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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pinoy nurse in UK has passion for painting

Francis Tanseco

MANILA, Philippines -- Even if he’s working as a nurse in London, Francis Tanseco considers himself a painter.
“Painting is my passion,” said Tanseco. “I paint all the time here now. I think of subjects and just dream of pictures in my head. But I’m still a nurse here.”
Tanseco, 43, will hold his exhibit “10” from July 16 to July 31 at the Philippine Center in London. About 40 paintings, mostly oil on canvas, are part of this exhibit, including new ones which were done only this year.
He said he has written former first lady Imelda Marcos through one of her emissaries to be his special guest at the exhibit.
“I’m asking her to cut the ribbon,” said Tanseco, who has done 11 paintings of the Marcos in 2010 for the exhibit “Imeldarella” in London.
His paintings on the former first lady, including her husband former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, were his first attempt to use watercolor on paper, explained Tanseco. “Using watercolor was an experiment for me. I realized that watercolor is the most difficult and challenging in my artworks. And it became an experience for me to fall in love with the medium and go through the challenges and even the sexiness of the medium.”
Tanseco is also a songwriter and said he has written an opera for Marcos. “I have not yet produced it,” he said. “I might do it later.”
La Aunor and tribulations
Another of her favorite subjects is actress Nora Aunor -- “the one and only superstar,” according to Tanseco, who did 12 portraits of the actress for the show “Filipinism: La Aunor: Woman,” at the UCLH Sports Club in Bonham Carter House, Grower Street several years ago.
“I only met her when I was in college when I was still taking my nursing in La Concordia. My friend and I made 12 songs for Nora. I went to her and gave the tape,” he recalled..
“Nora has never done any of our songs,” Tanseco laughed. “I’m sure she hasn’t even heard them. But I always cherish what I feel about her--her movies, shows, TV, records--her life and tribulation, even her downfall.”
Tanseco described his portraits of Aunor as “women’s concerns, issues, rights, fun, sexually, drugs, joy and sadness.” He said there are men who “like to be women and women to be men. Everything is portrayed in the portraits, with only Nora Aunor as the picture.”
He depicted pictures based on films by Aunor, like “Bilangin Ang Mga Bituin Sa Langit,” produced by Regal Films. He named this painting “Pag-Ani” (The Harvest), which he painted like Van Gogh, Tanseco’s favorite artist.
Another Aunor portrait was inspired by her film “Sidhi” titled “Mother and Child” which looks rougher than Van Gogh’s style.
Another Aunor portrait, “Triumph and Tribulation,” picked from another movie, was different from Van Gogh. Putting wine in front of Aunor, the tribulations in her face and her accolades in her eyes, the portrait looks like Mexican Frida Kahlo’s paintings that were mostly her own portraits.
A surreal death is shown Aunor in the painting “Justice is Blind, Justice for Flor,” who played the domestic helper Flor Contemplation, who was convicted for killing another maid in Singapore. Painted in mostly blue and white, the portrait shows the darkness of dying the woman, and the sadness and helpless of her heart when she could no longer care of her children.
“I only wanted to show people who become powerless and vulnerable when certain things that happen to them cannot change their views,” Tanseco said.
The Harvest
Healing the world
Tanseco said he started painting was in 2002 when he got depressed. He vividly remembered the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C. About 3,000 people were killed that day.
“All of us in London were shocked,” Tanseco said. “I was depressed. I wanted the killing of people to stop. I was against 9/11. I became more consciousness about this madness in the world. And I started painting.”
Tanseco paints about beauty, sexuality, politics, nature and religion. He once did a series of 21 paintings of oil on canvas on the series called “Healing,” which was also shown in London.
“’Healing the World’ was my first artwork,” he said. “I painted and painted and I couldn’t stop.”
In 2004, Tanseco made his second series of artworks. “Make Love Not War” is about 12 paintings of oil on canvas painted of men of war in different color.
“I wanted to make divide and conquer,” Tanseco explained. “I used gays and lesbians to show their peace and tolerance, and proud of their national flag. This is my inspiration. This is my protest against war in Iraq.”
For his next exhibit in London in 2004, Tanseco was inspired by Picasso and Van Gogh in “Beauty, Love, Madness.”
“This is everything I seem to see in the world,” he said. “I see beauty and love. I also see madness and surrender, even passion,” he said.
Japan before England
When Tanseco finished his nursing studies in Manila, he joined the Philippine General Hospital where he worked for about 30 patients a day. He was tired and happy, and he wanted to make the sick better. He left the hospital after a year and went to Japan to work with his sister, who was married to an English man.
“I worked as an au pair for about two years,” he said. “We travelled a lot, but later on I went back to the Philippines.”
Ironically, he couldn’t find another hospital to work in Manila. He joined a Chinese hospital as a volunteer nurse, but he found work later—in England.
“I’ve worked in London for at least 12 years,” Tanseco said. “I’m now thinking of going to the US where my mother stays.”
He still continues nursing in London and always paints. He has made several series artworks since 2002: “True Colors,” oil based crayons in paper about lovers Hadrian and Antinoos and Jose Rizal, among others; “Affirmation:Joyful and Creative Exuberance,” about writers like Paul Kurtz, Sam Harris, Michael Sherman, among others; “Un-Born Fate:Un-Died Faith,” oil-based colors on paper about religion, truth; “Knight of St. John;” “Perfect Empire,” oil on canvas, about the fall of Rome, the fall of past civilization and the rise and fall of civilization in mankind’s existence; “Catbalogan Samar,” watercolor on paper, about Tanseco’s love and his birthplace; “Love rEVOLution,” about the street of London; “Merkaba (The Flower of Life),” about simplicity of life; “Visit Philippines,” about of series on the places of the country.
100 pounds
“I’m doing a lot of things,” Tanseco said. “I tell you, I crave a lot in painting.”
Tanseco said he has not sold a lot of his paintings, but is hoping to sell more this month.
“You know what, I sold some paintings for only 100 pounds,” he said, laughing. “It’s not much, but it the people who bought these paintings wanted to save them maybe in the future. I think I can sell them better now.”
“I don’t complain if I won’t sell much,” he added. “I will still paint.”

