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Boracay in the rain…

Even with all the hype about Boracay Island, this isn’t always the best place – particularly during the rainy season. But that shouldn’t discourage you. Because “even if your flight may be cancelled because of the bad weather; or you can be redirected to Kalibo (meaning you have to take a two-hour land trip before reaching Caticlan, where you catch the ferry to Boracay), going to this famed island during rainy days may still be worth it,” says Mikee dela Cruz. “You just have to have a different way of looking at being there.”

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Yes, we’ve all heard the hype – this is supposedly one of the best beaches in the world. And in so many ways, the hype is well-deserved. On a sunny day (think summer), everything here can be – in a word – beauteous.

Long stretches of beaches with sugar-fine, sugar-white sand? Check.
Blue waters that stretch as far as the eyes can see, seemingly reflecting the blue skies above? Check.
Palm trees swaying with the lazy bombarding of the wind, creating almost poetic hush-hush sounds that could lull people into a trance? Check.
Sunsets that could rival, say, Laguna de Bay’s? Check.

Clichés abound when you’re here at the right time.

But that’s exactly it: Boracay is at its best ONLY when visited at the right time.

Visit the famed island when the sun isn’t (always) out, and you’re in for a (horrible) surprise.

Algae coating the shores, turning everything into mossy green, thereby easily making jokes about E. coli bacteria believable? Check.
Overflowing sewerage system, with the water (that’s often stinking of… something shitty) overflowing on walkways, making passing them difficult? Check.
Too expensive stuffs to use to protect yourself from the rain? Check.
Rubbish finding their way on the shore? Check..

This is not to say there aren’t things you can do when here when the time isn’t perfect. Boracay, after all, is Boracay.

And so here are five things you can do when in Boracay in the rain…

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  • Get wet.
    You can take a dip, sure – but only if you’re a good swimmer. The waves of Boracay can get quite high, so caution needs to be taken when going for a swim when the weather isn’t that good.
    But you can also get wet in the rain. Try walking from Station 3 to Station 1; or even beyond, to Diniwid Beach. That way, you get to enjoy the beach with not-that-many people; and even get to see Boracay with a different “lens” – i.e. a wet one. I’d say it can be poetically beautiful… if you’re willing to give it a go.
    Now, concerned about the stuff you have with you? Resorts willingly hand out plastics to wrap them with, so don’t be shy to ask. Otherwise, buy water protections before going to Boracay (e.g. those mobile phone “wrappers”, disposable raincoats, and even umbrellas) as they could be costly when bought there (and when they know you are in dire need of it).

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  • Pig out.
    Afraid of getting wet? Stay indoors.
    But don’t sulk (Oh, please, don’t!).
    Instead, try the goodies that the island has to offer – e.g. Zuzuni’s choco lava mud cake; and Real Coffee & Tea Café’s calamansi muffin.
    Boracay isn’t THAT big; but for such a “small” place, it does have gustatory offerings waiting to be discovered…

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  • Check new venues.
    When on the island, there are two “venues” that can be checked out – 1) the “natural” offerings of the place (that is, aside from the known and even abused White Beach), and 2) the “man-made” destinations on the island.
    While it is easy to lambast Boracay, particularly for those whose exposure to the island is largely limited to the stretch of the White Beach, a little-known fact about this place is the availability of other beaches here. These beaches have yet to be touched by corporate greed, and so are worth discovering indeed.
    Among those worth considering are: A) Yapak Beach (better known as Puka Shell Beach), an 800-meter-long stretch of glistening white sand on Boracay’s northern tip; B) Bulabog Beach, an eight-kilometer-long beach on the eastern side of the island; C) Ilig Iligan Beach, located in the upper north eastern tip of the island near Yapak Beach; and D) the open-to-the-public Banyugan Beach, which is actually the “private beach” (a misnomer since shores can’t be “private”) of Shangri-La in Boracay.
    Now, sick of the beach (even if you actually went to the beach!)? No worries. This place has venues worth checking – e.g. the island’s first elevator (made of bamboo at that) at Nami Beach Resort in Diniwid Beach (beyond Station 1); three-floor tambayan (hangout place) of TreeHouse Restaurant (this one is for sale, so check out while it’s there) in Station 3; et cetera. Again, just be willing to get wet and take a walk by the beach to see everything that this part of the island has to offer…

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  • Try wind-abusing sports activities – or any new activities, for that matter.
    Consider their existence as proof of how over-developed the island is – but nowadays, you can do just about anything that tickles your fancy (and that you can afford, of course). Reverse bungee. Parasailing. Wakeboarding. Windsurfing. Kitesurfing. Heck, you can even be a mermaid for… 30 minutes – you just have to be willing to cough up P700 to “fulfill your dreams”, as the flier of the costume shop states.

