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Saturday, September 8, 2012

NAIA Airport Janitor returns bag with 600K cash & valuables


Ronald Gadayan, a janitor at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was praised by airport officials after he returned on Monday afternoon a bag containing more than P600,000 cash and other valuables belonging to a Cebu City-bound passenger.
The 28 year old building attendant, found the Burberry pouch bag at NAIA Terminal 2 domestic departure wing at around 3:30 p.m.
Gadayan said he thought the bag on one of the chairs at the pre-departure lounge was left temporarily by one of the passengers who at that time were waiting to board a Philippine Airlines flight to Cebu.
When the owner failed to return, he immediately summoned PAL ground staff, who later turned the bag to airport policemen.
“Everyone had already boarded the plane but the bag was still there. I thought it belonged to one of the passengers who just went to the comfort room. I was mopping the floor at that time and passed by the bag several times. When a new batch of passengers came in, I was sure the owner had forgotten the bag,” he recounted.
Using the public address system, the ground staff first called for the bag’s owner, who they thought might still be at airport premises. When no one came forward to claim the bag, the airport policemen decided to open it.
Credit and calling cards found in the bag revealed the owner as one Francis Lloyd Chua Ty, a businessman who was a passenger of flight PR 849. Found in the bag were P634,807.96 cash in various denominations as well as several pieces of jewelry, wristwatches and sunglasses with a total estimated value of P1.8 million.
PAL and NAIA management officials managed to contact Ty shortly after he landed in Cebu. Ty sent an executive assistant to claim the bag.
The grateful owner and NAIA officials led by general manager Jose Angel Honrado, terminal manager Cecilio Bobila and public affairs chief Consuelo Bungag heaped praises on Gadayan for his honesty.
Honrado said he will recommend that Gadayan be given recognition by the airport management.
Gadayan, who did not open the bag and only learned what it contained much later, tried to downplay his good deed and said returning a lost item was a natural thing to do.
“They said they were all thankful that there was a good person like me who’s honest and was not tempted to take the bag for myself. But I wasn’t at all interested in keeping it. I grew up poor but my parents have always reminded me not to take what’s not mine,” Gadayan said.
(Story courtesy of Jerome Aning of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Phl jumps 10 notches in global competitiveness survey


The Philippines soared 10 places in the World Economic Forum’s 2012 Global Competitiveness Report.
The Philippines ranked 65th among 144 countries in this year’s survey, jumped from 75th in 2011. The WEF report said the Philippines was one of the countries that showed the most improvement.
“Ranked 65th, the Philippines is one of the countries showing the most improvement in this year’s edition. Indeed, it has advanced 22 places since reaching its lowest mark in 2009. The Philippines makes important strides this year in improving competitiveness—albeit often from a very low base—especially with respect to its public institutions (94th, up 23 places),” the report said.
It noted a significant improvement in “trust in politicians,” up 33 spots to 95th place, but “considerable room for improvement remains.”
There is also improved perception that the corruption (108th, up 11) and red tape (108, up 18) are being addressed by the Aquino administration, but the report noted “they remain pervasive.”
The WEF report also noted improvements in macroeconomic environment (36th, up 18), which it noted was one of the strongest aspects of the Philippines’ performance.
The financial sector is also seen to be more efficient and supportive of business activity(58th, up 13).
“Despite these very positive trends, many weaknesses remain to be addressed. The country’s infrastructure is still in a dire state, particularly with respect to sea (120th) and air transport (112th), with little or no progress achieved to date. Furthermore,
various market inefficiencies and rigidities continue, most notably in the labor market (103rd),” the WEF report stated.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 assesses the competitiveness of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.
For the fourth year in a row, Switzerland topped the overall rankings in the Global Competitiveness Report. Singapore remained in 2nd spot, followed by Finland in 3rd, Sweden in 4th and Netherlands in 5th. The top 10 list also includes Germany (6th), United States (7th), United Kingdom (8th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th).

Nora Aunor (left), seen here with 'Thy Womb' director Brillante Mendoza, poses holding the trophy for the Bisato d' Oro Award. Photo courtesy of Melvin Mangada MANILA, Philippines – Nora Aunor won the Bisato d' Oro Award from an independent award giving body in Venice for her portrayal in the film “Thy Womb.” The award was given by the Premio Della Critica Indipendente, a jury of independent film critics. Aunor is the first Pinay actress to win the award. “Thy Womb,” directed by Brillante Mendoza, is up against 17 films vying for the Golden Lion award at the 69th Venice International Film Festival. The film’s cast, which includes Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral, received a 5-minute standing ovation after the film’s screening at the prestigious film fest.

Nora Aunor (left), seen here with 'Thy Womb' director Brillante Mendoza, poses holding the trophy for the Bisato d' Oro Award. Photo courtesy of Melvin Mangada

MANILA, Philippines – Nora Aunor won the Bisato d' Oro Award from an independent award giving body in Venice for her portrayal in the film “Thy Womb.”
The award was given by the Premio Della Critica Indipendente, a jury of independent film critics.
Aunor is the first Pinay actress to win the award.
“Thy Womb,” directed by Brillante Mendoza, is up against 17 films vying for the Golden Lion award at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
The film’s cast, which includes Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral, received a 5-minute standing ovation after the film’s screening at the prestigious film fest.

