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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fil-Ams in American Canyon unite against racism

AMERICAN CANYON, California - Members of the Filipino-American Association of American Canyon gathered last night in a show of solidarity. They still do not know who sent the hate mail against Filipinos that circulated in this Northern California suburb this week.
They have been offended but these Filipinos said they will fight back. And for them, the best way to fight back is to show the rest of the community that they stand united against racism.
The letter claimed to have come from a state agency and called Filipinos in the area “filthy” and “unwanted”.
Marie Logan and her family received that hate mail. Marie, a Filipina married to a Caucasian said she was upset by comments made in the letter that slammed interracial marriages.
Her husband, Michael said, “It bothered me. One of the reasons we moved to American Canyon was because the population was so diverse and until that letter was received, we’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Marie’s daughter, Ashley said, “I thought they referred to us interracial kids like animals, like we were bred as our own race.”
Marie’s son, Josh added, “I thought it was mean that they would just send out a letter to people just to make them feel bad about their race.”
While she said she does not feel unsafe in her neighborhood after the hate mail was distributed, Maria said, “We just have to be vigilant. We just have to watch where we’re going and our surroundings right now.”
The American Canyon Police said that while the letter is hateful, its contents may not rise to the level of a hate crime because no specific threats were made. And while it is posed as coming from a state agency, the return label said, “Concerned Neighbors of American County”, so authorities said there may no criminal liability on the sender’s part.
Still, the Filipino community wants this to be resolved.
Anthony Quichon, president of The Filam Association of American Canyon said, “Even with those initial findings, we have to be proactive. We have to make sure the city government is on top of it, doing their own investigation. We are doing our own investigation as well.”
Mayor Leon Garcia it remains to be seen if this matter will be brought to state officials handling hate crime. He said, “The investigation has yet to be finished here. But I’m open to making sure the fullest extent of the law is applied in this case.”
For now, Mayor Garcia’s wife, a Filipina, sends this message to her kababayans: “You define who you are. You don’t let anyone define you.”

First Pinoy astronaut to undergo tough training

NEW YORK CITY – Seeing the earth from space is a rare experience that only 529 men and women have had.
But that is about to change soon. A Filipino or two will be among a lucky group of 22 people from around the world who could win a trip to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere via an online contest.
Axe Global Brand VP Russell Taylor said, “We’re giving people an early flavor and we think that’s exciting.”
After contestants sign up at www dot axepollo dot com, Taylor said 100 finalists will be chosen via social media campaigning and online voting.
The 100 finalists will then go to a three-day space camp. Space camp is all about the survival of the fittest. Candidates will have to pass a medical examination. Then they will have to pass a shortened version of training that astronauts like Buzz Aldrin had to go through to become an astronaut.
Michiel Mol, CEO of Space Expedition Corporation said, “The first training mission is a G-centrifuge. It simulates the G-Forces, so we can train how to deal with high G Forces. Then we’ll take you on a fast plane, a two-seater where you can control yourself if you want to. It could fly the same flight profile like a spaceship, where you can experience 4G, 0G, and go straight up and down. Then the third mission is called a Zero G Flight, where you go on a Boeing, an airliner which is stripped off in the inside so you can float around the cabin for 20 seconds.”
In the second half of 2014, a total of 22 people will be picked to win a personal space expedition aboard a revolutionary space craft called “Lynx.”
Take-off alone is a rare experience. Each one of the winners will find themselves seated next to the pilot, going over the take-off check list.
At an acceleration of 2.9 Mach, the winner will be at the edge of outer space in just four minutes, looking down on earth for the very first time.
Everything that one experiences aboard the Lynx will be captured by multiple built-in cameras which will stream live to earth to share with family and friends online.
A souvenir DVD will also be given to each winner.
Each space traveler will receive the most coveted commercial Astronaut Wings.
Mol said, “You’re an astronaut. It’s internationally decided that this invisible line of 100 Kilometers or 62 miles is the border of space, so if you go over that you’re in outer space. You get an official title of astronaut.
Mol says each flight costs $100,000, inclusive of medical exams, basic training and souvenir DVD.
He also says this is only the beginning of commercial space flights.
Mol said, “The next version of our space ship, we’re talking about 20 years from now, will be able to take you from New York to Sydney in less than two hours. When that becomes a reality, it will change the way we travel forever.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

