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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

PHL in Lonely Planet Traveller’s top 10 popular destinations


The Philippines also made it to the Lonely Planet Traveller’s Choice 2013, rating it as one of the top 10 popular destinations in the categories of “meeting locals” and “value for money.”
Lonely Planet, considered the largest travel-guide book publisher in the world, placed the Philippines, which is also known for its hospitable and friendly people, at No. 6 in the top 10 popular destinations to go to for meeting locals.
The country ranked eighth in the top 10 “value-for-money” destinations. “According to [Lonely Planet] travelers, Asia provides the best value for money, with seven out of the top 10 budget favorites coming from this continent alone,” Lonely Planet said on its website.
It also said the results were based on the ratings provided by 3,000 respondents on the places they traveled to using 16 criteria, which included adventure, food, cultural sights, nature, travel memories and safety.
“We asked our fans on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Thorn Tree to tell us where they have traveled and then we asked them to rate those destinations by 16 criteria (for example, which was the “best ‘value for money’ destination),” it said.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. encouraged Filipinos to take good care of the country’s “jewels” to help boost tourism and enable the Philippines attain an attractive international image.
“In order for us to continue reaping the benefits of development and great publicity, we ought to seriously address the environment challenges. We call on all stakeholders to come as one in preserving our country’s jewels,” Jimenez said.

Oros is Best Feature at DC Independent Film Festival


Filipino filmmaker Paul Sta. Ana’s “Oros (The Coinbearer)” was declared best feature at the recent (Washington) DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF). Launched in 1999, the DCIFF aims “to nurture independent films.”
The festival website described this Cinemalaya movie as “gritty, gripping… an intriguing tale with a final ‘twist of the knife.’”
“Oros” tells the story of slum dwellers who rent unclaimed cadavers so they can hold illegal gambling sessions at fake wakes.
Sta. Ana, who couldn’t attend the fest, told the Inquirer that the film’s US-based producer JD Beales accepted the trophy.
Beales was on the verge of tears, Sta. Ana recalled, because it was an unexpected triumph. “Viewers compared it to the Brazilian film ‘City of God,’” said the director.
“Oros” will next be shown at the Asean International Film Festival in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, from March 28 to 30; then at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 4, 5 and 10.
“Oros” was previously featured at the Vancouver (Canada) and Asiatica Filmmediale (Rome, Italy) festivals. It won best actor at the Cinemalaya fest for lead star Kristoffer King.

Pinoy graphic artist tops international online contest


Mark Lloyd Binar of Muntinlupa won first place in the global “Work Differently Contest” sponsored by Elance, the world’s leading online work platform.
The contest invited freelancers to submit a brief description of how they “work differently,” including photographs of themselves at work.
Online work sites like Elance are changing the way people think about work. With an abundance of good paying jobs available online, anyone with talent can now earn a living wherever they live.
The Working Differently contest asked freelancers around the world to share how online freelancing had changed their life.
Binar, a skilled graphic artist, was chosen by popular vote among visitors to the Elance Facebook page, beating out contestants from over 70 countries.
Binar’s contest entry reads in part:
“Family time while working is possible, especially if you are working online at your own home. I’m now spending more quality time with my wife and kids.
“I gave up my normal job last Jan. 15 to become a full time freelancer online. Before, I worked 10 hours a day, and most of the time when I went to work, my kids were still sleeping and when I came back from work, they were already asleep.
“New opportunity and lack of family time pushed me to give up my job and become a full time freelancer. With Elance, I can earn enough to support my family.”
Mark earned $500 for his first place finish, and will also be featured on Elance’s Inspiration Center – a page devoted to testimonials from successful Elance freelancers and clients.
“Mark’s story has inspired us all,” said Elance CEO Fabio Rosati. “We’re proud of him and excited to have so many talented and successful freelancers working in the Philippines.”
Elance continues to be the driving force in the online work revolution, growing at record pace as the demand for skilled professionals increases dramatically from month to month. Freelancer earnings in the Philippines grew 92 percent in 2012 with over 40,000 newfreelancers joining the service.
Growth in the Philippines was mirrored around the world as businesses on Elance are now posting over 90,000 jobs each month, resulting in over $200 million earned by providers on Elance in 2012.

