A wellness loop to open next year

ComVal Tourism officer Christine Dompor disclosed the Wellness Loop Development project will start anytime this year with a completion target in 2019. Site inspections have been done last year.

Dompor said the project covers roads connecting to the different wellness sites and other tourist destinations within the province.

“This is an initiative of the provincial government so tourists and visitors can have easy access to the destinations,” she said.

This year, the provincial government will work on social preparations and the rehabilitation of existing structures.

The project has already been presented to the Regional Development Council last year. The provincial government plans to develop the Amakan Crater, Rafflesia Site, Miyaya Falls, Pyalitan Falls, Tagbibinta Falls, Marangig Falls, Mainit Sulfuric Waterfall Hotspring, Lake Leonard and Salvosa Falls.

Dompor said once the loop becomes operational, the provincial government would limit the entry of people in order to preserve the natural condition of the sites.

She said that overcrowding is harmful to the environment so they want to manage the entry of people. Part of the plan is to field a 50 to 70-seater bus to service the routes while vegan foods – fresh from the farms would be served and softdrinks would be banned, she added. The province would only allow glamping as accommodation.

“We want to be the advocate of wellness and at the same time take good care of our natural resources,” she said.

Among the sites to experience and explore within the loop is the Mainit Hot Spring where a steaming waterfall is stuck on the side of a hill in barangay Mainit – Masara line passing through a strip of dirt road starting from Mawab town.

The road stretches to the barangay where Apex-Crew Mines holds court. There is also the White Peak or Puting Bato, the highest peak of Mt. Pandadagsaan at 2,679 meters above sea level. It is the third highest peak in Davao Region and ranked 13th in the Philippines.

The Bongloy Cave is another site to explore found in barangay Sisimon in the municipality of Laak. It is profiled as a virginal cave as it has remained untouched. Inside its winding chambers are glistening speleothem and rave cave species.

Another interesting site is the Mountain of Fire or the Amakan Crater which nestles on a small cusp of the hill of Amakan in New Leyte in the municipality of Maco which is seven kilometers away from Lake Leonard.

The Chasing Waterfalls or the Malumagpak Falls of New Bataan is 230 meters high that cascades on three ledges to a shallow pool below.

Dompor said every October, mountain climbers from all over Davao region converge in Maragusan for the annual Octo-Trek of Mt. Candalaga which is part of the Mount Tagub-Kampalili Ranges Protected Landscape.

The primary forest found in the mountain are dipterocarp montane and montne mossy forests which also include 14 other endangered or threatened species.

The Rafflesia Mira/Magnifica which is considered as the world’s biggest flower, she said is found on the slopes of barangays New Albay and Mapawa about seven kilometers from the Maragusan town center.

All the sites Dompor said lead to communities of Indigenous Peoples (IP) belonging to the different tribes namely Dibabawon, Mandaya, Manguangan, Manabo, Ata-Manobo, Kagan and Mansaka. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)


The “wolf” came to load us with books

BBWBS: An early Christmas treat for Dabawenyos 

The Big Bad Wolf Books (BBWB) Sale touted as one of the biggest book sale in the world is timely treat to Dabawenyos offering one million books with some 20,000 titles of new books from history, economics, self-help, the art and on religious section to fiction and non-fiction books and many more.

BBWB partners with Gawad Kalinga (GK) through their Red Readerhood Programme.

At the book sale, customers are encouraged to also donate books for children in GK communities who cannot afford to buy books.46736163_10217203277451227_2805770128656957440_n46507834_10217203277771235_3691900715946475520_n

The partnership went beyond book donation because through the book sale event, the duo (BBWB and GK) will be building 20 more libraries across Visayas and Mindanao in addition to the 8 that was already completed in the different cities and towns around the country.

I think this is an opportune time now that is nearing Christmas, a time where all of us look forward to gift giving.

At the book sale event can be found many interesting books which this writer was not exempt to haul several pieces of those titles.46512116_10217204338757759_8758850948467523584_n46520632_10217204198914263_4311364570603061248_n.jpg




One trip is not enough and because the book sale is here until December 2, me and my media friends are set to make a third trip for another round of book haul because the price is very affordable with a variety of genres at 50 to 90 percent discount. 



And if you happen to know about Big Bad Wolf Books Sale in your cities, countries don’t miss the opportunity because you get the book that you like and at the same time  help the poor learn to love reading because part of the sale will benefit the underprivileged sector of our communities. Through the sale it hopes to build a new generation of readers. Here’s my story ….

Davao City gov’t to run 24/7 public library

The first public library in the Philippines of 24 hours operation will open early 2019 in Davao City.

This was announced during the opening of the Big Bad Wolf Book Sales on Thursday by Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag where he said it will be in partnership with Big Bad Wolf Books (BBWB) and Gawad Kalinga (GK).