PHL’s 1st metered parking system launched in Chinatown

The country’s first metered parking system was launched in Manila’s Chinatown on Friday, lending a touch of First World technology in a city of extreme contrasts where luxury cars and sport utility vehicles compete for space with jeepneys, pedicabs, and even the horse-drawn kalesa.
The meters, which are expected to be fully operational next week, will be installed initially on the major streets of Binondo, such as Quentin Paredes, Juan Luna, Madrid, Ongpin, Escolta and Benitez.
“The project aims to bring the City of Manila to the forefront of First World technology and help it achieve its goal of bringing progress to society,” said Freddie Fremista, business development officer of Manila Parking Management (Mapma).
Mapma is the operating arm of the project’s private investor, Capital Wise Corp.
Gracing the launch, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim expressed hope that the parking system, which is similar to those used in cities in Europe and the United States, would help solve the perennial traffic problems in the Binondo district.
“This will be the pioneer project, if this will be successful and accepted by the people, we will implement it in other areas,” Lim said, noting that the system could help deter double parking and ease traffic flow.
“Any kind of change will encounter initial difficulties, but once people get used to it they will learn to adjust. It is for everyone’s benefit to simplify our traffic management,” Lim added.
The city government will have a share in the parking revenues, potentially to the tune of P10 million annually, Fremista said.
“The parking management shall not only install parking meters but also provide collateral services to ensure effectiveness,” Fremista said. “Street sweepers, roving mechanics and marshals (on bicycles and e-wheels) will be deployed to assist, provide security and enhance coordination with barangay officials.”
Motorists who wish to park on the metered zones need to have parking tap cards. The cards are “reloadable” and can be bought from Mapma’s roving attendants.
Once the vehicle is parked, the driver must swipe the card at the meter post and press the corresponding number of the parking slot. The same procedure goes for parking out.
“Don’t forget to park out so that your load will not be consumed,” Fremista said during the launch at Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz in Binondo, where he showed how to operate the Chinese-made meters.
If the motorist failed to pay or exceeded the parking time available in the tap card, the vehicle will be towed by the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau.
The parking fee is P20 for the first two hours and P10 for every succeeding hour. A five-minute grace period before and after parking the vehicle will be allowed.
Some of the streets covered by the metered system will have 24-hour parking service, while others will allow parking only from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Security cameras will also be installed in the parking areas.
(Story courtesy of Erika Sauler of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Dine with history at the Philippines’ National Museum

The National Museum of the Philippines is not just the premier repository of the country’s priceless artifacts and treasured paintings, but with the launch of a unique space in October last year, is now also a venue for atmospheric receptions and sit-down dinners.
The refurbished Senate Hall is located in the structure that houses the National Art Gallery of the museum. Known as the Old Congress or Old Legislative Building for many years, it was designed as the Public Library by Ralph Harrington Doane, a consultant of the Public Works bureau, assisted by his Filipino assistant Antonio Toledo. Construction began in 1918 but a change in plans saw it completed in 1926 instead as a facility to be used by the Legislature with final revision entrusted to renowned local architect Juan Arellano.
Philippine Senate Gallery
The Gallery where visitors watched past deliberations
Many historic events played out in this building – the 1934 Constitutional Convention, whose results paved the way to gradual independence from US colonial rule, was held here and the inaugural ceremony of Manuel L Quezon, president of the Philippine Commonwealth, took place on its front steps. A victim of massive shelling in the 1945 battle for Manila, it was quickly reconstructed, welcoming back the country’s lawmakers until they subsequently moved out years later. In 2003, it became part of the National Museum’s asset portfolio and was designated as the National Art Gallery.
Due to expanding occupancy, the building’s interiors underwent modification from its original state, and this included the Senate Hall. In 2010, National Museum Director Dr Jeremy Barns and his team decided to address the situation, embarking on a restoration project that opened up the chambers that had been partitioned in previous years to create more offices, repainting the walls and columns and staining the floor in its original deep red. The stunning results – such as the 15-metre ceiling with ornate detailing – were unveiled in ceremonies last October 29, attended by President Benigno Aquino III.
Philippine National Museum
Facade of the National Art Gallery of the National Museum
Since then, several functions, both of official and corporate nature, have been held in the Senate Hall such as dinners hosted by Philippine senator and fervent National Museum patron Loren Legarda, Citibank and the Young Presidents Organization, as well events by educational institutions. Bookings for more commercial activities such as product launches or private parties, however, will not entertained, according to Director Barns, in keeping with the National Museum’s mandate of promoting the country’s cultural, scholarly and scientific affairs.
Rates for rental of the Senate Hall start from P100,000 (US$2,440), and for an extra charge, some of the galleries, containing works by Philippine masters such as Juan Luna’s award-winning Spolarium, can be kept open past regular hours for guests to view.