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  • Stay indoors… to party.
    Now, if you are “familiar” with the party scene of Boracay (C’mon, you can admit it!), you’d understand me for saying that everything on this island is… fickle. This place seems so used to what’s new, that everything just doesn’t last that long. Places of years ago included Bazura and Cocomanga’s (the latter still there, but not as “in” now). Then came Hey! Jude – eventually dying, too. Epic is in the middle of White Beach now – though with the crowd thinning, I’m not sure until when. And Juice Bar? Padlocked! And even the locals did not know it just folded.
    This makes partying on the island a must – after all, the next time you visit (whether the sun is out or not), everything may have already changed.
    Now, if you’re willing to throw out some cash, ClubSummerPlace (Station 2), Paraw (Station 1, beside Cocomanga’s) and, yes, Epic (Station 2, at the entry of D’Mall) are still around. The first one has the most number of partygoers; so you may have bigger chances of picking up there.
    For those who do not believe in paying bars to listen to often not that good music (Plus, hello, this is a beach!), options include the comfy Bamboo Bungalow and rasta-frequented BonBon Bar (both at Station 2).
    Drinking a bottle of beer by the beach will never, ever be passé, I say…

Yes, the flights are cheaper.
The accommodation is cheaper, too.
So even if your flight may be cancelled because of the bad weather; or you can be redirected to Kalibo (meaning you have to take a two-hour land trip before reaching Caticlan, where you catch the ferry to Boracay), going to this famed island during rainy days may still be worth it.

You just have to have a different way of looking at being there…

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Health & Wellness

Sexual minority men who smoke report worse mental health, more frequent substance use

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

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Photo by Dominik Kempf from Unsplash.com

Cigarette smoking is associated with frequent substance use and poor behavioral and physical health in sexual and gender minority populations, according to Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, examined tobacco use by sexual minority men and transgender women to better understand the relationships between smoking, substance use and mental, psychosocial and general health.

The researchers, who are part of the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, surveyed 665 racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sexual minority men and transgender women, 70 percent of whom reported smoking cigarettes.

They found that smoking was associated with participants’ race/ethnicity, marijuana and alcohol use and mental health. Current smokers were more likely to be white and reported more days of marijuana use in the past month. The study also found that current smoking was associated with more severe anxiety symptoms and more frequent alcohol use.

“Evidence also tells us that smoking is associated with worse mental health and increased substance use, but we don’t know how these conditions are related to each other, exacerbating and mutually reinforcing their effects,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s senior author.

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

“Our findings underscore the importance of holistic approaches to tobacco treatment that account for psychosocial drivers of substance use and that address the complex relationships between mental health and use of substances like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana,” said Caleb LoSchiavo, a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s first author.

The study recommends further research examining the social determinants of disparities in substance use among marginalized populations and how interpersonal and systemic stressors contribute to poorer physical and mental health for minority populations.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Bringing your employer to rights over workplace health and safety

As LGBTQIA people often find barriers to gainful employment and legal recourse, they will find workplace conditions even more unsafe than the average person. However, legal protections are changing, and workers can now bring their rights against their employers.

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Workplaces in the Philippines are often not safe to work in. A study conducted in 2016 by the British Medical Journal found that workplace injury was prevalent nationally in the Philippines, rather than just being outlying incidents and errors on a small scale.

As LGBTQIA people often find barriers to gainful employment and legal recourse, they will find workplace conditions even more unsafe than the average person. However, legal protections are changing, and workers can now bring their rights against their employers.

