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Monday, March 30, 2015

Philippines among Happiest Countries in the World

Is it really more fun in the Philippines? Maybe its residents can convince you. Filipinos are one of the happiest citizens in the world according to a global survey.

The Philippines follows close behind ten Latin American countries – most of them sharing ranks based on the results of a Gallup poll Positive Experience Index released a day before the United Nations International Day of Happiness on March 20.
Gallup asked 1,000 individuals aged 15 or older in 143 countries in 2014 if they had positive experiences on the day before the survey. Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews. Gallup compiled the “yes” responses from five questions: “Did you feel well-rested yesterday?”, “Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”, “Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?”, “Were you treated with respect all day yesterday?” and “Did you experience the following feelings during a lot of the day yesterday? How about enjoyment?” into a Positive Experience Index score for each country.
Paraguay topped the survey with a score of 89.
In second, third and fourth places are Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala which all received a score of 84.
Honduras, Panama and Venezuela shared the fifth, sixth and seventh place on the list with a score of 82.
Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua got 81, placing eighth, ninth, and tenth.
The Philippines received a score of 80, sharing the spot with Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay.
Money isn’t everything. Latin American countries aren’t the wealthiest countries but they certainly have some of the happiest people in the world. Pinoys have certainly had their fair share of environmental disasters and general misfortune but at the end of the day, most Pinoys can still look at the bright side and crack a joke-or two.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Antonio’s Tagaytay in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list

Antonio’s in Tagaytay has put the Philippines for the first time on the elite Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
The 2015 edition of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list ranked Antonio’s in the 48th spot, after a voting of 300 restaurant industry leaders from Asia.

The elite list released by William Reed Business Media, which also publishes The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, billed Antonio’s as a restaurant of “Idyllic surroundings with a menu to match.”
The fine dining restaurant with an offering of Modern European with Philippine influences is set in a colonial-style mansion with its own farm and is found amidst lush gardens and a cool climate in the volcano ridge town of Tagaytay, a two-hour drive and some 50 kilometres south of Manila.
The list hailed owner-Chef Antonio “Tony Boy” Escalante’s cooking and marked his Lechon de leche or slow-roasted suckling pig rubbed with herbs and spices as Antonio’s “standout dish.”
In a Facebook post Chef Escalante referred to the award as an honour and a humbling experience, “While being part of this prestigious list is an acknowledgment of the hard working team at Antonio’s, it is also a statement that Filipino cuisine is ready and waiting for the world.” Escalante’s team includes Ricky Sison and pastry chef Reymond Abdon.
The Best Restaurant feature also highlighted the fact that most of the restaurant produce is sourced from the adjacent farm, which also supplies Chef Escalante’s two other restaurants, Breakfast and The Grill.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants was launched in 2013 with six voting regions: South-East Asia – South; South-East Asia – North; Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau; mainland China and Korea; Japan; and India and Subcontinent. The list is created by the Diners Club Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

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Towards an educated citizenry, one town library at a time

“Before nationhood, the Philippines must first have an educated citizenry.” – Dr. Jose P. Rizal. Thus went the words penned by the national hero at a time when access to books and education were limited to a privileged class. The very same words a foundation now uses as its battle cry.
More than a century later, Quintin Jose Pastrana found the vision still relevant, made it his own, and is now leading the charge in getting local communities to educate their own children by building public libraries, turning them into community education centres to “help forge an interconnected archipelago of readers and leaders.”

In an age when the digital native would claim that all information can already be found on the internet and therefore the redundancy of physical public libraries, Pastrana’s Library Renewal Partnership (LRP) foundation insists on the value of the kind of library where one can experience the joy of discovering a new book on the shelves, the feel of turning an actual page, and community access to a democratic space that knows no economic or social class.
In March 2015 the LRP is set to open the doors to its 80th library on its way to at least 200 public libraries by 2020. The LRP envisions empowering 2 million citizens with these libraries collaboratively set up by communities, private groups and local governments.
LRP’s 10-year mission started in 2010 when Pastrana looked at various researches indicating that Filipino children in rural areas decide to look for jobs rather than to study to earn a living.
Pastrana looked back at his own experience, realizing how fortunate he was to have been raised in a family that could support his reading interests. He saw the reality about Filipino children who lacked reading abilities due to deprived access to learning materials and facilities.
LRP partners with local and international organizations to get local authorities to provide the infrastructure for a library and the library staff, and gets educational material from leading publishers to provide the content.

