Weather Update: Monday October 31, 2011

A strong low pressure system is forming off the coast of Mindanao that will undoubtably bring high winds and rain to Bantayan Island next week. There is a possibility of this low pressure system forming a tropical depression and becoming a Typhoon within the next 5 days.

Currently Bantayan Island is experiencing high winds estimated to have gusts over 60 miles per hour.

Windy conditions have prevailed over the previous night and will continue all day today, making travel by ferry difficult, if not impossible.

We will bring you an update as we watch the low pressure system and winds develop

Sunrise on Bantayan Island, October 22, 2011

The Morning Sunrise over Bantayan Island in the Philippines is one of the most stunning and beautiful in the world. From time to time I will post photo’s that I take when I make it up early enough to catch the morning display. These photos are copyrighted and may not be copied, pasted or printed. You may purchase an Licensed copy for your own use.   See all of my pictures from Bantayan Island HERE

The Subtle Danger of Halloween and All Saints Day

Many people will celebrate Halloween this year and take advantage of the time to cut-loose a little and have some fun. Just a bit of innocent recreation, or something more sinister? The following article from and other Christian authors sheds light on what the true under the cover agenda of the Holiday of Halloween is really all about.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

Halloween Comes to America

As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. Because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England, celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited there.

It was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft.

At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.

Current Traditions of Halloween by Travis Allen

The American tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

A Christian Perspective on Halloween by Travis Allen

Halloween. It’s a time of year when the air gets crisper, the days get shorter, and for many young Americans the excitement grows in anticipation of the darkest, spookiest holiday of the year. Retailers also rejoice as they warm up their cash registers to receive an average of $41.77 per household in decorations, costumes, candy, and greeting cards. Halloween will bring in approximately $3.3 billion this year.

It’s a good bet retailers won’t entertain high expectations of getting $41.77 per household from the Christian market. Many Christians refuse to participate in Halloween. Some are wary of its pagan origins; others of its dark, ghoulish imagery; still others are concerned for the safety of their children. But other Christians choose to partake of the festivities, whether participating in school activities, neighborhood trick-or-treating, or a Halloween alternative at their church.

The question is, How should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it irresponsible for parents to let their children trick-or-treat? What about Christians who refuse any kind of celebration during the season–are they overreacting?

The Pagan Origin of Halloween

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early Christian church, a day set aside for the solemn remembrance of the martyrs. All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day, began the time of remembrance. “All Hallows Eve” was eventually contracted to “Hallow-e’en,” which became “Halloween.”

As Christianity moved through Europe it collided with indigenous pagan cultures and confronted established customs. Pagan holidays and festivals were so entrenched that new converts found them to be a stumbling block to their faith. To deal with the problem, the organized church would commonly move a distinctively Christian holiday to a spot on the calendar that would directly challenge a pagan holiday. The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide a Christian alternative. But most often the church only succeeded in “Christianizing” a pagan ritual–the ritual was still pagan, but mixed with Christian symbolism. That’s what happened to All Saints Eve–it was the original Halloween alternative!

The Celtic people of Europe and Britain were pagan Druids whose major celebrations were marked by the seasons. At the end of the year in northern Europe, people made preparations to ensure winter survival by harvesting the crops and culling the herds, slaughtering animals that wouldn’t make it. Life slowed down as winter brought darkness (shortened days and longer nights), fallow ground, and death. The imagery of death, symbolized by skeletons, skulls, and the color black, remains prominent in today’s Halloween celebrations.

The pagan Samhain festival (pronounced “sow” “en”) celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days–October 31 to November 2. The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living–ghosts haunting the earth.

Some embraced the season of haunting by engaging in occult practices such as divination and communication with the dead. They sought “divine” spirits (demons) and the spirits of their ancestors regarding weather forecasts for the coming year, crop expectations, and even romantic prospects. Bobbing for apples was one practice the pagans used to divine the spiritual world’s “blessings” on a couple’s romance.

For others the focus on death, occultism, divination, and the thought of spirits returning to haunt the living, fueled ignorant superstitions and fears. They believed spirits were earthbound until they received a proper sendoff with treats–possessions, wealth, food, and drink. Spirits who were not suitably “treated” would “trick” those who had neglected them. The fear of haunting only multiplied if that spirit had been offended during its natural lifetime.