How the law has changed

A big turning point in workplace health and safety protections came up in 2018, and is now starting to be implemented. As highlighted by the WHO, the Occupational Safety And Health Standards Act brings with it a raft of protections to help the workplace be far safer. What comes hand in hand with this is an enriched legal environment.

American legal experts JJS Justice note that government protections are only as good as their enforcement, and it’s the job of national attorneys to ensure people are well represented. Increasingly, this is becoming a reality for Filipinos – even for the historically under-represented LGBTQIA community.

Improved legal environment

Legal representation is slowly becoming a good news story for LGBTQIA people in the Philippines. 2017 saw the meteoric rise of Geraldine Roman, and her trendsetting has seen a far greater level of protection afforded, legally speaking, to those who could not access legal help due to societal pressure.

Legal advocates and help are starting to take the issues presented by LGBTQIA people in the Philippines seriously, even if the government and administration do not. International trends are starting to indicate that the country is taking this, and workplace protections, seriously.

International recognition

It can sometimes be a good yardstick as to the quality of a country’s legal protections to see how the international community perceive them. The Philippines recently received the Safe Travels stamp from a major international tourism body in recognition of improved safety standards all over the country. With international bodies likely to only recognize international levels of good work being done, this is encouraging in the overall push for better workplace standards.

Keeping this push going is important to improving working lives for everyone. This includes LGBTQIA people, who have historically faced discrimination in employment. As one workplace improves, so do all – and that’s a good thing.

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Health & Wellness

Notable percentage of trans men who have sex with men never got tested for HIV, bacterial and viral STIs

When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

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When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

In “Sociodemographic and behavioural factors associated with testing for HIV and STIs in a US nationwide sample of transgender men who have sex with men” – done by Nadav Antebi-Gruszka, Ali J. Talan, Sari L. Reisner and Jonathon Rendina, and published in BMJ Journals – researchers tried to examine HIV and STI testing prevalence among TMSM along with the factors associated with testing in a diverse sample of TMSM. They used data from a cross-sectional online convenience sample of 192 TMSM, analyzed using multivariable binary logistic regression models to examine the association between sociodemographic and behavioral factors and lifetime testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs, as well as past year testing for HIV.

The researchers found that more than two-thirds of TMSM reported lifetime testing for HIV (71.4%), bacterial STIs (66.7%), and viral STIs (70.8%), and 60.9% had received HIV testing in the past year. Engaging in condomless anal sex with a casual partner whose HIV status is different or unknown and having fewer than two casual partners in the past six months were related to lower odds of lifetime HIV, bacterial STI, viral STI and past year HIV testing.

Being younger in age was related to lower probability of testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs.

The domiciles of the TMSM also affected their health-seeking behaviors. In this study, those residing in the South of the US were less likely to be tested for HIV and viral STIs in their lifetime, and for HIV in the past year.

Finally, lower odds of lifetime testing for viral STIs was found among TMSM who reported no drug use in the past six months.

According to the researchers, these findings indicate that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs, though at rates only somewhat lower than among cisgender MSM despite similar patterns of risk behavior.

They recommend for “efforts to increase HIV/STI testing among TMSM, especially among those who engage in condomless anal sex.”

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Health & Wellness

People with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder show brain similarities, differences

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders.

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Photo by Joe deSousa from Unsplash.com

A new UCLA study shows partially overlapping patterns of brain function in people with anorexia nervosa and those with body dysmorphic disorder, a related psychiatric condition characterized by misperception that particular physical characteristics are defective.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, found that abnormalities in brain function are related to severity of symptoms in both disorders, and may be useful in developing new treatment methods.

The results reinforce the understanding that eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. “These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders,” says Dr. Wesley Kerr, neurology resident and biostatistics researcher at UCLA.

For the study, the researchers recruited 64 female participants: 20 with anorexia nervosa, 23 with body dysmorphic disorder, and 21 healthy controls. Patients with anorexia nervosa have a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight, leading them to eat very little. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by obsessions with a particular body part or a perceived flaw rather than with weight.

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look.

Participants were shown images of male and female bodies while researchers observed their brain activity via MRI. Three types of images were used: normal photos, “low spatial frequency” (LSF) images, which had details blurred out, and “high spatial frequency” (HSF) images, in which the edges and details were accentuated.

