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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Conde Nast picks PHL X’mas lights display one of world’s best

The Christmas lights display in the heart of the Philippines’ business district has once again placed the country in the top must-see places cited by a global travel authority.
The lights show at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City, Metro Manila is one of the seven places included in the “Where to See Spectacular Christmas Lights Around the World” list released by Condé Nast Traveler.
The list describes the holiday festivity offerings of the Tivoli Gardens (Copenhagen, Denmark),
Champs-Elysées (Paris, France), Somerset House (London, UK), Silver Dollar City (Branson, Missouri), Ayala Triangle Gardens (Manila, Philippines), Kobe Luminarie (Kobe, Japan), and Christmas Market (Jena, Germany).
The citation described the Ayala Triangle Gardens as “natural haven with a diverse population of trees, including kamuning, golden palms, and fire trees.” It gave the visitor a preview of what to expect when seeing the lights display. “As you make your way through the park, Christmas hymns and songs are synchronized to the lights to create an immersive holiday experience,” writer Anna Liesemeyer recounts.
The park Christmas lights show runs every 30 minutes during 6 pm – 9 pm every night until New Year’s eve.
In October, Condé Nast Traveler readers voted Palawan as “Top Island in the World” for its underground river tourist destination.
Condé Nast Traveler is a multi-awarded travel magazine founded on the motto “Truth in Travel,” a creed followed by its correspondents who pay their own way as they travel anonymously to experience the world as their readers do. The magazine declares non acceptance of travel industry freebies in return for inclusion in the publication articles, making it a most trusted travel guide. The magazine commands a print readership of 3.5 million and 2.6 million unique visitors for its website.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pinoy Math wizards sweep Malaysia Olympiad

Filipino students swept the top medals and trophies to emerge as overall champions in the 2014 Malaysia Invitational Mathematics Olympiad in Selangor, Malaysia.

The Philippine team’s participation in the 2014 MIMO earned for them 9 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze medals in the individual contest. Another 10 trophies were won in the team contest. A total of 816 contestants participated in the 2014 MIMO including the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand.
The overall champions in the team contest’s upper primary division are Philippine Team A’s:
  1. Eion Nikolai Chua (MGC New Life Christian Academy) who also won individual gold medals
  2. Albriz Moore Bagsic (Lilyrose School) who won a silver medal
  3. Dion Stephan Ong (Ateneo de Manila High School)
  4. Genrish Ng (St. Jude Catholic School)
The other individual gold medalists:
  1. Shawn Darren Chua (MGC New Life Christian Academy)
  2. Maria Monica Manlises (St. Stephen’s High School)
  3. Rikka Grace Sombiro (Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo)
  4. Annika Angela Mei Tamayo (Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS)
  5. Frederick Ivan Michael Tan (Xavier School)
  6. Patricia Angelica Tan (Chiang Kai Shek College).
Silver medalists:
  1. Jose Lorenzo Abad (Colegio San Agustin-Makati)
  2. Leandro Martin Acla (Georgia International Academy)
  3. Erin Nicole Blanche (Dee Hwa Liong Academy)
  4. Noel Stephen Dequito (De la Salle University Integrated School-STC)
  5. Kristin Angela Narag (Colegio San Agustin-Binan)
  6. Janssen Reign Peña (Mother Goose Special School System)
  7. David Kyle Picart (Sunshine International School)
Bronze medals for:
  1. Ryan Christopher Deodores (Colegio San Agustin-Binan)
  2. Frelean Faith Engallado (Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo)
  3. Celine Amanda Montales (Colegio San Agustin-Makati)
  4. Justin Tan (St. John’s Institute)
The Team contest winners are:
Overall Champion and Yellow Group Champion – Upper Primary: Philippine Team A:
  1. Albriz Moore Bagsic – Lilyrose School
  2. Eion Nikolai Chua – MGC New Life Christian Academy
  3. Genrish Ng – St. Jude Catholic School
  4. Dion Stephan Ong – Ateneo de Manila Junior High School
Overall Top 10 Performance and Yellow Group First Runner-up – Middle Primary: Philippine Team D:
  1. Erin Nicole Blanche – Dee Hwa Liong Academy
  2. Shawn Darren Chua – MGC New Life Christian Academy
  3. David Kyle Picart – Sunshine International School
  4. Frederick Ivan Michael Tan – Xavier School
Overall Top 10 Performance and Blue Group Second Runner-up – Middle Primary: Philippine Team E:
  1. Krystal Lim Tiong Soon – Grace Christian College
  2. Celine Amanda Montales – Colegio San Agustin, Makati
  3. Rikka Grace Sombiro – Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo
  4. Patricia Angelica Tan – Chiang Kai Shek College
Overall Top 10 Performance and Green Group Second Runner-up – Middle Primary: Philippine Team F:
  1. Noel Stephen Dequito – De La Salle University Integrated School-STC
  2. Janssen Reign Peña – Mother Goose Special School System Inc.
  3. Annika Angela Mei Tamayo – Ateneo de Iloilo-SMCS
  4. Maria Elianna Tutor – Assumption Antipolo
Blue Group First Runner-up – Upper Primary: Philippine Team B:
  1. Jose Lorenzo Abad – Colegio San Agustin, Makati
  2. Enrique Magnaye – De La Salle University Integrated School-STC
  3. Maria Monica Manlises – St. Stephen’s High School
  4. Kristin Angela Narag – Colegio San Agustin, Binan
Green Group Second Runner-up – Upper Primary: Philippine Team C:
  1. Leandro Martin Acla – Georgia International Academy
  2. Ryan Christopher Deodores – Colegio San Agustin, Binan
  3. Frelean Faith Engallado – Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo
  4. Justin Tan – St. John’s Institute

