Without having to pore through scientific findings by climatologists or juxtaposing these with Donald Trump’s assertions to the contrary, summers all over are really getting hotter and hotter.
Here in Taipei, with relatively lower humidity compared to Manila, the heat is truly getting oppressive. Temperatures reaching 38 Celsius per the weather reports feel like a scorching 40 or above, especially towards noon and in the early afternoon.
In some parts of Europe last July, everyone was also complaining about the unusually hot summer. I had no reason to make comparisons as the two summers I had previously been there were way back in 1978, then 1988, and those were decades back.
The news these days report recorded high temperatures, some in the 40s, unusual for the continent, even in Sweden close to the Arctic. The same phenomenon is felt in Japan and South Korea.
What comes out as relief here in Taipei though is the presence of so many parks, big and small, and trees all over which provide instant cooling effects. Which makes Filipinos compare the vegetation with the concrete jungles that Metro Manila and key urban centers all over the Philippines have deteriorated into.
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Last Monday we took the bullet train to Kaohsiung at the southern tip of the island to sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology that further creates opportunities for Filipinos to study in Taiwan.
NKUST, the product of a merger of three established national science, technology and marine universities in October 2017, is the largest technological university in Taiwan and the second largest university, next to Taipei’s National Taiwan University.
The undertaking opens up masters and doctorate scholarship programs for Philippine government employees and university professors; partial scholarship programs for bachelor degrees and a two-year program with on-the-job training for guaranteed groups of 30 students.
Aside from science and technology programs, the university offers a wide array of marine and fisheries-related courses. The Philippines, being an archipelago surrounded by waters rich in aquatic resources, would greatly benefit from Taiwan’s technological advances in this particular area of study.
The scholarship programs likewise provides opportunities to learn and probably master the Chinese language and work part time while studying in Taiwan.
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Meanwhile, Filipino talent in music and the arts for that matter, continues to draw acclaim all over, including Taiwan.
Last year, the UP Madrigals wowed audiences all over the island with their beautiful rendition of international songs done a capella. Early this year, a couple of sopranos who call themselves “The Nightingales” also toured Taiwan and showed how great our talent in musicality could be.
The past week, Filipino chorales participated in a three-day Taipei International Choral Competition. The Tarlac National High School chorale and the Pansol chorale (of Barangay Pansol in QC, not the thermal baths of Laguna) stood out for the beautiful way they blended voices together.
As of the weekend, the Tarlac National High School chorale had qualified for the finals. The Pansol choir led by its artistic director Mark Anthony Carpio of the Philippine Madrigals sang two of their competition pieces (one a popular Filipino song and the other a religious or sacred song) over dinner with us. The heavenly blending of voices provided a fitting end to a tiring but fruitful day, having spun in and out by train to Kaohsiung for the NKUST MOA signing.
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Starting this week, MECO will be having its own mobile app in the Google and Apple store to aid Filipinos and Taiwanese alike in interacting with the Philippine representative office in Taiwan.
The app is designed to complement MECO’s website in reaching out to as many people as possible, to raise awareness about its projects, activities and various services.
The website itself was earlier updated and upgraded to provide more content and information and enhance service features such as its online travel authority application facility.
The website presently features current news articles regarding five major areas of concern for MECO: trade and investment, travel and tourism, education and culture, development and cooperation and labor and assistance to nationals.
A section of the website is devoted to success and inspirational stories of Filipinos in Taiwan.
It lists down the various services provided by MECO such as travel authorization, passport facilitation and document authentication.
Both the website and mobile app carry the new MECO logo which signifies the continued cooperation between the Philippines and Taiwan; the Philippine government and the Filipino community in Taiwan and the equal importance of economic and people-to-people exchanges.
Service and holiday schedules and other major announcements from MECO may also be accessed thru both the website and the mobile app.
Both also carry an online passport appointment system and a passport releasing search engine for Filipinos in Taiwan.
The mobile app features notifications for new content and announcements made in the website. This will also prove handy in times of emergency and natural disasters when we need to immediately reach out to the Filipino community in the island.
Early on when I assumed the MECO post, I immediately challenged all of its existing personnel to come up with innovative ways to improve systems and procedures in the organization, to think out of the box, and cope up with changing times.
We hope that these digital platform enhancements would improve our clients’ interactive experience while dealing with MECO, the Philippine representative office in Taiwan.
Article originally posted in Manila Standard Today --http://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/so-i-see-by-lito-banayo/272280/global-warming.html