Category: Technology

Let’s bring back a walkable downtown

walkable downtown Session Road, Baguio CitySunday off-peak season traffic (also when people stay at home or opt to leave their cars at home or take a day off from driving preferring to walk about) in downtown Baguio. This is the Baguio that my and earlier generations grew up in. One feels the immediate effect of such on the payche- one feels happier, lighter, peaceful. Also, as the air is immediately cleaner, lungs take a rest from having to work doubletime in order to purify what we breathe in. For today’s City residents, old (lest they’ve forgotten) as well as new, this is the image of a car-less or less-car Session Road. We don’t need to debate what ‘car-less’ or ‘less car’ looks like. What is needed is a plan to actually make the downtown walkable. We have to understand though that ‘walkable’ also means developing the suburbs (and LISTT towns) as a strategy to direct traffic as well as people outside of downtown Baguio (congestion in downtown Baguio has gone the way similar to that of Metro Manila wherein image-building and investments hence development were concentrated in the Metropolitan). And we don’t have to look very far for a plan- there are lots of masteral studies on this in the universities (here). And we don’t have to look very far for a plan- there are lots of masteral studies on this in the universities (here) that students (professionals) invested their knowledge, time, and money in. What City Hall needs to do is to talk and sustain a relationship with the universities.

Advertisements

A second look at furniture

A research manager from the UK and I were having a late lunch of bibimbap at a Korean restaurant on busy Tomas Morato that we espied after a few rounds of circling the area for dining places. Two other tables were occupied- one by an all-female group who appeared to be society matrons and were obviously celebrating an occasion, and the other by serious-looking all-male group who looked like businessmen. When we entered, we were given lingering looks the kind directed at white foreigners and locals accompanying them. I loathe attention but it’s something I bear as part of work. We quickly chose a table, nearest the door.

Having placed our orders and while taking sips of green tea, I commented to my companion that the place speaks of true or traditional Korean design. My companion had the same observation. Uncluttered minimalist look. Wood furnishing. And to drive home the point, the rack by the door held papers only in Korean. I wouldn’t understand anything of what’s written (reason to learn the language?). There were no windows on our floor (ground) but curiously the room didn’t feel claustrophobic. Maybe it was the high ceiling and muted mid gray palette.

Then she told me about the time when her family – herself, her husband, and their first child – relocated to Sydney from London. For their first sets of furniture, and considering their need to put together a living space quickly (she still works in London; her husband an Australian maintains business in Australia) they took to IKEA which recently opened in Sydney at the time. She wasn’t an IKEA fan previously but discovered that the brand carried some really good stuff especially for new couples or families. Laughing, she recounted the fun time they had making the several trips to the store and home and assembling the pieces. But forgive me she said did you know about IKEA though? I said I knew about it from magazines and if it opened in the country I’d definitely visit. I mentioned that Muji which also carries similar pieces has already opened stores in major cities here and is the more familiar brand locally.

That was the first time talk during lunch hour had been about furnitures and it wasn’t boring at all. It opened to me new insights about the place of furnitures in the home. Recently I came across an article on the subject, fortuituous really- IKEA’s Head of Research on the Future of Furniture.

When it comes to your home and to purchasing home furnishings, you typically do it very seldomly. You buy a car more often than you buy a new sofa or a new kitchen. It’s hard to relate to it, compared to clothing or whatever you buy at the supermarket. Also, in our homes, we are often unaware of how we actually behave. And many people play a specific role out in the world, then you come home, maybe you undress yourself, and you feel like my god, now I can be myself. In our research we want to come closer to people’s everyday lives, people’s reality.

Read the article here.

Why I love kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean food manufactured by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Many bacteria are involved in the fermentation of kimchi, but LAB become dominant while the putrefactive bacteria are suppressed during salting of baechu cabbage and the fermentation.

Health functionality of kimchi, based upon our research and that of other, includes anticancer, antiobesity, anticonstipation, colorectal health promotion, probiotic properties, cholesterol reduction, fibrolytic effect, antioxidative and antiaging properties, brain health promotion, immune promotion, and skin health promotion.

Health benefits of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) as a probiotic food, Park KY, et al., Journal of Medicinal Food 2014.

But, did you know there are different kinds of kimchi? The video below shows preparation of traditional kimchi or Tongbaechu kimchi.

I regularly have this instead of the ones off grocery shelves, primarily for healthier skin. I have convinced the kids to eat even just a teeny bit as well. Ha!

Third world transportation Part 2

To follow up on my previous post about the Grab service in the City, here’s DOTC Department Order 2015-011 detailing among other things operational conditions applicable to in-demand transport services such as Uber and Grab, viz:

a) Driver must be accredited by the TNC;
b) Driver must hold a professional driver’s license;
c) Driver must be registered with the LTFRB;
d) Vehicle must be accredited by the TNC;
e) Vehicle must not be more than 3 years old from date of manufacture;
f) Maximum age limit of the vehicle is 7 years from date of of manufacture;
g) Vehicle must be equipped with proper tools and equipment;
h) Driver must always have an on-line enabled digital device during a pre-arranged ride;
i) Driver must only carry passengers who pre-arrange rides through TNC-provided online-enabled application and not through phone call or booking service;
j) Driver is prohibited from accepting street hails from potential passengers;
k) Driver is prohibited from accepting passengers in the airports, unless authorized by the airport management;
l) Driver must display during trips his Identification Card prescribed by LTFRB;
m) Passengers must be insured with the LTFRB accredited personal accident insurance providers; and
n) Operators and their drivers must comply with the rules and regulations issued by government agencies.

In bold are the conditions lacking in the City’s franchises (which I’ve anecdotally noted in the previous post).