Brillante wins special award in Venice


MANILA, Philippines – Brillante Mendoza, the director of the lone Filipino film at the ongoing 69th Venice Film Festival, was honored with a special award on Saturday.
Brillante Mendoza accepts the La Navicella Venezia Cinema Award for his film 'Thy Womb.' Photo courtesy of Melvin Mangada
The La Navicella Venezia Cinema Award was conferred by the Rivista del Cinematografo on Mendoza, the director of the independent film "Thy Womb," Saturday morning in Italy.
Composed of film critics, Rivista del Cinematografo or Journal of Cinema, has been giving recognition to participating films at the yearly Venice film festival since 2000.
Mendoza's award comes a day after the conferment of the Bisato d' Oro Award on veteran actress Nora Aunor, who portrays a Badjao midwife coping with her own infertility in "Thy Womb."
Alternately titled "Sinapupunan," the Filipino independent film is up against 17 others vying for the Golden Lion award, the highest prize given to a film at the yearly gathering in Italy.
The prize, introduced in 1949, is also regarded as among the most distinguished in the film industry at large.
The cast of "Thy Womb," which includes Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral, received a 5-minute standing ovation after the film’s screening at the prestigious film fest.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DOLE: 17 one-stop processing centers for OFWs now operating nationwide


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said 17 new one-stop processing centers (OSPC) are now operating nationwide for the processing of the requirements of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

In a news release, the DOLE said the OSPCs have been set up by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). 

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said, "The logic behind a one-stop shop is to fast-track action on an official transaction and provide convenience to the client."
 
Baldoz urged OFWs and their families to avail of the government’s programs and services available in the 17 OSPCs located in 11 regions throughout the country.

”Most of these OSPCs are already housed in one location together with the regional or field office of the POEA,” she said.

OSPCs provide the following services:
  • OWWA membership processing
  • Issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates by POEA
  • Information services, particularly on last-minute queries of departing OFWs, and
  • other OFW welfare concerns.


"Returning OFWs wishes for more time to be spent with their loved ones, so we in the government should empathize and serve our OFWs fast to enable them to maximize their vacation in the Philippines," Baldoz said.
 
Citing a report of OWWA chief Carmelita Dimzon, Baldoz said the OSPCs are manned by full-time OWWA personnel.
 
Baldoz earlier directed Dimzon and POEA chief Hans Leo Cacdac to consolidate the programs ad services of their offices under one roof to make the processing of OFW requirements more convenient for their clients.
 
OSPCs have been set up in the following areas:
 
  •  Region 1: Zambrano Bldg., San Fernando, La Union, with Marie Ganal as focal person
  •  Region 2: Regional Government Center, Carig Sur, Tuguegarao City
  •  Region 3: Clark Special Economic Zone, with Alma Dizon, Ely Llanes, and Maricel Ayson as focal staff
  •  Region 4A: Chipeco Ave., Brgy Halang, Calamba City, Laguna
  •  Region 6: 2nd Floor, Old City Hall Bldg., Luzurriaga St., Bacolod City, with Jennelyn Oyco as staff
  •  Region 7: LDM Bldg., Legaspi cor., M. Cuenco Ave., Cebu City, with Ma. Ofelia Maloloy-on as staff
  •  Region 10: 2/F Trinidad Bldg., Corales Yakapin St., Cagayan de Oro City, with Aniceta Corpin as staff
  •  Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao: POEA-ARMM ORG Compound, Gov. Gutierrez, Cotabato City, with Gem Torres as staff
  •  Caraga: Nimfa Tiu Building, J. P. Rosales Avenue, Butuan City.
 
On the other hand, the OSPCs which are separated from the POEA field or regional office are in the following regions:
 
  • Region 1: DOLE field offices at the Laoag Provincial Capitol in Laoag City; Brgy. Carmay, Rosales, Pangasinan, manned by Dolly Anne Camacho; Rizal Street in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, with Vera Andre Orcino as focal staff; and Alaminos City and Dagupan City, Pangasinan
  • Region 5: OWWA Satellite Office, Naga City Hall Complex, Miranda Avenue, Naga City, with Kaye Villamor as staff
  • Region 11: 2/F Amiya Bldg., Quiapo Boulevard, Davao City.
 
