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Nat Geo, WWF outfit Mindoro tribesmen, rangers with solar lamps & patrol kits

The National Geographic Channel (NGC) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently gave 50 portable solar lamps to the Taw’Buid – an indigenous Mangyan group inhabiting the remote mountains of Mindoro. Park rangers protecting the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park also received new hammocks, raingear and all-weather patrol uniforms from the Primer Group of Companies.

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The National Geographic Channel (NGC) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) recently gave 50 portable solar lamps to the Taw’Buid – an indigenous Mangyan group inhabiting the remote mountains of Mindoro. Park rangers protecting the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park also received new hammocks, raingear and all-weather patrol uniforms from the Primer Group of Companies.

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Newly-outfitted park rangers and their Taw’Buid tracker spot wildlife from the summit of Mt. McGowen in the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, last refuge of the critically-endangered Tamaraw, a legally-protected species. (Gregg Yan / WWF)

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Fifty Mobiya solar lamps were given to Taw’Buid families, funded by the proceeds of National Geographic Channel’s Earth Day Run 2015. Ranger patrol kits and camera traps to photograph wildlife were also purchased. (Gregg Yan / WWF)

wwf3A family of Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) photographed in the wild. The Tamaraw Conservation Programme, Far Eastern University, WWF and many allies have been working to double the number of Tamaraw from 300 to 600 by 2020. Tamaraw numbers have grown to 413 from 327 in 2012. (Gregg Yan/WWF)

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Taw’Buid elder Henry Timuyog shows off his family’s new solar lamp, courtesy of NGC and WWF. The reclusive Taw’Buid live simple lives as upland farmers and hunt game in the rugged mountains of Mindoro. (Gregg Yan / WWF)

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Park Rangers led by Mts. Iglit-Baco Park Superintendent Rodel Boyles (holding the Philippine flag) show off their new uniforms, provided by the Primer Group of Companies, National Geographic Channel and WWF. (National Geographic Channel)

The deployment is part of NGC’s Earth Day Run, which has been supporting WWF projects since 2013. Race proceeds reforested Isabela forests with 20,000 fruit-bearing trees in 2013 and deployed fibreglass bancas for Palawan fishermen in 2014.

Proceeds from NGC’s 2015 race funded the solar lamp deployment, which was held inside the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park last 3 September. About 15 million Filipinos lack regular access to electricity and Mindoro’s Taw’Buid tribesfolk are no exception, relying on kerosene and firewood to light their homes.

“We gave portable solar lamps because burning fossil fuels accelerates climate change,” says WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma. “Solar energy is an economical and safe power source because there are no emissions to trigger respiratory ailments. Our goal is to cover basic Filipino needs while fighting climate change.”

The reclusive, forest-dwelling Taw’Buid or Batangan tribe is the most numerous of the eight Mangyan subgroups, with approximately 20,000 members. Most live in simple thatched huts, few of which have been seen by outsiders, owing to the traditional fear harbored by Taw’Buid for outsiders, called Siganon. Many still wear Amakan loincloths made from pounded tree bark and smoke potent tobacco in pipes called Bakto.

As very few have access to electricity, most cut trees for firewood, used to both light homes and provide heat in fire pits, where families congregate and talk each night. The solar lamps will help ease the strain on Mindoro’s forests while giving tribes both light and a means to charge what few electronic gadgets they have. “No longer shall our people rely on fire for light. Thank you for the gift of eternal light,” saidTaw’Buid Overall Tribal Chief Fausto Novelozo during the deployment.

The 24-strong corps of Park Rangers were equipped by the Primer Group of Companies with all-weather khaki uniforms. “With the proper clothing, our rangers will be better able to protect themselves from the elements to more vigorously fulfill their tasks. We’re glad to be part of the project,” adds Primer Group of Companies program manager Kristine Villaflor. 

“Each of our park rangers patrol around 1000 hectares of land. Constantly pelted by both sunrays and raindrops, they need proper gear such as all-weather uniforms, boots, hammocks and rain ponchos to help dispatch their duties. Thank you for the help as it will help us better protect the park,” says Mt. Iglit-Baco Park superintendent Rodel Boyles.

Since 2012, WWF has been working with the Tamaraw Conservation Programme (TCP), Far Eastern University (FEU), Banco De Oro Unibank (BDO), local government of Occidental Mindoro and the Taw’Buid people to restore the forests of the Mts. Iglit-Baco National Park, which hosts the world’s largest population of Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) a critically-endangered dwarf buffalo and one of the country’s national icons.  