Within just five years, the organization has already built libraries in various slums and rural areas of the county including Albay, Aklan, Ilocos Norte, Kalinga, Quezon City, Tacloban and Manila. The organization also built public libraries in the conflict areas of Mindanao such as Marawi, Maguindanao, Zamboanga and South Cotabato. LRP has also built libraries for public and private organizations such as the New Bilibid prison, The Philippine Heart Center and Gawad Kalinga farms.

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Bayanihan Dance Company bags grand prize in Italy

Filipino dance group Bayanihan Folk Dance Company has given the Philippines another world class award, this time from the 60th International Folklore Festival in Agrigento, Sicily, Italy.
This is the 3rd time the dance company has won the Golden Temple at the folk dance competition, the first one in 2002, and the second in 2005. They have competed with the dance companies of the counties of Bulgaria, Croatia, Holland, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand, and Ukraine.

The Bayanihan Dance Company bagged the “Tiempo d’ Oro” Award or the Gold Medal Award in the 70th edition of the week long competition called the Sagra del Mandorlo Festival in Agrigento.
Bayanihan Dance Company shared with GoodNewsPilipinas their thoughts after receiving the gold award, “Winning the competition gives one extreme pride in what our country can offer. We continue to gauge our success vis a vis the best companies in the world. We realize how talented our young people are, how passionate they can be for their art as well as pursuit of excellence through teamwork and cooperation.”
The Philippine dance company also shared that aside from preparing themselves physically and mentally daily, the group attributes their success to requested holy masses, prayers from family and friends, and blessings from the Chaplain so that their trip will be safe, smooth and successful.
The Bayanihan advises young Filipino dancers that although “there is no money in cultural endeavours such as this one, however the satisfaction of bringing pride to the Philippines and letting the world know of the beauty of the Philippines through music and dances is more than enough to actualize one’s dreams.”
The Bayanihan Folk Dance Group was originally established in the Philippine Women’s University and has since been recognized by Congress as the National Folk Dance Company.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pinay house cleaner makes it big in American investments

Former house cleaner Mila Ferrer is now a millionaire owning 52 properties in America.
Ferrer is also regional Vice President in an international investment company.
The 60-year old single mother of five children migrated to America with just twenty dollars in her pocket some 40 years ago.
Ferrer is a native of Alcala, Pangasinan and admits she had humble beginnings as an orphan and recounts her story as one of four siblings who were trying to survive. She promised to herself then that she would not let her children live a hard life like she did.
Her life as a migrant Filipino was not easy – she was broke and lived in a trailer home. A fresh graduate, she tried out for 17 job interviews and was still jobless, thinking that her luck had failed her.

Not one to be discouraged, she managed to clean houses to make a living.
She took on a clerical post in an investment company and later on rose to become a loan manager.
“I learned how to make my own money. I was cleaning houses, working in the bank, doing real estate, working as personal assistant to doctors, and being a mom,” she said while reminiscing her early days in the United States.
Finally, the opportunity to live a life like she wanted came and she seized it.
She now currently resides in Plano, Illinois and lists as part of her properties the house she used to clean.
Her advice? “You have to find a mentor. Kasi yung pera mo kung pagulungan mo you’ll be able to make it.”

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Cavite's Best Investment Opportunities and Why: Antel Grand Village

Antel Grand Village
The first and only self-contained island community, south of Metro Manila, with more than 100 hectares of carefully planned residential villages, social and commercial districts, and a 1.7- hectare clubhouse, all in the midst of verdant sceneries and breath-taking riverside vistas.
AGV Island Community is strategically located between the urban municipalities of Kawit and General Trias, a few minutes away from the booming industrial zone CEZA, and a convenient stop-over on the way to Tagaytay and Batangas through the R-1 diversion road.

Live in contemporary modern house models that put the family first in every way, making sure every member feels at home
With a name that reminds one of timeless fairy tales, the grand facade of this house model is like a simple castle in a modern urban neighborhood. A huge balcony is always there to hold feasts and parties with friends and loved ones.

Simple-looking but more than what anyone can ask for. This house model has a balcony by your bedroom - take a breath of fresh air in the morning or share stories with your loved ones under the moonlight.

This cozy homestead is perfect for small and large families, looking to enjoy a more intimate lifestyle. Enjoy the morning breeze, and the beautiful Cavite sunrise on your very own balcony, in the company of your loved ones.

Admire the scenery of Antel Grand Village in this 3-bedroom house. Every waking day is never dull for the family - run around the lawn, cook in the kitchen, and bond in the living area!


We borrowed an idea for a spacious home from the suburbs of London and Paris. It works, after all.
Built for the modern family, with an impressive layout that focuses on elegance and style. With windows designed to provide soft, natural light into the interiors, Victoria provides the best of your home essentials, and beyond.

