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Coco Aroma: Spelling C-O-O-L in Puerto Galera

As Puerto Galera’s White Beach in Oriental Mindoro becomes even more popular, it is fast becoming more of just a party place than a tropical paradise. But Coco Aroma offers glimpses of what resort living could be.

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Coco Aroma

For those in the know, Puerto Galera’s White Beach in Oriental Mindoro is no tropical paradise – in fact, parts of it (i.e. the middle portion, where the partying happens) are reminiscent of the… dilapidation of Thailand’s Phuket and Patong. Yes, yes, the sand is finer (and whiter/cleaner), the water clearer (at times even reflecting the azure sky) in Puerto Galera, but – arguably particularly during peak season – the feel is somewhat similar.

Part of Puerto Galera's appeal (or what may well be disappointing about it, depending on how one looks at it) are the activities that happen at the bars when the sun sets - from go-go boys to drag shows to fire dancers to... just about everything. That a lot happens here is an understatement.

Part of Puerto Galera’s appeal (or what may well be disappointing about it, depending on how one looks at it) are the activities that happen at the bars when the sun sets – from go-go boys to drag shows to fire dancers to… just about everything. That a lot happens here is an understatement.

There are the overcrowded restos, offering too expensive food (e.g. kebab that used to sell for P80 to P90 now selling from P160; and buko that – even in capital Metro Manila – sells for P25 sold here for from P50).
Bars that try to squeeze the last cent off you (e.g. Mindoro Sling that used to sell for P400 per pitcher now selling for P750, even if the raw materials used to make them remain roughly the same).
The half-naked go-go boys dancing on the stages and MSM plying the beach when the sun sets, many of them from the nearby some small towns, here to make a (lousy) living.
Impoverished transwomen also trying to eke out what they have until they find something that will last longer.
Fire dancers basically begging off tips from tourists to add to their monthly earnings that only reach P3,000.
Some women trying to catch the eyes of visitors (particularly foreigners who frequent the place for the diving).

Yes, this can be tropical paradise for the moneyed.
For the less moneyed, it’s a venue worth visiting maybe for the weekend, to escape the hustle and bustle of (not too far) Metro Manila.
But for the broke… it’s a different story altogether.

But then, Puerto Galera offers glimpses of what resort living could be.

Enter the likes of Coco Aroma.

Located at the far left side of the island (when you’re standing on White Beach while facing the sea), this resort cum restobar is the “baby” of Cora M. de Veyra and her husband Joel (an artist) who – after inheriting the piece of land from her mother – transformed it into a hub for the “alternative” tourists.
Think reggae, light rock and blues.
Think masks carved on driftwood.
Think dreadlocks.
Think wooden construction materials.
Think hammocks by the sea.

Coco Aroma is divided into two areas – the restobar AND the cottages.

The rooms are located in the garden. Note that there are only five rooms available – i.e. three aircon rooms (one room on the ground floor that’s good for four, and two rooms on the second floor good for two); and two fan rooms (in a duplex) good for four persons. The rooms are – largely – made of nipa (that is, traditional thatched roofed housing). As owner Cora would describe it, “lokal na lokal (truly local).” Room rates vary according to season.

An insider info: there are budget spaces available – i.e. attic rooms offered for the budget conscious; though the rates also vary according to season.

Coco Aroma offers an alternative venue for those who want to experience Puerto Galera as a tropical paradise.

Coco Aroma offers an alternative venue for those who want to experience Puerto Galera as a tropical paradise.

The restobar area is – by itself – a must-visit.
There are cabanas (which, by the way, are what visitors would first see when seeing Coco Aroma by the beach) with five tables (and a hammock) that could seat up to 30 people; five tables in the middle portion that could seat 20 more; and two tables on a verandah-like setting facing a stage that could seat approximately 10. Lying down on the cabana’s wooden floor, lazy lounging easily comes to mind. Interestingly, “ginawa namin ang cabanas the way they are para kung malalasing ka, diyan ka na matutulog (we made the cabanas the way they are so when guests get drunk, you can already sleep there),” Cora laughed.
Particularly during summer, there’s live music in Coco Aroma (usually helmed by the house band named Turtle Club, “who you can jam with,” Cora said), covering reggae, rock, blues. There’s also bonfire in summer.

