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Climate Change and Social Justice

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

by Fr. Victor Badillo

In John 5, Jesus cites the testimonies of John the Baptist, His own miracles, His Father’s voice and the Old Testament as verifications of His identity. On the day of Pentecost, Peter cites the many witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Scientists adopt a similar principle in their quest for greater understanding.

Just as an Old Testament judge required multiple witnesses, scientists look for multiple sources of evidence. Our understanding is considered robust when scientists have found independent measurements all pointing to a single, consistent conclusion.

On the question of global warming, natural witnesses are found in our climate. Warming is directly measured by thermometers scattered across the globe, which find that the two hottest years on record were 2005 and 2010. 

In addition, we have many natural thermometers painting a similar picture. Icesheets in Greenland and Antarctica are dissipating at an accelerating rate, shedding hundreds of billions of tonnes ofice every year. Scientists are observing tens of  thousands of species shift toward cooler regions. Arctic sea ice is melting faster than even the worst-case predictions. Even tree-lines are shifting in response to warming temperatures.

To properly understand what’s happening to our climate, we must listen to all the witnesses and consider the full body of evidence. The consonance ofevidence paints an unmistakable picture of a warming planet. 

How do climate skeptics respond to the cloud of witnesses for global warming? By denying the full body of evidence. A common claim is that we haven’t seen warming over the last 15 years. To do this, they ignore the witness of the icesheets, the testimony of shrinking glaciers, the evidence of shifting seasons and the inarguable fact of rising sea levels. 

Selective cherry-picking occurs in arguments against climate action. There’s a Yiddish proverb that states “a half-truth is a whole lie”.

To say climate action in Australia won’t have a global impact underestimates our country’s significance. Australia is one of the top 20 carbon emitters in the world (we actually come 16th). While the world’s countries as a whole extract 19% of their electricity from clean energy, Australia is lagging behind with only 7% of our power coming from renewable sources. Consequently, Australians emit more carbon pollution per person than any other developed country.

The crux of climate change for Christians is the poorest, most vulnerable countries are those hardest hit by global warming. 

The poor are least able to adapt to the impact of climate change and ironically, have contributed least to it. The carbon footprint of the poorest one billion people on the planet is estimated to be around 3% of the world’s total footprint. This is the social injustice of climate change: poor, developing countries will suffer because of the fossil fuels emitted by developed nations.

We are commanded to love our neighbour. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus defines our neighbour as those who are in need. In the parable of the sheep and goats, Jesus describes the key characteristic of His followers as those who help the poor and needy.

To Jesus, the weightier matters of the law are justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23), echoing the Old Testament command “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Justice is an important biblical theme. 

In Amos 5, God condemns the society that oppresses the poor and deprives them of justice. To a society (or a church) that tolerates injustice, God says “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me”(Amos 5:21).

Climate change adds another dimension to who our neighbour is. What we do impacts others. Our pollution contributes to global warming which affectsour global neighbours. This is unjust.

God requires that His people oppose social injustice and open their hearts to the poor and vulnerable. 

For the church to turn a blind eye to the injustice of climate change is to turn our back on God’s heart for the poor. 

Cutting down our fossil fuel pollution has become part of the mandate to love our neighbours. We must pray and campaign for justice in a changing climate. We need to support action on climate change and look to reduce our carbon footprint.


Mirador Baguio

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)


On the Meaning of Mirador            by Fr. Horacio de la Costa SJ

This house is called Mirador: Prospect Point. There have been four stages of its life.

It began as a meteorological observatory, with Jesuit scientists puttering about measuring rainfalls, observing winds, recording the shiverings of the earth,quietly, patiently opening windows into the secret heart of the physical universe.

Then it became a villa house, where Jesuit teachers - in the happy days before summer schools- rested from the labors of the year.  They played ball. They prayed to God.  They read books and argued about them endlessly, opening the world of ideas and the world of men.

After the Pacific War, when mainland China was closed to the Gospel, this House became a scholasticate, a house of studies for the young Jesuits of the Far East Province.  In these rooms, along these corridors, they followed the progress of Christianity from Pentecost to Paul VI, opening windows into the life and meaning of the Church.

Today,Mirador has acquired other uses.  It is no longer a scholasticate; but is still a villa house for Jesuits; and the Manila Observatory still keeps some of its instruments ticking away on this hill.  Groups of priests, religious,lay people come here for retreats.  Conferences are held by bishops, scholars, student leaders, journalists, businessmen.  Men and women who want time to think, time to reflect on what they are, what they must be or do come here, to this quiet hill beneath a quiet heaven; to reflect, to pray to observe the signs or our troubled, yet immensely hopeful, times; to open windows to even broader horizons.

And so, Mirador is still what it was in the beginning: an observatory, a point of vantage.  And if this house could speak, perhaps this is what it would say to you:

Look out of my windows and try to extend your vision beyond the Gulf of Lingayen to all of Asia.  Try o make out more clearly what God’s plan for all these people is, and for allt hose - like yourself - seek nothing else but to be of service to man.

Man - the glory of God.



Posted on May 21, 2011 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

By Fr. Victor Badillo

             After a destructive typhoon, often there appears in print something like this.  “Predictions of typhoons were better done by MO.”  This is an unfair and thoughtless comparison.


The Philippines for which MO (Manila Observatory) predicted typhoons is different from the Philippines for which PAGASA (Weather Bureau) predicts.

Before, electricity was used only forlighting and to power radio.  Now almost everything is powered by electricity: toaster, microwave oven, osterizer, juicer, refrigerator, fans, airconditioner, waste food grinder, TV, PC, washing and drying machines, floorwaxer polisher, vacuum cleaner, elevators, garage door openers, can opener,hair dryer, water heater, water pump, etc. Thus before power loss did not disturb daily life.  Now power loss is felt much.  There is water around us but none in the taps. 

