E. Coli: More fun in Boracay

The following comes from a cousin of mine who had just taken her son home from the hospital after falling ill from a trip to Boracay. The concerned mother wants parents to know what can happen to your child if you go out there, as well as let others know that something urgently needs to be done in Boracay if it wants to survive in the tourism industry.

boracy pics

After six long years, we had been looking forward to our family vacation in Boracay. It was time to introduce our youngest to the famous white beach, ranked regularly as one of the top 10 in the world.
Since we were a family of 8, we decided to rent a house straight on the beach in Station 1.
Shortly after arriving and taking a walk on the beach, we noticed thick layers of algae that were both on the beach as well as in the water.
In order to go swimming, you had to wade through several meters of this knee-deep mucky green hair that felt alive and warm. It looked disgusting. That’s not quite the crystal-clear waters of Bora I remember thinking.

boracy pics

However, the kids were excited to frolic in the water, particularly my son who is just learning how to swim, thereby swallowing plenty of seawater in the process.
Ignoring my intuition about the algae turned out to be a grave mistake.
The second day after returning to Manila, the school nurse calls me: my 5-year old has a high fever and needs to be sent home.
He complained about stomach pain. That evening he started to throw up and have severe cramps.
The following night while trying to sleep, we had to take him to the bathroom 12 times within a span of eight hours.
The next morning, we took him to the ER.


At first, the doctor thought it was a viral infection. “Going around at the moment,” he assured me.
After I told him we had just come back from Boracay, he changed his tune. “Oh, then we’d better take a stool sample, this could be something else.”
After the stool sample was taken, he came back and said, “Not so good news. There’s blood, so it’s definitely bacterial, not viral. Probably, E Coli. We get that all the time with people coming back from Boracay. We need to culture the sample and will find out in three days.”

Antiobiotics were prescribed and we are sent home.
At home, our son went to the bathroom 20 times, wincing and crying out in anguish until he had no more tears to shed. That’s 32 times in two days. Too much for any adult, what more a five-year-old boy?
We took him back to the doctor the following day and was told he had to be confined immediately.
Even though I had been trying to hydrate him round the clock, the constant diarrhea had dehydrated his little body, with dry lips, sunken eyes, and looking awfully pale.
At the ER, he was immediately hooked up to the IV for rehydration and antibiotic treatment.

After telling my friends, I am amazed how many of them had similar stories about the aftermath of their Boracay trips:
“We had a company outing and six of us ended up with E Coli infections.”
“The worst stomach pains I have ever had.”
”Must have eaten something really bad”.

But is it the really the food?
Three days later, the stool sample confirmed the positive result for E Coli O157.
My doctor said we were lucky to have my son hospitalized: “One day later, and he could have suffered potentially fatal kidney failure.” What parent would ever want to hear that?

I started researching and found only a few dated articles on E Coli infesting the sea water.
I remember back in 1997 the DENR declared the waters of Boracay unsafe for swimming due to the E Coli infestation. Well, apparently little has changed over the last 15 years.
Overdevelopment of Boracay is well-known; what is less well-known is that you and your kids are swimming in the fecal remains of past visitors.

boracy pics

How is the E Coli strain spread?
The website of the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains you can get it from swallowing contaminated water, as when swimming in a lake.
Well, we didn’t swim in a lake. It was the troubled, infested waters of Boracay that made my little one sick.

Shouldn’t there be an official health warning so that at least our kids are protected from this?
Given that it seems to be a well-known fact in the medical community that Boracay makes people and especially young kids sick, why isn’t anything being done about this, when it is our No. 1 tourist destination?
We’re hoping that responsible parties can finally address the problem before Boracay literally goes down the drain.

Hunger games

Sorry I’m on a diet again. I’ve been trying out this diet pill from my friend, and since Monday I’ve lost 3 lbs. already.
I need to lose another 10-15 lbs. If it works and nothing bad happens, I’ll let you know where to get them.
Aside from losing appetite, I’ve lost desire to shop. Yesterday and today I’ve had writer’s block.
So you also lose zest for all the other things you love to do. At least I did.

Are there side effects?
For the first two days I felt like a truck ran over me. I was sweating buckets and felt so tired even without a workout. I was just strolling in the mall. I had to sit down and eat when I felt weak.
The next two days were better. I felt hungry but have had no cravings.
No Coke, no ice cream, and today no rice.
This morning I felt a bit of palpitations. Nothing scary, just a little bit. If it happens again, I’ll quit.

I feel no depression and I’m not cranky.
I do feel sleepy at odd hours and have been sleeping before midnight and waking up in the middle of the night.
I do not recommend this to working women and especially not to lactating women.
Since I work at home I can sweat and lie down whenever I need to.
At home I can always have something to eat whenever I feel hungry or weak. I basically eat because I have to even though I don’t enjoy food right now.
So I guess that’s it. I’ll be back to regular programming tomorrow and write more entries.
As for now, I’m already in bed.