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Philippines to Manufacture First Ever Local Auto Brand “Parac”


Three years from now, the Philippines has something to be proud of when talking about auto brands. Japan has four major auto brands in Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, not to mention any other brands like Suzuki and Hino. South Korea has Hyundai, Daewoo, and Kia; China and India have lots of auto brands. Philippines has none.

The agony is over though. Philippines is ready to manufacture its first ever local auto brand after WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), approves Chariot Motors’ application.
Chariot Motors is a Jeepney assembly company in Bacolod City that is responsible in building more than 70% of medium-size passenger vehicles in the whole Negros Island.

Engineer-owners Julio Paredes and Mario Racide built a prototype two years ago and submitted the design to DOST, but the government agency did not support the plan and rejected the project. The pair did not lose hope and submitted the design to Cummins, an American engine manufacturer for trucks and heavy equipment.
The prototype is a 2-door sedan with diesel engine to be specially manufactured by Cummins. This will be the first time that Cummins will produce small engines for cars.
The pair was successful in convincing investors after the second prototype was displayed at Cummins headquarters in Columbus, Indiana, USA. The trademark “Parac” was successfully registered by WIPO and the design is already patented in US under the pair’s names.

Parac has a double meaning. It is a combination of the engineers’ last names “Paredes-Racide, and also means “police” in local term.
According to the news received by the Philippine Pride from Racide, the company is scheduled to start building its main manufacturing plant on May 2015. The planned 27 hectares of assembly plant in Silay-Talisay area will be capable of making 80 to 120 units of cars a day for Philippine market only starting 2018, according to Racide.
The company will not only produce cars but also heavy duty trucks, buses, and heavy equipment. Only Vallacar Transit, the owner of Ceres Liner, is making buses in the province for the company’s use, but news said that Ceres will team-up with Parac to expedite the process.
Most of the parts will be produced locally except for tires and engines which will be imported from US.
The prototype has 160hp diesel engine and is more powerful than Honda Civic, but will cost lower at around 550 thousand pesos.
It was reported earlier that French manufacturer Peugeot offered to buy the design and patent for unspecified amount, but the pair rejected the offer and pursued local brand and production.
Once the main plant is completed, it is also expected that the company will hire more than 50,000 factory workers for mass production.
“Since Negros is already the Sugar Capital of the Philippines, we will add another name and will make this Metro Bacolod as the Motor City, in addition to City of Smiles”, Paredes told reporters at Bacolod-Silay Airport during their arrival from US on Monday morning”