To compare PAGASA and MO is likecomparing two archers who have to hit targets at the same distance.  But the rule is that archer A gets a score only if he gets a bull’s eye, while archer B gets a score if he hits the target anywhere.

The Philippines is more populated now than before.  Before, Manila was just the area now being served by Mayor Alfredo Lim.  San Juan, Caloocan, Pasay and Old Manilawere separated by spaces without houses. Quezon City did not exist.  Now Manila is Greater Manila covering the area from Valenzuela to Las Pinas and from Manila Bay to the Sierra Madre.

Thus if MO predicted a typhoon would nothit Manila and the path of the typhoon passed through present day Quezon City,then MO predicted rightly.  But if PAGASA predicted a typhoon would not hit Manila, and the path passed through Quezon City,then PAGASA predicted wrongly.

Before, there were no people living onthe edges of rivers.  Now people live notonly on the banks of rivers but even in the river bed, as in the Mangahan Bypass.  Before, esteros (small rivers) worked as efficient drainage paths.  Before, esteros contained only water and fish.  Now esteros have everything but water.  They are occupied by buildings and many nolonger exist.  Before, even if areas became flooded, the waters subsided fast. Now they stay for many days. Before, one hardly found flimsyhouses.  Now houses can be blown easily.  Thus no typhoon can pass without harming people and property.

There were open spaces between cities and towns in Luzon.  There were no structures and no transmission lines, few fishponds, rice fields, factories. Now there are more boats at sea. Forests have vanished.  So at yphoon would pass through without damage to people and property.  But now, no typhoon can pass without considerable damage.

 Dagat-Dagatan (small inland sea) was a natural catch basin.  Now, it is reclaimed land.  Obando and neighboring coastal towns are flooded even without rain or storm.  The daily floods are due to the daily hightide.  Should we blame the moon?

Weather is a complex phenomenon.  The US with all kinds of radars, satellites, rugged planes that fly into storms and weather maps produced by super computers predicted hurricane Katrina would hit Florida.  But it hit the areas in the Mississippi delta.  If the US Weather Bureau could make such a grievous but understandable mistake, we cannot in fairness blame PAGASA for less serious mistakes.

We are all laudatores temporis acti, (the past is always better).  We easily forget our pains.

Before, clean scrubbed streets, swimming in sea beside Roxas Blvd.,clergy in white soutana and with tonsure (bare skin the size of peso at the back of the head). nuns with only part of face visible,  collegians in necktie and coat and leather shoes, traffic rules observed, handsome speed cops in Harley Davison cycles, policemen in khaki uniform and tropical hat, without a gun and armed only with a batuta (night stick), Half a centavo for a cigarette stick, liter of gasoline at 10 centavos, five centavos by bus or tranvia (street car) from de la Salle to Post Office, five centavos baon, a dollar cost two pesos, no visa to enter US.


We see the past through rosy glass, and look at the present through a magnifying glass.

Of course, there is need for a generous budget, more equipment and better trained personnel.  And understanding and patience from the public.  There is need for education for preparedness for disasters.  For enforcement of zoning laws and of building codes. For political will.  Blame, if any, should be pointed at the right persons or institutions.



blog: God bless you and all your efforts.  Victor Badillo SJ




Why Are Oceans Salty

Posted on May 9, 2011 at 8:21 PM Comments comments (0)


Why are oceans salty?                                                                by Fr. Victor Badillo

If we are in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean, there will be water all around us, but not a drop to drink.  The ocean is salty. The concentration of salt in seawater is about 35 parts per thousand.  The most common salt is sodium chloride. Why is the ocean salty?

Salt in the ocean comes from the continents.  What rain dissolves is carried in the runoff to streams and rivers to the ocean.  What are dissolved are salts.  The water leaves the ocean by evaporation but the salt cannot and remains in the ocean. The runoff from the land is slightly salty. The oceans get saltier with time.

Salts also come from below the ocean, from underwater volcanoes and from salts dissolved out from the earth’s crust.

This process can be seen in a small scale in the case of the Dead Sea.  Slightly salty water from the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea which has no outlet.  The low input of fresh water plus the large evaporation rates make the Dead Sea saltier than the oceans. Because of its density, it is easy for men to float.

A similar process is seen in the salt making in the Philippines.  Sea water is fed to the salt bed.  When the water has evaporated, a new supply of sea water is fed, etc. until the salt maker thinks it is time to totally remove the water.  Then he just rakes in the salt crystals into containers.  They are for sale in wet markets and sought by makers of bagong and patis. I find this tastier and more nutritious than the salt from salt mines.

This can be done in regions with pronounced dry seasons, namely several months without rain.  The regions are in the western part of Luzon and Mindoro.  In the Metro Manila area, one place is Las Pinas.  The word for salt is asin. The name Pangasinan may be understood as where salt is made, pangasin an, just as we have pala isda an,or place for raising fish or isda.This has been done as a small family affair. Now there are corporations making salt. But the Philippines still has to import salt.

Not to be neglected are the roles of the sun, gravity, dust particles and cosmic rays. The sun is needed to evaporate the water that becomes rain.  In evaporation, the vapor-laden air immediately above the ocean surface is warmed and gravity makes it rise to cooler upper air where they can condense.  Still needed are dust particles to serve as nuclei for the vapor to condense on.  Serving also as nuclei are ions caused by the passage of cosmic rays. Then gravity makes the water drops fall to the ground and makes the water flow down to the ocean.

The Amazon River in Brazil contributes so much river water to the Atlantic Ocean that miles from the mouth of the river, water is still fresh and can be drunk.  The small amount of salt in the river water from the Amazon and other rivers added to the ocean continuously for centuries cumulates to the present salinity.  If a poor man patiently sets aside savings, he can rise above poverty.