Functional MRI is a brain imaging technique that detects the blood flow within the brain, allowing researchers to see which parts of the brain are active while a person is doing various tasks. It can also be used to understand what brain regions’ activities are in sync with each other; that is, “connected.”

Each of the women performed a “matching” task while inside the MRI scanner. On the top of the screen, the person would see an image of a body, and would have to choose the matching body from two images shown on the bottom of the screen.

While viewing the images that differed from those of healthy individuals, people with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD showed patterns of activity and connectivity in visual and parietal brain networks. These abnormalities in activity were different in BDD and anorexia nervosa, whereas the connectivity abnormalities were largely similar. The more severe the symptoms, the more pronounced the pattern of brain activity and connectivity when the images were viewed, particularly for the LSF images. Further, connectivity and activity abnormalities were associated with how the participants judged the appearance and body weight of the individuals in the photos.

What the researchers saw indicated that while the brains of patients with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD abnormally process images with high, low, or normal levels of detail, the abnormalities for low level of detail, that is “low spatial frequency” images, have the most direct relationships to symptom severity and body perception. The results may help researchers understand the underlying neurobiology that leads to the characteristic body image distortions in both cases.

“This gives us a clearer picture of neurological basis for what is one disorder, what is the other, and what characteristics they share,” said Dr. Jamie Feusner, senior author and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

A next step for the research will be to see whether, with existing psychotherapy and medication treatments, the brain activity in patients begins to normalize, or else changes in a different way to compensate for underlying abnormalities.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Things only old-school Pac-Man fans will appreciate

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

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Pac-Man is one video game that has been around for the longest time. In fact, this game was released back in the 80s and has managed to stand the test of time. In fact, Pac-Man is actually one of the top-grossing game franchises of all time.

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

Below, we list some of the things that old school Pac-Man fans will appreciate about the game. Enjoy!

Pac-Man Was The First Game With Major Merchandise

We guess that when Pac-Man was first released, it was at a time when mainstream media had just started realizing the power of merchandising. Thus, a lot of products were made that carried the game logo or character on the packaging. This increased sales astoundingly. As a result, Pac-Man became popular amongst all people of all ages.

The Pac-Man Cartoon Was Pretty Good In Its Day

The Pac-Man cartoon was made as a spin-off to the video game. While many cartoons like these seemed to fail, that didn’t happen with Pac-Man. In fact, back in the day, Pac-Man was a really pretty cool cartoon.

Pac-Man Fever Was A Huge Hit

Pac-Man Fever is the soundtrack album of the game that was released on cassette, vinyl, and 8-track. The album carried a total of 8 songs that were based on video games and meilleurs jeux au casino . The album was so popular that the title track actually became a top 10 hit, and it also got featured in a few TV shows. 

Of course, the young generation may not understand it, but the album was pretty cool when it was released. It’s not surprising to see some die-hard fans of the game jamming along to some of the songs today.

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Lifestyle & Culture

How SMEs can practice more effective digital marketing

This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

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Digital marketing is the perfect way that you can get to grow and firmly establish your business.  The best thing is that there are a lot of tools that you can get to use in order to be successful. You might want to start your own fashion network, online casino and so many other lucrative businesses. This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

Improve Your SEO Skills

The best way to be able to stand out is by making sure that your business is the highest ranking on google. That way you can get to come out on top of the completion. Also, you will get to be the buyer’s first choice. Considering that the buyer will not have the time to scroll through all the pages, they will just pick from the first pages that they see on Google. 

The best part is that there are a lot of tools that you can use to achieve this.  For example, the Neil Patel Ubber suggests platform or the SEMrush Assist tool will give you all that you need to know about your competition and what you can do to outrank them.

Do Your Keyword Research

This is the most important that you will need to do to make sure that you rank. And, even if you are at the top, you should continue monitoring your pages and make sure that you are on the right track. Remember, there is a lot of competition that will be wanting to outrank you, more especial on machine a sous industry .  And, the best part is that there are tools that you can easily use for all this.

 Keep Audiences Locked In

 The best way that you can get to do this is by starting your blog. That way there will be frequent traffic on your page. Also, the blogs may be a way of getting even more people to know about your services.  Hence, research on the latest news and start uploading now.

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