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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pinoys abroad donate $11k for two classrooms in Ilocos Sur

Thanks to a $11,712.34 donation from Filipinos in Saipan, more pupils in Ilocos Sur may benefit from the construction of two classrooms in time for the start of the new school year.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the amount will go to the construction of two classrooms in Tangaoan Elementary School in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur.

“Despite the planned closure of the Philippine Consulate in Saipan in October, including the (Philippine Overseas Labor Office), we are happy that the OFW community, composed mostly of students from Tangoan, Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur, was still able to raise donations for the construction of two classrooms," DOLE International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Ma. Celeste Valderramasaid.

Raising the amount was the Saipan Simbang Gabi Group, which turned over the amount to the DOLE's Classroom Galing sa Mamamayan Abroad Project.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz lauded the Saipan Simbang Gabi Group, an OFW community, for the gesture.

"This is a heart-warming gesture. It shows how our OFW community in Saipan is responding to the challenge of helping the country even while they are abroad," Baldoz said.

POLO Saipan officer in charge and welfare officer Julie Fabian and Consul General Medardo Macaraig received the check donation at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) last April 20.

Saipan Simbang Gabi Group president Marcelino Pacson said it took them three years to collect their donations from parishioners.

The Saipan Simbang Gabi Group is a non-profit organization named after the parishioners of Mount Carmel Cathedral who carry on the Simbang Gabi (dawn Mass), a Philippine tradition.

The Classroom Galing sa Mamamayang Pilipino Abroad is a classroom building project of the DOLE and Departments of Education (DepEd) and Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc.

It seeks to relieve the critical shortage of classrooms in the country, especially in depressed areas in dire need of classrooms. — LBG, GMA News

Jessica wants to visit PH, Mexico

MANILA, Philippines – "American Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez is both Filipina and Mexican, lest her fans forget.
Following her stint on the world's most popular singing competition, Sanchez has gained an enormous following comprised of Filipinos and Mexicans around the world who take pride in having a shared heritage with the pint-sized singing-sensation.
For the 16-year old, her mixed heritage is something she is proud of, no less and no more than its halves.
Sanchez, whose mother Editha hails from Bataan and whose father is a Mexican raised in Texas, said her upbrining gave equal value to both cultures.
"I'm proud of both of my heritages," she said in an interview with Fox News. "There's never a time when I'm more one than the other. I grew up with both [cultures]."
Asked if she plans to visit the respective homeland of her parents, Sanchez said she hopes a stop in the Philippines and Mexico will be part of the upcoming "Idol" tour.
"I've never been out of the country, so I would love to go. I hope they let me in the tour," she said.
Jessica's plans
While Sanchez is assured of a packed work schedule in the coming months, the Pinay singing pride said she acknowledges the possibility of being a "one-hit wonder."
For this reason, she said she intends to continue her education, in spite of her "Idol" career jumpstart.
"I could be a one hit wonder. I have to have a back-up plan," she said. "[But] I've been running around doing press and getting ready for a few events. I'm just trying to take it one step at a time."
Sanchez, who will perform at PBS National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday (May 27), last Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) finished second in the eleventh season of "American Idol." Singer Phillip Phillips was declared champion after a record-breaking 132 million votes cast.

Pacquiao wants to be boxing's 'all-time great'

'National Fist' still hoping to fight Mayweather

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao hopes boxing fans will remember his ring exploits for many years to come.
He said he wishes that his story would inspire people the way he was inspired by boxing greats that came before him.
"To be considered an all-time great is very important to me,” Pacquiao said in Boxing Scene.
“Hopefully my story can inspire people to achieve their dreams. When I was growing up, watching Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr, and Larry Holmes fight inspired me to work harder and to become better. They still do inspire me. They were great. They were my heroes.”
This is why he remains hopeful that he would still be able to fight one of his greatest rivals, the controversial Floyd Mayweather Jr.
However, he admitted that making the fight happen would only depend on Mayweather.
“Will the fight ever happen? It's up to Floyd. I hope it does. I'm a competitor and I enjoy a challenge…As long as I continue fighting I will remain hopeful that the fight will take place," said the fighting congressman from the Philippines.
Pacquiao said he thought he could make the dream fight come true three years ago, when his camp first negotiated with Mayweather’s group.
He said Mayweather agreed to everything they asked for.
But the controversial boxer suddenly came up with the drug testing issue, which has become Mayweather’s “excuse” through the years.
“He no longer wants to split the pay-per-view revenue with me equally, something he agreed to in our first negotiation,” said Pacquiao.
"The only thing preventing a fight between Floyd Mayweather and me is Floyd Mayweather.”