Two other OSPCs will be set up before the end of the year, one in Legazpi City (Region 5) and another in Tacloban City (Region 8), Baldoz said. - VVP, GMA News

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fil-Am wins 2 gold medals in London Paralympics


REDWOOD, California - Filipino-American athlete Raymond Martin bagged two Olympic medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games over the weekend.
The 18-year-old Martin struck gold in the men's T-52 100 meters where he raced to the finish line in 17.02 seconds to win the first US Paralympic track and field's gold in the Games on Sunday.
In the men's T-52 400 meters race, Martin crossed the finish line in 58.54 seconds beating Japan to win his second gold Monday.
Martin has two more races to go this week.
The track and field athlete was born with a congenital deformity called Freeman Sheldon Syndrome.
He was in preschool when he learned to race in his wheelchair. At age 7, he was already competing at the National Junior Disability Championship.
Martin was also one of the nominees under the category “Best Male Athlete with Disability” in ESPN’s 2012 ESPY awards.
“It’s a huge deal, it just means that all my hard work is paying off and I’m just really excited about all of it,” he said. With a report from Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Philippines praised for ratifying 'kasambahay' treaty


GENEVA - A landmark treaty on the protection of the up to 100 million domestic workers in the world will take effect within the next year, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said Wednesday.
The Philippines on Wednesday became the second country to ratify the treaty, which was passed in June 2011, after Uruguay ratified it on June 14 this year, according to the ILO, which requires two countries to ratify a treaty before it can go into effect.
"Today's ratification by the Philippines sends a powerful signal to the millions of domestic workers who will be protected when the Convention comes into force," ILO chief Juan Somavia said in a statement.
"I hope it will also send a signal to other member states and that we will soon see more and more countries committing to protect the rights of domestic workers," he added.
Domestic workers represent about 3.6 percent of waged employment worldwide, the ILO said.
In developing nations, domestic employment can meanwhile account for as much as 12 percent of the workforce, with women and girls -- many of them migrants -- holding around 83 percent of such jobs, it added.
The new convention ensures that domestic workers enjoy the same rights and conditions as other workers, including reasonable working hours, a full rest day every week, clear information on their terms and conditions of employment and the right to collective bargaining.

Dexter Soy: A New Pinoy artist in Marvel Comics


Filipino artists aiming to work for Marvel Comics need not fly or teleport to New York like a superhero.
They can stay in a sleepy town in Pangasinan, study architecture, post a Thor pin-up online and let admirers tweet and share it on social media until it reaches the world’s largest comic book publisher.
It may be surreal, but this is the track that led Dexter Soy to pencilling Captain Marvel, a new series starring Marvel’s flagship superheroine Carol Danvers, formerly known as Ms. Marvel.
“Last November, (Trese writer) Budjette Tan stumbled upon my Deviantart page and tweeted the Thor fan art that I did, which caught (Marvel senior vice president of creative and creator development) C.B. Cebulski’s attention. Cebulski then emailed me asking for some more of my stuff and I responded,” Soy narrates.
“Later, his assistant asked me to do try-out pages. A week after that, Steve Wacker, my current editor, emailed me and asked me if I can hop in for the team Captain Marvel.”
Tan says he is blown away by Soy’s artwork that feels like part of the concept art for the Thor movie. “When C.B. was in Manila (for the “Crash Course on Comic Biz” talk), that was the only time he mentioned that Dexter got a Marvel gig soon after he answered that email.”
He adds, “Of course, I was happy to find out that Dexter got that Marvel gig. I’m always happy and proud to find out that a Pinoy worked on a foreign project. I think these guys who get to work for Marvel and DC and other foreign companies are a source of inspiration for all comic book artists.”

Thor by Dexter Soy [via Rappler]
#theBigBreak
Soy becoming an international superstar artist like Leinil Yu (New Avengers), Carlo Pagulayan (Hulk), Mico Suayan (Punisher) and Stephen Segovia (Xtreme X-men) is not far-fetched.
“I feel proud, flattered and I feel pressured as well. And please don’t call me a ‘superstar artist’ — ‘Filipino artist’ would do,” Soy says.
Soy is surprised with the publicity his comic is getting. “I wasn’t expecting them to give me a famous title since I’m a newcomer. Moreover, it’s my first Marvel work,” Soy says. “I was surprised, too, because I only found out later on that it was a headlined title when it was teased over the net.”
Soy admits he has not read the previous adventures of Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel, whom non-comic enthusiasts may remember as the fallen superhero from whom Rogue absorbed flight and super strength powers in the ’90s X-Men cartoon.
In the comics continuity, Danvers falls into a coma because of Rogue’s attack, gets experimented on by aliens, gets to possess the power of a star as “Binary,” gets lost in her powers again. The she becomes a self-destructive alcoholic before she turns her life around as a member of the Avengers. She is also a rape victim.
“As far as the new story goes, it looks like she’s trying to give meaning to her new title as Captain,” says Soy. He says readers should expect “great characterization, action, World War 2, planes, mechas and bad-ass stuff.”
Soy is working with critically acclaimed writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. “She’s a really wise writer,” he says. “She knows what she wants and (is) very considerate and a hard worker. She also gave me a lot of pointers which truly opened a whole lot more views for me as an artist.”
#theArtStyle
Soy has had to deal with the naysayers of Carol Danvers’ new costume.
“I think they don’t like it because they were accustomed to Ms. Marvel as a sexy character, which is obvious from her past costume,” he says thoughtfully. “There’s nothing much I can say if they don’t like it, actually. As of now, it’s still new to their eyes; but I think the new look would grow on them and I hope they’ll realize that it’s an intelligently fitting costume for her.”
Soy says the new costume was designed by Jamie Mckelvie who aimed for a more military look to reflect the character’s skills as an Air Force pilot.
“I actually don’t mind if I only get to do a few issues for the title,” Soy says. “I’ll leave that to the readers and my editors if they like what I do. But I’m doing my best to give the title justice.”
Though Soy never initiated sending sample works to Marvel Comics, he had previously pencilled a comic book published by gaming giant Electronic Arts in 2009.
“They can also check out Spartacus #2 which I did two years ago, and Army of 2 #1-6,” he says. “But I was already trying to do some collaborations with different independent writers back then.”
He cites Joe Madureira, Ashley Wood, Greg Capullo and Humberto Ramos as his inspirations.
“I dig what I see in their work. I always want to convey dynamism, movement, kinetic energy and aggression in my drawings,” Soy says.
#thePinoyMarvel
Soy hopes Filipinos will support and pick up Captain Marvel #1 that will be released this July.
“I hope they like what I did visually for my first work in Marvel,” Soy says.
Expect Soy to put some “easter eggs” for Filipino readers in the comics. “You need to stay tuned for that,” Soy says.
Outside Marvel Comics, Soy is doing a self-published comic book and a sketchbook.
Asked what his advice is to aspiring artists who want his job, Soy says, “Have fun and enjoy what you do. Believe in yourself and keep pushing forward.”
(Story courtesy of Jerald T. Uy of Rappler.com)

