360 Degree PANORAMA: Alona Beach, Panglao Island Bohol

Long before it became a famous tourist destination in the Philippines, the pristine island beach had been a site of a location shooting of one of FPJ’s (Fernando Poe Jr) films a couple of decades ago. The film, the locals recounted, was starred by no less than the ‘King of Philippine Movies’ himself with his favorite leading lady, the actress Alona Alegre. Later, the beach was named after the actress.

Alona Beach is a short stretch of white sand on Panglao Island, Bohol in the Philippines - a paradise. I was there for the first time last Holy Week, from April 21 to 23, 2011.

When a friend planned and arranged a trip to the place and invited me to join, I took the once in a lifetime occasion as an opportunity to escape from work -- to relax and unwind. So after more than a month of virtually non-stop working beating deadlines, I finally got a chance to escape from a very stressful work of ‘crunching numbers’. Working as a structural designer, I really crunch numbers -- dealing with mathematics in a daily basis -- on breakfast, lunch and supper. Now, it’s a chance for me to finally put my canon DSLR camera I bought less than a year ago into work. All I’ve wanted is to create a 360 degree viewer-interactive panoramic view of the beach.

I enjoyed my stay in the beach taking pictures of beautiful scenes in the surroundings. Mostly, my attention was focused on finding nice subjects for a photography lesson (I really want to learn photography) until I found something strange in the place; yes, really strange. Together with three other people, I saw a giant centipede about 2 feet in length. This unusual sighting took place in a place at the southern end of the beach. There is a small store in the area where we stood by for an hour savoring hot noodle soup. The time was almost 6 in the evening. We had an interesting conversation with the store owner when suddenly, coming from the grassy side of the store, a black and long fast moving creature moved towards our location. Thinking it was a snake, everybody panicked and struggled to find a safe place to avoid the moving creature. We can only guess, by its sudden appearance, that the creature might be in an attack mode. Once it was exposed to much illuminated portion of the ground as it moved toward us, we were sure what it was. We have a clear image of how it looked like; it has several feet. After a sort of short 'deliberation', we unanimously identified the creature as a giant centipede.

The next thing I knew was that I grabbed my camera for a shot. Unfortunately, my reflex was so slow: the centipede was nowhere to be found when I finally had my camera ready. It has already made its way towards a nearby pile of stones and wood. Had I made a successful shot, that could have been a shot of a lifetime. Imagine capturing a giant centipede on camera? Never did I find such a creature in books and in scientific television programs such as in National Geographic channel. A check with the internet, however, I found out that such a giant really exists. If that is the case, then I could be the one to first discover its existence in Alona Beach. There may be a lot of these giants hidden somewhere in the place underneath indisturbed by humans. That should remain undisturbed, anyway.

Shortly before leaving the beautiful Alona Beach after a three day stay, I was able to take a series of pictures with a vantage point in front of 'Sierra Madre Resort Hotel'. I setup my tripod at this vantage point and took pictures in clockwise direction. The results, below, are good but with a little problem: the camera was not properly aligned with the horizontal plane -- resulting to a sloping horizon. Bloggers who want to show pictures as viewer-interactive in their blogs may follow what I did with the pictures below:

Image Sequence# 01 Image Sequence# 02 Image Sequence# 03

Image Sequence# 04 Image Sequence# 05 Image Sequence# 06

Image Sequence# 07 Image Sequence# 08 Image Sequence# 09

Image Sequence# 10 Image Sequence# 11 Image Sequence# 12

Stitching the series of 12 images arranged in sequence above using the application 'ADG Panorama Tools' by Albatross Design Group, I finally created a simple yet astonishing Panoramic View of the Alona Beach Resort as viewed from my vantage point. The resulting panoramic image, however, has some noticeable image irregularities.

Irregularities that you may find in the resulting panoramic image include the following:
  1. The horizon appears to curve up and down as you pick and drag to navigate the 360 degree view of the panoramic image. This is the result when the camera mounted on a tripod is not properly aligned with the horizontal plane. ‘Image Sequence# 01’ to ‘Image Sequence# 04’ show sloping horizon gradually decreasing until it becomes totally horizontal in ‘Image Sequence# 05’.

  2. There is also a ghostly image of a woman that appears at the left side of the coconut tree. This is a problem when shooting moving subjects. The woman that appears at the right side of ‘Image Sequence# 06’ no longer exists at the left side of ‘Image Sequence# 07’ on the same location of each scene. When the program tries to stitch the two images, it has a hard time resolving pixels at the calculated stitch line.

A Panoramic View at ALONA BEACH, Panglao Island Bohol, Philippines

Pick and Drag to navigate through the Panorama

Note:

If you cannot view this content, please install Quick Time. And if you already have installed Quick Time and you are using Google Chrome and still cannot view this content, please right click on the image area. When a menu pops up, choose and click on 'Run this plugin' from the selection.