Jessica Sanchez getting lower payout than previous 'American Idol' runners-up?

After becoming the first runner-up in Season 11 of "American Idol," Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez may get at least $30,000 in advances for recording singles, reportedly a much smaller amount compared to what the previous runners-up received.

According to a report of the news site on Friday: "Coming in second on "American Idol" may still be a path to superstardom, but it no longer offers guaranteed paychecks worthy of the next pop idol or rock star."

Apart from this, Sanchez will only receive at least $60,000 if she is asked to record four to 10 extended play songs.

An Associated Press review of the Fox show's contracts revealed that for the first time ever in ‘Idol’ history, the shows producers did not offer an album deal for the runner-up. said in the past seasons of "American Idol," the runners-up received album deal along with a guaranteed advance of at least $175,000.

The report added that the guaranteed album deal for ‘Idol’ runners-up is currently “under development” by 19 Recordings Inc, the company which has the option to handle albums and recordings of ‘Idol’ contestants years after their appearance in the show.

19 Recordings Inc. and the producers of "American Idol" have yet to disclose the record deal which they will offer to Sanchez, if any, noted.

Lowest-rated final show

Max Dawson, a Northwestern University professor who teaches a course on reality television, said the cost-cutting was logical because Season 11’s finale was the lowest-rated final show for "American Idol."

Dawson said the rewards and incentives cannot be the same when the previous finale shows used to average 25 to 30 million viewers and now "the finale is barely breaking 20 million."

He also stated that he is not surprised with the current direction that "American Idol" top contestants are taking because single song sales are now higher compared to full album sales.

Dave Bakula, senior vice president of analytics for Nielsen’s SoundScan, backed this up, noting that in 2011, 1.3 billion single songs were sold compared to 331 million only for albums.

Bakula also said that producers are now trying to be "flexible" with how they develop artists in various genres.

Possible album for Sanchez

Meanwhile, Fox News reported that Sanchez is already discussing a possible album with Tommy Mottola, former Sony Music Entertainment executive and currently co-owns Casablanca Records in a joint venture with the Universal Music Group.

Mottola’s wife, Mexican singer-actress Thalia, announced on Twitter: “WOWgreat news! #TommyMottola just call me from #AmericanIdol and he is confirm to work in the first #JessicaSanchez CD!#MexicanFilipinoPower” 

Mottola is the mastermind behind music superstars Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan and even "American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez.

Phillip Phillips' deal

Meanwhile, "American Idol" Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips will be receiving a $300,000 advance upon finishing his first album, said.

Last year's winner Scotty McCreery received the same amount.

If 19 Recordings decides to produce more albums with Phillips, he could receive up to $800,000 in advances for a six-album deal, said.

The advances will be later taken from the royalties of the singer’s songs.

Although recent changes in the contracts made ‘Idol’ finalists earn less, they now have more avenues to earn from.

Phillips and Sanchez could earn $200,000 and $50,000 respectively for their other projects, such as promotional work for Disney, said. They will also be getting a percentage cut from merchandise profits. - with Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News

DOLE warns Pinoys vs. fraudulent websites for Canada jobs

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to be wary of websites pretending to be affiliated with the official website of the government of Canada.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said : “We want our OFWs to be vigilant against illegal and predatory overseas employment operations. They themselves should become their own lookout during their job hunting to avoid falling victims.”

Baldoz said fraudulent website operators are using the Canada woodmark or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) logo to target individuals aiming to work or live in Canada.

Baldoz urged OFWs intending to go to Canada to go through the proper processes of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“As recruitment scams proliferate, jobseekers should be watchful and should guard themselves against too-good-to-be-true offers that might merely lead them to the path of those who have victimized by scammers,” Baldoz said.
A report of the DFA said unscrupulous websites are allegedly charging fees in exchange for supposedly high-paying but actually non-existent jobs in Canada.
Baldoz said immigration consultants, lawyers, Quebec notaries, and paralegals regulated by a law society are the only entities authorized to charge fees.
Baldoz noted that based on the 2011 report of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Philippines deployed 15,658 documented OFWs to Canada in 2011 compared to only 13,885 workers in 2010. - VVP, GMA News

Ateneo Glee Club wins top prize at choral fest in Ireland

The Ateneo de Manila College Glee Club (ACGC) was recently awarded the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy at a choral festival in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a news release, the DFA said ACGC received the award during the 58th Cork International Choral Festival on May 7.
The Fleischmann International Trophy competition is a three-part performance where the world's best adult choirs sing:
  • a piece composed before 1750,
  • an original work by a living composer, and
  • a work by a composer of the choir’s native country.
The 39-member ACGC, headed by their conductor Professor Maria Lourdes Venida-Hermo, won against other top-notch choirs from Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Slovenia, Singapore and England.