Donaire outpoints Mathebula, becomes unified champ

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 1) Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire defeated South African boxer Jeffrey Mathebula via unanimous decision to become the unified World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight champion.
Donaire won with scores of 117-110, 118-109, and 119-108.
“The Filipino Flash” nearly ended the fight when he knocked down Mathebula with a cracking left hand towards the end of the fourth round.
Donaire connected with a strong left hook to Mathebula’s chin, sending the South African to the canvas. Mathebula was saved by the bell, however, and the fight went the distance.
For 12 rounds, Donaire was troubled by Mathebula’s greater reach, as he often ate several punches while moving forward. But Donaire just shrugged off most of Mathebula’s punches and landed the more telling blows, especially in the later rounds.
After getting knocked down, Mathebula became more active in the fifth and sixth rounds, putting together a series of good combinations and keeping Donaire away with his longer reach. But Donaire again ignored Mathebula’s shots, often lunging forward to pepper Mathebula with left hands.
Mathebula spent most of the later rounds covering up, throwing jabs only to keep Donaire at distance. By the 11th round, he was on his skates after eating several power punches from Donaire.
Donaire, who clearly wanted to end the fight on a spectacular note, came out swinging in the 12th round and worked Mathebula’s body in an attempt to create an opening for a knockout.
But Mathebula was an unwilling partner, as he spent most of the final round on the defensive end.
Donaire’s record improved to 29 wins against one loss, with 18 wins coming by knockout.

Boracay named 2012 world's best island

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Boracay has been named as this year's world's best island getaway by an international travel magazine.
Discovery Shores in Boracay was also named best hotel spa in Asia by "Travel + Leisure" magazine's 2012 World's Best Awards.
The magazine's editor, Nilou Motamed, made the announcement Friday on the "Today" daily American morning television show that airs on NBC.
Boracay, which placed 4th in the same awards last year, garnered 93.10 points to take the top spot this year.