Trick-bent spirits were believed to assume grotesque appearances. Some traditions developed, which believed wearing a costume to look like a spirit would fool the wandering spirits. Others believed the spirits could be warded off by carving a grotesque face into a gourd or root vegetable (the Scottish used turnips) and setting a candle inside it–the jack-o-lantern.

Into that dark, superstitious, pagan world, God mercifully shined the light of the gospel. Newly converted Christians armed themselves with the truth and no longer feared a haunting from departed spirits returning to earth. In fact, they denounced their former pagan spiritism in accord with Deuteronomy 18:

There shall not be found among you anyone…who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord (vv. 10-13).

Nonetheless, Christian converts found family and cultural influence hard to withstand; they were tempted to rejoin the pagan festivals, especially Samhain. Pope Gregory IV reacted to the pagan challenge by moving the celebration of All Saints Day in the ninth century–he set the date at November 1, right in the middle of Samhain.

As the centuries passed, Samhain and All Hallows Eve mixed together. On the one hand, pagan superstitions gave way to “Christianized” superstitions and provided more fodder for fear. People began to understand that the pagan ancestral spirits were demons and the diviners were practicing witchcraft and necromancy. On the other hand, the festival time provided greater opportunity for revelry. Trick-or-treat became a time when roving bands of young hooligans would go house-to-house gathering food and drink for their parties. Stingy householders ran the risk of a “trick” being played on their property from drunken young people.

Halloween didn’t become an American holiday until the immigration of the working classes from the British Isles in the late nineteenth century. While early immigrants may have believed the superstitious traditions, it was the mischievous aspects of the holiday that attracted American young people. Younger generations borrowed or adapted many customs without reference to their pagan origins.

Hollywood has added to the “fun” a wide assortment of fictional characters–demons, monsters, vampires, werewolves, mummies, and psychopaths. That certainly isn’t improving the American mind, but it sure is making someone a lot of money.

The Christian Response to Halloween
Today Halloween is almost exclusively an American secular holiday, but many who celebrate have no concept of its religious origins or pagan heritage. That’s not to say Halloween has become more wholesome. Children dress up in entertaining costumes, wander the neighborhood in search of candy, and tell each other scary ghost stories; but adults often engage in shameful acts of drunkenness and debauchery.

So, how should Christians respond?

First, Christians should not respond to Halloween like superstitious pagans. Pagans are superstitious; Christians are enlightened by the truth of God’s Word. Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). God has forever “disarmed principalities and powers” through the cross Christ and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]” (Colossians 2:15).

Second, Christians should respond to Halloween with cautionary wisdom. Some people fear the activity of Satanists or pagan witches, but the actual incidents of satanic-associated crime are very low. The real threat on Halloween is from the social problems that attend sinful behavior–drunk driving, pranksters and vandals, and unsupervised children.

Like any other day of the year, Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families. Christian young people should stay away from secular Halloween parties since those are breeding grounds for trouble. Christian parents can protect their children by keeping them well-supervised and restricting treat consumption to those goodies received from trusted sources.

Third, Christians should respond to Halloween with gospel compassion. The unbelieving, Christ-rejecting world lives in perpetual fear of death. It isn’t just the experience of death, but rather what the Bible calls “a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume [God’s] adversaries” (Hebrews 10:27). Witches, ghosts, and evil spirits are not terrifying; God’s wrath unleashed on the unforgiven sinner–now that is truly terrifying.

Christians should use Halloween and all that it brings to the imagination–death imagery, superstition, expressions of debauched revelry–as an opportunity to engage the unbelieving world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has given everyone a conscience that responds to His truth (Romans 2:14-16), and the conscience is the Christian’s ally in the evangelistic enterprise. Christians should take time to inform the consciences of friends and family with biblical truth regarding God, the Bible, sin, Christ, future judgment, and the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ for the repentant sinner.

There are several different ways Christians will engage in Halloween evangelism. Some will adopt a “No Participation” policy. As Christian parents, they don’t want their kids participating in spiritually compromising activities–listening to ghost stories and coloring pictures of witches. They don’t want their kids to dress up in costumes for trick-or-treating or even attending Halloween alternatives.

That response naturally raises eyebrows and provides a good opportunity to share the gospel to those who ask. It’s also important that parents explain their stand to their children and prepare them to face the teasing or ridicule of their peers and the disapproval or scorn of their teachers.

