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Friday, September 30, 2011

typhoon pedring (international name NESAT) batters the philippines

(All photos are not mine. Credit goes to their respectful owners)
Photo of Roxas Boulevard at the height of Typhoon pedring
Typhoon Pedring - Roxas Blvd.
Debris scattered around Mall of Asia’s South Wing. Tsk tsk. I wonder how much damage businesses will suffer from these?

Typhoon Pedring - Mall of Asia

The scene outside Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila on Pedro Gil St. which was also affected by the floods

Typhoon Pedring - Pedro Gil St.
Fallen trees like these are a common sight on the roads.

Typhoon Pedring
Most people had to go through waist-deep waters

Roxas Boulevard after Pedring Roxas Boulevard after Pedring

What happened with Pedring was totally unimaginable. As Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said, even century-old trees were toppled down.
This is a sample of the seawall that collapsed due to a “storm surge” that sent tsunami-like waves into the main road
After Pedring - Roxas Boulevard

Ask the Manila city government now how you can donate relief goods for the various evacuation centers. Our displaced countrymen needs your help.

Roxas Boulevard - life as usual!
Roxas Boulevard - foggy!

What is the state of Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon now that Typhoon Pedring (international name Nesat) is on its way out of the Philippines? Take a look at these pictures.

(Photo credit: Reuters)

Evacuation centers get crowded with families who have lost their homes due to the typhoon

(Photo credit:

Residents clean up debris washed ashore by the storm surges on Manila Bay

(Photo credit: Izumi Chan, Bayan Mo Ipatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula)

Major establishments such as Sofitel and SM Mall of Asia get damaged by the flood

(Photo credit:

LRT and MRT resume operations

(Photo credit:

Some private and government facilities like Philippine General Hospital still flooded

(Photo credit: Patricia Evangelista’s Twitter @patevangelista)

So many people lined up, waiting for SM North to open


Some areas in Metro Manila and Luzon still affected by brownout


PAL resume operations on selected domestic and international flights (from @flyPAL Twitter)


Classes and offices resume on some parts of Metro Manila

And the worst part is, death toll rises to 19 and 35 are reported missing.

Even though Typhoon Pedring is now leaving the country, we should remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions now that there’s another upcoming storm named Typhoon Quiel. It is expected to enter the country within 24 hours.
Debris from collapsed seawall portion along Roxas Blvd due to Typhoon Pedring
One of the heavily hit areas is along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard when part of the seawall collapsed due to the storm surge instantly flooding the streets and establishments with water coming from Manila Bay.
Here are some more photos on what Typhoon Pedring brought us.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Sabah is a territory that lies on the northwest section of the huge island of Borneo. It has an area of about 29, 388 square miles. It includes the islands of Banggi and Balembangan, also in the northwest of Borneo.

Prior to the year 1704, according to available historical accounts, Sabah belonged to the Sultan of Brunei. According to some historical accounts, a war over the right of succession to the sultanate of Brunei occurred on or about 1704 among brothers or cousins. A leader of one of the warring groups went to the Sultan of Sulu for assistance. The Sultan of Sulu dispatched a force to help him. The Suluanos proved once again their prowess. They won and firmly established their man in the sultanate. This Sultan of Brunei ceded Sabah as a reward to the Sultan of Sulu, who exercised sovereign rule over it.

As a consequence, the Sultan of Sulu exercised influence, if not dominion, over the territory extending from the Sulu archipelago southwestward to Sabah and northward and eastward to Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon. This was the condition of the country when the western colonizers, principally Spain, arrived in this part of the world. .
It should be noted that Spain, Great Britain, and other European countries through a series of treaties recognized the title of the Sultan of Sulu over Sabah.

In January 1878, Baron von Overbeck, Austrian Consul General in Hongkong, traveled to Sulu to negotiate with the Sultan of Sulu for the lease of Sabah. William Treacher, the acting British Consul General in Labuan Island -- a part of Borneo -- accompanied Overbeck.

Evidently, Overbeck entered into this negotiation for the lease of Sabah on behalf of Alfred Dent, an English merchant, who advanced 10, 000 English pound for the venture.