Travel + Leisure's top 10 island destinations in 2012, based on a survey of readers are:
1. Boracay, Philippines - 93.10
2. Bali - 90.41
3. Galápagos - 89.55
4. Maui - 89.53
5. Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia  - 89.28
6. Santorini, Greece - 89.20
7. Kauai - 89.09
8. Big Island, Hawaii  - 87.95
9. Sicily, Italy - 87.87
10. Vancouver Island, British Columbia - 87.48
"The world's best island, I confess to never having heard of it in the Philippines," "Today" host Willie Geist said.
"This is important, Boracay. It beat out Bali, number 2. It's one of those islands you should know about if you're interested in culture and value," Motamed told Geist.
"Our readers love this, it's not been on anyone's radar. It's in the Philippines. This is the place that you're gonna get not only hotels that you can stay for $50 a night but incredible hotels like the Shangri-la," she added.
Boracay's Discovery Shores also secured top honors for being the best hotel spa in Asia this year, the magazine said.
Aside from Boracay and Discovery Suites, the winners in other categories are Bangkok (world's best city), Singita Grumeti Reserves (world's best hotel), Crystal Cruises (world's best large ship cruise line), Seabourn (world's best small ship cruise line), Viking River Cruises (world's best river cruise line), Singapore Airlines (world's best international airline), Virgin America (world's best domestic airline), Micato Safaris (world's best safari outfitter), Row Adventures (world's best tour operator), Hertz (world's best car rental agency), Red Mountain Resort (world's best destination spa), and Capella Pedregal (world's best hotel spa).
"Even after 17 years, the opportunity to see what travel experiences resonate with our readers still intrigues and delights me. While some passions change over time, the allure of the exotic and the new remains as strong as ever, as does the attraction to trips that provide distinctive and long-lasting memories," "Travel + Leisure" editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod said in a press statement.
The full results of the 17th annual "Travel + Leisure" World's Best Awards survey revealing readers' favorite hotels, cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, car rental agencies, spas, safari outfitters, and tour operators are listed on and will be featured in the magazine's August digital editions and its August print issue that will hit US newsstands on July 20.
The 2012 World's Best Awards winners will be honored at a ceremony on July 19 that will be hosted by Novogrod and the magazine's vice-president and publisher, Jean-Paul Kyrillos, at the newly opened Conrad New York.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Biking and beaches in rustic Bantayan Island

Bantayan island was meant to be for a day and a night, a quick weekend visit while staying on the far north of Cebu province. Friends had often talked of this island and the chance to see it came at the end of summer, before the monsoon.
There are reasons that cannot be taken for granted about coming to this island: the shuttle ferry left the port town of San Remigio on time, reaching Santa Fe in an hour and well worth the 185-peso fare. Santa Fe, one of Bantayan’s three villages, is the place for the tourists, the resorts, and the fine white-sand beaches that you could see as you approach the pier, clean and orderly.
But the vital reason why I decided to stay longer was on account of the pedicab driver: he didn’t hassle me and he took me to the Beach Placid Resort that had a single fan-only (as opposed to air-conditioning) room for 500 pesos a night. The sea was a clear pool of water, and the late afternoon sun was not too harsh, perfect for a dip.

The atmosphere was a cross between a provincial setting and a western-style resort where some women guests are not too comfortable wearing a bikini or a maillot. It’s a family treat riding on a jet ski. It’s simply relaxing sitting on the chaise longue, smelling the faint saltiness of the breeze. No one bothers you for a foot massage; the resort can call for a masseuse formerly trained at a Thai spa at your request.
Everyone else seemed accommodating to your needs, genuinely, and you find yourself falling into the charms of the resort’s Visayan staff. You hear a small voice in your head inviting you to stay a while longer, even for just another day. And that’s what I did.
The following morning I had homemade champorado for breakfast, preparing myself for a full stretch on the road. I rented a bicycle from one of the cleaning boys, a city bike they call ‘Korean,’ presumably one of those used goods that must have been smuggled into the province. I decided to go to the main town of Bantayan, what I would discover to be an old Spanish harbor that appeared to me like a perfect movie set.
I pedaled for about an hour and a half, taking 11 kilometers of the ‘highway’ that was named after the province’s governor, a narcissistic habit of politicians. I had awoken to the wild trilling of glossy starlings nestling on a bunch of coconut trees, and I knew that I would see more birds along the way, perched on electric wires as I went on.
Some parts of the road had a stretch of neem trees and gorgeous hibiscus bushes and other indications of a tree-planting activity on the side of the road. This highway was empty, and only occasional SUVs sped through. My only companions were workers carrying their carpentry tools, and a girl who stopped me for a few coins as she walked to school. There is an airfield, and you imagine that if you are rich enough, you can fly to this island anytime at your command for a pleasant weekend such as this.

