Thailand boys trapped in a cave; four were rescued

For more than two weeks, four of the young Thai soccer players trapped in a partially flooded cave were rescued Sunday July 8, and authorities said the operation went better than planned.

boys trapped

The four boys ages 11-16, were among 12 members of the Wild Boars team who ventured deep into the cave along with their 25-year-old coach on June 23.

“After 16 days of waiting, we get to see the faces of the Wild Boars,” Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

An international team of divers and support crews were assembled to aid the rescue.

“The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “Very brave and talented people!”

Narongsak said each boy was equipped in a full scuba face mask and was accompanied by two divers. Divers brought the first boy from the cave at around 5:40 p.m. local time, under eight hours after the rescue operation started. The second boy came out 10 minutes later. Two hours later, two more boys were extracted 10 minutes apart.

The rescue effort will resume Monday for the eight remaining boys and their coach, Narongsak said. Divers will rest, leaders will evaluate the rescue thus far, and the cave will be prepped with oxygen and other materials required to bring the stranded boys out, he said. Nargonsak said rescuing all the boys could take days.

Narongsak did not discuss the health of the rescued boys, however he did say the extraction went better than expected. Ambulances and helicopters were acquired to carry the boys to a hospital 35 miles away. Plans called for the healthiest boys to be rescued first, and Narongsak has repeatedly said the overall health of the boys was great. An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and proclaimed them fit for the operation.

How the boys were trapped

After soccer practice on June 23, the boys and their coach hiked more than two miles into the cave. Heavy rains struck the area and parts of their path back to the cave entrance became swollen with floodwaters. A search led by Thai navy SEALs and joined by volunteer divers from around the world was fruitless until Monday, when a pair of British divers came up on the hungry but apparently healthy team.

Why the rescue began Sunday

Mild weather and a break in the rain had brought down the water to the lowest levels since the boys were found. That implied less of the narrow, winding tunnels that make up much of the cave complex were overwhelmed by water, so much of the route out could be walked, meaning less swimming and less time in scuba gear. Most of the boys don’t swim. It was raining Sunday, but Narongsak was optimistic that the rescue could continue Monday.

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Agrarian Reform to cover 900 hectares of Boracay

MANILA, Philippines — Close to 900 hectares of agricultural land on Boracay Island will be secured by the government’s agrarian reform program, an authority of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said yesterday.

Boracay, Philippines

David Erro, DAR undersecretary for policy, planning and research, said that a group from the agency that examined Boracay found that 845 hectares of land on the island could be subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“Of the figure, 25 hectares are immediately coverable by CARP and can be distributed to around 80 Aeta beneficiaries within three months or less. This will be Phase 1 of the land distribution,” Erro said in a news conference in Quezon City.

The 25.7658-hectare property comprises of 14.6643 hectares in Barangay Yapak, 10.0922 hectares in Barangay Manoc-Manoc and 1.0093 hectares in Barangay Balabag.

Erro said Phase 2 would involve distribution of 220 hectares of agrarian lands, and 600 hectares in Phase 3.

“These lands are those occupied by residential structures or commercial establishments. Removal of these structures will have to be facilitated first. It will take a while before this can be distributed,” he said, adding the beneficiaries should be landless, at least 15 years old and willing to cultivate the land.

He said they have drafted an official request to be signed by President Duterte approving the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to exchange the management of agricultural lands to the DAR.

“This will take effect 15 days after the President signs the EO,” Erro said.

Duterte prior promised to distribute Boracay lands to farmers after declaring the 1,032-hectare resort island an agrarian reform area.

Avoid temptation

Besides tidying up Boracay, Duterte has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to stay away from the temptation of looking at beautiful women in skimpy bathing suits.

“The Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu (is here). He is a general. We know we have many problems… The one about Boracay and open pit mining. It’s destroying the country,” Duterte said in a speech before members of the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton Hotel in Seoul on Sunday.

He said he saw how Cimatu looked with desire at the female guests in Boracay in a photo that arrived on the first page of The STAR a few days after the island was closed down.

“When I looked at the newspaper, I saw the photograph showing Roy Cimatu walking on the beach. A few meters ahead were two white women in bikinis. Cimatu pretended to walk past the foreigners but without taking off his eyes from them,” Duterte said.