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Another blog post for Structural Engineers and Designers…

When I wrote and posted the VBA (Visual Basic for Application) Code for the analysis of eccentrically loaded bolt group in my blogpost, “Eccentrically Loaded Bolt Group: Analysis and Design using 'INSTANTANEOUS CENTER of ROTATION METHOD' with VBA for Excel Implementation”, I was aware of the difference between the values returned by the program and that of the table of C coefficients provided by AISC Steel Construction Manual. I never believed, however, that the values returned by the program are wrong. How could it be when the VBA code is based on the work by Crawford & Kulak as presented in AISC Steel Construction Manual 13th Edition, pages 7-6 to 7-8? Despite the differences, though, I still decided to post the VBA Code.

Not long afterwards, engineers who happened to follow my blog shared and expressed the same observations and 'demanded' an explanation. Here are some of their comments:
  1. Blog comment from Josh Gionfriddo, EIT, Structural Engineer, Structures Workshop, Inc. on November 19, 2010:

    Thanks for this great code. One thing though... The values in the AISC manual seem to hover around 98% of the values I get from your code. Any Idea why the differences?
  2. Comment from Gregory Vidgop via AISC SteelTOOLS on October 11, 2010:

    Hello Redem,
    Thank you so much for your effort in developing the very nice and useful program as "SteelPro". Just would like to ask you a simple question: why is the C coefficient for the bolt group analysis slightly different from the book value and C' coefficient is exactly right?

    Please let me know when your program will be finally issued or any revisions are planned in the future.
    Thank you again, Gregory
  3. Blog comment from Steven Vicha, P.E., Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. on February 9, 2011:

    Great code, but I have a couple of questions. In the code line "Rn = 74 * (1 - Exp(-10 * 0.34)) ^ 0.55" what is the 74? Also the answers are a little off from the tables, any idea why?
    I need to study it some more.

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Construction: A World Without OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Not too long ago a friend sent me a bunch of photographs of the Empire State Building taken while the building was being erected. Each picture came with appropriate caption talking about safety at work, more specifically at the construction site. Skimming and scanning the email over and over again convinced me once more how paramount safety is – not only in construction but in all fields of work. Disregarding safety guidelines at work (if there is any) will surely result to a loss of precious lives.

Here is a classic proof: Here in the Philippines where safety is not of primary concern by most contractors, at least 10 construction workers died at the construction site of a residential condominium in Makati City when the cables of the improvised elevator they were using snapped last January 27, 2011, causing the gondola to collapsed mid-air. Accidents like this are common in the Philippines for lack of stringent safety regulations and implementation. Construction workers are also to blame for often violating safety regulations despite the warnings from their supervisors. Later, an investigation found the cause of the accident as overloading. The ill-fated elevator is only good for 3 persons; but during the time of the accident, a total of 11 persons were inside the gondola. The investigation also found some violations such as: lack of permit to operate the elevator and lack of safety devices. In addition, the 11 workers were found not wearing helmets and harnesses as mandated by safety regulations.

When I started working as structural designer (specializing in connection design) in an American company, I learned that their concern for safety extends beyond construction: it applies to both engineering and design. In the design of connection, for example, the outcome of the design is dictated not by strength requirements alone but also by safety requirements. Safety dictates provisions for the minimum requirements in the design of connections and other structures. Provisions for a ‘safety construction’ is already incorporated and long been decided during the engineering and design stage of the structure. All these are provided for and mandated by OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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A 'SERIOUS' Solution to Political Killings in Masbate Province

A blog post for fellow MasbateƱos.

The killing of Arturo Maristela, the vice mayor of Aroroy, Masbate, has once again established and fortified the province as the political killing capital of the Philippines (forget about Maguindanao). Gunned down by a motorcycle-riding tandem last January 4, 2010 at West Fairview, Quezon City, Vice Mayor Arturo Maristela is a victim of another premeditated and politically motivated assassination. According to supporters he was killed because he left his party-mates and shifted to the rival party. He was a potential candidate for congressional post in his district in the forthcoming 2013 elections.

The vice mayor’s killing, when contrasted with the late Congressman Fausto Seachon’s assassination in 2005, established a similar and familiar pattern. The late vice mayor and the late congressman shared somewhat parallel fate: both were killed approximately two years ahead of elections in their respective time. The motive of the killings, supporters alleged, was to preclude election victory. They were both killed in the places where and when they are most vulnerable – away from their respective turfs. In Masbate, hearing news of killings like this, especially during elections, is nothing but a routine, a way of life, an ordinary event for us MasbateƱos.

