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Monday, December 31, 2012

They left us in 2012, Filipinos who made their mark

One faded away and left a legacy of laughs, while another departed abruptly, tragically, leaving a shining moral example. They came from the fields of arts, politics, and media, and their exits made news in 2012.
We remember the ways they changed the country, in the order in which they left us in 2012.
1. Iggy Arroyo
July 15, 1951 - January 26, 2012
Iggy Arroyo, former Congressman of Negros Occidental and younger brother of former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, passed away in London, where he was receiving treatment for his liver ailment. 
Iggy Arroyo became widely known in 2003 when the controversy erupted over the multi-million peso Jose Pidal account, believed to be owned by the former First Gentleman. At a court hearing, Iggy claimed, to the disbelief of many, that he owned the account.
2. Benjamin Romualdez
September 24, 1930 – February 21, 2012
Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, former Governor of Leyte and younger brother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, died of cancer.
During the Marcos regime, Romualdez was appointed ambassador to China, Saudi Arabia and the United States while serving as Leyte governor.
He was also involved in running a slew of companies, banks and utilities seized by the Marcos regime during martial law. He tended to use his influence quietly and without fanfare while his older sister Imelda became a flamboyant international symbol of excess, a previous report said.
3. Horacio Morales
September 11, 1943 – February 29, 2012 
Former activist and Agrarian Reform Secretary Horacio "Boy" Morales Jr. died two months after suffering a heart attack while playing golf in Baguio City. 
Morales was former President Joseph Estrada ’s campaign strategist and agrarian reform secretary. 
He joined the Communist Party of the Philippines in the 1970s and became an active member of the underground movement until his arrest in 1982. He ran for senator shortly after the EDSA-1 People Power revolution but lost in the election.
"RIP (rest in peace), our friend Boy Morales, nakasama namin sa paglaban kay GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo)," Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr. said on Twitter.
4. Isagani Yambot
November 16, 1934 – March 2, 2012
Isagani Yambot, veteran Philippine newsman and publisher of Philippine Daily Inquirer, died of a heart attack.
Yambot became publisher of the Inquirer in 1994. Even outside his organization, Yambot was a respected media leader. 
After witnessing many changes in media during his career, Yambot never failed to remind younger journalists that while the tools of the trade have evolved, the profession's bedrock values were timeless: truthfulness, fairness, non-partisanship, courage. 
"We believe it is no exaggeration to say the entire fourth estate wished Isagani Yambot well, as he underwent cardiac bypass surgery. It has come as a profound shock to hear his bereaved family announce his passing. He writes 30 at a time when the newspaper he had worked with for so long, was enjoying unparalleled public trust and popularity," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a Palace statement.
"He was a calm, cheerful presence not only in the newsroom and boardroom of his paper, but in every gathering of note among journalists and between media, civil society, and government. His was a voice of passion yet reason; the loss of his presence will be felt deeply by a nation that knows all a newsman can ask for, in the end, is this simple epitaph: he wrote it, as he saw it, with honest words and with his only master, the truth," Valte concluded.
5. Luis Gonzales
August 8, 1928 – March 15, 2012
Luis Gonzales, a stalwart of Sampaguita Pictures, died of pneumonia.
Gonzales had appeared in films opposite Gloria Romero and the late Nida Blanca (Dorothy Jones).
He was a versatile actor, appearing in action, comedy, drama, musical and romance films in the 1950s and 1960s. Among the films he starred in were “Bumunot Ka't Lumaban” (1964), “Colegiala” (1957), “Nagkita si Kerubin at Tulisang Pugot” (1954), “Just Married, Do Not Disturb” (1972) and “Winter Holiday” (1972).
6. Angelo Castro, Jr.
March 6, 1945 – April 5, 2012
Veteran broadcast journalist Angelo Castro Jr. passed away after battling lung cancer for several years. Castro was a longtime news anchor at ABS-CBN, and was seen on the late evening news as the main anchor of the news program The World Tonight.