Astronomy in a Developing Country

Posted on April 19, 2011 at 1:14 AM Comments comments (0)

IAU blog by Dr. Romar Sese

Astronomy is considered as one of the oldest branches of science. Ever since early man made patterns in the night sky and charted the behavior of heavenly bodies, we have always been fascinated with astronomy. Thanks to the contributions of numerous scientists such as Galileo, Kepler and Newton, we now have a deeper understanding of the Universe. However, when we look at the recent developments, we can see a pattern. Most of the astronomers come from developed countries such as US, Japan, EU countries etc.. Very few astronomers come from developing or the so-called Third World countries (I hate using this term). The realm of modern astronomy is dominated by those who can afford to launch satellites or build huge telescopes. What about the others?


The sad reality is, astronomy is not a priority area in developing countries. I cannot speak for other countries but in the case of the Philippines, most students choose courses such as Accounting, Engineering or Nursing. These courses produces graduates that have good chances of working abroad, a common dream for a lot of Filipinos. Very few take physics or astronomy courses. For them, the common question is “What job can I get after I graduate from physics/astronomy?”. Even in the government, most of the research funding is funneled to applied research. Politicians want tangible and economically viable products.


Astronomy in a developing country is in a dismal state. There are very few students interested in it. The research facilities are very minimal. A university is considered lucky if it has a usable 0.5 meter optical telescope (or any telescope for that matter!). This pales in comparison with behemoths such as Keck, Subaru, Gemini, etc.. However, I think the more pressing problem is the lack of dedicated people who are willing to do the grunt work and start astronomy from scratch. The job is a tall order and anyone in his right mind would be daunted by the task. Some scientists wants to return only if the facilities are already existing or the salary is reasonable (I can’t blame them! We all need to earn a living somehow). But unless someone starts developing astronomy, someone sacrifices to pioneer astronomy, nothing will happen. It’s a risky move but hopefully it would be fruitful in the future. As a Chinese proverb once said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


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Planet Ocean

Posted on April 14, 2011 at 1:57 AM Comments comments (0)



                                                                                          by Fr. Victor Badillo



The surface of the earth is made of continents and oceans.  The surface of the continents is not smooth.  There are high mountain chains (Rockies, Andes, etc), deep canyons (Grand Canyon) and other uneven surfaces.  


If we wave a magic wand to make the oceans disappear, we see that surface of the bottom of the ocean is not smooth.  There are high mountain chains, and mountains so high that their summits break the ocean surface as high islands, like Hawaii.  Canyons like the Philippine Deep are so deep that they can swallow Mount Everests.


With a second wave of the magic wand, we can fill in the low places using the materials of the high places so that we end up with a solid sphere whose surface is as smooth a billiard ball.


With a third wave of the magic want, we can return the water that we borrowed.  What do we see? Not a trace of land.  The billiard ball earth is several kilometers under water.


Behold Planet Ocean.


We have so much water, 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water.  But not a drop in the rest of the solar system.  Not a drop of liquid water.


What makes this possible?  The presence of water in liquid form depends on the temperature of the planet.  Water in liquid form exists in the temperature range zero to 100 degrees Centigrade.  The temperature in turn depends on the planets’:


a. distance from the sun.  The closer we are to a source of heat, for example a fire, the warmer we get.


b. rate of rotation. The longer we stay in the heat the warmer we get.  In winter in the northern hemisphere, while the temperature in areas near the equator fluctuate a few degrees around 27 degrees C, the temperature in areas towards the pole fluctuate a few degrees about zero degrees C.   For while along the equator night time is about 11 hours, that towards the pole is about 9 hours or less.


c. atmospheric composition.  In winter, thermal clothing keeps us warm by preventing the escape of body heat.


These three factors are presented in tabular form for easy comparison.  The other and further planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus) have no surface.  They are gas planets.  The planets below are the earth planets.


Column A shows the distances from the sun in comparison with that of the earth.  Mars is 1.5 X further than earth.   Column B gives the time a planet takes to rotate, one day for earth and 243 days for Venus.  Column C tells the principal composition, if any, of the planet, thus carbon dioxide for Venus, oxygen for earth.  The interplay of these factors results in the present temperatures in degrees Centigrade in column D.




               A             B             C              D


Planet    to sun     day          atm       temperature


Mercury   0.387   58.6 days    none   465 C to -184 C


Venus     0.72      243 days     co2     450 C


Earth         1       23.9 hrs       n2o2     25 C


Moon        1         29 days      none    107 to -153 C


Mars       1.5        24.5 hrs       co2      140 to +20


The moon and the earth have the same distance from the sun.  But the moon has a much longer day.  The side of the moon facing the sun for 14 days gets very hot, while the other side gets very cold.  Also there is enough carbon dioxide on earth to trap heat while there is none on the moon.   On the earth in places that are hot in the day all year round, exposed water freezes during the night because the heat radiates fast in those cloudless lands.   The situation of Mercury is similar to that of the moon.


The atmosphere of Venus, the earth’s twin in terms of size, has plenty carbon dioxide.  This plus a 122-day daytime account for the unabated rise in temperature, enough to melt lead.  The runaway greenhouse effect on Venus is a warning of what could happen on earth if our carbon dioxide keeps rising.


Mars has the same day period as the earth but is further and has very little carbon dioxide.  This accounts for the recorded temperature.


From the data shown, only on planet earth can water exist in liquid form.  The presence of water in liquid form is what makes life on possible only on earth in the solar system.  To find life in extra solar systems one must find a place where water in liquid form exists.   This means finding also a twin of our sun and a twin of the earth. The probability of finding life elsewhere is discouragingly dim.