Historical records revealed that at the time of the negotiation a Spanish expeditionary force under Captain General Malcampo was dispatched against Jamalul Alam, the Sultan of Sulu. Overbeck employed this circumstance to pressure the Sultan of Sulu to agree to lease Sabah to Alfred Dent for a rental of 5,000 Malaysian dollars a year.

The contract, which carried the date of January 1878, was drafted by Overbeck and written in the Malaysian language and in Arabic characters. The contract used the Malaysian word "padjak" to describe the nature of the agreed transaction. The British and the Malaysians claimed that the word "padjak" meant "sale or cession" and not "lease." But scholars and Spanish documents translated the word "padjak" to mean the English word "lease", or the Spanish word "arrendamiento."

After getting the contract from the Sultan of Sulu, Alfred Dent organized the "British North Borneo Company". He then applied for a Royal Charter from the British government.
In his Statement and Application for a Royal Charter, which he submitted to the Marquis of Salisbury, K. C., the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Alfred Dent described the exact nature of the contract and the scope of the powers of the British North Borneo Company. After the Company received its Royal Charter, the Spanish Crown and Dutch Government rendered their protests against the grant of a Royal Charter to the British North Borneo Company. Lord Earl Granville, the British Foreign Minister, disclaimed any intention of the British Crown to assume either dominion or sovereignty over Sabah and categorically stated that "sovereignty remain vested in the Sultan."

From official English documents, it would appear that the British North Borneo Company was no more than a mere administrator of the Sabah territory. Although it exercised rights of control over the area, it did so by delegation of the Sultan of Sulu. The British North Borneo Company had no sovereign authority over the territory. The sovereign power remained in the person and hands of the Sultan of Sulu.

In 1888, the Company entered purportedly into an agreement with the British Government. By virtue of this purported 1888 agreement, the Company placed a so-called State of North Borneo under the protection of the British Crown.

Then in 1903, the British North Borneo Company entered into a confirmatory deed with the Sultan of Sulu. This confirmatory deed included areas not covered by the deed of 1878.

Just six days after the independence of the Philippines in 1946, the British Crown entered into a contract with the British North Borneo Company. Under this contract, the British North Borneo Company transferred to the British Crown all its rights to the State of North Borneo. It was clearly stated that "the intent" of the contract was "that the Crown shall, as from the day of the transfer, have full sovereign rights over and title to the territory of the State of North Borneo and that said territory shall thereupon be part of the Crown's dominion."

Sixteen years later, on June 22,1962, the Philippines filed her claim over Sabah with the United Kingdom. The Philippines asserted sovereignty , jurisdiction, and proprietary ownership over Sabah as successor-in-interest to the Sultan of Sulu.

In describing the importance of the Philippine claim over Sabah, then Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, who was concurrent Secretary of Foreign Affairs under President Diosdado Macapagal, said:
“THE PHILIPPINE CLAIM to North Borneo (Sabah) deserves, and indeed demands, the most serious consideration by all concerned. It involves three of the highest and most vital interests affecting the existence and well being of the State. These interests are sovereign rights, national security , and the peace and freedom of the geographical area in which it is situated.

"No State worthy of its independence and its responsibilities, both to its own people and to the world at large, can set these interests lightly aside. And they are far too important to be disregarded with impunity by any community of States in this age of supreme concern for the maintenance of the rule of law.

"The Philippine claim to North Borneo affects profoundly the stability of the entire region of Southeast Asia. Failure to recognize its importance and to settle it justly and expeditiously can set in a train of developments of far-reaching consequences in this part of the world."

A meeting was held in London from January 28,1963 to February 1, 1963, between a Philippine panel and a British panel over the Philippine Sabah claim. The Philippine panel was led by Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, who was concurrent Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The others panel were Salvador P. Lopez, Vice Chairman and Secretary of National Defense Macario Peralta, Secretary of Justice Juan Liwag, Senator Raul Manglapus, Congressman Godofredo P. Ramos, Congressman Jovito R. Salonga, and Ambassador Eduardo Quintero, as members. Evidently, nothing much was accomplished in that meeting.