Filipina chef awarded US Culinary Presidential Medallion


Filipina Chef Melissa Sison, was recently conferred the Presidential Medallion by the American Culinary Foundation during the awarding ceremonies held at the Orlando World Marriot Resort in Florida in July.
The Center for Culinary Arts, Manila academic & continuing education programs head, received the award for her achievements and for her various contributions in setting high culinary standards in the Philippines through culinary education.
American Culinary Foundation (ACF) is the most prestigious and biggest organization of chefs and culinary professionals in the United States and is led by National President, Filipino-American chef Michael T.
The latest recognition was just part of the string of achievements of chef Melissa and CCA. In November last year during CCA’s 15th year, she led eight other chef-instructors in becoming the first ACF-certified culinary professionals in the Philippines, and she herself was accredited as the first Certified Executive Chef (CEC).

US firms to expand operations in PH

MANILA, Philippines – Most US companies in the Philippines are planning to expand their business citing the availability of trained personnel, increasing market share and diversification of customer base even as corruption remains a concern, according to a survey of the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chambers of Commerce in ASEAN.
The ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2012 Philippines report showed that of the 238 US firms in the Philippines covered, 58 percent were planning to expand their business, while 25 percent were looking to expand significantly.
Some 18 percent said they expect their business to remain the same while none of the firms said they expect their business to contract.
The top three reasons cited by the firms for their planned business expansion in the Philippines were availability of trained personnel or efficient manpower (40 percent), increasing market share (35 percent) and diversification of customer base (10 percent).
While most US firms covered by the survey were looking to expand their business in the Philippines, the report noted that corruption remain a major concern that could affect business, with 73 percent expressing dissatisfaction with it compared to 79 percent last year.
“Corruption was by far the greatest drawback for the Philippines leaving three quarters of the respondents dissatisfied, of which roughly half were extremely dissatisfied,” the report noted.
Concerns were also raised over the country’s laws and regulations, ease of moving products through customs, and quality of infrastructure.
The report said the respondents experience a high level of satisfaction in the areas of labor cost, availability of trained personnel and sentiments towards the United States.
Housing and office costs, though rising, were also a source of satisfaction for firms.
The report also cited that while employees do not tend to request work in the Philippines, that percentage is rising and expatriate employee satisfaction in the country is at a record high this year.
Some 40 percent said they receive requests from employees in other locations to work in the Philippines compared to just 21 percent last year.
The report also showed that 100 percent of expatriate employees are generally satisfied with their assignments in the Philippines, up from 93 percent last year.
“This may partially be attributed to the fact that space constraints in international schools for expatriate workers have become less of an issue in recent years,” it said.
Across the ASEAN, the survey showed that 90 percent of 356 senior-level executives of US companies expect their trade and investment in the region to rise over the next five years.
Some 21 percent of US firms are also planning to diversify some investments from China into ASEAN with Malaysia and Philippines as the most preferred destination for expansion.

PH jumps 10 notches in global competitiveness survey

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines jumped 10 notches up in the 2012 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.
The Philippines ranked 65th among 144 countries in this year's survey, from 75th last year. The WEF report said the Philippines was one of the countries that showed the most improvement.
"Ranked 65th, the Philippines is one of the countries showing the most improvement in this year’s edition. Indeed, it has advanced 22 places since reaching its lowest mark in 2009. The Philippines makes important strides this year in improving competitiveness—albeit often from a very low base—especially with respect to its public institutions (94th, up 23 places)," the report said.
It noted a significant improvement in "trust in politicians," up 33 spots to 95th place, but "considerable room for improvement remains."
There is also improved perception that the corruption (108th, up 11) and red tape (108, up 18) are being addressed by the Aquino administration, but the report noted "they remain pervasive."
The WEF report also noted improvements in macroeconomic environment (36th, up 18), which it noted was one of the strongest aspects of the Philippines’ performance.
The financial sector is also seen to be more efficient and supportive of business activity(58th, up 13).
"Despite these very positive trends, many weaknesses remain to be addressed. The country’s infrastructure is still in a dire state, particularly with respect to sea (120th) and air transport (112th), with little or no progress achieved to date. Furthermore,
various market inefficiencies and rigidities continue, most notably in the labor market (103rd)," the WEF report stated.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 assesses the competitiveness of 144 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.
For the fourth year in a row, Switzerland topped the overall rankings in the Global Competitiveness Report. Singapore remained in 2nd spot, followed by Finland in 3rd, Sweden in 4th and Netherlands in 5th. The top 10 list also includes Germany (6th), United States (7th), United Kingdom (8th), Hong Kong (9th) and Japan (10th). - Report from Lois Calderon, ANC