In a statement posted on the government's website, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said: "We mourn the passing of Angelo Castro Jr. For many years he was a calm and reassuring presence on the late evening news. His passing marks the closing of an era of gentlemanly broadcasting, where erudition and dignity were the hallmarks of news and current affairs."
"Castro joined ABS-CBN in 1986 when it re-opened after the EDSA revolution. Since that time, ACJ has been our boss, mentor, top anchor, colleague, friend and leader in many ways," ANC said in a statement posted on the network's news website.
7. Mario O'Hara
April 20, 1946 – died 26 June 2012
Mario O'Hara, award-winning director, died of leukemia. He was known for his films “Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos” (1976), “Condemned” (1984), “Bulaklak ng City Jail” (1984), and “Babae sa Breakwater” (2003).
He was also known for writing award-winning screenplays such as “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” (1974) and “Insiang” (1976), directed by National Artist for Film Lino Brocka. His final film was the 2010 Cinemalaya film, “Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio,” which featured Alfred Vargas as the Supremo.
He also wrote“Stage Show,” a musical in Tanghalang Pilipino's 26th season.
King of Comedy Dolphy
Photo courtesy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines
8. Dolphy
July 25, 1928 – July 10, 2012
"King of Comedy" Rodolfo Vera Quizon died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and multiple organ failure. 
Dolphy starred in over 200 movies, including several reprising his lovable lead character in John en Marsha, a popular, long-running television show.
Dolphy is also famous for playing gay characters in movies like “Facifica Falayfay” (1969), “Fefita Fofongay, Sarhento Fofongay” (1973), “A... Ewan” (Oh…I Don’t Know) (1974), “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay” (My Dad The Mom) (1978), and “Markova: Comfort Gay” (2001).
Dolphy received his FAMAS Best Actor award in 1978 for his role in the movie “Omeng Satanasia,” which was produced by RVQ Productions.
For their roles in “Markova: Comfort Gay”, Dolphy and his children Eric and Jeffrey Quizon received the Prix de la Meilleure Interpretation award – the equivalent of a Best Actor Award – in Brussels, Belgium.
Jesse Robredo Photo by Anna Mae Lamentillo
9. Jesse Robredo
May 27, 1958 – August 18, 2012
Jesse Robredo, former Interior and Local Government Secretary, died in a plane crash off Masbate. Robredo was known as a good governance guru and ideal family man. He was a Dangal ng Bayan awardee, the highest government award given to government officials or employees for exemplary public service.
“The most important ingredient of leadership is character. Most of the proficiencies can be learned, but what's inside you is something that's difficult to change,” Robredo once said in a television documentary.
When he was appointed as DILG secretary in 2010, Robredo drummed up public support for the Full Disclosure Policy, which required local government units to disclose in public places the 12 key financial documents that show how their funds are spent.
"Hindi rin sapat na tayo ay mahusay lamang. Hindi lahat ng matino ay mahusay, at lalo namang hindi lahat ng mahusay ay matino,” he was fond of telling colleagues, according to the DILG website. “Ang dapat ay matino at mahusay upang karapat-dapat tayong pagkatiwalaan ng pera ng bayan.”
10. Jun 'Bote' Bautista
1939 -  September 25, 2012
Veteran television reporter Augurio Bautista Camu Jr., died after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Known as Jun Bautista in the media, he fit the image of the hard-nosed, irreverent reporter. "Walang sinasanto," was how one colleague remembered him. 
He covered the Senate for years and was known for his professionalism, sharp news sense, and geniality. He was named Reporter of the Year in 1997 by the Rotary Club of Manila.
Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya Photo by Wig Tysmans
11. Marilou Diaz-Abaya
March 30, 1955 – October 8, 2012
Multi-awarded film director Marilou Diaz-Abayapassed away after a long battle with breast cancer
Among Abaya's critically acclaimed movies was “Jose Rizal” (1998), which won numerous awards in that year's Metro Manila Film Festival, including Best Picture. She also directed other notable Filipino movies like “Karnal” (1983) and “Muro-ami” (1999).