Following the formation of the Federation of Malaysia and the subsequent confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia, a conference was held in Manila from June 7 to 11, 1963. This was a conference of the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Malaysia and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. The result of this conference was the so-called Manila Accord of 1963.

In the Manila Accord, it was clearly stated that the inclusion of North Borneo or the State of Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia was subject to and would not prejudice the Philippine claim over Sabah. The Philippines could pursue its claim in accordance with international law and the principle of pacific settlement of disputes. The three countries also agreed to exert their best efforts to settle the claim in a just and expeditious manner through negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, or any other peaceful means the parties would choose in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Bandung Declarations. It would seem that nothing much happened after these lofty pronouncements.

On Malaysia Day on September 16, 1963, the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Malaysia were severed. This political condition between the two countries remained until 1966 when they agreed to restore and resume their diplomatic relations. Both countries agreed in their June 1966 communique to abide by the Manila Accord of July 31,1963. Again both countries reiterated the peaceful settlement of the Philippine claim to Sabah.

As an offshoot of the so-called "Jabida Massacre", the political relations between Malaysia and the Philippines were again suspended in 1968. This was restored once more on December 16, 1969 after Ambassador Romeo Busuego, envoy of President Marcos, talked to the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Malaysian Government. In fact, Ambassador Busuego was the one appointed ambassador of the Philippines to Malaysia at that time.

In 1973, President Marcos asked the Constitution Convention of 1970 to modify the constitutional definition of the territory of the Philippines. As a consequence, the definition of the territory of the Philippines under the 1973 Constitution included "all territories belonging to the Philippines by historic right or legal title." This phrase was subsequently deleted when President Corazon C. Aquino caused the adoption of her sponsored 1987 Constitution.

President Corazon C. Aquino and President Fidel V. Ramos opted to shelve the Philippine claim to Sabah. This was largely triggered by their desire to foster and improve the bilateral relations of the Philippines with Malaysia. This was also the strategy adopted by the current administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

This policy of appeasement and subservience seems to have brought us no tangible benefit. Instead, it brought great prejudice and embarrassment to our country and misery to some of our countrymen.

Speech delivered by Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile before the University of the East College of Arts and Sciences, Legal Management and Political Science Society Symposium on September 30, 2002 at the University of the East Conference Hall.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Typhoon Pedring exits Luzon, leaves 18 people dead

(Updated 8:54 a.m., Sept. 28) Typhoon Pedring (international codename Nesat) left a path of destruction and at least 18 people dead as it crossed northern Luzon and exited to the West Philippine Sea on Tuesday, officials said.

Mass transport was disrupted and millions of residents were left without power as strong winds and incessant rains battered a large swathe of Luzon including Metro Manila, one of the areas placed under Signal No. 2 since Monday afternoon.

The Storm Signal over Metro Manila was lifted 5 a.m. Wednesday by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

"Typhoon Nesat pounded the Philippines' main island, lashing crop-growing provinces and bringing the capital to a near standstill as it flooded roads, cut power supplies and closed financial markets, government offices, transport and schools," according to a report from Reuters.

The powerful typhoon roared across dozens of provinces within a 650-km radius.

This satellite image shows the intensity of Typhoon Pedring as is exits Luzon. PAGASA
Casualties from Luzon

"Pedring" left 16 people in Luzon dead as it moved toward the West Philippine Sea, Office of Civil Defense administrator Undersecretary Benito Ramos said in an update Tuesday evening.

A 6 a.m. Wednesday report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the death toll from Pedring rose to 18.

Five of the casualties came from the National Capital Region, six from Region III, two from Region V, and one each from Regions I, II, and IV-A. "Karamihan dito ‘yung nadaganan ng kahoy na natumba," he explained.

Four fishermen remain missing — two of them from Marinduque, one from Camarines Norte, and another from Camarines Sur, the Civil Defense official said.

Government has rescued 109 individuals, Ramos added.

Meralco customers left without power

Dina Lomotan, spokesperson of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), said many areas in the capital and nearby provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan suffered outages as strong winds damaged power lines and uprooted dozens of trees.

