Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The Philippine-American War officially began in 1899 following the U.S occupation of the Philippines.  In 1901, a notable act of resistance to the occupiers was shown by Filipinos when, upon the ringing of the Balangiga bells, about 4 dozen U.S soldiers were killed by Filipino guerillas at breakfast in the town of Balangiga, Samar province.  In retaliation, U.S. General Jacob Hurd Smith ordered every one in Samar over 10 years old be killed. General Hurd ordered a “howling wilderness”. Tens of thousands were reportedly killed and the 3 bells were taken as war prizes.

The 3 balangiga bells are now in US bases in South Korea and Wyoming.

Through the years Filipinos, including Americans, have sought the return of the bells.  The campaign continues.

Support the campaign to return home the Bells of Balangiga.

Know more of the background from the video “Bells of Balangiga” -

and from the web site “The Bells of Balangiga (A 100 year journey Home)”.


Monday, May 18, 2015

BASIC STRUCTURAL GUIDELINES FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY “How Safe is My House?: Self-check for Earthquake Safety of Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) Houses in the Philippines”

Let’s help protect ourselves for the major earthquake that is just around the corner.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has a checklist for earthquake safety entitled “How Safe is My House?: Self-check for Earthquake Safety of Concrete Hollow Block (CHB) Houses in the Philippines”. 

Some important notes include:
  1. there were earthquake-resistant building standards set in 1992 implying that structures built before then need evaluation by a civil engineer;
  2. cement hollow blocks (CHB) standard size is 6”;
  3. diameter steel bars standard size is 10mm;
  4. diameter steel bars should be spaced 40cm apart side to side and connected to steel bars laid every 3 layers of CHB;
  5. walls should not be wider than 3 meters without perpendicular walls/supports;
  6. regular house maintenance/repair should be conducted to prevent deterioration.

In the interest of accuracy, we are posting the entire “House self-check” material.  There are 12 questions posed to residents which serve as guidelines as to what may be a cause for concern, close examination by an engineer or outright repair.

Please do also check out our other earthquake-related articles: PREPARING FOR AN EARTHQUAKE: Learning from the Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study and What to do during an earthquake.