In an email to GMA News Online, the ACGC said they received the Heinrich Schütz Perpetual Trophy Special Award for their performance of Schütz's Selig sind die Toten

The ACGC was also awarded the PEACE Trophy.

The choir also performed Benedictio by Urmas Sisask and Koyu no Tebulul by Filipino composer Eudenice Palaruan.
Philippine Charge d’affaires, a.i. Hjayceelyn Quintana praised the ACGC for gracefully representing the Philippines in one of Europe’s top-tier chorale contests.

In an email to GMA News Online, senior Atenean Mikhael Llado, current president and baritone of the ACGC, said: “We are currently in our planning stage for our next projects but the ACGC is looking forward to take part in the movement to develop and promote Philippine choral culture across different communities.”

Llado recalled the cast's hard work in preparing for the 2011 and 2012 European Concert-Competition Tours.

The tour cast of the ACGC is comprised of 20 males and 19 females, 37 of whom are singing members while one is a production staff and the other is their conductor.

“Perhaps the 'wildest' and 'most surreal' chapter in this ACGC experience was the preparation for the two-consecutive European Tours -- nine hours of rehearsals a week turned into 15 hours a week as the departure date for Europe crept in,” Llado said.
The ACGC won at Varna, Bulgaria in 2011, catapulting them to the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (EGP) the following year.
Although the EGP title was won by a Swedish choir, the ACGC still made history upon winning three awards in Ireland, including the grand prize — the Fleischmann International Trophy. 
Llado recalled: “Before I entered college, I never had any aspirations to become a chorister or whatsoever. Most of my high school classmates were hyped to join the ACGC, and I joined the bandwagon to satisfy my curiosity.”
Also known as “Gorby,” Llado recalled that he joined ACGC because he wanted to try “something new for once” and never expected to pass the auditions.

However, things shifted when the ACGC “took him down on its roller-coaster road that changed his life forever”.
“My ears were enlightened by the joy of singing in communion with other souls - a myriad of voices sweeping along each as chords are spontaneously formed along the way,” he recounted.
Asked about his message for the Ateneo community, Llado said: “After being away for quite some time, we are all excited sing our songs to you once again. We hope our achievements in Europe have made you truly proud.”
To other aspiring choirs, he said: “Music is destined to be shared and brought out to the larger communities. We are really proud to belong to the Philippine choral community - one that aims to showcase Filipino talent to the world yet looking inward to develop the community itself.” 

He credits Irvinne Redor, Will Tan, Miggi Angangco, along with the whole choir and Professor Hermo, for contributing to ACGC's success.

'Two Worlds, One Voice'
Meanwhile, the ACGC held a concert entitled “Two Worlds, One Voice,” last May 9 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin with one of the best Irish choirs, the New Dublin Voices. 
Among the audience were the Diplomatic Corps in Ireland, members of the Irish Parliament, and the members of the Filipino Community Network (FCN), the national umbrella group of Filipino organizations in Ireland. 

For the finale of the concert, the ACGC and the New Dublin Voices sang “Danny Boy” and “Canturog na Nonoy” an Irish folk song and a Bicolano lullaby.
The ACGC was also featured prominently in Ireland’s leading national newspapers — The Irish Times and the Irish Independent — for their excellent performance.

The ACGC will be rehearsing soon for their homecoming concert which is entitled “A Return to Song: The 2012 European Tour Homecoming Concert” on June 10, 2012, 7:30pm at the Philam Life Auditorium, U.N. Avenue.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Igorots showcase traditions in Vienna

AUSTRIA – The Igorot Austria Cordillera showcased some of its traditional, rituals, dances and ceremonies during its cultural night held in Vienna’s 15th District.
Both Filipinos and Austrians were fascinated by the colorful and beautifully-made hand-woven vests, G-strings and skirts, and were likewise delighted with the unique presentation showing the rich Igorot culture.
“We are starting this organization to promote the cultural values and traditions of the entire Cordillera region, and to promulgate its ancestral heritage bestowed to our forefathers. It is high time to talk more about us, about the revolution in the lifestyle of an Igorot, parallel to civilization,” said Leonida Ostermayer-Lunag, chairman of the Igorot Austria Cordillera.
In her message, Philippine Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre said she hopes that the group will work together to push for its common objectives.
“May this occasion inspire the officers and members of the Igorot Austria Cordillera to work together in goodwill to promote their common objectives, to promote unity and camaraderie with the other Filipino community in Vienna, and to always reflect in their endeavors the best of the Filipino people,” Yparraguirre said. 
An Austrian guest meanwhile commented that he dances and ritual were “very much in harmony with nature”.
“I do appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of their Igorot culture and identity although they are here in Austria,” the guest said.
Deputy Minister and Consul General Charlie Manangan of the Philippine Embassy thanked Igorots in Austria for preserving their identity and remaining true to their rich cultural roots--a heritage that emphasizes caring, resilience, creativity, dedication to civic duty and profound sense of community.
The group also turned over two books about the culture of the Igorots to the Philippine Embassy library in Vienna.