Antel Clubhouse
The Antel Grand Village Clubhouse's Water Park is the grandest recreation site in this side of Cavite. It has nine (9) gazebos and seven (7) interconnected swimming pools: a white sand Beach Pool with two (2) water slides, Lap Pool with submerged sun loungers and relaxing water jets, Activity Game Pool with water jets, Spa Pool with four (4) Massage Beds, Party Pool with sunken Pool Bar and bubble jets, Fountain Pool, and Children's Pool with bubble jets.

Beach Pool
This man-made white sand beach and tropical palm trees gives you that island vacation vibe. Water slides, beach benches, and gazebos what more can you ask for?

Lap Pool
The Lap Pool is 25 meters long, half the size of the Olympic Pool for the sports enthusiasts who want to do daily swim laps.

Pool Slides
For the adventurous ones who are not afraid of the water, we have installed slides to add some spice to your waterpark experience!

Clubhouse Features

Grand Ballroom
This spacious events area can accommodate big gatherings. Let the clubhouse be part of your sweet family memories.

No need to shell out expensive membership fees. AGV already provides world-class equipment to match the demands of the daily grind.

Aerobics Area
Restore the balance in your out-of-sync life through aerobics and other exercise classes. Do some yoga with friends on weekends.

Spa & Sauna
Time to de-stress from the hustle and bustle of the city. Give yourself the much deserve "me" time.

Village Amenities

Entrance Gate
The majestic façade welcomes anyone who would like to explore the island-living vibe.

Basketball Court
Call out the boys and sweat it out over a few rounds of ballgame.

Pocket Parks
Take the kids for an afternoon stroll into the lush mini gardens or bring your darling to fall in love again.

Tennis Court
Pro or amateur, hone your skills in tennis and bring out the grand slam champ in you.

Kids want to run around all the time. We have a lot of fun recreational sites in this area where your little loved ones can make friends.

24-Hour Security
Nothing is more important than the safety of the neighborhood. Guards monitor the 5 gated villages 24/7.

For More info and to schedule a FREE Tripping please feel free to contact us @ 09063468424 (Globe) or 09192634101 (Smart) or visit our website:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Rattan Backpack Charger: Proudly Pinoy Powerbank!


For most people on the go, we almost always depend on our phones and tablets for our daily schedule, weather reports, news updates, putting down not-so-mental notes, and taking snapshots of everything and anything. And, of course, for texting and calling once in a while.
We do a lot of things with our gadgets, even capturing the breathtaking mountain ridge of Sagada through Instagram.
That is until the battery indicator says otherwise and there’s no electric socket in sight.
Then, it's time to panic.

Luckily for us, a power-generating equipment is right in our own backyard (or, at least, up in the mountains of Northern Luzon)—in the form of a traditionally-woven bag made of rattan!
Called the "Solar Pasiking" (pasiking or sangie: ancient, indigenous basket-backpack found among the various ethno-linguistic groups of Northern Luzon in the Philippines), these bags combine solar technology, 1.5 soda-bottle containers, and the rich heritage of the Ifugao people (Ifugao: an ethnic group calling the mountains of Northern Luzon their homeland).

It's one of the many creative applications of the soda-bottle technology -- OpenCharger -- developed in the mountains of Northern Luzon where nature is still untainted, if only for a bit.
OpenCharger is also a movement dedicated not only to harnessing power and energy from natural resources and eco-friendly materials, but also to maximizing the potential of local communities, especially that of the indigenous people in the Cordillera.
Unlike traditional microelectronics, the assembly of OpenCharger requires no special skills and equipment, minimal energy, and zero toxins.


  • Charger circuitry is crafted in Mt. Province, Philippines from bottles, e-waste and custom manufactured components that meet cradle to cradle, non-toxic values
  • Zero energy, zero waste, non-toxic assembly and upgrade
  • The charger port is made from soda PET and thus 100% recyclable
  • User repairable
  • Open Source: Everything from our core circuit to the assembly specs are on the site

Key Bag Features

  • 500mA solar panel
  • Mini-USB charging input port (so you can charge up your bag for a rainy day)
  • Regular USB 1.2 Amp output port (for cell phone charging)
  • 3000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery pack
  • Red LED safety light (activated by the cap switch)
  • Warm white flash light (activated by the cap switch)
The next time you're going to the mountains, let the Solar Pasiking light your way!
Help fund this innovation. Order through the OpenCharger website.

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Global Award-Winning Rum is Made in the Philippines

Available in selected wine shops and hotels in the country, Don Papa is also exported and sold in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and United Kingdom to name a few.
Don Papa is made in Negros Occidental. Created and blended to perfection in 2011, it was distilled from the finest sugarcane where its oak barrels were first aged for 7 years in the foothills of Mt. Kanla-on. Then, it was made available to the public in 2012.

