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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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What you eat could contribute to your menstrual cramps

Roughly 90% of adolescent girls experience menstrual pain. Most use over-the-counter medicine to manage the pain but with limited positive results. Evidence has highlighted that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods, oil, and sugar reduce inflammation, a key contributor to menstrual pain.

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Despite the fact that menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) is the leading cause of school absences for adolescent girls, few girls seek treatment. An analysis of relevant studies suggests that diet may be a key contributor, specifically diets high in meat, oil, sugar, salt, and coffee, which have been shown to cause inflammation.

Roughly 90% of adolescent girls experience menstrual pain. Most use over-the-counter medicine to manage the pain but with limited positive results. Evidence has highlighted that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods, oil, and sugar reduce inflammation, a key contributor to menstrual pain.

This analysis was designed to study the effect of diet on menstrual pain and identify which foods contribute to it and which can reduce it. Research was conducted through a literature review that found multiple studies that examined dietary patterns that resulted in menstrual pain. In general terms, these studies found that diets high in omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce it. The muscles in the uterus contract because of prostaglandins, which are active in inflammatory responses. When measuring the Dietary Inflammatory Index, it was found that those on a vegan diet (that excluded animal fat) had the lowest rates of inflammation.

“Researching the effects of diet on menstrual pain started as a search to remedy the pain I personally experienced; I wanted to understand the science behind the association. Learning about different foods that increase and decrease inflammation, which subsequently increase or reduce menstrual pain, revealed that diet is one of the many contributors to health outcomes that is often overlooked. I am hopeful that this research can help those who menstruate reduce the pain they experience and shed light on the importance of holistic treatment options,” says Serah Sannoh, lead author of the poster presentation from Rutgers University.

“Since menstrual pain is a leading cause of school absenteeism for adolescent girls, it’s important to explore options that can minimize the pain. Something like diet modification could be a relatively simple solution that could provide substantial relief for them,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

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Cultivating well-being in today’s evolving digital world

Manulife invites Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz to share lessons amid digitalization at IMMAP DigiCon Valley 2022.

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As Filipinos navigate today’s evolving digital world and adjust to life-changing disruptions brought by the pandemic, Manulife shared key lessons on how to cope with changes and cultivate one’s overall well-being at this year’s DigiCon Valley 2022, the largest gathering of the digital marketing and advertising industry in the country organized by the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).

Headlining Manulife’s segment were Melissa Henson, Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Philippines and Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic Gold Medalist and one of Manulife’s brand ambassadors, while actor and stand-up comedian Victor Anastacio served as the host.

At the DigiCon’s special segment, Henson and Diaz shared their insights and personal takeaways based on Manulife’s recently released study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring Family Dynamics in the new normal.” The study aimed to understand how Filipino families adapted to the new normal, as hyper-digitalization has impacted relationships, and has been deeply imbued in everyday decisions at home and in family life.

Make time for self-care and mental wellness

Victor Anastacio started the discussion on the challenges Filipinos faced at the height of the pandemic. “Sobrang daming challenges ang kinaharap natin noong nagsimula ang pandemic – physical, emotional and financial challenges. Lahat ito nakaapekto sa ating pamilya, dahil sa maraming hindi pagkakaintindihan.”

These challenges still impact majority of Filipinos today. While people across generations have said that their well-being has improved compared to during the peak of the pandemic, Generation Zs expressed that they are still grappling with negative pandemic effects. Henson shared: “Our study found that 65% of Gen Zs are dealing with digital fatigue, prompting them to seek more offline interactions with friends and family. They also shared that they are sleep-deprived, developed unhealthy eating habits and have increased occurrence of stress, fatigue, and depression. These younger Filipinos may need further guidance on reacquainting themselves in the real world as they have spent most of their time online in the past two years.”

Younger Filipinos may also look to Generation X and millennials for inspiration and ideas on how to deal with stressors. “Gens X and Y have learned to focus on self-care, mental well-being, and personal development, which helped empower them despite the many changes they’ve had to weather,” Henson added. 

Diaz agreed and emphasized that caring for one’s mental health has a tangible impact on one’s physical well-being too. “When I started training for the Tokyo Olympics, I needed to condition my mind that I could win at hindi ako nag-iisa sa pag-abot ng pangarap na ito. Naging malaking part ng aking preparations ang mental training at eventually, ang ‘”ma-manifest” ko na makakuha ng gold medal.”