Other Christians will opt for Halloween alternatives called “Harvest Festivals” or “Reformation Festivals”–the kids dress up as farmers, Bible characters, or Reformation heroes. It’s ironic when you consider Halloween’s beginning as an alternative, but it can be an effective means of reaching out to neighborhood families with the gospel. Some churches leave the church building behind and take acts of mercy into their community, “treating” needy families with food baskets, gift cards, and the gospel message.

Those are good alternatives; there are others that are not so good. Some churches are using “Hell House” evangelism to shock young people and scare them into becoming Christians. They walk people through rooms patterned after carnival-style haunted houses and put sin on display–women undergoing abortions, people sacrificed in a satanic ritual, consequences of premarital sex, dangers of rave parties, demon possession, and other tragedies.

Here’s the problem with so-called Hell House evangelism: To shock an unshockable culture, you have to get pretty graphic. Graphic exhibits of sin and its consequences are unnecessary–unbelieving minds are already full of such images. What they need tosee is a life truly transformed by the power of God, and what they need tohear is the truth of God in an accurate presentation of the gospel. Cheap gimmickry is unfitting for Christ’s ambassadors.

There’s another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There’s nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children–provided you’re not stingy–can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.

Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it’s a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?

Weather Update: Friday October 28, 2011

Weather on Bantayan Island should be mainly clear and sunny this weekend with occasional afternoon showers and gusty winds from the North East. The onshore breezes are bringing a lot of sea weed, and other debris to the white sand shores making for a rather messy view of our otherwise beautiful shores.

Low tide prevails throughout much of the day making the water level on Santa Fe about 150 yards farther that at High tide. It is during these period of low time that the beaches are also not as attractive.

Ferry service is running daily, but expect rougher seas due to the increased winds.

Other than the shore debris and lower tides during the day, Bantayan is still a great place to make your weekend getaway.

Hope to see you on the beach. Magkita-kita na lang ta diri sa isla…

Weather Update: Thursday October 20, 2011

Weather on Bantayan Island has been clear and beautiful this past week. With the onset of “Habagat”, the winds have changed to onshore, bringing much debris to the white sand beaches.

The upside of this change in wind direction is that the nights are cool and refreshing and perfect for a great night’s rest if you are near the coast. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful cool breeze until about 3 am when the winds became calm.

Weather for this weekend should be near perfect, with the coming of any future tropical storm far off from the coast of the Philippines. There are two weather systems developing in the pacific that we are watching that could become tropical storms systems in the next week. Both these systems look to move north of Bantayan Island, should they further develop into a tropical depression.

If you are coming to the island, expect to find a lot of debris on the beaches as is normal for this time of year. The pristine picture you have in your mind for Bantayan Island will not be found presently, until the wind and seas cleans the shoreline of sea grass, coconut shells, and trash.

Low tide prevails throughout most of the daylight hours, meaning that the water level is far from the beach, exposing a not so pleasant debris field left over from the last storm. Some may ask why I publish the negative aspects of Bantayan Island. The answer is that I would rather you know what to truly expect when you come to our island, than have you be disappointed once you arrive here. The Island has many positive and wonderful features, not withstanding the occasional debris on the beaches and low tide I mentioned above.

The entire island is worth seeing by scooter or Tri-cycle, and worthy of your efforts to make the necessary journey. Many tourists come to Bantayan Island strictly for the beaches and water, yet miss the other incredible features throughout the rest of the island.

The Problem with PAGASA: You Are Too Late…

During the recent approach to Cebu and Bantayan Island by Tropical Typhoon “Ramon” a few days ago, it became quickly apparent that PAGASA is not doing a sufficient Job in closely monitoring the weather in the Philippines.

From my vantage point, it was clear that when Ramon changed direction before making landfall with Cebu, that no one was aware of the change in course, because PAGASA does not conduct rapid enough assessments of approaching storms. Instead of an every six hour or twelve hour assessments, perhaps it would be advisable to give updates every fifteen minutes or so when a storm is on final approach to a populated landmass.

Typhoon Ramon was due to make landfall with Cebu on Thursday October 13, 2011, PAGASA stated in their weather update. The storm actually arrived an entire day early on Wednesday, passed Cebu city and went out to sea before PAGASA even reported the change in course.