(L-R) The CEO of MVMi Mari Oquinena, Davao City Second District Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano,  Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag, Gawad Kalinga Executive Director Luis Oquinena and Big Bad Wolf founder Andrew Yap open the Big Bad Wolk Book Sale on Thursday at The Tent, Azuela Cove, Lanang, Davao City. 

It is a 4 storey building located in Ponciano Street and will be opened early next year, he said.

The Vice Mayor, who represented Mayor Sara Duterte during the opening ceremony said the building of the public library is a priority program. This is in line with our goal to  increase readership and reading comprehension of our children.

BBWB and GK will fill in the library with books of different titles.

The public library will  complement the city’s mobile library that goes to farflung barangays to serve  children who are far from the existing city library located at the Sangguniang Bayan building.

“With the 24 hours public library Dabawenyos will now have a place to spend their time reading,” he said.

The opening of the Big Bad Wolf Book sales was also graced by the founder Andrew Yap who flew in from Malaysia for the event and 2nd district Representative Mylene Garcia-Albanao.

In his brief remarks, Yap said “personally my coming to the city like Davao with this event supported by Gawad Kalinga (GK) and the Office of Mayor Sara Duerte, really feels like home”.

I could also feel that everyone is very supportive to make this event successful, he said.

GK executive director Luis Oquinena said we all dream that sharing books would encourage people to read.

Our partnership with Big Bad Wolf goes beyond the book sale because we will be building 20 more libraries across Mindanao and the Visayas, he said.

He said 8 libraries were already  built where one was built  in Manila, 4 in Visayas and 3 in Mindanao. Meanwhile, he said that at the book sale here some 200 workers coming from the different GK communities of Davao were hired to man the store for the next 12 days.

One worker Maximiliana Doling, 59 from GK River Drive in Matina Pangi did not expect she gets hired at P462 per day as floor assistant.

Oquinena said providing livelihood to members of GK communities is also part of their program and BBW gave us this opportunity.

He said that it is also a good experience that through this book sale event we see the collaboration of different nationalities like Singaporeans, Malaysian, Filipinos working together for a good cause.

The book sale in Davao City will run 24 hours from November 23 to December 2 at The Tent Azuela Cove. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)

Indonesian expo

This will be second time that Indonesian manufactured products will be showcased in Davao City.  It is interesting to know that some Indonesian products are already sold in the Davao market. Although there are unique products that are first seen during expos. Several interesting products are on fashion and accessories which I find of very good quality.  I also like their food products, coffee, biscuits and juices.  Let’s find out when the expo opens this week.  Sharing here my story ….

3-day Indonesian product expo set in Davao

First Secretary Endah R. Yuliarti Farry, the consulate’s Information and Socio-Cultural Affairs chief, said the expo will showcase export products such as construction building materials, housewares, fashion products, food and beverage, health care and beauty products, and agricultural machinery.

Farry said the expo will also include vehicles manufactured in Indonesia, such as the 2018 Mitsubishi Xpander model. The Mitsubishi assembly plant is in Chikara, West Java.

“It will be the first time that car manufacturers will be joining the Expo through a local dealer that import cars from Indonesia,” she said during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape forum here.

Farry said the proximity of Indonesia to the Mindanao remains an advantage of being part of the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area) Region.

“We also would like to support the product considering that the model is already being sold in the Philippines by way of promoting it through this expo in order to increase sales in Mindanao area,” she said.

Aside from the exposition, Farry said, business matching sessions between Indonesian traders and local business partners will also be conducted.

The three-day event will also feature arts and cultural performances, and tourism promotion.

Farry said the expo is the sixth series of promotional activities that the Indonesian consulate has organized this year focusing on economic and trade relations through direct trade and people-to-people contact between Indonesia and Mindanao. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)

Davao coffee growers doing the right way

There is no better way of growing coffee but learning the techniques from experts.  The small farmers in the mountainous village at the foot of Mt. Apo were just content at first with the meager harvest that they got from their trees.  But village leaders got the chance to meet coffee advocates and with the assistance of the government where they discussed their concerns. A few accepted the invitation for a techno training while others continue with their traditional farming.  It was not easy at first but with several convincing for them to be part of the team they succeeded and the villagers accepted the challenge.

Realizing that they can do it much better, they embrace the GAP (good agricultural practices).  Their production leveled up and now their coffee produce find  its way to the international markets.  Who would not want that coffee blend so good to taste out of the green beans carefully produced by our small farmers down here ? Com’n  down … get hot with freshly brewed coffee to perfection.  Here’s my story … 

Int’l agri coop body sees better pricing of Davao-grown coffee

ACDI/VOCA chief of party Theolonious Trimmell underscored the farmers’ awareness of the quality of their seeds, saying this gives them more leverage to set their price with their buyers.”They are aware of the value of their coffee when they assess their beans and know the quality of their coffee, based on the grade through cupping,” Trimmell said.

Cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.


With better knowledge and information on what to do at the farm level, Trimmel said it is critical for both buyers and producers to assess coffee.

It even builds a relationship between the farmers and buyers and establishes transparency, he added, as “it is basically the buying language to determine the quality of their coffee, and subsequently, the price of coffee is based on quality”.

In Davao region, there is only one government coffee cupping laboratory, housed at the SPAMAST or the Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (Philippines) in Davao del Sur.

SPAMAST director for Research Development and Extension Augie E. Fuentes said the cupping laboratory is equipped with roasting machine, grinding machine, moisture meter equipment, and other important implements.

Fuentes said the facility caters coffee samples from farmers, grades the samples, and provides them the results for farmers to know their specialty and command a good price.

The assistance of SPAMAST does end with cupping, she said, adding that the school also provides training courses that include post-harvest techniques and drying.

Right now, Fuentes said SPAMAST caters to the coffee farmers of barangays Balutakay, Bansalan, and Binaton, Digos City in Davao del Sur. SPAMAST is also open to the rest of the stakeholders in the region, including those from neighboring areas such as Cotabato and other Davao provinces.

Fuentes said coffee cupping is part of the post-harvest activity and farmers submit their seeds every two weeks during harvest time. Coffee cupping fee is pegged at PHP1,000 per sample.  (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)


Light up that tree for Christmas !

Christmas is celebrated the longest in the Philippines.  As early as September, Christmas songs were played over the radio.  Why ? because at the start of “ber” months people also start to already think of Christmas.

Malls also ready for the Christmas season that holiday trimmings, trees, balls, and several other stuff are now on sale. Not only that, the countdown for 100 days to Christmas was strategically displayed at the entrance of the mall.

It is also a practice that malls spruce up their stores with sparkling  Christmas displays and mount events like Christmas tree lighting.

In Davao City, the biggest retail store in the country through its branches here also kicked off their holiday displays.

At SM Lanang Premier, their tall and big Christmas tree was lighted before the shoppers  and the activity was graced by  local officials, dignitaries of the different consular offices with the gift giving led by Sta. Claus to under privileged children as it advocated on the message  “Oh what JOY when we LOVE to GIVE”.45765380_10217096765268489_1025246042590806016_n

The program launch was hosted by social media influencer  Janina Vela. There were rendition of award winning performers during the event on November 8.


SM City Davao launched its “Ice Wonderland” theme with life size polar bears stuff that matched its blue colored tall Christmas tree.  It also had the skating rink as the center of the event where the opening program was hosted by actress skater Ashley Ortega with the participation of award winning kids skaters from Cebu, the Seaside Skate Belles.45746828_10217104147613043_2404767234300837888_n


Dabawenyos are invited to try “The Ice Rink Experience” which open to the public until mid-January next year.


SM vice president for Mindanao Oliver Tiu said in the spirit of joyful Christmas, they encouraged shoppers to give love on the holiday season through the Love Bears.

For P200 a shopper can purchase two bears, one for her/him to keep while the other will be donated by SM to its chosen charity.

He said through this the shopper can join the Christmas activity of sharing with love and happiness to the less fortunate.









World’s biggest book sale goes to Davao

I love the smell of a new book.  I took time to scan  and smell the pages while I browse the book before buying.  I go for novels, fashion, garden and landscaping, the lives of great people, the Royal family and lately on digital art. I have favorite books and I am attracted to buying books especially during book sale. 

As Ray Bradbury said “a book has got smell. A new book smells great. An old book smells even better. An old book smells like ancient Egypt”. 

But even then, I still love the smell of a new book

When my kids were small I bought them children’s  books very   so often and on many occasions I bought books too as my  “pasalubong” for them. They enjoyed  the books and I never failed to buy them coloring books too.

Now that they’ve grown up and just like me, they also love going to book sale that during the Big Bad Wolf Books sale in Manila last February they were there to shop.

They developed their love for books as we exposed them early and everyday at home also they saw  my husband with his daily routine of sitting in the corner to read his books mostly biography of successful people, on geography, politics,war stories, health, just to name a few.

With the upcoming book sale of the Big Bad Wolf Books in Davao City, we already agreed on a plan that we will go on the first day once it opens to the public.  ( Sharing to you my story on Big Bad Wolf Books sale in Davao City.  Thanks Kristianne Fusilero and Maria Cecilia Badian of the BBWB Davao sale organizing committee for the invite )

By Digna Banzon  November 6, 2018, 9:00 pm Share

At the press briefing on Monday, Big Bad Wolf Books co-founder Jacqueline Ng said bringing the book on sale is more than just the discounts, but also seeks to encourage people to go back to reading.


Ng, who flew in from Malaysia, said the event is a partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK), which shares the Big Bad Wolf advocacy on readership.