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Vigan makes it to the New Wonder Cities

source: Philippine Star

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur – This city has been named one of the New7Wonders cities of the world, 15 years after its inscription in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) list of World Heritage Sites and Monuments.
Joining Vigan in the list of New7Wonders cities are Beirut in Lebanon, Doha (Qatar), Durban (South Africa), Havana (Cuba), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and La Paz (Bolivia).
The winners were named on and YouTube at 3 a.m. yesterday.
In a statement, Vigan City Mayor Eva Medina thanked everyone who voted for their city.
“We hope that this feat will send a stronger message that heritage conservation, interwoven with good governance and community participation, is a very significant tool for development. We did it in Vigan, it can be done by any local government unit,” Medina said.  
Bernard Weber, founder and president of New7Wonders, said they will conduct validation of the winning cities before their inauguration.
“The winners represent the global diversity of urban society. For the first time in human history, more than half of our planet’s population live in cities and this election emphasizes the dramatically challenging character of our changing world,” Weber said during the announcement.
There were 1,200 cities from 220 countries that joined the contest.
More tourists expected
Medina said they will have to prepare for the expected surge of tourists in the city.
The mayor admitted that tourism has been among the major sources of income of locals for the past decade.
“It’s not just the business owners who will benefit from this but also our farmers and fisherfolk who supply major business establishments in the city, as well as the kalesa and tricycle drivers around the Vigan plaza,” Medina said.
She said they also intend to improve infrastructure facilities. 
“The fact that we are expecting more tourists, we have to improve our compliance with the basic needs of our tourists,” she said.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Philippines in Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations to visit in 2015

It’s More Fun in the Philippines in 2015. Lonely Planet has recognized the Philippines as one of the top 10 best countries to visit in 2015.

The internationally recognized travel guide in its “Best in Travel 2015” book ranked the country 8th in the list of “Top 10 Countries.”
The recognition marks the first time that the Philippines was included in the “Best in Travel” guide book.
Lonely Planet said that recognizing the country as a travel destination has long been overdue.
“Many would say the time is well overdue for the Philippines to be recognized as the next big travel destination in Southeast Asia,” said Joe Bindloss in an article published in the Lonely Planet’s website.
Bindloss said that the Philippines has “one of the world’s most beautiful coastlines, fringed by dive-tastic coral reefs, sprinkled with sunbathe-ready white sand, backed by swaying palm trees and dotted with simple resorts of nipa palm thatched huts.”
He also said that Filipinos are experts at throwing parties and generally good at singing.
Bindloss also highlighted the penchant of Filipinos to patronize anything that is “trending.”
Other countries that rounded the top 10 list include: Singapore, Namibia, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Ireland, Republic of Congo, Serbia, St. Lucia, and Morocco.
Each country is said to be chosen for three categories: topicality, unique experiences and “wow” factor.
Lonely Planet also recognized the country’s capital recently in an article entitled “10 reasons to visit Manila.” The article cited the various reasons that tourists might visit the city which include: Spanish heritage in Intramuros, world-class museums, art galleries, and day trips and breaks.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Filipino entreps shine in ASEAN Biz Awards in Myanmar

Several Filipinos won prestigious awards during the Gala Night of the ASEAN Business Awards in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, with five Filipino enterprises receiving recognitions for the awards.
Awarded the top prize for the Women Leader category was Sandra Sanchez Montano of Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (CHEERS) Corp., who received the same citation at the Philippine level of the ASEAN Business Awards in recognition of her exemplary business leadership skills.