On Bantayan Island, resorts were boarded up, people on high alert, expecting Typhoon Ramon to make direct contact with Bantayan around Mid-night on Thursday October 13th. Instead, Typhoon Ramon missed the island by close to 100 Kilometers, making evacuations and Typhoon preparations completely unnecessary. The storm changed course a day earlier, yet PAGASA did not inform anyone of the change until Ramon had already passed Cebu and gone out to open water.

Unless PAGASA changes their present approach to predicting approaching Typhoon’s in the Philippines, I predict that many will be looking for new jobs.

As inhabitants of the Philippine islands, we need faster and more frequent updates on the status of approaching Typhoon’s or tropical storms, so that we might be better prepared. How many lives have been lost because the weather updates are too late for citizens to get out of the way before disaster strikes?

If you agree that PAGASA needs to do a better job, write or call your local government official and let them know a change is needed.

Typhoon Ramon Will Strike Bantayan Island Thursday

Upon the entrance of Typhoon Ramon into the Eastern area of Mindanao and Southern Leyte, this growing storm has increased it’s wind speed to signal number 2.

It is certain that by midnight on Thursday, October 13, 2011, Ramon will make direct contact with Bantayan Island.

Current indicators, as shown on the latest map below, show that Ramon likely will increase to signal number 2 as it comes into contact with the shores of Santa Fe, on Bantayan Island.

Although the map below indicates signal number one for Cebu and Bantayan Island, this wind strength will likely be updated to signal number 2 by late Wednesday evening.

Typhoon Ramon to Strike Bantayan Island Thursday
Typhoon Ramon to Strike Bantayan Island Thursday

If Ramon continues to strengthen as it makes landfall tonight and tomorrow morning at Mindanao and Southern Leyte, it has a high likelihood of coming into Cebu as a Signal Number 2 Typhoon with winds from 60-100 Kilometers per hour, or 37-62 Miles per hour.

This leaves Bantayan Island in the path of a fairly large and destructive typhoon.

All Ferry service was cancelled as of Tuesday morning on Bantayan Island. Seas have been “White Capped” all day, with periods of heavy rain and wind gusts. Currently there is light rain falling over Bantayan Island with mostly cloudy skies.

As Ramon exits the area of Bantayan Island by Friday, seas will continue to be too rough for Ferry service. The earliest date for restored service to Bantayan Island by Ferry would be Sunday to Monday.

We will continue to monitor the weather sources for this storm and post updates here as soon as there are any new changes.

Storm Update: Wednesday, October 12, 2011,  7:00 am

Revised Estimates have placed the “Eye Wall” of the center of Ramon, Directly over Bantayan Island, sometime after mid-night, or approximately 12:00am tonight/early tomorrow morning. The highest sustained winds of over 100 kph will be present closet to the eye wall. Storm surges of ocean waves will exceed 3-4 feet, bringing sea waves up to 4 feet higher than the high tide markers for the island.

Classification for this Storm has been upgraded to Signal Number 2 for Bantayan Island and Northern Cebu.

It has been more than 10 years since a Typhoon has made direct contact with Bantayan Island, as Ramon most certainly will.

It is advisable to take appropriate action to protect your person and property as this storm will do moderate damage to structures on Bantayan near the shore of Santa Fe where the storm surge will make initial contact. Those in higher elevations on Bantayan Island will also experience higher wind gust over 100 Kilometers per hour.

The Following is the latest storm track for Ramon, showing it’s path directly over Bantayan Island as a signal Number Two Typhoon.

Path of Typhoon Ramon to Make a Direct Strike on Bantayan Island
Path of Typhoon Ramon to Make a Direct Strike on Bantayan Island

More Updates to Follow in a Few Hours…

The Following picture was taken from Beach Placid Resort, at 7:30 am on Wednesday October 12, 2011, looking in the direction of the Pier at Santa Fe. Shown is the Beach Erosion caused by the previous nights Wind, Rain and Waves at Low Tide.

Beach Erosion on Santa Fe from Typhoon Ramon
Typhoon Ramon Storm Damage From Tuesday Night, October 11, 2011

Additional Pictures of the Storm Damage from Typhoon Ramon will be posted after the Storm Passes Bantayan Island.