Cimatu, who joined other Cabinet individuals on the stage, simply laughed as the President teased him.

“He has been doing a good job so far,” Duterte said, referring to Cimatu.

He said he needs to ban open-pit mining in Boracay due to the negative effect on the environment.

“I will decide. I do not decide by years. I decide by weeks and months. Maybe, I will close down areas where open-pit mining operates. Everywhere in the country, there is open-pit mining,” he said.

Duterte said occupants in poor networks are affected by open-pit mining.

“The rich are not affected. My concern is on the marine life, the source of livelihood of the fisherfolk,” he said, adding, “Either we have to reinvent mining in the Philippines or shut down all these by the end of the year.”

Duterte ordered Cimatu and acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to investigate the issues hounding Boracay and open-pit mining.

He promised to retain Boracay as a land reform area, saying he is neither biased against the poor nor favoring the rich.

“I am not cleaning Boracay for the sake of the rich. I’m cleaning it up for the Filipinos. Boracay is still classified as a forest and agricultural area,” he said.

Duterte said he couldn’t allow residential and business establishments to work without proper permits and sewage framework.

He said it would ruin endeavors to restore the island, as waste from residential areas would likely end up in the sea.

“You know, Boracay is just a small place. It cannot handle two or three communities, plus the activity at the beach fronts. Because their septic tanks go to the canals that lead to the sea,” he said.

Duterte stressed the need to safeguard the environment and address the concerns on public safety and health.

He repeated that he would prioritize the locals once the restoration of Boracay is finished.

“I will give it to the people for agricultural purposes, otherwise moneyed people would get it and build resorts here and there,” he said.

In April, Duterte issued Proclamation No. 475 closing Boracay and putting it under a state of calamity for six months.

The proclamation came two months after the President portrayed the top tourist destination as a cesspool because of the absence of sewerage system.

The closure was expected to cost the economy some P1.9 billion and displace about 35,000 laborers.


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Man charge over raping a teenager on Thai island

A French man has been accused of raping a British teenager on a popular Thai holiday island.


The charged assault occurred on the island of Koh Tao, a beautiful spot that draws divers and vacationers from all over the world.

The island made headlines in 2014 when the bodies of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were found on one of the island’s shorelines having been beat to death.

Two Myanmar migrant workers, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun, were discovered guilty in 2015 of murdering the pair.

Thailand remains a prominent destination for travelers on a budget and tourism is an imperative part of the economy, however a spate of crimes against guests lately has brought up issues about tourist wellbeing in the country.

In the most recent case, police said an 18-year-old backpacker, whose name has been withheld, announced she had been drugged and raped by a French tourist on 4 April.

Thai police identified the suspect as 26-year-old French national Yohan Michael Tunka Buaga. He was captured on Saturday and accused of rape and is being held on the nearby island of Koh Samui.

“The suspect has admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim, but he said that it was consensual and not rape,” police Lieutenant Colonel Piyapong Boonkaew of Koh Tao police told Reuters.

“We are now investigating the case and waiting for forensic examination,” Lt Col Piyapong said.

Reuters was not able contact both the suspect’s and the victim’s lawyers.

The Foreign Office’s travel guidance for Thailand includes cautions about the potential for sexual attacks in the area.

It said: “Violent sexual assaults and unprovoked attacks have been reported in popular tourist destinations, including in the Koh Samui archipelago and Krabi province.

“These are particularly common during the monthly full moon parties and generally occur late at night near bars.

“Drink spiking has been reported in tourist destinations around Thailand, with both male and female victims.

“Be careful about taking drinks from strangers and at clubs and parties, or leaving your drinks unattended, particularly in Koh Samui, Pattaya and at the full moon party on Koh Phangan, where date rapes have been reported.”

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US travel ban in Bohol won’t hurt its tourism

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol – The travel ban issued by the United States government against the Philippines is not anticipated to make a dent in Bohol’s tourism industry.


“We don’t have much American tourists here in Bohol so the travel ban somehow does not affect us,” said Tootsie Escobia, provincial information officer.

