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SOL VANZI's  TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PAGE
FEATURING HER 'TIMPLA'T TIKIM' (Manila Bulletin)
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

WEEKEND AT MANDALA PARK
[WELLNESS IS KEY -Following the master plan of JJ Yulo, the opening night of Mandala Park was a sneak preview of the most innovative pop-up restaurants offering vegan, organic, natural, and really delicious food and drinks.]


OCTOBER 1 -MANDALA PARK FACEBOOKPHOTO --Rain was pouring but the crowds kept coming last Saturday, opening day of the trendiest and easily the most popular weekend market in the Metro today—the Mandala Park, in what used to be Liberty Park along Shaw in Mandaluyong.
White canvas tents, erected very close to each other, kept everyone dry, including half a dozen toddlers who were swaying, thumping, and waving to the beat of a 12-man country rock band led by Basti Artadi. Hundreds of low-watt light bulbs, viewed through a blue misty haze, gave Mandala a dreamlike ambience, which made the well-dressed crowd look like an army of supermodels attending a Mick Jagger concert. No Woodstock grunge there, that’s for sure. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO A documentary: Children, gold mines, and an Emmy by Sol Vanzi


OCTOBER 2 -An 11-year-old boy works at an underwater mining site in Camarines Norte province, Philippines. © 2015 Mark Z. Saludes for Human Rights Watch FROM THE  HRW WEBSITE 
The plight of Filipino children working in illegal small scale gold mines has caught a lot of international attention this week, from a prestigious international human rights watchdog to the glamorous Emmy Awards, television’s counterpart of Hollywood’s Oscars.
Last Tuesday (September 29), the documentary on children working in the gold mines of Camarines Norte won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). I was its field producer. It was aired on PBS, produced by the Pulitzer Center on Investigative Journalism, and written by two veteran foreign correspondents. The following day, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled: “What… if something went wrong: Hazardous child labor in small-scale gold mining in the Philippines,” urging the Philippine government to act on its commitment to end child labor in illegal or small-scale mines in the country. I found the timing of the events more than coincidental, as they were closely inter-related. LONG PREPARATION It all began in late 2013, when my friend and former boss Richard Paddock, the Los Angeles Times Asia Bureau Chief, asked me to do research on the topic. Research and daily phone conferences were part of pre-production work on a documentary he was doing in his new job with the Pulitzer Center on Investigative Journalism. He was collaborating with an award-winning writer and photographer. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: FROM THE PBS NEWSHOUR
In Philippines, workers toil among hazards in compressor mining  


BY RICHARD C. PADDOCK January 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM EDT ....MORE BELOW.....VIA URL LINKS OF NEWS REPORTS AND VIDOES.....


READ FULL MEDIA REPORT HERE:

Weekend at Mandala Park

MANILA, OCTOBER 5, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Sol Vanzi October 1, 2015 - Rain was pouring but the crowds kept coming last Saturday, opening day of the trendiest and easily the most popular weekend market in the Metro today—the Mandala Park, in what used to be Liberty Park along Shaw in Mandaluyong.

White canvas tents, erected very close to each other, kept everyone dry, including half a dozen toddlers who were swaying, thumping, and waving to the beat of a 12-man country rock band led by Basti Artadi.

Hundreds of low-watt light bulbs, viewed through a blue misty haze, gave Mandala a dreamlike ambience, which made the well-dressed crowd look like an army of supermodels attending a Mick Jagger concert. No Woodstock grunge there, that’s for sure.

CONTINUE READING...

WELLNESS IS KEY

Following the master plan of JJ Yulo, the opening night of Mandala Park was a sneak preview of the most innovative pop-up restaurants offering vegan, organic, natural, and really delicious food and drinks.


Try Manila's freshest Ginger Ale by @stanfordshawbrewing at the Mandala Park weekend Market.

Standouts were the preservative-free ice cream from Fog City Creamery; cold-pressed juices from Fruit Magic; cookies made on the spot by Scout’s Honor, and bottled ginger ale freshly brewed by Stanford and Shaw. Keeping up with the motif, Orich offered nonalcoholic, homegrown beverages.

Yulo, founder of Pinoy Eats World, is always on the lookout for food entrepreneurs who are passionate about their products and are enthusiastic to show them off, thereby widening the market for healthy options.


Grilled ribs and corn on the cob


Artisanal burgers and fries


Vegetable gyoza


The Burger Project's sumptuous-looking burger patties
 (Images by MANNY LLANES)

WIDE VARIETY

The Mandala Park Weekend Market, which opens at 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, was literally mobbed by enthusiastic diners who wipe out the day’s supply of perfectly smoked, juicy ribs and barbecue items grilled by Ribs Manila, hearty ramen from Iroha; personalized bibimbap from IAmKim; burgers from The Burger Project, and spiced up Mexican dishes from the B&T Mexican Kitchen. An unusual superfood was dried and baked kale in several flavors, matched perfectly with soy-based drinks in several variants: melon, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

UNBELIEVABLY VEGGIE

As the band played on, our media group tried Edgy Veggy’s soft tacos and crunchy gyoza. Long lines were forming in front of the guy preparing them, telling one and all that the dishes must be good. Well, they were, and cheap, too. The Tacos (P50) were fully stuffed with tomatoes, onions, beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, and fresh mushroom sisig. Several sauces were available for squirting on the tacos: Mexican chili, salsa verde, and sour cream.

Edgy Veggy’s gyoza was properly steamed, then fried for a crisp bottom crust. At P50 for three pieces, they were among the hottest bargains in the food haven. The crowd could not get enough of them.