Derrick Rose Is An Excellent Human Being

Source: http://pippenainteasy.com

After a string of three “Derrick Rose Injury Update” posts in as many days, it would seem time for a change of pace. Therefore, this is not an update on Derrick Rose’s rehab, but Derrick Rose’s humanity.
I’m guessing most of you are at least vaguely aware of Rose’s backstory. Rose grew up in Englewood, on Chicago’s South Side. The area is infamous for its gang and gun-related violence, but — in large part thanks to the committed efforts of his family — Rose escaped intact, eventually making it to the NBA with the Bulls. There are a lot of people who aren’t so lucky.
You may have heard of the 6-month-old child who was shot and killed recently. It’s a terrible story, made worse by the lack of anyone willing to help solve the case. But there is a tidbit to the story that gives hope, even amid tragedy.
From the above link:
Reverend Corey Brooks, the family spokesman, says Bulls star Derrick Rose has offered to pay for Jonylah’s funeral.
It’s very, very hard to get past the awfulness of what happened, but it’s little things like this that give me hope. That an NBA player, much less a megastar like Rose, would step in an offer to pay for the entire funeral of a child he — so far as I can tell — had no connection to, is incredible. I wish more people were willing to step up and help people in times of trouble. Maybe, if more people were like Derrick Rose, the killer would have been caught right now.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