Learn to seek help when needed

According to Manulife’s study, more Filipinos have also explored various financial products during the pandemic. In the past 12 months, among those surveyed, 25% of Generation X and 33% of Millennials bought insurance products online, while 41% of Generation Z expressed a desire to purchase insurance in the next 12 months. To guide them in their financial journey and make more informed decisions, Henson emphasized the importance of seeking expert advice to help sift through the overwhelming wealth of information available.

“Seeing how more Filipinos are exploring various financial channels to diversify their portfolios is a good sign that they are actively seeking ways to grow their wealth. However, we will need to double down our efforts to provide them expert financial guidance, so they’ll also understand how to balance risk and reward,” Henson said. “Seeking advice from a financial advisor is one way to help Filipinos get a clearer picture of their financial goals and find ways to achieve them while being conscious of their risk appetites to yield better returns.”

To achieve the historic Olympic gold medal, Diaz also underscored the importance of asking for help, by having people around you whom you can rely on for support. “There is a team behind my success. Hindi ko kakayanin ito ng mag-isa. I needed the support of Team HD, Manulife, at ng aking mga kababayan.

Life has no guarantees, but we can get ahead of uncertainty

The pandemic showed how fast things can change, and Filipinos must be ready to keep up with the pace as it can accelerate further. Such mindset and attitude transcend to Filipinos’ heightened desire for protection and security. “The interest in insurance products and life protection increased during the pandemic because Filipinos became hyper aware of the physical and financial impact of falling ill, and the broader impact of other financial challenges. However, this has been a reactive stance. The power of insurance and financial planning is that it helps us prepare for the unexpected before it happens, so we continue to encourage and empower Filipinos to embrace the value of planning ahead and being financially prepared,” said Henson.

To help Filipinos better prepare for uncertainty, Manulife launched a series of flexible and highly customizable financial solutions that can be tailor-fit depending on needs and budget — HealthFlex, which provides protection coverage for critical illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke; and FutureBoost, which gives additional rewards on top of insurance protection coverage so Filipinos can grow their wealth simultaneously.

As change is inevitable and developments can be beyond our control, Henson noted that it helps to live by an attitude of lifelong learning. “We are all learning creatures. We always find ways to retool ourselves to better cope with the changes in our environment, which is crucial to making us more resilient.”

Diaz added that just as essential is acquiring knowledge on how to plan ahead. “Having a strong foundation sa kung paano mag-plano para ma-achieve ang financial goals ay crucial para sa kinabukasan natin. Mahalaga na maging mas aware ka sa mga financial options available as early as possible para mas maintindihan ang mga kailangang gawin to achieve your goals. Once you decide to grow your investments, you’ll be more consistent with your decisions to make every day better.”

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Pfizer had no idea if mRNA vaccine would prevent COVID-19 transmission

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company expected to become a $100 billion giant this year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine, has admitted that it actually had no idea if its mRNA vaccine would prevent transmission of the coronavirus when they released the same.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi from Unsplash.com

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company expected to become a $100 billion giant this year thanks to COVID-19 drug and vaccine, has admitted that it actually had no idea if its mRNA vaccine would prevent transmission of the coronavirus when they released the same.

One of Pfizer’s top executives, the company’s president of international development markets, Janine Small, stated this when she testified before the COVID committee of the European Parliament. Small was there in place of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla who tested positive for COVID-19 again.

In the exchange that happened in the committee hearing, a Dutch member of the European Parliament asked Small if there is evidence from Pfizer that showed that the vaccine it developed would prevent transmission prior to its wide release in late 2020.

“Was the Pfizer COVID vaccine tested on stopping the transmission of the virus before it entered the market? If not, please say it clearly. If yes, are you willing to share the data with this committee?” the member of parliament specifically asked.

The executive answered: “Regarding the question around, did we know about stopping immunization before it entered the market? No.”

Small added that “we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market. And from that point of view, we had to do everything at risk.”

The Dutch politician said that messaging in the past focused on getting vaccinated to one does not spread COVID-19. “If you don’t get vaccinated, you’re anti-social! This is what the Dutch prime minister and health minister told us. You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself, but also for others — you do it for all of society. That’s what they said. Today, this turns out to be complete nonsense.”

The politician said he found the revelations “shocking, even criminal.”

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