HIGH STANDARDS

Mandala Park’s weekend events are integral to the overall concept of an integrated in-city living and wellness district. Its planners seek to set a new standard where people will become more conscious of what they consume as well as the activities they participate in, making sure that they are not negatively impacting the environment around them.

Going to Mandala Park this weekend?


For more information on the Mandala Park weekend market series, follow Mandala Park on facebook on Instagram and at FACEBOOK. www.facebook.com/mandalaparkph

Forget about thrown-together baggy pants and loose t-shirts.

Dress as though you’re a rock concert guest or performer. Dress up, not down.

And get ready to have a real good time.


MANILA BULLETIN

ALSO: Children, gold mines, and an Emmy by Sol Vanzi October 2, 2015


Children pan for gold along the Bosigon River in Malaya, Camarines Norte. © 2015 Mark Z. Saludes for Human Rights Watch FROM www.hrw.org

The plight of Filipino children working in illegal small scale gold mines has caught a lot of international attention this week, from a prestigious international human rights watchdog to the glamorous Emmy Awards, television’s counterpart of Hollywood’s Oscars.

Last Tuesday (September 29), the documentary on children working in the gold mines of Camarines Norte won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).

I was its field producer. It was aired on PBS, produced by the Pulitzer Center on Investigative Journalism, and written by two veteran foreign correspondents.

The following day, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled: “What… if something went wrong: Hazardous child labor in small-scale gold mining in the Philippines,” urging the Philippine government to act on its commitment to end child labor in illegal or small-scale mines in the country.

I found the timing of the events more than coincidental, as they were closely inter-related.

LONG PREPARATION

It all began in late 2013, when my friend and former boss Richard Paddock, the Los Angeles Times Asia Bureau Chief, asked me to do research on the topic. Research and daily phone conferences were part of pre-production work on a documentary he was doing in his new job with the Pulitzer Center on Investigative Journalism. He was collaborating with an award-winning writer and photographer.

CONTINUE READING...

In the world of foreign news coverage, people like myself are called many names – stringer and goffer are my favorites. Goffer is short for someone whose task is to “go for” anything the project needs: locations, cars, planes, rooms, guides, food, sources, interview subjects, satellite connections, spare cameras and crew.

We also keep track of everything and ensure that foreign-based personnel keep a tight schedule; waiting time between shoots is to be avoided at all costs. Thus all waking hours are spent either working or travelling.

NETWORKING CONNECTIONS

Pinpointing locations was not easy; locals are suspicious of outsiders asking questions. We finally found a barangay chairman whose brother works for a news agency. His barangay hosts dozens of gold mine pits and he was willing to be our guide and translator. He referred me to gold traders, jewelry makers, ball mill owners.

The only hotel in town luckily had enough rooms for our group. A Chinese restaurant next door agreed to open an hour earlier each morning to accommodate our hectic schedule. We found a van willing to be on call 24/7 for weeks, taking us from Manila to Bicol and back, as well as ferrying the crew to mine digs in outlying villages in several Camarines towns.

The weather was on our side. A typhoon had just left and the next one made landfall only after we had finished shooting.

MISERABLE CONDITIONS

Writers Paddock and Price could not help but be touched by the living conditions in villages where children quit school to dive for gold-laden sand and rocks, often earning only a few dollars a day if they are lucky.

After documenting the daily routine of several families, they wondered why the government is allowing the practice of compressor mining, which involves diving into murky pits while sucking air from a hose connected to an air compressor. The air they breathe while underwater is often polluted with oil and gas, causing breathing problems.


In the small farming village of Tawig, Philippines, an extended family group of 16 miners has set up operations in a grove of nipa palms. The mining tunnels look like mud puddles but are as much as 40 feet deep. (Photo: Larry C. Price/ Center for Investigative Journalism) In the Philippines children as young as 5 help with a particularly dangerous form of shallow water gold mining, called compressor mining. Center For Investigative Reporting journalist Richard Paddock tells host Steve Curwood that exposure to mercury used in the gold mining operations is particularly dangerous for children. FROM livingoneart.org

More dangerous is the children’s direct exposure to mercury, which they mash with bare hands into the gold-sand mixture before the mixture is torched to burn off the mercury. The Philippines has signed, but has yet to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

To present all sides, Paddock and Price interviewed many sectors, including Carlos Conde, Philippines Human Rights Watch (HRW) representative. Conde became interested in the plight of the gold-diving children and subsequently suggested the topic to the HRW officials. And the rest, as they say, is history.

DOCU’S IMPACT

When PBS aired the documentary in January 2014, it caused quite a stir, even in the Philippines where no local station has access. Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed a resolution in the Senate specifically citing the work of Paddock and Price and called for an investigation, in aid of legislation of the use of compressors and mercury, as well as the presence of children in small scale mines.

Last month, at Santiago’s urging, the Philippine Senate started an investigation which many hope will lead to legislation that will finally free the children, and their parents, from the danger-laden clutches of illegal small scale mining operations.

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FROM THE PBS NEWSHOUR

In Philippines, workers toil among hazards in compressor mining  BY RICHARD C. PADDOCK January 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM EDT

CLICK >> READ IT ALL HERE (News report and videos)


By Richard Paddock

Richard C. Paddock is contributing editor at the Center for Investigative Reporting. Journalists Larry C. Price and Sol Vanzi, in Manila, contributed to this report, which first appeared on the Center for Investigative Reporting’s website.

Price is documenting child labor in developing countries as part of a long-term project funded by grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, D.C.

This story was produced in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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Photo from Kyle Victor Jose's iPAD -Lifestyle/Food and Arts & Culture columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin. Signature title "Timpla't Tikim"
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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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