Yes, drinking (and… smoking) is what comes to mind when at Coco Aroma (heck, there’s a poster of Mona Lisa with a joint on the bar’s wall), so worth considering are Coco Aroma Sling (the venue’s version of the Mindoro Sling, in itself a take on Singapore Sling) and the bottomless Margarita. But even though the sun’s till up (think late afternoons), hanging out here is fun while chewing the house specialties fruit pancakes (flavors include banana, mango and choco banana) at P185; any of the curried dishes (e.g. vegetable curry at P150, and curried tofu at P120); and pansit (noodles) from P180. Watching the sun set away from the crowd while slowly sipping kapeng barako (brewed coffee using local beans) is an option worth considering (versus ice cold beer in hand).

It’s a venue allowing one to experience the best of both worlds – as a manner of speaking.

That is, for those who know that there is fun in the dilapidated (I’d admit, sleaze can be fun, too), yet also know that hearing Bob Marley’s calming voice is akin to being lazy by some beach somewhere, then Coco Aroma’s the place that pops in the mind when one is in Puerto Galera.

Because for all its seeming dilapidation, Puerto Galera’s still worth a visit.

If you just know that fun has many incarnations when there…

For more information on Coco Aroma, contact Cora M. de Veyra at (+63) 9166167337, (+63) 9194728882 or (+63) 9232187399; email cocoaroma_5203@yahoo.com; visit www.cocoaromapg.com or www.cocoaromawhitebeach.com; or Coco Aroma’s Facebook page.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.

Health & Wellness

Loneliness in youth could impact mental health over the long term

Loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

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Photo by Cristian Palmer from Unsplash.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated widespread social isolation, affecting all ages of global society. A new rapid review in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports on the available evidence about children and young people specifically, stating that loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

The review, which synthesizes over 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies on topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between 4 and 21 years of age, found extensive evidence of an association between loneliness and an increased risk of mental health problems for children and young people.

“As school closures continue, indoor play facilities remain closed and at best, young people can meet outdoors in small groups only, chances are that many are lonely (and continue to be so over time),” said lead author, Maria Loades, DClinPsy, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

“This rapid review of what is known about loneliness and its impact on mental health in children and young people found that loneliness is associated with both depression and anxiety. This occurs when studies measured both loneliness and mental health at the same point in time; when loneliness was measured separately; and when depression and anxiety were measured subsequently, up to 9 years later,” Dr. Loades added. “Of relevance to the COVID-19 context, we found some evidence that it is the duration of loneliness that is more strongly associated with later mental health problems.”

From the selected studies there was evidence that children and young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness on mental health outcomes like depressive symptoms could last for years. There was also evidence that the duration of loneliness may be more important, than the intensity of loneliness, in increasing the risk of future depression among young people.

For many young people, loneliness will decrease as they re-establish social contacts and connections as lockdown eases (e.g., as they return to school or college). For some a sense of loneliness may persist as they struggle to resume social life, particularly for those who were more vulnerable to being socially isolated before lockdown.

“It’s key that children and young people are allowed to return to activities such as playing together, even if outdoors, as soon as possible, and that they are able to resume attending school, which gives them a structure for their day, and provides them with opportunities to see peers and to get support from adults outside of the nuclear family,” said Dr. Loades. Furthermore, she added “children need more in their strategy for easing lockdown. Alongside this, the government could target children’s wellbeing in public health messaging. And meanwhile, we should also continue to embrace technology as a way to keep in touch.”

So whilst we do what we can to mitigate the effects of loneliness and re-establish social connections, we also need to prepare for an increase in mental health problems, in part due to loneliness, and also due to the other unintended consequences of lockdown, such as a lack of structure, physical inactivity and social and/separation anxiety that might be triggered when resuming social interactions outside of the home.