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Boracay beats Ibiza in top party beaches list

White Beach in Boracay island. File photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippines’ very own Boracay island continues to be recognized as among the world’s best as it recently beat Ibiza in Spain and South Beach in Miami in a list of top party beaches.
The Huffington Post featured online travel advisor Cheapflights.com’s list of “Top 10 party beaches around the world,” letting its readers rank the destinations on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the highest.
As of Tuesday night, Boracay ranked third, getting an average of five stars. Ibiza and South Beach are in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Topping the list is Psarou Beach in Mykonos island in Greece, which was described as a “pretty well-kept secret.”
Cheapflights.com said of Boracay's White Beach: “This beach at Boracay used to be so notorious for wild behavior that its visitors were sworn to secrecy – to keep this gem a private pleasure. Word got out eventually (of course), but the party scene hasn’t been dialed back a single bit.
“When night falls, this incredible beach comes to life. There are amazing fire dance shows and fireworks, live bands and parties that last from dusk until dawn. There’s a great variety of clubs and bars along the beach, so no matter what kind of music you’re interested in, you’ll find a great place to hang out where the dance floor is never empty.”
Other beaches that made it to Cheapflights.com’s list include Zrce Beach in Croatia, Palolem Beach in India, Haad Rin Beach in Thailand, Nissi Beach in Cyprus, Gordon Beach in Israel and Kuta Beach in Indonesia.
Early this year, Boracay was named the world’s best island getaway by Travel +Leisure, an international travel magazine. The list of top ten island destinations was based on a survey of the magazine’s readers.

US VP bet Paul Ryan's chief of staff is a Pinay

Vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan acknowledges the crowd at the final session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida August 30, 2012. / REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines - A Filipina is one of the top senior aides of US Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
Joyce Yamat Meyer of Franklin, Wisconsin heads Ryan's Washington office as his chief-of-staff.
Ryan made a speech honoring Meyer at the House of Representatives on October 13, 2009.
Ryan said he and Meyer go back a long way, having worked together in several offices since 1995.
Ryan, now a Republican nominee for the vice presidential post, said he urged his then employer, Senator Sam Brownback to make her a part of their team when her employer retired.
"I quickly recognized her great abilities," Ryan said.
"Since that time, her skills and knowledge have grown with her responsibilities. I have also been pleased to watch her become a wonderful wife, mom, and leader," he added.
In 1998, Ryan said he invited Meyer to serve as his Legislative Director when he was elected in Congress.
"I have worked with Joyce longer than anyone in my office. I am pleased to recognize Joyce Yamat Meyer for more than ten years of excellent work with me in serving the people of the First District," he said.
Meyer is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate.

With ‘ambitious’ budget, DOT wants 1M more tourists in 2013


With a substantial increase in its proposed budget for next year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) wants to attract 5.5 million tourists in the Philippines next year, the agency’s officials said Thursday.
 
During a budget hearing at the House of Representatives, Tourism Undersecretary for Promotions Daniel Corpuz said the department plans to target an additional 1 million visitors to the Philippines in 2013.
 
Corpuz said the target was set after the agency received an “ambitious” proposed budget of P2.6 billion for next year—an 80-percent increase from its P1.6-billion allocation this year.
 
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. meanwhile told the House appropriations panel that the DOT plans to achieve this goal through the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign.
 
“The greatest impediment to growth and tourism is plain and simple ignorance. The world was ignorant of the Philippines,” Jimenez said during the hearing.
 
In 2011, the DOT achieved 3.9 million tourist arrivals. During the first seven months of 2012, the agency said tourist arrivals in the Philippines already reached 2.5 million—more than half the 4.5 million target for 2012.
 
Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong, for his part, asked DOT to address runway congestion in the country’s airports to be able to encourage more tourists in the Philippines.
 
The government has allocated P3.2 million under in the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)’s proposed 2013 budget for the “construction, improvement and rehabilitation of airports and navigational facilities” in the country. — RSJ, GMA News

'Museo Marino' in Manila a tribute to Pinoy seafarers


Here's a new must-see for students on educational trips or families on a weekend break: new museum in Manila — Museo Marino.

A non-stock, non-profit institution, Museo Marino is one of the very few museums in the world dedicated to the work of a union or association of workers, specifically seafarers.

That union is the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), which works very closely with the All Japan Seamen’s Union (JSU).