But for now, planet Ocean is the oasis in the vast desert of space.  Here we find water, oxygen and all that is needed for plants, animals and embodied spirits.  For man to visit Mars, he has to provide himself with fuel, food, water, oxygen and the ability to recycle everything to enable us to travel for three years, a brief stay on the planet, and the return home.  Recycling needs energy.  The logistical requirement is a nightmare. While all these needs are provided us on earth with the least expense.


        Did all this happen by chance?



Green Planet by Fr. Victor Badillo

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (0)




Oxygen is found on the earth either as free oxygen or as bound oxygen.   Bound oxygen is found in oxygen compounds: solids like rust, liquids like water,gases like carbon dioxide, and others oxides. Free oxygen  consists of molecules of  two oxygen atoms.  Ozone, a form of free oxygen, consists of three oxygen atoms.

Man can survive without food for a month, a week without water, but he cannot last a few minutes without oxygen.  In Japan, there are vending machines for those having to breathe polluted air. May the need for these not happen in our country.  As long as we vigorously implement the Clear Air Act of 1998.

Oxygen is also needed for patients with pulmonary problems.  It is used for welding and other industrial purposes. For  internal and external combustion.

When the earth was formed about five billions years ago, there was no free oxygen. Where did oxygen in the earth come from? We learned in elementary school that plants grow by photosynthesis in leaves.   In green leaves, water and carbon dioxide are combined to form carbohydrates, This process is possible in the presence of chlorophyll, which acts as a catalyst.  It is not used up.  It has to be there for the process to take place.  Energy is needed to for this.  And this energy comes from the sun in the form of light.  Photo is the Greek for light.  Photosynthesis provided the cells needed for wood, for leaves, for flowers, for fruits.

Fruits contained seeds needed to propagate the species and food for the early stages of  the seedling. The fruit was attractive for animals who ate them and scattered far and wide the seeds.  The purpose of a tree is to propagate itself. Photosynthesis has a waste by-product, free oxygen!

Plants are the first links in the chain of life.  Plants and oxygen make possible herbivorous (plant eating) animals. These in turn make possible carnivorous (meat eating) animals.  These in turn make possible thinking, creating, loving and worshipping beings.  How can man write poetry, create science, build bombs, explore space without free oxygen?  How much is our debt to plants, to chlorophyll in plants.

About 35 miles above the ground is the ozone layer where ozone molecules protect man from the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  Harming the ozone layer by man made products harms man. Man needs to protect the ozone layer by implementing the Montreal Protocol.

Man does not live by bread alone.  He needs oxygen which is colorless, odorless, invisible. Almost a spirit.  Oxygen makes possible visible spirits.

Oxygen is free in another sense.  It is there for the taking, for the breathing,  It is the great leveler.  Prince or pauper can have as much as they want.

Aptly then did the poet G M Hopkins compare the Blessed Virgin to the air we breathe.


This needful, never spent,

And nursing element; 

My more than meat and drink,

My meal at every wink;

This air, which, by life's law,

My lung must draw and draw

Now but to breathe its praise.


When we look at trees and plants we see that leaves are colored green.  They are green because green is the color of chlorophyll.   The earth can be rightfully called the Green Planet.



Newton's Apple by Fr. Victor Badillo

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM Comments comments (0)

The young man had read or wrote physics books under his favorite apple tree many times before.  During the days he read, flowers blossomed attracting bees.  They came to carry off apple nectar and deposit pollen from other trees. Bees knew that there was no free nectar.




In time the flowers wilted to give way to fruits. One was directly above Newton’s head.  It had never fallen before.  Gravity tugged at it to no avail, not because Newton’s body was blocking the force, but because it was held in place by its stem.  Eventually the tree said, “The little fellow is now equipped with the necessities of life, but he cannot propagate our species up here.“ So it stopped nourishing the stem and gravity had its way. Cut was the umbilical cord that kept the apple from falling.



It bounced off Newton’s head and fell to the ground, some distance from the tree.  This was good, for it had a better chance of life away from the mother tree.  Better still, if picked up and eaten far away, the species would be propagated over the globe.



Another person would have looked up and reasoned,“The fruit fell.  That leaf when it dries will fall.  That branch when it rots will fall.  Anything not held up will fall.”  For Newton it was, “The fruit fell.  Therefore the moon is falling.”  He had discovered the law of universal gravitation.  Physical laws valid on earth are valid out of the earth.



 When he got home, he told his mother, “The moon is falling.”  To which she replied, “So is the sky”. Clearly Newton had his work cut up.  His intuition had to result in something measurable.   It had to predict results.



Earlier, Kepler reduced to a neat mathematical expression mountains of observations of planets.  He showed that the paths of planets were elliptical, correcting Galileo and others who thought they were circular.  He found too the relation of the distance of a planet to its period (the time it took to orbit the sun).  Knowing the period of a planet (which is easy to determine) he did not have to spend years and equipment to determine its distance.  He just had to use paper and pencil.   This was a big step.   What Kepler did was curve fitting, or summarizing data neatly, namely mathematics. But why are planetary paths elliptical and their distances from the sun calculable from their periods?




Newton gave the answer with his celestial mechanics.  It was because gravity makes planets fall to the sun.  He provided the physics to the mathematics of Kepler.

Celestial mechanics provide the means to determine the existence of extra solar planets, the mass of a galaxy (containing billions of stars), even the mass of the whole universe.  Newton provided the method  to weigh the universe.




Humbly, Newton acknowledged, “I have seen further than other men, because I stood on the shoulders of giants”.  On another occasion he said, “To myself I seem to he only like a boy, playing on the seashore, and now and then finding a smoother pebble, or a prettier shell, while the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.''



It was not the shiny red color of the skin, or the delicious taste of the apple that was decisive.  All that was needed was an object that could fall, an object that had mass.  It could have been a stone, or even a McIntosh.



Adam’s apple made him lose heaven.  Newton’s apple made him conquer the heavens.