Abaya had won numerous directing awards from award-giving bodies such as the Metro Manila Film Festival, the Urian Awards, the Film Academy of the Philippines, the FAMAS Awards, the Star Awards, the Catholic Mass Media Awards, the British Film Institute Award, the International Federation of Film Critics Award, and the Network of Pan Asian Cinema Award.
She was also founder and president of Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute and Arts Center.
12. Celso Ad Castillo
September 12, 1943 - November 26, 2012
Celso Ad Castillo, the "enfant terrible" of Philippine cinema, died of a heart attack in his house in Siniloan in Laguna province.
"Everything has shown beauty, only not everyone sees it. But I see it. That's a gift. I'm pretty secure, my place in Philippine cinema," Castillo once said on Showbiz Exclusives.
"Si Celso, artist talaga in the real sense of the word, dahil ‘pag nagshoo-shoot, kung minsan he gets so carried away... Innovator siya eh, marami siyang mga ideas na ahead of his time," said entertainment writer Ricky Lo.
Castillo was recognized as Best Director for several of his films, such as “Ang Alamat ni Julian Makabayan,” “Pag-puti ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak,” “Burlesk Queen,” “Paradise Inn,” and “Itlog”). 
He received the FAP Lifetime Achievement Award and the FAMAS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
Castillo also taught at the Asia Pacific Film Institute, and wrote "Celso Ad Castillo: An Autobiography and his Craft."
13. Romeo Capulong
February 15, 1935 - September 16, 2012
Romeo Capulong, human rights lawyer, died of cardiac arrest.
Capulong founded the Filipino Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in New York in 1980, and the Philippine center for Immigrant Rights in 1985.
From 1960 to 1969, he served as provincial secretary and confidential assistant of Gov. Eduardo Joson in Nueva Ecija.
A curriculum vitae at the United Nations showed Capulong sought and was granted political asylum in the United States in 1980. He returned to the Philippines and resumed law practice in 1986.
He founded the Public Interest Law Center in Manila in 1989, and the Philippine Peace Center in Manila also in 1989.
Capulong had fought for the rights of Flor Contemplacion, an overseas Filipino worker executed in 1995 for the killing of her ward.
In the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said Capulong would provide important legal inputs. He also led the walkout of private prosecutors when the Senate refused to open the second envelope related to the Jose Velarde account.
14. Jerry Araos
1944 – December 23, 2012
Jerry Araos died at his residence in Diliman, Quezon City.
A well-known artist who worked with a variety of media, Araos is remembered by his friends and family as a talented and idealistic man with an irreverent sense of humor. He was also a former guerrilla fighter in the earliest years of the New People's Army.
He was known for his sculptures made from discarded wood and felled trees, as well as his landscape art, which can be seen in spaces such as Kasalikasan at Bonifacio Global City and the Araos Garden in Fairmount Hills, Antipolo.
Araos was also the founder and president of the artists' guild Sanayan Lapat Kamay Inc. (SALAKAI).
Fr. James Reuter, SJ
Photo courtesy of Tim Arafiles/The GUIDON
15. Fr. James Reuter, SJ
May 21, 1916 - December 31, 2012
Jesuit priest Fr. James Reuter died on December 31 at the age of 96.
Born in New Jersey, he first arrived in the Philippines on a mission with the Society of Jesus in 1938.  
He stayed to mentor generations at the Ateneo, where he led its famous college glee club as well as directed stage plays. Reuter was a multi-awarded dramatist with over 100 plays, and was a regular host of weekly FRC-Philippines television programs in 1986.
Reuter was the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media for 39 years before he retired in June 2009 due to poor health.
In 2007, he was a Benigno S. Aquino Jr. awardee for promoting Philippine nationalism. Reuter was cited for “Social Artistry," or the use of the arts to teach or inspire young people to live cherished values.
“A Filipino by choice, this Jesuit priest has taught generations of young men and women the values of excellence, discipline, professionalism and love of country. His passionate commitment to music, theater, radio and television has enabled him to inculcate these values needed for nation-building," his citation read.
He was also a recipient of 1989 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts. —KG/HS, GMA News