I found Jose Rizal in the town’s plaza in his usual overcoat, surrounded by the leftover architecture of the Spanish colonial past, an old theater turned into ukay-ukay shops, buildings that stand for posterity, a 16th century stone church with stained-glass windows of Biblical designs. A caretaker allowed me to sit among the pews in my biking shorts – usually forbidden – so I can pray before an altar of gold-plated finery.

The wharf fit into the scene, with fishing boats that looked like they had battled against pirates. The smaller fishermen carried on with their catch in their wooden dinghies, living each day as it is. The market was sprawled nearby, driving me into a reckless frenzy of buying the cheapest fruits and dried 
danggit this town is famous for – something my father would like for pasalubong. They all piled up in the basket of my ‘Korean’ bicycle.
The townspeople must have sensed my exhilaration; they made way for me as I biked through, surprisingly incredulous that I had come all the way from Santa Fe. You cannot get lost here; it had signs pointing to the cemetery, the jail, the slaughterhouse, the school with the cotton candy man waiting outside, and just about anything, especially on the highway that warns you of a ‘steep downward’ when it was nothing more than a small slope.
It is an island as it should be. There are copycat signs that seemed a pretense at modernity, like putting up a home subdivision, but it would ruin the nostalgic heritage of Bantayan. I found it amusing that the cook in my beach resort couldn’t make tomato sauce for my pasta; he presented me with sliced raw green tomatoes and laid them on top of the dish for decoration.
Walking on the shoreline from Beach Placid, I saw a fishing village of authentic curiosity – showing me this island’s homegrown culture just from the way their outriggers are fixed for their expeditions at sea. Bantayan ought to know that this and its old ways make it special for the outsiders, not the number of resorts it can build on its shore. – YA, GMA NEWS

PH warned of unknown respiratory disease in Cambodia

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and neighboring countries have been warned of an “unknown respiratory disease” that has killed 61 children in Cambodia.
In a statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the disease has “neurological symptoms” and the Cambodia Ministry of Health was first alerted about this “by the physician of Khanta Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh.”
“WHO is closely monitoring the situation and is providing technical assistance to Ministry of Health on field epidemiology, clinical management and active case finding,” said Dr. Nima Asgari, team leader of the WHO Country Office in Cambodia.
The disease starts with high fever, followed by respiratory and/or neurological symptoms with rapid deterioration of respiratory functions.
A majority of the cases came from southern part of Cambodia and no apparent clustering of cases had been observed so far.
Cambodia Minister of Health H.E. Man Bung Heng said the “MoH and the WHO are currently investigating the cases and possible causes of the disease are being considered but definite identification of the cause and source may take some time.”
The WHO said the neighboring countries of Cambodia “have already been officially informed through a posting made through the International Health Regulations (IHR) event information system.
“Cases of severe respiratory disease with neurological symptoms have been reported to the Ministry of Health,” the WHO said.

Pinoy animator finds success in Canada

TORONTO - Set to work on DreamWorks animated feature film “Joseph”, Andy Gutierez left the Philippines for Canada in 1998.
An extended contract found him riding the peak of 2D animation, but it was cut short because of the transition in the cartoon industry.
“I was locked with a company who hired me from the Philippines. I was forced to look for other jobs but they're not related to animation because the thing was, most of my co workers, they have money to like go to school, right away to learn 3D, cause 3D was like starting during that time,” said Gutierrez.
He found himself working at a labor intensive automotive company. But luck was on his side, for it was during this time when his talent was remembered by an old employer who offered to pay for his 3D animation course.
“Since I kinda know the basics and everything, it wasnt really hard for me. He asked me if I can work on TV show called 'Handy Manny'. I started doing 3D for almost a year,” he said.
Since then, Guiterrez has worked on Canadian cartoons like Max and Ruby, Wibbly Pig and Spliced. He became a Disney animator for “Goof Troop” and other shows.
His fondest memories lie in classical animation like the one he did for “Princess and the Frog” and the friendships formed in his many years animating back in the Philippines.
“I know a lot of animators and artists in the Philippines and they're pretty good. I see lots of good works here, but I see lots of good work from there too,” he added.
Despite his success, he believes Filipino talents shine in the field of animation.