Four other Philippine national winners were named as first runners-up in their respective awards categories: International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) for Corporate Excellence in recognition of its outstanding growth performance, commitment to the welfare of its employees, and impactful corporate social responsibility programs; Pointwest Technologies Corp. for Innovation in line with its consistent and fearless setting of new benchmarks for its industry and peers; Golden ABC Inc. for ASEAN Centricity, lauded as a model for companies aiming to enter into the integrated ASEAN market in a position of strength; and Paulo Tibig, president of Vcargo Worldwide/Vintel Logistics Inc. for Young Entrepreneur, who can serve as inspiration to future captains of industries.
Fountainhead Technologies Inc., which garnered the ASEAN Business Awards Philippines’ Best SME award, was also recognized along with the national level winners from the 10 ASEAN member countries.
CHEERS joins the ranks of ASEAN level winners for the other five awards categories: Absolute Kinetics Consulting of Singapore for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; Blue Ocean Operating Management of Myanmar for Young Leader; and Keppel Land, UOB (United Overseas Bank Ltd.), and Cyclet Electrical Engineering Pte. Ltd. of Singapore for Corporate Excellence, Innovation, and ASEAN Centricity, respectively.
This year’s winners bested more than 500 companies from across the ASEAN region that applied for the awards, all of which went through the careful prescreening conducted by ASEAN BAC’s strategic partner KPMG, and stringent deliberations by the panel of judges representing each of the 10 ASEAN member countries.
“This is a proud moment for the Philippines, with our national winners taking their place among the Most Admired ASEAN enterprises in the region,” said ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines and PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. “These awards are a well-deserved recognition of the efforts of Philippine enterprises to raise their level of competitiveness in light of the ongoing ASEAN economic integration.”
“Our Philippine winners at the ASEAN Business Awards helped drive awareness of the upcoming ASEAN integration and more importantly, our winners’ success will serve to encourage more Filipino enterprises to take advantage of the many opportunities integration offers for growth and expansion,” noted by ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines member and SM Investments Corp. vice chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson.
“Because the ASEAN Business Awards celebrates not only large corporations, but also our micro, small and medium enterprises, it is the best platform to herald its positive impact on the economy,” shared ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines member and Interior Basics Export Corp. president Jay Yuvallos. “96 to 99 percent of local firms across ASEAN are MSMEs, so it’s time to showcase success stories that our own Filipino MSMEs can emulate.”
The 2014 ASEAN Business Awards Gala Night served as the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2014, an annual event organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) to bring together ASEAN’s influencers from the government and the business community.
Attended by approximately 800 delegates, the summit featured informative plenary presentations on issues related to the ASEAN economic integration. Among the speakers and panelists were Yuvallos, who joined the discussion on the Power of MSMEs, and Eric Alberto, PLDT executive vice president and head of Enterprise, International, and Carrier Business, who shared his insights as panelist on the Potential of the ASEAN Consumer.
The ASEAN Business Awards was established by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) to recognize enterprises in the region that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy. Since its launch in 2007, the annual awards have awarded more than 60 large companies and micro, small and medium enterprises throughout the region that excel in the categories of: Growth, Employment, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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How ex-factory worker made millions from bagoong


MANILA – The biggest breaks in life sometimes come in the form of disappointment. For business owner Teresita Valdez, the life-changing event happened when she was fired from her job as a factory worker.
Valdez started working in a sauce factory when she was only 13 years old, and began to dream of one day running her own business.

Her hard work paid off early and was promoted from removing fish heads to preparing the sauces. By 1996, Valdez was able to perfect the recipe for sautéed shrimp paste (bagoong).
The recipe, however, soon became the reason for Valdez to lose her job. Valdez refused to reveal the formula to her supervisor, prompting the latter to fire her.
“Pinahirapan ako ng bisor namin, kinukuha niya ‘yung pinaka-formula. Doon natanim sa isip ko na siguro ito ‘yung magiging alas ko pagdating ng araw,” she told