Friday, December 28, 2012

Property market booms in 2012 with no bust in sight until 2016

2012 has been very good for the Philippine property market, backed by a glowing economy, overseas Filipino remittances, and business process outsourcing (BPO) as main drivers to a development boom.
Despite fears of a bust, there is an overwhelming confidence among government officials and indsutry stakeholders holding on to the belief that there is no end to what is now happening in the market.
“We have previously noted that a major driver of this growth is the demand for office space due to the strong outlook of the BPO sector,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters in a briefing on the third quarter GDP in late November.  
“Also, favorable economic conditions led more individuals to purchase residential properties,” the Economic Planning chief added. He pointed out that the property market posted “strong expansion” this year, as “major players... Ayala Land, SM Prime Holdings and Megaworld posted double-digit revenues in terms of real estate and rent of commercial spaces.”
All-time low interest rates could also spur a reality shift toward a country of homeowners from a nation of renters, an industry insider noted. The ripple-effect could also lead to changes in the real estate market, inclduing the rise in green buildings and the call for the development of the silver market that caters to senior citizens and retirees.

Nation of owners
Change is happening, a “democratization” in the real estate sector “based on low interest rates and financing schemes,” Rick Santos, chairman and CEO of real estate services and advisory firm CBRE Philippines told GMA News Online.
Global property manager, broker, and marketeer Colliers International noted the growing demand to property ownership will be sustained largely by “the younger age set”– a trend developers are already catering to with major player Century Properties expanding into the “affordable market” that includes its P4.1-billion The Residences at Commonwealth
Data from global real-estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Leechiu (JLLL), 129,920 residential units are currenly available in Metro Manila, of which 3,690 are high-end at P120,000 per sqm and the rest are mid-range at P50,000-P110,000 per sqm. 
The bulk of condominium units developed in 2012 were in the P1.5 million-P3 million and P3 million-P6 million per unit range, with the lower range expected to account for 56 percent of the total by 2018.
This year, most residential condominium developments were concentrated in the Metro Manila's Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, and Makati areas, each receiving around 20 percent of total developments. Makati put up the most high-end to luxury condominium units at 6,099.
Metro Manila has a 54-percent share of existing retail supply, which is projected to drop to 52 percent next year. 
The rental average of ground floor and upper levels now stand at P1,028 per sqm in Metro Manila and P700 nationwide.
What housing bubble?
Despite the general trend of rising prices, “There is no bubble in the Philippine property development market, because what is built is leased,” was JLLL's fearless assessment.
The housing bubble that struck the US in the mid-2000s – the subprime mortgage mess that spurred the global economic depression – after banks began offering home loans left and right, even to high-risk borrowers with no financial backing to pay the amortization on the houses, which were then reassessed below fair market value and resold at a lower price.
Such scenario has nil chance of plaguing the country – at least until the next handful of years – said JLLL associate director for markets Philip Añonuevo, adding that “the holding power of Filipino buyers is longer.” 
The Philippine economy, which clocked at 7.1 percent in Q3 2012 – the fastest in Southeast Asia – helped boost confidence and investments among property suppliers and buyers and leasing companies, a trend JLLL swears would likely last until the next presidential election in 2016.
Cause for optimism
Washington DC-based Urban Land Institute (ULI), which advocates responsible use of land and creating sustainable communities, found much cause for optimism in the Philippine property sector. Its survey on emerging real estate trends in the Asia Pacific raised Manila by six notches to 12th among 22 cities in terms of investment prospects for 2013. Manila also ranked ninth in city development prospects.
In retail property buy/hold/sell recommendations, 40 percent of respondents urged a buy, 51 percent a hold, and 9 percent a sell. 
Among leading Asia Pacific cities, Manila was judged “generally good,” with ULI noting that markets have “performed well in the past couple of years as a result of a growing economy, a transparent and business-friendly government, and the country’s ongoing success – an ‘eye opener’ – in attracting foreign clients in its [BPO] facilities.”
The survey also cited the large casino development in Pasay City as an impetus to development and boosting tourism – once completed.
However, the bar on foreigners' “holding majority land ownership... continue to deter international investors.” Ample liquidity from domestic sources is also dampening the need for locals to partner with aliens. 
JLLL's Añonuevo urges the government to incentivize firms to head south or north as an option to decongest the increasingly cramped and disaster-vulnerable Metro Manila.
JLLL national director for markets Lizanne Tan noted Cebu was the leading business location after Metro Manila, with rents nearing those in the National Capital Region except for Makati, but with lower salaries. 
Foreign investment opportunities
ULI's study found opportunities for foreign investors in the gaming and BPO sectors. “Both present large opportunities,” ULI said, “with the latter accounting for some 70 percent of new office take-up in Manila.”
JLLL also reported that BPOs were still the top buyers of office space in 2012. In the first 11 months of 2012, demand grew 18 percent to 425,000 sqm year-on-year.
Non-BPOs bought 100,000 sqm or 25 percent of current demand, said Sheila Lobien, JLLL director for project leasing.
She said average Grade A rents in Bonifacio Global City and the Makati central business district have risen 15 to 20 percent since 2009 “due to a high level of leasing activity across all districts” that include Alabang, Ortigas, Eastwood, Pioneer, and Araneta Cyberpark.
Global City is becoming the hot location, with multinational Coca-Cola and homegrown Aboitiz Group “bracing for expansion and moving to new corporate space,” Añonuevo noted. The Philippine Stock Exchange would move to its headquarters there in 2016.
The massive entertainment district development in the Manila Bay Area has inspired tourism-geared development. In May, JLLL tracked 10,536 hotel rooms in the pipeline from 2011 to 2016, and 5,000 more have since been added in six months.
Añonuevo said growth areas to look out for include the privatized Food Terminal Complex and the University of the Philippines area on Commonwealth Avenue.
The silver market
In November, the Retirement and Healthcare Coalition formed by the European, American, Japanese, and Korean chambers of commerce urged local property developers to look into developing for the  growing “silver market.”
By 2030, 25 percent of the world’s population will be comprised of retirees, many of them “looking for homes outside their own countries,” said Coalition executive director Marc Daubenbuechel.
Agence France-Presse reported that the Philippine Retirement Authority already counts nearly 21,000 retirees, mostly Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese, in its retirement incentive program. But the Philippines is behind Malaysia and Thailand when it comes to aggressively pursuing second-home silver buyers. — BM/VS, GMA News