Dr. Jose Rizal statue to rise in Carson City

CARSON, California – In the next few months, the statue of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal will rise in this city that will make Filipinos around the world feel proud. 
The bronze Rizal statue will stand nearly 7 feet on top of a 6-foot tall granite base helped funded by the Jose P. Rizal Monument Movement. It is the first statue in what will be the International Sculpture Garden, which broke ground last November.
The Sculpture Garden is the brainchild of the City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear. He said, not only will this be a place dedicated for public art, but he envisions a walking history museum, where people can take their children to learn about heroes from around world. It just so happens that the Philippines wanted to display theirs first.
Dear said, “I feel it’s very important for young people to understand who these leaders were, the work they did, the changes they made in world history, and by having a sculpture garden with statues it’ll bring forth a greater educational experience for children who come here, and not just for Filipino American children, but all children.”
Dear said Rizal stands for everything right. Though some of his colleagues and community leaders from other ethnic groups complained at first about why a Filipino who died in 1896 should be erected first, he and fellow Councilman Elito Santarina quelled that controversy by teaching them about Rizal and the Filipino’s message.
Santarina said, “Dr. Jose Rizal is a man of peace, a champion of human rights, being a national hero. When they start to get to know more about Dr. Jose Rizal, they start to accept that.”
The theme of the garden is “Heroes of Liberation, Freedom and Justice from Around the World.”
Rizal was a proponent of democracy and peaceful reforms. He preached peace and justice but eventually became a martyr for his people in the Philippines.
There are only 8 Rizal statues in the US sculpted by Toym de Leon. This will be the first in California. Officials said they hope to complete and celebrate this project before June 19, Rizal’s birthday. 

Josie Gabuco wins Gold medal in World Women’s Boxing Tourney

Josie Gabuco beat China’s Xu Shiqui in the final of the light flyweight (48 kg) category to win the gold in the world women’s boxing championships in China.
It is the first women’s world title by the Philippines.
Gabuco who received incentives for the historic win was asked how she felt winning the gold medal in the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships.
“Masayang-masaya po ako (I’m very happy). Thank you,” said the 25-year-old who won the light-flyweight gold at the expense of a hometown bet.
It was the first gold medal for the Philippines in the AIBA World Championships.
Not even the male boxers have won it before with Harry Tañamor and Roel Velasco settling for the silver medals in 2007 in Chicago and in 1997 in Budapest.
Gabuco said she worked hard for the event but never expected much.
“Mahirap po kasi mag-expect ng malaki (It’s difficult to make big expectations),” said Gabuco, considering that she was up against China’s Xu Shiqi in the finals.
“Especially sa finals, alam ko na kung dikit ang laban, tagilid tayo (I knew that in a close match, we’re in trouble),” said Gabuco.
But she pulled it off against her fading opponent, and went on to score a 10-9 victory after entering the fourth and final round trailing, 8-7.
“Naging fair naman sila,” she said of the judging.
“We’re so proud of Josie,” said ABAP executive director Ed Picson who traveled with the team.
Gabuco, who won the bronze in the same tournament in 2008, stands to receive a hefty cash incentive from PLDT/Smart, the main backers of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines.
She can easily get a million pesos for it, and just the thought of it makes her so happy.
Gabuco has a five-year-old son, Mack Joseph, whom she had entrusted to her teammates at the ABAP Gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex while she was away.
“Gusto ko na siya makita. Para sa kanya ito (I want to see him now. This is for him),” said the two-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games.
“Kung ano man ang matanggap ko, para sa anak ko ito. Assured na ang future niya,” said Gabuco, who’s also hoping to pay the balance for the house she built in Laguna.
“Sana po mabayaran ko na din,” she said.
For her victory, Gabuco also stands to get a cash bonus from the Philippine Sports Commission under Republic Act 9064.
For quadrennial world championships, the gold is worth P2.5 million, but since the AIBA World Championships is a biennial event, the PSC said it will think of something else.
“It does not qualify with the same incentive for a quadrennial world championship. But we will think of something that will make her happy,” said PSC chairman Richie Garcia yesterday.