She said an estimated 1.9 million or “almost close to half" of Meralco’s customers were left without power as the storm swept through the capital and surrounding provinces.

“We’re patrolling the lines... once a section is cleared, we restore the power to that circuit," she said. Lomotan added that Meralco personnel are working round-the-clock in affected areas, but could not say when electricity will be fully restored.

Huge waves pounded the seawall and destroyed the concrete barrier along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, flooding the major thoroughfare and submerging parked cars. A storm surge in Manila Bay inundated several buildings along its shoreline including the US embassy and the 5-star Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel.

In Marikina, some 5,000 residents were forced to leave their homes after the local government raised the highest alarm as the Marikina River swelled to more than 18 meters due to continuous rains from the powerful typhoon.

In Makati, howling winds toppled billboards that blocked roads and crushed one vehicle.

In the province of Isabela, where “Pedring" made landfall shortly before dawn Tuesday, an estimated P490 million worth of crops was destroyed by the powerful storm, Isabela Governor Faustino Dy said.

Storm alerts lowered

In its 5 a.m. bulletin Wednesday, PAGASA said "Pedring" maintained its strength of 120-kph maximum winds near the center after exiting Luzon and was last spotted over the West Philippine Sea.

"Pedring" is expected to be at 500 km northwest of Baguio City by Wednesday afternoon, PAGASA said.

Storm alerts have been lowered in a number of areas but PAGASA warned that the southwest monsoon would still pose danger to residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas.

As of the 5 a.m. bulletin there were no more areas under Storm Signal No. 3 (101-185 kph winds) in PAGASA's storm alerts:

Signal No. 2 (60-100 kph winds)
  • La Union
  • Pangasinan
  • Zambales

Signal No. 1 (45-60 kph winds)
  • Bataan
  • Pampanga
  • Tarlac
  • Ilocos Sur
  • Abra
  • Ilocos Norte
  • Benguet
The storm will continue to dump up to 25-mm of rain per hour in the worst affected areas.

PAGASA said only 121.4 mm of rainfall were recorded in Quezon City since Tuesday morning, less than half of the 341 mm dumped by Tropical Storm Ondoy over Metro Manila in 2009 during its first six hours. — With reports from Andreo Calonzo, Mark Merueñas, and Earl Victor Rosero/PE/YA/VS/RSJ, GMA News

Typhoon "Pedring" floods Manila

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Manila residents waded through waist-deep floodwaters and dodged flying debris Tuesday as a powerful typhoon struck the Philippines, killing at least 12 people and sending waves as tall as palm trees crashing over seawalls.

Most deaths occurred in metropolitan Manila, which already was soaked by heavy monsoon rains ahead of Typhoon Nesat's arrival with more downpours and wind gusts of up to 93 mph (150 kph). Downtown areas along Manila Bay suffered their worst flooding in decades.

Pounding rains obscured the view of anyone on the streets as soldiers and police scrambled to safely evacuate thousands of people in low-lying areas, where rivers and the sea spilled into shanties, hospitals, swanky hotels and even the seaside U.S. Embassy compound.

"It's flooded everywhere. We don't have a place to go for shelter. Even my motorcycle got filled with water," said motorist Ray Gonzales, one of thousands stranded by fast-rising floodwater.

The massive flooding came exactly a day after this sprawling, coastal city of 12 million held two-year commemorations for the nearly 500 people killed during a 2009 cyclone, which dumped a month's rainfall in just 12 hours. The geography of the archipelago makes it a welcome mat for about 20 storms and typhoons from the Pacific each year.

Some residents acted more quickly this time to evacuate homes as waters rose, including in the Manila suburb of Marikina where 2,000 people escaped the swelling river by flocking to an elementary school, carrying pets, TV sets, bags of clothes and bottled water.

"We can replace things, but not people's lives," said janitor Banny Domanais, arriving at the school with his wife and three young daughters.

Typhoon Nesat hit ashore before dawn Tuesday in eastern provinces and headed inland just north of Manila with up to an inch of rain per hour, half that of the storm two years ago, said government forecaster Samuel Duran.