In an interview with GMA News Online on Tuesday, Lilibeth Cordova – laO’ said, "The museum talks about the union, AMOSUP and the benefits for the members and how it has helped not only the members but even their families."
Some of the features of the museum are:
 
Walls of seafarer stories - This is a changing exhibit built from the life stories of AMOSUP seafarers.
 
AMOSUP timeline – The museum features the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) successfully negotiated by the union with shipping companies.
  
Bust of Captain Gregorio Oca - In 1960, Captain Gregorio Oca established the first marine officers’ union in the Philippines — the Associated Marine Officers’ Union of the Philippines (AMOUP). In 1972, the membership of the union expanded to include rank and file seafarers  (ASUP) Associated Seamen’s Union of the Philippines. The organization then came to be known as the Associated Marine Officers and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP). 

A short documentary on Oca's life, work and passion for organizing workers is featured in the museum.
 
JSU video kiosk – This kiosk show the partnership of JSU and AMOSUP through the years.
 
AMOSUP video kiosk – This features an audio-visual presentation on how AMOSUP helps provide the world’s merchant marine with able officers, continuing the Philippines seafaring heritage.
 
Wall map - This map provides a recent count of the numbers of Filipino seafarers working in the world’s ocean.
 
Floor map - This map gives a recent count of the number of Filipino seafarers from different regions.
 
Model ships - The JSU gave the museum four state-of- the-art model ships which are mini- versions of the some of the ships Filipino seafarers work in.
 
Portholes wall – These are portholes or windows provide a glimpse into the past, the history of seafaring in the Philippines
 
View deck – This area gives a whole view of the museum. It also provides visitors an experience of how it is like to be on a real view deck of a ship. 
 
Wall of vitrines – This wall shows the kinds of equipment seafarers have used in the last 50 years.
 
Mini-theater – This room is built for small group presentations, complete with audio-video facilities.
 
Collective bargaining agreements
 
La O' told GMA News Online, "Here in the museum we’re showing the collective bargaining agreements of the museum. These are because of Captain Oca, because he was the one who put AMOSUP together."

She said it was Oca's "passion to give the seafarers and their families better lives."
 
"He believes that they should have equal dignity of labor for the Philippines that’s why this museum is here," La O' said.
 
Oca forged strategic partnerships with local and international organizations so AMOSUP can be an active stakeholder in the international maritime industry.

AMOSUP has a membership of  more than 85,000, making it the largest and most consolidated seafarers’ union in the Philippines.
 
Still being developed

La O' explained that the museum is just new and many other sections are still being developed.
 
"We just opened on April 16 of this year but today (August 28) is the first day that we’re really having a big public visit," she said. "We’ve had schools coming to visit but we’re not really all finished, marami pang plans to make more sections."
 
La O' said "the museum is not only for seafarers its also for the public because most of the public don’t know much about the union."

She also said the museum was "for the family of the seafarers so they can appreciate the hard work that the seafarers are doing for our country." - Andrei Medina, Veronica Pulumbarit, GMA News
 
Museum Hours: 
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday    
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to noon 
 
Address: 814 J. Nakpil corner 
Pilar Hidalgo Lim Sts., Malate Manila      
Tel No:  ( 02) 353-81-80
 Email: museomarino@yahoo.com
                                                    
Free admission.

Monday, September 3, 2012

PH bags 7 medals in 2012 World Dragon Boat


MILAN, Italy -- The Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation (PCKF) bagged 6 gold, 1 silver at the just concluded 2012 Dragon Boat World Championship held here.
The 7 awards were from 7 categories the Philippine Team competed in during the 4-day world competition organized by the International Canoe Federation, the world-governing body in canoeing and kayaking.
Small but speedy Pinoy rowers beat the bulky contenders including the Russians who were believed to be the toughest.
Although the team's strongest point was its agility, the national team also bagged the gold at the 10 paddlers pursuit race of 2000 meters, leaving the powerful Swedish rowers behind by 7 seconds.
Germany was third to arrive followed by the famous Russians.
Pinoy rowers left the bigger athletes stunned of the stamina and speed they possessed.
Armed not just with confidence and determination, team coach Manny Maya said that they wished to give the Philippines the glory.
“Iniaalay po namin ang tagumpay na ito sa Pilipinas. Ang lahat po ng tagumpay na ito, paghihirap sa training namin, para bigyan ng karangalan ang bansa natin”, Maya said.
PCKF head Lean Escollante thanked everyone who supported the team.
“Maraming, maraming salamat sa Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Commitee, sa mga Pilipino dito sa Milan, maraming-maraming salamat.”
Milan-based Pinoys, including the consulate who witnessed the events, were very amazed of the team's performance. They made them proud to be Filipinos.
“Kakaiba po talaga ang galing ng Pinoy, watching them is truly an experience," Vice Consul Helen Anne Sayo said.
Raul Francisco, an OFW, said watching the Philippine team as they raced made him nervous.
“Kapag dumadating na yun mga atleta, umaalog po yun aming dugo, kumbaga dugong Pilipino. Maluwag po ang aming ano, kaya masaya ang aming kalooban, lalo lalo na sa mga Pilipinong naririto. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Francisco said.
The team is scheduled to return to the Philippines on Tuesday, September 4.