Jollibee named among world’s top food chains by Travel + Leisure

New York-based Travel+Leisure magazine has named Jollibee, the Philippines’ all-time favorite quick-service restaurant, as one of the “Best fast food chains in the world” in its May 2012 issue.
The homegrown fastfood chain made it to the list alongside England’s Pret a Manger, Russia’s Teremok, Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung, Puerto Rico’s El Mason Sandwiches, Japan’s Ippudo, Australia’s Chocolateria San Churro, and Brazil’s Giraffas, among others.
“Fastfood gets a Filipino twist at this quick-serve chain, which is so beloved that its mascots star in their own children’s television show,” said author Jamie Feldmar in the article.
“There are more than 700 locations across the country, serving anything from fried chicken and hamburgers to local favorites like palabok, rice noodles with meat sauce, shrimp and hard-boiled egg.”
Feldmar also recommends the “Spicy Chickenjoy, fried chicken coated with chili powder” to first-time diners.
Apart from Chickenjoy, Jollibee also became a household name in the Philippines for its Jolly Spaghetti, Palabok Fiesta, Yumburger, and Peach Mango Pie, among other treats.
Starting as a two-branch ice cream parlor in 1975, it grew into what is now the largest and most popular fast food chain in the country.
Jollibee is the largest fast food chain in the Philippines, operating a nationwide network of more than 750 stores.
The company has also embarked on an aggressive international expansion plan, and currently has 79 stores outside the Philippines – including USA, Vietnam, Brunei, Hong Kong, Qatar and Kuwait.

'American Idol' may be over but Jessica Sanchez's journey to fame continues

"American Idol" Season 11 ended on Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila) when Indie artist Phillip Phillips was crowned winner, beating Filipino-Mexican-American Jessica Sanchez. 
The 21-year-old guitar player from Leesburg, Georgia, who brought an indie vibe to the top-rated TV contest, beat ballad singer Sanchez 16, of Chula Vista, California in the public vote.

Even though Sanchez lost, her fans on Twitter said great things are in store for the Filipino-Mexican-American.
Mercedes: "Jessica Sanchez isn't even sad, she knows she's going far."
Joseph Oliveros: "Still my heart goes out to Jessica Sanchez! That's life, we cannot question God. He has a better plan for us! :)#TiwalaLang"
At the 7,000-seat Nokia Theater on Wednesday (Thursday morning in Manila), the three AI judges, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson made their entrance, introduced by AI show host, Ryan Seacrest.
Seacrest said a world record 132 million votes were cast by phone, text and online for the two finalists.
He then called in Sanchez and Phillips who were both in white and seemed a bit nervous.
Seacrest asked, “Did you sleep well?”
“I got a little bit of sleep,” Sanchez replied.
“I got about nine hours of sleep,” said Phillips.
Then Phillips performed two songs — "If You Ever See The Rain" followed by "Bad Moon Rising" with John Fogerty, impressing the crowd which gave him a standing ovation.
Season 11’s top 3, Johua Ledet blew the crowd away after performing with “the biggest inspiration of his life” — "American Idol" Season Three winner Fantasia Barrino — when they sang an Elton John hit, “Take Me To The Pilot.” 
Chaka Khan then sang "I'm Every Woman" with the girls belonging to the Top 12. The boys of the Top 12, on the other hand, sang "Sweet Caroline" with Neil Diamond.]

A tribute performance for the late Robin Gibb of the ‘Bee Gees’ who passed away last May 20, 2012 was paid by the boys of the top 12 with “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “To Love Somebody”.
Then with neon lights and smoke effects, Rihanna performed with back-up dancers dressed in black tribal fashion as she sang her hit “Where Have You Been.” To the delight of the audience, Rihanna shouted after her performance, “I love you. Idol!”
Two "American Idol" judges also performed during the finale -- Tyler and Lopez.

“J-Lo,” Lopez wearing a silver-glittered hip-hop dance outfit and a white cap, enthralled the audience with her hip-hop moves along with Puerto Rican reggaeton stars Wisin Y Yandel.
On the other hand, Tyler with his band Aerosmith, rocked the house with a new single “Legendary Child” – the first new Aerosmith song in almost a decade.
For many Filipino fans, however, one of the highlights of the show was when Sanchez performed "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" with Jennifer Holliday.

On Twitter, Filipino fans were full of praises for Sanchez:
Judy NarraL Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday on AI sage. GOOSEBUMPS (((((((: #AmericanIdolFinale
Francheska Chan: Goosebumps!!!!! "And I'm Telling You" by Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holiday. Just wow.
♡ Cyrille ♡: Jennifer Holliday + Jessica Sanchez = PERFECTION!!! Ang galing!!