Tweeps cheer boxer Nonito Donaire for his July 7 fight in US

Filipinos and foreigners on Twitter expressed their well-wishes for Filipino-American boxing star Nonito Donaire Jr. who will be fighting on July 7 for a World Boxing Organization (WBO)-International Boxing Federation (IBF) unification bout in Carson City, California.
“Filipino Flash” Donaire (28-1 18 KOs) will be defending his WBO junior featherweight crown against South African IBF champion Jeffrey Methabula (26-3 14 KOs), according to a report of the news siteAsian Journal

Filipinos and foreigners on Twitter have been abuzz with excitement with the upcoming bout.
M A T: “@filipinoflash Excited to be cheering for Nonito Donaire from row 12 floor 5 in Carson tomorrow night!”
Christine Alejo: “Nonito Donaire, the next Filipino boxing allstar. #believethat”
Danny Walker: “Can’t wait to see Nonito donaire fight! #teamdonaire”

Well-conditioned for the fight

The 29-year-old Donaire mentioned to sports news site Phil Boxing that he conditioned himself thoroughly for the bout since he was disappointed with his previous performance.
“My last fight at 122 pounds I was pretty small, I was walking at 128 pounds. For this fight I had been walking at 133 to 138 pounds, which is a big difference,” Donaire told Philboxing.
“When I went to camp, which was two months ago, that’s when I began the boxing and I was a lot bigger and stronger than the last fight,” he added.
Donaire, standing at 5’7 will be having a rare height disadvantage facing the 5’10 Methabula who also holds a considerable reach advantage.
However, he is not worried and plans to dominate the 122 pound division by defeating guys like Guillermo Rigondeaux and Abner Mares next.

In best shape?
Donaire admitted that for the bout with Methabula, he has dropped vices such as occasional drinking and partying.
"This is going to be the first fight that I really, truly worked hard. Usually I'd go 2 or 3 times a week, this time I'm there everyday,” he said to Examiner.
I'm taking this fight serious and see how I feel and hopefully I carry it on for the remainder of my career,” he added.
Donaire’s core and strength coach Michael Bazzel also had positive feedback for him.
"Nonito is doing great. This has been a really good training camp. He's always in time and he's putting in great work," he said.
Rising up
Donaire, who looked up to Filipino boxing icon and Saranggani Rep. Manny Pacquiao said that it didn’t bother him even if a lot of Filipinos haven’t embraced him and are still comparing him to the “Pacman,” according to a report from sports news site Examiner.
"It doesn't bother me. I am who I am, and I'm proud to be Filipino. All I can do is try to be a positive influence, and be the best person that I can be," Donaire said to Examiner.
He also mentioned that the criticisms mostly come from the Philippines but the general reception from the Filipino-American community in the US is positive.
“If they don't like me, what can I do? That's why I truly appreciate those that truly support me, and it just makes me want to train harder and do better for them," he said. - VVP, GMA News

Dig in—the food's always fresh in Batanes

Basco, Batanes is under a typhoon signal as I write this, and I'm stuck remembering four sunny days I spent there. 
The sun kissed us too much—there’s still a faint burn on my feet—but the long treks were rewarded by great food; not because they’re exactly exotic, but served fresh under the sky roof.
Most Ivatans make a living from farming and fishing, harvesting sweeter-than-usual vegetables and drying seafood by the salty ocean’s air. 
Lobster can be as cheap as P150, a heavenly price for crustacean lovers like me. But the most sought-after coconut crab can go as much as P950 a kilo in Basco (it's half the price at Sabtang Island, where the strong-pincered crab is sourced).
Located at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, Batanes is classically photogenic, and food items follow suit. After hours of shooting people and sceneries, you can’t help but take a few more frames of meals before digging in.