There are several levels at which we can prepare for the heightened demand:

  • Take a universal approach to promoting wellbeing through public messaging, and by schools doing activities to promote wellbeing in children and young people as they resume normal activities.
  • Seek to identify those who are struggling with loneliness as early as possible and do so by targeted interventions to help them overcome their struggles. This may be through the provision of extra support in schools, helping them overcome anxieties about returning to school, or giving them an extra hand with reconnecting socially with peers.

For those who continue to struggle over time, and can’t get back to doing the things they normally do as a result of their struggles, we need to ensure that they are made aware that services are open, and can provide specialist help, and to make sure that they know how to access this help and are supported to do so.

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Travel

Trump-appointed judges void Florida bans on conversion therapy for children

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

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Image by Juan Pablo Mascanfroni from Unsplash.com

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

In the case – Otto et al v City of Boca Raton, Florida et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-10604 – the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided (in a 2-1 decision) with two therapists who said the laws in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

American Republican President Donald Trump – the loser in the country’s latest presidential election, and who refuses to concede – appointed the two judges who supported conversion therapy.

According to Circuit Judge Britt Grant, the laws “allow speech that many find concerning – even dangerous,” but the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

The therapists in the case, Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, said their clients had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality,” and they sought counseling to conform their identities and behaviors with those beliefs.

A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law noted that 20 American states and Washington, D.C. already ban licensed healthcare professionals from conducting conversion therapy on children. The practice – which aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities – stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and is linked to depression, anxiety and suicide.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) also opposes conversion therapy, since the practice often assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

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Health & Wellness

Lesbian, gay, bisexual communities more at-risk for dementia – study

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual — or LGB — people are more vulnerable to one of the fastest-growing health concerns in the country: dementia, according to research from Michigan State University.

“Our study speaks to the unaddressed questions about whether members the LGB community are more likely to develop cognitive impairment at older ages and, if so, what factors contribute to their poorer cognitive health, ” said Ning Hsieh, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU and lead author of the study published in the journal, The Gerontologist.

“We knew that stress and depression are risk factors for many chronic health problems, including cognitive impairment, in later life. LGB people experience more stressful events and have higher rates of depression compared to their heterosexual counterparts,” she said.

Analyzing the elevated cognitive health risks among older members of the LGB community, the study was the first to use a national sample and screening tool to gauge cognitive health disparities between LGB and heterosexual older adults.

Hsieh and MSU colleagues Hui Liu, professor of sociology, and Wen-Hua Lai, a Ph.D. student of sociology — compared cognitive skills of 3,500 LGB and heterosexual adults using a screening tool and questionnaire that tests for six domains. Those areas included temporal orientation; language; visuospatial skills; executive function; attention, concentration and working memory; and short-term memory.

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

The researchers found that on average, older LGB adults were more likely to fall into categories for mild cognitive impairment or early dementia compared to heterosexual older adults. The team also tested for specific health and social factors — such as physical conditions, mental health conditions, living a healthy lifestyle and social connections — and the only factor related to cognitive differences for sexual minorities was depression.

“Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the important underlying factors leading to cognitive disadvantages for LGB people,” Hsieh said. “They may experience higher rates of depression than their heterosexual peers for many reasons, including not being accepted by parts of society, feeling ashamed of their sexual orientation or trying to hide their romantic relationships and being treated unfairly in school or at work.”

The researchers felt surprised that other factors — such as fewer social connections, drinking or smoking — didn’t have as great of an effect on LGB people’s cognitive function later in life. But, they also recognized the need for additional research to understand how the stressors sexual minorities experience earlier in life can lead to cognitive impairments as they age. Additionally, Hsieh said, they hope that the study’s findings shed light on the need for greater inclusivity for sexual minorities, as it can have an influence on their mental and cognitive well-being.

“Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment,” Hsieh said. “Making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.”

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Lifestyle & Culture

Smart secrets to save money

Here are smart secrets to save money in order to help you get started.

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We know that saving money is one of the most difficult things to do in life. This is because there is always something new to buy or something else to spend your money on. However, it is also very fundamental as it allows you to experience financial freedom.

In life, you need to do more than just get by. In fact, you should buy your dream house, buy your dream car, run a successful business, and more. However, this can only happen if you are able to save money. That means even if you win a mobile casinos jackpot, instead of going on holiday using that money, you should consider saving. 