Typhoon Ramon Update 10:30 am, October 12, 2011.]

The storm track of Typhoon Ramon has changed direction in the past 2 hours and has headed south of Cebu City and by the writing of this post, is most likely out to sea once again. This is wonderful news for the people of Bantayan Island as this will mean that we will NOT suffer a direct strike by the eye wall of Typhoon Ramon.

I will update this information at 11:00 when the Philippine and U.S. Governments give their updated information.

A truly amazing event has just happened.

While on a direct course for Bantayan Island, this morning Typhoon Ramon changed course abruptly when it reached the Island of Cebu and went in a more Westerly direction until it passed Cebu. Ramon then turned again and head back to it’s former course, completely bypassing Bantayan Island.

The following Map shows the strange and sudden change in course.

Our friends in the U.S. had been praying for us and all the people of Bantayan Island since last night. They prayed that the Typhoon would change course. For anyone who does not believe that prayer is a powerful tool that God honors when His people pray, this is clear evidence that our prayers are heard and that God responds when we need His help.

Prayers work, Ramon Changes Course
Prayers for the People of Bantayan Island Works as Ramon Changes Course

Typhoon “Ramon” Tracking Towards Bantayan Island

Low Pressure Area: “92”,  off the coast of Mindanao is growing in intensity and making a North West track towards Cebu and Bantayan Island. Estimates are that within 6 to 24 hours this low pressure system will become the next Typhoon in the Philippines, called “Ramon”.

It would be advisable now to make early preparations for the possibility of a signal 1 or 2 Typhoon striking Bantayan Island as early as Wednesday or late Thursday of this week. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water, enough food for a few days, fresh batteries for a good flashlight and perhaps have some extra cash on hand as ATM’s may be out for a day or two.

There is a possibility that once this low pressure area becomes a Tropical cyclone, it may take a more Northerly route and not strike Northern Cebu and Bantayan Island directly.

We will post updates on the progress of this low pressure area in the next 24 hours.

If you have been planning a trip to Bantayan Island this week, you might pause for a day or two until the final disposition of this low pressure area is know. In the event that “Ramon” does strike Bantayan, or skirt the island with a band of rain and wind, coming to the island or leaving the island will not be possible for a few days. Island Shipping does not provide Ferry service on or off Bantayan Island during a Typhoon.

Typhoon Ramon Heading Towards Bantayan Island

Estimated Storm Track for Typhoon Ramon 2 pm Monday October 10, 2011:

Estimated Strom Track of Typhoon Ramon

Update: Monday October 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

P.A.G.A.S.A has now determined that “Ramon” will definitely make contact with Bantayan Island by this coming Thursday. The following is the most recent details given by the main Philippine weather agency:

“Tropical Depression “RAMON” is expected to be at 260 km East of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur by tomorrow afternoon and at 90 km East of Surigao City by Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday afternoon, it will be in the vicinity of Bantayan Island or at 100 km North of Cebu City.

More updates to follow Tuesday Morning.

Update: 3:00 am October 11, 2011:

PAGASA, the national weather service in the Philippines has confirmed that Typhoon “Ramon” will definitely make a direct hit on Bantayan Island on Thursday October 13, 2011.

It is advisable that if you are a visitor to Bantayan Island that you depart the island today if possible, otherwise plan to be detained on the island until approximately Saturday when winds and seas may permit your departure.  A band of rain clouds have already formed over the island of Cebu and Bantayan Island, delivering periods of gusty wind and rain over the entire island area.

Although it is confirmed that Ramon will be a Signal 1 Typhoon, with minimal damage to trees, homes and resorts, it will produce some storm surge  as well as rough seas. In all storms over Bantayan Island, it is the condition of the sea that is of most critical importance as Island Shipping does not operate  Ferry service during any Typhoon when seas are rough.

Bantayan Island Weather Update: Friday October 7, 2011

A massive low pressure system off the coast of the Visaya’s has brought very wet weather to Bantayan Island. Rain prevailed throughout most of the night Thursday.  As I write this Friday morning at 7:20 am, there is heavy cloud cover with heavy rain on and off.

The seas are rough, which should cause Ferry service between Hagnaya and Santa Fe to be delayed until the seas calm, if they do today at all.

If you are planning a trip to Bantayan this weekend, the forecast is for more rain and continued rough seas until Sunday.