Emergency workers evacuated river areas in Manila that are notorious for flooding. In all, authorities ordered more than 100,000 people across the country to shelter from the storm's sustained winds of up to 75 mph (120 kph) and its rains — dropping from an immense 400-mile (650-kilometer) cloud band.

Along downtown Manila's historic baywalk, cars and buses were stuck and residents struggled through floodwater as waves washed over the seawall, turning a six-lane highway into a huge brown river. Sidewalks and buildings entrances were swamped.

In the financial district of Makati, a billboard fell on two cars and a bus, causing injuries.

Neck-deep waters on the ground floor of the Manila Hospital forced staff to move patients to higher floors and flooded generators left the facility without power, spokeswoman Evangeline Morales said.

Soldiers and police in trucks moved thousands of residents, mostly women and children, from the Baseco shanty facing Manila port after many houses were washed away. Male family members were reluctant to leave, saying they wanted to guard their property.

The Philippine Stock Exchange and U.S. Embassy were closed.

Waters at the gates of the embassy compound reached chest-deep, and staff were told to stay home, spokeswoman Tina Malone said.

"There was some flooding in the embassy. I don't know the extent. I'm not there right now," Malone said.

Benito Ramos, a retired army general who heads the Office of Civil Defense, said authorities were still assessing the damage as the typhoon continued to pummel some areas of the country. He said it was heartwarming to see Filipinos remaining calm amid the unfolding crisis.

"We see people on the roofs of their houses drinking gin and smiling and waving," Ramos said. "Such resiliency helps them get by in stressful times."

Seasonal monsoon rains ahead of the typhoon plus winds pushing seawater inland had worsened the situation, forecaster Duran told the AP. "Land is saturated with rain so the next rain became run-off and was already floodwater," he said.

The wind sent storm surges over an embankment that then trapped water on the city side so that it "couldn't flow back to the bay," said Francis Tolentino, chairman of Metro Manila Development Authority.

President Benigno Aquino III, on a state visit to Japan, told Associated Press Television News he was confident that authorities were adequately responding to flooding. He said he believed power would be restored to most of the Philippine capital by Tuesday afternoon.

He said in an earlier statement that the government had carried out preventive evacuations, and that nearly half of the Luzon areas served by the main power distributor were without electricity due to short circuits caused by high winds.

The first reported death was a 1-year-old boy who drowned in the central island province of Catanduanes after falling into a creek, the government disaster agency reported. As the typhoon's winds lashed metropolitan Manila, a mother and child were killed when their house was hit by a falling tree, and four were reported killed by a collapsing wall.

Two others drowned, while a man was buried in a landslide in Olongapo west of Manila and another died in traffic collision. A 9-year-old girl was pinned to death when a tree fell on a house in Pampanga province, north of Manila, said regional disaster-response official Josefina Timeteo said.

Four fishermen were missing while more than 50 others were rescued along eastern shores after their boats overturned in choppy seas. Forecasters warned of 12-foot-high (4-meter-high) waves.

The storm was expected to leave the Philippines late Tuesday and head into the South China Sea toward southern China.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Captivating Calle Crisologo

Cafe Leona Vigan Lunch -007.jpg
The most beautiful street in the Philippines can be found in Vigan -- Calle Crisologo.
It was restored to its pre-war beauty with its cobbled streets and old Spanish houses. It is the only town during World War II that was saved from destruction because of a love story.
Legend has it that a Japanese General, who married a Filipina in Vigan, promised the parish priest that he would save the town from destruction from the retreating Japanese if he would agree to take care of his family.
It is not only a preserved historical street like the ones in Intramuros, but it is full of life, especially during the Festival of the Arts.
Cafe Leona Vigan Lunch -006.jpg
Leona Florentino welcomes you to Calle Crisologo.
She is considered as the "mother of Philippine women's literature" and the "bridge from oral to literary tradition" (wikipedia)
In the Philippine Historical Committee 1958 marker, she is described as:
"Foremost Ilocano poetress,
subtle satirist and playwright. Born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur 19
April 1849. Daughter of Marcelino Florentino and Isabel Florentino and mother of the late Isabelo de los Reyes. Distant cousin of Rizal. A poet at the age of ten. Her
works in Spanish and Ilocano
were later exhibited in the
'Exposicion General de Filipinas', Madrid, 1887 and in the 'Exposition Internationale', Paris
1889. Her name with a list
of some of her works appeared in the 'Bibliotheque Internationale des Quevres des Femmes', edited by Madame Andzia Wolkska, 1889. Died 4 October 1884."