After losing her job in the factory, Valdez and her husband decided to set up their own business with a P10,000 capital from their savings, and another P10,000 from a partner.
“Ang ginawa ko, umalis nalang ako at hindi ko binigay ang formulation, nagtayo kami ng asawa ko ng isang maliit na pagawaan ng bagoong,” she said.
Their small bagoong business was an instant success thanks to Valdez’s recipe, which does not use preservatives and only vinegar to prolong the shelf life of the sauce.
However, Valdez’s top customer failed to pay an estimated P2 million in debt in 2007, forcing Valdez and her husband to sell their home to raise fresh capital.
Despite the setback, Valdez managed to get back on her feet through the first loan of P10,000 from microfinancing firm Tulay sa Pag-unlad Inc. (TSPI) in 2010.
She also underwent seminars under TSPI to help improve her skills in managing a business.
Valdez was able to regain the trust of her old clients, and even acquired more clients to sustain the business.
Her sauce manufacturing venture now generates annual sales of about P3.8 million, and annual profits of about P1 million.

Creating jobs

From being a factory worker in her teens, Valdez has become a financially-savvy entrepreneur, keeping her personal and business spending on separate accounts.
All profits, Valdez said, is reinvested into the business, and she and her husband rely on a monthly salary for their daily expenses.
Around 30 people are now under working for Valdez, but she has plans to open another branch in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
“Kung papalarin, gusto ko magkaron ng isa pang branch kasi masikip na sa amin para mabigyan ko pa ng trabaho ‘yung mga walang trabaho sa amin,” she said.

Her products have reached customers in the US, but Valdez continues to pursue the dream of becoming the country’s top exporter of bagoong.
“‘Yung pangarap, hindi po ‘yun matutupad kung hindi magsusumikap, kung hindi magtitipid at magtitiyaga para marating ang gustong maabot. At kailangan huwag kalimutan ang Diyos,” she said.
Valdez was recently named the national winner of the 12th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA), a nationwide search for outstanding microentrepreneurs in the Philippines.
She received the award from Citi Philippines chief executive Batara Sianturi and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., co-chairs of the CMA National Selection Committee.
The CMA, which was launched in 2002, is a partnership between the BSP, Citi Philippines, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pinoy food reinvented at 'Inuman at Pulutan' in New York

source: Balitang America

NEW YORK - Filipinos in New York have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. One of which is seeing the Filipino food movement grow in the last three years, partly thanks to events like Inuman and Pulutan – a night of sampling sumptuous traditional and modern Filipino cuisine created by Filipino chefs from various New York city restaurants.

Now on its third year, Inuman and Pulutan has become the go-to event when it comes to tasting the traditional and modern Filipino cuisine in the Big Apple.
"It's getting bigger as I've said. I think this is a very good platform to really promote Philippine food, Philippine spirits," said Consul General Mario de Leon.
Nobu is a Japanese restaurant but its Filipino executive chef recreated the popular crispy pata by adding a touch of Japanese influence. He calls it crispy braised pork shank.
"I'm using Filipino ingredients to make a Japanese sauce," said Nobu executive chef, Ricky Estrella.
Nobu owner Hiro Tahara described Filipinos as very passionate about food.
"Their work ethics are really good. They are very passionate about the food and then, they work very hard, very friendly. Filipinos are great chefs," Tahara said.
Tocino is a delicious and popular Filipino dish. Spotted Pig is not a Filipino restaurant but its Fil-Am executive sous chef prepared the popular breakfast meat by putting it inside a bun--a Pinoy version of the New York favorite pork bun.
"Basically, it's a pandan-infused bun, with pork tocino, pickled vegetables. We use cane vinegar, coconut vinegar and a calamansi mayo in it. They wanted to use Filipino ingredients in a non-traditional way. Tocino is awesome with rice, eggs and stuff but it's great in a sandwich too," said executive sous chef Edie Ugot.
'Chopped' champion and judge Chris Coleman said it's his first time to attend a Filipino-American event. He said he fell in love with the Filipino people and their food.
"To me, I'm amazed for what I've seen. This is fabulous. I love it, very talented cooking, very talented chef. I could not wait to get the opportunity to fly to the Philippines and basically enjoy and embrace chef and their cooking," said Coleman.
Organizers say they are already planning for a bigger and better Inuman and Pulutan 2015.