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Pio V. Corpus WATER SYSTEM PROBLEM & RAM PUMPS

I received a comment on my previous blogpost, ‘My Hometown Pio V. Corpus: POLITICS GONE WRONG’. The comment writer, presumably, is a fellow citizen in my hometown Pio V. Corpus, a kababayan. He calls me ‘Bai’ which means ‘friend’ in Bisayan dialect. His comment is in a form of question and not directly related to my blogpost. He asked about the pros and cons regarding the use of ram pump to assist water distribution in my town. Here he goes:

Bai,
What would be the pros and cons of using a ram pump or a glockeman pump to assist water distribution of the manaay spring to poblacion Pio V. Corpus?
And here is my answer:

If you think installing ram pumps at the Manaay reservoir to assist water distribution to poblacion would solve the water supply shortage of the town – then, from an engineering point of view, you are wrong. But before I will tell you the how’s and why’s, here’s a little backgrounder of the Manaay reservoir.

The Manaay reservoir is small concrete catchment
Enlarge The Manaay reservoir is sorrounded with several small springs. The picture above is just one of those. The water flowing from these springs are pure; free of pollution. These springs are the main sources of drinking water. The dowstream side serves as laundry area.
tank built at the downstream side of Sitio Manaay spring. It collects and stores water from the spring and conveys it to the town’s water distribution system via a single 6” pipeline spanning between Manaay and Poblacion more than two kilometers in length. The spring is an abundant source of drinking water that it could supply at least three towns the size of poblacion Pio V. Corpus. The volume of water delivered by the spring is so huge that only a fraction of the spring’s output is necessary to fill the catchment tank. The spring is situated at the forested area at the hills of sitio Manaay about 2 kilometers south of poblacion. By virtue of its elevation, about 50 meters[for verification] above sea level, the reservoir has a built-in source of potential energy more than enough for distribution. No further pumping is necessary as gravity alone would be sufficient to do the job.

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Eccentrically Loaded Bolt Group: ONLINE COEFFICIENT CALCULATOR

This post is a link redirected from an article/document I wrote and submitted to AISC (American Institute Steel Construction) Steel Tools


Here is another post for Structural Designers specializing Connection Design. Non-engineers may opt to skip reading this post. They might find this blogpost not interesting.

Topics on INSTANTANEOUS CENTER OF ROTATION method on bolted connection design are very scarce on the internet. Scarce as it may seem, the design of bolted connections using ICR Method is very cumbersome: an engineer needs a table of bolt coefficients to calculate strength of a Bolt Group. In my previous post, Eccentrically Loaded Bolt Group: Analysis and Design using 'INSTANTANEOUS CENTER of ROTATION METHOD' with VBA for Excel Implementation, I dealt with how the method offers both ease and difficulty in bolted connection design. Then, in an attempt to help fellow engineers in the same field surpass the same design problem, I provided in the same post a Visual Basic Code that calculates the instantaneous center of an eccentrically loaded bolt group that eventually calculates the bolt coefficient, C. The code is a VBA implementation that runs in Microsoft Excel Environment.

Not satisfied with the Visual Basic Code alone running in Excel, I thought of running the code within my blogpost. It took me at least one week of research, which includes studying the structures of Javascript and VBScript, before I finally come up with the design of this calculator. I opted for VBScript as the code for instantaneous center of rotation I did earlier is written in Visual Basic; it only needed some few tweaks. Before deciding to write this post, I searched the internet for similar program. I found one in WebCivil.com but is not fully functional: you need to buy a license to be able to use the program.

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My Hometown Pio V. Corpus: POLITICS GONE WRONG

I got a chance talking to my father when I went home for a 6-day vacation during the all-saints and the all-souls days. We talked about almost all topics that came to his mind. His most favorite topic, however, is politics. And when talking about politics, he would always talk about the local politics - the politics in my hometown Pio V. Corpus, the hometown of a good man: the late Congressman Fausto Seachon Jr.

Here’s a glimpse of my hometown’s local politics based on my father's account:

On the night of August 14, 2010, day one of the 3-day town’s annual fiesta, something bizarre took place at the town plaza. Uninvited, the governor of Masbate province, the Honorable Dayan Seachon-Lanete, out from nowhere, emerged and materialized at the town plaza in the middle of the coronation night program. My father recounted that somebody from the fiesta organizer announced and acknowledged the presence of the governor over the microphone. The governor, together with security escorts, made a dramatic entrance into the plaza by tossing money unto the crowd virtually turning them into animals in feeding frenzy struggling to catch the bills on the air and on the ground.

Aside from tossing money, the governor copied Korina Sanchez’s Rated K’s ‘Handog Tsinelas Campaign’ by giving away slippers to the crowd. The only dissimilarity from the Rated K’s campaign is that while Korina gives away slippers only to those who don’t own one or those who could not afford to buy one, the governor is giving the slippers away indiscriminately to the crowd. A certain Teofila Letrago, who was with the crowd, criticized the way the governor is giving away the slippers. Yeah, she has all the right to protest the governor’s action as she claimed to have been hit on the head by a flying pair of slippers tossed by the governor’s party. The governor, however, apologized for Teofila’s misfortune.

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