When Phillips was announced as the winner, many Filipino fans expressed their disappointment on Twitter but many also said Sanchez was still a winner for them and that she had a bright future ahead of her.
 @tonyatayde: "Phillip Phillips can have the title of American Idol. Jessica Sanchez is already a GLOBAL Idol."

@FrianneAslahon: "@AmericanIdol Para samen si JESSICA SANCHEZ ANG PANALO !!!!!!"

@adolfooe: "Jessica Sanchez is a global super star like Adam Lambert, #runneruppower!"

Many of her fans have also been saying on Twitter that the Philippines and Mexico have been separated by boxing but united by music.

Twitter user @MgaKasabihan said: "PHILIPPINES & MEXICO, Separated by Boxing, United by Music. That's Jessica Sanchez!"

The Philippines' foremost boxer — Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao — has been called the "Mexicutioner" after having won against many Mexican fighters.

Pacquiao attended the results night of "American Idol" to show his support for Sanchez, whose mother is a Filipina from Bataan and whose father is a Mexican.

Among "American Idol" contestants with Filipino heritage, Sanchez has so far made the best achievement.
Filipino-American Jasmine Trias made it to the top three of AI's Season 3, while Ramiele Malubay, another Fil-Am, placed ninth in Season 7.
Thia Megia, another Filipino-American, meanwhile, finished in the top 11 of last year's competition. - VVP, GMA News

Pinay in NZ awarded with Queen’s Service Medal

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina in New Zealand has received the Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for her services to the Filipino community.
Gladys Grace Stephens accepted the QSM from His Excellency Lieutenant General The Rt. Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor General of New Zealand, during the Investiture Ceremony at Government House in Auckland last month.
Stephens moved to New Zealand in 1988. She has been giving her services to refugee and migrant settlers in Hamilton since the early 1990s.
In 2002, she took the lead volunteer role as Event and Program manager for Shama Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Center Trust, where she serves to this day as a Trustee on the Shama Board. She also served as Justice of the Peace in Hamilton.
Stephens was also played a role in the establishment of the Waikato Filipino Association (WFA) that aims to preserve and promote Philippine culture in the Waikato Region, which is home to about 800 Filipinos.
Since 2005, she has directed and developed school holiday programs in Hamilton for children and helped run an eight-week Filipino language course for children between 8 and 14 years old which is held every Sunday.

Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia Benavidez described Stephens as “a shining example of a Filipina blessed with so much talent and a generous heart as she shares her time and resources to promote Filipino cultural heritage and make a difference in the lives of the Filipino community in Hamilton”.
“New Zealand's recognition of her sterling qualities and sacrificial service to both the local and Filipino communities bring much pride and honor to the Philippines and the Filipino people," she added.

The embassy also presented a Certificate of Commendation to Stephens for her active and dynamic role in enhancing the positive image of the Philippines as the home of world-class talents, and elevating the status and profile of the Filipino community as among the best migrant groups who have integrated themselves well in the local communities and contributed to development activities and programs throughout New Zealand.
The Queen’s Service Medal was instituted in New Zealand in 1975 to recognize voluntary service to the community. Recipients of the Medal may use the letters "QSM" after their name. Persons who are not New Zealand citizens or citizens of Commonwealth nations of which The Queen is head of state, may be awarded an "Honorary" Medal.

Ateneo student wins 3rd in Beijing Sudoku tourney

MANILA, Philippines – A 16-year-old Ateneo de Manila University student secured the third place in the 2012 Beijing International Sudoku Tournament held in Beijing, China.
Sarah Jane Cua won third place in the age 18 and under category of the contest. 
The tournament drew 52 contestants from 13 countries and regions including the United States and Japan.
The incoming second year college student of Management Engineering at Ateneo de Manila University was awarded $300 for her win. 
Slovakia’s Zuzana Hromcova won first place and received $500, while Qui Yanzhe of China won second place and $400.
Dr. Simon Chua, president of the Mathematics Trainers Guild-Philippines (MTG), said Cua won first in the same category last year. The category awards were additional prizes besides the main contest.
The teenager was grand champion in the BRAND's Asia Pacific Sudoku Challenge in 2008 and 2010. She won second place in the 3rd BRAND's Sudoku Thailand International Open Princess Somsawali Cup held in Bangkok in 2009. 
Other contestants who represented the Philippines were Alvin Ian Chan of Ateneo de Manila University, Candice Renee Beatrice Solidarios of Integrated Montessori Center-Laguna , Clyde Wesley Ang of Chiang Kai Shek College, Ma. Czarina Angela Lao of Saint Jude Catholic School, Natalie Beatrice Dy of Saint John's Institute of Bacolod City and Ralph Joshua Sarrosa of the University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo, according to Chua. The team leader was Robert Degolacion, MTG executive director.
The participating countries in the tournament are the United States, Japan, host China, Slovakia, Taipei, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Turkey and the Philippines.
The 2012 Beijing International Sudoku Tournament was organized by the Beijing Media Network and sponsored by the Beijing Olympic City Development Foundation, Beijing Sports Federation and the Feng Tai District Information Office in Beijing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PH embassy raises funds for global charity