A pressing objective is to double the number of wild Tamaraw from 300 to 600 by 2020. From 327 heads in 2012, the wild buffalo’s numbers soared to 413 by April 2016. The project, dubbed ‘Tams-2’ or Tamaraw Times Two by 2020, aims not just to conserve Tamaraw, but to protect the cultural identity of the Taw’Buid people while protecting upland forests and ensuring a steady flow of water for the people of Mindoro. The Philippines celebrates Tamaraw Month each October. 

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to gift Mindoro’s Taw’Buid tribesfolk with economical lighting solutions like solar lamps. The Nat Geo Earth Day Run raises awareness on sustainable environment solutions and helps as many people as possible. We hope the solar lamps will make a positive impact on the lives of the Taw’Buid and contribute to keeping Mindoro’s forests intact,” says FOX Networks Group SVP and GM Jude Turcuato.  

Held last April, NGC’s Earth Day Run 2016 will next fund WWF’s marine conservation drive for Apo Reef in Mindoro, the largest coral reef in Asia.

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Pru Life UK agents, customers, executives celebrate Year of the Wood Dragon

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

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With a strengthened commitment to providing better financial protection for every Filipino, Pru Life UK celebrates the start of the Year of the Wood Dragon. Over 200 Pru Life UK leaders, agents, clients, and employees joined and wished everyone PRU Love during the festivities held at the heart of its Escolta branch in Binondo Manila.

The insurer maintains its top position in New Business Annual Premium Equivalent & total Premium Income from Variable Life Insurance products according to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics for Q3 2023.

Pru Life UK’s products are made accessible through its over 42,000 digitally-empowered agency workforce and like-minded partners.

The Company recently launched PRULove for Life – an affordable, limited-pay, whole-life participating plan for as low as Php 87 per day* with lifetime coverage up to age 100 and flexible payment terms of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years to pay. To know more about PRULove for Life, talk to your Pru Life UK agent today or visit Pru Life UK’s website.

Pru Life UK is also committed to driving up financial awareness, literacy, and inclusion in the country by leading industry discussions and programs for the community. Its PRUBabies campaign seeks to protect 175,000 newborns with free insurance coverage against select infectious diseases such as Dengue, Typhoid, Measles, and Malaria.

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Eating too much protein is bad for your arteries, and this amino acid is to blame

Consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers discovered a molecular mechanism by which excessive dietary protein could increase atherosclerosis risk. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

The study, which combined small human trials with experiments in mice and cells in a Petri dish, showed that consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk. Furthermore, the scientists showed that one amino acid – leucine – seems to have a disproportionate role in driving the pathological pathways linked to atherosclerosis, or stiff, hardened arteries.

“Our study shows that dialing up your protein intake in pursuit of better metabolic health is not a panacea. You could be doing real damage to your arteries,” said senior and co-corresponding author Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cardiology at Pitt. “Our hope is that this research starts a conversation about ways of modifying diets in a precise manner that can influence body function at a molecular level and dampen disease risks.”

According to a survey of an average American diet over the last decade, Americans generally consume a lot of protein, mostly from animal sources. Further, nearly a quarter of the population receives over 22% of all daily calories from protein alone.

That trend is likely driven by the popular idea that dietary protein is essential to healthy living, says Razani. But his and other groups have shown that overreliance on protein may not be such a good thing for long-term health.

Following their 2020 research, in which Razani’s laboratory first showed that excess dietary protein increases atherosclerosis risk in mice, his next study in collaboration with Bettina Mittendorfer, Ph.D., a metabolism expert at the University of Missouri, Columbia, delved deeper into the potential mechanism and its relevance to the human body.

To arrive at the answer, Razani’s laboratory, led by first-authors Xiangyu Zhang, Ph.D., and Divya Kapoor, M.D., teamed up with Mittendorfer’s group to combine their expertise in cellular biology and metabolism and perform a series of experiments across various models – from cells to mice to humans.

“We have shown in our mechanistic studies that amino acids, which are really the building blocks of the protein, can trigger disease through specific signaling mechanisms and then also alter the metabolism of these cells,” Mittendorfer said. “For instance, small immune cells in the vasculature called macrophages can trigger the development of atherosclerosis.”