He said most of the tourists coming to Bohol are local people and Asians.

The United States Embassy in Manila on Saturday cautioned Americans in the Philippines to be cautious in traveling to Central Visayas, referring to “unsubstantiated yet credible information” that terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings in the region, especially in Cebu and Bohol areas.

In Panglao, hotels and resorts were completely reserved through the Holy Week, with reservations done as early as last January.

“There are no cancellations so far as of today, the guests are enjoying [their stay] here,” said Anthony Ceniza, supervisor of Dumaluan Beach Resort II in Barangay Bolod, Panglao town.

He said that amid the Holy Week, their visitors are included 80 percent Europeans and 20 percent local people.

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He said a large portion of their visitors were from Russia, Germany and France.

The Alona Tropical Shoreline Resort in Barangay Tawala was also fully-booked.

According its operation manager, Rico Guigue, 60 percent of their visitors were Filipinos while the rest were foreigners who made advance booking in February.

“It’s business as usual,” said Guigue.

Tour activities and bookings have remained unaffected in the midst of the travel warning.

“There were no tour packages canceled by our guests. It is business as usual here,” said Lande Lawangon, a tour operator.

Bohol is one of the provincial hosts of the economic affairs meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). More than 200 representatives will be in the province on April 18-22 for the various gatherings.


State of Calamity in Surigao

SAN FRANCISCO, Surigao del Norte – This town has been put under a state of calamity because of damage sustained by several infrastructures when a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the region and Surigao City last Friday (February 10, 2017).

Collapsed Anao-aon Bridge connecting Surigao City to the municipalities of San Francisco and Malimono

In an interview, Vice Mayor Val Pinat told that the municipal council affirmed the resolution a declaring a state of calamity on Monday afternoon.

Engr. Melchor C. Añasco, municipal engineer and office designate of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said they initially pegged the damage at 106 million pesos.

Among the destroyed infrastructure is the P75-million Anao-aon Bridge which connected Surigao City to San Francisco and Malimono towns.

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The quake also damaged the San Nicolas High School which is run by the Surigao Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

An initial report from the town’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said 134 houses were partially damaged and 13 others were totally damaged.

Last Saturday, Surigao City, where eight individuals died and 203 others endured wounds, declared a state of calamity.

An initial report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office placed the damage brought by the quake to infrastructures all over the province at 673 million pesos.


Miss Universe beauties in Baguio City

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The reigning Ms. Universe title holder Pia Wurtzbach and the rest of the 29 candidates were given a grand paraded in the “summer capital.”

Miss Colombia, Puerto Rico, Korea, Spain, and Netherlands

“I’ve never seen such a wonder like this,” said Miss Canada, amazed by Panagbenga’s street dances and flower float parade from Upper Session Road to the posh Baguio Country Club (BCC).

Panagbenga is the Baguio Flower Festival, Philippine’s own version of the Rose Float Festival in Pasadena, California. Panagbenga was recently chosen as an international festival, as indicated by the tourism department, is maybe the most crowd-drawing festival the country, attracting hundreds of thousands to the city each February.

Atop on flower decorated floats the Miss Universe bets had a chance to see Baguio and the Cordilleras, even in just a day.

“It is an honor that international beauties come in the city,” said mayor Mauricio Domogan, adding, “it was just unfortunate that the usual Panagbenga parade route was shortened because of the time limitations,” he explained.

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Still, as early as six o’clock, residents line up along the streets to have a chance to peek at the international beauties. “It is worth the wait,” a beauty contest fanatic said.

Miss Universe candidates tasted Baguio City’s warm welcome the country’s “vacation capital”, peeking into the unique culture of the highlands.

The international beauties also tasted Baguio at its best, like the famous strawberry picking adventure at BCC’s own strawberry fields at its 2012-born “green zone”. “We grow our own herbs,” beamed BCC general manager Anthony de Leon.

De Leon is the president of the organizing association – Hotels and Restaurants Association of Baguio (HRAB), the private organization that shelled out P31 million for hosting the event.

The Baguio solar painting artist Jordan Mang-osan and Baguio-bred national artist and international award-winning filmmmaker Kidlat Tahimik prepared an arts and cultural exhibit at the BCC’s Cordilera Convention Hall showing the Cordillera spirit and culture to the beauty candidates, capping it with a formal gala dinner Wednesday night.

