 PM, at Carnelian by the Bay, One Ferry Plaza, behind the Ferry Building.

Schedule and more delicious details on the official website (and the place to get your food tickets in advance).

My favorite Philippine nut — the pili — is featured in a pili nut cook-off.  The pili nut is now among the country’s most important food product export.  If you have not had pili nuts — this is a good opportunity to sample this delicious nut, which tastes something like a cross between macadamia and almonds.

Worst Maritime Disaster (and it was not the Titanic)

The reports coming in about Captain Francesco Schettino’s actions and the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia disaster are disturbing.  He is under house arrest and Italian authorities are accusing him of manslaughter for abandoning his ship — when there were still passengers and crew on the ship.  The death toll is at 11 and there are still 20 passengers and crew missing.   We often hear about heroic deeds during accidents and disasters, and then the opposite — cowardly actions as in the case of Captain Schettino.

The Costa Concordia was carrying over 4,200 people when the Captain made an unauthorized deviation from its normal course near a Tuscan island.  It then ran into the reef and aground.

Veering off the normal and approved course was not due to weather or some mechanical malfunction.  It was the Captain’s decision to take the ship closer to this Tuscan island, as a favor to the ship’s chief waiter, who is from the island.  Read more on this link to BBC News.

And on the topic of maritime disasters — what do you think the answer would be if you asked (just about anyone) the following question:

What is the worst (peacetime) maritime disaster in the world?

Most would answer the Titanic, right?  When the Titanic sank in 1912, 1,517 people died out of over 2,223 passengers.

But that answer would be wrong as sadly, a tragedy in Philippine waters has the unfortunate distinction of the worst peacetime maritime disaster record in the world.

On December 20, 1987, 4,375 passengers and crew lost their lives when the Sulpicio Lines-owned ship, the MV Dona Paz struck the oil tanker MT Vector, causing an explosion that set both ships on fire.

The MV Dona Paz was traveling from Tacloban, the capital of the island of Leyte to Manila.  The ship manifest listed just under 1500 passengers, so they allowed almost 3 times more passengers to board the ship.  There were only 26 survivors — 2 crew members from the MT Vector and 24 passengers from the MV Dona Paz.

In this day and age and with modern maritime navigation equipment and systems, it is perplexing that these accidents continue to happen.

Despite international safety regulations in place, most maritime tragedies still come down to an individual’s poor decision — not an act of God or the weather, not major mechanical malfunctions….but human error.

Related: Lola Jane’s blog post about the Filipino crew members praised for heroism on the Costa Concordia

This time, without the algal mats

This is how the area near the Moss Landing Harbor looks like now…

This is how it looked a few months ago, when there was an overabundance of algae.  Click here or on the picture below to find out what caused all this algae.


Go Niners!

When we moved back to the U.S. — and to the San Francisco Bay Area — from Germany in 1986, the San Francisco 49ers already had 2 Super Bowl wins.  By the end of that decade they won 2 more Super Bowls and were a football dynasty.  You could not help but BE a fan, especially watching the great Joe Montana.   And the wins continued with Steve Young in the 1990’s, with their 5th Super Bowl win in the 1994 season.

After that, and although they made it to more playoff games…alas, there were no more trips to the Super Bowl.

And since 2003, they have not had a good enough record to even make any playoff games.  Well, that is up until 2011…. and now that is!

What a terrific season it has been for the team under coach Jim Harbaugh’s leadership.  Tomorrow, we will root for the Niners to beat the much favored New Orleans Saints, and  for a chance to move up to another week of play in the NFC Championship game, and then on to compete in the February 2012 Super Bowl.

Did you know…the 49ers are the oldest professional sports team in California?

Only 1 other NFL team has more Super Bowl wins than San Francisco — the Pittsburgh Steelers with 6 Super Bowl wins (8 trips to the Super Bowl – 6 wins, 2 losses).

The Dallas Cowboys tie the San Francisco 49ers  with 5 Super Bowl wins.  However,  the 49ers hold the record for the only team to win every one of their Super Bowl games (5-0 record).  The Dallas Cowboys record is 5 wins, 3 losses.

Could it be this year?  Will the drought be over finally? GO NINERS!


UPDATE: They wore red, they were loud, and yes, the 49ers won!  What a fantastic game.  We have waited a long, long time for this.  The San Francisco 49ers beat the Saints, one the great teams of this era, led by quarterback Drew Breeze, and move on to play in the NFC Championship game against quarterback Eli Manning and the New York Giants….AT HOME, AT CANDLESTICK next Sunday.

San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith — and the rest of the 2011 Niners team —  finally get some credit and respect.  No one expected them to have the wins that they have this year.  No one expected them to go to the playoffs and then to beat the Saints.

Just one more week…just 4 more quarters to the Super Bowl.  GO NINERS!

Moss Landing Pier

This is a follow-up to my post “What low tide reveals” and the story behind the lost Moss Landing Pier.

Low tide reveals old pier posts at Moss Landing beach

I spent the afternoon in Moss Landing last Thursday, starting with a lovely lunch at The Haute Enchilada with my friends Jean and Joselyn.

We stopped at La Boutique, then the Moss Landing Post Office to look at historical photographs.

Moss Landing's Unique Post Office

This post office is unique and the walls in areas above the post office boxes are full of past photos (and news articles) of the town.  We spotted this photo of the old pier.

This is one of the photos of the old Moss Landing pier, located inside the Moss Landing Post Office. Photo courtesy of Mr. Nathan Sawyer

We hear about challenges facing the U.S. Post Office in these changing times and our modern world…so maybe a look back at other purposes that small town post offices provide (as a mini-museum in the case of Moss Landing or as a modern-day information hub) will keep these facilities going.

Next stop, a walk to the Captain’s Inn Bed and Breakfast to meet the Captain’s wife, and co-owner Melanie Gideon.

The Captain’s Inn building was originally built in 1906 by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, and fully renovated by Yohn and Melanie Gideon.

Melanie, pictured here, responded to my original blog post to answer my curiosity about the pier post remains at the beach, and offered to show me photos of the old pier.

Unfortunately, we came at a busy time as she was checking in guests staying at the B&B.

I will have to come back to learn more —  Melanie is a wealth of information about Moss Landing!

The photograph below is one of several located at the Captain’s Inn lobby stairway,  and is from the viewpoint of a tall sailing ship.

The pier was quite active during the days when it was owned by the Pacific Coast Steamship Company.

Photo of Moss Landing Pier, Courtesy of Captain's Inn

It is interesting to learn that the big 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused damage to the town of Moss Landing, and the final blow to this old pier was also caused by another big Bay Area earthquake — the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.

So the next time I go for a beach walk near the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) building, I will imagine how it must have looked with these tall sailing ships and steamships coming in to dock.

The Rose Parade and the Occupy — or Anti-Wall Street Movement

I noticed something different on newspaper coverage of the occupy protestors march, following the Pasadena 2012 Tournament of Roses.

There was no “occupy” language on our local paper’s headline and sub-heading. The headline read Pageantry and protest, and the sub-heading read “ROSE PARADE FOLLOWED UP BY ANTI-WALL STREET MARCH”.

The Local Nomad’s blog post on The Occupy Movement in Small Towns (and topics not so local) delves into this “occupy” name and paradigm.  Perhaps the movement name is evolving.  “Anti-Wall Street” certainly sounds clearer and less aggressive than the “Occupy” terms.

What do you think?

This cartoon from Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes aim at the meaning of mess from occupy movement encampments…all a matter of perspective?