LONDON - The Philippine embassy in London joined over a hundred diplomatic missions in the city to raise funds and awareness on behalf of a global charity for vulnerable children.
Staff from the embassy were at the International Spring Fair at Kensington Town Hall to help sell and promote products from the Philippines, including pearls, jewelry, notebooks, glassware, woodwork and mats.
Hundreds of countries participated at the fair to promote their culture whilst raising proceeds for Children and Families Across borders (CFAB).
“It’s a good way to reach out to the general public in London, and to showcase Philippines as a country, its products and its people,” said Myla Macahilig, cultural attache at the Philippine embassy in London.
“For the Philippines to be part of this is an opportunity to be part of a worthy cause. And also to make sure that we are participating and making representation in the country that we are in. It’s our way of contributing to the host country, and to be part of the general community of nations.”
Each country was designated a stall on which to showcase their goods, from traditional clothing and accessories, to home decor and stationery, to special delicacies and beverages. Countries like Panama, Finland and Indonesia also highlighted their distinct national costumes.
A selected few were given the opportunity to feature homegrown performers promoting their traditional music and instruments, including a band from Columbia, a musician from China, and a singer from Poland.
“It’s a wonderful expression of international solidarity for some of the most deprived and vulnerable people in the world. We’ve got 112 stalls here from around the world. It’s an extraordinary recognition of the internationalism of this problem,” said Lady Davies, chairman of CFAB’s International Spring Fair.
CFAB, the UK branch of international charity network ISS, aims to protect children who become vulnerable due to conflict, migration, trafficking, abduction, asylum and family breakdown.
Founded in 1959, its services include legal aid, case assistance, liaison support, and training for international social workers, as well as running the Advice Line providing vital information on child care and protection.
“We help up to 2000 cases of separation a year and, as you can imagine, this cost a lot of money. This event raises money for all that work. Last year we’ve raised £80,000, and this year we’re hoping to do better,” Lady Davies added.
In 2010-2011, the UK-based charity worked on over 400 cases across 130 countries. According to its annual review, 33% of cases were about children in need of protection, 26% were in support of children in care, and 23% on dealing with abduction and mediation. The rest involved foster care and asylum (10%), adoption (4%), child trafficking (2%) and vulnerable adults (2%).
Since 2009, CFAB has raised over £1.5 million for its projects and services through donations, fees, grants and special events including the annual International Spring Fair.

Award-winning Fil-Spanish sculptor debuts at London art fair

LONDON - A Filipino-Spanish artist exhibited his work in England for the first time at an international art fair in the capital, following his successful exhibits in other parts of Europe.
Sculptor Raimundo Folch showcased his work at the Parallax Art Fair in Chelsea, a curated exhibit of contemporary artists from around the world across various disciplines including painting, photography and sculpture.
“England is always a good place for art, especially London. For a curriculum it sounds good, and you always try a market to see if your pieces are accepted,” he told ABS-CBN Europe.
The 52-year-old artist exhibited three of his works at Chelsea Town Hall in West London, including a majestic figure of a horse and chariot, a gentle woman and child, and a surreal galloping horse with wings.
“Raimundo’s sculptures are strong. It’s great to have him on board, and we’d like to have him back for another one. We’ve had a really high quality this time around. This is the fourth we’ve done, so as we get more established, it just keeps getting better each year,” said Kyle Gregg, exhibition manager at Barlow Fine Art Ltd, which organized the fair.
The Filipino-Spanish sculptor has been exhibiting his work in Spain for several years and, since 2010, he also started to participate in art fairs in Germany and France.
In 2011, his work was featured at the Carrousel du Louvre International Painting and Sculpture Exposition in Paris, where one of his pieces entitled “Sea Deity” was awarded the Baumel-Schwenck Prize, the highest distinction in sculpture from the French National Society of Fine Arts.
“Sea Deity was inspired by a simple graffiti line sprayed by someone on the wall near my studio. I really couldn’t believe it when I won. It’s a big achievement because France is an authority in art, where a lot of fashion and art come from. A prize from Paris has a lot of distinction,” he recalled.
Folch describes his style as a “synthesis” of various artistic movements, from classical Greek and Roman, to art deco and baroque, to surrealism and expressionism.
“It begins in my mind. I first have an inspiration which is what they call the ‘pareildolia’ effect, a process in which you see figures of animals or people in clouds and stains. I have a very imaginative mind,” he explained.
“I want to make movement in my sculptures. That’s one the characteristics of my work. If it’s a woman, for example, you can see the hair and clothes flowing in the wind. I’m fascinated by the expression of the body and its poise, but it must be graceful.”
His work is also influenced by surrealist master Salvador Dali, an artist he admires and can identify with since his early years as an artist.
“When Dali was a boy, he was saying that he can see the Lourdes in the teeth of his auntie because of the stain. And I understand him, because I also have an imaginative mind,” he said.
Folch has been living in Valencia since the age of 15. Born in Manila, he moved to the Spanish city with his parents and eventually studied at the School of Arts and Trade of Valencia, as well as the Manises School of Ceramics.
“Valencia has a big influence in my development. It is a land of artists and we have great arts schools there, and also ceramics, and materials for making ceramics, and that’s why all my pieces are made of ceramics.”
After London, Folch is planning to bring his work in New York and Manila. He lives and works in Spain with his wife and their children.