Our hosting, director Venus Tan of the Department of Tourism said, “showcase(s) Baguio City for excellence in travel and tourism.”


Mariel Rodriguez gives birth to a baby girl

MANILA, Philippines – Robin Padilla’s wife Mariel Rodriguez gave birth to their first child.


Robin announced on his Instagram account that his wife gave birth to their daughter named Maria Isabella on Nov. 14, at 7:56 a.m. (American time).

According to him, his wife was in labor for 21 hours and had a normal delivery with their daughter who came out weighing 7.3 pounds and 20 inches long.

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Robin was not able to join his wife in the US in time for her maternity because he was not granted a visa. This was due to the conditional pardon granted to him by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1998 after being in imprison for three years for the possession of illegal firearms.

In spite of this, Robin is very thankful for everyone who supported his wife.

“Ako’y nagpupugay at naglulumuhod sa lahat ng mga Pilipino sa buong mundo na nagdasal at nagsalmo para maging maayos ang kabanata na ito sa buhay ni @marieltpadilla at ni Maria Isabella de Padilla,” the actor added.

Mariel suffered two miscarriages last year before successfully conceiving a child.


Fun Activity for Parent and Toddler

There are many simple toddler activities on the net for you to imitate to make your young playing and learning at home. These fun activities are easy to do at home and your toddlers benefit from engaging in exploratory and educational activity.


Fun activity that parents and young children can easily do together like hand painting. In this activity you can preserve your child’s hand print which makes a great keepsake. Use washable finger paint or tempera paints for hand painting.

Paint is an art material that is easily adaptable to a wide variety of young children. Toddlers love to be busy which mean they also love being creative and messy. Let them explore their abilities with the use of these paints which will help them boost their self-esteem but always offer them assistance when necessary.

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What is the difference of tempera paints to finger paints? Tempera paints has more multi-use purposes than finger paint. Tempera paints have several varieties you can choose from such as powdered tempera paint, liquid tempera paint and etc. while finger paints works as basic starter for young children to encourage early childhood development. This kind of paint teaches children self-expression and repetitive hand movements that help them develop muscle control.

Children will enjoy using either kind of paints, so it’s up to you what best paint would be best to use for the art activity you have planned. There are many paints available on the market nowadays but be sure to use the non-toxic one. And if you are skeptical to use any brands on the market you can always make your own tempera paint in this way you will know what the ingredients are being used.

Party with Rinox Food Ventures

The two most important parts of a kid’s birthday party are what the guests will eat and how to entertain them. Party treats at a kid’s birthday party should be fun, simple, and in tune with the party theme. Ask your child what party theme he likes from the options you prepared to invest your time and money.


Some easy-to-follow guidelines when thinking about party food:

  1. Make the food presentation fun. Serve the food in a colorful dish, on a decorated tablecloth to make it extra-special for your kid and their guests.
  2. Give a variety of foods. Serve popcorn, chips, and hotdogs for nibbling while waiting for the main course.
  3. Snack on finger foods. Serving finger foods won’t require plates. The less complicated the party dish the less cleaning up after everyone goes home.
  4. Avoid food allergy accidents. Know your guests dietary restrictions before planning your party menu.

Plan an activity to entertain a group of small children at a party, old-fashioned party game like pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs are exciting games for young kids. You may base games or activities according to your party’s theme. If you’re having a sports theme party have kids shoot hoops at a basketball or do circus tricks at a circus party.

Having a party theme in mind makes a party planning easy. With a specific birthday party theme idea you can plan food, activities, and decorations that match the party theme. You can add more fun to your theme party by hiring a food cart rental service.

With plenty of food cart circling around it’s hard to choose that will give us the best satisfaction that we want. We always consider the affordability and the food that they serve. Well worry no more because Rinox Food Ventures is here, your affordable party food carts for your party needs.

They offer a variety of delicious food that is freshly prepared. They will customize their carts according to your party’s theme. And if you order two or more food carts they will give discounts. So why not get all your carts at Rinox Food Cart Rental Services.