Citi, HSBC see bright prospects for PHL economy in 2013

Makati Skyline
For this year, Citigroup raised its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast to 6.3 percent from 5 percent and to 6.1 percent from 5.3 percent in 2013, citing accelerated government spending and stable domestic demand.
British bank HSBC also revised its 2012 forecast to 6.2 percent from 5.7 percent although for 2013, the forecast was pared down to 4.9 percent from 5.7 percent given the continuing external headwinds.
Both Citi and HSBC expected the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to keep its key interest rates on hold at 3.5 percent for the next policy rate-setting.
Minda Olonan, head of Philippine equity research at Citi, said the Philippines would benefit from more pronounced growth drivers such as excise tax reforms, accelerated bidding of key public-private partnership (PPP) projects and a credit-rating upgrade. She said public infrastructure could be the medium-term “game changer.”
“Better fiscal health is enabling the government to be more proactive in stimulating the economy. Aside from the PPP infrastructure agenda, the government is embarking on a P325-billion multi-year flood works and drainage program, a spending that is larger than the P233-billion cost of the PPP projects. We believe this may lift the country’s investment/GDP ratio that will eventually accelerate economic growth,” she said in a Dec. 7 research.
Citi believes that banks, property, consumer, utilities and conglomerates will benefit from the investment spending dividend. The bank’s top picks on a 12-month view are Ayala Land, SM Investments, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Ayala Corp. and Puregold Price Club Inc.
HSBC economist Trinh Nguyen said a major force behind this year’s growth has been the country’s strong institutions, specially the BSP.
“Monetary officials have alleviated price pressures by successfully sterilizing capital inflows to contain money supply growth. Closely monitoring rice supply as well as bolstering food sufficiency policy has also helped,” she said.
“A slowdown of inflation to 2.8 percent year on year in November in spite of accelerating growth reflects the institution’s sound management of the economy,” Nguyen said, adding that benign inflation has given monetary officials the space to cut rates by 100 basis points in 2012.
But Nguyen said the BSP was not the only champion behind the country’s strong performance. “President Aquino’s efforts to increase efficiency of fiscal spending and revenue collection gave the government the room necessary to counter-balance the global slump with increased expenditure. A look at the breakdown of growth shows that private consumption, government spending and investment have contributed to growth thus far in 2012,” she said.
While external headwinds persist and likely drag down the Philippines’ electronics exports, HSBC expects growth to remain robust in 2013 on the back of strong fiscal spending, low interest rates and resilient remittances.
She said monetary officials would likely hold rates at the next meeting to assess the impact of the recent acceleration in growth as well as the 100-basis-point cut so far this year. “Inflation will likely be benign in first half of 2013, thanks to contained food and oil prices, allowing the BSP to support growth,” she said. “Though external conditions remain weak, strong domestic demand will keep the BSP vigilant and hold rates.”
(Story courtesy of Doris Dumlao of Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ESPN names Marquez punch KO of the year