Geminids Meteor Shower 2010

Posted on December 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM Comments comments (1)

I was happy to see 36 meteors last night (11:15 pm of the 14th to 1:30 am of the 15th) after the disappointing overcast weather on the 13th. Three of them were fireballs, brighter than Venus and yellowish in color! 


Also had the pleasure of accompanying two friends who'd never seen a shower. Glad the weather cooperated.


Sharon Fangonon


Re Sunday's Sun

Posted on October 27, 2010 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

From Clem Brazil, Australia


Looks like those filaments are about to snap. Awesome images of an

awakening sun. I bought a couple of Baader Astrozap filters about a month or

so ago, one for visual and one for imaging. They're good. But the images

are kind of flat and not very interesting. But I didn't use any other

filters then. Maybe if I used a polarizing or a skyglow filter, I can get

more contrast. I tried to do that yesterday but clouds covered the sun.

So I was just fooling around with the controls and wondered if I can see

Venus at 10 in the morning. Making sure that Venus wasn't anywhere near the

Sun I punched in Venus on the controller and, surprisingly, a nice crescent-

shaped object against a blue background appeared in the field of view of my

25mm Plossl. I quickly changed the scope I planned to use to observe the sun

with to the 6inch Newt and got a better look. By that time the clouds were

gone but it didn't matter for I got Venus instead. So that is one thing one

can observe during the day(LOL). The thing is, it can get too hot, so after

quickly imaging it, I packed it up quickly before the Sun got too high.

Nice... nice

Posted on September 15, 2010 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I just received this text from Engr. Dacanay after they met with Andre Germain and wife Lievan at a hotel in Ermita tonight (Sept. 15) to receive Andre's donation.


"Got it! Such a wonderful guy. Such a nice telescope. Such a nice organization. Such a nice evening. Such a nice feeling. Such and such and such... Last load."


Thank you very much, Andre. You made everyone at PAS happy.

A Funny Reply

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 4:24 PM Comments comments (0)

Engr. Dacanay's reply to my text re picking up Sir Andre Germain's donation at Ermita makes me laugh, and here it is,


"I'm 99% available by all means rain, no moonshine, earthquake, tornado, tsunami, hostage-taking, whatever else there is - LET'S GO!"

Re Mars Same Size as Moon?

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 12:11 PM Comments comments (0)

From Sharon Fangonon


I thought someone ought to make a computation of how much closer Mars would have to move away from its current orbit in order to be as large as the Moon.


Let's see if I can figure it out with some back-of- the-envelope computations. The moon is around 27% the size of Earth and it's around 30 times as far as the Earth's diameter. Mars is 53% the size of Earth.


On the average, the Moon is 384,400 km from the Earth. At Mars' closest approach in 2003 (perihelic opposition), it was 55,758,006 km from Earth. At that distance it wasn't even a tiny disc to the naked eye. If it's a simple ratio and proportion, then Mars ought to be 750,553 kms away from Earth to be the size of the Moon.


The average distance of Mars from the sun is 227,700,000 km. Earth's is 149,500,000 km. That's a difference of 78,200,00 km. This means Mars' new orbit should have a radius of around 150,250,000 km. That's only 59 Earth diameters away instead of the normal perihelic distance of 4,370 Earth diameters away.


I don't know what sort of catastrophic event would push Mars closer to the sun. Maybe a huge meteor strike? It would probably be catastrophic for the solar system and Earth, too. Even if Earth doesn't get struck, I wonder what sort of havoc the gravitational pull of a very close planet would mean.



Star Trails at Basilan

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Just arrived from Basilan on an assignment. The sky's clear. Nighttime, I

left my cam at the rooftop of the hut we spent the night. The result:


I did only this shot (nighttime) as its too dangerous to venture outside

during nighttime up to early mornings. You can view my full Basilan gallery:








Lonely Perseid Meteor

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 11:33 PM Comments comments (3)

Just frustrating........the clouds, the clouds hovering over Muntinlupa........luckily the sky opened up for a few minutes.


Cropped image.......10 minutes on bulb mode, 50 f1.4 Pentax MZ-20, cropped image, August 15, 2010, 10pm.


Perseid Observation

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM Comments comments (1)

I was staying at a friend's cottage last week and we had perfect weather for observing the Perseids. The cottage is on the east shore of Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. The nearest town is Parry Sound with a population of about 20,000, but it is about 40 kilometers to the south so the sky is very dark and free of artificial light. Of course it was just after the new Moon, so that also helped.

My friends and I went out around 11 pm and lay on the granite rocks beside the lake and stared up at the glorious sight of the Milky Way overhead. Every few minutes one of us would call out "There's another!" or "Wow, look at that one." I also set up my camera and telescope, but I wasn't too successful with those. The wind that was helping to blow away the mosquitoes was strong enough to shake the camera and telescope.

I'll try to attach the best photo here and see if I can post it in the Photography section. The view was straight up towards the constellation Cygnus. You can see some of the Milky Way, and there is a faint streak of a Perseid in the lower left corner of the photo. More photos from this vacation are posted at my profile on Facebook.

Observing the Perseids

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 7:06 PM Comments comments (1)

From Agnes Oclarit, re Perseids peak


Clear skies here in Gensan. I woke up around 1:25 AM and checked my email first. I went out around 2 AM, just in time to see a long streak overhead just below Jupiter. For me, it was enough to delight my heart.. There were a few more sporadic meteors after that. My mama and our two househelps were with me. We have salabat and boiled bananas while looking up at the sky.

The Perseids Prepeak

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM Comments comments (0)

I couldn't believe my eyes when I went up the roofdeck last night (Aug. 12).  I saw a meteor right away, and there above me is the Milky Way in all its glory! It was a moonless night too so every constellation was in full view.