Filipino student invited to President Obama’s Inauguration

First year Ateneo de Manila college student Santiago Arnaiz is the lone Filipino youth invited to the Presidential Inauguration Conference.
It’s an exclusive event for students in the US and different countries around the world. Arnaiz said he had a hard time believing that the invitation was real.
“I got an email about it and a first i didn’t really mind it coz i thought it was like spam message honestly, coz i mean who gets invited to a presidential inauguration right? Of the United States of America. And I’m a Filipino right? But i’m thinking this is some spam message and i just deleted it. And then i got another one, coz they’re persistent like that apparently.”
“So I was like is this legit? And then my parents come to me, my dad, he goes ‘Hey, I got an email from GYLC’ and i guess they copy furnish the parents, and maybe they just realized this guy is ignoring us, he told me to check it out. I really got into it said hey this is connected to GYLC and this is two years ago, I wasn’t really thinking of it anymore. I got into it and I looked into it and I said this is a really cool opportunity and that’s when I fell off my chair,” Arnaiz said.
Arnaiz was chosen as one of the top alumnus of the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) which he attended in 2011. He was amongst the four students chosen deliver a speech during the commencement ceremony.
“I spoke about how the future really relied on my generation embracing this globalized world that’s been created right now, through connections across the world where a student from the Philippines can find that he has more in common with a girl in India than his own parents, and so in this globalised world we live in, its important to embrace that, so the future really lies in that direction, and we have to be aware. And because of that conference, yun nga I was invited to the presidential inauguration,” he said.
In attending the conference, Arnaiz will get the chance to rub elbows with political leaders and will also take part in the gala inaugural celebration as well as witness the inauguration of US President Barack Obama in Washington D.C.
“I can’t really express how excited I am, honestly. Like I said it’s an amazing opportunity. One of the really exciting things is we’re gonna be given talks by Rev. Jesse Jackson, Judd Bush, and other prominent figures in US politics. These people are so distinguished in their fields,” he added.
He believes that whoever sits in the White House if of great importance to Filipinos.
“We stand to gain a lot in advocating the faith that the American people have in their government and I feel that it’s very timely because our country is in the upswing right now. Now, more than ever, we need that faith in good governance and we need that drive that collective will as a people and we can see that in the Americans and so we stand to gain so much,” he said.
He will be accompanied in the US by his uncle Franci Arnaiz, a former PBA superstar in the 1980s.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fiestas make it even more fun in the Philippines