MANILA, Philippines – Calling the punch both "aesthetically pleasing" and "historically significant," Juan Manuel Marquez's short right-hand counter that floored Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao in their fourth bout was named the best knockout of 2012 by ESPN.
"If any 2012 knockout was better than Marquez’s finish of Pacquiao, none was bigger,"’s Dan Rafael. 
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines (front) is knocked out by a punch from Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico during the sixth round of their welterweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada December 8, 2012. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters.
Pacquiao and Marquez had a long history dating back to 2004, when their first fight ended in a draw. Since then, Pacquiao won the 2008 and 2011 rematches via controversial decisions, although Marquez maintained that he was the rightful winner of all three fights.
"When Pacquiao agreed to fight Marquez for the fourth time on December 8 at the MGM Grand, he said the key reason was because so many people had doubts about the previous outcomes," Rafael said.
"Heading into the fourth fight... both men promised to be more aggressive and go for the knockout. They were desperate for a definitive result. Neither wanted to leave it in the hands of the judges again," he added.
"Pacquiao and Marquez lived up to their promise and put on the best fight of their epic series, which delivered as definitive an outcome as possible: Marquez landing a picture-perfect right hand that knocked Pacquiao out cold with one second left in the sixth round."
Marquez floored Pacquiao for the first time in their saga in the third round, although Pacquiao shook it off and even forced Marquez to take a knee in the fifth round. The Filipino was controlling the action in the sixth round when he walked right into Marquez's counter-right hand.
Pacquiao would crash face-first into the canvas, where he would stay motionless for around two minutes. When referee Kenny Bayless waved off the fight, Marquez climbed the ropes and celebrated as the mostly Mexican crowd inside the MGM Grand went wild.
"The knockout was as aesthetically pleasing as it was shocking and historically significant," Rafael wrote.
"Obviously, it's the 2012 knockout of the year."
Pacquiao would later admit that he never saw the punch coming. He would not attend the post-fight press conference and instead went to a hospital for a CT scan; results of his tests came back negative.
Marquez, meanwhile, finally got the vindication he desperately wanted. “I threw the perfect punch,” he said.
It was the first time that Marquez won Knockout of the Year honors. Pacquiao previously won the award in 2009, thanks to his knockout of Ricky Hatton. In 2011, Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire took the award for his knockout of Fernando Montiel.
Donaire's third-round stoppage of Jorce Arce in their December 15 clash was also a top contender for the award this year.
Also gaining recognition was Danny Garcia's fourth-round knockout of Erik Morales in their October 20 rematch.
"Garcia dominated the first three rounds before ending it in the fourth with a picture-perfect, ferocious left hook that landed so cleanly, Morales nearly spun all the way around before dropping like a rock," Rafael wrote.
"He came to rest with his body hanging over the bottom ring rope. Referee Benjy Esteves didn’t bother to count... Garcia may never throw a better punch for the rest of his career."