Ooops. Perseids was promising indeed. It didn't fail us despite its prepeak day. After 1 AM, meteors came like every minute I think, so our screams (my brother and I) must have jolted the sleeping neighbors. It was my first time to see wavy meteors. There were fast streaks and long yellow ones as well. They came from all over. Saw a bolide too.


I couldn't concentrate because my brother kept on telling stories about history, science, other meteor showers they saw when they were kids, beliefs attached to meteors, etc. etc., so I missed on some that he saw. He said that they chased earthgrazers they saw along the river then when they were kids because they were told that if they catch these with the hands and/or swallow them, they'll acquire some superpowers (belief came from a Fernando Poe movie I think).


At 2:30 AM though, just when the shower is supposed to be at best viewing, my brother was already complaining of intense hunger. I was afraid to be alone (a house worker recently died), so I had to go down with him.


I just hope that tonight's sky will still be as clear as last night's. We may go to the farm where the sky will be in 360-deg view and have a picnic, or go up the roofdeck just the same. This time with eats and drinks.

Pedro Calungsod's Canonization

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 10:26 PM Comments comments (7)

From. Fr. Victor Badillo


Pedro Calungsod was a Jesuit Lay-Collaborator who labored with Diego de San Victores in Mindoro, Marikina and Guan. They were martyred in Guam and were beatified.


This blog is dedicated to him that he may be better known and that his cause of canonization may progress.





I Killed Fr. Galdon

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)


by Victor L Badillo, SJ


One evening, Fr. Asandas Balchand (Province Prefect of Health) came to me right after he had visited Joe Galdon across the corridor.


He said, “Joe is dying. He is just waiting for some one before he dies.” I had seen an ever increasing number of visitors and there was that feeling in the air when the end is near. No one wanted to come late. I remembered what our neighbor in Singalong, Dr Amparo Sanchez, told me. “I told my aunt. ‘Tia Cale, malaki na ang mga pamangkin ninyo. May mga asawa at anak na sila. Inalagaan ninyo ng mahusay. Maari na kayong magpahinga.” (Aunt Cale, your nephews and nieces are all grown up. They are married and have families. You brought them up good and responsible persons. It is alright to rest now.) In a short time she quietly passed away, though she was healthy. It was as if she had just willed to die.”

I thought of these coincidences: Balch coming to me. His message. What Amparo told me. Why me? Was Joe waiting for a close relative, a close friend? Was it I Joe is waiting for? I got the strength from the light to cross the corridor. I said to Joe, “Joe, I love you. I want you to live and get well. But you have suffered long and much. It is time to rest, to be with Jesus. Let me give you my blessing. May the almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you. Amen” Joe has not been able to communicate in any way. He could not have heard what I said.


Before dawn, the visitor Joe has been waiting for came. I came to nudge him to death. Jesus to bring everlasting life. No Alzheimer’s disease, nor thrones nor principalities, nor anything over the earth or under the earth, could prevent him from heeding . “Let us home, Joe. To my father and to your father.”


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Your interest in astronomy is your only requirement to become a PAS Member. PAS will teach you all the rest and you will learn from the organization all the how-tos and astronomy info by joining meetings and events. You need not have a telescope of your own.

1. Download Membership form from Members Page at

2. Email your filled-out form with your ID photo to

3. Deposit your 500p initial membership fee to PAS BPI acct 3081111722.

4. Email your scanned deposit slip, filled-out membership form, and ID photo to



PAS Members are given a 10% discount from purchases of Celestron telescopes and accessories at Cutting Edge stores, valid from June 15, 2015 to June 30, 2016. PAS Members must present their Membership avail of this.(Please take note of Cutting Edge stores' locations and phone numbers.)

Upcoming PAS Events


Dec. 11-13   -  PAS 3d2n Trip to Ilocos, Geminid Meteor Shower Observation, Christmas Party

Dec. 12-13  - PAS Geminids overnight observation at Big Handy's Grounds, Tanay

Jul. 17          -  Meeting, PAS 44th Anniversary celebration at Pasig Rainforest Park

May 30-31   -  ALVIERA BRIGHTSCAPE CAMPFEST, SandBox, Porac, Pampanga.

May 23       -   Guided PAS tour of 150th Anniversary Manila Observatory exhibits

May 16-17  -  Overnight stargazing at Big Handy;s Grounds, Cuyumbay, Tanay

April 23-26  - PAS 3d/2n Trip to Puerto Galera, Mindoro

April 21  -


WHEN - APRIL 21 (Tuesday) 2-4 PM

WHERE - East Asia-FEU Morayta

Details to come. Please pre-register with Hernan Dizon at 09184638951. Note: strict compliance is requested.

March 21 - PAS Regular Monthly Meeting at PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) from 1:30-5:00 PM at PUP Main Campus, Teresa St. Sta. Mesa, Mla to be held at Hyundai AudioVisual Rm, Charlie del Rosario Bldg.


February 14-21 - National Astronomy Week. Opening activities/competitions at Oz Bldg, Adamson University, San Marcelino St., Manila. See NAW Poster at Home page and at NAW 2015 page.

January 31 PAS observed the five visible planets - Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Comet Lovejoy at Manila Observatory roofdeck, Ateneo de Manila Univ, Loyola Heights, QC. Overnight observation will start at 6pm January 31Saturday to 5am Sunday February 1. Comet Lovejoy viewing will be once in a lifetime because it will be seen again on Earth after 8000 years.

January 24  - PAS Monthly Meeting at De La Salle University, Taft from 1:30 to 5:00pm held at St. Joseph Building, 5th Flr. 