The past year has been a great one for Philippine tourism, with many of the country’s destinations topping international travelers’ lists.
More than the pristine white beaches and the awe-inspiring landscapes, though, what makes it truly “more fun in the Philippines” is its people. This is no more evident than in the colorful festivals wherein one can witness a sea of people gamely donning costumes, dancing to infectious beats, and regaling both local and foreign tourists alike.
Ati-Atihan in Aklan
Ati-Atihan in Aklan
The Ati-Atihan in Kalibo “ushers” the start of the festivities in the Philippines each year as it is celebrated on the third week of January. Revelers painting their face and body in soot and wearing colorful costumes shouting “Hala Bira!” have become familiar images by now. One needs to be in the thick of the parade, though, dancing along with the participants to feel the spirit of what some say is the “Mother of Philippine Fiestas.” (Photo source)
Sinulog Festival
Sinulog in Cebu
Sinulog in Cebu
Likewise colorful and highly creative are the costumes donned by the revelers in the Sinulog festival of Cebu. Just like the Ati-Atihan, this fiesta is held in honor of the feast of the Holy Infant Jesus. The festival actually lasts for nine days and includes, among others, a fluvial parade with a statue of the Santo NiƱo, a solemn procession, and the grand parade. (Photo source)
Dinagyang in Iloilo
Dinagyang in Iloilo
The Dinagyang festival is held on the fourth Sunday of January and has been named by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines as the Queen Festival of the Philippines in 2011. According to the event’s official homepage, a Pamukaw (drum call) was already held last December 14, 2012 to officially usher in the start of the festivities. (Photo source)
Panagbenga in Baguio
Panagbenga in Baguio
The Panagbenga is our answer to Pasadena’s Rose Parade with its myriad floats decorated in flowers and dancers in flower-inspired costumes. According to, the “Panagbenga: A Kankana-ey (dialect widely used by Cordillerans in the Northern Philippine boondocks, specifically people from the Mountain Province and people from the Northern part of the Benguet Province) term meaning ‘a season for blossoming; a time for blooming.’” (Photo by scion_cho/ Source)
Pahiyas in Quezon
Pahiyas in Quezon
The Pahiyas in Lucban is held in every May honor of San Isidro Labrador. It is a thanksgiving feast that sees houses bedecked in the most colorful decorations using agricultural products such as flowers and fruits and, most popularly, the kiping or rice wafer and leaves. (Photo source)
Kadayawan in Davao
Kadayawan in Davao
Just like the Pahiyas, the Kadayawan is a thanksgiving feast. It traces its origins to the harvest rituals of the various ethnic tribes residing at the foot of Mount Apo and is celebrated every August. According, the term “Kadayawan” comes from “madayaw”, “a warm and friendly greeting used to explain a thing that is valuable, superior, beautiful, good, or profitable.” (Photo source)
MassKara in Bacolod
MassKara in Bacolod
The MassKara festival emerged out of the tragic events that besieged Bacolod in the 1980s. To bring back the “smile” in the “City of Smiles”, local government officials and concerned citizens came together to come up with a festival that highlighted the province’s rich cultural heritage. The word “MassKara” is a combination of the word “mass” (many) and “kara” (face).

(Story courtesy of Ruth Sandico of the Philippine Star)

PHL among top retirement destinations in the world

Not only is the Philippines more fun for young tourists looking for adventure but also for foreign retirees seeking refuge for old age.
The country has been ranked 15th out of 22 of the “World’s Top Retirement Havens in 2013? released by Ireland-based website International Living.
The ranking grew from only 19 countries in the previous list, which did not include the Philippines.
The Philippines got a score of 79.5 point in the Retirement Index, based on eight categories crucial for retirees, including discounts and other perks.
These include real estate, retirement benefits, cost of living, ease of integration, entertainment and amenities, health care, retirement infrastructure and climate.
The Philippines’ highest performance was in terms of cost of living (100 points). It ranked highest among the 22 countries in this criterion.
It scored lowest in the special benefits area, getting the lowest score in the list (57 points). Spain and Thailand got the same score.
“Among the top retirement spots in the world this year, you’ll find great variety in the cultural offerings, climates and lifestyles,” the website said.
Ecuador sat on top of the list, with a score of 91.9 points.
“Ecuador’s major cities have top notch hospitals, clinics and well-trained physicians,” the website said.
“All residents are eligible to participate in the country’s Social Security health care system for incredibly low monthly premiums,” it added.
Ecuador was followed by Panama (89 points), Malaysia, (87.6 points), Mexico (85.1 points), Costa Rica (84.4 points).
“Each destination is desirable in its own way, but they all offer something increasingly hard to come by at home: A good quality of life for a reasonable price,” the website said.
It noted, however, that “no ‘formula’ can spit out the name of the place that’s just right for you.”
Retirees should consider what’s most important to them, “maybe climate, maybe language, maybe cost, maybe distance from home,” it added.
(Story courtesy of Yahoo! News)

Monday, January 7, 2013

South Korean firms cite Philippines as a “good production base”