Based on initial experiments in healthy human subjects to determine the timeline of immune cell activation following ingestion of protein-enriched meals, the researchers simulated similar conditions in mice and in human macrophages, immune cells that are shown to be particularly sensitive to amino acids derived from protein.

Their work showed that consuming more than 22% of daily dietary calories through protein can negatively affect macrophages that are responsible for clearing out cellular debris, leading to the accumulation of a “graveyard” of those cells inside the vessel walls and worsening of atherosclerotic plaques overtime. Interestingly, the analysis of circulating amino acids showed that leucine – an amino acid enriched in animal-derived foods like beef, eggs and milk – is primarily responsible for abnormal macrophage activation and atherosclerosis risk, suggesting a potential avenue for further research on personalized diet modification, or “precision nutrition.”

Razani is careful to note that many questions remain to be answered, mainly: What happens when a person consumes between 15% of daily calories from protein as recommended by the USDA and 22% of daily calories from protein, and if there is a ‘sweet spot’ for maximizing the benefits of protein – such as muscle gain – while avoiding kick-starting a molecular cascade of damaging events leading to cardiovascular disease.

The findings are particularly relevant in hospital settings, where nutritionists often recommend protein-rich foods for the sickest patients to preserve muscle mass and strength.

“Perhaps blindly increasing protein load is wrong,” Razani said. “Instead, it’s important to look at the diet as a whole and suggest balanced meals that won’t inadvertently exacerbate cardiovascular conditions, especially in people at risk of heart disease and vessel disorders.”

Razani also notes that these findings suggest differences in leucine levels between diets enriched in plant and animal protein might explain the differences in their effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health. “The potential for this type of mechanistic research to inform future dietary guidelines is quite exciting,” he said.

Additional authors of the study are Yu-Sheng Yeh, Ph.D., also from Pitt; Alan Fappi, Ph.D. and Vasavi Shabrish, Ph.D., both of the University of Missouri, Columbia; Se-Jin Jeong, Ph.D., Jeremiah Stitham, M.D., Ph.D., Ismail Sergin, Ph.D., Eman Yousif, M.D., Astrid Rodriguez-Velez, Ph.D., Arick Park, M.D., Ph.D., Joel Schilling, M.D., Ph.D., Marco Sardiello, Ph.D., Abhinav Diwan, M.D., Nathan Stitziel, M.D., Ph.D., Ali Javaheri, M.D., Ph.D., Irfan Lodhi, Ph.D., and Jaehyung Cho, Ph.D., all of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Arif Yurdagul Jr, Ph.D., and Oren Rom, Ph.D., both of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Slava Epelman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto.

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IRONKIDS Cebu in Lapu-Lapu partners with RLC Residences

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes. The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

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The IRONMAN Group Philippines and RLC Residences have announced in 2023 a new partnership—as the residential brand of Robinsons Land Corporation, RLC Residences becomes the title sponsor for IRONKIDS Lapu-Lapu and IRONKIDS Davao for 2024.

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes.  The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

RLC Residences Head of Brand Management Mr. Dan Carlo Torres shares his enthusiasm towards the event. “We are very excited to see this partnership unfold. We’ve been very supportive of IRONMAN, especially IRONKIDS because we also believe in the importance of promoting an active and purposeful lifestyle at such a young age and we hope to continuously be part of IRONMAN as we create more vibrant opportunities for our future triathletes,” he added.

“As we aspire to live our best lives, we work to inspire the wider community,” said Ms Princess Galura, Regional Director of the IRONMAN Group Philippines.  “For 10 years, the IRONKIDS has been a part of the Cebuano youth’s stepping stone to either a future in sports, representing the Philippines in international events, as well as planting the seeds of a healthy, sporty lifestyle.  Our partnership with RLC Residences allows us to do so and we are excited to hold the festivities for our youth once again in Lapu-Lapu this April,” she added.

The IRONKIDS event in Lapu-Lapu will feature age group categories for the 6 to 8 years old, 9 to 10 years old, 11 to 12 years old and 13 to 15 years old.  Relay categories are also available for mixed team relay for 6-10 year-olds and 11-15 year-olds. 

Swim and run courses, the transition area and finish line will be at The Reef Island Resort, which is conveniently located in a gated community.  Families who are checked in during race weekend can enjoy amenities of the resort –  including the beach, lap pool and game room.  The resort’s restaurant is operated by Cebu-based top tier chain, Abaca.

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