Night life

Sun.Star Baguio - - Opinion -

IN­TRIGU­ING ti­tle? Nope, ac­tu­ally and more cor­rectly, night shifts and its ef­fects on the per­son’s well-be­ing par­tic­u­larly health is­sues. Dur­ing the hey­day of your columnist- called baby-boomers, proud to be one, not gadget-ob­sessed-we danced - whether in a swanky dis­cotheque or in a barangay hall- to the groovy tune of ‘ I love the night life, I love to boo­gie” and it was fun, fun, fun; and we re­mained en­er­getic and healthy the next day.

Re­al­ity says other­wise these days. A lot of peo­ple have been work­ing on night shifts since the begin­ning of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and this phe­nom­e­non was mag­ni­fied by leaps and bounds dur­ing the glob­al­iza­tion pe­riod. Whether it be for BPO ( busi­ness process out­sourc­ing) like call cen­ters or fac­tory pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, health­care ser­vices, po­lice force and se­cu­rity agen­cies, toil­ing and work­ing at night and sleep­ing dur­ing the day is now com­mon­place ex­pe­ri­ence for many em­ploy­ees. Ad­mit­tedly, this em­ploy­ment boom and fi­nan­cial bo­nanza brought in more jobs, more money but they also came with risks, with ob­vi­ous reper­cus­sions on health. Epi­demi­ol­o­gists join the med­i­cal com­mu­nity in is­su­ing a stern warn­ing that there has been a sig­nif­i­cant rise in the in­ci­dence of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, with statis­tics show­ing that heart at­tacks and strokes have be­come the lead­ing causes of death and dis­abil­ity all over the world.

There has been many stud­ies made al­ready to ad­dress the is­sue, and fin­gers are pointed to a “mal­nu­tri­tion” as probable cause of ill­nesses of night shift work­ers. Many ex­perts in food and nu­tri­tion say that it is easy for night owls to rely on easy food choices with­out giv­ing much thought to the health ben­e­fits of what they are munch­ing. Thus the per­son ei­ther gains ex­cess pounds due to im­proper eat­ing habits and food choices- mostly carbs and su­gar-loaded stuff- or loses weight due to lack of sleep, stress or skipped meals. Other sce­nario would be night shift work­ers over-eat­ing due to bore­dom or just to keep awake. And an­other sad re­al­ity is, food choices dur­ing the night are very few.

A di­eti­tian friend has this ad­vice. To gain the nec­es­sary en­ergy to last a night shift, start with a break­fast of rice/ce­re­als/toasted bread, fruit juice and for pro­tein- egg, dried fish, and few slices of ham or ba­con strips. Eat five small meals per day with an in­ter­val of three or four hours; snacks are al­lowed with fruits, veg­etable sticks like cel­ery or car­rots, crack­ers and low-salt pret­zels. While car­bo­hy­drates and sug­ars are en­ergy-boost­ing foods, to help the per­son stay ac­tive and alert, the hu­man me­tab­o­lism may crash im­me­di­ately af­ter and fa­tigue sets in., thus min­i­mize or avoid them be­fore and dur­ing the night shift sched­ule.

Cof­fee, with its nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ent caf­feine has been with hu­mans since it was dis­cov­ered by a shep­herd that his goats were bub­bly, ac­tive and hap­pily danc­ing af­ter munch­ing on the leaves of an herb. Called by sev­eral names, de­pend­ing on where it is grown and con­sumed, in­deed, cof­fee gives ev­ery man and woman the nec­es­sary en­ergy to kick off a day full of fruit­ful and mean­ing­ful ac­tiv­ity. Caf­feine is a cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem stim­u­lant es­pe­cially the brain, hence it helps the drinker ward off sleepi­ness. How­ever, it may also race your heart to wor­ri­some pal­pi­ta­tions, a pos­si­ble in­crease in blood pres­sure. Oth­ers even com­plain of a fine hand tre­mor es­pe­cially in­take of more than three cups per day. En­docri­nol­o­gists have found out that too much cof­fee could lead to os­teo­poro­sis-like brit­tle­ness of the bones es­pe­cially post-menopausal women. Your columnist would also like to add that cof­fee makes one uri­nate fre­quently, thus, the prover­bial 8-10 glasses of wa­ter per day should be taken se­ri­ously by the night shift worker. Be­sides, the walk to the re­stroom is also ben­e­fi­cial to the mus­cles. tal mis­sion or do­na­tion to the schools there. In fact rub­ber slip­pers is what they would want.