Korea, one of Asia’s economic giants, said the Philippines is becoming a good production base.
”For Korea’s small and medium enterprises (SMES), the Philippines is the emerging overseas investment area,” the Korean Economic Daily (KED), a publication owned by a syndication of conglomerates that include Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG said in an article.
The Philippines is an attractive investment location because of its lower labor cost of only US$ 300 per month which is half the wage compared to China and of better infrastructures like roads and power compared to Vietnam, Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PITC) Seoul Commercial Counselor Nicanor Bautista said quoting the article.
Bautista said Mr. Chang of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines (KCCIP) reported that there were increasing investment inquiries from Korean SMEs during the last quarter of 2012.
”There were more than 20 Korean SMEs with plant operations in China which had an exploratory mission in the Philippines in November last year,” Bautista quoted the KCCPI representative said.
He said that most of these SMEs have plants in China and believed that because of language, infrastructure, religion and cost uncompetitiveness, “China is fast losing its attractiveness to foreign investments.”
Meanwhile, based on the Korea Export Import Bank report, establishment of Korean companies in the country continued to grow with 69 in 2009, 74 in 2010 and 82 in 2011. In the first quarter of 2012, the number of new companies increased to 22 from 19. Among these new companies were Nurian International (garments) and two other electronics companies.
On the other hand, Exim Bank data cited in the article, said that the number of Korean SMEs in China has decreased from 634 in 2011 to 533 in the third quarter of 2012. A researcher from Korea’s SME institute said that the labor intensive companies are no longer considering investing in China.
”They are looking to ASEAN countries such as the Philippines as possible alternative locations for their expansion. China is now considered as a market and no longer as production base,” the researcher was quoted in the article.
(Story courtesy of the Philippine News Agency)

Philippine stock market scores new milestone, soars past 6,000

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) breached the 6,000 level for the first time ever on Monday, taking many by surprise.
Brokers cheered as the PSEi hit a new all-time soaring 73.46 pts or 1.23% to close at 6,044.91.
This is the fourth time the PSEi scored a new record high in as many trading days in 2013.
April Lee-Tan, COL Financial group research head, attributed the market rally to improvement in general sentiment and liquidity.
“During the second half of 2012, everybody was expecting 2013 to be a very positive year and I guess that is already being reflected in share prices, coupled with liquidity and what has happened in the US, that is what driving the market higher right now,” she told ANC.
However, Lee-Tan said one of the triggers for a possible correction could be the looming fight over the debt ceiling in the US.
“We’re using technical indicators to help us identify the support levels, which is probably around the 5,700 level. As far as developments are concerned, one of the triggers for a possible correction could be the debt ceiling — that it will not be resolved at the last minute or if ever it will be,” she said.
“If you think of the Philippines, since the market has gone up significantly nothing has changed as far as economy is concerned. I hope we will see more surprises in the economy, so we can have some real drivers for the market going up, not only liquidity.”
Last year, the PSEi was one of the best-performing stock markets in the world. The bourse hit 38 record highs in 2012.

PH among hottest travel destinations for 2013

MANILA, Philippines – Just days after the Philippines was called one of the “destinations to watch in 2013,” another prestigious travel magazine dubbed the country as one of the hottest travel spots this year.
Travel + Leisure included the Philippines in its “13 for 2013” list, which the magazine compiled with the help of branding agencies and other experts.
Some of the Philippine destinations featured in the article are Boracay island in Aklan, Panglao island in Bohol, and El Nido Resorts and Ariara in Palawan.
“The archipelago of Palawan, a UNESCO biosphere reserve in the Philippines, just added a resort with a scuba center; hop a two-hour flight from Hong Kong and you’ll soon be diving with the sea turtles,” Travel + Leisure’s Heidi Mitchell wrote.
Aside from the Philippines, other places in Travel + Leisure’s list include Bahia Ballena in Costa Rica, Basilicata in Italy, Puerto Rico, Minneapolis in the United States, Reunion island in France, Nepal, Charlevoix in Quebec, Uco Valley in Argentina, Zambia, Amsterdam, and Gold Coast in Australia.
“So get out your map, block out some vacation time on your calendar, and make 2013 a year of travel discoveries. We promise at least a few of these places to go next will surprise you,” Mitchell wrote.
The Philippines has been constantly mentioned in Travel + Leisure, with the magazine naming Boracay as the world’s best island getaway last year.
Just recently, the country’s native yellow rice cake, bibingka, was dubbed as one of the “world’s most traditional holiday foods,” putting it alongside dishes from Japan, China, Russia and Sweden, among others.