It is said that “where is sugar, you’ll find rum.” And, Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar bowl of the Philippines. The perfect combination of climate, geography and volcanic soil makes the island ideal for sugarcane production.
Don Papa Rum was inspired by the story of the unsung 19th century Philippine revolution heroes, Dionisio Magbuelas, locally known as “Papa Isio.”
Papa Isio was a foreman at a sugar plantation aside from being a healer, shaman, rebel and leader of a group of babaylans. His sense of justice, spirit of independence and leadership played a vital role in freeing the Negros Island during the Spanish regime, which also became a factor that leads to the independence of the country.
Don Papa is a premium aged rum and said to be light and fruity. It has a long, rich-textured finish and offers flavors of honey, vanilla and candied fruits.

Don Papa is a premium aged small batch rum from the isle of Negros Occidental, the Philippines. Distilled from some of the finest sugar cane in the world, Don Papa is first aged 7 years in oak barrels in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon before being blended to perfection.

Negros Occidental is and has always been the sugar capital of the Philippines. Due to the perfect combination of climate, geography and the rich volcanic soil on the island, Negros is ideally suited for sugar cane production.

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Filipino-Invented Beer Freezer Making Waves in America


Three Filipinos in California have found a way to make great-tasting beer through their patented technology, Beer Below Zero (BBZ). Their hardwork for six years paid off when it started to get positive responses from the U.S. market.

The product, which is an original Pinoy invention, is now being distributed in different parts of the United States.
“Different in taste ... frozen from the outside and perfect chill inside,” said beer fan Danny Reginaldo.
 The technology improves the taste of the beer by setting it to a particular temperature before it completely freezes -- and yes, one can compeletely enjoy his or her drinks without adding ice. In fact, it makes beer colder than ice!
Said BBZ Sales and Marketing Director Richard Villaluz, “We basically process any kind of beer. We serve it a perfect temperature at negative nine to eleven degrees Celsius.”
“We have offices in Chicago and New York,” said BBZ Partner & Exclusive Distributor JP Carino. “Start there in those big, big areas but concentrate really in those where it’s really warm like Houston and Florida. So we are going to distribute it there. The long term, imagine the freezer or serving Beer Below Zero at Staples or Dodger Stadium or Madison Square Garden. I’ll be proud to have it there it being a Filipino product.”
“We always believe in Filipino ingenuity. So when this was presented to us, we thought you know this is going to take us to the future. This is a very innovative product." said Claire Reginaldo, a restaurant owner in California who first used BBZ. 
Indeed, Pinoys abroad are off to a great start! (Watch the video above to know more about this cool product.)

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Eddie Vega runs barefoot for a cause, breaks Guinness record

Why is the Guinness World Record holder for the Most Barefoot Marathons Run in One Year, running without shoes?
Eddie Vilbar Vega, nicknamed the “Barefoot Bandito,” says he created a world record with marathons run on bare feet to raise awareness and funds, and send shoes to over 300 million children worldwide who are without shoes, including those in his native Philippines.
Guinness World Records officially acknowledged the barefoot marathoner as having completed 101 marathons across the world from January 1 to December 31, 2014.

Vega ran in all 50 US states, in Japan, and the Philippines for a total barefoot distance of 4,258.65 kilometres which Guinness required to be extensively documented on GoPro, a cam on his chest directed on his feet to ensure his barefoot run was done on just his bare feet without aid of plasters and other foot aids. Pictures of the start, during and end of the race baring his soles were required, attested to by witnesses.
Vega also holds the record for Most Barefoot Marathon Runs on Consecutive Days (Male) for running races across California, Oregon and Texas, USA from June 28 to July 7 also last year.
The California-based IT professional ran as an ambassador for Soles4Souls, a charity organization collecting new and gently worn shoes from shoe companies and individuals for donation to the world’s underprivileged children.