Ilocana nurse is Norway's first Miss Gay Philippines

Photo by Ann Francisco Vaeringstad/PWO

OSLO, Norway - Ilocano nurse, Bjeateianne Marie Saturnino, 30, won the Miss Gay Philippines-Norway 2012 crown at a recently held pageant in Oslo.
"I'm speechless, di ako makapagsalita," she told ABS-CBN Europe minutes after she was announced the winner of the first ever gay pageant arranged by the Philippine Women's Organization (PWO) in Oslo.
Visibly moved and almost in tears, Saturnino, who hails from Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, said she couldn't believe that she would bring home the crown as she revealed that this is her first time ever to join a beauty contest.
Saturnino bested four other candidates in the pageant held at the Salem Church in central Oslo last Sunday. She also won special awards, Most Creative, Best in Evening Gown, and Best in Swimsuit.
She came to Norway to work as a nurse at Ryen nursing home in Oslo.
Runner-up titles went to the following:
Jorie Marie Villa, 25, from Cebu city (first) who also won Miss Photogenic;
Chyxz Marie Quijano, 24, from Quezon city (second) ;
Ryouji Venus Colobong, 28, from Solsana, Ilocos Norte (third), who walked away with Miss Talent and Miss Congeniality titles; and,
Patricia Lee, 29, from Laoag, who was also given the Miss Popularity title.
The candidates wowed the crowd with their original, self-designed creative costumes inspired by Victoria Secret's annual fashion show featuring the world's top supermodels. They also designed the elegant evening gowns they wore for the event.
As this article was being written, the PWO revealed that Saturnino has been invited to compete at the Miss Gay Philippines pageant.
According to pageant organizer, Philippine Women's Organization head, Leonor Vintervoll, the event was held as a fundraiser for their organization's au pair information project. She also said that PWO will be donating 10% of the proceeds from the event to the victims of flooding in Manila.
Vintervoll stressed that the holding of the pageant "is an affirmation that we do not discriminate against gays." She also believes that all individuals, whatever their sexual orientation may be, should be treated as an equal and with respect.
Among the panel of pageant judges were:
Bobby Vasquez, noted fashion hairstylist and hair salon owner;
Ingrid Santos Holm, fashion blogger and model;
Kennelyn Rose Bloch Nilsen, Miss Phils-Norway 2006 and Miss Photogenic at the Supermodel Competition in Europe;
Maria Bergersen who competed at the Miss Mutya ng Pilipinas 2011;
Helen Relacion Jensen, former Mrs. Philippines-Norway (1996) and Miss Cebu Tourism, among others.
The Philippine Women's Organization was established in March 1990 and works with Filipino women issues in Norway aiming to contribute to the enrichment of the Filipina's image and role in Norwegian society.

Pirate Bay co-founder arrested in Cambodia: police


PHNOM PENH - A co-founder of top Swedish filesharing site The Pirate Bay, who is on an international wanted list, has been arrested in the Cambodian capital at Stockholm's request, police said Sunday.
Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was handed a one-year prison sentence by a Swedish court in 2009 for promoting copyright infringement but failed to show up to serve his term at the start of this year. He was detained in Phnom Penh on Thursday, Cambodia's national police spokesman said.
"His arrest was made at the request of the Swedish government for a crime related to information technology," Kirth Chantharith told AFP.
"We don't have an extradition treaty with Sweden but we'll look into our laws and see how we can handle this case," he said, adding that Cambodia was awaiting more information and documents from the Swedish authorities.
The Swedish embassy in Phnom Penh was not immediately available for comment.
Founded in 2003, The Pirate Bay, which claims to have more than 31 million users, makes it possible to skirt copyright fees and share music, film and computer game files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.
Warg's fellow co-founders of the popular site, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde, as well as key financier Carl Lundstroem all had their 12-month sentences reduced to between four and 10 months on appeal in late 2010.
They were also ordered to pay a total of 46 million kronor ($6.9 million) in damages for copyright infringement to the music and movie industry.
But Warg did not attend his appeal hearing and his sentence was upheld, followed by an international warrant for his arrest.
During their trial, the defendants maintained that file-sharing services can be used both legally and illegally, and insisted their activities were within the law.
News that Warg had been picked up by police at his riverside apartment on the capital's main tourist strip spread like wildfire among Phnom Penh's expat community over the weekend and was eagerly discussed on online forums.
On Khmer440.com, the main website for foreigners living in Cambodia, editor Peter Hogan described Warg as "a seldom-sighted and reclusive figure" whose presence in the country had long been an "open secret".
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Japanese toy firm Bandai to put up P400-M factory in Batangas