Calabarzon sent highest number of Pinoy workers abroad in 2010, govt says

Region IV-A (Calabarzon) sent the most number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2010 —327,000 workers or 16 percent of some 2.04 million workers who left the country that year, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) said.

According to a statement released by the NSCB about the 2010 statistics on OFWs, the next two regions that sent the most number of OFWs abroad in that year were:

  • Region III (Central Luzon): 294,000 (or 14.4 percent of the total number of OFWs who left the country), and
  • the National Capital Region: 282,000 (or 13.8 percent).
Meanwhile, Region XIII (Caraga), Region IV-B (Mimaropa), and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) sent the least number of overseas workers with each sending less than 2 percent of the total number of OFWs who left the country in 2010.
“Increasing numbers of OFWs are coming from the Ilocos Region, Central Visayas and Cagayan Valley,” the state-run statistics agency said.

NSCB cited that from 2008 to 2010, the number of overseas workers in the Ilocos Region jumped almost twice to 294,000 from 156,000.
“Overall, for every 10 women who work abroad as OFWs, there are 11 men,” the statement read.
Still, in some regions, sex distribution among OFWs differed.  
In Region XII (Soccsksargen), Region II (Cagayan Valley), Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and CAR, for every 10 female overseas workers, there are only three to five male, based in the 2008 to 2010 records.
“There is a very slight trend that our OFWs are getting older but their average age has been consistently about 34.4 years,” NSCB noted.
The statistics agency explained that male OFWs are older at 36 year old, while female overseas worker’s average age were only posted at 34.
The largest number of OFWs generally came from the 25 to 29 age group, representing about 25 percent of all overseas workers, NSCB cited.
“Our young kababayans are leaving the country for work, spending probably the most productive years of their lives away from their families and their friends,” NSCB stated.
However, female OFWs outnumber their male counterparts in the younger age group.
With overseas workers aged 15-24, there are only six men in 10 women who were leaving the country for work. In the age group of 25 to 29, there were nine men OFWs for every 10 women.
“This calls attention to the greater vulnerability of our female OFWs compared to male OFWs,” NSCB warned.
According to the statistics agency, 76 percent of the OFWs were hired in the occupational groups: laborers and unskilled workers, those engaged in trade and related works, service workers and shop and market sales workers, and plant and machine operators and assemblers.
Professionals and technicians and associate professionals comprise about 10 percent.
Female overseas workers, NSCB noted, are predominantly working as laborers and unskilled workers (domestic helpers), clerks, and service workers and shop and market sales workers.
Where do OFWs go?
According to NSCB, 79 out of 100 overseas workers work in Asia, while 9 OFWs would be working in Europe and 8 workers will be based in North and South America. Both Australia and Africa will have 2 OFWs in their continents per 100 overseas workers.
The three biggest work destination countries of OFWs were Saudi Arabia (21 out of 100), United Arab Emirates (15 out of 100), and Malaysia (10 out of 100), the statistics agency said.
Meanwhile, based on the 2010 stock estimates of the Commission on Filipino Overseas, the top 10 destination of Filipinos including OFWs and emigrants were:

1. United States, with 3,166,529 Filipinos
2. Saudi Arabia, 1,512,539
3. Canada, 667,674
4. United Arab Emirates, 636,154
5. Australia, 345,592
6. Malaysia, 316,273
7. Japan, 290,358
8. United Kingdom 196,740
9. Hong Kong, 169,749
10. Kuwait, 169,106
- VVP, GMA News