To date, he has raised over $13,000 and has distributed about 7,000 pairs of shoes in his home province of Leyte and in Davao, Philippines, with another 6,000 pairs scheduled for distribution in April and August this year through the Davao-based Seeds of Dignity Ministries.
Vega revealed to GoodNewsPilipinas the story of why he can actually relate to children without shoes who need protection from contracting infectious diseases by not having adequate footwear.
As a child in Leyte, he would sometimes take off his shoes to run around barefoot with other kids who could not afford shoes so he could fit in. As a result, he contracted hookworms and became infected with tuberculosis from a contagious neighbour who would spit blood on the grounds they played on.
He credits his survival from the deadly infections to his family’s immigration to Guam which had modern facilities to treat his diseases.
The Barefoot Bandito dedicates his barefoot run for the children without shoes to his demised parents Charlie and Rita Vega.
Vega decided to adopt the Soles4Souls cause as his own after the attention he got from running his first barefoot marathon on the occasion of his 50th marathon run in 2013. He realized then he could use the “rock star” publicity of the Guinness World Records for a higher purpose, to address the needs of the world’s children.
“It is said that ‘to really understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes’. Well, in my case, and for the cause that I represent I decided to run and/or walk thousands of miles barefoot to honor these kids and to create awareness and let everybody know that there are over 300 million children worldwide who are without shoes or adequate footwear because they cannot afford them. To compound the problem, most countries like the Philippines, will not allow children to attend school unless they wear shoes. This contributes to the vicious cycle of poverty,” Vega writes in his memoirs of his desire to have children be able to live a healthier life and pursue their education.

His barefoot marathons caused injuries, sometimes superficial, at times grave enough for him to discontinue the race. He was even once hit by a car from behind during his world record attempt.
His record attempt to run barefoot in 7 continents ended in Antarctica, a run which he had to finish wearing shoes because he had already started bleeding on the snow after running mostly on gravel and jagged rocks.
But when the thought of quitting crossed his mind, Vega says he kept thinking about how the survivors of the World War II Bataan Death March were able to endure much harsher conditions during their 128K march from Bataan to Camp O’Donnell. The image of that deadly march kept Vega going, thinking of his pain and suffering in his own 42K run relative to what the prisoners of war then endured.
Vega will be in the Philippines this April to distribute more shoes to children without shoes.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bwaya wins Gold at Asian Cinema Festival in France

Bwaya (Crocodile), an indie film based on actual events involving deadly Philippine crocodiles won for the Philippines its first gold at the Vesoul International Film Fest of Asian Cinema in France.
The festival’s Golden Cyclo top jury prize was awarded by four international jurors led by its chairman director Wang Chao of China, Mohammad Rasoulof from Iran, Prasana Vithanage of Sri Lanka, and Laurice Guillen of the Philippines.
The film tells the story of Divina, a mother who searches for her child after receiving news that her child Rowena has been attacked by crocodiles in the Agusan del Sur marshlands of Mindanao in Southern Philippines.
The film stars Angeli Bayani who plays Divina to Jolina Salvado’s Rowena, together with Karl Medina and RS Francisco.

Ninety films competed at the FICA Vesoul festival which was created in 1995 and is one of the most popular events in Europe attended by thousands, recording an audience of 30,000 in 2014.
Pasion, an Ateneo de Manila University graduate is currently an ABS-CBN network television director.
Bwaya received its first international recognition winning as Best Film at the Tokyo Filmex in 2014.
The film which was first recognized at the Cinemelaya 2014 Philippine Independent Cinema Festival, is helping raise local and international cultural and social awareness.
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Mark Chan aims to win World Latte Art contest in Sweden

Young overseas Filipino worker Mark Chan will be the first ever Filipino barista to compete and represent the Philippines in the World Latte Art Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Chan won the right to represent the Philippines in the most esteemed latte art competition in the world when he was declared champion at the 1st Philippine National Art Latte Championship held in Paranaque City, south of Manila,

The Philippine competition used the same criteria used for the championship in Sweden, as sanctioned by the World Coffee Events (WCE). The worldwide recognition paved the way for the Philippine champion to compete in Sweden.
Six baristas competed in the championship, given 10 minutes to create their entry in design pattern, espresso macchiato, and free pour.
Chan who flew back to Manila from Singapore where he works at Common Man Coffee Roasters impressed judges with patterns the likes of Three-Layered Tulips, Inverted Tulips and his Semi-Picasso Swan.
“I’m gonna have to study my score sheets first and see my ‘strengths’ and ‘opportunities’. Make my strong points stronger and capitalize on it, make serious consideration on ‘opportunities’ for improvement,” says Chan in a published interview.
Sonja Bjork Grant, a judge from the World Coffee Events, says she looks forward to the competition especially since this will be the first time that the Philippines will have a representative in the world competition where baristas are judged based on visual attributes, creativity, identical patterns in the pairs, contrast in patterns, and overall performance.
The World Latte Art Championship highlights artistic expression in a competition platform that challenges the barista in an on-demand performance. Around 40 to 45 competitors from all around the world will battle for the title. The competition will be held in June 15-18 this year.
Chan, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy, is optimistic about the third wave coffee scene in the Philippines saying, “It is getting ready to explode most probably early to mid-2015.”

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