[PHOTO AT LEFT - Working on the theme, ‘Ano ang batang laki sa gatas?’ Laki sa Gatas poster-making contestants at the Ponciano Bernardo Elementary School in Cubao, Quezon City put finishing touches on their works. MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 (STAR) Displaying their milk-inspired creative smarts, Grade 3 students Reegie de la Peña of Pedro Tuason Elementary School and Maria Cathlyn Dineros of Valencia Elementary School topped the Laki sa Gatas poster-making and slogan-writing contests, respectively.

The competition was part of the official launch of the Laki sa Gatas nutrition education advocacy held at the Ponciano Bernardo Elementary School in Cubao, Quezon City.

Laki sa Gatas was initiated by Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink to educate Filipino schoolchildren, parents and teachers about the value of healthy nutrition and the importance of drinking milk.

The two grand prize winners took home a Laki sa Gatas school pack, plus a gift pack containing various Nestlé products.

The second and third place winners received Laki sa Gatas lunch kits and gift packs.

No less than Batangas Gov. and Laki sa Gatas spokesperson Vilma Santos-Recto was on hand to present the prizes to the winners. She was joined by Nandu Nandkishore, chairman and CEO of Nestlé Philippines Inc. (NPI), John Miller, chairman and CEO of Nestlé Indochina; and Jasmin Estacio, consumer marketing manager for Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink.

“The poster-making and slogan-writing contests serve as a venue for schoolchildren to showcase their creativity, and to instill in them and their fellow students the value of drinking milk,” says Eugene David, NPI business executive manager for Dairy, Health and Nutrition Solutions Business Unit.

Both contests were open to Grade 2 and 3 public school students belonging to District 17 in Quezon City.

The poster-making contest was held on the spot at the P. Bernardo Elementary School. Laki sa Gatas provided the contestants with drawing materials like crayons, illustration board, and art paper.

The contestants for the poster-making contest were given two hours to work around the theme, “Ano ang batang laki sa gatas?” Through their posters, the students should be able to communicate how a milk-drinking child helps makes his or her school and community better.

Originality, creativity, cohesiveness and balance, and relevance or interpretation of the theme were the criteria used in selecting the winning poster.

De la Peña’s winning poster will also be featured in a Laki sa Gatas print ad.

Focusing on the theme “Why milk is good,” the entries for the slogan-writing contest were judged based on their rhyme, catchiness, overall impact, and relevance or interpretation of the theme.

The finalists brought along their slogans that were written in a one-eighth illustration board using a thick blue marker.

Eight-year-old Dineros won the contest with her slogan, “Ang pag-inom ng gatas, Sandalan ng lakas, Sa maunlad na bukas.”

The Ponciano Bernardo Elementary School is among the latest in the growing list of schools that has benefited from the Laki sa Gatas campaign, which so far has reached almost 1.5 million kids in close to 3,000 schools nationwide.

Local spinach's anti-inflammatory properties studied By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) Updated September 24, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A recent study done by a university professor in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur discovered the anti-inflammatory properties of kalunay (amaranthus spinosus L.), a plant commonly found in tropical countries like the Philippines.

Mercita Queddeng, a professor at the University of Northern Philippines, said tests revealed the presence of alkaloids and saponins in the roots and leaves of the plant. These are chemical substances that are used in developing anti-inflammatory drugs.

Queddeng’s study was entitled, “Phytochemical, Microbiological and Antifungal Testing of Kalunay Leaves and Roots.”

Queddeng said the extract was screened against staphylococcus epidermitis, microsporum canis, and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Staphylococcus epidermitis is a major cause of nosocomial infections, including sepsis in premature infants.

Infection caused by S. epidermidis is usually associated with medical devices, such as in-dwelling catheters and often occurs in people with weakened immune systems.

Microsporum canis, on the other hand, is a zoophilic dermatophyte, a frequent cause of ringworm in humans, especially children. It affects the hair, skin and rarely nails.

Meanwhile, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium which can cause disease in animals and humans.

The leaf extract, however, showed weak antimicrobial act against staphylococcus epidermitis, Queddeng said.

Kalunay, known as local spinach, is usually cooked along with other vegetables on an Ilokano recipe called dinengdeng.

Studies also showed that kalunay can be used as herbal remedy for kidney and other health problems.

In Cambodia, it is called pti banlar and used as a gray dye for cloth.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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