She said they aim to make the Philippines as one of their hubs for book processing and warehousing.

“Our talk has gone beyond the selling of books but helping members of GK communities in creating jobs through skills development on marketing and management, and perhaps bring them to other countries as staff during sale events,” she said.

Ng encouraged shoppers to buy a book and give it to someone, especially those who can’t afford it.

“Our calling is to help the less fortunate and our partnership with the GK is just appropriate by helping people who are less in life,” she said.

The books will have a variety of genres from fiction, novels, science fiction, business, biography, art and design, architecture by popular authors. These are offered for up to 50 to 90 percent discounts. There are also children’s interest — activity book, story books, board books, interactive books and augmented reality books.

“With over 20,000 titles, there is a book for everyone,” Ng said.


Luis Oquiñena, the executive director of Gawad Kalinga, said under the partnership with Big Bad Wolf Books, for every purchase of books the shoppers will donate a portion of proceeds to GK to fund their different programs like organizing communities, helping the farmers and other similar activities.

“This year is their first in the Philippines to be held in Manila, Cebu, and Davao and hopefully next year we will add three cities more,” he said.

He said that 90 percent of the volunteers on the floor come from GK communities as part of their livelihood program.

“We are training elite groups that we will bring to other countries for the book sale event starting next year in different cities,” Oquiñena said.

Meanwhile, he said that inorder to increase readership we are building libraries together with our local partners.
He said that 9 libraries are built this year with 3 in Cebu, 1 in Manila, 3 in Mindanao and another 2 in the Visayas.
Although he did not name the person, he said a patron already pledged to be buy 2 million pesos worth of books inorder to build 18 to 19 more libraries across the country.
He also mentioned that they will be putting up a 24/7 library in Davao City in coordination with the city government of Davao through Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
On the other hand, Miguel Mercado, marketing head of Big Bad Wolf Philippines said the sale of books this year are done in cities of 8 different countries and will increase it to 30 in 2019.45447413_10217074939722864_2602183335887241216_n
He said this activity is to make reading affordable to everybody just as what the two visionaries husband and wife Jacqueline Ng and Andrew Yap said this is not about selling books but spread the love for reading around the world especially to the less fortunate by making books accessible to everyone.
The mission is to build a new generation of readers by creating a love for reading, inspire people to chase their dreams and empower them with knowledge through books, he said.
The press briefing was capped with the turning over of 5 million pesos donation from Big Bad Wolf Books to Gawad Kalinga. (Digna D. Banzon, PNA)

Expand coffee farms in Davao Region


Davao City City — The Department of Agriculture in Region XI (DA-11) is bullish about the expansion of coffee production areas in the Davao Region to 20,000 hectares in 2022 from the current 16,000.

Melani Provido, DA-11 High-Value Crops Development Program Coordinator, said DA sees an increase in the area, at least by 20 percent, and the production of coffee to 100 percent, or about one metric ton per hectare per year.

In a business forum on Tuesday, Provido said coffee is one of the priority programs of the DA. The agency focuses on specialty coffee.


She said the major cluster areas in the region are Bansalan town in Davao del Sur and the municipality of Maragusan in Compostela Valley Province.

She said DA has started the “Big brother, Small brother” project in Bansalan involving the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (Bacofa) and the indigenous peoples coffee farmers in Sitio Alegre.

Provido noted that Balutakay coffee is already known globally as  specialty coffee but more supply is needed to meet the increasing demand.”

With the big brother-small brother approach we can help Bacofa with their requirement once the IPs in Sitio Alegre (will) be able to level up their production to quality standards,” she said.

Aside from supplying coffee shops in Davao and Manila, Bacofa also has markets in Japan, USA and Canada.

“The Bacofa’s experience is also what we want for the Alegre coffee farmers to achieve and this is where we will support and assist them,” Provido said.

Bacofa has hundred coffee farmers with 500 hectares of production area while Alegre has 50 farmers with the same area for coffee production.

Provido said Bacofa was a beneficiary of a P10-million government assistance for post-harvest facilities and hauling truck for their operation, capability building and other technology inputs.

The farmers’ association was also supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, ACIDIVOCA, and the local government unit.DA will also be extending assistance for the construction of a warehouse facility of about a million pesos for 2018.

Meanwhile, Provido said there’s a growing trend for local third wave coffee shops that carry local coffee brands and serve high-quality specialty Arabica coffee sourced from the local growers in the region.

She said of the 27 third wave coffee shops that opened in the region in 2017 they reported that 90 percent of their customers were millennials


She said they (millennials) share their experiences to social media even as she said that coffee producers should take this as an opportunity where more people are encourage to have such similar experience. Thus the need to produce more quality beans and get better price. The green coffee beans sells for P350 per kilo in the local market, she said. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)