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'PH to be fastest growing Southeast Asian economy in 2015'


MANILA, Philippines - The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales expects the Philippine economy to be the fastest growing in Southeast Asia next year.
The group said the Philippines will grow over 6.4 percent in 2015, citing the country's low budget deficit and slowing inflation.

This would mean the Philippines regaining its number one spot in the region.
In the third quarter, the country was just the third fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, as growth was dragged by weak government spending. The Philippines posted 5.3 percent GDP growth in the third quarter, behind Malaysia's 5.6 percent and Vietnam's 6.2 percent.
However, ICAEW says the Philippines needs to build more infrastructure to support the country's accelerating growth.

The government has said it wants to fast track building and awarding much-needed infrastructure projects, but most of them are usually caught in delays.
The Aquino administration has awarded 8 PPP projects since 2013. - ANC

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Magkakabaung is Best Asian Film in Hanoi Festival

A Filipino film produced in the Kampampangan language has won the Best Asian Film Award at the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival (HANIFF) in Vietnam.
“Magkakabaung” (The Coffin Maker) writer and director Jason Paul Laxamana received the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award. The film’s ead actor Allen Dizon was adjudged Best Actor winning over Hollywood actor Ralfh Fiennes of the Best Length Film, Two Women from Russia.

Laxamana is a filmmaker based in the Pampanga province north of Manila, who champions locally produced films by organizing film festivals and workshops. He graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication and has taught filmmaking at the De La Salle College of St. Benilde.
The movie has given Dizon his second international Best Actor award, after winning his first at the 9th Harlem International Film Festival held in New York last September.
The Coffin Maker also stars Filipina actress-host Gladys Reyes-Sommereux as the errant wife and Dizon’s real-life daughter Felixia Crysten Dizon as the ill-fated daughter. The film was produced by Ferdinand Lapuz for ATD Entertainment Productions.
The Coffin Maker tells the story of a casket factory worker who brings up his eight-year old daughter alone after his wife leaves him, and then accidentally causes the death of the girl by administering the wrong medication. The film presents the coffin maker’s attempts at erasing his guilt and remorse even as he faces difficulties in getting his daughter’s body discharged from the hospital and then buried.
The 3rd HANIFF, organized by the Cinema Department of the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, chose 130 films out of over 400 submissions from 32 countries with nearly 200 free screenings attracting 30,000 viewers. Aside from the competitions, HANIFF also presented its Country in focus – Spotlight program featuring Philippine Independent films.

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Philippines is favorite desination of Israeli travellers

The Philippines is becoming a favourite destination for Israeli travellers.
The country was cited by Israeli news and travel Hebrew-language websites News1, International Air Services, Terminal and Walla as the next new destination for travelling Israeli nationals.

The reports referred to the considerable rise in the number of Israeli tourists in the country based on data from the Department of Tourism which marked the 30% increase in the number of Israelis travelling to the Philippines in 2013 – a total of 7,675 Israeli tourists up from the 5,895 in 2012.
The website articles highlighted top tourist draws Palawan and Boracay. Palawan Island has been rated as the Number 1 Island in the Top 30 Islands of the World Readers Choice Awards 2014 given by Condé Nast, gleaned from over a million votes and 77,000 readers worldwide. Palawan was given the highest rating of 88.750 over 29 other islands cited by the Condé Nast Traveler. In its citation, Condé Nast Traveler referred to the Philippine tourist spot as shooting to the top of the list with its recent claim to fame as the home of one of the new seven natural wonders of the world, the Puerto Princesa Underground River.
The Puerto Princesa subterranean river spans 8.2 kilometres, the longest in Asia and the second longest underground river in the world. The protected area features limestone or karst landscapes in a complex cave system where a 20 million year old Miocene age serenia fossil was discovered, along with egg shape and crystal rock formations and at least 11 minerals. The underground river flows directly into the sea, with its lower half brackish and affected by the ocean’s tide.
Boracay island took the number 12th spot in the list. The tiny island of 10 square miles in Western Visayas, central Philippines was cited by Travel+Leisure Magazine as Best Overall Island of 2012.
The island is already a famous top tourist destination with its 4 kilometres of powdery white sand beaches, an area of which is considered as Asia’s top kitesurf destination, 25 dive sites, shallow blue waters ideal for snorkelling and other water sports, complemented by thriving nightlife on the beachfront with a great variety of restaurants, shops and resorts.
A media release from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) noted the Israeli articles as partly attributing the increase to the promotion of Philippine tourism in Israel between the Israel-Philippine Tourism Chamber and the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv.

