"..a bardy view!"

Mount Mayon erupts – with fatal consequences………

"Mayon volcano is an enigmatic personality. The more she
does this, the more they will come. The more the danger, the more the

So says Albay Governor Joey Salceda, after Mount Mayon gave a 73-second explosion killing five climbers on 7th May 2013.

MayonThe state seismologist said the explosion was triggered when the
rainwater made contact with hot ash deposits on the crater mouth. That makes
sense - a bit like adding water to a sizzling frying pan.

It's rather unfortunate that Governor Salceda couldn't have
chosen his words more appropriately. eg "This is a terrible tragedy. My
sympathies go out to the victims and their families. We will do everything to
learn from this, and investigate how this appalling accident occurred."
– it's a stock response, in the files of
every person in a high position of public service – but not in Salceda's. No, to him it
will bring more tourists. If that’s not what he meant it’s certainly how it

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May 8, 2013 Posted by | Conservation, Current Affairs, Education, History, Mount Mayon Volcano, Politics, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By Any Means? Don’t Bother!

Having recently watched the latest episode of By Any Means, a vehicle to allow the somewhat very boring Charley Boorman to ride on lots of motorbikes and other modes of transport from Sydney to Tokyo by any means available, I was struck by the sheer inanity of his dialogue.

But putting that aside, plus the fact that there is little to educate or inform in this travelogue, his latest outing was spent in the Philippines.

In an effort to get from Mindanao in the south, to Manila in the north (not really that north, but north enough for him) he found himself using a variety of unusual contraptions (bamboo jallopies for example), and in between drinking Lambanog (which he calls coconut wine), sampling some fishing and visiting a cock fighting arena. The latter of which made him rather queasy and "unclean".

The Department of Philippines Tourism in London was very excited to see their country highly profiled on BBC television, but clearly they hadn't seen the content in advance.

I doubt they would be so euphoric now. To say I was disappointed myself is an understatement, but what really galvanised my critical juices was when he found himself in Legaspi City to attend a bikers jolly.

They met outside the Cagsawa ruins, which sit under the worlds most outstanding volcano Mount Mayon (an outstanding blog post of mine!)

I recognised the place instantly having recently stood exactly were he had, and yet amazingly there was not one single mention of the volcano, nor his proximity to the ruins where an eruption in 1814 left 1000 people dead and buried under the church.

In fact he appeared totally oblivious to it.

A great opportunity missed in my humble opinion.

He was quite taken by the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, but such was the shortage of adjectives in his vocabulary, we were permitted to hear only "amazing" "wow" and "incredible".

Who is this guy anyway? Well, he's the son of a famous movie director, and chummy pal of the actor Ewan McGregor, with whom he had previously ventured on a motorbike trip to some other far flung destination, making a "travelogue" documentary in the process (Long Way Round, I think it was called).

Other than that I fail to see who has indulged him with this travesty of a programme, and allowed him to make observations that would put a British Benidorm tourist on a par with Michael Palin.

In general this was a very poor show, badly choreographed, shamefully researched, and portrayed outstanding ignorance.

It may have had a place on some cheap digital channel, but to allow it on prime time national television, funded by the taxpayer is astonishing.

I wouldn't have minded so much if it portrayed the Philippines fairly and with a degree of respect, but it was nothing more than a self-indulgent exercise to satisfy the whims and fancies of a boy with his toy, and no doubt pander to a dumbed down like-minded audience.


October 29, 2009 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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