Here are smart secrets to save money in order to help you get started.

Avoid Impulsive Spending

A lot of the times, people find themselves buying things that they actually do not need. As a result, you end up using money that you could have otherwise saved. Therefore, we suggest that before you go to buy groceries or anything that you need, you create a list of the things that you intend to buy. When you get to the shops, it’s very important that you overcome all temptation and only stick to your list. 

At the same time, we also suggest that you do not carry any extra money or cards. Doing that will stop you from buying anything else that is not on your list.

Shop Smart

You will need to make sure that you learn to shop and play real money casino games smart . This will help you to save a lot of money in the long run. For those that do not know, smart shopping involves avoiding buying things at one shop or the first shop that you come across. Instead, what you need to do is make sure that you compare prices around, even if you are shopping online. After comparing prices, ensure that you buy from the cheapest retailer.

Buy in Bulk

Buying groceries almost on a daily basis is not advisable. What you should do in make sure that you buy those goods with long shelf life in bulk. That way, the goods are cheaper, and you do not have to fork out money for the same things constantly.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Money saving apps that you can try

If you are tired of trying to save money and failing to, here are some apps that can help you save some money.

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Saving money is very important for any person or business. Money that you save can be transformed into emergency funds, it is not good for a person to not have money kept in case of an emergency.

If you are tired of trying to save money and failing to, here are some apps that can help you save some money.

Chime

It is a mobile banking app that is compatible with Android and iOS. You can instantly see transactions and track spending ones. You will also have a spending account as well as a debit card that is safe because it is FDIC-insured and it can be used for online slots real money. In addition to all that you will also have an automatic savings account. 10% of every paycheck is au0tomatically deposited in the savings account. If your money is in a savings account, you will not be tempted to spend it.

Digit

This app does all the thinking, it looks at your income and expenditures. After that, it goes on to calculate what you may save. It then puts the money that you can save in an FDIC-insured Digit account.

Clarity Money

This app tells you how you can spend money wisely and how money can be wasted. The app also helps you by cancelling subscriptions that you are not using like casino apps, you can always browse on brand new casino sites no need for case . And those 5t6hat you do not need. Also, it helps you save by negotiating your bills down to lower rates. The app tracks how you spend in order to ensure that you stay on budget. It will also recommend credit cards for you, it does so according to your lifestyle. With this app, you can also have a savings account.

Qapital

Qapital will educate you on the idea of saving money. It can help you understand the idea of saving a little in order to achieve a larger goal.

Mint

This app helps you maintain your bills. It makes sure you pay your bills on time in order to avoid losing unnecessary money.

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Lifestyle & Culture

The best business schools in the world right now

Here are the best business schools that you should attend to get the best results.

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You will need to have that business mind in order to make the right investments with your real money winnings. And going to a business school is one of the best decisions that you can ever make for yourself and your business career. 

Therefore, here are the best business schools that you should attend to get the best results.

HEC Paris

This business school has been in existence since 1881 therefore, it is the best option that you can pick for your classes. The school is located in Jouy-en-Josas in France. The school comes with a lot of specialized business programs that you can partake in at the same time have mobile gambling as your hobby. You can also get to do your Masters and PHD programs as well.

London Business School

The business school was founded back in 1964 and is also the constituent college of the federal University of London. And, the school’s motto is that it should have, “a profound impact on the way the world does business.” The business school is recognized all over the world as one of the best providers of knowledge in the business world.

INSEAD

This school is located in different parts of the world. You can choose to have your degree or diploma from Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. And, the name of the school is an abbreviation of the name, Institute  European administration des Affairs. Currently, the school only has 1 410 students focusing on different aspects of the world of business.

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Wharton is a part of the University of Pennsylvania and is also a part of the Ivy League University in Philadelphia. The school takes its name from Joseph Warton after he made a donation to help establish the school.  Also, it is one of the oldest business schools in the world after its inception in 1881. Therefore, you will be getting the best while you playing jeu de roulette en ligne and the most experienced knowledge in the world of business.

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