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Mother, child author book to help Yolanda survivors

“Riding the banca as Tatay rows to the seaweed garden is always fun.”
“Nakatutuwang pumunta sa aming taniman ng damong-dagat sakay ng Bangka ni Tatay.”
Such words on the illustrated pages of “Maria’s Colorful Banca/Ang Makulay na Bangka ni Maria” evoke familiar images of small banca-riding fishermen paddling around the waters of Philippine
shores. The image was ripped to shreds a year ago by the fury of super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which hit Central Philippines, including the famed tourist destination, Cebu. The fishermen and their families lost their oars, boats, livelihoods, and lives. The book takes a look at the transition from idyllic to devastation seen through the eyes of a little girl.

The rebuilding which is slowly taking place despite efforts and resources coming from all over the globe, has spurred the child and mother tandem of Ella Louise Francia and Minnie Francisco-Francia to come out with an illustrated storybook for children inspired by their family’s experience in sending help to storm-ravaged Bantayan Island in Cebu. The Francia family of four with father, Joseph, and son, Benjamin sent money to filmmaker Janice Perez who was coordinating aid efforts in Bantayan
Island. Their request was specific – that the cash be used for two bancas. Perez found the request unusual considering that most were donating cash for housing materials but she accepted the donation which became two bancas for brothers Armando and Silverio Jr.
The Deo siblings’ main livelihood before the devastating storm was cultivating a seaweed farm.
Yolanda destroyed the seaweed patches and the bancas they used. Perez facilitated the boat donation for the brothers and got friends to paint the boats and named these “Ella” and “Benjamin” after the Francia children.
The little project of two boats was posted on Facebook and eventually turned into a bigger venture as more and more people sent help to build more uniquely designed bancas. The program has since donated 38 boats to the fishermen of Bantayan Island and Medellin town.
The boats met their namesakes when the Francia family went to Bantayan Island early this year. The children, Ella, 12 and Benjamin, 7 met the families of Armando and Silverio, Jr., and three-month old baby Maria Dominika after whom the main character of the book is named.
The limited-circulation book has 32 pages illustrated by Cebu-based artists Janice Y. Perez and RJ Aquino, written in both English and Filipino. It is available through online and phone orders via Maria’s Colorful Banca. Proceeds from the sales of the book will be donated to the typhoon survivors in the Visayas.

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Pinoy boy featured in Starbucks collection mug

The image of a Fil-Am toddler holding on to a green balloon is imprinted on a limited edition double walled ceramic mug released by Seattle-based coffee company Starbucks for the holidays.
Starbucks news describes the design of the “Boy with a Green Balloon” Mug as the likeness of an adventure-ready energetic Flynn being lifted off the ground by an oversized green balloon, as designed by his mother for the Dot Collection. The mother, Starbucks visual communication designer Esther Asuncion, submitted the likeness of her 3-year-old son Flynn with his arm holding the balloon string and wearing a striped scarf around his neck.

The Filipina-American visual artist was raised in Guam and moved to the U.S. mainland to study fine art and studio art. Asuncion worked her way up from being a local store barista enjoying the creation of chalkboard art in the stores. Six years after her employment in the coffee chain she now helps the company’s marketing and merchandise groups present how employees should display their coffee and seasonal products in U.S. and Canada stores.
Asuncion was asked to submit sketches within one day for one of the Starbucks Dot Collection design concepts – a boy or girl with a balloon. The illustration of her boy was approved with no changes. Asuncion says, “There’s a tiny piece of my heart, outside my body, in customers’ hands.”

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