Twinkle Ferraren x Freeway for Summer 2012

This Summer 2012, Freeway collaborates once again with swimwear designer Twinkle Ferraren, whose collection features handwoven strips of swimsuit fabric.
On her third collaboration with Freeway, Twinkle says, “It’s a fusion of different visions, aesthetics and styles. I describe this collection as ‘feminine in action’. It features handwoven braids, weave designs and appliqués in sporty, active silhouettes with feminine details.”

Freeway Swimwear 2012 Poster

Twinkle says she was inspired by our local weavers, the intricate patterns they create, and the passion that comes with it.
With a keen understanding of what women want, her collection doesn’t sacrifice style and femininity no matter how active or sporty their lifestyle.
“More and more women are getting into sports, being active and keeping healthy through dance, sports and water activities. It’s great to see some feminine details especially in swimwear,” she added.
“As a designer, it is both a task and an honor to bring to light a person’s inner beauty and unique personality whenever she wears my creations.”

Gold One-shoulder maillot with crochet detail (Php 1,295)

Top: White with crochet detail (Php 795) • Bottom: Black with crochet detail (Php 645) • White Cover up

Top: Mustard with crochet detail (Php 795) • Bottom: Blue with crochet detail (Php 645)

One-piece (Php 1,295)

To complement the sporty chic swimwear collection by Twinkle Ferraren, Freeway showcases wide array of cover-ups, hyper-bright summer dresses, flirty tops and flattering bottoms to make you stand out this summer season.

Connect with Freeway through Facebook and Twitter.

Swatch, Stars and Swag at Salon de Ning

Last March 15, the Peninsula Manila’s Salon de Ning was transformed into Swatchville, as each room was decorated to complement the latest Swatch collections.
Dressed just like French fine artist Fafi, Alodia Gosiengfiao held court in a room illuminated with blacklights and fluorescent doodles.


Alodia Gosienfiao dressed as Fafi

Another room highlighted the Dragon Swatch, in commemoration of Chinese New Year


This is where guests, including Anne Curtis, had their fortunes told

Anne Curtis gets her fortune told

A third room was decked in black and white, just like the new Lorenzo Petrantoni Swatches

Petrantoni room

A fourth room in gold was inspired by the Swatch Chrono Golden Block Collection.

Rowell Santiago, Derek Ramsay, Anne Curtis, James Locsin, Matteo Guidicelli
L-R: Rowell Santiago, Derek Ramsay, Anne Curtis, Swatch Brand Manager James Locsin, and Matteo Guidicelli

Matteo Guidicelli gave away dragon plush toys and Year of the Dragon Swatches to best-dressed guests, such as Henny Zobel.

Matteo Guidicelli awards best-dressed Henny Zobel

Myx Awards’ Best New Artist, Zia Quizon opened with an apt song—Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time, accompanied by Robby Mananquil on guitar.

Wearing Petrantoni Swatches, Christian Bautista sang a duet with girlfriend Carla Dunareanu.

Singing couple Carla Dunreanu and Christian Bautista duet while wearing Swatch x Petrantoni watches

Chris Tiu wore the 1st prize entry of the 7th Annual Chinese New Year Art Competition of the Philippine Star and Swatch.

Chris Tiu

Guest enjoyed champagne, wine, and halo-halo lambanog with salmon burgers topped with little Philippine Star flags, beef burgers with XO sauce from the Peninsula Hong Kong, crab caviar beggars’ purses, Aussie blue cheese and truffle honey on walnut toast with Peninsula Hong Kong’s Spring Moon walnuts, Peking duck salad on crispy wontons, foie gras pot stickers, gold-dusted beef samosas, Shanghai noodles, and baked Alaska.

Virgie Ramos and Teddy Boy Locsin
Swatch Philippines President Virgie Ramos with Teddy Boy Locsin

Milette, Miguel and Regina Belmonte
Milette, Miguel and Regina Belmonte of Philippine STAR

Don Jaime and Doña Bea Zobel with granddaughters Cristina, Henny, Natasha and Beatriz
Don Jaime and Doña Bea Zobel with granddaughters Cristina, Henny, Natasha, Sylvia and Beatriz

Natasha, Cristina and Sylvia Zobel
Natasha, Cristina and Sylvia Zobel try on the bright colors of the Swatch New Gent lacquered collection

A toast from Swatch Philippines President Virgie Ramos (center) with Christian Bautista, Carla Dunareanu, Anne Curtis, Derek Ramsay, Chris Tiu, Zia Quizon, Alodia Gosiengfiao and Matteo Guidicelli

The night evening ended with music by Jay-R and DJ Callum, Swatch x STAR loot bags, and puffy souvenir throw pillows printed with the Swatch faces—guess who took them home?

All my throw pillows

Thank you, Tita Virgie!