Just like in Sa­gada, do­ing busi­ness is strictly for lo­cals. Pur­chase of prop­erty is ex­clu­sive for lo­cals only. Very much the same there too. How I wish it was still the same with Baguio too. I will re­mem­ber how the lo­cals would know ev­ery Juan and do busi­ness with a lo­cal too. Pur­chase of prop­erty would have also been nice if pri­or­ity was given to lo­cals too. Show of proof a must. Well I can still dream.

Funny but I do not own any prop­erty in Baguio of my own. Be­lieve it or not. I have a small home I call my own and it's in a com­pound and not a de­tached piece of real es­tate. That's it. I would re­call how, when a de­mo­li­tion or­der was is­sued, I would al­ways re­late how I wished I could just claim my own land be­ing the Mayor if I just wanted to. But I would never do that. Legally, I couldn't af­ford it also if ever. I tried to ap­ply for a very small piece of pub­lic land for a right of way to my mom's prop­erty but it was never awarded to me. That would have been my first a long long time ago. Never hap­pened af­ter.

Any­way I will con­tinue to learn a lot more from the peo­ple of Batanes. It seems ev­ery Juan in­clud­ing the Mayor or any other of­fi­cer will be a farmer or a fish­er­man. Be­lieve it or not, ti­tles are noth­ing in the is­land. It seems if you wanted to eat, you farm or fish and that was what ev­ery Juan would do. They will work in an of­fice but af­ter work they will be back as who they are. Their ti­tle is just a sec­ond job.

Ev­ery­thing is sim­ple in the is­land. Surely ev­ery Juan will live longer than us in the big city. A driver we had said that if we didn't book him he would be pick­ing up cow ma­nure for his veg­etable plot. Ev­ery­thing there is or­ganic.

Ev­ery­thing there is ex­pen­sive, all be­cause money is just an amount for mea­sure­ment. I was told how they would trade with some for­eign fish­er­men who love our co­conut. Yes it seems they love it so much and that they would trade with a flash­light just for it. Cost is just cost. If you want you pay, if not they just don't care. I like it.

Ev­ery Juan will smile and greet you. Well be­cause they don't know you that's why. In some restau­rants you just pay for what you feel it's worth. Fruits and veg­eta­bles that are ex­tra are left in an area for Juan to get, just pay what you want for it. In Baguio a long time ago say­ote, tops and kangkong can be had by just pick­ing it up or ask­ing your neigh­bor. Same there. Now ev­ery­thing has a price.

While I know that it is not ad­vis­able, but in my own com­pound where I know ev­ery Juan, I don't lock my cars. Yes. Noth­ing has ever hap­pened. I love where I live. Ev­ery Juan watches out for me and my prop­erty. Per­fect. In the is­land all doors are left open, all mo­tor­cy­cles or scoot­ers will have the keys in them. No Juan dares touch them even for any rea­son.

As tourists we are ad­vised to just take pic­tures and leave me­mories. In fact tak­ing away some stones or shells will be con­fis­cated. And they will tell on you for this. We found a Pizza Hut there, yes pizza in a hut. They even de­liver.

They are a very thank­ful bunch, so sat­is­fied with what life brings. No com­plaints about the weather or any­thing. Food never a prob­lem. The teacher who drove for us would af­ter work or be­fore it, go spear fish­ing. How I would love to be in their shoes. The wa­ters to them are al­ways calm.

The last night we were hosted in a Karaoke Bar. I know what you're think­ing of, I thought the same. Ap­par­ently it's the only place open at night to have some fun. We were with prin­ci­pals and they knew ev­ery Juan there. Even the pretty ground staff of an air­line was there in one ta­ble then later all ta­bles were filled with their stu­dents from some time ago. Food in the ta­ble freshly caught by them too.

When ever I get to see my teach­ers or now my stu­dents I will al­ways re­mem­ber. I get nostal­gic to the days when life was this sim­ple. How I wish it still is. I walk to work or to my meet­ings. I meet peo­ple along the way, some chitchat and that's life. I wish I was a child again liv­ing in those times.

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