2014                                                                                                                                          December 13-14  Joint Christmas Party of PAS, LEAPS, and SMPP and Geminid Meteor Shower Observation. Christmas Party Program starts at 2 PM at Escaler Hall, Ateneo de Manila U; Dinner at 7 PM at SEC B and SEC Foyer; 8 PM - Geminid s Observation at the Manila Observatory roofdeck.                                                                                                                               December 3  EVENT INVITATION from RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network for the screening event of the new series, EXTANT, at Power Plant Cinema 5, Rockwell at 7 PM. EXTANT is a co-production of CBS Television Studios and Amblin Television
November 26  PAS Lecture Forum "The Fundamental Nature of the Universe" from 1pm to 4pm at the MB Auditorium, Philippine Normal University  together with The PNU-Astronomical Society (PNU-AS) and the Society for the Advancement of Physics Education (SAPE). Engr. Camilo Dacanay will talk on "Unlocking the Beginning: A Universe from Nothing" while Ms. Uzziel Perez will talk about "Symmetry Breaking and Making of the Universe".
November 7   PAS lecture and stargazing at Sagada, Mt. Province.                                              October 25  PAS educational trip to the National Museum and the National Museum Planetarium.
October 18  Orionid Meteor Shower Observation at the Manila Observatory roofdeck from 8pm to 6am October 19.
October 8  Total Lunar Eclipse Observation at PAGASA Observatory Roofdeck from 6 pm.
October 4  Monthly Meeting from 2 pm to 5 pm at Polytechnic University of Phlippines, Claro M. Recto Hall, South Wing 6th Floor, Main Campus Building, Teresa St., Sta Mesa, Manila. Registration deadline September 30
September 27   Monthly lecture Saturday from 2 pm to 5pm at Simulation Room, 3rd Floor Main Building, Pamantasa Lungsod ng Valenzuela, Poblacion 2 Street, Malinta, Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. Registration deadline September 22.                                                                                       September 20  PAS BOD Meeting with De La Salle U Physics Department at 3pm at SJ 406, DLSU, Taft. September 18 PAS Lecture Forum at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela Science Month. September 14 Mooncake Festival at PAS Office. Semicon Building, Pasig City. Open Invitation.
September 7 PAS at Sofitel Luxury Hotel Manila (by invitation only)
September 5-6    PAS had an exhibit, tended by Adrian Saldana and Hernan Dizon, at the New Era University Science Fair on the University's invitation.                                                                       August 30 August Monthly Meeting at Science Interactive Center-Quezon City Division Office, Quezon City.
August 15
PAS attended the grand opening of the Exploreum. Located at SM Mall of Asia. The Exploreum launched their newly rolled out exhibits. Click on the image to visit their website.

July 26

  • "Barkadahan sa Kalawakan" 7 am-10 am at UP Diliman. Assembly is at 6:30 AM at Palma Hall. A WBCP-guided birding tour for PASers and guests.
  • "PAS BOD Election" in the afternoon. Venue will be at the PAS Ofiice 7th Floor, Semicon Building, Brgy. dela Paz, Pasig City.                                                                                         

June 28 June Monthly Meeting.

In Coordination With the Physics Dept., College of Science, Adamson U

When : June 28, 2014
3rd Flr., OZ Bldg.,
Adamson University
900 San Marcelino
Time : 1:30 - 5:00 PM
1:30 – 2:00 Registration/SOLAR VIEWING
2:00 – 2:05 Opening Prayers
2:05 – 2:10 National Anthem
2:10 – 2:20 Welcome Address (c/o Adamson U)
2:20 – 2:25 Intro of 1st Speaker
2:25 – 3:15 Lecture (Practical Astronomy)
3:15 – 3:30 Open Forum
3:30 – 3:35 Intro of 2nd Speaker
3:35 – 4:15 Lecture (Astrophysics/Cosmology)
4:15 – 4:30 Open Forum
4:30 – 5:00 Announcement: Celestial Events
PAS 2014 Election of Officers
Qualifications for New Members

May 25-26 ECO-GUIDING SEMINAR, Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac

in collaboration with the Department of Tourism. Lecture: “Understanding the Ecosystem Through the Science of Astronomy and Geophysics” by Camilo G. Dacanay


in collaboration with Nikki Coseteng Educational Resources and Interactive Services Inc.
The seminar is to be conducted together with Galileo Training Program (GTTP) for Teachers of International Astronomical Union (IAU) and Philippine Space Science Education Program (PASSEP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Lecture: “Understanding Cosmic Extremes, Geologic Activities, and Climate Change” by Camilo G. Dacanay


In collaboration with Focus Global Inc. Clark Field, Pampanga.
Facilitators - Hernan Dizon and Kits Irlandez

May 10-11 - Overnight Out-of-Town Stargazing. Big Handy's Ground, Sitio Tablon, Brgy Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal. See Home Page for details.

April 10-11 - BOD Planning Session at Subic, Pampanga.


March 17-21
- FEU-EAC Physics Week. Engr. Camilo Dacanay will lecture on "Life in the Universe As We Know It" on March 20 at 3:00-4:30 pm at their Auditorium.

PAS CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM (in collaboration with DOT; Engr. Camilo Dacanay lecturer)

March 21-25 - Lecture on "Integrating the Science of Astronomy in Risk Reduction and Management (Part 1) at Lake Caliraya Country Club.

March 31-April 4
- Lecture on "Integrating the Science of Astronomy in Risk Reduction and Management (Part 2). DOT Office, Lumbang, Laguna.

March 22 - PAS Monthly Meeting at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila.

March 20 - PAS Campus Tour FEU Auditorium.

February 15-22 - National Astronomy Week (for venues see NAW 2014 page)

January 18 - PAS Monthly Meeting


WHEN - Saturday January 18 (1:30-5pm)
WHERE - National Museum Planetarium
WHAT - Program of Activities

1:30-2:00 - Registration (FREE)
2:00-2:15 - Opening Prayer and National Anthem
2:15-2:30 - Welcome Address By Bel Pabunan
2:30-2:35 - Introduction of Guest Speaker
2:35-3:30 - Lecture "Beyond Space and Time"
3:30-4:00 - Planetarium Show (FREE)
4:00-4:30 - Open Forum
4:30-5:00 - NAW Overview



December 14-15 (3:00 pm Dec 14 to 5:00 am Dec 15) - December Monthly Meeting, Geminid Meteor Shower Observation, Christmas Party. See Home Page for specific venues of each activity.

