Weather, weather lang

Oct 14, 2017

Almost on a daily basis, rains come in most if not all parts of the metro. Some select provinces like Quezon or the Bicol region or the northern most part of the archipelago experience storms very regularly in the second semester of the year. Thankfully, we have not had our quota of at least one super typhoon in Manila this year, but we still have more than two months before we can heave a sigh of relief. Still, the metro has been inundated with flood waters and this is becoming almost a daily occurrence, much to the dismay of students and other daily commuters.

Notwithstanding Trump and his silly denial of the reality of weather change, we need to come to terms with it and adapt to this reality. We can't battle the forces of nature when its wrath is upon us, but we can certainly prepare. Being forewarned is being forearmed, and awareness is key.

We came upon Weather Philippines, a low-key but dedicated organization whose mission is to do daily weather forecasts and thus empower people with relevant weather news. What they deliver is not just to warn us of adverse conditions but guide us Filipinos on what can be done on a day-to-day basis as far as the weather is concerned.

Weather Philippines was founded in 2012 as a corporate social responsibility project of the Aboitiz Group of Companies. The Chairman used to be Enrique Aboitiz but now it is Sabine Aboitiz who sits at the helm, with several conglomerates as partners.

In order to promote their advocacy, Weather Philippines relies on three pillars, the first of which is technology. According to its Gen. Manager, Dave Michael Valeriano, they have the most extensive network of automated weather stations in the Philippines which number over eight hundred. For each station, they dish out localized weather conditions that include forecasts and actual condition in the area. This can be accessed through their free mobile application at Weather Philippines and their website at www.weather.ph.org. Their network also allows them to generate historical info which can be useful whether for public service or for development work, and this can be had for free.

Operating an extensive weather forecast on a daily basis is no mean feat, and for this they need to rely on vital partnerships, their second pillar. Fortunately, conglomerates like Ayala and SM and a few private individuals subscribe to their advocacy and help provide the logistics for this. With the continued support of co-advocates, the organization hopes to put up a weather station in all areas of the Philippines, starting with those areas that are most prone to typhoons.

Lastly, their mission, according to Dave Michael Valeriano, is not just about accurate forecasts but having this information accessible and understandable to the ordinary Pinoy. According to him, they have to "laymanize" the information that they dish out to the general public.

The organization has now partnered with the Dept. of Education. In this partnership, they conduct weather training sessions with Science teachers and principals in the various divisions of DepEd across the country. They can customize their training and can do it for students, teachers, business establishments, professionals, even farming communities and fisher folks. They can conduct seminars as scheduled by their strategic partners. Requests for training can be coursed through the local government units.

They have also partnered with the local government units and are collaborating with different government agencies. The data logger that they are currently using in running their network was designed by the Advance Science & Technology Institute of the Dept. of Science & Technology. They are happy to share the good news that soon, they will be introducing new weather models that will make possible even better weather forecasts that will include the probability of rainfall on hourly forecasts. This will greatly help our students and daily commuters, parents of school children who cannot decide on whether to let their young kids go to school because of possible inclement weather. Whether it rains or not, wouldn't it be great if we are empowered to plan our activities for the day on a day-to-day- basis? Dave says they won't stop there-they will continuously innovate but what is important is they will render service that is usable by every Juan.

Mr. Dave Michael Valeriano graciously showed the B&L crew a sample of their very compact weather station that had an ultrasonic sensor imported from Germany that measures temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction and a ran gauge that measures rain. They have a solar-powered data logger that sends data from the weather station to the system so it can be processed by their provider. They have a meteorological team who constantly monitor satellite feeds on their screen. These meteorologists can assess how much rain has fallen in the last twenty four hours in various parts of the country or which areas have rain deficits. They are the ones who make daily forecasts based on these satellite feeds.

As Dave says, they are everyone's asset and he invites everyone to download their free mobile app in the Apple Store or theGoogle Play. Their hash tag is weather wiser nation, and if everyone can indeed tap into this vital information on a daily basis, we can be a weather wiser Philippines.

Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.

For comments & inquiries (email) sunshine.television@yahoo.com

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About the Author

Ray Butch Gamboa graduated from the College of Arts and Letters of the University of Sto. Tomas. It was a course that should have been preparatory to a law degree, but the call of broadcasting aborted his plans.

At the age of 16, while still a student, Butch tried his hand at disc jockeying, landing a job at Mareco Broadcasting Network's AM stations DZBM and DZLM. From there, Butch moved on with his illustrious career as a popular disc jockey, riding the airwaves of Bob Stewart's middle-of-the-road music at DZXX, and ending his disc jockeying career at ABS-CBN's DZYL and DZQL.

From there, he stayed on with ABS-CBN, covering live the proceedings at the Manila Stock Exchange and eventually entered into the world of television sales as an account manager for the premier channel of ABS-CBN Channel 2.

In the early 70's, at the outbreak of Martial Law, Butch was one of the thousands of professionals who woke up jobless when then President Marcos declared the new status of the nation. With the closure of ABS-CBN, Butch ventured into different fields outside of broadcast. He tried his hand and with ease and success at export (Costume jewelry), real estate (brokerage), and restaurants (fast food).

In 1987, after the revolution, with the broadcast industry back to its free state, and with its irresistible call ringing in his ears, Butch made his inevitable comeback and pioneered in a local motoring show, producing Motoring Today on Channel 4 and co-hosting with local motor sports' living legend Pocholo Ramirez.

After 4 years, he ventured into another pioneering format by producing and hosting Business & Leisure, which was originally aired on ABS-CBN's Channel 2. The format eventually espoused similar ones in other different channels. But the clones in due course faded away leaving the original staying on airing on Channel 4 and eventually on Shop TV on Sky Cable's Channel 13.

The following year, the pioneering spirit in Butch spurred him to produce another TV show, Race Weekend, also on Channel 4, covering circuit racing at the Subic International Raceway after the motor sport's hiatus of 17 years. But when similar shows with duplicated formats sprouted, he decided to give way and ended the program after a year, although still enjoying unparalleled viewership.

In 1998, when the local automotive industry was in a slump, Butch contributed his share to help the ailing industry by producing another popular motoring-related show, this time exclusive to the automobile and its industry—Auto Focus, which became a vehicle for local automotive assemblers and importers to showcase their products and dwell on the industry's latest technological developments.

In 2003, Butch teamed up with his brother, Rey Gamboa who was a former Shell executive and presently one Philippine Star's business columnist to co-produce and co-host the TV show Breaking Barriers on Channel 13. It is a talk show that features guests who are in the news and in the middle of controversies. The program ventures to draw deeper insights into current issues to learn how they impact to our daily lives.

Today, Motoring Today on its 28th year of service to the general motoring public still enjoys its unprecedented loyal vierwership nationwide while Auto Focus, after 16 years has firmly established its niche viewership among automobile enthusiasts and on the other hand Business & Leisure is on its 24th year dishing out current business issues and lifestyle features.

Today, aside from writing weekly columns for the Philippine Star (Motoring Today on Wednesdays and Business & Leisure on Saturdays) and executive producer / host of weekly TV shows (Motoring Today, airs Sundays on Solar Sports Channel 70, Business & Leisure, airs Tuesdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13 and Auto Focus airs Thursdays on Shop TV, Sky Cable Channel 13, Ray Butch Gamboa is currently the Chairman and CEO of Sunshine Television Production and Marketing Services Corp., President of Gamcor Management and Development Corp., Chairman of Asia-Pacific Realty Corporation, President and Chairman of Socio-Communication Foundation for Asia and Founding Chairman of the Society of Phil. Motoring Journalists (SPMJ)