MANILA, Philippines – Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai, the company behind Power Rangers and Gundam action figures, will build a P400-million factory in Batangas.
The LiMA Technology Center (LiMA), a 485-hectare business park in Lipa-Malvar, Batangas, will host the new toy factory. LiMA is owned by the Alcantara family that is primarily engaged in power production and real estate.
“The factory will be producing action figures, vending machine capsule products and other amusement items,” the Alcantara Group said in a statement.
“The construction of the 10,000-square meter factory is expected to begin this October 2012 and operations are projected to start by next year,” the Alcantara Group said.
The factory will be operated by Bandai (Philippines), Inc., which is a new subsidiary of the Bandai Namco Group, the manufacturer of the popular Tamagotchi virtual pet electronic game.
Bandai Namco, through its toys and hobby strategic business unit, also produces the Gundam and Power Ranger series action figures.
In September 2005, Bandai Co. Ltd. and Namco Ltd. established joint holding firm Namco Bandai Holdings Inc.
To date, Namco Bandai Holdings, which plans and executes strategies of the Bandai Namco Group, is listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a capital of around 10 billion yen.
The LiMA Technology Center currently hosts 38 locators employing more than 19,000 employees.
Locators in LiMA are into various manufacturing ventures like automobile components, motorcycles, printers and plastic moldings.
The industrial park is designated as a Special Economic Zone by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
Given its status as an ecozone, locators like Bandai enjoy certain incentives like income tax holidays and exemption from duties and taxes on imported capital equipment, the Alcantara Group said.
LiMA Technology Center is a project of LiMA Land Inc., a joint venture of the Marubeni Corp. of Japan and Alsons Land Corp. of the Alcantara Group.
Aside from real estate, the Alcantara Group is also into aquaculture, agribusiness and services primarily focusing on Mindanao.

Is Kevin Love Trade Speculation to the Chicago Bulls Just a Dream?


Chicago Bulls fans are searching for hope.
After such a devastating ending to last season, and lingering concerns regarding how well Derrick Rose will recover from his torn ACL, fans are desperate for potential happenings to lift their spirits. The offseason signings of players like Nate Robinson and Kirk Hinrich simply will not satiate the hearts of the Bulls faithful.
Dwight Howard to the Bulls trade speculation circulated for over a year, even though it was never a highly plausible scenario. Bulls fans enjoyed entertaining the thought while holding out hope that "Superman" just might somehow land in Chicago and latch on long-term, but that thought was clearly just a dream.
The next man in line for unending trade speculation is Kevin Love, who declared over the summer that his "patience is not high" with his current squad, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After such a declaration, it's inevitable that rumors are going to spread about what could happen to K-Love if the T'Wolves whiff on the playoffs again in 2012-13. Would he demand a trade?
His current contract has him locked in through the 2014-15 season, with a player option for 2015-16. But it's clear Love's patience could run its course before he hits free agency.
This is where a team like the Bulls could enter the picture. Is it a dream to wonder if Love's dissatisfaction will reach a boiling point and a trade to Chicago could be a realistic potential?
Well, it may be a potential, but numerous factors will have to fall into place.
Hi-res-149618220_crop_exactChristian Petersen/Getty Images

First of all, will the T'Wolves really miss the playoffs again this year? If they stay healthy and regain playmaking Ricky Rubio come December or January, then there's every reason to believe Minnesota can crack into the playoffs as the 7th or 8th seed.
If this happens and the T'Wolves begin to show major signs of life, perhaps Love will squelch any hint of a lack of patience.
Secondly, do the Bulls have the pieces to land a player of Love's caliber?
The truth is they likely do if Minnesota becomes willing to make Love available, but it would be a hefty price. We're talking Taj Gibson (assuming Chicago inks him to a long-term deal next offseason), prized prospect Nikola Mirotic and a couple draft picks (one of which would likely be a future Charlotte Bobcats first-round pick).
Pulling the trigger on such a deal is not a no-brainer. Gibson, while not an All-Star level player, has great value, particularly on defense, and Mirotic's upside is through the roof.
Therefore, trading for K-Love is obviously an idea to speculate if it's an option, but the Bulls would be wise to play their cards wisely if considering such a deal. It may not be worth trading away a very bright future for one player, despite the caliber of player Love is.
Further, perhaps the Bulls could wait until Love hits free agency in 2015 or 2016. Bulls fan may lack the patience for that, but it could be wiser for Chicago to wait rather than gamble in the next year or two. 
Lastly, money, as always, is a factor. The Bulls can't readily trade for Love like you can on a video game. With the bulky contracts of Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer on the books, some tinkering would need to be done to free up the appropriate space for Love, who will make around $15 million over the next few seasons.
Hi-res-143598346_crop_exactJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

All that to say, is adding Love just a dream?
Yes and no.
Yes, because, as we all know, most trade speculation never ends up happening. We may talk about this for three years but in the minds of Chicago and Minnesota management, this is downright silly and they are giggling at us.
And no, because if certain details fall into place, then there's reason to believe Love would be excited about playing in the Windy City. If he could join a nucleus of Rose, Noah and Deng, the Bulls would enter the mix of the league's elite.
At any rate, this is at least an idea for Bulls fans to speculate. Adding Love, even if it cost a great deal, would give Chicago a legitimate No. 2 option alongside D-Rose.
Therefore, maybe Chicago fans should passionately root against Minnesota this season, yearning for a disgruntled K-Love who soon asks for a trade to a true title contender.
If this happens, then it may not merely be a dream to think the Bulls will soon pursue Love. It may become reality.