–KG, GMA News

‘Kanto’ brings Pinoy street food to Toronto

CANADA – Shipment containers-turned-food stalls are operated by vendors selling diverse international street cuisine in downtown Toronto.
Kababayan Diona Joyce, owner of “Kanto”, is one of them.
“This is the first one for the shipping containers to be in Toronto. Its been doing pretty job and I think because there's a lot of Filipinos, even non-Filipinos, who want to eat Filipino food here in downtown Toronto,” said Joyce.
“Kanto” is bringing traditional food into mainstream Toronto dining scene and among the customers’ favorites are the palabok, lumpiang shanghai, halo-halo and lechon kawali.
“We went to a food store and they were serving halo-halo and she said 'Jesus, Mark, you gotta try it". And I tried it. It was delicious, It was good. I've been getting it whenever I have a chance,” said customer Mark Charmy who is married to a Filipina.
Another customer is Jackie Snyder. She works just across the street and would patiently wait for her order.
“I like what's going on here...the variety, the street food. I love international cuisine,” she said.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

World's top 10 lightest, top 10 heaviest nations

A recent study conducted by European researchers listed the world's top 10 lightest and top 10 heaviest countries, a report of the news site Emirates 24/7 said.
The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, showed that globally, over a billion adults are overweight and more people are increasing their body mass.
The study measures that the total weight of adults is 316 million tonnes (287 million metric tonnes) and humans are 17 million tonnes (15 million metric tonnes) overweight, Emirates 24/7 said.
The heaviest nation is the US, with an average adult weighing 82 kilograms (kg), 20 kg more than the global average.
In contrast, the lightest nation is Bangladesh with each adult weighing in an average of just 49.50 kg, around 13 kg lighter than the global average.
Emirates 24/7 said obesity is the cause of various health hazards.
However, we should also be aware that the increased weight of adults results in food and water shortage in our planet.
The report also quotes the researchers: “by 2050, there could be an additional 2.3 billion people. The ecological implications of rising population numbers will be exacerbated by increases in average body mass.”
The following is a list of the heaviest and lightest countries:
United States 
Estimated Filipino population: 3,166,529*
Average weight per adult (kg): 81.97
Adults per tonne: 12.2
Estimated Filipino population: 69,106*
Average weight per adult (kg): 77.52
Adults per tonne: 12.9
Estimated Filipino population: 305,331*
Average weight per adult (kg): 76.92
Adults per tonne: 13.0
Estimated Filipino population: 95*
Average weight per adult (kg): 76.34
Adults per tonne: 13.1
United Arab Emirates
Estimated Filipino population: 636,154*
Average weight per adult (kg): 75.76
Adults per tonne: 13.2
Estimated Filipino population: 11,100*
Average weight per adult (kg): 75.19
Adults per tonne: 13.3
Estimated Filipino population: 6,565*
Average weight per adult (kg): 74.07
Adults per tonne: 13.5
Estimated Filipino population: 53,860*
Average weight per adult (kg): 73.53
Adults per tonne: 13.6
Trinidad and Tobago
Estimated Filipino population: 1,172*
Average weight per adult (kg): 72.46
Adults per tonne: 13.8
Estimated Filipino population: 241*
Average weight per adult (kg): 72.46
Adults per tonne: 13.8
Estimated Filipino population: 693*
Average weight per adult (kg): 49.50
Adults per tonne: 20.2
Estimated Filipino population: 142*
Average weight per adult (kg): 50.5
Adults per tonne: 19.8
Sri Lanka
Estimated Filipino population: 1,212*
Average weight per adult (kg) 50.5
Adults per tonne: 19.8
Estimated Filipino population: 5,100*
Average weight per adult (kg): 50.76
Adults per tonne: 19.7
Estimated Filipino population: 121*
Average weight per adult (kg): 52.08
Adults per tonne: 19.2
North Korea
Estimated Filipino population: 8*
Average weight per adult (kg): 52.63
Adults per tonne: 19.0
Estimated Filipino population: 216*
Average weight per adult (kg): 52.91
Adults per tonne: 18.9
Democratic Republic of Congo
Estimated Filipino population: 1,194*
Average weight per adult (kg): 53.48
Adults per tonne: 18.7
Estimated Filipino population: 25*
Average weight per adult (kg): 54.04
Adults per tonne: 18.5
Estimated Filipino population: 3,283*
Average weight per adult (kg): 55.87
Adults per tonne: 17.9

* Based on the 2010 Stock Estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas
Average weight per adult is taken from Emirates 24/7 calculations.
Adults per tonne is taken from Biomed Central data.