Filipinos among most generous, study says

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos are among the most generous people in the world, according a new study made by a charity foundation.
Even while the world has become a less generous place, the Philippines was among the top 5 nation devoting the most amount of time to charity work, with the country having the largest number of people in Southeast Asia volunteering their time, the UK-based Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) said.
"Volunteering is particularly commonplace there, with more people volunteering (44%) than in any other country in [Southeast Asia]," the report said. "Indeed, the Philippines is ranked fifth globally for its participation in volunteering. The Philippines has a World Giving Index score that exceeds (by four percentage points) its five-year average."
The Philippines placed 17th overall worldwide in the 146-nation World Giving Index 2012 that was led by Australia, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.
In terms of giving money, the Philippines placed 47th, with 32% of Filipinos donating cash to charity.
The Philippines also placed 26th on helping strangers.
Greece and Montenegro were the least generous countries, the report said.
The CAF said the world becoming a less generous place last year mirrors global economic patterns.
According to the report, the proportion of people giving money to good causes, volunteering or helping a stranger all fell last year and were also down on 2007.
CAF, which romotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organizations, compiled the report using Gallup data on more than 155,000 people in 146 countries.
The report found out that the average proportion of people across 146 countries donating money to charity fell from 29.8% in 2007 to 28% in 2011.
The percentage of people helping strangers was 45.1% in 2011 – down from 47.0% in 2007, while the proportion volunteering their time was down from 21.4% in 2007 to 18.4% in 2011.
CAF said charities must become more entrepreneurial and less reliant on government funding and on groups such as theirs. - With reports from ANC, Reuters

Donaire is ESPN's Boxer of the Year

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire was the "easy pick" for ESPN's "Boxer of the Year" after a sensational 2012 that saw him solidify his position as one of the sport's top pound-for-pound fighters. 
Donaire, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and RING super bantamweight champion, was named Boxer of the Year by ESPN, beating other top contenders including Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia and Robert Guerrero.
"It might sound strange, but no, Manny Pacquiao was not the best fighter from the Philippines in 2012,” wrote ESPN’s Dan Rafael. "That honor goes to 'The Filipino Flash,' junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire, who had a year for the ages."
"Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs) began the year having vacated his bantamweight belts and preparing to move up to junior featherweight. Four fights later, in an exceptionally busy year by modern standards for an elite champion, the quick-fisted and powerful Donaire stands atop the 122-pound division," Rafael wrote.
Rafael said Donaire "was the easy pick for 2012 Boxer of the Year."
"Donaire easily handled the move up in weight, winning all four of his fights in dominant fashion. He dropped each of his foes – scoring seven knockdowns in all – won twice by knockout and collected two world titles," Rafael wrote.
'The Philippines' best boxer'
In his first fight of the year, Donaire defeated Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. by split decision to claim the vacant WBO belt. He then decisioned South Africa's Jeffrey Mathebula in July to claim the International Boxing Federation belt.
In October, Donaire knocked out top Japanese boxer Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round, then capped off his year with a sensational third round knockout of Mexican warrior Jorge Arce last December 15.
"It was the exclamation point on a year in which Donaire seized the mantle from Pacquiao, his idol, as the Philippines' best boxer and continued to assert himself as one of the best fighters in the world, period," Rafael wrote.
Rafael also commended Donaire for being the first and only boxer in the world to undergo random drug testing with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on a year-round basis.
"This in an era when every great performance unfortunately comes under the suspicion of possible
performance-enhancing drug use – except, of course, Donaire's," he said.
Donaire becomes the second Filipino fighter to claim the award, after Pacquiao, who won in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Edged Marquez, Garcia
Mexico's Marquez became a contender for the Boxer of the Year award after his stunning sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao in their fourth encounter last December 7, a punch that Rafael called "the shot heard 'round the world."
"In the most stunning scene of the year, Marquez earned the first definitive result in his epic four-fight series with Pacquiao," he wrote. "Marquez may trail the all-time series 2-1-1, but the knockout in their welterweight fight is the most memorable moment from the four fights."
Rafael also noted that the knockout was "one of the most significant moments in boxing in recent years."
Undefeated American Danny Garcia was also a contender for Boxer of the Year after winning all three of his fights in 2012. He decisioned Mexican legend Erik Morales in March, knocked out Amir Khan in July, and then knocked out Morales in their rematch in October.
Meanwhile, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero also had a strong 2012 after proving himself to be a true contender at the welterweight division. Guerrero defeated Selcuk Aydin and the decisioned former champion Andre Berto.
Another Filipino fighter, Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria, was also a contender for Boxer of the Year.
"'The Hawaiian Punch' scored knockouts against quality opponents in both of his 2012 fights. In May, Viloria retained his flyweight title by stopping Omar Nino Romero in the ninth round to exact revenge from a previous loss and no-contest,” Rafael wrote.
"In November, in an exceptional fight, Viloria stopped Hernan 'Tyson' Marquez to unify 112-pound titles."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

10 Things You Should Know About Women

Women are complex, confounding, difficult to fathom, impossible to predict and so on.
While you need a lifetime and more to decipher a woman, you can read this article and get a heads up. We are about to let you in on the 10 things you absolutely need to know about a woman.

