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By: Anna Varona

We’ve had incidents in the past where wild animals went urban in our village.  A monitor lizard taking a dip in a swimming pool, a python found by a kasambahay coiled on a car wheel, a Brahmini eagle with its talons caught in the soccer goals net and a baby owl resting on a fence were some of the reports we’ve had in the past few years.

With the village’s fertile green spaces, thousands of trees and running creeks, Ayala Alabang is a sanctuary for wild animals. The reports are often exciting and sometimes alarming. This week’s incident was both.

September 04, Tuesday early morning, residents perked up to the news of a Pangolin retrieval in District 3 over social media. At first it was mistaken for a giant rat running on a vacant lot. Upon closer inspection, they realized it was something quite unusual. They took the docile but strong animal and kept it from escaping till AAVA security arrived. A concerned neighbor informed them of its status as a critically endangered species.

AAVA made a call to Conservation International, an NGO who has been working specifically on the protection of the Palawan Pangolin. Our contact was in a seminar on CITES non-detrimental findings and as fate had it, representatives of the Wildlife Resource Division under Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) were there as well. They abandoned the training to conduct investigation and retrieve the Palawan Pangolin of Ayala Alabang.

Joined by Doc Nielsen Donato of GMA network’s show Born to be Wild, Dr. Emerson Sy (Pangolin expert) Barangay Tanod and AAVA Security, they went to Beata Street where the Pangolin allegedly came from.

The group was asked to wait. Not wasting time, BMB Dr. Bulik Demelletes Jr. scoured through garbage for signs of ownership of the Pangolin. They also searched for evidence that supported wildlife trafficking. There was a lack of pet paraphernalia to prove they were owners of the animal.

Dr. Esteven Toledo and Dr. Bulik Demelletes Jr. of the BMB were both trained on Wildlife Crime Investigation and Forensics.  They are highly respected for leading successful raids against wildlife traffickers all over the Philippines.  They were part of the team that discovered hundreds of frozen Pangolin meat and sea turtles in a boat crossing Tubbataha reefs.

Dr. Nielsen Donato & Dr. Esteven Toledo checking Panggoy



In my Christmas message last year, I enunciated as an objective the internalization of “mindfulness of others” – act with others in mind instead of thinking only of ourselves. Here are concrete ways of achieving our goal.

  1. I will practice waste segregation, take out my garbage bins only on scheduled collection days, and bring them back into the house as soon as possible after collection to keep my surroundings neat and clean.
  2. I will follow traffic rules: observe speed limits, make full stops at intersections when called for, and give way to pedestrians.
  3. I will abide by the building and roofline setback requirements as well as single family, residential use provision in the deed restrictions for my property to maintain the premier status of our community.
  4. I will maintain the planting strip at the frontage of my property and will keep the sidewalk free of obstructions for use by pedestrians at any time.
  5. I will park my motor vehicles within my property as much as possible, and comply with street parking regulations applicable to my neighborhood for the orderly and safe movement of vehicles and people.
  6. I will pay my association dues and other assessments on time to make sure that the village infrastructure is properly maintained and the security and safety of every resident assured.
  7. I will promptly report to village management any malfunctioning facility, security lapses, and traffic infractions. In the process, I will make prudent and judicious use of social media in airing my comments and rendering a report.
  8. Whenever I have gatherings at home, I will keep noise at a tolerable level to minimize the disturbance to my neighbors.
  9. I will not use my car horn to announce my arrival at home, especially at night when neighbors are already resting.
  10. I will participate in the village association’s meetings, and when I cannot attend, accomplish a proxy form to ensure presence of a quorum.


A spate of household intrusions was reported last week, starting in the evening of August 27 when a resident of Anahaw St. noticed an unidentified male person jump over their perimeter fence as he fled. Their attention was called by the growling of their dog, leading the resident to check on it. Nothing was reported lost or damaged. At noon of August 29, the stay-out caretaker of the house directly behind along Bunga St. reported that somebody seemingly entered her employer’s house, based on the deflected window grill leading to the living room and footprints noted on top of aircon condensing unit adjacent to the window. Nothing was reported lost in the house which is normally unoccupied save for the visits of household employees.


Early evening of August 29, a lessee-resident of Caliraya St. reported that she heard a sound as if somebody fell into their swimming pool and that she noticed traces of wet shoe marks on the pavement toward the adjacent house. The resident declared no losses. A check with the neighbors yielded no indication of intrusion. On September 3, the same resident called up to report that somebody entered their house as she noted things in disarray in the master’s bedroom at the second floor, with a wedding ring, necklace with pendant and a wrist watch missing. The intruder apparently gained access through an open window at the ground floor.