- with Andrei Medina, VVP, GMA News

Iran says can destroy US bases "minutes after attack"

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has threatened to destroy U.S. military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day.
Israel has hinted it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to secure a halt to its disputed nuclear energy programme. The United States also has mooted military action as a last-resort option but has frequently nudged the Israelis to give time for intensified economic sanctions to work against Iran.
"These bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands (Israel) are also good targets for us," Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.
Haji Zadeh said 35 U.S. bases were within reach of Iran's ballistic missiles, the most advanced of which commanders have said could hit targets 2,000 km (1,300 miles) away.
"We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack," he added.
It was not clear where Haji Zadeh got his figures on U.S. bases in the region. U.S. military facilities in the Middle East are located in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey, and it has around 10 bases further afield in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Defence analysts are often sceptical about what they describe as exaggerated military assertions by Iran and say the country's military capability would be no match for sophisticated U.S. defence systems.
Iranian media reported that this week's three-day "Great Prophet 7" tests involved dozens of missiles and domestically-built drones that successfully destroyed simulated air bases.
Iran has upped its fiery anti-West rhetoric in response to the launch on Sunday of a total European Union embargo on buying Iranian crude oil - the latest calibrated increase in sanctions aimed at pushing Tehran into curbing nuclear activity.
Revolutionary Guards commanders have also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a third of the world's seaborne oil trade passes out of the Gulf, in response to the increasingly harsh sanctions.
Major powers have said they would tolerate no obstruction of commercial traffic through the Strait, and the United States maintains a formidable naval presence in the Gulf region.
Iran accused the West of disrupting global energy supplies and creating regional instability and says its forces can dominate the vital waterway to provide security.
"The policy of the Islamic Republic is based on maintaining security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz for all ships and oil tankers," Iranian English-language state Press TV quoted the chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, as saying.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear programme to covertly develop all the components required to produce nuclear weapons, accusations the Iranian officials have repeatedly denied.
The world's No. 5 oil exporter maintains that it is enriching uranium for nuclear fuel only to generate more energy for a rapidly growing population.
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Top 5 foods to help you sleep

Dairy products

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, foods containing tryptophan should be a first port of call. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, helps to raise serotonin and melatonin levels in the body, both of which can help induce sleep. While turkey is a famously good source of tryptophan, other (perhaps more bedtime-friendly) sources include dairy products such as yoghurt and milk.
On top of their tryptophan levels, dairy snacks are also a great source of calcium, which helps the brain to use tryptophan to create melatonin. Research has also suggested that a deficiency of calcium in the diet can cause disturbed sleep patterns and a lack of deep (REM) sleep.


While many of us associate oats with breakfast time, they are also the perfect evening snack. Oats are a good natural source of melatonin, which is often taken as a sleep aid due to its ability to help regulate the body's internal clock. They are also another good source of tryptophan, especially when combined with milk.
Furthermore, oats are rich in both calcium and magnesium; two minerals that have been proven to promote good quality sleep. For a warm, soothing snack before bed, try eating a small bowl of porridge to help you drift off, combined with any of the following toppings to help double its effects.


If you suffer from muscle spasms or cramps during the night, it may be that you are deficient in the electrolytes magnesium and potassium, both of which help to relax muscles and keep them functioning properly. Fortunately, bananas are excellent source of both minerals, making them a good bedtime snack, particularly after a heavy exercise session.
As well as being rich in these essential minerals, bananas also contain tryptophan, which can help to promote sleep. Researchers from the University of New England in New South Wales have also found that having a banana before bed can help sufferers of sleep apnea by keeping their throats open and therefore reducing the risk of choking.