1. Women hate being compared

They may ‘jokingly’ ask you how you think they compare to their female friends. They will coax you to answer but you have to hold your ground. No matter what, DO NOT COMPARE. Because no matter what your answer is, you will end up upsetting her.

2. PMS is for real

If your weenie bled for 5 days every month, you would be cranky too. Be grateful that you don’t have to endure this biological discomfort and be considerate towards the after-effects she experiences (every month) because of it.

3. Women know when you ‘look’

You may make a surreptitious attempt to look at her cleavage or/and at her breasts, and you may think you have succeeded in ogling at them without her knowing. You are wrong. A woman will know when you look (stare). So if she questions you about it, don’t be a fool and deny it. Either way, you will get an evil look for looking at what is not yours to look at.

4. Women have a sex drive

Shocked? Don’t be. Contrary to popular Indian belief, Indian women do have a sex drive. They are not coy creatures who will flutter their eyes and sigh deeply when you touch their shoulders. They are in fact nubile beings who will grab your butt and wink at you if they are interested. If they are not interested, you will get an evil look. Or a slap. Depending on your sickness meter.

5. Women love being taken care of

Not being ordered around and being dominated, but women love being taken care of. They especially love it if you hug them after a long day, or if you tell them that they should take it easy or when you volunteer to hold their bag. So sweet!

6. Women love romance

This shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, WOW!

7. Women are protective of their girl-friends

Okay, there will be days she will crib about her friends and get upset and tell you how ‘that one’ behaves bitchy and how ‘this one’ thinks she is one bit too smart. She is ALLOWED to say whatever she wants about her girl-friends. If you EVER as much as utter one negative thing about any of them, she will eat you up alive.

8. Nothing beats Gossip!

Gossip, girl-friends, gin – the 3 Gs that rock a woman’s world. Bring them all together and you have an absolute winner.

9. Women ALWAYS want to eat dessert

Women want a waist like Katrina and legs like Deepika, but they want dessert more. If you ask her whether she would like to eat desserts, images of Katrina’s waist and Deepika’s thighs will flash in front of her eyes and she’ll say no. If you simply call for a dessert of her choice, she’ll devour it first and then you! ;)

10. Women grab their crotches too

But as Padmalakshmi rightly said, they are decent and sensible enough to do it in the privacy of their bedrooms or bathrooms. A habit that men need to develop too? Yes, we definitely think so.

Singer, footballer, reporter among TOYM 2012 awardees
Black Eyed Peas member, Azkals Vice Captain Chieffy Caligdong and GMA News senior reporter Jiggy Manicad are among the awardees of the annual The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of 2012.
The other awardees will be Congresswoman Emmeline Aglipay, heritage conservationist Ivan Henares, occupational therapist Abelardo David and veterinarian Waren Baticados.
The list was announced by Supreme Court Justice Arturo Brion, head judge of this year’s TOYM awards.
Every year, a panel of judges chooses among Filipinos who have showed exceptional dedication to their field to be given the TOYM award.
Chieffy Caligdong
Chieffy Caligdong
“We look for people to be role models for the Filipino youth,” said TOYM executive director Larry Cruz.
For this year however, only seven were given the award due to the tight criteria set by the judges.
“This is the most prestigious Filipino youth award,” Cruz said, adding that the TOYM has been an award-giving body since 1959.
In an interview, Manicad offered the award to the Lord, his family and the victims of typhoon Pablo which devastated the Philippines recently, leaving 700 dead and more missing.
Jiggy Manicad
Jiggy Manicad
“It’s truly an honor and an inspiration to do better and do more at the same time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Henares said that he hoped that this recognition will mark the beginning of Filipino youth learning to embrace their cultural heritage.
“It’s the first time that Heritage Conservation is recognized by TOYM. I’m honored and thankful that TOYM recognized our work and advocacy to preserve our country’s built heritage,” he said.