December 10-11 - PAS under the sponsorship of the Department of Tourism will held its Lecture/seminar Series 2 entitled "Integrating the Science of Astronomy in Risk Reduction and Management" at Quest Hotel, Cebu City.

November 24 - PAS Board of Directors will have a meeting and dinner with PAS Founder California State Senator Phillip Wyman at the Manila Planetarium.

November 16

1-4 pm - PAS PNUAS November Meeting, HRD Auditorium, PNU, Manila. Lecture: Stellar Mystery - Are Stars Born or Made

9pm- 6 am Nov 17 - Comet Ison/Leonid meteor Shower Observation at Manila Observatory Roofdeck, Ateneo de Manila University

October 19 - October Monthly Meeting at Manila Observatory 9-12 noon

September 19 - Everyone is invited to a Full-Moon Party and Dinner by the Bay at Sofitel Hotel. Food and drinks are all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink at 1,750p.

September 21, 2013 Monthly Meeting

Venue: Conference Room, Manila Observatory
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 pm

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm Registration
3:15 pm – 4:00 pm Lecture 1: "The Curious Case of Newton’s Law of Motion"

4:00 pm – 4:45 pm Lecture 2: Meteorites, the key to the origins of the solar system"
4:45 pm – 5:00 pm Socialization

September 27 - World Tourism Day Celebration at Melchor Hall Theater, Asian Institute of Tourism, UP Diliman from 4-7 pm. Stargazing follows at 7:30-9:00 pm.

Record of Past Stargazing Events

January 25 - UE Caloocan

February 4 - UST, Mobile planetarium show and lecture

February 8 - Colegio de San Agustin, Binan, Laguna

February 8 - St. Mary's Academy, Pasay

February 8 - LEAPS stargazing

February 11 - Children of Joy Foundation

February 15 - Paco Catholic School

February 16 - NAW opening

February 19 - Paco Catholic School

February 20 - NAW Lecture Series

February 21 - FEU-EAC

February 22 - International Beacon School

February 23 - NAW closing

March 1 - St. Paul College, Pasig astrocamp

March 9-10 - Deep-sky observation at Tanay, Rizal

March 23 - Earth Hour Observation, Mind Museum

April 25-28 - AstroPilgrimage to Tuguegarao

May 26 - International Beacon School

August 10-11 Perseid Meteor Shower Observation, MO Roofdeck, Ateneo de Manila U


Upcoming Sky Events

No upcoming events

Membership 2013


  1. Albano, Maria Kristina A.
  2. Anzano, Ruth B.
  3. Austria, Marian May
  4. Aves, Ron
  5. Azucena, Edna
  6. Ballares, Lea Danica
  7. Bernardino, Maria Perpetua
  8. Bolingot, Harold Jay M.
  9. Bongalosa, Rhissan L.
  10. Botio, Shinette Grace
  11. Buyan, Criselda M.
  12. Caballa, Kevin
  13. Carbonel, John
  14. Denoyo, Aleo
  15. Estralla, Fatima
  16. Eugenio, Rossano
  17. Gimpisao, Lara Camille
  18. Jr., Maximo Sacro
  19. Maaliw, Joy Rivera
  20. Magadia, Martin
  21. Maliban, Irah Jane
  22. Mateo, Ma Minerva B.
  23. Mayor, Joan
  24. Miniano, Daisy A.
  25. Panga, Sofia
  26. Pude, Khryss Ernest
  27. Rimando, Jeremy
  28. Rosales, Erika Christine A.
  29. Roxas, Milicent Daphnie A.
  30. Roxas, Rowil F.
  31. Serrano, Clea Mamaril
  32. Tapia, Cherry M.
  33. Traboc, Cristina
  34. Vergara, Maria Nenita
  35. Verzosa, Cez Mariela Teresa
  36. Wyson, Adjale
  37. Wyson, John Daryl





Rossano Eugenio

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Gladys Zamora

Helen Dangani

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Pedro Suyu

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Cez Mariela Teresa

Jaspher Dailisan

Christoper Cayamanda.

Sofia Panga

Louis Richez

Criselda Buyan

Khryss Ernest Pude

Rowil Roxas

Maria Nelfa Bermudez

Mark Harris Jamilan

Frances Tanner

Marlon Monzon

Roger Migue

Redentor Balisa

Daniel Barbat

RS Wilson Constantino

Jenny Lyn Delelis

Fatima Estrella

Jonacel Fajardo

Carlithflor Dar Juan

Emil Galicinao

Josephine Lacuesta

Sheryl Luzentales

Minerva Mateo

Agnes Miral

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Elizabeth Pastor

Norman Reyes

Gemmarie Reynoso

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Dr. Clea Serrano

Kristine Torres

Janine Trimanez

Rhea Yeban


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Quote of the Day

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FROM MICHAEL FIDLER ( There are two very good free astronomy programs that are really great for observing deep sky object and planets. Real time GUI (RTGUI) is a great interface that gives postions of objects in real time. It has a Best of the Sky button that brings up what is easily observed at the current time and location, plus Alt/Azm directions along with goto scope connections. Here is the link:

This program interfaces with SkyChart / Cartes du Ciel, a detailed star charting program. You can just push the button on the RTGUI program and it will link to Sky Charts to display it. Link:

Both can be used with just binoculars or a small scope and also gives the best double stars to view. Enjoy!


Check out Used in planetarium projectors, Stellarium is a free open-source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

Just set your coordinates and go.