For those who have trouble sleeping, you may be familiar with over-the-counter melatonin supplements used to treat insomnia. However, while melatonin can help to regulate sleep, it may be unwise to rely on supplements for long-term use. Fortunately, cherries provide a great natural source of melatonin as well as being excellent for overall health.
A research study published in The Journal of Sleep and Sleep Disorders Research has indicated that consuming tart cherries before bed helped participants sleep faster and easier, making fresh cherries or cherry juice a great natural sleep aid.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds are great for increasing levels of sleep-regulating substance serotonin in the body due to their high levels of both tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, the omega-3 fatty acids they contain have been proven to help reduce the anxiety, depression and stress which are leading causes of insomnia, and have been shown to be effective against the condition sleep apnea.
Not only that, flax seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is renowned for its ability to reduce stress due to its relaxing effect on the muscles and nervous system. Magnesium has also been shown to help prevent restless leg syndrome and night terrors; both of which can affect sleep.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CERN confirms discovery of new 'God Particle'-like boson

At a press conference at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Auditorium on July 4 in Geneva, Switzerland, physicists say they have found a new subatomic particle.

The new particle has properties that are "consistent" with the long sought-after Higgs Boson, but scientists fell short of confirming it as the elusive "God Particle."

The God Particle

The Higgs Boson is commonly called the "God Particle" because a "theory of everything" rests largely on the confirmation of its existence.
Since the 1960's, scientists have been in search of the Higgs Boson because its existence is necessary to the "Standard Model" of particle physics. This theory seeks to explain all interactions between all known particles —hence, it is a "theory of almost everything." 
The decades-long search for the Higgs culminated in the construction of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest subatomic research facility, which has been the site of parallel experiments —CMS and ATLAS— conducted by teams comprised of thousands of physicists from around the world.

New discovery
"We have observed a new boson with a mass of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV at 4.9 sigma significance," said Joe Incandela, CMS Experiment spokesperson, to thunderous applause from the audience. He however stopped short of naming the new particle.
ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gionatti followed up with a presentation of the results of her own team's experiments, which also supported the existence of a boson with "God Particle"-like properties.

Further experiments
However, although the newly-discovered particle is mostly consistent with the Higgs Boson, scientists are cautious to make that declaration pending further tests.

"Results obtained are consistent with the expectations for the Standard Model (SM) Higgs boson. However, more data are needed to establish whether this new particle has all the properties of the SM Higgs boson or whether some do not match, implying new physics beyond the standard model," CERN said in a press release after the conference.

"We are entering the era of 'Higgs' measurements. This is just the beginning," Gionatti confirmed.

"I never thought this would happen in my lifetime," said Peter Higgs, one of the scientists who predicted the existence of the God Particle and for which it is named. — GMA News

Pinoys win Fourth of July Parade float competition in Saipan

SAIPAN, CNMI – The United Filipino Organization (UFO) won the prize for the best float at the 2012 Fourth of July Parade in the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

UFO is the umbrella group of some 30 Filipino organizations in the CNMI, a US territory.
UFO won $1,500 for the float that featured a man-made waterfall.

Bong Malasarte, president of UFO, told GMA News Online: “If it were not for us all coming together in the spirit of volunteerism, we wouldn’t have come up with this winning float.  This success is for everyone who made it happen, and those that were touched by the resulting product.” 

Malasarte said the float’s water feature, designed by an architect, depicts the universal concept of unity and oneness. 
“No matter where that water comes from, it all ends up in one place.  Water connects people from different cultures,” he said.

The United Filipino Organization (UFO) received $1,500 for having the best float at the 2012 Fourth of July Parade in the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Haidee Eugenio

 UFO board of trustees member Olive Yana, of Cagayan De Oro City in Northern Mindanao, said she expected UFO to win.
“It was genuine water flowing using the fountain principle.  I don’t think the CNMI has seen something like it before this,” she said.

As UFO did not participate in the 2011 float competition, Yana said, “It’s a sweet comeback.” 

In 2009, the group also won an award for the best float.
Aside from the man-made waterfall and giant rocks made out of paper mache, the float was also decorated with flora and fauna that were common to both the Philippines and the CNMI.  

The second prize in the float competition went to Marianas High School Lancheros, with an entry that depicted early farming life and local produce, complete with a live carabao pulling one of the carts.
The third prize went to CAB Dancers, whose float featured Palau’s heritage and traditional Palau dances. - VVP/HS, GMA News