In view of these incidents, we have instructed Security to increase the number/frequency of their patrolling. Please also take note of the precautionary measures recommended by Security which are published in AAVA News. Let us be vigilant and report any suspicious-looking persons or movements in our neighborhood.


By: Chona Esguerra

Buying a property is one of the biggest investments you will ever make in your life. Knowing what you are getting into will give you the advantage of foreseeing problems before they arise.

These are the top 5 things you should check before buying a property.

LOCATION. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood and visit at different times of the day.  Be sensitive with the environment like traffic situation, noise level, weird odors, puddles of water or signs of flooding, and street parking situation. Ask yourself if you can live with these things every day.

BE OBJECTIVE. Once you have your shortlist, pay another visit with someone who understands the ins and outs of real estate. Their expertise can come in handy, preventing you from making the wrong purchase.

Major cracks on the wall due to poor foundation or a recent earthquake are crucial structural components to take note of. An inspection by a structural engineer or contractor will give you an idea how much you will spend for necessary repairs.  Check if the cost of repairs are deal breakers for you.

LAYOUT AND DESIGN. Take your time as you walk around a house and see how you feel.  Generally, if something doesn’t quite feel right about the house it is caused by a bad layout. Avoid tight houses. Look for a house with a layout that flows naturally when you walk around it.

TITLE & IDENTITY OF OWNER. Before any transaction, check the title at the Registry of Deeds and take note if there are claims against the property. A licensed real estate broker can help you with this process.  Make sure you are dealing with the right owner by asking for any government issued ID. Fraudulent sales of property is usually committed by a close member of the family. If one of the owners is based abroad, ask for a consularized special power of attorney. This must come with a ribbon and seal.

Scouting property is exciting whether it’s for immediate use or investment purposes. It is a milestone you will forever hold in memory. Follow the tips above to prevent your purchase experience from turning sour.

Enjoy House Hunting!

CHONA ESGUERRA is a licensed real estate broker with a vast experience in her field. She is a member of PAREB – Muntinlupa Real Estate Board. A village resident. Her email: chonae2004@yahoo.com

Is Plastic the Real Enemy?

By: Anna Varona


Plastic was introduced as a material to save elephants from extinction. It became an alternative to ivory which was used to make billiard balls, mahjong pieces and piano keys. Due to their flexibility, durability, weight, waterproof qualities, and cheap cost in manufacturing, technology found a way to use plastic in a multitude of products that made life easier for humans.  We are now paying that environmental price as 8 Million tons of plastic is dumped into the Ocean every year.

In the Philippines, 74% of the plastics in the ocean come from irresponsibly handled garbage.

How do we start?

Take a look at your bathroom and check how many products you have packaged in plastic. The gadgets we find ourselves attached to like computers, tablets or cellphones are primarily made out of plastic. When you become more conscious about your lifestyle and what you buy, it will determine where you start lessening your plastic consumption.

Is there really such a thing as biodegradable plastic?

Biodegradable is a term used for the plastic bag that disintegrates.  Sadly, out of sight does not necessarily mean that it’s not there.  Biodegradable plastics use plastic powder for structure and corn starch as a binder.  When the corn starch disintegrates, the plastic powder may land and contaminate the soil, it ends up in the air or in the ocean that creates 2/3rds of the air we breathe.  A recent study mentioned that there is an average of 70 pcs of plastic micro-beads found in one mussel each.  The UN Environment Program says biodegradable plastics are not the answer to reducing marine litter.

How do we lessen our plastic use then?

This becomes a lifestyle that requires you to be conscious about plastics. Always bring a reusable straw with you.  Take a refillable drink container when you go to your favorite coffee shop or ask for your drink to be served in a mug.

When shopping, bring a reusable shopping bag and refuse plastic packaging. If you’re forced to use plastics while out, bring them home, wash it and have it picked up for recycling.  Always make an effort to
segregate and recycle.

Ask to have meat, chicken or fish wrapped in paper or better yet bring your own container.  Most shops are happy to fill them.  Some vendors give discounts or freebies when you have your own container.  I’ve heard that fruit and vegetable taste better when they haven’t been wrapped in plastic.

Things we take for granted like the mechanism used to flush our toilet, medical equipment such as IVs and needles, are mostly made out of plastic. Out of the 56 liter containers of plastic that CoOp collects in Ayala Alabang, only 2% of it can be considered garbage. Most of it were paper labels that weren’t scraped off the bottles, a couple of metal caps, and the lining underneath the bottle caps.  Plastic is not an enemy.  It is our lack of management.