World's 5th best hotel is in Boracay

MANILA, Philippines – A luxury hotel in the tourist favorite Boracay island has been named by a prestigious travel magazine as one of the best in the world.
Discovery Shores ranked fifth in Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Hotels” list, surpassing hundreds of hotels from different parts of the globe.
It got a score of 96.77.
“Barefoot elegance is undoubtedly the vibe on this tiny island, where the 2 and a half-mile stretch known as White Beach is often singled out for being the softest in the world. The 88 spacious suites all have large glass walls that look towards a scenic rock garden, but chances are you’ll spend more time by the water,” Travel + Leisure said of Discovery Shores in an article posted on its website.
“Take a dip in the infinity pool, or jet-ski on the crystalline area. For people-watching, head to The Sandbar, where they stir up delicious mojitos, infused with local flavors like lychee and mango. Once you’re sufficiently refueled, karaoke your heart out, with over 1,000 songs (mostly in English) to choose from at the resort’s recreation lounge,” it added.
Topping the list is Singita Grumeti Reserves at the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania with a score of 98.25, followed by Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana; South Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island, Australia; and Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur, India.
Landing in sixth place is Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens at La Fortuna de San Carlos in Costa Rica, followed by Singita Kruger National Park in South Africa; Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Ngorongoro Sopa Lounge in Arusha, Tanzania. Singita Sabi Sand at the Kruger National Park Area in South Africa, meanwhile, rounded out the Top 10.
Travel + Leisure said the results are based on a survey of its readers using the following voting categories: rooms, location, service, food and value.
“Everyone wants to know where to stay, and for 17 years running, we’ve asked T+L readers, who are passionate about travel, to vote on the hotels they love the most. The resulting World’s Best Awards are a collection of properties that go above and beyond,” the magazine’s staff said.
Here is the full list of Travel + Leisure’s top hotels in the world:
1. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
2. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana, United States
3. South Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia
4. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
5. Discovery Shores, Boracay, Philippines
6. Nayara Hotel, Spa and Gardens, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
7. Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa
8. Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina
9. Ngorongoro Sopa Lounge, Arusha, Tanzania
10. Singita Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa
11. The Peninsula, Bangkok, Thailand
12. Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
13. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve Lodges, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa
14. One&Only, Cape Town, South Africa
15. Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
16. Lodge of Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand
17. Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
18. Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
19. Tu Tu’tun Lodge, Gold Beach, Oregon, United States
20. Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
21. Osprey at Beaver Creek, Colorado, United States
22. Waldorf Astoria (formerly the Elysian), Chicago, Illinois, United States
23. The Peninsula, Shanghai, China
24. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Turkey
25. Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
26. Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi, Italy
27. andBeyond Kichwa Tembo, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
28. Oberoi Rajvillas, Jaipur, India
29. Hotel Salto Chico/Explora Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile
30. The Sebastian, Vail, Colorado, United States
31. The Peninsula, Hong Kong
32. The Wilcox, Aiken, South Carolina, United States
33. Live Aqua, Cancun, Mexico
33. Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa, Johannesburg, South Africa
35. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, Texas, United States
36. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, India
37. Capella, Singapore
38. Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico
39. Amansara, Siem Riep, Cambodia
40. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island, Hawaii
41. Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Cape Town, South Africa
42. Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
43. The Peninsula, Chicago
44. Cape Grace, Cape Town, South Africa
45. Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso), Ravello, Italy
46. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Nanyuki, Kenya
47. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India
48. Lodge at Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland
49. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest, Hungary
49. Huka Lodge, Taupo, New Zealand
49. Morrison House, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Meanwhile, three Manila-based hotels were also recognized by Travel + Leisure as among the best in Asia. These are Edsa Shangri-La, Makati Shangri-La and The Peninsula Manila.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Colors in your home: eat hearty with red, stay focused with green


Nothing sets a mood like color can—whether you’re simply repainting your walls or coordinating your linens, curtains, pillows or carpeting.