PHL-born lawyer named New Jersey Superior Court judge


The New Jersey Senate confirmed Gov. Chris Christie’s nomination of Filipino-American attorney Carlia Magpantay Brady to the Superior Court of Middlesex County, officially making her the first Philippine-born New Jersey Superior Court judge and presently the only Filipino-American on the Superior Court bench in the Garden State.
The historic final vote by a full State Senate on Feb. 25 came shortly after Brady’s appointment was unanimously approved Feb. 21 by the State Senate Committee on Judiciary.
Brady’s colleagues at the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association (APALA) of New Jersey lauded the good news.
“We applaud Gov. Christie for nominating such a highly qualified jurist and continuing his commitment to a well-qualified and diverse judiciary,” said Paul K. Yoon, president of the APALA-NJ.
Brady’s confirmation “advances diversity in a branch of government that does not today adequately reflect the entire constituency of New Jersey,” Yoon said.
According to the 2010 Census, APAs represent over 8.3% of New Jersey’s population, but there are only three other judges of Asian Pacific American (APA) descent out of approximately 360 Superior Court judges.
Between 2000 and 2010, the APA population more than doubled in 110 New Jersey municipalities, and every county in New Jersey experienced double-digit growth of its APA population.
In fact, at least one in every three residents is APA in nine municipalities, including Middlesex County, and Middlesex County’s Edison Township continued to have one of the largest APA populations in the state.
New Jersey remains among the top five U.S. states with the largest APA populations, and APAs were also the fastest growing minority group during the past decade nationwide.
“While there is still much work to be done to diversify the state judiciary, Ms. Brady’s confirmation to the Superior Court is a decisive step in the right direction,” according to APALA-NJ.
APALA-NJ vice president Jhanice V. Domingo said the group will continue working with its sister bar associations on both the state and federal level, as well as with leaders in the community, “to ameliorate the glaring underrepresentation of APAs in the judiciary.”
“More than 750,000 Asian Pacific Americans call New Jersey home and Filipino-Americans are one of the major APA groups in New Jersey, especially in Middlesex County,” Domingo pointed out.
“As a Filipina myself, I am extremely proud of Ms. Brady’s accomplishments and what her historic confirmation means to the Asian Pacific American community in general and New Jersey’s Filipino community in particular. Ms. Brady is a prestigious addition to the Superior Court.”
Pride of Negros Occidental
Born in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, and immigrating to the U.S. at age 6, she is one of two children of Oscar Magpantay, an accountant in the Philippines and a retired New Jersey factory worker; and Ophelia Salvador Magpantay, a high school educator who is now a retired teacher for the handicapped.
She has a younger brother, Ian Magpantay, who is a scientist.
Brady, 41, of Woodbridge, is a product of New Jersey schools and received her bachelor of science degree from Rutgers College/Rutgers School of Business and her juris doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law.
She is currently a shareholder at Stark & Stark and a member of the firm’s Accident and Personal Injury Group.
She has appeared in more than 100 cases as chief counsel, and tried numerous jury and nonjury trials.
In 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010, Super Lawyers honored Brady as one of New Jersey’s Rising Stars.
Before joining Stark & Stark, she served as a law clerk for Judge Travis L. Francis in the criminal division, Judge Martin Kravarik in the civil division, and Judge Harriet Derman in the civil division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County.
She also practiced as a civil defense attorney with Picillo, Caruso, & O’Toole and as a construction management attorney with Peckar & Abramson.
Brady is an active member of the New Jersey Association for Justice, where she presently serves on the board of governors; and as co-chair of the Women’s Caucus and Minority Concerns Committee.
She has also been a member of APALA-NJ for over a decade and previously served on its executive board.
“With her confirmation, Ms. Brady joins the growing number of distinguished Asian Pacific Americans who have been recognized for service on our state courts,” said Theodore K. Cheng, co-chair of APALA-NJ’s Judicial & Prosecutorial Appointments Committee.
“Gov. Christie should be commended for his dedication to increasing diversity on the bench, and we thank Senators Kevin O’Toole, Barbara Buono and Nicholas Scutari for their staunch support of Ms. Brady,” Cheng also said.
Fil-Am attorney Michael Angulo, past president of APALA-NJ, said he never doubted Brady will be confirmed.
“Carlia Brady is an exceptional attorney with a solid trial work experience,” noted Angulo.
“She possesses sharp intellect, level temperament, and an objective viewpoint critical to be a successful judge.”
“Following her full Senate vote, Brady would be sworn in and assume the role of judge on the Superior Court,” Angulo added. –
Founded in 1983, APALA-NJ is the only Pan-Asian bar association serving APA attorneys across the state.
(Story courtesy of the Filipino Reporter and GMA News Online)

Boracay is No. 1 on TripAdvisor’s Best Beach in Asia List

The beauty of the Philippines has once again received accolades from online travel guide TripAdvisor.com.
One of the world’s popular online travel guides, placed the island of Boracay at No. 1 in its Travelers’ Choice-Best Beaches in Asia for this year.
In placing Boracay’s White Beach at the top of the list, besting 24 other beaches in Asia, TripAdvisor described the 7-kilometer stretch as a “stunningly beautiful white powder sand beach [with] crystal clear, warm water that you can laze on for days on end.”
Also making it to the list of great beaches in Asia were El Nido, Palawan’s Secret Lagoon, which was placed at No. 9 and Boracay’s Yapak Beach, also known as Puka Shell Beach, at No. 10.
The scenic Secret Lagoon, located on a small island and nestled among towering limestone formations, was cited for its “wonderful view.”
Yapak Beach, a secluded area in the north of Boracay Island, was noted for the myriad of puka shells on the shore “giving one’s feet a rugged feel.”
On its website, TripAdvisor said the Travelers’ Choice Beaches Awards were based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches it has gathered over a 12-month period since the 2012 awards.
TripAdvisor is a popular travel website that assists customers in collecting travel information, posting reviews of their latest getaway and engaging in interactive travel forums.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said the recent distinctions were proof that the country’s marketing efforts under the campaign “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” were generating results.
“We are so thrilled that these accolades keep coming, proof positive that our marketing efforts are paying off, and more and more satisfied travelers are proudly spreading the word about their many fun experiences in our beautiful country,” Jimenez said.