Calle Crisologo-13.jpgWalking along Calle Crisologo is a must for every Filipino seeking to understand our heritage.

Calle Crisologo-42.jpg Calle Crisologo-41.jpg
Calle Crisologo is one of the streets in the Philippines where you can still see and ride an actual calesa. In Manila, you can also do this in Intramuros or Binondo.
Abel Iloko weave is also another signature trademark of Vigan. Simple hand towels are made elegant because of the weave.  Most Filipinos buy the table runners, hand towels and the blankets.
(Prices change depending on how well you negotiate. :) )

Calle Crisologo-39.jpgCalle Crisologo is also home to souvenir shops and interesting Filipino products, like this colorful walis tambo.

Calle Crisologo-51.jpgLucy's is the last remaining Antique Shop in Vigan.

Calle Crisologo-57.jpgDr. Vasquez (of Cafe Juanita) introduced me to the world of antiques and showed me how to distinguish a vintage one from a reproduction.

Calle Crisologo-47.jpgIt was awesome to see him negotiate with Lucy for this antique carnival glass.

Lucy's Antique Shop
#14 Crisologo St., Heritage Village, Vigan City Ilocos Sur
Contact Person: Lucila C. Barba
Telephone: +63 917 5680051
Email address:
Calle Crisologo-28.jpg Calle Crisologo-26.jpg
Calle Crisologo is photogenic in any angle. During the fiesta, they sometimes put up 3D photo walls to add to the fun.

Calle Crisologo-43.jpgStreet food like fishballs become enjoyable because of the street ambiance.

Calle Crisologo-17.jpgDirty ice cream too!

Cafe Leona Vigan Lunch -008.jpgCafe Leona is the landmark restaurant along Calle Crisologo because it is near the plaza. The ambiance is uniquely Vigan, but the food is just OK.

Calle Crisologo-36.jpgCommercialized restaurants like Mang Inasal are required to keep the old Spanish town facade.

Calle Crisologo-11.jpgThe best time to visit is during Vigan's Festival of the Arts (around May 1) where the entire street is adorned with Abel Iloko weave and the locals compete for the best Vigan House Abel Decorations.

Calle Crisologo (Binatbatan)-84.jpgAlso, during this fiesta, don't miss the Binatbatan Street Dance Festival and the Calesa Parade.

Binatbatan Festival

Calle Crisologo (Binatbatan)-94.jpgThe street dance honors the making of Abel Iloko (woven cloth), a traditional craft in Vigan.

Calle Crisologo (Binatbatan)-106.jpg"Batbat" is the first step in making the "Abel" weave, where Ilocanos beat the cotton pods with two bamboo sticks to separate the seeds from the fluff.

Calle Crisologo (Binatbatan)-104.jpg 
The street dance showcases the vibrant colors of the weave, which is distinctly Vigan!

Calesa Parade
Calle Crisologo (Kalesa Parade)-71.jpgThe Calesa Parade is a must-watch for kids. Themed calesas (like this one, honoring the Sinait Garlic of Ilocos Sur) march down the street to the delight of onlookers.

Calle Crisologo (Kalesa Parade)-79.jpgThe participants are quite creative with their 3D displays, and they are getting more competitive each year.

Calle Crisologo (Kalesa Parade)-83.jpgMy personal favorite. :) It is like a diorama on a calesa.

Calle Crisologo Nights
The best part of the Calle Crisologo experience is enjoying a cold San Miguel Premium or Cerveza Negra to cap the day.
Don't leave Vigan without experiencing Calle Crisologo at night!
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