Color can drastically change and set the character of a room. It also has certain effects on behavior—from keeping the kids calm to getting your energy up in the morning to turning up your appetites during family meals.

Here’s how you can make psychologist-approved colors work in your home:

1. For foyers and living rooms: welcoming reds, yellows, oranges, browns
These shades conjure warm, fuzzy feelings and are great for places for making people feel welcome. Use these autumn colors in a foyer. In your living room, choose accessories in the same tone. Or, use finishing materials like warm wood or brick to create a truly pleasant space.
Brown-hued living room (Thinkstock)

2.  For kitchens and dining rooms: stimulating reds and yellows
McDonald’s and Jollibee’s well-thought out color scheme of reds and yellows have a lot to do with attracting hungry clients. These shades work best for kitchens and dining rooms because they stimulate the appetite. Red, most especially, is also a color of energy and can help keep dinner table conversations lively and engaging.
Red-themed kitchen (Thinkstock)

3.  For bed and bath: cool blues, lavenders, greens
If you want a space meant for total and complete relaxation—your bedroom, a luxurious bathroom, or even a room dedicated to your yoga practice—go to the cool end of the color spectrum. Think blue skies, a turquoise sea, fields of fragrant lavender or rolling meadows in the springtime. These colors help lower the blood pressure and get you into a relaxed space where you can tune out the outside world and tune in to find inner peace.
Blue-tiled bathroom (Thinkstock)

4. For playrooms or exercise rooms: punchy yellows, greens, blues
An energy-packed shade like red might leave you (or your kids) feeling burnt out in a room meant for exercise and play. Instead, stick to bright shades of blue and yellow or green to pick up your mood, get you inspired to play and still leave you with enough adrenaline to finish that last set of burpees.
Yellow and green-colored play room (Thinkstock)

5. For home offices or study rooms: focus-inspiring green
If you want your kids to stay on top of their homework or if you want to prevent a backlog at your home office, stick to this calming color. Choose from charming sea foam to fashionable Kelly green and create a workspace that will actually work for you.

Green walls in a study room (Thinkstock)

4 Ways To Practice Yoga At Work

Busy work routines leave little time for a fitness regime. However, did you know that you can include a bit of exercise even when you are in office? No?
Well, then read on to know how you can practice yoga at work and stay fit:

1. Simple Meditation

Sitting in front of the computer screen for long hours affects the eyes, neck, back as well as shoulders of the body. A little bit of meditation can not only rejuvenate the muscles of the body, but also bring about more efficiency in your work. Therefore, make sure to close your eyes, focus on one single object and completely block out all other thoughts from your mind. Practice this at least once a day for a few minutes each to refresh and enervate your mind.

2. Neck Rolls

The worst part of long hours at work and especially sitting at a desk the entire day, is the effect on the neck. It is important not to let that part of the body become stiff and give it some exercise from time to time. For this exercise, you do not even need to move from your seat. Place your palms on your knees, and keeping your back straight, roll your neck slowly from one side to the other. Repeat by moving the neck the other side. Do this a few times, and repeat 2-3 times during the day.

3. Arm Stretch

For this exercise, you need to make sure you have some open space around your seat or cubicle. Stand up straight, with your feet apart. Now take your hands behind your back and clasp both of them together. Pull them away from your body and try and feel the stretch in your arm muscles. Then, slowly bring the arms back to the side of your body. Repeat this 4-5 times. Of course, you need to ensure you do not bump your colleague on their head as you stretch!

4. Wrist Stretch

This is another exercise you can do by standing straight up in front of your desk. Now, place your palms on the desk, so that your wrists are facing the laptop or computer and the fingers are pointed towards you. Applying pressure on the wrist and keeping your back straight, lean towards the front. Be careful to come back to the original position if you begin to feel any pain or of your head begins to reel.
The above methods are easy and comfortable yoga positions to practice while at work. However, it is always advisable to consult a professional before you implement these.